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……..

 

A Quick Lunch

Every Sunday I prep my meals for the week.  Here’s what I’m eating every day for lunch this week.  The hubby even likes it! He’s having it on bread and I’m having lettuce wraps.  If you aren’t watching carbs you could even do crackers.  VERY tasty.  Also, I switched the rosemary for dill just because I like it better.  I also added red onion and will consider adding celery in the future!

 

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Balancing Act

Well as you can see….I haven’t posted in forever.  I’ve been having a bit of a balancing crisis.  I have a list of excuses a mile long and I just found I had to let a few things slip.  And this has been one of them.  Sorry to everyone who enjoys and looks forward to my posts!  Things have just gotten….hard!  But luckily…….SUMMER IS COMING!!!!  I can’t even begin to imagine it but this is one of the first summer’s I’ll be off from work in a long time.  I usually teach summer school or some sort of summer camp every single year.  I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing with myself!

 

My Workouts 

Since the Golden Gloves, I’ve still been training 4-5 times a weeks like before.  I’m still sparring and looking for fights. I’ve also been adding a lot of cardio to make weight.  I’ve decided to go down a weight class which means a tighter diet and more cardio.  My workout schedule has been as follows:

Monday: 4 AM alarm clock: 5 Mile Morning Run , 1.5 hours boxing training

Tuesday: 3:45 alarm clock: 3.5 Mile Elliptical Routine, 1.5 hours boxing training

Wednesday: Sleep Late! (5:45 am!!!!) 2 hours boxing training

Thursday: 3:45 alarm clock: 3.5 Mile Elliptical Routine, 1.5 hours boxing training

Friday: 4 AM alarm clock: 5 Mile Morning Run , no boxing training

Saturday and Sunday: Some mix of walking, 5 mile run, sometimes boxing training

While some people think that’s insane, keep in mind that I’m still training as an amateur athlete that needs to make weight!  This week I’m not making weight, just maintaining.  So I didn’t do any of the elliptical days and still feel great.  I’ve grown to really love running in the morning!  It’s so healing and an awesome way to start the day! And it’s not more than 12 hours Mom.  I checked.

 

My Job

As some of you may have heard, It’s May now, and I teach middle school.  You’ve seen the memes.  It’s not pretty.  Every end-of-year meeting, project, hooplah and summer fever hits at the same time.  No one wants to be there but yet we are.  I thought I had done a decent (not great) job of keeping everything balanced this work year, but I was wrong.  Although I guess I do this at the end of every school year.  When huge projects are due and meetings are held, I always think I could have done better.  I’m like this with everything in my life.  There’s always room to improve and change.  But I definitely know I could have done better with a few things this school year.  I really tried to work only within my work hours this year and I succeeded to a point.  I still worked a few hours every other weekend or so.  But maybe I should have worked a little harder at my actual work? At the same time I know I’m good at my job and I still love it more than most people could ever say. So that’s something.

 

My Relationships

I think this is the greatest sacrifice I’ve made lately as a result of my training.  I haven’t been a very good friend…….I hate to say it but I know it’s true.  I have a few friends I see and I stay in contact with a lot of people but I know I could try harder.  My family rarely hears from me even though I’m never far from my phone.  It’s also hard to go out and ‘hang’ when you can’t eat or drink anything that they are.  So instead of going out for dinner, I say I have to eat at home.  I might be able to meet for a ‘quick coffee’.  Of course there are also never enough hours in the day too……but still, I should try harder.

My husband is the number one person effected by my training of course.  He changes his diet, listens to my whine, and even runs with me.  When I had to make weight a week ago, he ran 5 miles by my side on a Friday night while I was wearing two sweat suits and a zombie.  He doesn’t see me until almost 6 or 7 pm every night and I leave before him in the mornings to do crazy cardio.  He takes care of so many things at the house because I just can’t.  And somehow……we make it work. I continue to change and he continues to love me.  I continue to get crazier and he continues to love me.  Love is weird.

 

So I guess I’m trying to say, I thought I was doing a good job of balancing everything in my life but….I don’t think I really am.

 

 

Skinny Skin

Well the time has finally come.  I can’t wait any longer to find out about my loose skin and possibly having surgery.  So yesterday, I made my skin surgery consultation.  On April 14th, some doctor is going to look at me naked and he gets to judge in a 20 minute meeting whether I’ve done enough work to have it removed.  And it sounds…..terrifying.  So today, I’m going to just lay it out all out there for the whole world to see.

My Skin 

Part of the reason I didn’t lose weight sooner is because I didn’t want to know about my skin.  I knew I had done irreparable damage to my skin by carrying so much extra weight.  I also carried most of my weight in my stomach in a way that I knew would never shrink back.  Here we are, three years later, more than 150 pounds lost, and the skin……….it ain’t coming back.

There are lots of places that no one would ever know.  My arms and my legs are rarely noticed in regular clothes.  Every once in a while a student or small child will look at my aged stretch marks and think I’ve been burned at some point in my life.  I’m also thankful my face looks mostly normal.  Although the entire shape of my face changed, the skin seemed to have enough elasticity left to snap back.  Not all areas did this. 98% of the people I know or meet in the average day would never guess that I lost nearly 60% of my body weight.  There are very few people left in my life that have known me for my whole journey.  So most people don’t know.

Just the other day someone was talking to me about my weight loss and how good I look.  I made the usual comment: “Well it’s great to wear small clothes but you’d never want to see me naked.” Her response was the typical, “Who cares!  You look great!”

Answer: I DO.  I care.

Maybe no one else on the planet cares what I look like naked.   The husband has never once complained even though I think it’s gross.   Only a handful of people ever see me without clothes on, like at the gym when I weigh in,  but even there I’m in my bra and underwear which is a different story.  I feel confident down to my underoos around most people.  So that’s why I’m posting this photo.  I know that some weight loss stories post naked pics but this is the best I can do.  It still covers a lot of my biggest problem areas but gives you an idea:

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My Reasons

I always planned on having skin surgery when my weight loss was complete.  There was a period of time when I thought I could just live with it.  In the past 6-12 months I’ve realized, 100% I want it off.  I still worry that it’s vain and that it’s selfish to have such an expensive surgery.  So again, I’ve made my reasons into a convenient list!

Weight Class

I recently had my first sanctioned fight in the ring as a boxer. Read about it here. I had to weigh in in my bra and underwear, which I’m pretty used to.  Read about that…. here! My weight class was 141.  I really struggled to get there but then during the stress and training the week before, I dropped too much weight.  I weight in at 136 on weigh in day.   This is not good.  You want to weigh in as close to the top of your class as you can.  When I stepped into the ring, I was down to 134 from the stress of the day.  So I fought against someone weighing at minimum 7 pounds more that me.  Plus I’m not accounting for my extra skin.  If my extra skin weighs, I don’t know, 8 pounds, my muscle mass and body composition is really that of someone who weighs in the 120s.  To box someone that is 141 when you’re more like 125?  That’s a huge difference and I could feel it in her punches.  So I have to go to the doctor and find out what is an appropriate weight for me to compete at and if it’s even really safe for me with all my extra skin.  If he says I have 10+ pounds of extra skin (seems unlikely) it might not be safe for me to box at all.

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Too Much Work

I have put in so much work over the last three years.  I’ve trained for half marathons, boxing, obstacle racing and rock climbing.  I can do 100s of situps without thinking about it but…….it still looks like I have a belly.  My extra skin creates the illusion of fat to the public.  I know I have a 6 pack under all that flab and it’s so sad that I can’t see it.  It also makes it really difficult to calculate my body fat so I’ve stopped trying. It’s like taking an action figure and covering it in marshmallow fluff.  I’ve got a rocking body in there somewhere……. While I realize this point is quite vain, I’m ok with that.  I’ve put in too much work to still look……like this.

Old Age 

I have a friend at work who is also looking into some skin surgery so we have been comparing notes.  We have discussed the guilt that comes along with a surgery like this.  They aren’t cheap.  It feels really selfish to spend all that money on the gym and then want to spend even more on a surgery.  So I had a heart to heart/devil’s advocate discussion with my husband.  I had him try to convince me it was the right decision.  One of his biggest selling points that I had never thought of is, What happens when I get old?

ALERT: Mention of lady parts coming.  Men should stop reading here! Lol. 

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As of right now, the extra skin from my belly hangs past my hip bones and even to (if not past) my lady region. I’ve been lucky to avoid a lot of the irritation and infections I’ve heard of some people getting.  I have loose skin EVERYWHERE.  Everywhere.  But what happens when I get old?  My entire body points down now and I just turned 31.  There’s no hope going forward really!  Old lady boobs? Check!  Hanging belly skin? Check! Saggy butt? Check!  Saggy thighs? Check! These problems are just going to get worse and worse as I age and could result in actual medical issues going forward.

MEN MAY BEGIN READING AGAIN HERE! 

I feel really awkward about this post.  Some people will never understand what it’s like.  I feel vain and selfish for even discussing it, knowing there’s so many out there that are just struggling to loose the weight.  But the unknown of my skin was something that stalled me in the past.  Hopefully someone reads this and realizes it’s still worth it no matter what.  I hate my skin.  I love my body.  I’ll never forget what it was like to be obese because I still carry the sack of who I used to be around with me everyday.  But I’d never go back.  I’ll take this gross old lady body every single day for the rest of my LONG life than live one more day like I did before.

 

 

 

The Golden Gloves

If you follow my personal Facebook page, you already know the outcome of my fight.  I lost.  Totally lost.  But there were so many other victories along the way that I’m trying to focus on all the positive outcomes of this week and all the things I learned.

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The Fight

The actual fight was harder than I thought it would be.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was matched with someone with a lot more experience than me.  But that’s how the tournament works.  You face who you face and that’s all that matters.  It’s hard to write about it.  Parts of being in the ring still feel like a dream.  The schedule was so full that everything was rushed.  It felt like I didn’t have one second to prepare myself.  I remember turning to Jameson and saying, “Is it really right now?” and then the bell went off.  In some ways I remember every moment of the fight.  In other ways, I don’t at all.  I’ve watched the video now but I still haven’t matched my memory to what actually happened.

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IMG_6694Right Afterward

I made it three rounds.  It felt awful.  I had lost.  I bled.  I had failed.  It felt horrible.  Even now I can feel the exact moment I lost and knowing I’d lost.  And I’d done it in front of some many people that I know and love.  I’d failed everyone.  It feels awful to lose and I’d never felt it quite like that before.  I cried. That’s pretty much how I felt the whole rest of the night.  And then I ate some cookies.

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The Next Morning 

The next morning I felt a little relief about it.  I found out how much experience that girl had had.  I was trying not to beat myself up about it. Everyone was sending messages of support and love.  I didn’t look at any of the photos or videos because I just didn’t want to know.  I didn’t want to see the concrete evidence of her beating me.  Besides, I had to go to the fights again that night.  It was time to focus on them winning and not me losing. Everyone was telling me how good I did, even strangers, but on the inside I felt like I just stood there and let her punch me. I was still pretty pity party on the inside but doing the best I could.  That night one of my fellow fighters won his class.  it was awesome to be there and see it and be a small part of it.  Right after his fight, my opponent went on to win as well.  So I had lost, but I had lost to the champion.  It would have been ASTONISHING if I had beaten her.  Also, my coach and I had a discussion about if I’m fighting in the right weight class or not.  More on that later…..

 

Today 

Today is Sunday, a day I’ve been waiting for.  I knew the Golden Gloves would be over today, either way.  I knew today I could spend with my husband and eating FOOD for the first time in a while.  And today I feel really good about losing.  I used to say things like “I could never get in the ring” “I could never fight” and yet I did.  That’s a victory in itself.  My real goal all along was to box in the ring and that’s what I did.  Somewhere along the way everything turned to wanting to win because I knew I could.  After I watched the fight today, I do see that I made mistakes and there are places that I could have made the fight more even, but it was my first fight.  Everyone’s already asking if I’m going to fight again and I don’t have an answer for that yet but stay tuned!

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Today I know that I’m a fighter.  I’m a registered USA boxer and I’ve completed my first amateur bout in the Colorado Golden Gloves.  But I’m more than even just that now.  As soon as 1 year ago, the fear of getting in the ring would have crippled me.  I don’t mean that if you’re scared to get in the ring, you’re not strong.  I mean that the fear of actually doing it would have stopped me from even trying in the past.  The anxiety of the day, the stress leading up to it, the juggling of some many things, in the past it would have stopped me.  But instead I fought.  Literally and figuratively. I fought for what I wanted and won even if I didn’t win my first fight.

 

Wait and Weight

All week I’ve been trying to balance resting, cardio, boxing and attending the fights. THANK GOODNESS I have an awesome boss who gave me the whole week off so I could focus on my training and deal with the up in the air schedule of the Golden Gloves.

 

Monday 

On Monday I knew I wouldn’t have to weigh in no matter what.   Even though I have a sub, my students have an important audition later this week so I had to pop in and rehearse them.   Also, I never had time to get them in to costumes, so I stayed and did that too.  Next thing I knew, it was almost lunch time.  So I packed up at work and went to find some lunch.  After wandering around target for what felt like FOREVER looking for food I knew I could eat, I finally settled on some low sodium lunch meat and a few side snacks.  I sat and ate my lunch outside, enjoying the sunshine.  All the while, everyone I know is texting me to find out if what my fight schedule was.  Same answer: still waiting.  Then I stopped by what I call my Sweat Gym.  For the last 6 months, there has been a handful of times that I wished I could go for a run but it was nasty outside.  Recently, I have to stick to a strict cardio schedule regardless of the weather.  So a coworker told me about her gym close to school.  I got the 3 day pass.  Of course, they offered me such a good price that I ended up joining.  It’s going to be nice having access to good equipment when I need it.  They also have a pool and sauna.  I didn’t work out, just signed paperwork.  Next thing I knew, it was time to train.

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I went to boxing training and did my fight week workout.  It’s still intense but in different ways and is training my mind as much as my body.  Don’t want to give out any secrets………… My coach thought it would be a good idea to attend the fights that night, even though we didn’t know anyone who was on the bout schedule.  It would be a good way to get nerves out.  After my workout I stopped by home to grab my premeasured meal and headed to the fights.  When I got there, I saw the brackets and full schedule were posted.  I was so relieved!  At least I’d have an idea of when I was fighting!!!  I even got a bye on the first round, which means my opponent will have already fought once.  I stood texting and calling my fellow fighters for about an hour, figuring out the schedule for the week. I didn’t stay for the rest of the fights because I knew I’d be back the next night.

 

Tuesday 

On Tuesday’s I do 4 am cardio. (Yes I read that in a Mean Girls voice)  I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and recently I’ve taken it indoors for a few different reasons.  So I got up at 4 am, out the door by 4:30 and hitting it by 5:00 at the Sweat Gym. (Privately owned, swanky, they even have TVs 🙂 )  I do 45-50 minutes or so of cardio, depending on traffic because I know by 6:00 AM I need to be in the sauna if I want to have a long time to shower and putz around before I go to work.  BUT TODAY I don’t have to go to work!  I get to go weigh in my fellow fighter! So I follow the above schedule to make sure I’m on time.

I head to Starbucks to get my coffee and cram a protein shake.  I had to sit at Starbucks and send a few emails to prep everything for the day.  Then I head to the Colorado Golden Gloves Gym (CGGG) to weigh in Dawson.  I had already texted him to make sure he was at weight and on the way.  No trash bags for him, phew. (See my first weigh in experience here, next weigh in for me is Friday) The CGGG is about 30 mins away and I make it 2 seconds before him.  We go in.  He weighs.  I ask about his opponent,  we leave.  It was really quick.  Then I headed to Trader Joes and prepped all my food for the days to come.  Time to train!

Boxing training on Tuesday felt really strong.  I’m feeling really ready!  Again….no spoilers here.  Then it was time to get Dawson ready and all the gear ready for the fight.  When you are in a sanctioned fight, there are lots of pieces to consider.  There’s a long list of supplies, snacks, and equipment you need and I’m very list orientated.  So I made up a gear bag list with my coach and packed it to make sure we have everything.  That sucker is packed.  Also it eases my type A mind for when it comes time for my fight FRIDAY.  Before I knew it, Dawson was at the gym and it was time to go.

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Again, I stopped at home for my preportioned meal.  I made two stops on the way to get things we forgot.  Behind the scenes of a boxing fight is very interesting and I witnessed everything first hand. I think I’ll make it it’s own post based on the length of this one. Dawson fought around 9:15 and lost in a split decision. It took me forever to get to bed.

 

Wednesday 

The plan was to get up and go to work because I didn’t have a sweat workout or weigh in to do, why not use the morning to go to work where I already have a sub? Well, I woke up to about 4-5 inches of snow and blizzard conditions.  School was closed.  There was no where to go.  No where to feel guilty about not going.  Weird.  Back to bed.

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The next step in the plan was to get some equipment I needed.  Jump rope and cocoa butter Vaseline. (Essentials for a boxer, obviously!) So we got up at a normal time and headed to Target.  It was bad but not BAD outside.  I’m from the midwest.  By the time we got home however, it was really bad.  Blizzard bad.  No wonder they are calling it a blizzard!

Step three in the day: boxing training.  There was no way my car could possibly make it that far without getting stuck.  I felt horribly guilty about canceling on my trainer but I had to.  I think this was the first time ever that I’ve canceled the day of.  Later in the day, the gym was officially closed anyway!  So again, nothing to feel guilty about.  Weird. I couldn’t go if I wanted to now…

Step four in the plan was to attend the fights again.  No one from my team was fighting but the first round of my competition was so of course I’m going to attend.  In the early afternoon they cancelled the fights.  The blizzard has now shut down my whole day.  SO I was stuck in limbo again.  If they are rescheduling all the bouts from today, what does that mean for my bracket? What does that mean for the other guys going from my gym? Argh!  I had just felt some relief from knowing when I was going to fight and now everything is messy again!

 

Overall the Golden Gloves have been quite the journey.  I feel like one of those girls after she gets cut from the Bachelor but I’m learning so much about myself!  I’m better at some parts of it than I expected and worse at others.  The waiting, the lack of sleep, the workouts, the diet…….I’ll have so much to say when this is all over.  But for now Golden Gloves, I still accept this rose.

 

 

Weigh Ins!

Yesterday I weighed in and registered for the Golden Gloves tournament! The day was quite the experience……

 

5 AM

I set my alarm for 5 am even though the weigh ins were scheduled to begin at 10 AM. I have been struggling to get to my fight weight for a while. After talking to my coach two weeks ago, he really eased my mind that the weight would come off and the more I worried about it the harder it would be. He really made me feel better about it and the weight came off. My weight class is 141 pounds. My coach was expecting 138 on the scale. This will allow me to fuel for fighting but not kick me overweight for weigh ins. I FINALLY started seeing the right numbers last week. So when I set my alarm for 5 AM, I knew I would be at weight but I got up any way just to check. If I was overweight, I’d spend the morning running on a treadmill in trash bags……..

 

I stepped on the scale and held my breath. 137.2. Not only had I made weight but I had an extra a pound just in case. So I went back to bed J

 

8 AM

At 8 I got up to meet my fellow fighters at the boxing gym. There are 5 of us going under the Touch of Sleep name. I was hoping we were all at weight and the morning would go smoothly. When I arrived, I saw one of my fellow fighters sprinting on the treadmill in three sweat suits. I was SO thankful that wasn’t me. I had prepared SO much that I made sure I didn’t have to do that and it worked. I’ve been counting every calorie and watching every nutrient to not end up in that situation. It felt good to relax and not have to worry. 8It came time to leave and we all got in the car.

 

10 AM

We got to the weigh ins early and got our places in line. I knew for sure that I was registered for the tournament but there was a problem with all the other fighters. I quickly checked in and headed to the weigh in lines. The lady took me back to the scale alone. I was nervous and excited about seeing the number. I knew I was at weight. I didn’t eat or drink anything since 7pm the night before. Before I stepped on the scale, in my bra and underwear no less, I took a deep breath. Here it was. The moment that I’d been waiting for. A whole year of training was coming down to this. I could never prove to myself or anyone else how good or hard my training was if I couldn’t make weight. I’ve never had to be a certain number for anyone other than myself. When I stepped on the scale, I almost cried. 136.5. Not only had I made weight, I had come in 4.5 pounds under.

 

**To be clear, 136.5 is not what I consider a healthy weight for me. I prefer my body at 145 or so. But this is the boxing world, it’s just how it works.

 

The woman weighing me in didn’t know anything about me. She didn’t know I used to be 290+ pounds. She didn’t know my journey or all the work I’d put in to see that number. There was no shouts of congratulations or looks of astonishment. To her, I was just another boxer trying to make weight. But I knew. I knew everything that number represented. I knew the tears, the sweat and the bruises I’d gone through to get there. Even though I’ve been officially training for a year, it’s been more like 3. It felt like the culmination of my whole journey. It was different than crossing a finish line because this time, it’s the starting line.

 

I got dressed and had my doctor check. And just like that, I’m qualified to fight. All of my fellow fighters made weight as well (even if we had to wait another hour for all of them to get through registration!)

 

The whole situation felt a little anticlimactic. I knew it wouldn’t be a celebration for me but it’s been so long coming that I couldn’t believe how fast it was over. But now the real fight begins. Each day we don’t find out who is scheduled to fight until that day. So now there’s a balancing dance between training and waiting for your fight. Will it be tomorrow? The next day? There’s no way to know…..

 

Obviously I’m really good at waiting. I love to schedule my life down to the T. I like having control of what’s going on. So instead I’m learning even more lessons about myself and my constant problem with control. It’s hard to be anxious when you don’t have anything to be anxious about. I thought I’d be a wreck but I’m doing alright with the waiting……….for now.10250102_1726232567611968_4506162408645246567_n