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Marathon Recap (yes, finally)

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marathonSo since I’ve had some time to let it settle, I figured it was time to give the full run-down of my first Marathon experience. It’s long, detailed, and probably boring for most of you.  But I wanted to get it down 🙂  If you have any questions or anything, let me know!  You know I’m a open book ^_^

<< I posted this image before I even started training and it didn’t ring this true until right this second.

I first and foremost want to say that even though it didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to, I’m proud of myself for pushing through and finishing…even after I tore a muscle in my calf right after mile 16. Even if it doesn’t seem like I listened to my body, I definitely did, as I always do.  I may have only been running for about five years now, but I’ve learned what little tweaks and twinges indicate to me and whether it’s a good idea for me to stop or keep going.  You know your body best…so just listen to it and it will steer you in the right direction.  

So, here we go…sorry if there’s a little bit of TMI, but I’m sure many can relate haha 😛

The Training

First Training Run!! >>1strun

I officially started July 24th, after an action-packed few weeks of July (a trip home to NY for a wedding, a trip to New Orleans for a Beachbody conference, and a trip to Columbus to hang out with some family and do a Color Run).  I was going to do 30 weeks of training…even started slow in April in hopes of that happening.  But with the end of school (yay SOLs) and lots of crazy summer plans, I decided to push it and do 16 instead, which seemed okay on most training plans.  I honestly should have been blogging throughout the entire 16 weeks of training, but anyone that follows me on Instagram or Facebook pretty much saw everything I put into this that led up to the main event.  So I’ll just give a recap on what I did each week, especially for those of you that have already contacted me about possibly being ready to run your first marathon, or work toward your first long-distance event! (Super excited for all of you, by the way!!! It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget and will change your life forever – promise!).  If you want more details of each week, feel free to ask or to check out my social media outlets ^_^

Week 1: 16.2 total miles, 6 mile long run.  I used this first week to try and figure out where my run/walk intervals would take me for training.  I knew I would adjust along the way, especially since it was still so HOT out!  Gotta love training for a November race in July!!

Week 2: 19.1 total miles, 8 mile long run.  I started a cross training program this week – Shift Shop!  It’s agility training so it kept my endurance up and really worked the right muscles to help my body strengthen and recover for runs.  It was rough to double up, but my mileage wasn’t too horrible yet.

Week 3: 22 total miles, 10 mile long run.  With increasing mileage, it was getting harder to cross-train, but I kept going with it since I was seeing positive effects.  The nutrition portion was a little tricky since I couldn’t cut calories for weight loss but couldn’t eat everything I wanted without seeing negative effects. Tricky stuff.

Week 4: 22 total miles, 12 mile long run on the schedule but decided to do my first 20k (a little over 12 miles).  My pace was still under the 10 minute mile mark, which I felt was awesome! My half marathon paces were between 9 and 9:30, so only having a 30 second to 1 minute difference for a marathon pace would be ideal!  But I also knew that could change as my mileage increased.

Week 5: 17 total miles (taper back), 5 mile long run.  My training had some mid-schedule taper happening to keep my body recovering and not pushing too hard too fast.  It’s all about progress.  My pace was AMAZING this week, because it was a lot less miles!

Week 6: 24 total miles, 15 mile long run.  I was still feeling pretty good and keeping about 9:30-10 minute mile pace during all training runs this week.  But school was starting and I was getting less sleep so I was starting to feel the effects of that.

Week 7: 21 total miles (mild taper), 10 mile long run.  This mild taper week was pretty nice after doing 15 miles the week before, which was my longest run to date EVER!  I had only done the two half marathons before, so 15 miles felt pretty good!  But again, with school back in session my nutrition was faltering.  I knew I needed to real it in, but running so many miles and exerting extra energy definitely makes you hungry.  And when my body is hungry, it craves CARBS :-/

Week 8: 23 total miles (back to back days to simulate fatigue), 17 mile long run.  This was certainly an interesting week.  I wanted to see how my body would feel running three days in a  row.  There’s a training plan I was going to try (Hansen’s – before I committed to a modified Higdon plan) that tries to simulate the fatigue your body would feel during the long run by using shorter ones back to back.  So I did that and it actually helped so that I could see how I would feel in those higher miles.  Pace was still on track and the cooler temps were helping!!

Week 9: 24 total miles (taper back), 12 mile long run.  I think this was the only picture perfect week of training – 4 miles Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and 12 miles on Saturday.  I had planned to to MTThS the entire training, but you know how things have to get shifted.  Pace was right on track, but had to do a bit more treadmill running due to train.  I HATE THE DREADMILL haha.

Week 10: 25 total miles, 16 mile long run.  This week had my birthday in it, so I felt pretty badass for attempting my first marathon at the age of 36 haha.  But I was supposed to do 19 miles on Saturday and only made it 16.  I was so distraught for not being able to finish (just utterly exhausted and dehydrated) that I sat down without stretching and started crying.  Well, I couldn’t catch my breath and started hyperventilating which turned into a panic attack, which turned into a Charley Horse.  I felt like I was going to die.  Not only was I disappointed in myself but I was disappointed in how I reacted to the whole thing.  

Week 11: 28 total miles, 19 mile long run. I figured there was no point in tapering this week like planned, since I didn’t achieve 19 miles the first go around…so second time was a charm!  I planned ahead better – better nutrition, hydration, and sleep.  Finished in a bit more than my goal pace, but allowed me to see where I might be at for the full marathon once it arrived. One more long training run on the schedule (after some adjustments)…eep!

Week 12: 29 total miles (taper back), 12 mile long run.  Didn’t feel like a major taper since I did an 8 mile run during the week (that’s seriously fun after a full day of work (NOT).  Shorter run paces were great, longer one was right where I expected (10:30).  I realize now that I should have done more speed work, but you live you learn!!

Week 13: 31 total miles, 21 mile long run.  The culmination of my training and I completed the 21 the first try!!! My pace was almost an 11 minute mile, so that gave me a much better indication of where I would be race day.  I was okay with that because it still meant I could finish in under 5 hours!!!  I was so freaking stoked to finish.  It was a great day haha.

Week 14: taper week 1, 26 total miles, 12 mile long run. Did a little running around work and across town since I was a little bored with the routes around my house (loops will do that to you haha).  I was trying to emulate the downhill finish so I could see how my legs would feel at the end.

Week 15: taper week 2, 22 total miles, 8 mile long run.  Felt like I should be doing more, but that’s pretty typical for a taper week.  I had to remember that I was running the longest distance ever, by over 5 miles, the next week.  Tapering is its own beast for sure.  The mental game needs to be STRONG this week for sure!! I was going NUTS!

lastrun

Last Training Run! >>

Week 16: race week, 33,42 total miles, marathon long run!  The final week arrived.  I took it easy, listened to my body, and stretched every single day.  The foam roller was my friend.  Had some stiffness in my left calf (yeah, the one that I tore the muscle in) all week…even went to the sports doc to see what was up.  He gave me some suggestions and I think I overworked it. Again, you live you learn.  I do think the 1 mile shakeout the day before the race was a saving grace for me.  I always thought people that ran the day before a race, or worse the day OF the race, were crazy.  But I can see how it helps for sure.  I did it!!! About a 12 minute mile pace for the race, but honestly not bad for everything I endured.  See the full details below.

The Gear

flatcat

Underneath: Aquaphor.  EVERYWHERE.

Sports Bra: A worn-in but form-fitting, tried and true Victoria’s Secret Incredible (old school kind with no adjustable straps…the new ones piss me off).

Tank: A custom-made (thanks Kari) Next Level burnout tank that said “Because I Can’ on the front and RVA 11.11.17 on the back to commemorate the occasion.

Jacket: Danskin Now breathable running jacket with thumb holes  (wish I had gotten two when I bought it 1.5 years ago since it’s no longer sold!)

Pants: Nike Dri-Fit Epic Run Cropped Running Tights (I have them in three different colors.  Love them and hate running in anything else!)

Socks: Injinji toe socks (BEST. Creation. Ever.  Especially if you have Morton’s toe and chafe/blister)

Shoes: 361 Sensation (I even bought a second pair toward the end of training)

Headband: Treadbands (the only headband that will actually stay put on my head and takes care of flyaways – check out treadbands.com and use discount code CAT10 to save 10%!)

Watch: Garmin Forerunner 630 and a Fitbit Charge HR (yes, I wear both because I love challenges haha.  I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor with the Forerunner though, since I didn’t want to be overfocusing on more data during the race)

Headphones: Samsung Iconx (hold 4 gigs of music without having to be attached to your phone – wireless as well!  Battery life only goes about 4 hours so I brought the case with me so I could charge them at points when there were large crowds to listen to rather than needing music!)

Hydration Belt: Camden Gear (ordered on Amazon – cheap and effective)

Nutrition: Beachbody Performance Energize (30 minutes before run), Beachbody Performance Hydrate (a swig every mile and when feeling crampy), Jelly Belly Sport Beans (1-2 every mile), Glukos Gummies (1-2 every 2 miles), Honey Stinger gel (every 5 miles), Gu gel (mile 10), Beachbody Performance Recover (30 minutes after race), Shakeology (1 hour post-race).

I had bought a cheap pair of throwaway gloves at Target but since I had my running jacket with me, it was easy enough to stick them in my pockets and they came in handy on both bridges 🙂

The Day Before

I had Friday off for Veteran’s Day and Ricky got out of work earlier than usual due to training, so we decided to get on the road sooner rather than later.  Traffic can be such a pain heading down to Richmond on a Friday afternoon (been there, done that, 7 times now…once there and back in the same night…NEVER again!).  I had my heart set on Famous Dave’s for lunch, since we tried to go to the one in Gainesville around my birthday and found it to be closed down.  We knew there was one in Fredericksburg because we used to stop there on the way home from King’s Dominion.  We pull into the parking lot and realize there is no sign on the front.  They were shut down, too.  Boo.  So, Red Robin (yum) it was.  Thankfully they had a delicious new chicken sandwich on the menu and I already knew I loved their garlic parmesan fries haha.  Got into a chat with the waitress about her husband running his first marathon earlier this year (ironically it was the Shamrock marathon – the one that I did the half and the conditions were RIDONKULOUS.  They even made t-shirts to commemorate the crazy weather conditions haha). She was a riot.  

nightbeforeDecided to head to the Expo to get in before traffic got even worse, and to beat some of the evening rush. Got my bib and shirt, picked up some freebies, and picked up a map.  I got the crazy idea that I wanted to drive the route so I could anticipate elevation changes, turns, etc.  The nervousness was starting to creep in.  There were bus tours you could do, but they took almost 2 hours and Ricky wouldn’t have been able to join me.  So I asked Ricky if he’d drive me around instead.  Well, it turned into a 2 ½ hour adventure anyways!  There was a ton of construction, plus many “no left turn” signs that made it difficult to navigate our way around.  We checked out about 70% of the route before deciding that I’d seen the last portion of the course when I did the half twice, so we rolled out.  

The Night Before

Ricky realized he hadn’t grabbed any hat or gloves to wear while he was waiting for me in the cold, so we headed to Target.  I also wanted to grab some Immodium, because my nervousness was making me, well, nervous haha.  Even though they say don’t do anything new on race day that you didn’t in training, I figured this was one thing I could do that wouldn’t affect things way too much.  I mean, it’s supposed to make you NOT poop, and the chance of it actually MAKING you poop is slim.  I can honestly say I’ve never taken it before, so I didn’t know what to expect.  More about that later 😛

When we go to the hotel, we realized they were having a pasta buffet for dinner and we didn’t really feel like going back out so that worked for us.  It was spaghetti with both red and alfredo sauce, garlic bread, salad, steamed veggies, chicken, and meatballs.  Wasn’t anything gourmet or special, but it was cheap, easy, and quick, and I was okay with that.  I laid out my Flat Cat and made sure everything was ready for the morning.  I figured it would take us 15 minutes to get to the parking garage, so I could sleep a little later and not be way too worried.  I didn’t want tons of extra time to psych myself out and have the nervous poos (since getting in a porta-potty ONCE takes enough time as it is with over 17,000 runners starting around the same time!!). So I set my alarm for 5:30 so I could eat at least 2 hours before race start and get some fluids in before heading to the start line.  I fell asleep pretty quickly, but woke up about every hour on the hour to pee (another nervous reaction).  Yay for proper hydration, though!

The Morning of the Race

morningI woke up before the alarm and ate my caffeinated granola bar (all food and beverage had been thoroughly tested multiple times during the previous 16 weeks just to be sure!).  I started drinking water and blue Powerade (being provided on the course) and reciting my positive affirmations in my head. Anyone who has trained for a long-distance race understands how important positive-thinking can be.  It’s completely a MENTAL event.  Yes, the physical training is extremely important, but if you can find any way to get out of your head, I highly recommend it!  I do a lot of pacing and active stretching before a race, since I often forget (or don’t have time) to do any static stretches before beginning (which proved to be the case later…).  I ate a bagel with peanut butter to get some protein and carbs in.  

Another part of the process that I started doing during training that was extremely important is to use Aquaphor EVERYWHERE.  I did this in March when I ran the Shamrock Half (which was raining/sleeting the entire time) and I didn’t chafe one bit.  I had started using it on my toes for shorter runs since learning about Morton’s toe (second toe longer than my big one, so it rubs against my socks and shoes differently), and that helped me to not get the blisters I always got.  I think it also helped me to never get black toenails or the risk of any of them falling off!  Chafing can occur in any condition and Aquaphor was my savior for sure. I highly recommend!  And it’s much cheaper than BodyGlide or any of the expensive alternatives that do the same thing.

I got all my gear on and realized we were running close on time, so we ran out the door (brr, it was freaking cold). We get downtown and traffic is a bear, of course.  I realize I had left the cash for the parking garage in a different bag, so Ricky just had to drop me near the finish line and be on his way.  We had planned for him to meet me around mile 22 (when I figured I’d be struggling since I had only gone up to 21 miles in training), so he wanted to get situated for when I got to that point.  

I jumped out of the car, kissed Ricky goodbye, and headed up to the porta-potties where there were lines like crazy of course.  Start time was about 15 minutes away, so I figured I’d be okay.  I chatted up a few other first-time marathoners in line, sharing our struggles and successes and wishing each other good luck.  Didn’t get the nervous poos for once (thank you Immodium), emptied my bladder, and had just enough time to straighten my gear, get my GPS signal, and start!!

During the Race

Everything started out great.  They really move you through the line.  All of my devices were working, the weather was cold but not frigid (the sun was coming out to warm us all up), and I wasn’t having any stomach cramps.  I didn’t have time to get really nervous since I had cut everything so close, but I actually preferred it that way!  

I had run the Richmond Half Marathon twice before, so I knew for the marathon we ran alongside of them for close to the first mile.  It’s really cool seeing so many people aiming to achieve a huge goal at the same time.  It’s all about PACING for long distance running.  You don’t want to go out too fast and peter out too early…and you don’t want to start too slow so that you have to make up time later on.  That’s why so much practice is necessary, and my training runs were all helpful in this regard.  I try not to look at my watch way too much, because all that constant turning of the wrist can actually make your arm cramp up when you get into the later miles (happened during weeks 11 and 12 for me!).  So I covered my watch, put my thumbs through the holes in my running jacket and figured I’d just let my heartrate guide me.  My watch was set up for 3 minute run/1 minute walking intervals, which is what I had trained in the entire time (running between 8:30 and 9, walking between 13 and 14, average 10:30).  So I was good to go…

Until I reached the Mile 1 marker and realized my intervals never kicked in.  Usually my watch will vibrate on my wrist when walking should begin and then running again.  It worked for all 16 weeks of training, even when I was in Race (rather than Running) mode.  Well, best laid plans right?  Without working intervals, I just had to trust the process and go with the flow.  Though I had trained in intervals the entire time, I knew I could handle long bouts of running as long as my total pace was what I was used to doing.  I got into a nice 10:30 pace with a decent sized group of runners and just kept with them.

start

We skimmed through the water stations (every two miles) and I didn’t really fully stop for any bout of walking until well after mile 10!  I felt amazing and it was looking like I would finish around 4:45 if I kept it up!  WOOT!  The scenery was GORGEOUS, it was warming up, and the crowd support was AMAZING (like I should expect anything less in Richmond…it’s my favorite place to run!). The half marathon mark came and went, and I didn’t have the “Oh my god, I have to run that same distance AGAIN” dreaded thought running through my head. 

I knew the hardest part of the course was coming…between miles 15 and 18 it was a pretty steady incline and went over a very long bridge that other RVA runners had dubbed HELL.  We had driven the route, so I knew what to expect, and I ran hills (big, small, and gradual) throughout training, so I figured I was ready.  I started the incline trek over the bridge and I was expecting a major struggle, but it was going great!  I went through the Mile 16 water station, right after the bridge, then turned the corner about a half mile later.

And then I got SHOT in the back of my left leg.  At least that’s what it felt like.  I had experienced severe muscle cramping during my first attempt at 19 miles a few weeks prior, so I figured that’s what it was.  My calf muscle was spasming so freaking bad that I had to stop completely and try to stretch it out. I couldn’t straighten my leg completely and anytime I tried to pull on my toes to stretch more, it would spasm again. There were course coaches throughout the race and one happened to be nearby when I slowed and came over to see what was up.  I explained everything that was happening and he said he thought I had torn my calf muscle.  He offered me Medic assistance, which I refused.  I wanted to try at least walking it out.  I hadn’t trained 16 weeks to give up now.  He offered me some Ibuprofen, which I accepted, but I had run out of water/Hydrate and needed to make it to the next water station to take it (which was 1.5 miles away).  He had run out of water as well, and said he would try to make it back to me after checking on some other people.  I think the course coaches know how freaking stubborn runners can be, so he didn’t push me and I was extremely thankful for that.

(FYI – I’m getting super emotional reliving this experience right now…crying as I type this haha).  

I was PISSED.  At EVERYTHING.  But more-so at the fact that it wasn’t going the way I had planned.  I expected there to be some SNAFUs throughout the race, but not this.  I definitely never expected a torn muscle at mile 16.5 of a freaking 26.2 mile race. I anticipated pain, exhaustion, mental fatigue making me think I couldn’t do it…but not the fact that there would be an actual PHYSICAL limitation to keep me from completing this goal I had worked so hard for.  The next mile and a half were the worst I had ever experienced.  I had to make it to the Mile 18 water station to take the Ibuprofen and hopefully feel a bit better.  Another course coach stopped me around mile 17.25 to check on me and offered me a salt tab since I was still cramping, which indicates dehydration.  I gladly accepted, but again needed water, so my trek to mile 18 was still on.  

during1Once I reached the Mile 18 water station, I drank probably four little cups of water, took the Ibuprofen and salt tabs, refilled my Hydration belt bottles with some Hydrate (extra packet in my pack for the win!), and ate some more fuel.  I was going to finish this race, come Hell or high water, dammit.  The cramping was easing up and I could put more weight on it.  I started running my regular pace and my body quickly let me know that THAT just wasn’t going to happen. So I slowed my pace, ran more on my toes than mid-shoe, and that seemed to help. But it was still extremely frustrating not being able to run the way I planned, and seeing my 5 hour goal time come closer and closer.  This picture was at mile 19, during one of the Party Zones and you can see how pissed off I was!

I don’t bring my phone with my when I run, so I had no way to tell Ricky that I was running behind.  I knew he and other people were tracking my progress through the website, so it should have alerted them when I crossed the 10k, half marathon, and 20 mile marks.  He was scheduled to meet me in a little residential area around mile 22, so I just set my sights on getting there and spotting his bright green hoodie.  I took extra walk breaks and just kept chugging along.  When he came in sight, I was actually feeling much better and knew I only had a little over 4 miles to go to complete this beautiful mess 🙂 Apparently the tracking system at the half marathon (13.1 mile) mark wasn’t working, so everyone was freaking out that something had happened, until they got my 20 mile indicator.  All was well, not perfect, but okay.  Ricky took a picture with me to make sure everyone knew I was okay and still on the path to finishing.

during2The last 4 miles were the most emotional of my life thus far, I think.  Running has been such an individual event for me for the last 3 years and it can honestly get very lonely sometimes.  Maybe lonely isn’t the right word for it, because I honestly love my “me-time.”  It relieves stress and allows me to let everything go and take in beautiful scenery. But it’s also too easy to get caught up in your thoughts.  Like I told you before…it’s a MENTAL GAME for sure.  You have to talk yourself OUT of things just as much as you talk yourself INTO them.  I put on a happy face, and tried to forget everything that had happened up until now and just finish as strong as possible. Thankful to the photographer that caught this photo of me trying to stay strong!! 

 

tofinishThis last trek of the race was the same last few miles of the half marathon I had done twice before, so there were no surprises.  But I was getting worried about the very end of the race, since it’s a crazy downhill finish.  I trained for this, so I was confident…but with the muscle tear, I wasn’t sure how that would be affected.  I really wanted to have an amazing finish…where I picked up speed as I went down the hill and flew across the finish line!  But that couldn’t be the case with my leg in the condition that it was.  I took a little time to walk more on the flat levels above the downhill finish to ready myself and get everything situated.  I didn’t fly down the hill, but definitely picked up the pace.  I love that this picture caught both feet off the ground!!

finishThankfully my calf cooperated (mainly because it’s a lot of toe running), and I crossed the finish line in 5:15:50, far from the 4:45 I was on track to have, and even the 5:00 which was my main goal.  They say to have a Plan A (ideal conditions – mine was to finish in under 5 hours) and a Plan B (what you would still be satisfied with – mine was to finish without injury or death ha). Thankfully I had set this for myself and it was part of my positive affirmations…so I didn’t beat myself up too much about it.  Even though I didn’t really achieve either Plan A or Plan B, Plan C of FINISHING A FREAKING MARATHON was honestly still an amazing experience.  It was definitely an emotional moment.


After the Race

medalI got my medal, blanket, and cup (yay for free stuff – that’s why we run, right?!), and found Ricky.  Got my official finisher’s photo taken. Went through the line for my post-race food, hit up the porta-potty to empty my bladder (can you believe I didn’t pee the whole race?! Talk about dehydration!!), and then to get my free post-race beer.  My calf was not feeling too hot, but I was in a post-race high so it was easy to ignore haha.  I tried to meet up with some people that I knew had finished long before me (both half and marathon finishers), but many of them had already left (I don’t blame them!).  One of them was still around so we walked up a few blocks (uphill, yay) to meet her and chat a bit about the experience.  It was nice to decompress talking to another marathon runner who understands what I did and why haha.  We called the hotel to get a bit of a later check-out (I had explained at check-in I had no idea when we’d be back because it was my first), and then headed back to the car so we could head out.  The post-race shower felt freaking AMAZING (no chafing, YAY!).

famous davesThe only thing that could culminate the entire experience into a more positive one was to find a Famous Daves for me to indulge after burning thousands of calories.  Thankfully there was one in Woodbridge, VA and Ricky agreed to drive me there, a bit out of the way of our route home, but totally worth it.  It doesn’t take much to make me, or my belly, happy 😛 YUMMMMY!


The Shout-outs

*I want to give a huge shout-out to Rebecca Webster for giving me tips on my first marathon and answering SO MANY QUESTIONS throughout the process.  I really couldn’t have done it without you and your support!

*The Run the Year 2017 group was also a huge support and soundboard for everything I did throughout the 16 weeks of training.  These are other walkers, runners, and crawlers that had a goal to finish 2017 miles throughout the year. (I did achieve this on December 26th! WOO!).  

*Thanks to all my family and friends who probably thought I was crazy multiple times for putting myself through this ON PURPOSE haha.  Only other runners can really understand WHY and believe me, your support was exactly what I needed at various points throughout training.

*The biggest thanks is to my husband, Ricky.  Not only was he my soundboard throughout this entire process, but he saw it all.  The good, the bad, the ugly, and the freaking unbelievable. His unwavering support meant everything throughout the process.  From postponing meals and sacrificing sleep due to my training schedule, not being able to attend specific events because I had goals to achieve, making sure I had proper nutrition and hydration during long runs, helping me through the second panic attack of my life when I thought I was going to die, easing the ridiculous cramping that occured in my thigh after the previously mentioned panic attack (another event I thought I would die from), and everything else he does daily just to help me through life in general. You’re my rock, baby.  I know most of the time you didn’t understand what the hell I was doing to myself, or why…but thank you so much for dealing with my crazy running ass and doing everything you could to make it easier.  This was your marathon as much as it was mine. You deserve a medal!!!

Reflection

finisherNow that it’s been 7 weeks and I’ve had the time to reflect on the whole experience…I’m actually okay with it.  It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life to date, and the training it took to achieve that goal was the toughest thing ever.  It was also the most fulfilling.  I am now one of the 0.5% of the US population that has ever run a marathon.  I may not have run the entire thing, or finished in my goal time, but I finished nonetheless.  I put in the time, I crossed the finish line, and I lived to tell about it.  It may not have been pretty, but it was definitely worth it (torn calf muscle or not!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Would I do it again?

I get this question a TON.  I said throughout the entire experience that it was going to be a ONE AND DONE type of thing.  I continue to say this, but part of me wants redemption.  But training fro a marathon is like a second job.  It takes a lot of dedication, time, and commitment.  It’s not for the weak or the weary.  It will change you from top to bottom, inside and out.  It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly.  But again, it’s all worth it when you cross the finish line.

What advice would I give to a first-time marathoner?

Practice, practice, practice.  Everything.  Not just running – hydration, nutrition, sleep, cross-training, rest.  It’s all important.  Don’t underestimate the commitment that goes into it. You can’t half-ass your way into it or you could end up injured.  I mean, shit…I did everything right and it still happened to me!  Figure out what works well and keep doing that.  Figure out what doesn’t work and stop doing it…make changes and tweaks constantly.  And above all, don’t expect everything to be perfect…but ENJOY EVERY MINUTE.  Because when it’s all said and done, you’ll get to say “I RAN A FUCKING MARATHON!”

done

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Week #1 Marathon Training

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UPDATE: I decided it was too much to start training this early for a marathon and pushed it off until July.  I didn’t keep up with posting here, but updated everything on Social Media.  Check out my Marathon Recap from December for the full story!

April 17 – So the first day was a scheduled “rest day.” Kinda silly, but I understand why it’s like this since the rest of the weeks I will need the rest come Monday. But those of you that know me well enough, know that “rest day” isn’t necessarily in my vocabulary. I’ll preach to everyone else to make sure to take a full rest day, but it’s difficult for me with the training, practicing for and teaching my fitness classes, and having my social walks with friends. But there are definitely days that I take it easier and don’t push it, which I consider rest compared to regular days. So since this was day one, I did about 80% of a kickboxing workout (got a little lightheaded toward the end so decided to call it quits), then went for a 3.8 walk with a friend. Felt good, ate good. Not enough water, but better than I did on vacation. Did have about 3/4 of a leftover Sahlen’s hot dog that my mom left in my fridge (noms) as an evening snack. Oh well, it was worth it.

April 18 – Back to reality after spring break. Was active most of the day since I started inventory in the library while we’re slow before SOLs. Training schedule called for 1.5 miles which seems ridiculous to me, but it actually feels like I’m retraining myself altogether. A few times I looked down and was doing about 7:45-8 minute mile and I need to get out of that mindset. I think I have figured out that I will aim for 9:45-10 minute mile for marathon pace. That’s my conversational pace so I’m hoping to work that out. I know longer runs will be easier for me to take it easy. Short runs I always just go for as fast as possible, so old habits die hard. I’ll work on it 😛 I like that this schedule has two super easy runs, a bit of a longer run mid-week, then a longer run on the weekend. I think it’ll work out really well, especially once it gets hotter. I can’t wait until summer when I can do all my runs in the morning before it gets too warm and sunny. Did Combat Kickstart after I got back from my run. I think I’ll rotate through many of my kickboxing/MMA programs to work my arms and core since my legs get a lot of work from running, but all the kicks help strengthen and stretch my quads and hamstrings, too. I want to do more weight lifting, too, but was wanting more cardio today. Ate really good, except one chocolate truffle that a co-worker brought back from her trip to England. Considered it a great success since normally I would eat multiple!!

April 19 – 3 miles was on the schedule for today, but I did 3.1 because I can definitely handle the extra. Stayed at about 9:20 average pace which felt pretty good. Was cloudy and 59, which is a temp I can definitely handle. Ended up helping Ricky mow the lawn when I got done with my run – him on the rider and me on the push mower. Shoulders and back were screaming from inventory, punching from the MMA routines, and pushing the mower around. Definitely gonna rest the arms the next couple of days.

April 20 – Super warm today – 79, and barely any breeze. Plus the first time I’ve ran three days in a row in a super long time. Averaged about a 9:30, which is not the worst it could be…but made me feel pretty lame for only 1.5 miles. I hate hate hate hot weather. I would rather run in 40 degrees any day. Thankfully the marathon is in November… Taught my fitness class later that night. Lots of steps today!

April 21 – Friday is another scheduled rest day, but I teach my fitness class at my other location on Fridays. But I only did that, so I definitely rested from running and overexerted cardio. Sleeping isn’t the best that it could be, but working on getting upstairs earlier each night so I can at least try to fall asleep earlier. Definitely don’t want to have to medicate myself in order to fall asleep quicker or stay sleeping, unless completely necessary.

April 22 – Got up bright and early to get 3.1 miles out of the way before my my bi-annual VRC meeting in Charlottesville. I knew I was going to hang out with a friend after the meeting and then game night when I got home, so it had to get done before I left or it never would. Averaged a little faster than the 3.1 earlier this week, but it was only 55 and raining. Thankfully it didn’t start pouring until the last few tenths of a mile. After my half in Virginia Beach a little over a month ago, I won’t ever skip a run because it’s running unless it’s ridiculously cold or somehow unsafe. I figure if I ran 13.1 in near-monsoon weather, with a sandstorm, I can handle anything haha. Shared a bottle of wine with a friend at a winery, and had more cheese than I think any human should, but totally worth it 😛

April 23 – Taught my last Sunday fitness class then went for a nearly 4 mile walk with a friend. Schedule calls for a 30 minute walk, but we usually do around 60. Didn’t make the best nutrition choices today, but we were out and about with errands. Gotta get packing – Punta Cana is gonna be here before we know it! Adjusting my schedule next week so I’m not expected to run after arriving in the Dominican Republic, because you know that won’t happen! So I’ll run M-T-W instead of T-W-Th. I’ll still do the second long run on Saturday, because that way I can say I ran in the DR 😛

Weekly wrap-up — pretty pleased with how everything started out. I only go up a little on my second longer run next week…the rest of the runs are the same. I definitely think I could increase the mileage quicker, but I’m trusting the schedule and really want to get through the training injury free. Especially with the foot pain from the last half and subsequent runs thereafter, I definitely don’t want to push things too quickly. I think a lot of that came from treadmill running and I’m going to stay away from that unless the weather is really ridiculous. We’ll see how everything progresses! 🙂

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Half Marathon #3 Recap

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I figure since it’s been a month, I can finally do the recap for my third half marathon.  As disappointing as it was, I also learned a lot and it hasn’t scarred me permanently 😛 Thanks for following my journey!

Training:
I had planned on doing the 12 week Hal Higdon plan, like I did for the first two.  The first week of the 12 was the last week of Beachbody’s Health Bet challenge, and there was a week where we had a pre-scheduled trip to Snowshoe Mountain resort so I rested from running those two weeks and only trained 10. The change of routine actually helped me increase pace.

Though I had increased my pace during my last training, it had been over a year.  So this time around I started at roughly a 9:45-10 minute mile.  The last week of my training I was averaging 8:30-9.  I knew I needed about 9 for the race to hit PR.  In retrospect, I should have done more run/walk intervals since I figured I wouldn’t be able to run the whole thing, but pace was where my focus was.  Run/walk intervals based on feel is now the plan for my first marathon and hoping to PR on a half during the training for that.

Time/Results:

  • I finished in 2:03:54 (previous times were 2:01:45 and 2:06:26)
  • 1696 out of 5445 overall (31%)
  • 731 out of 3280 females (22%)
  • 136 out of 559 females 35-39 (24%)
  • Pace was 9:16 min/mi at the 10k split
  • Overall pace was 9:28 min/mi

Gear:
Went against my better judgement with wearing some new gear, but everything worked out! I figured since the conditions were already less than ideal, it couldn’t hurt too much more ha.

  • TreadBands headband – never slipped ONCE and so excited for that!  I ended up buying two after a demo at the expo.  They are guaranteed for life, so I figured what the hell!  I was nothing was happy with them!  Check them out!  http://treadbands.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/TreadBands/.
  • I wore a new Shamrock tank from the expo, but it was a Brooks tech shirt so thought it would be better in the rain than the cotton tanks I brought with me.
  • New running jacket with air vents on the sleeves and upper back.  It stayed put, never chafed, and kept me cool and warm at the same time.  I had owned it for a few months but the weather never gave me the “opportunity” to need it for a training run.
  • I ended up wearing a thinning pair of compression socks rather than my double layer SwiftWicks. I thought those would get heavy once wet.
  • Saucony Guide 8s that I was training on since day one.  I started training with 9s last fall for the half I ended up deferring but I strongly dislike the new EVERUN layer.  The extra cushion is great for walking, but make my feet feel heavy running.  After three weeks of painful running (last fall), I ended up ordering another pair of 8s online, in the same color I had for 2015’s half training.  Love them. I had about 130 miles on them at the start of the race.  Gonna look into other stabilization shoes from Saucony – saw some Hurricane  ISOs at the expo that felt good – whch is also a stabilization shoe. bt I do need to get my gait and form looked at again. I’m starting to think having “corrective” shoes might have turned me into a neutral runner, which is what might be causing part of  the pain in my foot.
  • Nike Epic Run Dri-FIT Crop — Ah – May – ZING.  Love them.  Will never go back.  I have two pairs now.  Mesh air vents  behind the knees keep you cool.  There are three pockets, one with a zipper, and they are a compression pant.  They stay put and they are mid-calf so don’t ride up on my knee like my other capris, too.
  • VS Incredible sports bra – no bounce…very necessary.
  • Body Glide on pretty much everything , and Aquaphor between my toes. Never chafed once, anywhere.

During race:
Conditions – 39 degrees, 20 mph sustained winds, 40 mph gusts – constant rain.

Route – out of the VA Beach resort area, next to First Landing State Park, through Fort Story, then ending on the boardwalk at King Neptune (seeing him once you get on the boardwalk…objects in distance during a half marathon are farther away than they appear at first glance…you still have almost a freaking half mile then). At least there was very little elevation gain.

Food – had some farina with maple syrup before the race and two scoops of Energize.  Had Jelly Belly sports beans for on the course – I think 6 of them.  Will bring more next time, and also train with Gu so I can use that at mile 5.5 (I bought one to train with and forgot).

I was scheduled to start in Corral 4, but was hoping for a sub-2 hr. PR, so I moved to Corral 5 to be with the pacers there.  It was a little confusing at the beginning, too, since he bumped some of us up to Corral 3 and then had to slow his pace to wait for the ones stuck in 5.  I stayed with the 2 hr. pacer until mile 9 or so.  Should’ve just done my own thing, since I knew I’d have to walk eventually.

-The lady between mile 10 and 11 with box of tissues was a GODSEND.  I normally pack tissues into my pockets – one for each mile – so I can blow my nose.  I did that (thanks hotel guy) but they were wet wads in my pocket before I even reached mile one – threw them on the side of the road (sorry cleanup crew).

-Foot pain afterward.  Both feet hurt.  Don’t think I stretched enough after.  Was heavy footed because of the rain and training on mainly treadmill for the last four weeks didn’t help.  I need to make sure to get outside as often as possible during marathon training…

Shout-outs:
Holiday Inn VA Beach – they were super nice and helpful.  They explained about road closures and how to find everything easily, knowing most of the guests were there for the race.  We got an automatic 2 p.m. check-out if in the race block. They offered a carb-loading dinner the night before in the hotel.  There were also free breakfast packs to two people in the room (muffin, banana, water) – available before the regular breakfast time of 6:30 which is helpful since the half started at 7.  The guys at the desk were handing out garbage bags for makeshift ponchos, tissues for snot and crying, and just overall support.  They were awesome.

Back Bay Gourmet – yummy carb loading on Friday night.  Super delicious sweet potato biscuits and amazing food overall – great beer selection!

Green Flash Brewery – really affordable drinking!  Sample cups were like 4 oz. and only $1.25.  Full pours (16 oz I’m guessing) for $5!  Lots of options, but no tours :-/

Repeal Bourbon & Burgers – OMG YUM.  The burgers were perfectly cooked.  Bacon dust – just get it.  The mac and cheese is the bomb, too, and their drinks were yummy.

Home Republic – Gouda cream…on EVERYTHING.  Decent beers, good food. Just don’t expect soup before dinner time haha.

Duck Donuts – they’re just always amazing no matter where you are – but better fresh. Great to have in the car on the way home when snack sensations hit (and calorie burn is at its max).

Future:
Ended up doing my 5th annual Monument Ave 10k less than two weeks later.  Took it easy and ran the whole thing, which was something I wasn’t sure would happen after the foot pain.  I’m signed up for the half in Richmond in November, but planning on upgrading to the full once we get closer (have to decide before 10/31).  Marathon training starts tomorrow (4/18) and we’ll see how I progress up until the final decision time.  We’ve already signed up for the Dolphin Challenge during Shamrock next March which is the 8k on Saturday and Half on Sunday. The route was great – let’s just hope the weather conditions are better!  And I’ve committed to joining my friend on her “race in every state” challenge – with no time limit to complete it.  I already have NY, VA, MD, DC, NC, and NV.  Excited to add to the list!  Stay tuned for another post on that 🙂

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Top Signs Your Body Needs a Detox (and 3 Day Refresh results!)

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The results are in!  But first, why I did it…

The holidays were really rough for me with nutrition, exercise, and drinking my water.  I THRIVE on routine.  When I’m at work and following my regular schedule for the week, I do just fine (for the most part).  But when I’m not on that routine, I just don’t give it the full effort.  It’s not because I don’t want to, time just passes before I realize I haven’t drank any water or done many steps in that amount of time, and it’s hard to catch back up.  Then you throw holiday treats, parties and such in there…it’s a MESS.  So at the end of the year, I found myself exhibiting all of the signs of needing a detox.

My energy level was way way down, even though I would still exercise here and there…the motivation to do it was seriously lacking.  My belly was so bloated that I was muffin-topping like nobody’s business in most of my pants :-/ I knew I had put on some weight, but was afraid to step on the scale.  I didn’t step on until the morning of the day I started my Refresh and oh, boy.  Bad news bears.  I was craving anything and everything.  All stuff that I don’t deprive myself of completely, but seriously limit when I’m staying on track because of my addictive personality…chocolate, pasta, cereal, anything desserty…I couldn’t keep my hands off of it, and before I knew it entire boxes and packages of things were gone.  And I didn’t even share 🙁 My head was getting cloudy and I was getting more forgetful, which just isn’t me.  I rarely have trouble sleeping through the night and was waking up constantly…it was super annoying and would be no good going back to my regular schedule.  I was starting to get sick, which was crazy for me since I hadn’t been sick since November 2015 and we’re pretty sure that was e coli (so not really avoidable ha).  I’m usually able to stave off everything, especially working around kids all day!  So that was a huge red flag. And finally, my eczema had come back full force.  Some of this was from overwashing of my hands and the cold temps, of course, but normally it’s much easier to keep in control when I’m actually on track with my nutrition and water.

So day one of the Refresh I weighed myself and I was back up to 182.6.  Now this weight may not be bad for some of you, but think back to when I did the Ultimate Reset in August.  I got down to 166.6.  That means that in 4 months I had gained back 16 pounds.  That’s pretty much what I lost on the Reset in the first place…and I felt so damn good when I finished that.  I had vowed to limit my dairy and meat, be careful with sweets, and such.  I did really well for awhile, but then reverted back into some old habits.  Now don’t get me wrong…I love my treats.  I indulge once in awhile for sure…but not like I was at the end of the year.  It was an every day thing, not just a once in awhile thing.  And that’s just not me.  I knew I needed to get back to the basics with my Shakeology, healthy fats, fruits and veggies…to fuel my system with what it needed and flush all the toxins that had built up.

So here we are after completing day three…I’m down 7.6 pounds and feeling amazing.  My head is clearer, my bloat is gone, my cravings have seriously diminished, my skin is clearing up, and I slept through the night.  I am so stoked and feel prepared to continue on to our Health Bet challenge starting Monday!  I’m gonna CRUSH my goals!!

So, if you’re exhibiting some of the signs that your body needs a detox, you may just want to do just that.  I can give you info about the 3 Day Refresh, but this isn’t a selling ploy.  It’s just something I know works for me!  You can just go back to the basics for a few days or a week to get your body in a better state.  Start with drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day, adding more veggies to each meal, eating some lower sugar fruits, and limiting or eliminating dairy and meat for a few days.  The Refresh has you cut out regular carbs for those three days since you’re getting them from your protein shakes, Shakeology, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, but at least limiting them can help your body process things easier and better. If you want more info about the Refresh or more advice about how to detox without the use of a program, let me know.  I’d love to help 🙂

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Take Control

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So… it’s the second day of the new year.  This is usually the time for people to make their resolutions and decide what kind of goals they are going to achieve in 2o17.  Yesterday I talked about my goals for the year, in regards to TONS of different things…health, fitness, love, life, friendship, extracurricular activities, travel, etc.  Will I achieve them all?  Probably not, but I’m sure as hell gonna try my best to do so!  But you know what I WON’T do?  Make excuses.  I AM THE ONE THAT HAS CONTROL.  Will other things affect my goals?  You bet your ass.  But will I ALLOW them to take control and give up on my goals?  NO FREAKING WAY.  Like today, I was running a fever, had a runny nose, felt like crap, it was raining and cold…but I got out there and ran 3.1 miles anyways (well, I walked more than ran I think…but at least I made the effort!).

For some of you, you have to have TOUGH LOVE with yourself.  You have to dig deep and really decide what it is you want and what you’ll do to achieve that.  It might take giving something up…it might take adding something to the mix…or maybe just adjusting your focus.  But whatever you do…it’s gotta be UP TO YOU. Take control.

Last week I shared an amazing article on Facebook entitled “Hate to Break it to You But You Are the Reason Your Life Sucks So Much.”  Harsh?  Yes.  But totally TRUE. It was so true that I found myself nodding my head so hard and giving myself a headache at all the TRUTH ha.  You can click that title to head to the article itself, but these are three quotes that stood out to me the most and what I took away from it. I’ll vary my focus from just nutrition/fitness so that you can get a variety of situations to use these mindsets.

–“The only thing holding you back from achieving greatness is in fact YOU.”
If you want to lose 25 pounds this year and it’s a logical goal, well let’s freaking do it.  I can tell you that of the people that I’ve coached, I’ve never had ONE person NOT see results if they actually buckled down and followed a workout and nutrition program for its recommended plan and amount of time.  When someone tells me something didn’t work for them, the first question I ask them is, “Well did you follow it to a T?”  If their answer is no, I tell them to go back and try again.  Can you tweak things and still see results?  Sure.  But give it the recommended time for your first round and SEE RESULTS, then worry about changing it up.  Obviously things you’ve tried in the past haven’t worked, so why not try something that has proven results? Eh?

–“You will never be happy if you’re constantly looking at the negatives.”

If you want to have a better relationship with your friend, partner, co-worker, and/or family member…make it happen!  Instead of thinking about all of the negative things about your relationship, focus on the positives and figure out how to make those things COMPOUND.  Don’t just sit down and decide what makes each other unhappy and work on limiting those things from happening…look at what makes you happy and do MORE of it.  If you’re constantly focusing on the negatives and figuring out everything that has gone wrong, it’s hard to see all the good things that are there.  But you know what?  For some of you it might also be a wake-up call that the relationship you’re working so hard to save (even if you’ve been BFFs for 10 years), may be negative in itself and TOXIC.  Surround yourself with people with similar goals and aspirations and you’ll be better for it.  Even if you don’t take that negative relationship away…try to add more positive ones and you’ll see a difference.

–“Don’t stand in the way of your own life, don’t give up when things get hard because quitting will never get you anywhere. Instead work harder and work smarter.”

Let’s focus on careers for this one. So many people are in jobs that they don’t necessarily enjoy, but they make it work because it’s money to support them and their families.  Sometimes you’re stuck for whatever reason.  Or maybe you’re happy working your (albeit slightly mediocre) job because you have less responsibility and you’re okay with that.  Or you may be happy in your job and you already follow the mentality listed above.  Whatever scenario you can relate to, you gotta make it work.  If it’s something worthwhile, supports you and your endeavors and you CAN make it work, do it.  Find ways to make it better and focus on the positives in this one, too.

I can relate greatly to this one…before this year, I was working in a school where I felt unsupported financially and administratively, and to make matters worse I was driving 90 minutes ONE WAY to get there.  I even received a job at another, much closer, location after one year, but wasn’t granted release from my contract to leave.  So did I go back the second year and pout and gripe and bitch and moan about it the entire year?  Well, maybe a few gripes to the great friends I made there…ha…but NO!  I made the best of it.  I relished in the fabulous friendships I made with the teachers and staff.  I made the most of every time I got to work with an individual or group of students. We made the best of a bad situation, and made sure that none of the kids (and most of the teachers) we were helping knew the lack of resources  we actually had.  We worked harder AND smarter.  We were resourceful.  And I survived and am now much closer, much more supported, and much happier in my present situation.  Do I miss the challenges that I faced at my previous position?  Not a chance, but I do miss the great relationships I made while I was there.  But I never gave up and I learned a lot from the situation for sure.

So yeah…to sum it up.  TAKE CONTROL of your life.  Make your own decisions and figure out what you need to do to get to where you want to be.  Even if someone/something else IS to blame, don’t place the blame on them/it.  Take ownership and figure out what you can do to OVERCOME.  Stop overthinking and talking the talk…DO IT and WALK THE WALK.  Prove the doubters wrong.  Better yet, prove YOURSELF wrong.  Hell, you’ve doubted yourself long enough, haven’t you?!  And if you suck at believing in yourself, eventually you’ll stop failing at it if you keep trying.  Let’s FAIL FORWARD.

We had a team call tonight and had to reflect on what our purpose in life was…along with what to enjoy and what to do in this purposeful life. I’ve shared mine below and I encourage you to think about what would fill in YOUR blanks.  Take control…own it.

Cat’s purpose:
The purpose of my life is to make the best of every situation, to enjoy life’s little moments, and to do everything I can to be happy and healthy and fulfilled.

What’s yours??
The purpose of my life is ______________, to enjoy _______________, and to do _______.

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Fresh Start 2017

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I woke up this morning, drank a full glass of water before I even got out of bed, and started my 3 Day Refresh. This will help me kickstart this new year, fresh start.  No new year, new me…I’m still the same person today than I was last night at 11:59 p.m. 😀  But, as 2016 was ending last night, I couldn’t help but find myself reflecting on all of the stuff that happened over the course of the year and there were definitely more positives than negatives.  But it definitely got me thinking about 2017 and the big goals I have set for myself this year!

I plan on posting here as much as possible (aiming for once a day, but I have to be realistic haha)…that’s one of the goals. It was recommended that I blog about everything going on – fitness, health, running, traveling, books, etc.  And I think that’s a great idea! These are all a huge part of my life and I make an effort to focus on as many of them daily as possible! I juggle a lot of things and I think they’re all important. So these goals are going to be very eclectic, but that’s me 😀

I definitely do better with lists, because if they’re written down they HAVE to happen!!…so this year’s goals, in no particular order:

-Post more in this blog/website
-Run at least one race a month
-Get a half marathon PR
-Run a marathon
-Log 2017 miles (running, walking, crawling) in 2017
-Lose 20 pounds
-Read 50 books
-Take a ski trip out west
-Spend more quality time with my husband, without electronics nearby
-Have a game night at least every other month, with friends
-Visit more wineries
-Get more boxes unpacked and things put away in the new house
-Organize the garage
-Go golfing
-Try many new recipes
-See a play on Broadway
-Focus on more personal development
-Complete the Breakthrough Academy

And there are some things that can’t really be considered goals since they are already planned and definitely taking place, but they’re just things I’m really looking forward to doing!!

-Dance-A-Thon featuring Country Heat Live in January
-Snowshoe ski trip with friends in February
-Shamrock Half Marathon with friends in March
-Monument Ave 10k (my fifth time!) in April
-OBX trip with family in April
-Punta Cana trip with Beachbody in April
-The weddings of two close friends in May
-Parents’ 30th anniversary in July
-Summit in New Orleans with my team in July
-Richmond Race in November (half or full…remains to be decided!)

So I encourage you to get out there, add to your bucket list, set some goals, and look forward to all of the things that 2017 can bring!  Whether 2016 was good, bad, or a combination of both, learn from it and move forward.  Keep looking ahead, challenge yourself,  and do what needs to be done to reach all of your goals 😀

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Beachbody OnDemand All-Access Pass!

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Okay, okay, I know I haven’t posted in a long, long time…but that’s all about to change!  And I wanted to start it off by announcing some CRAZINESS!  Seriously, Beachbody is off of their rocker haha.

ALL ACCESS BEACHBODY ON DEMAND MEMBERSHIP NOW AVAILABLE!

So I’m super excited about this INCREDIBLE opportunity that Beachbody is giving all of us.  If you’ve been following my journey, you already know that over the past almost 2 years, I’ve done SEVERAL of the incredible Beachbody workout programs and loved every one of them. So it’s always tough for me when people ask which program is my favorite! Because they ALL are for different reasons. And when I help people get started for my Challenge Groups, I ask them several questions in order to help them determine which one program is for them! That has worked out really well because they get started with that program and see such amazing results that they want to keep going and try out another program in order to switch things up! But in order to try out another program, they have to spend the money to BUY that next program…

Well…NOT ANYMORE! Because now OnDemand can be ALL ACCESS, which includes:

EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM THAT BEACHBODY HAS EVER PRODUCED! PLUS THE ONES THAT WILL BE RELEASED in 2017!

Yes, you heard me. That’s not a typo. You will have 24/7 access to all of Beachbody’s trainers and their incredible programs! And you can do all of these workouts at home or even stream them on your phone, tablet or laptop no matter where you are (hellooooo, vacations or out of town business events! Or bring the workouts with you to the gym!). And yes, I seriously mean ALL of them!

21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity, Insanity Max 30, Core de Force, PiYo, Cize, Country Heat, Hammer & Chisel, P90X series (so yes, X, X2, AND X3!), 3 Week Yoga Retreat, T25, Brazil Butt Lift, 22 Minute Hard Corps, Turbo Fire, Body Beast…I mean, I can’t even name them all because there are just way too many. And beyond that, the Beachbody trainers even make EXCLUSIVE workouts that are only available through the BOD Membership! Y’all, there is over $6,000 worth of workout programs that are going to be available to you!

PLUS, when a new workout program comes out through Beachbody (they typically release 2-3 per year!), you’ll AUTOMATICALLY have access to it…no having to buy it, waiting for it to ship, or anything! I mean, holy crap. I’m seriously freaking out right now because this is the most incredible thing ever!

I know I’m probably sounding like a lunatic haha, but I’m seriously just so blown away by this offer! Let me break it down a little bit more for you:

What IS The Beachbody on Demand All Access Membership?

The Beachbody on Demand All Access Membership is an annual membership where you can digitally stream every single workout program that Beachbody has ever created.  It also gives you access to each program’s nutrition plan, full meal planning with grocery lists, menus, recipes, and tools for success.  You can watch Fixate, Autumn Calabrese’s cooking show, along with other shows yet released.  And anything new that Beachbody decides to add in the next year!

How Much Will the Beachbody on Demand All Access Membership Cost?

There will be 2 options to purchasing the Beachbody on Demand All Access Annual Membership.

The first, and my personal recommendation, is by Purchasing the Beachbody on Demand Annual All Access Challenge Pack! This Challenge pack will ONLY be available until February 28th, 2017! It includes the full annual all access membership where you can digitally stream all the workouts, and you will also receive a full month supply of Shakeology (the nutrient dense meal replacement shake that I drink every single day!) as well as a full set of the Portion Fix containers that work with all of the Beachbody program nutrition guides! PLUS, when you order through me and make me your Team Beachbody Coach, you’ll also have access to all of my Challenge Groups for the entire year (I run one each month)! So you’ll have ALL the tools you’ll need to get started and STAY motivated for the entire year!

The Beachbody on Demand Annual All Access Membership Challenge Pack with Portion Fix containers & month supply of Shakeology is only $199!

The 2nd option will be to just purchase the Beachbody on Demand Annual All Access Membership! This will be the digital subscription only and allow you to access and stream all of Beachbody’s workout programs for an entire year!  This Digital All Access Subscription is available for $99.95!

ALL ACCESS BEACHBODY ON DEMAND MEMBERSHIP NOW AVAILABLE!

Ordering Options:

The All Access Annual Membership & Shakeology Challenge Pack: With this challenge pack, you will get a one year subscription to the All Access Beachbody on Demand, plus a set of color coded portion containers and a month’s supply of Shakeology, the nutrient dense meal replacement shake that I drink every day, in your choice of flavors! So you will literally get EVERYTHING you need in order to start the year off strong! Cost: $199. Order HERE.

Annual All Access Membership: Already have the containers and Shakeology, or just want the OnDemand? You can purchase just the year of all access membership for $99.95! When ordering, be sure to select the 12 month option as that is the only option with ALL ACCESS! Order HERE.

What Programs will be Available with the BOD All Access Membership?!

Seriously, I mean it when I say EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM that Beachbody has ever created will be available. There are far too many for me to name them all, but here are a few…21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Core de Force, 22 Minute Hard Corps, Insanity, Insanity Max 30, T25, Country Heat, Cize, PiYo, TurboFire, TurboJam, TurboKick, Chalene Extreme, P90X, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, Brazil Butt Lift, Body Beast, Hammer & Chisel…the list goes on & on my friends!

Plus, there are also tons of EXCLUSIVE workouts that you can only get through BOD!

What if I don’t end up liking the Shakeology or any of the programs?!

If for some reason, you are not completely happy & excited with any aspect of this Challenge Pack or All Access Membership, you will have 30 days to return it for a complete refund!

So what are you waiting for?!

These options are only for a limited time (through February 28th, 2017!). So don’t wait another second! I have already upgraded to All Access – who’s joining me?! 🙂

ALL ACCESS BEACHBODY ON DEMAND MEMBERSHIP NOW AVAILABLE!

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The Last Hoorah!

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I’m looking for TEN people who want to start the new year feeling AMAZING rather than the other 98% of the world feeling miserable. Wake up on New Year’s Day ready to dominate 2016 instead of making the same old resolution every year that doesn’t happen. The holidays are quickly approaching and while all of the parties and events are amazing, food (and lots of it) typically comes with each of them. Unfortunately many of us will put on extra weight. Like me…last year I definitely put on some pounds (damn pumpkin pie). Thankfully I had the tools and support already to help me jump right back in it and I lost the weight…but it wasn’t easy!

I have decided that THIS year I am going to be prepared. WHO’S WITH ME?! Establishing a healthy nutrition plan before the holidays will help us to be more aware of what and how much we are eating. Plus, losing a few pounds before they arrive will give you a little wiggle room to indulge here and there! tongue emoticon Hey – we are only human after all!

You still have three more months left in this year to rewrite your story. You CAN stick to your goals…TOGETHER we’ll find the best solution to help you work toward starting 2016 feeling the best you ever have. Can’t wait to start!! Email me at losingfatwithcat@gmail.com, find me on my Facebook page and shoot me a message, or you can drop some info here: http://goo.gl/forms/DK2lzSt36C.

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Can you Relate?! :-P

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weightloss

So today I tackled my dressers and closets for the FOURTH purge since I started this journey. Now everything I own either fits or will soon and nothing is too big. For the last three purges I kept things because I was worried I’d gain it back or not be comfortable wearing things that actually fit correctly haha. Well, not anymore. GOOD RIDDANCE. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and am so thankful for all of your support as I’ve gone through the ups and downs of weight loss. I truly am blessed to have amazing friends, family, fellow Fixers, and followers! Thank you Carl Daikeler and the Beachbody Challenge for motivating me to be my best, get healthy, and help to ‪#‎endthetrend‬ of obesity 😀

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Transformation Tuesday

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Eeep!  Scary post!  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Transformation Tuesday of my own to share, mainly because the scale hasn’t been going down and I didn’t want to just post past progress.  I recently went to Cancun, as many of you know, and finally put on the first bikini I’ve ever worn in public (picture on the right).  Though my confidence has grown since the picture on the left, it was still nerve-wracking and I felt embarrassed and self conscious after we left our room at the resort to head to the beach.  I even thought about hopping back on the tram to go back to the room and put my tankini on to cover up my tummy.  But as I stood there at the entrance to our section at the beach, I looked around at all of the other women there.  Not because I wanted to compare myself to them, but because I know everyone’s story is different.  Like an article I posted the other day, every tummy has a story.  There were some tummies around me that held babies in the past or even in the present; there were tummies that were a little “puffy” because there was so much delicious food at our resort; big tummies, little tummies, tummies in between.  I thought about my tummy and how I’ve lost 50 pounds, as well as 8 inches in my waist and 8 inches in my hips.  I have loved my body enough to get healthy, be active, and eat cleaner.  So why wasn’t I embracing the changes my body has made and be PROUD of my tummy and baring it to the world.  So I went out onto that beach, took off my coverup, and waded into the Caribbean Sea with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step.  I need to remember that feeling every time I’m down and out or not progressing further toward my goal as quickly as I’d like. I may not be at my goal weight, but I’ve sure come a long way and I need to love my body as much as I have loved this process. 😀

Feel free to connect with me at www.facebook.com/bbcatmcmaster – I would love to follow your journey, too!

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