05/31/09

Dieting Is A Bad Idea For Marathoners

Well after a long weekend of binging and a packing around a huge load of guilt – I QUIT!!!!!!!!!!! The diet that is. I’ve been reading my training books again this week and cannot believe how EVERY ONE of my training guides say the same thing “Do NOT try to diet while training for a marathon!!!!”

Last year I lost almost 20 lbs — without ever counting a calorie or measuring a portion or writing down what I ate. I just ran. I’m almost back to the fitness level I was before I got injured, closing in on the distances I was running before — and I’m finding it harder and harder to stick to my “points” or “calories” for the day without having headaches, cramps in my legs (from lack of calcium), and irritability. I do want to lose those last 15 lbs or so — but — not at the risk of failing in my training goals! I talked to husband about it last night and asked his advice. He told me, “I thought it was a bad idea from the start. Focus on your running, try to eat more healthfully — but don’t diet.”

So — that’s where I’m at — I quit! I can’t believe how badly I lost control this weekend, guys! On Thursday night, after the great weigh-in — my hubby asked if I wanted something “fun” after the kids were in bed. I said “yes” and he ran out and bought me a small burger and a small fries and an apple rickey (like a lime or cherry one but with apple flavoring.) I felt like such a bad girl — such a cheater — but I savored every bite!!!!! I can’t tell you how much I’d missed eating so badly! Then Saturday, Wayne went and bought me a chocolate cream pie!  I had one slice but felt soooo guilty the whole time!!!!!! I sipped some 7-up on Sunday with Wayne while we sat on the back porch swing. I think I had 3 sips – but I was so mad at myself for not sticking with the diet.

I really suck at diets, guys. I always have. I’m a very compulsive, obsessive person and becoming overly focused on portions and calories makes me want to do “even better” than expected and then I end up miserable and can’t hang in there. I really admire those who can do this sort of thing for the long haul. I don’t know how you do it!

I really do think I learned more about eating nutritiously though. That’s a positive! I don’t intend to go out and buy more soda and chips or cookies anytime soon. Those are things I really do think should only be a “sometimes treat” and not a daily one. I’m excited I found more healthful bagels, english muffins, yogurt and granola bars and I’ll keep buying those for the whole family instead of the less healthful ones I’d been used to buying. I’m more excited about veggies again. I learned to use them in some new ways and will keep trying to encourage the kids to “eat your 5 servings a day”. So, there are some pluses!

But….here I am at 133.8 (this morning) and I’m ready to fuel my tank again when I need to. I’m going back to drinking skim milk more and eating lowfat cheese again. (I was trying to avoid both since they are “high in points”) My leg cramps will be thankful for that decision.

Last year, when I just ran, I lost about 1/2 a lb a week eating whatever I wanted. It was slow but steady and it stayed off once I lost it. I can do that again!

Big hugs to you guys for being supportive and understanding!! I appreciate you!

My mileage for last week was 18.62. I’m very proud of that. I’m getting there! I was up to 25 miles a week when I got hurt and I’m doing a great job at sloooowwly ramping my distance up — trying not to do more than 10% more than the previous week. My hip feels GREAT again! I’m so happy about that. Tomorrow I’m doing my first 8 miler for this year. I’m feeling strong and am not worried about the distance. I think when I hit 10, I’ll start to have a bit of fear again since I’ve only gone that distance or longer twice before! So, I’ll be needing some encouragement as I hit those milestones and step into the UNKNOWN for longer distances.

I can do it! I can do it! – That’s my mantra! Keep moving forward!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Running, gals!

05/29/09

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Did my 6 miles with my school buddy today again.  Good chatting, good times. 1 hour 10 min. We thought we were faster, but the Garmins never lie!  Next time we’ll try to beat our past times — I think we can do it!!!

05/28/09

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Ok, it was a good weigh-in today — but a number I already mentioned earlier this week. 133.8! That’s a 2.8 lb loss! I’ll take it!

05/27/09

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Tried something new tonight. Decided I would hit “stop” on my Garmin at my 3 mile mark so I could start reporting more accurate times in my log at home and here.  It’ll give me a better idea of how my race times will look coming up (without having to do any real thinking with my Garmin software – )

I didn’t get a chance to run tonight until after 9:30pm — but it was honestly pure heaven!!  There was still a bit of light when I started, so I headed out to the countryside. It seriously is such a fresh smell when the fields are being watered at night!!!!  I love the smell of fresh-cut hay and there were fields just dotted with the bales as far as the eye could see. I always want to run over and just sit on one since they look like such comfy seats!  The scent of late-blooming Spring flowers just permeated the air tonight too… It was just so refreshing! I tried not to look at my watch much and just let my body do what it wanted to do – easy, gentle… fun! My Garmin sounds an alarm at each mile, so I used that as my guage to take my one minute walk breaks (per Jeff Galloway’s marathon training program I’m using.) I didn’t feel the need to take them so much — but the program encourages walking early on in a race so you can finish strong and zoom past other runner’s who’ve pooped out early on. Oh – and — it’s supposed to lower the risk of injury. (I like both reasons ) So…with my walk breaks included — I did 3 miles on the nose in 31 minutes and 46 seconds!  I can’t believe it! My ave min/per/mile was 10:34 – WITH walk breaks! Yay!!

I admit to thinking Jeff Galloway was a nut to push the walking thing so much — but you know….my run tonight was enjoyable. I felt comfortable putting on the gas a bit as I ran (but never so hard I felt I was hurting at all) since I knew I’d get that one min break after the mile “ring” from my watch. I didn’t wear my mp3 tonight. I wanted to listen to my breathing and work on my form some. I focused on “running tall” and relaxing my shoulders and arms and legs as I ran. It was a good run!

I did cool down another 1/4 mile or so — but from now on I’ll just stick to the running (with walk breaks) for recording actual time and distance I think.

I’m a little nervous! Tomorrow is my first “weigh in”. I know I’m doing this on my own – so it’s just ME that will be there — but I’m hopeful that I’ve lost a teensy bit more weight. I’ve been pretty darn good this week (other than the Saturday pizza birthday party bad day.) Here’s how it looks:

Day 1 – 1620 cals – 30 pts
Day 2 – 1420 cals -26 pts (ran 6.26 miles)
Day 3 – 2035 cals – 41 pts 
Day 4 – 1147 cals – 21 pts – (walked 2.29 miles)
Day 5 – 1461 cals – 25 pts – (ran 7.33 miles)
Day 6 – 1601 cals – 32 pts
Day 7 – 889 cals (so far – still going to have an after workout snack) – 17 pts (so far) — Will likely land around 1200 and 20 for the day.

AF is here. I know that is in my favor. But I really did work SO hard on my diet this week!!!! I hope tomorrow the scale is nice to me and shows me that this hard work is paying off!  I only see dh’s family once a year and this year we’re all meeting at Yellowstone in August for that visit. I’m hoping to be around 126 by then (that’s the weight I was when I got pregnant with the first of my 5 babies!) I would be so proud to hit that milestone!!! My “real” goal is another 10 lbs beyond that (the weight I was the day of my wedding 11 1/2 years ago — amazingly only 10 months before I weighed 126 – yes, that means I gained 10 lbs in 10 months for no good reason other than being a happy newlywed ). But….that’s what I’m shooting for! I hope I can do it guys!!!!!!

05/26/09

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I had shinsplints last August! They were terrible! The best thing you can do for shinsplints is take a few days off from running, then RICE — (rest, ice, compression and elevation!) Ibuprofin also helped! And, as for the icing – they sell these cool strap on ice packs for shins at local pharmacies! I haven’t bought them but they looked like a great idea!

Once you are healed fully — here are some exercises you can do to prevent future episodes of shin splints
http://video.google.com/videosearch?…um=4&ct=title#

I learned to also do simple exercises right at my desk (like tapping your foot until it burns along the shin, then switching sides.) You can also sit on a table and fill a bucket partway with water, then slide the handle over your foot and try to raise your leg straight in front of you with that weight. Do a few reps (sorry I don’t remember how many.) As your strength increases you can add more weight (water or whatever would accomplish the same thing.) I also found that by laying face down on my bed with just my feet hanging off the bed was a good way to stretch that area as I flexed my feet forward then relaxed.

Also — check out www.runnersworld.com — Just last month they had a whole article on shin splints and I think it’s available online now! 
Then, get some good cushioned, running shoes,

I hope your shin splints go away soon!!

05/26/09

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When I bought myself the first pair of running shoes in May of last year — the Marathon was on my mind. The year my Mom turned 40 she ran a marathon. I was a 23 year old college student. It impressed my socks off so much that I took that pair of her shoes and hung them on my wall in my apartment with a computer-made sign that said “26.2” and told anyone who came to my home the story of “My Mom who ran a marathon!” My Mom became my hero that year!

My Mom, today at age 54 is super fit and still running 15-20 miles most weeks. She never did another marathon after that one, but she never stopped running. It’s always been her passion and still is today. She’s thrilled as can be that I have this as a goal. I told her back then “When I’m your age, I want to do a marathon too.” — So, it’s always been something on my mind – like a covenant I wanted to fulfill to myself and to her.

Back when I was in college and my Mom ran that marathon, I was fit and tiny (107 lbs at my smallest with an 18% body fat)- and only a recreational runner. I never ran more than 5 miles — and only did that ONCE! I did races with my Mom locally but was never fast. Back then, running was just a small hobby. I really wasn’t sure how I’d ever really run 26.2 someday. I just knew it would prove something to myself —- someday.

When I bought those shoes last May I had just turned 35. My 5th child had just celebrated her first birthday – I wore a size 14. My bra size was 44DD. I was about 150 lbs and horribly out of shape! I huffed just going up stairs. I really wondered as I tried on running shoes that fateful day what the other people in the store were thinking of this “fat old lady” test-jogging in those shoes. I was almost too embarrassed to buy them thinking they were for fit people and the fitness police might walk around the corner and arrest me for trying to impersonate an athlete! 

But.. I bought those shoes and started doing the couch to 5k. The first few runs were a joke! I got a side ache from shuffling one block. But I didn’t give up! I really, really, wanted to reach that marathon at the end of the long, long road!!!!!! As most of you know.. I kept going and got better. 

When I got injured, I was training for my first half-marathon — the same half-marathon my Mom had done 4 times in her 30’s. (It’s billed as the Toughest Half Marathon in the Northwest!! – 8 miles of it are UPHILL in a rugged mountain area that often still has some snow!) I had trained up to 11 miles on my long run by mid December (the race was mid April) so I KNEW I was going to make it — then my hip stopped working — and I couldn’t even walk normally or run more than 3 steps!!! I went overnight from nearly peaking, to not being allowed to walk, bike or run – or do any aerobics or anything else that involved hip motion.  That race happened without me in April. I cried. But… I’m recovered now and training again for the ultimate goal — that marathon!

The half was just a stepping stone towards the real goal that is still happening this October. I don’t want to name the event, but it’s a local one. My Mom’s first marathon event already happened this month so it will be a different event – but the same distance.

So……if I can do this right — with the help of Jeff Galloway’s New MARATHON! book offering great advice and permission to “take it easy with one minute walk breaks at each mile” — I am determined to get that marathon this year!  Jeff’s book says he can take a couch potato safely to a marathon finish in 6 months if they follow his “gentle” advice. So.. I’ve been training again for 2 months now and I’m back in the game – with about 4 months to go!

My Friday running pal and I were classmates. Our graduating class had only 60 members. She’s the first one to do a marathon — and just did her SECOND one this year!!!!  With her guidance and encouragement, I know I’ll be able to reach this goal – as long as my hip holds out! So, I’ll steer clear of hill training and super speedy workouts in favor of — getting across that final finish line! The minute they put that medal around my neck, I’ll know something about myself — something I’ve always needed to know — that I, too — CAN DO ANYTHING!!! 

My Mom will run this marathon with me and she’s so pumped!  I hope we cross the finish line side-by-side!!!!!!

05/26/09

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You definitely can run in the heat.  I ran 3-4 times a week all through last summer and learned to LOVE my runs regardless of the weather. I’m also now fine with running in the fog, the wind, the snow, the rain, the dark..  Once you get your mind set to start training seriously — you need to learn to handle all sorts of weather since you never know what you’ll find on race day – and if you cancel too many workouts due to weather — you’ll find yourself not strong enough when your goal race rolls around. So…I just learned to plan a little, bring water (which I should have done yesterday) and you’ll be fine!

What do I wear —  – my shorts are Danskin – but not the “real” bicycle ones. Mine came from Wal Mart in their regular exercise section for $7. They look nearly identical to this pair though. I have several and my favorite ones are a lycra mix. They never ride up at all and are slimming and cool. I have a pair of Nike bunhuggers (which look like “boy shorts” underwear) and two pairs of lycra short ones I got at Target last year. I always buy from thrift stores (I scored the Nike pair for $2! or Target, Wal-Mart, etc. ) I don’t spend a lot on shorts or tanks for running wear. Here’s a photo that is similar to my running tanks —  Check your local thrift stores!!! People often start exercising and stop so you can find cute workout clothes for dirt cheap! 

I do splurge on my bra — but my boobies are horribly huge! I buy this one:

I run in low, short socks, too — cheapies from Wal Mart (Danskin again I think) — just look for items that are not 100% cotton. Look for wicking materials!

Now one of the things I am missing like crazy right now (since I just moved and am still sorting through boxes of things to find my stuff) is my hydration belt!!!!!!!! That’s what got me in trouble yesterday. I ran nearly every run last year with it! I can carry my keys, cell phone, a whistle (have used when feeling in a dangerous situation like a dog looking aggressive to alert owners and others to LOOK!), and most importantly — but full water bottle or some fuel (bits of bagel or granola bar, a banana, or powerbar.) The one I have looks something like this: I couldn’t find an exact match of mine (given to me by my Mom – and it’s about 15 years old. My water bottle stands straight up against my lower back, not sideways.)


I also always wear my Ironman sports sunglasses ($20 from Wal Mart) that look sort of like this 

Always hydrate with at least a sports bottle of water half an hour or more before the run. Then you should take some fluid at approximately each mile. Sometimes I just take a sip, sometimes I plan my routes so that I know there’s refill spot along the way for my water bottle (especially on runs over 10 miles!) Wear sunscreen. Some runner’s like hats. I’m not a fan of them myself because I have such thick hair and a hat only makes my head sweat more.  The worst problem I had yesterday besides not bringing water, was the sweat getting into my eyes and burning!!!  So..maybe a headband isn’t a bad idea to consider either.  (That last part didnt’ happen until I was standing around chatting up a neighbor after my run (trying to convince her to join me sometime!) 

I also lower my pace when it’s hot! Your body is doing a hard effort dealing with the heat and the pace — so lower the one you can control! Again – my goal is endurance — not speed!!! I’m coming back from an injury and after being forced to take 3 months off I have to tell you, if I never ever get to be a fast runner — but can continue to train and run for the rest of my life — at a slow pace — I’m happy with that!!!  So save the harder efforts for cooler runs (very early mornings or late at night or midler days – again — rainy ones are heaven!!) When I ran last Friday morning at 7 am, it was already burning hot by the time we finished up our 6 miler. So, at least where I live, you’d had to head out at 5 am or so to get a nice cool, longer run in.

And thank you SO much for the sweet words!!!!!!!!!!  You are a great runner! You’ll catch me in no time!!!! If I can do this — ANYONE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Running!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05/25/09

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Whew! Apparently in 80 degree temps when going for 7 miles it’s a nice idea to have some water along! I thought of slurping from the ditches I ran by – but since I couldn’t see to the bottom because the water’s so muddy – I decided better. 

Anyways…..just got back from 7:33 official miles (I forgot to hit “start” again on the Garmin after a potty break so I actually did run another 1/4 mile -oops!!) Total time (including the one min walk breaks for each mile per the Jeff Galloway Marathon program and the cool down after I hit 7 miles = 1 hour 32 min.) My goal pace for the runs was 12:40 or better (this is an easy run – the goal being endurance and not speed) and the predicted pace was given to me by the Smart Coach program on Runner’s world.com. Surprisingly, at the 7 mile mark, my ave speed for all miles was around 12:20 — not too bad since I got to walk a min per mile!

I was actually able to comfortably do 12:15 for the running portion and then walk easily for the one minute. The goal for “LSD’s aka – Long Slow Distances are to go about 2 minuters per mile slower than you could do on a race day in the same situation, focusing on steady, easy miles to build endurance.

The real marathon training happens on these LDS’s.  They steadily build up distance in a pattern that looks something like this: 6, 6, 7, 7, 3, 8, 8, 9, race week (10K in this training case.)  Notice the 3 in the middle? The idea is to build up, then back off so the muscles recover from the longer effort, then push longer than before at the next long run. Cool eh?  This is the type of builds ups, then back downs I’ll be doing over the next 4 1/2 months as I prepare for my first marathon! The mid week runs will stay about the same, while the long will get longer and longer and ….  Someone may have to push me out the door when I see it’s really time to run 26.2! 

As for my eating….. I did darn good again today! After my 3 meals and 2 snacks I’m at — 1051 calories and 19 points! I’ll have something to fuel up the muscles (like a small glass of chocolate milk or a cheese stick) in a bit, then a small snack tonight — but intend to keep the cals under 1500 overall. I feel fine — great actually!  I think using my “take one minute walk breaks at each mile” Jeff Galloway training rule really did let me finish and still feel pretty perky! Cool beans! 

Well, I’m perky — but doggone stinky from all the sweating — so off to the shower I go!  Heigh HO Heigh Ho……

05/24/09

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Took my first “photography walk” tonight near my home. It’s nice to combine hobbies sometimes.  2.29 miles – easy, soulful, restful pace. Tried to take some “rave run” pics of myself with my self-timer — but seeing the photos was another reminder that I must keep at this dieting and exercising if I don’t want to spend my life with the body of Sponge Bob Square Pants. Shouldn’t have worn the yellow shirt tonight –  Anyways….. Idaho is a lovely place to live — and to exercise — so here’s some pictures so you can join me on my walk via this journal.  Enjoy!