Friday, December 27, 2013

Why I'm Running the Nashville Marathon as a St. Jude Hero

After a crazy year in 2013 (to sum it up...4th baby was born in April, husband working full time and in school, marathon in September, and all the crazy busy things that come with a new baby, new home, and 4 young kids), I'm grateful for the chance we have to reflect on the many blessings of the past year, as well as to set goals for the coming year.

I've always loved running.  When people ask me why I love to run, I've probably responded with one of these answers.  But my number one answer is: because I can

I'm so grateful for the body I've been blessed with.  Having a healthy, strong body is not something I take for granted.  My body has been the home to 4 beautiful babies (that have each left their mark).  My body is not perfect.  But my body is a gift.

For this reason, I've set a goal to run the Nashville Marathon in 2014 as a St. Jude Hero

Three years ago, my nephew Jack was born with Down Syndrome.  His birth, and the events that followed changed my life forever.  He spent the first few months of his life at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.  His life was saved.

I've committed to raising funds as a St. Jude Hero to support St. Jude's lifesaving mission of finding cures and saving children.  I'm running for a cause greater than medals or personal records.  I am not a doctor. I will never find a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases.  But I have two strong legs, and I can run. 

I am running this year for my nephews Jack, Jacob, and my niece Cathy.  Although not patients at St. Jude, their lives were all saved at a Children's Hospital.  (Read more about Cathy here.)  My family will be forever grateful for the care they received.

I need your support to help me reach my fundraising goal for the kids of St. Jude.  It costs $1.8 million a day to operate St. Jude.  Did you know that 70% of the funds come from the public?  That means that your donation, no matter what the size, will help!

How your donation helps:
  • No family ever pays St. Jude for anything, including lodging, food and travel.
  • St. Jude will continue to improve treatment of childhood cancer and other deadly diseases through groundbreaking research.
  • For every child treated at St. Jude, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries.
Thank you for your support!

Donate at http://heroes.stjude.org/robyngadd

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

$25 Sam's Club Gift Card Giveaway Winner!

Marci is the lucky winner of the $25 Sam's Club Gift Card!  Marci said:

 In college I pinned up my empty Lucky Charms boxes to create a border around our family room, and oh ya, it went all the way around!! So this of course, would be my General Mills product of choice!

Congrats Marci!  Email me (fitmepink {at} gmail {dot} com) with your contact info, and your gift will be on it's way!  Thanks to all who entered!

I'll be back to regular scheduled blogging soon!  :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sam's Club Offers Bonus Box Tops for Education {Giveaway}

Heading back to school after the long Holiday vacation is almost as exhausting (and exciting!) as heading back in the fall. It takes a lot of work to get back on schedule (I'm still struggling here), and Sam's Club wants to help make that transition even easier!

Some of your favorite General Mills brands are offering even more cash for your local school with the Sam's Club "6 Box Tops on a Pack" promotion.

Plus you can find notebooks, computers, clothes and much more at Sam's to help get you back to on schedule.

To make it even easier - Sam's Club is offering one FitMePink reader a $25 Gift Card to Sam's Club.

Mandatory entry: To enter, leave a comment sharing which of your favorite General Mills products you’re most excited to see featured in the bonus Box Tops offer at Sam’s Club.

Additional entries:Tell your friends about this giveaway!
3 additional entries: Link on Facebook
3 more additional entries: Link on blog

Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know how many additional entries you receive. The winner will be randomly selected on February 6th at 10:00 pm, EST.

I hope you win!

Disclosure: The Sam’s Club gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winner of $25 Sam's Club Gift Card

Thanks to everyone who entered the Sam's Club Gift Card giveaway!  October is one of my favorite months of the year, one reason being that it's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Such an important cause for all of us.  As women, (or men with women in their lives!), it's something we should all be aware of and should do what we can to help further the cause!

I wish I could give you all $25 to go buy some pink products, but for today I have one winner chosen by random.org...

Congrats to Julie who said: My beloved mom is a 5 year breast cancer survivior!

Sounds like you deserve it!

Watch for an e-mail from me!




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Giveaway: Sam’s Club Pink Promotion + $25 Sam’s Club Gift Card

Hey y'all! (Do I sound Southern yet?)

I'm still adjusting to the Southern life, but I'm actually loving the slight change of pace here in mid- Tennessee. Before I jump back into blogging (to tell you all how hard it's been to establish a new fitness routine when I really loved the old one), I am going to tell you about how Sam's Club is helping further a cause I hold near and dear to my heart. As of last month, my sister-in-law is officially 9 years cancer free! Not all women are so lucky. This month (which is already halfway over...so hurry!), Sam’s Club stores will feature exclusive pink packaging on some of your favorite participating General Mills products in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here's how you can help!

Give back by purchasing your favorite cereal or snack! This October, by making simple everyday purchases at Sam’s Club, you can help support breast cancer education and research. Sam’s Club stores now feature exclusive pink packaging on some of your favorite participating General Mills products in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

-For 5 years, General Mills has partnered with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Foundation to bring breast cancer support to local communities, and this year they are making their annual donation of $2 million to the foundation to advance breast cancer research and support education and community outreach projects.

-Purchase specially-marked General Mills products like Cheerios and Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies at your local Sam’s Club and help decide how half of that contribution will be donated by voting at PinkTogether.com from now until April 14, 2012.

-General Mills’ donations will be divided between two important Komen programs: the Treatment and Assistance Program, which assists women in securing care they otherwise may not be able to afford, and Prevention Research, which helps unlock the keys to preventing breast cancer. Voting results will be announced on Mother’s Day 2012.

GIVEAWAY:

Sam’s Club and General Mills through MyBlogSpark is giving one of MY readers a $25.00 giftcard to Sams Club! Contest ends one week from today...October 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm EST. YAY!

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment telling me what this cause means to you personally!

Additional entries:
Tell your friends about this giveaway!
3 additional entries: Link on Facebook
3 more additional entries: Link on blog

Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know how many additional entries you receive. The winner will be randomly selected on October 20th at 10:00 pm, EST.

Good luck! I hope you win!



“Disclosure: The information and gift card(s) have been provided by Sam’s Club and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thank you Utah!!! (From Tennessee...)

It seems that every time I start a blog post here on my beloved FitMePink, I start with an excuse as to why it's been so long since I last posted. This post will be no different. Last time we "spoke," I still lived in the-happy-little-bubble of West Jordan, Utah. A few months, a job offer, and a lot of prayers later, my family now resides in the far-away-somewhat-foreign-to-us land of Tennessee. I'm mentally and emotionally trying to accept the fact that we are here. It is beautiful. And my parents live here...yay! But I REALLY loved where we were. My life was busy and happy...just the way I like it! Life for me has come to a sort of screeching halt. I know it's time for me to find myself in this new place, but first things first...a thank-you note.


Dearest Utah,

I was taught at a young age the importance of sending a "thank you" note when someone gives me a gift. In keeping with this important
lesson in etiquette, I just want to thank you for the lovely life you
provided for me and my family over the course of the last five years.
In fact, I actually owe my life to you. You were the place of my
birth. My growing-up years were spent elsewhere, but to you I
returned for a college degree, and even found myself a husband in your
lovely, happy valley.

In fact, apart from a short time in another (warmer, sunnier) state,
to this point in our married lives, we've pretty much called Utah
"home." Thank you for feeling like home. Thank you for all
the "firsts" you provided us with. Our first date, our first kiss,
our engagement, our first married apartment, and even our first home.
Thank you for allowing our family to grow from a family of 3 in this
Utah-home to a family of 5. The walls were busting at the
seams with the pitter patter of tiny feet. These were years of
"musical beds" when little ones were to scared to stay in their own.
These were the years I got to spend every waking hour with my
beautiful children before sending the first off to school. These were
years of family walks, family bike rides, family dinners, family story
time, and family prayer. Thank you for blessing my oldest son, born
while we lived away, with two little sisters. Thank you for helping
them be best friends.

And speaking of friends, thank you for putting some of the best
friends I could ever hope for directly in my path. Thank you for
taking them from different parts of the state, country and world, and
landing them right where I needed them right when I
needed them...in Utah. Thank you for play dates, friends who loved my
kids as their own, dinner swaps, singing groups, running buddies,
trusted babysitters, and so much more.

Thank you for your beautiful roads, trails, mountains, and scenery.
In your beautiful landscape, I not only developed a greater
appreciation for God's creations, but also developed a love and
passion for fitness. Many miles were logged onto my personal odometer
as I watched the sun peak over the mountains to the east in the quiet
hours of the morning.

Thank you for also placing in my path group fitness instructors who
taught me that there's more to fitness than running! Because of these
inspiring women, I developed a new attitude, outlook, and lifelong
fitness addiction! As I attended classes week after week, exercise
became something I couldn't live without. It was no longer an option,
but a scheduled part of my EVERY day. These women showed me by their
example that the human body is capable of amazing things. As a
result, I've raced, I've pushed my limits, I've fulfilled
a dream, and I've never looked back.

Thank you for inspiring me to start a fitness blog which has blessed
my life more than it's blessed anyone else's. How could I not
be dedicated to fitness when I was busy writing about it? Thank
you for giving me inspiring friends through this blog...most of whom
I've never met, and a few that
I have.

Thank you also, dear Utah, for the gift of in-laws. In a place where
my immediate family did NOT reside, you forced me to see my husband's
family for the amazing people they are. If I'd chosen a husband based
on HIS family alone, I'd still be married to the same person. I now
have relationships with his family I never would have hoped for had I
not experienced life with them in the same place...in Utah. Besides
just being my mother-father-sisters-brothers-in-law, I have
friends. I have another set of "parents" I can comfortably
call "mom" and "dad," and the closest thing to
having another sister.

And speaking of sisters, thank you for mine. Almost a year ago, I
finally got to live close to her again...after nearly 10 years of
living apart. Thank you for reminding me of how nice it is to have
someone around who has loved me since the day I was born...who knows
every detail about me and my life, and loves me anyway. Someone who
can walk into my house piled high with toys, laundry, dirty dishes,
and clutter, and truly not even notice. Someone who can knock on the
door when my house is in shambles without sending me into a
picking-up, panicked frenzy.

Thank you for cousins my kids love as their own siblings. Thank you for Baby Jack who's birth-in-Utah changed my life.

Thank you for Zumba. Thank you for making my current friendships
stronger as we-as-friends danced and laughed together. Thank
you for helping me go out of my own comfort zone to learn dances, let
go of all inhibitions, and teach them to an audience of participants.
Thank you for giving me one more thing I can share with my
sister...Zumba. And thank you for giving me new friends through Zumba
I wouldn't have made any other way.

Thank you for making my home a gathering place for out-of-town
visitors, and a home-away-from home for my baby brother while
he was living life as a single college student in happy valley. Thank
you, also, for giving me a front row seat to watch his courtship with
the only girl good enough to marry our baby brother...Anne.

I can't say life was perfect while I was in your borders, Utah. There
were cold, long winters. There was heart-ache. There were lonely
days. There were "Monster-Mom" days. There was yelling.
There was crying. There was impatience and misunderstandings. But I
guess I can't thank you for the good without also thanking you for the
bad. Because the "bad" is what is sculpting me into the person I want
to become. At times I felt like I was thrown kicking and screaming
into the "refiner's fire." But through the tears, I got a little bit
stronger. Apparently, however, it wasn't enough. We've moved out of
your comforting borders into the unknown. Please tell your friend,
Tennessee to be nice to me and my family, because at the moment, I'm
sure missing you, Utah. Cold winters and all.

Saying good-bye felt like one of the hardest things I've ever done.
But saying good-bye also made me realize how blessed and loved we are!
Thank you for the good-bye parties. Thank you for the tears. Thank
you for showing me how it feels to have true friends who feel like
family. Thank you for reminding me of the importance and blessing of
real family. Thank you for good neighbors, and cherished memories
that will last a lifetime.

As I look back to my time in Utah, I feel blessed to have lived in a
place so rich in the culture of what makes me
ME. Really, there aren’t enough words of gratitude
that will do justice to how I feel.

As I move forward with the ones in my life that matter most, I'll try
to live by the words of Dr. Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile
because it happened."

All I can say is, thank you.

Sincerely,

Robyn, wife, mother, southerner-in-training,
westerner-at-heart.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ogden Marathon 2011...qualifying for Boston

I know the Ogden marathon was nearly two months ago. I can't even tell you how many times I've constructed this post in my head. I'm pretty sure I was even writing it as I ran the dang thing. To say that running this marathon was THE hardest thing I've ever done would be an understatement. When I ran my first marathon (7 years ago), I cried when I crossed the finish line. I hurt. I was sore. I was relieved that those 26.2 miles were behind me. But crossing that finish line 7 years ago didn't hold a candle to how I felt crossing the finish line this time around. I didn't just shed a few tears. I completely broke down. After crossing the finish line, I stumbled to find my husband and kids, crumpled into my husbands proud arms, and told him that I am NEVER doing that again. As I cried those words, somewhere in the back of my mind even I knew they weren't true. But I've never pushed myself as hard mentally and physically as I did on May 21, 2011. And as I'm sitting here today, on July 11, 2011, I can finally wrap my brain around the thought of training for another.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know a little about my personality. Tell me I should slow down, and you can bet I'll try to go faster. Tell me to stop running, and I'll run longer. Tell me I can't and I'll kill myself to prove that I can. When I FIRST started training, I let you all in on a little secret...that it was my goal to someday qualify for the Boston Marathon.

My training was full of bumps and bruises. I fell several times. I was forced to take a month off running to heal from a nasty injury. I was pretty sure there was NO way I could meet my goal pace. But without admitting anything out loud, I still hoped it was possible.

The day before the marathon, I didn't feel mentally prepared. A few friends and I headed up to Ogden, UT to pick up our packets. We ate dinner, we started getting pre-race jitters. And then the normal pre-race talk began. Are you ready? What's your goal pace? And without thinking, I started admitting out loud that I really hoped to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For me, admitting that I hoped it would happen was pretty much like signing a contract with myself. It was going to happen.

On the morning of the race, I was more than a little nervous. My body actually felt great. Better than it had in months. But I had new socks. A new shirt. New GU to try. An energy drink for mile 20. All things I'd NEVER tried in training (which is a big no-no for racing). But the only newbie I was really concerned about was my shoes. I'd bought my new Newton Running shoes only a few weeks before...not enough time to break in this kind of shoe.

Newton Running shoes are designed to force you to run on the forefoot/midfoot. Awesome shoes. After reading Born To Run , I wanted to find a shoe that forced me to run this way without going barefoot. But I really needed more time to break them in. I prayed that I'd be okay.

One thing I've learned with running is that things NEVER go as planned. We got to the start line, and I got my iPod ready. I stuck my ear buds in, pressed play, and waited. And waited. Silence. My music (that I'd charged and tested the night before) wasn't working. Looked like I'd be running 26.2 to the sound of my own thoughts. Not quite the motivation I'd hoped for.

The race started, and I felt great. I settled in to a good pace, and looked at my Garmin way more often than necessary to make sure I was fast enough. The first half flew by. I was pacing for a 3:30 finish at the halfway point. I tried to ignore the increasing burn in my calves (from running on the forefoot). I saw my brother-in-law and searched for my husband and kiddos. They'd gotten stopped on their way up the canyon and just missed me. Disappointed, I kept going.

I was so focused on running that I honestly don't remember noticing the beauty of the course. Later, my sis-in-law asked me if I remembered coming out of a canyon and running around a lake. I seriously had no idea I'd run by a lake. All I saw was my trusty Garmin, runners in front of me, and the road in front of me (although I didn't even see that very well...at one point I completely ran through a pot hole...one foot was soaked through, but luckily my new socks were smart wool running socks...it dried in no time)!

At mile 23, I finally saw the four faces I'd been dying to see. My kids (still in their jammies), and my husband, all with huge smiles and cheers. I stopped, I hugged and kissed my husband, and he pushed me back onto the course. At this point, I remembered why I was running. My kids were watching. They were so proud of their mama. In their minds, no matter what time I finished, I would be "the winner." But someday I would be able to tell them how hard I worked to finish that race. There were gallons of blood, sweat, and tears back home on the roads I'd trained on. The race was much more than race day.

Running has always been spiritual for me. Something about working hard in this life so that we can cross that eternal finish line knowing we gave it our all. Life has so many bumps in the road. But as with running, each bump and obstacle we overcome only makes us stronger. I knew that if I finished this marathon, I could do anything.

Right after passing my family, I hit a serious wall. I wanted nothing more than to walk. I wanted to be done. For a brief moment, I didn't care if I met my goal. I wanted to hop in the car with my husband and go home. And then a thought popped into my mind that my family was praying for me. I looked down at my watch (for the gazillionth time that day) and saw that I had 18 minutes to finish the last 2 miles if I wanted to make it in 3 hours 40 minutes. So I ran. Those 18 minutes were the most painful 18 minutes of my life. I crossed the finish line and broke down. 3 hours 39 minutes and 55 seconds. 5 seconds to spare.

I hope to run in the Boston Marathon next April. If I'm able to register I will...but since I BARELY qualified, I may not even get the chance. But I did it. And yes, I would do it that way again. The race left my calves severely injured (thanks to my new shoes which I will slowly build up to wearing next time around), and my body and mind exhausted. I realized that after child birth, it's not the sleep deprivation that makes you so tired. It's the physical exertion. I felt like I'd just given birth after the race.

When talking to my mom later, she told me that she'd prayed for me specifically several times during the race. I knew my family was praying for me, and those prayers are what got me through. Because at that point? My legs sure as heck couldn't. Another lesson learned. Prayer is real.

I know I'm probably giving myself more credit than I should. Some would laugh that a 3:40 marathon time is nothing to brag about. But I think I would feel the same way if I'd had the same experience finishing in 5 hours if that had been my goal. The mind is very powerful. If you set a goal to do something, work to achieve it, and never doubt yourself, you CAN do anything. I can do ANYTHING. I'm excited to see what the future holds. I will definitely run more marathons. And I think it's safe to say that I'll try to qualify for Boston each time. And I know it's also safe to assume that more things than having my music not work could go wrong next time. But like I've said before, obstacles only make us stronger and better the next time around. So here's to the future!

And as always, happy running!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Featured on Studio 5!

I've been meaning to get on here and update about my amazing marathon experience, but man...the recovery has been rough! I'll post the details in the next few days, but in case you're wondering...I finished in 3 hours, 39 minutes, and 55 seconds! Exactly 5 seconds faster than my goal! I was thrilled! Details will follow, but I wanted to share something first....

I was featured today on Studio 5! Katie Shepherd, of Meaningful Moments shared tips on "Writing Memories Worth Reading" and shared a little clip from my post about my sweet nephew Jack. Check it out... Thanks Katie!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marathon Day Survival Guide...18 Race Day Tips

I'm not quite sure why I think I'm qualified to write a post on how to survive marathon day. I've only run ONE marathon in my life, and that was nearly SEVEN years ago! My SECOND marathon EVER is in two short days. Yikes! I have, however, run a handful of shorter-distance races since that awful first marathon, and I have learned a thing or two that I wish I'd known before-hand. It's still hard for me to believe that I started out my racing addiction with a full 26.2-miler. Not a 5K, not a 10K, not even a half-marathon (which I just learned should actually be called a Pikermi)! A full marathon! I was dumb. And not prepared. And slow. So hopefully these tips will come in handy for me this Saturday. If I live to tell about it, I'll let you know!

  1. SKIP THE PASTA PARTY. Yes...your body needs carbs. But you don't need to load up on them ALL. AT. ONCE. I'm actually sort of already in carb-loading mode. I'm loading up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. I'm trying to limit refined sugar (I finally had to throw away my son's left-over birthday cake...I couldn't stop myself!). I actually plan on eating a bigger meal for lunch on Friday, so I don't overdo it Friday night. Stomach issues are not what I want during the race. I've never had issues, but my husband sure has. Code brown=not fun (unless you're going for the best story...then go ahead and order a spicy burrito the night before!)
  2. DON'T DO ANYTHING NEW. This one is kind of hard for me, because my training hasn't been consistent! I don't eat the same things each time I run, I don't wear the same things each time, etc. And I actually just bought a new pair of Newton Running Shoes a few weeks ago. These shoes require time to adapt...and I haven't had much time. My husband might have to bring my old ones just in case I need a quick change. If I were following my own advice, however, I would stick with a routine. I don't plan on this marathon being my last, so hopefully I'll be able to develop a better routine that works for me. My longest training run (20-miles) was actually my best. I'd already done Zumba for an hour in the morning, and 90-minutes the night before. I was STARVING. Before the run, I went to Jamba Juice for a Peanut Butter Moo'd smoothie, then stopped at Subway for a turkey sandwich on wheat, then ate a slice of leftover pizza. I don't think I'll be able to get all of that in the morning of the race, but my body won't already be as depleted as it has been on a typical Saturday morning during training. But enough rambling...find what works for you WHILE you train, and stick with it on race day. Don't use marathon morning as a time to try all the goodies in your little swag bag. That said.....
  3. EAT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING. Most of us don't normally eat breakfast at 4:00 am, but most of us don't run 26.2 miles starting at 7:00 am either. Whatever you do, DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST! If you go to bed at 9:00 pm (wishful thinking for me), and the race starts at 7:00 am, that's 10 hours. In that time, your liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate) gets depleted. Eat a simple, high-carb breakfast. Bananas, bagels, energy bars, and smoothies are good picks. I'm also planning on eating a handful of chia seeds before the race starts.
  4. CAFFEINE UP! Some researchers at Yale did a caffeine-endurance study. The exercisers on caffeine had higher levels of beta-endorphins and a lower perceived effort. Sounds good to me! Lots of GUs and other gels now contain caffeine (my favorite is GU with roctane). Or you can even take caffeine tablets. If you want to be scientific about it, you can take tablets 60 to 90 minutes before the race at a dose of 3 mg per pound of your body weight. That's a bit too complicated for me. I'm not a coffee drinker, and not a soda drinker. But on race day, bring on the caffeinated GU!
  5. DON'T OVERDRESS! You may be cold at the start line, but you'll most likely be hot before you know it! Check the weather forecast several times and plan accordingly. I'm planning on making a trip to Deseret Industries (a local thrift store) tomorrow to find a throw-away zip-up jacket. I'll wear it at the start, and will ditch it within the first few miles. Most races donate tossed clothing to charities. It's worth $5 to me to not have to worry about retrieving it later, or taking it off sooner than I want to. When you're running, it will generally feel about 10 degrees warmer than it is, and temperatures will rise as the race progresses. If you overdress, not only are you carrying extra weight, you'll also sweat more than you want which increases the risk of dehydration.
  6. AVOID CHAFFING LIKE THE PLAGUE! Body glide is a runner's best friend. Put it EVERYWHERE! Armpits, toes, neck, thighs. I have some nice scars to show from not following this advice. A chest strap (from my beloved heart rate monitor) worn for 26.2 miles can do some serious damage. So can the rubbing together of inner thighs. I'm no longer a big fan of running skirts for this reason :) And my husband will never again run without nip guards (or Band Aids). I've yet to get the blood stains out of his bloody-nipple marathon shirt. Ouch. (Side note: body glide also works great for wearing high heels!)
  7. WEAR SUNSCREEN. Got it? Sadly, I neglect this advice far too often. I love me some sun-kissed skin. But lobster skin? Not so much.
  8. STEADY DOES IT. It's so hard not to run faster than you should at the start line. You're nervous, you're excited, you want to beat that skinny girl in the yellow shorts over there. But 26.2 miles is a LOOOOOONG way to run! If you go too hard at the beginning, you'll slow WAY down at the end. This is one of the most important marathon strategies. EVEN. PACE. RUNNING. At the beginning, you may feel as if you're holding back, but it will feel great when you're passing people later on.
  9. PLAY MENTAL GAMES. This one is huge for me. I try not to EVER think about the full distance in front of me. I take it little chunks at a time. Make it to mile 5. Then to mile 10. Then to mile 15. If I only have to do 5 miles at a time, I can do it. If I have to do 26.2, there's no way! Part of the reason my 20-miler was so great was that my sister-in-law and I ran around the Olympic Oval track. Sounds like torture, right? I actually loved it because we knew that 11 laps equaled 3 miles. So I took the run 11 laps at a time. We only had to do that 6 1/2 times. Much easier to make it 11 laps 6.5 times than to count 73 laps. Run your marathon in bite-sized chunks. Towards the end when you've hit your wall, don't think about the 6 miles you have left. Take it one mile-marker at a time. I promise the end will come quicker this way.
  10. LEAVE THE HYDRATION PACK HOME. They're great for training, but most races have plenty of aid stations with water, Gatorade, GU, and even fruit. Don't weigh yourself down more than necessary on race day. It'll only slow you down.
  11. DRESS YOURSELF FROM HEAD-TO-TOE THE NIGHT BEFORE. Lay all your clothes out the night before, starting with the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Like to wear sunglasses while you run? Set 'em out. Don't want to search for a sock in the bottom of a suitcase at 4:30 am when you have a 5:00 bus to catch? Lay both socks out. If you're traveling to your race, dress yourself before packing your suitcase. What a nightmare it would be to realize on race-day morning that you didn't pack a sports bra. Yikes!
  12. SET SEVERAL ALARMS. I recently started teaching a 5:45 am Cycle class, and am picking up an every-other-week 5:00 am Zumba class. The night before teaching, I set the alarm on my phone, make my husband set his phone alarm, and we set the real alarm clock as a back-up. Worse than sleeping in for a waiting-group-fitness-class would be sleeping in and missing the marathon bus that you've spent MONTHS preparing to get on.
  13. DON'T STRESS THE WARM UP. You can warm your legs up a bit before the race, but you'll want to conserve as much energy as you can. If you're trying to get a certain finishing time, you may want to warm up a bit. If your goal, however, is just to finish, you have plenty of time to get those legs warm!
  14. AVOID THE RUNNING BUDDY. As much as I enjoy running with a good friend, I'm too competitive to have a running partner on race day. For one thing, if they're faster than me, I'll kill myself to keep up (and will end up crashing during the second half). If they're slower than me, I'll feel super awkward telling them that I'm going to go on ahead. There will be plenty of runners around you during the race...you won't feel alone! Listen to some good tunes to motivate you up the hills, and if you need someone to talk to, strike up a conversation with a nearby runner for a few minutes while your pace remains the same.
  15. HAVE A DRY SHIRT AT THE FINISH LINE. After a race, I don't feel like I want to rush and take a shower right that second, but I do feel like I want my sweaty shirt and shoes off. Make sure you recruit some cheerleaders to meet you at the finish line. My 5-year old has been given the important job of screaming for mommy to sprint to the end, and then promptly handing over a dry shirt, some chapstick, and some flip flops.
  16. DON'T STRESS TOO MUCH ABOUT SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE. The week before? Yes...stress about that. (I write as I sit here typing at 12 am). But don't worry too much that you're not getting a ton of sleep the night before. You can make up for it later. For me, stressing about no sleep usually makes me sleep worse! You'll be fine.
  17. HAVE A DESIGNATED MEETING SPOT AFTER THE RACE. As a runner, you may not be too worried about meeting up with your friends and family after the race. But as the one who's usually dragging my kids around as we search for my husband after he crosses the finish line, trust me. Knowing where he's going to find me would make life a whole lot easier. Finish lines are CROWDED. Pick a tree. Pick a corner. Just pick a spot for your party to wait for you while you relish in the post-race pampering. Then they won't wander around for an hour trying to find you. They'll just wait.
  18. ENJOY THE JOURNEY. Take it all in. You are part of an ELITE group. A very small percentage of the world's population can say they've run a marathon (or any race for that matter). Run proud. Don't be hard on yourself if you don't run as fast as you'd like. Fast or slow, short or long, crossing a finish line is a big accomplishment! And trust me--getting to the finish line is going to hurt! But you didn't sign up for this thinking it was going to be easy! The reasons are much deeper than physical, and you've worked hard to get to this point. You're going to have to work hard to finish. But it's time to enjoy every moment!
Any race day secrets you live by? Fill me in...I'm taking all the advice I can get! Wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I Run

I love running...

Because it gives ME my own identity. I'm not just a mom. I'm a RUNNER.

Because people tell me I can't or shouldn't. Say those words, and you can guarantee I WILL.

Because it feels good.

Because even when it doesn't feel good, it feels good
afterwards.

Because I love the sweat.

Because I love the hills.

Because the best showers are post-run showers.

Because my resting heart rate is now in the 40's.

Because it's taught me to push myself.

Because I can push and explore my limits.

Because I sleep better and deeper at night.

Because it keeps sickness away.

Because it reduces stress.

Because it fills me with positive emotions.

Because running to music feels like dancing.

Because it's the one thing I know I can accomplish in a day.

Because it makes me feel unconquerable.

Because I could probably outrun any attacker.

Because it brings me back to childhood.

Because of the sprint to the end.

Because it gives me a quantitative way to track my fitness progress.

Because my kids are watching and learning. They think they're runners to.

Because it is fun.

Because races are addicting.

Because finish lines make me cry.

Because early-morning runs allow me to see the sunrise.

Because it gives me freedom.

Because no other exercise compares.

Because it's ME time.

Because monster mom becomes happy mom.

Because when I'm done, I feel like I can conquer the world.

Because I can.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 Ways to Never Skip a Workout Again!

I'm often asked how I manage to keep myself physically active as a busy mom. My simple answer is that I take things one day at a time. Each day is unique, and brings different challenges. Occasionally on a morning that I plan a long outdoor run, I wake up to falling snow. (I know, I know...this really shouldn't keep me from running...I'm hardcore, but I'm not THAT hardcore...that's what treadmills are for, right?!?) Early morning workouts don't ever work when I've spent the entire night awake with a sick child (or healthy children who spend the night playing musical beds...our bed is NOT big enough for the 5 of us!) Things happen, so I try to plan accordingly. Here are a few of my secrets for planning around life:
  1. On a particularly hectic day, don't skip a workout just because you don't have a full hour to spare. Figure out how to fit in 10-minute mini sessions. Roll out of bed, and do some push-ups, jumping jacks, planks, and lunges. Later in the day, go on a quick, brisk walk. If you're reading something, find a wall, and squat while you read. Do seated Tupler's in the car! End the day with some pre-bed stretches. It may not seem like a lot at once, but throughout the day, you can easily squeeze in a full workout!
  2. You may be tired of hearing it from me, but wear a heart rate monitor! At the end of the week, it's extremely motivating to see how much time I spent working out, how many calories I burned, and what zones I trained in. I try not to ever go more than two days without a workout! My heart rate monitor keeps me honest with myself.
  3. Set goals for the ENTIRE year at the beginning of the year. Want to run a few races this year? Schedule them now! Even if the races aren't until later in the year, you'll have them on your mind, and will plan your training accordingly. For me, races aren't just about the race, but about the journey it takes to get to the starting line! And boy, it has been quite a journey this time around!
  4. Have a nice stash of fitness DVDs at home. Workout DVDs are almost always my back-up plan. When I just can't pull myself out of bed early in the morning, I can start a DVD nearly an hour later, and still be done with my workout at the same time I would otherwise be returning home from the gym. For one, I don't have to brush my teeth (or put on mascara) to work out at home, and I don't have to account for any travel time. I still get in a good workout (as long as the kids and husband cooperate), and the day can continue as planned.
  5. SCHEDULE your workouts. If you're always hoping to find time to work out, it's probably never going to happen if you have a busy schedule. You HAVE to plan it in. My workout schedule varies slightly from week to week based on my life schedule, but I always know when I'm going to work out the next day. I don't wake up in the morning hoping it will happen sometime that day. I wake up, and get moving. If you need to, put a reminder on your phone, write it on your calender, do whatever you need to do. I normally plan all my workouts a week in advance. Then when a day (or night) doesn't go as planned, I move to plan B. If you're a group fitness groupie (like myself), stay committed to the class! As an instructor, I don't have a choice whether or not to show up. Act as if you don't have a choice either! Be there!
  6. Add variety to your workouts. If someone were to watch me and my different workout routines, they would think I have serious workout ADD. I don't do the same things day in and day out. I love group fitness classes, because each class is never the same...and I've tried LOTS of different classes. I LIFT. I ZUMBA. I CYCLE. I YOGA. I CORE CROSS TRAIN. I POWER PUMP. I TREK. But my own workouts are never the same, either. I run outside. I lift weights with gym machines. I use free weights. I use my own body weight for resistance. I interval train. I do the elliptical. I climb stairs. You get the idea. Variety is key for keeping workouts interesting. Variety is also key for avoiding plateaus. If your body never knows what's coming, it will never stop changing and improving!
  7. Keep company with other fitness-minded people. If you try to place yourself in situations and with people where you won't have to compromise your fitness goals, you're much more likely to stay on track. At work, take breaks with the walkers rather than the donut-shop-frequenters. Eat with the brown baggers rather than with the fast foodies. Invite other health conscious couples over for a healthy home-cooked meal, and vice versa. Find a workout buddy, or an accountability partner. If you're not working out together, you can still report to one another and keep each other in check.
  8. Change your workouts with the seasons. Don't hibernate for the winter just because you refuse to run outside in the snow. Right now I'm SO EXCITED that spring has sprung because I can truly enjoy the outdoors. Working out indoors, however, is the only thing that keeps me going in the depressing month of January. Winter months are great for snow sports, while summer is great for swimming. If your workouts change with the seasons, you'll have more to look forward to every few months than just changing colors and temperatures!
  9. Forget the all-or-nothing mentality. Just because you may not always have time for a full hour workout doesn't mean you should skip the workout all together. 20-minutes is always better than nothing! The same goes for healthy eating. Just because you splurge at one meal doesn't mean that the whole day should go to waste. One healthy meal is better than a full day of indulging. (Unless indulging for a full day is planned. In that case, one bad day doesn't mean the whole week is shot!)
  10. Just do it! Stop making excuses, and get moving. Use each day as a step towards your ultimate fitness goals. So what if you have 10- 50- 100-pounds to lose. Losing the weight won't happen overnight. It will, however, happen with lots of small steps along the way. Whatever the obstacles, do what it takes to get up and start. You will get better with time. You'll find what you like. Just push yourself to take the first step, to climb out of bed in the morning, to schedule your workouts. Once you make fitness a habit, it will become a way of life, and you will be that much closer to reaching your goals!

What are YOUR fitness secrets?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A dose of humility does a runner good!

Before I started training for my upcoming (in exactly one month...yikes!) marathon, I was feeling pretty on top of the world. I was sure I was invincible, and started my training with a bang. Experienced runners swear by the 10% rule (don't increase your distance or time more than 10% from one week to the next), but I was loading the miles on from day 1. I'm a fit person, I figured my body could take the extra mileage. And I have to say I did pretty great at first. And then I started hurting.

With running in the past, I've always been able to "run through" any pains I've had, and they've been short-lived. This time, however, the pain in my hip literally stopped me in my tracks. I was in denial, and tried to keep running, but it just got worse. It's AWFUL to feel like all the work you've done is for nothing. I found a Physical Therapist, and went for my first visit hoping she'd tell me I'd be up and running in a week. A week is not a major setback...it's a mini-vacation...long enough for the body to recover, short enough not to undo any hard work. To my dismay, she told me she hoped I'd be up and running in time for the marathon...best case.

I started telling myself that maybe I wouldn't run it after all. I avoided talking about running, blogging about running (did you notice I've been MIA?), and especially avoided talking to my running buddies (because I was mad that they were still running and I wasn't). I was mad at myself for putting such high expectations on myself. If I didn't care about my finishing time, I wouldn't have pushed myself so hard to begin with.

The last time I remember being so humbled was when I received my mission call for the LDS church. After studying Spanish for 7 years, and telling everyone how glad I was that I would never be one of those missionaries who didn't know the language (because OBVIOUSLY I would go Spanish-speaking), I was called to Finland. Yep, the country with THE hardest language. Learning Finnish was the most humbling experience of my life. But I did it. And after I did it, I realized how studying Spanish had actually prepared me to learn Finnish.

After nearly a month of NO running whatsoever, I was finally given the green light to start back up. And I'm hoping that my years of fitness preparation will come in handy as I gear up for race day. I've still been speaking the Zumba language, the Cycle language, the Elliptical-backwards language, and the strength training language, so hopefully my cross-training has prepared me to re-learn the running language (so to speak), because I've become one of THOSE runners. The kind who thought she knew everything about running, until her body told her otherwise.

My first "language" test was on Saturday. And in true Robyn-fashion, I didn't start back up with a 5-miler. Oh no. I ran 17. My leg actually felt great. I ran to my son's t-ball game (8.5 miles from home), met my husband, still felt good, and decided I could run home too. At mile 11, I tripped and fell again. I'm not sure what I was looking at, but I didn't see the dip in the road. I expected to land on ground, and felt like Wile-E-Coyote running off a cliff. The ground was gone. I rolled a few times, stood up, checked out my new marks, and started walking to the gas station across the street. A car pulled over, the driver asked if I was okay, and I started bawling, but said yes.

I got to the gas station, and called my husband to come get me. He loaded the kids in the car and started driving, then asked if I was really mentally ready to be done. I wasn't. I really wanted to finish my run. I went in the bathroom, washed my bloody hands, filled up my water bottles, and went back outside to finish my darn 17-mile run.

This marathon training has taken this overly-confident girl for a long ride on the humility train. Somehow I'm going to cross that finish line next month. I might be crawling, but I'm going to finish.

In life, when we set out to do something, things hardly ever go as planned. We stumble, we fall, we get injured. That's all part of this life experience. But when we've recovered, we have two options. We can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going. Or we can quit. This goes for WHATEVER we're trying to accomplish. Weight loss. Jobs. Marriages. Relationships. Raising children. LIFE IS HARD. But we can do hard things. YOU can do hard things. When you're down, just get back up, and keep chugging along. Anything worth doing is worth fighting for!

Happy running!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Black Light Zumba Party THIS FRIDAY!

Looking for something to do this Friday night? Come to a Black Light Zumba Party!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011
7:30-8:30 pm

Cost is $4

C & C Ballet
10128 S. Redwood Rd. #G
South Jordan, UT

Wear white or anything else that will help you glow! We're going to bring out the BLACK LIGHTS, a NEW awesome DANCE LIGHT, lots of fun dances, energy, sweat, and fun! Come kick off the weekend ZUMBA style!

C & C Ballet is located in the parking lot south of the South Jordan Post Office, behind Maxwell Carpet and Cleaning.

Let me know if you have any questions! EVERYONE is welcome!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Strained Hip Flexor/Iliopsoas...Marathon Training Week 9

It seems sort of silly that I'm still posting my training schedule, considering I'm actually taking a break from running this week. I know...I've said I'm taking a break before, but this time I mean it. I'm pretty sure I was more prepared to run my marathon BEFORE I started training. About three weeks ago, I was doing some interval training, and by the time I was done, I could barely walk. Apparently, a hip flexor strain is a common running injury. For me, it's a first. I don't like it. I've been trying to work through it, but I think it's making it worse. I'm frustrated with my body, but oh well. It is what it is. I guess it's an excuse to enjoy some of my other neglected favorite forms of exercise! I'm cross training, and calling a physical therapist tomorrow. But if you're here looking for a running schedule, here ya go! Wish I was doing it, too!

WEEK 9
MONDAY: Interval- 8 to 10 miles, 3 x (800-600-400-200m), at 5K-10K pace, 1 minute recovery, 3-5 minutes between sets
TUESDAY: Distance- 4 to 6 miles
WEDNESDAY: Tempo- 8 to 10 miles, 2 x 15 minutes at marathon tempo, 5 minutes recovery
THURSDAY: Distance- 4 to 6 miles
FRIDAY: Distance- 3 to 7 miles
SATURDAY: RACE! 10-13 miles

Any advice for an injured runner? Let me know...and have a great week! I'm exhausted...but I'll be back soon with more exciting things to say!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Marathon Training Week 8

WHOA...slow down! We're already half-way through the 16-weeks of training? Yikes! My marathon is 2 months from tomorrow! I'm actually excited for it to hurry up and get here so I can get back to a more normal fitness routine! The past few weeks have been a bit stressful. My body's hurting, and my hip flexor screams at me to STOP RUNNING! My husband took a few days off last week, and I thought I'd better take advantage and go on a long run while he was home with the kiddos.

Friday morning, I still got up bright and early to start my 15-mile run. I started out slowly, and felt like I was running through mud. I left my house, and as usual, just started running. I wasn't sure what course I was going to take. The Garmin Forerunner is the BEST purchase for runners like me...I don't have to chart out my run, I just look at how far I've gone and plan accordingly for when it's time to head home. I'm a little obsessed, however, and hardly keep my eyes on the road because I'm so fascinated by the things I can look at on my watch! I can see exactly what my pace is at any given moment, how far I've gone, how long I've gone, what my heart rate is, etc.

I'd like to think the Garmin was the cause of my fall early Friday morning, but I actually wasn't looking at the watch. I was hobbling along (in the dark, mind you), and the next thing I knew, I was catching myself on the pavement. My first thought? PLEASE don't let there be a hole in my brand spankin' new running capris! Then I felt the pain. Two bloody palms, one bloody knee, and one bloody elbow. And I hadn't even gone TWO miles. I slowly got up, and the ugly cry face appeared. I didn't know what to do, so I started running again. I couldn't see my injuries in the dark, so I just kept going. I cried for a good mile or so. And these weren't silent tears--I felt like one of my kids--I was howling. I thought about calling my husband to come pick me up, but did NOT want to wake up the kids. I'd rather suffer through a long run than face the rest of the day with 3 kids who'd been woken up at 5:30 in the morning. I considered just turning around and going home. But then I decided that I was going to do what I set out to do, darnit! In a strange way, my crappy run actually turned into a sort of spiritual experience for me. I may have to crawl to the finish line in May, but however the race turns out, I'll know that I worked hard to make it there. GALLONS of sweat, blood, and tears. Some of you think I'm crazy. Who would run 26.2 miles in one day on purpose? And who would spend every single day for 16-weeks getting ready to run it? And who would keep running after falling flat on the pavement? I'm here to tell you that if you could experience crossing the finish line (after all that) just one time, you'd be hooked. The moment you cross the finish line makes all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it. And that's why I keep running.

After a 15-miler in the morning, my sister and I threw a Black Light Zumba party that night. 90 minutes of Club Zumba! That's 4 hours of working out in one day...my kind of day! I haven't stopped eating since!

Have a great week!

WEEK 8
MONDAY: Interval- 7 to 10 miles, 3 x (1,600m) at 10K pace, 3 min recovery
TUESDAY: Distance- 5 to 7 miles
WEDNESDAY: MLR- 11 to 12 miles
THURSDAY: Rest DAY! 0 to 3 miles
FRIDAY: Distance- 6 to 7 miles
SATURDAY: Long Distance- 18 to 20 miles, easy, steady paced

If anyone's interested in attending our next Black Light Zumba party, there's one happening THIS FRIDAY night (March 25, 2011) at 6:30 pm at the DayBreak Community Center. It's $5 for residents and $6 for non-residents. I'd LOVE to meet some of my FitMePeeps! Let me know if you want to come! Otherwise, happy running!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marathon Training Weeks 6 and 7...and the graphic details of my visit to the dermatologist

So last week's training for me was pretty much non-existent. My legs have been hurting, I've been worried about possible injuries, so I ran a total of 7 miles...all last Monday. Ouch! I was so motivated 6 weeks ago...time to dig deep and find some more motivation! Usually a week of not doing a whole lot does the trick for me...not exercising and eating junk seem to go hand in hand...so this week I'm back on track! My fridge is chock full of yummy produce, my running shoes are rested, and I'm ready for some running fun!

But did I mention that I lost my iPod at the gym? In the past few months, my gym membership has proven to be a much more expensive investment than I bargained for. One day, I dropped my kids off in the Kids' Club. When we arrived, my son was wearing his awesomely-warm-and-slightly-too-big-so-it-would-still-fit-next-year-winter-coat. After we left, I looked at him several times wondering why it suddenly looked so small. I finally looked at the tag and saw that his size 5T coat from BabyGap was now a size 2T. Same coat. THREE sizes too small. I take full responsibility...I'm pretty sure I grabbed the smaller coat from the same place I'd originally hung the larger one, but did not pay attention to him squeezing his long arms through the short sleeves. The small coat is now sitting under a desk at the gym, silently waiting for it's original owner to reclaim it. The larger coat has yet to be found.

A month or so later, I met my trusty running-sister-in-law-buddy on a cold, blustery Saturday afternoon. Rather than run in the cold, we met to do our long run treadmill style. I was mid-cleanse. I'd taught Zumba in the morning. My body (and obviously brain) were tired. What started out as a proposed 15-miler ended up being a very long 10 miles. When I finally finished running the 10-miles (that felt like 20!), I hit the cool down button, took out my earphones, wound them around my iPod, and stuffed them into the drink holder. I stumbled to a stop, stretched for a bit, grabbed my water and towel from the drink holder, and wearily left. Hours
later, my husband needed my iPod. I told him exactly where it WASn't. In my pink gym bag. When he told me it wasn't there, my heart sank. You know the rest of the story (except the part about the "thugs" who apparently hit up my gym on Saturday nights to play ball...after scouring the place for lost iPods and such). No more iPod. No more coat. Maybe it's a sign that I need to start running outside! I am SO HAPPY that Spring is literally just around the corner...8 days and counting!

My brain has been in a serious fog. Did you all remember to set your clocks forward last night? We sure didn't! My husband remembered when he looked at the clock at what we thought was 6:30 am (while getting ready for an early church meeting that starts at 7:00 am) and gasped realizing that he was already 1/2 hour late. I normally get up extra early on Sunday mornings to get myself and the kids ready for 9 am church. It's the one day I actually try to look my best! Legs shaved, eyebrows plucked, earrings and lipstick, the whole deal. Amazingly we made it on time...maybe I'll sleep in more often! But not this week....

This week I'm RUNNING!!!!! If you're following along, I'm sooooo sorry I missed another week of posting my training schedule. I didn't run either if that counts for anything. I did visit the dermatologist, however, so he could check out all the weird skin stuff I have going on. I thought having a baby made you lose all dignity. I've changed my mind. Visiting a dermatologist takes any dignity that was left! He first inspected the nasty recurring rash around my eyes. A week ago I seriously looked like quasimodo:
Swollen, rashy, gorgeous red, puffy eyes. The same rash I had 4 weeks earlier! The doctor's diagnosis? SWEAT! Great...I'm probably going to keep sweating, so PLEASE tell me I'm not going to look like this every Monday for the rest of my life. Since I was there, I also had a complete mole check...and yes...they check EVERYWHERE. Awkward. He burned off a few red beauties. And if you've ever been my hairdresser? You've felt the huge lump on the back of my head. Apparently, it's called a cranial sebaceous cyst. It's now gone, and in the place where it dwelt for many years are now stitches. Here's a GRAPHIC video of a poor guy having the same lovely, fascinating procedure!


GROSS! And cool! Apparently these are genetic, and often recurring. Next time I'll take my OWN video camera! And just in case you've gotten the wrong idea that I have it all together? Well there you have it...I'm rashy, moley, cyst-y, forgetful, and happy to start a NEW week!

Here's what we missed last week:

WEEK 6
MONDAY: Interval- 7 to 10 miles, 3 x (800m-600m-600m) at 5K effort, 90 seconds recovery, 5 minutes between sets
TUESDAY:Distance- 5 to 8 miles
WEDNESDAY:MLR- 10 to 11 miles
THURSDAY:Distance- 4 to 6 miles
FRIDAY: Tempo- 6 to 10 miles, 30 to 40 minutes continuous run at marathon tempo
SATURDAY: Long Distance- 12 to 14 miles, shorter long run

and here's what we're shooting for this week....ish....

WEEK 7
MONDAY: Interval- 8 to 10 miles, 2x (4x800m) at 10K pace, 90 second recovery, 5 minutes recovery between sets
TUESDAY: Distance- 5 to 8 miles
WEDNESDAY: Tempo- 6 to 9 miles, 2 x 15 minutes at marathon tempo, 5 minutes recovery
THURSDAY: Distance- 5 to 8 miles
FRIDAY: Distance- 6 to 9 miles
SATURDAY: Long Distance- 16 to 18 miles, running miles 9 through 12 at marathon tempo

There you go! Happy running! Hooray for a new start this week with the hope of SPRING!