Guest Post: Cait

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I like to refer to myself as a runner, but my friend Cait is an actual, competitive, marathon runner. She inspires me to hit the pavement and keep going, even when my body disagrees and was kind enough to answer some questions about running and her passion for fitness with us.

Thanks, Cait!

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Can you give us some background as to why and how you started running?

When I was about 5 years old I started running the Town day road races with my family.  Soon after that it became a hobby that me and my dad did together.  We would do weekend runs together and Christmas morning was always a fun run.  Next I started my first team in elementary school, and the rest is history.

Why running?
Running is the easiest way to get a quick workout in and you only sneakers and an outfit, and if you need a watch.  Other than that its simple, you just go out your door and explore.
How do you prepare for runs? Whether it’s race day or just a casual jaunt?
Race day and a casual run are completely different preparations for me.  A causal run I just get dressed and go out my door. But a race preparation starts really when the entire training starts, hydration, nutrition and sleep. Typical day of prep would include a bagel with cream cheese a coffee and apple juice, and depending time 2 hours before I run I would have a power bar and some water. I additionally 1 hour before race time will start to stretch and warm up.
What have been your greatest achievements with running?
My greatest achievement would be finishing the Boston marathon, or should I say swimming! (A/N: It was pouring the day of the marathon this year!)
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What was running the marathon like, both physically and mentally?
Besides training your body to run for 4 hours, the hardest part was getting over the fact that you are in pain and you are tired.  If running a marathon was easy, everybody would do it.  It takes mental and physical strength that will push you past your limits, and you truly find out what your body is capable of.
Are there any negatives or downsides to running you’ve felt over the years?
I ran competitively for 12 years so there are deff some negatives.  Injury’s will pop up but you can bounce back, the biggest challenge i have faced would have to be the mental burn out. Over training is a common you can experience mental fatigue.
How was it being a collegiate athlete?
Being a collegiate is something I am so happy I was able to do.  I loved being able to compete and miss being able to toe the line and feel the adrenaline pumping.  I wish I could do it all over again.
How have you made the transition from collegiate athlete to casual runner (if you can call it that)?
Transitioning from a collegiate runner to a casual runner was a weird experience.  I didn’t know when to start running again after my break and so I ended up just starting to sign up for 5K’s and half marathons and then some how I got a number and ran the Boston Marathon.
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Any suggestions and advice to offer those who are looking to get into or improve their running?
One thing I would say is to be proud of yourself for getting out there, it is an amazing feeling when you suddenly feel yourself getting better. It is also a great stress reliever so that is a plus.
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push-up to the new year

As far as New Year’s resolutions go, I continually strive to be kinder, eat healthier, and write more consistently. A new year always provides a fresh start, which is nice, but I try to stay away from naming the above three topics as the thing I’m going to focus on.

Instead, I have a somewhat fun, but challenging goal ahead.

I am going to perfect the push-up.

This means, I will be adding one push-up to my line-up every day of the year. I started on the first with one, then did two today, tomorrow will be three, and by December 31, 2018, I’ll do 365 push-ups in one day.

Now I’m not crazy and think I could do all of them at once, at least I don’t think it’s possible. But I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll be able to do quite a bit at once and break up the rest.

As of December 31 of this year, I did 20 push-ups in a row without feeling too fatigued.

Let’s see what the year brings.

What are your fun or otherwise resolutions?

goal, accomplished.

Five year ago, it was around this time that I decided to get healthy. This was taken of me and a friend on spring break during my junior year of college.

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I’ve been running for years now, a feat I never thought I was capable, but on Sunday, I ran my first official 5k. I feel silly in saying I felt emotional during the race, considering I’ve run the 5k distance hundreds of time and even more miles than that, but the “official” part of the run made it seem a little bit more special, an accomplishment. This was a checkmark on my bucket list and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself. My journey has been a testament to the idea that hard work pays off. And as I say to so many people who say they hate running or could never be a runner, if the girl above on the left could do it, they can too.

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As I had had a productive Saturday , there wasn’t much that needed to be done on Sunday by way of chores for the week. Since it was cloudy and I got my exercise in early, I spent some quality time with my couch, watching 30 Rock, writing, and eating this grilled cheese with extra soup from my lunches ahead:

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As I am writing this in the afternoon, I will not have yet watched The Oscars, but by the time the post goes live, I will have watched and continued to relax. The next couple of weekends will be busy with visitors, so I’m content to curl up now.

On Saturday, I slept in and enjoyed a pancake breakfast before heading out for some errands. First on the list was to collect my racing bib and t-shirt. Next, I went to the gym and worked my shoulders, ab/adductors, glutes, and core before finishing up with a quick cycling session and stretching my legs for race day. I also did my grocery shopping and meal prepping, guzzled a lot of water to stay super hydrated, then headed out for a karaoke night with some friends.

I thought I’d suffer from stage fright, but apparently, I love holding that mic…

Going back to Friday, I did a whole lot of nothing, except force myself to the gym a bit on the late side than usual and watch 30 Rock. The trick is to drive there and go through the motions without overthinking. Habits are easy to follow! It was an early night ‘cus this girl was tired!

Overall, this weekend was the perfect combination of relaxing, active, and productive. I’ll just ignore the fact it was colder on the southern west coast than it was in the northern east coast where my family resides. This is what I get for all the teasing I’ve done whenever it snowed.

Have a great Monday!

Weekly Workouts

I find that pre-planning my workouts make for more efficient, butt-kicking exercise. I don’t dramatically change everything up every week, but I do switch things around to keep my body guessing. Making something up in advance, helps keep you motivated and present. Exercise is all about routine because once you get to that point, it sticks, and it’s hard to live without it!

Day One started on Sunday with a run. I haven’t gone four miles in awhile, but it felt wonderful. I finished with a cool-down one mile walk.

Day Two is strength training day one, including chest and triceps, biceps and shoulders, and core- ALWAYS core. Three exercises for each muscle group, five sets of eight reps a piece, means I’m lifting heavy!

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Day Three (two for strength training) is all about the legs, back, and core. Same set-up with that first day of strength training, heavy lifting five sets of eight reps. For legs in particular, I like the combination of heavy compound movements with fast-paced plyometrics. Jumping lunges are pretty close to death.

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Day Four is another run, this time with some time and speed intervals tossed within. It keeps my heart rate up without allowing my body to fall into a steady-state rhythm. After I finish, I like to do some Yoga, whether it’s just planking or getting into a full sequence, depending on time.

Day Five is more strength training focused on chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and core. This time, I’m lifting lighter weights at three sets of twelve reps, which helps build my endurance.

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Here we go at Day Six! Legs, back, and core get the three sets of twelve reps endurance treatment.

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Though strength training is the focus four out of six days of exercise, I do usually finish up my workouts with at least 15/20 minutes of cardio. Lately, I’ve been completing a super sweaty and crushing ride on a spin bike, which I much prefer to the other types of stationary cycles. I’ll occasionally spend a few minutes on the elliptical or treadmill amping up those intervals. On days where I don’t have a lot of time, it’s all about jump roping and battle roping.

The seventh day is always built for rest! You don’t have to workout six times a week to be healthy, I just happen to need it for my wellbeing. Rest is always important!

Tacos and Weights

Before I prove to you that I make the best tacos you could ever imagine, I also want to inform you as to why you should be lifting heavy. Not only would it take added supplements, an insane diet, and hours in the gym for a woman to get “bulky,” but muscles need to be exerted in order to grow and the best way to do that is to lift heavier. For awhile, I’d been focusing on endurance lifting, but it wasn’t pushing me enough to my limits. I realized I needed to put more effort into lifting heavier on the compound movements, like squat presses, deadlifts, and so on. It works!

I initially lost ten pounds, but for a few weeks the scale hasn’t budged, and yet, my clothes are fitting better, I’m feeling trimmer and a whole lot stronger.

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It’s very serious business, as you can see from my expression, but I think it adds to the idea that the scale is only one way of checking in on yourself, and it’s not even the best way. We know how we feel, whether we’ve had a good week or bad, if those clothes are loose, tight, or just right. We tend to focus on the flaws and not the positives, but when you start working out, doing something that purely benefits only yourself in the best way possible, you’ll start to notice the strengths. You’ll want to push yourself, treat yourself right (indulgences included!), and you won’t need the scale to tell you whether or not you like yourself that day. Strength training doesn’t only offer physical benefits and for that, I couldn’t recommend it to you more!

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The other day marked four years since I graduated college, which seems insane, but that also means I have maintained my 100 pound weight loss these past four years. People always ask how I did it, the weight loss and the maintenance, and it’s a question I ask myself all the time.

It certainly helps that I love working out- not every day, but even then, when I have to push myself to go, I always feel better- as it helps with my anxiety and has become a part of my every day living. Exercise is so important and can be healing in so many ways, especially strength training (seriously, lift those weights!), but it’s only a fraction of the entire picture of healthy living. Number one, you have to be positive. So often, I hear my clients remark negatively on their bodies and themselves and it makes me sad because no matter what, you need to love yourself. You also have to be mindful, when you’re eating, exercising, working, spending time with family and friends, watching your favorite movie or shows, going for a walk, everything that you do because it’s life and life is precious and fleeting- something that I’ve learned the true reality of these past few months.

And then there’s food, this strange thing that we put into our mouths to fuel us. In our society, and in most societies, food is not simply fuel. It’s part of celebrations, outings, and daily living. Food is meant to, and should be, enjoyed. For people who struggle with their weight, on either side, it’s become the enemy. I am not afraid of food. I love eating and I don’t shy away from it. I just have higher expectations for it. We all have our favorites that should be eaten and enjoyed, in moderation. Many people tell me that moderation is the problem, that they can’t stop at one serving and so they’re better off depriving themselves. This is when positivity and mindfulness kick in. Know what you’re eating, enjoy it while eating, and be satisfied when you’re done. There is a learning curve, but it’s worth it. Trust yourself and your trust in food will grow.

That leads us to those tacos.

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They start with warmed corn tortillas, a sprinkling of cheese, sliced zucchini and red bell peppers, fresh grilled chicken, a dollop of sour cream and guacamole, and chopped jalapeños. I enjoyed these immensely with a side of sautéed spinach for a hit of greens and felt so full and satisfied when I finished. This is good eating, fresh food, all the right nutrients, and a little splurging. We don’t always have time to put creations like this together, but there are simple ways of choosing the right foods and putting them together to cook something great.

Put some time and effort into yourself and the things you enjoy because so often, life is about these simple things.

I Had To Blow Dry My Sweat

I had to blow-dry the sweat in my hair. This is disgusting and I’m even a little sorry for sharing, but this is my blog and silliness needs to be shared. If you read yesterday, then you saw my new hair do, which I love, but I wanted to keep the good hair day going and decided to try working out with my hair down.

A number of factors could have contributed to the ultra sweatiness in my hair: A. Quality workout B. A new product that was put in my hair C. Having hair down. In the end, what matters is that I had to work and had ten minutes to fix myself up. Blow drying ensued, as did pulling my poor new cut into a tiny ponytail.

Example:

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It’s sadly a little frizzy right now, but I’m off to run in a few minutes and will hopefully learn how to style it appropriately.

Back to my workout, it was butt (leg and back) kicking! After my strength training, I finished with some jump roping that wiped out my legs (in a good way). I’m hoping my run with stretch them out!

Finally, I’ll end with a quick food pic from this morning. Breakfast is my favorite (and most important) meal of the day, so it’s also the most caloric for me. Featured are a scrambled egg with egg whites, bacon, two leftover peanut butter pancakes that I forgot to bake with baking soda, bacon, strawberries and blueberries. Delicoso!

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Enjoy your Thursday!

 

 

2015 Blogging In Review

Here at Give Me My Crown Already, or maybe I should start using GMMCA, we like to celebrate occasions, all big and small. While I like to think we can start anew on all things good and fresh at any time, there’s something about the end of the year that makes you look back and reflect, as much as there’s something to looking towards a new year that makes you energized.

Having a blog really helps someone take a glance back at the past year!

A lot happened, as it seems to in life, most good, some sad, but they’ve all led me here.

The most popular post of the year was very clearly my open letter to Joy Behar after she blasted nurses for no reason.

http://givememycrownalready.com/2015/09/19/dear-joy-behar-a-thank-you-from-a-nurses-child/

Though my fame didn’t extend much farther than this post, it was still nice to have a brush of success. A preview of things to come, I hope. Though maybe I turned people off with my casual and totally innocent mocking of a faux-apocalypse scare.

For whatever reason, that I still do not understand, another popular post was the one that I entitled after a song.

http://givememycrownalready.com/2015/08/20/if-i-showed-you-my-flaws-if-i-couldnt-be-strong/

This is one of the most-searched and most-linked to posts and I don’t even remember what it’s about other than mentioning that song.

We had a lot of fun with recipes this year, something that I hope to do even more of in 2016. Stir fry for example.

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We also dedicated a lot of time to watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I can firmly tell you, there are no regrets.

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Though I will tell you, there was a lot of hesitancy to start a new show so soon.

In the top two exciting things to happen in 2015, my sister and now brother-in law made things official and tied the knot this past June! I, of course, made a spectacular Maid of Honor, lacking only in humility.

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What a perfect day it was with the weather, love, happiness, family, and friends!

Another of the top two most exciting things to happen to me, was when I decided to take a chance and make a change when it came to my professional life. Work is a huge part of how we live, love it, hate it, or grudgingly accept it, so we should make it count. I was miserable where I was and I was scared to move forward, but with a lot of support and a moment of blind courageousness, I took a chance. To get to work where I do now, with the people I’m working beside, and feeling as though I have a purpose, that is a blessing.

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This all led to a significant moment in my life that has been building for the past four years when I finally woke up and realized I needed to take responsibility for my life and choices. As an early Christmas present, I took and passed the test that marks me a certified Personal Trainer and I am so so excited to finally get started.

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2015 was a year with up’s and down’s and I’m very much choosing to reflect on all of the good in this post. I probably haven’t even gotten too deep into what this year offered me, but I’m so happy to have taken the time and opportunity to delve into it a bit so that I can truly leave 2015 feeling as though I lived through it with purpose, pleasure, and effort.

Take a minute of your day to do the same with your’s.