Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flying Pig Weekend Recap

So our most recent exercise challenge took place the first weekend in May here in Cincinnati at the Flying Pig. Back in 2010, Mom and I watched the marathon on local news and generally walked away feeling guilty and humble that we weren't there tackling the races. So we both decided that next year would be different - for Mom it was going to be the Pump and Run, a combination weight lifting and 10k challenge that requires the participant to run a 10k race and bench press and curl (weight depending on age and body weight). For me it was the full marathon, all 26.2 miles of what turned out to be something close to torture.

Beginning in January we both created training plans for ourselves based on our separate goals. Mom's included trips to the weight room in the gym, crossfit sessions with our trainer, and runs. Mine included a plan of steadily increasing miles and cross training days (mostly stuck to cycling and some strength training). As race day approached, however, it became evident that we both overtrained for this event. I had IT-band issues that I struggled with and then pulled a groin muscle 3 weeks before the marathon that forced me to back way off my miles. Mom pulled her shoulder about a week before the event and also found herself forced to take a rest. Needless to say we were both a little concerned as the weekend of event began.

This day was packet pickup and the weight lifting portion of mom's Pump and Run. We arrived downtown at the convention center, made our way through the tables of race promoters pushing their own races, picked up our t-shirts, posters, and bibs and then headed over to the weight lifting area. Man was this a gun show with pumped up guys everywhere! I give mom A LOT of credit for signing up for this event and I could tell she was a little intimidated stepping up to the bench press with all these men watching her. However, she did GREAT - her goal had been to get 10 reps out, but with her shoulder injury she was convinced that one was going to be too many. Yet when she laid down on that bench she managed to get out 3 really good pumps and walked away feeling good about her performance.

We woke up to beautiful weather and mom was feeling fresh and ready for her race. We drove back downtown (starting to feel like deja vu) and she lined up with thousands of other participants. Her goal was to run it in under 1:15. I took my place at mile 4 and waited for her to pass, cheering the other runners and enjoying the great weather. Soon mom cruised by and was looking really good, yelling that she felt great and was obviously enjoying herself. She crossed the finish line not long after and was well underneath her goal at 1:09:21 looking strong and focused. I think at this point she was just excited to be finished!
Now it was my turn. Woke up at 5:00 in the morning to light rain and chilly temps - where was the sunshine from the previous day! Ate my breakfast, got dressed and got back in the car to take our third and final trip downtown. As I left mom at the car I could tell my stomach was a little upset and my nerves only increased as I made my way to the starting line. The race coordinators had decided to do corrals this year and unfortunately this caused a lot of confusion and pushing as people struggled to funnel themselves down one flight of stairs and line up according to their "appropriate" race time. I finally got to my corral and did some light stretching. Before I knew it the race gun had gone off and the crush of people started pushing forward. I passed the start line and began running feeling okay at this point. The race course is extremely hilly, but the early miles are pretty flat as we ran across the bridge into Newport and then back into downtown Cincinnati. At mile 6, however, the hills really kick in and my stomachache turned from slight discomfort to full on knots. I missed mom at mile 5, but finally saw her around 10 and she could tell I was in trouble. At this point I was nearly in tears as the miles seemed impossible and my body just felt beaten. She ran with me for about half a mile and then promised to find me again and left. I continued run/walking for the next couple of miles with my half marathon time being 2:39, not too far off my goal of 2:30. Yet at the half way point is where things went from bad to worse. Leg cramps and hip cramps followed my stomach issues and it was only with mom pushing me and talking me through at mile 15 and 18 that I honestly stayed on the course and didn't admit defeat. The last 6 miles were the most difficult thing I have ever attempted as it was a slow journey back into town and the buildings just looked SO far away. However 6 hours later, a full hour over my goal time, I finally hobbled across the finish line and got my marathon medal.
I look a lot happier in this photo than I honestly felt, as I know that this marathon wasn't my best performance. However, for that race on that day it was enough for me to just finish. Once my legs stopped screaming, and I was able to eat a few pretzels and relax, I could take the marathon experience in more fully and walked away knowing that I was going to have to try this marathon thing again. Definitely NOT at the Flying Pig, which I believe is not a beginner friendly marathon (even though its billed this way) but at a smaller and flatter course.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Mom and I need to come up with a better training plan for the next time around. More cross training, more listening to our bodies needs. Less trying to be superwomen and push ourselves to extremes.
  2. Choose a race that is less crowded/crazy so that starting line is less stressful and I am less likely to begin race too quickly.
  3. Better hydration/eating especially the day before. Looking back I made a classic rookie mistake and did not watch my water intake as closely as I should have and I think this definitely was the source of my early stomach issues.
  4. Include more flexibility/yoga in my training routine as this will hopefully teach me breathing techniques and relaxation that will help with my pre-race jitters.

In a few weeks we will begin training for our next challenge, but right now mom and I are just enjoying taking some time off from all the routines and wearing our medals to the grocery store.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How it started - A view from my side....

If you read my daughter Lindsey's post,  you will pretty much get the picture of our journey over the last 2 years.  While she started out heavier than I,  I had the award of being overweight far longer than she had.  Looking back,  I had been 20 pounds overweight most of my teen age years,  and then 40 pounds overweight by the time I got married at age 19...  The weight slowly crept on... year after year...Until I too tripped over that 300 pound mark.  At 5'10... that is an incredible amount of weight to be hauling around.

2 years ago,  my life consisted of food,  anti-inflammatory's for the constant knee / hip/ back pain  ,  blood pressure medications, and antacids.  It was not unusual for me to take 12-16 tylenol and 20 tums a day!  Oh yeah ,  I was killing myself with food... and I enjoyed every last bite... until I laid down at night and would promise myself that tomorrow would be different,  I would change my habits,  please lord,  just let me live through another night...

When Linz decided that she was ready for this journey,  I went kicking and screaming along with her.    I had NEVER seriously been to a gym before... (oh I had joined one twice... but never actually showed up...)  but we got lucky.  There was a Bally's gym 1 mile from the house.. no excuses about it was too far away....  And they were having a great membership drive... so CHEAP!  no excuses about it was too expensive....  And they were friendly and welcoming... no excuse about everyone is going to look at me and make fun of me.  Damn,  I can't get out of this.  

My first time at the gym,  I got on the treadmill.. put it on 3.2  (a slow walk..)  and managed to stay on for 10 minutes straight..  I got off sweaty,  sore kneed,  and embarrassed that I could only last 10 minutes.. And there became the birth of the first goal.   I want to be able to stay on for 30 minutes....  

And that truly has been my weight loss journey... Small seemingly ridiculous goals that move me from one step to the next.    30 minutes on the treadmill took almost a month to achieve... then it was  30 minutes at 3.5 .. a couple more weeks to get to that ...  but every time I would hit these little milestones,  I would have a minute of hell ya!  and the next minute I would look around and say.. okay what's next.    That is why this time I have had success and have truly made this a life changing event.   From the 49 1/2 year old woman who couldn't make it 10 minutes on a treadmill at a walk... to a 51 1/2 year old woman who just completed her second 10K,  and is setting my sights on a half marathon this fall and a 1/2 Iron man in 2012...

So if you are intrigued.. If you need a cheer leader,  ,  If you think you can't do this.. YOU ARE WRONG!   We will blog about our journey to this point, share what worked,  and what didn't..  Talk about our current training...  and hopefully you will come along for the ride!

Friday, May 6, 2011

How It All Started...Or A Two Year Journey Condensed Into One Post

While the blog name pretty much sums up my current status, mom thought that we should each begin this thing with a recap of our journey over the last two years. So without further ado here is roughly 720 days condensed into one blog post:

It was a day in early March of 2009 that I turned to my mother and said - "I think I am going to go join a gym." I don't remember the exact conversation that took place after this statement, but I'm sure I was probably eating cheetos when I made this comment and that it was probably followed by several supportive remarks from my mother, followed by fantasies supplied by both of us about what life would be like in slimmer bodies. If you are, or ever have been, really heavy you know what I am talking about. Fantasizes that involve shopping in more than one store, walking up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath, or entering a room and not worrying if any of the chairs will support you. Things that those skinny bitches never have to worry about.

However, unlike the hundreds of conversations we had had previously on this topic, the failed diets, the short exercise stints - this time I actually did join a gym and began working out. And one week later, my mother joined too and became my workout buddy. We traded in our stretch pants for sports bras and our snack cakes for vegetables and over the course of the last two years lost Biggest Loser amounts of weight...seriously - like a small Girl Scout troop of weight. We did it not through fade diets or stomach stapling, but through diet and exercise (damnit it works) and while our weight loss journey is by no means over, I can truly say that I have never been healthier.

So fast forward to a few months ago when a significantly slimmer mom turned to me and said "hey we should write a blog. We are funny, and maybe could give advice and writing our thoughts could be this whole cathartic experience." My initial reaction was to question her sanity as what could we possibly have to say that would be worthwhile for anyone to read? But then as I thought about it a little more and maybe grew a little more confident in myself I thought what the hell - worst case scenario no one but my grandmother reads this thing and comments. But if you aren't a relative of mine than welcome and hello. What we hope to accomplish with this blog is a melding of our exercise experiences, food sagas, daily thoughts, and priceless pieces of wisdom picked up from fortune cookies.

Get ready world as these two formerly fat chicks have a lot of time to make up for!!

- Lindsey