Monday, January 30, 2012

How do you admit when it's not working?

This was one of the many thoughts swirling around in my brain as I completed my 10 miles yesterday. 2 weeks until Mercedes and not at all confident that I will hit my sub-2:15 goal. Feeling that while overall, I know my fitness continues to improve and I am able to withstand tougher and longer workouts, I am still nowhere near where I need to be to hit my goal(s).

It's no secret I have been struggling and struggling with my training plan pretty much since its inception. I used my 5K race time in December (which took place after I had cooled down from the peak of my marathon training benefit and recovery) as a gauge to set my tempos...but holy crap, nearly every single run left me sore, zapped and doubtful.

Workouts that I would normally welcome as a challenge had me physically and mentally defeated. There were a couple of times I skipped running altogether because I was too sore and tired to even attempt what I had put on deck for myself. And I couldn't even get in "junk miles" because I was too sore and tired to even run with proper form. Matt pointed out to me that my phrase of "I'm not usually in so much pain" was becoming almost a daily utterance...thus I was actually walking around in pain for much of the last month. And when he pointed that out, I realized that he might actually be right.

So, FINALLY last Monday I had the courage...yes, admit that this plan was NOT working for me. 3 weeks to go until my "A" race and I was abandoning ship.

No...not giving up my race...not even totally giving up on my time goal...but giving myself permission to stray from this plan that I was imposing on myself. I laced up my shoes, headed out in my neighborhood for a blissful UNTIMED 3.1 mile run (about 3 miles short of "the plan" and who knows how far off on pace) and was the best and most freeing run I had done in weeks.

As "type A" as I am (and I'm sure many of you are the same way), it was really hard to "quit" something or admit "defeat". Though I am trying not to look at it that way...I am trying to tell myself that I am listening to my body and my heart. Burning myself out or getting injured wouldn't be any good and I'm pretty sure I was on the express train with a stop at one of those two destinations.

Bottom line: If a training plan is leaving you unhappy, constantly in pain, dreading your workouts and generally zapping the enjoyment out of the sport, it's probably time to reassess why you're following that plan to begin with. AND...if you change your mind or direction,  it's OK because hopefully there is a lifetime of running (or whatever) ahead of you and you can try again another time.

Now here I am, less than 2 weeks from my goal race...soaking in the energy of my friends who are tackling the distance for the first time...planning fun costumes with my relay team...looking forward to going for a run tonight after work. I know in my heart that I've made the right here's to hoping I'm not going to end up with a PW either ;)

How do you deal with altering goals when you training plan isn't working for you? Or do you just plow through and accept the misery?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Take 2

"You have successfully applied for entry for the ING New York City Marathon 2012, Your entry number is 910470. Please write down your entry number or print and save this confirmation page in your records as you will need this number in the future. "

No time like the present to get this ball rolling. Luckily, the guaranteed entrance changes are gradually being implemented, thus b/c I was denied last year if I am denied again this year and next,  I WILL be guaranteed entry in 2014! LOL...that is so far away and hard to think about it...let's hope I am not posting a "Take 3" next year!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Otherwise known as my lazy excuse for getting in a post today :)

1. I got a text from Matt that I have a package waiting for me at home. What does this mean? NEW SHOES!! When I was out running this weekend I realized that my shoes were officially dead, so after price-comparison-shopping, I hopped onto Amazon Sunday night and ordered new ones. I am a HUGE lover of the Mizuno Wave much so that this will be my 7th pair! This time around I got the Wave Nirvana 7s in blue/silver...which happens to be the exact style and color of my current shoes. BUT I have found that there can be variances in fit with colors in the same model (oh, pink Nirvana 6s I really did want to love you...), so even though I was tempted by the yellow ones, I decided to be extremely boring and stick with what's working. It makes me tempted to lace them up and take them for a run tonight, but...

2. My legs (and body) are SO sore. The intensity of my workouts right now using the FIRST half-marathon PR plan is kicking my ass. I honestly feel more beat up than I felt during marathon training. There are almost no "easy" runs or paces and almost every run feels like I'm running for the first time. So even though I had a rest night last night because of Bunco, I feel like I really need to get a massage tonight so that  I can face Friday-Sunday with productive workouts. I need to pay attention to recovery and given that work has been insane AND I have not been sleeping well but it can be really hard to admit that I need to rest sometimes. (Let's not even get into the fact that I also will be bringing home work this evening...)

3. Another reason to stay healthy? I have convinced 4 of my friends into joining me and running the Mercedes Marathon Relay! One month from today!! I will be taking the first leg (10K) and then going on to complete the half marathon before turning into a mobile cheer squad. I am really excited for this and to share more details soon!

Happy Thursday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Food Journal Friday

I told myself BEFORE my most recent marathon, that AFTER the marathon, I would not continue to eat like I was in high mileage training. And for about the first week, I was pretty good at keeping that in mind. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and quite frankly, my eating went to shit...especially during the latter part of December. Too many carbs, high fat items, portions out of control and late night snacking (the latter being my greatest down fall...Amy and I call it the late night feeding frenzy).

So...It's not surprising that I got on the scale after the New Year (after avoiding it for the entire month of December) and DID NOT like what I saw. I've only "recently" (within the past 6 months) even started weighing myself again because there was a time in my life where I was quite unhealthy and obsessive about it and I'm only now to a point where I think I can handle the number and react appropriately to it.

Even before "the weigh in", I had toyed around with signing up for Weight Watchers with the idea of reteaching myself healthy eating patterns/portions but wasn't totally in love with that idea initially. I also know how to count calories and can tell you the calories of most everything I eat (a throwback from my obsessive days) but truthfully, it's not the system that works best for me (I can manipulate around it too well, if that makes any sense). Around this same time, Amanda from Run to the Finish invited people to join her on a 30 day Food Journal Challenge for the month of January. PERFECT TIMING.

A food journal is more than just a food log and 6 days in, I'm really enjoying the exercise and the awareness it's bringing me. There are no specific "rules" to this challenge other than to try to log every day, so if it's something that you're interested in doing, please jump in! I'm doing the daily log and once a week, taking pics of what I eat for my own accountability. And I will tell you, the day I took pics (Wednesday), I was SUPER aware of my portions and I do think it influenced my decisions.

For now, I'll share my Wednesday (food) in pics and will be checking back each week with a Food Journal Update. Will make a decision on my next big action at the end of the challenge. Could be counting points for a while or maybe regular logging will bring me enough awareness to make the changes needed to drop the holiday weight plus the 15 or so pounds I've been looking to shed for a while now.

Food Journal: Wednesday, January 4, 2012

General: Working today, woke up absolutely exhausted. Busy schedule at work today...5 meetings!! Lower body (esp. hips) sore from yoga last night.
Ate a couple pieces of honey dew melon as I was fixing my to-go container because I knew that I would be hitting the ground running when I got in the office.
Aiming for 64oz of water (min) daily; so when at work will be drinking a glass of water (12oz) before I allow myself my daily diet coke.

~10:20 a.m.

Honeydew melon and a diet coke
Really hungry! I would not normally be eating for the first time this late, but such was the schedule. Came back from my meeting across campus and was grateful for the caffeine. 

~11:00: Hungry again. We are having a staff meeting at lunch and the office is getting food from the delicious and tempting Shindig's Food Truck. They have great hamburgers and the BEST fries and dipping sauce but really, even if I wasn't journaling and taking pics today, that does NOT fit with trying to detox my body from the holidays. I'll be walking to pick up the food with L. and will get a closer look at the menu when we get to the truck.

Faro Salad
I can't believe I was able to sneak a picture, even though it is blurry and does not really express how dense and filling (and delicious!) this was. Local greens with pomegranate arils, kumquats, roasted beets, goat cheese, walnuts, grilled chicken and a homemade vinaigrette. Not my diet coke...I was drinking water! (Bonus: Walked .5 miles to/from food truck!)

3:00 p.m.
Lindt Truffle
Another co-worker brought this to me after lunch and I'm surprised I was able to wait this long to eat it!

I am very hungry but my snacks that I brought with me orange and a container of Greek yogurt...are not conducive to eating on the go. I am getting ready to meet Amy at the gym for some strength training and I need to eat something. And that something does NOT need to come from my assistant's candy bowl. While I am at it I throw away some chocolate covered short bread cookies that someone gave me...they are not that good and not worth the calories. I remember I have some almonds in my desk drawer and even though that's not what I feel like it, it's that or the candy.

10 Emerald Cocoa Roast almonds

**After work, Amy and I do 1 hour of strength training at the gym...upper body, back and abs at the gym. We use machines and do 3 sets of 12 on each of the following: lat pull downs, chest flys, shoulder press, row, bicep curls and triceps. Then use the stability ball to do: 60 crunches, obliques with a center lift between sides (20 each side) and 40 back extensions. I am really glad that Amy texted me to see if I would join her. I want to incorporate more strength into my routine and I'm comfortable with the moves but find it SO boring if not in a class format or with a friend.

 Matt cooked dinner (this is usual during the week) and decided to go to a movie while I was at the gym. I came home to find this plate waiting for me
3oz herb crusted pork loin (I measured on the food scale and I promise this was cooked even though it looks otherwise in this picture!), roasted asparagus seasoned w/salt, pepper and crumbled feta, pasta w/roasted veg and  light tomato sauce (this was from a Bird's Eye Steamfresh pouch!)

I was a bit water logged, so I supplemented with this:
No, not the entire 2L bottle :)
I found this while I was shopping last week and I really like it. It says it's a limited time flavor...go figure.

And later in the evening:
A Euro or two...
2 milk chocolate Euros stolen from Matt's candy stash. Plus a big glass of Arizona diet Blueberry green tea and more water.

Total ounces of water for the day: 60
Would usually have more fruit in my diet as a snack, but 5 meetings doesn't leave a whole lot of time for snacking!
I ended up with a migraine on Thursday, so I will keep logging to see if any of these foods were a possible trigger. Please don't say it was the chocolate!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: A Year in Review

Happy New Year!!

I truly hope that each of you has had a wonderful holiday season. Matt and I traveled to see my family for Christmas and I've enjoyed a little bit of time off work this past week. I've been reading and catching up on everyone and while (as usual) I've had quite a few thoughts swirling around in my head, I have not prioritized sitting and putting anything down "on paper". I'm not really a resolutions type of person--instead choosing to make change as I feel ready--but this is one thing I am aiming for in 2012...regular posting. Ideally, at least 3 times a week. I think I'm at a place where I can commit to this and look forward to sharing more in the year to come. I actually have a couple of fun announcements coming up that I look forward to sharing with you :) (And NO, I am not pregnant)

For now, I thought I'd take a month by month journey of 2011. I have the opportunity to share some things that never made the blog and it's fun for me to look back and see how the year has evolved.


We started the year with "Snowmaggedon" (turned into more of an ice storm) that resulted in a day off work and then the next day, Auburn won the BCS National Championship in football!

Later that month, I ran the Village to Village 10K, setting (at the time) a PR in the distance. I got my ass kicked by the beginning of the course, but by about the 5K mark I was already scheming how I was going to attack this race in 2012.

Yes, I am about to be a jerk and pass that chick right before the finish. I had been reeling in the man and woman behind me for a while too, and finally passed them.

Matt and I enjoyed primo seats at the UAB/Memphis basketball game later that night. My first UAB B'ball game actually and it was really fun. We actually have tickets for this year's match up which is later this week.

Unfortunately, the month ended up on more of a somber note, as my uncle who had been battling colon cancer passed away on the 29th. Matt was in Minnesota for work and was unable to attend the funeral with me. It's been a tough year, especially for my aunt and cousin, but we have gotten extremely close over the past year and I am thankful for my relationship with them.

Mercedes Half Marathon time!! I absolutely LOVE my big hometown race and it holds a special place in my heart since it's where I ran my very first half. This year was special too, as I was able to reconnect with my very best friend from grad school, Lee Ann, and we ran every step of the race together---I PRed (still my current official PR) and she crossed the line of her very first half. (On a side note, she has been rocking the running world the past several months and is getting ready for her very first full next weekend at Disney. I am SO PROUD of her!)

 Coming up Highland Avenue with her friends Jenny and Greg

 Still smiling at mile 10 somewhere in Forest Park

Happy Finishers with our Bling!

The month finished with Matt and I hosting "Couple's Bunco" at our house. So hilarious to watch the guys learn and get super competitive with random dice rolling. Unfortunately I promised I would not post any pictures from this event :)

It was a busy month with family birthdays (my dad and aunt, Matt's grandma...#80) and anniversaries (Matt's parents #35). In between all of the celebrating, my cousin Jimmy (from above) came and spent several days of his spring break hanging out with Matt and I. I also had my first official "race volunteer" experience.

I was a time sentry for the Rumpshaker 5K and had an absolute blast. I was stationed at the 2 mile marker and called out the official time, as well as the placement for the top 5 men and women. The race benefits colon cancer which is obviously dear to my heart but the course is ugly AND difficult, so it was much more fun to be on the "other side" this year.

This was a BUSY month! Matt turned the big 3-0 and we celebrated low-key here in town before he jetted off to Vegas to celebrate with another friend who was also turning 30 just days after him. Upon his return we ran the Diamond Dash again, though this time in hotter than hell temps and we left feeling defeated and deflated.

The next weekend, we traveled to South Carolina to see his grandmother for a belated birthday celebration. My first intro to the full South Carolina clan! 

The month ended with the devastating tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. I ended up escaping to Nashville and running the Country Music Half with Lee Ann and her friend Meredyth. L & I were admittedly under-trained and it was HOT day but at least it wasn't a PW for me!

 Waving to the camera around the 5K mark (I am in the turquoise, L in green)

 Funny thing about this outfit..I had never worn it prior to race day, much less even a running skirt before! But because we were without power for so many days, I did not have an opportunity to do laundry before I left. Luckily, the skirt worked out just fine!

 Must have been around mile 4, as Meredyth is fueling. (pink tank to right)

 We all separated somewhere after mile 7, but finished within 1 minute of each other.

And met up in the family reunion! 

Later that night, L & I went to a "Royal Wedding" party where we were supposed to dress up as if we had attended. We had fun shopping for our hats (and rings!) that afternoon :)

 We found replica rings at Wal Mart for less than $10!

I started off the month attending a "Zumbathon" with my friend Nicole. It was supposed to be 90 minutes, and 2 hours into the event, the house was still rockin'! I had actually signed up to do a 5K the next morning and I was so sore and tired that I couldn't even force myself out of bed. At least the Homewood band got a nice donation for their Macy's trip!

Two weeks later, I did my first trail race...a 5K mud run with the Xterra series. I love trail running and loved the atmosphere of this event. The race was tough though! Trail running/racing is something I would like to do more of in the coming year.

 In hot pursuit of the women in front of me. We would leapfrog much of the remainder of the race. One really bit it in the mudpit and I passed her, though I did go back and try to help. I'm not a total beotch!

 Double wave for the camera

Enjoying the knee deep muddy water and trying to stay upright! After I finished, I came back and spectated here for the 5K runners behind me and the 10K-ers. It was quite entertaining to see how people would attack this! Many sneakers were sacrificed to the water this morning!

One of Matt's best friends got married in Antigua this month and held a reception at home in Auburn over Memorial Day weekend. We traveled to that and then headed to the beach for our annual vacation with Matt's parents.

This was a much more low key month! I was mostly at home, working and trying to survive the heat--running trails, and taking bootcamp and yoga in Railroad Park.

Matt and I visited the Birmingham Zoo over 4th of July weekend and watched fireworks on the golf course in our neighborhood.

Feeding the Australian Lorikeets

More trail running, lots of after-work walks with the dogs and kicked off official training for marathon #2!

The dog days of summer were kicking in and my schedule, both personally and professionally, started ramping up again. We celebrated Matt's dad's b'day, I attended the MSHA incoming class orientation dinner out "in the sticks", babysat a sweet friend's little girl and helped throw a bachelorette party all in the span of less than a week.

I walked with my company team in the Birmingham Heart Walk and the Argentina trip started to get real...

Matt getting all kinds of shots to prepare for our trip 

I was away more than I was home this month, between football season, traveling to Minnesota for work (which included a flight on 9/11)...

Hey, look...I have hair and wear real clothes!

And of course, our beyond fabulous trip to Argentina which also included a fun running tour in Buenos Aires...

Thankfully I had built up a pretty good fitness base before we went on vacation, but I did have a hard time mentally getting back into the peak of training right away. Being tired, catching a cold and...more football trips...contributed to this, but in the end, I just shut up and got it done.

We also took the girls out for a nice walk on Halloween :)

Maybe the theme of 2011 was busy? I started the month with a 10K PR at Vulcan...very happy with the way I ran the race and felt like it was a good tune up for the next weekend...

4 days later I celebrated my 32nd birthday...

Guilt-free cake? Oh well, it was still beyond delicious!

And then the following weekend, Jimmy and I traveled down to Tallahassee for my first trip back to a game in several years.
I love this kid beyond words!

A trip to Atlanta to celebrate Thanksgiving...

And of course, attending the Iron Bowl...
With a random "super fan"

 A pregame tradition

Team entrance

December brings with it the official start of the holiday season, and while we were busy, we also found time  to ourselves and to relax.

I loved my "Christmas light runs" in my neighborhood after work...
 Not my house, but one that was on my route

This guy always made me smile :)

I hosted my Bunco group again...this time, it was the girls only and instead of a gift exchange, we did a treat/recipe exchange.


The girls, minus Emily (who had already left) and Michelle (who was sick)
back (l-r) Kristen, Nicole, Cassie, Jamie, Amanda, Lauren, Kathryn
front (l-r) Meagan, me, Amy and Tess

The following weekend, Tess and I ran in the Meadowbrook Runs 5K where I debuted my tutu (thanks to Linzi)...

 And set a new official PR (30:33)...

I am still chasing an official "sub 30" finish

Matt and I went to the Alabama Theater for a "fancy" showing of Christmas Vacation and I got one more use out of the tutu this season, as Amy and I met up for the Trak Shak's "Tacky Christmas" run on Christmas Eve...

Before Matt and I exchanged gifts...

I got my travel map! (With a personalized inscription on the left)

and loaded up the dogs and headed down to my parents' house for the weekend.

 Bali is terrified of the Santa Hat!

My sis modeling her new hat from Argentina

And after a couple of lazy days, we went to Matt's sister's New Years party last night, ringing 2012 with friends old and new!