Monday, June 24, 2013

Progress Reports

There are several different ways that I track my activity/progress when it comes to exercise.  My heart rate monitor, for instance, gives me the duration of my workout, how many calories I burned, average and maximum heart rate, and how long I was in my target heart rate zone.  I, of course, usually focus on the calories because let's face it, I'm trying lose weight here - calorie burn matters.  But at Clay we truly utilize the heart rate monitor in our workouts. Our heart rate monitors are set specifically to our personal zones, based on an assessment done by our trainers, so that we are maximizing our workout based on our fitness levels.

I also use the Map My Run app when I walk Scout or on the off chance that I decide to run outside.  I like it because it gives me a very accurate idea of how far I've gone (I'm always trying to mix it up with a new route), as well as what my pace is.  While walking Scout usually averages a slow 16 minute mile that truly doesn't get my heart rate up high enough to consider a true workout,  those miles somehow feel more "legit" if I'm tracking them.

Then, of course, there is the scale.  Truthfully I'm not a big fan of the scale.  Maybe it's because I've lost and gained so many pounds over the years, but I don't find it to be a real accurate representation of my daily efforts.  There have been weeks when I've done kick ass workouts every day only to step on the scale to find I've gained a few pounds.  From an intellectual standpoint I know that the numbers don't change how hard I worked, but it can totally deflate me emotionally, so I tend only check the scale periodically.

Even though I have all of these concrete, tangible tracking mechanisms my favorite way to judge my progress is by my laundry.  Yep, laundry.  I don't dry any of my workout clothes so I hang each piece up after I pull it out of the washer.  I can tell what kind of week I've had by the number of items hanging in the doorway at the end of laundry day.  



How do you track your progress?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Inner Athlete

*Below is the written version of the speech I gave at the W4MTP this morning

As Pam said, my name is Amy Eastlack.  I assume that for everyone other than these 3 beautiful people sitting in front of me, who happen to be my family, Amy Eastlack is not a household name.  So for the other several hundred of you I thought I’d read an excerpt from my bio:


·     I am: the mother of 2 smart, beautiful, spunky tween daughters.
·     I am: the wife of one extremely patient and loving man.
·     I am: the daughter of two very supportive and generous parents.
·     I am: the friend of many incredible, inspiring and giving women.
·     I am: a blogger, a marketer, writer and a social media specialist.
·     I am: a wine lover, a shoe hoarder and HGTV addict.
·     And for you Michael Jackson fans…I am a lover, not a fighter…

You may have noticed one thing that was missing from this list and that’s the word ATHLETE

So why in the world am I up in front of you today?

I'm here because this list was written several years ago - just days after I’d completed the Charlottesville Ten Miler -  a feat I never thought I could accomplish because a year prior to that I was barely able to make it one time around this track. In my youth I was fit as a fiddle – playing any sport that I came my way. In my 20s I accumulated triathlons, several 10ks, and numerous 5ks, but somewhere along the way life got in the way. I had a job, I had kids, I had obligations to fulfill.  There was no time for fitness.

I don’t actually remember that “a-ha” moment – when I realized something needed to change -  but several years ago, as the big 4-0 crept closer and closer it occurred to me that if I didn’t do something soon I never would. So I started working out at Clay FitnessSlowly the pounds fell off and the fitness returned.  (Amazing how quickly things atrophy but how slowly they return, isn’t it?) Over time I logged hours in the gym and hundreds training miles, yet I still didn’t consider myself an athlete.  Why not?

·     Maybe it was because despite all the training I’ve still never managed to run faster than what most people consider a “slow jog”
·     Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m STILL trying to lose the “baby weight:” – can you call it that after 12 years???
·     Maybe it’s because I just never fit the mold of what I thought a runner was….
·     Or maybe it’s because, honestly, I still prefer walking to running any day….

I truly didn’t consider myself an athlete until I wrote a blog post on the subject and a friend, who I considered to be a TRUE athlete responded to me with something like this “If you got out there and you tried – then you are every bit as much an athlete as I am”  And I like to think she was right!

How many of you out here are experiencing your first Women’s Four Miler Training Program this morning?  Even if you’ve been here before I can imagine that some of you are wondering what in the world you’ve gotten yourself in to.  You’re looking at the friends that talked you in to this thinking “I have got to get myself some new friends!”.  But I’m here – and Pam is here – and all these crazy, amazing ladies in pink are here to let you know that you are exactly where you need to be! 

I remember my first Women’s Four Miler Training Program experience like it was yesterday – even though it was actually several years ago.  One Friday night over cocktails I overhead two of my girlfriends going on and on about how amazing, and inspiring, and wonderful and FUN the program was. I’m not sure if it was the wine or the fact that I am just not one to miss out on a good time – but before I knew it I had opened my big mouth and committed to joining them.  The next morning was cold, rainy and miserable – definitely not running weather in my book – so when my alarm went off I hit the snooze button and rolled over.  They hadn’t really taken me seriously last night anyway, had they? Well, you can imagine my surprise when they showed up at my door twenty minutes later, expecting me to join them.

I was breathing heavily, my shins were throbbing and my side was aching before we made it up to the top of of the hill.  After half a mile my pride was hurting so badly that I begged them to go on without me. They were obviously much better runners than I was – let’s face it – everyone was – but they stayed with and encouraged me until I literally couldn’t go any further.  

Six months later one of those friends was diagnosed with breast cancer.  For many people this would have meant a step back from encouraging and motivating others, and allowing them to do that for her, but Chrissy didn’t work that way. Through her illness she kept on going – inspiring us all to do the same. She completed the 4 miler the following year with feet covered in blisters from chemotherapy – and she STILL ran faster than I did!  This past year my girlfriends and I crossed the Finish Line, carrying the Motivational Mile banner bearing her name, in her memory.

It’d be easy for me to say that running in her memory is all the motivation I need, but it’s not actually that simple. Losing someone to breast cancer, is tragic and knowing that our efforts are making a difference is, indeed, inspiring, but it does not always make putting one foot in front of the other any easier.  So how do you stay motivated even on the toughest days?

I’ve done a lot research on ways to stay motivated for both my personal fitness journey, as well as my writing and trust me; there is no shortage of advice out there. A Google search of the words “fitness motivation” gives you close to 48 million results and Pinterest will give you thousands upon thousands of inspirational board, quotes and pictures of rock hard abs and buns of steel.  Experts will tell you things like:

  • Find a Workout Buddy – how about hundreds of workout buddies?
  • Reward Yourself – did you hear about all those incredible giveaways?
  • Make it fun and interesting – ummm, have you met Pam?
  • Write it down -  training manual provided!!
  • Be flexible – as much as we LOVE seeing you, we’re not taking role here, folks. Need a day off? Take one, just hop back on as soon as possible
  • Listen to your body – okay, that one is on you….

And while I truly subscribe to each and every one of these -  none of them seems more inspirational or motivational to me then the sheer excitement and amazingness of being surrounded by people like this – people who want you to succeed, who will make sure you succeed.

There’s a quote that’s been circulating around social media sites for a while that I love.  It reads:


It’s simple and obvious, but I think it says a lot about motivation and about every single one of us here. While I know we had an excellent turn out here last week my guess is that I wasn’t the only one lying in bed at 6:30 last Saturday morning thinking “I know I should get up and go to the 4 Miler Training Program but this bed is just so cozy…”  See – you’re already miles ahead of where you were last week and we haven’t even started running yet!

Whether your goal in doing this training program is lose a few pounds, run faster than you did last year, to cross the finish line, to spend some time with your friends – or simply because you look good in pink – you have already made great strides toward that goal just by being here.  

Thank you!


A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Pam Whorley, Director of the Women's Four Miler Training Program (W4MTP).  Would I be interested in being the speaker for one of their upcoming weeks, she asked.  

Would I? Would I? Would I?  Ummm, I mean, sure, yeah, that'd be cool, I guess...

It wasn't until a few days later that I realized that although public speaking had once been a big part of my job, it had been years since I'd gotten up in front of a large group of people.  Was I even capable of doing it anymore?  Did she really want me to talk for ten whole minutes? Ten minutes was an awfully long time to stand in front of all those people. And what in the world was I going to say about motivation anyway?

Oh well, too late to turn back now, I guess...

As I drove toward the University Hall parking lot and saw the pathways lined with pink flamingos (a former fear of mine you may recall), heard the music playing loudly in the background and witnessed groups of smiling, excited women entering the track my jitters almost disappeared. Almost.

It was over before I knew it and I'm happy to say that I didn't make a complete fool of myself.  The crowd laughed at my jokes, clapped at the exciting parts, and seemed to genuinely share in my experiences. If I had the chance to do it over again would I change a few things?  Of course (like remember to set my phone down).  Could I have done better?  Sure (like not using my notes as a crutch -  I knew that thing forwards and backwards!) But all in all it went well, and it definitely was an incredible experience.

My favorite part, I must admit, occurred after my speech while running around the track with Moe.  She has committed to doing the training program with me this summer and, hopefully, the Charlottesville Women's 4-Miler race with me.  How incredible to have her at my side, doing something that means so much to me.  

Thank you Pam, the Pink Ladies and everyone else involved in the W4MTP, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so wonderful and for putting your heart and soul in to creating and maintaining a program that means so much to so many people. May the 20th year of the W4MTP be the most fabulous yet!!  

*If you didn't make it out to the track this morning to catch the speech live you can read it here.