Monday, March 25, 2013

Three Year Runniversary And A Giveaway!


I've been so busy with I <3 To Run's run a mile a day March challenge, Shaun T's Insanity birthday challenge AND working some, I completely forgot that this month marks three years since I began running. Unfortunately, I don't actually know the exact date I got out there on the high school track and attempted my first run. I know it was March and that I didn't get very far. I could make it about 1/8th of a mile before I had to stop, huffing and puffing in the cold. But I didn't give up.

And I haven't given up since I began on that cold, windy day in March of 2010. I can't believe how far I've come since that day, both literally and figuratively. I've run eight 5 ks, two 10 ks, one half marathon and just recently nearly 16 miles of the 199 miles of the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay. I always hoped that Charlie and I could incorporate travelling into our running plans, and we finally did! Now we're thinking about the places we'd love to visit AND run in. There's a race going on everywhere, so there are endless possibilities.

I've managed to increase my pace and distance. My first 5k on June 5th, 2010, I finished in 42:42. Last year, on June 9th, I PR'd a 5k in 26:35. I entered my first half marathon this past October, the Long Island Diva Half, and finished under my goal of 2:30 by the skin of my teeth, coming under with 8 seconds to spare! And just a few months ago, I ran three legs of a 12 person relay race, which totaled nearly 16 miles in less than 30 hours on no sleep. While I was running my first leg, I didn't think I wanted to finish THAT Ragnar, but after the entire experience, I realized that I would love to do another one, and continue to travel and experience more of the insanity that is Ragnar.

Three years is a long time for me to do just about anything, especially running. There's so many things I enjoy about it. I love that it's something that Charlie and I enjoy doing together. It's an activity that's good for us both physically and mentally and having a hobby in common helps strengthen our relationship. I can't wait to cross that finish line in May and see him attain some half marathon glory. Continuously striving for new running goals keeps running fresh and interesting. There's so many different race distances to strive for or improve on. I like seeing that I can push myself and rise to the challenge. I'll always want to hear my name for my age group, but sometimes that's not realistic, however, shaving seconds off my own time is something I can easily achieve. Also, I love the camaraderie among runners and the feeling of belonging to an elite group of individuals with a common goal of achieving their personal best.

Since it's my anniversary, I thought it was about time I held a giveaway to celebrate. I tried to think of things that have been instrumental in my weight loss and running journeys. Before I even thought about running, I exercised a lot at home. My DVDs have been the best investment I have ever made when it comes to fitness "equipment." Charlie can tell you that we have had a gym graveyard in the basement for the last 20 years.  Then, the Gazelle Glider, Ab Doer, Brenda Dygraf Body Glider or knock-off Total Gym would be given away or rise up to the garage graveyard, where they were eventually sold for PENNIES on the dollar at a yard sale. Equipment just got boring. When I was 75 pounds heavier, I could walk in place. I could step side to side and I could kick my legs. This is why I included Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds Ultimate Collection DVD. It has 4 separate walk workouts (1,2, 3 and 4 miles) and it includes a stretchy band for some toning exercises done during the 3 mile walk. I never had trouble getting through any of her workouts, but I could make them more challenging as I got more fit by adding her weighted gloves or hand weights and her weight belt. You could walk for as little as a "mile" or get one of her 5 mile DVDs and workout for an hour. I love that now you can get certified as a Walk leader, just like a Zumba instructor.

When I finally did get to running, my iPod was my savior. Stacking my running playlist with songs that can take me away from the sometimes agony and monotony of running miles on the treadmill or a 10 mile run along William Floyd Parkway was crucial. I can tell you that it runs the gamut of music genres. Right now my favorite chunk of songs include Pink, Finger Eleven, One Direction, Fun, The Wanted, *NSYNC and Bruno Mars. This is why I included the iTunes gift card. I know every time I listen to the radio I hear another song I want to download, so I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. $25 used to get you 25 songs. Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore!

Finally, I know that nutrition is important when trying to get the most out of your workouts and improving your health. I LOVE bars, probably because it makes me feel like I am eating a candy bar, but not. I know there are so many to choose from when shopping for protein/energy bars and I haven't really found one that I didn't like. I love Power Bars, Pure Protein bars, Luna Bars, Clif Bars... they all have delicious flavors and serve the same purpose for me. I wake up at 5:30 every morning and have a bar and a cup of coffee. I make sure the kids are ready for the day and out the door, then head to the gym. They're quick and easy and keep me going until I come home for my egg sandwich or oatmeal.  I chose the chocolate mint cookie crunch Balance Bars (6 count box) because they taste JUST like that minty, slender cookie that those uniformed girls hawk at the curb of your local grocery store. Devine.



I sure do wish I could say I got them free to review, but unfortunately, that's not the case. I picked up all of these items on my own. And of course, these opinions are my own. I have not been compensated in any way  for what I've written in this post.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Back To The Lab Again...

So not only is March I <3 To Run's "Run A Mile A Day" challenge, but Shaun T. from Insanity also issued his birthday challenge. Starting on March 4th, we could all begin Insanity with him, starting with the fit test. If you took a picture with the date written on a piece of paper while holding the Insanity DVDs and submitted it, you would be entered in the contest to be the lucky winner of a personal visit/workout with Shaun T. and his "Shaunterage" after the 60 days are up. I'd love the opportunity to workout with him, so I threw my hat in the ring.

I wouldn't mind him knocking on my door for a workout!


That means along with running at least a mile a day and training for the half marathon on May 5th, I'm also doing Insanity 6 days a week. It's been 9 months since I worked on this program. So far I have not broken myself, but I can see it being a possibility. I'm not a spring chicken. Middle aged, that's me, so I'm not pushing as hard or digging as deep as I can when doing the program, but I'm feeling my muscles work and I'm sweating buckets and I'm improving every day, even if it's only been 7 workouts. That program works fast. It's no lie when he says you can get up to a year's results in 60 days. I've only ever done the first month, so I wouldn't know, but I know that one month improved my running speed, so I'm going to see this through. March will be easy since I'm not working and there's nothing else for me to do!

The running challenge is already a third of the way through, praise be to God! LOL. 28 miles already run for the month!! Today I ran 4.18 miles in 40 minutes, taking the first mile to warm up and then running the next two at 6.5 mph and playing around with the speed the last mile or so. Speaking of playing around, yesterday I went for a run with Charlie. We couldn't go to the wildlife refuge trails since they close at 4 pm and I was too busy farting around with that cursed game Candy Crush on Facebook to get my ass in gear any earlier! Oh! I just realized I never told you about the running trails! We have a refuge not even a mile away from the house that we've only been to for a walk once in the 20+ years we've lived in this house. Last week we decided to give it a try and it was TOUGH navigating the sticks and pine cones, etc. but it was a lot of fun and something we plan to do again.

Not exactly the safest place to run alone, though, in case of injury!

ANYWAY, so instead of going to the trail, we went to the track. I was just not that into it when we got out of the car. I forgot my iPod and running at least 3 miles at the track, 12 long laps, was going to be b-o-r-i-n-g without music. To add insult to injury, my Garmin was dead before we even left the house and I didn't have my headband or my mittens to keep warm, either. I already had it in my mind that this run was going to SUCK. As we walked onto the track for a walking warm-up lap, I came up with the brilliant idea to run sprints. Now, I run intervals on the treadmill, where I push myself for 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile at 7.0, but I never full out sprint, so this was new for both of us. The plan was to run full speed on the straightaways and jog around the curves. What started out as a run I dreaded like going to the OB/GYN (still have to make that appointment!) turned out to be a blast! I was cracking up at what the image of myself running full tilt must have looked like! Then having Charlie next to me, like we were racing, made it even more fun. We were fast! Of course I have no hard proof of this, but just take my word for it. All I had was my cell phone to judge time and we lost track of how many laps we did, so there's only my guestimation. We'll have to revisit this run WITH a working Garmin to put it in the record books!

Any of you working on specific fitness goals this month? Anybody out there joining me in my misery?

Monday, March 4, 2013

M.I.A.

It's not even that I have been terrifically busy or anything, just going through the daily routine of day in and day out hasn't really inspired me to write much. Actually, I was really involved in the February fitness challenge that I mentioned and being captain of my four woman team meant keeping track of everybody's posts for points, posting my own videos and workout activity and relaying that all back to my Beach Body coach. My poor son's computer is now chock-full of videos of me lip synching on one piece of exercise equipment or another and plenty of sweaty/muscle shots from throughout the month. I had some really awesomely dedicated team members and we managed to stay on top of the leader board for all but 2 days! Sandy had us doing all sorts of fun activities for bonus points:

She had us take an insane picture and then for extra points make it our  FB profile picture...

plank in a public place (Ultramarathon man by Dean Karnazes- FANTASTIC book!)...

and take a picture of yourself doing an activity that begins with  the 1st letter of either  your 1st or last name- "Lip-locking Linda" (because kissing was already taken).



The whole month was a lot of fun peeking into everyone's daily lives and being inspired and motivated to do just a little bit more to keep our lead. All of that hard work and dedication paid off because we won! We'll all be proudly drinking our beverage of choice from a new Beach Body tumbler! I told my girls I didn't care what the prize was, all I knew was that I WANTED it!!

photo courtesy of Coach Sandy

I managed to lose 1.4 pounds last month and I'll take every ounce I can get! March began I < 3 to Run's Rune Every Day Challenge. You just have to commit to running at least 1 mile every day. I did this with the Runner's World challenge from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. So far I've run 10 miles. I would love to run 90+ miles this month. I managed 87 miles in that 6 week time period, so 90 will be tough . Hmmm...maybe 80 is more realistic...