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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Marathon Countdown: 14 Days

Just two weeks from today I will run my first marathon.  I’ve trained as well as I can up until this point and am just getting through the next couple weeks one day at a time.  I’ve also started working on my dissertation for my Ph.D. this week which will make things a little more complicated.  I’m going to focus on balancing adding the grad work back as the running continues to taper off.

As I’m writing this I realize I didn’t write about last week’s Hot Chocolate 15K at all!  No PRs there but it was a fun day with friends and chocolate.   Here are some pics from the event.

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Also found a new bike path this week!  Every time I think I’ve run every road I can get to from my house, this town surprises me.  I really do feel lucky to live in such a run-friendly neighborhood.

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Marathon Countdown: 23 Days

Training for my first marathon has surprised me in so many ways.  This past week has just been a complete roller coaster of emotions.  I’m starting to obsess over this race.  I’ve planned for races before. I’ve looked forward to them, but I’ve never obsessed quite like this.  I think I’m probably driving my family bonkers with my constant running chatter.

Last weekend I ran my first 22 miler.  I ran it in the evening after traveling all day to get home from (an awesome!) visit with my little sister and her new baby in NC.   It was just a really long way to run after an already full day.  It took me over 4 and a half hours which just felt like a long time.  I did feel very strong at the 16 mile mark which is usually my “yikes, this is really hard!” mileage.IMG_3133

At this point I have no doubt in my ability to run this race.  I feel completely confident I can run it.  Which feels pretty darn good!

But I don’t want to.

What!?  I’m just really sick of running at this point.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t like doing it.  I want to do other things for exercise.  I used to take lots of classes at the gym.  I used to cycle.  I used to jump rope.  I used to do HIIT and tabata and kick boxing and weight lifting and paddle boarding.

And now I run.  I run a lot (for me anyway).  And I’m tired of it.

But marathons are hard right?  There are supposed to be moments that aren’t super fun and rainbow sparkles with sunshine!

I think the problem may be that I’m doing a lot of running and not a lot of racing lately.  I am so close to this thing I really want to see it through.  I don’t want to be this close and say “yeah, I almost ran a marathon and then didn’t”.  I’ve already been there and done that.  So I need to figure this thing out and learn to like running again.

As it turns out, I actually do have a race tomorrow morning and I’m hoping that will jump start my love of running, racing and training again.  Because I am going to run this marathon.

It would be nice if I didn’t hate the next 23 days of preparing for it. 🙂

Big Milestone – The 20 Miler!

So excited and relieved to have been able to run this distance today!  Feeling more excited about and committed to my training than ever this week.  No long blog post today but here is a short video recap of today’s marathon training run.

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

 

Marathons and Ragnar and Tri’s Oh My!

I went through a period of feeling like I would never run again, never race again.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s where I was mentally.  The ankle pain was ridiculous for weeks and when you’re in that mode it gets difficult to imagine doing the things you love again.  But, now that my ankle is feeling stronger I’ve been more confident in registering for races and looking toward some pretty nifty new goals in 2016.

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My yellow brick road. 🙂

I had thought that once I had finished 2015 I would have completed my first marathon.  It didn’t happen and won’t at this point.  I’m okay with that.  However, I thought that I would have moved on to some other things.  I wanted to start looking at multiple marathons in one year, a 50K, Ragnar Relay and I’ve been interested in triathlons for a few years now.

The 50K is not going to happen, so let’s just scratch that right now.  Goals need to be realistic.  I think 2 marathons in one years is a pretty good start as far as endurance running is concerned.  I want to get those under my belt and then see how a longer distance feels after completing those.

Ready for Women Rock 2014!

My ruby slippers. 🙂

However, the rest of it seems… kinda feasible!  Multiple marathons should be a go as long as I’m diligent in my recovery, pay attention to my body, and avoid injury at all cost now that I know injury is an actual thing that actually does happen if you’re not careful.  My BRF is captaining a Ragnar Relay team that we’re organizing for August, and I’m looking into triathlons.  By “looking into” I should have said “learning how to swim”.  So stay tuned on that one.  Adventures in not drowning soon to come!

So that is what is going on this week.  Otherwise I’ve just been focusing on getting back into shape, losing a little weight and making sure I don’t forget to take care of this ankle and take it for granted.