Run, Baby, Run

I’ve been running.

A lot.

After my successful completion of The Great Chocolate Race in early November, I decided to fill the next few weeks with more races. On Thanksgiving, I completed the local Turkey Trot (5k), and this past weekend, I ran in the OUC Half Marathon.


I’m getting faster.

I’m getting stronger.

I’m getting happier.

I’ve basically stopped weighing myself, and I hardly count calories now. I focus on meals as an opportunity to fuel my runs, and, as a result, I find that I obsess less about food and make healthier choices naturally.

I can’t wait for the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge: just four weeks away!

~ Tori

The Great Chocolate Race!

I know I’ve been rather quiet on here the last year or so, but rest assured my interest and passion for exercise, nutrition, and weight loss has never abated.

In fact, in the last few months, I’ve developed a love for running that has become nearly an obsession.

I have always wanted to be a “runner;” that is to say, I always wanted to find the joy in running that so many people I know had, but it always seemed elusive to me. I’d sign up for 5Ks and find myself snoozing my alarm clock, looking for excuses not to go. When I did get myself there (about 50% of the time, sadly, prior to 2016), I would hate every step of the run, and would count down the mileage like a silent prayer to the fitness gods.

But something changed. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but something in me flipped. I think it was in the Spring, at the Winter Park Road Race. I think running the 10K without stopping, setting a personal PR of sub-55 minutes, was the catalyst I needed.

I think the main reason I disliked running was because I thought I was inherently bad at it, purely because I wasn’t the fastest.

But running, unless you’re an Olympic track star, is not about speed: it’s about going.

Once I realized that running was about the mind-body connection and not about the speed, running suddenly became an addiction.

I found myself amazed by my strength and endurance, and each run I managed to run longer, faster, and with less recovery needed.

Last weekend, I ran in The Great Chocolate Race, a 10+ mile course covering downtown Orlando. My only goal upon arrival was to RUN the whole thing; no stopping unless I truly had to (i.e. shoes untied or some halt-worthy emergency). I didn’t care about my time: I just wanted to be able to say to myself that I never stopped.

Well …it worked.

 

Per my RunKeeper app, I ran 10.52 miles (must have taken wide turns?) in 1:35:37.

1:35:37

That’s a 9:05 Min/Mile pace.

That’s more than a minute faster per mile than I planned, and it was one of the best races I’ve ever had.

I went into the run with the goal of finishing, and I ended up taking 2nd place for my age/gender.

SECOND PLACE!

Overall, I came in 45th place out of ALL runners, and came in 22nd out of all females.

When did I become a runner?

The day I decided I was one.

Bon appetit, my friends, and happy running (or whatever sport tickles your fancy),

~ Tori

The Dopey Challenge: Committed!

On a masochistic whim, I decided to do something very, very crazy: I signed up to complete the Disney Dopey Challenge.

What is the Dopey Challenge, you ask?

It’s running 48.6 miles in four days: a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon in a long weekend.

I’m not 100% sure why I decided to sign up …I just did it. It felt right. It felt like something I needed to do.

In January 2017, I’m dragging my husband and some friends to Walt Disney World to spend a weekend running, recovering, and potentially boozing (just a little).

What did I get myself in to?

Thus far, I’ve never run a marathon in my life. In fact, I’ve only run two half marathons, and only one was at a timed race. I’m running in the OUC Half Marathon in December, and less than four weeks later, I somehow think I’m going to run my first marathon – after running 22.4 miles the three days before.

*GULP*

Any suggestions for a good training plan (other than RUN LIKE HELL)?

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

The Winter Park 10K Road Race

On Saturday, March 12th, I forced myself out of my warm, cozy bed to lace on my sneakers and head out to run the Winter Park 10K Road Race.

I remember lying there, trying to come up with a valid excuse to skip, desperate to go back to sleep. Despite my better judgment, I had stayed up late watching House of Cards with my hubby, and I knew I would regret it when the alarm rang at 5am.

Somehow, I forced myself out of bed. Honestly, I don’t know what made me do it. I could have easily lied and told my husband I overslept or, to be frank, told him the truth: I didn’t want to go.

But why didn’t I want to go?

I had registered for the race months in advance. I had stepped up my cardio at the gym, and I had no one to impress: my friends and family weren’t running it with me, so I had signed up to do it all on my own.

So, why didn’t I want go to?

I was scared I couldn’t do it.

Not physically unable, but mentally. I knew I could do 90 minutes of cardio at the gym (absorbed in a movie on my ipad), but could I run with 35,00 other people with nothing but my thoughts and the asphalt?

I didn’t trust my will power. I didn’t trust my resolve. I didn’t trust myself.

I was scared to see myself fail, even though no one else would ever know. And I almost skipped the run.

But, somehow, I did it. I got up. I got dressed. I choked down a protein bar and sipped some water, and I drove to Winter Park while my husband and puppies slept peacefully.

I was anxious when I parked. I felt nauseated when I picked up my race number and t-shirt. I debated heading back to the car a hundred times, but as I saw runners of all shapes and sizes arrive, eager to run, I realized that I was focusing on the wrong thing.

It didn’t matter if I had to stop and walk. It didn’t matter if I was slower than the other women my age.

I was already winning.

I was here. I was willing to try. I was doing more than the other quarter of a million people living in the Orlando-area who weren’t up at 6am, stretching their calves on a curb. I was going to run, or jog, or run/jog, or run/walk, or whatever it was that I was going to do – I was here.

I sang along to the Star Spangled Banner and took off with the gun shot, and I ran.Well, jogged quickly, as I was working my way through 3,500 people just to get to the real starting line.

Before we’d gone half of a mile, people started to walk. I passed people younger than me, and people who looked like they lived in the gym. I felt a little stronger with each person I passed.

When I hit the one mile mark, the clock read 10:08.

Now, 10:08 isn’t a record mile by any means, but everyone knows the first mile is always inaccurate, as the real race clock starts when you cross the starting line, so seeing 10:08 meant my real first mile was likely closer to 9:30 or so. That was a good pace for a 10K (6.2 miles, in case you’re not into the metric system), but was it sustainable? Most of my 5Ks were around 28 minutes, so a 9:30/mile for a 10K didn’t seem realistic.

At mile two, the clock read 19:35.

Wait a second. Did I get faster? That couldn’t be right. I must have misread it.

Before I hit mile three, I realized a lot of people had “dropped off” from the run. Not quit the race, of course, but they’d stopped to walk along the way. The people I was pacing with now were in it for the long haul. I spotted a middle-aged man, maybe in his early 50s, who was in great shape and holding almost the exact same stride as me. I decided he would be my mental-pacer, the person I would try to stay with throughout the rest of the race.

At the 5K (3.1) mark, the clock read 28:04.

Wait, what? I AM getting faster.

At mile four, there was a hill. Now, for anyone who knows Florida, we don’t have hills. At all. But Winter Park has a few baby ones, and one happened to be at mile four. It may have been small, but it BURNED. But I kept with my pace-buddy (did he think I was stalking him?), and I made it.

At mile five, the clock read 48:37. I have never run five miles in less than 50 minutes in my life. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to cry, but then I realized how silly it would be to start crying during a 10K and I kept going.

Did I mention I hadn’t stopped? I had kept running –and kept up with my pacer– for the entire time so far.

Mile six gave me a jolt of excitement. I could see the finish. I could hear the music. I had very few people around me now, and most of the “droppers” were gone. I was with the runners.

I crossed the finish line at 56:46. I ran 6.2 miles in 56 minutes and 46 seconds. How? What? Holy shit.

Race 56.46

Sorry about the ridiculous watermarks, but I can’t pay $28.99 for a single JPG. Seriously, Track Shack??

Come to find out, my official race time was 56:10. I ran the 10K at a 9:02/mile average pace, faster than I normally run my 5Ks.

Let’s summarize this a bit:

I woke up anxious. I spent the entire morning afraid I couldn’t run the race (regardless of pace). I had to give myself a pep talk just to start the run, and yet I set a PERSONAL RECORD?

I SET A PR!!!

prisoners

I’m glad I didn’t let my mind hold me prisoner on Saturday morning, for I never would have known just how strong I could be.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Almost 2016

It has been several weeks since I posted on here, and several months since I posted with any regularity.

I’ll admit, 2015 has been a rough year for me in regards to my weight, but it has been a beautiful year in almost every other way.

I decided sometime around late August to stop worrying about my weight -which was climbing steadily despite ardent (translation: OBSESSIVE) exercise and dieting- and instead focus on enjoying my day-to-day LIFE. You know the old adage about a “watched pot never boils,” right? Well, I was watching that pot like a hawk, and it was lukewarm (and growing colder by the moment), so it was time to step out of the kitchen.

That being said, I didn’t stop caring about my health. God, no. Exercise has and will always be a part of my adult life: it’s my daily stress relief and something I do just for myself.

I’ve continued working out and trying to eat well, but I’ve stopped beating myself up after every cheat. I’ve also let myself indulge way more than normal, and it has been downright glorious. Chocolate and red wine have been in good company in my belly for several months.

Yes, my weight is up. As of this morning, I’m back up to 137.8, a weight I haven’t touched in over three years. This time last year, I was swinging from 124-127, so this is a big jump, and I’m not denying I can see it on more than just the scale. This Yo-Yo has some dough-dough, and it’s mostly sitting on her butt and hips (a first, honestly, since it used to all gather in my belly).

That being said, not watching the scale –and not letting my weight dictate my emotions– has been a beautiful, freeing adventure. And, surprisingly, it really didn’t cause much damage. At least, not as much as I expected.

I thought when I gave up weighing in daily, religiously using my GymPact and MyFitnessPal, and posting here, my weight would spiral out of control. I figured I’d be over 145 lbs by now.

Looking at the day of my last weigh in – the day I decided to “unplug” from my obsession almost four months ago – I am happy to say I’m only three pounds heavier on the scale. Huh. Three pounds heavier, but emotionally lighter than I’ve been in years.

That being said, instead of setting a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier or lose weight, this year I want to focus on accomplishing goals. I want to run a 10k in March, a half Marathon in November, and a marathon in December.

I’ve already registered for two of the three races, and will register for the third as soon as registration opens in the Spring. I’m putting my money where my mouth is on this one.

Starting the week of the 4th, I’ll begin a running program to train for distance running. I won’t worry about my weight; I’ll focus on my breathing, my stamina, and my distance. I won’t worry about my pant size, but rather the soreness in my muscles and the strength in each leg.

While 2015 was about letting go, 2016 will just be about GO.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

P.S. Isn’t my mother-in-law beautiful? The picture is of her and I on Christmas Eve at my house. We’re so in-sync, we dress to match on accident.