PR

Laurelhurst 5k

I ran my first 5k of the year on Sunday.

Did I train for it? Not really. Have I been running? Yes. So when last week arrived and I realized the race was coming up, I wasn’t too worried. For months I’ve been running every Wednesday with Logan 4.5-5 miles and then on Fridays at work during lunch, I run 2.5-3 miles on the treadmill (depending on how much time I have).

So for the spring and summer, I have been running around 8 miles a week. I figured a 5k wouldn’t be a big issue. I was looking forward to this race. I signed up for two 5k’s last year but I wasn’t quite ready to run them postpartum and ended up skipping them. The last 5k I ran was when I was pregnant with Logan!

Here is a post from 2 years ago when I ran the Laurelhurst 5k. I had been newly pregnant and had just hurt my back, so I was surprised I was able to run it at all. My time that time was 39:41.

The plan for this year was to run the 5k as a family. I was going to run with Logan in the running stroller and Michael was going to run with us. Well, we seem to have bad luck with races–this year? We all got the stomach flu last week. Of course!

Logan got it Tuesday, I got it Wednesday. Michael got it Thursday and was sick all weekend, so he didn’t run and stayed home with Logan. I was solo this time. Which was kind of a bummer.

I woke up Sunday and had breakfast of two fried eggs, half a bagel with cream cheese and coffee. It was dreary out. After months of sun and hot hot hot weather, the weather was rainy and gray. We definitely need the rain, and hopefully it will clear the air of the wildfire smoke, but it was kind of a bummer for race day! It turned out to not be that bad. The rain stopped for most of the race, and just misted a little bit.

They changed the race route this year. The last few years we’ve done it, it was three laps on the pavement through Laurelhurst Park. This year, they made it two laps and it was partly through differently terrain: grass, hills, bark dust, dirt, plus the paved trails.

Laurelhurst Park is really pretty. Lots of trees and plants and there are ponds with ducks and geese. The trail was pretty good this year. I did like that it was only 2 laps through the park. But I wasn’t super excited about running on uneven ground. There were parts of the trail that had tree roots coming up out of the grass and if you stepped wrong, I could see a sprained ankle happening.

I started out pretty good on the race. I just listened to my music and set a pace. I wasn’t in a mood to try and break any records of mine. I just wanted to run the race and hopefully not have to walk for most of it!

I ran the first mile of the race without any walk breaks. I wasn’t particularly fast but I was doing pretty good. There were two hills, one was gravel, that I did walk on during both of the laps.

Sweaty, blurry run selfie!

I started the second lap of the race feeling really strong. I wasn’t tired, despite having the flu for four days leading up to the race. My left knee was a little achy but overall, my body felt good. There was about 1/2 mile left of the race. I sped up a little bit to finish strong.

I crossed the finish line and got my ribbon! I felt really great! Especially for not having to take many walking breaks during the race.

I grabbed half a banana after the race and drank some water, stretched, and then headed home. I didn’t hang around for the raffle. I was sweaty and wet from the drizzle rain during the race and looking forward to a hot shower.

Here are my stats:

So I’m confused as to why the mileage is off. I’m not sure if the race was off or if my GPS was off. I don’t get it. But despite that, I was really happy with my pace and my time. 36 minutes is my best 5k time! I felt super happy about that!

I feel strong and happy with my race and my time! I’m so glad it went well! Next month is my next 5k!

What’s Your Reason?

There are a ton of reasons to lose weight: health concerns, preventing disease, the desire to achieve fitness goals, vanity. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, as long as it’s something that can motivate you to strive for success. It’s funny how those reasons can evolve and change, it’s strange how my mentality changed once I became a runner.

When I was 250 pounds I set achievable weight loss goals for myself…

  • I wanted to lose 50 pounds by my brother’s wedding. 8 months later I was 199 a week before I walked down the isle.
  • Then I wanted to lose another 25 pounds. I did it.
  • I hung around several plateaus and FINALLY achieved my goal weight: 150 pounds.
Andy's Wedding

I’ve written about it before…how that Elusive Goal Weight tends to change. It can change many time too! I’m not talking about changing goal weights now…what I’m talking about is a shift in priorities.

My reasons behind losing 100+ pounds were:

  1. Health and disease prevention. (I was developing diabetes.)
  2. Vanity and improving my self-esteem. (I was tired of being The Fat Girl.)

I achieved my weight loss goals and successfully prevented diabetes and a whole mess of other issues I was having. When I was training for Reach the Beach and Hood To Coast, I realized that my reason behind losing weight wasn’t vanity anymore. For once, I had a “higher cause” for losing weight: improving my running and cycling abilities. Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, I was focusing on other numbers: fitness numbers.

You may think that 5 or 10 pounds does not make much of a difference in terms of fitness abilities but you’d be wrong. Losing even 5 pounds for a runner can increase speed AND decrease injuries by a huge amount.

If you have any doubts, check out this article about Tour de France. “Any excess weight such as body fat will only slow them down.” Lance Armstrong counts his calories, weighs and measures his food and follows a strict diet when he’s training for those mountain climbs in Tour de France. Even 5 pounds extra will add time. Not good when you’re competing against cyclists who are smaller, thinner and younger!

Runner’s World shared a pretty nifty guide on how to increase your time.

WEIGHT LOST
5K
10K
HALF-MARATHON
MARATHON
2 lbs
12.4 secs
25 secs
52 secs
1:45
5 lbs
31 secs
1:02
2:11
4:22
10 lbs
1:02
2:04
4:22
8:44
20 lbs
2:04
4:08
8:44
17:28

Losing 5 pounds will shave almost 5 minutes off your marathon time! When I was running 3-4 times a week in preparation for Hood to Coast I had a hunger that was insatiable. I ate so much food…but I also burned tons of calories. My body also wasn’t losing weight during my training. Losing weight while training for a running event is near impossible. I’m sure many of you can attest to that.

What I found interesting in the article was this quote:

“…while excess muscle on a cyclist’s upper body is dead weight, it’s vital in other sports. So, if you like to run, swim or play team sports as well as cycle, don’t lose weight by just losing muscle mass, or you’ll notice a decline in your performance. Similarly, if you lose too much body fat, your health will be affected.”

Basically with cycling, you want your muscles in the lower body–which is a no-brainer since the leg muscles are what drive your body forward. It never even occurred to me that my big swimmer’s shoulders could be a downside for cycling…Regardless, swimming is here to stay for me because I love it.

But when it comes to cycling, I’ve noticed that my performance has improved with a few simple things. The first thing that has helped has been weight lifting. Losing body fat is always a good thing. The squats and lunges I’ve been doing to strengthen my lower body has made my recovery time fast.

Another thing that has improved my performance is the core work I’ve been doing.  Having a strong core is essential to cycling because when you’re hunched over a road bike for long hours that can lead to back pain. Having a strong core prevents back pain from happening.

The reason can change, motivations can evolve as training and years go by. Being flexible to those changes is what keeps things interesting.

QUESTION: What’s your reason? Has it changed since you first started losing weight?