Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5k and Ham Salad

This morning, despite the fact that the bed was warm and it was f'ing freezing outside of the covers (I have a boy and two cats to suffice as heaters, so we save the electricity and turn off the heat at night...)

But I got up because I promised myself I would (and I didn't wash my hair, so there's always that motivator).  More snow this morning--it actually stuck on parts of the street.  I did 15 minutes on the bike, then 30 minutes on the treadmill.

This morning was a bit more difficult than yesterday, probably because my muscles were cold and tired.  But I did hammer out a 5k in 28:55, which, while not awesome, isn't my worst time by a long shot (remember the F*ck You Hills 5k aka the Wolf Traf Howloween 5k).  I pulled out a 3.25 in 30 minutes.

My chest is tired, which is to be expected.  Doesn't hurt that I did some chest work yesterday.

I made ham salad last night from Dad's recipe, which breaks down as follows:

[a little more than] 1 c. diced ham
1 hard boiled egg
1 Tbsp mayo
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 TBSP dried onion
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. paprika

Food process the ham to a grainy consistency (shouldn't be powder, but shouldn't be big enough to individually pick out the pieces), put aside
Food process the egg to same consistency, put in same bowl as ham
Add spices and mayo and mix.  You can add more mayo, if you want, but I found one TBSP per batch was more than fine.

Caloric value: for 1/4 cup, you're looking at about 110 calories.  I was really careful with the ham and sliced off as much fat as possible.

My lunch today:
2 pieces whole wheat bread: 123
Pickles: 20
1/2 cup ham salad: 220
Total: 343

Carefully budgeting the day around a drink tonight with an old friend from a previous internship.  Small world that we'd both end up in DC!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Race Calendar 2011

In other news, I'm working on my race calendar, which currently looks like this:

Jan. 7-8: Florida Keys Ragnar (http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/floridakeys)
March 12: Four Courts Four (http://pacersevents.com/fourcourtsfour/index.html)
April 3: Cherry Blossom 10 (http://www.cherryblossom.org/)
May 1: The Colorado Half Marathon (http://www.ftcollinsmarathon.com/HalfMarathon.html)
June 4: Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon (http://www.run4virginiawine.com/)
Oct. 21-22: Las Vegas Ragnar (http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/lasvegas) (With Jill! ZOMG!)

Which means I should probably find races for:
- February
- July
- August
- September

I'm planning on doing a turkey trot wherever my parents are for November, and maybe this year I'll suck it up and do the 10k Jingle All the Way again. So cold.  So jingly....

What are you registering for?

Bouncing Back

Surgery was a success and even my surgeon says I'm the fastest healing person she's treated yet.  Awesome!

She said to the nurse as I was leaving "two weeks after surgery and she's comfortable walking around in stilettos. Do you believe that?" (I do, mostly because it was the first time I could wear my leopard print heels and I was stoked.)

She gave me clearance to begin walking/running as I was comfortable.  Before that, I'd been carefully walking and biking, but damn if it didn't tired me out.  As I tried to add running, I was SO tired.  You could have knocked me over with one finger.

The hardest part of surgery (aside from the very unpleasant side effects of vicodin) is the mental switch.  I ran a marathon less than a month before my surgery and suddenly, I was exhausted after walking for 20 minutes.  But, not much else I could do aside from keep on keeping on.

This weekend, I felt sluggish and unhappy, so I decided with Ragnar Keys rapidly approach (less than a month!) I needed to go and at least try to run.  I got up this morning at 6, and walked outside:

SNOW!

Winter-happy, I got to the gym and warmed up on the bike for 30 minutes, then hopped over to the treadmill.  I put on my power music (Pretty Lights: "More Important Than Michael Jordan") and started at my warm up pace of 6.5 mph.

Miraculous. I felt great.  I felt like I could breath for the first time in months.

Knocked it up to 7mph.  Even better.  I am getting such a high that I'm getting wave upon wave of chills.  I brought it up to 7.5 which I held for about 15 minutes before my allotted treadmill time was up.  I'm not even kidding, the world looked totally different.  I felt like I was on f*cking fire.  I was the phoenix.  I wanted to talk to every single person around me about how awesome today is and isn't it great that we can all work out!?  Talk about a serious runner's high.  I was giddy.

Wanna know how I got back to race pace?

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/fit-for-life

The general theory is that it's muscle memory.  Once I healed up enough, my muscles jumped back into action.  Probably looking at a 5k distance tomorrow morning.

I also lifted today for the first time in a long long time--I can only do arm weights below my shoulders for now to reduce stress on my abdominals, but that should change late this week since I'll be able to add leg work in late this week.

I also made a ton of veggie soup last night.   You need:
1-2 zucchini squash (green or yellow)
1 onion
1 c. carrots
1 c. celery
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. peas
some mushrooms
6 c. vegetable broth
Olive Oil

In big pot, heat oil, add onion and celery, cook til onions are clear.  Add squash and carrots and stir.  A few minutes later, add the tomatoes and broth and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and add peas and mushrooms.  Simmer for a bit (15 minutes? sure).  Add salt and pepper if you want.  Makes about 8 servings of hearty soup. About 80 calories per serving.  Add hot sauce to eat it my way.

Getting back in shape post surgery begins today, especially before the holidays arrive...yikes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Ragnar Brigade

I loved the Ragnar race more than I have loved any race I've ever done.

Truly and honestly, I wish I could do that the rest of my life more than anything else.  And while there's no chance I'd ever get in on staff (and I love my current job anyway), there is apparently something new being formed called the Ragnar Brigade.  This group of 50 people will basically be running advertisements for Ragnar--you have to go to expos, rep the Ragnar, run a few races, and encourage people to captain teams.

Hello, I do this anyway!

Right now I'm filling out my application and decided to work through it with you, my wider reading audience.

1) I have participated in the following Ragnars:
- Washington, DC.
- Signed up for Florida Keys 2011 (!!!!)
- I have a five year plan to do all the Ragnars

2) I am passionate about running because:
I am passionate about running because it's what makes me feel alive.  I can run by myself, with friends, with total strangers and feel exhilarated in a way that some people feel on roller coasters.  I love the exhausted and accomplished feeling that comes after a long run and the geeky running conversations I can have with fellow runners.  Running is an adventure, a challenge, and a comfort to me.

3) What are your personal running goals?
1. I want to do a race in every state (5 down...)
2. I want to every Ragnar race
3. I want to encourage my friends and family to discover a love of running
4. Run at least 1 race every year of my life--well into my 80's at least!
5. Run a sub 4 marathon (so close last time! 4:08!)

4) What makes you a good candidate for the Brigade?
I jump into things with both feet. I captained a team for my first Ragnar, gathering friends and strangers. I loved every moment of Ragnar DC 2010.  I signed up almost immediately afterwards for Florida Keys without a full team because I KNEW we could get a full team just sharing our experience from the last race (and we did!)

I am dedicated to health and wellness--I teach aerobics twice a week and have started a small running group without compensation at the YMCA because I want to share running with people.  I'm involved with the fitness community in the area through the three gyms in the DC area where I teach and sub.  I love the culture of running.  I try to run a race every month, and my enthusiasm for Ragnar know no bounds (my friends are really tired of hearing about how much they missed out).  I'm outgoing and able to talk to anyone.  I often attended job fairs for a previous employer because of my ability to connect with almost anyone who approached us.

I'm also a public relations and media specialist in the DC area--I know how to market and message everything from products to people to events.

5) Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would love nothing more than to be a greater part of Ragnar.  I feel so connected to the spirit of the race and would dedicate myself whole heartedly to the Ragnar Brigade.

Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Social Salads

This week was supposed to start epic salad eating time--you know, the period where I was going to have a salad for at least one meal a day.

Haa!

I do have all the stuff to make said salads...but then life kinda got in the way.

Sunday night I made a beautiful dinner of a roasted pork tenderloin, broccoli from the market, and Chadd's favorite--my scalloped potatoes.  That turned into lunch on Monday and dinner last night was all sorts of great Mexican food with a touch of tequila with Blair for a much needed girl talk.

Chadd's working nights as well as days right now--his old company needs someone to train his replacement and has offered him a pretty sweet hourly rate to come in as a contractor.  With the pay cut that he took and the holidays coming up--there wasn't a question in either of our minds.  I'm currently trying to figure out how to make up the income I'm losing while I have minor surgery and won't be teaching for a couple weeks (adds up to a couple hundred bucks) if you know of something let me know!

So my vision of us being home together and cozy by 7pm is pretty much not happening for a bit, which is fine.  As usual, I have an overblown social calendar for this week:

Tonight: Teaching, Sweetgreen with Aria
Wednesday: teaching running group, drinks with high school friends at Buffalo to watch the magic game
Thursday: volunteering at Miriam's kitchen in the morning, book club that night
Friday: marathon party!

Anyway, since I am having Sweetgreen tonight, I'm definitely having a salad for one meal today, and I did avoid what we here call the "fuck it" lunch (whatever is fast and fatty even if we brought lunch).  So, I'll say today starts the salad kick and in the back of my mind, I need to remember to make a salad for lunch tomorrow.

I'm thinking fresh green mix from the market, cucumbers, blue cheese, carrots, hearts of palm, pecans, sliced apples, and if I have time, steamed artichokes on the side.

Throw me a salad idea for the week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

From Runner's World




I'm not sure that I can describe what has been called the "runner's high," but like poetry and beauty, I know it when I experience it.

Matthew Shafner, runner 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A follow up on the bucket list (and PIE!)

Sandeep, one of my Ragnar teammates, sent me this great link:

http://www.squidoo.com/100things

It's a great way to get started thinking about your bucket list!  I need to add to mine after looking over that.

In other news, it's Chadd's first night not working (so he's playing video games) and it's sadly the first night that I've been at work til almost 7.  Go figure.  I'm home now...working.

At least I love the work I do.

If you want to see photos of me at the race, here's your link:
http://www.marathonfoto.com/order_my_photos.cfm?RaceOID=13692010F1&LastName=ROMMEL&BibNumber=8427&Language=en&spMAILINGID=35700922&spUserID=NjUxMzE4NDU3NgS2&spJOBID=85744565&spREPORTID=ODU3NDQ1NjUS1&BFI=rd0j19l75o&Frames=true&Flash=true&FlashVersion=10&Height=800&Width=1280&Index2Home=true

My favorite?  The one of me holding my medal with the marines behind me.  That expression is one of the most genuine I can make: bliss.  Running gives me euphoria, which I imagine to be something like a high trip on drugs.  My senses get totally over loaded after a long run--if it's long enough, I usually wind up crying because I am just so happy that my body can't take it.  Except it's not "happy" as we know it, it's something else.  I can't describe it, but when you feel it, you know it.

Yaay!  See, the bliss look lasts for a couple hours.

By the way--DC locals, one of my dearest friends is the founder of currently-named Crazy Bitch Pies (soon to have a home in Old Town)...she made me a chocolate creme pie for congrats on the marathon and it's basically the most amazing thing I've ever had.  If you're interested in procuring amazing pies, let me know and I'll link you up!

Still too sore to work out today, may have to resign myself to taking the week off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Bucket List

Well, aside from the fact that I'm still in excruciating pain, things are great.

Marathon training really does take your life away from you, so now that I have all of this time on my hands (and omg my boy is going to be home with me after tonight!) I'm amazed with all the prospects!

Surgery is just around the corner (damn, I need to find all that paperwork and do that before it gets to be too late...) so I'm starting to get a bit anxious.  I'm sure it won't be a big deal, but the downtime is going to kill me.

I'm ridiculously sore and I still want to go for a run tonight, what does that tell you?

I'm starting to think about my bucket list--things I want to do before I die.  It's pretty short right now--but it's also pretty extreme:

1) Do a race (any distance) on every continent (except Antarctica...doesn't count, it's an ice flow).  I came up with this one since Brannon's moving to Africa for 2 years for the Peace Corps--why not?
2) Do a race (any distance, though I'm considering saying only 10+ mile races count) in every state
3) Do all Ragnar relays (1 down, 14 to go!)
4) Do the Ragbrai (bike across Iowa)
5) Take a hang gliding lesson (don't worry Mom, I'll stay close to the ground)
6) Go Ice Climbing (again, Mom, I'll take a lesson and call it a day) http://www.utahmountainadventures.com/ice.shtml
7) Climb Mt. Fuji
8) Do at least once triathlon--any distance
9) Do the tough mudder
10) Become a marathoner


I'm looking to add to it.  What's on your bucket list?

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Second Marathon

You know what never gets old?  Crossing a finish line.

Yesterday was a wonderful day to race.  I may fall asleep writing this.

Katie came down from Boston to be my support crew with Chadd--we all got up and met up with FJ and Eric at the Metro and headed down to Pentagon.

The lines for the portapotties were unreal.  I mean, un real.  I was terrified I'd miss my start, and just like last time, I didn't even get synched up with my correct corral, I think I managed to get myself into the gates somewhere around the 4:30 mark.

I had originally signed up for a Clif Bar pace group, but I knew I wouldn't join up with them.  I walk my water breaks, I didn't want the pressure of a group.  I lost FJ and Eric in the crowd, but as much as I wanted to run with them, I'm also one of those people who really just prefers to run on their own.

The gun sounded, but it took about 15-20 minutes for me to even cross the start line.  Once I got going, we went up through Rosslyn where I could see the bleachers set up for the spectators at the finish line.  Though I felt great, I also felt like that was forever away.  Something about this marathon had me in knots--later, talking to some Marines in line for the massage, we agreed that you only become a marathoner after you run your second one because then you know what you are subjecting your body to while the first one, you may be granted temporary insanity.

I was great running through Rosslyn, across the bridge to Georgetown, up into the Palisades (ugh, hills), then down M street, to K, up behind the Kennedy Center where I saw Sarah, K-Lo, Pete, and Jana with a "Go Captain Nigeria" sign, which was totally awesome.  I can't remember how much I talked about Ragnar here, but that was my team name from my team (background: I sent out an email about paypal where I said that after people paid me on paypal for the race, I'd reveal myself to be a nigerian warlord scamming people off through the Ragnar scheme--maybe you had to be there.)

I missed Katie and Chadd at the 10-11 mark we'd planned because they wound up dividing the road, but that was okay.  I really wanted to get rid of my jacket and gloves, but I waited until after I'd went around the island--is that Haines Point?  I never know...when I saw them at 16.  I had a 1:58 at the half, which was impressive considering how fast I'd had to run to make up time I lost in the beginning from being with a slower start group (probably a 10 minute mile pace, maybe 10:30).  By the time I got to that area, I was in a solid group of runners that I was more or less leap frogging with the rest of the time.

The race had a very different feel this time--Chadd noticed it too.  The tone was a lot more serious--there were still people in costumes, but even though it was halloween, not nearly as many people as I thought I'd see.  There were a lot more serious runners.  People were hyped and anxious.  Maybe it was me projecting how I felt onto other people, but it had a whole different feel this year.  I can't quite put my finger on what was different, but it just was.

I came back up and went around the mall where I saw my cheer group again (twice! love you guys!) and  saw Chadd and Katie again (they had a sign that said "FREE BEER in 16, 10, 6.5 MILES" that they crossed off as they went--people loved it).  At mile 20, Maureen joined me and thank God.  I was in so much pain at that point, everything else had gone out the window.  I was enjoying the first 20 or so miles, but by mile 23, I'd hit the wall.  My body just couldn't do it anymore.  That's the worst part is that once you beat the bridge, you might not be on the bridge...but it's still desolate highway wasteland.

Maureen was my hero and stayed with me through mile 26 where she peeled off.  .2 Miles to go.  I passed a guy walking and while I knew how badly he hurt, I grabbed his arm and said "you can't stop, it's only .2 away, come on."  Then that hill.  Oh that hill.  It's just unkind.  It would put you out of breath walking up the hill, but running after 26 miles, and you can see the end.  You can hear people screaming, you can see the arches, the photographers, the runners stopping and resting.  There are marines lining the hill, crouching down so you're at eye level with them while you're forcing your body up that hill and they're clapping and waving you onward.  Every step there was a stab of pain going through my body, my legs were on fire, and then that miraculous point where you step across the first timing mat and you are finally, finally done.

4:08:48.  It's not below 4, but honestly, I'm okay with that.  It just wasn't in the cards for yesterday, and I'm just proud of myself for doing it (again).

I got a foil blanket from a Marine, tucked myself into it, being cold already, then got a medal from another Marine after going through the gates, stopped for a picture in front of the Iwo Jima statue, then let myself get herded off to the water and food.  Powerade, water, and this year (great idea!) a bag from sodexho already full of food--somewhere to put everything!

Mom and Dad called me while I was milling around in the crowd then I found Katie and Chadd and with a sweaty hug leaned on them while we got to the finisher area, where I got a mich ultra (mmm favorite "bad" beer) and a much needed massage.

During the massage, FJ came and found me then we all headed to the metro....

Unfortunately, the lines for the metro and shuttles were so long that we decided just to walk back to Georgetown.  And let me tell you.  I was surprised I could walk so far, but we wound up getting a cab around Wisconsin and M back to the house.  We grabbed pizza at Flippin Pizza then drove Katie to BWI.

I felt great last night (for having run a marathon) but today, I feel horrible, kind of like I've been beaten with a baseball bat.  Chadd got me into bed last night, turned on the ballgame, and after I took two tylenol pm, I passed out, but around 7 am, the cat started.  Chadd got up, took care of him, then came back and helped me roll over.  This morning, I was in excruciating pain.  Hell, I still am.

I got a late start on work, but spent the day at my laptop, occasionally trying to get up...now, just to wait until the soreness wears off!

Thank you again everyone for your support!  I'm pretty sure that was my last marathon, but it was a good one to go out on.

And like Katie said--now that I've done more than one, I can say that I'm a marathoner.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Body Does What? Also: Porta-Potties

4 days til the marathon and my fears are actually starting to lift away.

I keep replaying Chadd telling me "it's just running.  It's not like this isn't something you don't know how to do, just go run."

It's also made so much better by the fact that my two very dear friends, Maureen and FJ, have volunteered to run a couple miles with me.  Technically, it's not allowed, but no one is ever stopped from running for a couple miles.  Maureen and I have a history of running together--accidentally or on purpose.  She and I usually wind up beating our PRs with each other because we think we're keeping the other back...that's how I crushed the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler at an 8:09 pace.

FJ is my iron man.  He ran Ragnar with me and literally had that name on the back of his shirt: "Iron Man."  FJ recently qualified for Boston and is a total inspiration to me--he's volunteered to run as many miles with me as I want.  And since he did his qualifying marathon two weeks ago, I'm not too concerned about his ability to do as many miles as I need.  I've asked him to be there for miles 16-20ish.

I've decided to run without my ipod for the majority of the race.  That truly was one of the best things about the marathon the first time--was the sound of runners.  It's a symphony of foot steps, breathing, whispers of encouragement, occasionally laughter, the crowd cheering, marching bands playing...and it feels at times like you are simply carried along by the runners around you.

Yes, there are moments when your body is in excruciating pain...probably best summarized by this WaPo article

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/section/Marine-Corps-Marathon-2010-Ready-or-not-graphic/index.html

I love especially the bit about the brain:

"The brain does not want the body to run into harm, so it will reduce its electrical impulses to the muscles--in other words, it will stop telling them to move.


Ready?...Or Not: The untrained brain has little or no experience with an effort of this magnitude.  If the body pushes too hard, the brain receives a cacophony of threatening signals--Temperature is rising! Fuel is disappearing! My engines can't take much more of this, Captain!"

That author is CLEARLY a runner.

Then you read articles like this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/19/AR2010101903617.html

And you think to yourself: I am not lucky to run, I am blessed to run.  I was passed in the Army 10 miler by a double amputee doing the race on two prosthetics.  I felt like a huge jerk because I was just mentally complaining about how much it hurt and how much I didn't want to do it...it's the little reminders that keep your mind and body putting one foot in front of the other and to smile while doing it.

In the humor section...runners around the world are giving a big thumbs up to the Marine Corps Marathon race director who very clearly told Comedy Central to shove it when they asked if they could use the porta potties for the Steward/Colbert rallies the day before.

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/stewart-colbert-rallies-looking-for-a-few-good-porta-potties/19664942?a_dgi=aolshare_facebook

I love comedy, I love Stewart and Colbert, and I wish I could go to the rallies (I'm probably skipping in favor of the race expo and staying off my feet as much as possible since my angry heel is still, well, angry) but guys....the race has been planned for months and while I'm sure it will come through, your permit hasn't even been approved yet...and we've had ours for months.  And let me tell you, I don't believe you for one second that Comedy Central would be able to get them cleaned out and restocked in time for our race.  Don't throw a fit and tell us we're being unfair.  I paid good money for those porta potties to be there and clean, well-stocked, and useable for me when I'm running.  So unless some of the money that Comedy Central was offering to the MCM was going to go to crediting my race fee or to the Injured Marines fund, you can find your own potties.

A big heart felt thank you to the race director.  Thanks for standing up for us.  I'll think of you during all of my bathroom stops before/during/after the race.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Marathoning

Marathon count down: 5 days

I've been going over my training again and again in my head--the only run I didn't get in was my last 8 miles because of the conference last week.  I may try to get in something small tomorrow night just to stay loose and reassure myself.

I keep thinking about the pain of the last marathon.  I'm reminded of women talking about childbirth--that you must lose your mind or your memory if you think of doing it a second/third/fourth/etc. time.  Marathoning is like that.  The first time, you have no idea what you're in for.  Sure, training you threw up in a trashcan in the middle of campus, lost some toenails, and were sore more often than not....but you know, how bad could it be?  I was definitely nervous, but not like I am now.

Now, I remember how painful it was.  I have this searing memory of somewhere around mile 22-23 thinking my legs would never move forward again.  It was like running through concrete.  And finishing?  There was this momentary relief, then this irrational fear: what if my support crew can't find me? Why isn't there a place for me to sit down?  Can't someone see I just finished a marathon?  Why are they asking me to keep moving forward?  Please, someone, help me.

What I should be focusing on is this: the first hill was like cake, running through Georgetown was easy, I felt great when I saw Chadd and my mom at mile 11.  Running around the mall? Awesome.  And sprinting up the final hill to the finish line?  I did it.  I should remember the relief sinking in, how I cried when I got my official time and how freaking happy I was.  I was in so much pain, but it felt really good, I was so proud of myself.

See, running a marathon is really truly all in your head.

The final piece of the puzzle is this: it's nearly impossible to control all aspects of a marathon.  I've trained well, I've cross trained, I'm in the middle of hydrating, I will be well rested...but there are still strong possibilities that I could have a bad running day...I could crap my pants at mile 20 (seriously, these things happen), I could hit the wall...but:

I'm spending the rest of the week not talking about how nervous I am and instead focusing on the fact that I do love running, that regardless of the outcome.  Regardless of how I do this Sunday, I did myself proud during training and since I am almost positive I'll finish, I'm telling myself that despite my time, finishing a marathon twice is enough.  I can truly call myself a marathoner (K said that once I run 2, I can say marathoner).

If you'd like a good laugh...or perhaps reason to never run one:

http://www.expressnightout.com/content/2010/10/marathon-horror-stories.php

I think they're hilarious, but then again, that might be runner humor.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Salad Life

The good news!  I had my stress echocardiogram last Thursday after a very crazy week at a client's major conference.

The stress test was annoying at it's worst--I got there, lay down, had my uncomfortable echocardiogram (you guys, let's be a bit more gentle on the left side of one's chest.  There are ribs under that skin and fat....)

Then I jumped on the treadmill, and walked up a very steep incline (hi, my hill training is lacking, clearly) until my heart rate got to a certain percentage (I believe 85%), then you jump off the treadmill, lie down as quickly as possible and do another cold gel filled echocardiogram!

From what I gather, everything is fine--she said I could do the marathon, but she had to run because she was leaving the country to see her 88 year old mother and she wanted to schedule a follow-up to discuss.  I'll assume all things are fine.

In less awesome news, I do still have to have my hernia surgery (womp womp) on Nov. 18th.  I have no idea what to expect, other than that I asked them to put all the way under to do it.

What I do expect, however, is to be basically immobile for a couple weeks (immobile means I cannot run).  I was told that I could start "walking on a treadmill" two weeks after surgery.  Sigh.

This also means that I need to very quickly ditch my marathon training eating habits (which I won't even go into right now)

I've been analyzing my diet and once again, fresh food has fallen off the menu.  It seems to be inversely proportionate to the amount of time I have.

In spectacular news, Chadd was offered a new job last week that will put us on the same schedule.  If you've ever lived with someone on the opposite schedule as you (especially someone you love), you know how tough that gets.  While everyone else goes on dates during the week, shares chores, gets up and spends the morning getting ready/getting in each others' ways, etc., you're own your own.  It's been very difficult and very draining at times.

We celebrate this weekend with a bunch of fun stuff we've had on our lists to do--Luray Caverns, massages, dinner out, beignet breakfast, etc.

In short: my life is going to get a lot easier not having to worry about the car, now that I won't be tempted to stay up til midnight to talk with him while he's at work via video chat...I will actually have time to do normal people things like make dinner, fresh lunch, and eat breakfast.  Chadd's a lot better about keeping a schedule than I am.

Bottom line: I'm going to do an experiment to try and encourage veggies into my diet.  I'm going to do a salad for one meal every day.  These salads don't have to be run of the mill--I'm dreaming up one right now with a soy sauce reduction with seared ahi tuna, a bed of edamame, water chestnuts, baby corn, and a crap load of dark lettuce.  See where I'm going with this?

I need your favorite dressings, salad combos, etc.  I'll post my salad every day and a picture.

The experiment will probably start Nov. 8 (I want to have 2 weeks to get used to the low cal life style again).

Salad favorites...and go!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

At the Heart of the Matter

Friends and family, please get your heart checked.

After I finished Ragnar, I heard the sad story that one of the runners on another team passed away during the race.  I'm not sure what caused it--but it's probably what kills almost every runner in a race: massive heart attack from an unknown congenital heart defect.

I went to my doctor even though I don't have family history for heart disease or defects and got an EKG.

That EKG showed signs of a very small issue, something I can't pronounce or remember, that basically means that the right side of my heart is a bit weaker than the left.  At least, that's what I think it means.

My Dr. said she had no problem letting me run and that most people have some sort of something with their bodies--this one was very very common, in no way an issue, but because I specifically asked, she was going to send me to a cardiologist.

My cardiologist is a nut ball in a great way--she's a middle european (not sure which small czech like country she's from) and full of energy.  When she directed me to walk over to my GP across the hall to get my blood work, the receptionist was like "oh, you must be seeing Dr. Hausner...hang on." and went to get my files.

I loved her immediately.  She did an echocardiogram and another EKG, all the while telling me about why I should drink Kefir and how good it would be for my bones (my calcium in my bloodwork is in the acceptable range, God knows what set her off)

After the tests, we got the same results and just to cross off all possibilities, I'm doing a full stress test next week.

Oye.

As much of a hassle as it is, it's a great fear of mine to drop dead in the middle of a race.  It's just as much of an irrational fear as my fear of being that person in the first 5 minutes of law and order who discovers the body...but it happens to a small percentage of the population, and I want to make damn sure I'm not in those numbers.

If anyone in your family has a heart issue, no matter how small, please go and get an EKG.  They take no time whatsoever, and they may save your life.

When I told my boss that I had to work from home today because of when and where my cardiologist appointment was, his ears perked up, then when I told him why I was going, he said that a friend of his was a Marine, did races, etc...and dropped dead of a massive heart attack while doing a 5k.

None of what I'm saying is meant to scare you, it's just meant to tell you that even healthy people have heart attacks--because they don't know if they have any issues that aren't disease or life style related!  Ask for an EKG at your GP's.  It seriously takes 30 seconds and it's worth it if it saves your life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Mental Game

The marathon is in 18 days.

If you've given up on my blog and started reading my tweets and facebook status updates (what are you doing here?) then you know that my Ragnar Team recently completed the Ragnar Cumberland to DC 201.5 race.  All I can tell you until I have time to put my thoughts into words was that it was awesome and I encourage anyone who enjoys running even a little bit to do it at least once.

One of the girls on my team has decided to form a new team for the Ragnar Keys (Miami to Key West), so I'll be heading down to Florida in early January for that epic awesomeness again...and if you're interested, I might have one invitation for you, pending someone else deciding whether or not to lose their mind.

This weekend, I somehow talked Chadd into doing the Warrior Dash 5k up on Pennsylvania where I finished with a respectable time of 30:28.  A 5k with mud pits, a flame leap, cargo net climbs, climbing over tankers, sloshing through a pond with logs, a mud hill climb...we had a blast (see below)

As far as training goes, I've been pretty good about getting my running in, though lately I've been letting the short runs slide (not good), though my cross training is pretty high.

When I did my 18 (coming down from 20), I was holding between an 8:10 and an 8:20--consider that in training I take a 1 minute walk break every 10 minutes, bringing my average mile pace up to about an 8:40.

This is enough to make it under 4 hours...provided I don't cramp up, my knee that got a bit swollen after running down a mountain for my first leg in Ragnar doesn't give up (like it did at the end of 15), etc. etc. etc.

I told myself after I did the last one, two things:
1) I would never do another marathon
2) I would only do another marathon if I didn't put a time limit on myself.

I mean, I know I can do it.  That part isn't the scary part.  It's the doing it in less than 4 hours.  Because then I'll feel like I need to do another one to prove...prove what?

Welcome to my train of thought for the past month.

I feel like I spend hours chewing on this thought of: this is my last marathon (thank God), but it's my last chance to do it under 4 hours....and what if I don't do it in under four hours?  What then?  I don't want to train up again for another marathon.  I'm fine with half marathons, 10 milers, Ragnars, etc...I don't even WANT Boston.  I've been that runner who never had a Boston dream and I still don't, but I still go "well, what if I qualified?" (that would be a 3:40 time I'd have to get at the Marine Corps)  Of course I'd run Boston and I'd run Boston without a time goal.

But the bigger "what if" in my mind is "what if I don't do it in four?"  It's a hard feeling to describe.  No one is pressuring me to do it in less than four.  No one is pressuring me to give up marathons (aside from my own body that is oh so tired of long training sessions).  Everyone I know will be proud of me for doing the marathon, much less doing it under 4...

On a similar train, Chadd and I were having dinner post Warrior Dash and I was telling him how I wanted to do the Tough Mudder--it's essentially the Warrior Dash on steroids.  It's between 7 and 12 miles of running and very difficult obstacles.  It was designed with the help of the British Special Forces and encourages "Just finishing" because you cannot win without teamwork from the other mudders in the race.

It looks hard.  I would have to hire my personal trainer for specific training workouts.  I tried to explain that I kept looking for something that would say "this is it, this is as hard as your body can do, and we can't go any further."  One one side of the coin, it sounds like a glorious chase for bigger and better, but for me, it feels like a hunger that cannot be fulfilled--a longing of sorts--and not in a good way.

Perhaps I phrased it incorrectly to Chadd over dinner, but what came out was:
"I feel like I'm constantly running away from who I was in high school, and I am afraid that no matter what races I do, no matter how fast I do them, I will always be the unathletic sweater vest wearing debate nerd that I was.  I don't want people to think about me and see who I was."

Granted, I doubt anyone that I don't already talk to even thinks about me much less cares or judges who I am now or who I was then.  It's an insane thought that sits in my head and pokes at me when I'm not expecting it...

Is there anything wrong with being a sweater vest wearing debate nerd?  Hell no, I loved myself and I believe 100% that debate was brilliant for where I am today.  I would change nothing aside from my physical fitness.  That's all I'd change.  It's just how I see myself.

Sweet, wonderful Chadd says this:
"You know, who you were in high school wasn't a bad person..."

Maybe it wasn't the words he said so much as it was the way he looked at me.  Keep in mind, we met, started dating, and fell in love while we were in high school.

Maybe it's not about high school.  Maybe it's not about anyone else, maybe it's about that dreaded self image and fat days and bloated days and all of that.

Where do I get my trophy that says "I've conquered myself.  I can achieve no higher!"

I'm betting that a lot of this is also weighing on my mind because I have to have minor surgery (yaay hernia repair!) that will take me out of action for 6 weeks.  I can "go for long walks" after 2 weeks.  GREAT!

Prepare to see some posting about salad eating...

anyway.  I'm burnt out on thoughts.  does anyone get how I feel?  Or am I just getting the effects of marathon training again?

Monday, August 30, 2010

No, seriously this time.

Maybe 3rd time is a charm...I keep saying I'll be better about blogging, but since I just charged up my bodybugg and am in the process of writing out a week menu, I think this time it'll stick.

Big concerns on my mind...my right heel has started hurting quite a bit, very much like a heel stone.  I did just switch to new shoes, so hopefully that will remedy the situation.  I know I ran a couple miles too many in my last ones, probably causing the pain/bruising.

I'm looking for healthy dinner ideas....anyone?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday: Mid-distance Run or Sleep

Hope you went out for a run last night!

My beginning runners' group is growing with astonishing success.  Week two, up from 1 person to 4.  Everyone is a much better runner than they thought, and I find it so interesting that they all have told me "I'm afraid to run."  It's a concept that I'd forgotten many many miles ago.  That's not to downplay it at all, because I definitely had that fear.  I was afraid that I'd get too far out and my knees would hurt, that I'd be too tired to come back, etc. etc. etc.

Last night, we ran the small indoor track at the Y:

2:30 minutes jogging
30 second sprint
1 minute jogging
1 minute walking recovery

We did 5 sets of that (25 minutes), 5 minutes of squats, abs, core, then another 3 sets (15 minutes).  Pair that with about 10 minutes combined warm up and cool down.

Tonight, if you were me, you'd be getting into bed sometime around 8 to sleep for about 11 hours since you're afraid you're getting your boyfriend's cold.

But if you were me last week, you'd be headed out for an hour long serious run with your running partner.  So, if you're the me from last week, get to it, get out there and take a serious mid distance run.  If you're the me from this week...make pasta sauce and then pass out watching real housewives of dc.

Tomorrow morning, hit the gym for a spin class!

In other news--Hi Mom!  Don't worry, I'm not getting sick, I'm just stuffy.  Blame Chadd.  I'll call you when I get home!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday, Week 1

Tuesday's challenge!

I know, end of Tuesday, but if you could go back in time after reading this, today should look like this:

1 hour of group fitness
1 hour of yoga, stretching, or casual walking

Tomorrow, go for a walk/run for an hour tomorrow night!  Run with friends, this is a casual run kind of night!

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Exciting Things: A Month in the Life of Me

My Trainer Bob inspired me--he has a 4 week program (involving his videos) that you follow with his commentary.
If you give me 1 month, watch what you eat/drink (don't cheat) and do what I'm telling you to do here, I'll show you at least 5 pounds of weight loss.  Ready?  Sure you are.

Monday:
- Run, jog, or walk for 1 hour.  This may also be elliptical, biking, or swimming.  If you are walking, keep the pace going.  Got some energy?  Give me 1 minute of jogging per 2, 3, 4, or 5 minutes of running.  Try to spike your cardio at LEAST 1 minute for every 10.  
- Stretch
- Drink 3 full bottles of water throughout the day
- Tell yourself one thing that you love about your body.  Mine?  I love my slight ab definition at the top of my abs.

Tomorrow is group fitness!

Wanted: Fail Proof Way to Get Up

You guys, I'm losing my mind.

Help.

I need to find a fail proof method to getting my butt out of bed in the morning.  Things I have tried?
- Setting an alarm in another room (get up, turn off, go back to bed)
- Setting several alarms (turn both off or hit snooze on both)
- Setting alarm an hour before I have to get up (snooze...snooze...snooze through time I meant to get up)
- Two alarm clocks of the feline variety with a non negotiable wake-up time of 5:30 (locked out of bedroom after feeding)
- Morning gym routine (mild success)
- Signs (epic fail, I can't read in the dark or without my glasses)

Chadd says that the real problem is that I KNOW that I can get ready in about 10 minutes.  And it's true. I don't like it, persay, but I don't need more than 10-15 minutes.  I would much rather have an hour to take my time, have breakfast, etc.

The other problem, too, is that I can't really spend a whole bunch of time in the room in the morning getting ready, since Chadd's still sleeping.  I would RATHER sleep, too.  I can't turn on the tv, or the radio, or music while I get ready...

The final problem is that I don't really have a time that I have to be at work.  8:30?  Sure.  8:45?  Okay.  A little after nine when the world goes insane at home?  Sure.  It's a double edged sword (one I'm glad to have, so don't see this as complaining) but it doesn't help when I'm like "augh, got four hours of sleep...must hit snooze."

I guess that last sentence betrays me.  I never get enough sleep.  A lot of it is that when I pick up Chadd, I'm forced into losing a couple hours of sleep.  Unfortunately, there isn't really a way around that one that doesn't break our budget or force me to quit teaching.

I'm making an effort to get up at least 30 minutes before I have to leave from here on out.  Which means I need to be up at 7:45 every day.  Shouldn't be that hard.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day One, Good to Go

I will never take a week off of running during training season again.

You all know how freakin hot it's been here, so it makes sense that all will power I had totally got zapped as the temperatures rose above 100 degrees.

Last night, I had to get real, so I went to the gym and jumped onto the dreadmill for a 5k.  Worst 5k ever (aside from the Wolftrap 5k, which was heinous due to the billion hills).  I barely made it alive off the treadmill, then I did a quick set of weights for shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest/back, glutes, quads, and inner/outer thighs.  Horrible.

However, I'm glad I did it.  The first run back after time off is always the worst; I expect Wednesday's run with my beginner group to be a lot smoother and my Thursday night run to be awesome.

Anyway, I got back in the exercise saddle and hit my caloric burn of just over 2500 (target).

I did a great job with food:

Breakfast:
- protein packed kashi crunch cereal (HIGHLY recommend)
- banana

Snack:
- yogurt

Lunch:
- pita sandwich with turkey, pepper jack cheese, onions, and tomatoes (used our toaster oven to make it melty and crispy
- 100 cal. pack of cookies

Snack:
- 100 cal. popcorn
- Peach

Dinner:
- HUGE salad with homemade dressing (mom--the Karen Otteinger dressing with the Ramen noodle seasoning)
- Radishes with french bread and a little butter
- 1 glass of wine

Calories came in around 1400, which is a bit low for my target (1500).  I'll probably make up for it tonight at the BierGarten Haus (mmm), but I'm already planning on the salmon with the herb butter on the side and a big beer.

Tonight is Step, so cross training is a go!

What did y'all do in the heat?  Did you keep working out or crap out, like me?

Monday, July 26, 2010

I forgot! Running groups!

Hi friends!

I totally forgot.  I'm starting a beginning running group on Wednesday nights in the District at 7pm.

For now, you need to be a member of the Y, just because it's too hot to run outside, so we're using that track.  When it gets cool enough, anyone can feel free to join us.  However, my 7pm advanced running group (basically, you're joining me for a 5-6 mile run on Thursday nights) is open to any and all.  Just shoot me a comment if you're interested!

False Starts

It is so hard to get started back on a routine, isn't it?

I did a lot of great planning this weekend (see last post).  I went to the grocery and did a power sweep through the store--bought lots of fresh veggies, stuff for healthy lunches, and good filling snacks.  I made a running plan that I'm comfortable with...then last night, the sneaky Sunday night time warp happened.

It's that weird time vortex where one second, it's 9:30 and you're excited that you're going to go to bed before 11, then something happens (I called my mom because I thought I had SO much time to kill before 10:30...) then I looked up at it was 10:30.  No big deal, takes me 10 minutes to get ready for bed...I'd still make my mark of before 11.

I was certainly IN bed before 11, but somehow I wasted like 2 hours on the internets and all of a sudden, past midnight.

I knew then that my 6:30 gym time was just not gonna happen.  Didn't help that one of the cats is on steroids, and they make him thirsty...and because of course he's the special one and of course, he only drinks water out of the running faucet...so I was woken up twice through the night because he was thirsty.  Poor kitty.  

So, my gym time didn't happen this morning.  It's okay because, unlike most of my days, I actually have time for the gym tonight.

20 minutes on the dreadmill, then 20-30 minutes of weights.  

I did a few good things though--my bodybugg subscription recently expired, so I renewed it for 6 months.  I'm getting back on this daily, even though I need to be careful of obsessively calorie counting, because with training, I need to keep an eye on my intake and on food trends that might show up in my training/recovery.

I also packed a healthy lunch last night (turkey breast, pita sandwich, carrots, and a beautiful peach from the market) that was ready to go when I woke up late this morning (typical.)  It seriously takes 5 minutes to make lunch the night before, I need to make a commitment to just do this.

The thing I don't want to do?  Get on the scale.  

It's such a headgame because I recognize I've gained a little weight back (I'd guess about 5 pounds), but somehow, I feel like if I don't step on that scale it won't be true?  Go figure.  

I should take my own advice: "don't obsess on the number because it's one of the least accurate representation of how healthy you are when you're a fairly healthy weight to begin with...and because it can always always change...it just takes time."

So here's to taking time...


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Plans plans plans

Quick update...plans for the week!
Food:


Monday:
-       Breakfast: Cereal, peach
-       Snack: Yogurt
-       Lunch: Amy’s meal, carrots, 100 cal pack
-       Snack: Banana
-       Dinner: Big salad, chicken

Tuesday:
-       Breakfast: Cereal, peach
-       Snack: Yogurt
-       Lunch: Salad, cheese, triscuits, 100 cal pack
-       Snack: Popcorn
-       Dinner: “grilled” veggies, chicken, rice

Wednesday:
-       Breakfast: Cereal, applesauce
-       Snack: Yogurt
-       Lunch: “grilled veggies” and rice leftovers, 100 cal pack
-       Snack: Popcorn
-       Dinner: Pita thingys

Thursday:
-       Breakfast: Cereal, banana
-       Snack: Yogurt
-       Lunch: Pita, 100 cal pack
-       Snack: Veggies
-       Dinner: Whatever will wants

wiWill comes into town on Thursday night, hence the wild card.  

Working out:
Monday: 20 minute run, 20-30 minute full body weights
Tuesday: Step
Wednesday: 40-50 minute run (my beginning runner's group will meet for this first time this night, so I'll likely have a very light workout here)
RThursday: 40-50 minute run
Friday: Off
Saturday: 8 mile run
Sunday: 20-20-20

More later!

as

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend of Car Problems

Hello from hot and humid DC...I had intended to spend this Saturday morning getting up early and getting out for my first long run...but in case you weren't aware, we're in the middle of a sever heat wave.  It literally says on the weather map "oppressive" across the DC area.  I didn't even know that was a category...

Anyway, it doesn't matter anyway because I had to take the car to the dealership at 7:30 for repairs (sigh.  $$$$$) and I'm still there right now.  It's only been an hour, but it feels like some sort of time warp.  And place warp.

I'm not kidding, the guy to my right is drawing some sort of psychadelic butterfly woman with a rainbow background.  Not like doodling, either, like full on massive sheet of paper with pastels.  Sooner I can go home, the better.  There are at least three other people in the room with me who are conversing with the tv.  Not in a crazy kind of way, but in the way that they're literally having a conversation with the today show.  Example: TV: "If you have an allergy to wheat gluten...it can cause *list symptoms" Person: Mmmmmhmm, sure nuff!

I'm in a real conundrum.  I took about a week off of working out.  Mostly because this week was hell on wheels at work.  Don't get me wrong, unlike my last job, I actually enjoy my work and so it hasn't been horrible, but it's taken a toll on my exercise and sleep time.

But that's not the conundrum.  The real reason I've taken a week off is because I really hate running on a treadmill.  Really hate it, but it's been too hot to go outside unless I'm up really early, and I've been too tired to do that.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to motivate myself to get up and get out there.  I have a marathon AND a Ragnar relay breathing down my neck, so I really don't have a negotiable way out.

Since Chadd's out of town this weekend, I have plenty of time to plan.  What do I do well?  I plan.

If I ever get to leave the dealership, then I'm going to go home and after some fun time with my weightloss buddy, start doing some planning.  I'm going to come up with my meal plans again, I always prefer to do that because it takes all the last minute what to eat guess work out of my nights, especially when making a quesadilla sounds like the only option.

I'm also going to brainstorm things to do instead of running ... maybe it's that I have to go and spend an hour on the bike or cross trainer (x-train), maybe it's that I go swimming at the Y (in this heat? yes please...), or a walk.  It's still hot outside, but I could probably manage walking (knowing that I'll likely jog)

So.  That was written a while ago, in between then and now, I stopped by the diner next door for food, then walked the mile to Ikea to look for a new solution for our desk (we're getting rid of it, since we never use it...) but we need something to put all the stuff in that was in the desk.

Can I just tell you....it's ridiculously hot outside.  I literally was sweating through my shirt walking the mile back from Ikea.  I'm sure I looked like a crazy homeless person, walking down the highway, but whatever, better than sitting here in the mechanic's...which is playing some terrible 3-d animated kid's show about dogs that race car.

Okay.  Thank God.  I'm writing this at 10:45 at night...the car is almost repaired (a long story that isn't worth getting into) and my weightloss buddy and I had a great day at Joann fabrics, crafting, eating pizza, and chatting.

Hopefully I'll actually get my food/workout plans together tomorrow.  I'll share them soon, whether it's tomorrow or the day after...or the day after that!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back, like for realz

Okay.  This time, I swear, I really am back.  Thanks, Anna for the push!

Things have been busy at work (what's new?) but still great.  Fitness has actually maintained its place in my life with teaching so much, training with my amazing trainer for 2 months, and trying to spend as much time with K (especially at the gym) as possible before she leaves for Boston this week (sad!)

I recently got some irritating news regarding my ability to workout, though.

In December, I noticed a lump a little lower than my left hipbone.  Don't freak, it's not a big deal.  At first, I thought it was a muscular thing--just something from running, etc.  It would go away if I pushed on it...knot in my muscle, I figured.

Turns out, it's a hernia.  Likely congenital--so I was born with it--and easily repaired.  Since it's not painful or pressurized, that's good news...but because of the marathon coming up, I don't have time for recovery...until after.  My surgeon told me I can't teach BodyPump until after I have the surgery and recover.  I can lift upper body OR lower body, but no compound movements with very heavy weights--think of all those "oh I got a hernia by lifting a heavy box incorrectly."

So...there.

Epic suck.

The good news, however, is that I will now have time for running...which is especially important, because in even better news, I have a full team for the Ragnar Relay!  12 people, most of us strangers, embarking on a 193 mile relay race over the course of two days.  I cannot wait.

I also have the Marine Corps rapidly approaching (end of October)...so I suppose it's good that I now have more time to run.

I found my old Jeff Galloway marathon book, which is a pretty good resource, so, that starts this week and since Chadd's out of town this coming weekend, I'll start my long runs as well.

Having to change a fitness routine that was working so well for me is epicly frustrating...I'm sure running will keep me in shape, but I really don't like having to play gentle.

So...I'm getting back on wearing my BodyBugg every day (I've been doing every other week) and keeping a better monitor on my food intake.  No use letting everything slide for a stupid hernia...just need to be more flexible.

So.  There's that.  I promise to post every day, even if it's just a "so today I ran 5 miles and now I'm tired.  The end."

Thanks to my loyal readers (especially Anna!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Update! I AM alive!

First of all.  I am so so so sorry.

I know I've been neglecting the blog for about a month.  It's been busy here, to say the least.  I love my new job and have done a fairly decent job of staying healthy and keeping my work outs in line instead of ditching them like I did with my last job when things got busy.

I have a status update on my own fitness journey:
- I haven't stepped on the scale in over a month (mostly at the recommendation of my dietician who agrees with me and suggested I live by my own words that weight is the least accurate representation of your health)
- I fit into a size 2 levi jeans (ah!)
- I feel fantastic enough to not worry about the actual number on the scale
- Chadd and I are going to the beach with his family at the end of July (which has inspired me to whip my butt back into shape eating right)

I'm at that magical point in my life where I am 95% confident with how I look.  I am still struggling (as I think I always will) with looking like a hard body runner's world model...because that's just not how it ever will be.  I will always have a little softness because, well, women are supposed to.  That's just how we're built.

Better milestones are shaving time off my races, having better endurance, and being able to eat an extra cheeseburger per week.

I concluded my sessions with my dietician the other week.  She showed me how far we'd come--from me obsessively logging calories and having honest to goodness bad moods over going a few calories over my allotted calorie intake, measuring progress really only by weight loss, etc.  I feel like I graduated from the school of learning to eat better.  Now, I just need to enroll in the school of better time management.

I'm finding myself continuing to eat well, but I'm doing it by walking across the street to get a lean veggie curry dish from the Thai restaurant, or stopping by trader joe's for a salad, when I really need to be saving the money and just making food at home.

Currently, to keep myself at a place where I am comfortable/happy/confident, I need to do the following:
- 1 hour session with my personal trainer on Monday (extremely painful, extremely beneficial)
- 1 hour yoga on Tuesday morning, teach 1 hour step class on Tuesdays
- 1 hour workout on my own (usually running) or rest Wednesday
- 1 hour Body Pump class on Thursday
- Rest on Friday
- 1 hour Body Pump class on Saturday
- 1 hour 20-20-20 class on Sunday

At best, I get three days off if I'm not teaching a Thursday or a Saturday (usually I do one or the other).

The problem here is that I don't have a lot of time for running.  It's already June which means I should be warming up my marathon training this month.  My plan for my modified schedule looks like this:

Monday: AM: 5 mile run; PM: 1 hr. training session
Tuesday: AM: Yoga; PM: Teach Step
Wednesday: AM or PM: 5 mile run
Thursday: PM: Body Pump or 6 mile run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Body Pump or Long Run
Sunday: 20-20-20 and Long Run (if Long Run wasn't done on Saturday)

It looks like a lot, but just like some people like to come home from work and read, or go for a walk, or go out for drinks, I really do enjoy going to the gym, coming home to feeling physically relaxed, making dinner, popping on the tv, and chilling out.

When Chadd changes jobs, we'll likely move a few of those workouts to the morning so that we can spend time together in the evening.  I have four more sessions with Kimina (my awesome awesome awesome trainer), once those are over, I'll probably use that time for more running, then sign up again for another 8 sessions closer to the marathon.

New feature to blog will be food planning.  Probably will appear this weekend!

In the mean time, where are you with your fitness goals?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Body Pump Launch

Yes yes, it's 12:30 and I should be asleep.  But I have to share something that I totally forgot to talk about today.

Last night (tuesday night) we launched Body Pump (by Les Mills) at the Y and literally had to turn people away because we maxed out our class!  40 people!  I cannot tell you how amazing it is to have a full, energy-driven, group of people take your class.

A big shout-out goes to my amazing instructor friends for all the work they've done, the times we've shared sweating, maybe bleeding, crying, and laughing over the past two months getting ready for this.

National Capitol YMCA BodyPump Crew!


I also want to take this moment to brag.  Observe:


Yes, that is my right leg and no, my quads are not photo shopped.  I haven't had my runner's legs since...2006.  Want runner's legs too?  Easy.  Come to BodyPump!  (No joke, this is the most awesome workout I've ever taught) I'm teaching a week from this Thursday with Steph.  I'm going to try to put together a foam rolling class afterwards, but it might just be abs and stretch for now.

For my 20-20-20 class: FJ is going to be teaching my class this Sunday since I'll be in New York seeing my best friend from high school.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Marathon Training, and how

I sat down at my computer yesterday with a little time on my hands in the afternoon to look over a few running schedules for marathon prepping.  I have Jeff Galloway's book at home, but since I forgot to pick it up and bring it in with me, I decided to do some online research and I found a program that I think I'm going to try out.  It was listed online through the Houston Chronicle and can be found here at this link:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/run/971175.html

Anyway, since I've done one before and would like to consider myself in fairly decent enough shape, I figured I'd give their intermediate schedule a shot and modify it as I went a long due to teaching etc.

My class schedule is as such:
- Tuesday PM: Step Class
- Every other Thursday PM: Body Pump
- Ever other Saturday AM: Body Pump
- Sunday AM: 20-20-20

With three days taken up a week with training, I'm in kind of a pickle, especially since there will be weekends (every other weekend, in fact) where I'll be teaching twice, which wouldn't be an issue if I didn't also have to throw a long run in there, which can take up to 4 hours.

As I was charting out my modified running schedule, I started to realize that, uhoh.  I'm exactly 26 weeks away from the marathon.  Which, truth be told, is quite a lot of time (that's half a year, for those of you, who, like me, went "that's so soon!"), but since I have a serious goal this marathon, I need to be diligent.

My last/first/only marathon, I told Chadd that I wanted to run it in under 4:30 and he promised he'd take me to dinner wherever I wanted to go if I did it.  It was really a friendly competition, he later told me that he'd have taken me out to dinner no matter what considering that I'd just run a marathon.  The funny thing was that I really held on to that bet with him through the race, truly believing that I had to get a 4:30 (though through no reflect of who he is, had I actually been in a sane state of mind I'd have realized he was playing along).

I crossed the line at 4:22:34 and have never had such a strange surge of emotions go through me, exhaustion, elation, pride, extreme and momentary sadness, pain, confusion, clarity...and then I just sat my butt down and waited for someone to find me.

This time is going to be a bit different.  First of all, this isn't my first race (can you believe I did a marathon as my first race?  Talk about ambitious.  Thank God I didn't die...) and second, I've got a solid running history now.  I know what I can do, and I think I can do a sub 4.  If I literally came in at 4:00:00, I'd be okay with it, but a 3:59:59 would make me elated.

This puts me at needing to maintain just a little under a nine minute mile, meaning I need to train to stay at 9 and hope that race day, I get a speed surge.

But as I was writing out this program, realizing that it was 26 weeks away, and that my program literally started this week, I started to build a mental wall.  It doesn't help that I'm not really trained up for my half a week from this weekend...whatever.  4 miles should no longer scare me.  But I psyched myself out really badly for that run, had a miserable time, and barely made it home for just under 5 miles.

Tonight, after my appointment with my R.D., I have to go pull a solid 5, which means it's likely I won't be home until 8:30 tonight.  Must remain positive...and excited.  Here is, so far, the plan for the first 9 weeks of my plan, starting this week:


So.  Now to get to it...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Links!

Woohoo!  Tuesday Link Day!  I've got a lot of awesome stuff since I signed up for the SmartBrief nutritionist email blast.  Here ya go!

1) Gut Check time: Interesting, you can't spot train (lose weight in a determined place) but you CAN spot gain.  This article references studies showing that beer is literally the cause of that beer belly (beer more than wine!).  There's a bunch of common sense stuff in here--you know, don't eat the bar food, if you must drink, drink light beer, blah blah.  I was just interested to see that the beer belly is aptly named!  Who knew!

2) Your Chance to Tell the FDA What you Think of Food Labels: Ever wanted to influence public policy?  Well, now is your chance.  You have the opportunity to weigh in on new regulations for food packaging, including health labels, etc. on the front of food packages.  This article also links to another article which argues against labeling food in the front.  All of it, worth a read.

3) Food Deserts: Yes, deserts.  Now, I have to say, I have mixed feelings on this article because part of me sees the economics of the whole thing. Okay, I lied, my whole brain sees the economics of the whole thing.  This is a case of chicken and egg.  Who changed the demand?  The consumer.  If beautiful produce is rotting in the stands, you bet that the stockers are gonna go "send the best produce to places where it'll be purchased."  And to be frank with you, all of this talk about inner cities, I'm not seeing prejudice within the cities--I live in a big city and to be frank with you, I get crap produce even though I live in a wealthy neighborhood...which is why I go to the farmer's market.  It's not planned to be mean to poor people, it's part of the supply chain issue here.  It takes longer to get into a city with traffic, parking issues, and weird delivery schedules.  Not to mention, fresh produce goes bad in poor areas because, let's be frank here, ever been to a grocery in a slum?  Yes, they're gross and stuff goes bad when it's not kept in a clean area.  Hell, in the Safeway in the Watergate there used to be rats.  THE WATERGATE!  Oh city life, how I love thee.

Back to delivering the food...The harder it is to do something (i.e. deliver to the safeway outside my apartment) the more expensive it will be (ridiculously priced tomatoes) versus if it's easier (a massive backlot and loading dock behind the Albertson's by my parent's house in the 'burbs in Florida) it becomes cheaper.  Also, talk about taxes in the city.  HOLY MOLY.  Just go across the bridge into Virginia and watch your prices drop like bricks in the ocean.  If city planners made it easier for food to be delivered to grocery stores, I'm gonna bet prices are going to drop.  Okay, done rant.

4) Childhood Obesity and Diabetes: This is a great article for parents...and everyone else.  The examples that the doctor puts out for substitutes are great.

5) Fibromyalgia: No Thanks: Okay, maybe that isn't the title of the article.  But doesn't extreme muscle and joint pain sound like a drag?  Thought so.  Excess weight and lack of activity can nudge you that much closer to it.  Avoid.

6) Living by the Food Pyramid: Interesting, look at all those politics surrounding food!  Curse you lobbyists!  (terrifying, isn't it?) regardless.  An interesting history on the food pyramid and a link for a food "pedia" that gives you calorie counts of what you're ingesting.

Today got a bit out of hand at work, so I didn't get to share with you my Marathon Kickoff, but I will tomorrow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cooking Locally: Spare Ribs and Ramps

What a weekend...

Chadd and I did the Run Amuck 5k up in Rockville...absolutely hilarious.  We also found out that Chadd is a superior trail runner than I am (though I think I'd probably win in longer distances) and that wading through lake mud makes your quads sore.  We did finish 43, which, in our opinion, is pretty damn good out of about 370 teams of two.  Our time was somewhere around 33 minutes.  While that would be embarrassing for a 4k, I think it's pretty good for a 5k with obstacles and mud pits.

Some gentleman walking around the race took our picture for us since I was brilliant and left my phone in the car, and with that, my camera.  So I'm hoping that he'll email us our picture so I can show you what happens when you run a 5k through trails, wade through lakes, and finish the race crawling in a pit of mud.  Seriously.

I spent Sunday mostly cleaning and cooking, which brings me to this month's/quarter's whatever's Cooking Locally!

For just over $16, I picked up a little more than 2 pounds of pork spare ribs from one of the pork vendors.  I grabbed asparagus from another farm (4.50) where I'd also grabbed Ramps ($5) the week before.  I picked up a handful of small yukon gold potatoes ($2.50) and I was set.

I called my dad to get his expertise on the ribs.  He suggested a dry rub, and normally I'd have just put one together, but then I remembered that we have packets of spice rubs I picked up from a little spice/tea shop in Florida (there's another one here in Alexandria, apparently).  I brushed the ribs with a little olive oil, then slathered the rub on pretty thick on both sides.

After that, I tossed them (racked) in the over at about 175 for the next two hours.  I made the mistake of thinking they were done at this point (they weren't) and went on much later in the evening to throw them into a 450 over (which surprisingly made them come out perfectly) for about 15 minutes while I was finishing up the potato and ramp au gratin (2 c. potatoes, bunch of chopped ramps, layered, 1 c. milk, bread crumbs on top, your choice cheese on top, bake covered for 20 min. in 450, uncovered another 15).

Dinner wound up looking like this:


And was it ever delicious.  Chadd gave it a 4.5 out of 5, mostly because he likes the potatoes done a different way, but we both agreed the ramps were pretty good and a nice touch to the dish.  I was also pretty happy with the caloric value (somewhere around 450 for me) since ribs require so much time to eat, I get full on them quickly and don't eat too much meat, everything else was pretty healthy, especially since I used 1% milk for the potatoes instead of cream, and no butter.

I also whipped up a frittata of leeks, potatoes, and spinach, which, since I fell asleep prior to my bed time last night, failed to cut for my lunch today.  But there will be a review.  That recipe came from the cookbook I hailed as awesome last week, so I have no doubt it's going to be awesome.

My bosses aren't in today, but that doesn't mean I'm at a loss for work.  I can't believe it's already noon and I'm going to lose most of my afternoon and productive working time to a conference call. 

I've got a lot of links saved up for tomorrow--get excited!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Old Habits, New Ways of Life

I had some awesome ideas on what to blog about today, but go figure, they literally flew out of my head.  So instead, I'm going to talk a little bit about how I'm trying to stay healthy with my new life.

When I joined my last job, I was more focused on the fact that I was working my first full time job and that I wanted to make a good impression.  My focus was entirely on my career, which was the right mindset...but it blew up in my face because I neglected everything else.

Over the course of two years, no joke, I gained nearly 20 pounds.  I can't even tell you how hard it is to write that.  We've all read those magazine articles about how if you do x (ex: drink a whole milk chai latte) x times a week (how about 3 times) over the course of x years (let's say 2), you will gain x pounds (how about 20?).  My downfall was not chai lattes (at least not totally), it was the general lifestyle where I didn't focus on the pizza, the happy hours, the venti coffee drinks...and then I woke up one morning (when I started this blog) and asked myself "what have you done?"  I lost 8 pounds.  Then I celebrated and crapped out.  Gained the 8 back, plus 1.

About the time that I began to realize I couldn't be happy and stay in my previous job, I also began to realize that I couldn't continue to treat myself the way I was treating myself.

You've read the story of how I managed to get through those months before I joined my new company, so now you know it's possible, but I was really worried about the transition.  As unhappy as I was, I had a schedule I knew how to maintain, but I also had horrible habits.

If I didn't get up to go to the gym, I was usually up about 15 minutes before I had to walk out the door.  I was hitting the right caloric intake, but at the risk of of getting the wrong nutrition.  How do you make a day's worth of food in 5 minutes?  Easy!  You throw a lean cuisine, a 100 calorie pack, and some other processed stuff into a bag and off you go.

I promised myself when I started this job that I would live my life in a way that I was enjoying it.  Every minute of it.

I have promised myself to do the following:
- Make a meal plan every weekend that does not involved processed food
- Wake up an hour before I have to leave
- Eat breakfast EVERY morning
- Make my lunch every day or have a plan if I have a client lunch meeting
- Make a gym schedule and stick to it (schedule must be flexible)
- Enjoy every meal that I eat (because calories suck if they taste bad)

I know it's only day three, but I've gotten up consistently an hour before I had to leave for work, gotten to work early for 30 minutes alone to have coffee and watch the news.  I made a menu plan, cooked on Sunday, and have stuck with it.  My gym schedule hit a bump tonight, but because it was flexible, I'm going tomorrow night and taking tonight to relax.

I have 8 pounds to go--I added two pounds to my goal weight loss, otherwise, I am proud to say that I've maintained my weightloss for the past two months and that as soon as I sign up for my trainer, I'll be back on track with all systems go to burn off 8 pounds by the middle of June.

I think the bottom line of this meandering post is this: if you're unhappy with where you are, nothing says you cannot change that.  I know that I need milestones to help me change things, but think about what it is that you're dissatisfied with.  Do you rush in the morning?  Skip the gym?  Rely on take out?  Make an action plan and change it, because from where I'm sitting, and maybe it's the new job talking (it's so awesome, btw, I love being there), but changing something that makes you unhappy, as small as it may be, magnifies in how happy it makes you when you change it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Links!

I'm back!  I have links for you!

15 Things You Wouldn't Want to See While Running a Marathon:  This is true.  So very very true.

How to Run Injury Free: On a more serious note, this is a great article about common running mistake (training too much, training too little, speed work mistakes, ignoring injuries) that if you've ever started to hurt while starting a running program, you're likely to find your mistake in this article.

Weekend Calories May be Wrecking Your Diet: SOOOO true.  I duno about you guys, but I'm a big fan of my wine on the weekends.  I've decided to be strong and go without alcohol Sunday-Thursday because it's useless calories.  This, of course, is likely to be negotiated through happy hours...but I digress.  Weekend calories.  We have time for breakfast, we have time to sit and talk over a nice dinner (appetizers, dinner, dessert, drinks), we get bored on Sunday afternoon and snack...the only things I don't like on their list are the "get up the same time you do during the week" bit because I'm a major catch-up sleeper and the one about weighing yourself frequently.  It's my personal belief that you can't really see weight loss over the course of a couple days, a week is about the right time to measure weight loss/gain since we can go between +/- 3 pounds in a day.

Weight Loss Quiz: Very very very interesting.  I didn't do terribly, but the nutrition questions were hit or miss on my answers.  The only question I disagree with is if it matters what time you finish eating dinner.  I don't think it matters, it just matters that you're not eating more than you normally would.  Calories in calories out.  What was your score?

I don't have recipes for this week, but I do have a link for you to this amazing cookbook:
Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons

all I can say is that it's the most amazing cookbook ever.  Last night (and today's lunch) was the cavatappi pasta with arugula (subbed watercress since I got that at the market) pesto and cherry tomatoes.  Hello amazing.  The four recipes I've made out of this book in the past few days have been 100% amazing.

And that's it!  Enjoy you're Tuesday.  Update on my new job tomorrow.  Hint: it's pretty awesome.

Monday, April 26, 2010

First Day, New Changes

Today is the day to start new things.  At least in my world.

I got up this morning at quarter of 7 (despite a raging headache an a sleepless night...I guess that's what nerves do to you), my coffee had already brewed.  I had a banana and a piece of amazing homemade bread that my awesome dad made for me while I was at home, and walked around the apartment getting ready.

Today is my first day at my new job.  Technically, office hours are 8:30 to 6, but since I have to leave early sometimes to teach, I've decided to start getting here around 8.  I enjoyed my car ride over (though I'll likely hate the metro ride home since Chadd needs the car to get home), and I've been here for about 20 minutes so far.  

I actually have an office (with a door) and a big desk all to my own, a huge window at my back that overlooks the courtyard.  Life is feeling pretty good, to be honest.

I've decided that this is the time to make some big changes (though they're really not big in the scheme of things).  I'm going to get up an hour or so before I have to leave for the office (I only hit snooze 2x this morning as opposed to the typical 5-8 times), I will eat breakfast (especially since my RD is strongly urging me to do that), and I will take time to get ready the night before work so I'm not frantic the morning of.

Essentially, I'm going to start taking care of myself, pacing myself, and making this a lifestyle, not just another hellish project to get through.  Of course, that would be well and good if I had actually gone to bed early last night and slept well.  I stayed up way too late cooking (made lemon angel food cupcakes for my office...I know, suck up to the extreme, but they're only 140 calories!) and trying to relieve stress.  Then I tossed and turned all night.  I'm not actually sure I ever got deep sleep.  I wasn't too irritated since I was basically expecting to not sleep well.  I actually had a nightmare that I'd get to work and have nothing to do.  

Two hours later, my day feels slow mostly because I'm not usually at the office until 9 and adding another hour to my morning makes it seem like it's taking forever.  But at 8:30, my boss came in, seemed pleased to see me here already, then we all (three of us, 2 others on the phone) had a meeting, then we shot the breeze for a bit and 10am comes around and I have some reading material and a small task that will take me about a half day as soon as I have the info (likely this afternoon).

So far, so good.  I like where I am and if I hadn't had so much coffee this morning, I'd probably be 100% on top of the world.  

In other news....
My parents got me the most amazing cookbook when I was home.  It's the new Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons cookbook:


I tried three (yes, three) recipes last night.  And judging from how good they all are, I'm going to go ahead and say this cookbook is a must have in any kitchen.  

I'm having the Fresh Pea and Mint Soup for lunch with a small side salad and, later, for a snack, the Garlicky Lima Bean Spread (don't judge the limas, they're pretty good when ground into a paste and infused with garlic) and then, of course, the Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes which have so far passed the office taste test and made it into the email welcoming me to the firm.

It's a good day.