Run Forest Run!

hotternhell 2017.

 

I found out my friend Megan had started the Couch to 5k program which got me really excited as Megan’s roommate Becca and try to do a 5k together every month. I told her I’d restart the Couch to 5k program with her as I’ve never actually finished the program. I always start and then do it for a while and just never finish. Needless to say, I’m already off to a bad start because I did Week 1 Day 1 on Monday Aug 14 and it is not Tuesday, August 22 and I just did Week 1 Day 2 (hahaha). Don’t fret though, I did the Jefferson City Hotter ‘n’ Hell 5k on Saturday so definitely got my miles in last week. I not only finished the race faster than last year, but it was my fastest race to date by 30 seconds.

As I’ve said before, I’m by no means a fast runner. My time was 45:30 which is obviously nothing to brag about but the fact that I made a PR motivates me. It motivates me to keep going, to set goals, to complete the Couch to 5k program with my friend, even if it takes me more than 8 weeks. So here are my goals:

  • Complete the Couch to 5k program, even if it takes more than 8 weeks
  • Run a 5k in under 40 minutes by December 31. (This may be lofty goal as it only gives me 4 months to shave off 5 and a half minutes, but we’re going to work on it)
  • Run at least 3x a week, Crossfit not included

Sometimes running for me is a hit or miss. If it’s too hot, it’s usually a bust and I don’t do well (ie June 5k). Some days I’m just not feeling it, but luckily Saturday was not one of those days. I have been running off and on for more than a year now and have picked up a few tips on running in general and 5ks that have helped me tremendously and will hopefully help you too.

  • Music-find some tunes that motivate you! I use Pandora and the two stations I like to use are Zumba (up beat for cardio) and Brittney Spears Radio. I find the Brittney Spears Radio tends to have more girl power songs which I totally get me in the zone when I’m running (especially Christina Aguilera’s “Stronger”).
  • A belt! I finally bit the bullet and bought a running belt. The pros is that it’s so much easier and less annoying than an arm band for your phone or ipod and it can hold things like car keys and credit cards. The cons are that it’s harder to skip songs you don’t like and my phone is huge so I have to take the case off the phone to get it to fit in the belt. Small price to pay to not have to deal with the arm band. Also, finding a plus size belt may be difficult. I’m lucky that I can squeeze my ass into a size large from Dick’s Sporting Goods but it’s a little more snug than I’d like it to be.
  • Good shoes! No brainer! Shoes can make all the difference, though the fastest mile I’ve ever ran was in shoes that were too narrow. My feet hurt so much I couldn’t wait to get home.
  • Stretch every single leg muscle you can think of. Running is hard on your body and most pain (Especially in joints) is cause by tight muscles. So make sure you’re stretching your foot, ankles, heel and Achilles, calves, IT band, hamstrings, quads, glutes. Don’t be shocked if you’re sore everywhere but your legs the next day. I am frequently sore in my abdomen, back and shoulders from holding my posture for 3 miles. The more you do it the more you get used to it.
  • When breathing is difficult I find it helpful to breath in through my nose for three steps and breath out through my mouth for three steps. It absolutely slows my running down but sometimes that’s what I need. I’m to the point now that it’s rare for me to get winded while running. Normally I stop because my legs are on fire (need to be better about stretching those heels) but on days it’s really humid, I start too fast, or my sinuses are just plugged I find this trick helpful.
  • Run in intervals. Last year when I did the Hotter ‘n’ Hell 5k I had one goal and that was to see how far I could run before stopping. It was amazing, I made it over a mile without stopping (first time ever in my life I ran a mile without stopping); however, my legs were shot for the rest of the race. At the time I didn’t care because my goal was not time it was to challenge myself not to stop. However, now that my goal is always time I run in short intervals, similar to the way they do it in the Couch to 5k program of the Ease into 5k program. I downloaded a simple interval clock for HITT workouts and set it. On Saturday, I decided I wanted to do 2 minutes of running followed by 2 minutes of walking. It worked great. I was tired toward the end and a few of the last intervals I wasn’t able to make it the entire 2 minutes running, but it was fine! I still finished 30 seconds faster than my 5k time in May, which was a new personal record.
  • If you’re playing tag with one person the entire race, make it your goal to beat them. There is almost always one or two people who pass me and then I pass them as we’re running. I usually make it my mission to finish before those people. What that means is when I see the finish line, I’m running and if they’re running and I’m behind them (which I usually am) I am sprinting. You’re not always going to beat them across the finish line, but it will help shave off a few seconds and it will give you someone to stick with when you’re feeling tired.
  • If you can see the finish line you should be running, regardless of whether you’re in a run or walk interval.
  • Always sprint across the finish line. Shave off those seconds where you can.
  • Get off the treadmill. Nothing replaces running on the street or on a path. When running on a treadmill the belt moves you forward meaning your running technique can be off making street running and races much harder. The treadmill has it’s place (ie inclement weather) but the street is always better.
  • Make it fun. I say it all the time, I hate running and I notice a huge difference in how well I perform when the 5k has a fun and festive feel to it compared to just a boring 3 miles. Also don’t be afraid of trail runs! Yes, they are challenging and sometimes they’re even longer than a 5k (the one I did was a 7k). Yes you will be sore the next day if all you ever do is run on flat paths and roads, but it’s so worth it. Constantly having to look at the trail ahead of you so you don’t trip keeps you mind occupied, the scenery is usually fantastic and you’ll challenge yourself in ways that are not possible on the road. Trail running definitely keeps running fun.

If you’re thinking about starting running, I would encourage you to try it. If you’re not sure where or how to start, check out Couch to 5k or Ease into 5k. If you can’t run a full minute, don’t fret. You can repeat weeks as often as you need to. I can guarantee that I will be repeating some weeks. Completing one of these program is not a race. Do it at a pace that works for you. And runners, if you have any other tips and tricks on running please put them in the comments. I would love to hear them!

You look like you’ve been losing weight

I’ve gotten this a lot in the last few months and I never get tired of hearing it. It’s noticeable. The work clothes I bought when I initially dropped 30 lbs are starting to become baggy. The pants I bought that were tight are fitting well. While my weight is not going down as quickly as I like, these other indicators definitely help me to stay motivated because the truth is the scale is a lying liar who lies. 

The truth is that I weight the same as I did last June, but those gray pants that used to be too tight fit perfect. Those black pants that used to fit perfectly are too baggy and that black shirt is starting to look too big too. But the scale is the same. In fact to give you a little more insight, I weigh about 20 lbs more than I did in 2011, but I’m almost a size smaller. I weigh a lot more than I did when I graduated high school, but I’m the same clothing size.

It’s so important in your journey to measure your success in multiple ways. I don’t keep inches (though I probably should) but I do know that I’m getting smaller. I can tell when I look in the mirror. I can tell by the way my clothing fits. I can tell because a lot of people are making comments. I also have measurements of my body fat percentage that I will eventually retest. But if I relied solely on what the scale told me I’d be in a world of disappointment because the truth is, I’m losing inches much faster than I’m losing “weight.”

So if you are just starting your journey or restarting your journey for the 115th time, know that the scale is not always a true indication of what’s really happening. Find other ways to measure your success. May that be measuring inches, getting a body fat scan, taking progress photos, monitoring how far you can run before stopping, how many sit-ups you can do in a minute, how much closer you are to getting that pull up. You never know, these other indicators may be what keeps you going. They may be the thing that stops defeat and makes the 115th attempt the successful attempt. Don’t let the scale make or break you. It’s journey, it has ups and downs and sometimes your progress and hard work are not always obvious. But I promise, if you put in the work you will reap the benefits.

 

bathroom scale

Back from my week long hiatus

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Life gets chaotic sometimes. Between two jobs, traveling for whatever, my dogs, doctor appointments from being rear ended and overtime sometimes I just need to disconnect. Last week was that week. After a week vacation in which I was on the run more than I was relaxed and going back to work as soon as I got back I decided to focus my week on getting back into the gym and getting back in the green on Eat to Perform. I realize that as new as this blog is taking a week from posting is probably not the best idea, I needed to just not worry about it for a while.

While I was on vacation they dropped my fat macros by 10 grams every day. I couldn’t eat dark meat chicken for two meals without hitting my fat and being left with protein and a ton of carbs. So readjusting to that, especially when I had no time to go grocery shopping before heading back to work was difficult. After about two days of completely screwing up my macros I started hitting greens again. Needless to say I dropped all the weight I put on over vacation and hit 4 lbs below my goal weighing in this morning at 265.2 lbs. I asked to get my fat back now that I hit my goal and they graced me with 3 grams per day of the 10 they took away (I wish you could have seen my eyes roll) and of course as always they gave me more carbs. My next goal is 263.4. Hoping to hit that this week. I also hit the gym 2x this week making it on Tuesday and Thursday. I would like to also restart Couch to 5k this week among the millions of other things I feel like I need to get done so we will see how that goes.

This weekend I have done absolutely nothing. I watched tv, napped, and made sure I hit my macros and while I feel like I completely blew a weekend, I am hoping to be recharged and ready to take on the next couple weeks of travel and overtime.

As for the Crossfit games, they were fun. Noah did fantastically placing 14th overall being one of the youngest boys to compete in his age division. The guy who won was pretty much 3 full years older than him. Camping was okay though I don’t know that I’d consider it camping. Yes we slept outside and dealt with the elements, though I don’t feel we did a lot of what makes camping great like hiking, rock climbing, etc. I’d definitely like to revisit Lake Kegonsa State Park and hit the trails and the lake.

The dogs also went camping that weekend with my family. According to Nicka’s doggie fitbit she had a lot of activity and not much sleep so the two of them crashed for about two days once we got back. All in all it was a good adventure and nice to get some fresh air. Also, in related dog news, I took their weights today and Delnicka is holding steady at about 17.8 lbs. She could stand to lose a little more weight, but she looks amazing compared to the 20 lbs she was when I brought her back to live with me after a year living at grandma’s. Chucho is up to 5.8 lbs which is a far cry from the 4.8 lbs he was when I adopted him in May. I’m happy to report you cannot feel as much of his spine as you used to and he now has an adequate amount of meat covering his hips. So everyone here has been happy and healthy!

The Word “Tone”

Tone. You see this word everywhere. Seriously! Go to Pinterest and head for the Health section. You’ll see a bunch of “10 moves to tone your arms” “30 day challenge; fully body toned workout.” But what is toned? What the hell does that even mean?

Most people think of toning as losing fat to show more definition in a certain area. But I’m going to hit you with some truth and hold on to your skives because it might change everything you think you know about fat loss. You cannot spot target fat. Meaning, your body, not your mind call the shots on where your fat disappears from first. So, you can run 10 miles a day and yes, you will gain some leg and core muscles from running, but you may lose fat in your face, or in your arms. You may not lose any fat in your ass. Squatting will give you the glutes of a god, but it might not get rid of the fat dimples on your butt. Why? Because your genetics and your body type determine where you lose fat first.

For me, I tend to lose fat rather proportionally, which you may think is lucky, but I have a big ol’ belly that I’d like to catch up with the rest of my body before I start losing fat everywhere else. But, my body doesn’t give a shit about what my brain wants. It doesn’t care about my ego, my insecurities, what pop culture tells me is beautiful. It loses fat where it decides it’s going to lose fat. So you may hate your big gut, your thunder thighs, your bat wings, or your turtle neck and I’m here to tell you stop targeting your fat. You can do all the crunches in the world and you still may lose weight from your legs first.

I will never tell you to stop doing core exercises, as a strong core is important for basically every movement we do; however, it is also important to work your legs, arms, etc too. Your entire body is important. Don’t skip leg day just because you want to lose fat in your arms. Your body will lose fat where it needs to lose it first and the rest will follow. If you continue with your healthy lifestyle and exercise you can most definitely lose fat and gain muscle and have a healthy ass body that is designed to function the way it was intended to.

In the meantime can everyone please do me a favor and take the word “tone” out of your vocabulary. It’s a wimpy word they created for women to down play the bad asserie that is us being strong and sexy af.

That’s my message for the day. I’ll be back bringing more bad ass stories and info to you on Friday.

-The Fathlete

Trampoline Park & Crossfit

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Despite eating too much fat and carbs the last two days I was very happy to wake up today three pounds lighter. I’ve been killing it all week until Saturday. My drive home went wonderfully. I hit all my macros by packing a cooler!  Now I’m struggling. My mom is not big on the lean protein.

Today was a busy day. I took my nephew to celebrate his 11th birthday since I will be missing his party this weekend. We started at the trampoline park where we jumped for an hour (if you’re reading this from Green Bay they have a Groupon right now)! Afterward, we went to Bay Beach in Green Bay and rode the rides, went to the Texas Road House where we devoured some bread and steaks, then finished up with Cold Stone. It was a pretty great day and I definitely think my nephew had fun.

My favorite part of my journey through fitness is all the amazing things I can do. Last year for Dameon’s Birthday I took him rock climbing and I was able to rock climb with him. I never would have been strong enough to do that before Crossfit. This year, we went to the trampoline park and despite my tight calf acting up, I was able to jump for the majority of the hour with short breaks to cool off. Afterward, I got my 11,000 steps in and still got a Crossfit workout in after I digested my Texas Road House steak.

I also got received great news from my friend Jess (shout out) today that she is down almost 40 lbs! How awesome and exciting! I love hearing about the success of my friends, it’s definitely motivating and inspiring!

My plan for the rest of the week is try to focus on protein, get a Crossfit workout in tomorrow, and get ready for camping and the Crossfit games! So excited, but this vacation is flying by way too quickly. I can’t believe it’s almost Tuesday.

Until next time followers!

-The Fathlete