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26 days til 26.2

Today is a magical day. There are only 26 days left until I lace up my running shoes early in the morning downtown and head for the start line. In 26 days, at 7AM the clock will start. Thousands of runners will take off to accomplish what they have been training for over the past weeks and months. I will be one of those runners, and I can’t hide my excitement.

I’ve been wanting to accomplish this for quite some time now. My goal: run, enjoy the route, and finish. Sounds like it should be simple enough, right? Well, I sure hope so. If you ask me, there is nothing “simple” about running 26.2 miles. The physical, mental, and emotional strengths that I have surprised myself with this year are things that I am not about to brush off with a “no big deal.” The truth is…this is a big deal.

At the beginning of 2010, I told myself this would be the year. I would run and finish a marathon. I knew that to get to that point though, I would need to commit — no excuses allowed. The commitment goes beyond committing to run the miles — I have taken the time needed to run the miles the right way, have worked hard to finish each of my runs as strong as possible, I have changed my eating and drinking habits (water is God and pre-run, mid-run, and post-run food should be chosen wisely), and I have even changed my social habits  (saying “no” to much more than usual, coming home earlier than usual so I can sleep and wake up early the next day for a long run, and reassuring my friends that I won’t be “lame” after Oct. 17). Holy commitment!

So far, I have done it. I have kept running, kept writing about my running, and have somehow managed to “stay committed even when I’m not motivated” (for those of you who have been following my journey for awhile now, you might remember that notion from awhile back…sound advice one of my best friends, Kelly, shared with me).

I remember when Summer came around the corner and I had already been running, but I needed to start following a bit more strict training plan. I started. I kept up with it, but allowed enough flexibility to be sure I maintained motivation. As long as I fit workouts in, stayed in shape, and was able to finish my long runs, I knew I was on the right track. Sure, there have been a handful of times when I was ready to stop (I hate even daring to use that awful word, “quit”), be done with it — who really needs to run a marathon anyway? What was I proving? Who was I doing this for? But, I carried on. I need to run a marathon. I am proving to myself that I can finish this, that I can really do something major that I have wanted to do for years — I can take something huge from start to finish. I am doing this for me.

As horrible as a few of my long runs have been, I am thankful for them. They are reminders for me during a long run that if I was able to finish a long run “like that one [insert a number from 7-14 here]-miler in [insert summer month here] in the middle of the afternoon in ninety-some-percent humidity” or “like that one at 6AM in 92% humidity” (yes, 92% humidity at 6AM!), then I can finish that same distance, and longer, during the beautiful Fall months. Oh, and don’t forget the great runs…where I have finished and felt like I could just continue on and finish a marathon right then and there. Those runs keep me going, too…maybe even more so!

It’s not just the runs…but my friends and family, too (yes, that means you…thanks for continuing to read my ramblings). They, and you, have kept encouraging me — some have even joined me on their bike or rollerblades — and have continued to remind me how insane I am.

I guess I am a little insane. But, aren’t we all? I’ll just have a medal to prove it 🙂

Until then, there are still more training miles to be ran. They won’t run themselves, and I haven’t crossed that finish line yet…so this isn’t over yet. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (or the clock at the finish line, if you will) but there’s no stopping until I cross that line.

This weekend…I have my longest run of training ahead of me. A 20-mile run. 20 miles! I’m looking forward to it because I know I will be that much closer to the start line, and to the finish line, and I’ll be that much closer to accomplishing my biggest goal of 2010.

And, when I cross that finish line in 26 days…how sweet it will be. When I can finish my blog post with “26.2 miles…success,” how sweet it will be.

254 days of training down, 26 to go…success.

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running, social media, and a personal trainer

I realize I haven’t been blogging everyday, as I originally said I was going to do. To be honest, I said that because I thought it would be the best way for me to hold myself accountable for actually doing my workouts. I needed that at first. Now that I am getting into a good groove, I’m still getting the workouts in, but my days have been filling up with many more things to do, and I’m finding less and less time to sit down at the computer (especially for personal time). I will definitely be posting at least twice a week, will aim to post more than that, and will do everything I can to keep this entertaining, motivational, and a place for everyone to learn, laugh (at me), and share experiences!

I mentioned in my last post that I joined Life Time and have been very unsure about it. All of the amenities, the monthly fee, and the fact that I thought I wasn’t going to have to pay some upfront administration fee and then got charged. Well…for those of you who may have noticed on twitter, I had a brief back-and-forth with @lifetimefitness which resulted in an e-mail with a community manager at Life Time corporate offices. I let him know that I had quite a bad taste in my mouth and that had much to do with the fact that I was thinking about leaving (this is in fact, 100% truthful). I am not one to waste my time (or other people’s, for that matter) just trying to save a dime–I sincerely felt lied to, and this is what gave me the most negative feelings about joining a gym (something I am usually against anyway). Rob, the community manager over at Life Time responded promptly both to my tweets and to my e-mails. Seeing that I am a marketing/social media person myself, of course I was certainly impressed with this; but, even more than that I was so impressed with this in the sense of customer service, the promptness, professionalism, and willingness to come to a mutually beneficial resolution. Rob and I came to a resolution and I have agreed to give Life Time a second chance (everyone deserves a second chance if they’re willing to try too, right?!).

So, that being said I had my Fit Test scheduled for this evening with a personal trainer. I was planning on canceling, but I decided to give it a shot. I headed over to Life Time and met with Josh, the personal trainer I’ll be working with this month. He went through my Fit Test with me, to measure my BMI, VO2, bicep strength, flexibility, body composition, overall fitness, and my body age. He explained everything, was very thorough, and made some great recommendations. I have some LTBucks (this is Life Time currency/gift certificates) to use, and I will be using them on a couple more training sessions with Josh. We’ll see how those go, then we will take it from there. I’m really looking forward to working with him, hopefully for more than just a couple session – who knows?

We talked a lot about my marathon training and strength training. Like I have mentioned here before, I really want to work on my core and my muscles strength as I know that will be beneficial to my running as well. What always ends up happening when I start strength training is I stop because I reach a point where I get disinterested, I find a machine I don’t know how to use and don’t know who to ask, or some other lame excuse like that gets in my way. Not this time! This is what Josh and I will focus on for my sessions, and he even made it clear that the trainers are always willing to help with any questions members have while in the gym. If you have a question, don’t know how to use a machine, or whatever it may be, the trainers are there to help–they are not only there to help their personal clients.

After completing my Fit Test and discussing my goals with Josh, I went for a run on the treadmill. I ran a 5K, and felt great. I know it seems like I haven’t been making much progress, and it might even seem that I have almost gone backwards a bit. The thing is that I have to admit that my cross-country road trip really threw me off schedule, which really ended up throwing my workout routine for a curve ball too.

I have been getting better and better with my eating as the weeks go on though. I have also noticed that the better I eat, and the more water I drink, the better I feel and the more excited and motivated I am to go workout when I know I need to. It’s amazing how the body works! Something is always much easier to use and understand when you know how it actually functions–so go figure that if you take the time to figure out and learn about how your body truly works, it will be easier to use it and understand how to take better care of it!

This month’s goals:

  • make the most of personal training sessions
  • continue to eat well
  • drink lots of water
  • sleep
  • make progress in strength training
  • take at least one class each week

Fit Test…success.

P.S. My body age is…23…I’m right on par. Sure, I could be younger but at least I’m not older!

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weekend recap

Well, weekends usually bring long runs but after a few longer runs this past week I needed to work on my body, stretching, and allowing my body to recover correctly so longer runs weren’t the case for me yesterday and today.

After a fabulous time on Friday night at a wrap party in Hollywood (I know, I’m so fancy…right?! LOL), my friends and I knew I would not be waking up for the weekly Saturday morning run at 8:30am. However, at 6:30am on Saturday morning I popped up without an alarm and even though I was still a little tired I was determined to stay awake, get ready, and head out for the morning run with the group.

Sure enough, I had some breakfast and headed out to meet with everyone. A beautiful Saturday morning down at the beach and we tackled a great run. I fit in a 4.5 miles and felt great, and stretched out for a little while after the run.

We went out to dinner last night, and I tried to keep it healthy yet delicious at the same time. I succeeded for the most part, with an entree of sesame-crusted seared ahi tuna, sweet potato fries, and grilled zucchini. The martini I had was even acai berry (is acai berry still good for you if it is in a cocktail?!). That was all fine and dandy…then Jeremy decided we needed gelato for dessert. It was delicious, and everyone needs sweets every now and then. I had a small (they let me have 3 flavors!) with roasted banana flavor, extra dark chocolate flavor, and cinnamon flavor. Mmm mmm, good.

It was apparent everyone was exhausted when afterward we planned on going out, but then we ended up at my apartment just hanging out. We called it a night and I went to bed as soon as everyone went home, expecting that I would get a lot of rest and wake up early for a Sunday morning run.

I certainly did get a lot of rest and did wake up early, but a Sunday morning run just was not in the works for me. Instead, I headed out for breakfast and some errands with Chris and Kelly. I did wear workout apparel though so that I was sure to get a workout in later.

I did a long stretching session this afternoon, so I am waiting to get a good workout in tonight. It’s not good to workout after stretching out too much–the long stretches should come in post-workout or during a stretch-only time. I have found that works out best for me.

Tonight I will get in a 1.5-mile run and some strength training. I’m looking forward to a shorter run to work on a quicker pace, and this will then help me with increasing my pace on longer runs as well. I’ll also be able to work on my breathing, so if I can get some better breathing going during the quick-pace, shorter workouts I should be able to easily transfer that to longer workouts as well.

Good weekend workouts to end the month just the right way! January has been a success in kicking off the 10-month training process to successfully make it to 26.2 in October, with a gradual mileage increase, solid strength training routine, and enough stretching to keep the muscles in good condition.

Looking forward to another fantastic month in February, full of its own challenges and experiences. Hopefully by the end of February I will have mastered consistent breathing techniques and will maintain motivation.

What are your exercise goals for the February?

Weekend workouts…success.

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four-mile night run

Yes, I was a bit sore today from yesterday’s long run. Yes, I drank a ton of water today. No, that was not going to stop me today.

Kelly and I went to the outlets today and had a nice afternoon…it was a great day out! We headed to the Reebok store to look and see what kind of good deals we could find. I got some great new apparel for running. Unfortunately, they did not have any of the running capris that I absolutely love, but they did have long sleeve running tops with thumbholes (and I bought 3!).

We had a delicious lunch on the patio at BJ’s Brewery–I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich w/ crispy onions on it and it was incredibly delicious.

So, what more do you need than a good afternoon and new running apparel to get you pumped up for a run? Well, when I got home and got my mail a new issue of Runner’s World in my mailbox certainly helped increase the excitement even more!

I got a few things done, took a cat nap, and met everyone at the pier for a night run. We got in a good four miles tonight and I still am feeling great. I am attributing to feeling better during my runs a lot to my food and drink habits lately–what a difference it makes!

Tomorrow will certainly be a cross-training day so that I can keep the cardio up and workouts in my routine, but I also want to allow my body to rest and recover as well.

I hope everyone is training well, eating well, and taking on new exercise challenges!! I hope you’re enjoying this blog too, and if you have any feedback feel free to let me know.

4-mile night run…success.

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