Discover December - Run Stretch Go

So excited to continue this series on discovering fitness options for your New Year's Resolution considerations.  About five years ago, I was training for a marathon when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child.  At the time, I was in the best shape of my life and my base of fitness helped me to have a very healthy I'm partial to running- though my husband says my pace is only slightly faster than a speed walk:) 


But enough about me and back to running, let me tell you a little about why Cyanne Demchak is the perfect guest post for our blog on running.  Some of you may remember her as the winner of our 500 Likes giveaway, with her comments on the scrub: "My skin feels so amazing this morning. Thank you Lisa and Wailani's. Loving my pumpkin scrub :) "  You also might remember that I shared that her blog, Run Stretch Go was doing a giveaway of a free three month music subscription to RockMyRun.

You won't be surprised that her personal passion for healthy living is matched with her career at a company in the health industry.   She cemented her love for running by completing her first half marathon in 2009, maybe another reason beside our time together in grad school and the fact that we both have two masters degrees that I feel a kinship with her.  I love following her healthy recipes on Pinterest, because I know she's always cooking to support her healthy and active lifestyle.  I am so excited to share her story about how she developed her passion for running.  I hope you find it as inspiring as I do to dust off my running shoes and get out there.


Learning to Love to Run

Growing up, I was always borderline overweight. I hated running more than just about anything (although onions, mushrooms, and lettuce were also hated pretty heavily). I ran when I was forced to in gym class, as warm up or punishment in sports. My one exception was running foul lines in tennis. For some reason, I loved those things. Otherwise, my general thoughts on running can be summed up in 4 words: "do I have to?" 

After college, I had gained a lot of weight, and remembered how quickly I lost weight in high school when I had to run every day in gym class. I started an intense multi-hour workout plan that included running a mile or two every day. I didn't love it, but I hated it a little less. I continued to run just a little for about 2 years, and then I got severe plantar fasciitis and landed in a boot for 6 weeks in the middle of summer in DC. I gave up running not long after that. 

Fast forward to grad school, and another point in time where I had gained some weight. I began seeing ads for the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half-Marathon, which was being brought back after almost a decade, and race day was 2 weeks before my graduation. I decided I wanted to run the half. I signed up, I found a training plan, and trained. For 12 weeks, I was religious about my training, although I did almost half of it on the treadmill, and was more proud of myself for crossing that finish line than I was for receiving 2 masters degrees a few weeks later. 

Over the course of the next 4 years, I'd complete 3 more halfs, with about 4 months of no running after each race. Then, in January, I moved to a new place, where I knew no one, and decided to train for a spring half. It was a way to keep myself in shape, not focused on everything that was going on in my life, and literally take time up in my day. Over the course of the spring, every run made me happier, stronger and more confident in general. After that half in April, I signed up for 3 more over the course of the year, and ended up signing up for my first marathon which I'll run on January 12th. This year I will have run 12 races total; I've run in 12 states; and I've set 4 PRs. At some point this year, running went from being a hobby, or a way to exercise, to being part of who I am.


I am a runner. I love how it makes me feel alive (and sometimes reminds me I'm alive because I'm in pain). I love how it makes me focus on what I eat, because you can't run 20 miles on Sunday if you ate crap for the rest of the week (or you'll regret it, at the very least). It makes my body strong, but it's made my mind stronger. Now, I have to be told not to run. If only Mrs. Vining could see me now! 


Discover December - CrossFit is for EVERYONE

It seems that whether you've tried it or not, everyone knows about CrossFit.  I've got family, friends, and neighbors all checking in and getting fit at their local CrossFit. I think it's what people may not know that keeps them from joining in on this health movement.


Fortunately for me, my friend's family are the owners of our neighborhood gym, CrossFit Tahlequah.  What I think you won't be surprised by is just how passionate the owner and coaches are about fitness and health, with coach Samantha (SamE) Dotson even starting her own PaleoJo Meals service to address the nutritional side of health in the early stages of the gym.   Like me, SamE shares a love of coconut oil and recently expressed her Wailani's love: "I loved the scrub. It felt great to get out of the shower and not have to put lotion on because my skin was already moisturized and so soft.  It also smelt amazing. I loved it."

What would possibly surprise you is that CrossFit really is for everyone.  It is for people that have no experience in the gym, it is for others that are coming back from injury, it is for the new mother trying to get into a post-pregnancy workout routine, and it is for kids, with classes being taught by coaches that receive special certification for age appropriate programs.  Did I miss anyone?  And the best part is that the group of people at your local CrossFit are truly passionate and supportive about getting fit and having fun along the way.


Just in case I haven't sparked your interest enough to get you heading out to join your gym's next on-ramp and figure out what all those WOD terms really do mean, here's the story of the owner and, specifically for you ladies, his sister-in-law coach, SamE.  I think you'll definitely be inspired to check out CrossFit Tahlequah/Five Alarm Athletics if you're local or to find your local CrossFit in the New Year.


Barry Dotson:  Barry has been doing CrossFit full time since 2010, after a torn pec muscle left him unable to continue with his passion for powerlifting. Through CrossFit, he has found a new passion for training because of the constant variance and intensity of the workouts.  He became a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer in October 2011, the same month that he, along with Anthony Margarit and Josh Brinkley started Five Alarm Athletics. Some of Barry’s previous records from power lifting include: 4-time Oklahoma State Power-lifting titles, 1 Arkansas State title, 4-time World Cup champion, and 1 Regional Championship. At one time, he held four Oklahoma Deadlift records in four different divisions. Barry still holds two Oklahoma state Deadlift records, and one U.S. Deadlift record. Barry recently received his CrossFit Kids certification in April 2013!


Samantha Dotson: Samantha, or SamE,  found CrossFit through Barry, her brother-in-law. When Five Alarm first opened, Samantha had just been cleared by her OB/GYN to begin exercising after having her second child (and second c-section).  She wanted to get back to “pre-baby” weight, but didn’t like to going to a normal gym because she felt intimidated by all the men. She never dreamed she would find such a passion in CrossFit, and for anyone that knows her, knows how dramatic her physical transformation has been since starting in November 2011.

SamE's 1 year transformation.

SamE's 1 year transformation.

Never before has Samantha been so competitive, and began running 5Ks starting in the Spring of 2012. She reached a milestone in October of 2012, when she finished the Tulsa Run (15K) in 1 hour and 27 minutes! Samantha has received both her CrossFit Level 1 and CrossFit Kids Certifications.

Thank you CrossFit Tahlequah/Five Alarm Athletics for showing us what it really means to have fun and live healthy!