Saturday, July 07, 2012
This morning, I ran 7 miles on 7/7! I wish I could say I was clever enough to plan that, but to be honest, I didn't notice the 777 action until I went to log my run in my training journal. Just a "lucky" accident!
The fact that I even made it through this full run probably does fall under the realm of lucky. When I walked out the door at 6:30am, the temperature was already at 85 degrees with a humidity of about 80%. During the time I was running, it climbed to 90 degrees. By the time I reached the Farmer's Market at 9:30am, there were streams of sweat forming just from STANDING. It is a scorcher. Right now, as I write this, it is a real feel temp of 113 outside. This is INDIANA. Someone needs to remind Mother Nature that we don't live on the equator!
Back to the run! I forced myself up early today because I KNEW this heat was rolling in and I wanted to get this run done before it became REALLY dangerous. I prepped my hydration belt today by freezing one of my bottles half full of water (cold water is better on hot runs) and filled the other bottle with Nuun.
Nuun comes in tablet form. You place the tablet in 16 oz. of water and it fizzes up (not carbonated once it's dissolved) and it basically turns into a Gatorade-like electrolyte drink. The thing is...it's not sickeningly sweet like Gatorade and it only has about 8 calories. This was my first experiment with Nuun and I have to admit that it was DELICIOUS!
For fuel today, I grabbed some Jelly Belly Sport Beans.
I was told by the staff at the running store that these beans taste yummy and they do the exact same thing that gels and chews and all that other stuff does. My personal opinion? Yeah...they tasted pretty good...in the way that Flinstone's vitamins taste "good". They were pretty sticky and I found them kind of annoying to chew. These were not my favorite. That's a bummer because I had high hopes for them to be my fuel of choice.
Before I headed out, I had my standard banana with about 1 Tbsp of peanut butter and about 12 oz. of water. This worked well again today...no tummy issues at all on my run! So...at least I've got THAT part of the puzzle figured out. Race Day Breakfast: Check!
Today I decided to go with my regular walk breaks after each mile because that worked pretty well with my last long run. But, since it was going to be SO hot and I know that heart rate increases with extreme heat, and because I was going a slightly longer distance that I've never run before, I decided to build in two-minute walk breaks instead of one-minute breaks. This was to give my heart rate and body a bit more time for recovery between each mile. I'm glad I did. It really seemed to help. So, here's a breakdown:
5-minute walking warm-up (0.33 miles)
Ran 1 full mile - 2 minute walk break
Ran 1 full mile - 2 minute walk break + Nuun
Ran 1 full mile - took 1/2 Sport Beans package + water (3 minute walk break)
Ran 1 full mile - 2 minute walk break
Ran 1 full mile - took 1/2 Sport Beans package + water (3 minute walk break)
Ran 1 full mile - took Nuun (2 minute walk break)
Ran ~1/2 mile - took Nuun
5-minute walking cool-down (0.25 miles)
If I'm honest, I might have had a bit of walking in that 6th mile because I almost rolled my right ankle. When that occurred, it snapped my focus back and I was super careful to pay attention the rest of the run. I knew I was getting tired and I didn't want to get hurt due to lazy focus. For me, this last part of the run was the biggest victory because I really could have just quit at that point and walked the last mile or so...using possible injury as an excuse. But that would have just been a fear-based excuse. My body felt OK at that point...I just needed to get that last mile done. So...I did.
When I finished my run, I was completely soaked with sweat. But I felt like this:
And when I walked up my driveway and thought about what I just did, I felt like this:
Oh, friends! This run, on the first day of my 34th year of life, was my birthday present to MYSELF.
And here's something really special. When I finished stretching and walked up to my door, I saw a package for me. It was from a SparkFriend that has been following my progress from the beginning. He is someone I greatly respect and admire...an ultra marathon runner who started just like all of us - lost the weight and changed his life. He's one of my biggest inspirations. And he sent me the most amazing care package, filled with all the things I love. You see, he never comments on my blogs...but he reads them all. And he has been paying attention to the things I say I love and he put them all in there. He even sent me the shirt that he got from his very first 10k. Now THAT is special! Talk about a heartfelt, well planned and thoughtful gift. I was just overcome with emotion. You know who you are. Thank you SO much!!!
This...this was a great morning.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
So, I've been doing this running thing for a couple months. Kinda liking it. OK, more than that...kinda in love with it.
I recently stumbled across a lesson on my own that might be helpful for new runners and those training for their first long race. I was surprised that, with all the voracious reading on the subject of running that I've been doing, I never came across this information in any of my books or magazines or even in any discussions with my trainer.
So, here's the big nugget o' wisdom today.
I think it's pretty common for many runners to sit down and plan a bunch of races (or even all their races for the year) all at once. Not only is it a blast to dream about different places to travel and friends to see, but you can get a good feel for how your schedule will be and make sure you space out your races enough to give your body time to recover.
Well, here was my big mistake this year. I had started out just planning 5k races and decided to make my first half marathon in October. Then, I chose a training plan for my half.
But...as I am looking over my training schedule for the next 15 weeks, I'm noticing some issues. Nothing I can't work around, but a little annoying nonetheless.
You see, I had signed up for two 5k races, with about a month between each one. Already paid and everything. July 28th and September 8th. That's all well and good. It's great to get real race experience...and as much of it as possible. It will not be a wasted effort by any means! But...
...when I checked my training schedule, both races fall on my Long Run days. If you have done any research at all, you should know that, in training, the weekly LONG RUN is absolutely key to a good half marathon/marathon training program. If you skip any training runs, it sure as hell BETTER NOT be your Long Run.
Well, it just so happens that my Long Run on July 28th is supposed to be 11 miles. And my Long Run on September 8th is supposed to be 13 miles.
I'll tell you what...I don't run at all the day before or after a race. ANY race...even a 5k. And I sure as heck am NOT going to run a 5k race and then go home and run 8 more miles. Seriously??? I mean, I GUESS I could...but I don't think it'd be smart. Things happen to your body in a race...even in a 5k and we tend to push ourselves harder in a race setting.
So...the moral of the story is...if you know you are wanting to run a half or a full marathon...plan your training BEFORE you plan your races.
As it turns out, I have one more race before my half marathon and it is a 10k (6.2 miles). Luckily, that day's Long Run was only supposed to be 8 miles...so that's not too terrible.
I have remedied the above problems by adjusting the Long Runs the weeks preceeding and following my races...but just thought it would be food for thought for some of you that are still in the planning stage.
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
I know it's shocking to hear, but there is an area of this fitness journey that is the bane of my existence and that would be...strength training. I hate it, you guys. I find every excuse under the sun NOT to do it.
The problem is...I NEED to do it. It will make me feel better, it will help me lose weight and it will improve my running! I've got to be honest and admit that I often just take a slow 3-mile walk to cross train...which is totally fine and it definitely COUNTS as cross training!! But, for me...it's a way of doing what I'm "supposed" to do but also kind of wimping out on myself. It's an "easy out", if you will.
The truth is...my legs are doing great...and, sure, a nice walk will only help them and improve their strength and help them stretch out and recover from my runs. But the REAL work needs to go into my arms and abs. And, seeing as I have so few cross training days in my training schedule (usually two or three per week...guess how many I go with when the choice is between two or three? heheheh. Yep, that's right....ONE...or zero. Just keepin' it real!), I have got to make the most of them. It doesn't even need to be an hour-long workout either. ANY workout that targets those muscles will help!
As I procrastinated this morning, I realized that I really have no excuse. I have all the equipment I need...a nice set of dumbbells, a jump rope, and a great resistance band. I could do this stuff at home! How LAZY can a person be? It's not like I have to drive to the YMCA! AND...SparkPeople has over 40 videos. No excuse, dude.
I also realized that I need to clean my kitchen...it's a mess. But I hate doing dishes...so guess what? I decided to do some strength training instead! Ha! I also told myself that if I finished ST and did the dishes afterwards, my reward would be reading more running magazines. Hell...whatever works, eh???
So, I chose this one...20 minute full body strengthening sounded pretty good to me!
This workout was tough! But I actually felt great during and after, so that's good. Also, the instructor totally reminded me of my Spark BFF, MOM2IAN. That got me thinking about MOM2IAN and I remembered that her arms look like this:
Uhh...if that's not motivation, I don't know what is. A little friendly competition never killed a person.
So, today, I did what I had to do. Hope I can keep this up. I'm sure, as long as there are dirty dishes, there will be a Leah in front of the computer doing her strength training exercises.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Wow. This has been an interesting day. As I was messing around on SparkPeople, I noticed my good friend and trainer, ON2VICTORY, had posted a new blog. Read it. Sat in shock. Read it again. Still couldn't formulate words. Read it again.
Decided that my blog today would be a link to his...because MY SparkPeeps (and I know a lot you are also HIS SparkPeeps...and, if you're not, you will be now) have GOT to read this. It's more impactful than anything I could come up with today and, frankly...I'll just say it...this is the best blog I've EVER read on SparkPeople. And...listen...I've read A LOT.
So, here's a link...if you guys could just go take a little read and then come back...I have now had enough time to formulate a response. Go ahead...don't worry, I'll wait for ya. Take your time...there's a LOT there...
Are you sufficiently blown away??? Yeah...me too.
So, here's the deal. This seemed like a good time (dare I say "pre-ordained") to let the cat out of the bag and just admit up front that, for the past week or so, I've been quietly pondering a full marathon in my heart. I haven't even run a half. Haha.
Obviously, this would not happen for a LONG time...I mean, we're talking not until Spring/Summer of 2013 or later. There is no rush here...at all. In fact, I still think that I am going insane when I start to think about actual logistics of training. Frankly, I have my half marathons to get through first. But, at this point, I am no longer afraid of those.
I suppose it might seem that this blog by Robert was the deciding factor here...but, truth be told, I had decided already deep inside...but feared to speak it out loud.
The first step in being courageous and making a dream a reality is saying it out loud. So...I'm telling the world that I have this crazy idea of running a full marathon in 2013.
Secret's most definitely out...I am most definitely completely mental. And...also kind of excited.
Monday, July 02, 2012
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Apologies in advance for an extremely blunt/maybe sarcastic tone. I am having a really off day today...and my office is under construction and we have no A/C. And it's 100 degrees out...that's not a clever exaggeration..it really is 100 degrees. i.e. CRANKY Leah.]
I've received quite a few questions and messages asking about my diet recently. I feel a bit of a resistance to blogging about food for a couple reasons:
1. Everyone's body is different, so what works for one person might not work for everyone and I don't want to lead people astray. I am no dietitian or expert.
2. What is working for me now might not work a month from now, in terms of weight loss.
3. I sometimes find food blogs boring. Haha.
I can only tell you that I was at a plateau for a long time and was finally able to break through it and appear to be losing weight slowly and steadily again. (26 lbs gone so far)
The first thing I did was average my calorie burn for a typical week and plug that into my SP Fitness Goals. This caused my food tracker to adjust my daily calorie numbers.
I make sure I meet my minimum calories in my SP food tracker every day. EVEN IF I'M NOT HUNGRY, I eat until I get over that lower threshhold...because I know my body needs the calories to fuel all the running I'm doing. I don't want to deal with my body going into "starvation mode".
How INFURIATING is it to have an extra 88 lbs of fat and have your body go into starvation mode and stall your weight loss because you're not eating ENOUGH?! I know some will scoff and say, "Must be nice to have that problem!" But, truth be told, it's sometimes rough to eat in the summer...104 degrees makes me feel yucky and I just want to sleep and lay in a bath full of cold water all day. Food sounds nasty sometimes.
Of course, I will not lie to you and say I don't have days where I go over my maximum calories. Sheesh. I'm human and I'm obese...do you think I got this way by eating healthy my whole life? There are still old habits to break.
This is, by no means, a special diet plan, but I will tell you what has worked for me lately. First, I watched "Food, Inc." which completely disgusted me and gave me a burning desire to try to eat more veggies and to look specifically toward organically-grown foods.
I joined a co-op grocery store. Started eating lunch from their salad bar/deli line every single day.
This alone helped me lose 5 lbs. And they aren't that expensive. Here's a major hint: WHOLE FOODS FILL YOU UP FASTER. You have to eat LESS of them to feel full. That means, it's not as expensive as you might think! Of course, you know I frequent the Farmer's Market in the summer...I try to go every Saturday.
I did kickstart my eating plan with South Beach Phase 1, which got rid of almost all of my simple carb and sugar cravings really quickly and also got me eating more veggies than I ever imagined possible.
I absolutely swear by the short, two week Phase 1 of South Beach. It will re-program your body to WANT healthy stuff! There's a Spark Team for it too...they are a great community to help you get through that really rough 2 weeks! And, friends...it is ROUGH. But once I'd kicked the sugar habit and processed food addiction, it got a LOT easier for me to make healthy choices.
Every week, I buy one of those HUGE tubs of spring mix from the grocery store...and whatever veggies I might want to put on my salads (latest craze is avocados or roasted chickpeas - protein!)
Onions are a great flavor booster for salads...if you can't handle them, try green onions (scallions). I eat a HUGE salad every single day...EVERY SINGLE DAY as the bulk of one of my meals (either lunch or dinner...sometimes both). Do I get tired of it? Yeah...sometimes, but what are you gonna do? Whine like a baby or just eat it? I know that sounds kind of mean...but I'm just done with excuses. I won't accept them from myself any longer. I hate being this way and, by golly, I'm changing it. Tough love for me.
I had to really break my addiction to Ranch dressing (I never ate ANYTHING other than ranch on a salad before South Beach). I now absolutely LOVE the taste of 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 tsp of regular white vinegar. That's all I need for my salads to be delicious these days.
I limit carbs, but I also recognize my body needs some of them to fuel my runs.
This ratio pretty much stays the same every day and, if I don't blow it by bingeing on Taco Hell, I can pretty much expect to see slow weight loss. This formula has been working for my body for a few weeks now, obviously in conjunction with running about 15-20 miles per week (no excuses):
Coffee with Creamer, Water, Protein, 1-2 servings of carbs (we're talking whole grains, fresh fruits and GOOD carbs here, folks...NOT donuts)
AM Snack: Protein (usually string cheese)
Protein, 2 or more servings of veggies. I try to go completely carb-less at lunch, but I won't go all crazy and freak if I eat bread on a sandwich either. I'm not strict or military about it...just consistent.
PM Snack: Protein
Protein, 1-3 servings of veggies, 1 serving carb (brown rice, potato, quinoa, something like that)
Where are the treats???? I just don't eat sweets. I just choose not to. And that's that.
Occasionally, I will have a cookie. Or one of those Betty Crocker Warm Delights (so bad and chemically...but man they are yummy and they cook in 30 secs in the micro and they are only 160 cals). I also like Jello, low fat pudding cups, yogurt. Still...don't have these too often...just once in awhile.
I am not blatantly against diet sodas...but I maybe drink one once every couple of weeks. Just because I watched "Weight of the Nation" and saw the illustrations with soda and it just grossed me out.
I drink 64 oz. (at least) of water every single day. I used to hate water. But now I just do it. Cuz I've gotta.
That's how my diet goes. I do what I've gotta do to get what I ultimately want. Even if it's not my fav.
Life is all about choices. I've had plenty of restaurant trips lately where I half-heartedly ordered what I knew to have the least calories JUST because it was good for me. I don't usually splurge when I eat out b/c if I did that, I'd be splurging every single week. I just plan ahead, order the fish or the salad without the fried stuff and without the ranch or whatever...and I just eat it. And I'm usually surprised at how much I actually love it.
Real food tastes good...but it's difficult to get it on the plate. I just always try to remember...FOOD IS FUEL. Make diet choices with your brain and not your feelings and you have won 90% of the battle.
Hope this helps!
Get An Email Alert Each Time LDRICHEL Posts