With only one week left in the Pierce County Match-Up, the South Puget Sound 5K Freaks are working hard on getting more miles in and watching their diet closely. In the last few weeks the team has had an even more difficult time of getting together and working out, but through social media and e-mails the team has been updating each other on their progress.
With the team spread out and busy, other 5K Freaks running club members have stepped up and have been a big part of the motivational and training process. With the Sound to Narrows 12K on June 9, starting at Vassault Park, training on the course has been identified as the main challenge. If you are a runner who feels that hills are not your strength, training on this course will challenge you – but in the end make you a stronger overall runner. The best thing about hill workouts when you are trying to drop some pounds is that it helps; matter of fact, according to Journal of Applied Science, the increase in calories burned going uphill doubles when the hill grade increases by only 20 percent. For example, going from a 10 percent to 30 percent grade, energy expenditure goes from 5 to 10. By the traditional calculation our calories burned would have only gone up by 20 percent, rather than 200 percent.
For me, the process of losing weight has been like a rollercoaster. There are certain days where weight scale numbers at the end of the week do not end up being what you think they should be and your motivation for the whole thing hits a road block. One may think that if you are running upwards of 40 to 50 miles a week you be dropping weight rather fast, but it is not the case. Often the more you run, the more you have to eat to keep up with the demand of calories being burned, I personally snack five times a day and my metabolism has picked up. However, the more I run the more muscle I am gaining, which adds some positive muscle weight. The key factor for me to have a good run is of course to run feeling light and having fresh legs.
As the Sound to Narrows race gets closer I start to get myself in some races to see where I stand. 5K Freaks members Danyll White, Tanya Frazier-Terrones, Brittany Hodgson and Eric LaPlante have been training with me for the past two weeks, helping me with hills, speed work and motivation. With each of these members providing a certain element of talent and experience, I have found myself training harder and going longer.
LaPlante, alum of the University Puget Sound track and field team and cross country standout, as well being an active Army soldier, has been helping me with getting faster on my runs; slowing down from their lighting six-minute pace to help pace and push me along. On the other end with endurance and distance, White and Frazier-Terrones have shown that the older you get, often the longer you can go.
With the crew helping me get fit, the weight has dropped, and now I am sitting at 210 pounds, making running easier and a lot more fun. On May 12 the team made our way to the Run Like a Girl 5K at Chambers Creek. The course was extremely tough and had a hug hill at the end, but I managed to come in third place in the race, giving me some motivation to continue the journey.
When you get that confidence as a runner, it always greatly affects your dieting. Since exercise and eating right go hand in hand, it encouraged me to focus more on eating right. To complete the race cycle for the month Frazior-Terrones, LaPlante, White and I made our way to Seattle to run in the Seattle Best 15K. On this run it was important to me that LaPlante pace me the whole way, and he did. The goal of the day was to burn some calories and come in under 78 minutes. With the weather perfect and the sun out we completed the 15K in 75 minutes, coming in 62nd place out of 369 runners. The rest of the team did remarkably well, placing in the top 80.
With a great support group things are looking up and weight is dropping. Even if our team does not come out on top, I am okay with it, because in the big picture this is a lifestyle that I want to continue, and to me that is the biggest competition.