Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Wear What You Eat

With the Thanksgiving holiday come and gone everyone seems to be diet/weight concentrated. Once a year most of us gather with family/friends, people we like and those we tolerate, to gorge on food and sip our favorite brew. This usually leaves us feeling bloated, lethargic, and we retreat to the couch in the hopes of a quick and painless digestion. Our poor bodies. Even being a vegetarian I couldn't help but sample all of the carb-overloaded potatoes, stuffing and pies, swearing to myself that I will work it off next week in the gym.

Several weeks before the holiday I noticed a surplus of articles and discussions come out on the different social media sites geared towards athletes: "What will you do to avoid holiday weight gain?" or "8 ways to avoid stuffing your face until you puke". Really? There's probably only one, not doing it, but I'm sure someone could come up with 7 others to make for a full article, and I'd still read it :)
Any who, the day after Thanksgiving I was having a conversation with my aunt about diet and how it effects our exercise....since 80% of it is what we put in our mouths. We gabbed a bit more about the impossible task of giving up diet coke and then she had mentioned that her sodium intake was up and that it was making her feel bloated. This got me to thinking....

In the past month I have been trying to keep consistent with a food journal but I was concentrating on the wrong things. I was focused primarily on the calories I was taking in when really I should have been looking at the sodium. Leading a busy lifestyle can put us in a vulnerable position, where we are all too quick to indulge in frozen, packaged and processed foods. I do. I love the Kashi meals in the frozen food aisle, but when I actually looked at the sodium content I was floored! No wonder I can't get rid of that last little bit of body fat! Sodium really is a secret killer to your diet, even if you're eating healthy, doesn't mean you're eating smart. So instead of getting worked up about one day of binge eating, we really should be more focused on the day to day intake. My aunt put it perfectly, "You wear what you eat". Maybe you are working out consistently, for an hour or two a day, but if you go home and feed your body crap you should probably expect it to stay there. If we could all physically see food sit on us or how much sodium we're really taking in, maybe we'd think twice before putting the last bite in our mouths. Food for thought friends

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It's that time of year again, where the water fountains on the lake path are turned off and that favorite sleeveless running jersey is replaced with long-sleeve underarmer. I found myself out on a run the other day, around 4:30pm, and I was racing the sunset, trying to get home before it got dark. All of my races have come to an end and I am officially in the "off-season". My last two races, the Monster Dash Half Marathon and the Hot Chocolate, were slightly disappointing I will say. Call me something of a RunNerd but I have become quite particular to CARA sponsored races. Neither of these were sponsored by them and maybe I'm being prissy but I felt like they could have been run better (pun intended). I was so turned off by the Hot Chocolate 15k that I don't think I will sign up for it next year--there were just too many people and not enough staff/organization/planning that went into carrying it out. The best part was probably that I was re-united with my lovely running partner again for the first time in a year! We ran together and caught up on all of life's happenings. And so ended my racing season.

With less structure and no training plan I have been doing my best to still run but indulge in some more weight training/core exercises. It gets tedious, going to the gym every morning or sometimes twice a day. I'm starting to feel like the definition of a gym rat and I have become a part of the "gym family". You know, the regulars who if you miss one day hound on you the next morning. I see them more than my actual family, so that has to count for something.

But I've also taken some time out to do some more "laid back" runs. Exploring new areas, some old favorite spots that will soon be covered with snow, and capturing some photos. I'm hoping having these will be something of a motivation for when I'm stuck inside or trying to take on the treadmill again....oh dear gaaawwwd the treadmill!

 Ending on an exciting note: I met with the coach lady the other day and we decided on a January 1st start date for training :D

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Everyone runs for a different reason, but that reason is specialized and meaningful to him/her. I started off as the girl who ran to relieve stress and transitioned into the crazy lady who races distances for a better time, every time. I had an interesting conversation with one of my friends the other day, we were talking on the phone while I was simultaneously cleaning out my closet. In the back of my rack I pulled out a size 8 pants. I remember buying these so so many months ago. It was one of my proudest days. Up until that point I had been a size 14/12 pants and for the first time since middle school I was finally a single digit size. So I said to my friend, "Why do I keep these pants, my 4s are starting to hang off me, why do I have these?" I asked in a rhetorical fashion but she responded with, "To remember where you came from." I have such clever friends with such tactful responses. So I folded the jeans and put them back in the closet.

This is my Type One: Run it off. A lot of people get into running to lose weight. I mean I certainly started noticing the benefits when I kept needing to buy new clothes and stepping on the scale with a "Are you serious?!" response. For an average runner, one mile will burn about 100 calories, give or take. So as you get into longer runs it starts to add up. The challenge for this runner is probably in diet. If you run often or you run long, making sure you eat enough/not too much can be a tricky thing to balance. I would often times come home from a 3 hour workout, starving, throw back a bunch of nutella and toast and pass out. Probably not the best idea. Counting calories was more important to me when I was this type of runner than the kinds of foods I was eating.

So when you run long you get lean right? As a runner, your ego can be your best friend and your worst enemy all at the same time. As I started to take on longer races, like the half marathon, I noticed that I was dropping weight but I was starting to become more interested in my pace, time and how far I could go. One weekend, when I was training for my first half marathon, I remember being dropped off 7 miles out from where I was staying, in corn-field WI and told to run back. I ran through rain, sun, past turkeys that I thought were going to eat me and made it back. That was the longest I had run at that point and damn did I feel good. But when I ran the actual race itself (13.1) I was mortified with my nearly 3 hour time.

Type Two: Running for Time: This was the runner I had evolved into. Having a few races under my belt my objective shifted from just finishing the race to meeting a goal time. This didn't come easy. I started changing up my lifestyle. At this point I was a full fledged vegetarian but I did a lot of research about how my increased intake of carbs was holding me back from dropping to a smaller size, which ultimately would allow me to have a faster pace. I also started befriending a lot of runners and asking for tips. They directed me to the weight room where I learned the importance of lifting and the benefits of having a strong core. My lifestyle was starting to shape around the sport of running and my daily routine, around my workouts.

I was so much involved in this sport of running, I was working at a gym part time for a free membership, talking to everyone who came through about the sport and even making some really valuable connections. One of which was my triathlon coach. I met her one day as she came through the gym with her Ironman hat on. We chit-chatted here and there when she came through and before you know it I was approaching her about coaching me for my first half Ironman. I worked with her for 16 weeks with an outlined training plan and a mix of different workouts. I never learned more about my body/working out than I did when I was training for this even. HIIT training, plyometrics, circuits, and box jumps were just some of what I got myself into on top of endurance training. With all of these new workouts I was seeing a change in myself, mentally and physically, like never before and I knew this was the person I wanted to be.

Type 3: The Runnerd. Ok I have to admit I didn't come up with that one, BUT it is quite witty. I like to think that this is where I am at. Completely in love with the sport of running/triathlons. I find myself reading articles about core strength, tips on biking, retweeting professional triathletes and subscribing to as many blogs as possible. Each workout I do is now focused to improve my overall strength and ability rather than burning calories. I do my best to write down what I eat every day, at what time and I put a lot of focus on my protein intake. I can see myself being a part of this sport long term and love talking to everyone about it....that must be annoying :P But overall the best part about this type is knowing that I have worked through each of the other two and that's how I'm here today. Running/racing define me and drive a lot of my motivation in life. It's been an evolution of sorts though. The person we become is determined by the choices we make.