A Few Things Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re going to have another busy weekend since I have a long run planned, D has a baseball game (one today and one tomorrow), and we’re heading out of town to celebrate Easter with the in-laws. Should be fun!

I had a few things to share, so let’s go!

1. Aftermath of the fall. I told you about my fall on Tuesday, but I didn’t post any updates because I’ve been a little nervous about what was going on with my knee afterwards. I iced and Advil’d on Tuesday and thought it was okay. But when I woke up on Wednesday morning for an 8 miler + strength training, my knee felt awful. It hurt and it was really uncomfortable to put weight on it. I scrapped my run and crawled back into bed. Before drifting off to sleep (it was 4:15am), I made an appointment to see a doctor through my hospital’s app for that afternoon. I was super nervous about what I was going to hear.

Throughout the day, the knee started feeling better although it was stiff and not “right.” At the appointment, the doctor pushed and pulled and twisted and hyperextended it. He prodded it and compared it to the other knee. His diagnosis: no tears and all ligaments were intact. Whew!

The knee was definitely swollen, thus the tightness. But he said I would be perfectly fine, to take 3 Advils every 8 hours and ice it. I was given permission to try to run on Friday if it felt okay and if it felt good, I could resume my normal training. But if I felt any pain, I should stop and take it easy for a few days.

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2. Today’s run. I know it was silly, but I was really nervous for today’s test run. I headed out with a goal of 6 miles, but was prepared to turn around if my knee felt weird. Luckily, my knee felt great and I had no pain or discomfort. Unluckily, my legs felt heavy, which made the run a little harder than it should have been. I haven’t been good about foam rolling regularly so I think that was to blame.

Plus, my Garmin’s battery was dead so I had to use MapMyRun. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not a fan. My splits and paces are always so much faster than I think is realistic. I used it for distance, but I don’t understand how it can have the average pace be so far off. I mean, time is time and it can’t miscalculate that right (I know the distance was correct because this was my normal 6 mile route). It calculated my average pace as 8:19. That just seems wrong! It had the 6th mile clock in at 7:54! Pretty sure I wasn’t working that hard!

3. Lightsaber toothbrushes rock! My boys are big Star Wars fans. Matt is a lifelong fan, D has been since he first saw the first movie a few years ago, and now C is a fan even though he’s never seen the movie. He loves D’s Yoda doll, calls Chewbacca ‘Bacca’ (we have several Chewbacca dolls and D has a huge sticker of him on his bedroom wall), and loves battling with lightsabers. So when I saw lightsaber toothbrushes at CVS, I got one for each of them.

They LOVE them! Especially since they light up and flash. You can see D’s lit up in the picture below.

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4. Easter prep. Holidays have become so much more fun with kids around. I’m looking forward to some egg decorating and dessert making tomorrow. I’m thinking an Easter bunny cake would be delicious! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter!

Runners Can Not Eat Whatever They Want

A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Why Runner’s Can’t Eat Whatever They Want.” It discussed the heart disease that sometimes plagues runners because they’re under the impression that they don’t need to watch their diet, thereby eating things that aren’t exactly healthy on a regular basis.

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I have to admit, I’ve fallen into that trap and have been there for a while. I eat junk food very infrequently and seldom ever eat fried foods. In fact, we only eat out a few times a month. But I am guilty of eating larger portions than I need and have justified a treat or two a day by telling myself that I run a lot of miles and it gets burned off. No wonder it’s been so hard to drop the weight that I’ve been carrying around for the last year!

Several months ago, I started cleaning up my diet a bit by attempting to eat more “real” foods, snacking on raw nuts, fruit, veggies and other nutritious things. But in the end, it all comes down to calories. If you eat more than you burn, you gain weight. Simple.

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Now, I hate counting calories or following any system that makes me track my food on a daily basis. On a fundamental level, it totally appeals to my Type A personality. But when you combine a Type A personality with a competitive spirit, it can quickly get out of control. I inadvertently start treating it more of a game, trying to eat fewer calories every day or have a bunch of calories left over that I didn’t consume.

My first foray into counting calories was when I was 12. I lost 30 pounds during one summer vacation by obsessively counting them and tracking them in a journal. By the end of that summer I was eating probably 500 – 700 calories and exercising at least 2 – 3 hours a day, every day. I’ve also done Weight Watchers, which advocates counting points. I was successful in losing weight each time at WW, and while I never got extreme about the points, I think I underrate a lot, especially with all the exercise I was doing. So I’m always nervous about going down that route again.

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But I knew I needed to get my eating under control, to start to balance the amount of exercise I was doing with the amount of calories I ate. The goal was to eat more healthy and get the nutrients that would power my workouts, but also to lose some weight so that I could get faster.

A little over two weeks ago, I downloaded the “Lose it!” app onto my phone. I’ve used MyFitnessPal before but I think it overestimates exercise calories burned (a 12 mile run burns 1,379 calories with MyFitnessPal and 1,262 with Lose it!, as a comparison). I then started logging my calories on a daily basis.

To lose about a pound a week, I was told by the app to eat 1,524 calories a day. To maintain my weight, I would need to eat 2,000 calories a day, so this was a good 500 deficit.

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I quickly realized that I was eating too much. My portions were way too large. And I snacked way too often. I needed to change what I ate and how much I ate.

But man, I was so hungry for the first two days! I continued with my exercise routine as usual and after a couple of days, my constant hunger went away. I started eating more protein and whole grains, which helped a ton.

You’d think this would work well for me. That I would start to lose the weight. But nearly two weeks in and I started feeling bad, sick even. I was eating good clean food and following the programs pre-determined number of how many calories I was supposed to eat. I was diligent. But last Thursday I started getting light headed and weak feeling. I ate a little more, but the feeling wouldn’t go away. I ate a larger dinner than normal that night and I felt better.

On Friday, I ate a bit more than I was allotted, and felt good again. I didn’t track calories on Saturday or Sunday, but tried to eat reasonably and healthfully (except for a chocolate milkshake – worth it!). I had a 68 mile running week and I think it combined with the lower calories was too much for my system. I think 1,500 calories a day is too little with the amount of exercise I do (cardio and weight training).

The worst of it? I haven’t lost any weight. I think I’m starting to because my face doesn’t look as bloated (the first thing that happens when I start to lose weight), so I’m going to keep tracking calories. I’m going to continue eating clean foods because it makes me feel good overall, I just have to make sure that when I start to get weak, I need to eat more calories, even though the program may not allow for it. It needs to be a good balance of food in and food out.

So no, we runners can’t eat whatever we want. We still need to watch what we eat, how much we eat, and we still need to take care of our bodies because they work hard for us. I’m hoping it will result in my dropping some pounds, that I run more efficiently and run faster, and that I stay healthy throughout.

 

WIAW: Too Much Cheese, Too Little Veggies

Yesterday’s meals were super tasty, but looking back, I realized that I ate way too much cheese and too little veggies. It’s a good thing I’m not lactose intolerant!

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Check out Jenn’s blog for more information on What I Ate Wednesday.

I started out the day with a quarter of a Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif bar. I needed a little bit of calories in my system before I headed out on a longer, speed work intensive run. Since I get up at 4am and immediately start running, I don’t have time to eat anything more substantial.

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Once I was done with those 12 miles (5 mile repeats and a big fall at mile 10.5) and showered, I was ready to eat something hearty. My usual yogurt bowl didn’t sound appetizing for once, so I decided on eggs. It’d been a long time since I had an egg sandwich, but it sounded fantastic.

And the result was even better than how it sounded. On a whole wheat sandwich thin, I slapped two fried eggs (fried with Pam cooking spray) and a slice of Gouda cheese. I’m totally in love with Gouda lately. It’s so delicious.

The strawberries on the side were perfect and juicy. This meal was great as it kept me full until lunchtime. Usually I’m hungry at 10:30am and need a snack, so I was happy about not having to eat midmorning.

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For lunch, I had more cheese in the form of a quesadilla. Inside the tortillas went 1/2 cup of shredded light Mexican blend cheese and a few slices of chicken breast fresh deli meat. On top went a 100 calories container of guacamole. It really hit the spot!

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On the side, I had some slices of mango. I’ve been really loving on mango in the last few months. It keeps disappearing and then reappearing at my local grocery store, which is frustrating, but also makes me so happy when I see it in stock again.

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I was feeling a little snacky at around 2:30pm, so I broke out this package of pistachios that I got from the LA Marathon expo. It was only 100 calories and I really enjoyed it. I love pistachios, but always forget how much until I have them again.

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Before I went to pick up the boys at 4pm, I wanted something a little sweet, so I had a ramekin of this new-to-me cereal, Peanut Butter Toast Crunch. I have to admit that there are only a few cereals that I like with milk for breakfast, and I usually buy cereals like this with the intent of eating them dry as snacks. And given that more and more cereals are more sweet based, there are so many choices for snack foods.

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When dinner came up, I totally failed. I didn’t get a lot of options at the grocery store on Sunday, and was out of ideas. I need to start meal planning on a regular basis!

So we resorted to a standby – grilled cheese and soup.

My sandwich was made with Gouda cheese (told you I couldn’t get enough!) and it was so delicious! So tasty and I could have eaten another with no problem. Only a slice of tomato would have made it better.

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The soup was a barley, beef and vegetable soup. It’s one of my favorites.

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I didn’t need dessert, but wanted it in a major way. I had bought this box of Skinny Cow ice cream cones and was ready to break it open. We had tried the regular chocolate ganache ones a few weeks ago, but they were all out of it on Sunday so I got this chocolate mint flavor.

The ganache nubbin on top of the cone is amazing! Seriously, so good. The whole thing is good too. I think I prefer the regular cone better, though.

So when Skinny Cow first came out with these types of cones, I didn’t like them. The ice cream tasted okay, but the cones were weird. They were always soft and mushy. I really like a robust, crunchy, fresh-tasting cone and the Skinny Cow cones are now up to par. And this particular one was chocolate. Yum!

 

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And I think it’s so funny how pretty the picture of the cone on the box is so pretty, but in real-life, it’s so ugly. Oh well, it tasted good!

 

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And that’s my day of food. A lot bad and some good. I’ll need to get better!

What was the tastiest thing you ate today?

Mile Repeats and ANOTHER Fall

Today is the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. I can’t believe it’s been a year since the horror of that day. I am amazed every day by the strength that has come out of the tragedy and the resiliency of the runners and their families who return to the finish line to celebrate their own survival and to honor those who’s lives were prematurely taken in a senseless act. I dedicated my run today to those affected by the bombing in Boston.

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I’ve been so lazy lately. My paces have shown a big slow down from late last year/early this year, mostly because of that lung issue I dealt with (and am still getting treated for), but also because I haven’t really been pushing myself. It’s really stupid since the marathon that I set as my first BQ attempt is coming up. I have not been putting in the work that is going to get me a qualifying time and I’m really disappointed in myself for it.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going down without a fight! So today, I forced myself to do some mile repeats. I warmed up for 2 miles and then alternated running a “fast-sh” mile (8:00 – 8:15 pace) with a recovery mile. My goal was to push the pace but not go full out on the fast miles and run the recovery mile slower than my normal (9:00+ pace).

I got up super early to squeeze the run in before all the boys woke up so it meant I was running in the dark again. I’m okay running in the dark when I’m doing an easy run, but it’s a lot harder to run fast in the dark because tripping is a real threat (see below). I don’t push myself nearly as hard as when I’m doing these runs in the daylight because I have to be careful of the shadows that hide raised sidewalks and being aware of my surroundings in general for safety reasons.

Today I found a great place to do mile repeats and I think I’m going to make it a regular thing because it had the components I need when going fast in the dark: 1) flat; 2) lacking raised sections of sidewalk; and most importantly 3) well lit. There are tons of street lights along this entire mile so I can see where I’m going at all times. I loved it!

The third repeat was my slowest one because I didn’t start running fast right away. My legs felt so tired. But then I got mad at myself for giving up so I started running fast again. It actually turned out to be a great mile so I’m glad I pushed myself to do it.

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Splits: 9:13, 9:03, 8:05, 8:56, 8:09, 9:16, 8:16, 9:16, 8:07, 8:54, 8:10, 9:12

So what mile repeat am I the most proud of? The last one (8:10) because I fell a quarter of a mile into it and still got up to finish the run. Yeah, I fell AGAIN!

I was crossing a street and didn’t lift my foot high enough to clear the curb, so I stubbed my toe and went down hard. In all my other runs, it’s a slow fall where my legs keep moving forward before the momentum takes me down. This time, I was going pretty fast and the stupid curb just made me go straight down.

One side of my body landed on the sidewalk, the other side in a bunch of wood chips (in a flowerbed-ish thing along the street). I hit ‘stop’ on my Garmin and laid there for a second before standing up to check the damage. I was covered from my chest to my knees in wood chips. I brushed everything off and realized my left knee was kind of achy. I walked in a circle to make sure that everything was okay and to try to avoid crying since it was the hardest fall I’ve taken while running. It hurt pretty bad. I’ve fallen a lot (here and here), but this one was really painful!

But remembering that a year ago today, people were injured beyond what I could even imagine going through, I took a deep breath and said out loud, “you’re finishing this.” I finished that mile repeat with a really good time for being so sore and achy and at the tail end of mid-long run. It hurt, but I’m glad I kept going.

My hands were covered in dirt. (This was AFTER rubbing them on my pants.)

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IMG_5292 And my knee was scraped up.

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I also had road rash on my hip and right knee. It’s time to ice and take some Advil.

I hope you have a better day that I started out with and that all your taxes are done. Let’s make it a good day!