Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rolling With It

144 Days To Go

There has been a lot going on since my last blog post, but I think the most impactful occurrence has been my reminder on the importantance in the ability to adapt.

One thing I have not yet written much about is the fact that I have been playing single mom for the last month. Those that know me are aware, but those who read this blog who don't personally know me (and I so appreciate you!) don't know that Hubs is a boat captain who had to head down south to the Bahamas to run from this horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is turning so many lives upside down. I have to admit, I was a complete babbling mess when he first left. Let's face it, I was only 6 months into being a mom and the whole process was still new to me. How will I juggle work, the house, the bills, and most importantly being a good mommy? And, oh yeah, running...how do I get that in too? And the answer is (and I know most moms know this already), you just do. As a matter of fact, keeping busy has helped me keep my sanity and not dwell on the fact that my new family is indefinitely split for the time being.

On a much more positive note, the monkey and I just returned from having a chance to play international travelers and go visit Hubs in the Bahamas and it was quite a treat. I was worried about running, while I was there, but managed to get a couple of pretty good runs in. Despite the challenging hills, take a look at this view and tell me how you can't be thankful for the ability to run, breathe, smell, and feel this atmosphere? I was worried about the diet, but y'know, I didn't do so bad after all (no weight gained, none lost). Who visits the Bahamas and doesn't indulge in a conch fritter or two anyway? Okay, give or take four or five. The trip had significant meaning as the Bahamas is where Hubs spent every summer working while we were in college. I visited him there each year and it was there where we decided we would one day marry in the islands. 5 1/2 years ago we did just that. We spent our honeymoon on the very island we visited last week, and to now bring our son there was just another reason it is such a special place for us.

Bottom line, my point is that with adaptation, comes strength. And with strength comes blessings, if you are open to seeing them. I have known this my entire, non-traditional, somewhat crazy life. Sometimes I just need a reminder of the importance of this trait. Just like when I initially planned to run a half-marathon a couple of years ago and then many moons of prayers were answered and now my little 7 1/2 month interruption is my proudest accomplishment. Adaptation brings reward. When monkey wakes up later than normal, I utilize the gym treadmill. And when it rains, like today, we run in the rain (okay, light drizzle - but doesn't it sound empowering?). With this journey to train for this half-marathon, I am also reminded of the life lesson I want to teach my son. Life doesn't always go exactly how we plan. However, it's how we react and adapt that makes the outcome a setback or an opportunity. I choose the latter.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Am I a Cheater?

155 Days To Go

This week I have continued strong, and it hurts, oh so good. I have ran every day since Monday, except Wednesday which I cross-trained and put in some elliptical time. I had my best run yet on Thursday knocking out 5+ miles and feeling good about it. Here's the catch - it was at the gym on the treadmill.
In my mind, there is no doubt that running a treadmill is easier than an outdoor run. You've got the cushy treadmill mat, the rally of other fit gurus working out around you, and most notably, the icy air conditioning that minimizes the sting of "sweaty eyes," as I like to call that uncontrollable trickle of forehead sweat that maps out a little river right to my eyelids before burning my eyeballs. (However, just like my thighs rubbing together, I like to think of this as another means of producing energy and a sign of hard work). Oh, and also throw in the relief of pushing a 20 lb. monkey around in a jogging stroller. (Thank you, gym child care. I have come to truly love and appreciate your beauty. I am sorry I ever took you for granted.)
My reasoning for succumbing to incorporating these gym days into my training is because this Gulf Coast heat seems more relentless each day. Even with a cold sippy cup of water and a stroller fan, little monkey still comes out of the stroller post-run just as sweat-drenched as mommy. Hello guilt.
So, here's my question to all of you seasoned runners: How much is relying on treadmill runs going to sabotage my half-marathon training? I know it's okay every once in a while - but how much is too much? Anyone out there who trained primarily on a treadmill? I'd love to hear your feedback. Thanks in advance for the advice!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Progress Report

158 Days To Go

Yikes! It has been almost a full week since I checked back in and updated the rest of last week's progress. This is because I have been too busy running and eating well (heehee...I am patting myself on the back right now). And yes, I have also been a bit busy having to unexpectedly play single parent and squeeze in as much beach time with the little man as we can (grrrr....oil). Anyhow, more on those topics later.

I finished out last week with an elliptical workout at the gym on Thursday and clocked in six miles on Friday with a treadmill buddy at the gym (don't let me mislead you, I ran about half of that six). I did take a rest day on Sunday. Hey, even the big man above rested on the seventh day, right?

This week the little monkey and I have endured the steamy early morning heat both yesterday and today and clocked in over 5 miles each day. (This includes a warm-up walk and a cool down.)

On the diet front, I have lost FIVE pounds!! I must say this diet is much easier than I anticipated to follow. Let me clarify -not easy, but easier than expected. In reference to what kind of food I am eating, here is a sample day's menu.

Breakfast: Whole Wheat Toast with peanut butter (natural) and half of a banana

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich on whole wheat w/mustard, spinach, tomato and avocado only. & unlimited carrot sticks

Afternoon snack: Celery sticks with low-fat cream cheese

Dinner: Homemade Vegetable Soup & Turkey Burger with sauteed onions and mushrooms, topped with lettuce and tomato - skip the bun!

As you can see, it's nothing extreme. No giving up carbs or skipping meals. Realistically, it's how I have always known how to eat...and used to. It is just a matter of training myself how to eat again since my pregnancy-induced brainwashing that resulted in Boston Cream Pie for breakfast being normal. Having a menu to follow has been the perfect way to curtail my indulgent splurges.

Highlight of Last Week: I have now rolled over the 100-mile mark since beginning this journey just over a month ago!! To track your miles, visit Dailymile.com. It automatically clocks my mileage from my Nike+ shoe device and adds it to my blog ticker. It's also like a Facebook for runners and I have been introduced to some very inspiring folks from posting my runs there.

Lesson of Last Week: I can drink coffee without sweetener. What a milestone! (Hint: sprinkle a little cinnamon in your coffee grounds before brewing.)

Power Song of Last Week: Soundsystem, Michael Franti

Okay, one last thing. So I found a pic of myself when I was five weeks pregnant (y'know, many pounds ago) sporting my 'belly' for a pic for the Hubs. Recently, the Hubs took another picture of me getting ready to run in almost the exact same outfit. Whoa, mama!! What a wake-up call. I'm debating on posting the pics as another measure of accountability. Still mustering the courage, but stay tuned!

My Running Buddy:

A sippy cup, cold teething ring, a fan, and some zzzzz's. Sometimes I contemplate trying to fit into that stroller seat myself.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another New Start

163 Days To Go

Okay, by the looks of the title of this post you are probably thinking, "Here she goes again with another failed week." Well, surprisingly this is not the case. It's been a great week thus far (if I do say so myself) - here's a summary of my progress:

Monday: 4.35 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: Gym Day w/45 minutes on the Elliptical
Thursday: 3.36 miles

As you can tell, I am still working with shorter distances, following the training plan for the most part, foregoing rest days in an effort to feel less guilty about last week's indulgent binge.

Now, in regards to my new start. It's time follow a structured diet plan in order to achieve one of my goals that I expressed in my initial declaration to go on this journey. Mama needs to get out of the maternity bathing suit!

Here's how this part of the plan came to fruition. I am a huge Today Show junkie. Along with coffee and a seedy reality show, a dose a day is a necessity for me. Joy Bauer, the nutrition and health expert on the show, has been a longtime favorite of mine. I mean really, have you seen these folks who hold up their old pants and can literally fit their whole bodies in one pant leg now? Amazing. Recently, I sent her a diet question and she ended up responding, reading my blog, and offering some very kind words about my posts. She offered to send me her book, Your Inner Skinny. Not only am I grateful for her gesture, I am inspired by the book and ready to integrate her advice into my plan....starting tomorrow. I loaded up at the grocery store today (and FYI there is a pumpkin puree shortage for those of you who may not know. Who knew? Sure hope that's fixed by Thanksgiving) and am excited to enhance this experience by adding the diet element into my efforts.

I'll keep you posted on the progress. Here's to finishing off the week strong!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A New Day

166 Days To Go
I am just going to call this blog entry my confessional. I'll begin with forgive me friends, for I have sinned. Last week did not go as planned and I think it's safe to say it was my worse week yet. My plan to go out of town and continue my steadfast motivation to concentrate on my training failed. Miserably.
I think the fact that I visited my friend in my old college Alma mater town, Tallahassee, was my downfall. I fell into the trap of wanting to take advantage of all my former indulgences (Hello, Bagel Bagel!). Apparently, I jumped right back to 1998 and considered myself a college freshman ready to eat, drink, and be merry. I also found myself hoping I would get carded at lunch (despite the highchair sitting next to me) and hoping the staff at the bookstore would mistake me for a college student (despite that I was buying FSU onesies with a little monkey on my hip). And, I also found the motivation to remember I am an adult with a big dream in front of me lost in the nostalgic memories of driving around and looking at all of my old living quarters, class buildings, and party spots. And since this is a confessional, here's the worse part - not only did I miss my running schedule for the weekend - I stepped on the scale when I came home and to my horror, I gained weight. Three steps backwards.
In my own defense, we did attempt a run on Saturday. Tied up the laces and strapped on the Ipods and headed to the stadium only to be greeted by a relentless thunderstorm and locked gates...so, we headed to Mellow Mushroom for some pizza.
I returned home with a bit of a bellyache and an intense wake-up call. Today, (a rest day on the training schedule) I did a run/walk of over four miles. It was a bit of a struggle, I admit. It's time to kick this plan into high gear. I'm ready to get serious again and also incorporate more of my diet into my training (more on that to come).
On that note, onward and upward.
Lesson of the Week: I do not have the metabolism of a 21-year-old any longer {sigh}.
Highlight of the Week: Did you know that chocolate milk is a great recovery drink post-workout? Yep, read several articles on the benefits this past week.
Power Song of the Week: Winner by Jamie Foxx featuring Justin Timberlake and TI. I found myself repeating "Turnin' pain into progression..." throughout my run. Not usually my style, but I LOVE it!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Words of Inspiration

169 Days To Go

The week is not over yet but me and the little monkey are headed to visit a friend out of town so I thought I'd post a quick report of how things are going. I have been following week one of the training plan (except for a rain day, which made me swap rest days) and I must say, I feel like I am not running nearly enough. I really enjoyed seeing my little 200-day mile tally ticking through 15-20 miles a week....this week only 13 will be hit. Nevertheless, I am going to stick with it another week but may progress to week two earlier than I anticipated.

On another note, I found out Julia Roberts recently ran a half-marathon. She trained in her spare time while filming her latest movie, Eat, Pray, Love....in India....in the summer. Geesh. (She also sews her own kids' clothes, but I digress.) However, it wasn't the "dire" training situation that impressed me. After all, let's face it - throw in a personal trainer, a chef, massages on demand, and a sprinkle of Danny Moder and I feel I could also excel while training in India. It was her explanation as to why she decided to do this that moved me. Her reasoning: "I just wanted to show my kids that the power of a female body is more than just giving birth..."

And that, my friends, is my quote of the week.

More to come after my weekend trip. I am packing the running shoes, jogging stroller, and my running buddy. I am visiting a great friend committed to running with me who is also utilizing the same training plan.

Happy Running!