Hello runners and readers
Although I wasn’t very dedicated on updating about April’s challenge, I stayed dedicated to cutting sugars and I would like to report that it was a huge success!
2013 is all about monthly challenges for me and cutting sugar last month seemed pretty tough but I did it and looking back it wasn’t even that difficult. I didn’t have any chocolate, muffins, cookies, cake or sweets for a full month! Here and there I ingested small amounts of honey or cane sugar but even that was very limited. My cheats were a couple glasses of diet soda and some sugar free ice cream. I know faux sugar, ie. aspartame and all those artificial sweeteners are probably worse than regular sugar but my main focus was cutting out sugary sweets and the horrible high fructose corn syrup laden crap. I cut out ketchup, sauces and juices. I ignored all the office treats and I passed on the free chocolate bar I won at the grocery store.
Just as February and March’s running challenge taught me that it can be easy to start a new habit, cutting sugars in April made me realize that it can be just as easy to break some bad ones too. I am SUPER motivated to keep up and even take a step up with the clean eating trend I started for myself. I am confident enough right now to take this up a level. One month challenges are awesome!! I am excited to see what else I can challenge myself to improve on this year
May’s challenge is also a diet challenge. I am going to continue to avoid sugar and up my game to include cutting the artificial ones as well. Its not like I ate a lot of them last month, just a tiny bit, but those artificial sweeteners are awful. If I can go this far, I might as well try and take it that one small step further. Also on the cutting block are trans fats. So, that means no chips – no deep fried anything!
Today I bought some spirulina powder to make smoothies with. Every morning going forward I’ll start my day with a super-food, green smoothie. I just had one made with a teaspoon of spirulina powder, half a banana, fresh pineapple, frozen berries, a little apple juice and some almond milk. DELICIOUS!! Check out the blueish green goodness below I’ll update on the spirulina and let you know my full review in a couple weeks. I am interested to see if I will notice any benefits.
This week I also started putting Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer in my first glass of water in the morning. So far I am noticing the extra energy throughout the day but I didn’t notice any real effect on my 10k run I did yesterday and it may or may not have contributed to the stomach craps and gastrointestinal distress that had me sprinting for the washroom on my last mile. It contains rhodiola rosea and that stuff is the bomb! It is amazing for increasing mental energy and lowering stress. I have been taking it for a couple months and it really helped me through a hectic couple months at work and during final exams!
So that’s my update on April’s challenge and my plan for May! I’ll try to be a better blogger and get back into writing more often. Life has been hectic to say the least!
Health and happiness fellow runners!!
You never know what your body is capable of until you push beyond your comfort zone.
Earlier this winter I did a 12 day challenge and ran every day of the 12 days of Christmas. At that time, it was my longest stint of running and I was pretty intimidated at the thought of committing to it. I completed the challenge pretty easily and just like I always do, I began looking for a new challenge. 12 days was kid stuff and it left my body feeling firm, strong and happy.
I then had to top my 12 days of fitness. So, I turned my sights to completing a full month of daily running and as of February 28th I had tallied up a total of 140kms. Not a huge amount but it averaged 5k a day. I was pretty impressed with a few things; the fact that I didn’t get lazy and quit, my body held up well, and how easy it actually was once I made my mind up to go for it. Despite crappy weather, little time and all the usual stresses and excuses I found my way out the door and back home for a daily run every day for a month. It wasn’t even all that hard to psych myself up for it. It easily became one of my daily rituals. Then, of course, after successfully completing the February challenge I decided to continue and run every day of March. Why not? I felt good – I didn’t need to quit. I was cautious and was committed to a minimum of a mile a day. I lost track of my tally but I estimate that I ran about 250kms in the past 59 days. I also added in a lot more cross training during March and went to the gym at least 2 – 3 times a week. I finished off March yesterday with a 5.5k run, an hour walk and 500m of swimming. Another successful challenge complete!
Now it’s April 1st and I really don’t feel like taking it easy. I feel like I’m just getting going and this spring is setting up to be my fittest one yet. I have knocked down some mental barriers for myself and pushed through another comfort zone. I’ve also lost about 6-7 lbs since mid January. I will do another short run today, maybe just a mile. Every inch of my body feels great, so why should I stop? It is now 8 weeks until the half marathon which I committed to doing on May 26th with my girlfriends. Once I start working in longer runs of 12k + I am going to take some days off, but it’s going to be hard. Maybe on my off days I will do some light strength training or something to stay committed to the daily fitness regime I have created for myself. This is addictive!!
Another April challenge – maybe my most ambitious yet – is to quit all refined sugars. Day one is going well so far; I had a fruit smoothie for breakfast and I just snacked on some died fruit. Hopefully if I am eating natural fruit sugars it will help keep the refined sugar cravings away. I’m pretty sure it would be no problem for me if I never had to go to work. The evil corporate environment, with it’s doughnuts, muffins and candy dish tests my willpower daily. At home, I am safe from temptation.
So, here we go. Zero refined sugar. Cold turkey. I will update soon! Wish me luck!!
An Ode to my Grippies, by Amanda Race
Oh how I love my grippies,
they are really nice,
they let me run quite fast, on the snow and ice,
without them, I slip and slide,
and usually fall down on my side,
oh how I love my grippies,
Well the March challenge is underway, and I am 12 for 12. How is that you ask when it’s only March 7th? Well, I started on February 24th. My sister is coming to visit at the end of the month, and I want to ensure that I will get the whole month in, so I modified it a bit, just incase we are busy. I’ve also challenged myself to bring my lunch to work everyday, and not take the easy route and go out for lunch, so far I’m two weeks straight with bringing my lunch. Not only is it better for me, but I’m saving money!
It’s becoming a bit of a addiction for me now, I can’t stop, and I can’t go a day without a run. I have a veruy busy scheudle, so my runs are normally at 5am, or at 9 or 10 pm. I’m suprized with how many people in my subdivision are actually up and on their way to work at 5am actually. I feel bad for them! Me being up at that ugly hour is by choice! They are up to get to work on time.
I’ve developed a nice little route around my subdivision that I feel safe running at 10pm, and at 5am. It’s 3.14k, (like pi ! mmmmm pie) but it’s perfect, 20 mins and I’m done. On the weekend I tend to go to my other running trail and do 6 or 7k, so I do get some semi long runs in.
I always wonder what people think about when they are running, so here are a few things that were going through my mind on my run tonight:
1. Man that’s a nice colour in their house, I wonder if it’s there bedroom or the living room (yes, I love looking into peoples houses…if they aren’t going to have blinds, I’m going to look)
2. Is that a puddle? black ice? or just wet pavement? oh it’s a puddle…great, now my feet are wet.
3. I hope the cat doesn’t break the glass I left on the counter.
4. My legs are really starting to get a nice shape! (That one is a bit conceided, but my legs are the things that I am working on, I want nice legs!!)
5. I think people with dogs don’t want to walk past me! (4 times people with dogs almost past me, but then ended up going into the house before we crossed paths…4! 3 were guys too…so I couldn’t even tell if they were cute!)
6. I can’t wait to go home and write about this.
I’m sure there were many more, but that’s just what stuck out. I also realized that I have a favorite corner on my running route. It’s the corner that I used to think was the last corner before my road, and was always dissapointed when I got to it and there was one more, I didn’t think I would make it home. Now I love it because that corner shows me how far I have come!
So 12 down, 19 to go! I definitely got this, if I can get up at 5am and squeeze in a run before work, this challenge is nothing!
Now to have a nice cup of tea and a few arrowroots before crawing into bed!
This post is three days overdue but I wanted to give an update on my “run every day of February” challenge – 28 runs in 28 days – DONE! I finished the month at 140kms which averages out to be 5k a day – not a long daily run but it’s perfect! Yay me!
Going into this challenge I thought it would be hard. I thought I might be putting too much strain on my body. I thought it might be difficult to find the time. I was cautious of injuries. After about two weeks my daily run felt normal, it was as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth. Many days I ran in the evening and just did 3-5k in my neighborhood. Other days I went for a scenic longer run along the Bow River pathways. Most days I took my dog along and I think it grew our bond even closer; evening runs became “our time”.
March is here and although today is a snow day and there is a thick blanket of “white stuff” falling out there, spring is right around the corner. I decided to keep my streak going and also ran on March 1st and 2nd. I will run today (although I may need snowshoes) and just keep going and run every day of March too. What better way to welcome spring and welcome my 30th year. Now that I know how easy it is to run every single day, why stop?
Some friends and I will be running a half marathon during the last weekend of May. When I start really training for that and upping my intensity I am going to need rest days so I will not continue my streak past the end of March. At that time I’ll take a few days off and then start on a real training plan. Already I think I have improved from where I was in January. I can now run hills better than before and with each passing day and each passing run, running feels more and more effortless and more and more like second nature, a fluid motion, my body totally inline, in harmony, rhythmic and balanced. Blissful.
Spring is right around the corner and the days are getting longer! Stay happy and healthy!!
Well I am officially 75% through my February Challenge. I ran everyday for the last 21 days and I only have one puny little week to go… Tonight I saw that I <3 to Run on Facebook has a “Run Every Day of March” challenge going… So I guess I am going to just get on board with that one too and make it two whole months in a row. I was a little worried early on about how my body would hold up this month but so far it’s nothing a little foam rolling and good eating can’t cure. I think month two should be no big deal as well as long as I keep my runs short-ish. You really don’t know what your body can do until you try.
It all could have all been over for me yesterday morning however. On my short commute (12 minutes) to work I got into a bicycle / vehicle accident. Some barely-awake shithead opened their car door while parked on the side of the street without looking in their rear view mirror. Over the handlebars I went. What a shock! I was stunned! I jumped up as quick as I could and hauled my bike to the sidewalk. THANK GOD no one was following closely behind me and I was able to get up and out of the way. WHAT AN IDIOT to open a car door on a busy street without looking – at rush hour! People are twats. I was super shaken up but my body was fine. I braked pretty hard before hitting the door and didn’t hit the ground with too much impact. I walked away with just a few bruises on my arms and legs. My bike feels a little off and it’s probably time for her to go in the shop for a tune up anyway.
After I calmed down a little and regained my senses I proceed to go on to work despite the accident – because physically I felt ok and I knew I had a lot of work to do. But, despite my effort in a good direction a crap-tacular day ensued. All was well when I came home though and my boyfriend made me delicious chicken tacos for supper :).
I considered not running last night but figured I’d think positive and just go, take it slow and if something started to hurt I’d listen to my body and walk back. Thankfully I felt fine and enjoyed a nice easy little run. I went again tonight (obviously I go every night now) and it was gorgeous – nearly a full moon and a big sky full of stars. It was about 0 C and not a breath of wind. Really nice and still. Nights like tonight remind me of being a child and lying outside staring at the big sky thinking about the world and wondering what was out there. Now that I know, some days I’d rather still be 5 years old lying in a snowbank in rural Newfoundland :).
So here’s my list of what I ain’t got no time for this week:
- brain dead motorists
- chronic negativity
And here’s what I’m thankful for:
- A healthy, strong body that can flip over a set of handlebars onto the middle of a street and pop back up like a champ
- The fact that no one was driving closely behind me on my commute to work yesterday morning
- A nothing-is-going-to-stop-me kind of attitude
- Boyfriends who make you tacos (the way you like them) after you’ve had a shitty day
- The best dog in the world who runs with me every night
My wonderful little dog Zoe has been running with me almost every day of my challenge as well. She is a seven year old Lab / Sheppard / Terrier cross (mutt) and she is truly the greatest dog in the entire world. Her comfortable pace is just a tad slower than I ideally like to go and I find that she pulls behind if I try and take her out for more than a 5-7k run but she loves short easy runs. Some days she wants to stop and sniff everything but overall we have got a good partnership going. Monday night she was full of pep and we did the fastest 5k I have maybe ever done. It was a very hilly route too but we attacked the hills like champs! I’ve been running a lot of hills lately too. Running everyday has really made me sick of the same old route so I have been looking for new places to explore and new ways to challenge myself. Hills it is!
I should get going and put my bruises to bed. Here are some super cute pics of Zoe. Isn’t she sweet???
I am 16 for 16 so far in my February Fitness Challenge of running every day this month! I think my tally is somewhere around 95k so far and I am feeling pretty darn good. Well except for some tightness in my IT bands and a little achy-ness from yesterday’s speedy 6k. I am focused on staying aware of any little discomforts to make sure they don’t turn into injuries and I am rolling my IT bands out every night with my foam roller. FOAM ROLLERS ARE THE BEST! Rolling our stiff muscles hurts but its a good kind of pain, like a massage. Here is a how-to guide from Runner’s World.
Only 12 days left to go to complete my challenge! I am pretty sure this is the most days in a row of running I’ve ever done. They are pretty short runs – most from 20 – 40 minutes but it’s adding up to more than if I wasn’t committed to doing it daily. No time for a long post tonight – I just wanted to give a little update. It’s dinner time and I have a well deserved veggie burger waiting for me, loaded with avocado and tomato. Om nom nom
Hello there runners!
It’s been a while since my last post. January was a pretty blah month. I am into another semester, working on another 2 online classes so time has been tight. The days are slowly getting longer and it hasn’t been too cold thankfully. We have had lots of Chinooks keeping the temperature pretty good most days.
My co-author and I did decide to forgo the Hypothermic Half Marathon this year. Life has been stressful, race entry fees and travel to and from would be expensive and I just needed the break – too much on my plate right now. For about three weeks after my 12 Days of Fitness Challenge I was only finding the time to run on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. They were good runs mind you – always one 14k or so each week. Last weekend my girlfriend and I did a run that was nearly 16k. It was a beautiful day for it too; super sunny and plus 7 c. On weekend afternoons like that I feel like I could run forever! Here’s a blurry pic from a snowy area of our trail a couple weeks ago. Sorry for the picture quality, you get the idea!
This past Sunday a couple besties and I rented some snowshoes and headed out of the city for a little frolicking in the woods. On the drive out we played some super old mixed cds and sang along to some gems like Brittney Spears and TLC :). Our destination was Kananaskis Country and we decided on doing the Troll Falls loop. The snow was fairly well packed however and snowshoes were not really necessary. Rather than walk the beaten path and waste the cost of the rental, we made our own path, found some fresh snow and charged through the trees having a great time laughing like teenagers. After our adventure we had a lovely dinner in Canmore at the Grizzly Paw. It was a great day. I went back to work the next day suuper chilled out and de-stressed. Here’s a very pretty pic of Troll Falls taken by my friend.
I decided that the best way for me to stay on track with fitness and running would be to do another running challenge. My 12 Days of Fitness Challenge was a great success, so here I go again! I have committed to running every day of February. So far I am 6 for 6 and have a tally of 40kms since Feb 1st. Because running 28 days in a row with no rest days could put a lot of stress and strain on my body, I am keeping my weekday runs short. Just slow paced 3-5ks with my dog. I find short slow runs everyday are the perfect cure for stress. The days are much longer now and it’s easy to get home from work and squeeze a run in before it gets too dark. Spring is right around the corner!! Just as I have grown an appreciation for nighttime runs…. I have totally abandoned my iPod – haven’t used for over a month. I want to be alert and aware of my surroundings while running at night or with the dog. I am also just really enjoying the peace and quiet. I don’t need to clutter my brain with music these days – I much prefer the sound of my breathing and footsteps.
Another one of the perhaps more silly reasons I want to make February a super fit month is because my 30th birthday is getting closer and closer. I really want to hit 30 feeling super healthy and satisfied with where I am in life. I had originally wanted to do a girls trip to a tropical destination but alas, I don’t have enough vacation time to run off to the sun and surf. I am freaking about a little about the big 3-0, probably thinking too much about life goals, career progress and all of that shit. I spent a lot of years as a free spirit and right now I’m in a chapter where I have to pay my dues. While I can’t run away to a beach and unwind I will be very lucky to be surrounded by some of my dearest friends in the world. 28 days of running in February will make my body and soul feel great and lesson my panic as I say goodbye to being a 20-something. I have a lot to be thankful for as I look at these photos. Hitting 30 with a great group of friends and a healthy body ain’t so bad.
Me again. This time I’m not going to post directly about my current running. Instead I’m going to talk about the beginning of my running, what motivated me, and what can be accomplished just by changing a few things in your life. I don’t like to talk about myself, and my weight loss very often, only a few people get the whole scoop, (Liz being one of them, so she may disagree with that statement lol) but I figure I will bare all now.
I moved to Alberta in September 2010. After being unemployed, unmotivated, living at home, and just not completely happy. I moved to Edmonton strictly for a job, get some experience and move home. I never knew then that the move would have an effect on my life in all aspects, one being just general health.
When I moved here I was sitting at 220 pounds. At the time, I really didn’t think that was any big deal. In January 2011, I decided my New Year’s Resolution would be to lose some weight (as it had been every year). But this year, something was different. I start just eating better, and sure enough, that number started to go down. I’d go for some walks around the neighborhood, nothing to fancy. In July, after talking to Liz about running, she convinced me that running could be fun, an easy way to do exercise, and not have to go to the gym (since gyms scare me). So Canada Day, I attempted my first run, I talked about it in my first post, so I won’t get to into it again, but I remember how much I struggled, and how much I hated it. But I was determined. (I can be stubborn like that).
So, basically my Resolution, turned into a lifestyle change, and I found a passion that I am dedicated to. Running has become my passion, and has literally changed my life. When I moved here, I would not look people in the eye, I was so insecure with myself, I was convinced that no one could actually like me, I really had no self confidence.
Now it’s 2 years later, and I’ve lost 42 pounds. When I was home at Christmas, that is how much one of my suitcases weighed, and I said to myself, I used to weight this much more! Imagine carrying around a suitcase on your body all the time! It’s crazy when you think about it.
I’ve definitely changed as a person for the better, I don’t care as much what people think of me, I can go sit in a restaurant and wait for someone to meet me, or even eat a meal by myself, I would NEVER have done that before. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all changed insecure Amanda still comes out a lot, but I’m 100 times better, and a 100 times happier. When I look at my smile in old pictures, I don’t see the happiness that I do in pictures of myself now. I look uncomfortable, but now I feel like now I look like a happy person, and I really have running to thank for that. My roommate told me the other day it’s like something clicked with me when I found running, it’s taken over part of my life, in the best way possible.
Losing weight is a huge struggle, and it was most definitely not easy, and I am definitely not done yet. There were times that all I wanted to do was sit on my couch with bags of chips, and eat them all myself, and I’m not going to lie, there were times that I did sit on the couch with a bag of chips and eat them all, lots of times actually, there are good weeks, and there are bad weeks. Last week for me was a bad week. Me and Liz decided on Monday not run the Hypo ½, and for some reason, that made me binge eat, and eat things I normally wouldn’t. But this week I’m back on track, I spent the afternoon making a pot of soup for my lunches, and planning my meals for the week. Bottom line is making sure the good days outnumber the bad days, and keeping yourself happy and balanced.
I need to get something off my chest. Something that has been bothering me for a very long time. Something that I hear almost everyday. It may make you feel uncomfortable. Some of my friends have heard parts of this rant before, but here goes.
There are a lot of people out there who say, “Everything happens for a reason.” As if to say what happens in life is out of our hands. It’s actually started to make me cringe a little. When you take responsibility for your life and realize that all the thoughts and actions and choices you have made are actually what have brought to where you are you begin to realize that good things happen when you work your ass off and bad stuff happens when you let shit slide, make excuses for yourself and have a crappy attitude.
When I hear people discussing something that they really want, or are hoping for, they often say, “If was meant to be, it will be.” I’m sorry but I think that’s bullshit. It’s just an easy way to let yourself off the hook for putting in the effort that’s required. I realize there are exceptions to this. Healthy people get cancer and careful people get can get hit by a bus. Sometimes it can take a really long time to turn a situation around no matter how hard you try. But, if you want to achieve something, one thing is for sure, you get there faster and more often when you work your butt off vs. waiting for it to fall in your lap. If you want to believe something, believe in yourself.
Lets talk about goals. What do you want in life? This maybe a hard question. It always has been very hard for me to narrow down the exact occupation that would make me the most fulfilled. I think I could be happy doing a whole heap of different things. If that’s the case in your life too, maybe it’s easier to decide what you DON’T want. If life sucks you probably have a longer list of what you don’t want versus what you do want. That’s your starting point – write down the the opposite of what you dislike right now in your current situation. That can be a goal. Your next step is to quantify it. Make it measurable and specific. For example, “I want to start running this year” is not a good goal. A better goal is, “I will run a 10 mile race this July.” BAM! A real, solid goal – with a timeline. It’s scary isn’t it? But it’s the best way, I promise. Good goals are smart. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. Now that you have defined the goal you can make a plan to get there.
Make several goals. Start with smaller ones and work your way up, this will build confidence to tackle the bigger and bigger goals as time goes on. When I was in my early twenties I was the opposite of athletic. My new years resolutions were always to “get in shape.” It wasn’t until I was encouraged by a friend to sign up for a 10 mile race that I actually set a tangible, measurable goal for my fitness level, with a timeline. I got a training plan, I ran 5 days a week and within 3 months learned not only how to run but I finished a 10 mile race. I wasn’t fast and I was pretty sore afterwards, but I finished. From then on I have been running further and faster every year. I gained so much confidence, which lead me to set and tackle bigger goals. After my first half marathon I felt super accomplished but I knew I could do more. A few weeks later I signed up for a full marathon, I trained for it and crossed the finish line with tears of joy in my eyes My point is, if I hasn’t set a clearly defined measurable goal with a timeline I would still be a couch potato, probably 30lbs heavier than I am now and pretty unhappy with myself. I don’t even want to imagine where I’d be or what I’d be doing with myself.
With the arrival of a new year; the year I turn 30, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about the life I really want to live. I want to live a life of intention and fiercely follow my deepest dreams and passions. I also want an income and a roof over my head. For now I will keep on keeping on and realize I am doing everything I can possibly do to achieve my life goals. Not all my days are inspiring but with each day comes slow steady progress. I will remember that I do have choices and I have chosen the best options. I will realize that good things happen because I work hard, know what my goals are and have a strategy in place to get there. I will keep setting bigger goals, make more plans and follow these through as well. I will never let go of my dreams. I will remember that a positive attitude is the key to success.
On that note, lets talk about new years resolutions. I obviously have running related resolutions but I have others too.
- 5 Half Marathons – At least one @ 1:45 or less
- Take care of my skin – I’m turning 30 in 8 weeks and am feeling the need to take better care of my skin, SPF everyday, especially during summer running.
- Floss everyday – 10 days into 2013 and I’m 10 for 10
- Thou shalt not skip important training runs. Period. I am referring to tempo runs and short specific workouts.
- Eat mindfully – I am not the perfect eater, when I’m hungry I am guilty of shoveling food in my mouth, barely chewing and not even tasting it. In 2013 I will slow down and enjoy food more. My strategy for this is to not let myself get so hungry that I eat more than I need or make poor decisions. A healthy snack every 3 – 4 hours will keep me in check.
This blog post was as much of a reminder to stay positive for myself as it was for anyone who might be reading this. We all have bad days here and there but if we hold tight to our dreams, believe in ourselves and are relentless we will get there.
Well, it’s almost time for me to head back to Alberta. It’s a bittersweet feeling, I’m looking forward to getting back to my routine, eating properly, (this includes no raw cookie dough, chocolate, sweets or pop – all of which I know I’ve over-endulged in), and getting more serious about training for the 1/2.
I’ve gotten some pretty good runs in while I’ve been home, short easy enjoyable ones. My favorite one though, may have only been 3.75km, but it was on a trail that ran right along the Atlantic Ocean. It gave me that sense of peace, and just pure joy.
I also need to share a conversation I had with Liz tonight. I texted her to tell her, that I don’t feel like I can walk anymore! and I mean that in a wonderful way. I was walking to my friend’s house after supper, and all I wanted to do was break into a big ol run! It made me smile as I had to control myself, and convince myself that my fake ugg boots are not appropriate running footware. I got home, text Liz, and she replied “Yep, you’re a runner” and you know what? I am! we then discussed, that we just can’t go fast enough! I wasn’t content walking, I wanted to be running. It was a good feeling.
On a different note, I know I’m a bit ahead of myself, even though the 1/2 is more then a month away (which I’m very happy about) I already have my race outfit picked out! Liz and I have discovered an amazing pair of running pants…and they come in hot pink! at first, when we were shopping together, we decided that they were too flashy, but now, I can’t wait to rock my hot pink pants on February 24.
That’s all I got for now! I start serious race training next week, so I’m sure there will be lots from me