Tag Archives: patience

Changing my stride: A post dedicated to Boston

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I’m sitting here pouring sweat after running my own personal 5k as I write this. Well, I actually wrote this in my head while I was running and I just had to get it all down.

I decided before I even put my running shoes on that this was going to be a bad run because of the way I was eating this week. I wasn’t even off my block before the thought of just walking entered my head. My stomach’s too full, my underwear is riding up, and why did I wear these crappy socks?

I concentrated on my stride to get those thoughts out of my head. I’m desperately flat footed, you see, and running that way has been torture on my knees. By changing my stride, running is no longer miserable for me. I’m a WIP and my calves are certainly feeling the change, but I am able to run faster, longer, and softer.

I hate that I have to work so hard to just run. I’m just not a runner. The thoughts started rushing back in my head. My foot stride is not the only thing that needs changing….

I hit a landmark in my run and I remembered how last time I took a different turn and cut my run down by a mile. But that’s quitting, I reminded myself. I had set out on a run and dammit, I was going to run!

Photo Apr 20, 9 17 15 AM

My bro and I at the race.

I couldn’t help but think back to Boston. Even miles away my community was shaken by the tragedy. Nowhere seems safe anymore…exercise has been my refuge, my escape, for so long but now the comfort and safety I used to find in it is threatened. The Boston Marathoners didn’t get a choice—to speed up or slow down—their race was taken from them. Oh, how easy it would be for this experience to stop them from running, to stop Boston from hosting the marathon, to make them stop in their tracks at the next 21st mile marker they hit. But I know they won’t.

They were my motivation to finish what I had set out to do.

I realized then that I needed to change my stride figuratively as well. Saying that I am not a runner is keeping me from being a runner! I just ran a race on Saturday, I AM a runner. I may not be a fast one or distance runner, and sure I may feel every step, but I am a runner just the same.

palace saloon race shot

My first crazy-lookin’ race photo! I feel like it is a rite of passage. This shot was taken right before I went into gazelle-mode sprinting towards the finish line!

So, I kept on going through my hilly neighborhood, passing up several short cuts. Every step made me feel even more like a runner and I was reminded of the deep sense of connection I felt with the runners and fellow volunteers from the Badass Army who came out to the 5.2 at 5 for Boston on Sunday in my town. Read more about the event that raised over $13,000 for the Boston Red Cross and united runners and supporters of the cause from all over here and here.

This experience has taught me that life is too short for all this negativity.  If there is something that you want to accomplish, just get out there and do it before it is too late! Experiences are only as good as what we make of it and attitude is everything. Runners across the country have proved in the last week that we will not be stopped and the joy of the finish line will not be taken from us!

The Rise of the Sugar Monster (Whole30 Week 2 Recap)

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Wow, already half-way there! During my latest week on the Whole30 I experienced two sets of feelings:

 

“This is FANTASTIC! I am going to eat this way forever!” and “I wish it were March 31st already…I really want some chocolate!”

 

Here’s how it went:

The weekend was a challenge. I dodged a bullet Friday night at a dinner party with family– everything was compliant! I only had to bring along my own salad dressing, some coconut butter, and a homemade lemon-coconut “Larabar” to have a sweet ending to dinner while everyone else had birthday cake. I spent the rest of the weekend with my mama, armed with a bag full of groceries to ensure W30-compliant meals all weekend long…

I made it through a weekend of meals away from the comfort of my paleo kitchen but, boredom inevitably struck and I still had trouble with SNACKING!

So, what! It’s just grapes and homemade Larabars!

On the Whole30, that point is moot. It’s not only about what you put in your body, but why. It is about the principle of eating mindlessly…when I am not even hungry, just for the sake of eating. When boredom hit over the weekend, I grabbed a handful of grapes…over and over. It reminded me that eating is for nourishment, not to pass the time. Simply craving flavor does not mean I am hungry or need to eat! All the sugar (even though it is natural from fruit, it still takes its toll!) brought out my SUGAR MONSTER! I experienced some BAD cravings. Seriously, bad. When I went to Sam’s Club later that weekend…I could have sworn that the giant tub of jelly beans SPOKE to me. I’m not kidding.

So, I did what I do best and I fought back with a new game plan for the rest of the week. I had an even bigger prep day than last week: I roasted pan after pan of veggies, including my favorite kale and roasted butternut squash sautee. The star players this week included a one-pan dinner of baked tilapia and veggies, homemade chicken sausage patties, grilled chicken, and pot roast. I also made salmon croquettes (a recipe from a fellow Badass Babe and fellow Whole30er), paired with tomato soup. They blew my old recipe out of the water! (This is where the “I could eat like this forever” feeling comes in!). After a break from eggs for breakfast for the few days I actually missed them and made use of leftovers in a Southwest egg-scramble (sort of a single serve version of my Southwest Frittata).

Just a glimpse at my main meals one day this week. (Note: My pre/post work food is not pictured here!)

Just a glimpse at my main meals one day this week. (Note: My pre/post work food is not pictured here!)

How did this all translate to the gym?

Still feeling slugglish, I gave myself the weekend off to rest with the hope that some extra sleep was what I needed. Whole30 + daylight savings time = crappy sleep patterns!

Monday morning bootcamp came around quick  and AMRAP 180 degree burpees at 6am just made me like I was even more off my game! My legs felt so heavy and uncoordinated but I still managed to give it my all, especially on the rip trainer! I love starting my Mondays with bootcamp…it is so important to start the week off on the right track! Gym time with the hubs on Tuesday was successful as he always pushes me to try new things. I realized I can manage push-ups and dips without the weight assist (although it is not many) so that got me feeling like things were starting to pick back up for me. Progress is still being made! I felt like I was finally getting after it in my workouts the rest of the week.

I’m feeling significantly less hungry in between meals, with the hunger pangs kicking in only an hour or so before it is time to eat (this is a big improvement). Five hours in between meals seems to be working well for me. I’m still playing around with my portion sizes…but I have experienced no bedtime hunger! YAY!! Speaking of bedtime, I am having more food dreams…but this time I dream that I intentionally have non-compliant dishes, like mac-n-cheese, and kept it a secret from everyone. I wake-up feeling really awful for lying until I remember that I didn’t really mess up! I promise I would tell you if I did!

My energy seems to be picking up and I feel more chipper! Overall I am still patiently waiting for the Tiger’s Blood to kick in and for some relief to my digestive problems. But even this early I know that every time I sit down for a meal I am doing something GOOD for my body and that is a great feeling! I am treating it with the respect it deserves!

Any thoughts on week 2? I’d love to hear what your experience was like! And don’t worry, I will continue to post a recipe or two a week. Some of them I am still perfecting for you! Next up, I’ll share how I made the Southwest Eggs-Two Ways!

Stop, drop, and plank!

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I love a good challenge. Throw the word challenge behind anything and I’m in. So, several weeks ago during a twitter #wellnesschat hosted by @BadassFitCEO on ab core power the idea of a February #plankaday challenge came about. Since the beginning of last month I have been perfecting my planks daily. I love daily challenges like this because it really pushes me to be disciplined. Even though it is something as simple as a plank, making a commitment and sticking to it throughout the month helps me feel mentally stronger and more focused. I highly recommend it!

Here’s the jist: idea is to start holding a plank for 30 seconds on day 1 and add 5 seconds throughout the month. Theoretically, you’ll reach 3 minutes by the end.

So how did I fare? Well, the hubs pushed me to go ahead and start at 1 minute, so a few days in I jumped to 1 minute planks and kept on going! Each day I could feel myself getting stronger and stronger. Some days I was a beast, others…eh, not so much. I endured and reached 3 minutes by day 25 or so….

Oh yeah, I can do a 3 minute plank, alright. But, after about 2:30, my back feels like it is about to break in half and I grunt and scream my way through the last 30 seconds. Hey, at least I did it, right?

Well, I don’t know about that. This little experience taught me some lessons. Sometimes form is more important than beating a time. Sure, I met my goal, but it was not exactly healthy for my back. I learned that I actually work harder and feel stronger when I struggle to keep perfect form but only stay in position for 2 minutes, rather then letting my back droop and make 3 minutes. This exercise worked my patience even more than it worked my muscles. I’m happy planking my solid 2 minutes for now because it is really making me stronger when I hold the proper form the entire time. Plus, I want to be strong enough to hold that plank at the end of workout when I’m exhausted or when it is in a 104 degree room at Hot Power Core! Since my month-o-planks ended, I came up with a few tips that really helped me:

  1. Planking is just as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. It is boring. It can really psych you out. Keep your head up (literally, as well), stay focused, and push through. Tap into that “inner beast” I know is there.
  2. Location, location, location! Make sure you are somewhere you can get comfy in your plank! AKA the hard wood floor in my bedroom or the scratchy rug in my living room does not make for a successful plank! Weight lifting gloves or a yoga mat is helpful, but stay away from slippery towels or soft pillows.
  3. Get rid of distractions! In other words, remove yourself from anything that can piss you off. Maybe it’s just me, but I am quite moody during my last 30 seconds. I also become very particular…any little hair hanging in my face or if my pants feel “too heavy”…I can’t do it. (There were many pantless-planks done at my house ;))
  4. Form is everything! Keep your palms under your shoulders and keep your weight shifted forward. And tuck your pelvis! My fitness guru said this during Hot Power Core one night and it was like a light bulb went off! Squeeze you butt cheeks, tuck, and pull your belly button in towards your back. This tightens your abs, back, and legs. A proper plank uses the whole body! This really helps to take the stress off of any one part of your body. For me, the tilt helped to keep my body straight as possible and it took a lot longer for me to wear out my back.
  5. BREATHE! It’s difficult, but I promise it helps.
Not the best planking conditions...

Not the best planking conditions…

I enjoyed this experience so much I decided to take on a monthly fitness challenge! Whole30 in March wasn’t enough so I decided to add a daily push-up challenge to my list of things to do, too. I am starting a little late, but I was inspired by the #nomoregirlypushups challenge from Wine to Weightlifting, Dare 2 Dream Dare 2 Do, & Alex Tries it Out.   With the help of a very handy app and the support of my BFF, I hope to work up to 100 push-ups by the end of the month! Got any ideas for future fitness challenges or want to join me? Let me know in the comments section!

Coming up later this week: recap of Whole30 week one! See how I’m doing compared to the  Whole30 program timeline!