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!


Would You Rather… Running Style Survey!

I’ve never done one of these before, but I stumbled on Olive To Run’s Post and figured I’d give it a try…

 

Anyway, let’s get started!

 

1. Would you rather… Be dressed up like a Zombie for a race OR be chased by a Zombie during a race?

Hmm… I’d say be chased, it just seems like it would be absolutely hysterical! There is a run in October at a local farm where people chase you around on horseback and try to “capture” you…think flag football, with a monster twist… I think it’s on the race docket this year!

I could totally outrun zombies!

I could totally outrun zombies!

2. Would you rather… train with Chuck Norris or train with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Chuck Norris, obviously.

3. Would you rather…Get stuck in an elevator after a race with other people and have to pee or get stuck in a port-a-potty at your race?

As weak as my stomach is around poo/vomit? I’d say get stuck in an elevator, I’d just make everyone turn around.

4. Would you rather… drink milk as you run your race or drink soda/pop?

Barf… gah… I don’t know… I’d say milk for the electrolytes and protein, I suppose.

I don't think I could put either in my camelbak

I don’t think I could put either in my camelbak

5. Would you rather… puke all the way down the front of yourself during a race or have someone ELSE puke on your foot?

Honestly, I’d say someone puke on my foot… At least I can rinse it off with some water…I don’t think I could take the smell of vomit all down my front!

 

6. Would you rather… be three feet taller than you currently are or three feet shorter than you currently are?

Three feet taller… I’m only 5′ 4″!

 

 

I can't imagine being much shorter...

I can’t imagine being much shorter…

 

7. Would you rather… sing call me maybe on repeat during a race OR do the Macarena the entire race?

Call Me, Maybe. No contest.

Confession: I listen to the Carly Rae Jepsen station on Pandora during a lot of my long runs. Don’t judge!

8. Would you rather… have someone’s snot rocket hit you in the face or someone’s blood from chaffing hit you in the face?

Snot Rocket… I’m not good with blood.

9. Would you rather… receive a beautiful, shiny medal at the end of your race OR have the race organizers donate $100 to a charity after you finish a race?

Charity! As much as I love runner swag, I’d rather have the money go to someone who needs it, especially after planning a charity run and knowing what goes into it.

10. Would you rather… “hit the wall” halfway through your race distance and struggle the rest of the way OR get close to the end feeling great the whole time but end up having to DNF?

Funny, I was actually jus thinking about this the other day… I’d say hit the wall… as painful as it would be, the feeling of accomplishment after would be worth it.

Thanks to Cori for this fun survey!

 

What about you?! What are you best “would you rather…” questions?

 


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!


“A List for the New Year,” an Update.

Oh hey! It’s March 4, 2013. Where has the time gone?! I figured I owe you all an update on how my 2013 To-Do list is going.

So, here you are! Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

I haven’t given this much thought….I can’t even pretend.  Shame.

2. Excel in my new position.

I’m still learning a lot of new information. Every day.

Just when I finally think I have something down, something happens and I realize I am just scratching the surface…. Whether I am excelling or not, I don’t feel that I am, yet…. but I am definitely enjoying the learning process.

I’ll check back in another month or so.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

I think I’m doing pretty well with this one.

  • The hubby and I did a Valentine’s Day Wine Tour. Wine and Chocolate. Perfection.
  • I attended a farm and food event and got to chat with some local farmers and producers.
  • I signed up for some fitness challenges
  • I volunteered to make favors for a bridal shower (super excited about this…even though I’m not very crafty)
  • Expanded my cooking/recipe arsenal.
  • I am working on the perfect dessert for the wedding of two friends. It’s not cake!
  • I’m also signed up to take two online nutrition courses. I cannot wait!

With everything else,  planning Strides for James (a charity run) has gotten me out to meet a ton of new people as a direct result. Getting sponsors and taking the lead on this has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

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Terrible picture, but here is an initial race flyer design. I love it!

Yes!

As far as spending less time on my phone, it depends on the day. Race planning has taken up a lot of my time the last couple of months and because I get emails, texts and check our Facebook page on my phone, some days I spend a lot more time doing these things than I should… it’s a work in progress.

Any suggestions to continue my “Yes” Year?!

5. Take more time to read.

I’m killing this one! So far I’ve read a lot of books and have expanded my blog reading (some blogs have been added to the current web obsessions page)…

Books include my Bible,  all three Hunger Games Books, A book of stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (which, surprisingly, I hadn’t read before), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Garlic and Sapphires and I just started The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest… that’s been in the last month.

I’ll be re-reading the Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice… just because, I need to.

Any other reading suggestions?

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

As you know, I started marathon training. However, winter running is not going as well as I had hoped….between being sick, silly injuries (falling down a flight of stairs and shin splints) and my body not wanting to cooperate, I’ve had a tough time.

Initially, I planned on doing a May race but given some setbacks, I am starting to have second thoughts. I realize that a few bumps in the road are part of the training process, but I worry that I won’t be ready.

So, I am tossing around the idea of doing a fall marathon and checking off the half marathon in the spring. I haven’t made any decisions yet. And I won’t for another couple of weeks.

I’ll keep you posted. And don’t worry, the GBN posts will be starting up again soon!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

Not gonna lie, I’ve had some setbacks with this one, some out of my control… but it appears that I am back on track.

I’m working on practicing an incredible amount of self-restraint to get me even closer…. we’ll see how I do.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been working on my burpees. Fail.

10. Do more food-ing.

As I mentioned above, I’ve expanded my food-blog reading in the last few months, I also signed up to take some nutrition classes online…done some wine-tasting and gone to a farm/food expo.

I’m working on expanding my cooking knowledge… I feel like I do pretty well, but being married to a chef, a lot of times I just let him take care of our meals. Not anymore. I’ve tried a few new recipes, nothing crazy difficult, but still tasty and have been dabbling with vegan and gluten-free cooking/baking.

I also have been doing some food research. With friends, for other people and through other people. Food research is a great conversation starter!

Farmer Ben has been diligently planning his garden and I am pretty pumped. I hope to improve my growing skills and help him out a lot more than I have in previous years.

Oh! And we are looking into a CSA. Meat, Dairy and Eggs. So excited about this!

So, there you have it. I’d say for the most part, I’m doing pretty well…

Don’t forget to sign up for Strides for James!!!! (Sorry…shameless plug… I know!)

Now it’s your turn! How are you doing with your goals? Anything you’re struggling with? OR, do you have any advice to help me out?! Let me know! 


Oh Hey, It’s 2013-Or “A List for the New Year”

A new year… A clean slate, if you will.

In the spirit of starting anew, I figured it was time to come up with a few things to do for 2013.

I don’t necessarily like the term “New Year’s Resolutions,” so I’m calling it “Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013.”  That has a much better ring to it… yeah.

Anyway, this is the first moment I’ve really had to sit and think, as my NYE was spent working 18 hours and helping others have a good time.

I could have done it yesterday, but let’s be real. After getting home just before 3 am and being busy all day, I wanted to do nothing more than hang out in my giant sweats and be a bum….and I did just that.

Some of the things on this list are not very impressive…but others are kind of a big deal…at least for me. They are in no particular order…some are meant to be repeated and others are one-time items.

So, it’s the second of January. Better late than never!

Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

As I’ve gotten more passionate about blogging, I’ve decided that I want this to go somewhere. Maybe not as a full-time thing, but as a creative outlet and something more.  

It’s so touching to hear/see people tell me that this blog is helping them and inspiring them to do more and it just makes me want to make it better. Period.

That means it’s time to get serious. I’ll probably be asking some of you wonderful people for feedback and maybe even some design ideas! I’ve got a lot to learn!

2. Excel in my new position.

I’ve been holding out on you, mostly because I wanted to wait until it was official… but I’m getting a promotion. I officially start next week and I know it sounds corny, but I want to do the best job possible. I’m super excited and a little nervous to start a new chapter and to learn a ton of new information and skills. But I’m all over it.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year.

I always lament that I don’t make enough time to do more fun things. Not this year. I’m going to say “yes” and make time for new adventures. Whether it be taking a vacation, doing something silly or learning a new skill/hobby, count me in.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

4. Run a half marathon.

No big deal. If I can do 10 miles, I can do 13.1 miles.

5. Take more time to read.

I haven’t been reading as much as I used to and I miss it.

6. Run 26.2 miles.

Maybe a big deal… but I’m turning 26 this year, and what better way to celebrate than running a marathon before it happens?!

I figure that if I put all of these fitness goals into writing, I’ll be more likely to succeed.  This means that the GBN posts will be making a comeback. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

Also, the half marathon fits into the marathon training schedule… coincidence? I think not.

7. Be more present.

This kind of goes along with the third item on the list. I want to be around and available to my loved ones. I want to share in the joy, love and wonder of every day. I don’t want to work my life away. I want to live it!

I’ve realized in the last 24 hours while my phone has been completely dead–and I still totally enjoyed myself… I spend far too much time online or messing with my phone,  instead of in the real world. I’m going to work on that.

Love spending time with FB!

Love spending time with FB!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I have student loans, a car payment, a credit card payment and the regular monthly bills… I’m not terrible with money but I never seem to be able to save it–at least not for very long. While I have enough to cover my expenses (most of the time), I don’t usually have (much) extra. I want to change that this year.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I think that would be bad-ass. Right now I can do about 20-25 on a good day.

10. Do more food-ing.

Whether it be researching, growing, baking, cooking or enjoying. I want to know more about my food.

 Let’s do this.

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Here’s to a new start!

I’m sure this list will grow and change as the year grows on so I’ll be creating a separate tab to keep track. And so you can hold me accountable!

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any goals or items to check off your list this year? Tell me about them! Any advice for me? I want to hear from you!


GBN: Week 15

Have I really been doing this for 15 weeks? How crazy is that? Crazy, but so good.

I know I ran before, but now I have that extra push to be committed… I’m held more accountable… it’s slightly embarrassing, but I look forward to doing this post every week, even though it means showing off some really bad photos.

I like being able to say, “yeah, I run. I sweat. And I am a whole heck of a lot stronger because of it.”

So, I keep going. And having people tell me that this, in turn, keeps them going…well, that’s just an amazing feeling!

Anyway, here we go:

Thursday-3 miles (+/-) on an indoor track. I say plus or minus because I lost track on the last few laps, so I am estimating based on my time.

We went to the city rec center to check out their track, it’s kind of cool because it’s above the basketball court, so you can watch people shooting hoops while you run. It was nice to not have to bundle/layer up but I forgot how much I don’t like running inside…first, 11 laps is equal to a mile. Can you see why I lost count doing 3 miles?

Anyway, overall it wasn’t a bad run…I forgot a hair tie and it was hot… but I can’t complain…at least I got a run in!

33 laps later…I think…

Friday, Saturday and Sunday consisted of a double shift, helping out a friend, running errands and more work…I didn’t manage my time very well, so no run. I did do a little bit of walking with the hubby, so not a total fail.

Monday Afternoon-2 mile walk. Holy beautiful day! It was 60 degrees and the sun was shining. I had to take advantage of soaking up some November sunshine, so I scarfed my lunch at my desk and then drove into town for a quick walk. Two miles in thirty minutes, I went back to work feeling like a million bucks.

Perfect Timing, Wind.

Monday Night-3 mile night run. The hubby and I headed to one of our usual spots to run after work because it’s pretty well lit. Overall it was a pretty good run, we averaged 9:40 pace.

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Such a gorgeous night!

I especially loved this run because we saw a big group of people running around the oval, working together and cheering each other on. You know that I love seeing stuff like this!  I was waving and smiling like a crazy person as we passed them.

Wednesday Morning-misadventure. I woke up late and then wound up running around trying to get a horse back to its house…long story, you can read about it here.

Well… at least I tried.

Wednesday Evening-Treadmill Workout. I headed to the gym to try a spin class, only to find that it had been moved to Thursdays. Because I was already there, I decided to jump on the treadmill for a bit.

My workout was 4.1 miles, 39 minutes total. I did half mile at 9:30 pace, half mile at 8:35 pace; half mile at 9:30, half mile at 8:25; half mile at 9:35, half mile at 8:13; half mile at 9:50 pace, half mile at 7:50 pace. (These are averages, based on playing with the speed/incline).

Sweaty Betty!

This was really hard. It was one of those workouts where you end up completely soaked, gasping for air and feeling every muscle burn. I had to take a moment between the third and fourth mile and even then, I talked myself through it. When I got off the treadmill, I was beat. This morning, I am pretty sore…but it felt good.

Total Mileage: 12 miles.

Overall: This week wasn’t bad. I didn’t get in as much mileage as I would have liked but I did get in some quality workouts. I’m hoping I can get in that spin class tonight, but if I don’t, I’m thinking an easy run to work out some lactic acid.

Goals for next week: I’d like to get in some distance and maybe some cross-training.


A Horse of Course!

Sometimes, weird things happen to me. I can’t explain it, but they just…happen.

If you remember a few posts back, I had a little run-in with some flying food while on a run.

This morning’s attempt proved to be just as interesting.

I woke up at 4:45 am and immediately groaned, realizing that my alarm was set to go off in fifty-five minutes. I managed to go back to sleep until the familiar ringing began. Then, I thought I hit the snooze, but I didn’t. So I woke up with a start at 6:07 am.

“Oh NO!!! Why did I over-sleep?!” I thought.

I had missed my chance to get in the four and a half mile run I had planned on… but there was still time to run to the end of my road and back (a little over three miles).

I had this nagging feeling that I should go…

I then proceeded to get up, start to get dressed and then get back in bed…three times. Each time, that nagging feeling got worse and worse until I couldn’t take it any longer. It was as if someone was shouting at me, “GET UP!!!”

So I did. I layered up, grabbed my hat and found some good tunes.

I begrudgingly started down the driveway and turned onto the road.

Just as I was finding my stride, not even three minutes into my run, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

Standing in a field in front of me, was a horse.

Now, I realize that this doesn’t seem that strange due to the fact that I live a bit off the beaten path, however, there was no fence around this field, nor are there any barns on this particular patch of road.

“Well, this is interesting,” I thought.

Having grown up on a horse farm, I know the panic that strikes when you realize that your horse has gotten out.

As I stood there deciding what to do next, the horse ran across the road.

I quickly went over, grabbed his halter and led him back across the road to the big field he came from. He then trotted over to the house at the edge of the field, proceeded to scare their little dog and starting poking around their porch windows.

“Oh crap.”

I knocked on the door….nothing. I knocked again… still nothing.

“Well NOW WHAT?!”

So I shooed the horse away from the house and tried to think.

I called Farmer Ben, who was very confused about the current predicament I was in, but nevertheless, he told me he was getting dressed and would be along shortly.

At that moment, standing in the middle of the field with my new friend, I finally saw where the horse had come from. There was a fence and a barn at the opposite end of the field.

I started to lead the horse in that direction. He got bored and trotted the other way, having only a halter to hold onto, I let him.

Upon reaching the fence, I looked around to see where he had gotten out but didn’t see any breaks.

My friend ran into another person’s backyard and started sniffing around the clothesline.

“Why?!”

So I jogged up to the front door and knocked. Twice.

Nothing. Except their dog barking.

At that point, Ben pulled up in the Versa and the horse had trotted over to his fence.

Hopping in the car, I glanced back to see if he had gotten back in. He hadn’t.

I called a neighbor to see if he had the owner’s phone number. Fortunately he answered, unfortunately he didn’t have the number.

So we drove around the corner til we found what we thought was the right driveway. We walked up a small hill to discover that the driveway was in fact, on the other side of the house… oops.

I found the main door to the house and knocked. Nothing. I tried a few more times to no avail.

There was another fence connected to this one so I walked to the next driveway and happened to meet a woman coming out of her house.

When I asked if she had a horse, she looked at me like I had ten heads… after explaining the situation and pointing toward the fence/house, she informed me that it was her mother-in-law’s horse and would call her husband to go get him.

“Phew!”

As Ben and I walked back to the car, we saw a garage door open and the horse’s owner stepped out.

“Can I help you?” she asked. Looking back, we probably looked pretty strange, walking around her yard before 7 am.

I then explained the whole thing.

“Oh…. how did he get out? ” she asked… then, after a few more questions, “Thank you for letting me know. Thank you.”

I then realized that it was late and I was going to have to rush to get to work on time so we said goodbye and good luck and headed home.

I made it work in the nick of time.

So, in short, I didn’t get my run in…but I did my good deed for the day. I’d like to think I was supposed to wake up late and miss my window for the slightly longer run…just so I’d be in the right place at the right time…

Regardless, I know that I won’t be questioning those weird feelings telling me to get out the door and run…I’m gonna go!

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To think, I also would have missed this gorgeous sunrise if I hadn’t gotten up!