Archive | June, 2013

Monday to Sunday

30 Jun

While the standard American week runs from Sunday to Saturday, my week runs from Monday to Sunday. Call me European, but I just think it makes more sense. I started following the Monday to Sunday schedule when I was doing Weight Watchers (for the 14th time). By weighing-in on Monday morning I forced myself to be accountable over the weekend.

Way back in the day I would go to meetings on Saturday morning, weigh-in, and promptly head to the bagel shop to start my “eat whatever I want day.” There was a bit of logic there, if I was “good” all week, some splurge on Saturday wouldn’t be terribly detrimental, and it was a reward to keep me going strong all week. Except, it didn’t. “Eat what I want Saturday” turned in to “Eat what I want Saturday and Sunday (and sometimes Monday),” and my results started to wane.

Besides wanting a reward for my hard work, the weekends are just hard when it comes to eating. I don’t have a schedule to follow, or a routine like I do during the week. Friends want to go out for drinks, which turn into drinks, apps, and dinner. You want to go on a date with your partner. And really, who wants to cook on a Saturday, Saturdays are for going out dammit!

Now that I’m not doing Weight Watchers, or following any prescribed diet, I have to stay more accountable to myself. My general mindset has been: Eat a clean, plant-based, low/no-fat diet 90% of the time. Which means, that 10% of the time I get to eat whatever I want. While I would love to be vegan 100% of the time, I am also that guy that will eat the entire plate of Oreos that I was forbidden to eat the moment the researcher turns his back, so if I want a cheesesteak I have one. That being said, this isn’t a perfect system. Because if anyone knows what “10% of your diet” is, I’d like him or her to tell me, because I’m pretty sure I do not. This week I went out for dinner with a friend on Wednesday and ate a club sandwich that was bigger than my face (seriously, it really was), and I wasn’t concerned, because that was my 10% for the week… until Friday came around. When I went to happy hour, and then out to dinner because we were out. And then Saturday came around, where we went to a Philadelphia Union game with our friends Troegs and Leinenkugel (and Sierra Nevada and Corona), AND THEN met up with a friend for dinner at a pub. #facepalm.

So this upcoming Monday-Sunday will be an attempt at recalibration. I’m not going to beat myself up too much, no reason to add guilt into the mix. I do run 4 times a week, and ride my bike as often as I can, and any thing that is consumed at home (or brought from home to work) grows straight from the dirt (as Justin Timberlake says in Veganville), but that’s still no excuse to let things go. As I said in Crunchy Granola, I’m doing this to stay healthy, and lose weight.

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The Things You Do For Run

29 Jun

Even though I’ve been running for at least 6 years now, there are still things that make stop and say “whoa. I really am a runner.” This time it was getting my hair cut. I seriously debated cutting my hair short…not because I wasn’t sure if I would like it, or because it was a drastic difference, but because I wasn’t sure how it would affect my running. For the bulk of my running career I’ve had hair that I could put securely on the top of my head with a Scunci hair tie and just hit the road. It’s all I knew. So, obviously I had doubts about cutting my hair, “What if it gets in my face?” “What if I overheat?” “What if its so bad that I won’t want to run, what about my training?”

I’m sure I sound neurotic, because, well, I am. Generally speaking, I do over analyze a bit more than most, but that’s not the point. The point here is that I’m making life choices, like how to wear my hair, based on my dedication to my running practice. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this; I’ve put off getting a tattoo on my currently non-tattooed foot because it would mean not running (or wearing real shoes) for 2-3 weeks. But still, when it happens, I stop and go “whoa, I’m really a runner.”

I went ahead and made the chop. My hair is probably 8 or so inches shorter. I did overheat at the gym the other day, so this morning I rocked the tiniest, nubbiest ponytail I’ve ever seen on a non-two-year-old. It did the trick, so I think my training schedule is safe. On the whole I’m glad I took the jump, I look pretty sharp!

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Throwback Thursdays – Second Half

27 Jun
First Half with my Dad

First Half with my Dad

Stay posted as Daddio and I train for our second half marathon together in September 2013!

Running Safety – Always Be Prepared

26 Jun

A few weeks back I wrote a post about bike lanes to talk about urban bike safety (in case I didn’t mention it there: ALWAYS wear a helmet!), to follow up, let’s talk running safety! While I’m sure there are official websites with all kinds of great tips about staying safe while running (in fact, here’s one right here!), here are just a few things that I do to stay safe:

• I time my runs so that it is light out when I’m on the road.

• If I do have to run in the dark, I run with a buddy.

• I wear my RoadID on every run (you can order one at http://www.roadid.com, check out mine below for ideas on what to put on there!)Road ID

• I always carry the following things in my running arm band:

o My driver’s license (further identification)

o My debit card (in case I need a cab, or some water)

o My health insurance card (I’m a klutz, the probability of me spraining my ankle is high)

o My Septa pass (in case I outright need to give up and bus it home)

o My car insurance information. (That probably sounds odd, but I learned when my good friend, Super Starling was hit by a car that in the state of Pennsylvania even if you are a pedestrian being hit by a car is a motor vehicle accident and your car insurance covers you not your health insurance.)

• I wear the brightest running clothes I can find so that no one can say that they didn’t see me (seriously, today I was head to toe in lime green, though I do think the outfit is even better when the colors don’t match… you know, electric purple with traffic cone orange).

• I run on the sidewalk in areas that are well trafficked but not pedestrian heavy, not in the street or in bike lanes.

• I tell Alex what route I’m running if I’m going out solo.

The gist of my safety tips fall under the scout motto “Always be prepared.” While it is unlikely that I’ll be hit by a car, those Septa bus drivers can be maniacs. I’ve yet to have to grab one of those buses to get home from a failed run, but having the option makes me feel more secure. Some of it could be considered overkill, but keep in mind that this list came from the same girl who stocks D-batteries and gallon jugs of water and bleach, puts Tupperware containers full of water in her freezer, and fills her tub with water at the threat of a hurricane…so there is that.

What do you do to keep yourself safe on your runs?

Crunchy Granola

25 Jun

I have a bit of a reputation. It may or may not be a good thing, I can’t always tell. I mean, I guess we all have a thing that makes us “that guy.” If you’ve read any of this blog, seen half the things I post on Facebook, or pretty much anything I’ve posted on Twitter you can probably guess what my M.O. is… I’m a health freak. I’m blatant, and kind of in your face about it. I bring vegan food to potlucks, I ride my bike to work, I work out five times a week, and I post about it, talk about it, and write about it.

A few weeks back a friend posted this article on my Facebook wall and asked if it was specifically about me. Twenty ways you know you are a wellness junkie. Surprisingly, I didn’t actually connect with most of them. That being said, number 23 on this beauty of a list is me to a tee: “Smug, annoyingly healthy people.” I am absolutely the gal who brings a salad for lunch, bikes to work, and says things like “so on my six mile run on Saturday I stopped by the park we had the corporate picnic at.” They even voted me the healthiest person in the office for our office superlatives last year.

I talk a big game about what I’m doing to be healthy, but I haven’t really addressed why I do it. Part of it is vanity; I’ll freely admit that. I know that taking care of myself means that I’ll look better. But more importantly I want to feel better, and I want to be well. Like pretty much everyone in America I have seen family members lose the battle with cancer, and lost loved ones to heart disease. While some things are absolutely out of our control, other’s can be fought with a preemptive strike.

After educating myself on the impact our food has on our wellbeing I decided to make changes to my diet. After being vegetarian for a few years, Alex and I took the plunge and went vegan at home (I admit that when I’m out, I will indulge in whatever I want. I find that allowing myself the occasional splurge makes the more “extreme” lifestyle sustainable). Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can prevent and reverse heart disease. Some studies have also shown that a plant-based diet can help prevent and fight cancer. Not only do Alex and I eat plant-based at home, we also eat primarily organic food. While reports are mixed as to whether or not pesticides are truly as awful for you as some folks say they are, eating chemicals doesn’t really seem like a good idea. Finally, when buying groceries I follow this general rule: “If I can’t pronounce it, I shouldn’t eat it.”

I’ve come along way from where I was in the early-2000s. In college I would stop at McDonald’s on my way to my part-time job in the morning to get breakfast. I didn’t like their hash brown, so I never got it, but since a breakfast “meal” had two things and I was skipping the hash brown, I figured that meant that I could have two sandwiches. So I’d order a McGriddle, and a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese bagel… and a diet Coke. The Papa John’s delivery dude in State College knew me by name. And, I weighed 40 pounds more than I do now. I needed to change. My joints needed me to change. My heart needed me to change. My cells needed me to change.

After over a decade of struggle with obesity, I’m finally feeling back in control of my health. If that means that I get labeled a “health nut” I’m okay with that, maybe my instance on health’s importance will persuade more people to join me on this quest.

Summer 2013

Summer 2013

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

 

National Running Day… A Day Late

6 Jun

Yesterday was National Running Day, and I really meant to write a post. It was on my list of things to do, but work has been busy this week, which has carried over into home time, so it just didn’t happen. I did run though, and I think that’s what really counts. Alex and I went for a run, which two miles in both of us admitted that neither of us had any desire to go for the run, but went for the other person. I’m glad we both stuck it out for the each other though because it ended up being pretty solid.

I’m happy to report that this particular run was my second training run for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon! I had originally been thinking that I would run the half portion of the Philadelphia Marathon in November, but my dad was really pushing for September, and I think that I’ve built up enough of a base that this time I will truly be able to run the whole thing. That’s the thing for me, running the whole thing. I could walk 13.1 miles tomorrow, my fitness level is there, but running 13.1 miles is another story. So yesterday, on National Running Day, I took advantage of the $20 off discount and registered my dad and I for the September Philly Half.DSC01655                                                 2007 Half MarathonDSC01569                                                  2010 Half Marathon

I’ve done two half marathons before, one in 2007 with my (now) husband, and one in 2010 with my dad. I just realized that I am apparently in a 3-year half marathon cycle. The last two I did not run nearly all of, and I was disappointed in myself for not meeting my goal. This year, however, the goal is realistic, and I will run the entire 13.1 miles. This summer will be dedicated to training, so get excited, because we’re going on this adventure together! Stay tuned to MainlyRunning for training updates.

Hot Town, Summer in the City

2 Jun

We’re in the middle of a heat wave here in Philadelphia. The weather in this city is strange, and quite unpredictable. While we are in the northeast, which is known for its seasons, spring is often elusive. Sure we get the pleasant 60-70 degree days sporadically, but normally, year over year, we jump from 50 degrees to 85. It makes most folks cranky, and spurs those funky change-of-seasons colds, and then allergies run amok. But what I’m hating on most is what it’s doing to my running.

Before 2013 temperature didn’t matter when I ran, my main running tool was the treadmill, and I rarely ran outside. Once I started running outside (this past January), I bought all the cold running gear I could find, and as long as it was above freezing I was hitting the pavement outside. I didn’t think it was a big deal to run outside when it was 32 degrees as long as I had my running ear band. I never did make the connection that the reason I found it so easy to run in the cooler temperatures is because I get hot when I run. Like, really hot. Like so hot that I look like my head is turning into a tomato. You know, kind of like Violet Beauregard’s whole blueberry situation in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

So I mastered 32 degrees, and as the temperature went up into the 50s I compensated by taking off some layers. When I was a running novice, I read that the ideal temperature for running was 55 degrees, and I thought that was nutty. That was obviously too cold to be running outside, right? Apparently not. Now it’s 85+ degrees out, and it’s only the first few days of June. The heat is on here in the city, and I’m scrambling to figure out what to do. The springtime answer was to take off layers, but there are only so many layers to take off. Short of running down the street naked, I’m at a loss. I got a hydration belt, and a mesh top, and they helped a bit, but last night’s run still left me looking like this:

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So running friends, I implore you, how do you train for fall races, when the summer weather leaves you with red faces?