Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hi, I am Awkward. My Very First Vlog

Welcome to the first take of my first ever (practice) Vlog.  I must warn you that I am extremely awkward in front of the camera.  I have a long way to go.  You have to start somewhere, and this is my start.  Try not to laugh at me (laugh with me instead) and please throw your support my way. When you are as terrible as this, it can only get better from here.

I am a big believer of stepping outside your comfort zone, and for me, this is WAY OUT! So, to practice what I preach, here is my first ever awkward Vlog.  Enjoy and cringe your way through it.  Next time I will at least wear make-up.  I promise.










Keep Running,


Lea

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Scale: Friend or Frienemy?


How does an inanimate object evoke so much emotion?
  • Fear
  • Happiness
  • Frustration
  • Elation
  • Disappointment
  • Sadness
  • Pride

Does the scale control your emotions?  Does a number define you?

Take the Scale Personality Test.


How often do you step on the scale?
A. Once a month.
B. Once a week.
C. Once a day.
D. All of the above and also after every bowel movement.

What Emotion does the scale most often evoke?
A. Indifference.  The scale does not rule my emotions.
B. Pride.
C. Happiness.
D. Sadness.

The Scale tells me:
A. Nothing that I don't already know.
B. Whether or not I ate too much yesterday.
C. Whether or not I am due for a bowel movement.
D. Whether I am skinny or fat.

I measure progress by:
A. My measurements.
B. How my clothes fit.
C. How I feel / How I look in the mirror.
D. The # on the scale alone.

Results:
Mostly A's: Congratulations, you have a healthy relationship with the scale.  You keep in touch, but you don't let it get too close to your emotions.  Your scale is your friend with benefits.

Mostly B's: Good job, you are friends with the scale, but it doesn't rule your life.  It is OK to love the scale, just remember to not get too close.

Mostly C's:  You have a love affair with the scale, just be weary of its potential to turn on you.  One day a happy relationship, the next day your best frienemy.

Mostly D's: You are in the danger zone. You are emotionally attached to a partner (the scale) who can't give you what you need.  Learn to separate your self worth from a number.  This is a one sided relationship that won't go anywhere.  This is the song you should sing to your scale.

The Kills: The Last Goodbye.



It's the last goodbye I swear
I can't rely on a dime a day love that don't go anywhere
I learn to cry for someone else
I can't get by on an odds and ends love that don't ever match up
I heard all you said and I took it to heart

I won't forget I swear

I have no regrets for the past is behind me
Tomorrow reminds me just where

Can't quite see the end

How can I rely on my heart if I break it with my own two hands?
I heard all you said and I love you to death
I heard all you said don't say anything

It's the last goodbye I swear

I can't survive on a half-hearted love that will never be whole


Please remember there are many ways to measure progress, all of which can exclude stepping on a little box in your bathroom that produces an arbitrary number.
 
A.  How you feel.
B.  How you look in the mirror.
C.  How your clothes fit.
D.  Your measurements.
E.  Your body fat %.
F.  Your blood pressure / your overall health as determined by your doctor.
G.  A combination of all of the above



What is your relationship with the scale?

Keep Running,

Lea

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Friday, September 28, 2012

To Be or Not To Be...a Beach Body Coach

My Dear Reader,

I need your help.  I am trying to decide if I should take the plunge and become a Beach Body coach (or not).

This is something I have been considering for several months, but not sure I am ready to make the commitment.  I just finished Insanity.  I had so much fun blogging about the program as I killed myself worked through it.  I am big believer in the program.  I think I had great results.  I know I can help motivate others to achieve their own great results.  In October I am starting P90X and will blog about my experience and progress.  I have been casually talking to someone on Twitter about joining their Beach Body team.


My Insanity Before & After Pictures


The Pro's: 
  • It seems like such a natural fit.  I am passionate about these programs.  I have promoted Insanity for free for months by blogging about my experiences.  
  • I am passionate about helping and motivating others on their own fitness journeys.
  • I feel that others could benefit from some of the things I learned a long the way while doing Insanity.
  • As a coach, I would get a discount on Beach Body products and Shakeology.
  • Maybe I could make a few extra bucks?

The Con's: 
  • There is small monthly fee to maintain a Beach Body coach website.  I am very conscious of my monthly expenses, (we try to live as debt free as possible) and I am not interested in incurring any monthly fees that are not reaping results.
  • My Biggest Concern: My readers mean a lot to me and I don't want to turn my blog or my Facebook page into an advertisement for Beach Body.  While I am happy to blog about my experiences with Beach Body products because I believe in them so strongly, I certainly don't want to alienate my readers.  I never want you, my readers, to feel that I am here solely because I want to sell you something.  That will never be true.  I want to help inspire and motivate people no matter what method they use to achieve personal fitness.  For some people that might be taking up a daily walk, or joining Cross Fit, or a million things in between, including but not limited to, the Beach Body programs. 
So, my dear reader, my reason for being, what do YOU think?  My blog will always be first and foremost about YOU.  I will always write about running, strength training, issues of motivation, product reviews and healthy eating.  Do you think becoming a Beach Body coach is a natural next step or do you think it is a distraction from my blog's core message?   I'd love to hear your opinion, because frankly, I can't decide what to do!

Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Year End Resolutions: Do You Know What Today Is?


I don't mean to freak you out or anything, but do you know what today is?  Today marks exactly three months until Christmas.  Yikes!  These next three months are the most critical of the year.  Why?  Because 'tis the season that most people blow off their diets and slack on their exercise routines.  These are the three months that I personally need to stay more focused than ever.  I've blown it in the past.  It happens to the best of us (and I am far from the best).  Instead of moving forward in my health and fitness journey,  I've taken a two or three month step backwards and had to start over 10-12 lbs heavier with loss of  fitness on January 1st.  I don't know about you, but I am tired of starting over.



First we have Halloween.  We buy bags and bags of sugar laden candies with the good intentions of pawning it off to the neighborhood kids, but often the temptation is too great.  Or maybe we turn out the lights, close the blinds, and hide under the coffee table munching down on fun-sized chocolate instead.  I said maybe, I would probably never do that.

Then there is Thanksgiving, a holiday that seems to be built around over-stuffing yourself.  Grandma rarely understands when you try to explain to her about clean eating.

Oh and Christmas.  The parties.  The lunches.  The dinners.  The desserts.  The alcohol.  The cookies.  The cookies.  Wait, did I already say cookies?  This is the time of year that it is so easy to say, "Screw it, I'll enjoy the holidays and join a gym January 1st."

The truth is that these are most critical months of the year.  Imagine today is December 25th (Merry Christmas!) and you have been pushing yourself these past few months harder than ever.  Image you were consistent with your workouts and eating habits.  Imagine you didn't over-indulge on holiday treats and now, in the last month of the year, you are the most fit you have been all year?  That sounds like the best Christmas present to yourself; health and happiness!  Notice I said over-indulge. I am a big believer that planned weekly indulgences are part of a successful healthy lifestyle.

So I challenge you (and especially myself) to hold laser sharp focus during this last quarter of year.  This is the time to renew your commitments, re-write your goals, and challenge yourself to work harder than ever.  When January 1st rolls around you won't have to commit to losing those extra holiday pounds, you can continue to move forward in your health and fitness journey, setting loftier goals and dreaming bigger than ever in 2013.  How does that sound?

There are 36 days until Halloween.
There are 65 days until Thanksgiving.
There are 91 days until Christmas.

These days are going to pass anyway, you might as well make the most of them.

What are your year end resolutions?

Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Dummies Guide to Fitness Apparel: Palm Beach Athletic Wear

I did one of those color runs last month where you start the race clean and pristine, but by the time you cross finish line you look like an exploded rainbow.  While I was waiting in the packet pick up line, the conversation with my fellow color runners turned to what we would be wearing to race.  I mentioned that even though they claimed the color would wash out, I wasn't willing to risk my good workout clothes.  What if it didn't wash out completely?  I shared that I planned on wearing old crappy clothes that I didn't care about.  A man turned to me and said, "Aren't all workout clothes old crappy clothes you don't care about?"  The poor man was clearly, well...a man.  (No offense intended to my well-dressed men friends).  It is quite the opposite, my friend. 

If it wasn't for the dress code requirements of my corporate day job, I would live in athletic wear.  I'd rather spend my hard earned money on workout clothes than on clothes for cubicle sitting work.  I am a bargain hunter when it comes to my work clothes, but nothing but the best will do for my workout gear.  Why?  It has to be high quality performance wear.  Proper fit is important, quality is important, and the right cloth is essential, but it also has to look good!  Workout clothes that look good, make you feel good.  When you feel good, it gives you a level of confidence.  Sometimes that confidence can be a source of added motivation.

This is exactly why I am loving Palm Beach Athletic Wear.  They offer the perfect mix of fashion forward style with fitness function. Their high quality athletic wear looks super cute, performs, and you can wear it to the gym or to run your Saturday afternoon errands.

Palm Beach Athletic Wear
The first item I pulled out of the box from Palm Beach Athletic Wear was a T-back sports bra with horizontal strap detail in the back.  I was instantly in love.  This is hands down, the sexiest sports bra that I own. A sexy sports bra would be pointless without performance.  This is the best of both worlds.  It is made with a quick dry fabric that feels comfortable and is supportive.  The cups are lined to avoid the dreaded "headlights" and the cut of the bra adds natural looking lift without any padding.  I actually look like I have cleavage shape!

Planking in my Palm Beach Athletic Wear bra and shorts.  Don't you just love those straps?

When I first looked at the butterfly shorts, I thought they looked tiny!  I was worried that they might be too small, but when I tried them on, they conformed exactly to my shape.  They were a perfect fit; snug, flattering, stretchy, and comfortable.  The waistband is firm, supportive, and forgiving of a non-perfect belly (for us non-fitness models).  I love the butterfly screen print design on the back.  The perfect combination of fashion and fitness.

Butterfly Short Waistband Detail

I have to admit that when I first pulled out the hoodie mesh vest, I wasn't sure what to think of it.  This is the sort of item that I usually wouldn't give a second look, but once I slipped it on over my sports bra, I realized, this is brilliant!  It is a cover-up for your workout clothes!  Suddenly I could stop at the grocery store on my way home from the gym or a race without being over exposed in my sports bra.  It is so light and airy that you could certainly leave it on during your workout.  This fashion forward piece has instantly become a new staple in my fitness wardrobe.

Back Yard Yoga in my hoodie mesh vest
Stretch it out!
Last, but certainly not least, is the racer back Palm Beach Athletic Wear logo rib tank, which happens to combine my two favorite colors, turquoise and black. While I don't workout in cotton shirts, this is a perfect casual wear tank.  The rib is sturdy with good recovery, which means it fits your shape without being skin tight.  The day it arrived, I wore it all day and out to hubby's show that night in Dallas.  I may have worn it again the next day too, I'll never tell.

I am entirely too happy in my Palm Beach Athletic Wear Tank


A Dummies Guide To Fitness Apparel:


1.  Be cute.  Look for styles that make you look and feel amazing.
2.  Performance features are key.  Look for quick drying fabrics with breath-ability and moisture control.  Find high quality items that will hold their shape and color in the wash over time.
3.  Get the most bang for your buck by buying fitness apparel that can double as street wear.
4.  Don't ever sacrifice comfort for style.  You can have the best of both worlds.

You can check out Palm Beach Athletic Wear Here.  My birthday just passed, but I've pinned some of my favorite PB Athletic Wear over on Pinterest.  After all, Christmas is just around the corner. 

Right now they are offering free shipping in the U.S. and I have a codes for a 15% discount off your online purchase.  If you are interested in the discount, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite item from www.palmbeachathleticwear.com.

Use discount code fitlea12 for 15% off expires Oct 8th!

What do you think about combining fashion and fitness? Necessity or luxury?

*Disclaimer:  These thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was provided the clothes free of charge for the purpose of a product review but I’m under no obligation to give them a positive review.  If I hated them, I’d tell you.

Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry if I Want To

It is my birthday, but I'm not really wanting to cry, other than the fact that now I think I officially fall into the "almost 40" segment of the population.  38, really?  Isn't that middle aged? How did that happen?

I still feel like this little girl.

Who cut those bangs? mother!?!


Or at the very least, this one.

me and hubby at age 23/25 respectively

Getting older is strange.  I realize that in the grand scheme of life, I am still very young.  I feel very young.  My grandmother turns 99 this year.  What they don't tell you is that life only gets better as you get older.  Maybe I have to work harder to stay fit, maybe it takes longer to recover from a hard workout, but I am happier, more secure, and more confident in myself than I was ten years ago.  I wouldn't trade today to relive my twenties again for anything.  My twenties were good but also, at times, a hard period of self discovery.  Life seems to get easier as you get older and start to figure it all out.

I am a little bit smarter (still a dummy) and a lot healthier than I was just a few years ago.  I embrace 38. At least I'm not 40 (yet).   Ha Ha, that was just a stab for my hubby who does turn 40 this year.  My mama tells me that age 60 is even better than 40 was, so I can only gather that things just keep getting better as life goes on.

On my 38th birthday, I am thankful for another year, an amazing husband, and for the best friends a girl could ask (you know who you are).  Here is to another great year of health and love!  Thanks for hanging in there with me.  Cheers!


Keep Running,

Lea

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'M OFFICIALLY A DIRTY GIRL



Get your mind out of the gutter.  We are talking Mud Runs!  The first step to being a Dirty Girl is to register for the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  Sometimes I have to step back and ask myself the age old question, who the heck am I?  There was a time in my life that even a little bit of sweating was on the low list of priorities.  Anything that involved getting smelly or dirty was not appealing to me.  I was a girly girl, all makeup, short skirts, and heels.  Who would have thought as I moved into my late (gasp) thirties that I would fall in love with sweating, would often live in workout clothes, forgo make-up, and that things like a mud run would not only entice me, but excite me?  I like this person that I have become.  That prissy girl can stay back there in my 20's.  This is much more fun!

I registered for the Dirty Girl Mud Run and Obstacle Course in Cedar Hill, TX (near Dallas, TX).  This is my very first mud run and I am super nervous and excited.  It is a 5K course with 11 challenging obstacles through the mud. 

Things I LOVE about the Dirty Girl Mud Run:


1.  It is women only.  No boys kicking mud in your face as they pass you you pass them on the course.  It's OK to run like a girl. 
2.  It is not timed.  No pressure!  Pure fun!
3.  The obstacles have detours.  If you simply can't get get through/over an obstacle, you can keep moving forward by taking a detour.  This is another pressure reliever.  I hope I don't have to take any detours, but it is comforting to know I have the option.
4. A portion of the registration fees go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.   Their goal for 2012 is to raise $250,000 for the foundation.  Get dirty for a good cause.
5.  Free mud and glory for cancer survivors.  From the website "To honor and celebrate all those who have fought and won the battle against cancer, Dirty Girl Mud Run reserves 250 complimentary entry slots for survivors. No fine print. No strings attached. Just click the link to the left of the event nearest you and sign up for the funniest, muddiest, most awesome day of your life."
6. Beer.


Dirty Girl Mud Runs are happening all over the county, dates are scheduled already up to December 2013.   Check it out here to see if your town made the list. 

Important Links:


Dirty Girl Mud Run and Obstacle Course
Event Schedule.  Is your city on the list?
Register nationwide
Register Dallas (Cedar Hill State Park). If you live in the Dallas area and want to join the Running for Dummies team, just choose the team name "Running for Dummies" when you register. 
Follow Dirty Girl Mud Run on Facebook
Follow Dirty Girl Mud Run on Twitter

OK, doesn't this sound like fun?  Who is with me?  Anyone have any tips for a mud run virgin like me?

Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ALTERNATIVES TO WORKING OUT AND EATING RIGHT*




Make Excuses: 
Excuses are wildly popular in the non-exercising community.  They go a long way in helping you feel better about not working out and/or eating right.  After all, you can't help it.
  • I don't have time. 
  • I can't afford it.
  • I'm too busy.
  • It's too hard.
  • I hate exercise.
  • I can't lose weight, so why bother.
  • I'm already skinny, I don't need to exercise.
  • I tried.
  • I'm too tired.
  • I'm too fat.
  • I'm too old.
  • I might get hurt.
  • I don't have support from my family/friends.
  • The dog ate my homework.

Blame Someone Else: 
Almost anyone will fit the bill, just as long as it is not your own fault.
  • Your spouse.
  • Your boss.
  • Your kids.
  • Your mom.
  • Your second cousin on your mothers side.
  • Your pet turtle.

Defer it to Later: 
Deferring it to later makes you feel better about your bad choices today.
  • I'll start Monday.
  • I'll start the first of the month.
  • I'll enjoy the holidays and start January 1st.
  • I'll start when the weather cools off.
  • I'll start when the weather warms up.
  • I'll start when the kids go back to school.
  • I'll start after my next birthday, after my best friend's wedding, after vacation, after I find a new job, after my kids grow up and move out. 

There really are no alternatives to working out and eating right, except poor health.  Any of this sound familiar?  We are all guilty of the above defense mechanisms at some point, including especially me.  It is human nature.  The very words, "Hard-Core Starts Monday," would bring on fits of laughter in my house because we could hear how ridiculous we sounded saying it over and over every week-end without follow through. We can choose to believe the excuses we tell ourselves, blame others, or promise to start at some fantasy later date, but the truth is it is up to you to take your heath seriously. I'm not saying I think everyone should (or could) hit the gym for an hour every day. What I am suggesting is that it is up to you, and you alone, to get up, get moving, and to make smart choices about what you use to fuel your body.

I think the best way to fight yourself out of the excuse bag is to not have an all-or-nothing mentality.  Just do what you can with what you have.  Something is always better than nothing.   I have always found if I do a little bit to start, it becomes easier to build to more later. 

1.  Don't have time for an hour run today?  Just run or walk a mile.
2.  Had to to take your kids to a birthday party and had pizza for lunch?  Make sure your next meal is a healthy one made of whole natural foods.
3.  Missed your strength training this week?  Do 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 lunges, and a 30 second plank during commercial breaks instead.

Find a physical activity that you love and do it.  I love running and Insanity.  I'm weird.  You may hate those things.  So don't do them.  Do you hate the treadmill or the stair climber? My advice is to never ever ever do them.  Do you love gardening, rollerblading, tennis, basketball, burpees (no one loves those), running around the yard with the kids, or walking your dog?  Find something, anything, and commit to at least 15 minutes a day.  You don't have to be a gym rat, you don't have to run marathons, and you certainly don't have to be perfect. You just have to do something. Chances are once you start, you won't want to stop.



Keep Running,

Lea

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Friday, September 14, 2012

4 FITNESS BLOGS YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS

This week-end I will be on vacation in beautiful Pittsburgh, PA for my baby brothers wedding.  Yes, Pittsburgh is beautiful. Did you know Pittsburgh ranked the #1 most liveable city in the U.S.? While I am away, I may slow down on my blog posts, so I wanted to take this time to share my personal favorite fitness blogs with you.  These are four fitness blogs that you don't want to miss. 


Nerd Fitness - I don't know why I connect so much to this blog.  After all, I am not really a nerd.  My friends may protest that statement, but what I mean is, I am kind of a nerd, but in my own way.  I don't play video games, watch Star Trek, or play Dungeons and Dragons, as some of the themes of this blog may suggest its readers do.  The writer of this blog, Steve Kamb, is so dang inspiring that none of that matters.  I often finish reading each blog post with an overall feeling of true excitement and renewed inspiration. This blog gets me thinking about how I can make my life better, not just my fitness routine. This blog inspires us to live life to its fullest and step outside our comfort zones, nerd or not.  Just like you don't have to be a dummy to read (and hopefully enjoy) Running for Dummies, Nerd Fitness is not just for nerds.  I highly recommend that you subscribe to this one.

Go Kaleo - Tired of the BS about health and fitness around the internet?  Tired of the mixed messages? Tired of looking at airbrushed pictures of fitness models on Pinterest and feeling bad that you don't stack up to an unrealistic fantasy?  Amber is a straight shooter.  She tells it like it is.  Her general message (in my own words) is that we aren't fitness models, we are real women with jobs, family's, and other responsibilities outside of the gym. We should workout to strive to be strong and healthy so that we can live a better life, not to strive to meet some unrealistic fantasy of a fitness model body.  She teaches that we need to eat, and eat a lot, and fruit doesn't make us fat!  She teaches such an important message about critical thinking that so many women need to hear and remember (especially me).  Subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a single post. Your self esteem will thank you.

Tri-ing to be athletic Feel like laughing your @ss off?  I rarely can get through a post without tears rolling down my cheeks.  Follow along as Julie blogs (and draws) about her training for a triathlon.  Unless you are a fun-hater, you will love this blog.  Go ahead and subscribe.




Jogging Jeans - This blog is pure fun.  Did you know that there are people out there that actually jog in jeans?  No, really.  Lots of people, apparently.  This blog has all the proof you could need.  People send in pictures from races, from the street, and from the gym, and our friend Jill publishes them to her blog so we can all laugh at them together.  If you ever struggled with the age old question whether or not you are a "real" runner, this blog will help you with that.  Do you run in workout clothes? Yes? You are already heads and shoulders above those weirdos people jogging in jeans.  Subscribe to this blog today so you can feel better about yourself.


Check out these great fitness blogs and let me know what you think. 

Keep Running,

Lea

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http://www.runningfordummies.net 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

INSANITY FINAL RESULTS - BEFORE & AFTER PICS





Insanity was a challenging, rewarding experience.  I thought I was in pretty decent shape before I started, but apparently I was wrong.  Even after many years of running, boot camps, and my 2012 delve into weight training, Insanity still kicked my butt. I highly recommend Insanity for anyone who has some experience working out.  Do you want to get a lot stronger in a short period of time?  This is the way to do it.

As you can probably gather from my (incredibly awkward) before picture, my goal in doing Insanity was not to lose any weight.  My goals were to gain strength and endurance, become a better athlete, so that ultimately I could become a better runner.  My overall fitness level definitely improved over these last nine weeks.  While there is not a huge difference in my before & after pictures, I am unquestionably stronger. You can see proof of that in my final fit test results compared to my starting fit test nine weeks ago.
 
The final fit test!

My Final Fit Test!


I decided not to share my before and after weight and measurements here, because I got off path for 10 days nutritionally at the end, which are throwing off my numbers.  I didn't want to give the impression that I gained weight because of Insanity, when clearly it was the pizza and tortilla chips.  I mostly maintained my weight on the program (until I broke bad the second to last week), which was my goal.  No worries.  I am back on track and feeling great.  I don't let little things like numbers on the scale get me down.  I am happy with the way I look, the way my clothes fit and my overall performance.

I really did!

My goal in doing Insanity was to get stronger and without a doubt, I succeeded.  Now, time to mail off for that free t-shirt!  I plan on starting round 2 on Monday September 24th, this time with more running, because If I want to be a better runner, I better do some running. Who's with me?

You can catch up on my recaps as I moved through the program here:

Week one and two recap
Week three and four recap
Recovery week recap
Week five and six recap
Week seven and eight recap

Keep Running,

Lea

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Monday, September 10, 2012

MONDAY MUST-HAVES: RACE GEAR



Welcome to the second installment of Monday Must-haves.  This week I will be sharing my must have race gear.  When I told hubby about my list, he was quick to point out that I missed some necessities; legs, shoes, shorts, socks and a shirt.  Yeah, well, I meant besides those must-haves.


1. COFFEE:
You will often hear me talk about how I gave up caffeine this year, but this does not apply to race day.  I wake up in the morning, drink a cup of coffee, or five (don't judge), and get on my way.  Since I normally don't drink caffeine, this really gives me an extra boost of energy.  I call it my performance enhancing drug.




2. GPS WATCH:
I am slightly obsessive compulsive in running, so it is necessary for me to know exactly where I am on the course, my pace, my time, and how many miles left to go at any given second.  I ran the Color Me Rad 5K last week-end without my GPS, and even at only 3.1 miles, it drove me slightly crazy not to have it.

Nike + GPS watch


3. COMPRESSION SLEEVES:
I love my compression sleeves, I usually only wear them when I race.  Maybe it is just a superstition, but I swear I always run faster when they are tightly wrapped around my legs.  Or maybe it is the race adrenaline and caffeine.  All I have to say is that I ran the Color me Rad 5k without them and I didn't PR. Coincidence? I think not.  Plus they look super stylish.  What?

compression sleeves


4. iPOD:
I hardly ever run training runs with music, except long runs at least 2 hours.  I love to have music for races to give me that extra bump in pace.  I created a rock-n-roll running playlist full of my favorite fast songs made especially for races. There is this awesome site called JOG FM that gives you the songs that have the correct beats per minute for the pace you want to run. Fast music = fast running = possible PR.

silly photo credit goes to the hubz: Russ Genders

5. SPI BELT
I have no idea how anyone runs a race without one of these beauties.  What do people do?  Put their keys in their pocket? Tuck their ID in their sock? Stuff 5 hour energy bottles and cell phones down their bra? No, Thank you.  Before you start to think fanny pack, let me assure you that it is so small and lightweight that I hardly even remember it is buckled around my waist.

SPI belt



So tell me, what are your race must-haves?

If you are a blogger and would like to participate in "Monday Must Haves" just link to www.runningfordummies.net in your post and let me know by Sunday night.   I will include a link back to your post in my next Monday's Must Haves post. Just include the below code in your post.

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Keep Running,

Lea 

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

COLOR ME RAD FORT WORTH RACE RECAP



As tradition, the night before every race, I lay out my racing gear for the next morning and take a picture.  It is my "flat dummy".   I stole the idea was inspired by Moms Run This Town who do "Flat Mamas" of race gear on their Facebook page.

You may notice my flat dummy looks different than usual.  This is because this is not a usual race.  First of all, notice the absence of my GPS watch and my iPod.  I didn't want to risk getting my expensive gear ruined by the color bursts.  After all, this race is the true definition of a fun run, it is not even timed.  Since it is only a 5K, I knew I could survive the miles without music.

Flat Dummy with old clothes and retired shoes

I picked out the oldest crappiest running gear I could find.  Old shorts that really don't fit me anymore (too big) and a cotton white tank that I wonder why I still even have because I haven't worn it since 2010.  I even dug out a pair of retired running shoes.  Doesn't everything look so clean? 

Friday on my lunch break, I head over to the hotel in Fort Worth to pick up my race packet.  I expected this to be a quick in-and-out pick up, based on past race experiences.  I was wrong.  I line was wrapped through the hotel lobby out the front door into the 100 degree parking lot.  Did I mention it was over 100 degrees and I was wearing work clothes?  That first 15 minutes in line wasn't fun.  I did finally make it into the air conditioned lobby and continued to wait.  I wondered what was taking so long!  When I finally got to the front of the line, almost thirty minutes had passed.  I mentally noted posted a Facebook status update that it took me longer to pick up my packet that it would take me to actually run the race.  But I wasn't complaining (too much).  I really did the like the shirt and they gave me these super nerdy cool glasses.


Based on my experience at packet pick up, I gave myself plenty of time the morning of the race to battle traffic, parking and bathrooms.  While I have only heard good things about the color races themselves, I have heard they were generally unorganized.  I was up at 6:30 and hit the road at 7:30 to make the 9am wave.  As I got closer to the race site, I started to worry that maybe I was in the wrong place, or on the wrong day.  There was NO traffic at all until right before you turned into the parking lot, and even that was only a five minute set back.  I easily parked, used the porta-potties, and had more than an hour to kill before start time.  

Remember the 103 degree weather I was complaining about yesterday? Well this morning, I was down right cold in my shorts and tank!  It was chilly and windy.  I am pretty sure this is the first time I described Texas weather as cold since February.  I was, of course, grateful for the cold(er) weather because I knew it would make my run much easier.

After a long wait, as the start time approached, I made my way up to the start line to ensure I got a place in front in the first wave.  I had heard there were a lot of walkers in this run and I wanted to make sure I could stay ahead of the herds.  Then we were off!  I have to admit it was kind of freeing not to have the GPS watch.  I have a tendency to obsess over pace.  It was nice to just run what felt comfortable and not worry about time at all.  They didn't have any of the miles marked off, so I would have liked to know how far along I was while on the course, but since it was only 3 miles, that didn't drive me too crazy. 

A few minutes in, I ran through the first color station.  Basically a bunch of people threw colored powder at me as I passed through.  I didn't get too colored my first go.  The second station was lined with people squirting colored water at me from hoses.  This time I got soaked and colored.  The water was cold!  I could have used some people with water hoses at my Too Hot To Handle 15K in July!  Today, at first, it just felt cold.  I repeatedly ran through the powder and colored water stations until I crossed the finish line.  I came out looking like this on the other side.

Too cool for school.
My unofficial time was 27 minutes assuming the race started exactly on time.  This was based on me pulling out my cell phone and looking at the time after I crossed the finish line.  Not my best  5K time, but still pretty good considering the color stations slow you down a tiny bit and the terrain changed as I progressed through the mostly flat course.  I know what you are thinking, these types of races are not about achieving a new PR, they are technically not even races since they are not timed.  The color runs are all about having fun!

I did have fun, you can't help but laugh and smile as you are getting color bombed, but these are the types of events that are definitely more fun when you do them with friends. I tried to meet up with some Facebook friends for after-race pictures, but it was just so crowded and my phone wasn't sending any texts, probably due to overload on the cell towers (or the fact that I have crappy phone service). 

When I got home I washed my hair, threw that old shirt away and did a load of laundry. There is still color residue on my cell phone (color was all over my hands when I pulled it out to check the time), my SPI belt and probably on my car seats!  

It was a fun run but I wish I had been able to experience it with some runner friends.  Who is with me for next time? There were a lot of walkers, so you definitely don't have to be a runner to participate!  That being said, I am ready to get back to some serious races where I can stress out and put too much pressure on myself again!   What about you?  Tell me where you ran your last color run?

I have never before bought the professional race photos, but these were so inexpensive compared to the regular rate, and just so fun, that I gave in to the temptation!





Want to run the Color Me Rad 5k in Dallas October 2013? Check out my blog post about it and if you act really fast, you can use the discount code I provided in the post.  Hope to see you there!

Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

INSANITY FINAL TWO WEEKS: SEVEN & EIGHT RECAP


Shaun T on my TV

Thanks for following along as I blog about my experience doing Insanity.  

If you need to catch up:
Week one and two recap
Week three and four recap
Recovery week recap
Week five and six recap

This is it! My final two weeks in my first round of Insanity. Let me share with you the key to success with Insanity.  Do it everyday.  Do the best you can do.  Don't compare your fitness level to those people on the screen.  Push yourself to to do a little better each time.  Most importantly, hit play on the DVD player every day.  Consistency is the key.   I was shocked at how much I improved in the fit tests over the 9 weeks, and I thought I was in pretty good shape before I started.

I do have to admit that almost every single day before I started my workout for the day, those negative thoughts would creep in.

"This is going to be hard!"
"I don't feel like it!"
"I REALLY don't feel like it!"
"No, seriously, I don't feel like doing this today!"
"Why am I doing this again?"
"When am I going to be done with this program again?"
"Maybe I should take a rest day today."
"I'm too tired."
"I'm too busy."
"I don't have the energy today."

But most of the time I ignored those thoughts and pushed play on the DVD player anyway.  99% of the time, I felt better as I got into the workout.  100% of the time I felt like a complete bad-ass and on top of the world when I was finished.  Fighting those negative thoughts is 75% of the battle.  Your body can handle it, sometimes it is your mind that you have to convince.  I found as the weeks went on and the DVD's became more routine, and I knew what to expect, those negative thoughts were stronger and I had to fight harder to get through them.  I am not claiming I was perfect.  I was not.  I missed a work-out here and there, especially these last two weeks.  I don't beat myself up over missed work-outs.  We are talking one or two days in a 67 day program.  Forget it and move on.  As long as you keep moving forward, you will be fine.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well on the fit test.  I don't know why.  Maybe because I know I would be sharing it here with you, I don't know, but I really stress before the test.  I did this in school too, maybe calling it a test is a negative trigger word for me. How about performance evaluation? Wait, that sounds scary too.  This second to last week, I decided to do the fit test on Sunday, the rest day, so that I wouldn't have to do the fit test plus Monday's hour long workout all in one day.

Week 7 Fit Test Results
Sunday is usually my Indulgence meal day.  Note to self: Don't eat a huge burrito and then attempt to do the fit test a mere few hours later.   I was fine in the beginning, but by the last exercise, I really thought that I was going to puke.  I slowed WAY down to avoid vomiting on my yoga mat during low plank obliques and still managed to beat my last fit test by one rep.

I generally am a very clean eater, but I slipped up nutritionally that second to last week.  I got back on track for the final week, but I did notice a huge difference in my performance and energy levels while my body was processing those bad foods.  

Final Results!
  
The Good: 
  • This super intense program delivers results in a short period of time.  If you are looking to improve overall fitness, this is the program for you.  
  • I like that you don't have to think about what your workout will be everyday, you just hit play and follow along.
  • Shaun T is the perfect instructor, providing clear instruction and motivation with minimal non-relevant commentary.
The Bad: 
  • By the end of the second month, I started to get bored with the repetitive nature of doing the same exercises over and over.  This is an issue with me with any DVD workout over time. 
  • Running took a back seat to Insanity.  I wasn't running as much because I was concerned about over stressing my body and/or losing weight.   Because Insanity is a six day a week program, I just wasn't able to get my regular runs in.  By the end of the program, I would be lucky to get in one good run a week.  I really missed running these last 9 weeks.
I highly recommend this program to anyone who already has some fitness experience.  It can be pretty intense, even for an experienced exerciser, so I don't think it is appropriate for true beginners.  It definitely gets easier over time.  Don't be discouraged by all the hype online about the difficulty of month two.  It is hard, but it is not that bad.  It is manageable, and as you progress through that second month, it gets better.  I definitely got stronger and was able to perform better over time. 

Stay Tuned for my final blog post with my final fit test, Insanity Before & After pictures, measurements, weight and body fat percentage.

I plan on repeating the program from month one after a short break starting mid-September, this time with a little more running.

Keep Running,

Lea

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A WEEK OF BREAKING BAD




Don’t worry,  I did not turn to a life of drugs and crime like on the AMC television show with the same name.  This is my own version of breaking bad.  I broke bad in regards to my diet.

If you follow my blog you probably know that I am a big fan of the indulgence meal.   I strongly believe that the one of the success factors of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is allowing yourself indulgences a couple times a week.  I never completely deprive myself of anything.   I eat pizza, cheeseburgers, French fries, ice cream, chocolate and tacos, but not all in the same meal!  I drink beer and wine in moderation.  I enjoy every moment of it.  Then I immediately go back to healthy choices for the very next meal.  These indulgences have never had an impact on the scale or my goals.   The key to my success is that they only occur once, or maybe twice, a week.  They are planned and controlled.

And then these past 10 days, I broke bad.

Last week was a hectic week.  I was off work for a couple of days while helping my husband close on a loan for a new work vehicle for his business.  We had plans to hit the road to Houston to pick up the vehicle, but due to a mass amount of headaches and things-gone-wrong, we ended up spending most of those two days at the house waiting and frustrated.  My usual schedule was flipped on its head for two days. 

While I will often tell anyone who will listen that I would like to live a life financially independent from my corporate job, I realize now, more than ever, that I need the structure of a nine to five.   Every day I pack my meals for the day.  Everything that I will consume between 8 and 5 is neatly planned and packed away.  The moment I get home from work, I do my Insanity workouts, drink a protein shake, then eat a healthy dinner.   After dinner every day we run or walk at least a  mile, then I do my dailyplank.   This is my routine.  Structure keeps me on track.  

Last week was very unstructured and for the first time this year, I made some unplanned, spur-of-the-moment, emotionally driven, bad food choices during the week days.  I went back to work on Wednesday and normally would have been able to jump right back on track, but Hubby wanted to go out to dinner after work that night.  It is rare that we go out to dinner, so I jumped at the chance to try a new restaurant.  On Thursday we had a friend visiting from out of town for the long week-end.   It is certainly not our friends fault that I made poor choices, but it is hard to entertain out of town guests at salad bars while drinking protein shakes.   We took him to all our favorite local restaurants.  Normally I am big believer in making the healthiest choices possible, doing the best with what you have in front of you.  I didn’t do that.  I ate whatever I wanted, over and over again.  I enjoyed it.  Then it was the Labor Day holiday and I had another day off from work.  All of this led to more unstructured eating.  The thing about bad choices is that the more you make bad choices, the easier they become.  I knew I couldn’t let a few bad days turn into new bad habits.  I knew I had to turn it around.  



I was probably the only person in America who was grateful to go back to work after the three day Labor Day week-end.  I needed to get back on track, and I know that packing my lunch, structure, and routine was the fastest way for me to get there.

I stepped on the scale Tuesday morning because I know that being slapped in the face with the reality of the situation would help me mentally move on back to my regular healthy lifestyle.

What did the scale say?  Nine pounds up from 10 days ago.  Did I actually gain nine pounds of fat in 10 days?  Of course not.  Was it mostly temporary water weight and bloat, probably due to increase sodium intake?  Yes.  Would most or all of it go away in a few days?  Most likely.  

One important thing that I need to tell you is that I still did my Insanity workouts everyday during this whole indulgence week.  This is further proof that you can’t out exercise a bad diet, even with a hard-core exercise program like Insanity.  Repeat.  You can’t out exercise a bad diet.




The next day I stepped on the scale after only one full day of clean eating and the scale already dropped three pounds.  Did I lose three pounds of fat in one day?  No. Just like I didn’t gain nine pounds of fat in one week.  Then the next day, down another two pounds.  Although I am (sort of) paying the price for my poor choices now, I know for a fact that in a week or so my weight will stabilize back to my pre-indulgence week weight. 

Why am I sharing this with you?  It can be embarrassing to admit the scale climbed nine pounds, and if I didn't tell you, you would never know.  I doubt anyone looked at me and noticed any difference.  I am sharing because this is real life.  These are the ups an downs of everyone's fitness journey.  We all slip up.  It can be too easy to get off track.  As long as we pick up and move forward, refocus on our goals, no real harm can be had.  As long as we don’t let a bad meal, or a bad day, or even a bad week turn into a lifetime of poor choices, then we are still moving forward in the right direction.  One week is such a small part of my life that in a couple of weeks all of this will be completely insignificant.

I am not beating myself up about this at all.   I actually enjoyed my week  It allowed me to temporarily break bad and enjoy some foods I normally would not eat, while providing me with a gentle reminder how much better I feel, physically and emotionally, when I stick to a clean healthy diet.

How do you get back on track after “breaking bad?”

Keep Running,

Lea

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