Category Archives: Half Marathon

Realizing how far you have come

I refuse to tell people that this is what to do… or this is what will work for everyone… because that is a bunch of hooey. Everyone knows that nothing works for everyone and what works for one person simply can not work for others.  It irritates me when other people do it.  I won’t.

That said… this is where I am this morning…

This morning I hit what my PCP suggests ought to be my goal weight. That means I’m about 15 pounds from my actual goal weight.  THAT means I, very soon, need to start going to the stupid Weight Watchers meetings so I can hit goal there and become lifetime.  I still resent the hell out of that little ploy, but it is what it is.  Yay Nestle…

In celebration I drank a cup of coffee with creamer as a morning treat.

Then I got ready for my run.

I started playing Pokemon Go as a way to see if I can do something distracting during my run.  Hatching eggs.  Unfortunately, the app calculates really badly… I can run 2.5 miles and not QUITE accumulate 1k distance in egg hatching.  But steps is steps and they eventually hatch.  I thought maybe that my fanny pack would count the distance better than my flip belt…  Turns out it didn’t… but… in the process… I had to put my fanny pack on.  This is the utility belt I had always used in races.  This is the utility belt I used before I started on my little weight loss adventure… and my little running adventure.  It fit.  The way the strap was… it fit… 6 months ago… it fit.

This morning when I put it on, this is what I found…. When I strapped around me and held the pack side… I could see my feet between my stomach and the bag.

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When I let go of it this is what happened!!!

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I have officially lost enough weight that my fanny pack needed to be VERY much tightened.  I was, suffice it to say, not only SHOCKED, but very pleasantly surprised.

Today, I adjusted my run/walk/run time so that I ran 30 seconds and walked 45 seconds… I did 2.37 miles this morning in just under 30 minutes.

It got me thinking…

When I first started running (2008… 2009… ish time frame) it was right before I was diagnosed with RA.  RIGHT before… I was doing pretty well… but I was no where near as quick or consistent as I am now.

My first several ‘runs’ I did in the middle of the darkness in the morning around our cul de sac.  I would leave our driveway, jog to the next driveway… make it to the end of the street… walk the rest of the way… and fall down into the yard.  I started adding a little distance.  I would go to the next driveway plus one sidewalk square.  Sometimes the next dandelion.  I worked my way using the First Day to 5K pod cast.

I eventually worked my way up to being able to finish about a mile and a half… run walk running… but I was doing it at about a 16 minute mile.

I finished my first half marathon two months after I was diagnosed with raging RA… 37 joints involved… inflammation everywhere…. My hips screamed the last mile.  I almost couldn’t make it into the house from the attached garage.

When I finished my first Disney half marathon 4 years later, I managed to stay ahead of the balloon ladies but not by much.  I half way trained.  My RA was kind of mostly controlled but I had just started on Orencia.  I was still on MTX.

I was determined to finish Disney…. and it was a personal best time for me.  It wasn’t a great time, but I finished it.

I was 218 pounds when we moved to Cleveland.

I refused to do the math on what that meant BMI wise.  I didn’t want to know.

That was 4 years ago.

February I started back walking very fast to train for Disney.

Then I read that for every 10 pounds weight loss you can shave off 20 seconds per minute off of your run time.  I was determined to get to a 14 minute mile so I could half way comfortably finish ahead of the balloon ladies and still get my picture taken coming out of Cinderella’s castle and maybe even with Goofy on the golf course.

So after my PCP told me that WW is the silver bullet and that I should only EVER eat 0 point foods, I got pissed and joined.  I was determined to make it work.

I needed to shave my time.

I needed to get healthier and stronger so I can help Bear as much as I can through everything that is to come. I need to be as strong as I can possibly be.  I need to be healthy enough to support him enough through everything.  It matters.

And here I am at 165 pounds… 15 pounds short of MY 150 pound goal…

The walmart leggings I started out running in stay MOSTLY up but slide down a few times during a 2 to 3 mile run.

People at work who haven’t seen me in a while have started to comment on how much weight I’ve lost.  I kind of look at that sort of in a hard way… I didn’t really think of how heavy I was.  I didn’t think about how I looked to other people.  I didn’t think… Now I think.

I’m down 4 pants sizes.  I’m running in between a medium and large pair of running leggings.

I don’t hurt as bad as I did before.  I don’t hurt as badly when I am nearly to infusion day.  My hands still ache some days and I still am stiff in the mornings but I feel less bad (does less badly equate to better?  I’m not sure).

And I’m starting to think of myself as a runner.

But it’s not all sunshine and roses in my own head.

Men have started to notice me… started to flirt with me.  There was a guy in Pittsburgh when Bear and I were waiting on the Gateway Clipper who bought pop corn and brought it over so I could help him feed the ducks.  It never dawned on me until Bear pointed it out later that he was flirting.  People rarely ever talk to me so flirting isn’t something that ever crosses my mind. My first thought was… I want very much to go back to being invisible and I should stop trying to lose weight.

But I like feeling better.  I like thinking that I might not need to be on some of the “you’re too heavy” drugs that I’ve been on for years.  High BP meds… cholesterol drugs…

So… yeah… it’s been very much a thinking kind of day… a day of how far I’ve come over the years.

Running isn’t for everyone with RA.  Knee damage, ankle damage, feet and toes… it seriously curtails what you can do with working out… but moving is a good thing and I’m convinced that weight watchers (much as I STILL hate trying to find the logic in stuff) and running have made an incredible difference and I know that I really really don’t want to go back to having a BMI of 36.  Goal for me is now a normal BMI… and making sure I’m around to help when Bear needs my help.

And… of course… doing races…

August … Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame 10k

October…. Towpath 10k
Pumpkin run in Akron

November… Made In America in Massillon Ohio half marathon

February…. Disney!!!

 

Love and Light

April

7/13/2018

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But I Caaaaaaaan’t

I’ve been haunting a lot of websites lately trying to figure out 1. just how weird I am and 2. how to get to be a better me. I guess maybe that makes me even weirder but hey.

I’ve been reading a lot about can’t.

And I’ve been getting irritated.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  ~Albert Einstein

Girls can’t

Boys can’t

fat people can’t

skinny people can’t

people with RA can’t

people over can’t

I heard a lot when I was growing up all of the things that I was told I can’t.  I worked really hard to prove out that some of those were wrong.  Some stick in the back of my head and I fight the words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

There are a lot of things I know I can’t do.  I can’t “win” a half marathon (marathon) but that is because I never loved running when I was in a position to train that hard for it.  I suppose if I really REALLY trained now, in several years I might actually have a shot at at least winning my age group. I’m not sure if I care that much, and that is on ME.  It isn’t that I can’t.  It’s that I won’t… that I choose not to.

I can’t do a full marathon.  NOT because I can’t (believe me I have been thinking very seriously about training for one… and maybe some day) but because I can’t justify in my head putting in that much work to git-er-done.  I am not incapable.  I choose to not put my effort there. For now.

I got all caught up in my head that I couldn’t lose weight.  I resented being told by the doctor that WW was the magic bullet and that all I needed to do was follow their sheeple and I would magically be perfect. “THE PLAN” works.  It completely works if you work the plan.  I just went out and bought (thank you for the Salvation Army 50% off clothes sale for Memorial Day) pants that are 2 sizes smaller than I have worn in YEARS and they fit (some actually are already baggy).  It works.  I’m kind of scared that when I reach goal that I won’t be able to maintain because the math really doesn’t work in my head still.  Anyone can lose weight if they are running 2 – 10 miles a day and eating 900 calories.  The trick is to be able to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle.  I’m trying to learn.

I thought, I can’t.  But I have, I am.

I was registered for a half marathon when I was diagnosed with RA. I immediately went out and googled stuff (duh… and DOH) and what I read suggested that I can’t do half marathons (or 10ks or whatever).  My rheumy suggested that I probably ought not (at least then) run.  I was not controlled in my disease.  I am still only marginally controlled… If I insisted on this, I should train to walk very fast.  So I did.

Only a couple months after diagnosis, and just a month (maybe 6 weeks) after starting methotrexate, I finished my first half.  I almost quit.  Thanks to Monkey Butt walking out to walk me in I didn’t.  But I almost did.  My hips were screaming about an 18 on a scale of 1 to 10 and it was all I could do to move.  But I was stubborn and I was determined and I did it.

And I did it again.

And again.

This morning I have been reading.

One thing I read was the Cleveland Marathon Facebook page and I realized that my PR was even better than it should have been because the course was .18 miles longer than it was supposed to be (so I ‘ran’ 13.28 instead of 13.1 and I still shaved 19 minutes off my time).  That was surprising.  People are SOOOOO upset because there is a decent sized hill in about the middle of the half marathon course and it is a smallish brute.  Austin’s was way bigger.  And Cleveland had awesome signs to entertain you going up the hill.

Did you ever stop and think that a lot of life is kind of like a marathon?  There are hills.  There is pain.  You get tired.  There is rain and heat and utter exhaustion.  But you keep going.  You might bitch later.  You might whine that you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t… but you can.  And you do.

Don’t get me wrong (and I know I could take a LOT of grief for the misunderstanding here)… not everyone is cut out to run.  Not everyone wants to, cares to, thinks about, running races (or running at all).  There are people with RA that are way more debilitated than I am.  There are people who’s bodies will not allow them to get out of bed.  There are people (I love you Bear) who struggle every day and finally take a deep breath and admit that they need assistive devices.  But we all have our challenges. There is no shame in needing help.  There should be no judgement in running our own races and learning what we need to learn from them.

And in trying to help each other up the hills.

If I was an elite runner (or an elite anything), I probably would have a different mindset.  I would be determined to win at all costs.  But for me, the races are mostly just life.  We are all in it together.  We are all running our own races, and we are running side by side up the hills, through the rain.  Sometimes we fall and need help getting up.  Sometimes we just do what we need to do and push through it all alone.

But you can’t give up.

You don’t know who is watching you.

You can sit down on the curb sometimes and cry until you can’t cry any more, but in the end you just pick yourself up, wipe the dirt off your butt, and keep plodding along.

Some time around mile 9 or 10 (or 19 or 20 as I hear tell) you start to feel so very very alone.  Sometimes alone is accurate.  And that’s okay too.

And when the course gets rough and the hills get long and steep, it’s okay to stop and catch your breath… rest a bit… and keep on plodding on.

 

Love and Light
April
6/2/2018

Cleveland Marathon Weekend Half Marathon Recap

And already it is over.  Already it is the week after and I am wondering where the time went.  All of the training for this one is in the bag… The hard work is done (for this one) and now it is time to sit back and reflect.

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My first thought (because I just read a Women’s Running magazine article on oooo look at me, I ran my half marathon despite having the flu… isn’t that admirable… look at how awesome I am despite spewing germs over 13 miles and an expo!!!) has been… thank goodness I didn’t get sick through the last few days.  Autoimmune disorder chick doesn’t appreciate the INCREDIBLE ADMIRATION OOOOOOO people get for deliberately spreading germs to 50,000 of the people they contact…  If you wouldn’t go to work and slobber all over your co-workers, don’t slobber all over the race event…

Bear isn’t incredibly thrilled with my reflections… but… it is what it is.  A lot of it is that I’m proud of myself (he’s good with that) a lot of it is that I’m beating myself up (not so good with that).  Now I know, basically, where I stand, and where I need to improve.

My takeaways on the race…

    1. even when the weather apps say it isn’t raining and that rain is pretty far away, don’t believe them.  While it wasn’t exactly rain rain… it was heavy enough foggy drizzle to make the day very chilly and humid.  For not rain… there were a lot of puddles and a LOT of people standing inside for the half hour leading up to race time.  Personally, I thought this was hilarious.  You are going to be out on the course… running… walking… run-walk-running… woggling… whatever you do…. for well over an hour and you are worried about getting wet before the race started.
    2. ‘walkers keep to the right and runners to the left’ gets you run over and knocked sailing if you are stupid enough to be doing intervals and are walking on the right.  WORSE, if you are at mile 12+ you have marathoners RUNNING inches from you despite the fact that you are all the way to the right of the right side of the street and they have FOUR FREAKING LANES to run in… nope, have to run close enough to you that they fling sweat as they pass.  YAY.
    3. Flat course is relative.  There are some kind of big hills.  One is down which was great one is up which I handled better than I thought I would when I saw it… but there ARE hills of varying sizes.
    4. Every other race I’ve done has done a better job of cleaning up after the runners who discard shirts/sleeves/pants/shoes/whatever along the route than Cleveland did.  It’s Tuesday and there are still clothes laying in brightly colored puddles along the sidewalks.  Not cool and it makes Cleveland look very sloppy.
    5. Mario (at the end of the Detroit street bridge was the best cheering section I passed on Sunday.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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It was nice to see people out in the rain cheering everyone on

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That is a LOT of cups

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Yeah, yeah, I have a thing for boats and reflections… Didn’t actually realize what pictures I did end up getting but this wasn’t bad with Tower City in the background.

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It was very cool running across the lift bridges and seeing the G-Tugs hanging out in the fog…

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It was kind of neat running where I walk every day anyway.  It was much more comfortable on the street running than I think it would have been on the sidewalk.

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I kept up with the “3 hour half” pacer for about three miles… but then I lost him along below Tower City.  Shame, too because at that point I really had my heart set on making a 3 hour half.  I wasn’t FAR off… but I wasn’t quite where I would have loved to have been .

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See… this is totally a hill.  Not quite as long as the one in Austin, but a hill none the less.  I loved the signs you pass going up, though… cheering you on…

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This is most true!!!

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I loved passing the interesting artwork.

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and the cool photo ops.

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I had never had Honey Stingers before.  It is my new go-to race food.

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This is an interesting house.  Architecture is kind of interesting in Cleveland.

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Next to the artwork… the people were awesome to pass

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I loved this shirt at the point I caught up to her.  It made me smile because it’s very true.

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This was… interesting… it was kind of annoying when the marathon pacer decided that it was imperative that he cut off the people in the half marathon side of the road so he could high five the people on the stationary bikes because… you know… I was kind of busy running my own race that probably wasn’t as exciting or important as the high fives or the full marathon race… but hey… it was interesting…

I have to kind of pat myself on the back a little, though… I PRed both my races.  I have NEVER EVER run as fast as I did for the 8k and even my Half Marathon time was better than I ever dreamed it would be.  I was hoping to make it (before I set off in the race) in under 3 hours and 25 minutes.  I did.

Now, all I have to do is better my time so I can better my corral in the Princess challenge and I will be set!

Now… onward and upward…

Rock and roll 10k in August
amish 10k September
towpath 10k October (maybe the half??? )
princess challenge 2019
and… next year’s Cleveland challenge series.

I’m trying to not hold out too much hope of being a race ambassador… but I think it would be wicked awesome cool to prove that someone with RA and who is more than a little overweight can ambassador a race and raise awareness!!!

 

Love and Light
April
5/22/2018

2018 Cleveland Marathon Weekend 8k Race Recap…

Well… day 1 (the 8k portion) of my challenge series weekend is done.  The sun is back to shining and it isn’t even noon yet.  Hard to believe… but there it is…

Race day?  Epic

Had to be downtown Cleveland by 7 am.  The race was to start at 8.  Despite feeling shitty and it being windy and cold and humid and rainy (kind of) bear made it to watch.  I was really glad that he was there to cheer me on, even though I know that he would much rather have been in it with me if he could have been.P5191112.jpg

The race started on time with a cheer and a shuffle.  It was a pleasant surprise.  What was just as awesome is that I crossed the starting line about one minute after the “gun”.  Bear and squirrel both snagged pictures of me heading through the starting line.  That was kind of awesome, because I totally wasn’t going to spend $80 on race pictures.

The pre-race, for me, was kind of interesting.  I’ve done Disney race… I’ve done several others… I’ve done Austin multiple times… this was kind of neat.  The starting corrals were the finish line only backwards.    It was interesting walking past the medals and post-race snacks on your way through to the start.


Most of the race was in places I have walked or driven before.  Yay for driving downtown and knowing where I’m going.  There was some interesting new places though and I loved some of the buildings/doors that I passed by.

It always makes me feel kind of weird that I’m one of the only one that is doing the race completely solo.  I pass, or am passed, by people running together in twos and threes and more… there aren’t many of us (or not many that I notice) that are doing the race solo.  I’t one of the reasons that I run with a bell (or bells) so I can remind myself that I am in this for the long haul and I’m all good.

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When you are towards the back of the pack, you don’t get to see many people on the sidelines cheering… there was actually only one that I saw today (but then it was “just” an 8k) but that one was EPICALLY Awesome!!! “May The Course Be With Your” was at the top of the last hill and a most welcome sight.

And… at one hour and 4 minutes… I crossed the finish line.  My chip time said I did a 12 minute 50 second minute mile for the 5 miles I ran today (and I honestly did do almost consistently a 2 minute walk and 30 second run).  I don’t expect to be able to maintain that tomorrow, but so far I did PR my mile time and I’m hoping to PR my tomorrow half marathon time.

I did it.

And I don’t feel like my hips are going to fall off… My knees and feet feel pretty good (much better after a hot bath)… and my omelette I made me after we got home was incredibly wonderful.

I feel frighteningly good.

More to come tomorrow!!!

Love and light
April
5/19/2018

Gallery

Cleveland Marathon Expo Day

This gallery contains 9 photos.

I can hardly believe it is already race weekend.  Today is the Expo.  Packet Pickup.  In just hours it will be race day(s).  I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but I was certainly expecting it to be bigger … Continue reading

Side Effects of Losing Weight

I guess I could be imagining things… but maybe not…

I’ve lost 22 pounds.  I’m noticing that what I want to eat (what I can stand to eat) has changed significantly, after even just 22 pounds.  I’ve also learned when I can stand to eat some of my weekly points without freaking out or worrying about what the doctor will say if I’m not where she is happy with by June (and I won’t be and she will be irritated).

This was my week for drugs (okay okay… two weeks ago was my week for drugs, but after doing all the math, I pushed it out to where I could get my infusions at roughly the right time through February hitting all my races without being in huge pain) and I was very grateful for my infusion this week.

When I was walking back to my car after my infusion, this week, I got kind of light headed (and I know it wasn’t from being hungry… I ate a cookie at the infusion center).  By the time I got home, I was starting to feel less achy in my ankles.  My hands were still stiff and hurty but it felt like the meds were working a little faster.

If this is actually a side effect of weight loss, I can totally handle this.

I have had to go shopping for pants.  I’ve dropped one size so far and it was to the point where wearing a belt to keep up my pants was uncomfortable because the belt guides were the only thing that was actually being held up.  The baggy gaps in the pants was very uncomfortable.  So I went to the second hand store (I’m not going to buy new pants that I will not be able to use in a month or two) and got the next size down.

I’ve even started wearing shorts again… and running tank tops (and just as I started wearing shorts, the weather got too chilly again to wear them).  I realized that wearing really baggy stuff wasn’t hiding anything anyway…

And here I am, sitting… looking out over the green leaves that came out of nowhere over the last week.  Listening to the morning birds (yet with the heat on because it is freezing…) and watching the daddy nuthatch bringing food to the mommy nuthatch as she is in the bird house either hatching eggs or caring for her babies…

One week from today is my 8k.  This will be the first race that I’ve done since the Presque Isle half marathon.  One week from right now I will be in Cleveland in my corral waiting for the race to start.  I know that, in running, I’m running away from the thoughts that chase through my head all the time… I know that this race is going to be hard in a lot of ways…. it’s going to be incredibly emotional… I hope I can do this.  I hope I can hold it together.  I hope that I can finish my challenge.

And before I lose it this morning…
Love and Light
April
5/12/18

Gallery

Taking A Day Off

This gallery contains 5 photos.

When I work during the week, I run ridiculously early in the morning.  My whole run (between 2 and 3 miles on average) is done in the dark.  The birds are up singing but it is dark.  The moon is … Continue reading

Gallery

From Fat To Finish Line

I stumbled onto a facebook group called From Fat To Finish Line.  I figured that was kind of me… so I joined.  I didn’t read a lot… then I started to lurk.  I didn’t realize that “From Fat To Finish … Continue reading

Gallery

Start With Where You Are

I can’t <insert whatever it is that you think you can’t possibly do>. There are people for whom this is true.  If you have had a total hysterectomy, you are not likely to be able to give birth to a … Continue reading

Fear Factor… Reading Race Posts for the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2018

So… I’m feeling all hyped and at the same time apprehensive for the 2019 Princess Fairytale Challenge.  10k Saturday, half marathon Sunday… February 2019… Yesterday it became official… we booked through a travel agent for the challenge bibs, rooms, dining plan and park tickets for 10 days.  I’m actively working towards a goal completely terrified I won’t make it… but a goal none the less.

I’ve been eavesdropping on conversations on Facebook groups about this year’s race.  Some I can so totally relate to… some not so much… but it’s all information and it’s all good.

This morning I saw a post that stopped me dead in my tracks…

I had the flu but mostly recovered, did the 10k but the morning of the half had a sore throat and fever but I wanted to do it anyway but <ajw THANK GOD> couldn’t… found out I had strep….

I had the flu and did the 10k but couldn’t do the half…

okay…. pretend you are on the other end of that discussion ….

I spend an OBSCENE amount of money dumbing down my immune system. My body hates me and attacks itself if I don’t. I find any way I can to not touch things like tables in public places, elevator buttons, gym machines that inconsiderate ass holes use and hang all over and sweat all over the treadmill and walk away without listening to the signs saying that after you sweat all over everything wipe it off…. I am overly cautious and I’m overly cognizant of this kind of thing…. frankly because I have to be. I read posts DUMPING on inconsiderate people at the races who walk in the wrong places or jump into corrals where they don’t belong…. and then I read the posts that say that they have incredibly contagious diseases (in a year when a lot of people…people like me…. people like….oh you know… the little kids you’re around) from just these diseases. But I guess that contaminating the happiest place on earth is way less inconsiderate than all of the other stuff because it’s you?

Do I know there are people who don’t think… yeah. Do I know there are people who just don’t care, yeah. But as long as you are talking about entitled people being inconsiderate to you, realize the mirror works both ways.

Okay…

Rant over…

Coffee consumed….

Off to infusion time to dumb down my immune system some more…

Love and light

April

2/28/18