Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Team Sparkle: Body Shaming

A few of my issues with Body Shaming. Remember you are fabulous!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Let the Races Begin!

Middle School 200 meter race.
I can't believe it, I had so much fun running in my first 5K.

I have always been miserable running even short distances. In middle school and high school my track coaches tried to make me run 100 meter and 200 meter races. These races came to an abrupt halt my sophomore year when I was crushed by the only other girl in my heat. She happened to be blind and handicapped and she destroyed me in the hundred meter dash. That was when Coach G decided it was time I focused on shotput and discus, bringing an end to me and racing.

At MSU my teammate Erica and I mastered the run-walk for our warm ups. This is where from a distance it can appear to be a very slow run but in reality it is just a walk with some flair. Since the end of college there have been some brief attempts to pick up running. They always ended as abruptly as they began.

Since April this year, when I decided I was sick and tired of being unhealthy and that I am determined to run the 2013 Chicago Marathon, I have been able to put some focus on my running. I started with the couch to 5K program and struggled through the 1 minute run, just waiting for the moment I could start walking again. However, I have lost 60 lbs since then and have built up a good amount of endurance by cycling 2000+ miles this summer.
Pre-race with Team Sparkle:  Lydia, Shawn, and Gloria

Running is still by no means something I love doing. I enjoy a lot of other things more than going for a run. However, I loved running in a race. I ran with my friend Shawn who had agreed to help with pacing me and keeping me focused through the run. My goal when I 1st started was under 40 minutes. Then after doing some practice runs it was revised to under 35 minutes. Shawn and I ended up running it in 32:20. We started in the very back because I had to guess what my pace time would be and I guessed 15 minute miles. It ended up being 10:25 miles and I finished almost exactly in the middle of the pack for the Bucktown 5K. I have never been so pumped to be in the middle of the pack of anything before. Starting in the back means Shawn and I had plenty of people we were passing. We would split around them and meet up on the other side of the person we had just passed. We picked up speed to try and get around stroller dad who kept reappearing out of no where.  We saw a young girl holding up a unicorn cheering on the runners. Since my nickname is Sexy Unicorn I felt she was cheering specifically for me. There was a giant dead rat in the route that the woman in front of me screamed and than hurdled over. It was a blast!
Finishing strong!
The comradery of the race is what I enjoyed the most, after that the challenging myself out of my comfort zone is always exciting. I am already signed up for a couple more 5Ks and I'm looking into running some longer races. This was a great start to lead up to the marathon next year. I now have a time, a pace, and the belief that yes I can run.
I can race.

Ready, set, GO!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Drink More Water.

Since I have lost nearly 60 lbs and it is becoming noticeable that I'm losing weight people have started to ask what's the "secret".  In reality, there is no secret. It's all stuff you already know. Eat more fruits and vegetables, less junk food, and exercise more. You know that, I know that. Yet, we Americans find it difficult to make these changes at once. So, when people are looking for a good starting point I have to say, "Drink more water."

I also want to say stop drinking pop. Yeah, I know you  don't need to stop because you drink diet. STOP IT! I didn't drink pop for 8 years and then I moved to Africa when I was 20 (where it was my only safe choice) and it took 8 more years to quit drinking pop. I would contribute 10-15 lbs that I have lost simply to the elimination of pop. When I tell people this they quickly say, "Yeah... but you didn't drink diet. Did you?"
I drank it all. I love pop. I love the taste, the carbonation, the sound a cold can makes when you open it on a hot day. However, here is a chart of all that pop does to you.

And Diet Pop? Well you are just drinking a can of chemicals. How do you think that is helping your longevity, health, and weight? 

Seriously, if you are just looking for a starting point drink more water. You should be drinking half your weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 lbs you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water a day. At the minimum.

One, of the many, nutrition books I read gave the visual of a flowing creek versus a stale pond. When your body is dehydrated and you don't have enough water going through your system you are like a stale pond with sludge and gook building up. When you drink plenty of water your body is like a fresh flowing spring from a glacier. Pure and clean.

So, grab a water bottle. Fill it up. And Chug-a-lug.