Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I am following Marlene and posting What I ate Wednesday, hosted by Peas and Crayons!  This is actually what I ate yesterday (Tuesday).

An early morning wake up call to hit the gym required presetting the coffee making to be all ready to go when I got down stairs!

Post gym workout breakfast at my desk

Lunch Time!

and then Dinner!

Breakfast: 2 cups of coffee with creamer, Quaker instant oatmeal cinnamon and spice with banana and apple
Lunch: Leftovers - BBQ chicken with stuffing and potato followed by Oreos, carrots and another apple
Dinner: Turkey and artichoke stuffed shells from a recipe by Giada - I made these ahead and froze them - (You have to make them), along with a salad and then more Oreos for dessert

This was a rare day for me since I didn't have a snack at work before or after lunch.  Due to changes at work, I can't really have a snack currently which stinks (and I can't have a water bottle either).  Hopefully this current work will be done soon.

I was trying to hit 7 fruits and veggies also but it is proving to be harder than I thought.  Well there is always tomorrow! 

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catching the Christmas Spirit

Starting Monday morning off with a workout is the best way to start off a new week.  I especially knew I wanted to get a good sweat fest in this past Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday and all the extra food I have consumed.

After a warm up on the elliptical, I hoped on the treadmill in hopes of getting in a good run but sadly my knee started to hurt.  And it continued to bother me as I went to work and walked around all morning. 

I had an ART appointment scheduled at 11:30am and was happy when it finally rolled around because my knee was really bothering me.  My appointment started with some basic exercises that I preform every time I go to see my progress.  I could barely do the lunges without pain and so the Dr. started to work on my hamstring and then my hip.  Finally he worked on my quad and suddenly the pain was gone.  It was amazing.  I went about the rest of my day basically pain free.

Tuesday morning I woke up pain free again which was a great feeling.  I really wanted to try and get in a run before my next ART appointment on Wednesday (plus the Dr. said he wanted me to).  After a long day of work, I finally had a chance to get out for a run.  I was so excited because my knee felt good and also because I wanted to check out all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

I really enjoy running in December because of all the decorations.  It really gets me into the holiday spirit to see Christmas lights all around.  Plus we have Christmas lights on our house too!

The run went well, only minor discomfort and tightness in my knee which is a huge step from Monday's run.  I have another appointment tomorrow which I am excited to hear about.  Now I just have to foam roll my quad and do my hamstring strengthening exercises!  It is just so surprising how one muscle can cause so much discomfort.  I really hope that we have found the answer and I will be able to return to running full time and start planning for 2012.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Thanksgiving update

I had a great Thanksgiving and I hope everyone else did too!  Things have been really hectic over here.  Crazy problems at work have caused me to have to move from my regular work space to a new building where I am standing a lot.  Even though last week was short week with the holiday, I still worked a ton of hours.  Thank goodness this is only a temporary change and I will be able to go back to my regular work space soon!

In the past two weeks I have had three ART appointments and I think things are going good.  My original medial (inner) knee pain has now pretty much disappeared thanks to the release of my psoas muscle and hip flexors but I now have lateral (outer) knee pain and pain in my knee cap.  I have been able to run a little bit, but after being in a lot of pain Saturday I took a few days off to hopefully relieve the pain.  Obviously I have a bit of pain when I run, but also when I go down stairs and when I try to do lunges (pain in rear leg).  So its still a battle to be pain free but I am not giving up yet plus I have another ART appointment this week!

This was Brian and my first thanksgiving together as a married couple! We spent it with his family because we had spent the last two years with my family.  It was nice to help Brian's mom prepare the meal and spend time together.  I tried very hard not to over eat but I think that it is impossible with so much food around.  Now that the holiday is behind me, I am ready to get back to a regular schedule and healthy eating.

Last weekend I also picked up a new pair of shoes, well actually I picked up two new pairs of shoes.  I have been holding on to my old asics which really need to be thrown out.  I just could not bring myself to get rid of them yet because I was using them as my cross training shoes and I had nothing to replace them with.  I have been running in Brooks but I decided to try out Mizuno - I have never worn this brand so I am nervous but excited to try them out.  I made sure to check to see what type of Mizuno was right for me since I need a neutral show.  Seems I have been wearing mostly Asics for YEARS which are mostly stability shoes (I think...) but either way Asics haven't been working so its time for a change.  And these shoes should work for cross training - not sure about running, but I am going to break them in first and then go from there.

My second pair is New Balance and I wore this brand when I played basketball in college.  I got this pair to use for walking around and possibly casual Friday.  Just needed a nice pair of sneakers that were not sweaty and gross and dirty.

So this is a bit of a rambling post since I haven't posted in a while and have had a lot of thoughts going through my head.  I am hoping that this coming week will be a little less stressful and busy!

How was your weekend/Thanksgiving??

Monday, November 21, 2011

The battle of the lamp post

This weekend may have been the last good weekend weather wise - perfect running weather with almost 60F temps and also perfect weather to put up the Christmas lights. Brian is beyond excited about Christmas partially because this is the first year in our house and also because he is just crazy about Christmas.

Saturday he spent most of the day hanging lights from every portion of our house and also from many of the bushes in the front yard.  He then ran out of extention cords so he had to make a quick trip to the hardware store.

I waited and waited for him to come home, almost an hour later he finally returned with an extension cord and something else. At first he tried to hide the fact that he had made a purchase besides the cord but I was not to be fooled.

Soon there was another little addition to our yard...a Christmas lamp post.  He had been begging me to let him buy this hideous thing for weeks and I firmly refused.  I let him deck the house out with strands and strands of lights but I was not going to allow a silly, tacky lamp post to be placed in my front yard.

Now I am sorry to anyone who has this lamp post - its actually not that ugly - but I do not want that in my yard and so now its just principle.  Saturday happened to be a windy day and before I knew it the lamp post had made its way inside and into the foyer.  Apparently this lamp post was not sturdy enough to handle the winds and so it was going to makes its home inside.

Well I flatly refused! I told Brian to pack it back up and take it back to the store.  It has not yet moved from its place inside. 

I am not giving up may just disappear on of these days....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A day of firsts

This week has been insanely hectic and busy.  I started off thinking that this week was just going to be a normal low key week and in one day everything turned upside down and I was working long hours.  On top of that I have tried to keep up with my cross training.  It has not been easy and I can't wait until the weekend!

Even with the busy schedule, Thursday turned out to be a great day!  It was a day of many firsts!

First, I joined my running buddy for Total Body Conditioning (TBC) class this morning at the gym.  She has been trying to get me to go for months and I have always been too afraid, tired or busy running to go to the class.  This week I finally went and it was intense!  We started off easy with some basic warmup of aerobics which I failed miserably at.  When everyone was stepping left, I stepped right.  When everyone was jumping up, I was not.  Just seemed like I was out of sync - guess I never would have survived in an 80s aerobics class.  Eventually we got into the workout which was tough - a lot of lower body exerciese.  I know I am going to be sore tomorrow.

Second, I went to my first ART (active release therapy) appointment today.  A friend suggested I go today because of the knee pain I have been feeling.  I was slightly skeptical because the doctor was a chiropractor but gave it a chance - what was the worst that could happen?  The first part of the appointment was going over my history and explaining about my hip flexor strain in college and my knee pain last year.  Then he worked on my quad, medial hamstring and psoras.  Surprisingly I feel a lot better after the appointment and I am hoping to feel ever better tomorrow.

And Third, It snowed today! First real snowfall of the season!  Guess this means I really have to get out all my cold weather running gear.

Happy (basically) Friday!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Taking a break

I hate taking breaks from running. 

I hate that I had to admit to myself last week that taking a break would be the best thing.

I hate that even though I know rest is the best thing, I just want to be out running.

I hate that the weather has been perfect for running lately (60F and sunny).

I hate that my knee is bothering me.

I hate that I have been such a slacker on cross training since the spring.

I hate that my right quad is smaller than my left.

I hate that my hamstrings are so tight and I am so inflexible.


I know that going to spin class each week is good for me.

I know that my legs love yoga on Mondays.

I know that taking a break from running now is better than taking a break in March or May or July.

I know that I need to cross train even after I am healed.

I know that I will not get "fat" because I took a break.

I know that my legs deserve a rest after a great year of running.

I know that I enjoyed sleeping in this weekend instead of getting up predawn for a run.

I know that I will be running again before I know it.

So its cross training for a few more days.  Then maybe a test run.  And definitely going to spin class this week.  Other wise I'll be seeing a lot more of the elliptical.  But I think I am ok with it.  I have to get healthy for next year and that's what is important.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't be afraid of the dark

After my post about 10 Reasons to become a Winter Morning Runner, Page from Twenty Six and Then Some asked a very good question - 
"I must admit, my biggest fear and the reason I don't do it is because I'm afraid I'm going to get kidnapped or something!! What do you do to quell that fear?"
And as a woman and also a morning runner, I must admit that is one of my fears too.  Even though I leave notes and let Brian know my routes each morning, if something were to happen, no one would really know.  I could get hit by a car, become injured or be kidnapped and it would be a while before anyone would realize I was missing.

But these scary thoughts shouldn't deter us from running in the morning!  Here are a few things that I do to quell that fear -

Run your routes in the daylight - Become very familiar with your normal routes while it is light out so that it will be easier in the early dark mornings.  It is all about becoming comfortable and if you know that the second house on right has a flag that flaps or a dog that barks, you will be less likely to be scared because you will be familiar.

(If possible) Start your run in the dark and end it in the light - Certain times of year allow for this, usually not in the winter but with daylight savings time this will be possible at least for a few more weeks.  Find out your local times for dawn and sunrise.  For example, if dawn is at 6:26am and sunrise is at 6:56am, start your run around dawn or 6:30am and that way you will start in the dark but end your run when its light out.  That way you slowly ease into running in the dark. 

Wear a headlamp - This provides light for you to see as well as light for motorists to see you so it is twice as helpful.  Being able to see the road ahead of you is vital to making a morning run easier and you are less likely to step in a pot hole or trip over a branch.  It may look funny to wear one but no one is out there anyway to see you.

Run on well lit routes - Even with a headlamp, a dark street can look uninviting to a morning runner so I try to run routes that have street lights or neighborhoods with houses that leave their outside lights on.  If you see a dark street and you feel uncomfortable with it then don't run that way.  I have changed my route many times just because I have a funny feeling and don't think I should run down a certain street - always trust your gut feeling!

Becoming comfortable with running in the dark is a process and often takes time to get used to but is well worth it.  In my 5+ years of morning running I have never been approached by anyone, no car has ever stopped to talk to me or ask directions and I have only scared myself with my own shadow a handful of times. 

But while running in the daylight/afternoon, I have been stopped many times by motorists asking for directions and have cars scare me by honking at me.  The dark mornings may seem scary but usually there are very few people outside and very few motorists on the road.

Happy Morning Running!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Final Race of 2011

Despite a bit of knee pain last week, I still decided I would race on Saturday.  This may not have been the smartest thing but a) I had already paid for the race and b) my knee didn't hurt when I woke up Saturday morning.

It was COLD Saturday morning - barely 30F when I woke up at 6:30am.  I ate my oatmeal and drank my coffee and hoped that the temperature would warm up by the time the race started.  I dragged a sleepy Brian out of bed and out into the cold morning for the race too.  He wasn't racing but being the supportive husband that he is, wanted to come along.

We arrived with just over half an hour until the race start and I picked up my packet and met up with my running buddy.  The sun was just coming up but the temperature was not getting any higher as we warmed up for the race.  I didn't want to do too much before the race because I was afraid my knee would start to hurt and I wouldn't be able to make it through the race.  Thankfully, I only felt a slight twinge in my knee which was more than manageable for the race.

The race was about to start and I quickly changed into my racing outfit!  Racing singlet, capri tights, gloves and ARM WARMERS!!  I was the most mismatched person ever for this race because of my maroon singlet and orange arm warmers but I felt good!  Plus everyone else was wearing long sleeved shirts and pants - I honestly felt a little under dressed.  Before I knew it, and before I really had time to get cold in my little amount of clothing, we were off!

As we started, I let everyone take off around me and allowed my pace to slowly dropped into the range I wanted for the first mile.  I didn't want to go out too fast, I wanted to go a bit easy for the first mile and then speed up.  After about half a mile the course got a bit twisty-turny with lots of turns which made running the tangents a bit hard.  I tried my best to run the shortest distance but there is only so much multi-tasking I can do during a race.  Maintaining the pace was my first priority.

Mile 1 - 6:39

Going into the second mile, I started picking up the pace. I was feeling really good and only felt a slight pain in my knee, nothing that was keeping me from hitting my pace.  I wasn't sure if it was just the adrenalin or if my knee was actually feeling ok.  I think all the turns actually made the race go more quickly because you could never see more than a quarter mile ahead so there was never a chance to psych yourself out with how much left there was to run.

Mile 2 - 6:36

I was still feeling good going into mile 3 which I was a bit surprised at.  Continuing on, I picked up the pace even more and just pushed until the end.  We finally turned onto the last straight away and I could see my breath in front of me as I started to breathe heavily.  Less than a half mile, less than a quarter mile, just a tenth more...I counted down the remaining mileage and soon the finish line was in sight.  I dug deep and pushed as hard as I could do the finish and saw that I had a new 5k PR!

 Mile 3 - 6:24
Last 0.1 - 5:47 pace

At the finish, I felt pretty happy with this race.  I had run the race exactly how I had wanted and felt great the whole time.  Plus a new PR by 12 seconds was nice too.  A great way to close out the 2011 running year.

Official Time: 20:30
Age group: 1/58
Female: 5th

Monday Knee Update: I woke up this morning (Monday morning) and just like Saturday, after a full day of rest, my knee feels fine.  No pain, nothing.  I planned to take off today already and wont run until Tuesday night which hopefully will be enough time for the pain to be completely gone.  Still really have no idea why I was hurting - possibly runners knee or just IT band/butt muscle tightness.  Last night I spent a lot of time sitting on a lacrosse ball (we don't have any tennis balls) and I worked out a few knots that I had which made my whole leg feel better.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Tuesday night I went to running club practice like usual.  I wore my newest Brooks Ghost 3 shoes and felt fine although my overall pace for the 8 miles was a bit fast.  Wednesday morning I was up at 5am for an easy run and wore my old Asics 2150s.  And I had knee pain. UGGHH.  There are a lot of reasons that I could be feeling pain, but I am hoping it is just the shoes.  These babies have 603 miles on them and I have been using them on and off since July 2010.  It is time for them to enter permanent retirement.

2. Saturday morning I am running another 5k.  Quite possibly my last 5k and last race of 2011. I haven't decided if I will actually race this race yet.  I just hope that my registration is all in order because last week I got a letter in the mail saying they had lost my registration but had my check. I think I know what happened - I registered under my married name with my married address, but my checks still say my maiden name with my maiden address.  It's like I have two identities!  Hopefully everything is straightened out now.

3. Daylight savings time is this weekend! I can't wait for at least a few weeks of lighter mornings.  Currently the sun is rising on my way to work at.  I maybe slightly obsessed with colorful sunrises/sunsets.

Good luck to everyone racing NYCM this weekend! Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

10 Reasons to Become a Winter Morning Runner

Winter is upon us and instead of running for the treadmill, here are the reasons to continue to hit the road in the early AM.

1. You have to shower and shampoo anyway, why not do a workout first?

 This way you also avoid the second shower later in the day and have more time for laying on the couch since you did your workout first thing.

2. Your clothes don't have to match because it is dark and no one will see you.

The chances of you running into anyone you know at 5am or even 6am on the street is highly unlikely.  I actually feel more comfortable bundling up in my crazy winter running gear because I know no one will see me.

3. You start the day off with a caloric deficit.

It is a great feeling to know that you burned calories first thing and have the whole day to refuel.

4. You don't have to worry about eating the wrong thing before you run.

Even if you have to have a snack before your morning run, it most likely wont lead to you saying "I shouldn't have eaten that...."  Running before breakfast just takes out one less variable from having problems on the run.  Which also leads into #5...

5. It helps develop a tolerance for glycogen depletion.

A study was done to show the benefits of exercising before breakfast compared to other times of the day.  It stated that running before breakfast increases the proportion of fat you burn which is a very good thing.  This also can relate to that fact that running before breakfast will also increase your ability to run with low glycogen stores which will help you be a better runner.  And who doesn't like to burn fat?

6. There is less traffic and you can run in the middle of the road (if you so choose).

On average in the mornings, I get passed by about 5 cars.  When I run in the evening, on average I get passed by 500 cars.  So I am exaggerating a bit, but its true - at 5am there is a lot less traffic which makes it a bit safer for runners. 

7. Its dark at 5am and 5pm, so why not get your workout done early and out of the way?

In the winter, chances are no matter what time you run it is going to be dark.  So why not run in the morning?

8. It is far less likely to storm in the pre-dawn.

Now I am not a weather expert, but in my experiences I  have seen that winter storms usually come in during the late afternoon and evening.  Usually by 5am, the plows have been out and cleared the roads.

9. You have an excuse for running a bit slower.

If the temperature is already below freezing and you didn't manage to hit your paces on that tempo run, just blame it on the early morning run. 

10. There is just something about being alone in the dark morning when its snowing.

Enough said.  Quiet snowy mornings are just something you have to experience.

What else is missing?? Feel free to add to the list!