Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wonderful Weather (Weekly Recap)

No, I didn't run off and completely forget about my blog (Again). Last Sunday night I got to hang out with a very cool 8 year old all night so I didn't have a chance to blog. Not much was missed, however, and I'm back at it tonight. How was last week? Well, lets see:

Favorite Run of the Week
Yesterday's long run was a pretty good one. Rania came over and we ran from here. It was pretty chilly to start off but it was bright and sunny which made things go a little better. Rania was booking it through most of the run. Particularly the last little bit. My average pace for last week's 7 miler was about 13 min/miles. Yesterday it was 12:10s. So yeah, she's speedy. My legs were definitely a little sore last night. Today we took advantage of the near 70 degree temps and took the pup to the park. She went berserk. So many people and so many dogs out! Once we got home I laid on the couch for awhile but then, almost based solely on boredom, headed out for another 3 miles. It was nice catching up on some podcasts but my legs are definitely feeling it.

I was pretty bummed to miss my Wednesday run. I had my bag all packed to go to the YMCA but forgot a sports bra. Doh. Pretty much the only thing I can't run without. Hubz had a good idea and recommended I keep a sports bra and socks at the office. Those are, obviously, my two most often forgotten things. He's so smart.

Best Meal 
I generally ate pretty good last week. Tonight I made a good salmon meal with a dijon glaze. It honestly had a little too much sugar for my liking (what???). But still, very very yummy.

This week I'm meeting with a nutritionist from a fitness place loved by my Tri team. She was really nice on the phone and seemed to understand what I'm looking for. Fingers crossed it goes well!

Next Week
- I'm excited to meet with the nutritionist on Thursday! She wants to look at my meal planning and my fitness pal so I have a feeling I"ll actually be eating well
- I really want to get in my 2 weekday runs this week

Happy Running!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Can winter be over now? (Weekly Recap)

Another dump of snow here in the bluegrass and we're finally up to "normal" snowfall for the winter. Remember how it was 65 pretty much all of December? Yeah, me neither. It was a cold weekend. I mean cold cold. It started snowing yesterday morning and they were saying we'd get 3 inches. Sure enough, there's snow on the sidewalks and slush in the roads today. Yesterday the high was 23. Today it's 43. Oh, Kentucky. So what'd that mean for my workouts? Well lets check it out
Totals: 26.94 miles, 3:08 hours, 2,212 calories
 I can't quite recall why I didn't make it to the gym on Monday. I want to say it had something to do with the cold. I opted to take Tuesday off as planned to keep the schedule on track. By Wednesday I was in that weird zone where I'd taken three days off in a row and felt (1) lazy and (2) inert, like I had no momentum to go work out. I did haul my cookies to the gym though and I"m glad I did. I did 3 miles of running with a few short walk breaks.

Best Workout of the Week
Probably my long run on Saturday. I wasn't excited about another long run on the treadmill. Anything over an hour on the treadmill just feels gross. I slept in a little bit and then got my butt to the YMCA. Luckily it wasn't too packed, despite the bad weather. I did my regular 4:1 run: walk interval. I had to do some fuzzy math when I accidentally stopped the machine (Stupid Ipad....falling...oops) around 41 minutes in. I think I got it right though. Overall I kept the same pace I'd kept outside with Rania a few weeks ago. I'm happy with that. Being inside also meant I took a good 15 minutes to stretch out afterwards. Definitely needed.

Best Meal of the Week
We had a lot of good eats this week. I didn't do a lot of cooking and it was actually nice. I'd planned to make this special pasta dish one night but it has several components and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I still  basically kept to my meal plan. We went to one of my favorite fancy restaurants on Saturday for Valentines day. My meal wasn't great overall but I still LOVE the pasta. And it was free because of gift cards so even better. Last night I finally made the rigatoni and pea pasta I'd planned to make during the week. Hubz goes BONKERS for this stuff. It's at the bottom of the NomNomNom tab and is well worth it. Unless you don't like nutmeg, then maybe skip this one.
Next Week
Updating from the office (Sorry boss) so I don't have my meal plan but I'll tag that later. Here's what's on deck for this week:
  • Three runs, 1 bike, 1 yoga/stretching/etc. 
  • Get sweets back under control - no candy during the week
  • Water, water, water
Also - time to say congratulations to the Superbowl 50 winning Denver Broncos!! Our house was happy

Happy Running!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The 7 Day Sweet Stop

I'm stuck in court listening to a civil hearing (yawn) so it's a perfect opportunity to jot down some thoughts about last week's "No Sweets" project. 

The Goal: no sweet snacks, candy, or "added" sugar for 7 days. 

All in all, it was a really great challenge. While it didn't totally change my life, I did gain some serious perspective about my eating habits. 

I have more will power than I thought 
The first two days were nothing more than will power. Why is it that when you tell yourself you CANT do something, that one thing is all you want? Sure enough sweets are the same way. The first two days it was all about wanting sweets. Particularly since work was slower I found myself sitting at my desk a lot. I'd think, "oh, I could get up and walk around...and grab a kit Kat from th candy bowl". It was hard to push those thoughts out. However, I found that by Wednesday I gained more satisfaction from exercising my will power than I did from  actually eating the treats. 

Your taste buds can change 
One thing I was hoping for was to adjust my sense of "sweet". My diet includes so much sugar I wasn't aware of (more on that later) and I think my palate had become accustomed to that. I was shocked at how a few days without it really impacted my taste buds. Case in point: I take my coffee with sweet&slow and cream. I have since I was 16. This was the hardest thing to give up initially. Coffee tasted terrible. However, by Thursday it didn't taste awful anymore. In fact, this morning I even found myself thinking "wow, this is pretty good". Similarly, I had something with aspartame in it on Monday and it tasted sickeningly sweet. In just 7 days my palate adjusted. I think this has helped keep me from craving sweets most days and being satisfied with other "sweet" treats. 

There is added/fake sugar in everything
When I set out on Sunday for this challenge I thought it was simple: no candy, no sweet&low in my coffee or tea. One benefit was I was drinking a lot of water. Lots of water for me also means lost of crystal light. Well on Saturday at the grocery I actually looked at the crystal light package and, sure enough, aspartame. This may have been obvious to everyone else, but I was shocked. I cut out candy but keep chugging down aspartame in my water! As I finished my shopping I checked labels and often times opted to go with "regular" foods over their non-fat or "diet" substitutes for this same reason. 

I don't need sweets - I just want them
I've always known I'm an emotional eater. But I'm also a habitual eater. Finish lunch? Have a dessert. 9pm? Time for dessert. Have a bad day? Pie will fix all emotions. So some of the bad things I eat are out of habits, things I've done since I was a kid (i.e. Dessert every night) or emotions (i.e. Stress is cured by sugar). What I found is that I can overcome both of those. One thing that helped me was to change around my eating schedule. If I eat dinner a little earlier and have a cup of tea at "dessert time" it fulfills the ritual need to eat something at that time. Figuring out how to get around emotional snacking is just more difficult. It's still a work in progress but I'm open to suggestions! 

Overall - I'm glad I did it
I'm going to keep up my efforts to cut back on sugar. I noticed my afternoon "lull" wasn't as bad most days, which is a plus. Also, now that the challenge is over I've noticed that treats really do taste better when they're actually a treat and enjoyed as something special instead of an every day thing. I'm excited to see if it has any overall changes in my body. I'll keep you posted! 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Base building in action (Weekly Recap)

This week was a considerable improvement from the last. I seem to have (pretty much) kicked the cold that sidelined me and I had a ridiculously easy week at work. Part of me feels guilty but then I recognize that most weeks aren't like that. I deserve to have it easy every once in awhile. So I enjoyed it.

Best Workout
I had a couple of really good workouts this week. Wednesday Rania wasn't feeling well so I headed to Cherokee on my own. I decided to do some hill repeats on a 1/4 mile hill in the park. I warmed up with a mile and then pushed the pace up the hill with a rest going down. My paces weren't as good as they were when I did the same workout last July but they were still pretty good. I'm excited to keep doing this workout and see how the paces change as I improve my fitness.

Saturday Rania and I met up at the Parklands - my fave - for my long run. She hadn't run this distance in awhile but still did really well. We kept to my 4:1 run:walk and had success with it. I'm really glad I've embraced the Run:Walk Method. I am so much fresher after my long runs and don't have the same aches and pains. It's a bit of an ego check, but I'm getting used to it. We had some interesting elevation changes and had to power up some hills but overall it was a really great run.

Best Meal 
Aside from my no-sweets experiment this week was pretty dull on the food front. Monday we had one of my favorite Trader Joe's meals, a kung pao chicken that is de-lish. Pretty much run-of-the-mill otherwise.

Next Week:

  • Continue with the no-sweets trend
  • Three runs & at least one bike
  • Water, water, water

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Today is Tuesday (and other obvious things)

I totally missed the weekly recap last week.


The Weekly Recap is basically all I can muster on this blog lately so its sad that I couldn't sit my butt down and get it done. Two reasons for this: (1) I just didn't feel like leaving the couch and (2) last week was a total dud.

Tuesday I worked late and took my rest day as expected. Wednesday I just felt awful. I was coughing up a storm and had a horrible headache. I took some cough meds and by Thursday morning felt worse. The cough meds - though super effective on my cough - make my stomach feel absolutely puke-able. By Thursday I was on sudafed to help clear up my ears and sinuses. Stayed on that through Friday and just decided not to push it. I probably would've gone out with the running group Saturday but for having to work (ugh, the worst). I did manage to get a nap in AND take Ellie for a nice long walk. It was 65 and sunny so it would've been blasphemy not to get outside. Sunday I enjoyed a law and order marathon from the bike trainer. I think the battery in my cadence sensor is dead so my speed isn't accurate, but it felt close based on my effort.
I also wasn't really eating all that well last week. If you'll recall I didn't plan through my meals Sunday and it really bit me in the ass. Duly noted, universe. I did manage to drink a lot of water - I mean a LOT of water - all week and I definitely think that helped speed my recovery.
Sunday night I cooked a nice light dinner of crab cakes and vegetable risotto. I also made some clean eating Banana Muffins. They're surprisingly good. Of course I added a few chocolate chips because I can't help myself.

So this week I'm trying something a little different; I'm going to eliminate sweets from my diet for the next 7 days (Well, 6 days now). I've been wanting to do this for awhile but never really had the will power. Sunday night, while lost in the bottom of a pint of ben and jerry's, I just decided to do it. I've tried moderation and "healthy" sweets but I think I'm the kind of person that just needs to go cold turkey. I'm hoping that a week off of the sugar will help my palate adjust. My goal is that after the 7th day I will: (1) crave sweets less (2) be more satisfied with sweets less often (3) want to go longer than 7 days

So we'll see. Day 1 was pretty good. It was hard during the day at work with all of the candy that hangs around the office. I had a lighter day so I was at my desk a lot and found myself wanting to graze my way through the office. But I didn't. So score one for will-power.

How will day 2 go? I'll let you know tomorrow.

Happy Running!