Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Your Time, Really??

This is so true - when we run a race, especially a full or half marathon, we have our official "chip" time, and then we have our unofficial time, i.e., the time we think we really deserved.

You can tell when someone is talking unofficial time, because they say things like: "Well, I ran that marathon in 4:15, but I really ran it in 4:05 because I got a cramp and had to stop for a minute at mile 10, then I had to pee at mile 15 then, I stopped to tie my shoe at mile 18. So technically, I ran much faster than 4:15."

Usually the issues that slow us down are:
  • cramps
  • dehydration
  • toilet issues
  • weather (wind, heat especially)
  • hills
  • mental anguish
  • painful blisters
  • "I'm sick of this *&!$ and want to stop"
But the list is truly endless.

When I ran my first marathon in January, my chip time was 4:03. But I like to think my real time was under four hours because I had to stop in the dookie house (urban name for porta potty) and that took at least 3:02. Then on my recent half marathon, if had just not crapped my pants, I could have done a 1:50 instead of a 1:52. I am sure of it.

If you start listening closely, everyone does this. Me included.

So what's your story about how much faster you could have done your race if only....???

Monday, April 27, 2009

What's Stopping You?

Hah! "Involuntary bowel movements." Reminds me of myself on my race recently

I am trying to apply my shut up and run philosophy to other aspects of my life.

Shut up and work!
Shut up and clean up the dog poop!
Shut up and pay the bills!
Shut up and tell them how you really feel!
Shut up and....

I think it is interesting how often we all search for the key to motivation, the clue to stop our procrastination. We look for it in self help guides, by watching other people. We drink energy drinks, pop energy pills, do energy work. Just hoping for that bit of inspiration.

Take the weight loss shows. I'm a huge fan of the "Biggest Loser." A lot of the contestant's success is based on learning how to eat right and how to exercise. But the real secret?? Making the decision to do it and doing it everyday. First you need the tools to make the changes. That part is actually pretty easy. You can find info on that stuff all over the place - just look on every news stand and in every book store. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in the health industry. The real challenge is putting it into action. It is HARD to get up at 6am and to exercise. It is HARD to substitute fries with carrot sticks. It is hard to take the risk of changing yourself, inside and out.

Yet what it boils down to is a pretty simple solution. Stop looking outside of yourself. Have some discipline. See what happens when you stop focusing and relying on the external and use your own power and energy to get it done.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Easier said than done. I know that.

It is a decision.
It is a way of life.
It is your choice and only yours.

Phew. Glad I got that off of my chest.

My biggest challenge this week is that I am self employed and I have deadlines on reports I have to write. It takes a lot of self discipline. I spend so much time thinking of reasons to not do it and feeling bad about not doing it, that when I finally do it, I wonder why I made such a big deal out of it? Ever had that sensation?

What's your "shut up and..." thing? Work, exercise, dieting, getting out of a relationship, going to church, calling your mother...what is it and what's stopping you?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Gym Cures What Ails Ya. I Promise.

Ken and I went out last night to a benefit for the humane society. There was free wine. Need I say more? I woke up feeling the wine and nothing including coffee was taking the edge off. So I went to the gym. Yes, you heard me right. I went to sweat it off. And it totally worked. 6.8 miles in an hour and I felt like a new woman. That "shut up and run" mantra really works. Even when you're hung over. You should try it.

I was tagged by Heather at JunkMiles to do the famous "eight things," so here goes:

8 Things To Which I'm Looking Forward:
1. Las Vegas this weekend
2. An early bedtime tonight
3. Breaking Bad
4. Being done with this damn work report
5. Sitting on the back deck, looking at the mountains, beer in hand - c'mon summer
6. Getting the grout cleaned in the mudroom
7. Kenny Chesney in July
8. A possible BQ this fall

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Watched Sam & Ken run a 5K
2. Baked a death by chocolate cake
3. Went to Emma's piano recital
4. Pretended to be listening
5. Wore a cool new dress
6. Got blisters (from new shoes I bought to go with dress)
7. Had sex
8. Didn't run - shut up!

8 Things I Would Like To Do:
1. Write a book
2. BQ
3. Get my libido back
4. Figure out my life's work
5. Keep running
6. Learn how to play Texas Hold 'Em
7. Win big in Vegas - for ONCE
8. Avoid the swine flu

8 Shows I Watch
1. Breaking Bad
2. Biggest Loser
3. The Hills (you heard me)
4. Survivor
5. Oprah
6. Entourage
7. Office
8. American Idol

8 People I'm Tagging

Play along.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bad Things Happen to Good People

Today my thoughts are with Jenna over at Her 19 year old brother accidentally shot himself last night and passed away. The enormity of that tragedy is incomprehensible. Even though I don't know Jenna personally, I have appreciated her sweetness and discipline over the past month while reading her blog. My heart goes out to her and to her family. WHY? WHY? WHY? does this stuff happen? How do we make sense of it?

This morning prior to reading Jenna's blog I was consumed by the normal daily crap - can I fit in a run today? when will I have time to bake that cake for Emma's recital? what about that social services' report, can I fit that in too?

And then BAM!!! Perspective returns. It is amazing how quickly we get back on track with what is important when something horrible happens. Our priorities quickly realign in the face of sadness, death, tragedy and trauma. We remember what is important. And we wonder why we can't live like this every moment of every day, basking in the light of what makes our lives great instead of getting overwhelmed by all of the petty thoughts and details.

This happens in our running, too. We got so obsessed by our pace, our time, how we do in comparison to others, what we're wearing, what gadgets we run with, that we forget the big picture: why we started running in the first place. Maybe it was to get outside and hear the birds. Maybe it was to feel more confident and strong. Maybe it was to feel solid in our own bodies and proud of the slight changes that occur. But it sure as shit wasn't to become tied up in our own heads and egos.

Today I will get out of my head and will live from my heart. I will still shut up and run and not talk myself out of what I know is good for me, but I will run with intention to be a better person and to be present. To see the gifts around me and to love every minute of the precious people in my life. Because we never know. We TRULY never know.

Have you had great tragedy in your life? How have you coped? How has it changed you? Are you stronger for it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Help! Where the Hell Do I Go?

So I really need advice. I am trying to pick the marathon to run in the fall that just might qualify me for Boston. I've only run one marathon (this past January - RNR Phoenix). I need to shave 13 minutes off of my time. I'm 42, so I need a 3:50.

Since I live in Colorado, I am training at 5280 ft., so I'd prefer to go to a lower elevation to take advantage of altitude training. Obviously I want kind of a flattish course (within reason), good weather, something in Sept/Oct/Nov, and a fast course. Is that too much to ask? Right now, without much research, I'm thinking about:

St. George, UT
Twin Cities, MN
Las Vegas (Rock 'n Roll has picked up Vegas this year; I happen to LOVE anything Vegas, plus I hear you get to run through a wedding chapel and stop to make love to Elvis whenever you want)

If you've done a marathon or a half that has a marathon as a choice (or you're planning on one), how would you review it based on:

-type of course (flat vs. hilly vs. moderate)
-typical weather
-support on the course
-numbers of people (did it feel crazy crowded)
-has anyone ever died on the course?
-is there beer at the end?
(I'm funny)

Seriously, sometimes I wish I were 80 because then I could run a 5:30 marathon and still qualify for Boston.

Shut Up - But Not in a Mean Way

Yep I've changed my blog title. Here's why:

The single most thing on everyone's mind seems to be fitness, weight and eating. Am I right? I know it's on my mind a lot. Lately I've run into so many people who say things like:

"I want to run, but I can't get motivated."
"I don't have time to run."
"I would run, but I hate it."
"I could NEVER run a marathon."
"I want to exercise but...but...but"

I have said these words myself over the years. What I have found is the more time you put into rationalizing why you're not working out, the more likely you are to ditch it altogether.

I used to hate running. Why? Because I was doing it wrong. I wouldn't work out for a month, then I'd go out and sprint and start cramping and be sick to my stomach. I decided running was "too hard on my body." But guess what? Last year I decided to train for a marathon, and in 16 weeks I went from an occasional runner of three miles to a marathoner. I decided to do it the "right" way and to actually train and to make that a priority.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. You are all dedicated and disciplined runners. But I'm sure you have times when you don't want to get out there. But you do and that's what distinguishes you from so many people who are stuck in excuseland. Many times I'm not in the mood to exert myself. That's where "shut up and just run" comes in.

Now I want to know:

How do you pump yourself up for a long run, when you just don't want to do it? How do you motivate and inspire the people around you?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Greece vs.Grease

So I promised a review on Oikos Greek yogurt. Stoneyfield Farms was kind enough to send me coupons for several free samples.

I went with the vanilla flavor. The thing I love about Oikos, is that unlike most yogurts, it has little sugar in the flavored selections. Some vanilla yogurts are ridiculous with many many grams of sugar per serving. Kind of defeats the purpose of eating yogurt, don'tcha think?

Let me start by saying I'm not a big fan of yogurt. Not a big fan of any dairy foods except major 1/2 'n 1/2 in my coffee and cheese on anything.

Also let me start by saying, I was lucky enough to live in Greece for four years from the ages of 12 to 16 years old. There was one summer, I believe it was when I was sixteen, that I took several trips to the island of Mykonos. Breakfast everyday for me was a cup of plain Greek yogurt drizzled with island honey and topped with fresh cantaloupe, honeydew and berries. It was a heavenly and divine mixture that I will never forget.
In fact, Greece was a time I will never forget. I mean, who gets to do this? My dad, who worked a very humdrum job for the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, MD, came home one day and asked if we wanted to go to Greece. My response, being twelve and very into my own little world, was to say "No, that's okay, I already saw it." You may remember the movie came out in 1978.

So we, a family of four who had never traveled further than Cincinnati, OH were plopped down in the middle of Athens to fend for ourselves. Well not totally. My dad worked for the American Embassy, so we were given a house in the hills outside of Athens, and my brother and I attended the American Community School. Four years is a long time, so it's impossible to reconstruct the experience totally, but some of the clearest memories are: travel and more travel, meeting some of the best friends of my life, learning to speak Greek, experiencing forest fires and earthquakes, watching my dogs be poisoned to death, going on a "pilgrimage" to Jerusalem and the nude beaches on the islands. Despite these things, day to day life was probably pretty similar to day to day life in the US for a teenager: homework, social angst, after school activities. We had a small black and white TV, and the only shows on in English were "Fame" and "Little House on the Prairie," (which the Greeks called "Little Hut in the Valley.")

But back to the yogurt. As I said before, I liked that this yogurt was not overly sweet. It can best be described as tangy. The thing that stood out the most was the consistency. This has got to be the creamiest yogurt on the planet. If you don't know, Greek yogurt is different and special because it is strained so that all water is removed. This leaves the yogurt extremely thick and seemingly decadent. Stoneyfield Farms can use nonfat milk and by using the straining system, can get a yogurt that is so thick and creamy that you think you are eating something incredibly fattening. It is an art!! For me, the consistency was similar to sour cream. Overall, very good and very authentic. A great healthy option with lots of protein.

I am headed to yoga today to work out some of the kinks from my race on Sunday. My muscles are still pretty stiff and sore. It took quite a bit out of me. I did find out I came in 6th out of 50 in my age group so I was psyched about that!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

With Hills Like These, Who Needs Enemies

Let's just say I'm recovering from this morning's half marathon. With hills like these, my body feels pretty beat up.

I will say that it was an amazing race with scenic views. The good part about going up all the hills was flying down them. I lost my running partner in the beginning and put in my iPod. For some reason the dance mix of "Everybody Dance Now" was doing it for me, so I replayed that one about five times. Funny, I know. You never know what will motivate you. I will say with all those hills we were afforded incredible views:

The climbing was intense to say the least, but I stayed strong the whole way, only feeling pretty fatigued by mile 11. And guess what? The course info said there would be "Hammerhead gel products" which I assumed were gels, so I didn't bring anything to eat. Turns out - no gels, no food, just this stuff called Weed that is the Hammerhead sports drink. It was so watered down, it was pathetic. So that probably killed me stomach, having nothing in it but the banana and peanut butter sandwich I ate at 7:00 a.m. Note to self: bring own gels regardless of what is promised.

All was going well or so it seemed until...I had MAJOR toilet issues. Only didn't make it to the toilet, I'm sorry to say. At the risk of being too graphic and giving too much info (which we runners tend to do on occasion) I had quite a load by the time I got the finish line. It was just plain GROSS. I said "hi" the fam, then immediately headed to the porta potties and did the best I could do to clean up which meant throwing away part of my outfit. Don't know WHY I didn't ask Ken to bring me a change of clothes. Note to self: ALWAYS bring change of clothes for the end. You are obviously not potty trained.

Anyway...all of it was worth it as I did the race in 1:52 and I was totally psyched about that. Pace of 8:32!!

Me At the Finish - Can't Even See the Load!

So now I am nursing a still-upset-stomach. Weird cause I had NONE of that during my full marathon. You just never know what will come your way during a race. And guess what, that stomach kept even me, lover of all beer, to decline my drink at the end!! I did lay on my bed all afternoon watching "Nights in Rodanthe." Thought I had earned that one.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wine and Jelly Beans

So you know how I'm running the Horsetooth Half Marathon in the foothills west of Ft. Collins, CO on Sunday? Well in true Colorado fashion, we are supposed to get a major winter storm today and tomorrow. My question is, even if it's not snowing on Sunday - what if there is a foot of snow on the ground? Surely the race will be cancelled. This race is already a monster that adding a foot of snow on the ground would make it that much more insane. Have you ever had a race cancelled for weather? Should I just pull out the Yak Trax?

In an effort to keep refueling and to stay fit, I've been changing my eating habits a bit. Now everything that I eat, I view as fuel and energy. I am not abstaining for anything in particular, but am asking the question "how will this make me feel after I eat it" first. My body is very sensitive to food - too much dairy or fat will send me racing for the bathroom or just make me feel like crap for awhile. So yesterday, here's what things looked like for me - some of you might cringe with how not healthful this is, but so be it (oh and I can't/won't take pictures of everything I eat like some of you. First of all, my food never looks as good as yours, second I am just happy to get this blog out in it's most primal form; can't imagine taking and loading all those pics, but I'm impressed!)

Breakfast: 2 Kashi strawberry flax waffles with almond butter
Mid-morning snack: Tall latte
Lunch: Tortilla with hummus, spinach, carrots, applewood smoked cheddar; cantaloupe
Snack: Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich
Dinner: Another tortilla - same as lunch but with turkey; apple (small dinner cause I had a meeting)
Snack while watching the Office: popcorn, jelly bellies, wine

Don't you love how I end my day?? Jelly beans and wine. So much for fuel. I laugh at myself. Things went downhill from the flax waffles. Everything in moderation, right? I moderately at handfuls of jelly beans and moderately drank some wine.

What fuels you the most? I just eat what sounds good for the moment. Not the most precise plan.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Tore What??

If you read my blog regularly, and I hope you do, you'll know that I espouse the benefits of yoga, not just for running, but for life. Keeps you stretched out! Builds bone density! Creates balance (both figuratively and literally)! Regulates your breathing! Prevents injury! Causes you to fart (seriously this link is funny if you're immature) uncontrollably in front of others!!

Today, however, I learned of a new yoga benefit. We were doing a pose - the layman's term is "hurdler" - it kind of looks like this (no this is not me unfortunately).

The main point is that you are holding your weight and splitting your legs. The girl who was next to me (Pam) is a dancer and she is disgustingly flexible. So she was doing this pose to it's utmost potential, really showing me up, when the teacher yelled out: "Hey look at Pam! She's getting a free episiotomy today!" Now if you haven't had kids and haven't had the pleasure of the episiotomy experience, feel free to check out the link. I don't think I'll go into the gorey details on this blog, if you know what I mean.

Changing subjects even though I know you love the episiotomy I got some samples from Stoneyfield Farm - their Greek Oikos yogurt - to try and to review on this blog. At the risk of sounding pretty cool, I think I am the best person to try and review this yogurt, because I lived in Greece for four years, and Greek yogurt was a staple in my diet. But more on that and my Greek adventures if you tune in next time...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maybe I'll Open a Bakery

I am taking it easy (and eating cake and watching The Hills) this week in preparation for my half marathon this weekend. I am expecting a fairly brutal run, mostly because the first two miles are a grueling uphill and the rest is a mix of climbing and downhill. My legs should be a nice jello mixture by the end.

Not that it has anything to do with running, but here's the coconut cake I made for Easter. I wasn't lying when I said I'd been eating cake. This was one of three cakes I made this weekend. Maybe I should open a bakery and give up running.

Back to running - I think this upcoming half is a pretty low key race as I asked to have my race packet sent to my home, fully expecting the usual coupons, shoe chip, maps, samples, etc. Nope. Inside the envelope: race shirt and bib. Keeping it simple. It does end, however, at the New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins, CO. Who said 10:30 a.m. is too early for a beer?

After this race, my "real training" begins. I'll be picking my fall marathon - hopefully the one that will qualify me for Boston 2010. I will also be choosing my training plan, which I'm thinking, based on my friend Macker's recommendation, should be the Hanson's program.

One tip I've read about running long races is that you should have a mantra - something you continue to go back to, something you repeat to yourself to give you strength when things get really tough. Do you have one?

When I ran in Phoenix, I didn't have one up until the morning of the race. I was leaving the hotel early for the race, the kids were still sleeping and in his sleepiness, my 11 year old son said, "Just remember mom, run with your heart." "Run with your heart" became my mantra for the day. I returned to it again and again when my body felt physically so fatigued I wanted to stop. It reminded me to go inside and to dig deep, beyond the confines of my body.

I'd love to hear how you dig deep when you run. Is it spiritual? Do you run with someone in mind? What keeps you going?

BTW, I just got this award from Healthy on the Run. Here's the desciption:

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Are Margaritas Running Fuel?

Yesterday's Run: 13.26 miles/2:02/9.1 pace

I needed to get in 13 miles yesterday in prep for my intense half marathon next weekend. My running partner, Erin, couldn't go, so I put it on there on the almighty Facebook that I wanted someone to run the Boulder Backroads 1/2 Marathon course with me early Saturday a.m. My son's third grade teacher, Liz, who also happens to be a two-time ironman (woman), wanted to come along. SCORE!

Saturday a.m. came to early. Being Emma's birthday the night before I had one of Ken's strong margaritas, some wine and too much crap to eat. It was 30 degrees and cloudy. Plus, I was kind of intimidated to run with Liz. She is twenty years younger than me. She has completed two ironmans and countless other races. Ken said she'd "kick my ass." Not that this is a competition or anything.

Surprisingly, the miles flew by as we talked and talked. I found out that Liz is not interested in going super fast, but more interested in endurance and being able to go long distances and feeling good. I think that girl could go forever. I stopped at the halfway mark to stretch and have a gel. Liz had nothing and was ready to keep going, keep up the momentum.

Thinking about it, my approach to running is kind of similar. I'd like to become faster, but I also want to be able to go long, for hours at a time and not break down. I remember in my marathon that so many people started out really fast, and petered around mile 18 or 20. I started out pretty slow, and gained momentum as I went. I ended up with a negative split. The people who passed me at mile 2, were being passed by me at mile 21. I'm not that fast, but I think I can endure the distance pretty well.

Did you read Runner's World this month about the "magic mile" and finding your perfect pace? As I'm hoping to qualify for Boston this year, I loved this. Here it is:

  • Run one mile hard with an easy couple laps for warm up.
  • Don't run all out; just push a little faster than you normally do.
  • Record your time.
  • Use your time as a benchmark to determine what pace is appropriate for your current fitness level on your daily runs.
  • Use your "magic mile" time to set realist goals for different distances.
  • Add 33 seconds to your mile time to determine a pace for a 5K
  • Multiply your mile time by 1.15 for a 10K
  • Multiply your mile time by 1.2 for a half-marathon
  • Multiply your mile time by 1.3 to predict your marathon potential

I need to run a 3:50 marathon to BQ. That means cutting 13 minutes off of my time. I am going to start my training soon. Any recommendations on a plan to use? I have found some intermediate training plans on line:

  • Runners World
  • Hal Higdon
  • Sports Fitness Advisor
  • Cool Running

Hal's is an 18 week training plan with you doing one 18 miler and two 20 milers. Cross training is thrown in one day per week along with one rest day. Runner's World is a 16 week plan with two rest days, goal pace intervals, one 18 miler, one 19 miler and one 20 milers. Sports Fitness has you training for 18 weeks with two rest days per week, two 20 milers and one 18 miler; Lastly, Cool Running is a 20 week program with one rest day per week, speed days, 3-10K races, one 20 miler, one 22 miler and one 26 miler! This last one seems like the toughest. Has anyone tried this?

Friday, April 10, 2009

How'd You Get Those Abs? Here's How.

I am about to do something incredibly self indulgent. Several people have commented on my abs in past posts and have even asked me to blog about them. This cracks me up, because I see them as just my abs and not something that is particularly blog worthy.

You have all made me realize that my abs may just well be my best asset. I don't have any boobs to speak of, my legs are not long and slender, I have no waist or curves and look like a ten year old boy, and I am far from being someone who would turn any one's head. Don't even get me started on my toes and teeth.

I do, however, apparently have good abs. Honestly, I don't know what the secret is to toning the abs. But here's my story and some tips for what it's worth:

I have always been active and athletic. I will say, however, that I have been very inconsistent with exercise over the years and have greatly varied the type and amount of exercise I did.

I was a gymnast since the age of twelve (and was actually told by my coach that since I weighed 112 lbs, I need to lose 5 lbs...and people wonder why girls have eating disorders...although I will say I never had one although I did have "food issues"). Gymnastics really developed my core strength from an early age. Into my high school years I continued some gymnastics, but moved more into aerobics (did Jane Fonda religiously, remember the striped leotard that rode high on the hips?).

In college I was a sloth and gained a good 15 lbs made up mostly of beer and poor eating habits. Junior year in college a room mate introduced me to long distance cycling and took on this activity with a vengeance riding at least 100 miles/week, although I kept the 15 lbs. I did tone up quite a bit at this time. After college I pretty much stopped all exercise and looked like this (yes, this is me).
At my highest, I weighed 138 lbs, which is 28 lbs. more than I weigh now. I lived with a bunch of girls and literally all we did was drink and eat crap.

When I was 25 I moved to Richmond and met Ken, who is my current husband. I think it's true that when you fall in love food takes a backseat to all that adrenaline, lust and sex and you can quickly drop weight. I think I lost 15 lbs without even thinking about it. Ken and I cycled long distances (30-40 miles at a time and century rides). We moved out to Colorado and continued with the cycling, only this time we were riding on mountains. We did the famous "Ride the Rockies" one year which took us 600 miles in five days over major mountain passes.

Then...I got pregnant. You never know what your body will do during and following pregnancy and that 's pretty scary. Seeing my weight creep up on the scale was weird and not being able to exercise at the level I wanted to was difficult. I didn't obsess about this and just figured I would deal with getting back into shape after the baby came. This is where I got lucky and it really was luck vs. anything I did.

I gained 35 lbs when I was pregnant the first time and had lost 30 of those pounds within the first month of giving birth. My body just bounced back. I know people probably don't want to hear this, because this can be such a tough road for so many people (that is, losing the pregnancy weight). I swear it is must be in my genes because my mom did the same thing. For me, I did not exercise when Sam was a baby, but ate reasonably and nursed for a year (and this burns a ton of calories).

When Sam was two, I got pregnant again and had two miscarriages. My body was pretty messed up by this time because I had to have DNCs both times and my hormones were nuts. I was also pretty depressed. After emerging from the sadness, I trained for and completed my first triathlon (1/3 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 5 mile run). I was getting stronger and regaining lost muscle.

Then I got pregnant for the fourth time...and this time it stuck. Emma was born eight years ago. Actually today is her birthday.

I gained 30 lbs with Emma and quickly returned to my normal size. It wasn't until four or so years after Emma was born that I resumed any type of regular exercise. I will say that any time I exercised, I did at least 100 sit ups. I started running and cycling more and three years ago I started yoga. Yoga has done wonders for my strength, balance, muscle tone and mental/emotional/physical outlook. I only go once per week for 1 1/2 hours, but I am consistent.

With yoga it is very important to find a good teacher and to understand the importance of breath, relaxation, focus, slowing down and intention. I love yoga because it is all encompassing. When I started training for my first marathon last September, I never skipped yoga because I knew it would help prevent injury and keep my muscles lose and strong. I attribute my marathon success and first time marathon time of 4:03 to consistent training, yoga, and pure determination.
Here are my tips despite the fact that I am no trainer or nutritionist:
  • Take up yoga for relaxation, strength building, sculpting, balance and healthy ageing
  • Anytime you work out, end the workout with 100 sit ups - preferably crunches, bicycle and my favorite - laying flat on your back, arms extended over year head, legs stretched out in front, bring your knees up to your chest while simultaneously bringing our arms down to meet your knees.
  • Back in the days when I was struggled with my weight (in and after college) I found a book called "Break Free from Compulsive Eating." The message of this book was simple and one I have carried with me ever since: listen to your body. Food is not bad, food is good and food is fuel. If your body is hungry, decipher what it wants and feed it. DO NOT eat if your body is not hungry. Feel what it feels like to be full and satisfied. Just because it is lunch time does not mean you have to eat if you are not hungry. Listen to your body, this is the best way to detect what your body needs. Also trust your body to be honest with you. It may crave some kind of junk food, but it will soon want something healthy. Just listen and get in touch. This book was paramount in teaching me how to know myself better and the pounds started to disappear.
  • Be proud of your body regardless of the flaws you see. I have always been self conscious about my legs. They are muscular and I think they look like tree trunks. I have come to accept that these are the legs I will always have and am starting to appreciate that they are strong and capable even if they don't look the way I would like.
  • Always have a fitness goal be it a race, a class you attend, anything. This keeps you motivated and on track. The more you work out, are in touch with your body and realize how food and drink can help or hurt your workouts, the more you will pay attention to eating well and listening to your body.
  • These days I have a very healthy view of eating a good body image. Sure I eat crap sometimes and I probably drink more than I should. But I also eat very well in terms of balanced and healthful meals. All of our meals are home cooked by me. We don't do anything from cans or boxes and all fruits and veggies are fresh, not frozen. I buy organic stuff when I think it's warranted (strawberries, apples, the stuff that has the highest levels). It truly is all about moderation, exercise and eating only when hungry.
So you see, I have had my ups and downs with weight. I have also struggled with my eating issues at times. My exercise routines have been inconsistent over the years. But I'm happy to say that at 42 years old I'm at a great place physically, health-wise and emotionally. It just took some time and perseverance.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Not Another One of These

I admit. I'm a sucker for these questionnaires that let me be self indulgent and tell people things about me that they probably never wanted to know. The flip side of that is that I love reading other people's answers. C'mon this is why I scored a big fat "E" on the Myer's Briggs. Can you say extrovert? I get my energy from people. I also think it is fun to disclose information that might give people pause or has an outrageous edge. So here's the newest taking from

The rules are: 1.) fill it out 2.) change one question with one of your own 3.) add an additional question 4.) then send it to 3 people.

1. What are your current obsessions? Obsession is kind of strong word, but if you mean the things I'm sort of hooked on, that would be running, blogging, Biggest Loser, the book "The Coldest Winter Ever," coffee (my latest craze/splurge is a grande Starbucks latte, no frills), trying to discover a career path, chardonnay (Kendall Jackson is a fave), planning my next big girls' escape to Vegas.

2. Which item from your closet are you wearing most often? I'd have to say my cropped running tights. Still to cold for shorts, too warm for full on tights.

3. Last thing you bought for myself? Tampons at a store in Mexico. Seriously. I had toxic shock syndrome and am not supposed to wear them, so I never have any with me. We were getting ready to swim with the dolphins when the need for a tampon became apparent. I didn't know if dolphins were like bears and would be attracted to "the visitor" so I started asking (in sign language since I don't speak Spanish; you can imagine my gestures) where I could buy tampons. Finally found some. Only $5 for ten. What a rip off! Remind me to start a tampon export business. There is good money in this apparently.

4. What’s for dinner? Easy Meatless Manicotti. Cooking Light recipe.

5. Say something to the person who tagged you: No one tagged me. I'm a loser. I'm just doing this on my own volition.

6. What is one item you could not live without? Item, as in something material, not a person? I'd prefer to not live without good books, my coffee maker, my pillow, Tivo and an assortment of other things, but if push came to shove I could do it as long as I had family and friends.

7. Vacation spots you must visit before you die? Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Morocco. Easter Islands. Greece again and again.

8. Three things to do before you die: See my kids marry and meet my grand kids; skydive; celebrate 50 years with my husband.

9. What’s your guilty pleasure? Too personal.

10. What’s your favourite smell? Lillies.

11. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Coconut ice cream in Mexico. Creamy coconut ice cream with big flakes of coconut in a sugar cone.

12. Care to share some wisdom? "To thine own self be true." You can never go wrong with that one.

13. My added question: What do you do to avoid doing the things you should be doing? Blogging, checking emails, talking on the phone, laying on the floor with the dog.

14. Talk about one regret in your life? Not following through with the Peace Corps. I got in and was supposed to go to West Africa (Mali) but fell in love and didn't want to leave the man who is now my husband. I never would give Ken up, but think I could have gone away for two years and he would have still been here. Essentially could have had my cake and eaten it too.

15. What do you have an addiction to? Is this different from obsession question #1? My answers are likely the same. The computer and wine are probably my most basic addictions.

I'm asking anyone and everyone to complete this. Just for fun if you want.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bikini Body

Today's run -treadmill: 4.7 miles/40 mins/8.51 pace

I am kind of getting my groove back. Managed to run today, do weights and sit ups. Felt good to sweat.

I had a reality check yesterday. Have you seen this cover?

So my 11 year old son sees it laying on the table. Says, "What? She is 48 years old? No offense or anything, mom, but she looks much younger than you." WTF? We then proceeded to have a talk about photoshopping. But I did have to admit that even with some serious photoshopping I would never look like VB, even at 42 years old.

Just made a huge pot of minestrone soup with tons of fresh veggies. It's the best recipe ever and the key is red wine. I'm going to get me some now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Weird Frog

Today's run: 0 miles/0 pace/0 time

Seriously, I am in need of some motivation. We got back last night from tropical. Now we are awaiting a blizzard here in CO.

I need to run. I should run. Deep down I want to run. But instead, today, I found every reason not to run including needing to get caught up on all the magazines that came while I was gone. Runner's World (good motivator), Bon Appetit (bad in that makes me hungry and want to cook and hang out; good in that I know I can eat all that yummy stuff if I run), People (what is Melissa from the Bachelor up to? I must know before I run), The Week (I can't run - I need to know what's up in the world first). Well, you get the picture.

Me and Em with the weird frog

What do you do for motivation? Or do you just do it and stop thinking about it, waiting for inspiration?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

what routine

so here's what happens to me when i'm on vacation. i start out doing pretty well / eating well, exercising, etc. by day two, i am sliding a bit and have cut out the exercise and started eating and drinking more. by day three, today, i have had three vodka drinks by noon, a cheeseburger loaded with guac for lunch and am sunburnt despite my best efforts to get a deep tan. Also, i haven't touched my running shoes since that first day overlooking the carribean. but i am happy. running can resume after i return to CO and have a day to recuperate. c'est la vie. i remind myself this is what vacations are all about / excess, lack of routine, overdoing it, eating until you feel gross. is it just me, or do we all do this on vacation...i still can't figure out this spanish keyboard. not only can i not find the question mark or caps, but there are crazy symbols i am not used to. plus the spell check thinks all my words are spelled wrong b/c they are in english and not spanish. i'm sure the several vodka drinks don't help me to maneuver. well tomorrow we leave, so back to snowy co and the running routine.