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Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

My niece and I had decided to run in the Quad City Marathon this month.  We were both going to use the same training program so that we could support each other.  Things started out swimmingly.  She’s a bit faster than me, but that’s ok.  We had talked about that and we were ok with running our own race at our own pace.

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Our Playground Workout

I quickly found a friend to train with to help keep me motivated.  Thanks to her, I started getting up early to run.  The hours passed quickly and I enjoyed our time together.  We were motivating each other.  I felt blessed because she slowed down her pace to keep me company and I motivated her to keep going.

I had already modified the training plan to account for my husband’s work schedule.  My kids aren’t old enough to stay home alone and hiring a babysitter that often is just not in the budget.  So sometimes, the run had to go by the wayside so I could take care of the kids.  Thankfully, my running partner was ok with that…she had been there, done that, and was very understanding.

But then injury hit.  My knee acted up for a couple of days, and since I had struggled with it last year during my half, I made sure I took care of it.  Then my plantar fasciitis flared.  That sidelined me for a while.  We did water jogging, weight lifting, bike riding and rested.  It eventually went away.  I thought I was home free, barring the occasional summer cold.

I always knew that I was a slow runner…12-15 minutes per mile is my average, depending on the race and the heat.  The long runs kept getting longer.  The time I spent away from home kept getting longer.  I started getting discouraged, especially when it felt like I wasn’t making any progress.  I just couldn’t get faster.  I was doing ok on the longer runs, for the most part.  But things were slowly breaking down.

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A hot workout…not a great experience

My breaking point was a scheduled 18 mile run.  I knew it was going to take me a while – at least 4.5 hours to finish.  Have you ever thought about what you can do in 4.5 hours?  You can watch all of Gone With the Wind (and have time left over), you can do 3 loads of laundry, you can read an entire book (maybe even 2).  Most importantly, you can help your husband by watching the little kids so that he can work on the home remodel.  And who really wants to get up at 4:15 in the morning to go for a run so that you can be home in time to do other things?  Not this girl…so the run didn’t happen.  Family first.

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Kiddos reading in the hallway

 

It was at that point that I started feeling like maybe the full 26.2 wasn’t going to happen for me.

Over the next few days, I talked to my niece; I talked to my running partner; I talked to my husband; and I talked to myself.  It was a difficult decision.  I knew I could do the half.  I did one last year and I had felt reasonably good during my 12+ mile runs.  But deep down, I wanted my first marathon experience to be good.  I did not want to be that runner that was crossing the finish line after 6.5 hours…with the finish line being partially dismantled, the sag wagon dogging my footsteps, not having seen any of the race volunteers or refreshment tables for the last 2 hours.  I wanted to cross the finish line earlier than that.

I wanted my marathon experience to be good…not a straggling, suffering, guilt-laden one.

At that point, I decided to do the half.

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My favorite view on my favorite path.

It was a load that fell off my shoulders.  I felt good about my decision; disappointed, but good.  I felt like I was letting people down; that I was giving up.  To a certain extent, I still feel that way.  But I know that I’m not ready to run 26.2 miles the way I want to run them.  Making that decision freed up my time to focus on my kids, the big projects we have going on at home, and to focus on my husband (not in that order).  While he supports my running and is at every finish line he can be at, he didn’t like me being gone so long, running alone in the partial dark, and running the chance of getting hurt.

I know that when I lace up my shoes on Sunday to run the half, it will be fine.  He will be at the finish line waiting for me with a hug and a kiss.  Most of my kids will be there to surround me with hugs.  They will be proud of me no matter what distance I run.

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So this hasn’t been a great week.  I’ve managed to come down with bronchitis.  It sucks.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until I tried to race my friend on the rowing machine and thought I was going die after 300 meters.  So I adjusted my workouts as much as I could.  I didn’t do the scheduled Best Body Bootcamp workouts, except for one day when I did a partial workout (Strength C).  I did a lot of strength training or yoga and not much cardio.  Today was a fun workout.  My husband and I took the kids to play basketball at the Y.  So it was fun for everyone and didn’t seem much like a workout.

As for my goals, being sick has helped.  I’ve made myself get my servings of fruits and veggies (especially oranges) and I’ve drank a bunch of water.  So I have met my goals almost every day (YAY ME!).

In all, I am having fun doing the Best Body Bootcamp.  We are halfway through, so it’s time to do the fitness test again.  I’m hoping I’ve improved.  I know that I’ve lost 1.75″ overall in the past month, but haven’t really lost any weight.  I am looking forward to the next two weeks’ worth of workouts.  They definitely look challenging.

For the coming week, I have 2 virtual 5ks to complete – one is for the 5 by the 5th series and the other is Tackle the Miles for the 13 in 2013 challenge.  They may be slow 5ks, but I will get them done.  I’m thinking about doing the virtual Heart Throb 5k, but haven’t decided yet.  My other challenge for the week is the Y’s Weigh challenge.  We have to do 15 miles run/walk, 15 miles bike, 15 jumping jacks, and 60 abs.  I have finished the bike, jumping jacks, and abs.

Here’s hoping my work out works out!

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Week 3 was hard for me for several reasons – primarily due to schedule, but I also got hit with the crud that’s going around.  I lifted for an hour one day – not the scheduled workout, but a strength workout with members of my Booty Buster team.  I tried to lift a second day but my timing at the Y wasn’t good.

On the plus side, I ran in the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5k on Friday (part of my #13in2013) and I beat by goal time by almost 2 minutes.  My first 5k of the year had a time of 47:34.  On Friday, I just wanted to beat 45:00.  And I did it!  I ran it in 43:02.  While I wasn’t overwhelmed with happiness with my time, I think I did pretty well considering I was struggling with being able to breathe and coughing a TON.

Another plus was that I managed to get in my fruits/veggies most of the days and I also got enough water in me most days.  I think I need to keep up with that a little bit more because the water will counteract the sodium in my meals (tortilla chips, tacos, potato oles, etc.).

I’m hoping to actually do the scheduled workouts this week.  I am a little worried about the endurance circuits, but I think I will be able to get through it ok.

Tina said in her check-in email this week that it’s not unusual to be a little unmotivated this week.  I think I was unmotivated to a certain extent.  I just got discouraged pretty easily and frustrated with my general lack of progress.  I have a lot going on and I need to be able to focus.

My word for the year has been patience, and most days have been a struggle, but especially in this last week.  I’m hoping to be able to refocus on it.

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Well, week 2 has come and gone.  Was I successful?  Kind of.

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I ran 4 days and was able to finish up weeks 5 and 6 of Couch to 5k (which is the furthest I have ever gone in that program).  I lifted twice during the week.  One of those days was BBB workout A and the other day was a random strength workout with my friend Tracy.  Water is always hard for me to get in over the weekends, so the fact that I did it on Saturday was amazing.  I didn’t get any writing in over the weekend, but I got lots of thinking in.

My workout availability schedule is so crazy that sometimes I have to modify things so they fit into my schedule.  So I didn’t do BBB workout B during week 1 or 2, and only did workout C during week 1.

Overall, I am pretty happy that I decided to do this challenge, although I have realized that if I want a chance to be included in the grand prize drawings, I need to step it up for the remaining weeks.

We start week 3 today.  The workouts for weeks 3 and 4 look TOUGH, but I’m hoping they will challenge me and give me that push I have been looking for.  Goal 1 is remaining the same – drink 8 cups of water every day.  Goal 2 is changing to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables every day.

On a personal note, I am hoping to push myself and stop telling myself that I can’t do things.

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On Monday, I started Best Body Bootcamp by Best Body Fitness.  I started it because I wanted a bit of a competition – to challenge myself – and to see if this kind of format would work for me.

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Here’s the format…

It’s an 8-week program.  Every 2 weeks, we get a series of workouts for those 2 weeks.  The workouts include straight cardio, strength, core, and combination strength & cardio.  Tina provides the workouts for 5 of the 7 days, but if you are following a running program or have a class/program you are already doing, you can substitute the workouts as needed.  The goal is to be active at least 5 of 7 days.

Also, each member sets 2 goals for the week.   They can be nutrition (eat more veggies, drink 8 cups of water, etc.), physical (walk a mile each day, etc.), or motivational (journaling each day, etc.).

Tina awards points for the categories – points for exercise, points for goals, and points for blogging/sharing your experience.  She will award prizes throughout the program to those who consistently participate.

Here’s how my week has gone:

  • Monday – I completed the planned workout (strength), finished week 4 of C25k, and completed both goals.
  • Tuesday – Instead of completing the planned workout (cardio), I started week 5 of C24k, and completed both goals.
  • Wednesday – Instead of completing the planned workout (core – I tried it and it was HARD!), I lifted weights with my friend Tracy for an hour.  I only completed 1 of the goals.
  • Thursday – I only finished 1 of the goals.
  • Friday – I completed the planned workout (strength), C25k run, and both goals.
  • Saturday – I only finished 1 of the goals.
  • Sunday – I only finished 1 of the goals.

I didn’t do everything I wanted, but that’s ok.  Part of my struggles were timing.  My goals for the week were to drink 8 cups of water each day and to spend 5 minutes free-writing (as part of January’s BestFoot challenge).  Weekends are hard for me to always get enough water.  They are also hard for me to schedule workouts depending on Hubby’s schedule.  However, for the most part, I did ok, except Thursday when I really didn’t feel all that well.

Next week is a new week and I’m looking forward to pushing myself a little bit more.  Plus, I have 2 new apps to try – Runtastic and Sworkit.  My workout schedule is going to be a little wacky due to some things I have going on, but I will do what I can.  I am keeping the same 2 goals just to keep them in the front of my mind.

Additionally, I started the local Y’s team weight loss competition.  My team seems pretty motivated.  The competition has 8 challenges and 2 weigh-ins. The winning team will win cash, and there are also cash prizes for biggest losing man and woman.

I also started my employer’s BMI challenge.  For that challenge, we have to reduce our BMI by 5% in 12 weeks.  If we succeed, we stay in the challenge for another 12 weeks.  If we maintain or reduce further at the 24-week weigh-in, we can stay in the challenge for another 12 weeks.  At the 36-week weigh-in, if we have maintained or reduced further, we can stay in the challenge until the end.  Overall, if you stay with it, you can earn over $300.

Here’s looking forward to some great challenges!

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What a great way to ring in the new year!  I decided to get involved with my local running club this year and this seemed like a good way to get

The crew willing to run in 20 degrees!

The crew willing to run in 20 degrees!

started.  For the last few years, they have held a New Year’s Day Fun Run/Walk.  They essentially have 3 routes figured out – a 2 mile out-and-back, a 3 mile out-and-back, and a 4.5 mile loop – you pick your distance and speed.  My sources say they run NO MATTER WHAT.  And from what I can see, that’s true.

When I got up yesterday, it was cold.  Forecast was 13 degrees and I’ve never run at that temperature before.  So I layered up – thermal pants under running tights, thermal long-sleeve top under a short-sleeve T under a Carhartt hoodie.  I added a pair of gloves, and my new neck gaitor and stocking hat I received for Christmas.  I figured I would be warm enough…..

I only knew one person when I got there, but quickly made some new acquaintances.  Everyone was super welcoming.  Luckily, the person I knew offered to run with me for a while, which was good because I made myself keep going, when I ordinarily would have slowed down even more.  I know that I was slower than her usual pace, but it was nice to have the company.

Alma & I  (I'm in the back)

Alma & I (I’m in the back)

When it was time for me to turn around, she kept going, but I met up with someone else on my way back and finished the run with her.

My time for the race (as per my Garmin) was 47:35.  Not a great time, but given that the sidewalks weren’t completely clear and I haven’t run much in the last few weeks, I’m ok with it.  If nothing else, it gives me a benchmark for the year and I have something to work on.

I was happy to use this as my Resolution Run for the challenge issued by Run to the Finish & Mommy Run Fast.  My running this year is going to force me to be patient with myself and to be patient with my family.  I often get too anxious about making progress – or rather not making progress as fast as I would like.

Here’s what I learned on this run:

  1. I need to work on my clothing.  I was really cold on the way out, but only slightly warmer on the way back.  Maybe I would have been warmer on a longer distance, but not yesterday.
  2. can come out of my shell when needed to meet new people….even my funky shoes helped me start conversations.
  3. Running with someone is fun and pushes me to keep going…which means I also really need to work on my endurance….(see, patience again!).
  4. I’m looking forward to some of the running club’s group runs.

Did you run on New Year’s?

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A Look Back

2012 was a good year for me, overall.  I lost almost 40 pounds, ran my first 1/2 marathon, and logged 315 miles since Mother’s Day.  For the local Grand Prix, I came in 7th in my age group (one of my best friends came in 1st – yay!).  I overcame my fear of free weights.

Southern Tennessee Plunge 1/2 Marathon with my beautiful niece Bethany

Southern Tennessee Plunge 1/2 Marathon with my beautiful niece Bethany

Not that it wasn’t without its struggles.  I battled heat, knee pain, foot pain, and a general lack of motivation at various times during the year.  I started, stopped, and restarted New Rules of Lifting for Women and Couch to 5k.  I started and finished some challenges (Y’s Weigh), but started and did not finish others (Holiday Squat-a-thon).

But you know what?  My family didn’t completely fall apart while I was working out.  I figured out how to work around everyone’s schedules, for the most part.  Yeah, it was tough getting long runs in, but I did it – even though they were mostly walks.  My family learned all sorts of different words – energy gels, hydration belt, heart rate monitor, foam roller, and negative splits.  I learned how to plan workouts, nutrition, and life so that I can accomplish those things that I need to finish.  My girls learned how much fun the finish lines of races could be – kids’ stampedes and mommy’s races.  They learned that if you work hard at something, it doesn’t matter if you win or come in dead last – you finished it.  My husband learned that sometimes it’s easier just to let me go running (or let me talk about running) just so that I can get my nervous energy out.

A Look Ahead

What do I want for 2013?  I want a lot of things.  Here are some of my main goals:

  • 5k time at 30:00 (or less)
  • Run my first full marathon (scheduled for 9/23 – Quad City Marathon)
  • Run all Grand Prix races and come in better than 7th in my age group
  • Participate in Muscatine Running Club group runs
  • Lose 30 pounds
  • Complete Couch to 5k (currently on week 4)
  • Complete Insanity
  • Complete Best Body Bootcamp (starting cycle 4 on January 8)
  • Complete New Rules of Lifting for Women

This isn’t all, but they are the first ones that come to mind.

I have the following challenges lined up for the year:

  • #13in2013
  • 5 by the 5th
  • Y’s Weigh
  • BMI Challenge at my work
  • #BestFoot Challenges
  • Run this Town

Will I get through them all?  I don’t know, but I’m going to try.  I will get through them with the support of my husband and kids.  I have learned that I just need to stay quiet to essentially everyone else.  People don’t always understand, and it’s easier to just stay quiet than to keep explaining why you are doing some things.

What are your goals for 2013?

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