Monday, May 30, 2011

As sharp as a butter knife...

T-minus 6 days!
So, I may not be the sharpest tack in the box as I was reminded out Saturday afternoon.  It was my last long run before the upcoming marathon as well as our "send off party" for those of us in Team in Training who will be headed to San Diego this weekend for our event.  Being Memorial Day Weekend, there was a large parade going on downtown...right between where I live and where I needed to be for training.  I decided to go the back way (country roads) and to stop by the grocery store in the next town over to get some fruit salad for the pot-luck party immediately following our run.

My addiction.
Well, since I was at the store anyway I decided to pick up some Vibranz Kombucha (who could pass those up??) and some energy bars which were so nicely displayed in the Heath Food section.  Now, I have made my own energy bars based off of the Thrive book and they've been very tasty, but they require more time then I had at the moment.  So, I figured I would just grab a few prepackaged bars and rush off to the park for training.

My race singlet!
After training (8 miles) and a great send off picnic I was home putting away my running gear when I finally took a good look at my new bars.  Every single one of them lists honey as the sweetener and while I usually wouldn't have a problem with that, I did just post on here that I wanted to clean up my eating and get back to a more Vegan eating plan.  And honey doesn't cut it when eating vegan.

Who invited these guys to the picnic?
I was so disappointed since I was thinking about photographing my new bars and doing my own version of a taste test/review post.  Well, I didn't take a picture of them because I honestly don't think I will buy them again anyway.  I can't say that I won't eat them...after all, it's not likely my BF will (he's more of a cookie/donut fan) but I did go grocery shopping yesterday and picked up the ingredient to make those Thrive bars today.

I did take a picture of some of my racing fuel I WILL be using.  Admittedly, the Honey Stinger brand energy chews and waffles have been much better on my system as a fuel source during long runs than those Gu's and Gels so I may just have to accept that honey will be a part of my life, at least for the next week.

My non-vegan stash.
I know that this isn't a huge deal for most people, and I am trying to just take it all in stride because, really, my goal is to be healthy, fit, happy, and full of energy.  And while I may not fit into any 'slot' (vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian, etc.) I won't let that put a damper on achieving my goals.  For my next {and last} marathon in October, I do plan on sticking with Vegan 'fuels' {for a sampling of Vegan fueling recipes I invite you to visit the No Meat Athlete blog}.  Maybe then I can do a comparison blog afterwards!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Without being too graphic, I had a blister underneath the callous that has been building up on the ball of my right foot.  I know because I relieved the pressure (popped it) last night.  Gross, yes but also necessary.  It is a delicate balance at this point, keeping healthy and eating properly while tapering down the mileage 2 weeks before the big event.

It's been impossible to ignore any little aches and pains going on, using the foam roller for stretching, running a snail's easy pace, taking extra Vitamin C, and scheduling chiropractic appointments.  I get up in the morning thinking about how my knees feel, and wondering if my feet are sore from that last 6 mile run or from wearing heels to work the day before.  Then I wonder if I should be wearing my Earth Shoes (not very trendy but at least they make my BF laugh hysterically) so I don't do anything stupid like twist my ankle or cause unnecessary foot pains.   It's not like I'm naturally clumsy...I can't remember a time I actually sprained my ankle walking in heels.  So, perhaps I am just being ridiculous about this whole thing.

Ohhhh, feels so good on the IT Band.

But, this is what I am good at...worrying about things that haven't happened, and most likely, won't happen. I suppose it allows me to move the focus off of other important things I should be cleaning, doing laundry, getting ready for our huge yard sale, researching future travel plans, and planning for our upcoming early semi-retirement (more on that later).   You see, this whole tapering thing basically equates to purposely being lazy...and this laziness has spilled over into 'real' life.  Only 10 more days...I think the dust can wait.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cleaning up

I am going to be posting more about the foods I eat as well as the products I use when I train.  I think it will help me keep track of what is working for me and maybe even expose some people to a few of my favorite items (including vegan alternatives).  I am a big fan of Brendan Brazier, founder of Vega and author of Thrive The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, as well as Thrive Fitness, and have used his recipes to make my own sports drinks, energy (pre-workout) puddings, recovery puddings, and even gels to consume during my long runs, all with great results.

My Hero!

I have teetered back and forth between being vegetarian, vegan, and gulp...a plain old fish eating heathen.  I am not a big fan of labeling myself but it does come in handy when booking a flight or going to a business meeting to be able to check the "Vegan" box to ensure I won't be served a nice steaming veal cutlet {insert retching sounds here}.  But it's hard to claim the vegan status when I sometimes don't care if there is a little bit of feta in my salad or I inhale a Honey Stinger Waffle {yum} at mile 14 of a 20 mile long run when my calves are spasming. 

So delicious...especially their 'waffles'.

Yes, lack of planning and lack of commitment leave me in quite a predicament...a fake vegan and I don't think "It's the thought that counts" really counts here.  What I really need to do is buckle down.  I KNOW how much better I feel when I eat clean...meaning a plant-based diet.  Eating fish makes me feel guilty later and eating dairy products usually leaves me feeling bloated and tired.

Not refreshing =(

My immediate goals will include cleaning up my eating, which currently means cutting out the Baked Lays {tear-drop}, saltine crackers, and any other processed foods (I don't each much of these).  I'll be getting back to the recipes I love from the books Thrive and The Engine 2 Diet.  A favorite blog for recipes is Peas and Thank You and I hope to add more as I try out new ones.  My only requirement is that the recipes be fairly quick and easy since I want to be able to share with friends how easy it can be to eat a plant-based diet.

Oh, and thanks to Twitter-dome (which I am still trying to figure out), I came across a great blog (Vegan and Raw) called Balance is Beauty.  I invite you to check out Kristin's wonderful blog and also to enter her giveaway featuring some great Vega samples AND Peggy Kotsopoulos's new book: Must Have Been Something I Ate.  Peggy is part of the Vega Team and I look forward to reading her book soon.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Running Future...

Although I haven't yet completed my very first marathon, I have been doing some research on various training plans since I am now obligated to run my second marathon this October (I entered the lottery for the Nike Women's Marathon several weeks ago...back when my long run mileage was still "fun" and pretty much pain-free and got selected).  I've been able to rely on Team in Training for a weekly calendar which basically allows me to focus more on running and less on thinking.  However, I will not be with TNT after June 5, 2011 and I will be on my own for training.

A few of my friends will also be running the Nike Women's Marathon with me so the plan is to try to get together for runs through out the week.  I'm really hoping to have a partner for the dreaded much needed LONG runs since it can get pretty boring lonely when you're out there for 3-4 hours.

These last 2 weeks I have been struggling, both mentally and physically, and have allowed some doubt to creep in.  I think that's why I've been trying to come up with a "better" training plan, one that will suit my mentality.  This is not to say that the TNT plan isn't good, believe me, it has worked to get me from 5 mile runs to 20 mile runs in 4 short months.  I can't knock it, that's for sure.  But because I know me, I want to tailor my plan to my current mental handicap, the one that says I can't do this and I suck.


Currently, I am leaning towards the Hansons Brooks Distance Project which seems very similar to that of Coaches Jon Sinclair and Kent Oglesby (whose mentor was Arthur Lydiard).  Both plans focus on building a solid foundation by running 6+ days per week and over 100 miles collectively.  Now, you may ask yourself why in the world I would want to run MORE days then I do now, but after reading some of the articles it appears that this may be the best way to get my body to adapt to the marathon distance (without feeling like I am going to quit every time I face a long run over 12 miles) and it may help get my body used to running on fat rather then muscle.

You see, as I go into week 17, with overall mileage tapering down, I can't help but notice the loss of muscle tone (mainly in my abdomen...which I just shared on my last post as being my least liked body part) and an increase in body fat.  It seems ridiculous that I can run so many miles, burning over 2400 calories per long run, eat clean, and see this happening to my body.  But it's not that odd of a phenomena as I have discovered.  After some research I have found others having this very same issue (including personal trainers).  One of the things that will help me through the Nike marathon will be to carry less weight (this will also help for the Tough Mudder in September) so it only makes sense to apply a training method that will teach my body to utilize it's fat stores rather then hoard them.

The hard part right now will be to hold off on applying any new techniques until after the San Diego Marathon on June 5.  Right now I need to focus on a clean diet, proper hydration and staying healthy until the big day!!  This post, by Jason at Cook Train Eat Race regarding tapering helped put these next 2 weeks into perspective.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

She's got legs...

One of the major benefits of Team in Training is meeting all of the amazing people.  As we approach the big day (the marathon is 14 days away), a few of us who have become close have decided to stay in touch and continue some level of training in the future.  So, it only seems appropriate that Stephi, our Community (Spirit) Team Leader is keeping us on track by offering daily challenges.  These are random challenges that so far have ranged from doing 50 push-ups in one day to emotional challenges like today's, to find the one thing you love about your body and to say something nice about one you dislike about your body.   

Me in the AWESOME Jofit Skort I won on Life After Bagels Blog.

So, since I've been trying to blog more I thought I'd do my challenge right here.  Surprisingly, the thing I like the most about my body came pretty legs.  I've always had pretty nice legs, gymnastics, horseback riding and various forms of working out over the years have helped (and genetics).  But now that I've been training hard for 16 weeks and have a bit of a tan I can say that they are pretty awesome...strong, defined, and muscular.

The Giggling Marlin, Cabo San Lucas May 2011 (me center).

Now, to pick one thing I DON'T stomach/waist.  Here is my letter to my belly...

Dear Belly,

Thank you for being a part of me, for allowing me to experience butterflies, for telling me with your rumblings that I need to nourish my body, and for giving my kitty cats (and sometimes my boyfriend) a comfy place to lay their heads.  And lastly, for housing my intestinal fortitude!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Running thoughts...

My long runs have become increasingly meditative in a way that is hard to describe.  Many people feel some sort of peace when they run, especially sans headphones or iPod, focusing instead on their breath, their surroundings, foot steps, and their thoughts.  Others may find their runs very thought provoking, making metal lists of what they need to do later that day or maybe even what their goals are for their future.  When running 16 to 20 miles (or 3-4 hours) my thoughts can range from the excitement of the long run and upcoming marathon, to celebrating the end of the run with some huevos rancheros, to self-doubt, sometimes accompanied by holding back tears.

21 days  and counting!
I don't know if other runners experience this doubt and fear.  Fear of failure and the thoughts that I won't be able to complete the marathon run through my mind after about mile 14.  I believe I have trained properly, this isn't a matter of being tired or unfit...this is a subconscious entity that comes from inside of me.  I fear it is the very same thing that I stuffed down when I became anorexic and that enables me to say today that I feel like that part of my life happened to someone else, not me.  I am so detached from it that it scares me to know that during these long runs my body and mind are breaking down enough to allow it to resurface ever so slightly.

This is not to say that I am developing any kind of eating issues because I am not.  It's more like a discovery of what lead to my eating disorder, and later, to the depression I had during my 20's and early 30's.  And it's kind of strange that it is surfacing now through running since I had tried counseling (in-patient and out-patient), meditation, religion (Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, including visiting an Ashram), medication, and more self-help books then I care to remember.   All of these efforts have definitely helped shape me into the person I am today.  I've learned a lot about myself and others, how to distance myself from toxic people and situations, and other invaluable life skills.  But I never learned about WHY I had almost killed myself through starvation and about the unrealistic pressures I still place on myself today.  In retrospect, it is as if I traded one form of self-deprecation for another.

The other day I finally got around to watching Black Swan.  Without going into too much detail I can tell you that some aspects of the movie also brought up old, hidden emotions that, coupled with my last 20 mile long run, has really got me thinking.  Hopefully, if and when more is revealed to myself through these runs, it will become more liberating and less frightening.  Eventually, I'd like to be able to deal with the past emotions and move towards a truer form of running meditation to get me through my next (and last) marathon in October.

The quest for perfection.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hey batter, batter....Swing!

Getting back into the swing of things after a vacation is always a challenge.  Even though I had good intensions of running while in Cabo, I didn't.  That means I didn't run my 18 mile long run, and worse, I haven't run any kind of distance in 9 days.  To top it off, I feel fat and bloated and extremely L A Z Y.

Relaxation mode.

Tomorrow is my scheduled 20 mile long run.  I will be relying on my partner, Coleen, to keep me placing one foot in front of the other when all I want to do is quit.  There are only 22 days til the marathon and everything is planned and paid for...I've raised over $3000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I've made promises to people (and myself).  

Josh, my personal Honoree.
But this is sometimes my M.O.  I get excited about something, research it, do some actions towards it, and then never follow through.  So, this is a true test for FINALLY complete something significant.  Something I can be proud of, something that required blood, sweat and tears (literally), something that benefitted not only me but others at the same time.  The is no quitting now, even if I have to drag my body across that finish line I will do it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...