Whole30

After all that pushing a little bit more last week, I woke up with a sore knee on Friday. I could tell it was 100% because of a tight calf that I forgot to foam roll. I skipped my Friday run and then headed to CT with a bunch of friends. Saturday morning at 8:25am I was still snuggled all warm in bed when Jennie came in, already dressed saying “we’re going running.” I think my response was “Now?!?!”. But without thinking about it, I got right up, put on layer upon layer and met the runners at the front door. Andy took a selfie of us. But maybe that thing should never see the light of day. It was damn cold. But pretty.

IMG_4595Really pretty. And then the long run was done for the weekend and I could gorge myself on friends, babies, beer, and excellent meals. My favorite things.

Then I came home and shopped and cooked for 3 hours to start the Whole30 on Tuesday. I won’t go into the whole thing, and I don’t really want to turn this into a Whole30 blog except how it pertains to fitness and running. But I’ll get into a little bit. There were a lot of factors leading me to try this and one of them was better running. The other was co-workers doing it at the same time. And overall just a fresh approach to eating after the sugar fueled holiday season. I waited to start until after last weekend because I knew the food would be good (I was definitely right).

The Whole30 cuts out diary, grains, legumes (except things in pods like green beans and pea pods), and added sugar. Oh. And no processed stuff. It’s basically what Michael Pollan says “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Something I dreamed about but had yet to have any success at achieving. At least with Whole30 there’s a little guidance.

So far I’ve eaten egg muffins for breakfast (eggs mixed with roasted vegetables and cooked chicken baked in a muffin tin).

Egg

I don’t have any actual pictures because I’m always too hungry at breakfast to take a second and snap a pic. Whatevs. MS Paint never dies. Dinner and lunch has been the best chili I’ve ever made (thanks Le Cruset!)

IMG_4692Look at that mess on the stove! That’s how you know it’s good. And last night I made turkey burgers with a tahini sauce

IMG_4698I’m not terribly hungry. A little here and there. Nothing drastic. I will say; it’s been freeing to not be counting calories or Weight Watchers points though it’s a lot more planning and cooking. A lot. And I would knock over an unsuspecting toddler if he was standing between mean and a cupcake right now. But overall? Not too bad. My workout last night, though? Dead legs all around. Dead, I tell you.

I didn’t run Tuesday because I tweaked the same knee that was bothering me on Friday and I wanted to give it a nice good long rest. It worked and yesterday it was back to normal. I took that happy knee and climbed onto the stationary bike. The same bike as last Wednesday. The same workout as last Wednesday. And yet? So so so hard. I’m told it will get better. After a couple of weeks. WEEKS! Oy. Let’s not even talk about power core. I mean, yeah. My v-ups continue to improve. And I’m wracking up 1 minute planks left right and center. But it took my 45 minutes to get through 3 sets of 3 exercises. So much dead.

Still. 2.5 days down. 27.5 to go. Let’s just see what happens.

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Something is different with this 2014 training cycle

I’m only two and a half weeks in, but it feels different this time. Maybe its because I’ve made improvements in other parts of my life? When I first launched my training in November of 2012 I was working in a job that I was growing to hate. I loved the work and a lot of the people I was doing it with, but the culture of that place wasn’t for me. As the holidays passed I slid deeper into my hole, going directly from engineering to either my part time job or home to TV and bed. I stopped seeing friends. I stopped going out. I stopped running. I took a week’s vacation Christmas to New Year’s and just sat in bed watching bad TV. Which made me start to evaluate if this job was worth it. By January 2nd I had updated my resume. 8 weeks later, I had a new job. I was lucky and found a new job that was great. I started running again. I started cooking again. I started seeing friends again. And I signed up for that half marathon. (It should be noted that taking this job is what put me in Jennie’s neighborhood and got me meeting her to run and convinced me to sign up for that race)

Maybe it’s because I feel less alone this time? It’s not just me in my living room trying to figure this out. I’m not making those tentative first connections with my online running group/family/tribe. And it’s certainly not running alone. 18 months after I first signed up, and a year after I really started training for a race, I regularly meet Jennie for cross training or running, I have a co-worker whom I’m beginning to regularly run with, and I’ve got runner friends all over the US and the world who will find a way to reach through the internet and kick my ass if I don’t get out there. Plus. A bunch of us are now training for the same race. And we’re actually going to meet. In person!!! If I slack off and they don’t I’m going to feel angry at myself for not keeping up. I want to keep up. I want this to be fun. Real bad.

Maybe the motivation is different this time? I’m only two weeks in and maybe I felt like this last year. If I did, I really don’t remember. Probably a little? But this time is different. Last year I wanted to finish strong. Then when I hurt my back and was waylaid for 5 weeks, I just wanted to finish. Looking back now I see the mistakes I made in my training. I’m not crying over spilled milk – I’m trying to learn. Because this year I want to finish strong. Actually strong. So I can hang with my runner friends after and not feel like a giant cloud of pity party.

Maybe it’s my fitness level? I can’t say that I maintained any sort of fitness from last year; I didn’t really end up with much fitness there near the end. And I certainly got a little squishier over the winter. But parts of this feel a little easier. Not so easy that I want to amp it up and add weights. For now I like that my workouts feel right. They’re challenging, I sweat my face off (well, make up), and I push myself as far as I should. The result of which is that at the end of the workout, I feel like a machine. Which makes every thing else in the day feel awesome. Even when I’ve forgotten shampoo and then 12 hours later spill beer onto my pants down to my underwear at a Sox game – hypothetically, of course.

Whatever it is, something feels different. Good different. But different.

Because for maybe the second time ever I didn’t try to get out of a Saturday run. I got up, tried some new pre running food (some success, some failure), and just went running. And a funny thing happened. While I waiting for my breakfast to digest I actually did some chores around the house. I took care of some emails. And I was just plain productive on a Saturday before 10 am. After the run it was time for a quick shower and then off to Boston Calling music festival day 2. And there’s only one way to do that.

Nuun and diet coke.

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Not pictured? The banana and string cheese I inhaled.

Hearts and confusing questions

PS training update: a full week of green!!

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Let’s get visual, visual

If that title doesn’t make you sing Olivia Newton John the rest of today then your brain and my brain are wired very differently.

I’m singing that 80s-hit-that-no-one-understands because I’m trying something with training and the planning that goes into a big race. Because I’ve discovered in the last couple of years that I really do well with paper visual aids. At work when I’m reviewing a big document I nearly always print at least part of it. When I’m working out a tough problem or searching for the right words, I’ll pace and toss around a wiffle ball/bat – my co-workers always worry I’m going to take a swing, but I haven’t been tempted. Yet.

I think all this visual/physical interpretation comes from the quarter of me that’s Italian. Or at least I tell myself this. I’m a hand talker. I don’t understand people who aren’t. What do you do with your hands while you’re talking?? Just let them lay there? It confuses me. This is also why anything beyond calc 1 and 2 in college would have destroyed me. How can math lead to theoretical points in theoretical space that isn’t actually space??? All of this makes me wonder about my approach to training. With all the modern conveniences of technology I track all of my training online. It works out pretty well. My google doc that has all my workouts is easy to access from anywhere. And my Garmin and RunKeeper keep my stats and running routes. Plus connect me to other active friends. My running group is virtual. I communicate primarily through Facebook or email. But with all that virtualness, it’s easy to say “tomorrow” to say “oh, my schedule is moveable” and sneak into my spreadsheet and cut/paste cells left and right. Which let’s me come up with excuses. Not this time. No sir.

This time I’ve printed my schedule. I’ve hung it up. I bought red and green markers.I’ve taped it to the wall.

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I’m set.

I want this training to be a priority. I want it to go well. To do that, I can’t slack off. I have to do the cross training – and not just half assing it on the elliptical. I need to do the rest of the workouts. I need to run. On schedule. I’m running this race with so many friends. And after the last hot mess of a race, I know I won’t have as much fun if I go into the race wishing I had trained better. So there it is. 24 weeks in black and white (plus 2 weeks of recovery). And blue and orange and yellow. And already 3 green days!! Let’s hope there’s a lot more green that shows up. No. Not hope. Let’s WATCH more green show up!

Hearts and runnerding

To distance run or not to distance run

I’m currently sitting on my bed, trying to get pumped up for my run. Actually I’m feeling okish in terms of pumped level. Really I’m sitting here to charge my watch a little longer.

I should have run 10 miles last weekend. I did not. I should have run 11 miles yesterday. I did not. I’m running tonight. I hate saying this, but I’m not particularly excited about my race this weekend. The truth is, I’ve discovered, any distance longer than 8 miles? I’m not into it. Not. At. All.  It just takes so much time. And it’s not just the time running. On long run days, you have to think about your long run for almost 48 hours. There’s the day before where you have to watch what you eat and drink. There’s the day of where you have to watch what you eat and drink magnified x10 because now you have to worry about when and how much. Then there’s the getting dressed. I have to put on body glide and make sure I have exactly the right clothes and my shoes are tied correctly and I have a spare breathing strip and water and should I bring long sleeves because the sun is going to go down and I have to pack gels and all this other stuff. Then you run. And that takes forever and the whole time it hurts and the whole time you have to mentally fight yourself to not quit. And then you’re done and your legs are dying and you’re starving. But that doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want. Because you have to eat enough so you won’t starve the next day, but not so much that you completely negate all the work she just did. Then you stretch and foam roll and ice and compression sock. And then 5.5 days later you start again. Maybe someday when I’m in better shape and running is easier I’ll find the appeal. But right now my running fitness is less than stellar. And so every step is a battle. And even when I finish my runs all I feel is mentally drained – not energized because I accomplished something. So why do this to myself? I wanted to do this. And I will give it my all on Sunday, I really will. But I don’t think my heart will be in it.

I paused this blog post to go run. Because my watch was charged enough and if I didn’t go then, I really wasn’t going to have much sun. And then look what happened.

Yeah. That’s 10 mile markers right there. 10! And you know what? I didn’t have a single freak out. I didn’t have to stop and give myself a pep talk. Truth be told, some of it was actually kind of fun. And I ran all of the last 0.65 miles. And when I finished, in the middle of Boston Common, I felt like my body was going to explode with happiness. I’m trying to figure out why I didn’t have a problem tonight and had such a miserable time the last two weeks trying for long runs. There’s was the 9 miler that nearly broke me – heart, body, and soul. And the 10 miler that just wasn’t – after two attempts. And there are two things I’ve found for tonight and I think it’s more one than the other. 1) I listened to an old playlist so some of the songs were nice surprises – songs I haven’t heard in a while. But then I ended on a playlist I’ve been using a lot. Which is why I think it has more to do with 2) I made a huge effort to not look at the distance on my watch until the last 2 miles or so. And then it was only because I was hurting and had to keep telling myself “it’s only 2 miles. It’s only 1.5 miles. It’s only 1 mile. It’s 0.65 miles. That’s only 8 more minutes of running max. Just grind it out”. (And I did. Squeeeeeeee) I have to look at my watch frequently to check my time for intervals. Early on if I keep running past the interval, I’ll regret it later. And later if I don’t have the interval, I’ll give up too easy. I think on Sunday I’m going to cover the top half of my watch with lab tape so I can’t keep looking. There are mile markers on the course and I won’t need to know when I hit 13.1 miles. The finish line should clue me in.
After that great of a run I’m feeling optimistic and sort of excited about Sunday now. I still don’t see another distance race any time in the next few months and my dream of running Boston on my birthday will just have to hold tight for another 6 years. But as I was running all through the city tonight I had some really unbelievably fortunate moments. I saw the city skyline from three bridges and one of them revealed the skyline a little at a time until finally the Citgo sign peaked out, I ran along the Charles and “Dirty Water” randomly came up on my playlist, I ran over the Arthur Fielder foot bridge, I ran around the pond in the public garden, rubbed Mama Duck’s head for good luck, ran through the Common, Downtown Crossing, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Rowes Wharf and along the harbor for two blocks, up past the Old South Meeting House and Fanueil Hall and finally up Beacon Hill (Jennie how in the HELL do you and Sheri do hill repeats up that hill every week???????). All through the second half of the run there was one thing that kept popping in my head and kept me going. Somewhere back in the Public Garden, I was starting to feel the burn. I was at 6 miles. I was more than half way. I only had about another hour of running. But I just wanted to go home. And I had this thought. I am so privileged to be able to walk out my front and run along all these iconic and historic sites. There are a thousand other things I ran by and haven’t even mentioned. And each one makes Boston so distinct. And I love them all.
I guess, what I’m saying is this. Right now, I don’t love distance running. I don’t have the mental space for it. But I do still love running. And I am head over heels in love with running in this city. I want to take you all with my sometime. And show you the views. It’s spectacular. We’ll just keep it to 5 or 6 miles.
For now I’m going to sit on my bed with two ice bags, a heating pad, compression socks, and that glorious, glorious Nuun and then pass out shortly, I’m sure.
Hearts and double freakin’ digits!

An Open Letter to Everything, from My 9 Mile Run

To 9 miles: I just made you mine. What whaaaaaat?

To the 15 mile an hour wind behind me that was so gusty it was curling around making me think the first half of my run was into the wind when it was in fact the second half that was straight into a headwind: You’re a horrible, horrible bitch

To September 16th: It’s still summer. 60F and a sunset before 7 is just not cool, Robert Frost. Ok. Technically it’s cool. But I still don’t like it.

To the 3 high school/college freshman who passed me: If there is no one else on the path and you pass so close to me that I feel a breeze and get a solid, slap-in-the-face whiff of your BO, you’re too close

To the guy who passed me, running in jeans: #RunningFoul!!!! That’s just not nice. I already feel so slow

To the makers of Body Glide, Kashi frozen meals, Pro Compression socks, Gu, and ice: I don’t know why you invented the products you did, but I love you. A lot

Not Pictured: The advil I took, the hot shower that thawed me out, and the foam roller my most awesome roommate loaned me. j/k I just realized the foam roller is in the picture. But I’m too sore to get up and move it. And I already finished dinner.

To Kingston Trio: Why couldn’t Charlie’s wife just pass him a nickel??? Or why couldn’t he sell the sandwich? In this same vein, if you’re riding through a dessert on a horse with no name, why don’t you name the horse? It’s not as if there’s anything else going on. (It’s the same vein because my uncle introduced me to the Kingston Trio recording of Charlie and the MTA and he has also pointed out that the dude should name the horse)

To the views of Boston running under the BU bridge and along the Esplanade: Please don’t ever ever change. You were especially fantastic while listening my Boston playlist, tonight.

To WPI: Thank you for being so awesome that you attracted both my best friend and me.

I think 15 seconds passed between when I sent this and she answered. I mean. Is she not a genius?

To the Red Sox: Why do you have the night off? I’m sitting here, barely moving on the couch and I have runners brain and can’t concentrate on a plot or you know, moving pictures on TV.

To the universe: Thanks for hiding my key in the grass when it fell out of my pocket while I did my pre-run stretch so I could find it when I finished and found out my key wasn’t in my pocket.

To my running group on facebook and pseudo IRL coach, Jennie: Thanks for helping me get over my pre-run freak-out.

Hearts and bags of ice!

Long run wall? What long run wall?

I broke through the distance run wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I skipped past 6 miles and just went out for 7 miles. A week ago. And then proceeded almost immediately to Minneapolis, MN. I was hoping to blog from the road but the business trip exploded and then I came home and almost immediately moved to Boston.
I followed up that awesome feeling accomplishment with some runseeing (running to sight see). I went to visit the ballpark where the Twins play

 and visited the cherry and spoon sculpture.

I got back to the corner where my hotel was and I was on cloud 9. I actually got up and ran a workout around a strange city. I saw sights I wouldn’t have if I had stayed in my comfy bed (so tempting). I prioritized running during a hectic trip. And I added another state to the list of states I’ve run in! (MA, CT, NH, KS, TN, FL, and MN!) I looked up to my hotel room and thought about how much I’ve wanted be someone who was committed to a running plan, stayed committed to a running plan. And suddenly, my half marathon in 30ish days doesn’t seen so crazy or scary.
Pretty cool hotel. Minneapolis, you’re pretty good looking

Long run Sunday was my first official morning waking up in my new apartment. I stayed over last week, but I slept on the pull out couch and was only there a few hours so it doesn’t count. Most of my day was spoken for volunteering for Alpha Gam and I knew I’d be tired after, so I made myself get up and run. And you know what? 8 miles done. Bam. I ran over to the next town and back. Crazy pants. Also. I saw the greatest most awesomest view of Boston running under the BU bridge. The running path turns into a dock like thing that juts out of the water and when you come around the bridge support you’re smacked with the most iconic view of the Boston skyline. I could see all the skyscrapers, the esplanade, the state house, the Zakim bridge, the longfellow bridge. I think I could have lit up Fenway park with the smile that exploded across my face. Over the last few years I’ve really come to love this city. And now I live here. And I ran to that view from my front (well, back) door. I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t want to stop my run. And I think that’s a view that I want to keep a little special. If you want to see it, come run Boston. I’ll take you!

Hearts and successful long runs!

This Damn Long Run Wall

I’ve been away for a while. I can’t break the 6 mile mark and when you keep slamming your giant gourd of a head into the same wall over and over and over you don’t really want to taco ’bout it. (2 things. 1. It took three tries to spell gourd 2. If you don’t know the taco reference google “husband illustrates drunk wife’s joke” and find the video about the corn chips. You’ll thank me)

Back to running. Tonight I ran 50 minutes. And by ran I mean I ran 5 minutes, walked 1-2 minutes, rinsed and repeated. It was a gorgeous night, a little hot in the blasting sun, but the Charles was buzzing. Pretty soon it’s going be filled with thousands of college freshman who think their God’s gift to the city of Boston. For tonight I enjoyed it with all the other locals.

A funny thing happened. I run with a breathe right strip. It looks funny but I’ve always said it helps despite the looks and side eyes from friends and family. Tonight I didn’t have a strip but thought “what the heck. Maybe it is all in my head” and ran anyways. Turns out I was right all along, I need the strip. When I breathe hard all that air flowing quickly through my tiny sinus passages vacuums my nose shut. I’m not kidding. It would have been hilarious if I wasn’t gasping for breath.

On top of that I learned something else tonight. Don’t dress for and run in late summer weather and then go into a Whole Foods produce section without a winter coat. You’ll freeze your arms right off. And then I’ll spill wine on you. Because you can’t lift your own glass. Because you have no arms. And we’re drinking wine. And we’re getting drunker. And let’s face it. Helping a person drink out of a wine glass sober would be hard, never mind drunk. Oh. Wait! Crazy straw. Problem solved. Feel free to enter cold places after a hot run. And be the girl drinking red wine from a crazy straw. Sounds kind of genius, doesn’t it. I might actually do it with my arms still attached. No more stains! I realize I’ve strayed quite a bit here. But I’m rocking my first runner’s high in two weeks and it’s nice. I’m also going to crash in 30 minutes and I’ve not finished dinner yet.

This week I’ve got another day of cross training, another 50 minute run, two rest days, and then it’s time to tackle the long run again. I’m nervous, but it’s gotta happen some time. I got close last week (5.5 out of 6 miles, though the last 2 were mostly walking). I just have to keep pushing ahead and hope that wall is turned to dust. Off to devour dinner, shower, and pass out. Yay sleep!

Hearts and this delicious panini from WF I’m eating for dinner because – um 50 minutes of running. In 78 degree hot sun. After gyming it at 6:30 this morning before work. Alone. Because I was stood up. (Still love you JP)