Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Please welcome BJ as my very first guest blogger!  Also, be sure to check out his running blog and follow him on Twitter!

Maturing as a Runner
Story by BJ of the blog Running BJ.

I think every runner has a little crazy inside of them.

What else explains having a compulsion to spend hours at a time training for a marathon?  Or travelling on your feet for miles just to end up…where you started?  I think we can all agree that most runners have some issues.

I’m no exception.  I took up running a few years back as a stress reliever and never stopped.  I started with a treadmill run, built up to some longer distances, competed in a few races and then signed up for the holy grail of running: the marathon.

I set my eyes on completing the 2011 Baltimore Marathon and started training.  When it comes to things like this I tend to research it to death, develop a training plan, and then focus on completing the training to a T.  I ran every run on my training plan for several months, making sure that I hit exact mileages.  I ran if I hurt, or if I was tired, or if it was 100 degrees out.  My OCD would kick in on runs and I would have to touch mile markers on trails because I didn’t want to cheat myself.

This picture doesn’t do justice to how hot it was that day!

By the end of July I started having some life issues: transferring positions at work, spending more time with the kids, the usual grown-up stuff.  Well, long story short, I got kind of tired of killing myself personally, professionally, and physically.  Something had to give, and marathon training felt like more of a chore than a joy anymore.  My training became very sporadic.

Kids are really needy! But cute!

When October came around and it was time to run Baltimore I decided I was going to keep my promise to myself and run the marathon.  I toed the line and took off on the starter’s gun (I think it was the starter’s gun, but it was downtown Baltimore…), but after 16 miles my lack of proper training became evident.  I slowed, and slowed, and slowed.  Those last ten miles were horrible.  My only consolation was having the personal knowledge that I still pushed myself to finish the run, even though it hurt really bad.

I took a few months off after that experience.  I knew I loved running, but I needed a break to think about what had happened and to reassess where I was.  I needed to rediscover why I loved to run.

I finally came back to my sport in the beginning of this year, but I returned with a new attitude.  Instead of killing myself and pushing through pain and fatigue, I’m willing to admit that some runs are not, and should not, happen on certain days.  I’m listening to my body.  I’m enjoying my long runs and taking my time rather than trying to hit a certain pace.  I’m trying to let go of a little bit of my OCD.

In other words, I’m growing up.  There is no sense in killing myself to train for a race I will not win.  I’m learning to enjoy the journey rather than focusing only on the destination.  I’m still willing to push myself to improve and get stronger, but I have to remember to strike a balance between running and everything else in my life.  If I don’t, more experiences like the 2011 Baltimore Marathon are in my future.  I don’t want that.

So that’s my story.  My advice to any runner out there is this: If you’re not having fun, ask yourself why you’re doing it. 

Relax.  Have fun.  Let go.  In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Enjoy your training and have fun at your races.  I hope to see you out there, enjoying a run!

BJ is the author of Running BJ. He can be reached through his blog, or you can follow him on Twitter @running_bj.

Monday, February 27, 2012

training love

This thing called 'training'...I don't know what it is about it, but I love it.  LOVE IT.  I love being sore all the time and in new places.  I love kind of/not really looking at my body and seeing changes.  I love how this thing called 'training' is actually working.  

I've also added the 100 Push Up Challenge to my training.  I figured it was a safe thing to add to running, "safe" meaning no real risk of injury.  I have done this challenge before, but never done it with the 'guys' push ups.   The difference between the girl and guy push ups is staggering.  It's clearly much more difficult but even my abs are sore!  I've always been one to say that girls can do anything boys can do, probably even better if they really try, so I am determined to give this challenge all that I have.

As thrilling as push ups are....they are not the highlight of my week.  For that, I will mention my first ever...9 mile run.  Me.  ME.  I ran 9 miles.  I ran up and down hills, I ran over creeks and over dirt roads.  I ran in the wind because, IT'S ALWAYS WINDY, so I decided to just suck it up.  I did it.  I really ran 9 miles, I'm starting to think not only will I actually finish my first 13.1 mile run, my finishing time might not be as embarrassing as I once thought it may be.

Up next...10 miles.  I'm beginning to think if I can do this, what can I not do?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pain & Gain

Week 6 of half marathon training is a wrap.  Thank God.  I mean, I loved it but I really love that it's over, this week whooped my booty.

Monday I ran on a treadmill looking for a great pace/time.  I ran SO HARD and only came up with shaving a minute off my 'fast-ish' pace.  Stupid treadmill.  I really feel like it's just so much more work on those things.  I'm breaking up with the treadmill unless we get 67 feet of snow. Oh, and I was sore after this run.

Wednesday was my four miler.  I laugh because in four miles I can pretty much cover all of my small town.  That's pretty funny until you have to run on a 4 lane highway and that's pretty intimidating to me, so I run fast(er) to leave that road to the huge, thundering trucks.  I don't think mace can keep a truck from running you over, speaking of which...I need to get mace. (still pretty sore here!)

It's Thursday now and my glute is borderline painful.  You know that 'good sore' you get and you feel all strong and happy because you know you had a really effective workout?  Well, it wasn't that.  I was hurting.

So, I 'rested' on Friday with a 2.5 mile recovery walk.  A very easy, easy walk followed by tons and tons of foam rolling.  Tons.

Friday night I went to a fundraiser and had 95 glasses of cabernet, ate red meat and stayed up late.  This is what every runner does prior to a long run, right?  (urgh.)

Saturday is here and I have 8 miles to churn out.  EIGHT MILES.  My headache reminds me of the cabernet I should not have had and I slowly roll out of bed, pop some ibuprofen and begin to hydrate.  A bit later I ate oatmeal and a banana, and then drank a Sugar Free Rockstar.

I geared up, fired up the tunes and headed out the door toting a half bottle of water.

  • One mile down, I remember thinking, wow...that felt like forever.
  • Two miles - I set the water bottle on a bridge, tired of carrying it.  Carrying it was pretty annoying actually.  This meant my only form of refueling would be at 6 miles.
  • Mile three...I look ahead and hmmm, it's looking like this road is going uphill.  What.
  • Mile four is over and I'm SPENT, but now I turn around and it's downhill and I'm halfway!  (I ran four miles out and had to go four miles back to get home)  Headwind.
  • Mile five.  Totally ran out of gas, I needed and missed my GU energy!  this is also where I change my music to Eminem, this helped a lot.  Apparently, lots of f-bomb dropping keeps me running.  
  • Six.  There's my water, while it's's not what my tummy liked.  I tread on and realize this is all in my own head now.  I think, time to go back to my basics...I change the music to military cadences and they carried me home.  I don't even remember mile seven.  I do remember that I hurt all over, ALL OVER.  

But guess what?  I ran 8 miles and can't wait to do it again this Saturday.  And?  I have already scheduled a running partner.  How do I feel today?  I feel amazing...not sore but accomplished and eager to keep going.  Ok, I'm a little sore.

Week 7?  Bring it on.  Definitely less wine, though.

(this image totally choked me up)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Halfway to Half Training

I'm about halfway through my half marathon training, so I figured it was time for a post.

It's really pretty amazing to me how LAST YEAR I had just begun my weight loss journey and  feeling pretty lucky to walk/run 1-2 miles.  Mostly walked.   I didn't realize I would actually run a 5K in July and wasn't really preparing for it at that time.  My mindset sometimes says, I think 'once an able runner, always an able runner', but when you take months or years off, there's no choice but to start over.  I was totally starting over, completely.

Why did I quit after my Couch to 5k in September 2010, I really don't know.

After my miserable 5K in July, I became really, really ill.   Because I was in bed (literally) for two weeks, I lost my stamina and energy but my desire to run was still alive...and I was starting over....again.  I still wanted needed to run, but I knew a new, more demanding goal would only get me to seriously run again.



In fact, I was running a 10K about once a week, our fall was delicious and I loved getting out there...then one day in November, something began to creep into my mind.  Half marathon?

Here I sit halfway into my first half marathon training.  I love it.  Don't get me wrong, it's tough, it pushes me...and I need that.  Long runs are on Saturday and now I run long runs when all the 'real runners' do theirs.  I'm a runner?  I'm a runner.  It's still difficult to call myself that.

This Saturday, I run 8 miles.  EIGHT MILES.  During this run, I know I'll be thinking "how in the hell am I ever going to run 13.1 miles?"

I don't know, but I do know that I will.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy and No-Fuss-Low-PointsPlus®-Taco-Salad

First off, I love all Mexican makes me happy and I could eat it until the cows came home.  If Hubby asks me where I would like to go out to eat, 9 out of 10 times, I say "Mexican".  I blame my Dad.  No, he's not Mexican, but he likes Mexican food a lot, too.  He covers his food with hot sauce and he's happy.  Anyway, I wanted tacos the other night (homemade) but I didn't want to use the points for the hard shells or tortillas, so I whipped this up and I'm pretty addicted to it.  Can't lie.

Lori's Easy and No-Fuss-Low-PointsPlus®-Taco-Salad

You'll need:
4 ounces of lean ground turkey - 5 PointsPlus® 
1/2 cup of fat free refried beans - 2 PointsPlus® 
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil - 1 PointsPlus® 
2 teaspoons of a taco seasoning - 0 PointsPlus® 
1/2-3/4 cup of fat free salsa (mild, medium or hot if you're spicy) - 0 PointsPlus® 
1/4 cup of fat free sour cream (optional) - 1 PointsPlus® 
greens - I used a lot of spinach and lettuce - 0 PointsPlus® 
red onion (used as a garnish/topping, it's not necessary and use what you like) - 0 PointsPlus® 
matchstick carrots (as much as you would like to add) - 0 PointsPlus® 

First, you'll get out your ground turkey.  I slice and portion mine when it's mostly frozen for less mess and it's great to just 'grab and go'.  So, here I have my pre-measured 4 ounces of lean, ground turkey. 

 I toss that in a small skillet and dump my salsa on top of that and add my taco seasoning.  This is also where I add 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.

While that is browning (and it doesn't take too long!) this is when I chop up my greens.  I used lettuce and spinach. (some green onions would be nice in here, just thought of that!)

By the time you're done chopping and have added your matchstick carrots (best thing ever), your meat and salsa combo should be ready for the refried beans.  Keep stirring together until nice and heated through, then remove from heat.

Next you'll dump the cooked meat/salsa/refried bean combination onto your leafy, green salad.  Top with 1/4 cup of fat free sour cream, maybe a little salsa or zero point taco sauce and stir!  

Here are the Weight Watchers®  totals!  Remember the PointsPlus®  may change with any variations in this recipe!  Not only is this super filling, but you get to check off oils and fruits/vegetables on your Weight Watchers®  Healthy Checks!  Happy Eating!  but who's going to clean up the kitchen?

* apparently I call 'shredded carrots, matchsticks idea why!  I swear it said matchsticks at the store! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

wərk it

Soooooo, about that "weigh-in" day.  I'd kind of like to just pretend it's not here, but it is here, and I did weigh-in.  *&^%$#@!


A body's relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it, giving rise to a downward force; the heaviness of a person or thing.

I'm not fretting too much about my weigh-in today.  My body is changing, I SEE it changing.  I'll sometimes often get stuck admiring myself in the bathroom mirror... some of my former blobs of fat are now thin(er) or gone.  (admiring is a very strong word!)  It's rewarding to see some results of all of my hard work, all of the miles that I have been running, all of the weights that I have tugged and pushed and pulled.  My shoulders are developing some nice definition, my thighs are (a teeny bit) more muscular...but I am thinking .... can I work harder


Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

Werk it!!  Of course I can work harder.  It hit me like a ton of donuts yesterday that I need to work harder on my three mile runs.  I really want to run a faster mile, but it's not going to be granted to me like a wish with pink fairy dust and a sparkly magic wand.  I have TO EARN THAT FASTER MILE.   So, yesterday, I ran  And this week, I'm going to work harder and next Wednesday, I'm going to hit the 50 pounds lost mark.  Because, more than I love a goal, I love crushing them.

Oh yeah, I was up 1.6 pounds this week.  *shakes fist at Super Bowl* 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl food and David Beckham

I always look forward to the Super Bowl, I couldn't tell you who's playing or what they're doing but I love the hype and the food.  I love the food so much, I almost called it the Super Food the other day and I'm realizing that would be a totally appropriate name.

Or, the David Beckham Bowl.  Or, Super David Beckham.  Did you see that commercial????!!!!!?

Now, I'm all flustered because I'm now just going to recap that beautiful commercial, and it was the best commercial, too...however, I'm not sure what he was marketing.  Was it tattoos?  Or muscles?   Yes, he was marketing his tattooed muscles.  I'm so nice that I'm even going to share it with you, and I'll just have to watch it again for like the 25th time. 

I just can't take it.  Where was I?  Who am I?  OMG, EVEN THAT STILL SHOT OF HIM IS JUST SO UTTERLY DELICIOUS.

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was the Super Bowl and I made wings and potato skins and riblets and buffalo chicken dip and then I saw this commercial and died.

The End.