Tag Archives: challenge

When you’re about to get REAL serious about running. 

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve signed up for a fitness challenge and I can’t decide whether I’m so excited I could jump out of my skin, or I’m so nervous I could… um… have to run to the bathroom. Like I’ll be doing in the middle of every workout because CHILDBIRTH KILLS BLADDERS.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about where I am right now in my fitness journey.

I’ve decided to train for a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles, in case you’ve somehow never driven behind that annoying person who’s got a sticker on their rear windshield. (And yes, if I am able to complete a half marathon, I will forever be that annoying SUV in front of you with the very same sticker. Because DANG THAT IS FAR.)

When I decided to train, I had been running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week, plus at least one other weight-based workout per week, and probably some yoga. That was a little less than a month ago. During this month that I’ve thought about really getting my game on and running until my legs fall off, I started back up talking to a running friend of mine, who coincidentally leads a mom’s fitness group here in town called Stroller Strength (here’s the link if you’re local!). Melissa is amazing, encouraging and inspiring, and when I realized it was challenge time (I’ve done three of these babies before) I jumped out of my skin with excitement and anticipation.

There are definitely chemicals released when you work out (Endorphins, I love you.) and I think I released them immediately when I got on board with this challenge. Here are a few things that are involved with the challenge:
1. Friends. I realized that some friends I’d made during my stints with SS in the past were still going, and I’ve already met some new gals I’m excited to get to know. It’s always more fun when you’re not alone, and accountability makes a HUGE difference when you’ve set a fitness goal you’re trying to actually achieve. Melissa also puts us on goal-based teams, so naturally I’m on a running team, and I’m psyched.
2. Food/Exercise/Water/Rest Log. This baby is DETAILED, and we check up on each other’s logs throughout the 9-week challenge. We also have clean eating weeks (cutting out all processed foods) where we cut even more crap out of our diets for a week at a time. It’s magical (and so hard).
3. Extra workouts. This is everything from regular SS class (boot-camp style weights workout), “fun run” together, yoga, Sculpt class (for toning) and running my booty off on my own time until I achieve my goals. When I’m mid-challenge, I shoot for a workout of some sort every day, even if it’s short, even if it’s not strenuous. Get moving, burn calories and build muscle. Every. Single. Day.
4. Meticulous scheduling. I don’t usually work out at the same time every day. I don’t even work out on the same days a week. But this time, I’ve got a few more things going on if I want to make it to lots of classes and get my miles in. Obviously, the farther I run, the longer it takes, so I have to plan longer and longer into my schedule the farther I am able to go. Also, one of the classes is on a morning that I work, so I have committed to making it to the other two classes a week EVERY WEEK to make the most of them. Perk: I can bring the kids to class if I need to. Best thing about SS, ever. I’m gonna have to start sleeping in my workout clothes to save time.

I already feel like I’m in a pretty good place, fitness-wise, because I eat fairly healthy most of the time, I’m already working out regularly, and I’m enjoying this healthy lifestyle instead of being miserable in it like some folks are (shout out to you guys, because it’s tough to do it when you don’t like it). But my goals are steep. They’re things I’ve never done before, and that’s scary. Here goes…

Goal (9 weeks from now): Register for and run (read: survive) a half marathon. I will be adding a little bit about upper body strength to this, because that’s a separate goal that won’t necessarily just come alongside my runner’s training.

Halfway goal (so 4.5 weeks from now): Survive ten miles. In a row. I know right. That’s WAY more than half a half marathon. (Say THAT five times fast!)

For the past couple of months, my “goals” when I go out to run are to make sure every single mile is under 10 minutes, and to make sure my first two miles are under 9:30 or so. Those are loose goals, and I don’t always keep to them. But today at our baseline weigh-ins/stat recording, my timed mile was 8:31 and my 400m “sprint” was 1:39. I already started faster than I thought I would, but I think that has to do with being on an actual track. I typically run in my neighborhood, which is hilly, so my miles aren’t as accurate. I’m going to have to adjust my perspective on timing when I’m running on a track, apparently.

In other semi-related news, today while grocery shopping at Costco, I happened upon ONE LAST FITBIT Charge 2 in my size. It was destiny. I’ve been looking at those, Garmin running watches, and the Apple Watch, and just hadn’t decided what to get until today. So now that I’ve got a tool to use, I’m going to get used to it (and get it used to me) and be obsessed with it for the next nine weeks at LEAST. You’re welcome.

SO! Now that you’ve gotten a complete update on how I’m working on my fitness (cue the song that will be in your head all day) you can say you’re keeping me accountable. Is anyone else working on their fitness? Tell me your goals! Tell me your process! I’m open to suggestions and can’t wait to hear if you’re committed to a health goal, also!

Run. Go on, do it!

(This post is a continuation of Run Away.)

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Two and a half years ago, I couldn’t run a mile. I had had EK four months prior, and wasn’t in shape at all. At the beginning of that Stroller Strength Challenge, I could do almost no push ups, only a few sit ups, and walked most of my mile. At the end, I ran the mile (yay!) and almost tripled my number of sit ups and push ups. Yes, I worked my butt off. I worked out in some way almost every single day, I cleaned up my eating BIG time (including two bursts of completely clean eating) and got Hubby on board with my eating/working out habits. (Side note: He has always been healthier than me, an athlete, and a guy who likes working out. When I say I got him on board, it mostly meant we did it together.) What made it even easier and more fun was my tribe of Stroller Strength gals. To know you’re encouraged by women in the same boat as you makes it so much better!

Obviously, there is a season for everything. That was a time for me to find my “ground zero” where I felt like I was super healthy. I wasn’t looking to achieve a certain number (size, weight or otherwise). I was looking to feel great, and to start being able to set a healthy example for my family. I feel like I reached that goal.

That being said, I’ve got a new goal. I’ve discovered that I love running. I know… late in the game, you might say. However, it’s a stress release, it’s a fun time with other people if you find good running partners, it’s a great way to get outside, and it’s fun for me to run to the nearest playground, let my kids play for a while, and run home! Everybody gets what they want, right? My goal for this challenge is to complete a 10k that I’m running in October (The Ardmore RAH – check it out!) and I am struggling in this hot weather to get there. I’ve been running between two and three miles at a time for the past month. I feel like I’m stuck in a rut… maybe it’s a “three mile hump” thing and once you get over three miles, the rest comes easier? Probably not, but I’m trying. With my kids schedules, it’s difficult for me to get them up, fed, and in the stroller before it’s hot as hell outside. Therefore, I’m so hot by the time I’ve done mile two that I can’t think about anything but AC and a bathroom break. Mile three is simply getting home from wherever I am at mile two.

I’m at least thankful that my kids love it. They love our stroller (BOB Revolution Duallie), they love being outside, and I always pack snacks and sippies to get us through the trip. Often, we can run to someone’s house to say hi, or to the playground, or even run to a farther location- like the grocery store – and let Hubby come pick us up (yes, it’s happened more than once). And every once in a while, when I go on a run without the stroller full of heavy kids, I feel such immense freedom and lightheartedness (light-everything-ness) that I think I could run that 10k right then.

Let’s just say I’ll be excited for a weather change – and not only because of my running… but because it’s my favorite time of year. Scarves and boots and running without crying, here I come!