Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 Highlights

I'm a little behind on recapping my 2012 highlights, most everyone else in blogland had theirs done appropriately at the end of 2012. But better late than never, right? I had such a great year in 2012 so I felt like I had to share some of the highlights for me. So here goes!

  • Making Lifetime for Weight Watchers - It took me almost a year to lose 40 pounds and reach my WW goal weight, but I did it! As a Lifetime member, you weigh in at least once a month and if you are within 2 pounds of your goal weight, the meetings are free. You also get free etools to access WW Online.  
  • Running my first 8k race -  Beerun! This 5 miler (actually 5.2 miles in 2012) is a locally popular race and a tough course. For two years, I was at the race watching Michael run it and I never thought I would one day run it too.
  • Meeting Dierks Bentley - Heck yeah! This has nothing to do with running but it was definitely a big highlight of 2012 and probably my life right? Not sure when I will have the opportunity to meet a star and talk to them for an entire 45 seconds again!
  • Running my first 10k race - We drove to the coast to do this race in Wilmington. The course was basically in a super nice shopping center which I thought was weird, but it was still nice and flat. 
  • Coaching Women's Running School (WRS) - I volunteered as an Assistant Coach for WRS and had a great time. As I've said many times before, I'm not sure I was really much of a coach than I was a cheerleader. Royal Blue was an awesome group to run with and many of those girls are still running. A couple are even training for the first 10k! I hope I have the opportunity to coach again this year.
  • Running my first half marathon - This of course was the biggest race and goal of 2012. I had the bright idea to recruit my buddy Jeff (who lives in PA) to run the Hershey Half in Hershey, PA. So I kept my promise and we drove up to PA for our first half. It was such a good feeling to accomplish the goal of running 13.1 miles. Years ago I never would have imagined I would do something like this.
  • First 5k race finish under 30 minutes - I know I'm not a fast runner. I just hoped one day, I would finish under 30 minutes and see that "29" something. I had many races I came close and even one in 2010 that was under 30 minutes but I don't think it was officially 3.1 miles (pre Garmin days). Finally in November I finished a legit 5k in 29:23! Not only that race, but the next two races were under 30 minutes and I have a new 5k PR of 29:07.
  • My first winning medal - In the Reindeer Romp 5k I placed 3rd in my age group and won my first medal! I was so excited to win some bling!
  • Being a calendar girl - It was cool to be selected as a calendar girl for my employer. They really did have a big part to my healthy lifestyle changes. I hope my little story will be inspiring for others.
 Well for me 2012 was really a great year with a lot of "firsts". I'm still working on 2013 goals and although there may not be as many "firsts", I know it will be a great year!

Calendar Girl

For the past two years, the health care organization I work for holds a contest for employees to show case their health success story in the upcoming year's calendar. To enter you write a short story about how the organization helped you become healthier. Twelve winning stories are selected and those selected have a calendar photo shoot and receive a $100 Visa gift card.

So last year I submitted my story and...I was one of the stories selected! I was excited to be selected because I truly feel that the changes I made and the success I had, was because of the resources provided by my employer. I started working for the organization a little over two years ago. It was in February 2011 when I decided to make a change. My first step was participating in a "Biggest Loser" type competition at work. I didn't win, but it was a start to get me going. Next I joined Weight Watchers at work series. It was easy to attend meetings since they were located on campus and during lunch hours. Then I started going to the group exercise classes like Body Pump and Pilates. These were also offered during lunch hours. It was also in the summer of 2011 when I joined the Women's Running School which was the start of me becoming a runner. My employer plays a big part in the running school since the race the school trains for is the Women's Only Run.
The caption reads "Losing weight used to pose a problem. Now I'm in better shape than ever".
My story
 Before joining this organization I was in public accounting for six years. As an auditor, you are typically working out of the office. That means a lot of eating out for lunch and definitely not exercising. It was also much more stressful and especially during tax season working 55+ hours a week! For me, it wasn't the ideal environment to make healthy choices.

Whether or not I would have made the healthy lifestyle changes if I would have stayed in my old job, I guess I can't say for sure. But I really feel that changing jobs to an employer that provided the resources and support, was the turning point. Of course, it was up to me to keep the determination and do all the work. I'm very grateful to my employer and I hope my calendar success story will inspire other employees at my organization to take advantage of the resources provided. Oh did I mention this calendar was sent to all 8,500+ employees?!?

The photo shoot was fun although it was on a hot, humid August day! The theme was chosen for me and even though I'm more of a Pilates girl...I think the Yoga pose turned out nice! Another girl who ran her first Marathon got the running photo shoot. All of the calendar stories were great and they weren't all about weight loss. One man quit smoking after smoking for the majority of his life!

Oh and I used the $100 gift card to buy a new pair of running shoes! Yeah, keep it going Mrs. March!

Reindeer Romp 5k

Over a month ago I ran in the Ragsdale YMCA Reindeer Romp 5k. I had been looking forward to it mainly because I got to wear my red sparkly skirt! I had been wanting a sparkly running skirt and a Christmas themed race seemed like the perfect occasion. You can buy them online but I had this one made. Katie at RunsforCookies has a great tutorial on how to make them. I can't sew anything, not even a button! BTW, Katie's blog is awesome and she is one of my favorite running/weight loss bloggers.

Anyways, race day morning was chilly so I went with a long sleeve shirt.  Michael was still nursing an injury so he didn't run but Ryan did as well as my BIL and two nephews. Gaydon crew representing again!

I didn't have a goal finish time for this race but I hoped I would at least finish under 30 minutes since I had on the previous two 5k races in November. The race was a pretty good size with about 280 participants. A lot were kids from a local GOFAR (Go Out For A Run) program.

My official chip time was 29:57. Barely under 30 minutes but I did it! After the race everyone gathered inside on the YMCA's basketball courts for refreshments and the awards ceremony. My nephew who is 6 years old, won his age group! He got a first place award medal and this big Chick-fil-a gift basket! We were all so jealous of the basket. Next up my BIL placed 3rd in his age group and got his award medal.

We were getting ready to go but decided to wait since they were almost finished with awards. They gave out the kids first, then the men's and then the women's. I think they got off track somehow. Anyways, they got to my age group and name was called for 3rd place!!! I could not believe it! I was so excited as I walked up to get my medal! Finally I got lucky and picked a race where my age group wasn't super popular! There were 14 women in my age group so I guess I didn't do too bad. My first winning medal felt great.

The next weekend several of us Breathless Babes participated in another Christmas themed race called "Running of the Balls" (yes that really was the name). It was an evening race that goes through a neighborhood which has tons of those lighted tree balls. It was really cool! The race was raising money and donated food for a local food bank. Over 1500 people participated by either walking or running. You could choose to be timed but most didn't (including us Babes) since it was really just about having fun and supporting the charity.

I dressed in my red sparkly skirt and was even more festive with my green Reindeer Romp 5k shirt and striped socks. After the race we went out for Mexican food and gave our BB leader Kathy a present from us Babes (a big basket full of goodies). Kathy surprised us with a personalized ornament that was so cool! I meant to take a picture of it before I packed away the Christmas decorations but I forgot. Each ornament was different since it was personalized and mine had sayings like Run for Chocolate! 13.1! Friends! Poblanos! Ha, she knows me well! I'm so glad I met this group of running girls!!!