Unplugged and Recharged

I’m not a super girly girl.  I don’t care a lot about fashion, make-up, shopping–things that a lot of girls like.  Not that I don’t like those things (well, I really don’t like shopping), but I just don’t care a lot about them.  I mean, just take a look at the photos I post of myself!

But over the years and a couple of trips to Africa later, I’ve discovered that I do like my creature comforts.  I like warm showers, soft beds, and blow drying my hair.  I don’t like being dirty for longer than whatever activity got me dirty.

So when my CrossFit gym decided to take a camping trip, my first thought was of a whole day with no shower and sleeping on the hard ground.  But the adventure of exploring a new piece of my part of the world won me over quickly, and I couldn’t wait to go.

So last weekend I headed to Devil’s Den State Park in northwest Arkansas for a weekend of roughing it.  I was hoping that spilling ice all over the floor before I even made it out the door was not a sign of how the weekend would go.

Thankfully, it wasn’t, and I had a wonderful time.  Devil’s Den is beautiful!  We hiked up and down mountains, scrambling over tree limbs and up rocks.  I got hot and sweaty and dirty, but I loved every moment of it.

 

 

 

 

 

                  Taking my bike for a spin turned my legs to Jell-o with all the hills, but I wouldn’t have missed out on riding along a trail like this for anything!

And then soaking our tootsies in the lake, grilling chicken for dinner, watching the campfire…for the first time in weeks, I felt the stress of work and everyday life melt away.

 

The crazy thing is when I look back over the weekend, I don’t think about the streaks of dirt on my unshowered body or the miserably hard ground–the discomforts I typically associate with camping.  What I think about is how relaxing just getting away from it all was.  With no cell service in the park, there were no phone calls or texts to answer, no need to check email, no ability to scroll down Facebook lane.  There was only friends and nature.

So I came home tired but feeling recharged from a weekend of being totally unplugged.  I might have to make camping a regular activity! (Did I really just say that?!)

Talk to me:

How do you recharge?

What’s your favorite outdoor spot to visit?

Camping or no camping?

 

Invasion of the Giant Spider

So I was going down my very short hallway earlier this week when I came upon this sitting on the carpet:I HATE spiders!  I’m not too scared of them–usually.  I just don’t like them.  This one freaked me out a bit, though, because he was big enough to eat me for lunch.

But courageously, I grabbed a shoe and whacked that massive spider. Instead of falling to the ground in a heap of legs, though, it started running towards me.  I got really freaked out then.  I took a few steps backward preparing to sprint to the other end of the house, but I found a tiny bit of leftover courage and whacked it again.

So maybe whacking spiders isn’t the most kind thing to do, but I wasn’t about to pick that thing up and gently set it outside.  And there was no one else around to deal with it.

That’s one of the things that kind of stinks about being single.  There’s no one else around to deal with icky pests.  Other things that go on around the house can generally wait until I can find someone to do them for me, like putting in foundation piers when the walls separated enough to fit my pinky finger in the crack.  Yeah, that was fun.

But when it comes to critters, I’m on my own.  They’re not going to wait while I stand on my couch waiting for someone to come get it.  Shiver.

Thankfully, I’ve never found a snake in my house.  As much as I dislike insects, I am petrified of snakes.  If a snake ever got into my house, I kid you not.  I’d put a “For Sale” sign in the yard that very day and sell my house to the first person who offered me more than a buck for it.

But it was only a spider this time.  Not even a mouse.  I’m not quite sure what I’d do if a mouse got loose inside my house.  I might actually be calling my brother and standing on the couch until he got there.

I wonder if my job would accept that excuse for being late to work…Sorry.  I was stuck on the couch.

 

Here’s to hoping I never find out and may the pests in my house never be bigger than this spider!

Talk to me:

What do you do if you see a spider inside your house?

Have you ever had a mouse in your house?

 

Photo credit:  http://funcatpictures.com/2013/09/05/scared-cat/

One Hour Meal Prep, 2

So I walked you through what a meal prep session looks like for me.  Today, I want to give you some basic tips to a meal prepping plan that works for me.

As I mentioned, I just can’t get to the point of having every meal and snack in individual bowls in the refrigerator.  Maybe it’s an organizational thing, but I think, more likely, that it’s because I like to have at least some choice of what to eat when I’m hungry.  So I look at meal prepping as doing the hard and/or time consuming part of a meal ahead of time.  Then, when I’m ready for dinner, all I need to do is assemble it.

Here’s how I go about that.

  1. Start with a menu in mind.  I usually do my grocery shopping with a few meals in mind.  I pick up the ingredients for those meals and then make sure I have the staples and plenty of healthy snacks for when I’m on the run.
  2.  Cook foods that you can use in multiple different meals ahead of time.  Think about all the different ways you could use one food item.  If you had baked chicken on hand, what all could you do with it?  Or if you had a cooked spaghetti squash, think of maybe two or three different ways you could eat it.  Meal prep is a good time to cook pasta or rice, roast vegetables (like a spaghetti squash or sweet potatoes), cook your meats, hard boil eggs, or anything that will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.  Sometimes, I do actually cook a pot of soup or a casserole and dish it up into individual bowls.
  3. Chop fresh fruit and vegetables.  It’s much easier and quicker to assemble a salad if all the vegetables are cut.  And wouldn’t you be more likely to grab some broccoli and hummus for a snack if you didn’t have to stop and cut up the broccoli first?  Meal prep is the time I cut up any vegetables, or fruits, I have in the refrigerator–broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cantaloupe, watermelon.  If I know I’ll want to use an onion in an omelet or maybe on a salad or in a wrap, I’ll cut up the onion as well.  This is also a good time to wash ready to eat fruits, like grapes, cherries, apples.  Find any way possible to make it quick and easy to grab and eat the healthy foods later that you have stocked in your refrigerator.
  4. Keep “convenience” foods stocked.  Say what?  Convenience foods for me are those healthy options that are ready to use, like frozen veggies, cans of wild caught tuna (no cooking needed), baby carrots (no peeling or chopping required), bags of organic spinach, cans of beans and diced tomatoes (ready to use).   I always have these foods on hand.  They may not be what most people would call convenience foods, but you get the point.  Keep foods around that won’t wreck your healthy eating plan but require very little prep time.

So that’s it.  That’s it?  Yep.  Meal prepping for me is essentially doing all the time consuming tasks of cooking a meal ahead of time–cooking the parts of the meal that take the longest and chopping what needs to be chopped.  Then, at meal time, all that’s left is assembly.  And it works for me.  Having a rather loose definition of meal prepping gives me the freedom to choose what to eat when I’m hungry but also limits my choices to healthy options because I’ve decided ahead of time on a few healthy meals for the week.

Talk to me:

What does meal prepping mean to you?

What challenges to meal prepping do you have?

 

 

One Hour Meal Prep

When I began my weight loss journey, meal prepping was a foreign concept to me.  And to be honest, I wasn’t really into it.

I understood the value of meal prepping.  It’s a great way to prevent those spur of the moment fast food runs when you’re too tired to cook.  And it’s a great way to make healthy options easily accessible when life keeps you hopping.  I got that.

But I had this vision of spending hours in the kitchen and bowls of Tupperware lined up in the refrigerator, each holding a ready to heat meal.  That’s great for some people, but I just couldn’t get there.

So if you’re like me and think that meal prepping takes too much time, let me take you through my meal prep session for this week.

9:56 a.m.  Season the chicken and begin to cook it.  (I used my George Foreman grill.)10:00 a.m.  While the chicken is cooking, make cauliflower rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:15 a.m.  Chop up fresh broccoli. (I’m much more likely to eat fresh veggies with hummus for a snack or in salads for lunch if they’re already chopped.)10:25 a.m.  Chop up a cantaloupe.10:35 a.m.  Dice an onion.10:40 a.m.  Brown onion and ground turkey.

10:41 a.m.  Begin the clean-up while the turkey is cooking.

11:00 a.m.  Put the semi-cooled turkey in the refrigerator.  Fold the dishcloth over the sink.  Grab a glass of ice water and prop your feet up on the couch because…meal prepping is done for the week!

And it took 1 hour!

But, you say, you didn’t make any meals!  True, but I have all kinds of stuff at my finger tips ready to make meals–chicken for salads or alongside some vegetables, ground turkey with some cauliflower rice and veggies for a quick and easy stir-fry.  There are a lot of ways I can combine a few simple foods to make meals in a matter of minutes.

And that is how I meal prep!  Stay tuned for some basic guidelines of how I make meal prepping work for me.

Talk to me:

Do you meal prep?  Why or why not?

What’s on your menu for this week?

 

Half-Marathon Training: The End of the Line?

And just like that, my race is over before it began–maybe.

I’ve been dealing with a hip flexor issue or something in that neighborhood for a looong time.  Like around 2 years.  It gets better, stays away for a few weeks or months, and then comes back to annoy the heck out of me again.  But it’s been manageable.  I’m sure the chiropractor is tired of hearing me complain about this pain in my groin, but after he works on it, it feels better, and I’ve been able to continue running without issue.

Until a few weeks ago.  After no issue for almost 2 months, the pain came back and won’t go away.  Working on it helped for like 2 seconds, but I noticed increasing pain after long runs.  So I was down to running every other day, which meant I was missing a LOT of workouts and weekly miles that I need for race training.  A little over a week ago, I ran our long Saturday run, and that’s been it.  Ever since that run, I’ve had issues even walking and sitting.

So training has ground to a screeching halt.  And with long runs reaching 11 miles and more now, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to make up the miles and workouts that I’ve missed to be race ready.

If I were a kid, I’d be lying on the floor, kicking and screaming.  I’m so disappointed.

But something a friend I CrossFit with said has rattled around in my head all day.  After only being able to complete half of a fast 1 mile today (because of this stupid groin issue) I blurted out how frustrated I was that I probably won’t be able to run the half-marathon I’ve been training for, especially since I was hoping to run a PR.

She looked at me and said, “So because you can’t do your best, it’s not worth trying at all?”

And she wasn’t being mean, she was asking sincerely.

…it’s not worth trying at all?

...it’s not worth trying at all?

I’ve thought long and hard about that.  It goes along with what the CrossFit coach asked me when I told him what a hard time I have with overhead squats because of upper back and shoulder mobility issues.  “Why do you want to do an overhead squat?  Is it just to say you can?  Or do you want to get stronger?  Because if you want to get stronger, there’s other exercises you can do.”

So I’ve thought about why I want to run this race–like really why.  And is that why strong enough to run it even if I know a PR is out of the picture?

Mmmm….

She has a really good point.

Running is fun.  Running races is a blast.  I know I’ll never win a race, and while I’ve captured some age division places in smaller races, I’ll probably never place in bigger races like the Route 66 races which draw thousands of runners.  So is it really a big deal if I don’t run these 13.1 miles as fast as I probably could?  Or if I have to walk 6 of those miles?  I’d still get to experience the race and the super cool experience of participating in such a big race.  I’d just get to experience it a lot longer than if I was running a PR!

So I’ve decided to hold on to my why and love for running, and barring any further damage to an impending (or maybe a present) injury, run the race as fast I can, enjoy the adventure, and for once forget about the time.

I’m sure that’s easier said than done, but…I’ll try.

Talk to me:

Have you ever missed out on something you were looking forward to because of illness or injury?

 

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10 Unexpected Things Running Did To Me

I was climbing into the shower, for the second time that day, and I started to chuckle, thinking about how normal it is for me to take more than one shower a day sometimes.  That never happened before I became a runner, and then I realized there are lots of things I do or think about since I’ve become a runner–aside from running, anyway.

  1.  I look for sidewalks.  Say what?  Yes, I look for sidewalks.  As I’m driving, I look for sidewalks because sidewalks are potential running routes.  I live in a city which means lots of cars and busy streets.  And because motorists don’t always notice or pay attention to runners, sidewalks can be vital to a runner’s life and health!
  2. I notice hills.  When I train for a long race, I always include hill training–running fast uphill.  Hill repeats are on my list of top 10 things that make me frown the most, but it’s nearly impossible to run anywhere in Tulsa without meeting a hill.  So…you want to run a good race, you train on hills.  So I notice hills.  I look for hills, especially ones with sidewalks, and file it away for when I need to run some hills.
  3. I go through a lot more sunscreen.  I have very pale skin and can burn almost at the mention of being outside.  I spend hours outside each week now running, so to prevent those inevitable burns, applying sunscreen is part of my getting ready to run routine.  A word to the wise here, even if you don’t have super pale skin that burns easily, wear your sunscreen!  You can still wind up with skin cancer from those harmful UV rays.  I like to wear sunscreen lip balm as well because, you know, lips are skin too.
  4. I do a lot more laundry.  Now, compared to parents with kiddos, the amount of laundry I have is probably still peanuts to them, but since I’ve taken up running, my laundry basket is never empty.  And being involved in multiple sports, I can go through several workout outfits in a day.  It seems like there’s always a stack of workout clothes in or on the dryer!
  5. I take more than one shower a day.  I can’t help it.  I shower in the morning to get ready for the day (a shower in the morning is my caffeine!), but after an evening run, I have to shower again to get that sunscreen and sweat off before I get in my bed.
  6. I pay more attention to the weather.  I want to know before I head out the door for  a run that I am dressed appropriately.  So I’m always looking at the weather forecast.  Because Oklahoma weather is so squirrely, I keep a bag with me that has running gear to help me through unexpected weather–gloves, arm warmers, a hat.
  7. I notice runners.  I don’t mean to say I didn’t notice runners before I was one, but I really SEE runners now.  I see the commitment it takes to go for a run.  I see their dedication to health and fitness.  I see the hard work it takes to run up that hill.  I see them and I mentally applaud them and can’t wait to go home and jump into my running shoes.
  8. I pay more attention to what I eat and when I eat it.  Before running entered my life, I tended to just eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  But running changed that.  If I eat something too heavy, I feel sluggish and sick when I run, even if it’s a meal from the night before.  If I don’t eat enough carbs before a run, my blood sugar crashes.  So I’ve had to find that balance of figuring out what works for me to run on and how long before I run I should eat my last substantial meal.  And I’ve had to think about eating after a run–getting those carbs to replace my glycogen stores and making sure I’ve got a good protein source to repair my beaten up muscles.  I think about food a lot, obviously!
  9. I eat a lot more bananas.  To go along with the whole thinking about food thing, I eat a lot more bananas since I’ve started running.  A banana is generally my go to pre-run snack, and a banana in a protein shake is generally my post-run recovery snack.  I always keep bananas in my house and nearly panic when I run out.  I’ve been known to go to the store for nothing but bananas!
  10. I plan my schedule around running.  The last way running has unexpectedly changed my life is the way it’s changed how I plan and organize my day.  I think about how many miles I need to run that day, what kind of run it needs to be (hills vs. recovery–such as a hard or an easy run), and what the weather will be like.  Taking all those things into account and looking at what all else I need to do that day, I plan my day.  Sometimes that’s getting up super early to beat the heat.  Sometimes that’s meeting my running group in the evening, but whatever the day includes, you can almost bet that somehow fitting in a run, or a workout, had something to do with the order of events.

Talk to me:

How many loads of laundry do you do every week?

What is something you have to do that makes you frown?

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Half-Marathon Training: Lessons from the Heat

Another week.  Another 26 miles on the running shoes.  That was my weekly total last week.  It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago, I ran that many miles in a few hours!

Anywho, training went well last week.  I had some time off from work so I was able to make every group run during the week, including our tempo run on Thursday night.  I ran at the top of our tempo pace, and it felt great!  I, seriously, couldn’t stop smiling I felt so good!017So going into our 10 mile run on Saturday, I felt optimistic.  I had done well with 9 miles last week.  Weekly runs had felt good.

But 3 miles into our run, we stopped for water, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it, at least not at our current pace.  I paced myself slower than the rest of the group like last week, but I was still struggling.  My legs felt heavy, and I couldn’t get my breathing under control.  Usually by 3 miles in, I’ve got my breathing where it needs to be and my legs are starting to wake up.  This time, though…it wasn’t happening.

The pace group just below mine came in for water, so I joined them for the rest of the run.  The pace was at least 30 seconds a mile slower, and yet, I still struggled.  I felt like I had never run before.  Like ever.  It was horrible.

And it was horribly humid.  I had on a loose-fitting shirt, but even though it was moisture wicking, that thing got totally water-logged from sweat and slapped against my body like a wet towel.  My legs were like lead, and one hill lead to another and another…

And on we ran.  Would we never reach 10 miles?  I continually fought the urge to walk, willing myself to just put one foot in front of the other.  Angela, a fellow runner I’m getting to know, must have seen what a hard time I was having.  She came up beside me and just started chatting.  I didn’t say much,  mostly just listened, but having her there got me through to the end, and finally that terrible, no good, really bad 10 mile run was about to become a bad memory.

But as hard as that run was, looking back (because, you know, perspective is everything), I learned some things in those steamy, hilly, miserable 10 miles.

  1.  Long runs don’t start the morning of the run.  Long runs are a product of what we do all week.  Let nutrition and hydration lapse, and it will affect your long run.  Looking back, I had not eaten as healthily as usual or drank my usual amount of water in the days leading up to our long run.  Given the 1000 percent humidity on Saturday, that most definitely played a part in my struggle.
  2. I can do hard things.  If there’s a lesson I learned (or learned again) it was that I can do hard things.  I may not want to do hard things, but I can.  It’s sometimes mind over matter, as in the case Saturday, when I knew I had the physical ability to run 10 miles at our pace.  It was just a matter of pushing through the discomfort from the heat, humidity, and hills.  A word to the wise here, though.  There’s NO shame in cutting a run short if you’re feeling bad physically.  Know and listen to your body.  If you’re dizzy, light headed, nauseated, in real pain, or feeling any other symptom that you are concerned about, just stop.  It’s okay to stop and probably dangerous to your health to keep going.
  3. People make doing hard things bearable.  At the end of our run, I learned that nearly everyone in the training program had a tough run that day.  In fact, a record 25 people had to be picked up by the sag wagon.  I’m telling you, that humidity was horrible.  Seriously, I’m not sure I would have found the strength to keep going had it not been for Angela.  That’s what running with a group is all about for me.  It’s all of us, sharing an experience, and cheering each other on.  Next time, I hope I can be the cheerleader instead of the one needing to be carried.

So what obstacles stand in your way to reaching your health goals?  Take my lessons from a hot, miserable run and learn from them.  You want to lose weight?  It doesn’t happen in a day.  It happens from the choices we make over time.  Making a lifestyle change is hard, but trust me.  You can do hard things!  You can!  But those hard things don’t seem as bad when you’ve got people around you supporting you and cheering for you.  So who are those people in your life?  Let them know the goal you’re working towards and walk on their encouragement.  We’ve got this!!!

Talk to me:

What’s the weather like where you live?

What’s your health goal for the week?  Tell me and let me be your cheerleader!  (Pretty please?)

 

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Half-Marathon Training: Bringing Up the Rear

Another week of training is behind me.  Did I meet that determined goal to get all my miles in?

Well, kinda.  (Do y’all say kinda and y’all where y’all live or is that an Oklahoma thing?)  I got my Monday recovery run in and most of Tuesday’s track workout.  That aggravating hip flexor/groin issue is acting up again, and I had to cut the workout short on Tuesday.  Now, it’s MRI time to see what’s going on in there.  Great.

035I managed to sneak in a short run Wednesday before work (it was actually quite invigorating), and I was all prepared to get a run in Thursday morning when I left work.  I had my bag with me and everything, but a long night shift and a second shift coming up Thursday night squashed my will and determination.  Exhaustion won out, so I wen039t home and crashed instead of running.  And once again, I missed a workout.

Today, our long run day, we had 9 miles on the schedule.  I was feeling a bit nervous since my longest run over the last few months has only been 8 miles.  But I went into today’s run with a bit of a race strategy in mind.  I know me and that it takes 4-5 miles for me to find my groove.  It just takes me a while to find my breath and rhythm and pace, but when I find it, I’m ready to run.

So I stayed in the back of the group, pacing myself a bit slower but keeping the group within striking distance.  I found myself, at first, wanting to scold myself for not keeping up with the group.  You may remember I’ve had issues with being in the back of the pack before.  But as I ran, I realized some really great things were happening back there:

  1.  I had a chance to soak in my music and our surroundings.  So many times when I’m running in the thick of the group, I’m keeping up with conversations, trying to not run into people, trying to keep up but not go too fast.  But in the back I ran mostly alone, and I had time to really listen to my music and to enjoy the scenery around me.  Score for being in the back!
  2. I learned from my fellow runners.  When you run in the back, you only see the backs of people.  But that’s a great vantage point to watch running form.  I saw all kinds of gaits today, but what I honed in on was one guy who looked totally relaxed as he ran.  His arms were swinging gently from his shoulders, and while his elbows were tight to his side, his shoulders were totally relaxed.  I took a mental picture and filed it away.  That’s how I want to be when I run.  Score again for being in the back!
  3. I learned patience and pacing.  Long distance running involves a lot of patience and proper pacing.  Go out too fast and you’ll wear yourself out before you get to the finish line.  I’ve been told over and over as I’ve trained for long races to be patient.  Stick with your pace, and then when it’s time to go for it, use the energy you’ve stored up in not going out too fast to finish the race strong.  But pacing myself has always been hard.  Even with a running watch.  That’s one of the best things about running with a group.  The coach sets the pace and all I have to do is stay behind him.  But today, in the back by myself, I couldn’t just rely on the coach’s 046pacing.  I had to consciously pace myself a bit slower.  It’s hard to not get into race mode when you’re running behind people.  I just always want to catch them, but today, when I would start to get too close, I’d adjust my pace.  And it worked!  By about mile 4 I had my Popeye moment where everything inside of me started to feel alive; my legs felt loose and light, and then I ran with the group, in the middle of things, for the remaining 5 miles and felt great doing it!  Score yet again for bringing up the rear!

So onward and upward!  I have some time off from work this next week when work will not be an excuse to keep me from meeting my running goals.  It’s been a week of good runs, and I feel encouraged (if I had a “thumbs up” emoji, it would go right here!).

Talk to me:

What did you do this past week?

What are some common phrases in your neck of the woods?

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Half-Marathon Training: Time Trials!

So we’re about 4 weeks into half-marathon training, and it’s been a month of ups and downs.  And time trials.

Sometimes I’ll have a good run, and I think the slump that’s been hounding me this entire year is on the downhill slope, but then another run happens that leaves me feeling like a novice runner, and I come home feeling beat up and discouraged.  But I keep lacing up my shoes and heading out the door because one thing I refuse to be is a quitter.

Over the last few weeks our training has included a couple of different time trials.  Time trials are benchmark runs used as a measure of fitness.  They’re generally not much fun but they are incredibly useful in assessing progress, or lack thereof.

The first time trial was a 1.5 mile run at the track.  Yeah, you know me and track workouts, so a fast 1.5 miles at the track was NOT something I was looking forward to.  For those 6 laps we were instructed to run at 100% effort.  Give it all you’ve got.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Run as hard as you can.  And this was the weather forecast for the evening of the time trial–just one word:  HOT!  012The coaches don’t cancel track workouts until the heat index reaches 105 degrees, so since we were only like at a heat index of 104 (kidding–I have no idea what the heat index was but actual temps felt like 104!), the workout was a go.

I ran the first mile in 8:08, not my fastest mile, but I was okay with that time.  But with 2 laps to go, I just couldn’t hold on.  I was starting to feel queasy, whether from the heat or effort I’m not sure, but I ended up walking about 100 meters of each of the last 2 laps and finished my 1.5 miles in a disappointing 13:09.014Then today was the Bedlam Run, a local 5K/10K, that our training used as 023a 5K time trial.  We needed to run 6 miles one way or another, so some chose to run the 10K.  I chose to run a 1.5 mile warm-up and cool-down on my own and race the 5K.  I was a bit nervous since I haven’t been running well and my last 5K was a total disaster, but the warm-up felt good, the weather was exceptionally cool for August in Oklahoma, and I felt excited to run.

While the race was meant to be a time trial, I also knew that with the struggle I’d been having with pace and distance, if I pushed myself too hard, I wouldn’t be able to finish, even a 5K, so I went into the 037race with a goal of running half-marathon race pace, 8:50-9:15 per mile.  From the start I hit 8:50, felt great, and had a good race finishing in 27:44, third in my age group.  That was an unexpected surprise!  And there were super yummy pancakes at the after party.

030I felt good during the race but had a terrible time with the 1.5 mile cool-down (go figure), but over all I was encouraged–until I checked the chart that predicts race times based on a current race.  So with a 5K time of 27:30-28:00, it’s not likely that I can set a half-marathon PR.  Boo!  Hiss!

There’s a part of me that just wants to throw in the towel, but the competitor in me says I have to keep trying.  The realist in me also knows that I have to be prepared to adjust my race goal.  Maybe, if everything is perfect and it’s my day, maybe I can run a PR on race day.  But if it’s not my day, I’m trying to accept that a good goal is racing my best, feeling good doing it, and finishing strong, regardless of time.  It’s not the finish I want, but as with all things in life, it’ll be a learning experience, and I’ll gain something from it if I just look for it.

So onward and upward!  Tomorrow starts a new week.  I WILL get my miles in!

Talk to me:

How are your health and fitness goals coming along?

What did you do today or this weekend?

Half Marathon Training: I Didn’t Die

This week began the official training for the fall half and full marathon season.  I was a bit nervous to begin training since I’d kind of lost my running mojo, but at the same time I was excited to have a new goal to work towards.

Mondays are recovery run days, where the goal is just to move but not to overtax the muscles.  It’s to allow the muscles to heal from the long run of Saturday so the run is short and slow.  Even though we hadn’t yet done a long run, we ran recovery pace for 3 miles.  It was miserably hot (when is it not in Oklahoma in July [insert frowny face]?), but despite the heat and humidity, the run felt great.  I came home drenched in sweat but feeling immensely content and incredibly happy to just be able to run.

But then Tuesday morning came.  Track workout.  Thankfully, track workouts are offered at 6a.m. during the summer.  Running speed intervals during the heat of 6p.m. just makes me really unhappy, but at 6a.m., temperatures are a little lower which makes the workouts slightly more bearable.  If you followed me during marathon training at all, you know I do NOT like track workouts.  But I do them because the benefit is huge.  Running speed intervals has been crucial in helping m008e develop speed.  But this week the workout felt so hard.  Maybe it was because I had just run less than 12 hours before, or maybe it was because we did long intervals–1 x 1200 and 4 x 800.  Anyway, I only made it through 3 800 meter intervals.  On that third 800, my pace was way off, my legs were lead, and I was just done.  I had to come home and just lay on the floor for a bit to recover.  I hate that I wimped out, but…I did a CrossFit workout following track.  Maybe that made up for it???

Wednesday morning was an early CrossFit workout, followed by a bike ride at the river.  I’d like to truly add in some cross training during this training session.  I counted CrossFit as cross training during marathon 013training, but it’s really strength and conditioning.  Cross training mimics running, in that it’s exercise that uses the same big muscles as running–walking, cycling, etc.  So with Wednesday being cross training day, I cross trained with a bike ride.  I’m always humbled by how unfit cycling makes me feel.  I can run for 30 minutes without struggling, but 30 minutes on my bike makes me huff and puff.  I guess that’s a sign I need to spend more time on my bike, uh?

Thursday.  Holy cow!  I was so sore.  Speed intervals, heavy deadlifts…just sitting down was hard.  Thankfully, strength training in CrossFit focused more on upper body.  My running training schedule called for a 3 mile run with “sprinkles”, 30 second bursts of basically sprinting.  I thought I could get it in after CrossFit, but the conditioning workout included 400 meter runs.  I did 3 rounds of the workout, running each 400 meter in under 2 minutes which just did me in.  The workout helped to decrease my soreness, but I had nothing left in the tank for a running workout.

Friday morning, I got off work and headed to the gym for a bicep/tricep workout.  It was a short 30 minute workout.  I was hoping to pick up the run that I missed the day before, but sleep won out, and I missed the run again.

Saturday.  My favorite run of the week!  Saturday runs are long slow distance.  It’s the longest run of the week but at a conversational pace.  I love these runs, and today’s run felt amazing.  Because I’m training for a PR, I picked a pace group just one step faster than the pace I’d trained with for the marathon.  I felt a bit nervous, but the pace f015elt great!  It gave me just the right amount of challenge.  I felt I was working hard (well, kind of hard) at the end but never really struggling.  It started raining just as we finished our 6 miles, but who could tell?  We were already dripping wet with sweat from the pea soup like humidity [insert another frowny face].  But I came home feeling great, excited about running again, and feeling encouraged that the PR I’m going for might actually be within reach!

All in all, a good first week of training.  I picked up the pace, and I didn’t die!  Yay!  Here’s to the second week of training, and not missing a run this time.

Talk to me:

What’s the weather like right now where you live?

Do you enjoy running, or being outside, in the rain?