Thursday, December 20, 2012

21 days...

... makes a habit, right?  In my case I'm going with 21 workouts making a habit and I'm quickly approaching that mark!

Saturday will be my 15th 10K Runner workout and I am hooked.  Even on bad days I want to run.  I'm still following my training schedule for cross training, yoga, and strength training too. 

I haven't missed a run or a workout which makes me very proud of myself. :)  I'm up to running 18 minutes per workout with a 8 min max run so I'm gaining some confidence in myself as well.

So with my newfound confidence I've entered a few races:
  • Resolution 5K {1/12/13} - I'm running this one with my daughter.  She's 9 and has become interested in running!
  • Cowtown 10K {2/23/13} - this race will celebrate the completion of my 10K Runner program.
  • Portland RNR half {5/19/13} - this race will celebrate the completion of my 21K Runner program.
Ambitious?  Maybe a little.  But my goal with these races is to train well and within my ability and then finish each one strong.  I'm not ready to set any sort of time goals and I may not do that at all... we'll see.

Other than that, we just celebrated Chaney's 9th birthday, we are getting ready for Christmas, and I'm trying to close out my year at work which is always a super busy time.  So far, I'm proud that I haven't let the craziness of our schedules be an excuse for skipping workouts or eating poorly.

Anything running related that you want for Christmas??  I'm crossing my fingers for a Garmin or something similar to that. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

running + walking

Up until yesterday it would have made more sense to say "walking + running".  But yesterday morning I crossed over the threshold of running more than I'm walking. 

Now, I was really nervous about it  because yesterday was the start of week 4 and the total running jumped from 10 minutes, at the end of week 3, to 14 minutes.  But just like the other times when I've been nervous, I did just fine.  My legs even felt the best they have felt since beginning this program a.k.a my calves weren't on fire.

I'm progressing well and I'm even getting a little faster.  I'm attributing a lot of that to rest days {from running} and my mix of cross training, weight training, and yoga on those rest days.  I've even gotten brave and have signed up for a 10k that ends a week after my 10k Runner program ends.  Perfect timing!  I'm not expecting to be super fast but I am excited about running in an actual race to hopefully see my hard work pay off... even if it's only in the form of a t-shirt. ;)

And speaking of t-shirts, Steve will be thrilled to see some new shirts make their way into our closet.  I have a horrible habit of hanging on to them until they turn into nothing but threads but I will gladly replace some old race shirts with new ones.  It's a win-win for everyone.

Last but not least, I'm waiting to see if I got into the Nike Women's half in DC... it's a lottery and so far no word but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.

Thinking happy thoughts...

Monday, December 10, 2012

The things no one tells you...

Being an old, new runner; basically starting from scratch, I'm reading a lot of running blogs.  When I was running 10 years ago I didn't read any blogs at all and I don't really know if they even existed.

These blogs are good and bad.  There is a ton of knowledge to be learned as it is so generously shared by great runners.  But the flip-side is that there isn't always an abundance of beginning running info unless you want to go digging into archives and even then it isn't always there.

So here's what I'm learning as a new runner:
  • Running is hard.  If it wasn't, I suppose everyone would be doing it.
  • Your legs are going to burn.  My calves catch on fire as my runs progress.
  • It's OK that your legs burn.  There's a difference between pain from an injury and your muscles getting a workout.
  • Rest days are really important; especially in the beginning.  That's the time when your muscle fibers knit themselves back together which makes them stronger and in turn makes your next run a tiny bit easier.
  • There's plenty of time for building up to running everyday.  This was my biggest mistake when I was running 10 years ago and probably why I dealt with injuries. 
  • Yoga and stretching are really important.  So are weights and cross training.  Skipping these were other mistakes I made 10 years ago.
  • There is nothing wrong with going slow.  There's always time for going faster.  But if you get hurt from too much/too fast, you definitely won't be going faster for awhile.
That's all I can think of for now...

I'm moving on to week 4 of my 10k Runner program.  It's going well!  I've gotten nervous about a few of the workouts but each time I've done just fine.  I'm quickly becoming a big believer in this program.  Tomorrow I begin the workouts where there is more running than walking.  In a way that's scary but most of the time I'm excited to see what I can do.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Keep it Simple

I've struggled with my weight off and on since college.  I was always super active in high school and my freshman and sophomore years in college but after that I guess life happened.

After my second shoulder surgery in 2001 I decided that I wanted to get healthy.  I got a personal trainer and that's what eventually got me started running and of course my eventual marathon.  I got into great shape and lost a lot of weight.  I lost even more after my then husband confessed to having an affair... that kind of news tends to make you lose your appetite.

How much weight did I lose?  I don't know.  My personal trainer told me to stay away from the scale because I was doing a lot of strength training.  And because he knew a little bit about my past disordered eating issues he also knew that not losing fast or even gaining weight due to added muscle would not be good for me.  That was one of the smartest things he told me to do.  So I never knew exactly how much I lost; I just knew that I felt better, I dropped several sizes in my clothes, and I looked better too. :)

Because I was so successful with that, I'm going with that plan again.  Can I tell you how freeing it is to not have to worry about a number on a scale??  I've been tempted a few times out of curiosity but overall, I really don't care.

As for the food I'm eating, I had an anaphylactic reaction this past spring and ended up in the ICU.  The only thing my allergist has been able to figure out is that I'm highly allergic to almost everything environmental and something cross-reacted with a food I ate; most likely mold + a vegetable.  So I cook 95% of our food from scratch... no nasty preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and I know exactly what is going into the meals we eat.

Lots of vegetables, chicken, fish, lean beef, and whole grains.  Am I counting calories?  Nope.  I'm eating more vegetables than meat, I'm watching my portions, I stop eating when I'm full... not stuffed.  I'm drinking lots of water and green tea.  And lastly, I'm trying to cut out my kid's size Dr. Pepper that I drink every few days with lunch.  I love Dr. Pepper!

I used to log every single thing I ate in an app.  That was a double-edged sword.  The good was that I was able to see what I was eating; the bad was that I obsessed about what I was eating too.

So I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible.  No scale, working out/running consistently, and eating real food... all these things have made my life my easier even without solid numbers to keep track of.  I suppose some people might hate this method but it works for me. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The workout that doesn't go as planned...

I'm three weeks into my 10k Runner plan and I had one of those workouts this morning. 

The foot I had surgery on has developed a little bit of a tender spot where the repaired bone is and that worries me a little bit.  I used an anti-inflammatory cream, iced it last night, and I woke up this morning with my foot feeling pretty good.

Before hopping on the treadmill straight out of bed I stretched a little and then I started my 5 minute warm up walk. 

The first time I started to run (1.5 minutes) my legs felt like lead.  That and my shorts were falling down.  I slowed down when it was time to walk and tied my drawstrings tighter. 

My second running segment was 2.5 minutes and good grief my calves were tight!  When it was time to slow down and walk I had to hit pause to stop and stretch.  By this point I was not feeling like an overwhelming success even if my shorts weren't falling down.

I started walking again and then it was time to run for another 2.5 minutes.  The same tightness returned to my calves and the rest of the workout continued with much of the same.  By the end, I was running with no shorts on... j/k ;)

I made it through the whole thing but I didn't walk out of the house this morning feeling like I had accomplished much.  If I didn't know better and I was still trying to be a dumb and stubborn athlete, I would repeat the workout again this evening. 

But I know better.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I'm a schedule girl.  To be consistent at almost anything I have to have a schedule.  But consistency isn't the only thing a schedule does for me, it also keeps me honest.

Because I'm only running 3 days a week right now and I'm itching to run more, I decided I needed to come up with a schedule to keep me active and busy even when it's not a running day.  I also have a confession to make: I ran an extra day last week and I knew better and knew that I was straying from the 10K Runner plan but I did it anyways. 

Did I hurt myself?  Nah.  But I'm pretty sure there's a method to any workout plan and that I should stick with it.

So what you see above is what I came up with.  I have been an exercise DVD junkie for over a year and I've alternated between P90X and TurboFire.  P90X is heavy strength training and TurboFire is heavy cardio.  I've enjoyed both programs but I got tired of all the "noise" of those workouts.  I love the quiet of running without an instructor bouncing around with goofy music in the background.  Anyways... I digress.

I also discovered yoga last year so I'm including that as well.  Everything I read talks about flexibility and a properly aligned body and how they do wonders for runners.  And of course there are big benefits for emotional well being too...

And that brings me to my next topic of how I'm feeling emotionally:  pretty good.  After buying my new shoes the other night I told Steve that I wished I had never stopped running.  He quickly reminded me that my running stopped because I got pregnant, had an extremely high risk pregnancy and of course all the mess with my ex-husband and his wandering ways that led to our divorce.  Even then, I still wished I had never stopped or had at least picked it up again sooner.  But either way, I'm realizing how much I missed running and I'm so glad to slowly be working back into it. 

For that I am very thankful. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I picked up a few of my old favorites this weekend.  I started running in Mizunos and I seem to alternate between those, ASICS, and an occasional pair of Adidas.

I went to my local running store with an open mind but I'm not gonna lie and say that I wasn't thrilled that the Wave Rider 15's turned out to be the shoes for me.  I put them on and I knew they were the ones.  I ran in them this morning and they felt great. :)

I also got a few new pairs of Wright socks.  These are the double layer blister-free socks.  They aren't cheap but I have a blister problem without them.  They are thin and I can't imagine running in any other kind of sock.

Why the new shoes?  It was time... my ASICS have seen better days and I was starting to have pain in both arches which is usually the signal that it's time to get new shoes.

I was also a little excited about this...  The half marathon is my favorite distance.

I don't even know if I'll get in but committing to wanting to run it deserves a little shoe celebration in my opinion. :)  It's a lottery system so I'm crossing my fingers, laces, toes, etc that I'm selected! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Because I have injured myself running in the past and was faced with the real possibility of never running again after reconstructive foot surgery, I'm trying to pay more attention to how my body feels this time around. 

I'm actually listening to those little aches and pains instead of brushing them off like I usually do.  Novel idea, I know.

So how do you differentiate between the I-haven't-run-in-ten-years kind of pains and the this-could-turn-into-an-injury kind of pain?

I've had some terrible tightness/achiness in my right shin that wraps around the outside of my leg to my calf.  It's not a shin splint {thank goodness!}, it's still there but it's lessening a bit with each run, and it dissipates quickly after I finish my workout.  Hmmm...

Since I am only running 3 days a week with the 10k Runner app, I took a few extra days after my workout on Sunday and I didn't run until last night.  The tightness was still there but much better than it's been and it resolved quickly after I finished stretching post-run.

So I'm encouraged by how I felt last night and I guess I'll just continue to take it slow.  In all of my athletic pursuits I have never listened to my body.  Pain was to be expected and you just pushed through it; at least that's how I went about things.  That's also probably why I have had knee surgery, two shoulder surgeries, and foot surgery... all on the left side of my body which I find really interesting.

Listening is hard for me but I am also enjoying feeling more connected to my body than I ever have.  I think the only other time I've paid this much attention was when I was pregnant and that was more because I was carrying around a baby that I was responsible and less about paying attention to myself.

Now I just need to start listening to my body in regards to the foods that I eat.  The food thing is a dicey one for me because I can quickly fall into obsessing but I'm hoping that progress in listening when I run will translate to progress in this area as well...

I ran/walked almost 2.5 miles last night on the treadmill and I felt pretty good.  I'm proud of myself for sticking with the plan and making a conscious choice to notice my aches and pains.  Both successes in my book!

Monday, November 26, 2012


In thinking about what I want this blog to be about, a lot of things come to mind.  I love to write and I want a space where I can write about this journey to getting healthier.  I also want a place where I can have accountability and writing almost anything down helps me solidify something as more than just a passing whim.

I also know how hard it is to have life derail you and also how hard it is to get back on track.  I know that when the best laid plans are interrupted we as humans can develop some really unhealthy ways to cope.  It has taken me a long time to identify these coping mechanisms and I want to redirect that energy into something positive.  If people choose to read then they will know they aren't the only ones.  If people don't read, well that's OK too because writing it out is good for me.

I don't want this blog to turn into nothing but numbers.  Success is great but there is more than one way to measure it.  I'm a numbers girl by nature, by profession, and by preference but I also know that sometimes a number is just a number and then there are other times that numbers don't tell the full story or even the truth.

So numbers will always have their place in my goals but they won't be my focus.  How I feel, how I grow, and how I change are much more important to me at this point in my life.  Learning how to feel a full range of emotions and express what I feel as an adult have been really difficult things for me do.  So this blog is more about the feelings of health... physical, emotional, mental, and otherwise.

Where I am today:
  •  I'm in decent shape.  I've had some form of a workout routine for a year now.
  •  I still need to lose weight to be healthier.
  •  I'm a reformed perfectionist but I still struggle.
  •  Stress, depression and anxiety are re-occurring issues.
  •  Disordered eating is something I'm working to change.
  •  Living a healthy lifestyle as a family is important for me.
  •  Setting a good example for my daughter is a priority.
Where I want to go:
  •  I want to be healthy.  Emotionally and physically.
  •  I want be in good physical shape.
  •  I want to get into that shape without over-training, obsessing, or injury because of overuse.
  •  I want to resolve my eating issues.
  •  I want to develop better ways to cope with stress, depression, and anxiety.
  •  I want to have a healthy family.
  •  I want to be a good example for my daughter.
These are my goals.  All achievable with patience and persistence.

And lastly, I've never seen myself as much of a cook.  I have always been able to cook; it's just not been something I've loved to do.  But as I've been learning to cook healthier for my family there are things I'm learning and recipes that I'm making that I would love to share all in one place.  So no, this isn't a food blog but good food definitely has it's place when your ultimate goal is healthy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On being a beginner...

I know that everyone has to start someplace but it's tough being a beginner; especially when you weren't a beginner at one time.

I'm impatient.  I want to feel healthier, I want to weigh less, I want to run faster and I want to run longer.  I was telling Steve yesterday that the cardio part of the running/walking aren't tough; it's my legs and the lack of running shape they are in.  You can do a million minutes on an elliptical, kick box, do just about any kind of work out... running strength is different. 

The 10k Runner app is great because I feel my legs gaining strength.  It's also sensible and achievable.  But it also makes me a tad impatient because it's only three days of running/walking per week.

Now I have no problem filling up my other days with workouts but I want to be adding up miles instead of contemplating my 10 year downward spiral that has gotten me to where I am today.  It makes me mad at myself and I know that's not healthy.

So instead of stressing over my lack of miles I'm trying to celebrate the little things:
  • like completing Week 1 of the 10k Runner.
  • eating pretty healthy considering Thanksgiving
  • working out and then sewing... priorities!  This is a big one for me!
I still have that nagging I'm-an-out-of-shape-beginner feeling but we all have to start someplace right?

The lesson today is if you are in shape, stay that way.  If you aren't, well we all have to be a beginner to get anywhere... at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Planking

picture credit here

I picked Thanksgiving morning to start a plank workout.  I've known for awhile that these are good for you but good grief they are awful when you first start.  And I'll confess, my abs never returned to their pre-baby shape and yes, I know that was almost 9 years ago. 

But in reading the ultimate authority on all things healthy and workout related, The Internet, I found this blog {which I love BTW} and she shows a bunch of different plank variations.  I've always managed to over-do it and either somewhat hurt myself or full on injure myself in the past so I'm determined to get healthy the right way this time and from what I read, core strength is really important.

I made the best baked pumpkin oatmeal for my family on Thanksgiving morning, we watched the parade, I cooked squash casserole and then it was time for me to go get ready.  I paused at my rolled up workout mat and thought why the heck not...

I unrolled it and spend the next 10 minutes in a variety of plank positions.  It was awful and hard.  And then I got mad at myself for being so out of shape.  So then I did some more planks.  I wrote everything that I did down in my journal and hopped in the shower. 

By the time I was drying off I knew I was going to have a problem with being sore.  I had to sit down on our bed to put my makeup on because every part of my core was shaking too much to lean over the counter in front of the mirror.  Steve came through the bedroom, looked at the workout mat on the floor and I informed him that I wasn't going to be able to stand later on in the day but to to just prop me up on a couch or something.

It turned out to not be that bad but I am definitely sore this morning.  The sad part is that I didn't even do that much.  Here's the rundown:
  • Elbow plank: held for 10 seconds x 6
  • Hip dips from elbow plank: 10 dips per side x 3
  • Up/down plank: 20 up/down x 2
  • Beginner Elbow plank: held for 1 minute x 3
That was it and those numbers hurt my competitive nature more they hurt my abs...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day One

Today I ran for the first time in almost 10 years

I was an athlete in jr. high, high school, and college.  I was never a runner though; I just ran to be in shape for whatever season I was playing.  After college I entered the working world and well, I got out of shape.  But then I started working out again and decided that I should run a marathon; the Jamaica Reggae marathon to be exact.  Of course I ran some other races in between training for the big race but I also broke a tiny bone in the ball of my foot. 

Turns out that tiny bone {sesamoid bone} is pretty important in how your foot operates.

What did I do?  I ran the marathon anyways.  I got a few cortisone injections and I sucked it up.  I finished with a respectable enough time of 4:32 considering it felt like I had a sharp rock in my shoe and I was shredding the soft tissues in the bottom of my foot.

Don't do what I did. 

I ended up having surgery to reconstruct the bottom of my foot and to do a bone graft because this tiny bone wouldn't heal on its own.  Cast... crutches... non-weight bearing for 12 weeks and oh, a DVT because I was non-weight bearing for so long.  So then there were the blood thinner injections I had to give myself. 

In my stomach.

So why the heck am I running again?  Because I need to.

I struggle with depression and anxiety.  I have since college but then you add the stress of a cheating {ex} husband, having a baby, getting a divorce, being a single mom, getting re-married, raising a bright and um, high-strung little girl, a stressful job in the world of finance, and of course the normal life stuff too, I found myself in a counselor's office talking about how something had to give.

Problem is, nothing can really give.  I'm a wife, a mom, employee, quilter, etc. and stress doesn't just go away if we ask it to.  My counselor asked me to think back to a time where I handled stress better.  And for the first time I let my mind wander back to running and my marathon days.  Now, I've purposely avoided thinking of those times because while I was happy, confident, and healthy... the other shoe was about to drop and life as I knew it was about to come crashing down.

Shortly after my marathon my now ex-husband confessed to having an affair and all the mess that behavior entails.  And of all the asinine things to blame that kind of behavior on, one of those things was my running.  Not because it took time away from "us" because he worked a lot and that's when I ran but if I think about it, I believe it was more about the confidence that I gained, an accomplishment that he didn't have, and the fact that being more confident made me harder to "control".

So stopped running.  I wanted my marriage to work.  And then I got pregnant and all hell broke loose.  That was the official end of my running days and really, much activity at all because I was basically just trying to survive.

Now back to thinking about the times when I handled stress better and after letting myself open that painful file again, I know that I was at my best when I was running.  There is absolutely nothing like warming up, getting through that first mile or two, and then letting your mind run away as it is doused in endorphins.

I miss that.  Doesn't that make you want to run?  It sure makes me want to.

I never ran with music.  Partly because I was always afraid I wouldn't hear a bad guy approaching to steal me... but mostly because I didn't want any noise in my mind.  I also avoided gyms and treadmills at all costs because there's just too much going on around me in those places.

So today, for the first time in almost 10 years, I ran.  It wasn't easy but it felt good.  I'm determined to do things better this time around.  No marathons for me and I'm going to adhere to a training plan that will let me ease back in to running.  I'm using the 10k Runner app on my iPhone.  My how far technology has come in ten years!

So here's to day 1.  The start of being healthier and stronger, mentally and physically.

And BTW, I'm not a new blogger... here's my other blog where I talk about quilting, fabric and lots of other stuff.  I just figured it was a good idea to avoid turning that blog into a running/healthy living blog.  So if you are new to "me", welcome!  If you wandered over here from That Girl... That Quilt, welcome as well because I hope to find some quilters and crafter who are runners too.

I never plan to give up quilting for running though.  Hence the name... That Girl Runs With Scissors.