Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life as a Marathonaholic...Still Lovin' It!!!

About 5 minutes before the official start time for the 2011 MONSTER DASH!!!!! YEAH!!!!

This post will probably be shorter this time--and note that I did say probably--because as soon as I'm done, I'm going to get in bed with dinner, watch Monte Carlo on Blu-ray, and just chill for the rest of the evening! Yes, I'm one of those girls who watches Selena Gomez movies on a Saturday night...and that's okay! :)

It was a long day--but a very fun and happy one--at the Chicago Monster Dash with my mom. I ran my second half marathon in 2:39:18, which is four minutes longer than my finish time at the Chicago Half Marathon in September, and a 13-minute drop from the halfway mark at the Chicago Marathon. But in that case, you must understand that I was running with my sister Katie, aka the girl with legs like lightning, and she was not there today to help me stretch beyond those limits. Still, it was a beautiful course to run along, and I only stopped running to tie my shoes and go to the bathroom at mile 9, so all in all, I'm happy with my finish time.

The weather was about as perfect as it can get at the tail end of October...a little chilly, but sunny skies the entire time, and the crowd of runners was considerably thinner than the last two marathons I've done, so there was plenty of open space to run along the lakefront. The only bummer was that there were hardly any spectators, and considering the beautiful day it was, that was a little surprising. We were definitely spoiled at the Chicago Marathon and Half Marathon, respectively, with the large numbers of supporters out there, and this time around, the course was very...quiet. Even the runners weren't hooting and hollaring the way they normally do. There were a lot of feet hitting the pavement, and a few isolated conversations were going on, but the tone of the race was definitely different in that respect. It wasn't necessarily bad--just different. That said, there were certain points on the course that had more people watching, including Navy Pier and the start/finish lines, and as always, the volunteers were amazing. A lot goes into the making these events successful, and there was a lot of kindness and generosity going around at the Chicago Monster today. I loved spending the time with my mom (we had lunch at Bennigan's after the race), and at least in my eyes, she's the best supporter in the world!! Now it's time to look forward to the Inaugural Chicago Polar Dash on January 14th...yeah, it's gonna be a frigid one, but the way I see it, if you're gonna be outside at that time of year, you might as well warm yourself up by running 13.1 miles around the city! Sounds fun, right? :)

Other than that, things have pretty much been the same around here. Wednesday was an incredibly exciting night, because I reached my goal weight at my Weight Watchers meeting. What this means is that I now have to enter a six-week maintenance program, and at the end of that sixth week, if I am no more than two pounds above my current weight, I will receive a Lifetime pass to attend Weight Watchers for free (as long as I maintain that goal weight). It was awesome to share my before and after pictures with the group and talk a little about my journey over the past three years, and it's also incredible to think that I have reached this point. It's taken a lot of time and hard work. At the same time, though, there's that feeling what? When you've been working toward something very specific for so long, you find yourself wondering what the next challenge is going to be. I am hopeful that I can lose another 40 pounds or so (I've lost 154 so far), but I'm trying not to get too worked up about that. First, we'll see how these six weeks of maintenance go, because staying disciplined and not slipping back into old habits is going to be difficult enough. I think we all know what that can be like. Tonight, for instance, I am treating myself to a sausage stromboli from Sbarro's (picked it up for dinner after the race because I haven't had Sbarro's in at least a year and have been craving it like no other), and while it's fine to indulge once in a while, it can be rough getting back on track the next day.

You know how it goes...once you have one or two less-than-healthy meals, you start craving the bad stuff again, and like an evil manipulator, your body will try coaxing you back in the wrong direction. Fortunately, I've gotten better at spotting the warning signs for this, and if we are firm enough with ourselves, we can learn how to keep out of trouble. I guess that's one of the reasons I love running so much. A friend of mine recently said that running has been her saving grace in maintaining her weight, because even if she eats badly over the weekend, she can exercise the next day and use that as a springboard to get back on the wagon. That's the incredible thing about exercise--when you learn to take advantage of it and integrate it into your regular routine, more healthy eating is sure to follow.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday night (I know I will) and has a beautiful, relaxing Sunday tomorrow. Always work hard and stay focused on your goals, but don't forget to enjoy life too!

Question of the Day: It's a simple one...what makes you happy?

Here I am shortly after crossing the finish line. The medal and post-race string cheese are the best part!

Hanging out at home with my medal and new Monster hat...and of course, my fabulous dad :)

As you can tell, this jacket is just a little...incandescent, shall we say? My dad says it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket, and I guess I can't disagree with him on that one. Oh, the things we love wearing to make life just a little bit brighter! :)

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