Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 15: the Roller Coaster

Last week was a bit of a roller coaster for me.
 It started off with me dropping Paul off at the airport and then running a 15K immediately after- both of which were exhausting- mentally and physically.

Then came a new pair of running shoes
Followed by an injury that popped up during one of my runs that caused me to almost have a complete mental breakdown thinking that this would keep me from running the half
But after some intense thai yoga therapy and some rest I was feeling great; back to normal
I not only was able to finish off my training week strong,  completing  my last long run (12 miles) before the half, I also ended up logging more running miles this week than ever before- 32.5 miles.
I had my confidence back. I felt ready for the half. I knew I could do it. I finished that 12 mile run with fuel in the tank and energy left in my legs- I knew I could push it for another 1.1 miles. I was ecstatic.
Well, ecstatic until Sunday when 2 miles into my 5K pain in my hip caused me to have to walk the rest of the race. I was pissed too. I had just ran my fastest two miles EVER and was on pace to come in at a sub-30 5K- something that I have never done before- and on top of that I was pissed because why the hell was the pain back???
Well, I was pretty sure I had just sabotaged myself for the second time in a week. The first- running in new shoes with less than 3 weeks left  before the half (note: the Brooks have been exchanged for a pair of Merrells- I am sticking with what works for me from now on) , the second- pushing myself only four days after my first hip flare up. Even if I felt great, it was probably quite unwise to push myself that hard. What was I thinking?
So, yesterday, under the advisement of my thai yoga therapist, I headed to a chiropractor to the get to the root of the problem and see if it was something fixable or if it would end up sidelining me from the half- which is now less than two weeks away.
The visit went really well. The root of my problem is my lower back and the cause isn’t running. It is from sitting all day long. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this either. Tricia, my thai yoga therapist, tells me this pretty frequently. Sadly, my job isn’t changing anytime soon the doctor gave me some stretches to do- at work and at home- and I will try to do better about getting up and walking more at work.
The doctor also told me that I should be fine in a few weeks and that running won’t impact the healing process so he has given me the green light to keep training and to run the half.
I am still planning on taking a few more days off from running. I also plan on seeing Tricia Thursday for my regular Thai Yoga appointment and I also scheduled a follow up appointment with the chiropractor for next week- just to be safe. He thinks that the one adjustment from yesterday is probably all I will need but I would just feel much better seeing both him and Tricia again before the half. I want to help my body heal as best I can.
I also don’t want to do anything that might cause a real injury down the road. So for this week my plan is rest, rest, rest, stretch, stretch, stretch, eat well, and stay positive.
Saturday, if I feel up to it, I will go out for a run. A nice, easy-paced happy run. Until then I will just focus on doing what’s best for my body, my mind and my soul J
Have you ever been sidelined from an injury? What did you do to help your recovery? How did you cope with it?
"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."  ~Jesse Owens

Friday, October 26, 2012

"O Captain! My Captain!"

This is my friend Yerttle 

This picture is from today at the expo for the Marine Corps Marathon. The marathon she will be running in just two days.
She is one of the most amazing people I know.
Training for a marathon is tough, no doubt about it. She trained for the MCM while balancing her responsibilities as a mother to like 87 kids (ok, three but still – I am sure three kids feels like 87 at times), her role as an FRG Leader (which is not only a distinguished position to hold it also comes with an insane amount of work and a lot of BS) all while her husband was deployed. Boom! Crazy!
She isn’t just a member of Team Awesomesauce, she is the Captain.
She is the reason why I am able to get out of bed and run every morning. Because I know if Yerttle could make the time to do it why the eff couldn’t I?
I wish I could be in DC this weekend to cheer her on, stalk her from the crowd as she runs, yell embarrassing things at her and hold up a funny sign. In case you were wondering, my sign would say "If a marathon was easy, it would be called your mother."
I wish I could be there to watch them put that medal around her neck and give her the world’s biggest hug. I wish I could be there because it is going to be awesome, just like her!
Good luck, Yerttle! Go kick some asphalt!
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” ~ Steve Prefontaine

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Running Box

This morning I hurt my leg while running. Well, actually it is my hip. But I don’t want to talk about that. I am pretty sure that what is wrong is completely fixable and that after my Thai Yoga therapy session this afternoon I will be back up and running, literally J
Instead, I want to talk about my running box. My storage box for all my running ‘essentials’
When I first started running I swore I wouldn’t turn into this person. I wanted to be a minimalistic runner, just the basics only. I didn’t want all the gear or gadgets. I just wanted to run.
Yeah, that totally didn’t happen. Well, maybe at first it did but then the more I got into running the more things I wanted/needed and now I have a box dedicated solely to running items.  
Are you curious as to what is in my running box? Well here is a picture.

This is everything I am currently NOT using. Some of this is Paul’s that I claimed ownership of once he left. Don’t judge, you’d do the same wouldn’t you?
-Reflective sleeves (too hot still to wear)
-Spibelt, a gel holder/bib holder belt, and a pouch I can add onto either
-Sleeve for my handheld Camelback
-Gloves (neon yellow gloves to boot) as seen below. Definitely the sexiest picture of me ever taken ;)

-Hats and a neck gator
-Headsweats head bands (2)
-Compression sleeves (2 pair)
-Paul’s Garmin (and its accompanying chest strap) and both of our chargers
-Ankle strap for my Road ID (in case I don’t want to wear it as a bracelet)
What’s missing from the box are the items I use daily; my Garmin, RoadID bracelet, reflective ankle bands and reflective belt (because I run in the dark ), Road ID hat (also reflective), and my Osprey (like a Camelback) I use on my long runs.
Oh, and my ProStretch I use to stretch my Achilles after I run.

It doesn’t just end with the running box. This habit hobby has taken over my closet.
Over the past few months I’ve also accumulated quite the stockpile of tech shirts, sports bras, and running shoes/sandals. I actually need new work clothes but yet any money I save seems to go to running gear, race fees and such.
And this hobby has taken over my calendar, too. My life is planned around my runs and races.
Why, yes- I am planning on running the Philadelphia marathon in November….of 2013.
Yep, I think its official now, I’m obsessed.  
But there are worse things to be addicted to, right?

Do you have a running box? How do you keep all of your essentials organized? Are you hooked on running?
"Every day is a good day when you run." ~Kevin Nelson

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Pictures from my Dad, Part 1

My Dad is pretty awesome. He is a music buff, an avid reader, a (converted) dog lover, and fantasy football enthusiast. If you know him in real life then you know he is quite eclectic. He loves Google Picasa and is constantly sending me goofy/unusual/humorous/beautiful pictures. It's always fun seeing what he sends. So I thought that maybe WW was a great way to share some of them with you. Here are some he sent to me yesterday. I hope you enjoy!

He says this one should be my icon...

"IT IS IN THE SHELTER OF EACH  OTHER THAT PEOPLE LIVE."~ Irish Proverb      (and also the quote in my Dad's signature line in his emails)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Run Happy....Yes, Please!

Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes.
I wasn’t really planning on buying yesterday. My original plan was to buy at the expo in three weeks or some time shortly thereafter. Once the half is over I will be into full blown marathon training. Well, technically I am already into my marathon training, 8 weeks into it actually, since I planned my marathon training around this half marathon.
However, once the half is over I will start seeing longer runs during the week and on Saturdays so I wanted to transition into a minimalist shoe (instead  of a barefoot running shoe) with a bit more cushioning. As it is now, my feet start to feel like they are taking a beating towards the end of my long runs. No blisters or rawness or anything like that, just the side effects of having not much between my feet and the ground while taking about 180 steps per minute and still being overweight.
I knew that although the shoes I currently run in are by far the most comfortable running shoes I have ever worn and even though I love running in them that there would come a day where I needed a bit more cushioning.
Then on Sunday I was reading the latest issue of Runner’s World and saw a new pair of Merrells that caught my eye. They were similar to what I was already running in but with a bit more cushioning. Seemed like it could be exactly what I was looking for. Since I am not a big fan of ordering shoes online, running shoes in particular, I decided yesterday on my way home from work to run by the store near my house that carries Merrells to see if they had the shoe I was looking for.
Jackpot! They did!
BUT…it didn’t fit right. What? How? I was so sad. I really, really wanted to love that shoe. On paper, it was exactly what I wanted. But, it was too tight through the toe box and I knew that if it wasn’t comfortable in the store it would not be comfortable running in. Boo…
Oh well, no biggie. I didn’t NEED new running shoes. I wasn’t in any hurry. I had weeks before I wanted to buy new ones.  I knew I would find something that would work for me when I start seriously looking.
And as I turned to leave, I saw them.
The Brooks Pure Connect.
The shoe I almost bought months ago but opted for the Merrells instead.
And they were on sale.
So I had to try them on, right?
I asked for an 8.5/9 (couldn’t remember what size I tried on previously) and they only had a 9.5
It couldn’t hurt to try them on could it? I mean it is a bigger size but maybe they would fit.
And they did. Perfectly. With about a fingers width between my longest toe (my second toe, I know- I’m weird) and the top of the shoe.
Whole Earth Provisions even offers a 15% military discount on their sale items. So I had no choice to buy the shoes, did I? They retail for $90 and I paid less than $60.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind paying full price for good shoes. But if I can get the shoes I want for 2/3 the retail price why would I say no?
I am now the proud owner of my first pair of Brooks! Yay!

And as soon as I paid for them the internal debate began…
Do I attempt to break them in and run the half in them or shelve them until after?
I decided that I would start running in them right away, as in this morning. I have about 50 miles of running on the schedule between now and the half so I think that is plenty of time to break them in. I will run in them the rest of the week and if I am feeling good come Saturday I will use them on my long run.
This morning was intervals so I logged just over 3 miles in the new shoes. No complaints. I found it easy to maintain my running form and I even think the bit of cushioning in them helped add a little extra spring to my step.
Don’t worry though, if I feel any weird pains or develop blisters or have issues maintaining my form I will definitely not run in them for the half. I have worked too damn hard to let a pair of shoes ruin my run. J
What are your thoughts? Is 50 miles/3 weeks enough time to break in new shoes? Any tips (dos/don’ts) on breaking them in?
“Run Happy” ~ Brooks Running
Run Happy photo taken from the Brooks Running website

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let's Talk Medical Conditions...

Hyponatremia - do you know what it is?
According to the Mayo Clinic website “hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low.”
Over the summer, while I was on a blogging hiatus, a local man died from this while canoeing in the Texas Water Safari competition. See full story here. That was the first time I had ever heard of this condition.
You are probably wondering why I am sharing this with you, how is this condition releveant to you?
Well, one possible cause of hyponatremia can be drinking too much water during exercise causing the sodium in your body to become diluted. Some of the symptoms of hyponatremia are nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, fatigue, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, unconsciousness or coma. Yikes! According to the Mayo Clinic, “In acute hyponatremia, sodium levels drop rapidly — resulting in potentially dangerous effects, such as rapid brain swelling, which can result in coma and death.”
One of the risk factors to hyponatremia is intensive physical activity such as marathons, ultra marathons, or triathlons.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Hyponatremia is something you should understand if you are participating in intense physical activities. Especially since hyponatremia and dehydration have some similar symptoms, like headache, confusion and weakness.
Some things to keep in mind during activity- limit your water intake to a liter/34 oz an hour (this is about as much fluid as you will lose during that same time period) or consider drinking electrolyte enhanced beverages instead of water.
If you want to learn more about hyponatremia the Mayo Clinic website has a decent amount of info or you could always consult your physician with any questions you might have.
Water is great, don’t get me wrong, just make sure you don’t overdo it!
“The greatest wealth is health.”  ~Virgil
<22Oct2012, http://www.mayoclinic.com/>

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week 13 & 14 Recap

So I’ve been kind of MIA lately and I apologize for that. Life has been a bit…hectic. Yeah. Let’s go with hectic.

Last week we headed to Austin on Thursday for a concert and spent the following day there for the Austin City Limits Festival which totally kicked my butt. I don’t know why this year seemed different (both sold out crowds of 75K people) but last year’s festival was not nearly as crazy.  I woke up Saturday morning feeling like someone had the air let out of my tires. I felt sooooo exhausted. And gross. I ate too much crap. Ugh! It was awful. I stayed on the couch almost the entire day.

Trying to push through the overwhelming feeling of crappiness I vowed to get off my butt on Sunday. I was going to go out with my regular Sunday morning group ride and then follow that up with the four mile run I should have ran on Saturday but didn’t.

Well, Sunday was a mess. Paul and I showed up at our meet up spot and no one was there. Apparently the ride was cancelled due to the thunderstorms on the forecast but no one had bothered to tell us. But I really wanted to ride so off I went on my own. I didn’t want to leave Paul but he was on a mountain bike, I was on a road bike. If we tried to ride together one of us would have been unhappy- either him working too hard to keep up or me riding very slowly to match a comfortable pace for him. Solo ride was my only choice if I wanted to ride.

And it was great ride until about 4 miles from home when the sky opened up and let loose. It was pouring. I was immediately drenched. It was fan-freaking-tastic. It took every ounce of energy to keep my bike moving forward, slowly, cautiously, for those last few miles. I made it home, safe and sound and in one piece and with no desire whatsoever to go for a run.

But of course by the time I got out of my soaking wet clothes it was bright and sunny (and very warm) outside and I did not want to miss my opportunity to get in those four miles so I headed out for a run. Good decision? I thought so at the time.

Then I woke up Monday morning with a nasty chest cold and proceeded to spend the next two days in bed and took the next three mornings off from running. I was (and still kind of am) a mess, which hopefully explains why I have been somewhat MIA from the blog world.

So, now that you have heard my spiel about why I haven't been blogging I will try to quickly rehash the last 2 weeks of training with a quick list of training/goals for next week.

Week 13 Planned: 5K, Interval A routine, 3-4 miles easy-paced run, Hill A routine, and 4 mile long run (yay for recovery weeks!)

Week 13 Actual:

5K- new personal record of 30:26 which is a 9:47 min/mile pace

Yay! My first ever sub-10 minute/mile paced 5K. Also, I was pretty stocked to finish 9 out of 40 in my age group. Yep! Only 40 people in the 30-39 female group. Crazy!

Interval A routine- 5 minute warm up, 6X 1min run/ 2 min recovery, 5 minute cool down

The run felt good, no complaints. I even was able to increase the distance in the same time compared to the last time I ran this routine. Score!

3-4 mile easy-paced run

I don’t even remember this one. Not sure if that is good or bad but the Garmin is my proof it actually happened. Lol!

Hill A Routine-aka the run that almost killed me.

No pics for this run.  I ended up doing some hill intervals on the treadmill because it was raining. I don’t mind the rain per se but running in the rain in the dark is just asking for an injury- in my opinion. No, I trudged over to the gym and ran on the dreadmill for about 20 minutes or so until the power went out. That was really fun. Has this happened to anyone else before? It’s kind of startling when a treadmill just stops. And then you are in an empty gym in the dark. And then you have to walk home in the pouring rain. Yep, it was an eventful morning. Definitely was a lot of fun getting showered and having breakfast in the dark. Thank goodness for my flashlight app. Lol!

4 mile long run

This didn’t happen until Sunday due to my inability to get out of bed Saturday morning. As I mentioned earlier I got in this run after my (rain soaked) bike ride. I was pretty happy. It was much warmer than I am used to running in (since I ran like four hours later than my normal time) but that was a good thing. I need to get adjusted to the temps I will be experiencing in a few weeks during the half.

As far as my weekly goals for week 13 go I got in all (well at least attempted all) my training runs, I did not do any core work (disappointed face) and ate well except for the day at ACL. They actually ran out of almost every vegan options and I ended up eating soggy fries, twice, because I had no other choice. And no, I don’t think fries are the end of the world but they certainly made me feel like crap the next day. All in all it was a pretty good week.

Week 14 Planned: 4 mile, Interval B routine, 3 mile, Tempo B (5 mile) routine, and a rest day Saturday since my long run will be the Alamo City Beer Challenge Race #4- 15K

Week 14 Actual:

4 mile run- skipped, I opted for bed rest instead

Interval B routine- skipped also for same reason

When I finally felt good enough to run I choose to do a 4 mile easy-paced run and Paul actually came out and joined me. It was really great since we never have run together before. His pace for 4 miles is about 7-7:15 min/mile. That morning I kept a pace 5 minutes per mile slower but he never complained. What a sweetheart! We just talked and enjoyed our time together. It was nice.

My last training run of week 14 was supposed to be a 5 mile tempo run. It was a mess. Probably my worst run to date. After about a mile and a half I stopped and walked. I really could go into great detail about everything that was going wrong but instead I will focus on the good that came out of it.

Paul was with me and he was talking to me (as we walked) about how all runners have bad runs. That he has had them. It’s completely normal. Yada, yada, yada. I start to cry. Definitely frustrated because of the situation (but you all know I am uber on edge with Paul leaving in 2 days) and feeling like a worthless piece because of it. Yeah, I know everyone has bad days/runs but my half was in three weeks. And I couldn’t even push through the hard shit I was facing a mile and a half in. I was discouraged to say the least. But I calmed down, realized most of what was happening was mental, remedied the physical issues I was having and decided to start over. I decided that since I didn’t have the time to try for five good miles I would take what I could get which was two. So, off we went. For two solid, happy, enjoyable miles.

My take away from this; yes everyone does have bad days (myself included) and we never know when they will happen. They can even happen race day. But we are all stronger than we think and if we can push through the mental roadblock anything is possible.

I am so glad I pushed through and got in a good run. If I had just walked home instead this would be an entirely different post (if I even wrote one) and I would be in a completely different state of mind- probably one filled with fear/dread over my upcoming 15K Sunday and the half in 23 days. Instead I am excited for Sunday, this will be my second 9 mile run on this trail, and very optimistic about the half. As I should be.

So, my training for week 14 wasn’t great but I was sick and I think I would be sicker now if I hadn’t rested. I also didn’t get in any core work and ate like crap most of the week. Maybe not the best training week so far but I learned a lot about myself and so I think that made up for it.

Week 15 Goals

Yikes! Week 15! 3 more training weeks until the half marathon! So crazy!

-Complete training runs: 15K, Interval B routine, 4 miles easy pace, Hill B routine, and 11 mile (which I may push for 12) long run. Tough week. Around 30 miles Sunday-Saturday.

-Complete two bike rides. It’s time to start duathlon training! Let the madness begin

-Core work three days. I need to get back into regular core work. It will help with my running and cycling and of course more muscle is a good thing!

-Eat home cooked meals! I already made my meal plan up for next week- my first week cooking for just me- and I have some great, easy meals on deck. I will also be making my lunches at home as well. This will definitely make it easier for me to make good choices.

What’s on your agenda? Are you currently training for anything?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” ~Aristotle

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tip of the Week

I read this today and just had to share. It was emailed out at work to those participating in a weight loss challenge. It was sent to us from United Healthcare. I wasn’t quite sure how to cite a flyer I received in an email but I figured I somehow needed to disclose that this was written and published by someone else (United Healthcare) and not by me.
However, this tip resonated with me so much because the issues it is discussing have been issues that keep popping up in my mind lately.
So, without further ado- here is the tip of the week from United Healthcare:
Tip of the week
Find support
As you reach for your goals, you may find that you are changing many of your current behaviors. These lifestyle changes may affect those around you. Some may be more supportive than others. For instance, some families may support your decisions but not want to change themselves.
Think about who you rely on for support — family members, friends, co-workers, others? Are they supportive of your new lifestyle changes? It can be more difficult to change without a strong support system. Find a good support system and let others know how they can support your healthy lifestyle.
Ways to help me eat healthy and move more
·         Choose and eat healthy foods with me
·         Go for a walk with me or ask me to do other physical activities with you
·         Don’t tempt me with less healthy foods as a reward or gift
·         Plan social events around being active
·         Don’t offer me second helpings
·         Encourage me to cook or try new foods
·         Help me with my other responsibilities so I can prepare healthy foods and be more active
·         Encourage me to go for a walk when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed
·         Praise my efforts to change
Wow! I think this is spot on. Support is key to success. This is why so many of us have found success through Weight Watchers, right? I know I am not the only one who thinks that they need, and rely on having, a solid support system because I have talked to so many other who feel the same way.
But what happens when you change and the people in your life don’t want to/need to/care to? How do you maintain relationships that were built on a entirely different foundation? How do you balance your new needs with the needs of others when they may be conflicting needs?
I don’t have all the answers. I have let some of my closer relationships fall to the wayside because I couldn’t figure this out. I wish I knew how to please everyone but I am not sure you can. Can you?
On a more upbeat note I love this one bullet point in particular:
·         Plan social events around being active
This is one of my favorite things to do. It’s not always easy to come up with fun ideas but the effort is always worth it.
And on that note, I am off to try to plan a fun activity night. Maybe another girls night out roller skating. J

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One Year Down. Many, Many More to Come.

Yesterday I celebrated one year of following a healthy whole-foods based vegan diet. 
A year ago, when I made the decision to eat vegan it wasn’t for moral or ethical reasons and it wasn’t to help reduce my carbon footprint. Nope it was entirely selfish. It was only about me, about being healthy and feeling good; the two things that had eluded me up to that point in my weight loss journey.
Here I was, almost 8 months in, losing weight, following the Weight Watchers program to a T, being active and still feeling like shit. I thought to myself when would I ever feel good?  I was still lethargic. I was still not sleeping well. I didn’t have much energy. I was losing weight but I did not feel healthier, I did not feel good. And damnit, I wanted to feel good.
So I decided to take a closer look at my goals (being healthy and active) and what I needed to do to achieve them.  I adopted a practice of mindful eating. Changed my perception towards the food I ate and its purpose. If I wanted to be active then I needed to look at what I was eating as my fuel. But at this point I didn’t know much about food; about what was really good for MY body so I started to monitor my reactions to what I ate. As part of mindful eating I made sure to eat slowly in an environment without distractions and then document how I felt after everything I ate.
Did I have energy or did I feel lazy?
Did I have indigestion/upset stomach or did I feel normal?
Was the food I was eating making me want to be active or plop down on the couch and watch TV?
After time I realized which foods were making me feel good and which ones were making me feel bad.  The offenders- animal proteins/ animal products. So on a whim I said let’s try a week without any animal products and see how I feel.  
It didn’t take but two or three days for me to notice a change. I felt freaking phenomenal. My energy levels were through the roof. I slept like a freaking baby at night. I was regular for the first time like EVER which is huge deal for me. I had been battling IBS for years. I just wanted to be active and I felt like eating these foods would allow me to live an active lifestyle. It was great.
But could it really be that simple? Change the foods you eat and reset your body?
Not sure it was really possible, really that easy, so I decided to splurge and treat myself to some frozen yogurt. And guess what? That was all it took to show me how badly my body was affected by what I ate. I think it took 2 or 3 days before I was ‘regular’ again. Sorry if that is TMI but it’s the truth.
That was when I realized that there was no food out there that was worth sacrificing my body, my health, my wellness for and decided to live my life following a vegan diet.
Best. Decision. Ever.
I don’t just survive on a vegan diet, I thrive.
Is it always easy? No it’s not always easy; especially when I am traveling or at a friend’s house or I want to go out for a romantic dinner. I have to plan, I have to research, and I have to be prepared.
Did it get easier? Heck yeah. The first few weeks were rough trying to figure out what I could eat. Thankfully there are so many blogs and websites with recipes not to mention what seems like an infinite number of cookbooks. Whole Foods marks their products as vegan (I am pretty sure Trader Joe’s does as well) which makes life much easier. I actually a wider variety of foods now than ever before.
Today I feel like a seasoned pro when it comes to what I eat. I base my diet around whole foods and try to follow the 80/20 rule. It is easy to be a junk food vegan – I could eat French fries and drink Coke all day long if I wanted but then I would be back at square one. I could also fall back on vegan convenience foods and fake meats/cheeses but they are just as processed and preserved as there non-vegan counterparts so I really try to limit my intake of these products as well.
Ultimately I believe that if you limit the junk food and the processed crap and try to stick to more real, whole foods then you will be much, much healthier and happier- regardless if you are a vegan or not. Give your body what it really needs; vitamins, minerals, essential aminos, fats, protein and carbs and you will be kindly rewarded.
I am not trying to be preachy. I am just sharing my opinion and my story. Do with it what you will.
A year into this I have come to learn so much about veganism, animal rights, the health of the planet, the crazy shit in the foods we eat, and now I choose to be a vegan for health reasons as well as for animal rights and to help the environment.
 I listened to my body and gave it what it wanted and I am so thankful that decision has a positive impact on the world I live in. It’s really pretty cool.
"My refusing to eat meat occasioned inconveniency, and I have been frequently chided for my singularity. But my light repast allows for greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension." ~ Benjamin Franklin

This cracks me up. Just had to share. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 12 Training Recap

Week 12 was a great week for running. And since my week 11 long run took place on Sunday (instead of Saturday due to rain) I actually logged over 31 miles running over the course of those seven days. That is the most mileage I’ve logged in a week to date so I am pretty excited, especially because physically I feel so great.

Here is my recap of my training runs not including Sunday’s (9/30) 10.37 mile- even though it falls in this calendar week I consider part of week 11’s training and already wrote about it last week.

Tuesday, October 2nd: Interval B Routine

5 minute warm up, 6X 1.5 min fast/ 2.5 min recovery, 5 minute cool down

I have been focusing on trying to jog during my warm up and cool down as well as for 1.5 minutes of my 2.5 minute recovery. Ultimately I am working towards not needing to walk during my recovery. This also means I need to make my fast intervals a little bit slower but I am ok with that.

I was super happy with this run especially because I ran further that day than I had the previous week on the same routine. The difference is this week I ran it outdoors, not on the treadmill.

Wednesday, October 3rd: 4 mile easy-paced run

Since my normal neighborhood loop is just over 3 miles I decided to run a new route for the 4 miler (and the following day’s 5 miler) and it worked out well. I focused on running slow, keeping my heart rate low, and being very, very comfortable with this run.

It felt great.

Thursday, October 4th: Tempo B (5 mile) run

This was my first five mile tempo run. Previously I had been doing 3 mile tempo runs so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was cruising along during the first half. It was a little rough starting out (always is) since I start off running uphill but at about three quarters of a mile in it switched to downhill and I was flying. It felt great.

Until I had to turn around and come back.


Ugh! Between 2.5 to 3.25 I didn’t think I would make it. My legs were dying as I just tried to keep running uphill. Of course at this point my running was probably a slow walking pace. But I kept pushing. And I am so glad I did. It wasn’t easy so when I was finished I felt like I just achieved something great. It feels good to push yourself and work harder than you think you can.

 Another great run in the books!

Saturday, October 6th: 9 mile long run

On September 1st, I ran my first ever 9 mile run. I did it in 01:57: 32 which is a 13:04 min/mile pace. When it was over my body felt tired, my legs felt worked. I was spent. I went home and took my first ice bath which really helped my recovery.

Fast forward five weeks and I am out for my second 9 mile run. This time around I ran it in 01:44:10 which is an 11:34 min/mile pace. Afterwards I felt great. I still went home and took an ice bath because I believe it really helps my recovery. But overall physical well being- drastically improved between the run on 9/1 and the run on 10/6.  It’s amazing that my pace improved so much over such a short amount of time especially since I was still running at a comfortable, slow pace. On my long runs I never go out there and push myself, I go out there and settle into an easy pace I can maintain for a very long period of time.

But I shouldn’t be surprised though. From everything I’ve read, by running slowly during my long runs, I should expect to see improvement as my training progresses. It seems counter intuitive but it’s true, you have to slow down if you want to get faster. And looking at my numbers is proof enough for me.

Now, as far as my other weekly goals go…well, let’s just say they weren’t as great.

At least 5 homemade dinners and all breakfasts/lunches during the week also homemade/not takeout- 5 homemade dinners, yes. But I ended up eating out twice for lunch this week; once for Paul’s going away luncheon and the other for a work birthday. For the week I would give my eating a B-

Yoga- yes, I was able to get in one hot yoga class but that was it. Wish I could have also squeezed in my yoga for runners DVD but I did not. C

Complete core routine 4 times; straight-arm plank, one minute crunches on balance ball, one minute leg raises, forearm plank, one minute crunches on balance ball, one minute leg raises- Big fat F! I didn’t do this once last week. Not good at all. Need to work on this.

Week 13 Goals

This week is going to be a bit crazy. Thankfully I am in a recovery week for my training so my runs won’t be too demanding. Thursday Paul and I are heading to Austin to see Band of Skulls at La Zona Rosa then spending the night because the next day we are heading to the Austin City Limits Festival. I am beyond excited but I know that being out of town will make it more difficult to prepare homemade meals. So I have to tweak my goals for this week.

-Complete all my training runs; 5K (completed yesterday), Interval A routine, 3-4 mile easy-paced run, Hill A routine, and a nice 4 mile long run on Saturday- yay for recovery weeks!

- Complete core routine 3 times; straight-arm plank, one minute crunches on balance ball, one minute leg raises, forearm plank, one minute crunches on balance ball, one minute leg raises

-Make the best food choices possible. I’ll leave it at that.

Today I’m heading to see Tricia for my Thai Yoga therapy appointment after work and I am so looking forward to this. She basically resets my body so I feel like a new person afterwards and I get to talk about running, food, and all sorts of other fun stuff for the 2 hours I’m there. It’s quite cathartic.

What’s on your agenda this week? Are you training for anything?

“The future depends on what we do in the present.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Siclovia- The Rest of It

As you may have read in yesterday's post that I participated in the Siclovia 5K. Siclovia is an event where one of the main streets in San Antonio is shut down to vehicular traffic in order to encourage people to come out and play in the streets.

You can run, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, whatever you want as long as it doesn't involve driving a car. Along the route there are all sorts of activities going on that are free to join in. I saw hoola-hooping, zumba, two guys playing a game kind of like ping pong but using the street instead of a table and giant paddles, there was basketball and dancing, and kids challenges, and a rock climbing wall. It's actually a very fun event.

I saw on the Siclovia Facebook page that 45,000 people attended which is great. I am already looking forward to the next one which is April 7, 2013. Here's hoping it's not quite as cold as it was today.

Here are some pictures I took. I hope this gives you a better idea of what Siclovia is all about.

And if you are in San Antonio, I strongly encourage you to come out to the next event. You won't be sorry.

After the 5K, standing next to the Siclovia route sign

Play in the street

It's probably too hard to see but this man has a small dog who is wearing a hat in his backpack. Kind of crazy

Ronald McDonald handing out apple slices

Two guys playing what I can only describe as street ping pong

Bike parking around some vendor tents

Zumba in the park

Skate/bike ramps

Man on a unicycle....definitely not something I see every day

REI's rock climbing wall

Not the best picture of me but it's the only one I had of us from the day so I'm sharing it with you

Does your community have anything like Siclovia? Have you ever been to an event like this?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Siclovia 5K

Some days it just clicks. The cards fall into place. And everything is just gravy. 

Today was one of them.

I woke up to chilly temps (note: it was in the 90's yesterday so 50's felt like the arctic tundra) and bone chilling winds but was hoping that wouldn't slow me down too much. 

I was heading out to run the first ever Siclovia 5K and was pretty excited. I knew the route was flat and straight, actually the route I used to ride my bike home from work before I moved, and was hoping I would be able to best my previous 5K time of 32:36 from back on July 21. 

I was confident I could run faster but the fact that I ran 9 miles the previous morning was weighing in the back of my mind. I wasn't sure how my legs would feel. 

The turnout was quite small. I think the cold scared some people away. I was anticipating it to be one of the larger 5Ks I've attended but I think it ended up being the smallest one I've seen with only 258 participants. 

Can I just say here how crazy it is the turnout for 5Ks/10Ks/5-milers/etc here. I see people running in other cities that have hundreds of people just in their age group. For the fact that I live somewhere that has temps that make it possible to run year-round people just don't seem to be into it the way they are in other places. It's crazy! Siclovia (a day to play in the streets; running, cycling, skateboarding, anything but driving) is supposed to help get SA off our butts but seriously- 258 people. Geez, that's sad! Rant over. 

Anywho, my goal was to set a new PR and that was all I could think about. 

After a few pics in front of the Alamo...

What do you mean there's no basement

Sporting the green and black for the Eagles. Go Birds!

And a fun pre-run warm up...

Action shot...

This was so much fun!

I was ready to run...

Glad I remembered to smile!

And run I did! 

Mile 1: 9:29 

What? 9:29! I was feeling good so I said to myself just keep running as fast as you can and try to see if you can pull out another sub-10 minute mile.

Mile 2: 9:54

Close but I did it! Another sub-10 minute mile

Also, I should note that it was very cold. I am glad I brought tissues because my nose was running the entire time. Oh, and I was running into a 40mph head wind. Ok, probably not 40mph. Probably not even 10mph. But it was cold and it was making me work really hard. Thankfully after the turn around it was at my back but I was exhausted. I wasn't sure I had it in me to keep up my pace. But somehow, I did. 

Mile 3: 9:49

Hooray. I just had to keep pushing, just one more minute and I would be done.

Here I come...

Trying to smile for the camera...

I crossed the line at 30:53 but my chip time was 30:26 which was a 9:47 min/mile pace. Yeah, I was pretty thrilled. 2 minutes and 10 seconds better than my last 5K. There were tears. It felt great. I really love seeing my progress as my half marathon training continues. Speed work and long (and short) slow runs really have helped me be able to push myself on these shorter runs. And a nice, flat course didn't hurt either. 

Next 5K is October 28th and I would love to run it in under 30 minutes but that course is on a rocky, bumpy trail and it is hilly so I am not too sure I can pull it off. But you damn well know that's what I'll be shooting for!

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”~ Steve Prefontaine