how did you do it? and other questions I can’t answer right now

For awhile I will try to keep my posts to about just training and fitness. It’s something I don’t mind talking about – and if I get a chance to sit down and talk to someone about how to improve overall health and wellness and fitness, then I’m super happy to do so. But talking specifically about how I did it is not my favorite topic because I am still uncomfortable talking about myself with someone face-to-face about it all. But I’ll write an email or blog post about it if you ask lol.

I get asked a lot – especially from people who have not seen me for awhile – how I lost weight and got fit. Depending on my mood that day, I will either just say that I worked out a lot, worked with a trainer for a few months, and changed the way I ate or I will take time to explain with details about the (obsessive) running and strength training and learning how to do things properly from a trainer before jumping into it all head first like I normally do. And sometimes I just say, “I busted my ass obsessively” and leave it at that.

My point here is that it’s hard for me to talk about it because I always get self-conscious and a little embarrassed when people ask me about it. In fact, it took me a long time to not say “oh, it’s all because of my trainer” when someone asked about it or told me I looked good/nice/healthy/fit instead of just saying “thank you” and not make an excuse of why it wasn’t me who did the work. And once I hit the 100lb mark, I really cut back on the working out and training because of a lot of emotional and mental health problems and also because I did that in 8 and a half months – and yes, you’re right: that’s batshit crazy unhealthy.

But now I know how to do it right. I’ve spent the last 3 months researching the hell out of it – it is what I do best after all – and learning, learning, learning. I have taken the things I have learned along the way from living through it, from the trainer, from articles, from books, from doctors, etc. and am now putting it all together to keep myself healthy and moving forward with training. I stopped training with a personal trainer months ago and I had to start convincing myself that I was in fact capable of doing it on my own. That may sound easy but it was really hard for me to learn that. Once I conquered that – with the help of an awesome friend and my husband – I was able to put together workout programs, fitness plans, etc. for myself and I now share information with others (DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified trainer yet so it’s just me sharing information with friends…not training them).

That’s all I can say about my training for now. We’ll talk fitness and eating and training more later. And I’ll do it with less text…we definitely need to get some links and photos in here – otherwise this blog is just going to be chapters in a novel. πŸ˜‰



vegan AND gluten-free? are you nuts?

Yes, yes I am. And I do really love nuts, thanks for asking. πŸ™‚

As I’ve changed my eating lifestyle throughout the years, I’ve learned so much about my own body and how it handles certain types of foods. First of all, as I had long suspected, sugar is a killer. If I eat anything with sugar after 6 or 7 at night, I’m pretty much guaranteed to have one heck of a headache in the morning that nothing will get rid of quickly. I later chose to be vegetarian, and then vegan, for ethical reasons and learned along the way that my body really does not like meat nor dairy. This lesson was a hard one to learn because every time I fell of the vegan wagon and ate dairy or (sadly) meat, I would be sick. Really sick.

Some of that sickness was due to me pretty much being lactose-intolerant (this happens after you’re vegan for a long time) but there were many other health symptoms that came back. Issues that I had dealt with my whole life and assumed they were “just the way it’s supposed to be” but that went away when I was vegan. Probably the easiest example to give without going into too many details is acne – once I stopped eating meat and dairy, I pretty much stopped having issues with acne. Acne was a huge deal for me in my life and I’ve had it way past the teenage years timeframe that it’s known for – I had it through my 20’s and 30’s. But, when I watch what I eat, it goes away. If I stop eating vegan, it comes back. I can give you citations to research and science crap that will explain why so let me know if you’re interested in learning more – I’ll put my librarian hat on for you.

So why gluten-free also? Well, I have friends who either have celiac disease or have a strong intolerance to gluten. And there’s some research about how gluten affects your body that I could share with you as well (again, just ask me). But for me, when listening to others describe some of the effects and symptoms they’ve had before going gluten-free, I hear myself and I too would like them to go away. Therefore, I’m going to give it a try. This of course is going to be an interesting project and change for me. Thankfully, going vegan taught me how to cook and bake – and now, I will have to do this even more so I don’t end up buying unhealthy processed & packaged food.

One of my friends shared the blog Gluten-Free Goddess with me. And while perusing it (and falling in love with the recipes!!) I learned that the author also bakes vegan. She has a great “Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet” with helpful tips, including this gem:

“Baking gluten-free and vegan translates to one simple truth that is hard to teach. Because it can only be learned by experience. This one simple truth?

Unlearn everything you think you know- or thought you understood- about baking.”

The whole page and blog is wonderful (with great photos!) and if you’re interested in learning more, I would definitely recommend going there.Β I feel fortunate because I never really learned how to cook/bake before going vegan so I don’t have too many of the traditional ideas about baking to unlearn. But there are definitely some things there that I needed to unlearn. It will be a new adventure for me Β for sure – but one that I believe will have amazing benefits.

Today is officially day one of vegan, gluten-free eating. I’m looking forward to seeing how this choice improves how I feel and pushes me closer to my goal of being healthy overall and running a half-marathon. Oh, and my new one: being a cross-fit athlete by the time I’m 40. Yeah, I’m serious. But that’s another post. πŸ™‚

f’n downward spiral

Shocking news alert: I have a swearing problem. I control it pretty darn well (like, it seems one should not put a complete swear word in a blog post title) but when I’m excited or stressed out or angry or whatever, inevitably, the swearing returns. I feel like I should warn you because today has shown me that this journey is going to be stressful and cause me frustration. Heads up.

Today, I got up at my normal ridiculous hour of the day to go running but took a quick glance at my email first – and then my calendar – and then was hit with the realization that was my day. I had so much work to do. So, instead of going running, I got in the shower, got dressed and went to work to get going on my day. That would be step one on my downward spiral that is today.

Step two? Leadership Council meeting where there are donuts – which I always avoid. I’m vegan for crying out loud – I don’t eat crap like donuts because I don’t know what they’re made out of and you. just. never. know. But I did – I ate one. And sadly, it tasted like shit. Totally not worth the calories or assumed unveganness (yes, I just made that word up).

When I finally got to eat lunch at 2:30ish, I did okay – I bring my own lunch so it’s all good. No worries there.

But then I came home – and at some point this afternoon I had hit a wall of exhaustion that had not gone away yet. And that’s when I hit step three – flat out failure:Β  I ate cookies that Dave had baked the other day. Full of crap calories, unvegan, stupid cookies. Now I have guilt from the crap I ate today AND from the unveganness (and I’ll pay for that later – I get sick now when I eat dairy stuff).

Why in the world am I stating all of this? Partially because I need to so I a fully aware of it myself. And to acknowledge that I stress eat and I need to get a handle on that. But most importantly I’m stating it because something kind of cool happened – I realized that it was okay. It’s okay to screw up. It’s okay to have an off day.

But tomorrow will have to be a major kick ass day. That’s my goal for the day tomorrow – get up and run, eat healthily, take care of myself, do my pain-in-the-ass-I-hate-it-so-much-but-damn-it-works workout for Wednesday. Hell yeah, f’n right. πŸ˜‰

Mid-Week Thoughts

This has been a crappy week, to say the least. The plan was to get up and run Monday, Wednesday, Thursday – and the long run on Saturday. But I have weird stuff going on that I’m not 100% for sure how to fix.

First, I cannot get up and out of bed. I am so tired that I just cannot get out of bed at my normal 4:45am time. I know some may think that is reasonable since it is after all, 4:45am – but I’m a morning person and have regularly been waking up at 5a anyway. I could not get up to run Monday, just wasn’t happening. On top of that, I am so so so tired. And feel like hell. I kind of just want to take a nap all day.

Being a librarian, with librarian friends, we’ve been doing some research and I am thinking that most likely, this is all being caused by me being a lazy meal planner / eater this past week. I think the fact that I’ve run all these miles every week and have lost no weight has been getting to me and because of that, I have severely cut back on food. And then on top of that, I’ve been eating candy and cookies. Good stuff. Not.

So, last night I ate some greens (my husband makes the best collard greens EVER) and some other healthy food and started to feel better. Not surprising, here we are again with me needing to take better care of myself. One cannot live on coffee and crappy food alone. Especially if that person is training for half marathon. Sigh.

I have the rest of the week off from work for a small little staycation and I slept in until 6:30am. And then I got my butt out of the house and ran again. It was a little rough – I tell ya, that first mile sucks if you’re not warmed up properly – but I did it. And I’ll get up and do it again tomorrow. Fortunately my stubborn genes are kicking in and I don’t want to quit. I really want to do this and I am going to make it happen – even if I have to cook a darn meal. πŸ™‚

And The Dates are Set!

First, good news:Β  I will be running a 10K here in Manhattan on the 31st of this month. And, we’ve picked out the 1/2 marathon – it’s on May 20th. Pretty cool. And it makes it very real now.

Now, the bad news:Β  I’ve run about 12.5 miles total this week and have lost no weight. How is that possible? I know in one of the books I’ve read that the author trained for a marathon and ran it – and lost no weight. I mean, I’m not running and training just to lose weight, but it sure would have been a nice bonus. Surely by the half marathon I will have lost something. Right?

As of this week, my friend and I are starting the training program for the half marathon from a different book than what I had before – this new one is from a book written by Grete Waitz who has won many marathons. I’ve done well with the old one and it has prepared me for this schedule. This week is three days of running 3 miles and then a long run day of 5 miles. This past week I did a couple days of 2-3 miles and Saturday we did 4 miles. So, I feel ready for the new schedule.

Did you catch that part? I ran 4 miles yesterday. It still makes me giggle to say that out loud. I think I’ve told every person I’ve seen since then, but I’m really super proud of doing it. It was about this distance that I was at last year when I stopped running and also where I was at two years ago when I hurt my knee and couldn’t run anymore. I think that’s why I’m extra happy about it.

The running schedule this week is Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday with the long run on Saturday. I’m going to spend time this evening putting together bags of snacks to take to work throughout the day. That’s the first thing I’ve learned so far – holy cow I am so hungry all the time. So, I take carrots and celery/peanut butter and trail mix and healthy things with me so I’m not tempted to go to the Union and buy Skittles. Skittles are definitely my soft spot when it comes to unhealthy snacks. I try to focus on protein and carbs and not sugar.

Here we go for the next week – 14 miles this week, here I come!

Long Week

Here it is Saturday morning and I haven’t posted all week. It’s not because I don’t want to share, but rather that my week got out of my control very quickly. First week of classes back at work and my whole week blew up into me being very tired when I came home and not wanting to be on my computer all night.

Monday morning run: this went okay – I was a little sluggish (I think I was still recovering from the 10-mile bike ride on Saturday) but we did the 2-mile run. Still slowly, but hey, I’m working on my stride. πŸ™‚

Wednesday morning run: this was a BAD run. In fact, I hurt so badly and hit a wall that as I finished the first mile, I just stopped. Stopped! David was quite a bit ahead of me so I turned around and walked the other way and then just waited. And did nothing but stand there in disbelief that I could not convince myself to run. Once David got there, I followed him and slowly jogged the last 1/4 mile of the route. I don’t know what the deal was – I suspect it was lack of water on Tuesday and a serious lack of protein (after I thought about it and realize I had eaten no protein for 2 days). Or maybe I was just tired. It sucked though.

Friday morning run: DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN. Sigh. It’s been a long week and my alarm went off and I just lay in bed thinking, “no”. So I didn’t go out. David did however which makes me happy – I’m turning him into a runner!!

So a bit of a frustrating week. I’m worried that I won’t be able to go out and do it again – but I know that’s silly. I am working harder on eating correctly (thanks, Sports Nutrition book!) now and will be able to do it again. I know it. Just have to get back out there. I think I just had a bad week.

I did get up this morning and go on my Saturday morning bike ride with my friend. We did a shorter route because we both agreed that 10 miles last week might have been a bit too much to jump into. πŸ™‚ But I feel good that I went and am hoping it will spur me on to run soon. Speaking of soon, there’s an event I’m going to tomorrow evening that will end probably later than my bedtime – and I definitely need a whole night’s sleep to get up and run at 4:45a. Instead of running Monday morning then, we’re going out to a park to run tomorrow morning. We’re going to do the whole 5K distance and start working on our time (though of course we’ll be walking parts of it tomorrow) in preparation of a 5K race coming up in October we’re thinking about doing. It seems safe to try out since it says participants can walk or run – that makes me not worry as much that I will take too long. Surely I run faster than walkers, right? Right??

On the upside for the week, I lost 1 pound. πŸ™‚

Yard Work, Cravings, and Weather

Though I had hoped that yesterday would consist of a walk on the Konza Prairie, it instead consisted of yard work. We have a huge problem with overrun bushes and shrubs in our backyard – none of which are actually growing in our yard. They all belong to the neighbor but have grown up and over the fence to the point that there is an entire section of our yard that you cannot walk through. So, with Mumford & Sons on the iPod, I headed out with my clippers. And I was doing well until I noticed that there was a nest in the branches I was about to cut down – too late for me to not cut down the surrounding branches so the nest had already dropped about 4 feet (still attached the branch – the branch actually dropped). I saw that there was one egg and two itty-bitty baby birds – one of which had fallen out because of my cutting!!! I was a hot mess of distraught tears because there’s a real possibility that I just caused this bird’s death.

So. I first obviously stopped cutting down branches. I’ve heard a hundred times that you’re not supposed to pick up a baby bird and put it back because then the mom won’t come and feed it. But I couldn’t just leave it there! So I attempted to circumvent the issue by using a large leaf to pick it up, hoping that my scent wouldn’t carry over. Then I propped the branches up a bit higher and used all the cut branches I had to form a pile around the area – as a barricade for The Cleo puppy dog who I’m hoping will not discover the nest. And then I walked away and decided to work on the front yard for the rest of the morning. Later, I checked back and the mom bird had been back and she had retucked the two babies in the nest beside the egg. I didn’t have the heart to go look today but I suppose I better. I’m just so afraid that I caused baby bird death. 😦

But I digress. Let’s talk about running instead of my traumatic Sunday morning. Two things to report: first, I crave meat. You may not find this surprising or upsetting, but as a vegan, I find this terribly upsetting. I know it’s because of the running that I’m craving more protein and the problem lies in the fact that I had not prepared enough protein-rich food last week. And I was too lazy to cook. And then the worst happened: I ate meat AND cheese. Three times last week. I feel a bit like I’m in a confessional booth as I write this. Sigh. I was disgusted by myself for doing it. But, I’m better prepared now and spent some time yesterday afternoon meal-planning, shopping, and cooking so that I would be ready for the extra protein my body needs now that I’m running frequently. Yikes. I hope I don’t cave in again because I really was so upset. And of course sick because when you don’t eat meat or dairy for a very long time and then suddenly do, you get to be sick. Bloated. And other gross things I won’t write about here.

Second thing to report is that there is a difference between running in the rain and running in a thunderstorm. One is awesome; the other is scary and not awesome. I woke up this morning at 4:45 to crazy thunderstorms. But luckily I have the internet and watched the weather radar map – when my area hit the green area and not the scary red/yellow area, I headed out the door. Because I didn’t get out until later, I couldn’t go for as long BUT what I did do was almost run an entire mile without stopping – I only had two moments of recovery walking. And it was awesomely pouring rain. I do so love to run in the rain. I’m such a dork. There was still lightning in the far away background which also gave it an eerie feel but it was cool. And I ran for a long time – way longer than I was supposed to according to the training plan but it just felt good to keep going. So I did.

That’s all for now…since I’ve already written an entire novel here. Geesh.