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Cross(fit) my heart, hope (not) to die March 9, 2015

Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
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Over the years, I have tried a lot of different exercise methods and classes and programs and whatnot.  I always attempted to be open-minded, but the one genre I never warmed to was the boot camp/CrossFit style.  Even though my husband loved his experiences, I chalked that endorsement up to his military background – after all, having been in the Air Force, he was used to being yelled at and “motivated” to action in less than positive ways.

When we moved to Hill East at the end of 2014, we noticed that there was a CrossFit studio less than 3 blocks away from our house.  Since we had fallen very much out of shape, and since the convenience factor was high, I finally relented and signed us up.  You know what?  I am woman enough to admit when I am wrong…and I was definitely wrong about CrossFit.

CrossFit Inc. defines itself as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains.”  Whiiiiiich basically means that you do a little of everything!  The hour-long workouts are intense and can include everything from jump ropes to indoor rowing machines to barbells to resistance bands, and everything in between.  Oh, and speaking of the workouts, there is some CrossFit lingo to know – for example, “WOD” means “workout of the day,” which is only one component of the session (the highest-intensity component).  There’s also generally a warm-up, a skill development segment, strength work, and some stretching.  It’s a lot of work for one hour, but it’s varied and interesting and slightly different every time.  CrossFit facilities aren’t called gyms, they’re called “boxes” – and each box has its own personality.  Thankfully, I found a box that is small, encouraging, and fun!

The great thing about CrossFit – which is one of the major things I didn’t know – is that it is scalable.  I thought you had to be a super weightlifter, or be able to do 300 pushups without a break, to be able to handle CrossFit.  But, thankfully, that’s just not true.  The components of each workout have a prescribed (or Rx) level, and then there’s always an option for less than prescribed (or Rx2).  Can’t even do Rx2?  That’s okay, too – you just do what you can and try to push yourself to YOUR limits.  It’s competitive, but in the right way (for me, at least) – it encourages me to compete with myself.  It’s nice to be able to see improvements in your time/reps after you have practiced movements for a while.

Right now, we’re pretty routinely attending CrossFit 2-3 times a week, and hopefully soon we’ll be able to bump up to the full 4.  Regardless, it’s safe to say that this CrossFit convert will be WOD-ing for a long time to come.

Who else out there does CrossFit?  What do you like best about it?

keep-calm-and-crossfit-workout-training

That’s my goal January 11, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
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One of my fitness goals for the new year was to do SOMETHING active every day for the whole month of January.  The idea was just to spend at least 30 minutes of every day walking, running, cross-training, doing yoga, cycling, or doing jumping jacks in my living room – counting out any walking that was a part of my daily commute.

So far, so good – it is January 10, and I haven’t missed a day.  I’m actually pretty surprised – it is harder than it sounds, especially when the weather is crummy.  Yes, it helps that I am training for a marathon, so I automatically have an incentive to get moving.  But keeping the streak alive is a separate motivator – which is kind of the whole point.  Here’s hoping I can keep it going next week when I am out of town.

In order to track our activity and give us that added boost, husband and I bought and started wearing Basis devices.  I will post a more thorough review once I’ve had it for a little bit longer, but I already like it better than other trackers on the market (FitBit, for example) because it can tell the difference between activities and you don’t have to tell it when you are asleep.  It has given me some interesting information about my habits, and I think it definitely provides a push, since every time I look at it, I am reminded of my activity and training goals.  It’s like an instant guilt trip!  🙂

The biggest problem?  The Basis is really ugly – like an old-school 80s Swatch watch.  So, it interferes with some of my beauty and fashion-related goals – isn’t it funny how exercise/sports can easily do that? – but I am working on finding a good balance between the two.

How do you find balance between your athletic side and your other interests?

Running out of time December 30, 2013

Posted by bettyjoan in Cycling, Races, Running.
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When I sat down and began reflecting upon 2013 in terms of training and racing, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed.  Sure, I ran a half-marathon, a ten-miler, and a 10K, but they were some of my slowest races to date.  AND I backed out of the triathlon I was planning on doing in April.  I gained weight.  I didn’t incorporate exercise into my daily routine in as meaningful a way as I had in the past.  Overall, I felt like the year was…I don’t know…wasted?

Then again, this past year, I moved my career and my family and my LIFE to Washington, DC.  That kind of change is bound to take the wind out of your sails for a while, right?

On balance, while I may not have made as much progress in my training as I would have hoped in 2013, I think I made some important strides.  I joined Team In Training in DC and started working to build a new legacy of fundraising and racing for an amazing cause.  I started cycling to/from the office, when the weather permitted.  I definitely led a more active lifestyle in general, since we rarely drove and did a lot of wonderful walking with our pupster.

And, when I did run, I got views like this:

Wash Mon

And this:

photo 2

And, of course, this:

photo 1

So, I guess I’ll take it.  I won’t write 2013 completely off, but I will definitely strive to improve in 2014.  I would love to run the Rock & Roll USA Marathon in March in under five hours.  I’d love to run a sub-two hour half marathon at the Nike Women’s Half in April.  I’d love to join some other area running groups and build my training AND social circles.  I’d love to up my cycling game, not only by biking more, but also by moving from my bikeshare bike to my road bike for everyday commuting.

What are YOUR training goals for 2014?

Life in the Fast Lane March 13, 2012

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I posted.  It’s certainly been eventful!  Hubs and I have raised over $4,700 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (but we still have over $3,500 to go, so feel free to donate here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/madrid12/therhoadeslesstraveled), and we’ve passed the 16-mile threshold in our training.  I can’t believe we only have two more long runs (one 18-miler and one 20-miler) until we taper and then FLY TO MADRID!

Perhaps the most exciting thing that’s happened since the beginning of 2012?  I got fast.  No, really, I did!

I’ve been working with Coach Eric’s Misery Loves Company group since September-ish, and on February 11, I finally had a chance to take the ol’ legs for a spin to see what they could really do.  The ATC Hearts and Soles 5K was a pretty chill race in the sense that there was no shirt, no huge prizes, no live music, etc etc.  However, you could tell right away that it was a big deal from a competition standpoint – tons of people were there, trying to PR and improve their Peachtree Road Race corral.

I told hubby that as much as I loved running with him normally, I wanted to race for myself and really put my training to the test.  I was a little worried when the gun went off, since I was in the middle of the pack and it took a few moments to find some space in the crowd.  Once I got into a groove, though, I was in an awesome place – I felt confident, I felt controlled, and I felt like I could really reach my goal (which, consequently, was a 30 minute 5K).  I looked down at my watch a couple of times, and I couldn’t believe how fast I was going because it felt so EASY.  Before I knew it, I was sprinting toward the finish line.

My official time?  28:58!!!  That’s right, over TWO MINUTES FASTER than my previous 5K best.  Certainly, finishing my first marathon is my proudest running moment to date – but this was absolutely a close, close second.

As if the race couldn’t get any better, my husband decided that he was so proud and impressed that he wanted to be a part of MLC.  So, now I finally have a pace buddy for Tuesday night track workouts!

Next up: we’re running the Rock & Roll USA 1/2 Marathon in DC this weekend, and I cannot wait to see one of my favorite cities on foot (I definitely wasn’t a runner when I lived in the Nation’s capital).  Stay tuned for what will hopefully be a fantastic race report!

2012: A Running Odyssey January 4, 2012

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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Even though I feel like 2012 is going to be a momentous year in terms of my running, I don’t actually have that much on the calendar.  So far, the only definite registrations are the Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon (March 17 in DC) and, of course, the Rock & Roll Madrid Marathon (April 22 in SPAIN!!!!!).

The “maybes” at this point include the Bike MS (September at Callaway Gardens) and the Tennessee Ragnar Relay (November, I believe).  I say maybe in quotation marks because I’m pretty sure these events are going on the calendar, but the actual registrations haven’t been done.  Although, I seem to remember signing up for the Bike MS at last year’s event – they were doing some deal where you could sign up for a quarter, and who’s going to say no to that?

The REAL maybes are all of the shorter races I feel like I want to do.  Of course, I will try for a Peachtree number, but what else can I add to the calendar?

Option #1: ATC Heart and Soles 5K, February 11.  My track coach recommended this race, and I think our whole “Misery Loves Company” group is encouraged to sign up.  However, it is hard for me to race on Saturdays due to TNT group training sessions, and I’m not a huge fan of the ATC.  That, and hubby probably won’t want to sign up because there is no tee shirt and no medal.  😉

Option #2: Charles Harris 10K, February 25.  I’ve wanted to run this race for a while, and I think it will be a good tune-up for the March 17th half marathon.  I think I’ll probably bit the bullet and sign up for this one to get it on the calendar.

Option #3: Chattahoochee Road Runners 5K/10K, March 3.  This would probably only go on the calendar if Charles Harris doesn’t work out – but, even if I do the 10K on February 25th, maybe the 5K would still be a good idea as far as seeing how the speed work is paying off.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?  Or, even better, do you have any feedback on these races?

You gotta have goals January 5, 2011

Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
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Well, 2010 came and went a lot faster than I anticipated.  Every year seems to do that these days.  It was a jam-packed 12 months, though, especially in the realm of endurance events.  I was a mentor for Team In Training.  I PR’d my first event of the year, my favorite sprint tri.  I got a flat – then cried – then fixed that POS and got back in the saddle and finished the race – at my debut “destination” race.  I ran the Peachtree.  I got my first ever DNF at my last tri of the season, but I got to watch all of my mentorees cross the finish line.  I ran a full fracking MARATHON, for goodness sake.  And this year alone, I raised over $3,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

So, what can I do to make 2011 an even bigger success?  After chatting with my sister before New Year’s Eve, I came up with some goals, aspirations, resolutions, whatever you want to call them.  They cover just about every aspect of my life (minus my professional life – that stays very separate from the rest of me, and I plan to keep it that way), and I hope to achieve a respectable number of them.

Drumroll, please…

Food/diet goals –

  • Go meatless at least one day per week – pretty self-explanatory.
  • No more than one fast food meal per month – for some reason, I am addicted to junk, and I need to stop, for serious.
  • Be better about moderating alcohol consumption – I don’t want to put a number of days or drinks down on paper, because it is largely going to be a situational decision.  I just want to think more and drink less.
  • Drink at least one cup of tea every evening – I really hate hot tea, but its health benefits and calming effect cannot be ignored.

Exercise/fitness goals –

  • Practice yoga at least once a week – I have never been bitten by the yoga bug, but I know it’s good for endurance athletes, so I’m going to try again.
  • Achieve a half-marathon PR – two chances to do it, the Publix Atlanta half or the Napa-to-Sonoma half!
  • Run at least two 10Ks – I want to run the Peachtree again, but I haven’t settled on another race.
  • Improve hydration while cycling – which basically means “learn how to grasp and drink from a water bottle while pedaling and NOT freaking out and crashing.”

Overall wellness goals –

  • Take vitamins, calcium, and glucosamine every day – I always seem to forget.
  • Moisturize every day – I’m good about the skin on my face, but not the rest of it.
  • Read one book per month – I used to LOVE to read, but I think law school killed that love.  I’m ready to get it back.
  • Improve dental health – by flossing and actually going to the dentist.  I hate the dentist.

I don’t think I’ve gone totally overboard, nor do I think these goals are unrealistic.  Sure, I may miss the mark on a few, but I truly believe I can better myself by sticking to this plan.  I know we’re only a few days into 2011, but it hasn’t been too painful so far (there’s always an adjustment period).  The first real tests will be my hubby’s birthday this weekend – Holemand & Finch and bowling, oh my – and our trip to San Francisco in a week.  Eek!

Here’s to all of us meeting our goals, whatever they may be…