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My first 15K – Not as bad as I thought it’d be

I woke up at 6:15am this morning to run a 15K, which was about 1 minute too late to get into the full parking garage. Thankfully my mother drove me down to the race, otherwise I might have used that as an excuse to turn around and forget the whole thing. Instead, I tumbled out of the car half asleep and wandered to the check-in area as she went to park in a surface lot.

The 15K scared me. I’d never run that far or that long before. My training schedule had called for a 1 hour and 45 minute run a couple weeks earlier, but I’d had to bail on it because of a foot injury. I didn’t know what to expect, but in my best case scenario I envisioned long bouts of walking near the end. Worst case? I hoped I wouldn’t start crying like a little girl on the side of the road during the 10-40% chance of rain.

Before the start of the race the announcer on the loudspeaker told us it was a lovely day for a race, which led me to suspect that he was broadcasting from another state. It was not a lovely day for a race. It was 40 degrees, windy, and overcast with a chance of rain. I suspect they must always say it’s a lovely day for a race, just like late night talk show hosts always say they’ve got a great show tonight even when their only guest is a dog that juggles salami. However, I’d paid my money and I’d gotten up at a godawful hour, so I was going to run even if it started raining sulfur. Considering that the temperature on the day of each one of these training series races has just gotten colder and colder, I fully expect it to snow on the day of the Mini-Marathon.

It’s against the rules to wear headphones during the race, but I decided to treat that more like a guideline than an actual rule because there was no way I was going to run for almost two hours in utter silence. Cheesy techno music is as essential for long runs as Gatorade. I don’t know how anyone finished a marathon before the invention of the synthesizer. I noticed several other runners were wearing iPods on their sleeves and had earbuds on and no one bothered busting us. I prefer to wear huge, old-school, headphones hidden under my hat since I worry that earbuds will fall out of my ear lobes. I already had a 60-minute playlist made for my long run two weekends ago, so I listened to that and scrolled back to the middle near the end of the race.

And we were off! After the second mile the race saw its first casualty. There on the sidewalk was a dead turtle. I cringed at its broken shell and the fresh red blood oozing onto the concrete. The poor little snapper couldn’t cross the road fast enough. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d been trampled myself if I’d stumbled on some of the small concrete chunks littered near the gutter.

After 45 minutes it started to sprinkle. I began to zip up my jacket in anticipation of a cold, wet shower, but then the rain stopped and I thanked whatever god is in charge of the weather for having mercy on me. As I continued down the road, I was blasted by an ungodly headwind. I kept plowing forward, but it was difficult to make any progress, like I was running on a treadmill headed the other direction. At mile 7 my hands were so cold I actually put my gloves back on, something I’ve never had to do after my body has warmed up during a race. I kept my hat on for the whole run too.

Despite the cold and the wind and the dead turtle, I had a really good run. At every mile there is an electronic sign that states the mile and the race time. I ran past the 5-mile sign and then the 6-mile sign and later the 7-mile sign and was amazed to find myself thinking, “I’m feeling pretty good.” I credit this feeling to my carbo-loading the day before and my strategically timed ingestion of PowerGels at 45 minutes and 1 hour and 15 minutes into the race. Those things really work. I also drank Gatorade at each station, though I was sorely disappointed with the service at aid station number four. Normally there are about 8 people at each station whose sole purpose in life is to offer you cups of Gatorade and water. Aid station number 4 was woefully understaffed and I had to actually stop and grab a Gatorade off the table myself. It was bizarre and it added at least 10 seconds of time to my run.

But run I did, for essentially the whole race, only walking to drink Gatorade at aid stations. The cruelest part of the route was near the end when I was plodding down the Canal Walk and finally came upon the State Museum where the finish line was. “Wow, that last mile really breezed by!” I thought…only not. Someone with a cruel sense of humor charted the route so we’d have to run a block around the building even though we could see the bagels and cookies and chips being offered by 500 Festival princesses in tiaras only yards away. Not only that, we also had to run right past a bicycle rental stand.

Yet I made it, all 9.3 miles, in 1 hour 45 minutes and 14 seconds, which is a frakking awesome time for me. That’s a 11:18 minute per mile pace. I was amazed. I really thought I’d have to stop and walk parts of the race, but I ran essentially the whole thing. I rock! It made me confident that I can finish the Mini-Marathon in 3 weeks. That will be another 4 miles, but if I’d really had to I could have done that. It wouldn’t have been pleasant, but I could have handled it, though I would have demanded more bagels at the end. As it was I grabbed two cookies and a French Toast bagel and a banana for my mom, who waited diligently for almost two hours for me to run a big circle.

15K

I’ve updated the sidebar with my 15K time and my weight for this month. A couple eagle-eyed readers noticed I hadn’t weighed in at the beginning of the month like usual. I admit, I knew I’d have to update the sidebar with my 15K time today so I was hoping my weight would go down a little by then too, but it’s at 182, so I may as well post it. I’d of course prefer it was 178 like last month, but then I thought about the fact that I ran 9 miles this morning and decided 182 is nothing to be ashamed of. Nine miles, people! I ran nine miles! Four years ago I was so fat that I injured myself walking up the stairs and this morning I ran nine miles!

Which is why I am exhausted and I hobbled up the stairs to my apartment like an old woman with arthritis. Back to the couch for me so I can work on my favorite part of my training program – rest and recovery.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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64 Comments

cathy • April 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

That is truly AMAZING! I am so inspired. One day, I will run! Just, not today…

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cathy • April 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm

I’m a dummy and wrote the wrong URL previously. It’s http://captsmile.blogspot.com. Just in case anyone was wondering…

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Meagan • April 12, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Wow, GO PQ!!!

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Lisa • April 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Good for you!

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G.G. • April 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Congratulations and well done! The thought of running 9 miles in any weather makes me want to curl up in a fetal position.

Enjoy restoring your glycogen levels!

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Mymsie • April 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

First off, CONGRATS – great job! Secondly, holy hell it IS blustery here today.

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Mymsie • April 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm

P.S. I don’t like earbuds either.

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Rah • April 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Congratulations, PQ!

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Karen • April 12, 2008 at 4:44 pm

I love seeing you in those triumphant after-the-race pictures!!! You are fracking kicking butt PQ!!!!

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Patty • April 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Way to go on your race! That’s awesome. It seems everyone who has lost losts of weight and kept it off are runner. Great job. I’ve only done a mini triathlon but I’m thinking of getting more into running, well more like jogging for me. You are proof that we can transform ourselves and become something we only dreamed of.

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Brittany • April 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Way to go!!! As soon as I lose a bit more weight I’m planning on doing a 15k. I’m doing a 5k this year and a 10k next year. You’re truly an inspiration!

And the no earphones thing was made by the head honchos in the runners association. But according to the latest issue of fitness magazine, it’s up to the actual race to determine if the runners/walkers are allowed to wear ear phones. So technically, it is a guideline :)

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Jancd • April 12, 2008 at 6:16 pm

What an accomplishment!! And you can believe it was the one and only God watching out for you today!! He’s it.

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Andrew is getting fit • April 12, 2008 at 6:18 pm

You are a legend and an inspiration. Way to go! So…when’s the half marathon? :)

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Christina • April 12, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Congrats, PQ! Good luck for the half marathon too. I will be running my first ever race, a 7K, in two weeks. You are definitely an inspiration. Thanks!

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PastaQueen • April 12, 2008 at 6:56 pm

I’ve got a countdown widget in the right sidebar (with the sneakers). It’s in 3 weeks.

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Boilergrad1993 • April 12, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Congrats PQ, great job!! I found this blog by a fluke a few weeks back and I’m now hooked!! It took me a week and a half, but I read every single entry from the beginning. I’m from NY, and I’ve been talking about this blog everywhere I go and showing people your progress pictures. I’ve been morbidly obese my entire adult life, but after following your story and seeing what you’ve accomplished I feel more motivated and committed than I’ve ever been. I can’t wait until your book comes out. Continued success to you!!

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Katharine • April 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Yay, you!!!!

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debby • April 12, 2008 at 7:19 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! If I could write that bigger, I would! I am doing an online walking challenge, and just got back from walking 8 miles, which took me 2 hours and 40 minutes, so I was treating myself to some fruit and cottage cheese, and checking my favorite blogs, and there was your race description. I am so inspired to keep trying to do better. THANKS!

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MamaMaven • April 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Congrats on the great run! Good luck on the last three weeks of training for the half.

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Mrs. Duffy • April 12, 2008 at 7:42 pm

WHOO HOOOO!!!! You rock! I did my first 15k about a month ago and weirdly enough, it was also freezing and windy, and my time was 1:47:56. Imagine how much we’d both rock if it had been normal weather????!!! I can’t even comprehend! Great job & great luck on your half (I’ve got one the next day… you are my tall skinny running twin, how creepy!)

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Liz • April 12, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Wow, a 15K is very impressive! Obviously you’ve worked hard to get in that kind of shape! I’m training for a 5K….(my friends said, what? you have to TRAIN for that? I said, yes, that’s what having a baby does to you…)

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Becca • April 12, 2008 at 8:01 pm

CONGRATULATIONS! You are truly an inspiration for so many of us. Please don’t feel even slightly bad about 182 pounds. You are fit and healthy and that is what is most important!

Congratulations again!

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anji • April 12, 2008 at 8:26 pm

good job!

There are these awesome headphones I had years ago that actually sort of wrapped around the ear and the bud went inside the year… was great and comfy but – they broke :( now i have a maxwell one that is thin, (you can wear under a bike helmut!) and also has a piece that goes into the ear, makes for clearer sound. I can’t stand the big ones that make my head look even bigger than it is, hehe :D

Fantastic run, and great timing! Whoot whoot!

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Cindy • April 12, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Yeah, PQ! You are ready to take on the world! I took a long walk in the woods this afternoon—in my shorts. We were supposed to have an ugly, rainy day, but it turned out to be quite lovely. The clouds rolled through a few times,and gave us showers, but mostly it was sunny and warm. Kind of like a gift. That’s what I love about New England. You never know what the weather will do and you can never believe the weather men or women. Back to you, though… My thoughts are with you on those runs. You have so many people rooting for you ~ you have no idea! Have fun, take good care, and rest up!

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adrienne • April 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Congratulations!!! You make us all very proud!

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losing jusme • April 12, 2008 at 10:14 pm

congratulations!! that is an amazing time!

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Sara L • April 12, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Congratulations on the race, you look amazing, and I love your hat!

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MizFit • April 13, 2008 at 6:48 am

BIG CONGRATS!!

and I loved your remark about the rest and recovery.

so funny BECAUSE IT’S TRUE…for many of us.

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Shelladawn • April 13, 2008 at 7:46 am

Congratulations,you continue to inspire moi.And I hope the turtle died quickly,don’t wanna think about the little slow guy suffering,sob sob.And love the fact that you are now one of those people that has their photo taken after gruelling exercise and you look like you have just taken a casual stroll.You truly rawk!!!

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Heather • April 13, 2008 at 8:15 am

AWESOME!! That’s a great time for your first 15K— you’re kickin’ ass and taking names! Congrats!

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Andrea • April 13, 2008 at 8:42 am

Congratulations!

I’m so sorry about the turtle. Mine had to be tied up with wire and sealed with putty (by a vet, I haste to add!) after I ran over it with the car a year ago. It’s fine now, but it wasn’t pretty, and I think he still gets panick attacks when he sees me :)

You have so inspired me, I just made my first 25′ jog (following C25K) yesterday.

Thanks!

Andrea in Argentina

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dietgirl • April 13, 2008 at 8:55 am

Well done Jeanette! And setting a cracking pace too, woohoo! I can’t imagine being able to run such a long way, I’m in awe :)

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PastaQueen • April 13, 2008 at 9:37 am

You know, my mom commented after the race that I didn’t look that winded. I was definitely tired, but I wasn’t completely out of breath and red in the face like I used to be when they’d make us run a mile in gym class.

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Sonya • April 13, 2008 at 10:40 am

Way to go, PQ! Awesome! If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought that picture was taken BEFORE the 15K and not after. When one can kick butt like that, the scale isn’t nearly as important.

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Jenny • April 13, 2008 at 11:15 am

Congrats! Congrats! The scale is one way to judge progress….. and your 15K is another. Impressive. I’m glad your Mom drove you.

Now rest, rest. My knees hurt just reading this and I’m sure you slept well last night and are probably walking a little funny today.

p.s. peace out to the turtle. :-(

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Bronwyn • April 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

Wow! congratulations. That’s an amazing time. :) You’re gonna rock that half-marathon.

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Julie • April 13, 2008 at 11:55 am

You are such an inspiration! Congrats to you!!!

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CC • April 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm

You are a such a help to me! I started running in October, ran 5km in Dec, 10km in March and today 13km!!!! I read your blog just before going out for the run.

Thanks!

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sadinoel • April 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I’m so proud of you. Did you ever think you would grow up and do all these amazing things? Let’s not forget that you look really damn cute in your hat and running wear.

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Jess • April 13, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Congrats!! Long time reader, but this is my first comment. You definitely inspire me. I’m planning on running my first 5K at the end of this month (not nearly as long as your run, but I have to start somewhere). This just gives me more inspiration to keep going and doing more races :)

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Denise • April 13, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Hi!! This is the 1st time posting on your blog. You are such an inspiration!! I have over 150lbs to lose and by seeing how fit and healthy you are now, I know I can do it!! I also pre-ordered your book and look forward to reading it. Keep up the good work and the blogging!! You have touched my life and inspired me to make healthier choices.

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annie b • April 13, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Congratulations!!! I always enjoy your post-race posts, very inspiring!

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victoria • April 13, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I am SO THRILLED for you! That is an awesome time. It’s incredible to think of what you’ve accomplished over the last few years. (Also thank you for your honesty in posting your weight.) I just love this blog. I first came to it thinking I’d get inspired to lose weight, but I keep coming back to it because I find it inspires me to want to develop the honesty, self-respect, courtesy, and rational approach to solving problems that I see in your blog.

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Kate T • April 13, 2008 at 5:56 pm

After reading about your prep for this run for the past several weeks, I feel so proud of you for getting all the way around and feeling so good at the end!

I’ve been reading your blog for a year now, have pre-ordered your book, and look forward to many more of your insightful and hilarious entries.

Thanks!

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Bella • April 13, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Awesome job! I’m sure you feel so proud of yourself, especially considering all that you’ve done in a relatively short amount of time. You remain a strong sense of inspiration for me.

On a side note, I’d love for you to post some of the music in your playlist that you use for your runs. I’m always looking for some great workout tunes, and I’m sure other readers of your blog would love some new ideas, as well.

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Christy • April 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Congrats! Races give you such a fantastic feeling once you’re finished, and it’s great that you completed it with such a great time!

Also, moms are the best. They always seem to be there to watch us run in circles until we come back :)

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jae • April 14, 2008 at 1:11 am

Yay!!! Congrats, PQ, you totally rock! And you look so good, refreshed almost! It is strange though how they don’t want you to have music. Good thing you’re a rebel!! ~j

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kim • April 14, 2008 at 5:31 am

Hey don’t work against me. I have been praying for a May snow for the mini for the last month b/c I hate running in the heat! Good Job!

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PastaQueen • April 14, 2008 at 7:14 am

It’s not so much that they don’t want me to have music as they don’t want me to be run over by a car that I don’t hear and then sue them.

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Nancy • April 14, 2008 at 9:10 am

Awesome job!

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Susan • April 14, 2008 at 11:11 am

Wow! You are really an inspiration! I have been reading your blog for about a year now and over that period I have lost 40 pounds. I am still struggling to lose another 40, but right now I feel good and am focusing more on being healthy and active. The body will catch up in time!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are really amazing and have been an inspiration for me to get into shape. Thank you!

PS. You are on my blogroll. I try to spread the pastaqueen love as much as possible!

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Amy S. • April 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Thank you so much for posting. You are such an inspiration to so many (myself included). I appreciate your hard work and the time you take to share with us.

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Laura • April 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Congrats on the 15k!! Don’t you feel like a rockstar? That’s the way I felt when I ran my longest last weekend.

Are you going to wear earphones at the Mini? I’m a little freaked because I don’t run w/o music either. I had read on some running website that “they” were taking away official finishing times if you are caught with earbuds/phones during a race, and that “they” were catching people using photos from races. I know there will be 30k+ people there, so I’m not real worried but the rule follower in me is still paranoid. Just wondering what you’re going to do.

BTW, you and I are still running at the same pace. I ran my 10 miles with an average of 11:17. Maybe we’ll bump into each other during the Mini. I’ll have to email you my cell phone number so you can call me and track me down. It will be here before we know it and I can’t wait!

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psychsarah • April 14, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Props to you!! That’s amazing-especially since you got up and ran in crummy weather. You rock!!

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Lisa • April 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm

On a closed course without cars.

(I run in headphones too.)

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Louise • April 14, 2008 at 6:09 pm

That’s just great! Congrats!

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MB • April 14, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Congrats! I love the “after” race photos although you look like you just went for an easy stroll. It is hard to believe you are the same person that started this blog a few years ago. The weather here on the east coast is a bit better than what you have so I have no excuse not to get out in it and move. As always, you are my inspiration!

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PastaQueen • April 14, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Hmmm, I hadn’t heard anything like that. I don’t really care about any official record keeping of my time as far as competitions go, just as long as I get to know how long it took.

And yeah, hit me with your cell phone number and we can try to find each other in the masses.

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Ordinarylife • April 15, 2008 at 6:03 am

Well done

And yes, I am sure it just the Energy GU’s that get me through races too. They really do work!

I am not sure how I would cope if I had to run in weather like you do. Even in our worst winter conditions i don’t wear a hat or gloves (except a peak for the sun or rain)

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Amy • April 15, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Poor turtle!!

Congrats on the run!

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Sally Parrott Ashbrook • April 17, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Look at you all skinny and running 9 miles and enjoying bagels with no worries! What an awesome combination. :D

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doris • April 21, 2008 at 9:40 am

Congratulations!

I am going to run 15K too on 18th May. I do feel a bit regret after signing up, but after reading your post, I feel the energy! I must now devise a training plan and stick it, ohh.. gosh… I have less than 1 month to prepare!

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MomWeightLoss • April 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Congrats on the 15K!! You go girl! I am so inspired reading posts like ths one. I need women like you to kick me into shape! Now on to the “big” race!

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sadinoel • April 22, 2008 at 11:17 am

I still have my journal. I changed the name because my dad has the exact same username for his email. My dad! Oh the horrors! I’m lever2000 now.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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