Up and at ‘Em

Day two of training. Goodness, I love being on a training plan. I don’t have a coach, but having a typed training plan magneted to the fridge makes me work hard and avoid skipping workouts. Is magneted a word? Whatever…it is now!

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I promise I wear shoes when I run. I just take them off as soon as I get home. Today I was in a green mood. And I love my SockGuy cow socks. Noel got them for me because I like to moo at cows when I ride my bike. Most of the time they moo back at me!

Easy 5 miles. All four of us had eye doctor appointments in the morning, so I had two options. Get up early and run before everyone else was out of bed. Or wait until the afternoon and run in the heat. I chose cooler temps over sleep. It was my first time to get up and go, and it went surprisingly well. I drank about 4oz of water before heading out the door. I thought about grabbing a Stinger waffle, but just decided to see how it went. By the way, have you tried the new Gingersnap Stinger Waffles? OH MY GOODNESS! They are good. They taste like a gingerbread cookies dipped in honey. Delicious!

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I ran through our old neighborhood in the small town near our house. I like big loops, and 5 miles is about as far as you can get without doubling back in this small town. I miss running in the small city where I work, but I didn’t have time to drive that far. Soon I’ll hit up my old routes though! I saw a pair of plastic Billy Bob teeth on the ground during my run. We’ll add that to the list of funny things I’ve found while running.

I didn’t use my run/walk ratio again and had no trouble maintaining an easy 10min/mile pace. I should probably do some reading on how to transition, but setting a pace similar to my overall pace from my run/walk seems to be working well. Part of me wonders if I could manage to hold that pace for an entire half marathon. Hmmm. This girl loves a challenge. Running isn’t fun unless I’m pushing myself!

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Here’s the same route, the left one is .5 miles shorter because I didn’t run around the pond to get to 5 miles. Left is 4 minutes run / 1 minute walk and the right is today. Pretty good, huh?

After our appointments, we hit up the pool for the outside lap lane time. Side note: Mark had to get new glasses. He got hard plastic tortoise shell geek style frames. Oh my word…he is CUTE! They’ll be ready in about a week, so you’ll have to wait for pictures. Swimming went well. I was worried I would be tired since I ran early and hadn’t had lunch yet. I managed to swim 300 yards without stopping. Big gains! I’ve got to make it to 400m by August 3rd. It looks like I should easily be able to do that and maybe work on a little form and speed while I’m at it.

Speedwork day tomorrow!

Begin Again

I’m channeling Taylor Swift today. Her song “Begin Again” ran through my mind as I got ready for my run this morning. It’s day one of fall half marathon training. I’m using the same plan I used in the spring, but with a couple of tweaks. So in the words of Taylor, let’s “Begin Again!”

I’m going to focus on a few things:

  • No more walk/run on short runs of 5 miles or less. Work on controlling my pace.
  • Stick to XTing. Some days say “XT or rest” and in the spring, I almost always chose rest. No more! My bike is going to see some action, and I’m going to keep up with swimming as well.
  • Weights on short easy run days. I need to get some strength training worked into my plan. This will probably be the toughest thing on this list. I feel so lost in the weight room.
  • I added in one session of speed work per week. I want to break 2:15 so bad!
  • STRETCH. FOAM ROLL. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  • Keep nutrition in check. I have a tendency to treat myself a lot during training. I need to eat more and eat well…not add in extra junk just because I’m allowed extra calories.

The training plan started with an easy 3 miler. Noel was off doing a sprint triathlon this morning, so I took the boys up to my mom’s basement so I could run on the treadmill while they played…err, fought…err, yelled at each other. Summer fight club is in full effect!

I set the treadmill at 6mph and 1% incline. It felt surprisingly easy…proof that I am getting faster. I used to struggle to hit an 11min/mile pace on my mom’s treadmill. Once I hit 2.5 miles, I hit the speed up button once every tenth of a mile, ending at 6.5mph or 9:13min/mile pace. Not using my run/walk was not an issue at all. Just a good, solid treadmill run!

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Here’s what I wore. I want to try and take a picture each day of training. I love my workout clothes so I might as well showcase them. I think it’ll make for a fun progression video or something later on. I had already taken my shoes off, but I wore my new Skechers GoRun 3s.

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I’m a little in love with these shoes. They are crazy lightweight. The toe box is huge, which is good for my dumb toes that like to get gnarly blisters in certain shoes. The way the shoes are shaped forces you to midstrike. I’m a bit of a heel striker, so this feels a little odd at first but once I get going, it begins to feel natural and good. I usually wear a guidance shoe, but these are just neutral. I thought that might be an issue, but so far in the three runs I have done, my legs and feet feel great.

Tomorrow is a 5 miler. Mondays were always my favorite runs, and I have no doubt that will continue. Noel and I are also going to try and squeeze a swim in. I’m *this close* to signing up for another triathlon later in August.

Bye Bye Funk!

Apparently all it takes to get rid of a funk is a good brick workout, a good run, and signing up for a triathlon. Yep, you read that right! I signed up for my first triathlon!

I’m doing this one…
Rock-n-Route-Triathlon

400m serpentine pool swim in a 50m pool. 12mi bike on a route I have ridden several times. And a 5K run through the park where I started running. BRING IT ON!

I registered for the race after Noel and I had a very good indoor brick workout at the gym on Friday, I rode a Cybex for 8mi at just under a 16mph pace. Do you use pace for cycling? Then we hit the track for 2miles where I crushed a 9:30mi/mile pace! Legs felt funny for the first lap, but once they settled in, they just kept chugging. I was a sweaty mess when I was done.

Today I woke up wanting to run, but the housework had piled up. I cleaned up the kitchen and got the laundry started. I sat down and moaned to Noel that I really needed to get some miles in. And he did what any loving husband would do…he kicked me out of the house. HAHA! I headed to the small town near our house and had an awesome 4.5 mile run in 44 minutes. Yep…again under 10min/mile! I am liking my new training pace A LOT! In those 4.5 miles I saved a box turtle from the street and almost got eaten by a GIANT German Shepherd. The only reason I don’t like running in neighborhoods…dogs not being watched by their people.

Let’s hope the rest of the week goes as well as the last couple of days have gone. Training for our next half marathon starts this coming Sunday!

I’ve got some good blog posts planned this week, so stay tuned!

What Did You Do?

This post was originally posted on my old blog. I initially thought I would move all those posts over, but I think I’ll slowly just repost them here. I blogged in a different style back then. This post is dated January 9, 2014. I added a couple of edits.

I get this question almost weekly. What did you do? What did you do to lose the weight? What’s your secret?

Sorry, folks. It’s not secret. I watched what I ate and I ran my a$$ off, literally. I made small changes over time. I’ll try to make a list of all the things that I have done. Here’s the disclaimer: just because this worked for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you. However, in my experience in watching others follow a somewhat relative path to mine, this is a very successful method for slow, long term, lasting weight loss.

Side note: I have tried about 100 times to write “the weight loss” post, but it’s just too long of a story for a blog post. Here’s the condensed version. I lost 40lbs (edit: I’m now at 43lbs lost!) over the course of 7+ years. That’s a little over 5lbs a year. That’s REALLY slow. I went from a size 16 jeans to size 8. (edit: I’m now a size 4/6!) I went from size XL tops to size S tops. I’ve been heavy virtually my entire life. When I got my driver’s license at 15, I lied about my weight. I told the DMV lady I weighed 135lbs. It was a lie back then, but it’s no longer a lie. I went from 175 at my heaviest to my now current 135. Goal weight…BOOM! (edit: I hit 132lbs earlier this month and I’ve set a new goal of 130.)

So here’s what I did:

1. I learned to cook. Thankfully, I fell in love with cooking. I love to make things from scratch, from the bottom up. I like knowing everything that’s in my food. Cooking from scratch does take a bit more time, initially. However, once you get into a groove, you will forget all those processed food shortcuts you used to take. It’s about changing habits.

2. I cut out processed foods, as much as possible. I’m talking the super processed stuff. No canned soups, no ready-to-eat meals, no frozen biscuits, no “helper.”

3. I read labels. I don’t put anything in my grocery cart without reading the label first. I want to know what’s in it. I don’t avoid HFCS completely, but I’m more likely to buy something if it’s made with real sugar, real ingredients. If there’s too many things that I have to stop to pronounce, I’m not going to buy it. It takes time to read labels, but you will quickly learn what brands make the effort to be more natural. Again, changing habits. In the short run, it will take time and effort, but in the long run, it will be a lasting change…just another part of your routine.

4. I researched portion size. For example, a serving of cheese is roughly the size of 4 dice. Compared to the amount of cheese you find in casserole recipe’s on Pinterest, that is tiny. A serving of meat is the size of a deck of playing cards. No wonder Americans are so heavy. Restaurants knowingly serve food that is two, three, and four times the recommended portion!

5. I went relatively dairy-free. I found out about a year ago that I have a moderate to severe lactose intolerance. I gave up milk, anything made with milk, and ice cream. I use almond milk as a substitute, because I also seem to have an issue with soy. I limit myself to a serving of cheese per day and at once, one tablespoon of butter. This took off about 5lbs almost immediately.

6. I try to eat a balanced diet, with a variety of things. Different fruits and veggies. Different grains. A variety of proteins. I have expanded my palate and found that healthy things taste better to me than the junk. Basically I reprogrammed myself. When I eat better, I feel better, which makes the food that’s better for me taste better. Food is fuel, and it helps me to treat it that way.

7. I keep my cheat foods sacred. I LOVE Chipotle. I LOVE Oreos. I LOVE brownies. I LOVE sweet and sour chicken. I LOVE cinnamon rolls. And I still eat these things, but not every day, not every week. It’s that much more a reward to space it out.

8. I found a workout that I love. I tried weights. I tried yoga. I tried aerobics. I tried cycling. I fell in love with running. I look forward to my runs. It’s not just something else on my to-do list. I see running as my reward for waking up and making it through another day in this world. In order to lose weight, you have find a workout that you love and works for your body. It’s the same idea as finding a job that you love. If it’s a chore, you are less likely to do it.

9. Calories in and calories out. I occasionally count calories to keep myself on track. I have used the Livestrong food iPhone app and now I use the FitBit app. I can’t say enough good things about the FitBit…awesome tool. I wish I had had one all along. Your calories in have to be lower than your calories out to lose weight. It’s simple math, simple science. If you want to eat more, you have to do more. If you want to sit on your butt all day, you can lose weight, but you won’t get to eat much while you do it. You also won’t tone up while you drop the pounds.

10. I worked hard. Sometimes I look back and it feels like the weight just fell off. But it didn’t. This was a SEVEN year battle. I had ups and downs. Giving up certain foods was tough. Changing my routine was tough. Getting started running was tough. But I did it. I persevered. And I know I’m stronger because of it.

You can do it too. You can make changes for the better. You can become the person you want to be. It’ll be a battle and sometimes you’ll feel defeated. But you have to believe in yourself, in the power of your own mind to do the right thing for you and your body.

This just shocked me. I renewed my license in 2013. I was about 140lbs there…5 lbs away from goal weight. The left image is from 2007, right after the birth of John. Crazy how much my face has changed!

This was the goal weight picture! 135lbs! Check out that skinny arm!

The left image is at my absolute heaviest, 175lbs. I had been married for about 6 months. I was 23 years old. The right image is 135lbs and 30 years old. I love 30! 🙂

In a Funk

I’m in a funk. I hate being in a funk. But I hate even more than I can recognize that I’m in a funk and, at the same time, feel powerless to get myself out of said funk.

I’m up 5 pounds because junk food has found it’s way back in my life. I gave up on the run streak because it just wasn’t motivating me. It was stressing me out trying to squeeze in a mile on my normal rest days.

I have no training plan at the moment. I have decided to do a sprint triathlon on August 3rd, and I’m terrified. I haven’t ridden my bike in about 6 months. I’m working on swimming.

I better get my butt in gear. I need to hit the gym, get myself back into the kitchen to make good healthy foods, and get my head back above water.

Thanks for letting me whine. Maybe getting my funk out in the open will help me conquer it. Fingers crossed.

Things I learned while spectating an Ironman

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1. Sunscreen and bug spray! I’m quite a bit browner than I was when I got to Lawrence. Thankfully I’m blessed with olive toned Lebanese skin that happily soaks up the sun and rarely burns. My fair-skinned brother-in-law ended up a little pink. Sunscreen would have been a good idea. Also, Clinton Lake is a state park and a tick mecca. Bug spray is a must. Our tick count was only 6. Two on the dog…one attached, one dead but stuck to his hair…yay, Vectra 3D. John had a tiny one attached to his shoulder. I found one dead in my blankets the night we slept at the lake. I slept next to the dog though, so yay again for Vectra 3D. And I had one crawling on my shirt while we watched the runners go past the trailer. If we hadn’t used bug spray, the count would have been much higher.

2. Be prepared to cry, not only when your athlete crosses the finish line, but when others do too. War veterans, cancer survivors, badass old people…so many awesome athletes battled 70.3 this weekend. Right before Noel finished, they announced a 65-year-old male finisher. He crossed the finish line and put his hands on his knees, relaxing his breathing and smiling so big. Then I heard a voice behind me happily yell, “DADDY!” A women not much older than myself vaulted herself at the finishing gate, just next to where we were standing. He ran over to her, and they hugged HARD. She said, “You did it!! Happy Birthday, Daddy!” Tears flowed freely from yours truly and my eyes are watering up again just thinking about the beautiful moment.

3. Good shoes are VERY important. I initially had on a pair of my more sturdy flip flops, but I changed into my running shoes because it was chilly at 5am. I’m glad I did. I walked and ran A LOT. During both transitions, we only had about 3-4 minutes to get to the new spot where we could best see him off on the next leg. My Vivofit goal is now up to 12000+ but I did only 15000 steps while watching Noel. The run course had lots of turnarounds, so just by walking/running a bit we could see him multiples times. I think I ended up seeing him close to 8 times on the run. And he said that’s the one thing that really kept him going during the very tough run.

4. Patience! Triathlons take a LONG time. Noel’s unofficial time was 6:47:26. Noel’s brother and I watched him get in the water, walked around the outside of T1, waited for him to get out of the water, walked around T1 again, watched him get on his bike, and then headed back to the campsite. We took naps until the pros started coming by. We kept our eye on the mobile tracker and headed up to T2 to wait for him to get off his bike and on to the run. Then we ran around the campground catching him as he passed different places along the run course. Then we had to wait for him a bit at the finish line. I was pooped by the end and still had to drive us all home! Spectating is a sport in itself!

5. Be prepared to put your needs LAST. When Noel was done, he needed hugs, then he needed food, then he needed beer, then he needed to pick up his gear, and then he needed a shower. He’s slept a lot since then. And I’m used the “evil” stick on his shoulders and legs multiple times to roll the soreness out of him. I feel a bit like a recovery nurse…an Ironman nurse.

But it’s all worth it to watch your spouse, your best friend, your training partner finish a race that he had trained very hard for and was very ready for! I secretly can’t wait to watch him do the next one!!

Everything Ironman

This post comes to you from Ironman 70.3 Kansas! Exciting stuff! The boys and I are going to root on Noel in tomorrow’s race. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 run. Bring it on!

We got up to Lawrence on Thursday. Noel rode the first 20 miles of the bike course while I SAG’ed him behind in the car. Willie road too, in his thundershirt. It’s worth it’s weight in gold. He started life with us as an excellent car rider and then he just started hating the car for no reason. Shaking uncontrollably, not able to relax. Thundershirt has solved that big time as you can tell.

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We spent Thursday night in the inlaws’ trailer. It was a tight squeeze but we made it work.

Friday Noel and I got an easy 2 mile run in. I’m keeping my streak alive even while away from home! We also drove the entire bike course. It’s hilly…lots of rollers. Noel is optimistic though…he likes rolling hills, flying down them and keeping enough speed to help on the next climb.

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We got Noel’s packet and I got a new shirt. Yay! We got the boys cowbells too. Hopefully that isn’t a decision we regret. Haha!

We also celebrated National Donut Day. My two favorite holidays in the same week. National Running Day was Wednesday in case you missed it!

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This morning we woke up to heavy rain, but thankfully it cleared off before the IronKids fun run started. The boys both “raced.” Mark ran the 1/4 mile loop. We had planned on John running the 1 mile loop with the big kids but he didn’t hear us tell him that so he took off with the 1/2 mile loop group. He was ready to run! They got medals and got to meet a couple of the pros.

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The plan for the rest of the day is to hang out, sit on our butts, visit with other athletes, and gear up for the big day tomorrow.

Random side note: I’m on my fifth cup of Caribou Coffee since we got here on Thursday. Please come to Wichita, Caribou. I love you so!

I posted this from my mobile app on my phone. Hopefully the formatting is ok and the pictures aren’t too huge.