Beginner Bikini Competition Prep Continues…

Beginner Bikini Competition Prep Continues…

I promised more posts so here we go! I know you all come here for running and triathlon stuff, and I will 100% get to some running stuff here in a minute. Keep reading!

I started this journey in November and am still on the path to attempt a bikini competition in May. I know the word bikini throws everyone off and they think I’m going on a stage at a Spring Break bar or something. That is NOT what I mean by bikini competition. I mean, the bikini competition with MUSCLES.

I’ve learned a lot since November about what the bikini category entails and I’ll share some of these things with you all. First, there are several organizations that host bodybuilding competitions. Don’t ask me the differences in them because I don’t know them yet. I’m just going off of my coach’s recommendation. Second, within these organizations there are different categories and classes. Finally, I’m planning on competing at an NPC event.

“The National Physique Committee (NPC) is the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States. Amateur bodybuilders compete in competitions from local to national competitions sanctioned by the NPC. … The NPC also sanctions bodybuilding fitness and figure competitions across the United States.” – Wikipedia

Within the NPC there are different events. They are as follows:
– Bodybuilding
– Physique
– Bikini
– Fitness
– Figure
– Wellness

Each event has specific judging criteria and rules. Some of these rules dictate the size of the clothing you should wear (no thongs!), and what your muscles should look like. The events then get broken down by classes – which include height and can also include age and experience. If you want to win you need to be the complete package – fitness, hair/makeup, posing, etc. The best body isn’t always the winner!

I chose bikini because I think it’s the most entry level of them all and I don’t want to put on a lot of muscle. (Remember, my end goal for all of this is to be leaner to be able to run a bit faster and stay healthy!) To date I am down 12 pounds and I got my first concerned, “Don’t lose too much more!” comment. Not to worry friends, once this is over I will try to stay at a healthy weight.

I want to address a few things with regards to what I’ve heard/seen based on this lifestyle:

  1. It is not sustainable to look the way competitors looks on stage everyday. I repeat IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. So if you see someone who doesn’t look as ripped as they do when they compete then they are doing it right! Also, please try not to comment on that. *eyeroll*
  2. YES, I know some people compete and then gain a lot of weight right after. I’m hopeful I won’t do this, and I’ve read all the articles on it. I do plan to regain weight and go back to a normal, healthy weight for me. The key, as far as I have read, is to reverse diet so that I get to a weight that is healthy and happy FOR ME. Reverse dieting is the diet after the diet, so to speak. It will get me back to a sustainable weight that again – is healthy for me, and will help me not lose all control and eat myself into oblivion.
  3. I know that having super low body fat as a woman is unhealthy. As is having super high body fat. (Though no one has said anything to me about that… hm….) Please refer to #1 and #2.

I’ve not yet gotten my bikini and the shoes I ordered were too small so I’ll get a bigger size and keep you all posted. I know you are dying to hear about my lucite heels! Ha!

I’m doing really well in terms of the nutrition. I am struggling when I have PMS and on work weekends because the long days make me tired and more likely to eat something crappy that’s nearby. I’d say I’m about 98% sticking to the plan. The workouts are also going well. I am doing one-on-one sessions with my coach because I need all the help I can get in the glutes department. As it turns out, I have no butt. I thought I did for the longest time! (Obviously, this is relative to competing in a bikini competition where glutes are very extremely important!)

And now for that running part…

I ran a 24:04 5K on Saturday and really surprised myself. I have done ZERO speed work since November and my runs have felt very slow and ho-hum. I am a race day runner so I can attribute that time to the fact that adrenaline often helps me…and the weather was perfect! I got 3rd in my AG. I will take it! The coach in me wants to point out that the strength I’ve built and the fat loss has certainly helped with the speed I was able to keep. Mind you, my recent 5Ks have been in the low 23’s, so I’ve lost some of it, but not nearly as much as I expected.

That’s it for now. I will check back in soon and hopefully I can post some posing videos so we can all have a good chuckle!

My First Bikini Competition #VulnerablePostAhead

My First Bikini Competition #VulnerablePostAhead

I figured why not start off 2020 by showing my ass to the internet? New year, new unabashed public posting of my bits. #VulnberablePostAhead

I said I’d write more in this space and I figured this would be a good one to start with. I’m going to put my big, batshit crazy goal out there. If I fail, I will fail spectacularly.

At the end of 2019 I was feeling mostly ho-hum about running and triathlon. I had a solid 70.3 in October, and yet I wasn’t really dying to do any races in 2020. Thus, I decided I’d try something completely new but something I’d always wanted to do. (You can ask Nick, I mentioned wanting to do this for years!) I put it off year after year because there was always a race I wanted to conquer or a PR I was chasing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got PRs to chase, I just put them on hold. My main reason for doing this is simply to see if I can. There’s not a lot more to it than that. Can I do this?

I decided that in 2020 I would attempt a bikini (bodybuilding) competition. I knew it would be difficult – especially the part where I stop eating french fries and donuts on the regular. I am clearly a food lover. And… it was clearly showing up more and more every year in my weight. Ha! I knew this goal would help with that, but it would also help show my athletes that weight loss is possible. Since I’m no dummy, I hired a coach. I had no idea how to do this, and it’s been really exciting to learn more about this very foreign-to-me territory.

Through the referral of a friend, I started working with Coach Erika (E-Rock) of Optimum Bikini. We began back in November by doing a full body composition assessment. I swear that body fat percentage number on the digital scale just kept going up and up. It just kept on climbing for what felt like an eternity! After we had my numbers and discussed my goals (one competition!) Erika sent me on my way with my first four weeks meal and workout plan. My running was cut to a measly 20 minutes, three times per week! *Readers Gasp* So….yeah, that was a big adjustment. I asked her if I could go for long, easy rides and was answered with a big, fat no. The reason is that too much cardio can hurt with muscle growth. (More on that later.)

Essentially, every four weeks, Erika reviews my weight and weekly results photos and adjusts my meal and workout plan. We are at 2 months and I’m down nine pounds and a whopping 7% body fat! My clothes, which were getting tight, feel SO much better and some of them are even too baggy to wear. I’m lifting weights six days per week and since I started at basic-weak-ass-bitch mode, I’ve been able to really see improvements in strength. I’ve gone from a (maybe pushing an eight soon) size six to a fuck yeah size four in about 12 weeks.

Top Row is Before (November 1) Bottom Row is After (January 10)

They key to ALL of this has been consistency. Every. Damn. Day. There’s no eat McDonald’s one day and then get back on it the next. It’s been all about clean eating for about 95% of the time. I did take one day in Las Vegas during the holiday where I lost my mind a bit at a breakfast buffet. Oops.

Sure the meal plan isn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done, but honestly, it’s not too bad. (I don’t recommend starting this right during the holidays like I did!) I know it’ll become harder the closer I get to a competition. The weight I’m at right now is sustainable and I think looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I miss running but my cardio was increased to 25 minutes for three days, so there’s that. (Not enough cardio can affect your muscle growth too so it’s all about finding a balance for your goal.)

It’s looking like I can be ready for a competition by May. I was hoping for sooner, but Erika thinks it would be unsafe to try to be ready by then. I really appreciate that because I know I won’t have to do anything drastic. The gradual process of adjusting every four weeks has been very nice. I am super happy with her as a coach and feel that we are doing this safely and sanely.

I start posing practice with her next week, and I will go ahead and thank my mom for those years I did beauty pageants. Yep. Yours truly did beauty pageants as a tween. I try to forget those days, and yet here we are. I’ll be drawing on those memories to walk in heels while smiling. And, saying I want world peace. Hee hee….

I am still coaching running and triathlon. I have no plans to leave the sport completely – ever! I can’t wait to run a marathon again. I can’t wait to swim and swim and swim. I just had some business to attend to with a sparkly bikini and a very, um, dark tan.

Feel free to drop me any questions you have in the comments. I’ll keep you all posted on this journey.

Happy New Year, 2020! Triathlon and Run Coaching

Happy New Year, 2020! Triathlon and Run Coaching

I was perusing my site and realized it’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post. I think it’s probably the longest I’ve gone without writing something in this space. While I don’t really think this space of the internet will continue to hold race reports (maybe) or silly life stories (possibly) or even the random ramblings about my dog (oh who am I kidding?), it may become more of a coaching space where I share some stuff I’ve learned along the way as a running and triathlon coach for my five years.

For me personally, 2019 was a mish-mash of racing without any real scary goals. I had a successful marathon in Virginia Beach and finished out a solid year in triathlon with my return to the 70.3 distance.

Not a PR, but a happy run where I felt good most of the race. And my athlete Judy got her BQ!

I used two coaches this past year, Jon, my go-to coach for triathlon, and Maria, for my marathoning. As a coach, I see the importance of having a coach and will probably always use one when I have specific goals or need a good kick in the butt. I remember someone incredulously asking me why people paid for running coaches, but for most of us, the accountability helps more than the actual plan. Not to mention, it’s always great to have a sounding board when things gets tough! I’d say coaching is offering about 50% individual training plans, 30% accountability, and 20% encouragement/mental toughness help.

I highly recommend the Wilmington 70.3

In my coaching world for 2019, I continued to learn and grow. I began coaching kids, aged 6 to 12 at a local gym. We go over fundamentals and they learn skills in agility, speed, and strength. I also try to teach them their muscles and working hard while building confidence as an athlete. I also added a personal training certification to my resume. I am learning more and more about how much strength helps with endurance. They truly go hand-in-hand. (You hear that runners? You need to strength train!)

I still love an OWS!

I plan to write some posts specifically on what I’ve learned thus far and how you can use these tips to help with your own training and growth. I’m personally working toward a very different goal this year, and I’m not quite ready to put it all out there, yet. I’ll just say it involves a bikini and a hardy spray tan.

For my 2020 coaching goals, I’d like to learn even more about all things endurance sports. I want to read more about mental toughness and overcoming obstacles – both mentally and physically. Hopefully as I learn more, I can share it with you all.

Gratuitous Florence photo.

I’m looking forward to a challenging and lovely 2020. I hope you are too. Please check back here and shoot me an email if you have any questions or want to remind me to get my act together and write some posts!

Big Beach Half Marathon Race Report & Gulf Beaches Racecation 2019

Big Beach Half Marathon Race Report & Gulf Beaches Racecation 2019

If you follow me on social media then there is really no way that you missed my weekend trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, this weekend. In fact, sorry not sorry, for all the posts where I showed off my fantastic girls weekend with Keara.

Thanks to the kind folks at Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, we were offered a sponsored trip to Gulf Shores to run the Big Beach Marathon. I ran the half, Keara ran the full. While we were in the gorgeous Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, we got to explore all of the wonderful food, activities, and nature that this lovely hidden gem has to offer. In case you don’t remember, I did the triathlon here back in 2016.

I am super happy I got to return for a running event this year! The trails in this area are fantastic and supplied a perfect half marathon running course. In case you don’t know, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is located on the northern Gulf of Mexico between Pensacola, FL, and Mobile, AL. You’ll find 32 miles of white sandy beach here, which is also quite gorgeous in the spring and summer!

For our trip this time, we stayed in a Lucky Bird Vacations cottage, which was steps from the beach and so stinking’ cute! The photo I posted on instagram had someone asking if I redid my guest room! I wish I had – it was that adorable! Our cottage, Kissed by the Sun, was a three bedroom, three and a half bathroom. It had all the amenities and again, just across from the beach. It’s also a perfect location to all there is to see and do in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach.

Upon arriving in town Thursday at 3 AM, we went straight to bed at the cottage since we’re dummies who drove through the night. The bed was so comfortable and cozy! I fell asleep dreaming about what our adventures would be on Friday…

After a delicious breakfast, where Keara ate a burrito covered in gravy and I pretended I would eat more healthily on this trip which lasted all of one meal, we headed to my favorite part of the whole weekend. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo! Don’t get me wrong, there were so damn many highlights to this trip, but as an animal lover this stole the show. We were so excited to do the sloth encounter (for a mere $10) that we didn’t pay for the lemur encounter (also only $10). However, after seeing other folks with the lemurs we practically ran back to get our tickets to meet these little monkeys. They were just sweet little babies who wanted to smell your dirty shoes or hats and hold your fingers. And sloth fans, don’t get upset – they were fun too…expect well, they you know, just sleep. *shrugs*

The zoo has a ton of other animals and encounters. It’s also called “The Little Zoo that Could” due to the fact that it’s faced some hardships during hurricane season. But not to worry, it’s being moved to a larger plot of land to become even more awesome!

Please excuse my red eye and stare at the adorable lemur instead.

With the zoo experience behind us, we headed to lunch at Picnic Beach. I stuffed my face with an acai bowl that rivaled the many I have enjoyed in Tampa. At Picnic Beach, what we began to notice more than how good all the food was, was that everyone was REALLY nice. They weren’t nice because they knew we were coming or anything, they were just nice everywhere! The gas station, the grocery store, the tourist shops, the zoo, etc – this is probably the most friendly place I’ve ever been! I mean, I think even unfriendly places, like I dunno, the DMV is probably friendly!

By this point, we were definitely tired so we went back to the cozy warmth of the cottage for a quick nap. I woke up not having a clue where I was or why Keara was knocking on my door. I am pretty sure she got a first hand look of my morning stank face before I realized what the hell was going on. Sorry girl.

You know what the best thing is for post nap grogginess? Yoga. I swear! We headed to Orange Beach Yoga for a beginner’s class. Now, I am not truly a yoga beginner, but I felt like a refresher course would be a good idea. And I was right. As per usual. Ha! It was just what I needed after the previous day’s long car ride. I even learned some great modifications and was really happy that one of the instructors was not all Bendy Barbie. It made me feel less insecure about my own lack of flexibility. Oh, and guess what? They were super freaking nice.

Yoga was followed by a great dinner at GT’s on the Bay. We again had service that was stellar and over the top friendly. But not in a fake way. Our server was just awesome and the giant fish tank/pond in the center of the restaurant was very cool. (I ate fried pickles, ribs, and tots. And they were deeeelicious!)

Saturday meant sleeping in and packet pick up/shake out run. We got to meet Jeff Galloway at packet pick up and run along some of the race course. The Big Beach Marathon course runs through the Gulf State Park so we did our shake out run there. After our shake out, we headed to Tacky Jack’s for breakfast. And – no surprise – the server was as nice as could be and our food was great. Two words: real grits!

For the rest of the afternoon we headed to the beach for a walk and explored some of the tourist shops around town. I fell in love with a hermit crab I named Bat Crab but decided not to take him home. I thought Florence may get jealous and the big warning signs around the crabs pinching may have also given me pause. Heh.

Ok, so here’s where things get interesting. Our itinerary for the weekend included dinner at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club. I thought, dinner at the Flora-Bama? Is that a thing? Apparently, it’s two things. The Flora-Bama is a destination bar on the – you guessed it – Florida and Alabama state border. Since I am not much for staying up past 9 PM these days, I have never been, though I’ve heard lots of folks say it’s a must stop. I was skeptical. What the heck am I gonna get out of a bar the night before a half marathon? Boy! I was way wrong!

Upon arrival, we stupidly walked into the Flora-Bama bar and were told the Flora-Bama Yacht Club was actually across the street. Oops. But! As with everything else in this community we were pleasantly surprised when the Flora-Bama cowboy host, named, Country, escorted us across the street. Talk about Southern hospitality! Country gave us a little bit of history while taking us across the street where we were promptly greeted and seated.

The menu had a lot of great options for a pre race meal and I had the biggest piece of ahi tuna I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t even finish it. Me! Clean plate club queen was defeated by sushi grade tuna. Our excellent server even gave us samples of the famous drink known as the Bushwacker. Trust me when I say, I would have been hanging by the rafters if I had more than a sample of that bad boy!

Dinner was consumed and we decided we had no choice but to head back to the Flora-Bama bar across the street and check it out. As it turns out, it’s much, much more than a dive bar. In fact, I don’t think it’s a dive bar at all! I had no idea! (And I apologize for my dive bar snobbery. I used to dive bar with the best of them in my 20’s.) 

Our new BFF Country was waiting at the door when we arrived to greet patrons and he offered to give us a tour inside. We were shown the numerous bars and told all about the regular events held at the Flora-Bama, like mullet tossing and bingo. They even host church service on Sundays. It’s a one stop shop in that regard. Wink.

We saw some of the band playing that night, Big Earl and the Sex Biscuits. They were really good and really funny. I’d be remiss if I again didn’t point out how nice everyone was. Country was the best hype man for a place I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what the F-B is paying him, but it should probably be more. (And for the record most of these nice people didn’t know us from Adam. They are just legit really nice!)

Our night ended fairly early and we headed home for pre-race water chugging and sleep! The weekend was such a whirlwind and I wasn’t racing for any specific time so it was nice to feel relaxed the night before and morning of the race.

I’m gonna zoom through this race part, because, well there isn’t much to say. I have been rehabbing a grade two hamstring strain and I was given instructions to take the race easy. I haven’t really been doing any long runs lately so this was a true to test to see how the PT was coming along. The weather could not have been more perfect. Perfect for me is cold and overcast. I started with the two hour pace group and it felt really comfortable. I stayed with them until about mile eight then decided I felt great and wanted to be done before two hours just for the heck of it. I finished in the official time of 1:55:57. The last mile was tough but I think I am out of the woods on this strain. (I’ll leave Keara’s race report up to her.)

I’d fully recommend this race and the many other races they have in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Big Beach Marathon had tons of post race food and entertainment. The course was flat save one overpass and most is on a paved trail, with some boardwalk. (I was also eyeing some races they host out of the Flora-Bama! I think I’d probably be good at that mullet tossing too…)

Again, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach has outdone itself! This destination is perfect for an active vacation…or just a vacation where you wanna get real toasty on bushwackers on lie on the beach! I plan to return with the S.O. and have spend $100 on lemur and sloth encounters. I also want to go back to the Flora-Bama and order the meals I would eat when I wasn’t running a half marathon the next day. Ha!

Special thanks to the people of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. You all are some of the nicest folks I think I will ever meet! I can’t wait to return.

Top 10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

Top 10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

Happy New Year! I love looking back at my stats for the year and – wow, I am impressed by my running miles. I beat 2017 by 200. On the other hand, I’m super underwhelmed by what I did swimming and cycling. I am going to beat those numbers in 2019.

Swim – 40,480 yards (23 miles)
Bike – 250 miles
Run – 1200 miles
Strength – Once per week

In looking back at 2018, it was definitely a running year. I set a new 10K PR and while my marathon was a big disappointment, I learned a lot about fueling (hello, more iron)! I really want to increase my strength training this year and plan to attain a personal training certification.

Here’s what I raced:
Two trail races (25K and 7 Mile Night Race)
One Marathon
Three half marathons
Two 10Ks
Two 5Ks
One swim meet
One Olympic Tri

I’m not running a fall marathon this year, or maybe ever again. Running in the summer in Florida, sucks. I do plan to get myself in the pool again to hit up the aquathlon nationals this year. I am also thinking some sprint tris over the summer will be a blast! And I want to see my athletes race as much as I can!

Now on to my list!

10 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

1. First and foremost – Growing my coaching business. This year, I’m focusing a bit more externally and seeing how I can better help my athletes. My rebranding from Discombobulated Running to I Heart Finish Lines was the first step in that process. I’d like to grow my business even more, but also really focus on helping my athletes get to where they want to be. I believe in them so much and if I can get them to believe in themselves even more, I’ll be one happy camper!

2. Reading more! This is super nerd status right here but I read 15 books this year, and while I know that’s not a ton, I really enjoy reading and look forward to more knowledge and entertainment. (I beat 2017 by 2 books.)

3. Travel gets bumped up this year, though I’m not sure how we are going to top Iceland! Hopefully we can go to several new places and explore.

4. Meditation and yoga. I fell way out on yoga and I’ve recently returned to it. Not a lot, but by dipping my toes into gong and meditation recently I think it’ll be a push to get to the mat a lot more often this year. I also started using the 10% Happier app and it’s really helpful. You only need to meditate for a minute to feel the benefits.

5. Healthier eating! Oh man, I started 2018 off so strong and lost a few pounds, but then I fell off that wagon. HARD. I know that I cannot coach people to being the best version of themselves when I’m not doing it for myself. I feel better when I eat better. It’s a no brainer. (And, I’m not making ANY sweeping statements about “no sugar” or “cut carbs.” I’m just going to eat better. The end.)

6. TV I can’t wait for – Game of Thrones and Stranger Things! Plus, The Good Place and all the baking shows!

7. Movies I’m looking forward to are: Avengers, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Men in Black, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and Zombieland 2.

8. More time with family and friends – as per usual! My nephews are growing so quickly and I hope to spend more time with them in 2019, you know, they really like fart jokes right now and I think this will be a great year for me as an Aunt.

9. Mental health. This goes along with my meditation but I have started some therapy again and I plan to keep checking in on my mental health as the years get going. I vote you all do that same – no matter how “ok” you are.

10. I’ll keep this one the same for 2019 … more blogging! I promise to do my best to get a post up at least once a week. Seems I’m off to a good start. Ha!

Here’s to 2019 everybody! What are you looking forward to in 2019?

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