Take it off | Week 62: It's Official


It's official.
I'm a runner.

I've always been hesitant to pin this label on myself. I guess I didn't feel like I was doing anything really amazing or wonderful. But yesterday, as I came over the hill into mile four and saw the sea of people in front of me, I knew I had arrived. 
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I was one of over 33,000 runners that would complete the race that day.

I was scared going into Sunday morning. Honest to god scared out of my mind. I couldn't fall asleep Saturday night. I remember looking at the clock for the last time at 1230am and thinking to myself that I might cry when the alarm was set to go off at 415am. I had to make the early morning journey into the city by myself. I had hoped to connect with friends that were running. But in a crowd of 30k+ I knew it would be impossible. Every minute from the time I left my house to the minute I was in my corral was jam packed with anxiety. 

I was so worried that I'd get lost getting into the city (I did), or not be able to find my way to the train to get to the start. I was fortunate enough to latch onto meet a very nice woman, Sarah, who was also there alone. Poor Sarah. When I'm nervous I either clam up completely or talk way too much. Today was her lucky day, I was in the mood to chat. 

The trains were PACKED and we all got to know each other on a much more personal level.
On the long train ride I had a nice conversation with a man named Paul. He had done the Broad Street Run several times and was giving me lots of great tips. His best tip was to start out slow and not burn myself out after the first few miles.

Finally the train dropped us off and another wave of nerves hit me. In addition to being chatty, when I get anxious...ummm...I also have to pee a lot. And the lines to the porto-potties were looooooong.
Sarah stuck with me until the porto-potties and then we parted ways to go to our corrals.
I was in the pink corrall, the back of the pack. I went back and forth over whether this was a good thing or not. Ultimately it proved to be mostly annoying because the pink corral was not released until almost 45 minutes after the official start time. Understandable though when you consider the amazing volume of people participating in the race.
While I was waiting, I spotted these ladies from Black Girls Run. I had never heard of the group before and was curious about their mission. They explained that the group was started in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks to encourage African American women to take charge of their health and fitness and tackle the obesity epidemic among AA women. Did you know that 80% of African American women are overweight? And apparently about 60% of white women are overweight, and 75% of Hispanic women. LADIES! What the hell are we doing to ourselves? 
I am loving the mission of Black Girls Run and wish I could be an honorary member ;) I mean, y'all should have seen the back of their shirts. I love their tag line: Preserving the Sexy. Let me tell you, those gals looked great and certainly lived up to the slogan!

I killed a lot of time with people watching and eavesdropping on other's conversations hoping to pick up running tips. Mostly I heard stories about how people regretted going out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
There was lots and lots of waiting. The monotony was occasionally broken up by sights like this:
Finally it's 830am, the official start time of the race and the set free the first corral of runners
I wasn't even through the first mile before the doubt started to set in. Could I really do this? I felt like I couldn't even make it through the first mile. I was totally psyching myself out. I turned my music up and tuned out everything around me. I promised myself that if I really needed to, I could walk for a minute after the third mile. The time passed so quickly that when I hit the third mile, I promised myself I could walk at four. By the time I got to four I told myself there was no point in walking now, let's see how much further I could go. It went on like that for miles and miles. Much of my inner dialogue consisted of convincing myself I could make it to the next mile marker, challenging myself to at least run until I hit a certain landmark I saw ahead. 

I distracted myself by looking at all the buildings as I ran down the street. Philadelphia has so many gorgeous and intricate murals all over the city. I was even more appreciative of them yesterday as they took me away from the pain in my legs for just a moment. I'm also grateful for all the spectators along the way. All the people that live along Broad Street that came out to cheer us on. All of the rock bands that dragged their equipment out to the sidewalks to play Stone Temple Pilots and the Rocky theme for us. The African drum band that helped me pick up my pace. And the guy that yelled at me to pick up my knees (I did!) and the woman that told us there was booze at the end (did she know me?).

And that was all before we even hit City Hall. I could see William Penn up ahead and thought to myself I'd never make it that far without walking. But before I knew it, we were rounding the circle that encompasses city hall and I was coming up on mile six, high-fiving former Gov. Ed Rendell! 

Finally after crossing the threshold of mile eight, my exhaustion caught up with me, as well as a stabbing pain in my knees. I didn't want to stop. I argued with myself, knowing that if I stopped I'd never get back up to speed. In the end I decided it was best to stop for just a moment. I was beyond thirsty and decided to walk along the line of water tables just taking one drink after another. I only walked for about 30 seconds - but as I predicted I was never able to make up the time. I had been running at a pace of about 10:50 but my average pace for the race was 11:14.

When I started running again, it seemed like mile nine would never be upon us. Every time I thought I saw the blue flag mile marker ahead, I was woefully mistaken. I was in so much pain. I just wanted to be done. At one point it pissed me off enough to go faster.  All the while chanting in my head something my friend Kiely had said to me once: "Running is faster than walking. If I run, I know I'll get to stop sooner.' So wise.

It was around 9.5 miles that I happened to look over in the crowd and saw Tony Luke Jr. In the past year he's dropped over 100lbs and is a great source of inspiration to myself and others. I made a bee line to the side of the road to say hi and was so pleased that he remembered me from The Diet Bet competition I participated in a few months ago. 

It was in that moment that the last year of my life came flooding back to me. All the progress I have made and I'm making. And I remembered the radio show I was listening to at 5am on my way into the city. There was a woman talking about how people can change their lives. I really don't remember a lot of what she said but the one thing that stuck with me and what I recalled in that moment was her saying 'Be an agent of change. Don't just change your life. Help others facilitate change in their lives as well.' My feet got lighter, my knees got higher and for just a moment when both of my feet were off the ground, I was flying. I want to be an agent of change. I don't know how...but I want to help people change.

Those thoughts are what got me to the finish line. Not the need to finish or trying to beat a time goal I had in my head. It was the thought that - even though I don't know how, what or where I'm going, a path is being cleared in front of me. I'm not sure yet where it's going but I'm willing to keep logging the miles to find out.

I did have a scary moment at the end of the race. A few yards past the finish line, my throat started to close up. A huge wave of emotion just came crashing over me and I was suddenly completely overwhelmed by the events of the day. I quickly spied a medic and went to stand next to him. I knew I would be okay if I could just relax. But the harder I tried, the worse it got. I was wheezing and gasping for air; it felt like I was breathing through a coffee stirrer. The medic encouraged me to go to the ambulance. I didn't want to take up space that someone else might need because I knew I'd be okay. Spectators kept touching me and asking what I needed. Between gasps I asked them to just let me stand here and calm down. I probably should have just gone to the medical tent but I'm stubborn and knew I'd be okay. Then some jerk from the Navy came over and barked at me to keep moving. I almost wished I had passed out just then and made him feel like an ass. Jerk.

You can see me in all my wheezing glory at the 33 second mark:

This is actually right before I stopped to have my wheezing/ugly crying fit.

After I collected myself I received my medal and spent the better part of an hour trying to track down Christian and Izzy. So many people were calling and texting their loved ones that it was impossible to get a signal. I just kept searching for Christian's giant beard or hoping that I'd see Izzy riding on his shoulders. No such luck. Finally one text from him came through letting me know where they were...about 20 feet from where I had been standing, feeling hopelessly lost and giving up on ever recovering my family. 

Christian wanted to take my picture with my medal. I tried so hard to smile but just could not muster the energy.

Even though I'm exhausted and my knees feel like I missed a payment to a loan shark, I have to say, I'm a little sad it's over. Sure, I have lots of 5k's lined up for the Summer and the Warrior Dash - but I will be counting the days until the next Broad Street Run. I feel like I'm forgetting pieces so I may go on about this some more later. Because y'all...I ran 10 mother humpin miles with 33k+ other runners!

I met my goal of finishing in under two hours!
I'm loving this video someone made that is a first person view of the race.

• • •
Let's talk Medifast! So for the past two weeks I've been doing the 4&2 plan without much movement on the scale. I'm happy to report that this morning I was down just over another pound! YAY!
But I'm going to be an annoying flip-flopper. Now that I am done with the 10-miler, I'm switching back to the 5&1. After talking to Jen, my Medifast dietitian, we decided it might be in my best interest to back off on the exercise a bit and get back on 5&1 until I hit my goal. I agree - mostly because I'm exhausted, mentally and physically - mostly physically - and I need a little break. This doesn't mean I am couch-bound by any means. It just means I won't be running as far and may cut back to four days a week instead of nearly every day. 

I also took measurements this week again. Here's the progress so far:
Bust: 36"
Waist: 35.5"
Hips: 39.5"
Thigh: 22"
Arms: 12"

Bust: 35.5"
Waist: 33"
Hips: 38"
Thigh: 22"
Arms: 12"

My thighs and arms will be my trouble zones for life. They've always been big but there is so much extra skin right now. I'm hoping some more 30 Day Shred will continue to tighten things up. I'm pretty stoked that in a week I've lost so much in my waist and hips!

So what do we think? Can I get this knocked out by the end of May?

Month One: -16 lbs
Month Two: -5 lbs
Month Three: -6 lbs
Month Four: -6 lbs
Month Five: -6 lbs
Month Six: -8.5 lbs

Month Seven: -7.5 lbs
Month Eight: -5 lbs
Month Nine: -2 lbs
Month Ten: -5 lbs
Month Eleven: -6 lbs
Month Twelve: -4 lbs
Month Thirteen: -6.5 lbs
Month Fourteen: -3.5 lbs
Month Fifteen: -1 lbs
Week sixty two: 1 WHAT?! WHAT?! (its actually 1lb and some change. But we are just gonna call it 1)
Total: 89 lbs gone forever! Current weight: 151 lbs Distance from goal: 11 lbs!!

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For your first order of $250+, use my code, and enroll in Medifast Advantage to receive 28 free meals. Do the same on your next order and you’ll receive ANOTHER 28 free meals! This offer is only valid if you enroll in Medifast Advantage, and it’s limited to one per customer. It’s not valid with prior purchases, any other promotions or discounts, or for Medifast Ready-to-Drink Shakes. Check out Medifast’s website for complete details on program and discounts.

*FTC Disclosure: Medifast provides their products for my personal use for free. I am not paid or compensated in any other way for mentioning their products. All thoughts written here are mine. I love complaining so I would tell you if I didn't like something in the program. :) 
Medifast products and the Medifast Program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Any medical improvements noted while on the program are related to weight loss in general, and not to Medifast products or programs.

~*Stephanie at A Grande Life*~ 
~*Jenni at Jenni From the Blog*~
~*Stephanie at Goober Monkey*~
~*Alison at O My Family*~
~*Jessica at The Unemployed Mom*~
~*Mariana at The Domestic Buzz*~