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.

Hot Rockin’

The other day my aunt Melissa, who’s running Tough Mudder with me, and I were texting back and forth. She was telling me about this squat challenge she’s been doing and moved on to telling me about the ab challenge she was getting ready to start.

This ab challenge.



Yes, the month we are heading into is May, not June. Guess what though? May has 30 days as well! In fact, it even has a 31st day where a big ole REST can be planned. Convenient, right?

I think I’m most intrigued to see what kind of an effect this actually has, combined with the running/circuit training involved in the already set up TM training.

Melissa asked if I was going to take before pictures, and I plan on doing so, if for nothing but my own feeling of accomplishment, of “look how far I’ve come.” I’m fairly excited about that.

What is even more exciting has been the reaction on the social media platforms. People coming out all over facebook and twitter to say “I’m in!” I love that one tiny challenge can bring out so many people, some of whom I haven’t even spoken to in months/years.

And you know? It feels GOOD to be excited like this. To be looking forward to the type of soreness headed my way, to the miles and blisters and probably sunburns.

So. The challenge has been set forth. Are you in?

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?).