Beginner Trail Running

A few months ago I decided that I would take on a trail run.  I researched races that would fall on my birthday and asked fellow running folks their thoughts and opinions.  I determined the Bobcat Trail half marathon was going to be my birthday present.  I love running on my birthday because I am grateful that I was able to run another year and spend another year with family and friends.  I am also crazy enough to run a 50 miler at Mohican next June with these crazy running friends.

Signing up for a race means you should prepare for the distance and the terrain.  If you know the race will be hilly, you need to practice hills.  If the race is going to be on trails and the most you’ve run is a towpath, you need to hit up some trails.  That is exactly what I did last weekend along with some fellow running friends.  We woke up and hit the road at 5:30am to arrive at Mohican Park by 7am.  By 7:20, everyone had stretched, hit up the bathroom and we’ve reviewed the trail map.  This bought us just enough time for the sun to come out and eliminate a need for headlamps or flashlights.

Just a few miles into our run we hit up the bike path.  The terrain quickly changed to rough, bumpy, and up and down hills.  It was AWESOME!  I was seeing how fast I could take the downhills without tripping over anything or mis-stepping.  The uphills, I walked or tried to jog here and there.  Although it had rained the day before, there weren’t many puddles or muddy spots to break in my Hoka Torrents.  They are still a bright orange with a tiny spec of dirt.

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We passed a small waterfall and then a bigger waterfall, made a wrong turn and ended up back at the cars after 2 miles.  After checking the map and getting a quick bathroom trip in, we set off to do another 6 miles.  It was during this portion of the loop we were given more information about the Mohican 100 trail race and how the course logistics work out from a four time finisher.  We were running to the fire tower when someone questioned the distance.  It was at that point the maps came back out and we realized we missed our turn.  Uh-Oh, we just added an additional two miles.  Once we got to the fire tower some chose to climb the steps, I decided to rest my legs.  We started to contend with mountain bikers as they were getting a long ride in around the park.  After 10 miles, we made it back to our vehicles!  It was a fun day, I wasn’t sore and I didn’t fall once during this run or my first official trail run either, but there is always next time.  Don’t worry, I’m carrying a band-aid.  I did miss my long run for the weekend, so I will need to make that up with my marathon relay.

I have definitely found something that is challenging and exciting that I will pursue more next year!  I want to continue to explore new races to have new adventures.  Even while I’m writing this, I am receiving messages about other trail races that will be opening registration soon.  Running friends can be very persuasive.

Get out there with your friends and family and explore your national and state parks!  As always, be confident, be fit, be you!

 

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The 4am wake up

This is my why.  This is my blog post about why I get out of bed at 4:05am to workout.  This post is dedicated to explaining the purpose behind my crazy schedule and how I attempt to fit as much into my day as possible, even on the weekends.

Before I had my first child, I would get up before work around 6am and get a run or workout in before I needed to leave.  If I was feeling a bit sluggish when the alarm went off, I would just re-set it for a later time and fit my workout in after work.  Then came my first child.  After I returned to work, I had to fit my workout in before I left for the day.  I, also, needed to consider my husbands schedule to make sure I was home before he needed to leave.  This meant that I needed to get up at 5am.  That isn’t a horrible hour of the morning, I could do that a few days a week.

Then baby number 2 came along.  I completely lost my desire to workout simply because I was too tired to do just about anything outside of my normal routine.  Wake up, get kids ready, take them to grandparents by 7:30am, go to work, pick up kids, make dinner, put kids to bed by 7:30pm, clean up dinner or other household tasks.  I wanted my children to have consistency and schedules.  Children function much better when they know how the daily routine is going to progress.  This left little time for me to get a workout in before 8pm or I would have to start getting up at 4am.

I tried the 8pm workouts.  I found more ways to cancel on myself than one could believe. “I ate a donut for breakfast, the day is already shot, you can skip the run tonight.  Oh, the diaper laundry needs done, forget a workout tonight.”  If there was a way to cancel on myself, I did. This left me unmotivated and feeling very discouraged.

One thing I have learned, and my husband has learned, is that if I don’t workout consistently, I will live in a depressed state.  I want to sleep a lot more than my body really needs.  I will seclude myself from the people around me.  I cut off communication with my husband.  Therefore, I need to workout.  I need to run.  I need to commit to myself so that I can commit to others on a meaningful level.  Lucky for me, my husband completely understands that I need to do this as well.

So, I now get up at 4:05am to meet with a group of crazy runners at 5am three days a week.  On the days that I don’t run with the group, I still get up at 4:20am to head down to the home gym my husband so graciously remodeled recently.  I am able to get a positive physical and mental health start every single day.  I am able to still do the same daily routine mentioned above to maintain consistency for my family.  My children still go to bed by 7:30pm, but now I am able to be a better presence in their play when we are home.  I am a better me because of my 4am wake up.

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Newly remodeled home gym. That treadmill has seen enough use that we’ve replaced the belt!

Until next time, be confident, be fit, be you!

Training Continues

I haven’t stopped training and I haven’t stopped tracking with various forms of tracking methods.  What I have stopped doing was updating my blog weekly with the recaps.  To be honest, I think “oh, I’ll just update every two weeks.”  But then that comes and goes and I still haven’t updated anyone on my training.  So, here goes the few weeks of training recaps as well as the Weight Watchers updates.

Training has continued to be 5 days a week.  I have 3 run days and 2 cross training days.  I am using the 80 day obsession sessions for the cross training.  I actually want to complete this entire series when I am done with my half.  I may modify to keep 2 running days a week because I want to keep up some distance running.  I’m loving the 80 day obsession workouts because they are hard but they don’t include a lot of jumping and lunges, both of which my knees can’t handle.

My running has increased and my longest run so far completed is 7 miles.  I’m actually ahead in mileage for this training plan, but the longer runs skip over 8 and 10 miles and go from 9 to 11.  So, by being a little ahead I can add in a 10 mile run with no problem and just inch up each week by 1 mile instead of 2.  I ran my 5 mile training run with a

run happy

7 mi. training run in 18*F

group of people training for either a full or half the week after my race.  During that run I met some very nice people and they introduced me to a group called Run Happy.  I joined their facebook group and found other crazy people that run at 5am consistently.  I was able to join up with them and have a good solid group of people to run with for my 7 mile training run.  I plan to join them each Saturday at the crack of dawn to train.  It gives me a sense of safety instead of running by myself.  Plus, I don’t find myself playing mind games to finish when I am with a group.  I keep pushing and telling myself to keep moving forward and make a turn that is further away from your car instead of ending short of the goal.

As for Weight Watchers, I am down 9lbs since I started 5 weeks ago.  I am losing slowly, which I am perfectly content with the results.  I haven’t completely given up my sweets and I’ve overindulged a few too many times.  I’m sure that number could be a little higher, but I haven’t deprived myself from foods that I want either, I have just cut back a little.  Over time, I am sure that I will be able to cut back even more to squash this sweet tooth that has taken over my taste buds.  I haven’t tracked everything, especially when I know the points will be insanely high.  Part of the reason I haven’t tracked certain foods is due to the process.  Not every recipe I use is in the system and I have to create a recipe before I can add the points.  This can be frustrating when the recipe on paper already tells me the points and I can’t just do a quick add, name the food, add the points and move on.  Regardless, I will continue to use the tracker and connect to help make me accountable for what I choose to eat.  Only when I am fully honest with myself will I see success.

Goals for this coming week:  Keep working through the training plan.  Track more consistently and honestly.  No CHOCOLATE- decided to give this up for Lent this year and I’ve noticed the struggle, but it is also a good thing.  I haven’t replaced the sweet with another form of sugar.  I did make egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough on Fat Tuesday and at half of it in preparation.

Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

Success Week!

Getting right down into the nitty gritty with this one.  As I mentioned in my last post, I started training for a half marathon that will take place in April, I joined Weight Watchers again and I started writing my workouts in my planner before they happen.  It was all for the best!  I tracked every item of food I put in my body and I noticed a huge change.  I was looking for fruits and vegetables to consume over things with loads of sugar.  I was on within the point range for 6 out of 7 days.  The one day I was not in points was a day that I ran out of coffee creamer at home and decided to stop at Dunkin for breakfast.  All of my points were consumed in that one meal.  But, I didn’t let that ruin my day.  I ate all zero point foods the rest of the day in light quantities (they still have calories after all) and have felt full and satisfied.  I was down almost two pounds on Monday for my weigh in and I’m starting to feel like I’ve got some control again.

As for the workouts, I rocked those too!  I got up Monday morning determined to complete each workout that was written in my planner.  The week looked as follows:

Monday: Run 3 miles (Treadmill)
Tuesday: 30 min. Total Core from 80 day obsession + 15 min. walk on the treadmill
Wednesday: 50 min. leg day from 80 day obsession
Thursday: Rest day- I determined that my body can only get up at 4:30am 3 days in  row before I feel like I need to go to bed before dinner on the fourth day.  So, I switched the Friday rest day to Thursday.
Friday: Run 2 miles and 20 min. strength training
Saturday: 4mi. run
Sunday: I will be resting tomorrow

After week 2 of this training schedule I am feeling comfortable in my decision to change it up from the usual running five days a week plan.  The break up of running with strength and stretching keeps me excited to wake up at insane hours of the morning.  I’ve also discovered that 80 Day Obsession will definitely be a series I complete after I am done with half training.  I may break it up with 2 runs a week just so I can keep running, but I want to start and finish the whole program.  It would be my first BeachBody program I actually do the entire program.  I got 60 days into T25 and was bored.  This program is actually designed to change it up for every workout.

With everything in our world we are given challenges.  My challenge is myself.  The confidence and belief in myself has always been a battle.  Working out gives me self-esteem and keeps me feeling like there is nothing in this world that I can’t do when I set my mind to it.  I am going to push through this training program and stick with Weight Watchers until I feel confident in myself.  I’m encouraged by the people on Connect (the message group on the App) who have lost and maintained for years.  I did it prior to having my second child and I know I can do it again.

What were your successes this week?  Did you write them down?  Try writing in your workouts before the week starts.  Once they are planned into your day, it is harder to skip.  Until next weeks update, be confident, be fit, be you!

Training has commenced

Uh oh! It looks like I fell off the blogging train a month ago and didn’t know how to get back on board.  Well, I haven’t figured out a schedule to sit down and write that seems conducive to family time, working, meal prepping, half marathon training and sleep.  Yes, that last one is usually the thing I sacrifice the most these days.  I knew my schedule would get tighter when I made a commitment to healthier eating and getting more physical exercise.

So, what has happened in the last month.  I joined Weight Watchers again.  I was very successful with the program a year and a half before I had my daughter.  I even lost all the weight relatively quick after delivery and maintained that for a little over a year.  Then we decided to expand our family and my food cravings were for anything and everything that did not include a fruit or vegetable.  Fast forward about two years and I still don’t fit into most of my pants.  So, I joined Weight Watchers a second time and have been committed to tracking points.

I signed up for onceamonthmeals.com and picked foods that were healthy and didn’t include processed foods.  My mom and I spent two days prepping 30 meals to have for lunches and dinners.  Most of the meals were insanely easy to prep and we’ve only ordered out once in two weeks.  That is a HUGE improvement for our family.  *disclaimer: we did go out to eat one night for dinner for a fundraiser*  The website provides a grocery shopping list, a prep day set of instructions, labels for the containers and cooking day instructions.  I plan to do this type of prep about every 3 weeks, just not at the extent of the first go around.

I started my training for my half marathon!  I signed up for this half last April for a seriously low price.  It has finally come to start training with a bit more intention.  I planning
found a training plan on pinterest that would work with my schedule and wouldn’t feel like I was only running on the treadmill.  There are numerous cross training days and I’ve got my beach body on demand ready to go to assist with that training.  I use my planner to track my workouts, water intake and successes/challenges for the day.  I feel ready to go and I have found some serious support in a virtual running group!

Hogwarts Running Club

Finally, I signed up for 7 virtual races with the Hogwarts Running Club that is run by the non-profit Random Tuesday Inc.  It has been the most supportive group of people to get me back into running and fitness in general.  The first race is scheduled and I’m even planning to meet up with local members to run as a group!  If anyone is interested in running the Nargle 9k, sign up here.  I encourage everyone looking for fitness support to join the Facebook group
@HogwartsRunningClub.

So, all in all I haven’t been slacking too much.  Just on this blog.  I hope to be consistent with it to provide updates on my training.  Until next time, what do you like to do while running/walking on the treadmill?

Be Confident! Be Fit! Be you!

This post does have links, but I receive no kick backs for clicking or registering.

 

Weekly Update 12/9-12/15

As we near the end of the year, I’m sure everyone is feeling the stress of the holiday season. Lots of cookies being exchanged, dinners and parties to attend, and drinks with old friends to catch up.  With so much going on, it can be hard to keep things on track.  But, it’s important to at least balance the healthy with the unhealthy and remember moderation.

I started the week with some very healthy meals.  I packed up my yumbox with celery, carrots, mixed nuts, cheese and an apple.  I ate left over chicken and rice soup and avoided all candy bowls floating around the office.  I had two lunches provided by work this week and I managed to not over-indulge in either of those meals.  I’d say my food week was a step in the right direction.  I ate more vegetables this week than I probably have in the last 3 weeks combined.  That was definitely an area in my life that was slacking and needing major intervention.yumbox

Now for the workouts.

Saturday and Sunday- I completely slacked.  I spent some much needed time with my kids and tried to catch up on some house stuff that I was unable to do while I was working.

Monday- Treadmill run.  3.5 miles.  I will admit I run at a slow pace on the treadmill.  I am very uncoordinated and can easily trip over my own two feet.  So, I set the treadmill between a 4.5-5 and just run for 45 minutes.  I can run much faster outside. I’m just not able to get outside during the week and we’ve hit winter here so I’m going to be a baby and stay indoors.

Tuesday: 1/2 mile run, upper body work, 1/2 mile run. I wrote down everything so that I could repeat on Thursday.

Wednesday: Treadmill run with 5- 1 minute sprints.  I dared the treadmill and would kick the speed up to 7 for one minute and then back down to 4.6.

Thursday: Unintentional rest day.  My daughter struggled to sleep and so I was too tired to wake up and get moving.

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Friday:  Repeat of Tuesday because I wanted to get the second weight day in before the week was over.

I still managed to get 4 workouts in this week- Success in my book!  This upcoming week will continue to be chaotic as we approach Christmas.  But, I still want to get at least 4 workouts in and limit my treats.  My goal is not to lose weight during the holidays, but to maintain.  I will worry about losing weight after the holidays are over.  I will continue to add in vegetables and fruit into my diet.  This weekend I am going to take our 3 year old ice skating!  That completely counts as a workout!  I hope she enjoys it because the lake is starting to freeze enough to go out.  For now, we will stick with the indoor arena.

How did you do this past week?  Can you avoid the holiday sweets?  Have you started to set goals for the new year?

Until next time, be confident, be fit, be you!

Weekly Update 12/2-12/8/17

This week has been a whirlwind with home and work.  The family was still working to clear the germs and we had a wedding to attend on Sunday.  The wedding was beautiful and the dessert table was impeccable.  It was hard. and I was unsuccessful, at limiting yourself with the vast array of goodies.  I have a hard time passing up homemade baklava, especially when it says grandma’s.

I was out of town for work a few days this week, which allowed me to get some much needed rest.  Sorry, mom and dad.  They were watching the kids since my husband works far away and we didn’t want to disrupt their sleep schedule too much.  However, my kids don’t sleep and my parents learned that first hand.  I’m sure they were excited to have a quiet house last night and get some sleep without having a child staring at them creepily in the middle of the night.

Now, down to the nitty gritty with the workouts.

Saturday: Treadmill run.  It was surprisingly nice for Northeast Ohio, but I’m still not prepared enough to get outside below certain temperatures.  My dedication hasn’t come back completely.

Sunday: Unintentional rest day.  Went grocery shopping, then church and then realized I had the wrong time for the wedding.  So, it was quite a day.

Monday: Treadmill run

Tuesday: Weight day.  I brought back the weight day and it felt pretty good!

Wednesday: Hit the road for work and then attended a training all day.  I could have worked out in the evening at the hotel, but I decided to just relax.  The training was on Ohio Healthy Programs which is working with child care providers to change they way they feed children.  Very interesting information and could make a big impact on how children eat in the future.  Promotes healthy eating and healthy body image.

Thursday: Treadmill run

Friday: Weight day

Overall, I am proud of myself for getting 5 workouts in this week.  That is an improvement.  I did indulge a few times this week with the wedding and then with traveling.  I’m excited to start trying some of the information I learned in my training with my own picky eater.  Although I want her to eat and not go to bed hungry, I want her to eat healthier.  I want my entire family to eat healthier.  I may actually have to learn to cook something that they will eat. #I’mahorriblecook  Any tips would be helpful!

My goal for this upcoming week is to continue to get at least 5 workouts in with 3 running days and 2 weight training days.  Incorporate healthier lunches

595748_orig into my work week.  It is also the holiday season, so there are lots of treats coming into work.

I am going to try to limit myself as much as possible.  As I was reminded in my training, we should not reward ourselves with food.  There are so many other options out there!  Until next time, be confident, be fit, be you!