Finding a Balance: Burgers and Big Workouts

Hi Friends!

Farmer Ben and I are back from our road trip/vacation down south! Can I tell you a secret? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much barbecue in my life…I loved every morsel…but I must admit, it is good to be home, sleeping in our own bed and cooking at home. I’ll do a full post on that later…

I need to get something off my chest.

I was perusing instagram the other day and came across a photo of a giant cheeseburger with French fries. To put you in the right frame of mind, the burger was similar to this one, minus the braised kale:

Pictures like this speak to me.

Pictures like this speak to me.

Anyway, my immediate thoughts? “Oh my, that looks delicious!”

Obviously, I was drawn to it and stopped to read the caption and comments.

I won’t tell you who the user was but the caption was something along the lines of “Yes, I ate this…trying to tell myself that my ridiculously long, strenuous workout makes it okay.”

Cue screeching record sound… What?! 

I’m sorry… but that is ridiculous.

Why do you have to do a ridiculously long and strenuous workout in order to justify eating a cheeseburger and fries? Why do you have to burn a million calories in order to enjoy it? Or, make a vow to run a million miles the next day? Why can’t you just eat it and say, “man, that was delicious,” without feeling guilty?

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way saying that you should go out and only eat cheeseburgers and fries (or whatever your guilty pleasure of choice may be), obviously.

Not at all… but if you eat well most of the time, and yes, if you do ridiculously long and strenuous workouts more often than not (as this person does), then what the heck? Eat a damn cheeseburger!

Occasionally enjoying an “unhealthy” meal is not going to “ruin all of your hard work,” and it’s not going to make you gain 20 pounds or ruin your diet/workout regimen. Depending on the burger and your digestive system, you may be a bit bloated or gassy after…but it’s not going to ruin your overall health plan. It’s about balance, people!

I guess what I found most disturbing was the user who posted this picture. You are a role model in a healthy living community. That is not a healthy state of mind…and it’s a common theme I am finding as I peruse my instagram and twitter feeds of bloggers/people who claim to have a healthy lifestyle…people I look up to!

People would rather drink a protein shake or eat an energy bar full of artificial sweeteners and ingredients they can’t pronounce, than enjoy real, whole foods that happen to be calorie dense. I see more protein shakes with a side of celery or a few apple slices  than real, balanced meals on my feed. WHY?!

When did we get so far away from balance…and eating real food?

Again, I am NOT saying that a cheeseburger and fries is “healthy meal,” nor am I saying that all protein shakes/energy bars are bad…not at all!

I’m just saying, everything in moderation.

Neither of these options is going to completely nourish/sustain a person, especially a highly active person.

Balance is necessary.

When you start looking at food as the enemy or depriving yourself…or even trying to justify what you are eating with ridiculously long and strenuous workouts, then there is a problem…and this I am saying from personal experience.  On the same note, you also can’t look to food for comfort/stress relief…again, it’s about balance.

I am in no way perfect, and I am totally guilty of having that small voice in my head saying, “are you sure you want to eat that? Do you know how many calories are in it?!”

But, I’ve come to appreciate balance and I’ve finally learned the “everything in moderation” principle…Yes, I watch what I eat…but I don’t completely deprive myself and I don’t freak out after eating a burger. I’m no expert, but I think I’m a lot healthier now because of this.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

So tell me, what are your thoughts? Cheeseburgers, yes or no? Are you guilty of trying to justify your meals with workouts?  Favorite food to drool over on Instagram?


GBN: That time I ran a marathon

Well, I did it.

It was one of the most difficult, amazing, ridiculous, painful and spiritual things I have ever done, but I did it. I finished a marathon.

On Saturday morning (after a quick stop for breakfast), my mom and I headed the hour south to go to the race expo. After picking up my packet and sweet (and by sweet, I mean BRIGHT orange) half-zip windbreaker, we meandered around the gym, visiting with volunteers and looking at what the vendors had to offer. Note: They had my mizunos for significantly less than I paid for them, but I restrained myself from buying a new pair–Farmer Ben was so proud.

This was probably the smallest race expo I’ve ever been to, but it was really nice because we weren’t fighting a crowd and didn’t feel rushed to get in and out.

After the expo, my mom and I decided to scope out the course. We took the leisurely 26.2 mile drive around Schroon Lake. My mom’s reaction? “This is beautiful,” followed by, “You’re going to run this?!”

I knew the hills were going to be tough, but now, at least, I had a point of reference and would have an idea of what was ahead. We started out on the main drag, turned onto a side road that just kept going up and then came out right next to the lake, then, we went back to Route 9….

Here are some pictures from the drive:

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

Saturday night, Farmer Ben and I stayed in and watched Ratatouille, complete with a big bowl of pasta and marinara sauce.  After laying out all of my clothes and fuel for the day, I showered and went to bed… but I’m sure you already know that I barely slept.

I woke up on Sunday morning, a big ball of nerves, complete with a nervous stomach. I toasted two English muffins and put a smear of peanut butter on each and grabbed a banana to eat on the drive down (it’s about an hour and a half from our house). Unfortunately, I was so nervous that I could barely swallow… I only managed to choke down the first English muffin and most of the banana.

After parking, I immediately found the bathroom. Then we had some time to kill, so we meandered around; Ben got a coffee, we went back to the car so I could drop off what I didn’t need and grabbed my fuel belt, put on my number and did a last check…then I found the bathroom again…

I don’t know if it was the realization that I was actually about to run a marathon, or if it was just nerves (or maybe a combination of both), but I was a complete basket case on Sunday morning…at one point, I was holding back tears and was starting to have some serious doubts about running…. luckily Farmer Ben was there to hold my hand and talk me down.

He told me that once I started running, I would get into the zone and be fine…and he was right…

I managed to get a pretty good spot on the starting line and started off at a relatively quick pace…when we passed the first time clock, I realized I was going way too fast (even though it felt comfortable) and slowed down.

I was still going a little faster than I should have, but I was feeling good.

At mile 4, the hills started. Now, the elevation chart shows a straight up-hill until mile 6, then a straight down-hill…and then some little hills in between miles 7 and 11 (the next giant hill). This was not the case.

Instead, you went up, then flat, then up, then flat, then up, then down, then flat, then up and up and so on and so forth… I looked at my splits on mapmyrun this morning and they are all over the place…. I managed to run all of the hills until mile 11…I decided to sacrifice running up this hill in order to save my strength for the rest of the run, looking back, I definitely made the right decision.

I was feeling really good for the first half, once you hit mile 12, you come out right next to the lake…it was a beautiful day and the sun shining, but after running so many hills and being super sweaty, the breeze from the lake was not pleasant… the last half of the race was very cold.

I got to the halfway (13.1miles)mark at 2 hours and 27 minutes… I kept a steady pace until about mile 16. I was getting tired. I slowed down a bit and took a few short walk breaks.

Throughout the entire race, I was repeating three things.

1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2. Run your own race.

3. (Wo)man can plan their course, but the LORD directs their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

At mile 18, we turned onto the Word of Life Campus and were welcomed by a wall of cheering people on either side (Note: I could hear their cheers all the back at mile 16, I could NOT figure out where it was coming from).

This gave my spirits the boost I needed to keep going… people were yelling for me, cheering me on, playing music, calling my number and my name…

Not gonna lie, I almost cried because I was so happy…so grateful for these beautiful people who were helping me go on.

Actually, I almost cried a few times throughout the run because of the volunteers and the spectators… everyone who came out and watched the race, supported the runners… it was an emotional day. Hearing people call my name, who took the time to look up my bib number and find out my name, I was completely overwhelmed.

I made it to mile 20, still riding on the cheers of that amazing group… but then I started to hit the wall… I hurt. Everywhere. My feet were the worst, every time I took a step, I felt like a thousand knives were being pushed into my feet, my bones felt like they were shattering… but I kept going.

My hands swelled up to twice their normal size and I could barely bend them, my wedding ring was starting to dig. I was covered in salt from my sweat and my under-arms were raw…not to mention, the pain in my feet and legs was getting worse.

Luckily, there was a girl running near me and we ended up duking out the last 6.2 miles together…slowly but surely. We ended up doing a lot of power walking for that last 10k…at that point, running was so painful that power walking was a faster mode of transportation… we did the power-walk/run together and I told her I was glad we ended up together because we kept each other going.

There were two more hills (though, I must admit, they were not even close to the hills between miles 4 and 12) before we finally neared the finish… we came around a big corner and realized we were less than a mile away.

I looked at my new friend (Liz) and said, “come on, let’s go!” We started kicking it to the finish…I managed to look up just in time to see Farmer Ben standing there with a big smile on his face, iPhone ready to take pictures and yelling my name.

You can't tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

You can’t tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

I turned onto the side street and pushed it to the finish, my entire being hurting and fighting to make those last steps…. I made it!

My time was 5:24:37…not the best time, but it’s a PR for me (the perks of it being my first marathon)…and this was a crazy difficult course! I’m just happy I finished….and now I have a time to beat.

I got my medal and my thermal blanket (thank God!) and turned around, waiting for Liz. I hi-fived her and thanked her sticking with me… and then Ben and I took a couple more pictures….

I did it!

I did it!

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

After finishing, we went down to the finishers’ area and I managed to get a bagel, a bottle of water and some grapes…unfortunately, my body and brain were on power-save mode at that point…I tried to walk around for a few minutes, but ended up just sitting down in a chair, staring off into space. Ben had to hand me grapes and small bites of bagel in order to get me to eat anything.

Again, I had to hold back tears…the realization that I had just finished a marathon was heavy. My body and soul felt absolutely empty.

All finishers were entitled to a massage, but I worried if I got one, I wouldn’t be able to get up, so, when my lips starting turning blue from the wind, Ben made the decision and helped me hobble back to the car.

In the warmth of the Versa, my brain starting working again, slowly but surely.

In my post-race fog, I knew that I needed to change out of my sweaty, and consequently, soaking wet clothes. I told Ben “I need your help.”

I pushed my seat all the way back and Ben fumbled around in the back seat for my big comfy sweat pants and long-sleeved shirt… I painstakingly started pulling off clothes, not caring if someone happened to walk by.

I started with my sneakers, then my socks. I don’t think my feet have ever hurt so much in my entire life. Then I pulled off my leggings and my underwear. I slowly pulled on my sweat pants, with Ben’s help, really glad I had gone for the XL pair.

The next part was a lot more difficult. my shirt was soaking wet and my skin under my arms was raw (Note: I used Body Glide, but apparently I didn’t use enough under my arms). I managed to pull the sleeves from my tank top down and held my shirt over my chest (I am a lady, after all!) while Ben helped me pull my sports bra off, one side at a time. After I pulled on my long-sleeved shirt, I ditched the tank top.

We debated going to one of the restaurants in Schroon Lake, but everyone else had the same idea, so we headed home. I could not get comfortable and spent the entire trip putting my seat up and down, moving it back, propping my feet on the dash, and stretching them out on the floor… then I passed out for the last 30 minutes of the trip.

Upon reaching our apartment, I realized that I was going to have to climb the stairs in order to get inside. My heart sank. Luckily, Ben took everything in from the car so I could use both arms to pull myself up.

After sitting with my feet propped up for an hour or so, we got an invitation to go to a friend’s house and visit with them and their family. Ben whipped up a quick dish to bring with us and I took a hot shower. I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt.

I conquered going down stairs, slowly but surely. And we got to our friend’s house for a great night of relaxing, good food (a lot of it!) and good times. It was the perfect way to end a monumental day. I finally had the energy to snap a picture of my sweet medal….

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I’m so blessed I have the ability to run, that I was able to finish a marathon. I still get teary-eyed remembering different parts of the course, how I was feeling, the spectators and the volunteers… It was amazing and something I will cherish forever. It tested my faith, my mind and my body, but I survived…and came out stronger (and somewhat chafed).

Today, I’m sore…I hobbled around the office at work all day and am looking forward to a week of rest… but, I wouldn’t mind doing another marathon sometime in the (sort of near) future. I’ve already scoped out a few races… as a 14-time marathoner that I befriended yesterday told me, “you definitely picked a difficult course, your next race can only be easier.”

Before I end this post….

A major thank you to Farmer Ben. You are the world’s greatest husband. The end.

And to my friends, Jona and Kristy. You are both such strong, amazing women and hearing/reading your running journeys continues to inspire me and helps me to keep pushing in mine.

Also, thank you to my other friends and family who have had to deal with my ridiculous schedule, constantly listening to me talk about my training and just being supportive.

Did you race this weekend? What is your best race moment/memory? What’s the worst thing about post-race recovery?


Confessions: Life & GBN (Marathon Training Update)

Hi friends!

September is flying by!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Confessions” post… so here we go.

You may have noticed some new widgets on my sidebar:

Sweat Pink

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Loved coming home to this package!

I am super excited to announce that I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador, pink shoelaces and all!

For more info, click the image on the sidebar or check out the Fit Approach website.

Here is the Sweat Pink Mission, from the Fit Approach website:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick. We sweat pink.

Pretty awesome, right? I am pumped to be a part of this community!

ENERGYbits

I’ve mentioned ENERGYbits and how they have become part of my fuel for marathon training and life in general. They are an amazing company and doing great things….and I am so happy to be a part of it. The best part is  that I can share a sweet discount with all of you (Use the code “NoellesNotebook” at checkout for 25% off!)! Also, if you’re interested in trying a sample, contact me and I can hook you up!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

In other news, marathon training is coming to a close…less than 2 weeks until race day. I have to admit, I am sort of enjoying the taper, but my body is a bit confused.

I bonked a bit on my 20 mile run and had a minor freak-out about being ready…

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After a soggy 20 mile run…probably the most difficult run I’ve done in a long time

After I calmed down from my freak-out, I analyzed what went wrong… I think a big part of my bonk was my food choices from the couple of days before my run, not drinking enough and the weather. It was hot. Really hot. And humid….and raining.

So what am I using for fuel?

I have decided on ENERGYbits (of course!), Island Boost–another great company–and various fruit. This will depend on what I can fit in my running belt…

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I was going back and forth as to whether or not I should wear my camelbak on race day, but I decided against it. There will be water stops on the course and honestly, the camelbak is a lot of extra weight and extra sweat. It’s great for training runs, but I don’t want to worry about it on race day.

Thoughts on Marathon training:

Next time around (yes, I’m already thinking about next time! Let’s just get through the first one, shall we?!), I am only going to be working one job…and won’t be involved in as many real life commitments. Life happens. I got way too stressed out with training this time around because honestly, I skipped a lot of runs. Between trying to prevent/having an injury and just being over-extended, some days it felt impossible to fit in a run. I realize that there are people out there who do way more than I do (and I give them MAJOR props), but this time around, I had to make some sacrifices, and some weeks, it was my training runs.

I have a good friend (Hi Kristy!) who gave me some peace of mind a while back. She said that as long as you get your long runs in, it’s okay to skip some of your runs during the week.

Now, I am NOT in any way saying that you shouldn’t train for a marathon, because that would be moronic. But, sometimes life happens and things come up. And that’s okay, as long as you get back on track.

She also reminded me that as this will be my first marathon, I am going to PR. No matter my time, it’s going to be a personal record. Doesn’t that take a lot of the pressure off?

Again, I’m not saying that I won’t go out there and try and run my hardest, but…if I have to walk for a bit, I am still doing 26.2 miles in one shot. That’s still pretty hard-core.

With that being said, I’ve been having some really great runs lately. During and after each run, I have felt unstoppable…isn’t that the best feeling?!

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After totally rocking an 8 mile run.

Also, I purchased a foam roller ($15 at TJ Maxx for the win!) about a month ago… such a good investment! Luckily, Farmer Ben loves to torture… I mean take care of me and has been super helpful with working out the kinks in my legs. My recovery time has decreased significantly as a result…so thanks Farmer Ben!

On a totally unrelated topic, marathon training does a number on my digestive system. I’ll leave it at that.

Oh! I almost forgot, I need your help! I am deciding on whether to run with or without some tunage.

If I do run with music, I need to create a killin’ it playlist. What would be on your kicking butt soundtrack?!

In remembrance:

Today, 12 years have passed from that fateful day. I still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news. I think about how much our nation–and our world–has grown and changed, and I pay a moment of silence and remembrance to the past and those who were lost.

Anyway, those are my musings for today.

What about you?! What do you use for fuel during your long runs/race day? Any advice for a first time marathoner? What is on your killin’ it playlist?!


Confessions: Running out of a Rut

I have a confession….I’ve been in a major rut the last couple of weeks. Blame it on my insane schedule and my inability to ignore desperate pleas from Job 2 begging me to come in, but I have had a really hard time getting my runs in lately…or anything else.

I know this sounds an awful lot like an excuse, but up to late last week, I was working 13-16 hours days, 5 days a week… this is not conducive to a.) getting up early to run, b.) running after work, or c.) having energy to do anything.

Now that wedding weekend is over, I’m hoping that my schedule will open up. Marathon weekend is quickly approaching–less than a month away!–and I need to get those miles in. I’ve already warned Job 2 that I will not be available that much in September.

Anyway, I failed at getting in my long run this weekend, causing me to admit, that, yes, I am in a rut.

But I’m not looking back…because, well…it won’t change anything. Instead, I am looking forward and I’ve got a plan.

Get out there and run!

Get out there and run!

Noelle’s Plan for Running Out of a Rut:

1. Do something different.

Last night, instead of a run, the hubby and I opted for the 30 Day Shred. It felt great to get my sweat on after taking care of other details for the last week and it was a nice change of pace.

2. Pick a new route.

Not gonna lie, doing the same few routes can be boring. I’ve been looking for something different… so, I decided to sleep in this morning and brought my running gear to work…I’ll be hitting the pavement in a different area this evening!

3. Unplug.

I’ve noticed that paying attention to times, pace and mileage can get stressful. Sometimes, I just want to run! Today, I’m ditching my tunes, my watch, and mapmyrun and just heading out.

4.  Change your tunes. I have a routine of turning on a girl power/girly pop station on Pandora. Every once in a while, I’ll haul out my mp3 player from college (completely different!), or turn on some country music, just to try something new….or, as I mentioned above, I’ll just run without and get lost in my thoughts.

5. Appreciate Your Abilities.

Again, paying attention to time, pace, calories burned and mileage can be stressful! Do you ever stop to think about how amazing it is that we are able to run? That we can get out and just move?  I’ve been taking this for granted… so today, I’m taking a deep breath, and relishing the fact that I CAN run.

6. Remember Why You Run

What are your goals? Are you having fun? For me, running is a major release…there is nothing better than pounding out your frustrations and worries, while taking on a serious hill or a crazy trail. I run because it makes me feel good.

After some reflection, I realize that I  have been ignoring this…and, instead, I’ve been focusing on how little time I’ve had and how tired I am…that’s not helping anyone, is it?

7. Just Run.

The best way to get out of a rut, is to just get your butt out the door. Those first steps are the hardest…but the most rewarding.

Are you in a rut? What is your best advice for getting out of it? What do you do to change your routine?

Happy running!


Confessions: Life, Lately

This weekend went by entirely too fast… that seems to be the story of my life for the month of August… So, here’s a random update, Noelle’s Notebook style….

We found this little guy in the pumpkins on Sunday. He even held a pose for me!

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Speaking of the garden, you’ll be happy to know that I’m still on my giant salad kick.

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Lettuce, radishes, cukes, tomatoes (!), adzuki beans, carrots, avocado, scallions, rice, cheddar and a chipotle yogurt dressing

I bought a bathing suit this weekend for the first time in about 2 years…it was on super sale. I also bought a cute summery dress. Yay for end of season savings!

Like a BOSS

Like a BOSS

I got a grand total of 12 hours of sleep between Saturday and Monday morning (between a bachelorette party, long run, church, work and watching old movies). This makes for a very grumpy Noelle…my apologies.

In spite of a serious lack of sleep, I managed to come into work very early yesterday … I broke my streak of not buying coffee and treated myself to Starbucks during lunch. Unfortunately they messed up my order. S-Bux FAIL.

I tried to get up early and run THIS morning…but I failed miserably and hit the snooze button a few more times than necessary. This means that I will have to go for a run tonight when I get out of work…oops.

Also, PSA Time: PLEASE Pay attention to the road when you are driving. I was almost in a major accident yesterday because of someone not paying attention.

Allow me to explain;

My company is located on a pretty busy road, the highway entrances/exits, 3 gas stations, the state police station and an airport are less than a mile down the road in either direction, along with several businesses.

I was coming back from lunch and put my signal on to turn left into the parking lot. There was on-coming traffic. As I am waiting to turn, I see a car speeding up behind me…my car is obviously not moving and the other car was NOT slowing down. Unfortunately, there were still cars coming and I was starting to get very nervous because I had nowhere to go.

Long story short, the other car got very close (to the point that I could see the driver’s face in my rearview mirror!) before the driver slammed on the brakes. To–BARELY–avoid hitting me, she had to veer to the right (cars were still coming the other direction). She hit the brakes so hard that she not only went completely off the road into the grass, but she also spun completely around. I was able to turn at the last  possible second and pulled into the parking lot (I HAD to get off the road).

I stopped to make sure the other driver was okay and what did I see? She pulled back onto the road and sped away–without even looking to see if there were any cars coming…SERIOUSLY?!

Anyway, I don’t know what she was doing, but again, PLEASE pay attention to the road. IF not for your own safety, then for others on the road.

End Rant.

On a brighter note, some really great things are happening lately!

1. I signed up for August’s Foodie Penpals after taking a long hiatus and I am pretty pumped. I got two awesome match-ups.

2. I had a really honest and encouraging email discussion with a company that makes a running fuel. I learned a lot of interesting information about the manufacturing process and was able to give them some feedback.

2a. I ordered a sample pack of this product to try…it should be here soon…can’t wait to try it on this weekend’s long run! I’ll be sure to let you know how I like it.

3. I won a giveaway! I NEVER win anything so you can imagine that I was not only shocked, but pretty darn excited! Brittany was hosting a Simone France giveaway and I entered on a whim…so glad I did!

4.  The hubs and I went on a late night Price Chopper run… we picked up the essentials: Annie’s Mac & Cheese (there was a 10 for $10 sale!), Chipotle Tabasco sauce and cottage cheese (Tabasco, cottage cheese and black pepper is one of my favorite snacks in the world).

I don't know how to feel about this.

I don’t know how to feel about this.

5. This weekend is my 20-miler! Yes, I’m a little nervous…but I feel ready.

6. Speaking of running, my foot and tendon pain have almost disappeared. I still notice it if I have a super busy night at the restaurant, but otherwise, my feet are feeling pretty good.

7. Next week the hubs and I celebrate 2 years of marriage. Time flies!

8. Our dear friends are tying the knot on the 24th. I am so excited to share in their special day…AND to show you what they chose for a wedding dessert.

9. One of my sisters will be in town next week. HOLLA!

10. We have tomatoes… Another week and they will be coming out of our eyeballs. I CANNOT WAIT! This is not one of our tomatoes, but ours are/will be similar

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

11. Fun fact: I am currently the same weight that I was my junior year of high school…weird.

 
What are you up to this week? Ever won a giveaway? Favorite wedding dessert? Worst driving pet peeve?  How about your favorite snack?

Happy Tuesday!


GBN: 18 miles!

I have a confession.

This may make me sound like a big kind of a jerk.

It feels absolutely incredible kind of good when people ask me what I did this weekend and I can say, “oh, nothing too much… worked, hung out with the hubs, ran 18 miles, you know… nothing too exciting.”

And then… I get the incredulous stare. “You did what?!”

Am I the only one who slightly enjoys that moment in the conversation?

But to be fair, running (or in my case, mostly running) 18 miles, that IS a big deal. And 26.2…that’s going to be HUGE.

So I’m sorry… you are going to hear and read about…but fear not, we’re almost there! My apologies if I start to sound like a broken record…

Anyway, after 17 miles, I learned a few things.

  • I need to be careful about my meals the few days before my run.
  • I need to buy waterproof sunblock because I sweat like a beast.
  • I need to change-up my running gear to prevent hideous tan lines and weird chafe marks (TMI?).

So, in preparation for 18 miles…

  • A lot of my meals looked like this:
Roasted beets, cukes, lettuce, beet greens, tomatoes, carrots and homemade horseradish avocado dressing.

Roasted beets, cukes, lettuce, dill, beet greens, tomatoes, carrots and homemade horseradish avocado dressing.

  • I tried to wear shorts as much as possible to get rid of these beautiful lines. It didn’t work.
Check out those gams...

Check out those gams…

  • I also ordered a full pack of ENERGYbits!
  • I made sure to eat something relatively bland mild on Friday night…

Unfortunately, I had to work both jobs on Friday and once again, didn’t get home until well past my bedtime. I let myself sleep in, but I wasn’t happy. I had wanted to get my run out-of-the-way early and it just wasn’t in the cards.

This is probably the most frustrating thing about training. It never goes as planned.

It’s maddening.

Once I could finally peel my eyelids open, I had a bagel with peanut butter and banana for breakfast.

I headed out a little after 11 am. Luckily, it was a cool breezy day.

This run went better than my last long run (I had a 17-miler under my belt, after all).

I started out slower and kept my pace (mostly) constant. I had my mapmyrun app going but it was being  wonky–at the end of my run it said I had gone a total of 22 miles. Fail.

I picked a 9 mile loop to do twice. This helped me break things up.

For fuel:

  • An apple
  • A Mint Chocolate Clif Bar
  • 1 pack of SHOT Bloks
  • Water

I’m definitely a fan of the real food over shots and gels. My stomach thanked me. I had to talk myself into eating the Clif bar while running, but I am glad I did. I still noticed that after the run, I felt very dizzy and light-headed…I think this has to do with the amount that I sweat…all of those precious electrolytes!

In spite of the lack of sleep and after-dizziness, I felt strong during this run. It was good for me mentally to break it up into sections. But man, those last two miles were rough, and again, I let myself walk–probably a bit more than I should have…but I was definitely in a better place in those last two miles than I was during my last long run.

Finishing 18 miles was great, but my heart sank when I realized I was still a mile and a half from my house and needed to walk home. That was one of the most painful and longest walks of my life. Mentally, it was good for me…but I almost cried, especially when I finally got back to my house and had to make it upstairs.

Note to self: plan your route so you finish at home.

I also ran out of water. This made the walk home even more frustrating. As soon as I got into the apartment, I chugged some chocolate milk and a giant glass of water. So delicious!

One thing that I  noticed, holy moly I was so sore!

After last weekend’s run, I was impressed that I felt so good… not this time. I was weak, run down and am still sore three days later! I attribute my recovery from 17 miles to ENERGY bits. 18 miles was a different story.

I’m glad that my bits came in so I can start taking them before my next long run! We’ll see if my theory is correct after 20 miles.

My soreness was aggravated by the fact that I had to work at the restaurant–again! I have already requested my 20 miles run off. I just…don’t want to do anything after those runs.

Overall, I’m feeling better about training. I still beat myself up about missing a training run, but I know that sometimes stuff happens.

That 18-miler was a huge morale boost. I’m still working on finding the perfect combination of fuel, but I’ll get there.

Incredibly sore, but still smiling!

Incredibly sore, but still smiling!

My goal for this week? Get my runs during the week in. It’s going to be tough, especially as I have zero free nights this week, but I want to–and need to–get them in.

This month is going to be tough. My runs are long and my time is almost non-existent…but as crazy as it sounds, running (along with my wonderful husband) is one of the few things keeping me sane right now. So, I’m making time for it in any way I can.

This weekend’s long run is 13 miles. Not gonna lie, I am looking forward to it. But, I’m also looking forward to 20.

What is the hardest thing about your training program? Have you ever (almost) cried during a long/strenuous workout? What do you use for electrolyte replenishment?! Do you have any embarrassing running tan lines?

Happy Running!


Real Talk: Food for Thought

As you know, I recently hit the 17 mile mark (ahem, 18 mile mark!) in my training program. That means I’m officially past the half-way mark. Holy moly! It’s going to be marathon weekend before I know it!

I’m finding that I need to be more careful about what I eat. Not only the day of my long runs, but the few days before and after.

I’ve also found that I’ve hit a point where I need to have something extra during the run. 17 miles (or for me, over 3 hours) is a long way to go with just water. This really hit me during my last two long runs.

I asked some of my friends (on twitter, myfitnesspal and in real life) what they use for long runs.  Thanks to all who responded!

From my running guru friend, Kristy:

Water. I never brought anything with me…When I ran the marathon I had orange slices, part of a banana and a gu. They all agreed with me.

From some MFP running friends:

I’ve used GU gels in the past. They work well for me if I’m going for more than an hour.

I usually take sport beans on long runs.  Anything over 10 miles gets a clif bar halfway.

I have not really used anything. I did try some energy gummy things but they left my throat phlegmy which was pretty gross. The thought of eating actual food during a run isn’t very appealing to me.

Energy Bits every 5 miles and after 10 dates or a slice or two of fresh mango!

I’ve used GU gels in the past. They work well for me if I’m going for more than an hour.

Gu gels or powerbar energy blast chews.

I use Gu gels also. It’s worked the best for me the last couple of years. I’ve tried clif blocks and they work ok (for me).

And from Twitter:

 Jess @Mywalkonmoon:  @IslandBoost is nice b/c I don’t have to take it w/ h2o & not heavy on the belly @HoneyStinger chews for caffeine

Skora Running @skoraRunning: Drink to thirst. Cals from @honeymaxx and regular MCT oil mixed in, couple hundred cals per bottle.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Clif Shots and Bloks I had leftover from a race have worked… but my finicky stomach isn’t happy after the runs, especially immediately after. They work well in a pinch, and heck, they were free! So I can’t complain…but I don’t want to use them all the time. I don’t think my digestive system could take it.

Needless to say, I’ve been searching for something easier on my stomach and a bit cleaner. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I shy away from long/weird ingredient lists and I am not big on artificial/man-made colors, dyes, and ingredients.

Enter ENERGYbits.

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I had heard about this product before from two of my favorite blogs and was actually thinking of trying them. (Shout out to Zee Lemons and Healthy in Detroit!)

Not gonna lie, the only thing that stopped me was the price-tag. $115 for a bag of 1,000…. which, broken down by serving (20-30 bits), isn’t really that much…but to buy a product without trying it…and then getting stuck with something I didn’t like…well, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Then, I recently participated in my first #runchat on Twitter and was tweeted by ENERGYbits when I posted something about long runs.

Long story short, I was sent a sample and was able to try them on my 17 mile run.

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Before I give you the dirty details, I have to say, I love that this a US company. I also loved that it was founded and is owned by a woman. Not only that, but the staff is so passionate about what they are doing. They truly love and believe in the product they are promoting. To me, that’s a very good sign. Further, ENERGYbits are 100% organic, non-gmo and have 1 ingredient. O-N-E. That’s it!

Here are the nutrition facts (check out all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids!) taken directly from their website:

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And here is a comparison chart to other popular products:
Nutritional Comparison Chart

Anyway, I received my sample about four days after my twitter connection. The packet I received was full of information… I was still a bit skeptical because, well…it all sounded too good to be true. I’d read about the benefits of spirulina but… I still wasn’t convinced.

You’re probably wondering, how does algae taste?

Well, as Farmer Ben put it, “it kind of tastes like fish food.” The nice thing about the bits is that, because they come in pill form, you can swallow them as such, with a big glass of water. You can also chew them, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  I swallowed about 10-15 at a time with a few good gulps of water.

In all honesty, taking these during my run was a bit hard. The initial smell was hard to get past…but they didn’t upset my stomach, which is a major plus. Taking these on long runs is going to take some getting used to, but the effects on my digestion are non-existent compared to what other products do.

So, here is what happened:

  • I took 30 bits about 40 minutes before my 17 mile run.
  • I took more about 9 miles into the run (I also had some Clif Shots on this run).

I feel the need to mention that I had worked both jobs the day before. This means that I worked from 8 am until after 11:30 pm. It also means that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, which I mentioned in my 17 mile post.

I also feel the need to mention that after my post-run shower, I received a phone call from my boss begging me to go in to job number 2. And it wasn’t an easy night. I, once again, didn’t get home until late. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be called into work after running 17 miles.

  • I took the last of my bits about 30 minutes after arriving at work and didn’t stop moving all night.

I won’t tell you that I felt an immediate surge in energy, because I didn’t. BUT, I made it through a 17 mile run on very little sleep. I also made it through a (super insane) Saturday night dinner shift after running the furthest distance of my life. I did both of these things without crashing.  Yes, I was tired…but I made it through an extremely long and strenuous day better than I should have.  I still had pep in my step–after 17 miles and a night spent entirely on my feet.

I will also tell you that, although I was sore, I wasn’t as sore as I expected. I’ve felt worse after shorter runs.

I recovered faster from that 17 mile run than I have from some 6-8 mile runs.

All of these things speak to me.

image

Love this!

I recently ordered a full bag of ENERGYbits with my own money and am applying to be an ambassador for the company, because, well… I’m finally convinced.

Side Note: I ordered these on Friday afternoon, standard shipping. They arrived today (Monday). LOVE THIS!

Will this be my only pre and during workout fuel? For short runs, yes. For long runs, not yet…but maybe someday. BUT you can bet that I will be incorporating this into my regular regimen. I am not big on powders, vitamins and supplements…I’d rather get my nutrients directly from the source.

This is a food, and your body digests it as such.

If you have any questions about ENERGYbits, feel free to comment or shoot me an email and I will answer as best I can…If I can’t answer it, I will find out for you.

If you’d like more information about ENERGYbits, visit their website: http://www.energybits.com/

UPDATE: If you’d like to order ENERGYbits, you can use discount code “NoellesNotebook” for 25% off your total order.

Have you ever tried algae? What did you think?! What is your favorite way to fuel?

*DISCLAIMER:  ENERGYbits provided me with a sample of their product for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.*

UPDATE: If you order ENERGYbits using my discount code, I do receive a little bit of money, however all opinions are still my own.

I am not a doctor, I am simply writing about my personal experience, as with any food or supplement, don’t forget to consult with a medical professional.


GBN: 17 Miles-Boom. Done.

Seventeen Miles?

I was worried about this run. After missing my long run the week before and dealing with foot issues for the last couple of weeks (aka resting), I was worried my body was going to fail me. I felt unprepared and completely unsure of myself. Not good.

But I did it. And I survived. I can officially say that 17 miles is the furthest I have ever run.

It didn’t go exactly as planned…does it ever?

Side note: This is going get a little detailed. My apologies in advance.

I started out Saturday morning thinking that I would have a quick breakfast and head out the door to get the run out of the way early. Sounds easy enough, right?

Unfortunately my body had other plans. I had worked late the night before and my employee meal of shrimp and pasta was not settling well (the chef had already made my meal before I could say anything and I didn’t want to be rude).

I woke up around 7:30–still relatively early for me on a Saturday–and laid in bed for another few minutes. Then I enjoyed a cup of coffee and a bagel with peanut butter. All things that don’t typically bother me.

But my body, more specifically my stomach, was not feeling too hot.

I paced around the apartment hoping things would settle but it wasn’t happening…so Farmer Ben talked me into going to the Farmers’ Market, telling me I could run home to start the 17 miles. I agreed and gathered my CamelBak and other run essentials to throw in the backseat of my car.

When we got to the market, I took some of these (which I will be doing a whole post on!) in preparation for my run home and beyond:

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After picking up a few things and a quick side trip to the co-op, I knew running home was not going to happen. Let’s just say, my stomach was running (Ha! Get it?) the show. So, back home we drove.

Finally, something happened (I’ll let you use your imagination) and I decided to get going before my body had a chance to realize what it was doing.  I grabbed my CamelBak, a few items for fuel, my phone, headphones and watch and headed out the door.

It was 11 am. And it was hot.

I decided to try running on some different roads near my house. I’ve been wanting to check them out for a couple of months but, I guess you could say I am a creature of habit.

The first four miles were a breeze. Even though I had some hills, I found my stride and was in the zone. Not only was I energized, but I felt good. Really good. I was actually surprised at how quickly the miles passed. Note to self: Start slower.

I took a walk break at the five-mile mark for a Clif SHOT gel.

NOTE: I got a bunch of these free from a race and have been trying to use them up. I like the gel/bloks ingredient list a lot more than other gels or GU’s, but I don’t think this is my fuel solution….my stomach hasn’t been happy.  

The new route did not disappoint. I lost myself in the scenery, I passed a few farms (including a goat/sheep farm!), an airstrip, rolling hills and open fields. I got an awesome burst of energy after my fuel break and kept up a pretty good pace until my next break, the 9 mile mark. I caught myself speeding up a lot and had to force myself to slow down a few times. Note to self: start slower and pay attention to your pace.

I took a walk break for some more of those green beauties pictured above and passed a woman driving a carriage with a miniature horse. Pretty cool right?

At 9 miles, I had run out of new roads and was trying to figure out the next stops on my route. I decided to stick to a combination of two of my usual routes because they have some hills…and well, I need to run more hills.

Miles 10 and 11 weren’t too bad, but I was definitely getting tired. I let myself walk for two minutes during mile 11 because I happened to be running up a giant hill. LAME.

A little after mile 12, I started to feel really light-headed and took another Clif SHOT.

The last 5 miles were some of the toughest I have ever done. I was sunburnt, light-headed, starving, and my feet hurt. I had wicked Charlie horses in my quads. Not gonna lie, I let myself walk. A lot. I chewed some (also free) SHOT Bloks, hoping that would help me re-focus and ease the muscle cramps. And it did help…some.  I ran out of water with 2 miles to go. Thankfully I was close to home.

I play this game with myself when I get tired. I think the technical term is “posting.” Basically, you pick a point on the road, and mentally pull yourself toward it. I did this a lot during those last five miles. I would make myself run to a certain point, then let myself walk to a certain point…then repeat.

I turned up my music and tried to block out everything else. I even caught myself jamming out a few times.

Soon, I was there. I had done 17 miles. Granted it wasn’t a running-only 17 miles, and it wasn’t very fast, especially those last five miles. But I had done it.

Post 17 Miles.

Post 17 Miles.

And you know, after doing it, I know I can do 18, 20 and eventually, 26.2.  It won’t be easy but I’ll do it.

What did I learn after this long run?

  • Watch what I eat . Not just the day of my run, but the day or two before as well. I’ve been eating a lot of veggies this week in preparation for my 18-miler on Saturday. My stomach has been all out of sorts this week, partially because of some poor post-run eating choices and partially because of the long run after-effects… so I’m sticking with my go-to giant salad for lunch as much as I can..

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  • Play around with my in-run fuel. I think it’s safe to say that I need something to supplement my water because I was definitely feeling depleted after all those miles. The light-headedness was tough and I think I need to add some electrolytes to help that. I’m going to try real, whole foods this weekend (some fruit, bars, etc.) and see how I feel.
  • Pay closer attention to my pace. I started out fast. A little too fast. I was happy to be out running after taking time off and I just let myself go. But, I would rather start out slow and steady and hold that pace than to start fast and bonk like I did. I would have had an easier last five miles if I had paced myself better. Lesson learned.

As I mentioned before, I am going to do a separate, more detailed, post on my fuel (the green goodies pictured above). I can’t wait to share more. Stay tuned!

How is your training going? What’s on your training schedule for this weekend? Any advice for long-run snacks?

Happy Running!


GBN-Marathon Training Update

Wow…how long has it been since I’ve done a Gross But Necessary Post?! I guess it’s time to get back in the habit! As this is a marathon training update, it’ll be a little different than previous GBN posts, but you still get the gross pics. Lucky you!

When I last updated you on training, I was working on saying no, scheduling, upgrading my gear, listening to my body and ditching my scale. I’m now about half-way through my training…all I can say is, HOLY CRAP!

So how am I doing?

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Sweaty Mess?

1. Saying no. I’ve gotten a lot better at this, but I’m still overbooking. I’ve got to stick to my guns and be more firm, but it’s coming along.

2. Scheduling. This goes hand in hand with number 1. My work schedule has been pretty nuts, so I’ve had a hard time scheduling my runs…but I’ve been doing some night running and even dragged my butt out of bed for a quick 6 am run! It’s a miracle!

I’ve already made sure that I have the days of my 20 mile runs off…. I just don’t think I’ll be up for a night of work after running that far.

Glowing!

Glowing!

3. Upgrading my gear. This is taking me longer than planned. Right now I’ve got the new kicks and the CamelBak…I need to save up more tip money for the rest of the gear I want.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s

Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s

4. Listening to my body. As I mentioned before, I’m still having some foot issues, forcing me to skip some of my training runs (a week and a half!)… this has been so frustrating! But I’ve been really good about stretching, taking a day off or rearranging my runs if I need it (grr…), and wearing proper shoes, even if it means that I have to wear sneakers to job 1, which I’ve been doing a lot lately. I’ve also been mindful of the heat…I’ve been doing some late night runs simply because it’s been hot and humid.

After a (still very humid) night run.

After a (still very humid) night run.

I’ve also been working on hydration and fuel and got a super exciting sample that I’ll be trying out on my long run this weekend…I can’t wait to share the results with you! I’m starting to figure out what foods my body works best with, and (a little bit to my surprise) all of those giant salads I’ve been eating seem to really help. Eat your veggies!

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

A simple green salad topped with yellow carrots, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.

I’ve been taking the CamelBak out on my medium and long runs…I don’t know how I ever ran without it.

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5. Ditching my scale. July is flying by and I’ve stuck with not using my scale. I’ve been eating when I’m hungry and eating quality whole foods, save for the ice cream the hubby and I treated ourselves to twice. I’ve been feeling pretty good.

Confession: I did weigh myself once in a moment of weakness. And you know, I was exactly the same weight.

Overall: Not gonna lie, I had a mini-inner-freakout last week about having to take some time off to rest my feet, but I took another look at my training schedule, talked to my boss at the restaurant about time off for my long runs coming up and just took a deep breath. And you know, I’m feeling pretty good. Right now, my goal is to finish injury-free. I know I’m not going to break any records, but it will be a personal record for me. And that’s the most important part.

I was feeling a bit nervous about my 17 mile run this weekend, but I’m just going to take it one mile at a time.

How is your summer training going?! Anything you’re struggling with?

Happy Running!

Noelle


So Now What?

In case you missed this post, I finally took the plunge and officially signed up for my first marathon! Wow.

On September 22, 2013, I’ll be running the Adirondack Marathon in Schroon Lake, NY. I’m pretty excited.

Here is a view of the course elevation (and part of the map):

Source

Source

It’s going to be ridiculously a bit hilly… but I’m not worried (yet).

So what is my plan?

1. Train: I opted for Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 program. I’m currently on week 4. Luckily, I had already been running consistently for a few weeks because I had to start at the end of Week 2 to be on track. Poor planning on my part….Oops!

I’m going to focus on hill work…because, well, you can see why. Luckily, Schroon Lake isn’t too far of a drive, so if I get desperate, I can head there for a long run.

I’m focusing on, not only getting in the mileage, but also on getting stronger. If this means doing a 10pm 30 Day Shred session or doing an early morning core workout, then so be it.

I’m not as fast as I was last year, but I’m not beating myself up. I’d rather be slow and steady than fast and injured (again).

2. Plan ahead: I’m really good at filling up my schedule, and this summer is no different. Between full-time work, part-time work, volunteering, online classes, praise and worship team, weddings, baking and hubby time, I’m committed almost every weekend for the next couple of months. This is going to make fitting in those long runs tough. It’s also going to require me to say “no.” And…I’m going to have to drag my butt out of bed early. Really early. This is tougher. So if you have any tips, please share them!

3. Sleep: Speaking of dragging my butt out of early, I need to focus on quality sleep. This is going to be the hardest part for me because I have never been a good sleeper. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep…I’m just not good at it…if that makes sense. It’s really hard to get up early and run (or go for a late-night run, as I had to a few days ago) without enough sleep.

So how do we remedy this? The hubby and I have made a commitment to turn our phones off and, taking it a step further, keep them out of the bedroom. Have you ever woken up at 3:00 in the morning to that obnoxious flashing because you got some sort of junk mail or late night text? Yeah, me too… I’m over it.

Another thing we’re doing is unplugging at least an hour before bed and trying to make our room dark (there’s a light outside our window that goes on at random intervals through the night… not conducive to quality sleep). I’ve also been trying to make a conscious effort to not drink caffeine after a certain time… or anything for matter (raise your hand if you have a small bladder!). Someday, we’re upgrading to memory foam. Someday. Until that day, we’ll see if these other adjustments help.

4. Proper Fueling: I eat pretty well…most of the time (80/20 principle)…but eating for a marathon? I’m not really sure how to eat for optimum training and energy. I can tell you what foods I wouldn’t eat because of stomach issues…and I have a vague idea of eating a variety…but after that, I’m not really sure. I can tell you that the thought of ingesting all those gu’s and gels kind of freaks me out.

So, I’m doing research and experiments to figure out alternatives; I’m reading new running/health blogs and am in the middle of Eat & Run by Scott Jurek (he’s a vegan ultra runner! Awesome, right?!) and getting some ideas from the recipes in the book and his personal anecdotes. I know not all of them will work for me, but I’m willing to try. I’m also eating lots of veggies, mixing up my meals and trying new foods (chia seeds, anyone?). I am also focusing on eating enough quality foods….like this salad (90% of this came from our garden).

My go-to mode of enormous salad transportation.

My go-to mode of enormous salad transportation.

Yesterday, I made rice milk. I don’t think Farmer Ben will ever forgive me.

This weekend? Chocolate Adzuki bars. I’ll be posting my kitchen/fuel successes, so be on the lookout! I’m not working my second job as much, this means that I have more time to play in the kitchen. Win.

5. Have fun. I don’t think this one needs an explanation.

After a really enjoyable run...

After a really enjoyable run…

What about you?! Are you in training? Any tips?!

Happy Running!