Marine Corps Marathon
Given the title of this blog (Semper Travel), it is fitting that if I were to run a marathon, it would have to be the Marine Corps Marathon!
Brief History of my Passion for Exercise:
I’ve worked out practically every day since I was 11 years old. I’ve tried many exercise classes (and taught group exercise for a couple of years), but ultimately, I like challenging myself with a variety of cardio and weights (machine and free weights). I never thought I’d run a marathon, and it’s really not healthy on the body either. My right knee has Osgood–Schlatter, from adolescent growth spurts and potentially overuse, so I’m very careful to switch up my cardio regularly.
I’m addicted to fitness, so much so that after college I decided to get my group fitness and personal trainer certifications through ACE. I taught group exercise for a couple of years, but after moving overseas I focused on my work, earning my AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC(R)) certification, and working towards my MBA.
I enjoy inspiring and motivating others to exercise too. There are misconceptions that runners must love running, or people who exercise love it every single day. I think it’s important for others to know that I don’t love it every day, and there are weeks when I’m in a rut, but I’m disciplined and keep going. I’ll think of new ways to motivate myself, possibly download a new playlist, watch a TV show while doing cardio (but make sure to keep the intensity up!), or changing up my routine with new programs, exercising at a new time of day, new routes, etc. I don’t love running, I usually dread it, but when it’s done, I love that I did it. It’s a great accomplishment, a well-rounded workout, and sometimes I get a “runner’s high,”(…just sometimes).
My husband and I make exercise part of our daily routine and quality time together. On the weekends, we’ll plan a long bike route with stops along the way (like errands!), run, lift weights, etc. Incorporating hikes and fitness into our leisure time is a great way to bond and stay fit!
My Typical Exercise Plan:
For the past three years, well, actually, the past 17 years, I typically run 2-3 days per week (shorter distances 3-5 miles), elliptical 2-3 days per week, and bike 1-2 days per week, usually outside on a hilly trail with my husband. Throughout the years, I incorporated other exercises or challenges, such as a Sprint Triathlon, various 5-10k runs/mud-run, Zumba, HITT, tennis, spin (not my style), P-90X, and Insanity.
So, Why A Marathon?!
My knees hurt just thinking about it! So, why the sudden change in mind? 2016 naturally became a year of healthy challenges. We didn’t even plan for it, but over the past few months, it just happened! Here’s a timeline of how it went down:
January 3, 2016 – We don’t usually set New Year’s Resolutions, and this year was no different. A few days into the year, we just decided to start following a 4 Weeks 2 Shred Body Building program. As I mentioned, I work out daily, but I needed to change things up and add more weights. I recommend Kris Gethin’s 4 Weeks 2 Shred available on the Body Space app. It was a fun program and wasn’t too time consuming, if you’re already used to working out every day. I didn’t lose weight, but I definitely felt stronger!
January 8, 2016 – I eat fairly healthy, but I definitely enjoy a serving of chocolate and gummy bears. We don’t buy processed foods and tend to “shop the outer loop” at the grocery store (produce, dairy, meat). However, after spending years (17+ years) exercising daily and not feeling like I ever “reached my goal,” I decided I really need to focus on my macronutrients (protein, carbs, sugar, fat). Read more about my nutrition plan below.
Late January – We received orders that we were moving to Washington D.C. My supervisor mentioned that my work (headquartered in D.C.) has a Marine Corps Marathon team. After mentioning the idea to us, we started to think about it….and when the Active Duty tickets went on sale on March 3, and we pulled the plug! My husband purchased his ticket! (I can’t purchase mine until late-March via a lottery…so I hope (or maybe I don’t) that I get one!)
So our journey begins! Check back for updates as we get closer!
As of January, I’ve really focused on macronutrients. I mentioned I’m trying to reach 100 grams of protein per day, ideally 130-140. It can be hard to reach that goal while still keeping my calories low, so it’s important that every bite of food counts. That may sound like a lot of protein, but there are many benefits. I stay full longer, it’s easier to maintain muscle, and it helps me focus on what types of food to eat. I’m not as concerned with calories, because naturally things high in protein are healthier (chicken, fish, tuna, eggs, etc.). If you’re buying processed protein items (bars, drinks, etc.), make sure to keep the sugar, carbs, and calories low, as many options are not healthy and in reality are a candy bar in a fancy wrapper. There are many healthy recipe sites too, but not all of the high-protein recipes taste good.
Recipes: I look for recipes that aren’t too complex, fairly normal ingredients, and that still taste good! I’ve tried some horrible “protein cupcakes” and various imitation recipes like “fake potatoes.” I’m not going to waste my time or calories on something that doesn’t taste good!
- Pumpkin Protein Muffins – Delicious! I’ve seen many versions of this, but I decided to modify it and make it my own. The original recipe came from FitnessRX.
I don’t like building playlists, but good music definitely helps a run! I came across these options, and thankfully, you can stream it through an app!
- Women’s Running January Playlist 2015 – Marathon theme