Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm totally amused

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but back in January our work started a Biggest Loser weight loss competition.  I weighed in with no intentions of being competitive with it--I just wanted to have the body fat percentage results.  There were three weigh-ins--one in January, one in early March, and one a few days ago.  After the last weigh-in, I knew that I did not stand a chance of placing as I had only dropped a couple of pounds and my body fat percentage had gone down a whopping 0.2%.  Big results, I tell ya...
Anyway, imagine my surprise today when I get an email notifying me that I placed 3rd.  I would like to say that this was a victory won by hard work and lots of pounds lost, but really it just shows that no one else was making much of an effort!  Either way though, I won a $100 gift card and I am very happy about that!  I think I shall use it to buy some super cute running gear for summer.  Perhaps one of those running skirts I've had my eye on...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not a fan of RICE

And by that I mean Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  I've been doing it for 5 days straight now and I've had enough!  Resting is making me a bit stir crazy.  I'm also annoyed because the scale jumped 5 lbs from last week.  Seriously--5 pounds.  That's literally adding insult to injury.  I think it's a fluke, but my stress level is high because I can't go for a run to make myself feel better about the extra pounds.
Boo!!!  But I'm trying to keep focused on the goal--I WILL run my half marathon this weekend, I WILL run my half marathon this weekend...

So, more RICE for me.  Too bad it isn't the type that comes with tasty egg rolls!  :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Well That was Stupid

Do you ever have those moments in life where you realize that you may have been so focused on the details of something that you forgot to keep in mind the big picture?

Details = weekly runs

Big Picture = half marathon race this weekend

I've been so focused this month on hitting my goal of 80 miles.  I wanted that number so bad.  I knew it was going to be close; I would have to be perfect in my training for the rest of the month in order to hit my goal.  It seemed tough, but achievable.  I had a 5 mile run on Friday (should've been ran on Wednesday but the back pain sidelined me) and then I had an 8 mile run on Saturday.

The 5 mile run went great.  My legs felt strong, my heart rate was great, and I could've gone much longer.  My right leg wasn't hurting and my back was fine.  It was really encouraging!

Saturday, I woke up and ate some good breakfast.  I fueled appropriately and got ready to set out on my run.  It was about 11 am when I got out on the road.  I wasn't tired or sore, so I wasn't too worried about the mileage.  After all, it was a taper weekend.  This should be easy.

My legs were heavy starting out, and I was intentionally slowing my pace so that I could practice for the half marathon.  I have a hard time not just running at whatever pace feels right and I end up getting burned out before I reach my miles.  This run was about practicing the art of pacing.  Anyway, it was going well until just before mile 6.  I was tired (but not overly so) and was running up this slight incline when all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my knee under my kneecap on my left leg.  It HURT.  I quickly stopped running and tried to walk it off.  However, the pain in my other leg (right) that's been bothering me for two weeks was awful while I was walking and in no time at all I realized that I couldn't keep walking on it like that.  So, back to running...until the knee pain flared up again.  It was a lose/lose situation--I was 2 miles from home and both walking and running hurt.  I had no choice but to suck it up and run until it hurt so bad I couldn't, then walk until it hurt so bad I couldn't, and repeat.  What a lovely way to end a run.  Here's a quick look at it:

More importantly, here's a quick look at my up-to-minute pace:

Yeah...trouble, trouble from mile 5ish on.  I ended up spending the weekend icing the poor knee nonstop.  I can say that my right leg isn't bothering me at all anymore because it's been overshadowed by the knee.  I will be doing no running this week until the half marathon.  I'm hopeful that by then whatever I have done will undo itself and I'll be ready to run strong.  I can't believe I let my stupid goal of 80 miles this month get in the way of my actual real goal of running a half marathon.  I knew that I was being unwise by running so much when I was having leg issues, but I couldn't give up the goal and it might end up costing me BOTH goals.  Not okay with me!  I think that the knee is so upset because I changed my running gait unknowingly to compensate for the pain I was feeling in my right leg.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Anyway, this week will be filled with lots of R.I.C.E. and lots of prayers.  What a stupid thing to have happen the week before a race!  Wish me luck--I REALLY want to run the half marathon this weekend!  My family is coming into town for it, and the tulips are calling me!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hip, Hip, No Hurray...

My hip is really bothering me.

There is something wrong with it to the point where I have a good amount of lower back and hip pain, and it wraps around my leg causing quad pain clear down to my knee.  I have NO idea what it is.  I've tried resting, stretching, foam rolling, ibuprofen, hot tubbing, yoga, massages, etc. and I just can't find relief.  I didn't run yesterday because it was bothering me enough that I thought I should probably rest it another day.  Except I woke up this morning and it's worse than it was yesterday.  What the heck is going on?

Yesterday I saw the following deal on Living Social:

I am very hopeful that the people at this Institute will be able to see what is causing the issue and fix it through their fancy massage techniques.  I think my right hip is slightly out of place.  It almost feels like someone needs to hook me up to one of those stretching torture devices so that my bones/muscles are forced back into the right position.  At this point I am desperate!  It's been hurting for nearly 2 weeks and isn't improving.  That has me super nervous, especially since I have a half marathon in 8 days(!!).  

So...I've decided that I am just going to have to continue running through the pain.  I can't miss anymore runs, and the back pain seems to be unrelated to the running as it is getting worse even with rest.  I will run 4ish miles tonight and hopefully it will feel okay.  I'll be listening to my body during the run and stopping if I think it is causing harm.

To all you runners out there--any idea what might be causing my problem?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Moment You Know

The moment you know you made a bad decision last night when you said to yourself, "I'll take today off and rest my leg and back so that they stop bothering me.  I'll just go for my run tomorrow instead."

Somehow I think that in the game of Becky versus the Weather, I would lose this round.
Dreadmill it is...

Dear Employees

"Dear Employees:

Our HR consultants would like to apologize for the error in processing paychecks yesterday.  In an effort to make up for their mistake, they will be here between 11 and 1 serving pizza to all employees.

Thank you-

Oh dear.  

Free pizza.  Someone help me.  That's like my own personal kryptonite.  

I have a few thoughts on the matter:
  1. FEED ME!!  Free food just some how manages to taste better.  It's like my memories from being a starving college student kick in and add extra tastiness.
  2. Our HR consultants should make ginormous mistakes more often (short paying and over paying people is AWESOME!) if they continue to bribe me with Papa John's pizza.
  3. One slice of pizza is 330 calories.  I could eat an entire 5 gallon bucket of spinach before I hit that calorie count.  Not cool, calories...not cool...
Preach it.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Northwest Passage

First things first--my bike ride went well last night.  Hubster joined me and we biked for about 9 miles in 50 minutes.  It was a good ride and I definitely felt the burn in my quads on the hills.  It was a great day for a bike ride and I'm glad I went.  I needed to burn of a few extra calories for the day, and biking made that happen.  I am also please to report that my weigh-in yesterday wasn't a fluke and that I am holding strong at 149.6 this morning as well.  Can I get a booyah?
This puts me back on track.  I'm really happy with how much my waist shrunk over the last couple of weeks.  I could tell a difference in the mirror, but I didn't realize it was that dramatic.  Having these specific goals with time constraints has really been helpful in pushing through this plateau and seeing results.  Adding biking will also help.  I'm really hoping that by my anniversary (May 27th--5 years with Hubster!) I will be down to around 145 or below.  We are going to be in Australia during that time which means bikini which means it is GO time!  Wish me luck!

Also...I've added another race to my list for the year.  I will be running an additional Ragnar Relay.  For those keeping track, I've already ran the Florida Keys race and will be running Wasatch Back (in Utah) and Las Vegas this year.  Well, we can now add the Northwest Passage Ragnar to this list.  Hubster emailed me today and asked if I was interested.  Hello--it runs through beautiful Washington (never been there!) and the course looks amazing!  Of course I'm interested!  It also starts just 45 minutes away from Vancouver and I haven't been to Canada yet either so we will make a stop up there.  It's been on my bucket list for years!  Anyway, we're officially signed up and are working on our team.  The race is mid-July so hopefully I don't melt to death.  It is going to be an awesome event!

Does anyone that lives in Washington have any suggestions or recommendations for running in Washington during July?  What should I expect?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Reward for Pushing Through

I had a 5 mile run scheduled for last night.  Compared to the 12 miles I ran on Saturday, I was thinking that it would be a cake walk.  The weather was a bit uncooperative (rainy), but it was manageable.  Hubster did his best to distract me from my run, but I stayed on track and got dressed for the rainy run.  My motivation for the run was low and I nearly caved when Hubby expressed concern over me running by myself in the rain in the dark.  He really didn't want me to go (which is really unusual for him); but in the end all I could think about was my goal of 80 miles for the month of April and I knew that if I missed this run, I wouldn't be able to make it up and catch up to my goal.  I'm on track so far! I went in the rain.  I had brought my rain jacket, but quickly realized that I had too many layers on and that I'd rather be wet and the correct temperature than dry and sweating like a maniac.  So the jacket came off and was tied around my waist for the rest of the run.

I'm not gonna lie...I wanted to stop and go home within the first mile.  My right leg was bugging me, and I was just not in the zone.  The distance felt way long, and I was sluggish.  Hubster had requested that I run close to home, so I was always within a quarter mile of the comfort of my house and it took a LOT of will power not to just call it a day.  But, I persevered.  I thought of all the reasons I run--lose weight, stave off asthma, have pride, enjoy races, friendship, etc.  It is a rather lengthy list.  Admittedly, the one that kept me going last night was purely superficial.  I kept thinking of my goal of being back in the 140s by the end of the month (149 is the goal), and I knew that in order to do that I had to work hard to push through the plateau.  I wouldn't get there without a struggle.  So, I kept plodding along until I finally reached 5 miles:

It looks like my pace from Saturday decided to stay with me!  My heart rate was pretty level, and overall it was a good run.  But the highlight for me came this morning when I stepped on the scale.  I had weighed in the day before at exactly 151.0 (which I was super stoked about).  But today when I stepped on the scale I was greeted with a lovely 149.6.  I'm not sure that number will stick over the course of the week, but it truly felt like a present to reward me for my hard work.  I was so excited to see that the struggle from the night before had amounted to something I had been aiming for.  

Tonight I will be biking--time to start the cross training!  I don't have a mileage goal in mind--I just want to bike for a half an hour or so.  Hopefully the weather is a bit nicer tonight!

How are your goals for April coming along?  We are already halfway through the month!

Monday, April 18, 2011

12 Miles...Did I Survive?

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind!  Hubster was out of town running the SoCal Ragnar Relay, so I had the house to myself.  This meant it was time for a girls weekend!  I texted Running Roommate on Thursday and asked her if she would accompany me to the finish line of the Salt Lake City Marathon so I could watch some of my coworkers cross the finish line.  The SLC Marathon is quite a large event and there were a ton of spectators at the finish line cheering everyone on.  I missed a few of my coworkers crossing the finish line, but did manage to see the two cross that I was really there for.  The race mentality was infectious and it got me super excited to run my half marathon in two weeks.  I'm glad it is a smaller half marathon though, because the crowds were a bit overwhelming!
SLC Half Marathon 018
This is the winner (on the left) of the Salt Lake City Marathon--SO fast!
SLC Half Marathon 021
This is my coworker after finishing his first half marathon.  Pure joy on that face!
It was inspiring to see so many people I knew pushing through pain and finishing up strong.  All my coworkers finished the race in under 2 hours, and one of them even finished with a time of 1:18!!  Crazy!  I will not be that fast at my half marathon, and that is totally okay with me.

After we left the race, Running Roommate and I went for a 12 mile run.  I've been SO nervous for this run all week.  I am very thankful that RR was willing to join me and help me out with my long distance runs.  The weather was perfect--60 degrees and sunny.  Unfortunately, the weather started out with clouds and rain so we hadn't put on sunscreen so when the clouds parted 30 minutes after we started our run we had no hope of not getting sunburned.  Oops--lesson learned!  It didn't affect our run, though.  We stayed on pace pretty much the entire time.  I learned a few important lessons this weekend about how to have a successful long run:

  • Fuel, Fuel, Fuel:  We brought Gu and stopped every 4 miles to refuel.  This kept our energy up and gave our muscles something to burn.
  • Water, Water, Water: I really need to buy some extra bottles to attach to my Nathan belt.  I am always short on fluid during my long runs and it's getting to be a problem.
  • Pace, Pace, Pace:  Memo to self: do not try to run the long runs at the same pace you do your short runs.  It's not going to happen for you.  I ran my 10k last week at a 10:30 pace, but we did this run at a nice and steady 11:20ish pace and it made all the difference in the world.  
Here's a quick look at my run:
This run was exactly what I needed.  I finished the running knowing that I was capable of adding a mile to it and running a half marathon in a couple weeks.  I also gained some important knowledge that I will need for the rest of my long runs while I train for my full marathon.  It's a beautiful thing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I took a day off from running...

...and went to a running injury prevention class instead.  It was good timing--I've had a really sharp pain in my lower back ever since my run on Tuesday and sometimes it causes a shooting pain down my quad.  I knew something was off, and I was hoping this class (taught by a surgeon and a physical therapist) would help me figure it out and how to fix it.  I'm SO glad I went--It was very informative!  I learned what could be causing the pain, as well as how to stretch and fix it.  Additionally, I also learned some things that I need to do in order to improve my running and reduce my risk of injury.  I think they are important enough to share:

  • Strong Core:  You need to have strong abs in order to keep everything lined up in your body.  Having a strong and balanced core will help greatly in reducing muscles misaligning and causing injuries.  Because of this advice, I will be adding an ab workout to my routine directly after my runs.  
  • Cross Training:  I already knew this one, but I have been ignoring it.  However, its importance was once again conveyed to me last night.  If you do nothing but run, your muscles get used to that movement and get tight and fatigued.  The muscles need to be challenged in other ways so that other muscles in the system don't get neglected, and that all the muscles stretch and grow in a complementary way.  Biking and swimming are excellent choices for cross training.  I'm not much of a swimmer, so I'm going to add in some biking on my days off from running (not mountain biking for a while...I think it'll be a while before I'm crazy enough to risk my girly bits again!).
  • Electrolytes:  Any run that lasts longer than 30 minutes should be supplemented with a beverage with electrolytes in it, not just water.  This is something I haven't been doing--I only bring water on my runs.  Since I sweat a lot (joy!), I rapidly deplete my electrolytes in my system which leads to fatigue.  This may explain why my long runs have been absolutely wretched lately.  Going forward, I will carry water infused with electrolytes on my long runs.
  • Compression Tights:  The person giving us this advice is a 50-mile race runner.  He says that compression tights make all the difference in the world for him when it comes to recovery.  He sleeps in them the night after a race and wakes up without any soreness.  I'm going to have to try this!
  • Stretching:  We all know we should stretch.  You can find many recommended stretches online for runners so I suggest you check that out.  One area where I am NOT flexible (which is causing my back problems) is my hamstring.  They say that you should be able to lie flat on your back, extend your leg so that it is at a 90 degree angle from your body and completely straight.  I can do it, but it is painful.  Time to stretch those hammies even more!
  • Single Leg Squat:  Everyone should do single leg squats.  It tests the balance between all the running muscles and ensures that the hips, quads, calves, and ankles are all working together in harmony.  Start adding this to your routine!
  • Balance:  Stand on one leg with your eyes closed for ten seconds.  If it is difficult, you  need to be continually practicing this move to improve your balance.  If you can manage this test, then add more layers of difficulty such as standing on a pillow on one leg with your eyes closed for ten seconds.  Keep practicing this until it is simple.  Having great balance will prevent those small missteps that tweak our body and cause us injuries.
That was the majority of the information I took home.  I thought it was very helpful, and hope you do as well. All these things will work to help reduce our risk of injury as well as shorten our down time once we have an injury.  

Additionally, I also learned that it is time to get new shoes!  I'll be making that purchase sometime this month. I'll be going to a specialty running store to see if my running gait has changed since the last time I bought shoes and then buy a pair that works with my feet.  I'm excited!

This weekend is also the Salt Lake City Marathon and Half Marathon.  There are no less than EIGHT people from my work running the half marathon.  I'm going to meet up with Running Roommate and go to the finish line to cheer them on.  For most of them, this is the first half marathon they've ever ran.  I can't wait to see how they do!

After (or before maybe) we watch the half marathon finishers, Running Roommate and I will be running 12 miles.  PLEASE send me good vibes that I can do this.  I haven't been able to finish 10 miles yet without a lot of walking and I really really really really want this to go well.  My mantra on Saturday during my run will be "I know I can, I know I can, I know I can..." and I WILL finish it.  

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Om nom nom!

So yesterday...

I was starving.  Absolutely starving.  I couldn't get enough food.  I tried to calm my hunger by eating healthy snacks (grapes, carrots, celery with natural peanut butter, etc.) but nothing could stop me from feeling like I was starving.  I have no idea why, but I seriously felt famished.
I made some delicious jalapeno cheddar hummus (from Skinny Taste) and also the Asian Turkey Meatballs.  They were both delicious and a fairly healthy option.  The only problem is that I was already over my calories before dinnertime even came.  Big problem!  I tried to stay strong and only eat a little bit, but I totally failed and ate the full serving size of meatballs, and more hummus than I care to admit.  I try to keep my calories between 1200-1800 per day (depending on if I worked out or not), but yesterday I was hit with this number:

Booooooo.  I wouldn't have felt so bad had I worked out yesterday, but a nasty storm rolled into Utah right as I was getting off work and I wasn't about to run in 60 mph winds with thunder, lightning, snow, and a boatload of rain.  And I'm afraid of the treadmill because last time I ran on it I got injured the next day.  I've connected the two in my brain and I am now anti-treadmill.  So...instead I ate.  And ate and ate.  The food I chose to eat wasn't particularly bad for me (progress?), but the quantity is more than I should have eaten considering my goals for the month.  I'm hopeful that one day of hungry eating won't set me back too far.  In either case, I am going for a run tonight (whether Utah's weather cooperates or not!) and I will make up for these extra calories.

I have a question for all you runners (beginners or athletes) out there--how do you balance having enough calories for energy for your runs, but still have a calorie deficit in order to lose weight?  I am having a hard time with this lately as my mileage is increasing.  Any advice you have would be great!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

10 minutes faster...

Lately I've been really frustrated with my longer runs.  I've really struggled with anything over 4 miles (as you might have noticed with my posts the last few weeks).  I've found myself having to walk when normally I wouldn't be phased at all.  It's been horribly demoralizing and I keep hoping for a good run, but keep having nothing but bad runs that have me concerned that I have bit off way more than I can chew with my half marathons I've scheduled.

Last night I decided to go for a run to break in the new Ipod Shuffle.  I was planning on going for 5 miles (training program called for 4.5).  I wanted to make up for some missed mileage from Saturday when I didn't finish my long run.  Anyway, the weather was beautiful and it was perfect for an evening run.

Long story short, I had a great run.  My pace was good, my legs felt strong, and my breathing was calm.  I decided around the 2 mile mark that I was going to go for a 10k distance instead of 5 miles just to see my time.  My first 10k that I ever ran was run on the same pathway that I did my run on last night, and I wanted to see how my time would compare with where I was at back in the fall.  Here's a quick look at my run:

You can see that my heart rate was good (for me) and that my splits were somewhat steady, and my overall pace was great for me!  I compared it to my 10k time from last year and found that I had ran a 10k 10 minutes faster than I was capable of doing last September.  10 minutes!  That's a 15% improvement!  Sometimes I get so caught up in where I want to be as a runner and where I think I should be and I forget to celebrate in the successes that I've had.  If I continue at this level of improvement, in 6-8 months I would be able to run a 10k in under an hour which is something I never thought I'd be able to do.  Sounds like a challenge to strive for!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dear Ipod...

Dear Ipod Nano-
I will miss you.  You treated me so very well during the start of my running journey.  You were my constant companion and were always there for me when I needed you.  Sadly, I mistreated you (by unceremoniously drowning you in a large puddle) and now you have up and left me.  I understand-- some things aren't meant to be. Please don't judge me for having replaced you so quickly (with a super cute Ipod shuffle); I had no choice.  I can't stand to be alone.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Manic Monday



It's a busy day!  One of the people I manage doesn't work at our company anymore and I'm covering his workload and let me tell you--it has been a nightmare trying to do both of our jobs at once!  I'm exhausted and it's only 11 am.  Yikes!  I have four more weeks of this.  Let's hope the stress eating stays at bay.  So far so good!

Send me good thoughts--I may be crazy by the end of this month!

Okay fine--crazier than I already am!

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's here!!

YES!!!  I can't wait to put this to good use!  I got this cookbook after winning a giveaway from the lovely Sabrina and I've been anxiously awaiting its arrival.  I'll test some of the recipes out this next week and post my thoughts.  This book will come in VERY handy over the next few months!

Do any of you readers have this cookbook?  If so, do you have a favorite recipe I should start with?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Crazy enough to run in a snow storm...

...and crazy enough to post video of myself after the run!

The weather was awful.  It was wet, snowy, and downright cold.  There were puddles all over the road from the thunderstorms from earlier in the day, and the snow was coming down in big huge flakes that kept getting stuck to my eyelashes.  Memo to self--wear a hat with a big long bill on the next snowy run, preferably one like the kid from Sandlot:

Awww yeah...very versatile!
Even with the bad weather, it was a great run.  My pace is nearly back to where it was before I injured my calf.  Let's hear a hoorah for that!  HOORAH!  Here's a quick look at my splits:

Not bad, not bad.  I was worn out and tired, but it felt good to make up for my missed miles from Monday.  I'm officially caught up!  I'm at 19 miles for April and I only hit 24 in March so I'm well on my way to surpassing last month.  

So...about that video I promised...

I couldn't help but film the "before" and "after" for this wet run.  I knew it would be interesting, and I had to document it!  So, enjoy...
And here's my thoughts after the run.  I did drop my ipod in a 3" deep puddle so hopefully it isn't permanently destroyed.  That meant that the remaining 3 miles were ran in silence just listening to the snow hit the ground and the cars pass by.  It was somewhat peaceful until I started getting tired and my breathing went crazy.  Then I really wished I had a working ipod!

The video didn't show the wetness of my clothing very well, so I snapped a quick picture.  Brrr!


How do you keep yourself dry when working out outside?  I clearly need some advice!


Grrrrrr...I REALLY need to run today (hello encounter with banana cream cheesecake from the cheesecake factory that set me back 700+ calories that I desperately want to burn off), but the weather is pretty much sucky.  It's been hailing, raining, sleeting, snowing, and blowing for pretty much the entire day and it's only gonna get worse.

Wish me luck...

Wind in my Face

Confession:  I did NOT want to go running yesterday.  I had 4.5 miles to run and I got home and looked at the windy weather outside and my couch and the couch instantly won.  I browsed netflix, found some good movies to watch, changed into my PJs and decided it was time to veg on the couch.  After all, I was injured, right?  It was a valid excuse...

...except I knew that was a lie.  My injury is healing up nicely (went to the doctor, everything will be A-okay) and it wasn't going to be injured further by running.  I'd already proven that by running 10 miles the day after it happened and it was a LOT worse off then.  

The more I thought about skipping out on this run (making it two runs I would've missed this week) I realized that not only did I not want to be the person who continually skips workouts because she doesn't "feel like it," but I also realized that I have a half marathon in THREE WEEKS and it is downright stupid to miss runs when I need all the training I can before the big day.

So I changed out of my PJs and into my workout clothes.  I laced up my shoes, popped my earbuds in, and took a step out into the (windy) sunshine.  The goal was to not walk any sections of the run.  All this walking I've been doing lately is discouraging me and making me feel like I am incapable of reaching my goal to run a half marathon.  It's bad territory because then it starts me on thoughts like "what was I thinking?" or "I'll never be good enough to do this" etc.  I wanted to put a stop to those thoughts right away and the best way for me to do it was to have a good run.

First thing I noticed was how decidedly windy it was outside.  It was going to be a tough run because I would be running straight against a huge headwind for the first half of my run.  However, I took comfort knowing that I would be able to use the wind to my advantage on the way back.  

The second thing I noticed was the severe lack of runners on the trail I was running on.  Normally this is a happenin' trail...apparently they got wind (heh) of the wind and opted to stay home watching Netflix like I nearly did.  It was actually kind of nice to have some privacy on the trail as it allowed me to relax and just listen to my music and run.  I felt surprisingly good on the trail!

I felt so good that I ended up running 5 miles rather than 4.5 and my pace was just under an 11:00 mile.  I had my garmin stats to show you, but my garmin froze and deleted my run.  SAD!  One thing I did notice after my run when I was cooling down is that my heart rate monitor is clearly not registering correctly.  I'd been done with running for at least 2 minutes and was in the middle of a nice calm stretch when I looked over and saw the monitor reading 243 bpm.  Yeah...not very likely.  I did a quick manual check and I was more around the 120-140 range so I need to figure out what's going on there.

Anyway, I felt a million times better about myself when I got home from the run.  I didn't have any guilt associated with being lazy, and I felt slimmer.  Looking in the mirror I actually looked skinny to myself, which hasn't happened for many months now.  It was a great self esteem boost...AND there was no walking!  BOOYAH!

I also decided to catch up on my measurements.  It's been a while since I've posted my weight or my dimensions...admittedly, I knew they had gotten worse and I was too ashamed/disappointed to make it official by publishing it on my blog.  Last week I weighed myself and I was clear back up at 156.8.  I'd gained 8 lbs back that I had worked so hard to lose!  Talk about frustrated...  It was a good gut check that it was really time to get back on track and count the calories and do the workouts.  Happily, I can say I undid quite a bit of damage and this week looks better:

My goal for the end of the month is to be down around 148.  It will be tough because my body seems to want to hold on to this weight, but I know I can do it.  Somehow, I think running 80 miles in one month will be a nice kick start to my weight loss!  It will be nearly double what I've done in past months.  I'm at 15 miles already for the month, so I feel pretty good about my progress.  I'm going to go for a run tonight (weather permitting--it's supposed to snow like crazy later) to try to make up for my missed run from earlier this week. Send good weather vibes my way!

How are your goals for the month of April coming?  Are you on track?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seriously, Denny's?

Seriously?  Are they trying to kill us?  This is a heart attack waiting to happen!  I saw this today on an ad while I was browsing a healthy recipe website.  I'm not sure if they had really good target marketing or really poor target marketing.  Either way, it got my attention enough to look at the website celebrating Baconalia.  America--this is why we're fat.

Running the day after...

So...after surviving the disastrous crash at a whopping 1 mph, I was very worried that I wouldn't be able to run the next day.  I had planned a 10 mile run and had been looking forward to running through the beautiful park.  However, with the soreness from the crash (including the giant knots from the bruises in my legs) I really wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it off.  When I woke up the next morning from an awful dream where someone was shooting me repeatedly with bullets in all the places that I was sore in real life, I realized my body certainly wasn't happy.  I crawled out of bed and said, "running ain't happenin'" and made my way to the shower.

While showering, the guilt associated with a missed workout began creeping up on me.  What was I going to do instead of running?  Sit at the hotel and be bored off my rocker while the rest of the crew goes mountain biking? I certainly couldn't join them for another bike ride (I'm not that crazy!).  The more I thought about it, the more disappointed I became.  I had really looked forward to this run and seeing the beautiful scenery in Zion.  I quickly peeked out the hotel window and saw this:
Zion with Caroline & Galen 004 could I not want to go for a run out there?  Blue skies?  Gorgeous scenery?  I was sold.  I luckily had packed a lot of different types of running gear and I was able to accommodate my rather, uh, unique injury.  My legs were very sore and tight from the fall, but I figured that a run would do them good.  Even though I had just showered, I set off to go run the local bike path and get outside in the sun.

I am so glad I sucked it up and went!   I was rewarded with breathtaking sights along my run!  Here is a quick sampling of some of the what I saw during my 10-miler:
zion run3
zion run2
zion run1
These pictures are straight from my camera phone--no touch-ups.  Don't you wish you could've joined me on my run?  If you haven't been to Zion before, you really need to take a trip.  It is unlike any place I have ever seen.  Southern Utah in general is pretty awesome with Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, etc. So much to see!
zion run5
This picture was so difficult to take that even though it sucks, I am posting it.  Proof I was there!

When I hit the 5-mile point where I needed to turn around, it perfectly coincided with the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion.  This is a beautiful region with huge red-rock monoliths.  There was also a fast-paced river full of spring runoff.  I stopped and sat down on the river bank and soaked my hot feet in the FREEZING river water and just enjoyed the scenery.  This wasn't a run where I was in a hurry or trying for a particular pace.  I just wanted to be out and really get to see the park from a perspective I hadn't before.
zion run4

I sat on the shores for about 20-30 minutes and then decided it was time to head back.  Unfortunately, I ran out of water around mile 7 and it was so hot that I didn't dare risk continuing to run without water so I ended up walking about 1.5 miles before I was able to refill my water bottles.  Lesson learned--hot weather means a lot more water consumed.

I burned a lot of calories (1,483!) and got to see some of the beauty this world has to offer.  Even though I was slower than normal due to the heat, elevation, and soreness from the crash, I was so glad I had gone on the run.  Something was definitely better than nothing!  Admittedly, it was a very tiring run and there were parts where I wanted to quit and turnaround (probably when my heart rate hit bueno), but I kept going and didn't regret it at all.

If you look at my splits you can see they are all over the place, but that was likely due to my ADD while looking around at all the sights and not wanting to run past something and miss it.  The river was flowing so fast and its raw power was something to behold.  I couldn't look away!  Also, there may have been a giant hill that I ended up walking portions of.  Minor details, minor details...

Anyway, the takeaway from this is that when you have the means and ability to go out and test yourself and push yourself, do it.  You will be rewarded in more ways than one.  This run was MUCH better than sitting in a hotel room!

Also, on an unrelated note I am pretty stoked because today I won Sabrina's awesome giveaway--Hungry Girl's Cookbook 300 under 300!  BOOYAH!  I needed this book more than you know.  I've been struggling to find good meals that fill me up but don't make me want to cry when I count the calories.  I'll review some of the recipes once I get the book.  YAY!

So readers--what's the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen?  I love to travel and I am always looking for a new place to fall in love with!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Who knew that bike crash at 1 mph could cause so much damage?

**Important note--this post contains details that would be considered an overshare to pretty much anyone.  Read at your own risk (especially if you're a boy)!!**

What a weekend!  I escaped rainy Salt Lake City and headed down south to beautiful Zion National Park for a belated birthday celebration with Hubster and some friends.  The weather was in the 80s each day we were down there and I FINALLY was able to warm my poor bones up.  It was fantastic!
Zion with Caroline & Galen 116_7_5
Zion with Caroline & Galen 077_8_6

We left work around 1 pm on Friday and began the 5 hour drive.  Rather than go to the hotel in Springdale, we opted to just go straight to the Jem Trailhead and change into our biking gear there and get a ride in before it got too dark.  I've ridden this trail 3 or 4 times and I love it.  There are always a few spots I have to walk, but for the most part it is a great beginner's ride.

This time Hubster decided it was time for me to be brave and actually bike some of these scarier sections.  After some hesitation, I attempted the first downhill section.  For all of us beginners out there, it is important to note that you should ALWAYS keep your weight back on the bike when going downhill.  If you don't, you will crash.  Could this be some foreshadowing?  Perhaps...  Anyway, I made it down the first hill without much fanfare.  It was scary, but doable.  I felt like a rock star and decided to be less timid on the upcoming downhill sections.

biking hill
biking mud

After biking about a mile in (the trail is about 6.75 miles long) we encountered yet another section of downhill.  This one was a bit more technical; it had a rock portion that the bike would have to essentially jump over rather than have a smooth connected track.  To be honest, it freaked me right out.  Hubster was encouraging and once again convinced me that "I got this."

I definitely did NOT "have this".

About halfway down the stretch, I realize I am in trouble.  I am going too fast and my weight isn't far back enough on the bike and I am in severe danger of "endo-ing".
I did not want to be that guy.  I wanted to stop my bike and just suck it up and walk the rest of the stretch.  So I applied my brakes (lightly, ever so lightly) and got my bike slowed down to about 1 mph.  I set my feet down on the ground to get my weight off the bike and that's when it all went wrong.  My bike had too much momentum and gravity wanted to make sure that I got nice and friendly with the beautiful dirt in Zion.  I felt the bike slipping out of my control and my balance began to falter as the bike pushed me forward from behind.  It ended up racking me (in my girly bits!) something WICKED and then caused me to face plant on the ground.  I managed to hit every part of my body that I could; my nose, my chin, my chest, my stomach, my thighs, etc.  Each of them made contact with the ground in a very graceful (lies) manner.  It hurt so very very much.  Mostly, I was distracted by the pain coming from my poor girly bits.  Yes, I had caused some severe damage "down there."  After some tears escaped (couldn't be helped...) I sucked it up and decided to continue with the ride.  I felt pretty sheepish for having cried, but the pain was so sharp I couldn't hold them back from falling.

The ride continued for 6 more beautiful miles and eventually I got used to the pain and had a great time.  I was sore, but I had enough adrenalin that I was able to ignore the majority of the pain (until I hit bumps!).  At the end of the trail, I was feeling good.  The scenery was beautiful, and I was biking at a better level than I was when I left off last year.  Cardiovascular wise, I was also in better shape.  All in all, I was proud of myself.  

biking sunburst
biking vista

The girls waited at the end of the trail while the boys drove up to the start of the trailhead to pick up the vehicle.  While we were waiting, I suddenly realize that my thighs are quite sore.   I hadn't even noticed I had hurt them.  I had been so distracted by the other pain that I hadn't realized I was hurt anywhere else.  When I got back to the hotel, I checked out the damage:

The sexiness of my white thighs knows no bounds...
Both of my legs look like that..and it's actually a lot more purple in real life.  Ummm...oops?

I was actually hurt a lot lot worse in my girly region.  Not to go into too much detail, let's just say that it involved blood and when I had my husband check it out he said I likely needed stitches.  Suffice it to say that I was in QUITE a bit of pain down there and I continue to be.   I didn't even know you could hurt yourself that badly with just a direct hit from the bike.  Thank goodness that I was wearing padded biking shorts or it would've been even worse!

After I found out what I had done to myself, I felt a little bit better about the tears that were shed on the mountain.  I feel that the majority of women would agree that it's okay to cry when you've hurt yourself so bad down there that stitches are called into question.  And for those of you wondering, I didn't end up getting stitches.  It was 10 o'clock at night by the time I realized the extent of the damage (we'd gone to dinner directly after biking) and all the clinics were closed and I'm a cheapskate and didn't want to pay emergency room fees.  I do have a call in to my local doctor here though just to be safe.

So...after this adventure I have to ask:  What's the worst damage you've done to yourself in a biking crash or from a fall while running?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Endorphins make everything okay...

Yesterday I left work around 6 and I was a complete stress case.  There was some really ridiculous drama going on at work that left me in a position where I was going to be forced to break a promise to a friend/co-worker.  I do NOT break promises, and I really don't like it when I am forced to.  I left work super frustrated and pretty much stressed out of my mind.

I got home and it was BEAUTIFUL outside--70 degrees!  Hellooooo, Spring!  Thanks for showing up!  I decided the best way to get rid of my stress was to go for my scheduled run and clear my head.  Apparently it has been a while since I've ran in warm weather...I nearly died in the heat!  I was so fatigued!  I forgot that even though 4.5 miles takes less than an hour for me so I normally don't need water, the heat factor causes me to sweat and overheat and I really really need water on all my runs during the summer!  Lesson learned!  I ended up having to walk a stretch around the 3.5 mile mark just to build up a short burst of energy to finish the run.  Did I ever mention how bad I hate walking on runs?  I feel like I've cheated and then the run/distance doesn't count...stupid, but that's how I feel!
Anyway, I made it back home and did some cool down stretching on my lawn.  As I was stretching my calves I suddenly realized that I was leaving the next morning to go mountain biking in Zion National Park and that I hadn't even ridden my back for over half a year.  So I decided to go have a quick "refresher course" on my bike around my neighborhood.  I had only intended on biking for a couple of minutes (just to get the shifting down again), but the sunny weather and the breeze on my face got the best of me and I ended up biking 5 miles in just under 23 minutes.  It felt fantastic!  Words cannot describe how good a mood I was in by the end of that jaunt.  Endorphins = happy Becky.
The great mood continued through the night.  It even stayed with me through washing the dishes from my work's fridge cleanout (um...apparently I left a LOT of food in the fridge though it was so decomposed that I could identify what it was originally).  That is not a task you do with a smile, but surprisingly I was not only smiling but I was singing and enjoying myself.  Who was this woman?  I don't know, but I want her around for a long long time...

It was a great reminder why I love working out.  I felt like a champion.  I was proud of myself and overall just happy for no good reason.  The stresses of work still remained, but somehow they were less intense.  Running/biking had eliminated the emotions connected to the work drama and allowed me to think rationally and come up with alternate solutions.  Score!

I ended the day with this:

Not a terrible day of eating (the lunch was the only thing I had to eat and it was homemade and not very appetizing reheated).  I felt very proud of my efforts yesterday and couldn't wait to submit the record of the day.  I am realistic enough to realize that I won't weigh 139.8 lbs in 5 weeks, no matter how perfect I am with eating and working out and I'm okay with that!  The important thing is that this will set the scale on a downward trend, and that's exactly what I'm after.

This weekend has some more activities that will be sure to help the cause.  We are biking the Jem trail tonight (either 6 miles or the 12 mile loop which terrifies me), and then tomorrow I am going to try for another 10 mile run.  And then a hike if I can still walk.  I don't have much hope for that last one!  This is the Emerald Pools trail I would like to go to if it happens:
I've hiked it before, but it was in the summer and the water was starting to dry up.  Now would be the perfect time to hike it and it is a short hike so my poor legs might be able to manage it!  In either case, I'm going to have a great weekend.

What fun plans do you have for the first weekend in April?