Under the Weather

For the past two weeks, I’ve been battling some sort of bug.  Nothing too big, but I was definitely fighting off a cold or something.  After a week, I realized I wasn’t fighting it off, so what needed to happen was that I needed the cold to actually show up so I could get over it.

Yes, that’s right, I wanted to get sick.

And after this weekend’s half marathon, it seems to have worked.  Starting Monday afternoon, the cold hit, and it hit hard.  I’m on the upswing again, but it’s really thrown off my week.  Lots of sitting on the couch, doing a whole lot of nothing but cleaning old tv shows off of the DVR.  I consider that productive.

I’m hoping this is the end of the illnesses for me before the marathon, though I know that ramping up training can be tough on the immune system.  So we’ll see what happens.  I just have to make sure I’m not burning the candle at both ends.  Plenty of sleep and rest ahead.

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans!  And happy Thursday, everyone else!

I am very blessed.  There is so much in my life that I am thankful for.  Here are just a few of those things.

My Family

I have an awesome family.  My parents have supported me no matter what crazy plan I decide to undertake, be it moving halfway across the country or running marathons.  My sister is always there to ramble to and is willing to run marathons with me, though she once said distance running was crazy.  And my brother and sister-in-law put up with all of this and still think to invite me to stay with them when a hurricane hits.  I wish we all lived closer, but I’m still lucky to have them.

My Friends

I am lucky enough to have friends all over the world, friends who have been in my life since grade school, friends who I have met in the past year, and friends from all the years in between.  I have such an amazing and diverse bunch of friends, and I am thankful for every single one of them.  This includes you all too!

My Health

A few years ago, I was facing some scary potential diagnoses, but with making major changes and eliminating a lot of the stress in my life, I’m healthier than I’ve been in years.  Happier too.  I am lucky that my body lets me do all of these things that I put it through.

My Job

I don’t talk about my job here because well, it’s not all that exciting.  But I am lucky to have a job that I enjoy, with coworkers who respect me, and a paycheck that allows me to keep up with my ridiculous hobbies.

And so many other things…

What are you thankful for?

December Food Challenge – Mindful Eating

For the holidays, a lot of bloggers are holding weight-loss challenges.  Instead of the stereotypical weight gain, see if you can’t shave off a few pounds!  I think this is an awesome idea, but I don’t really want to stress about weight loss during the holidays.  The holidays are a time of friends and family and food and I want to be able to enjoy it all.

Of course, I would also not like to gain weight during the holidays.   But this plan probably isn’t for me.

Other bloggers hold a “no scale” challenge for December.  That means avoid weighing yourself.  Enjoy the holidays and don’t worry about weight gain.

Awesome in theory.  But also not for me.  Because I am a semi-professional eater. I’m that good at it.

So I am proposing something different.  I am proposing a Mindful Eating Challenge for the month of December.

What is Mindful Eating?  Well, my definition of it is simply paying attention to what you eat.  Don’t just put food in your mouth because it’s there.  Eat it because you want to.  Pay attention to portion sizes.  If you want more, have more, but make sure you really want it and aren’t just eating for the sake of eating.  Pay attention to whether or not you’re full.  Try not to overstuff yourself.  Don’t skip the baked brie, but maybe don’t eat half of the wheel all by yourself because it is so amazingly delicious.  Enjoy the food you eat.  Pay attention to it and savor it.

Really, mindful eating is something we should all do all the time, but that’s easier said than done.  But it’s something to aspire to.

So who wants to join me in this challenge?  Maybe you’ll gain weight.  Maybe you’ll lose weight.  But maybe you’ll learn something important about your relationship with food too.

And please, if you decide to skip the baked brie, give me a call.  I will certainly help you with your portion.

 

Race Report – Philadelphia Half Marathon

On Sunday, I ran my last big race of the year – the Philadelphia Half Marathon.  This one was sort of a surprise add to the schedule.  Some friends were running and had room in their hotel room, so I said, “Hey, why not.”  Plus it helped me continue my unplanned pattern of half marathon racing:

2010 – 3 halfs
2011 – 6 halfs
2012 – 9 halfs

For those of you wondering, no, I will not be running 12 halfs next year.  9 was enough for me.  My wallet can’t handle any more races.  Plus I’m running a full marathon and two triathlons next year.

This race was a great time all in all.   We arrived on Saturday afternoon and it was clear the whole section of the city was prepping for the race.  Our room keys were even advertisements for the race! The expo was smaller than I expected, but I found a new pair of gloves and some new fuel gels to experiment with.  Honestly, it’s probably best that I didn’t find a lot of things to buy.  My poor wallet can’t handle it!

Saturday evening, we met up with a group of people for dinner, which is always fun.  I have met some of the nicest people through running.  It helps that they don’t look at me like I’m crazy when I say I’m going on an 18 mile training run (though they do think I’m nuts for getting up as early as I do to run before work).

Race morning arrived and the joke was that I actually got to sleep in.  Getting up early to train does make those early race mornings just a little easier.  The forecast was mid 30’s to low 50’s, with very light winds.  I wore a running skirt and my long-sleeved Team New Skin shirt.  I worried that I would be too warm in the long sleeves, but didn’t feel like wearing the tank and arm sleeves.

Let’s just say my instincts were right.  It was cold.  I had purchased a cheap blanket at IKEA to wear before the race and I was so glad I did.  I wished I had kept it for the first mile or so.

But on to the running.

Now, here’s the problem. I get race brain.  I tend to forget courses almost immediately.  It’s why I have no problem running the same race over and over again.  I don’t remember that I was there.

The course was enjoyable.  Jen and I started off the race together.  Unfortunately, the streets for the first mile or so were a bit rough.  Lots of patchwork.  I didn’t have any trouble, but somewhere between miles 1 and 2, Jen and I saw a girl who had clearly face planted.  She was bleeding profusely from somewhere on her face, and they were bringing an ambulance for her.  She was conscious though, and I hope she’s okay.  Lesson?  Make sure you pay attention to the running surface.

The crowds for this race were awesome.  Lots of cheer groups out, and hilarious spectators with GIANT signs with their friends’ faces on them.  I’m glad my friends haven’t made a 3 foot tall cutout of my head.  That would be terrifying.

I was really impressed with the number of volunteers.  Maybe I just noticed them more because of the color of their sweatshirts and because our friend Suzanne was volunteering, but they were everywhere!  Definitely a good thing.

It’s a hilly race, but I like hills.  What goes up must come down, and I love the feeling of flying down a hill.

Around mile 9.5, Jen told me to go ahead of her.  Since I’ve been marathon training, this was a step back week for me, and I think I was pushing her a little too hard.   I felt bad leaving her, but I wanted to try for a sub-3 to finish my racing season strong (I’ve been lollygagging a lot of my races as of late, and I need to get back to taking it seriously).

I had a great finish.  I came in at 2:52:45.  No, that’s not fast by any means, but my PR is 2:48:33, so this was an awesome race for me.  It turns out it’s my fourth fastest half, and in the three faster races, I had set out to run PR races.  To run this fast as a surprise feels awesome!  I know it has a lot to do with marathon training – having run 16 miles the weekend before, 13.1 didn’t feel so scary.  I think that next fall, I may try to run this race again and work for a PR.  Not committing to anything yet, but I think it’s possible.

After the race, I grabbed a heat sheet, though I didn’t think I would need it.  Oh my goodness, I am glad I had it. Sometime during the race, the clouds showed up and the wind picked up.  It was COLD.  Jen noted while we ran that my legs were bright pink from the cold.  I didn’t even notice.  After the race, they had hot chicken broth, which sounds so strange, but it tasted so good!

All in all, an awesome finish to the 2012 distance racing season.  Next up, marathon.

 

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