November Roundup

November has come and gone.  This year has flown by so quickly.  In case you want to catch up on my monthly roundups, you can read them here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.  I wrote a post last December with my goals for 2015; my main running goal for this year was to run 950 miles.

For November, I finished the month with 78 miles.  My year to date prior to November was 816, meaning I am heading into December with 894 miles!! My reach goal was to get to quadruple digits with my first 1000 mile year, so to get to that point, I need 106 miles in December.  To reach my initial goal of 950 miles, I need just 56 more miles in December.  I’m going to try really hard to get 106 miles in December!

In November, I had 3 races. On November 1, I ran the Cliffhanger 8k with Amy, and had a beautiful race along a gorgeous cliff-side road.  The Cliffhanger race was my first 8k, which is just a hair under 5 miles.

Photo Nov 01, 10 13 03 AM

Also in November was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k and then the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon the next night.  I traveled to Las Vegas with Mom and Kristen, and we had a great weekend together exploring and running.  We met up with Mark at both races, and represented KC Running Co!


Photo Nov 14, 7 40 34 PM

Photo Nov 15, 5 23 57 PM

I only managed to run with the KC Running Co Groupies 4 times.  Between starting a new job, traveling to Las Vegas, and traveling to Hays for Thanksgiving, there were just a lot of evenings I either couldn’t run, or ran  solo when time permitted.  My longest run, besides the Las Vegas Half Marathon, was 5 miles, which happened three different times throughout the month.

I volunteered one race in November, the RWB 5k, with Amy.  After volunteering the race, Amy and I met up with Mark at Shawnee Mission Park for a run.  It was a gorgeous day.

Photo Nov 30, 7 56 56 PM

The last week or so of November has gotten really cold and rainy and wet.  And dark too.  It’s dark so early in the evenings.  I had my first treadmill run of the fall, while in Hays for Thanksgiving.  It had rained and drizzled for a couple days, and then froze everything into a slick mess.  Mom, Kristen, and I went to HRC to run and lift.

Since coming back to KC after Thanksgiving, I’ve signed up for a gym membership at the Overland Park Athletic Club, which is partially paid for by my employer, making my monthly dues very low.  I see lots of treadmill runs in my future for this dark and cold winter to come.

Photo Nov 27, 2 15 28 PM

Looking forward to December, my biggest goal is to run at least 106 miles to get my yearly total to 1000 miles or more!!  I have one race, the Great Santa Run 5k.  Other than that, my goals are to develop a routine at the gym with some weight lifting and group classes at least a couple times a week, get to a few yoga classes, and finish the year healthy and happy!

How was your November? Any goals for December?

Monday Mentionings: November 9

It’s Vegas week!  I’m looking forward to going to Las Vegas with Mom and Kristen later this week!! We are going to ROCK and ROLL this weekend!

Last Monday evening, I killed two birds with one stone, and ran to Walgreens to pick up my prescription! It was a great idea, until I had to listen to the pills in my buddy pouch, chicka chicka chicka chicka with every step.  Also, Monday was the first time I had to run in the dark at 5:30pm this fall.  Be sure to stay safe in the dark, runners.

Photo Nov 02, 6 23 09 PM

Jasper has taken over the spare bed.  It’s his, now.  I’ve kind of started packing for Vegas, and he’s protesting by trying to lay all over everything.  I hope he’ll forgive me for leaving him for several days.  Poor bear.

Photo Nov 05, 8 31 35 PM

Of course, Tuesday was ROYALS DAY!  I was so happy to be able to partake in the parade, celebrating the Royals win the World Series.  I had a great day with Amy and Mark!

Photo Nov 08, 5 45 18 PM

Saturday morning, Amy and I volunteered the inaugural RBW 5k in Independence.  It was such a perfect morning for a race! We ran into Philip, too… but of course we did, he is in charge of the KC Chapter of RWB!

Photo Nov 07, 7 57 56 AM

Photo Nov 07, 8 14 37 AM

After the race, Amy and I met Mark at Shawnee Mission Park for a late morning run.  I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful it is at Shawnee Mission Park, and even more so in the gorgeous fall we are having.  GROUPIES, UNITE!

Photo Nov 07, 10 38 21 AM

Photo Nov 07, 11 27 32 AM

Yesterday morning, I ran a solo 5 miles.  Amy has been having some pretty severe back pain, and couldn’t meet to run with the Groupies early, so I slept in (yay!) and ran later.  I have been dealing with some strange knee/hamstring/IT pain, and it really bothered me yesterday.  In better news, my glute pain has been much better – I think my chiropractor has fixed that part of me!

Photo Nov 08, 12 20 14 PM

Jazzy and I had lots of chill time on the balcony after my run.  This November weather, though… insanely beautiful.  Shortly after this picture, he bit me.  Haha, he likes his bubble just as much as I do.

Photo Nov 08, 12 42 21 PM

I’ve also started watching Parenthood, after watching a few episodes in Milwaukee with Kristen and Thayne.  I finished / got caught up with Scandal, and with baseball over, I have to watch something else now!   Have a great week, and I’ll try to post next Monday from Fabulous Las Vegas!

Photo Nov 08, 2 27 24 PM

An Interview with Derek Mitchell

Back in March, I read a story by Runner’s World about a 570 pound man from KC who was committing to finishing a 5k each month for the remainder of 2015, in an effort to lose weight and develop a healthier lifestyle.  Derek Mitchell‘s goal for each 5k was simple, just finish.  He quickly became something of a celebrity in the KC running world, his inspirational journey paired with the welcoming and encouraging running community was like a wildfire.  His story has been told all across the globe, and everyone seems to be caught up in Derek’s positive attitude and wide smile.  I have personally seen Derek on the sidelines, high fiving and cheering on runners during numerous races in the KC area.

Photo courtesy Derek Mitchell Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Derek Mitchell’s Facebook page.

Derek is often being shadowed by the follow car in races, which is usually a police car or “sag wagon” following along to ensure all runners and walkers finish the race safely.  He doesn’t mind being at the back of the pack; his goal is to finish, and many spectators and friends jump in to finish with Derek.  Though he simply wants to finish each race he starts, hopefully with a bit better time than the last (he has already dropped his 5k PR over 15 minutes!) he also have some pretty huge goals on the horizon!  This fall, Derek hopes to not only finish a full marathon, but to become the largest man to ever complete a marathon!

Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, I was not able to meet up with Derek to interview him in person, but he was kind enough to answer some questions for me via email and Facebook.  I hope to catch up in the future with Derek, and will post an update at that time.  In full disclosure, I was not paid to write this story, and I did not pay Derek for his time or to publish his story.

Renee: I often remember back to a time when I didn’t run, and actually hated the idea of running.  I would have told someone they are crazy for wanting to run, and now, I can’t imagine life without running.  If you could go back in time a year and tell yourself that one year later, you’d have completed several 5ks, and are considering tackling a marathon, what would your past-self have said? What would your response be? How have you changed, mentally, in the past year?

Derek: I definitely would have said “no way,” especially to the marathon part.  I think that mentally, I just believe more that I am capable of doing this, especially with every 5k that I complete, it cements it in my head.

Renee: With your history of prolactinoma, your weight gain was not simply a lifestyle choice.  Weight loss and becoming health is a huge lifestyle choice, and one that is also aided by getting the prolactin levels and other hormone levels under control.  For those individuals who also have medical conditions contributing to weight gain, what are three tips you have to encourage them to not give up on themselves?

Derek: Start small.  Do what you can.  If you can only walk to the end of the block, then just do that until you find you can go further. I never thought that I would have the ability to walk 2+ miles every day, but here I am.  Also, make sure to stay hydrated.  Probably most importantly, listen to your body.  If something hurts consistently, try to back it off.  Don’t do too much, too fast or you can permanently cause damage to your body.

Renee: I am super sentimental, and kept my first pair of running shoes (a pair of Saucony Kinvara’s, in white and blue) from over 3 years ago.  What was your first pair of walking/running shoes?  I also keep my race bibs and write the dates/times on them.  Do you keep your bibs and medals?  Do you display them?

Photo Jul 12, 4 23 12 PM

Photos courtesy of Derek Mitchell.

Derek: I don’t “display” my first pair of shoes, but I definitely have all my race bibs and medals.  I’m working on a display for them.  Right now they’re in a shoebox!  I am still waiting on the medal and bib from the virtual 5k I did.

Renee: You are a part of Team RWB (Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity).  What initially drew you to Team RWB?  How has being a part of a team helped you keep on track with your walking/running and weight loss journey?

Derek: They were at the first 5k I completed in March and I signed up to join them that night.  What they are doing, by connecting Veterans to the community through physical and social activities is nothing short of amazing.  They add another level of support to what I’m doing.  They are always encouraging and supportive.

Renee: Since you started training for 5ks in the winter, and have trained for and completed races in the cold, hot, rain, wind, humidity, I’m sure you’ve cursed the weather in KC at least once.  What’s your ideal weather situation? Also, living in KC, we have no shortfall of hills.  So, hills… love ‘em? Hate ‘em?

Derek: Perfect weather is probably high 50’s, low 60’s, low humidity, and I have a love/hate relationship with hills.  I hate going up them, but love the feeling I get after conquering them.

Renee: My favorite thing to do after a race is put on my compression sleeves and have a celebratory pop.  What’s your favorite way to celebrate another race in the books?

Derek: Sit, relax, ice my legs, and usually have a beer!

Renee: My mantra, in life and in running, is “with brave wings she runs.”  I also have phrases that keep me going during hard runs and races.  Do you have a mantra, phrase, or idea that you utilize to keep going when you want to stop?

Derek: I don’t currently have a mantra for myself.  My “catchphrase” if you can call it that was something I said during my first TV interview.  It is “if I can walk a 5K, anyone can!”

Each year, Runner’s World hosts a contest to find two of the most awesome runners in America.  Derek’s photo (below) is in the running, and I definitely think the photo truly encompasses what running is.  Inspiring.  Passionate.  Encouraging.  Hard.  Badass.  Emotional.  Freeing.  His photo is currently in the top 20, and the top 10 men and top 10 women go on to be judged, and the winners (one man and one woman) will be on the cover of Runner’s World in December!  Voting ends July 22, so if you are interested in voting for Derek’s photo for the cover, please click here.


Photo courtesy of Derek Mitchell’s Facebook page.

Derek, you are a fantastic inspiration to anyone wanting to change their lives.  Keep up the great work, and we’ll see you out on the race course!