Category Archives: running

Non Scale Victory… 1 hour 16 minutes and 5 seconds…

 

Today was the Towpath Marathon Race.  No, I did not do the marathon.  I’m not there yet.  Yet…  I didn’t even do the half marathon… which is my all time favorite distance… I did the 10k so I can work and work and work to get the best corral humanly (for me) possible in the Disney Fairytale Challenge.

Preface the rest of this with… the reason I started to try to lose weight was to shave time off of my race pace.  For every 5 pounds lost you are supposed to be able to shave 10 seconds off of your race pace.  I’m just a wee bit off from 50 pounds… that should have been 100 seconds a mile… 2 minutes… roughly…

Back in January, I was hoping to get my per minute mile down from 18 min mile to at most 14 min mile.  That would give me a bit of buffer on a “you have to be under 16 minute mile” race pace.

Today was mostly flat.
Today was muddy as snot
Today was incredibly humid (thank you rain)
Today I finished my 10k in 1 hour 16 minutes 5 seconds.  I was 277th out of 325.  I passed people!  True, I did intervals I didn’t run the whole 6 miles, and with the humidity, some of the miles were harder than others.  But I did them and my average pace was 12:15 minutes a mile.  That puts me right about being able to finish a half in just a hair’s breadth of 2:44.  I may actually be able to move up a corral not just feel like I will be comfortable finishing ahead of the balloon ladies.

Sometimes I beat myself up because people look down on me (you know, those INCREDIBLY SUPPORTIVE people) because I run/walk/run.  I’ve been told more than once that if I’m not running (you know, at a 16 minute “run” pace) the whole race, it really doesn’t count because walking intervals mean that I’m not really running the race.  I’m doing 10K… I’m doing half marathon… I’m beating people who are “running” the whole thing and leaving them in my dust… but I’m not running and it doesn’t count because I’m not as good as they are…. k…

Sometimes I beat myself up because I don’t seem to be making a whole lot of progress.

Sometimes I beat myself up because I’m not as fast, now, as I would love to be.

But today… today I finished strong.  I finished faster than I ever have.  I finished with my Goofy ears flapping in the breeze.  I also finished with mud splattered up the legs of my leggings and with filthy Asics.

My race, my pace.

I am down from a size 20 to a size 8 (10 depending on the cut).  I have lost a bag of squirrel corn.  I feel better than I have in years and years even when my joints ache and I am struggling to breathe in the humidity.

The Towpath Marathon 10k?

Awesome race.

Muddy!  Way muddy.  It was fun to watch people trying to dodge the enormous puddles.  I ran through them.  I needed my best time.  I am not in it to look sexy while I run or at the finish line.

Rude people?  Oh hell yes.  The course is an out and back.  That means that you run to a turnaround point on the path and you re-run the path you just ran.  That means that there are, quite likely, more people running the opposite way you are running.  Their race, their pace.  Add to it the fact ALL three races ended up on the same path for part of the course and you had the potential for having people going in different directions at any given spot.  That said… STAY THE HELL ON YOUR SIDE OF THE PATH!!! I have every bit as much right to my two feet of the very furthest right side of the path as you and your herd (three… four across) has to be on your side.  Forgive me for not leaving the course… leaving the path… so you and your best buds can run abreast.  I’m very freaking happy that you made the turn around before me.  That’s awesome.  I frankly could give a shit.  What I do care about is being able to run my run without getting shouldered aside because I have the audacity to be running the opposite direction.

BITE ME.

To the young woman who was doing the 10k with her dad (I think dad)… the one who was at mile 2.5 when I was coming back at mile 4 plus… I hope with all of my heart that you were able to have the time to finish and that you crossed the finish line.  I’m not sure if she had muscular dystrophy or  what she had but she was running her own race and it was quite awesome to high five her.

It was kind of disappointing that only the full and half runners got medals.

The bagel sandwiches were… not so much…

It would have been very very awesome to get a bottle of water at the finish line with the bananas and apples and candy rather than having to waste cup after cup after cup of poured water… or at lest to be able to refill the cups.

Today, I realized that… while my why was bigger than my but (or even my butt)… my why has changed.  And I’m proud of the work I have done to get here.

OH… and my Goofy ears were a big hit again.  Go me!

Love and Light
April
10/7/2018

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Why I Run

Yesterday afternoon, bear wrote a facebook post.

 

I am going down hill a lot quicker Then I wanted too .i do not get out of bed very often anymore .everyday it getting harder and harder to do anything April saidsi am not getting as bad as I think but she just loves so much she will not admit that I am .i would not wish this disease o anyone it is really alful haveing harder and harder to breath.i wrote a livening will and I want taken from where I die straight to the crematorium it’s all my idea and I don’t want anybody blaming april doing iIt’s all my idea nobody else I love April very very much and we have spend 35 years together and they have then happiest years of my life and I would not trade them for anything. I love you April no matter how anyone’s think of it.i hope I can live at least another to take you back to Disney because the last trip was very disasters and I would love to see you all three racers. But I am running out hope that I will .if I do not make it run them at your best for me and never ever forget how much. I love you and how happy you have me over the years and how special you are to me.

Image may contain: April Wells and Larry Wells, people smiling, people sitting and outdoor

I was at work when the notification came across.  I read it… I copied it off so I would have it always.  I cried.  Ever since, my heart has been heavy and I’ve been so scared.  Everyone tells me I’m strong.  I’m not.

He’s my reason.  Simply, he’s my reason… for… pretty much everything.

I call him every work day on my way home.  If it’s windy, I call from the truck.  If it’s not, I call from the doorway at work.  Even when he’s not feeling good, we at least spend most of the commute on the phone together even if it is only for companionship.  It matters.  Last night, he made me promise that I would run the Disney races no matter what.  He made me promise to do it for him… and to post when I’m done that I did it and I did it for him.

He doesn’t realize how scared I am.  He doesn’t realize how lost I am.  He doesn’t realize how close the tears are most days… because I’m really not that strong.

He doesn’t realize that I already run my races for him.  I carry the medal he got for the Santa Hustle we did together (Squirrel, Bear and I) so he is there with me.  I carry it with me everywhere… it and Duffy Bear.    Duffy doesn’t race with me…   I’m not sure if I should race with him or not… I may start to… He doesn’t weigh an awful lot.

I have lost weight… I have lost 46 pounds… so I can be physically well enough to help him through all of this.  I need desperately to be able to be strong enough for him.

I run every race for him.  I love him so much.  I loved having him do races with him.  But now he can’t.  So now I do it for him…

I hate that IPF has taken out of him so much of the laughter and so much of the strength.  We can still laugh together.  We talk more now than we ever have.  We both treasure every moment together.  But some days are really really hard.

Why do I run?

There was a picture on Facebook the other day… it said… I run to keep my streak of “I didn’t kill anybody today” going one more day.  It’s not far off.  Running has helped me lose weight.  Running helps me clear my head and to keep my wits about me.  It gives me a place where I can cry (sweat and tears… if not blood, sweat, and tears).  And, it’s to the point right now… where I can feel like I can fly some of the time.  I will never be a contender, but… I do feel way better.

 

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I’ve probably rambled way more than normal now… but…

lol

well… I haven’t been running the last couple days… so… yeah…

Love and Light
April

9/11/2018

 

 

 

Berlin Ohio Amish Country Half Marathon (10k) race review

So, yesterday was (finally) the Berlin Ohio Amish Country Half Marathon.  This was one race I was actually looking forward to with anticipation and dread.  Running the back roads of amish country was something that really spoke to me (given where I grew up and everything, it seemed like a great race).  Running the hills that were reported to be the course was kind of terrifying.

I watched the weather pretty closely for the whole week last week.  I was dreading the hills if it was going to be 90 and humid.  For a while, it looked like it was going to be a cool and mostly sunny day.  Turned out it was a very chilly rainy day.  It wasn’t a hard rain, but it was mostly a steady rain and it was cold.  I was planning on being able to just run in my Goofy suit.  But it turned out a jacket was a welcome addition to the day.  On the up side, it was very comfortable wearing my goofy hat and it wasn’t too terribly warm for it at all.  AND I got compliments along the route on my hat.

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Turned out my feet were soaked in the first mile.  But it was neat to see the shine on the parking lot.

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I met Aiden Jaquez and his mom while I was waiting for the race to start.  Aiden is 10 and he is on track to be the youngest person to ever  complete 50 halfs in 50 states (and he will go on to be doing the 50 marathons in 50 states if he gets his wish).  Aiden will be finishing his final half marathon in October 2019.

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The starting line was just ahead.  It was on the other side of the neatest American flag I’ve seen at a race yet.  The fire truck hoisted it up over the parking lot and we were off.
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The country side was beautiful, even if I was soaked and cold by the time we crested the first hill.DSCF2061

The course was riddled with smells.    Silage, apples, cow and horse manure, goldenrod… It was neat watching people try to dodge the road apples along the way.  I’ve gotten used to people running the tangents to try to make better time.  It was great to watch them adding dozens of steps to their run trying to avoid the ‘dangers’.DSCF2054

I got to listen to some interesting snippets of conversation along the route.  For a little while, I was running close to a couple of people who were doing the half.  They were discussing the bat houses that were perched on fence posts along one farm.  It was the topic of conversation for about half a mile or so… how the bats eat a crap ton of bugs.DSCF2045

The pacer buggy pulled over at about the first mile marker.  The horse was gorgeous.
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And then there was me.

I finished third in my age group.  Not as well as I would have liked (time wise) but given the weather and the hills, it was better than I actually expected to be able to do, though.  I finished with an average pace of 13:06 and finished at 1:21:24 (9 minutes off of average).  141st out of 200.  Not fabulous, but respectable.

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Better than that… I finished strong.  I finished feeling pretty good (if very soggy and cold).41250490_2009647699056153_290775676850536448_n

The race venue had some neat picture opportunities.  And… I did conquer the hills.

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And, for what it’s worth… I’m planning (right now, anyway), on doing the half marathon next year.

It’s a hard course, but it was an amazing race.

 

Love and Light

April

9/9/2018

Rock Hall 10k 2018

It was an awesome race slash training run. I mean, seriously… training run with bling! What could be better?  It was a small enough race that it didn’t take fifteen minutes to cross the starting line but a big enough race that you didn’t feel like it was a bunch of people from work who decided to run together on a Sunday morning.  I’m pretty sure I will do this one again (although I may make it a half instead of a 10k next time).

Started out feeling really good.  The morning was fantastic.  Kind of on the damp side and cool enough that wearing a light hoody was comfortable.  Bear didn’t bring one and, riding on his scooter, he regretted it.  He looked really cute wearing my Figment hoody.  Walking kept me warm, but driving his scooter (given the speed he was going) made the trip from Tower City to the Rock Hall a bit chilly for him.  It was even worse when he was chasing the pigeons.


The only problem I really had with the race itself was that the half started at a different place than the 10k and 5k and finding where we were supposed to line up was a little less intuitive than some other races I’ve done.  DSCF1773It was kind of neat to see other people wearing getups too.  I absolutely loved the guy in the gorilla outfit.  He said he would so anything for a laugh.

Squirrel Girl was just a little stressed over the race.  She didn’t train so much and  was really feeling the stress lined up at the starting line.  She was worried about finishing at all… about finishing in under 3 hours… her knee giving her issues… she was stressing quite a bit.DSCF1774
Turned out she didn’t need to stress all that much. She and I ended up finishing about one chip second apart. I would have beaten her by about 5 minutes but about mile 2.5 pushing too hard and the humidity absolutely made me feel crappy.  Crappy enough that I spend precious minutes being sick in the park.  NOT how I wanted to do this race.  BUT it did give me a reality check and make me slow down to a very fast walk the rest of the race.

I suppose Squirrel could have reminded me that you’re not supposed to push too hard too fast the way I remind her all too frequently, but I have to give her credit for not.

I have to admit though, that even slowing down (for me) and not having trained (her) didn’t really impact either of us finishing strong.

I went in to this race having my doubts. I was worried about the temperature and humidity in August, especially this year (it’s been really bad this year). I was worried about how my weight loss was going to play in to my race. But thanks to supportive people I met through WW who are as crazy (if not more so) as I am I’ve learned to listen to myself, to my body, and how to fuel my body for long runs… and not stress nearly as much as I have been over possibly eating too much or gaining back what I’ve worked so hard to lose.

Did we both push too hard?  Oh yeah.  Squirrel tends to be very light headed and shaky when she gets through most any finish line.  I know the last mile she was fighting to keep herself going.  I keep impressing upon her that she needs to take training a little more (than not at all) seriously so her body doesn’t get shocked by the race effort.  She did eat watermelon (me too… beat the heck out of even the thoughts of a banana)after the finish line.  But this morning her thighs and her abdominal muscles are complaining quite a bit.

Me?  Despite the fact that I should have finished sooner (I will plan better next race for feeling crappy), I felt really amazing at the finish line.  I finished strong and (yeah, I was tired) didn’t really feel like I wanted to pass out in the grass.  The ice packs that PNC handed out were very welcome as were the towels that one of the vendors was giving out (after I soaked it in ice water in the water pools at the finish line).

I’m proud of myself.

I’m proud of Squirrel Girl (and will now be highly harping at her to train better for February).


Lessons learned?

  • Listen to the advice I give her.
  • Find shorts for under the goofy skirt because leggings might not be the be all and end all
  • Train for one minute one minute walk run ratio because I need to get faster
  • Drop several running groups that I belong to on Facebook because hearing how much other people believe that having a 10 min mile is so freaking slow that they may as well just quit because that time is so slow and sucks so much is demoralizing
  • Hills are not the enemy
  • Waterstops are your best friends
  • home made peanut butter and jelly fuel baggies are kind of awesome if you don’t look at them when you eat them.

 

Onward and upward.

Next race?

Amish Country 10k in just under 3 weeks.  With any luck, this race will be less humid and chillier.  If I can just keep timing my Orencia infusions so they fall shortly before races, I will be in pretty decent shape!

 

Love and Light
April
8/20/2018

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

Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland 5k race report Cleveland Zoo June 23 2018

So, I won an entry into this 5k at work.  It was timed just right for proving to myself that I could do a decent time in summer humidity.    And it was going to be a fun run for me.

The activities were pretty awesome and one of the best things about the event was the opportunity to get a picture with the four Cleveland Indians mascots.  Ketchup, mustard, onions and slider.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It wasn’t a huge race.  There were about 227 people running the 5k.  It was my first 5k in… 13 or so years… and it was much smaller than my last one (race for the cure in Austin where it took 45 minutes to get to the STARTING line…

This race was a bunch of happy people out enjoying the kind of humid but it stopped raining kind of morning at the zoo.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bear (way way far away in a light colored shirt facing this way in the picture below) was positioned perfectly to get a picture as I started.  ❤ . My own photography section!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is a better picture of him, leaning on his rollator listening to whatever the guy talking was talking about.  Where I was standing I couldn’t hear much more than mumbling.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The motivational signs were awesome.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The bear wasn’t really so sure what the silly humans were doing…. but he was up for a good show.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Given that there are a half dozen golf carts in the zoo and that the tram wasn’t running… I thought maybe this sign was a bit over kill… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This part of the race irritated the heck out of me… The girl in the blue t-shirt and oversized headsets just went from being behind me to trotting along a short cut to being in front of me.  There was a lot of cheating in this race given the number of runners and the fact that it wasn’t going to actually gain anyone anything by cheating.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I caught up to her (and the guy in the gray) only to have them both take a short cut off course.  Really really?  Have you no integrity at all??  The lady in the purple shirt and I stayed pretty much together until after the big hill when she took off and I lost her.

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Top of the big hill (which I totally beasted I might add) was the flower bed sign.  I think it would be a pain to change every day… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the hill (up and back) OH LOOK… more cheating!!! Three of them this time.  The course goes around to the left (it was an out and back so you went exactly the same way in reverse… except them.

Given that there are three medals to be had in every age group, I really hope this cheating didn’t earn them any bling… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And there is my cheering section again…Bear… trying to get me crossing the finish line.  I did 3.31 miles per my Map My Run in 38:46 clock time.  My pace ended up being 12:26 (my time is steadily improving)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here was Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians.  He was the sponsor of the race this year and he’s a really really nice kid.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here I am at the starting line.  The shirt… xxl (which was incredibly awesome because the packet pickup people told me there was no way I needed one that big.  THAT made my whole morning.

I finished 187 out of 227.  I wonder what my actual place would have been had the jerks not cheated.  I may have actually improved my standing if not my ultimate finish time.

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All in all a fun race.  I’m incredibly irked that so many people felt it necessary to cheat but I’m proud to say that I know that I did every step of the course and still came in at a time to be proud of.

 

Love and light
April
June 24 2018