Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My First 5K

Sunday I managed to complete my first 5k. It was a run/walk event, so I knew there was no chance of me getting swept or anything. But I have never participated in a road race before, so I was still a little anxious about how things would play out.

I was spending the weekend up in Northern Wisconsin helping my Mom with her new restaurant. This was a big weekend for her since the much anticipated Musky Fest was taking place. Yep....I said Musky Fest. Apparently that's a big deal up here in Hayward. I must say that all this hunting, fishing, camping, and all-out woodsiness is lost on me. And the fact that the kick-off to summer is celebrated with a festival named after a big, ugly fish - well, it just freaks me out a little bit.

So the fourth and final day of Musky Fest started with the 5k. My new summer home is just a few blocks from the registration and start point so I walked down to join the festivities and pick up my free t-shirt. I watched the crowd grow as runners and walkers of all fitness levels joined the masses. I checked out some of the elite runners and made mental notes of all the cool gear. Some of those runners were already running in circles around a couple of blocks that made up the holding area for everyone who was registering. I mean, c'mon, you're gonna get a chance to run in just a few minutes. Whats with the extra credit?

I met a nice couple from Elgin, IL in the group. Elgin is not far from my home so we chit-chatted about the area. I also met a group of folks from Colorado who asked me to take their picture. I suppose I should've had someone take a picture of me to document the experience. But, frankly, I didn't know how this was gonna turn out and perhaps I would need to erase it from the archives. So the less photographic evidence the better.

Eventually the announcer started counting down the remaining minutes before the start of the race and everyone took their places at the starting line. I felt my heart beat just a little faster as I found my place comfortably to the side, but close to the front of the group. There were over 400 participants in this year's race and I was surprised at the turnout of the good ole Musky Fest 5k Run/Walk.

Shortly after I found my place in the herd of 5kers the announcer was counting down the remaining seconds before the official start.

Holy Crap! Here I am stuck in the middle of 400 crazy people who got out of bed early on a Sunday to self-propel themselves around 3.1 miles of Hayward, WI. What the heck was I thinking? And how the heck do I get out of this now?

But before I could come up with a good escape plan the gun fired to signal the start of the race and I was running with oodles of people around me. And everyone was running. Where are these walkers I've heard so much about? Clearly I was in the wrong section of crazy people. I should be somewhere between the dog-walkers and the wannabes. But nope. I was smack in the middle of the honest-to-goodness runners.


I was holding my own and not letting too many people pass me, but I was sucking some serious wind and I think we had gone all of two....maybe three blocks. But no on in front of me had started walking yet and I really didn't want to be the first to tucker out. Then I heard some women behind me say that they really wanted to walk but didn't want to be the first to stop. I figured this was my good deed for the day and took it upon myself to help them feel a little better about themselves. Of course there was the little issue of me not being about to breathe, but lets just say I stopped to help out my fellow wannabes.

So now I'm walking but maintaining a pretty good pace. Sure there were some runners passing me, but I was passing some of the walkers and that made me feel pretty good. I alternated jogging and walking for much of the race. Almost everyone I saw had a friend or a group with them. I was flying solo and just picked out people ahead of me to try to keep up with. After spending all my walking/jogging/wogging miles by myself, I enjoyed having others around to push me a little harder.

The first mile of the race about killed me. I took it way faster than I normally would have. And it took most of the second mile for me to recover. I was seriously rethinking this whole running ambition. How on earth did I come up with this idea without there being alcohol involved? Cuz it really seemed like a dumb idea right about now.

I came upon a water station and one of the volunteers there let us know it was the halfway mark and we were at 25 minutes. Seriously? How was I this tired and it took me 25 minutes to make it 1.5 miles? That's just stupid.

I had a goal of completing the 5k in less than 45 minutes. I normally jogged a leisurely 17 minute mile and shaving off 2 minutes a mile seemed like a good goal. And here I was only halfway done and not at all close to achieving my goal.

I was feeling better after recovering from my initial start with the crazy runners so I picked up the pace again. I was able to pass some other woggers and was now feeling pretty strong. All those miles I logged last month seemed to be paying off. It was nice that I was passing some people, but now I had to catch up to some others in order to figure out where the heck I was going. I didn't really know the course and just planned on following people in front of me. But now there were fewer people in front of me which presented a little problem. It wasn't long before I spied some people around a bend in the road and I jogged up a hill to catch up. My legs were on fire and I wasn't at all sure how I was supposed to function for the rest of the day. I just knew that I had to get to the finish line before I could relax any.

The last half of the race went faster for me. Partly because I actually went faster. And partly because I was just in a better place mentally. I felt strong and confident since I was back in the group of wannabes, directly ahead of the walkers, and safely out of the way of the crazy runners. Before I knew it I was rounding the corner which took me to the final stretch of the race. It was a good four or five blocks ahead of me, but I could see the finish line. I heard a group of spectators cheering everyone on and it got me a little choked up. I was having a hard enough time breathing. I didn't need these stinkin' people getting me all emotional before I finished the blasted thing. Thankfully I had so much sweat pouring off my face no one could tell if I was crying or not. All I know is that if I were crying it would've made it even harder for me to breathe and I might've made some wheezing/wind-sucking sound that may have caused someone to call an ambulance had they heard.

I started running faster and passed all sorts of people on that final stretch. I don't know how anyone could walk across the finish line. All that adrenaline practically carries you over the line if you let it. I heard the announcer say my name and "way to finish strong!" Was he implying that maybe my start and middle were a little weak? Hmmm??? Then I heard him say "just over 45 minutes. Nice job."

I looked at the clock at there is was 45:10. I wanted to complete it in under 45. But since this race wasn't chip-timed and I was at least 15 seconds behind the starting line I am totally giving myself the under 45 minute accomplishment.

I grabbed a water from one of the volunteers who held it out for me and quickly turned away from anyone looking - you know.....for fear of getting all emotional again. I'm such a big sap.

Once I pulled myself together I realized that no one gave me a medal or anything. Are you kidding me? I go to Mardi Gras, drink some beer, and people give me all sorts of beads and stuff. Here I just about killed myself wogging 3.1 miles and I'm rewarded with a bottle of water? Seems a little wrong to me.

So, I have no finisher medal to show for it, but I am able to check off one step on my way to a larger goal. And I do have that t-shirt with a picture of a big, ugly fish on it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Doctor Stress Revisited & Relieved

Some of you may remember me bellyaching about not being able to find a decent doctor in my Lent Success and Doctor Stress post way back in February. I have never, in all my 37 years, had a doctor I liked. And so I rarely visit them. I'm relatively healthy, but they still manage to find something or other wrong with me and the solution always seems to be a prescription of some sort. I really, really hate taking medication. I always have. So I usually take their little scribbled piece of paper, spend the next week worrying about all the doom and gloom that is transpiring inside me, and then get on with my life and convince myself that the doctor was a big doofus anyway.

I know there are good doctors out there. My kids had a great pediatrician. I was so blessed to have found him. So I was uber dismayed when he told us he was moving to Utah last August. And finding new doctors for the kids has only given credence to my theory that there are many doctors out there that rate as big doofuses.

Anyway, back to me....

I decided to wait the ridiculously long amount of time to get into this new doctor. I prepared for the onslaught of medical history forms, disapproving looks, and hushed "uh-huhs" from the doctor while she scribbled notes.

It turns out the worst part of the visit happened before I ever met my new doctor. The nurse did the routine height/weight measurements and repeated the numbers as she wrote them down. I was fine with the weight thing. This was actually fun since I had lost weight and I was happy to see that the scale at the doctor's office agreed with mine at home. But as I was slipping on my shoes and walking out the door it dawned on me that she said 5'-5"......WHAT????? Clearly she has her measurements wrong because I'm 5'-6". I questioned her and she offered to measure me again.


Holy crap. I'm shrinking already?! Maybe I was given false information all those years ago when one of the previous doofuses told me I was 5'-6"? Does she have any idea what this is gonna do to my BMI? Doesn't she realize that Mr. Wii Fit Dude is not gonna have anything at all nice to say about this?

I was stunned - and not liking how the visit was progressing so far. But I dragged myself into the room behind the nurse in order for her to take more of those measurements like blood pressure and pulse and whatnot. Surely those numbers should've mattered more to me, but I just couldn't get passed the fact that I was gonna have to tell Mr. Wii Fit Dude that, even though I had lost weight, my BMI had just got markedly worse.

Stupid doctors.

I was already irritated and I hadn't even met my new doc yet.

She walked into the room and started speaking in a thick Scandinavian accent. I could barely understand her and wasn't sure that my smile and nod response to each question was really appropriate - but she was very personable. Quickly we got past the language barrier and it didn't take long for me to decide that I liked her. I mean, it wasn't her fault that I'm shrinking.

She was thorough, but not too quick to prescribe medications and understood my reluctance to take anything on a regular basis. She had my records and questioned why I didn't have a regular doctor, but didn't lecture me. She also noticed that I had lost a significant amount of weight since my last visit (albeit three years ago) and gave me a healthy round of "atta girls".

Of course I still had to do all sorts of labs and blood work. I was thrilled that all the important stuff like blood sugar and cholesterol were right where they should be. She did find that my thyroid is "all out of whack" as she put it. And in the understatement of the year she said, "It has probably made it pretty easy for you to gain weight".

Um...yeah. That and the chocolate cake.

So anyway, we got off to a great start. I will go see her again in a couple weeks. She's monitoring my blood pressure. Mine is pretty high and I have a family history of high blood pressure, but she is still letting me try to lower it on my own before she prescribes anything. She was actually supportive of my efforts rather than trying to persuade me to take the medication which is what every other doctor has tried to do. So I like her.

Its about time!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Do!

Do you, Kelly, take this blog for better or for worse?
In sickness and in health?

Do you promise not to forget about it and leave your poor readers hangin' for weeks on end with no stinkin' updates?

I do, I do, I do!!!

Can you tell I was just at a wedding this weekend? I'm not a big fan of weddings. I get all weepy and pathetic. And usually all the cool kids leave early and then there is no one left to dance with except for some drunk guy who no one really knows. This one was nice though. And I thought it good timing to re-commit to my writing here.

Did ya miss me?

C' missed me just a little, didn't ya?

Actually, I was really touched by several folks who contacted me via Facebook, email, and IM to inquire about my well-being. I suppose the first thing that would come to one's mind when seeing a dormant blog about running/weight loss/and grand lofty goals would be the thought that perhaps the crazy goal-setter has come to her senses and is camped out on the couch with her good buddies Ben and Jerry.

One might think that....

But they'd be wrong!

While I have allowed the busyness of life to take over the spare moments I used to set aside for writing, I have not allowed it to sabotage my healthy new lifestyle. I've munched on berries during road trips up north while the kids ate pizza in the back seat. I've eaten a veggie burger at the baseball stadium in lieu of my usual order of a brat with a side of cheeseburger and a nacho chaser. I've increased my wogging speed enough to have to purchase a new sports bra for "the girls" in order to avoid injury and/or embarrassment. And just this past weekend I actually gave up my piece of wedding cake. Oh yea...I'm in this for the long haul, my friend.

Those of you who have followed me from the beginning might remember I had originally planned on running the Madison 1/4 marathon on Memorial Day weekend. But I was needed up north to help my Mom open her new restaurant. So, instead, I spent a week slinging fast food and surrounded by oodles of toxic temptations like chili/cheese dogs, Italian beef sammies that weighed more than a small dog, and sugar cookies the size of my head. Somehow I still managed to lose weight that week - so I was pretty proud of myself. No stinkin' chili dog is standing between me and that shiny medal they will be giving me when I finish that half marathon. Nosireebob!

So the change in plans resulted in me rescheduling my first "official" run to be up in Hayward, WI on June 27th - 4 weeks from today. Its only a 5k. I know I can run that. But it will be interesting to do it in an actual, official, real-live race event.

Thanks for stinking around. And special thanks to my cyber friends and real-life friends who expressed interest in me continuing this blog. I have lots to tell you guys.


Stay tuned :)