5K

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What a Difference a Year Makes!

Published June 8, 2014 by Susan Woodward

One year ago (yesterday) I completed my first-ever 5K… I was dying!  I nearly collapsed when I came across the finish line, I was dehydrated because I had not learned about how to hydrate correctly, and I had make the horrible mistake of thinking that dried prunes were a good before-the-race energy snack.

This was me one year ago…happy to be alive after 5K of power-walking.  It was huge for me at the time because I was just starting on the road to getting into better shape and being healthier.

I remember crashing once I got home, my legs shaking and muscles screaming.  But I was SO proud of myself!!

That was my first 5K race… I did three more this past year:

Run For Your Life (chased by zombies)- August

Push Yourself – October

It’s a Wonderful Run (in a snowstorm)- December

It seems I have a particular pose I like to strike to show off my “strength”…

In any case, June 2013 was the beginning of training for power-walk racing for me…no running.  I like my knees the way they are…even without the ACL in one of them!

After the holidays, I began getting ready to up my game… and I did the Spring Forward 15K in Mendon Ponds Park.  I was in PAIN for days after climbing those HILLS for 9.3 miles!  I had not hydrated correctly (again…didn’t learn…), and I ended up on the couch for several days not being able to move around much.  It took nearly three weeks to recover!  Once I managed to get over the soreness, I decided to try the next level… a half-marathon.  Heck, I was walking, right?  Not like I had to RUN for 13.1 miles!

So I joined up in a few walks with the Genesee Vally Hiking Club and took myself to the mall during the cold weather to walk the halls.  Another 15K with the hiking club nearly did me in… I completed the 10 mile hike, but even though I drank lots of water, I STILL was a hurting puppy from dehydration.  I decided to do some research about how to prepare myself…

And it turns out that the best thing I could use to help myself was Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!  🙂

The week before the half-marathon in Niagara Falls, I put chia seeds in everything.  I also drank an entire case of coconut water (which I now love and crave every day…).  I got some of those energy gel pouches to carry with me during the race, as well as some of those rehyrdrating gummies…and they worked!

NFWHM-FINAL-FLAT I managed to complete the 21.1K!!  That’s more than FOUR 5Ks at one time!!  For me, that was like doing the YMCA race, Run For Your Life, Push Yourself, and It’s a Wonderful Run BACK TO BACK!!

And I DID it!!! 

In 18 months, I went from couch (and a pack a day) to silks to 5K to 15K to a half-marathon!!  And I am STILL smoke free!!

And I got to meet a wonderfully inspiring woman, Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon (in spite of the judge trying to force her out of the “male” race by trying to rip off her bib).  She signed her book Marathon Woman for me, and I shall be reading that as soon as school is out…it shall inspire me to keep going, even when I am tired, sore, dehydrated, frustrated, or just plain lazy.

 

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What a difference a year makes!!!

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Still Trekking: It’s a Wonderful Run…Well, Stroll!

Published December 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

banner-5kChalking up another 5K for me in 2013!  That’s a total of 4…and for someone who had NEVER done anything like that in 51 years, that’s an awesome accomplishment, even if I do say do myself.

meOk…so here I am just before the race: thermal leggings, jeans, snow pants…check, check, check.  Turtleneck, t-shirt, hoodie, ski jacket, and racing shirt…check, check, check, check, check.  Wool hat, headband, face cover, hoodie hood, jacket hood, goggles…check, check, check, check, check, check.  Wool socks, cotton socks, plastic bags, semi-waterproof boots… check, check, check, check.  Two pairs of gloves…check, check.  Alrighty!  It’s 16 degrees and it’s snowing…and I am ready to run!  I look about 150 pounds heavier, but at least I am completely insulated.

By the end of the race, I was sweating like crazy!!  Because of the snow, cold, layers, and lack of training, this became more of a Wonderful Stroll than a Run, but it gave me an opportunity to see the beauty of the village and to appreciate the good wishes of all the people who came out to cheer us on!  There were lights, music played, people had bon fires, and some offered hot cider.  It truly was WONDERFUL!

JeanetteThis is my friend Jeanette who was crazy enough to go with me!  Actually, she was the one to tell me about it in the first place…and I am glad she did.  We had an awesome time!

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This is the bridge that George Bailey wanted to jump from before Clarence beat him to it.  I stood at the rail looking into the churning water, imaging jumping in to save someone…I told Jeanette she’d better not jump!

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I have plans for this Main Street at the end of the race!

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Martini’s!!

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If we’d stayed in town longer, I would have gone to see this.  The whole town really gets into the spirit of the holiday and the film!  The florist was giving out roses to the ladies…Zuzu’s petals!  And mine was an amethyst tea rose…my favorite flower in the whole world!

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Just look at the crowd!

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And lots of people came in costume!  People ran with pets, some pushed baby strollers as families participated together, and we even saw a person in a wheelchair while on the trek.

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The race begins on the bridge…just look at all the people lining up for the gun to go off!  We heard that there were over 4000 folks registered for the race!

Because I am a true nut case, here’s video proof:

It truly was a Wonderful Run!

Push Yourself 5K– I did it!

Published October 6, 2013 by Susan Woodward

2013 has been one heck of a year, and ever since January, I have been pushing myself.

Thanks to Will D’Ovidio and Aerial Arts of Rochester, I pushed myself off the couch and into the air (sort of).

Patty Hedrick pushed me in the direction of better eating.

I pushed the pack away from me and quit smoking (nine months this week!!).

I followed my bliss and pushed from one ocean to another this summer.

And I pushed myself to start doing 5Ks…even being chased by zombies!

Push Yourself LogoToday I pushed myself again with the Push Yourself 5K.  What made this one different was that I was surrounded by faculty and students from my high school…it wasn’t just me all by myself, anonymously running/walking.  It’s actually easier when I am incognito and no one knows me because (in my mind) I worry that people I know who are in much better shape than me will look at me and say, “humph…” as I trudge along.  Or that students might laugh at me because I still jiggle when I jog.  That is what nearly held me back from pushing myself out of bed this morning to get ready.

Now people might want to argue that it doesn’t seem like I really care what people think because I posted those videos of myself doing aerial silks and other pictures.   In those instances, the internet distances me from thoughts of judgement or snide remarks, so I am not bothered by that.  What did make me feel a bit trepidatious today was being surround by former and current student athletes who actually intimidate me.  Those who play soccer, and volleyball, and run track… they are all in great shape, and this 5K seems like another run in the park from my viewpoint.

To be completely honest, I felt out of control.  I am absolutely not in my element, and there are witnesses who know me in the classroom as one who is totally in control there.  The roles were reversed, and quite frankly, I was scared to run.  That’s why the other races didn’t scare me…I was my own witness, and then I shared my feelings of success.  Today, for the first time, I was actually afraid of being laughed at.

But you know what?  That didn’t happen.  Students actually encouraged me to “push myself” to keep going along the way.  Some came up to me afterwards to say that I’d done a great job in finishing…and that made me feel all the more successful.

At one point, I even caught up to the boy’s soccer team during the last mile of the race.  I called out to them, “Hey, Guys!  There’s a 51 year old lady catching up to you!  Push yourselves!”  They looked back, laughed (not at me, but with me), and then took off running.   It was fun, and that’s what it’s all about!

 

Following My Bliss: Zombie 5K!!

Published August 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward

100_0720This is the tent where zombies are created!  Although I didn’t get to be one in this race, I DID get chased by the product of all this goop and goo!

For my second 5K, I think I probably should have trained a bit more for this one.  I knew about the obstacle course, but I didn’t realize JUST how challenging it was going to be.  I mean, it’s not like the Tough Mudder!  Or was it…?

For me, this might just as well have been the Tough Mudder because it sure was tough on these bones…and muscles!  I am still hurting a week later!  As much pain as I feel in my muscles (particularly in my thighs), I want to participate in more 5K’s in the future.  I am glad my friend, Jeanette was running with me!

These are just a couple of shots of what I could see of the course from along the sidelines.  It doesn’t look all that intimidating, but once I was actually trying to run it, I realized a couple of things: 1) I didn’t train enough ahead of time, and 2) I had the WRONG sneakers on!!

100_0715 100_0714  Because I didn’t want to ruin my hot pink kicks, I dug an old pair of walking sneakers out of my closet…the kind with the rocking sole about two inches high.  Yeah…bad idea.  At one point when I was being chased by a huge swarm of brain munching infected zombies, I was trying to run around an uphill curve in these elevated sneakers.  Ouch, ouch, ouch as I turned my ankle, but I kept going.  I didn’t want to get eaten!  Limping along, I hustled as best I could and did my best to go through all the obstacles.   Zombie Run 1             I crawled in the mud…   Zombie Run 2

I climbed over barbed wire while my feet sunk ankle deep in the muck…

Zombie Run 3

Zombie Run 4

And I swam through a pit of freezing, ice cold “blood”…

Zombie Run 5And I am still standing!!

100_0723And we finished!!  Okay, so the zombies took all my flags off my belt, but I still got my medal!

I may be still sore a week later, but I am so glad I challenged myself!

Over 110,000 pounds pushed, pulled, and pressed!

Published July 2, 2013 by Susan Woodward

You read that right, baby!  Since I began my training at the YMCA at the end of March, I have logged in over 110,000 pounds!   And that doesn’t even touch the cardio work I’ve done, too.

Soooo…the problem is that the scale isn’t reflecting what I believe it should be.  And for all I am doing, I SHOULD have lost more weight than I have.

I know, I know… muscle is more dense than fat.  Blah, blah, blah.   I at LEAST want my number to begin with a number 1 for heaven’s sake!  All in good time I guess.

The good news is that I feel great!  And I am eating better!  And I am STILL not smoking!  And I am not perched on the couch all the time!

Oh, yeah.  And I am going to run for my life!

It seems that the Color Run and Run For Your Life are both on the same day… August 17th…and I had to make a choice.  My friend, Jeanette, is already signed up for the Zombie run, so I decided to join in!  It’s also a bit closer to home and they have Color Runs more frequently in the area, so I can pick up one of those soon.

And the Zombie Run is also an obstacle course!  Time to get my strength up!  I already know that my adrenalin will be pumping because the incentive to run is being chased by zombies.  I only hope that I don’t freak out as they come after me…that could get ugly.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOrrrrr…I could sign up to be a zombie!!  How fun would that be!  I still have my “bloody” clothes from when I was “far away zombie #419” in my first film, The Final Night and Day, so I have a costume, and these folks provide the make-up.  Hmmm… and I could also run as well.   A running zombie.  Well, that’s not very Romero-ish!  More like 28 Days Later, but they weren’t zombies!  Of course, I have heard that the zombies in World War Z run like the wind, so maybe that’s the angle for this race…but nothing beats the slow menacing zombies of the Night of the Living Dead!

Wow…I learned a lot about zombies from a previous relationship.

Either way, this is a far cry from what I was doing six months ago… plopped on the couch with a pack of smokes a day.  What a difference, and I love it!!  🙂

 

I Made It!! 5K in 42:49 in the Rain, Baby!

Published June 7, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Ummm, yup.  The title says it all!  I DID IT!!!!  Even though it was raining, I still showed up and actually DID it!

Based on how long it took me to walk 2.28 miles on Wednesday (43 minutes), I set my goal for the 5K to be under an hour because I knew there was no way I was going to actually be able to run the whole way.  I did my best… I jogged, I power walked, I jogged, I power walked, I walked, and each time I got a glimpse of the flashing police lights at the corners where we turned, it gave me the motivation to pick up the pace once more.  When I turned that final corner, I could see the finish line at the bottom of the hill (thank god we didn’t run uphill first…).  That’s when I started to sprint!  Well, what this body considers sprinting, anyway!  But I FINISHED!!

Not only did I make my goal of under an hour, but I beat my Wednesday walking time for a shorter distance!

When I crossed the finish line, one of the guys there held me up once I stopped because I thought I was going to fall over, while another one removed my computer chip.  The folks were great!  They’d been cheering as I came running in, they caught me, and they handed me water immediately.  And I felt AWESOME!  My shirt was soaked, my hair was plastered to  my head, but I felt TERRIFIC!!

Once I got inside and was getting my picture taken, I started to feel not so awesome, though.  When I saw the picture on my camera, I could see that my stomach was incredibly bloated and I really started not feeling so well.

5K

I could not figure out what the hell could have caused it.  When I was talking to my daughter, Robin, once I got home, I mentioned that I thought I might have been too dehydrated or something.  Since she’s a doctor, I figured she could help me prevent it next time.  She asked what I’d had to eat before running.  Well, I knew enough not to eat a meal beforehand, but I’d thought dried fruit was a good idea.  It had sugar and some carbohydrates that would be good for exercise.  I ate a bunch of it because I knew I’d run the calories off.  She asked me what kind of fruit, and when I told her, she started laughing hysterically and went calling for her husband in the next room to tell him that her mother had eaten a whole bunch of prunes just before running a 5K.   I got more than my feet moving!!

Looking back, it wasn’t my brightest moment.  But I DO have an excuse.  It was the last day of school, and my brain was not functioning properly, okay?

I ran for the bathroom faster than I ran for the finish line right after I had my picture taken.

Anyhow… the results for the race are listed on the site below.  It’s so exciting so see my name among the participants!!!!

YJRResultsBannerWho would have thought that five months ago I would have done this?  Not me!!  But I accomplished it!

On to the Color Run!!  And the Dirty Girl!!  🙂

Oh…and just a note- tomorrow will be five months with NO SMOKING!!!

Getting Ready to Run (err…Jog…Walk….Crawl?) to the Finish Line!

Published June 5, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Ok…it’s serious.  I am doing it!  I am registered, pumped, and got the t-shirt!  Woot!

I am also a bit scared.  I have never done anything like this… it’s all foreign territory.  Here I am: a 51 year old virgin.  Well, virgin runner, that is!

First thing on the agenda (after actually signing up and paying) was to get some real running shoes.  My PayLess BOGO specials weren’t going to cut it, so I went to FaceBook for some advice from friends.  I got a couple of recommendations and went to Fleet Feet with them only to have the sales girl tell me that those particular brands probably wouldn’t be best for my feet and running experience.  Ok, she’s the expert, so I listened to her and got something called New Balance.  Hmmm…ok, I could use some balance in my life, so it’s all good.

I have never had anyone take measuring my feet so seriously.  First I had to put on some sample socks.  Weird, because I was actually wearing socks, but okay.  She’s in charge.  Holy crap… those socks HUGGED my feet!!  I have never felt anything like them!  First sale for me: those awesome socks.  Then all angles and possible measurements of my feet were taken.  The last time a sales person spent any time fitting someone for shoes was when I took my kids for their first walking shoes to this place at the Boulevard Mall that had a red fire engine in the store.  (You Buffalo folks know which place I mean!  And if you remember the name of it, please remind me.  It was over 20 years ago since I bought baby shoes!)  Then she had me run back and forth down the front walk while she actually video taped my feet!  It was like a science experiment!   She showed me my running feet and analyzed whether or not the shoe was “right” for my body.  It was like shopping at Olivander’s for sneakers!  She also pointed out that I had good form because I ran on the balls of my feet.  I’m not sure if that’s accurate considering I have had zero, zip, zilch training, but it made me feel good!  And then I had the biggest decision to make… the COLOR!

I went for bad ass hot pink!

Fleet Feet

My past sneakers have always been white with perhaps some colored designs, but never splashy.  Well, I said I wanted to add color to my life, so hot pink it is!  And the selling point on the socks (besides the hugginess of them), “Cotton is rotten for running.”  Ok, synthetic socks it is!

Fleet FootFleet Foot 2

Then it was time to take them on a test run…err… walk.   A group from the Biggest Winner Challenge was meeting at Henpeck Park (what a name, huh?) for a walk along the Erie Canal, so I decided to try them out.  2.28 miles and 43 minutes later, I was still doing pretty well!  No pain to complain of, so I guess they must be a good fit for me!  And if I can walk that far in under an hour, then one more mile for the 5K should only take an additional 21.5 minutes walking.  That’s a little over an hour to walk it for me… so if I run, jog, walk, run, jog, walk, I might be able to pull it off in less than one hour!  That’s my goal…under an hour!

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The last thing I had to do this evening was pick up my 5K packet.  Wow!  For me to actually SEE a running bib with my name on it is daunting!  And exciting!!  And scary!!!  But it’s my first step toward that Color Run that I swear I am going to do in Buffalo on August 17th if I have to go it alone!

And here’s the final pic of the day (and a sure-fire way to see to it that I will not be taking any of those “hold the phone off to the side while standing in front of a mirror” pics anytime soon, if ever, again).

Fleet Foot 3

We shall see if that goofy smile is still in place come Friday night!

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