Project Stimey 2.0

Project StimeyIt has been one year and one day since I started Project Stimey, which means it is time to stop, assess, and recommit. As I mentioned in my last post, my resolution at the beginning of 2013 was this:

My goal this year is to improve my overall physical health. By the end of 2013, I want to weigh less, I want to be fitter, I want to be a water drinker instead of a soda drinker, and I want to be altogether more awesome.

As I also mentioned, I managed to do all of these things, but some of them not all the way. That, however, was kind of the point for me. Giving myself an end goal, like “LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT” would have set me up for failure. This way, when I lost SOME of the weight, I ended up feeling good about myself instead of wanting to kill myself. Win-win!

As for fitness, I am definitely way better off than I was a year ago. I ran 465.51 miles this year in just more than 100 hours. I ran seven races, including the relay race I spent most of the year training for. I ran an 8k race in September at a three minute per mile faster pace than when I had run the same race the year before.

Also, my body is changing in good ways.

Running photos taken a year apart

I’m not where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction.

As for the soda drinking, I’m afraid I haven’t been as honest with you as I could have been. It was February when I told you that I was making good progress quitting Diet Coke. Then I completely regressed without telling you and drank mass amounts of Diet Coke right up until December 29, when I realized that I only had two days left if I planned to quit before new year’s.

It was a sad day, let me tell you. Honestly, though, the next day was sadder with no happy brown bubbles to cheer me up.

I’m on Day Four with no soda and I feel totally fine physically, but damn if I don’t miss it. I know that it is just a matter of getting out of the habit of drinking soda all the time. I’m now getting in the habit of drinking water instead. I should tell you that water is stupid.

I am so fucking hydrated right now that I want to scream.

But healthier! No more phenylalanine for me! Yay! *grumpy face*

As for next year, I really just want to keep moving down the road I’m on. My 2014 resolution is to continue to improve my overall physical health. I will continue to work on running and increasing my mileage and speed, but I really want to work on eating cleaner as well. Per usual, I will plan to increase my general awesomeness again.

I want to run at least one half marathon this year, hopefully this spring, but I haven’t found one yet. My relay team is also planning another fall relay. And, again, we have openings if any of you are interested in joining our team.

Just like last year, you can keep tabs on me through my distance log and my race list.

Let’s inspire each other! Let me know what your goals are and how you’re going to make them happen. We can all be awesomer in 2014!

Reach the Beach 2013 Race Report: Victory in New Hampshire!

Cannon Mountain, location of the start line at Reach the Beach New Hampshire:

photo of Cannon Mountain

Driving in, I had a very visceral reaction. To wit: “Oh fuck, it’s real.”

Some background:

Just about 52 weeks ago, I ran an 8K race near my home. I ran those five miles at a slightly more than 14-1/2 minute per mile pace. I placed 621 out of 627 finishers.

Last weekend at Reach the Beach, I ran three runs totaling 16.87 miles over 33 hours. I ran them, according to my GPS, in three hours, 13 minutes, and three seconds at a less than 11-1/2 minute per mile average pace.

To many (most?) runners, I am still veeeery slow. I still don’t look like a runner. I am definitely still a beginner. I am still waaaaay in progress on my Project Stimey Betterment of Jean mission. But you know what? I can run 17 miles in two days. My longest run increased to 11.15 miles—which I ran in August at a faster pace than I ran that 8k race, by the way. I’ve run nearly 400 miles thus far this year. I have cut three minutes off of my running pace in the past 52 weeks.

Progress, meet Stimey.

I am extremely proud of myself.

All right. Excellent. *brushes hands together* Let’s move on to the race report.

As I told you in my last post, Reach the Beach is a 200(ish)-mile race broken into 36 legs. Standard teams rotate their runners sequentially through each leg. We were a freestyle team, which means that our captains were able to assign legs at will. We had two vans that took turns running and supporting the runners. That means Van One ran/supported on legs 1-6, 13-18, and 25-30. Van Two ran/supported legs 7-12, 19-24, and 31-36. I was in Van Two and ran legs 8, 24, and 35.

If you’re having a hard time picturing it, you can look at photos and videos on the race Facebook page or read this post about the logistics of it all. Or you can stick around here as I tell you how it was for me and also a little bit how it was for my team. I feel a little egocentric writing solely about my perspective as this was most definitely a team effort and undoubtedly every other member of the team had a vastly different experience, but I don’t know how else to be able to do it. Maybe as you’re reading, you could add “which was possible only because of my amazing team” after every sentence.

I flew into Connecticut on Thursday, the day before the race, where I met up with my team co-captain Marc and my Van Two compatriots Lyda, Bob, Marisa, and Mike. Mike was there as our driver and as a pinch hit runner. Remember that. It is important later.

After that, we headed off to meet Van One—none of whom I’d ever met before—at a restaurant, where everyone talked about how many marathons and half marathons they’d run and I sat quietly and hydrated.

I didn’t actually get to interact very much with Van One, which is a shame because they seem like very cool people. I also didn’t ask their permission to post their names or photos, so just imagine six very nice, fit people who killed their legs of the course. They were all really fast runners and they had to run a LOT of tough hills. Also, I didn’t see them very often. You should internalize, however, that Van One kicked ass.

Reach the Beach staggers their start times over the course of the first day (Friday) so that all 480 teams don’t set off in their 1000 vans at the same time. We were a slower (the slowest?) team, so we had the first start time at 7:20 am.

This is definitely in the top…one of most gorgeous start lines that I’ve experienced.

Start line set in misty mountains.

Teammates Lyda and Bob in our unobtrusive team shirts.

It started raining right as our first runner set off, which  was a bummer for him, but not that much of a problem for Van Two, as the weather forecast claimed that it would clear up by the time we started running in the early afternoon. Our general assholishness and joy over this would come back to haunt us later that afternoon when we all had to run in pouring rain.

Karma is real, people.

Teammate in blue shirt, with number 16701, holding bright yellow baton.

This snap bracelet was the baton that we passed from wrist to wrist for more than 200 miles. I bet it has a lot of sweat residue on it now.

Anywho, Van One set off running and Van Two? Well, we headed off to breakfast. Over eggs, homefries, pancakes, and coffee, Bob looked up and said, “So far I don’t see what’s so hard about this race.”

He was totally right.

We drove the race route on our way to the first Vehicle Transition Area (VTA), which was really exciting. Passing all the runners was totally inspiring. Passing our runner was way cool. She was in third place at the time.

Spoiler alert: We didn’t stay in third place.

We arrived at the VTA early, which gave us plenty of time to circle and fret, circle and fret. Which we did. Also, it started to rain, goddammit.

Us in front of our van

Team MLC, Van Two at the first VTA: Bob, Lyda, Mike, Marisa, Stimey, Marc. We’re awesome.

We got into our groove as Lyda set off on her leg and we figured out how to be a support vehicle. All too soon, however, we had supported her and arrived at the next transition area (TA), where I was due to run my 6.61 miles of Leg 8.

Although not as nervous as I’d been in the days leading up to the race, I still had a fair amount of pre-run anxiety. I was hopeful that it would dissipate as I started running—and it did.

My GPS watch doesn’t tell me my current pace (just average pace), but after I’d been running for a half hour or so, I did some math in my head and figured out that I was running faster than my expected pace of 12 minute miles, which was a huge relief as the possibility of running a 13-minute mile is what had been giving me nightmares for weeks.

My team stopped to give me some water at mile four. It is hard to run and drink water at the same time, so I spilled it all over myself, but it totally didn’t matter because I was entirely soaked by the rain. Did I mention that? It poured during my whole run. At least there was no chance of overheating.

Stimey running and smiling

Mile Four: It’s too bad I was so fucking miserable while I was running, isn’t it?

The rest of the run went really well too. Instead of letting my mind wander, which is something I do on training runs, which tends to result in my slowing down without meaning to, I made sure to keep my speed up and to hit every downhill slope hard. (Gravity, bitches!)

Running into the transition area was one of the greatest things ever.

“You took six minutes off your time!” Marc shouted. Then I never stopped smiling ever.

Bob took off on his run and we returned to the van, where I claimed the back seat so I could change out of my wet clothes. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to navigate a soaking wet sports bra and assorted other clothing while trying to not flash the entire world from the back of a van, but it was harder than it looked.

The rest of the team was, you know, doing stuff in the rest of the van—reading handbooks, studying elevation maps, eating M&Ms and whatnot, whilst I was fighting an epic battle with my clothes.

“Getting dressed is harder than running,” I proclaimed, which, I believe, is evidence of the endorphins coursing through my system after my successful run.

I was so high that I have little recollection of Bob’s run, which was next. I do, however, remember Marisa’s run after his because it was kind of a bummer of a run, by which I mean it was way hillier than expected and still pouring rain. We passed her at some point and then every turn we took, it just got worse and worse and worse and more and more and more uphill except for that steep downhill on gravel, culminating in a steep uphill finish on soaking wet grass.

I stood at the top of that grassy hill for a good amount of time watching runners come into the TA. There were a lot of very fit but very sad people who staggered up that hill, most of them looking completely dazed. Marc, who had assigned all of our van’s legs, looked a little bit like he wanted to throw up, but I’m not sure if it is because he’d given Marisa the uphill route (that, to add insult to injury, he got to partially retrace in the opposite, downhill direction) or because he had two back-to-back legs coming up to finish our first section of the race, for a total of nearly nine miles.

I met him at the TA with some water. Most of our team didn’t make it to cheer him in because he ran so damn fast that he got there way faster than expected, while they were still examining the scenery. I gave him some water, gaped at his 7:10 min/mi pace, and sent him on his way for his second leg.

Marc and Stimey in the woods

Related: Do you see the beauty that we got to run through?

He was substantially less chipper at the next TA where he arrived after leg cramps with a hearty, “That sucked!” but still a 7:50ish pace for his second leg. Then he wandered around mumbling for a while. I don’t think you get leg cramps if you run anything slower than 11 minutes a mile. Yay, me!

Fortunately, we didn’t have anywhere to be because Van One was up for the next six legs. It was nearing dinner time so we decided to find pizza in the town where we would be taking over in the middle of the night. This meant that we got to preview the race course before Van One ran it. We decided to not let them know how terrible and hilly their night runs would be. It seemed cruel to tell them. Sometimes ignorance is bliss—although there was nothing blissful about the legs they had to run. In the dark. With, in at least one case, a defective headlamp. In the pitch black. Did I mention that it was dark?

We stopped for gas and my teammates asked the teenage kids (i.e. hoodlums) hanging outside where to get the best pizza in town. Then we passed probably 60 or 70 pizza places as we drove in circles to find said pizza place because teenagers told us it was “the bomb.”

I may or may not have been in the navigator’s chair with my Yelp app shouting about, “No! We are going to get the bomb pizza. I do not care that there are three pizza joints in that strip mall to our left. I DO NOT CARE!” Fortunately a majority of Van Two was similarly delirious and opinionated.

Algernon eating pizza.

It was pretty goddamn good pizza. Mayhap the bomb.

As I was taking the above photo with my actual slice of pizza, which I then proceeded to eat, Marc was all, “Last time I saw that mouse, he was sitting on a lily pad in the middle of a lake.” And I was all, “Yum. Giardia.”

From there, we went to the VTA where we hoped to get some sleep. Here is something you should know about me: I can find a way to sleep almost anywhere. Sometimes I can’t help sleeping in odd places. The other day when I was in the OT waiting room, it was less awesome that I fell asleep, but at Reach the Beach, my sleeping skillz came in super handy.

We parked our van near a bunch of people sacked out in the grass in sleeping bags and I pulled out my bag only to hear that everyone else was planning to get some sleep in the van. Seats were being reclined, benches were being called, and I couldn’t think of anything more terrible than trying to sleep in a van full of people. Putting a sleeping bag on the wet grass seemed luxurious by comparison.

I chose a spot under a tree, imagining that it would probably be drier there. Then I passed out and slept for the next two hours. After Marc woke me up (in what was apparently a nervewracking episode of trying to figure out which identical sleeping bag contained me—fortunately he chose wisely), I learned that the van denizens had averaged about 20 minutes of sleep.

I knew that all those naps I took over the summer were preparing me for something. I’m not LAZY. I was TRAINING.

Regardless, soon enough we were up and waiting for an exhausted Van One to come in and pass the baton to us. Lyda was up first at around midnight, which meant that we got to experiment with middle of the night support on her. Also, we were all kind of waiting to see if she was going to get eaten by a bear.

Another spoiler alert: She did not.

Running at night was a trip. Our driver/teammate extraordinaire, Mike, super stepped up on this rotation. He not only drove our enormous van nearly the entire course (33 hours!) while not running over any runners, but he also turned into our main support guy, jumping out of the van to supply water and encouragement as we ran by. Mike rocks. Like, really, really rocks.

The fact that Mike took over the major support role was probably for the best, as I tried to support Marc on his leg, resulting in my team thinking that I’d gotten lost in the night (I’d wandered over to the other side of the road) AND giving a generic, “Nice job!” to Marc when he ran by because I didn’t realize it was him in the dark.

I eventually figured out my mistake and caught up to him with his water.

I ran the last leg in this rotation, so I am the only member of Team MLC who didn’t actually run in the dark. I had been kind of looking forward to a night run, but I got the sunrise run, so I’m not going to complain. I also didn’t get any of the super hard runs that the rest of the team ran overnight, so I’m really not going to complain. Three of Van Two’s runners ran super hilly legs and one ran a double leg, which totaled nearly ten miles.

My 6.9 miles didn’t seem so bad after that.

Also, not to toot my own horn or anything, but after being passed by every runner on the course, I finally passed someone on this leg. I found out later that it was the oldest runner in the race—an 80-year-old man who was on his 9th year of the race. I want to be him when I grow up.

This leg was a little slower for me, but I still took a couple minutes off of my expected running time. Shortly before the end of my leg, there was a short (about a half mile) but steep uphill. I was a little surprised when I got to the top and there were no cheers for me, but there was no one around, so I guess I can’t feel too bad. There were cheers in my head though and I very nearly high fived myself for not slowing to a walk at all.

I live for downhills (again: gravity, bitch!) and the rest of the leg was downhill, so I took off, feeling great. I even had a passing van shout at me, “Way to finish strong, runner!” at which point I looked up to smile at them and nearly fell off the road. Happily I did not.

Van One was taking over at this point, so as I ran in to the cheers of the large crowd that was gathered at the VTA, I was looking for my replacement runner from the other van. I saw him and then tried to operate the snap bracelet while moving, promptly hurling it to the ground at his feet.

I am a fucking dunce.

Stimey passing the baton

I totally look like a pro here, don’t I?

Stimey passing runner picking up baton

I look like less of a pro here, running past my teammate who had to start his leg by fumbling on the ground. I particularly like background guy watching him do it.

We had time before starting our final rotation so we took the People Who Need Coffee (why doesn’t everyone just take their caffeine in an icy, portable, Diet Coke manner like I do?) to a Dunkin’ Donuts, which was awesome for me because there was an actual bathroom there where I could change my clothes instead of struggling in the back of the van.

From there, we headed to our next vehicle transition area, which was a happy place where you could buy a shower for $5 or sleep on a mat in a school gym for free. I opted for the latter, scoring another hour and a half of sleep.

Before sleep, however, I used the porta potty. Then I walked out of said porta potty, dropped off a curb, and fell straight to the ground. That’s right. I fell pretty much flat on my face by rolling out of a porta potty. I imagine that it was kind of spectacular to watch.

I am ridiculous.

I actually sustained more of an injury in my, you know, fall out of the porta potty than I did in any other part of the race. I scraped up my whole left shin and tore open small wounds on a couple of toes and my ankle.

Repeat: I am ridiculous.

We only had six legs left to run and this was by far the easiest rotation, with each leg measuring only 4 or fewer miles—except Leg 32: my leg. This leg is 6.7 miles. I had this leg because my other legs, while good distances, were easier than everyone else’s legs. (Anyone have a synonym for “leg?”) I wasn’t assigned any of the long climbs or lengthy slogs, so I was prepared to put in my time with a long last leg. Marc also had a long last leg, but just because he was planning to run both legs 35 and 36.

Mike, being the wonderful guy he is (remind me to tell you about the incredible parking job he did with the van at the last VTA sometime), offered to take leg 35 from Marc. Marc suggested that he take my leg and I take 35, which Mike was totally up for.

I was conflicted.

Part of me wanted to do my three 7-mile runs. I had prepared for them, I had psyched myself up for them, I was ready for them. But a bigger part of me liked the idea of running 3.4 miles instead of 6.7. When I woke up from my nap and fighting my way out of the sleeping bag took longer than a minute, I decided to gratefully take Mike up on his offer.

It was an exceptionally good decision. I probably could have done the 6.7, but it wouldn’t have been pretty. Even the 3.4 wiped me out. Mike took leg 32 and killed it. He pinch hit at exactly the time we needed him to. I don’t think it would be out of line to call him a godsdamned hero.

It was really fun to celebrate with each of my teammates as they came into the TAs, having completed all of their legs. These are some incredibly tough people, all of whom rocked every single one of their legs. It was an honor to run with them.

My last leg felt slow, but it turns out that I was running it at the same average pace that I ran my first leg. I even passed two non-octogenarians.  It felt great to run into the transition area on that last leg.

Done!Marc ran the last leg because he is the dude who came up with the idea to run Reach the Beach in the first place and it seemed only fair that he get to be the guy to complete it. Unfortunately, he is a speedy runner and the rest of us had only his four miles to speed to the beach to get there before he did.

We had to park in the overflow lot, which was, oh, let’s say 16 miles from the finish line. Or a little less than a mile. One or the other.

We speedwalked down the boardwalk to the beach and then churned through the sand along the race route where we found our Van One teammates just in front of the finish line. Not two minutes later, Marc came running down the beach and all 12 of us ran across the finish line together. It was amazing.

I am so proud of all of us.

Team MLC Van Two at the finish line

We are awesome. All of us.

Ah, fuck it, I have to show Van One too.

Team MLC, with our captains in front.

Team MLC, with our captains in front.

Based on Race Stimey’s experience at Reach the Beach, Future Stimey is really going to enjoy whatever team-centered footrace I sign her up for next. We’re already contemplating other relays.

I feel really happy that not only did I complete my portion of this race and that my team finished the race as a group, but I made some new friends. I completely fell in love with my teammates last weekend. I would go on pretty much any adventure with them at any point in the future.

Thank you, Team MLC, for being the amazing, strong, funny, kind people that you are.

As for Idea-man Marc? I may have jokingly said some unkind things to him over the past several weeks as my panic reached epic proportions, but the thing I really want to say to him is, thank you. I would never have done this without you, Marc. Thank you.

When I was worried about my hip injury and afraid that taking time off to let it rest would let down our team, you didn’t let me quit. Thank you.

When I panicked in front of you in the days leading up to the race, you stayed calm and encouraging. Thank you.

When I surpassed my own expectations, you were the first to cheer me on. Thank you.

IMG_6583No, really. Thank you.

Reach the Beach and Why I Hate Past Stimey

About a year ago, Past Stimey’s friend asked her if she wanted to run a 200-mile, 12-person relay race in New Hampshire in September of 2013. Past Stimey thought that sounded like a blast and after all, Past Stimey didn’t really have to worry about actually racing in said relay race (Reach the Beach) because that was Future Stimey’s problem.

Past Stimey can go fuck herself. This comes straight from Present Stimey, who has to run this motherfucking race THIS COMING FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.

Here is how the race works: It is 200(ish) miles. There are a bunch of us on our team. There are 36 legs of varying lengths and intensities. Each of us runs 3 or 4 legs. I will, over the course of 30-something hours, run three legs of almost 7 miles each.

I am freaking out.

I am in an all-day, every-day, full-body panic.

I mean, I’m going for one last run Wednesday, before I fly up to New Hampshire on Thursday, so there is still time for me to sprain an ankle or get hit by a car or something.

As George Costanza said, wishing his fiancée would get in a plane crash before he had to marry her: “It’s something. It’s hope.”

At least I have a buddy.

He's wearing a reflective vest so he can help out on the night legs.

He’s wearing a reflective vest so he can help out on the night legs.

You guys. I for reals want to cry or throw up every time I think about it. I know neither of those things are all that much out of character, but it’s still kind of a bummer.

Here’s the thing: I can run the miles. I know I can do that. As far as putting one foot in front of the other, that will happen.

However, there are a number of other things that Past Stimey didn’t consider when she so flippantly agreed to take part in this race. I could list all of these things, but it mostly just comes down to my issues with socializing, with needing downtime, with worrying about letting my teammates down because I am so goddamn slooooow, about being autistic in a little van with a slew of other people and a plethora of what are sure to be interesting smells, about body image issues in a field of fit runners, about (my) control issues, about not knowing what to expect, about…

Well. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I would probably be less stressed if I were supposed to run a marathon this weekend (something I am nowhere near ready to do), because at least if I were doing that, I wouldn’t have eleven other people counting on me. I am not, how you say—a team player. In fact, I have spent most of my life avoiding team situations. I’m really mad that Past Stimey forgot that about us.

Here’s something else though: I know this is going to be good. It is going to be so fucking good. My teammates are good people. My team doesn’t care when we finish, we just care that we finish. I have been mentally preparing myself to put my head down and push through the lack of down time and my social issues, knowing that I can come home and decompress.

I know that this race and the people I do it with are going to be one of my favorite memories. I know that I will come home on Sunday wanting to race again next year. I know all of these things, but that doesn’t stop my anticipatory anxiety.

I have to walk through this anxiety to get to the good part.

Near Future Stimey is going to be really happy. Near Future Stimey is going to have an adventure and a ton of fun this weekend. Near Future Stimey is going to have a million stories.

Present Stimey, however, is going to panic. That’s just the way it is. I know it is going to be great. I really do. Still, if I make it to the start line without puking, it will be a minor miracle.

Humor me, tell me I’m going to be awesome, share a great running song, and make me laugh with a suggestion for a race hashtag? Wish me luck, okay?

photo-2Keep track of my teammates and me on Facebook and Twitter.

The Happiest Mile

I haven’t been running lately. Remember my hip problem from way back last spring? Well, it came back at the end of May and I’ve been trying everything I can think of to fix it. Every time I tried to run on it or even if I did something like fooling around with Quinn on a tennis court or the day I ripped up all the carpet in one of my rooms, the pain would flare back up.

The great thing about it was that with every step of my left foot, my body was all, “Loser!” [right step] “Loser!” [right step]… It sucked.

I would have been sad about this no matter what, but because I am scheduled to run in a 12-person relay race in mid-September, I have been downright panicked. Wait. Not panicked, rather I’ve been PANICKED.

Seriously. Realistically, we all know that I am going to be the slowest and chubbiest person at this race, even if I were able to train straight through. Having to take time off ensures that I will be even slower.

I knew that even if I couldn’t get faster, however, I could get less chubby. I made it my mission to dedicate my hip recovery time to getting my diet in order. Twentyish pounds later, I am more motivated than I have been in years.I’ve been logging my food intake and doing non-running workouts almost every day.

Still, I can lose all the weight I want to, but it’s not going to help me run three legs of a relay race unless I train.

I had taken time off running to let the hip rest and I had stretched it and foam rolled it and iced it and heated it and finally after three weeks, I had realized it wasn’t getting better.

I went to a doctor and had my hip checked out. It’s fine. Then I got a cortisone shot. Then, a week and a half later, I had a second cortisone shot. And oral anti-inflammatories. It’s a long story, and one I don’t much feel like dwelling on, because it kinda sucked, but at some point after all of that, I realized that I didn’t feel the hip pain anymore.

Last Friday I went for a run. I was nervous. I was scared that I’d get a half mile in and start twinging again. I had been fantasizing about running, imagining routes, and planning where and for how long I would run. It felt amazing to actually do it. I couldn’t stop smiling. I probably looked like a lunatic.

It was the happiest mile I’ve ever run.

The happiest mile was followed three days later by the unhappiest three miles, which I ran today in 90-something degree weather. July is hot.

I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ve run four days in a row without pain, but the hip has been twinge-y in the evenings. At this point, I’m just running through it. My current plan is to will the hip into submission. That’ll probably work, right?

As far as I’m concerned, it has to work. Because I have a lot more happy miles in me and I want to run them.

Kinda Hopeful, But Mostly Annoyed at That Stupid Asshole Pippin

Rumor has it that today (probably yesterday by the time you read this) is (was) National Running Day. I was going to make a little badge that said “I run to be a badass motherfucker,” but they were going to make me sign in through Facebook to make it and I am weirdly not cool with signing into things through Facebook, so you’ll just have to imagine it instead.

Because it’s running day, I figured that today was a good opportunity to tell you a little bit about how Project Stimey has been going. Last you heard, I was Discouraged But Optimistic. Then I ran a couple of races that went incredibly well and I started to write a post called “More Optimistic; Less Discouraged,” but then, as often happens, I lost interest and never wrote the post. Then my distressed hip, which will hereafter be referred to as Pippin the Worst Hip(pin), started hurting again and I started to get discouraged again. So now I’m just what that post title up there says.

Let’s start with the optimism. Remember how I was super discouraged about my running speed? Well, I went out and ran a 5-mile race a couple of weeks ago wherein I averaged 11:58 minute miles. I think you might know how phenomenal that is for me. I went out to that race with the intention of killing it, and I totally did. It was a much needed boost right when I needed it.

Also, I got to see my friend Stacy.

If you're local to us, you might know that she is the awesome woman who took over AutMont from me.

If you’re local to us, you might know that she is the awesome woman who took over AutMont from me.

That 5-mile race was the one I’d been looking forward to and wanted to kick ass at. However, the day after that race, I was registered for a Color Run, which I was taking substantially less seriously—as, I believe, you are supposed to.

The whole point of the Color Run, if you don’t know, is that you run an untimed 5k and at four different stations along the route, people throw colored powder at you.

See how you can see the blue color station from all the way over here?

See how you can see the blue color station from all the way over here?

I was supposed to run it with a friend, but we missed each other and I ended up just running by myself, which was fine, because that is what I do. Plus, according to my GPS, I ran 12-1/2 minute miles, which was good for me, especially considering I felt really slow that day.

I also felt a little bit…dusty.

I blue myself just a little.

I blue myself just a little.

There is a race afterparty with a band and coordinated color throws…or color bombs…or color tosses, I don’t remember. What are these things, you ask?



It was definitely cool. I took that photo, crossed Color Run off of my “runs to do” list, and went home.

At this point, I decided that I was going to focus on steady training, increasing speed and distance (not at the same time) and take a break from racing (which I’d been doing to keep me motivated), with two exceptions.

I had registered for a 10k because I wanted to run a 10k as it was a distance I hadn’t run yet. Sadly, it was not to be. (Remember that bastard Pippin?) I had to skip that race. *sad face emoticon* Happily, it was eleven billion degrees that day so I didn’t have to develop heatstroke on mile five and a half. *smiley face emoticon*

My last race that I plan on running before my relay in September is Run Amuck this Saturday. Run Amuck is a Marine Corps Marathon mud obstacle race. I signed up for it with my friend Elaine months ago. I was pretty sure I’d be fitter by now—and I never thought I’d be fighting with my hip.

I went to pick up my packet this afternoon and there were all these fit dudes in military uniforms picking up their bibs—and me.

This is going to be quite something. I actually had a nightmare about it last night. I think it is going to be a blast, but I’m worried. I have decided that I am going to take it slow and easy and not feel bad if people pass me or if I have to walk because although I think it will be fun and challenging, I’m not all that interested in making my recovery harder than it has to be for the sake of one race.

So, that is where Project Stimey stands right now. I’m working on trying to patiently work out on the elliptical while I wait for Pippin the Hip(pin) to calm the hell down. Once I’m back on the road, I want to run more consistently and harder. I’ve fallen off the no-soda wagon, but I’m working on climbing back up. Also, I’m working hard to eat healthier food. I’m still getting to where I need to be.

I may be a turtle in my journey, but I’ll get where I’m going. So I’m kinda hopeful. With a touch of asshole. That sounds about right.

Project Stimey Update: Discouraged But Optimistic

Would you look at the time? It’s May! How did that happen? Since we are nearing 2013’s halfway mark, I figured that it is time to update you on how I’m doing with Project Stimey.

Unfortunately, the answer here is that I am not sure. I have been running and I haven’t stopped running. I am fitter, I am stronger, I don’t get out of breath when I walk up stairs. My double chin is going away, I worry a lot less that someone will ask me if I’m pregnant, and I have gotten rid of all that troublesome wrist fat that holds my watch in place.

(Seriously. Why do my wrists get thinner but my ass stays chubby?)

I’m also getting faster. Last September, I was running a 14-1/2 minute mile. I’m currently running about a 13-1/4 minute mile. That is a respectable change.

So, I see progress.



I am still discouraged.

Lately running has been really hard for me. I don’t know why it suddenly feels like I’m running through peanut butter on half of my runs, but it does.

I am also tired of being the slowest runner around. I know that I’ve improved, but I also know my pace is even slower than what other runners consider to be reeeealllly slow. I am tired of being the slowest person on the road.

Alex has started running. I started him on Couch to 5K and I am running with him. His endurance is not high, but he runs his running intervals at, like 8-1/2 minute miles. It is incredibly demoralizing.

I know that I’d be faster and running would be easier if I weighed less, but I don’t have my diet under control yet. I have seen some recent movement on the scale, but I hate weighing myself so I don’t focus on that very much. Also, I get depressed every time I do, so there’s another reason I avoid it.


I’ve been discouraged lately. I feel like I’ve been working really damn hard and I’m not seeing results like I want. I feel like my goals are so far away. I have put myself out there very publicly as working to improve my fitness and it makes me feel sad that I am not getting the results I want to put out there.

But I’m not giving up.

I may not be getting the results that I want, but I am working really damn hard to remember that I am getting results.

I run sometimes with an awesome friend of mine. I was telling her about all of this on our last run and I was telling her that I’m worried about not being awesome enough for the 11 other people on my relay race team in September. She told me about her father, who is in his 80s, who goes to the gym every day. Her story reminded me that my goal isn’t weight loss; my goal isn’t even my relay race; my goal is to be 80 and still healthy enough to go to work out every day.

That goal I am well on my way to achieving. That goal is the one that really matters.

I’ll take that.

I thought I should let you all know how things are going, because I’m sure some of you are on the same path I am on and it is hard. I want you to know you are not alone. Some of you are scared to start or have given up because it is SO damn hard. (Some of you are on this path and are kicking serious ass at it. To you I say, rock on wit’ yo’ bad self. Way to go! Also, I hate you juuuuuust a little bit.)

I want you to keep at it. I am going to keep at it.

So, yes, I am discouraged. And I am likely to stay discouraged for a little while. But that doesn’t mean I am going to stop. I will get to where I want to be. I may not be there by September. I may be the slowest person on the course at my relay and I’ll cry a little inside and put on a brave face, but I will still know that I accomplished something.

Every time I run I will know that I accomplished something—because I am out there, putting one foot in front of the other instead of sitting on the couch eating cookies. So I am optimistic. And I will remain optimistic longer than I stay discouraged.

And that is how Project Stimey is shaping up as we enter May.


Thank you to my friends the Paulsons and Ardis for donating to the Cheetah-thon. Team Stimey’s donations to Jack’s Cheetah-thon now adds up to $1015 (plus our $500 matching donation). That is a lot of ice time, you guys. That is a lot of athletes that will get to play because of you. Thank you all so very, very much. I cannot tell you how much your help means to me. For anyone still interested, you can donate online and/or you can come by the Rockville Ice Rink this Saturday, the 11th from 5-7 pm to skate with the Cheetahs!

March Was Project Lazy

So I am just a big ol’ basket of failure this month. I spent the beginning of March not running because it was cold and I was whiny and then I started running again and almost immediately tweaked my hip to where it even hurt to walk. Then spring break rolled around and I iced my hip and sat around with my kids. My food tracking goal has gone extremely poorly and I’ve completely fallen off the quitting soda wagon.

March has been rough in terms of health goals. On the other hand, March has been tremendous in terms of rodent population growth.

I’m still fighting though. I’m going to go running Saturday and Sunday this weekend and I’m going to try to get my food and water back on track. Along those lines, I am looking to make Team Stimey’s food healthier. I want to get less of our food from boxes and bags and jars. I like the idea of fresh food and think it will be good for everyone, but I’m not quite sure where to start.

Does anyone have any good suggestions for where to get some recipes or meal plans for fresh, simple food from scratch? I have some criteria though:

1. The recipes have to be easy, because I am not a good cook.

2. The recipes have to be simple, because I am a lazy cook.

3. The recipes have to be not fancy, because my kids are extremely picky and won’t eat food that has a lot of ingredients.

4. I’m happy to look at blogs and websites, but actual paper cookbooks tend to work better for me.

Help? Also wishes of good luck for getting back on the health bandwagon are welcome.