Marathon #2: On to Week 7

Monday.  Here we go again.  Believe me.  I’m smiling as I say that–well, half smile, half grimace.  Sunday night was a pretty decent night at work, but unfortunately, my relief was late meaning I was leaving the hospital in a mad dash to get to class on time.  Our classes start in the gym with a workout (how’s that for a class?!) now that I’m finally into the core classes, and today was circuit training.  That woke me up!  Then it was a nap and a run downtown with my new running group.  I got my 5 miles in without too much of a struggle today.  Off to a good start!

Tuesday.  Class started off with an arm workout.  Yeah, boy.  Hello002, pects!  Wow.  Then it was off to the track.  Summer has reappeared here in Oklahoma, and it was super hot.  The workout tonight wasn’t too bad though–2 x 800, 2 x 400, 1 x 800, 1 x 400.  I was doing fine until my belly started cramping.  What brought that on?  It had me all looking like this, and I had to do the last couple of laps in increments since it’s kind of hard to run fast shaped like a question mark.  Scowl.

Wednesday.  I knew we had a leg workout on the schedule for class today, but I was missing my CrossFit peeps.  Yeah, you got it.  I went to CrossFit at 5 a.m., deadlifted 115 pounds, and then did a tough leg workout, ending with weighted walking lunges UP a hill.  Owwwie.  Needless to say, when it came time to run tonight, my hamstrings were sore and tight…and the run was a hill run.  Sweet–NOT.  But I hung with my group and ran up every hill.  I’m using tough runs like these to really work on the mental aspect of training.  I wanted to just walk up a couple of the hills because my legs were so tired, but I pushed through and kept going.  Unfortunately, I only ran 3 miles instead of 5.  My legs just couldn’t take another 2 miles.

Thursday.  Today was going to be my rest day, but class participation is part of my grade so I did the best I could in our kickboxing workout.  I’ll call it an active rest–unlike Sunny, who just finds an empty spot, desk or wherever, and hangs out.007Friday.  Finally, a rest day.  And boy, did I rest.  A long nap was the first order of business when I got home from work, and the day ended with an 8:00 p.m. bed time.  Yep, that’s how I roll on a Friday night!

Saturday.  Up bright and early at 4:30 a.m. for our long slow distance run.  008Every few weeks we “step back”; we run fewer miles than the week before.  It’s a way of allowing our muscles to rest and recover and get ready for the next big push up in our long runs.  Today we only ran 8.5 miles.  I was thankful for a short run, though.  After mile 7, my legs were just done.  I’ve done a lot of fast running and leg work this week.  I found myself coaching and pushing myself mentally to just keep running because I was at the point of wanting to walk.  I don’t like runs like that, but I’m trying to appreciate the opportunity to develop that mental fortitude that it so important in running a marathon.  That’s been a big focus for me in this training season.  So I focused on my music, the breeze in my face, the sound of feet hitting the pavement, and what do you know?  I ran the distance without walking!  Yes!

And when we got back to the store–watermelon!  Our coaches are the best;  they brought chocolate milk, beer and watermelon.  I’m not much of a milk drinker and not at all a beer drinker, but that watermelon hit the spot.  I could seriously eat my weight in watermelon!  And after a day so humid even my moisture wicking shirt was sticking to me like it was made of suction cups, that was the best treat ever.

So overall, a pretty good week of training.  What do I need to do differently next week?

  1.  Stay the course.  I’ve been on a pretty good path these last 2 weeks.  I think I just need to continue to follow that schedule and get those runs in.  Running with the intermediate group during the week has helped tremendously.
  2. Don’t forget to try different nutrition.  A short run would have been the perfect time to try new nutrition, but I just grabbed a packet of my tried and trusted Gu for Saturday’s run.  I need to try something else next week on our 16 mile trek.

Onward and upward!

Talk to me:

What’s one thing you could do TODAY to increase your health?

What’s standing in the way of you meeting your fitness goals?


When You Just Gotta Have Pizza!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need really want a slice of pizza.  You know?  All that cheesy goodness and pepperoni.  Yum!  Yep, I love a good pizza!

But when I became conscious of exactly what I was eating, I decided that maybe all that yumminess wasn’t really worth it.  If you’ve been following my weight loss story, you know that I live by the rule of “I choose NOT to have it.”  I can have it if I want, but I’m choosing NOT do.  Big difference between that and I CAN’T have it.  I mean, all that grease will just make me feel sluggish and gross not to mention all the work it will take to rid my body of those calories.  I did a quick internet search on how many calories are in a slice of pizza.  I found estimates ranging from 230 calories per slice to over 400 calories–per slice!  And I don’t know about you, but I usually want at least 2 slices of pizza, right?  Holy cow!  Those 2 slices of pizza would take up almost half of my daily calorie budget right there!  And let’s not even talk about the fat and sodium content…yikes!

So sometimes I decide to spend my calories on pizza, but most of the time it’s not worth it to me.  But, I still love the taste of pizza!  That’s why I invented a way to have my pizza and eat it too–Pizza Quesadilla!

What you need:

Whole wheat flour tortillas (I like low carb tortillas)

Pizza sauce003

Turkey pepperoni (or you could use turkey sausage, chicken, whatever pizza toppings you like)


Onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc.

Here’s what you do:

  1.  Place a tortilla in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spread pizza sauce on half the tortilla.  It will only take about 2 teaspoons.004
  3. Place toppings on top of the pizza sauce.
  4.  Sprinkle with a small amount of cheese.006
  5.  Fold the tortilla so that the “clean” half of the tortilla covers the toppings.007
  6. Let the quesadilla brown.  Flip and brown on the other side.008
  7. Voila!  Pizza for about 150 calories and 6 grams of fat (depending on toppings).009

So there you go.  Let me know what you think.  Could this be a potential substitute for pizza for you?

Talk to me:

What other ways have you tried to “healthy up” pizza?

What’s a recipe you invented?


Marathon #2: 6 Weeks Down, 13 to Go

Monday.  The sixth week of training.  It already seems like forever, but there are still 13 weeks to go.  Even though I just went through this earlier this year, I’ve already forgotten how much time marathon training takes.  I’m already so tired.  And Mondays are tough with 5 hours of class straight from a 12 hour night shift.  Following class on Monday, I got a nap, did my homework, caught a CrossFit class and headed out for my first Pathways group run.  Pathways is the training group I joined to provide some accountability to get my weekday runs in.  Monday runs are supposed to be recovery runs, but this first night was a one mile time trial to fit us into the right pace group.  I wound up placing in the fastest pace group, so our run was NOT recovery pace for me, although it felt great!

Tuesday.  CrossFit at 5 a.m.  Class. Homework.  Track.  My days seem to all be falling into a similar schedule, but when it comes to track nights, that’s probably a good thing.  It’s becoming just what I do on Tuesday nights.  The struggle to get there isn’t as tough, even though the workouts still kick my butt.  Today was extra tough, though.  That fast run yesterday after CrossFit and a CrossFit WOD this morning that obliterated my legs had me feeling like I was dragging posts of lead tonight.  Plus, I just felt kind of sick…nothing serious, just off.  I decided to make tonight my recovery run and just ran slow laps on the outside of the track.  I did a few strides but just trying to break 9 minute miles seemed tough!  But hey, I got my miles in.

Wednesday.  CrossFit at 5 a.m.  Class. Homework.  No running but dinner with friends.  Tonight, instead of running, I met up with some friends for dinner.  One of our Egyptian friends is in town for a few days, so we got to hang out with her for a bit.  So much fun!

Thursday.  Today I was supposed to run a tempo run, but I’m still feeling really sore and tight from CrossFit this week.  I’ve decided to make today my rest today and run tomorrow.  I know I said that last week and it didn’t happen, but I’m determined to make it a reality this time.

Friday.  I took clothes to work and as soon as my very busy shift ended, I jumped into my running clothes and headed down to the river.  My plan was to get in 5 miles at tempo pace.  Well, I got my 5 miles in but it was way under tempo pace.  I felt so sluggish and tired, and m007y legs were so tight.  I’m thinking maybe lack of food and sleep didn’t help, but I ran, walked when I needed to, and found a really cool bridge to run along.  I love running along the river.  I can almost forget I’m in a city.  All in all, though, today’s run was a disappointing, very bad no good run.  Bleh…






Saturday.  I woke up at 1:30 a.m. to thunder and rain, but by the time 6:15, run start time, rolled around, the rain had stopped, leaving behind some much cooler but extremely humid air.  We ran 14.5 miles today.  011My legs were still so tight, but I kept up with the pace and had to pull myself back to keep from running too fast.  I guess that’s a good sign???  At one point during the run, I slipped on a patch of mud on the road and nearly fell.  Exciting times!

Then, back at the running store after our run, lots of surprises awaited me.  One, there were bagels and cream cheese!  Oh, yeah.  After 14.5 miles and burning 1300 calories, any food tastes AH-MAZING!  Then, there was a sale on Feetures running socks.  I’m a Feetures girl.  They are the only running socks I wear.  009Feetures reps were in the store today, so I did the buy 3, get 1 free sale.  And then by showing my receipt to the Feetures rep, I got another free pair.  I found myself telling the rep, sincerely, how much I loved Feetures socks and that they’re the only ones I wear, and he threw in another free pair!  How about that?  Sweet!  Seriously, though, Feetures are pretty great.  I’ve worn them for every race distance from 5K to marathon and have NEVER had a blister!  (And nobody’s paying me for singing their praises; I just really like them.)  On top of that, I won a packet of Skratch drink mix in an in-store raffle!  Pretty cool ending to a semi-tough run.008So another week down.  Overall, not a bad week of training.  I’ve been a little more tired and sore than I’d like, but I did get in 29 miles this week.  So what do I need to do differently next week?

  1.  Evaluate my cross training.  Do I need to cut back on CrossFit or just go lighter on the weights?
  2. Get my weekly runs in, but make sure they are varied.  I kind of feel like every run was basically the same this week.
  3. Keep trying new run nutrition.  Today I tried key lime flavored012 Accel gel.  The taste was probably my least favorite so far, but I didn’t hate it and still tolerated it great.  I also tried some peanut butter crackers today.  Score!  I’ve been looking for some kind of portable “real” food that wouldn’t taste sweet when I need some energy but just can’t take the sweetness of gels anymore.

Talk to me:

What’s the best sale you ever found?

Ever won a prize in a raffle?

Comic Relief, with an Australian Accent

After a tough week of training last week and feeling tired and bit stressed out, I decided we just need to laugh today.  So no running or weight loss tips today.  Just a funny story about my first international trip.

One of my best friends is Australian.  We met when we were both living in Atlanta, Georgia quite a few years ago.  When my friend returned to Australia, we made plans that I would come for a visit.  Now there’s a perk about having international friends, uh?  And who doesn’t want to visit Australia, right?!

kangaroo crossing 001I was super excited.  I’d never traveled internationally, and here I was planning a trip to Australia.  I couldn’t wait!  And I couldn’t wait to see my friend.

The trip was amazing!  My friend lives in Tasmania, the island state south of mainland Australia, so I spent most of my time there.  We visited places like Wine Glass Bay where I discovered water as blue as magazinewine glass bay 001 photos does exist.  And then there was Cradle Mountain, the Cadbury chocolate factory where we got to sample chocolate throughout the tour (a chocolate lover’s dream come true!), penguins in the wild, and Port Arthur, an historical convict site.  cradle mountain 001Plus, I got to meet and hang out with other friends of my friend and just experience real Australian life.  Oh, and did I mention all the wallabees hopping about?!  I had the time of my life.

And then the end of the trip came, and my friend and I both got sick.  We were planning to both go to Sidney a day before my flight home, but I ended up going to Sidney alone.  I found my hotel and laid across the bed, feverish and feeling like crap but bound and determined to see the Sidney Opera House.  I mean, who knew if I’d ever make it back to Australia?  So I found a map and walked to the Opera House, which was every bit as magnificent as it looks in photos although visiting it sick and alone was a bit anti-climactic.

opera house 001The next morning (and this is the funny part) I took a cab to the airport to catch my flight home.  I still felt like crap.  My head was all congested; I felt like I was walking in a fog.  I walked to the desk to check in for my flight, wondering why my line was so short.  An airline worker saw me and asked me if “wanted a chicken.”  “A chicken?”  I thought to myself.  What an odd question to ask someone in an airport, but I politely shook my head no.  A bit later, he asked me again if I wanted a chicken.  “What’s up with this guy and chickens?” I thought to myself, feeling more and more miserable the longer I stood there.  A third time, he asked me if I wanted a chicken.  “Will you just quit with the chickens?!”  I’m thinking.  “I don’t want a chicken!  I just want to get on the airplane!”  But this time as my mental rant ended, I realized he wasn’t talking about farm animals.  He was asking me if I wanted to CHECK IN!

Oy!  Australian accents!  I’m sure my face turned all colors of red.  He probably thought I was some kind of stupid!  But when I nodded yes this time, he pointed me across the aisle to a line that was 10 miles long and had probably grown a mile while I’m over here trying to think of how to get out of taking a chicken home.

After flying 14 hours straight, I landed in LA 2 hours before I left (yeah, try to wrap your brain around that!), and finally made it home–all without a chicken.  The end.

Enjoy your day!

Talk to me:

Have you ever had an amusing misunderstanding?

What’s been your favorite vacation destination?



Marathon #2: Week 5

Monday.  Mondays are just tough.  I get home from work at 7 a.m. and need to be in class by 8 a.m.  That’s just enough time to change clothes and grab some breakfast–IF I leave work on time.  But that also means no sleep until I get home at 1 p.m.  Once again, I had the best of intentions but didn’t get my recovery run in.  I made it to CrossFit, hoping just getting up and moving would motivate me to keep going, but…

Tuesday.  I caught CrossFit at 5 a.m.  When I came home, I jumped on the treadmill and got in 3 miles of the 5 miles I should have done for a recovery run yesterday.  Then, Tuesday night…track night.  Thankfully, there was a nice breeze which made running that 8 x 400 meters more bearable.  I was still struggling though, feeling tired and sore.  But I got those 8 laps in!

Wednesday.  Cross training day.  I went to CrossFit at 5 a.m., went to class, finished homework and then just rested for the rest of the evening.  That felt good!

Thursday.  Today should have been hill repeat day, but I’m feeling in the need of rest.  I’m trying to do better about listening to my body and not being controlled by a running schedule, so I’ve decided to make today my rest day, especially since I have a 12 hour night shift coming up tonight.  I’ll be taking clothes to work to go for a run as soon as my shift ends in the morning.

Friday.  Well.  So much for good intentions.  I took running clothes with me to work, but when 7 a.m. rolled around, I was exhausted.  Realizing that I’d been up for 24 hours already, I decided to run later in the day.  Bad decision.  Later never came.  Another run missed.  Training has totally sucked this week.  Some how I’ve got to get control of my schedule and get those runs in.

Saturday.  Long slow distance day.  I have to say, I was a bit worried about how this run would go since I haven’t been training well this week and because I went to dinner with friends last night and ate Mexican food.  Yummy, for sure, but a little dubious for a pre-run meal!  But the morning brought clear skies, a wonderful breeze and temperatures in the 70’s!  Heaven to a runner!  Trying to run with a heat index of 105 degrees is just miserable.  So today was an AMAZING run!  I felt great, and those 00912 miles went by surprisingly fast.  I had enough energy to knock out that last mile in  under 9 minutes.  This is me at the end of our run, happy and content!  008So my confidence in being marathon ready is restored.  I’m trying to not get too down on myself for taking extra rest days if that’s what my body needed, but I don’t want to get in the habit of just not running because running in heat sucks or because I’m just not feeling it.

What I need to do differently next week:

  1.  Run!  To provide accountability in getting my weekday runs in, I joined another training group that provides coached runs during the week.  Knowing that I’ve paid for something is good motivation for me to attend.  Plus, running with people always motivates me to run.
  2. Keep trying different types of nutrition.  I tried raspberry Accel gel today.  Another winner.  It tasted great, and I didn’t cramp at all.  Soon I need to try adding in mustard.  I’m told that’s a great way to prevent muscle cramping during long runs.

Talk to me:

How did your week go?

Did you accomplish everything you had on your to-do list?

Running Solo Safely

I’m single, and I’m a runner.  No big news flash there, right?  That just means I run alone a lot.  But then so do a lot of people, single or not.  We all have the same issue:  How can I keep myself safe on a run?

I was thinking about this a few mornings ago when I went out for a run, in the dark, at 5 a.m.  Sometimes, being single and all, my mind kind of goes to morbid places.  I think about the fact that because I don’t see any one person every single day, I could be seriously hurt and unable to help myself for days before anyone would know.  I don’t dwell on it because I refuse to let fear dictate my life, but because of that, I try to take every precaution to minimize the risk of something happening when I’m out alone.

Here are some safety tips if you find yourself running alone:

  1.  Know your route.  I rarely run alone in an area I’m unfamiliar with.  One, I’m directionally challenged, and I don’t want to get lost!  But more than that, I want to be comfortable with the safety of the area.  Is there a lot of traffic?  Do people of questionable intentions roam the area?  Are there sidewalks to get out of the way of traffic?  Or are there lots of potholes in the roads that could trip me up?  These are things I like to know if I’m going to run alone.
  2. Keep your phone on you.  Even if you listen to music on an iPod or some other gadget, keep your phone on you.  If you do get hurt or are unable to finish a run for whatever reason, you’ve got a means of communication and some way to get help.  And don’t forget to make sure your phone is fully charged before you head out.
  3. Make yourself visible.  If you’re running at times of low light, light yourself.  I like to make sure I have a lights on both my back and my front IMG_1123side so traffic coming from either direction will see me.  I have a clip light for my back, and for the front side, I like my Knuckle Lights (  They fit around my hand, but I don’t have to hold them in place.  And they have a steady beam.  Even with the swinging arm motion of running, the light does not bounce around.  They’re great for lighting your path in the dark and making you visible to IMG_1127 IMG_1130traffic.  Wearing brightly colored clothing will also help to make you visible.
  4. Run defensively.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  If you run with ear buds, use only one bud.  Keeping your other ear open will help you hear traffic coming behind you.  Maybe this is a single girl thing, but be aware of people, too.  I try to be alert to people who might be following me.  And don’t assume traffic will stop for you!  I wait until a car either stops or the driver waves me across the street, even if I have the right of way.
  5. Keep ID on you.  This is very important.  If you’re out alone and something happens that prevents you from providing your name and vital information, knowing who you are is crucial.  I used to just tuck my driver’s license into a running belt, but one day I came home and found my ID on the driveway.  Scared me to pieces.  I immediately started searching for alternate forms of carrying ID and discovered Road ID.  IDs come in either a dog tag format or as a armband or ankle band.  I chose an ankle band and couldn’t be happier with it.  The plate is big enough for my name, birthday, allergy information, and emergency contacts.  You can check them out here.

IMG_1124Talk to me:

Where is the last place you went alone?

Would you rather run alone or with a group?


Marathon #2: One Month Later

Monday.  The start of the fourth week of marathon training, and the first day of class.  My shift ended at 7 a.m.; class started at 8 a.m.  I had just enough time to jump in the tub, change clothes, and grab some breakfast on my way out the door.  A recovery run was on the schedule, as it is every Monday, but after 5 hours of class, no sleep for 24 hours, and homework to do, I just didn’t make the run happen.  I closed my eyes for just a second and was gone for the night.

Tuesday.  A good night’s sleep does wonder for a body!  I caught the 5 a.m. CrossFit class and headed to school for an 8 a.m. start to my 5 hour class.  Tuesdays are the dreaded track days, and with temps hovering at or above 100 degrees at 6 p.m., I was NOT looking forward to running fast.  But because of the heat, the coach modified our workout and made us take mandatory breaks in the shady breezeway between our laps.  We did 4 x 400 meters and 4 x 200 meters.  Despite the heat, it wasn’t too bad!

Wednesday.  Day 3 of class, and I was up early again to catch the 5 a.m. CrossFit class.  I intended to make up the recovery run from Monday, but by the time I finished homework, I was exhausted and again, it just didn’t happen.  Boo.

Thursday.  I got up early to get my run in before class started at 8 a.m.  A 5 mile tempo run was on the schedule, and I got it done, in the dark, by 6 a.m.  I don’t really like running in the dark, but the upside was the much cooler temps, or at least lower humidity, at 5 a.m., but I still came home drenched.  Then, it was class for 5 hours and a 12 hour overnight shift.

Friday.  Rest day.  And rest I did.  I got in lots of naps between errands and had an early night.  I think maybe Sunny’s habits are rubbing off on me.

013Saturday.  Long slow distance day.  We were supposed to run 11 miles, most of it a hill course.  Unfortunately, we woke up to thunderstorms–lots of lightening and heavy rain.  I drove to our meeting spot in hopes that the storm would pass, but 45 minutes after our start time, the storm was still going with more on the way.  The head coach canceled the run, and I went home, feeling kind of glad but concerned since I was already a run behind this week.  I’ve been extra tired this week, and while I look forward to Saturday runs I wasn’t really feeling it today.  Still, my plan was to come home and run on the treadmill.  What happened instead was I came home and took a nap, did laundry, and some light house cleaning.  Finally, around noon I convinced myself that I really should get some miles in, so I jumped on the treadmill and did my 11 miles.  Well, actually, I did 11.38 miles.  Thank goodness for iPads and Netflix!  Eleven miles on a treadmill is just brutal, even though it was a flat run at a slow pace.

I tried out some new nutrition during my run today as well–Sport Beans.  I didn’t cramp with them, and I liked the taste.  They are kind of gummy, though, and stuck to my teeth.  I’d like to try them again on a more vigorous run to see how they work.

011So what do I want to do differently next week?

  1.  Write out a schedule to include runs.  School has added a new dimension to marathon training.  This has been a tough week trying to balance sleep since I work night shift and getting my workouts in.  There’s enough time.  I just need to be extra diligent in using my time wisely.
  2. Get in my recovery run.
  3. Continue to work on cleaning up my diet.

Talk to me:

What did you do this week?

What do you like to do on rainy days?

I May Be Nuts but I Have to Try

I’m starting a new adventure.  I’m a bit hesitant to talk about it because, quite frankly, I’m scared.  I’m afraid I’m going to fall flat on my face, and everyone’s going to think I’m a fool.  Or they might just think I’m a fool for even thinking about it.  I mean, it’s not like I’m in the prime of my youth or anything.  On the other hand, I’m not all that old, and what’s the harm of following a dream?  Of pursuing your passion?

What is she babbling about, you ask?  Well…If you’ve spent anytime with me here On the Other Side, you know I’ve gone from fat to fit and from coach potato to runner.  I hope my passion for health and fitness shines through because more than anything else, except Jesus, I am passionate about health and fitness.  I never get tired of talking about it, reading about it, wanting to help people find their healthy.  I could spend the rest of my life helping people in their pursuit of health and fitness and be totally happy.

What I’m talking about is different from my job as a nurse.  At the hospital, I take care of sick people and help them reach their maximum level of independence.  What I’m talking about is helping people find their way through unhealthy lifestyles to a life of fitness and one full of health. What I’m talking about is being a health and fitness trainer.

After 2 years of thinking about it and trying to find a work schedule that would allow me to work through a program, I finally bit the bullet and…drum roll, please….enrolled in a health and fitness trainer program.

So I’m sitting in class today, the second day of the program, wondering if I am out of my mind.  I have a good career, a masters degree in my field, and I’m in my 40’s.  I must be crazy to think about tackling a new field of study!  Right?  I mean, who does that???  I must be nuts.

Then, the instructor showed us this video.

And there was my answer.  Failure may be a part of the journey, but it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.  The end may not look like what we anticipated, but that’s okay too.

So I don’t know what will happen.  I have some ideas of what I would like to see happen.  And maybe nothing will happen.  But I have to try.  I don’t want to reach the end of my life and wonder “what if…?”