Tag Archives: challenge

Fun Run

7 Aug

You know how at carnivals, there’s always some yahoo putting together balloon animals? In the end they always look snakes. Well what if you could take that idiotic joy and use it for your run?

While it’s not my experience, I’ve come across many people who don’t like to run.

“It’s too hard.”

“It’s too sweaty.”

“It’s boring as hell.”

The first two, I can’t help you with. But for those of you who may have uttered the last phrase a time or two, I’d like you to meet Claire Wyckoff.

Claire found a really cool way to spark up her runs. She’s using the Nike+ running app to draw different routes. For example, say you’re out for a run and thinking about stripper poles (just go with me). Claire, who according to her website lives in San Francisco, has found a route that lets you draw a person dangling from a pole.


Or, say you’re in the mood for aliens. You just saw Guardians of the Galaxy and creatures from other worlds are on your mind. Claire has found a route that looks like a space invader. This one you can tell she paused her run to do the eyes.


But far and away, Claire’s most popular posts are phallic. Because in the end, we’re all 13-year-old boys, even those of us without wangs. So far she’s got four penises on her Tumblr page and she shows no signs of slowing.


Claire is running about three to six miles and having fun with it. She’s actually mapping out new courses and taking time to enjoy her workouts. I applaud her. Running the same route over and over can be mundane and sap the joy out of your workout.

I’ve said before  that you’ll be taking tons of small steps to reach your goal. So why not have fun in the process. Map out a run of an angel, or a horse, or a penis.

I’m going to try it out on one of the running apps I use. I’ll let you know how it goes.

photos courtesy of Running Drawing

One Time for the Little People

21 Jul

Meet Kacy Cantanzaro.


She’s my new hero. Kacy is an athlete like you’ve never seen. She’s 5’0″, barely 100 pounds and she is a mother-effing beast. Kacy competed on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and wrecked shop. On four different obstacle courses, she barely stumbled. She faced each task at her own pace and killed shit.

In a conversation with pop-culture site Vulture.com, Kacy says “I … wanted to make these big steps for everyone, for all the women out there and for everybody else that thinks that they can’t do something or that they have an excuse.”

She has. Kacy is a little dynamo. She’s a NCAA Division 1 gymnast, so she was already used to heavy competition. She just wanted to challenge herself a bit more.

And that’s what we can all learn from her. This is the second time she’s competed on the show. The first time didn’t go as well as she’d liked, so she tried again. She continued to train to meet her goal. Nowhere in the interview does she say she wanted to just make it to this round. Kacy is a competitor. Her boyfriend/trainer even acknowledges this in while she’s on the course. An “American Ninja Warrior” participant himself, he calls her “the best competitor I’ve ever met.”

Not the best female competitor, but the best competitor. Kacy accomplished something no other woman has done on the show. And she’s not even done yet. The fact that she’s a woman was brought up several times by the hosts. I tried not to let that bother me so much. The fact that she’s small seemed to be a disadvantage, at least to the hosts. But watching the video, it seemed like a benefit. Kacy is small and light. Sure, running up the vertical would require great thigh strength, but she’s a gymnast so that’s taken care of. That thing with the poles would seem difficult if you had to stretch, but she’s light so she can leap.

Kacy took what would seem like disadvantages and used them to her advantage. She even had a great response for the Vulture interviewer who brought up her height as a disadvantage.  “Obviously, I’ve been on the shorter side my whole life, so I just know that sometimes I need to make adjustments and find my own way to do it,”


You don’t have to be in any major competition to feel the need to prove something to yourself. If you are still on your weight-loss journey or even if you’re trying to maintain, you are still in competition, only with yourself. Your are trying to meet your goals and you will hit some roadblocks. They may not be the quad steps (the first part of the obstacle course). Your goals could be breaking a 10-minute mile, running up a set of steps, pressing 100 pounds or even getting into a headstand at yoga.

It doesn’t matter what your goals are. It matters what you’re willing to do to achieve them. Kacy was willing to go on a strict diet and train for two years straight to prove to herself and inspire others that women could compete at the top levels on this insane show.

I’d never watched the show before I saw the clip. Now that Kacy is moving forward, I really want to see what else she can do.

What are you willing to do to get to the next level for you health, your fitness or even your training?

Kacy competed in the Dallas quarterfinals. Tonight’s episode goes to my hometown of St. Louis. I’ll be watching on NBC.

photo courtesy of NBC

Running vs. Racing

17 Jun
If this makes you nervous, I suggest you find a smaller race.

If this makes you nervous, I suggest you find a smaller race.

This year I participated in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, a series of races that take place around the country, including New York City. I forgot I’d signed up for it until I saw the reminder notice in my inbox. Crap! My knee has still been giving me a little trouble, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it. I talked my friend/co-worker Willa into doing it with me, mostly because I needed someone there who’d be able to identify the body if I fell over on the course.

When I began my weight-loss journey, running was the one exercise that I latched on to. I surprised myself with my enthusiasm for it because I’m a self-confessed couch potato. But it spoke to my other inclinations, like thriftiness, speed and convenience.

That’s running.

Racing is an entirely different animal. I won’t say I hate racing because I do enjoy the challenge. I will say that when deciding to race, you need to choose wisely.

Racing involves registration, registration fees, meeting up at a specific time (which is usually early in the morning) and, worst of all, running with a group of people like a pack of animals.

The Corporate Challenge is no different. Thousands of people from corporations across the city participate. The race was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. I didn’t get to the starting line until 7:40 on a humid June evening. I was not happy. While I was slowly making my way to the starting line, I thought of all the reasons I shouldn’t be doing it. Here are a few things you should consider before deciding to do a race.

1. Crowds suck. If you don’t like the feeling of being herded like cattle, don’t register for a big race. A race’s website should tell you how many participants are involved. The Corporate Challenge in New York was so large it was held over two nights to accommodate the 30,000 runners participating. You read that right: 30,000 over two balmy nights. In Central Park. For a 5K. There was a lot of funk going on.

2. Training can be a pain. If you’ve never done any type of race, you’re going to have to train and stretch. Racing is different from running in that the element of competition becomes a factor. I’m not a very competitive person. I don’t like to lose, but I’m indifferent about winning. However, there is a switch that’s flicked once you cross the starting line that pushes you to go a little faster and try a little harder than you would were you just out for your morning jaunt. That speed will test your endurance and stamina. If you haven’t trained, you’ll be puking along the way. And nobody wants to be that person.

3. Wishful thinkers are very slow. Everyone has ideas of what they look like and what they are able to do. Often these ideas don’t mesh with reality. Big races like the Corporate Challenge invite people from all fitness levels to participate. The desk jockey who ran a 4-minute mile in high school probably thinks he’s still got it. He’s also the jerk who registered for the fast heat and will probably get run over and cussed out by the pros.

4. Come rain or come shine. The week of the race, the weather had been really funky. It rained off and on a lot; it even rained the morning of the race. There was still a chance for more droplets to fall during the race. But the Corporate Challenge site said the event generally goes on despite weather concerns. Basically, forget your ‘do and your need to stay reasonably dry. If you can’t handle unpredictable weather, keep an eye on the forecast. Getting caught in the rain on a race is the pits.

The beast had taken over when the race was done. And I can't take a selfie when I'm out of breath, obvs.

The beast had taken over when the race was done. And I can’t take a selfie when I’m out of breath, obvs.

Every time I do a race, I have to talk myself into it. I have to convince myself that  it will be good to commune with people like myself who enjoy the fresh air and freedom that running allows us. Racing tests you in ways that running won’t because competition is a motivator. And in the end, you’ve completed a challenge. The goal of any race is to finish. Sure, you’ll finish after you’ve mowed down people who are moseying on by, but you’ve done it.

Do you plan on competing in any races this year? How do you cope with the crowds?

top photo credit: Derek K. Miller via photopin cc

Picking Up the Challenge

23 Dec
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40969262@N08/8376090493/">skw234567</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Heeeyyy, Mrs. Carter!

Jay and Bey have gone vegan for 22 days, and their challenge ends on Christmas Day.

Sure, they can celebrate Christ’s birth with a rack of lamb and shout “Joy to the World,” but what did this challenge really entail?

Jay decided to take up the challenge before his 44th birthday with the encouragement of a friend (read: Gwyneth) who wanted him to only have plant-based breakfast. With the serendipity of the numbers falling into place along with the bonus of a Christmas ham likely waiting for him at the end of this, Jay decided to put down steak knife and pick up the almond milk.

According to Marco Borges’ 22 Days Nutrition site, which has been partnering with the Carters on this journey, the benefits to plant-based living include preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing and even reversing diabetes.

“Your body will enjoy a greater variety of vitamins and minerals and your reduced intake of animal products will have a positive effect on the environment.”

22 Days Vegan website

Who doesn’t want that?

Between touring and releasing secret “visual albums, Mrs. Carter has been updating her Instagram account with vegan options, some of which look kind of tasty.

But I don’t know if I could go full-on vegan. I have friends who are vegetarians and pescatarians. Most of the recipes I post on this site are vegetarian. However, sometimes a girl’s got a taste for a Five Guys burger.

While I’ve never gone vegan—or vegetarian for that matter—I know what it means to give up a food you once enjoyed. I haven’t eaten pork for more than 15 years. It was difficult in the beginning because in my mind, nothing could top a good ham and cheese sandwich. I never stopped cold, but eventually it became passing on the pork chops, then the bacon, and soon enough it was bye-bye ham.

I applaud Bey and Jay (as if they need my approval) for taking this on. It is hard to give up the things you once enjoyed in order to better yourself. Living is challenging enough without creating hurdles for yourself. The Carters gave themselves less than a month to decide if this was something they could stick with.

I understand that wholeheartedly. That’s how the weight-loss journey began for me: I’ll give it a shot for a little while and see if I like it. I challenge you to do the same. Find something that makes you step outside your comfort zone. What is it that scares you a little? It doesn’t have to be anything big, or anything health related, for that matter.

Maybe you’ve never gone to dinner alone. Maybe you’ve never tried that crazy-looking contraption at the gym. Or just maybe you’ve been wanting to spark up a conversation with the cutie across the way.

The point of a challenge is to test your limits and see what you are capable of. What do you think you can do?

photo credit: skw234567 via photopin cc