Like the Ceiling Can’t Hold Us

Sometimes bad habits are really hard to break. Case in point, my bad habit of not training for races then going ahead and running them anyway. See: Disney Marathon, Tough Mudder.

I could sit here and tell you that I didn’t train for the marathon because I was burnt out and had been since Ragnar. I could tell you that I avoided running before the Tough Mudder because this summer was so damn hot I felt like I was melting just being outside.

I could tell you all of those things and more, but they’d all be excuses. Pathetic ones, at that. My tolerance for my own excuses is officially gone. My tolerance for where I’ve watched my body fall to is WAY gone.

A while ago I found a list of 100 reasons to work out. I honestly do love this list, but as should be expected, some of these stand out to me more than others.

2. Because it helps you get stronger. I know I’m stronger when I’m working out. That makes sense. And I know I’ve fallen off quite a bit from where I was, where I know I could and should be right now. Finishing Tough Mudder did help me to realize that maybe I’m not quite as far gone as I’ve been feeling, but it did remind me that I’ve got quite a ways I could go. I want to be stronger. I want to feel better physically.

A while back my dear friend Angela posted (either on her blog or her twitter, I don’t remember which) an article about strength exercises for runners. I have seen the benefits of nearly all of these exercises and yet haven’t incorporated enough of them into my workout routine in quite some time. Not going to Body Pump in the last six months has depleted the rest of them out of my regimen. So in order to keep getting stronger, I am adding this to every running day. I have learned that I like schedules and routines, and I would very much like to find myself in the routine of going running and then doing these exercises.

31. Because it helps you de-stress/32. Because it’s cheaper than therapy. Right now, emotionally, I am in an incredibly solid place. Even wedding planning isn’t stressful. However, I am not naive enough to think that there won’t be rough times. I am not inexperienced to the point of thinking that running doesn’t help me. On particularly stressful days, there is not much better than running out frustration and stress. I miss that.

33. Because you want a strong core. The reason I mention this one is because starting October 1, I am starting the Mean Abs Challenge all over again. Finishing the two minute plank on that final day was probably the most rewarding fitness thing I’ve done that didn’t result in a medal or a bright orange head band. So I’m doing it again.

52. Because you want to live longer. I know there are no guarantees in life, but if I can stick around here a little longer just because I ran rather than didn’t, I will do that. I want to be around for the people I care about, for the children I hope to have. Earlier this morning Janae at Hungry Runner Girl wrote about dedicating each mile of upcoming races. I have 19.3 miles worth of Disney races coming up in February. Actually, five months from today I’ll be flying home from that weekend. I have already started compiling a list of people to dedicate my miles to. I’m excited to write about those people in the coming months.

57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace. My half marathon PR is 2:01.59 (run October 23, 2011). In February, I will be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon with Angela…..whose PR is 1:58.20. Goal for February? 1:55. That averages out to an 8:46min/mile (5.45min/km). Guess it’s time to add more speed-work.

91. Because it improves your cholesterol. This goes back a little bit to wanting to live longer. Coming up in November I’ve got a fitness screen where I’ll actually get my cholesterol checked for the first time ever. I would like it to be in a good place. Working out helps that. So back to working out for me.

98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses. Because I am stronger than my excuses. Because it’s fall, and the heat has finally broken. Because I’m not burnt out. Because I have goals I want to achieve, levels of accomplishment I’ve set for myself that I will meet. Because nothing can stop me.

Because I can run and move and improve and enjoy life like the ceiling can’t hold me.

Because I will.



It’s been almost a month. I’m a jerk at this. I know (hi, Miranda!).

So let’s chat. Let’s chat about my newest obsession. Here, let me show you.

That’s right. My name is Ann, and I have become addicted to Pinterest. Specifically, looking up new, healthy recipes and new, muscle-busting challenges. I knew there was a good reason I held off signing up for so long, considering how much time I’ve spent on it in the last few weeks.

It has been nearly a month since the last time I updated, and I’ll be honest. I’m sore, I’m tired, and I’m not seeing improvement. GCB has. I know this because we’ve had this conversation:

Me: I’m not noticing anything different.
Him: I can. Your butt is lifting.
Me: How can you even tell? It’s not even been six weeks.
Him: Those compression capris don’t leave much to the imagination.

Touche, boyfriend.

Anyway, May was a much better month for working out than April was. I got into a bit of a rhythm, thanks to the Mean Abs Challenge, and was doing really well until I went to Baltimore to visit family. Oops. That kind of killed momentum for me, as well as put me behind on the challenge. (But I saw Camden Yards, so that was awesome!!)

However, I’m nothing if not bull-headed, so I’m finishing the thing. End of story.

This month I’m trying something new, though. For the last few years, my workout schedule has been in a google spreadsheet, easily accessible from my phone anywhere I went.

I’ve been ignoring that pretty little, painstakingly prepared spreadsheet for the last year. Creating it, filling in the upcoming workouts, and then ignoring it.

So instead, for June I’m trying this.


Yes, I’m very Type A. Yes, those are little pieces of paper for every single day of June, complete with a full list of the exercises I plan to do, blurry though this picture is. Yes, I will be crossing the “rest days” off as well.

It is June 1. Today I already noticed something about myself.

I can be VERY overzealous when I’m just writing down workouts. I say this because after the Iron Strength plus the Mean Abs Challenge, PLUS an extra few tricep dips, just for funsies, I went right on ahead and took out five other exercises that there was no way my body was finishing.

Granted, it’s only 9pm, and I don’t have to do anything tomorrow, so I may very well do them later just because.

See? Obsessed.

This month is going to be something of a personal challenge. To see how much I can accomplish, how much I improve just by following a schedule I put together by taking bits and pieces from all sorts of places.

For July, I have a different plan. You know, compare and contrast. Hi, I’m a scientist. Comparing and analyzing is my job.

July will be a full month of HIIT, in the form of this 30 Day Challenge. This one scares me a little. I’m not even going to think about this one for another few weeks.

My running update will have to wait for a different post. There are lots of new things and awesome things and less than stellar things and not nearly as much progress as I’d have liked to have seen by now, and today? Today I don’t feel like talking about it. So. Soon.

How’s your training going, if you’re doing any? Any big races coming up?

(Just Like) Starting Over

I know, I know.



I don’t know if I’d so much call what I’ve done a giving up situation as I’d moved past something to train for, but I definitely stopped, and now I’m DEFINITELY starting over. And you know what? It hurts.

It hurts mentally because, well, shouldn’t this be easier? Ha.


It hurts physically because of course it does. Because on top of the Mean Abs Challenge from the other day, on top of building up my running, I’ve added the Iron Strength Workout.

Can I just say that it should be illegal to read other blogs and look at Pinterest and even talk to my aunt (seriously, Melissa, OUCH) for workout ideas? Not even joking. Iron Strength, Mean Abs, squat challenges, arm challenges, butt challenges, and I’m still at a point in my training that I’m going, “YAY PLEASE GIVE ME MORE!!!”

Masochism at its finest.

At times, at a lot of times, it would be so easy to go back to endless naps and Oreos and doing all of nothing, but to be perfectly honest, I cannot STAND what it has done to me physically.

I already knew I felt far from my best. I’m slower, weaker, my cardio capabilities aren’t where they could be, I just don’t feel good. I knew that, and it bothered me, even with a boyfriend telling me I am beautiful every day.

And then. Ugh. And then there was the trip to the doctor where I found out that not only do I feel less than stellar, I have actually gained ten pounds in the last few months and am officially the heaviest I have EVER been. On the same day that I moved my belt to the next loop out.

I’ve always been the type to ignore the number on the scale as long as my clothes were fitting properly. Now they’re not fitting properly, plus the scale, and ugh. Just ugh.

If anything will strengthen your resolve to keep at the whole working out/training thing, it’s seeing the scale past THAT number. You know, the personal arbitrary number that you are NOT ok surpassing. It’s different for everyone, obviously, and I’ve surpassed mine.

I’m not ok that I surpassed it. SO not ok.

And now it’s on me to fix it. So I’m fixing it. Getting back to where I am comfortable.

New motivation to eat better, to keep running, to get on the floor and do the sit-ups when my abs are already so on fire it’s difficult getting off the couch.

It’s going to be difficult. Of course it is. But then again.

Nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy.

Here We Go Again

Let’s talk about Tough Mudder. You know. This Tough Mudder:

Yeah, THAT Tough Mudder.

Can we talk about the fact that it’s only four and a half months away? And that training started for it this week? And that the thing I’m looking forward to most about it is, masochistically enough, this?fireRight. That Tough Mudder.

Like I said, training started this week. I have a beautiful training schedule for this one. I know, I know, you must be thinking, “Dude, does this chick ever NOT have a training schedule?” Or better yet, “So, you think she’ll follow it this time?”

As to the first, no. Meaning, yeah, I’ve always got a schedule, save for the past three months. And the second? Well, I hope to.

You see, this type of training is SO different from any other kind of training I’ve ever done. Mostly because it’s not just running.

It’s….CIRCUIT training. Not just running. Not even running and lifting weights. CIRCUITS.

And I have got to be honest. First time through the first circuit? Abysmal. Wretched. Just plain bad.

Apparently my body forgot how to do pushups. I love pushups. I cried when the hand doctor told me I couldn’t do pushups with a pin in my finger post-surgery for finger break number one. This makes me sad.

You know what’s crazy? Remember this girl?


Taken in my living room, October 2011, the day before my first half marathon. Courtesy of my lovely mama.

Yeah, her. The one who ran 13.1 miles in just about two hours flat. The one who was so cocky about her abs that she PUT THEM ON THE INTERNET. Multiple times. The internet. The never-dying, will-be-here-FOREVER internet.

She’s…..buried. She’s buried under a layer of calzones and Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreos. Buried with complacency and an unsatiated love of naps. Buried, but not lost.

Glimpses of her show up every now and then. She shows up in the smile that appears realizing that I’m SORE again. She’ll show up in the absolutely JACKED heart rate that I get every time I watch a Tough Mudder video. She’s not even slightly forgotten during a quick run when she shows up in the huge smile on my face.

Last year I forgot who that girl was.

This year I not only remember, I bring her back.

Tough Mudder 2013, watch out. I’m coming for you.


Unrelated, but no less important, for more pictures my awesome mom took, check out her photography blog (phoblog? Anyone else want Vietnamese food reading that?).

Lazy Bones

Today is July 18. This means that my next half marathon is in three months and three days. Guess who hasn’t worked out since Ragnar?

Ok, so that’s not entirely true. I lifted three times in between Ragnar and my Portland trip, but I hardly did anything active in Portland (one four-mile hike) and haven’t done anything since.

People might tell me I’m crazy, but not only can I feel a difference, I can SEE one. I am so very much not ok with it.

My arms look smaller, feel weaker. My mid-section is rapidly losing all the definition I’ve worked so hard for. My poor legs. I feel like they’re unrecognizable. I know that there are plenty who would say, “Why worry? You’re in great shape! I don’t know what you’re talking about,” but I don’t feel good right now. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to all of this.

It’s so easy to blame other things. Like the fact that it’s been a hundred fucking degrees outside for the past couple months. Or that I’ve been out of town or in recovery or have taken time specifically for friends or anything like that.

The guilt center of my brain isn’t thrilled with my excuses right now.

And so I do what I always do. I study over my workout schedule, the one that is ALWAYS a work in progress, adjusting things here and tweaking things there. I search for motivation in any place I can find, like the emails that I get about my upcoming races or a picture of a friend who just competed in a bikini body contest (in the best shape of her life at 30 years old) or a motivational quote on Twitter. I’ll take stock of what I can do to improve my nutrition, what habits I need to try to break, where I can choose healthier eating options.

Then I remember a few things. That I AM human. That I AM still in good shape. That I DID promise myself that I would take some significant time off to try to stave off burnout going into the marathon. That it HAS been an incredibly rough week emotionally which has absolutely sapped every ounce of energy I have.

But I’ll get there. By September, when that marathon training for real starts, I’ll be ready.

Crazy Train

So yesterday’s mini-freak out turned into a full blown meltdown. Like leaving work early to fight off a panic attack, sobbing into GCB’s shoulder, unable to eat anything almost all day meltdown.

It was not fun.

The biggest and most heart-felt kudos to GCB in general for just how well he handled it by just letting me vent, letting me cry, hugging me, and telling me it was going to be ok. There wasn’t even a trace of that “holy shit, she’s crazy” in his eyes, just a steadiness that really helped calm me down. Good job, boyfriend, on the perfect reaction!

That being said, today was a better day. I suppose making it through a full day of work and actually being productive counts as better, but in general I FEEL better. I’m still a bit psyched out on the race bit, but there is quite literally nothing more I can do about it.

I should have gone running yesterday. I didn’t. I COULD have gone running today. I didn’t. Instead I went back to the thing that I tend to turn to when I get super stressed out.

I cleaned. Oh fuck did I clean. Wiping off my window sills and vacuuming and windexing my bathroom mirror and doing every single bit of laundry I had and guaranteeing that the only dirty dish left in my apartment is the glass filled with milk that’s sitting in my fridge for GCB (who really, REALLY loves milk).

This is the same type thing I used to do in college before a huge test that would freak me out. I’d clean the entire apartment, whether I was the one who messed it up or not. My roommates loved that about me. It helps my brain to be calm when I’m in an organized space. So I cleaned. And then I set up little tiny piles of clothes for every single day starting tomorrow until I leave Chicago on Sunday. There are littler piles for the clothes I’ll be wearing for each leg of the Ragnar. Hell, there’s a pile of clothes sitting on top of my dresser for what I am going to wear tomorrow to work, as though I wouldn’t be able to just pull the stuff out of my dresser.

It’s funny. Piles of clean clothes and a running dishwasher and vacuum lines on my carpet have calmed me down more than nearly anything else.

All that’s left to do is….run.

That’s it. Just run.

Super Freak

Do you want to see Ann’s freaked out brain? This is Ann’s freaked out brain. Aka, this is totally how I feel right now:

Four days. Four days.

It’s like the fucking clash of the titans all up in my dome piece. One minute I’m totally fine, the next I’m completely psyching myself out.

This weekend I got slammed face-first with a wall of overall panic. Panic over the race I don’t feel fully prepared for. Panic over the budget I have completely annihilated lately. Panic over work stuff and how I’ve felt entirely on edge dealing with certain people lately. Panic over my monstrous to do list that doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

GCB got to witness first-hand the “hey, let’s put on a tough face, but honestly I’m in a glass case of emotion” type freak out on Sunday. It was not pretty.

I am freaked out and stressed and completely and totally overwhelmed right now. There is wave after wave of anxiety crashing over me. It’s making me nauseous and fidgety, and I don’t even know how the hell I’m going to make it through three solid days at work.

It bloody sucks.

These types of pre-race jitters are unlike anything I’ve experienced thus far. I’m always a bit nervous before a big race, but holy shit. This is unreal.

I know it’ll be ok. I know that.

I just want it to be ok right now.

Panic Prone

I am fuh-REAK-ing the fuck out.

Ragnar is five weeks from today. Five weeks. Thirty-five days. I….holy shit.

I pulled up my training schedule today to adjust for the last week of being sick and out of town, switched over to the May calendar, and got a whopping dose of HOLYFUCKINGSHITI’MRUNNINGEIGHTEENMILESINFIVEWEEKS.

Holy fucking shit, I’m running 18 miles in five weeks.

I’m not ready.

Getting sick two weeks after the half marathon has meant that my workout regiment since the half has been, well, more a passing interest than a regiment. This was not my intention at all.

Logically I KNOW that I will be fine. I know that I am in good enough shape to get through.

But I don’t want to be just good enough. I want to have splits that I can be proud of. I want to make our team faster. I want to get through this race and be sore in the best way possible.

I want to absolutely crush my training for the next month.

When I looked at my just barely filled out May running schedule and realized I was supposed to run 10 miles in a few days, I had another freak out moment.

I’m meeting GCB’s parents on Sunday. There is Sunday Night Dinner on Sunday. There is not time for a 10 mile run. Maybe four, but not ten.

So, let’s sum up.

I am freaking out about the biggest race of my life thus far, even though logically I know I’ll be ok, but I know I have to kick ass this month.

I am freaking out about the meeting the parents of the perfect boyfriend because I have not “met the parents” in a DECADE. Even then, the high school boyfriend was a friend first, so I technically already knew his parents. Though I suppose there was the one guy with whom my first date was a trip to the Fox Theater WITH his parents, but I don’t count that so much. I am told, “he likes you, they’ll like you.”


I need a nap.

This post was brought to you by a severe lack of sleep, a minor instance of lack of self-confidence, and probably not enough (possibly too much) caffeine.