2017: Big Announcement!

I would start this blog with a bunch of excuses about how long it’s been since I’ve written…..but let’s be honest.  You’re here because you want to know the announcement, not hear excuses.  Fortunately for you, they are kind of one and the same:

I have been interning with a personal trainer for the past 8 weeks 🙂

 

For those of you that follow this blog, you’d know I’m a full time Drama Teacher.  Since November 1st, I have been attempting to balance two jobs, internship, marriage, workouts and life.  While it has had it’s challenges, I’ve already learned SO much.

I think I’ve been saying “I’m thinking of becoming a trainer” for……….two and a half years now.  So I was thinking maybe I should actually give it a try 🙂  People always dream big when they hear about my weight loss.  They almost always say “You should write a book!” Well, that’s easier said than done.  I don’t really want to wait that long and it seems like a ton of work for something that might not work out.  I want to start changing lives right now!  For the last two years of my fitness journey (of which I’m still on by the way) I’ve been coaching people here and there with handfuls of tidbits.  I feel like I’ve been an inspiration and motivation for a few people at tough moments.  But now I want to be there for the change. I want to help guide others though the WHOLE journey that I’ve been on.

What trainer would you rather have if you were looking to lose weight?

Option A:  Joe Schmo who was a college athlete and has never counted a calorie in his life.  He is highly educated and certified and regularly completes Ironman races without bothering to stretch beforehand.  

Option B: Kim G who struggled with morbid obesity her whole life and knows the personal struggle of losing weight.  She conquered obesity through a healthy diet and exercise and has the same certification as Mr. Schmo. She understands both the mental and physical aspect of weight loss. While she couldn’t run a mile 5 years ago, now she completes half marathons.

You’d pick me right? Right?

So far I am LOVING working at the gym.  During my paid shift, I am a Club Assistant.  I do lots of things: clean, get towels, get water, yell at kids running, show people how to use machines, help trainers……my position changes based on the day, hour, even minute sometimes.  I get to chat with members and attempt to build a client base for when I’m training. One of the best parts is seeing my friends while they work out! (Shout out to Natalie who recently completed Yoga Teacher Training at our facility.  Can’t wait to start taking your classes!!! )

Lately, I’ve been weighing in people for our new Fitness Challenge which is so fun and I’m excited to see how everyone changes over the next 6 weeks.

But my favorite thing by far is my intern training.  I feel very fortunate to be working under Victor Spatola as he leads me through my trainer’s course. We talk about biomechanics, recovery, progamming…….mostly he talks in words I barely understand and then have to study later. 🙂  He assigns me homework and I somehow find a few hours to nerd out and study before the next lesson comes. In a few short weeks I can see my future changing and shaping.  My goals are resetting and my life is being fulfilled in new ways.

I’m in a bit of a life crisis.  I’ve had to totally switch up my fitness (I’m no longer boxing….more on that later), my schedule is nuts and I’m just not quite sure where I’m going……but I have a partner who is supporting my insanity and giving me the space and time to figure it out.  I only know one thing right now but I think it’s the most important thing: it’s exciting!  So here’s to 2017 and whatever that’s going to mean.

I’m a Tough Mudder 2.0

If you follow this blog, you’ll notice it’s been a while. I’m constantly playing the balancing game of work, love, life, working out, friends…..and I’m attempting a whole new journey that I’ll be writing about very very soon. Regardless, sometimes things just slip…..

 

But let’s go back.

 

Last month I completed my 2nd Tough Mudder! I have been looking forward to the next Tough Mudder since completing it last year and knowing I could do better. Here were my goals this year: finish sooner, complete the Funky Monkey 2.0 and grab the bar on King of the Swingers. Let’s see how I did!

 

The Tough Mudder, for those that do not know, is a 11+ mile obstacle race. You can read about my first year here! Everyone claims that Colorado has the toughest course because of the following: it ends up over 12 miles, it has an elevation gain of 3000 feet and the water is TERRIBLY cold due to the altitude. It is the hardest race that I do all year and I couldn’t wait to prove to myself that I could complete it again. My husband ran for the first time this year and I was more concerned about him finishing than myself.

 

My first goal to complete was the Funky Monkey 2.0 which was located 1.5 miles into the race. **Side note: I never look at the map before I run. I just don’t want to know when certain things are going to come up. The Funky Monkey is 20 ascending monkey bars, to a swinging bar and then a transfer to a horizontal bar before making your way to the platform.

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I spent several evenings with Dan over at the playground, working on grip strength just to complete the obstacle. We also rock climb in the winter. Last year, I wimped out and didn’t even try to make the transfer. This year, I wanted to complete it but especially I didn’t want to give up. AND I DID IT! I can’t even explain the way I felt when my dry feet hit the platform. After you complete the first obstacle, everyone can see who did it and who did not based on who is wet.

 

Right after the Funky Monkey, Dan got injured going over a wall. The Berlin Walls are 12 foot wooden walls.  Most people get over them like this:

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One guy was ‘helping’ Dan by lifting his feet and suddenly let go.  This caused him to hit his ribs on the top of the wall.  We were not quite 2 miles in.  I was really worried he wouldn’t be able to finish.  He had no idea what was ahead of him.

The hardest part of the Tough Mudder is the mental aspect.  I know that I can physically complete the race.  But it is the only race that I run all year that pushes me past my mental limits.  When I go out for a long run, I know there is always the option of stopping.  The length is nearly a half marathon, which is the longest I’ve run.  But then there’s the hiking and altitude factors.  We live at 5280 feet.  The races starts at 8200 feet and ascends just into 11000 feet. Oh yeah, and the obstacles.

Somewhere in the middle of that altitude was my next goal: The King of Swingers.  You jump from a platform onto a pendulum swinging bar and attempt to ring a bell before falling into the water below. First of all: I do not like it when you have to get wet even after completing the obstacle.  That being said, up until this point I had not gotten wet.  I had gotten muddy and sweaty but not submerged in water.

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My goal was to get the bar on the pendulum, and I succeeded!  I then missed the bell and fell in the water.  I was so SHOCKED by the water that I could barely breathe!  Near mile 8: my hip and leg were hurting to badly that I thought about quitting.  The only thing that kept me going was thinking about how disappointed I would be if I stopped.  I had to finish the race.  Also, if Dan could keep going; so could I.  He was hurting pretty badly at this point too.  We wanted to finish!

My third goal was to finish in less time that last year.  I think I finished in 5ish hours last year.  This year we were aiming for 4 hours.  We did it.  This is the only race that I ever think about quitting.  It’s the only race that I have trouble completing.  It’s different than running.  It’s amazing.  It’s amazing what the body can do and especially what my body can do.  It’s the only race that I’ll complete for a third year in a row.  It’s the only race I’ll be this excited/nervous for again next year.  And I can’t wait.  14233129_10103658517593519_3395195932218454546_n

 

It took me two weeks to feel like I had healed from the race.  I’m already thinking of goals for next year.  I’m already thinking of how to train for next year if I want to finish even faster. I love the Tough Mudder because I feel like it changes me a little bit every year.

 

P.S.  I bought the Merrell Tough Mudder shoes for the race and they were freaking awesome.  No endorsements.  Just seriously killer shoes.

Everyday: I Beat Her

Somedays I wonder if there will always be two of me.  There’s the new me: confident, fit and outgoing and then there’s always the old me: overweight, uncomfortable and failing.  In my overweight life, I had a good career and an ok marriage.  I was mostly happy and pretty outgoing but part of me always knew there was more.  I knew there had to be more to life: more to see, more to do and more to expect from myself.  I always felt like a failure but I couldn’t figure out why: I was failing at life. I was so happy with living a half life.  Part of me wonders if I would have just stayed that way…..and for how long.

Now I feel like my life is FULL.  My relationships with everything are better.  My marriage is better. I have so much more to give to my husband and we get so much more out of life and our time together now.  I feel like my friendships are deeper and more meaningful because I have more value for myself now.  My job is easier and keeping up with day to day tasks of life are easier.  I feel more connected to nature and humanity as a whole.  I feel like I’m doing life right now.

But somedays I think about how easy it would be to go back.  Of course I have cheat days and rest day but what would it be like to give up? What would it be like to wake up as my old self? Part of me thinks this will never happen and the other half of me fears that it will. I have lived in two different worlds.  I have had two different marriages.  (To the same man!) I have had two lifetimes in one.  So each day I still fight.  I still fight that girl who wants two cheeseburgers and a side of mozzarella sticks.  Some days I don’t want to go to the gym and just get it done as quick as possible. I still beat her every single day.

The easiest way to not go backwards is to remember where I came from.  I 100% believe that if anyone could drop the weight and feel the difference in their body, they would do it in a heart beat.  Every calorie, drop of sweat and running mile was worth it.  Every. Single. One.

I wouldn’t give up anything for the person I am now or the lifestyle that I lead.  Notice: I didn’t say this body.  I didn’t say, I wouldn’t give up being skinny for anything.  I know my weight will fluctuate as my life continues to change. I know I won’t always see this number on the scale. It’s not about being skinny.  It’s about meeting my life goals and being the person I want to be, skinny was just a result.  So every day, every damn day, I still beat her.

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Healthy Friends

Well I did it again already, I tried hiking and had a much better response!  This week I had scheduled to hike the Manitou Incline with my friend and colleague Nestor.  Nestor has also lost quite a bit of weight in the recent past and loves Crossfit.  He taught me how to climb ropes and I’m looking forward to many more fitness related excursions!   Nestor had done the incline countless times and it’s a very popular place to visit but there are people that live near Colorado Springs that incorporate it as a regular routine.

The Manitou Incline is in Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs.  It’s known for Pike’s Peak and the incline.  The ‘trail’ is less than a mile but climbs 2000 feet in elevation in that short of a time.   (7,000 – 9,000 feet for those curious) I was feeling great and thought I would knock it out and leave him in the dust and maybe even go for a run later.  While Nestor is very fit, I know my cardio is more advanced than his but with his experience, I fell behind by 20 – 30 stairs.  For flatlanders, this hike feels like it’s straight up.  When you have hiking experience, you can tell when it’s not as steep.  I finished the incline in 40 minutes which is pretty advanced for my first time.  I think I could cut off a few minutes easily, just knowing the course now.  While it was hard, I never felt like it was impossible.  I didn’t cry or get too frustrated.

I have been wanting to do the incline for 2 years now but it was undergoing some renovations after recent flooding and I forget about it because of it’s location.  Without Nestor inviting me, I might not have gotten it checked off the list this summer.  It’s so important to find friends that help support your journey.  Fitness and health have brought so many people into my life that I might not have otherwise known.

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Off the top of my head, I can count 7 friends (there’s probably more… ) that I now have in my life because of how I live my life.  When you make a change in your life, it attracts new kinds of people.  As I have changed, so have my friends and who I spend my time with. I don’t consider everyone a friend and I don’t use that word lightly.  I’ve found it difficult in my adult life to make TRUE friends when we moved to Colorado but fitness opened that door for me.  I have cultivated so many positive relationships and experiences with people I have met in my gym life.  One of my closest friends I met at my first gym, and although I no longer go there, we still see each other all the time.

Healthy people attract healthy people. Broken people attract broken people.   Now, that’s not to say we don’t all have our problems or my friends and I only go out for salads.  We drink beer and pizza too but I feel like our relationships are focused on health and well being.  We constantly discuss bettering ourselves and our society through various ways and not just fitness. We hike, climb, run, box and laugh.  We don’t sit around and count calories together or compare waistlines.  But there’s an underlying thread in all of my relationships now: How can I be better?

It’s so important to surround yourself with others who are on a journey.  Even if it’s not fitness related, someone who is trying to better themselves, as you are, is going to be much better support than someone who isn’t.  A stick in the mud is a stick in the mud.  I had to let a few friends go over the last few years because they just didn’t match my new lifestyle.  They would constantly complain about a situation they were in but would never try and change it.  They would claim to want x,y and z for themselves and then sit around and do nothing for two years.  I know not everyone can have the self determination that I do.  I know I am mentally strong and I can’t expect that from everyone I know but I also can only try to support and motivate another person so much. So watch out for these types of people too.  When you start to change, other people that want to change will flock to you.  Give them the support you can and give every friend a chance but over time you’ll see who is happy being unhappy and who is really wanting to change.

Hiking To 14,000 Feet

This past weekend was the 4th of July holiday.  For the past two years, some friends and I have hiked up to 14,000 feet as a way to spend some time outdoors and see this beautiful country from the top.  And well…..I forgot one VERY important thing this year……….I kinda hate it.

Our Hike:

This year we chose Grizzly Peak for our goal.  Grizzly Peak is in Loveland pass and an easy area to go after more than one peak if you are feeling up to it.  Loveland pass is around 12,000 feet above sea level so I expected the 2000 foot elevation gain to be no big deal.  For the first gain, I felt strong.  I felt like I could keep my breathing under control and move quite a bit faster than last year.  I always forget how hard it is to breathe at that elevation.  You’re thinking, it’s only two miles, I do two miles all the time…..but the truth is: that two miles is straight up and you’ll be needing more oxygen…..the whole time.

But then…..you come down and go back up….three more times.  Remember the rough mountains you drew as a kid? A zig zag line? Well that’s what this trail was. 500 feet up, 300 down, 200 up, 100 down, 500 up, 200 down………..(these are not correct, just a rough guess)  The mental aspect of hiking started getting to me two hours in.  At two hours into this hike, we had one more peak to go down and then the final trek to the top.  Even though you can see the top, it seems really really far away still.  This is where I broke.  At this time, your brain has been deprived of the oxygen it needs for quite some time, you’ve burned over 1000 calories and the more water you drink the more you have to pee….outside.  As I flash backed to last year, this was the same time that I started to fall apart.

My body held up ok, although my knees were starting to ache.  Mentally though…. i wanted to stop….but you’re so close that you know you can do it if you just keep moving.  And then….somehow you make it to the top!

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Hiking is different than any other ‘sport’ I do.  In almost every other fitness activity, I just have to push to the end.  Usually, it’s the last 10 minutes that are the worst.  I’m a big fan of referencing ‘my bottom’ in a workout.  For example: When I think I just can’t box anymore, I think about the time I was running on a treadmill through my own tears, sweat and blood while my coach yelled across the gym at me.  So whenever I think I just can’t keep going, I know I can because I did that day. With hiking, ‘the bottom’ or the worst part is half way through.  Once you get to the top of that peak, you know you just have to do the whole thing over again, just in reverse.  So although you’re so happy to get to the top and it’s so pretty!!!!!!!…..you just have to turn around and do it again. Round trip took us 5 hours. (3 up and 2 down)

I think if I want to enjoy hiking more, I probably need to do it more.  Right now, my bottom for hiking is always the current hike I’m in.  I usually hike less than 5 times a year and haven’t hiked at all since my last 14er.  If I hike more often, I could train my brain to know what I can do and maybe enjoy it a little more.

 

Overall here’s what I learned:
While I’m strong, there are still things that push me.  I still have limits.  I cry at 13,500 feet 🙂 and I hope I forget how bad this was before next year. flat,800x800,075,f.u2

How To Be A Runner #5

Today I wanted to finish up my running advice with my number one reason why I think I love running: Control.

 

People ask my how I lost the weight all the time. When they hear that I’m a boxer, they make a certain face. When they hear that I run…..A LOT…..they also make a certain face. I know everyone who has ever asked me “How did you lose the weight?” wants to hear, “I just woke up like this one morning….” But the truth is, it was a lot of hard and sweaty work. Over the last 2-3 years, I couldn’t even count how many people have asked for my advice or help. But in all that time, in all those conversations……I know maybe 5 people on a weight loss or fitness journey. The truth is, 98% of people that ask me about it aren’t going to do a damn thing. It took me a long time to realize, I couldn’t control this. I had to learn to give out free advice with no expectations. Example conversation from real life:
Coworker: I just love your arms! What kind of weights do you do?

Me: I actually do all body weight exercises. For my arms I do pull ups. Lots and lots of pull ups because that what’s in my training routine.

Coworker: Oh. I could never do a pull up.

Me: It took me almost 6 months of trying everyday, but I can do them now! I’m sure you could do it if you put the time in.

Coworker: Yeah. I’ll never be able to do that.

 

And…….she never did a pull up. When people hear how much work it was for me to change my whole life, 98% are not willing to put the work in. It was not easy. It took good decisions every single day and forgiveness when I made bad decisions. It took overhauling my whole life. But every once in a while, I think I help inspire someone to change their life. This used to really bother me because of my control issues. I used to think it was something about me that discouraged them from trying.   Maybe they didn’t see a big enough difference? Maybe I didn’t say it in the right way? Maybe if I…………but it really comes down to:

 

If you wanted to, you would.

 

Control is something I struggle with in most areas of my life. It is hard for me to feel out of control and I love feeling like the puppetmaster of my life.  I carry this into my workouts too. When I run, I know that I’m in control of everything about that run and about my life, even if just for a few miles.

 

I can control my breathing, time, distance, music…….When I set out to go 5 miles, I go 5 miles. It makes me feel accomplished every single time. While there are always some elements that you can’t control: weather, traffic, stop lights, geese, sprinklers……. I love the feeling of controlling my body. With experience, you learn to run at your most efficient. I know when my body and mind are working like a machine and I love that feeling. It really is just me and the road.

 

In the beginning of my running, I thought I had to have certain music, clothes, headphones, etc. and I kind of did. In order to zone, I couldn’t think about anything else. Not my wedgie, my headphone wires bouncing around, my sunglasses slipping down my nose…..Nothing!   Nothing could be a distraction or I just wanted to stop. But now I know how far I can go and how my body should be feeling with each mile.   I can control the speed a little more without giving a ton of effort. I know how my body feels when it runs and my body loves to run.  Yesterday, I went for 8 miles with Dan. It was a great run down the cherry creek path and through parts of downtown Denver. So I figured I shouldn’t run today to rest my legs but then after my usual boxing workout, I still didn’t feel right. My emotions felt ……stuck and I just couldn’t get in the flow of the day. So I decided to run a mile or two. Well…three miles later I felt like myself. For some reason my body and mind wanted to run today and my legs needed the stretch.c168f0ddd0c052ccb4091404605a4b89

 

So my point is this: Running makes me feel like I’m in control of my emotions, stress, energy and basically……..life! Every run is a commitment to myself that I keep. If you can’t keep commitments to yourself, why would you for anyone else?

How To Be A Runner #4

This morning I logged another 5 miles before the sun came up.  In the beginning of my running journey, it took me a while to fall in love with it.  There are still somedays that I have to convince myself to go but I’m NEVER disappointed that I went.  It only took me a few runs to love running in the morning!

Today is #4 in my saga of how to love running. Here’s the other days if you missed them:

How To Be A Runner #1

How To Be A Runner #2

How To Be A Runner #3

1. Of Course there’s apps for that!

There are all sorts of running apps out there.  Depending on what you are looking for, there’s definitely an app for that.  There are apps for: pacing, routes, tracking, planning and even Zombie Chasing.  I’m only going to suggest the ones I know about but I’m sure there are hundreds.

Nike – This is where I track all my miles.  I love the Nike app because it’s the same every time.  I know where I’m going to click over my miles if it is a familiar route.  With this app you can set it to tell you how far you’ve gone, or not.  When you are running, it can post to social media for you and when anyone clicks the like button it makes a cheering sound!  It also has cool photo features at the end of your run.  It has coaching settings and can even sync with your music but I haven’t explored those features much.  It pauses as soon as I stop and can even pause if you get a phone call. I used to use MapMyRun but I found it to be less accurate to the routes and has a lot less features.

Couch to 5K – I have a lot of friends that have used this app.  It is a training program to get you from running nothing to being able to run a 5K. It is based on interval running which I totally believe in.  Lots of people love this app and have success with it.  The app is formatted for an 8 week program, 3 runs a week for 30 minutes.  It takes care of the intervals for you and slowly builds up your endurance.

Runkeeper – I have not used this app at all but I know it’s popular and has been around a long time.  You can preplan your routes or choose ones others have posted and even just free run.  It is like most other running apps but the route feature seems cool. If you live in a big city like me, this might be cool for you but I can see that it would not have many advantages if you live in a less populated area.

ZombieRun – This app is really interesting.  I only used it once or twice but it’s definitely unique.  I have had friends have success with this app too.  This app can train you to go different distances and works much like the others above.  What makes it unique is the Zombie feature.  As you’re running, you can pick up things like health and weapons.  When the app knows you are slowing down, it will send Zombies after you and there’s helicopter sounds and it makes you feel like your in a Zombie War.  Meanwhile you’re learning to run and increasing your endurance.   Props to whomever came up with this app!

For more: Here’s a List from Runner’s World

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My Personal Tips:

If you are running a long distance, running too many apps at once on your phone might make it die. I love to rock out to Pandora when I run but if I’m running more than 10 miles, I can not run my running tracker and Pandora the entire time.  Just keep in mind your battery life.  Finding an app that you like and music makes running much easier for me.  I have 465 miles logged under my nike app so it looks like I’m not switching any time soon!  I do know runners that don’t listen to music or track their miles but I’m a geek and want to know how far and fast I went every single time.

2. Races

In the beginning of your running journey, I encourage you to sign up for a race.  It doesn’t matter how far away that race is and you should pick a distance that seems attainable for you.  Then you can explore training guides and methods that are comfortable for you.  I would love to say: This is the one and only plan that will make it possible to be a super awesome runner overnight.  But the truth is, it just doesn’t happen that way.  Running takes a lot of training of the mind and body.  It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.  And the success of crossing a finish line is something everyone should enjoy. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of racing:

Pros – In a race, there is every type of runner.  Some people are super fast and some people seem to walk the whole time.  Most large races will organize you into pace ‘corrals’ so that your running with other people that run your pace.  This usually ends up being maybe 50% true.  Running in a race is like being on a huge team!  While you’re obviously running solo, you’re all doing the same thing at that same time.  It’s a feeling of human camaraderie.   Most races donate profits to charity or are for a good cause.  You also end up with a t-shirt and usually quite a bit of free snacks and drinks.

Cons – It’s a lot of people in one place.  Some runners I know hate racing because there’s so many people in the way.  Depending on the course, sometimes other racers can slow you down. I’ve been on courses that were not wide enough for the amount of runners and when anyone starts to walk, it forces everyone to walk and bottleneck. The logistics can be annoying.  When you sign up for a race, there’s usually a time to pick up your race packet the day before, or you have to go early before the race and stand in line for your number.  Depending on the race location, parking can also lead to anxiety on a race day. Logistics are the worst part of the race.

My Experience

I love racing but in a race, I’m not usually racing anyone but myself.  Inexperienced racers tend to run the beginning of a race way too fast and end up walking at the end.  I have learned to pace myself throughout the race and run strong the whole time.  I’ve now completed 10 races ranging from a 3K to half marathons.  The course, environment and experience is different every time but I love the feeling of everyone running together!  My favorite moments are right before you start and everyone is nervous but excited.  You can feel it in the air. Races are really fun experiences and crossing a finish line is so exhilarating! Each race I fall in love with running a little bit more.  You’ll see someone you’d never expect to see running a race, cross the finish line.  You’ll see people dedicated their run to someone who has passed away.  You’ll see runners helping each other when it gets too hard.  It’s just a cool feeling and one of the times I feel connected to strangers on the most basic level.

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3.  You’ll Never love it all the time

Running is 90% mental and 10% physical and sometimes, overcoming the mental is the hardest part.  It’s true that sometimes, leaving the house is the hardest part of a run.  Every runner on the planet has slept passed their alarm and missed a run.  Every runner takes days off and ‘doesn’t really feel like it’ today.  Sometimes you leave the house, get half way done and decide that’s enough for today.  BUT……it’s those runs that are amazing that keep you going.  Sometimes you don’t want to leave the house and then have a great run to start your day.  You’ll always feel better after a run! It’s the runs where you learn something about yourself, let anxiety and stress go, push yourself harder than you thought you could or complete a distance that used to seem impossible that make running all worth it.  If you don’t love it this time, there’s always a next time.

I love running* 

*usually

My Nike app says I’ve logged 102 runs.  Of those runs, I think I’ve quit early 5 times or less. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and not push it passed its limit but it takes a while to understand your body’s limits.  I know the difference between physically tired and mentally tired now and always try to hold myself accountable.  I’ve decided to simply not go on a run probably about the same amount of times.  But I’ve also had the best runs.  Sometimes I think I could solve world hunger if I just ran long enough.  Running allows me to destress and feel my body like a machine.  It makes me feel strong and confident about my day.  I’m proud of myself every time I finish a run even if it’s the exact course I ran two days before.  I don’t know what it would be like to be a super hero, but running makes me feel like I just might be.

 

How To Be A Runner #3

If you’ve missed my posts over the last two days here they are:

How To Be A Runner #1

How To Be A Runner #2

And continuing on today…..

  1.   Run Outside! 

I do not understand, nor do I like running indoors.  When you train yourself to run outdoors, I think it’s easier to learn to love it.  Every run is different.  Even if you take the same course over and over (I do this a lot) each time is a little different. The people you see and the environment around you will be interesting each time.  This will help distract you and let you slip into the mental zone.  Also, if you are always running on a treadmill, it paces for you.  Treadmills are for sissies.  It’s easier to run on a treadmill because it propels you forward.  While this is a good starting point, don’t depend on the treadmill or you’ll be missing out on 80% of what makes running awesome.  It’s much different to find your own pace outside and learn to run at a consistent pace.  If you ever sign up for a race or run with friends, you’ll have to learn to run outdoors.  Running outdoors of course has it’s pitfalls: traffic lights, sidewalk traffic, weather, SPRINKLERS and jerks that pull into the crosswalk. These far outweigh the feeling of running outdoors.  Time your run to go at sunrise or sunset and you’ll never be sorry!  (Another plus, when you feel like quitting, you can’t!  You have to get home somehow…..)

 

My Experience

I never run on treadmills unless I absolutely have to.  Outside is really the only way to go!  I love to run in the early early morning (Still getting used to not laughing after I say this) because the city is asleep.  When you live in a larger city, the time of day changes it’s feeling dramatically.  I love to run when everyone is in bed and it’s just me and the paper delivery boy on the road.  As I run, I can feel the city coming to life as the sun rises.  It’s pretty cool!  Yes, I have been caught in a rain storm and even a hail storm.  I’ve decided it was way to hot during mile 3 of 6.   I’ve not worn enough clothes and worn too many clothes for the temperature.   Running outside adds an element of the unknown but it’s worth it for sure!

f07714d473652c9dc964740ce3e3d37e2.  Gear! 

After you’ve gone of a few runs, you’ll want to invest in the proper gear.  What matters: SHOES.  Other than that, you should make the best call for you.  Avoid cotton materials in your running clothes, as they will begin to rub after long distances.  Most people I see run with headphones, arm band and sometimes water.  I’ll put the models I use in the following section.  The truth is: you only need what you need.  You can run in whatever clothes you want, however you want, as long as your shoes are good.  Luckily, I’ve already blogged a whole page about this! Find it here.  You might experience a little bit of sticker shock when you’re shopping for shoes, but a good investment is a good investment. If you’ve been buying $40 Nikes at Farm and Fleet your whole life, it’s time to branch out.  That being said, I usually spend $100-$150 on my running shoes and this gets me about 200 miles of running.  Some tips to save: Buy at the end of the season (June, December) when the previous models are on clearance, research online, and shop a few stores.  If you’re looking at current models, they will be the same price no matter where you go.

The truth is, there’s no perfect gear for every person.  You’ll learn what you like and don’t like with experience.  So, don’t go buy 5 pairs of running shorts.  Buy 1 and give them a try, then buy 5! The more you invest or get excited about your gear, the more you’ll want to use it!

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My Gear:

What I run in changes with the season/day/hour sometimes.  I used to think I HAD to run in specific clothes, with the specific headphones, with specific music………Now, I just run.  I loved the consistency at first to mentally prepare myself and allow myself to zone.  I used to focus on my clothes being annoying, my headphones being annoying, my sunglasses being annoying…….now I don’t notice them.  I’ve run in double sweat suits and almost my underwear and the runs were the same.  I encourage you to find what you like, but don’t limit yourself to only a few things.  Here’s what I grab to leave the house:

Clothes: (Varies every day, usually pants, tank top, and running socks)

Arm Band: I only use this sometimes, when I don’t have pockets.  Sometimes I just carry by phone.  This is the one I have and I love it.  Easy to wash and comfortable to wear.  I don’t take my phone out once it’s in so that doesn’t matter to me.  I reccomend black because it doesn’t get gross as fast.

Sunglasses: Varies each day, I’m not a big sunglasses freak and wear a special pair or anything. I think I got my pair free at a parade 🙂

Headphones: This is something I struggle with.  I have small ears and as soon as I start sweating, my head phones tend to fall out.  These are the best pair I’ve had and I’ve bought them a few times now.  They usually last about 100 miles.  Don’t forget: You’re headphones are bouncing the whole time (I tie mine to by bra) so they will wear out faster than you’d expect.  Also, if it rains, they might die. These are what I have and hubby has the mens version.  Again, I’m not a big geek about headphones so these are sufficient for me.  Also, I don’t want to spend $200 on a pair of great ones that get ruined in the rain although I see other runners wear them all the time.  I’ve tried bluetooth headphones and I never remember to charge them OR they die before I’m done running.

Water: I don’t ever take water with me on a run anymore.  I just don’t need it.  However, my husband does and this is the bottle that he likes.  Again, I just don’t bring any.  I sometimes bring a dollar in my pocket in case I’m dying and want to stop at the gas station.  Or…..I just drink my hubby’s!

Shoes: I’ve been a die hard Nike fan until my current pair.  Find a brand you like!  I usually have more than one pair in rotation for different distances but this pair gets me through everything.  I can’t wait to get my next pair!

 

How To Be A Runner #2

 

So this week I’m sharing how I think I became and runner and how I learned to love it. This morning I logged 3 miles with the hubby before my usual workout so I’m ready for a nap, but I’ll write first!

 

  1. Success Is Addicting

Although feeling good at running doesn’t happen overnight, it’s easy to feel successful at running! If you set reasonable expectations for yourself and your pace, you can feel success at the end of each run.   There are a million methods to try and follow or just make your own plan. If you don’t like a plan, change it!   No one is the same kind of runner as another so no one else can tell you how it’s ‘supposed to be’ done. If you want to be able to run 10 miles without stopping, awesome. If you want to run the Galloway method (run walk run), awesome. If you set the goal, you get to say when you’ve met it. Once you meet that first goal, whether it be running a mile or to the mailbox, you’ll want to do it again. But the next time it won’t feel as awesome because you know you can do it, so you’ll raise the bar. This is the addiction of running. I’ve never met a runner that hadn’t set some sort of goal!

 

My Addiction: At the beginning of my fitness journey, it was easy to feel my body changing and getting stronger but some things are easier to measure than others. Running is really easy to measure and feel successful at. Just two years ago I would have said “I can’t even run a mile.” Now I can, and a 5K, and a 10K and a half marathon, and maybe even further if I wanted to.   I think I got hooked after my first 5K run. I didn’t train for my first 5K. I basically signed up and showed up to run. When I crossed my first finish line, maybe my first since Middle School, it was awesome. I had surprised myself. I’d done something I never thought that I could do and I just wanted to do it again and again and again. Now a 5K is my warmup J and in my 18 month running ‘career’ I’ve logged 500 miles. It starts with just one!

 

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  1. You’d Be Surprised

People envy runners. People want to talk about running. I think secretly everyone wishes they could be a runner. I’ve heard the people say the following things SEVERAL TIMES:

I don’t run unless I’m being chased

You’re crazy

I don’t think I could even walk that far

I used to run

I haven’t run since High School

That being said, you’d be really surprised to find out who can’t run a mile in your life. Every time you run think about this, who in your life is: Still in bed? Wishing they could make a change but haven’t? Eating a donut right now? Looking at you for motivation? Who just watched you run by and envied you?

My Experience

I talk to a lot of people about fitness and specifically running. When I say something like “I ran 5 miles this morning.” it evokes one of two responses: they look like they just threw up in their mouth a little bit or they look envious and want to know more. Running is something most people wish they could do but will tell you they can’t. It’s also something everyone has experience with. I have talked to SOOO many people about running or wanting to run.  It’s something in all of us! Running is contagious and people that want to know how to run will ask you.  When I started running it slowly lead to my husband running.  And then I had a run club at work. And then so did he.  Running is a community and more people want to be members than you’d think.  Running lead me to meeting some great people!

 

  1. It Won’t Be Like Gym Class

One of the many reasons people hate running is it reminds them of gym class. We all remember having the run the mile for a grade. In fact, I think the orange spray paint is still around the tree on my middle school campus that you had to loop around and come back. Most of us remember being yelled at by a coach or teacher. At the most self conscious time in your life, they make you do what most people hate: run…..in front of everyone………for a grade. Torture!  I swear, running as an adult won’t be like this. No one will yell at you and motivate you. If you want to run alone, you are the only coach. Only you know what your goal is and how fast you want to get there. Use running as time for yourself. Running can be great therapy and time to think through your day. The more you let your mind go the easier your run will be. Just let it go. Run out the frustration and anxiety. Attach something you love to running if you are having trouble falling in love with running. Try ending a run at your favorite coffee or book shop. Run your way to lunch with friends instead of walking or driving. The more you train your brain to run with things you already enjoy, the easier it is to fall in love with it. I encourage you to start your own relationship with running before you try running with a group or friends. It’s hard to find your own pace/zone/distance if your constantly with other people.

 

My Inner Peace:

It took me about a month of running to feel the Runner’s Zone. It can take a while to train your brain for running. Now my brain and body know running so well that it slips into the zone in the first few minutes. My brain and body ask to run now. If you learn to find your zone, running easily becomes something you want to do.   You’ll crave the quiet while your body acts like a machine. I still have a run now and then where I can’t zone. Sometimes I have what I consider a ‘bad run’. A bad run is usually one of two things: my body was too tired or my brain was too active. Occasionally, there are still runs where I think about running the whole time I’m doing it but this is rare. Once you learn to zone out, you’ll learn to love running.

  1. Think about This Mile/Minute

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re running.  If you’re in mile one, sometimes mile 4 seems like forever away.  Try not to think about the end or how much farther you have to go.  Only focus on this mile or this interval (if using a run/walk/run method).  Sometimes you can only make it to the next stop sign.  It’s ok to trick yourself to stay motivated.  Don’t worry about what is to come just do what you can right now.  In the beginning of running, it can be hard to motivate yourself but stay true!  Every time you let yourself end early or cut yourself short, you’re training your brain to give up.  If you can’t run the last mile, walk it.  If you have to take a break, take a break but don’t quit.  It’s true, especially in running, quitters never win.  Every run is a chance to prove to yourself you can do it.  End every run feeling successful, not like a quitter.  Don’t let yourself down or you’ll start to associate running with being disappointed in yourself.  Treat every run like a race and do your best.  The feeling of success will lead you through.

My Mind Game:

I play mind games all the time when I run, especially when it’s a long distance.   If I’m in mile 9 of 12 here’s what I tell myself:

“You’ve already started mile 9 so it’s almost mile 10.  You know you can run two miles because you just did it.  Keep going.  It’s almost over.  Oh look, mile 10!  I’m practically done now!  See that stop sign, it’s only one mile from the end…….ok maybe not that stop sign but it’s got to be the next one. You can do this.”

Somehow, I still believe myself!  I always love the half way point because you know it’s half over.  Usually, if you make it half way, you can finish!  Sometimes I can think about how many miles are left, sometimes all I can do is get to the next intersection, and then the next and then the next.  Either way though, I’m making it to the end because I don’t give up on myself.  I’m not always happy with how I ran but I always know I’m making myself stronger and lapping everyone at Taco Bell. I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.  If I stopped when I was tired, I might not ever leave the house.  Every time I’m true to myself and complete a run, it teaches my brain that I can be successful at whatever I want to do! 50f82092f5b2c3ac2e1210651e6e1c79

 

How To Be A Runner #1

Hey Guys! I’m officially on summer break and finally getting some things done! I’m hoping to be posting much more regularly for the next two months.

 

Lately, I’ve been asked this question a lot and wanted to make it this week’s topic: How did you start running?

Running is like a secret club that seems like it’s only for the fit and quick.  From the outside, it seems like a lifestyle and can seem quite daunting to start or sign up for your first race.  Hopefully this list will help some of you.

I just completed the Bolder Boulder a few weekends ago.  It was a race I had marked in the past but it never worked out on my schedule.  So this year I made it a point to keep that day free and sign up for the race.  It was the most fun race I’d ever done and one of my best runs ever.  It was really fun!  The 10K course flew by and was my first 10K race.  I’ve done shorter and longer distances in the past but I had never completed a 10K race.  It was attended by 50,000 racers and is considered the largest Memorial Day Celebration in the country.  It. Was. Awesome!  It was the first race I ever ran that I didn’t wear my headphones!

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So here’s Kim’s guide to learning to run and like it!  This is how I think I became a runner and learned to love it!  Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a physical trainer (yet…) so please check with your doctor too!

1. Stop Making That Face

When I am discussing running with a current non-runner, they always make that same face.  The face says: Are you crazy? That’s sounds awful! Seriously, are you crazy?   Even when someone is asking me how I started or asking advice, they always make the same face!  I have made that face in the past.  I PROMISE YOU, you won’t always make that face.  I have come from the dark side I swear! I used to see people running and think “What a waste of time!” “You know you could do that inside!” “Why are you doing that?” “Is someone chasing you?” “Crazy psychos…..” and now I am one of those people.  IT IS POSSIBLE TO LOVE RUNNING EVEN IF YOU HATE IT NOW! I have seen the light and been reformed! It can happen!

2. Just Start!

Most people act like they have to plan everything out to go for a run but the truth is, you can just go!  If you have decent shoes and are starting running for the first time, your shoes/clothes/apps won’t matter!  If you really want to start, just do it.   Right now, leave your computer and see how far you can run.  Right now.

Your First ‘Run” – On your first run, time yourself to see how long you can go without stopping.   It might be 30 seconds or it might be three minutes.  Whatever it is, take a note of it and then walk some.  Then run again.  Then switch on and off until you’ve finished. You should set a scale of how far you are naturally running right now.  This will help you set a goal for the long term.    There’s no judgement allowed on your first run.  You can’t go back and make yourself a better runner in the past; just think about where you are now and where you want to go!

My First Run 

I’m not so sure when my first ‘run’ was.  However, I hadn’t run since Middle School.  Middle School!  I didn’t have to take PE in high school because I was in marching band.  Also, during my 8th grade year of basketball, I dislocated my knee cap which lead to a year and a half of therapy.  I’d convinced myself I couldn’t run or would ever be a runner.  Back to the story – I had already lost some weight, maybe 40 pounds or so and I was finding it easier and easier to walk the dog around the 1 mile loop in the park.  So one day I decided to run part of it.  In City Park, there is a wall a third of the way around.  I started running by running that wall.  Way back then, I didn’t time myself or know how far I was going. (Later I found out it was a third of a mile)  But each day when I walked the dog in the park, I would try to run just that part.  I didn’t track it or time it but eventually, I wanted to be able to go farther.  I never set out to be able to run half marathons at the time, I just wanted to walk/run the damn dog. I didn’t know I was taking my first steps to being a runner.

 

3.  Set A **Realistic** Goal

I think a lot of people get frustrated when they don’t make their running goal without considering, Maybe it wasn’t a realistic goal?  I encourage everyone to sign up for a race.  Not every runner enjoys races because of the amount of people and logistics of racing.  But, even if you never run the race, it will give you a due date for your distance.  A great first goal is a 5K in 3 months.  If you want to set a really high goal, like a half marathon, then you have to be willing to put the time in.  It will not happen on it’s on.  If you want to be able to do a distance that doesn’t seem realistic then your training time will have to increase.  Keep this in mind.  For example: If you set a goal of a half marathon (13.1 miles) and you want to finish in 2 hours, you should be training 5-6 hours a week.  If you don’t have the time to put in, it won’t happen.  However, if your first goal is a 5K in 45 minutes, your training time might only be 2-3 hours a week at most.  Running and training to run can take a lot of time.

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Also, pace makes a big difference in your training time, obviously.   Pace is really difficult for me sometimes.  LOTS of things adjust your pace: street lights, temperature,  traffic, untied laces, tangled headphones, snapchat 🙂 and even other runners.  Sometimes I run like a Zombie and other days like the Road Runner.   If you set a pace goal, remember these factors and understand that sometimes, it’s out of your control. If you are setting a goal based on time or pace, just be realistic.  You won’t take a minute off your pace overnight.  I tend to look at total run time, and not pace, that way, I can sprint the end and still make my time, if I get stopped by something. 🙂

My Goals: My first goal was to be able to run the 1 mile loop without stopping.  I wrote about it here.  My next goal was a 5K (read about my first one!)  and then I jumped to a half marathon (The Colfax Marathon 2015).   My normal weekly distance is now 15-20 miles but it was taken a while to get there.  It takes hard work!!  I have met most of my goals with running and I guess it’s time for new ones!

4. Hold Yourself Accountable

Once I started running longer distances (3+ miles) I made a deal with myself: Never give up in the first mile.  The first mile is always hard for me.  It takes a while for your mind to slip into the ‘zone’ and your body needs some time to warmup and remember how to run efficiently.  I have NEVER broken that rule.  I ALWAYS make myself go that first mile.  I have stopped a handful of times, and cut my route early to go home because my body was just not up for running that day.  But usually, after that first mile, I’m in it to win it.

Another reason I love running is because it’s easy to keep goals and promises to yourself.  If you get up to go 5 miles, make yourself go the five miles.  You always feel better after you finish running.  Always! As long as I set realistic expectations, I never disappoint myself on a run.  Crossing that finish line, whether it be outside your door or in front of 10,000 people is so rewarding.  I’ve played team sports in the past and running is so different.  Every time you leave for a run, you’re giving yourself the chance to impress yourself.  No one knows.  No one knows if you run hard or slow.  No one knows if you’re in mile 1 or 11.  No one can tell how hard you are or are not working except for you.  If you don’t hold yourself accountable, you’ll be disappointed over and over and over.  For me, it’s easy to hold myself accountable because I’ve found so much success in doing it.  Those first few times are hard but then you have a reference to how it felt to finish and be PROUD.  Make yourself PROUD!  Accountability comes pretty easy to me because accountability=results.  Only you can make you do anything!

One of the hardest runs…..

When I was preparing for the Colfax Half Marathon, I trained alone and used Jeff Galloway’s Method of running intervals.  I was scheduled to go 11 miles that day because the race was only three weeks away.  When I woke up, it was raining.  It was one of the worst and best runs I’d ever done.  I decided to go anyway because I’d never run that far in the rain and I wanted to see how my feet reacted.  Two miles in my head phones died and I had to buy news ones at Walgreens.  7 miles in my feet started to rub. At mile 10 I thought I might crap my pants.  It took me FOREVER but I finished that run and I still feel good about finishing.  It wasn’t a pretty run or a fast one, but I finished!  You can read a little more about that particular run…..here.

 

So this week I will continue to post and add to this list!  But today, just go run.  Take 15 minutes and see how far you can get!  If you’re dying for some more advice right now here’s some old posts:

Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #1

Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #2

Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #3

Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #4

 

Maybe I should put a running tab on the page……..