Run, Walk, Then Run Some More

I’m the sort of runner who loses all ability to run if I go more than a week without doing it. I had a hip flexor injury back in April, then got my teeth knocked out in July. I had really wanted to get a new PR at the Root Beer Foam Fest in Arnold, Missouri this weekend. I even started training before the boating accident and was in great shape to kick some booty – well – to beat my own time, in any case!

I’ve had to start completely over with training, with the new challenge of my gums throbbing when I push too hard, and my legs being like, “But, you were on a couch for a month! What are you dooooing?” So on the one hand, I won’t be setting any personal records – THIS TIME. On the other hand, starting over with running has given me some new motivation and something to work towards. 

Is anyone else a run-walker? Or getting started with running? I know I’ve done half marathons before, but I really feel like I’ve been starting at zero as I have to rebuild up both my speed and endurance. I’d love to hear how other people are moving from run-walking! I just make up my own training plans. For me, it’s a mental game of always competing against myself! 

So far, on each run, my goal has been to:

  1. Run farther (without stopping or walking) than I did on my last run.
  2. Cover 3 miles (not counting warm up or cool down) regardless of how much I run or walk
  3. Try to cover those three miles faster than the last time. 

I’ve been instagramming some of my run times as I improve, but here is a quick comparison of last Wednesday to this past Saturday: 

 

distancerun3a128miles0atotaldistance3a300miles0a3miletime3a443a210aterrain3atreadmill2cflat0a0a-default distancerun3a15miles0atotaldistance3a375miles0a3miletime3a393a420aterrain3aoutdoors2cflat0a0a28sun29-default

 

The first stat is the distance I ran without walking or stopping. The second is the total distance covered. Third, I am trying to improve my 3 mile time, so you can see I cut a big chunk out!  A big part of accomplishing improving the three mile time is not just giving up when I can’t run any further. I have to keep walking, and to improve time, I have to add some runs in there, too. It is forcing me to think about more than “how far can I run” and it’s teaching me that I am stronger than I realize! 

Anyone else slowly building up distance? Any tips from the more experienced runners? 

 

The purpose of You Can, Tuesday! is to bring mid-week content that encourages, inspires, or teaches in some way, and to bring together a community of people who want to share their experiences through guest posts, linking up, and comments! Too often, I have heard, and used myself, the words "I could never do that" or "wow, that seems really hard!" I want to give love to our friend, Tuesday, as a day where we instead say, "I can!" or "I'd love to try!" and either share our stories of how we've done something or teach others how to do something!

You Can, Tuesday! : My Running Journey + Podcast Link!

For our inaugural You Can, Tuesday!, I wanted to share my experience with running, and I am excited to announce that I can share with you in TWO ways today. First, through the written word in this post, and second, verbally, in podcast form! I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest on Running With Police Escort, a podcast that is dedicated to runners in the back of the pack.  So please check it out and let me know how you like both the podcast and my episode! 

Long story short, I started running as an adult when I was in law school, with a friend of mine, Melissa. She had been a runner in high school and encouraged me to give running a try. When it started, I could run about ten seconds at a time before keeling over, gasping for air. I was clearly very good at this. There were many moments of , “I can’t do this!” and “I’m  just not built to be a runner.”  But, I kept just adding a little bit to my ten seconds and that spring, we roped in our friend, Betsy, and all trained for a 5k. It was mine and Betsy’s first, and we felt so thrilled, and so exhausted when we finished. 

5k

From left: Melissa, Betsy, and myself after finishing the 2009 Go! Saint Louis 5k. 

After that, I just wanted to keep getting better. In 2010, I convinced my friend, Kendra, to sign up for the Go! Halloween 10K. In terms of training, I never quite made it past running the 5k distance, but I told myself if I ran half and walked half, it would still be an accomplishment. Let me tell you, running a Halloween race is the best for pure distance, especially if you are sort of slow. Why? Because so many interesting people in insane costumes pass you, that you just forget how hard it is or to even think about how far you’ve run. I managed to run the entire thing, and at that time, that was the furthest distance I had ever run! 

 

Halloween10k

From left: myself and Kendra celebrating the evening after finishing the 10K in 2010. 

After that, I took about a year off from running, and focused on cycling, which is an entirely different post in itself. Stay tuned. But in 2012, I decided I wanted to get back into running, and decided to sign up for the Go! Saint Louis Half Marathon in 2013. I started training in October, and my husband soon realized this was going to be a thing that took up a lot of my time. Although he had been resistant to paying to run – ha ha – he signed up and started training with me. I took my training seriously and ran atleast 3 times a week, pushing myself to longer times and distances. I was not worried about speed at all – I just wanted to say I ran the entire thing. 

halfmarathon

From left: Myself and Jonathan, after finishing our first half marathon in 2013!

I have never felt stronger, more disciplined, or more better about myself over all than in this picture. Running a half marathon was something “I would never be able to do,” especially since I “don’t have a runner’s body” and “am not built for running” and “am way too slow.”  We finished with an average speed of under 12 minutes per mile, which for me, is way faster than any of the pacing runs I have done. 

To me, this picture symbolizes what discipline, motivation, and consistency can do. You CAN do it. If you want to. 

 

Here are my tips if you’re just getting started:

1. Set a schedule. Try hard to stick to it. Make up runs you miss. For us, we dedicated to running 3x a week. I know there are training plans that have you running more often, but 3x a week was what we could commit to, and even if something came up and we missed a run, we could find time to fix it.

2. Stay positive. Stop saying you can’t do X, and focus on what you CAN do. Maybe today you CAN run/walk 1 mile. Then slowly build up until you CAN do more!

3. Get the right shoes. When I went in to our local running store and got fitted for new shoes, part of me felt like, “is this a total crock and am I wasting my money?”  Overnight, I went from struggling to get 3 miles in, with shin splints, to going for a 4 mile run, feeling great, and “just kept going” until 6 miles! That is not a lie. That literally happened. 

4. Get a running buddy. I loved having someone to work together with. That’s not everyone’s thing, and I get that, but it worked for me!

5. Sign up for  race! Find a distance that is doable but that you can also work towards. Pick a race that is fun! There are Halloween races, root beer races, hot chocolate races, color races! The more excited you are, the better you will do. 

 

Are you a runner? What advice do you have? What’s your story? What race are you running next?

If you’re not a runner, have you ever considered running? Is something holding you back? 

Are you a “slow” runner? How do you stay encouraged? How did you like Running With Police Escort ?

Feel free to share in the comments or share a link to a blog post that tells your running story! 

 

 

FitBloggin’ Goal Review + New Links in My Blogroll!

So, going into FitBloggin’, I posted that I had a few goals.

Here’s a quick recap and my assessment of whether I met them or not, from a really high level:

So going into my first FitBloggin’, and as someone who can be a bit shy in big groups, I am setting a few goals:
1. I want to meet three people, in person, whose personality and blogs inspire me to add to my blogroll.
2. I want to be present and involved at EVERY session.
3. I want to try new things that I wouldn’t normally.
4. I want to learn three things that I think will improve my blog.
5. I want to learn three things that I think will improve my fitness.

Let’s walk through these goals in reverse order:

  • 3 things to improve my fitness:
    1. Mental health can seriously effect your ability to work on your physical health.
    2. I got a PostureFit bar (getposturefit.com) which is really helping with my neck stiffness!
    3. Yoga can be a really challenging and intense workout! Going to work some more flexibility sessions (yoga, pilates) into my routine.
  • 3 things to help with my blog:
    1. Use social media wisely and with intention.
    2. Engage with other bloggers who have similar interests.
    3. Create a focus. Working on that. More to come. 🙂
  • Try things I wouldn’t normally:
    I participated in an impromptu speech and a lip sync competition. These are the types of things I would usually watch others participate in. So I decided to face my fears and go for it! I am usually really worried about embarrassing myself or making myself look dumb. I might have done that, but I had fun and decided to put myself out there.
  • Be present and involved at EVERY session:
    I admit, I had a few sessions where I listened instead of participating, but I was engaged and learning constantly!

and finally…

Drumroll for the Blogroll!!!

Goal 1 was to meet three people who inspired me and whose blog I felt worthy of adding to my blogroll. I met so many awesome people and my feedly (which is what I use to collect all the blog feeds I want to read!) is full of new blogs. I love it! But I did want to give a little love to four people/blogs that I discovered through FitBloggin’ that I love!

1. Sweet Success by Sara: http://www.sweetsuccessbysara.com/
Sara is a health coach and fitness instructor. She has great energy, and a passion for fitness and food! Her blog is full of great, healthy recipes and work out inspiration! Go check her out!

2. Powered By Bling: http://www.poweredbybling.com/
Cassandra was so friendly and down to earth and encouraging! She is a breast cancer survivor who competes in triathlons. The bling in Powered By Bling is referencing those fabulous medals you get after finishing a race. Her blog is full of motivation and recipes, and does a great job of creating community on the internet. Go check her out!

3. Beauty in Christ: http://beautyinchristthebook.com/
Emily is such a positive, beautiful spirit, and she blogs about her recovery from eating disorder, and how her faith has changed her perspective on health, body image, and life. I am currently reading her book, and really enjoying it. Go check her out!

4. Brooke: Not On a Diet: http://brookenotonadiet.com/
Brooke is one hundred percent herself, and I love that! Her confidence and energy is contagious, and her blog is full of food and fitness inspiration that does not resort to fad dieting! Go check her out!

FitBloggin’ Recap!

What Is This FitBloggin’ Thing?

Straight off the FitBloggin’ website: For bloggers interested in fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle. Two days of education, networking, friendship and fun.
Hopefully this recap will help you get a small taste for the awesomeness that was FitBloggin’!

Day 1: Thursday
So, my journey to FitBloggin’ actually started on Wednesday, when I flew to Denver. A good friend of mine, Randal, lives in Denver, so I flew out a bit early to spend some time with him. I worked from home from his apartment during the day, and he dropped me off at the Westin just in time for the registration and welcome event.
The first thing I saw when I walked into the conference was a familiar face! It was Ashley!
Ashley
Ashley and I have been co-leading a weight loss team through LoseIt for a few years now, and she was every bit as friendly, determined, and inspiring as I knew her to be on the internet!
At the welcome reception, there was tons of delicious (and healthy!) food and an ice breaker where you went around and found people who fit certain categories. For example, I had to find someone whose name started with the same letter as mine. It was a great way to meet some people and start getting comfortable with the awesome community that is FitBloggin’! There was also a conga line. They had us line up by the first number of our zip code, and the fabulous Sara and I represented the number 6- Midwest, all the way!

map
Conga

Day 2: Friday
Now, I’m going to be completely honest here. I horde my days off and save them for seeing friends and family. When I first started considering FitBloggin’, I thought, I can’t really afford to use a day off for something that I don’t even know if I’ll like.
But for some reason, I did. And I am SO GLAD! What an amazing use of a PTO day. If you work full time and live far away from your family and friends, then you’ll understand how hard this decision was and what a blessing it was. I will save a PTO day EVERY YEAR for FitBloggin’ after this year!
Anyway, I started the day with a 6:30 am workout hosted by the amazing Erin. I’ll be honest, the work out was HARD, but I felt so invigorated and inspired afterwards.

bootcamp

workout

What I loved about Erin was that she made everybody feel involved and capable, regardless of fitness level, without letting anyone phone it in. She was one giant bundle of ENERGY!
We also got to keep the resistant bands from HumanX— stay tuned, I’ll be raffling off a set sometime between now and July 15th!
We also got foot notes from Momentum Jewelry. In addition, this was the morning that I met Melissa, who was doing a giveaway, so I received a hot pink bracelet with a charm that says “Make It Happen.” This bracelet was my motivation for the REST of FitBloggin’, and has quickly become one of my favorite accessories!

After the workout, I went to a session on building readership through social media, hosted by Ty. I learned a few things: a. these ladies were INTENSE on their dislike of Facebook’s algorithms. b. There is something called a twitter chat? c. hang out in spaces you enjoy hanging out in. Good stuff!

makeithappen

Next up was the zumba fest, led by Nellie. I wish my zumba buddies from Saint Louis could have been there because they would have loved this fun session!

zumba

During lunch, we had a fashion show hosted by SoyBu, and it was really encouraging to see that the “models” were FitBloggers of all shapes and sizes, and every one of them looked and felt great in their outfits! Definitely going to have to check them out next time my work out wardrobe needs a little updating!

Soybu

After lunch, one of the sessions I was most excited about going to going into FitBloggin’ was a session on food photography hosted by Kacy and Brandi! I love creating recipes and a lot of times I don’t bother posting my creations because my photos are so bad. My sister and her boyfriend ALWAYS tell me my food photos are awful. So I learned some tips on staging and lighting, and I am well on my way to being an expert food instagrammer… 😉

guac
What do you think? Am I a Pro yet?

In the evening, we had Ignite Fitness! This event was awesome! First, the style of speaking was Pecha Kucha style. Essentially, each speaker had five minutes to speak, and the slides auto-advance on a timer. This prevents speakers from getting off topic or on tangents and keeps the talk moving. Can I just say, every single speech was awesome and inspiring? Way to go, Speakers! I felt so pumped up! After these speeches, I now want to buy a pressure cooker and start doing stair climbing races.. hah! There was also a speed round, where three people could volunteer to give a speech on someone else’s slides, sped up, and you had no time to prepare. I did volunteer myself for this bit of fun, as part of my new mindset to conquer fear and try new things! I think I would have made my ToastMasters club proud had they been in the audience, but Ty did better and won with his excellent speech about.. putting cats in microwaves?? It was hilarious, that is for sure!
We also had a fitness flashmob in the middle of the event! I have never participated in a flashmob, but this was super hilarious and fun!

flashmob2

That’s a lot of stuff, all packed into ONE DAY, right? And I didn’t even write about every single little thing. …. whew.

Moving on to …
Day 3: Saturday
First things first, gotta get in that WORK OUT! Today’s work out was a yoga session on the roof by the pool, hosted by Silk (think soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc). It was BEAUTIFUL.
The next portion of my day was a piece that I was super excited about – a lunch hosted by the The California Avocado Commission with food created by Chef Jennifer Jasinski, a Top Chef Masters Finalist and James Beard award winner! The food was amazing. I can not even get over it. Just check out my very amazing looking pictures ( – good thing I did that food photography session the day before! – ) from this lunch and drool a bit:
chefjen

menu

firstcourse

secondcourse

third course

In the evening, we had a reception with JumpSport trampolines, and a lip sync contest. I also put myself out there for that one, and gave it my all, including jumping around on trampolines like an insane person. In the end, though, a group that did Pitch Perfect, who was completely aca-awesome, won. I was bummed to not get a trampoline, though. I really wanted one! Oh well, maybe next year? That being said, I did win a free video of a trampoline work out (talk about rubbing salt in the wound!)…

All in all, FitBloggin’ was incredible. I would go again. I want to go again. I met so many amazing people and was challenged to grow myself and my blog.

groupphoto

So glad I got to be a part of this amazing group and participate in this conference!

*All photos of the event (except from the food photography session, the avocado luncheon, and the selfie of my and Ashley) are courtesy of Carrie D Photography

FitBloggin’ Starts – TODAY!

In the world of my blogging, a few exciting things have happened / are happening:
1. My blog got a facelift, thanks to my wonderful husband.
2. I am in Denver for Fitbloggin’. Like my badge over on the right?
3. I am meeting Ashley, whom I have interacted with online for about 3 years now, in real life!!!

So going into my first FitBloggin’, and as someone who can be a bit shy in big groups, I am setting a few goals:
1. I want to meet three people, in person, whose personality and blogs inspire me to add to my blogroll.
2. I want to be present and involved at EVERY session.
3. I want to try new things that I wouldn’t normally.
4. I want to learn three things that I think will improve my blog.
5. I want to learn three things that I think will improve my fitness.

I’ll be heading over to the Westin this evening for registration and the welcome mixer. Pictures, posts, and reviews of my first ever FitBloggin’ to come later!

Recipe Round Up: Pork Chops with Stone Fruit Slaw and Butternut Squash Soup

paleo pork slaw and soup

 

I’ve been trying to keep my meals simple and focus on protein, veggies, and fruit. This lends itself really well to paleo recipes, so I wanted to share the recipes that I tried last night.

Last night, we had a grilled pork chop, with a stone fruit slaw and a side of butternut squash soup.

Here are the links to the recipes we tried, and thought were absolutely DELICIOUS:

Pork Chop and Stone Fruit Slaw

Butternut Squash Soup

One Week In – Progress Update

Jonathan and I are one week into this challenge. We’ve already blown it. I want to be up front and honest about the fact that we were not perfect this week.  If I had to give us a score, I’d give us maybe a 90%. Which is pretty good — in school I would have been marginally pleased with a 90%. So why did I spend two days trying to decide whether we should just give up on this since we couldn’t even do it for a week? 

Then I read this blog post, shared by someone on my facebook feed. I have no idea who this person is, but their words spoke to me. 

http://jlgerhardt.tumblr.com/post/86313682822/no-more-perfect-days-on-starting-over

In recap, she emphasizes how by human nature once we ruin a perfect day, we feel like that is our permission to give up on that day and on ourselves. Then she decides to start starting over. So I have been trying to do that, even when we get off course. 

Well, Jonathan and I are not giving up. We might have had a crazy busy weekend, didn’t plan appropriately and ended up grabbing hamburgers one day because, well, it was past lunchtime and the hopes of going home and cooking a nice, pre-planned, perfect meal just didn’t pan out. It’s okay. I considered saying, forget it, we already had hamburgers, let’s just have pizza for dinner. It’s fast and easy and we are both tired. But I didn’t. We stuck with it and ate a clean dinner. 

We are eating about 90% clean at this point, and that’s 100% because we are doing this self-imposed challenge. Without it, we would have already lapsed into our regular bad habits. 

So, at this 1-week mark, I wanted to share our weight progress and some thoughts from each of us: 

June 9,2014 Weigh In

Sasha : 163.2 (down 4.4 lbs) 

Jonathan: 181.2  (down 3.6 lbs)

Thoughts from Sasha: 

Each day, making healthier decisions gets easier. I felt exhausted and a little sick after that hamburger. I feel like I am getting better at reading my body and what I need. Also, I believe that you can become desensitized to the amazing flavor of fresh fruits and vegetables when you overwhelm your palate with too much sugar and chemicals.  Today, my raspberries and blueberries tasted as sweet as candy to me.  I am enjoying rediscovering a variety of produce and how great they taste on their own. I eat raw veggies daily with lunch, and have enjoyed jicama, green beans, carrots, cucumber, and zucchini raw. I have also had the chance to get creative with meals. The jambalaya recipe that I shared last week was so great that I remade it tonight! I also made a chicken/coconut/sweet potato stew and chicken with brown rice pasta. I don’t usually do so much cooking, so it has been sort of nice to give Jonathan a break and get creative. 

Thoughts from Jonathan: 

It’s odd, never feeling full but never being hungry either. It’s weird to be eating the same portions as Sasha, but it seems to be working. I’m slowly losing weight and I don’t feel like it’s in a way that is unhealthy or unsustainable (other than the cost). It’s tough to be prepared for every day, but hopefully with some practice that will be easier. Some days I want to just be lazy and get something delicious for lunch, but knowing we’ve bought the stuff and it’s waiting in the fridge makes it easier.

 

So here we boldy go into week two. We’re eating roughly the same things as week one, but cycled ever couple of day in alignment with the Fast Metabolism Diet. 

Does anyone else ever get into the mentality of wanting “Perfect” days? 

 

Tour De Donut

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures, but today’s work out was in the form of a bike race! The Tour De Donut is put on by the Boeing Employee Bicycle Club and is a 34 mile race with donut stops in Staunton, IL. (http://www.bebikeclub.com/tourdedonut/)

This is the first time I’ve been on a bike since Jonathan and I biked in France and since breaking my toe. So I was a little worried.. but apparently for nothing! The race was tons and tons of fun! We biked 34 miles and kept a nice average speed of between 12 and 12.5 mph (depends on whose bicycle computer you believe!)

Anyway, the official results aren’t posted yet, but I’ll post them when they are. At the Tour De Donut, you get five minutes taken off of your total time for every donut eaten. I ate a meager two donuts, Jonathan ate four. Apparently, when he did this race in ’09 he ate NINE donuts… holy moly! He is saying he wanted a tenth donut but they ran out. Geez! Two was enough for me!

This race is incredibly well organized and the sense of community out in Staunton and with all of the volunteers is awesome. At every turn, there are volunteers cheering you on and ringing bells. Along the stretches, tons of local people set up lawn chairs to watch the bikers and cheer. At one point, I was struggling up this hill, and some of the bikers who had dismounted and were walking started encouraging me to keep pedaling and told me I was doing a great job. It just felt really great to be out there biking with such a friendly and cheerful group of over 1600 people!

I would definitely do this race again, and the free tshirts are just a bonus. Maybe I’ll take a picture in the shirt tomorrow to make this post more exciting. 🙂

Now, back to learning about real property… way less exciting for sure!

Fitness Deal : Free Fitness Ball

Sears is rolling out a new fitness resource website, called fitstudio.

If you sign up through http://sweeps.fitstudio.com/stability/ , you can get a free stability ball, 55,65, or 75 inch.  Once you register (which is free), they will email you a coupon to take to your local Sears and get a free stability ball.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

Ten Lb Milestone!

I have officially lost ten lbs since I started Weight Watchers at the end of August.  Okay, so the rate of loss is a little slower than I had hoped, but getting my “additional 5 lbs lost” (aka ten lbs lost) mile marker felt so rewarding! Even if I am losing slowly, I am gradually getting healthier and reaching my goal!

I also have been eating regularly all week, so I feel good about this week’s weigh in… The last two weeks I kind of wondered if my weight would sky rocket back up once I wasn’t feeling sick anymore. But it hasn’t! I also got back into working out… I did an hour of indoor biking on Thurs, then I had a half hour weight training session + 15 minutes cardio to warm up on Friday, and yesterday Jonathan and I went to a spinning class.

 

Now comes the hard part… eating right and exercising during the longest week of my life. I have class for 11 days solid with no days off because I have a weekend class next week.  AHHHHH. The weight loss contest with my friends ends a week from today, and this week could really blow it because I don’t know how I’ll find time to work out. Jonathan is going to try to keep me stocked up with healthy meals and snacks that  I can take to school with me so that I’m not tempted to hit the school cafeteria which is unhealthy and expensive!

So… wish me luck during hell week! 🙂 (and just that I’ll survive.. you know.)