Ultramarathon: The Decision

The decision to train for and run 50 miles came from a slump, honestly.

Last summer and all fall I trained my butt off for the November Two Cities Marathon in Fresno. (Note: Fresno heat is no joke and training for a marathon our first summer here was an adventure.) The Two Cities Marathon was my first terrible race. I made all of the rookie mistakes that they tell you not to make. It was my 7th marathon, I should have known better.

  • I didn’t eat a good breakfast.
  • I didn’t plan my outfit well.
  • I started off too fast.
  • I didn’t pack enough snacks.
  • I ate Gu which I didn’t eat at all during training.

I cranked out the first 10 miles at a 7:52 pace which I didn’t even know my body was capable of. I was cruising. Then I just completely ran out of gas due to lack of a solid breakfast and on-the-run fueling. My vision started to go completely black and splotchy and I felt light-headed. That’s never happened before. I grabbed Gu packet from the next aid station because I knew it was probably my blood sugar making my vision go. The Gu helped my vision and also wrecked my stomach (which is why they tell you to never eat anything on race day that you didn’t eat during training…). #facepalm

I got moving again long enough to see Colin at mile 13. I cried a little a lot, handed him my extra jacket that I was carrying with me and my hydration pack, collect additional snacks and forge on. He ran for a few minutes alongside me and told me I could do this. I was barely halfway.

I hardly remember the out and back stretch on Friant. Hills. Sun. Pain. Cramps. Nausea. I just kept thinking about how this would be my 7th full marathon but the first one that has just gone all wrong. We’re all allowed a bad race. I guess I have been lucky to get through 6 pretty smoothly until now.

I finished with blisters galore. Finish line beer earned. My dream of Boston never felt so far away.

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Colin was there for me at the finish line and reminded me that hey, even though it was rough I still finished another marathon. I hit up the beer tent and put the race behind me, or so I thought. The next few weeks were spent recovering (a little) and focusing on the next big thing (a lot). I know that I didn’t give my body enough rest time before I started training for my next race: The Modesto Marathon in March. I jumped into a training plan that was more intense than the last because that was all I could think about: doing better than my November race and qualifying for Boston. Everything hurt in a way that I don’t usually hurt.

I was frustrated with myself. Tired all of the time. Achy. Cranky. My way of coping with the disappointment of my fall race was to overtrain for the next one. Bad move.

I felt like I was failing. It was my body telling me that I needed rest.

I deferred my March marathon registration to 2018 instead. I spent time reflecting on what my body and mind needed after November’s race. Another marathon so soon wasn’t it.

I needed a new goal and that’s where an ultramarathon came in. I spent a long time doing my research and decided on the LOVERS LEAP OF FAITH – STRAWBERRY on July 1. I am 4 weeks into training and I’m totally <insert every emotion you can think of here>. But hey, that’s what it’s all about, right? #allthefeelings

I run for a lot of reasons. Running shows me every day that I’m capable of more than I imagine. The rest of this year looks like this: Run my 50 mile race on July 1. Take a few weeks of yoga + recovery and then hit marathon training hard for the Two Cities in November. After all, 26.2 will feel like breeze after 50, right? 😉

 

 

Pilates and your workday

I found this to be helpful so I am sharing with you all, enjoy! xo

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Sit at Work All Day? Here’s Why You Should Consider Pilates

 

More leafy greens and local beer.

This is a picture of wine and a post about healthy eating. Or eating in general. Real talk: I’ve spent years agonizing over food. Trying to label myself: vegan, vegetarian, whole 30, paleo. I’ve self-imposed strict rules and guidelines only to be frustrated when I “failed”. I’m sick of it. Tonight I poured myself a big glass of Matt Bellassai’s wine and thought about the following things.

• I love cheeseburgers, craft beer, avocados, coffee, and chocolate cake.

• I run stronger and feel better when I’m eating cleaner.

• Life is too short for rules, how about guidelines?

• Let’s make 2017 the year of loving the body I have, celebrating what it can do, and taking more deep breaths.

• More leafy greens and local beer.

xoxo Cheers, pals.

2017 Fitness Goals (that scare me)

I feel like my fitness goals deserve the own blog post. I plan to update this post as I make progress as a way to hold myself accountable. What are you tackling in 2017? Anyone want to join me on any of these?

  • Qualify for Boston. omg I’m terrified writing that out loud.
  • Do 5 pull-ups, unassisted. This has been a goal of mine for years. This is the year. #strong
  • Hold plank up on hands for 2 minutes. (Current, 12/31 57 seconds) 
  • 30 push-ups in a row, no rest. Now that I can do a real push-up on my toes, time to get stronger.
  • 5K in under 23 minutes. (Current PR 24:25)
  • 10K in under 50 minutes. (No idea what my current PR is for this but it’s around 65 minutes)
  • Track all of my miles run in my planner so that I know how many miles I run for the whole year.
  • Yoga headstandCurrently: afraid.
  • Hold crow pose for 1 minute.
  • #RUNTHEYEAR : 2017 miles in 2017 (This one is a huge stretch, but I’m going to see how close I can get. I know my pal Joel is doing it too, anyone else?!)
  • Hit 10,000 steps a day at least 6 days/week. I use the app “Pact” to track this. It rewards you for your good fitness deeds and charges you (scary!) when you miss your goal. Dolla dolla motivation.
  • Try more workouts from magazines and my Pinterest boards to keep mixing it up
  • Body fat % down to 21-22% (Current: 27.5% – I use my Fitbit Aria scale to track this)

**Note: blogged while eating cookies and drinking coffee.
Should probably add “eat better” to this list as well. #everythinginmoderation

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7 Minute Pumpkin Power Workout

Fall is here! Grab a pumpkin and give this quick power workout a try!

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8 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Running

  1. You can do it. You. Yes. You can. I ran my first marathon in May 2014. The spring I graduated college. The spring I did the most soul-searching. It transformed me. I had spent a lot of years not believing myself and that fire that 26.2 miles lit (yes, it was over 95 degrees but I’m talking about a fire within) changed me. After I ran my first marathon, I ran another just to see if I could do it again. Your body gives up first, way before your mind. Running teaches me every day that I am strong and capable of so much more.
  2. It’s for you, not anyone else. I’ve had one true running buddy through the years. (Miss you, Bease!) Otherwise, running is for me. I love running with my husband and I’d love to be a part of a running group someday but deep down, I feel like my time spent on long runs is time that belongs to no one else. I don’t have to worry about to-do lists, or work, or not being good enough. It’s just me, myself, and I. One of my favorite running quotes is: “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” Christopher McDougall 
  3. Listen to your body. I love my planner and I love a good training schedule but I’ve learned to listen to my body. There are some days everything hurts for no reason. Rest is important. I try to listen to my body on the days it’s screaming “yoga pleeeeeease” and even on the days it wants to run longer than “planned”. I’ve been known to stay home from work because I just needed a long run. My own special kind of mental health day, shhh.
  4. Be proud. It’s okay to celebrate your accomplishments and remember that you are a badass, because you are.
  5. Be patient. It takes time to achieve goals. It takes time to hit high mileage weeks. Be patient with yourself and your body. Don’t stop.
  6. Dream. My dream is still to make it to Boston someday. I was afraid to dream that dream for the first few years I was running. I struggled to even see myself as a “runner”. If you run, you are a runner. Don’t stop dreaming and don’t stop reaching higher.
  7. Eat. Running changed my body image and my entire mindset on how I see food. I workout and run because I love my body, not because I hate it. I eat food for fuel. When I don’t eat enough, I can feel it in my workouts. I enjoy a cheeseburger and french fries now and then. Fro yo is still my favorite thing ever. I worry more about the quality of calories that I am putting into my body, and less about the quantity. Some days, I’m just hungry. Run or no run, my body some days just needs more food. I’m learning to be okay with that as I get stronger. It isn’t always about how much you’re eating, but what you’re choosing to eat.
  8. Share. Be proud. Seek out support groups. Find a running tribe to surround yourself with. I have found that the community I have found in running has meant more than anything else. We’d love for you to join us!

reasons to run

I am a badass.

I am currently reading: You Are A Badass (thanks, Alice!) and am vowing to live my life as a more badass version of myself. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this book yet – do it today! Get it ordered because you are going to want to read this. It came highly recommend from my friend Amanda, who loves it so much she changed her Instagram bio to include a quote from the book:

“Never apologize for who you are – it lets the whole world down”. Love it.

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My marathon is coming up in 4 weeks. I’ve trained harder than I ever have but I’m still filled with thoughts of self-doubt. They come and go. I try to push them away.

After a less than stellar run yesterday morning, I was feeling bummed. I felt slow and sluggish and didn’t want to be out there. I shared on our Running Tribe** Facebook page that something was up – maybe I’m coming down with something? maybe I’m overtraining? maybe I’m just bored? Help!

A woman on the page suggested that I go out and run a mile as fast as I can. “It’ll make you feel like a badass”, she said. Badass. How fitting. I had just started this book this weekend. I decided to give it a try. I hadn’t showered yet from my failed run earlier that morning.

BAM! THE FLASH WAS UNLEASHED. A badass flash.
I ran a mile in 6:56 – something I never thought I was capable of. I haven’t ever run a single mile in less than 8:15, but then again, I’ve also never really tried. WOW. Makes me think about how much more we are all really capable of, amiright?!

I am a badass.

Being comfortable saying to myself, and out loud “I am a badass” is more about self confidence than anything else. It’s about a belief that what you have to offer the world is valuable, and the world can take it or leave it. I’ve been journaling about this in my Passion Planner. When I think of myself, “badass” is generally the last word that comes to mind. What if I started to live my days like I was a badass, confidently going about the world sharing my gifts, talents, and greatness. Wow, what a way to live.

Anyways, I’ll update you on the progress of my own badass-ary but for now, I’m just trying to be comfortable with the fact that I am indeed, a badass.

xo

**Side note: If you’re into running, or want to be, we’d love for you to join our Running Tribe. This group started as a way for us to stay motivated during the summer Runner’s World run streak but it has evolved to becoming my running family. These ladies range from brand new beginner runners to women who go out and run crazy mileage weeks. We all need breaks. We all need to be supported and lifted up. We talk about chafing and sports bras. We talk about food and weight loss. Some have even met up and run together in person!

 

#girlbossseries: Be Your Own Superhero

The first #girlboss I’m highlighting in my Girl Boss series is: Emily Schromm. I’ve been girl-crushing on Emily for the last year since my best friend introduced me to her and her challenges. I’ve completed a few, and I love how Emily has built her own fitness business all on her own. (Plus she’s from Colorado – even better).

I’ve participated in multiple challenges of hers before, and she coaches you through everything. You don’t have to have a super-active lifestyle to start. The workouts are manageable for all levels/all time schedules/all ages/all people.

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Besides that fact that Emily is totally ripped, she has the knowledge behind what she teaches. I’ve learned a lot about what to put in my body from her and the way she breaks it all down makes it less science-y and more real life-y.

I love a good challenge and hers are some of the best: Superhero Challenge. I love having friends who do it with me, I love when we can hold each other accountable! Feel free to text/message me if you have any questions! Join us here. Only $21. Emily is the real-deal.

Know a #girlboss you think I should know about? Let me know, I’d love to highlight her in this series. amandajeanninestewart@gmail.com 

What’s In My Gym Bag

Whether it’s yoga, a long run, a weights session, an early morning workout, or a lunch workout there are some things I just gotta have with me. I love reading about what is in everyone’s gym bags. Here are some essentials that I keep in mine. What’s in yours?

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  1. Socks (Ever worked out without socks? It’s pretty gross.) 
  2. Sports Bra (If I forget a sports bra, it’s usually a no-go on the workout. Some things you just can’t do without.)
  3. Burt’s Bees wipes (they say face, but I use them everywhere!) are my favorite. I love the grapefruit! So fresh.
  4. Body spray (My fav is from: The Dirty Goat)
  5. Bobby pins.
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  6. Headphones. (I love listening to podcasts and catching up on #Snapchat takeovers while I’m at the gym!) I’m on the hunt for new wireless headphones – any recommendations?
  7. Snacks. Yum.
  8. Refillable H2O bottle. #NalgeneLoverForLife
  9. Dry shampoo – DIY or buy some. I cannot live without my dry shampoo.

Want another gym bag essentials perspective? Check out what’s in Shaunna’s gym bag here!

Yes, I’m a Certified Personal Trainer

In January I passed my Certified Personal Trainer Exam. It was exciting – I worked really hard to pass that exam. Colin bought me the package a year ago after hearing me talk so much about wanting to do it. (One of the many things I love about Colin – he helps me make things happen, and not just talk about them!) 

I’ll admit. I thought it would be a breeze. It was far from it. I was someone who essentially switched majors because I hated Chemistry in college. Science isn’t a strength of mine. I haven’t taken an anatomy course since high school. I only knew which muscles I used a lot in running – the difference between my hamstrings and quads – and that was about it. Learning all of this material did not come easy, although I did love it. I loved learning about it. NCCPT was great. I had to call them and reschedule my exam what felt like a thousand times. I kept thinking I’d be ready, I kept needing more time.

I did not tell many people I was working on this certification. Not many knew it was something that I event wanted to do. When I shared that I passed my exam on social media and with family/friends I was met with more resistance and confusion than I expected. Messages about if I was quitting my job. (Nope.) Questions about if I didn’t like higher ed anymore. (Still love it!) Inquiries about if I’d be doing this as a side hustle. (Not anytime soon!)

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As humans, we have the tendency to want to put people in boxes. To organize our lives (and others) in neat sections that make sense. My life doesn’t make sense. I take on new roles, I try new hobbies, I have to-do lists and bucket lists all over the place. I have my own jewelry business. I am the Editor in Chief of The Niche Movement. I work at Lincoln College as an Admissions Counselor. I’m thriving when I’m busy. I feel alive when I’m learning. The only point I’m trying to make by listing all these things is this: Don’t live your life in a box. Get out there and try new things! Jam pack your days full of things you love. If that isn’t your job, find a new hobby! Get a certification in something even if you don’t know where that will take you. Even if your only reason is “because I wanted to”. 12516345_10206235639786870_585470049_n

So yes, I am a Certified Personal Trainer. Nope, I’m not quitting my job. I don’t plan on doing this full-time, or part-time even right now. I didn’t get this certification with any outcomes in mind. I did it because I love learning, I love health and wellness, I love trying new things, and I love checking things off my lists.

Thanks NCCPT for making it possible! Next up, Certified Yoga Instructor???

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