Race Day Review

I did it! I ran my very first timed race! It was no marathon but it was the start of something pretty great for me.

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After suffering numerous setbacks over the summer, I worked really hard and trained my body back into running shape. Mother Nature had other ideas. It rained most of the day prior to the race…and the day of wasn’t much better. While it wasn’t raining, it was super windy and cold. This only added to my nerves. I pushed forward anyway and made the drive to Six Flags Great Adventure.

Once I got there, the nerves disappeared. The race was a Biggest Loser RunWalk and they are the best races to do. They have a community vibe and are very unintimidating. Past contestants from the show are usually on-hand for each race. Dan and Jackie Evans from season 5 host each RunWalk but other contestants usually make special appearances to run and/or cheer everyone on.

The race went through the theme park and looped around…into part of the Safari! At one point, I looked to my right and saw a bunch of Chimps all in a line watching us all run. It was a pretty awesome backdrop to run my first real race on: roller coasters, the Halloween-inspired red fountain, and then the safari.

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Course map

I ran the WHOLE time…pausing briefly once for the pit-stop of water that they had at the 2-mile mark. As I ran, the cold no longer bothered me and the wind wasn’t in front of me so that wasn’t much of a factor either. The terrain was a bit muddy at times from the rain the night before but I pushed through. As I said the BLRWs are a community—and everyone supports one another and cheers each other on throughout the race.

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My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes. I knew with the weather I wasn’t going to hit a PR but as long as it was under that time I would be happy. As I approached the finish line, Pam Geil (from season 14—aka the season that inspired this journey) called my name and cheered me on. Apparently she remembered meeting me at the off-road challenge we did last year!

DAMN GIRL! Hanging out with one of my season 14 inspirations, Pam :)

DAMN GIRL! Hanging out with one of my Season 14 inspirations, Pam!

I took notice of the clock as I crossed the finish line – it said 30:24. I got instantly upset with myself but let it go, knowing that I had completed the race. What I didn’t realize was there was a delay –I didn’t start the race with the first group (when the clock actually started.) I started about a minute and half after the clock did, meaning my time was actually 28:47….which put me in first place in my age group! I never came in first at anything…ever…

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Crossing the finish line!

It’s been a few days now but I’m still in shock when I think about it.  This race was an amazing experience and through training and finishing, I learned an important lesson. Seems every time I doubt myself or have to dig deeper for motivation, greatness happens…which is proof that when you lose the excuses, you find results.

It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to accomplish the goals you set. I’ve pushed through a lot of adversity during this journey but I have managed to succeed in ways I never thought possible. To-date I have lost over 70lbs, went from a size 14 to a size 2, gained confidence that I never had, and gotten my body in the best shape that its ever been. A year ago I could barely run a mile without stopping and now I’ve completed a timed 5K, finishing only four minutes behind the girl who was first overall.

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BLRW 2013 vs. BLRW 2014

This whole experience was truly incredible. There’s something to be said about facing your fears head-on and using it as motivation to achieving your goal.  I don’t know that I will ever run a marathon but I will definitely strive to training my body for longer distances. One day I would love to run the Disney Half—I figure if I’m running that far I may as well do it with a tiara or character ears on my head 🙂

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Posing with my first place ribbon!

I want to thank the people at The Biggest Loser RunWalk . I was generously granted complimentary access to run and to the VIP area, which had plenty of food and drinks (and some much needed heaters!)

The pictures that I’ve included were taken by my amazing, supportive boyfriend who braved the cold just to cheer me on. Professional photographers were on-hand and took pictures throughout the course–those should be posted on the website soon and (since they are free) I will most definitely be sharing them once they are available! 🙂

This was something that I will never forget and I can’t wait to sign up for my next (hopefully longer) race! Remember if you believe it, you WILL achieve it. I suffered several setbacks and continue to face various challenges but crossing that finish line was proof that hard work does pay off. No matter how much you may struggle, always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

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5K Training – Last Chance Workout!

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Well that’s all folks…training is complete!

I notice as I get to the end of challenges or training plans, I mentally start to break down. By the end, I’m pulling so many extra hours in a day that I’m exhausted and feeling like I can’t do it anymore….and yet that’s when great things seem to happen.

My nerves really have gotten the better of me these last few days. We are expecting cold, windy weather tomorrow which I typically don’t run well in. That worries me a bit but I am trying to stay positive. I am a pretty persistent person once I put my mind to something and I know that I’ve worked really hard over these last few weeks. I just have to get speed out of my head and focus on finishing above all else.

I made sure to get a good night’s sleep last night and while I have a rather busy day today, I will do everything I can just take it easy and rest for tomorrow. My plan is to fit in some yoga moves (maybe a Tone it Up video later) just to get some good stretching and a good stress release. I also intend on being in bed super early tonight, as the race begins at 8am and is about an hour away. At this point I’ve done everything I can…the rest is in God’s hands.

All training plans, no matter what they are for, can be very draining (mentally and physically.) However, once you finish there’s a greater sense of self. You were able to push yourself in ways you didn’t think possible. Crossing that finish line will be my prize–not only have I worked really hard to train but this was my goal all year. It hasn’t been easy and there were many times I wanted to give up. Whether you aspire to run a marathon or a smaller race, work hard and take pride in your progress. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

…Here goes nothing…wish me luck!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!
-Gina
thefight2befit@gmail.com

5K Training: Day 10

Cardio: Last run!

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5K Training: The Home Stretch

Good grief I’m tired! I may be in the home stretch but this training is really kicking my butt…big time…

Yesterday should have been a leg day but since they already feel heavy and like jello, I didn’t think using heavy weights this week would be wise. That being said, I’ve decide to hold off on my leg-days until next week. I did manage to run 2 miles at the gym and did 100 squats at home. After all,  just because my legs can’t get extra work doesn’t mean I slack off on keeping the booty in check 😉
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Today was a whole different story. It’s supposed to be arm-day and was also supposed to be the day I ran my 5K distance. Well, my body had other plans for me. Not only could I barely keep my eyes open all day but my stomach was not a happy camper. My goal was to run a 5k on the track by my house right after work (so as to run while it was still daylight.) However, my stomach had other ideas and so I had to come home first…which of course meant running outside was out of the question. I decided I would watch the Biggest Loser, participate in the commercial challenges, then hit the gym for a run. Well, that also didn’t go as planned. I did manage to do one of the workouts–but I kept dozing off while I sat there watching the show. Not cool.

Once the show ended, I was really exhausted and started getting upset with myself.  Here it is 3 days away from race day and I knew that I needed to run 3.1 miles before Sunday in order to feel confident in myself. I got up and put on my workout clothes. I then looked at myself in the mirror and told myself how angry I would be if I didn’t do this run tonight. Sometimes things need to be put into perspective. The thought of how I would feel tomorrow made me push–and off to the gym I went.

I’ve noticed this week that running on a treadmill is much harder than outside–not only do you have to maintain the same speed the whole time, but there is no air flow. The same air circulates in the gym and it’s usually too hot. That coupled with my breathing troubles have made this training very difficult for me. Still, that hasn’t stopped me.

Tonight was probably the biggest struggle I’ve had in a while. My stomach was a wreck, I was extremely tired, I was having trouble breathing as I ran, and my legs are SUPER sore–but I did it. AND I SET A NEW PR! 12 seconds faster than my best time to be exact-go figure…

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Lesson learned..big time. You want something bad enough, you push yourself to get it.  As I was running, I thought I would throw up and I felt a little light headed—but I did it. I had to jump to the sides several times, pausing the machine to drink water. I just kept telling myself no matter how slow this ends up, you have to finish it. Tomorrow is the last day of training so I knew that it was now or never. I did it–and I know I can on Sunday too. We may be expecting really cold weather Sunday morning but I will just take my time and do my best. Just being able to cross that finish line and knowing that I accomplished the goal that I set for myself this year will be an amazing feeling.

One more day left…Stay tuned!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

5K Training – Day 8

  • Cardio: Run – 2 miles, 17:50
  • 100 squats (non-weighted)
5K Training – Day 9:
  • Cardio: Run – 3.1 miles, 28:25
  • Biggest Loser commercial challenge – 15 push-ups

5K Training: Day 7

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I’m now 5 days out from my very first race! I’m super excited but I am starting to get a bit nervous. I made sure to get a good workout in tonight and plan to keep that going until race day. Hopefully, all of this hard work will pay off.

I was really tired today and (shocker) my stomach was not cooperating. Rather than use that as an excuse, I decided to use it as my motivation. I pushed myself harder and ended up running 2 miles on the track by my house. I would post a picture of the run but my app froze during my first lap so the timing is a bit off–so there’s no sense in it. I could estimate that I did the 2 miles in about 18 minutes–which is not great but it’s not bad. I then took myself to the gym for arm-day. I learned my lesson last week when I pushed my injured shoulder too far.  For this workout, I just did as much as I could–pushing myself but not to the point of getting hurt. As a result, I feel sore but I’m not in pain.

Overall, I’d say tonight was a big success. I was exhausted and dealing with some of my stomach issues but I still managed to get a hard workout in. I can honestly say that I’m really proud of myself for pushing through tonight’s workout. My plan is to run 3.1 tomorrow so I can prove to myself that it can be done come race day. Everyday is a learning experience and brings more challenges our way but I find that it’s often better to make improvements on the things rather than make excuses. And always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

5K Training – Day 7

Cardio: Run – 2 miles (outdoor track), 18 minutes**

Arm-day:

Seated row (30lbs) 10 x 5

Lat pull-down (40lbs) 25 x 4 (front & back)

Tricep push-down (75lbs) 10 x 5

Tricep extension (50lbs) 10 x 5

Bicep curls (2-10lbs dumbbells) 10 x 5, each arm

30 assisted pull-ups

20 push-ups (at-home)

Front raises (2-5lbs dumbbells) 10 x 2, 1 x 5 (at-home)

Side raises (2-5lbs dumbbells) 10 x 2, 1 x 5; each arm (at-home)

5K Training: Weekend Edition

I apologize for not posting this earlier. Sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. Seriously…where does the time go?!

With that being said, weekends are always the toughest time to train. We want to be able to sleep later, go out to enjoy free time, or do anything but spend time exercising. However, I find that on a weekend I am less rushed and I can dedicate myself to a much harder workout. For me, it’s actually my favorite time to workout and de-stress from the long week. I decided that this past weekend I would use the extra time to my advantage and attempt to run longer distances so as to be ready for Sunday’s race.

Saturday went well. Though I did have some errands to run and things to do, I still made sure to get a longer run in. I went to the track near my house and ran two miles. The time wasn’t amazing but it was my first two mile run in a while. Plus, it was outside in cooler temperatures…and I didn’t feel overly tired or winded after. So it was a success in my book.

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I woke up yesterday with the worst migraine that I’ve had in a very long time. This didn’t stop me. I knew I was one week out and I wanted to try anyway. So after resting most of the day I took some Advil, drank a cup of a coffee, and made my attempt.

As I started running, my headache seemed to dissipate. I kept going but I began to fight a losing battle with my breathing. Seems an inhaler is no match for strong winds. I pushed through anyway and managed to finish one mile. I paused my app and stopped to catch my breath. I probably should’ve started running again but after what happened back in July, I still get scared when I feel like I can’t breathe. So I just stop…and that’s just what I did yesterday.

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As I walked the rest of the way to get off the track, I couldn’t believe that I was allowing this fear to take over. Sure it was super windy outside but I didn’t have to stop. I could’ve paused my app, drank a little water, and kept going…but I didn’t. It was even more upsetting to think that the same thing could potentially happen on race day. This has been my goal all year–to cross the finish line of a 5K race. If I can’t complete this race on Sunday, I will be devastated. Before the summer I was running that distance in well under 30 minutes…and now I struggle to even finish it. It’s really done a number on me mentally but luckily I’ve had some amazing support this year, keeping me focused and making sure that I don’t give up.

After failing myself miserably for the goal that I had set for myself yesterday, I was a wreck. However, in retrospect, while I could’ve pushed myself it was probably wiser that I stopped. I always say go hard or go home, but I need to be smart about how far to push myself and really listen to my body. If I had kept going yesterday, it likely would not have ended well for me.

As far as today goes, I had full intention on going to the gym after work to run and lift for arm-day…but the day got away from me and it never happened. So I guess my body gets an unplanned (and much hated) rest day. Tomorrow I’m planning a double workout after work to make up for it–a nice, long run outside followed by lifting at the gym. I will shoot for a 3-miler tomorrow but will have to see how my stomach feels and how the day goes. No matter what, it will happen…no nonsense.

Each day brings new challenges but sometimes you have to push through the hard times to get to the good. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

5K Training: Days 3 & 4

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I know I promised to post last night but, once again, I ended up doing a really late workout (thank God for Planet Fitness…) When I finally got myself showered and settled it was after midnight and I was exhausted. However, I will combine forces today and give you both yesterday and today’s training plan.

As I said, I ended up going to the gym later than I had originally planned…after The Biggest Loser (and their commercial challenges) to be exact. I didn’t get to the gym until 9:45p and despite being EXTREMELY sore and tired, I powered through my run and my leg-workout. In fact,  I ended up running a mile in under 9 minutes! It’s been a while since I was able to do that comfortably so I was quite pleased with myself. That run gave me the adrenaline boost that I needed to push through my leg-workout.

Since I had to be up and out early this morning to move my car, I decided to get my run in. My legs felt like jello but I still managed to complete the mile…just not as fast as last night.

My plan is to hit the gym again at lunch to complete my arm workout for the day. This weekend, I intend on increasing the distance that I am running so I can be prepared for next Sunday’s race.

Below, I’ve broken down my workouts from last night and today. I will be sure to update this post after my arm-workout later this afternoon. Have a great day everyone! 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com
5K Training – Day 3:
Biggest Loser commercial challenges:
15 push-ups
Jumping jacks (entire commercial break; I didn’t count…I just did them until the show came back on)
Squats (entire break; these I counted…150!)
1-min wall sit
Crunches (entire break; I did 6 sets of 25 targeting various abdominal muscles)
Cardio – 1 mile run, 8:48
Leg-day:
Hip Abduction – 25 x 4 (150lbs)
Hip Adduction – 25 x 4 (alternating between 125lbs and 150lbs)
Seated Calf raises – 25 x 2 (75lbs)
Seated leg curl – 25 x 2 (50lbs)
Seated leg extension – 25 x 2 (75lbs)
Leg press – 25 x 4 (100lbs)
Weighted squats (squat rack) 10 x 5 (2 – 10lb plates)
5K Training – Day 4
Fasted cardio – 1 mile run, 9:06
Arm-day**:

Lat pull-down (40lbs) 25 x 2 (front and back)
Seated row (30lbs) 10 x 5
Tricep push-down (50lbs) 25 x 2
Shoulder press (25lbs) 10 x 2, 5 x 2
Tricep extension (40lbs) 25 x 2
Fixed pulldown (40lbs) 25 x 2
25 push-ups

**The shoulder that I injured back in June started hurting again today. I felt it pulling while using the shoulder press (which is why the pattern is off) but it seemed okay so I continued with my routine. I didn’t intend on stopping with push-ups (nor only doing 25) but my shoulder started hurting really bad. I actually used the same pattern with the push-up as with the shoulder press but it’s still in bad shape. Guess I overdid it but I will be sure to ice and rest it this weekend, as the next arm-day I have planned isn’t until Monday.

5K Training: Day 2

Hey everyone! Sorry I didn’t get the chance to post this yesterday. I had quite a hectic day but thanks to Planet Fitness being open 24-hours, I was still able to get a late-night workout in…and continue my 5K training.

I got to the gym around 10:15p. I was able to run–but got tired quickly. I tried speeding the treadmill up in the hopes of finishing faster…which was dumb. Of course that only slowed me down because I couldn’t keep up. Still I managed to finish the mile and went on to my arm-day workout. I didn’t get the opportunity to hit my favorite location, where I use the assisted pull up machine, so I opted to use the shoulder press machine instead. I also decided not to use the fly machine as the muscle that it targets is where my injury was…and with limited training time, I don’t want to re-injure myself.

Between the crappy weather outside, lack of sleep, and being super sore…today is most definitely an extra coffee kind of day. I’ll hit the gym after work to power through my leg-day workout (yay!) along with another 1-mile run. Later tonight, I get a bonus workout as it’s Biggest Loser night…which means commercial challenges!  I’ll post the details of my full workout after the show. Enjoy your day everyone! 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Last night’s workout:
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Arms:

Lat pull-down  (40lbs) 25 x 4 (front & back)
Seated row (30lbs) 10 x 5
Tricep push-down (50lbs) 25 x 2
Shoulder press 1 x 10 (30lbs) / 4 x 10 (25lbs)
Seated tricep extension 10 x 5 (50lbs)
Bicep curls (2 -10lb dumbbells) 10 x 5 (each arm)