Marathon #2: 6 Weeks Down, 13 to Go

Monday.  The sixth week of training.  It already seems like forever, but there are still 13 weeks to go.  Even though I just went through this earlier this year, I’ve already forgotten how much time marathon training takes.  I’m already so tired.  And Mondays are tough with 5 hours of class straight from a 12 hour night shift.  Following class on Monday, I got a nap, did my homework, caught a CrossFit class and headed out for my first Pathways group run.  Pathways is the training group I joined to provide some accountability to get my weekday runs in.  Monday runs are supposed to be recovery runs, but this first night was a one mile time trial to fit us into the right pace group.  I wound up placing in the fastest pace group, so our run was NOT recovery pace for me, although it felt great!

Tuesday.  CrossFit at 5 a.m.  Class. Homework.  Track.  My days seem to all be falling into a similar schedule, but when it comes to track nights, that’s probably a good thing.  It’s becoming just what I do on Tuesday nights.  The struggle to get there isn’t as tough, even though the workouts still kick my butt.  Today was extra tough, though.  That fast run yesterday after CrossFit and a CrossFit WOD this morning that obliterated my legs had me feeling like I was dragging posts of lead tonight.  Plus, I just felt kind of sick…nothing serious, just off.  I decided to make tonight my recovery run and just ran slow laps on the outside of the track.  I did a few strides but just trying to break 9 minute miles seemed tough!  But hey, I got my miles in.

Wednesday.  CrossFit at 5 a.m.  Class. Homework.  No running but dinner with friends.  Tonight, instead of running, I met up with some friends for dinner.  One of our Egyptian friends is in town for a few days, so we got to hang out with her for a bit.  So much fun!

Thursday.  Today I was supposed to run a tempo run, but I’m still feeling really sore and tight from CrossFit this week.  I’ve decided to make today my rest today and run tomorrow.  I know I said that last week and it didn’t happen, but I’m determined to make it a reality this time.

Friday.  I took clothes to work and as soon as my very busy shift ended, I jumped into my running clothes and headed down to the river.  My plan was to get in 5 miles at tempo pace.  Well, I got my 5 miles in but it was way under tempo pace.  I felt so sluggish and tired, and m007y legs were so tight.  I’m thinking maybe lack of food and sleep didn’t help, but I ran, walked when I needed to, and found a really cool bridge to run along.  I love running along the river.  I can almost forget I’m in a city.  All in all, though, today’s run was a disappointing, very bad no good run.  Bleh…

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Saturday.  I woke up at 1:30 a.m. to thunder and rain, but by the time 6:15, run start time, rolled around, the rain had stopped, leaving behind some much cooler but extremely humid air.  We ran 14.5 miles today.  011My legs were still so tight, but I kept up with the pace and had to pull myself back to keep from running too fast.  I guess that’s a good sign???  At one point during the run, I slipped on a patch of mud on the road and nearly fell.  Exciting times!

Then, back at the running store after our run, lots of surprises awaited me.  One, there were bagels and cream cheese!  Oh, yeah.  After 14.5 miles and burning 1300 calories, any food tastes AH-MAZING!  Then, there was a sale on Feetures running socks.  I’m a Feetures girl.  They are the only running socks I wear.  009Feetures reps were in the store today, so I did the buy 3, get 1 free sale.  And then by showing my receipt to the Feetures rep, I got another free pair.  I found myself telling the rep, sincerely, how much I loved Feetures socks and that they’re the only ones I wear, and he threw in another free pair!  How about that?  Sweet!  Seriously, though, Feetures are pretty great.  I’ve worn them for every race distance from 5K to marathon and have NEVER had a blister!  (And nobody’s paying me for singing their praises; I just really like them.)  On top of that, I won a packet of Skratch drink mix in an in-store raffle!  Pretty cool ending to a semi-tough run.008So another week down.  Overall, not a bad week of training.  I’ve been a little more tired and sore than I’d like, but I did get in 29 miles this week.  So what do I need to do differently next week?

  1.  Evaluate my cross training.  Do I need to cut back on CrossFit or just go lighter on the weights?
  2. Get my weekly runs in, but make sure they are varied.  I kind of feel like every run was basically the same this week.
  3. Keep trying new run nutrition.  Today I tried key lime flavored012 Accel gel.  The taste was probably my least favorite so far, but I didn’t hate it and still tolerated it great.  I also tried some peanut butter crackers today.  Score!  I’ve been looking for some kind of portable “real” food that wouldn’t taste sweet when I need some energy but just can’t take the sweetness of gels anymore.

Talk to me:

What’s the best sale you ever found?

Ever won a prize in a raffle?

Comic Relief, with an Australian Accent

After a tough week of training last week and feeling tired and bit stressed out, I decided we just need to laugh today.  So no running or weight loss tips today.  Just a funny story about my first international trip.

One of my best friends is Australian.  We met when we were both living in Atlanta, Georgia quite a few years ago.  When my friend returned to Australia, we made plans that I would come for a visit.  Now there’s a perk about having international friends, uh?  And who doesn’t want to visit Australia, right?!

kangaroo crossing 001I was super excited.  I’d never traveled internationally, and here I was planning a trip to Australia.  I couldn’t wait!  And I couldn’t wait to see my friend.

The trip was amazing!  My friend lives in Tasmania, the island state south of mainland Australia, so I spent most of my time there.  We visited places like Wine Glass Bay where I discovered water as blue as magazinewine glass bay 001 photos does exist.  And then there was Cradle Mountain, the Cadbury chocolate factory where we got to sample chocolate throughout the tour (a chocolate lover’s dream come true!), penguins in the wild, and Port Arthur, an historical convict site.  cradle mountain 001Plus, I got to meet and hang out with other friends of my friend and just experience real Australian life.  Oh, and did I mention all the wallabees hopping about?!  I had the time of my life.

And then the end of the trip came, and my friend and I both got sick.  We were planning to both go to Sidney a day before my flight home, but I ended up going to Sidney alone.  I found my hotel and laid across the bed, feverish and feeling like crap but bound and determined to see the Sidney Opera House.  I mean, who knew if I’d ever make it back to Australia?  So I found a map and walked to the Opera House, which was every bit as magnificent as it looks in photos although visiting it sick and alone was a bit anti-climactic.

opera house 001The next morning (and this is the funny part) I took a cab to the airport to catch my flight home.  I still felt like crap.  My head was all congested; I felt like I was walking in a fog.  I walked to the desk to check in for my flight, wondering why my line was so short.  An airline worker saw me and asked me if “wanted a chicken.”  “A chicken?”  I thought to myself.  What an odd question to ask someone in an airport, but I politely shook my head no.  A bit later, he asked me again if I wanted a chicken.  “What’s up with this guy and chickens?” I thought to myself, feeling more and more miserable the longer I stood there.  A third time, he asked me if I wanted a chicken.  “Will you just quit with the chickens?!”  I’m thinking.  “I don’t want a chicken!  I just want to get on the airplane!”  But this time as my mental rant ended, I realized he wasn’t talking about farm animals.  He was asking me if I wanted to CHECK IN!

Oy!  Australian accents!  I’m sure my face turned all colors of red.  He probably thought I was some kind of stupid!  But when I nodded yes this time, he pointed me across the aisle to a line that was 10 miles long and had probably grown a mile while I’m over here trying to think of how to get out of taking a chicken home.

After flying 14 hours straight, I landed in LA 2 hours before I left (yeah, try to wrap your brain around that!), and finally made it home–all without a chicken.  The end.

Enjoy your day!

Talk to me:

Have you ever had an amusing misunderstanding?

What’s been your favorite vacation destination?

 

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Marathon #2: Week 5

Monday.  Mondays are just tough.  I get home from work at 7 a.m. and need to be in class by 8 a.m.  That’s just enough time to change clothes and grab some breakfast–IF I leave work on time.  But that also means no sleep until I get home at 1 p.m.  Once again, I had the best of intentions but didn’t get my recovery run in.  I made it to CrossFit, hoping just getting up and moving would motivate me to keep going, but…

Tuesday.  I caught CrossFit at 5 a.m.  When I came home, I jumped on the treadmill and got in 3 miles of the 5 miles I should have done for a recovery run yesterday.  Then, Tuesday night…track night.  Thankfully, there was a nice breeze which made running that 8 x 400 meters more bearable.  I was still struggling though, feeling tired and sore.  But I got those 8 laps in!

Wednesday.  Cross training day.  I went to CrossFit at 5 a.m., went to class, finished homework and then just rested for the rest of the evening.  That felt good!

Thursday.  Today should have been hill repeat day, but I’m feeling in the need of rest.  I’m trying to do better about listening to my body and not being controlled by a running schedule, so I’ve decided to make today my rest day, especially since I have a 12 hour night shift coming up tonight.  I’ll be taking clothes to work to go for a run as soon as my shift ends in the morning.

Friday.  Well.  So much for good intentions.  I took running clothes with me to work, but when 7 a.m. rolled around, I was exhausted.  Realizing that I’d been up for 24 hours already, I decided to run later in the day.  Bad decision.  Later never came.  Another run missed.  Training has totally sucked this week.  Some how I’ve got to get control of my schedule and get those runs in.

Saturday.  Long slow distance day.  I have to say, I was a bit worried about how this run would go since I haven’t been training well this week and because I went to dinner with friends last night and ate Mexican food.  Yummy, for sure, but a little dubious for a pre-run meal!  But the morning brought clear skies, a wonderful breeze and temperatures in the 70’s!  Heaven to a runner!  Trying to run with a heat index of 105 degrees is just miserable.  So today was an AMAZING run!  I felt great, and those 00912 miles went by surprisingly fast.  I had enough energy to knock out that last mile in  under 9 minutes.  This is me at the end of our run, happy and content!  008So my confidence in being marathon ready is restored.  I’m trying to not get too down on myself for taking extra rest days if that’s what my body needed, but I don’t want to get in the habit of just not running because running in heat sucks or because I’m just not feeling it.

What I need to do differently next week:

  1.  Run!  To provide accountability in getting my weekday runs in, I joined another training group that provides coached runs during the week.  Knowing that I’ve paid for something is good motivation for me to attend.  Plus, running with people always motivates me to run.
  2. Keep trying different types of nutrition.  I tried raspberry Accel gel today.  Another winner.  It tasted great, and I didn’t cramp at all.  Soon I need to try adding in mustard.  I’m told that’s a great way to prevent muscle cramping during long runs.

Talk to me:

How did your week go?

Did you accomplish everything you had on your to-do list?

Running Solo Safely

I’m single, and I’m a runner.  No big news flash there, right?  That just means I run alone a lot.  But then so do a lot of people, single or not.  We all have the same issue:  How can I keep myself safe on a run?

I was thinking about this a few mornings ago when I went out for a run, in the dark, at 5 a.m.  Sometimes, being single and all, my mind kind of goes to morbid places.  I think about the fact that because I don’t see any one person every single day, I could be seriously hurt and unable to help myself for days before anyone would know.  I don’t dwell on it because I refuse to let fear dictate my life, but because of that, I try to take every precaution to minimize the risk of something happening when I’m out alone.

Here are some safety tips if you find yourself running alone:

  1.  Know your route.  I rarely run alone in an area I’m unfamiliar with.  One, I’m directionally challenged, and I don’t want to get lost!  But more than that, I want to be comfortable with the safety of the area.  Is there a lot of traffic?  Do people of questionable intentions roam the area?  Are there sidewalks to get out of the way of traffic?  Or are there lots of potholes in the roads that could trip me up?  These are things I like to know if I’m going to run alone.
  2. Keep your phone on you.  Even if you listen to music on an iPod or some other gadget, keep your phone on you.  If you do get hurt or are unable to finish a run for whatever reason, you’ve got a means of communication and some way to get help.  And don’t forget to make sure your phone is fully charged before you head out.
  3. Make yourself visible.  If you’re running at times of low light, light yourself.  I like to make sure I have a lights on both my back and my front IMG_1123side so traffic coming from either direction will see me.  I have a clip light for my back, and for the front side, I like my Knuckle Lights (www.knucklelights.com).  They fit around my hand, but I don’t have to hold them in place.  And they have a steady beam.  Even with the swinging arm motion of running, the light does not bounce around.  They’re great for lighting your path in the dark and making you visible to IMG_1127 IMG_1130traffic.  Wearing brightly colored clothing will also help to make you visible.
  4. Run defensively.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  If you run with ear buds, use only one bud.  Keeping your other ear open will help you hear traffic coming behind you.  Maybe this is a single girl thing, but be aware of people, too.  I try to be alert to people who might be following me.  And don’t assume traffic will stop for you!  I wait until a car either stops or the driver waves me across the street, even if I have the right of way.
  5. Keep ID on you.  This is very important.  If you’re out alone and something happens that prevents you from providing your name and vital information, knowing who you are is crucial.  I used to just tuck my driver’s license into a running belt, but one day I came home and found my ID on the driveway.  Scared me to pieces.  I immediately started searching for alternate forms of carrying ID and discovered Road ID.  IDs come in either a dog tag format or as a armband or ankle band.  I chose an ankle band and couldn’t be happier with it.  The plate is big enough for my name, birthday, allergy information, and emergency contacts.  You can check them out here.

IMG_1124Talk to me:

Where is the last place you went alone?

Would you rather run alone or with a group?

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Marathon #2: One Month Later

Monday.  The start of the fourth week of marathon training, and the first day of class.  My shift ended at 7 a.m.; class started at 8 a.m.  I had just enough time to jump in the tub, change clothes, and grab some breakfast on my way out the door.  A recovery run was on the schedule, as it is every Monday, but after 5 hours of class, no sleep for 24 hours, and homework to do, I just didn’t make the run happen.  I closed my eyes for just a second and was gone for the night.

Tuesday.  A good night’s sleep does wonder for a body!  I caught the 5 a.m. CrossFit class and headed to school for an 8 a.m. start to my 5 hour class.  Tuesdays are the dreaded track days, and with temps hovering at or above 100 degrees at 6 p.m., I was NOT looking forward to running fast.  But because of the heat, the coach modified our workout and made us take mandatory breaks in the shady breezeway between our laps.  We did 4 x 400 meters and 4 x 200 meters.  Despite the heat, it wasn’t too bad!

Wednesday.  Day 3 of class, and I was up early again to catch the 5 a.m. CrossFit class.  I intended to make up the recovery run from Monday, but by the time I finished homework, I was exhausted and again, it just didn’t happen.  Boo.

Thursday.  I got up early to get my run in before class started at 8 a.m.  A 5 mile tempo run was on the schedule, and I got it done, in the dark, by 6 a.m.  I don’t really like running in the dark, but the upside was the much cooler temps, or at least lower humidity, at 5 a.m., but I still came home drenched.  Then, it was class for 5 hours and a 12 hour overnight shift.

Friday.  Rest day.  And rest I did.  I got in lots of naps between errands and had an early night.  I think maybe Sunny’s habits are rubbing off on me.

013Saturday.  Long slow distance day.  We were supposed to run 11 miles, most of it a hill course.  Unfortunately, we woke up to thunderstorms–lots of lightening and heavy rain.  I drove to our meeting spot in hopes that the storm would pass, but 45 minutes after our start time, the storm was still going with more on the way.  The head coach canceled the run, and I went home, feeling kind of glad but concerned since I was already a run behind this week.  I’ve been extra tired this week, and while I look forward to Saturday runs I wasn’t really feeling it today.  Still, my plan was to come home and run on the treadmill.  What happened instead was I came home and took a nap, did laundry, and some light house cleaning.  Finally, around noon I convinced myself that I really should get some miles in, so I jumped on the treadmill and did my 11 miles.  Well, actually, I did 11.38 miles.  Thank goodness for iPads and Netflix!  Eleven miles on a treadmill is just brutal, even though it was a flat run at a slow pace.

I tried out some new nutrition during my run today as well–Sport Beans.  I didn’t cramp with them, and I liked the taste.  They are kind of gummy, though, and stuck to my teeth.  I’d like to try them again on a more vigorous run to see how they work.

011So what do I want to do differently next week?

  1.  Write out a schedule to include runs.  School has added a new dimension to marathon training.  This has been a tough week trying to balance sleep since I work night shift and getting my workouts in.  There’s enough time.  I just need to be extra diligent in using my time wisely.
  2. Get in my recovery run.
  3. Continue to work on cleaning up my diet.

Talk to me:

What did you do this week?

What do you like to do on rainy days?

I May Be Nuts but I Have to Try

I’m starting a new adventure.  I’m a bit hesitant to talk about it because, quite frankly, I’m scared.  I’m afraid I’m going to fall flat on my face, and everyone’s going to think I’m a fool.  Or they might just think I’m a fool for even thinking about it.  I mean, it’s not like I’m in the prime of my youth or anything.  On the other hand, I’m not all that old, and what’s the harm of following a dream?  Of pursuing your passion?

What is she babbling about, you ask?  Well…If you’ve spent anytime with me here On the Other Side, you know I’ve gone from fat to fit and from coach potato to runner.  I hope my passion for health and fitness shines through because more than anything else, except Jesus, I am passionate about health and fitness.  I never get tired of talking about it, reading about it, wanting to help people find their healthy.  I could spend the rest of my life helping people in their pursuit of health and fitness and be totally happy.

What I’m talking about is different from my job as a nurse.  At the hospital, I take care of sick people and help them reach their maximum level of independence.  What I’m talking about is helping people find their way through unhealthy lifestyles to a life of fitness and one full of health. What I’m talking about is being a health and fitness trainer.

After 2 years of thinking about it and trying to find a work schedule that would allow me to work through a program, I finally bit the bullet and…drum roll, please….enrolled in a health and fitness trainer program.

So I’m sitting in class today, the second day of the program, wondering if I am out of my mind.  I have a good career, a masters degree in my field, and I’m in my 40’s.  I must be crazy to think about tackling a new field of study!  Right?  I mean, who does that???  I must be nuts.

Then, the instructor showed us this video.

And there was my answer.  Failure may be a part of the journey, but it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.  The end may not look like what we anticipated, but that’s okay too.

So I don’t know what will happen.  I have some ideas of what I would like to see happen.  And maybe nothing will happen.  But I have to try.  I don’t want to reach the end of my life and wonder “what if…?”

Marathon #2: Three Weeks In

Monday.  The start of the third week of marathon training.  As usual, I came home from work tired and decided a nap was in order before I got my recovery run in.  But for some reason, I just didn’t feel like sleeping much, and I wanted to do the CrossFit WOD (workout of the day).  Soooo…I decided to combine running and CrossFit.  I only live 2.5 miles from the gym, so at 2:45 p.m. I laced up my shoes and headed out the door.  Don’t ask me why I decided to run at the hottest part of the day!  The good news is that is was only about 97 degrees instead of 101 degrees!  Anywho, I ran a little faster than recovery pace to the gym, did the WOD, and ran even faster coming home.  How did that happen?!  I thought sure 50 deadlifts at 105 pounds would slow me down.  The good news?  The pace was still slower than in times past for recovery runs, and I got my miles in!

Tuesday.  Track day.  Speed work.  Ugh!  Have I mentioned004 that I really don’t like track days???  Today was a 1.5 mile time trial with a 400 meter recovery and then a 400 meter sprint.  I did my 1.5 mile time trial in 11 minutes 42 seconds.  Those 6 laps around the track seemed so long!  But I didn’t stop, as much as I wanted to.  Another 400 meters was a piece of cake after 1.5 miles, and I knocked it out in 1 minute 44 seconds.  Thankfully that’s done for another week!

Wednesday.  Cross training day.  I caught the CrossFit WOD at 5 a.m., rested for an hour or so, then took a 14 mile bike ride along the Arkansas river.  Tulsa really has some great running/walking/cycling trails.  I003 love that about this city!  I’m still working on my cycling fitness.  While I can stay in the saddle fairly easily for an hour or more now, I’m still only riding between 12-13 miles per hour.  The route I rode today also had some pretty good hills which gave me lots of practice with shifting and a great leg workout!  It’s amazing how much harder riding up a hill is than running up a hill.

Thursday.  Today the schedule called for a 3 mile tempo run, running about one minute per mile faster than our base pace.  I caught the CrossFit WOD at 5 a.m. and then headed to a local park/golf course that has a 3 mile walking/running path around the perimeter.  Tempo pace for training is the pace I just naturally default to so it felt good to just run without holding myself back.  On the other hand, my legs were super tired.  Factor in high humidity and the run was rather tough.  Beautiful scenery always helps though!

008Friday.  Rest day.  I got in lots of naps, lots of Netflix, and lots of rolling with my trigger point ball.

005Saturday.  In place of our long slow distance run today, we did the Bedlam run, a fun local run that plays off the rivalry between OU and OSU fans.  Runners could choose between 5K and 10K distances.  Our schedule called for a 1.5 mile warm-up, a 5K time trial, and a 1.5 mile cool down.  Because I’ve run a couple of 5Ks this summer, I decided to just do the 10K.  It wasn’t my best 10K with a time of 58:16, but I still snagged the third place finish in my age division!

Bedlam run 2016 002So what do I need to do differently next week?

  1.  Keep working on recovery pace.
  2. Stay the course with track workouts.
  3. Clean up my diet.  My diet has included way too much chocolate lately, and while I’m not beating myself up, I know that sugar is detrimental to my goals.  Food is fuel, and I want to make sure I’m only fueling myself with the best.  Chocolate ain’t it!

 

Talk to me:

What did you accomplish this week?

Anything new and exciting on the horizon for next week?

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Why CrossFit?

I’m sitting here with sore shoulders from the CrossFit workout yesterday, so I decided today would be a good day to answer the question my sister asked me a while back:  “So why do you do CrossFit?”

It’s a good question when I come home sore, feeling like a noodle, and just downright exhausted.

When people find out I do CrossFit, I get a variety of responses.  Some people are like, “Wow!  I could never do that!”  Other people frown and say, “I’d never do that.  It’s not safe.”  I even had one person tell me CrossFit is too cult-like.  What does that even mean?!  Some people feel intimidated by CrossFit.  Other people think they’re not fit enough to try or are scared to try because of some physical condition.

True, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before you start an intensive exercise program.  And I totally get that CrossFit isn’t for everyone.  Just like running’s not for everyone.  But today, I want to tell you about my experience with CrossFit and why I keep going back for more.  You can decide for yourself if this is an activity you want to try.

I was informally introduced to CrossFit about 9 months into my weight loss journey.  I was exercising at least 3 hours a day, wearing myself out, but not losing any more weight.  You can read about that here. Desperate for help, I signed up to work with a personal trainer at the gym I belonged to at the time.  My trainer was a CrossFitter and so the workouts he designed for me contained a lot of CrossFit moves.  In my whole life, I had never sweated so much that I left puddles of water on the floor, but after one workout with Manoah, I was dripping on the floor.  His workouts were intense and pushed me past limits I’d never crossed before.  But I felt amazing after the workout was done, and I saw my weight start to decrease again.

When Manoah moved away (sad day for me), I thought about his workouts, his own strength, the change in me, and I decided I had to try CrossFit.

One workout later, I was hooked.  Here’s what I love about CrossFit and what keeps me coming back for more:

  1.  I love the community.  That’s right.  CrossFit gyms feel like a community.  The coaches know your name.  You get to know the members in the gym, and they become your friends.  So going to CrossFit for me is more than just getting in a good work out.  It’s about seeing my friends.  It’s a social outlet of sorts.
  2. I love the camaraderie and friendly competition.  I’m not super competitive, except with myself, but a little competition keeps me motivated.  CrossFit workouts are usually set up to do as much work as possible in a specified amount of time or to do the workout as quickly as possible.  Obviously, no one wants to finish last, so that drive to not be last keeps me going hard.  But what I love about CrossFit is that those who finish first cheer on those who are still working.  I’ve been the last place finisher, and to have the rest of the class cheering me on as I struggle for one last thruster or one more power clean gives me strength I didn’t know I had.  It’s competition, yes, but it’s more about celebrating your effort and the fact that you completed the workout.
  3. Everyone can do it.  CrossFit is totally scaleable, meaning if you can’t do a certain move, there’s an alternative.  The coaches will find a movement that you can do that will serve the same purpose.  I have a curve in my spine between my shoulder blades.  It’s caused a lot of upper body weakness and mobility issues.  When I first started CrossFit about a year ago, I couldn’t even pull an empty barbell (35 pounds) much above my waist.  The coIMG_0686ach helped me scale the movement, and now my strength and mobility have improved to the point that pulling those 35 pounds up to my chest feels like nothing.  I still have trouble with overhead work.  It’s taken me a lot longer to progress with those moves because of my spine, and I may never be able to lift as much overhead as other girls in the gym, but I’m doing more than I ever thought possible.
  4. One workout is a full body workout.  When I was going to a traditional gym, I usually had workouts broken up into cardio, leg day, and arm day.  What I love about CrossFit is that every workout targets the entire body and because of the intensity of the workouts, you get a cardio workout as well.  Plus, CrossFit also incorporates balance and agility work.  So in one workout I get everything I need.
  5. The challenge is limitless.  I think this is the thing I love most about CrossFit.  It’s what I like about running.  In running, I can always challenge myself to run farther and faster.  In CrossFit, the workouts are always different.  The moves are similar but because they are done with different weights, different number of repetitions, different speeds, and in varying combinations, my body is constantly challenged.  And there’s such a sense of accomplishment when I finish the WOD.  It makes me hungry for more!
  6. Workouts are planned.  I don’t know about you, but in a traditional gym, I just kind of did my own thing, and because I wasn’t sure how all the machines worked, I tended to do the same exercises over and over.  In CrossFit, the workouts are planned.  All you have to do is show up and do the work.  And the workouts are coached.  I love that there is someone there, a CrossFit expert, encouraging me to pick up the bar, to keep going, to correct my form or technique when I need it.
  7. It’s as safe as any other exercise.  I know that a lot of people think that weight lifting is dangerous, but what I’m learning is that technique makes all the difference.  At my gym, the coaches demonstrate each lift before we do them in the WOD, and then have us demonstrate the lift with a PVC pipe.  During the WOD, I’ve had coaches guide my technique, helping me to get proper form so that the lift is safe.  I appreciat116e that they will tell us to go down in weight if needed to not sacrifice technique.  They are focused on safety.  And just for the record, in one year of running, I lost 3 months of training and spent over $1000 in medical care because of a severe case of iliotibial band syndrome, developed bursitis in my shoulder from lifting weights improperly in a traditional gym, and sprained an ankle when I stepped on a rock.  The most that’s happened to me in my first year of CrossFit are some bruises on my shin from hitting my legs against the barbell and a few blisters on my hands that are now callouses.IMG_0243
  8. I am strong!  I think the thing that makes me excited to go to CrossFit every day is that I see my strength increasing.  When I run hills, I usually pass other people now, and it’s not because I’m a better runner; I’ve just gotten stronger.  Every day activities that involve moving and lifting things are not as difficult.  And that right there is what CrossFit is all about–functional movements.  I like what the owner of the gym told me as my face was in contortions during a WOD, “Remember.  This is so you can do a cartwheel when you’re 90.”  CrossFit is not about looking good, although toning is an inevitable result; it’s about overall body fitness and conditioning to keep you strong and healthy into your latter years.  003So there you go.  That’s why I do CrossFit.  Strength training is an important part of overall health and a great way to bust through a plateau, but whether you decide to take up CrossFit or not is not important.  What’s important is to find an activity you love, something you look forward to doing, and just do it!

Talk to me:

What’s on your agenda for today?

What are your social outlets?

Staying the Course

Confession’s good for the soul, right?  Hopefully, it’s also good for the waist line.  Yup, I have a confession to make.  Well, kind of a confession.  I haven’t murdered anyone, or anything like that, so just relax.

Sometimes I use my cat as a pillow.

001Just kidding.  That’s not my confession.

Ok, seriously.  Here goes.  I have been craving chocolate and junk food like crazy lately…and battling like crazy to not give in.  What gives?  I thought I had this licked.

It takes me back to the point of being within 5 or 10 pounds of my goal weight a couple of years ago.  Seeing the number on the scale go down was huge motivation for me to make those healthy choices, and for the most part, I could choose healthy without too much trouble.

But when I got closer to my goal weight, I began to feel myself wanting to return to my old habits of snacking on things that weren’t good for me.  It was like I began to relax.  I’d reached my goal; now I could let things get back to normal.

But then I remembered.  Healthy IS the new normal!  Yes, my goal was weight loss, but more than that, my goal was PERMANENT weight loss and health.  I didn’t want to lose the weight only to gain it back.  That had been my MO for so many years, and I was done with it.  I realized that the choices I’d made–forgoing donuts and potato chips for apples and salad and trading in my couch potato status for that of runner–were not just temporary choices to reach a temporary goal.  I was in this for the long haul.  These are lifestyle choices, meant to continue from now until the cows come home.

So I’m a little frustrated that I’m battling these unhealthy cravings at the moment.  But I’m also encouraged that while I have had some chocolate, I have not fully given in to my cravings.  These last few years have given me the tools I need to stay the course.

I’m back in that spot of identifying my triggers.  What’s happening that’s causing me to want junk food, especially when I know how yucky it will make me feel?  The big trigger right now is fatigue.  Working night shift takes a toll on me because I don’t sleep well during the day, so after working a couple of consecutive shifts, it takes a while to get caught back up on my sleep.  I know that being tired makes me want bad-for-me things.  So knowing that, I’ve just been telling myself, “Girl [yes, I really call myself “girl”!], you’re just tired.  That’s why you want to eat everything in sight.  You don’t need it.  It’s not good for you.”  And strangely, that gives me strength to pass it by.

Because ultimately, I know that the choices I’ve made are part of a lifestyle I’m able to live with and that I WANT to live out.  I don’t want to go back to junk food and feeling sluggish.  I like being active and energetic and finding adventure in life.  That’s what helps me stay the course.

So to those cravings of chocolate and Cheetos…so long!  Who needs you?  I’ve got my hands over my ears, and I’m not listening to you.

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Talk to me:

What are you craving at the moment?

How do you deal with cravings?

Marathon #2: Second Week Down

Monday.  Marathon training week #2.  I had been awake since about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and after trying unsuccessfully to sleep before I went to work Sunday night, I finished my shift Monday morning absolutely exhausted.  I try to get my recovery run in before I go home, but because I didn’t have to work Monday night, I decided to run a bit later in the day.  At 8:00 p.m. after a loooong nap, I decided it was cool enough to run and hit the road.

I really enjoyed that run!  My pace was still faster than recovery run pace but slower than some recovery runs.  Yay!  There was just something so peaceful about running at that time of night.  People walked in the neighborhood.  Kids rode their bikes in driveways.  The moon was out and the humidity lower.  I love the glow of the yard lamps in my neighborhood as dusk settles in.

002Tuesday.  I woke up early to catch the speed workout at the track at 6 a.m.  Just for the record, I HATE speed work.  It is so stinkin’ hard.  It makes me feel like I’m going to puke or pee in pants or something.  It’s just not fun.  But I love the results of speed work, so I went to the track.  It wasn’t too bad this week.  We ran a short ladder of 400 meters, then 600 meters, then 1200 meters, and then back down to 400 meters.  As much as I hated it, I felt great when it was over.  And sore.  Wow.  I was feeling that work almost immediately.

Wednesday.  Cross train day.  I caught a CrossFit class at 5 a.m. and because I ended up doing CrossFit AND cycling 16 miles (!) after the speed workout on Tuesday, I decided I really should take it easy today.  I’ve been getting in lots of naps.  Sunny, on the other hand, has decided to forgo his naps and keep an eye on things in the backyard.

008Thursday.  Today I ran hill repeats with a 1.5 mile warm up and another 1.5 mile cool down.  I found a hill that I could run up in about 30 seconds, walked back to the bottom to let my heart rate recover a bit, and then ran back up the hill.  I did that 6 times.  Here’s the hill I ran up.  The photo is a bit deceptive, but trust me.  That’s a hill!

002It was a tough run.  My legs were super sore from weighted dumb bell lunges at CrossFit on Wednesday, and it was miserably hot.  Today actual temperatures are supposed to reach 100 degrees with a heat index of 105-110.  Bleh!  I just wasn’t feeling it, and my knee was bothering me a bit.  I put an elastic brace on it for good measure, and thankfully, it didn’t bother me at all during the run.

001Friday.  Rest day.  I really wanted to go to CrossFit, but when I realized I hadn’t taken a rest day in over a week, I knew a rest day was in order.  It’s hard for me to rest when I love my sports so much!

Saturday.  Long slow distance!  I love these runs!  Today we went just a little over 9 miles.  It was a good run, despite being super hot and humid.  Seriously, there was not a dry spot on any piece of clothing I had on 5 miles into the run.  I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much.  I had to sit on a towel on my way home to protect my cloth car seats, and the towel was soaked by the time I got home!

Today on our run, I tried new nutrition, Accel gel.  I’ve trained exclusively with Gu up until now, but I discovered during the marathon, that my stomach could just not handle any more Gu after about 18 miles.  I was nervous, afraid of stomach cramping with new nutrition, but I did great with Accel!  And it tasted great!  I’m anxious to try another flavor.

Overall, I’m pleased with training this week.  Here are my goals for next week:

  1.  Continue to work at running recovery runs at recovery pace.
  2. Get to the track again!
  3. Try another type of nutrition or at least another flavor of Accel gel.
  4. Take at least 2 rest days.

Talk to me:

What’s on your agenda for next week?

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