October 31, 2011

A 29 Day Challenge

It seems that I come over here and either toot my own horn for accomplishments or publicly repent for indulgences. 

It seems that I am always in one of those situations.

Well, I've been sick this week.  Miserably, uncomfortably, disgustingly sick.  I haven't been able to exercise.  I shunned every party this weekend (of which there were four).  I ate what comforted me but ate too much.  Not exercising and eating gave me some time to think.

A challenge.

I've been reading Annie's posts on celebration, a 31 day challenge to post everyday about one particular topic, and she picks celebration.  So I decided to pick my own challenge.

Post everything I eat here, everyday, for 29 days.  The month of November has 30 days, so throughout the month of November, minus Thanksgiving.  Counting calories on Thanksgiving is like hunting with the game warden.

What would a solid month of tracking and displaying it here look like?  It might look boring.  I mean, when I'm diligently eating healthfully my meals look similar each day.  Would I feel different?  Would I eat differently? Would my running improve?

Not sure but I'm willing to at least try this for one month.

I hope some people will read along with me.

October 22, 2011

My first try at speedwork.

Today was my first real try at speedwork, specifically Yasso's 800s. 

Does Yasso make 400s?

Well, I tried, anyways. 

What I ended up doing was a 1/2 mile of jogging, followed by 1/4 mile of jogging, followed by 1/4 mile walking for a total of 3 miles.  Despite the walking I still managed a 12:40 pace. 

Next week I am going to try and just do the 1/4 miles followed by more jogging (no walking) so as to increase not only my minutes per mile pace but also to increase my cardio endurance. 

For the month of November I want to work up to actually getting my speedy work to the full distance.  That's essentially what I will spend the month of November doing in regards to speedwork: getting the distance of Yasso's 800s to actually be 800s. 

I did enjoy it on some level though.  It was refreshing to try something new although working at a track wasn't very interesting. 

I'll be sure to update next Saturday about how the speed work goes in comparison to today's.

October 20, 2011

Is it just me or am I getting faster?

Earlier this week I wrote about a need for a return to my regular eating and exercise habits.  I'm back to getting in all the produce I usually get, I've been running, and getting back into my groove really.  Taking some time off last week was good and I enjoyed myself but I did come home feeling slow and bogged down. 

However, maybe a break was just what I needed....

This week I've been faster.  I went to Lake Ella on Tuesday to do some intervals (jog 2 minutes, run 1) with an average of 11:46 per mile.  12 days before, on October 6th, on the same interval workout, I did a 12:06 mile.  That's a real, measurable improvement.

Today I went out for four miles.  The first two miles average an 11:50 pace.  The third mile was 12:49 with the fourth mile at 13:07.  Normal for me to have the last two miles be slower as they are uphill almost the entire way.  This is an average pace of 12:25 per mile.  The same four miles on October 8th took my 51:28 minutes with an average pace of 12:52 per mile.  The fourth split was 14:20 because the hill required me to walk a lot of portions. 

These are real shifts in my speed.  That is awesome, I am awesome. 

On Saturday I am starting a new type of speed work called Yasso's 800s.  These workouts require me to go to a track warm-up, then do 800 meters (roughly a half mile, or two laps of a standard track), not in a sprint exactly but in a real push for speed.  What the Yasso's 800s are supposed to do is a) elp you get faster but primarily b) predict your marathon time (or in my case, a half-marathon time).  If you can run the 800 in 4:00 then the argument is that you can run a marathon in 4 hours.  If you can do 800 in 4:25 then you should be able to run a marathon in 4 hours and 25 minutes, etc.  I'm hoping to run the 800s somewhere between 5 and 6 minutes.  FYI- if I ran a marathon in 6 hours that would be an average of 13:45 per mile and this may seem arrogant of me but I think I can already do that.

I look foward to getting faster.  I want to be more efficient as a runner, to burn more calories, to be able to go farther with less effort.

October 16, 2011


Do you ever have a series of day where you just eat all wrong?  Not necessarily because you're punishing yourself with food, like binging, but because you're out of town or stay late at work?

It feels like that has been my past few days.  First I went home and then to Orlando where it was 'Chinese' food, candy, and caffeine.  Simple, processed starches and greasy meat. 

Then I went to a church retreat in Cocoa Beach.  Free hotel breakfasts consisted of powder eggs, white bagels with cream cheese, sausage links, biscuits, pastries.  No, this is not an example of things I ate, but these were the things available and none of them seemed very healthy or even appetizing.  There was some canned fruit and some bruised, brown bananas.  Forgive me that I did not partake of them.

Staying in hotels for a few days means eating meals at restaurants.  Restaurant food usually tastes really good to me but burgers, pizza, and the like often leave me feeling bloated from all the salt, and slow and droopy from the overall fat and calories.

Gosh there was a lot of food available and none of it was very good for me.

So now that I'm back home I feel the need for a detoxification.  Some days of consistent, clean, at-home eating.  Food that I prepare and control, food with nutritional information that I can know and easily understand. 

I'm looking forward to vegetables and fruits!  To whole grains, to easy to see portions, to baked meat or meatless meals.  I'm looking forward to feeling like my strong, radiant self that eats a quality of food worth celebrating.

I'm looking forward to getting back to my routine.

October 8, 2011

My favorite exercise blogs

First, I had a great jog on Thursday, super speedy (for me) and I'm looking forward to my 4 miles this evening.  I'm out of my funk.

Second, I read a lot of blogs.  A lot.  I read cooking blogs, DIY blogs, fashion and clothing blogs, my friends' blogs, among other things.  However, the blogs I read by far and away the most are fitness and healthy living blogs.  I love them.  I find them incredibly motivating and check some of them multiple times a day.  Here are a list (in no particular order) of my favorite healthy living blogs.

Carrots n' Cake: I feel as though I've been reading Tina's blog for forever.  She is getting ready to run in the NYC marathon next month.  She lives in Boston and her pug, Murphy, regularly steels the show on her blog. 

Skinny Runner: SR is a SAHW (stay at home wife who mothers her teacup yorkie, Marnie) who regularly runs 10 miles or more on the weekend and has run more than a dozen marathons.  Part of the year she fishes with her family in the rough seas off of Alaska.  Highly entertaining, this woman really makes running look ridiculously easy.

Run, Eat, Repeat: Monica, the blog world's resident Mexican, or Monican as she calls herself, is a marthoner and physical trainer, as well as soon-to-be Zumba instructor.  Monica lives near the OC.  One of her favorite activities is to eat watermelon in ridiculously quantities and then blog about it.  Interesting fact: she doesn't like to run in loops or in out-and-back patterns, meaning that if she's scheduled to run 8 miles then she will run 8 miles in one direction and then call her husband to come and pick her up, which he doesn't seem to mind doing.

Ali on the Run: Ali lives in Manhattan and regularly runs the Bridle Path in Central Park.  She recently completed her first marathon.  She has Crohn's disease and for her first marathon she raised several thousands of dollars to support research on the disease.

Running off the Reese's: a blog about a girl, Cely, who loves the peanut butter and chocolate cups and who runs, whether she wants to or not.  This weekend she is competing in her very first marathon in Chicago.  Also a plus, Cely has a hilariously gassy, snoring, Queen Bee of a French bulldog named Bardot.  The pictures of her are fantastic.

October 5, 2011

Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of success in regards to exercise, especially running.  Each week I feel faster, stronger, and more confident. 

But not last night.

Last night I laced up my shoes, drove over to one of my favorite paths, started, and then, only minutes into the workout, stopped.

It didn’t feel right, I felt ‘off.’

There were logistical and technical problems.

First, the technical problems: the night before I had a lot of heel pain that left me icing my foot and loading up on Advil.  I stepped onto the path and the fear of overstretching my limits and ending up in the same position- or worse- caused me to be afraid.  I didn’t want to hurt and I really, really didn’t want to be injured to a further degree.

Second, the logistical problems: I didn’t feel comfortable in my clothes.  My underwear was shifting, my pants weren’t fitting right, I was wearing a yoga shirt, much tighter and more revealing than a jogging shirt that I feel relatively safe wearing in a private yoga studio, but wearing around a highly populated running path made me feel exposed and vulnerable.

Not every workout is going to be epic.  Not every stride is going to be filled with victory.

What do I do when this happens?  Last night I chose to quit.  I know I need to get used to running even when I don’t feel like it, that it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows.  I also know that last night I talked myself out of the workout as soon as I realized how uncomfortable I was in my body and in my clothing. 

What should I do next time this happens?  As it almost certainly will happen again.

The best thing I can think of it to think of a mantra, a repeatable phrase that I can employ when I feel out of sorts. 

Be prepared.

Why am I running when everything tells me that I should go home?  Be prepared.  Be prepared for bad weather, for wardrobe malfunctions, for being tired, for lacking motivation, for every song on my iPod being irritating and uninspiring.  Be prepared.

October 2, 2011

Running gadgets.

One thing of the things to that they tell non-exercisers in order to inspire them to work out is this "just go for a walk or a jog, all you need are your sneakers are you're good to go!"

Friends, this is not true. 

I've been bitten by the bug of jogging and running and that certainly requires more than just your average sneakers. 

Firstly, there are the shoes, and I go through them quickly.  Picking up a new pair of kicks at the Shoe Carnival used to do it for me but now... now I go to the local running shop and get my gait analyzed and buy shoes to match my gait, arches, heels, and other requirments.

Then there are the clothes.  I love capri pants for jogging, but I also have to have a good sports bras and comfortable tops, preferably sleeveless.

Socks- must get synthetic weaves now, because cotton socks result in blisters for anything longer than 4 miles.

Garmin watches- now runners, myself included, run with garmin watches that link up to the satellites and tell you where you are, your heart rate, how fast you're going, how far you've run, and then wirelessly transmit your data to your computer and a website so I can compare last week's runs to this week's runs.

iPod- must have music.  Some people like to run to audio books and I think I'll enjoy those too.

Camelbaks, fuel belts, and other hydration kits keep us comfortable.

Body Glide- an anti-chafe rub that runners rub everywhere- around their heartrate monitors, their sports bras, between their legs, on the soles of their feet, under their armpits, and anywhere else they might chafe or get blisters.

Spibelts- a fanny pack for runners to carry my keys, phone, and anything else essential.  I've also worn it to themeparks.

Compression socks- yep, I bought my first pair of compression socks yesterday.  Wait for it..... $65!!!!  These socks come to your knee and put gentle, comfortable pressure on your legs and joints.  I am finding them to be very comfortable and already helpful for my Achilles problems.

So, this whole idea of just lacing up your sneakers and heading out the door doesn't really apply to me anymore.  Once I got interested in exercising, then more specifically running and racing (agaisnt myself primarily) all of these other gadgets became less of an option and more of a need.  Music and sports bras make the run itself more comfortable.  Good shoes and socks make it so that my body actually can run, instead of getting injured. 

Beyond this list I can think of other things that runners often buy: Road IDs, fuel snacks, drinks to make your joints stronger, etc.  If you can think of it then Nike, Adidas, Saucony, or CEP, etc make it. 

What do these gadgets buy me besides comfort and ease?  They make me feel like I'm in the 'running club.'  I can participate in conversations about running because I can also talk about all of these things involved in creating running culture.  I can't buy speed but as you can see from my list I can buy a whole plethora of other things to get me there.