Last August I decided to sign up for the Kalamazoo Marathon which takes place on May 4th, 2014. Three weeks before my wedding date. I’m not a running guru by any means, nor am I one of those annoying know-it-all running people who think running is their life and a cure for everything and the only sure fire way to exercise. In fact, I actually hate running most days (There, I said it).
However, I love food. In particular, anything sweet or with sugar. Cakes, chocolate, doughnuts, and brownies are my weakness. In fact, I was banned from a local Zumba class I had regularly attended for over a year because I posted on Facebook that I had eaten a brownie after running 4 miles, then taking an hour long Zumba class. The teacher saw my post and told me I was a bad influence to the class by eating the brownie, and that I wasn’t a dog and shouldn’t reward myself with food after working out! She then refused to speak to me about it afterwards and completely shunned me for it!
Not allowing yourself a treat doesn’t’ fly in my book. I understand that if you eat a lot of food unchecked… weight gain is typically inevitable. Like every other bride, I want to look fit and in shape on my wedding day, but the thought of giving up sweets for a year in preparation seemed horrific to me and it wasn’t going to happen. Hence, my marathon commitment- I decided on running for the wedding. I’ve run three marathons in the past, and know how my body will tone and shift/lose some weight during training.
When the Kalamazoo Marathon opened for registration I made sure to be the first person to register. The marathon offers a 50 state challenge where the first person from each state who registers is given a free pair of running shoes and a free race entry. I’m all about anything I can score for free so of course if I was going to commit to the race, I was going to try and enter for free! Setting my alarm to wake up right before midnight when the entry period opened paid off and I was the first person from Michigan to sign up.
I knew that as the wedding date approached I’m become so incredibly busy, that it could be tempting to skip training runs or back out of the race (Or any workout plan for that matter). Thankfully, I knew winning the 50 state challenges would keep me committed. They list all the state winners on their website and I told all my local friends & family who are familiar with the race about getting to represent Michigan so how could I back out of it now? My wedding workout plan was set in stone.
Overall, I’ve been pretty happy that I’ve committed to the race. It forces me to step away from planning and take some time to myself. I also usually feel more relaxed after a work out.
Though the winter, I ran an average of 3-4 miles three or four times during the week, then a longer run on the weekends (Averaging 20 miles/week until about mid January when I started to build more mileage). I hadn’t changed my eating habits, and had been running fairly consistently over the past year. I hadn’t lost any weight up until this point, but I did manage to maintain over the holidays.
In February I ran an impromptu half marathon (I signed up the afternoon before) in 12F degree weather! After that, I started to build more mileage, with 16-18 mile long runs so far. Still, I hadn’t changed eating habits, and only shed 2 lbs. But, my clothes were fitting looser (I never measured my waist or anything but more or less have gone by how I ‘feel’ instead of numbers and scales).
My fiancé Nick and I have replaced some of our evening TV watching or weekend hang out time with gym dates. He’s lost close to 40lbs since January by spending more time at the gym while I’m running on the track! I on the other hand, wasn’t losing the additional 5-10lbs I was hoping to shed by running. Nick recommended that I try using the MyFitnessPal app to log calories and workouts. Much of his success is from the app. I was hesitant at first (I hate someone telling me what I can and can’t eat…especially after the Zumba brownie incident) but I began logging my food and workouts the first week of April, and even had success after that first week. I’ve been losing roughly 1-1/2lbs, week with 4 weeks left to go. I’m pretty confident I’ll be hitting my 10lb goal now!
As my runs have gotten longer, and we’re getting closer to the wedding date I thankfully haven’t lost any toenails, had any blisters, or ended up with chafing in weird places. Thankfully, my wedding shoes are closed toe, just in case my feet end up unsightly.
I encourage all brides to find an activity outside of wedding planning to set some time aside to as a stress reliever, whether it be walking a 5K, going golfing, swimming, Zumba, yoga, etc. It may seem overwhelming to take on one more task, but the personal time to yourself has been a great distraction for me! I also recommend using the MyFitnessPal app for counting calories if you’re trying to loose weight or maintain.