Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gladiator Rock ‘N Run— Not Your Typical Bridal Party

Ah, running…I love you!  Not only does running keep me sane.  Running keeps me healthy.  I have all the typical reasons for loving running.  Running also opens up opportunities for some fun events.  VERY fun events.

A couple of weeks ago I ran the Gladiator Rock ‘N Run and had a fabulous time. The name of our team was “Not Your Typical Bridal Party.”  You see, I wore a wedding dress and my girlfriends wore bridesmaids dresses and my brother wore a tuxedo shirt.  I tried to talk my husband, Kenny, into running with me, but he wanted to follow us to take video and pictures. He was our own private paparazzi. Instead, my brother ran with us.  He wrote “Best Man…She’s my SISTER.”

So why trash a perfectly good wedding dress? Well, in 1991, I got married.  It was a big, traditional wedding with all the pomp and circumstance.  Unfortunately, that marriage only lasted about two years.  For some reason, I kept the dress, all boxed up by the dry cleaners and moved it from house to house, state to state.  I kept thinking I could sell it.  However, I don’t think the Craigslist crowd appreciated the early-nineties styling and I never got any offers each time I tried to sell it.  It seemed like a waste to donate such an expensive dress.  So, the last time I did the Gladiator Run, I decided that I needed to dress in a cool costume the next time.  When I saw that it was coming back to Southern California this spring I had a brilliant idea!  It was the best costume idea EVER.

I originally wanted to have it altered to be shorter to make it easier to run.  Then I thought that cutting the train off would do the trick.  Kenny wouldn’t let me.  He told me that the pictures would be so much better with the train in tact. I then decided I wanted to score it to make it easier to rip off when it got difficult to run. Again, he told me to leave it.  I did make him bring some scissors just in case…but I was committed to running this thing, train and all.  I figured I would just gather it up and run holding a bunch of (heavy) satin beaded fabric.  I am SO glad I didn’t change the dress.  The best thing about running in that thing was the difficulty involved and the kudos that came with that.

It was a three mile run with some obstacles.  Under normal circumstances, it would be fun (if you like that sort of thing—which I do!)  It is better to tell this story with pictures.  So here you go!  *warning…this is very picture-heavy.

Getting Ready (a little different than a typical bride gets ready for the festivities)


IMG_711803230026Dan “Nitro” Clark, former American Gladiator and creator of the Gladiator Rock ‘N Run, wanted to get a picture with us!


My bridesmaids were committed to the train!


And we’re off!!!



0323002103230020And, yes…I was able to run (with a little help from my bridesmaids)

218352_2090597143266_1195350742_2573402_5821965_o Still committed to the train!





The first wet and wild obstacle!  Here is where the fun really starts!



03230017 It was a great setting for a race!  This would be a nice setting for an actual wedding.


Before the mud pit!  My brother picked me up before we had to crawl on hands and knees under the flags.


I guess I had a moment of panic, because I don’t look too happy in this next picture…. I don’t remember feeling like I was going to cry, but that is how I look.  I love the juxtaposition between my face and my brother’s.

sad face mud pit

There is some joy!

mud pit capture 4mud pit capture 3mud pit capture 503230012mud pit capture 2mud pit capture

When I got done with that mud pit, I was struck by how extremely HEAVY that dress had become.  I seriously considered taking it off and finishing the run in my sports bra and shorts.


This is a grainy crop, but you can see the look on my face as my brother helps me up.

mud pit close up


Another hill!! It was way harder than my hill repeats at home.  LOL.


More mud!!

mud pit 2

I LOVE how in the next few pictures, Sandra has the biggest smile on her face.  As a little side note, Sandra took up running in September.  She ran her first half marathon in January.  She is my friend who took a wrong turn in a trail race, added extra mileage and said she would do it all again. Running is definitely opening up a world to her as well…



finish pic

after wedding party

After the race, they had a green screen for group pictures.  The line was pretty long.  Unfortunately, Jen couldn’t wait in the line.  I wanted to get as much documentation of this adventure as I could get.  The coolest thing that the race did was arrange for each runner to get one free digital download of a picture,  Additional pictures (low resolution) were $14.  I wish every race would do that!

Dan “Nitro” Clark came to get an “after” picture with us and this was my free download:


My brother told me that he nearly threw his back out picking me up the second time.  Apparently, I weighed a LOT more at the end of the race than I did when he picked me up before the mud.

For the second time, this race did not disappoint!  Other than some back-ups at obstacles (that didn’t really happen the first time I ran it), the race was nicely organized.  There were plenty of porta potties and people working the bag check. They had a nice selection of vendors at the “after-party.”  They had a good selection of fun bands.  Once again, the mud was the best mud of any mud run I have run.  It had the perfect balance of liquid and dirt to make it cover EVERYTHING.  Other mud runs don’t even come close.  If this race comes to your area, I definitely recommend it.

Happy Running….

Monday, May 9, 2011

Body Back Recap—results and revelations

bodybackI completed my Body Back program a couple of weeks ago.  As you learned from several earlier posts here, Body Back is a series of high intensity interval workouts (HIIT) accompanied by a meal plan in a supportive environment of women.

I learned some key things during this eight week journey:
* I can push myself harder than I thought I could
* I sometimes grunt when I am really digging deep.  Who knew?
* I really can make time for breakfast every day (more than just a Luna Bar)
* I can hold a plank about two minutes longer than I thought I could. I just needed to be willing to sweat and shake.
* I never stop being inspired by other women.

I am pretty fit and have been for a while. I have run five marathons, some of which needed quite a bit of mental toughness. Yet, the eight weeks of Body Back humbled me and reminded me that I have a long way to go in my fitness journey.

I found myself pushing myself harder than I have in my personal workouts in a long time.  The program made it easy to push, even on those days when I stayed up way too late and felt exhausted and not in the mood to work out.  Most of the workouts are organized into little bite sized pieces. We would do an exercise for a short duration such as a minute or two. You can do just about anything for a minute, so it allows you to push that much harder during those sixty seconds. Allison, our instructor, would give us cues, such as “only ten more seconds.” I knew that I could get a couple more pushups in or lift my knees higher for those last few seconds.

As I was digging deep in an exercise, I would catch myself grunting or making some other sort of not-so-attractive sounds. Vanity goes out the window when you are that focused. Often I would be sweating and red in the face, but didn’t care. If I did look up and see one of the other women, they were working just as hard.
The food plan was a big surprise to me. At first, it was hard to pay so much attention to my food choices. I am not a big fan of diets. Luckily, this isn’t a diet. It is a meal plan that focuses on making healthy choices.

We didn’t count calories or weigh our food or anything like that. The plan calls for a healthy breakfast (preferably with plenty of protein), a decent snack, lunch, another snack and then dinner. It is about education not deprivation. It focuses on whole foods and limiting serving sizes.  Not rocket science.
What was great was that after a while a lot of the habits stuck. Even after the program is over, I am finding myself making a nice breakfast where I used to rely solely on bars, protein drinks and coffee. During the program I cut out two of my biggest “vices”: soda and cheese. Well, I didn’t cut out cheese entirely. I still used some cheese (mostly low fat) but I did cut out the snack cheese that used to dominate my snacking. I used to eat several pieces of cheese while cooking dinner, for example. I also still try to eat healthy snacks instead of getting myself so hungry where I don’t make the best choices.

On my first day, I did a plank for 2:36. I decided that I wanted to set a goal to hold it for five minutes.  I told the group.  On the last day, I thought to myself that three minutes was probably a more reasonable expectation. Before we started, a few of the girls said to me, “so, Lisa…you ready to do this for five minutes?”  Busted.  Now I have been called out.  After about two minutes, it started to get difficult.  I looked up to the other woman, Angela,  attempting five minutes and she was going strong.  After a while, everyone but the two of us were cheering us on.  At four minutes, I said to Angela, “we can do anything for a minute, right?”  My entire body was shaking, sweat was dripping down my face.  We hit five minutes and kept going.  I made it to 5:38!!! (and so did Angela, btw).  I never would have done it alone. The women surrounding me pushed me forward to not only reach my goal, but surpass it.  I have found that surrounding myself with supportive women can help me do anything from running my first marathon to dealing with the stresses of being a wife and mother.

The class was everything I had hoped it would be. The women in the class had fantastic results as well.  We had a woman as young as seventeen and grandmothers in their fifties. The lowest improvement was 11% and the highest was 51%. Improvements took into account weight loss and strength.  The highest weight loss was close to 16 pounds (2 pounds a week is about as much as I would be comfortable having clients lose).  One woman improved her run from 12:39 to just over 9 minutes!  Another went from 11:45 to under 9 minutes.  This was done without any running training, just strength and added ability to push themselves. Average overall improvement among all nine women was 28.4%.  Average weight loss was 9.64 pounds.  Not bad for an eight week program!

So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are my results:

starting weight: 128.2 (definitely in the healthy range, so my goal was not weight loss.  However, that is at the higher end of my feel-good-about-myself weight)
ending weight: 121.2 (I feel great! Most of my “mommy pooch” is gone!) 5% loss

starting 1 mile run: 6:44  (*the course was actually just under a mile.  My time was closer to 7 minutes.)
ending 1 mile run: 6:26 (4% improvement

starting plank: 2:38
ending plank: 5:38 (125% improvement!!)

starting side bridge/plank: 1:13
ending side bridge/plank: 1:31 (25% improvement)

starting push ups in 1 minute: 14
ending push ups in 1 minute: 23 (39% improvement)

starting sit ups in 1 minute: 20 (full, military-style sit ups)
ending sit ups in 1 minute: 22 (9% improvement—I think the plank took it out of me)

starting bicep curls with 10 pound weights in each hand for 1 minute: 23
ending bicep curls with 10 pound weights in each hand for 1 minute: 37 (38% improvement)

beginning squats in 1 minute: 47
ending squats in 1 minute: 61 (23% improvement)

My measurements (bust, waist, hips, thigh) decreased by an average of 3.5%.  My overall improvement was 24%.

Lisa Before 2Lisa Before
Lisa After 2Lisa After


My own class began today and I am so excited to see what these women accomplish. I hope to inspire them as much as I know they will inspire me.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

I want to thank Alissa for the opportunity to have such a fabulous giveaway!  I had a record number of comments for my blog and gained quite a few new followers!

So…. without further ado, the winner of a t-shirt from Balancing Act Clothing is…..

Baby Weight My Fat Ass!!   (I really just wanted to type that…)  Please contact me at runnermommylisa (at) gmail (dot) com to get your code to use on Alissa’s site.   

In case you had any doubts, here is the totally scientific random number generator I got on the internet.
Balancing Act Giveaway random number

For the rest of you, don’t forget the discount code RUNBLOG04 for a sweet discount! 

Happy Running…


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