Monday, August 30, 2010

Nothing That A Little Retail Therapy Can't Fix

82 Days To Go

I am coming to you this evening on the heels of a much-needed and very non-training conducive girls weekend. This past weekend was spent with some of my best girlfriends in Atlanta engaging in some retail therapy, marathon dining, and revert-you-right-back-to-high school giggle sessions. The trip had been planned for quite a few weeks now since the Hubs arrival back to the homefront was scheduled. He was insistent that I had a little "me" time after playing single mom for three months. And with little to no hesitation, I agreed. I also took the running shoes. I even slept in my running apparel one of the two nights I was away. I did not, however, run. And you know what? I feel no guilt.
What filled this hole, you ask? (Let's just pretend you ask while I indulge in a bit of self-exploration.) Maybe it was the priceless memories that I made with some of my best girlfriends...or getting to wear a dress and dangle earrings without the threat of a baby spit-up stain and the possibility of having my ear lobe ripped in half by a tiny tot hand on a mission. Or maybe it was the Real Housewives of Atlanta housewife spotting (remember my reality-trash TV guilty pleasure/obsession?!?). It might have been the superior (yes, non diet-friendly) meals I splurged on for 48 hours straight that filled that hole of running. Honestly though, I think it just may be these teal Hunter wellies that I came home with that ate all of that the guilt away and gave me that missing endorphin spike.
That being said, I realize there are 82 training days left until the half-marathon and I am jumping right back into my training plan. I skipped the Stretch and Strengthen day today and threw my little monkey (oh, how I missed his squeezy self) in the jogger this morning for our run. I feel refreshed and ready to return to the grind. That being said, I cant emphasize the importance of taking a little "you" time. My solo runs have been a great outlet for this, but every now and then a splurge of great girlfriends, fine wine, and new shoes (that aren't for running) is just what the doctor ordered.

Highlight of Last Week: No need to repeat - see above (smile).

Lesson of Last Week: Indulge without guilt every once in a while. Everything in moderation. When you are done, pick back up, hit the ground running, and be thankful for the opportunity you had to recharge.

Power Song of Last Week: Love the Way You Lie by Eminem featuring Rihanna. While I am sure this is a great song to run to, it is even that much more enjoyable singing at the top of your lungs while driving down the interstate with one of your best friends and a fun-filled weekend destination in sight. (I did download this for my runs too. )

Monday, August 23, 2010

Did I Just Enjoy That?

89 Days To Go
89 Days until D-Day and I think I may have turned a corner. In previous posts I've expressed my love/hate relationship with running. Well, this past week we (we meaning me and my alter running-ego) turned a corner. This was my second week in a row that I ran my long run solo. That's right, I was minus the little monkey and my awkward signature one-arm stroller stride. This is a new experience for me since Hubs is now home and the solo mission is now an option. Despite having to overcome the challenge of 'Where do I put my cell phone and water?' the runs have been incredibly enjoyable. And at the end of the runs, I feel like I could do it again. Yep, you heard me right. I have a bit of arrogant confidence that I might just be morphing... dare I say it, into a runner.
Okay, don't worry. I'm not trying to get all crazy. I'm just saying that I never gave myself enough credit for the strain pushing 40lbs. really had on me. It's an energy-zapper! Since finishing my long run yesterday and taking today off to stretch and strengthen, I am finding myself actually anxious to get out there and tackle my next big run. I've come to the realization that from here forward, it is full speed ahead...and I am looking forward to it.
Highlight of Last Week: Need I say it? Turning the corner and feeling like I MUST/WANT/NEED to run.
Lesson of Last Week: I need to find some gear to pack a water with me on my solo runs...taking suggestions?
Power Song of Last Week: I was introduced to this one from a fellow blog buddy, Jen, Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel. It's a song from the show "Wicked" - and is a great inspirational blast when pounding the pavement. Be sure to download the Dance Mix for a upbeat pace picker-upper.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Talk Like A Runner

95 Days To Go
Ninety-five days to go (I am saying this aloud right now), ninety-five days to go. Unreal. This challenge is almost half over and I am in shock that the end (or rather, the start line) is in sight. However, I feel more dedicated now that I have ever been. As always, I work best under pressure and progress most when my back is against the wall. I just keep moving!

I am still following good old Hal's plan. I am officially in week two (did week one and two 2x before moving on to week three). Week Three, which starts next week, is an actual progression since week one and two were duplicates.

On another note, I have been intrigued (and a skosh confused) by the runner chatter I have been exposed to lately. I realized that I need to educate myself a bit on some running terms in an effort to build my runner perception and talk like a runner.

For you seasoned vets, correct me if I am mistaken and feel free to clarify. For my fellow wannabes out there who want to chime in on the running conversations and sound like we are worthy of sporting our Garmin, running skirts, and other sprint-worthy swag, here's what I researched and found.

What I thought this was: A run in which you found that perfect running song to keep you be-bopping and trotting at a 10-minute mile or less pace.
What it actually is: According to Merriam-Webster, this is a run where you run at a steady pace at 70-80% of your max. aerobic capacity. Tempo runs are just past the point where you begin to build up waste product in your legs at a rapid rate during your runs, which is referred to as the lactate-threshold velocity.
My afterthought: Huh? Well, I was close...I think.

What I thought this was: An opportunity to take a break. Walk a bit, catch your breath, and return to running.
What it actually is: According to, interval pace is faster than your lactate-threshold pace. It is a pace which will leave you out of breath. Not quite an all-out attempt, but close.
My afterthought: Sounds dreadful....and like me when I reach the end of my long run every Sunday morning.

What I thought this was: A really cool pair of running shoes
What it actually is: according to, this is the way you run. Do you run like a gazelle or an elephant? One is more efficient than the other. It refers to footsteps per minute. (There is an entire math equation that goes along with this ,but it's late folks and I just want an idea of what this jibber-jabber means. I'll learn specifics when I start using these terms in a sentence.)
My afterthought: Hmmmm.....I think I may run like an elephant?

Okay, that's it for tonight. Tune in for more 'Talk Like A Runner 101' soon. And chime in if you have some ideas (or some other translation of this greek-speak).

Highlight of Last Week: Hubs is home! Hubs is home! My family is together again.
Lesson of Last Week: School is back in session and taking my usual running route by the elementary school is now more like a game of duck-and-weave between crossing guards, mini-vans, and adorable pint-sized people balancing themselves with their oversized backpacks. Time to explore some new routes.
Power Song of Last Week: I am back to rocking my tried and true Lenny Kravitz Where Are We Runnin? It's too perfectly appropriate.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Striving to be a Shredhead

104 Days To Go

Just wanted to post a quick wrap-up of last week. It was my second week of the Hal Higdon program and while I am still fighting heat advisories and my infinite lack of sleep syndrome, I'm happy to boast that I finished my week strong. I am, however, especially looking forward to my stretch and strengthen day tomorrow.

I have been using the Jillian Michaels The Shred DVD for my strength training. A few months ago when little monkey was too young to go to the gym with me I was taking a sunset stroll in one my of my favorite therapeutic spots (that's Target, of course) and I strolled through the fitness department as I always do for some inspiration. I picked up the DVD and thought - hey, twenty minutes. I can handle that. Whew! Well, let's just say I was painfully surprised. Don't let that twenty minutes fool you. That Jillian is intense! In that mere 1200 second time span I am panting, grunting, and realizing that I need to vacuum a bit better as I try to distract myself from eating the rug during push-ups. I have yet to complete the workout and not be sore the next day. In even more interesting Shred talk, Run Like A Mother authors recently highlighted a couple of self-proclaimed couple of "Shred Heads" who have documented their loyalty to the uber-aggressive (and obviously effective) tyrant. Their stories were pretty compelling and made me a bit more confident in removing the Yo-Gabba-Gabba DVD that rests rather permanently in my DVD player and pop in The Shred at least a few days a week.

Highlight of the Week: Two days of impending morning thunderstorms made way for a quite delightful breeze to cut through the 90+ degree heat. Oh, and how could I forget, Athena is back!

Lesson of the Week: Baby slobber will ruin your Blackberry. Even when it is your last tool in your arsenal to avoid grocery store meltdowns, don't give in. Another technical devestation on the homefront. Lesson learned.

Power Song of the Week: Hot-n-Fun by N.E.R.D (featuring Nelly Furtado). Download it. You will run.

Next week's training is the same as the first (see "116 Days To Go"). Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's For Dinner?

107 Days To Go

107 Days to just one week I will officially be leaving the triple digit countdown and entering the world of double-digits. It's beginning to feel less exciting and a bit scary. Is this normal? The second month of my Hal Higdon training is going well thus far, but I am beginning to shake in my boots at the thought of 13.1 miles in approximately three months. My farthest run to date is still only six miles. However, I am going to stick to the program and remain faithful that I will progress steadily in these remaining weeks. We will soon see...

On the weight loss front, I am happy to report I have 10 pounds left before I may actually be able to slip into a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans! May I possibly be soon saying good-bye to my legging collection? It will be a bittersweet farewell and I have a fond appreciation for those stretchy little suckers that bring it all in and smooth it on out (or give the illusion of doing so). However, as they have been my staple clothing item for the last year, I think I will be just fine saying adios.

As you may know from earlier blog posts, I have been following the Joy Bauer diet outlined in her book Your Inner Skinny that she kindly sent me back in the beginning of this 200-day challenge. I am human and I have had my slip-ups (Oh, sweet Bohemian conch fritters. If you are wrong, I don't want to be right.) Although, for the most part I have followed the plan accordingly. Honestly, it hasn't been hard. I am not depriving myself of any food groups. Bread and cheese still have a very strong presence in my life. However, I have taught myself the importance of portion control and seeking that "full" feeling from healthier choices like veggies and water. There are tons of dinner choices on the plan, but I seem to be a creature of habit and when I find something I like, I stick with it. Five months ago, this was a slice of thick-crust four cheese pizza from the new Italian bistro just down the street from my house . Now it is my turkey burger dinner happily prepared by the always loyal, George Foreman. This consists of a turkey burger with sauteed mushrooms and onions, a slice of low-fat cheddar cheese and topped with baby spinach leaves (which I put on everything). If I'm in a hurry, I skip the sauteed veggies and use salsa instead. Throw it on Mr. Foreman and in about ten minutes, dinner is served! My other staple that I have mentioned in earlier posts is the vegetable stew that I eat with each dinner. I prepare a week's worth or more and then freeze it in individual two-cup portions. Since playing single-mom usually means my nights consist of catching up on grading and housework after the monkey goes to bed (and trying to squeeze at least five hours of sleep in), these easy go-to meals have been a lifesaver...and waist trimmer.

Do you have any go-to healthy meals you rely on?