Everyday, Fitness, minimalism, Running, Vegan

Living with intention

I want to live a more intentional life.  I want to eat better.  I want to love harder.  I want to exercise and get faster.  I want to cut out the crap and be more inline with my personal values.

I know today is actually June 5th, but for me it marks the start of many things.  For awhile now I have gotten a little off track with my eating (don’t worry still vegan, but being vegan doesn’t automatically mean being healthy) and with my exercise.  I want to incorporate better food choices into my diet and get back into my running after a brief, but very much-needed break.  I also haven’t been to the gym since maybe November?  My work picked up and my hours changed to a point that I couldn’t get motived to workout.  To be honest with myself, yes work did pick up, but I am still working under 30 hours a week, so not having enough time is not an excuse.  And my hours did change, but truth be told, it’s more about me not wanting to wake my ass up earlier to hit the gym!

Having a good balance between food and exercise is very important.  Even though I haven’t been eating as well, I am by no means overweight, but I have noticed that my muscle to fat ratio has changed.  Last summer I actually weighed more but the extra pounds were from the extra muscle I had built.  I would like to build back some of the lean muscle I have lost in the past 6 months.  I am not sure what I am going to do about the gym; whether I am going to rejoin or join a different one, but I am going to get back into my running, actually starting today.  I have joined an 8 week speed work program that meets every Monday and Wednesday at 6:30pm.  I don’t particularly like speed work.  It is hard and the Central Texas summer weather doesn’t make it any easier, but I am more motived to get back into it because it is a group effort.  I have a couple close friends that are joining the group and our coach, is my trainer from the gym that I have been friends with for over 3 years now.  Plus if you can run in the summer you will be in tip-top form for when the fall/winter races start back up again!

As far as food goes, I am going to try to focus more on whole foods; getting in more fruits and especially more vegetables.  Last week I went to see my new doctor (Dr. Linda Carney in Buda, TX) because I was having issues with dizziness, foggy mind, and my cycle had been going  a little wack-a-do these past few months.  Dr. Carney is a 100% plant-based, vegan doctor.  So many people have raved about her in the Central Texas vegan community.  She is located about 40 miles from where I live, but after meeting her I have absolutely no issues with the distance.  She promotes healing through nutrition and tries to steer clear of medications whenever possible.  She ordered up about 15 different blood tests for me, to help her narrow down what/if anything is wrong.  I go back to hear my results on Wednesday!  This doctors visit was the first one I was ever excited to go to.  I had no anxiety and I can’t wait to find out what blood tests say.  Dr. Carney had a great “bedside manner”.  She sat and went over a bunch of different things with me for probably over 40 minutes.  Asked a lot of questions and took notes on our whole meeting.  Her office has plant based resources everywhere.  From Forks Over Knives posters on the walls, to a book shelf full of plant based authors (many of whom’s books I currently own) and a website for clients filled with even more plant based nutrition information.

I mentioned that my female cycle has been off for a little while now.  Nothing too extreme but sometimes, somethings are just too much to let go unnoticed.  I ordered a book called:  “WomanCode:  Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source” by Alisa Vitti.  The author takes a very close look at how what you eat during your 4 stages of your cycle (yes I said 4 stages) can affect your overall health.  While she doesn’t promote being 100% vegan, I am curious to read about what foods she suggests to eat when and then why.  I do not plan on adding animal products back to my diet but I am open to reading as much information as I can about how what we eat can affect who we are.   The book has great reviews, so hopefully I won’t be too disappointed at the mention of animal products.

One more thing that I am finding to be more and more important to my overall health and welfare is just living my own life.  Cutting out things that don’t add to it and focusing more on things that do.  I realized this past weekend that I had spent a lot of time on social media.  That time could have been used for far more important things.  I literally could have written this blog yesterday and then had time to write another one today.  I could have spent more time with all of our fur-babies more evenly (we recently got two new kittens and our rabbit I think has been feeling a little left out).  I could have went out and bought the rose-bush that we wanted to commemorate the passing of our 13-year-old kitty, Raspberry.  I could have read more.  Talked with my husband more.  Or just enjoyed the silence, that comes with the lack of social media clutter.  (OMG I just realized that I just checked my Facebook page, oh my phone, while typing this on my laptop!)  It is time to disconnect a little.  The Minimalist talk about how they both took all social media off of their phones and only allow themselves 30 mins or so a day to scroll through their feeds while on their computers/iPads.  I mean do we really need that much information at the tip of our fingers at any given moment?  No.  I know for a fact we don’t because I am old enough to say that I grew up without the internet (until I was in High School) and without a cell phone (until I was out of High School).  (OMG I literally just did it again!  Something live came across my feed so I had to click on it!)  We have become like Pavlov’s Dog when we hear our phone “tweet”;  we are zombie slaves to our little glowing screens.  It is time to make a change.  So besides changing up diet and exercise, I am going to delete all social media platforms from my phone for the rest of the month.  Hopefully I will live to share the accounts of my actions with you all.

Oh and one more thing I forgot to add is that I will also be cutting back on all alcohol and caffeine intake as well!  Man, when I set out to do something, I really know how to go to the extremes, don’t I?  Honestly, I don’t drink much of either substance.  Alcohol I am eliminating just from the weekdays, and will only have a drink with dinner on the weekends.  And the only source of caffeine I have is from my morning tea, but I also have plenty of decaf teas and herbal teas that I can use as substitutes if needed.  I love having the will power to make these changes in my life.  I am the master of going “cold turkey” and I can’t wait to see how I feel about everything in a month.  If you have changed up anything that you consider pretty drastic in your life, please feel free to share your story in the comments!

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Fitness, Running, Vegan

Starting all over again is going to be rough…..

Short and sweet and right to the point!  I started running again about a month ago.  This morning I did my first group strength workout in about 3 months.  Little by little I want to get back to where I was this time last year.  I want to see my pace be closer to the 9 minute mark then the 10 it currently is.  I know in order to do that I have to commit to the long runs, the speed work and the strength training I used to do.  My body feels great; no aches and pains and no injuries (knock on wood).  I literally have no excuses to not give it my all and become a better me then the summer me.  I have a half marathon in January and I want to PR and run it in 2 hours.  I know that is going to require work and determination on my end and I am ready.  Let’s do this!

One hour group workout @ 6am

Warm up 1000m row in 5 mins

First set x4

  • 12 kg kettle bell front squat holds for 30 sec (x4, x4, x3, x2)
  • Partner plank holds tapping opposite hands for a minute
  • Alternating dead bug for a minute

Second set x5

  • Front squat with barbell (35 lbs x1, 55 lbs x4)
  • Squat jumps x10

Third set x3

  • Single leg dead lift to a row, using cable machine set at 25 lbs both legs x12
  • Single leg tap down both legs x12

Forth set x3

  • Deadlifts with dumbbells ( 17.5 lbs x2, 20 lbs x1) x12
  • Push ups x12

Cool down foam rolling

3.8 mile run 88 degrees @ 6pm (from yesterday)

  • Overall time 38:35
  • Average pace 10:09
  • Splits 9:46, 10:00, 10:25, 10:28
  • Average cadence 176

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Running, Vegan

Priceless practice

This morning my Lifetime Run group had a change of pace (pun intended) and we went out for a long run instead of doing our Saturday speed work.  I was thrilled with this.  The temperatures here in Central Texas are finally starting to cool off and feel like fall; like perfect running weather.  We met up at Brushy Creek Regional trail before the sun had even come up and the temperature on my Garmin said it was a chilly 59 degrees!  There were about 10 of us that made it out this morning and after introductions, distance goals, and when the sun started to make its grand appearance, we were off.

It felt really good to be out there this morning.  I ran with one of my running/work out buddies the whole time and we pushed each other through an awesome 5 miles that neither of us thought we would survive in the beginning.  I love being able to run with someone else that has a similar pace to my own.  I feel like I push myself harder to keep moving when I am running with someone, instead of behind someone.  Lately I have been a “back of the pack-er” and honestly I still was this morning, but today it just felt different.  I didn’t hit my 2.5 mile wall, my body felt good, I still love my new shoes and the temperature…. oh man did I already mention how great it felt outside?  Well either way it was wonderful!

When I got a little past the 4 mile point I picked up my pace a little and started to feel like I could have gone an extra mile.  Afterwards I wasn’t overly tired or sore and really felt like myself again.  Even though my pace isn’t where it was this time last year, I can defiantly see where over time it will get better.  And right now I’m pretty happy with just running and not looking to “beat” something.  Improvement is great but just feeling like yourself again is priceless.

5 miles 59 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 50:23
  • Average pace 9:52
  • Splits 9:56, 9:50, 10:13, 9:53, 9:29
  • Average cadence 176

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Running, Vegan

It has begun….

This morning marked the official start to my 2016-2017 running season.  The weather was amazing at just under 60 degrees.  I threw on my new running skirt and headed out the door to meet with the Lifetime Run group for the first speed work I have done in over 4 months.

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The “before” picture.  Gotta make it look good!

Oh what a difference temperature makes for a runner.  I had been in such a slump these last few months.  My pace was in the toilet at over the 10 minute mile mark.  It was really starting to get to me.  Everyday I would run I would have to give myself a pep talk to convince myself that pace didn’t matter when it was over 90 degrees outside with thick, sticky air.  But as a runner it is hard to look down at your watch after your run and see a pace that you haven’t seen since you were in your rookie stages.  I hadn’t run over a 10 minute mile in at least 4 years.  But with the hot summer and the rest needed to recover from spring injuries, it was what it was and it SUCKED!

But this mornings run offered a glimmer of hope that I hadn’t lost it.  I still had the ability to be better, it was just in a sort of reversed hibernation for the summer.  Starting with a two mile warm up, I felt pretty good.  My body felt great but I could tell I needed to work on getting my breathing back under control (nothing a little added spin class wouldn’t help).  Then it was on to 400m repeats.  Our coach wanted us to do 4-6 of them, but I settled for half and did three that were really strong.

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Some of my peps from Lifetime Run North Austin

I don’t want to do too much too soon.  This was only the beginning of a long season ahead.  I have several races that I have already signed up for from now until April, including, dare I say it, my second half marathon!  So a little at a time will be just fine for now.

2 mile warm up, 3×400, 1 mile cool down, 61 degrees @ 7am

  • 2 mile warm up average pace 9:35
  • 1 mile cool down pace 9:24
  • 3×400 @ 7:08, 6:59, 7:02
  • Average cadence between 178-194

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Running, Vegan

And the four become one….

This morning was a very special morning for my Lifetime Run group.  Besides doing our group run at the beautiful Town Lake trail, we were joined by 3 other Lifetime Run Clubs;  Lifetime South Austin, San Antonio, and The Rim (also from San Antonio).  This “destination run” had been in the works for about a month and it was a great way to bring so many awesome runners together and enjoy what we do best!

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The big group before

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One of many little groups after!

Everyone who came had a choice of doing 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 miles.  And even though fall has not quiet made its grand appearance yet, we didn’t let the muggy, warm weather get to us.  As each mileage group fell into place, all of a sudden we weren’t “Northies” or “Southies” anymore, we were just runners.  The little group of 5 mile people who I stayed with consisted of a mix of people from each location.  We all fell into step together and talked amongst ourselves like we had known each other for years.  Asking about who was training for what or expressing the joy of fall promising cooler weather.  Everyone had different goals and stories to share.  And even though we probably all had different abilities, no one was focused on pace.  It was just nice to have people to talk to while taking in what downtown Austin had to offer for us this morning.  It was so exciting making new connections with the leads from other clubs that I have talked to on and off all month.  It was great to finally put faces with Facebook profiles and sweaty hugs (or “air hugs” as one person put it) and pictures were shared by all who came.

This is why I love running with a group.  Inadvertently we all pick each other up and hold each other accountable.  I have not had a run yet, that I haven’t had to walk since coming back from my time off in the summer.  But this morning (pace set aside) I ran the whole 5 miles that I set out to do without stopping once.  I talked with old friends and made new ones along the way.  And at the end of the run, once again we were all united through our crazy love of a sport that only another runner could understand.  I highly recommend joining a running group in your hometown.  Lifetime Fitness offers a great running program (and you don’t have to be a member of the gym to run with us).  All paces and abilities are welcome and no one ever gets left behind!

5 mile run 77 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 53:31
  • Average pace 10:42
  • Splits 10:19, 10:19, 11:24, 10:53, 10:35
  • Average cadence 176

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Running, Vegan

Rookie moves

I don’t consider myself a rookie when it comes to running.  I have been running since 2007.  I ran in my very first, paid, chipped, 5k in December of 2007 with my best friend that had been running for many years prior to that.  She gave me some pointers like “don’t wear your bib on the back of your shirt” and “only rookies wear the race shirt during the race”.  I took that advice very seriously and have learned many other tricks of the trade over the years.  One being that, you should never wear anything new for the first time on race day.  I have pretty much always abided by that rule.  Always wearing the well-worn and broken in items to all my races.  No body wants surprises in the form of blisters or chafing on race day!  But there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to bend the rules a little with the small glimmer of hope that by doing so you could stumble upon something amazing.  Something that you wished you would have done months, even years, ago.

Today I bought new shoes.

I have run in pretty much the same type of shoe (minimalist Vibram Five Fingers) for the past 5 years.  I swore by them.  I put many, many miles on them, ran many races in them.  Ran in the heat, the rain, on the “dreadmill” and even through the mud in them.  But I didn’t remain injury free with them.  I can’t say that it had anything to do with the shoes themselves but shoes really are the only piece of equipment a runner has, so I felt like it was time for a change.  I have been looking for an alternative for sometime now.  I have bought and returned a couple of pairs here and there.  None of them feeling quite right. Nothing to write home to mom about (or the chiropractor) but that all changed today.

In steps the Adidas Ultra Boost 2’s.  Rays of sunlight burst out of the box when I open it. Angelic music plays softly in the background as I lace them up.  And then it happens.  As soon as I take my first steps on these blissful, puffy, creamy, little personal clouds on my feet, I am in heaven!  I have never felt anything like them in my life!  I wasn’t even planning on trying them on in the first place.  I had a list of Brooks brand shoes in my hand that I was planning on interrogating when I set foot out of the house today.

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Women’s Adidas Ultra Boost

I persuaded my running buddy to skip yoga today and come with me to try on shoes.  We were heading off to REI and then from the parking lot we stumbled upon the Texas Running Company (I would link their page here, but it won’t open).  I said to her, “why don’t we go in there first, just for the heck of it?” and she agreed.  The inside looked like any other private running store I had been in.  A wall of running shorts and tops.  Men’s on one side, women’s on the other and on the back wall were the shoes.  I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything from them but as I walked over to the wall of shoes, there they were.  My destiny was staring me right in the face.  They had to be one of the coolest looking shoes on the wall and they passes my flexibility test as I curled back the toe box onto the rest of the shoe.  (A shoe must be super flexible before I will even consider tying it on.  I do not wish to strap stiff-ass pieces of plywood to my feet.)  They also had all three pairs of Brooks that I wanted to try on and plus they had Cindy.  Cindy was a super nice and knowledgeable sales person who helped us.  I explained to her that I had come looking to try on several pairs of Brooks and then had seen the Adidas shoes.  My friend then pointed out that Cindy also had the Adidas shoes on as well.  It was a sign.

Cindy asked me what size I would need (an 8 in running shoes) and then went into the back.  When she came back and informed me that all she had was a 8.5 I was a little disappointed and thought “well there’s a sign that it wasn’t meant to be”.  But since we were there and Cindy went and got them for me, I tried them on and I was sold the very next moment.  They fit like a glove….. for my foot.  The toe box was made of a durable mesh and all my piggies had plenty of room to stretch and wiggle.  They have a memory foam type lining going around the sock-like opening of the shoe and removable insoles as well.  I had come across these shoes online during my search, so I was well aware of the hefty price tag they held ($180) but still asked how much they were.  Cindy said they were more expensive than the Brooks I was looking at.  I low-balled and said “what like $160?” and she responded, “no even more”!  I was literally expecting her to say $200 since it was a local running store but she replied with the already assumed retail price of $180.

I proceeded to run in circle around the store with these magically little angels on my feet (although I felt they should have had some gold plating or something like intercoolers for the price they were).  I kept telling my running buddy how wonderful they felt and within a few minutes all three of us, had the same purple, cotton candy, shoes on our feet (I wished I would have taken a picture of all of our feet but I always think about that stuff later).  We both ran around trying them out while sharing small talk with Cindy.

We told her about the Lifetime Running group we were in and about the races we were signed up for.  Then we proceeded to tell her about how we both have gone to The Tri Doc for our chiropractic needs.  Cindy got all excited and said “wow, Dr. Tuggle is one of the cool guys out there in the field, oh and if you are patients of his, we offer a 10% medical discount for that” (another sign).  I threw my hands up in the air and said “SOLD!” because anytime I feel like I am getting a discount over someone else I know it must be a good deal.

Another little thing that Cindy surprised me with was that the Texas Running Company offers a 30 day “try out” warranty on their shoes.  (The whole reason I was going to go to REI was because of their 1 year “buy it and try it” guarantee.  It is so hard to commit to buying something when you don’t even really know if you will like it past the front doors of the store.)  Cindy explained that as long as you 1) keep the original box and 2) “act like an adult”, meaning don’t go around stomping in the mud, they will take back even worn shoes within 30 days.  Maybe it was the full moon but all the stars had just aligned for me at that moment.  So after being in the store for about an hour I was walking out with my new shoes under my arm.   (Just a FYI, I did try on all three pairs of Brooks but nothing compared to the pair of Adidas shoes.)

Now let’s get back to my intentionally, planned out, rookie move.

I absolutely CANNOT wait to run in my new shoes.  My group is not meeting tomorrow because we have a race on Sunday morning.  So Sunday morning shall be the day that I bless the running track of the Car 2 Go Marathon Relay with my new kicks.  I envision them propelling me forward and into a state of running bliss.  I am willing to take the chance and “break in” new shoes during a race.  It’s really not going to be that bad anyways.  I mean it is a relay and each runner only does a 4.3 mile track.  So even if I wasn’t doing a race, my first run in these shoes would still be between 3-4 miles anyways.  So what the hell!  There’s no time like the present!

I truly hope that these shoes will live up to the higher power in which I have bestowed upon them.  I know they will not make me a “better” runner, but I do hope that they will help to alleviate some of the little aches and pains I have been experiencing in the last couple months.  I can’t wait for the race and to get back to everyone about how everything went from head to toe!

 

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Fitness, Running, Vegan

Not today my friend….

I’ve been up since 4:45am because on Thursday mornings I go to hot vinyasa yoga at the ass crack of dawn.  I don’t have to be at work until after 1pm so this is quite a stretch for me (no pun intended)!  But this class is the best that my gym offers.  They have yoga pretty much around the clock, all day, everyday, but the 5:30am class with yogi Jana, is the best and I deserve the best when it comes to my health and my body.  With that said, I normally go for a run within an hour or so after this class (FYI running after yoga is amazing).  I had every intention to do that today; even talked with my running buddy about it yesterday but sometimes the universe has other plans for us.

Instead of running this morning, I was (before I came to sit down and write this) sitting on my sofa, with a hoodie on and a blanket over my legs enjoying a hot cup of tea and pretending that it wasn’t the balmy 80 degrees it actually was outside.  Our AC goes down to 75 over night and it takes the house awhile to warm up again so I was taking advantage of being able to mentally take myself to a place of chilly bliss.  Now back to the reason that I decided not to run.

I ran on Tuesday night with my group; got in 4.75 miles.  Then on Wednesday I went and did barbell class (so many squats! my poor butt cheeks!).  Throughout the day I had started to notice that my right ankle had a little bit of a tweaky feeling to it but thought I would be ok in the morning.  When I got going this morning I still noticed a small amount of discomfort.  Normally that wouldn’t be to concerning, but I have my first race of the fall/winter season this Sunday and it is a relay with 5 other runners and 5 other groups!  So I made the choice to do something that I normal struggle with, I decided to put on my hoodie, call my friend and cancel our run.  I chose to listen to the universe and it told me to listen to my body.  It would be pointless to push myself through 3 miles today, only to be officially hurt by Sunday.  So instead I am going to take it easy, see how I feel tomorrow, and maybe then get in an easy 3 miles but if not, then I will hold off till Sunday and use what I have for the race.  After all the slogan at The Tri Doc is:  “Race Hard, we’ll fix you on Monday”!  I do plan on starting off the season giving it my all, but I will probably need some fixing shortly after!

I can’t really express how proud of myself I am for listening to my body this morning.  I can be very hard on myself at times (something I’m working on) and feel like a failure or that I am slipping behind if I am “weak” or need to rest.  I am learning that, that kind of negative self talk and fear based thinking will never help me to achieve anything in my life.  As long as I keep moving forward and always remember to put myself and my feelings  first, I will be able to reach any goal I set.

4.75 mile run 91 degrees @ 6pm

  • Overall time 50:51
  • Average pace 10:43
  • Splits 9:37, 10:02, 11:26, 11:31, 11:06
  • Average cadence 174

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