2,000 Days of MyFitnessPal

Today my log in streak on MyFitnessPal hit 2,000 days.  Another 1,000 days later I’m a bodybuilder and 2 time marathoner. 🙂

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If you’re interested, here is the link to my first 1,000 Days of MyFitnessPal.

The previous blog left off with a hopeful and excited Bethany looking forward to training for her first marathon.  That initial excitement triggered one of the most rewarding and frustrating projects of my life.  It took me almost 2 years of training to complete my first marathon.  I had my sights set to run the Twin Cities marathon in 2015 and wound up not running it due to an injury.  That injury was detailed both on this site and also on my YouTube channel so I will just leave that there for what it is.  I learned to listen to my body, as cliche as that sounds.  I learned when to pull back.  I learned how to really treat recovery like it’s own sport.

I rallied and instead focused on another race as my first marathon, the Delaware Marathon in May of 2016.  I ran it, I finished it.  But… I was about a minute over the official cutoff time.  I was still awarded a medal.  I still ran the distance.  But it just left me feeling unsatisfied.  I registered for the Twin Cities race again to try to improve my time from my first race.IMG_0085

Through my training for the Delaware Marathon I had also put on a bit of weight (20 mile long run = 2 million extra calories right?).  I felt heavy and sluggish.  Through some research, and knowing what I already did about training I knew I needed to put some strength training back in my life.  I was terrible at doing it on my own though.  My best friend recommended Fuse Fitness Coaching.  I started strength training regularly at Fuse and really enjoyed it.

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For the first time in a long while I started looking forward to working out instead of dreading the next run.  I realized I was not very good at balancing cardio and strength and the running and training became less of a priority.

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I started running only when I felt like it which was a few times a week and no long runs.  By this point I had planned to skip the Twin Cities race (again) up until a few weeks before the race.  I wondered…what if I showed up and just did my best?  More on this on my YouTube but spoiler alert:  I was able to run and finish the Twin Cities marathon.  I PR’d my Delaware Marathon time and finished under the TC cutoff.

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This leads us to October 2016.  I wanted a new goal, something strength focused as that was where I was having the most fun.  I still had some weight to lose and decided to just focus on fat loss.  Aforementioned best friend and I had a girl’s trip to Costa Rica planned and we just really buckled down, tracked our macros, hit the strength training hard together at Fuse.  We both hit our fat loss goals for the trip!

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, cloud, sky, water, outdoor and natureThis was incredibly rewarding and I wanted more.

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I decided to see how much fat I could lose for a photo shoot.  At the time it felt like a pretty vain goal but I wanted to see if I could achieve that toned fitness model look you see in magazines.  I worked with my amazing coach at Fuse for nutrition advice and daily workouts.  I tracked everything in MyFitnessPal.  I was able to cut a significant amount of weight and fat.  I had so much fun at the shoot and was in the best shape of my life.  I got my proofs back and was so proud of how they turned out.  But I still thought I could push myself more.  I wanted a bigger, badder goal.  At this point I’ve learned that what makes fitness fun for me is having a giant goal with an end date to work toward.

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I decided to register for my first bodybuilding show (bikini division).  I had been researching and following competitions for years as I trained for other things… always with this wistful thought of “those girls are amazing, I could never do that”.  I never thought my body could actually look like one of those ripped girls on stage.  But through my other fat loss challenges and the photo shoot I had a taste of what training hard and losing fat for a goal looked and felt like.  I knew this challenge would test my limits more than ever before.  I knew it would be expensive.  I knew it would be time consuming.  I knew it would be as emotionally and mentally challenging as it would be physically.  And I wanted it.  I wanted all of it.

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I registered.  I trained and dieted relentlessly all with the help and guidance of my coach at Fuse in a safe environment.  I learned how important it is to balance both weight training and cardio.  I weighed and tracked every gram in MyFitnessPal.  My prep lasted a total of about 20 weeks.  (If you’re interested, I documented this journey on Instagram @b.chan.fit.)  I stepped on stage at an all time low weight and body fat.  I was extremely proud of this accomplishment.

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I’m currently registered and training for my 2nd bodybuilding show this May and could not be happier and more excited to get on that stage again.  You’d better believe I’ll be logging into MyFitnessPal…every…single…day.progpics11-26

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Marathon Countdown: 5 Days

So… I’m running a marathon in 5 days.  But seriously folks, *I* am running a *marathon* in *5 days*!  I’m freaking out.  Like honestly seriously really really psyched up for this race.  The good news is that this is following all the normal race feelings.  I’m almost always cool as a cucumber until I get “the” email.

(Vlog from this past Sunday.)

“The” email is the one that has all the important stuff you need to run.  It basically says this: You have to pick up your bib and swag, you need to park somewhere for that and you need to park somewhere on race day.  You need to show up on time on race day.  Remember to drink water so you don’t die.  Here’s the giant course you have to run through and here are where we’ll give you said water so you don’t die.  You have to finish by this time or else something not so cool will happen.  You can store your stuff over here and your entourage can cheer for you over there.  You can order pictures from said ordeal at this site. Etc., etc., etc.,

And so I read through this and all I can think is “oh crap”.  I actually signed up for and trained for this giant thing and now I have to go do it.  I talk myself out of the same tree every single time.  Usually it’s just the first time at that distance and this is a big one.

The real bummer about this race is there is a very EASY out.  After you run 13.1 miles you can take a simple turn, get your medal for the half marathon and call it a day.  They’ll give you the appropriate time for the half and everything.  All you have to do is stop running.  Get your banana, take your pics!  You can go home to air conditioning, naps, cupcakes, the works.  Be done in half the time!  That will be, by far the biggest challenge I am going to face on Sunday.  I know that is going to be extremely tempting.  Especially if it’s as warm as it’s going to be.

But I didn’t start this thing to run a half marathon.  Been there, done that.  This is my time, I’ve earned it, and I’m going to do this.  That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.  🙂  If you have any other words of wisdom 5 days out of a big giant thing, please share. I could use it!

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Race Recap: Rock n’ Roll New Orleans

It finally happened!  I ran my first race after injury recovery.  This was also the first race I’ve ever traveled to via plane.  Here’s a breakdown of the weekend’s events and the race itself.

Friday
I took Friday off of work.  I woke up and ran, dropped my husband Luan off at work, came back home, ran again (had to catch up on the Fitbit challenge!) to total 4 miles.  Showered and finished packing.  I’d had a sore throat for the past couple days and continued chugging airborne every chance I got.  Tara got to my place right on time.  We loaded her stuff into my car and went to pick up Luan so he could take us to the airport.  Check in was a breeze (we used the super secret extra checkpoint with virtually no line for security clearance) and had a leisurely lunch before boarding our direct flight to New Orleans.  Once there we checked in at our gorgeously historic hotel (so pretty, we lucked out!) and had lunch with some friends from one of our running groups online.

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Our Hotel: Le Pavillon

Saturday
On Saturday we slept in a bit and had lunch at the Ruby Slipper.

The food was amazing!  After breakfast we picked up tickets to the city bus tour and rode that to the race expo.  After picking up our packets, gels, and a few other unnecessary items we got back on the bus.  We were especially excited to visit one of New Orleans creepy cemeteries.  At least I think they’re extra creepy since the dead are kept in tombs instead of underground.  On our way we went to stop at a restaurant for lunch.  Turns out it was only the 4th day this place was open and the service was extra slow.  We wound up waiting an hour for salads before leaving with only mimosas in our tummies.

After touring the graveyard we got back on the tour bus and enjoyed a tour of the rest of the city before returning to our hotel.  We had Mexican food for dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito – yum!  IMG_2861.JPG

Sunday/Race Day
I didn’t sleep well the night before the race.  Big mistake but what can you do?  I was a giant bundle of nerves and just extremely excited for the race the next day.  I was still nerves and anxious energy in the morning and didn’t have an appetite so breakfast was not what I was used to.  My usual giant bowl of oatmeal or bagel was substituted by a cereal bar.  We then went down to the start which was only a couple of blocks from our hotel.  So completely convenient!  I’m used to spending 30-45 minutes driving around trying to find parking and walking to the start so this was really amazing.

I’m not sure how many people ran but it was a very popular race.  We were back in Corral 22 and waited maybe 45 minutes to an hour after the gun to start.  As I was waiting it hit me.  I was starving.  Bummer.  With only 3 gels I knew this was going to be a challenge.

Mile 1-3: I was just so happy to be racing!  I kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast.  I new I wanted my pace those first few miles to be at about an 11:30 minute mile.  By mile 3 my stomach couldn’t take it anymore and I popped the first gel which I wouldn’t usually use until mile 4.

Mile 4-8: The next few miles I just really did my best to keep my pace and not slow down too much.  At this point I knew the lack of fuel was going to turn into a real problem sooner than later.  My left foot also started to get numb around 5, which I was actually really freaked out about. Usually when that starts I can’t get it to go away but it was gone by mile 8 (small victories!).  Wound up using the second gel at mile 7 (again, ahead of schedule).

Mile 9-11: Used the 3rd gel and just tried to hack it as best I could.  They had a different kind of nutrition I’d never heard of before but I didn’t know if something new would be better or worse than nothing.  The heat started to mess with me at this point a bit too.

Mile 11-13: I had been looking forward to these last few miles of the race and had hoped I’d be able to pick up the pace.  I was just completely exhausted.  Started taking a couple really short walk breaks here and there but just slowed overall.

Mile 13-13.1: I finished!  I can’t explain how happy I was. I was tired, spent, starving, nauseous but no joints or ligaments or tendons were hurt and I was done. 🙂

Moments after finishing I started feeling really ill.  All the cold/flu symptoms I had been fighting just hit me all at once like a ton of bricks.  I took a few minutes to just sit and waited for Tara to finish.  After the race we were both ready to call it a day and head back to the hotel for some serious R & R after the Rock ‘n Roll.  A few hours of sleeping and cheesy movies later and we were ready to check out Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street was (I think?) relatively peaceful on the evening we were there.  It was Sunday night and there were people milling around with a party atmosphere but nothing ridiculous.  This was my first time to New Orleans but my assumption is also that most of the crazy was probably going on a few weeks earlier during Mardi Gras.

And just as we were settling in for a quiet balcony dinner, there was a parade!  A parade!  On Sunday night!  Totally random but we really enjoyed it.  It almost felt like celebration for finishing the race. 🙂  And maybe it was.IMG_2896.JPG

 

Registered for First Marathon for the Second Time

So many updates!  I finished and passed my very last Ph.D. course, we got the house on the market to move to another area of town, and I’m starting to ease back into running!  Just a little running but it’s enough to keep me sane for now. 🙂

In even more exciting news, I’ve registered for another marathon.  It’s an interesting experience, registering for your first marathon for the second time.  The first time was filled with pure adrenaline and the excitement of “Wow I can’t believe I’m doing this! I’m going to run a marathon!”.  The second time was more bitter sweet and hopeful.  I really hope I can pull it off this time.  I am also filled with an intense grit and determination to do this.  Several people have asked me why I won’t just wait until the Twin Cities marathon in 2016.  The answer is simple, I just can’t.  I would rather train through sub zero temperatures, snow storms, slush and sleet that is Minnesota Winter instead of wait another whole year to have a chance to accomplish this.  I only hope I’m not jinxing it by registering before I’m even fully recovered from this injury.

I picked the Delaware Marathon in Wilmington, DE.  The reason I chose this race is simple – it’s a chance to return to where I grew up and see the city in a whole new light.  I’ve learned that running through a city truly gives you a new perspective and I didn’t start running until years after I had moved away.  My parents and grandparents live relatively close to there which will make it a fantastic family get-together as well.  I had been looking at a few races but when I found this one, I had such a good feeling and knew it was the one.  It’s a smaller race and I didn’t want to miss my chance so I registered.  I registered for my first marathon, again.

I also just registered for a race in February (RNR Half Marathon – New Orleans)!  I enjoyed the Rock and Roll Chicago so much and when I heard my BRF was running this one I just couldn’t pass up another girls weekend and fun race experience. 🙂

At this point I’m done with all races for 2015 and looking forward to complete recovery by the end of the year.  I can’t wait to put my all into training for this awesome home town marathon. 🙂

Race Recap: Women Rock – Starlet Challenge

Women Rock is the first 10K I ever ran.  I first ran this race in 2013 and it was the first event I ever trained for consistently.  In 2013 the 10k was the longest distance I had ever run.  It gave me the confidence to spontaneously register for and run a half marathon only a couple weeks later (didn’t train for it, but did survive and finish!).

Last year I ran the 10K again and beat my previous time.  This year I wanted a new challenge and registered for the Women Rock Super Starlet Challenge.  The challenge involved a night 2.5K race on Friday night, followed by a half marathon and a 5K on Saturday.  My hope when I registered for this in December was to PR my half on this race.  However, this time last week with my injury I was thinking I wouldn’t be running it at all.

In light of the injury I down graded back to the 10K along with the other races which would fulfill the Rock Starlet Challenge (minus the “super”) and still earn me 4 beautiful medals.  My coach advised walking the 2.5k night race followed by walk run intervals on the 10K and 5k.  Not wanting to ruin my chances at running the upcoming marathon, that’s what I did.  And it worked!  I finished the races, had fun with my friends and the ankle still seems to be on the mend at this point.11947689_10207394826725719_3750133041126512164_n

No race video on this one.  I was really focusing on taking it easy and avoiding further damage.

I honestly thought at this point in the game I would be racking up the PRs and setting new records for distance.  As it stands, I still have yet to run a distance PR through any of my marathon training at all.  (My longest distance in training is the 16 miles I ran on August 16th which earned my injury.  My longest distance ever is 16.86 miles I ran for a trail race in April.)

This struggle in the road to 26.2 is not what I was expecting at all.  I was assuming I would work through scheduling issues with finding time for long runs and mentally pushing through exercising through long periods of time.  Instead I am babying this ankle and am an emotional wreck due to my disappointment in myself with these injuries.  I know this is causing major setbacks in my mileage in these remaining and very important final weeks.

But, it’s still an experience and I’m learning what to do and what not to do for next time, if there is one… we’ll see. 🙂

Race Recap: Rock & Roll Chicago (w/video)

WOW!  This race totally blew my socks off.  Not literally.  No socks were harmed in the running of this race. Here is a recap of my experience running the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Chicago last weekend.  I will skip the details of the weekend and zoom right to the actual race.

The entertainment was non stop!  Bands! Guys on stilts!  Cheerleaders! And cheering stations everywhere!

I also loved all of the amenities.  Plenty of aid stations and medical tents with water and Gatorade.  Aid stations toward the end had gels which included the Rock and Roll official flavor: Salted Watermelon. (Full disclosure: I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet.)  Cool sponges and mist stations were also very nice.  Ice cold towels at the finish and plenty of snacks.

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Pre-race pic!

Start: It took about 20-25 minutes for our wave to start after the official 6:30 start time.  I’m not sure how many people ran this thing but it was in the thousands.  I was really impressed with how well organized this race was, especially considering how many people ran.  I got to hang out with a friend while waiting so the wait time flew by.  Gun went off and off we went!

I originally wanted to try to PR at this race.  Looking at the forecast on Thursday though (extreme heat warning and humidity) I readjusted my plans and aimed for a goal of 2 hours, 30 minutes.  Not a PR but would be my best half this year.

Mile 1: Went out too fast.  What’s new right?

Mile 2: Even faster.  That’s how I roll.

Mile 3: Energizer bunny!  Just keep going!

Mile 4 & 5: Still rocking it, at this point feeling pretty confident.  Took a short walk break for a gel somewhere around 4.5.

Mile 6 & 7: This is where my feet starts to hurt every other run.  But today they didn’t.  And it felt awesome.  I popped in the headphones and started sprinting.  At this point I knew I could meet get a PR in spite of the ridiculous heat and humidity.  I felt great.

Mile 8: Heat took over and I had to take a break from sprinting.  I immediately realized my mistake.  The arch of my left foot felt like it was shattering, ripping, almost collapsing on every foot fall.

Mile 9: The pain was excruciating but I kept limp jogging through it as best I could.

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And of course the sweaty post-race pic. 🙂

Mile 10-13: It was just unbearable.  I switched to jog/walk intervals to finish.

Finish time was 2 hours 47 minutes.  My slowest half ever.  It was also an extremely fun experience despite the pain and slow finish time.  I definitely recommend Rock and Roll and would love to run another half in this series.

This race also qualified me for Half Fanatics. 🙂  Inmate # 12395.

Race Recap: Red White & Boom (w/video)

Happy belated 4th of July!  Had a great race experience yesterday.  Here’s a recap of the day!

Made sure to eat a carb-o-licious spaghetti dinner on Friday evening with the family and laid out all of my race gear and outfit.  Got to bed early at about 10:30 pm and got a good night’s sleep before waking up at 4:00 on Saturday morning.

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Tara and I left my house at 5:00 pm and were to the start in (what we thought) was plenty of time.  Dumped my bag at the bag drop and waited in line for the porta-potties.  And waited…and waited…and waited.  Tara left for the start.  I was late.  It was my own fault.  I had actually paid a little extra $$ for the “VIP Experience” which included separate porta-potties, but forgot that little perk at the time.  Bummer!

I missed the start for a few minutes but caught up with Tara quickly.  Was feeling fantastic!  Was hitting my splits really well.  No stomach issues, no leg issues, no motivation issues.  I actually thought I had a shot at beating my (ridiculously fast for me) PR of 2:21:22.  That is until somewhere around mile 5.  My feet of all things just kinda gave out.  I was in an amazing amount of pain.  Every foot fall was excruciating.  I even attempted heel striking on purpose to take the pressure off the balls of my feet but that only made things worse.  I tried to recover but it just all fell apart when I had to switch to walk/jog intervals.

I chalk it up to another stupid mistake.  I knew my shoes were about over due.  My precious Asics Gel Kayano 21s have approximately 500 miles on them and should have been replaced about a month ago.  I knew better but just didn’t prioritize my time properly to get over to the running store.IMG_0697

All in all though it was still such a fun race!  Twin Cities in Motion does a great job with organizing really nice events.  The volunteers were so nice, friendly and helpful and really made running (limping?) 13.1 miles enjoyable.

After the race, it was time for cooking out, hanging out with family and friends and watching the fireworks display.  I hope you had a fantastic 4th too!

And don’t worry 2:21:22… I’ve got all Summer, and I’m coming for you.