Hard Charge. Wichita. Hell.

For some unknown reason, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to run a four-mile obstacle course on one of the coldest April days ever.

Let me start by saying that it was NOT a wonderful idea. It might just have been the worst idea I have ever had.

Hard Charge. Hell.

I ran (read: lugged myself along in a limping jog) for four miles through mud, freezing cold water, barbed wire, sand and grass.*

*Why does the grass matter? The Allergy Obstacle. Sneezing. Watery eyes. More hell.

My husband, our friend, Bryan, and I ran the obstacle course together despite my pleas for them to run ahead of me because I would just hold them back from enjoying the CHARGE.

Hard Charge Wichita

Thankfully, they did stay with me. I needed both of them to help me over both of the 10-foot walls. Ten feet is twice my size! I am especially grateful for my dear husband who made sure I didn’t quit when I felt like I was close to death.

Hard Charge Wichita

Bryan and my husband destroyed the course. They probably could have gotten great time if it were not for them staying behind for me.

Hard Charge Wichita

The hubs is such a beef cake.

I ran out of gas at the halfway point. My shoes were filled with mud and gravel and my clothes were soaked. I felt like I weighed an extra 20 pounds. I shamelessly skipped three obstacles.

  • The monkey bars, which were like four inches thick. I have tiny hands. Who are they kidding?
  • The ice bath. Just no. No.
  • The cars because I don’t trust the Hard Charge folks to duct tape the windows properly. I’ve seen people fall through a car.

I completed all the other obstacles. Even the freezing cold water ones and the ones where I had to climb over things that were bigger than me.

Hard Charge Wichita

But I made it through! (With COPIOUS amounts of help from Matt and Bryan.)

Hard Charge WichitaHard Charge. Hell. Never again.
(But if we sign up for next year before May 5, then it’s like super cheap.)

Do you have any advice for training for an obstacle course, warrior dash or tough mudder?

Running Streak Week 1: Shin splints, sickness and a pinched butt nerve

Today is Day 9 of my Runner’s World running streak, and I have NOT run nine miles.

Let me ‘splain…

I started my running streak on Saturday, December 1, when I ran an 11:59-mile for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. I was super proud of myself. I felt good. I wasn’t too sore so I figured I’d be fine for setting a 12-minute pace for the rest of the week.

On Sunday, December 2, I ran a 9:48-mile in my neighborhood on the track I had mapped out earlier in the week.

Yeah.

A 9:48.

I mapped my mile wrong. There is NO WAY I maintained that pace. I knew something was wrong when I had only run to two and a half songs and saw my house.

On Monday, Husband and I spent the majority of the evening at Carmax signing paperwork for a replacement vehicle after we killed ours. (Not my new car, my husband’s older car.) And then we went to his parents’ house to return his mother’s car, which we were borrowing, and they made us yummy sandwiches, and we didn’t get home until 8:30.

So I didn’t run on Monday.

On Tuesday, I had to work late, and I didn’t get home until 6:30, and, by that time, I was so exhausted from running around and driving everywhere for work all day that I passed out when I got home. I think I was in bed and asleep at 8.

So I didn’t run on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I was so determined to run that I went straight to the gym after work and attempted to put in three 12-minute miles on the treadmill, and then go to yoga.

Let’s just say I ran one mile at 12:40, and the rest of the miles were a weird limping jog that I can’t even describe as actual movement so I didn’t time them.

And I didn’t make it to yoga.

In addition to being overly busy at work and with life things, I was also beginning to feel a bit under the weather. Everyone I knew was sick with something or had a cold so I was bound to get it.

On Thursday, I actually got sick and battled a headache and stomach ache all day. It was awful. I didn’t run on Thursday.

On Friday, I went back to the gym, feeling a tad better and able to breathe through my nose again, but the treadmill… it hurt me. I ran 0.62 of a mile and had to stop to walk because the shin splints were back in FULL FORCE. I walked to recover and finished out the mile at 13:32.

On Saturday, I slept through my alarm (which I later learned I had set so it wouldn’t make noise… I don’t know why) so I missed Power Yoga and decided to clean the house before I went for my mile. It was a LOVELY day and I felt great so I was pretty excited about running to the park. I thought about taking my dog…

Then… the pinched butt nerve… it struck like lightning and sent me sprawling across the floor while I was dusting. I laid on my living room floor and whined for a good five minutes with my dog sitting next to me whining because he knew we weren’t going to the park.

POOR HIM. (Right now he’s face planting in the floor in what is possibly the most adorable way a puppy can sleep so I’m less mad at him for getting miffed with me.)

I’m officially on rest now, and NOT at all happy about it.

I hope by resting my shins and my butt (yes I’m resting my butt) that I will be OK to run on Monday and for the rest of the week. I am also buying a bunch of athletic tape so I can tape up my arches and stirrup my shins so my shin splints will hurt less.

I have no idea how to un-pinch the nerve in my rear end. It got me again this morning while I was getting dressed, and I almost face planted in my closet.

I swear…

I’m not ready to give up.

But I hate that I missed miles (six total but really I’m not going to count two of them), and I hate that I didn’t improve my time, and I hate hate hate hate that I’m sitting on my couch in pain.

I can’t give up. I love running. I know I’m not a runner, but I so want to be one that I desperately want this 31-day-of-running idea to work.

What running goals are you struggling with? How do you get past all the things in your way?

I’m going on a running streak… starting December 1

I am going on a running streak with Runner’s World.

Last year, Runner’s World hosted the first Holiday Running Streak, which has runners pledge to run one mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day.

As you know, I have high hopes of turning from “unprofessional runner” into “hard-core athlete.”

As you also know, I have commitment issue with fitness, and I walk out on our relationship almost every other day. Exercise is real irritating. Diet? Don’t even get me started.

I truly want to be fit, but I desperately need someone to tell me what to do, which is why I’m joining Runner’s World readers and runners across the country to pledge to run one mile every day.

But I’m starting December 1.

Why? I’ll tell you.

I signed up to run the one-mile race for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis on December 1.

(If you’re feeling giving, donate to the cause here. My goal is to raise $100.)

I am not much of a go-getter when it comes to races, and I do not feel the need to pay nor do I have the means to fund myself to run in a real race, so I just race for charity now. Yay!

Wait. Why am I starting on December 1? Right. I was telling you.

First, it is currently already after Thanksgiving.

Second, I like starting things on a 1st. You know… like the first of the month, first of the year, first of the week…

Third, I believe running one mile every day for 31 days is a good goal for me. It sounds less hard when I say it that way.

Finally, I don’t have a time to beat! I don’t have a PR! I plan to use the December 1 run/walk to set my PR. I think someone will be there with a timer-thingy.

I’m shooting for a 12-minute mile. (I know, I know. But I’m out of shape, and haven’t run a 9-minute mile since high school. I know my limit.)

Will running one mile every day for 31 days turn me into a hard-core athlete? Totally.

OK. Maybe not. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Are you going to join the Holiday Running Streak? Check out their message board!

I ran the #Run4NYC 5K

DietsInReview.com hosted a Run4NYC 5K in Wichita this morning (Saturday, November 10) to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

And I ran it.

I have not run more than two miles at a time in years, and those two miles usually occurred on a treadmill rather than an actual trail. But, today, I ran 3.1 miles over hills and under trees through Sedgwick County Park.

And I ran the whole 3.1 miles.

Mile 1: I did well. I was slow, but faster than I would be if I were sitting on a couch! My body felt good, and my cardio was great! (I love that my cardio is still pretty good.)

A man pushing a DOUBLE running stroller passed me… I became momentarily disheartened, but then I imagined that every once in a while he would jump on the back of the stroller and ride it to take a break. I became less disheartened.

Plus, I passed him later.

Mile 2: TOOK FOREVER. The second mile was a little bit harder than the first. My legs were getting tired on the way to Mile 3, but I had the energy to keep going. Cardio was still awesome.

Mile 3: Wind. Of course. I ran against the wind for one whole mile. It was awful. The last mile had the most hilly parts, too. Uphill against the wind… I called those hills and that wind a few colorful names to push myself through the hard painful parts.

My legs pretty much quit on me during the third mile. I’m surprised I actually kept going.

When I saw the parking lot, knowing that the finish line was near, I started laughing. I told my legs that I would take a BENGAY bath and dry off with SalonPas if they would just make it to the finish line.

And my legs made it. I made it.

Before I tell you about the amazing amount of money raised for Hurricane Sandy victims, I want to tell you about the amazing amount of pride I raised in myself.

Because I gained weight, because my energy levels have decreased, because I have been so down and out about fitness, I did not have a lot of self-esteem in my abilities to lose the weight I gained or to increase my fitness and health.

I feel like I got a little bit of it back today.

So thank you DietsInReview for encouraging me to run in this 5K. My first in years, and the best one I’ve ever run.

DietsInReview donated $2.50 for each runner, and then threw in another $1500 after we had finished the race. The runners raised almost $1500 in donations. The donations will go to the American Red Cross to support Sandy relief efforts.

DietsInReview might be based in Wichita, but many technical supporters and freelance writers live and work in New York. For them, the Hurricane was a little closer to home than the Midwest.

I apologize for being such a bad blogger. Work has been busy, busy, busy! When I get home, the last thing I want to do is look at another computer screen. Plus, I haven’t been very fitness-y, eating healthy-y or anything-y lately. I’m working on that. Promise!

When I got home from the race, I ate three scrambled eggs and some leftover chicken taco mix covered in hot salsa. I WAS SO HUNGRY.

Preparing for a race

One of my goals this year is to run in a real race. I plan to run the 5K in the Prairie Fire Marathon in October.

However, if I get good enough, and I will get good enough, I might run the half marathon!

In order to prepare for my race, I have to time my miles.

I haven’t timed my mile in years.

Why?

I do not need to know how slow I am. That’s why.

But I have to face the numbers if I want to do well in my race, especially if I want to pace myself properly.

How-To Time Your Mile
Runner’s World’s One Magic Mile recommends that a runner should time his or her mile every one to three weeks to track progress and set realistic goals.

First, warm up by jogging for 10 minutes, and then doing four 100-meter accelerations. The first time I did an acceleration was at Shocker Fitness with Ashley. Oh, I miss her. And I miss the Shocker Fitness crew.

After the warm up, time your mile and your normal running pace.

Take the first lap easy to reserve energy for the finish. On the track at the YMCA, I will have to take the first four laps easy, which equals one lap on a regular track.

Your timed mile can be used to predict your pace for your 5K race and for long runs.

Timing my mile and preparing for my race means I have to get off the treadmill and get out of the park and hit the track.

The track at WSU where I worked out with Shocker Fitness is usually closed to the public so I will have to find a different track. The track at the YMCA is much smaller than a regular track and a mile is approximately 11 laps, which is fine…

But I prefer four laps with long straightaways and big curves. Runner’s World provided a Beginner’s Guide for track training, and I love the advice: stride on the straightaways and jog around the curves.

Maybe I can find a local high school who will let me use the track at night!

The perfect running partner

…is not my dog.

Power Yoga was canceled this morning for a fitness expo so, to get in my daily fitness, I took my dog for a run/walk to the park.

German Shepherd Dog

We walked the four or five blocks to the park. I wanted to start with walking to test my allergies. I didn’t do too badly! Breathed fine, nose was a little stuffy and sneezy, but I wasn’t nearly as bad off as I was the first time running outside.

I waited in the field next to the park for my dog to “get busy.” “Get busy” is his order to go potty. He begrudgingly did so, and then we took off.

We sprinted through the park, up and down the slopes and across the sidewalks.

My dog does not stay with me when he runs. He wants to run ahead of me because he thinks he’s faster than I am.

So we had to have a race…

…he won.

Jerk.

I was pooped! We jogged back home and sprinted the final block so he could get good and worn out.

My precious dog is the reason I can never live in a carpeted house. His drool drops covered my kitchen and hall floors. I had to lay a towel down.

Do you run with your dog? Is he/she faster than you, too?

Running to lose weight

Running for weight loss is an important first step in improving your running fitness.

Cassie Dimmick, sports dietitian and running coach, wrote for Runner’s World “…the leaner you are, within reason, the faster you go.”

Losing weight and running, in general, takes one thing: discipline. You have to be committed to your fitness, health and diet. Luckily, it’s not all too hard to stay on track when you have the right tools.

Women’s Health Magazine may let me down occasionally by promoting weird weight loss and diet plans, but I love the workout plans the magazine provides for free for readers.

For example, in Your Running Weight Loss Plan: Lose 10 Pounds in 6 Weeksthe magazine provides resources for running and meal plans for runners as well as what gear to wear and what music to listen to for best performance.

LOVE.

What’s great is that the magazine provides a run/walk program and a running program for people like me who are new to or just getting back in to running after a fitness hiatus.

While I am sure I can handle the running program, I do not want to set myself up for failure. If it’s too hard too soon, I might quit. Why not start easy, and then increase my challenge as I get bored? Oh, yes. I do think that is a plan!

I will start training for several summer and fall 5K’s as soon as I graduate in May. (I don’t want to start training too soon, in case something comes up, especially since I haven’t done anything for almost six weeks.)

My first 5K will be a primer, and, when I run in the Prairie Fire 5K, I hope to beat any PR I set earlier in the year. In runner speak, PR is “personal record.”

Ha! I’ve never had one of those before!