balance

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.

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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…

Giving In

I cannot seem to catch a break (story of my life). First, I was sick with a nasty cold/flu type thing, then just when I started getting over that, I discovered I have an abscessed root canal. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s some sort of tooth infection on a tooth that has previously had a root canal. And it hurts more than anything else I’ve experienced. I’m talking wake up crying, pain killers don’t even help, would rather be dead kind of pain. It’s worse than when my wisdom tooth got infected last year. (I do take care of my teeth, really I do.)  I’ve been on antibiotics since I saw the dentist Thursday, but I’ve still had a lump the size of a golf ball in my right cheek all weekend. I have to see an endodontist, but I couldn’t get in to see one until Monday morning, so I’ve been miserable all weekend. Oh, plus, I lost my voice Thursday and I still don’t totally have it back. So I can’t talk or move the right half of my face. It’s been real interesting.

Needless to say, I didn’t stick with my detox diet the whole way through. After a night of no sleep and severe pain Thursday night, and then having to go to work Friday, I just gave in. I couldn’t do it anymore. The house was (and still is) a mess, I was exhausted, and my body was saying “STOP”. So I listened. I spent all of Friday night, Saturday, and a good chunk of the day today in my spot on the couch. I got pizza for dinner Friday night. (After a torn up stomach due to too many ibuprofen, it was all that sounded good) made some taco meat and had nachos Saturday night, and picked up Potbelly’s sandwiches for dinner today. I’ve also had way more Junior Mints than I should have. I’m just babying myself now. Tomorrow, I get my tooth taken care of and probably won’t be able too eat anything but smoothies, mashed potatoes, and yogurt for a day or two so I’m enjoying a couple days of indulgence.

So this detox diet… I basically put it on hold. I didn’t have the energy to take a shower let alone cooking healthy and cleaning up the kitchen after. I will return to it though. I did lose 4 lbs. And I am able to fit into my skinny jeans again. But since I was sick the first half of the week, and then had the abscessed tooth the second half, I never got to tell if I felt any different. I want to know if I feel better eating mostly produce, and if it makes a difference in my running and working out. I haven’t even worked out in over a week!

Tomorrow morning, I go to the endodontist and he’ll fix whatever’s wrong with my infected roots and if he can’t fix it, then the tooth will get pulled. Either way, I’m still looking at a couple days of recovery time at least. I’m still very swollen and have antibiotics to take through Wednesday. So this week, I’m just going to focus on eating simply and healthily, limiting my sugar, and watching my portions. I’m not going to worry too much about working out yet, but if I can even get a few walks in, that’d be great. (Increased heart rate = greater tooth pain, or so I’ve learned.) Next week, I’m hoping to give the detox thing another try. I really did enjoy it the first few days despite being sick. I’m hopeful that if I could do it for at least a week, it’d be a great jump start to my summer marathon training.

If you think of it, say a little prayer tomorrow for me. I had a bad experience with my wisdom tooth last year (infection, dry socket) and I’m nervous about going in for my tooth in the morning. It’s been a long week of physical pain and dreading the possibility of complications. Thanks friends.

A Week in Review

Another crazy week is almost in the books. I fell off the weight loss bandwagon. I just couldn’t get it together. I’m not gonna beat myself up about it though. Just going to brush myself off and try again next week. I haven’t had time to sit and write all week, but I’ve had a few highlights in my head all week just waiting to share with you:

1. I lost a pound last week! I ran a few days, did some weights one afternoon, ate reasonably and lost one pound. It is possible and doable!

2. I set a new 6 mile PR! I ran 6 miles on Saturday afternoon, and finished in 56 minutes, 6 seconds. And check out those splits! Nearly perfection. (I started out a little fast, caught myself and slowed down my second mile.) My average pace was 9:21 and I didn’t have any breathing problems. I’m cautiously optimistic that this season will be my fastest training season.

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3. Sunday was a great night of relaxing. I received both of my magazines on Saturday, so Sunday I watched a little Lord of the Rings with my husband, read my magazines, and enjoyed a little dark chocolate. It was a nice night home.

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4. I started my new new job. And I love it. It’s a low key office and even thought I’m new I feel that my contributions to the team are valued. I’m part time and my schedule is perfect. I work Monday mornings, Tuesday afternoons, All day Wednesday, I’m off Thursdays, and then I open on Fridays so I get to be home very on time on Friday afternoons. I should have plenty of time to take care of myself and things around the house. All around great so far!

5. I got sick again. Every time I start a new job I get a cold. I started my other new job just 6 weeks ago, so this is the second time I’ve been sick in 6 weeks. It’s just a head cold, but I have absolutely no energy. It can be really tough to feel wiped out when you’re in the middle of adjusting to a new routine. I’ve coped by letting the house be a mess, eating whatever’s convenient for meals, and resting a lot. Hopefully I’ll feel better by the end of the weekend!

How has your week been? Anything eventful?

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?

Simple, Balanced, and Delicious

Since I’ve gone to part time and my whole meal planning routine has gone out the window, I’ve been working on easing into a new system that will work for us. I used to plan breakfast for my husband, breakfast for me, and 3 dinners that I’d double so I could have the leftovers for lunch. Everything but my husbands sandwich and snack stuff would get prepacked into tuppeerware containers in the fridge at the beginning of the week. I’d spend about 4-5 hours one night (Sunday or Monday) and make everything all at once with my husband’s help. It was seriously efficient, rigidly structured, and a huge time saver throughout the rest of the week.

Post-cooking frenzy fridge.

Post-cooking frenzy fridge.

I thought that when I went to part time, I’d figured I’d be so excited to have more time to make these meals. I wouldn’t be up doing dishes at midnight on a Sunday night after making 4 meals. I’d be able to make even better food cause I’d be able to try out new recipes and make more from scratch. Now that I’m actually working part time, I’m enjoying a slower pace of life. I don’t want to stress myself out cooking extravagant meals. I don’t want to spend my mornings washing dishes. I’d rather be reading a book, writing a blog post, working out, spending time with family. So I’ve adopted a new mantra when it comes to my eating/cooking/dieting:

Simple, Balanced, and Delicious

There are tons of benefits to eating this way.

  • It’s cheaper! Eating simply made meals require far less ingredients. For example, this past week I made a turkey breast in the Crockpot with roasted red potatoes and a side salad. Total number of ingredients – 9 (plus seasonings). Total cost = about $12 (for six meals!) I’ve been spending about $65 a week on groceries at Aldi instead of my normal $85-100 at Meijer. And we have plenty of food stocked up. In a couple weeks, we’ll probably just need to buy some cereal and milk and lunch meat. We could probably cut our grocery budget by 30%!
  • Less clean up! By having cereal, milk, and a banana for breakfast I only have one bowl and one spoon to wash. When we’d make more complicated breakfasts, there’d be extra pans, knifes and cutting boards, skillets, pans and even appliances to clean up. An easy egg bake which we probably would make every other week would require me to wash a knife, a cutting board, a skillet, a casserole dish, and then a plate and fork for each serving.  That’s a whole lot more than a daily bowl and spoon!
  • It satisfies cravings! Back when I would meal plan for an entire week, I’d have three options for all of my lunches and dinners all week. If I got sick of a meal, I’d have to eat it anyway. If something didn’t taste as great as I’d hoped, I’d choke it down. Now, if I want Italian (like I did last night), I throw some turkey sausages in the Crockpot with sliced peppers and marinara, along with a small scoop of whole wheat pasta, dinner’s made, craving’s satisfied, and I’m less likely to binge later.
  • It’s fresher! Almost all food will last in the fridge for a week, easily, cooked or uncooked. Not that our tupperware food ever tasted bad because it sat in the fridge for a few days, but fruits and veggies have a much better texture when you eat them right after they’ve been cooked or chopped. This week, we made tacos and I threw together a zucchini/corn saute to top them with. There’s no way the soft and crunchy texture would have been the same after sitting in it’s own juices in a tupperware for 4 days. Edible, yes, delicious, not really.
  • It saves time! Meal planning, grocery shopping, and managing the food in the cabinets/fridge (putting groceries away, clearing out stuff that had gone bad in the fridge, etc.) used to take me 3-4 hours a week. And that wasn’t even cooking anything or cleaning up! Now, I grab a quarter and my reusable grocery bags, shop without a list (the horror!) at Aldi, take a few minutes to clear out the old stuff from the fridge, put the groceries away, and I’m done for the week. It takes me at most and hour and a half. Even if I need to stop at another store for a few things, it takes me maybe another 45 minutes. Still way less time than it used to take me.
  • Less Waste! Since there’s no meal plan, I use what I have. When I grocery shop, I just get the basics. No fussy ingredients. I’ve found that everything fresh gets used up quicker and we throw out a lot less!

Sure, there are a few downsides to eating this way too:

  • Tracking calories may be harder. I haven’t been tracking my calories lately, just watching my portions. But if/when I do start to track them, I won’t just be measuring and weighing out 3 meals a week, it’ll be potentially 4-5 dinners a week plus breakfast and lunch. I’m hoping to lose a little more weight before I begin training for my marathon which will mean some serious calorie counting for a few weeks. Things could get a little dicey.
  • Forgetting to plan ahead. Sometimes my husband works a day shift at one job and then an evening shift at another. If I’m not careful, he won’t be home for dinner and there won’t be any leftovers for him to take to work for dinner. Not a huge deal breaker, but something I need to work on for his sake.
  • More processed food. I was on track to eating almost exclusively all non-processed food. I still stick with foods that have fewer ingredients, but I am buying more premade foods. Mostly sauces, pastas, and some snack foods. I’m always careful to watch for high sodium and added sugars.

All in all, the pros outweigh the cons. And it fits for my current lifestyle. I imagine this is actually how most people “meal plan” and eat. What about you? Are you more of a strict planner/shopper/cooker? Or a fly by the seat of your pants/shop without a list/eat what you crave in moderation kind of person? How does it work for you? Anything you’d like to do differently?

Failing to Fit Fitness In

Reasons why I have not worked out recently:

  • My schedule is weird.
  • I was sick 3-4 days last week.
  • I’ve been busy with work training and a secret side project.
  • No one will ever again see me in anything but pants and sweater because this is the winter that never ends.
  • I’ve been having good hair days.
  • I’m sick of the gym and the weather isn’t cooperating.
  • I’d rather read a book.
  • I’m tired because I haven’t been sleeping well.
  • I should be cleaning the house (but I never do)

I’m just over it right now. I’m hoping once the weather finally gets nicer or my work schedule/routine is more normal, I’ll be more interested in working out, meal planning, and all that other good stuff. I feel like I’m just getting through each day one at a time lately, not in a depressed-and-can’t-make-it-another-day way, but in a not-worrying-about-tomorrow-because-today-has-enough-worries-of-it’s-own way. It’s different for me, a planner, to take things one day at a time. Meanwhile, my health and fitness isn’t the best. I promise, I’m not going anywhere though. Just trying to be honest about where I’m at. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

Anyone else struggle to make their health a priority when things aren’t “normal”? How do you deal?