Jul 07

5 Tips for Finding the PERFECT Running Partner

For those runners who like running with a buddy  . . . you know how hard it can be to find the right running partner.

They are either too slow, too fast, not motivated enough, TOO motivated . . . or you just don’t get along.

I have always enjoyed running alone but Sandi kinda thrives on running with a partner.  When we first started dating we began to run together  . . . but this presented a big challange for us.

I was running an 18 minute 5k and Sandi was running over 30 minutes.    We had to get creative about running together and eventually more creative to help Sandi find running partners that were a perfect fit.

5 Surefire Places to Find a Running Partner

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  1. Meetup.com: Yes Yes . . . I know it sounds like a place for singles to meet and hang out, but Meetup is actually far different than that.  It is a place for people to post conferences, get together, and social gatherings for individuals with similar interests. Using this tool I was able to find over a dozen running or triathlon groups within 10 miles of my house.  There is a simple search function on the site and once you find a group you are interested in it is easy to learn more details about the group or to learn about upcoming meetings or runs.
  2. Facebook: Midst 374 invitations to play Candy Crush, and updates about all your friends babies . . . Facebook can actually be a productivity tool as well believe it or not.  With Facebook you can easily find out who of your local friends are runners . . . you can post on your page that you are looking for a running buddy and within no time you will have a partner.  You can also find virtual running groups where you can post your workouts and find motivation from your buddies.   BY using the search box and simply typing in “Running Group” you will be able to find events, groups, pages, and more that will guide you in the right direction.Screenshot-2014-07-07-16.32.26-e1404768953401
  3. Running Clubs:  RRCA or Road Runners Clubs of America is the top resource for finding a local running club near you.  Simply go to their site here click on your state and viola you will have a nice list of various running clubs in your area.  Generally these groups have free events you can attend to meet other runners and find a few that are about your pace.  Once you have a nice little buddy or group that run your pace you can plan training runs with them aside form the running group.  Its a great way to find a partner and friends that share your love for running.Screenshot-2014-07-07-16.38.31-e1404769455306
  4. Mans Best Friend: yes, a dog can be the perfect running partner . . . they won’t complain, they will always be ready on time, weather won’t stop them from going . . . and they will love you for taking them.  You don’t even need a HUGE dog to do this.  We had a little 10 pound yorkie a few years ago that was able to outrun me in a 5k.  With a bit of practice if a small lazy dog can enjoy running with you.  Researchers from University of Michigan found that on average dog owners are nearly twice as active and healthy as non dog owners: “Nearly half of dog walkers exercised an average of 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. By comparison, only about a third of those without dogs got that much regular exercise”. New York Times
  5. The Track: Most towns have a High School or Middle school track with a nice field, track, and bleachers to do your workout on.  The benefit of running on a track is that running partners of different skill and speed levels can workout together.  We have a FREE GUIDE to Bleacher Workouts that you can download HERE

Finding a Track to Run On 

While it is hard to find a complete and accurate list of all school that have a track open to the public . . this tool here is great for finding local schools.  You an then either drive by or call them to determine if their track is open for use.

Likewise you can make a phone call to your local school district and ask if or when school tracks are open for use.

High School Finder

Screenshot-2014-07-07-17.15.12-e1404771557312They do “ask” for a lot of information on this tool but if you just put in Zip Code and distance you will get a result.

A huge benefit to track workouts is that you will generally find several other people out there running on the track each night.  Makes a great way to build accountability, friendships as you meet local runners, and a chance to find a running partner.

3 Benefits to Running with a Partner

Motivation:

In a recent study at the University of Santa Clara, researchers found that:

Exercising with someone more fit than oneself could promote a higher intensity workout,  participants gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of those around them. Even when all participants, regardless of experimental conditions, were instructed to exercise at a moderate level and keep their pulse rates within a particular range, they mimic the exercise behavior of their exercise partner.  -Journal of Social Sciences

 

 

So if you are wanting to AMP up your workouts . . find someone who is at an intensity and commitment level above yours.  This individual will lift your behavior and aid in elevating your workouts as you mimic their intensity.

Entertainment:

I don’t generally like working out with others . . . but when I do it is primarily for entertainment purposes.  Having a partner is a great way to break up the mundane miles and hours of running.   Even just jogging with your kids can help with this.

Every now and then it is good to get out of your own head and just talk with a friend.

Accountability:

Being open with another individual (friend, family, child) can help to create accountability.  Letting someone else know about your goals and asking for them to follow up will get you out the door on slow days.

Conclusion

By following these simple tips you will find yourself a workout partner in no time.  Do you have a partner that keeps you going? How did you find your workout buddy?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Credits:  Thang Nuyguen, sangudo
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Jul 02

10 Grossest Things about Running (that no one tells you about)

1. Porta-Potty Paradise

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Pre-race lines for porta potties would make you think these little green toilets are gold lined and have silk toilet paper. If you want to go potty before a race you better plan on arriving to a race about 6 hours early to claim your spot in line.

                   FREE 30 Day Bleacher Workout Click Here!

2. Running Red (chaffing, diaper rash, jock itch)

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I thought diaper rash was for babies?  After my first marathon I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me . . . then I discovered the miracle of Vaseline and Destine. Runners love to slather this goop on like there is no tomorrow.

3. Medals of Honor (massive post race blistering)

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If you have ever spent time with a marathoner, the topic of blisters has come up.  But we don’t just talk about them . . . we compare.  The winner is the idiot who had the biggest blister . . . P.S. I beat my wife!

4. Um . . . . bleeding nipples

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Ever see a guy run his first marathon. He is easy to spot. He will be the one with blood gushing down his shirt where his nipples used to be.

                   FREE 30 Day Bleacher Workout Click Here!

5. Marathon Pedicure (toenails falling off)

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A runners favorite nail polish color is black and blue . . . then its no nail!  Don’t worry they do grow back.

6. Snot Rockets (who needs Kleenex)

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We have learned to master the art of shooting snot from our noses.  One of the joys of running is watching the newbie learn the skill.

7. Nectar of the Gods (GU energy gel)

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What could be more delicious than nectar thick carbohydrates in the flavor of “cardboard and sandpaper”.  These little packets of joy are perfect for making it impossible to swallow or talk for the next 3 miles.

8. Who needs Porta-Potties (yeah . . . we pee our pants a little bit)

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Where else can adults pee their pants and no one points and laughs.  All in the name of shaving 20 seconds off the time my friend!

9. Runners Trots ( . . . and sometimes we poop a little bit too)

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So . . . I guess a few people didn’t arrive in time to wait in the 6 hour porta potty lines!!!

10. Dehydration . . . Overhydration . . . Heat Stroke

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You will either drink to little, drink to much, or run when its way to damn hot!  No worries . . . it will make a sweet story on your next training run!

Like this post?  How about sharing it with a fellow runner …

Image Credits:

Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCuldirvishCasey HelblingAndy CarvinDave HerholzThreeIfByBikeJohn Rees– EMR –GuyChristiana Care

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Jun 18

How to Train For a Triathlon Without Spending a Dime (money saving tips for the poor triathlete)

Triathlons are expensive. In fact one of the first reasons people give me for not having run a triathlon is cost.  Unlike marathons where all you need are a good pair of running shoes, triathlons require a lot of gear.  And it is easy to keep spending on the top of the line tri products to make the race a bit easier.

Actual Cost of Triathlon Gear

The below costs are taken directly from Amazon.com and include middle of the road gear (not top of the line and not the cheap-o stuff) needed to begin training for a triathlon.

This brings the cost of simply buying the needed gear to begin training for a triathlon to $2060.  This is a huge amount of money.  Especially for someone who isn’t even sure that triahtlons are for them. Add to this the cost of gym memberships, pool memberships, and replacement parts and you are talking about several thousand dollars just for training.

Keep in mind this isn’t even the top of the line gear.  This is really just for the entry level gear to get you started out in racing. . . oh and don’t forget the $200 race entry fee (for a small unknown race).

Then you realize that every training plan you can find wants you to train for 3 or more hours up to 5 times per week and it quickly becomes clear that this is no joke.  If you are gonna train for a triathlon you are going to have to get a second job to pay for everything but you are also going to have to quit you day job in order to find the time and energy to actually workout and train.

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Don’t Fool Yourself – Gear Won’t Make THAT Big a Difference

It doesn’t have to be so expensive OR complicated. Only a very small percentage of racers will ever achieve elite status and of those who do only a small few will ever make money racing.

This guide is meant to introduce you to an alternative manner of triathlon training that won’t break your bank or make you neglect your family. Simply showing up to the starting line of a triathlon and then crossing the finish line is such an enormous accomplishment.

“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race; its up to you.”

 

-Dave Scott 6 Time Ironman World Champion

 

 How To Train Without Spending a Dime

I will cover the money saving tips that I have found in my triathlon training in order of the events in the race. That seems to make the most sense and will allow for some organization in topics.

Swimming Tips

Swimming doesn’t have to be expensive right?  All you need is water and a suit.  Well where most people drop the most money is on a triathlon suit that is made of breathable moisture wicking material that dries quickly.  These suits also have a small pad in the butt to aid with the biking portion of the race.

The cost of these suits starts at about $60 for a Pearl Izumi, while not too expensive you can get a nice Speedo swimsuit, goggles, and swim cap for about $45 from a place like Academy Sports or Dicks.  To save even more money just use the suit you have in your dresser.

During the early stages of training you aren’t as concerned about speed as you are about just putting your time in the pool.

To get your time in the water use the summer to do your swim training.  We do all of our swim training in our neighborhood pool which is free to use (except for required HOA fees).  Most triathlons are in the Fall and Spring anyway so using the summer to swim works out perfectly as you can spend the hot months in the water.

If you don’t have a community pool use the city pool, a lake, or friends pool.  If you do end up having to pay to use a pool block out as much time as possible to get extended pool workouts in this way you can go less.  Rather than simply doing a 500m swim try doing an additional workout.  The goal is to simply learn how to swim while conserving your energy and to make sure that you can at least swim the minimum distance required for your race.

Remember the swim is the shortest (time and distance) portion of the race so don’t spend TOO much time stressing over it.

Swim Money Saving Tips:

  1. Use the swim suit you have
  2. Use a community pool
  3. Swim during the summer

Once the race day draws near and you are feeling much more confident on the swim portion then you can purchase a Tri Suit.  But waiting until you have had time to practice will help you feel more confident and give you time to save up for this purchase.

Biking Tips

So the bike portion of the race is where is become VERY easy to drop TONS of money.  A top of the line bike can cost well over $10,000 and it is almost impossible to buy an entry level tri bike for under about $1500.

I’m afraid it is the bike that keeps more people out of triathlons and that makes me sad.  I have admitedly been passed in races by individuals riding a $70 Wal-Mart mountain bike.  But it is human nature to think that if we had the tools the pros use than we will automatically be as good as the pros.

I admit: having a light weight bike and clip pedals does make biking long distances EASIER but it is not required.

To start training for a triathlon simply dust of the old Huffy bike that is sitting in your garage and hit the road.  You should buy a cheap helmet.

At this point in the game the trick is to simply put in the miles and get your body used to biking and sitting down for that long.  The bike portion of the race will be where you spend the most amount of time during your triathlon so it is important to not ignore your bike training.

Don’t rush out and get a new tri bike.  When Sandi and I upgraded to triathlon bikes we went first over to Craigslist and were able to pick up $1500 tri bikes for about $600 including shipping.

Prior to doing this run down to your local bike shop and have them fit you out for the right size bike.  With this number in hand hit up SEARCH TEMPEST which allows you to search Craigslist nationwide and start shopping.

If want to spend under $200 then check out your local WalMart or sporting goods store (yes, I am being serious).  You can pick up a nice road bike like the Schwinn Prelude for just over $100. Or this Victory Vision for about $200.  Obviously you will be sacrificing on quality and speed, but it will work fantastically for short races and training and will work as a great cheap tri bike.

Bike Money Saving Tips:

  1. Use the old Huffy
  2. You don’t need bike shorts
  3. Buy a helmet
  4. Check Craigslist, WalMart, and sporting goods stores

Run Tips

I remember when I was a kid and my mom would take us to Payless to buy new shoes before each school year.  I would put the new ones on and head outside to run and break them in.  Without a doubt each time I got new shoes I honestly thought the new ones made me faster. It blows my mind how MUCH money people are able to spend on running. All you need are shoes.  I think that:

If people spent as much time actually running as they did buying name brand running clothes they would all qualify for Boston.

 

Under Armor, Nike, Adidas, etc. . . are all made in the same sewing factory in Asia.  They will NOT make you faster . . . you don’t need them.

As far as shoes go it is important to get a running shoe that fits comfortably . . . BEYOND that – – – just don’t buy stuff you can’t afford.

>>Watch “Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford HERE<<

When it comes to running just slap your shoes on and begin slow just getting your body used to running and being on the road.

Run Money Saving Tips:

  1. Use your old shoes
  2. Hit the road
  3. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford

Now is the Time – Run a Tri

There are always a million reasons not to run a triathlon.  When it comes down to it, for a lot of us finances is really just another excuse for something else . . . most likely fear.

You don’t need to be rich, retired, single, or even in perfect shape to sign up for an run a triathlon.  Just set a goal and be realistic with yourself.  Don’t expect perfection and just get out there and train and run with the gear that you have.

Do you have money saving tips?  Share them below \/\/\/\/\/\/

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May 31

Must Watch Motivational Running Videos

Here are a couple running videos that I have made over the years to keep me motivated.  All songs, logos, company names etc are the property of the company, artist, or designer no copyright intended.

I literally put this song “Send The Pain Below” by Chevelle on repeat during the Park City Marathon. It continued to play for the entire first 10K over and over during that race. I think that is one of the best running songs around. Send the pain below. . . That is where all the pain is felt during a marathon. If you train right, by running bleachers you can reduce that pain! Watch closely you will even get a glimps of Tammy Ivie – CPT, a personal trainer who contributes articles to SimpleFamilyFitness.com

I love the Garmin GPS watches (and they work while running bleachers) so much that we decided to make a fun “commercial” about the Garmin 405 GPS watch.  After having used it many times I can tell you it is a great watch.  Anyway,  this is a fun video when you need a little laugh.

The Nike slogan “Just Do It” is perhaps the best advice in the world.  When you don’t feel like running bleachers “JUST DO IT”.  Running is a simple art and a fantastic way to release all the stress.  Just get out and do it.

This video depicts some of our Iron Man training. In a couple scenes you will see us on the track. . . running bleachers no doubt! Every time I see this video my heart gets racing and I get pumped up to hit the road and train!

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May 20

Why Being Fat Actually Demotivates Me From Working Out (and How to Change)

So I have mentioned a few times before on here how I used to be in amazing shape and run a 3:24 marathon.  Swimming a mile without breaks was a warm up and biking 50 miles just hurt my butt.  I was in pretty good shape.

I won’t go into the details of how I got out of shape too much here as you can read this post HERE if you are interested in that.  I will say though that I went from 160lbs with nearly an 8 pack to 195lbs and a cholesterol dangerously approaching 200 (yeah that’s bad).

Here is a picture of me in 2009:

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The Power of Habits – And What Motivates Me

I was always an athlete.  I began playing sports from the time I was just learning to walk.  In 4th grade I started running cross country, and I was pretty good.

I thrive on positive reinforcement from others.  For that reason sports worked really well for me.  As I improved my skills and found my niche in athletics I got better.  Hearing praise from others fueled my ego.  I loved having coaches, parents, teammates, classmates, and strangers tell me how good I was.  Nothing motivated me more!

Once high school was over I continued to seek that positive reinforcement so I began running and working out religiously. I always chalked it up to “I just love competition so this is a way for me to compete”.  But as I look back and think on it, I believe that I was seeking praise and admiration from roommates, girls,and probably to some degree I loved to think that other guys were jealous of me.

I would go to the college track when it was busiest take my shirt off and do my workouts . . . yeah I was that guy. Running certainly became a ritual for me.  I bought the brightest shoes, wore the short shorts, grew my hair out, made sure the bandanna and sunglasses were in the exact right spot and that I would have an audience.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I did work my butt off, I just made sure I would achieve the praise I wanted.

The Habit Loop: Cue – Routine – Reward

Charles Duhigg, in his book: The Power of Habit which spent 60 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List explains what he terms the Habit Loop:

From: Charles Duhigg

From: Charles Duhigg

Simply put, all habits whether positive or negative follow the course of cue-routine-reward.  

  1. CUE: A specific time of day comes
  2. ROUTINE: I go running
  3. REWARD: I am rewarded by people looking, positive comments, and jealous roommates

So as long as my habit loop stays in place I am able to continue with the habit indefinitely (theoretically).

So, How Did I Stop Running

Assuming that this loop never breaks I am golden.  The problem is life changes.

When Sandi and I lived in Oklahoma my cue to workout was 3:30pm.  At that moment I stopped doing everything I was doing and started to get ready for the workout.

I packed the exercise bag and went through my ritual of ensuring I looked like I had wasted way too much time getting ready for my workout.

I did this EVERYDAY

But, like I said life changes.  We moved.  We got new jobs. We weren’t sure where to workout.  We didn’t have our same running trails.

Suddenly my cues were gone . . . . and sure enough within weeks my routine was broken.  My body was still in decent shape so I appreciated the occasional compliments at the pool or wherever we would go that I happened to take my shirt off.

Unfortunately, the residual effect of working out and running eventually fades if you stop . . . obviously!

With No Reward – There is No Routine

The compliments began to fade, life continued to change, and I began to put the weight on.  Soon the compliments turned to suggestions from family members that I start running again or Sandi begging me to go on a jog with her.

The problem was: My reward was the praise for looking good!

Without that praise, I had no reward for working out and new habits began to form. Now instead of running, doing situps, and eating right, I had quickly developed habits tied to eating poorly, and the release of stress from watching a sitcom.

Soon the praise stopped.  My body was no longer the envy of ANYONE! And here I am today at 195lbs barely able to run 3 miles.

So, How Do You Motivate Yourself – – – You Don’t

The question is less about motivation.  I am MOTIVATED to get back into shape.  I want to have a 6 pack. I don’t want to have a stroke at 40. Each night I go to sleep thinking . . . “tomorrow I will run”.

The Habit is stronger than the Motivation. I have to create a new habit to get out and exercise.  The enormous hurdle though is that for 32 years my reward was always tied to recognition and praise for having a “good body”.  That ain’t happening any time soon.

I have to Change my Reward

In order to create the new habit I have to do two things:

  1. Develop a cue
  2. Change the reward

Generally, the easiest way to change a habit is to simple change the action and maintain the same reward and cues. But that is not possible in this case. My reward is unavailable.

How to Create a New Cue

Creating a new cue is simple.  I just need to develop a set pattern or time that becomes my new cue to workout.  It can be as simple as having a pair of shoes that is only used for working out.  Setting clothes in a place that I can see them.  Creating an alarm on my iPhone. etc. . .

Finding a reward however will take some experimentation.  The reward that I crave is praise.  Here are some of the rewards that I have thought of implementing:

  • Posting my runs and workouts on Facebook – this would allow for positive reinforcement from a community of friends.
  • Taking weekly photos and posting them for family to see – or this community – the gradual progression my initiate praise.
  • Buying a Smootie from Smoothie Factory after each run.  This will allow for a guaranteed award after each run that I can count on.

Why Being Out Of Shape De-Motivated

So although it seems counter-intuitive that being out of shape actually demotivates me to workout, it remains that my reward and desire to workout was so directly tied to the pride of positive comments from outside individuals.

Encouragement would never work.  The first step in getting back into shape was to recognize how I got to where I am and then investigating the Habit Loop that drives my behavior.

Once this has been done I can begin to create a new habit loop as discussed above.

 Motivating a Loved One to Get In Shape

If you have a glimmer of desire to get into shape or reach fitness goals that seem unattainable right now or if you have a loved one or spouse who might need a boost it is important that you first try to understand the habit loop and that you don’t pre judge motives.

No one WANTS to be out of shape,no one WANTS to feel tired and overweight . . . no one WANTS these things but our habits are MUCH stronger than  we will power.

Approaching with love and a desire to understand will create an environment that may lead to change.

  • Attempt to understand cues for positive and negative behaviors
  • Identify the habit that those cues lead to
  • What reward drives the habit

Do You Have a Habit You Want to Change?  Have You Changed a Habit in the Past?  Share Your Experience Below.

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May 19

How I Got Fat, And Why I Blamed My Kids

I don’t like fat people.  At least I used to be very prejudice against fat people . . .  then, I got fat.

At the time I was working out a minimum of 4 days a week for 2-4 hours a day.  It became a sort of obsession, or at least a habit that I was unwilling to give up.  From 4pm to about 7 pm every day I was at the track running laps, running bleachers, swimming, or biking.

Life was pretty simple.  Sandi (my wife) and I had just gotten married and moved to a small town in Oklahoma. She worked at a hospital that was only 1/2 mile from our house, and I was a stay at home husband.

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I spent my time trying to decide what to do with my life.  I was 25 and sort of a late bloomer career wise.   I flipped houses for  awhile (read: I lost money on two ghetto homes), I did some roofing with a brother in law, I didn’t go to a couple job interviews, I started college twice.  For the most part my time was spent researching workouts and marathon training techniques, when I wasn’t researching workouts, I was developing spreadsheets with target running times or planning our next road trip to an upcoming marathon.

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Sandi was only working about 30-40 hours a week, but it was a pretty laid back job, so we would have breakfast and lunch together.  And she was always home by 4pm at the latest.

Like I said, life was pretty good!

At the same time we started to become obsessed with diet and nutrition (Sandi is actually a Dietitian by trade) and we developed a pretty restrictive diet plan that included almost no saturated fat and tons of fruits and veggies.  Not only was health important to us, but we had the time, money, and support to make health and fitness work.  This coupled with the fact that we lived in a town where the nearest movie theater was 120 miles away created the perfect atmosphere for us to focus an intense amount of energy on working out.

Fast Forward 5 Years

Over the last 5 years life has changed significantly for our family.  To make a long story short we have lived in 10 homes/apartments, had two kids, I have had 3 full time jobs, we have started two businesses, and I have completed 2 Bachelors degrees. . . . Oh, and we have had we have had two kids.

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I now weigh 195 pounds, for a 5’8″ male (like myself) that makes my BMI 29.6, 30 is obese which means if I gain two pounds my BMI will say that I am obese. To be fair, even when I was 4% body fat my BMI was still 26, so its not the best description of physic.

What Happened Over the Last 5 Years

When you don’t have a “real” job and no kids, your time is yours.  I was able to do whatever I wanted with my time and this allowed for very intense workouts . . . when I had the energy to do intense workouts.  Now days I have two kids on top of the fact that I work nights.  When I get home from work at 8am the kids are crying, they are hungry, cranky, loud, and I don’t have the energy to deal with it.

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All I really want to do is to go to sleep. But I stay awake for a couple hours to get some play time in with the kiddos or to eat breakfast with the family.

Generally, I am balancing trying to stay awake during the day time and just the shear challenges of parenting that every other parent faces and generally speaking I am too tired to workout.

When meal time comes I often given in to the enticing of Ronald McDonald because it will entertain the kids for a couple hours and it won’t make a mess in the house. His damn Siren song is just too much to ignore on some days (ba da ba ba ba!).

Each night I go to bed thinking “tomorrow will be the day that I wake up early”, but I usually stay up to late each night so that I can have a few hours of quiet time after the kids are in bed.  Then, at 2am Taz, my 3 year old boy, comes into our room and climbs up into our bed shoving us out of his way.

On the rare occasion that my energy levels lines up with my ambition and I do end up on a jog where I have to push 60 pounds of kid and stroller while also trying to carry my extra 30 pounds of weight that has built up over the last 5 years.

I am generally a pretty selfish guy (if you hadn’t noticed by now) and I have come to realize in the last three years of parenting how precious time is . . . better put, how precious MY time is.  When the stars align and I have a moment of quiet time all I want to do is sip on a root beer, crack open a bag of chips and watch re-runs of the Office . . . its my way of feeling sorry for myself because I am such an amazing dad!

What Really Happened Over the Last 5 Years

As mentioned above we have moved a lot and done a lot over the last few years. I have used the choices I have made as excuses for failure in other areas of life rather than realigning my priorities or fessing up to my failures.

I chose to attend school, I chose to work nights, I chose to eat at McDonalds, I chose to start businesses . . . etc. the list goes on and on.  Rather than accept my choices and organize my life accordingly I have used my kids as scapegoats for my shortcomings.

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In the same amount of time as it has taken me to gain 30 pounds, Sandi has run two marathons . . . and had two babies. She is just 5 pounds away from her pre marriage weight.

The moment I made the decision to stop working out, the past 5 years where already decided.  That ONE day that I didn’t go jogging for whatever reason – – – my destiny was decided.  A new habit had been created and I had erased 26 years of good habits.

The day I decided to take Taz to McDonald’s for the first time I had made my decision that someone else was going to be responsible for feeding my kids.  Someone else was going to make nutrition decisions for my kids.  Why? Because I thought it would be easier.

I remember the first time I EVER felt fat.

It was at my corporate job (desk job) I was typing away on the computer and I felt my man boobs touch my stomach!  I couldn’t believe it.  Rather than use this as motivation to make drastic changes, I used it as a sign that “it was too late”.  I was now one of the “fat people” that I hated.  Getting back in shape was now out of my reach.  This was BEFORE we even had kids.  What I mean is, clearly my decision to be out of shape was independent of children.  I had already made that decision . . . having kids only gave me an excuse.

As a nurse who works nights I get to have breakfast and dinner with my kids 7 days a week.  Generally speaking I am pretty tired after an over night shift. But I have an amazing chance to be at every meal with my kids . . what habits and traits can I teach them?  I am there a minimum of 2 meals a day, 7 days a week.  Very few men have that advantage. I have 4 days off per week, I live across the street from an enormous park, I have a wife and children who love the outdoors . . . yet I am not working out.

What positive impact would doing short HITT workouts while my kids take naps make in my outlook on life and overall energy level?  What would the difference be if I ate healthy snacks rather than cokes and cookies while I was working?

Parenting does change the way in which you are able to use your time.  It does make an enormous difference in how much personal time you have.  But health is not simply how much time you spend running.  Health is a way of life.  It is not required that you be 4% body fat and run 200 miles a week to reap the benefits of working out.  Simply walking more, jogging around the block, telling Ronald McDonald to screw himself, or eating an apple are all healthy choices that will result in fantastic health changes of in turn improve my entire outlook on life.

The moment I fess up to MY failures and faults and stop blaming those who love me and look up to me (my kids), in that moment can I start making changes that will impact my life and my children’s lives.

What are my children feeling now whether consciously or subconsciously knowing that I am putting all the blame for my current health state on them?  No doubt they can feel my frustrations.  By removing that blame and placing it where it belongs I will create a more peaceful home and allow myself to begin living a healthy life again.

I don’t hate fat people.  I realize that we all struggle with different things.  I understand now more than ever the mental blocks to start the process of working out or eating right.  I know how it feels to know that you don’t love your body.

By alienating my family and blaming them for my choices I have driven a wedge, hidden or not, into the most precious relationships possible in life.  I am missing out on enjoying life to the fullest.

Moving forward life will be sweet.  Family will be cherished.  Health will be embraced.

Have you had an experience or paradigm shift that helped you change you health goals?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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May 14

8 Moms Who Run Marathons (they are pretty DAMN fast too)

There are a couple of things I am pretty sure I will never do in my life.

  1. Run a sub 3:00 marathon
  2. Have a baby

I am pretty confident the baby thing will never happen, unless Arnold Schwarzenegger was on to something in Junior.  I know I will never run a sub 3:00 marathon.  I have tried and my best was only a 3:24.  So my mind is always blown away by a mom who can run a marathon after having a baby.

So lets introduce our 8 Elite Marathon Moms.   To be completely honest, I have included a few triathletes in our list, but to be fair these moms not only run a marathon, but also swim 2 miles and bike 100 miles before the marathon, so I felt they more than qualified.

  1. Paula Radcliffe
  2. Kara Goucher
  3. Deena Kastor
  4. Jessica Jacobs
  5. Emma Gerrard
  6. Sara Gross
  7. Heather Gollnick
  8. Michelle Andres

Paula Radcliffe

2 Children, 2:15:38 Womens Marathon World Record Holder

CC Copyright fergie lancealot

CC Copyright fergie lancealot

Not only is Paula a mother of two children, but she holds the current world record in the marathon, is a 3 time London Marathon winner, 3 time New York Marathon winner (the year she had her baby, and the year after), and a one time Chicago Marathon winner.  She has also won countless awards and accolades for her running accomplishments.

Oh, and did I mention that she has asthma? Oh, and anemia.

Paula is truly an inspiration to mom and athletes everywhere. On training while pregnant Paula has said“The minute you find out you are pregnant, your priorities change, and of course I slowed down.  I ran for health and pleasure, not for competitive reasons”.    Of course just 12 days after having her baby she was back out training, but later admitted that 3 weeks may have been better.

She won the 2007 New York Marathon just 10 months after having her baby.

Never set limits, go after your dreams, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. And laugh a lot – it’s good for you!

Paula Radcliffe

CC Lisence Flickr user Alan Cordova

CC Lisence Flickr user Alan Cordova

Kara Goucher

1 child, 2008, 2012 Olympics, 3 Time NCAA Champion

Flicker User Stewart Dawson

Flicker User Stewart Dawson

Kara burst onto the marathon scene in 2008 by finishing 3rd at the Boston Marathon.  She gave birth to her son in 2010, in 2011 she placed 5th at the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:24:52 a PR by more than a minute and beating her 2009 (pre baby) Boston time by 7 1/2 minutes.  Shortly after that she was on her way to the 2012 London Olympics.

She has won many other races and events since having a child and has proven her strength as a runner in recent years.

Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.

Kara Goucher

Deena Kastor

1 chlid, US Record holder in Marathon, Half-Marathon, 15k, 8k, 5k

Photo take by: Ambio

Photo take by: Ambio

Deena gave birth to her first child in February 2011, eleven months later she ran a 2:30:40 marathon to place 6th at the age of 39. Since then she has gone on to place 3rd at the LA Marathon and 9th at the world championships at the age of 40.

Deena is truly an athlete that takes excuses away from the regular folk like you and I.  Despite being a mother and “over the hill” she continues to compete on the world stage as an elite marathoner. In 2006 she was named the top womens marathoner in the world.

When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring how to excel.

Deena Kastor

 

Jessica Jacobs

1 child, 2012 Kona IronMan World Championships 26th place (11:38:39)

Jessica began racing triathlons in 2011 and quickly became hooked on the sport.  Despite a frustrating first  race she returned for more races and qualified for the 2012 IronMan World Championships where she placed 26.  In 2013 she completed 5 Half IronMan races (70.3) and 2 Full IronMan races never placing below 14th. Her IronMan PR is a stellar 8:55:10, good enough for a 1st place finish at the 2011 Florida IronMan. . . All this while raising a daughter!

Emma Garrard

1 child, Multiple top finished in XTERRA Championships and Winter Triathlon Championships

Emma is a serious competitor and a very busy woman. On top of training for XTERRA and Winter Triathlon races, she is a mom, a photographer, and she coaches various athletic programs. In 2011 alone, she ran 11 organized races. Most recently she placed 2nd in the 2014 XTERRA West Championships just weeks after being bedridden with sickness.  This was her best finish in a pro race. . . EVER. All this just months after having a baby.

She keeps a very fun and inspring blog at EMMAGARRARD.com outlining her workouts, family time, and races.  If you ever wanted to get an inside look at racing and training with kids, this is probably the best blog to read from a professional athlete.

Smart preparation in not-ideal circumstances can only get you far, good results also require consistent specific training.

Emma Garrard

Sara Gross

2 Chlidren, Professional Triathlete

In 2013 Sara completed 11 triathlon races, completing the Zurich Ironman in 9:55 and placing in the top 3 in 6 of those races.  Yes, that is with two children.  In 2011 she finished 2nd in the Calgary 70.3 just 7 months after having a baby.  Oh, did I mention she also hold a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.

When I get home from training I quickly shift from athlete-mode to mom-mode  . . .

I think that all women should get in the habit of taking care of themselves for at least an hour or two a day.

Sara Gross

As for working out while pregnant, Sara says that she averaged 1-1.5 hours of exercise a day.  Running until week 32, biking until week 37, and swimming up until the day before her baby was born.

Sara confesses that her training has changed since having children.  She no longer is able to plan her training as much as before and must work around her babies schedules. To follow Sara online visit her website at www.saragross.ca.

Heather Gollnick

3 Children, 5X Ironman Champion

Heather is 44 years old a mother of three children and has over 100 podium finishes as a professional triathlete.  In fact if you check out her website at HeatherGollnick.com you will see that those top finishes just keep rolling in at nearly every race she enters.

We had a third child and ever since it has been complete madness with my husband and I being out numbered. Training is not the number one thing but I can still get out there and mix it up and love it!

Also remember training will always be there, your little ones get so big so fast.

Heather Gollnick

Heather states that she has no intention of slowing down any time soon and loves the thrill of racing and competing on a professional level.  She is the author of Triathlon EQ which states that endurance sports are as much a test of emotional endurance as physical stamina.

triathlon-eq-heather-gullnick-198x300

To top it all off, Heather also provides triathlon coaching and is a public speaker.  Find out more about her coaching here.

Michelle Andres

5 children, full time teacher, 3rd Age Group Finisher Kona Ironman Championships

Michelle is an example of a “regular” mom who set her mind on a goal and made it happen.  She has a full time job as a teacher, she is the mother of 5 children, yet she still finds time to train and compete on a very high level.  She is 36 years old and holds the Minnesota state record for the Ironman Triathlon.  Her Ironman time at Kona was 9:50 which was good enough to earn her the #3 spot in her age group. She did all of this with no coach and most of her training was done in her basement on a stationary bike and treadmill.

If its important to you, you’ll find a way, if its not important, you’ll find an excuse. We all have more time in our day than what we think, we just waste a lot of time on things that are not important.

Michelle Andres

She now has her sites set on qualifying for the Olympic trials in the marathon.

Are You a Marathon Mom?

While all of these women have amazing stories to share and have all accomplished a lot professionally in terms of running, they all say the same thing: running after having a baby is not easy, but with planning and determination it is doable.

You may not be trying to win a triathlon or qualify for the Olympic trials, but you can reach your goals with running and weight loss.  You can accomplish what you set your mind to.

Are you a mom who continues to run?  Do you have tips for running with children?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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