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Roar!

This month, I have explored running and the elements that add up to doing it well. I managed a post to match every day except yesterday, which I am happy to call relative success. We have talked about hydrating properly, using food as fuel, getting sufficient rest, and staying safe. I’ve given some information, but I also learned some things myself.

I learned that I have severely fallen out of the habit of good hydration. Getting all the water I need used to be something I just did without having to think twice about it. Having actually paid attention to it this month, I see this is no longer the case. So I’m going to start tracking it again until I work it back into being a habit.

My favorite thing about running is that it makes eating well easier because eating poorly is how we end up with cramps/spasms/nausea. When I say absurd things like “I love running,” I rarely mean that I love the actual running part. Running is the worst. It’s sweaty and tiresome and hard to do indoors, which is where I like most of my life activities to occur. What I usually mean is that I love things that go with running. I love the runner’s high (it really is a thing). I love the general spike in energy I get from being active. I love the way, after a while, running makes my body remember how to move right (aligned, elongated…well, as elongated as I get).  And I love how easy it is to eat foods that fuel me well.

My rest week was illuminating. There was a disconnect between what I was writing, particularly about Sabbath rest, and what was actually happening. It is clear that I need to drop something(s). It’s not that I’m not getting done what I need to get done; I just find it hard to relax. It’s not a matter of good time management. Given all that I do, I have excellent time management, or I would be dead. In time I set aside to rest, though, I am constantly stressed out that I’m not getting anything “productive” done. As if rest itself isn’t productive and necessary. I’m not going to make any rash decisions, but I am going to take a few months to see what needs to be dropped so that when it’s time to rest, I can really rest.

Safety week also revealed some not-like-before trends. I have a real aversion to going out on my own that I didn’t really have a few years ago. Yesterday, for example, I walked by myself in the park, and I definitely had some feelings about it during the portion of the walk that was out of sight of the street. I am less confident that I could defend myself than I used to be. Last time I ran regularly, I was in good enough shape to take on someone who attacked me. Even if I couldn’t win, I could definitely maim and discourage. I don’t have that confidence now. I want it again. Now, I’m not going to add self-defense classes – that would fly in the face of my too-much-on-my-plate problem. But I am going to incorporate more variety into my already established routine to challenge myself to get stronger, and hopefully, the confidence will return along with the strength.

I hope you have learned something this month or at least have been entertained by my chatter. Here’s to running wild!

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Ready for the close-up

This morning, I am full of allergy meds and stuffiness. Ergo, I am also water deficient, because allergy meds aren’t doing their job if they’re not drying you out a little.

This is an example of a day when I need to drink more water than usual.

As I discussed before, I operate best on about 100 ounces of water a day. Today, it’s probably going to be more like 120, although with the way my face feels, I don’t know that “operating best” is a reasonable expectation. Maybe just operating not-worst. That’s the goal for the day.

But I digress.

For this post and the next, we are going to talk about how to make sure you get enough water and what happens when you don’t. While hydration is vital to performing well (as a runner or just as a human in general), I don’t have a lot more to say about it. Your body needs water. How much water varies a little from person to person, but no one is exempt from this need.

We are in the home stretch of this series, and I hope you have enjoyed it. See you later today!

 

I’m spending 31 days running wild. 

 

 

 

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A key ingredient to running my life

Week 4 Progress:

Miles completed this week: about 6.5
Total miles completed: 19.59 (no, I’m not going to try to go 30 more miles in the next 3 days)
Days of proper hydration: 1/7
Days of good food choices: 4/7

Clearly I am not as far along in this process as I thought I’d be. I am still surprised when I am not able to do things I used to be able to do with ease.

This week, I walked with coworkers and with a friend from one of my book clubs. I’m just going to keep roping other people into going with me.

Because I am not good at going alone. Not right now, anyway. I want to become good at it again. I’m not there, though, and it’s taken me 28 days to fully admit it. I did complete one walk in the park by myself this week, so it’s not totally impossible. There’s hope. However, there’s also difficulty, because today I definitely got completely dressed for a walk, put on shoes and picked up my keys to walk out of the house…and changed my mind.

Part of that is disappointing. I want to have wanted to go. But most of it is recognizing what I need. And I needed to stay home more than I needed to go walking this afternoon. There was no particular pressing matter, other than the looming list of things that I need to get done this weekend that I won’t have time to do tomorrow because it’s Reformation Sunday, and that was stressing me out. So I stayed home and did them at a leisurely pace instead of the more frantic pace I would have adopted if I’d spent an hour walking.

And I made mac and cheese. In the slow cooker. It was glorious. And I ate only one serving with a bucket of peas, so I enjoyed it without overdoing it.

For all my knowledge about food and making healthy choices, I don’t seem to actually make those choices often, at least not on their own. It’s only when I’m making better choices in other areas – activity level, consistent rest, good time management, etc. – that sticking to healthy eating patterns becomes consistent. Being well rested and not being rushed means that I actually follow my meal plan instead of eating whatever I feel like in the moment.

My hope is that one day (and preferably, one day soon-ish) I will be motivated to eat well no matter what manner of chaos is blowing through my life. I’m not there yet, but I see it as a possibility.

In the meantime, I guess I just need to run. That’s acceptable.

 

I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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Friday Five 4

We’ve been talking about fueling all week, and if you’re like me, you want some answers. What do I eat? What will make me a lean, mean running machine (…along with regular, vigorous training)? Here are five runner-friendly lists of snacks designed to boost energy and/or aid in recovery.

  1. Oatmeal energy balls are delicious little nuggets of energy. I like how this post not only gives variations of the basic recipe but breaks it down into guidelines for substitutions for each ingredient, giving you endless possibilities.
  2. Super easy snacks – you probably have many of these things on hand already or, if not, can stock up without blowing the whole grocery budget.
  3. Cherry gummies – this is brilliant. Not only do they help you recover, they keep you from overeating (practicing a little of that moderation we were talking about earlier).
  4. If you have a hard time getting your water intake, most fruits and vegetables help you re-hydrate as well. Here are a few that are particularly useful in that regard.
  5. Many runners find coffee useful the morning of a race day. I find it useful the morning of a day. I am in favor of anyone who tells me to drink more coffee.

What are some of your favorite snacks to boost energy and recovery?

I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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Day 26 – Moderation

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Cheese is an important thing for me to ingest moderately.

Lest the previous post swing you too far in the direction of culinary chaos, let’s dial it back a little today and remember a good rule to live by – moderation.

I have to be honest. I’m an all-or-nothing, burn-it-to-the-ground sort of gal. Moderation is not naturally in my wheelhouse. It is not my go-to resolution.

It is not my favorite.

I begrudgingly admit that it’s generally the way to go for overall health and wellness, though. I could eat three scoops of Beth Marie’s coconut ice cream with hot fudge on top, or I could have a single scoop in a cone, and that will be just as wonderful without making me want to lie down afterwards.

I still probably don’t need to do that every day, though. Probably.

The problem with using moderation as one’s only guide is that it’s super subjective. While moderation might look like a large waffle cone with coconut ice cream to one person (ahem), it might look like an actual balanced diet, heavy on vegetables and low on high-calorie foods to others who might have better judgment when it comes to eating in a way that supports good health.

Since moderation does vary so much from person to person, the guidelines in this post can be helpful. All musings about ice cream (which – full disclosure – I totally had last night…after a big ass burger and fries…and also beer. Last night’s theme was not moderation, just to be clear.) aside, I try to maintain a 80-20 ratio of healthy food to, erm, less healthy food, even when training isn’t helping me out. And when I do splurge, I wait to do so on a delicious burger and coconut ice cream. If I’m going to be bad, I might as well do it very, very well (little Mae West paraphrase for you).

What tips do you have for eating in moderation?

 

I’m spending 31 days running wild. 

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Day 25 – Decadence

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Caramel-y, creamy happiness

Lest you think that life on the run is a sad time spent avoiding my favorite foods, do not despair on my behalf. My diet right now is pretty decadent. I am limiting sugar, but I’m not eliminating it. I am watching the carb intake a little less than usual, which means saying yes to a second slice of bread.

Donuts may be a no, but a dash of caramel creamer is a yes.

I am not yet running on the level where a luxurious post-run meal is necessary for recovery after any run I complete, but I look forward to the day when it is. Running experts suggest post-run splurges after a long run or a race (like a marathon). This meal needs to be designed to get all your hormones and immunity back to normal, re-hydrate, pump yourself full of the right ratio of carbs to proteins, repair muscles, and reduce inflammation.

Your body needs recovery after normal runs, too, so go on and be a little decadent about it. A snack with carbs and protein is ideal. The easiest (and let’s just say it – best) thing? Chocolate milk. Specifically, I recommend a nice glass of Trumoo whole chocolate milk. Whole (and yes, by that I do mean full fat. Glory be!) chocolate milk has the perfect ratio of carbs to protein (3:1 or 4:1) that send your body into recovery mode. I have to take a pill to have chocolate milk, though, so I don’t necessarily keep it around.

Vegans, take heart. A beverage gem with which I do not have to take a pill that was recently brought to my attention is Silk’s Chocolate Protein Nutmilk. It has 10g of protein per serving, but only 16g of carbs. Oh, well, I guess that means I just have to turn it into a milkshake by adding a serving-sized scoop of So Delicious Snickerdoodle to balance out that ratio.

The sacrifices I make…

After a run, skip the calorie counting (if you’re into that sort of thing) and give yourself a little treat. Your body will thank you.

What’s your favorite post-workout snack?

 

I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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Day 24 – What I Avoid

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Oh, donuts – I love you so much. Most of the time. You can tell by the fact that these have been in my apartment for over a week and are still there (as opposed to in my belly) that I have been getting more exercise.

One of my favorite things about running is how easy it makes it for me to eat well.

It’s not that the cravings for all my bad habits magically disappear. It’s that my bad habits make me feel so bad (physically, not emotionally. I don’t do food guilt.) when I run that they’re not even worth the moment of joy they bring.

My food habits tend toward laziness. For most people, this would mean eating emotionally, and I sometimes do that, but for this INTJ, even emotions have reasoning. Decisions about food consumption seem to fall according to a simple benefit/cost ratio. For example, eating more than a tablespoon of cream cheese, even if I take a pill to soothe the lactose intolerance, makes me ill. I have no problem leaving it alone because my hatred of being sick is greater than my love of cream cheese (and oh, how I love it). Losing a little sleep over having coffee too late in the day, though? Totally worth it.

I have a pretty low sugar tolerance most of the time, but when I’m running on a regular basis, I cut way down on sugar because it really messes up…everything. My sleep patterns (which are already not stellar). My focus. My energy level. I’m a mess when I’ve had too much sugar – especially when I add a lot of activity.

I also tend to cut carbonated drinks out, because my body HATES them. I can’t even walk up the minor incline to my car without getting winded when I’ve had soda. Running is already not the easiest thing for me; why would I intentionally make it harder?

 

Running helps me eat better, and eating better helps me run better. It’s a beautiful cycle.

 

I’m spending 31 days running wild.

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