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Omaha Half Marathon 9.26.10

October 6, 2010
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I ran a half marathon.  The most common response to this statement has been “I didn’t know you were training for a half!?”  Exactly. 

Let me just say, my intentions were good.  This would be my 3rd half marathon and I thought it be a GREAT opportunity to finish under 2:10.  But then…the ultimate excuse…life happened. 

Running wasn’t my priority.  Working out wasn’t even really priority.  There were weddings to go to, I was working 50-60 hour weeks, I was moving, I got sick, I broke up with my boyfriend, bla bla bla, stuff happens.  So why didn’t I scrap it and why did I still run it?

Given the general  lack of preparation (the longest run I completed pre race day was 7 miles),  I simply wanted to see if I could do it.  One of those “I climbed the mountain because it was there” kind of feelings.  Also, and almost as importantly, I wanted to wear the race tee and preferred to do so with pride.  Otherwise, I would have had to hide it in the back of a drawer, sit in the shame corner, or donate it to goodwill.  Ugh.

The race was well organized and the start was extra awesome because I ran into some friends who were running the 10K.  The course looped around downtown neighborhoods and along the river front.  It was definitely hilly as described by EVERYONE who has an opinion on hills, but they were manageable.  It went surprisingly quick and running RIGHT next to the river at the finish (Yes, the Missouri river, just like Lewis and Clark), was surprisingly beautiful.  The high-fives from my friends were an extra surprise and really pumped me up for the last .2 miles! 

I finished in 2:16.  Not MY quickest, but I was proud.  I didn’t walk, I didn’t stop, I just kept going and I did it for ME and not anyone else, not because people didn’t think I could, but because I WANTED IT.  And, I am blessed and thankful for the opportunity to complete the race without injury.

So now, why train for any other half marathons?  Why not just get out there and run it?

Well, I HAVE to get under 2:10 SOME day.  Also, I am fairly certain that with the proper amount of training, I wouldn’t have been sore until the Thursday after the race :o)  

OOC

September 12, 2010
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Out Of Control (“Double O C”).

Day 1

It all started Friday when I woke up REALLY tired and decided a 32 oz.  Diet Coke and a bagel was the instant fix I needed to get through my morning at work.  Wrong.  Things continued to spiral out of control when one large box of Milk Duds (Let’s not even TALK about choosing subpar chocolate like chalky milk duds over the good stuff such as Dove or Ghirardelli…that’s another blog post all together.) was empty and my tummy was hurting.  Swearing off candy all together, my day and evening continued.

All was well until my volleyball team “Jay’s Crew” aka “Grumpy Ponies” decided to go to Old Chicago for late night happy hour.  I couldn’t eat dinner due to the candy alien growing in my stomach after the milk dud binge, so I was of course starving!  Buffalo chicken rolls, italian nachos, and spin dip were all consumed at about 1030pm.  I popped some tums and hit the hay as I had to work at 5am. 

Day 2 

Waking up at 3:30am the next morning for work was miserable.  My head hurt, my stomach hurt, I felt disoriented.  I had NO alcohol the night before.  I pegged it a food hangover.  I choked down some water and used the previous night’s calorie fest to power me through at work. 

I still didn’t feel hungry around noon when  I grabbed a veggie tray (Yes, naturally occurring food!) and some frozen pizzas on the way to a friends house  before the Huskers took down Idaho.    But then the hunger hit me, hard.  So of course, bring on the pizza.  Darn it.  And later on that night…bring on the Buffalo Chicken Wrap….and fries.

Really Natalie, MORE Buffalo Chicken?  Yes.  Even after the previous night’s buff chix rolls, I went for round two.   See, Buffalo Chicken and I have had quite the love affair dating back to my college days at SLU and if I see it on a menu I am helpless even if it was recently consumed in large volume.  But, now I’m justifying this, I digress…

So now that we have read through my food saga, here is WHY I think those poor decisions were made:

1.  I’m lazy.  Friday morning I didn’t want to make coffee at home, so I bought diet coke (poison according to my personal training buddy Josh) instead.  And, I opted to just eat at the football gathering instead of making food at home before I went over. 

2.  Letting myself get too hungry.  Once I am to the stomach growling stage, I go for what “SOUNDS GOOD” instead of what actually FUELS MY BODY.  The choices at Old Chicago were a perfect example.  If I would have had something nutritious (and small due to my milk dud binge) before volleyball, I wouldn’t have been ravenous by the time our games were over.

3.  Candy as food.  CANDY IS NOT FOOD.  This is my new mantra.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

3.  Social eating.  Typically, hanging out with my boyfriend and our friends, we are eating chips, dips, pizza, wings, etc. etc while watching football.  Then, when we all go out to eat, it is usually at a sports bar.  Someone wants to order a pizza, someone wants to split wings, and I am easily swayed out of of eating healthfully.

So, what to do about it? I think remembering how all of those poor food choices made me FEEL (ie.  like crap) will help me to make better choices in the future. I need to pray for strength and remember that God gave me this body and it is a GIFT and I need to treat my body with honor and respect.  Also, I need to remind myself that even if we are at a sports bar, I don’t HAVE to get buffalo chicken, it will be there another day.  I can make a better choice that would still be just as yummy.   

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe the foods I have mentioned are all ok to eat, IN MODERATION.  What I realized was that I wasn’t assessing what I was putting into my body with a critical eye and I physically paid the price.  Also, I want to know more about myself in terms of WHY I make the food choices I do.

So, stay tuned as I strive to obtain some FREEDOM from poor food choices and learn to truly FUEL my body!!

How many steps to the middle of a…??

August 22, 2010
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100 steps to the bathroom and back to my desk.

2000 steps around the park on my daily lunch walk.

50 steps to the water cooler and back to my desk.

Have you ever tracked how many steps you take every day?  I never had until this summer, when I wore a pedometer for six weeks as part of a work wellness challenge.  My company sent me a pedometer and I wore it as much as I could over the six weeks to log my steps to meet the daily goal of 7500 steps that I had set for myself.

image

 Picture from http://heartmonitors.org/pedometers.html

Here’s a re-cap of what I learned over the six weeks:

1.  I sit a lot at work.  A LOT.  Wearing a pedometer and seeing I only had a few hundred steps at lunchtime was really eye-opening (and that’s including a couple of those 100-step-trips to the bathroom!).  Checking my step total during the day was a great reminder to get up and go for a walk around the building and to not skip my usual walk at lunch. 

2. Be careful of the location of your pedometer and the movement of your hand on those bathroom trips.  I lost one pedometer to the porcelain god and had to continue the challenge with a back-up my co-worker happened to have.

3. Little things add up, especially things like running errands.  I took a lot of steps on days where I went to the mall, to Target, to the grocery store, etc.  And parking a few spots further back at each of those places helps, too.

4. Wearing a pedometer can also be a fashion challenge.  My work is very casual (read: people wear black jeans…eek), so I had no problem wearing it with  my (blue) jeans or khakis at work, although I didn’t always like how it looked!  I had to abandon it a few weekends because my favorite summer weekend wear is cotton dresses and there just logistically isn’t anywhere for the pedometer to go.  And when it came down to an outfit I wanted to look nice in for going out or whatever, even if there was a spot for the pedometer, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear it.  Plus I can only imagine that after a couple drinks any pedometer would suffer the same fate as #2 above.

5.  Taking breaks to walk at work is a really nice pause in the day.  This is something I have kept up even after the challenge.  I like to sneak out at least once in the morning when it’s still cool and walk a lap outside the building.  In addition to getting some steps in, I try to take this time to take a mental break too – to think about anything but work.  Walking is a great time to pause and think about what I’m thankful for.

Whether or not you have a pedometer, try to take time to get in a few extra steps this week, you might like it!

Pseudo Adult

August 20, 2010
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Being a “pseudo adult” has long been a joke amongst our friends.  For us, it was the idea that we had graduated college, had full time jobs or were in grad school and really had no idea what we were doing.   (At least in my case).  We were professional (sometimes) during the week and acted like we were still in college on the weekends. 

An article recently published in the NY Times discusses this: 

What is it about 20 somethings? 

I thought the article was interesting in its discussion of the widely accepted mindset that there are certain milestones that we must meet on the way to “adulthood.”  Begin working or go to college and then get a job, get married, buy a house, have a kid.  Today, those milestones may happen more slowly or in a different order, or not at all.  And how many friends do I have that have completely switched careers before they are 30?  Or have moved back in with their parents to go to grad school at the age of 28?     I still consider myself an adult even though I have yet to purchase and own a couch, let alone a house!  I think it is important to figure out what may now define us as “adults,” and even if we have met those traditional milestones, do we even feel like we ARE adults and have it all together?  Perhaps you just never know if you have it all together and you keep learning and growing regardless of your age! 

Duathlon, Duath-What?

August 8, 2010
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Greetings friends!  Yesterday was the  Columbus Duathlon.  A duathlon  is difficult to spell (shouldn’t there be an extra vowel in there?  Duath-A-Lon?  Duath-O-Lon?  ANYONE?), and certainly a challenge to complete as well.  A duathlon consists of a run, a bike, and a run.  There are sprint distances, olympic distances and half-ironman distances.  The races I have participated are sprint duathlons and are pretty close to:   2 miles run, 10-15 miles bike, 2 miles run.

Bridget and I have both had the opportunity to complete one.  The first one for both of us (and Bridget’s hubby) was the 2009 Papillion Duathlon.  We left the duathlon exhausted, proud of our accomplishment and with a new understanding of why everyone had towels at their transition area (umm, you sweat ALOT in a duathlon, not to mention it was a VERY humid Nebraska day). 

The Omaha/Eastern Nebraska area has three duathlons that I have competed in:  Papillion Duathlon (June), Fremont Duathlon (July), and Columbus Duathlon (August).    Last year when I was in super-shape, I completed all three.  This year due to a busy summer travel schedule  I completed my first duathlon today.

Race recap:

1st Run:  I started off feeling pretty good.  The sun was starting to come out and it was going to be a hot one!  I wear a watch when I run, but I hate “running for numbers,” so I don’t always look at it.  I decided to go hard and if I needed to shuffle along the second run so be it.  I finished the first two miles in 17:15.

Bike:  Transition is tough!  Given the opportunity, I would gladly stop the clock, sit down on the grass, wipe my brow, and sip my water bottle while I put my bike gear on.  Well-not so much.  Getting bike shoes on, halo headband adjusted, helmet and sunglasses on while balancing on one shoeless foot is a better representation of what really happens. 

I typically think of the bike leg as my weakness, but I felt strong!  We faced a fairly strong headwind but the course was pretty flat.  The best part was when my friend passed me on the bike portion.  Talk about motivation!  He’s a strong biker, so I vowed to catch him on the run.  My bike time was 42:00.

2nd Run:    While my legs felt like they were filled with lead when I first started, I made good on my goal and caught  up with my friend.  He tried to hold me back (literally) but I made it through!  There were no headphones allowed during the race, but I had the Black Eyed Peas song “I got a feeling” stuck in my head.  It kept me going and I had more power so that I didn’t have to just shuffle across the finish line.

When I do races, I like to have a goal in mind.  Sometimes I don’t always share that goal, but it’s at least in the back of my mind.  In most instances, I have a time that I want to beat.  Since I haven’t been working out consistently, my goal yesterday was just to complete the race with a performance I could be proud of.  I finished the duathlon in 1:21:00 (including transitions) and was still able to walk afterwards, so I deem that a success! 

Early Bird

July 20, 2010
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Today I woke up a new woman. Actually, today I woke up early and went for a run. And it was
glorious!
See, a couple years ago, I woke up at 5ish several times a week and went straight to the gym
for a pre-work workout. It was hard the first week – 5 a.m. is really really ridiculously early, in
case you didn’t know – but once I got into the routine I loved it. I loved getting my workout done
right away, I loved the open machines and weights in the gym, and I loved seeing familiar faces
each morning, especially a friend who taught an awesome spin class. Most importantly, I felt
like I was making myself a priority each day. I didn’t like my job very much at the time, so it felt
good to workout and eat a healthy breakfast before I had to face it. Made me feel stronger, ya
know?
Anyways, fast forward 2 years, a move to Nebraska, and a new job with a 7 a.m. start time (+
30 minute commute). Do you know how early I would have to get up to get in a workout and
get ready to head out the door by 6:30? EARLY. (Have you noticed yet that I’m not exactly
a morning person?) The gym isn’t really an option since it’s in the opposite direction of work,
so I would have to be ready even earlier. But I told myself this summer that I would run in the
mornings a few days a week. It’s too hot and humid to run outside after work, so if I ever want
to run outside, I have to do it early in the morning. I tried to do this before today, I really did. I
got out my running clothes, put them in the bathroom so I could get dressed without waking my
husband and puppy, and set my alarm for 5. And each time I did that, I would inevitably wake
up around 5:30 after 3 smacks of the snooze button and wouldn’t have time to run.
Last night I let myself have no excuses. I was running today, period. So I used my old trick
and set my cell phone alarm and put the phone across the room. When I heard the “ding-
dong” of that alarm this morning, I bolted out of bed to grab the phone. Then I hit snooze and
got back in bed. Fail. The alarm went off 5 minutes later and I was up! To the bathroom!
On with the running clothes! Success. I was out the door by 5:15 and got in a peaceful,
energizing 3 miles by 5:45. The dog was confused – people in our house don’t get up early
and do stuff. So I played with her for a few minutes and then let her lick me while I stretched.
Is there anything better than a great run and some puppy love in the morning? I think not.

Meet Scott

July 4, 2010
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My dear friends, meet the newest addition to my life…Scott!Scott

Scott is my new bike and I am so happy to have him!  I have been wanting a road bike since completing one day of RAGBRAI last year.  Fairly new to biking, I started my bike journey with a fitness hybrid  (aka Black Lightening) the summer of 2009.  Black Lightening has been very good to me, but unfortunately, could no longer meet my needs.  I longed for a more aggressive posture on the bike.  I needed a lighter bike to keep up with KDub and our friends, not to mention my parents who are the ultimate road warriors! 

Enter the search for a road bike.  Here’s how I went about the process:

1.  Research, research, then research some more.  The internet was my friend.  I also asked more experienced riders what they liked about their bikes.  I learned about the components of the bike (derailers, frames, cranks, etc), why certain bikes are more expensive than others (Carbon and components, oh my!!) and what would best suit my needs (A woman specific design –WSD road bike).  When I went into one of the bike stores, I was complimented on “doing my homework” and the salesman was able to be more specific about the features of each bike. 

2.  Ride the bikes!  When I bought a car, I drove over 5 different cars.  Excessive?  Maybe…but I sure figured out what I liked and didn’t like.  The same goes with bikes.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I need a very small bike due to my, ahem, really short legs, so there was a limited number available that I could even ride.  Also, I was informed that 2011 bikes were coming out in August and there are very few bikes left in general.  Even with only a couple choices, it was still important I had something to compare to.  Before you test ride, make sure the seat is adjusted appropriately.  Check out the reach to the handle bars.   Practice shifting both the large gears and small gears.  Use the brakes and see how the bike handles on turns. 

3.  Bargain.  I learned my bargaining skills from my grandma who used to take me to the flea markets in Mexico when I was little and from my mother who has a knack for bringing car salesmen to tears.  They are ruthless, I’m not so much.  But, most bike stores will deal.  Ask for a specific percentage off, ask about a “bike club” or frequent buyers program.  There is nothing wrong in asking and it often “pays off.”  Hehehe.

Scott went on his first 50 mile bike ride yesterday.  He did great with the 20 mile headwind for the first 25 miles and the rolling hills of Nebraska (Yes, there are hills in Nebraska).   I’m really looking forward to all of the adventures we will have together!