Starting fresh and if you want it you gotta work for it

So with last week throwing me (I really am not trying to whine) I went out for a long run today.  Well, it didn’t end up being as long as I hoped.  I ended up stopping just under 6 miles a few miles short of what I had wanted to do.  While I was running I did get to enjoy the company of some nice ladies again and one of them brought her son (he biked the whole time and probably did at least 4 miles), it was fun and I am glad that I did it.  It also gave me some time to think, a danger with running long distances.  I made a few decisions about my marathon training/fitness and my running in general.

  • I’m starting fresh as of Monday with my marathon training.  If I am honest, my training plan really kind of fell apart way before last week with some slacking going on.  I didn’t make the mileage last weekend either, not that the trail running didn’t kick my butt.
  • If I want to get faster or get rid of more belly flab I have to put in the work.  I have to be more on track with clean eating in more than two meals a day for instance.  As for the speed, I really have to get past my whole not liking hills thing because they work.  I can swap out my occasional speed work on the treadmill for some hills so that if I want to do a more challenging race I am prepared.  You won’t get the results if you don’t put in the work period.  This also means yet again putting more of a commitment into resistance training, again something that works.  I mean who doesn’t want to have muscles and thus strong bones?
  • I’m going to get more help for my NASM studies.  I really enjoy it and I really want to pass it, but I am struggling with it because I am more of a classroom learner.  They have a program that I am going to get into before I run out of time on my exam.  I am also going to knuckle down on studying for lunch.

No massive breakthroughs here really, but all of this is stuff I have been considering when it comes to doing things to take care of me.  The thinking helped me appreciate the fact that I can start fresh, a beautiful attribute we have as humans. We can hold on to the past with all of the pain or mistakes we might make or we can embrace the chance to start new on a daily basis.  The same thinking reminds me, if I want it I have to work for it.

The joy of running and perspectives

This last week was a rough one here in the desert.  Nothing to do with the weather, in fact it was perfect running weather, but I had a loved one who got hurt and he ended up in the hospital in order to have a nail put in his femur.  He’s fine now thankfully, but it wore us all out.  The hospital is no place to try and get rest.  There were some good people at this hospital, but the over all care often sucked.  Needless to say by the end of his stay, my having to miss work, getting very little work, and not being able to run made me a very grouchy woman. 

Then Friday came….blessed Friday with it’s beautiful weather and an hour lunch break to run in.  I cannot tell you how much it recharged my batteries to be able to get out there.  I think it was possibly one of my best runs in terms of how much I enjoyed it.  Even though I was running in some nasty wind I considered it resistance training (a friend posted that about her run the same day I totally stole this from her).  It was like with every step I took I could feel and I pictured stress just dropping off of me.  I could see it…anxiety…the hospital…the worry…the tiredness…plop all behind me as I ran.  I felt such joy and I find it hard to express how it felt other than that word JOY. 

Today I got to run again and this time it was for a good cause as well as my enjoyment.   My stinking Nike+ kept crashing and even my Mapmyrun didn’t work.  I saw that my time was 30 minutes and a few seconds, but I am not sure of the exact time.  I am trying to find out if the times are posted somewhere so I can get it.

During this run (in my new Swirlgear yellow tshirt) I was talking to another runner
we got to pace each other and we discussed how much we loved running.  It was again such a wonderful thing to feel someone understood me.  It’s a great thing when you can get someone to not look at you like you are insane when you call running 10+miles fun.  It felt like total confirmation that I was doing something wonderful, that my choice to push past fear and go for it is the right thing for me.  We also discussed perspective in life changing and the metaphor it gave us.  When you first push past your usual limits and go 5 miles or 8 miles it kicks your butt and you feel like you might die.  But after awhile having pushed yourself to meet this challenge often enough it seems easy.  The first time we try new things it may very well kick us in the butt.  However when we do it again and again an continue to stretch ourselves in the end we look back and think that thing that kicked my butt, now it’s no longer the big bad scary thing.  In life it really is about perspective and facing fears. 

*By the way totally loved this Swirlgear shirt too, it was just right in the temperature and comfort levels that I was looking for.  I kind of wish I had gone out on a limb and gotten the medium, but was concerned it might run kind of small so I got the large.  So far in the tops, partially because I do have some belly fat hanging around from weighing so much, the large is more comfortable.

Trailrunning Sunday and Swirlgear to the rescue

Where to start, lets see I think I will start with it snowed.  Yup, it’s Vegas and yup it’s September, but it was snowing on the trail this morning.  No one in the group expected it at all and a few were in the usual gear for this time of year out here shorts and a t shirt.  We met at the pre crack of dawn and drove to the mountains outside of Vegas.  They are very lovely and if you are looking for something different than the Strip or Fremont I highly recommend them.  On the way there we drove through a mini sand storm, not totally unusual, and the temperature on the car went down and down and down. 

As we drove along first it was rain and then it was snow, thank goodness I had my Swirlgear hoodie!  I had hoped to get my other Swirlgear to take with, but it didn’t make it just yet.  I am sure for my next trail run with the group I will have them and it will be warmer since it won’t be in the mountains.  The plan for today’s training did call for 9 miles, but with the cold and snow we opted not to go up the steeper side trail to get the 3 more miles.  I am proud of myself in that I did run most of it, the pace was obviously way different since I was dealing with elevation, snow, and the edge of a mountain.  I also am so incredibly glad this group of ladies found me (one of them is also a Swirlgear Ambassador) and I decided to go.  We had a lot of fun and the burn in my legs is a good pain.  The coffee and breakfast afterwards helped us warm up nicely and was great company as well. 

Now for the Swirlgear hoodie, like I said thank goodness I had it.  I had a sleeveless shirt underneath and capri shorts on so the layers helped, but if it weren’t for the hoodie I would have been frozen!  The hood was great to keep my head warm and the sleeves are long with holes for your thumbs.  They covered my hands very well and kept them nice and warm.  The material allowed for warmth and was breathable too.  For example I was definitely working up a sweat, but didn’t end up getting cold or damp from it.  I love the color as well and their symbol is cute too.  The stitching was nice, it’s pretty solid, and it came through the wash just fine.  I do believe I will end up getting their black jacket since it’s made of the same fabric and very stylish.  One thing you will discover is that you don’t want cotton to work out in, it will leave you sweaty and damp.  The fabric in the Swirlgear is Polyester/Spandex mix so it wicks the moisture away.  Now all I need is to find some running tights to complete my winter jogging attire.  Swirlgear is also looking to expand their line so I am looking forward to seeing what else they come out with.  If you want to purchase some make sure to use the code Swirlon when you check out so you can get free ground shipping.

All in all it was a great day and I am glad I got up at 4 am to do this.  In a few weeks they are doing another trail and they will be doing a 10k that I may sign up for.  It would be a few weeks away from my half so I think it would be good.  Which leads me to say, OMG my half marathon is coming fast! 

Diet the dreaded D word

Diet, the dreaded D word (well one of them at least).  I have to say I do think the connotation that comes with it was a small part of why I never tried to loose weight until I was in my 30’s.  I just am not a fan of the word or what it has come to represent.  I have my reasons why I don’t like it and I would like to share that with you.

  • When I hear that word I think, restrictions on what I can and cannot eat.  There are things in this world that I probably shouldn’t eat.  For instance we have a place named after a heart attack out here, many things on their menu should probably not be eaten, unless you want to risk having what the name implies.  A little of something can be okay or good, a lot not so much (sorry bacon I still love you!).  But lay on me a NEVER EAT and it will flip me the heck out!  It makes me feel like I am loosing out on something instead of gaining something like better health.
  • A diet sounds short term and a change in eating habits to be healthier should be a lifestyle not a temporary thing to loose weight.  I can weigh and measure my food and loose weight, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I am healthier, it just means I am doing better with portions.  Smaller portions are good for mac and cheese, but eating mac and cheese regularly is not necessarily healthy.  What I want for myself is quality calories with nutrients that I need to sustain daily functioning as well as my workouts.  I can meet a daily caloric intake goal with ice cream, candies, or fried foods, but I wouldn’t be fueling my body very well would I?
  • This last one ties back into the other two a bit.  Diets are a trend, they are a style of eating that gains popularity, but not every diet is good for your particular body.  I have no issues with gluten so why would I go gluten free?  I enjoy red meat on occasion and am not the biggest fan of beans, soy, etc. so why would I go vegetarian or vegan?  Paleo may be good or okay for you, but again it may cut out things that I enjoy that I don’t have to cut out.  So for me I don’t want to follow a prescribed “diet” that labels me, I want to eat clean (processed as little as possible) most meals and enjoy the occasional splurge.  I find that as I give my body quality stuff it craves that anyway without me having to label myself.

This is of course my opinion and a huge reflection on where I am at in my health journey.  In the beginning I was all about measuring and weighing things and general calorie restrictions, now I have settled down on that.  I am not always the perfect eater (post run BK onion rings are the bomb) or drinker (I admit to the occasional diet coke still even though I get a headache everytime), but in general I use my decision making skills and think about how my choices will affect my body.  I often tell my patients who are trying to stop smoking that in all the things in the world I can or cannot control I CAN control what I put in my body.  So use your mind, think of your goals, think of and observe how your body feels when you fuel it with various things and use that to influence your eating habits so you can make a LIFESTYLE change, not a diet.

What about you, what do you think of the term diet?  How has it influenced you over the years?  Or where are you at in your journey to health when it comes to food/nutrition?

Week two of 26.2 training and BIG NEWS!

Finally a moment to sit down and post!  Believe it or not I really enjoy being able to share with you all and include you in my journey to stay fit for life.  Today was the first run day of week two in my goal to finish 26.2.  It was an easy 3 mile run where I didn’t focus on pace or speed yet and I just plugged in the earphones and got lost in the songs and the moments.  I knew the path I would take would easily get me 3 miles so I didn’t stress out about which direction to go or whether to go out and back.  I have to say with the weather and the ease of it all this was one of the best runs I have done.  It showed too, because at the end when I checked my tracker I did a faster pace without trying!  Only once did I make sure to speed up, but that was more about the obviously mentally ill homeless gentleman that was starting to pace around in my path (it’s a big city it happens).  *Stepping up on soap box* If you ever want to help out a population homelessness is a great place to start.  That has been by far my favorite population I ever worked with to help them try and get out of homelessness and to stop the cycle.  They have nothing so when they gain something it’s a major achievement. There are plenty of charities in most cities and towns that help and they could use your help too. *Steps off soapbox*

Anyway, I do plan to start some speed work this week.  I got a tip from a runner/running coach I follow on FB.  She also has a website Cross My Heart Fitness, she likes to look at the physical and spiritual side of fitness and nutrition.  Everything I have read from her is very uplifting and encouraging, I highly suspect she is one of those people who just have a good soul.  I really like those types of people, they help you to reframe to the positive in life. Anyway, based on some suggestions she gave me I am going to implement some speed work once a week on my 3 mile runs.  I also am going to focus on making sure I get the proper ratio of carbs and proteins when I finish my long runs so they don’t wipe me out so much and my body can repair like it should.  Tomorrow I am going to take my opportunity to run my 5 miles for the week instead of trying to do 3/3/5.  The training schedule has it specified a certain way I am sure, I just have to work around family stuff some weeks. 

Now for the exciting news!  I am now an Ambassador for Swirlgear!!!!  I am so excited, this is the first group I am connecting with and I am just getting started, but I love their style and love that they are specific for women.  I will have more details later in a blog and on my FB and Twitter but right now you can get a discount on their gear with a code I have to share with you, write it down it’s swirlon put the code in when checking out to get the discount, it’s super easy trust me I even figured it out.  I will post a whole review for you as soon as I can along with pictures.  If you want to look for yourself follow the hyperlink and browse (shop) away!

How to understand your runner loved one

When you run long distances you have a lot of time to think, the longer the run the more the time obviously.  Well today’s 8 mile run inspired some thinking about the differences in how a runner thinks versus a non runner or never want to be a runner individual.  It’s not like we are from Mars and you are from Venus, but there are some differences and as I read other peoples FB and Twitter feed it is becoming apparent that we (runners) often hear the same things from you (non runners).  So I thought maybe I could help you understand us as I am still a relatively new runner and still headed into the obsession (okay seriously my boyfriend and I just discussed how he was holding on to some fundage right now so I don’t blow it on new sneakers, truth ouch!).

Here are just a few thoughts and as I think of more I will probably add them to a future post:

  • If you don’t understand why we run just ask.  There are a lot of reasons and they vary depending on the runner.  Many times it’s the one way or time we do something just for us.  The rest of our time is spent caring for others, which we love and wouldn’t trade for anything, but when we run it gives us something you almost can’t explain.  I’m a caregiver for a loved one, this running is my time to make sure I take care of me and it relieves my stress.  Now, there are times we run for those that can’t because of their illnesses or injuries, those times you just can’t express the feelings, but it is awesome.
  • Yes I would/do/have spent a lot of money on hydration gear, heart rate monitor/watches, sneakers, socks, pants/shorts, and shirts.  Lets face it, you spend your money on stuff that would make me question your sanity so lets call it a wash here (Xbox, cameras, super special car and audio stuff, etc. need I go on?).  Just know that it’s stuff that may be pricey but will serve me well and will last a long time (well except the shoes).
  • Even if I look like I am walking in my race picture, I promise you I am running.  I’m not sure what you expect to see, maybe just a blur on film?  Say that I look like I am walking and you might get at the very least a look of death.
  • The term PR stands for personal record, if your runner loved one uses this term it means they did a faster run than they had before for that length of time.  We mostly set goals against ourselves rather than others, not that I wouldn’t mind coming in earlier than the people around me and higher in my age group.
  • If we complete a long run, in other words the longest distance for the week, we WILL be hungry and will probably eat all day.  Relax it doesn’t mean we are blowing a diet or going to blow up, we need to refuel our energy stores so our body can repair itself for future runs, exercise, and daily activities. It’s simply an added bonus that we can eat a lot that day!
  • We are a supportive community.  It doesn’t matter where you live or go if you are out running you do the nod or wave as a non runner it is acceptable for you to nod or wave to me as well. Heck you really want to make our day give the thumbs up (I got that today and loved it).
  • Yes if we are running a race we paid for it.  Most of the time it goes to charity so it really is no big deal, we pay for the fun and privilege of being able to get out there.
  • Finally we come in ALL shapes & sizes and go at all speeds.  You cannot always tell a runner by looking at them, it’s when you talk to us that we really identify ourselves.  Overweight, skinny, muscles, slow, and fast runners all exist, we are family. We run a few miles to 100’s of miles all because we can and it’s fun.
My first try at my longest distance so far, yup fun!

 I hope this helps and I will put this out there if you are a runner or not how can I help you understand your running loved one?  Btw my birthday is coming soon and running gear and/or gift certificates will be accepted, HA!

Marathon training day 3

Only a short post tonight, it’s been a long few days helping to cover for people at work so I am a bit bushed!  I am working on my marathon training, it’s day 3 (the rest day started the training so it was a bit weird for me) I got 3 miles in today and 3 yesterday and focused on doing a faster pace than usual.  I really want to be able to finish the Rock and Roll half in at least 2 and a half hours so I need to work on my pace.

I discovered that in fact my Fitbit may be more accurate than the treadmill, major surprise right?  I used my Nike+ today while doing my run and it and the Fitbit agreed.  Oh well, so that means some  of my runs in the past were not as long as I thought.  This is even more of a reason that I want to get a GPS/heart rate monitor.  I hope to get it soon so that I can use it to help me track my pace for training as well.

I know a lot of people today were able to run 9.11 miles in honor of the day, I honestly didn’t have time with the responsibilities that I had.  I applaud those that did and focused on their reason for doing the run.  For them it was more than the symbology of the amount, it was to spend time contemplating that day, the loss, and the sacrifices made since. I hope in whatever way you also took some time to reflect and maybe say a prayer for those still directly affected.

I also want to thank those of you who take time out to read my humble posts, I greatly appreciate it and welcome your comments.

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Combating negative self talk

Faced with some unexpected free time, here I am with a post, that is if I can get the cat to let me.  This weekend I was struck with an inspiration and as is not uncommon for me it was based on some real things that I and others around me struggle with.  In this instance I am talking about negative self talk.

People often have messages that they give themselves, often related to their ability or inability to do things.  We base these messages on things like personal experience, observations of other peoples experience, and things that other people tell us.  Good or bad messages they all hold some power in our lives.  So what if they are negative messages, what do we do?  How do I combat or do something to keep the thoughts that are negative from holding me back?  Here are a few suggestions that might help out:

  • Write out the negative thought followed with a countering positive one.  For instance “I am over my head” could be addressed with “this is a new challenge for me”.  The first statement leaves you feeling overwhelmed and the second acknowledges the difficulty but says you will work on it.
  • Do something you are good at!  Seriously, if you are struggling with something and feeling some doubts go do an activity that you are good at to boost your ego.
  • Challenge the validity of the statement if you are using words such as “always” or “never” remember that things are rarely black and white.  
  • Talk to a supportive person.  If you are having difficulty with changing the record it could be a good idea to talk to either a person you have a personal relationship with or even a counselor to get some more positive or realistic feedback.
  • Remember you are not perfect and neither is anyone else.  Even the best people you might know or people you look up to will make mistakes, so will you.
  • Start a gratitude list and take a look at where you have come from or other challenges/goals you have achieved.  

These are some suggestions that worked well for me and for others, give them a try.  Negative self talk steals our confidence and power.  If I believe the negativity it probably will stop me from even trying to achieve new and wonderful things.  Instead of trying to finish a long run/half marathon/marathon I might not even get out the door and try.  I also want to encourage you to reach out to a professional if you need.  There is no shame in getting assistance and for some it is easier to go to people that aren’t close to them personally. 

New goals and Sunday food prep

Okay let me start with this to clarify, yes I have been running long distances I have been training for a half marathon.  Now I have decided that I will in fact start my training for a marathon starting tomorrow. DUN DUN DUN!!!!  That should have been read very dramatically in your head, if you could go Morgan Freeman or even better James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader if you are young and don’t know) that would help.

I am very excited to move forward in my training with this.  I really enjoy every time I set a goal or a new challenge and meet it.  True my time on my trial 13.1 wasn’t what I wanted, but I did it and felt good.  I have to figure out some ways to help my body recuperate better afterwards though.  I may not have stored up my carbs and hydrated as well as I should have for that run and I believe I probably need to take a bit more food for fuel with me or have more before.  The good news is that I am getting the hang of it, finding more resources, and will figure it out.

Technically with the schedule I am using, Hal Higdon again, it says tomorrow is a rest day.  Unfortunately today was a rest day and since it made me feel like a slob I am going to do a bit of resistance and stretching.  I know I need some stretching because of yesterday’s several hour workout demonstration for my job and then my 5 mile run afterwards.  I did stretch after the run, but can really feel it in my legs today.  Ironically I was studying most of the day about the reason for flexibility training.  Really made the point that I need to take care of that part of my body especially with the strain I will be putting on it.  The HH program I am going to try is the Novice 2 and if it seems to be a bit much I will step it back to the Novice 1.  The thing that concerns me at this point is my pace and doing some training there.  As a result I will be doing more research to work my pace up a bit.  I know if I get better at doing the resistance and cross it will help as well.

So just a quick note on my prep for the week.  I had time today to get some protein bars done, so I am totally happy about that.  I used my sunflower butter instead of chunky peanut and added a tiny bit of my hemp protein powder as well.  It tasted super good when I was making it and licked the spatula afterwards.  I also made some hummus to go with the massive amount of celery/carrots/peppers that I cut up.  With the hummus I used Lean Green Bean Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic with Sweet Potato as my base, alas I was not adventurous enough (read lazy) to do the sweet potato part.  I had some roasted red peppers from yesterday’s fajita dinner so I threw those in with my mix along with sunflower butter instead of tahini.  It came out, not surprisingly nutty tasting, but good.  I made a small batch to last the week since I was unsure of the changes I was making.  Tomorrow I will have a friend who has a great pallet check it out and if it’s good I will share.  Along with that I have the usual chicken and some left over quinoa and some sweet potatoes to microwave in a pinch.  I also have made some overnight oatmeal for my dinner tomorrow.  The next two days are late work days and I found it worked well to eat just before my group and not end up going home starving. 

On that note, not sure when I will get to post again, but I will be around, I hope you have a great week!

Slacker Friday

I feel like an absolute slacker not coming up with a big post today.  I have a few things turning in my head but very little energy to do anything.  Tomorrow I actually have to interrupt my vacation to work a few hours.  Although I really would rather not work it will be for a great cause.  I will be helping demonstrate some basic ways to exercise for beginners who are starting a weight loss challenge.  Afterwards I will do some running, since it will be late in the day it will be at the gym.

Here’s my advise for the day though, when you do a few days out and about don’t forget to get some sleep and find some healthy options to eat.  I am certain that part of my feeling sluggish is that I didn’t do too hot with healthy food choices.  I am not saying it wasn’t good….but not exactly clean eating.

So here is to tomorrow as a fresh start.  I will do my food prep for the next week (I plan to make some hummus and some protein bars).  For the hummus I am going to try to use sunflower butter instead of tahini, I hope it comes out okay, and I will let you know.  Anyway, have a great evening and I will post something a bit more meaningful later this weekend.

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