Apr 14, 2014

All the Long Runs

It's less than three weeks until the Wisconsin Marathon, which means it's officially Taper Time!

(get it?)
I know you've all been wondering how those long runs of mine went. I'm proud to say I got 3 out of 4 of them done, which is nothing short of a miracle given how much Chicago weather sucks and how low my motivation has been lately.

LR #1 - A 16 miler I got in about 3 weeks ago. It was COLD and WINDY. I'm so freaking tired of the cold. If there's one thing I've discovered living up here in the great tundra of the Midwest, it's how much I loathe winter running. It's just not for me. I hate every part of it. I did this run on an out-and-back course with the out being magical and the back sucking the big one. Can you guess which one was into the wind? I averaged about 9:45 per mile, which I thought was pretty flipping fantastic.

LR #2 - An 18 miler that was ever so slightly more enjoyable than the previous 16 miler, even though looking back on my Garmin stats, it said it was 34 degrees (good God my perspective of 'pleasant' weather has been morphed into something sick). Again, I did this run on an out-and-back, but a different one (variety is the spice of life). The snow had just melted on the crushed limestone trail and I felt like I was running on wet sand the whole time. I picked Crazy Face up for the last 3 miles. I averaged 10:09/mile, which considering the sand I was running on, isn't too shabby.

LR #3 - The elusive 20 miler… this run was hands down the most terrifying run I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Again, I chose an out-and-back path, except this time I had to drive to the start, which was in a forest preserve (read: middle of nowhere). The weather was quite delightful to start out with- 50s and sunny. But things quickly took a turn for the worse. The further out I got, the cloudier it became. As I neared mile 8, I had this awful feeling that I needed to turn around. I pulled out my phone to look at the radar, and then I saw it: my impending doom. The wind picked up, it got dark, and thunder started rumbling. My sunny (dare I say happy) 20 miler turned into a 'sprint for my life back to my car so I don't die from a lightning strike' run. Here, have some Garmin stats!


Mile 11 is when I saw the first flashes, mile 12 is where I hid underneath an overpass contemplating if I was going to call David to come pick me up. Mile 13-14 was me trying to 'tough it out' and mile 15 was me basically running for dear life and screaming every time a crack of lightning flashed through the sky.  


After 5 excruciating miles (hello speed training!) I found cover in the visitor's center of the forest preserve. I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry, vomit, or pee my shorts. It's a strange feeling being out in the middle of nowhere, in a thunderstorm, knowing that there is no safe place to take cover. One I'd really love to never repeat. I returned soaking wet, but I was safe. And more so, I found cover just in time before the hail came down. 

Look closely, you'll see those evil balls of ice on the ground behind me
I waited the storm out before I ventured out to my car. At that point, I was too emotionally frayed to finish the last five miles outside (stop judging me), so I drove home and finished them on the treadmill. They were not a pleasant 5 miles, but they got done.

Overall pace for these 20 miles- 10:15/mile.

So there you go. I've built a decent base for this marathon, but I've only been able to get three decent long runs in. I really have no idea what to expect on marathon day, other than the standard pain and torment of running a marathon. 

(just because)

Mar 25, 2014

Opinions

Alternatively titled: The Post Where I Get Out All My Snark.

As a wise man told me when I was growing up, "Opinions are like butt holes. We've all got them, and they all stink just a little."

(that wise man was my dad)

I try my hardest not to always be that person that goes around freely offering my advise to people around me who probably couldn't give two flicks of a rat's tail about what I have to say (do you like how I censored that?).

As someone who refrains from eating meat (I hate how pretentious the word vegetarian sounds), I've heard so many one liners from people who feel it's God's mission in life to tell me the truth about my diet. And on top of that, I'm a runner and people always have to tell me how I'm slowly killing my joints and how I'm going to have degenerative arthritis at the ripe old age of 40.


Not that I'm saying it's easy to keep your mouth shut when there's something you really want to say.

One thing I really like about my job is how we are encouraged to be healthy (well, forced to adhere to certain physical standards, but whatev…). As a result, everyone is an expert on healthy living, eating, and exercising.

Everyone.


For example, back when I was NROLFW-ing (ha, remember that, way back when?!) I had someone come up to me in the gym and tell me, "you know, if you ever get serious about weight lifting, you'll get the right shoes." I looked down at my beloved Brooks, and looked back up at him. Really, dude?!

As well intentioned as I'm sure he was, I doubt he realized he was being both judgmental and condescending at the same time.

1. I'm not wearing the gear you think is right therefor I don't know what I'm doing.
2. Because I don't know what I'm doing, I'm not serious.
3. Because I'm not serious, I don't care about the health of my body.


I have a point to my ranting ramblings, I swear.

Maybe the next time you see someone weight lifting in a pair of running shoes, just give them a thumbs up because hey, they're actually at the gym trying. When you see a friend running in cotton, give them the runner's nod because let's be honest, running is not easy. When your colleague pounds a protein shake after 20 minutes on the elliptical, don't roll your eyes because at least they're trying to be conscious about what they're eating <---- that one is for me, honestly.

Everyone has their opinions, but unless they ask for yours, maybe keep your mouth shut, because I'm pretty sure even yours smells. Just a little.

Got some snark you want to let out? Let me have it!

Mar 16, 2014

Adapt and Overcome

Adapt and overcome.

Two words that couldn't hold more truth to me right now.

When I registered for the Wisconsin Marathon nearly three months ago, there was no way to know that we were in for a $h!t-storm of a Winter here in the Grand 'Ol Midwest.


Apparently, this has been the third coldest winter in history for Chicago. I had no idea the sidewalks or running trails would be unusable for three months straight and I would be confined to the treadmill (maybe people closer to the city have better sidewalk cleaners….).

There was no way I could have known that I would have to take three weeks off from running due to a highly irritated achilles tendon as a result of three months of 30+ treadmill mile weeks. Actually, there might have been a way to know that running 30 miles on a treadmill was a bad idea. I just didn't possess that knowledge. I do now.


I haven't touched a treadmill in so long and thankfully, my foot has calmed down. I did 10 (pain free) miles outdoors yesterday and I'm so sore today that I can barely walk. My cardiovascular endurance was great, but my muscles feel like death. How will I be able to get in an 18 or 20 miler in just a few weeks?

I say these things for this one reason- I have no idea if I'm going to be able to run the Wisconsin Marathon in seven short weeks. And there's nothing I hate more than failing to achieve a goal.

But alas, adapt and overcome. 

I can't change the weather, nor can I change the past three months of my training. All I can do is focus my sights forward and press on. Hopefully the Universe will align and all the unicorns will bestow me their magical powers and my next 5 long runs will be miraculous.



Yeah, just like that.  

Feb 21, 2014

Ode to Cottage Cheese

I'm going to post a photo that's so entirely original of a healthy-living blogger that it's going to blow your mind. No, really. Brace yourself for this totally new idea never seen before…


OMG IT'S A SALAD!!!


Ok, now that I have the sarcasm out of my system… why am I sharing a picture that you've already seen a million times before on the internet? Well, because of what's on top. I've finally rekindled my relationship with cottage cheese and I thought I should tell you about it.

Tell you more? Well ok!

Did I ever tell you guys about how I got sent to the hospital while in bootcamp? Yeah, it was great. On day three I passed out in the chow hall and got a chauffeured ride in an ambulance to the ER for a luxurious two day/two night stay. Something about an immune system that was already run down (running a marathon with bronchitis 2 weeks before wasn't the smartest idea), going three days with no sleep, being exposed to germs from literally all over the world, and OH YEAH BEING FORCED TO EAT MEAT when you haven't done so in over 10 years was just too much for my poor little body to handle. I believe the medical term for what I had was "acute gastroenteritis." But in laymen's terms, it's called "OMG MY INSIDES ARE EXPLODING OUT OF MY BUTT."


So after two days of needle-torture (IVs, blood tests, everything) and more Imodium than I care to admit, they sent me back to bootcamp with strict orders to remain meat-chaste and get as much bland protein in me as possible.

So in a fit of desperation, I plopped a spoonful of cottage cheese atop my salad and ate that every.single.day for two months.

After I graduated bootcamp, I never touched the stuff again. Until today, that is.

Welcome back, cottage cheese!

PS- I recommend mixing cottage cheese with a little bit of barbecue sauce and using that instead of salad dressing. Barbecue sauce makes everything taste better.

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In running news, I have officially completed by third outdoor run this winter season. I'm proud to report I covered 4 miles and didn't fall once, which is pretty impressive given the amount of black ice, aka death, that we have right now.


Running on the sidewalks was completely out of the question (see above photo), so I stuck to the roads. And even they were pretty slick. There were many times I had to stop and tiptoe through an icey patch. Thanks to the rain from yesterday and the freezing temps today, I believe my 14 (!!!) mile run will have to be on the treadmill tomorrow. Please think of me as I drive (or rather, run) myself insane.

Spring, where art thou?



Feb 16, 2014

Eat the rainbow, and not in Skittles

Well you guys…. I did it!


I'm officially a trained ACFL (and future CFL)! I successfully completed the week long course, passed the physical requirements (PT test), and the final exam at the end <--- that's what I was really nervous about.

I also learned a lot of challenging weightlifting ideas and circuit routines that I'm eager to try out on my own, as well as with the rest of the command. But probably the most beneficial part of the class was when we had a registered dietitian come in to speak with us. Here are a couple of interesting tidbits I wrote down:

(I'm not trained as a dietitian so DO NOT take this as absolute fact… talk to your doctor if you have issues/questions/concerns)

-One gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories, one gram of protein has 4 calories, one gram of fat has 9 calories, and one gram of alcohol has 7 (!!) calories.

-We need a MINIMUM of 140 grams of carbs per day. So all those people that go on low carb diets are stupid. But we knew that already.

-If you over eat what your body needs, it turns into fat (or you pee it out). So all those people that eat ten trillion grams of protein a day are also stupid.

-The deal with FATS: mono and poly UNsaturated fats are healthy, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated fats should be limited to about 20 grams per day (those are mostly found in meat and dairy).

-Trans fats in general should be avoided. I believe the USDA is in the process of banning them all together. So when you see fully or partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredient list, put the food down and walk away. Most foods that have these kinds of fats are pre-packaged, shelf-type foods. Changing the type of fat enhances shelf life, but it's terrible for our bodies.

-Drink half your weight in ounces in non-alcoholic fluids per day (so a 150 pound person should be drinking 75 oz of nonalcoholic fluids)

-Stop eating when you're content, NOT when you're full. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it's full.

-Many American's make poor food choices at night when they've already met their caloric intake for the day. It seems obvious, but I'm definitely guilty of eating too much for dinner at night, or snacking in front of the TV just because I'm bored.



-"Eat the rainbow." Try to eat every color every day. Each color has a different purpose (antioxidants, lowering cholesterol, increasing brain functioning, etc). To learn more, go HERE.

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I was going to get at least part of my long run done outside today, but when I woke up it was in the teens and fresh snow was on the sidewalks and streets. I've accepted the fact that I'm just going to run in cold, but I'm too terrified to run on slippery roads (none of them had been cleaned) and icy sidewalks.

So instead I hit up the treadmill- 10 miles at 1% incline and 9:48/mile. I'm REALLY hoping the warm up later this week will melt some snow and at the very least, clean off the sidewalks.

The temperature in the treadmill run before I started was 66. When I finished, it was a balmy 78 with one trillion percent humidity. The dogs quickly set up camp as soon as I let them back in (I have to shut the door when I run or else Crazy Face will jump on the treadmill with me) to soak up some vitamin D.


Do you keep track of what you eat? Calories, fats, etc?

Do you "eat the rainbow?"

Feb 12, 2014

Self perspective

I saw this article pop up on my Facebook newsfeed and new I needed to share it will you all.

The Athletes Body - Love Your Body in Motion

















It's a pretty short blog post, so you should take the time to read it. Especially if you're a runner (or swimmer or biker or workout enthusiast) and struggle with your body imagine.

But basically, the article says this: looks can be deceiving and just because you don't look a certain way, doesn't mean your body isn't just as capable of performing extraordinary things (and vise versa). The two runners pictured look very different, and if you were to take them out of the 'sports setting' and put them in a beach-and-bikini setting, the athlete on the right, Zeunka, would appear to be much more fit that the athlete on the left, Theisen.

But obviously that's total crap because both women have made it to the Olympics and are accomplishing extraordinary things.

It took me a long time to accept my body for what it is, and I still have days where I wish I had more of this or less of that. It wasn't until I started running long distances that I started really appreciating my body and everything it was capable of. I hate that I have big hips and broad shoulders, but those things are what helped me be the swimmer I was in order to finish my first triathlon. I've always hated being tall, and I think my legs jiggle more than I like, but it's those exact legs that have carried me across the finish lines of marathons and ultra marathons. My legs, in all their jiggling glory, ran my ultimate personal distance record of 43 miles. How incredible is that? And my feet- I think they're so wide and mannish, but they carried me over 20 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation change as I ran across the Grand Canyon.

So maybe the next time you look at yourself in the mirror, don't see your legs as too chubby, or your belly as too flabby, or your shoulders too broad. When you look in the mirror, try to see the incredible human body that you have pushed on countless occasions to run one more mile, do one more set up push ups, or achieve one more PR.


******************

What's that you say? You want another sweaty gym selfie? Well, ooooookkkkkkay =)


Don't be jealous of my hooyah-Navy outfit. Ok, you can be jealous. It swishes when I walk. But you shouldnt be jealous of the PT uniform I was wearing underneath. It's laaaaame.

What's that? You want to see it? Ok, well here it is. About 100 times over.


I've decided the best form of entertainment while on the treadmill is watching A School students do their group PT sessions. Although the smell is a little overwhelming….

*************************

Do you struggle with body image issues? How have you overcome it? Running!

Are you a regular gym selfie picture taker? I cringe every time I say the word selfie because I think it's so lame… so please know whenever you see me use that word, there is a metric ton of sarcasm involved.

Feb 10, 2014

Selfie Newb

I've been doing some thinking lately about my blog and the direction I want to go with it. When I started my blog, I was just getting into running half marathons and everything was new and exciting and worth posting about. Now I kind of feel like all those topics have become mundane- like we've been there already. I've definitely played with the idea of turning my 'running' blog into more of a 'healthy living' blog.

Yes, I saw you cringe at that last sentence.

But really, when I started blogging, I didn't have a full time job like I do now, and I could scour over ten trillion training plans and do double workouts because I only worked part time. Now, there are so many other things that are occupying my life and instead of fitting everything into my running schedule, I'm having to fit my running into my work/life schedule.

Yes, I saw you roll your eyes at that last sentence.

Anywho, this is just a public service announcement to say, "no really, LMYR is expanding into more than just running." I used to post multiple times per week, was active on Twitter, had a modest following (haha, I feel ridiculous even typing that last part). Now, with updating only once per month and very rarely using my twitter thingy, I feel so disconnected from the interwebz and all the healthy living/running bloggers out there. So… long story short, I'm going to try to post more.

Girl Scout's promise.

I guess I'll ramp this new blogging style up with a work update. BUT FIRST, please help in congratulating me on actually getting out in the snow for a cold run! Wooohooo!!!

Don't let the thumbs up trick you, I still hate the winter
So work… as I've mentioned before, physical fitness is kind of a thing in the military. As in, we have to be physically active and fit. If you score high enough in our biannual PT test, you're eligible to be a PT leader of sorts. Since I love running and a good sweat, I decided this position was definitely for me.

Even though I'm pretty low ranked, my command has enough faith in me to send me to a week long training course that every 'command fitness leader' (aka: CFL) goes through for certification (usually people are a little higher up in the food chain than an E4 to be a CFL). You learn tons of exercises, warm ups, cool downs, stretches, techniques for improving fitness, as well as how to do all that fun paperwork that only government employees can appreciate (a little over a year in the Navy and I no longer question why it takes monumental lengths of time to get anything done in our government).

Today was the first day of this week long class. We took a PT test this morning (to ensure everyone is physically qualified to be a CFL) and then spent the rest of the morning doing a ton of core exercises (every variation of a plank imaginable) as well as some other body-weight strengthening. My glutes are screaming obscenities at me right now.

While I'm digging the physical training aspect of this course, I'm a little overwhelmed by the "Navy side" of everything since I haven't been in for too long. There's a form and a document and an instruction and a 1957.395J something or another article for anything and everything imaginable. Hopefully my brains will be as strong as my bronze and I'll pass the test at the end.

head = explode
brain = mush
When I got home I collapsed on the couch for two hours. And then this cute thing snuggled up.

 ****************

On another random note, I've officially landed my first brand ambassadorship (not that it was highly competitive or anything). I'm officially a Swirl Gear ambassador! Now I get to take "selfies" of my sweaty self in the locker room like 99% of the rest of you healthy living bloggers. Maybe after a little more practice, I'll learn not to get the tampon machine in the back ground.


I've only had one workout with my Swirl Gear, but I can already tell I'm going to love it. More details coming soon, after I've had a chance to thoroughly sweat through more Swirl Gear apparel. But seriously, you should go check their stuff out, and use the code swirlon to receive free ground shipping- swirlgear.com

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One more random tidbit before I say goodnight. We had a gig the other night and had our very own changing/chill/warm up/hang out area. It made me feel cool. You know you want to be my friend….