Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Unexpected 15K

It all started last Tuesday when a friend posted on our church's running team's Facebook page that she couldn't run a scheduled race due to another commitment.  She asked if anyone wanted to take her place.  I asked questions and checked the information about the race and the course.  When I first heard it was a 15K (9.3 miles), a distance I've never run before, I thought I could alternate running a mile and walking a mile and do it with no problem.  Then I found out that they have a 10K and a 5K and the challenge is to run one at 7:00 a.m. and then the other at 8:15 a.m.  Oh.  My two 10K times were between 1 hour and 20 minutes and 1 hour and 25 minutes, so that presented a problem.  With some input from my running partner and a couple other friends, I decided to try it.  If I wasn't able to run the 5K due to taking so long to run the 10K, that would be okay.  Usually Wednesday is one of my rest days from running, but since I now had a 15K to run in three days, I figured I'd better hit the pavement.  I like running two mornings a week in the dark with my running partner, but I realized I missed running a little later so I can see the sunrise.  There were some beautiful ones on those few training mornings!

I ran 3.1 miles on Tuesday, my usual distance, with no problem except the blinding sun in my eyes. 
At first I didn't like it, but my perspective changed after a few more times of turning and running into this BOOM SUN! It was the SON saying, "I'm here! I'm more present than this sun that's bothering you. I'm closer than this sun and you don't want Me to go away like you want it to!" No, Jesus, no I don't! Sometimes Jesus is like that - BOOM! IN YOUR FACE! and sometimes He seems far away in the sky and not bothering you. Yesterday, on my first training for this unexpected race, He needed me to know how close He was.
I ran 4 miles on Wednesday, 5 on Thursday, and somewhere between 5 and 6 on Friday.  I tried for 6 but just ran out of steam.  I wasn't used to running so many days in a row, and increasing by a mile a day is a huge jump!  I knew I had done the best I could in such a short time, and God would have to do the rest.  On the way home, though, I started feeling like I should've pushed through then felt like I might have fainted from dehydration if I had.  I asked God, "Why do you keep throwing such big challenges in front of me?"  He answered, "Because I work on a large scale, Michele.  You can't do this on your own; only with my help."  If it was just an easy little 5K, which I do several times a week, no problem.  Even a 10K I've done twice now.  But a 15K, well…that's different.  And only 3 days to prepare for it?  Definitely God.   
This bench sums up my training:

The night before the race I was feeling my usual pre-race jitters.  I decided to pack the things I would need and a few more things just in case.  That took all of 10 minutes and did nothing to ease the nervousness.  I woke up on time, and my mom, daughter, and I made it down to the venue without being late.  I put my watch on and noticed that the band has started to crack. 
I got it as a birthday gift and it's had a good three-year run.  Time to shop for another one.  It still works and still straps on; I've just gotta "watch" it.  J  I picked up my race packet and warmed up my legs for the start of the 10K. 
I'm off and running!  It felt good to be among other athletes (it still feels weird to consider myself an athlete).  The race atmosphere was not making me run faster, though.  I walked about 1-1/2 minutes after each water station.  I'd get a cup of water and pour it on my head.  Then I'd get another cup or two to drink.  They had only Gatorade at the second station.  Gatorade = chemicals going into my body.  I started wondering why I didn't make my own Gatorade the night before.  I found a recipe for it on Pinterest and have made it before with only water, salt, Sucanat (less processed sugar), and fruit for flavor.  Well, there was nothing I could've done about it during the race.  I figured I was sweating and would be drinking enough water the rest of the day to flush out the chemicals.  Still…

About halfway through the second mile I smelled wood smoke.  BBQ!!!  Mmmmmm!!!  It was coming from the Saturday Morning Market.  I wanted to stay right there and just breathe, but I had a race to run. 
I saw no one I knew either running or lining the route except my friend's husband from church.  He's a policeman and was stopping traffic for the race.  I called his name and waved as I ran by.  He congratulated me, which carried me quite a while. 

As we rounded Mirror Lake, at about mile 3, I saw a woman ahead of me wearing a T-shirt that on the back said, "True strength is not giving up even when everyone would understand if you did." 

I told her if I had a camera I'd take a picture of it!  I continued running and finally made it past the farthest point I had gotten to in training.  I was in unfamiliar territory.  Well not really, since I was born in this city and have lived here my whole life, but I had never run and probably never even driven on this particular street.  My right foot felt like it was developing a blister, maybe from running on the slope of the road for 5 miles.  I tried to get more toward the middle.  We turned onto Coffee Pot Boulevard, which I've been running once a week for a few months.  I started to run faster the last 1/10 mile when I saw the finish line!  I made it in just under 1 hour and 25 minutes.  I walked straight to my mom and daughter,

took a big drink of water, got a square of Dove dark chocolate, and asked them if the 5K had already started.  One of them said it had and one said it had not because she never heard the announcement.  Okay.  The 5K *had* already started but I saw walkers just past the start line.  My feet hurt but I speed walked and half ran.  The chocolate didn’t seem to give me much energy but it sure tasted good!  I was trying to catch up to the back-of-the-pack walkers.  I wove around people with dogs, people with strollers, and people lined up 8-wide across the entire street.  Sometimes I had to walk because it was so crowded, sometimes because of fatigue, and sometimes because of drinking water.  At certain points I jumped up onto the sidewalk to get around people and sometimes jumped back down to the street for the same reason.  It was almost like an adventure run!  I finished in 2 hours 11 minutes and 41 seconds, but I didn't stop my watch the couple minutes between races.  I ran the 5K in roughly 43 minutes, slower than I usually do, but not bad considering how much walking I did.  I stopped where my mom and  daughter were but then went to get my medal. 

All the way through both races I was prepared for the fact that I might not get a medal because I wouldn't finish the 10K in time and then didn't make the official start of the 5K.  I told myself it was okay and that I had the personal satisfaction of doing a 15K with three days of preparation.  I walked up to the medal tent and they must've seen that my bib said 15K (I really hadn't compared my bib to others) and they gave me a 15K medal with no questions asked.  J  It made me very happy! 

Race organizers had set up about eight kiddie pools filled with ice and bottled water.  After making my way down the avenue of vendors and getting a massage (ahhhhh!), I walked back past the pools.  Several hours after being filled most of the ice had melted and almost all of the waters had been taken.  A few of the pools had just melted ice in them.  I bent down and soaked first one hand and the other in the icy water.  My feet were wet from having poured water on my head at each water station, so it was an easy decision to put first one fully shod foot and then the other in one of the pools!  It wouldn't have taken much to convince me to sit down!  I had brought dry socks and shoes but no dry clothes, so I just got my feet wet.  I stood there for a few moments until it got too cold and then I stepped out and went back to my family. 

We went to lunch at Cracker Barrel and I ordered protein to rebuild my muscles.  Eggs, sausage, and yogurt, along with a blueberry muffin for carbs, a strawberry on the yogurt parfait for yumminess, and sweet tea for...well, because it's sweet tea! 

Terry, thank you for not being able to run the race yourself and giving me another opportunity to let God work through me!  Like I said in my very first blog post, my reason for blogging is to encourage people to allow God to dream big within them so that together they and He can do amazing things, hard things, things that they'd never be able to do on their own.  And to encourage them to give Him the glory and credit for them.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Midnight 10K

I've kept putting this post off because something (like work) always came up that I needed to get done.  No more!  I'm finally writing!  Not that there's anything in this post that's super exceptional that I just have to record, but it keeps hanging over my head.  Unfinished business.  So here goes: 

On July 3 at about 9:00 at night a few family members and I headed north about 20 miles to Dunedin to the Kiwanis Midnight Run.  I ran the 5K last year and signed up for the 10K this year.  This was my first 10K since December, which was my first one ever.  I had run 6.2 miles in training a couple times but not a lot.  I felt prepared, though.  I picked up my race packet and shirt and was able to get one that was size large.  Not XL.  Not XXL.  Not XXXL.  Just L.   

Do you know how happy that makes me feel?!

The 5K started a little before midnight and the 10K started about 12:30.  I began the course running with my friend Lisa, but she quickly outpaced me.  Go Lisa!  I kept running at my happy pace.  Here comes a drawbridge.  So cool to run over the metal grate and see the water directly below me!  Ahhhhh!  Downhill!  Such fun!  A breeze!  Okay, now it's flat, hot, and humid again.  Blehh!  We headed toward Honeymoon Island State Park and, just like last year, it was nice to leave the city lights behind and run toward moonlight on the water and quietness.  The 5K runners turned around at some point and the 10Kers kept on running.  We entered the park and it got even quieter.  Mmmmmmm!!!  Love it!  There was less of a breeze now, though, because of woods around us.  Still nice.  I wanted to hear the quiet so I turned off my MP3 player.  I heard frogs so I quickly turned the music back on and made sure I stayed near the middle of the road.  I don't like am irrationally terrified of frogs.  They're disgusting, ugly, gross, and creepy, and I have my three younger brothers to thank for this irrational fear.  I know frogs can't hurt me, but I'd hurt myself trying to get away from one!  I moved to the center of the road so that if one was fool enough to jump onto the road from the shoulder, I'd see it (hopefully) and have time to scream and do a funny weird little dance to get out of its way. 

Ahem.  Moving on.  I tried a couple more times to run without music but all I heard was frogs.  At one point I felt a sharp pain in my knee, but I prayed and asked God to heal and strengthen it.  The pain was gone in a few steps.  Thank You, God! 

There were luminaries lining the road since there are no light posts out on the island.  Very pretty.  At the turnaround point there was a van parked sideways with a large American flag displayed on it and they were playing Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA (since it was July 4th).  Cool!  That gave me a little more momentum. 

I finished the 10K in 1:23:09 at a 13:23 pace.  That's almost a minute slower than the one I did in December, but this one was run at midnight after a full day of being awake and working (I got about a 2-hour nap in the afternoon).  I had run the first part of this course in last year's 5K, but otherwise it was unfamiliar.  I ran the December 10K course at least twice a week for a couple months in training, so I'm pleased with my results. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

100-pound Celebration!

I had my 100-pound celebration recently, hosted by my friend Melisa.  (She's the one on the right.  The one on the left is my friend Brenda.) 

We had a display area just inside her house with collage frames that show the progression of what God is doing in my life. 
From this

to this.

Collage of me from birth to age 18, Made To Crave (one of the tools that helped me lose 100 pounds), and a steak, egg, and cheese on a biscuit from Yuckdonald's (more on that later). 
Collage of me from 19-38, bowl of white rice (what I used to eat when working late at night so I would have energy.  It didn't usually work.), some race pictures, my Gasparilla 8K medal, and the cross that I nailed the word "overeating" to.  (Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.  Galatians 5:24)
Collage of me from 39-41 and the questions about my journey that Melisa and I made up.

More race pics (midnight 5K in 2012), A Hunger for God by John Piper, and the printouts of the questions and my responses when I did The Lord's Table online Bible Study.


Some of my race bibs.

My old fat clothes!  The top is a size 3X and the shorts are a size 26/28.  The way they're hanging they don't look all that big, but they are. 

More of Jesus, Less of Michele!  That's what it's all about!

Look at these encouraging friends I have who came to help me celebrate this milestone!
Clockwise, Lynette, Wendy, Rob (my brother), and Cassie
Lisa and Pat (Terry's husband - How is there not a picture of Terry in here?)
Crystal, Brandice, Melinda, Tatiana, and Fancy

And encouraging family!  I love them!   
My dad and mom! 
Randy eating salad.  Yes, salad.  With lettuce and tomatoes and everything.  And no bacon bits (not that there's anything wrong with real bacon).

Jeff, Cheryl, and Sofia

How is there not a picture of my precious Brianne in here?  She helped by making a PowerPoint of my past, present, and future (my Ragnar 200-mile relay race coming up in February). 
I had been gathering ideas for food and d├ęcor from Pinterest for quite a while.  I wanted the food to taste yummy and be representative of what I actually eat.  I eat mostly real food now, what grows in the ground or on the ground, and very little packaged, processed, fake, food-like stuff.  I don't eat salads all the time, but I do like them so we had a couple different kinds and wraps so people could make a salad sandwich. 
Lots of fresh fruit (strawberries!) and veggies, but also brownies - dark chocolate brownies with strawberries that I picked mixed in.  Yum!  My chickens (Helen, Jane, and Penny) supplied the deviled eggs.  
My friend, personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Brandice Lardner of this plate of veggies with 100# artfully placed!  Love it! 

 You better believe there was a chocolate fountain!  It wasn't the focal point of the party, but we did enjoy it!  Moderation is the key. 

Look at that beautiful cake Melisa had made!  I love the colorfulness and the message!


I had the idea of making a paper chain with 100 links to give people a visual idea of how many 100 is.  It starts behind the chair, goes up to the top of the window, across, down, drapes, goes up again, and hangs down.   

Then I decided to make one of the miles I've run in official races.  57!

And one of miles I've run in training.  This includes boot camp and fitness club workouts.  1156!!!  I've run one thousand one hundred fifty-six miles/workouts in training!  So that 57 miles I've run in official races is like the tip of the iceberg and the 1156 is like the huge part of the iceberg you don't see because it's underwater.  Wow!

It starts at the bottom of the door, goes up to the top, drapes,
drapes, drapes, draaaaaapes,
draaaaapes, drapes,
drapes, drapes,
drapes, drapes,
drapes, drapes,
 and when Brianne and Fancy ran out of room they did this!

Look at me serving cake and not stuffing my face with it or licking my fingers!


This is one of the things that started my weight loss.  I used to go through the Yuckdonald's drive through and order a steak, egg, and cheese on a biscuit instead of on a bagel because I was saving carbs that way.  I was so deceived.  Yes, I was saving a few carbs but I didn't need that sandwich at all.  There are almost 700 calories just in the sandwich, roughly half of the calories I should have in a day!  Not that I count calories, but still…!

On two different trips to the beach I collected sand, brought it home, and weighed it to get 100 pounds.  It halfway filled this storage bin.  I had to take about half of it out and put it in smaller buckets to transport it to Melisa's house and even then I had to have my daughter help me lift it into and out of the car.  How did I used to carry this around on my body 24/7??? 


I love color, and Melisa sure provided it!  I'm so grateful to her for helping me plan and for hosting this party!