The ups and downs of running and eating

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but since having Ruby something has changed about me. I don’t know if I’d call it a lack of motivation or a lack of will power but basically I’m just not as hardcore as I used to be. About anything. I’m far more laid back when it comes to parenting and discipline. I’m far more laid back when it comes to cleaning and the appearance of our house. And I’m way, far more laid back when it comes to food and running. In some ways I love the change. I used to stress over every little detail so it’s a nice change to be a little more relaxed but this change has also brought on some things that I’m struggling with.

During my pregnancy, I worked out as hard as, if not  even harder than, ever. I was extremely disciplined going to the gym every single Monday through Friday, running through week 29 and even walking multiple miles on the day I delivered. I made sure to eat very healthy and only ended up gaining exactly 25 pounds. By the fourth week home from the hospital I had lost all but 3 pounds and had already gotten back to running but then we moved to Texas two months later and things went down hill. It’s always impossible hard to fit in exercise and healthy eating during a move but that difficulty extended itself for a month while we waited for our moving company to finally arrive with our belongings. With no cookware, dishes or utensils we were stuck eating nearly every meal at restaurants. Of course we could have bought some paper and plastic products and eaten at home but eating out was just a nice excuse to get out of the empty house. Plus sitting on the floor 24/7 really wasn’t all that appealing. A month’s worth of restaurant meals equated to a weight gain during the time when I was still trying to drop a few pounds. We joined our local Y and I got back to running but the Texas heat in mid summer forced me indoors and treadmill running just wasn’t something I looked forward too. It was easy for me to talk myself out of going to the gym, especially because I was still nursing. The next 6 months basically continued on the same way. I teetered between a 5 pound gain and a 5 pound loss but could never get my ass in gear enough to stop with the seesawing. Then in January I decided to sign up for the Alamo half marathon. The weather was absolutely perfect and I knew that having something to look forward to would help me stay on track. I printed out Hal Higdon’s training schedule (I’ve always used Hal Higdon’s plans -they’re awesome.) and spent the next two months X’ing off the workouts. Then just a few weeks before I was set to run the half, we got word that we’d be moving again. I was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to do the race but I was so excited to have the chance to get out of Texas that my disappointment was short lived. I decided to finish the training plan anyway. On our last Sunday in Texas, I set out to run my last long run of the schedule (10 miles) and ended up going the entire 13.1 instead. At mile 8 I felt really good and started thinking this really funny thought that motivated me. I had just watched the Survivor episode with Brandon Hantz’s meltdown the previous week and I kept hearing over and over again in my head, “I’m the author of my fate!” I decided that just because I couldn’t run the race didn’t mean I couldn’t run the distance. Because just like Brandon said, I’m the author of my fate 😉

At mile 10 I felt great and kept going. At mile 11 I started to feel the pain but I knew that I could suck it up for 2 more miles. I ended up finishing the half marathon run in 2 hours 2 minutes and 47 seconds – faster than I expected myself to run it even in the race (this kind of kills me because I know if I could run this time on my own I would have beaten the 2 hour mark during the race!). Anyway, my body was dead for the next week and when I recovered enough to run again we were packing up the truck and heading to New York. I ended up running once on a hotel treadmill during our trip but of course just like the cross country trip the year before, it was mostly just trashy food and driving. When we arrived in New York after stopping to visit with family a couple times, I had maintained my weight (which was finally back down to my pre Ruby weight – but still a few pounds above where I’d like to be) but had lost all motivation to run the hills of Staten Island in the cold of NY April. This lack of motivation snowballed into another weight gain as we’ve lived in vacation mode for the past month with visitors every weekend. It’s out to lunch and out to dinner and cannolis and wine and ice cream and pizza WAY TOO MUCH. And once again, I’m back at 10 pounds over where I prefer to be.

How I want to look

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How I currently look

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How Josh looks when he’s jealous that he doesn’t get a picture in the blog

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So this is where I have to think back and wonder what the hell has happened to me? Why is it so hard for me to pass on the zeppoles when I’ve already had two slices of pizza? Why do I want to have a glass or two or three of pinot grigio every night? When I was in the process of losing the 60 pounds that I lost 5 years ago, I would think that girls who only needed to lose 10 pounds were so lucky. How easy is it to lose 10 pounds. That’s like 4 weeks of calorie counting and yet now I can’t even bring myself to record calories for one day. It’s easy for me to make excuses this time because I’m still currently at a healthy weight (normal BMI – not considered “over weight” by my doctor) and I’m fit. I mean, my butt jiggles more than it did 2 years ago but I can still easily bust out 3-5 miles running. However, I don’t like how I look in pictures, I don’t like how my clothes fit (I refuse to buy a bigger size), and I don’t like the number that the scale says every morning. So once again, I’m going to suck it up, get real and lose these 10 pounds. I’m getting my ass in gear and I’m lacing up my shoes. I’m cutting back on drinks and desserts and counting my calories. It’s going to suck. I’m going to be a little bitchy (Sorry Josh). But I am also going to feel healthier, happier and better about myself in a pretty short amount of time. I’ve done this before so I know I can do it again. I knew 5 years ago that I was going to have a struggle for the rest of my life but I promised myself that I would never let it get out of control again and I’m not going to. Enough is enough and 10 pounds is enough. The good thing is that,  I’m the author of my fate. 🙂

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I’m going to leave you with a post and an article that I read on KERF. Make sure you check out the article that she links back to. It’s a very interesting concept.

Day 21: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

Oh man, this blog every day thing is getting tough. I’m getting a little sick of following the prompts but looking back on my old posts was fun. There’s a lot here that I’m really happy I recorded and a lot here that makes me realize how much I’ve grown as a person. Enjoy! 🙂

1. Ruby’s birth story.

The story behind my epidural free, gender surprise, last baby’s birth.

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2. A love letter to my big boy.

A letter to my first baby.

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3. The truth about breastfeeding.

A timeline of my struggles with breastfeeding the final time around. We ended up making it just over 6 months.

4. You’re my best friend.

My explanation of my friendship with my husband.

5. Sweet Summertime.

How our family deals with summer break.

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6. My definition of family.

My take on the pettiness with the status of the American family.

7. A day in the life of a domestic engineer. Er, uh. A housewife.

A look back on a regular day in my life.

8. I can sleep when I’m dead.

Dealing with Theo’s sleeping issues.

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9. Running while pregnant.

A struggle and then a success with fitness during pregnancy.

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10. Almost vegan oatmeal raisin butterscotch cookies.

A random, throw together cookie recipe.

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Running while pregnant

It’s crazy to think that just 5 weeks ago I was writing about my struggles with running (or not running, rather). Initially I was discouraged by my doctor, then I was uncomfortable and  by 20 weeks it was too exhausting. But just one week after writing that post, I couldn’t resist continuing past the elliptical onto the treadmill. Bored with the elliptical, my plan was to just walk for an hour, but after 30 minutes, I had to run. I ended up only running a mile and a half but it felt so good. From that point on, I decided that I was going to give running another chance and just do what felt right to me.

I’ve been running consistently now for the past 4 weeks, averaging about 20 miles a week.   Every run is completely different from the last. One day I can run nonstop feeling great the entire time, and the next I have to stop for a pee break between each mile (TMI?). Besides that, the major notable difference is how long it takes me to sweat. I am naturally a super sweaty betty (TMI once more?) yet now, I can run for around 12 minutes before I break a sweat. I’m doing 10 minute miles, so that’s a really far distance to run and not sweat. As for the belly, aside from the occasional rub up against the treadmill, it hasn’t made a huge difference for me. I tend to lock my back when I run so I think that’s helping to support the gargantuan thing. What is getting in the way, however, are the boobs (TMI for the last time!). I am so glad that these things are not normally a part of my body! It is uncomfortable and quite frankly, annoying to run with anything besides an A cup 🙂 and I feel for women who are cursed blessed with a big chest.

Mentally, running continues to be the equivalent of prozac. The endorphins make me happy while the accomplishments keep me happy. When I got into running two and a half years ago, I felt so much pride in accomplishing something so big on my own. Especially something that so many people view as being so difficult. Now, doing it while pregnant makes me feel like nothing short of a bad ass. Especially last week when I outlasted the Company Commander who was running next to me.

Something that is funny to me, is the reaction that I’ve gotten from strangers, as well as family. Two weeks ago, I accomplished something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I ran a 5k race alongside Parker. Throughout the race, we had lots of people cheering and encouraging Parker and then cutting me and the belly the eye. There was also the lady (who was probably about the same age as me) who blatantly pointed me out to her running partner like I was a side show of the race. Maybe it was because I was passing her. 😉  I also get a kick out of the family members who have questioned my choice to continue running while overlooking the many family members who chose to continue smoking throughout the duration of their pregnancies. Of course I know the naysayers are just so because they’re worried for the safety of me and the baby, but I would never do anything that would compromise either of our health. Along with the negative, I’ve also received some really great responses too. I’ve gotten sweet compliments and had many people tell me they wish they would have stayed fit throughout their pregnancies.

Running while being pregnant has really shown me how much the human body is capable of. It’s amazing to me that my body can go through so many changes and still continue to perform. Besides what I gain from running currently, I have a few hopes for what running will bring me in the next 4 months. I hope that I can continue running at least through week 35 (9 more weeks). I hope that the stress my body works through during a run will help to ease the work that my body will have to accomplish under the stress of labor and delivery. And I hope that running will keep my body in decent enough shape to make weight loss a little easier after the baby is born. But if nothing else, at least I know that running during pregnancy will make running while not pregnant seem like a walk in the breeze!

Eh…

I am both happy and sad to say that I have finally finished Born To Run. Happy because it was an amazing adventure that was building up to the final race (for which I couldn’t wait!), but sad because I feel like I no longer have my daily connection with the characters (who are actually all real people). I normally feel this way anytime that I finish a book though. I am just weird.

Seriously though, this book is one of the best books that I have ever read. Aside from being completely interesting (just ask my husband – I practically read it to him, I was so excited), it was more inspiring than anything I have ever experienced. I was thrilled to read that other people have had the same experiences that I have had with running. It’s not something that you have to be good at to do and it’s not something that you have to have started early in life. Anyway, if you have any interest in running, self improvement, unique cultures, history, or health, I highly recommend this read.

Tonight was a left over night. Josh went out to dinner with some friends and we have had tons of leftovers for the past few days (I love it!)! I have really been craving some type of bbq chicken on the bone so yesterday I bought an organic griller pack which included breasts and legs. It was only $8.50 and made two nights worth of food! Last night we all enjoyed bbq’d chicken legs with fresh green beans (which was a light enough dinner for me to run a quick 2 miles  just an hour after eating!) and tonight the boys and I ate the leftover chicken with some black beans and cabbage. I’ve really been in the mood for lots of veggies lately so I chopped up a tomato and both green and purple cabbage and threw it all in a skillet for about 4 minutes along with some garlic, onion powder and a leeeetle Italian dressing (Newman’s Own – one of my fav brands!). It was delish!

My brother in law sent me a link to this really great article about “fake food”. From this article I found another on the worst drinks in America. Both very interesting and enlightening. He found the part about Taco Bell adding sand to their meat to be one of the bigger attention getting facts. Okay, so it’s not sand straight from the Cape May beaches, but it is silicon dioxide which is an additive found in tons of foods, used to prevent caking. In TB’s case, they probably put it in the taco seasoning powder. None the less, it’s not the healthiest thing you can eat (and certainly, not real food) and has been linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and symptoms similar to those of Fibromyalgia. Just one more example of how the things that  you put in your body don’t always shows it’s ugly side in the form of fat. An unhealthy diet may not effect your waist line, but can still be effecting your life in ways that you would never imagine. WebMd uses the term LIKELY SAFE in food amounts, which just sounds to me like euphemism for “we have no idea what the hell eating this will cause”. A staple phrase in food regulations. Oh yeah, here’s the article.

Okay, enough yapping. Good Night All!

CHECK!

I did it! I finished my first 10k in under an hour. But MAN! was it hard.

I woke up at 5:45 and hopped in the shower. I always shower before a race because it wakes me up. By 6, I was not alone. All of the early risers were awake and yelling for breakfast. Luckily, I have an awesome husband who knows my race routine so he picked up the morning time slack.

I got dressed (including shoes), brushed my teeth (has to be done as far from the race time as possible – the toothpaste gives you dry mouth, which is clearly not conducive to running 6 miles), and poured myself a cup of coffee and a glass of water. I made a whole wheat english muffin smeared with a tablespoon of organic pb and half a banana, sat down with the boys and had breakfast (even though my stomach was literally sick all morning).

By the time we were done with breakfast it was 7 o’clock. I slathered myself and the boys’ faces with sunscreen and then stretched for a few minutes. I had another glass of water.

I got my ipod (or Josh’s phone, rather) ready with my playlist and then helped Josh get the boys dressed and ready to go. We left around 7:50.

The guys dropped me off at the starting line and then headed back home since my race didn’t start until 9. I found the check in table and picked up my race bag (the lady told me that I was the first one to arrive for the 10k). I pinned on my number and checked out the goodies in my bag and then found the race map. I was excited to see that the route led us into Coast Guard territory around 3 miles – I would be running right by my house! I decided to take a bathroom break and when I came out, I heard someone scream my name. It was my friend Kim.

Kim is the type of person who can not be summed up in a sentence. Actually, Kim probably couldn’t be summed up in a paragraph, so I’ll just put it this way – Kim pushed her 6 year old daughter in the 5k and won 2nd place overall for women. Then, 5 minutes after finishing the 5k, she ran the 10k and won 1st place for her division. She is insane, so clearly she is a person that I love to chat with before a race!

After getting a dose of Kim, the 5k was about to begin. I stood on the sideline watching my usual race, still wondering if I’d made a mistake by signing up for the 10k.  The race began and I found my guys who’d come back to cheer me on. After about 25 minutes, I decided to go line up. This particular race was to benefit people with spinal cord injuries so there was a wheel chair division that was starting – the 5 minute warning for the 10k. Surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling too worried. Looking back on it, I guess I wasn’t thinking about what I was in for. I was treating it as any other run.

Runners take your mark.

Get set.

GO!

And we were off. I started S. L. O. W. I knew that I had to work really hard to find the right pace. After about 2 minutes, my pace keeper told me that I was at 9 min 45 sec miles. I decided to kick it up a bit. I got stuck in a crowded pack so I decided to kick it up a little more. By the end of the first mile, I was averaging in the low 8 minutes per mile. Way too fast for the pace that I wanted to keep. The plan was that I’d run the first 4 miles at 9 minutes each and then kick it in for the last 2.2. miles.

That plan never panned out. My mini me got the best of me and I just wanted to keep up with everyone else. I did the first 5k at about 8 1/2 minute miles. And then the pain set in. It truly seemed to hit me right at the 5k mark. Luckily, at this point we were in my neighborhood so I wasn’t going to let it show but I was hurting! I cramped up in my abs (I think that I am doing something wrong to cause this cramp because I get it often) but knew from past experience that if I fought through it long enough, it would go away. For the next 2 miles I was fighting this cramp while now running about 9 1/2 minute miles. Finally, it dissipated around 5 miles. At this point one of the wheel chair participants passed me and I remembered what this race was for. Talk about a reality check. What I was feeling was nothing compared to what others were going through at that same moment all over the world. I turned the last corner and officially had less than a mile to go but was of course, facing the heavy winds. At 5.64 miles, I began to heave. I didn’t feel sick and I could see the finish line but my stomach was doing something that was scaring me! I stopped and walked (I know! I can’t believe it either! I freakin’ walked!) for about 20 seconds and then joined a group of four others to finish. We all came in at nearly the same time – there were 7 people who finished within 12 seconds of one another.I finished at 59:12. Just under my goal.

When I finished, I was done! I most definitely gave it my all. But I know that I can do better. I should have trained a little more for this race and I need to learn how to pace myself better for longer distances. When I was done, I said that I didn’t think I’d do a 10k again and I definitely didn’t want to run the half marathon that I was planning to do in October.  But now, the pain that I felt from the race has once again dissipated and I am ready to do another! All that is left is that feeling of excitement that I did something that I was afraid to do and I did it within the goal that I had set. I want to do it again! I want to do something even bigger!

So I didn’t place and I didn’t run the race in record time (and MUCH to my dismay I even walked!). But I did make the first check mark on my summer to do list and I kicked off racing season! My next race is next weekend. It’s only a 5k but I intend to run it faster than any 5k I’ve run before. And I’m gonna have fun doing it!

Runners Take Your Mark!

Gulp.

Tomorrow is the Great Cape May Footrace and I am running my first 10k. I feel kind of wimpy being so nervous. It’s only 6.2 miles – but I’ve actually only done this distance 4 times. If this were a little less than a year ago, I would be blogging about my nerves for my first ever 2 mile race ( in which I ended up winning my age division), so it’s not so much about the distance but rather the unknown.

Last fall I think I burned myself out with races because I got to the point where I just wanted to win. It wasn’t fun. And while winning IS fun, this year I just want to focus on challenging myself rather than beating the guy next to me (but in the back of my mind, my ridiculous mini me is saying push it Morgan, push it, you can make yourself go faster to beat that guy next to you) .

This 10k has already been a  challenge for me. Definitely more so mentally than physically – I know I can run this distance. But for the past week my mind has been running around the idea that I’ll come in last (here comes my mini me). I know that the goal here is to finish – this Summer I want to run (not necessarily win) a 10k race, a beach race, and make the 10 mile trip to the lighthouse and back – but there’s always that little voice telling me that even if I finish, if I’m last, it’s not good enough. I’ve been playing such a mind game with myself that I have told Josh at least three times that I’m going to switch to the 5k. Doing exactly what I do when I’m running a race and want to walk, I’ve been creating reasons (excuses) why I shouldn’t do this run.

  • I just got new shoes and they’re not broken in enough.
  • This is a big race and there are going to be a lot of great runners whose way I’ll be in.
  • It’s only May, I have a lot of time to find a different 10k.
  • It’s going to be too cold (I’m a running weather snob).

But luckily, I knew I’d do this and planned ahead. I preregistered about 3 weeks ago and I posted a blog on how excited I am to be running this race – I’m not backing out after I made it blog official!

So tomorrow morning, cold weather or not, come 9 am I will be running my first 10k. My stomach will be weak, my hands will be clammy, my breath will be short, but I’ll be on the starting line. And by 10 am (my goal is to finish within an hour) I will be crossing the finish line – blistered feet and all.

It’s actually this exact reason as to why I love running. The mental challenge. It’s the easiest way to show yourself that you can overcome pain and exhaustion but most of all, fear.

THIS is living. I have never felt a better feeling than when I do something that I am afraid to do. It’s not just running. It’s challenging yourself. It’s knowing that you can honestly do anything that want to do. You have to really want it – but if you do, it’s yours. And during the times that I don’t want it enough, I have never felt worse. Which is why most of the time, I want it too much.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be reporting to you that I finished in record time (here comes my mini me again) and took at least the 3rd place finish for my age. But if I can’t, at least I can put the first check mark on my to do list.

Just for fun I’m going to share my play list for the race.

Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon (ultimate starting song!)

Under Pressure – Queen and Bowie

1234 – Feist

Girl – Beck

I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

All is Love – Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack

Sugar We’re Going Down – Fall Out Boy

Mr. Brightside – The Killers

Mushaboom – Feist

You Get What You Give – New Radicals

High And Dry – Radiohead

I Like To Move It – Madagascar 2 soundtrack

Hey Soul Sister – Train

The Underdog – Spoon

When you were young – The Killers

Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

So What – Pink (ultimate finishing song! – may have to skip ahead to get to it! 😉 )

Wish Me Luck!

Put On My Runnin’ Shoes!

Holy running shoes, Batman!

These shoes are amazing. Imagine you’re a 5 year old who runs and runs and runs and never tires. That’s what I felt like while I did nearly 5 miles the first time I placed these glorious non – shoes on my tootsies. They weigh about nothing and feel much more like a sock than a shoe – kind of like a water shoe actually.

They’re definitely something to get used to. The first half mile kiiiiinnndddaaa hurt my heels but then I seemed to adjust and I was fine. I ran to the beach and then ran on the beach for nearly a mile (talk about a butt kicker! – it felt more like 10 miles). I did get a blister but it could have been from the sand that got in from my beach run.

Later, I was extra sore. I don’t know if it was due to running in the sand or the new shoes, but either way I know Five Fingers has already started to make me change my form (which is a good thing! I need all the help that I can get!).  A little less landing on my heels and a little more landing on my toes will hopefully help to increase my speed! Although I didn’t keep my time during the first run, I know that I was smokin’!

Thanks Aunt Dawn!