Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Texas Spartan Beast

Caution: Lots of bragging ahead!
I'm sorry, I can't help myself. I am just SO proud that I really did finish this sucker. This was my last semester in school and probably the worst time possible to decide to train for a race as beastly as this one, but I managed. So let me tell ya all about it.

First, let's review. I signed up for this race back in June and the realized a few days later that I would have to miss my own graduation for it. I wasn't really upset about that. This is also the time I injured my deltoid muscle from playing softball. I went to physical therapy for about three months and was told I should be better. It really wasn't, but to be honest I was a little scared of what my bills were going to start looking like if I kept going. So I stopped going and trusted the doctor who said, "It'll be fine in about a week." Well guess what, it still bothers me. I learned to deal with it and I will never go to that doctor again.

I joined a gym in August because I knew I couldn't train for a 12 miles obstacle course on my own--I needed major help. I could NOT have done it without White Rock Fitness and I am so grateful for all the training I received out there and the friendships I've made along the way! My first couple of workouts were awful. Oh. My. Gosh. It was so hard and I thought, "There's no way I can do this race. No way." But then each week I could do a little more, run a little further, lift a little heaver, and even do five whole chin-ups without any assistance. Over the next few months I increased my mileage and then BAM... I got shin splints. Stupid stupid stupid. I took it easy for the next week or so. And then, 3 weeks before the race, I got my wisdom teeth out and was out for another week. My first day back at the gym our workout consisted of running a short distance and then doing one burpee, running, two burpees, running, three burpees... all the way up to twenty burpees. That totals to 257 burpees and maybe a mile or mile and a half of running. I almost died. I'd been pretty sedentary for two weeks prior and felt like I'd lost all that progress I'd made. BLEH. But with only two weeks to race day... I kinda had to suck it up.

The week of the race I was a nervous wreck. Friday one of my sisters, Tonya, and I drove down to Glen Rose, TX where we'd gotten a cheap hotel. We met up with my other sister, Shawn, who was doing the race with me. That night no one got much sleep--Shawn's little boy Evan was a little cranky and cried a lot. We woke up at 5 a.m. on Saturday to 38 degrees and the temp projected to drop from there. Really!? We got all our stuff ready. Tights, two cold gear shirts, a wind breaker, matching shoes, gloves, and a camel pack to take extra gloves and hand warmers. What we were most nervous about were the water obstacles. Cold water just didn't sound like fun.

We drove to the race site in my mother-in-law's Jeep (we were afraid to drive our vehicles because they're not 4-wheel drive!). We put on all our clothes. We picked up our race packets, put on our bib numbers, broke open a pair of hand warmers for my stupid crazy hands, and headed to the start line. We stopped to take a quick "before" photo in our emergency blankets. It was that cold! Oh, and one "graduation" photo!

Once we got to the starting area we realized we had to get over a 5 foot wall to even get to the start line. How cool!

We managed to scale it (how embarrassing it would have been to not be able to!) and just moments later were on our way (literally at the very back of the pack). The first mile or so wasn't bad at all. It was cold, yeah, but we had on several layers. We did one or two obstacles but they weren't anything special. Then we came to a water obstacle. Noooooooo, please no. Ugh, yes. The water was waste deep on me (but I'm pretty short) and I of course got my stupid gloves wet.

The rest of the race was a blur. We balanced on stuff, scaled mountainous terrain for miles and miles, carried heavy stuff up and down, did burpees, waded through freezing water, climbed ropes, flipped tires, rolled under 300 feet of barbed wire, memorized stuff (Golf-838-1287), crossed monkey bars, encouraged strangers, helped one another out, took lots of breaks to warm our hands, and high-fived a LOT. The camaraderie we experienced throughout the race was incredible. You see someone struggling and you help them--it really is human nature and this race proved it.

Here are a series of photos. Enjoy!

This was around mile 8: The spear throw. We made the guy show us how to do it first (I don't exactly have a lot of spear throwing experience). 
Cleaning off my spear tip because I thought that would make it shoot straighter? I don't know... it seemed legitimate at the time. 
Getting ready to throw that sucker! 
Here's Shawn throwing hers. It looks like it's a straight shot and that it'll stick!
But, alas, neither of our spears stuck. I'm not sure why we're laughing. Doing 30 burpees is no laughing matter. 
I think this is when I noticed my other sister, Tonya, standing nearby taking photos. I was SO HAPPY TO SEE HER. I felt like I hadn't seen her in years. I ran up and hugged her so tight, not even worrying about the fact that I was smearing mud everywhere. 
Aaaaand the burpees.
Next we ran off to go hike some more and wade through more water. And look! It's a skinny Santa Claus!

Climbing the inverted wall. 
It wasn't hard to get up... but once you get to the top it was really awkward figuring out how to get over. 

This obstacle wasn't hard either... but it was up high and the wind was crazy, making it VERY cold. 
I'm up there thinking, "What happens if I fall through one of these gaps?"

The next two pictures break my heart each time I see them. The rope. The first rope in the course wasn't bad at all--neither one of us had any problems with it. This one, however... You start out in waste deep water and the rope is SLICK. I've trained for this. I wasn't worried about this one. I waded out in the water and started up without any problems. I got to the top, reached for the bell, and was literally about 4 inches shy of being able to touch it. FOUR FREAKING INCHES. I tried inching my way up a little at a time to get to it but I just slipped further down. I stared at that stupid bell for a while trying to figure out how in the world I could close the gap. But I just slipped further down and by this point, being at the very end of the course and having already run over 14 miles, I was so tired. My hands started to tremble. My legs were shaking. I gave up. I went back down, waded out of the water, and did my 30 burpees. I felt so defeated.
Up Up Up! No problem. 
See that? SEE THAT? I'm so close. I'm just staring at it, willing my arms to be just a few inches longer, or that knot my feet were on to be just a few inches higher... ahhhh, it pains me to look at this picture... 
Let's move on before I start crying... 
Here's a picture of what our next obstacle looked like before over a thousand other Spartans had been on it. Nice and clean and probably not slick at all. This is not what it looked like by the time we got to it. 

Here we are awaiting our turn... just standing in the water because really, who needs feet anymore? They were already frozen solid anyway. 

Here we go! This one wasn't really all that bad... till you get to the top of the rope and have to figure out how to actually get over the wall. Make a jump for it? Lean into it? It was so muddy and people were slipping all over the place. 
What I love most about this picture is that people at the top helping others over it. It was so awesome.
Time to jump over the fire! By the time we got to it there really wasn't much fire left. But, to be honest, the wood looked like it was stacked so high. My legs were just soooo tired. Right before we got to it I turned to Shawn and said, "Shawn, I really don't know if I can jump over that!" lol
 Okay, so the last thing we had to do was run through the gladiator pit where people were waiting there to smack us around a bit. I confess: Shawn beat me to it and while the first gladiator was hitting her... I made a run for it. I sacrificed my sister!! I paid for it and got smacked on the next one...
You can see he's about to hit her... and there I am, barely visible in this picture, preparing to sprint passed them both... 
Well you're welcome, Shawn, I took the next blow!! 
WE DID IT! We're crossing the finish line at last!
I couldn't feel my feet, or my hands, or my left nostril. Shawn had two broken toes and bruises up and down her legs. But we did it. We later learned that the course was actually around 15 miles, NOT 10-12 like we thought it would be. Some even said it was closer to 16 miles, but I honestly have no idea. All I know is that I finished. 

So what's next on my bucket list? Well I'm already looking to do a Super Spartan (8ish miles) in May but, even bigger than that, is my April goal: The MARATHON! 

I guess before I start training for anything else I should get all healed up... :) 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

500 Miles, 56 Burpees, and "I Love My Gym"

I haven't posted anything in a while but I can assure you I have NOT been slacking! In fact, my fitness routine seems so incredibly complicated it's hard for me to put it into words.

See, I joined a gym. Not just any gym, but probably the best gym known to mankind. Okay, fine, I honestly have nothing to compare it to, but I am serious when I say that I love this place and the people who work there.

About 3 months ago, a co-worker came and said her gym was giving out some free one-month memberships and wanted to know if I was interested. Well I've got this terribly frightening race coming up in December and I really, really needed to up my game, so I said yes. That was the start of making White Rock Fitness & Nutrition my workout home. After my free month was up I signed up for a year contract and, while it's expensive, it's completely worth it in my opinion. There's no way I would ever stick to it on my own. The coaches there are amazing, and I've made friends there who push me to be better every day.

What I love most about the gym is the workouts. I don't just pay a gym membership and then go in there and make up my own awkward workout (which would be very entertaining, I'm sure)--I attend a class in which the coach tells us what to do, how to do it, how much weight to use, how to modify it if needed, corrects us when we do something wrong, encourages us to push harder, recognizes our accomplishments... it's like having a personal trainer without having to pay an outrageous price based on however many sessions we do. And they're nice, so that's a double bonus!

I've been going now for nearly 3 months straight and haven't been bored with the workouts a single time. I've tried doing P90X sooo many times, and every single time I end up quitting about a third of the way through because I get so bored and tired of doing the same thing over and over and over again... Well at this gym the workouts change often--and they're NEVER boring! I truly love having a group of people to work out with, too. They motivate me and, whether they know it or not, they help me with my accountability!

So what prompted this post? Well besides the fact that I love my gym, I actually wanted to brag a little, too. Yesterday I ran before my workout. I've been doing this some lately but yesterday was BIG because I reached the 500 mile mark! To some people that may not seem like much, but for me, who used to HATE running and then fell in love with it about 2 years ago, 500 miles is a big deal! And really I know I've done more than that because I didn't have the Nike App for about the first 6 months of running.

Not only did I reach that awesome number, but I also accomplished a personal best during the finisher of our workout yesterday. The idea of the workout is to make as many rounds as you can. The first minute, you do 1 burpee, 1 squat jump, and 1 more burpee. Then you rest until the second minute starts. Then you do 2 burpees, 2 squat jumps, 2 more burpees. The third minute you do 3 burpees, 3 squat jumps, 3 burpees... you get the idea. The first week I made it 6 rounds. The second week I made it 6 rounds. The third week I made it 6 rounds. I was beginning to think that was my max. Yesterday: I DID SEVEN ROUNDS! That's a total of 56 burpees and 28 squat jumps! My seventh round was ugly, it really was. I had sweat dripping all over the place and I may have even drooled some. But I did it. 

Okay, that's all for now, I've got a Spartan Race to go train for! When I can walk again, that is... I'm so sore. ;)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Not a DIET... It's a Lifestyle Change!

I hate the word "diet" as most people seem to use it today. The real meaning of the word simply refers to the particular selection of food as it pertains to a person's health. However, most people commonly use this word to mean, "I am now restricting my food intake to lettuce and water so that I can lose 10 pounds in one week." Okay, maybe I am exaggerating just a little, but you get the idea.

Going on a "diet" is so impractical and just sets us up for failure. Some people can go on a diet and lose a ton of weight and that is GREAT, don't get me wrong. And some people can do all that AND still keep it off, which is GREAT too! But for most people I know, a "diet" is something they start and then give up on after a couple of weeks; it's temporary. But, in order to lose weight, keep it off, and stay healthy, you have to do something you can maintain permanently! Hence why I throw a fit when people ask me if I'm on a diet. Yes, I'm watching what I eat, but it's not a temporary diet--it's a permanent lifestyle!

Here is my friendly advice to those who want to get started with making a lifestyle change:
 photo f5aa46db-dc1e-4079-957b-d3f4fdb1552e_zps69b90c8e.jpg
1. Educate yourself. Get the curiosity flowing! Become knowledgeable about what goes into your body. Start asking questions. Why is too much sodium a bad thing? What's the big deal about gluten? How does "losing weight" even happen!? What is a calorie? How many do I need? Etc.

2. Keep a food diary. I encourage using MyFitnessPal (it's free!), but there are other great tools out there you can use too, such as MyFoodDiary, MyPlate by Livestrong, and even WeightWatchers. A food diary will force you to face reality: you've probably been consuming way too many calories for way too long! It will also guide you in how many calories you should be consuming which varies from person to person. For example, I'm female, 25 years old, 5'4". To maintain a weight of 125 lbs I would need to consume roughly 1,600 net calories per day. If I wanted to gain weight, I would need to consume more than that; to lose, consume less. A food diary will also track sugar, sodium, protein, etc. All of these things are important.

3. Start exercising. I know, I know, I hated it too. Find something that you like to do and start doing more of it, and stop making the excuse that you don't have time. Make time! Personally I'm a runner, but I used to hate it! Read about that more here. The thing is... you can lose weight without exercise, but exercise isn't just for shedding pounds, it's for your overall health. I know it can be intimidating (trust me...) but when you conquer something you've never done before you will feel like a total beast! Don't let fear keep you from reaching your goals.

4. Set small goals. It's good to have a big "end" goal (i.e. lose x-number of pounds), but also set small goals, too. For example: "Today I'm not going to eat any dessert." "This week, I'm not going to eat fast food." "This month I'm going to [insert chosen exercise here] 3 days a week." When you've reached a goal, reward yourself, but NOT WITH FOOD! Get a pedicure, your hair done, or, if you're like me, buy a new book ;)

5. Start cooking. It's so much easier and faster to eat out, and sometimes it can even be cheaper (a burger for a dollar, really McDonalds?), but trust me, you'll appreciate your food more if you've prepared it yourself! Look up recipes and try new things--you might even like something you thought you would hate! Personally I've always thought Brussels sprouts would be gross, and they've turned out to be my favorite thing! Don't judge a book by its cover :)

6. Find a buddy. If you can find a person who wants to join you in your journey, fantastic! Having a partner allows you to keep each other accountable. I personally don't have a fitness buddy (sad day!); I watch what I eat by myself, I go to the gym by myself, I run by myself... but I try to connect with people who share my interests, even if we don't necessarily do things together. Some of the people I work with love to run, too, and when we get to talking about races and training... it's hard to get any work done! The biggest thing it does, though, is keeps me motivated.

7. Don't even buy the junk! I've learned that if there is an open bag of chips in my kitchen, I will eat them. If there is cake-mix in the pantry, I will bake cupcakes, and I will eat them. Because of this I try not to buy that stuff at all. This can be hard, especially when your husband (significant other, parents, kids, etc.) eats all that stuff. If you must have junk food in the house, at least put it somewhere you don't see every time you enter the kitchen. Personally I've started using the, "Oh no, I forgot to buy the chips again!" excuse. It's okay to fake some memory loss--I do it all the time.

8. Plan your response. What I mean by this is that you need to prepare what you're going to say the next time someone offers you a donut, asks you why you ordered the nasty low-calorie meal, or refers to your lunch as rabbit food, etc. What are you going to say the next time someone asks, "Are you on a diet?" (Besides punch them in the face, of course). People ask me this all the time and usually follow it with, "You're already small, it won't kill you to eat a little more." I usually respond by saying something like, "I have a race coming up," or "It will tear my stomach up," or "I'm allergic." Sometimes it's a lie but it makes my life easier!

9. Think ahead. Try to plan your meals in advance. If you're going out to eat, look up the menu online and figure out what you're going to order before you get there.

10. Don't quit. I know this is easier said than done but, trust me, it gets easier! Your body will eventually crave nutrient-rich foods. Sometimes I seriously just want to eat vegetables. Me, the girl who used to eat chips for breakfast and a fried chili cheese burrito for dinner, eating vegetables!? No way! But it happens! I seriously believe that the more you learn about your own body and the food you put into it, the more likely you are to make better choices.

"Everything you put into your body is either contributing to your health, or taking away from it."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fireball Classic 10K

A few weeks ago I signed up for the Fireball Classic 10K and then didn't even attempt running more than 4 miles up until the race. Here lately I've had this "I can wing it" attitude. 6.2 miles? No biggie.

At the starting line we were told that this 10K just so happens to be the hardest one in the state of Oklahoma--ruroh. They fired the gun (a real shotgun that would have made me pee my pants had I not been warned) and off we went. I literally started out in the very back of the pack--I didn't want to get caught up in the crowd and run faster than what I was prepared for. 

I still started out too fast, dang those over achieving 10K-ers! The first 3 or so miles really weren't that bad at all--it was pretty flat. But miles 4 and 5 are the hilliest part of the course. Lucky for me I had already run those monster hills before (during last year's half marathon training) so I wasn't too caught off guard. I ran my 5th mile 2 minutes and 41 seconds slower than my 6th mile-HA. 

My final time was 1:02:44, which means I did NOT reach my goal (YET) of running a 10K in under an hour. I did, however, set a new PR! Woohoo! Although my "wing it" attitude paid off pretty well, I don't plan on continuing the trend. I really really need to start preparing myself for the Spartan Beast! I must brag on this race a little--it was one of my best experiences. They had plenty of water stations, the course was well marked, and there were even people out in their front yards playing music and/or handing out water! And the stuff I got in my race packet was pretty awesome, too. Although the barbeque sauce seemed somewhat random, that stuff turned out to be pretty darn amazing! 

My 10K was sponsored by:

In other news, my shoulder is STILL NOT functioning at 100%. It is sooooo annoying. It is much better, though, but I still can't throw a ball overhand OR do push ups, which means I can't do a full burpee yet, either. Wahhhhhhhhh :'( Physical therapy seems to be going really well. Yesterday he increased my reps and my weights. It feels good to be doing something, but it's such a low intensity that I doubt I'm building much muscle at all. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Books

I currently work in a library, which means I have access to a ton of awesome books. When we get new stuff in, I'm the first person to see it. Which can be good or bad. Good: I get to sift through and read all the good stuff before someone else gets their fingers on it. Bad: I could literally get nothing done all day because I'm too busy checking out all the goods.

Today was an especially good haul for me. 

I am so excited about this book! I didn't spend too much time looking at it, but I did spend way too much time on this one: 
Get it here
In other news, I'm in the process of doing physical therapy for my shoulder. I've never done physical therapy and, I can't lie, I thought it would be a waste of time. I mean... time heals all things, right? And then I realized it had been 4 weeks since I injured my deltoid and yet I was still having a hard time putting on my deodorant. That can be a BIG problem during the summer, especially in Oklahoma where you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. 

So I went along with my doctor and have been doing the PT stuff for about a week, and I think it's helping. Today they put an Ionto Patch (or something like that?) on it. Idk, supposed to help. She explained it to me but... well I forgot everything, okay?
Looks cool, right?
I still can't throw a softball, but I'm able to run just fine. The clock is ticking... only 24ish more weeks until the BIG RACE!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Half Marathon Plan for Beginners

It's time to start training again! My sister convinced to start training for my half sooner this year than I did last year. I'll have to start incorporating some weights into my workouts once I get the all-clear from the doctor for my shoulder.

This is the exact schedule I used last year and, considering I ran all 13.1 miles and didn't die (not even once), then it must be a winner! It was adapted from Runner's World.

Some friendly advice: 
  • Eat more, but not way more. It's really really easy to eat toooooo much when you're training for longer distances. It's easy to think you can just eat whatever you want since you're burning off so many calories, but be smart! I use MyFitnessPal to help me keep track of calories so that I don't go overboard. 
  • Drink plenty of water. Try to skip the sugary drinks (ohhhhhh the Dr Pepper fairies are so mean to me...)
  • If you're hurting, take the day off. It's better to miss one or two days of running in order to let your body heal rather than missing several weeks worth because you end up with an injury. 
  • Don't try and do more that what's on the schedule. The first couple weeks are hard to get through, but, once your body starts getting stronger, you might think 4 miles isn't enough. Trust me, it's enough! Increasing mileage too fast can set you up for injury.
  • Don't let your half marathon be the FIRST race you've ever done! Before you even start training for a half, sign up for a couple of 5ks. You'll run a whole lot faster during a race than you do on your own without meaning to. Run a few races and get a feel for what your "race pace" feels like. 
  • Work yourself up to doing 15-20 miles a week. Again, this will help prevent injury. This is about how many miles a week you'll start out doing with this program, so get your body ready for that kind of mileage. 
  • When you think you're ready to start training, do a 5 mile test run and see how it feels. **You should be able to do at least 5 miles without much distress before starting this program (according to Runner's World).**

AI: Aerobic Intervals - "You push the pace. But just a little." Basically this means just increasing your speed by enough to make you feel like you're working a little harder, but it's NOT  a sprint! You'll kill yourself if you try to run this part too fast, and nobody wants that.

GP: Gentle Pickups - "At the end of your run, walk for several minutes, then slowly increase your leg turnover on a flat stretch for 100 meters (the straightaway on a track) up to the point where you start to breath hard. Hold it there for 10 to 20 meters, then gradually slow down." I consider this a sprint, but remember that you don't want to do too much too fast because that leads to injury. Walk to full recovery before you start each one. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

7 Running Tips for Beginners

Yesterday's 5 mile run prompted this post... I was running and running and got to thinking about all the mistakes I've made and things I've learned over the past few years as a runner. They seem like common sense now, but I was apparently not so smrt (see what I did there?) back in my beginner days.

So here is some advice from a runner who's made every mistake in the book.

1. Never run an unfamiliar course without driving it first. I'm so bad about doing this. I have GPS on my phone, so why not run an unfamiliar road? I like a little adventure, seeing new sights, etc. so what's the big deal? A) Hills. It's really really good to know how hilly the course is before you try it out. Yeah, you'll survive even if you're unaware, but it's just better to have the heads up. Trust me. B) DOGS. In my neighborhood there are dogs everywhere! Most of them are chained up or in a pen, but you can't rely on this! Drive your course before you run it and look for dogs or any signs of them. And, to be extra safe, run with some pepper spray (just in case!).

2. Run on the left side of the road. I am so grateful that someone once upon a time gave me this advice! It seemed dumb at the time. Why would I run on the left side of the road when you're supposed to drive on the right side? Is that even legal!? Where I run there are no sidewalks and no shoulders, only a road and a ditch. If you're running on the left side of the road you're able to see the cars coming towards you. If you're on the right side... you're blind to the traffic coming up directly behind you. People don't always pay attention. They're texting, talking on the phone, looking at their Garmin, or (if they're anything like me) they're distracted by the two year old throwing cheerios at them from the backseat. If you can see those drivers coming, you can jump into a ditch if you need. If you don't see them, and they don't see you... Ouch.

3. Always warm-up before you run. Again, I'm so bad about this. I'd rather just take off and get it all over with,  but that's bad. That's the kind of thing that leads to injury. A good warm up will get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, and that leads to better performance overall. A good warm-up depends on how far you're running or even how much you'll be pushing yourself. For me, I usually go anywhere from 2-6 miles and I don't push myself much, so a decent warm-up is usually an easy 5-10 minute jog and some minor stretching. Read more about warm-ups here.

4. Drink plenty of water. You know it, I know it, everybody knows it: water is GOOD for you. Personally, I'd rather fill my body with coffee and Dr Pepper, but those things kinda suck for a runner. I can always tell on days that I haven't had enough water: my muscles are weak and I get tired very early in my run. Muscle fatigue, my friends, is no bueno. You should be drinking water consistently all day long. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. More on the benefits of drinking agua here.

5. Never run in your [pretty] new running shoes without breaking them in first. Have I ever done this? You guessed it: Yes I have. I bought these gorgeous Under Armour shoes and was SO excited when they arrived in the mail. Aside from the mistake of buying running shoes without trying them on first, I decided to run in them that same day. The sad thing is I knew I wasn't supposed to do it. Six miles later I had a quarter sized blister ON MY ARCH. Not to mention the fact that they were the most uncomfortable pair I'd ever put on, much less ran in. When you buy new shoes it's important to wear them and let them conform to your feet. Sometimes they will inevitably cause blisters, but I've learned that, after I've worn them several times and gotten used to the way they fit, the blisters go away and never come back.

6. Always do some kind of cool down after you're finished. This is one thing I definitely can't skip. A warm-up help your body to go from a resting state to an active one, and a cool-down does just the opposite. It's not good to just stop all at once without giving your body time to go back into chill mode. When you've finished your run, try to jog or walk for a while, 5-10 minutes. Let your breathing become more even and your heart rate go back to normal. I can usually tell when my body is cooled down because the flow of sweat begins to subside! Now is also a good time to stretch. If I don't do these things, I get muscle cramps like nobody's business.

7. Practice breathing correctly. Did you know there's a wrong way to breath? Crazy! Most people breath with only the top half of their lungs. When you breath you shouldn't just see it (or feel it) in your chest--it should go all the way down into your stomach. This is actually hard work, I tell ya. I have to practice breathing on a regular basis so that I don't have to think about it as much during a run. Try it for a sec: Take a deep breath and expand your lungs all the way down into your belly button. Your stomach should expand. I've learned that breathing correctly not only fights fatigue, but it also helps with side stitches. I used to get them so bad that I would have to stop running altogether. But now that I breath correctly I can literally get rid of a side stitch as soon as I feel one coming on because it utilizes the diaphragm. More info on this here.

I'm no expert, and I would never pretend to know everything there is to know about running (although my husband would probably disagree with that statement), but these are just a few things I would recommend ANY runner to at least consider and even do some research on.

Happy Running!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What's an "Altoid?"

Last Monday night, playing softball, I hurt my shoulder.

We were tied. We were already playing extra innings. I was on third base. I ran home, got in a rundown, and, before I even attempted sliding into home plate, I knew I was going to be out. But I slid anyway. It wasn't much of a "slide" actually. It was more like reaching my arm out as far as it would go and belly flopping on the plate. I banged by whole face in the dirt. I wish it had been cooler, or I'd at least been safe, but no, it was embarrassing and I was OUT. And of course, my shoulder was on fire. We played two more innings (I think?) and I couldn't move my arm. I bawled like a baby all the way home and went to Urgent Care the next day.

The deltoid muscle which can be injured - torn or strained
Long story short, I found out a week after the incident that I'd strained by deltoid muscle, NOT to be confused with an altoid muscle which is what I thought the doctor was calling it.

Altoids Peppermint Mints
"So how much longer until my altoid is back to normal?" I asked.

He kind of looked at me with this confused expression, one eyebrow cocked higher than the other, and said, "It's called a 'deltoid' muscle. You'll need to take several weeks off from softball, and no weight lifting on that arm, but after a few weeks you can start using it more. For now you need to just take it easy."

How embarrassing.

He did, however, say I could continue running. I am SO glad, especially since one of my sisters agreed to SIGN UP FOR THE SPARTAN BEAST WITH ME!!! We're both already mortified at the idea of it but it's too late, we have already signed our lives away. AND... coincidentally, I was supposed to go to my OWN graduation that day. Yep, this girl will miss it so she can be a Spartan. Run a 10-12 mile obstacle course instead of wearing a boring cap and gown?? Totally worth it.

Spartan Beast obstacle course trail race in Glen Rose, TX
Spartan Beast
Fortunately we have plenty of time to train. I plan on doing the Route 66 Half Marathon again in November, and then we'll do the Spartan Race in December.

And then... I WILL do a FULL marathon in April! I will be able to finally cross a few more things off my fitness bucket list at last!

For now I'm just doing short runs, 3 or so miles, a few days a week, and will have to start doing some crossfit type stuff soon. Oh, and I should probably stop eating cake and donuts and Dr Pepper all the time.

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Warrior Wedding

Once upon a time....

My sister got MARRIED!

She had the most unique and FUN wedding I've ever been to. Don't get me wrong, traditional weddings are great. But don't you ever dread going? You wonder how long it will last and how long your kids will sit still before causing a scene... My two year old doesn't usually last more than 5 seconds and then it's an embarrassing dash for the door.

This wedding, however, was awesome. Meet Tonya and David, my sister and her (now!) husband.

They decided to get married at the finish line of the Warrior Dash! The bride and groom, including everyone in the wedding party (sisters, husbands, dad...) all signed up for the Dash so we could run together and then cheer them on as they said their muddy vows! 

Two days before the wedding my sister got really sick. She went to the doctor and found out she had a sinus infection. She rested and medicated and rested... but even with all that, she wasn't able to run the race with the rest of us. She did, however, meet David at the finish line (where she received a BIG muddy hug and kiss!) and there, in an open field right next to the mud pit, they said "I do" and got married. Do I have pictures? OF COURSE I DO! Are they great pictures? We can't be picky, okay.

Bridesmaids' shirts
Cute daughter
Cute son (like the bow tie??)
My husband during the drive up there. 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM. 
It really wasn't that long of a drive, but once we got there, traffic was nuts. We pulled in where the signs pointed thinking the line of cars would end just around the corner. And then after that corner we thought maybe the line of cars would end after the next corner. Nope. 
Cars as far as the eye can see...
When we finally made it, we (I mean my hubs) had to push our son in the stroller over grass, bumps, roots, etc. for what seemed like forever. My daughter complained about the grass but she never asked us to carry her, thank goodness! Let's see some more pictures of my cute kids, shall we?

My sister photo bombing in the background.

Grrr... my little clean warriors both refused to get muddy. They're so much like their dad!! Walking onto the campground we saw my poor sister sitting in a lawnchair looking so miserable :( She was so sick (but still looked super adorable). She was too weak to run the race but insisted that everyone else go ahead and do it. We put on our adorable tutus (the boys wore white shirts and ties, how fun!), got her all ready with her wedding gear, took a thousand pictures, and then headed to the starting line. We literally stood in line for half an hour before we actually started because there were so many people!

Mi madre y padre... 
We all agreed to stay together but Dad and David said they really just wanted to walk it and that we should run it without them. This is my 3rd Warrior Dash and by FAR the most fun I've had at any of them! I laughed so much with my sisters, and at every obstacle we couldn't help but mention how sad we felt that Tonya wasn't able to do it, too. 

I jumped over the fire holding my husband's hand, how romantic! ;) Then we crawled through the mud and crossed the finish line together. Awwwwwwwwww!

When David crossed the finish line Tonya met him (wearing her WHITE tutu and WHITE top) and hugged him! 
The back of her outfit... It got a little muddy!
And then they got married, and even though it wasn't traditional, I still cried. It was still so special to hear my sister say her vows and commit her life to the man of her dreams.

Dad giving away the bride.
Bride and Groom
"Let's do this! I'm ready to get married!!"
Husband and wife, kisses and muddy hugs <3
My heart feels all warm and fuzzy for them, I am just SO happy they found each other!

After Warrior Dash Oklahoma, 2013? 

They live