Life

Everything else.

Life is busy, training is good.

It’s been an insanely busy week! Wednesday we went to the Taste of Chicago to see AWOLNATION after work, Thursday I worked all evening, Friday I work a full day, then went to see Red Wanting Blue at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. Yesterday, Saturday, I ran, then spent a good portion of my day driving my husband and his car around in an attempt to get a passing emissions test before his plates expire. (Not successful, btw). In the midst of this, I got my act together and did a lot of things really well, and a few things not so well. Let’s start with the good.

At the Taste!

At the Taste!

Wednesday morning, I got up early and went to the gym for a weight lifting session. I spent about 45 minutes there and felt like I got in a really good workout. The best part was being able to increase the weight on two of the leg machines I use. I can really see the progress of my weight lifting, just once a week, and I suddenly have defined muscle in my shoulders, legs, and my stomach is flat for the first time since I was 15! I should take some pics to share. If you’re trying to lose weight, you really need to be lifting weights. The times that I do are the times I see myself getting fit and toned.

Thursday, I was physically just tired. I decided to listen to my body and get more sleep and take it easy that morning. I skipped my 3 mile “hard” run. I felt a little bad about it, but I was really careful all week to stick to my meal plan all week (I even packed salads to bring to the concert!) so I knew that skipping one workout wasn’t going to mean gaining 2 lbs this week, nor would it throw off my marathon training completely.  It’s didn’t. What really could have thrown off my marathon training was what I did Friday, and what happened Saturday…

Friday, all day, I was craving my favorite candy, Jr. Mints. So I skipped my afternoon snack and had a box of them instead. Not great, but I didn’t give up my entire “diet” either. I had my normal dinner later that evening and a healthy breakfast the next morning. Back to Friday night. The short story is that I went to a concert, had 3 drinks (and the first one was very strong), didn’t get to bed until 2am.

Saturday, I woke up at 6 so I could run at 6:30. It was supposed to thunderstorm, but hadn’t started raining yet so my running group still met for our 10 mile run as planned. As soon as we started it began to rain. It got harder, then lighter, then harder, but never stopped. I ran 10 miles in the (sometimes pouring) rain, on 4 hours of sleep, hungover. It was miserable. At one point (mile 8) I could’ve walked faster than I was “running”. But I never did stop, my times were terrible, the rain messed up my phone (hence the two pictures below – did you know water can “press” buttons on your phone and stop your Run Keeper? Neither did I.), but I kept going. I’d read in Runner’s World magazine just Friday night that it’s good to train tired, hungry, in the rain, the heat, etc. because it forces your body to adapt to non-ideal conditions. I’m curious to see how my runs this week go now.

First half of my 10 miler

First half of my 10 miler

Second half of my 10 miler

Second half of my 10 miler

You can see how, although slow as molasses, I did alright the first 6 miles. I was at least consistent. Miles 7 and 8 were my worst. I think at mile 9 I saw lightening and got my pace back up out of fear fo my life. Technically, my only goals yesterday were to finish, and not get struck by lightening. Check, and check. I win!

Anyone else get a long run in this weekend? In the rain? (Are you sick of the rain as much as I am!?)

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Monday Meal Plan

Mondays are my easy run days. I think the longest run I have on a Monday during my marathon training is just 5 miles. Just 5 miles. Who would’ve ever thought I’d be saying 5 miles was just 5 miles!? Anyways, I digress. I figured since I had easy runs on Mondays, and a pretty predictable day of watching my niece and maybe going to yoga at night, I’d dedicate my Monday posts to my weekly meal plans. I’m always looking for new good recipes, maybe some of you are too? If I’m going through this much work to put together my recipes for the week, I may as well share! So….

Breakfasts:

Ham and egg English muffins (homemade – cross your fingers!), with fresh pineapple

Whole Wheat English Muffins

On rest days – hardboiled eggs with fruit (banana, strawberries, cherries)

Lunch :

Dinner leftovers and…

Avocado and Apple Chicken Salad

Avocado and Apple Chicken Salad

Dinners:

Baja Style Turkey Tacos on homemade Corn Tortillas

Baja Turkey Tacos

Homemade Corn Tortillas

 

Thai Chicken Curry with steamed broccoli and brown rice/or steamed carrots and cauliflower for lunch leftovers

Thai Chicken Curry

 

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato and green beans

BBQ Bacon Burger

Meat stir fry with veggies – This is my “just it case” meal and will be whatever’s left in the fridge at the end of the week!

 

There are also snacks and desserts in there too. We have standard inexpensive snacks that we keep in the house and a Kitchen Safe full of fun sized chocolates for desserts. But that’s all another story for another day. What’s on your menu this week?

Been a while…

It’s been a while… I’ve missed writing. Work got crazy, eating got outta control, running was miserable, exhaustion set in, then we built a fence and had a big ol’ 30th (birthday party. I still have “extra” projects I’m working on and I can’t quite seem to get into the groove of a new schedule. So that’s why I haven’t written. Why on earth would anyone want to hear my whining and groaning about life circumstances? Well no one would. So I kept my mouth shut. You’re welcome.

Somewhere between my discovery of a medicinal concoction that solves my can’t-breathe-when-I-run-faster-than-10-and-a-half-minutes-per-mile dilemma, the acceptance that working will always suck no matter where I do it, my husband’s new commitment to try to stress less at work, and a random surge of new “fighter” attitude, I’ve become my normal self again. Maybe I was just subconsciously freaking out about turning 30 too? I wasn’t, but everyone acts like you should, so maybe deep down I did? Who knows.

Anyway, my marathon training has been going so, so well. I’ve really set my mind on just what I need to do each day in training and taking one decision at a time. I know next week I have to run 3, 5, 3, and 10 miles on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but I’m not thinking about that yet. I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat for dinner tonight and when I need to wake up for yoga in the morning. If I start dreading my 5 mile run Tuesday morning, I’ll get overwhelmed. I’ll think about that Monday and simply do it. Just do it. Nike knows what’s up.

My actual runs having been challenging but good. I’ve found that if I take 5mg generic Zyrtec before I go to bed at night (I cut a 10mg pill in half) and have two puffs from my inhaler about 15 minutes before I run, my lungs are happy and I can enjoy my run. I tried the whole 10mg of Zyrtec at first, but I was too groggy the next day. All day. I could hardly stay awake at work. 5mg is just enough. I also have a sinus irrigator that I’ll sometimes use in the afternoon if I’m starting to get a sinus headache later in the day. Within 30 minutes, head aches is essentially gone and I’m not taking ibuprofin non stop.

Today I ran 8 miles at the butt crack of dawn. Literally. Okay, not exactly literally – dawn doesn’t have a butt crack. But you get what I mean. It was insanely early. I had to work at 8 so I woke up at 4:30am and left the house a little before 5 to run my normal Saturday trail at 5:15. Honestly, I loved it. I love waking up early in the summer. “The sky’s awake. So I’m awake!”

The first few miles were rough. They always are. By the time I got to about 3 1/2 miles, I started to feel pretty good. I got stuck by a train for 4-5 minutes at mile 5, but I got right back into my groove when I started back up again. I finished in 1 hour, 16 minutes to the cheering and applause of my 40-person running group that was just huddling up to begin their run. Embarrassing and fun. My splits were fantastic and I finished a lot stronger than I thought I would. It probably helped that I stopped for a few minutes. And that the weather was perfect. 60 and sunny! Still, I feel way more confident coming off a good longer run.

 

Lovely negative splits.

Lovely negative splits.

 

In addition to running, I’ve also been doing yoga once a week and weights once a week. The strength, balance, and core strengthening has really helped my running too! Someday, I’ll have to post on just my cross training. I actually bought my husband and myself tennis rackets. Hopefully my cross training will include tennis pretty soon too! Currently, I’m trying to figure out when I can fit in one more day of weight training into my week. I have a few clothes that don’t fit right now because I’m not as lean as I was this winter. I know I can get there, I just have to do it!

Eating… I go through phases. I’ll be good for a couple days, then eat a couple handfuls of dark chocolate chips. Better than my ultimate vice, Jr Mints, but still not great. I’m learning that since I run/workout in the morning, I really need to have more protein in my breakfast (cereal is not an option!), a morning snack on days I run more than 5 miles, and a large lunch with lots of veggies. My afternoon snack just needs to hold me over til my early (5 – 5:30) dinner, which is the best meal to have carbs for my workout the next morning, and then if I need to nibble at night, I should have a little chocolate, and a lot of fruit. I know these things, but do I implement them? Course not. But each decision, every day, every week, I get closer.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m going to try and stay more on top of writing throughout the rest of my marathon training at least. I know that several people have commented on how motivating my blog is. That is such a massive compliment. I really never thought of myself as an encourager or motivator. I’m very flattered. And I’m trying. Thanks for sticking around.

Together.

This afternoon’s conversation:

Husband: What are we doin for dinner tonight?

Me: I don’t know.

Husband: You know, if we’re gonna start eating healthy again tomorrow, we should eat one last bad meal.

Me: I know. I think so too. So what should we have?

Husband: I don’t know maybe a pizza from the store?

Me: I don’t wanna cook. I’ll have to cook all week. Let’s pick something up.

Husband: Pizza?

Me: Panera?

Husband: I don’t know. What else is there?

Me: We could do Chili’s To-Go. Or maybe just make some appetizers?

Husband: You didn’t want to cook.

Me: That’s right. I forgot. We could get a 10 pack of tacos from Taco Bell.

Husband: Nah. How about Domino’s?

Me: Alright.

The moral of the story is – You know you’ve eaten too bad too long when you nothing bad sounds good.

We’ve both been complaining for a couple weeks now about how we haven’t been eating well and how we’ve gained some weight. My main problems are laziness and a certain minty candy that I am hopelessly addicted to. My husband’s problem is lack of a plan. He’ll actually eat really well if a healthy lunch, dinner, and snack are prepacked for him. But when I get lazy and don’t cook in a timely manner, he ends up snacking on junk food at work and then eating dinner late at night when he gets home. So we decided we’re both going to buckle down on our eating habits together.

I’ve got 3 dinners planned, then a breakfast for myself and a breakfast for my husband. I have a decent variety of snack foods, and I bought some fun sized candies for dessert. Even with having preplanned recipes, I still managed to stay on budget for groceries for the week. ($60, in case you were wondering.) I just tried to pick things that were simple – didn’t take long to make, used basic ingredients, and I’ll be swapping some “fancy” ingredients for some simpler ones (like olive oil in place of sesame oil). Here’s the plan:

Megan Breakfast: BLTE’s (from the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook) or Banana-Berry Smoothies (frozen banana, 1/2 cup Naked Berry Blast juice, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder)

Husband Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Nut Crunch with Cream Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles (from Our Best Bites)

Megan Lunches: Dinner leftovers or BLTE’s

Husband Lunch: Sandwiches on whole wheat bread with fresh fruit and sweet potato chips (from Aldi!)

Dinner #1: Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce over Zoodles (from Skinnytaste)

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce via Skinnytaste

Dinner #2: Chocolate Chili with Polenta Fries (Chili recipe from The Clothes Make The Girl and Polenta Fries from Oh My Veggies)

Chocolate Chili via The Clothes Make the Girl

Polenta Fries via Oh My Veggies

Dinner #3: Zesty Chicken Bites with Lighter Loaded Potatoes and Green Beans (Chicken bites from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and Loaded Potatoes from Undressed Skeleton)

Zesty Chicken Bites via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Lighter Loaded Potatoes via Undressed Skeleton

For snacks, we’ve got hummus with red peppers, carrots and pita chips (which I baked from pita bread today, just added a little olive oil and salt and left in the oven on 400 while I did the dishes – so 8-10 minutes?), string cheese, protein bars and Larabars, cherries, strawberries, apples, apple sauce, fruit leather strips, almonds and other nuts, popcorn, sweet potato chips, and tortilla chips with salsa.

We’re gonna prep our breakfasts tonight, and always make our lunches and pack our snacks the night before. I’m going to make two of our dinners tomorrow, and the third on Wednesday. So we should have plenty of healthy meals in the fridge.

As far as out diet “rules” go, we are (I am?) just watching calories. Each meal is about 340 calories per serving. My husband will eat a serving and a half of each plus a 300 calorie snack and a 200 calorie dessert – a little over 2,000 calories per day. I’m having a single serving of each meal, a 200 calorie snack, and a 200 calorie dessert – a little over 1,400 calories per day. We should each be losing about a pound a week. Really, this is how we should be eating all the time. (Hopefully, eventually, we’ll get there!)

But for tonight, pizza. And Jr. Mints. (And gummy bears for the husband) Last time for a while! Cheers!

Yoga Flab and Sayonara’s

I’m trying to keep myself awake until a reasonable time (goal is 9pm) so I thought I’d post a little update. I’ve been a little quiet here for a few reasons. Work got nuts. I’ve worked an extra 12 hours in the last two weeks! My diet has been totally off track. I’ve hardly been running because my allergies and asthma have been terrible. I’m in a fitness slump. I’m trying to work through things on day at a time.

Today, I did yoga. It was awful. I had no idea I was so out of shape. Also, I highly recommend wearing pants and a shirt while yoga-ing. I did it in sports bra and underwear, and let me tell you, the view from downward dog is the worst angle I’ve ever seen of myself. My gut was a huge flap hanging from my abs. Thighs didn’t look much better. I guess it could be motivating if you like reminders of how fat you look at odd angles.

This afternoon, I finally went to buy my new running shoes! Now that’s a true motivator. All of my real running shoes have been Mizuno. I love the way they lock my heel in place. My first pair that I bought last May were the Wave Inspire.

Mizuno Wave Inspire

Mizuno Wave Inspire

It was the first time I got fitted for shoes and the store employee told me I had one foot that needed a little support so I ended up with the mild stability Inspire. They felt so much better than the K-Swiss Tubes I had been running in for a year and a half (no joke, I even ran my first half marathon in those Tubes!), that I didn’t realize they weren’t the best fit. After a long run on the hard pavement in Chicago last September, the outsides of my feet, near my pinky toe, was getting really sore. Like it was bruised on the bottom of my foot. I did a little research and decided to try out the Mizuno Sayonara instead. I went into my local Fleet Feet store, ran a loop around the parking lot in them and was sold!

Photo from Mizuno.com (because I don't have a singl epicture of me even wearing these shoes! Crazy!)

Photo from Mizuno.com (because I don’t have a singl epicture of me even wearing these shoes! Crazy!)

I wore these all last fall and winter, for 2 5K’s, one of which was a PR, and a 10K on my 1st wedding anniversary. But in the last few weeks, I’ve been starting to get that outside foot pain again and I noticed that the foam was getting pretty thin inside the shoe. I have no clue how many miles are on them – my best guess is about 400. So it’s time to retire them.

Since I’m now training for a full marathon, I thought I might want to give a more substantial shoe a try. The Sayonara is a super lightweight shoe and has sort of a minimalist design to it. It’s not usually recommended for long distances (although I’ve run 10 milers in them with no problem). So when I went in to Fleet Feet today, I first tried the Wave Rider 17. It was really cushy and comfortable, but when I ran in them, they were just too bulky for me. I love feeling the ground beneath my feet and having space for my toes to breathe. So I ended up with another pair of Sayonara’s. This time in the tacky-cute color combo of Cabbage/Orchid Bouquet/Aurora. It was better than black and white and purple which looked kind of manly.

New Mizuno Wave Saynara

New Mizuno Wave Sayonara

I haven’t taken them on a run yet, but for the short time I wore them in the store parking lot, I could tell the fit was nearly identical to my old Sayonara’s (the heel actually fits even better in the new ones!) but there was so much more cushioning. I had no clue how flat my old shoes had gotten! So I’m excited to give them a spin tomorrow morning. And I’m hoping to buy one more pair (maybe online?) of the old grey/blue/green color combo that I love so much. It can’t hurt to have two pair when you’re running 30 miles a week!

Last little tidbit. I’m really hoping to get back on track food-wise. We’ve got about $40 left in the grocery budget to last us the rest of this week. Just enough to buy some breakfast and lunch essentials, and produce to go along with the meat in our freezer. Next week, I’m detoxing again. 3 days of vegetarian, 4 days of clean eating. NO SWEETS! I’ve gotta do it. I’m tired of feeling fat and lazy, my skin looks awful, and even my sleep patterns are off. Plus I can’t fit into a really pretty skirt I bought on vacation. It’s time to get it together.

Okay, one more tidbit. One of my friends is in town from London, Ontario. She knows a lot about free weights. I know nothing. I stick to the machines at the gym. I do know that I’ll get a much better workout using free weights than machines. So she’s agreed to come to my gym with me this week and show me what to do in the free weights area! I’m so excited.

Ah! Third tidbit. I’m going to the doctor next week to get medicine for my allergies and asthma. Finally I’ll be able to breathe when I run!

Alright, it’s 9:45. It’s late enough to go to bed. Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! Anyone else need to get back on track after a little overindulging??

Just Dreaming…

If I could get my act together and muster up the energy, motivation, and persistence I used to have (a couple years ago when I was first losing weight), there are a  few things I’d be determined to do. Since I just don’t have the drive I used to, I make no promises to hold to these goals, but they’re things I want to work toward.

1. Cutting Out Sugar: We’ve used up most of our grocery budget for this month already, so although I do have every intention of revisiting my mini-detox I couldn’t finish a few weeks ago, it’ll have to wait until we have fresh funds to buy a fresh batch of fruits and veggies. While we finish eating whatever’s currently in thee pantry, I hope to steer clear of added sugar. ‘

2. 14 Days of Yoga: I just keep hearing and reading about how good yoga is for runners, controlling cravings, and managing stress. Work is getting busy, I’m running a lot more now that the weather is getting nicer, and it would probably help me get off sugar. I found a couple DVD’s at the library that each have 7 20-minute yoga workouts. Seems simple enough. Just gotta vacuum first! Ha!

3. Committing To A Schedule: I work odd hours, my husband works odd hours, things change all the time and there’s always something to do. We’ve been eating dinner as early as 5 and as late as 10. There’s been pizza (veggie at least! And only 2 pieces!) for breakfast at 10:30. In the past week I’ve woken up as early as 4:50am and as late as 10:27. I used to get up at 6 or 6:30 every morning, get my run in by 7:15, take a shower and eat breakfast by 8:30, and work 9-5. I’d make dinner, clean up around the house, relax a little bit with the husband and get to bed around 10:30-11. I need some normalcy again! I’m supposed to be able to set my own work schedule starting in June. I’m praying it helps.

4. 35 More Workouts: I’m still bummed that I never completed the initial challenge that led me to create this blog. I know that I need to do some cross training and some strength workouts during my marathon training but just wouldn’t know how to work it in.

Maybe a little bit of each. One day at a time…

Happy Monday! (For real.)

I feel like I don’t have a lot of time to post… my husband’s on his way home and dinner’s in the oven (yes, at 10pm). But I got my butt in gear today and I’m so proud I must share!

6:30am: 2.5 mile run. Absolutely awful. My legs were dead weight. I forgot to stretch after my fantastic and fast 5 mile (say that 5 times fast…) run Saturday morning. Then we walked around Lincoln Park Zoo, and to the beach. I have pictures of that. It was fun. Maybe I’ll share later this week.

7:30am: Quickly showered, ate cereal for breakfast and got ready for work.

9:00am: Worked an easy 4 hour shift. Had a protein bar at some point.

1:00pm: Got groceries at Meijer where half of my grocery list just happened to be on sale! Buy 10 for $10 and 11th item is free! (Mushrooms, peppers, Larabars, Annie’s organic mac and cheese, bagged lettuce, low sodium black beans, Greek yogurt, and canned salsa verde  in case you were wondering)

1:30pm: Picked up Domino’s pizza to stash in the freezer because I had a 50% off everything coupon. A few times a year, the owner passes them out to local businesses to use for lunch hours only. I had 2 pieces of the Pacific Veggie pan pizza while out running errands.

2:00pm: Household essentials shopping at Walmart. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant. You know, the fun stuff.

2:30pm: More grocery shopping at Aldi. Finished off my list there. I only spent $90 for all of our groceries for the week and a lot of that is snack food that will last another 2 weeks!

3:00pm: Unpacked everything, cleaned out the fridge. Sprayed the ants that had gotten into the house. Watered flowers. Took a little break.

5:00pm: Cleaned, chopped and packed most of my fruits and veggies for the week. I’m cooking dinners, having salads for lunch, and snacking on fruit instead of candy this week. No excuses now! (Follow me on Facebook to see the “before” picture and get other between-post updates!)

20140512_185359

6:30pm: Prepped BBQ Bacon Meatloaf for dinner. Cleaned up the kitchen.

8:00pm: Yoga! Holey Moley am I out of yoga-shape. Fun story – A couple old guys came into the class 40 minutes late and starting chatting about how they were boys so they couldn’t do some of the stretches. I asked them to stop talking, please. To which one responded “I’ll stop talking if you stop talking.” Yes, they were correct. They are boys. Hilarious.

9:00pm: Put dinner in the oven and wrote a bog post.

On top of all that, I did some dishes, and did 3 loads of laundry. Granted, none of it’s put away. That’ll be tomorrow’s task. It feels so great to have some energy and motivation back!

How was your Monday?