Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Miles End of Month

Since I started my marathon training in the middle of August last year and shortly thereafter discovered this 100 miles challenge put on by I <3 to Run ( where you pay $34 + shipping and you can get a nice belt buckle commemorating your 100 miles ran in a month achievement.  For marathon training I was running an average of 130 miles a month.  Easy peasy to hit the 100 mile mark for me.  Originally, I was going to collect all 12 months and then have them professionally mounted in an attractive shadow box to display on my wall.  Then, I decided that I could turn the buckles into medals by just adding a piece of wide ribbon to them and then I can just hang them with all my medals.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  I found a website that has all the months with their corresponding colors, so I’ve been using each month’s color for the ribbon to hang the buckle from. 
Anyway, after I completed my 3rd marathon at the beginning of March, my mileage has dropped.  In March I think I managed about 104 miles and then in April, I logged a fraction of a mile over 100 miles.  Barely squeaked in to meet the challenge!  But, I did it.  May doesn’t look like it’s going to be much more than April or March in miles just because I’ll be on vacation out of state.  I have plans to run while I’m vacation, so don’t think I’m not running at all.  I’ve signed up to run a half marathon while I’m on vacation and plus I’ll be doing my training runs during the week.  I fully intended to do at least 6 runs (that includes the half marathon) while I’m on vacation for the 16 days.  But, my hometown is only about 3 miles across at its widest point and in some places there are no sidewalks to run on.  This limits the routes I can run.  If I want to run more than 5 miles, I will be making loops.  But that’s okay.
I have something that I’m looking at that will help boost my mileage back up to an average of 130 miles instead of this just squeaking by I’ve done the last couple months.  What is it, you may be asking?  Well, a friend emailed me the other day to tell me about a race in August.  He remembered me talking about wanting to run a 50K.  The race he emailed me about is the Habanero 100.  It has a 100K and a 50K.  He signed up for the 100K.  If I register before July 26, it’s $80.  I can totally swing that!  It’s a trail run and he said the trail itself resembles the trail that the Rocky Raccoon is run on, so it’s nice wide manicured trails. 
So, after I return from my vacation, school will be out here in Texas so I can start hitting the track for some speedwork on the weekdays.  I’ve got my weekly hill run that I have fallen in love with, too.  So, I’ll just need to start doing the mega-long runs again.  And this time, my long runs will be up to a marathon distance…maybe even up to 28 miles!!!  I already know how I’ll do it and make sure I have enough fuel and water to last me.  The 13.1 miles I ran on “Marathon Monday” is perfect.  Where I park my car, I will run past it at the 8 mile, 13.4 mile, and like almost the 22 mile marks.  I can stop at my car and refill my hydration pack and grab a couple more gels at those mile marks.  I’ve thought this through fairly well.
I had so much fun marathon training, I know I’m going to really enjoy the challenge and strategy involved in training for an even longer distance!  To help keep myself injury free, I’m going to cram all my miles into 4 runs a week, sometimes only 3.  But I will definitely try to do 4 runs as many weeks as possible.  5 runs a week, I found out, was too many for me with the high mileage.  4 works out great for me, though.
So, I’m excited to start this new training cycle and I’m excited to tackle a new, longer distance!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Has Running Marathons Taught Me

Running a marathon isn’t just 26.2 miles.  That’s just the finish.  Running a marathon is the hundreds and even thousands of miles and months of hard training leading up to that 26.2 mile finish.  They say that the person who crosses the finish line at a marathon is not the same person who started running it.  “What does that mean?” you may be wondering.  Well, let me see if I can explain what it means to me. 

When I started training for my first marathon last August, it was 16 weeks before my marathon.  I later found out that some people opt to train for 20-22 weeks for a marathon, but 16 is kind of, sort of a minimum time frame to adequately train yourself to be ready to tackle 26.2 miles in one go.  I had just come off a one month running hiatus and was going straight into marathon training.  I had settled on running 5 days a week.  Going from nothing to running 5 days a week, even with the relatively low mileage at the beginning of a training cycle, was really asking a lot of myself.  But, after a week or two I was in the swing of things and it was smooth sailing.  It was summer when I started and I live in central Texas…so that means I was basically running through hades…or around the rim of an active volcano…you get the idea.  To avoid running with the Texas summer sun beating down on me and causing me to feel beat down, I opted to get up at 5:30am and run before the sun came up so all I had to do was deal with the humidity. 

The first 2 things I discovered about myself thanks to marathon training were A) I really like running regularly…I’m so much happier when I run regularly and just in general feel better about myself and my life; and B) even though I am not a morning person, I love running before the sun comes up.  There’s just something about the still of the predawn time and then, of course, there is getting to watch the sun peeking over the horizon.  I just love it.  I feel more in tune and in touch with myself and life when I run at that time of the day.

A couple months into training, I had my first injury.  It was an over-use injury too.  I strained my calf.  I was running a 15 mile training run, my long run for that week.  I was going relatively slow.  I mean, I hadn’t been doing any kind of speedwork…no intervals, no Yasso’s, no fartleks, no tempo runs…nothing.  Also, I hadn’t been pushing my pace at all.  So yea, I was running slow.  The first 5 miles, I was going about 12:30 per mile.  I was going to bump it up to 12 when I hit the 5 mile mark, but at 4.9 there was a twang in the inside area of my right calf that felt like a string snapped.  I immediately stopped and sat down and started feeling on my calf for a bulge.  I figured it was a tear, but I felt nothing…except for pain like fire, of course.  But no bulge.  As soon as I felt the twang and stopped, I said “well, I’m not running 15 miles today.”  I ran-limped the 2.5 miles home.  Probably a really bad idea but it was going to take almost literally forever to walk-limp that same distance home.  I ended up at the ER later that day because the pain didn’t lessen at all and I was afraid something serious had happened.  A $150 copay later, there were no tests performed and no ultrasound done…all he did was run his thumb over the area like I had already done and say “you just strained the muscle.”  I asked how long I should take off from running and he said “all I can tell you is to avoid any activity that causes pain.”  Gee, thanks doc.  He gave me a prescription for 600mg ibuprofen and tramadol.  I ended up taking 3 days off from running and then wore a compression sleeve on my right calf whenever I ran, regardless the distance, for a month.

What did I learn from this?  I’m tougher than I thought I was.  I also deal with pain fairly well (I technically already knew this part).  While I was disappointed that I was injured and had to take some time off, I was more concerned with healing and preventing further injury than I was with keeping up with my 5-day a week running schedule.  So, I cut a day off my running schedule and just adjusted the distances for each run so I didn’t lose any mileage for the week.  So, I learned that I deal with setbacks without too much issue.  I knew I still had 2 months before the marathon at the time of this injury and as long as I played my cards right, I could make it to the start line without further injury.

By the time the day of the marathon rolled around, I had noticed that my average mile pace was dropping.  I had shaved a minute off my average mile pace.  My average mile was now around 11:30 minutes instead of the 12:30-13:00 I had started my training with.  This made me believe that I really could run the marathon within the 7 hour cutoff.  I did the math and came up with 5:30 hours for a projected finish time.

From this I learned that even if you don’t do any speedwork, consistency pays off.  All that hard work, determination and regular running had equaled a faster average pace for me!  What I take from this is that even when you think you’re not making progress, you just might be!  Don’t sell yourself short! 

Overall, throughout the process, I learned so much about myself.  I learned that marathon training really does change you.  I think it changed me for the better.  Before I started this journey, I wasn’t really into challenging myself or being challenged even slightly.  Hence the no speedwork.  But now?  Now, I’m all about challenging myself.  I’m all about consciously making progress and improving myself.  Now I don’t just HOPE for a new PR, I make it happen!  I really like setting goals and then working my butt off to reach and exceed them!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Binge Eating Disorder

I’m tired.  I’m tired of the up and down, the up and down, the up and down.  I’m tired of the 3 steps forward and then 2 steps backward.  I am tired and beyond frustrated.  I’ve said before that I suffer from binge eating disorder (B.E.D.).  This is a real thing and it is actually the most prevalent eating disorder.  Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

• Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a 2-hour period
• Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control
• Eating even when you're full or not hungry
• Eating rapidly during binge episodes
• Eating until you're uncomfortably full
• Frequently eating alone or in secret
• Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty or upset about your eating
• Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

This is all me.  These are behaviors I have, even if those around me don’t notice them.  I’m really good at hiding things from others that I don’t want them to know about.  I frequently feel ashamed of my eating habits.  So frequently.  But I try so hard to not brow-beat myself about it. 

I’ll do great for a week or two or three or maybe even a couple months with controlling my eating, but then something happens and I feel vulnerable due to fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, even happiness.  Whatever the cause, it derails me and before I know it, I’ve stuffed my face with more food than a normal person should eat in an entire day in one sitting.  It’s horrifying when I realize what I’m doing.

I also have issues turning down free/offered food from others.  This is seeded in my deep seeded fear of not being accepted.  I'm afraid that if I don't take the proffered food that the person offering the food will feel snubbed and will no longer accept me as a peer or friend.  Something else I have talked a tiny bit about on here is that I was bullied for most of my school years.  By the time I was in high school I had learned how to make it LOOK like what the other kids said to/about me didn’t bother me, that it didn’t affect me at all.  But deep inside I was crying and hurting so deeply.  The older I got, the better I got at putting on a show that everything was hunky-dory on the outside.

In my last relationship, food was prevalent.  He was a lot of bad things and I dealt with it by eating my emotions.  Until this relationship, I didn’t have a problem with food.  I gained at least 80 pounds in the 7-ish months he and I dated.  He then moved into an apartment 20 feet from mine for the next year and a half and parading his new, extremely younger, girlfriend in front of me almost daily.  I was completely unable to move on with my life.  It is now 4.5 years after he and I parted ways and I am constantly struggling with my relationship with food.  It is extremely unhealthy.  I can lose 5 pounds in a week just to turn around and gain 7 the next week.  Whoa.

I have to get a handle on this.  Seriously.  This is no joke.  But I don’t know what to do.  I could put myself on a strict eating plan.  Heck, I’ve done it more times than I can count, but it never lasts.  When I stick to my eating plans, everything goes right.  But then I have a slip up and that slip up turns into a snowball, turns into an avalanche.  I can’t afford therapy right now and I know that would help me soooooo much.  I really do want to do it, too.  But, until then I need help.  Any help.  If you have any self-help books that have actually helped people with binge eating disorder control their unhealthy eating behaviors, I am more than open to hearing about them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

21 Day No Junk Challenge Fail

On April 6th, I started a 21-day “no junk” challenge.

I weighed myself to kick it off but didn’t post the pic I took of the scale (and have since accidentally deleted it in an effort to clear up space on my phone...wah wah).  I had gained some weight the previous week since I had been out of town and ate a BUNCH of things I don’t normally eat and didn’t exercise the way I wanted to for the most part. 
Now, I’d like to do a little diary-kind of review over the past 21 days.
• April 6: no problems.  I’m always good on the first day of a challenge or a diet.  Nothing tempts me!  I am invincible!
• April 7: accidentally ate 2 little pieces of candy from co-workers.  HOWEVER!  I did refuse a donut that was offered by another co-worker.  So…win!
• April 8: still going strong.  There was mighty temptation at work this day.  Cookies and pastries out for all to enjoy.  I refused.  And I was actually only a little tempted.  But, the moment I was like, “oh one cookie won’t kill me” I stopped myself.  I told myself “no” immediately and said, sure, in the big picture it won’t hurt anything…but you are trying to do this challenge and it is ONLY 21 days long and you’ve done similar challenges where you cut out all junk food in the past and did just fine and those were for longer periods of time.  I no longer wanted the cookie.  WIN!
• April 9: yet another good day.  With my low calorie fresh-home-made curried chicken salad in whole wheat pita pockets for lunches this week, I have been consistently UNDER my calorie threshold each day, but a good bit too…even without exercise factored in!  And I haven’t even been hungry!  So, I might see about finding some sprouted grain pita pockets and having some fresh-home-made chicken salad again next week for my lunches!  I will add more curry paste if I do as I can’t taste the curry paste at all in this week’s batch.  I will also cut down the amount of lime juice used.
• April 10: had a 5% off coupon from Target from my pharmacy rewards program that expired this day, so I figured I’d hit Target up for some groceries before work (gotta get what I need to make my healthy shrimp alfredo for the next night!  Also, getting what I need to make the mushroom & goat cheese quesadillas I’ll be eating for lunch most of next week).  I didn’t find everything I needed at Target so I went to HEB (local chain grocery store).  As I was walking around HEB, there was all sorts of junky foods and even though I was hungry (hadn’t eaten yet), none of it was appealing.  None of it.  WIN!
• April 11: this is the day before the Capital 10K!  7th biggest 10K in the nation!  Anyway, in the spirit of running a race the following day and hoping to get a PR as well, I need to carb load.  Normally, I go to Olive Garden or whatnot and get me a plate of shrimp alfredo.  Now don’t you worry, I still had my shrimp alfredo, but I made it myself!  I have a bunch of shrimp in my freezer, so I just thawed out 4 oz of it.  And I have a recipe for semi-healthy alfredo sauce, so I whipped that up and served it over a double serving of quinoa pasta for some carbo loading!
• April 12: I had my usual pre-race chocolate chip bagel from Einstein Bros Bagels.  I also bought a banana when I was at Target the other day and froze it so that I could make a banana-almond milk-vegan chocolate Shakeology smoothie to accompany the chocolate chip bagel before my race.  Normally, when I do these “no junk” type challenges, I nix all restaurant foods as well.  However, I’ve been craving BBQ and, honestly, as long as you don’t get the high calorie side dishes, BBQ is pretty healthy and not super high in calories.  So, I met my friend David for lunch after running the Capital 10K race at Terry Black’s BBQ in Austin, TX.  It’s a spin-off of my favorite BBQ restaurant: Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, TX.  Same family, same recipe.  I passed on the banana pudding, coleslaw, cobbler, and sugar-packed sweet potatoes.  I got some of the BBQ beans for a side and called it good.
Well, it was all good until later that afternoon when I started feeling sluggish and blah and decided that I wanted donuts and an iced latte.  Oops.  Oh well, the donuts and the latte were good, and so was I.  I got it out of my system.  I try not to regret eating things I “shouldn’t” be eating when I eat them because that starts a vicious cycle of emotional eating.  So I just accept that I ate something I “shouldn’t” have eaten and move on.  And usually, when I eat something I shouldn’t necessarily be eating, it’s a one and done kind of thing.  It’s not like I’m going on a junk food bender.
• April 13: start of week #2.  Back to the program.  I did an 8 mile run this day that I had to drive to get to the place I wanted to run it at and I parked in a grocery store parking lot, so post-run I got myself a chocolate milk…but that’s not junk, that’s a legitimate post-run recovery thing and I ran a good run, so I earned it.
• April 14: went to the gym this day.  My gym is Planet Fitness.  I know that they do the whole once a month pizza night, Tuesday morning bagels and cream cheese, and then the Tootsie Rolls that are at the front counter 24/7.  I don’t even pay attention to when these things happen because they aren’t anything I am going to partake of.  Anyway, when I got to the gym this morning, there was a table with boxes of bagels and containers of cream cheese all over it…and a sign that said to limit yourself to only 2 bagels.  I thought about grabbing one since even without exercise I was going to be under my calorie allowance for the day, but ultimately decided against it.  I’d much rather have some melba toast with peanut butter and honey on it after dinner if I am still hungry come the end of the day.  But, I didn’t have that either.  There were dark chocolate chips at the end of the day, however.
• April 15: Schlotzsky’s had a deal going on for this day because it is Tax Day.  A free original!  Those are fairly “not too bad” for you as long as you don’t get any sauces on them and I don’t, so I had this for lunch on this day!  But, it does still have about 570 calories, so I’m very glad I went for a 5 mile run this day.  I also worked a double shift at work so I went to the store before work and stocked up on strawberries and cantaloupe for my extra snacks to make it through 16 hours of work.
• April 16: this was another double shift at work, but it was pre-planned so I made sure when I bought the strawberries and cantaloupe the day before that I got enough for both days!
• April 17: fried chicken happened.  I was just craving it and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I had some and now I’m good.
• April 18: had a 5K this day in the morning.  Post-race there was bagels and Chick-fil-a.  I had one of each.  There was a party.  There were hot dogs, potato salad, brisket, meat & cheese rollups, summer sausage, deviled eggs, pie and cake.  I didn’t hold back too much.  I also don’t regret anything.
• April 19: had some quality girl time with my awesome friend Amanda.  We went and saw a movie and movies involve junk food.  I got the fish and chips and honestly, it wasn’t a huge serving of either fish or chips like some places give you.  I’d say about half of what you would get in a regular restaurant is what I got.
• April 20: WOOHOO!  Boston Marathon today!  Also, start of week #3, the final week…dun dun dunnnnnnn!  I ate according to my eating plan this day. 
• April 21: fail happened.  I woke up feeling horrible…got hit by the allergy truck.  I got a sausage, egg and cheese croissant sandwich and a couple small plain kolaches for breakfast and a Schlotzsky’s small pepperoni pizza for dinner.  Ugh.
• April 22: fail happened…again.  Still not feeling great.  Jack in the Box for breakfast and then there was a spread for a going away party for a coworker at work.  This is it, though.  No more junk until I go to Oregon.  Even though this particular challenge ends this weekend, I’m going to just continue to stick to it until my vacation next month.  And, even then, I’m still going to do my best to make the healthier choices during my visit. 
• April 23: day #1 again.  Haha.  But seriously, I’m starting this over like I said in the last entry.  I’m going to control myself with the exception of a couple PLANNED meals out on the 25th and on May 2nd and those are only because I have races the next morning and I want to “carbo load” for them.  And then maybe I will also eat out on May 3rd when I go to my friend’s house for the day after National Scrapbook day to do some scrapbooking.
• April 24: holy cow!  I cannot be trusted with food.  Plain and simple.  Someone please take away my food privileges.  Seriously.  I’m not joking.  I had Taco Cabana today.
• April 25: I went to Red Lobster and gorged myself on biscuits, a full order of shrimp alfredo linguini, and then some apple crustini dessert thing that was delicious.  The biscuits and the alfredo were planned as I had a half marathon the next morning and this is my usual night before a big race dinner. 
• April 26: FINAL DAY!  Had my half marathon this morning, went to Schlotzsky’s for a pastrami and swiss sandwich, no chips and then Frito pie for dinner (chili and Frito's with cheese).
I did my final weigh in today, April 27th because that would be after I completed the 21st day, which was yesterday the 26th.  Overall, I’m glad I did this challenge.  I do love to get away from the junk that, honestly, I really don’t even like eating.  But, because in the back of my emotional mind, “it’s comforting” to eat that crap when really it’s not.  It makes me feel worse after I eat it than I felt before I ate it. 
And, of course, part of the reason I took up this challenge was because I had just come off a week of overindulging in foods I don’t normally eat and seriously needed a detox, for lack of a better term.  I needed to flush all the junk out of my system and get my body back on real, whole, healthy foods.  I had also gained a few pounds during that week of overindulgence, so I needed to get rid of the bulge as well.  And, I obviously completely failed at that.  I’m not shifting the blame off myself.  No one forced me to eat those foods.  I made the decisions to eat it.  But, I had a lot of anxiety the last couple weeks and I don’t exactly cope with high anxiety very well.  I’m going to TRY to not eat junk or restaurant food (except for this Saturday because I have another race Sunday morning) until I’m in Oregon next month

Five Foods

What are FIVE of your absolute must staples when you go grocery shopping?
I recently saw this teaser question at the end of a blog I read regularly.  It got me to thinking.  People ARE always asking me what kind of foods do I eat?  What are the foods I eat the most?  What are the best foods to eat for whatever purpose?  Etc etc.  I figured it would be a good idea to address these questions.  I’d like to point out that I am in no way a nutritionist or dietician and most of what I do is just what works for me.  I would also like to note that I do count calories so some things I eat  factor into that.  I like to do volumetrics with super low calorie things (most veggies fit in this category) to fill me up without breaking the calorie bank.  So, here we go.
Five absolute stapes I always buy when grocery shopping.
1. unsweetened plain almond milk.  I use this for my breakfast cereals, any shakes I might make (this is very rare as I don’t believe in meal replacement…but using shakes as supplements I’m totally okay with), and for recipes in place of regular milk.
2. onions.  I use an amazing amount of onions in all the cooking I do.  Almost every single Indian dish I’ve made requires at least one onion to be either cut into slices or chopped up. 
3. shirataki noodles.  These are great for when you want pasta but not the 200+ calories for little tiny 2 oz serving.  Each package of the noodles is 7 oz and like a whopping 15 calories.  I use them in basically every dish I make that requires pasta so I can cut the calories and enjoy the sauce (which we all know is the best part of eating a pasta dish) more fully.
4. sweet potatoes.  These are great.  You can use them for snacks by peeling and cutting into wedges, coating with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and cumin and baking them.  You can use them as a side dish by just baking them and adding just butter.  Or you can make them a dessert by adding a little sweetener and cinnamon.  You can use them in tandem with some steamed cauliflower all mashed together to replace mashed potatoes and/or top a shepherd’s pie with.  You can use them to fill baked potato skins for a great party snack.
5. no salt added canned tomato products.  Seriously.  Like onions, I seem to use some canned tomato item in almost everything I cook, whether it be paste, diced, or sauce/puree.  This would also include marinara sauce.  I ALWAYS get the no salt added ones.  If the store I’m at doesn’t offer no salt added canned items, I simply go to another store until I do find them, but most stores have them.   The no salt added marinara sauce is a little harder to find, however.  My regular grocery store doesn’t carry it.  I had to go to Sprouts to get it from their house brand items.  So, I’m sure you can find it at Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods just fine.
Other miscellaneous food items that are really handy to try and keep in stock at home.  Low sodium broths (beef, chicken, vegetable).  Low sodium canned beans (all varieties!  Kidney, black, pinto, garbanzo, etc).  Quinoa (while it won’t save you on calories, it is a great and tasty alternative to plain rice…just sub it into a dish where you would normally use rice).  Lentils.  Cantaloupe (super low calorie – 120 calories for 2 cups cubed & great to satisfy that sweet tooth).  Ghee and coconut oil (while obviously not low cal or low fat, these are better for you than using highly processed things like margarine).  Frozen veggies.  Extra lean ground turkey (I buy in bulk and then weigh out into 1 lb portions and then freeze each pound individually).  All sizes of freezer baggies.  When I cook in bulk, I like to portion it out into separate freezer baggies, then I put all the portions into a gallon freezer bag and write on the big bag what dish it is.  And the food is doubled up in freezer bags, so that helps protect it from freezer burn better.
There are probably more things that I like to keep handy in my kitchen but these are the main ones and the reasons behind them for why I personally keep them in stock at all times.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weigh In & Recap

I didn’t post a scale pic last week because I was ashamed.  I had allowed my eating to get out of control again and, even though I did in fact step on the scale, I didn’t take a picture of it.  I just accepted it and vowed to start over and do better.  I know a lot of it was water retention and not true weight gain, but still…it was way more than I wanted to see.  But, I’m back to full disclosure today, so here’s today’s weigh in:
I have basically almost started over again.  I really wish I could get a handle on my binge eating disorder.  I've been so anxious lately and that has not helped one bit.  I've got a bit of a situation at work that may or may not be an actual issue...will find out on Tuesday.  And I'm so afraid that something is going to go wrong with my trip to Oregon in 2 weeks.  I hate that I get anxious (or however I'm feeling vulnerable at any given time) and I automatically turn to food and I don't even realize what I'm doing until I've stuffed my face with more food than I should have eaten in an entire day all in one sitting.  So frustrating to take 3 steps forward just to take 2 steps backward.  *sigh*
I wasn't very on top of things with my exercise this week.  It was most definitely an "off" week for me and I'm not proud of it.  I mean, I'm super happy with what I DID do, but the fact that I only have 3 days of activity out of 7...that's pretty pathetic for me.  Hopefully I can quit being so anxious and sleep better and eat better and just all around be a better ME.
• Saturday: ran a 5K and it was awesome.  I PR’ed and placed 3rd in my age group, so I’m very happy.  For the full report, go here.
• Sunday: was “supposed” to do a long run, but I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, so I slept until 12:30pm have no regrets.  I got up, ran some errands, met my friend Amanda at a high end dinner and a movie place to watch Cinderella, then went back home and messed around on the computer.  I finally got around to food prep around 10pm.  Finished up with that around 2am.  Geez.  So, obviously, no workout this day.
• Monday: my run schedule for this week was 14 miles, 7 miles, 9 miles and 4 miles.  I nixed the 14 miler on Sunday.  I was thinking maybe I’d change the 7 to a 10, but then I remembered it was Marathon Monday and that I had signed up to run a virtual half marathon for the Boston Forever Strong virtual run.  So, a half marathon it was!  The first 8 miles were the same from my hilly run last week and then I tacked on another 5.1 hilly miles and called it a day.  Ha!  I also PR’ed the half marathon distance.  Hilarious since my previous PR was from the Biggest Loser Half Marathon last year and that course was about 90% flat.  So, I’m very happy with this.  This year’s Biggest Loser is tomorrow and I think I’m going to try and hang with the 10:30 min/mi pace group…if they have pace groups again, that is.  I hope they have pace groups.  Anyway, this was a great run and I wore my “Boston Forever Strong” performance t-shirt that came with the medal (that didn’t even ship until this day, so I didn’t have it when I finished running…boo!) and my “Will Run For Boston” heavy wicking headband by BondiBand.
• Tuesday: I woke up feeling like I got hit by the allergy Mack truck.  I was going to go to the gym, but felt horrible and just stayed in bed instead.  Then, I was going to hit the rowing machine up after work with my friend David, but when we went to go, we discovered everybody else had the same idea, so we nixed it.
• Wednesday: was going to run 9 miles this day…but still was not feeling too good and also had anxiety the night before and didn’t get to sleep until probably 3am.  So I just slept in again.
• Thursday: it has now been 3 days without running or any kind of workout.  I feel like a slug.  But, I did the math and as long as I do the remaining runs for this month as I have them scheduled, I will still run over 100 miles for the month…whew!  Also, I only like 10% regret not running for 3 days.  Why?  Because I ran a hard 13.1 miles on Monday that was chock full of hills and I ran my fastest time for 13.1 miles on top of that!  Also, allergies hit me HARD starting on Tuesday and they didn’t clear up until this day.
• Friday: forced myself to get my lazy carcass out of bed and run.  I wasn’t dreading it.  I did want to.  But I just didn’t want to expend the effort, so I got it done as fast as possible without blowing myself up.  Haha.  4 miles in 40:49?  Boom.  Done.  Mind over matter is what it’s all about, for realz.

All I can do is plan and hope to do better next week.  Starting Monday, I am going to try and be more strict with myself with my eating.  I'm really going to try and not have any junk or restaurant foods, except for a "carbo load" dinner next Saturday for my 10K next Sunday, until I arrive in Oregon in 2 weeks.  I'm also going to try and be better with running and maybe even get to the gym at least once next week.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Would You Rather? Runner Edition

1.  Would you rather come across a snake or a rat while out for a run?  (I have come across both… that is why I am asking this one).  
I’d be okay with either, but really, I think the rat would bother me less because it’s similar to a squirrel and I see those all the time.  I know which snakes in Texas are poisonous and also that they don’t usually hang out on or next to trails, but prefer to be hidden in tall grass or brush.

2.  Would you rather have to run for the next 6 months without a GPS watch or without your music?  
Oh god.  What horror inspired this question.  I guess…I guess I’d opt to go sans music.  I just HAVE to have my data, you know?

3.  Would you rather have the first half of your run be uphill or the second half of your run be uphill?
I’d much rather get the hill out of the way in the first half.  I’ve discovered this preference from experience and when I’m routing a training run, if I know where there are hills, I usually try to put them in the first few miles…unless of course it’s a hilly run and there are hills throughout the entire run...but even then, I like to make sure that the last mile is either flat or at a slight downhill.

4.  Would you rather run your next 5 miler without shoes or without a sports bra?  
Without a sports bra.  The thought of my bare feet pounding on the concrete or asphalt makes me cringe.

5.  Would you rather explore a new area that you have never been to before for your next run or stick to your normal favorite running loop?
New area would win every time.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love my old standby routes.  They’ve never done me wrong and I do not find them boring at all, even though I’ve been running them for over 2 years now.  But, new scenery every now and then is a really good way to break things up and maybe make me push myself a little harder than I usually do during a training run.

6.  Would you rather run in a strong headwind or …..  I actually can’t think of anything worse than running in a strong headwind so let’s just skip this one.

7.  Would you rather never have to stretch again after a run or never have to do core work again in order to stay injury free?  
I’d rather never have to do core work.  I mean, I don’t exactly mind doing core work, but it can get so tedious.  Stretching has the added benefit of being very relaxing, so, even though I’ve been a bad runner and have been super slacking about doing my post-run stretches, I do love to stretch.  In fact, I was just thinking the other day that I really do need to get back in the habit of stretching post-run.

8.  Would you rather run with a blister on your foot or run with a side cramp?
hmmm…I have run with both and honestly, the blister is less annoying, even when it’s bleeding all over my shoe.

9.  Would you rather get a brand new pair of running shoes for free or get a brand new running outfit for free?
SHOES!!!  Frankly, I don’t need any more of either, but I need more colors.  I’d love a pair of the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11’s in the sea foam green!!!

10.  Would you rather do a huge race with spectators all along the course or do a small race without all of the extra stress of a big race?
big race with loads of spectators!!!  I love spectators.  They really do make or break a race!  But small races are great too because then I have a chance of scoring an age group award!  Haha!

If you'd like to play along, post your responses in the comments!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stand Up 5K Race Report

This is the 3rd annual Stand Up 5K.  It benefits the Austin area Anti-Defamation League in their efforts to reduce and eventually end bullying in our schools.  This is something that is “near and dear,” as they say, to me and my heart.  You see, I was bullied when I was young.  I wasn’t popular.  I wore hand-me-down and thrift shop clothes.  I had no idea how to do my hair all fancy like the popular girls did.  I didn’t have all the cool new toys.  My family wasn’t well off.  By the time I was in high school, I had stopped answering to my name because the other kids were always talking to one of the popular girls named Sara in our class, never to me.  I had gotten tired of them laughing at me when they hollered out “SARA!” to one of the popular girls and I turned around and they thought it was funny that I could think that they would possibly want to get MY attention and talk to ME.  Yea, right.  Anyway, I believe in this program and I believe it is important.

There was a snafu with the information provided about packet pickup.  Packet pickup was available on the Thursday and Friday before the race at the event location, but it was also available at Rogue Running for one day as well, at their downtown location.  This was very convenient for me as I work downtown.  The email I received said the Rogue pickup was on Friday.  Wrong.  It was on Thursday.  So I had to drive all the way out to the event location and speed back downtown so I wasn’t late for work.  Made it with 5 minutes to spare.  Ugh.  I was less than happy about this.  But, as my packet pickup was very hurried as I let the lady know that I was in a race to make it to work on time, I was afraid my name and bib number wouldn’t get properly connected as they were assigning the bibs when you came to pick up your packet.  They were not preassigned.  Since I was in such a hurry, she just had me write down my name and then scribbled my bib number down next to it.  I found out after I got to work that I could have waited until the morning of the event to get my packet.  Oh well.  I did really want to do the traditional “flat runner” and I prefer to do those with my bib in the picture.  I made one of my "Team Sheriff" tech shirts into a tank top and I like it!
I am happy to report that we finally have a logo, after 3 years.  Haha.  But, I’m really happy with this logo.  It’s pretty awesome.

A little back story about how I was feeling the morning of the race.  Wednesday and Thursday nights I worked 16 hour shifts.  So, that’s about 5.5 hours of sleep Thursday morning and Friday morning.  Then, Friday night, I had anxiety issues (probably due to too much caffeine) and couldn’t go to sleep so I’m sure I again only got about 5.5 hours of sleep.  So, I was pretty tired Saturday morning.  I tried and tried to remember if I had eaten a bagel before the Bunny Run a few weeks before but couldn’t remember.  So I just didn’t get anything to nosh on pre-race.  I figured, it’s just a 5K, I’ll be done in less than half an hour, I don’t need fuel.  About 8 minutes before the race was scheduled to start, I started feeling very hungry.  Great.  I’m not eating an entire bagel that close to the start of a race, even “just a 5K.”  I haven’t ever thrown up while running and I’d like to keep it that way, thanks.  So I ran hungry.

I went into this race hoping to get a new PR.  I really wanted to get an official time of 27:30 or faster.  I was also hoping to place in my age group this year.  As I waited at the start line for the race to start feeling worn down and tired and hungry, I wasn’t sure these would be possible.  But dang it, I was going to try!  I had set up my music and paused it with my RedFox headphones so all I had to do when the race started was hit the pause button again and it would start playing.

I set up my Polar to estimate my finish time for a 5K.  As the race started and I crossed over the timing mat, I hit start on my Garmin and on my Polar.  Then I hit the pause button on my RedFox and nothing happened.  So I hit the skip button and still nothing.  Great.  As I’m running, I pull my phone out and discover that the music player was completely unselected.  So I started it back up and then focused on doing what I could to make a PR happen.

For the first about ¾ of a mile, my Polar was estimating a 25-ish minute finish.  Awesome!  As I got to the 1 mile mark, it was leveling out just shy of 27 minutes.  I was cruising along at 8:28 min/mi for the first 2 miles (yep, exact same mile time for the first 2 miles…win!).  My third mile was a bit slower at 8:53.  The lack of sleep and the hunger were started to wear me down.  When my Garmin buzzed on my wrist that I had just hit 3 miles and there was about .1 of a mile to go, I hit the gas.  The last .17 of the race was at an 8:20 pace.  Boom!  I brought it home and finished in 27:14!  I made goal #1 of a new PR happen!  I was so excited!  I was also tired, but I don’t believe I was completely spent.  I think I could have prepared a little better and pushed myself a little harder and done better.  A 5K of 26:something will happen before 2015 is over, I guarantee it.

Now to wait for the majority of the runners/walkers to finish so they can have the awards ceremony.  I went into the tent to give my name to the officials for the law enforcement runner list and then scoped out the medals table.  Hmm…there was suspiciously very few medals on the table.  So I looked a little closer.  The children’s age groups were normal.  10 and under, and 11-19.  After that it got weird.  20-35, 36-50, 50+.  What the heck is this?  15 year age groups?  I’ve never heard of this before.  My friend Ben also ran and was in second overall place (he got beat by a teenager…hehehehe).  He and I have run a few of the same races but have yet to get a picture together.  Fail.  Anyway, we knew he was getting a medal and he asked me “you got a medal coming to you?”  I said “I hope so!”  Before too long, the awards ceremony was under way.  They got to my age group and gender and guess who got 3rd place?  Yep, little ol’ me!  YAY!  With those weird age groups, I’ll happily take a 3rd place award.  I do really wish the medal had the awesome new logo on it instead of some generic cross country running scene, but it is inscribed for this race on the reverse side, so that’s okay.  Maybe they’ll have customized medals and even bibs next year!  I can hope, right?

There was an official photographer/videographer, but I’m not sure if or when the photos he took will be posted.  Thankfully, there were a few people from my agency out there taking pictures that weren’t running, so I’ve been able to snag their pictures to use here.
with Paula & Karen post-race
my bib and 3rd place finisher's medal
i'm in the center to the left of the little girl in the white
shirt and black shorts...kinda hard to see
this was around mile 2
I love this race and look forward to running it every year!  They raised $2650 in donations for the ADL and I believe that donation total was matched by one of the sponsoring businesses.  That is so awesome!  This is honestly one of my favorite races to run. 

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