We Survived Spartan Day!!

We made it.

I have to admit that although I knew today was going to be challenging; both because of an 8 mile Spartan Race combined with 12 obstacles, and because my body is a bit depleted from my meal plan for my upcoming bikini competition.

This was an understatement.  I figured that together with our team; we would just “have fun” and get through at a comfortable pace.  I have a sprained ankle and there were various other injuries and slight issues from other team mates.

We lined up at the starting gates, just before 1pm; which was the start of our wave.  Excitement began to build and we happily warmed up and stretched our eager bodies.  The announcer commanded us to complete 25 jumping jacks; in a very crowded setting.  Following that, we were off.

It was a tight knit race, due to the narrowness of the path.  We ran out about a 1/2 mile before we began a slow ascent up our first hill of the day.  This seemed to take longer than we expected.  It had become bottlenecked, due to the uneven terrain and heavy winds that increased as we climbed to higher elevations.  At the top of the hill, it opened up and we were off again.

Our first obstacles (if I can even remember correctly) were to crawl under some netting and then jump over some walls.  More running.  More obstacles.  And so it continued for about 4 miles.

Some of the obstacles that I can remember at this moment (and be kind, I’m a bit exhausted from the day), were:

Walls; jumping over, climbing under and jumping through a “window” of the wall
Balance beams (and if not completed; 30 burpees were demanded)
Monkey bars (today, I made it all the way across!  Last time, I had to complete the burpees)
Tire runs (down and up a hill, carrying a large tire)
Running through mud and water and sludge
Jumping over more walls (there were quite a few!)
Filling up a bucket with sand and running around a path
Pulling or carrying a rope with a cement block attached; carrying it through water
Climbing a rope and ringing the bell at the top
“Rock Climbing” style wall and ring a bell or do burpees ( I rang the bell!)
Running through many “holes” filled with dirty water and climbing out
rolling or crawling under barbed wire; 2 sets on this run
8 miles of hill running

Maybe there were others but I can’t recall at this moment.  The most challenging part of the entire day was the run itself.  Why?  Because all of the running was done on extreme hills; either going straight up or straight down.  It was grueling.  I remember my body feeling tired, legs feeling like lead and then a bit lightheaded.  I figured it had more to do with my current eating and training program than anything else.  But after the race, I heard the same from everyone else so I know it was just a grueling run.

There was one hill past  the 1/2 way point that went up, up, up, up and when you thought you were almost done; it continued for another unimagineable time.  The whole run consisted of passing people who were doubled over trying to catch their breath, throwing up, passing out and more.  The most common complaint I was over hearing was leg cramps.  I have never suffered leg cramps in any of my previous runs or races.

But…after that enormous hill that left me wondering if I would be able to complete the rest of the race, we came upon a few more walls.  I jumped up and lifted one leg over the wall…

And then it hit.

The worst leg cramp I’ve ever had.  I panicked, looked at my calf and there was a rock-like formation on the inside portion of my calf.  I couldn’t move my leg.  I was left paralyzed at the top of this wall.

My teammate, Laurie turned back and noticed I wasn’t moving.  She asked if I was okay and I yelled out that I had a cramp.  She encouraged me to climb over and she would help me; the gentleman behind the wall offered to help me back the other side.  I still sat, panicked.  Then the volunteer who was standing by the wall asked what the problem was.

“My leg is cramped”; I said.

“People!  Everyone has leg cramps so there’s nothing special about your’s!” he yelled back.

I was quickly slapped back into reality of just continuing.  So, laughing, I jumped over and came upon the next wall.  It took me a few seconds to compose myself and stop worrying that my leg would repeat the cramping on the wall when the same volunteer who obviously looked at the wording on my shirt yelled out: “If you’re wearing an ARMY tshirt; I don’t want to hear about any cramping!”

That did it.  I was laughing hysterically at his callous remarks and climbed the wall and while sitting atop the wall; I raised my arms in victory and that’s when he gave me a thumbs up and said that’s the energy he knew I had.

And then we continued.

I realized as I was running that although it was probably the most challenging race I had ever competed in; I had an epiphany on how much this race resembled certain difficult challenges in our lives.  Each step was both calculated and unknowing.  How much higher will we climb?  What will be around the corner?  What challenges lie next for us?  How could we continue when we were already so fatigued?

The answers lie in just moving forward.  Like one gentlemen stated to the rest of us around him today: “It’s just one foot in front of the other”.  That’s it.  Life can be the same for us.  We can be climbing an arduous “mountain” and not know how much more we will have to continue or what else may lie ahead as an added challenge.  But what other choice do we have other than continue forward or give up altogether?

I vote to keep going.  Even when it hurts.  Even when we lose our breath.  When we are doubting our efforts.  When we feel like we are in it alone.

Know that there are others around you who would be willing to help when asked.  Know that there will be an end to the climb.  Know that you are stronger than you think.  It’s amazing how the human spirit is willing to reach out and help a complete stranger.  Here we were; running, walking, climbing, falling and when needed, a random stranger nearby was willing and ready to lend a hand or helpful tip on staying focused and safe.

Let’s use this valuable lesson and ‘pay it forward’ as they say.  Reach out this week and notice when someone needs a “hand” with something.  Let a car move in the lane ahead of you.  Allow a person to cut in front of you in line.  Smile genuinely at everyone you meet eyes with.  Do a random good deed for someone you don’t know.

It will come back to you.  We can all be “Spartans”; by staying focused, steady and willing to lend a helpful hand at the blink of an eye.

I’ll say that’s a great day!  My body is exhausted, depleted and is looking forward to my massage appointment and complete rest day tomorrow; but I’ve learned some valuable lessons.

One; that I won’t be repeating this race again anytime in the near future!!


We Are Sparta!!!!

It’s the eve of my 6 week’s out until my very first bikini competition!  I feel excited, giddy, and a bit dizzy from the lack of carbs…lol

Seriously, I told you how yesterday I was committed 100% to my eating and training now and I haven’t faltered (granted, it’s been one WHOLE day!).  I had a low carb day and found that I do much better by NOT having any almond butter in the house and using 12 almonds instead.  Who wants to binge on raw almonds, anyway?  Not this girl! =)

I did get 1/2 scoop of Shakeology today and I have to say that made my day!!  (if you’re laughing at me; shame on you!)  Tomorrow marks my 6 week’s out; plus the fact that I’ve been wrangled into running this Spartan run and it’s Part #2 of the spartan’s challenge.

What was part #1, you ask?  Well, I’d be delighted to answer that question!

Our team took on the first challenge at the end of last year and it was called the “spartan sprint”.  Cute, right?  NOT!  It was not cute and if you missed my previous blog on that specific race, you should go back and review…

I’m waiting…

Okay, welcome back!  Anyway, like I was saying, it was not a walk in the park (it was a run in the hills…ba-boom!…I’ll be here all week!) and various obstacles that left me freezing and quite dirty…but exhilarated when it was over!!

Sooo, this is part 2 and instead of just running 3 miles; we are now running 8 miles (seriously, I’m freaking out as I’m writing this!) and then complete 12 obstacles.  I’m dreading the “awful” one cuz I know there will be one.  Last time, they had us rolling in the mud under barbed wire; as we were being sprayed by a violent stream of water from a fire truck hose.

Ya, that’s supposed to be fun!

These people are true to the Spartan spirit.  I saw one man who ran the last one twice..cuz once is never enough.  hmmm

Okay, at least I get my HIGH carb day tomorrow and I am still committed, peeps!!  Don’t worry, I’ll bring my foods with me so I am not to go hungry or worse; off plan!!!  (gasp)

I’ll check in with you again later but be warned…if you think you’ve heard me complain;  you ain’t heard nothing yet!!

It’s ON!!!!  WE ARE SPARTA……

Winning!!! 6 Weeks To Go!!

Today, I’m just over 6 weeks out from my first competition… OMG!!  It’s already here…

I have been doing my workouts, as scheduled by my trainer and following the meal plans as much as possible. This isn’t acceptable anymore.  I am now committed to being 100% “ON”.

Workouts are pretty easy for me to follow.  I am a fitness junkie so going to the gym or working out at home, is a ‘done deal’ any day of the week!

However, my weaknesses lie in my eating.  Although, I am following the meal plans laid out for me; I have been known to eat a few extra spoonfuls (or more?) or my “clean” peanut or almond butter.  At times, I enjoyed an extra unplanned meal but for the most part; the nut butters are my nemesis.

I am newly committed to winning this battle!  And to think I started on the most challenging day of all; my “NO” carb day.  Today, I only get to enjoy mostly proteins, fats and vegetables.  Granted, I’m allowed a protein shake twice today and a corn thin; once.  Nothing else.  It’s tough, I’m not gonna lie.  But I did it today.  I DID IT!!!!

I took notice of the difficulties in these typical days and how I can better handle them.

My breakfast is easy to do.  I get my veggie and egg omelet with avocado and salsa; as well as my coffee.  HAPPY!
Meal 2 is pretty easy to get in too; a protein shake and the 1 corn thin with some nut butter …although this can be dangerous when I’m not paying attention!!
Meal 3 is a BIG chicken salad and it’s enjoyable but I noticed that this is when I start to wonder; am I going to make it through today?
Meal 4 is a repeat of meal 3 and now I’m not as happy as I was in the morning….
This is the time I am vulnerable, if I’m not careful.
I noticed when I’m overwhelmed, stressed or tired; I’m more apt to grab the jar of nut butter and take a “few” tastes of the “edges”…

Let’s be real…the stupid “edges” aren’t going to do anything for this craving…so this is the time I could really go CRAZY!!!

Then reality hits and I’m onto my day.

Meal 5 is my salmon and veggie dinner and I really do enjoy this meal…
Meal 6 is the stupid protein shake with some nut butter…

Are you sensing my irritation?  Enter the “nut butter” addition again and chaos can ensue~

Okay, I’m not overdoing it all the time on my NO carb days but when I’m not focusing on taking care of my needs (non-food related), all hell can break loose.

I’m now past all of that crap.  Today I was 100%!!  I didn’t wander anywhere near extra foods or ‘butters’ of any kind.


Being Kathy

Deep thinking day!  I woke up and while drinking my coffee and eating my breakfast, I realized I should just slow down.  Our world is so fast paced and we need to do so many tasks each day but sometimes our bodies and minds need to just STOP IT!!

I am currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s book called; “The Happiness Project” and I want to elaborate today on chapter 5 regarding having more fun.

What do you do for fun?  Do you even have fun?

When I pondered this thought I realized that I love what I do in terms of my fitness habits, helping others with their goals and running my family and work schedule in an organized way.
But this isn’t considered fun, is it?

As Gretchen writes in her book, we should all stop worrying about what is socially correct for us to do and just be ourselves.

So, today, I will BE KATHY.

The first thing I wondered was what is “fun” to me?  If you can’t figure this out; think back to when you were  10 years old…what did you do for fun?

For myself, I enjoyed playing make-believe.  I cut out paper doll houses and created large homes; which I drew out in detail and taped together.  I had a whole neighborhood of “homes” and people.  This became a passion which I always hold on to.  I also enjoyed to read.  I read a lot.

I don’t want to re-create these paper dolls and houses anymore; but I still enjoy a great read!  When I think of what I should do for fun; I have to say that I’m a bit overwhelmed by what I feel I should be doing…not what I really want to do.  Do you see the same difference in you?

For instance, isn’t it “fun” to enjoy our weekends with huge bashes and going to dinner and clubs with friends?  I don’t think I ever really enjoyed this style of life.  So, for me it doesn’t fall into the category of ‘FUN’.  Instead, I would rather stay in with either just my family or a small group of close friends.  Maybe watch a movie, enjoy some light conversation and play some board games.

I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous to admit this.  Will I be perceived in a different light?  Will people finally see the real me? 

To this, I say, YES!  As they should.  I’m being ME.  I don’t have to enjoy the same things that anyone else does because I can choose what I do but I cannot choose what I like to do.

Ponder that.  Today, I will put more emphasis on what makes me happy.  Less focus on what I should do and what I really want to do.

I will stay in more today.

I will make an appointment for a massage today.

I will plan out my meals for this week and engage in some cooking.  (which is also something I like to do for FUN…not because I have to!)

I will read and maybe watch some t.v. or a movie with the kids.

Today, I will BE KATHY.

7 Weeks Out!!!

I’m so ready!!  Well…my mind is ready but my body is HUNGRY!!!  LOL

We are now down to 7 weeks out from competition date.  OMG!!  All the thoughts running through my mind lately; am I ready?  will it get more challenging?  do I have to have the suit glued to my body?  will I look orange in that crazy tan?  How much more chicken can a person eat?  and so on…

I have to say that up until this week, I’ve been “okay” with my eating.  Yes, some days are a bit harder than others; but basically, it’s been “okay”.  Well…cut to this week.  Not that anything has changed in the past few weeks, in terms of my meals but O M G!!!!  I have been starving!!!

Like last night, for instance, I went to sleep feeling like my stomach would eat itself.  Not something fun to experience ever!!  lol  I knew that I’d be waking up to oatmeal and egg whites so it made me happy enough to force myself to sleep.  As far as today; I worked out hard and then was busy the rest of the day with errands and work, so of course my appetite was fired up.

Still hungry.

But wait…

Tomorrow means HIGH carb day!!!  AND, I’ve been reading “Push” By Chalene Johnson and in her recipe section lists a Shakeology protein pancake recipe.  It resembles the protein pancakes I currently enjoy so I am really excited to try this new version.

You have to find FUN wherever you can, right?

So, I will happily mix up my pancakes tomorrow before my Body Pump class and then even share it with you all; either with pics or even a video!!  We’ll see how it plays out!  What are you most looking forward to, these days?

There are so many issues that I would like to send out some positive energy to you and wish you a wonderful day ahead and keep me in your thoughts when you’re eating your next extremely high carb meal; such as spaghetti and meatballs with bread sticks and dessert…

I will be eating chicken breast and green veggies…