Saturday, March 9, 2013

Better than I feared

Today I finally went for another run. Yes, its been a week. I was very sore after skiing, then I ended up with a bad cold. Then on Thursday and Friday, I just used excuses. But today I finally got off my butt and went for a run.

I had been told that today was going to be "gorgeous" and "warm". This was not the case. Granted, it was over 40 degrees, but my ears still got painfully cold, it was rather windy and I even felt some cold raindrops fall. Despite the shockingly winter-ish weather, I had a surprisingly good run!

I had expected to have a lot of trouble getting going and to feel winded and tired after the first few steps. Instead, I was able to run the vast majority of my 30-minute run! Even when I took walk breaks, it wasn't because I had to, but more because I felt like I needed to reserve some energy for the end of my run. According to RunKeeper, I ran 2.27 miles in 30 minutes at a pace of 13:18 per mile. Now, this is still very slow in the running world, but I'm just happy I went at all. And I hope to SOMEDAY improve these numbers.

As a note, the reason I ran 30 minutes is because I've started a new fad. Its called Gym Pact I heard about it on NPR news. Its an app where you commit to doing however many workouts you want within a week. You then set a price for each workout and if you miss a workout, you have to pay that price. I set mine at $10 per workout. The idea is that you may be more motivated to workout when your money is on the line. And a bonus, if you workout when you're supposed to, you get paid! You get a portion of the payments that other people had to made when they missed workouts. Kinda cool, eh? I figured it was worth a try. I'll let you know how it goes.

I hope to get out for another run tomorrow. I need it after all of the Nutella I've been eating lately. Ugh. So much for Slim Fast. That was put on hold when I got sick. And then my hormones went haywire, so ALL bets were off.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Skiing is a WORKOUT!

Well, here it is Tuesday and I did NOT go to my Team Playmakers group run. But I have a decent excuse...

As I mentioned, my husband and I went skiing on Sunday. I have only been skiing two other times in my life and I have a new respect for anyone who spends a whole day on the slopes.

First of all, getting ready to ski is a HUGE ordeal! I'm sure the more you do it, the less time it takes, but it probably took us about an hour from time we arrived at Mt. Brighton until we actually got to the top of the first hill.

The next challenge was getting from point A to point B once all of the equipment was on. Those boots are horrible! Who knew having the use of your ankles was so important? Walking around without the skis was so uncomfortable. Moving around in the snow with the skis wasn't much easier, so I just shuffled my feet and tried to use my poles to drag myself around as much as possible. Needless to say, it took a long time to get around.

My terrified face before I went down
my first hill of the day.
Then there are the rope pulls. Seriously, those are the absolute worst part of skiing in my opinion. The few memories I have of previous experiences include me wearing cute knit mittens that were utterly useless on the rope pulls and were ruined by the ropes burning through them. This time I bought ski gloves prior to our trip so they worked ok, but I still couldn't avoid the YANK of the rope (and my shoulders) every time I gripped onto it. And the longer the rope pull, the more my legs were shaky and burning by the time I got to the top. It takes a lot of muscle to stay upright and balanced.

Finally, you get to the top of the hill. Going down is the EASY part. Luckily I made it down without falling for the majority of the day. But the one fall I did have was a rough one that involved me hitting my chin on the ground. I also couldn't figure out how to get up from my fall with my skis on, so I had to have my husband help me down the hill.

Monday morning, I awoke to the pain. My calves hurt. My shins hurt. My shoulders hurt. The insides of my elbows hurt. My neck hurt (I think from the fall). I moaned every time I moved. And here it is, Tuesday, and my calves actually feel tighter than they did yesterday.

So, I've decided to wait one more day before attempting to run. Hopefully by tomorrow I won't feel 80 years old anymore. And hopefully I can also try to get over this cold I caught which is completely secondary to all of the muscle pain I have.

Again, you skiers have my respect. Now I'm gonna go take some Advil, some Afrin and go lay down.
Does NOT apply to everyone, but DOES apply to me

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Here I go again

I'm baaaaack. And I still have some weight to lose. And I haven't been running. But I guess I'm not HEAVIER than when I started last year, so it isn't all bad. And failing before can't be an excuse not to start back up again. So, I figured I'd restart my blog to hopefully keep myself a little bit accountable.

As of today, my weight is wavering between 165 & 167 (24.7 BMI). I still have a goal of getting down to around 145, if possible. I'm trying out Slim Fast for my dieting, although today...I pigged out. Lots of chips and snacks. That's the problem with weekends and sitting around at home.

I was almost done, hence, the smile.
I have recently joined Team Playmakers, a local running group through a local running store. I attended my first group training this morning. It was about 22 F degrees and MAN was it cold when the wind was blowing. I almost quit after only a quarter of a mile, but luckily the wind was blocked by trees and I somehow warmed up. I wasn't familiar with the trail, so I only went 2 miles today.

I had forgotten how bad that first mile feels. YUCK! My lungs were BURNING and I was so done. I took walk breaks, but tried to run as much as I could. I kept going and by the end I probably could have continued and kept the "f*ck"s to a minimum.

Tomorrow, my husband and I are going skiing, so that will serve as my "cross training" day. I think I will try going to another Team Playmakers run on Tuesday evening.

I'll check in here as often as I can remember to do so. I'll try to be somewhat entertaining so if you stumble upon this blog you won't want to stab your eyes out in boredom while reading it.

Oh, and be prepared for many motivational quotes posted here. I've pinned so many on Pinterest, I feel like I need to use them somewhere! And following the advice wouldn't hurt either.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ele's Race preparations!

Ugh. I have been so busy lately!!! I've been dealing with summer activities, trips, kid's illnesses and a big project at work. My crazy schedule PLUS the crazy heat of 90-100 degrees has kept me from running and training for any of my upcoming races. BUT, that doesn't mean I've given up!

This weekend (Sunday 7/22) is Ele's Race which is a popular 5k in Okemos, MI. I'm going to be running in that race as a Team Captain for #run3rd (for more information check out this post on #run3rd). I will be wearing a shirt sporting the #run3rd name. I will also be listing all of the dedications that I get from others. These dedications are WHY I run on Sunday. I run in honor of every person, event or cause that I get. And I want to #run3rd for YOU!

If you have a dedication that you'd like to give me, PLEASE do so by Saturday night if possible.  I will be putting all dedications on my shirt and will be running with them in mind. Those dedications will keep me focused. They will keep me motivated. And they will keep me going. Especially with my lack of training this time around, I can use every reason to #run3rd that I can get! ;)

As of 11:00am on Friday, July 20, I #run3rd for:
  • The Roy Family
  • Grandma Jane, 1932-2012
  • Loved ones that are missed
  • 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave
  • Aniridia Foundation International
  • A cure for blood cancers
  • Pregnancy...when you want it
  • Vicitims of Aurora, CO shooting
A few of these are ones I have thrown in on my own to honor people I care about. ;) Send me more!!! And if you've given me a #run3rd dedication and I somehow left it out, PLEASE let me know!

I'll make sure to take some pictures and will post pictures on my personal blog and the Official Team #run3rd blog, so be sure to check back.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July weight loss update

Happy 4th of July!

I realize it has been a long time since I've checked in. After my half-marathon, I decided I wanted to start dieting with my exercise. So two weeks ago, I joined Weight Watchers. Unfortunately, with the heat I've had trouble fitting running into my days - never being able to find a time to run with a temp under 80 degrees. But despite that, I have already lost 8 lbs on Weight Watchers and am currently at 162 lbs. (Down 19 from my original 181) That is a BMI of 23.9, which is within the NORMAL weight range! Yay!

I have taken some newer photos to see if my body has had any changes. The changes are hard for me to see, but I FEEL like I have had some changes and my clothes definitely fit differently. Again, I put them on another website so I don't have half-naked pics of me sitting out on a blog.

As you may know, my original goal was to get down to 140 by June. I didn't make that goal, but I still am hopeful that I will be at my goal within 2012, which is good enough for me!

Good motto for me. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


WHAT IS #run3rd?

#run3rd all started with the actor, Sean Astin (one of my first celebrity crushes - Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings, etc). Sean has been running for most of his life but recently realized his only purpose for running has been for himself. He thought that seemed somewhat selfish and he reevaluated what drives him to run and keeps him running.

Sean realized he’d never really run on behalf of a specific cause or for a particular person. He thought about selecting a cause, but realized that seemed too exclusive – choosing one cause would leave out so many other important issues. So, he reached out to his Twitter followers. He asked them to submit dedications and said he would run on behalf of ALL of those causes/issues/people. He received a number of dedications for a wide variety of things – for a family member with cancer, for no bullying, for autism awareness. The list went on and on. And before his race, Sean read the list, printed it and ran with it as his purpose.

As a result of this, #run3rd was born:

Run FIRST for yourself. There are tons of physical and mental rewards.

Run SECOND for your family who wait for you, listen to your stories from the road and who are there for you.

Run THIRD for others.

Joining #run3rd means you want to honor someone else’s passions, concerns and loved ones as part of your running/walking.
  • It’s about awareness – bringing attention to causes/programs/issues that are important to people around me. The more attention, the more people may want to contribute to specific causes/charities.
  • It’s about respect – honoring people who have had diseases, conditions and situations affect their lives.
  • It’s about celebration – not all dedications have to be negative! If you want me to run in honor of your new marriage, THAT is important too!

WHY DO #run3rd?

  • Running a half marathon or a marathon is a big task for most of us (and for less experienced runners completing a 5 or 10k can pose a big challenge) so if you decide to run for others it can provide huge motivation during the training period. Let's face it there's going to be lots of occasions when a night-in on the sofa or a night-out at the bar is going to be more tempting than a 10 mile run on a cold wet night. However if you've committed to running on behalf of others, you won't want to let anyone down and are sure to pull on your shoes and head out the door. The motivation factor can be a huge help just at the times when your training is getting tough and you're thinking about chucking it or settling for a more modest time.

  • High-profile races such as 5ks, half-marathons or marathons are fantastic opportunities for people to increase awareness about their cause. Runners wearing a charity's name on their shirt on race day can help raise the profile of the charity in the public's consciousness.

  • Running long distances gives a person lots of time to think. Often times, you think WAY too much about yourself – how you feel, the fact that you want to stop, how hungry you are. However, when I’m running in honor of a cause/person THAT is what/who I think about. I think about how their lives have been affected by their situation. About any medical treatment they may have had to go through. Those thoughts give me strength and they keep me moving.


Sean has recently decided to take #run3rd public and encourage other people to participate. He has selected team captains to start #run3rd in their areas at local races. Thanks to my sweet friend Leah, Sean selected me to be a Team Captain. I have chosen to have my team participate in Ele’s Race in Okemos, MI – a 5K run/walk that provides support to a community organization that helps grieving children. The 5K takes place on July 22.

I’m looking for other people who would like to complete a 5K walk or run with me as part of the #run3rd team! We will collect dedications from others and post them on our #run3rd shirts to raise awareness! We will walk/run for ourselves, for our families AND for others! And you don't have to walk/run the event in Okemos. You could do a different event near your home around the same time and still participate in #run3rd!


You don't have to walk/run with me to participate. You also can give me dedications that will serve as my "reasons to run". Think of me as your own graffiti wall (stole that visualization from Sean). You can spray paint whatever you want on me. During my run, I will wear a shirt listing all of the dedications I receive. Not only will I be thinking about all of these issues during my run, but everyone that sees me will think about them too. The more aware people are, the more they may donate time or money to your cause!

Let me know if you'd like to join me in walking/running or have a dedication for me to add to my list! 

- Heather 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bayshore Half Marathon - May 26, 2012

Friday, May 25, the Slawinskis headed up to Traverse City for the Bayshore Half Marathon. This is the big race I've been training for since February. The one I raised all of that money for. The time had finally come!

TNT Runners and Walkers
The Team in Training group stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge which THRILLED Kaitlyn. We checked in and I headed downstairs for a Team In Training group photo (which was kind of chaotic). Then it was off to an Inspiration Dinner to load up on pasta and other carbs while listening to inspiring stories about all of the people we helped  by raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We also got a final focus from Coach Ken. He joked about how nervous we'd be until the race began. He also reminded us that when we started the race, if we felt like we were at a good pace, we should SLOW DOWN. It's a very common problem to start a race going out too fast. 

The sign on my door
After shoving my face with food, I returned to the hotel room, set my alarm for 4:00 am, and settled down with the baby. It was tough sleeping - the air conditioner in the room seemed especially loud. But when my alarm went off I felt pretty rested. I got ready, ate a peanut butter sandwich, made some coffee and headed down to catch the shuttle to the high school at 4:55 am. Yes, it was very early and still very dark. When I left my room I saw the awesome sign the TNT coaches and staff had left on my door. It made me proud.

Waiting in the field
I climbed on the bus at the Lodge and headed to the high school. Once there, the half marathoners got on another bus to head 13.1 miles out on Old Mission Peninsula where we would start our race at 7:30 am. (The full marathoners were going to start the race near the high school at 7:00 am, run to the half-marathon start, turn around, and head back. This meant that the full marathoners would pass us on the way out on the peninsula, and the faster ones might pass us again as they head back to the finish) I got to the high school early and ended up on the first bus to the half marathon start. We settled into a rustic field to wait 2 hours until the start of the race. I ate a power bar and watched all of the people nervously waiting for the race. Some were pacing, some were sitting chatting with friends and many were using the long line of port-a-potties. As the time went on, I found some people I knew and was able to pass time talking. But the thought of those 13.1 miles looming in the near future was always there in my mind.

Finally, people started heading to the starting line. There were 2,300 half marathoners and almost all of them went faster than me, so I chose to wait until the very end of the pack and then join in and head to the start. Races these days are timed by chips - this chip was attached to our bib number. Your race doesn't officially start until you cross the start line with your chip. So I wasn't in a big hurry to start the race. When I finally crossed the start line, I immediately began running. It was a beautiful morning. It was about 60 degrees at the start. The sun was still working its way up in the sky so it wasn't strong and there was a forecast for clouds which is great for running. The road we run down is on the East side of the peninsula, right on the bay. The water was almost always visible on our left side (although sometimes it was blocked by trees). Several people lined the road with their morning cups of coffee and cheered on the runners going past their house.

My run started off great. I felt good. I felt like I was going SLOW which I thought meant I was going the right pace. The first two miles seemed to fly by. After the first mile, they were handing out Gu (which is an energy gel). I definitely didn't need any at that point, but I grabbed one in case I needed one later. I continued my slow run while enjoying the music on my iPod. I had loaded just under 4 hours worth of music to make sure I had enough to get me through the whole race no matter what happened.

At mile 4.5, I saw Bruce, the running coach for the Lansing TNT group (and my co-worker). I told him I was doing good and didn't need him to run with me, but he did for a little bit. I told him I hadn't walked yet and I felt really good! We chatted for a bit, then he went on to run with another person.

I eventually started feeling a little poking pain on a toe on my left foot. It felt like one toenail was digging into the other toe. I had heard many stories about runners losing nails and wondered if that was going to happen. But I knew that this tiny little thing wasn't going to make me stop!

Around mile 6, I had to go to the bathroom so I stopped at one of the port-a-potties. Its really tough to feel good enough to keep running but have to stop to use the bathroom. Plus, someone was already in there so I had to wait even longer. After I was done, I hit the road again. I couldn't help but notice I didn't feel as good as I had before I stopped. I hoped I'd be able to shake that feeling and feel better soon. I came up on a small hill and decided to walk it - my first time walking any of the race. I ran after I was at the top of the hill and noticed I still felt more worn down than I had before the bathroom break, but I kept going.

Me thrilled to see my cheerleaders! Kaitlyn is proudly holding her sign.
Around mile 7, we came up on a spectator viewing area. There were lots of people there cheering for us. It was great. As I turned the corner, I saw the best sight ever. My 5-year old daughter, Kaitlyn, holding a big neon yellow sign (that I had helped her make) that said "DON'T STOP, KEEP RUNNING MOMMY". She had written the word "mommy" and it was adorable. Her smiling face behind the sign was the absolute best part. I almost burst into tears. I ran over and hugged her. I saw my wonderful husband and said hi and kissed the smiling baby, Allison, on the cheek. Then I continued on my way thinking about how wonderful my family was.

As I continued the next mile, I started to feel exhausted. I kept thinking how I wished I could have just stopped with my family and spent the rest of the day with them rather than continuing this race. I let myself walk again. When I went to run again, I found it almost impossible. Nothing hurt - my legs, my arms, my feet - everything felt fine. But I was tired. Not just tired - completely drained. I looked around me and it seemed like everyone was walking. Not only were they walking, but they looked as though they had given up! They were walking SLOW. And here I was "RUNNING" and still not going any faster than them. I was frustrated. Why the heck was I working so hard to run to go the same pace these lazy people were going? So, I stopped running and walked. I walked fast, but I still wasn't running. 

I didn't feel like I could finish. I had over 5 more miles to go and didn't see how I could do it. My original goal for the race was to not walk at all. After I starting training, I had changed the overall goal to just finish within 3 hours, but the walking was still a huge disappointment. As I continued walking, I mentally beat myself up. I couldn't believe I was letting myself get away with all of this walking! But I was so slow when I ran, that it wasn't worth all of the effort. I started getting so down on myself, I was almost making myself cry! I TRIED reminding myself of all of the people with blood cancers and all they had had to go through. This race was NOTHING compared to that! That would keep me running momentarily, but them my mind would wander and refocus on the fact that people around me were walking and I should too. I knew this was a bad thing. Not just bad, horrible. The worst thing you could do during a race is to mentally beat yourself up - YOU need to be your own biggest cheerleader. I TRIED to get beyond it and decided to sprint past the people in front of me who looked as though they had given up. I didn't want to be surrounded by that negative energy. I needed a fresh view. I got past them and needed to walk after the sprint. I told myself that this could be my last half marathon. If I could get through this one, I wouldn't have to do another one ever again if I didn't want to. So, I started adding in more running here and there.

Unfortunately, the mental beat down continued. A woman behind me started cheering on all of the marathoners who passed us by yelling "Good job runner!". I took offense at this because I was trying to be a runner too! Just because those guys were going way faster, doesn't mean my running was any less impressive! I also started getting incredibly frustrated about how the people along the side of the road had stopped cheering for me and the other slow half-mararhoners. They were now only cheering for the marathoners and once they passed, they stopped cheering. It was disheartening. They saw what I was doing as not a big deal. And I took that totally personally. OF COURSE looking back on all of this I see it was all in my head. ALL of it. But at the time, it was just another reason for me to stop running and take a walk break...again.

When I got to mile 9, I checked in with my iPod (which has a running app) to see how much time I had left before the 3 hour mark. I had about an hour left. That meant I had to average 15 mintues per mile or less in order to meet my goal of finishing within 3 hours. I typically run around a 12 or 13 minute mile, so I saw this as just another excuse to walk more. I knew if I walked some, I could still finish in time. But I also knew I had to keep running here and there or I wouldn't make it. Once I hit mile 11, I tried to increase the running. Having 2 miles to go, I KNEW I could finish, it was just a matter of when. I had a former Team In Training runner named Tim come help me out and give me some words of encouragement, but he couldn't stay with me forever and then I was on my own again.

Turning the corner and seeing the huge crowd
Finally, I was within the last mile. I enetered the Northwestern College campus and felt very drained. With about half a mile left Ken, a TNT coach, came up and asked how I was. I was walking and told him "I'm supposed to be running." He came over and got me to run. He grabbed another TNT person who was walking and got her to run too. He made jokes and kept telling us about how the crowd was just around the corner and would be cheering our names. He told us to stick together and he went off to help another person. The other TNT girl took off going fast and I was left alone again. But I wasn't alone. Ken was right. There was a massive crowd cheering so loudly I couldn't hear my music very well anymore. Then I spotted Kaitlyn and her sign. It was covering her face! Tim took a picture of me then picked up Allison so she could cheer me on. Kaitlyn lowered her sign so she could see me, then quickly held it back up to keep cheering me on. Allison was VERY excited and was holding up her hands and yelling, but never actually saw me. She just thought the excitement was so cool! I turned back to my running and decided I had to finish this at a run. I followed the road to the track opening and had to go the last 0.1 mile on the track. I could feel how physically exhausted I was and I felt like I was DRAGGING myself across that finish line. But I could also see my time. 2:58 as I ran up. I think it went to 2:59 as I crossed under the Finish sign. I made it under my goal. And calculating in my delay in crossing the start line, I knew I was definitely going to have a time under my goal of 3 hours. I made it. I was so happy! I didn't have to run anymore! My body completely relaxed and I found it hard to keep walking to where I needed to go, but knowing I was done was enough motivation to get me to where I needed to go. I found my family and hugged them all. I loaded up on lots of food to reward myself (although once I had the food, I realized I didn't really want to eat it). I got my medal and my TNT finisher pin.

My big injury
I sat down and took off my shoes and found my toe was bleeding from the toenail next to it cutting into it. My sock was drenched in blood and there was blood in my shoe too. But there was no pain and I still had all of my toenails. The rest of my body felt fine. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had finished, and in one piece. My official result was 2 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds. My average pace was a 13:46 mile.

Over the rest of the weekend I kept moving and still felt pretty good. When I woke up on Sunday, I felt like I had recently exercised, but I didn't feel bad at all. Now on Tuesday, I have a little pain in my left knee, but I'm sure that will go away in a day or two. Over the weekend, I researched the mental piece of running on the internet. I have two more half marathons coming up that I've already registered for: the Capital City River Run Half Marathon in Lansing on 9/16 and the Detroit International Half Marathon on 10/21. My plan is to start running again on June 1 and begin training for these upcoming races. I hope to get a tiny bit faster. But most of all, I hope to overcome my mental wall and be able to run with a positive attitude. That is going to take some work, but I know I can do it. I'm GOING to shake my negative thoughts and I am GOING to have AWESOME RACES!

While looking for information on training your mind for long runs, I found this quote: "If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough." --Steve Jones, former marathon world record holder. That's kind of how I felt after my race. I feel like I should have been more physically worn out. I had more to give physically, but my mind just wouldn't let me. But I plan to fix this next time.

Me, my girls and my medal
Despite being anxious to jump into the next half marathon and prove to myself I can do this, I am sad looking ahead to my future races knowing I won't have the wonderful Team In Training coaches, staff and volunteers there to help me along. Throughout my training I had people to turn to when I needed help. They motivated me when I was nervous. And they all but dragged me through the race. Their encouragement, motivation, humor, light-heartedness, understanding, enthusiasm, smiles, pats on the back and cheers will be greatly missed. I may have to do another TNT event in the future just to get that rush again. I sent an email to them thanking them for all of their dedication and assistance. In January, I SWORE I hated running. Now look at me. I'm taking less than a week off before I start training for my next half marathon. If you have ever considered a Team In Training event, DO IT. It will change your life.