Wednesday, February 24, 2016

One down, one to go

Last summer I signed up for two runDisney events: the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Anaheim. This weekend I finished the first of these events and the next is coming up in less than 11 weeks now. It's a good feeling to have one of the two done and now I have a lovely medal to admire while I train for the next event. (Yes, it's true: I run for bling and brunch!)

at Epcot World Showcase with my medal and TCB
Wouldn't a picture from the actual race be nice here?

Sadly, neither TCB nor I thought to take any photos directly after the race, so I'll have to see what the official race photographer ended up with once those photos are available next week. The picture above does show my medal, though, and my Princess Aurora running skirt (I threw it on over my shorts with a new/clean running shirt), which I wore all day at Epcot and Magic Kingdom because I trained hard for this event and I wanted to celebrate for the rest of the day.

For my official souvenir of the race, I bought a silver Cinderella Castle charm that I have already threaded through the laces of my left running shoe. After I finish the next one (May 8), I'll add Sleeping Beauty Castle to my right running shoe and my race training will come to an end for a little while.

There are still over two months to go before that day, though, so I laced up my running shoes this morning for my first post-Half training run; it went well. I have been surprised at how little soreness and stiffness I've experienced since Sunday, which is certainly a good thing. I'll run again (another 3 miler) on Friday then a short 4 miler on Sunday to wrap up the week. I signed up for Pilates class on Monday morning so that I can get back into that routine because it makes me happy and helps with my flexibility and core strength (both of which help my running tremendously); I'll start back with weight machine circuits next Tuesday and Thursday, too.

My days and nights used to revolve around food and television, and now I spend most of my time focused on moving and taking care of my body - it's amazing how much better I feel when I stick to this routine. It might not be glamourous, but feeling good, having fun, and staying healthy are my top priorities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mixing things up

Part of the reason that I've been going to physical therapy since June last year is that I sit a lot at my job. It took quite a while to figure that out but that's where we are: it's not the running, it's not the walking, it's the sitting. I'm trying hard to take standing breaks at least once an hour - my Apple Watch buzzes in case I forget about it, so that's getting better than it was before I started paying more attention.

The other factor in my continuing hip/glute/lower back pain is a lack of cross training and more specifically not doing any resistance/strength training. I love to walk outside in the morning - it's relaxing, it's a great way to burn calories while getting some fresh air - but combining four mornings of walking with three mornings of wogging (repeated walk/jog intervals) is great for my cardiovascular endurance but not so much for my muscle strength. I keep saying that I'm going to go the gym in the mornings to lift weights but then I get cold feet the night before and decide to just go for a walk instead.

This weekend I decided that if I was going to make a change, I needed to work with my motivational style, which is far more obliger than anything else, so I sent Kay Lynn a text message to ask if she'd meet me at the gym Tuesday and Thursday mornings this week; she said yes. After sending a follow-up text message Monday night to confirm, I knew I couldn't back out.

Not a picture of me from this morning
So, up I got with the 4:30 a.m. alarm, dressed, took care of Alouysius the Pug, and off I went to the gym. Kay Lynn was on time, as always, and we got started. Thirty minutes later, I'd finished two full-body circuits and we still had time to hit the treadmill for a 20 minute walk afterwards.

My new workout schedule looks like this:
  • Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday will remain my dedicated days for wogging
  • weights on Tuesday and Thursday
  • walking plus gentle yoga on Saturday and Monday (day before and after my long wog)

How do you fit both cardiovascular and strength training into your exercise routine? Do you have a preference for one over the other?

Monday, February 08, 2016

I just finished a 10 mile training run - now what?

This morning marked two weeks until I'll be lacing up my shoes, slipping into my pink princess running skirt and tiara, and running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando. If I hadn't been training for this since October 5th, I'd probably be freaking out about now.

The basis of most race training plans that I've seen is shorter runs during the week that allow you to work on your speed, combined with increasingly longer, always a little slower runs on one weekend day to build endurance and stamina. This week, my weekday runs were both 45 minutes long and my long run today was 10 miles which took me two hours, twenty minutes to complete. That's a really long time to do anything, much less something that takes your breath away and makes the angry muscle in your hip/glute area flare up in protest.

So what did I do to keep my mind entertained for 140 minutes? Same thing I do EVERY time I run: I fantasized about what I was going to eat today for breakfast!

I run for brunch!
Image from via Pinterest

My favorite post-run breakfast indulgences are:

  • French toast made with homemade gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread, baked cinnamon apples, scrambled eggs, and turkey bacon
  • multi-grain and nut pancakes made with pumpkin puree and topped with butter, plus ham and scrambled egg substitute
  • sweet potato pancakes with a dusting of cinnamon and topped with butter, plus chicken sausage and scrambled eggs
  • Eggs Benedict made with avocado and tomato slices on whole grain English muffins

The difference between this morning and when I last ran 10 miles two weeks ago is that I stopped eating flour and anything with more than 20 grams of sugar per serving, so I couldn't snarf down any of my usual favorites, which made me a little anxious as I ran, frankly, because being able to eat delicious food is 90% of why I run. (The other 10% is for the race bling.)

So, what did I have for my post-run breakfast today? Half of an omelette with gouda cheese, turkey bacon, home fries, and avocado inside, and drizzled with plain Greek yogurt on top and some fruit on the side. Add in several glasses of ice water and several cups of coffee and I was a happy girl. While I'm not ready to say that I'll never have a piece of French toast again, it's good to know I can still find delicious indulgences without putting a ton of sugar into my body!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Ten days without eating flour, excess sugar, or anything after dinner

Today marks ten days I've gone without eating any flour, any packaged food with more than 20 grams of sugar per serving, or anything at all after dinner, and I have to say it's been surprisingly easy.

The nastiest challenge I faced came on Monday (Day 6) when I brought bundtinis to work to celebrate a team member's promotion. In addition to those little beauties, we also had lemon bars, churros, and chocolate ganache brownies delivered with our catered lunch from a local restaurant that day as well - yikes!

What kept me from throwing in the towel and telling myself I'd start again the next day was deciding to have a Peanut Butter Cookie bar with some hot tea mid-afternoon. Having a controlled amount of sweetness, savoring it fully, and tracking it without any guilt made the other desserts lose their Death Star-like pull on me.

Three ingredients, no flour, 18g of sugar

In the past, I might have tried to power through with just the tea but possibly made a poor choice for dinner because of lower blood sugar and 6-1/2 hours between lunch and dinner, so this is firmly in the "win" column as far as I'm concerned.

Since then, I've made space in my daily calories for this or another flavor of the same brand most afternoons. Before this little experiment, I'd have used those calories to have something sweet after dinner, so I've just shifted that to the mid-afternoon timeframe, without any bad effect on my pre-dinner blood sugar test.

Anyone else making significant changes to their food or exercise programs? How are you doing and do you have any recommendations about new habits to support the changes?