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.

Let’s Try this Marathon Thing One More Time

When I decided not to run what would have been my first marathon in October 2015, I more or less dropped this blog too.  Grad school and a promotion at work consumed my life and I focused on those things and recovery.  But now I’m back and feel like I have something to write about again!

I’m registered for the Delaware marathon on May 8th.  I am very excited for this race and am trying to do everything completely by the book this time as possible.  I’m running my miles to the very best of my ability, working with a coach, watching what I eat, and this week even started adding back in strength and cross training.  It’s actually feeling like it can happen this time!  I’m especially excited for what will be the first race post injury: Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon.  My only goal for this race is to genuinely have a good time and not hurt myself.  I think it’s a reasonable goal. 🙂

 

Fitness Update and (belated) Happy Halloween!

Wow, how is it already November?!  Last week was good as fitness endeavors continue.

What I didn’t mention in the video is that I signed up for swim lessons!  They start this Thursday.  I’m both excited and a little nervous.  It’s impressive and strange how those first-day-of-school-jitters are still around even though childhood is long gone.  Will I look like a dork?  Will the other swimmers think I look funny?  Did I get the right swim suit?  Should I bring goggles?  Even if I decide not to pursue triathlons, I’ve always wanted to learn how to swim and think it’s a good life skill.  My boys laugh at me because I am taking swim lessons and they are already good swimmers and super comfortable in the water.  So stay tuned for adventure in not drowning. 🙂