What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger

It’s a phrase I have heard over and over through the years and right now I think of it and I really want to stick my tongue out and give it raspberries.  It may be true that I will get stronger in life with all of these things going on right now, but it’s not always easy to see it.  That said with everything going on in life lately I am really looking at what I do to help with stress levels.  It’s something I do on occasion to help keep my sanity anyway and right now things have been tough.  Let’s just say I live in a crowded house, help as a caretaker for someone, and have a tendency to hold on to stress as it is. 

  • Pray– if you don’t pray maybe meditate there is a lot of stuff we cannot control in life and handing it over to God or your higher power/the universe helps to release that.  It reminds me too that things will be okay, maybe not what I want, but okay.
  • Family– I have an awesome family that I know is praying for me daily and that I can call any time I might need it.  Even if I don’t call, knowing they are there is a huge comfort.  I am very blessed with my family.
  • Exercise– big surprise here right?  The endorphins and feeling that sweat along with a sense of accomplishment helps.  Negative emotions have their own energy to them so expending energy only makes sense.
  • Breathe/relaxation– I’m practicing deep breathing a few times a day, it’s good for you and helps lower blood pressure too.  For relaxation I am listening to my mellow songs play list whenever I can.
  • Friends/laughter– I am reaching out to and hanging out with friends for support and to help me laugh.  They also give me perspective and feedback when I need it.  Again true friends are not always easy to find and important to hold on to.

I also am going to start doing a food diary; I hate doing them, but I know they work and I know that I stress eat in a big way.  I have also noticed my body composition changing and I have increased my fat vs lean muscle.  Part of it is due to interruptions on my workouts, but part is what I am eating and writing it down makes me accountable.

I want to have these things in place, these other habits because I don’t want to make the same mistakes in life that I have before.  In the past I ate and sat on my butt when I was stressed.  That is how I ended up being 250lbs, out of shape, and depressed.  Relapse prevention is not just for substance abuse it’s for any kind of negative habits that you want to change.  The more I have healthy habits established the less likely I am to do the negative, it’s about a lifestyle change not just a list of coping skills.  You have to implement the changes for them to work.

So when you have one of those days or weeks or months what do you do to help with stress?  What lifestyle changes do you need to make to stay healthy?

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Recycled Run recap and Sunday prep

This week has been a really rough week for me.  Several ups and downs involved all of which I will make it through, but things I wish I didn’t have to deal with.  If you follow my FB page you might have caught that I had a car wreck.  I am still dealing with the insurance and seeing what is going to happen there and that is about all I choose to say about it.  Other things going on will pass as well, I know this so it helps me to be okay. 

That being said I choose to celebrate the good things going on in my life.  For instance yesterday’s 10k in which I set a new PR and finished in 1:04:04, I took about 3 minutes off of my time. These aren’t the official results as of yet, they will be getting them posted soon. But based on the picture a friend from my race club took I think it will be pretty close to that.  It was pretty cool to race with some people that I knew and some ladies I am getting to know even better.  I can’t tell you how glad I am to have met them.

The course had a few challenges too it, but wasn’t bad at all.  I forgot my earphones so I did the whole race just listening to my own foot steps and my breath.  I probably spent most of the time telling myself right foot left foot.  I have to be honest, I felt like total poo that day. I was feeling dizzy and nauseous and probably shouldn’t have run.  But I wanted to so badly and figured if nothing else I would walk it.  I can’t explain why I did as well as I did other than the regular practice of running and focusing on pushing my speed up a bit.  That morning was a good morning and Calico Racing that put the run on were awesome.

As for my food prep today I am making chilli to eat on for the week.  It’s supposed to cool down a bit here in Vegas and I like eating something warm so I decided to shake it up with some chilli.  I have ground turkey, organic kidney beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, chilli seasonings, and my secret weapon a dash of cinnamon.  I find it adds a nice flavor to it.  I will have to take a look at some other chilli recipes and see how I can shake up my traditional and try some new things with it.  I’m not big on eating beans and this is one of the few ways I will do it.  Add to that my traditional chopped veggies and hummus as well as I will make some egg sandwiches for breakfast. 

Since I am not feeling super good still I am taking today as a rest day and possibly tomorrow.  I may just take my sneakers to work and walk the stairs for a bit during lunch.  I am not sure yet I will have to see how I feel.  If you look at my medal I know it says Labor of Love and my shirt says Running with the Devil, it’s because the Recycled Run is a run that uses some of the over bought shirts, medals, and numbers thus the name.  I thought it was a pretty cool concept and love the medal I got, because running really is a labor of love.

Sunday food prep and workout recap

Oh my goodness I am tired today!  After yesterday’s run I got up early and did a 2 mile run with my friends and then breakfast (of course).  I have to say my knee was a bit touchy when I started off, but as I got going it felt much better.  I feel like my body is bouncing back much easier from my long runs and it seems wild to me still that I can run 12 miles and not die or feel like it at least!  I ended up with over 30,000 steps yesterday by the end of the day!  With the improvements I see I totally believe that a marathon is realistic and I can’t wait to break the 13 mile barrier, which is the furthest I have gone so far (13.1, gotta throw that in there).  Even though my marathon training plan has me doing 14-15 miles just before my half marathon, I am not sure that I will push it that far until after the half.  I don’t want to hurt myself before I get to do the half that I have been dying to finish.  I have learned a lesson in all this that I didn’t really expect: I picked a half marathon that was way too far away (time wise) for my first half.  I mean I am thrilled beyond belief to make my first half special, but I really think the first one would be special no matter which one it was.  There was just too much time between making the goal and when I actually get to achieve it, again a lesson learned.

That being said I plan to hit some half marathons between now and when I do my full marathon next year.  I think if I fill it with several races it will keep me distracted enough to satisfy my desire to run.  I have to look at the races in the area and pick a few out soon so I have a good plan.  I also plan to take some of this time in between to focus on building more muscle and becoming a more well rounded athlete.  I am not short on goals with exercise there is no doubt.

As for my Sunday food prep I did my usual cutting up a ton of veggies to go with hummus.  I also went with soup again, with a slight variation.  I took out the kale (forgot about it until it was a bit late) & the sweet potatoes and then added quinoa & mushrooms.  Still packed full of goodness with other veggies and some power house foods.  I also made some egg sandwiches for my breakfast and threw some veggies in them, it’s a great way to add veggies to your meals.  Then for fun I made banana muffins for the family, the bananas were almost done for so I had to do something with them.  I even made a casserole for dinner tonight with some leftovers since I was on a re-purposing food kick. 

This week’s runs will be 3m/6m/3m with one of the 3 being some speed work.  Monday after work I will be doing some body weight and over all body strength building, and then do some hitting on the punching bag.  Next Saturday I will be doing a 10k with several ladies in my running group and I can’t wait.  There won’t be a breakfast afterwards, but it will be fun to race and know some people at the race.  I hope you all had a great week!

12 miles & still moving thanks Pro Compression

Okay so technically I am sitting down, but even after I finished my 12 miles this morning I have been up and moving a lot so that I can stay moving.  In fact tomorrow I may do a short run with my running club so that I can stay moving.  Mostly I want to go out to breakfast with some really cool ladies, that will be our little secret…*wink wink*.

I decided to change up my route just a bit, but I still had to go uphill for the first half of my run.  However it didn’t feel as bad as it had before and I think there are two reasons:

  • Last weeks run got my body a little more used to long distances after doing some shorter runs lately, I have no doubt about that.
  • The compression socks really helped and are still helping with the recovery process.

I gotta say I am totally in love with these socks, I have them back on now to give some support to my legs and to help them continue to heal.  According to their website Pro Compression says that:

Whether at rest, playing a round of golf or running a marathon, your PRO Compression socks are working to circulate blood back to your heart and lungs. With more efficient circulation comes less fatigue and your tired muscles are replenished with fresh oxygen and nutrients to reduce soreness and give you the extra stamina needed to exert yourself at the fullest.

I got the size S/M for my size 7 shoes and they were just right feeling.  My legs really are less tired and my feet are less sore I have to give them that.  And when you run early and have the rest of the day that you have to do things like laundry and shopping, anything that will keep my legs moving better I am more than happy to try.  I also love the fact that it helped me stay warm while I was out this morning on my run.  The day warmed up nicely, but starts off rather cool out here in the desert.  I even wore the socks when I had to run (not literally) to the store after my run.  The quality is also good and they are #Runchat socks!!!  I kept an eye out for some discounts and found some making these a very nice reduced price (thank you Fitluential). If I can get a discount to share with you I will. 🙂 

More than anything I am really happy that my time is looking a tiny bit faster and I should be able to finish my half marathon in 2:30, which is my goal.   Next week I have a 10k and although I don’t plan to wear the socks during (unless it’s cold) I will definitely wear them after for recovery.  Until then the countdown has begun for my first official half marathon it is 28 days 22 hours and 32 minutes and seconds!!!!

I see these socks (and some other cute styles) being a part of my must haves for running and I know they would help recovery from other exercises too.  So have you tried compression socks to help you with your fitness goals and activities? Do you have some must have gear that you use?

*Update 10/20/13 I have a discount to share with you if you want to purchase either marathon socks or arm sleeves at Pro Compression use the discount BLG13 at check out for a 40% discount and free shipping.  What a deal thank you Pro Compression!*

I should be doing…

Okay so I had fully intended to workout today after work, really I swear, but it didn’t happen.  I got home and got busy, which is exactly why I usually do my workout first thing in the morning.  So I am sitting here kicking myself a bit, but knowing what happened (or didn’t) is done.  I have a plan though and I am again putting it out there so I have more accountability to do it, I find when I make a commitment out loud I am more likely to follow through.

A friend of mine Suzanne at Workout Nirvana gave me some good suggestions on how to increase or support my running abilities and stability with some exercises.  She found a site and suggested I check it out and see how these workouts do for increasing my core strength and overall body strength.  I finally looked through the videos and I like them!  Here are the links that you might want to check and I found as I looked through this progression and other videos that Coach Jay Johnson put together.

So tomorrow I am getting up earlier than I need to and I will go out back and do the video to start the 8 week progression and I will punch the bag around a bit.  Then at lunch I will do my 3 miles for half of the lunch, thus getting two workouts in one day.  If it works well I may just keep up that routine and keep Monday as a rest day, we will have to see. 

So I know I should be working out right now instead of tying this and checking email, etc. but there it is.  Now I have to go get stuff together for the day and get my Eteach for NASM set up.  I decided I needed a bit more help in grasping everything so I enrolled.  It’s an investment I felt was worth it.  I hope you all have a great day tomorrow and I will catch you on Wednesday.

Sunday food prep and workout update

Let’s start with yesterday’s run, it was HARD.  I had thought about maybe running a full 13.1 so I get the practice again.  I will probably do that again soon or close to before I have to start tapering, which will be in a few weeks.  But this run was very hard mentally for me; almost from the first step I had wild fluctuations between wanting to run and just turning around to give up, but I didn’t.  I really felt a lack of energy until I got to mile 4 or 5 and then I started to feel like I got into my groove.  I took my usual fuel with me and I think it all did fine, I think it was the fact that I was doing a steady uphill for the first 5 miles is what killed me.  If that is the case I need to get used to it so I can build strength. 

Along the way I paused my phone, trying to see how my time would be doing 11 miles if I didn’t have to account for long waits at crosswalks.  Then it happened…I.forgot.to.turn.it.back.on…DUN DUN DUN!  It sucked and the minute it hit me I practically kicked my own but.  It was a good mile or more down the road when I realized that I did it.  Thankfully MapMyRun is around and I was able to figure out my mileage even though I didn’t have my time.  I did in fact get my 11 miles (give or take a quarter mile) and probably did it around 2 hours.  About where I figured I would be at this point, and this leads me to guess I will be close to my goal of 2 and a half hours (maybe a bit more) for my half marathon.  Who knows how it might get better before then, I will be doing a bit of speed work so it might affect things.   Mostly I am glad I pushed myself to do it.

Today’s workout was totally different because I ran only 1 mile and then I hit the pool.  I am not a strong swimmer so I usually skip something like this because I mostly dog paddle or go on my back.  I did both of those, walked, and for the first time opened my eyes and didn’t plug my nose.  That’s right, you read that correctly.  Not only can I not ride a bike, but I can’t swim well at all.  With today’s success I am hoping I can build on it and get more comfortable in the water and maybe one day take lessons.  Who knows maybe I will be a 60 year old triathlonist, it could happen.  The pool wore me out though, I totally felt a difference in my muscles from doing it.  I also spent a nice amount of time just stretching while there and it felt really good.

I decided to roll with the something different day and made soup for my lunches this week.  I had been contemplating it for awhile and decided it was a good idea for the cooler weather.  It has chicken, kale, sweet potato, bulgar, brown rice, zucchini, carrots, celery, green peppers, red peppers, onion, stewed tomatoes, and the kitchen sink…just kidding about that last one.  I put it all in chicken broth and some water and it made a TON!  I will have more than enough for the week.

I hope you all have a great week and that you got a chance to do your food prep. It’s a great way to stay on track with healthy and delicious eating all week.

"Food" for thought

There was so much information at this conference I went to earlier this week.  For me it was like being in heaven because we discussed addiction, addiction to food, eating disorders, and nutrition as a part of the holistic treatment for them.  We also discussed relationships and sex addiction, something I haven’t studied a lot, but as it turns out there appear to be a lot of correlations to eating disorders and food addiction.  So in case you haven’t seen me say this, not sure how I wouldn’t have, but addiction is addiction is addiction. 

Seriously, there is a commonality to every addiction in the types of behaviors and thinking that we see and in the way the brain functions or doesn’t function.  Okay that being said here are just a few interesting things I wanted to share that perhaps you can follow up on and see how it might fit or work for you.

  • For the brain to function properly and to be able to heal itself it must have a few things, one of the key things is….glucose.  Yep, a form of sugar…relax don’t panic you don’t have permission nor should you go down a candy bar.  All energy or fuel aka food that we take in turns into glucose.  Runners know that carbs are the basis of energy needed to run.  This is often the excuse to carb load aka pig out, but this isn’t always necessary to the point that some runners will do it.  There are a ton of resources out there on how to do it in a way that will actually help you.  
  • Sugar is addictive- In fact there are so many names for sugar that if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake and avoid the things that are harmful check out Sugar Has 56 Names by Robert H. Lustig MD, it’s an ebook that he says is in Kindle form so you can take it with you to the store.  He maintains as a culture we are pretty much sugar addicted or sugar abusers.  I think that he is right and that there is a lot of room for improvement for everyone here.  He offers some good ways to go about this and a lot of thought provoking information about it.  He and a group of other professionals are involved in a “non profit that provides medical, nutritional, and legal analysis and consultation to promote personal and public health v.s Big Food”.  Seriously this man is such a huge resource of knowledge and I wish we had, had more time to hear him speak on the topic of sugar and how it relates to individual and societal obesity.
  • In order to process the nutrients in a way that will allow your body to use it fully you NEED fat and protein.  Let me repeat that you NEED FAT, I’m not talking over doing fat or fried fatty goodness (you know what I mean), but healthy fats like in avocados, olive oil, nuts/seeds, and fish.  In fact you need to focus on the foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  
  • You should eat every 3-4 hours (a fact promoted by a lot of trainers and dietitians already) in part because it encourages your brain to heal.  This is particularly helpful if you are in recovery from addiction because of the way it allows the brain and body to heal.
  • Sleep is essential!- That is when the brain and body heals and uses glucose the most to heal the brain.  It also plays a huge factor in stress levels and the hormones associated that when out of balance will increase the storage of fat in a way that results very negatively.
  • Your gut is important!  If you suffer from issues with digestion and if you have problems with anxiety/depression you need to take care of your gut!  90% of your Serotonin is stored in the GI tract.  Serotonin is a huge part of feeling good naturally, we need this stuff and your gut is connected so you have to take care of it! If you are impacted and your gut isn’t well there is a possibility (something you should check out with a nutrition specialist/dietitian) that it could mask mental disorders.  There are a few places out there that you could get treatment from that can help sort that out. The meadows and 5 Sisters Ranch are a few places to start all depending on what type of help you need.  Probiotics are a good place to start, if you want to get hard core check out fermented foods.
  • There are a few supplements that you might check out as well (again some guidance would be good to make sure it is right for you).  B vitamins, Omega 3’s, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and if you have liver problems you might consider Milk Thistle.  

Anyway there are so many wonderful things I am learning and some great things I will be following up and studying.  I also got the book The Brain Fix by Ralph E Carson RD PhD that had a lot of this great info to read over.  When I finish it I will write a book review and share some key things on here.  The pictures are from the talk given by Victoria Abel MA MNT at Decision Point Center and who is the owner of the Center for Addiction Nutrition.  Again she was very knowledgeable and offered great “food” for thought. There is a lot of healing that needs to happen not just in the psyche but also in the body when you go through addiction and related traumas.  I have to say that it is one reason I love running, because it is just therapeutic in so many ways. Of course although I highly promote exercise and nutrition for helping to heal the body and soul, therapy with a trained counselor is essential.  It is a part of ending the cycle of addiction and relationship issues.  It’s part of how you start to recognize and do something about the probable traumatic experiences that you have gone through if you are an addict, have an eating disorder (including binge eating), and are love/sex/relationship addicted.  Just as therapy alone will not treat the whole problem nutrition/exercise won’t either.  A trained professional or team of professionals can give you the best chance at recovery through a holistic approach.  I hope this helps, makes some sense, and perhaps leads you in the right direction.

I’m still here and kicking!

I have been so busy the last few days and got a cold (bleck!) so I haven’t been blogging.  To be honest about all I have done is to sleep and watch my current TV addiction Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I got to go to a really cool conference this week and hear some great speakers that I have wanted to hear for a very long time.  It was awesome!  I can’t wait to share some of the info I have learned so that you can do some research and possibly use some of the information to help you in your journey.  That being said I will try and put it together and get it out tomorrow so that you can be able to use it.  In the mean time I just wanted to say hello and let you know I am around.  I also am gearing up to do another long run this weekend I am thinking at least 10 miles if not going for the 13.1 again just so I have two times of doing that before my half.  OMG my half is in almost a month!  Before long I will have to focus on tapering…yikes!  It’s a good thing I have some information on how to taper thanks to Cross My Heart Fitness.  Anyway just a little blurb to let you know I’m alive and kicking. 🙂

Lessons learned in 38 years

Another year older today, maybe another year wiser that we have yet to see.  If we are all still here next year I will let you know the outcome of that.  I can say that this year I will go into it with more direction in my life and hopefully healthier (starting tomorrow after the meatloaf, cake, and beer).  I am closing in on no ice cream for an entire year soon, I will call it at the end of the month as I have a few more birthday celebrations in the house to make it through. I do think I have it beat though if I passed up that Ben and Jerry’s a few months ago.

So what have I learned in my relatively short years on this planet?

  • For one thing that even though I am 38 age is relative.  As I get older I have a harder time deciding what old is, so far I am thinking somewhere in the late 80’s or 90’s (I plan to live very gracefully to my 90’s with a lot of travel and experiences under my belt).  
  • Family is one of the most important things, you should cherish your time with them.
  • It’s important to live with passion and to push past fears.  I know I haven’t officially finished my half marathon yet, but I pushed past and did 13.1 miles once so far.  It inspired me to charge after 26.2 and I can honestly say if my life will ever allow it I would love to do an ultra.
  • Good friends are important to find.  Even if you don’t always get to talk to them on a regular basis there are friends in this life that you should make and hold onto.  Always be there when they call and support them through the smart and dumb decisions they (we) make.  A good friend knows when to speak up and when to shut up and just hang in until things go however they will.  Then there is no need to say I told you so, you just work on being there.
  • Love is important and should be shared.  If you have love in your life you should find someone or some way to share it.  Animals, volunteering, or just kind gestures it doesn’t matter; we are made to love.  Whether you believe in God or not, human love and kindness should be shared.
  • Running is great therapy for the soul.  I would say it about any exercise really, it’s just for me the running clicked better than any others.
  • Health is one of the most important things I can influence in my life, I have a lot of say and I should do something with that.
  • The KC Chiefs rock, winning or not; I do love the winning part though.
  • Dark chocolate makes most things better, if not add coffee and that should do it.

So that’s it, my words of wisdom discovered in my short years lived on this planet.  I know I have a lot of life to live and a lot more to learn, that’s part of the beauty of life.  So far I can tell you I have done 19 miles for the month and I think I will keep track of it for fun; I want to see how many I can get in one month. I hope you all have a great week ahead. I get to spend most of my week at a conference learning about addiction, healthy living, and addiction to food so I will be in heaven.  I still can’t believe they pay me to learn and do the things I love, I am blessed.

Getting back into resistance training

I’ve been working on (for awhile) trying to increase my motivation and actually getting out and doing more in the area of resistance.  I used to enjoy it at one point, but somewhere along the way I lost the enjoyment.  I think because I found such enjoyment and such a release from the running that I find it hard to balance my efforts out.  Back in the day it was a challenge for me that I wanted to conquer, I’m trying to change this and find things that I want to help me get motivated.  I still want to be able to do a pull up, I wouldn’t mind being able to do some more challenging pushups as well.  Anyway looking at my schedule, you have no idea how much stuff I have to schedule, I have an outline of a plan that I think will be realistic:

  • Monday is technically a rest day for me, however it is a short work day most weeks.  Because of that I think it will be a good day for me to do some strength training.  I can do it either at home or at the gym and I am finally going to get a kettle bell, find some good videos on Youtube for it and get my punching bag back up.  This way if I have to head home to babysit I can be around the house but able to workout.  I am even considering getting a hula hoop to play with as well.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will continue with running using my Hal Higdon training program.  
  • Friday I may do a walk or a short jog, no more than 1 mile really and I will do it during my lunch so I can get up and out of the office.
  • Saturday/Sunday I will make a long run day or some kind of cross training.  My gym has yoga and I am determined to make it one of these days, I really enjoyed yoga in the past.

I really want to overcome this and knowing that I have come this far and done it in the past tells me I can.  I just need to find things that are forms of resistance that I enjoy.  As for the running and working towards my marathon, I got up super early and got my 5 miles in.  I got a faster time and really pushed myself to do a faster pace!  Tomorrow I will do at the gym so I can do some speed work for part of the run.

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