Tag Archives: fitness

RACE DAY!

Y’all! I finally ran the race! I got up early, ate a healthy breakfast, got there on time, managed to poop beforehand (fellow runners, you know how important that is) and CRUSHED it. My goal was to finish within two and a half hours… and I finished under two hours! My typical pace while training (on my long runs anyway) had been 9:45-10 minutes per mile. Almost exactly in that window. So I figured I’d be slower on those last couple of miles, or need to walk a little bit, or whatever. But y’all, I didn’t walk at all, I didn’t stop to pee, and I only grabbed the Gatorade twice (you know, so I didn’t die). My jitters went away pretty quickly and I got into the flow quicker than I thought. I had my two energy goos (we might talk later about how those things make me gag but they’re super necessary) earlier than normal – one at mile 3ish and one at mile 7ish – which I think was helpful. I usually wait for the first one till mile 5 or 6, so I was afraid it wouldn’t last me till the end. But it did! Can I tell you my favorite part about the whole race?

Community.

Lots of runners just did their thing. Or they ran with people they’d probably been training with. Or they just rambled on (that Led Zeppelin song was on my playlist, by the way) through those miles without much thought for anything. Or maybe they were thinking a lot. Who knows. I myself was jamming to my music, praising God because the rain held off, and praying that my knees wouldn’t die at mile 10 like they sometimes seem to want to do. But I was near this one guy the whole race, who I found out at mile 11 had just turned 30, and just proposed to his girlfriend/fiancee (who was also running the race) and so his friends were stationed every couple of miles with signs and shouts of congratulations/happy birthday. It was actually quite a contagious amount of fun, and so I got caught up in the happy. He was also acting as my “pacer” because he was going a little faster than I usually went on my training runs, but not so fast that it was unreasonable to keep up with him. So anyway, at mile 11, his buddy come on and started running with him, realized I was close by, and started telling me that story.

Another gal who I realized was going our same pace was close by as well, and she noticed I was starting to fade, but trying my darnedest to keep up with them. So she started looking over her shoulder for me, and saying, “Come on! One more mile! You can do it! Last hill!” every time I fell a few paces behind. I had my own built-in cheering section, y’all. Runners know how to do life together.

I did most of my training alone, and so I expected to race alone. But I didn’t. I raced with hundreds of strangers, all of whom were pretty cool. It was neat to see everyone’s style: some raced in tutus, some in basically nothing at all, some decked out in shirts that had their running troupe’s name or a scripture that resonated with them. Some, like me, had jackets tied around their waists because it was freezing when we started. Some had iPod earbuds, or huge Beats By Dre (is that what they’re called?) that I don’t think I could’ve worn for the whole time.

OH! I almost forgot my other favorite thing. At mile 5, and again at mile 10, there was a bagpiper! WHO DOES THAT?! If you are reading this and happen to play the bagpipes, please attend the next race nearest you, so that the people can enjoy your pipes. Seriously. It was awesome.

Because I ran way faster than I thought, I finished earlier than I told Hubby I would. I told him about 2:15, and I finished at 1:56. Crazy. So naturally he and the kids were parking and hadn’t made it to the finish line yet… but they did hang around for the donut truck, taco truck, and beer vendors. Every race I run is gonna be a beer run now, by the way. I finished tenth in my gender/age group, which made me really proud. It’s not award-getting, but I was REALLY stoked to have done as well as I did. I definitely will be racing again, and hoping just to get the same time. I know that was a PR for the books, so I won’t set my standards TOO high.

I’m just so proud that I had to share with y’all. Thanks for reading, and for all the encouragement I got along the way. Half-marathon, you were pretty good to me. See you again soon. Real soon? Maybe in the fall.

Running More. And More. 

So. As you know, I’m training for a half marathon. The one I had originally chosen is apparently very hilly, and also it’s a little soon for me to feel great about running it. So I’m still training, but I think I’m doing a different race. Last week, I did some speed work (sprints in the wind are basically the worst) and this past week, my goal was to get really good rest. It’s not going well. Every member of our family is suffering from a “mini cold”. It’s not that big of a deal during the day, but when we lay down, the mucus is out of control, and no one is sleeping that well.

Evidence of my “windy” miles.

Naturally, I’m more tired than usual since babes are waking and I’m not getting quality sleep because of it. But I’m pushing through! I got 4.25 miles in yesterday afternoon while everyone napped. I’ve still been eating pretty well, and I’ve had less coffee than normal this week (I subbed it for green tea, which has HUGE health benefits). Today was definitely a cheat day-St. Patrick’s Day meant Hubby was playing a lot, coupled with me trying to work a lot but also trying to see him play- it was a lot of on the go. I only had one “real” meal today, at 3pm no less. But at least it was healthy?

Post-workout selfie with D since he came along Tuesday morning.

So here is my accountability. I am up to almost 8 miles, with a hopeful 8 miles in either tomorrow or Sunday (likely whichever isn’t freezing cold). I’ve been trying SO HARD to keep up with my workouts and good food, so hopefully the last five miles in the training will come easily! Wish me luck!

Currently

It’s that time again… the beginning of yet another month. How is it possible that March is here already? I can’t believe how unseasonably warm it’s been here in NC, and the fact that my allergies are already acting up. But at least I’ve been wearing my Chacos and enjoying some much-needed sunshine! (Well, except for right this second, as it’s beginning to cloud over and look like that rain they’ve forecasted for the evening.)

Anyway, it’s another Currently link-up with Anne in Residence, and this month we’re joined by Carrie at A Stylish Fit as our co-host! Thanks, ladies! Here’s what I’m currently up to…

Watching || This Is Us. I was late to the party, and am still not caught up to the most recent episode, but I’m REALLY enjoying it. It’s fun to see Mandy Moore back around, and I’m loving the dynamics of the triplets as “grown ups”. I still won’t say this is the best show I’ve ever seen, but I truly do enjoy it.


Eating || VERY healthy. As I mentioned last week, I’m doing a fitness challenge and training for a half marathon. This means food as fuel as not as an indulgence, so I’m overhauling my diet to accommodate. For instance, our group is doing “meatless Monday” and so I didn’t have meat at all on Monday! Good thing Hubby is also on board. 

Saying || prayers over my half-marathon training, and my knee. Last night I did something stupid, and got my knee bashed from the side. Naturally, I immediately freaked out thinking I’d torn my meniscus or something crazy, iced it, and took ibuprofen and rested for the rest of the night. This morning, I woke up feeling MUCH better, with a bruise in the place of impact, but there is some residual tightness and soreness I’m trying to rest and ice and anti-inflame again today.

Wearing || work-out attire pretty much all day, every day. I’ve never really been one who likes to do this, but it does help me get the workouts in, motivation-wise. AND there’s no point in showering early, drying my hair, putting on mascara, and dressing nicely when I know I’m going on a run in two hours. It’s going to be easier for me to try to knock out the workouts as early in the day as possible so that I can feel like I “got ready” afterwards. I feel a little more like myself when I’m not dressed like a bum all day.

Posting || a little more very soon, hopefully. My Big Jesus (the site I had been writing for weekly) is relaunching as Everyday Exiles soon, and then I’ll be back to writing a lot more and posting about it. I’ve also been featured on Perfection Pending, and will have another post up on her site this week!

Well, what’s going on with you currently? Leave a comment, or link up with us and share!

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!

So I Got Some New Shoes…

I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a runner; that trendy word happens to have a lot of stigma, like (over)sharing how many miles you went every time you do it, having a sticker on your car that says “26.2”, etc. But I do run. I run a few times a week, if weather permits – and no, I don’t run in rain or freezing cold. I guess that’s part of why I don’t consider myself “a runner”. I enjoy it, I’ve participated in a few races, and I like running to be my cardio.

I’ve been wearing Nikes for the past few years, as my “training” (a term a use loosely) has ebbed and flowed during pregnancies and cold weather, and fluctuated from running to lifting to yoga, and back and forth. I like doing lots of different kinds of things, and I think that’s healthy for your body as well.

But dang. This week, I got some new shoes. Nice ones. Running shoes. Brooks, to be exact. I’ve only been running twice in them, but they’re like wearing pillows tied onto my feet! I guess my other shoes had been a little worn, but these are a whole new world. After the first run I went on, I thought, I gotta find a race in the spring! A short run in new shoes and I’m already looking for a race? I must be crazy.

I realized that it doesn’t take much to get a little motivation going.

I’ve never been one to really understand expensive and trendy-looking workout gear. Yes, I understand if it helps the function, i.e. bras that fit well, shorts that don’t chafe, socks that don’t cause blisters, etc. But when the exercise clothes are expensive just because they look cute? That annoys me. I didn’t understand why people would spend the money. However, the busier I get and the harder it is to carve out the time to run (or work out at all), the more I realize there is value in finding the motivation in creative places. For me, being excited about the workout gear makes me excited to use it. New fun leggings? I need an excuse to wear them! Comfy and supportive new shoes? I better go break them in!

Naturally, I’ve had the shoes two days, and I ran at least a little while both days. It’s rainy today, and I’m not ready to get these brand new babies wet just yet, but my enthusiasm hasn’t been dampened yet! (Get it? I got the jokes!)

Now for a question for you: I’ve been considering doing “the runner thing” and finding a bracelet that will keep track of my mileage covered, calories burned, etc. Right now, I’m just running with my iPhone in an arm band (or the stroller pocket, if I’ve got it). Music is a nice perk, but not totally necessary. Does anyone have one they suggest? I’d like to be able to link it up with my phone/computer to import workout details so I can keep track. Mostly because I’m nerdy and I like looking back at it. It sounds like (from talking to a few people) that there aren’t many options for one that keeps track of your mileage when your phone isn’t also on your person. So that’s my main desire. (Also, I don’t want to spend a million dollars!)

I work out for me. 

This past week, I noticed that I was angry a lot. I was frustrated about every single thing, big or small, that might normally just annoy me. It’s really hot outside. It’s really hot inside. We’ve been busy, but not really in a fun way. The kids are messy, loud, and getting on each other’s nerves. I’m not getting enough sleep. The 2yo is acting particularly threenagery (let’s just say that’s a word) recently. All of these things are things I can usually take in stride. But the past week or two, they’ve been building up, clogging my good feelings and just plain stressing me out. 

Finally, I realized that I hadn’t been keeping up with my workout routine very well. Now, I’m not an every day-er, or even a certain days of the week-er. Maybe those are the reasons I hadn’t gotten any exercise in. But either way, two weeks of no exercise is not good for me, and I finally realized it. It was time to stop making excuses about my busy schedule and the heat. 

You see, I don’t necessarily put on weight or get flabby from not working out. I mean, if I didn’t for a long time, I’m sure I would. But I don’t immediately see the effects of laziness on my body. (Not that a SAHM mom of three under five should in any sense be seen as “lazy”.) But I temporarily forgot that my body, my mind, my soul, all need some exercise. 

Working out isn’t something I personally do to see a magic number on a scale, fit into a certain size, or or achieve a certain “goal” (screw the thigh gap). I do it for the way it makes me feel. It helps me work through frustration. It helps burn calories and energy, and exhaust me into sleeping better. It sets a healthy example for my family about the importance of exercise. It is “me time”. It sets the tone for my productivity. It even makes me feel great about that glass of wine that’s coming in the evening. In short, makes me feel good. I don’t need a better reason than that! I do it for me. 

I Choose to Run

Feet pounding the pavement. The rhythmic sound of my breathing. The fresh air, and the birds chirping. The stroller I push is heavy with my two big babies inside. But I wouldn’t trade this hour of my day for anything. The clear air clears my mind, lets me have a quiet moment, even if it isn’t exactly relaxing.

I can’t always plan this hour into my day. Now that I have three children, one of them needs to be occupied elsewhere. (Read: Hubby needs to be home.) But when I can get this time in, my body, mind and soul all feel better and freer. The rush of endorphins I feel is enough to make me want to do it again, even without the other benefits.

Getting back into running after this last pregnancy and delivery honestly wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, especially since I dropped off the exercise train way before I delivered. I was doing only yoga at the end – which is basically zero cardio when it’s prenatal yoga. My muscles were itching to get back to moving long before I actually could; I’m pretty strict with myself about waiting to start everything back until I’m 5 or 6 weeks out. My first run was a tough one, but I managed to get (running and a little walking) a mile and a half without too much struggle. The subsequent few runs worked me up to a little over two miles so far (I’m almost 7 weeks out). And (TMI – beware) I’ve been pleasantly surprised that my bladder seems to be holding itself pretty darn well… even better than a few months after I delivered J. I guess that just shows you how different your body can be from baby to baby.

My fitness goal this time around has changed a little. I’m blessed to be able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly and easily, and back in all my clothes pretty soon. So instead of using those as targets, I want to make a diet change (I let myself eat like a jerk – mostly increased portions and extra desserts – when I’m pregnant/nursing) and build muscle. So, here in the blog world, I’m claiming it: I want to be toned! That’s the goal. Running for cardio and legs (also mental and emotional well-being!), and I’m going to keep up with a little yoga since it’s good for my joints and my core, and I’m going to ramp up the arms. No teacher arms for me!

What have your fitness goals been recently? Have you instituted a diet change along with them? What works for you and your busy schedule?