Tough Mudder 2017

Yesterday, my husband and I, along with 6 other friends, completed the Tough Mudder. If you aren’t familiar with this event, it’s a 10+ mile muddy, wet, and very challenging obstacle course.¬†If you don’t like mud, getting dirty, getting wet, or having wet feet, this is NOT the event for you!

The event was held at the Wild Wings Gun Club in Hugo, MN. We were glad it was so close to our house. Parking at the event was $20, so everyone met here, and we took 2 vehicles to bring everyone there. Afterwards, our team came over for pulled pork, baked beans with bacon, and some good old-fashioned reliving the event we had just completed together.

In preparation for the event, I was working out at the gym, focusing on upper body, and core strength. On the playground at preschool, I had been practicing crossing the monkeybars. The first day of school, I couldn’t do any. Last week, I was able to cross five. I was feeling very encouraged by this! My legs have gotten quite strong over the past year, so I didn’t worry too much about those. I just added some weight to my squats (sometimes using kettlebells, sometimes using hand weights). A few weeks’ back, I messed up my back, so I had to take the most critical time of training to deal with that. ūüė¶ ¬†It was a good thing I took that time though, because it held up great through the entire event! I was really nervous it wouldn’t. Thank you to chiropractor, Dr. John Tomlinson for helping get it back on track!

Laura and I after Tough Mudder. We were the only two women on our team.

It was a super hot day. Temps were over 90, with very little cloud cover. There was no amount of training that I could have done or not done to prepare me for the heat. We were all sweating and stinky before we even started. At the first obstacle, they told us weather conditions were red, so they were recommending people not run, and drink plenty at the water stops.

After parking, we walked about a mile to the check-in location. Then, we dropped our bag in the bag drop area, and headed for the queue at the starting gate. Our assigned start time was 11:00. It was about 11:15 when they let the group for the Tough Mudder Half go. We probably got to head for the actual starting gate around 11:30. There, we waited more, and probably around 12, got to actually get started.

We jogged the first 1/2 – 3/4 mile, before some of us started to walk. We had well over 10 miles ahead of us, why expend all that energy early on? We always made sure at least one person stayed with the person at the back. Sometimes that was me, sometimes Dan, Tim, or Jason. No matter who it was, no one was left behind. My goal was not to get it done fast, just to finish it.

We had to carry this wood as a group. It was heavy! Due to a miscommunication at the end, it was even more difficult for the couple of teammates who carried it all the way to the end.

The first obstacle we came to was called Kiss of Mud 2.0 . You can’t see me in the video, but you can watch as my husband crawls through the mud, under barbed wire. Teammate Charlie caught this video. I was to the right of him, so you catch me periodically. It wasn’t too bad. On another obstacle that started out in a similar way, I did get poked in the butt by barbed wire near the end. I thought I was all the way at the end, but I wasn’t quite done yet. Oops.

Post-Mudder selfie.

As the event went on, there were walls to climb over, mud to crawl through, pipes to climb up, wood to carry, etc. Most of the terrain was hilly, and uneven. I was definitely not prepared for that. It made for some very sore muscles, even with us walking most of the course.

The easiest obstacles for me tended to be the climbing ones. I guess my years of rock climbing paid off (even if I’m not very strong any more). ¬†The hardest obstacle for me personally, was called Everest 2.0. This was a steep halfpipe, with a rounded top. Apparently, the trick is to use speed to run up as fast as you can. People at the top help each other, but they say not to aim for the hands. This obstacle was at the half way point for us. For whatever reason, I felt like I was completely out of gas. I struggled to muster up the energy to get enough speed to make it to the top. After 3 tries (plus one where I started to run, and started laughing at something someone said, so bailed), I was ready to admit defeat. I was frustrated and exhausted. I hadn’t eaten in several hours, and had long since burned through my breakfast. I decided to try one more time. This time, by a miracle, Chris, one of my teammates, caught my hand. Matt, another team mate jumped next to him to grab my other one. Charlie, our team captain, was trying to grab my leg. I didn’t have the strength to even swing it over… after hanging for what seemed like an eternity, I mustered the strength to swing it over, where he grabbed it, and they all pulled me over.

Luckily, I found a second wind after that. I managed to make it through all the rest of the obstacles. There were 3 obstacles I did not complete…. two had to do with going through electric wires. I got zapped pretty bad in high school, and didn’t want to relive that experience, so I skipped those two. The third obstacle I did not complete, was called Kong. It was a Legionaires-only obstacle. That means that only people who had completed the Tough Mudder ¬†at least once could do that obstacle. Since it was my first time, I couldn’t try it. That was ok by me, because I knew I would fail. The obstacle before that one had monkey bars, etc. I was very disappointed in myself that I only made it across two monkey bars before I fell in the water. I was hoping to make it at least halfway across. Oh well, maybe next year.

Didn’t realize how banged up my knees were, until after my shower.

Four hours or so later, we finished the Tough Mudder. We were hot, sweaty, sore, and utterly exhausted! At the same time, it was thrilling to know that we had done it. We all had some battle wounds – cuts, bruises, scrapes, and lots of sunburn (despite putting plenty of sunblock on before hand). Some of us struggled with muscle cramps during the event, but it was all worth it!!

I now know how to train differently. I need to make sure I have a bigger breakfast that day, to make sure I pre-hydrate, and do some practice run/walks on hilly terrain. I will continue to work on being able to do things like pull ups, rings, monkey bars, and climbing walls. I will likely also go to a “Ninja Gym” to practice doing things like climbing ropes, and running up walls.¬†I will be better prepared to not only complete obstacles, but also to be a better teammate, more capable of helping others over the obstacles.

I loved that this was such a team-focused event. We all worked together, and we made it! I am looking forward to doing the Tough Mudder again in the future!

 

 

 

Yellowstone 5K 2017

One of my goals in my fitness journey, is to run a 5K.

I have technically done two Polar Plunge 5Ks before, but I walked both of those. Yes, I technically finished them both (and was at the back of the pack in both). Yes, I got a shirt from each one. This said, neither met my goal of running a 5K.

A couple months ago, Jason pitched me the idea of doing a virtual 5K together. I didn’t really know what a virtual 5K was… basically, you pay the entry fee, and you run a 5K wherever you want. You send in your time by a certain date, and they send you a medal and shirt. I decided it might be a good way to ease into this whole running thing. I have been doing some running at the gym, but not as much as I’d like. One day, Jason sent me a message and said, “Let’s do our 5K tonight.” Neither of us had done much training, but what the heck… why not? Jason had a goal of finishing in 45 minutes. I did not want to commit to that time, but¬†was committed to finishing.

During the show I was recently in, I talked to one of the cast members who has been doing a lot of running and biking over the past couple years. I told him about the little training I had done, and about my struggles to maintain a running pace. My stamina was terrible! Even though I didn’t think I was very fast compared to other people I had seen at the gym, he told me I was running too fast. His advice was to take the speed down a bit, and shoot for small goals – running for x number of minutes, or one mile, whatever. My goal while Jason and I did our 5K was to run for one mile straight. I set it at 4.8, really more of a jog, but one I thought I could maintain. I was able to maintain a speed between 4.8 and 5 MPH for an entire mile, then walked (at a fast pace) for a short while. I jogged for a half mile, and walked a little more. I was able to keep the¬†intervals of jogging and fast walking going for the entire 3.2 miles. The last half a mile was tough,¬†but I kept going.

In the end, I finished in 42 minutes, 34 seconds. This was under the 45 minutes that I didn’t think I’d make in the first place! That means I averaged 4.53 MPH for 3.2 miles!! I can’t walk that fast, which means that I officially did it! I ran a 5K! The best part? I beat Jason by 20 seconds!!

Today, Jason and I got our medals and shirts from the Yellowstone Virtual 5K. This race raised money for Yellowstone National Park, which we loved when we went a couple years ago. It was a good cause for a first race. The medal was based on the Grand Prismatic Spring, and was much more beautiful than it looked online. The shirts were great quality too! I look forward to wearing it.

Jason and I, showing off our swag!

This summer, Today, Jason and I plan on doing a couple more. Not sure if they will all be virtual races (which feel like less pressure), or if I will run a race with other people at the same time, but I will definitely do more.

 

12 Days of Fitness

Lifetime Fitness had a “12 Days of Fitness” challenge. If you completed all 12 workouts, you’d be entered into a chance for a Spa services. Since I could really use a massage, I went for it. In the 14 days of the challenge, I managed to complete 8 of the workouts. I also had a personal training session with Kevin, who showed me how to properly use kettlebells, and showed me some of the equipment listed on some of the workouts, so I would know what to do to complete them… I also attended a Kettlebell class as part of the 60 Day Challenge. That class kicked my butt, and I decided to let my body rest for the next 2 days (during which time, I completed all of my Christmas shopping, and baked most of my Christmas cookies).
Am I disappointed that I didn’t get all 12 workouts done? A little, but I still feel really good about what I accomplished during that time! I tried new things I previously wouldn’t have. I took pictures of some of the workouts that I enjoyed, so that I can do them again in the future.
I’m not going to lose a bunch of weight right now… I’m working towards a healthier me, I’m working to maintain where I am at, I am working towards building up my strength. Once the holidays are over, I will get back to focusing on what I’m eating again, while continuing to work out. I might not get skinny again (heck, when I was, people were offering me a sandwich everywhere I went, and that’s annoying). That said, I don’t ever want to get to the point where I am disgusted by what I see in the mirror – not ever again!!
The journey is what it’s about, and that journey is still going. ūüôā

The MyFitnessPal App

As part of my journey to get in shape, and be more¬†healthy,¬†I have been using is the MyFitnessPal app. It’s a free app in the Play Store. My husband uses the paid version, which just gives him a few more benefits. For me, the free version is good enough. Here’s how I use the app:

  1. First, I entered my goals, and it calculated how many calories/day I should eat.
  2. I enter my food and exercise every day, and it keeps track of how many calories I have left, or went over for the day. What’s nice, is that it adds calories to what I can eat, based on the amount of exercise I do. For someone like me, who loves to eat, that’s great motivation to work out!
  3. screenshot_20160911-222452The app¬†breaks down what I’ve eaten into percentages of protein, carbs, and fats. It tells me what I should aim for, which is very helpful. What I’ve found, is that I don’t eat enough protein.¬†Using the macros on the app has gotten me to pay attention to balancing out the foods I’m eating, so that I get enough protein, or watch my¬†carb consumption in the next meal when I’ve had way too many already that day.
  4. It also tells me how I’m doing on getting enough vitamins/nutrients. I’ve discovered, that even though I’m eating a banana every day, I’m not getting enough potassium. That is one that’s hard to find decent supplements for, but I’m now taking multivitamins, as well as some other supplements (such as flax seed oil – which I will be switching to fish oil when these are out). I said in a previous post that I didn’t want to rely on supplements to feel better, and that’s still true. I am, however, trying to make sure I get enough nutrients to keep my body able to work hard. So far, it’s paying off.¬†
  5. Finally, by entering food into my food diary, I am also educating myself about my food intake. For example, when I go to Caribou¬†Coffee¬†and get a piece of cinnamon coffee cake, and a Campfire Mocha with skim, I am consuming about¬†1/3 the number of calories I should be having in an entire day. That is generally what I would have 3 or more days per week as a snack for much of last year. No wonder I gained so much weight! This does not mean I am going to quit going to Caribou (it’s my favorite), it simply means I will pay attention to how often I am going there. I will most likely save it for a day I have worked out, or am planning on eating a lot of protein (to balance out the carbs and fat in the mocha).

As a bonus, MyFitnessPal syncs with my fitbit. When I walk a lot of steps, but haven’t necessarily “exercised”, it gives me a¬†calorie¬†credit¬†based on the number of steps I have walked. Not only that, but my water consumption, weight loss or gain, etc. updates in both apps as I enter them (regardless of which app I initially enter it into).

Similar to much of social media, you can connect with your friends on the app. The only one I am “friends” with right now, is my husband, Jason. We can “like” or leave comments on each other’s progress with exercise, weight loss, etc. A feature that I have taken advantage of, is that I can see Jason’s diary each day. If we both ate the same meal, and he entered his first, I can just copy it right over to my own food diary. This comes in especially handy when it’s a custom meal that he entered the recipe for.

The final feature that comes to mind that I use often are the health and nutrition articles that are available on the app. When I first open the app, and let it know that I want to track my food, exercise, water consumption, etc, it opens my “newsfeed”. This shows me not only my notifications/progress, but Jason’s as well. Interspersed, are useful articles. None of them are too long, and most that I have read, have great information.

I would recommend this app to anyone trying to get a handle on their eating, or just trying to improve their weight or fitness level.

Celebrating Small Successes

I’ve spent the past two months or so, working really hard to get back in shape, and get healthy. We did the Whole 30 diet (mine was modified), I lost a total of about 8 lbs. I also gained some better eating habits, such as preparing ahead, and being willing to do more cooking of real foods. It also got me looking at labels more, and made me realize how much added sugar there is in so many foods that you wouldn’t think of.

In July, I started going to the gym at least 3 times a week. That has since increased to about 5-6 days/week. I’ve been doing a lot of Zumba, but also core and full body strength exercises.

Jason and I joined the 60 Day Challenge at Lifetime. This has been great, because, not only does it offer support from a personal trainer, it offers “Try-it Tuesday” classes two¬†times a week (Tuesday and Saturday). Sometimes the classes are group fitness classes, sometimes, they are seminars about nutrition, metabolism, etc. As part of the challenge,¬†I also signed up for Precision Nutrition¬†(PN) online. This is another way to be held accountable, while learning new, healthier habits. Luckily for me, Nichole, the trainer I’ve been working with, is also a PN coach, and is continuing to be my partner in accountability.

When I first met with Nichole, my body fat was at 38%. Yikes! With all the working out, eating better, etc., I have dropped that number down to 34.2%. I still have a long ways to go, but that is progress I can feel good about!

Today, I caught my reflection in the sideview mirror of my husband’s Jeep. I didn’t see my¬†double chin. For a while, I could see two whenever I’d catch my reflection in the mirror or my phone, but not today! ūüôā

At the beginning of my journey a couple months ago, I could maybe do 7 push-ups total (with knees down). Nichole wanted me to try to do 3 sets of 8, with a minute of rest in between each set. A month and a half ago, I couldn’t do it. I averaged 7-8, then 5-6, then 3. Just over a week ago, I did my first complete 3 sets of 8 each. I am still keeping my knees down, but now that I’m able to do three sets of eight consistently, I’m going to work to do full push-ups.

I am celebrating the little signs that I am getting stronger every day. I am celebrating each little success, and using it as motivation to keep pushing forward. I am feeling less self-conscious about my weight, and looking forward to continued progress!

 

 

Time to Get Healthy: Attempt #42

This past year, I was sick, a lot. As a teacher, I am exposed to germs all the time, but this year, I caught¬†a lot more than usual (maybe my body was preparing for the latest craze by “Catching them all“). I seemed to have some sort of cold, the entire school year. Add to that, I gained about 13 lbs between March and June, and that was starting from a higher¬†weight than I like in the first place. UGH!

I have many friends that are using Plexus or Thrive to help them get more healthy.¬†Of course, they are all asking me to try their products. It’s not that I am opposed, but I have had so many asking, that are using either one or the other (and loving their results, whether it be weight loss, or just generally feeling better), it’s hard to know where to even begin. ¬†Also, I don’t want to rely on a shake or supplement. What I really need to do, is change my lifestyle. I need to build my strength back up, I need to eat better, I need to be healthy.

I am a stress-eater, and this past year has had some stressful moments. Being sick all the time, didn’t help. I was eating, all the time. While I tried to make some healthier choices, I was still snacking more than I should, and eating lots of carbs. Of course, because I was always sick, I was always tired, that meant I was also drinking more pop, or sugar infused coffee drinks than I should as well. In the 80’s the slogan was “Just say no” in regards to drugs, my drug has been Caribou. I have a hard time resisting that one!

A few years ago, some friends and I did an online blog party called Get Hawt. That was helpful, having someone (or a group of people) to help hold me accountable in my goals. What my husband and I have found out, is that neither of us are the right person to be an accountability partner for each other, when it comes to health and weight loss.

My husband has done low-carb diets several times, and had some great results. I had no desire to give up my carbs. I love cookies, pasta, rice, bread, pita chips, and of course, pop (or as most of the rest of the country calls it, “soda”). I have been able to cut down to 1 can or bottle of pop a day pretty consistently. For a man, that might be enough, for a woman, not so much. I need to do more, but I did NOT want to give anything up. Despite his best efforts to get me on board, I pushed back.

About a month ago, I hit 171 lbs. That is about 20 lbs higher than when I first was disgusted by what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t like that my pants all bulged in the belly, and my shirts were all getting tighter. Flab was constantly sticking out the top of my pants, and out from under my shirts… ¬†It’s summer. I like to wear tank tops, which of course show off my jiggly arms. I decided to start working out more, which meant I needed enough proper attire to wash them in between work outs. I was not happy to have to go up another bra size! All in all, I was getting more and more depressed by my weak, flabby body and decreased health. I wasn’t sleeping well, nor motivated to do things I enjoy.

Time for a change!!! OK, so it might not actually be the 42nd time I am attempting to take back control over my body and my eating. I am a bit of a geek, so 42 seemed to be a good number to use (you know, the answer to life, the universe, and everything).

So what am I doing? I am going to the gym a minimum of 3 days a week. I’ve met with Nichole at Lifetime Fitness¬†a couple of times now. I am working on a plan to strengthen my core, and whole body. I am trying to make sure I get at least 10K steps every day

Jason (my husband) and ¬†I are doing the Whole 30 diet. Well, he’s doing the Whole 30 all-out, I’m doing a modified version. I am still eating yogurt almost every day, and allowing myself a string cheese occasionally as a snack. I also told myself that I could still have one Mountain Dew per day, though, I usually choose iced tea with sugar instead of a beverage with high fructose corn syrup. People who are sticklers for the Whole 30 rules will tell me that’s not ok. That it should be all or nothing. That it’s pointless to do it if I’m not going to completely give up added sugar. Here’s the thing, I know what the program has to say, I also know that if I tell myself I have to give so many things up, I will fail. The Whole 30 book says to focus on the things I can have: meat, veggies, fruits, basically real, non-processed foods. I don’t have that much willpower… I am doing a modified version so I can be successful. I will write more about that later. For now, I will leave it at this: I have lost 5 lbs so far, mostly water weight and bloating, but I am slightly less disgusted when I look in the mirror… I am going to keep working, and will update my progress occasionally.

Get Hawt – Week 3 Invitation

This week, your Get Hawt Challenge is simple. In addition to writing about what you’ve been doing to work towards your goal this week, we’d also like to know a bit about the tools you are using.

Tools? What are you talking about? Here’s an example: I have been using Jen’s super awesome weight loss graph she made. It was so nice of her to share. Every day after I weigh myself, I enter the number into the spreadsheet. My progress, or lack thereof, shows up on my graph. While it seems to really jump up and down, it’s nice to see I’m staying inside my “zone.”

Watch twitter for one day, and you will see posts such as “@XYZ just started a run with RunMeter.” There are many apps that post such things, some even read back people’s tweets to cheer you on. We know people are also using watches or other sort of GPS devices, calorie counters, heart monitors, etc. Whatever you are using to help you with your goals to Get Hawt, we want to know about them. Oh, and if you have tried some that you didn’t like, we want to hear about those too!

Maybe you have some tricks up your sleeve in the kitchen, tell us about ’em!

Even if you haven’t been a part of our blog party yet, you can still join. Anyone, any time! This blog party (FAQ here) is open to men, women, chickens, rockstars, spouses, and more. Anyone who wants to eat better, get in better shape, train for a big event, or otherwise improve the way they look and feel, can join us. The idea is to just do it! We, as a group, want to not only encourage each other, but also help hold each other accountable. My awesome partner in this is Jen McCown (@MidnightDBA). She kicks my butt every couple days for being lazy. It helps! Having a partner to keep in touch with daily might be that little difference you need.

Please link back to this post via comments or pingback to be included in the roundup. You can also post it to twitter with #gethawt as part of the posting.

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