“Weren’t you guys running like an hour ago?”

August 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Training Calls For: Rest (so…yogAHHH)

Miles Run So Far: 201.2

Days Left: 71

Whoa!  WHOA!

Peeps, yesterday, I ran 15 miles :).  That’s the farthest distance I’ve ever pushed my little running sneakers…EVER!

Let’s recap this momentous occasion.

Since Sam and I ran a 5K on Saturday, we made the executive decision to push our long run to Sunday.  Turns out this also made for a more favorable run, weather-wise.  Downpours dominated Saturday afternoon and evening and made way to cool, foggy weather Sunday morning.  Saturday = sweat pants and movie day, Sunday = bueno run day.

I fueled up, as usual, with an English muffin topped with all natural crunchy Trader Joe’s PB + bannaner and coffee with organic half and half.

Here’s something odd:  I don’t really like crunchy PB, but I always eat it before my long runs.  Maybe it’s mental.  Or maybe it’s dental.  Like I need to give my chompers an extra workout before I give my bod a workout.

Interesting.  Feel free to offer your psycho-analysis ;).

Driving out to the route Sam had picked for our 15 miles (up around our little downtown then out a long road to a state park and back again), emotions were mixed.

I was happy.

Sam seemed scared.

Then, got my game face on.

15 miles, I’m coming for you!

We pulled up to park with “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” playing on the radio.  “If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain…” Sam turned to me, “Boy, nothing gets me jacked for a long run like this song.”

Exhibit A of why I love my husband running partner.

When we got down to business, the plan was to run for 4 miles, take a walking break for water and gels and then repeat until 15 miles.  It happened more like this:

Miles 1-4: A good start.  Hilly, but enjoyable.  We kept a good pace and settled in to the run.  After a mini-walk break during mile 2 (killer hill!), it was back to jogging along.

Miles 4-8:  Like watching a horror movie, I was terrified at every turn.  Uphill.  Further uphill.  Turn left, go uphill.  Some of these hills were honestly a 45 degree angle, they must have been.  At one point, Sam declared he thought we were at the highest point in the county.  My mood was so foul, I could only think now would be a good time to jump.

At mile 8, I had no choice but to try and apologize for my negativity.  Stomping up hills, vocalizing my frustration at multiple walking breaks and repeatedly shaking my head like a 3-year-old was unforgivable behavior towards Sam.  He was only trying to help me get through this while getting through it himself.  We stopped to get gels out of Alice the Camelbak and I took the plunge and hugged him.  We were 8 sweat-laden miles in, it was wet, disgusting, smelly and there was an actual *smack* noise when our bodies bumped.  It was nasty, but necessary.

He forgave me and I pledged to be more positive.

Miles 8-12:  What goes up must come down!  I haven’t ever run downhill so much in my life.  Our course took us past a state park shooting range, where one, lonely, militia-loving soul was practicing with bone-chilling accuracy.  “Should we call out to him to let him know we’re in the area?” I asked Sam.  “No, just…just keep running,” he replied.

I think I blacked out for some of these miles, honestly.  I know I was running and moving forward, but it’s like I had an out of body experience.  We got back to the highway overpass that marked 12 and all I could think was, “how did this happen?  How did I get here?”  I was like David after dentist.

“Is this going to be forever?  Is this real life?” (after watching that video again, I have to admit my emotions were eerily similar to young lad David’s…shock, disbelief, random screaming)

Miles 12-15: Ah, yes.  Homestretch, homestretch!  With the finish line within reach, I started to fall apart, physically.  I developed a cramp in my side which wouldn’t go away and my IT band started to bother me.  Ironically, as I was physically falling apart, I was mentally getting stronger.  A man working outside on his lawn called out to us, “hey!  Weren’t you guys running like an hour ago?!”, to which I called back, “FIFTEEN MILES, BABY!”

Classy, Bethany.  Very classy.

We finally made it.  Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  In case you’re wondering, this is what you look like after you’ve kept going:


We appear much happier after stretching, Gatorade and the blessing of recovery time:

Meals I inhaled post-15, post-shower, post-recovery lounging:

Green Monster Smoothie.  A delicious recovery drink full of protein, healthy fat and fruit and veg.

A E-BLT or a BELT.  Bacon (turkey, of course!), egg, lettuce and tomato sandwich with Chipotle mayo (REAL mayo) on all-natural whole wheat bread.

An unpictured Chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar.  I was so excited to try this new flavor and I am in love.  LOVE, I tell you.  It tastes like freaking cookie dough.  How does she do that?!

A Kalimotxo (said: kali-mo-cho) while I studied for upcoming finals.  A mix of red wine and Coke, I used to drink these babies when I lived in Spain.  They are a poor man’s Sangria.  I earned it and I drank it (after many, many ounces of re-hydrating plain ol’ water).

Homemade fried rice (made with brown rice, lite soy sauce, peas and carrots and egg) and homemade pizza Sam created (mine had lots of veggies, his had veg + pepperoni).  What can I say?  I still get in the mood for junky food, we just healthify it and don’t feel bad about eating it after 15 miles. 😉

I realize, re-reading this post, it sounds like I hated those 15 miles.  I did, but at the same time, I love them for what they taught me:

Marathon training is not about conquering every new distance every time.  It’s about meeting up to the challenge, pushing through and then later, realizing what was once a challenge is no longer an issue.

I used to freak out about 5 miles, now I think nothing of it.  My first 5 probably wasn’t pretty, just as my first 15 wasn’t.  It will be someday.  This was just our first dance.  We’ll get down the rhythm eventually.

Undercover Cross Training

March 31, 2010 at 11:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Well, hellllloooo!  I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already.  Where is the week going?

I want to show you what happens when someone finishes up an entire month of restrictive eating, comes home after a five mile run on an empty stomach and does NOT have a plan for dinner or the groceries to get creative.

Pizza.  Pizza happens.  The kind that’s hot when you are ready.  Wow.  It was so bad, peeps, so bad.  All through yesterday, I was thinking about how I was going to keep up my all-natural healthy eating.  My breakfast was good, my lunch was stellar.  I was keepin’ it clean with all my eats.  But I am human.  I finished my 5 mile training run absolutely starving and when I got home, Sam was ready to go re-stock his beer fridge at our local fave beverage store (I suggested the re-stock = 3 awesome wife points).  He asked, “what’s for dinner?” and I said “how about a pizza?” before I could stop myself.  Whatev.

At 8:10pm, after a beer run and a drive thru the pizza place, we were stuffing our faces in the parking lot like famished animals.  Oh the horrors.

The rest made it home, somehow. 😉

Do I feel terrible about this?  Not really.  I did have a little bit of a guilty belly after the massacre was over, but I realized, this eating is very out of character and is a good representation of:

🙂 why you should always have a dinner plan

🙂 why you should properly fuel your runs so you’re not running on empty

🙂 why Michael Pollan says sometimes you should break the rules 😉

It’s also a good look at why diets don’t work.  Now, I know I wasn’t exactly on a diet for the last month, but I was eliminating foods from my digestive vocabulary.  To me, it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.  Tell your body no no no over and over again and soon, it’s going to rebel.  At that point, you’re just along for the ride while your stomach takes over and your mouth is second-in-command.  It’s not a good feeling.  It’s pretty much binging and it creates a vicious cycle.

Instead of beating myself up over a pizza, I’m just going to move on.  No biggie.  I indulged.  It’s fine. 🙂  I’m back on track.

In other news, I tried a new form of cross training: undercover cross training.  Hal Higdon says today I should be either running 3 miles today or cross training.  I almost always choose cross training, but lately, it’s gotten pretty vanilla.  My cross training is always the 30 day Shred or yogAHHH.  Not today!  Today, I was going to spice it up AND kill two birds with one stone.

I BIKED TO WORK (I feel hard core saying that!).  My cross training was going undercover as my commute.

I know you’re jealous of my PhysioFit bicycle.  Haha, I know, I don’t know what kind of brand that is either.  I “inherited” the bike when my grandpa passed away, it’s his old one.  I like free things, don’t you?  At least I took the AM radio off the handlebars before I ventured out. 😉  I also packed my backpack with my lunch, laptop and change of clothes for work.  You didn’t think I was going to wear sweats to the office, did you?!  Of course, safety first.

If they ever make a cute looking bike helmet, I’ll be the first in line.  Until then, I will resemble a mushroom.

It took about 50 minutes to bike the 8.62 miles in to work.  I tracked it using my RunKeeper, which has alternative settings for cycling, walking, hiking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and skating.  Hmm, skating?  Oh well, the RunKeeper has proven its worth!

I wasn’t really pushing myself, just enjoying the sunshine and the ride.  For the last two miles, I was cursing my bony rump.  I either need to get a padded seat for the bike, or figure out how to add padding to MY seat, if you know what I mean. 😉

I got changed at the office and was thankful I remembered this crucial tool for biking to work…

Oh yes.  I have a desire for fitness — not to be the questionably odorous co-worker.  Since it was about 40* out, I didn’t really break a sweat, but better safe than smelly.

It was pretty fun.  I can see myself doing this maybe once a week, maybe more sporadically.  I did have to bike on the actual street, which made me nervous.  I know, I know, I’m a big baby.  I just have a lot of life to live and I would hate to get hit by a car.  It would really put a crimp in my plans!

Ever taken “alternative” transportation to work?  Ever thought about it?  What’s holding you back?

Everything in it’s place

March 12, 2010 at 9:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was so excited to see this guy yesterday…

And to get these goodies from his trip to Hershey, PA (they’re organic AND natural!!)….

That I forgot to photograph most of what I ate last night! 😦 Whoops.  I did manage to snap a picture of the pizza:

We had some friends over to watch our alma mater play in a MAC tourney game last night, so trust me when I say I ate tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa, and Triscuits that were all within the rules of the “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March challenge.  I have 3 people to vouch for me, too.  Although I did have a slight panic moment when I popped a Triscuit in and then thought, “oh NO!  I didn’t check…”  *phew*  I was safe.  All natural, all pronounceable, all recognizeable.  Goooood deal.

Sam made the pizza from scratch (including the dough) so I could enjoy it with everybody else without compromising my challenge.  He even went so far as to go light on the cheese on my section because it was a little sketchy.  What a guy.  It made me realize how much easier this month’s challenge is with his support.  I’ve read a number of blog posts and articles about people changing their eating habits to the dismay of their family, spouses and friends.  It must be a hard road to hoe.  I have a hubby who supports me and even got me natural chocolate when he could have just said, “eh, just wait until April to eat it”.  I am lucky.

I also realized it might look a little like this challenge isn’t…well, challenging.  Since you didn’t really have a good idea of how I was eating before I started this, maybe it looks like I’m not giving anything up or avoiding any foods.

So, here’s a list of “go-to” foods I used to enjoy before I started asking myself : “does it have a mama?” and “did it grow in the ground?”:

Margarine, 2% milk cheese and sliced cheese, coffee creamer, sandwich bread, bread crumbs, sandwich deli thins, frozen waffles, salad dressing, wraps/tortillas, granola bars, cooking non-stick spray,  Splenda, traditional cereal, lunch meat, boxed mixes (coffee cake, muffin, pancake, etc)., sugar-free syrup, most crackers and chips, mayonnaise ….

I could keep going.  This has had an effect on my eating, let’s don’t fool ourselves.  Good effect? Bad effect?  Somedays, a little of both ;).  I still have  17 more days to decide what the overall effect has been.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and this was today’s breakfast (1 egg/2 egg white omelet with feta cheese and spinach and coffee with agave and organic half and half).

No exercise today — it’s a rest day! AHHHHHH. 🙂

Have you ever made a change in your lifestyle (eating, exercise, etc) that your family or friends questioned?  Did they support you?

“If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March…Restaurant Edition

March 5, 2010 at 10:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Whew!  Sorry I went missing, it was quite the night.  A date night with Sam and then back to the homefront to glue myself to the tv for the most anticipated arrival of the year (um, Jim and Pam’s baby on The Office….duh).

So how did date night work out?  Was I able to stay within my “If It Doesn’t Have a Mama” March guidelines?  You bethcha, but it wasn’t easy.

We haven’t been out to eat in a long time — well, just the two of us.  I’m talking the “what do you want to do for dinner? nothing? well then let’s go somewhere” kind of going out to eat.  I think this is related to our desire to eat healthy and the fact that the last time we did the spontaneous eating out thing, I came home afterward and downloaded the restaurant’s nutrition fact sheet.  I fainted when I saw the numbers on what I ate.

So I’ve been spooked ever since.

Eating out while following my challenge took a little effort.  Okay, a lot of effort.  I started with the phonebook.  I considered all restaurants in our area.  I ruled out the chain restaurants because I figured if each TGIRestaurant is selling the same thing under the same “quality” standards, then the chances are it contains preservatives and chemicals because they are shipping the same food to all their locations.  I don’t know for sure, but it was an educated guess.

Then I started looking at the locally owned restaurants.  I ruled out the ones we don’t like (what’s the point of eating out if you aren’t going to enjoy it?!) I began calling the ones we do like and the conversation went something like this:

Me:  Hi, I’m calling with a nutrition question about your restaurant?

Restauranter: Okay…let me get our chef.

*awkward hold music*

Chef: How can I help you?

Me: I was wondering if your food contained preservatives?  I have a “friend” who has some unique allergies to preservatives and I wanted to bring her to your restaurant.

And then the chef would answer accordingly.  Now, looking back, it was silly to create a “friend” for this experiment, but the truth is, I just didn’t want to explain it all out.  An obscure “friend” seemed more plausible.  I didn’t want to say I was avoiding specific chemicals or preservatives (because I’m avoiding all of them!) — so it worked.  Next time, though, I’ll stand up for myself and my challenge and explain the real deal.  Promise.

I finally found a restaurant where the chef’s answer was, “no, we don’t use any chemicals or preservatives.  In fact, we go to incredible lengths to avoid them.”

Della Zona.

A pizza and pasta restaurant.  You can read more about their mission on their website and on their menu, but the basic summary is they believe in real food — REAL good food. They buy from local growers and producers, incorporate organic food and cook with the season.  They believe in traditional and sustainable ingredients and they have a cute atmosphere.  It smelled heavenly the minute we walked in.

We ordered an Athena pizza on Etruscan spelt crust — it had tomato, artichokes, onion, sauteed greens, olive tapenade, marinara and homemade Della Zona ricotta cheese.

It was amazing.  I ate three pieces, Sam ate four.  One piece escaped, only to be eaten as breakfast this morning.

I also enjoyed a mug of Rooibos tea (I’ve never had it before, but had seen it on a lot of the blogs).  It was good.  A strong-ish red tea with a slightly musky aftertaste.  I didn’t even use any honey — the flavor spoke for itself.

Sam ran next door and picked up a bottle of red wine from Spain (we’re suckers for the Spanish wines…but that’s another post ;)).  Della Zona doesn’t sell alcohol, but also doesn’t have a corking fee, so you can bring in your own and they’ll supply the glasses.  Perfecto!

The best part?  Price wise, it was no different than if we had eaten out at a traditional chain restaurant.  About $20.  For a “gourmet” pizza, I think that’s a good deal.

Lesson learned here: you may have to do a little research, you may have to create a “friend” to hide behind, but in the end, it is totally worth it to stick to your principles and challenges and find some amazing food.

Bon appetit!

Now, I’m off to run.  I don’t know why, but I have a nervous feeling in my stomach about this run.  Maybe it’s the cold…I don’t know.  Can’t shake it.  Time to start thinking positive thoughts!

P.S. Worth adding for accountability’s sake: I split this Raw Revolution Cookie Dough bar with Sam before we went out for dinner.  Pretty yummy and totally natural.  At first, I strongly tasted the dates in the bar, but after a few bites, the cookie dough flavor became more convincing.

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