Frustrated

I started a goals journal last week and it’s been helpful. I set monthly and weekly goals, which vary from meal prep to making phone calls. One goal in particular is to workout 3 times a week.

I’ve exercised twice so far and both workouts were frustrating. I haven’t worked out much since the 5k due to work being super crazy and my allergies crazier. I’ve tried 3 different medications and here’s hoping #3 actually works.

Anyway, workout #1 was using the row machine and then running on the treadmill for a bit. For some annoying reason, my legs felt really heavy, which made running very difficult. The routine was short but even then I walked a good portion of it. I was hopeful for my second workout but I had the heavy legs again. My sleep has been awful the last few weeks (see the part about allergies) so I wonder if that’s contributing. I haven’t gained weight in the last few weeks so it’s a bit of a mystery. I hope it’ll be solved soon because I really want to improve my stamina and speed but I’m feeling a bit discouraged.

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Post-Race Thoughts

Our first 5k of the year was yesterday. It was a lot slower than expected, for a few reasons:

-Training was limited due to work demands and illness

-We raced with a friend, who wanted to keep pace with my husband and me, so we ended up chatting a lot and I wasn’t as focused

-An old shin splint injury flared up, despite me taking ibuprofen ahead of time

I ran Monday and wore heels on Wednesday, and on Thursday I started feeling some pain in my shin. So now I know not to wear heels at all the week of the race. On the bright side though, we get to add another metal to our collection and thanks to my meal plan I lost 3 pounds. Not sure yet when our next race will be but I’m looking forward to setting a personal record.

Race Countdown

We’re less than a week out from our next 5k. I’m feeling a bit nervous but I’ve made a bunch of changes in order to prepare better for it.

  • I’ve been following a strict(ish) meal plan. Breakfast all week has been smoothies (frozen berries, half a banana [that’s all I can muster since I acknowledge the value of bananas but still hate them], kale/spinach, greek yogurt, chia seeds, pineapple juice, flax seeds, and almond milk). Lunch has been homemade turkey burgers with provolone cheese on whole wheat bread. Morning snack has been a breakfast bar, with another one typically in the afternoon after I get home from work. Dinner this week so far has been shrimp and quinoa paella, and tomorrow and Friday we’ll have angel hair pasta with grilled chicken.
  • I’ve cut out all alcohol this week. Sorta. The day I decided to go on this meal plan is the same time my husband decided to bring home 4 really good beers. I’ve had literally 2 sips of each and declined having any more. That was hard.
  • I’m also trying to cut out extra snacks at work, although I caved today and had a cookie that my coworker bought from a place at the mall. It was a damn good cookie.
  • Drinking 8 cups of water daily. I’m absolutely terrible with drinking enough water. The last 2 days though I’ve had at least 8 cups and noticed that I’ve been eating a little less. But peeing a whole lot more.
  • Not eating after 8pm. Ideally I wouldn’t eat after 7 but sometimes my husband gets home late or dinner takes a while to make.
  • Not eating out. This one will be easy.
  • Getting at least 7 hours of sleep. I fail pretty hard at this one. I’ve been averaging about 6-6.5 hours of sleep, mostly because I’m in denial that I have to work the next day.
  • Stretching daily. Something else I need to do more frequently. We found a great video on youtube last night that was called “yoga for runners.” Felt great afterward.
  • Making better choices before the race. We’ve declined invitations to go out because it was the night before the race. I also made energy balls for our pre-race snack that consist of a banana, chocolate powder, oats, honey, peanut butter, chia seeds, and semi-sweet chocolate. Last race I screwed myself by having Chipotle for dinner (BAD IDEA) and I paid for it the next morning due to digestive issues. In turn, I had a meager breakfast and nearly passed out just after I hit mile 2.

Hopefully all these things will help. I’ve already lost almost a pound in the last 2 days, which is kinda cool. Plus, my run on Monday went well. I found that running a quarter mile then walking a tenth worked beautifully. I set a personal record for my first mile but keeping a steady pace is still a challenge. Miles 2 and 3 were slower than mile 1, but typically I run faster on race day than when I train on a treadmill. I’ll keep you guys posted on how we do, but I’m shooting for sub-35:00.

Safety First

Most days, I think it’s great to be a woman. Today was not one of those days.

I went to the gym today and here’s what happened. The gym was empty except for me:

*I notice a guy walk in. He doesn’t immediately use equipment. He lingers behind me (treadmills face windows)*

Me, thinking: What is he doing?

*Guy walks out, then back in. Lingers.*

Me: Stay calm, keep walking.

*Guy goes back out again, male friend walks in with original guy*

Me: What the hell is going on? Are they working out or what?

*Guys linger behind me*

Me: Focus on walking. There are cameras in here. But is anyone actually monitoring them? Why aren’t these guys just working out?

*From reflection on a TV in front of me, I notice that those guys finally start working out. First guy stops and lingers by the door.*

Me: for fuck’s sake…what is he doing?

*I look over at him quickly in case I need to identify him later. I keep an eye out on the other gym door and begin to plan how to get out of there fast. Another woman walks in and I feel slight relief, but fight or flight has kicked in*

Me: I want to finish my cardio but I’m too heightened. The other machines are too close to those guys. Should I leave now, with just this other lady in here with those 2 guys? Those guys may be harmless. I’ll wait.

*Another woman walks in. I damn near jump off the treadmill and leave*

I hate this. I hate that I couldn’t finish my workout because I was too concerned about those guys. I just want to exercise without worrying about my safety or being hit on. Years ago I was sexually harassed at a gym and nothing was done so I quit going. I hadn’t thought much about that until today.

I checked my Garmin later and you can see when my heart rate spiked. I didn’t change speed.

Fast and Furious

I’ve had my Garmin 225 for about a week and I love that thing. There have been some growing pains though. I did my first outdoor run over the weekend and before the run I had created an interval routine of 50 seconds sprinting/70 seconds brisk walk. When I set up the intervals, I thought it was 10 run/10 walk, for a total of 20.

Nope.

It was 20 run/20 walk. I made it to interval 16 before my legs were exhausted. It was a little frustrating but I was proud of myself for how far I made it.

A feature of Garmin’s app is a challenge group. DH’s friend invited me to the group last week and you are ranked within the group according to how many miles you run or walk weekly. Being competitive, after we finished the run I wanted to walk the same route to gain extra miles. I made it to third place, out of 8 people.

Another feature is a display of my cadence and pace. Pace is getting better but my cadence needs work. One thing I consistently keep doing is starting out too fast then slogging through the rest of the run. After doing a little research, I’m shortening the intervals to 30 seconds run/30 seconds walk to train myself to slow down a bit and maintain a steadier pace.

I’ve used my watch 3 times, 2 treadmill runs and 1 outdoor run. The treadmill has actually been easier because I just throw on my headphones and go. I don’t like wearing headphones when I run outside and on Saturday it felt like I had a million distractions in addition to being mindful of when my watch vibrated to signal the start of the next segment.

I took off today and yesterday to rest my legs and get some things done but I’m hoping to get back into it tomorrow.

New Plan

DH and I spent a few days in his hometown (much needed!) recently and while we were there, we met up with one of his friends from high school. His friend got into running earlier this year and we were comparing notes on times and distances. That conversation, plus DH gifting me with a subscription to Runner’s World has inspired me to up my running game. For now I’m going to continue with running about 8 miles weekly but I’m saying goodbye to my Fitbit. As handy as it has been, I don’t care much about my sleep as it’s improved after I stopped drinking coffee (more on that in a second). I also have a good sense of my calories so I’m not seeing it as beneficial anymore. Instead, I want to invest in a good fitness tracker so that I can more easily track my pace. So far I’ve been looking at Garmin models. We’re planning to run our next race in probably February so I’ll have plenty of time to improve my speed. I’m excited and feel more focused!

As far as the coffee thing goes, I had my first cup in 23 days while we were on our trip. It felt like I had swallowed lit candles. My acid reflux hasn’t been that bad in quite some time and I suspect it’s because I stopped drinking coffee. Makes me sad since I do enjoy coffee but going back to abstaining may continue helping my sleep and keeping my reflux in check.

Reset

So now that birthday shenanigans are totally over, it’s time to reset my health habits again. The fall is pretty difficult since there are so many birthdays and holidays, and we typically go on vacation in the fall. We have 2 trips coming up in the next 2 months, including one in about a month, so I really want to zero in on better habits and ideally lose about 10 pounds. A big part of that is working on my sleep schedule. According to my fitbit I average 6.5 hours of sleep during the week and 7-7.5 on weekends. I think stress from work coupled with recent bad eating habits have thrown things off. We have a bunch of tea, including chamomile, so I’ll see this week if that will help me to get to sleep sooner.

I’m also going to start tracking my food again to make sure I don’t lose focus. Usually when I have a solid deadline for losing weight tracking my food helps. Breakfast this week will be smoothies with half a bagel. The smoothie is only 166 calories and one of my problems before was eating too little, so I tossed in half a bagel. Morning snack is a serving of Triscuits. Lunch is a turkey burger with a side salad and my afternoon snack is carrots and hummus. Dinners this week include stuffed mushrooms and breakfast for dinner.

In terms of working out, I’m going to shoot for 3 times a week, with 2 days of cardio-focused workouts and one day of strength-focused workouts. Hopefully I can stick to all of this, but the biggest challenge will be sleeping more. Stay tuned.

Drop it Like it’s Hot

Phew.

We had our latest 5k over the weekend and it was brutal. I forgot to eat something before heading out and paid for it during the race. Everything started out okay but around mile 2 I began feeling dizzy, to the point I was having trouble seeing. I had some digestive issues earlier that morning and thought I may have been dehydrated (and it felt like we were running in a sauna), so I was sure to stop at the water stations. However, every time I started running again I felt dizzy. My time wasn’t great but I cut myself some slack considering I almost quit due to the dizziness. I did some research later and found out that it was possible that my blood pressure probably dropped due to low blood sugar from not eating. Important lesson learned.

Also important: I still beat my time from my first 5k! The official times were released yesterday and the split time for my first mile was way better than expected. The last 2 miles were obviously not that great but I’m still in disbelief that I beat my last race time. We’re already planning the next race, but it’ll be in a few months, when the weather isn’t so stifling.

Whirlwind

What a week. DH and I were directly affected by the hurricane. We wound up evacuating but we were definitely one of the lucky ones as we never lost power and our place had minimal damage. It was an incredibly stressful ordeal and I even lost 5 pounds last week because I typically don’t have an appetite when highly stressed. I gained some of that back though when trying to eat up perishables ahead of the storm. To compound the stress, my family was also directly affected so it felt like I was running on straight adrenaline for 4-5 days. I’m exhausted.

After eating out of primary boxes and cans the last few days, I was excited finally get some fresh stuff from the grocery store. However, the grocery stores are still devoid of perishables. It was stunning to see so many empty refrigerator and freezer cases. It could be up to a week before grocery stores are fully stocked again. I panicked a little because we have our next race very soon and we’re not really getting our nutritional needs met without having to keep eating out. We bought ready-to-eat meals from a local health food store, which was helpful, but it’s been a huge challenge to ensure we’re not eating straight carbs.

On a somewhat related side note, this week has also made me more introspective than usual. When going to each grocery store trying to find food, I thought about it’s a regular thing for some people to struggle to find healthy, affordable food. I was also very aware of how easy it was for me to go from store to store when others don’t have that kind of mobility or access. I don’t feel guilty for my privilege as I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at, but with this storm my privilege has been a lot more apparent. Once I reset emotionally DH and I will start looking into how to best help the recovery efforts.

Final Countdown

The human mind is kinda amazing. I’ve been consistently running twice a week now directly after work. I’m usually wiped after work but telling myself that it’s just 30 minutes has been making a big different. I’m still doing intervals but starting last week I decreased my walk time and increased my run time. I still have all my run data from this year saved in an app and my pace is almost a minute faster than when I ran my first 5k in March. Our next 5k is about a month away and I’m excited. I’m considering trying to bump up my runs to 3 times a week but my legs are a bit sore from yesterday. I’m hoping to get my pace down by another minute, especially since we’re looking at another race in December. Not sure if I’m ambitious or a glutton for punishment at this point.