Trying New Things

I know its only Wednesday but this week has already been filled with a handful of new experiences. I am not afraid of trying new things, but like most people, I get stuck in the same habit and the habit becomes a rut. No one likes a rut, am I right?

For example, my beloved egg sandwiches. I’ve been eating them constantly for breakfast over the past few months. Wake up in the morning, get ready for work, make my sandwich and listen to Chris grumble about the smell. Easy easy easy. Until a week or two ago, I just wasn’t feeling them anymore. The craving for them subsided. And, like an overplayed song on the radio, I was over my egg sandwiches.

This left me searching for something new to eat. Or at least something I hadn’t really been eating lately. Usually this means I revert back to some form of Special K, but after reading an article somewhere about how it is one of the worst things you can buy at the grocery store, I turned my back on its deliciousness.

So Monday, I decided I was going to try oatmeal for the first time. Ever. In my life.

The result? It wasn’t so bad. The first few bites were really awkward because it looks like mush and you don’t really have to chew it.  Also, I whimped out and went with a flavored oatmeal. And I didn’t put enough milk in. On Tuesday, I tried the same flavor again. This time with a little more milk and was pleased with the outcome. And it kept me full for a little while. A win for me, I suppose. Today I brought in plain oatmeal and added a teaspoon of light brown sugar and two teaspoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It tasted like a warm, melty double chocolate chip cookie and I was totally fine with that. Will I become one of the millions of healthy-living bloggers who rant and rave about the magic of oatmeal? Ehhh we’ll see, I am still trying to get a handle on it. Also, I don’t know if I have the patience for the mythical ‘steel cut oats’ kind but again maybe. But, I’m not holding my breath.

On Monday, I went to my first ever Mat Pilates class. Totally LOVED it. Kristen went with me and we slightly giggled our way through the various poses and moves. The class was great because I felt like I was working but I wasn’t sweating my butt off. Yesterday, I didn’t really feel too much pain in my abdomen and core area but goodness gracious this morning when I woke up it HURT. The pain is right below my hip bones and on my obliques. Ow ow ow. I just want a strong core. Along with a strong everything else! End result? Pilates is definitely going into my exercise rotation.

Today, I decided it was time for me to try the hoopla that is Greek yogurt. When I was little, friends parents used to try to convince me to try regular yogurt and I would and then I’d essentially spit it right back out.

The same exact thing happened with Greek yogurt except I threw up a little in my mouth. And I might’ve cried a little. No joke. It was that bad. Chris laughed hysterically at me during this entire endeavor. Not even a bite and a half and I chucked it. [Hence why I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning.] The flavor I attempted to eat? Vanilla. Brand? Chobani. Mix-ins? Bare Naked granola. It tasted exactly like sour cream with nuts in it. And I like sour cream. However, the idea of shoving a spoonful of straight sour cream into my mouth, uhhhh gross. I wondering how much of this disdain for the yogurt is psychological and how much is actual tastebud hatred. I will probably at some point attempt to try Greek yogurt again and I will add more stuff into it but then I start to wonder how this seemingly healthy food remains so after you’ve added a bunch of toppings.

What have I learned so far this week? The ever-so apparent, you win some; you lose some.

Any ideas for how to make yourself like a food you find impossible to choke down? How do you take your oatmeal? Have you ever done Pilates? Let’s discuss!!


Stellar Long Run

Saturdays are my long run days. It makes the most sense because I work a pretty standard Monday through Friday schedule.

When I woke up on Saturday, the last thing I wanted to do was go and run the seven miles I had planned to tackle this week. I dug my heels into my carpet and just really did not want to go outside. It was hot out. I couldn’t run outside without a very good chance of dying from heatstroke. I didn’t want to drive my car because it would be hot and wouldn’t cool down any in the time it takes to get from my house to the gym. I was being a baby. I just wanted to be lazy.

Chris wasn’t having any of that. He pretty much made me leave the house.

Once I got into the car I tweeted:

Once I got to the gym, I was an entirely different person. I got on the treadmill I prefer, stretched, put my headphones in and started running. Rather than walking the first five minutes, like I usually do, I just took off. I started with (what has been) my usual 5.1mph pace and just got into the groove of the run. Focused on my breathing and my stride, I was shocked at how I wasn’t in my head trying to talk myself into walking or making it a game. Seriously. This was like “natural” for me. For the second mile, I decided I would kick it up to 5.4mph and see how I could handle it. Worried that it would be too much and I wouldn’t be able to complete the seven miles, I slowed down for mile three.

Around 35minutes into the run, I stopped to walk. Not because I was tired, but because I was trying to unscrew the lid off my water bottle so I could put a nuun tablet in. Not being the most coordinated person in the world it was probably much safer for me and everyone around me if I just slowed my roll and focused on not spilling water. The package on the label says it takes two minutes for the tablet to dissolve… it definitely took closer to four minutes for me. And that was with my shaking the water bottle to try and hurry things along.  I am really happy that I decided to test this product out because I definitely felt like it gave me a boost of energy that I sometimes loose around 40 minutes in.

Once I got the water situation situated, I took back to running. Much to my shock and amazement, I finished five miles in under an hour. The first time I’ve ever managed to accomplish that. Better yet, I still felt like I could run with no problem – no pain, no discomfort, no bathroom breaks.

Last week it took me 78 minutes to go six miles. This week is took about 72minutes.

Needless to say I was feeling pretty amazing at this moment. I didn’t realize when I was setting my distance I had chose 10K so the machine stopped here. I walked for a minute while I tried to figure out which button to push next. After making my selection, I kept running that last .80 of a mile. My final time was 83:30 with over 1000 calories burned. Unfortunately, the machine shut off abruptly but I am not sure if it was user error or if it was trying to save me from myself so I was unable to get a shot of the final details.

This was the first time during a long run where I’ve really felt that I can run for distance and not feel like I am going to die. I am interested to see how my numbers will improve as the weeks continue. Hopefully this isn’t some sort of fluke because I am really starting to believe that maybe I can run this marathon. Ridiculous.


Long Run Mistakes

On Saturday I completed my longest run to date.

To be honest, I don’t feel as if I had prepared myself properly to complete this task. Factors that  have led me to this conclusion:

  • Sleeping for twelve hours the night before
  • Eating a bowl of plain cereal for breakfast and nothing else.
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Lack of stretching

These seem like pretty rookie mistakes. I worry that if I eat too much I am going to make myself feel sick or too full when I do my long runs. I worry that if I eat too little I am going to starve and crash early when I know if I just had a snack I could go further. When I drink water, I fear that I will over drink thus causing me to weigh myself down. While I don’t always sleep for that long, I do require a lot of sleep. Twelve hours might’ve been a little bit too much. I don’t know if I gave my body enough time to wake up before starting which could’ve burned my energy early on. However, I feel like I am still very much in the learning process about what works well for me.

At 3.5miles I began to crash. My stomach started growling bad. I had to use the bathroom. Sweat was pouring off of me. And I began to talk myself out of pushing forward. I took a couple of minutes to walk trying to see if this would shake me out of the sudden funk I had landed in. No such luck.

Miraculously, my iPod sensed what I was feeling and selected a song so perfect for motivation.

The lyrics coupled with the beat came blasting into my ears literally begging the question “Where’s YOUR head at?” Before I knew it, I am talking myself back into the game. Quite possibly out loud and louder than I’d like to admit considering the volume was turned all the way up on the headphones.

Where was my head at? For a little under a quarter of a mile it was totally done with running for the day. But, I kicked the speed up and just powered through the last mile and a half despite all of my personal factors working against me.

I’ve written before about how music is the lifeblood to my workout. Saturday proved my point to myself for the umpteenth time. I ended up walking out of the gym patting myself on the back for sticking it out despite my uneducated lack of preparation. Will music be there to push me through the next time this happens? I’m not sure, but I do know I am going to at least go in a bit more prepared.

What have you done to better prepare yourself for a long run? Have you had a similar situation with your iPod knowing exactly what you need to hear? Any tips for how to get out of your head and keep yourself motivated during 5+ mile runs? Let’s discuss!

Fartleks is a Funny Word

As part of training, I’ve been instructed to do speed work or what is also known as Fartleks. I pronounce it FART-leks and I usually can’t say it without cracking a smile. Immaturity at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. No shame here.

*If you’re like me and are pretty much a newbie to running, you should probably be doing some sort of speed work or interval sprinting. It makes sense when you think about it, you want to get faster and increase your stamina so you perform better and win races. Sounds pretty simple.

**From what I’ve researched online (Google seriously knows the answer to everything) and based on the advice of others (thank you friends!), the way to do a Fartlek workout is as follows:

Warm-up/Easy jog : 10-15minutes
Hard: 2minutes
Easy: 2:30minutes
Hard: 3minutes
Easy: 2:30minutes
Hard: 4minutes
Easy: 2:30minutes
Hard: 4minutes
Easy: 2:30minutes
Hard: 3minutes
Easy: 2:30minutes
Hard: 2minutes
Easy: 2:30minutes
Cool Down: 10-15minutes

I think you’re supposed to be jogging in between each sprint, but I know I need to work on graduating to that. I jogged my usual pace for the warm-up, about a 12 minute mile. And then I kicked it up to 6mph for each sprint. For the easy parts, I brought it down to a walking pace of a 4.0mph because I honestly needed to catch my breath. Also, I adjusted the warm up and cool down times so it would fit into the time limit I had which was about 40 minutes.

I did expect to have my butt handed to me during this workout. That is exactly what I got. This is a workout I will be making time to do at least once a week. Not really sure if I could do it more than that because my legs feel like bricks today.

I felt really terrible for everyone who was sandwiched in close to me on the metro because I don’t think I’ve ever sweated that much in my entire life.

Sweat so much my mascara ran down my face.

 Do you do speed work? Has it helped you improve your time? Are you a fan of Fartleks or do you prefer to do something else like HIIT? Any suggestions for helping me get to a point where I can jog during the easy parts instead of brisk walk? Let’s discuss!

*I am NOT A DOCTOR or any sort of medical professional. Also, I have zero certifications in anything physical fitness related. I am seriously just  going off of advice given to me. Advice that was not provided by a doctor or a trainer.

**Google will lead to you tons of sources like this and this and this. Your friends, if they are nice, will just be like “GIRL! GO for IT!”