Now is the time to reflect back on the past year and start looking ahead. I love that each January, we all get a “fresh start,” and it allows us the opportunity to DREAM BIG.
Are you getting ready to set some goals for the New Year?
I had to admit, I used to set goals each year (spiritual, physical, relational), and I would never live up to them. Either I would cower from setting MEASURABLE goals, or I had these giant goals, but no PLAN as to HOW I would achieve them. Sound familiar?
Last year, the GOBankingRates survey asked respondents, “What are your 2016 resolutions?” and the top 5 answers included:
Do you know HOW you are going to achieve them? If not, I have an answer for you: #REALsolution2017 Challenge Group.
Let me explain how you can achieve these five things through a challenge group. (I’ll start with #2, because once you achieve #2-5, I believe that #1 is a given.)
#3. Lose weight.
Do you know the secret to losing weight? Good nutrition and exercise! Oh, wait. You thought there was an actual “secret?” Nope! But, here is the key: anyone CAN lose weight, but how many actually KEEP it off? How many people keep going to the gym past February? How many fall off the bandwagon by Valentine’s Day? There is no “secret” to weight loss. The secret is how to MAINTAIN that weight loss for good. Enter: #REALsolution2017. This group will be the starting point to your journey, with the option to continue on...well, forever! While I will teach you the things to get on track, you can STAY on track through the online support of other challengers who are doing the EXACT SAME THING! We are in it TOGETHER! Losing weight requires small efforts daily over time. Better food choices, more water, more sleep, and daily exercise. You can do it, and having a PROGRAM to show you HOW is the key. You will have a full fitness program of your choosing, nutrition guide, portion containers, workout calendar, month of Shakeology, and month of Beachbody On Demand (think Netflix for workouts!). No excuses this time!
#4. Save more, spend less.
Well, how am I supposed to save money if you are asking me to PURCHASE something? Yup, I get it. Many times I talk about INVESTING in our health. That’s because the truth is, you will either pay for whole foods and good nutrition, or you will pay for prescriptions and doctor’s visits. Obesity is out of control in our country, as are health care costs. The challenge pack for this group includes Shakeology. What is it? It is a nutrient-dense whole food shake that is the easiest way to get in essential vitamins and nutrients the body needs on a daily basis. Shakeology has been created to fill in the gaps in our daily diet, even those who already eat clean. So, for $4/day, it is worth it for me to have better digestion, better nails and hair, more energy, less cravings, and all the nutrition I need in an on-the-go shake. It saves me from going through the drive-thru for breakfast, it curbs that afternoon crash when I might go through Starbucks, and because I am no longer buying processed snacks, I actually SAVE money! Did I mention I no longer need to buy individual vitamins or expensive protein powders that contain filler ingredients? When all's said and done, a healthy lifestyle can actually SAVE you money in the long run. Think about it!
#5. Spend more time with family and friends.
True story: I broke up with my gym. We had a good relationship, but I didn’t need it anymore. I didn’t even have to pay for it or drive more than 2 miles to get there. I still dumped it. Why? It cost me too much TIME. Have you gone to the gym, wandered around, pick up some random weights, do a few reps, go on to something else, maybe wait for a treadmill, jump on an elliptical for 20 minutes and call it a day? How long did you spend? An hour? Two? How about commute time? Another 30 minutes? When I discovered that I could get personal training, a proven program, and workout calendar telling me EXACTLY what to do each day, I jumped all over that. No more creeping gym guys. No more commute. No more wandering around, wasting time. Through Beachbody programs, the experts are right in my living room, and I spend 22-45 minutes working out. Period. Best part? I can workout WITH my husband and kids. How many times do you and your spouse have to coordinate who works out when? How many babysitters or gym daycare dollars have you spent? No more of that! Working out from home allows me to be WITH them, not away from them. BONUS: I get the set the example DAILY.
The second way in which you can spend more time with family and friends is around the dinner table. When you learn how easy it is to eat healthy from home, you tend to do it more often. No more driving to restaurants, waiting for a table, fighting for the kids to behave. Through #REALsolution2017, I will show you HOW to meal plan, grocery shopping lists, and how to prep for meals to SAVE you precious time. Even if you are on the go, you will learn healthy snacks to have on hand, saving you that rush to find fast food.
And now, we can get back to #1….
#1. Enjoy life to the fullest.
When you learn to live a healthy lifestyle, and have the support of others around you, it becomes easier to enjoy LIFE again! How would you feel if you could play with your kids without getting out of breath? How would you feel if you could help your entire family eat well and go to the doctor less? How would you feel if you created a habit of exercise and gained strength and confidence along the way? My guess is, that would feel pretty dang good. When you have more endurance, you want to do MORE. When you have more energy, you want to experience MORE. When you practice a healthier life, you LIVE more!
What about you?
Are you ready to enjoy 2017 to the fullest?
Are you ready to find a #REALsolution this year? If so, let me explain more...
WHEN WILL THIS GROUP RUN?
Monday, December 26, 2016: PRESEASON BEGINS
Monday, January 2, 2017: WEEK 1 BEGINS
Monday, January 9--February 5, 2017: WEEK 2-5 & BEACHBODY HEALTH BET
HOW DO I JOIN?
All you need to join is to purchase a Challenge Pack, which is an awesome bundle that includes a workout program and first month of Shakeology! As an added bonus, you will receive 30 days of FREE Beachbody On Demand, allowing you to stream your program online within 24 hours, PLUS check out hundreds of other programs for FREE! Think of it as Netflix for fitness! Don’t know what program to choose? No problem! Fill out the application below and I will contact you directly, so we can find the right one for YOU!
Since this is the season of GIVING, I can’t help but give something to my brand new challengers as a THANK YOU for allowing me to be a part of your journey!
I have learned that my best groups are the ones where I can give more of my attention, therefore, I am ONLY accepting 10 new challengers for this group. One of the most helpful resources that I have used while doing a challenge has been the book, “Made to Crave,” by Lysa Terkeurst. This has been influential in changing the way I think about food. We are made for so much more than to be a slave to food, and through this book, you can learn how to turn those cravings over to God. Because I believe that change needs to happen from the inside out, I want to GIFT this book to help set YOU up for success!!
Another thing that I have found incredibly helpful, has been 1:1 meal planning sessions with my new challengers. I know this is a busy season of the year, but I am offering a FREE 30-minute meal planning sesh to the FIRST 5 new challengers for #REALsolution2017. When we fail to plan, we plan to fail…so why not let me help you get set up with a meal plan you will LOVE?
I can’t wait to have you join me in this #REALsolution2017 Challenge Group! If you are ready to take control of your health, and make a REAL lifestyle change in the New Year, THIS is the place to be!
The time is NOW! Are you ready?
Thank you so much for applying for this group!
Remember: If you are one of the first 10 new challengers to join, I will send you "Made to Crave" as my FREE GIFT! If you are one of the first 5 new challengers, I will also offer a 30-minute meal planning session FOR FREE!
I can't wait to journey with you in the New Year!
My name is Rachel. I'm a goal getter.
I literally THRIVE on goals.
They also stress me out. But, I keep doing it.
When I first began coaching, I just wanted to lose the extra pant size I had gained over an injury period in my running career. I started with 21-Day Fix and loved the results so much that I stuck with it for three rounds! Once I added in ab work each day, I saw a SERIOUS difference. I was hooked.
Since then, I have completed PiYo, The Master's Hammer & Chisel, 22-Minute Hard Corps, Insanity:Max30, Country Heat, and now Core De Force. I also dabbled in CIZE and 21-Day Fix Extreme.
Let me tell you, when I was at the 2016 Coach Summit in Nashville, and Core De Force was announced....I was STOKED. I knew right then and there that THIS was going to be my JAM. See, ever since 21-Day Fix, I have wanted to tighten my core and get some noticeable abs. Maybe that sounds vain, but as a runner, a strong core is a MUST, and being able to SEE the results of hard work makes it even more satisfying. I saw the results of the test groups, and so I waited until the release day (very impatiently), and bought it that day.
All season long, my running goal was a sub-2 hour half marathon. I trained really hard and knew that I needed to finish that training before beginning a hard "core" program, so the day after my goal race at Marshall University, on November 7, 2016, I began Day 1 of Core De Force.
While I don't have a scale, I did take all my photos and made sure to document each workout.
The Core De Force program is an MMA-style workout you can do anywhere. No weights, and you don't even need a lot of space. I worked out in my living room most days, which is a narrow space, but I made it work. I loved that I could do this workout barefoot if I wanted to, and the alternating MMA workouts and strength-training workouts challenged my body like never before.
Wanna know my favorite part? My hubby decided to commit to all 30 days WITH me, and even my daughter worked out with me from time to time! I love when my family gets involved!
The workouts range between 25-47 minutes, and there are a couple of extra workouts that are 5 and 15 minutes that get added onto the calendar as the weeks progress. While I was used to 30-minute workouts, I loved this program SO much, that I just allowed myself an hour each day, and if the workout(s) for the day were less than that, bonus! Besides, if I was training in a gym, the time to drive there and back and get anything done would be at least two hours, anyway, so I felt I could set aside 4% of my day for some abs.
The nutrition plan is similar to the 21-Day Fix, in that it utilizes those awesome color-coded portion control containers. I LOVE this system. No counting calories, macros, or carbs. Plus, I can pack up snacks in those little containers and eat on the go with no problem! I basically learned the system when I started with 21-Day Fix, and after two solid weeks of meal planning and tracking containers, I had it down to where I could keep track in my head. Now, there is a great 21-Day Fix Tracker app to take all the guess work out! I have been eating this way for a year and a half and have maintained my weight loss with no problem. I think that is WINNING!
The best part of the Core De Force nutrition plan is that you can ADD on more food in Weeks 2 and 3. Week 2 you can add in an extra fruit, and in Week 3 you get the extra fruit AND a healthy fat like almonds, cheese, or avocado! YUM!
The key ingredient to staying on track, especially with three kids running around, is Shakeology. I have been drinking it daily for 17 months to keep my cravings at bay, give me energy in the afternoon, and help me recover from workouts. I love that I can literally "grab and go" any time I want, and KNOW that I am feeding my body whole foods, giving it the nutrients it needs. I have NEVER felt better than I have with Shakeology. My hair and nails are healthier and grow like crazy. When I am on the road and there aren't great options for "fast" food, I can grab my little packet and be filled for hours. With Core De Force, I drank Shakeology for breakfast, after my workout, and sometimes even as an afternoon snack, if I had enough red containers left. When I first heard about this shake, I wasn't so sure, but I can tell you, it has changed my life!
Along with Shakeology, I have been an advocate for the Beachbody Performance Line products, specifically Energize and Recover. I used to drink coffee around the clock, and claim it gave me energy for workouts. The problem was, it was literally DEhydrating me. So, I decided to give Energize the test against these high-powered workouts. I got into a routine of waking up early, drinking my Energize on the couch while I did my devotions and personal development. Then, I was ready to rock and roll. I love that this formula is light, has no aftertaste, and woke me up without the jitters.
After the workouts, I would shake up some Recover formula with ice and water and drink it while I iced my knees and cooled down. I fell in love with this product during my training season a year ago. My calves would get super tight after a long run and nothing but a LONG salt water bath would cure it. Well, I didn't have time for an hour-long bath after runs most days, so I tried Recover. BAM! The leg cramps were GONE in minutes! I was a believer. Recover has a ton of protein and phytonutrients to help muscles recover faster and increase strength, and when you drink it within 30 minutes of your workout, you don't even have to count it as a container in your nutrition plan! BOOM! I honestly love the orange flavor best, but my husband prefers chocolate, so our latest batch was the chocolate. I'm still not complaining!
Let's get to the results.
After Week 1, I HONESTLY felt like I had made some progress. I know that sounds crazy, but just the fact that I FELT amazing was enough to get me to keep pushing at my maximum effort.
After Week 2, I KNEW there was progress. Only 15 days and I was starting to see abs trying to come through. Baby ones, but again, enough for me to keep pushing and sticking to my meal plan. I KNOW that abs are made in the kitchen.
After Week 3, I had SUCH good results that I HAD to share them on social media. 22 days and I felt like a NEW person! I couldn't believe it. To be completely honest, this was my hardest week to push through workouts. Many of the days were double workouts with either 5-Minute Core on the Floor or Core Kinetics (15 minute workout). I was tired and a bit sore, and still trying to add in running days...oh, and did I mention Thanksgiving? Yeah...that happened. And yet...results.
After Week 4, I was ready to get to Day 30. Day 25 was the last day of strength workouts and then I just had the last 5 days with MMA training. That would have been awesome, but I decided to run a personal best at my last half marathon of the year, so I combined workouts on Sunday, instead of an entire Active Recovery day, thus, not giving myself a real rest day for the last 9 days. I wouldn't recommend this, but I was determined to cross off EVERY SINGLE WORKOUT of the program calendar.
So, here are my final 30-Day results:
There is part of me that was feeling a little bit of a letdown that there wasn't more progress between weeks 3 and 4, as far as physical appearance, but then, I had to do a literal "gut check." On the last day of the program, I FINALLY fought through ALL of Core Kinetics. The only move I had to take a break on was the repeating single-leg push kicks. This was MASSIVE progress from the first time I attempted that workout. I also gained quite a bit of upper body strength and definition in my arms, which was always a closet goal of mine, too. This was confirmed by the push-up quality as the program progressed. My last bit of non-scale victory was surprising, though with the nature of CDF, I should not have been surprised...the waistline of my pants got bigger, and based on the pictures, my bottom even shaped up! Oh, and that sub-2-hour half marathon goal? I crushed it on Day 27 of this program. Think core strength doesn't matter?
So, what now?
Since I have decided this is my soulmate workout program, I am committing to another 30 days for sure. I can't wait to see 60-day results and even more non-scale victories, like higher kicks, less modifying, and more strength! Plus, while there is definite progress, I'm even MORE motivated to stay the course and get those abs!
I told you, I'm a goal-getter.
What about YOU?
Are you ready to #FightForIt? I'm going to be honest. I got the results that I did only because I was 100% committed to this program. I completed every workout, even on holidays. I followed the nutrition plan 85-90% of the time (though I definitely think 80/20 will get you there). And I drank Shakeology every single day without fail. My Core De Force VIP Test Group is the bomb.com, and I am SO glad that we have been able to encourage one another every single day as we sweat, punch, and kick our way to healthier lives.
Talk to me about joining my next health and fitness accountability group. I want to help YOU succeed and find not only new strength, but new confidence in what you CAN do and what you can ACHIEVE. It may take 30 days, it may take 90 or 180...but we will get there together! You just have to START!
Thank you for your interest in my next group! I will contact you within 24 hours to help get you started!
What is it about a New Year that we feel we must make RESOLUTIONS? Why must we publicly resolve to improve ourselves or our habits?
Well, according to Wikipedia, more people actually STICK to those ideals when they
A. Set resolutions, and
B. Tell friends about them for accountability.
It's safe to say that most people resolve to improve in some way: physical, mental, financial, emotional, in career moves, education, vacation more, etc.
What do you think is the MOST common resolution over all?
Here are the top five resolutions for 2016, according to one study. GoBankingRates asked 5,000 people what their New Year's Resolutions were for 2016:
1. Enjoy life to the fullest
2. Live a healthier lifestyle
3. Lose weight
4. Spend more time with family and friends
5. Save more, spend less
How do you get resolutions to stick? Researchers said telling people your plans helps because sharing goals may actually make you more successful at reaching them.
And this is where I come in. My job, as a health and fitness coach, is to help my challengers do ALL of these top 5 things when they join a challenge group.
All of them? Yes.
Let me tell you HOW.
Because I believe that #1 will be accomplished when #2-5 are, let's save that one for last.
#2: Live a healthier life.
Joining a challenge group allows you to make small changes over time to both your nutrition and fitness habits, so that you can live a healthier life. This is not a "lose weight over night" thing. This is that old-fashioned "eat right and exercise" advice. Then why challenge groups? Because, in a group setting (on an awesome private, user-friendly free app), you will find like-minded people to help you stay the course. When I first starting eating clean and running, I had to do it all on my own. It was HARD to keep making those right choices, but with the support of a whole bunch of cheerleaders in your corner, you are set up for SUCCESS. Plus, you will receive 1:1 coaching daily from me! Have you had THAT from a gym membership?
#3: Lose weight.
This one is a no-brainer. Who DOESN'T want to be in great shape, feel great, and have more energy? One of the ways to do that is through weight loss and gaining muscle. Both of these outcomes are completely attainable through any of the Beachbody programs used in the challenge groups. If you need to lose weight, the programs have the answer, and all you have to do is....well, do it! The idea is to eat healthier, whole foods, use portion control, and workout each day. When you do those things, the pounds will come off.
#4. Spend more time with family and friends.
This one may not seem so obvious. How does joining a challenge group allow me more time with my family? Well, first of all, you won't need to be wasting time driving to and from the gym anymore. No more wandering around the weight room, trying to figure out what to do, or waiting for the elliptical or treadmill to be free. You can choose from a variety of programs from 22-45 minutes in length, right from home!
The second way that you can spend more quality time with your family and friends is related to meals. When I started eating clean, I realized so many of the restaurants we would go to before were no longer appealing. We started narrowing the options, and realized how much time and money we would save by eating at home. Here we go again...how does that save me TIME, if I have to cook? Well, that is because in the challenge group, we will learn how to meal plan and prep so that you DO have more time to eat well. And, when you have meals ready to go, you end up spending time around the dinner table instead of rushing through the drive-thru. Plus, the crockpot is my best friend in the wintertime!
#5. Save more, spend less.
But, you want me to buy WHAT? How does that SAVE me money? In order to join the challenge group, you need to order a "Challenge Pack." This is a bundled option that will give you the Beachbody program of your choosing on DVD, nutrition guide, portion containers and shaker cup (with many of the programs), and first month of Shakeology, our daily dose of dense nutrition. This superfood formula has been created with whole foods from around the world to deliver a serious nutritional punch, leaving you with LESS CRAVINGS, MORE ENERGY, and BETTER overall HEALTH for only $4/serving (and less than that, if you are a coach). So, back to how you SAVE money...
When you sign up for a challenge group, you are joining a support system, gaining a fitness program to help you exercise from your own home, instead of paying costly gym memberships, and giving yourself a MONTH of nutrition through Shakeology.
And one last thought: when your health is improved, your doctor bills will decrease as well. Is being healthy too expensive, now?
Ok, let's get back to the very first one...
#1. Enjoy life to the fullest.
I don't know about you, but when I FEEL great about myself, I start to see the GOOD in everything and everyone else, too!
Living a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle often depends on the person's abilities and willingness to do well, regardless of their situation. I certainly can't do anything FOR you, and neither can the group, but I CAN give you the tools to make healthy decisions regarding nutrition and exercise.
Living life to the fullest is about you making the most out of life, your situation, your world. Do not compare yourself to a rock star, a movie star, or anyone else for that matter. You are unique. It's all about you making the most with what you have and doing whatever you can to improve as a well-balanced, healthy and loving person. What I like to say is, "Start where you are!"
Achieving a good and well-balanced lifestyle is a lifelong effort that must include striving towards achieving good physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Behavioral changes are often challenging, but they are achievable with persistence, determination, and the right techniques. This is where Beachbody programs come in. The holistic approach allows us to take everything one day at a time, until we reach the point where it becomes a habit.
It is really about applying what you learn in an effort to maintain balance while creating healthy ways to improve in all the areas of wellness and lifestyle. Even making small and positive changes in your attitude and behavior can snowball into big, positive results that can improve your lifestyle and contributions to others and the world around you.
What do you have to lose?
So let's get to it. What IS this #REALsolution2017 Challenge Group, anyways?
This is an opportunity for YOU to start 2017 off right. While everyone is making their resolutions, you will already be on your way to making your goals a reality when you are set up to join our group!
We begin PRESEASON on Monday, December 26, 2016. This means that the app group will be open for you to log workouts and Shakeology, but participation during this week is completely optional. It is a way to "get your feet wet" and baby-step your way into how the group will work. PRESEASON is the time when I post one thing each day to help you get ready for the challenge.
We begin WEEK 1 of the #REALsolution2017 Challenge on Monday, Janaury 2, 2017. We will be wasting no time getting started! On that day, we will begin logging workouts and Shakeology each day, tracking our progress in those areas, and you will find supportive and helpful information every day in the app, as well as having the chance to be encouraged and cheer others on in the group.
BEACHBODY HEALTH BET:
We will begin WEEK 2 of the challenge on Monday, January 9, 2017, and this will also begin the BEACHBODY HEALTH BET! This is an AWESOME way to GET PAID for your efforts! All you have to do is log 3 workouts per week and 5 Shakeologies per week (starting Jan. 9) for 4 weeks to WIN a portion of the HEALTH BET CASH PRIZE! The pot of money could grow up to $3 million! How cool is that?
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO JOIN:
A CHALLENGE PACK is everything you need to get started with this group. It includes:
What is YOUR resolution?
Do you have a REAL SOLUTION on how to reach that goal?
Ready to DECIDE to live a healthier 2017?
Ready to COMMIT to a proven fitness and nutrition program, based on whole foods and working out right from home?
Ready to FINALLY find SUCCESS in this journey?
NOW is the TIME.
Join TODAY and receive a FREE GIFT** with your challenge pack order. I want to help you from the INSIDE OUT, so I want to give you the book, "Made to Crave," by Lysa Terkeurst. This will become an invaluable resource for you, as you learn to give those cravings for food over to God. We have been made for more than to be in bondage by food. It's time to be FREE from that slavery, and I have found this book to be immensely helpful in my own journey, and I pray it will be for yours as well. As I have been coaching, I have learned that in order to be most effective as a mentor, I work better in small groups, where I can give FULL attention to each challenger. For that reason, I will only be accepting 10 new challengers into this group, so don't delay!
I also want to offer FREE 30-minute 1:1 meal planning sessions** to the first 5 people who join #REALsolution2017. Let's get set up for SUCCESS together. I have found that when I plan out my meals for the week, it makes grocery shopping, meal prep, and ACTUALLY folllowing the meal plan SO much easier! I'd love to help customize a plan for YOU!
**Hurry! These offers end at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, December 22, 2016!
Are you READY for a REAL SOLUTION?
Thank you for your interest in the #REALsolution2017 Challenge Group! You will be contacted within 24 hours, concerning your next step in the enrollment process!
**Don't forget! Enrolling by Thursday, December 22, 2016 guarantees your FREE GIFT!
There is that moment, shortly after crossing the finish line, where you "can't wait to do it again." Sometimes this moment comes after you physically recover from the race, sometimes when you mentally recover. But, if you are a race addict, after finishing one, you are likely looking for another to put on your calendar.
This was the case for me.
So, I talked with my husband and debated on a couple of semi-local races that were drivable distances. With the usual peer pressure from my local running group, I chose to run the Country Music Highway Half in Paintsville, Kentucky, on December 3rd. I had never run this race before, but I heard it was a decent course, and well-run by the race director. The lower cost was another benefit.
It might have been because I was so busy with my family, traveling, my business, or the holidays, but I just did not talk about this upcoming half marathon. I had spent SO much time talking about my Marshall goal, and when I fell short, I guess I didn't want to hype up another event, in case it didn't go my way. Friday night, I talked to a few close running friends about my mindset and how I should go into this race. I didn't want to psych myself out, put too much pressure on, or have a lot of expectations. I decided to keep it off of social media until after the race. My friends encouraged me to see how I felt, and run for the fun of it and to enjoy.
If I had a great day and PRed, awesome. If I didn't, no worries. New course, no expectations.
Race day came, and I barely slept. There was a race where I OVERslept and barely got to the starting line on time, so I am constantly paranoid about missing my alarm, and therefore, missing the gun. So, on less than 5 hours of sleep, and having woken up probably 6-7 times, I got up and headed out to Paintsville by 6 a.m.
When I arrived, I saw that the start/finish lines were the same point, there was a clock set up and a few guys running some cords. The line was right in front of the Ramada Inn, which I'm sure is the biggest hotel in that little town. A small table was set up next to a trailer and that is where I got my packet and goody bag. The bag was loaded with some pretty cool stuff, including two hats, a shirt, a flashlight, pens, and a phone holder for your car! I was impressed! The volunteers were very friendly, and I could tell that the people putting on this race really cared about their runners and wanted to make it a great time.
I was looking for my friend, Jennifer, knowing she had stayed in the hotel, and only minutes before the gun, I found her among the 65 other half marathoners. I don't know if I have ever run a smaller half marathon than this one, but there was no time to think about it. Off we went!
There were very few water stops on this course. One about .60 miles from the start/finish (which was an interesting option), and another at the "T" interchange, which was approximately at Miles 2, 5, 7, 10, and 12. I did not carry water or fuel, thinking I would take advantage of the stops.
I could hear my friend, Brea, tell me "don't go out too fast...use mile 1-2 as warm-up." Well, when you take off with Jennifer, that doesn't happen! I wasn't sure how long I would hang with my fast friend, but when we hit Mile 1 and my watch said 8:02, I just yelled out for her to go on because there was no way I was keeping THAT pace! As it turned out, the first 3 miles of this race were similar to Marshall's because in both of them, I ran with a friend for those miles and kept my pace around 8:30 or less. And then in both races, they took off, with my complete blessing. I never want to hold back a friend from running her best, so I was totally fine with having the rest of the race solo. It's MY race, not anyone else's. So, run on, sweet friend, do your race.
The longest part of the "T" was the middle section, especially since I knew we had to run it twice. I am terrible about reading and memorizing elevation charts, so I usually just go with the flow of the hills and not overthink it too much. There were several hills on this course (done several times because of the layout), but I kept telling myself that "what goes up, must come down." I had to look forward to those downhills and keep trudging up. These were not steep, but long elevation changes. My rhythm was to think about two things on the uphill: "Use your arms," and "embrace your core." I learned way back in high school cross country training how your arms can help propel you uphill. Well, since I have been working on upper body strength, I KNEW my arms were stronger than ever. So, I let them help me up each hill. After doing 26/30 days of "Core De Force," I could hear Joel Freeman yelling at me to "USE YOUR CORE!" And so I did. I turned it on and kept going. The downhills were my reward, and I tried to make up time on them as best as I could.
While doing my long run and trying to hit race pace this fall, I would get into the habit of ONLY checking my time/pace when my watch beeped at each mile. I didn't need to stare at it or check it a million times. When it beeped, I checked to see if I was under 9:09. That's it. Simple.
At Marshall, I had banked time in the first 3 miles, and my overall halfway point was on track. It was after Mile 8 that things got slower and I realized my overall time was getting dangerously close to 2 hours.
At CMH Half, my first four miles were way under, averaging 8:24. Miles 5-7 were still under, averaging 8:56. Mile 8 was my first one over goal, with a 9:12, so I guess I got nervous and kicked it up a notch, because Mile 9-10 were at 9:06.5. Brea said something the night before that stuck with me: "At Mile 10 you need to be at 1:30:00 overall time." Ok. I can do that. I think I was pretty close to that at Marshall, too. At Mile 10, I looked at my overall time for the first time during the race: 1:28:00. Golden!
Now, I don't want you to think that I am being cocky, but when you have been practicing for 9:09 pace, and your entire race has been under, some of it WAY under, it FINALLY clicked that I was going to sub-2. Barring any missteps or injury in those last 3 miles, I had it in the bag. All I needed was 10-minute miles for the last 3, and I would make it! Let's just say, it's a good thing I had built that cushion! Miles 11-13 were 9:27, 9:34, and 9:40, respectively. In fact, I stopped at that little water station .60 miles from the finish!
Why is it that the last mile is the LONGEST? Man, it felt like forever. My breathing was tired, my legs were shot. It took everything to keep telling myself to RUN, not walk. You can't WALK the last mile, right? Not after all I had already done. No, I was going to RUN it in, no matter what. And so I did.
I came around the bend to see the hotel and the finish line arch. The time clock came into view and it said 1:57:42. I was going to make it...and UNDER 1:58:00! I could barely believe it! I clicked my watch off on the time pad: 1:57:54.
I did it.
Jennifer came over and it was all I could do to talk. I had to keep walking. Just like Marshall. Keep the legs moving. Celebrate later. She let me go and I grabbed a water bottle and walked up and down the little parking lot, till I could catch my breath. Then, we hugged and celebrated!
For every person who congratulated me (which of course, all runner congratulate each other at the finish, regardless of time), I had to explain my emotions, and every time, my eyes filled with tears.
"I FINALLY hit my sub-2!" Oh, it was SO good to be greeted by people who understand that accomplishment!
In the parking lot, I went back to my car, and a gentleman congratulated me. I recognized him from the course, but I couldn't remember if I was ahead of him or behind him. We talked for a bit and I explained what this meant to me, and there I finally sobbed. This complete stranger just gave me a HUGE sweaty hug and let me cry. Then, he exclaimed what an accomplishment this was, considering this course was MUCH hillier than Marshall, which I honestly hadn't thought about. He was right. Tougher course. Colder weather. But JUST RIGHT for me that day.
Maybe that is why I love this sport. Runners are weird kinds of athletes. Most of the things we do don't make a ton of sense, but WE get it. We understand each other. We cry and we celebrate, always giving a shoulder to another.
I went back to find Jennifer and some of her other running buddies and the group of us talked until all of their friends crossed the finish line. Pictures were taken, race times celebrated. And then, Jennifer handed out beautiful bracelets to each of us.
"She believed she could, so she did."
I couldn't hold the tears back...again. How perfect!
I realized that my biggest obstacle is myself. When I doubt what I can do, or maybe I can go so far as to say, when I doubt what GOD can do THROUGH me, I fall short. When I get out there and simply give it my best, let go, and ignore the mental side of it...when I BELIEVE I CAN...I did!
After a few more pictures, we headed over to where the age group awards were being presented. Because of the "T" course, I could tell throughout the race that I was in at least the first half of the runners, if not the first third. (This in and of itself is pretty amazing, and would only happen in a smaller race!) I had placed second in my age group at Adams County Half Marathon in September with a 2:05 time and a small field, so I thought maybe I might have a chance here, too.
Turns out, 3rd place in my age group! How cool!
What a day!
You know, for all the hype around this sub-2 goal I had, it's a strange feeling when you ACTUALLY hit it! The anticipation and nerves are gone, and you still have the same medal as everyone else, and no one would even know unless you told them. The next day, my friend, Cassie, who has encouraged me through this journey (having hit sub-2 several times), asked me, "So does it feel as amazing in the club as you thought it would?"....Yes!!
So there ends the tale of the chase to sub-2 a half marathon.
What's next? Distance. Lots of it.
Oh, and some trails. Gotta mix it up.
And I'll be happy to stop chasing time goals for a while!...that is, until I see another race!
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.