Faith, Job, Nutrition, NYC, Running, Yoga

What a Week!

Well hello there! This has been a whirlwind of a week. Let me tell you about it …

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Monday

Monday got off to a fairly ordinary start. Daniel and I did an easy 5 miles before heading to work. On Monday afternoon, Runner’s World released the finalists of their cover search contest and I made the top ten! Wait, what?! In case you were wondering, that was a direct quote from the video linked below. Very profound, Sam.

In all seriousness, I can’t really even put into words how excited I am and how honored I am to have been chosen as a finalist. Please take some time to read all of the stories here. We have such a wonderful group of finalists! When I started the blog this summer, I wrote, “It has been a long journey with lots of highs and lows, but my prayer every day is that God will use my story and my running for His glory!” Well, never in my wildest dreams did I think that my story would be shared on such a large-scale in such a short period of time. It is truly amazing. God is truly amazing. He has been so faithful and my continued prayer is that He will be glorified!

Monday evening I headed to yoga. I must admit, I had a hard time relaxing with so much excitement going on, but the class was wonderful. I drove home with a heart of gratitude, and some very sore, tired muscles. Each week we work towards a key pose, and this week’s pose was the “Wild Thing.” I had to show Daniel what I learned when I got home and as per usual, Brooks was all about it. He definitely has the wild thing mastered!

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Tuesday

Tuesday morning we were up even earlier than normal, as Daniel had an outpatient procedure at the hospital and we had to arrive at 6 a.m. I managed to get a few miles on the treadmill in before we went, but I’m fairly certain I slept through most of that run. Thankfully, everything is a-okay and as my grandmother would say, “He is healthy as a horse.”

Tuesday evening I went to Running Wild for the usual group run. The weather was amazing! We had temperatures in the mid-60s and humidity less than 50% for a few days this week. It was quite glorious. Rebecca, Squishy and I got in an easy 6 miles and enjoyed the “cold front.” I even saw a few people out running in long sleeves on my way home, which cracked me up. Let’s not get carried away guys.

Wednesday

Mid-week it was time for workout Wednesday! I had a 12 mile steady state run on the schedule with a two mile warmup and 10 miles at 7:00 to 7:15 pace. Steady state runs facilitate the development of aerobic strength by challenging your aerobic system, but not making you too tired to run hard the next day. Building aerobic strength is one of the most important pieces of the training puzzle to make you run faster. The hard part is that developing aerobic strength takes time. I haven’t done a lot of steady state workouts in the past, and I was definitely a little bit intimidated going into the workout. To me, it was more mentally challenging than physically challenging and I ended up averaging 7:06 for the 10 mile portion.

Wednesday evening Daniel had the guys from small group over here, so he kicked me out. Not really (but kind of), so I headed over to Rebecca’s after work, and we did an easy run with Squishy. After that I worked on my nutrition presentation for a while. Actually, I stayed up way too late working on that. I think it was a combination of me wanting to make sure that I adequately conveyed the information (since it is such an important topic) and me just being really interested in what I was reading, but I got a little carried away in my research and was awake until almost midnight.

I also found out Wednesday that the Runner’s World finalists will be participating in a two-day photo shoot in NYC in a couple of weeks. Again … wait, what?! How exciting is that? I haven’t been to New York before and now I will get to go and get a lay of the land before the marathon. It will be so neat to meet the other finalists as well. It looks like a really fun group and they have lots of cool stuff planned for us. I can’t wait!

Thursday 

Thursday morning Lizzie, Daniel and I headed out for an easy 8 miles. I was so tired, and probably not fully awake. Around mile 3, I took a major spill after tripping on an uneven piece of sidewalk. I tried to do the whole “tuck and roll” thing (which I have successfully done in past falls), but that definitely didn’t work out for me this time. It was more like “tuck and splat.” I came away with some really awesome battle wounds and some extremely sore ribs. I’m still debating on whether or not I need to go get an X-ray. I think it is probably just a pulled muscle in my back or something, but whatever it is, is still very sore.

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At least the photo shoot is a couple of weeks away … If I am not healed by then, I will definitely need some photoshopping action!

Thursday evening was the nutrition presentation at the store. We didn’t have a very good turnout, which was kind of a bummer since I spent so much time preparing for it. Although I wasn’t extremely keen on speaking in front of a large group of people anyway, so it probably worked out for the best. At least I got a good blog post out of it and I will send the link to that out to my group so that they can reference back to it.

My dad recently told me that I write better than I talk. Thanks dad … I think. I know that he meant it as a compliment, but it just sounds funny when I write it out 🙂 He was saying that I express myself well through writing. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I really enjoy writing and I hope that one day writing can be a bigger part of my life. Currently I get to write here for you guys and I get to write letters to the IRS when clients receive tax notices or are getting audited and believe me, that is really not all that exciting. Not nearly as exciting as writing about running, that’s for sure!

Friday

I was supposed to have a track workout Friday, but with the whole ribs/back situation I decided that it might be best to just take it easy and not push too much. I was able to run a few miles pain-free, so that was encouraging. The weird thing is that laying down hurts like heck, but running feels fine. I think I would rather have it that way than vice versa, so I’ll just roll with it.

I was worn out Friday evening. This seems to be a typical Friday evening thing for me now that I am back at work. I was in my pajamas by 5:30 and in bed not too long after the sun. Living life on the edge I tell ‘ya!

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Saturday

Saturday morning my training group ran 15 miles! This was their longest run so far by 2 miles and the longest some of them have ever run. They did great! Daniel and some of his training buddies ran 20 miles and they were out there while my group was running as well. Daniel ran right past me at the end of his run and he was booking it! He averaged 7:35 for the 20 miles, so that was a really solid long run and a good confidence booster.

Daniel and I met at Coffee Loft after the run for our usual post-run coffee and smoothies and I headed to work for a few hours after that. I missed some time this week, so I wanted to make that up and get a better handle on my September 15th projects. I am so glad I went in, because I got so much done and now I feel a lot better going into next week. How is September already here?!

Well, I’d say that pretty much catches us up. I majorly slept in this morning and missed my long-run, but I’m planning to get that in later this evening. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll let you know 😉

Have a great week!

Nutrition

Fueling

Hey guys!

I am preparing the nutrition presentation for the half and full marathon training groups at Running Wild this evening. I want to share the information with y’all as well, since it is such an important topic. Your nutrition and fueling can definitely make or break your training or your race. There is not one magic formula to determine what, when and how much you need to eat. There are lots of guidelines, sure, but different approaches work for different people. I will share what has worked for me. Something different may work for you, and that’s okay!

I am going to start off with some general information (about carbohydrates, fats, protein and hydration) and then break the post down into what to eat before, during and after your run. I will wrap it up by sharing my race-day fueling plan.

General Information

Your body needs more carbohydrates than any other nutrient, but not all sources are equally nutritious. Eating a diet composed 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates helps to ensure positive energy levels and increased exercise performance, mood and overall function. Carbohydrates pass through the digestive system and are broken down into glucose, which is your body’s primary source of fuel. There are two main categories of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates such as enriched flour, found in refined breads, pastas, and sugary foods, provide calories but few nutrients. Complex carbohydrate sources, such as whole-grain breads, starchy vegetables and beans, deliver fiber, as well as valuable amounts of vitamins and minerals.

At least half of the grains you consume each day should consist of whole grains. You can consume whole grains on their own, in dishes such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, or as an ingredient within a food, such as whole-grain breads and pastas. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, beans, peas and lentils, also supply complex carbohydrates.

When the label on a specific food claims that it has been “made with whole grains,” it is important to know what to look for. A better label to look for states “100 percent whole grain.” Exploring the ingredient list unveils sources of fiber and other nutrients in a packaged food. Look for foods that list whole grains within the top few ingredients. Additional examples of fiber-containing grains include brown rice, whole-grain sorghum, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, whole-grain barley, oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat and rolled oats.

Here are some good examples of healthy, complex carbohydrates:

  • Raw and lightly steamed vegetables,
  • Legumes, beans, nuts and seeds,
  • High fiber 100% whole grains,
  • Raw, whole, fresh fruits,
  • Most low-fat dairy

Your body also needs fat because it is an important energy source and help maintain our immune system. Fats are our secondary source of energy (behind carbohydrates). They also help us manufacture hormones, like estrogen and thyroid, and help us regulate our metabolism. Be sure to include plenty of healthy fats in your overall diet. Runners NEED fat to lubricate and protect their joints and organs, to aid in recovery, to help their body with temperature control and the absorption of nutrients, and to keep their body fueled and appetites satisfied. Low-fat diets for runners can be very damaging. Make sure to include nuts, seeds, avocado and real butter in your daily intake.

Your body needs protein because it helps us build and repair muscles and it is the building block of many of our major organs. Protein is also an important source of iron.

Water is the main component of every cell and tissue in your body and if you don’t get enough, you’ll feel rundown and tired. It is estimated that under normal condition the average person loses 8 cups (2 liters or 64 ounces) of water per day. We sweat off several more cups during every hour of moderate exercise. The rate we lose sweat depends on a variety of factors including individual sweat rate, and the temperature, humidity, and length and intensity of your run. Determine your sweat rate by weighing yourself before and after your run. For every pound you lose, you need approximately 16 ounces of water. On a hot humid day an average sized person (110-165 lbs) can lose 1.6 to 2 liters of fluid, or 2.5% to 3.5% of body weight. So assuming we lose 2 pounds of water in sweat, we would need to replace at least 96 ounces or 12 cups per day.

Before 

As your mileage and training intensity increases, you will need to consider adding pre-training nutrients to your regular routine. How much you should eat before a run depends on your distance, your personal tolerance/preference and the timing of your run. Some runners can eat right up until the second they hit the pavement, but others need to let their food digest and stomachs settle first.

It is recommended that you take in easily digested complex carbohydrates one to two hours before exercise. Complex carbohydrates are higher in fiber and lower in simple sugars, which means that they provide a good source of long-lasting energy. An ideal pre-run snack combines complex carbohydrates with low-fat and moderate to high protein foods.

Select pre-event meals and snacks that are 1) familiar, 2) high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat and 3) quickly digested. Steer clear of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols (these can cause extreme irritation to the gut, even hours after consuming them because the body does a poor job processing them).

During

It is important to have a fueling plan going into your race. Fueling refers to the intake of fluids, electrolytes and calories during the course of a race. Practice in training what you plan to do in the race and don’t try anything new on race day.

In general, runners need to add in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate for each hour that they are running longer than 75 minutes. You need to start fueling earlier than 75 minutes into a run. It is estimated that your body can hold about two hours of fuel while running at marathon effort. However, you can’t just wait until that point to start taking in fuel. By that time, your energy stores will be depleted and once you are empty, it is hard to recover. As you run farther and harder, your body becomes increasingly distressed and as your effort continues, your body diverts energy away from non-essential functions (such as digestion) to your muscles and brain to keep you going at the pace that you are running.

There are a multitude of nutritional products designed to help you fuel during endurance events (gels, sports beans, shot blocks, sports drinks, etc.). It is important for you to find out which type of product works best for you. Some people don’t like the taste or consistency of gels, but some people love them and don’t like the idea of taking in anything more solid. Once you find the right type of fuel, you also need to find the right flavor, as sometimes different flavors don’t sit the same in your stomach. Do some research on the official race website and find out what will be offered along the course, so that you can practice the exact flavors and brands that will be available on race day.

It is recommended that you start taking in fuel within 30 to 45 minutes. If you wait until you are thirsty, dehydration or glycogen depletion might already be setting in and it will be more difficult for your body to process the fluids and energy you are taking in.  When you take a gel, sports beans, shot blocks, etc. (basically anything with calories and sugar), take it with water, not with Gatorade. Most fueling products and Gatorade contain high amounts of simple sugars and so combining the two means you are getting too much sugar for your digestive system to process at once. I learned this the hard way, so just trust me on this one.

It is recommended that you drink at regular intervals during your run at a rate that replaces fluid loss, which would be approximately 5-7 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes. Try to select running routes that have water fountains along the way and carry a water bottle or drop a bottle along the route if possible. On race day, try to get a sip of water at each aid station, especially early on in the race, even if you don’t feel thirsty. I would recommend alternating water and something with electrolytes (Nuun or Gatorade) at the aid stations. Take water and the first one, something with electrolytes at the second, etc. and then just be sure to plan your gels, beans, blocks, etc. around an aid station where you take water.

As you try out fuel during your training runs, keep track of how much you took in and how your body responded. Keep track of answers to questions like: Did you feel totally energized? Were you able to keep your pace constant but then hit the wall towards the end of a run? Did your stomach not agree with the fuel?

After 

It is important to refuel post-run with both protein and complex carbohydrates and replenish your electrolytes. It is recommended that you eat carbohydrates as soon as possible (within 30 minutes) of the event. You can begin with sports drink after you finish your run. I like to use Nuun or G2 for my post-run electrolytes. It is also recommended that you eat a high-carbohydrate meal that also combines a lean protein source and a healthy fat source within 2 hours after runs to maximize muscle glycogen recovery (i.e., rebuild your energy stores) and to support protein synthesis in the muscles.

Taking in protein after running helps you to recover more quickly. When you run, microtears occur in your tendons, muscles and other tissues throughout your body, but specifically in your legs. After your run, these microtears elevate your body’s demand for the amino acids found in protein; these acids help with tissue repair and rebuilding. Protein shakes provide a rich dose of these amino acids your body can absorb faster than through whole foods. This can help enhance the speed at which your body repairs those tears, reducing the recovery time needed after your run.

What Works for Me

Now that we know the general guidelines and have some recommendations on what to eat before, during and after our runs, I am going to share my “magic formula.” After my PR marathon in New Orleans, I made sure to make note of my fueling before and during the race because it worked well for me and I felt great (for the first time) after the race! Here is what I did … Pre-race (1 hour before): 1 packet UCAN Vanilla Cream Protein w/ 12 oz. water (160 calories, 27g carbs, 12g protein) and 8 oz. coffee; Mid-race (Mile 15): 1/2 packet UCAN Lemon w/ 6 oz. water (55 calories, 14g carbs); Mid-race (Mile 20): 1/2 packet UCAN Lemon w/ 6 oz. water (55 calories, 14g carbs). I also took water at various aid stations along the course.

I am not a UCAN ambassador (I would love to be), but I 100% believe in this product. It is absolutely amazing! UCAN’s main ingredient, “SuperStarch,” provides sustained natural energy levels without spikes and crashes. SuperStarch is a complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly over time, keeping you above baseline significantly longer. It enables you to perform better by allowing your body to use fat for fuel. UCAN stabilizes blood sugar and minimizes insulin response, delivering several scientifically validated benefits:

  • Optimized performance with steady energy when you need it, without the spike and crash of sugar and maltodextrin based products.
  • Sustained energy with time-released delivery of glucose, keeping you above baseline longer.
  • Enhanced fat burn allowing you to improve body composition as you burn fat for fuel during your workout and keep burning fat while you recover due to suppressed insulin response.
  • Speedier recovery as your body is able to use protein to repair and restore your muscles rather than for energy, since blood sugar is stable.
  • No gastric distress, because SuperStarch is a large molecule that passes through the stomach quickly and is digested slowly in the intestines.

Lots of information here. Hopefully you all learned something. Anyone have any other helpful tips or good marathon fueling strategies to share?

Bay Life, Faith, NYC, Running, Stitch Fix, Yoga

(Insert Imperfect Title Here)

Hey guys! I’ve been missing you. Well, technically I guess I’ve been missing writing, but I’m writing to you so it’s basically the same. My “part-time” job is more like a full-time job at the moment, because September 15th and October 15th are big deadlines for us CPA types (those are the extended due dates for business and personal tax returns). I am definitely not complaining. I am very thankful to have a job and even though I am working 40 hours a week, it has typically been much more, so 40 hours is still part-time. It’s just that when you add in coaching, training and you know, regular life into the mix, the free time available for blogging is basically non-existent.

I have been thinking a lot about a few things that I want to write about and I have also been thinking about how to make time for blogging in my schedule … I am hoping to get in at least two posts a week (on Wednesday and Sunday). Ideally, I would like to do more, but for now I am gonna aim for two. Hopefully it will be one of those under promise and over deliver scenarios and hopefully by me putting it out here, I will stay more accountable to my plan. I really enjoy writing. I think it is because it is one of the few times during the week that I just sit still and think. Otherwise, I am a pretty on-the-go person, even when I don’t really have anything to go and do (if that makes any sense). I like to keep myself busy, but now I am starting to see the value of just being still and writing/thinking. I digress … It is Sunday afternoon, which is the time that I have alloted for blogging, so let’s get on with it!

First let’s catch up on training. 10 (ish) weeks to go until NYC! This week was a pretty good week. I’m having to make a more conscious effort to get up a little earlier and to plan ahead at the beginning of the week so that I get all of my runs and workouts in, but it’s been a pretty easy adjustment. I had a strong tempo run, ran lots of hills and had a really good long run. Whew!

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I’m trying to think what else has been going on that we need to catch up on. This post is going to get wordy (consider this your fair warning), so let’s just make a list of the “updates”:

  • Wednesday evening I met with a couple of ladies to discuss the nutrition presentation that we will be doing for our training groups this coming up week. You can go ahead and expect a post on that. I have been given the topic of “what to eat and drink before, during and after your run.” Simple enough right?
  • I got my August Stitch Fix box! As per usual, I love all of it. Thank goodness for the buy-all discount 🙂

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  • I also got a really cool product in the mail to test out and review. It’s called Tiger Lady. More to come on that soon.
  • I picked up this really cool recipe book at the store. It is 50 quinoa recipes. They have breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert recipes and they all look so. good. And I haven’t made any of them yet. Bummer. It’s the thought that counts right? Maybe not in this case.
  • Thursday I went to a continuing education class. I won’t bore you with the details. You’re welcome.
  • My training group is doing so well! They ran 13 this week and have 15 next week, which means it will be the longest some of them have ever run! Yay for first-time marathoners. You only get one first marathon and I am so excited to be part of theirs.
  • The bay is ridiculously pretty right now. Fall is the best time on the bay. We have been seeing shrimp boats and lots of porpoise right out in front of the house.
  • Daniel is having the small group guys over here this week, so we just spent a decent amount of time doing a quality cleaning. It is so nice to have that done! Any one else out there only clean the house if company is coming?
  • I finally made it back to yoga this week. I have really been missing that too! That’s another good time during the week for me to think and relax. Although I must say, this week’s class was tough. I think my legs were actually on fire at one point.
  • I think that pretty much covers it for now. On to the rest of things!

Our yoga instructor shared a poem with us at the end of the class that I really liked. A lot. It is called “Walk Slowly” by Danna Faulds.

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens, makes

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

 of judgment drops to a whisper and I

remember again that life isn’t a relay

 race; that we will all cross the finish

line; that waking up to life is what we

were born for. As many times as I

 forget, catch myself charging forward

 without even knowing where I’m going,

that many times I can make the choice

 to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

 slowly into the mystery.

First of all, Walk Slowly? I mean if I were writing a poem, I think I would want to title it Run Fast. Am I right? Such a contrast, and yet, I think that is the whole point. Here is where I make this another #keepitreal post and talk about how I struggle with perfectionism and people-pleasing.

I am a perfectionist. There, I said it. I want to excel at everything that I do. And since we are being honest here, this has kept me from trying yoga in the past. I knew that I would be horrible at it. I’m not flexible. I don’t stretch. Even though I knew it would be good for me, I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t think I would be good at it. How silly?!

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Tin man doesn’t do yoga. Or maybe he does … Well, he at least tries! As you probably all know, I tried yoga this summer. And I’m not good at it, but I still like it and that is very refreshing.

I know that I have mentioned it before, but I am reading a book called ‘Gaining, The Truth about Life after Eating Disorders.’ There is an entire chapter devoted to perfectionism and I found it to be really interesting and very helpful. I’m going to share some of it here with y’all in case anyone else is in the same boat.

In the book, the author basically identifies several early childhood traits that foreshadow eating disorders. They are 1) perfectionism, 2) inflexibility, 3) discipline, 4) doubt and cautiousness and 5) drive for order and symmetry. She even states that each childhood characteristic multiplies the risk of developing an eating disorder by a factor of nearly seven. She writes, “That meant that if you possessed all five of the traits they measured, you would be thirty-five times more likely to have an eating disorder than someone who happily wore mis-matched socks.” This seems like a really bold statement to make, but as a cautiously inflexible disciplined perfectionist with an intense drive for order and symmetry, I am thinking maybe she’s on point with this. Luckily, this is just a post about perfectionism, although we might have just identified some more potential topics for future posts …

The problem with perfection is that, by definition, it is unattainable, so perfectionists live in a perpetual state of frustration and disappointment. This dissatisfaction is internal. Perfectionism, like shyness, stubbornness, curiosity and impulsiveness is a function of the temperament that you are born with. If you are a perfectionist, your instinct is to perform flawlessly or else, in your mind, you are a failure. This is why criticism feels so threatening. It is also why perfectionists tend to excel when standards are clear and crisp, as in school or sports or jobs like accounting (um, hello?), engineering or science. The emotional promise of perfection is security: no one will criticize you, try to change you, or touch you if you have your universe in order. But because perfection is impossible, frustration is inevitable and at times unbearable.

No one is perfect. Everyone has limits. What kills us will not make us stronger or prettier or more lovable. A sense of purpose, connection and perspective, however, can and will.

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and in Psalm 53:3 that “there is no one who does good, not even one.” We don’t have to be perfect, because we have a perfect Savior. Hallelujah!

People pleasing is something that I think likely goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism. You “aim to please” and want everyone to like you, but unfortunately, this means that you are putting your emotional well-being into the hands of others. Just like it is impossible to be “perfect,” it is also impossible to please everyone. This is something that God has been really trying to remind me of recently. Some people are not going to like us, no matter who we are or what we do. And that is okay. We have to be courageous enough to be who we are and stand up for what we know is right.

In summary … It is okay to not be perfect. It is okay if everyone doesn’t like you. I just wanted to encourage y’all to do your best and stay true to yourself in whatever you are doing. That is all we can do. And you know what? It is more than enough!

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That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope that everyone has an perfectly wonderful week! I’ll talk to y’all Wednesday!

 

Bay Life, NYC, Treadmill

Doing Work

Hey guys!

A quick update on life & NYC training … 11 weeks to go!

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Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were super easy runs and relatively low mileage. Overall, I am feeling good after the 30 miles, as far as no injuries or niggles, but oh my word, my legs were heavy for a few days this week! I did a few runs without my Garmin, because I just wanted to run by feel and not push it too much.

I was definitely in procrastination-mode with my workouts this week. By Thursday, I knew that I had to bite the bullet and get one of them done. I opted for a treadmill workout, since we are all too quickly losing our daylight in the mornings and I had to get my workout done before work. I had 6 X 1 mile repeats on the schedule with a goal range of 6:05 to 6:15. Um, yeah, I wasn’t feeling too confident going into this workout that those paces were actually going to happen, but here’s what I did …

2 mile warmup: starting at 6.0 mph for 2 minutes and increase the speed by .2 every 2 minutes

1st & 2nd miles: averaged 6:15 (9.6 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 6.5 mph after each mile

3rd & 4th miles: averaged 6:11 (9.7 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 6.5 mph after each mile

5th & 6th miles: averaged 6:07 (9.8 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 6.5 mph after each mile

0.5 mile cool down: at 6.5 mph

I felt a lot better than I was expecting, so that was a pleasant surprise! I was supposed to do a 2 mile cool down, but I had to cut it short to have enough time to get ready for work. I was completely soaked by the end of the workout and when I walked outside, I realized that it was way cooler outside than it was in my little sweat box inside. I didn’t get the memo that we had a “cold front” coming!

Friday was a much-needed rest day. Physically and mentally, I was worn out by the end of this week. We turned the early alarm off Friday morning and Daniel and I decided we could just as easily run after work. That definitely didn’t happen! I was in my pajamas by 5:30 and Daniel didn’t end up getting home until fairly late anyway. My training schedule doesn’t specifically have “planned” rest days, but I try to just listen to my body and take a day off if I think I need one. I “napped” from 5:30 to 8:30, woke up to eat dinner and was back in bed by 9:30. Yep. I think I needed some rest.

Saturday is always an early morning and my training group had 11 miles again this week. The weather was still a little cooler than it has been and everyone ran really well! We got to go out on the boat Saturday afternoon and the bay was really pretty. It seems like it has been choppier than usual this summer, but yesterday we finally had some nice calm water. I went skiing for the first time all year. I can’t believe that I haven’t been before now! Brooks likes to keep a close watch over me while I’m out there 🙂

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The bay is really active right now, with lots of seagulls, pelicans and porpoise. We saw a few shrimp along the shore and a bunch of really tiny catfish. It’s getting to be prime Jubilee season, so hopefully we will catch one of those really soon.

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This morning I was supposed to do 16 miles with the middle 8 up-tempo at 6:45 to 7:00 pace. When we woke up, it was raining and I was extremely tempted to sleep in, but Daniel convinced me that if we didn’t go ahead and run we wouldn’t go later. Ugh. I knew he was right. Thankfully the rain wasn’t too bad, it was more like a little drizzle once we got going, but the humidity was back in full force and I wasn’t feeling great. I scrapped the tempo miles and was just in survival mode. I actually started feeling better with about three miles to go, so I decided to pick it up a little bit at the end.

My coach has told me before after a “failed” workout, that is better to adjust the goals mid-run than to give up. By doing this, you can save a good workout from going bad. This is also good practice for race day, in case things aren’t going exactly as planned. So today, instead of just giving up completely, I was able to get a decent long run in with a “fast finish.” A fast finish long run can be beneficial for marathon training, as it teaches your body how to run faster on tired legs, depleted fuel, and late into the race.

Even though the workout didn’t go exactly as planned, it ended well and of course, a nice run in the rain is good for the soul. This pretty much parallels the rest of my week as well. It didn’t go exactly how I thought it was going to (but it’s a good thing I’m not the one in control), but it ended really well and my soul is content. Like I said before, God’s got this. He is always guiding me and continues to amaze me with His timing and His blessings.

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I’ve got a really busy week ahead (I do realize that my frame of reference for the term “busy” has gotten a little bit skewed after having so much time off recently, but still). Time to rest and recharge before that takes off.

What are looking forward to this week?

 

Bay Life, Coffee, Running, Sunset

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Hey friends! Is it just me or is this week flying by?! I haven’t even gotten up a post about my fun birthday weekend. We must fix that, stat.

I was up bright and early Saturday morning to head to RW to run with my training group. We had 11 miles on the schedule and this week everyone was in survival mode, as the humidity was much worse than the previous week. The good news is that everyone completed the run! Tough conditions, but hopefully now everyone is a little bit stronger because of it.

Check out what the crazy humidity did to my braid. Yikes.

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Daniel took me birthday shopping Saturday afternoon. He decided that it would be fun to spend the day together and let me pick out a few things that I wanted. I ended up with two new pairs of running shoes, a running tank, a cardigan for work and scored a cute Patagonia dress and skirt on major sale. Sweet!

I decided a while back (probably last year on my birthday, actually) that I wanted to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday. Birthdays can be fairly anti-climactic at this point, so I wanted to do something “epic” (for lack of less cliché terminology). I ran the idea (get it?) by my coach, and he was supportive of the plan as long as I broke it up into two runs so that I could rest, rehydrate and refuel in between runs. Sunday was the big day.

Sunday morning Daniel dropped us off across the bay and we made the 16 mile trek back across. This is the “special occasion” route. We have run it for Rebecca’s birthday and wedding weekend and now also for my birthday. The route is rather hilly, but has some very good bathroom and water stops along the way.

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We survived! I headed out for two additional miles once we made it back, just to cut down on the miles later in the day. We celebrated with coffee and lots of other hydrating beverages.

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I got some good rest Sunday afternoon and then later that evening, Daniel and I headed out to finish the remainder of the birthday miles. I was really expecting those last twelve to drag out, but they seemed to fly by and we enjoyed some quality time together. When we got back along the bay, the sunset was absolutely amazing! I had a little extra motivation at that point, because I really wanted to get back in time to get a picture of the sunset before it disappeared into the clouds.

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Success!

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I ended up with 30 miles for the day at 8:21 average pace. My dad said that I needed to do one more mile “to grow on” so that I didn’t have to repeat this nonsense again next year, but I decided against that. Not gonna lie though, I think I might have ultra marathon fever now. Perhaps a 50K sometime in the near future? We shall see.

When we got back to car, the first mandatory stop was at Sonic for a route 44 cherry limeade and the second mandatory stop was at Cold Snap for a rather large serving of frozen yogurt. I went to bed tired and happy. Bring it 30!

Monday was my actual birthday. Despite having to work (shouldn’t you get the day off on your birthday …), I had a really good day! Daniel and I plodded through 5 miles that evening, just to test out the legs. They weren’t moving very swiftly, but felt surprisingly good otherwise.

Tuesday evening, we met up with some of Daniel’s college friends who were in town for the week. They invited us over for a shrimp boil and we had a really good time hanging out and visiting with them. I was really enjoying hearing stories about my husband’s crazy college experiences. He is a mess.

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And the food was incredible!

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Well, that pretty much catches us up on the exciting stuff. My brain is toast, so not a whole lotta deep thoughts today, but lots of fun has been going on around here. I hope everyone is having a great week. Gotta run!

 

 

Faith, Nutrition, NYC

Friday Reflections

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

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Today I am going to continue my ‘Meb for Mortals’ summary with the next installment, which is “Eat like Meb” and also continue my weekly NYC training update. Let’s face it, I’ll probably throw some random thoughts at you as well, because that seems to be what I do.

Meb for Mortals (Part 4): Fueling

To be quite honest, I have been avoiding posting on this chapter of ‘Meb for Mortals’ for a little while because I feel like it can be a very sensitive topic, but after re-reading it, I feel like there are some good points that are worth sharing. The moral of the story here is that being a healthy person is much more important than being a faster runner and that is a wonderful takeaway (and something that I needed to be reminded of).

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  • He writes that a good running diet should: 1) fuel your training without interfering with it, 2) keep you healthy, 3) help you maintain a good running weight and 4) have variety and quality. He stresses that you need balance and variety in your diet, in the same way that your training should include long and shorter runs, as well as fast and slower runs.
  • He recommends having some sort of protein with every meal, as recovery after hard training is aided by adding high-quality protein to the carbs that you are eating. He recommends having red meat with dinner the evening of a long run or hard workout, because the extra iron will help to speed recovery. That was something I have never specifically thought about, but is a great tip!
  • He includes a small amount of healthy fat with most meals and eats vegetables with two meals a day and aims for five servings of fruit a day.
  • He only drinks coffee on the morning of hard workouts. One cup 45 minutes to an hour before long runs, tempo runs and speed work. He says that he doesn’t want to “become someone who thinks I need coffee to get through the day or to feel normal running.” While I can definitely appreciate his discipline there, we are just going have to agree to disagree on that one Meb 🙂
  • He used an analogy that I thought was pretty interesting. He compared fueling your body with tending a fireplace. You never want the fire to die, and so you are constantly deciding whether or not it needs another log. Similarly, you don’t want to eat so little or infrequently that you crash, but you need to constantly fuel yourself throughout the day to keep the fire lit at all times.
  • He talks a decent amount about weight control and his “race weight”, but I found that part of the chapter to be somewhat triggering (and quite frankly, disordered) and not helpful for us “mortals.” That is just my opinion though. I can respect that he has to be super disciplined in order to perform at the elite level and he also likely has a team of experts that he works with to make sure he is healthy at all times. He did briefly touch on the issue of how lean is too lean, saying that at one point in his career he succumbed to the thinking that “the leaner I am, the better I’ll run.” He noted that he felt great for a short time and had some great buildup races at shorter distances, but ended up with a bad stress fracture. The bottom line is don’t try to sustain a weight that your body tells you isn’t natural.

Training Update

We are just over 12 weeks away from NYC! Training seems to be going really well so far, and I am getting super excited about the race. Here’s what the week has looked like so far:

  • Monday: I’m still keeping it short and easy on Mondays, so I got in an easy 5 miles before work, but I missed yoga. Major bummer.
  • Tuesday: I ran the Crime Prevention 5K Tuesday evening. You can read my recap (here). I ended up with about 6 miles total for the day.
  • Wednesday: Daniel and I did 8 miles before work, and I headed over to Rebecca’s for an evening run (since I missed my double on Tuesday this week).
  • Thursday: Lizzie and I did 8 miles before work, and Daniel and I did 5 miles late that evening.
  • Friday: I tricked convinced Rebecca to join me on my weekly #runallthehills route. We started earlier than I have been going out on this route, and boy was it humid. It’s amazing how much the humidity decreases once the sun starts to come up. We had to dodge a ton of trash cans (all but one were dodged successfully) and kept a respectable 8:09 average pace for the run.

Random Thoughts

To say that this week has been trying would be quite an understatement (I shall not go into detail at this point over the interwebs in an effort to avoid saying something that I might regret). However, I know that God is using a difficult situation to teach me something, so I will take joy in that.

My friend Molly sent me a wonderful snippet from her devotional this morning that was exactly what I needed to hear, so I am going to share it with you guys as well in case someone else is needing it too. It said, “Understanding will never bring you peace. That’s why I have instructed you to trust in Me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless set of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you have anticipated is short-lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again: searching for understanding (mastery) instead of seeking Me (your Master).”

The verse that accompanies this excerpt is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

I don’t know about you, but that was an incredible reminder for me! Wow. I am a very analytical (and sometimes often impatient) person, and I find myself constantly trying to understand the reason things happen or asking God to show me the reason (and to make it really clear in case I am having an obtuse moment). As I was typing this, I was reminded of something that we learned during Week 4 of our study on Ephesians this summer. Pastor Chris taught us that when you go through trials (which we all will), we need to ask, “where is this coming from” and “what does God want to do with it,” instead of asking “why is this happening.” So, instead of over-analyzing things, my goal and prayer for this weekend is that I can be patient and persevere, trusting in The Lord’s plan and path for my life.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I’m sure I will be talking to you soon 🙂

Coffee, Job, Race Recap

A New Job & a New PR

Hello hello!

A New Job

Well, I have officially started my new job and it has been quite a whirlwind. If I had to pick one word to describe it thus far, it would be overwhelming. Change isn’t easy. I keep trying to remind myself of this. I know I can do this. I have been doing this for 7 years now. I guess I didn’t really expect this change to feel like a big change, if that makes sense. The work should essentially be the same, but I am coming from a pretty small firm to a much larger firm and they are in the middle of a huge software conversion. Basically everything that I learn right now is only going to be applicable for the next 75 days and then everything will change again. The first day was very trying and I was definitely second guessing my decision.

I started off that morning with an easy run with Daniel and left home in plenty of time for a quick stop at Coffee Loft before getting to the office. I was off to such a good start! And then, major coffee spillage (on a white skirt nonetheless). Not really the way I wanted to walk in on my first day.

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I really had no clue what to expect on that first day (i.e., I had no control over what was going to happen that day), what the exact details of my part-time schedule will look like or what type of returns I will actually be working on. Fear of the unknown is very overwhelming to me, so I was already a tad uneasy about the whole situation.

The first thing we did that morning when I got there was to take a quiz called “kingdomality” which is supposed to highlight your personality type and how it fits into the corporate “kingdom.” Everyone was gathered in the conference room (cue social anxiety) while one other new hire and I took our quizzes. I usually enjoy little personality type quizzes, but this one not so much. They read the results out loud for everyone and we have a print out that we are supposed to put up in our office with our result as well. Here’s what I got:

Your distinct personality is The Black Knight. Your overriding goal is to win.

You approach each task or situation as a contest to be won strategically and efficiently.

Because you can control your feelings, it is not unusual for you to charm, as well as successfully delegate tasks and responsibilities to the more emotional types. You are often concerned with what’s in it for you. You seldom involve yourself in activities where you can not foresee a reward for your investment or effort.

On the positive side, you can be analytically empathic and logically persuasive.

On the negative side, you may be unemotionally manipulative as well as impulsive.

Yikes. I mean, really? Unemotionally manipulative. So the rest of the day I am questioning myself. “Am I really manipulative? Holy cow, I’ve never thought that about myself before. I sure hope that isn’t right. Now all these people think I am a horrible person.” So, lots of self-doubt going on in my ‘lil brain. I know I am competitive, so there’s probably something to that, but I definitely did not control my feelings for the rest of the day.

It seemed like one thing after another and eventually I just broke down. That day ended with lots and lots of tears. I guess sometimes you just really need to cry it out. Here’s a tip though, crying dehydrates you. If you’re gonna cry it out, drink it up. I felt absolutely horrible by the end of the day. As I am typing this now (Wednesday), after lots of prayer and encouragement from friends and family, things have started to get better. Remember how I said I wanted to do a post about control? Well, yeah, I need to do some reflecting there and try to not let myself get so worked up. God’s got this.

Race Recap: Crime Prevention 5K (A New PR)

And now, on to the fun part! Yesterday evening I ran the Crime Prevention 5K in Mobile. It’s fun to do an evening race (just for something different) and the race usually has a pretty good turnout. This was my sixth year to run it. Daniel met me downtown after work and we did a 2 mile warm up together, and then found some friends and chatted for a little bit before the race started. Going into the race, I had a few goals in mind: 1) average at or under 6:10 pace, 2) beat last year’s time (19:35), 3) negative split (run each mile faster than the last), 4) win, and 5) have fun 🙂

I was in about 4th place (for females) through the first half mile or so. There was a pack of about 7 runners all keeping around the same pace, a pace that was a little faster than I was thinking I was going to start off at, but I knew if I didn’t stay with them, I was going to end up in no man’s land and have to work by myself. I decided to take a chance and push the pace some to keep up with the group. We came through the first mile in 5:54. A tad faster than I was aiming for, but hey sometimes you just gotta go for it and I was feeling good! I moved up into second female during the second mile and we came through that mile in 5:53. At this point, I knew if I could just hold this pace, I was on track for a PR. Thankfully, I was able to stay with one of Daniel’s training buddies, Jim, for almost the entire race. He is a human metronome and having someone to work with and keep the pace even was a huge help! I passed the first place girl somewhere right after mile 2 and then we saw Daniel shortly after that. Oh, hey!

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Seeing Daniel was a big boost (he was there spectating, not racing) and I was all smiles going into the last mile because I still felt really strong. The last mile was 5:58, and the last .1 was 0:36. I had a total time of 18:21 on my watch, but  the “official” time on the results is 18:23, so we will have to go with that.

I didn’t quite get that negative split goal, but I did get all of the others! I really enjoyed the race and feel like I ran smart and gave it my best effort. It is so nice to have a tangible result to see that all of the training is paying off. Daniel and I ran a short cool down after the race and then stayed around for the awards. I won a $100 gift card to McCoy Outdoor Company, which I am pretty excited about! I was a frequent customer there when I worked in Mobile, so I am excited to go back and see Joe and the staff there and pick out something fun.

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And just a little shameless plug (because I don’t think I’ve shared this on the blog yet), please vote for me to be on the cover of Runner’s World. I am a semi-finalist, but need your help to make it to the finals! I would really appreciate your votes and if you would share with your friends and/or followers. You can vote once a day through August 16th. Here is the link. #RWCoverSearch #1400

Thanks y’all! I hope everyone is having a good week!