Archive for April 2011
This last Sunday I (Julie) did a 15 mile run. Fortunately, I had much better weather to run in than Mike…his Saturday run was cold, blustery, and rainy. He did a great job and got a really good time despite it all.
My run was very interesting to say the least. I decided to take off to the Indiana farmland south and west of our neighborhood to avoid traffic as much as possible and run on the roads instead of banging my poor knees on sidewalks.
Mike and I have invested in some running gear since we took up this marathon challenge, but as much as possible, I have tried to use what I already have to save some money. I didn’t spare on running shoes, but instead of investing in fancy running apparel I hit the fitness clothing sale at my local JC Penney and used my socks from Walmart.
This long run tempted me to start thinking more seriously about what I use to run in, both for comfort and convenience. My shorts only had a tiny inner pocket, just big enough to stuff a few pieces of sugary candy to eat. Mike insists I carry my cell phone for safety (you never know when you may be attacked by a dairy cow in the back country) and so he can track me by GPS, but my shorts had no place for the phone, and my water belt didn’t have a compartment to put it in either. After about 10 minutes of trying to figure out what to do with my big pop tart sized Android, I put it in a ziploc bag and stuffed it down the front of my shirt. My weight belt was tight enough that it didn’t slip through. My chest looked pretty funny…no feminine curves…it was rectangular.
After eating the candy while running, there was no way I could get the wrappers back in my pocket easily, so, not wanting to litter, I just tossed them down the front of my shirt as well.
Finally, my cheap socks allowed several blisters to form on my feet, and dumb me forgot to put on sunscreen so my shoulders and legs cooked to a nice shade of red.
I’m not doing any more runs over five miles without investing in some decent socks and I’m seriously contemplating just putting down the money to get some good running clothes that have all the pockets I could ever need.
Besides the pain I inflicted on myself, I was almost hit by a 1930 something model car as a parade of old cars turned on a road right in front of me. Later, two deer jumped out on a back road ahead of me, but fortunately, after staring at me for a few seconds, they decided to move on and not be hit by the speeding train that I am.
All in all, good run. I managed to run the per minute mile I was hoping for, and even though my knees are sore and my sunburn scratchy, I can’t wait to hit the roads again!
Saturday I (Julie) ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Breast Cancer 5K. It was the first real race that I’ve participated in since running cross country in 10th grade. Instead of starting with a small race, I managed to pick one with almost 40,000 participants!
The sister of a good friend of mine fought breast cancer over the last year, and I joined her race team to show her support. Even though the day was cold, windy, and threatened rain, along with soggy, muddy ground from previous rains, we had alot of fun. Everyone’s displays of pink, including a guy dressed in a head-to-toe pink bodysuit, were entertaining!
I was also really pleased with my race performance…Mike and I have been using Jeff Galloway’s method of running using run/walk intervals, but on Saturday I wanted to try to run the whole 5K without stopping. I succeeded, and had my best time for that distance! I hardly felt tired at the end and could have kept going. Especially considering how yucky the day was, I was thrilled with myself!
It was great getting to support breast cancer survivors and the cause of finding a cure, and most of all I realized that I am now hooked. Running the 5K was so much fun that I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing alot more races in the future!
Today is the end…Don’t panic – I’m not giving up on my marathon training! But today is an ending of sorts and the beginning of hopefully a new lifestyle. In January, I signed up for the Labrada Nutrition “Lean Body Challenge” – which is a 12 week contest to see how you could reshape your body.
Years ago, I had read Lee Labrada’s book of the same title – it struck me as different than the dozens of other diet books I had read. Although, Lee is a huge bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe, he wrote the book for the average person and kept it pretty basic around eating and exercising. Twice a year, his company sponsors the Challenge - – take your before and after pictures, eat healthy, exercise and write a few essays. I signed up a few years ago for the Challenge but only made it a month before fizzling out.
However, this year as I saw the scale hit a maximum point, I knew that I needed something to keep me honest. I also had higher than normal cholesterol – and after getting the lecture about better choices, the only other suggestion was to lose weight. I was always going to start eating healthy tomorrow – but tomorrow turned into the next day without me making any changes lasting more than 2 days and the scale was climbing. Signing up for the challenge was my accountability partner for the next three months. I must admit the initial pictures (you have to do them shirtless) were honestly embarrassing to me – it doesn’t hit home until you see yourself in a picture. The pictures were motivation in themselves.
I knew that it was probably a long shot to win any prizes (you should check out some of the past winners) but I wanted to go for it. I was also determined to do the challenge in a realistic manner – no gyms – just using the cardio equipment we had at home (covered in dust) and some exercise bands. I couldn’t spend hours and hours at a gym and sacrifice time with my family. I also was going to eat healthy but realistic – making healthier choices about foods but not going hard core with food options that I could not maintain over time. The biggest sacrifice – giving up pizza for 12 weeks
Today is the end of the 12 weeks and time for the after pictures and some reflection. I had hoped for physical change (that did occur) but I think the biggest benefits have been “mental”. I proved to myself that I could something consistently for 3 months – and it was tough and challenging at times (especially when Julie and the boys do pizza night on Friday and I’m eating chicken). I also knew that an excellent way to exercise and burn calories was to run – but as I mentioned, I had the mental roadblock of being a running “failure” from my youth. So I started out with more determination and alternate methods like the run/walk program and quickly was doing 5K distances. Three months ago when I started the Challenge – I hated to think about running and now I’m training for a marathon!
It also taught me patience – I’m a person who wants immediate results in whatever I do (Julie can vouch for how quickly I get frustrated). Losing weight is not an easy process and it takes persistence. Tracking your calorie intake every day is a pain but it’s one of the best ways to lose weight by accounting for every morsel of food. I’m a bit odd – I don’t have a sweet tooth or like the classic unhealthy foods – fried and greasy – but I can eat too much of the “healthy” foods and take into too many calories.
Ultimately, the numbers on the scale or the tape measure are not that important in the grand scheme – hopefully, I have made long term changes that will improve my health and allow me to enjoy my family. I would still like to lose a few pounds and see if that six pack is there (abs that is!)
My biggest recommendation to others is find accountability – whether it is another person or in my case a website tracking my calories. Find a challenge to set a short term or long term goal – an event, a race, etc that will keep you motivated and on some type of schedule. And as I have written before, be realistic about the target – too often we get discouraged because we set impossible goals…
P.S. I’m eating a Donato’s Pizza tomorrow night! Care to join me?
We were recently given a sample of 2Toms Butt Shield to test out in our marathon training. It is designed to help ward off chafing and blistering caused by physical activity such as cycling, running, rowing, etc.
Initially, Mike and I got a huge kick out of the name and concept….we had never heard of or encountered butt chafing before, even with our road biking experiences. As a girl, I was well aware of that wonderful thigh chafing that can occur if you’re not stick thin, but I’d never suffered any other problems.
However, as we talked to friends who were much more experienced long distance runners than we, we learned that butt chafing is indeed an issue, especially as mileage increases. (You never know what you’re going to learn when you try out something new!)
Since I haven’t personally had an issue with thigh or butt chafing so far with my running, when 2Toms asked me to review their product, I decided to give it a go on a different area that was plaguing me….my three-time C-section scar.
Much to my dismay, long distance running has been awful for my scar, opened for the third time only three months ago. My shorts or tights elastic waist band constantly rubs against it so that when my run is over, anything touching my abdomen is brutal.
To my delight, the Butt Shield radically reduced the chafing of my C-section scar, and after running my longest run of all time last week, I was much less uncomfortable after the run than before.
Butt Shield comes in a roll-on container, and is easy to apply, isn’t messy, and most of all, doesn’t feel greasy or goopy like the standby Vasoline would.
So, while I haven’t yet had “butt” chafing, I will definitely keep this product around to solve the problem if it does occur.
Furthermore, 2Toms has generously offered a sample of Butt Shield for us to give away free on our blog. If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, leave us a comment on this post telling us what chafes you most and where your next big race will be. We will do a random drawing on May 1 and announce the winner!
2Toms is also hosting a contest on their facebook page for people running a half marathon or marathon in 2011 with a chance to win a year’s supply of their products, a $500 value! The contest only lasts for a few more days, so check out the link to enter!
Here’s to running with no chafing,
Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I think he was right on when he spoke these words. If we don’t know who we are and why we do what we do, what is the point of living?
Because Mike and I are followers of Jesus, purpose is very important to us. We don’t consider our lives to be about mere chance, and we strive to understand who we are in relation to our creator and in relation to to the rest of the world, wanting our lives to be of consequence.
Our marriage, therefore, is not simply an archaic institution that we humor out of romantic sentiment. We wholeheartedly believe that our marriage is of eternal value and affects not only us, but our children and others that we come into contact with.
Regarding our exercise routines, we have discovered that it is essential for Mike and me to set up goals to work towards. Otherwise we tend to take the path of least resistance and head toward the couch at the end of the day, exhausted by our daily responsibilities. When we identify milestones in our marathon training, we are encouraged and motivated to keep progressing towards our ultimate goal of a 26.2 mile race. If we had just told ourselves that we were going to try and run every week without a plan and without acountability, we most likely would never make the marathon in Vermont in July. However, because we are purposefully approaching this event, we are seeing more success each week.
Our marriage is no different. I think when we first got married, we naively thought that we could just meander along and things would be fine, the romance would continue, life would be peachy, and we’d live happily forever after. Not so. It didn’t take us long to realize that unless fueled, the romance fires dim, responsibilities of life and busyness distract from quality time spent together, and selfishness and rushing around can blind us to why we got married and became parents in the first place.
When we became intentional about our marriage, we learned a few very valuable things that are making our lives much more meaningful:
1. Marriage is not just about Mike and me. We are leaving a legacy for our children. By building a strong marriage, we are modeling for our boys what marriage should look like – they will learn how to love and cherish their future wives, and find wives that will honor and respect them in return. They will learn how to “stay in the room” even during tough times. By purposefully approaching our life together, Mike and I hope to spare our children from many of the mistakes and pain that has been passed down through our families.
2. Marriage is a training ground for other areas of life. One thing I have found, much to my chagrin, is that marriage will very quickly point out how broken and selfish a person is. Living with someone so closely reveals every rough edge a person has and every fault that needs to be addressed. If we examine ourselves, and allow our spouse and others to examine our character, we can identify both the strengths and weaknesses of our personalities and temperaments, enabling us to make adjustments as necessary and navigate life in a much more productive and helpful manner.
3. Training for this marathon has been a discipline exercise for me in my marriage. Every marriage has tough moments, times when we don’t like our spouse, when the grass looks greener on the single side… However, there are moments when running that I don’t think I can make the next mile…my knees hurt, it’s hot, I’m thirsty, a bowl of ice cream sounds more appealing than losing those extra pounds..yet I discipline myself to continue towards the goal…I want that marathon! And if I can discipline my lazy body to run that extra distance, then certainly I can close my mouth when I only want to spew snarky comments in the direction of Mike, certainly I can lay aside my wants now and then to serve Mike. Don’t I want a successful marriage and children standing on a solid foundation more than I want to throw away all the energy I’ve invested thus far?
As we continue to examine our running strategies, our supplementing options, our gait, etc., we will continue to examine ourselves and our marriage. In the short run, it’s easier to give up when things get tough, but we refuse to become another statistic. We have our eyes on the finish line, our children begging us to finish well, and the assurance that all of our hard work will not be in vain.
The number 100 can seem like a big or small number depending on ones’ perspective. What does it mean to us in this journey? 100 more days to our first marathon in July.
As I was reflecting on this, I found it both scary and encouraging….100 days ago, running a marathon was the furthest thing from my mind! I wasn’t a runner or an athlete – just an average middle aged guy trying to figure out how to get “it” all done and feeling like I was failing in most cases. I finally decided to get serious about losing weight which is one of the things that turned me on to running and it’s amazing how much has changed in such a short time. I have learned a lot about focus, goal setting, prioritization and things about myself. I have learned that I have it within myself to be a runner – I may not be the fastest guy out there but at least I am trying to make a change for the good. I used to waste a lot of time on inconsequential things but now I have to be focused and have a plan for my time.
On the other hand, the thought of running 26.2 miles in a little over three months is still daunting. Will we be able to complete the run in the allotted time? Will we be able to handle the hills since we train primarily on flat ground? Even though we are both amazed at the distances we have run, 26 miles is still considerably farther and how to fathom. The weak part of me thinks that we should just focus on doing the 1/2 Marathon. It also seems like we still have so much to learn – techniques, nutrition, etc. – that my head is swimming. But we have to learn to take each step and each training run one step at a time – pushing and growing through these next weeks. And what will we know at 50 days before the race? I’m guessing a lot more than today…And I know the days will tick by very quickly!
P.S. Ask me tomorrow if I am still so positive…We are running 1/2 marathon distance (13 miles) in our training run..I might have a different opinion!