Failure is NOT an option

I had a great run at the gym tonight, at least it was great for me.  I am really new to this whole running for pleasure as opposed to running from danger thing; a lot of what I have done to this point has been lots of trial and a little error (do not want too much error someone could get hurt).  I have done some reading and research to try to understand so I do not pull a bone or break a muscle, or something like that.

I think I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about how I really need to see how I am doing so I like the treadmill, tells me all the neat little stats I want to see.  I want to note that I am going to buy some sort of measuring device this weekend, I will write and let you know how that goes; could be dangerous, with one of those things EVERYONE will be timed for everything :).  Anyway, I like to see how I am doing.  In my attempt to get better I have tried many methods, some of them I read about, others I just tried thinking they might work.

Trying not to give you every boring detail of my workouts, here is a short version of things I have tried and what I did tonight (Please do not take these away as sound advice, as I mentioned earlier I am new to this).  My best time for an official 5K race is 42:22 on a pretty hilly course in a local park.  I want to get my time better AND I have to build distance to run 10k and half marathons I have planned over the next year.

1.  The longest run/walk I have done to date is five miles, I have done this twice.  Once I did not time it, the second time I was running/walking at a 15 minute mile pace.

2.  I spent two nights at the gym last week keeping my run to 30 minutes and trying to improve my run each time.  The first night I finished 2.15 miles in 30 minutes, the second night I finished 2.25 miles in 30 minutes.  Not much improvement, but I will take it.

3.  And finally – Tonight I decided to focus on doing half of a 5K or 1.55 miles.  I did that 1.55 miles in only 18 minutes!  That is roughly 11:40 minute mile, better than any mile time I have done to date, if I can push that time to a 5K I could finish my next 5K at about 36 minute; six minutes off my best time!  I want to make that my goal for one of my next two 5k races.

I am going to run/walk another five miles this weekend and see if I can get just a little better than my last, and then next weekend I am going to add a mile.

I will get to and finish my Half Marathon in February, my only goal for that right now is to finish!

174 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 175 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

I am Iron Man!

I am not Iron Man as the title of my post implies, nor do I have an Ironman Tri on my bucket list.  I did however go watch the running portion of the Ironman in our city today and it was inspiring.  As most of you know an Ironman consists of a swim, a bike, and a marathon length run.  The run portion of our city’s Ironman goes through the streets of the city two blocks from my house and I decided to walk down and humbly support the participants.

The location I chose to view the race was right before the 12 mile marker for the run.  To watch these amazing athletes was nothing short of breathtaking!  I have only participated in a 5K I cannot pretend to know how they felt at that point but I can tell you I found myself cheering and shouting words of encouragement.

These athletes are truly admirable and I am so glad I got to see their faces as they worked towards that finish line goal, although at that point what they have accomplished is astounding with or without a finish line.  Next year I am volunteering I want to be around that energy all day not just for the 60 minutes or so that I watched.  I also want to be at the finish line and meet every one of them, get their stories.  OK that last part sounds a bit stalkerish; I promise I will not follow anyone home.

170 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 179 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

Ease on down the road

One more run down towards my half marathon goal.  Today I ran my 2nd officially timed 5K race.  I ran the race at the same place where I ran my first one.  This course is at a local park with many hills, it is so easy to forget how hard it is to run uphill. I beat my first time!

When I did the 5K at the end of June I ran the course in 43:38, today I had an official chip time of 42:22!  Shaved over a minute off my time, and my daughter was there at the finish line to cheer me on, it was an awesome feeling!  I placed 10th in my age group, 44-49 and 290 overall out of a field of 700.  I am not exactly an Olympic athlete BUT considering I just took up running a few months ago at the age of 48, I am very happy.

Already signed up for the next one, on a much flatter route, it is a few weeks away, hoping to do a little better than this one.  Each incremental improvement, no matter how small, makes me feel amazing.  I have a friend who participated in her first Half Iron Man today; she was nervous, a little scared and uncertain how she would do. When someone suggested perhaps she should wait and do one at a later date this is what she said – “It is ok for me to not finish, it is not ok for me to not start.”  I thought that was a pretty strong statement about overcoming fear and doubt and allowing yourself the courage to move forward.

169 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 180 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  “It’s the job that is never started that takes the longest to finish.” – J. R. R. TOLKIEN

A walk down memory lane…no regrets just great memories

This has become my new favorite running song.  I am not really sure what the composer/writer’s original meaning for the song is but what it does for me is stir memories and the beat gets me moving.

I have had some good times in my life and most of my younger days were spent with “no money but lots of heart” (a line from the song).  We grow into adulthood idealistic, enjoying ourselves and those around us focused less on material things and more on experiences.  Each day on this journey I find myself feeling more and more like I am headed back to this same place.  Not sure I can party, go to work and stay up for 24 hours straight, but I can certainly remember how to appreciate my experiences more than my stuff.

On to this past weeks experiences.  I had a great week with my diet, definitely got back to eating better and as a result pushed through my 40th pound of weight loss (go back and read that again and smile).  I was not as disciplined with my activity this week.

We had family come to town and if you read my blog this past week you know I had to spend at least one night cleaning. The family coming to town was a real distraction but also a bit of an excuse, I could have found a way to get to the gym I just did not.  I did do a lot of cleaning and while they were here we did quite a bit of walking and I feel good that although I was not officially working out I was out and about and moving.

Our family left this morning, I had a little breakfast and hit the road!  I picked a new place to run this morning we have a park nearby that has a path that is 1.55 miles long I chose it since I still do not have a pedometer, GPS watch or other measuring device and I wanted to time my run.  I do have a digital watch and used this to time it.

I am doing another 5K this weekend and I want to beat my time from my first one, the time for my first one was 43:38 and I was proud of that.  Today I did the 5K at the park in 42:12 which is a 13:35 minute mile and I am happy with that.  This week coming I am going to try to keep my runs to two miles and continue to work on speed and I hope Saturday will be better than 43:38.

As I walk down memory lane I am looking ahead to the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2/24/13.

Yoga and the outdoors

As I did in my blog yesterday I am going to refer to my first post that I wrote a few days ago.  I mentioned in that writing that as of January of this year I weighed over 200 lbs and was a 31 year smoker, today I am 170 lbs (and counting) and have not had a cigarette for 154 days!

My blog is really about a journey as I discover new things along the way to Me.  Well today I went to my first yoga class.  Even though I have taken up a healthier lifestyle and added lots of exercise to my life, until now I have avoided Yoga like it was a disease.  It just seemed too still for me and also I struggle with my core and flexibility, so basically I was chicken.

Silly me, I really enjoyed the class today and felt wonderful afterwards and will be back in the next class on Wednesday. I realized that not everyone who does yoga can stand in a tree pose for several minutes without losing balance so I had nothing to be embarrassed about.

My other discovery today; I really enjoy running outside!  I have committed myself to running, well now it is more walking/running but I do enjoy it and will get better, faster, stronger.  Until today I have done most of my running indoors.  I find I need to see my progress to know how far I have gone, speed, etc. so I have become addicted to treadmill running or running at the YMCA indoor track.

Today, the weather was gorgeous and I felt so great after yoga that I took my motivated butt down to the river to run.  Guess what!?  Five miles feel a heck of a lot shorter when you have the river and trees and people to view.  Although I do not have any type of tracking device like a running GPS or pedometer the river loop in our city does have mile markers and I do have a watch so I did not feel like I could not measure my progress.  I had done 2.5 miles before I even realized how far I had gone turned around at that point and headed back completing a Five mile loop.  It was wonderful!

One last note – If you take up outdoor running, use sunscreen 🙂

THE Goal

When I finished my first post on this Blog I ended it with telling you that I have signed up for a Half Marathon in Disney World on February 24, 2013.

When I came up with the title for this Blog – “From Here to Me” – I was trying to think of a short expression or a few words that describe where I am in my life.  As I was thinking I realized that I am still amazed that I am where I am the “Here” in the title, but I also think about how far I want to go, all the way to “Me”.  This truly feels like a journey, through all of my physical changes over the past several months I have gone through as many or more non-physical (not sure what to call them – Spiritual, mental, intellectual, emotional, use whatever makes you comfortable) changes, my outlook on things seems to have shifted so much, I would say for the better.

I do not expect that I will have arrived at “Me” on February 24, 2013, I truly hope it is a lifetime journey, for now though that is an important goal for me and the decision to do it was so pivotal that I will likely mention it a bit as I write over the next several months.

Do you have a goal, long-term or short-term?  Have you started working towards it?  Do not give up, I am here to tell you that when you finally find THE goal the right things will happen to prepare you for the hard work it will take to make it happen.