#FitnessFriday: My First 5K

Two weeks ago Bailey and I participated in our first 5K.

As expected, we crossed the finish line somewhere close to the end, but our goal was to jog the entire thing, regardless of how slow that jog was.

I am proud to report that we did just that.

We came in with an embarrassing chip time of 45:42 for a 14:44-minute mile.

I may have been able to shave off a minute or two had Bailey not stopped to do her business three times, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Also, unlike some people who were running with their dogs, I actually stopped to pick it up.

Shame on you, dog owners.

Bailey and I before the race. I wouldn't have been able to do it without her.

Bailey and I before the race. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.

The Course

While I was familiar with the race-location, I had never traversed it on foot, only by car. I knew there were some fairly steep hills, which of course, were awesome.

Half the race, as it turned out, was up hill.

My neighborhood has its hills, but I’ve been purposely avoiding some of the more challenging ones. At this point, I avoid one because it’s in a dark part of my neighborhood. The other, I just avoid.

Maybe some more time on those hills would have helped me out.

The weather was beautiful that day. It was sunny, in the low 70s and a bit breezy.

But man, was it hot. The North Carolina sun is strong and 70 felt like 80. I’m used to jogging in the dark and getting home before the sun has even started waking up. I don’t think I ever wanted it to be 5:45am so badly.

One of my friends jogged alongside me even though she could have just as easily walked. We chatted quite a bit, which is something I’m also not used to. It was great to have her there to keep my mind off of how much I hated that damn race at that moment.

Another friend finished the race well before I did, but came back to finish it with me.

It made my heart so happy to have them both there. I don’t think I would have been able to keep jogging without their motivation and their support. I wanted to stop so badly so many times, but thanks to them, I kept going.

Too Focused on Numbers

I was hung up on my race numbers for a good week. I couldn’t stop focusing on them as though they were some sort of representation of how hard I’ve been working. I focused on those numbers like I focus on the numbers on the scale. I keep hoping for both to go down.

Sometimes I think I focus on the numbers because I can’t seem to wrap my head around what I have actually accomplished. Less than  year ago I couldn’t jog a complete mile and here I was doing three. I couldn’t jog a mile as a skinny kid in high school, but here I am, doing three while 40-ish pounds overwheight.

And maybe that’s why I can’t give myself credit I deserve. Despite all of the jogging, I’m still 40 pounds overweight. The goal weight still seems so far away and unattainable, it’s hard to focus on the weight I’ve lost and what I’ve been doing to get here.

Although my goal weight seems unattainable, I do feel like I have the ability to jog longer distances. I feel like if I wanted to, I could train to run a 10K or a 15K. Those numbers don’t seem so scary any more. They seem real.

Will I do it? Probably not. I’m not convinced jogging that far with a dog on a regular basis will be good for Bailey’s joints in the long run. I don’t want to cross over from making her stronger, to making her weaker.

And quite frankly, I hate jogging. Well…maybe hate isn’t the right word, but I don’t really enjoy it either. I find it boring. Because my neighborhood lacks sidewalks, I need to stay alert for cars. This means I can’t listen to music. Six miles without music? Ugh. No way.

A blogger friend of mine who is also a runner asked me if I was addicted yet. I told her no, but then I went on to sign up for two more 5Ks.

This weekend Bailey and I will be participating in a race to benefit animal shelters around North Carolina.

The second race I signed up for is on Thanksgiving. I’m not entirely sure if Bailey would be allowed to run with me, but I don’t intend on doing it with her. As much as I love having my workout buddy beside me, I kind of want to try this one on my own.

Just me, a rockin’ playlist, and no bags filled with poop.


#FitnessFriday: How My Dog is Saving My Life

I’m overweight.

I’ve been overweight for a long time. I wasn’t always overweight. I used to be underweight. When I was a teenager I had a skinny, little 103-pound body that I would hide under baggy T-shirts and wide-leg jeans because I was a tomboy.

Now I’m over 30, I’m substantially larger and I hate it.

Since being married, I’ve tried, and failed, to lose weight. I’ve never been dedicated enough to exercise regularly or eat properly.

While I still have difficulty eating properly (I just effing love food. I’m sorry.), during the past year, I’ve been much better at exercising regularly.

I haven’t changed. I’m still lazy as hell. But, I have a dog now. My dog needs exercise. When she doesn’t get it, she tears my house apart.

Taking a quick break after a 3-mile walk around the lake.

Taking a quick break after a 3-mile walk around the lake.

Bailey is a Lab mix. Read: HIGH ENERGY. I got her when my neighbor’s dog had an unplanned litter of puppies. She was sort of an impulse adoption. Not that we didn’t think long and hard about taking her, but we weren’t planning on getting a dog when we rescued her.

We started walking together in April 2013. Bailey was about four months old. We only walked a mile, maybe two, depending on the day. Most of our walks were spent teaching Bailey how to walk properly on a leash.

In October 2013, we started jogging. I dusted off my Couch to 5k app and we started doing our interval training. We never made it through the full program. We always had to stop for one reason or another. I sprained an ankle, Bailey got spayed, the weather got too cold.

Then on Feb. 18, 2014, we jogged an entire mile without stopping.

Now, I get it. One mile? Not very impressive. At that moment, I could count on one hand how many times I’ve jogged an entire mile.

I. Can’t. Run.

I never could run. Even as a skinny, bitty teenager I couldn’t run. EVER. So not only did I jog an entire mile, I did it outside in my hilly neighborhood which is exponentially more difficult than doing it on a treadmill. This mile was like my Everest.

We kept at it, slowly increasing our distance. On May 16, I started and just didn’t stop. I was angry I had gained three pounds that week. Before I knew it, I had jogged three miles. One mile for every frustrating pound I gained. I was in absolute shock. And then in pain.

Keeping track of our progress with RunKeeper

Keeping track of our progress with RunKeeper

Knowing making such a large jump in distance was the best way for me to injure myself, I dialed back and slowly worked my way back up a quarter-mile at a time.

In the meantime, I signed up for a 5k to benefit a rescue organization for cats. I figured it was the perfect motivation to keep at it.

Just shy of a month before the race, Bailey and I hit three miles again.

We jog together three times a week, hitting the pavement by 6am when it’s still dark. On the alternate days, we walk. I joined the gym at the state college where C works and takes classes so I started weight training and going back to yoga.

To say that my dog is saving my life seems like an exaggeration, but when you really think about it, it’s not. Without her, I wouldn’t wake up at 5:15am five days a week to workout before work. I wouldn’t be able to jog three miles, something that has always seemed downright impossible for me. I would likely still living an incredibly unhealthy lifestyle that would no doubt end in some kind of weight-related condition like diabetes.

So in October, we’ll run our first 5k together.  For her, it’ll just be another jog, just with a lot more people. For me, it’s reaching a goal that seemed so unattainable, it wasn’t even really a goal. It’s doing something I never thought I’d ever do. It’s the start of being a better me.

And it’s all because of her. Bailey, my dog.


Head on over to Kiss My Tulle for some tips for jogging with your dog.