The First.

I wish I could remember my first run. I mean, I kinda of remember it. I had been running on the treadmill at the gym, 2 or 3 miles a few days a week. I had only ever run maybe 6 miles outside in my entire life and they always felt miserable. For some reason though, this time I thought I’d go for a run. Someplace new and pretty. Thanks to Google Earth, I found a trail in Hobart that went past two lakes and through miles of forest and some prairies. The satellite pictures were enough to convince me. So on a chilly late winter Saturday (in February? maybe early March?) I ran slow and steady until I got sick of running. Then I turned around and ran all the way back to my car. I had run for over an hour! When I measured it out on Google Earth at home, it cam to 6 miles all together! That’s how I became a longer distance runner. It became a weekly event. Me, my music, and my trail.

Looking back now, I wish I would have written down the date of my first real run. I wish I knew now what I was thinking back then, how I felt before and after. I’d really like to know what my times were and even my body measurements. I know I’ve come a long way, but probably a lot farther than I can recall.

Today, my little sister started running! I want to do for her what I regret not doing for myself. I tracked our run on my Run Keeper app, and took a before picture. I let her borrow my Mizuno’s so she’d have really good comfortable running shoes. We did it right! I’m really impressed with her today. It was only 35º outside today and there was almost 2 inches of snow on the ground! We exchanged text complaints about the weather for a little bit and then decided to suck it up, stick to our plan, and just do it. We met at our mom’s house because she was watching my niece (my sister’s daughter) while my sister was at work. After she changed, we bundled up my niece in the jogging stroller and we were off!

Before my sister's first run!

Before my sister’s first run!

Yep, I posted that. You look great. Don’t you dare complain! And yes, you’re right. I do have the skinniest ankles ever. Compression wear is apparently more effective than I realized!

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Anyway, we just ran a couple loops around a block near my mom’s house. She’s sort of following the Couch to 5k plan. So we walked 90 seconds, ran 60 seconds 8 times. It came out to be 1.25 miles in 20 minutes. She even ran her last minute at my pace! I’m so proud of her and her commitment to taking back her health. Not even winter in April could stop her!

After she left, I decided to get a few more miles in since I was already outside and dressed and ready to run. I missed my run yesterday because I stayed up super late Sunday night writing. Oops! I decided to run another 3 miles so I’d have a total of 4.25 for the day. It was brutal.I’m really not good at running outside when it’s cold out. I started to have some asthma problems again and I couldn’t keep to my normal pace. I just felt like it was taking way too much effort. But at least I finished. My overall time was 27 minutes, 52 seconds with an average 9:18 minute per mile pace. Normally I’d do 3 miles (especially after 2 rest days…) around a 9 minute pace, but given the weather, I’ll take a 9:18. It’s loads better than a few years ago when I was running a 10:30 average! My splits at least were pretty dead on. Something I’m still really working on – starting slow, finishing strong.

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I’m excited for Thursday when we get to run again. At least the weather will be better! Anyone have some encouragement for my sister? Maybe the story of your first run?


A Sorta Boring Post About My Very Normal Week

This week I’ve really been working hard to tame my binging habit and workout more. I’m happy to report that I’ve taken a small step in that direction. Here’s the recap for you:

Friday: I was off work because my client (the child I tutor) was sick, I was crazy excited because it was supposed to be 60 an sunny! Well, it was 60 and cloudy. And windy. And I was lazy. I didn’t get my run in, but I did get groceries and clean up around the house. Mostly I just relaxed. And I ate a bunch of candy for dinner. Fail!

Saturday: I ran with my running group in the morning. It had gotten really cold again (big surprise!) but we decided to run 5 miles anyway. It was actually my fault we ran that far. When I walked in the door (we meet at our church) the group was debating whether they wanted to run 4 or 5. They said “There’s Megan, let’s see what she wants to do. She’s always up for more mileage.” There’s no way I could’ve said 4 miles after that! So 5 it was. I ran slow (for me) at an average of 10 min, 23 sec per mile. I didn’t feel exhausted when I was done and my asthma symptoms were non existent. So maybe I’m just pushing myself to hard? I didn’t feel energized after that run like I normally do. That was a let down. There’s gotta be a happy compromise between pushing myself and being able to breathe. I usually try for around a 9 min 15 sec pace. My next few runs will be an experiment!

Later that afternoon I watched my niece which is a workout of it’s own. We walked through Target (where she said “hi” to all of the other shoppers we passed, and picked out a new sticker book.) and bought a frozen pizza for dinner and some candy for dessert. She got Vanilla Creme Peeps and I got Junior Mints. My weakness! You don’t have to tell me, I know. We ate so bad. Well, I ate so bad. She had one slice of pizza and two Peeps. I had 3 slices and the entire box of Junior Mints. That’s so much food. Why do I do this to myself?? (Oh yeah, because it tastes good and I have no self control…)

Sunday: We celebrated my husband’s birthday and my future brother in laws’s birthday with my family. My mom warned me she wouldn’t be serving healthy foods and I assured her I wasn’t stressing about my diet anymore. I had some pot roast, lots of green beans and corn, some mashed potatoes with gravy (my mom’s gravy is the best, I can’t pass it up!), and a Grand’s biscuit. I passed on dessert but had a little piece of spice cake later. After dinner, my husband and I went to see Divergent. Of course we smuggled candy into the theater! (For the record, the people next to us in the theater did too. They even brought cans of pop!) So more candy for dinner. Great!

Monday: I decided the candy thing had gotten totally out of control. Today was the day I was done. I was off work (different client was sick!) and home all day so it was really difficult not to munch all day! I had a good breakfast – Special K with sliced strawberries, a decent lunch – turkey and Munster cheese on one slice of home made wheat bread, and made some taco stuffing for dinner (more on that later) which I put over chips as nachos. The only binging I did was on marshmallows. Not great, but a step toward breaking the chocolate habit! I didn’t get a workout in, but I did give the kitchen a good cleaning and straightened up the rest of the house.

Tuesday: I was back at work again and was exhausted by the end of the day. I knew I had a full night of at-home training for work so I did cave and pick up, you guessed it, a box of Junior Mints to get me through it. I made a good dinner (another recipe I’ll share soon) before I broke into the box. Okay, I had a handful on the way home from the store. But the majority were eaten while working.

Wednesday: I spent all morning finishing up my work from the night before and then rushed off to work. I packed my gym bag this time so if it was too cold to run outside, I could go straight to the gym after work. It ended up being almost 40 and sunny so I decided to go for a run in my neighborhood. By the time I finished changing, clouds had rolled in and the wind picked up. It was cold, but I was already dressed and ready to go so I did a quick 2.5 miles. I didn’t think I was pushing myself until I noticed my pace. my first mile was under 9 minutes! Oops! I wanted to make my short run count, but I didn’t plan on dipping that low! My legs felt good though, so I decided to stick with it as long as I could. I went 1.4 miles before I needed to stop and walk (because I could hardly breathe) I walked until 1.5 miles then ran the last mile home where I spent the next half hour trying to catch my breath on the front porch. My overall average was 9 min, 9 sec per mile. Not bad!

I had a good dinner of nachos (that sounds so bad but it’s really not, you’ll see later) and that was all I ate the rest of the night! I was really proud of myself for not snacking. My husband had some crackers, but I didn’t take any. I just drank water.

Today: So far I’ve only had breakfast, but I’m planning on a slow 3-4 mile run (at the gym because it’s 38 outside, with a feel like of 29 and 16 mph winds) and then some leftover whole wheat gnocchi for lunch. I’ve got to run a few errands and then I’m seeing Divergent (again! It’s really good!) with my sister in law, and going to a pop up market called Hunt and Gather with my mom. I’m planning on snacking at the movie theater and having a sandwich when I get home later tonight.

I know this wasn’t the most interesting post I’ve written, but it’s normal me with normal struggles, excuses, and small successes. Thanks for stopping by and sticking around! How’s your week been?

A Good Start

Someone needs to go back to Kindergarten for calendar time… Yesterday I announced that in exactly 7 months I’d be running my first full marathon. In exactly 7 months, I’ll actually be at my sister’s wedding. Whoops! Equally as exciting, but not the same thing. The 2014 Chicago Marathon is actually on October 12, making it less than 7 months away! Okay, that’s still a ways away, but I’m sure time will fly (whether I’m having fun or not).

Today I felt pretty motivated about my workout. I had a great day at work and when I got out, it was a lot warmer out than I expected it be. I hadn’t really planned any workout per se, I just wanted to do something. There’s no avoiding it now, I’ve gotta stay in shape! I decided to keep it simple and go for a run in the ‘hood. (AKA South Hammond). You can imagine my excitement when I realized that there was no more snow on the sidewalks! I took off fast and kept on going. If weren’t for a midrun phone call, my pace would have been just over 9 minutes per mile. I ran 3.15 miles total in 30 minutes on the dot. Not too shabby! Especially since I was once again experiencing asthma-like symptoms.

This afternoon, I wanted to experiment a bit to see when I start having symptoms and if anything lessens them. I’m going to try tracking this for a few weeks before going to a doctor because I’d rather not be on meds or have to use an inhaler. I’m also planning on doing some research on breathing and lung expanding exercises. With the popularity of natural medicine, there’s got to be something I can do without meds right?

Back to my workout, after my run I popped in a Pilates DVD I’ve had forever and did the 10 minute arm toning portion. Big problem. I’m totally inflexible and I my hand weights aren’t heavy enough anymore. So I guess that’s one little problem, and one good problem. I didn’t feel like it was that great of an arm workout, so I’ll be scouring Pinterest soon to find some 10-20 minute weight sessions. And I’ll be investing in some 5 lb hand weights.

My eating has been sort of okay lately. I haven’t been worrying about calories too much, just really watching my portions. I still have a major sweet tooth I need to deal with. But with training for a new job and an extra little side project in the works, I don’t really have the mental strength to focus on my sugar intake. I’ll get back there eventually.  Yesterday, I made a turkey breast in the Crockpot, roasted red potatoes, and a side salad for dinner. I even made my own dressing. It was delicious! Tonight’s dinner was “tacos”. I feel like tacos aren’t really tacos when you add beans and veggies to them, but my Mexican husband assures me that they can still be considered tacos. So we used flour tortillas, and added refried beans, taco meat (with my own seasonings instead of the packet), sauteed zucchini and corn, shredded cheese, Greek yogurt (in place of sour cream), and medium taco sauce. I had two. Since I only had a bowl of cereal with almond milk for breakfast, and a banana with a blueberry muffin Larabar for lunch, I think my dinner was just right.

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I realize this may look fairly unappetizing, but I promise, it was fantastic!

All in all, a good start to the week! What meals do you have planned this week? Any suggestions for my asthma symptoms?

Thursday, Belated and Elated

Yes, I realize it’s Saturday and I’m just now posting about Thursday. I just couldn’t skip my scheduled Thursday post because my day was just that good! Let me get the boring stuff out of the way first…

Since I’m working part time now, and my husband is working extra, the deal is that I take care of everything in our home. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, finances, laundry, and basic maintenance. All he has to do is mow the lawn, snowblow or shovel the sidewalks when it snows, and help out with the occasional project around the house. (For example, we’re hoping to pretty up our landscaping this summer, I can’t do a lot of that on my own.) So I spent most of my day Thursday working from home, reconciling our finances, and cleaning the house. Honestly, most of those were things I did when I was working full time and I have no idea how I used to get it all done! I was exhausted, but the show must go on. With three hours left of my day, I decided I had enough time to get a workout in.

On Wednesday, we got another 4 inches of snow, but I still chose to run outside Thursday. I didn’t really have time to drive to the gym to run. I layered up (It was about 30 degrees out and cloudy) and stuck to the middle of the street. It seems that everyone had boycotted shoveling this late winter snow (oh well, it’ll melt in two days anyway) so that was the only bare ground there was. Luckily, 2pm seems to be a very low traffic time in my neighborhood. I’d love to say that I had a great run, but I didn’t. I keep struggling with asthma-type symptoms while running. And it’s not the weather because it happened in San Diego too. Anyway, I completed 3 very slow miles. And then I came in and did the 15 minutes of “yoga abs” from Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior DVD. Holy moly. That was a tough workout.

After my workout I threw on some boots and a hoodie and ran some errands. Yes, I was that girl wearing leggings and boots in public. Shame, shame. It couldn’t matter, I had to get some groceries. You guys, I shopped without a list or even a plan. I walked through Aldi and grabbed a bunch of stuff I thought I could make into a few meals: cereal and almond milk, a frozen turkey breast, red potatoes, bananas, frozen green beans, whole wheat gnocchi, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, refried beans, tortilla shells, eggs, shredded mozzarella, Italian turkey sausage, and some healthy snacks. I just can’t get into a cooking groove lately, so I’m going back to the basics: meat and veggies, Mexican, Italian, cereal, sandwiches and salads, and maybe even (gasp!) a casserole. My husband was actually impressed that I planned to make a turkey in the Crockpot for dinner Sunday. And I was working so hard to make all these healthy, whole meals. I’ll have to keep you updated on how this all plays out.

After grocery shopping I had to get ready for the Imagine Dragons concert. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for almost two years, from the very first time I heard Radioactive play on my Pandora while running. We saw them when they came to Chicago a year ago when we were one of the lucky ones who got tickets to their second night at the House of Blues after the first night sold out in 2 minutes. I’m so glad we had the chance to see them at a small venue before they got huge last year! This time, we saw them at a sold out show at the Allstate Arena. It was a great show, although bands are always better at smaller venues. I probably even got a little workout in with my little bit of dancing around. (And all the extra walking when we couldn’t initially find our seats.) I have one grainy picture of my fantastic day to share:

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Cell phone lights twinkling like the night sky.