GreatistYou: Darby and Adrienne

We asked our GreatistYou contestants to reflect on their six-week journeys. Darby and Adrienne set out to establish healthy habits and run their first 10K. Here’s how they did it.

Darby: In the beginning I was nervous about eating right. I knew that was going to be hard for me, but I cut back on snacks and fried foods. I also made a conscious decision to drink less. It was hard in the beginning, but by the middle of the challenge, I found myself not really missing fried foods. I ate more salads and lean meats, which I think led to me dropping around five pounds over the past sixweeks! And the better I ate, the better I felt.

Adrienne: I was most nervous about my knee situation—and that did prove to be quite the challenge. But whereas before I felt like I needed to sit out of everything, now I’m happy I have different options.

For example, I began swimming at my local pool. I started out doing 45 to 60 minutes of any stroke to get my heart rate up, but then my physical therapist told me which strokes would be least harmful for my knee (apparently the breast stroke can be really hard on your knees!). I stuck to freestyle for 30 to 45 minutes and then did about 10 minutes with a foam piece between my knees. I also did vinyasa yoga at Yoga to the People and used towels or extra mats to support my knee.

Darby: I was also really looking forward to feeling athletic again, and the 10K race made me feel that way. I was uncomfortable at times, and that reminded me of when I used to train for tennis in college.

Adrienne: I think I was most excited about establishing some good habits. With all the changes we were going through (moving, getting a new job), setting up good routines was key. We created a weekly schedule with rest days, cardio days, and strength days. Monday was supposed to be our rest day. But we soon found out that lots of things can come up—particularly during vacation and wedding season.

As time went on and my knee started to feel better, I was able to do more things at home and run outside instead of having to work around pool and studio schedules. My backup plan, if I couldn’t make it to a class, was running or yoga at home.

Darby: I also set my weekly schedule every Sunday night. My goal was always to exercise after work. Whenever I had plans, I would wake up extra early and go running. Or if I was crushed for time, I would jump rope right outside the apartment or do jumping jacks.

Adrienne: If I were going to offer advice to someone else starting a new challenge, I would say, “Make a schedule, be realistic, and always have a plan B.”

Darby: I would also say, “Don’t limit yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things or go out of your comfort zone. And don’t be afraid to make sacrifices so you can stick to your goal.”

We’ve been pretty supportive of each other throughout the whole thing. I know Adrienne really supported and pushed me, and it’s been really exciting to look forward to the race, to have that goal.

Adrienne: What I’d like to do next is explore some of the alternative exercises I found throughout this experience—more yoga, more swimming. I want to do things that are a little less damaging to my body. I’m excited to continue with those activities and also run in a more responsible manner.

Darby: Honestly, I want to do another race. I find the whole idea of timing yourself and what place you come in intriguing, so I’m looking forward to continuing to train and getting back into an athletic mindset. That’s what really boosted my mood and confidence.

Adrienne: Darby thrives in situations where she can challenge herself.

Darby: I don’t know if my future is a triathlon, but…

Adrienne: You could do it!

Darby: It’s just been fun to compete. We really had a blast doing the 10K. It was challenging but super worth it.

You can check out Darby and Adrienne’s entire six-week journey on Instagram. Or catch up on all the GreatistYou action here.