Month: April 2013

Tuesday Musings

Today is a list making kind of day.

1. Last night our neighbor double parked behind us despite there being many open spots in the parking lot (even one just a single spot over!). It made my blood boil! Such a passive aggressive thing to do. We do not have assigned spots but typically we try to leave the two spots behind their door open for them, we couldn’t last night (other neighbor was unloading lots of stuff from his car) and they react in such a childish manner. Owning a home is looking better and better.

2. This week’s Jillian workout was Six Weeks to 6-pack and man, my core is WEAK. The workout didn’t seem all that hard but I just couldn’t hang.

3. I know that carb loading is kind of a myth, especially 5 days before a half marathon, but I will use any excuse I can to eat a sweet potato that takes up half my plate (oh hey Jillian DVD)

4. I may turn into a coconut. I have been drinking coconut water like it is my job, yay electrolytes

5. 4 miles at an 8:50ish pace (progressive last mile down to a 7:30) felt like a freaking marathon. And I’m supposed to run 13.1 at a 9:10 in 4 days? Riiiiight.

6. Every since Hungry Runner Girl reminded me about 8-minute abs I’ve been trying to do it daily. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a six pack soon.

7. Today really truly feels like Spring and I hope it sticks around! Tomorrow is May and I’ve been patient enough, I NEED WARM WEATHER.

8. Every morning, right when I am down to the wire and need to get out of bed instantly or else I’ll be late for whatever I need to do- Charlotte turns into the cutest cat ever. She gets super cuddly and refuses to move, even if I start getting up or moving the blankets. I love days off so that I can enjoy her cuteness and not have to try to resist and get on with my day.

9. 92% of the photos on my phone are of food. (7% cats, 1% cars parking badly).

Happy Tuesday!

Confession Time

A few weeks back, equipped with my shiny new pair of Mizunos I planned to run 6 -10 miles. I would say it was an enthusiastic goal- I had been “run free” for almost two weeks plus I had new shoes to break in- others would say it was a downright plan for failure. After a few 80 degree days I woke up to a windy 30 degree morning. I really didn’t want to run, not even a little bit. I procrastinated for as long as I could, sucked it up and headed out. It only took me about two minutes to realize this was not going to go well. I’ll spare you the whiny details of how much this run sucked and sum it up with this:

Total Distance: 0.85 mi

Um, what? That is certainly not 6-10 miles. That can’t even be considered a run. I regretted hitting “Save” on the RunKeeper data because I don’t want this failure staring at me in the face.

As I walked home (why bother running?) I mentally ranted about how much I hated running. How I would never run a marathon (one of my 2013 goals), how I was going to drop out of the half and made plans to become a cyclist. By the time I reached my front door I had decided I was done with running. I was going to return the >$100 pretty new shoes on my feet, quit my current gym and sign up for CrossFit or a yoga studio. Anything but running. I would find something else I enjoyed just as much and running would be a thing of the past. 

I had hit my wall and now I had a choice to make. Turn around and go a different direction or climb it and move forward.

Sometimes my affair with running feels more like an abusive relationship than wedded bliss. But just like the saying goes you can’t choose who (or in my case, what) you fall in love with. 

To be honest, I’m currently still sitting at my turning point deciding which way to go. Last week was all rainbows and kitties and dreams of marathons filling my head but this weekend was a little bit different. I’m going to give this half marathon my all, I’m putting everything I have on the line. I’m going to fight for the sub-2 that I set out to achieve in the first place. I want to finish knowing that I put my whole self into this. And then I’m going to enjoy a break from the pressure of a training plan. Focus on riding my bike more (because I have that duathlon that I kind of completely keep forgetting about) and run for enjoyment for a few weeks. The marathon I’m eyeing is in late October so my next training cycle is set to start in early June which will give me some time to get back to my roots. I’ve been falling in love with yoga and obsessing over the baby arm + back muscles I’m starting to see, so at least I’ll have other things to focus on.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up or failing at being a “real runner”, it’s more like going through couples therapy. Taking some time to reevaluate the relationship and rediscover how you fell in love. Frustration and disappointment in not being able to reach my weekly goals has made me start to resent the sport and I don’t want it to be that way. 

Has anyone else ever gone through a trial separation with running?

t-10 Days to Cap City!

Today is a big day- the first day that I can see the predicted weather for race day!

Given how unpredictable the weather has been around here lately I can’t rely TOO much on a 10-day forecast but I would be mighty happy if this was exactly the weather I was running in (or a little warmer).

It’s no secret that my training hasn’t gone very well over the past 4-6 weeks. For the first part of the year I was sticking to my plan perfectly- I almost never missed a workout. Once an old injury started flaring up in mid-March I felt like I was at a loss for what to do next. I’d been here before. When I was training for my second half I was having a similar pain about 5 weeks out but I still ran a scheduled 12 miler and it was a HUGE mistake. I was sidelined for a month and didn’t decide to run the race until two days before when I ran ONE pain free mile. I was running on the freshest legs of all time but I just didn’t have the endurance that I was hoping to have. I finished (AND managed to PR) but boy did it hurt. I swore this time would be different. When the same exact injury flared up I should have made the connection to my shoes (I wish I would have!) but at least I cut back on the running and tried to stay smart. 

Since officially getting back on a regular schedule here’s what it’s been looking like

Friday 4/19              6 miles
Saturday 4/20          4 miles
Sunday 4/21            1 hour Vinyasa class
Monday 4/22            rest
Tuesday 4/23           5 miles in the a.m., NMTZ at night
Wednesday 4/24      3 miles 
Thursday 4/25          rest/ cross (if I don’t work tonight I’ll get on the bike trainer for an easy 30 minutes)

I’m smart enough to know that nothing I can do over the next 10 days training wise can really help me but it CAN certainly hurt.  I want to keep my running to every other day (or two). 

Friday 4/26            30 minutes cross, 30 minutes strength (arms + abs)
Saturday 4/27        6 miles EASY
Sunday 4/28          1 hour Vinyasa class
Monday 4/29          40 minutes running + Jillian at night (probably a core DVD, not NMTZ)
Tuesday 4/30         rest
Wednesday 5/1      30 minutes running, maybe an easy speed workout
Thursday 5/2          pilates/yoga (easy, really focusing on stretching)
Friday 5/3              rest/30 minutes cross depending

I’m really putting my energy into everything I can control. Hydrating, eating super clean, no alcohol, in bed by 10p each night, etc. I function well on a strict schedule and actually kind of enjoy it (I’m not sure what that says about me, haha). I wish my weekend was a little more open but between volunteering and second job I’ll pretty much be on the go. 

The one thing I haven’t settled on is my race plan. Sub-2 is still a big goal for me but I’m not sure if this will be the race for it. My pace hasn’t really been struggling too much but I wonder if I can maintain it for 13.1 miles after all this time off. I’ll have to decide if I want to commit and start off with the 2 hour pacer or if I want to just focus on a PR and go out with the 2:05. I know that I’ll start the race with one of the groups. I’ve been reviewing my splits from the last two HMs and my first miles are just crazy fast compared to the rest (I was pacing ~ 8:45/mi for the first 4 miles of my last half and ended with a 2:06 final time, whoops). 

Any suggestions? Should I start with the 2:05 and catch up with 2:00 if I have it in me? Or push it from the gun and hope I can maintain?

My tentative sliding scale of goals is as follows

A. Sub-2. The spirits align, the weather is perfect, all is right in the world!
B. PR (sub 2:06)  My legs are a bit tired or it’s too cold or I didn’t sleep well. Something didn’t go my way
C. 2:09 (still faster than my first half) More than one thing isn’t right
D. Finish the race. And still feel good about it. Everything sucked, maybe it snows. But at least I ran!

Technical Difficulties

My laptop has been having some issues the past few days so I apologize for the delay in posting my training plan. As soon as I get through all these updates and a full charging cycle I will (hopefully!) be back in action.

I will say that my first thought when my laptop wouldn’t turn on was “but I haven’t uploaded my new running playlists to my iPod yet, what will I do for next weekend?!?”. Apparently that is much more important than the fact that my expensive computer was mysteriously not working and I had not backed up my files in far too long. Priorities.

I FOUND CHOBANI FLIP + the return of two-a-days

Yesterday was a pretty good day but hands down the best part was this:

(I obviously mean the Chobani flip, but reading Runner’s World is never a bad thing either)

But first let’s rewind!

As I’ve alluded to, running has finally been feeling really fantastic again (thank you new shoes!) so I returned to my regularly scheduled training this week. I squeezed in 5 miles before breakfast yesterday and then had Jillian’s No More Trouble Zones on deck for the evening. Not going to lie, it was really rough. For me, NMTZ is her hardest DVD and by half way through my legs were already trembling. Fortunately I dug deep and finished and of course felt great once it was over. I made a quick run to the store for dinner supplies and was elated when I finally laid eyes upon the elusive Chobani flip!

Dinner was quick and easy

Sauteed tofu + red peppers, romaine, spinach, lots of avocado and my favorite agave/mustard dressing (don’t be deceived by the picture, that is a GIANT mixing bowl). Chocolate milk on the side for recovery.

And then dessert. Finally.

I have to admit, I was SLIGHTLY disappointed by this. The build up had been pretty big so it had a lot to live up to. I found the yogurt to be a bit runny, which is never true of Chobani, and the toppings to be really sweet. I enjoyed the combination and I will definitely buy again (and try more flavors) but for me it’s absolutely a dessert, not a snack.

Today I’m going to start mapping out my last 10 days of training. It’s just been so great to be running pain free that I want to run all the time but I know I need to ease up just a bit (especially given how sporadic my training has been over the past month) to make sure my legs are strong and fresh for next weekend. I’ll post my plan later today.

Happy hump day!

The Hunger Monster + Other Demons

Since I’ve been fighting with this injury off and on the past few weeks (months?) my training hasn’t been as consistent as it usually is and I noticed a definite decrease in my hunger. My breakfasts shrunk down to a simple egg white scramble or a container of Chobani and I was easily satisfied until lunch time. I could get away with a light lunch (a large salad), a post work snack (usually popcorn), a veg heavy dinner and my evening allotment of dark chocolate or frozen yogurt. I never really felt HUNGRY anymore.

Oh silly Ashley, did you forget how quickly your body can change?

I’ve only been back on track, so to speak, since Friday but the return of the hunger monster was pretty instant. Since I was home from work on Friday and throughout the weekend I could snack constantly so I didn’t really notice just how hungry I was until today. I squeezed in 5 (pain free!!) miles this morning, burning about 400 calories. I made a super quick 3 egg white scramble with a slice of whole wheat toast hurried out the door (which comes to less than 200 calories for breakfast, my first mistake of the day).
By 1030a I was thinking about lunch. By 11a I was hungry. By noon I was STARVING. I didn’t bring a snack (mistake #2!) and my stomach was starting to growl so loudly that other people were looking at me! Lucky for me the cafe at my work is amazing and pretty healthy, if not a bit expensive, so I treated myself to something great.

A peanut cilantro veggie burger (from Luna Burger) with a side salad. I nearly inhaled this and finally felt stable again.

Over the past year I’ve been working really hard on listening to my body. I’ve only touched briefly on my history with disordered eating but it’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. I rationally know that food is fuel, it is literally what keeps me going. It is what allows me to run. But while I was sitting at my desk listening to my stomach growl I thought “you should really just get a salad for lunch, you definitely gained a few pounds over these past few weeks”. Ugh, no! Just a bowl full of lettuce is not going to help me recover from the 5 mile run I did this morning. It’s not going to help fuel me through the Jillian DVD I have planned to do with a friend after work. It’s not going to keep me strong and healthy for my half marathon next weekend. I’m certainly not knocking salads, they are fantastic and vegetables are important (see the side salad above) but sometimes they aren’t enough on their own. Carbs aren’t the devil, fat isn’t always evil and protein isn’t the only thing we need. 

I’ll be completely honest, I’m still not positive if I eat enough on some days. I’ve read so many different ways to calculate your caloric needs and how exercise factors in, etc. and I’m not quite sure what to believe. I track most of what I eat in My Fitness Pal and try to focus mainly on my ratio of carbs to fat to protein and my important macros. . 

Overexercising and undereating is a really touchy subject, especially in the world of healthy living blogs. I can’t speak for anyone else out there but I’ve definitely had my struggles and I don’t have a problem sharing them on my personal blog, especially if it’s a way to hold myself accountable (or even open up the conversation for others who are still struggling). I’ve come a long way from the malnourished teenager I once was and I feel that overall I now lead a healthy lifestyle. Is there room for improvement? Sure. But that’s what time is for.

Earth Day = Free Veggie Burgers!

I care about the Earth, I try to do my part to leave a smaller footprint and all that jazz but to me (and many other people in Columbus OH) Earth Day means one thing- free veggie burgers at Northstar Cafe.

Northstar is a delightful local restaurant with three locations throughout the city. They use high quality ingredients (many local and/or organic) and create simple, delicious meals. It’s a very vegetarian and vegan friendly establishment and every year on Earth Day they give out free veggie burgers. Now these aren’t your normal veggie burger. I’ve been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember but all my true meat eating friends describe this burger as the only veggie burger they would ever eat. It’s made with brown rice, roasted beets, and dates (among many other secret ingredients- but these are the ones you can easily identify). It is truly heaven on a bun.

Since this is a local tradition, we knew to expect lines. We were extremely pleased with our less than 20 minute wait and the fact that we scored a seat on the patio, as we had a beautiful spring day to enjoy. Since our entrees were free, we splurged on their homemade ginger ale (ginger, organic cane sugar, lime juice and mint) and our dinner for 2 total was $7.

The veggie burger is typically served on a brioche bun with white cheddar cheese and Northstar mustard (a mayonnaise + mustard combo) but I always get mine vegan style so I can really appreciate the flavors. The vegan one comes cheeseless on herbed focaccia with plain spicy mustard.

Perfect Earth Day indeed!

What did you do to celebrate?


Twelve days ago I planned on resuming regular posting (for all my loyal readers, ha) but then life got in the way.

– an (expensive) enjoyable personal day off from work (Hair cut! New shoes! Trader Joe’s!)
– a terrible attempt at a long run (grrr)
– a weekend long visit from my sister + cousin (Good food! Playing darts! Yoga!)
– the tragedy at Boston, which I followed closely all week long
– some heavy stuff going on with my family

I felt overwhelmed, emotionally drained and just kind of stalled. My motivation to do anything was truly gone and I didn’t really know where to start. I drafted a post about about my battles with feeling like this in that past, how life can really get me down sometime and it can be hard for me to get back up. Running and exercising regularly was what helped me fight back. Whenever I fall off the fitness wagon (so to speak) the first few days and weeks of getting back on are still a struggle. I talk myself out of workout so easily but at least I have the power of knowing that if I can just get out the door everything else will fall away.

On Friday I took another day off work (yay for a generous amount of vacation time!). I slept in a bit, laced up my shiny new shoes and headed to the gym. I didn’t know what to expect, I was fighting against it the whole time, I didn’t have a workout planned I just needed to do something to escape from everything else. Somehow, time passed. I ran 6 miles in my new shoes pain free. I got off the treadmill feeling exhilarated (a rarity from a treadmill run) and threw in a few strength cycles for the hell of it. Everything I had been feeling from the week prior was gone. My head was clear and I felt like me again.

So on Saturday I did it again. I fought the lazy, I went to the gym and I left feeling great.

And on Sunday I dragged myself out of bed despite having a too late night and took the hardest yoga class I’ve ever done. Amazing.

Today I hit snooze. My legs are tired and my shoulders were a bit sore and it seemed smart to rest. I had 10 sedentary days followed by 3 days of strenuous workouts so it made sense. And yet, that little voice crept back in. “You’re so lazy, I can’t believe you can’t get out of bed. How do you think you’ll ever be in great shape if THIS is how you train? What about that half marathon? I can’t believe you, such a disappointment”. 

I told it to shut up.

Sometimes life is hard, things don’t go your way, you get a little off track. All you can do is get back on and try again.

I’ve got some new shoes to review (after a few more runs. All I can say for now is there are SO pretty and I’ve had zero foot pain), a run down of my Two Weeks to HM plan (eek) and a few other tricks up my sleeve.

For today, enjoy the moment that you are in. 

Slow & Steady

This week has been so confusing for me, I felt like Monday was Tuesday all day long and, again, today feels like Tuesday. Perhaps I’m just stuck in a Tuesday state of mind.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Ohio, the first 80 degree day of the year and I got to spend 13 hours at work BOO. I did take a long break with a coworker for some frozen yogurt and sun time. Perfection.

Between jobs I had just enough time to make myself dinner

In the bowl (from our insanely empty fridge): romaine, a vegan “chicken” patty, chickpeas and a dressing made out of yellow mustard and agave (so easy and super delicious). This was the last patty in the box we picked up a few weeks ago and though I don’ t love the ingredient list, they are so speedy and the nutritional stats aren’t too shabby. 

After a few hours on my feet at my second job I could feel that my foot was acting up again, it’s so annoying. I didn’t have time to get to the running store but I’m making it a priority now! My half is in 24 days (and my sub-2 dream has long gone out the window) so if new shoes are the answer I need them ASAP. I also made the smart decision and didn’t run this morning – I’m just getting back into it so I didn’t want to push it.

Revised training schedule for the week:

Monday- Rest
Tuesday- 50 minutes running (5.38 miles)
Wednesday- Jillian hour long strength DVD
Thursday- 50 minutes running (probably on the treadmill, weather is looking less than good)
Friday- 50 minutes cross training (cycling on the trainer or elliptical)
Saturday- Long Run! Dreaming of 10-12, but that might be dumb. We’ll see.
Sunday- Yoga

I need to sit down and look over the rest of my plan, reevaluate my goals and try to be realistic. This won’t be my last race so I can’t let myself feel to down about it- I’ve already got so many more on the horizon!

Coming up in the next few weeks I have some posts that I’ve been working on about state of mind and internal battles plus lots of recipes! Topics perhaps more interesting than my lame meals and whining about running woes. 🙂

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming

Last night before going to sleep I set three alarms (complete with motivational messages like “you will feel better after the run!” and “you need this”) and turned on my Sleep Cycle app. I knew that today was the day that I got back on track.

I wish I could say that I sprang out of bed full of excitement and raring to go, but I didn’t. It took the gradual Sleep Cycle alarm and two of my own to convince myself that I did, in fact, want to run. I checked the weather (partially hoping for an excuse) and was greeted with “feels like 56” so I knew I had to go. I finally got out of bed, got ready, glanced at my training plan (which is covered in scratched out days and “HURT”) and headed out the door. I decided to give myself a mile to see how things felt and if all was well I would run for my planned 50 minutes.

Now, I could lie and say it felt so awesome- that the scenery was beautiful, that conditions were great and that I was basking in the glory of finally running again but let’s not sugarcoat it. It was rough, I felt SO slow. My legs were like lead thanks to a 15 mile bike ride on Sunday (oh, and those 2ish weeks of NOT running) and I was beating myself up for being out a shape and not going fast enough. The first 3 miles of my run were full of negative self talk and then I (finally) realized that I should back off. I was running. I got up, I hit the trail and I was on track to do at least 5 miles. Obviously some fitness was lost but it will come back! 

Mile 1: 9:12
Mile 2: 9:39 (ouch)
Mile 3: 9:22
Mile 4: 9:01 (as soon as the self hate stopped I sped up!)
Mile 5: 9:14
Mile 5 – 5.38: 9:17 (I was running around in a parking lot to get to 50 minutes because I did not time this well at all, haha)

Total: 5.38 in 50 minutes, avg pace 9:18

My foot is a little sore and I plan on going to the running store later to talk about my shoes because I think they are the problem, but my motivational messages were right. I did need it and I do feel better.


Standard coffee + eggs

I’m feeling more like myself than I have in weeks and it is good to be back!