>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.

>Marathon Training: Week 8; and crossing the finish line

>I seriously can’t believe training is halfway done. Only ten more weeks until the marathon! That means only nine weeks until my birthday. The next several weeks are crucial, as there is hard-core mid-week training as well as long runs on the weekends.

Monday: I rested since I did 12 miles the day before.
Tuesday: A difficult 3 miles (30 min) on Grandview. Took my running clothes to work and changed before I left. I knew if I went home first, I wouldn’t go back out. And besides my run I planned on just getting some things done at home (cleaning, cooking, baking bread.. yum!)
Wednesday: 6.58 mi (9:49 pace) at Mt. Hawley. Got home after work and was seriously contemplating “resting” again. I had a snack, messed around on the computer, and got my butt outside. It was so nice to run in a t-shirt and capris, and to have slightly warmer air fill my lungs. It was a fabulous run!! I had never run that far with such a good pace, and I sprinted the last half mile or so. It was heaven.
Thursday and Friday: rested… and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure that running four days a week is the best thing. If I had run the 4, 7, 4, 15, that would have put me at 30 miles again for the week. Not sure my body is ready for that. Really.
Saturday: 14 mi (10:30 pace!!!!) all around the Heights. Gabi and I went with her friend who’s much more experienced than we are. I can’t believe I lobbed off a minute per mile for a longer run! Last weekend if you recall I ran 12 mi with a 11:25 pace. It definitely makes a difference to 1) eat a little something beforehand, 2) run with friends, and 3) take something to drink (I mixed one of those vitamin packets into some water). I am seriously so proud of myself.
Sunday: Did some easy yoga poses and stretching in the morning; went to the gym and did 15 min on bike, 15 on elliptical and upper body resistance machines… I feel energized and my muscles aren’t as sore.

I think I cleared a major mental hurdle this week. I am such a perfectionist, and it’s something the Lord and I have been working on for a long time. It’s even worse when I’m new to something like knitting or running. I get down on myself; even if I got off my butt and ran, it’s not good enough unless I beat my previous times.

I also get easily intimidated by other runners who I perceive are better than or more experienced than me. I have a broken record of all the things they must think of me.. and I know it’s ridiculous and probably not even true.

I have to remember that God is in control, that He gave me these long legs, this strong heart and this curvy body for a reason and my times don’t matter to Him. He did give me a brain that loves logic and numbers, and I want to enjoy watching myself improve. But ultimately what matters is that I’m treating my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and that I’m taking care to make it healthy and strong so I can fulfill His work in my life. I got a shirt made for the marathon that says “I run for His glory” with “Let us run the race of endurance, Hebrews 12:1” on the back. It will help me remember why I can even finish 26.2.

Running could so easily turn into a punishment for eating too much, or an addiction. I joke around about being addicted to running, but I assure you, I am not. I absolutely do not have to run every day, and I looooove food so much. (Yes, I know, I should just marry it!) I am, however, proud of my weight loss and maintenance, and I strive to be an inspiration to others, especially those who were never athletic before. Even in high school I couldn’t run to save my life. In fact, on our midterm running test I got a D. I only ran 14 out of 20 minutes, just to get by. And I was skinny then!

I will probably cry my eyes out when I cross the finish line in the U of I stadium in April. It’s not just an athletic achievement, but a culmination of everything I have been through spiritually, emotionally and physically in the past two years.

Two years ago I couldn’t even run a lap on the treadmill. I was fifty pounds overweight. We were $20k more in debt. I had no idea that we would be spending 26 months apart (ironic, right?). Two years later, we are both successful in our careers, I am fifty pounds lighter and more fit than I have ever been. We have paid off over $20k in debt and have no money worries because we know from experience that God will provide! My husband and I have a fabulous marriage and relationship that easily could have crumbled under all the worldly pressures. But in the eight years we’ve been together, we’ve never been more in love or more devoted to accomplishing what God has for us.

My personal goal is to break five hours, but regardless, I will be crossing the finish line for the both of us. For our growth, for our relationship, and for our future.

>A look into the past

>I was re-reading some posts from my sporadic blogging on sparkpeople.com. Here are some interesting things I found:

July 12, 2008:
I’m comfortable with myself. I understand that I will never be a single-digit size simply because of my hips.

That’s me rationalizing my weight gain (back then I was around 185). Now I do wear single-digit sizes!!

November 5, 2008:
It was embarrassing to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress for my friend’s wedding and have the lady there say my size out loud. 

This is when I went to get fitted for my dress for Tanya’s wedding. I was so embarrassed to be a size 16, the biggest I’ve ever been. Doesn’t sound huge, but when you’re taller you carry weight differently. I was about fifty pounds overweight.

November 12, 2009:
I have officially lost 31 pounds through healthy dieting and exercising.

This is after I stopped making excuses for overeating and not exercising!

Here are a couple pics:

 I didn’t take many full body shots.. I wonder why. Around 195 (December 2008).

This was a great day! I really started to feel attractive again.. not that I’ve ever thought that I’m ugly, but I started feeling more like myself and more confident. I didn’t even recognize Aaron until I saw his nameplate. He is sooooo incredibly handsome anyway, let alone in uniform! I was around 175 here (June 2009).

This is my sisters and me a couple months ago in some pictures we had taken for my parents for their Christmas and 30th wedding anniversary gift (30 years on June 22). I’m now right around 151-152 and feeling amazing.

Looking back I am amazed at the progress I’ve made, and how I’ve developed and matured emotionally through this journey. The moment I decide to lace up my shoes and run is the moment I attain victory. The results of the running are just gravy (although I definitely don’t complain about calories burned, muscle gained and increased metabolism)!

>A girl’s gotta eat

>What does the fridge of a “single” girl look like? Like mine. I’ll spare you the pathetic picture. I’m still trying to figure out what’s so wrong with buying snack sizes of Greek yogurt, pomegranate applesauce, cottage cheese, and frozen meals in a box. I think it’s all in my head.

Honestly, if I bought the Lean Cuisine or Michelina’s Lean Gourmet or whatever when it’s on sale for 10 for $10, I would save quite a bit of money, all while getting a balanced mix of nutrients (except for the 30% daily value of sodium in some.. yuck!).

I still haven’t figured out a streamlined system for eating healthy, quickly and on a budget. The foods I like (Kashi, Greek yogurt, the better-looking and lasting veggies, etc.) cost so much more. But I guess buying those is better than going out most days for dinner, or eating just a bowl of cereal washed down with hot chocolate or popcorn.

When I was hardcore about tracking my food using SparkPeople, I was really good at packing my lunch with my steamer and veggies and fish. But now that I’ve lost the weight, I’m less motivated to eat as well as I can on my time and money budget. I’m sure my husband would appreciate it if I stick to my biweekly food budget (supposed to be only around $100, going out included). He never complains, but if I were married to me, I’d want me to stick to my budget. Shrug.

I got so used to cooking for four or five people growing up, and then even did so when we got married because we’d eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Now, eating chili for five days in a row just isn’t my cup of…. chili. When I see that Rubbermaid container with chili (or whatever I made) for the fourth or fifth day in a row, that’s when I break the plan and the budget to eat at Jimmy John’s down the road. And I don’t even favor Jimmy John’s all that well, freaky fast or not.

And then there are the nights where I eat at a friend’s house or something. Last Thursday I ate at Megan’s, Friday was with Scott and the kiddos, Saturday was with Dave and Becca and Sunday was with my grandparents.

I think I will try getting the tilapia or salmon fillets, individually vacuum-sealed, and some frozen veggies. When I buy fresh ones, I forget about them and then have to throw them out. I also think I’ll get more of the frozen meals. They’re actually pretty good.

Here’s to my mid-December resolution (???) to eat healthier and ditch my two trips to McD’s per week. Yuck. My body is screaming at me, and it’s probably affecting my running, too. Le sigh.