The stomach bug has raged through my house derailing my training for a time. No one was safe. But I am back and ready to rock. I’ve decided to restart my burpee and plank challenges because the illness took a lot out of me.
At the gym I have been mostly doing my cardio. This week it is walking. I do a warm up of 3-5 minutes on 3 with a 2 incline, then I pump the incline up as far as it can go (14, I think) for 3-5 minutes. I repeat this cycle until I am wiped. Right after I recovered from the bug, I was only able to do 15 minutes total. I’m up to 25 minutes as of Friday.
I am only on day 2 of my plank and burpee challenges. The 10 burpees, though awkward, were arguably easier to do than the measly 20 second plank. Part of my mind is convinced that it is enough time for me to look like this –
I am aware that the reality is very far from that, but a girl can dream. At least I am sore. I missed the wonderful soreness of well worked muscles. Why did I ever stop?
In a short 18 weeks, I will be doing my second Tough Mudder. I completed my first in June of 2016. I was really not prepared, but I was able to finish it. I had to skip a couple of the obstacles due to lack of upper body strength. Now I know what I need to focus on for my training.
To the left, you can see my team. We had all done a few 5k adventure races and some of us even completed a 10k. We signed up over six months ahead of the race. Under normal circumstances, it probably would have been enough time to train. Life can get in the way and it did just that for me. My husband was laid off, so I ended up working seven days a week. Then I got sick on top of that. I’d say I only had about 6 weeks of real training.
I would like to have been more prepared. I had to skip a lot of the wall obstacles and I was not able to Everest 2.0. But I conquered the mountain. The New England Tough Mudder is on the slopes of the ski mountain at Mount Snow, VT.
I also faced my fear and pushed through Shawshanked. I have a hefty dose of claustrophobia. Crawling under barbed wire and then through a dark tunnel was enough to make my heart pound.
While I feel that completing the length of the course is awesome, I really want to be able to do all of the obstacles this year. But the kicker is that I am starting from a fitness level that is worse than it was prior to the last race. If I can do that, I know I can do anything.
My plan involves both diet and fitness. The diet part is pretty simple. I am going to slowly cut sugar to the point where I am not eating any added sugar. This has worked for me in the past and as long as I make sure I am getting enough protein I should be good. I will re-evaluate this part of the plan as the fitness side ramps up.
For fitness, I am starting slow and steady. For the first 30 days I am doing a plank challenge for core strength, a burpee challenge, a daily yoga routine to help keep myself limber, and cardio at the gym or outside 3 days a week. My biggest goal is to never go more than two days without exercise.
After the first 30 days, I am going to start ramping up the fitness. I need to work myself up to being able to do a pull-up or twenty and to cross the monkey bars. I also want to push the hills and stairs. That mountain is steep.
I’d love to hear your mudder journeys and any advise you may have.
What do we do when our doubt gets to us? What do we do when we look in the mirror and can’t find anything to like? How do we get past falling off the wagon again?
The end of 2015 was a tough one for me. To be honest, all of 2015 was tough. I lost someone close to me. My husband lost his job.
We all go through tough times. We all let things fall to the back burner. For me it was my training. I didn’t completely stop, but it was not a priority.
When life gets in the way, sometimes it is all you can do to put one foot in front of another. Sometimes a victory is as simple as making sure you drink enough water. A triumph might be remembering to get up from your desk to walk a bit at least once an hour.
A friend of mine reminded me that I am not starting over. I’m not back where I started. I have learned from my mistakes. Will I make more? Probably.
One step in front of the other.
This is the year of my Tough Mudder. I have until June 18th to get myself ready for it. What am I going to do about it?
The Plan (so far)
Nutrition – A workout is nothing if you are eating junk. I know this. Breaking habits is not easy. I’m a sugar junky and an emotional eater. I’m going to take it slow and build for a longer lasting result.
Start making healthier substitutes, like trying fresh fruits when I’m craving sweets.
Planning meals and shopping lists
Think about why I am eating before I take a bite.
Fitness – My fitness goals in the past have mainly consisted of just get moving. While that is a great starting point, it isn’t going to cut it this year. I can push my way through a 5k adventure race without much training. The Tough Mudder is a different case. I don’t want to go into it unprepared.
Strength training – I’m starting with body weight and dumbbells. One of the things I am doing is superhero inspired workouts that I found on Pinterest. My eldest son does these with me before he goes to school in the mornings. He picks the hero and we do a set together. My youngest even tries to get into the action too.
Cardio -The Tough Mudder is just about the length of a half marathon. I need to work on my running endurance. I joined a gym, Planet Fitness. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but it is what I can afford and it will still help.
I’m a runner. That still feels odd for me to say. I have tried my hand at running a few times over the years. I would attempt to run around a track a few times, getting frustrated at my inability to breath or complete a lap without stopping to walk.
Then in 2013, I decided to sign up for a Biggest Loser Run/Walk 5k. I knew I could walk it if I wanted to. Walking was never an issue. Since it was a Biggest Loser race, I didn’t have the fear that I would be the only fat girl there. It sounds awful, but as a fat (I hate the word obese) woman, I feel like people are always watching and judging me. There is safety in numbers.
I found out the day I went to pick up my registration packet that there were going to be contestants from the Biggest Loser show there. What was even better, my favorite contestant, Tara Costa from season 7, was there.
I got a little teary-eyed talking to her. She was very encouraging and friendly. She gave me some advice, though in the excitement, I quickly forgot it.
The next day at the race my nerves were starting to get to me. I really wanted to try and run as much as possible. At the time, I weighed over 250 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to carry. Luckily, I had a friend I was running with and I had a fantastic cheering section.
I started out running. Ok, jogging. It wasn’t long before my lungs were screaming. My friend, Dove, was doing her best to encourage me. I was becoming certain that I had made a mistake signing up for this race. What on earth was I thinking? In my 36 years of life before that moment I had never, ever, been a runner.
I had barely gone a block and I had to drop to a walk. I told Dove to go on. She looked at me with concern, but I told her it was ok. It was the start of the race and I felt defeated.
If this had been any other race, I would have probably given up running right then and there. This race was different, though. Not only were the spectators cheering and encouraging, but the other runners were too. People were chanting, “you can do it.” Eventually, I started believing that I might just be able to do it. I started jogging again for a short distance. Then I’d slow and catch my breath. But I kept going.
I had a number in my head that I wanted to beat. I wanted to be able to come in under 45 minutes. For some people that is walking speed. Not me. I’m a turtle. But this is the race I realized that I’m not racing against anyone but myself. It didn’t matter if I came in last. I just needed to beat myself. I needed to finish.
I did it and it felt amazing. I finished in 44 minutes and 3 seconds.
Ok. If I am going to do this, I need to be brutally honest. I am a 5’8″ tall, 225 lbs mother of two. For years I have been struggling with my weight and my overall health. I have high LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and low HDL cholesterol (the good kind). My triglycerides are high. My risk of Type 2 Diabetes is elevated and not just because of my weight. Although I have a few 5k races and mud runs under my belt, I am nowhere near fit.
Somehow my husband has convinced me to run a Tough Mudder in June of 2016.
For those of you who are not in the know, a Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle race that is designed to test both your mental and physical limits. It is team oriented and it is not timed. Everything I have seen and read indicate that it is not something you should, or maybe even could, go into without training.
So why would an obese woman with a mild fear of heights and claustrophobia want to do a Tough Mudder?
I want to do something amazing before my 40th birthday – a last hurrah of my thirties.
I want to show my kids that anything is possible
I love obstacle races
I want to prove to myself that I am stronger than I think I am
I want to push myself past my fears
I have just under nine months. This is my starting point. (Please forgive the cheesy selfie in my messy bathroom)