Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Starting the Road to 5k | Chelsea Bennett

Yesterday, I went for a run.

I'm calling it my first official training run, but it's actually the second.

The real first one was such a joke that it can hardly be counted. You see, I have an an
adorable dog named Katie. She's a one-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi with very, very short stumpy legs. Last weekend, it was decided that my fiancee and I would take Katie on our first run. Honestly, she's pretty lazy and needs the exercise. So, we laced up and hit the levy. About ten minutes in Katie couldn't do it. She gave up, laid on the ground and completely refused to move. We had to take turns carrying her home.

So much for starting off with a big success.

Yesterday, we decided to start over. It was about seven and starting to get dark outside, which to me is always a bit depressing. I love daylight savings time and dread the dark winter evenings. All the same, we decided we would run the levy in the dark. In retrospect, this may not have been the best plan and we should probably invest in glow sticks, reflectors or something if this is going to be a normal occurrence. After we made it up the giant hill that brings you on to the levy running/bike path, I started to feel bugs running into my face. Being so close to the river right at dusk, I'm guessing this is a normal thing, but nothing prepares you for feeling like a bug is going to fly into your mouth at any second. We cranked up couch to 5k and started going. Moments after, here come some kids on skateboards almost running us over - which confirms that the glow sticks are probably a good plan. So, I've got the bugs and then the fear of skateboarders working against me, however, somehow I got past it. 

I couldn't help but be completely in love with how pretty the river was at that time of day. The horizon was seven different of colors of pink and orange all melting into the river. Last night, the cold front blew in hard, but I think the wind was blowing the hardest on the river. It was like a giant fan blowing at the perfect temperature. You could barely hear it was blowing so hard. As it got darker, we got closer to downtown. The city lights reflecting on the water were beautiful. For a minute, in between the wind, the sunset and the lights, I understood why people run. Somewhere in the one minute running bits of the training, I felt like I could run forever.

But then I came to my senses and started to feel like death was upon me.

I have no idea how to breathe when I'm running. Trust me, I've heard all there is to hear about it. I know it's a pattern. I know it's in with the nose out with the mouth. Even equipped with all of this knowledge, I feel like I'm constantly gasping for air with my chest aching in the process. If I didn't know any better, I'd think it was some weird asthma thing. I'll be real with you though, it's probably that I have no clue what I'm doing.

All the same, I considered my run mostly enjoyable - which is a huge milestone for me. Also, I'm giving myself points for actually getting off the couch to go run. I'll take any reason to celebrate that I can get.

So, one run down, seventeen more weeks to go.
General feeling: I've got this (maybe.)

Chelsea Bennett
DHH Public Relations Specialist 

Chelsea is a 22 year-old, taking on the challenge of the 2015 Louisiana Marathon Advocate 5k. A lover of all things southern, she is an LSU grad, completely infatuated with the sweet Louisiana life and everything quintessentially “Baton Rouge.” Find her by the pralines or follow Chelsea on Twitter @GeauxChels

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Taking on the Marathon | Kathy Kliebert

When people hear about my training as a triathlete, I think they always assume that exercise is second nature to me. When, in all reality, exercise has never been easy for me. When my alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m. calling me to the gym, I have the same reaction that most people would have. I want to stay in bed and not go to the gym; I want to go back to sleep.

This is the first time I've attempted a full marathon. It's a long time coming -- I've been avoiding this particular challenge for a while. I love triathlons because there are multiple events for me to focus on, but marathons are entirely different. Running is actually my least favorite part of the triathlon.  When it comes to long distance running, the real challenge for me isn't the running itself, it is fighting the boredom that comes along with running for four hours or more.

Training for a marathon is a lengthy process that is hard for everyone. There are good days and there are bad days. Some days, you’re going to wake up to run three miles and only run one – because that’s what runners do. Other days, you’ll run your entire goal and feel great. 

Personally, I'm particular about how I go about training for a run. I have to pick routes that don't make me pass up my starting line again. It adds to the boredom if I’m just watching the same things go by again and again. There a lot of great tips out there for training for a run. Here’s a link to my favorite golden rules of running. Following these rules, like the ten percent rule that you shouldn't increase your training mileage by more than ten percent a week, really helps my training.

If there is anything that I really want people to understand about running and exercise in general, it is that this is not easy for anyone -- no matter what your fitness level is. A lot of people don't start off running, many begin with just walking. Even walking makes a difference in getting to your goals, every bit that you do counts. The biggest thing about running, or getting in shape, is having patience with yourself. The older you are the more patient you have to be with the process.

I am so excited to see DHH taking on this challenge. It is great to see so many people coming out of their comfort zones to try something new and great for their health. The best part about all of us taking this on is the overwhelming support that comes from such a fantastic team working together.  On the good days and the bad days, at least we are all in this together. 

Kathy Kliebert
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary

Kathy is an avid triathlete, taking on the challenge of her first full marathon with the 2015 Louisiana Marathon. When she isn't running a state department or keeping up with her triathlon training, she loves spending time with her grand kids. Follow Kathy on twitter @KathyRunsLaDHH

Going From My Couch to A 5k | Chelsea Bennett

My favorite salad has fried shrimp on it. I own a FitBit to track my lack of fitness. I drank some water yesterday. I like to take the stairs, but really only on the way down. I only have one pair of tennis shoes that I bought based only on their color. Also, one time I ran pretty far from a wasp.

Somehow, all of this has made me qualified to write for this blog associated with running.

I realize that some people may be offended when their boss recommends that they would be good fit for writing a blog from the perspective of someone who despises exercise entirely, but not I. You see, I have no shame about my hate for exercise. It is just a part of who I am at this point.

However, I have come to realize that it's probably time for me to get over that. The truth is that avoiding the freshman fifteen is nothing compared to avoiding the cubicle fifteen. Also, I will not be twenty-two forever and I should probably learn how to exercise now while it is relatively easy and while I am low on excuses.

The sad thing is that I know all of the reasons why I should be running. When I was at LSU I walked over a mile to class every day. Now, I walk 1,000 steps to the parking garage. I spend the majority of my day sitting in front of a computer all day and while my job is relatively enjoyable, being still all day can really get you down. I am all for the fact that people who exercise feel better about life in general because of endorphins and all. Also, I think that having goals to accomplish for myself on my own time will really help with my mission for a solid work-life balance.

Now, I am not going to pretend that this is going to be some easy peasy challenge. As far as athletic abilities of young people go, I am a pretty sad case. For me, running around the block one time feels the same as a marathon. I don't think I've ever actually ran a full mile in my life. A 5k is basically a Chelsea Bennett marathon. I wish I could find a way to really explain to you guys how hard this is going to be for me. I sincerely dislike being uncomfortable and last time a checked, there was nothing comfortable about running. However, there are perks. For example, if I run I can eat cheese fries without guilt – and let me tell you, I am all about maximizing eating cheese fries without guilt.

The goal is for me to run a 5k. I make no promises for extraordinary times or if I'll even be able to run the whole thing. I mean, I sincerely hope I'll be able to - but at this point running just one mile without feeling like death is upon me*, let alone three, would be an absolute triumph. Mainly, to be honest, the goal is for me to train for a 5k. I want to make it possible for me to run twice a week without wanting to die every time.

So, no excuses! If the girl on the ninth floor who can barely make it down the block without wanting to pass out can do this, so can you. I'm terrified, like really terrified, but we can do it together! Here we go!

*You may think this part is dramatic, but it is honestly how running makes me feel. Don't judge.

Chelsea Bennett
DHH Public Relations Specialist 

Chelsea is a 22 year-old, taking on the challenge of the 2015 Louisiana Marathon Advocate 5k. A lover of all things southern, she is an LSU grad, completely infatuated with the sweet Louisiana life and everything quintessentially “Baton Rouge.” Find her by the pralines or follow Chelsea on Twitter @GeauxChels

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Occasional Exerciser | Olivia Watkins

I hate running. When I was a child, my mother frequently said that the only reasons to run were if a man with a gun or a large dog were chasing her. I took that advice to heart and even when I trained for Army officer training tests in college ROTC, I hated hitting the pavement. I’ll take weight training, walking or a fitness class any day.

I’ve not been taking care of myself lately. Work is stressful and consuming. We are still short on team members after months of trying to hire people and I always feel like I’m behind on projects. When I get home from work at the end of the day the last thing that I want to do is, well, anything at all. 

Though I am a certified yoga teacher, I haven’t been going to class or teaching it. I’m not walking or biking. In essence, I’m a work/couch potato. With the start of this blog, that is all about to change (I hope).

The Louisiana Marathon recently approached DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert and our team about collaborating with the Marathon on ways to promote running and physical fitness. Given that we are trying to help Louisiana worksites, schools, colleges, hospitals and other organizations make small, sustainable changes to promote wellness, a partnership to promote getting up off the couch makes perfect sense.

This fall, DHH will be working with community partners and the Louisiana Marathon to help educate our employees on how to start a healthy practice like running. We’ll be providing training in our building during lunch and we’ll have a kick-off run to celebrate the change.

We’re also challenging our employees to hit the pavement as part of a DHH team for the Louisiana Marathon. Working together, we’ll have four groups training for the January races, a 5k team, a quarter marathon, a half marathon and the full marathon.

Despite my disdain for running, I’ll be aiming for the quarter marathon — that’s a little more than a 10k. As I train, I’ll be posting here about my experience. This isn’t going to be easy, but I’m excited to challenge myself and I’m hoping you’ll be willing to join me.

Olivia Watkins
DHH Director of Communications
Olivia is a lady constantly on the go, making time for her first Louisiana Marathon Quarter Marathon race. Follow Olivia on twitter @Sweet_Olive