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Chunky Girl’s Guide to Running Series: “Running? You’re doing it WHAT?!

Nestlé Chunky

This is an online series on my adventure in ½ marathon training.  I am trying to help folks who are considering doing a ½ marathon because chunky girls can do it too!!!   I was amazed by the support and reaction to it so I thought I share some thoughts and hopefully serve as an inspiration.    I have a good 50lbs to lose and yet I did it,  13.1 miles in the bank.

When I told folks I was training for a ½ marathon I got the following reactions:

  • Incredulous: quick subtle scan of me head to toe and playing it off, smiling and saying, “Wow, really.”
  • The obvious: “Girl, are you serious?”  or “Girl, you are crazy.”
  • Questionable: “You’re a runner?”
  • The positive:  “That’s great! You’re so inspirational.”
  • Wonderment: “I don’t know how you do it.”

Yes, there’s always some education that need to happen so I fire off some quick responses:

  • Informative: “Yes, there’s about 10 of my running friend and I training for a race on <insert date and time>
  • Research:  “Most runners are not you typical lean Olympian.   They are like you and me.”
  • Age defying: “Average runner’s age is in the 40s.”
  • Defensive: “It’s a great way to get rid of a lot weight.”  (Not really but more on that later.)
  • Inviting: “Yeah.  You wanna do it.”
  • Credibility response: “Yeah, well I’ve done a number of 5Ks and 10Ks so it’s my next challenge for myself.”
  • Inspirational:  “I’ve seen other women do it, so why not me.”

Use these responses when you set that goal for yourself.

ChunkyGirl Mel

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Thought of the Day

“Transformation is not the end of the journey but the present activity.”

— Jillian Michaels.

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Now I lay me down to rest… hiatus on running will be a week old tomorrow.  I haven’t run since my 1/2 marathon on May 5.  This hiatus was purpose.  I almost want to take another week.   I wanted to just rest.    Yes, I wanted to sleep in a little and not be sweaty or achy.  Surprisingly, I was a little achy.  I know it’s expected after a run but not by Day 5 of recovery.  I guess that’s my age showing?  Sigh.

I had been going hard with the training for 17 weeks straight.  I had one hiccup with being sick for 4 days but that’s it.  I haven’t not run in over a week since I started in May of 2010.  I read in Runner’s World mag this great article about taking a break. I did walk with BusyKid #1.

Sometimes in all the busyness you just need to give yourself a break.

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First 1/2 marathon in the books!

½ Marathon in the books!

I would love to say I thoroughly enjoyed my very first marathon. came really close. I mean really.  I had a blast with the ladies from BGR.  I think if you’re gonna do a something like a your first ½ marathon then make it special.   I wanted to make it special with the whole family involved.   It was also great running with some ladies who also traveled to be there.  While we had some challenges going to Columbus, OH 1) my Michigan Alum hubby not wanting to be in enemy territory and 2) what was supposed to be a three hour trip taking over 5 hours.  We did get  there.  I was nervous and cranky because my pasta  meal was later then I wanted and I was tired.  I also went to bed later than planned.

The Start

Got there super early.   Earlier they I like to get to race.   I used to travel a lot in my career and before 9/11 we use to say there’s two types of travelers:  One who gets  to the airport super early and waits patiently at the gate and 2) the one who arrives at the gate as the plane is boarding and waltzing on in.  I was from the latter group and that can be said for races.  I was there by 630am for an 8am start.  I hated the waiting.  Sigh.

I was in the back on Corral E and it was nice not to be bunched up with elite/faster runners.  Us slow pokes in the back were gonna have way more fun.

Us in the corrals along the river

The race started about 20 minutes after 8am.  The elite runners were at Mile 5 by the time us slowskis started.    I forgot to count for the rolling start.  There were about 13,000 of us.  This was one of the most organized races I’ve ever attended.  I’ve been in bigger races (Detroit Turkey Trot) and that was ½ as organized as the Columbus Cap City Half.  37 bands and 18 DJs lined the course!  At least 11 water stations and they even had porto-pottys(not one but four) at every other mile.  Chocolate and champagne at the end..nothing better.   Wow.

I have to admit I was struggling from Mile 2-5.  I think it was the humidity and heat, I’ve been training in a balmy 30-40 degrees so race day was 63 degrees which was downright stifling to me.  I changed my outfit right up until that morning.  Additionally, being in a hotel I didn’t think to bring something for breakfast AND I left before the free hotel breakfast started.  I had some McD’s oatmeal tie me over, not a great substitute.

When I realized the time, I texted Hubby to let him know that I wasn’t going to be at  Mile 9 at the time I planned.  I was in the OSU area which had livelier spectators and a drumline that help me through the next couple of miles.  I know being a UMich alum I’m biased but from what saw of the campus it definitely wasn’t Ann Arbor but pleasant nonetheless.  I took a GU break, and more importantly I changed my playlist.  I had been listening to an audiobook and it was at a lull in the book and it translated to a lull in running.  By Mile 7 I was getting my groove back, thanks to Kirk Franklin and Beyonce.

I was to see my family at Mile 9 but I didn’t.  I didn’t mind because I didn’t like that area that much and hoped I see them closer to one of the more scenic areas of Columbus that I knew was coming up.  To my surprise at around Mile 10 I saw them.  It was the first time they have been at one of my races.  I’ve been in about 7-8 races over the last two years so this was great.    That and a quick peck on the cheek from Hubby gave me another gear to continue.

I thought about the next 3 miles wondered if these were going to be the longest but they weren’t.  I was getting giddy about finishing and I know my times picked up.  My pace was almost thwarted by a 3 block stint on cobblestone.  Quaint, yes but not so good for runners.  Many of us gingerly continued across.

The last mile has an incline that you can see off in the distance and I had been warned it was coming.  I wanted to run it but I ended up walking it with purpose and was greeted by a big chicken lady near the top.  At that point the finish line was right there.  I took this pic before and said to myself that when I see it again..I’m going for it.  I finished strong and did better than my time goal: under 3 hours!  By 7 seconds!  This was great especially since at Mile 2 I was thinking that I’d finish in 3:30 because of the way I felt.

I did it.  Done and done.  I have lots of lessons I’ve learned in the race and in the training. I’ll share those later.  I planned my race and I ran the plan.

Pre race pic

Pros:  Well organized race. Great spectators. (I like that my bib had my name printed on it)  They cheered for me which was great.

Cons: temperature was a little warm but at least it wasn’t raining and a long drive back home than same night meant extra stiff and sore legs.

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Running the long runs

gym shoes

As a busy woman, I have to run the long runs real early in the morning on Saturdays before I have to taxi kids to birthday parties or some sort of practice.  That means I get up on essentially my only sleep in day in the 4am or 5am hour.  I’ve been doing these “long runs” for the last 15 weeks of this half marathon training.  This is my last long run before the big race and I’m excited that it’s the last.


I know some folks love the long runs but I am not sure if I do and it’s not because of the run but the time needed.  It will take me awhile 2.5 hours to get it done.

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