No, I will not run with you

I haven’t written a post in a while, this came to me on my run this past Sunday.

I am one of the most socially interactive people you will ever meet.  I smile and say hello to anyone as I pass them.  I am very engaging in conversation.  I was painfully shy as a child and growing up.   Anyone who knows me is probably shaking their head right now and saying “I don’t believe that for a minute”.  

I came out of my shell when I was promoted from hostess to waitress at a restaurant in North Carolina.  I’ll never forget that exact moment when my shell cracked.  I walked up to my first table.  My trainer, Lori, was right behind me.   I spoke so quietly the people could not hear me.  They were regulars, knew me as the hostess so they knew they were my “first” and actually volunteered for this awkward opportunity.   Lori promptly elbowed me in my back and said to me “You are not going to get anywhere in this position or in your life unless you speak up”.

For those of you who know me now and want to say “Good Lord woman do you EVER shut up?”  Blame Lori!

What on earth does me yammering away in the grocery store line and having the ability to find out a stranger’s third grade teacher’s gold fish’s name have to do with running?

Everything.

It takes a lot of energy to be “social” and engaging in conversation.  Bubbly.   I rarely have “alone time”.  Ever.  My time for me and only time for me is when I run.  I am not “Mom”.   I am not “Wife”.  I am not “Friend”.  I am not “Coach”.  I am “Me”.  

me m

I get invited to run with groups and individuals, a lot.  It’s really nice actually.  There are so many awesome people where I live.  Amazing people visit where I live. My schedule and family schedule make it extremely difficult for me to run when others do, however there are times when I can run with others.  I have run with other people.  I have run with a group. I’ve had a lot of fun running with others.   However, I prefer to run alone.  I want to run alone.

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I am a lone wolf when I run.  I want to be left alone, just me and my thoughts.  I want my run to be on my terms.  No expectations to live up to other than my own.  I guess this is another reason why I love running on the treadmill, just me and the run. I don’t want to talk; I don’t want to be social.  I want to be alone. This is my time to reboot.  Refresh.  De-stress. 

Does this mean I am like this 100% of the time.  No.  As I said before I have run with others and groups and enjoyed it.  But these are rare special occasions. I cherish my alone time with the run.

When I am asked to run with someone, usually schedule truly prohibits this from happening.  Most often times I will be cordial and say, “that would be nice”.  In theory I enjoy people’s company and want to see the person who is asking.  Do I want to run with them?  Maybe, but the chance of it happening, slim to none.   Would I want to meet up with them after a run for coffee, breakfast, or lunch? SURE!

I love my friends, family, and running community.  I am truly very lucky to be surrounded by great wonderful people.

But for the record…

No.  I will not run with you.

Jackpot Ultra Running Festival Race Recap

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Many people know the story of #4Bunny.   Many do not. If you don’t, I suggest you read this first:

https://coachkristie.com/2014/10/18/4bunny-2/

If you choose not to, in a nutshell, I made a promise to my Mom (Bunny) on her deathbed to find my joy again and to go back to ultra running. To go after the elusive 50 Mile I had been wanting and training for back in 2012.

#4Bunny

In October of 2013 I had unexpected spine surgery.   This surgery takes approximately a year for the body to completely heal. I walked a lot for rehab, and 90% of my training in 2014 was on the elliptical to reduce impact and allow my body to heal completely.   It wasn’t until after October 2014 that I finally kicked the elliptical to the curb and was able to hit the trails, the treadmill, and pavement again.

In February 2014 I went for a walk at my favorite new park, just down the street from my house. I arrived to see a bouncy house and tents everywhere. It looked like a big ole carnival. Turns out it was the inaugural Jackpot Ultra Running Festival. I took a few laps, chatted with people who were in their darkest hour and helped to keep them moving forward. I was hooked. Went home and made a note to register for 2015 as soon as registration opened.

Training and nutrition was spot on for this race. My only setback was coming down with the flu 3 weeks before the race.

I kept pretty quiet about everything publically. Only a few close people knew what I was training for and my goals. Whenever I make a race public or talk openly about my goals it implodes. It’s my own personal curse. I also don’t like the pressure that other people’s expectations and unsolicited advice that public discussion of my races brings.

I originally signed up for the 12-hour race, but really wanted to fulfill the 50 Mile promise to Mom. I knew that if I got to 12 hours and missed 50 I would be livid with myself. So I upgraded to the 24 hour. Having that time cushion was really freeing. No pressure. Goal was to be vertical at the finish. In my head, if I reached 50 and was still moving I would go for 100k but after 50 Miles, the promise to Mom would be fulfilled.

Pre race calls with my Coach and business partner Rebecca Adamson and registered dietician Dina Griffin had me pumped up.  Thank you Rebecca and Dina for everything you both did to set me up for nothing but success in this race.

Fuel prepped and ready to go for race day (GenUCAN, Nuun, PB/Honey/See Salt Sandwiches, Pickle juice, Lara Bars (ended up not using them), Salt and Vinegar chips (didn’t use them), Peanut Butter pretzels (also ended up not using), PlowON gum, peppermint gum, and BCAAs (my secret weapon):

bottles

Went to bed and slept amazing. Best night’s sleep before a race, ever.

Race morning I sent my husband and son off to CA, my son had a hockey tournament I was going to miss (sad panda).   They also would not be there for my race (double sad panda). After I sent them off I had my breakfast and loaded up the car. I got to the race an hour before the start. My crew chief, teammate and close friend Kathryn Bruce was there with bells on. We set on to set up base camp. Fellow Idiots Running Club running buddy Heather Rowley set up her base camp next door. This was going to be awesome.

base camp

The atmosphere was electrifying. The weather was GORGEOUS. I am a local so unseasonably high temps expected to reach 80 was still lovely to me. I felt bad for those from other places. It was going to be hot. When they felt great at night, I was going to freeze.

The starting siren sounded and that’s when my heart went to my throat. Showtime!

Quite literally as I crossed over the start line off to the right was a huge group yelling, “Go Kristie” a huge surprise of a group of people from my son’s school. Had to stop and give hugs all around. What a big surprise! One of them snapped this shot on one of my first laps (thank you Amy Tassin and family!)

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The racecourse is familiar. I train here. It was a 2.38-mile loop. My son learned to ride his bike here. I walked here during rehab after surgery.   I was “home”.   I was in my element.

One of the best pieces of advice I received before the race was if something hit my radar, address it immediately. Do not wait.   I trained in the shoes I was wearing race morning with no issues. None. No blisters, nothing. Perfect shoes. 3-4 laps in my feet hit my radar like a missile. Something was wrong. Very wrong. My shoes didn’t fit. My feet had swollen (my guess from sodium load the night before and the increasing heat on the course) and I had hot spots starting all over both feet. There was no way I would make it 24 hours in these shoes, let alone 4.   I hopped into my tent and put on my backup pair of shoes.   UGH. Too big.   I was sliding all over.   Made it one lap, came back, tried on other shoes, nope. Ok. Pair number two was going to be it. I slathered more body glide on my feet, reapplied sunscreen, and off I went.

Kathryn had a sheet of paper, a fuel tracking log on my table so each lap I could check in and document what I was taking in and to serve as my brain because literally after 2 laps my brain cut off and I was on autopilot. She also had a sign where she was writing down comments that people were sending to me via social media. Seeing this each lap was energizing.

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Many races I have run have been motivated completely by demons. Anger, resentment, feelings of having to prove myself, and self worth. While I had some demons for this race, this race was different. It was so positive and uplifting. I can tell you this race was the first one where it was all surrounded by positivity and support. No pressure. Just support. My friends, family, Storm Hockey Family, #TeamNC buddies, Idiots Running Club buddies, KR Endurance sponsors and KR Endurance teammates were all so supportive and encouraging, I felt unstoppable.

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Friend Bobbie Davis showed up (time I have no clue) and would be there for the duration.   She and Kathryn were my rocks for this entire race.

Teammate and friend Teri Radke was at the aid station volunteering, seeing a familiar face on each lap was great. She would come back and take a couple laps with me after her shift and a couple at night. The most memorable was in the middle of the night we were completing a lap and coming to the Start/Finish line and the song “Best Time of My Life” was blasting. We started singing and dancing. It was awesome.

me and teri

Teammate and friend Jennifer Teft and family showed up and surprised me.   Moments like this in an event like this give you energy to keep moving forward.

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Ice buckets were on the course so you could (as in my case) dunk your visor in and/or pour cold water over you in the heat of the day. This was a nice touch for this race. Also hats off to my volunteer buddy who handed me ice to shove into my sports bra every lap.

The day hours went in a blur. I put my headphones on and listened to tunes and enjoyed the scenery.

Charlene Ragsdale, who I had not seen since RNRLV 2013, came at the 11th hour and we did a few laps together.   Laughing, chatting, and catching up right where we left off. She captured a funny moment after a pit stop I took. Yes folks, this race was at a park, there were BATHROOMS with soap, water, soft toilet paper, and hand dryers. If you were feeling nostalgic you could hit the porta potties if you so desired too. The race directors were AWESOME and thought of everything.

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Let me go on record that I great big puffy heart pickle juice and duct tape.   In the heat of the day I would take swigs of pickle juice and it tasted like the greatest thing ever.   Duct tape was my friend after lancing blisters- “we’ve got a squirter!!” and taping up my feet. I would NOT have made it without duct tape, thank you Kathryn for bringing this. Our base camp ended up being the location of blister lancing and duct taping for other runners on the course too.   If you have duct tape…. they will come…

I talked to my husband and son at some point, I vaguely remember. But it kept me moving.

Some time in the middle of the night it happened. I reached the 50-mile mark. To mark the moment my crew, Bobbie and Kathryn greeted me on that lap in a way that had many thinking they were hallucinating.   When I saw them I doubled over laughing. I love you two girls. So much!

best crew evah

I had prepared myself for “the darkness” that would hit my mind and I would battle at a race of this distance. It never came. Not once. I smiled and had a blast the whole time. Even at night when the course was lonely and my feet were screaming. Still then every runner who passed waved, high fived…. lap after lap, after lap, after lap.

The darkness may not have come, but the cold did. Boy did it ever.

I did not plan for cold enough. I didn’t. My spine surgery left me sensitive to cold. I did not pack enough clothes.   One lap I sat down at base camp and Bobbie and Kathryn loaded me up with blankets. Blister lancing session #2 also took place. Kathryn stripped off her fabulously floral toasty warm leggings, bundled me with 2 fleece jackets, and gloves. Warm and toasty and feeling good again Kathryn and I set out for a few laps.   She kept me entertained and distracted.

One memorable lap, as we were circling the lake, the birds started waking up. You would hear the chatter. A look off to the east you could just see the dawn barely hinting on the horizon. I looked at Kathryn “holy sh$t, I am going to do this, I survived the night”.

Dear friend Fatima Valeras showed up and relieved Kathryn of pacing and took over as my anchor. Another rock in my life I am thankful for Fatima.   We set off. Chatting.   Catching up.   The sun started coming up. I saw lap after lap my goal of 100k was approaching.   I was going to do this. I was.

Layers of clothes came off as the sun came up.   Seeing the grit and determination of people still on the course as the sun came up was amazing and inspiring.   Some running, some limping, some being held up by their pacers.   All, smiling, even through the pain.

Let me tell you from the start to the finish everyone on the course was friendly, supportive, amazing. Lap after lap after lap.   If I had a dollar for every “good job” I heard out there, I would be a millionaire.   I can honestly tell you this is the first race I have ever experienced anything like that.

So the joke was on me.   I wanted 100k, which is 62.1371 miles.   Lap 26 would be 61.88 miles. Seriously? I would have to tough it out to lap 27.   I had 3 laps to go and was figuring all this out.  I had plenty of time to do them. I was going to sit and rest 15 minutes between laps. Fatima was pushing me, 3 laps, get it done then sit down and relax until the 24-hour mark.

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A few feet from the Start/Finish line, which would be my finish, at lap 27 I was at roughly 22 hours.   I wanted to make sure if I went through the finish and had the lap counted that I would not have to come back and do another.   Basically when I reached 64.25 I wanted to be done.   Finished.   My crew found the wonderful race directors Stephanie and Ken, they said absolutely when I wanted to finish, I would finish. I could go home.  MUSIC TO MY EARS.

I said, “Oh ok then” and in anti climactic fashion sauntered through the finish.   Stephanie (race director) put my medal around my neck.   Then it happened, my brain freaked.   I started melting down.   It’s as if my brain said “and we’re done”.   People were trying to take pictures of me. I tried to collect myself. I couldn’t. I was trying to block photos.   It was bizarre.   Bobbie got in my face looked me right in the eye; don’t remember what she said but it snapped me out of it. A couple photos were taken.   The best one captured my shock of what had just happened

shock

I went back to base camp, my crew had packed it all up; I didn’t have to lift a finger. They made sure I could drive home.   Then in parking lot, it hit me what just happened and I started bawling.   I had done it. My first “official” ultra and I did 64.25 miles (my 50k was an unsupported virtual for skin cancer awareness). I could not have done it without all the support I had from amazing people.

We stopped for a minute and took a selfie and I drove home:

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Trying to document 24 hours of the most painful fun I have ever had is difficult, timing is approximate because things start running together, and there was so much awesome I am sure I left things out.  Accept my apologies if thank you’s weren’t big enough or if I left something out.  After 24 hours of punishment, the brain goes a wee bit bonkers.

I also wish I could mention every runner out there on the course. I felt like we all bonded and became friends.   Truly an amazing group of people. Thank you again to Stephanie and Ken for a great race.   Thank you to the volunteers, you were all amazing.

I got home from the race and was hobbling. Immediately got my post race recovery fuel and went to the backyard and stuck my feet in my freezing cold cement pond (pool) for an ice bath.

ice bath

I couldn’t stand back up. My feet hurt. My ankles hurt. I crawled to my pool fence and pulled myself up.   I was thankful my family was not there, but then thought oh boy I may need them. In the end this was a good thing for them not to be there. It made me keep moving.

I took a nap. Maybe 2 hours? WHAT? I had been up for 27 hours and couldn’t sleep more than 2 hours. Got out of bed and was certain I was going to need crutches.   Something.   Hobbled back down the stairs and back out to the backyard for more ice bath.   This time I was able to stand up.   I kept moving and then went to the store for my post race pizza I had been dying for this whole training cycle. Bonus with my husband and son out of town I would not have to share.   Came back from the store moving fairly easily, back out to the pool again for another ice bath.

Insert bragging Mom comment here. Remember why my son and husband could not be there? My son had a hockey tournament.   They WON!

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Monday morning I got up. Moving well.   Feeling REALLY good. Easily going up and down the stairs. Went to the chiropractor, nothing out of whack.   He worked on sore ankles.   Many thanks to Dr. Easton of Dr. Easton Family Chiropractic who not only diagnosed my neck issue resulting in spine surgery ridding me of the pain, but he put me back together again. No WAY could I have done this without Doc and Martha.

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Tuesday I got up, not sore at all. Nope. Nothing. Ok, didn’t I just run 64.25 miles? C’mon at least give me some satisfactory DOMS. But you know what? This is what strong training and nutrition looks like, before, during and after a race.   I had a 90-minute sports massage Tuesday evening.   All was well, just a little tight here and there, but all good.

Wednesday morning with the blessing from family and Coach Rebecca, this happened

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To prevent from imploding I won’t say what race distance/time I signed up for, but I will say this, Jackpot thank you for one of the most memorable moments of my life.   Lord willing and the creek don’t rise…I’ll see you next year.

I’ve thanked a lot of people in this recap, but thank you is not a big enough word for what people did for me. Two people however need a special thank you. My husband Joel and son Ty. Without their support during training for this race, I would not have been able to do it.   Patience during training patters, nutritional patterns and taper madness I love you both to the moon and back. Thank you both for being my sun, moon and stars.  I love you.

 

 

 

Why I prefer *gasp* the treadmill

Runner treadmill ILLUS.jpgI have a reputation for being the “Treadmill Queen”.  I wouldn’t call myself a Queen; Court Jester would be more accurate.  When it comes to the treadmill go ahead and prepare to call me freak, sick, strange, crazy, whatever name you should choose but in all honesty I prefer to run on the treadmill.

There.  I said it, the “anti” runner statement.  But it is true.  On a brisk 40-50 degree day (“perfect” running weather) you will find me on the treadmill.  Shoot, pretty much most of my runs, you will find me on the treadmill.

In an attempt to get 99% of the running community to take a glimpse into my alter universe I will provide you with the multitude of reasons as to why I personally prefer to run on the treadmill, in no particular order:

  1. No dogs off leashes.  Well, there is one.  But he snoozes on the yoga mat beside the treadmill and the worst thing he does is pass gas.  I have been chased over walls, had ankles and the back of my leg bitten by all shapes and sizes of dogs, cats and oh I live in the desert…. don’t get me started on Coyotes.
  2. No stoplights.
  3. No rattlesnakes.
  4. The nearest bathroom is 3 feet away, it is clean, not a bush or tree that I hope is wide enough to hide me, has toilet paper stocked (well, that can remain to be seen as I am the only female in my house, but at least I know where the spare rolls are kept), it also has really pretty smelling soap in there.  BONUS.
  5. I can wear a sports bra and shorts and not worry about looking like a busted can ‘o biscuits hanging out everywhere in the land of Cirque performers.
  6. No cars.
  7. No motorcycles.
  8. No creepers that seem to be lapping the block over, and over, and over, and over. Shudder
  9. No random poles, stop signs, light posts that jump in front of me and crash into me.  I mean really?  The nerve.
  10. No rocks or other objects to trip over.  Or the desert hare that ran in front of me with comedic timing and ended up getting punted.  Let me tell you something so cute can REALLY give a mean stink eye.
  11. I like to run light.  The treadmill holds my water bottles, cell phone, fuel, snot rocket towel, HR monitor watch, and sweat towel.
  12. Can’t step in poop.
  13. Temperature and climate control.
  14. I can watch TV or a movie if I want.  I never have, but I could if I wanted.
  15. If I take it to the puke zone the trashcan is next to the treadmill or refer to #4.
  16. I listen to my iPod and don’t have to worry about hearing my surroundings, I can get lost in my music.  I can also sing out loud without crazy looks, well, unless the family is home.
  17. I can control my pace, timed surges, etc. without OCD checking my wrist.  Just a quick glance at the dash and touch of a button.
  18. If my clothes are stained, don’t match, ugly, stinky, only person to bother is me, and or refer to #1 the dog with gas that sleeps on the yoga mat.
  19. I can control my elevation gain.
  20. Sun safe!  Sunscreen not needed.
  21. I can’t get lost.
  22. No chance of accidental bug ingestion.
  23. Can’t get pooped on by a bird or have one crash into my head (yes this has happened to me twice).
  24. I can completely zone out and not have to be aware of my surroundings.  I solve the world’s problems in my head.  And well, think of blog posts like this one….
  25. When my son was a newborn and my husband worked graveyard shift and slept during the day we did not have a fancy stroller, it was my only way to regain sanity.  Without it for MANY years no treadmill, no run.  For anyone who calls the treadmill the “dreadmill” I want them to be faced with the harsh reality that if they want to run THE ONLY way they CAN is on the treadmill. How quickly they will appreciate the treadmill.

Do not get me wrong.  I love to run outside, in nature.  The sights, the sounds, the smells.  But given a choice I will take the treadmill thank you.

*

Considering a Treadmill?

treadmillguyA treadmill is an investment. Prices range from $500 to over $3000. Before you buy one, ask yourself some questions first:

What is your budget? Set a budget. This will tell you how much treadmill you can purchase.

Where is it going to go? Measure the area where it will be placed for use. When not in use, do you need a folding version or will a flat deck fit? Do not find out it doesn’t fit, when you bring it home.

How often will you use it and what for? Will it be used few minutes for general exercise, or hours training for a marathon? The amount and type of use may depend on if a basic or higher end commercial model is best for you.

What features do you want? Incline? iPod doc? Built in fan? Some treadmills have programs where you can run simulated actual routes. Example: the Boston Marathon, complete with heartbreak hill.

How much maintenance are you willing to do yourself and/or pay for? Deck lube, belt maintenance, etc.

Other points worth considering:

Direct Current (DC) motors are quieter- if close to living spaces, noise may be a factor.

Buy the warranty. Ask anyone in treadmill sales, warranties do not generate income, they typically generate a loss. It is worth it.

The motor should be a minimum 1.5 horsepower. Typical range is 1.5-2.5hp. Look for a “continuous-duty” motor rating. This rates the horse power literally, for continuous duty over a 24 hour period. Be wary of other descriptions like “treadmill-duty”.

Try it out wearing the clothes and shoes you would wear while on a treadmill. Make sure the length fits your stride, handles are sturdy and far enough away not to interfere with your arms, and you can reach the display easily. Make sure motion is smooth, never jerky.

Write out a checklist with budget at the top followed by needs, then wants. Take the list with you shopping. You may have to cross off some wants to meet the needs, but in the end, you’ll have the best treadmill for you.

*this article can also be seen where originally published in Health Your Way Online Magazine:

http://www.healthyourwayonline.com/considering-a-treadmill-by-kristie-cranford/

Rock N Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon Race Recap – Part 1 of 2- Getting to the Start

Ever step off a step or a curb and realize there was no step?  No curb? All your bones go crashing into each other until your teeth rattle? 

I was walking with my son and did just that. We were looking for Halloween decorations.  I stepped off what I thought was a curb and all my bones just crashed into each other.  We both had a giggle and went along our way to a pumpkin patch. By the time we left the pumpkin patch my left foot just, hurt.  Had I stepped on something? 

The next morning I got up to run, I went 2 steps and my foot said…not on your life pal. WHAT?! My Coach brain kicked in…I got on the bike.  Play it safe.  Later in the day I had a talk with my Coach (Coach Jeff of PRS Fit Nation, who I also work for) and we both pretty much confirmed my suspicion…not only did my bones crash together, but I managed a minor ankle sprain.  That put me on the sidelines of running for two weeks.  It was the end of October.  Race day was quickly approaching Dec 2nd.

sprain

Rehabbed the ankle.  Came out of the gate strong.  Had a week of killer, and I mean, killer training runs.  Hit them out of the park.  I was on fire.  Until one day, it was my throat that was on fire.  A quick inspection and it was obvious I had strep.  Went to the doctor for him to not only confirm I had strep, but also to add that I had a double ear infection, and sinus infection.   Hard core antibiotics, decongestants and steroids were prescribed.   I was hit by a truck for a little over 2 weeks.   The medicine drained me, dehydrated me.  It was a struggle to get up every day.  I was tired, exhausted.  I slowly started feeling better.  Slowly, very slowly.

Bang, another strong week where I nailed workouts.  Tons of energy.  95% of my training is indoors on a treadmill.  I am testament that it can be done.  Being a Mom, if I didn’t have a treadmill…I wouldn’t be able to run, plain and simple.  I had a few flukes where my husband’s crazy schedule allowed for some outdoor runs.  They were great.  I was not just meeting them, but exceeding them….and it came, again…the sinus infection that would NOT go away.  Back on antibiotics I went…just a little over a week before race time.  Then I got this LOVELY stomach bug the weekend before the race where I spent more time hugging the porcelain god than my husband. I was SO sick.  Could NOT keep anything down, my diet became desperate.  The only thing I was able to keep down after 48 hours was saltine crackers, ginger ale, and chicken & stars broth. 

puke

There is nothing like having a sprained ankle and never ending sickness right before your “A” race? Right?

To be Continued-

Break a Sweat Without Breaking the Bank – Build a Home Gym

Having a gym membership can have major benefits.  A variety of equipment, group classes, and the ability to meet up with friends are all nice perks.  Then there is reality. Gym hours many not work with your schedule, expensive membership fees, location, weather, young children in the home, are all just a sampling of reasons why a gym may not be the best option.

You can go out and spend a fortune to set up a home gym.  You may even have the space in a dedicated room. But there are a few key pieces of exercise equipment/accessories that you can get to economically start your own home gym and not take up a lot of space.

You– That’s right, you.  Body weight exercises (push-ups, planks, for example) don’t require any equipment.

Resistance Bands– With or without handles these are an inexpensive accessory that you can use perform a variety of exercises.

Dumbbells– Start off by just getting a couple of weights. No need to get a full set, I guarantee you don’t use ALL weights.  Adjustable dumbbells that can adjust to different weights are compact in size, but can be expensive ($150-$500) unless you plan on using them a lot, spare the expense.

Yoga Mat– There is no need to go all out and get a designer version, you can get one easily for under $10.

Exercise/Stability Ball– Be prepared to replace it more often if you go with an inexpensive one.

Foam Roller– Every athlete or individual who exercises often needs to have one of these. Keep in mind, just as the exercise/stability ball, cheaper versions will wear out and need to be replaced more often.

BOSU– A little more expensive than a stability ball, a BOSU has a multitude of exercises and can also be used as a substitute in many exercises for an exercise/stability ball.

Trainer– Many people have a bike sitting around somewhere that may or not be used regularly.  An inexpensive trainer can turn that bike into an instant spin bike.

Keep in mind things you already have in your home can be used. Stairs, chairs, and coffee tables. Think outside of the box.  It’s always fun to get shiny new things but don’t forget to check yard sales, garage sales, eBay, discount websites, second hand stores, etc. you can always find exercise equipment and/or accessories at less than bargain prices.

People ask me often what I have in my home gym.  Here you go:  Treadmill, trainer, yoga mat, exercise/stability ball, BOSU, dumbbells (5lb, 10lb, 40lb), weighted jump rope, pull up bar, resistance bands, and a speed vest (weight vest).

We all can’t get to a gym. It’s about being able to do what you can, not what you cannot do. So look at your workouts and see what equipment you need to essentially complete those from home and start building your home gym.  Remember, you don’t have to break the bank, to break a sweat.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

Coach Kristie

You can also view this post on the PRSFit Nation Blog

 

Treadmill Maintenance Tips

Treadmill- n.- 1. a device with an endless belt on which a person walks or runs in place. 2. my baby, my therapy, my escape.

Having a treadmill in the home makes it very convenient to run at any time.  Treadmills, like any other piece of equipment need to have preventative maintenance performed on a regular basis.

A general rule of thumb is to perform this maintenance around every 3 months or 150 miles, or as stated in the owner’s manual.  Please do take the time to read your owner’s manual.  No two treadmills are alike. The owner’s manual is a great source of information on how to properly use and maintain your treadmill, thus extending the life.  I do recommend that if you are going to make the investment of buying a treadmill, do buy the extended warranty.  Motors, decks, belts, and electronic components can get expensive quick without a warranty.  You may be better off purchasing a new treadmill when all those begin wearing down.  The cost will be about the same.  I speak from experience.

Not just during preventative maintenance, but in general, keep your treadmill clean.  Dust, dirt, and grime, not just use, are main culprits of wear and tear.   Keep it dusted, floors and areas around (and under) it clean.

Have it plugged into a surge protector.  Treadmills are full of electronic components sensitive to power surges. Some recommend that the treadmill is plugged into a dedicated circuit. This is mainly for commercial level treadmills, but also some sophisticated home models.

Here is a preventative maintenance checklist including some helpful tips:  Note-  perform maintenance with the treadmill unplugged.

  • Clean floors around, beside, and under the treadmill prior to performing maintenance. Why? Some debris and dust will be scattered onto the treadmill while you are cleaning floors (especially if vacuuming).
  • Wipe the body, display, and arms down.  Pay attention to any recommendations by the manufacturer about what you can and cannot use to clean it with. I typically use a damp cloth or cleansing wipe.
  • Check under the hood.  With the treadmill off and/or unplugged, take off the motor panel. Remove dust, and pet hair.  Be careful of all the components and wires.  Use a gentle touch.  I use a vacuum attachment to get in tight areas.  You can also use compressed air (like one used to spray a computer keyboard) to dust the components.
  • Check motor belts for fraying.  Check for loose or rubbed wires.
  • Lubricate the belt.  You need it well lubricated between the belt and the deck.  A worn belt will wear down the deck. Replace the belt based upon manufacturer guidelines, never wait too long. A worn belt will damage the deck.  You will prolong the life of the deck if you maintain the belt properly.  I use a kit that you put under the belt. It reaches from one side of the belt to the other.  You slip it under the belt and turn the treadmill on, evenly lubricates. NOTE: Some treadmills DO NOT require lubrication, read your owner’s manual to see if yours requires lubrication or not.
  • Clean the belt.  Most lubrication kits come with a cleaning kit, or they are sold separately.  Check manufacturer recommendations in your owner’s manual.
  • As mentioned before, replace the belt in a timely manner. The deck also will need to be replaced from time to time.  Check your owner’s manual for recommendations.  I use my treadmill a lot.  I was able to replace my belt with a commercial belt to prolong the life of the belt.  Not all treadmills are capable of this, but it is something to consider if you plan on logging major miles.

Warning signs maintenance needed:

  • Little pieces of what looks like cotton around the treadmill.  The belt is breaking down and needs to be replaced.
  • Loud humming or clicking from the motor (and no signs of rubbing belts).  Motor may be going.  My particular model’s motor will begin to change color as a warning sign when the motor is going, however the loud humming gave it away first.
  • The belt is “off center” and/or begins to rub.  It is out of alignment and or may need tension adjusted.
  • Burning smell.  Your treadmill is working hard.  Check the belt and/or deck.
  • Loud squeak or whine.  The drive belt (like on a car) may be going, it will get louder with increased speed.
  • Won’t turn, or intermittent. Can be a lot of reasons, but the brushes in the motor may be going.  Typically the motor will wear out before the brushes.
  • Again, read your owner’s manual.  It will also give you signs to watch out for when maintenance is needed.

The manufacturer of my treadmill has videos and even a customer service line that will help walk you through step by step, repairs, replacements, and maintenance. Free of charge.  Check with the manufacturer of your treadmill to see if any maintenance assistance or step by step tips are provided.

Anyone who knows me knows my treadmill is my baby, and I am accident prone.  I don’t trust myself with major replacements so I have a very reliable treadmill technician who takes care of my major repairs and replacements.  He also takes the time to give me tips and advice on how to better maintain my treadmill.  He was the one who suggested getting a commercial belt due to the high mileage I put on mine. Treadmill repair specialists are a great resource and they love sharing knowledge.  Get to know one.

I hope you find these tips helpful.  I learned a lot by trial by error with my treadmills.  I wish I had some advice on maintenance a long time ago.  I successfully killed off my first treadmill due to improper maintenance.  My other is still going strong and has well over 2000 miles on it.

Always feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

Coach Kristie

 

Special mention- Chris of “The Treadmill Guy” in Henderson, NV.  He is my go to for all treadmill repairs. He was my sounding board while I wrote this blog post.  He has been patient and taught me how to take proper care of my treadmill. Thank you!