Saturday, October 4, 2014

Throw back on a Saturday Afternoon

Going through my facebook albums and I look at My Journey album because a post from Chicked Nation page inquired if there were any transformation stories. 

When I look at my pictures, I counted back and realized since 2011, I was on a roller coaster journey. I have to share that if I didn't join a boot camp class (SOHI Fitness) that kicked my butt and challenged me, I probably would have become complacent again but my trainer's concept was no excuses. 

So, here is a throw back of my journey that I hope will inspire you in some way to be healthier and go further than you ever imagined. 

August 2013 was my first OCR race ever. I was already on a journey to be fit since 2012 but not really putting in any effort until accomplishing that Spartan Race in Aug 2013 woke me up again because I barely trained for that race. This not only woke me up to be healthy but to be a better person overall. I cleaned up my eating and started learning about workouts and what it means to be healthy. I started signing up for running events to keep me on my toes till the next Spartan Race (March 2014 and August 2014). Within one year, I completed 13 races (Spartan Super and Beast being my last two), which included my first marathon and a half marathon. It may not seem like much to an avid runner but I never did this much races ever. I never was an athlete in high school. I had 4 kids right after high school. My heaviest was 217 and now I'm 160. Am I faster? No, I'm still a slow runner/walker just enjoying the race / health journey. As of today, I'm training for my 2nd marathon, half-marathon and upcoming Spartan Races in 2015.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Figuring out what works for you

A week before the Hapalua Marathon, I wrote about the glorious pains of cramping that was affecting my running and working out. It was getting to me mentally and physically to where I started giving up mentally. However, I still asked around for any tips to prevent cramping because I knew that I was doing everything wrong from nutrition to preparing for the race.

Am I the only one that knows what they should be doing but doesn't apply it until the last minute? Well, since then, I've been in three races, so I'll give you a breakdown of what I noticed in each run until the Spartan Race in August because it's growth (as always).

Hapalua Half-Marathon

I taped up with KT tape, loaded up on the energy gels, bottled water but I also decided to try mustard packets. Unfortunately, I didn't try Oral IV because there is only one distributor on island! However, the mustard packets only worked up to a certain point to where I also ran into one of those ABC stores along Waikiki and bought bananas. Let me just say that although I made it in a little over two hours, the last stretch of the mile, I ran stiffly and slowly because the cramps were slowly seizing my calves. Talk about frustration because I walked a quarter of mile back to my hotel. This meant back to the drawing board of figuring out what I needed to do to prevent cramping for the Makahiki Challenge in May 2014 and Spartan Race (August 2014)

Makahiki Challenge
As you can see, I taped again with KT tape and brought along some mustard packets and Clif Gel Bloks because it was a 5k mud run that I decided to walk with my daughter because she refused to run while everyone else ran along. One thing I love about the obstacle course racing fun mud run events, is that the course is still challenging with hills and the obstacles are optional for beginners like my daughter. Because the hills were challenging, I made use of the mustard packets but it was to a bare minimum. Hydration was a must because it was humid until it started raining in the valley. This helped a lot in keeping cool. However, there was something new that I wanted to try, which was dynamic taping that my sister's physical therapy office used on her calves.
Spartan Race Hawaii Trifecta Weekend

Prior to this race, I was in a funk. I didn't want to train. I didn't even want to run. I actually felt like I burned myself out because I never did sign up for this much races as I did from August 2013 to August 2014. Mentally, I kind of wanted to run but physically I was drained. Partly from work because we are on mandatory overtime but whenever I reached home from work, I didn't want to lace up regardless if my husband tried to encourage me. As the big day was approaching, I started dreading it because I didn't train as should have nor was I eating as I should have! I cursed myself because this was the race that I was to have been training for all year. This was part of my fitness bucket list to earn a trifecta medal because who would have thought that I could? So, back to the drawing board of preparing for a Spartan Race and I needed to be serious about it. Here is a breakdown of what was the same and what was different as well as the outcomes:
Clothing / Taping
  • Under Armour (I didn't change anything except that I used a bikini bottom under my race clothes). I used their heat gear line, which is light and gives me the room of moving around without dragging me down.
  • Vibrams MR Sprydion: This was an "upgrade" from their original line. I was actually looking for different type of shoes to use but there were several that I tried and found that my feet were hurting. I figured since my feet didn't hurt on my trail runs when I used my vibrams, I might as well as use vibrams (if it's not broken, why fix it, right?)
  • Camelbak Rim Runner 22: I bought this because I wanted to at least have something that carried 3L especially because I gauged my finishing times to be over 7 hours for the Beast and 5-6 hours for the Super. Another thing great about this pack is that it had other compartments where you could store your food and other essentials. This pack is recommended for activity that lasts more than 3 hours.
  • Dynamic Tape: Helleeerrr...wish I knew about this tape before KT tape because this tape was amazing. And I have to think it's probably because I had a trained professional tape me up with this tape. I'll brag about this tape by sharing that if you ever decide to use Dynamic Tape instead of KT'll question if you put any effort into your races because considering that I did a race that totaled a marathon distance over mountains and hills AND I was barely training, I would have been dying but nope, I had the expected soreness the next day but by the second day, I had minimal soreness.
Energy / Fuel
  • Peanut butter sandwiches: On the facebook page, Chicked Nation (formerly known as Spartan Chicked), one of the ladies recommended it. Glad I listened to her!)
  • Bananas: Peel these suckers...if you buy apple bananas, it's better especially because it's smaller. I also placed these in ziploc bags
  • Clif Crunchy Peanut Butter Bar: Much needed and highly recommended
  • Granola Bars: If you're carrying clif bars, you won't need to bring these. It's up to you
  • Clif Shot Bloks (strawberry flavored): I was glad I brought these because at one point on the trail on both days, I craved something sweet and kept thinking of shave ice (or snow cones to mainlanders). I popped one in my mouth and it satisfied my craving on the trail.
  • Oral IV: Let me just say that the heavens opened up and the angels started singing as I packed several vials because for ONCE I was actually listening to advice regarding hydration. Let me just say that I didn't cramp at all on BOTH Saturday AND Sunday. Keep in mind that I was on course for about 7 hours for the Beast and about 4 hours for the Super.
I honestly wished that I bought Oral IV for the Hapalua half-marathon because Oral IV worked wonders. I kid you not. I was nervous because I NEVER used this product before and you know how it is a no-no that you don't try anything new on race day but I took a chance! I followed the instructions of taking at least 30 minutes prior to race time and I also took another vial about 3-4 hours into the race because it was an endurance race.
My choice of using Under Armour, I don't think I will sway from it especially because the shorts did not ride up and I did not chaff at all. My vibrams is another that I will not sway from when it comes to obstacle course racing because it gave me the freedom to move through the mud pits and this upgraded line worked pretty well on the obstacles. There was no slipping off like I did with the previous vibrams!
Overall, this blog post is sharing with you what I found worked for me and the fact that I need to listen to the advice given to me especially if they are from other racers who is familiar with what can happen in a race.
I hope this helps you especially if you are aiming to do an obstacle course race or any running event.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

You're cramping my run

I am pretty sure everyone who runs or races has experienced the dreaded cramps that makes your toes curl and slows down your running to where all you can think about is that you will not be making it in the time that you intended to finish with to crush your previous PR.

The things that I will share in my blog is hindsight that I am hoping I've learned my lesson and will not repeat on my upcoming races.

I've researched about cramps and although there are articles out there that shares the possibility of cramps, there is no definite answer because it can be to undertraining, nutrition, weather or you are just blessed with the ability to have cramps cling to your calves.

Honolulu Marathon 2013
Before the Honolulu Marathon, I was training but not as much in the mileage as I should have to where I researched on what I can do to maintain fuel / hydration to bring me to the finish line. And thank goodness the Honolulu Marathon expo had great vendors there because I was introduced the brand zipfizz.

I almost bought there bottle too but my husband was with me, which later he shared he was surprised I didn't just purchase it because it was a deal (darn!).

Anyhow, I have to share that I liked it because it carried me through. From what I understand, you are to use this with your water and it helps you maintain every 4-6 hours. As I look back at the marathon, it was zipfizz along with the water/gatorade stations that helped sustain me along with me buying pretzels around  the 23 mile marker. The only thing I did not care for about zipfizz are their plastic containers. It's cumbersome (not that I wanted to carry 10 but still...)

Great Aloha Run 2014
2014 rolls around and the Great Aloha Run is waving at me quickly. That morning, I under prepared. I didn't tape up (KT my calves-mistake #1) nor did I bring all of my NUUN tablet drink because I only poured it in my two little bottles that were attached to my waist pack (mistake #2) while I carried watered down gatorade...WATERED DOWN GATORADE...

The experience I had with the Great Aloha Run was not funny at all because the timing was perfect until I hit mile 7. As soon as I slowed to take in sports beans and a drink, my toes curled on it's own. I thought it was my KT tape coming undone but it wasn't. It was my toes curling on its own because my body was already dehydrated (it was muggy and I was pissed because my husband ran ahead of me despite the fact that I told him to run ahead earlier in our run). What further aggravated me was the fact that mile 7 is all hill and I was afraid of tearing my calf muscle if I pushed myself faster than I should.

So, what should have taken 10-15 minutes for me to get to Aloha Stadium took me over an hour to where I didn't crush my previous PR and it left me in a foul mood because now I have to run the Great Aloha Run next year to redeem myself.

Spartan Race at Aloha Stadium
I didn't want a repeat of what happened at Aloha Stadium, so I carb-loaded and prepared my fuel/hydration for during and after the race. Let me just say that when you do obstacle racing, your body is working out way more than a regular run to where whatever you have stored in glycogen will deplete quickly if you do not fuel/hydrate well.

Well, I kept popping sports beans and drinking my zipfizz throughout the stadium but towards the run to the last spiral (down), my toes twitched and I was like, "Oh hell stinkin' NO". I managed to make it through the finish line but it floored me because throughout all this time while I'm running, my bladder was always full to where I would have to stop to use the bathroom. So, after the race, I'm still stumped on what happened to where I have come to the conclusion that it falls on me on how I trained and my nutrition intake:
  • I am not taking enough nutrients in my body
  • I am not training as I should be that would have minimized any injuries or setbacks if I did
I also posted on the Spartan Chick page as well as others giving me advice and the number one item people have been sharing is...mustard. Have you tried it? I haven't but I'm considering on having this in the pockets of my hydration pack to carry along during the Spartan Race.

Hindsight and planning for the future events
  • Revamp my nutrition intake and plan smarter
  • Revamp my training to endurance training that will take me out of my comfort zone
And I found another brand that I think I will try prior to the Spartan Race in August:
At least I can try this out prior to my half-marathon to see if my body takes well to this but I have a feeling that I am over-preparing in regards to these type of products when what I should be doing is focusing on training on strengthening those weak areas (calves).
Have you found something that works for you? Do share

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What have you been up to?

If you blog, you ever have blog block? I did for over a month. I haven't been keeping up with my yelp reviews either!

However, I have been keeping up with my running and training for the Spartan Race! 

Here's a recap of what I have been up to:

The Neon Vibe at Aloha Stadium (January 3, 2014) #7

Spartan Race Training by SGX Hawaii at Aloha Stadium (January 5, 2014)

The Great Aloha Run (February 17, 2014) #8

This was taken before the race by my daughter who was nice to drop us off at 5:00am in downtown Honolulu.

Me going thru the tunnel over TWO HOURS later from the start time. I cramped badly by mile 7 (boo).

5 days later...

The Warrior Dash (February 22, 2014) #10

(Before the race)

(Jumping over fire)

(At the finish line. Note: calf sleeves and mud makes me look like I have thankles...thighs + ankles)

(After the race)

Not mine but my best friend who broke her ankle in three places attempting to slide down an obstacle.

One month later...
The Spartan Race at Aloha Stadium (March 23, 2014)!!! #11

My dad and youngest son did the Spartan Race too!

(At my prettiest)

(Those lava seats)

(Just passed through the over, under and through walls with cramps!)

(One of the best moments running to the finish line with my dad!)


And guess who just signed up for the Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend on August 16-17, 2014 at Kualoa Ranch? Me!

Upcoming events:
-Hapalua Half-marathon (April 13, 2014)
-Makahiki Challenge at Kualoa (May 24, 2014)
-Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend at Kualoa Ranch (August 16-17, 2014)
-Color Run (November 2014)
-Kawela Bay North Shore 5k (November 2014)
-Honolulu Marathon (December 2014)
-Jingle Rock Run by Make-a-Wish (December 2014)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are you ready? Do what works for you!

You would think that getting fit would be simple. Watch what you eat and do some sort of physical exercise, right? Wrong.

It's like with anything that is poorly planned, if it is not well-thought of without a clear goal or vision in sight, it will fall to the wayside. Thus, the many roller coasters of fluctuating weight and forever keeping those bigger jeans "just in case".

When you read that last sentence I just wrote, it gives you a pause doesn't it? I'm pretty sure we are all guilty of doing that but this's different. It's time to get rid of the bigger size "just in case" mentality and get rid of it. This time resolve to make a difference for a better and healthier YOU.

Yesterday, I was lazy. I simply did not want to run or do anything except take a nap as soon as my husband and I got home from the movies (I'm thinking it has something to do with the popcorn and hot dog as well as not really eating any lunch). However, I kept thinking in my mind, "You have four big race events coming can't slack at all, woman. GET UP."

I dressed in my running gear and laced up. As I started running, I kept thinking about the half-marathon training plan. I don't know about you but there is a rebellious streak in me that says, "I want to do things my way." And that made me pause because it made me think about my previous post. There are some training plans that works for me, like SOHI Fitness training plan because she scaled it down to what worked for me without discouraging me. In addition, I shared with my husband, "I'm 42 years old. My body is not like how it was in my 20's or 30's. I have to train smart." He agreed.

What is training smart? As I shared in my previous blog post, know what works and what doesn't work for you. Training smart is listening to your body, noticing the aches and pains that is normally associated with getting older and planning on workouts that works for YOU.

Training smart also means nutritionally smart, which is learning how to research on foods (i.e., complex carbohydrates, protein) because what you it giving you the proper nutrition that your body eats or are you consuming food lacking in nutrients? Seriously, incorporate veggies, fruits, beef (lean), poultry, pork and fish (if you have to..I don't like fish).

Not every plan fits everyone. Not everyone knows how to plan. However, everyone within has a resolving spirit to dig in and be determined to make a change, make a move and go forward.

So, I'm sharing...if you're stuck in a rut and you feel as if you've been slacking despite that you've been running and exercising but you need to up the volume to get you into beast mode and sticking consistently, then you develop and stick to a plan that WORKS FOR YOU.

If you're unsure, here is a sample of a simple workout plan that I used when I first started working out back in August/September of last year:

Warm-up: Stretch 10-15 minutes

Run: 1-2 miles (comfortable pace)

Workout (3 sets of 10):
Overhead Squats 10 x 3
Push-ups 10 x 3
Sit-ups 10 x 3
Burpees 10 x 3

Cool down: Stretch 10-15 minutes

Note: I did this workout 3-4 days out of the week considering this was the beginning of getting fit. You don't want to do too much at the beginning to where you'll burnout or get discouraged.

Here's some food for thought of something that I read on Pinterest...if you maintain a routine for 3 weeks, it develops into a habit.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Do you have a training plan?

In my previous post, I shared about "the beginning", the decision to make a change to live a healthier life. I touched on nutrition and eating cleaner, which I'm hoping if you did read the blog post-you made an appointment to see a dietician or nutritionist to guide you the best way possible on what will work for you as you begin your journey to a healthier you.

Now, I'm posting about my starting point of training. It also happens today is the first day of my training program for a half-marathon. I figure I will use this program alongside my training for the upcoming Spartan Race as well as the other runs that I have lined up from February to the Hapalua Half-Marathon (hopefully this is a smart thing to do).

If you have a smart phone, there are running apps that will appeal to what you are looking for in tracking your runs. As for me, I am currently using  the Nike+ Running App. This tracks all my runs from basic to distance running. I can choose to have playlist of songs begin as my run starts or the choice to have no music at all. In addition, Nike+ Running will also provide  me with my personal running history and stats. I can also share my activity through social media sites. What I like most because it challenges me to do better is the map showing where I ran. It shows my pace in colors. It's been my goal to erase all red (slow-walking) from the path to green (running) because for too long, my paths have been red and orange!

One of the other features on Nike+ Running is the Coach feature. This feature gives you training plans to prepare for 5k to a marathon.

I decided to choose the beginner's half-marathon despite the fact that I have ran 7 races in 2013.

It doesn't matter the amount of runs because as I look back on my runs and finishing time, I think it is now time for me to have a training plan. Seriously, it's time for me to grow as a runner this year. It's time for me to go to the next level of developing my run. And by this, I don't mean a faster time but to TRAIN SMARTER.

Now, it doesn't mean I don't want a faster time because we'd all love to break our PR with a new time. However, I have to be realistic that I'm a runner/walker meaning that I'm a slow runner. I am also smart enough to admit that I need to learn on what is truly my comfortable pace and to learn how to breathe while I'm running. I'm tired of breathing through my mouth only and feeling winded. I want to learn how to "breathe in through your nostrils and breathe out through your mouth". I want to do breathe like that naturally without trying to be fixated on my breathing technique.

Anyhow, as I am going along with a training plan and researching about running smart, I believe I will learn how and when to hydrating and refueling along the race course as I am running. On the days that I am not running and advised to cross train, the workouts will be geared toward the Spartan Race to focus on strength and my core. My daily food menu will remain the same of meats, poultry, veggies for protein and complex carbs as well as hydrating myself with water (and gatorade or electrolyte drinks as needed).

Remember, developing a training plan is wise to keep you from being injured and in understanding your body on what works and not works for you. This is very important for people who are 40 and over. We're not in our 20's or 30's, where our body is young enough to take a beating (figuratively). We're at that age where it's harder to lose fat and noticing what we could do longer works now. So, at this age, we have to truly find what works for us and if it means modifying a training plan for us to be comfortable with a little oomph that challenges our training plan, then by all means-let's do it.

If you are in doubt of developing a training plan on your own or never did develop a training plan, sign up with a trainer who will help you develop a plan according to your needs as well as age group. I advise this because I had a great trainer who modified her workouts (lesser sets compared to the other participants) when I trained at her bootcamps. I was probably one of the older ladies in her class and she pretty much gauged what I could handle and then some by monitoring our heart rates throughout the class time. Please don't think she babied me because my trainer didn't. She gauged my heart rate and determined what I could do and if I was able to do a little more. This way, it pushed me a little further to where I noticed that I was able to handle a little more than before.

As I'm writing this, I now realize that because of my trainer's guidance and knowledge, that instead of feeling discouraged and inadequate, my love for running and keeping fit grew with appreciation that me not want to give up but to keep going to where it is now a lifestyle.

Happy running!


Monday, January 6, 2014

The Beginning

It's easy to say, "I'm going to get fit" but it is another thing when it comes to deciding when to start. If you've always been active or used to be athletic, you pretty much know the mindset of what to do and the attitude you have to have to get going.

However, what about the individual's who never was athletic in their younger days (childhood to young adults) but has now decided that it's time for a change?

Where do you start?

What do you do?

Meal planning (how much calories?)

For myself, I've fluctuated since the beginning of my pregnancies. And it's understandable because my mindset was to get back to a particular jeans size or to just look good according to society.

However, I guess the saying is true about the older you get, the wiser you become. And I'm hoping that this is it. I've finally gotten the "aha" moment of what it takes to begin your fitness journey.

Now, the first thing...nutrition. My recommendation is set up an appointment with a nutritionalist or dietician. If you're not into that, then I will say to eat in moderation. Cut out the soda, drink water. If you need a soda, start drinking sierra mist to get that carbonated feel. However, remember...there is so much sugar. And here is a tip especially for women who looks and feels bloated. Drinking carbonated drinks gives the bloated feeling (for me, that is). However, when I cut out soda last August after the Spartan Race, the bloating minimized.

So, rule of thumb for a dietician. It's a smart way to start because you're getting professional guidance and you'll be monitored.

If you choose not to, begin eating in moderation. If you are one who likes to write things down...keep a food journal. You'll then notice what you eat and how you eat. If you're into iPhone or android, download the app, My Fitness Pal. It's a great way to log in what you eat and you'll see how much you are consuming.

By the way, if you are into calorie counting...please do not give a lofty goal of 1200 calories a day because that's not good especially you're incorporating exercising. You'll be burning off your daily intake calories to where you'll end up starving and're body is on the hunt for food, which you may binge and eat junk food. Keep this in mind...your body is starving for NUTRITION not calories. Once you start researching nutrition. You'll find that all those junk foods are empty of nutrition.

Once you have that mindset of eating in moderation, you'll then begin to notice that you are starting to make healthier choices. For myself, it was gradual or I'd actually follow fitness enthusiasts on Instagram or I'd google fitness blogs for tips. And by moderation, I mean, limit your portions (instead of three servings...try to begin minimizing. Also, start replacing/substituting foods. For example, instead of white rice, eat brown rice. Start playing around with your menu. Instead of just a plain ole' chicken breast with salad, chop up that chicken and toss in colored bell peppers for some color and add in a dash of garlic salt. You can also toss up asparagus and mushrooms. Seriously, have fun with the meat and veggies. If you like fish (I don't), do the same as well. There are so much healthy, delicious recipes out there (especially on Pinterest!).

These are just a few tips from me that got me started especially when I started training with SOHI Fitness in Hawaii. My trainer gave some great tips that I followed to where my choices eventually became healthy.

Remember, you know who you are and what you can and cannot do. Don't limit yourself but push yourself a little day by day to where you'll eventually keep going without giving up.

Note: It takes 3 weeks of consistency before it becomes a habit :) Don't give up...keep going