Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

When I signed up to run my first marathon in November 2005, it was basically on a whim. A sailing teammate had passed away a couple months earlier in a cycling accident and at his funeral I learned all kinds of things about him I had never known. When he died, he had been training to ride a century ride — a 100 mile bike ride — for the Live Strong Foundation. As a nod to the feat he had been working to accomplish, I registered to run the San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon seven months later.

All this to say, it was pretty unlikely and unexpected. My friends gave me a hard time sometimes even though they generally supported me. One friend in particular said he could definitely beat me in a race. He was probably a half dozen beers deep, firmly planted on the couch, and I swore there was no way. Yesterday, almost 10 years later, he ran the Boston Marathon in 3:11:09. 7:18 pace. I could have kept up for a mile or so.

On a cold and rainy day that felt a lot like my last marathon in Burlington, we went to Wellesley to cheer on the 30,000 or so athletes making the trek from Hopkinson to Boston. It was certainly different than pre-baby, but Henry was a trooper and we lasted an hour and a half before he was cold, cranky, and ready to hit the road. We were able to see a handful of friends and to offer support to more than a few runners who seemed to need or appreciate the love. I want to be YOU when I grow up, I was dying to yell. You are all amazing, I settled for instead.

I’m ready to train for the New York City Marathon now more than ever. To that end, I’ve been easing back into running (with a half marathon in New Jersey this weekend!) and am trying to follow through on my commitment to incorporate strength and ab work into my routine. I still have a few months before training will actually start in earnest, so in that time, it’s my goal to get in much stronger shape to run healthy and faster than before.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of stuff online about Beach Body workouts and I also stumbled upon Australian trainer Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guides. With Kayla in particular, I saw the transformations she posted and then Googled all sorts of search terms to see if they were for real. To be honest, the names of both of these programs make me cringe. I’m not totally sure why — I’d be pumped to rock a bikini with confidence and truth be told, have one in mind should that day come — but I suppose my objective is more strength and health-related and the names of these programs sort of minimize that goal in the name of looking good. I dunno. I guess I’m full of it; I’d take a bikini body. The other thing that’s compelling about these programs is that I can do them at home, and quickly. After downloading her free week of workouts, I did Kayla’s BBG leg circuit after putting Henry to bed Tuesday night and the arms before he woke Friday morning.

I would have liked to get out for a run last night, actually, inspired by the marathon and all, but thanks to the “soaking rain” and a bizarro clingy baby, I stayed home instead. I completed the ab workout while he was playing next to me on the floor with Nik. It took me longer than 30 minutes, but I completed it nonetheless.

As I ramp back up running and try to add to my usual routine, the only reasonable way to do it is at home and in short bursts. It doesn’t seem fair to expect Nik to fly solo with the baby so I can workout even more than before and frankly, I’m not willing to give up any MORE waking hours with my boys in the name of strength, health, or abs.

I feel really uncomfortable admitting that I’m trying this for some reason. I feel vain and petty to be considering to a 12-week plan that is called a bikini body guide. Goal-wise, I’m as interested in being able to bust out some push-ups and box-jumps with ease as I am to check out progress pictures. During Zumba with my sister a little while ago, I noticed a girl outside the fitness studio with a killer body doing a workout that really, didn’t look that different from the circuits in the guide. My god, she looks strong, I thought to myself that morning. Not vain. Not petty. Not showy. Just strong. I can do strong.

Let’s see how it goes.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a can’t-miss at-home workout? Who has tried Beach Body or Kayla’s BBG? Share!