Embrace The Suck

This week, the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) staff, who host the Go Commando race, were organizing the race medals in the conference room next to my office. I caught a glimpse of the sleek design as they sorted them into age group categories. I joked that if they wanted to go ahead and put my name on my age group top finisher medal and call it a day, I was fine with that. They jokingly replied that it was possible because the 10k has been a less popular choice than the 5k, which is sold out, and the half marathon. Insert panic attack! The 5k is Sold Out??? Thank you, CVB, for crushing my dreams of dropping down to the 5k if I prefer a flat 3.1 jog instead of a completely hilly 6.2 miles on October 18. Love you, too!

As the news that the 5k was sold out and also that the 10k currently had lots of space left (translated to possibly being the LAST person to finish) was sinking in, the Boot Camp running coach sent me an article on tips for having a successful run. Many of the suggestions were on how to properly fuel and were things that I’ve heard before and follow. One point struck a chord though – “Embrace the suck”. Quit fighting the pain and quit stopping when it hurts. Ouch. They’ve got my number. I (always?) stop when it hurts. I (usually?) take the easier option, like the 5k versus the 10k. Hello self-realization. I’m supposed to embrace the pain and even learn to enjoy it? Until reading this, I was certain that running was only this painful for me and that all other runners had advanced past the suck and their runs were now pain free and delightful and the asphalt felt like fluffy clouds on their feet. Misery loves company and I had found company. New on the To Do list: Embrace the Suck.
Tuesday Boot Camp class was my first class since the Women’s Half Marathon the weekend before. There were four boot campers who had completed the half and we celebrated our accomplishment with partner exercises, relays, sand bells, and games. Thursday was a series of jogging and sprinting, which I’ve learned to embrace as the only way to improve my pace and potentially not be the very last person to complete the Go Commando 10k. Even if that happens however, I have still completed 6.2 miles and lapped everyone on the couch. And the feeling of crossing the finish line, no matter how fast or slow, does not suck. Thank you, Boot Camp Challenge, for another rewarding week full of self-discovery. Can’t wait for our next therapy/workout sessions!


Boot Camp Shows Progress and Inspiration

Week 3 of the 8 week Boot Camp Challenge is over, which means there’s only 5 weeks until Go Commando! I’m trusting the process, but can’t help but wonder if I’ll be ready???

Tuesday, Sept 16 was a fairly typical day at Boot Camp. Meaning, it was hot! Fortunately, none of the workouts are typical with Courtney at Boot Camp. You never know what to expect, it’s never the same workout twice, and there’s just no way to prepare for which muscles will be sore this week. And can we talk about her vehicle for a moment? Rolling gym with dumbbells, mats, sand bags, exercise bands, calipers, tape measure, and more. She’s equipped to lead a class anywhere & everywhere. It’s impressive.

Today, we created six stations with a different exercise at each station, plus an ab exercise, and rotated through the stations. We also turned in our food journals and those that haven’t been journaling had to do 25 burpees instead. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that food journaling just moved way up on my list of priorities. Burpees are evil!

Thursday was fall weather at its finest and such a welcome relief. We began the class by running a 1 lap warm-up and as we were finishing the lap, Courtney tells us we have 4 more. We are running a mile for time and we’re already 1 lap in. Where’s the relief in that? I finish my mile, but not before getting lapped by some super-fast boot campers, which was awesome. May as well leave some room for improvement though, right? Improvement = rewards and I think I’ve mentioned that I’m a fan.

After the mile race, I was introduced to Ab Survivor. To date, my abs have just been trying to survive two C-sections, but we took it up a notch today. Ab Survivor was a rotation of 25 reps of whatever ab exercise Courtney yelled out, mountain climbers for 30 seconds, and then a 1 minute plank. Rinse and repeat for the duration of the class. If one person quits, the whole class starts over. I am not about to have the others throwing sandbags at me, so I “survive” and then collapse into a puddle of sweat at the end. It was a lovely sight.

There were several boot campers with recent birthdays and we celebrated at the end by singing to them while they did push-ups. I have never been so happy in my life to have a February birthday.

On Friday, the half marathon running coach reached out to see if I could meet at 6:30am on Saturday instead of 7:30am. Sure, I’m agreeable. I’m also pretty sure she decided that I needed the extra hour to finish the route at the same time the 7:30 group would finish, but whatever. I meet her and one other boot camper at 6:30 on Saturday for a 5 mile run. The route for the day takes us out of Liberty Park for the first time to Zinc Plant Rd & River Rd. The route is part of the Go Commando route and Brandy wanted to prepare us for the hills. I have nothing nice to say about the hills. It was brutal and I never got my head in the zone, but I ran the 5 miles and high-fived the 7:30am group as they were starting and not as they were finishing. Whew.

Another boot camper, who has lost 100 pounds (amazing!), and I walked to cool down afterwards. I loved hearing her success story. Such an inspiration!

Next week marks the halfway point of this 8 week session and I’m already so thankful for what I’ve learned, the new people I’ve met, the progress made, and energy gained.

Breaking Up Isn’t Hard To Do – When It Makes You Run Faster

Week 1 of Boot Camp for me was all about figuring out how the class was going to fit into my life and if I were going to have to call in sick the next day because I couldn’t move. I’m happy to report that no sick days were used and I’m ready to tackle additional areas that need an overhaul, in addition to my mummy tummy. My plan for week 2 is to add two mini-goals to the mix in hopes of creating a good habit.

1. Journal all food, all week
2. Break up with my scale

Journal all food, all week sounds simple enough, right? Courtney suggests the My Fitness Pal website and tells me that I’ll be sharing my journal with her for feedback. I’m familiar with My Fitness Pal (and every other food journal site/app out there), but never used it on a consistent basis. I read Courtney’s blog post about food journaling and begin to weep when I see her blast the sugar content in a flavored Starbucks drink. May as well add goal #3 now. Break up with my beloved Starbucks. 😥 (tear)
Journaling for the week goes well in that I’m much more mindful of my choices since Courtney will be looking at them. This first born with perfectionist tendencies hates to disappoint. My image would be ruined if one of my food entries ended up on her blog. I also feel the need to defend my leftover dinner for breakfast choices to her before submitting my journal. Hello, my name is Emily and I eat leftover meat, veggies, casseroles, salads, etc. for breakfast. At work. My co-workers love when I re-heat spaghetti at 8:00am.

Moving on to the scale…
He & I have had a long, tumultuous relationship. And yes, it’s definitely a He as a She would read at least 10 pounds less. I know we need to break up, but it’s so much easier said than done. Courtney & I have a conversation about gaining muscle versus losing fat and I know the compulsive weighing must stop. Truthfully, I fail miserably at this goal this week, and still take sneak peeks here & there at the number. I make a pack with myself to weigh once a month on the same day/same time. I also pick one pair of pants to use as a non-scale victory each month and I brainstorm monthly progress rewards, because you know me & rewards. They are my love language.

The Tuesday & Thursday evening Boot Camp classes were HOT. It rained on Tuesday afternoon so we were indoors at the First Christian Church for my first time. The clocks on the walls were my enemy. I much prefer ignorance when it comes to how much time is left in the class! Courtney offered a bonus class the day before, for the Labor Day holiday. I had family plans, but I felt guilty all day long for not adjusting my plans so I could attend. I was upset with myself for not going, until Tuesday night’s class. Could I have handled two days in a row? Yikes.

Thursday evening, we were outside again and while it’s been hot every class, this one holds the record. Steamy, muggy hot. We did partner exercises and focused on core & legs. As my partner said at the end of class when we share our effort level, high & low of the class, her low was the moves while lying on the ground. Usually, those are her favorite, because of the lying on the ground part. Me too, girlfriend. Me too. Today, there was steam rising from the asphalt. Come quickly, fall!


My second group run was on Saturday morning at Liberty Park. It was exciting to see how many boot campers, plus additional family members and children were there for the run. I ran with the group training for the half marathon, and we were to run a four-mile route, which was a one-mile increase over last week. All I wanted was to show an improvement over last week. Brandy, the half marathon running coach, is amazing. My best training runs are when I have someone to converse with instead of focusing on my screaming legs, and she totally indulged me. Once I passed the point where I took a walk break last week, I was determined not to walk at all. I really wanted to be able to say that I completed the run without any walk breaks. The end point for the 10k and 5k training groups was at the 3.1 point, where I stopped for a moment to glory in my running a 5k route without walking. It has been 4 years since I’ve done that, so I was quite proud of myself and wanted everyone else to know as well!

I then finished the additional .9 miles with a smile on my face and realized for the first time, that I would be able to run the Go Commando 10k on October 18 without walking. To see improvement within one week is so motivating to me. This is improvement I’ve been struggling to make on my own, and I’m truly thankful for Courtney & the Boot Camp class for pushing me outside of my comfort zone, and out of the cozy chair at the nearest Starbucks!

No Rest for the Weary (inc. Mommy)


Tuesday, August 26

It’s my husband’s birthday. Instead of eating & drinking with him, I’m headed to my first boot camp class. This is not right.

I arrive early to assess the situation from my vehicle. I can’t tell who the trainer is because more than half the class is trainer fit.

I cuss my (now former) friend Jessica Goldberg, Go Commando race director, under my breath for getting me into this predicament.

Class begins & they vote unanimously to workout instead of doing a fitness assessment. What in the world?

60 minutes of running laps & circuit training later, I’m shocked when Courtney yells “on your belly”! We’re done and it actually went by quickly?

Class ends with everyone sharing their effort level on a scale from 1 – 10, their high from the class, and their low. I can truthfully say I gave it a 10, and I’m proud that my first class is in the books.

I tell Jessica that I love her for making me do this.

Wednesday, August 27

I wake up with some soreness, which increases as the day goes on. I’m strangely proud of the muscle aches & strangely sad there’s no boot camp on my schedule today.

I spend my lunch break shopping for new workout clothes & accessories & spend time at home getting organized for my newfound “activity”.

I sleep like a rock. Did Not Move.


Thursday, August 28

I am excited all day long for my 2nd boot camp class.

I spend time reading Courtney’s blog, website, & Facebook page. I am determined to be her next success story.

I arrive early for class again & Courtney takes my measurements & body fat percentage. I’m anxious to receive the calculated numbers & see how much I can improve in this 8 week period & beyond.

Tonight’s class is a 2 lap warm-up & then 55 minutes of combo strength training moves. The only thing I can do with the proper form is the laps. I give it a 10 again for my attempt, but man, those are some hard moves to master.

My 7.5 hours of sleep feels like 2. I am exhausted & sore. 

Friday, August 29

My office closes at noon today in preparation for the holiday weekend. I am all about the rewards & book a massage for the afternoon. I make a list of mini goals (& rewards) to keep my motivation high.

I prep for a 7:00am group run at Liberty Park on Saturday, my only day to “sleep in”, if you can call it that with 2 little ones. A 6:00am wake up is better than my usual 5:00am though, so I’ll take it.

Saturday, August 30

I wake up before my alarm for the group run.

My husband take the kids for doughnuts (of course he does), while I meet the Go Commando training group bright & early.

There are 3 groups, one training for the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. I’m running the 10k, but get talked into training with the half group since I’m registered for a race in September as well.

The half group is running the 5k course this morning & the leader wants me to run a 10 min pace. She has lost her mind, but I agree to try.

The 10 min pace doesn’t last very long, but I complete the course with only 2 brief walk breaks & enough energy to sprint the last 30 seconds or so.

I’m completely wiped, but after some stretching & cooling down, my friend & I jog another 1.5 miles before heading home. Who am I?

My endorphins last the rest of the day and I feel extra productive starting the weekend with a run.

Week 1 of Boot Camp Challenge Go Commando training is complete & I’m already hooked! Bring it Week 2.


Bootcamp Offers Rewarding Challenge

EmilyI’m Emily and I started the Go Commando Boot Camp Challenge 10K training this week! I’m nervous about not being able to walk the next day after some of these workouts, but also super excited because I’m confident the Boot Camp Challenge is going to produce the results I’ve been struggling to achieve on my own.

Three years ago, I was in the best shape that I’ve ever been in and had recently dropped 35 pounds, was working out 5-6 days per week, and had completed my first half marathon. Not too long afterwards, I was expecting our second child and I used the pregnancy as an excuse to stop running and watching my weight. That’s common, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one?! I delivered the cutest, chunkiest baby. Seriously. All 10.7 lbs. of him. We just celebrated his second birthday with lots of cake and ice cream and sadly, my chunkiness is not nearly as cute as his and I am beyond ready get this Boot Camp Challenge party started!

I’ll be running the Go Commando 10k on October 18. I began in April with the Couch to 5k plan on my own and have built up some base mileage, but I’m looking forward to the Saturday group runs with the Boot Camp Challenge participants the most. I have a competitive nature and the group setting is what I need to push myself. A trainer like Courtney Mambourg telling me to push away from the cake doesn’t hurt either. I’ll be posting regularly throughout the 8 week Boot Camp Challenge and I’m looking forward to sharing my experience and progress with you!

Finding a New Passion in Running

Below is a testimonial from John Bryant, who will be joining us in the half marathon this year. We are proud of John and his phenomenal accomplishments so far! Share your own personal success story today and make it a truly Motivational Monday. 

My name is John Bryant. I am 60 years old, and I will turn 61 on October 23.  I am training for the Go Commando Half Marathon.  Starting a running and walking program over the past year has saved my life.  If I can do this, you can!

John before he began training.

John before he began training.

In May of 2013, I found myself in the emergency room of our local hospital with a severe leg cramp and knee hurting so badly that I could hardly walk. They checked my knee and couldn’t find anything to cause the pain.  However, while I was there, the doctors discovered my blood pressure was extremely high, as well as my blood sugar.  I stayed in the hospital for three days.  The doctor diagnosed me as obese, weighing around 250 pounds, and diabetic.  My doctor put me on blood pressure pills and 2 pills for diabetes.  A later trip to have my knee checked out led to surgery for a torn meniscus.  Just a little over one year ago, my body was failing me.  

However, on September 14, 2013, I started walking one mile each day. That started my adventure. One mile became three and then five and six.  I discovered my passion!  This led to everyday walking, whether it was raining or cold or hot.  My daughters have come out and joined me many times.  One day I walked ten miles.  Then, just to see if I could do it, I walked 13.1 miles in loops at Liberty Park, my first “unofficial” half marathon.    

John at the Bubba Johnson 5k in July 2014.

John at the Bubba Johnson 5k in July 2014.

This spring, a friend at church told me that with all these miles, I should consider training for the Go Commando Half Marathon.  My daughter blessed me with the gift of paying my training fee for the YMCA Go Commando Half Marathon Training Group, so I could train with a coach.  We started in early July, and it’s going great.  Since then, I’ve also run my first OFFICIAL race, the Bubba Johnson Memorial 5K.   I’m proud to say I’m doing more and more running and less and less walking! 

I have lost 57 lbs and am off one of the blood pressure pills.  I am up to 100 miles a month and am even able to run without pain in my knee.  I started walking because my doctor said walking three miles a day is what he wanted me to do.  At first, I said, “Three miles A DAY? No way.”  Today, I completed my 800th mile of walking and running over the past year.  Yes, I have logged each and every mile.   I now consider myself a RUNNER.  I love walking and running.  I’m healthier, have more energy, and HAPPIER since I started this adventure.  I’m blessed to have found this passion.

Five Ways You’ll Train Your Best

With just 10 weeks to go until the fourth annual Go Commando we know your anticipation is growing. And why not? This year is going to be awesome… as long as you’re prepared.

Five Ways You’ll Train Your Best in 2014.

1. You’ve Got a GREAT Training Plan.

(Don’t roll your eyes all you who think training is for first timers. There are a lot of reason training helps you perform better race day.)


2. You’ve Got Friends.

Super scientific studies show that people run better when they have a good support system. Friends keep you motivated and on track. Lacking in the social department? Don’t worry, we’ve got people who are ready (and willing) to be your new best running buddy. Check out the Clarksville Running Club (i.e. a bunch of friendly faces who are all different paces just waiting for you to join them!)

3. You’re Rocking Some Killer Kicks.

Don’t underestimate the power of the perfect shoe. (Ask any woman). Your running shoes are no different. For all your running related queries, head over to The Runners Hub on Franklin St. Their friendly staff can’t wait to hear all about how your toe nail fell off after your last race while you search for new trainers.


4. You Pay Attention To The Aches and Pains.

Yes, with increased mileage comes sore muscles and some fatigue. But don’t ignore the warning signs of larger problems. Don’t let an injury sideline you. Results Physiotherapy can offer support and advice for all your training aches and pains.

5. You Stay Positive.

Celebrate the small stuff. Remember you’re training for a race here! Make it fun, congratulate yourself and stay positive.


Go Commando Donates $50k to Local Community

YMCA Go Commando (2)The Go Commando Half Marathon & 5k, powered by CDE Lightband, announced Tuesday they would donate over $50,000 to local non-profits and community organizations.
The largest recipients, the Clarksville Area YMCA and the Fort Campbell Historical Foundation, were both on hand to accept donations of $15,000 each. Christy Batts, Broadband Division Manager for the Clarksville Department of Electricity, was also in attendance to present the checks to the recipients.
“CDE Lightband is committed to supporting Go Commando’s mission of promoting health and wellness in Clarksville-Montgomery County and Fort Campbell,” said Batts. “We are very pleased to be a working with an organization whose proceeds positively benefit so many in our community.”
The Go Commando Half Marathon & 5K, powered by CDE Lightband, has contributed over $125,000 over the past three years to several charitable organizations.
The money given to the Clarksville Area YMCA will be contributed to their Annual Giving Campaign, which funds outreach programs such as their ABC Outreach and Restore Ministries. ABC Outreach allows breast cancer survivors to attend a 16-week course to rebuild strength as well as, educating and empowering participants as they continue to heal. Restore Ministries works to provide healing and hope for those struggling with life’s toughest issues.
James “O’Bee” O’Bryant, Executive Director, accepted the check on behalf of the Clarksville Area YMCA. “The Go Commando Half Marathon & 5K has given valuable financial resources to the Y, which have allowed us to better promote good health in Clarksville as well as offer valuable outreach programs, like After Breast Care and Restore Ministries, to our community,” said O’Bryant.
The Fort Campbell Historical Foundation provides support and assistance to Fort Campbell soldiers and their families. The Foundation works closely with the Don F. Pratt Military Museum and oversees plans for the future Wings of Liberty Military Museum.
“We are grateful for the contribution and what it means to our military community,” said Robert Nichols, Executive Director of the Fort Campbell Historical Foundation. “We look forward to being a part of Go Commando in 2014.”
Additional community organizations which received donations are: American Cancer Society, Austin Peay State University Mass Communications Department, Austin Peay State University Track Team, Clarksville Association for Down Syndrome, Clarksville Family Adoption Association, Clarksville Running Club, Courage Beyond, Filipino American Association, Fort Campbell Fisher House, Fort Campbell High School Cheer Team, Green Beret Foundation, Montgomery Central JROTC, Premier Medical Group’s Sunshine Fund, Sunrise Rotary, and Team Red, White & Blue Nashville.
In its third year, the Go Commando Half Marathon and 5k, powered by CDE Lightband saw a combined total of 2,000 registrants. The economic impact of the weekend was an estimated $54,000 and nearly 450 volunteers were on hand to assist during the event.
About Go Commando
Go Commando Half Marathon & 5K is an entity of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau. The race is a community-driven event formed to promote health and wellness, as well as support causes that make a difference in the city-county. For more information about Go Commando contact the race director, Jessica Goldberg, at Jessica@clarksville.tn.us.
Photo Information:
YMCA check was accepted by James “O’Bee” O’Bryant, Executive Director of the Clarksville Area YMCA. From L to R: Channel Lemon, Race Director; Christy Batts, CDE Lightband; James “O’Bee” O’Bryant; Jessica Goldberg, Race Director.
Fort Campbell Historical Foundation check was accepted by Robert Nichols. From L to R: Channel Lemon, Race Director; Christy Batts, CDE Lightband; Robert Nichols; Jessica Goldberg, Race Director.

Road Closure Information

Road closures for this weekend have been announced for the 3rd Annual Go Commando Half Marathon & 5k powered by CDE Lightband. The following streets will experience intermittent delays from 7 am until 11:30 am on Saturday, October 19, 2013:

Riverside Drive from Highway 48/13 to Spring Street: Lanes will be open for vehicular traffic but runners will use lanes closest to the Cumberland River.
River Road & Mayhew Road: Access will be open to residents only. Residents are asked to be mindful of the runners.
Downtown Clarksville: Runners will use Spring, Marion, Main, Franklin, Tenth and Commerce Streets downtown. Zinc Plant Bridge will also experience intermittent delays, but the bridge across Highway 48/13 will be open.

All streets will be completely open by 11:30 am at the latest.

On Saturday, October 19, entry to Liberty Park will be closed off and no cars will be allowed to park inside. Satellite parking will be available at the following locations; 1300 Highway 48/13 (Clarksville Academy ball fields) and 1312 Highway 48/13 (former Jostens Building).

Six shuttles will be making continuous pick up and drop offs from the satellite locations to the front of the Liberty Park. Strollers will be allowed on shuttles.

Runners are to be advised that the busiest times for the parking shuttles will be between 6 and 8 am, so plan accordingly so you do not miss the start time of the races.

People needing handicap accessible parking can contact Channel Lemon at clemon@clarksville.tn.us or Jessica Goldberg at jessica@clarksville.tn.us.

About Go Commando
The third annual Go Commando Half Marathon, 5k, and Fun Run is October 18-19, 2013. With an expected participation of 2,000, this will be the largest event to date. The Half Marathon presented by CDE Lightband begins at 7:30 am, the Michelob Ultra 5k begins at 8:00 am, and the Fun Run presented by Premier Medical Group begins at 11:00 am. All proceeds from the event support local community programs including the Clarksville Area YMCA, Wings of Liberty, Clarksville Association for Down Syndrome, and the Green Beret Foundation.

To learn more about the event visit http://www.gocommandoclarksville.com. Follow the event on Facebook, search ‘Go Commando Clarksville’ or Twitter, @GoCommandoTN. You can also join the text club by texting ‘FITNESS’ to 68683.

Go Commando Runner Raises Awareness of Gun Violence

Morlock wears his Project Active Armor vest during a Thursday Group Run at the Runners Hub.

Morlock wears his Project Active Armor vest during a Thursday Group Run at the Runners Hub.

Every day, law enforcement across the United States step out onto the streets in an effort to protect and serve. Their dedication extends across the communities they patrol and within their own community of officers. This year, on October 19, one of Montgomery County’s own will run in the Go Commando Half Marathon & 5k powered by CDE Lightband in honor of his fellow officers and to raise awareness about a very real threat to police officers everywhere.

Investigator Jeff Morlock, with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, has been running for years, just recently bringing a new sense of purpose to his exercise regimen. Morlock will run the Go Commando 5k wearing his bulletproof vest, part of a nation-wide campaign known as Project Active Armor. Project Active Armor is a collection of law enforcement from across America joined together in a collaborative effort to reinforce the idea that there’s no reason not to wear body armor. These law enforcement professionals compete in running, cycling, and multi-sport events, all to raise awareness about Project Active Armor and encourage their fellow officers to always wear their bulletproof vest.

“We [Law enforcement] can’t help each other or the community if we can’t help ourselves,” states Morlock. “If we can run 5ks or participate in endurance events in a vest then there’s no excuse.” This will be Morlock’s first 5k wearing the vest, but he is looking forward to the challenge and planning to continue racing with the vest in the future.

Weekly group runs at The Runners Hub, and with the Clarksville Running Club have helped prepare Morlock for race day. Morlock has been in law enforcement for over ten years, and is a third generation law enforcement officer. After completing the Michelob Ultra Go Commando 5k, he will participate in the annual St. Jude’s run in Memphis, TN.

About Go Commando
The third annual Go Commando Half Marathon, 5k, and Fun Run is October 18-19, 2013. With an expected participation of 2,000, this will be the largest event to date. The Half Marathon presented by CDE Lightband begins at 7:30am, the Michelob Ultra 5k begins at 8:00am, and the Fun Run presented by Premier Medical Group begins at 11:00am. All proceeds from the event support local community programs including the Clarksville Area YMCA, Wings of Liberty, Clarksville Association for Down Syndrome, and the Green Beret Foundation.

To learn more about the event visit http://www.gocommandoclarksville.com. Follow the event on Facebook, search ‘Go Commando Clarksville’ or Twitter, @GoCommandoTN. You can also join the text club by texting ‘FITNESS’ to 68683.