's been awhile. Since my last post I finished that training plan and started a new one in January. To be honest, it became a lot harder towards the end of my first training plan last fall. It had nothing to do with the physical aspect of running. It was much more mental. I took a day off here and there and that turned into laziness and apathy. So I made a new plan in January. But I didn't stick to it. However, I did keep running. I just wasn't as diligent in my training. 
All of this training and non-training led up to the big day last weekend: My first half-marathon. I had done a 10 mile run in early January (just to prove to myself that I could) and some 6 and 8 mile runs over the last few weeks but I went in nervous and underprepared. My goal was 2.5 hours which meant running at about an 11.5 minute pace. Results? 2:29:30. I did it! Not only did I complete my first half marathon, but I came in under my goal time. 

Now I get to run for fun. And I'm not really sure what that means. Since I started running last year I've always had goals: complete a 5K, run a faster 5K, complete a 10K, complete a half-marathon. Now what? I supposed I could always try to run faster and farther, but I've honestly grown a little bored with it. I do still enjoy running though. So I'll continue. 

Currently I'm really enjoying getting other people into running. If I can do it (and lose 60 pounds in the process) than anyone can! I honestly couldn't run more than a few yards when I started less than a year ago and I ran a consistent 13.1 miles last weekend. I'm challenging my students and there families to join me in the AAZK Zoo Run on May 19th. I ran this one last year and it's a lot of fun. There's a 5K that runs through the zoo but there are shorter races for younger kids as well. This one is fun for the whole family and I really hope to get a lot of students out there!

Until next time...keep running!

A lot has happened in the last two weeks!
A few days after my last post I ran my first 10K. My ideal (and unrealistic goal) was to finish under 60 minutes. This is just a little better than a 10 minute/mile pace and my average pace for long runs until that point had been closer to 12 minutes. To my surprise, I finished in 63 minutes and maintained a 10 minute/mile pace for 6.2 miles!

It was a great race and I really enjoyed running the longer distance. It seemed like more of a 'runners race', as though people had trained more and there were more serious people at this one than the 5Ks I have previously run. Looking forward to some more 10Ks in the future!


I also went on my first trail run this weekend. It was a pretty relaxed three mile trek, but after already running almost 20 miles this week it was a good workout. The route56 band led worship for a retreat at this amazing camp this weekend and a few hours after our trail run I found myself doing the "hike to the cross" with some of the students. As we prepared for the somewhat simple hike we were told that there was a second cross that the students weren't allowed to hike to because it was too high and dangerous. Man challenge accepted. Along with the other guys from the band we began the arduous journey up the mountain. After a good hike we found ourselves literally scaling rock walls and at the end I could not believe how high and far we had climbed! The pics really don't do it justice, but believe me when I say it was quite a journey!

I made the remark to Shauna that my balance and center of gravity has shifted a lot since I've lost weight. I've always been a bit clumsy, but carrying around extra weight really does something to your equilibrium. This was the first real challenge I've had since losing 50 pounds and I was really impressed at what my body could do. Definitely something I would want to try again. 

So, now I've got six weeks left for my training program. I ran 7 miles on Friday and though I had some minor complications, I can safely say that the long runs are getting easier. I'm getting more comfortable. I've got a 10 mile Red Nose Run in January before the Half-Marathon in February. I'm looking for a good race in December. I'm headed home (New Orleans) next week and looking forward to doing my 8 mile long run along the levee of the Mississippi River. 

Till next time, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

After experiencing some leg pain over the past few runs I decided it was probably time to start looking at a new pair of shoes. I love my current shoes. But I've had them for over six months, close to 300 miles, and....they're trail running shoes. In my over-eager ignorance when shopping for my first pair of shoes last March I managed to buy a pair of trail running shoes without thinking much of it. I figured I would probably do some trail running (wrong!) and that they would be just as well suited for hard surface running (wrong!). 

So this weekend I picked up a pair of Reebok Zigfly SE running shoes and I LOVE them. Just got back from my first run and I knocked a solid 7-8 minutes off of my four mile run. That's a two minute per mile difference!

Since my heel hits first when I run, the unique shape of the sole of this shoe adds spring to my step. At times I almost felt like a kangaroo, bouncing along. It definitely added a some extra zip into my run!

I'm still not used to spending so much for running shoes, since we are tight on our budget in almost every other area but I'm learning that you have to spend money on some things in order to do it right. Make sure that you get good equipment to take care of the only thing that really matters in running: your body. Poor equipment and maintenance will tear down the one thing you need more than anything. Take the time and money to do it right. Pay attention to your body and listen to the signs it's giving you. For me, that meant new shoes. What's your body telling you?
Had a GREAT long run today. I'm still amazed. I did 6.25 miles in just under 70 minutes and it felt great. I was having leg pains and cramps earlier this week, but I felt great during the run and even better after. I'd like to think that I'm just getting better at this running thing, but I know that some days are just excellent running days and others aren't. This was a good day.
I've always been really self-concious. But running has been changing that over the past year. Sure, weight loss and feeling better in my body and clothes definitely help and play a major role, but don't overlook the actual accomplishment of running. 

When you start out your day (or end your day) with something that most people can't do, it gives you a big rush of energy and confidence. You've had to work hard and earn the miles that you run every day. Knowing that I ran 3.5 miles yesterday and will run 6 miles tomorrow give me a huge confidence boost. This is something that I'm not really used to, but I like it. 

Setting goals (whether it is time or distance) and accomplishing them drives me forward and gives me a better outlook on the day. Make sure that you are setting goals and pushing yourself. Soon you will be accomplishing things that you never thought possible. I do my first 10K next weekend!
I'm sitting on the couch in my living room completely wiped out from my 5 mile run. I've done 5 miles and longer before, but for some reason I'm completely drained right now. I'll probably feel great in a few hours, but right now I could really go for a good nap. 

Run even when you don't feel like it. 
                                       Running is about perseverance. 
           This means two things: Getting to the Run and Continuing the Run. 

Getting to the Run
I have often heard it said that the hardest step for a runner is the first step out of the door. So true! Even now as I type this (10:30 on a Tuesday morning), I haven't been for my run yet. Granted I could do it tonight when I go to the gym, but to get the full workout I need tonight I need to get my run out of the way early. I don't even have a hard run today...just two miles! Ultimately I think laziness begets laziness. Once you set yourself into a pattern, it is hard to break it. The good news is that activity also begets activity. If you train yourself to be active, then this will be your default. I'm still trying to get myself back to that point. But, ultimately it starts with that first step out of the door. 

Continuing the Run
It is immensely useful to have a set number of miles in my head before I take the first step each day. Before I began this program I would plan for at least a mile or two and then keep running if I felt like it. Mostly this resulted in short runs. I think that it is crucial to have a number in your head before you start running. During the run my mind plays crazy tricks on me. Within half a mile I can go from periods of ease and elation to frustrating agony. There are times when I am on top of the world and times where I am certain that if I take one more step I will die. Keep your end goal in clear focus and persevere to the end. 

Now, it's time for me to go and get my two miles in! That will make 33 miles in the last Seventeen days. 

I just got back from the Susan G Komen race for the cure and it was my first BIG race. Not sure how many people were actually there and raced but 13,000+ people registered. All of my previous races were with groups of 100-500 people, and there were easily 5000+ at this event. I really liked the intensity and build up of the race. With that many people there is an electricity in the air. 

Now for the downside...With that many people, we didn't actually cross the starting line until at least 10 minutes after the race had begun. This throws off my timing, so I have an unofficial time of about 32 minutes for this race. This race also seemed to be about 80% walkers. I'm all for big events and fitness for all, but they should have segregated runners and walkers. I spent the majority of my three miles dodging walkers and feeling more like a runningback looking for a hole to break through than a runner. Admittedly, this can be fun and it definitely added a challenge to the race and took my mind off of running. There is something very invigorating about running by thousands of people that are walking. 

I look forward to doing this race again next year now that I have a better idea of what to expect. Now, I look forward to my first 10K in November. Back to training!
It's Friday and I just got back from my first long run. To be honest, four miles isn't too bad for me anymore but as the miles increase each week I'm sure that my Friday runs will become gradually more brutal. Today was GREAT. The weather is perfect outside and really helps with my laziness. When the weather is this great, I can wake up and lie around the house for a few hours before going for a long run at noon and it's still not too hot. Just goes to show you that you can be far from perfect and make running fit into your life and schedule, no matter what it is. 

Thus far I'm really enjoying being on a schedule. It's great to look at the schedule each morning and see what I've got in store for the day. It takes all of the guess work out of it and gives me a concrete goal that I can check off every 24 hours. This week has been all about adapting and, honestly, it's been more about not doing things than doing things. The week started on Sunday, and it was a great day for a run. But my schedule declared that it was a day at rest and I knew I had a long week ahead. Yesterday I went to the gym and, for the first time ever, worked out without running or doing any cardio. It was a strange feeling, but really allowed me to dig into my strength training (my arms still hurt as I type this!). 

I think one of my favorite things about running has got to be the community. I have been encouraged (and continue to be encouraged) by experienced runners. Oddly enough, I found that my story has also encouraged people. And in another twist, the people that were encouraged by my story are now encouraging and pushing me harder. This may also have something to do with my competitive nature, but I have really enjoyed the encouragement and challenges from fellow runners, regardless of experience. 

Tommorow is a crosstraining day and I'll be helping Shauna's mom move a couple of refridgerators and dining room tables. Certainly not traditional cross training, but I think it will make for great exercise and I look forward to some manual labor. I've got the Race for the Cure 5K coming up in two weeks and I look forward to my first BIG race. More on that later. 

Keep running.
I've been toying with the idea of adding a running blog for a while. Running is an interesting experience. It causes me to search inside myself. It pushes me to new levels. It inspires people and brings a sense of community. I've been surprised at the changes that have occured besides the obvious physical changes. I feel better when I run. It's like I have a new perspective on the day. 

I have always been overweight. Although I was really thin as a child, I started putting on weight in elementary school and by high school I was up to 275 lbs. At 5'10", that's a lot of weight. Actually, that's a lot of weight at any height. I started watching what I ate around my 11th grade year and dropped to 240 lbs. I felt great and managed to stay at 240 through college and into my first couple of years of marraige. My weight didn't come back all at once. It slowly creeped on, pound by pound, until I looked down at the scale and realized I was back at 275 lbs. I tried to fight it. I tried to change. I fasted. I tried P90X. Twice. We joined a gym (and went 3 times within the span of a year). I attempted running, but couldn't seem to get into it. 

At the end of my rope, I made a big change in December of 2010. I decided that I needed help. We bought a Groupon deal for 4 weeks of Medical Weight Loss Solutions consultations and B12 shots. I wasn't naive enough to expect this to do all of the work for me, but thought it would be a great jump start to 2011. We were put on a strict diet and had four b12 shots over the period of a month. By the end of it, I had lost 10 lbs and was ready to lose more. We joined Fitworks Fitness gym in January and Jon Reinicke trained us in proper nutrition and exercise. It is here that our journey really began. We were in the gym 4-5+ days each week, spending time on the treadmill and doing a lot of weight lifting and strength building exercises. For once I felt like I had a plan and it was working. Through the spring the pounds fell off and by May 2011 I was down to 230 lbs, lower than I had ever been in my adult life! 

We enjoyed a great anniversary trip to the beach that May and then settled in for what was to be a rough summer. Our schedule changes during the summer and I go from being insanely busy and productive to sitting on the couch all day. We left our gym and, though I had found a new passion for running and completed two 5Ks, found that it was too hot to run outside. On a positive note, I lost a few pounds and have since been maintaining my weight (220-225). Once Fall hit and we got back into our schedule I knew it was time to get into something more consistant and start losing weight again. We had recently joined Planet Fitness and in October I decided to start taking running seriously again and began a twelve week half marathon training program. 

This blog will chronicle that twelve week training program. Currently I am on Day Three of the program. I rested on Sunday, ran three miles yesterday, and will run two miles tonight befo