The Color Run Racine, Part 1

On Saturday morning around 7 am five of us donned white T-shirts and headed out 25 miles drive to the Color Run. If you’ve never heard of the Color Run, it’s a fun, un-timed 5k intended to encourage physical activity, especially for people who are not active. The idea is to make walking/running fun. The Color Run’s nickname is the Happiest 5k on the Planet!

Before

I had this idea last year that this would be a good 5k for me to ease into running. I asked all my family (three grown kids, one significant other, one granddaughter, and my husband) if they would be interested in joining me. I also asked my neighbor and friend, who is a runner, if she would be willing to join me, since she knows all the ropes of running and races. I expected a resounding ‘No, thanks!’ from my family (they don’t have the running bug like me and at that time, none were already exercising except the significant other). I was very surprised that they were happy to support me and join me! We ended up with five of us signed up and only my one daughter and her daughter could not join us due to another commitment. Then my son was not able to come due to his work schedule :-(.

My neighbor has always been supportive of me and my feeble attempts at exercising. We joined a boot camp together about 6 years ago. I dropped out due to my embarrassment at being the worst in the class, while she kept going and took up running. It has bothered me since dropping out that I did. I could kick myself now, knowing how much healthier I would be if I had kept going. When she took up running is also when I got the idea that I would like to try that. But it’s taken me this long to actually do something about it (kick again). I was very happy that my friend agreed to do the Color Run with me!

You can guess from all the support I mustered up that I was pretty nervous about doing a run in public. The anxiety hit super hard as the run got closer. I was so disappointed not to have reached my goal weight and to know I would not be able to run the whole 5k. Those were long term goals that I was not meeting. I really had to dig deep to not give up based on just that. But my real goal is to just run no matter how slow and I love running even though it’s hard and I still have to walk a lot. I am improving as time goes on and I can’t forget that! I also know it’s mostly the mental side that holds me back, which is all the more reason to not quit and keep working on it.

In the week before the run, my friend encouraged me. She told me, that it was ok to not run the whole thing. She said our plan would be to run, then walk to catch my breath, then run, repeating all the way. She would stick with me the whole way. (This woman can run a 5k in under 24 minutes, which is great for our age.) She told me of her first 5k where she was not able to run the whole distance. She talked about our neighborhood that is not flat, so the hills are a challenge for a beginner.

In these couple months leading up to the Color Run, you might have followed my journey to get healthier and prepare for my first 5k, but I’d like to give a shout out to my family. First, my daughter began exercising and eating healthier. She’s never been much of an exerciser. She’s at a very healthy weight and her job can be very physically demanding, so she’s no slacker by any means. But her diet has been pretty poor and there has been no time dedicated to exercising. Here she is trying to eat healthier and exercising! I am so proud of her lifestyle changes! The same goes for her significant other. He had been exercising, but he stepped up his game to prepare for the run. He dropped ten pounds and spent countless hours on the treadmill walking at full incline! I’m so proud of him too. Even Darling has been seen walking. Maybe not consistently, but any walking is better than none! The whole point of the Color Run is to promote healthy living, and it certainly did for this family.

Back to the actual Color Run… Three of us had our packets ahead, but two needed to pick them up the morning of the run, so we made sure to get there early. We got a great parking spot in the closest lot to the start. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I was thinking there would be hundreds of people. My friend thought a thousand. We later found out it was actually six thousand. Whoa, that’s a lot of people. The other thing I discovered is that it was meant to be a lot more fun than my anxious mind had realized. People were dressed in bright, colorful outfits. Along with the white T-shirts prepared to be splattered with colored cornstarch, there were striped and polka dotted knee-hi socks, tutus, headbands, colorful duct tape shoe protector covers. I wish I had thought of how to bring my phone along so I could have gotten more pictures. (Some people had put their phones in plastic bags). Our packets included a couple tattoos and a striped headband. In order to feel more colorful, we used those. But if there’s a next year, we all decided tutus are a must!

My friend advised me to only have one cup of coffee and to eat something for breakfast. No problem there, since I’m a “morning eater”. I had my usual yogurt and fruit sprinkled with granola. I was careful to not drink too much water. We got in line about 8:45 for the 9 am start. We snuck in closer to the start, but we could see the people stretched a long ways out of sight. As it got close to 9 I realized how thirsty I was and my tummy was already grumbling that it was hungry. Sigh. Some people were drinking from water bottles and that was hard to watch. I was so wishing I had brought some water to drink while we waited. So, I learned I need to drink more water than I had!

Being a fun run, we had a DJ sort of guy at the start line entertaining us and giving away items like hats and frisbees. Close to 9, I started up my watch. With no official timing, I wanted a gauge of my time so I can measure my improvement in the future. At 9 we started, then we stopped. From as far back as we were we couldn’t really see the start line through all the people. We realized they were letting people go in waves. Now I understood what they meant by the start deadline was 10 am. It would take that long to let so many people start in waves. All this starting and stopping was hard on my anxiety! I didn’t count but I think we were about wave 6 to get released.

And there I was running a 5k. Since I got kind of long-winded with this post (sorry!), I’ll finish this in a second post.

Vicki, Paul, Mike, Eve, me

Vicki, Paul, Mike, Eve, me

 

Getting Back on Track

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I haven’t been posting lately because the last few weeks have been a disaster for me in the weight and fitness areas. This bad spell culminated in a realization that I had reverted into the old me. The one-who-was, last July. This is a slap in the face! This realization resulted in waking up in the middle of the night last night and tossing and turning. When I woke up, I listened to myself and I realized I was telling myself what a loser I am. No wonder I am not doing well.

Things first started falling apart after vacation a couple months ago. When I got home, I didn’t pick up my c25k program like I had been doing it. After that it was alternating good and bad days or stretches of days. Then I was sick. Then I hurt my hip (which is pretty much healed now).  I have this looming Color Run which I signed up for at the end of December expecting to be able to run the whole 5k. Well, I won’t be able to. I’m allowing the frustration of how difficult this is for me to discourage me. (And I’m well aware that it’s not just difficult for me physically, but mentally too of course).

And these past two weeks I have been dealing with lots of hunger because I’m not always eating healthy foods. I am having cravings, which normally I don’t. I’m feeling deprived. I’ve gained back a couple pounds. I was expecting to be ten pounds lighter than I am at this point. Too much social eating and temptations lately!

I don’t stop to recognize what I have accomplished. I just get upset at what I can’t YET do.

And all this is exactly why I am overweight. It is my battle.

I really want to keep my blog positive, but the truth is the truth and I have to fight this battle with everything I can muster up. Do I sound mad? Good!

Today, I’m tracking my food and drinking lots of water. I’m working on getting the new me back (mentally). I’m going to post this and get out for a walk. It’s hot out, but the sun is shining!

 

Turkey Trot

It wasn’t an official 5k, but that’s the distance I walked/jogged through my neighborhood on Thanksgiving morning. I had promised myself that in spite of being chicken (turkey?) to enter a real race, I was going to do a “5k Turkey Trot” for Thanksgiving on my own. It was the furthest I’ve gone during dedicated exercise and I’m very proud I stuck to my promise. Here’s what I learned by doing this.

1. I am very thankful to all the fitness bloggers I follow, especially the Fall Into Fitness challengers. I am always inspired by your posts and your accomplishments. It encourages me to keep trying, to try harder and to dream of being able to do some of the things you do regularly. I know how hard it is to do the things you do and still living a life besides eating well and exercising.  Thanks bloggers!

2. I was afraid of slipping on ice and being too cold, but went outside anyways. It was 28 degrees F. First, my very old treadmill is not calibrated anymore so I would not know when I had actually gone 5k. Second, I love being outside when I walk and have really missed it since it got colder. What I learned is, yes I was a little slower because I spent most of the time being careful of the ice patches. But where I live I will need to get used to that weather conditions will seldom be ideal. I will need to work around the weather and not let it deter me when conditions are not “ideal” (not sure what ideal is yet). I also got a sense of what to wear. I really had no idea of how to dress, except I thought layers would be good. I figured I could take things off if I got too warm. I had bought this goofy face mask thingie at Walmart (not official running gear obviously) that velcros in the back of your neck. I wore it but only needed it when I was in the higher open areas. But then I needed it since the wind caused immediate stinging and numbness on my face. This really slowed me down because I was so uncomfortable with the breathing through it.

Snow on the ground and ice on the bay

Snow on the ground and ice on the bay

3. My nose runs in the cold. This is the most annoying and distracting thing for me. No idea what to do about it. Anyone have ideas? I don’t know how I could handle this in a real race in public. Blowing my nose slowed me down and distracted my focus. I went through a lot of kleenex and had to breathe through my mouth most of the time.

4. By doing this, I feel I can take the next step and actually do a 5k with other people around (gasp!). I’m going to sign up for a Color Run in spring. It’s not an official timed race, but there will be other people there (gasp!). My goal is still to do an actual race and to continue to do them if my body allows. If my running neighbor had her way, I would go with her to a nice sheltered, level 5k around the State Fair grounds on New Year’s Eve day. Now, mind you, she is my age (old) and always places in the top 5 of her age group. Yep, still too chicken (turkey?) to go with her.

5. I have an actual time I can work with on improving. 57:35. It’s slow. I walked mostly, but I jogged when I could. I don’t know if I’m approaching this in a good way, but I will jog until I have trouble breathing and then walk until I feel I’ve caught my breath enough to jog again. I try not to jog very fast either so that I can go further. What I don’t know is if it’s a good idea to get so out of breath like that. But that’s how I like to do it. Anyways, it’s a slow time, but there were a lot of factors contributing to that as I mentioned. But it’s a number finally that I can work on improving.

Here's the proof

Here’s the proof

6. It was a big sacrifice for me to give up an hour of cooking and cleaning for my dinner guests. I feel somewhat bad to have not done the best job of hosting (something that’s important to me). Yet, I am not sorry I did the 5k. It felt so good. It was what I needed for me. Being healthy and fit does require sacrifices and it’s hard not to feel guilty about spending time away from other important things to stay healthy and fit (for me).

7. I really hurt a lot in a lot of places afterwards. My knee, my foot, my hips, lower back. Lots of reasons probably. Instead of coming in and stretching and resting I was standing for 20 minutes talking to my neighbor in the cold after and then jumping right in to hosting the meal being on my feet the rest of the day.

And that was my first 5k.