>Marathon Training: Week 11, and Lent

>Monday: 4 miles at the gym, worked on arms/abs
Tuesday: 7 miles at the gym, worked on legs/abs
Wednesday: 3 miles at the gym, worked on arms/abs again.. decided to retire my first pair of Asics after an achy run that should not have been achy
Thursday: rest
Friday: yoga with a Yogamazing podcast
Saturday: 18 miles allllll around Peoria. Seriously. To get 18 miles out of the decent parts of town I combined all my normal routes.

Gabi is out of town this weekend so we did this one on our own. It was the biggest mental battle I’ve had to fight yet. I had dreams about it the other night, and last night after work I just couldn’t relax. I was so anxious! I made myself get out of bed around 5:30 and was out the door by about 6. I was able to watch the sunrise.. so pretty. It was windy, though – 20-30 mph. My hands froze as I didn’t wear gloves. Honestly, I was lazy and didn’t want to look for them this morning.

My Camelbak didn’t come this week, so I took a 24-oz bottle with G2 with me. It wasn’t bad carrying it, as I’ve done it before. I also took two gels and my cell phone in my belt. Normally I don’t take my cell phone, but when I’m out and about for that long I figured it was a good idea. I used one gel and drank all the G2.

I don’t think my HR topped 165-170. I felt great in my heart and lungs. By mile 10, though, my legs started aching. Knees, thighs, hamstrings, hips. Ouch. But I pushed through and still finished with a decent pace of 11:00. That’s really good for such a long distance! There were times, especially towards the end when I felt like I was literally hobbling down the sidewalk. It’s amazing I made it up the stairs.

I’ve drank three glasses of decaf iced tea. I took a bath and used my Tub Tea I got at Walnut Street Tea Co. in Champaign last time we were down there. I think it really helped, too! It was called “Soothe the Muscles”, a blend of lavender and sea salts. They’re about $6 each, but oh so worth it.

Now I’m enjoying a yummy breakfast, and later I’m going to catch up on Biggest Loser and do some knitting.

One thing I’m really trying to break out of is totally gorging myself on carbs the day of or after a long run. It doesn’t take that many carbs eaten to replace what I lost (2200 today), and I should still keep a good, balanced diet.

I made a commitment to give up sweets for Lent this year. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Lent is the 40 days preceding Easter beginning with Ash Wednesday that signifies the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting and being tried by the devil. Growing up, we always celebrated it and gave up something. Normally, giving up a food doesn’t help me in my walk, because I become so legalistic about it and stay focused on not eating that one thing.

This year, though, I have recognized the role that sweets play in my emotional health. If I’ve had a rough day, or feel sad, I eat ice cream at home or go through the DQ drive through. When I want to relax, I equate that with eating sugar. This practice adversely affects my walk with God because in those rough times I should be turning to the Word for “food” so to speak. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s really won’t bring long-lasting results. It only brings guilt and lots and lots of calories!

I’m sharing this with you not to say, Oh, Look how great I am!, but to make myself accountable. I’ve spent too much time overeating and casting my cares on sugar and it’s going to stop! I’m also trying to balance out my diet and make it as healthy as I can. I’ve been making most food at home and trying to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store.

The Bible is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago when it was written and spoken in the synagogue and early church. Fasting can still play an important role in your spiritual walk. I’m excited to see how this commitment will affect our preparations for moving and what we will be doing in El Paso. The last thing I need to do is get caught up in innumerable lists and worries.

>Financial update

>On a different note, Aaron and I are just $60 shy of paying off $23,000!!! That’s over a third of our total debt. It’s so encouraging as I create the budget for living in Texas to see that besides our rent, utilities, gas and food, our monthly bills are only $824. I love the financial freedom we have been experiencing.

I ate fast food today for the first time in six weeks. Man oh man, my stomach is not happy. But it was so good. (Taco Bell!) I have been very careful about eating out, whether it’s going out with friends or getting a coffee at Starbucks. And let me tell you, I’ve saved so much money. I take out $300 every two weeks in cash for gas, food, toiletries, gifts and spending money and it lasts those entire two weeks. My drive to work is 25 miles one way, so I spend a good deal of that on gas. I’ve become so used to paying actual cash for things that to pay with a debit card feels like I’m using a credit card.

Our financial goals for the next few months are to keep paying extra on the next loan in addition to our minimum payments and to save, save save! We know driving across the US of A will be pricey, and who knows when we will actually get reimbursed for moving expenses. I’m also not sure if there’s any maintenance that we’ll need for the Camry before we go. New tires are probably on the list.

Phone bills, however, have not been pretty lately. For February, we’re shelling out $200 for my phone alone. Are we willing to give up talking every day? No. Are we willing to balance the budget by cutting back in other areas? Yes. And thank goodness it’s only for a few more months.

I guess I’m finally starting to get excited about moving to Texas (or wherever, if orders change). Last night I started checking out apartments off-post. Soon I’ll start cleaning out boxes that have been packed for almost a year.

>Get right back up again

>Although the week has been long, it’s been successful in my neck of the woods.

I’ve been drinking water like it’s going out of style, and my bladder tells me so, haha. The scale at the gym weighed me in a few pounds heavier than a week ago. I’m honestly not sure if it’s just because I was overeating pretty much every day (but I did burn thousands of calories week before last) or if it’s because my body is so thankful for rehydration! I’m sure this is normal, but the backs of my thighs are getting so muscular, like so much so that my pants are starting to feel snug.

I’m completely over caffeine headaches, but I will tell you that nothing this morning sounded better than a grande white chocolate mocha with an extra shot. I have to say that with no caffeine and tons more fluids, I’m feeling more clear-headed and I don’t think my moods are fluctuating as much.

For my running this week I went to the gym. I’ve been training outside all winter long and frankly, I’m sick of it! Sick of the layers, the cold hands, etc. And honestly, seven miles on the treadmill the other night wasn’t too bad. I made sure to drink water as I was running, and I wore my heart rate strap. The treadmills at the gym pick up the HR so I was able to monitor that. Everything was fine – no crazy spikes, and no SVT episodes at all this week.

I had my echocardiogram on Tuesday morning before work. It was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever had done (well, you know, besides getting stitches when I was 14 and having my heart stopped two weeks ago;). The technician was very friendly and explained everything to me. It’s just amazing to see the heart in its glory… I honestly don’t know how one can not believe in a Creator after learning about how the heart works. Or even how our bodies function at all! The doctor still hasn’t called back with results, so I will probably be calling them early next week. I am confident, however, that this is not a chronic issue as long as I take care of myself.

I did get the results back from the blood draw, and my ferritin (iron stores) were at the lowest of the range, a 6 on a scale of 6 to 137. People don’t start feeling normal until that level is around a 50. And it can take months to get my iron levels back to that. My cousin who is a nurse told me to eat raw red meat! Haha. I will definitely be eating red meat for awhile. It’s a very good excuse to eat steak on a regular basis. Mmm.