Summer Running: I’m over it!

Is it fall yet? I swear every time I try to run outside it’s hot as hell and humid as all get out. Trying to inhale in the stuffy, muggy air is like trying to claw your way through a vat of jello. Not even a half of a mile into the run, I am drenched in sweat and feeling sticky. By the time I am dome with three miles, my brain is going “Seriously, are we done yet?”

Oh, Summer Running – I loathe thee.

It's hot as hell at 6am, but it sure is pretty sometimes.

It’s hot as hell at 6am, but it sure is pretty sometimes.

BUT – I want to believe that all this summer running will have a real positive impact for fall running and my race season. I thrive when it’s cooler outside and not 112 degrees in the shade, and running in this heat might teach me a thing or two. Right now, all it’s teaching me is a lesson in hydration and determination.

Continue reading

Running is cheaper than therapy… If you can get out there.

The only reason I am able to sit here and write this post is because I leave work at 4pm on Fridays to prepare for my overnight shift on Saturday mornings. I should be running right now. I didn’t run this morning like I had planned, and my best friend canceled on me because of family obligations so I should have come home and threw on my gear, then went for a run.

Instead, I am sitting at my dining room table that is scattered with papers and letters and bills and calendars taping away at the old laptop because damn, what a week this was. And unfortunately I don’t mean that in a good way. It was a week filled with death and violence and arguments and was just awful. I had been trying to sit down and write something all week long, but the words felt hollow and insincere compared to how I felt so I just put it off for a day. And then another day. And another.

And now, here we are; Friday evening sitting at home alone because Dreamboat needs a haircut before Michelle goes out of town and Spotify is keeping me company with the “Inspiration for Words” playlist I created and still I feel like I should have run.

That 100 miles in July thing? I don’t think that’s going to happen.  Continue reading

This One’s For The Girls…

Seriously. This post is all about girls and girl crap that comes with being a runner. So if you are a boy, you should skip this post. I will not be held responsible for your grossed out-ness, or how I am about to break the bubble that women are all beautiful all the time when it comes to all the female runner things I am about to complain about under the cut.

So guys, skip this one. Continue reading

It’s A Food Thing: Why I don’t believe in the “Detox”

It’s the Monday after a long holiday weekend and all I see in my Instagram and Twitter pages are people posting about how they are going to “detox” after the holiday binge eating. “Ate too much junk this weekend, so this week I’m going to detox it out!” and other posts much like that. Time to boost the fiber and eat nothing but veggies to purge all the crap we eat! Huzzah!

Which to me reads as “I’m going to punish my body after enjoying a weekend relaxing with friends and enjoying a cook out, knowingly eating all the foods I should have avoided that made me feel like a beached whale! Huzzah!” And this – my friends – is why I don ‘t “diet” and don’t “detox”

Continue reading

It’s a Food Thing: Tips and Tricks to Fighting Cravings (and when not to)

When you suddenly decide “THAT’S IT! I’m eating CLEAN from here on out” and you purge your house of all the junk food and things that are aiding in your trashy eating and then BLAM you get hit with a craving for something super sweet and maybe even candy and you have none … you will get one of two responses when you turn to Instagram or Twitter for help:

A) “Don’t you dare do it! Be strong and ignore those cravings! Candy is nothing, sexy fitness is everything GRRR!!!!”

or

B) “Oh just a few pieces won’t hurt you! Just go get some. It’s cool!”

Here’s the problem with that – ignoring a craving can make you binge and binge in a bad way. When a handful of some sweet treat is enough to keep the craving under control, and you deny that, suddenly a handful isn’t enough. Suddenly you need the entire bag of chocolate chips you bought for cookies you were going to make for a friends birthday, even if you actually hate chocolate. Oops.

Pasta Dinner with Garlic Bread Carbs

But sometimes just having a handful, or having a few pieces isn’t helpful either because you are trying to be good and you know that one handful will lead to another because you have no self control and suddenly the entire back of marshmallows is gone in one episode of Supernatural and well that didn’t help things much, now did it?

Here’s the deal: I don’t diet. I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation, and I mean everything. But I’m also a realist, and I know that there are some things that trigger my inner Cookie Monster like tendencies like no other: soda, taffy, and ice cream are a few of the things I can’t have in my house because I know that within days of the purchase, they will be gone. I’m talking a full 12 pack of soda, a giant bag of taffy, and a half gallon of ice cream. Gone. In 2 days. Yep, I’ve done it.

Sure there are things out there that make it a little bit easier. For example, after a long time I started to buy the single cup ice cream cups. And for a while I was able to limit myself to one cup a night. One serving, and it’s perfect. Only it lasted a matter of a few days and then I ate all the ice cream cups. And as I sat among the plastic containers, still licking my spoon trying to get the last bit of fudge off of the edges, I knew. I knew that things had to change.

Now, ice cream is a treat I go out and get. If I really want it, I have to go get it.

Now, ice cream is a treat I go out and get. If I really want it, I have to go get it.

And you know what? That’s okay. Understanding how you eat and how you handle your “trigger foods” is a good thing, because it’s after getting that understanding you know what you can and cannot have around you in a moment of weakness. Dreamboat knows I hate chocolate, so if he decides to bring a Snickers bar (or three) home, he knows they are safe because I’m not going to eat them. He also knows that if we have potato chips at the house, he needs to put them on the top shelf or else I will eat them all.

Here are some of my tips for eating healthy, and dealing with cravings:

Figure out what you REALLY want: Do you really want junk food? Or are you stressed? Or depressed? Or both? I’m a big stress eater. The more stressed I get, the junkier the food gets. That’s why you need to take a step back and think “Am I really hungry?” before you reach over and grab something to snack on. And if you ARE hungry, then figure out what you are hungry for and make something instead of hitting the vending machine. It’ll take some time but it’ll be better for you. Also, carry healthy snacks with you. I adore Clif Bars. Their white chocolate macadamia nut bars are fantastic, and they have just enough sweetness to satisfy that sweet tooth. In fact, I have two at my work desk right now and they carry some other flavors upstairs in the break room. Win/Win.

FOOD GUACAMOLE

Do some healthy swapping: I love Lays potato chips, preferably Ranch or BBQ. But they aren’t the healthiest of snacks. So instead, I make a lot of popcorn with just a pinch of kosher salt to taste. It’s a healthier swap, and I can eat a lot more popcorn than I can chips. It’s the same way with some of my sweet cravings. Instead of grabbing lots of candy, I turn to things like popsicles, fruit, or banana chips. Check out this page for some cool candy substitutes.

Eat the treat, dude: If you want that sweet treat and don’t care, then go for it. One day of bad eating isn’t going to wreck your diet, just like how one specific meal is going to ruin your girlish figure. Granted – be careful in picking the treats. If you are intolerant of something, weigh the pros and cons and make sure you choose the right decision for you. For example, I avoid gluten like the plague, but I also drink a beer on occasion and beer has gluten. But the main point is if you eat an overall healthy diet and select your treats smartly, then go for it. Sometimes it’s worth splurging and enjoying a cheat meal with your version of dreamboat and friends. And if you are still trying to monitor your intake, then eat it in moderation. MODERATION. I love that word.

What are some of the tricks and tips you have for people fighting cravings?

Later June – HELLO, JULY!

June is coming to an end and suddenly I’m looking around going, hey! What happened to May… and June!? Needless to say, a new month is upon us and it’s time to buckle down and do some serious work. I’m ready for some changes to happen in my life and I know that is based solely on me.

So that being said, here’s the plan for July -

Taking Steps to get Healthy: I’ve felt lousy for a long time now. I’ve been avoiding admitting that to myself, because I don’t want to admit that there might be something wrong. But I’ve been so tired lately, no motivation to do anything, not interested in the things I adore… so I’m either fighting a losing battle with depression or having a massive thyroid meltdown. Also, my allergies have been going HAYWIRE. I feel like I’m always fighting some kind of congestion or ear pain. OVER IT. Between all of that, and the high blood pressure issues, I’m going to get a FULL physical (the last time I had one, I was 6) to make sure I’m healthy. This is going to include blood work, and I plan on taking my Health Assessment paperwork I had to get done for my insurance with me so we can compare and contrast. Not saying they were wrong, but it’d be nice to see how close the numbers are. Today is the first appointment of three (thanks insurance for screwing that one up) and I’m hoping to have a discussion about the anti-depressants and get my paperwork for blood work done today during the girlie appointment. Then get blood work done tomorrow morning after fasting, and schedule the follow up, full exam for next Monday. When’s the last time you had a physical? You should get one too just to be safe.

Run 100 miles in July:  When I was invited to this group on Facebook, I was like – you’re kidding right? I’m barely able to be consistent with what I’m doing now! But the more I thought about it, the more excited I got because here was a chance for some online support by a giant group of people from all over the world who want to run 100 miles in July. It pairs well with my half marathon training (I do have to add miles every week, but 2-3 miles here or there shouldn’t kill me) and overall it will get me out the door regardless of how lousy I feel. So I signed up for the group and am excited to start this tomorrow. If you want to join the group, I have to add you as a friend on FB first, and then invite you. So let me know if you want to join us. :)

Run 75 miles in July DailyMile challenge: If I am doing one, I might as well do the other. My girl Tiffany sent me this challenge for 75 miles on DailyMile. I’m already doing a 100 mile challenge on FB, why not add this one? It’s open to anyone who has a DailyMile account -> GO HERE TO JOIN – and by the way! Give me a follow if you are on DM!

Cross Training like a BOSS: I fail at cross training. I’m an adrenaline junkie and if I don’t get some kind of high out of the activity, there are good chances that I don’t want to do it because I’ll get bored. BUT – I need to stretch and do yoga. It has to happen for my mental and physical health. So I’m going to start adding it twice a week. Also – I found this strengthening thing in last month’s Runner’s World that was attached to the “running a 5k is fun” story and figured I’d add that to my workouts as well. It’s stuff like squats, lunges, jump rope, ect. and it’s aimed to help strengthen your legs. being that it’s simple stuff that should only take up another 20 minutes, I could easily do that and yoga in the morning, and run in the evening.

MyFitnessPal. Again. I seriously loath this app. I don’t ever remember to load my food onto it, but I need to start tracking my intake so I can start losing some weight. I also updated my RunMeter app to allow for auto posting of my fitness calories there so I can not have to try and remember to do that too. So starting tomorrow, I’m going to start using it again. Are you on MFP? If so, find me. Jamie Rothman Johnson. Idiot Runner Girl.

Non-Running Related Plans: I want to spend as much time as I can in the sun (I use SPF 50, what do you use?) I want to eat all the fruit. I want to laugh a lot. I want to go swimming often. I want to go to the beach to eat seafood and drink beer. I want to prep for races in August. I want to master beachy waves on my newly shortened hair. I want to read a book. I want to catch up on my magazines. I want to smile, relax and have some fun.

What are YOUR July plans!? :)

It’s A Food Thing: Eating For My Health, not yours.

Carrots instead of crackers. Salad instead of a sandwich. Going to Dunkin for coffee and skipping the donut no matter how good it all smells. Buying the “different” pasta for yourself, and the “normal” pasta for your husband. Spending twice as much on a box of crackers that won’t tear up my gut than the “normal”crackers that Dreamboat snacks on.

I usually eat about 85% healthy. Out of the other 15% I am usually doing things like getting extra sugar in my coffee (hey, when it’s 2:30am, you do what you do to stay awake) or devouring a random treat of Savannah’s Sweets taffy. I don’t drink soda that often anymore, everything we make at home is more often than not from scratch (aside from things like pasta) and we make it a point to have either a salad or a veggie with each meal.

So eating for my health isn’t about eating clean; I do that pretty much already. Eating for my health is more like giving up the gluten and remembering why I gave up gluten when I eat that donut and feel lousy for three days afterward.

Oh sure, there are these new pills out that promise to eliminate the excessive gas and constipation…but really, a bunch of herbs and vitamins are not going to work. I like to think they will, and swallow them down before I eat something that has gluten in it… but really no. I choke on  the overwhelming smell and taste of peppermint in them and feel queasy and then grouchy because they didn’t do a damn thing.

But since the whole gluten free life is becoming a new “fad diet” as of late, it should be super easy to find stuff that is gluten free. And it is, most of the time. Normal grocery stores are now carrying a small supply of some pretty tasty gluten free options, while the specialty grocery stores carry a wider variety. A lot of popular restaurant chains are now offering some gluten free options (“try our new gluten free pizza crust!” or “Ask your server for our gluten free menu!”) and while the prices for such are little bit higher than I would usually pay, I do enjoy the fact that I can go to Mellow Mushroom and get a Mighty Meaty on GF crust and be happily noshing while Dreamboat and others are eating the hell out of their deliciously fluffly crusted pizza.

However, there are those times when you are out with friends and they are all like “Oh, just eat it! A little bit won’t bother you!” and because you want to prove a point you do eat it and it’s delicious but within a few hours you are feeling bloated and miserable and they are all “What happened? What did you eat?” and you are expected to be the bigger person, popping Gas-X like a champ, and shrug it off as nothing. THAT is irritating as hell. THAT is what makes going gluten free such a complicated thing.

I don’t eat a lot of pastries anyway, I’m not into cakes and cupcakes and cookies. I don’t eat a lot of bread anymore and really I don’t miss it for anything. Getting my chicken or fish grilled instead of fried eliminates the chances of having flour in the mix, and it’s healthier for you anyway. And there are some awesome gluten free beers out there that I enjoy, like Omission.

But when you get all kinds of snooty with me because of my diet choices, and then rant about how you don’t eat this or that or the other thing that I do eat which is actually COMPLETELY NORMAL to eat… like certain vegetables, or fruits, or I don’t know SEAFOOD… then yeah. I have an issue. But because I like you as a friend, aside from this one glaringly obvious flaw, I’ll suffer in silence. I’ll keep the peace and not say anything to your face about it.

But don’t think I won’t rant about you on my blog.

Do you sleep enough? Because I didn’t.

I’m a little behind in my Runner’s World reading, so on Sunday between napping and watching the NASCAR race with Dreamboat, I caught up and got through the May issue. You can find the article online here. It was a fun read, with photos of runners yawning (yes, those photos made ME yawn) and had a lot of tips about how sleep can make you stronger, how sleep can make you faster, and how sleep can make you feel better over all.

And given how miserable and exhausted I have felt (depression or not) I read the article with the kind of focus that I had when I was spending hours writing my first novel that has yet to be published. Extreme focus, desperate desire to understand, and wanting to learn a lesson here.

Continue reading

Fighting Depression with Running

It’s hot outside, and the humidity is almost as high as the temperature is. That makes the “feels like” number in the triple digits. My lungs hurt, my shins are splinting, my body is begging me to walk a little big longer at the next walk break, and all my brain keeps saying is “Why are you doing this? Just stop. It’s not worth it.”

The “it” that my brain is talking about is a fitter body; a lower number on the scale and the ability to wear half of the clothes in my closet and a half marathon on my plan for the end of August. The “it” that I would not achieve if I did quit would allow the high blood pressure to win, the high stress to win, and worst of all…the voices in my head that are telling me that I’m not worth the effort.

Depression, thou art a cruel, cruel thing.

Continue reading