Saturday, October 31, 2015

"Scary" Moments

Happy Halloween, friends. The apartment building we're temporarily living in doesn't have any children, so we won't be handing out any candy this evening. Which is probably better for me, I've been known to eat more Snickers bars than I actually hand out.

I did have my own scary moment last night when I was awakened with severe pain in my upper back on the right side. After also waking up with a killer headache, I popped two Aleve this morning and figured I should probably cancel my plans for Spin class. The headache is gone, but my back is still achy. Hoping to recover enough for a long run tomorrow.

I'm not really sure where the upper back pain is coming from. I've had lower back pain due to running, but never upper back pain - this article suggests any type of back pain could occur in runners, though.

I'm still wondering if my bed AND the way I sleep is at fault too, however. I sleep on my stomach with my arms up and head facing right, and I believe I have been sleeping this way most of my adult life. I have been pointed to a lot of articles (including this one) that suggest this is the worst possible way to sleep, and is probably the major reason I've had chronic left shoulder pain for all of 2015. I have been making a conscious effort as of late to start sleeping on my back, but I don't think the mattress I'm on now is working out for me.

Star Wars Emperor Palpatine is running on little sleep.

I was so looking forward to having my own bed back, but nope... gotta wait two more months. Grumble. Maybe when we're in our new house, I'll splurge and get a Tempur-Pedic.

168 days left.

Today's Exercise: Unplanned Rest Day

CoffeeBurger, fries, milkshakeGrilled eggplant

Friday, October 30, 2015

Timing Meals

Timing is everything, isn't it? I've spent the last 16 hours seething over my housing situation, cursing my builder for not giving us enough time to figure out a solution, when I realized that at least we have a week to find something. Sure, we could have had a better plan knowing this information a month ago, but could you imagine if we showed up at our new house with our movers and furniture in tow, ready to move in... and no keys?

Oh, I'm still seething mad, don't get me wrong. I didn't sleep at all last night, thinking of all the wonderful things I'd like to say to our builder's sales rep next time we see him face to face.

Star Wars Darth Vader "Pray you do not alter it any further"

 I'm just expressing gratitude for the time we DO have to figure something out.

Anyway, I'm looking at my meal logs and see I've been neglecting the PWO portion of my meal plan for quite some time. Which begs the question - does timing of meals matter? This article focuses mainly on post-workout nutrition, not pre-workout fueling, and seems to show that eating shortly after working out improves performance, and that meal should be predominantly carbs and protein.

So I'm thinking my "PWO" now will stand for POST-Workout meal, and will be low on fat. I gave it a try today after my afternoon run. The problem is if I change to morning workouts, do I have my full breakfast of eggs beforehand? It doesn't seem like I could make that part of my routine. I'll be giving it a go next week once Daylight Savings Time ends and see how it goes.

169 days left.

Today's Exercise: Treadmill Run 3.2 miles (10 min/mile) @ Apartment Gym

Scrambled eggs with spinach, coffeeChili w/ cheese, pumpkin teaGNC Pureedge protein drinkMilkshake
dont judge

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Running: Not the Evil Empire

Don't even ask me about getting up to work out today.

Do you know the kind of angry you get when you are supposed to close on your new house on October 30, and as the date gets closer to your closing, you contact your builder (Not naming any names here, but let's say its a builder in the Tampa area that sounds kind of like No Name Homes) for updates but get no information until you just so happen to run into the project manager at the construction site the week before closing and get a hint that maybe you won't be closing on October 30, so you make the slightly informed decision to extend your short term apartment rental until November 14 figuring that's plenty of time to move...


... and then are finally told THE DAY BEFORE YOU ARE EXPECTED TO CLOSE that the builder didn't get the necessary approvals and permits, and it's going to take TWO MORE MONTHS until you can close...


... and then also find out that you can't stay in your short term apartment rental beyond November 14 because the snowbird owner is returning, so you and your husband only have two weeks to find somewhere else to live OH but your husband is traveling for work during one of those weeks so you really only have one week to find somewhere new to live?

Do you know that kind of angry? No?

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi say No Name Homes was the chosen one.

Sigh. This blog is supposed to be about running. I can't wait to work off some steam on the treadmill. Even though I've been approaching my training mostly from an anti-running/chronic cardio mindset, it's helpful to occasionally get the reminder that running itself is a good thing. This article gives 30 good reasons to run - some I agree with, some I don't, but here are the three that are most appealing to me:

1. De-stress: Is it obvious I'm stressed right now?
2. Reach your goals: I still want to reach that sub 2:00:00 half marathon before I die.
3. Sleep better: It's no secret I've been having trouble sleeping in this apartment, and I was really looking forward to being in my own bed in my new home.

170 days left.

Today's Exercise: Unplanned Rest Day - making up for it tomorrow morning.

CoffeeChili, Pumpkin Spice LatteTurkey Sandwich, 3 stress-induced cookies

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Jump to the Dark Side?

Today marks 2 weeks in a row I've stuck with weight lifting as part of my half marathon training program. I found that I completed my routine much more efficiently today than I did last week since I went into it with a plan. I increased the weight on each of the exercises I did last week and am sure my muscles will let me know how angry they are about it in the coming days.

But - I did not get up before work to go to the gym. I'll spare you my usual trail of excuses. I am optimistic about trying again tomorrow, though. One of the reasons I ultimately talked myself into going in the morning last week was that I had evening obligations that would have prevented me from getting to the gym at all. Tomorrow,  I face the same thing - I have to pick my husband up at the airport right after work, so if I don't get my run completed in the morning, it ain't happening.

I decided to use my apartment gym today to save on gas and time driving to Globo gym. I'll miss the convenience of having a gym right downstairs once I move out of the apartment, but I'm anxious to be in my own kitchen with my own cooking utensils so I can stop eating junk, so it all balances out.

As I mentioned, I got my workout done pretty quickly - 30 minutes. Since I had a little extra time, I started looking for other strength exercises for runners and came across this article. I was happy to see that most of the exercises on the list were already part of my routine, but I did find the opportunity to do the suggested step-ups using a fitness trampoline.

I'd never used a fitness trampoline before, so I Googled other exercises you can do using one. This video gave me a few ideas, but I only did the front-leg squat. I envisioned that this activity could end really poorly for a runner.

Observation: Fitness trampolines are not nearly as much fun as real trampolines.

171 days left.

Today's Exercise: Lunges, squats, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and more @ Apartment Gym

Pumpkin Bar, CoffeeCoffee, chili, sauerkrautBlack Bean Soup

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


How can I make my 6am workout plan stick? Once again, I had no motivation to get out of bed when my alarm went off.

Actually, I did have motivation - to do the exact opposite of hitting the gym early by rolling out of bed around 8 and pumping myself full of sugar.

So is it a big surprise that when I did finally hit the treadmill tonight after work, I got cramps again 18 minutes in? I still pushed myself as far as I could, but didn't hit my goal of getting a long run in tonight. If I keep up the momentum in this particular direction, I'm going to have a hard time even finishing the Dark Side Challenge, let alone getting a sub 2:00:00 in the half.

Here's the thing - I don't believe I would have had the same problem had I gone before breakfast and my workday started.

I get a daily newsletter from HellaWella*, and this article about how not to skip workouts piqued my interest. Basically, the suggestion is that it's ok to miss a workout - however, you should never miss two workouts in a row. This ensures you won't let a bad practice become habit.

Could I apply this concept to my current challenge getting to the gym in the morning? What if I just start getting up every day at 6, even if it's a rest day? I will do this tomorrow - it's my designated strength training day. Last Wednesday was the first day I implemented a weight lifting day into my training schedule;  surprisingly, it was the first day I managed to make it to the gym at 6am since I came back from my business trip a few weeks ago.

* This HellaWella newsletter is da bomb. Do the kids still say that? Anyway, one of my favorite things are the quizzes that are sometimes included - you know, things like "Which pumpkin flavored beverage are you?" or "Which fall activity should you participate in when you're retired?" For whatever reason, my results are always spot on. Just check out my results from "Which Fall Getaway are you?"

Which Fall Getaway are you? Of course I got Disney.

172 days left.

Today's Exercise: 3.77 miles (10:36 min/mile) treadmill run @ Globo Gym

Salted caramel mocha, pumpkin sconeCoffee, chili, sauerkrautChef Salad

Monday, October 26, 2015

Walk to the Dark Side

Since I had a less than awesome run yesterday, I wanted to leave myself open to the possibility of getting a long run in this morning before work. But then I get sucked into watching Monsters University and Hocus Pocus late last night. Thanks again ABC Family Channel for messing with my plans for the second week in a row.

Star Wars Yoda and Luke - no running today, up late watching Disney movies

It's not totally detrimental to my training schedule - Mondays are scheduled rest days anyway.  I'm definitely going to bed on time tonight, and leaving enough time for meditation beforehand to help get me relaxed and ready for sleep so that I can try again for a long run before work tomorrow.

I did get an invitation from my mother to go for a walk this evening, which made me think about what I typically do on scheduled rest days - nothing. This is apparently a mistake, and adding walking to my days off may actually help my athletic performance.

I'm not a total sloth, mind you - I take my dog out 2-3 times a day (sometimes 4 if my husband can't take him), and we're out for 10 minutes at a time. But it wouldn't be too difficult for me to incorporate another half hour to hour of walking on days I'm not hitting the gym, especially now that I live in Florida and won't be doing my walks through 3 feet of snow over the next few months. The end of Daylight Savings Time is coming up Saturday,  but even though nightfall is going to come earlier now, I have plenty of well-lit sidewalks to choose from (and I will be welcoming the earlier sunshine during those 6am dates with the gym).

The only real challenge to my evening walk with my mother is putting up with well-intentioned nagging and criticism a few storm clouds hanging overhead - hopefully they'll just blow over.

173 days left.

Today's Exercise: "Active" Rest

CoffeeCoffee, chiliChef Salad

Sunday, October 25, 2015

All the Things

Sundays are usually my long run days, but at around 18 minutes in, I wasn't feeling so good. I'm pointing fingers at the usual suspects - lack of sleep (was up at 5am to drive my husband to the airport) and crappy nutrition over the last two days. I think my body is still angry at me from Friday night's trip to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

Eat all the things.

Not only do I need to get my eating under control in order to be able to train adequately, I also think I'd be doing my pace (and my knees) a favor by losing a few pounds. One would think that the running itself would help me drop the weight, but that is not the case - I've been running for years and have never achieved an optimal body weight.

I've read/watched/heard a lot lately about exercise really being useless for weight loss - here's the latest that points to a study where 75% of runners neither lost nor gained weight over three months of running.

None of these studies suggest exercise is totally pointless - as I understand it, it does so much other good for your body when it's done correctly. Running miles upon miles creates too much stress, though - one of the reasons I'm anxiously hoping to achieve my sub 2:00:00 time in April so that I can finally retire.

174 days left.

Today's Exercise: 3 mile treadmill run (10 min/mi) @ Globo Gym

Coffee, eggs, sausageCoffee, chiliN/A

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Some Like it Hoth

I enjoy a good sweat sesh in the sauna after a workout. I find the heat incredibly relaxing after a tough workout, and it's one of the reasons I keep up with a membership at Globo Gym.

I know it's not for everyone - my husband is not a fan. I think he's probably just a tad uncomfortable with male nudity. Females, I'm guessing, are a little more modest. Anyhow, I'm glad I find it enjoyable, as I've learned the practice has some very specific benefits for runners:
  • Improved endurance performance
  • Helps athletes perform in higher heat environments (much needed, given my recent move from NJ to FL)
  • Reduces stress hormones
A more exhaustive list of all benefits can be found here.

Star Wars Luke and Han Solo on Hoth: Cold Therapy is also a thing
Just not MY thing...

 175 days left.

Today's Exercise: 1 hr Spin Class @ Globo Gym

Coffee, eggs, potatoesPotato w/ bleu cheese and balsamicChili

Friday, October 23, 2015

"Researching" the Course

Hanging out at Epcot tonight in preparation for the race. Figured it could help me visualize running through here at a 9:00 min/mile pace if I was actually here.

Ok, in all honesty, I don't know yet where the Star Wars Dark Side course will take me - they haven't published the route yet, and based on prior runDisney experience, I don't think I'll see a course map until the day before the race.

So I'm really just here taking advantage of the International Food and Wine Festival. I'm researching all of the stuff I shouldn't eat before running 13.1 miles.

I wanted to comment on the strength training I did on Wednesday, because I'm still feeling it today. I don't mind the soreness too much, though. Part of my problem with weight training is that I don't feel that same sense of accomplishment I do post-run, but I'm not sure at what point in my life I was made to believe that buckets of sweat = accomplishment.  This soreness was validation for me that, yes, in fact - I DID exercise and pushed myself adequately. I might have felt a little bit different had the soreness interfered with my run yesterday, but my body didn't seem to protest too much. Long story short, I'm looking forward to continuing weight lifting in place of bootcamp.

The only challenge was logging activity - MMR does provide a means (although not entirely user-friendly) for logging weight lifting, but then doesn't easily let you see your report on the app.
So I tracked all of my activity using the "Notes" app on my cell phone, and I'm planning on trying to do my set next week with heavier weights and fewer reps.

The soreness is making getting around the World a bit troublesome tonight though.

176 days left.

Today's Exercise: Rest Day

CoffeeChiliToo much to document at Epcot 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is your city in the top 10?

Orlando is #1 for running according to If you have done a runDisney event, is the means by which you register, so I'm guessing they certainly see their fair share of revenue from all of those Orlando-based runs. The rating is based on on the number of marathons or half marathons hosted by the city, number of participants in the largest city-hosted race, average number of runs per person, and quality ratings and access to sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons, but with Disney hosting races of 66k people, probably shouldn't be too shocking that they are ranked number one.

If I had to rank order the half marathons I've done, here they are based on enjoy-ability and overall finishing time:

4: Rock and Roll Half: Philadelphia, PA
My time of 2:02 was decent enough, but I was so freaking bored. This race had no loops or clover leafs, and city roads were closed off, which made it impossible for race supporters to cheer you on. It was great to see my husband at mile 3-ish, but I really could have used a familiar face around miles 10-12. There was also a killer hill at the end. Dislike.

3: Wine and Dine Half: Orlando, FL
The Wine and Dine Half was awesome not so much for the race itself, but for the incredible after-party. The ability to take over Epcot until the wee hours of the morning (4am) made it all worthwhile, and got me thinking I might even be able to do a full marathon if it was at Disney. It's not that the run was awful, but there were a lot of boring stretches on overpasses. I didn't have my iPod with me, so the lack of music made this even more difficult. This race holds my worst record.

2: Unite Half Marathon: Piscataway, NJ
This was my first half marathon - decently priced, close to home, and had a great course that clover-leafed around the starting line so I had lots of spectator support throughout the race (thanks Dad!). My family also were easily able to get to the finish line through some back roads. This race gets a bump too because it holds my best record.

1: Star Wars Half Marathon: Anaheim, CA
Shocking, right? The thing about races at Disneyland is that it's a much smaller resort than Disney World - so at the end of mile 6, you are out of the parks and into the streets of wonderful Anaheim, CA. Yet the entertainment gets even better once you are out of the park. Local bands and high schools line the streets along with members of the 501st. I also enjoy the fact that one week after the race, I randomly found a Star Wars Highlights Go Pro on You Tube - and found myself at min 2:24 (Yup, I'm the one in the long sleeves wearing my favorite headband):

177 days left.

Today's Exercise: 3.1 mile 'speedwork' on treadmill @ Globo Gym

Scrambled eggs w/ spinach, coffeePumpkin
Spice Latte

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Knee pain

I took my run outside again yesterday. Even though I experienced the same lead legs feeling I did on Monday, I pushed through this time. I think perhaps this may be due to a reduced carb intake over the last few days - I'm trying to switch my diet now to become more fat adapted, as I think that will help me prepare for the long haul. I was also slowed down by a wall of wind - St. Petersburg, FL has been pretty breezy these days. 

Anyway, I've experienced a few "twinges" in my left knee - and not only when I'm running, but also sometimes when I'm just walking. I've experienced knee trouble in the past and this makes me a bit nervous. There's a few things I can do that will help - for one, I need new sneakers. MMR tracks my sneaker usage and notified me last week that I'm overdue, but I was kind of hoping to keep using these until the day I move into my new house - then I can trash them. One less thing to move, right?

But probably an even better approach to buying new sneakers would be to start strengthening my legs. Usually, Tuesday nights are my bootcamp night but I've decided to replace that with some strength training (as suggested recently here by an expert I follow) given that bootcamp feels more like cardio to me than anything else.  I really am not a fan of weight machines - I find them so boring. But I guess it's a necessary evil.

Star Wars Darth Vader tells Princess Leia her destiny lies with the leg press machine.
Not THAT evil...

So I got up early this morning to go give strength training a whirl. If you've been following, you know this has been a bit difficult because my sleep has been off here in my temporary apartment. Even though I've been wanting to transition to morning workouts, quality sleep should be prioritized over exercise - and I've been managing to get adequate amounts of both. Still, once I move into my new house, I want to make morning exercise more routine. The end of daylight savings time next week should help me with that.

178 days left.

Today's Exercise: Lunges, squats, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and more @ Globo Gym

Vanilla Powerbar Gel
Protein Drink, coffeeTuna saladSkipped

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

That other Star Wars thing that's happening

Ok, how many geeks like myself tuned into Monday Night Football last night yet have no idea which teams were actually playing?

There was so much hype around the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. There were even commercials advertising watching this commercial all day Sunday during the Harry Potter marathon. And - if you missed it - here you go.

So this is a big deal. It appears tickets for the new Star Wars movie are selling out faster than the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge did. I am not quite sure whether I have tickets to the midnight showing or not, or maybe my husband pulled the trigger and got us tickets to this event (even though it's a work night - I guess I save paid time off for just such occasions).

Perhaps I need to get a costume. I saw a lot of awesome costumes running the Rebel Challenge earlier this year, and props to the crazies who went through with that. 

Chewbacca running the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon
Chewy made an excellent pacer during the Rebel Challenge.

Running a half marathon is hard enough - not sure I could do it in full Chewbacca get-up. Would love to hear if you are planning on running (or even going to the movie) in costume - leave a note in the comments section.

179 days left.

Today's Exercise: 3.50 mile outdoor run (10:26 min/mile)

Scrambled eggs and spinach, coffee
Chef Salad, latteN/AProtein drink

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lead Legs

You ever have one of those Sunday afternoons where you fully intend on being super productive and then there's this:

No running today, watching a Harry Potter movie marathon.

Harry Potter is a phenomenon that stayed front and center of pop culture for over 1/3 of my life, so yes. Everything else takes a back seat when the Potter shows up, including going to sleep at a decent hour on a school night. 

Because I was up past midnight watching aforementioned marathon, I didn't wake up for the gym today. This would normally would be ok for a Monday - it's usually my planned rest day. However, I fully intended on going today as I foresee a few obstacles that might make it difficult for me to stick to my training plans later on in the week. 

I hopped on the treadmill here at my apartment complex gym after work, set myself up for a 6.0 mph pace... and immediately felt like I was running through quick sand. I initially thought it might be the treadmill itself - like something wasn't operating correctly - so I switched over to another empty treadmill beside me. This one was equally as challenging. My legs just did not want to cooperate.

Rather than bail on my run, I thought taking it outdoors might re-energize me. I wasn't too worried about humidity; as we get further along into fall, the Florida days are much more runner-friendly. Today was not one of those days, however, as I was greeted by a wall of wind. I turned around and slogged back home after .5 mile.

Figured maybe my body is telling me something and I should listen. I'll try again tomorrow.

180 days left.

Today's Exercise: An Unplanned Planned Rest Day

Scrambled egg and spinach, bacon, coffee
Chef Salad, more coffeeGNC Pure EnergyKale/Quinoa bowl

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Decent "long" run this morning - it's the first time I hit the 6 mile mark at a <10 min/mile pace. A year ago, I would have been really frustrated by this because I was generally a 9:00 min/mile runner. I just keep questioning whether or not my goal of a sub 2:00:00 half marathon by April is reasonable.

Don't forget, I'm trying to do this the day after running a 10k so that I can earn that coveted Dark Side Challenge extra medal. As of right now, my plan is to "wog" the 10k with my husband (he jokes that his stride is more of a combination walk/jog), but we'll see how I'm feeling five months from now.

Star Wars R2D2: Go for the slow roll?

I'm consuming as much information about running form as I can to help increase my speed. This article suggests the importance of knowing your cadence - and how elite runners average 180 steps per minute. I seem to be hovering around the 170 steps per minute suggested for an "easy, comfortable pace," although it certainly doesn't feel easy or comfortable to me. So I'm going to try to increase it during my next run, although the article doesn't really give you tips on how to DO that. 

I'm working on setting up a "Resources" page to post everything I've found useful in helping me "think like an athlete"  - if you have any other thoughts or suggestions on other resources, leave a comment and I'll check it out. 

181 days left.

Today's Exercise: 6.10 mile treadmill run (9:50 min/mile) @ Globo Gym

Scrambled eggs and spinach, coffee
Chef Salad, pumpkin macaronsN/ALeftover Chef Salad

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sleep as a Strategy

I am a genius. And full of myself. Sorry, just needed to take a moment to share that I am so happy I left my frozen Blogger screen open overnight (per yesterday's post) - having not wasted much brain power on this Saturday afternoon, I spent just a few moments playing around with Firefox's "Inspect Element" feature to get at what I needed in order to copy down what I wrote yesterday without having to start fresh. So without further ado, here's the post that was almost lost:

Yesterday marked another failed attempt at a 6am date with the treadmill. 

But I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to sleep. I need my recommended seven to eight hours nightly, and last night was terrible. I blame my late night cappucino - generally, I know to steer clear of caffeinated beverages after a certain time of day. I struggled to fall asleep, and when my alarm went off at 6, I was groggy.I tried my best to get that extra hour of sleep I needed, but to no avail - so I probably should have just sucked it up and went for a run. 

Even without the added caffeine, the quality of sleep I've been having the last three months is probably impaired because the city lights find their way into my bedroom through crappy vertical blinds. It's a temporary problem - I'm moving out of this apartment in just a few short weeks. I haven't given sleep as much attention here as part of my training strategy as I really should. Lest you think people can get by on fewer hours of sleep, take a look at what you are putting at risk when you do. I don't want to compromise my immune system, and certainly need to give my body time to repair from whatever workout I've done during the day. So the lesson learned here is that I really do need to be vigilant about what I'm drinking after 5pm. No more caffeine!

Sleeping is very healthy for you, especially in a Star Wars Tauntaun sleeping bag.
Or maybe I just need to invest in one of these guys.

182 days left.

Today's Exercise: Spin Class @ Globo Gym

Eggs and potatoes, coffee
Cookie, more coffeeN/ATuna Salad, Light Cider

Friday, October 16, 2015

Always hit save

Star Wars Luke Skywalker says "nooooooooo"
That feeling you get when Blogger freezes before you had a chance to hit "Save" on your post.
I had a great post written about sleep and its importance in a solid training plan. I went to add in an image and then got the blue 'clocking' circle of death.

So Imma just let this other browser window continue to stay open all night and hope somehow I can get this other post back to use for tomorrow.

183 days left.

Today's Exercise: 2.37 mile run (11:26 min/mi) @ apartment gym

Eggs and spinach, coffee
Tuna Salad, more coffeeN/AShepherd,s Pie

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Map My Run

I had a decent run at Running for Brews last night. Not that I was anywhere near race pace, but I at least didn't feel like I was going to die within the first mile (that feeling hit me at about 1.5 miles). It could be due to the fact that I had an extensive unplanned break from working out, or perhaps it's because the humidity was less brutal now that we're further along into fall and the sun is setting a bit earlier these days.

I was actually able to keep up with a small pack of runners for a change. Sure, it was the pack that included a guy pushing a stroller and another one running with his dog, but I was happy to not be left in the dust. It also gave me a chance to see that I had been doing the Running for Brews course wrong every other time I went - hence the reason I was never quite able to hit 3.1 miles on earlier runs.

I'm not using anything very fancy to track my mileage on my outdoor runs - just my phone with the Map My Run app. I actually log all of my activity privately, but I'm planning on sharing it with my friends on the app soon (if you are also using Map My Run, let me know and I'll connect with you there).

Map My Run is awesome for a few reasons (one of which is that it tracks my mileage on my shoes and lets me know when it's time to get a new pair), but the best thing about it are the challenges you can choose to participate in. Lest you think these challenges are phony, I actually won a challenge sponsored by GNC back in June. Check out the swag:

GNC recovery drinks and protein drinks

Not pictured above: I also got a one-year GNC Gold Membership, a gym duffel (which was excellent timing because mine was getting pretty funky), and a $15 gift card to Under Armour. Not a bad haul for continuing my habit of logging workouts.

184 days left.

Today's Exercise: Bootcamp @ Globo Gym

Eggs and spinach, coffee
Tuna Salad, more coffeeN/ABalsamic glazed chicken salad, pumpkin cappucino

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Sticking with a plan is pretty important for achieving my goals, but I seem to be struggling with consistency in two key areas - nutrition and training schedule. I've discussed training schedule at length over the last two posts. I track macro nutrients in MFP for the most part, but get lackadaisical about tracking on weekends or if I go out to eat. I also don't always eat a PWO if I'm working out.

But where I have been consistent is applying mindfulness to my daily routine. For some, this concept may seem a little "out there" - but bear with me, as I've been learning more about the beneficial effects of the practice at the Mindfulness Summit over the last month. Running places a lot of physical stress on the body, obviously - and trying to meet my half marathon goals while balancing a full time job and another move in the near future add to that stress. I worry I'll crash and burn well before the race if I don't take a few moments out of my day to relax.

What does mindfulness in a typical day look like for me? I use one of the following digital tools for assistance:

a. Future Self Visualization: This short audio program helps me connect with myself 10 years from now. Don't look at me like that.

Star Wars Han Solo is giving Luke Skywalker a skeptical look about meditation.
I used this photo yesterday too. It works on so many levels.
Just to clear the air, I'm aware that I'm not actually talking to my future self. This just helps me visualize different outcomes based on choices I make today - so that I DO make better choices today. Being in touch with the Nicole of the future helps me do things like wake up for 6am treadmill runs or eat sensibly on days I have to run.

b. Calm - this is an iPhone app that provides guided meditation. If you purchase the upgraded version of the app, you have access to meditation programs that help you find motivation, inner strength, and energy, but I've been sticking with the free  "calm" program to help me stay relaxed.

c. Eat Healthy - I don't know if hypnosis officially falls in the realm of mindfulness practice (this article suggests it might), but I am hoping this will help me get on track with a consistent nutrition program.

185 days left.

Today's Exercise: 3.1 miles (10:26 min/mile) @ Running for Brews

Eggs and spinach, coffee
Tuna Salad, more coffeeN/APizza, pumpkin cider

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday SnoozeDay

So the big question... was I able to keep my 6am date with the treadmill?

Star Wars Han Solo is giving Luke Skywalker a skeptical look.
The look I'll give when someone asks me if I actually got up early to run.
The interesting thing is that I did wake up and felt alert enough to hit the gym - but I had an annoying headache. Now, the same headache happened to me when I was at the hotel last week, but I was able to let myself go back to sleep for a little while and get to the gym later on in the morning once I felt better. Today, I was on a tight schedule as I had to drop my dog off at the vet first thing for a dental cleaning, so there was no headache recovery time allowed.

I had hoped that my husband would be available to pick up my dog in the afternoon so that I could try to run in between work and a date for drinks with his sister - she's only in town for this evening and just had the one-hour window to see us tonight (she's at a conference and uber-busy). But he was held up at work too.

This is why getting a workout done in the morning is so much better for consistency - there's really nothing to derail you at 6am (other than headaches), whereas who knows what could come up at the end of the day. This story ends with me missing a training run, which is NOT going to get me to a sub 2:00:00 half-marathon.

So now I am a few days away from trying to implement morning workouts again, as tomorrow night I want to join the local "Running for Brews" crew and Thursday night will be my bootcamp night. I'll give it a shot on Friday, as long as I don't get beat up too badly at bootcamp. I asked Google about ways to make morning workouts easier, and here were a few of my favorite suggestions:

a. Visualize enjoying morning workouts - I've mentioned before that visualization is an important tool for many professional athletes, so why not visualize enjoying morning workouts?

b. Bribes - If I can get through 4 weeks of morning exercise - not every day, mind you, just maybe Tuesdays and Wednesdays to start - what could I treat myself to? New compression socks? A new pair of mouse ears for my next Disney jaunt?

(Note that the same article also mentions sharing your intentions on social media, which I'm putting into practice with my blog. Not sure it is paying off yet - not feeling the shame of failing to live up to my word here.)

c. Drink a full glass of water right upon waking up - this one was actually suggested to me by a fellow runner on one of the forums I frequent. Seems simple enough, will give it a try.

186 days left.

Today's Exercise: Unplanned Rest Day.

Eggs and spinach, coffee
Tuna Salad, more coffeeN/ATuna salad

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday No-Runday

My alarm dutifully sounded at 6am this morning to rouse me for a morning run. I promptly turned it off and went right back to sleep.

Star Wars Yoda is saying "The Laziness is Strong with this one"

I know I'm not lazy - my successful AM workouts last week prove that I can actually run in the morning. Yet every time I've attempted a morning workout since moving to Florida, I ignore it in favor of an extra hour of Z's. I used to blame the darkness - being on the west coast of Florida means the sun rises a little bit later than it does in New Jersey - but 6 AM is usually dark no matter where you are. So what gives?

a. Demotivators - I'm not calling my husband and my dog demotivating, but when you have two "beings" snoring away next to you, it's much harder to get up in the morning. Peer pressure - I'm just doing what everyone else is. I didn't have this "follow the crowd" mentality sleeping by myself at the hotel last week.
b. Quality of sleep - I currently live in a temporary apartment where the window blinds are in a state of disrepair. Wouldn't be a problem, except I live in a city - which means the lights of the Hilton Hotel across the street come blazing into the room. Nighttime light exposure affects your sleep quality - so maybe I'm not as well rested when 6am comes around here as I was in my very dark hotel room.
c. Tackling the day - Even though I was travelling for work and very busy throughout the day, I knew I didn't have my usual "chores" to do - things like cooking breakfast, walking the dog, tidying up - knowing I did not have to worry about these little things made getting out of bed a bit easier.

Anyway, I had another massage appointment tonight. As I've mentioned, massage is a key component of my training plan, so I was not able to make up for it with an evening workout. However, this means that I get another shot at trying again tomorrow morning (an evening workout would probably have killed my energy to do another one tomorrow morning). I have a few things I'm willing to try tomorrow to see if I'm met with more success.

187 days left.

Today's Exercise: Unplanned Rest Day. Will try again tomorrow.

Eggs and spinach, coffee
Tuna SaladN/ACarnitas Tostada with rice and beans