family, fitness, success

My (short) Fitness History and First 10K Recap

If you asked my former self if I’d ever run a 10K she would have asked you, “What the hell is that??”  I’m not kidding.  I even talked to my childhood best friend the day before the race and I think she may have dropped the phone when I told her what I was doing on my first Mother’s Day weekend.  A few weeks ago when I was hanging out with some new friends, they referred to me as “the girl who runs 5 miles every day”.  I mean this is a gross exaggeration, but to be referred to as THAT in a group of people?!  You really had to have known me before to appreciate just how WEIRD that felt.  It’s honestly crazy!  Who am I???  I just don’t know anymore!

I watched my first real race in 2010 as my husband did the 5/3 Riverbank 10K in Grand Rapids.  We were living in Kalamazoo at the time and stayed with friends who were also running the 25K and 10K.  (The riverbank 25K has a long history and is one of the premier and largest 25K distance road races in the country.)  Watching the race was electrifying.  If you’ve been to a large race, you totally get it.  It also made me feel really, really lazy.  I realized then that I couldn’t rely on my trusty metabolism forever.  I needed to get into shape and become more healthy.  I just plain ran out of excuses.

I decided to do the Couch to 5K program.  It’s a combination of running and walking in intervals to get your body used to the cardiovascular workout.  I don’t know about you, but any time I tried working out with any kind of seriousness before, I would quit.  It was just too hard.  I didn’t realize that I should have eased into it more to allow my body to build up endurance.  The first part of the program required you to walk for 5 minutes to start, and then run for 1 minute, and walk for 3 minutes.  Oh.  My.  Running for a whole minute was SO HARD.  (As I write this, I’m like, seriously?!?!)  But it truly was very daunting.

I ran my first 5K at the Shermanator Spring Triathlon near Kalamazoo that summer.  I came in last place.  No really.  Last.  Place.  I walked a lot.  I huffed and I puffed up hills and down hills.  The triathlon people were PASSING me, after they had swam and biked.  It was miserable.  But finishing the race was AWESOME!!!  Even though I came in last place, it felt like such an accomplishment.  It seriously did.  It also helped so much to have two super supportive friends Amy and Meagan there with me to encourage me.  My friend Meagan still to this day tries to convince me I wasn’t last….

When I got pregnant in the fall of 2011 I told myself I was going to run throughout my pregnancy.  HA.  HA.  HA.  I ran 3 times (including a 5K race) and then the vomiting started.  I think I was at a doctor’s office reading a Fit Pregnancy magazine about this woman who would pull off to the side of the road and puke and then continue running.  HELL NO, I said.  And I didn’t.  I could barely function – there was no way I was running (or walking) anywhere.  Winter set in after the morning sickness was well on its way out the door.  And you know what happens to working out in the winter, don’t you?  It hibernates.  By the time spring came around my large pregnant body was not up for the challenge.  I gained an appropriate amount of weight (33 pounds, thank you) but lost all of my fitness.  And my confidence.  It took me until my daughter was about 6 months old to really get back in the game.

My husband challenged me to do Insanity with him.  It was winter again and I just finally gave up and said, “I’ll do it.  What other option do I have?”  I was tired of my pants not fitting, and I certainly wasn’t going to wear maternity pants with a one year old.  So I committed myself to getting back into shape and losing the baby weight.  Our daughter hung out in the exersaucer and we sweated our butts off in the basement.  Insanity is a 60 day program, and workouts are usually 40-60 minutes long 6 days a week (1 of rest) and it’s HARD!  So freakin’ hard.

Mmm salmonella.
Mmm salmonella.

I lost NOTHING the first half of doing Insanity.  I know I gained fitness and strength and muscle.  I could do more of the workouts (and by more of the workouts I mean at least I didn’t look like a total joke anymore).  For the first time in my life, I had to actually diet AND exercise to lose weight.

Pause.  I know a lot of you are saying, WHAAAAAAAT.  What are you complaining about?!  You never had to worry about your weight before??  You never had to diet before?!  Who are you?!  Yes, I know.  I’m sorry.  It’s true, though!  And it knocked me off my feet.  It was hard and stressful and mentally exhausting to diet, weigh myself all the time and work out while my stomach was growling.  (Seriously – let’s not ever have to do THAT again!)  There were times that I was convinced I would never fit into my pants again and I was destined to have that “mom body” and it was just done.  But I persevered and continued trying hard.  Not going to lie, mostly because my husband made me.  (Not because he cared what I looked like, but because he knew I wanted it.)

At the end of Insanity in March (okay, we weren’t that religious), I had about 10 more pounds to go.  I decided to train for a 10K.  I thought a 5K wasn’t enough running to really finish up my weight loss.  It would be too easy to brush off.  So my friend Meagan made me a 10K training plan that was SPECTACULAR!  If you need a training plan, she’s your girl!  Without Shaun T yelling at regular intervals, I did not do a great job following the training plan.  Sorry Meagan!  But, I made sure to hit all my long runs and do a few short ones during the week.  I continued to diet and really felt like I was finally seeing results.  I kept pulling old pants out of boxes and trying them on.  They fit!  Is this possible?!  I haven’t felt this good in ages.

Skinny Jeans | Jersey Up!
MY SKINNY JEANS FIT! I can be a cool mom now.

Now, for the race recap….so we had been getting about 70 degree weather for a few weeks now.  Just gorgeous!  The weekend of the race: 40 and rainy.  It was a bummer, but blessing in disguise since we all know that running in 40 degrees is SO MUCH BETTER!!!  And it didn’t rain until after the race.  Honestly, perfect weather.  I was super nervous.  Was I going to be last again?  Was I going to get injured?  Was everyone going to laugh at my running form?  (Like anyone is paying attention to me…)  Was everyone going to be so mad waiting for me at the finish line forever and ever?

Riverbank Run | Jersey Up!
Love for Boston! (And pretty much everywhere else, too.)

Um, no.  First of all, I ran the whole entire thing!  At an 11:10 pace!  That is awesome for me!  I couldn’t believe when I crossed the finish line that I not only completed a distance I never ever thought I could – I did it well!  I was extremely proud of myself.  I’m setting a great example of fitness for my daughter and damnit, I can fit into my pants!  Time to celebrate!!

<halt record noise>

I came in 3705th?!?!  Now, I know that’s not last.  I know there were over 4000 people running this race.  I know I didn’t train well.  I know I did my very best.  But still.  It kinda burns a little, doesn’t it?!  Especially since my husband got 251st.  I’m not letting it get me down though.  I still am impressed with myself!  And so is everyone who used to know me!

Don’t worry old friends and family, there are (hacked) pictures to prove it!

Riverbank Run | Jersey Up!
Don’t you love pit stains in these pictures??

I am forever grateful to my friends and family for being so supportive and for listening to me whine all the time about how I will just never lose this weight.  It’s appreciated more than you know and I could not have made it without your help!

Furthermore, I have a lot larger goals in sight!  I am going to continue to train all summer for another 10K race.  Hopefully I can beat my time!  I also have a pretty significant personal goal to birth a second child via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  Staying fit both now and during a hopeful future second pregnancy will be a huge advantage toward this important goal.

Dare I say I might become “that girl” that pukes on the side of the road and keeps running?  I can’t be too sure, but I don’t think I’ll be the same girl sitting on the couch watching ABC Family teen dramas while eating cheese fries.  For one thing, I’ll have a toddler to chase.

family, fitness, recipes, success

Cheesy Chicken & Rice

Cheesy Chicken & Rice | Jersey Up!

This was delish! And easy! And filled us up after a nice hike in the woods. (And that was too many grammatically incorrect sentences beginning with and.)

I don’t know about where you live, but it’s been raining for weeks here!  (Not exaggerating.)  We have had record rain and record river crests.  Which unfortunately means lots (and lots and lots) of flooded homes and businesses.  Our cute little town was completely sandbagged (is that a verb?) and all you can see for miles is carpets at the curb for trash pick up.  We were very lucky and had no water in our basement, but others were not so lucky.  But, as with all things, the sun has come out again.  It’s drying up a bit and feeling more like spring.  So much so that we went on a lovely hike in the woods last evening.

Hiking | Jersey Up!
You mean I can be off leash?

Cheesy Chicken & Rice
Adapted from Southern Plate

1 onion, chopped (I buy pre-chopped frozen onions – lifesaver, I tell ya)
1 red pepper, chopped
8oz frozen corn (or canned)
4 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 box Zatarain’s Yellow Rice, prepared as directed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

*If you wanted to make this ahead for the freezer, just put everything into a ziploc except the rice and cheese.  You can cook the rice up ahead of time and freeze separate or make the day of.  I made the rice the day of because I tend to run out of freezer space!

1. Add chicken, soup, onions, red pepper and corn to the crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  It might need a little longer if its frozen.
2. At this point you can either remove your chicken and shred (use your stand mixer!) or you can cut it up into chunks.
3. Add cheese and prepared rice.  Let the cheese melt and the flavors meld together – another half hour or so.

Did I tell you easy or what?  The cheesy goodness was too hard to pass up seconds.  Serve with a side salad.  And beer (of course).  You don’t think I did all that walking for nothing, did you?