Archive

Archive for January, 2011

How to Run Longer & Faster

I just read a great post called How to Run Longer & Faster by Iowa Girl Eats and loved her advise so much I wanted to share it with you all!  =)  As it was right on and hit home base with me as I have been trying to do just that for the past year now. 

And, I too found just like  Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats have been running consistently for years, going on 3 years now, and also remember starting to run so I could get in better shape as her as I was struggling to lose the other half of the 100+ pounds I needed to lose back then and running did the trick of course. 

Back then it was a struggle for me to run 5.0mph hour for 1 mile on the treadmill, I didn’t run outside back then, and I used to look at other runners at the gym who ran 6.0mph or more and think how do they run that fast???  I couldn’t even imagine running that fast at that time or run for longer than a mile or 2 either!

Of course, my situation was a bit different then Kristin as she was overweight by 50+ pounds as I was then, so she was in much better shape, but I remember having many of the same thoughts as her then and recently as well.

For example, now that I am down to a good weight (though of course I am still pushing to lose another 10+ pounds) and now that my body and fitness level is close if not the same as other girls that run comfortably at 6.5mph or more on the treadmills at the gym around me, I find myself asking the same questions as Kristin…………why couldn’t I do that?

That is when I realized that I could do that!!!  But, just like Kristin, I realized that in order to do that I would have to run longer and faster.  That you have do both in order to become both!  You have to PUSH YOURSELF in order to grow as a runner! 

Both took time and are still a – work in process – for me, first I started with running longer as I was sick of being only a 2 mile runner.  So I gradually, started to run longer and longer each month until I completed my first 10K in November 2009 and my first 15K in September 2010, see posts from both races below:

Now, I can run up to 6 miles non-stop and quite comfortably, though not really fast yet, I still average around a 11 to 12 minute mile on runs longer than 3 miles.

As for becoming faster!  I have also worked on that gradually through the years, by following plans such as Build Speed With Ease on the treadmill at the gym in the beginning to most recently PUSHING myself to run 1 and then 2 miles “non-stop or slow down” on the treadmill @ 6.0mph+!  Which, I am very happy to report WORKED, as I know can run at 6.0mph quite comfortable for a mile or 2 and am working towards 3 miles……….=)

And, though it is much tougher for me to run fast outside then it is inside on a treadmill I have also been trying to run “faster” outside as well. 

Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to monitor as inside on the treadmill as I do not have a machine telling me how fast I am going and NO I DO NOT OWN A GARMIN, though I wish I did but it is a bit pricey for me right now.  So I try to time myself on my watch and since I know where the mile markers are around my house this method works pretty well and I am improving slowly but surely……….as you could see at the last 5K I last April, the Corporate IOA 5K, in which I ran at a pace of 9:51 per mile………about 3 minutes faster overall compared to the 5K I ran before that in September 2009, the Miracle Miles 5K Race!

So as with Kristin, it has taken me a few years, but I am getting to where I want to be and it feels very good working my way towards that and also looking back and seeing how far I have come.  I can’t wait to see where I am a few years from today.  Maybe I will be a 7.0mph runner like Kristen and have run a Full Marathon!!!!!!!!!

So I leave you with this advise from both me and Kristen:

  • Push to improve!  Anyone can do anything for five minutes.  You won’t fall off the treadmill (as long as you have good shoes, I have almost with worm out shoes).  Don’t listen to your brain, as Kristin and Nike said……….just do it!
  • Always adjust your training schedule!  Your body adapts to whatever routine you are doing after 4-6 weeks, so keep changing things up, where it is to run your first 1/2 Marathon (like me this September) or to become a 10 minute mile runner.  If I can do it so can you!!!

What are you working towards now!?!?!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!

Advertisements

Struggling

Last week was spent struggling to finally get back on track after the holiday’s and with my pre-time of the month cravings

In the end, I think I did fared well, but if I am to be completely honest not as fair as I would have liked too.  =(

However, I tried to conquer my struggles by doing the following:

  • Running a lot!
    • Including, outside long runs and inside fast runs, in hopes of getting back on track and to my pre-holiday running shape.
  • Hitting the gym! 
    • To start back on my “core” training and do lots of sit-ups (in order to get my tummy under control, that has gotten a little bigger since the holidays)…………=O
  • “Trying” to avoid my constant cravings!
    • By buying healthy and some no so healthy snacks (see below)to munch on instead of the bad ones I really want!
  • Keeping busy at work!
    • And, of course let’s not forget keeping myself very busy at work in order to not think about the my craving.

And, the above did help a lot and I am VERY happy to report that this week is MUCH better than last as I finally feel back on track running wise, at the gym and my cravings have STOPPED as well!  =)

Check out my Training Schedule for all the details on my running and gym workouts last week and see below for my EATS…….

Dinner (Friday)

Breakfast (Saturday)

Dinner (Saturday)

Healthy Snacks!!!

Not So Healthy Snacks (Sunday)

Dinner (Sunday)

Not so bad (above), right!?!?!

WELL, I ate lot’s, mainly on Saturday afternoon at my sister’s House Warming Party, that was not so healthy or diet friendly believe me so even though I ate good above I canceled it all out then, but oh well, what is done is done……..time to move on to THIS WEEK!

Get More Energy!

Last night I had a feeling the February 2011 issue of Fitness Magazine might be waiting in the mail box for me after I saw them post on Facebook that it was on sale this week and to my pleasant surprise I was correct!

After flipping through the entire magazine while my husband played the xBox next to me I settled in to read an article called Get More Energy! 

Which, caught my eye as I have been quite low on energy since after the Holiday’s.  =(  Due to various reasons listed below…….

  • Not eating as healthy as usual, more sugar/fat intake than normal.
  • Lack of exercise at the gym and less running.
  • Very busy at works towards the end of the year, plus some news that was a bit upsetting in the new year.
  • Stress on the home front.

It was a great article and I would love to share some of the Energy Boosting Tips I learned with you…….

  • Boost Your Brain
    • Instead of numbing your mind by watching the boob tube after work, stimulate it by “taking a walk” along a scenic trail – spending time in nature helps restore people’s energy and focus.
  • Avoid the Quick Fix
    • It is no surprise that the food on your plate can be the deciding factor between a sluggish and supercharged day!  But more often than not, you don’t need a total diet overhaul; “small adjustments” can go a long way towards optimizing your energy intake.
      • A small cappuccino, tea with honey and dark chocolate, all of which contain caffeine and sugar, are perfectly legitimate “Energy Band-Aids” when you need a lift in a hurry.
  • Stick to Your Workout
    • Get this: Expending energy on exercise actually creates more for you to use!  “Research shows that physically active people feel more energetic overall than sedentary people.”  They say it is likely that exercise stimulates neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, and this creates feelings of greater energy.
  • Listen Up
    • “Music makes you feel good mentally and physically.”  After people worked out to music, their mental performance improved, compared with exercising song-less.  Music gives you that extra motivation!
  • Quit Freaking Out
    • Little everyday stressors, like sitting in traffic, can cause a total energy meltdown.  Take a deep breath when little freaks out occur and try to calm your heart rate back to normal.
  • Tap Happy Vibes
    • When you’re feeling down, your energy tanks along with your spirits, leaving you sluggish.  On the flip side, “Happy people have higher energy”!  When we are happy we take charge, initiate conversations with people and carry out plans, instead of being passive responders to life events.  “Taking action energizes us”!

What great tips, huh!?!  And, even though I knew most of them or realized how true they are I have to admit I do not always follow them but plan to going forward as I needs more energy!!!

_____________________________

In other news, I finally started taking pictures of what I have been eating again………..so take a look for your viewing pleasure.  =)

Breakfast (Tuesday)

Lunch (Tuesday)

Dinner (Tuesday)

Late Night Snack (Tuesday)

I have also gone outside for 3 mile runs after work on both Tuesday and Wednesday that lasted about 30+ minutes each. 

The weather was so nice both night and I was also lucky enough to have my daughter tag along on her new bike that she got for Christmas…….it was so nice to have her along.  =)

All-You-Can-Eat-Soup

All-You-Can-Eat-Soup

On Sunday, I was finally able to make my All-You-Can-Eat-Soup, which has a total of nine (9) vegetableses and 1 pound of extra-lean hamburger in it.  Not only is this soup super good for you, it is SUPER GOOD!

If it wasn’t the fact that it takes awhile to make I would make it more often.  But, don’t let me scare you away from making it though as it is very easy to make, just takes a bit of time cutting up all the veggies.  So that is why I try to dedicate a few hours on Sunday afternoon to do just that, while watching my favorite t.v. channel, The Food Network.

 All the ingredients at Walmart earlier that morning totalling $21.18 in all:

  • 1lb carrots – $.88
  • 2lb sweet onions – $2.48
  • celery – $1.18
  • garlic – $.33
  • green cabbage – $1.22
  • 3/4 lb green beans – $2.13
  • 3 med. zucchini – $3.15
  • 1 bag spinach – $1.98
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans of whole tomatoes – $1.62 each
  • 2 cans beef broth – $.76 each
  • 1 pound lean ground beef – $3.18

If you divide the total spent to buy everything for the soup against the 28 cups it yields in all – – – 1 cup of this soup would cost $.75!

Not only is this soup SUPER good for you and SUPER yummy!  It is also SUPER cheap to make!!!  So have I sold you on it yet???

If not check out how I made it Step-By-Step below:

  • 1st, I cook up the hamburger and set it aside.

Hamburger, before I cooked it.

Hamburger, all cooked.

  •  2nd, I prepped/cut up all the veggies up so they are ready to put together when I start cooking.

All the veggies cut up!

Green beans, cabbage & zucchini....

....onions, carrots, celery & garlic.

  • 3rd, I opened up all the cans.

Than, I started following the directions from the recipe that at the following link………All-You-Can-Eat-Soup-Diet @ Good Housekeeping for this recipe!

Directions

1)  Coat 12-quart stockpot (or 2 large saucepans) with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic; cook 8 minutes or until vegetables soften, stirring occasionally.

Directions (Step 1)

2)   Add tomatoes with their liquid, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Add cabbage, green beans, broth, water, salt, and pepper; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.

Directions (Step 2)

Directions (Step 2)

Directions (Step 2)

3)  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to high; stir in zucchini and spinach and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

Spinach

Directions (Step 3)

Directions (Step 3)

Last I let it simmer for about 30 minutes or so before turning the heat off so it could cool for transfer to all the Tupperware containers that will hold this huge 28 cup pot of soup.

All-You-Can-Eat-Soup (ALL DONE!!!)

The next day I had a big bowl of soup with some bread for dipping and it was just as yummy as I expected!  =) 

Lunch (Monday, 1.17.11)

 

Now, I know you are thinking how good can a soup full of so many veggies and very little fat be, but believe me it is very tasty.  The veggies come together to make a rather sweat tasting soup that is very hardy at the same time.  The original recipe did not call for “hamburger”, but I found that it helped to add more flavor to the soup so I add it in and do not think the extra calories/fat make a big difference.

Try it out, I promise you will not be disappointed!!!

Finally Weighed Myself!

I finally weighed myself after missing 2 weeks and not weighing myself since 12/22/10 as you can see on my Weekly Weigh In page.

Luckily, the scale didn’t break or report back a truly horrifying number as I was scared it might.  Now, that doesn’t mean the number made me happy.  As of course it was higher than before and yes I GAIN weight, but unlike what I was expecting as stated in my last post it was…….only 5 pounds

Not that I am jumping for joy at the fact that I gained now, guess I just thought it would be more than that given the fact that I had been eating badly, not running as much and not visiting the gym since before the holidays.

So what do I plan to do in order to lose my post holiday weight gain?

Basically, I just plan to get back on track, back to what I was doing before the holiday’s hit and I know the pounds will come off!

It always takes a few weeks for me to get back on track after being off it for a while but slowly but surely I do.  And, in fact, this week I have started just that by running a quick 2 miles on Tuesday morning and then hitting the gym after work on Wednesday in order to do 45 minutes of abs and upper/lower body core exercises, plus a fast 10+ minute 1 mile run on the treadmill before I left. 

I also plan to run at the gym after work tonight, Thursday. 

Of course, I would prefer to run outside but as you can see below it is a bit chilly out there and I do not have the proper “winter” running gear to survive an outside run in these temperatures right now…….so the gym it is. 

And, thanks to my very sweet friend and fellow co-worker I received the below in the mail over the weekend……….

……..which after reading several pages has already given me lots of MOTIVATION to run, run, run!!!  I have always wanted this magazine but just did not have the extra funds for a subscription so imagine my surprise when I got a “gift subscription” in the mail.  THANK YOU AGAIN, Catrina!

Stay Tuned – – – for a future post on some of the things I have learned in the magazine already!

Ok, I am off for now and will try to start taking pictures again soon.  Have a good rest of the week everyone………STAY WARM!!!

Afraid to step on the scale!

Typically, I weigh myself daily, however since after Christmas I have been afraid to step on the scale! 

Why you may ask???

For fear that  might break it, just kidding, no for fear that I will see a number that will throw me into a mini-depression due to it being so high……..a number that doesn’t start with 14, but possibly 15, YIKES, I would die….=O

Fingers crossed when I do finally step on the scale the number is in the 140’s, even if it is a high number as long as it is in there I will survive as I know I can bounce back quickly from that, unlike a 150’s number. 

Why so fearful? 

Because of the following:

  • I have not been eating the greatest since before Christmas and the 2 weeks since!
  • I have only ran a total of 10 miles over the past 2 weeks!
  • I haven’t been to the gym since before Christmas and then only once in the 4 weeks before!

I know, I know…….I shouldn’t let the number on the scale control me so.  I have preached that on my blog, but come on folks we all know the number on the scale controls ALL OF US. 

As said above I typically weigh myself daily.  It helps motivate me to eat better, run farther and try harder at the gym…….weather the number is higher or lower than usual.  I would use a slight weight gain to motivate me the same way I would use a weight loss.  It works most of the time. 

However, around the end of the year, when there are more temptions than not and less time to run or hit the gym and tons on stress on top of both I find myself afraid to step on the scale, very afraid!!!

Now, I typically bounce back during this month and once I do step on the scale I do see a weight gain.  I vow to work on it and by the end of the month or beginning of February I am usually back on track and close to my Pre-Holiday Weight. 

So I need to stop this foolness and just get on right.  Well I will, first thing Wednesday morning…………=O

Categories: Scale Fear

New Year, New Outlook

Hey Everyone, sorry I haven’t been on in a while.  =(

It was a pretty hectic holiday season full of celebrating, spending time with family, wrapping up year-end things at work, being sick and more……….sure you had the same and are possibly as HAPPY for the New Year to arrive as I was this year!

Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, it is my favorite time of the year but this year was extremely busy and tiring.  So even though it so to see them end, it was nice to have some relaxing time to myself before starting anew in the new year.  =)

Now, I am not one for “resolutions” but I do believe it is always good to re-evaluate your goals and reassess things in your life during this time.  Even if only in thought, no need to put undue pressure on you that is all to common with New Year’s Resolutions.

Think about it the majority of New Year Resolutions are health related.  Losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthier, and exercising regularly top the list.  We have the best intentions as the New Year begins, but all too often, most resolutions are broken within just a few weeks.

Why is that you may ask???

Because behavior change is extremely difficult at best!  Adopting healthier lifestyle habits is not as easy as it sounds even though we know that cardiovascular disease kills more people each year than all other illnesses combined.  Cardiovascular disease, in large par, is a “lifestyle” disease.  Lifestyle diseases are a matter of “choice” because they are the result of our very own behaviors!

Experts tell us that we are not inclined to change our lifestyle choices and health behaviors until we realize what truly matters to us.  What’s more, we are only likely to sustain such behavioral changes when they are deeply significant to us.  Have you ever thought about what is most significant to you?  What truly matters to you?  And, perhaps even more important, what are you risking if you do NOT change your lifestyle choices?

When you are healthy, you are better able to DO whatever IT is that is most significant to you.  Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this.  Can you picture yourself perfectly healthy?  What would that feel like for you?  Can you even imagine it?  What does it feel like?  How would you look, how would you feel?  What would you do if you could do anything?  Would you be a better parent, spouse, friend, employee or employer?  Would you be able to better DO the things that matter most to you?

As I stop and think about my answers to all these questions I realize that being HEALTHY requires a certain amount of “self-care”!  “Self” care….but, isn’t that selfish you may ask?  On the surface, it may sound selfish because we are not comfortable putting ourselves first.  However, “self” care means taking care of yourself so you can become the best and the healthiest you can be, which then allows you to better serve and care for those around you.  What would you be able to do if you were free of pain, a healthy weight, strong, flexible and fit?  In that respect, self-care is a very selfless act.  Just like the emergency instructions on the airplane, put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you tend to those around you.

This is something that I realized a long time ago, when I first started on My “Weight Loss” Journey.  I realized back then, when I weighed over 240 pounds and was extremely unhealthy and out of shape that I needed to take care of myself and become healthier if I was going to be good at taking care of others………..be a good mom, daughter, girlfriend (now wife), friend, employee and more.  That it wasn’t “selfish” to do this.  That it was mandatory to this in order to be who I truly wanted to be for ME and others in my life.

So this year, rather than make a New Year’s Resolution, creat a New Outlook for yourself!

Imagine where you would like your health to be one year, five years and even ten years from now.  Describe how you would like to look and what you would feel like.  Consider what achieving your “healthy” vision would entail.  Identify your goals and be very specific to yourself, but do not put pressure on yourself to do this over night

First, start with making a plan.  Then, research your available resources for the plan and tell yourself how you will be accountable for it.  Examine any barriers that may stand in the way of you achieving your vision and plan how you can get around them.

Then, each day, take one step towards your vision.  One day that might mean eating better, another day it might mean exercising, another day it might mean scheduling an appointment with your doctor for a full physical to see where you are at and what you may need to work on or change.

Finding your New Outlook and becoming healthy is a “journey” rather than a destination!  It is a process requiring constant re-assessment and re-balancing it: as one goal is met, another goal replaces it.  This is something I have been working on for the past 2 year now, why I started this blog in fact………Finding A Healthy Balance! 

Finding your “new outlook” or “healthy balance” as me……….is not black or white, right or wrong, or all or none, like a traditional New Year’s Resolution.  It truly IS a process.  Strive towards your vision, your goal.  Realize that there will be setbacks or unforeseen circumstances.  Stay on track by recognizing what truly matters to you.  When there are bumps in the road, re-assess and re-balance your goals and set new ones, if necessary, to achieve your outlook/vision/goal.  There are many ways to get there, let the path unfold before you! 

As I re-assess my outlook and goals for the new year, I find myself very excited for what will come for me over the next 12 months.  New running and gym training plans, new races, new PR’s, new recipes to try, new achievements on the home front and within my career, and so much more. 

I look forward to sharing them all with you, HOWEVER I have to start the New Year out on the right foot and admit to you and myself that I just do not have the time I used to and am unable to focus on my blog as much as I would like so in light of that I wanted to tell you that I may go a few days, a week or even two at times without posting but I will post when I can as I enjoy doing so greatly so I hope you will stick around for those times.  If not I understand, such is life…….things change and you have to adapt, which I am doing. 

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and here’s to you finding your NEW OUTLOOK in life and may it be successful and bring much joy to your life!  =)