A CrossFit Review (Plus 5 Reasons Why I Work Out)

crossfit review

crossfit review

Ever wondered what the CrossFit craze was all about?  Me, too.  So, I joined 4 weeks ago.  And let me tell you, if you DO NOT love a sweaty, hard, near-impossible workout, then CrossFit is not for you!  But, if you like getting  your butt kicked several times a week with other crazy people, then you should totally try it!

I have been intrigued with CrossFit for several years, but never could justify driving into town (10 mile away) several days a week to workout.  Not to mention, the only time that might work for me was 5:30 am and there was NO WAY I was getting up that early!

For the last several years of my fitness journey, I’ve always chosen at home workouts and done my exercising alone.  I’m a pretty self-motivated person, so that has worked fine for me.  After running my half marathon 2 months ago, though, I became completely unmotivated on the fitness front!

In my head I had big plans…. I was going to maintain a 6 mile base, I was going to pick up weightlifting  again (I have a nice set of dumbbells), I was going to do PiYo again.

And you know what?

I was having a hard time doing any of it!

A nearby town (my hometown, actually) has had a CrossFit group for the last 4 years.  I’ve known the owner since the beginning because we did a few presentations together that our chiropractor sponsored.  I would talk about food and farming and she would talk about fitness.

Anyway, during the first week in June, she ran a BOGO deal to join CrossFit, so I decided maybe that was what I needed to get myself back in gear!

Let me tell you, I LOVE IT!!!!  I love all the weightlifting (I took a weightlifting class my senior year of high school and fell in love with it!), the difficulty of the workouts and doing it with a great group of people.  I wasn’t sure what I would think about exercising with others around to see my sweaty self, but EVERYONE is a sweaty, gasping mess when it’s all over, so nobody cares and everybody is very encouraging.

There is a wide wage of people that go.  Some are super buff and have been doing this for years.  Some are like me- not in terrible shape, but definitely could use improvement.  And others are at the very beginning of their fitness journey.  There’s also all sorts of ages- teenagers, 30-something moms/dads, and 60-something grandmas and grandpas!

Anyway, if you have a CrossFit box (that’s what the official gym is called) anywhere in your near vicinity, I highly recommend it!

WHY I WORK OUT

OK, so I’ve told you about my latest fitness thing, but what gets me out of the bed at 5:00 am to get to CrossFit by 5:30 am or pushes me to run 13.1 miles or to hold that downward dog pose an extra few seconds?

Well, I’ve got several reasons 🙂

1  This guy

autism and a storm
I took this the other night. This was the backside of a storm and Reece loved all the colors in it!

As you know, Reece has autism and more than likely, will live at home forever.  I really want to be able to take care of him for as long as God allows me to.  I want to be able to do that, though, as my best self!  I don’t want to be 60 and get winded walking up stairs or have high blood pressure or have who knows what other health problems that crop up when you are out of shape.  In full disclosure-  Reece can be difficult sometimes.  He can have full on meltdowns and get violent (which has gotten so much better since we switched schools a few months ago!).  Maybe some of that will get better as we get through puberty, maybe it won’t.  But I need to be able to handle him as much as possible.  Someday he’ll be stronger than me, but I want that day to be far off and even when it comes, hopefully, I’ll still be able to do what I need to do to help him.  He’s also been known to run away when he doesn’t want to do something.  I need to be able to chase after him!  If I’m overweight and out of shape and he takes off to the road, what’s going to happen?  So, he’s my number one motivation for keeping up with my exercising.

2  My future grandkids.  Obviously, I don’t know what that will look like and how many I might have (I have requested 10, and so far my girls are good with that, lol!).  I want to be an active grandma that can take them places and keep up with them!

3  My future self.  I want to do everything in my power to live as healthy as possible and to age as best as I can.  Now, granted, God may decide to throw me a curveball.  But, our bodies are a temple and would you really let a temple get rundown?  Nope!  Our selfish, lazy, sinful nature can get in the way, I know, but I really think trying your best to be as healthy as possible is a good spiritual practice!  Remember, God created us in HIS image!  Taking care of the bodies He’s given us shouldn’t be always put on the back burner.

running shoes

4  My mom and dad.  OK, you want some inspiration?  Listen to this little story…  My mom (who, as you know, ran a half marathon to celebrate turning 60!) didn’t start running until she was 50!  My dad didn’t start running until he was 60!  So, in other words, you have no excuse for not exercising.  You may think “I’m too old to start working out.  There’s no way I could do it.”  Well, I’m hear to tell ya, that being an advanced age is not a reason for neglecting your fitness!

5  My husband.

building fence
This has been Jeff’s main project over the last 6 months- building fence!

I want to look good for him and to be around for the long haul!  I know our vows said “in sickness and in health” but I prefer to focus on the health part!  Like I said before, God may choose something different for me, but right now, I can do the best I can to be in as good of shape as possible.  I want us to be an active older couple (which I can guarantee will consist of lots of farming for us!  Ha!  We will definitely NOT be a retired couple that traves much, lol!)

What are your favorite forms of exercise?  What are your motivations?

 

Feel free to share with your friends!

Running a Half Marathon- My Thoughts and Training Plan (Confessions of a Slow Runner)

 

So, just like that…. it’s over!  I ran my first half marathon on Sunday!  After months and months of training, I can hardly believe it came and went 🙂

We had BEAUTIFUL weather for it!  It was about 60 degrees when we started and sunny.  I ran the Prairie Fire Half in Wichita (an hour from where I live).  The course was pretty flat and fairly shady.  I was a bit nervous, but my mom and I settled into a nice rhythm early on and stuck with it for the first 6 miles.  I tell ya, the first 6 miles felt really easy.  A year ago if you would have told me those words would be coming out of my mouth, I would’ve said you were crazy!  I could barely run 4 miles last summer, so to ever think 6 as easy shows how far I’ve come in my running!

Anyway, after the first 6, we started slowing down, but still kept a good pace from 6-9 miles.  And since I’m going to be very honest about my slow running, by good pace, I mean about 13 minute miles.  We were running 12:30 for the first half.  It seems like every running blog I read, they’re all about “Yeah, I only ran a 9 minute mile” blah, blah, blah.  If that’s you, well, I admire that!  If I ever get that fast, I will be beyond thrilled!  But, this post is to encourage all of you out there who are not fast 😉

From 9-13, we had slowed down to about 13:30 or so.  The hardest parts were between 10.5 and 11 (I thought that water station at mile 11 would never appear!) and between 12.5 and the finish line.  My phone told me “You are at 12.6 miles” and I thought, “Dang!  Where is that finish line????”  The last mile was also asphalt, with zero shade and it felt downright HOT!  But, I’m happy to say, I crossed the finish line upright and running, lol.  I did take some walking breaks during the last 6 miles.  I have longer legs than my mom, so I would gradually pull ahead and then power walk to let her catch up.

running a half marathon
I’m crossing the finish line! In case you’re wondering, I’m holding a handkerchief. I use it to wipe my nose and my sweat. Gross, I know 😉

You know what was the sorest part of my body on Monday?  My JAW!  Yeah, seriously.  My quads were a bit sore, but nothing bad and all of my joints (knees, hips, ankles) felt perfectly fine, but my jaw!  I always chew gum when I run (keeps my mouth from getting dry) but it’s not use to chewing gum for 3 hours straight, apparently.

Our finish time:

3 hours, 1 minute and 24 seconds.

We were VERY pleased with that!  We were not out to beat any particular time and based off our 11 mile training run, we figured it would take us about 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the race.

So, would I do it again?

Well, two weeks ago after our last long training run, I would have said absolutely not.

Now?

Yeah, I think I would 🙂

I love the fact that I did something that not many people can do and that I pushed my body to do something that I didn’t think it was capable of!  It’s a high that I wouldn’t mind repeating.

OK, so here is what my training looked like from January to race day.  First off, I mostly trained using the Galloway method (running walking intervals) with an interval of running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute.  Well, the last couple weeks of training, I started running the first 3 miles, then doing looser longer untimed intervals.  When we actually ran the race, we ran to each water station (about every two miles), drank our water (my mom drank gatorade) walked for a little bit (maybe a couple minutes?), then ran to the next station.  Like I mentioned before, I took some walking breaks to let my mom catch up, but they weren’t timed.  My mom pretty much ran the whole thing.

Week 1 (first week in Jan):  ran 3 times of about 2 miles each time.  I was just trying to condition my body to running again after a 6 month break.

Week 2:  ran 2 miles twice, then ran 3 miles on the weekend.

Week 3:  took 2 30 minute runs (approx 2.5 miles) then ran 4 miles on the weekend.

From there on out, my training was one week, running 3 times for about 30 minutes each time and then the next week, run 30 minutes twice with a long run on the weekend, increasing each long run by one mile.

So, every two weeks I took a long run and every week I ran three times.  Does that make sense?  I kept that up until my 9 mile run.  Then because of scheduling, we decided to skip the 10 mile run, run 6 miles instead and take an 11 mile run 2 weeks before the race.  Also, the last month before the race, I took a 6 mile run once a week with 3 mile runs in between.  The week before the race, I took a 6 mile run on Tuesday (race was Sunday) then rested the rest of the week.

Training for a half is definitely a time commitment, but only taking long runs every two weeks helped.  I felt like I kept up my running fitness in between just fine with those 30 minute/3 mile runs (it actually takes me 35 minutes to run 3 miles).

Since I wasn’t particularly sore after running the race, I think that my training paid off.  This isn’t probably the training you’d want to do if you were serious about breaking records, but for a busy mom and farmwife, this was quite doable for me!

Any additional thoughts about finishing a half marathon?  Would you do another one?

 

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Training for a Half Marathon (Confessions of a Slow Runner)

Ever think about training for and running a half marathon?  Yeah, me neither 😉  My running career has been less than illustrious to say the least and I was positive I did NOT have it in me to run a half.  But, as they say, never say never….

So, my running has looked like this over the years :

Start training in March

Barely get up to 3 miles

Run a local 5K in June

Take a couple more runs in June

Quit until next March

I could barely eke out the energy to complete the 5K and I was SLOW!  Not the “Oh, I only run an 8 minute mile” slow (ha, ha), but the “I’m pushing it to get under 12 minutes a mile.”  See, I tell ya, I truly am a slow runner!

I also suffer from asthma (my childhood asthma came back with a vengeance a couple years ago), which I used as my excuse for not being able to run very well.  It definitely contributes to it, but I’ve come to realize it is a surmountable obstacle.

Enter January, 2017.  My mom, who has been a fellow slow runner for the last 10 years, decided that for her upcoming 60th birthday in May, she would like to complete a half marathon.  And it just so happens that there is one in Wichita at the beginning of May.  You can guess where this is going… I offered to run it with her.

We decided to run it using intervals.  This is where we run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute.  We also only do a long run every two weeks and then run 3 miles 3 times a week in between.  It’s based on a method designed by Jeff Galloway.  It’s suppose to be easier on your joints and allow anyone to run a half marathon- even if you’re like me and you can barely hack a 5K.

So, since the first of January, this slow runner has been training.  My last long run I did 9 miles!  It was a bit brutal, but I completed it.  Last Monday, I ran 6 miles and I noticed that my ankles and hip joints didn’t bother me at all!  Previously, my joints would be pretty sore after a long run.  I think I’m becoming conditioned to it.  I seriously never thought I’d get this far in my running career!

On the plus side, a 3 mile run seems like a walk in the park now 🙂

The moral of the story is, I encourage you to  try hard things- like a being a slow runner tackling a half marathon!  Don’t compare yourself to other runners (yeah, I know that can be hard!).  The race is in 3 weeks, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Are you a runner?  Do you enjoy it?  Any other tips for training for a half marathon?

Feel free to share with your friends!