3.17 miles vs 13 minutes & 7 seconds Suicide Awareness Virtual Run

Statistics say that every 13.7 minutes a person in the US commits suicide.  That fact impacted my life over 20 years ago this March when my senior year a friend that I cared for dearly took his life.  I and others close knew he struggled with depression, but the news was still unexpected.  I struggled with many emotions over the years related to this, anger, grief, depression, and finally acceptance & forgiveness.  No matter what I will never forget him, his laugh, and his hatred of cats (a friendly argument we had frequently). 

In my running I have become aware of many different runners and running groups on Facebook and on Twitter.  One runner that I admire and can relate in many ways to is the Driven Runner.  He and some of his family and friends started a virtual run to help raise funds for suicide awareness.  He himself shares through his page how he struggles with depression and how running has helped him win the battle against it.  I have made no secret that running has brought me relief from my depression and emotional woes, in fact it has for many runners, I am hardly unique. 

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My more than a 5k 3.17 miles

So today I finished my 5 miles for my training and while doing it spent my time meditating not just on my friend, but the disease of depression.  I stopped at 3.17 miles to acknowledge not just my friends, but all those who have considered or attempted suicide.  It is a disease, just as deadly as heart disease, diabetes, and addiction.  The good news is that there is hope, there are people out there that care and want to help.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is who the fundraiser is for as well as general awareness.  If you suffer from depression there is hope and there is help please reach out to a friend, family member, or call 1-800-273-8255.  This is just one of the numbers you can call for help a quick search on the internet will even give you some chats to use as well.  I can’t wait to get my t-shirt so I can start the conversation with others. If you want to check out the run on Fundly the link is https://fundly.com/driven-runner-suicide-awareness-virtual-run please consider checking it out and helping to raise awareness.  Out of the virtual runs I have done, this one is my favorite.

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Perfecting the lunch run aka “runch”

One of my favorite times to run is actually during lunch, what I affectionately call “runch”.  I have a different kind of work schedule and like a lot of you many responsibilities when I get home at night.  So when I started my marathon training I knew getting my runs in would mean some creative thinking.  Having done this now for 16+ weeks (long story and a lack of math skills on my end), I have become a bit of an expert in the “runch” and wanted to share how to successfully do a run at lunch.

Prep- pack your gear the night before; this isn’t new to you if you do a lot of long runs early in the morning or a lot of races.  Being the planner I am I always set out my stuff for the next day anyway, this is just a continuation of the behavior.

Gear- there are certain things you want to make sure you have to run during the day and then go back to work, you not only need to have your running clothes and shoes, but also a few personal care items.  Deodorant (I get a little travel size one), fresh underwear, a towel, and some baby wipes.  With those on hand you can freshen up just fine after the run and not offend coworkers or clients.  For ladies, a hair tie is a great option to have as well if your hair isn’t already up that day.  I find I can get my bangs to look okay, but need to put my windblown hair up after a run.

Time/route- make sure that you have enough time for your run, plan for enough time to change before and after as well as the cleanup.  I know the type of pace I need to keep and want to keep for my shorter runs so this allows me to manage my time without going  over my lunch hour.  For the route I took time to get familiar with the neighborhood and safe paths or streets to take as well as how to get my mileage in without going too far away from the office in case of an emergency.  Personally I can safely get 4 miles done during my lunch hour and still have time to get cleaned up and eat.

Food- it may sound silly, but your lunch hour is for eating and since you just ran 1-5 or more miles you have to refuel for proper recovery.  If you haven’t picked up on it, during my marathon training I am finding that I am starving most of the time anyway, I can’t imagine trying to go without eating after I run.  I pick easy to fix and ready to eat things on the days I am doing my lunch runs.  Either simple reheated meals or sandwiches are perfect as well as prepared veggies.  I also make sure that I have something to snack on later in the day should I still be hungry.

Hydration- I don’t usually carry water with me on my shorter runs anymore, but I need to make sure that I don’t get dehydrated so I make sure that I drink plenty of water before and after my run.  If you are just starting or it is a particularly warm day make sure you can take some water with you even if it is just carrying a small bottle of water.

Weather- finally I always check the weather ahead of time.  Out here in the desert spring time means nasty winds (20+ miles an hour) and dust/sand.  I already have allergy issues so if it is too windy then it will mean I will have to modify my running plans for the week.  It will also start to get too hot pretty soon, so unless I have a way to run indoors my “runches” will have to stop.  Having adjusted to the weather in the desert I can run midday for a while if I take hydration with me, but I pay attention to my hydration and how I am feeling to help gauge that as well.

Being able to run at lunch has a lot of time saving advantages when you have a busy home life and a lot of responsibilities.  The other big advantage for me is the stress relief during the day.  I don’t have the worlds most stressful job, but like anyone else there are days when I am already stressed when I get to work and being able to actively let go of stress during the day has helped my mental health a great deal.

If you have done a run at lunch or another workout what are your must have items to make it successful?

If You Want to Lose Weight Don’t Count on Running

This weekend I finished my 17 mile run, the farthest I have gone to date.  I was exhausted and sore by the time I finished it, but I got it done.  While I was on the treadmill and for almost this entire 16+ weeks of training I had some time to think about the misconceptions of running.  The one I want to address today is stated pretty simply in my title: if you want to lose weight you shouldn’t count on running.

Misconception #1: Cardio is the way to lose weight.  It is a way you can lose weight, but if you go to many races you will see that runners come in all shapes and sizes, even the larger sizes.  The solution if you want to lose weight you should be doing a healthy combination of aerobic and resistance.  Resistance builds muscle= higher metabolism among the various benefits (sexy looking body, stronger bones, stronger core, resistance to injury while running).

Misconception #2:  I just ran _____ miles so I can eat anything. Wrong!  Not if you are trying to do things like eat clean and perhaps maintain your weight.  There is no out running a poor diet, I have tried this, many others have tried this, and we all fail.  Run To the Finish calls it “runners entitlement” this thought that since I burned a ton of calories I can eat a ton.  In fact this happens often enough that you will find several articles out there on how to try and keep the over eating and weight gain under control.  One article that explains it very well is from Runner’s World http://www.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/why-do-i-gain-weight-during-marathon-training ; it offers some great insight and suggestions on how to combat this. A side note to this is that the people around you might encourage that kind of thinking, because they are in awe of how much you ran. Be cautious about feeding into this justification or rationalization it’s an easy thing to do.

Misconception #3: I just ran ____ miles and got my steps so I can relax now.  *Raises hand in guilt.* Yeah it’s pretty easy to say to yourself I ran 8, 10, or 16 miles today so I deserve to be able to relax the rest of the day.  The fact is, it’s awesome that you were active for so many minutes or hours, but sitting down the rest of the day will not help your metabolism to keep going, nor will it help you fight the increase in health risks that come with sitting all day.  Most runners do their run first thing in the morning so they can get it out of the way and because it wakes you up better than a cup of coffee.  Personally I have to work to be mindful to stay active the rest of the day on my long run days on the weekend.  The shorter runs it isn’t as challenging in part because of the time of day and the fact that they aren’t as draining. The solution, get up and do some household chores, go for a walk (with dog or kids maybe), add a little resistance later in the day, but make an effort to get up and move.

Misconception #4: The more often I run the more calories I will burn, i.e. if I do 3 miles a day or 5 miles a day.  Sadly this isn’t true, if it were I can think of many run streakers who would LOVE IT!  Just like other exercises you have to “shake it up” or your body will adapt and you will hit the dreaded plateau.  To address it consider throwing in the resistance and other forms of cross training, like bike riding, swimming, or yoga. 

If you address these issues you will see that while yes you can lose weight by running, but it isn’t the only nor is it the best way to do it.  If you are like me you have a hard time finding the balance, but just like other parts of life finding balance is very important.

Are any of these misconceptions one that you believed or that you struggle with?

The good, the bad, and the okay

First up the good:  I just got a new book this week, a few of you may be familiar with it.  It’s called the Ultimate Booty Workouts by Tamara Grand aka Fitknitchick. ImageI am excited to start integrating this into my strength routine, which is sadly almost nothing at the moment.  I struggle with keeping a balance of running and strength normally, but the high mileage runs that I am doing for my marathon have all but stopped them.  Tamara has done an excellent job of outlining some simple, but effective exercises to help “build, lift, and sculpt and amazing butt”.  In reality it also helps to really work out your core, which is also really important (especially for runners).  Tuesday I will do my first round at lunch since I have the equipment available at the office.

The bad: I didn’t get my long run completed as scheduled.  I just didn’t have the energy in me since I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days.  I am certain that it was in part exhaustion, allergies, and somehow I got really dehydrated.  I say somehow because I know I had more water to drink Friday and Saturday than I have for a long time, yet (TMI sorry) I wasn’t feeling the need to pee frequently and that just didn’t add up if I were hydrated enough.  I am doing better today, but still disappointed that my 17 miles didn’t get done yesterday.  I will still be able to accomplish it and my 18 & 20 mile run that I need to before I start to taper. 

The okay: I am in size 10 jeans again.  I will call this okay…because I have been struggling with the whole weight issue since starting marathon training.   Right now I can fit some size 8 pants and some size 10 depending on the cut or style.  The part that isn’t really the best is that although I am not really “fat” I have lost some of my muscle definition and my belly/hip area has expanded.  I have not checked my lean muscle/fat ratios but I expect that they are not what I want to see. I’m also calling it okay, because it is what it is at the moment and I KNOW that I have the ability to change it (see the good up above).  If I dwell in despair I will emotionally eat and it just makes the cycle worse, overly dramatic I know, but truth.

That’s part of my week in a nutshell, not bad overall.  I will however add one more good in an effort to end this post on a more positive note.  I have been getting the opportunity to do more health wellness related things that aren’t necessarily related to my primary role at work.  My bosses have noticed how much I want to do that and are giving me some opportunities to be creative and I love that.

How was your week, share some of the good so we can inspire each other. Do you have some new equipment or a new training plan to try?

Why a Marathon?

Probably the best question I have been asked for a bit actually, right up there with why do you run? 

I run for a lot of reasons and to someone that doesn’t really enjoy it there is a challenge in understanding, so here is my attempt to help translate.  Probably the biggest reason I run has been because it helps me feel free.  In the period of time I am running I am free of the rest of life.  I don’t get asked to do anything for anyone, I go where my two feet will take me, and I get the challenge to see where I end up or how far I can go; I’m free.  Even when I am on a time crunch, I do my best to be present and enjoy my run.

I had the desire to run many years before I lost my weight, I was just too afraid to do it.  I also had that desire, a secret wish to run a marathon.  It’s not like I really sat and watched marathons on TV as a kid, but I did pay attention.  I saw a look on their faces when they crossed that finish line, it was pure bliss.  I like feeling good, we all do, and the feeling of pride when I meet the next challenge is bliss.

Once I started seeing how I did with training and running for my first half marathon I REALLY started dreaming about it.  I wanted to do it, but fear was holding me back.  I have let too many things in my life pass me by due to fear.  Don’t get me wrong I have achieved a lot in my few years on this planet, but there are dreams I gave up on or put off out of fear and I didn’t want to do that anymore. 

I guess you could say that a marathon is my line in the sand right now.  I gave/give a lot as an employee, a friend, a counselor, and a caregiver for other people.  This marathon and being able to finish it as a Formerlyfatgirl, this marathon is for me.

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