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Health

Perspective – A BMO Vancouver Half Marathon recap.

It has been a long time since I set a new PB (Personal Best) in the half marathon distance. Over 2 years to be exact.

It feels like it has been a long time since I set a PB at any distance.

After my last attempt at a half marathon, in March at Comox,  I was a woman on a mission.

In the 4 weeks before Comox I ran a total of 53km, thanks to the injuries I sustained in that nasty fall I took in February.  In the 4 weeks before BMO I ran 153km.

I felt strong, I felt confident. I felt ready to run a PB.

1:52:something was the goal.  1:40something was the dream. And in the week before the race, I thought it was going to happen.

Then the weather forecasts started to talk about the coming heat.  We were going to have a record breaking weekend.  And I was going to try and run my fastest half marathon ever?

 

The morning started off well.

I woke up at 4:45 am, at the home of the parents of the incomparable Jess.  I had my clothes laid out, and everything ready.  I got dressed and headed down to the the kitchen were Jess had already started the kettle boiling for my breakfast.

Her awesome dad got up at 5:15am on a Sunday to drive us, along with Jess’s sister, to the start line of our respective races. Paisley was running the 8K, I was running the half, and Jess was tackling the full. We had the entire event covered.

We got to the start area, checked my back and headed over to my corral at the start line. Jess hung out with me for a little while, before she went off to check her bag and get ready for the start of her race.

For some unknown reason, I was in the first corral. I was at the front of the thousands of runners who were lined up.

Knowing my pace, I found myself a spot near the back of the corral and started chatting with another runner.

The race started 25 minutes(ish) late, and for those of you who know how I am about timing my food before my races, you can imagine how annoyed I was getting.   (I will never understand why race directors feel the need to waste our time with aerobics instructors leading a warm up. No one wants to do something new on race day. Don’t waste our time, just start on time!)

The majority of the race is a blur. But I’m going to run down the parts of it I remember.

I remember the first stretch was down hill, and I had talked about this with my coach, and other runners who had raced this course last year. I knew what to expect and I had a game plan.

Hold back.

Don’t get out of control and run too fast on the downhill, it will kill your legs for later.

I checked my pace on my Garmin regularly in the first few kilometers, to make sure I wasn’t going too fast.  I stayed comfortable.  Down the hill, across the bridge, past BC Place & Rogers Arena (and the old finish line), then over toward Science World. A hairpin turn and back where we came.

Out and backs are some of my favourite parts of races. On your way out, you see the fast people who are way ahead of you, and on your way back, you see the people who think YOU are one of the fast people.

Pretty soon it was time for the first up hill of the course. We went through the gates China Town and climbed a hill.  I remember this hill being on the full marathon course back in 2011.

After that, we twisted and turned through Vancouver, and I was starting to get hot and tired.

Plan A was to aim for about 15km before taking a walk break, Plan B was to make it until at least 10km.

My first walk break happened just before the halfway point.  I needed to slow down, get some fluids in and gather myself together.

By this point we were in the west end, nearing Stanley Park.   I was hot and tired, but still on track for a 1:52:00 half marathon.

Between 13 & 14 kilometers, I was having a hard time choking down my fuel. Warm Gu can be a little hard to swallow.  At this point we were winding our way through Stanley Park and it was getting hot.

Around the 15K mark, I really started to feel the impact of the heat. It was draining. And it was clear to me that others were feeling the same.  It was around this point I started to see runners going down.  Some of them slowly realizing they were done,  others just coming to a sudden stop and sitting down, and a few who were already flat on the ground before I passed them.  The last 6km of the course kept the medical volunteers busy!

It was also at this point I saw one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen at a race.

There was this guy running to my right side, and every now and again, he would reach his had out for someone I couldn’t quite see who just just behind me.  He would say things like “come on, we’ve got this” and “just 3 more K, that’s less than 20 minutes”, or “you’re so close to the finish now”.  He was pacing (who I assume was his) girlfriend through the race.

I had realized back at around 17k that I wouldn’t be making my goal. The heat had taken too much out of me so, I jokingly said to him “I know you’e saying that to her, but I’m pretending it’s for me too”, to which he replied “well now I’m doing it for both of you”.

After that, he talked the both of us through the last 2K.

With about 1km to go, we exit the park, and head down the last stretch of downtown streets to the finish line.

This year, you could see the finish line in front of you for about 800m, which was a bit difficult. But between the encouragement of my newly adopted friends, and the cheers of the crowd, I managed to push though.

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:55:57,  about 2:30 slower than a time that I would have been happy with. But, just on the other side of the finish line, after the volunteers handing out the medals, my new adopted friends were waiting for me to share a post race high five!

 

Now this is where the perspective comes in.

If I had written this post in the hours after the race, it would have been angry and disappointed about not making my goal. But in the days that have passed, I have realized that, as much as I want to set a new half marathon PB, sometimes you have other victories on race day.

This year, at the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon I only took 3 walking breaks. I ran the first half of the race without stopping, then I only took 3 breaks int he second half.  That is a HUGE step towards my goal of running a half without any breaks in the near future.

The heat really took a lot out of people at BMO this year, and that is one of the reason I don’t like spring races. I don’t like training in the cool, dreary winter weather, then racing on a warm spring day.  Weather is a HUGE factor on race day!

 

I have another half marathon coming up soon, about 2 weeks from now. It’s much closer to home, so I will be able to sleep in my own bed the night before. Hopefully the weather will be cooler and I will be able to give 1:52:something another shot.  I’ve run this race 3 times before, with my course best being 1:55:28, so wish me luck that I can shave 3 (or more) minutes off of that on May 26th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. I have not been committed to following the WeightWatchers program completely. I have allowed a few pounds to creep back on over the holidays.

Before we sign on the dotted line and accept a job as a WeightWatchers leaders, we are members. We live the program, we lose weight on the program, we sit in those same chairs that every other member sits in.   Yes, I am a WeightWatchers Leader, but I am also a member. I am a WeightWatchers Lifetime Member, and I am above goal .

 

When I first joined WeightWatchers, I knew how it worked. I knew that once you reached your goal weight and maintained it for 6 weeks you became a lifetime member and no longer had to pay your weekly meeting fees, as long as you maintained your weight.  Free meetings were a great incentive, and I had it in my head that I would set my goal weight at 160lbs, which is the absolute highest weight someone of my height (5’7″) can set their goal weight with WeightWatchers.

The thing is, once I got down to 160lbs I knew that was not where I wanted to stop. I no longer knew where I wanted to stop, so I decided to keep going until it felt right to stop.  I finally got that “I’m here, I’m at goal” feeling around 148lbs, but decided to set my goal at 146.

For me, 146 made sense because, with WW lifetime membership, you are considered “at goal” as long as you are no more than 2lbs above your goal weight. That meant I could weigh 148lbs and still be ‘at goal’, and that I could never see anything above 150 on the scale again.  I never wanted to see 15_ on the scale again, because I knew that would be the start of the slippery slope leading to 16_, 170_ and so on.

I hit goal in April of 2008, and got lifetime membership in May of 2008, and for a long time, I never saw a number higher than 148 on the scale.

Until recently.

I’m not sure what happened.

Maybe it is the adjustment from 2 straight years of marathon training, in to shorter distance running.  Maybe it’s just complacency.  Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe I was just tired of following rules and I just wanted to rebel.  Maybe I’m Only Human.

Whatever it is, it has to come to an end.

I recently weighed in over 150lbs, and that does not sit well with me.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect when my area manager for WeightWatchers sent out an email inviting staff to attend a special meeting and put on their member hats. We were specifically told that this wasn’t the place to ask work related questions, it was the place to talk about our ongoing weight loss journey.

Remember, it’s called LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP for a reason.  Weight management is an ongoing journey, and everyone is going to have bumps in the road.

At the meeting, I committed out loud to tracking.

When I was in constant marathon training, it was easy to live “Simply Filling” because I was earning so many activity points every week (50-80pts+) that I could enjoy all the foods I love, but I’m not in marathon training anymore.  My running is focused on shorter distances, which means I will be earning less activity points, so I need to readjust my eating habits, because obviously, they cannot continue the way they have been going!

 

So now it’s time to make a plan, set goals and move forward.

Goal 1: get back in the 140’s

Goal 2: get back to goal

Goal 3: get comfortably below goal and possible reset a newer lower goal.

I’ve also set a non-scale goal.  I have a pair of jeans hanging around the apartment belonging to a previous man in my life. They are a men’s 31″.  Normally I wear a women’s 28, but these men’s jeans are currently too tight on me.  My goal is to have them be super baggy and comfy by the end of March.

TRACKI now have one of our fabulous new TRACK books, and it goes with me everywhere.

I picked a start date, wrote out a plan and prepared myself by getting all the foods I needed to be successful.

Today is day 3 of the new plan, and I’m not going to pretend it has been an easy adjustment.  But, with the help of the new “ROUTINES” potion of the WeightWatchers 360 program, I have decided on 3 things to focus on daily, and it really helps having the check box on each page of the tracker, to check off when you’ve completed each routine.

For this week, the three routines I have chosen are:

1: bring lunch from home everyday (except Thursday).

2: eat fruit twice a day.

3: COOK a healthy dinner everyday.

And I’m happy to report that I have completed all 3 routines every day this week, so far!

So please, forgive me readers, for I have sinned.

I am one of you, and sometimes I struggle,but now that I have set new goals and have started to work towards them, I feel motivated again.

 

So tell me this, what is that you do when you feel your motivation starting to slip? What is the one piece of advice you would give someone who is struggling and trying to get back on track?

 

K.

“There was once a point in my life where I weighed over 300lbs.”

That was the opening line of my friend Nikki’s blog post yesterday, a blog post she titled “A Hard Thing For Me To Admit”.

I cannot tell you how totally proud I am of her for putting those words out there, for saying it “out loud”.  But even more so, I am amazingly proud of her for having the determination and strength to do this ‘on her own’.

I’m not going to copy the entire thing over here, you can click the blog title above and go on over there to read it all for yourself. What I want to share with you guys is something that really stuck out for me in her post, something that I think everyone trying to lose weight needs to understand.

20130118-125511.jpgNikki wrote: “Something happened in August. Honestly, I have NO IDEA what it was. Some weird awakening that something needed to change and that I COULD ACTUALLY DO THIS.”

Those are the key words “I could actually do this”, and I think everyone who is on a journey to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle needs to have that moment, that realization! Everyone needs to know that they CAN do this, they can make it a reality!

 

I remember the moment I had my realization. It wasn’t before I started my journey, it was half way through.   Before I joined WeightWatchers I knew I NEEDED to do this, but I never actually thought I could.   It wasn’t until one random Tuesday, somewhere in the middle of my journey that I realized I could do it.

I had gone to my WeightWatchers meeting and stepped on the scale, only to see disappointing results.  Sure, I’d lost weight that week, but it wasn’t as much as I hoped.  Well, Charlotte, the lady behind the scale said something to me, I don’t remember what, but I remember my reply. I said to her “I don’t know, this is really hard, I don’t think I can do it” and she looked me straight in the face and said “enough of that, you CAN do it, and you ARE GOING to do it”. I said, “okay”, stepped off of the scale, and took my seat in the meeting room, thinking to myself “well, if she thinks I can do it, why don’t I think I can do it? Hmm, I guess I CAN do it.”

 

So tell me this, have you had your moment yet?  If so, what was it? What made you realize you can ‘actually do this’?

 

 

They should put THAT in the commercials!

It should probably come as no surprise to you that there are a LOT of people in my life who need to lose weight, who are trying to lose weight, or who have already lost the weight & are trying to maintain the loss. Therefore, it should also come as no surprise that the benefits of weight loss are often a topic of conversation.

Sometimes, the conversation about weight loss is a medical conversation. I want to live longer. I want to take less pills. I want to control diabetes.

Quite often, the conversation about weight loss is a conversation based in vanity. I want to LOOK better. I want to DRESS better. I want to wear a size ___.

Occasionally, the conversation about weight loss is a conversation about fitness. I want to run further. I want to run faster. I want to lift more weight, or do more reps.

And then once in a while the conversation takes an interesting turn, and I’ve been hearing this one more and more often lately.

 

Let’s look at all the benefits of weight loss for a moment, shall we?

When you start to lose weight, you will start to not only see physical improvements in your body, but you will also notice emotional improvements as well. Your mood will improve, as will your energy. Your body will begin to change on both the inside and the outside. Not only will your size be getting noticeably smaller, but you will begin to see muscle definition in your arms and legs. As your size begins to get smaller, you will start to need to buy new clothes that will fit your better and be more flattering, therefore improving your self esteem and self confidence. As you start to feel better about yourself, the people around you will notice the changes. Your energy level will start to increase as the new, healthier foods you are eating begin to fuel your body, and you will find you can do more now that you are carrying around a little less weight.

With all these physical & emotional changes taking place, perhaps it won’t be a surprise to you that one of the hidden benefits of weight loss is an improvement in your life ‘between the sheets’.

Think about it, if you’re feeling better about yourself, no matter how much or how little weight you’ve lost, you’re going to be feeling more confident, and the people in your life are going to notice this. You will be feeling more attractive, and they will notice this. Not to mention the increase in energy you will experience, that can be put to good use!

More and more lately, the people around me are telling me about the ‘bedroom’ benefits of weight loss, and how they would have done it sooner if they had known!

Perhaps they should put THAT in the commercials?

 

You can not cross the finish line, unless you start.

Every journey has a starting point.

There is a place & time where you take that first step.

I took my first step on January 2nd, 2007.

That was the day I walked in to my first WeightWatchers meeting (this time around).

I say this time around, because this was my second time joining.  I had once joined back in 2005, and had some real success. But life got in the way, and I put it all back on.

I remember walking in to that meeting for the first time, like it was yesterday.  It had taken me months to muster up the courage, but I finally picked a date and decided that was the day I was going to join.  It didn’t even dawn on me that ‘everyone’ would be joining at the same time!   I had chosen January 2nd because I knew it was time to make a change, but with having Thanksgiving in October, my Birthday in November & Christmas in December, I decided that I would join on my first day back to work after Christmas vacation.

That meant January 2nd was the day.

It didn’t even cross my mind that this was “New Years Resolution” time. I had made a resolution years ago to stop making resolutions. All I knew was that this was the right time for me.

The only thing was, that year, I got sick over Christmas and was unable to go to work that day, and therefore unable to attend the lunch hour meeting around the corner from my office.  But, I had made up my mind. January 2nd was the day I was joining WeightWatchers. So, even though it took me ALL DAY, I got showered & dressed, and drove across town to the 5:30pm meeting.

I walked in there, embarrassed & ashamed that I was here again. Feeling like a failure after having put back on all the weight. I was wearing my old “fat jeans” which had once again become my everyday jeans.  I was sure everyone was judging me and secretly laughing at me.

When I walked through those doors, I got the warmest welcome. It was like being greeted by old friends that hadn’t seen you in years.  That could have been because the staff working that meeting were the same staff that work the meeting I had intended to sign up at, the same meeting I had attended 18 months earlier.

I really hope that this week, when I am working my WeightWatchers meetings, I can give the new members walking in to my meeting room the same sense of comfort that Charlotte & Carol gave me 4 years ago.

I can’t tell you how much that one decision has changed my life.  I can simply tell you that I wouldn’t be the strong, confident, fit woman I am today, if I hadn’t made that decision to walk in to that meeting room 4 years ago.

I wear a ring on my right hand that says “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.  For me, that one step was joining WeightWatchers.

Whatever that step is for you, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take it, and start a new & exciting journey.

It maybe hard work at time, but it will be worth it in the end!

 

K.