Sunday, February 07, 2010

Biggest Loser 5K & PR!!

Yesterday, I found out through Twitter that the Biggest Loser was going to be having a 5K run at the Cotton Bowl today.  My son, who is a huge fan of the show, wanted to come out and run, and maybe get a chance to meet Bob and Ali (Jillian is at the Super Bowl in Miami). It was going to be early, but we thought it might be fun.

We left the house at right around 7:15 for the drive to Dallas (we hardly ever go "into town" anymore!) and very easily got to the fairgrounds and found the right building where the signups were. We walked in and signed up, but were disappointed right away when they told us you had to be 18 to participate, which meant my son couldn't run. Bummer!  His immediate reaction was, "Mom! It's only a 5K!  I can do that easy!"  and he didn't really understand why he'd get left out.  So even though I turned in my paperwork, I decided not to run and instead hang out in the stands with him cheering.  But I was bummed, too, because I really was looking forward to running it with him.  Isn't that kind of the point of the show, to live healthy and get the kids involved in a healthy lifestyle, too?   But I didn't necessarily want to leave him unattended there, either, so it was best for me to  stay with him.  

A little later, I got a text from Twitter telling me that one of my electronic friends was there, too.  We found each other and I got to have my very first TweetUp!  How fun!  Mark was a doll, and it was fun to meet in person, plus I got to meet Felix, another friend of his from the Dallas Runners Club. 

Apparently, if you signed up with one of the radio stations doing promotions for the show, you automatically got a t-shirt when you got there that corresponded to one of the remaining contestants.  If you didn't have your name on the list, you got a number on your wrist (except I missed that part somehow, but didn't worry about it because, you know, I wasn't going to run after all).  After all the radio people got there, they started calling the people with numbers in order.  By then, it was starting to get exciting, and I reconsidered whether I would run so the boy and I decided that I would run and he that he would be just fine in the stands waiting for me.  But I had no number!  I went up to one of the producers and asked about it, and luckily the girl organizing the people by number remembered me and let me cut in line (I don't feel bad about it, I didn't mean to cut - they just brought me in! and everyone who wanted to got to participate, so that made it OK).  They gave me a shirt and I was set. 

The group I was in was huge, about twice the size of the other groups there (spoiler alert - can't say much more, though, lest the wrath of NBC fall upon my blog!), and we eventually made it to the field of the Cotton Bowl for warmups.  Trainers from 24 Hour Fitness led us in some calisthenics, and then we got to see Ali and the contestants come into the stadium.  Can I just say how adorable Ali Sweeney is?  She is so outgoing and chipper and was really friendly to everyone.  Right before we were ready to start, they split us up into groups and we circled around our contestants for "motivation" from them and just had a chance to talk to them and ask them questions. It was great to see how our contestant has done so far. 

Finally, it was time to get running!  But not before we did the start three times!  The first time, the cameras were in the midst of us as we crossed the line.  The second time, we ran up to the swing crane as they got an overhead shot, and the final time we actually were off and running.  We left the field and immediately hit the ramp up out of the stadium, a serious incline that made me hurt just a little!  But I powered up it after my contestant encouraged us to run our own race and just set a pace that I thought I could manage.  That wasn't until after one of the contestants just charged by me and took a commanding lead over the whole field (won't tell you who, you'll have to watch!).  There were golf carts with cameras assigned to each contestant, and as they came by the spot right outside the Cotton Bowl, the carts took off to follow them

Around the first part of the stadium, I could hear people chattering behind me, carrying on a pretty animated conversation.  I thought, wow, I'm killing myself at this pace and they're all chatty Cathy back there. So I turned around to see them and lo and behold, it was Ali Sweeney herself! Cool!  She is tiny, tiny, tiny, and she was FAST!  I asked her how she manages to train when she's got two jobs, kids, and is writing a book, and she was so genuine.  I kept asking her questions to keep her talking so I could keep up!  Right after the 2K marker (or right before, I forget), we hit a water stop, and I slowed down to grab a bottle, but she kept on trucking and soon she was out of sight!  Dang!

So then I just kept on running, and I knew I was working hard.  I hadn't passed anyone, but nobody had passed me either.  I had no idea what my time was - the "false" starts confused me enough that I forgot to set my watch.  I just knew that I wanted to come in ahead of as many contestants as I could!  I know that's probably not cool since it wasn't technically a race, but c'mon, my competitive juices got flowing and I just couldn't help it!  Plus, I was feeling pretty good after yesterday's 19, and the knee was doing great.  It was very strange to be at the fairgrounds without the State Fair actually going on!  We're usually only there during Texas-ou weekend, when there are millions of people packed in.

Right before the 4K mark, I heard someone coming up behind me on the right, and it was a couple with a baby stroller. I chatted with them for a bit and found out they are training for their first marathon in the summer, in Anchorage of all places! and are following it up with an Alaskan cruise!  WTG!  I can't think of anything more awesome!  Pretty soon I was starting to get fatigued, so I dropped back from them and let them pass me.  One other person caught up to me, and he told me he had run 15 yesterday. I let him pass me, but I decided that nobody else was going to pass me from then to the finish.  Just then, we were turning the corner to the stadium and got to go down the ramp again.  My only thought was "control!" as I really didn't want to blow out my quads on the downhill, but I wanted to maintain my speed.  Right then, I realized I was being tailed by two folks and they were gaining on me quick!  Of course, it ended up being my Twitter friend Mark and his friend Felix!  So we all ran in together from the ramp across the big Biggest Loser emblem on the field and across the line.  Right when we got under the finish line, I looked up and saw it said 26:40!  What?  My 5K PR is 29:36!!  SHUT UP!

As soon as we crossed, I had to walk around some and compose myself, as I really suddenly felt like I was going to puke.  I've only felt like that once before, and that was after my 10K PR at Turkey Trot a few years ago.  I knew I'd be OK, but I just had to walk around some and get my breath back.  Under 27?? Wow. I found Mark and Felix and his Garmin said 26:52 (it may also have read short for a 5K, but I am NOT going to pay attention to that... too much).  Still!  that's a two-minute PR!  Way cool!  No wonder I was feeling like I was dying!

By then, my son had come around from the spectators to find me. I went back into the tent to get my swag (we got to choose from a DVD, book, or Brita water pitcher, plus a food bag and protein sample) and find Mark and Felix for one last photo. I was riding high by then, but also realized I had to skedaddle - my FIL's birthday/super bowl celebration was today, and I was supposed to be home cooking King Ranch casserole.   It was already quarter to noon!  Oops!  So even though one runner from each team was going to be picked to go to the Biggest Loser ranch for a week, I had to bolt and didn't get to see the other contestants finish.  I did have time to go over and tell Ali that I PRed, and to thank her for motivating me.

It was a great day, and I got an amazing workout.  And, look for the episode on NBC in late April - you might see me in the crowd!  


Eunice Mullins said...

Great post! Glad you got to participate. It was definitely a great experience!

trifitmom said...

oh my gosh i LOVE IT - a PR and love the biggest loser that must of have been super fun