Las Vegas More Than A Marathon Race Report

Viva Las Vegas by Karen Bahamundi I decided to write a race recap about my events in Vegas, but then decided to share my life events leading up to Vegas instead - so reversing back to one year ago.... I had run my first marathon on 12/4/2010- not a great time, but it was done, and the WHOLE time my face hurt.  My awesome trainer (Claudia Spooner) was surprised this is what hurt but turns out I had a sinus infection and double ear infection. After this event.. I kept getting sick over and over during the new year but pushed through and kept running and running and running, until one day after a race, I couldn't walk. It appeared either an elephant stepped on my foot or I was injured. The next day - got X-rays and a brand new boot to wear for a minimum of 6 weeks. AWESOME.  Depression sets in. I deal with stress by running, and when this is taken away, I am angry, hungry, and depressed.  I joined boot camp - yes with a boot on, but also didn't get that feeling you get after running and was in a bad place. Seems my world was crashing around me.. I gained ALOT of weight, I couldn't look in the mirror without thinking - UGLY, I couldn't fit in my clothes,  I didn't want to leave the house and be social, and the worst part of it all - I am dealing with my mother losing her memory day by day, as she is slipping away from me with Alzheimer's.  Downward spiral. I kept going to boot camp, and trying to keep moving to survive, but nothing worked and I still continued to feel crappy.  I finally went to the ENT Dr and was told I had over 5 issues including a deviated septum and other various things that kept making me sick and this was the reason why I couldn't breath thru my left nostril and was constantly congested. I opted to go for the surgery over 4 meds daily, and see if I could stop the meds completely.  Surgery was scheduled a few days after I got my boot off, and the recovery was a b*tch, but when I started to feel better, I was shocked that I could smell grass, toothpaste, EVERYTHING! Now I had no more excuses since I was released to run and the surgery to fix my sinus issue was done.. I needed a HUGE goal  Mid-summer, Jason and I decided to sign up for the RNR - Vegas as a birthday get away for both of us, and the journey of me began. I took the first step at boot camp getting weighed and measured and was shocked not by my weight (because I had been weighing daily) but my body fat content was 35%. Holy SH*T!!!  I was beyond shocked and knew at that moment something had to change.  I HAD to lose weight. My goal to lose all the weight was Vegas 12/5. I would not be the wife of an endurance athlete in super-sized clothes. I was ashamed of myself, my look and my appearance, and I didn't want to be the overweight wife that was with Jason when we met up with all the other athletes in Vegas. I wanted to walk in the room with Jason as a couple that reflects good health. It was time, and I had a HARD goal. Rather than bore you with all the logistics of how I did this - I will give bullet points of some ways I achieved my goal:
  • Ramping up running as much as I can
  • Boot camp - 2-3 x a week - loving it
  • No more snacks that were bad - my new snack is ONLY veggies or popcorn - this was tough with a 5-year-old that loves to share his goodies!
  • Drinking meal replacement shakes to help cut calories back.
  • Water - lots of it
  • No sweets - OMG - this is hard since my office peeps love food
I was working out 6 days a week and finally the weight was coming off - first a few lbs here, and then before too long, my energy level was UP and I was working out harder, and running faster and felt good. Clothes were slipping off of me, and I saw a change and wanted to keep moving, and would not stop. I had a goal weight for Vegas and I wanted to achieve it. 12/5/2011  Race day. I am 2 lbs away from my goal weight and wondering if it was the  3 beers I had the nite before at the blogger meetup - (meeting Beal - WPS - awesome) or the 5 pumpkin pancakes I ate race morning (They were small and I was hungry!) but I was close enough to my goal weight and I knew I was ready.  I was not planning on a PR - just to finish and feel good about it. I grabbed Jason’s hand prior to the race and made him sit in silence while I prayed for a good race for him and threw a little something in for me as well. Overall the race itself was a cluster. (I could go into details - but just go to the Facebook page and read away, I am done talking about the chaos) When my corral was released I put on music and just told myself - “YES YOU CAN” I would not stop for anything and repeated this mantra over and over - and my body and mind cooperated. I fueled well - while running, grabbed small sips of water at only a few stations, and maneuvered thru the bottleneck keeping a good pace. My legs started aching near the end, but I refused to rest until it was done. I saw the Mandalay Bay and I was on the home stretch. I pushed hard and crossed the line at 1.57.00 and was thrilled, until I realized Jason was not in yet, so I waited in his chute, and met him at the end. It was a bittersweet ending for him as he did PR but didn't qualify for Boston, and I hugged him as hard as I could and told him how much I loved him, and kept my victory silent until he had time to process not qualifying, but instead pushing forward to be an Ironman full force. By the time you read this - I will be celebrating my 43rd birthday, wearing my favorite jeans I wore over six years ago prior to giving birth to my son, and feeling awesome. Was it easy? NO.  I pull out all my smaller clothes and try them on weekly to gauge my progress, and skip the bagels, and numerous birthday cakes at work, and stand far away so I can't smell the icing. I have trained myself to NOT look at the bad stuff.. I come home from work tired, and push myself to workout regardless. I plan my lunches and snacks during the day. I do eat pizza, but I also plan a long run to compensate for this. This is now a lifestyle change for me.  I still have my bad days, dealing with depression because of the Alzheimer's, and other life events, but I maintain my stress better, because I am healthier. Will I have cake today - maybe a little piece but nothing more. I am thankful we went to Vegas.  I got to finally meet Beth who makes me laugh all the time (breaking the barrier) and Beal (I will read your blog someday IF it is titled WPS) and missed EMZ, but we have BIG future plans for 4x times the fun. I met several other cool peeps too - you know who you are!  Jason and I had a getaway, which just is good for us to get away sometimes. My sister and her hubby raced for the first time ever in the half marathon. AND... I lost nearly 30 pounds prior to my 43rd birthday and ran the best race in my life (to date).  I no longer believe in excuses because I am living proof you can do it - and I will keep believing that I can.
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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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