Nothing beats a good run

And it felt great. After sitting and reading at Starbucks this afternoon, we came home and I just felt like running. (Think Forrest Gump.) I hadn’t run in three weeks! That’s the longest I’ve gone since probably Bataan in March. I ran a neighborhood loop of 3.27 miles.

First mile: 11:32. I dodged water puddles the size of Lake Michigan, because here in El Paso they don’t believe in storm drains. I didn’t know what to expect, but I felt pretty good…

Second mile: 11:34. Still felt good. Kept a steady pace. Honestly I didn’t care what it was since I needed any cardio exercise. ANY. I came around a corner and had the mountains and clouds in panoramic view.

Third mile: 10:17. THIS. FELT. AWESOME. I was totally enjoying Coldplay on my Google Play app, the breeze, the 70* weather (!!!!!) and not having to slather on sunscreen and don my sunglasses.

Last .27 of a mile: 2:38. Not bad! I controlled my form and my breathing and brought it home. Literally.

After three weeks of almost no exercise, my body was craving this. Lord knows I’ve “carbed up” quite enough….



I love watching the Olympics. Honestly, I felt pretty indifferent at first but it’s definitely the most exciting thing on television as we don’t have cable.

For the past couple nights I’ve been watching gymnastics and swimming. When I was little, I loved watching gymnastics. The girls look so graceful, even when they’re under such physical and emotional pressure.

I’m older now, and I’m simply in awe of all the events. Of course, since I’m more athletic now, I’m much more aware of what physically has to happen with these athletes in training and in their diets. I love watching all these ordinary people, who started off stumbling and bumbling as much as the next person, being rewarded for all of their hard work, dedication, and perseverance. You don’t get to the Olympics by giving 99%, or 100%. You get there by giving 150%.

These athletes are so fit, so dedicated to their sport. It’s inspiring to me as I’m getting back to a fitness routine that incorporates more core workouts and strength training.

I’m into my second week, and it’s been going pretty well. I’ve decided to not worry about weight.. as I build muscle my weight may not go down a whole lot. It’s not like I still have 30+ of fat to lose; I’m only ten pounds above my ideal weight. I really want to focus on how I feel, what I can do, and how my clothes fit…. and some muscle definition wouldn’t be bad either!

I’ve been doing 3 days per week each of Blogilates videos and cardio. It’s working out well, because even just 20 minutes of videos and I’m feeling it now and two days later! It involves no weights or equipment, just a lot of Pilates moves and modifications and using one’s own body weight. Cardio is going well, too, and I’ll do 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 on the treadmill. I’ve found lately that having a time goal works well for me.

I have a goal in mind for each workout, whether it’s to not skip out on any reps, to maintain a certain heart rate, or to run a mile in 8:20 or less. I’ve been getting so much more out of my workouts, and feeling the burn! That’s the best part, because it’s proof that I’m getting it done.

As far as fuel is concerned, I’ve felt a degree of success these last couple days. I’m actually feeling satisfied by healthy foods, instead of feeling like I just have to have something else. I have a major sweet tooth, so the trick for me is to make a healthier version of what I love (I made this chocolate chip cookie dough dip tonight). For dinner I had a tortilla pizza and a huge bowl of fruit. I got to eat all of it and not feel guilty!

The only person I’m comparing myself to is myself. I can see in the mirror the fit and toned person I can be; it’s just a matter of doing the work. Last week I got my sweat on five days in a row without even thinking about it! Before I knew it it was time for a rest day.

This routine is compatible with the hot weather. I can do the YouTube videos at home, and the cardio ones in the gym. Maybe when it gets cooler I’ll start training outside again….

April 20

This week has flown! I’m thankful because that means only two more weeks until Aaron comes home. I fell into my “single” married woman routine pretty fast.

I’ve worked out a total of four days so far this week, which is three or four days more than I have been, and I’ve been more mindful of the food I put in my body. So.

Monday: 30 min run/walk intervals on treadmill; 25 min bike ride

Tuesday: 20 min run/walk on the track; 50 min kettlebell class

Wednesday: rest — the kettlebell class works my legs more than anything!

Thursday: I posted the video yesterday of the pilates workout I did and a picture of the Pinterest workout. I am feeling it today!!!

Friday: 2.12 miles on the track; 30 min supine bike workout

Saturday: I either want to take Missy on a walk in the canyon, go to yoga, or both

Sunday: rest! IT’S MAH B[EARTH]DAY!!! 😉

I really enjoyed my track workout this morning. 11.3 laps equal a mile, which is a little cumbersome to do mental math with, so I kept track of laps. I walked for 2 laps, ran moderately for 2 laps, and picked up the pace for 2 laps. I won’t say I sprinted because I wasn’t going all out… I was probably running at 80-85% effort.

I have no idea what my pace was, and honestly right now I’m not concerned with that. I need to do the cardio so that when I have totally ripped abs (or not….) you can actually see them! Cassey Ho’s POP Pilates workouts are gonna be my go-to at-home workout. If you haven’t seen her workouts yet, check it out! She’s really energetic and encouraging. I love her blog, too.

WIth the warmer weather on the way, I’m considering holding off on races and lots of running training until fall rolls around. Like I posted earlier, I’ll be taking classes May through August, plus working more since the kids will be out of school.

Well, I’m so glad I already got my sweat on for the day! I’m off to get some sewing/crocheting done and then go to P.F. Chang’s for an early birthday lunch date with Jess! 🙂

Work Out Wednesday and Adjusting Goals

I had a great workout today. My body was thanking me as my fat cells were crying for dear life. We’re down to one car right now (maybe even semi-permanently) but it’s not all bad. I reluctantly had the day off today, but Aaron worked a half day. So, I took him to work and then headed over to the gym for a 1:30 workout. I haven’t had one that long since I did my 8.6-mile run a couple weeks ago. At least, I think it was a couple weeks…

I started by running/walking on the treadmill. I go to the cardiologist on Friday. My internist said no runs over 2 miles… heh. Whoops. I say, Screw that! I probably should heed his advice. BUT. But. I have a half marathon that’s paid for coming up in two weeks. Even if I don’t race it, at the very least I can run it… ANYWAY. I got this little idea in my head that I’d run 6 miles on the treadmill. I got 2.5 miles in and saw that there was a spin class about to go down. So I hopped off that thing and into the spin room.

With Computer Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle Stationary Indoor Trainer Exercise Bike
We get to ride on these.

It was an amazing workout. I sweat like I pig but I didn’t care. It was worth it. If the display is in miles, I “rode” 17-18. WOW. About five people left during the class and you can tell the instructor looked amused and confused. But I stayed the course and rode my little heart out.

I’ve been pondering taking a break from really long distances (14+ miles). I guess my heart thing kind of made me start thinking about it. I weighed myself at the gym, which is usually a more accurate scale, and it said 165. That’s definitely at the TOP of my personal “acceptable” range. I weighed in on the same kind of scale at 152 back in January. That means a weight gain of 13 pounds. Now, it’s no where near what I used to weigh, but it’s still an increase and I can tell some of my clothes, specifically pants, fit tighter.

I think one of the culprits is the mental part of long distance running. I have a hard time balancing my nutrition when running 14, 18, 20 miles. I think, Oh, I just burned 2500 calories on a run so now I can eat whatever I want. Ehhh. Not so much.

After the half in January, I want to focus on more short-distance races, like an 8K (4.97 mi) or 15K (9.3 mi). I love those distances; just enough to challenge me but also training for them doesn’t take soooo many long runs. I also want to have time to focus more on weight  lifting. Yes, real weights, not the machines. I just have to take the plunge into the male-macho-dominated weight room.

Since I’ll be taking Aaron to work, on Tuesday and Thursday when I work in the afternoons I can go to the gym straight away after dropping him off. I’ll be able to get a good workout in, and maybe even do a group fitness class if the schedules coincide.

So…. barring what the doc says on Friday, Aaron and I are planning an 11-miler for the weekend. Uphill. Both ways. In a blizzard. Haha, kidding about the last two parts, but maybe uphill. Snow? Heck no. It’s gonna be in the 60’s!

McKelligon Canyon, I will again make you bow to me.

Focus on fitness: back to the basics.

I’ve decided that Christmas is evil. All the chocolate, sugar, saturated fat, empty calories in drinks like hot chocolate and wassail (if you don’t know what this is, you should!). Despite indulging a little bit, I want to try to focus on fitness.

Because of my nervousness about my heart, I am not going to run farther than 4 or 5 miles at a time until I see the cardiologist. I figure, instead of throwing a pity party about not going on 11+ mile canyon runs with Aaron, I’m going to do cross-training, and do it right.

Today I ran 2 miles on the treadmill, mainly doing intervals and not running slower than a 10:00/mile. My fastest pace was 7:30. I was sweating! And with the lack of decent fans at the gym my face was probably beat red. Then I got on the bike for 15 minutes and rode about 3.5 miles, including some “hills”. That felt great, although my backside was sore from riding yesterday. I tried the rower today, a new machine in my repertoire. It’s a full-body workout! I did that for 10 minutes for a total workout time of 45 minutes.

My goal for my gym sessions is to sweat, get my heart rate up (definitely pushed my max today!), and feel the burn. My goal is not necessarily to lose weight. I need to get that pesky number out of my head (and it’s not even a bad number!). I should focus on what my body can do and the ways I can encourage myself to get stronger.

I want to start lifting free weights… but here’s the thing. The weight room scares me. It’s visible just as you walk into the gym on post and it’s all these buff, or not-so-buff, soldiers looking all mean and strong and stuff. I guess I’m worried I’ll have bad form or not know what I’m doing. I really hate taking advice from people I don’t know. Any advice from my trustworthy readers would be great! 🙂

So, total this week so far I’ve done 16 miles. I figure if I am “allowed” to run after I see the doctor, then keeping up my cardio will help me get back into it without too much trouble!

What are you doing to stay healthy and fit this Christmas?

>Darn perfectionism

>Now that summer is upon us and most people are wearing less clothes (some are significantly more revealing than others, ahem), I find my little friend called Perfectionism whispering into my ear.

Before I had lost 40 pounds, all I could think was, “If only I could lose 20 pounds, then I’d be happy.” Then when I’d lost that much, I’d think, “If only I could weigh what I did in high school… I’ll be happy with myself then.”

I hit my goal, and surprise, surprise, I realized this morning that my body does not reach my ridiculously high standards. I even find myself dillydallying (yes, that’s a word) at the grocery store to compare my completely normal, imperfect body with those of the magazines’ “best and worst swimsuit bodies”.

What in the world? I worked hard to lose those 40 pounds, and darn it, I should be proud. I should be confident in my own skin instead of wishing I looked like someone else. Who wants to be one of those super-skinny emaciated models anyway? They don’t have real curves, and Lord knows they don’t eat real food. They also don’t have much muscle tone from marathon training…

I’m not willing to give up my occasional every-other-day ice cream for the absolute best and most trim body…  and that’s fine. On my good days, I look in the mirror and am proud of my curves and my height, though sometimes it’s difficult finding clothes that fit just right.

I realize that there are many people out there who have much deeper struggles than I do. More weight to lose, more health issues that get in the way of exercise (thank God my heart issue does not prevent running!). I’m also not fishing for compliments… I’m just being real, maybe saying what others are thinking about themselves. The point I’m trying to make is that if we let ourselves, we can get so caught up in how we look that we miss out on appreciating the amazing benefits of losing weight and exercising.

I will never be the fastest runner… I will never be the most fit woman… I will never have my “ideal” body… but I’m healthy, fit, strong and have done things I never thought I’d achieve like run a marathon. I enjoy being active and [most days] I like what I see in the mirror. That’s something to be celebrated!

>Marathon Training: Week 14: THE LAST LONG RUN

>Hello, friends. I write to you tonight from my couch, having indulged in corn dogs and those little soft pretzel cheese thingies. Yes, that’s a technical term. I’m also enjoying orange creme soda. After our twenty-miler and lots of baking and cooking for First Sunday Lunch and the bake sale, I’m beat. Note to self: Never run 20 miles and then stand up for the rest of the day… owies.

Recap of the week, which was also spring break:

Sunday: nada
Monday: 5 @ 9:34 pace!
Tuesday: nothin’
Wednesday: seriously hem-hawed around for three hours before I got my butt out there. 5 @ 9:29 pace! Last  mile was amazing at 9:00!!!! In the afternoon I went out with Amelia to do her C25K program.. that added 2 miles to my day.
Thursday: Cross-training at the gym – bike and elliptical for 30 min. each, some arm exercises.
Friday: rest rest rest!
Saturday: 20 miles @ 11:18… WOW. We knocked almost 20 seconds off our pace from the last time we ran 20 two weeks ago.

I feel like I really broke through a mental wall this week.. even though I didn’t run as much as I could have. On Wednesday I really felt like I was going to puke the entire time I was running, and I really didn’t want to go out, but I made myself do it and it ended up fabulous. That’s what usually happens.

And the 20-miler. Wow. I wasn’t nervous at all. I laid everything out the night before and filled my Camelbak. I drank about 40 oz. of Gatorade (the regular kind, not G2) and had some energy gummies that Gabi brought on the run. I felt so good at the end that I could have kept running. Seriously. Our last mile was 10:18.. usually we’re not pushing towards the end, just trying to get done! Mile 19 included a huge hill that we decided to walk.

The first ten miles, we had the wind at our backs and man did we feel it when we turned around to head back! You can see the difference in the splits:

Here’s the graph of my heart rate. Notice: no SVT! The spike around the first hour was the first crazy hill we had. We ran that one. And for the record, I really don’t know if I had an episode on my 13-miler last weekend.. my battery is going bad on my other watch. The other day it was trying to tell me that my HR was 203 when I wasn’t even half a mile into the run.. I would have felt that for sure.

I am on fire for this marathon and really feel like I could do it right now. Well, not right now, as I’m hella sore. Surprisingly, though, my knees and joints are not as sore. Our elevation gain/loss was 647 ft for the run this morning, and for the marathon it’s only going to be 82 or something. Even with an average pace of 11:18, I’d still have a sub-5 race!

I weighed myself at the gym on Thursday and was pleased to see that I haven’t gained or lost. I was concerned that my Lenten fast would cause me to lose a couple pounds and therefore give me an ulterior motive for the fast, but I guess I’ve been eating enough to maintain. That is totally fine with me. I don’t need to lose any more weight.. I’m at my ideal.

Next weekend I head up to Chicagoland for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K… hoping to kill that race! Since we did our last long run this weekend (we had to since I will be out of town the next two weekends), I don’t think running an aggressive race will be an issue since it’d still be three weeks out. That and it’s only (only) five miles.

On my way home from Gabi’s, I was listening to “Bones” by Hillsong off of their new album Aftermath, and there’s a line that says “Oh Jesus, alive in me”. Running makes me feel alive like nothing else could. I want to either make or find a shirt that says something like “Running: It’s what makes me feel alive”.

It’s brought a force to my life that’s made me more mature, more patient, more relaxed, more focused and believing that I can do things I never in my life thought I could do.

>Marathon Training: Week 12

>What a great week!! With caffeine and sweets not clouding my vision or fitness, I felt really good this week.

Monday: 3 mile recovery-ish run, strength training
Tuesday: 5 mile tempo run, strength training… this one felt great!! I love tempo runs.
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday and Friday: rest, did a little stretching.
Saturday: 20-miler with Gabriela!!! Our pace was around 11:30. We started out at 5:30 in the morning and ran mostly on rural roads. Let me tell you, you cannot beat running into the sunrise while smelling signs of spring!
Sunday: Planning on a hike with Becca

I felt so good today on the run. I was hurting some after mile 10, but that’s normal when you’ve been running for close to two hours. I took my new Camelbak (50oz) and had one gel. I think the increase in hydration, plus doing 18 last Saturday, really made it a great run. I drank almost all the water. It wasn’t heavy and it didn’t cause any chafing.

We started out at 5:30 AM, and honestly it wasn’t too difficult to pull myself out of bed at 4:45. We were running for a good hour until we started to see sunlight. I wish I had a camera because it was a beautiful sunrise.

Post-run meal:

Whole grain pancakes w/ butter and lite syrup, mixed fruit and hardboiled egg.

I use the McMillan running calculator to see what my approximate marathon time will be. It says to put in your best time (4 miles in 36:36) and it says I will run 26.2 in 4:32. Seems a little fast to me, but I guess we’ll see. We have another month yet of training. And of course you have to factor in that I’m probably a little less anemic, and I drink more fluids. Plus, on race day, adrenaline is high… race days are so much fun.

>My budding culinary prowess…ish.


Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat. Going to the grocery store is therapeutic, as long as I have the cash on hand. I treat it like a date with myself, really. I have my list and pen, and I wander up and down the aisles perusing everything. I’m not stressed because I shop for a couple to three weeks at a time, so I know I’m going to be spending a little time there. People who don’t say excuse me or seem exasperated by my strolling drive me batty. If you don’t like it, go around! Or say excuse me! Anyway. 
When I get home from the store, I unpack all the groceries from my reusable bags. When I worked grocery, I used to get annoyed at people who brought their own bags because honestly, it takes longer to bag their food. But since I live in the third floor of my apartment building, cloth bags carry much much more and I’m almost always able to get everything in one trip.
I usually spend a couple hours preparing food once I get home. I know if I just put everything away, I’ll forget what I have. I usually make my list based on what sounds good, and on food I can use in more than one dish. I try to clean out the fridge and do dishes before shopping so I can get right to slicing and dicing.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I prepare “in bulk”. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I can’t seem to cook for just one person. It gets expensive and time-consuming. I grew up watching my mom, an amazing cook, prepare food for 5-6 people, and still have leftovers. I follow suit, and it works out for me. The other great thing about doing this is that when Aaron and I are living together again very soon (yay!!!), my grocery budget likely won’t go up much.
All the following items are healthy, but I haven’t taken the time to calculate the nutrition facts.

I always have fresh fruit on the table to munch on. Apples and bananas are a good snack to-go, and they stay good for a long time. As the bananas ripen, I use them in smoothies and when they’re almost too ripe, I use them in baking.

Fruit salad! One of my favorites. Apple, pineapple (canned), blackberries, strawberries, grapes.

HyVee has an amazing health food section complete with bulk foods like tea, spices, flour, candy, etc. I decided to get some muesli (oatmeal mix with dried berries and such) and steel-cut oats. I mixed them together with what I had left of the quick oats, some dried cranberries, raisins and ground flax seed. Flax seed is a great source of Omega-3’s, and with water you can use it as a substitute for oil in baking.

I’ve been obsessed lately with reusing containers. You can use this mix as oatmeal in the morning, in cookies, muffins, or pancakes.

 Mmm. Stir fry mix. Snow peas, bean sprouts, yellow onion, red pepper, leftover yellow squash and zucchini from the other night. You can use this over rice, noodles (I’m excited to try rice noodles!), in a salad, in a tortilla with grilled chicken.. the possibilities are endless.

I also put together a salad mix of spinach, bean sprouts, snow peas, radishes, and English cucumber. YUM.

Trail mix: Lightly salted peanuts, unsalted whole almonds, dried cranberries, raisins and a couple handfuls of honey roasted almonds.

So there ya go! It may be a little more expensive to buy all the produce, etc, but in the end I think it balances out when you don’t eat out so often or buy all the junk.

>My body is happy

>I’ve been abstaining from caffeine for three weeks. It’s been great! I love still being able to have coffee in the morning.. I think the simple ritual wakes me up more than the caffeine did. And when it comes to fountain drinks, the decision is a lot less stressful because there’s less to choose from! Haha. I feel more-clearheaded and awake for a bigger portion of the day, as opposed to a daily crash in the afternoon.

Like I mentioned before, I’m abstaining from sweets for Lent. I’ve been tempted quite a few times, with treats at small group and a “food day” at work welcoming our new janitor (yes, we love him that much!!). I have cravings, no doubt about it, but again, there is no stress in the decision about what to eat. I don’t use so many calories on foods I shouldn’t be eating, so I can use more towards good fats like almonds, peanut butter and olive oil. I can just eat more good food overall.

I’m interested to see how it will affect my fitness without being weighed down with all that junk. After Lent is over, I wonder how my body will react to sugar.

I feel like I have so much control over my body and food intake. I don’t feel a slave to my cravings and horrible habit of overindulging. I feel less bloated. I feel good. And the best part of any fast is the increase of intimacy with one’s relationship with God. When I have my other cravings in check, I am much better about not only fitting in my study/prayer time, but wanting to fit it in.