Monday, January 26, 2015

My own 30 day challenge!

I'm not very good at getting any strength training in unless I'm going to a barre class or something of that nature.

I see all these 30 day challenges but they get to like 1,000,000 squats (a bit of an exaggeration)... and I can't do things like that. Plus I really just want to strengthen my core. I want to be better at planks. I used to be really good and could hold a plank like no one's business. In fact, we had a challenge at my house once and all held planks until people gave up. I won! I held that plank for like 5 mins! 

I can't do that anymore. Especially after I hurt my shoulder, and then last year, hurt my back. I lost A LOT! 20-30 seconds of planking is hard for me. Not to mention all the plank variations.

So to try to increase my plank endurance and do it consistently, I decided to create my own 30 day challenge.  I also threw in some wall sits for good measure, because I like them and I couldn't think of anything else.

I also understand that some of this might seem very basic and very minimal to some of you that are strength training beasts. Hey, everyone needs to start somewhere. I will be doing this with a few of my friends who have decided to join me. Friends = accountability. I will also be doing this in addition to all of my other weekly/daily workouts. Just a little something extra. It's not too extreme that I know I should be able to do it but it's still challenging enough that I will be feeling it and have to work hard.

If you like 30 day challenges, feel free to join me! If you do, let me know how it's going for you!

You will have to excuse my picture. I was having trouble on the computer and had to upload the picture through a screenshot on my phone. Ugh.  Anyway, the challenge starts today with 20 second planks (3 times) and 20 second wall sits (3 times). Fridays are rest days (I'm flexible, use whatever rest day works best for your schedule), then Saturday is always the increase for the next week. So starting Saturday, it will be 30 second planks (3x) and 30 second wall sits (3x). Every Saturday, I increased by 10 seconds.
Since I'm so flexible (and forgetful), I added a couple extra days at the bottom. So if you forget to do it one day (that always happens to me), you didn't ruin the 30 day challenge. Simply add it to the days at the end. Try to limit these as best you can and try to not forget more than 3 if possible!  This is designed to just help me get stronger and better.
Anyway, happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Major Holdup - What's In Store For 2105?

I'm reading a lot of your blogs and am hearing about all the wonderful and challenging goals you all have for 2015! Way to make me feel like a slacker! lol. Seriously, you guys are awesome and motivating!

For the past (almost) 2 weeks, I've taken a break from running. Mentally and physically I needed it. As you saw from my last post, I did a LOT of races. Which in turn involved a LOT of running. I may not have been fast, but 1,000 miles at any pace is still 1,000 miles, right?  Eleven half marathons, a full marathon, and an ultra are still all those things whether you are fast or slow.

My plans nearing the end of last year were to take 2015 much easier. And then my boyfriend pointed out I already have races/runs planned from April through August. But it's only 1 per month so that's progress!  Here is what I already have planned. P.S. you have to excuse my sidebar that still has races from last year listed. I can't change it from this computer and keep forgetting to do it elsewhere.

2015 races on tap so far...

February 8: Frosty 5 miler, Channahon, Illinois - I did this race last year and it was ok. But believe it or not, my crazy friend is planning this as part of her bachelorette weekend. We are going out on Saturday night and this race is on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.  Let's just say, my goal is to finish and not throw up from my hangover.

April 4: Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, Springfield, Illinois - This one has been on a small bucket list for a couple years. Should be a good time!

May 3: First Midwest Bank Half Marathon (aka Palos Half), Palos, Illinois - I did this one last year and it's local and basically almost all of my run friends do it. It was half off for a special deal price and I scooped it up!  My initial goal is to PR this race. But... see my hold up problem below. PR = TBD.

June 14: Marion Rotary Marathon for Shoes, Marion, Iowa - I won this marathon entry from Too Tall Fritz. So I guess I'm doing a marathon this year. Ideally, I would have tried to say "no marathons for 2015" but when you get a free use it. I have no goals for this race. Easy, peasy, get through it without dying.  Anything can go in June as far as weather goes so I'm not planning on a PR or anything. Just going for a little 26.2 mile run (up some hills and through a cemetery...seriously. Through a cemetery. Hey, I didn't make the course).  They actually have a video you can watch of them driving the course so that was cool.

July 18: Sister Lakes Triathlon (Olympic Distance) - Woohoo!!  Here I come Olympic Distance. My goal is to not dislocate my shoulder. Hey, that's a pretty good goal considering what happened at the Esprit De She last year.

August: St. Jude Chicago To Peoria Relay - I haven't signed up for this yet but it's essentially similar to Ragnar where you have a team and you each run a leg and repeat until you get to your destination (Peoria). My boyfriend's sister has a team and I told them I'd do it this year.

So there you have it. My list of races as of right now. This might even seem like a lot to some people but it's a far cry from last year. Although it's hard to say no if free races pop I reserve the right to change this list at any time!

So what's the One Major Holdup I was talking about?  Weight. I know everyone should be happy with their body, etc, etc. And I am. BUT...I want to fit in my pants again. And I know it's a major factor on why I'm running much slower right now.  I need to get it together. Badly.

Ideally, I'd like to lose about 30 lbs. But I'm happy with any downward movement in the scale that holds. So I'm taking steps to achieve this right now (started yesterday). I will fill you in on those in a week or so.

I'm also having a problem figuring out how to PR my half marathon when I don't like running fast. I don't like running outside of my comfort zone. I need to put steps in place to figure this one out soon as I need to get a move on.  Any ideas how to get started on this goal?

Thanks for all your motivation and encouragement! Here is to a fabulous 2015!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Year in Review

2014 is one running year I won't forget. That's why I'm glad I have a blog. I won't forget it because it's documented! I just read my 2013 Year in Review with a smile!  So, without further adieu...


I completed 11 half marathons, 1 full marathon, 1 ultra marathon, a sprint triathlon, a duathlon, and a few other things (5k's, 8k's, helping friends train for their first marathon, etc).


I completed 11 half marathons. Wow. That is a lot. In my 2013 recap, I had done 6 and that had been the most in one year. This year I got a few free (maybe 5) and did a couple vacation half marathons and that's what really did it for me.  My goal for my half marathons was to learn to "run happy". I know you have all heard me talk about it but the entire spring was dedicated to running happy, being consistant, shoving negative thoughts out and continuing to push on even when it was hard. I didn't care about time. I wanted to enjoy my runs, look around and take in the surroundings. It worked. Slowly but surely, I was able to remain positive even when I was tired, sore, or hot. One foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward. Smile. Slap hands of spectators. Take photos. Whatever I had to do to keep my thoughts positive.

1. Get Lucky Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (March 15) - I originally signed up for this race to keep me running through the awful cold winter months that preceded the race. (Recap Here)

Me and Derek
2. Mustang 50th Half Marathon, Las Vegas, NV (April 19) - Vacation and checking a state off my list! This is the first and only half marathon for Mustang's 50th Anniversary. Hot, no shade...but an awesome medal and ran the whole thing with Becky! (Recap Here)

Me and Becky
3. First Midwest Bank Half Marathon, Palos, IL (May 4) - Managed to get into this half marathon for the first time ever (for free). Local half, tons of friends doing it and supporting, and it was also my cousin's first half marathon! Go Nick! This was also my fastest half of 2014 (although a far cry from my PR) (Recap Here)

Me, Gayle, Nick
4. Chicago Spring Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (May 18) - Ran this half for free also! Went down with some friends.  This half was the first one of the year that I started noticing my progress in the "run happy" department. I was enjoying the gorgeous weather and Chicago skyline. There is nothing like the Chicago skyline on a gorgeous and clear day! (Recap Here)

Marty, Ryan, Lynn, Julie, Melanie, Me, Derek
5. Michelob Ultra 13.1, Chicago, IL (June 7) - Also free (blogger benefit). Met up with a friend from out of town since she won my giveaway! It was hot and I tried not to die. Decided a run/walk interval was the way to get me through this one (Recap Here)

Susan, Kim, Violet, Melanie, Jill, Me, Meg
6. Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (July 20) - I actually was less than impressed this year with this race. And it was hot. Lets say, I was happy it was over. My positive attitude had to work double time on this race! (Recap Here)
Me and Derek
7. Zooma Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (August 2) - free since I was an ambassador of the first time being an ambassador! (Recap Here)
Me and some of my fellow ambassadors
8. Double Half Marathon, San Antonio, TX (Sept 7) - Vacation Half Marathon. Also probably the hottest half of the year but had a decent amount of shade so not too bad. (Recap Here)
Me and the love of my life!
9. Tri Town Community Half Marathon, Merriville, IN (Sept 28) - Signed up for this half since it was on a groupon and fit into my marathon training schedule. A few of my friends were doing the half and a few were doing the full. Um... wow. This half was something else. And not to be repeated (especially for the full). (Recap Here)

Karen, Becky, Carol, Me, Derek
10. Valparaiso Half Marathon, Valparaiso, IN (Nov 9) - Won a free entry. Hard since it was the weekend after my ultra and my positive attitude was shot out the window during the ultra. But it was free. And my friends were doing it. And it was well run. (Recap Here)
Melanie, Me, Julie, Jimmy
11. Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, Schaumburg, IL (Nov 29). Always wanted to do this one. Signed up. Regretted that I still needed to run a half marathon as I was ready to quit running. Ha! Made it through relatively ok. (Recap Here)
Me and the FNRC
WHOA! Now I'm tired just recaping my half marathons!  On the the rest of the year!

Esprit De She Triathlon - I did this triathlon the day after the 13.1 half in June! (Recap Here). I dislocated my shoulder at the start of the swim, got it back in, and continued and didn't even do that bad! I was on cloud 9 when I finished and officially earned badass status!
Me with my supporter!
Grand Rapids Marathon!! (October) - I PR'd. That was my only goal this whole year. It's been a couple years and my marathons last year were rough so I really made this goal my priority. I hurt the last 5 miles and definitely lost tons of time but still a 5+ min PR so I'm happy. Thanks to Julie for running 15 miles with me! I know that helped! (Recap Here)
So happy crossing the finish line!
Julie, Derek, Me
Lakefront Ultra 50k (November) - Two weeks after my marathon (13 days actually) - I still had not fully recovered from the pain in my leg/IT Band maybe. And super windy day. I was miserable. It was the hardest race of my life. But I finished. This is the race that really did me in. I didn't want to run afterwards. Ever again. lol (Recap Here)
Don't let the smile fool you. I'm crying on the inside. I'm just happy I'm a few feet away from finishing!

Jan (first ultra), Melanie (Second ultra), Me (Second ultra) - They both had a great time, btw.
So to recap my review...I had A LOT of races in 2014. A LOT! I didn't plan to have that many half marathons, they just happened. And I think that's why I'm so burnt out right now. I need a break. I'm taking 2 full weeks off of running to recouperate! Luckily this break comes with the coldest temps of the season!

I also did some barre classes too, and that was a nice cross training break! I need to strengthen up my core!

Before I forgot, I couldn't slack off the entire month of December because I also had a goal of achieving 1,000 miles for the year. And with about 60+ left for December, lack of motivation, and no big races left to run, it was a HUGE challenge to get it done. I finished with 1,000.04!!

So even though I didn't PR any of my halves or 5k's, it wasn't really my goal in 2014. I did PR the triathlon, duathlon, and my marathon! I also completed some of the longest bike miles ever! (I just keep adding on to this recap as I remember things I did! So sorry!)

4th of July Metric Century Ride - Recap Here. 62 miles done!

Venus De Miles - August. Recap Here - Not really a recap but whatever. I did 66+ miles because we got a bit lost at the end. Longest ride ever! Lots of hills too so it was rough at times. But still tons of fun!
Me and Melanie!

Because this photo needs to be posted as often as possible.
Me and Derek dressed for the Men in Drag Support Crew!
Ok folks. I think I'll let you get back to your lives. I had a busy year. I'm planning a less busy 2015! :)  More to come on that!