Home is where the heavy bag is

Today is supposed to be leg day at the gym for me.  I had a beautiful day of cardio yesterday, and left the gym feeling fresh and rejuvenated, which is the perfect lead-up to my crazy intense leg day.  But…  and I know you could all sense the “but” coming…

I just can’t get myself out the door.

There are two reasons for this.  Reason #1 is that my gym closes at 6:30 on Sundays, and I really prefer to go at around 8:00.  Reason #2, which is the more substantial reason, is that I have a million things to do at home, and I will feel like a horrible, selfish person if I totally neglect everything else in my life so that I can spend 2 hours at the gym doing leg exercises.  Today is not the right day.

My week this week is going to be nuts.  I work every single day except for Wednesday, and I have a very good friend visiting from out of town.  Every minute of the week is spoken for.  Meaning that the huge mess of dishes and laundry that is currently piling up in my apartment is only going to get bigger as the week unfolds.  And that guy I call my husband who has been working his butt off all week doing a ridiculous mix of Emergency Department shifts and being the Resident on call for Toxicology, will barely see my face before next Sunday…  I really need a day at home today, or I may not survive this upcoming week.

So I made myself a new plan for the afternoon.  Once the laundry and dishes and grocery shopping has been dealt with, I’ve designed a lovely little workout for home that Joe and I can do together…  (Did you see what I did there?  Mixing couple time with workout time.  Yeah, that’s right…)  5 rounds of boxing, a painful mixture of burpees and burnouts on the heavy bag, and some pushups, pullups and ab work to finish.  This is how we used to get down, before the days of personal trainers and half marathon aspirations.  It’s the equivalent of a date-night in our house.  Two bottles of Gatorade, two sets of hand wraps, a good playlist of old-school rap music, and voila…  romance.

I’ll be back at the gym this week, in between the girls nights out and the crazy work schedule.  I’ll find a way to make it happen.  But tonight is protected couple time.  Just me, Joe and the heavy bag.  🙂

Nothing beats a good sweat

Am I the only one who struggles with going back to the gym after a day off??  Oh MAN can that be tough!

Yesterday was my rest day… and it was AWESOME.  One thing I`ve learned through my years of being an ICU nurse is how to enjoy time off.  Like really just shut off my brain and indulge in laziness, or fun, or whatever it is that I feel like indulging in.  I`ve read some running blogs where people describe struggling with overtraining and not wanting to rest on their rest days…

I do NOT have that problem.

No matter how much you love what you do, you need to take a day off from it every now and then!!

So last night was a fabulous date night out with my husband, Joe.  We had lots of dranks and tons of extremely unhealthy food, and it was just generally good times.  (This is what happens when you marry one of your drinking buddies… Date night is pretty much just bar hopping and sports watching and general goofiness.  Which I looove.)

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Yum!!!!

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Those fries are smothered in Gorgonzola…  just saying.

As an aside, we are Canadians who are currently living in the US…  we’re only here temporarily, so we don’t have in-State ID.  And we actually got KICKED OUT of a bar last night for not having local ID.  ??!!?!?!  Is this a THING?  We both have valid Canadian ID, and we’re definitely not under age.  I was SHOCKED!  We were forced to go next door and spend all our money at THAT bar instead.

Alright, so let’s get back on track.

We were back at the gym today, and this is where it gets tough for me.  As soon as I take a day off from training, I feel like I lose all of my momentum and I just want to sit on the couch like a blob, or go back to the bar for more of those Gorgonzola fries.

At least today was a cross training day, so you know what THAT means!!!  Boxing!!  Joe and I trained pretty hard today, both of us totally drenched in sweat and feeling pretty great by the time we were finished.  This is one of the best feelings in the world.

And now please allow me a few minutes to go on a quick little rant…  People, I am NOT one of these girls who can give it her all at the gym and still look immaculately made up and fresh right afterwards.  I canNOT engage in lung-burning, muscle-wasting efforts of fitness and strength without looking like a total mess afterwards.  And because this blog is all about being open and sharing my COMPLETE journey to a half marathon, I will most likely be posting some pretty unflattering photos of myself…  It only seems fair.  So this is me, after a few rounds of drills and sparring:

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It’s tough to keep your hair pinned back when you’re taking sweeping left hooks to the head from your sparring partner.  (But, really, who’s fault is that for not keeping my hands up??)

Anyway, I may LOOK like a mess in this photo, but I’m feeling pretty freaking awesome at this point.  I followed this up with some intervals on the bike, and that’s another workout in the books!!  Pretty cool way to spend your Saturday night.

This is the feeling that I try to remember when all I want to do is go out and party or stay at home all comfy and curled up on the couch…  It’s that beautiful, messy, exhausted, sweaty, triumphant feeling that keeps me going back for more.

 

Starting a blog, and a little about me

This spring, I am training for my first half marathon. That is really all you need to know about me, but I feel compelled to fill you all in on my history as a runner in explicit detail in order to orient you to my current situation. (Not because it’s particularly interesting, but more because it’s pretty unremarkable, and the whole reason why I wanted to start this blog was for people who feel as intimidated as I do by running long distances.)

I’ve been a casual runner for years… the kind of runner who jogs frequently for fun, usually a distance of 5-8K, with varying speeds depending on my current fitness level. Running is really one of those things that I love to do, but it’s not always my absolute priority. There always seem to be other things that come up here and there – a crazy work schedule, injuries, or even just too much fun. So while I’ve always loved to run, I’ve rarely been disciplined about it.

A couple of years ago, I ran my first 5K. I didn’t train for it, but since I usually jog at least that distance, I did well. It was a good experience, and I decided to train for a 10K in order to really track my progress and force myself to take running a little more seriously. (In general, I enjoy challenges, so training for a race seemed like a good idea.) I made good progress, and ran a full 10K a couple of times even before my race… but a few weeks into my training, I suffered a severe back injury. (Completely unrelated to running.) Not only was I sidelined from running, I had to take a month off work and do intense physiotherapy just to be able to walk normally again. Since running requires so much core strength, my physio suggested that I avoid it for a while, so I switched to the elliptical and the stationary bike, and started to get my cardio fix at the gym. When I finally returned to outdoor running, my speed was drastically improved, and my core was much stronger from doing so much physiotherapy. It felt great, and I was starting to really think about training – not just running the same distance every day for fun, but now speed training, core training, and all that other good stuff.

And THEN I got introduced to boxing… So yes, this is a running blog, but I have been a fickle runner… my love affair with running has met some with some stiff competition from the boxing gym.   My fitness life (and actually the rest of my life too – but more on that later) absolutely changed when I put my first pair of gloves on and stepped into the ring. Since then, running has been more of a compliment to my boxing regime than my primary source of exercise.

Fast forward to now! It’s spring 2014, and I’m lacing those running shoes back on. I’ve got my half marathon training schedule up on the fridge, and I’m ready to go! I’ve decided to make boxing my cross-train activity, and running is back at the forefront. I have experienced a series of events and realizations in the last couple of years that have lead me to creating this new goal for myself, which I’m sure I’ll discuss more in future posts… but for now, all that matters is that I’m hitting the road and trying to log those miles!

And now to address why I’m starting this blog… why do I think you want to read about my journey to a half marathon and hear all the boring details of my life along the way? Well really, this is more for me than anyone else… If no one ever reads this, it will still be the best thing ever to help me stay accountable and to track my progress. But I also feel there are a lot of people out there who are just like me, and I’m hoping that all of you will feel encouraged and cheered on when you read about my own ups and downs.

Yes, I know that there are about a million running blogs out there. They are heartfelt, inspirational, funny, and pretty much just overall awesome. I read them every day for training ideas and encouragement. But sometimes reading these blogs can have the opposite effect on me. It seems like everyone who writes about running is a bazillion times faster and stronger than I am, and sometimes it just gets discouraging… I feel good about logging 4 miles, and then I come home and read about someone’s 20 mile run… will I ever run a marathon with a 6:00 average pace? (NOPE) Will I ever run ONE mile in 6 minutes? (Probably not) Can I even get myself off the couch tonight to run my easy 3 miler when there seem to be 20 other things competing for my time and attention? Like for example food, the NBA playoffs, and my extremely comfortable bed??!

So this blog is for people like me – people who run their races just to FINISH, even if they have to walk half of it. This is pretty much just about getting out there and DOING it, and being proud of the effort… I’m sure that as I train, I’ll become a faster and stronger runner. But this blog will hopefully be a place where normal people can feel empowered and inspired without feeling intimidated. And where I can keep myself pumped up and on track to finishing this race because it pretty much feels impossible to me right now.

And that is my second blog post. The end.