No Excuse November: Marathon Monday

Yesterday was the 2013 ING New York Marathon, making today Marathon Monday.

A race dedicated to the runners and spectators of Boston, as well as the Sandy victims that are still recovering along the east coast, the marathon served as inspiration for where my life should be going.

If you ask any distance runner, there are moments of doubt, moments when you just don’t want to get up and workout, but there is something about racing that keeps them going. I like to call it marathon fever. Considering that the wedding and honeymoon basically translated to a month out of the gym, the hype around this marathon has been the catalyst to pushing us toward a more active lifestyle, but with a new twist.

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Photo Courtesy of Paige

On our run Saturday, I chose not to run with music, none of the greats do, so I why shouldn’t I give it a try. The run though provided an unexpected moment, when Paige’s phone stopped working and she was left without music as well.

As a person that doesn’t talk a whole lot during physical activities, even in team sports, it caught me off guard when we began a conversation and maintained our pace rather than zoning in on the tempo of a song and staying in our own little worlds.

Then it happened.

Paige looked over, and between breaths said that it was time for me to get personal trainer certified. To take the money we received from our wedding gifts and put it toward my certification.

First of all, who does that? Yeah, we’ve talked about it before, but she believes in me so much that she would rather invest that money in me, in yet another small round of education, than put it into savings.

Which brings me to my second point: This is now “No Excuse November.”

With the challenge to get certified before the new year, our workouts will intensify, we’ll push each other, and we’re going to blow through the holidays.

The month is focused on no excuses for not finding work, no excuses for not studying, and no excuses for not getting out and active.

I had talked about pushing myself to get to January’s race, but Paige is pushing me to rise beyond the occasion. Mediocrity will no longer be the standard, and from here on it’s all or nothing.

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Photo Courtesy of Paige

It’ll be tough, it’ll be interesting, but I want you guys to join me in the effort to make this an excuse-free month.

If those marathoners that I saw yesterday can elevate themselves to a higher standard, then we can too.

The Dopey: An Agonizing Countdown

Unfortunately it’s about that time of the year again.

While everyone else is looking for the perfect Halloween costume, or planning Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families; the countdown to race day has begun.

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At 75 days out from the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend the pressure is on to make up for the training that has been pretty non-existent since mid-September.

Paige and I had an agreement that we wouldn’t run on our honeymoon, mainly because we wanted to enjoy it, but having been back for a week now, finding the motivation to put on my running shoes has been an issue.

The worst part about it is that I know I have to get in miles and quality runs so I don’t injure myself like the last time Paige’s mom and I ran back-to-back races.

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In the 2012 Goofy Race and a Half, I set a half-marathon personal best at 1 hour 58 minutes, but developed awesome plantar fasciitis which slowed my marathon the next day to a crawling 5 hours…

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So, on the avenue of prevention Cross Cardio will be pushed to the side once we’re back to New York, and these final months of training are dedicated to watching the agonizing countdown to Disney. A phrase that nobody should ever have to say.

Enjoy your candy and your turkey, and I’ll go run away my holidays in preparation for January.

Cross-Cardio: Because Running Sucks

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Running is an excellent way to get in shape and stay in shape. The reality of the sport though…

It sucks!

I’m fairly confident that’s the sole reason why my training regimens never seem to last, despite the fact that I know I have to train if I want to get any better.

Luckily though, Paige has developed her own system of doing things. One that was born after doing 10k Tuesdays and 5-mile Fridays, and discovering how awful an hour on a treadmill is.

Thus is the birth of Cross-Cardio.

I joke and ask what the difference is between the new method and traditional cross-training, but Paige pushes on, focused on feeling awesome for our wedding. With her drive, it was dumb to argue with the process, so now I too have adopted what most would think is lame triathlon training without the swimming portion.

Essentially, it’s this:
1) Run for 10-20 mins, get your heart rate up.

2)Bike for 10-20 mins, if you aren’t pouring sweat by this point, you aren’t working hard enough.

3) Elliptical or back to the treadmill for a final 10-20 mins, your option, but you should be feeling it by now either way.

Instead of mixing in workouts to improve core strength or balance, the focus is purely heart rate and recovery, even if you aren’t actively monitoring it.

Will this system have you looking like an Abercrombie model? Probably not. What cross-cardio can offer though, is a fairly simple way to lose and manage your weight. Whether it’s treadmills, bikes, or ellipticals, you get to choose how long and how hard you are going to work. With you at the helm, the sweat equity that you gain from taking control is unmatched, because you know how much you’ve done to make yourself healthier.

In the end, it’s all about the sweat. If you don’t like that, then you won’t like this process, but if you find yourself dripping sweat after 30 mins you’ll find that in 30 days you feel a whole lot better.

Even though I mocked it, I promise it’s worth a try.

Seriously Serious: Reality Hit Me

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There are 48 days until my wedding.

Today is also the first day of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.

As I said in Vive le Tour: A Beautiful Change, cycling is a newly discovered dream that I want to pursue to push my endurance; my wedding, however, won’t only be a dream for much longer. In addition, Paige has been in the gym six days a week for the last two or three weeks to prepare for this wedding, as I slouched around on the couch and ate when I could.

So, here I am with this post.

Last week was full of a strange depression, maybe even “man”stration who knows, that made me feel like the slouch around option was the best option. Today though, I realized the Pro Challenge starting and that if I wanted to one day be taken serious, I needed to get serious about myself.

What did that mean? For once I was the first one ready for the gym. Before we left, I made a last minute decision to grab a sweatshirt to make the most out of it, and then as we started our treadmills I looked at Paige for the confirmation of 4… Wanting to know if it would be a 5k or 4-mile day. She gave me the nod, and I decided that it would be a 5-mile day for me, mainly because my pride kicked in and couldn’t let her run as far as I was going to.

Then it clicked.

We’re both working on improving our speed, since we have stupid 20 minute rules on our treadmills, and I realized that the plan could be simple as long as I was consistent like her.

The plan is this:

  • 5-mile Monday
  • 10k-Tuesday
  • Halfway Humpday
  • 10k-Thursday
  • 5-mile Friday
  • Suck-It-Up Saturday

Our gym is closed on Sundays, so it works out perfect as a rest day; I mean heck, even God had a rest day.

The only thing missing from the schedule is any outside training like weight lifting or toning sessions, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do them anyway. For us, Halfway Humpday is a 5k day which leaves plenty of time to get in abs and arms workouts while we’re at the gym, and we bought a kettle bell weight that we generally pick up and work with at night while we’re watching TV or just hanging out. The weight is also perfect for Suck-It-Up Saturday which is meant to be the major push of the week.

I’ll touch on it later, but that’s the key to being better. You may have found something that works for you, but if you don’t push beyond that comfort zone you’ll never reach your fitness potential. You can go farther and last longer, just stop complaining and do it.

Finally, a piece of advice I was recently given by a friend. He said to me, “Get married, that’s your first priority. Then worry about everything else.”

I may never become a professional cyclist, may never own my own business, but I am getting married, and it has to be priority number one. With that assurance, the gym will be our second home as we make sure we look good for our wedding, and the benefits that come after that, will only make the work now that much more worth while.

Take care, and keep on keeping on.
-Jeff