Two weeks have passed since the Disneyland Half Marathon in which I tested myself against the heat and humidity that is California.  Having survived that ordeal I had a nice 5k race in Bucktown the week after.  I shaved about 17 minutes off my previous time.  Woohoo!!!   Now I had another half marathon in store for me in Racine, Wisconsin.  

     Apparently The Biggest Loser TV show has spun off into a number of walk/run runs all over the country to get people motivated to become active.  Needless to say I was one of those people at home watching TV on the couch with a bag of chips/soda not too long ago.  Seeing really overweight people struggle with doing a simple sit up, out of breathe during a simple walk, and or sweating just by standing brought a shameful smile to my face.  

     Then it hits you...AW SHIT!  I'm one of those people on the show but I don't have a shot at the prize money.  Then you start to thinking to yourself 'Okay today is the last day of eating bad, I will start working out,..blah blah blah."  Face it, you always say tomorrow but it never comes.  You get depressed, you start to eat bad again and there you go right back to the couch watching a TV show where people are doing exactly what you be doing but aren't.

     Let's face it, we are bombarded by our society that THIN is the only way to be healthy.  If I don't see all your ribs you're a fucking fat piece of shit.  Well folks you can still have some junk in the trunk and still be healthy.  Every person's body is different.  My weight at 200 will look totally different than the next person at 200. Factors include height difference, bone structure (yes, it actually exists), genetics (yup, it's not bullshit) and other stuff. 

     We have much to blame for this epidemic of fatness in this world.  We've taken for granted our original design which is to...take a guess, come on....RUN. (you knew it was coming)  We as human being weren't made to weigh over 300 lbs. Heck we weren't made to weigh over 200 lbs.   We weren't made to just sit in one spot and grow fat. We've all had that itch to just go outside and run even at the buffet line going for your third plate.  At one time or another in your life you just wanted to stop what you were doing at just run.  You didn't act on it but it was in your head. Running to just run.  It's in our blood, we are programmed to do so.  We've just been clicking the ignore button for many generations. I've been hitting that button for many years until last year when I finally decided to hit accept.

     I was like the other 90% of people who hated the idea of running.  I tried it and it was painful.  I had major shin splints when running heck I had them when walking long distances.  So why do something makes me feel like shit.  It wasn't until last year that I got a gym membership and went even further with a personal trainer.  I asked for a trainer who could help me train for my last Chicago Marathon.  That's when Monica entered my life.  and if you're wondering yes, she does have a smoking body.  She has too, it's what she does for a living.

     So for the first three months we trained on strength and more importantly core strengthen.  That was the missing key throughout my life that would turn me into a runner.  I did not run during those months.  I was losing weight and gaining muscle mass but not too much.  I didn't want to become the typical muscle bound meat head at the gym grunted while lifting weights.  I wanted to become healthy and fit.  Currently I have lost over 30 lbs more importantly I have gained the correct knowledge to keep the weight off  thanks to Monica.  Now I know we all can't afford a personal trainer.  They are expensive but it is worth the money if you are serious about becoming healthier.  

     This is where Biggest Loser comes in.  It has created a community where you don't feel alone in your quest to become a healthier person.  It educates not only with the fitness aspect but also on what you shove in your mouth.  Face it, you need food to survive but it's the quality and quantity that's been our downfall. Eating processed food and sugary drinks is not the way to go.  Sure it's cheaper and it fills your tummy but in the long run you are just cheating yourself out of a quality life.  Let's be honest eating healthy does not come cheap. You can spend $5 at a fast food place and get a burger, fries, and unlimited soda refills or one healthy plate of veggies.  be honest which one are you going to pick.  I would pick the burger then go out for a run.  Before I would just pick the burger and sit on the couch.  It's all about picking up good habits.

    My current habit is running.  Now that the shin splints are pretty much gone I can now run without pain.  That doesn't mean I won't get pain from a run.  Many factors play into it.  I am about 235 and dropping but I know my body isn't equipped to handle the stress on my muscles and joints when running long distances.  That's when you change it up.  The body needs to recuperate, the muscles need to regenerate and more importantly the body needs rest.  Many people will workout everyday for several weeks straight only to burn themselves out.  The key is pacing yourself.  Your body will tell you when you've reached your limit.  Listen to it!!!  Take several minutes off, regroup your thoughts, catch your breathe and then go back to your workout. You're not in competition with the person next to you at the gym or at the running path.  You are in competition with you.

     My goal for each race I run is to do the best I can.  If I did the race before my goal is to run it faster and stronger.  I had done two half marathons before this one.  I posted a 2:33 in Indianapolis and a 2:45 at the Disneyland half marathon.  Each of those races had very different weather/road conditions and this race was no different.  The half marathon in Racine Wisconsin was the first year the Biggest Loser decided on.  Last year had a 5k, 10k, and 15k.  This year it was only a 5k and half marathon event.  There was just about over 2,000 people who registered for it.  I was actually hoping to see more people than that with the Biggest Loser series being involved.

    I had my good friend Jeni in Chicago running the Women's Rock half marathon on Saturday morning so I took the CTA down to Grant Park and meet her there after she finished the race.  It was a beautiful cool Saturday perfect for a running a half marathon.  Now Jeni is more than 80% done is completing her 13 half marathons in 2013.  She is also running the half marathon in Racine with on Sunday too.  That's right she is running a half marathon back to back. 
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Heading over to Grant Park to meet up with Jeni after she done completing the Women's Rock half marathon.

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Killing time until I hear from my friend.

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 Chicago has one of the best views when running along the lakefront.

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After Jeni completed her race we hopped in her truck and headed to Racine Wisconsin but before we left Chicago we decided to hit this awesome place for the best bagels I've ever had.  This place is open 23 hours a day.

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How can you not love this place.  After purchasing the bagels we drove off to Racine Wisconsin then to the race expo to pick up our race packet.

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Now you would think that a TV show like Biggest Loser would put on a great spectacle at a race expo.  This was not the case.  It was very small. A few tents here and there.  The pickup was a breeze.  We signed our waiver form, handed it in for our race bib, then got our race shirt and BAM!  it was over.  We were like "That's it?"  We saw a couple of photo op backdrops and decided to take some quick photos before heading back to Jeni's place.

So we finally arrived at Jeni's place dropped our gear and relaxed until it was time to carbo load.  She recommended an Italian restaurant names Salute's.  The food was really good.  We had the tortellini with white sauce and Italian sausage.  After dinner we went back home and watched some TV before turning and getting ready for the half marathon.
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5:00am on race day.  I got my race gear on all ready to go.

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Temperature before the race was around the upper 40's.  Perfect running conditions

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Here is the race medal just waiting for me at the finish line.

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There were no actual corrals for this race.  Knowing that this half marathon was going to be uber walker friendly we decided to head over to the front and bypass the walkers right off the bat.  One of the Biggest Loser contestants from season 5 sang the National Anthem like Whitney Houston.  ugh.

     This was my third and last half marathon of the year.  I never ran a race in Wisconsin until now.  I have a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states.  Currently I have ran a half marathon in California, Indiana and now Wisconsin.  I think I will keep Illinois towards the last on the list.  Going back to the Biggest Loser half marathon it turned out to be a very hilly race course for me.  Living in Chicago there aren't that many hills to prepare for a race like this.  Running/Training on a flat course has it's advantages but also limits you when running outside your comfort zone.  

     Thanks to Jeni the day before we went around the race course and I got to see the many hills that was in store for me.  I thought meh they don't look that bad.  HAHAHAHA!!!  what a stupid thing to say. The first three miles were pretty good.  I kept a constant 11:00 minute ish pace.  Which is exactly what I wanted.  The course along the lake was great.  The first couple of hills I came across I ran very strong.  While most people decided to walk up I kicked up another gear and hauled ass up the hill.  I felt a huge spring with each step, My quads were working over time and my calves acting like springs.  It wasn't until I conquered the hills I felt slightly tired and slowed my pace down until I caught my breath.

     I was doing okay until mile 8.  That when my left calf muscle started to cramp up to the point I had to walk.  When something like that happens it's best not to freak out.  Just slow down and regroup.  The muscle twinge in that area was something new to me.  I was wearing compression socks at the time.  So I walked until I felt the muscle loosen up a bit and I picked up my pace.  Not even a quarter of a mile the muscle started up again.  I walked trying to loosen it up.  This kept happening for the next several miles until I moved over to the side and rolled down my compression socks down.  I just felt the blood flowing throughout my legs.   Confident that now my legs weren't being constricted as much I began to run again.   The hills were taking it's toll on me.  Each time I tried to run up them my left calf acted up again and I had to walk the hill until flattened out.   I just kept listening to my body whenever that calf acted up.  Whenever I wasn't running I was power walking.  I did not want to stop.  I was almost done with this race.

     I saw the mile 11 sign and I really wanted to run entirely to the finish the line.  My left calf muscle prevented me in doing so.  I kept plugging away not given up.  At this point finishing the race was more important that breaking my personal record for a half marathon.  Last thing you want is to further injure yourself when you know you could of prevented it.  This is when your ego takes a little bruise but in the long run, it's for the best.   This race course was not easy by any means.  This was more of a mental test that physical.  Sure my muscles are sore now but in time they will recover.  I am mentally stronger than before because I completed a challenge I set for myself awhile back.  Whether the other people who ran/walked the race were faster or slower than me doesn't really matter.  We all just completed 13.1 miles.  We all received the same medal at the finish line.   We all became the Biggest Loser.


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Can't think of a better way to celebrate completing a half marathon in Wisconsin.  :)

 


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    As a former person who hated running because of shin splints and being really overweight my views on running have change quite a bit... as you can see.

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