Fit Friday Motivation ~ 5.6.16

Happy Friday!!  We have officially (almost) made it through the week!!  I know that I personally cannot wait for two entire days off of work in a row.  This week feels like it’s been dragging on forever.  What does everyone have going on this weekend?  Last weekend was so busy with the marathon going on, plus I had a hair appointment, plus Miss H had her 6-month shots, so I’m looking forward to a relatively relaxing weekend.  We are ordering pizza for lunch at work today, so I’m planning to cook a healthy dinner with my hubby tonight and RELAX with him and Miss H afterwards.  I’m going to do a shake-out run tomorrow at some point then do some super-clean grocery shopping afterwards.  My diet has been less-than-ideal lately, and it’s been taking a toll on my energy levels and my waistline.  It’s time to plan ahead and make some clean meals for the week.  I’m thinking oatmeal, grilled chicken salads, and sweet potatoes will be on the menu– I plan to make a “What I’m Eating This Week” post next week so I’ll update you then.  Sunday is my very first Mother’s Day, and I cannot wait to spend it with Miss H and my husband! I have no idea what we are doing yet– we’re last-minute like that– but I’ll be happy as long as we are together.  I’m really looking forward to it.

You may or may not remember that I have two half marathons on my schedule coming up in the next month, and I was waiting to see how Pittsburgh went before I decided whether or not I was actually going to do them.  Well, Pittsburgh went reasonably well for me (see my recap here) and was actually a good reminder of why I love running in the first place.  With a new baby in the picture, running has obviously been on the back burner for me for the past few months.  It’s easy to fall out of love with something when you aren’t doing it regularly, and I have to admit that I was falling out of love with running before the Pittsburgh half.  Which isn’t a good thing, since running is essentially a necessary therapy for me (read about why I run here).  Although I took a much-needed hiatus from running right before and right after Miss H was born and I have no regrets about that at all, I’m ready to start logging the miles again. I love the endorphins that come along with a challenging long run– they keep my emotions on an even keel and keep my stress levels manageable.  If I’ve learned anything about my return-to-running the past few months, it’s that a happy mama is a better mama, and I would give anything to be the best mother I can be to Miss H.  So, although spending time with my family will always be my first priority, I know that I need to continue running long distances whenever my schedule allows.  Miss H is on a more predictable sleep and nap schedule now, so it will be easier to plan my long runs for a time when she will be (mostly) napping or sleeping.  Since I am already signed up for the two upcoming half marathons, I have decided  that I want (or need, rather) to run them.  I feel like the picture below pretty much sums up how I feel about long runs, and it was kinda perfect for this particular Fit Friday post.  Enjoy.

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Source: Google Images

What’s on your fitness agenda for the weekend? 

Why I Run – My Running “Story”

I know that everyone has their own “something” that motivates them to power through their workouts, whether it be mental (overcoming some sort of personal obstacle), physical (losing those last five pesky pounds), or emotional (a dire need for the effects of endorphins).  Those motivators can change over time, too.  Many years ago, I was plagued by a lot of negative mental, physical, and emotional motivators to exercise.  I lead a very unhealthy lifestyle growing up– I actually thought that going to the gym was something that only celebrities do (true story).

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I LOL every time I see this picture!  Me at my heaviest (135 lbs); before the break-up.  Obviously I wasn’t in photograph mode.

I started working out at the gym after a really bad break-up with my long-time boyfriend (we are married now, so we eventually made amends – more on that later).  My self esteem was terrible growing up, and my boyfriend had been the only person that ever really made me feel “good enough.”  All of a sudden, I was no longer good enough for even him.  My workouts and my actions were motivated by anger, low self-esteem, revenge, and a desire to change everything about myself entirely.  I wanted to look different.  I wanted to feel different.  I wanted to be different.  I wanted to be unrecognizable to my ex if I ever ran into him at the bar, at the supermarket– anywhere.  I wanted to show him that I was not the girl that he thought I was; that I was a girl that he would come to regret losing.  Proving him wrong became my sole goal in life; everything that I did revolved around him.  It was a completely unhealthy mindset that pervaded my entire lifestyle and sent me into a downward spiral of eating disorders, depression, binge drinking, and cigarette smoking.  All of this while getting “healthier” at the gym.  I exercised daily and furiously, driven by angry thoughts and angry music.  Once the pounds started falling off, I started meticulously counting calories.  I limited myself to 900 calories a day just to make the weight fall off more quickly.  This resulted in a host of other health problems, but that’s another post entirely.

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At 98 pounds, obsessive thoughts about food were taking over my life.

I lost the weight that I wanted to lose and then some, and I became a self-proclaimed “party girl”– quite the opposite of the sweet, reserved, shy, nerdy girl that I was growing up.  I had transformed myself into the exact person that I wanted to become, yet I was the unhappiest I had ever been.

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Binge drinking every weekend became a lifestyle.

Enter: running.  It was the fall of 2010.  I was previously living away but had moved home to be closer to my family, and I started working a new job with my cousin.  She loved running and had run several half marathons.  I had always admired her running skills, but personally viewed distance running as something I had neither the desire nor the ability to do.  I did run for exercise both indoors and outdoors, but always alone and always on a timer– either 30 minutes of steady-state cardio or 30 minutes of intervals.  It wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed; it was more of a means to an end than anything.

I’ll never forget the first time she invited me to run on a local trail with her.  I hesitantly accepted (in my eyes, she was a “runner” and I was not.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself or hold her back).  She was eager to share her love of running with me, though, so I agreed to run with her.  We ran three miles together and talked the entire time, and I was shocked to find that I actually kinda enjoyed it.  We started hitting the trail after work regularly.  We didn’t run far– we were always chasing daylight, and daylight always won.  But we ran regularly, and each time it became easier and more enjoyable.  Eventually we started running together on the weekends, too, and with more daylight at our disposal, our runs grew longer and longer.  Finally– I was exercising not because I felt like I had to, but because I truly wanted to.  It was very enlightening to me, and I started to feel some sort of invisible weight lift off of my shoulders.  Although I was really starting to like running, but I still viewed it as a great outlet for my anger.  “If only my ex knew I was capable of running xx miles… He wouldn’t even recognize me now!”  I let those thoughts drive me to run faster and to run further.

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The entrance to the trail where my love of running first began.

After a few short months of casual running, my cousin talked me into signing up for a 5K.  “You’ll be addicted, I promise,” she said.  I was growing very fond of my new hobby, so although I was nervous I agreed to sign up.  I’ll never forget that first 5K.  I was inexperienced and started out way too fast in an effort to keep up with the other runners (the crowd was very small and competitive).  The course was tough, and my lack of experience was working against me.  Looking back, it felt like the longest 3.1 miles of my life.  I’ve run countless 5K’s since then, but none have ever seemed as long as that first one.  I can’t say that I was enjoying myself as I was running it, but once I rounded the final bend and caught a glimpse of the finish line I felt a sensation that I had never experienced in my life.  It was a perfect storm of relief, joy, and pride– all wrapped up into one emotion.  The goosebumps raised up on my arms as I pushed even harder to the finish, driven by the cheers of the small group of spectators that showed up to watch the race. Never in my life until that point had I felt so accomplished and so proud.  I felt my self esteem jump just a bit, and I liked it.  And just like that, I was hooked.  Just as my cousin promised that I would be.

I started running more and more after that, more for enjoyment than for exercise but still with an underlying sentiment of revenge and bitterness.  I started seeking out local 5K’s and registering for them– as many of them as I could fit into my calendar.  And, at the urging of my cousin, I did something the “former me” would have found completely crazy– I registered for the 2011 Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  I remember the thrill of clicking the “Register” button, fearing being unable to cover that sort of distance but excited at the thought of trying.  I didn’t have anyone to run it with me, but I didn’t care.  I was used to doing things alone, so this was no exception.

I tried to follow Hal Higdon’s novice half marathon training plan (which I highly recommend, by the way), but the bitter PA winter + my new-found loathing of the treadmill caused me to fall off the training wagon a bit.  I ran as often as the snow-covered roads would permit, but I had no clue if I had trained enough as half marathon day approached.  I didn’t care though– I had committed to running the half, and I wanted to at least try to run it.  I booked myself a room in a cheap hotel in the suburbs for the night before the half.  The only thing I remember from that night was being nervous and being bored– a combination which resulted in me smoking almost an entire pack of cigarettes in my hotel room by myself (which I highly do NOT recommend, by the way).

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The night before my first half marathon– my gear was ready, even if I wasn’t.

On race day, I was a bundle of nerves as I woke up a 4 am and started getting ready for the day.  I had no clue what to expect, and it was very exciting and rattling all at the same time.  I arrived downtown much earlier than necessary, so once again I sat there smoking cigarettes and fearing the journey ahead.

To make a long story {somewhat} short, the half was much harder than I expected it to be.  I hadn’t “respected the distance” in my training.  I was just simply unprepared.  I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill and excitement of the race during the first few miles– if you’ve ever run the Pittsburgh half or full, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The entire city is alive, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the excitement of the crowds of runners and bystanders.  By Mile 10, though, I was struggling.  The cheering of the crowds couldn’t drown out the negative thoughts that were starting to creep up in my head.  My knee began hurting really badly, and I started thinking that maybe I wasn’t going to be able to finish the race.  Maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew.  Maybe I wasn’t cut out for running after all.  The further I ran, the more my knee hurt, and the more I told myself I couldn’t do it.  My emotions were amplified by the rush of endorphins that I was experiencing– but instead of those positive emotions that are fondly known of the “runner’s high,” my emotions were exactly the opposite.  Through all of the trials and tribulations that life had thrown at me until that point, I had never doubted myself as much as I did in that moment.  My rock bottom moment came right before the last water stop of the race– the thought occurred to me that maybe everyone who had ever let me down in my life was right.  Maybe I wasn’t good enough after all.  It was like all of the progress I had made towards bettering my self esteem those past few months went out the window at that very moment.  I felt angry.  I felt totally and completely defeated.  In my mind, I had already given up.

I remember holding back tears as I stopped to get a drink of water.  I didn’t want to go on, and I didn’t know if I could.  With less than two miles left to go, I just wanted to go back to my car and go home.  I realized, though, that the most direct way back to my vehicle was through the race route.  If I wanted to get home, I had to finish the race.  I wanted more than anything to give up, but the circumstances wouldn’t allow it.  Angrily, I started running again.  My knee hurt so bad that I could hardly bend it, but I knew that I had to keep going, even if I didn’t want to.

The closer we got to the the finish line, the more crowd support there was.  I focused on the crowd support and used it to help me continue on despite my physical and mental turmoil.

The greatest epiphany of the race (and arguably of my life) happened during the last mile of the course.  I’ll forever be thankful that I didn’t give up on myself before then.  I was running across the Roberto Clemente bridge and nearing the finish line when the spectators began cheering wildly.  I mean, really wildly.  I had no idea what was going on.  Although I briefly entertained the thought that they were cheering for me (wow, how did they know how hard I struggled to get here?!), I turned around to see if I could figure out what they were really cheering about.  It turns out that the first female finisher of the full marathon (Ethiopian Yihunlish Bekele Delelecha) was crossing the bridge right beside me.

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Yihunlish Bekele Delelecha (Source: http://www.post-gazette.com)

I’ll never forget the chills that came across me while watching her speed past me with so much determination on her face.  I’ll never forget how uplifting it was to hear the crowd roar as she went by.  Five years later, the memory still makes me emotional.

Her determination was contagious.  I realized the magnitude of what she was accomplishing, and I saw firsthand the determination she had to accomplish it.  I was beyond inspired as I watched her gracefully cross the bridge at a speed that I could only hope to run (for a much shorter distance) one day.  I suddenly realized how far I had come, not just in the race but also in life.  Although I was struggling, I knew at that moment that I had overcome the struggle.  Not just in the race, but also in life.  All I had to do was replace my self-doubt with determination.  If I could do that, then I could do anything.  The finish line was in sight, and I decided that nothing would stop me from reaching it; I wanted it too badly.  And nothing did.  I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Crossing the finish line was the proudest moment of my life up until that point.  It was more than just a physical accomplishment– it was an emotional and mental accomplishment for me as well.  It taught me that I am capable of doing so much more than I ever thought I could do.  It taught me that, with enough determination and persistence, I can achieve anything that I want to achieve.  I actually felt good about myself for a change.  I felt good about myself, and I didn’t need the approval or validation of anyone else to make me feel that way.  Finally, for the first time in a long time, I felt “good enough.”

Since that first half, running has become a regular part of my life.  I’ve run countless races and made a lot of like-minded friends along the way.  Running has allowed me to let go of all the resentment that I used to harbor and to find peace with my past.  It has allowed me to take control of my own life rather than to blame everyone else for my shortcomings.  Running keeps me happy and healthy.  I quit smoking and binge drinking years ago (although I still appreciate a good beer or two, especially after a long run).  I found forgiveness with myself and with my ex, and we are now happily married with a beautiful daughter.  I always say that running saved me from the downward spiral that was my life.  Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to find the peace and forgiveness that allow me to be the person that I am today.

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Finishing a full marathon in 2014 has been one of my biggest running accomplishments.

In short, I run because it teaches me that I can do more than I ever thought possible.  And that’s what motivates me to run and to exercise nowadays– a far cry from all of the negative motivators that used to pervade my thinking when I first started working out.  I used to run to try to change the person that I am; now I run because it helps me to accept the person that I am.      

What about you– why do you run?  What motivates you to exercise?  

Fitness Friday: The Month Ahead and My Workout Playlist

Hi friends.  HAPPY FRIDAY!

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Source: Google Images

I swear this has been the longest week at work; I’m so looking forward to having the next two days off to spend with my little babe, my big babe, and my poodle-babes.  After my official “return to running” post a few weeks ago, I’ve been sick not once but twice.  TWICE.  Last weekend I came down with some monstrous stomach bug that took the goals I had set for myself for the week and completely shut them down.  What the heck.  I seriously haven’t been sick in years, and now I’ve been sick twice in the same month.

Needless to say, I haven’t exactly started training for the Pittsburgh half with the *bang* that I was hoping for.  BUT this is the start of a new month, and I’m pretty optimistic about my training the next four weeks.  Plus my first postpartum 5K is coming up this month along with my first ever Beer Mile (yes– both on the same day), so I have a few things to look forward to.  Although the fact that I have been neither running nor drinking regularly makes me a little nervous– it should be an, err, interesting day.  When I signed up for the races a few months ago, I may have been slightly delusional about just how back-in-shape I would be at this point.  I could have signed up for just-the-5K or just-the-Beer Mile, but nooooo– I thought it would be easy-peasy to do both.  I even went a step further and signed up for a competitive heat for the Beer Mile.  What was I thinking?!  Even though I could definitely push it for a mile at this point and consider myself somewhat “competitive,” there’s no way I’ll be able to push it and chug four beers along the way.  Four beers with a minimum ABV of 5%, per the official rules at beermile.com.

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I may or may not be purchasing these socks in the near future, just to see if they make me run faster.

I am a lover of all beers and feel like beer is the perfect complement to a good run (I swear by drinking a post-run beer to relieve inflammation!), but I haven’t had more than two adult beverages since Miss H’s arrival in October.  I’ll be curious to see how it goes.  At least my little brother will be there running with me– he can pick me up off the track if need be.  For better or for worse, I promise to come back and write a recap.

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Source: Google Images

Since I don’t have much in the way of running or training to write about, I thought I’d share my workout playlist with you.  I don’t know about you, but I love exercising and running to music (always in races, although rarely on training runs).  I know that not everyone feels the same, but there’s something about a good song on my iPod that makes it really easy for me to kick my workouts up a notch.  I’m always on the lookout for new and different songs to motivate me when I work out, but it seems I always go back to the ol’ standbys below.  They’ve gotten me through so many races, lifting sessions, and living-room-spin-sessions.  So if you’re looking to add something new to your workout playlist, I’m happy to share with you the songs that really get me going in my workouts:

  1. Alive – P.O.D.
  2. The Anthem – Good Charlotte
  3. Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz
  4. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot
  5. Back in Black – AC/DC
  6. Beautiful Day – U2
  7. Berzerk – Eminem
  8. Boom – P.O.D.
  9. Click Click Boom – Saliva
  10. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  11. The Distance – Cake
  12. Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  13. Ghost – Ella Henderson
  14. Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top
  15. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
  16. Hey Mama – David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, & Afrojack)
  17. I Want You – Soundgarden
  18. The Look – Roxette
  19. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  20. Mony Mony – Billy Idol
  21. My Body – Young the Giant
  22. Mysterious Ways – U2
  23. Nookie – Limp Bizkit
  24. Rollin’ – Limp Bizkit
  25. Runnin’ Down a Dream – -Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  26. Sing – My Chemical Romance
  27. Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against the Machine
  28. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
  29. Take Out the Gunman – Chevelle
  30. Thong Song – Sisqó
  31. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  32. Two Tickets to Paradise – Eddie Money
  33. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  34. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

What are some of your favorite workout songs?  Have you ever heard of or done the Beer Mile?

P.S.– don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page!!  I’m just getting it started, but I will be updating it more often than my blog once it really gets going. =)  

Four Miles Done & Weekly Goals

The weather in Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful over the weekend, and after sickness had me down & out for a few weeks I FINALLY got outside for a run!  My little-brother-slash-training-buddy had some other things going on this weekend, so I went for a solo run.  I rarely run by myself and am usually not fond of it, but it was actually nice to get out by myself for a change.  I find it calming to just listen to the repetitive beat of my shoes hitting the pavement, and I enjoy the scenery much more when I’m running without distractions.  It’s nice to do that every once in a while.  Not to mention the fact that I’m just getting back into shape after having Miss H, and I always feel like I’m slowing my brother down– it was a good chance to just go at my own pace and focus on increasing my fitness so that hopefully I’m a somewhat competitive training buddy for him soon.

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Southwest Pennsylvania has some beautiful scenery– the perfect distraction on any run.

I do get bored more quickly when I’m running alone, so it’s definitely not something I like or plan to do often.

I headed out Saturday morning after I put Miss H down for her morning nap with a goal of covering 4 miles regardless of my pace.  This was only my third run since last May (eek), so I just wanted to know that I am physically capable of covering that distance without worrying about my speed.  My first runs were 1.6 miles and 3.1 miles, respectively, so this would be my longest postpartum distance.  I usually shoot for a goal pace of at least 10:00/mile for my longer training runs (4 miles is considered a “long” training run for me right now), but I’m definitely cutting myself some slack this spring.  I feel like I’m just starting out running again.  I’m really hoping to be back up to my pre-pregnancy speed before the fall racing season if not before!

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55 degrees and sunny = perfection.

Because I didn’t want to venture too far from the baby (it sucks working all week– I hate taking time away from her on the weekends too!) and because the running routes are fairly limited near my house, I ended up doing a nearby 2-mile loop twice.  The loop is basically downhill for one mile then uphill for one mile, so I always have to remind myself to slow down & pace myself for that first downhill mile because, if not, that second uphill mile really kicks my butt.  My splits were as follows:

Mile 1: 10:52 (downhill)
Mile 2: 11:41 (uphill)
Mile 3: 10:06 (downhill)
Mile 4: 11:52 (uphill, and I was running out of steam)
Average: 11:08 min/mile

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It wasn’t easy and it was certainly not my best time, but I covered all four miles and could still walk yesterday, so I call it a success haha.  Not bad considering it’s been practically nine months since I last ran.  I’m looking forward to hitting the pavement more often in prep for the three (yes, three) spring half marathons that I’m currently signed up for!  Woohoo!

Running without a partner gives you plenty of time to think, and I had a lot to think about on Saturday’s run.  As I huffed and puffed through those four miles, I realized that it’s time for me to get serious about getting back into shape.  The baby is almost four months old, she’s sleeping better at night (I’m only getting up once or twice a night, which is a huge improvement over her newborn days), and my c-section incision is feeling much better.  It’s time to get back into a regular workout routine.  I bought a spin bike over Christmas plus I have all the free weights that I need in my spare room, so it should be easy to fit in a home workout here and there whenever I can.  I decided to set some fitness goals for myself for the week.  Because I’m back to work full-time and I’m far out of shape compared to what I used to be, my goals are small but completely do-able:

  1. Fit in one 45-minute spin session,
  2. Fit in one good leg training day (I know this will help my running immensely),
  3. Train abs one day (totally necessary to help me bounce back from my c-section), and
  4. Run 5 miles next weekend.

That’s all.  Cheers to a healthy and happy week ahead. 😉

Did you run this weekend?  What’s on your fitness agenda for the week?     

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page!

Moving on up…

My last post was about how I was sooo ready and sooo excited to start running again and training for the Pittsburgh half in May.  So, logically, I came down with the cold of the century a few days later (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration– but to a girl that literally hasn’t been sick in YEARS, it sure felt like the cold of the century).

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Needless to say, I haven’t been running or doing anything active at all the past two weeks.  Between working, taking care of myself, and taking care of sweet baby H, I haven’t had the energy or time to do much besides rest (which is important every once in a while too).  Two weeks later, I finally have my voice and my energy back– and I WILL get a run in this weekend!  The temperature is supposed to be cooperative even though the rain is not (mid-fifties in February in Pennsylvania– yes please), and I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of it.  Every winter run that’s NOT done on a treadmill is a win in my book.

On a related note, I blame my first-cold-in-years on two things: 1) not running/exercising regularly, and 2) not getting enough sleep (hello nighttime feedings).  I learned just how important those two things are when it comes to staying healthy, which is motivation for me (and hopefully for you) to make them both a priority even when life gets busy.

Although I haven’t been running or exercising, I have been working on a Facebook page for my blog!  Moving on up! Now I can quickly and easily post my random running ramblings for all the world to see without publishing a blog post! hehe.  So if you want to check it out, please do so at {drum roll, please} Cristi Rae Runs on Facebook!

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I’ll be back soon with {hopefully} some fitness updates!

What’s the winter weather looking like in your area for the weekend?  Do you have any plans?    

Sunday Runday – Half Marathon Training Day #1

Sunday marked my first training day for the 2016 Pittsburgh half marathon and my official “return to running” day since the birth of my beautiful baby girl in October!  In fact, I quit running last May (after carefully & slowly running the Pittsburgh half) because I felt like I was pushing myself a little too hard and was going past my comfort level on my runs as my belly grew bigger.  I initially really wanted to run throughout my pregnancy, but I switched to weekly spin classes as my body started telling it was time to slow down.  Spinning can be a very intense workout, but for me it was easier to keep my heart rate down in spin class than it was on a long run, and it was still a great way to keep in shape throughout my pregnancy (something I highly recommend doing– I felt like it helped SO much with labor).  So spinning it was, and I put running on the backburner until after baby girl was here.  Before I had H, I planned to return to running as soon as my OB gave me the okay.  An emergency C-section changed those plans, though, so even when my OB cleared me for exercise at 6 weeks I just didn’t feel comfortable jarring my body around at that point.  Now, at almost 14 weeks postpartum, I finally feel like it’s time to start running again.  And I’m so, so looking forward to it.

The weather in our area was absolutely beautiful yesterday (well, relatively speaking– a 50 degree, sunny day in January is much more appealing than a 50 degree, sunny day in, say, August– so I wasn’t complaining).  It’s rare to be able to wear capri pants and a short sleeve shirt on a January run, but yesterday’s temperature was perfect for it.  My younger brother and I are training together for the Pittsburgh half, so he came to my house and we set a goal of running a steady 5K distance for our official “kickoff” training run.  That’s a lower distance than I’ve ever started my training at in the past, but since I haven’t done much of any form of exercise since before H was born, I wasn’t even sure if I could run that far.  My brother has been doing treadmill intervals for months, so he was looking for a relatively-short-distance steady run as well.  We just wanted to test the waters since half training has been out of our vocabulary for so long– we usually run at least one half marathon each fall, and obviously we skipped doing that last year.  We are essentially starting our training from scratch for the first time in a long time.  With the exception of two stops to catch our breath (something we usually do on this particular route– PA hills can be killer), we were able to run the entire distance with no problems!  Our overall pace was a bit slower than usual– we ran an average pace of 10:52, and we usually aim for a 10:00 pace on our training runs– but we were both happy with our first run of the season.  We even did a short sprint at the end of our run, just to get our fast-twitch muscle fibers going.  We both felt great afterwards.  And now I’m more excited than ever to keep moving and keep training.  It feels great to get my “running legs” back again!

Are you training for any races?  How did your weekend runs go?        

What I’m Eating This Week

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done a “What I’m Eating…” post.  Back when I was eating Paleo all the time, I was keeping my blog updated with my meals and my macros every week.  I’ll admit I’ve fallen off the proverbial-Paleo-bandwagon the past few months, and I’ve not been monitoring my nutrition quite as well as I should be.  I did a lot of running over the summer and the fall, so I was a little more relaxed with my diet.  Now that the temps have dropped, the days are shorter, and my races have slacked off, I’m not logging many miles.  Time to jump back on that nutrition bandwagon.  For the first time in a long time, I actually planned out my meals for the week and did meal prep on Sunday.  I’m not eating strictly Paleo right now (I’m planning to get back into that very soon, though), but I’m definitely making smarter food choices.  I’m also getting back into cross training (being more consistent with my weight training and going to spin class a few times a week) until full marathon training starts at the end of December!  Last night I went to my first spin class in months, and I felt absolutely great afterwards.  I’m really excited about getting into a more structured nutrition/fitness routine.  Here’s what I’ve been eating this week, if you’re looking for ideas:

Breakfast:  four egg whites scrambled with 4 oz. (pre-boiled) sweet potatoes, topped with salt, pepper, and lots and lots of ketchup.  =) Oh and coffee.  Can’t forget the coffee.
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9 am snack:  a handful of almonds and salted cucumbers (salt = bad; don’t follow my example!).  Oh and coffee.  Can’t forget the coffee.
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Lunch:  4 oz. lean ground turkey seasoned with low-sodium taco seasoning over a bed of spinach and topped with 1/4 of an avocado.  I also eat one Joseph’s pita bread for carbohydrates.  Yum.

[Oops.  I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture!]

3 pm snack:  4 oz. sweet potato topped with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter and cinnamon.  Hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it!  I’m thoroughly convinced that you can top just about anything with pb, and it will taste 100% better.
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Dinner:  three egg whites and one whole egg scrambled with frozen mixed veggies.  Annnd topped with loads of ketchup.  I use pre-cut frozen veggies and cook them without defrosting before adding my eggs, which makes this a super-easy dinner for myself.
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If I’m hungry before bed (usually on heavy weight days), I’ll make a 4-egg-white “omelet” (whites, cinnamon, vanilla) filled with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter to eat at least an hour before bed.  Again– don’t knock it until you try it!  Egg whites are a practically-flavorless source of protein, so it’s not hard to concoct them into all sorts of yummy dishes.

So, there you have it– that’s what I’m chowing down on this week.  Lots of protein from eggs and lots of healthy fats.  Anyone care to share their healthy meal plans?? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!!