Another Trip Around the Sun

In just a few days I will be another year older, hopefully a bit wiser and stronger.  This past year I really tried to regain some focus on myself and my mental health.  I had signed up to complete a half marathon a year in advance and when January came around I knew I had to start training.  So, let’s recap what 31 has looked like to me.

November and December are always a whirl wind of birthdays and holidays in our house.  That means lots of time spent with family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am truly blessed with such an amazing family and I tell people all the time.  I don’t take for granted what my family has done for me in the least.

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Where it all started!

January and February, I finally started walking/jogging/and pretending to run again.  I hadn’t done anything since I was 4 months pregnant with Ben and at this point he was 15 months.  I spent 4 days a week in the basement on the treadmill binge watching Netflix.

March rolled around and I noticed a Facebook post inviting people to a training run for the Canton Marathon.  I wasn’t training for a marathon, but this would give me the opportunity to run with other people so I was so lonely.  This is when I met two people who were talking about a local running group called Run Happy.  I finished my lonely miles and found the group on Facebook later that day.  From that point on I joined a morning run group twice a week where I met more awesome people.

April was the start of the half marathons.  The race I had signed up for a year ago was finally just around the corner.  You can read more about that here.  I  was training with my running buddy and decided since I was already trained, I would run another half marathon two weeks later.  At the race expo I was talked into a third half just weeks after the second.  I was starting to binge sign up for races so to speak.  By the end of May I reached LifeTime status with Weight Watchers as well.  So, I was finally back to a healthy weight.

June, July and August are too hot for me to race.  I kept training with my running buddy as she prepared for a marathon.  I knew that it would help me with my half in September anyway so I wasn’t concerned.  I started watching YouTube videos and listening to podcasts about Ultra Running.  I was getting hooked and picked out a 50 miler to sign up for in a year.  *I mentally like to give myself plenty of time to panic and analyze my decisions in running.

September rolled around and I ran my 4th half marathon for the year and relayed a marathon with a bunch of Harry Potter fans I had never met.  By the end of September I had talked myself into running the full marathon with my running buddies.  There were a large number of members going to run this race and I remember the fun I had with the half marathon (not so many fond memories of the full).  So, in October, I toed the line and finished my second full marathon.

Just a few days later, myself and other Run Happy members raced to the ultra sign up webpage to register for a 50k.  This will be my first Ultra.  I’m still waiting for registration to open for the 50 miler, but when it does I will be registered day 1!

This year has been incredible.  I found joy in running again.  I was no longer training alone.  I was no longer stressing about running races by myself because I was almost sure I would know someone there at the starting line.  My family is happy and healthy and I get to share another year with all of them.  I am grateful for everyone in my life and the opportunities that I am given.  So, thank you to everyone who has shared a small part of this year with me and I look forward to what is to come.

Just to make sure I kick off my 32nd year right, I will be running my first trail half marathon with my running buddies on my birthday!  The Bobcat Trail half marathon is sure to be a muddy mess after all of the rain we’ve been experiencing.

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!

River Run Race Recap

Say that title five times fast.  This past weekend I completed the River Run Half Marathon in Cleveland.  This was a carefully chosen race based on a strong recommendation from a fellow runner.  After looking at the course and seeing that it was primarily flat and mostly having a slight down hill grade, I knew this was the race to add to my schedule.  Not only was I going to complete this race, but I was going to attempt to PR.  I wanted to put everything out there on the road so that I knew I gave it my all if I were to come up short.  My PR time to beat was 1 hour 57 minutes and some change completed a few years ago.  This would be my fourth half marathon this year and I would need to shave off 4 minutes from my fastest one this year alone.  I was up to the challenge.

Race day was around the corner and the forecast was calling for wind and lots of rain.  Based on the day before, the rain with the added 20 mph wind gusts could be a complete bummer for a race.  Up to this point, we’ve trained in squelching heat and humidity.  I was struggling with what to wear so I wouldn’t get too hot, but wouldn’t be shivering at the start.  If my toes get cold, I would never get them warm again.

The morning of the race, I was psyched to see what the weather was going to be like an hour north.  I filled my new hydration flasks and started to get a little nervous about the course.  Those pre-race jitters can really do a number on a person.  We hopped on the bus to take us to the start line and drove through most of the course.  It was a very windy course through the metro parks.

IMG_1160Time to start the race.  I line up midway through the pack and wait for the start.  When the sound goes off, I take off and throw my jacket to the side.  I went with the pack and we hit that first mile at 8:15 pace.  I wanted to average an 8:50 to hit my goal so I knew I was pushing it a little much.  I just kept going with how I felt and pushed through each mile.  There was a volunteer at every single mile marker calling off times, which was motivational for me.  At mile 4, I quickly grabbed water at the aid station and when I looked up shortly after I spotted an eagle in a tree.  I was so excited that I actually pointed it out to other runners, but everyone around me had their headphones in and up too loud.  I was one of the few runners without ear buds and just enjoying the scenery around me.

Mile 6, I needed to get some GU and water.  I had started to cramp in my sides and was having difficulty breathing while running.  I knew that if I got some water and food (I don’t eat before a race), I would feel stronger and can push on.  At this point I had settled into a comfortable 8:30 pace anyway.  I continued to push myself through each aid station and around mile 9 was confronted by 3 young deer.  They were trying to figure out a way to cross the street amidst the sea of runners.  They decided to cross right behind me, which I was thankful for them not running into me!

Mile 10 and 11 came and went but I was starting to have more cramping issues.  Only this time I was in need of a bathroom.  Around 11.8 miles, I found a port-a-potty and made a stop.  A minute later and I was back on my route to finish the 13.1 mile course.  The finish line was just around the bend and I heard the announcer say 1 hour 55 minutes and 15 seconds.  I was slightly crushed.  I thought I would beat my goal PR and hit just under 1:55.  I ended up crossing at 1:55:45 with a  chip time of 1:55:25.  Definitely a PR! IMG_1165 2

Two things played into my time, the bathroom and the course being slightly longer than 13.1 (my watch and my friend’s watch both said 13.25).  I probably could have hit 1:53….maybe next year.  This was a fun course beautiful scenery and lots of support at each mile.  There were ample water stops and bathrooms with lots of post race food options!  The shuttle back to the car wasn’t a long wait and we were able to get into warmer clothes right away!

I would recommend this race to anyone wanting to push themselves and hit a new PR.

Next scheduled half is in November, but I may run a full before that….we shall see.  As always, be confident, be fit, be you!!!!

Where does the time go?

When you were younger the adults in your life would say how “fast” life was going for them.  It isn’t until you hit a certain age or parenthood that you realize just how true that statement rings.  I haven’t had the time to sit down and write something that I felt would be worth while.  Time has gone by fast and lots of things have happened in the last five months.  Let’s talk racing and training!

February, March and April I spent preparing for a half marathon I had signed up for a year in advance.  Mid-April I ran the Athens Half Marathon and felt horrible.  The race didn’t go as planned and if it had rained the whole time, I would have quit half way through.  My first race back since before my second child and it was not picture perfect.  I needed a do-over.  I signed up for another half marathon right away that was just a month away.  I decided to just run that for fun and to help a fellow runner hit their PR.  Race day came and I was feeling pretty good.  Traffic was horrific and I was afraid I wouldn’t get to the start line in time before the gun went off.  Fast forward and my friend hit her PR!

 

At the Expo for the May race I decide to sign up for a 3rd half marathon just two weeks

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Medina

after the second.  I’m already trained and ready to go, so why not?  The Medina half marathon course was also supposed to be for fun.  But, I was feeling good and thought I could hit a sub-2 hour time.  I have only hit that two other times and one was pre-baby number one and the other was post-baby number one.  It had been years!  Sadly I finished in 2:00:58.  Yes you read that right.  Just 59 seconds short of the sub-two hour time frame.

This prompted another half marathon sign up.  However, it is at the beginning of September, so I have been training hard.  My friend from the May race that PR’d signed up for the upcoming half as well as the Columbus Marathon.  I decided I would help her train and have gone a numerous long runs with her to help keep pace.  There are times when I felt like I have held her back, like that first 20 miler, but we keep moving forward!  To be honest, that is only the second time in my life I have run 20 miles.  The first time was the only time I attempted a Marathon.

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After a seriously long training run! We’re still smiling!

For the big finally to this post, I got into Trail running.  My hubby was listening to a podcast with Joe Rogan and he had Courtney Dauwalter on after completing the MOAB 240.  She not only kicked butt on the course, she beat the second person by 10 hours.  Over 240 miles she ran in 2 days, 9 hours and 59 minutes.  It was insane!  From there I went on my first trail run with my Run Happy friends and it was a completely different experience.  I started binge watching YouTube videos of trail and ultra running.  The pictures and views were incredible.  I was living vicariously through these other trail runners.  I decided to sign up for a trail race.  I asked the people of the inter webs just which races were worth completing in our area on my birthday.  That’s right, I wanted to spend my birthday out running in the woods!  I was directed to the BobCat Marathon and half marathon and decided to give it a go.  I’ve implemented hills into my workouts and have the full understanding that I will be much slower than a road race.  But, the views will be worth it!  With all this information and my obsession with podcasts and YouTube videos on ultra running, I have decided to sign up for a 50 mile race next June.  Yes, you read that right, 50 MILE trail race!  I have a few people interested in completing it with me and I’m excited to start some serious cross training.  Apparently there are some serious gains in elevation.

I’m excited for how this year has spiraled in my running journey.  The only few times I have flaked on a group run is when I wasn’t feeling well or my kids literally did not sleep the night before.  Other than that, I have gotten my butt out of bed in the 4 o’clock hour 5 days a week and on the weekends it is 5.  I’m staying healthy, meeting some incredibly nice people and enjoying running once again!

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

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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!

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