My “Fitness Journey” is really just my life

Bing, bang, BOOM! So, lets chat about this little “fitness journey” of mine that’s really just, well, what is now my not so lazy life. Four and half years ago, I decided, “I want to run.” So, I threw on a pair of old sneakers, cotton shorts and shirt, and a bra that didn’t hold my (then) 36D ladies. Needless to say, I hated it. But I learned to walk before I learned to run. And before I knew it, I was killing 5k races and completed marathon relays and training for half marathons. And then – BAM.

Injury. I hurt my ankle running, ended up in PT and couldn’t run for months. I turned to indoor cycling and swimming – both of which I sucked at. It’s also when I found Crossfit. Injured and whiney, it became a no excuses playground for me to learn and grow. I healed and became stronger than ever, and figured out that lifting barbells was pretty fun. My push press went from 10lb dumbbells to a 90lb max and I was learning to throw weights over me, around me, through me, and I loved it.

Then I decided I’d sign up for sprint triathlon, mainly because a friend convinced me. My swimming improved a little and I stopped looking like a fish out of water and not knowing what I was doing, I bought my first bike since I was a child: a hybrid. With some setbacks, I still completed my first triathlon in under my goal time and 2 weeks later, bought a road bike on craigslist, practically new, for hella cheap. Right after that, I did other triathlon and killed it on my new bike. Basically, I fell in love with road biking – put on well over 1000 miles on my new bike that summer of 2014.

Then came grad school that fall. That meant little less time in the gym and lots of time on my indoor trainer. I learned to downhill ski and at that point, had been cross-country skiing with my hubby for 3 years. But came February of 2015, and boy did my fitness journey throw me for a loop.

So to quickly go back, in 2014 I was peaking. I looked like a triathlete/runner with tiny arms and I was the smallest I had ever been at 120lbs. Looking back, though, I was doing workouts a day, working out at a Crossfit gym focused on endurance and not as much on strength, and I was not eating nearly as much as I should have been. So my body, reflecting back, was moving into a breaking down point. Then I was learning how to do jerks with a coach in the gym, and tore my quad.

Guys…I TORE MY F**KING QUAD. I couldn’t believe it. I still have the forever indent in my leg to prove it. I was struggling through grad school, working an unnecessarily stressful full time, a part time job and interning, verging falling apart and then, I all of a sudden couldn’t run, bike, lift… nothing. I could do nothing involving my quad for months, and no coach at my gym could figure out how to help me modify. It was the most frustrating thing that could have happened to me. Many times I would go in and try to do a workout, and just leave, frustrated and crying.

Finally, months later, I was released to start lifting, biking and running again. Yay! I tried training for a marathon, but my knees would hurt and my muscles weren’t strong enough yet. Biking and swimming were the only things I felt I could do and not feel like I’d have to spend days recovering from. 10 months later, in December 2015, I decided to leave my Crossfit gym, feeling it wasn’t a good fit and I wasn’t making any improvements. I felt lost, and weak, frustrated, and unsettled that I wasn’t working towards anything.

Then my friend said – come try Crossfit Fairbanks, see how you like it. So I did. And I did. Shortly after starting, I did my first ever weightlifting meet. I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun and felt that strong. I started the RP Diet and my quad gained so much strength and recovered so well and so quickly (don’t forget ya protein yo!).  I was able to downhill ski (finally) with no pain from my quad. I started a cycle of Oly lifting and it was fun, but frustrating, and I discovered I am definitely a Powerlifter.

So here I am, 7 months later, stronger than I have been in close to 2 years. My endurance is not the same, but I PRing lifts like crazy, and I have never enjoyed something so much. I still love biking, it is my passion, and lifting only complements it. So the bottom line is that this journey has brought me here. I have tried this, and tried that. I thought I might be a runner forever, but my body had better plans for me. I thought swimming might be next and I took time to improve my technique, but just realized it’s become a nice backup for me. I love to lift and I love to ride and it’s taken me some trial and error to get here, and what I do inside helps me to be strong and play outside and that’s just as important to me. Lifting makes me strong when I bike, and biking keeps my endurance up. You need endurance and you need strength if you want to get outside and hike, paddle, ski, and play play play!

So I encourage all of you to stay active, and find things you love. Don’t let people but you in a box, or tell you what fitness is supposed to be, and that to love one thing you have to be able to do another (i.e. if you want to love biking you have to cross training – do what you love!). Want to bike all day every day? Then do it. Want to run everyday? Then do it. Do what you love and love what you do.

On Second Thought…

I decided to give in and rented a road bike…

After staring out at the sunshine here in Southwest Virginia on Thursday, I decided the voice of the road calling was too loud. I had to go and rent a road bike. So I headed out to Blacksburg to HokieSpokes in the early afternoon, rented a bike for 2 weeks (being their off-season helps to get a good deal), and hoped on my brand new Fuji road bike (new brand for me to ride!) rental and headed up the road to hit the Huckleberry Trail and get my cycling legs back.

A short 12 miles felt great and I kind of liked the thrill of racing the sunset back to the parking lot. It reminded me of a 34 mile ride me and my friend Erin did to end out 2014 season by riding the Goldstream – Steese – McGrath – Farmers Loop circle where we just barely made it back on our Alaska fall ride before the sun set on us. Sometimes you’re just out having too much fun!

2015 Tour de Cure RIDE for Diabetes!

It is that time of year again, readers!!

This year, I’ve decided to team up with my graduate school and ride with the USC School of Work! We have created teams across the nation to ride together in spirit and raise money for diabetes! This year, I have a bigger goal and I’ll be riding twice as far! I am working on surpassing my goal and shooting to raise $750!! This year, I’ll ride twice as far as last year to thank everyone for their donations and do the 100k in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure cycling event on May 30th here in Fairbanks, Alaska! Diabetes touches so many of our lives. PLEASE share this on your own blog, though your email and on your social media sites! Whats its going to hurt to do a little sharing for a fellow blogger?

Why am I riding?

For my community and the many neighbors, friends, and consumers that I work with every day that deal with Type I and Type II diabetes. I have been personally touched by diabetes – having loved ones who’s diabetes has lead to serious medical conditions including heart attacks and heart surgery. I thought to myself, what if I could work towards preventing this? Community education and prevention is close to my heart, no matter the topic. I want the people around me that I love and care about to be able to live happy and healthy lives and know how to take care of themselves. These are the people I am riding for!

What’s my goal & Where does your donation go?

I’m trying to fundraise at least $750 (thats right!) for the American Diabetes Association! Donations go towards:

  • Funding research for a cure
  • Community-based programs education programs
  • Diabetes prevention information
  • Advocacy for those living with diabetes
  • Public awareness events

Go here to my Personal Page and Click “Donate Now” to make a donation of ANY amount for my ride! Even $10 makes a difference!!! You can make a donation by credit card or paypal. If you’d like to send a check made out to the American Diabetes Association instead, please let me know! 

Fall Cycling in Alaska

Week ONE of graduate school classes down. I just took a new position as a Prevention Coordinator at a new agency. I start in another week and I could not be more excited! I worked probably 70 hours this past week, so I planned to take this weekend to do some homework and get in some running and riding. Well, Friday night had different plans. I ended up with the 24 hour stomach bug going around and spent all day yesterday resting in a different, un fun way. Today, I got to watch the beautiful fall leaves falling and the extremely warm fall temperatures as I caught up on schoolwork and continued to recover. So, I thought I would share some pictures from the past week of great weather and the one beautiful fall ride I did get in.

I also convinced to join Instagram, since I do love photographing so much. Follow me @akgirlruns

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Happy Fall! Get out and ride, run, or just have fun! 

K-Christina EPIC Alaska Road Trip 2014

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Well, the summer here in Alaska is flying by. In fact, its been the rainiest summer (I am pretty sure ever) in Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula is surely enjoying all of what should be our weather. BUT, last month I got to enjoy 2 weeks with my wonderful best friend Kristina, who came from Ohio to explore Alaska with me. How wonderful it that – I didn’t have to leave the state to have such an incredible trip? I got to show off what I call my backyard. That is something you’ll learn about Alaskans. We call this great land – the Last Frontier – our backyard. I can’t wait to find time to share the adventures, and give some advice on where to go for all of you fellow travelers planning trips to Alaska in the future. But for now, here’s a video to give you a glimpse into our AMAZING trip. The quality is a bit low – since it is set up for mobile devices.

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