My husband’s take on the 5K

As you all know, my husband and I ran the in the Fargo 5K on May 21. He decided to write about it for a column that runs in the newspaper we both work for, the Echo Press.

The column, which runs each Friday, is called "It’s Our Turn," and it rotates among members of the editorial staff. It was his turn and he thought he would share his thoughts on the 5K. And now, I thought I would share the column with you, my readers.

It’s a great perspective…plus, he’s an awesome writer. Seriously.

You can check out his column in our newspaper by clicking on the link, www.echopress.com/event/article/id/75283/group/Opinion/  or you can read it below. Enjoy!

The title was, "Ten lessons learned from running a 5K."

I ran in a 5K race in Fargo last weekend.

Notice I said “ran” instead of “competed” because that’s a more accurate description of what took place.

Actually “ran” isn’t quite the right word either. “Jogged” is more fitting.

But even though my time – just over 37 minutes to complete 3.1 miles – wasn’t the speediest, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I’m not a seasoned runner. This was only the second 5K I’ve participated in. But I do like to jog every now and then to burn off some stress, enjoy the outdoors and to take a break from sitting on the couch. I also enjoy going out for a run with my wife. It’s one of those shared activities that gives you a good sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. We both participated in the 5K, running each step practically side by side, except when the maddening crowd – more than 5,100 runners and walkers – made it impossible to do.

Along the way, I learned some lessons about competing in a 5K:

1. Get in line early. We arrived at the race registration headquarters, the FargoDome, hours ahead of time but we didn’t know when or where runners would start lining up until we discovered several thousand people were already ahead of us in the staging area. When the starting gun started, we were way back in the pack.

2. Be prepared for chaos. When we finally crossed the starting line eight minutes after the race had started, there were thick clusters of runners, walkers, baby strollers and little kids all over the place. We tried our best to zig-zag around them and followed other runners’ strategy by veering off into people’s yards and sidewalks. It was crazy and hectic – but kind of fun.

3. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. There is no definitive description of a 5K runner. We saw people in their 70s and children barely out of diapers. There were runners short and tall, those skinny-as-a-rail to those who looked like permanent couch potatoes. Their experience, varied too – from seasoned pros (they had enough “gear” to open a sports store) to greenhorns in their first race. The fact that we were all bonding together toward a common goal – the finish line – made all those differences irrelevant.

4. Running doesn’t take months of training or mountains of work. You just have to want to do it and make the effort.

5. Runners are generally pretty cool people. Despite the huge field of runners, there was no pushing, yelling or rude behavior. People were friendly, smiling and encouraging.

6. People like runners. Along the route, dozens of people sat outside in their lawn chairs, cheering the runners on. They held signs. They clapped. Some sprayed water on the over-heated runners who wanted cooling off. They shouted, “You can do it! Keep going! Almost there!” Exactly why they did all this was a mystery to me. All we were doing was moving our feet. But the support was a great boost.

7. A welcoming touch really does matter. The whole town of Fargo got behind this racing event, which also included a 10K, a half-marathon and a marathon. Signs were everywhere welcoming the runners. The media coverage was extensive. It was all they were talking about on TV, radio and in the newspaper. The buzz and excitement helped. It was like an added level of support and an extra shot of adrenaline.

8. Don’t be ashamed to say “it was just a 5K.” At first, when people in Fargo asked which race I was competing in, I felt a little sheepish telling them it was the 5K. But everyone I told it to was still impressed. After awhile, I accepted the fact that although my race was nowhere near a 26.2-mile marathon, it was still a personal challenge worth completing.

9. Set your sights high. The 5K was fun, memorable and rewarding. So much so that I want to take it to another level. Next year, I’m going to run in the 10K. Well, maybe not “run” but you get the idea.

10. A “fast” time isn’t as important as finishing. It was humbling to see the 5K top runner finish the race in less than half the time it took me. But then I realized how much training, time and dedication that runner must have put into his regimen. He and the other top runners deserved their fast times. My main goal was just to finish the race. In the end, we were all winners.

I’m not perfect

Why does it seem lately that I feel out of place for trying to be healthy? The key word here is "trying."

I am not perfect in anyway, shape or form, as most people know by the blogs I write, but I definitely do try to make better choices. I try not to be preachy about my choices, or at least I sure as heck don’t want to come across that way. I don’t want to come across as being bitchy either. I don’t judge people by the choices they make. I have been in those situations, I have been in their shoes. But the thing is, I am not anymore. But I am also not an expert and once again, I hope I don’t come across as trying to be one. 

When I am with friends or family, sometimes I feel bad for making good or at least, better, choices. Most of the time, I feel proud of who I’ve become and what I have accomplished, but like I said, I am not perfect. Yes, I exercise now on a regular basis, but I don’t want to rub that in anyone’s face. People have to make their own choices. It took me many years before I finally decided I had had enough and wanted a healthier lifestyle. But it was my choice, it wasn’t anyone shoving it down my throat or "making" me do it. I did for me. It was about me. Not anyone else.

So I don’t eat at fast food restaurants anymore, or barely, it doesn’t mean I don’t eat "bad" foods once in awhile, but that’s the key, ONCE IN AWHILE. I mean, my goodness, how many times have I written about Cold Stone Creamery? Or about cake and cookies I have eaten? The key, like I have probably said a hundred times is MODERATION!!! 

People can enjoy life’s little pleasures, whether it be sweets or salty snacks or wine or beer or whatever, but I chose not to have those little pleasure all the time. BUT, I surely don’t judge people who do. It is there choice. Just like it is my choice for wanting a better, healthier lifestyle for myself. 

Okay, I will jump off my soapbox now. Sorry, I just felt the need to rant a little.

How about you check out the bio information my husband wrote for me for a website, onlynaturalfood.com, that I am going to be a featured blogger on in the near future. I will write more about that later, but check this out…I thought he did a fantastic job! 

"Three of Celeste Edenloff’s passions are writing, food and more recently, getting into shape.
So it only seemed natural for her to start a blog on the topic.
Celeste, who freely admits she doesn’t hold a degree in nutrition and is not a fitness guru, explains what it takes to lose weight, keep it off (at least for now!) and change your lifestyle in an honest, tell-it-like-is style.
Dozens of her blog followers – and more every week – thank her for providing the down-to-earth motivation and tips that have helped them lead healthier lives.
Celeste cringes at the word “diet” because she believes it’s only a temporary solution doomed to fail once the diet ends. Instead, she believes in a permanent approach to food and fitness that naturally guides people into making healthier choices the rest of their lives.
Celeste lives in Alexandria, Minnesota with her husband, Al, and 16-year-old son, Brandon. She is a reporter for a newspaper in a community brimming with lakes. She enjoys running, walking, biking, rollerblading, shopping, spending time on her computer and relaxing with her hubby and sipping wine."

Seriously, isn’t he the best! Thanks, Al!!!!!

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A healthy salad. Really?

Salad. Simple, right? Healthy, right? Well, it all depends.

Linda, a co-worker and friend of mine, sent me an email the other day with the ingredients she used for her salad, which she thought was pretty healthy. It is a salad, after all, right. Well, as all of you know, I am not only a Weight Watchers member, but I also now work for Weight Watchers as a receptionist. 

Well, I told Linda that I would figure out her salad for her and let her know just how "healthy" it was. 

First off, she told me that she did just trim her dressing down from about five tablespoons to two tablespoons, kind of at my urging, I guess. At any rate, Linda’s salad included lettuce, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (the full fat version), shredded cheddar cheese (the full fat version) and slivered almonds. Not bad, right? Well, you be the judge. Now keep in mind I work off the Weight Watchers point system and not calorie or fat count. 

Here are my findings:

Hidden Valley Ranch dressing – regular – 5 tbs. – 10 points (Yowsers!)
Hidden Valley Ranch dressing – regular – 2 tbs. – 4 points (Nice cut back.)
Hidden Valley Ranch dressing – light – 2 tbs. – 2 points (Wow, big difference and not a lot of sacrifice in taste, as Linda later found out when she decided to try the light version of her favorite dressing…at my urging, I guess!

So, just by trimming it back from 5 tbs. to 2 tbs. Linda knocked it down six points. Yes, 6. But she can knock it down even more by going with the light version, which she plans on doing. Right, Linda?

Kraft shredded cheddar cheese – regular – 1/3 cup – 4 points
Kraft 2% milk colby/monterey jack shredded – 1/3 cup – 2.5 points
Kraft 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella shredded – 1/3 cup – .5 points

I showed Linda the options she has for trimming down the point value for her cheese. She was pretty impressed by it. If she chooses to go with the reduced-fat mozzarella, she trims three and a half points, 3.5, off her total. To me, that’s impressive.

Slivered almonds – 1/4 cup – 3.5 points
Slivered almonds – 1/8 cup – 1.5 points

The almonds are almonds, but by cutting back on the amount, Linda can take 2 points off. Crazy, isn’t it. 

And of course, the lettuce had zero points. But you do have to watch your portion sizes on lettuce. Kind of. You can have up to seven cups, yes, 7 cups, and still stay at zero points. But, if you go for the eight cups of lettuce, you have to count a whole half a point. Yep, a big ol’ whopping .5. 

Linda’s original salad, with the 5 tbs. of dressing, came out to be 17.5 points!!!! YIKES!!!!!
Her salad with the 2 tbs. of dressing, 1/3 cup regular cheese and 1/4 cup almonds was 11.5 points. Better, but she could still do some trimming. 
If she used the light dressing, the lighter cheese (reduced-fat mozzarella) and just an 1/8 cup of almonds, her total points value for the whole salad would only be four points!!!!! Yes, 4.

As I told Linda in an email, each day I have 24 points to use. I like food…A LOT, which is why I make the choices I make. I am all about quantity. I want the most food I can eat with the least amount of points. You know what I mean?

For instance, last week for lunch on Thursday, I had a grilled cheese sandwich (dunked in ketchup), two pickles and almost an entire bag of lettuce with 2 tbs. of Kraft free zesty italian dressing and 1 tbs. reduced fat parmesan cheese and a Skinny Cow white mint truffle ice cream bar. My total points for my whole lunch??????? It was only four points. Yep, 4.

On Monday of last week, I had my grilled cheese sandwich, ketchup, pickles, an entire bag (THE WHOLE BAG) of Birds Eye steamfresh green beans with 1 tbs. of balsamic vinegar plus a Weight Watchers giant fudge bar. Again, my total points value was only four points. Again, it was 4.

I told Linda these were just my thoughts and I just wanted to share them with her. She emailed me back and this was her reply:

Holy Crap!!!!! OMG! When I buy mozzarella I always get the reduced fat (usually that is all I can find) So I think that I will be using that for my cheese and I love the almonds but I am willing to cut down on those.

I have no idea how the points work but I know the difference between 17.5 points and 4!!!!!! I just can’t believe how many points are in the salad I eat.

Thanks for the info.

I told Linda that I would be using the information in this blog because I like to show people some of the simple changes that can be made and how much of a difference it makes.

Or at least I hope it makes a difference.

If anyone has any questions or comments and don’t feel like leaving on here, please feel free to shoot me over an email. I can be reached at confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com. That is confessions of a former fat girl at gmail dot com. Hope to hear from you soon.

The Fargo 5K!

Well, we did it. My husband and I ran the Fargo 5K. Despite having bronchitis, and not having trained for nearly two weeks before the race, I still did it. I may not have ran the whole thing – I ended up walking four different times – I manage to run across the finish line. 

Our time? Well, it wasn’t my best, but not my worst either. We did it in 37:10. Yes, I said "we" as in that was the time for both my husband and I. He could have had a fantastic time, but he ran by my side the entire time. Ahhh, yes, he is that sweet. I kept telling him to go ahead, but he wouldn’t. Now, you understand why I love him so much.

At any rate, about halfway through the race, my ribs/muscles on my left side really starting hurting and acting up. I have done so much coughing lately, that I am extremely sore, but oddly, only on my left side. Because of the pain, that is why I had to walk. The running motion just wasn’t working. Period. 

And yes, I will admit I am just slightly disappointed, but not entirely. I did do it, despite being ill and I did run across the finish line, so I guess, maybe, I am happy about it. I just wish my time could have been better. I have done much better, but my goodness, with all the people (there were 5,197 runners/walkers!) it was hard to maneuver. 

Seriously, 5,197 people. That was ridiculous. The sucky part is that runners and walkers were all intermingled. They should have had the walkers on one side of the road and the runners on the other side. But, oh well, it’s done and over with now. 

My overall place was 2,422 out of 5,197. For my gender, I placed 1,349 out of 3,527 female participants, and for my age group (35-39), I placed 183 out of 457 females.

What I found interesting, is that our chip start, which is when we started running after the gun went off, the official start, was 8 minutes and 35 seconds. We started eight minutes and thirty five seconds after the gun went off, that is how crowded it was, that is how many people were crammed in there. Seriously, people, it was ridiculous. 

But, like I said, I finished, meaning I actually ran across the finish line and that makes me feel good. Now, if I could just get rid of this dang cough and get these ribs healed, I would be so much happier!

Here are some pictures:

This is us before the race!

This is the back of my shirt. I had my blog logo put on a shirt and it looked super cool!

This is us after the race at our friend’s house with our medals. Yes, we actually got medals. Kind of cool, huh?

I can honestly say I can’t wait for my next race. 

Haven’t been happy

The past two weeks have not been fun. I’ve been sick. And you want to know what happens when you’re sick? You don’t exercise. My last run was on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I have walked a couple of times since then, but haven’t done anything else.

It sucks.

On Tuesday, I finally went to the doctor and found out I have bronchitis. Oh joy. Yippee. Not happy. He gave me the good ol’ Z-Pak and some Robitussin with codeine. I am finally starting to feel somewhat better. Somewhat.

But see, here’s the thing…I have a 5K race. On Friday. In Fargo. As in tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. I am still debating whether or not I should do it, but I have to say, I am leaning more toward doing it. I will have four days of the five-day antibiotics taken, plus, I have my son’s inhaler I am bringing with me. Yes, I talked to the doctor (who by the way is running the half-marathon on Saturday in Fargo) and he said it would be okay to use my son’s inhaler. He actually told me I should go ahead and do the race and that it might be good for me. If I am feeling better, that is.

Seriously? Well, I think he might actually be right. 

I actually can’t believe I am going to say what I  am about to say, but…I…Miss…Exercise!!!!!!

Yes, I really do. I miss working up a sweat. It feels so good to sweat, doesn’t it? I keep replaying my last run in my head and remember how good it felt. I keep thinking about the Jillian Michaels exercise DVDs I’ve been doing and how she really, really makes me sweat. I keep thinking about how good I feel when I am done exercising.

It’s amazing that in less than two weeks time, I can tell a difference with my body that I haven’t been exercising. It’s almost as if I am going backward. But, really, I know I am not. It just feels that way. I feel weak. I feel like things are starting to sag again. Not kidding about that one. It just stinks.

I just want to feel better. I just want to quit coughing. I just want my ribs not to hurt from coughing. I just want it back to normal. Yes, I sometimes, can be a whiner. 

I am hoping for a great night’s sleep tonight, with no coughing attacks and then maybe sleep in tomorrow morning. (Yes, I have been working while I have been sick. Actually, I have put in more hours than usual because I am quite busy right now, which probably hasn’t helped me heal because I have had a lack of sleep.)

Anyway, if you are in Fargo tomorrow and feel like watching the 5K tomorrow night, look for me. I will be the one dragging my butt along, breathing heavily, perhaps coughing, but nonetheless, doing it. I have to. Don’t I?