Friday, April 29, 2011

Motivation Gets You Started...

"Motivation Gets You Started - Habit Keeps You Going"

Don't mind the crazy letters.. we've had insane wind the last few days!

This was the quote on the sign outside the gym today, and felt it was very fitting for my first real blog post. I'll be the first person to tell you that motivation isn't always the easiest thing to find within yourself. There have been plenty of times (yes... even recently) that I just haven't gone to the gym because I lacked the motivation. When my husband had just left for Afghanistan, my energy was down to zero and I didn't feel like doing much of anything. Finally around day three of him being gone, I got back into the gym. I realized that me moping around wasn't doing any good, and was just putting myself behind in my training. Sure those first few workouts were pretty heartless, and I was really only going to get out of the house (and I knew my husband would yell at me if he knew I was skipping my workouts), but at least I went. Just this week I have come to notice, I have never gone to bed after skipping the gym, glad that I missed a workout. Instead, I'm normally laying there well after the gym closed, wishing I would have just sucked it up and went. On the other hand, I've never gone to bed after a hard workout wishing that I skipped it. I think I'm finally getting to the point in my training that it's become habit. I get to the gym, get on with my workout, and get on with my day.

It really helps to have a goal in mind, whether it's a weight loss goal or a race. Since I started my running journey in July/August, I have always tried to keep a goal in mind to help keep me motivated. My first goal: run a 5k. Sure to most runners a 5k is just a normal Wednesday run, for all I cared this could have been a marathon. For a girl that couldn't even run for a minute straight, 3 miles felt like an eternity. By having a goal in mind, it's always something to keep you going, and help motivate you when the little devil on your shoulder is trying to talk you out of your workout. Once I completed my first 5k, I increased my goal to a half-marathon. Sure, maybe I should have increased it to a 10k, but I wanted and needed a longer term goal. You know your body best! If you feel like you need to take baby steps, do it; if you want to take giant steps, go for it! (I felt like we were playing "mother may I?" for a minute! HA!)

What has really helped me stay motivated is having something/someone hold me accountable for my missed workouts. I'm not huge on having 'workout partners', but I like to log my miles on dailymile. After each workout you log your miles/training, and at the end of the week dailymile sends an e-mail with your total for that week. If I skipped a workout, it really shows on my report. Do what works for you! Create a dailymile account, or grab a friend and get to the gym. Whatever you choose, help motivate each other and get working out to become a habit.

- Andie

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

From The Beginning... Until Now.

If anyone of you knew me while growing up you would know that the last word to ever describe me would be "athlete." I was the one child who never had an athletic bone in their body, and it didn't matter if I was 5, 13 or 18. I was the one who would always fall, get hit in the face, and just fail at anything sports related. For never working out, I was blessed with a good metabolism. I never had a weight issue, and I think my only saving grace was that I have always been a picker. I'm a very light eater, but eat constantly throughout the day. My mom told me that when I was a toddler, she would have to put little bowls of food around the house so I could snack all day long. I must have held onto that concept, because I'm still like that today. At any given time, I'll have 3+ different snacks in my purse, just in case I get hungry. To anyone who doesn't know me, my purse looks like I should have a few children, but to my friends, it's who I've always been.

So how did I start running?! It all started in July of 2010 when my husband had to accept orders to a new military base. While we were waiting for a home to open up, I stayed with a close friend and her family. Jessica had just gotten back from 6 weeks of training to become a Marine Corps Officer, and is in incredible shape. She made me go with her one morning on her run in the Oceanside Harbor, and down to the pier -- a 3 mile run. Dying would be an understatement. I ran through the Harbor, my lungs burned, my stomach felt like I wanted to throw up, yet I kept pushing on. I made it closer to the pier and finally told Jessica to go ahead without me. My legs just wouldn't let me keep moving, so I ran/walked as she continued to the pier without me. I only made it halfway to the pier and Jessica was already to the pier and back to me. We ran/walked back to the car, and I felt horrible for holding her up on her morning run. The entire drive back home she kept telling me how great I did and how I have the perfect body to be a great runner, even though inside I felt like a huge failure.

A week later my husband and I had accepted a house at our new base in the middle of nowhere. Wal-mart is usually a staple in all small towns, however, Wal-mart is 40 minutes away from our new home. There isn't much to do (well, anything to do) so I remembered what Jessica had told me, and got to the gym. I remember my first trip home from the gym, and telling my husband about my 'great work'. He came home from work for the day, and I was so proud to tell him that I ran/walked 3 miles in an hour. I remember how supportive he was, and how he told me to keep at it. My times slowly started coming down, and I slowly began to run further and further, and walk less and less with a huge thanks to the C25K iPhone app.

My original goal was to run 5k's by the Summer of 2011, and actually competed in my first one Halloween weekend of 2010 just to see if I could even do it. My final time for my first 5k was 37:38, and I was absolutely thrilled (and felt like I wanted to die at the finish line)! I continued to train, and a month later my husband and I ran our first 5k together on Thanksgiving. I ran it in 32:37, cutting an entire 5 minutes off my time in only one month. It's been incredible to see how with a little determination, you can accomplish a ton. After my second 5k, I decided I wanted to up my goal. Instead of being smart and deciding to run a 10k, I decided, "what the heck, I want to run a half-marathon."

Since December of 2010, I've been working with a trainer on our base. She has helped set up a running, and a weight training routine. Before then I just ran on my own, and did what I thought I should be doing. Never before did I realize how important weight training is, and how much it affects your running. I have noticed so many changes in my body and my endurance since I started working out with her. Plus, by having a trainer and logging my miles on dailymile, I'm held accountable if I decide not to run a day or skip a workout.

Just last weekend, I competed in my first ever 10k in Carlsbad, CA for Earth Day. Sure, I've ran 6 miles before, but running it in a race setting is completely different, because I have been used to running 6 miles on the treadmill. It's so difficult without knowing your speed or your mile marker, which caused me to pace myself slightly slower that I could have finished with. I think my biggest fear was running too hard in the beginning, and not being able to finish. My final time for my first 10k was 1 hour and 10 minutes on the dot, and 286th place out of 368 runners.

What a huge difference 8 months can make! Back in July I could barely run 3 miles in an hour, and now I'm running 6+ miles in an hour and 10 minutes. Of course my body isn't quite up to where I want it to be, but the changes that I've seen are absolutely incredible. I'm no longer the non-athletic woman who cheers on my husband for great work outs, now we work out together. He has been my biggest fan through all of this, which has helped me succeed more than words could describe! He's currently serving our country in Afghanistan, but knowing that I have support from across an ocean and thousands of miles away means the world to me.

I hope this blog will help other non-athletes believe in themselves. The hardest part about getting out there is probably not your first workout, but your second. The first one you're already motivated, and you believe in yourself, but your second workout is a completely different story. More than likely you worked yourself to death in your first workout, and you're contemplating even going for a second time. DO IT! Even though your body is probably hating you, and you have the little evil man (or woman) on your shoulder reminding you how much you hated your first time training.. just remember it gets easier. Sure, I still have days that I hate my workout and I can't wait to finish, but you'll always have good days and not so good days! <3

- Andie