Friday, December 23, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside!

I am the biggest wimp when it comes to cold weather workouts outdoors. I live in southern Utah where it rarely snows and the coldest it gets is sometimes in the tweens on SUPER cold January days. However, I grew up in Wyoming where it would start snowing in October and it would finally melt in June. In the winter months we were ecstatic when the temperature was over 0 so we could go outside and play. I remember donning shorts when it was 40 degrees and trying to get a tan. Man, I have become allergic to cold weather since I moved. In fact I am sitting next to a heater in my fitness studio while wearing 2 (make that 3) layers of clothes and gloves and a snow cap. it's about 30 degrees outside and about 50 in my studio. SO... I love working out - outdoors. But not when it's cold. I follow all the great fitness gurus of outdoor fitness. some dude runs barefoot in the snow in Colorado - seriously? I moved my outdoor bootcamp inside back in November and plan on keeping it indoors until March. The weather is nice here in southern Utah in comparison to Colorado, Wyoming and even Northern Utah and the rest of the northern States of the good ol USA. But I am wimpy. There I admitted it! I talk a big talk and encourage so much more from everyone. But let's get real... the biggest reason people gain weight in the winter months (besides all the fatty sugary foods and overeating binges) is that people stay indoors and eat next to the TV. RIGHT? Yes I am talking to YOU! SO... I was reading an article about how to work out outdoors in the winter months and the benefits of it. Did you know your body burns more calories when it's cold outside and you are active? it's true! In the attempt to keep your body temperature up, your systems work harder, burn more calories than you would if you did a workout in 75 degree weather. SO... go ahead and take that run. Bundle up with gloves and snow hat and 3 layers of pants and four sweaters and 2 pairs of socks and maybe some moon boots. and a scarf and whatever else you need to give you some insulation from sub zero degree weather (so glad I don't live in the snow right now as I write this). Here's the thing - you need to have some fun, right? life isn't as fun when all you do is watch TV and eat. It leads to depression and weight gain. Happy people get outdoors. it's as simple as that. I have been on a kick about trying to get people to do the right things - not for weight loss, but for joy and peace. weight loss comes when everything else is going right - sometimes slowly but IT'S OKAY! SO... You challenge this winter is to find a way to get outside daily and not just to get from your car to your house and vice verse. Talk a stroll with your dog at Lunchtime. Go to the park and play a round of basketball with your kids or old High school buddies. Or make some new friends and try a new sport. Ever tried Pickleball? me either. I'm going to learn though. Don't tell me kids but I am getting them a ball and rackets for Christmas and we are going to learn (they don't read my blog). Still don't want to go outside? do you really live in a place where you get frostbite on your nose when you step out the door? I get that. totally. How about this.... Do fun stuff - INDOORS. Yes, you have permission to wimp out on getting out in the blizzard to get a round of Tennis in. - Play wii dance party! or no wii - just do a dance party. - pull out the old game of twister and see if you still got it. - try Limbo? (don't hurt your back) - not into looking or acting silly like me? - get out your dusty workout videos and start your day with one (especially if you have kids hanging on you. It makes them even better!) What else? Oh put the chips down. Keep a dish of broccoli and celery and hummus out instead. Enjoy the Holidays. Enjoy your loved ones. smile. read a good book. Merry Christmas From Phazes!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pepper's testimonial

Michelle,
I just wanted to stop and take the time to thank you for boot camp!  I went in for four weeks with a goal of achieving a faster pace for running. With the strength training and speed work, I am excitingly stronger. You pushed me and challenged me to exceed my expectations of what my body could do there. Our group was diverse and we all encouraged each other every morning!  That was big for me as I love feeling apart of a team!  My husband went in with the goal of losing "baby weight" and came out stronger, fit, and lean!  I think the one thing you showed him was that it wasn't about the scale!  I would encourage anybody with weight or fitness challenges to take your class and see how far 4 weeks takes you. When I started your class I was an 8.5/min pace on a 5k; I just did my first 5k since your class and I had a 7:36/min pace and took 2nd place in my age group!  Thanks Michelle!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bootcamp - one week special!

I am such a push over! This morning at Bootcamp I informed everyone that after this week there would be a 2 week break before the next round and everyone screamed "NOOOOOO!!!! I Can't wait that long for my Bootcamop I love so much! can't you give us just one week break? oh please oh please oh please!" Oh, ok fine! SO, the next round of Bootcamp will start November 7th - BUT, I am giving a week of bootcamp for $25 for anyone to try it at a pro-rated cost! 4 weeks of bootcamp is $100. But you now have the chance to "sample" it for a fraction of the cost and jump in with everyone else when they start November 7th too! It's a great opportunity! Bootcamp costs: 4 weeks monday - friday = $100 4 weeks 3 days a week = $80 SPECIAL OFFER: October 31st - November 5th = $25! or $20 for just 3 days a week! Call me now to register! 435-680-4025

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Red Rock 2011 - Phazed and Confused

My husband asked me the point of paying $100 to ride in a van and spend 2 days running 186 miles with 11 other people on my relay team. I just finished one of those silly races yesterday. My team consisted of 12 people: me, my brother Steve and his daughter Madison (age 14) and my brother Robert and his 14 year old son Adam and my client and now friend Corey. In the other van was my friend Marquessa and a bunch of her friends I had never met before but I can now call friends. we weren't in it to win any awards - This was a first relay like this for most of the people in my van. There are 2 vans with 6 people in each - snow van and Sun van. The snow van starts the race in the mountains at Brian Head Ski resort and they trade of runners for about 30 miles then the Sun van takes over for about 30 miles and so forth until 186 miles and over 24 hours later we cross the finish line together in Zion canyon. This is my story: Our team name was decided "Phazed and Confused". Our team was selected - a bunch of ladies in one van that I hardly knew that were all great friends for the SNOW van and my van of mostly family and one client in the SUN van. The money was paid about $100/person. The day before the race started I was putting together final preparations - getting decorations for the van, printing maps, shopping for food... I was at Walmart when I got a call from a Police officer that they had my 3 year old child.... "what?!?!" I dropped everything and came home as fast as I could... the kid was fine - he is a crazy kid - I will write more about that in my personal blog with that story and carry on here with the red rock relay story... So... my stress level was high - off the charts... had a lot less time to do all the things I wanted to before going to the race the next day. The Snow van part of my team was coming in late and I would not be able to meet up with them before the race - SO I left their gear they needed with one of the team member's grandmother in Cedar City and HOPED they had it all together. Luckily they had run races like this together before and were well prepared. I still worried of course since I had not met most of them. The next day - I had to work in my Studio til I had things settled with a new staff member and Sub for my Zumba instructor. The Snow van had already started their legs of the race up in Brian head while my brother Steve and his daughter and Corey met up and we got ready to take off. By noon 4 of my 6 people for the Sun van were ready to get up the mountain and meet up with the other van and other team members we were missing (Robert and Adam). Robert had a teaching workshop he was in charge of and just could not leave as early as he hoped. Adam had a cross country track meet he was in and we would not see him until about 8pm in Cedar City. I let Robert and Adam figure out the solution to their problem with scheduling on their own. So they sent a friend "Burke" to cover Adam's first leg - technically you are not supposed to do this... but... I was OK with it since in reality Adam was running hard in a race over 3 miles under 7 minute miles and would be the equivalent of taking a good leg in the redrock. Problem one: no cell service in most of the mountains and we can't find Burke. On a fluke we run into him at van exchange on 3 hours after we had agreed to meet up and several miles away from the place we decided. I took a deep breathe and focused on looking for the people I had never met in the other van on our team. Snow van showed up in a flower theme. our van had chosen a Camouflage theme. Team Phazed and confused was living up to it's name. it was good to meet these ladies finally and cheer on their 6th runner coming in to finish the end of the first legs of their race. They said they had run through lightning storms and hail storms in the mountains and they were freezing! Legs 1-6 done! Our van's turn! Steve took leg #7 our first leg for our van. 5.8 miles of an tough uphill! considered very hard. Steve is one of the strongest runner when it comes to someone who can push hard - run long and take on any challenge. I purposely gave him the hardest legs of the race. Sorry - Steve - but congratulations - it means I have great faith in you and your ability to kick some serious butt! Steve finished leg #7 in 48 minutes. Leg #8 4.6 miles hard uphill battle again was assigned to Burke filling in for Adam. Burke is a funny guy and know my brother Robert from working in the School district as a principal. we still hadn't met up with my brother Robert yet... Leg #9 2.9 medium difficulty - uphill.I did it in 20 minutes. The hardest part was the lack of oxygen at over 10,000 feet. my lungs were bursting! 2 kills for me and no one passed me. (a kill refers to how many people you pass up) Leg #10 - 6.4 miles of a downhill now called "the quads must be crazy" I assigned that one to my client Corey - a new runner that had just started racing last year - mostly 5k's and a 10K. we had been working on training together and we were about equal in ability. when Corey finished he said the toughest part was his lungs struggling for air at that altitude. Corey did great and finished in 47 minutes. Leg #11 - 6.6 miles Medium - downhill. we Met up with Robert at the start of this leg. he was able to break away from his School district responsibilities and meet up with us finally. he started this leg at 10minutes to 8pm and finished in 40 minutes. a FAST timer for this distance. especially for our team. It was fun watching him meet up with another runner along the route and push together toward the end. #12 - The last of the first legs was for Madee - age 14. 5.4 miles of a fairly easy run into Cedar City. Madee did it in 50 minutes. Madison has never done a race like this and was in for a great learning experience. this was her warm up for some tough running coming up. In Cedar city we met up with our final runner Adam -my nephew also age 14. he had just finished his cross country meet and had run his 3.5 miles in 20 minutes! GREAT time. He has a LOT of untapped potential as a runner. we counted that as his first leg of the race since Burke had subbed for him on Leg 8 in the redrock. Met up with the Snow van again and it was their turn to take over legs 13-18. It was now dark outside and they would be running in the night from about 9pm til 2am - sometimes in the dirt. we wished them luck and parted ways. after hanging out with family in Cedar city, getting some food at Subway - running into friends, and visiting for a while, we headed out to the next van exchange site to get some rest and prepare for our running in the wee hours of the morning. The ladies in the Snow Van had given me a 2 way radio they would communicate on with us since there would be no cell service in Newcastle. we settled down to sleep in the van or on the church lawn and tried to block out the noise of other teams laughing and talking. I wrapped my sleeping bag around me and leaned the drivers seat in the van back and drifted off to sleep. I was in and out of sleep for less than an hour when our 2 way radio crackled with a message "HEY GUYS we are pulling into the church now! our runner is about a mile out!" CRAP! REALLY? that was A LOT faster than planned. So I woke Steve up and we paced up and down by the runner exchange looking for our other van. apparently, other people had 2 way radios on the same frequency.. Lots of teams were talking to each other and announcing their arrival to the exchange. nearly 2 hours later at 1:55am our runner came in. I had nearly NO sleep and it was time to get going again. Steve started out Leg #19 - 8.4 miles of a 2am run. he did it in 62 minutes = 7.3 minute miles. Leg #20 was a nice and easy 2.4 mile jog. I gave that to Corey to let his lungs recovery and prepare for his toughest run yet tomorrow... He finished in 25 minutes. Leg #21 - 3.6 mile hard uphill - MINE! As I started I wondered why I was silly enough to assign me all the uphill runs. BUT... I really enjoyed it! It was a steady climb, but it was only 3.6 miles. I knew I could do 30 minutes of a tough workout. it took me 39 minutes. I had 3 kills. and no one passed me. It was dark outside and I was running through Dixie National Forest - thoughts of bears and mountain lions were in my head. So I decided to make some noise and catch up to the runner in front of me. once I caught them I decided to push to the next runner. I knew if I was near someone I was less likely to get any wild beasts interested in me. I loved that run actually - it felt great. and my knees gave me no trouble. I passed several people and was feeling like I had given it everything I had til the very end. I wasn't sure If I could keep running uphill to the end, so I started goofing around and singing the "rocky theme" as I neared the end. I heard people cheering and realized it was for a woman behind me that I had passed once already and she kicked it in to try and pass me up. I turned and saw her and yelled "oh Hell No!" and kicked it in too! so we had a real race to the finish. (I won) we gave each other high fives and thank you's for the push. that was fun! Leg #22 - 5.2 miles past Mountain Meadows - Robert took this leg. Sometime before this leg he had shared with us about a time he was running and found out he was being watched by a mountain lion. - great.... thanks for sharing... Off He goes into the dark. He finished in 38 minutes. Leg #23 - Madee age 14 started her 4.5 mile run at 4:30 in the morning. It was pitch black outside. Madee's head was full of the stories of mountain lions. she was so scared... poor girl. Robert (her uncle) told our brother Steve (Madee's dad) that he could run with her if he wanted. Steve said Madee would be fine. we would keep her in our sight and let her push through. SO, that is what we did. She did awesome! what a trooper - she pushed through her fear. we could hear her whooping and yelling and clapping her hands. I told her at one of her water breaks that if she caught up to the people in front of her, she "would feel safer and be less likely to have any wild animals interested - at least that's what I did..." She listened - that girl picked up some serious speed! her normal pace is about 10 minute miles... but she finished off with 8 minute miles and had several "kills". WAY TO GO! Leg #24 - 7 miles - Adam also age 14. He asked us how serious we were about this run and if we needed him to run fast. He started off on a nice easy stride just taking it easy. Robert said Adam loved to run but only would run as fast as he felt. If we told him there were people in front of him - he would pass them. So we let him know there were 5 people ahead of him he could pass up. "OK... " and off he went. it was fun watching his stride pick up. He just kept going! He started by doing about 9 minutes miles and finished with 7 minutes miles. Adam brought us into Veyo where the Snow van was waiting to start their final legs of the race. They had not gotten as much sleep as they had hoped either and had to run their last legs of the race with very little sleep. they took legs 25-30 through Snow canyon park during sunrise - my favorite part of the race. we drove on ahead and went through Snow canyon park into Ivins to get some rest at Robert's house. we arrived around 7:30am and slept til about 8:30am. I crashed on my brother's couch. Steve and Madee got the guest house. Robert and Adam got their own beds. and Corey and I each had a different couch. waking up hurt... So, we were off again to meet our other team members at the Washington Community center and finish off the last part of the race. This was the final and most difficult stretch of the entire race. the sun was now up in the southern Utah desert in early September. None of us had run in heat like we were about to do. The Snow van arrived at the community center - gave us the water sprayer and some hugs and their runner came in about 10:17am. Corey was off for his final run leg 31 - 5 miles of HILLS!!! Ouchy... Corey was tired. his lungs burning... and he pushed hard. I was really proud of him pushing through the toughest part of his entire race. He finished in 55 minutes. I saw him looking ahead and trying to kill the next person in front. He worked hard and sweat hard. Great job buddy. Corey said this was just barely past his ability enough to just push him the right amount. I asked him if he would do the red rock again int he future and he said "ask me tomorrow or next week. that was painful. But my knees don't hurt. we'll have to see." My husband Bill was volunteering at the end of this exchange. it was good to see him longboarding around the parking lot. what a cutie. Corey's wife, Karyn was also there cheering her man along on his race. he gave a nasty sweaty hug. She LOVED it! Leg 32 - 6.8 miles mostly uphill was assigned to Robert. He was beat and this was tough. I think I am just repeating myself on the last legs of the race... it was hot, uphill and tough! Robert did awesome and finished in 56 minutes. It was awesome seeing my big brother who wasn't sure about doing this race originally - really do this well. He is a great guy, a strong runner and was a lot fo fun to have around on this race. I was so glad to have him on my team. Leg #33 - MINE 5 miles - LOTS of hills! I said I loved hills... well I did until about the 3rd one on this route. I handled the first 2 ok. then I was tired. really really tired and I still had 2 miles to go to the end. I had 3 kills and no one Killed me - so I felt good about what I had accomplished. a lot of people were walking by this point. I slowed down in a neighborhood near my fitness center when along came a breathe of fresh air... Thanks Cherie for showing up when I was exhausted and cheering me on. It's funny how much that means and what that bit of moral support can do to boost a person. I did take a couple of walking breaks to catch my breathe and pushed on to the end. I ended up with about 5 kills and almost caught the woman who finished right before me. she collapsed as she crossed. I didn't know if she was okay so I sped up my pace just to see if I could check on her. what a way to make a girl run harder - pretend you passed out... she was fine. But I sprinted in and felt good that I could pull that out of me. It was tough... and I was done! Leg #34 Madee - another tough up hill in the heat run for 6.2 miles. I had reminded Madee that her safety was first and if she ever felt like it was too much to let us know. She got her head band soaked with ice water and pushed on. She took several wat4r breaks, we sprayed her down often and she pushed on. Her mom, Ronnie and her siblings were there now cheering her on as well. we were all proud of her. She had NEVER done anything this hard before. she was tired, hot and pushing in 90 degree heat to do a final leg of this tough race. Robert hopped out when Madee had about a mile left and ran in the rest of the way with her. how awesome to see an uncle running in with his tired niece and help her finish off strong. I love seeing people do things they aren't sure they can do and do it anyway. after Madee finshed she kept saying over and over "I've never done anything like this before in my life!" i felt really connected to her accomplishments emotionally. Leg #35 - 7.5 miles - HARD uphill.( and repeat) Madee handed off the run to her dad Steve - a drill sergeant or he said his title changed to something else. He gave his daughter Madee a big hug said "I love you" and started his uphill run in the heat. Steve started feeling some pain halfway into his run and had to walk out a bit. He finished in 71 minutes and apologized to us for it. no apology needed. way to go my brother! So glad you were there with me. Leg #36 - the final leg 6.7miles - HARD another steady uphill. Adam took us into the finish line. the kid can run like a gazelle! I am sure his track coach loves this freshman runner that never tires. Adam finished this 6.7 mile uphill run in 41 minutes! not too shabby at all for a 3rd leg of this tough race! I have an awesome nephew! way to go buddy! he really is fun to watch run as he just effortlessly breezed passed everyone else. we met up with everyone just before the finish line and ran in as a team. we had to keep yelling at Adam to slow down so we really could run in together. That was really really hard for him. he kept slowing and it just was never slow enough for the rest of us behind him. we finished the race at 4:15pm.... about 30 hours after we started. I love this race! I love my team! I got to know my family better and met new friends in the other van. I can hardly wait for the next one. as I told Madee and the others in my van Saturday morning before the final stretch - "what I love about these kinds of races is that it pushes you to do more than you thought you could do and that translates to the rest of your life. being able to push past these hard challenges reminds you that you can do anything in life and no challenge God gives you is really too much. You can always do more than you thought your could." I can't wait for next year! I want to do more of these! Pictures to follow later...

Friday, July 22, 2011

fast like a Gazelle...


I have often used the example of rushing across a park to a child in danger as just one reason to be fit. I never thought I would have to put that into practice. 2 days ago while visiting family in Southern California, I took my kids to the beach. Put sunscreen and life jackets on my babies and began to set up our beach chairs and food. I turned to see how my kids were doing, there was my 3 year old... scariest moment in my life... rolling in the waves unable to get up or catch his breathe.

I have no idea how fast I was there, But it was the fastest I have ever moved in my life, jumping over other people on that crowded beach. We had picked an open spot further away from the water since the places closest to the water were all taken. So, there was some ground to cover to get to my child. The life guard stand was right next to us. The life guard got to me and my baby at full sprint right behind me.

My 3 and a half year old is fine. I was able to reach him quickly and I moved my beach chair closer to the water in front of some grumpy woman not happy about me moving closer to the beach and too close to her. (Oh well grumpy lady...)


Had this been 3 years ago, I wonder if my body could have moved like that without injury.

So, that hypothetical situation put out there to my clients, I put out there again to you.
If your child was in danger - across a park or a crowded beach, could you reach them in time to save their life (my question mark key is broken... grrrr)

It's just one of many reasons to get in shape. Do those sprints, love those lunges, enjoy every heart pounding moment of your workouts. I can't tell you how grateful I am for those challenging workouts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What about Bob?



I'll tell you about Bob...
Dude, I couldn't be happier right now. This guy has been one of the most dedicated clients here at Phazes. Today we did a fitness assessment after about a year of coming at least 3 times a week - week after week.

Before I tell you what he accomplished, let me tell you where he was when he came in...
Bob has not had a problem with obesity - just the opposite. Skinny and weak, no balance, no strength, no overall health at all. There is no way I can adequately say how sick he was from a lack of correct eating habits and proper fitness training.

Day one: we did his fitness assessment...
I wanted to cry to see this great guy at just 63 years old unable to stand on one leg or do knee pushups, or have any stamina at all.
Here is a guy that loves to golf but was having a difficult time enjoying his game with his balance and strength so out of whack.

Flash forward to today...
Bob is no longer doing knee pushups. He had 40 seconds to complete the following tasks and rest one minute in between. Here are his results:
- 2 pull-ups (the guy could barely hold himself up at all before and today was his first time we DARED trying pull ups - he did AMAZING for starting a workout program after age 60!)

- In-and-out crunches: 31 (it was 10 in that amount of time on day one)
- Switch kicks: 26 (he couldn't even DO them before since it required balance on on leg)
- Power jacks: 22 (before his legs were too weak to even risk trying)
- Power jumps: 18 (see Power Jacks)
- Squat thrust with jump: 11 (see above)
- Pushups: 22 on toes with perfect form (compare that to his poor form on his knees barely able to do 5 in the same amount of time)
Oblique climbers: 24 (he would have been too tired to try these before so we didn't dare back then.)
and he can now touch his toes, too, when he was about 4 inches away from being able to do that before.

SO yeah... today is one of those days that I get to rejoice with my client. Bob had some words to share too:

" I feel proud of myself for the first time in my life. It's a feeling I have never felt before. Thank you so much for basically saving my life. My golf game is better now than it was when I was in my 30's. I can hit the ball further than most of the big guys out there. I feel amazing. Of all the money I have spent in other places trying to get healthy and the very little I spend here at Phazes every month, this has done the most good for me. I can't thank you enough."

And Bob, I can't thank YOU enough for being willing to let me share you story and your thoughts. You continue to inspire and impress me with all you do.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Senior fitness - Gold Circuit




One of my favorite classes at Phazes is the Gold Circuit!
It is ideal for seniors and those with special concerns including hip or joint issues, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or recovery from injury or surgery.

Clients that come to the Gold Circuit have LOVED it!
- Anna may says her posture and range of motion and energy is improved.
- Maryanne says she has more energy to deal with her fibromyalgia.
- Billie says her butt has gotten smaller. :) we LOVE that! and she is stronger!
- Helen has improved balance.

Issues that arise as we age tend to be limited range of motion, loss of balance and less strength and energy. although "just walking" is good for you - It's just as important to have a workout that includes strengthening and stretching your entire body. That is what you get in the Phazes Gold circuit - Strengthening and cardio all in one adjusted to YOUR fitness level. Your first visit is free. SO come in and check it out!

Monday, May 9, 2011

RELAY FOR LIFE!

Good morning all!
SO it is that time of year that we get together on the Track and get to know the community while doing something good for ourselves and raise money for the American Cancer Society. It is NOT too late to join in any way you choose.

Here are the details:
This Friday and Saturday May 13-14th at the Hurricane Intermediate School.
Set up is at 2:30, and the event starts at 4pm on Friday the 13th. It ends at 10am on Saturday the 14th.

We will be running, walking, dancing, and skipping our way around a track - you can do it any way you want! No need to be a superstar athlete - all ages and fitness levels are on the track. There are moms pushing strollers, grandpas, and cancer survivors with walkers. So there are NO excuses!

We ask our team members to donate a minimum of $20 each (or more if you can) as our team's donation.

We will also be selling healthy goodies to raise even more money for the program.

Dress in hippie attire, bring any decorations that will help us make our campsite fun and full of "peace, Love, and whatever the 60's were about."

Call me if you have more questions. This should be a fun night of dancing, energy, joy and celebration as well as remembering those who are gone due to their battle with cancer. If you know someone that has lost their battle to cancer and you want their name on the track - get that information to the organizers at 435- 313-2476

We will see you there!

Ironman! a Volunteer story

Ironman! a Volunteer story
Friday Night Bill and I camped out at Sand Hollow Resevoir so we could make it to the 4:30am meeting for the Swim support. We slept like crap - music echoing off the hills from those at the Bike racks keeping an eye on the security for millions of dollars of Bike equipment. So our alarm going off at 4:15am was like... pain... real pain. But I was excited to get in the water and be a part of this amazing day around so many amazing athletes.

at 6 ish we were loading our kayak into the water to go get in place. the sun was not yet up but just a tiny bit of light trying to peak over the hills. I was surprised to find out the water was warmer than I expected. in fact I was expecting to be freezing. I wasn't!

What a GORGEOUS morning. Blue Water, Blue skies, Red hills and sand...
Bill and I were situated in a 2 man kayak on the east side of the island about 3/4 of the way through the Water course. Bill was designated section leader of Section E on the swim. So we got to boss people around - another favorite pastime.

I was impressed as I watched the swimmers go by - first the Pros... speechless... amazing...

I suck at swimming.
so watching these guys hardly lifting their heads out of the water and going in a straight line...
A M A Z I N G...

cuz I suck at swimming.

Last time I tried to swim at Sand Hollow to "try and train for a triathlon".... I sucked. I basically got in the water and shivered and swam about 10 yards and got out. and I NEVER could get myself to put my head under water.

So, yeah... watching these guys swim this strong for 2.5 miles. I was impressed.
Not much to do on kayak support on the back side of the race for the pros and the people in the first half of the race. they are strong and steady and not needing much support.

it was the second half that things get exciting for water support - at least where we are placed in the water. I hear the Starting line area gets a lot of action with water support. but we don't get a lot of action until the ending half.

We only had to have one man hang onto our kayak and work out some cramps.
They are allowed to hang onto to the kayak as long as we don't go forward. If they come out of the water they are out of the race.

I know of about 7 people who ended up being pulled from the water. I heard Last year it was around 30 people pulled out of the water.
Some were just too cold, some too cramped up, some just exhausted already. It's a combination of the water temperature, the adrenaline and the exertion they put in that puts their lives in danger in the water.

I have OOODLES of respect for anyone who can finish even this much of the race.
In case you were wondering - the Ironman is a 2.5 mile swim, then a 112 mile bike ride then 26.2 mile run. - pretty stinking tough to do anyone one of these alone much less back to back.

When I was at the grocery store getting some food to pack for the campout, the checker asked me if I was doing the Ironman. "Oh yeah, I am SOOOO doing the ironman!" hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa ha haaaa ahhhhhhh....
well not this year or the next anyway.
I just want to LOOK like I could. :)

One of the Hardest parts of the Ironman on the Swim support side for me was the very very tail end. there were about 4 swimmers at the end we were worried would not make it.
At this point there is enough kayak support for each swimmer to have a full support fleet for them. so Bill and I and another 2 man kayak teamed up to keep "Joe" (don't know his real name) going the right direction and motivated. It's pretty easy to get going completely off course and course correcting takes a lot out of a swimmer if they have to do it over and over. some swimmers actually swim twice as far as they others because of the distance they spend going off course and having to correct.
so "joe" had a kayak on either side of him keeping him pointed in the right direction. He was shivering and struggling. There was a moment when I really thought he would give up and ask to be pulled out. But he didn't he kept trying. His mind kept telling his body he could do this. At one point he was so weak his swimming form had him moving backward instead of forward! I have no idea why. (but then again - did I tell you I suck at swimming and would not make a great swim coach?)

When I saw the look of frustration and renewed determination in this guy's face, I realized he was not going to ask to be pulled out of the race and it was now our job to give him as much support and encouragement as we could. so I pulled out my bootcamp trainer hat (not really - it's a metaphore) and we all started cheering this guy on - counting down the time - telling him how much further he had - yelling at the top of our lungs:
"COME ON"
"YOU'VE TRAINED FOR THIS"
"YOU CAN DO IT"
"PUSH HARDER"
and all the other stuff you tell a woman in labor... :)

Once again my 4 years of High School Cheerleading were useful.

I was emotionally invested in this guy's success.

We were about 100 meters from the finish line and their was 2 minutes left. His pace was going to have him just missing the cutoff time. I wanted to cry.

It was all I could do to keep from jumping in the water next to him and swimming to the finish with him. (but then they would have had to pull me from the water and waste the kayak support on me instead.)

When "joe" finally made it out - he had missed the cuttoff by a minute. right along side him was a woman and they were told at the same time as they were wrapped in a blanket that there were not going to be able to continue the race.

I wanted to hug him. so I did.

He looked dissapointed and relieved at the same time. I imagine he must have felt proud that he pushed through a tough swim that at midpoint none of us (and maybe him too) thought he would finish. I also imagine he must have been happy that he wasn't going to have to get on that bike and ride over 100 miles and then run a marathon. He looked exhausted. I was proud of him. I didn't know his name or where he was from or anything about him. But I felt like I knew him. And I was proud of him.

This portion of the race and my volunteering was over.
So we got on some SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boards) and played around for a few minutes before we headed back to our tent to warm up and nap before the second round of volunteering/playtime at the Ironman.

I went home for a few hours to play with my kids and kiss them all before I headed out the door at 5:30pm to got to run aid station support from 6pm - midnight. I was so excited for this portion of the race. I knew that the elite/professional athletes were done before I got there. The winner finished before 3:30pm.

(a side note: it's so weird differentiating the athletes as elite/non-elite. They are all amazing and elite in comparison to me. BUT - I have no idea what to call the FREAKS - I say that lovingly- who are in the first 50-100 or so finishers. other than superhuman elite. so I will just call them the "elite" to make it easier.)

For those of you who have to deal with St. George traffic on race day every yea all day or all weekend - I pity you. It took me FOREVER to try and get to the area of town I needed to be in to park and then walk over to the aid station. so many detours and roads closed all over the place. I thought I could cut over here - nope. try this route - nope.
I finally had to give in and follow the traffic to Bluff Street and then went to the church parking lot before walking to the aid station.

I went by myself this time. Bill decided to stay home with the kids and recover from no sleep. Me? I am a freak when it comes to a good party. I was ready to be up all night dancing with a crowd. - that is where my "eliteness" kicks in. I outlasted Bill and I was ready for a second round.

Apparently the aid station I had signed up for had been moved.
I walked over to where it was supposed to be.
I had signed up for aid station #11 - the theme they chose was HIPPIES - you know, Peace, love, beads etc... So I was all dressed the part and ready for some hippie love.

I found aid station #6,7,8,9,10 and then 12? what? where was 11? I walked back up the hill to number 6- they said go back down and told me where it should have been - between numbers 10 and 12. NOPE. I walk up the side street where all the runners were going up a hill and was hoping for an aid station there. NOPE. I walked back down the hill. I was really feeling for the Ironmen at this point. I was in a pair of sandals - I took them off since they were hurting my feet and now I was barefoot walking alongside the ironman athletes who for the most part were walking at this point as well. I had not swam 2.5 mile or rode a bike 112 miles. I had walked only a couple of miles (barefoot) up and down this hillside in the 90 degree weather and I was starting to get tired. I could see why this St. George Course was considered a tough ironman course - lots of Hills... I got to walk them barefoot.

I finally decided to settle onto aid station 12. I was done looking for my people. They would just have to miss me. SO - I was dressed in Hippie attire and hanging out with the Cowboys at the western themed aid station. They had country music playing when I got there - not my faves from the 60's and 70's. so... I was a little sad.
But I jumped right in. This group did have free dinner for me - grilled on the spot hamburgers. Yeah! I was freaking STARVING!
So this is where I stayed for most of the night. I didn't know a soul at this aid station. This is the first Ironman aid station I had ever volunteered at. I had done other aid stations elsewhere - but this was awesome! what a party. I am not a huge fan of the country western theme - But these guys knew how to make it a PARTY!
We handout out water, ice, cola, wet sponges, etc...
I have a thing about music - it has to be right. the right speed is critical especially when you need some energy to keep moving.
So - this guy - older guy - nice guy - at the aid station decided he didn't like the hard thumping rythyms of Kid Rock and "I'm a cowboy" and other Hard rock Style country music. So he puts on "Hey Jude" like 5 times... uh.... yeah.... nice guy... not a great running song.
I jokingly said something about it to him.
Me - "do you ever go running with music?"
Him - "Hey Jude is a great song."
Me - "I'm not saying it isn't, it just doesn't have good running beat. I love this song but it doesn't really pump you up."
Him - "well most of them are walking right now anyway."
Me - "yeah... well..."
I think I lost. He played it 5 more times. Maybe he didn't like me more than he liked the song. Not sure. I needed some hard thumping dance tunes.

Around 10pm I was chatting with some guy in a golf cart about my aid station dilema and he tell me aid station number 11 was moved and he could take me there.
YAY!
I would get to see my Friend Michelle Sullivan and her crew. so I quietly ditched aid station 11 and "Hey Jude" and went up the hill to the Hippies.

NOW the party could start!
Enter the dance party til midnight...

Ok...
so we were dancing and singing and the music was loud and hard - they way I like it.
I was with an old friend and finished off an evening having a great time. AND my outift was right finally!

Around 11:30 the runners were few and far between. but we would have one here and one there still struggling to finish this race.

We would cheer and High Five all of them as they passed our aid station.
midnight - still 4 runners out there and the race was called. they would not even make it to aid station 11. I am not sure how many other runners were passed our aid station and in town trying to finish. One was 2 miles away from our aid station. I was torn up about having to turn off the music and leave when one more person was out there and needing all the support they could get. But technically - the race organizers wanted them to get off the streets. I did decide to leave. I got in my car and drove into downtown St. George to see the finish line. I actually had never seen it before. most everyone was gone when I pulled into town. There was the clean up crew and few devoted friends of runner still trying to finish the race they started. I saw a couple of guys standing next to the finish line. I asked if they were waiting for a runner they knew. nope. they were just there at the end to cheer on the last of the last of the athletes and this was their favorite part of the race. ME TOO! It is those who have persevered through unbelievable trials along the course and finished even when they are told they do not get honored by the crowd, press, medals, and accolades - they finish anyway. These are my heroes! So I stood on the finish line with these 4 other guys as the clean up crew were tearing down the archway. we saw someone coming in and we cheered as loud as we could. His pace picked up just a tad and he crossed that half torn down archway with the cheers of just 5 people. I wanted to cry. I am that way.
I chatted with these guys for a few minutes and then there was another runner - these people were alone. No family, no other support and no crowds. but they finished!
I think one of them was foreign and must have come a great distance to be here as he spoke very little Enlgish and looked like he wanted to say something to us there - but instead just in an accent I couldn't place said "thank you." It meant the world to me. I told these men I was cheering with I wanted to cry. They laughed and said "Ya, I know huh?"

It was nearly 1:00am I had a family and husband at home. I hated leaving but knew I had to. The race day was over for me. and I loaded up on Mountain Dew and Chocolate at Maverick and pumped up the music for my 30 minute drive home alone in the dark.
It was good to be home with my husband who had waited up for me.


Some things that impressed me while volunteering - ages - sizes and types of athletes.
There is a "type" that you expect to do this race. The majority fit that type - strong - lean - tough warriors - men and women = ages 20-40

But the others were refreshing - The older athletes some looked like they may have been pushing 70 or more!
The Larger athletes - I saw 2 at least that my judgmental mind would have never EVER placed them as capable of doing this event - way to prove me wrong you animals!

The Person with the artificial leg - wow.

And so many many many stories for each of them.

If you are like me you may have said "I could never do something like this." But what I love about this is that these people have proven so many people wrong. Because they did do this. Many of the athletes were older than me - by 10 years or more!
I know my friends that did this had once struggled with weight issues and trained hard to lose weight THEN started Triathlon training and THEN decided - WHY NOT?

They remind me - NEVER RULE ANYTHING OUT!

I was able to give my friend Missy (Hyde) Payne a Hug at aid station 12. She looked amazing and left a sweaty mark on my shirt.

I kept looking for my friend Cathy Ford but never saw her. I had decided she must have been one of those FREAKS that finished earlier in the day. I later read on her Facebook thread she had to drop out at mile 70 on the bike course due to heat exhaustion. bummer - but she had a great attitude and plans on trying again next year.

Next year - the whole family will be doing it with me too. It's too good of a party and inspiring event to not be a part of in some small way.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

True health is not just thin!

I love the outdoors! yesterday I was on the balcony at my studio and I watched a Hawk circling overhead for several minutes. I forgot about my stresses and my worries and just... let myself relax. The sun was shining, the canyon was below me,the hawk overhead. I felt blessed. I took a deep breath of the clean air and felt a wave of inspiration and clear thoughts come over me.

A big part of my job is to help people find ways to enjoy their journey to a healthy and fit lifestyle. Often that involves things like taking fitness classes and weight lifting or bootcamp. One of the areas that is MOST critical and MOST neglected in the fitnes journey is finding time to breathe deep, enjoy the outdoors and find JOY!

My 13 year old son reminded me of that a few weeks ago. He is not the kind of kid that has a competitive bone in his body. Playing sports is fun for him, but he has no desire to join a football team or a soccer team. PE is a must and he does good, But... he has no desire to run with me or work harder than he needs to to just get by. I kind of got on his case a little and was trying to find ways to get him more active and involved in sports. I really wanted him to just be active and was trying to force my ideas of active lifestyle for a school kid onto him. Finally he said: "Mom, I really want to go hiking and rock climbing more often."
I couldn't argue with it.
While I do believe that sports taught me a lot about hard work and success, I also know people who believe that some kids thrive better without being forced into a competitive sport. (However, rock climbing has their competitions too.... hmmmm....)

My goal was to get my son doing something active.
He didn't like what I offered and he told me what he wanted. I listened.
Our goal is to find a place to climb every Saturday and to Kayak on Fridays. That works for both of us.

I thought about my clients
How many have been TOLD what kind of activities they HAVE to be doing to be healthy? how many have been told how much they should weigh? How many have let go of the joy of the journey toward their end goal just to make others happy?

We need to bring the joy of it all back into play. we have an unhealthy nation. Not because their aren't enough gyms, diet plans, weight loss books, fitness gurus and doctors working on getting everyone trim and slim.
The problem is the lack of joy in the journey.
we have all bought into trying to join the school football team when some of you would rather be climbing rocks.
Some of us are so desperate to be slim that we are doing crazy diet plans to get skinny while our joy diminishes.

Health is a full well-rounded balanced plan that includes a joyful journey there.
It includes sunshine.
EVERY healthy individual I know gets outside! PERIOD!
They are biking or rock climbing or swimming or playing soccer at the park or running with friends.
They are social.
They love sunshine.
Some are competitive and some like my buddy Dan just climbs rocks for the joy of the journey.

They eat healthy "most of the time" because it feels good. Not because they are trying to lose weight. But because it is good for the environment, good for them, and good for the way they feel during their run/climb/swim/bike/hike adventures.

I feel like I am on some sort of weird crusade. A big part of me wants everyone to throw out the scale and enjoy being a person on a lifetime journey toward health. the other part of me was trained as a personal trainer to use that scale and count calories.

Here is what I choose:
- Getting outdoors for something active 3-5 times a week. Breathe the fresh air, watch the sunrise or set, enjoy refreshing cool water and breathtaking views.
- Love what you eat! learn about health for the joy it will bring you for the rest of your life. No longer eat for the temporary "full" feeling.
- Do what you LOVE to do! EXPLORE all fitness journeys and find something for YOU!

This Friday I am going kayaking with friends, running at sunrise with my clients. Saturday I hope to take my kids hiking. This is the joy of an active life!

My workouts I do in my studio help me to better do those other things. BUT spending 4 hours a day in the gym?.... come on! Get over it! go do stuff!

Monday, March 7, 2011

To weigh or not to weigh? THAT is the question

I have had a major "aha" moment - to throw out a cliche'd term.
But here it is:
MOST of my OBESE clients weigh themselves daily and are obsessed with weight.
They also have a difficult time with weight loss and have tried more fad diets than my other clients.

I was speaking with a client of mine the other day that has joined Weight Watcher's. For the most part I think Weight Watcher's is a decent program. I have a couple of issues about using leftover points and processed packaged foods - but... overall - eh - decent enough if you need a weekly support group.

SO I asked my client "how often do you weigh yourself?"
- Daily
Me: "why?"
her: to see if I lost weight
Me: Why?
Her: what do you mean why? I need to lose weight.

Me: do you get weighed at the weight watchers meeting weekly?
Her: Yes.
Me: then why do you weigh yourself at home too? weight fluctuates all the time between a 5 pound range. it can be very depressing to weigh yourself and see you have gained 2 pounds one day after you thought you lost a couple of pounds. right?
Her: yes, it gets very depressing.
Me: and if you are not losing weight at all then you should quit exercising and eating right?
her: well... no... but, something has got to change.
Me: try this - change how often you weigh yourself. and just stop then in a few months after developing habits for 3months THEN weigh yourself and see what has happened just for fun.



Here is my theory. and I know I am right.
Stress creates cortisol levels to rise creating belly fat and weight gain. right? Most everyone that has done any research on weight loss and dieting knows this.

and so - we are surrounded by ad and billboards and articles about how out of shape and overweight everyone is (guilty here too - sorry).
Those that don't fit the "ideal" weight feel stress, guilt - whatever. It causes more weight gain - no really it does! Stressing about your weight causes more weight gain!

So - quit stressing!

I have several clients that have admitted to me that all they can think about is how FAT they are and how badly they want to lose weight and they WEIGH themselves all the time!!!! Hoping for weight loss - not getting it fast enough - trying a fad diet - losing weight quickly - getting excited about their weight loss - rewarding themselves with Fatty foods they missed during the fad diet - and EXPLODING back up past the weight they were before - getting depressed - stressed - more weight gain and the cycle starts over.

It is a COMMON problem.

I would challenge everyone that is struggling with weight loss to try this for 6 months:
1 - throw out the scale
2 - throw out the processed foods and sugary fatty foods in your house
3 - EAT all the time! (veggies and fruits mostly) don't starve! ever! starving lowers your metabolism
4- exercise! Try fun forms of exercise and try a variety of different KINDS of workouts. try Zumba - try Yoga - Try Bootcamp - Try Biking - Try Hiking. Try something different ALL THE TIME! Get adventurous!
5 - do theses exercises DAILY! fit people workout daily - not 3 times a week. So if you want to be fit - act fit! "Act as if". You may have to rest more often in some of the workouts you try - BUT you are developing a habit of daily exercise!

6 - Keep it up! Just keep going and don't weigh yourself! Eat right - have fun exercising and keep going because that is what fit people do! Don't think about it as a diet or weight loss plan. Do it because it brings you joy!

7 - if you happen to have a weak moment - don't stop trying!

I had a breakdown the other day and had to have my cookie dough and donuts and chocolate. BUT - the next day I went back to eating right again and feeling better about my health.
To me it is NEVER about my weight. It is ALWAYS about my energy levels, depression, and overall health. I feel GREAT when I eat right. I feel like CRAP when I don't.

SO, if you quit weighing yourself and only do these things because they create a healthier you - you WILL get to the weight you are supposed to be. There are ways to lose weight faster through little eating and exercising tricks we personal trainers know. BUT - if you want to do it yourself and are frustrated with past results - try this for 6 months to a life time and see what happens. If nothing else, you will at least have less weight related stress.

what do you think?
To weigh or not to weigh?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Another fun night at Phazes studio

Just wanted to post a few pics and videos of a typical night at Phazes!
Jessica was teaching. Michelle (me)was behind the camera.

video


and a few stills: Check out the amazing faces!







Afterward Meri got on the pull up station and did a couple of sets before I started taking video. CHALLENGE!
She was already worn out after doing 3 sets of FULL pull ups. so these are 1/2's

video


Go Cherie! doing her 1/2 pull ups

video

OK, so mine suck! I am considering this my "before" video. By the end of the year my pull-ups had better be a lot deeper than a few inches. ah well, it's a start. mere are my "minis"

video

Time to teach the kids!

When I teach people how to feed their kids healthy foods, I have often heard the excuse that kids won't eat healthy food and so they are "stuck" buying unhealthy food for their kids.
It took our family about 6 months to adjust to the fact that dinners were no longer going to be
- boxed Mac and cheese
- Top Ramen
- Hot dogs
- Pizza
- Hamburger helper
- boxed processed prepared foods with loads of additives
- etc...
That was typical meals in a week.

We've worked hard on teaching our kids and here is where they are now:


video



As my kids adjusted to Zucchini, asparagus, spinach and no more crap on the table, they learned to try new things. Meal times are a great time to educate your children on healthy eating habits. and talk about what different foods do for your body.
My 6 year old Dane didn't want any spinach until I told him that eating green foods helps him to live longer. Evan age 13 said to him "It's like being a super hero" and he took a big bite of his spinach wrap.

video

I love the muscle man pose. Thanks Gabe!

KIDS WILL EAT GOOD FOOD - when we eat good food ourselves and encourage them to make good choices.

transition food that I used while they got used to spinach and no more overly processed foods:
I always made sure I had 2 options I knew they would eat
- Raw carrots
- steamed Broccoli with a little cheese on top (don't overdo it and cut back on the cheese a little at a time until they can eat it without any cheese
- Whole grain toast with hardly any butter.


My daughter Ilia age 9 makes her own lunch for school days when she thinks the meals provided are not good for her (sometimes - so she isn't perfect and enjoys a school lunch here and there) The point is - she is learning to make healthy choices.

video

So Parents, don't wait for the school to teach your kids about nutrition. somewhere (not from me) my daughter learned that corn dogs are part of the wheat and protein food groups. In my house corn dogs are part of the processed foods group.

Have fun with the process.
On Valentine's day we had a Strawberry themed dinner:
Spinach salad with strawberries
Fresh Strawberries added to our cranberry juice
and a frozen organic yogurt with strawberries over a homemade granola crust without any added sugar - topped with fresh strawberries a few crushed pieces of dark chocolate
We talked about how strawberries help to use the iron found in spinach and how valentine's day doesn't have to mean lots of candy. Dinner can be a time to teach. Meals do not have to be difficult and time consuming to be healthy. But we will have more on that later...

What are you teaching your kids?
How do you lead your home in the fight against childhood obesity?
What are you doing to make a difference?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Enjoyed the sunrise this morning.

Many of my friends ran the St. George 1/2 marathon this morning. Me? well - All I did was a 3 mile run this morning with 2 of my clients that I now consider friends. But it was awesome!

Strange how joining someone on their fitness journey changes a relationship from pure business to being personally invested in their success on the journey and then friends.

We decided to take our run along the La Verkin Overlook - a dirt road just outside of the little town I live in. Very pretty countryside. It's a place where you can watch the sunrise over Zion Canyon and see the reflection of the light hitting Pine Valley's snow-capped peaks to the west Horizon line. GORGEOUS!

I reflected on the how I felt about 3 years ago when I started my journey back into fitness.

My first real steps back to finding me was on this road. It's a symbolic road for me. It symbolizes where I've been and where I am going.

3 years ago I was depressed and out of shape and so miserable. I knew I had hit bottom when I took a walk around my block and passed out, so I decided to start walking on my own with my dog. I also needed a little reflection time for me to just get out of the house and re-charge my soul.

My first day out on La Verkin overlook: I took a trail at the end of the road for nice little hike. This is what was once something I would have considered the easiest hike in the world for me. I got down to the bottom of the first stretch - not even a quarter of a mile. It was time for me to turn around and head back up the hill. I started back up and realized there was no way this out-of-shape lady would make it back up the hill on my own. I called my dogs back over, put them on their leashes, and had them pull me up this "nice easy climb". It scared me. I had gone a long way off from where I was. I LOVED hiking and was not able to do it anymore!

Such a sad place for me.
That's the real beginning of my journey - a hike on La Verkin Overlook.

After that, I began taking daily walks along the dirt road near La Verkin Overlook. I would let my dog run and I would take a slow-paced walk and watch the sunrise over the canyon to the east. I literally felt re-charged by the sunrise. I would take time to reflect and re-charge every morning. Then I started taking an easy little jogging spurt here and there. Once in a while my husband would join in the run/walk and push me a little. I did NOT want to be pushed back then. It only made me more aware of what I was lacking. I could hardly run/walk the 1.5 miles of the road one way.

Today the 3 miles back and forth jog along the road felt like a light and easy workout. Corey and his wife Karyn made the journey fun. We talked and laughed and encouraged each other. I wished my husband was there with us to see the difference in where I had been and where I was now.

Karyn is amazing! Such a powerhouse of a woman pushing herself to keep up with more "seasoned runners". (funny I can say that - sort of). While Cory and I talked about the possibility of future races like the red rock relay and where we want to push in the future.

Karyn amazed me. Way to push girlfriend!

A while after I came home some Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on my door and saw me in my cold weather running gear and we started talking about running. They asked me how far I had run, and I told them, "Just three miles today."

One guy laughed and said, "Just? You must be a serious runner."

I laughed back and said, "I hope to be one day. Three miles is no sweat, but it is not a distance run for me anymore."

It felt great to say that. I then reflected once again on the day I couldn't walk around the block or do a short easy hike on that hill.

To steal from a famous quote, "You've come a LOOONG way baby."

Thank you friends and other runners out there who keep me motivated to keep being more than I was. I appreciate you!

I am doing the 5 mile dam-to-dam in Feb. at Sand Hollow. I know I can finish it just fine. That's something I could not have said just a few years ago.

I HOPE that others starting their fitness journey can learn that it is not about being as fast as the other runners that are years ahead in their training. It is only about YOU. I am not fast, I have not done a marathon (yet). I can't beat TyAnn or Cherie or Liz or Amie - BUT I am not passing out anymore. I am stronger. and ANYONE can do that. that is what is exciting to me!

If you are reading this as a newbie in the running world, I hope you will not get frustrated as you run with others that might be faster than you. Just stick with it and keep track of where you've been. Then in a year take a look at how far you have come! Then in 2 years, and 3 years - where will you be?

My friend Cathy is doing her first Iron Man race at age 40. She lost LOADS of weight and had an amazing YEARS-long fitness journey as well. She inspires me to keep up the journey. I may never compete in an Iron man competition - but I am not ruling it out. Who knows what age 45 or 50 will be like for me? Or who knows where YOU will be in 5-10 years as you continue you fitness journey. Never rule ANYTHING out.

I will be doing the St. George Marathon on my 40th birthday in 2013 since it will be on the same day. I thought that would be a great birthday present to myself. Maybe I will do a marathon before that - who knows. I am not ruling it out. But for SURE on my 40th birthday in 2013 - who wants to party with me along the Marathon route?

What about you?
How will you celebrate your next big Birthday?
It's not too late to start a journey toward a more fit, and happy YOU!
40 is not too late, neither is 60!
Just get up - get out with the sunrise and get moving with the rest of us and all those other crazies!
See you on the road.

- Michelle