Day 32

There is some running to report today!!!  Or rather…some walking, but exercise nonetheless.

About a week ago I had to swallow some humble pie and realize that since I had twisted my ankle, my fitness level has dropped significantly.  And there is still the problem of the sore ankle.  So, like all athletes should do, I took a step back and reassessed with an open mind where I was in the running process.  And much to my dismay…square 1.  (You know, like “back to square 1…”)

I might have to take this return to running a little more slowly than I had hoped.  The last two days I’ve taken the dogs for a walk, and then set out on my own.  I run a little, but mostly walk…and usually until my ankle starts hurting.  I get about 2-3 miles in…which deflated my marathon enthusiasm just a smidge.

On a positive note, I’m being more conscious about my diet.  That’s a huge struggle that will be ongoing…forever…but eating even 10% better than I was seems to be helping at least the physiological aspect of running.

So today…Day 32 is a rest day since I walked/slightly ran the last two days…should really be Day 3 I suppose.  I started Wednesday really realizing where I was and what I needed to do to reach my goal.  It’s going to be a challenge…but I need some excitement in my life, right?!


Day 22

Day 22…and no running to report.  Yup…still not running as consistently as I want to…

And the culprit is bad diet.  (And maybe the humid weather.)

I can’t really blame the humid weather too much…it’s really only been terribly humid the last two days.  Most of the blame falls on my diet.  I have just been eating whatever, whenever.  And boy do my insides hate me.

It’s one thing to be working out and eating slightly bad…it’s a whole other thing to be eating crappy and not doing any kind of exercise.  It creates this vicious cycle of crave the crap, feel like crap, don’t work out, get hungry, crave the crap, feel like crap….well you get it.

And this little blog thing has actually just made me realize how much I’m hurting myself and training.  Day 22 into my marathon training endeavor…and I’ve run maybe 3 or 4 times.  Seriously…that’s like once a week.  And I’m sitting here feeling crappy about that and crappy in general because of what I’ve eaten in the past 24 hours.

Sometimes you need a wake-up call…sometimes you need to reevaluate your current trajectory…hopefully this is a little bit of both.  I want to feel better and I don’t want to be under-trained come November.  Luckily I have some time to readjust and get back on track…let’s see if I can do that!

Day 15

Day 15 was on Tuesday of this week…the 19th.  We got done early with work and so I worked out in the hotel fitness center…and we all know what that means…treadmill workout.

The workout itself was fine…I did a 30 minute interval training, you know speeding up, slowing down, etc.  I actually felt better when I finished then I normally do when finishing a run…and felt like I could keep going (but I had dinner plans, so you know…that won out!)

But the next day…omg major ankle pain.  The unforgiving surface of the treadmill did nothing for the healing ankle.  I could barely walk!  So…no more workouts for me the rest of the time at work.

So now we come to Friday…I may venture out sometime this week and try again on road (since somehow that has more given then the treadmill).  I had heard there was trial and error in marathon training…I had just hoped it wouldn’t be this soon.

Day 1 & Day 9

Wow…I hadn’t realized it’s been since January that I last wrote.  So much has happened that the last few months have flown by.  I got a new job that requires 100% more travel then my last one (cause I didn’t travel in my last job), and made a major decision…I’m seriously going to train and try to run a full marathon in November.  And I’m going to try…once again…to chronicle it for my own sanity and for your entertainment value (cause seriously…we all know it’s probably going to be painfully funny…emphasis on painful!)

Day 1
So not officially in a training program yet…most programs start 24 or 16 weeks out from target race date.  But since I’ve done very little running in the last few months…I need an extra few months to build up to the actual training…training for training!

Day 1 was April 4, and yes this is a bit behind…oh well!  Day 1 went good.  Walked the dogs and then did my walk/run for 2 miles.  A friend told me about a great strategy that has been helpful in getting back into running…run to one song, walk to one song…and repeat for entire run.  It’s been good so far to start back into running, and hopefully I will build up to 2 songs run, 1 song walk…and then to no walking!!  (But 26.2 miles…we’ll see!)

Day 9
Yes…8 days between runs…because of my ankle.  When I had a week off between jobs, I was painting my spare bedroom, and when coming off the ladder, stepped on a broom handle and twisted my ankle good!  Since then it’s been iffy on if it hurts or not.  There were several attempts at running in those 8 days, and each time it was too painful to sustain running on it.  And it’s always important to listen to your body and not hurt yourself further.

Thankfully, today I was able to run.  I got an ankle brace and it has helped tremendously.  We’ll see as time goes on if it continues to help; but for 3 miles it did well!  Anxious to get back on a regular running routine, so hopefully it holds up well!


Make It A Quickie

I hear it all the time…I don’t have TIME to workout.  I hear ya…I do!  Work, family, pets, friends, social engagements…and winter…make time feel fleeting!  Luckily our bodies are so adept that they can transform, even if you just have a few minutes a day!!

Here are a few of the best moves to do if you’re short on time…do one minute of each.  If you find a little extra time, do a second round!!

Squats – one of my favorite exercises; you tone the glutes and the quads and a whole bunch of other minor muscles!  Plus there are like, a 100 different types!  (May be exaggerating, but Google types of squats and you’ll find a plethora of squats!)

Burpees – the one we love to hate.  It’s a mentally exhausting exercise…meaning I get tired just thinking of doing a burpee.  But omg…it works so many muscle groups, it’s hard to argue against doing them.

There are variations for the burpee as well, you just have to be creative.  One of my favorites I’ve found (and I use the term loosely considering it’s still a burpee), is a burpee with a pull-up.  Now before you get all “I can’t do that,” the pull-up I do is with a resistance band and a door mount.  I do the burpee, grab the band, and “pull-up!”

Deadlifts – if I’ve learned anything recently is that I LOVE lifting weights.  I did it in high school, but somewhere along the way decided cardio was more important.  I WAS SO WRONG!  I especially like this move because it works the back.  Very important for long runs!!

Skull crushers – cool name, but yes, I had to look it up too!  You may know them as lat pullovers…and I LOVE THEM!  Laying back and working the back muscles all at the same time…yes please!!  (Plus…the perfect way to tone for those summer tank tops!!)

Pull Ups – literally my arch nemesis…if you can have an arch nemesis of exercises! I’ve never had upper body strength, and these little ditties just point that out!  But oh man do they tone!   And I’ve actually found a way that I can do them…at home!  They sell kits that come with a door anchor and resistant bands, so you can do a standing pull up!  The exercise gods have smiled on me…I wanted the benefit, but had no room in the house or desire to try and do a pull up.  But now I can!!

Planks – these are quickly becoming another favorite.  There is no better exercise to gauge your progress than with planks.  You go from completely unstable and shaky to steady as a board (like a plank…get it…!). And I love competing with myself to see how long I can hold one, and again it’s so cool to see the time get longer and longer!!

Bent Over Rows – the deceivingly easy arm workout.  Why…because you’re resting on a bench while rowing your arm up…but there is no rest, not really!  But this one is a beauty because it not only works your arms, but your back, shoulders, biceps…and probably a whole lotta minor muscles I don’t know the names of!

Bench Press – the other move that I love to hate.  It sculpts the arms like no other…but it sill involves arms…my weakest muscle group!  But I figure if I get the hang of it, at least a little, I’ll look like a bad ass…right?!

Walking Lunges – oh so many benefits!  Plus walking lunges, to me, feel like I’m doing less work.  Of course that’s not true, because anyone who has done walking lunges will tell you once you stop, your legs instantly feel like Jell-O!  Add some weights and you got yourself one mean glute toner!

Each of these exercises, one minute each, and you’re done in 15 minutes!  (Taking into account rest!)  Talk about a quickie!

***Here is the original article.  It explains how to do each exercise!  Enjoy!***

Who Knew Sugar Was Scary?

We’ve all heard it…sugar is bad for you in excess.  But why? It’s in the natural makeup of a lot of the fruits we eat…so how can it be that bad?!

Okay first…stop that thinking.  Yes there is sugar in fruits, but it’s natural and the benefits of the other stuff in that piece of fruit, outweigh the sugar.  Plus, that’s where we should be getting what little sugar we need from…not the added sugar that comes in all those processed foods.

Little disclaimer…I do not pretend to be sugar free!  I probably eat more than I should, as we all do, I am just becoming more aware of my sugar sources.  And the article I’m about share scared me enough to start paying better attention!

You can find the origin article here:               This is Exactly What Happens to Your Body When You Eat a Ton of Sugar

Sugar messes with every organ and system in your body.  Let’s start off with the adds weight.  Foods with a lot of sugar also tend to have higher calorie counts and lower protein and fiber counts.  Your body has no choice but to start storing the extra calories as fat for later use.  Keep going on this path, and you become another statistic in the obesity crisis.

Your pancreas has to up its insulin release to accommodate for the extra sugar.  Cells then become resistant to the insulin because they’re being bombarded by it constantly.  Think of it as sleep…wake up early enough consistently, and you eventually get used to an early wake up time.  Same thing with insulin…your cells constantly see insulin, eventually they’ll quit responding.  

All that insulin inundating your cells and the pancreas doing some overtime work, then starts to make you feel sluggish and tired.  You also start to feel hungry sooner and more thirsty.  This is due to the lack of other nutrients; usually protein and fiber.  Do all of this long enough…constant insulin, feeding your hunger with sugar, satisfying your thirst with sugary drinks…and diabetes follows. 

And if all this isn’t scary enough…your brain responds and adjusts to the extra sugar like it would if you were addicted to cocaine.  The same pleasure centers light up and the same addiction process takes hold.  The brain then responds by demanding more sugar to get the same “high,” compounding all the other health problems.

Okay…less scary…at least health wise…sugar wreaks havoc on our skin and collagen.  Sugar attaches to proteins in the body, including collagen and elastin, the stuff that makes our skin stretch and return to normal with little visible damage.  But a lot of sugar in the blood stream keeps collagen and elastin from repairing themselves easily.  
I didn’t quite realize how much sugar affected the body.  I knew it made you gain weight and could lead to diabetes, but affecting the brain and skin repair…yikes!  Moderation is the key.  Read nutrition labels and stear clear of high sugar foods; a general rule is under 10 g per serving (but also watch the serving, if it’s a tsp serving and there are 10 g of sugar, that’s as bad as a cup serving with 20 g of sugar.). Be diligent and smart about your choices…we only have one body, treat it well!

Tips for the Beginner/Re-Starter/Can’t Wait to Run-er 

As 2015 comes to a close and we look forward to goals and aspirations for 2016, I realized there are a lot of people who have set running goals for the upcoming year.  For instance, my goals are to run longer, run faster, and complete a marathon.

I also realize that newbies to the sport, those that have taken some time off (eh hmm…right here), and those that are just ready to crush some new goals need some encouragement as well as some helpful tips (and most of these are ones I wish I had known when I started!)

Back in 2009 I decided…I don’t really remember why…to run.  I think it was a combination of thinking I would lose weight really fast and some people at work were into it, and hey, I wanted to be the cool kid too!  But what came out of that start was a passion for running I didn’t know I had…and a lot of misfires.

When I say misfires, I mean I started and stopped a lot.  I ran one day, took two weeks off, did the treadmill for 15 minutes, and then would take a month off. (Funny how I didn’t lose that weight like I thought I would!)  Fast forward three years and I decide to run a half marathon.  What in the hell was I thinking?

So I started actually training, albeit hit and miss at best, but I did complete my first half marathon November 2012.  From then on I was hooked.  I have completed 5 half marathons and a handful of 5Ks, 10Ks, and 15Ks.  And while it hurt and sucked at times, I still love doing what I do!

But what do I wish I had known way back in the day…and yes that was 2009…when I thought, “Hey, why don’t I try running?!”

Patience.  To this day I still struggle with patience…I want to be fast.  Now.  When beginning to run it can be discouraging for newbies and returners to not be fast or to become winded so soon after starting.  I know I was sucking air after about 5 seconds of starting (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but I promise…just slight).  Running is just like every thing else we have to work for in life; it takes time, practice, and patience.  The more you do it, the more you will start to see the changes you want and you will start to get better, stronger, and faster.  Just don’t stop!  (Unless of course there is injury…then obviously stop and evaluate the injury.)

Understanding.  And not in the way you think.  Take stock of your body before you go out. How does it feel?  Memorize that and learn what uncomfortable feels like and what injured feels like.  Uncomfortable means you can return to comfortable fairly quickly.  Injured means you don’t recover; the pain stays around after it should have gone away (including soreness…it should go away within a couple of days of starting; if it doesn’t, you might have an injury.)

Go slow.  Seriously.  If you’re starting out or coming back from a hiatus, add mileage slowly.  If you go too fast, too soon, chances are you are going to hurt yourself (and that means even more time off from running.)  Every thing I have ever read about adding mileage says to add 10% of the previous week’s mileage to the next week.  So 10 miles last week, add 1 mile this week.  It’s another test of your patience, but you need to build up the mileage slowly and safely.

Eat better.  This may be a given and go hand-in-hand with your New Years resolution, but fueling your body to run is a must.  And cheeseburgers do not fuel the body (trust me, I’ve tried!)  Getting enough water and the right nutrients makes running a whole lot easier.  Think about lugging that cheeseburger for 3 miles…

Have fun.  In the scope of all of this, remember to have fun!  Running can be such a fun, enjoyable experience and it can offer great ways to see your city and meet new people.  Some of my best gal pals are my running buddies…we grew closer because of our love of running.  Find new routes, find new people to go with you, find fun incentives to get you out the door…remember it is above all a fun way to exercise and be healthy!

The “I’ll Start Monday” Thinking

Today is Oct 1…the month starts anew which means all sorts of things start over.  The only problem…it doesn’t start on a Monday.  So very few people will commit or recommit to something…fitness, nutrition, saving money, reading more, etc. (you get the idea).

How many times have we all thought this…..I’ll start that training program on Monday?  I’ll start my new diet on Monday.   If you could see me you would see that I am raising my hand!  I don’t know if its the traditional Monday-Friday 9-5 mentality, or the idea that Monday is the start of a new week…therefore a new start to everything (which I might add, pay weeks start on Sunday……so maybe we should start our new lifestyles on Sunday!)…but we always feel better making a commitment xx number of days from the time we want to start.

But what if we could start now?  The very moment we decide we need a change…why not start then?  It’s radical, and more than a little difficult, but totally doable.  I decided this week that I really needed to overhaul my workouts…my next half-marathon is 2 months away and I’ve already compromised on training for a full-marathon.  But I’ve been slacking so bad the month of September that I needed a reset.  All good and fine…only I decided last Sunday that I would restart Monday Oct 5…because that was the most convenient Monday to restart.  But then I got to thinking…do I really need a Monday to start?  Why can’t I start on a Wednesday?   Or a Thursday?

So I started on a Wednesday.  It took me a minute to wrap my head around my new schedule…but when I did I found that it would be easy to start off slow and get myself back into a rhythm before my “start” on Monday.  These next few days are what I deemed my “prep” week for my actual start!  What did it for me?  How can you duplicate it?  Simple…

  1.  Just start.  Seriously…you want to start a new diet, order a glass of water at dinner.  Already do that, order a side salad as one of your sides.  Find a fruit or vegetable to add to your dinner.  Put your fork down between each bite and sip some water (studies have shown this helps you consume less calories).  The point is, make a small change.  Don’t change the world in one day…ease yourself into it.
  2. Allow yourself a “prep” week.  That’s what I’m doing this week.  I’m running a little and eating better…but not sticking to a running or workout regimen just yet.  I know what a workout schedule looks like, but I need to get my mind back into that mentality.  So I’m slowing starting to run again.  You can do the same.  You want to start working out on a Monday….the week before take a walk around the block.  Find some low impact workouts on Pinterest and do a rep or two.  Just move for a couple days and let your mind acclimate to the thought of exercising.
  3. Find support.  Again, raising my hand to volunteer.  But look at your household, your friends list…someone will support you.  Tell them what your doing.  Ask them to check in on you.  Find a trusted friend or relative and put them in charge of you.  I have a friend I work with that I tell every umpteenth time I start a new regimen to keep checking in on me.  Support is the one thing that can make or break your new lifestyle in its infancy, when its struggling to become a habit.  Give yourself a chance, and find that person who will hold you up no matter what.
These are the three things I’ve done this week (and will continue to do) so that when Monday comes around, my mind thinks “okay time to start…”  but in reality, I’ve already set myself up for success.  It’s time to overhaul the “I’ll start Monday” thinking…so instead, I’m turning it into “I’ll start Monday…after I start this week!”

I Hate Peeing…And Other Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stop Drinking Water

Yes I’ve posted about this before…numerous times…here and on my FB page.  But it is such an important part of a healthy body, and I don’t think we drink nearly as much as we should on a daily basis.  I think there are some pretty common excuses for this and I want to address some of the ones I once used in hopes of inspiring you to go out and drink a little more water!

  1.  I hate peeing ALL THE TIME.
    Oh my gosh…who doesn’t!  It’s irritating to constantly have to get up and go to the bathroom.  But I’d rather do that then the alternative…feeling heavy, sluggish, and tired because I haven’t drank enough water.  And peeing is a good thing!  It helps measure your hydration.  If you don’t pee all day…you are very much dehydrated.  You may not feel it, but you are.  On the flip side, if you’re peeing every 30 minutes…okay maybe you can back off the water a little.  You should also pay attention to the color of your urine…dark yellow means you need more water…clear means you’re drinking plenty and you could probably slow down.  Somewhere in the middle is where you want to land!
  2. Water has no taste
    Such truth in this statement.  On most days I can drink my goal of 90 ounces of water (I like to use the formula:  your body weight/2 = ounces of water; 100 lb person would drink 50 ounces a day).  However, there are those days where something more flavorful would just hit the spot.  Here’s where “spiking” your water comes in handy!  Adding fruit (lemon, strawberry, melon) or cucumbers can help add flavor to water without adding calories.  If you need a little something extra, there are numerous water additives that are sugar free or close to it.  Crystal Light is one of those that I have found to be yummy and little to no sugar.  Mio also has a line of water enhancers that are tasty as well.  Just beware when using these…check the caloric and sugar totals, and as with anything processed, use in moderation.
  3. I don’t have time to drink water
    Let’s just throw that statement out right now.  I used to think I had no time for water either.  I work in a lab and cannot have my water at my workstation…it’s in a clean area away from my work area.  I now make it a point to go and drink water.  Plain and simple….it’s a choice and a decision to “go do.”  Some days yes…there is little time to go get a drink of water because we’re busy.  That just makes those times I can go all the more important.

    I have found that a water bottle that holds a good amount of water is the best way to get my water intake.  I use a water bottle that holds 20 ounces.  I never know how much I actually drink at the time, but when I hit the bottom, I know I’m 20 ounces closer to my goal.  Four of those bottles and I’m up to 80 ounces for the day!  They also have cute bottles on Etsy and other DIY sites that have hour marks to show how much you should drink every hour.  Super cute and super handy if you can place it somewhere visible.

  4. I drink it at lunch and at breakfast, that’s enough.
    Truth moment…it’s not.  Even if you drink 4 glasses, two at each meal, that’s only about 32-40 ounces of water.  The standard of 8 8 ounce glasses is 64 ounces of water.  So…you’re still 24 ounces shy.  Thus…the usefulness of a water bottle to have with you between meals.  Plus if you space out your intake…less bathroom breaks!

These are excuses I used to allow myself to not drink water.  Over the years and especially since taking up running, I’ve realized how important water is to not only our hydration needs, but also to the workings of our physiology.  We are humans made of water…it is only natural that we should put that stuff back into our bodies!!