Saturday, January 15, 2011

As Promised, Polar Dash Race Report

Let me start by saying that when I woke up New Year's Day and saw the forecast for the Twin Cities, I *might* have been rethinking this race. The race was at 11AM and the forecast said 9 degrees, 19 MPH wind out of the SW, and that it would feel like -12. YUCK!

I got ready in all my layers--a Nike dri-fit 1/4 zip mock neck shirt, a Columbia fleece hoodie, and my "Running Room" windbreaker to keep out that wind. I wore a pair of base-layer running tights under my Under Armour Cold Weather pants; 2 pairs of smart wool socks, a performance face mask and winter hat, fleece gloves, and my YakTrax for traction.

As we walked over to the race village I really wasn't shivering (believe it or not) the only areas that were chilly were my fingers and toes.

Needless to say with the temps that cold, we didn't arrive too early. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the starting line. There were lots of people jumping to try to warm up, and before we knew it, we were off!

It felt awesome to get the blood pumping and I was thankful for the YakTrax since we had lots of ice and snow to deal with! The first half of the race was uphill, and with the cold air that proved to be a challenge. I kept pulling my face mask down because I felt overheated, but the cold air proved to be tough to breathe in, so I'd pull the mask back up. Through the whole race I was comfortable. I was happy to reach the turn-around point because I knew that meant I'd be running downhill the whole way back. It felt great and I settled into a cruising pace. I ran without my Garmin watch so I only ran according to how I felt.

I knew when I crossed the starting line that the clock was over 2 minutes, so when I saw 30 as I crossed the finish I was pretty sure I had a PR--the hubs confirmed it for me later when we saw our results. 28:37!!!!

Here's the breakdown:
Average Pace: 9:13
Overall Place: 200 out of 972
Gender Place: 78 out of 614 women
Age Group Place: 20 out of 124 Females in the F30-34 Group
I passed 133 Runners in the overall category
I was passed by 29 runners in the overall category

I'll take it!

The added bonus for me was that I actually beat my husband. That NEVER happens; he's a lot faster than me. The difference is I've been running more lately, so I know not to get used to it. I will gloat for a little while though!

It was a great way to kick off 2011...I can't wait for the race season to get into full gear!

If you are in Minnesota I HIGHLY recommend Team Ortho's Events. I am a Monster Series Racer, which means I will be completing all 5 of their major races. Check them out! I promise you won't be disappointed

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No time for excuses

Over the holidays I had several people comment on my weight loss. It always feels good to be recognized and validated. What was amazing to me, was people's reactions when I answered the question I always seemed to get: "So, what's your secret? how did you do it?"

The answer: Good old fashioned diet and exercise. Move more. Eat less.

It seemed like everyone I talked to was hoping for a magic pill or a quick fix. The truth is, this has been a LIFESTYLE change for me and my family. We've given our diets a complete make-over.

One thing I'm noticing the further into this "journey" I get, is that I have little patience with excuses...mainly because I used to be The Queen when it came to making up reasons not to exercise.

I've had a lot of people tell me that they "wish" they could run followed by one of the following excuses:

1)It hurts.
Guess what? The first run I ever went on lasted approximately 2 blocks. My chest hurt, my knees hurt, I couldn't breathe and I felt like I might die. I was well over 200 pounds and it was not easy.

2) I don't have time.
Well, seeing as I'm a wife and mother, I know all about the time excuse. My work day begins at 4:30 AM. I work part time, and then come home and chase my 2-year-old. I have to wait until my husband is home at 5, or take my toddler in the baby jogger to get a run in. More often than not I'm exhausted before I even lace up my shoes, but I still make myself get out there and do it.

3) I don't have the energy.
See above note about exhaustion. Plus, before I started exercising I was tired all the time, too. I decided that I was sick and tired of being TIRED.

I've come to realize that in order for someone to get serious about weight loss they have to be ready. There is absolutely nothing I can do to help someone lose weight if THEY don't WANT to.

I also try to encourage folks that find running to be a daunting task, to find something they enjoy doing. Maybe running isn't their "thing", it just happens to be mine.

I firmly believe that anyone can become a runner at any age. It took me 30 years to take the plunge; prior to 2010 I don't think I'd ever run 3 consecutive miles. There's a quote that sums up my feelings on running best:

"It is very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit" ~ George Sheehan

Happy running! If you really WANT to become a runner, you can become one!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I LOVE YakTrax

I live in Minnesota. Basically from November until quite possibly APRIL (oh how I wish I was kidding) it looks like this:

It's safe to say we have A LOT of SNOW.

I like to run. A lot. I make no secret of this. The problem is I really REALLY dislike running on a treadmill. For me to go longer than 3 miles on a treadmill is like TORTURE. I get super bored and just check out. Lucky for me there's this nifty little invention called YakTrax.

They are rubber with steel coils that stretch over the bottom of your shoe to give you traction in ice and snow pack. I picked mine up for about $25 and they are worth every penny.

This is how they slip over the front of the shoe.

And this is the view from the back.

I'll admit, I was skeptical the first time I put them on but they SERIOUSLY work. I ran a 5K on New Year's Day and set a PR with them. They are AWESOME. The only time I've felt even a little bit of a slip with them is on glare ice because the coils have nothing to grip. Check them out! I promise you won't be disappointed. I use YakTrax Pro for running, there is a variety for walkers, too.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The start of something

So here I am...starting a running blog. Hi, I'm Jessica. I'm 31 years old and in the last year and a half I've lost 104 pounds. I had that "aha" moment when I saw a photo of myself at 255 pounds and was reduced to tears. Now, 18 months later I weigh 151 pounds and can call myself a runner. 2010 brought much success for me. I finally took control of my health and fitness and TRULY found a love for running. I started out slowly by running a handful of 5Ks and quickly decided I wanted a bigger challenge. I registered for the Team Ortho Monster Dash 10 Mile and started training. Over the summer I started to feel like I could handle a half marathon and started training for one. In August I completed my first Half Marathon in 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 21 seconds. I ran the whole thing. I closed out my 2010 racing season by running the Team Ortho Monster Dash 10 Mile race in 1 hour, 40 minutes, and 50 seconds.

I'm a wife and mother to 2 kiddos-- a son who just turned 6 yesterday and a daughter who will be 3 the end of this month. My husband is also a runner, so our training at the same time can make it interesting for both of us to get our mileage in. We are both very supportive of each other and that really helps. The hubs is planning to run a FULL 26.2 this year; I'll be cheering him on.

So why a blog? Well--I want to have somewhere to talk running--gear--race reports--training etc. I'm hoping that maybe along the way I can help someone feel like it's not too late to become a runner.

I've added a couple of widgets to the blog that show my upcoming races and my mileage logged.

Coming soon: A race report from Team Ortho's Polar Dash 5K which is how I rang in 2011 on New Years Day.

Thanks for stopping by!