Thursday, June 30, 2011

Progressive Eating and 6am Yoga

It occurs to me that I haven't been talking about eating NEARLY enough lately.  I mean, I'm not running right now (FYI, 10 more days), so it's the perfect opportunity to focus on food for a while.  Many of you have heard of the term Progressive Run.

"A Progressive Run sounds just like what it means. The run gets progressively faster each mile. If you are having problems closing out a race or holding onto your pace in the later stages, I strongly recommend this workout."

But, have you ever heard the term Progressive Eating?  Probably not.  That's because I just made it up.  It's the kind of workout I imagine competitive eaters doing.  Possibly one of the grossest sports ever, but a sport nonetheless.  Well, the other day I realized that more often than not, I am a Progressive Eater.  You know, you wake up in the morning, breathe in the possibilities of a new day and eat a petite bowl of fruit with just a dollop of non-fat plain yogurt.  You think to yourself smugly "MAN I'm healthy!  Check ME out!"

Then 10am rolls around and you wonder what the heck you were thinking with that pathetic petite and dollop crap, and you fix yourself a proper bowl of cereal.  Phew, that's better.

Now it's 12:30 and you've obviously burned through that bowl of cereal by now, so you make yourself a sandwich and some Sun Chips (those are healthy, right?) and I'd love to say a side salad, but no, that would just use up sandwich and Sun Chip space.

3:00.  STARVING.  Fix another bowl of cereal possibly.  Maybe some toast with some more fruit.  But not a petite bowl this time.  You just eat as much as you can right out of the bowl you've got the fruit in or the blueberry or strawberry container.

**At this point in the post, you should insert the sound of a train chugging along at increasing speed, as if going downhill without the breaks on**

5:30.  Start making dinner and "taste test" everything as you go along.  Feeling kinda full from all your "taste testing" by the time you sit down to eat, but it's dinner time, you gotta eat.  Feeling like you might bust by the end of the meal.

And a good dinner it was.  That's a Cajun Hamburger under those avocado and tomato slices.
**Your family goes for a long walk/bike ride around the neighborhood between dinner and bedtime, burning at least 87 calories.**

Your after dinner "workout" leaves you with a huge hungry whole in your belly, so you must have another bowl of cereal at about 10:30.

And the train finally pulls into the's bedtime.

As I read back over this, it doesn't seem all that bad.  And most of what I eat is pretty healthy.  But, some days I do feel like a runaway train with my eating.

Progressive Running: good
Progressive Eating: probably bad
(you like how I leave my options open with the use of 'probably'?)

Mine eyes finally saw the glory of 5:30am this morning!  Since I haven't been going on my early morning runs (10 more days, if you didn't catch that first reference) I've been letting myself sleep in.  At first this seemed like a treat.  Then it started to get out of hand.  I actually slept until 8 o'clock one morning last week!!  AACK!!  This did not feel so much like a treat.  I felt like I'd missed half the day!  And I didn't feel more rested, I felt groggy.  Ick.  I did not want to do that again.  And, to be perfectly honest, I've really been missing seeing the early morning hours.  There's just nothing like being awake for the beginning of a new day.  So, yesterday I signed myself up to go to a 6am yoga class.  The alarm went off at 5:25 and I happily rolled out of bed.  I won't say I "popped up" or anything, but I didn't begrudge the awakening.  I drove to the yoga studio with the windows rolled down and the music up.  The sun was rising, the air was fresh (as fresh as it can be with 80% humidity anyway) and I was glad to be awake.  The yoga class was good.  Only about 7 of us.  I love to start the day with a good stretch.  I need to remember to make this a part of my routine even after I get back to running.

Are you a Progressive Eater?

Do you enjoy being up early in the morning?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Sweaty, The Kona Ironman and Bacon (this is just for you, Amanda!)

Today I actually got sweaty.  WOOHOO!!  Man, I've really been missing that drippy, stinky feeling.

Did I go for a run, you ask?
No, I did not.
Only 12 more days though.
But, who's counting??
Oh, yeah...ME.

I was over at my parent's house and noticed the recumbent bike, that I'd forgotten they owned, in their office.  I just happened to have on my running capris, a sports bra, a tank top and my running shoes.

Because this is the sad state of affairs:
Me wearing my running clothes even though
I know I won't be doing any running.
Hey, if it makes me feel better, right?

And, while I would've scoffed at that bike a few months ago...

"Stationary bike?  Pshaw.  I'm a RUN-NER.  Duh." that thing looked pretty sweet.  Since my kids were busy watching Alvin and The Chipmunks on demand, I seized my opportunity and got on that bike.  I messed around for a few minutes with the Fitness Test mode and realized I was starting to get downright damp (I apologize if this is getting too graphic for some of you).  With this realization I decided to get down to business.  So I set that baby on manual, level 4 (you're impressed...I know.) for 25 minutes (not sure how I settled on 25...seemed more doable than 30 and less wimpy then 20, I guess.) and peddled my little heart out.  By 15 minutes into it I was feeling like this was actually pretty hard work, and yes, I was sweating!  (I actually just sang that word out loud as I typed it.)  I ended up going a little over 9 miles on my glorious little 25 minute bike ride.  Hooray for sweat!

So, The Kona Ironman...As I'm sure most of you know, this is the ultimate goal for those who do triathlons. Even a sprint triathlon would scare the hooey out of me, but I know that Kona is where you go if you're the best of the best in this event.  Well, this afternoon I got an email from one of my co-workers (we don't see each other over the summer since we work in a pre-school) who has a son who competes in Ironman and endurance races and does very well.  VERY well.  He just did an Ironman in Oregon/Washington yesterday and qualified for Kona!!  My co-worker knew how excited I'd be to hear about this and how much I'd appreciate her son's accomplishment.  I felt honored that she wanted me to know about it and was so glad to be able to share in her joy and pride.  Her whole family will be heading to Kona to cheer him on later this year.  So exciting!!  I told her if I were rich I'd be buying myself a plane ticket to come cheer him on too!!  I also asked her to tell him that he should start blogging about his road to Kona--I would totally read that!

Annnnnd, on to the bacon.  Amanda, this is just for you!  (Although, I just read about how sick you and your kiddos have been, so I hope this doesn't add insult to injury.)  I just found it funny today that we are a family that basically never has bacon in the house--it is a rare "treat" (not how Amanda would see it).  Strangely, ever since Amanda wrote this post about cooking bacon for her husband on Father's Day and how much she abhors it, and posted on Facebook about how horrible it smells, looks, tastes, we have had bacon THREE TIMES.  What the heck?!  Is Amanda working undercover for the pig farming industry and using some sort of powerful reverse psychology to get us to eat as much bacon as possible??  I don't know, but it all seems a little strange...

So, here's the offending bacon.  I do like to cook it in the oven vs. the stovetop to
avoid all that nasty grease splatter

Here's where all that horrible bacon went tonight, in a Broccoli Salad.

And just so you know that we do eat bacon-free food, here's a couple pics of some other food  we've had lately.  You know how I love to throw out random food shots on here.

Strawberry-Mango "Salsa Salad" that I made up.
Worked great as a fruit salad, but would also be totally delicious on a black-bean burger.

Fresh Tomato "Sauce".  I also made this one up.  (Do you see a color theme here?)

Here's the Fresh Tomato "Sauce" on top of angel hair pasta with fresh mozzarella and a nice grind of black pepper.  This is my kind of meal...

Do you like being sweaty?

Have you ever been to Kona to watch the Ironman?

Anyone else been bingeing on bacon since Amanda said it was gross??

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finding My Zen.

I took my kids to a friends' neighborhood pool this afternoon and on the way home something happened that almost NEVER happens where we live.  I got STUCK IN TRAFFIC.  Now, I realize that I am completely spoiled in not having to commute to a job every day, or even drive around town during times of the day when traffic is heavy.  But, I grew up in the DC/Baltimore area, so I know traffic and have had plenty of harrowing traffic experiences in my lifetime (have you ever driven the DC Beltway? Absolute.Torture.).  As I sat there today, at a complete standstill in a line of cars that I could not see the front of, with my kids asking me "Mom, why are we just sitting here?", a great sense of calm came over me.  Because, you know what?  There wasn't a darn thing I could do about it.  I had already snaked my way through some back roads to try to find a less congested path home, but to no avail.  So we sat, and waited our turn.  I turned up the music, I hung my hand out the window, I noticed how warm the sun was.  I felt pretty zen at that moment.

All of this made me think about how I've been fighting this injury thing.  I haven't really even accepted that I'm actually injured--there was no hard evidence, afterall.  Every day I wake up and wish I was going for a run.  Most days I even consider actually going for a run.  Just a quick one.  Could it really be that bad for me?  Then I step down with too much force coming down the stairs or quicken my step to cross the street to go to the mailbox and the same pain is there.  Again, I'm reminded that something still isn't quite right in that left leg of mine.  Fine, I surrender.  And that's really it:

I need to just surrender.
Because, you know what?
There's not a darn thing I can do about it.

It is what it is, and the more I try to fight it, the harder it becomes.  I do believe that the universe sends things your way for a reason, and the more you try to fight against them the more the universe pushes them back at you until you finally learn your lesson.  It's time to get zen about this injury and stop trying to fight against the flow of things.  I think if I can find a way to stop trying to take a shot at the universe, I could actually come out of this with grace and new found strength.  So, that's what I'm going to work on.

Here I am with my Zen face on.  Don't I look serene? (I also look like I just came home from a run which, sadly, is not true.  Geez, I suppose I could put on something other than a sports bra and a ratty tank top.)

There's my Zen legs.  That left one sure doesn't look stress fractured!

Things I have been doing, instead of running:

1.  Yoga - as many consecutive Sun Salutations (Ashtange style, baby!) as I can handle when I get up in the morning.  This has been a huge positive in what seems like a huge negative.  Man, was I totally inflexible!  I should've been doing this all along.  Who knows, maybe that was part of the problem.  Plus, I'm going to start teaching yoga to preschooler's this fall, so it would probably be good to be able to say that I actual do yoga.

2. Free weights - just some basic upper body moves with some old school metal dumbells we've got in our closet.  I think my husband worries that I might start to look too "beefy".  I don't think this will be an issue...But, I am enjoying focusing on my arms.  They're not lookin' too bad, if I do say so myself.

3. Eating a crap-TON of fruit - seriously, today I ate: a few handfulls of blueberries, a plum, half a banana, a quarter of a canteloupe and a whole mango.  Tomorrow ought to be interesting, don't you think?  But, seriously, I am aware that I'm burning a lot less calories these days, so I'm trying not to let that creep up on me.

Hey fruit!!
Get in my belly!!

Things I haven't been doing, instead of running:

1. Swimming - I've said this before, I am a horrible swimmer.  Plus, my darn gym is approximately 19 minutes away.  Not terribly convenient.

2. Cycling - Again, my gym is (refer to the above statement).  I actually called my gym last night to put my name on the list for this morning's 5:30 spin class.  Um, yeah...I didn't make that.  I think that kind of dedication is up on another level.  A level that I, apparently, do not aspire to reach.

So, I'm not expecting my cardio to stay where it was.  This might just be something I'll have to deal with building back up.  (Ommmmmm.)

Funny how running can be such a mental sport, because it seems that not running requires just as much mental stamina...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I did a bad, bad thing...

Sooooo...two weeks ago...before I'd gone to see the ortho doc who told me I shouldn't run for 6 weeks...I signed up to run a local 5k (Lee's Summit Night Flight).  I'd just started running again after taking two weeks off to give my left leg a break, and I was feeling good.  A friend of mine from work was going to be running this 5k and it was her first race ever!  I knew it would be fun to be there to see her cross the finish line and I haven't really run any races since I got back into running a year ago.  The only other 5k I've ever run was in 1997 with one of my best friends from high school (ironically, another night time race) and I'm pretty sure I crossed the finish line at something like 36:00.  So I was feeling excited to get out there and see what I could do now.

Well, after my visit with the doctor, I ruled out running the 5k.
You know, since you have to actually run in it,
and those were pretty much the only instructions the doctor gave me

And, up until about an hour before the race, I planned on NOT running it.  But, as the evening wore on, I was feeling more and more antsy to get out there and just run it.  The race start time was 9pm.  At about 8:15 we got home from watching a friend's baseball game and I was going to head right back out by myself to the race to watch my friend.  Instead, I changed into my running clothes at lightning speed, called my friend and told her I was getting dressed and would be there as soon as possible and would meet her near the start.  My husband and kids ended up driving me there, thinking they would just drop me off and let my friend drive me home.  I pinned my race bib on in the car.  We got there at about 8:35 (not bad!).  I saw Jim from 50...after 40 pass right by us as we walked from where we were parked to the start.  I knew he was doing his warm-up run.  It was pretty crowded at the start area but I was able to meet up with two of my co-workers (and saw tons of people we knew along the way--I kind of forgot it was such a popular local race).  The weather was beautiful, cooler than it has been and not nearly as humid.  I was pretty stoked (oh, you thought that was a word only surfers could use?).

As it got close to 9pm, I said goodbye to my husband and kids who were just going to stay to see us cross the starting line.  There were markers for where to stand for different pace groups, but I hung back thinking I was definitely going to have to take it easy (actually, I promised my husband I would take it easy).  So when the start was announced I didn't even make it across the starting line for about a minute.  I waved at my family and I was off.  It was really crowded and I was still assessing my leg situation (sore, but not too bad) so it was slow going for about the first half mile.  After that I was feeling really good and started to speed up and weave my way through the crowd.  When we reached the 1 mile marker, the lady called out something like 10:23.  I knew I could go faster than that and my leg was actually feeling good.  From that point on I felt like I  just slowly but steadily increased my pace as I worked to pass other runners.  I had a lot of "oops" moments when I'd almost get shoved out between two people or try to get between a runner and a parked car with what ended up being not quite enough room.  Generally speaking, it was great fun ( :  I finally started to feel like I was actually getting tired at about 2.5, but knew I was close to the finish.  I focused on each runner that I wanted to overtake and actually made it happen.  I was having a total blast!!  I crossed the finish at 28:58 with a chip time of 27:59, and there was my whole family cheering me on!  They'd decided to stay and see me finish!  It was pretty awesome.  I was pretty happy with my time, especially since I definitely didn't give it all I had.  I came in 9th out of 65 in my age group (a single-digit place!  isn't there a medal for that??).  No matter how I placed, I was so pshyched just to see my name in print on the results page.  I'm definitely feeling like I've got the race bug now...

I ran into Jim and his daughter, Madi, after the race near the food and water tables.  We got to talk for a few minutes, but I still didn't get to meet Michael!  Soon, hopefully.  By the way, Jim totally KILLED IT last night.  1st in age group and 15th overall, I believe.  And, his daughter Madi PR'd!  Very impressed!!

So, my leg felt really good while I was running last night and isn't feeling too shabby today.  I iced it for a long time after I got home last night and took some ibuprofin last night and this morning.  I'm feeling kind of unsure about the diagnosis at this point.  And, of course, I'd love to think that I really don't need to stay off the running for six weeks...what do you think??? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Blog? and Injured.

Whoa.  So, I've been gone for a while.  For more than a month, actually.  I wouldn't be suprised if most of you have completely written off my blog.  I think I almost did.  I tried to sit down and write a post about 8 different times in the past month, but it just wasn't happening.  I lost my blogging mojo, to say the least.

The month of May was a whirlwind of life events that seemed to capture all of my time and energy.  Let it be known that I am a terrible multi-tasker!  (I'm actually having trouble concentrating on writing this post right now because I'm also listening to music that I really like to sing along to.  I'm one of those annoying people who can't NOT sing a song when they know the words.)  So, when my routine gets thrown off balance I only have the mental stamina to take care of the absolute necessities.  Blogging does not fall into that category.  But, I have missed it.

So, here are some things that happened "while I was gone"...

My little guy turned 5 and graduated from preschool!

It got warm enough to bust out the "Mr. Mister" (aka the "kid wash")!  My husband built this a few years ago from PVC piping and plastic sprinkler heads.  It's become a summer staple.  The kids can run through it, ride their bikes through it, push toy trucks through it.  That picture of my kids looking like they're dead on our driveway is actually them enjoying the warm water--ha!

All of the 1st grade classes at my daughter's school put on the cutest Mother's Day concert with a little reception afterwards.  It was really fun.

My kids drew scary looking pictures of people picking their nose.  Huh?!

My super-smart, super-creative daughter did a presentation in her gifted class on dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures.  Here she is standing by the model of an Ammonite she made.  Her mind is amazing.

Last day of 1st grade with her basket of flowers and cards for teachers.

Oh yeah, and we ate in May too.

My husband and I also celebrated our 12th anniversary.  Crap, we're getting old!!

So, yeah, I'm injured.  Maybe some of you will remember a certain week in April when I was really trying to push my speed (I'm quite sure you've all committed this to memory, right?).  I did my first sub 25 minute 5k on the treadmill.  I thought I was pretty hot s#%t.  Unfortunately, what I was doing may not have been what my body was prepared for.  Not yet at least.  My left leg felt progressively worse after that point.  It was ignorable for a while, but continued to plague me.  The beginning of my runs usually started with a bit of limping (ridiculous), but usually the pain subsided enough to be tolerable for the remainder of the run.  I never iced, never did any stretching other than what was the norm for me, never took any anti-inflamitories, never even bought a foam roller.  For a while, I wasn't really sure what was hurting, and sometimes it was both legs.  I thought shin splints for a while.  Finally, about three weeks ago, the pain had gotten to the point that I was having pain in my left leg when I was just walking and when I would go down the stairs.  I was starting to hobble a bit.  Not good.  This coincided with a pretty busy few weeks in our lives with the end of school etc., so it was a good time to take a break anyway.  I took two whole weeks off, and I was feeling pretty well healed up (I will admit that I didn't think I was 100%, but I was 100% antsy to start running again.).  So I ran last week on Monday and Wednesday morning, both days a little less than 4 miles.  By Thursday morning the pain was back again.  Boo!!  I finally gave in and made an appointment with an ortho doc.  I felt kind of silly really.  In my mind, I just keep thinking "I just don't run enough to have actually injured myself.  That's for people who are REALLY training hard."  But, I guess the point is that I was doing more than what I had worked my body up to.  So, while the doctor didn't actually find any evidence of a stress fracture on the x-rays, he said that's likely the problem.  He said I could go get an MRI and a bone-scan, but it still might not show the problem and his recommendation would still be the same.  He called it an "injury of overuse", and suggested not running for six weeks.  SIX FREAKIN WEEKS.  And, what's worse, when I do start back up, it's supposed to be so painfully slow that I almost can't imagine it. 

**Okay, that's all the whining I'm going to do about this.**

So here I am, at the beginning of June, during the time of year when I'd be getting up early 3-4 times a week for a glorious early-morning run.  Sun rising.  Gentle, warm breezes.  Before my kiddos wake up.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a serious sense of loss at not being able to experience these runs for 6 weeks.  And I'm kind of at a loss as to what I'm going to do instead, because I want to keep as much of my strength and cardio as possible.  Swimming and a stationary bike (with NO resistance) are the two things the doc said I could do for cardio.  I am, quite possibly, the worlds crappiest swimmer.  Like, I still have to hold my nose to go under water.  Can't you just see me swimming with one arm, while the other pinches my nose?  I'm sure they can make me a diagonal lane since I won't be able to swim in a straight line!  Stationary bike = holy boring.  Plus, both of these things require me to go to the gym as opposed to just stepping out my front door.  But, it is what it is, and I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it and make the best of it.  I already posted on facebook that I plan on spending the next 6 weeks getting totally ripped arms and abs.  So, now I guess I'd better follow through with that...

Wow.  So that's what's going on with me, the long version.  I have been a totally crappy blogger, but I have been keeping up with other people's blogs.  It's been really fun to hear about everyone's races and training.  I'm looking forward to being able to share some similar stories...about 6 weeks from now.

I know plenty of you have experienced injuries.  What's your best  piece of advice for an injury newby?