Spring into a Fresh Start

I love spring. I’m not going to lie. Everything about this time of year makes me happy- from the cool mornings to the sunny afternoons, to the clear evenings. Most of all, I love doing fitness outside.

With spring comes new change, growth, and excitement- and I’m not just talking about outside. I’m talking about what’s INSIDE of me.

It seems to me that in the spring I land on new fresh goals for the year, not in January like most people. Spring revives me and ignites a desire to be and do more.

This spring I am training, still for the Spartan Race (May 4th) and the GORUCK Light (June 7th). I also have a slew of mountains (specifically 14ers) on my radar for this year. It’s funny because in addition to all of this outward stuff, I feel like I am internally focused as well. I am still tweaking my nutrition, trying to find my optimal diet (noun, not verb) and in doing so I am learning a lot about my body. This thing I have been living in for 31 years never ceases to amaze me.

My plan for the next 6 weeks, as we spring into a fresh start (taken from my 6 week challenge on Nerd Fitness here) is as follows:

Training- I am using the Spartan Boot camp 31 day training plan. Some days are plyometrics and sprints, other days are long slow runs. There are hills, stretching, and weights. All of this is designed to get me in the optimal shape for the gun that I am staring down the barrel of that is the Spartan Military Sprint in Colorado Springs.

Water- I have lost sight of my water consumption and it’s starting to manifest in my workouts and runs. With the warmer months and huge amounts of hiking, I need to get back to basics!

Joes- This is a really weird goal, but there is an amazing group of people that I envy. They are a part of It Burns Joe Fitness, a free workout offered at Red Rocks. Whenever I am there doing my haphazard Goruck training, I watch them, wanting to be them. They work hard and look like they are having the best time. I am going to make an effort to try it out at least once, and potentially 3 times to see if I can hang with the cool kids and if it helps me get to my goals!

Blog- Last but not least, I am going to make an effort to touch base here once a week, and post about how I am doing with my goals, what challenges I have had, and what I am doing to get through them. Maybe I’ll even throw out a giveaway! You never know!

I hope that this spring is as much of a game changer for you as I am planning on it being for me!!!

Spring Training

I can’t believe that spring is going to be here in two weeks. I have been a little quiet recently, but I promise you I have been busy! I am making progress on my pull up action. In fact, last week I successfully conquered the monkey bars for the first time since I was 10 years old!

The gains I have been making in my back strength are hard to see when I am at the gym hammering away on the pull up machine, but they became very evident the second I let go of the bar and swung!

In addition to my pull up training, I have been doing lots of cross training to get ready for the Spartan Sprint that is right around the corner in May. The Spartan will have a lot of different obstacles like rope climbs, monkey bars, scaling walls and more- even spear throwing! I’m not really sure how to practice for that last one, but I will do my best.

My training includes the 6 week workout plan from the Nerd Fitness Academy- designed to be progressively difficult as time goes on. I have done things I didn’t think I could do before: box jumps, 100 burpees, dozens of real push ups. Wow!

Now that the weather is getting nicer, we are getting back out on the trails, too! In February I hiked Beaver Creek and Rabbit Mountain. I saw neither beavers, nor rabbits, but I had a great time :) I also “rucked” these trails- Rabbit felt so good I was able to take a block of my husbands bricks! My Go Ruck event is June 7th!!!

This spring is off to a great start and I’m super stoked for what’s in store!

Quickie: 4Jan2014

I don’t do resolutions. But, I figured so simplicity’s sake I would start keeping better track of my progress starting January 1st. Anyhow, it’s four days into the new year and things are going great! I feel like my strength is back to normal and my energy levels are right where they were before Christmas. Limiting sugar by avoiding most sweets, getting back into my lifting routine, and walking daily have me focused, feeling well, and sleeping like a champ.

I’m really excited to have a few days under my belt of success. I think the longer a streak is, the harder it is to relent and break it.

The weekend brings rest, and apparently snow and cold…

I’m hunkered down and recharging. I hope you are, too!

High fives!

Quickie 28Dec13

Happy Saturday! This morning I am on the way to Anytime to get my squat on. My goal of getting a pull up by March 31 involves me working on all of my strength training as well as some cardio, because frankly I love it. I also am working on dropping a few more pounds from the 100 or so I’ve already bagged.

A pull up is a body weight exercise. So, by being lighter it should be easier to accomplish. Less weight to move = easier movement!

So, off I go to the gym. No sense in waiting until 2014. I never really believed in the power of a set day resolution. Resolve right now to run after your dreams. And dream big!

20131228-093859.jpg

Adapt and Grow

As the year starts to draw to a close I figured now would be a good time to update on where I’ve been and where I’m headed.

Up until this fall I would’ve classified myself as an endurance athlete. I love running, and that was where all of my focus and energy was spent. But, ever since my full marathon in April, my passion seemed zapped. I still did some races, but the “fun run” part of my training just wasn’t there. In addition, I left my gym that had a run club, and switched to one next to my work to help save money.
Around the same time I started listening to more podcasts about training and fitness- I think I was looking for something to get me going and unstick me. In one of the paleo podcasts I listen to a trainer was being interviewed and was talking about the women he trains. He was explaining that you can only serve one master in the gym, and it hit me. I wanted the results of someone who strength trains, but I was doing the work of an endurance athlete.

In October I made a conscious decision to start strength training, and only do a couple fun run races. As a part of the Nerd Fitness Academy I had access to the workouts, and chose the Barbell Battalion to start my training.

Many ladies will attest, moving to the free weights section of the gym can be a scary thing, so I enlisted the help of my best friend, who was also a runner and wanting to get strong. We started small, not even using the bar, and opting for the lighter preset weight bars. Over the past 8 weeks we have worked our way up to some great PRs and we are both growing and learning

20131215-093721.jpg

2014 Planning
So with my weight workouts doing well I have a few things on my plate that I’m excited about for 2014.

First, I have been selected to be a Girls Gone Sporty Goal Getter. Over the course of the first quarter of 2014, I will be working towards getting my first pull up! Never in my life have I ever done one and until I started my NFA workouts, I couldn’t even hang on a bar. Two days a week I have hanging knee tucks on my training plan, so my grip strength has improved greatly! Starting January 1st, I will be sharing with the world (eep!) my progress!

So far, I can at least hang and bend my arms! Hooray!

(I will add a YouTube link, as soon as I can make it work!)

Next, in May I will be participating in a Spartan Sprint in Colorado Springs. I won this entry from Amanda at Mommy Go Run. My best friend won one as well! We are super excited to get to try this together!

Lastly, a bunch of us are training to do a Go Ruck Light in June! This will involve being a part of a team training that lasts 7 hours or so. We train with a backpack full of bricks, that we’ve wrapped carefully…
Here are mine:

20131215-095058.jpg

So, that’s where I’m at, with some great goals for 2014! I’m super excited to get going!

20131215-095244.jpg

Best Turkey Day Race- North Denver!!!

I love Thanksgiving- I always have. For me Thanksgiving always meant time with my family, no agenda, and most of all GOOD FOOD.

Four years ago, with the paradigm shift of losing my dad and finding health and fitness, I discovered another reason to love Thanksgiving- The Turkey Day 5/10k. This race is awesome. I run Redline Running’s Turkey Day (sometimes I do the 10, and sometimes the 5) because it is an amazing way to start the day THANKFUL that I can run at all. Running literally saved my life, and while my gratitude is unending, having a day where I get to celebrate that warms my heart.

Turkey Day

I get so much joy from running this race- in fact, last year I PR’d my 10k on this course:

Turkey Day 10k 2012

Turkey Day 10k 2012

 

The course that the race director has laid out is pretty flat and fast. The race starts at the Broomfield Commons which is fantastic because there is a ton of parking and restrooms, as it’s designed for large scale soccer tournaments. Many vendors were there early and the excitement and buzz was contagious. There is a costume contest with prizes (yay prizes!) and over the years I have seen some hilarious get-ups. I think the best was a whole family decked out like pilgrims and native Americans, and the worst was a lady who just had slabs of turkey meat stapled to her shirt (which fell off as she ran, making the run an obstacle course…) There were a ton of people at the race long before it started, and it made me so happy to see families making a day out of it. The announcers were great with letting everyone know where they should be and when, and if you’ve ever been to a race where everyone is clueless, you know how frustrating that is!

The 10k-ers start before the 5k, making the differentiation between the two courses easier to plot. Last year I ran the 10k and it was my best run to date. There was a slight incline as you run through the streets and parks of Broomfield. I found myself in a place of reflection and peace- I was cruising. All of the volunteers out on the course were friendly and helpful- they truly created an excellent environment.

Coming around the final stretch, into the park, you can see everyone there to cheer you on as you finish. This approach was epic and I was able to pick up my speed a little and finish like a champ! That picture above is the culmination of hard work and an amazing run!

As I came through the finish line I was greeted by family and friends, who didn’t mind hanging out at the commons because there was plenty for them to do while they waited. We spent some time checking out each of the vendors and seeing what they had to offer. It’s a sad trend that most vendors these days are just handing out coupons, but the vendors here had samples and could answer questions about the products. I eat gluten free, and my most favorite vendor had gluten free pancakes! LOVE!

Now, normally this is where I would peace out from a race. Redline does a fantastic raffle at the end, with tons of winners and lots of fun, so this one race gets my attention through the end. Last year they gave away so many great prizes, from cash to pies to sporting goods. It was awesome! I didn’t win anything, but the sheer excitement of all the families watching and waiting was so worth sticking around for!

The race shirts that we get are my most favorite. Two years ago we got a long sleeve tech shirt with a crazy turkey doing a cartwheel on it, and I just love it. It has a spot up near the collar bone for your headphones to come through. These are clearly running shirts made by other runners! Redline has an awesome line of running gear- last year they gave the first 100 registrants arm warmers- and I adore them!

Arm Warmers

This year I’m running again; I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I hope that you will sign up and come out to run with me!!!

If you live in the northern Denver metro area, THIS is the race that you have to get to!

Gobble Gobble! I’mma gitchoo, turkey!!! 

Amazing Realization Wednesday

I caught myself getting stuck in one of my neurotic cycles last night. One of my goals (the walking one) is built around a streak of at least 10,000 steps a day. Unfortunately as I was getting ready for bed, dead tired from a long day, I realized that I still had about 3,000 steps to go.  The neurotic part of my brain started to kick in and tell me to get on the treadmill and walk until I made my goal, but I realized that the unhealthy mindset that was telling me to do that, was the same voice that keeps me sick. The whole long term reward related streak idea feeds into my neurosis that I can’t miss a single day and that I am never good enough- it leaves no leeway for life and listening to my body. It’s a rule rather than a chance to make a healthy choice.

I have amended this goal to now read: “4 weeks of 10,000 steps a day= walking shoes *If a day is missed, as long as it is not two in a row, it can be added to the end. ie 28 days can become 29 if one day is missed or 32 if on 4 different weeks a day is missed, not consecutive to another.”

 

I am in this to make life long habits, not to just kill myself over a day when my body won’t comply. I never used to listen to my body before, when she was screaming and crying out for help.

Today is a new day to do just that.