Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pace Yourself & Other Helpful Sites

Like I said during my first week of marathon training, my time goal (besides "just finish") is under 6 hours. Hopefully that's doable based on my usual pace.

Of course, there's no knowing how strong/weak/injured/tired/hungry I'll really be at the tail end of the marathon, but I kind of love the existence of a calculator that helps you guesstimate with some confidence.

Look at all the choices!
I like this page from Runner's World because it offers more than just the usual pace calculator. Plus, that link to create a wristband? Super awesome! So many runners write paces on their arms anyway; this is just easier to clean up!

I've also been reading a ton of articles on marathoning. I'm trying not to let myself get overwhelmed. That's why an article like this one is so helpful:
 I mean, people have written approximately a gazillion books on what to do/not do when running any distance ever. Neatly packaging these things into ten easy-to-remember no-nos is extremely helpful and way less overwhelming.

As the school year raises its head (I've spent the last two days getting my classroom together and open house is Saturday), I've been having trouble getting back into good sleeping habits. Last night we went out for Matt's birthday (because I'll be working on his actual birthday), and I slept in so late today I'm almost embarrassed to admit it but..."breakfast" was totally "lunch".
They came out to celebrate on a work night, and it's not even actually his birthday yet! I'm impressed.
But I know I need to get back to running at 4:30 in order to fit everything else into my day, and I'm hoping I can start that routine this week. (Also, motivating myself to get up when I have no one to meet? Not at all easy! I'm really going to have to test my willpower here.)

I've shared this site before. I absolutely love it! I stress less about getting enough hours, and the recommendations based on REM cycles really do seem to hold water.

I know I'm going to be facing some scheduling challenges in the next couple weeks. It's time to really walk-the-walk and make training a priority so I don't fall behind. I'm going to actually have to learn to be organized!

...Oy. That seriously goes against my nature. Wish me luck!

Which websites do you find helpful?
How do you fit your workouts into your busy schedule?
It's Wednesday! How's your week going so far?


Monday, July 29, 2013

MTWR 2 & 3

The hardest part about following a training schedule is the lack of flexibility. Like most runners, I hate to know I've missed a workout or didn't complete it the way it should have been done. But life sometimes gets in the way, and I think it's the mark of a true athlete when you can roll with the punches.

We have to remember that no one is forcing us to do this! Running is supposed to be fun, and that means we have to let life happen and enjoy it!

Weeks 2 and 3 of marathon training weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I did what I could, I was honest about where I fell short, and this week I'm ready to make some changes and buckle down.

Monday, July 15 (week 2)
Tuesday, July 16
3 miles. Treadmill; quick workout before leaving for CA.
Wednesday, July 17
3 miles. Hilly and hot in CA.
Thursday, July 18
5 miles on the boardwalk at Hermosa Beach, CA.
Friday, July 19
Hiking/cross training
Saturday, July 20
Hiking/cross training
Sunday, July 21
Rest. Missed my long run.
Monday, July 22 (week 3)
Tuesday, July 23
5 miles in Santa Barbara
Wednesday, July 24
Rest (flight home)
Thursday, July 25
Friday, July 26
3.5 miles. Aimed for 5, but felt sick. Jet lag, maybe?
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Xtraining. 2:00 plank, ab roller, flat band, 50 walking lunges, bicep curls, triceps/back (20x2), bridges & swaying bridges. At home.
Sunday, July 28
3.37 miles. Felt really sluggish. Very humid and my legs hurt. Might switch Xtraining back to original plan so long runs come first.

In California, I missed my 9 mile long run. I was okay with that because the amount of walking we were doing was keeping me on my feet and I wasn't really taking any "rest" days.

My long run yesterday was terrible. It was only supposed to be 6 miles, but my legs cramped up and I barely made it more than 3. As I was finishing the run and going through possible causes (humidity, dehydration, fatigue, jet lag, new shoes...) I realized that doing lunges and weighted leg exercises the day before probably was a contributing factor.

So I'm going to switch cross-training back to the day after the long run. Hopefully that shows some improvement.

On Facebook, I belong to the Women's Running Community. I love following it because someone is always asking something I was wondering, and someone else always has the answer. WRC has local chapters, too, but I haven't found any near me.

Anyway, they posted this last week and I just had to share it.

We've all seen lists of reasons why running is awesome, but seriously. This? This tops them all.

Any list that mentions our closeted love of boybands (or 80s divas...I am totally guilty of running to Whitney Houston), forgetting our ladylike facades, and lowering our tolerance is a list I can live by.

So here's to a great week of training, and an infinite number of things to add to this fantastically perfect list.

What's your #10 reason running doesn't suck?
What's the most embarrassing thing on your playlist?
How did your training go last week?
What's on your plate for this week?


Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Next Big Thing

I'm beginning to recognize that I have a tendency to know I love something, but be super tempted to try the "next big thing".
I am a notoriously bad running shoe buyer. As much as I know what I love, I really hate the price tag. Asics Kayano, which are my all-time favorite running shoe, are $150 a pop.

Other things working against them, according to today's running rhetoric: they're not very "trendy". They don't promote midfoot strike! They don't simulate barefoot running! They're the opposite of minimalist and weigh 9oz!

When I went to get new shoes before leaving for California, I went in with a list of shoes to try, some that were a step more toward minimalist but still considered support shoes.

Except for the Trance, which is even bulkier than the Kayano.
The bottom line, I think, is that I like the feeling of having cushioned feet! Plus, I'm looking at 26.2 miles. I don't think switching to a less-cushioned shoe is really smart at this point.

So, "next big thing" set aside for now, I went for the "other big thing", this time by switching up brands.

Like I said, the Kayano was heavenly. But after 230 miles, I began to get twinges in my legs that I associate with worn-out shoes. I run primarily on concrete, and I know this wears shoes out really quickly, but I was really disappointed in just how quickly.

I bought some new inserts and these helped for awhile, but now that my shoes are well over the 300-mile mark, it was time for new shoes. Preferably, new shoes that last longer.

These purple Brooks Adrenaline saw me to my latest 5k PR, but were just too small in the toe.
I decided to look at Brooks. They're being touted as the ultimate in running shoes right now. They apparently last a really long time (if you're not wearing the PureCadence or PureFlows, which have a more minimalist sole). They're comparable in price and feel to Asics. Matt loves his. So I gave them a try.

Originally I tried an 8, because I wear an 8 in the Kayano. But I quickly realized there were too small. They were my "true" size. I like my running shoes extra roomy.

After California, I returned the first pair of Brooks Adrenalines for a half size up. (Fit2Run has a 30-day-return guarantee for club can tear your shoes to shreds trying them out, and they'll take them back, no questions asked.)
The Brooks Adrenaline beside my beloved Asics Kayano. They're all-around a more narrow shoe.
Yesterday I did my first run in my new Brooks Adrenalines. (They didn't have purple in the 8.5, so I opted for lime green. I didn't want another pair of blue shoes.) I had to immediately change how these were laced; the tongue really bit into the top of my foot. But once I skipped the middle eyelet, as usual, they felt great.

Nice cushion and support in the arch.
 My feet felt cushioned but not weighed down. A run in new shoes really is the best thing ever.

I had some leg twinges, but I'm not sure if they were caused by traveling (8+ hours sitting) or what. Also, I felt extremely sick. Like, almost throwing up sick. I think the jet lag and lack of sleep were still getting to me, because I planned to do 5 miles and called it quits at 3.5.
Both shoes have great arch-support.
You know that lightheaded/overheated/cold sweat/nausea-coming-in-waves feeling? Yeah, not really a good thing to push through at a crowded gym.

I need to learn that sometimes what works for other runners just doesn't work for me. I like to feel comfortable, and I don't think my stride or gait is inefficient. So why change up what I know works?

Anyway, I'm excited to continue trying out the new shoes. I hope the Adrenaline can be my new go-to, match-made-in-heaven shoe!

What shoes do you swear by?
Are you a sucker for the "next big thing"?
Are you brand loyal when it comes to running clothes, shoes, and accessories?


Thursday, July 25, 2013

California...The Rest of It

There's seriously nothing like a week's vacation and a five hour plane ride to make you appreciate coming home!

Matt and I are back safely from our trip to Los Angeles. After sleeping in way too late today, we're trying to get back into the usual grind. Today's post isn't about running or marathon training or prepping for back-to-school stuff. Today's post is about pictures.

Lots and lots of pictures.

When I last wrote, we had enjoyed two days of California sight-seeing. So let's pick up where we left off!

Day 3: Point Dume, Malibu Wine, Griffith Park, and Venice

Point Dume is a beautiful national reserve outside of LA. You may recognize the cliffs from the Iron Man movies; Tony Stark's house is superimposed on them! We hiked up to the top for a beautiful view, then hiked down to the beach to enjoy the crashing of the waves and watch the surfers.

Beaches in California are rocky and chilly; not at all the Florida beaches I'm used to! It's pretty cool that so many of the beaches require a little mountain climbing to see them.

Matt and Scott hiking up Point Dume
View from the top
Enjoying the view
Walking along the bottom of Point Dume...Yes, that is a rusted-out car transmission at my right.
After leaving Point Dume, we headed to a winery in Malibu and enjoyed a wine tasting. We each got a different flight and took detailed notes of which wines we liked. It was a great way to unwind after scaling those cliffs.
One of Matt's groomsmen and his fiancee were in LA from Florida as well (small world!), so we headed over to Griffith Park to see them. It was getting dark, but we were able to hike up for some blurry pictures of the Hollywood sign. We also got to spend some time at the Griffith Observatory.

Shane, Mark, Matt and me...and the tiny Hollywood sign in the background
Scott, me, and Matt
View of LA from the Observatory. Talk about light pollution!
But wait, day three wasn't yet over! Some of our good friends from college had moved to LA a couple years ago, so we stopped by the Sunny Spot in Venice to have a couple drinks and catch up.

Stetson alum, reunited.
Day 4: San Diego and La Jolla

Remember how I mentioned that Matt really likes to go-go-go on vacation? Well, I was able to win a battle for once. We headed down to San Diego to check out of the zoo.

If you were keeping up with Instagram, you know I embarrassed myself in public by doing lunges throughout the zoo. We enjoyed the honor of seeing three of the 14 Giant Pandas in captivity in the US...we also saw red pandas, which I am in love with.

I'm actually really torn about zoos in general; I think animals should be left in their wild habitats. Throughout the day my mood fluctuated between giddy and melancholy. But still, I'm glad we were able to go.

Outside the zoo! It was very chilly and even drizzled while we were there.
Bai Yun chowing down on some bamboo.
Red pandas are basically bear-foxes. CUTEST THING EVER.
After the zoo, we opted to skip the Gaslamp District because ComiCon was going on and we didn't want to be trapped by the masses. Instead, we went to La Jolla to see the seals and eat dinner.

Seals are basically the sloths of the sea, and man do they stink!
Overlooking the cliffs.
I was surprised by how cold California is in July. Not exactly what I'm used to.

Day 5: Manhattan Beach Pier

We pretty much spent Sunday doing nothing. We had brunch at Manhattan Beach at a place called The Kettle, which was amazing. We walked the pier and checked out the aquarium, which was terrifying. After a day of wandering, we picked up food to cook at home with Mark and Shane. It was a nice, lowkey day.
For some reason I really enjoy scaring myself with sea life.
The starfish were really cool, and you were allowed to touch them!
Day 6: Museum of Natural History and the Angels Game

Our plan for day 6 was originally to rent a car, go for a run, travel to Santa Barbara, and see the Angels play the Twins. However, it took us over an hour to get our car. Dejected, I agreed to put off the run. Instead, we went to Rodeo Drive and the Museum of Natural History.

I will never stop being amazed by the sheer size of dinosaurs. The LA MNH has a nice array of original fossils and casts. I was in heaven. I miss learning things!
Yes, I am that tourist. Also: more Sprinkles!
How can you not be awed and intrigued by that T. Rex skull?! And the Triceratops skulls are even bigger!
We met Scott and Robby-with-a-Y at the Angels game. We sat in the nosebleed section. It was interesting to be at a game and to really not care about the outcome. Matt actually ran into another Rays fan there! It was pretty nice to be in an outdoor stadium.

Overlooking the field.
Outside the stadium.
Day 7: Leo Carillo, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica Food Trucks, the Standard LA

Finally, on our last day in LA, we were able to take our rental car and drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. The views were simply gorgeous. We stopped in Leo Carillo, a spot our friend Alan insisted we see. I'm so glad we did! The views from the cliffs were phenomenal. I couldn't resist climbing some of the rock faces.
Paths along the top of the cliffs give way to stairs down to secluded mini-beaches.
Climbing the rock walls that surrounded one of the many beaches.
We cruised our way up to Santa Barbara and enjoyed a beautiful run along the boardwalk. It was sunny but windy; I must say, California is perfect for runners. Even when it's warm out, the breeze off the water is downright chilly.

(The downside is that is rarely rains out there, so running in the rain is basically impossible.)

We stopped along the run to check out the beach below us. After rinsing in the frigid beach showers, we checked out the courthouse gardens. We drove through the historic area, then headed back to LA.
We ran 2.5 miles uphill, then 2.5 miles down. What an easy way to ensure negative splits!
In the gardens of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

Matt and I both agreed that if we ever moved to California, Santa Barbara (or somewhere like it) would be our destination of choice.

We had dinner in Santa Monica. On Tuesdays, the food trucks in the area park on Main Street. We enjoyed the atmosphere while eating dinner in the grass.
Freshly grilled shrimp tacos.
Food truck craziness!
Scott, Robby, Scott's roommate Leighanne, and her boyfriend Gareth met us at the food trucks and we drove over to the Standard, a rooftop bar in LA. Alan and Doug met us out again, and we enjoyed the perfect weather and gorgeous views.

True heroes: going out and drinking on a Tuesday night.
10 points to anyone who recognizes the building directly behind us. Hint: think aliens...
As we left the Standard, a lovely stranger offered us homemade cake! Turns out she's the blogger behind Sitting in Bars with Cake. Her experiment - to bring cake to bars to meet men - is hilarious and tasty! She was super friendly and the cake was a divine way to end the night. (I'm hoping we get a little shout-out on her post for cake #22!)

We drove through WeHo but were too late to enjoy the drag show at Rage. Instead, we headed home. It was a good way to end our trip.

I can see why so many people love Cali! If we go again, we need to see San Fransisco, Yosemite, and a few other places Alan mentioned for white water rafting and the like. We had a great time...But I am 100% happy to be home!

When was your last big vacation?
What have you been up to while I've been away?
Link me to a blog post you wrote while I was gone that I really shouldn't miss!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Diet" is a Four Letter Word

As counterintuitive as it may sound, many women begin to see the numbers on the scale increasing along with their mileage. This can be blamed on gaining muscle, but it can also be caused by being "rungry"...You know, that feeling you get where no matter how much you're eating, you never feel full?

(I am going to spruce up this post with pictures of foods I'm eating on vacation. I'm enjoying every bite of them and intend to continue enjoying food even as I more carefully monitor my choices. Because food makes me happy and keeps me alive.)
Gluten free red velvet cupcake and ice cream?! YES PLEASE.
I make it a point to never step on a scale unless my pants suddenly stop fitting. I spent too many years weighing multiple times a day, stressing about the number, and letting the results determine my mood. I've never been "overweight", but eating disorders are rarely just about weight. The scale was a powerful and cruel master. 

I'm in a place now where I'm very happy with my health, fitness, and fit of my clothes. Until, of course, I went to pack my favorite jeans for California and realized the waistband was snug. Very snug.

Animal fries from In N Out Burger? YES PLEASE.
So how do you "diet" as a woman who has a history of disordered eating? You don't.

Diets don't work. Anything that asks you to drastically change how you eat, has a cutesy name, or seems unsustainable for a lifetime of eating isn't a good choice. 

And how we eat has to be about good choices. 

A good food lifestyle and relationship should allow you to enjoy foods you like, eat socially, avoid obsession, and fuel your body.

Crab mac n cheese in a homemade gouda and fontina sauce? YES PLEASE!
For me, this means I'm going to be more true to my motto: "Everything in moderation." Moderation is key, and I need to be eating with my lifelong health and marathon in mind.

The first step to this is to find out how much I actually burn a day. You can't just go around cutting huge chunks of calories out of your daily intake. Using this basal metobolic rate-calculating equation, I'm going to spend the next few days figuring out how much over my necessary intake I'm going, and why. 

(Hint: cheese-laden and dessert-oriented fare is probably the culprit.)

How will I measure success? Why, by how my favorite jeans fit, of course! The scale is just going to have to find another victim.

Linked within the BMR article is one about fad diets, and I thought I'd share some key points. This is generally why I dislike diets. (I have no idea why these won't line up like nice little soldiers. Just deal with it.)
I don't mean to sound like a paleo-basher, but the lack of evidence in support of this diet drives me nuts.

I've ranted on this before because I'm gluten free for actual health reasons. If you're going gf because you think gluten is inherently bad, you're doing it wrong. Also, if you're going gluten free and then eating gluten free pastas and breads, you're missing out on the conventional stuff, which is cheaper and can be way healthier. Whole grains, anyone? (Gluten free breads are notoriously high in calories and low in nutritional value.)
I feel so strongly about this. If you cut out an entire food group, you're depriving yourself. What happens when you tell yourself you can't have something? You obsess. It becomes all you want. The next thing you know, you're eating pounds of that "forbidden" food and feeling like a failure.

(Don't even get me started on "good", "bad", and "safe" foods.)

I really think the bottom line here is that if you love something, you should eat it. My idea of a healthy food lifestyle is one that allows you to be social, eat what you enjoy, and fuel your body to its optimum level.

Have you ever tried any crazy fad diets?
How do you monitor your food choices?
Have you ever gained weight during periods of more intense training?


Thursday, July 18, 2013

California...So Far

If I waited to do an update upon returning, I know the post would be novel-length and photo-heavy. So instead, I'm popping in after a very full day to update you all on the beginning of our trip!

We're staying with my brother-in-law, Scott, while we're here. While he was at work on Wednesday, Matt and I stopped in a park to get a run in. This was supposed to be a 5-miler for me, but these Florida legs are not accustomed to hills of any kind!
Cresting one of many hills...It was way steeper than it looks!
We called the run after three miles at a pretty pathetically slow pace. I would have been disappointed, but today I was able to do the five miles as planned, so I redeemed myself.
I took a short break to climb a tree and chase a squirrel.
After the run, we went to Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier and walked around. There's a ton to see! I love that the beaches have areas filled with vertical ropes and parallel bars - Californians seem to really love working out on the beach.
Mountains right beside the beach? Yes, please!
Self-serve yogurt...I got lemon and the original tart flavor. Matt got salted caramel popcorn yogurt!
Enjoying the beach together.
Finally, we walked along the Santa Monica promenade and watched some entertaining buskers. The best was a six year old Korean boy playing drums like a pro. I was super impressed.

We literally walked five hours straight yesterday. I'm shocked I was able to run today. (I wore my compression socks to bed.)
Sunset at Santa Monica Pier.
Rivaling Florida for gorgeous-points.
(Videos and pictures of the day are on Instagram!)

Today was super full. We got to Hermosa Beach early and rented Matt a longboard. He skated behind me while I tackled my five mile run.
What a good husband! He doesn't like to run two days in a row, but didn't want me to run alone in an unknown place!
The boardwalk that spans these beaches is 22 miles long; I ran into Manhattan Beach, then turned back.
Gorgeous beach on one side...
The run was much flatter (but not flat) and breezier, and the run felt perfect.
...Gorgeous houses on the other! (I am super excited about my new running shorts.)
We hung out on the beach for awhile and watched the volleyball tournament that was going on.
Stretching on the sand was great...doing planks on the sand was BRUTAL.
This photo makes me happy.
After the beach, we went to LACMA, the LA County Museum of Art. You may have seen the outdoor display in No Strings Attached. 
This is art, apparently.
I love getting to see original art by my favorite artists, especially Chagall, Matisse, Magritte, Pollock, Warhol, and Degas.
I look terrible, but I couldn't resist posting a pic of me beside a genuine Degas...We don't have a lot of art in Florida.
We also saw lots of contemporary art, like this awesome installment by Chris Burden:

My feet are absolutely exhausted! I'm glad my runs for the week are over for awhile!

Have you ever been to CA?
Do you like to rest on vacation, or go-go-go? I like to rest, but Matt loves sight-seeing and being active.
What style/time period of art do you like best?