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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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

Goals

“Find a goal.”  “You are fit and healthy…”  “Don’t press the issue, it will come.”

These words spoken to me from my personal trainer and running coach yesterday after I texted him about being in a funk.  I was looking for support because I just haven’t felt like myself lately when it comes to fitness.  I’ve been feeling burnt out and tried.  I’m having the “OMG I’m going to get fat” thoughts as well.  I’m totally ready for summer to be over and I want to be running in the cool morning air again more than anything.  Everyday that we spend in 95 degree weather kills my soul a little more.  I feel like I have seasonal depression, but instead of it being in the cold, desolate, winter months it’s during the life zapping, heavy, summer months.  I’ve tried to combat it by going to the gym more, but this runner is ready to be outside again STAT!

I was contemplating signing up for the 3M Half Marathon that’s in January of 2017.  Seemed like a good enough goal to me; but is it a forced goal or something I really want to do?  I’m not too sure about that.  I wouldn’t have to start training for it until the end of October and by then the weather will be perfect.  I did my first half marathon back in February of this year and upon finishing it I said I would never do another one!  But that was the Austin Half Marathon; quite a different (hilly) beast.  3M is literally all down hill.  It is the half that everyone said I should have started with.  Should of, could have, would have. It would be nice though to have completed both of Austin’s biggest and most sought after half marathons.  Then I can be one of those people who tells others, “you should have run that one first”!

I’m feeling more and more compelled to register just writing this!  This is the excitement I am looking for.  This is the light that had burnt out back in the spring after I got injured and the days just kept getting hotter and hotter.  I do need a goal.  I do need to have something that I am working towards.  I get down on myself when I don’t feel a “purpose” for my fitness/running.  Maybe it’s time to fork over that $95 and hit the road once again!

$95 to run 13.1 miles…… I must be crazy……

So I texted my trainer again and told him I thought I might have a goal!  His response:

“‘Think’, ‘Might’.  Those to words equal I’m not sure.”

One thing is for sure, I can always count on him to be brutally honest!  I am confident in myself that I will get back in the game.  I will always be a runner.  Right now I am just a runner without a race; without a goal and in a slump.  Some runners go their entire lives without entering a single race.  Honestly, I do wish I could be that runner (think of the money I would save!?) but my personality doesn’t allow for it (damn goal orientated, type A people).  I do love running, but what keeps me going is seeing the finish line at the end of a goal.  I just need to find “my race” and commit to it and then live happily, ever after. 🙂

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Running, Vegan

On the road again

Tuesday mornings have become my running mornings.  Despite the air being very still and heavy with moisture, it felt good to meet with my running buddy at 7am and catch up while getting some miles under our feet.  We agreed to only do 3 miles because I was just trying to get back into the swing of things and she was planning on doing a double (running twice in one day) later on that evening.  I felt pretty good and we managed to be able to carry on a conversation for the first 2.5 miles or so.  After that, I did need to take a small walk break to catch my breath, but pushed it in the end to finish strong (or at least just to finish)!  My body felt great; no aches or pains.  My endurance was lagging from my lack of cardio over the past few months, but nothing I can’t get back.

Also, have I mentioned that I am so done with summer?  Well I am.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the gym to get in a workout or join a class, but there is nothing like hitting the road in the early hours with crisp, dry air hitting your lungs.  I feel like I can go forever.  The summer is just so draining.  The heat zaps you to the core and the humidity makes it so hard to breathe.  Not to mention you have to get up so early to even try to out run either of those conditions.  Running at 7am in the summer is very different then running at 7am in the fall or winter.  So let me say it one more time:  summer, you and I need to call it quits!

After all was said and done, we did ok.  Those 3 miles were at a better pace then some of my previous summer runs, but came no where close to the times I was nailing before.  But a slow run is better than no run at all and fall is just around the corner!

3 mile run, 79 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 30:14
  • Average pace 10:04
  • Splits 9:48, 10:07, 10:17
  • Average cadence 172 (a little low, but that was with walking)

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Fitness, Running

Saturday Speed Work

Rolled out of bed this morning at 6:10am so that I could get ready to go run with my group.  Saturday’s are interval days, so I knew I was going to be doing work!  Outside it was a chilly 46 degrees and sunny.  Perfect running weather!

I am still pretty bruised up and my KT tape is starting to resemble an octopus crawling down my leg.  I have been doing my “exercises” at home to help strengthen my hips.  Clam shells, reverse clam shells, squats, and crab walks; all with resistance bands.  I do 20 of each, on each side, 3 times a day.  I am also supposed to be rolling out my quadriceps, but currently can only roll the tops and inner thigh areas.  The areas on the outer sides, that really need to be rolled, are still too bruised.

My left knee has been doing great.  No pain on my Thursday run.  No pain today.  But my right side still isn’t there yet.  I got through the warm up and one repeat and then it started to flare up.  Our coach wanted us to do 4 repeats but I could only commit to two if I was going to run the 2 miles back.  I had a good pace going back but my knee was ready to be done.

I’m going back to The Tri Doc next Wednesday and hoping they will be able to work on my right side some more.  Then I will have about a weeks worth of rest because I am going out of town.  I was going to try to get in a run, but I think it would be better to just rest and enjoy my time in northern California.

Run down of this mornings workout (total miles 5.6)

  • 2.1 mile warm up @8:53 pace
  • 800m @6:53 pace
  • 200m @5:51 pace
  • 800m @6:43 pace
  • 200m @5:27 pace
  • 2.1 mile cool down @9:13 pace
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Fitness, Running

The tool

I have run about 9 miles total over the last week since the half marathon.  Pesky knee pain kept coming back.  Not a normal thing for me to experience.  90% of the time I run pain free.  As long as I keep up on my stretching, strength training and foam rolling I am usually good to go.  So, needless to say, it was time to make an appointment with the fantastic people at The Tri Doc.

Driving there today I already knew what was going to happen.  I was getting sweaty just thinking about it.  Sure, I would get adjusted and given some new recovery drills.  But I also knew I would come face to face with “the Tool”.  I am referring to the metal tool that is used with the Graston Technique.  Graston is a form of treatment that breaks up scar tissue that gets formed in different places on the body.  The way it is broken up is by rubbing the affected area with one of many different shaped metal tools.  The one I am most familiar with resembles a butter knife.  My doctor basically rubbed the tool along each side of my IT Band with a decent amount of pressure (although I feel like “rubbed” is too gentle of a word to use).  As she was doing that, I could feel all the little gnarly bumps and kicks along that tendon.  The focus of this practice, is to rid the patient of all those little imperfections that make up the scar tissue.  Once it is all broken up, the tendon can release and function better.  Since there is so much pressure applied, and it is usually already a tender area, bruising can occur and it can be painful in certain areas.

Now, I bruise like a freaking peach!  I get all sorts of bruises that most of the time, I have no idea where they came from.  So, when something is going to purposely bruise me, you better believe that it is going to be one hell of a bruise.  I thought about including pictures of my poor legs, but then I fear no one would believe me when I say this shit really works!  It hurts like hell when it is being done, leaves you looking like someone hit you with a baseball bat, but you instantly feel better the second you leave the table.  It’s like taking foam rolling to level 100.  (If you google something like “after Graston technique” and hit images you can see for yourself.  And whatever the craziest picture is that you can find, imagine that along the sides of my thighs.)  Now doesn’t that just make you want to run out the door and ask your friendly chiropractor/physical therapist if they are familiar with this practice?

But on a serious note, as I said before, this technique really works. I have had it done on my legs, neck, feet and shoulders and each time had instant release of my pain symptoms.  Others that I have talked to also swear by it.  You feel relief almost instantly and down time is a lot less.  In fact, I got the ok to start running again as soon as tomorrow.  (Thank goodness we had a cold front move in this week because there is no way I would go out of the house in shorts right now!)  So, if you are looking for holistic relief from built up scar tissue, I would highly recommend finding a provider of this form of therapy.

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Fitness, Running

Too much work, not enough rest

I got out and ran with my running group this morning.  I absolutely love running with them.  I love meeting the new people that join.  I love talking with all the regulars.  I just love talking about races and paces and PR’s oh my!  But sometimes I push myself a little too hard to make myself present.

It has only just been a week since I did my very first half marathon.  And it was a hard half.  Very hilly.  Lots of unexpected knee pain.  So having never done a half before, I have no idea how long you are supposed to rest to recover.  This past week I had two full days off from any kind of physical activity.  Then on the third day I did some barbell, total body, strength work.  On day four, I ran my first four miles since the half.  It was a hard 4 miles.  Knees started to hurt again, but my pace was good.  Yesterday was another day of full rest.  I was going to go to spin in the morning, but I was just too tired so I opted out.

Now from all the training I had been doing, I had missed the last three group runs, which drove me batty!  I’m personally in charge of updating our Facebook page with what we accomplish each time we run.  Who came, how far, and how long.  I love doing that.  So having only ran 4 miles all week, I thought it would be safe to come back to the group today.  We had a good group.  About 10 people and with a couple of newbies!  Coach had us set to do 3-4 one mile repeats.  Ugh.  Well, I guess if you are going to come back, come back with a bang right?

Mile repeats at the longest distance we do for interval work.  You need to try to do them at a race pace, meaning you should be comfortably, uncomfortable but be able to maintain.  We did the first one as a group so that everyone could see the course.  Then the next three were on your own and you had a 3 minute recovery in-between.  The speedy people took off all doing around 6:30-7:30 minute miles.  The latter half of us (including myself) stayed around a 8:30-8:45 minute miles which is still no easy feat.

The first one I felt ok but 3 and 4 were tough.  Knees were hurting, but were fine as soon as I was finished and don’t hurt when I walk either.  One guy in my group asked how I was feeling.  I told him not like I usually do.  Another suggested to take all of next week off, maybe do some yoga and other low impact cross training.  I think that is exactly what I’m going to do.  I already made an appointment for Tuesday with the good people at The Tri Doc.  I have no idea how much rest I really need but I do know that come April I have the 10/20 a 10 mile race and The Capitol City 10k a 6.2 mile race and in May the Sunshine Run for another 6.2 miles.  So I need to be in good working condition in order to train for those.  Hopefully I have not set myself back and the issues in my knees can be resolved soon.  I have to remind myself that rest is just as important, if not more important, then the work!

Run down of my workout this morning (total miles 5.7):

  • .51 mile run to gym @9:24 pace
  • .52 warm up with group @9:40 pace
  • 1.05 course warm up with group @8:49 pace
  • 1.01 mile repeat at race pace @7:59 pace
  • 1 mile repeat at race pace @8:28 pace
  • 1 mile repeat at race pace @8:44 pace
  • .42 cool down with group @9:56 pace
  • .19 back home (couldn’t run the whole .51 home) @9:17 pace

 

 

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