monthly challenges recap: April edition

Welcome to the fourth installment of the 2014 Monthly Challenges Recap. And my first to have to admit to failure. Sigh.


As you may recall from my correcting my bad form post [AKA the man-up-and-grow-a-pair post], I took the time to actually spell out the April goals that I planned to chase:

My April 2014 goals:

1. Focus on running:

  • Run at least 60 kms in April — with a stretch goal of 75 kms.
  • Run a 10k race on April 26th or May 10 TBD

As you all know, from my whining all month, a persistent cold, which turned into a cough, which turned into rattling-asthma-lungs sidelined my running over and over again. Each time I thought I was better, I would attempt a run only to put myself back into a hacking, coughing, phlemy mess.

I stubbornly avoided OTC drugs to help me get over it, turning instead to Dr. Pinterest for remedies. I tried oil pulling and garlic feet, to no avail. I should have taken Angelle’s advice and immediately reached for the Sudafed, or – better still – some sizzurp, but no. I was stubborn. And here’s what I got for it.


      • A summary of my attempted runs:
        • Apr 2, 2014 – 7.5 kms; avg pace 7:42/km; time 57:42
        • Apr 12, 2014 – 7.6 kms; avg pace 8:02/km; time 1:00:5
        • Apr 13, 2014 – 10 kms; avg pace 8:37/km; time 1:26:15 (power walk, no run)
        • Apr 19, 2014 – 4.9 kms; avg pace 7:22/km; time 36:02
        • Apr 28, 2014 – 5.6 kms; avg pace 7:49/km; time 43:23
        • Apr 30, 2014 – 5 kms (treadmill run; time 36:37)
      • So, unfortunately this goal gets a big, fat fail on both fronts:
        • Run at least 60 kms in April? Nope – only ran a total of 40.6 kms #Fail
        • Run a 10k race on April 26th or May 10th? Nope on the 04/26 and doubtful on the 05/10. Will move this goal forward to the next available 10k.

 2. Focus on core conditioning:

  • 30 days of planks: hold planks each and every day in April. Goal of holding a full, perfect form 2-minute plank by April 30th.
  • Continue the 100 push-ups program (training is 3X/week)


      • Well, when the universe takes certain matters out of your control (like shitty lungs and the resultant inability to run), you can at least focus on the stuff you can do. For me it was the low impact stuff, and luckily Goal 2 fell into this category.
        • I planked every single day of April! I held forearm planks, high planks, side planks, marching planks (forearms to hands), alternating leg raise planks. You name it, I planked it.
          • I finished up the month able to do the following:
            • Hold a forearm plank for 2 minutes (YES!)
            • Hold a high plank (on hands) for 2 mins (YES!)
            • Do non-stop plank positions for 5 minutes, as follows:
              • 1 min High Plank
              • 1 min Forearm Plank
              • 1 min Right Side Plank
              • 1 min Left Side Plank
              • 1 min Forearm to High (marching) Plank
        • I did push-ups at least 3x/week (and more often 4-5X/wk)!
          • To date my highest # of consecutive reps is 25; With 2 mins rest in between sets, I can do 100 total, in sets of 25 reps per.

3. Focus on yoga:

  • 30 days of yoga: goal is to complete some form of yoga practice every day in April – even if it’s just a short yoga sequence in the morning.
  • Practice the 20 minute “yoga for runners” program at least 2x/week to support the increased running this month.


      • As with the core challenge above, since yoga was something I could do during my battle with the never-ending cold, yoga is exactly what I did. I practiced short yoga sequences in the mornings. I did more before bed, leveraging cool (and free!) apps for the iPhone. Added bonus: this was a great sleep aid while in New York, and not the type that would cause me to die of embarrassment at customs.
        • I practiced at least some form of yoga every day in April!
        • I did not do the 20-minute “yoga for runners” program 2x/wk in April because, frankly, I wasn’t running enough to warrant it necessary. Instead I chose to experiment with a variety of other yoga programs from Fitness Blender. So, while not technically an achievement of the stated goal, I’m not considering this one a fail. It was a conscious choice!

So, all in all, it was a very disappointing month for me.

I’m a classic Type-A, someone who is very uncomfortable with failure. I pushed myself to run several times, despite clear signs from my body telling me I was doing more harm than good, which set me back that much more in terms of recovery.

But the truth is, I was less disappointed that I couldn’t achieve my goals, and more embarrassed that I had to face this audience and admit my failure.

The fact that I eventually resigned myself to the reality that I was not going to meet my April running goals and that I was going to have to admit that publicly, was a major breakthrough for me. I failed, and I had to declare it to my blog audience, and I didn’t die. Imagine that.

Thank you, dear readers, for helping me get to this place.


And now for my favourite part of the Monthly Challenges recap post: 

Bad-Ass Round-up – April!


  • Helen at 26 to 12 who, despite some challenges and set-backs in the past couple of months, got right back on the horse and is committed to attacking her health and wellness goals. She picked up a new sport: kick-boxing. In a “man gym”. Truly bad-ass! Go Helen!!
  • Rose at From 2 to 3 Kids who took on a Vegan challenge. She went 23 full days of full-on Vegan. I bow to you, Rose. Definitely not in my repertoire, that whole vegan thing!
  • Sam at Midsummer 365 Project for realizing her goal of finishing a 10k Trail Race (hills, mud and all!) with a personal best time of 1:33:21! Sam did about a million other things in April that make her a bad-ass. Get used to her just being a permanent fixture on this monthly round-up!
  • Kerry at Winding Road for going on the record, throwing down the gauntlet, and stating some awesome goals for April, including a 30-day green smoothie challenge, fitness yoga 1x/wk; run on treadmill 1x/week, and many more. Kerry’s been providing some great updates throughout the month. Poke around her site a bit!
  • Fi at Fi’s Mutterings who hit a new personal best with her 5k run in a time of 30:49. She is chasing a goal of a sub 30 min 5k, which makes her totally bad-ass!
  • Joanne at My Life Lived Full who is presently training for a half marathon. As of the writing of this post, she is up to 20 km runs (and down 12 lbs in weight!). Oh, and she just had foot surgery 6 months ago. Total bad-ass.
  • Laurel at Eat Less Sugar who just killed it at the recent Vancouver Sun Run, finishing her 10k in 1:12:00 while still managing to take some great pictures along the route and looking fabulous!
  • Tracy at Fit, Feminist and (almost) 50 who just crushed it with a new personal best at the Forest City Road Races by running her 10k race in 1:08:08!

I am so sorry if I have forgotten anyone. If I have, PLEASE leave me a comment with a link to the bad-ass I inadvertently left out.

Helen, Rose, Sam, Kerry, Fi, Joanne, Laurel and Tracey – you are too bad-ass for words. Carry on, warriors!

And as is the new norm ’round these parts, watch for my May goal-stating post by no later than Monday May 5th.

Keep moving!

xoxo nancy

103 thoughts on “monthly challenges recap: April edition

  1. yoga, and planks, every day! this is awesome!
    I think you did better than me on your April challenge…you attempted to reach your goal and tried to run despite being ill…and being ill was beyond your control…I just didn’t go to bed early enough and stayed asleep!

    😀 thank you for continuing my Bad-ass status 🙂 this makes me happy!!

  2. Planks are hard – you did well! And I wouldn’t see any of that as failure 😉 I scooted for 20 minutes and almost died 😉 I see your man Ford on the news again this morning – I missed him 🙂

  3. ahhh – thanks Nancy for thinking I’m a badass again. That makes me feel pretty good this morning – as I contemplate my interval run in the wet and fog.

    I don’t think you should be looking at your running goal for April as a failure. Sometimes when the conditions are tough, success is simply getting out the door. You did 2/3 of your target mileage under duress.
    You get kudos from me – and I’m not even talking about the push-ups yet!!!! My arms are whimpering at the thought 🙂

    Cheers to spring and a new month. Have to love the promises of May 🙂

    • Thanks Joanne for putting such a positive spin on it! I’m excited to share May goals and invite all of you bad asses to share yours. Onward and upward!

      ps Have a great run!

  4. I need to start planking. I was doing it for a bit and omigosh you see results pretty quick. My sister’s wedding is in July and my dress needs good arms.

  5. I think you’re too hard on yourself to say you failed. You were sick. All goals should have contingency plans. The fact that you still did things your lungs would allow, like planks, push-ups, and yoga sounds like a win to me!

  6. First of all, thank you so much for including me in the bad-ass list, I feel so proud to have made it there!
    I think you did awesome in April, even if you weren’t able to meet your running goals (which was totally out of your control), you managed to run 40.6km more than a LOT of people do or even could – especially while they were ill!
    The planks and push-ups. Wow. Just wow. I’m in pain just thinking about it! The 100 push-ups program sounds interesting, I’m going to go have a look at it 😀

    • Definitely recommend the 100 push ups challenge, Helen. I know Sam had tried it too. Not sure what her thoughts are. I don’t realistically see being able to do 100 in a row (ever) but it was a good structured way to get me to a number that I feel us respectable enough.

      ps I’m so thrilled to have you featured here! You so deserve it!

      • The website looks awesome, I’m feeling pretty motivated… I may get carried away and sign up for more than one of these programs. Oh dear, I really do have the exercise bug!!

      • I did try it…I used the runtastic press-up app for quite a while, I started on modified ones on the stairs (hands on the stairs…feet on the floor, no crazy stair antics)
        and gradually progressed downwards until I could do full pressups (more or less) I still can’t do many but it made me improve a lot so it is worth a try 🙂

        I didn’t end up seeing the whole program through as there were too many other things going on…but I might try it again in future months 🙂

      • I gave up on that app when it forced you to pay after wk 3.
        Then I downloaded another free one to try, and it also forced you to pay after wk 3. 😦
        I hate those bait and switch tactics. Free should be free. Or else call it a sample/trial.
        I basically continued on using the “free” one in “do as many as you can” mode, meaning it doesn’t prompt you with how many to do. I just used it to count for me. 🙂

      • yes, the pay or stop thing annoyed me too… I sis the first level several times moving down a stair every time…until I could do press-ups..more or less…

      • The other option is to go to and just copy their program. A few years ago I just printed it straight from the web and used that to tell me how many to do each week/day.

  7. Personally, I feel that listening to your body trumps not meeting the running goal, and it’s perfectly okay to modify it so that you don’t die! 🙂 And you didn’t give up the goal, you moved it – I’m super proud of that!

    Can’t way to see the goals for May!

  8. You can’t help being ill and it is better to make sure you are completely well before trying to run again than keep trying to go back to soon and make yourself worse. Maybe that should be a challenge? Don’t try to do too much when you are ill and don’t try to get back to exercise too quickly afterwards?

    Thank you for putting me on your Bad-ass list. I don’t think I’ve ever been called a bad-ass before 🙂

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  10. We have to do what we can do, Nancy. You did that, more than most people with very bad cold’s would’ve. I’m still trying to ease back into yoga. My first class back after my walk, I almost threw up. Three times. Back in the sauna tomorrow.

  11. NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! Did I say, NO? There are words in this post I DO NOT like!!! Words that DO NOT BELONG!!!! Need I remind you what those are, young lady???? 1) FAILURE – that word was banned years ago. It’s the OTHER F word! 2) EMBARRASSED – this word is allowed when it comes to Customs @ an airport but BANNED when used in your post about what you OWE your readers!! No,no,no,no!!! No need to be embarrassed!

    Have I made myself clear??? There will be consequences if these two words are seen again in any of your posts! 🙂

    • I’ve heard that the word “failure” applies only when you stop trying… and indeed, I do not see that with Nancy here! No more 7-letter F bombs!

      Y tienes razón, María, about embarrassed, too… may I say the problem is more than just that word? People around me say “sorry” when they really mean “excuse me”… I mean, you never say “lo ciento” when “con permiso” applies, right? Why should they be sorry when they just mean to politely excuse themselves? I mean, I usually say “you’re all right” because, they are… it’s better than the folks who say absolutely nothing…

  12. No embarrassment needed.
    Focus on the lesson that ignoring being sick is just going to make it harder to get better.
    Besides, now the rest of us have a small window to try and catch up to you!
    (Ok, not me.)
    (But other, you know, health people!) 😉

  13. How can you consider that failure when #2 and #3 were a resounding success? Me thinks you are too hard on yourself. I don’t know how much time you spent in Vegas and what the air quality is like there but not a million miles down the road here in AZ the air quality is just awful causing allergies with coughing, sneezing, bunged up sinuses, headaches and dizziness. For your next challenge you might consider living in a bubble! 😕

    • Oh no, don’t tell me that! We’re heading back down in a week or so. Yuck! Oh by the way – I’m considering doing a short trip to AZ to do a Rim to River hike if the GC at Angel Trail. If it happens I’ll email you so we can meet up for lunch or bevvies!

      ps I know I’m getting scolded for using the f word – but not reaching the running goals did feel like a real failure. 😦

      I forgot what a completely awesome and supportive group this was. Thank you all for the love and kindness.

  14. I’m wanting to run/walk in a 5k (it’s going to be a lot of walking, I’m not going to even say I’m going to run it.) I love this list of goals. It makes me want to create my own list! Thank you so much for the much needed inspiration!

    • Hi Melanie, thanks for stopping by! Definitely sign up for a 5k! I did my first (and only) 5k event last Nov – and it was an awesome experience. I consider my recap of the April goals to be disappointing, but I’m looking forward to sharing the May goals tomorrow. Would love for you to join in with your own personal goals for May! Stay tuned. 🙂

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  16. Do. Not. Work. Out. When. You. Are. Sick. Period. Give your body what it needs – rest. I applaud the holding off on the OTC meds since all they’re gonna do is treat the symptoms. Being sick sucks but that’s where Netflix steps in and saves the day…or month. Hope you’re finally feeling better.

    • I know you’re right. I’m so glad to be feeling better – finally. If you check out Monday’s post you’ll see some new healthy supplements I’m adding to my regime. Hopefully they’ll stave off all future colds, flu, scurvy, etc.

  17. My daughter is sick and went to my MD/acupuncturist instead of our other internist because she didn’t want to wait forever and go all the way uptown. I was thrilled because they took her as a walk-in and after diagnosing her with a viral infection gave her an herbal remedy instead of taking out his prescription pad! High five Doc.
    I want to blog but but I’m way too busy getting in my own way.

    • Dude, that is awesome. Wish more docs thought/acted that way.

      ps I am back in NYC Mon to Wed next week. Meeting up with Guap for a coffee or beer. Care to join?

  18. Boy am I ever late…will try to catch up on the rest of your new posts.

    You are anything but a failure! I am with Beth, I am tired from just reading the post and you were sick most of April! Quit beating yourself up, lady, and focus on getting that selfie with Guap! 😀

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