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.

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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!


Wow.

I’m going to make this short and sweet.

Today, I realized that we have 102 registered participants for Strides for James. And there is still time to sign up!

I am just speechless. And overwhelmed. And ecstatic. And so excited for this  event.

Tomorrow I am going up to the park so I can do a race day timeline. And it’s going to be beautiful out there!

Fifteen days til race day.

Do you have a cause you are passionate about? Any races coming up? 

Happy weekend!


“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! 


Confession Time: Life, Lately.

It’s finally Friday.

The weekend.

Today, we are doing a lunch-time perch fry at work . I made pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. Recipe is coming…I still have half a pumpkin in my fridge!

There are some perks of living in the North Country…like random Friday Frying at lunch. Yum. Is it sad that this is the highlight of my week? I don’t feel bad.

I’m obsessively reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started The Girl Who Played with Fire last night and I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping much until I finish it..probably sometime in the next two days.

I am also obsessed with the library. Movies, books, cookbooks. My inner nerd is so happy these days. Yesterday, I borrowed Citizen Kane and requested a few books that I have been dying to read. I also took out a book on Jewish Food for Farmer Ben. He loves it. I love him. It’s perfect.

My last post highlighted a serious food event. I melted a giant chunk of dark chocolate in a double-boiler. Then I dipped pretzels, placed them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and stuck them in the freezer. Such a quick and easy snack to satisfy your sweet and salty craving. Farmer Ben had gotten to the pretzels during the day, so I’ll have to make more this weekend. Le Sigh. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous brick of chocolate that is dying to be used.

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Chocolate Pretzels.

That’s another thing. The hubs and I have gotten into a routine of prepping food on Sunday night for the week. I blame our Financial Peace class…

But I love it. I get to mess up the kitchen, chat with the hubs and daydream about all the delicious things we’ll be eating throughout the week.

We typically soak some kind of bean, cook off some rice, pasta or quinoa, make a batch of tortilla dough to hang out in the fridge until we are ready to whip up some breakfast burritos or wraps, chop up some veggies, boil some potatoes for breakfast and cook some kind of meat or lentils. I even make granola or bread when the mood strikes!

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Aprihop Beer Bread with Lemon Peel and Tarragon. Another Sunday Adventure

It’s almost therapeutic. Until I have to do the dishes.

Also… Farmer Ben and I have Serrano Cream Cheese. Delicious. And Brilliant. Especially on breakfast burritos.

I’ve also rediscovered my love of all things pickled… like pickled asparagus.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Running has been rough. It’s been cold. Really cold. I feel shin splints coming on. I hate shin splints…I am not sure what to do. On one hand, I need to keep running. I need to get those miles in. On the other, I don’t want shin splints or other weird aches and pains I’ve been having.

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A surprisingly warm night. You can’t tell but I am actually wearing 37 layers.

My body hasn’t been very happy with me lately, which further frustrates me. I’m playing around with my food intake to see if I can figure it out.

On a happier night, the hubby and I, after a bit of a hiatus, moved onto Level 2 of the Shred. It’s hard, but in a good way!

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Post Shred.

I desperately need new running shoes. But I’m broke. I think it’s time to get a part-time gig…as much as I don’t want to.

I recently discovered Pinch of Yum. Great site with some great recipes. Check it out!

I also discovered Dinner with Julie. Ditto.

This is probably going to offend some people, but I want to put it out there. You are NOT going to hell if you eat meat on a Friday. Sorry to disappoint you.  If you need further clarification, open up your Bible and read Mark 7:15-23. If you still feel that you need to deny yourself, that’s fine, too. To each their own.

Speaking of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 has been all over my brain lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am training. Regardless, this passage has kept me pushing through a lot of tough situations lately.

Race planning has officially taken over (most of) my life. Speaking of which, if you’d like to enter Strides for James, click here. Not only do you get a sweet t-shirt, you also get entered into a drawing for some amazing prizes. Do it!

The amount of sponsors we are racking up is crazy. I am just overwhelmed.

This is a lot of hard work, but I am so looking forward to the outcome. Seriously. We are not only going to reach our goal, but we will surpass it.

I think that’s all for now.

Happy Friday. 🙂