Apparently I Like to Run

I’ve created a monster.

running

 

We ran the Mud Run two weeks ago, which inspired us to sign up for a local 6k last weekend. Now, we are signed up for the Warrior Dash in a few weeks and already looking into holiday runs, more obstacle runs and even Disney Runs. (OMG, Did you know there is a Princess run???) Anyways, last Saturday was the Heroes in Recovery 6k (weird distance, right?) and it was the first run where I didn’t feel like death at the end. In fact, I enjoyed the run. I felt awesome at the finish!

start

This race had zero obstacles, yet it was a hell of a lot more fun than the Mud Run we recently ran. The cool, breezy slightly misty weather certainly made for a pleasant run, but the whole experience was so positive that I am certain we will be running it again next year. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 reasons why the Heroes in Recovery kicks the Mud Run’s butt.

1. Pre-race shenanigans. Before the race started we enjoyed walking around the tents set up nearby. There were local gyms, stores and groups advertising and giving away free passes, t-shirts and selling cute merchandise. We got some cute free tanks for warming up on some rowing machines. There was also music playing and a stage set up where a local jazzercise group taught a few routines. It was the perfect way to warm-up. Everyone was silly, dancing and just having a good time. Fruit, bagels, trail mix, coffee and water were also available for everyone for no extra cost. Everything was well-organized and geared towards pumping the crowd up to run/walk.

jazzercise

2. Scenic route. The race was held in Leiper’s Fork which is a gorgeous part of town. We ran up and down hills, through the woods, past farms and wide open fields and around cows, horses and llamas. The race was never boring.

horses view cows

3. Cheerleaders. Everyone working, volunteering, watching and running was so enthusiastic and supportive. Before we started everyone pumped each other up, warmed up together and lined up excitedly. During the race we cheered for the people passing us and encouraged the ones behind us, as did everyone else. Volunteers on the side handed out water and constantly told us “great job!” At the finish line we were completely bombarded with people screaming, cheering and telling us how fantastic we are. We were handed metals as our chips were taken (that’s right, we got chips in this race). We also got water, more snacks and lots of praise. All of the love and support made us feel like heroes. In fact, it was so fun and encouraging that after we finished we stuck around to the end to cheer on everyone else running/walking the race.

4. After party. Once the race was over, the party continued. We were not rushed away and immediately sent home. The tents remained opened, a band played music, people snapped photos and everyone continued celebrating their accomplishments.

5. A sense of community. Heroes in Recovery is a movement started by Foundations Recovery Network and the those who are in recovery from addiction and mental illness. They want to break the stigma that surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders and keeps millions of people from seeking help. They put together events like this 6k to create a sense of community, and they did a perfect job. Everyone was working together, supporting one another and behaving like neighbors. We were all coming together for a good cause and doing something active and positive together.

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Besides these 5 reasons, the Heroes in Recovery 6k also offered free pics and free parking. We are definitely doing htis again next year. Aanndddd probably several other races in between. Any suggestions?

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Cheers!

The Original Mud Run: The Good, The Bad and The Dirty

For literally years now I have wanted to do a mud run. There are like gazillion mud runs around the country year-round (Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, etc) so there’s plenty to choose from; choosing is the easy part. The difficult part is finding friends to sign up with you. This year, I finally managed to get Husband and a close friend to be my daily workout buddies, and then convinced them both to start signing up for mud runs with me. The first one we chose to do was The Orignial Mud Run in Nashville.

start

We ran The Original Mud Run 10k this past Saturday. You read that right. 10k. We signed up for the 10k because we wanted to do every obstacle available and convinced ourselves we could easily prepare for a 10k. We planned to continue P90x3 while adding running a few days a week. However, summer vacations and illnesses threw us off schedule and September snuck up on us real fast. We stuck to our P90X3 workouts, but we only ran 3 times before the 10K. Again, you read that right…3 times. We thought it wouldn’t be so bad because the race would be broken up by obstacles. After all, we are in good shape.

running

I learned something very important after running that 10k Saturday… you can be in great shape and not be in good shape to run. Holy Cow, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) is a long long way! It was VERY hot and mostly in direct sunlight, which is not at all like working out in a big air-conditioned room. We walked quite a bit more than I thought we would, but so did everyone else. With all that being said, we still kicked butt! I’m fairly certain we were third in our group to finish. (They don’t time the fun run so I can’t be sure.) We may not have been the best runners, but we have great stamina and we rocked the obstacles!

cargonet

I did this particular race (and signed up for others in the near future) because I want to experience the different runs, review them and share the results with you. That being said, I am going to be very honest because I want you to know exactly what you are signing up for/purchasing/getting yourself into when you read my reviews. I had a lot of fun during the Mud Run, but was very disappointed at the same time.

log wall

We arrived to race site an hour early to pick up numbers and shirts, as suggested. It took about 30 seconds to park, get our stuff and be in place for the race. It was nice to get everything done so quickly, but then we were stuck in the hot sun with way too much time to stretch and nothing else to do. There were a few tents set up selling gear, but no tents for shade. No refreshments or snacks and really nothing to do, but wait. There was a shady area under some nearby trees, which seemed like the best place to stand. When we got close we warned not to go any further because there were two dogs tied up in the shade that were not friendly. Boo. Our race also started 15 minutes late, which was especially frustrating because it was an abnormally hot September day and only getting hotter. (I HIGHLY recommend singing up for these runs in cooler weather.) After what seemed like hours, the race finally began.

rolling logs

The website advertised 30+ obstacles for the 10k and I was told there were 32 obstacles set up. The first obstacle is said to be about a mile after the start to give everyone time to spread out. After doing some quick math I figured the other obstacles have to be about a tenth of a mile apart, right? Wrong. They were much further apart, and many of them could barely be considered obstacles. If there were actually 32 obstacles then some must have been crawling under one tree trunk or over one tire. The website also states that most obstacles contain mud and water. It would be generous to say that half do. Don’t get me wrong there were some really fun, challenging and muddy obstacles, bbuuutttt certainly not 32. In fact, not even close to 32.

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There are water stations set up every mile along the course, which should be awesome because it’s not only desperately needed, but it gives you an idea of how far you’ve run and how much further you have to go. When we got to the first water station we had just finished running up 2 very steep hills in direct sun and water never looked so good. I ran to the table, grabbed a cup filled to the brim and took a nice big gulp of hot water. Yes, hot. Not even luke warm, but hot water. The volunteers at the water stations had poured numerous cups of water in advance, but by the time we got to the water stations the water had been heated up by the sun and was not exactly refreshing. Talk about disappointment. It was better than nothing, but I don’t think it would have been difficult to supply us with cold water.

gorilla ropes

One mis-advertised obstacle turned out to be pretty humorous. Before the race began, the announcer guy told us that no water on the course would be over 3 feet deep. About halfway through the race we came to two giant mud puddles separated by a mound of mud. The volunteer stopped us and said, “The first puddle is shallow, the second is a little deeper.” Husband went first. He splashed to his ankles in the first puddle, went over the mound in the middle and jumped into the second puddle, which very surprisingly went up to his shoulders. After recovering from laughter, Bella jumped in and the water came completely over her head! I was lucky enough to go last and was totally prepared to swim. This actually happened twice on the course, and we were actually happy the water was much deeper than they said. It made it a little more exciting. However, they advertise that lifeguards will be on duty if it’s over 4 feet… not true.

mudpit

My Dad-in-law came to watch us run and take photos. The website says that family can “hang out at the spectator’s corral and other designated areas along the course”, which in reality was non-existent. He ended up just walking from obstacle to obstacle wherever possible, which was fine, but also inconvenient. They also said they would have vendors on site for food and drink which was nowhere to be found, and odd considering we were not allowed to bring our own food.

mud crawl

For me, the most disappointing part of the experience was the end. They lead you to believe that the end of the race is a big wet and wild celebration. There were supposed to be people cheering, a fire truck hosing us off, a free beer and lots of people having fun together. After our last obstacle there was a horse trailer with a sprinkler system set up to run through and clean ourselves off.  I was pretty sad that they weren’t able to get a fire truck on site, but what was worse was that the finish line was after the sprinklers. So as we crossed the finish line (which had kids and parents from the kids race walking through), we were clean. The two people who came to watch us took pictures of us which looked like we just went for a swim. Everyone was wondering where the mud was. Not only were we clean, but we were basically ignored. There was one lady handing out water bottles at the finish line and that was it. No music. No people cheering. No celebrators. No beer. (The beer turned out to be in a tent about 200 yards away from the finish.) The average finishing time is said to be 2 hours. We finished in an hour and 45 minutes, which makes me really happy.

water

After we finished, we walked to our cars, awkwardly changed under towels and left. It was incredibly anticlimactic. In fact, the workers were already taking stuff down, cleaning up and getting ready to go and it’s not like we finished last.  It cost $75 a person to do the race, which is very expensive compared to other similar races, and in my opinion you do not get what you pay for. It also costs $10 to park in a big empty field. It costs everyone $10, runners and spectators, which just seemed like money gouging.

finish line

 

Overall, we had fun. We felt accomplished and strong and dirty, but if I’m spending $85 I expect  a lot more effort and enthusiasm to be put into the event.

afterwards

The Warrior Dash is coming up in a few weeks, so hopefully I’ll have a much better review for you then. AND, hopefully, we will stick to our running schedule this month!

after

Has anyone else done any mud runs that you would/wouldn’t recommend?

luna

Cheers!

My Final T25 Results

fitness

Yes! I did it! (Or nailed it! as my fellow Shaun T fans would say.) After four months I have completed the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Gamma Hybrid rounds of Focus T25. I am now 6 months postpartum and feeling very fit. Husband and I have now done Insanity twice, the Asylum twice and completed T25…do we get some sort of medal for that? I mean, it’s a serious accomplishment.

6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum
6 weeks postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum

I love my results from T25. I am stronger , my muscles are more defined, my endurance is way better and I feel good. After a couple of months of T25 we added an extra 5 minutes to our workouts. Shaun T posts an extra 5 minutes to his Facebook everyday and being the loyal followers we are, we do them diligently. I’m also still getting at least 10,000 steps a day (thanks Fitbit!). The more I do, the better I feel and the better I feel the more I want to do. Getting back in to shape has encouraged me to eat healthier, be more active and definitely helps keep my anxiety at bay.

before and after Focus T25!
before and after Focus T25!

Event though I am happy with how I look and love my new muscles, getting back into shape has become so much more than improving my appearance. Being fit involves the health of my body, my mind and my soul. When I began T25 I was 6 weeks postpartum and far from healthy. My blood pressure and hormones have been WAY out of whack since giving birth. I was still suffering with anxiety and panic attacks. Even though I exercised through my entire pregnancy, I had managed to become very weak and lost lots of muscle mass during my hospital stay and recovery. Starting T25 was very difficult. I mostly stuck to the modifications. I felt sick some days. I had trouble catching my breath. I was disappointed in my abilities and knew I had a long road ahead of me.

moments

Throughout the 4 month program I watched myself grow stronger each week. After a couple of weeks I didn’t need the modifications any longer. After the first month I could complete every move and cardio sequence. Every week got better, and I became happier and more confident as each month passed. Now, I look forward to my workouts. I love being pushed to my limits. I love my body, stretch marks and all, because I love how strong it is. I have been healing my mind, body and soul all along.

Go me!
Go me!

Next on our list? P90X3. We start today and I am excited, but a little apprehensive. I’ve been with Shaun T for sooo long, not sure how I’m going to handle Tony from P90x… stay tuned for my review and results!

exercise

Cheers!

20 Weeks Postpartum Progress

shaun

Guess who finished the Gamma round of Focus T25 yesterday?!? That’s right. Husband, our friend Bella and myself all completed the third month of  T25 and I am still loving it. We have just one month left and then I think I will actually be sad to leave Shaun T and start a new workout program, but I can talk more about that in a month. I’m proud of my progress over the last 4 weeks, and I think a few little changes (plus the ridiculously intense workouts) may have done the trick.

This month has been a little different because we have added 5 extra minutes 5 days a week. Shaun T has been posting 5 minutes of workouts to do in addition to your regular workout on his Facebook page. They are freakin’ nuts. How does one come up with workout moves like the “single arm plank crunches” or the “double heisman to taps”? Most days we workout at 6:30am and do the 5 extra minutes as soon as the T25 workout of the day is over. I’ve got to say it is the greatest way to start your day, although Husband would disagree.

There is something so rewarding in getting your workout done so early. I feel very productive by 7am and ready for the day. For some reason, if we wait until the afternoon to workout, I feel like I can’t get started. I am not, and have never been, a morning person, so if I don’t workout when I get up I take FOREVER to start anything. I tend to do nothing, but feed Luna and drink coffee. At some point I’ll realize The View is on and remember the importance of getting off my butt and doing things. BUT when I workout in the morning I am ready. I drink my coffee while getting ready and manage to do a day’s worth of chores and errands before most people are up in the morning.

Another new thing I’m trying this month is a Fitbit. If you don’t know what a Fitbit is you are seriously missing out! It’s really just a super fancy pedometer, but it connects with an app on your phone and charts how far you walk, how many calories you burn, how many steps you take and how many very active minutes you have during the day. You can also log your sleep and create a food plan. I assumed two things when I got my Fitbit, 1) I was already getting at least 10,000 steps a day and 2) it wouldn’t make a difference if I wore a bracelet telling me how far I walk. I was very very wrong.

It is a lot harder to get 10,000 steps in a day than I thought, especially since I spend a lot of time sitting and feeding Luna. Also, being the competitive person that I am, it makes a HUGE difference to see all of my activity documented everyday. Not to mention, Bella and Husband also have one so now we all compete for “most steps”. It’s very addicting. I can’t tell you how often we march in place while talking on the phone, brushing our teeth or watching TV. It has definitely encouraged us to get up and move much more often.

So with T25, an extra 5 minutes and lots of steps, these are the results I’ve seen.

front progress2progress2I’m very happy with my transformation over the last 20 weeks. Only 4 weeks left of T25!

Any suggestions on what workout I should try next?

Cheers!

 

 

My Play Date with Moms

I recently met up with a couple of friend’s of mine, also Mommies, to go on a hike with our babies. VERY few of my Tennessee friends have babies so it’s rare that I get the opportunity to hangout with other Moms. It’s especially difficult considering I live an hour away from one, and two hours away from the other. So, when we do get together we try to pick a place somewhat in the middle. Our recent get together was at Old Hickory Lake Park, just north of Nashville.

OHLpark

This place is awesome! The trails go through some beautiful thick and very shaded woods. It is next to an enormous lake with beach areas, picnic tables and playgrounds. The woods are tall and grow over all the paths so its easy to stay cool on the shaded trails. Some trails are paved, but even the dirt trails are maintained well enough that we could push a stroller just about everywhere we wanted to explore. The moss growing over stones and old trees, as well as the butterflies, gives it a very “enchanted forest” feel.

forest sunlight

The best part about hanging out with these ladies is the ability to talk about our kids without feeling like a bore or like you’re in a competition. It’s so easy to get either competitive or ashamed when talking with (or googling) other moms and kids. I hate to even mention what Luna is doing, or not doing, because I don’t want to hear what she should be doing, or not doing. I too often google questions like, “When should my baby start laughing?”, “Why doesn’t my 4-month old play with her toys?”, or “When can I expect to be on a schedule?”

babyl

Sometimes I find responses that give me a bit a comfort, but most often I read things like “My newborn was on a schedule the second she popped out. She speaks 4 languages, sleeps 12 hours a night, reads fluently and does 25 push-ups.” Obviously these internet Moms with perfect children leave me thinking I must be doing something very wrong. I don’t actually take these people seriously, but it’s still refreshing and relieving to be with my real Mom friends and hear that their kids are just as unpredictable and random as my own.

babyboy

At first, one of us may sort of slowly and questionably ask….”sooooo, does your baby grab toys yet?” or “does your kid nap at the same time everyday by any chance?” Instead of lying or, exaggerating the truth, one of us will reply with, “Oh God no, my baby will sometimes take two 3 hour snaps and the next day might take 5 twenty minute naps. Then sometimes she naps once.”. Then we can all breathe with relief and realize that are kids are perfectly perfect.

swamp

After our hike, we had a picnic where we got to talk and gossip while one baby slept, one ate and one (slightly older baby) ran around chasing bugs. It was a great afternoon and I am looking forward to many more summer days like this!

meandluna

Cheers!

Postnatal Workout Progress

I want to apologize for lack of posting. We are having lots of Internet connection problems (that’s what happens when you move out of the city and into the middle of the woods), hopefully all will be fixed soon and I won’t have to depend on the local coffee joint for free wi-fi.

Okay, I have some bragging to do today. On Friday, we (Husband and I) finished the Beta round of Focus T25. We have endured 10 grueling weeks of some crazy intense workouts. I know what some of you are thinking…It’s only 25 minutes a day, how hard can that be?! Hard. Really effing hard. We have done Insanity, the Asylum and the Asylum Volume 2 and I can easily say T25 is just as hard as all of them if not harder. For real.

I am seeing very real results. I swear I look more toned than these progress photos show, but what’s more is that I feel awesome. I feel so strong! I can tell my endurance, agility, speed and strength have all improved through these workouts and I’m loving it! I am not trying to sound like a commercial or to sell you this workout. I really just want to encourage other people to exercise (any exercise) and to get fit.

progress
after I put all of these together I realized I should have taken them all in the same place in the same clothes, but oh well, too late now!

 

I am really proud of my hard work and my postpartum body. I have some stretch marks and some loose skin where skin used to be tighter, but I have NO shame. The one thing I want to work harder on is eating healthier. I am getting better about cutting out the junk, but there’s still room for improvement. We only get one body in this world, right? Might as well take good care of it!

front progress

As far as my overall health, I’m doing well. I have not got to lower my blood pressure medicine since my last “workout update” post, but it’s still staying normal and the doctor is really happy with my progress since having Luna. Mentally, I feel great. My anxiety keeps improving and I know getting in lots of cardio has helped tremendously. If either Luna or myself starts getting cranky, I have started putting her in the stroller and taking a walk. By the time I get hoe we are both much happier, and she is usually sleeping.

One tip I’d like to share with you this month is to find a workout partner. I cannot tell you how helpful it has been to have Husband workout with me. We hold each other accountable and push each other to do more and work harder. What’s more is we have a good friend who has joined us. The three of us do T25 together almost every morning. It’s so nice to get it done early and to do it with other people. It just makes the experience a lot more pleasant. So, do yourself a favor and find someone to workout with soon!

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Starting yesterday, we began the Gamma round of T25, and it is somehow even harder than Beta. In 4 weeks, I will be reporting back to you with my latest progress! CANNOT wait to see the results!

Cheers!

My Postnatal Workout Plan

Like many new Moms, I’m anxious to get back to my normal body again. I LOVED being pregnant, seriously, it made me feel awesome 99% of the time. I felt so beautiful. My skin was clear, my hair was thick and shiny, my nails were long, my anxiety was gone and I don’t know…there’s just something about carrying around a little life inside of you that makes you feel like a badass. I worked very hard to remain fit and healthy during pregnancy too.

Woop, woop! Still working out! It's not easy, but it's worth it!

I worked out 6 days a week. I even created several “10 Minute Prenatal Workouts” here. I ate mostly healthy and was in a great state of mine. Unfortunately, I still had a very difficult delivery and an awful recovery, but it would have been even worse if I hadn’t been so proactive during the pregnancy. I thought I’d be getting back into fighting shape before now, but who could have foreseen such a traumatic first month? Now, at 6 weeks postpartum, I am released and feeling SO much better!

I’m still battling a few health concerns, but I’ll talk more on that another time. For now, let’s talk exercise! I started doing yoga a few times a week a couple of weeks ago, and I even did one day of Insanity with Husband over the weekend…just to test my cardio and get a feel for it again. It was incredibly hard! Yesterday, I officially started Focus T25 by Sean T.

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6 weeks postpartum

Focus T25 is an intense workout that is only 25 minutes a day. I LOVE Sean T and have already completed Insanity and Asylum Volumes 1 & 2, so I figure this is the perfect postpartum workout. It’s challenging, but offers modifications, and I can squeeze it in while Luna naps and still have time to shower. I had a little bit of doubt before starting because 25 minutes just seems too short to get in as good of a workout as Insanity, but after only 2 days I’m sold!

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Six weeks off and all the medication and downtime I’ve had has certainly had its toll. My cardio is horrible! And, holy cow are my legs sore! I love it though, being sore makes me feel like I really did something. I’ve had to do a few modifications, but I don’t think I’ll have to for too long. It’s nice that modifications are even offered.

Husband is doing it with me which helps A LOT. We are very competitive and keep each other motivated. I can’t wait to see our results at the end of the program. (I took pics of him too, but he would be less than happy if I shared them with you.) While Focus T25 will be my main workout, I don’t think it will be the only thing we do. I’m going to try to squeeze in yoga a couple of times a week. Plus, we are just an active family anyways, so hiking, walks around the park and dancing around the house will be happening often, I’m sure.

I’ll update you on our progress every couple of weeks or so. In a couple of days, I’ll be writing about my new healthy eating plan too. I’m going to see how a few changes will affect my anxiety and other health issues over the next few months. Wish me luck!

Cheers!