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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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.

 

Why are you Hitting Yourself!?

I had a really interesting epiphany today.  And that is that if something hurts, you probably shouldn’t do it.  Seems logical enough right?  During this injury I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I hurt myself in the first place.  And I did do this to myself which makes it all the more frustrating.  There was no freak collision with a vehicle, no tripped in pothole, no rabid animal.  Just me, overusing my ankle, repetitively slamming through the pain for almost three and a half hours.  And so I’ve spent the last 6 weeks reliving that run trying to figure out why it happened and what I can do to prevent it.  I know I pushed too hard – but why would I do that?

I was at the gym today doing some lunges with dumbbells.  About halfway through the set I felt a really bad pain in my tailbone, almost like my spine was on the brink of shattering.  This was definitely not a “just push through and feel the burn” kind of pain.  It shouldn’t have been there and I had no business continuing.  But I didn’t stop.  I checked my form, decided that was fine and I should keep going.  The only thought I had was “It’s fine, I’m almost through the set and then it will stop hurting”.  And then it occurred to me.  That is exactly how this ankle issue happened.  And it’s exactly how the plantar fasciitis happened a few months ago, and it’s exactly how the exertion migraines happened with the weight lifting that landed me in the ER before that.  It’s that concept of – this is okay because eventually I’ll reach my goal of what I want to do, and the pain will stop.  What I’ve learned however, is sometimes the pain doesn’t stop.  Actual damage is a real and present danger.

At any rate.  Marathon training (even marathon training recovery) is still giving me powerful lessons.  I didn’t finish all of the sets and did eventually stop the stupid lunges.  When I started exercising a long time ago I had had trouble motivating and pushing myself and would phone in half my workouts.  Then I learned to love pushing myself and loved finding continual improvement.

I’ve learned another valuable lesson today though, and that is when to pull back.  When to check myself and realize I am human, and do have limits.  It’s humbling, but it’s real.

Weekly video update – not much but still doing what I can. 🙂

Happy National Running Day!

What a cool day.  I’ve loved watching my twitter feed blow up with running stuff all day. 🙂  I got in 2.3 miles myself this evening.  We’ve had crazy thunder storms in my area of Minnesota all day today but I finished my 7 max pace sprints on the treadmill followed by some strength training.  I am pooped!  I’ve somehow been able to get through all of my planned workouts this week, even with the recovery issue.  IMG_0439

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Marathon Training Recap – Week 1 (with video)

Yay!  First week of marathon training is done!  Video recap below. 🙂

This week’s workouts were really tough.  I had to push out my usual Thursday run to Friday which put some difficult speed work (for me) the day before my long run.  I will try to avoid that in the future and give myself the rest day between.  Those back to back runs were just a struggle.

Here’s what next week looks like.

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In other news, I took a break off of dieting.  It’s just been one of those crazy hectic weeks and I didn’t feel like logging anything which isn’t like me.  I’m not eating badly, just not counting every little thing. 🙂  Do you ever have one of those days?  Or weeks?

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Also, saw some geese yesterday on my long run.  Cute!

 

I’d App That

If you haven’t guessed already, I love documenting and tracking everything about my fitness.  Here are a few of my favorites that I use on a weekly/daily basis.

What are your favorites?  What am I missing? 🙂

  1. MyFitnessPal – I use MFP daily to track calories in/out.  (1,070 consecutive days going strong!) (Free!)
  2. MapMyRun – I signed up for the MVP access on MapMyRun (includes all MapMyFitness apps) and love this app for tracking my runs.  The route genius feature is ultimately what sold me on this over Runkeeper which was my go-to prior to MapMyRun. (Free but I payed for the MVP version, I think $20/year?)
  3. Gipis – I use Gipis for my marathon training plan.  When I start a run I initiate Gipis and MapMyRun simultaneously so the data is saved both places.  For treadmill runs I upload to both manually after my run. (Free!)
  4. Fitbit – I took a year off of Fitbit only because it was becoming something of an obsession.  However, I just picked this back up again recently to track how my steps add up with my marathon training.  I am also interested in tracking my sleep to be sure I am getting enough rest as well. (The Fitbit app is free but you purchase the device.)
  5. FitnessBuilder – I’ve been using Fitness Builder for my strength training workouts.  Right now I’m working through the dumbbells program twice a week since I have that equipment both at home and at the LA Fitness I frequent.  I like that it has timer and you can save the weights used.  The weights used on the same exercise last time are shown below which help me gauge what to use for the current workout. (Free!)
  6. Withings – This app links to some other apps I have like MFP.  I mostly use this to log my weight.  I weigh-in once per week on the scale which then sends that data to the app on my phone.  (App is free but you purchase the scale.)IMG_0268

That’s all I’ve got for now!  I’ve tried many others and either disliked or become bored with them.  Would love to know what else is out there though.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Training Plan #57

Guess what kids?  I have a new training plan!  Shocked?  You really shouldn’t be.  I change my mind on my training every 10 seconds.  When it comes to picking a plan I have the attention span of a 3 year old.

What happened to Simply Shredded and 20 miles a week?  I will spare you the details (because they are boring) but in a nutshell, no strength training (not even body weight training) on Dr.’s orders until mid April.  Definitely cuts out the dead lift, bench press and barbell squat in Simply Shredded.  Also, as it turns out 20 miles is a lot to squash into my schedule each week.

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I have been wanting to run this route for over a year and finally did it! Victory!

And thus, a new training plan is born. 🙂  Since I can’t do any strength at the moment, I have the opportunity to focus on my running.  Last week I ran sprint intervals a couple times, did some cross training on the bike and topped it off with a 12.5 mile run from my house to work with a friend on Saturday.

My BRF just started using a new app called Gipis so of course I had to check it out.  I really like that it gives you an estimated race time and shows how you can improve.  It is super customized to you and your goals.  It adds a good combination of easy runs and speed work.  So I’m going to try the Gipis, spruce it up with a little cross training and some hypothetical strength training days (for later).  And there you have it, my latest and greatest.Capture

Monday: run & strength
Tuesday: run
Wednesday: cross training & strength
Thursday: run
Friday: REST
Saturday: long run
Sunday: cross training

I’d like to say that this is *the* training plan that will support me all the way to marathon day.  But let’s be honest folks, it probably isn’t.  I know I will probably “upgrade” to something newer, better, shinier, fancier.  The good news is, I’m still learning what works for me, I’m still getting stronger and faster.

And I’m not stopping.  Ever.