Friday, June 25, 2010

THANK YOU!

Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much for all the wonderful comments of encouragement on my last blog entry: Chicago? Or no Chicago?

There were just so many stress factors involved that I felt overwhelmed and like I couldn't do the marathon. Now that I have the plan (thanks to Lauren and Juliette), I feel SO much better. I am a planner by nature (it's even what I do for a living) so feeling like I was floundering around in my training seriously added to my stress.

Not only do I have the plan now, but I've added it to my calendar and set a reminder on my phone to email me the day before reminding how many miles I'm scheduled to run...how's that for organized! Oh, I love organization!

Wedding News
We booked our band last night! The Unnamed Band in Austin, TX! They are going to be so freaking awesome. We're so stoked!

Running News
I ran my 4 miles on Tuesday and 4 miles yesterday just liked I planned. I have 5 miles planned for tomorrow; I'll run longer if I feel up to it! 6 or 7 would make me feel invincible, so we'll see...

I mentioned in my last post that I don't like running anymore. What I meant was that I'm not having fun anymore. I feel that the stress of training has taken the joy out of that. I hope I'm a runner for life. It's a great activity that can keep me healthy as long as I continue it, and as long as I'm not forcing myself to do crazy races all the time, it's not that time consuming.

I still plan on racing. I've said several times that I'd like to do the Austin Half Marathon every year...as of now, that's still my plan. With that said...after Chicago, it may be the only race I do for a while...but that's ok!

Running Outfits
Can you believe that I don't have a single running outfit? I've run 4 half marathons in the past 15 months and I don't have a single outfit. I have cute shorts, capris, and 1 cute top (not sleeveless tho). I've been running in running shorts and whatever tank-top I find in my workout clothes drawer. I read 5 Miles Past Empty's post today: Cast Your Vote! and decided that I needed at least 1 cute running outfit!

Since it's summer (read "hot, sticky, humid, sunny") I want a cute running tank top. So, this weekend, I might just go pick something up! Probably something matching and totally adorable (read: "pink!").

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicago? Or no Chicago?

So, I’ve been struggling if I should share this information for a little while now, but I figure, that in order to move forward, I need to be open and honest. Here goes…

I don’t like running anymore.

I don’t know what it is. I can’t pin point to any one event or run, but something broke in my brain. It sorta switched off.

How long has it been like this? Since February…my last half marathon actually. I don’t know if that’s the reason why or if something else happened, but it’s not fun and hasn’t been for over 4 months.

Thinking this was going to be just a phase (it happens!) I signed up for my first marathon. in Chicago. Yep, I signed up, booked plane tickets, and reserved hotel rooms…that’s how confident I was that I would be back to normal and loving running again.

Well, that was 4 months ago, and I still don’t like it.

Sure, there are days where I enjoy my run, but that doesn’t mean that I’m looking forward to the next run.

I was so envious of all of you who do race after race after race. You’re always training, so I thought I needed to be like that too. I figure there were two types of runners.

1 – the runner who runs a few miles here and there to stay healthy. They aren’t so much concerned with pace or distance really. They get their 2 miles in 3 times a week so they can enjoy beer and the occasional bowl of ice cream.

2 – the runner who is always training for a big race. They often consume the month or two between a marathon with 10ks just for kicks. They plan their life around the long run and are constantly concerned with their pace.

I didn’t want to be the first runner. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with the first runner, but I wanted more. I wanted the thrill of the race. I wanted the plan. I wanted the consistency of knowing I’d log a certain number of miles each week because I was training.

Well, I’ve also proven that I no longer want the second runner either. I don’t know how some of you do it. Especially people who have kids…geez!

I’ve burned myself out.

Since I started running in October 2008 I’ve always been training for a race. I’ve never once been able to go out and run just to run. I’ve always been concerned with pace. It is a mental battle just to allow myself to stop and walk.

I had breakdown last night and almost called Chicago off. How could I do it? How could I possibly run 26.2 miles in 16 weeks when the longest run I’ve run since February was 4 miles? I wanted to do it. I wanted to be able to say “Yeah, I ran a marathon”, but I had absolutely no desire or will to do what it took to get there.

My fiancé and I had a really good discussion about it. (Have I mentioned that I’d be lost without him?) He assured me that I could do this. He actually said “I have no doubt that you can do a marathon!” He went on to say, but you have to be willing to do what it takes to get there. You have to decide if this is something you want to continue to pursue, and move forward.

Well, you’ll be glad to know, that this is something I want to do. I’m not a quitter, and I will be running the Chicago Marathon in October.

I’m sure I’ll need you’re help along the way, but I’m doing this! It’s sink or swim time, and I’m one who thrives on pressure, so, I’m sure I’ll be great! I'm hoping that if I stick to this plan the love for running will come back to me!

Below is my training plan. Please note that this summer is crazy for me with trips and work meetings planned, so some of my long runs are jumbled around.




Edit: I’ve made an adjustment since I posted this (yes, just 2 hours ago). Two of my favorite girls (also running Chicago) Bananas and Toast and Psychobabbles of a Running Fool suggested I plan for some "rest weeks" so my body can properly recover from the extra miles. Below is the new plan...including the link in case you want to view it in a spreadsheet -- Thanks ladies! :) (PS - this was modified from the Chicago Marathon Training Program)
Any other suggestions you have, let me know! I’m all ears!


You can view the excel spreadsheet version here.

So today, I will be running 4 miles, like it or not!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wedding Plans: no sense fighting it!

So, I’ve been reluctant to post here about my wedding plans for a few reasons:
  1. This is a healthy living and fitness blog, so I didn’t feel it was appropriate
  2. I thought I might lose your interest if I did

But I’m beginning to realize that it might be strange for a 25-year-old bride-to-be with a blog to NOT write about her wedding plans…at least a little…right?

So, I’ll compromise…

I’ve added a Wedding page to my blog. I’ll still post here, but then I’ll link them there. On that page you’ll find a brief story of the fiancé and I, the plan for our wedding, websites I’m obsessed with, our photographers, and my wedding posts (coming soon!).

So the planning thus far…

Since we are still about 10 months away, there isn’t too much set in stone. We have the date, reception location, and photographers. We are working on the band and should have that finalized in the next week or so. The ceremony location is up in the air (which is making me a little nervous). Printing – I’m designing all of our printed material (save-the-dates, wedding logo, invites, place cards, etc.) so that will be fun!

The question you’re all asking…does she have the dress yet?

Drum roll….

NO! Hahaha

I don’t know why that’s funny, but it is. I’m going dress shopping next month with my mom and maid of honor. Don’t even ask me what I’m looking for, because I have no clue. I look at photos of ball gowns, sheath, trumpet, mermaid…I love them all! I will say this though, I want an understated dress. No glitter, sashes, or tons of poof. (Watch, I’ll end up with the biggest ball gown we can find with tons of beading and sparkle everywhere!) Never say “never”….right?

We’ve been engaged exactly 4 months today (I’m not keeping track, honestly, I just happened to realize that!). These 4 months has FLOWN by so quickly – I know the next 10 will go by even faster!

Last night I looked at my fiancé and said “Hey baby, we’re getting married!” He replied, “Isn’t that awesome!?” Pretty sweet, pretty cool, we're both super excited!

So, that my friends, are my plans thus far. I’m not worried; I plan and manage larger events for a living, so I’m sure everything will fall into place nicely to give us the FUN orange and purple wedding we want!

I’ll leave with you this on this lovely Friday. Our wedding logo, designed by yours truly. (His name is Steven…hence the “S”)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Orange-y Orange Ruffy

A healthy dinner the fiancé will enjoy! I'm constantly looking for ways to make chicken and fish tasty enough for the fiancé while still being healthy for both of us. Let's face it...I don't want to eat a steak every night and I don't want beer battered fish and chips either...

Fish used to scare me, but with a little bit of research and guidance, it can actually be really easy!

Ingredients
  • Fresh Orange Ruffy (ready to cook - aka, no bones or skin)
  • 1 large orange
  • sea salt
  • cracked pepper
  • butter
Directions
  • Preheat oven at 450 degrees
  • Gently rub sea salt and cracked pepper on both sides of the fish
  • Slice orange slices to cover the bottom of your cooking dish
  • Place the fish on top of the oranges, cover with tin foil, place in oven
  • Cook for roughly 10 minutes depending on size (my fish was 1/2 lb)
  • Remove from oven and CAREFULLY remove the tin foil so that you don't burn yourself with the steam
  • Squeeze the rest of the orange over the fish liberally and place two pats of butter on top
  • Bake uncovered until butter is melted and the fish has a faint golden/brown color from the butter (about 5ish minutes)
For newbies and scaredy-cats (I was that way too!): this is how you know when fish is cooked.

I paired this with red new potatoes and zucchini for a tasty, healthy, light, fresh, summery dinner.

Enjoy!

PS - if you've missed a recipe or want to share your own, visit the Recipes page!


Monday, June 14, 2010

This is what I mean when I say "core"

I've blogged about my core a bit. This stems from my boxing days. A few of you have asked exactly what my core workout contains and I'm just now getting around to posting it. Honestly...I didn't know what these were called so it was hard to find photos, but after some research, I've found them! YAY!


Marching Bridge

6 reps; 2 sets
Targets: hamstrings, lower back, and glutes
  1. Begin on your back with feet about 12 inches from your bum and hands by your sides with palms up. Press your heels into the ground and lift your pelvis up until your knees, pelvis, and shoulders form a straight line.
  2. Hold your bridge while you lift your right knee toward your chest, until your hip is at 90 degrees. Return the heel to the floor and lift the left knee. Do not let your pelvis sag or your back overarch while lifting and lowering your knees. This completes one rep.



Elbow Plank Donkey Kick

10 rep; 2 sets
Targets: glutes and hamstrings
  1. Begin in an elbow plank with elbows directly under shoulders, abs engaged toward the spine. Don't let the pelvis sag down or pop up.
  2. Lift right leg off the ground, bending your knee so the sole of your foot is toward the ceiling. Keep pelvis square to the floor. Don't let your pelvis twist.
  3. Press your right heel toward ceiling as high as you can without moving pelvis or low back. The motion will not be huge, but concentrated on the booty and hamstring.
  4. Lower the bent leg slightly and repeat for a total of eight to 10 repetitions. Then switch sides.



Plank

30 sec reps; 4 sets
Targets: internal abdominal muscles and back
  1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.



Side Plank

30 sec reps; 4 sets
Targets: rectus abdominus, transversus abdominus, and obliques (core)
  1. Lie on your side with your right elbow on the ground or use an exercise mat.
  2. Lift yourself up to form a plank with your right arm straight and your left arm on your side.


Bicycle Exercise
20 reps; 2 sets
Targets: rectus abdominus and obliques (core)
  1. Lie on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
  2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck.
  3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, taking the left elbow towards the right knee.
  4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
  5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion.




Vertical Leg Crunch

20 reps; 2 sets
Targets: rectus abdominis and obliques (core)
  1. Lie on the floor and extend the legs straight up 2. You can place your hands on the floor for support.
  2. Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet.
  3. Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement.
  4. Lower and repeat.



Reverse Crunch

20 reps; 2 sets
Target: rectus abdominis
  1. Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head.
  2. Bring the knees in towards the chest until they're bent to 90 degrees, with feet together.
  3. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.
  4. Lower and repeat.
  5. It's a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.



Balancing Seated Torso Twists

30 reps; 2 sets
Target: rectus abdominis and obliques
  1. Sit on the floor at an incline with your feet about 6 inches off the ground and your knees slightly bent. Pull your knees to your chest for a slightly easier workout.
  2. Either hold a dumbbell/medicine ball or interlock your hands.
  3. Move your hands from left to right while maintaining your balance.



Keep in mind that while some of this may be difficult, make sure your form is correct. It's better to do less reps that are in perfect form that it is to do more reps that are rushed.


Enjoy!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips

I got bored, craved something sweet, and wanted to test out my new ground flax seed, so...

Ingredients
  • 1 oz of dark chocolate bar (the darker it is, the less sugar that is in it)
  • 1 TBSP organic peanut butter (crunch or creamy)
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seed
  • 1 TBSP 25% less sugar chocolate Nesqik mix
Directions
  1. Microwave the chocolate so that it is in liquid form.
  2. Add peanut butter and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add flax seed and chocolate powder and mix thoroughly.
  4. Place mix on tinfoil in quarter to half dollar size portions (about 10) and freeze.
  5. Let freeze for at least 10 minutes.
Delicious, low sugar, chocolaty treat!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Honey Teriyaki Lemon Zest Chicken

Tasty, low fat, low sodium, all around healthy dish!

Ingredients
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1/4 c Low Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Natural Honey
  • 1 tsp Spicy Mustard
  • Lemon Juice (to taste)
  • Sea Salt
  • Cracked Pepper
Directions

Chicken Breast:
pound the chicken breast so that it's about 1/4 inch thick throughout. Cut in half.
Sauce: mix teriyaki sauce, honey, mustard, and lemon juice in a small cup. If you like your sauce more tangy, add more lemon juice; less tangy, less juice.

Next, rub sea salt and cracked pepper into both sides of the chicken breast. Place in a zip lock baggie, add sauce, and refrigerate for at least 30min (the longer, the better!). Place chicken on grill or in oven until cooked. Pair with brown rice and steamed veggies (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, snow peas) for a delicious Asian inspired, healthy dish. (serves 2)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Fight

As many of you know, I'm a boxer. Or, well, I used to box (yikes!)...I don't really like the sound of that: used to.

Boxing is actually what kicked off my healthy lifestyle. Long story short: I wanted something that would be fun (hate to break it to you but running is NOT fun for a busty woman who had 80lbs to lose...shocking, I know!). I tried boxing and fell in love with it. I was boxing for about 1 1/2 years but recently put it on hold so I could properly train for the Chicago Marathon in October.

I just couldn't give both the time and dedication they deserved. It was hard to let go and I miss it dearly. I miss the jabs, hooks, upper cuts. I miss the whack-whack-whack of the speed bags. I miss the whistle and snap of the jump ropes. I miss wrapping my hands in those disgusting and worn, bright yellow wraps. I miss the spring in the ring. I even miss that old gym bag smell of my boxing gym.

I miss everything about boxing.

I watched the Mayweather v Mosley fight last month and decided right then and there: ok, after Chicago, I'm going back to the sport. I know what this means. This means I'm putting the racing days on hold. Well, not on hold, just at a limit. Maybe 1 or 2 a year, not 5 or 6.

I was looking at my poster this weekend (this is hanging in my laundry room)



That, my friends, is The Greatest, The Champ, the one and only Muhammad Ali and the quote is his. It reads:


The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.


I love this quote. I was thinking about this all weekend...

The fight, my fight, my battle, whatever it may be at the moment, is won or lost on my own doings. If I don't try, if I don't give it my all, it's lost on my own. If I prepare, if I try, if I work at it, then I've won on my own. It has nothing to do with the actual fight and everything to do with how I've prepared.

It's a great reminder and very well spoken. I get back what I've put in behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.




Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lingering

I'm sick of it!

Sick of it!

It's weighing me down; holding me back.

Literally.

It's time I do something about it once and for all!

December 2007 I decided that something had to give. I was fat. I didn't like it. You can read the story here. But the cliff-notes version is: I decided to start boxing, eating right, then trained for a half marathon. From December 2007 through July 2009 I lost 40 pounds, the hard way. I didn't "diet", I didn't take pills, I just started eating healthier and exercising. My goal was 140 (meaning I had to lose 80 pounds). In the past year, I've lost 10 pounds. View my photo journal.

Really?

10?

That's it?

I've proven that I can lose and maintain, so it's time for me to start losing again.

These last 30 pounds have been lingering...they are UNWANTED and most go now!

A few weeks ago I posted about the 6 week challenge. Well, due to some uncontrollable, and some controllable circumstances, I didn't stick to it 100%, so I'm starting from scratch. I've weighed myself and taken measurements so I can hopefully track my progress!

A rough schedule for the next 6 weeks*:
Sundays - push ups and core
Mondays - run and core
Tuesdays - run and core
Wednesdays - push ups and core
Thursdays - run and core
Fridays - push ups and core
Saturdays - long run

* The goal is 6 weeks...that's 42 days...by then, I'm hoping it's a habit that I stick with forever.

My goal is to post at least once a week about the 6 week challenge to keep you all updated and keep me accountable!

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Miserable heat, rain, or the treadmill?

So after my rant about the awful hot and sticky weather yesterday, it rained...all...day...long!

Awesome!

I wanted to go running...outside! Which do I hate more: running in the rain, running in miserable heat, or running on a treadmill? -- treadmill...for sure! It's death by steps.

Pros to running outside in the miserable heat: you get sun, it makes you tougher, you sweat a lot, you're prepared for a possible 100 degree race day (hey, it happens!)
Cons to running outside in the miserable heat: you sweat a lot, you can't run as hard/far, it sucks

Pros to running outside in the rain: it makes you tougher, it's not as hot (sometimes!), you're prepared for a rainy race day (it's happened to me before), rain cools you down when you're running
Cons to running outside in the rain: it's raining...they invented umbrellas for a reason

My conversation with my fiancé yesterday via email about my run (before I ran it):

Me: I have no desire to run in this weather.
Him: I'm sorry, baby. Treadmill?
Me: I'd rather die.
Him: Oh.
Me: I'm just complaining.
Him: LOL, so what are you going to do?
Me: Run in the rain then bitch about it later.

So...lucky you...here I am...bitching about it later!

Actually, by the time I started running, it had stopped technically raining. It was more of a misty, mucky, mess. Hot, humid, sticky...perfect condition for running! Right?

It was a fairly good run. I felt like I had a lot of energy. I ran 3 miles, as promised, then followed up with 100 crunches.

It's predicted to hit triple digits this weekend, so I will likely be up around 6 to hit the trail for my run tomorrow.

Tentative Training Schedule for next week
Saturday: 4-5 miles
Sunday: crunches and push-ups
Monday: 3 miles and crunches
Tuesday: 3 miles and crunches
Wednesday: crunches and push-ups
Thursday: 3 miles and crunches
Friday: crunches and push-ups
Saturday: 5+ miles

I will leave you on this Friday with this:


A view from the trail on Lady Bird Lake in Austin...my running spot!



PS - Hope you like the new digs! I felt it was time for a change!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get your groove on

With less than 128 days until the Chicago Marathon, I’m finally starting to feel running again. I’m still not having the time of my life again, but at least I’m getting back into the swing of things and running on a regular basis.

My runs thus far have been short, like, really short. 3 miles is my longest in the past month, so I really need to start getting those miles up.

Living in the great state of Texas, I get the wonderful privilege of receiving the unbearable heat induced runs before much of the country. Some of you are thinking “Wait, didn’t she say she lived in Phoenix for a while? How is Texas worse?” Well, my friends, you are right. I lived in the Phoenix area for about 7 years, but it’s a dry heat…really, it is! I must say, I would take 110 degrees in the beating sun with 0% humidity over 95 degrees in the beating sun with 60% humidity any day!

Anyway…about that heat…

I’ve been running in it. Oh yes, running in that f***ing awesome 95 degree, sunny, 65% humidity weather! That’s right, be jealous! With that said, I’m pretty sure that’s why my distance has been lacking.

*-Disclaimer: I hydrate and listen to my body. I’m not a fool; I don’t want a heat stroke. If I’m dying, I stop.

Why do you run in that crazy weather?” you ask! Well, I live in the outskirts of town with no safe place to run without driving closer into town, so getting up at 5am really isn’t an option because I wouldn’t have enough time to drive, run, drive home, shower, get dressed, then drive back into town for work – so I run after work. And, the dreadmill, at this point, is not an option. Plus I like the sun! I do, however, wake up early for my Saturday long runs!

Yesterday I hobbled my way through 2 miles…today; I’m determined to do at least 3 miles. Saturday, probably 5!

Cheers to marathon training in the summer heat! WHOOOOO!

PS – thanks for all the birthday wishes!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quarter century in the making…

Today, I am 25. Ah yes, the age where you feel like you should have something awesome to look forward to or celebrate, seeing how you’ve successfully made it a quarter century. 16 - you get to drive, 18 - you’re an adult, 21 - you can LEGALLY drink, 25…hmmm…I guess I get to rent a car without the ridiculous fees. So I got that going for me!

I was told after 21, “It’s all downhill from here, enjoy it while it lasts.” To me, that’s sad. I can honestly say that every year has been better than the last. Sure, there have been some hick-ups along the way, things haven’t gone according to plans, but I trust there is an ultimate plan, and I’m enjoying the ride.

21 – I graduated from Arizona State University and moved Austin, Texas. My (now) fiancé and I were all alone in the very large state of Texas. We found a home, I found a job, and he started Law School.

22 – I continued to grow my career in a city that I didn’t like. Yep, I haven’t always loved Austin. This year I proved to myself that I was strong. I grew a new found confidence and thrived while establishing my independence.

23 – I founded an organization called Help Save a Stray. This organization has been my outlet to give back. I now work with 39 animal shelters country wide. I also started running and challenged myself to a few half marathons. I would say that 23 was a turning point for me; a crucial year that made me who I am and who I want to be.

24 – I got engaged and my fiancé graduated from Law School. We decided to stay in Austin indefinitely. I raised thousands of dollars for shelters across the country and have played an integral part in several adoptions. I challenged myself to a few more half marathons.

25 – I will be getting married and completing my first full marathon.

Every birthday is a celebration. It’s a chance to look back and enjoy everything I’ve been able to experience. Honestly, if you had asked me when I was 12, “Where do you see yourself when you’re 25?” I would have said something like, “Married, stay-at-home mom, with at least 2 kids, in a house in California (where I lived when I was 12) with a cat and a dog.” Instead, I have an awesome career; I live in an apartment in Austin with my fiancé and goofy dog – and I couldn’t possibly be happier!

I know I’m not old, and I’m not trying to be ridiculous here, but I am so glad things didn’t go according to how I planned it. It’s funny, because I don’t think anything ever really does. In the past 25 years I’ve learned to take each day and live it. I’ve learned to be thankful for what I have and enjoy it. Everything in my life is a gift. I cannot wait to see what the next 25 years holds!

So today, as you read this, I want you to be thankful for what you have in life, whatever it may be. Things are not always easy (like my blog title says) but it’s the not easy things in life that make the great things that much better!

Cheers to life!