Monday, April 23, 2012

5k to Five Fingers

Hello blog land! I could tell you that I have been so busy training that  haven't had time to blog but to be honest, working out takes less time then I'd actually like to admit.  I have however, actually been training -that word sounds so weird coming from my mouth.
Here, at my house, we are not very well educated on fitness and even less concerned with running. So when we decided to commit to this exercise endeavor we knew were going to need a lesson in it. Maybe a trainer, or coach, or someone to just tell us what we should be doing. When to push through the pain and when to take a day of rest. We needed some sort of plan.
Luckily, the Couch to 5k is all the rage (or was at some point) and Chris had heard of it, even talked about giving it a whirl once before. So we pulled up the details again and decided that we had about 10 weeks until the next race and since this was an 8 week program, it was perfect (if it actually works.) Now we had a plan...
Strength training 
Just before I got sick in February  we were trying to work out for the Mudder Dash and we started using some (Android) apps on our phones... sit ups, push ups, pull ups, and squats.  A couple work outs into it I was benched but Chris continued to power on. It was pretty successful for him so we decided to try it again, this time together. We also decided to see if there was a C25K Android App. - there is, a lot of them actually.
We went with the app by Run Double we liked the GPS feature. Now we had a coach.

I know, I should have started documenting this journey when the journey actually began but, I didnt. However, I can tell you so far the C25K seems to be working. To my disappointment all the extra running has not actually shed any extra pounds off my frame, I've actually gained a few. But, Im still motivated because my body is changing. My legs are stronger (and sometimes more sore than I ever thought possible.) Things that used to jiggle do not anymore. I can even do 4 cheater style pull ups (which is much better than my previous none.) I'm not gonna lie. Its petty tough some days and even going into our third week, I can't imagine being able to full out jog a 5k by the end. Just have faith though right -or get the right equipment?
So with all the success running has become a little bit of an addiction for me. Well maybe its more of a motivation to feed my shopping addiction. Either way, it keeps me pumped to do more so I'll take it. With all the new fitness we've been doing we have also started acquiring new gear. We pulled out the dumbbells for strength training and my old ankle weights from waiting tables, for jogging.  There was much debate in our previous run about whatt he best all around shoe would be for the event. Chris finally talked me into trying out a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. Yes, those hideous, goofy shoes. After talking about it a while and doing all kinds of reading from research to bloggers, I went to try them on and just get a feel for them... I walked out with these bad boys.
The Bikila
I talked to a sales guy there who seemed pretty knowledgeable about them and helped me with a few different pairs. He was wearing the KSO himself. I thought I would feel slightly embarrassed wearing these around but he assured me that I should just own it and I'd love 'em. So I went with obnoxious pink and orange. Hey, if nothing else they would fit right in with all the crazy race attire.
The whole next day I wore them everywhere, and loved them! Finally that evening we ran, my parents were in town so we didn't have the jogging strollers (they add about 30 to 50lbs when loaded with kiddos)  this time and I felt wonderful. My foot seemed to have no trouble adjusting to the shoe, then again, I am a barefoot walker anyway. I had no pain at all and figured that maybe I just did it right. We started wearing these early enough in the training that maybe we will just adjust naturally instead of having to change years of built up bad running form. The next day I was fine as well. Day 2, was a different story. I hurt so bad. I could barely walk and when I did, I walked like an old man. Here we are, on day 3 and I am still sore but its much more manageable. Tonight, I will jog in them again. Hopefully when I report back the results wont be as extreme.
More Gear
I picked my shoes up on Thursday and this Sunday the hubby wanted to get a pair for him. -Can you see that this is quickly becoming and expensive hobby? Its like those free dogs people get but then have to take it to the vet and it ends up costing a fortune. - He picked the Speed version and went for something that looked a little less obvious.
While he was shoe shopping I was looking around for a good pair of running shorts. I have a pair that is loose fitting, and a few other pairs of pants and capris. It was my experience though, that I needed something fitted for the run, the mud and water are heavy and drag your clothes down. It got rather uncomfortable. So I talked myself into these itty bitty things 

Made by Moving Comfort

I was definitely skeptical about my ability to pull these off but when I put them on, I was immediately in love with the comfort aspect and to be honest, my rear didn't look half bad either. SOLD! with the promise to go home and look online at the other great things this company may have out on the market.

Even More Gear
I'm telling you, this is becoming a sickness or obsession. So today at Target I decided to swing by the athletic section and check on the clearance rack. I scored a pink shirt for just $3, now I have a whole running ensemble! But what I really need was a nice running stroller...ah yes, my other sickness - strollers. See in the beginning we were running using only the double bike trailer. The hubby wanted to switch off and I knew immediately, we were going to need something better. The double jogging strollers were expensive and I read 10 terrifying reviews on one popular brand about the front wheel popping off, the mom flying over the stroller, and everyone involved (including the kids) was injured. I decided 2 singles was the most fair and the best way to go. Also if I wanted to run while Emma Bean was in school, I could do it with just a single. I found a great deal on a Dreamer Design (discontinued but had great reviews) stroller right away. I let the hubby use it while I was pushing the Britax B-Agile (my pride and joy!!) it was working but it was a bit of a work out on its own. I finally decided to sell it and buy a used maclaren and find another deal on a jogging stroller. 
After a lot of research and looking, I lost control. I fell in love with the BOB Revolution. I knew I had to have one and forget the separate umbrella and jogging stroller, this one was good enough to do it all! Here's a handy little video but don't watch it if you don't want to want the stroller!  I read one review on amazon where a lady had her kid in the stroller next to the car door and was putting some stuff down in the front seat about to unload baby into the car seat. While the car next to them started back out and did see them. The other car was squishing the BOB between the two cars with baby in it. The lady obviously started yelling and the car stopped, the BOB and Baby were fine but the car's bumper was dented and bent. After that story I  had already purchased the BOB in my heart but my head was saying "another expensive stroller?"  I finally justified it that I didn't want to be held back by my stroller. If I was going to do this running thing and stick with it, I needed to be invested in it and comfortable. To craigslist I went and today I will be picking up my very own BOB Revolution in brown, I can hardly wait!
So there you have it, one little mud run and now I'm becoming a junkie. I have goofy shoes, tiny shorts, and a fancy stroller. You'll have to stay tuned and if I'm brave enough I'll post pictures from today (again, I should have done this in the beginning) and then again right at the end of the C25K. Kind of a before and after, you'll be able to see for yourself if you think the C25K works and if the investments were worth it! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Mudder Frickin' Good Time

This past Saturday I ran my first ever 5k. Actually, it was a 5k and obstacle course, in the mud.
Might Mud Dash
As you may remember one of my resolutions this year was to lead a healthier lifestyle. Well, Chris got wind of the Might Mud Dash early January and it was all over. He came home talking about it the team a bunch of people from work had put together. My first reaction, was "you should do it, it sounds fun" - to watch you make an ass of yourself, I wouldn't miss it. A couple of days went by and Chris broke the news, he wanted me to do it with him. It took me a few days to mull it over and finally get on board. However, I was looking for someone else to do it with because I didn't want to join a team of dudes from his work and get left in the dust to eat shit mud all on my own. Chris assured me he would stay with me so we began training.
Some of you may remember February was a rough month for me. I had some major health issues pop up and training, for me, was on hold. I was on bed rest a week and then on light duty until I was cleared by my doctor on March 23rd. Chris kept training, I was pretty sure he would literally have to drag me through the course at this point - that was if I was cleared by the doctor.  Sure enough she gave the go ahead and I started a 2 a day jogging program to try to cram for the big day. Ok so really it wasn't so much of a program as it was me just trying to run as long and far as I could twice a day for a week and a half with a 2 or 3 day rest before the race. I have no experience in any kind of working out so I really didn't know what to do.
Fast forward to race day!

Pre-race photo op!

I think this is my game face. I know, I look a little more intimidated then intimidating.
So my plan all along was to get to the back of our wave so I wasn't in anybody's way and I didn't have to watch everyone else pass me. Of course we begin to line up and the team decides they want right at the front. 

Some pre-race strategy talk no doubt.
Its time to go so, from the front, we start. Chris said for me to just push as hard as I want and he'll keep up. The goal, finish under and hour, hour and a half TOPS and finish first on our team. So I just started jogging. We were in a whole mess of people so I was just weaving through trying to get to where I could run a pace I was comfortable with and not be tripping over anyone or have anyone trip over me. I guess somewhere around a mile in we hit the first obstacle. I still was sure where Chris was, we were separated in the crowd but I knew he hadn't passed me and I didn't want to turn back and look. I just kept having a conversation with myself "push! push! he'll catch up." I finally saw a goal point to slow down and take a breather and just as I approached, Chris was at my side. One obstacle down, 13 to go, and now a team.
We paced ourselves with a fast walk and a light jog until the next obstacle which wasn't very far. After that we just alternated a walk job approach. I was pretty winded so I couldn't run long distances anymore. just after the halfway marker was the first get muddy obstacle. You just run and jump shoulder deep into a trench full of muddy water then make out to the other side. It was actually a nice time for it, the water was cool and woke you up a bit. But once we were out, I was a bit bogged down. Cotton clothes probably weren't the best choice (which means shopping for next time!!) We made it through the next few obstacles keeping a pretty good pace but I had a moment of weakness when I hit this bad boy...

Ok, I know it looks like something from a playground and I should easily be able to get over. But I am pretty scared of heights and it was a good 20 to 25 feet to the top. Chris said he felt like we spent about 5 min on this one alone. Not all of that was me, the girl ahead of me was freaking out pretty bad and kind of stuck for a min at the top. Although, there is no way I had the guts to get off my straight up and over path and go around her. Once I got about halfway to the top I started getting nervous, at one point I looked back to Chris and he said I had crazy eyes. I did actually make it over though, and when my feet were on solid ground I felt awesome. Accomplished and my adrenaline was there for a second (and final wind.)
We jogged to the hay bales and Chris when right up them and looked like a gazelle flying over them. I followed behind him and managed to keep up. Almost immediately after there was a wall. I was pretty tired at this point and not sure I had the strength to get up and over. Turns out I did. Here are a couple of shots from a couple different people. 
That's me in the pink and Chris to my right in black.

Right after the wall there was a rope swing then we rounded the corner and were at the upside of the 50ft mudslide hill. I gave it one last push and Chris and I sprinted up the hill. About two steps from the top I nearly fell to my knees to crawl the rest of the way but some nice girl to my right just put her hand on the back of my arm to support me for a moment and I made it. I was actually excited about this one, it looked like the most fun. So we slide off into the sunset mud pit, only they hadn't cleared the ground that well and I hit my tail bone on a rock. I turned to my right hip because of the pain and took another softball size rock to the hip before splashing into the mud pit. Chris was at the end by the time I made it there, waiting to help me out and we crossed the finish line together.  They slid medals over our necks and as corny as it may sound, it was awesome! I was kind of in the zone for the whole run but when we finished I felt great.
We looped back around to cheer on a couple of the finishing team members then went to the car to get cleaned up. We came back in to grab a beer and check our times out. When I saw 44:28 was our time, I was shocked. I was so proud of us. We accomplished the course and our goals and all with just two weeks of practice. By Saturday night, I had already found our next mission... The Original Mud Run 
It comes to Houston May 26th. Tonight we start our couch to 5k program and our new goal is to finish in under 40 min. We have to get ready for the Zombie Run in December, I'm pumped about that one and want to make sure I can fare well in the Zombie apocalypse. So who's game? You don't have run with me, I'll take training partners too. I promise, its so worth it. 

**hopefully I'll get a few more pictures, Ill post as soon as I do!