Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 Race Medals

Okay, as of today my 2011 race season has come to a close (well, my major race season is over. I might do a turkey trot or jingle bell run).  One thing I was unsure of was what to do with my medals.  I wanted to do something special with them.  It sounds like for a lot of people, the medals end up in a drawer somewhere or forgotten at the bottom of a storage box.  This is what I did with my medals from 2011.  

Here's what you need to do this:

- Foam presentation board (2 pieces)
-Large piece of any color felt big enough to cover board(I went with black)
-X-Acto knife to cut slots in the board
-wooden numbers of the race year
-paint to paint numbers
-some type of glue (spray adhesive works nicely)
-Velcro squares

The first step is to map out where you want to put the medals on the board.  Then cut 1/8" slots where you will feed the medal ribbons with the X-Acto knife into one of the boards.  Once you have cut all of the slots for your medals, spray the adhesive on the board and carefully lay the felt over the board stretching it tight.  Use the X-Acto knife to cut your slots in the felt.  

At this point you are ready to feed your medal ribbons through the slots.  As you do this, position the medal and ribbon, and fasten it to the back.  Repeat this step for all of your medals.  Lastly, attach the painted numbers for the year.  I also used 1 inch Velcro squares to attach the medals down to the felt because there is no glass or anything covering the board.

The last step is to attach the second piece of foam board to the back to cover up the ribbons and make the finished product look neat and finished.  You may also want to frame the whole thing when it's done.

WARNING: This is permanent! You will not be able to remove the medals from the board after this is done.  

Rock'n'Roll New York 10k

October 22, 2011 --

Normally I would have posted a pre race the night before a race, but I was a little aggravated last night and didn't want my aggravation to show itself in my post.  However, now that everything is over, I will take a short moment to air out my grievances.  

Yesterday was packet pick up for the Rock'n'Roll New York 10k in Manhattan.  Pick up was originally scheduled to be from 12-5, which anyone who has a job would have had no chance of making.  They then extended it to 7 which gave a little more hope to most people, but I still had a conflict.  I work at a high school as a Teacher's Assistant and supervise the JV soccer games.  I was supposed to supervise a game yesterday afternoon, so I sent an email to the race company asking what I should do if I was unable to make the one packet pick up they had scheduled.  I received an email back saying that I could pick up my race packet the morning of the race, but to please try and make the scheduled time in the city. 

My soccer supervision ended up getting moved to Thursday afternoon so I was able to make it to the pick up in Manhattan.  We took the LIRR into Penn Station and walked up 7th Avenue to 49th street where the pick up location was.  Here is where the grievance comes in.  I get to the pick up location, and I get my bib number and head over to pick up my swag bag and race T-Shirt, and they tell me that they only have large shirts and do not have any bags left.  I was told that I would have to pick to up my bag and shirt at the race site.  This would not have been such a big deal if they didn't make it seem like it was essential to make it to the pick up in the city.  Long story short, I did get all my stuff after the race this morning, but that really got me aggravated last night.

So, last night Amy and I had dinner at Olive Garden in Manhattan.  I had the new-ish Stuffed Rigatoni with Sausage dinner.  It was delicious!!! (I highly recommend it) Amy had Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara which also looked very good.  

We woke up bright and early for the race this morning, and drove with my Dad to Prospect Park.  It was a chilly morning, I had on my shorts and Newport half Tee to run in with sweat pants, running jacket and wool hat to keep warm before the race started.  My Dad dropped Amy and me off at the park and he went to park the car (got a GREAT spot!). We tried desperately to get pictures of the sun rise, but there were too many trees in the park to get any good shots.  As we made our way over to the start line, we ran into Amy's Aunt who was doing this race as well.  Small world! Amy's cousin and his girlfriend also ran this race and a woman my mom works with.

The race start was a corral start assigned by anticipated finish time.  I started in the 1:05:00 pace corral, Corral 5.
Starting Line of Rock'n'Roll New York 10k

Corral 5! I am not pictured here.
I grabbed a spot next to the fencing so I could talk to Amy until my corral started.  I stretched the legs slowly peeled off the layers because it was still a little chilly.  The race started and I felt great!  I decided I was going to give this race my all.  I had originally hoped I could finish under 1:05:00.  I usually run a 10:46/mile pace in training so I knew I could finish just under 1:07:00 if I kept that pace, but I wanted more.  

I started the race feeling great, possibly better than I had ever felt before or during a race.  I started out with 10 minute miles for miles 1 and 2, and then really picked it up for what i normally run.  I did miles 3 and 4 under 9 minutes each and miles 5 and 6 under 10 minutes.  Crazy!!! My final time was 59:29 with a pack of 9:35/mile.  

The park was beautiful and I really enjoyed the scenery!  I really hope they choose to do this race again next year.  There was an awesome turnout for it being the first time they did it over 4200 runners!

After the race with Amy's cousin Chris and his girlfriend Danielle

The medal!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

23 By Twenty-Four Update 10/20

October 20, 2011 --

Things have been going great!  I hopped on the scale this morning and saw all 2s.  As of this morning, I weigh 222.2 lbs! 

Right now I am two pounds away from a total weight loss of fifty pounds, and am only just over 12 pounds from my goal weight.  It is a good feeling to have come so far and be so close to my goal...but I know there is still work to be done, and can't start slacking off.  

I figured now would be a good time to let you all in on what has been working for me as far as shedding the pounds goes.  By no means do I consider myself an expert in weight loss or nutrition, but this is what has worked for me.  I encourage anyone who is interested in losing weight and getting more fit to try out several different approaches and find what works best for them.

First of all, I completely stopped drinking soda and increased my water intake tremendously.  Soda has approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar in a twelve ounce can and a ton of sodium which causes you to retain water.  Secondly, I initially switched to 100 calorie packs of different snack foods for desserts, and now I have completely eliminated dessert from my life (except one night on the weekend).  Finally, I restricted myself to eating only at meal times.  If I am hungry between meals, I drink a glass of water, and wait twenty minutes to see if I am still hungry and then eat some type of fruit if I am.

I would say that the biggest thing I have done aside from the other things I mentioned is portion control.  I have always felt that I needed to eat everything on my plate.  I have only now come to realize that I don't need to eat everything put in front of me.  

I think this alone has helped me to lose weight.  But, coupled with the amount of exercise and training I have been doing has led to the pounds just melting off.  Again, what I hope people take from this post is that anyone can take that first step toward being healthier, you just need to get off the couch, lace up your shoes, and go.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

UnitedHealthCare Half Marathon Race Report

Newport, RI --

The alarm went off at 6, waking me from one of the worst night's sleep I have had since the night before my last half marathon (makes me wonder how I'll sleep before the full in March).  I have been up much earlier than this for some of my other races this year, but for some reason it felt like an extremely early wake up, probably because now that we are well into fall, the sun is beginning to rise later and later and the temperature is getting colder and colder.  Anyway, I pulled myself together, got dressed, and headed to grab a Clif Bar and a big glass of water for breakfast.  As I finished breakfast, this is the view I had outside... (I am really starting to get a great collection of sunrise pictures)

I pulled myself away from the beauty of the sunrise, and went through my race bag for one final check to make sure I had everything.  Amy then drove me, her cousin Tim, and his two friends; Joe and Mike, over to the race start.  Joe and I looked for a Porta Potty, but wound up lettin it fly behind a sand pile because the line waiting for the toilets was just way too long.  We also realized that Joe forgot his iPod in the car, so we had to have Amy bring it over to the race site.  Even thought Amy did not run in this race with us, she still did a little running that day.

After meeting Amy to get the iPod, we literally had seconds to line up before the gun went off.  We jumped into the huge mob of people and off we went toward 13.1.  

I am about one inch to the right of the light post wearing the red/white shirt and dark hat.

I felt great, but struggled with my pacing in the beginning.  I like to try and keep a 10:45-11:15 min/mile pace, but my first 4 miles I averaged 10:25 min per mile.  Now ahead of my scheduled pace, I began to feel the burn and started to slow considerably.  Mile 5 I finished in 10:50, and after that I really lost steam. 

The course was beautiful! A lot of the course ran along the water, and what wasn't on the water, was a tour through streets of unbelievable mansions.  The weather was pretty much perfect for a race too.  Temperature in the sixties with a clear sky! My only complaint would be the amount of wind there was at times on the course, especially near the water.  

I ran by Amy between miles 8 and 9, she actually got a pretty good picture!

A few shots of me coming to, and crossing the finish line (Also provided by Amy).  My finishing time was 2:45:41, over 30 minutes faster than my time at the Binghamton Bridge Run Half Marathon.  I had wanted to finish in 2:30:00, but am still more than happy with my time.


My time did make me realize a few things: 
     1) I need to get off the track for my long runs.  Running on the track, I have an idea of my distance...but when I get on the roads, and am lost.  Running a half mile on the road seems much longer than it does on the track right now.  I need to get more comfortable to road running.
        2) I need to get out and find some hills to run on.  This course had a few significant hills and some gradual inclines and declines.  I am so used to running on flat ground, that I tire so quickly when I hit a hill.
         3) I just need to stay focused and keep working.  I am definitely heading in the right direction, and just have to keep pushing.

Thats all for now, stay tuned for my 10k preview Friday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Newport Half Marathon Race Preview

October 14, 2011 --

Sunday is the UnitedHealthCare Half Marathon in Newport, RI, and I have to say I am actually in some ways looking forward to it.  Like I have said time and time again, in no way do I consider myself a runner...(although having run 10+ miles a week for almost a year now, I may have to start), but I am finally in a place where I am enjoying running. One of the greatest feelings is the one you get after finishing a long run.

Training for this half has gone so much better than my training for the Binghamton Bridge Run Half back in May.  I think my triathlon training really kept me focused and on track for this race.  Although my distances for the triathlons were much shorter, I threw long runs into my tri training to prepare myself for the half.  I feel very prepared for this race, and hope to reach my goal of finishing quicker than 2:30:00.  My time for the Binghamton half was 3:15:00 which would, if I hit my goal, shave close to an hour off of my time from the last half.  

Tomorrow afternoon I will be heading up to Rhode Island with Amy to check out the Race Expo and pick up my race packet & bib number of 4162.  After the Expo, we will head over to Amy's Uncle's house to spend the night before waking up bright and early and heading to the race start.  My 2011 race season will come to a close in just over a week.  Tomorrow's half marathon and next Saturday's 10k are the last two of my planned races.  

That's all for now.  Check in Sunday night to see how the race went.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

23 by Twenty-Four Update

Breaking the Barrier: 230...

October 9, 2011 --

     For weeks I had felt trapped;  wanting to continue to lose weight, but the pounds simply not coming off.  I was stuck.  At the beginning of September, I was down to 231pounds, and for the past four weeks I was stuck there...cycling between weigh-ins at 231and 233, but never hitting or breaking the 230 pound mark.  I was beginning to get frustrated, and thought I would never be able to break that 230 milestone.  I decided to stop weighing  myself for awhile, and to really try to watch what I put into my body for two weeks, and see if that would help.  

     So for two weeks, I watched what I ate, stayed on my workout and training plans, and didn't obsess about my weight.  I have a half marathon one week from today, which has kept me focused and on track with my training, and I made sure to not have sodas, desserts, or sweets while controlling my portion sizes all week.  I had a few long runs of more than 6 miles in these past two weeks, as well as a bunch of shorter runs of 5 miles or less.  After all of that, the day to weigh myself finally came.  Tuesday morning I weighed myself and was blown away by the number I saw...226.5!  I could not believe it, so much so that I weighed myself 4 more times just to make sure.  Sure enough, each time that scale read 226.5!  I was ecstatic.  Not only did I break the 230 pound barrier, I surpassed it by almost 4 pounds.  

     The rest of the week, I did not see any number above 230 on the scale whether i weighed  myself in the morning or at night, so I think I have finally and completely passed that mark, and the two thirties are a thing of my past.  I am definitely moving in the right direction toward my goal of weighing two hundred ten pounds by my 24th birthday.  I have about 17 pounds still to go with just over 17 weeks until the big day.  

     I know it will not be easy...having gotten to a point where exercise alone will not take the pounds off.  I now need to exercise and focus on what I am putting into my body on a daily basis, something which had not been a great issue in the past.  With the holiday season soon approaching, I know there will be challenges for me ahead (especially as I bake dozens and dozens of cookies for Christmas each year).  I just need to stay focused and keep my eyes on the prize.  

     Finally, I would also like to officially announce that I will be running the Inaugural Rock n' Roll Series Marathon in Washington D.C. in March.  I have not told anyone yet that I will be doing this, so for my are hearing it first!

That's all for now. Pre Race and Post Race blog posts will be up hopefully sometime Saturday and Sunday nights respectively.