Tag Archives: couch to 5k

ideal running conditions

If I’ve learned anything during this short foray into running, it’s that my body and mind depend on a certain set of conditions to be met before and during my run. Those precise conditions are something I’m still trying to nail down.

I had a wonderful 3.15 mile run on a nearby trail this weekend. It felt effortless and smooth. I took a few very short walking breaks but only because there are a few very steep hills on the trail and I didn’t want to expend all my energy climbing them: the breaks weren’t a necessity due to fatigue or breathlessness, a fact I’m proud of. I’ve been anxious to get back on that trail, and I did so today after work. This run felt laborious, difficult, and I was absolutely exhausted. I only completed 2.46 miles and I took a few extra walking breaks that I didn’t take on Sunday (but I did complete a mental and physical challenge: climb one of the steeper hills).

Last week I ate a lot of processed junk and drank a lot of beer, so this week I’ve been paying special attention to my diet: clean eating, lots of fruits and veggies, no beer. I thought this would help my run today, but it didn’t. I started to retrace my every motion from Sunday. What made that run different?

On Sunday, the weather conditions were perfect. It was about 80 sunny degrees during my mid-morning run. About an hour previous, I’d downed two cups of coffee so I was probably still feeling a caffeine buzz. Let’s not forget that it was the weekend so I’d slept a delightfully long weekend sleep. Perhaps most importantly, I hadn’t spent 2 hours in the car and 8 hours working prior to the run.

Fast-forward to today: it was cloudy, humid, and buggy. I had spent 2 hours in the car and 8 hours working before my run. And, though I’ve been trying to eat cleanly, I did eat a clif bar around 1:30 (which was the last time I ate before my run) and my body could have been experiencing a sugar crash by the time I went for my run at 5.

I’m a very calculated person and I refuse to accept that one day, I can run 3 miles effortlessly and three days later, I struggle just to get through the first mile. I’d like to get a discussion going, hopefully from both the running novice and the running extraordinaire: what are your ideal running conditions in relation to diet, drink, time of day, weather conditions, mood, etc.? How do you get through the difficult runs, if you have them? Am I the only one that experiences such inconsistency?

On Sunday, I thought I could easily blast through a 5k and potentially shoot for an eventual (in a year or two) half-marathon. Today, I don’t even know if I could get through a 5k in under 50 minutes. Are these simply the growing pains of the young runner?

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run, sweat, drink beer

I’m down 17 pounds. I’ve finally (FINALLY!) run 3.1 miles straight through without a walking break in sight. I’ve been sweating my ass off both in the gym and in my car, whose lousy A/C decided to crap out during the biggest heat wave of…ever, as far as I’m concerned. And now I have two glorious days off (the weekend before the weekend!) and I’m going to drink some beer and get all self-congratulatory about meeting my short-term goals while still trying to keep myself in check so as not to deter myself from continuing on to the next leg of this journey: the long-term goals.

Happy Fourth!

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the one where I talk about the worm I found on my kale

Hi all. I haven’t been posting very often, and the reason for that is twofold: 1) I haven’t really been making anything interesting worth posting about, and 2) I’ve been kind of bored with my life and haven’t found much reason to update. But something so disgusting and so obscene happened just the other day that I’ve dragged myself here to write it down.

Around noon, when I was sitting at work, I got a craving for something salty and crisp. Remembering I’d purchased a big bunch of kale three days prior, I salivated at the thought of coming home to bake some kale chips. I was so excited because kale chips are the best, and I only recently discovered them. I got home from my workout and even before showering, I decided I wanted to get these puppies in the oven. I pulled out my bag of kale and picked out a few choice leaves.

As I was getting ready to rinse them, I noticed something black and white in the center of the best looking leaf. At first I thought there was just a small rotted piece. The rest of the kale looked fresh so I thought huh, how strange… I was getting ready to cut that piece out and then I realized it was not a rotted piece of the leaf: it was some sort of larva. Larva. In my kale. LARVA.

Did I want to take a photo of this? Yes. But I couldn’t stand the thought of this larva-infested piece of kale sitting on my cutting board while I went to find my camera. I have to assume it was dead but I didn’t let it stick around long enough to find out. My stomach turned. LARVA!

Needless to say, I did not eat any kale chips. I tossed the whole bunch. Poor kale.

This was bound to happen eventually, right? It only makes sense: produce comes from outside. And, duh, so do pests. But did I expect to find larva on my storebought kale? It wasn’t even organic kale, so no, I did not.

The sight of this white larva surrounded by black something-or-other has turned me off of kale for a while, I’m afraid. You best believe I’m going to be thoroughly inspecting my produce from now on. Ugh.

So, that was the bad news, but I have good news too. I’m down 13+ pounds since I’ve started working out in February. I expected a faster weight loss since I have so much to lose (I aim to lose about 40 more pounds). But, instead of beating myself up for this, I’ve decided to embrace it and give myself credit where it’s due. I’m doing well and I should be happy. And, for the first time since high school, I ran 2 miles straight the other day on the treadmill. No, it’s not quite a 5k, and yes, it’s on the treadmill–which is much easier to me than pavement–but it was 2 miles! I’m well on my way. I will get there.

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c25k update

I’ve been cooking new meals but I have neglected to take any decent photos, so this post will not be about that. But for the record, I made vegan stroganoff this week (very tasty!), and caribbean coconut rice w/ chickpeas and broccoli (this was tasty but I sort of ruined it by adding a touch too much cayenne pepper–my mouth was on fire! I also don’t think I’m a big fan of ginger and this called for a whole tbsp of ground ginger). I used my Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan for the MOST delicious tofu scramble I’ve cooked to date. I wish I had photos! It was to die for. It was the talk of work when I brought my leftovers for breakfast. I love when my coworkers are intrigued by my meals. They are always telling me how delicious my food looks and smells, and they’re always shocked to find out the ingredients. One of my coworkers even told me I’ve inspired her to include more veggies into her meals. I love that! 🙂

I’m chugging along with the c25k program. I decided to abandon the regimen and go it alone. I finally “graduated” week 5, finally running 20 minutes straight. I’ve really, really slowed my pace, which I’m okay with. Speed and time will come later. Right now, I’m really just trying to bump up my endurance. Being able to run for 20 minutes was a huge accomplishment for me, even if my pace is barely a step above a brisk walk. I’m going to try to add a couple minutes to each run until I get to 30 minutes. Then I’ll start bumping up my speed by a tenth of a MPH until I get back up to my original pace. I will get there. I will not give up. (However, I only ran twice this week and only worked out three times total. My boss let us leave an hour and a half early yesterday and I decided to go home and relax rather than go to the gym…and then I ate way too much food and called it a day.) I’m taking my run outside today for the first time. I’m anticipating crashing and burning. It’s much easier on a treadmill. We’ll see how it goes. I’m lucky I live in the great-freakin’-plains and I won’t be dealing with any inclines. Just flat terrain here in Illinois.

We’re leaving for San Francisco on April 21. For anyone who’s been: what restaurants do you suggest for vegans? I plan on doing some research but I thought I’d mention it here in case anyone has any brilliant suggestions.

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my big fat vegan weekend

I spent the majority of last week feeling angry and confused about why the numbers on my scale haven’t budged. I even, in all my craziness, thought that my apartment’s sloping floors were to blame. I took my scale from my bathroom tile to my bedroom hardwood and tried there. Same number. I jumped on the scale in the gym locker room pre-workout. Same number. All of this is strange to me because my boyfriend says I look like I’ve lost weight. My coworker says the same. Even if I was losing fat and inches and not weight, my clothes would be fitting differently…but they’re not. It’s as if I am living the exact same lifestyle I was before (eating lots of sweets, eating lots of cheese, and not working out at all). It’s frustrating because I’m not. My boyfriend sees the breakfasts and lunches I pack myself for my work day. I eat healthier than anyone he knows, he says. I’m not perfect the rest of the time. I do still eat the occasional sweet, but I refuse to give that up. That would be deprivation. I will not succumb to a lifetime of no chocolate. That isn’t fair to me, my body, or my brain.

The conclusions I’ve drawn are these:

  1. I’m not eating as healthy as I think I am. When I was a freshman in college, I had gained about 15 pounds (what a stereotype). I went to the women’s services clinic to refill my pill prescription and when the doctor asked if I had any questions, I said yes: I keep gaining weight and I don’t know why. I told her I thought it was because of the pill. She had me try a low-dose pill that made no change to my weight but screwed my cycle up completely. When I returned a month later to be put back on the original pill, I sat with her for maybe 10 minutes, nearly in tears, telling her how much I hate my body and how I don’t know what to do. She asked if I was exercising regularly. I said a few times a week–not as much as I could–but I lived in the farthest dorm on campus and I always walked to class, I never took the bus. She said that should be making a difference. Her ultimate suggestion was this: maybe you’re not eating quite as healthy as you think you are. Make a food journal, she said. And once you start tracking your food intake, seek a nutritionist’s advice. I never did make that food journal, I never saw a nutritionist, and I went on to gain another 20 pounds by my senior year. But that idea always stays with me: maybe what I think is healthy isn’t as healthy as I thought. This is where food tracking comes in. This is why Weight Watchers worked for me my senior year of college and I dropped 25 pounds in no time at all. This is why I’m trying to track my calories now on MyFitnessPal. I’ve learned that this is a necessary part in my losing weight, but unlike my senior year in college, the weight isn’t coming off as rapidly. In fact, it isn’t coming off at all. Which brings me to…
  2. The conditions of my first weight loss success are not aligned with my current conditions. When I lost weight on Weight Watchers, I really don’t think of it as a healthy weight loss. It worked, yes, but what I was eating was abominable. Let me paint the picture for you: I was a full-time student and I worked two part-time jobs, one of which being a retail job selling chocolate. I was incredibly busy which resulted in very quickly eating all of my meals, which were mostly processed TV dinners. I can’t think of more than twice that year that I cooked. We ate out a lot, like when my boyfriend would visit, and I heated up more Lean Cuisines than I can even count during the week. Not to mention the fact that I saved all my points for beer. I figured out the point count of the chocolates at work and I knew how many I could have that would be the equivalent point count of dinner. I knew the point count of McDonald’s egg McMuffins and hash browns for those days I was hung over but had to be at work at 9. I was incredibly irresponsible and I subsisted on the absolute worst diet you can imagine…and I lost weight. The reason for this, I can only conclude, was that I was much more active than I thought I was. I exercised sometimes, but not regularly, but the main difference is that: 1) I worked at least 20 hours a week in a retail setting where I spent the entire time standing. Standing burns more calories than sitting. and 2) my other job was on campus, so I was walking to class and/or work every day of the week. The walk to and from class or work was 15 minutes each way. Sometimes I made that trip twice, sometimes three times. I was burning calories just because I was busy, basically. Now my life is that of a sedentary deskjob worker. Now I have to find ways to schedule cardio in order to burn calories, and the calories I’m burning in those workouts aren’t even close to the calories I burned when I lost weight in college–and at that time, I wasn’t even trying.

By the end of my senior year, I had plateaued on Weight Watchers. In April I decided to give up meat and return to the vegetarian diet I had followed since my freshman year of high school until Thanksgiving of my freshman year of college. I vowed to start eating better when I moved home. I thought giving up meat again would give me the push I needed to get past the plateau I’d been at for months. I also gave up Weight Watchers because I felt like a slave to the program. I thought I had learned enough about calories and fats to continue my weight loss on my own. Slowly, without my even realizing it, I started to put the weight back on. I was at about a 10 pound weight gain when I left my first post-grad job, and one of the major perks of my new job (my current job) was free access to the office gym. I thought, this is fantastic! I will never have an excuse again! For about a month, I went to the gym religiously after work. And then work started to stress me out and I returned to my old ways of skipping the gym and comforting myself with food. Now I’m at the weight I started at, the heaviest weight of my life that prompted me to go on Weight Watchers in the first place…+5. This was one of my first and main reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle. As a vegetarian, I wasn’t all that healthy. I didn’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as I should and I ate a lot (a lot) of cheese. I really thought that cutting all that out would make a huge difference. I thought my body would be startled into submission.

It wasn’t.

And that’s when I decided to start training for this 5k. Now it’s been 6 or 7 weeks and I’ve only lost 3 pounds. I lost those 3 pounds in the first week, which shows me that what I’m doing is not working. I’ve spent a lot of time researching this on the internet. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I can possibly do to remedy this short of quitting my job and working out 8 hours a day. I have at least 45 pounds to lose to be put back in a healthy BMI range. I know the BMI equation is archaic but I know that I’m 45 pounds away from being at a healthy weight. I would take a 35 pound weight loss. I would accept fighting with those last 10 pounds for the rest of my life. It seems impossible to me, though. I know the answer is adding activity into my day that doesn’t feel like organized cardio. I know I should try to take walks outside on my breaks at work. I know I should try to take walks on weekends or after work. To be honest, when I get home after my workout on weeknights, I am utterly exhausted. The idea of going outside and walking for an hour is absolutely unappealing to me. I want to shower, eat dinner, and relax on the couch. It doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to repair the damage I’ve done to my body.

My cause is further complicated by the fact that my boyfriend also needs to lose weight but we both feed off each other’s addictions. I never watched TV before I met him but he loves TV, so we sit and watch every night and snack. When he’s munching on chips, I get instant jealousy. I want chips. We go grocery shopping together and I pick up my produce, my whole grains, and he sneaks a case of diet coke into the cart or a bag of chips or some cookies. I want to be at a place where I can have a bag of chips in my house and not want to sit on the kitchen floor and eat the entire bag. I want to be able to have junkfood in moderation. Moderation is the spice of life. I know myself well enough to know that if I told myself that I can have absolutely no, ZERO, chips, cookies, sweets, anything–that I will break. I will cave. and I will binge.

We watched Forks Over Knives last month and we both had a renewed interest in trying harder. My renewed interest lasted longer than his. Yesterday, I added a few other documentaries to our Netflix queue to try to get both of us re-interested. Last night, we watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Such an inspiring story. And now our interest is renewed, yet again. He has to work today so we packed him a healthy breakfast and lunch and called it “Day 1.” We need to do this together. As an omnivore, he doesn’t have many food choices when he’s here. He picks around veggies when I cook and opts for the grains, the meat substitutes, the potatoes. I, on the other hand, find my tastes are changing. I made oatmeal yesterday morning but didn’t have any fresh fruit to put in it. I found myself aching for strawberries and blueberries. The same with dinner: we made seitan with red potatoes and broccoli. There was definitely not enough broccoli to go around. I found myself wanting it so badly–I would have been fine if my plate had been half full of broccoli. I just love fruits and veggies. He doesn’t have that habit ingrained in his eating.

We watched a P90X infomercial Friday night (while drinking beer on the couch, of course) and I realized what that program offers compared to what I’m doing. My workouts are routine. I run on the treadmill or work out on the elliptical and I do the same 3 or 4 weight training exercises. I don’t have variety. The “muscle confusion” Tony Horton talks about is something my body hasn’t experienced. When I do try something new and my muscles are confused, it takes my body over 2 days to adjust from the soreness. I can’t take 2 days off every time I try something new. That’s 2 days wasted. I’m knocking on 24’s door but I feel like my body is 50 years old. Part of this, I have to wonder, might be genetics. I do not come from an active family. I sometimes wonder if my food addiction has genetic bearings. My father comforts himself with food. He has type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases he hasn’t even divulged to me. But he doesn’t make a change. He doesn’t think he has the willpower. I have to wonder if I’m a product of that…whether it be hereditary or environmental, I grew up watching him and I’ve absorbed his habits. I’m trying to combat that but I’m stuck once again. I feel angry every single day while I’m on the way to the gym that I even have to carve time out of my schedule to exercise. I curse myself for not living in a pedestrian-friendly location. I live in the suburbs and here, people don’t walk or bike anywhere unless they can’t afford a car. That is crazy! One of the perks of living in the apartment I do is that I am in walking distance of all of my town’s restaurants, bars, shops, etc. I could go for walks, go window shopping, make a whole morning out of it on the weekend, but I don’t!

In the past few weeks, I’ve tried to make small changes to my diet. I’ve subbed in no-calorie stevia for the 60-calorie tbsp of agave nectar I was putting in my coffee each morning. I’ve been bringing half a grapefruit to work (52 calories) instead of the 250-300 calorie green smoothies I was having for breakfast. At the beginning of the year, I made a non-resolution to drink only on weekends. I had been drinking at least one beer a day on weekdays and much more on weekends. Now I limit that to only Fridays and Saturdays, and usually only drink a beer or two. I have isolated myself from my social circle in order to avoid overeating and excessive drinking. These changes, still, have not made a difference.

In the end, I’m not sure where to go from here. I need change but the changes I need to make feel humungous. They feel out of reach. Maybe I’m making mountains out of mole hills but I’m feeling quite lost. How I could possibly eat 1,400 calories a day and burn 300 of them working out and still not see change is utterly baffling to me. As I age, this will only get harder. I will be fighting this battle for the rest of my life.

Are you fighting this battle? How have you overcome adversity?

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epiphany

Today as I begrudgingly walked my ass to the gym after work, I had an epiphany.

I hate working out.

But I hate the feeling I get when I skip my workout more.

Ever since the shin splints/ankle incident last Monday, I’ve been in sort of a rut. Especially after the cupcake binge on Sunday. I think I can attribute most of my bad feelings in the past week to feeling guilty for abandoning the couch to 5k program. I think the satisfaction I felt after my workout today was beyond the release of endorphins–I think I felt good because I jumped back on the horse. (Not that endorphins don’t play a pivotal role.)

Since I abandoned week 5 after day 1 last week, I figured I’d have to start week 5 over again and it probably wouldn’t be until next Friday that I felt physically ready to tackle day 3, which is 20 straight minutes of running.

Around minute 8, meaning I was almost done with my first five minutes of running, I got this burst of energy and I decided to try to tackle day 2 in the place of day 1. I had no idea if I’d be able to do it, but I was hellbent on trying. Today was about pushing my limits. I decided the couch to 5k program is only a framework. I don’t have to feel guilty if I don’t make it through the workout. And I should feel pretty good if I can push myself beyond it.

Today, instead of running three 5 minute intervals, I ran one 9 minute interval and another 6 minute interval with approximately 5 minutes of walking in between the two. Holy shit, I can’t remember the last time I ran 9 minutes without stopping. I honestly don’t think I’ve done that since high school. High school! I do this for time, not distance, so it’s not like I ran very far. After all my walking and jogging was said and done, I’d done 2 miles, which is about what I’ve been doing lately. I felt great during that first 9 minutes. The second 6 minutes was a little tough, but I made it through. That last minute especially had me wondering if I’d throw up or pass out, but I focused all my energy on trying to get good, full breaths into my lungs, and I counted down those last 30 seconds and felt complete elation when I was done. This was one big satisfying leap for me. Confidence, consider yourself renewed!

I can’t believe I was able to do this today. I knew I would struggle with week 5. And especially after the ankle injury that tore me away from my routine for over a week. The full 5k still feels unattainable to me, but I have a renewed sense of faith that I can get through this. I can. And I will.

And PS, my ankle feels fantastic.

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vegan cupcakes take over the world

I have completely fallen off the diet wagon and have decided to hop back on…tomorrow. Well, okay, later today. Starting at dinner time. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because my ankle has prevented me from working out but I think it’s getting better and that means it’s time to get my food situation in check, too.

Since we both took tomorrow off, today has been Sunday Funday! We went to the book store and I found it, I finally found it!

My boyfriend was kind enough to buy this for me as an “I’m sorry this weekend has pretty much sucked for you” gift. It was between this and Isa’s cookie book. It was a hard, hard decision but the cupcakes won out by just a smidge. Was this going to sit in my kitchen untouched? Um, no! I obviously had to try out a recipe.

I picked the cookies ‘n cream cupcake recipe which is a variation of her “Basic Chocolate Cupcake.” I realized when I was already mid-frosting that I did not have nearly enough confectioners sugar but decided to wing it. The frosting wasn’t perfect as a result and I actually have a little bit of a tummyache now because it called for nonhydrogenated shortening but I could only find hydrogenated (probably mostly because I’ve never purchased shortening before and had no idea what I was looking for). But the cupcakes are beauties. Just beauties! I really do love me a coarse frosting that can be spread with a spatula because pastry bags and piping tips and I just do not get along.

Isa really is a genius, which most vegans with a sweet tooth have known for years (I’m a little late to the party). I ate three of these bad boys before the tummyache came on. I really do have a problem soothing myself with food. After I stopped by my parents’ today, told my mom about my ankle, and she came back with “I don’t think it’s really swollen,” I decided maybe I’ve been making this into something it’s not. Time to jump back on the wagon!

Preoccupied by spitting venom in my last post about CPK, I forgot to mention my other rant of the day. I attended a St. Patrick’s Day/80th birthday party yesterday, which I’d been secretly dreading because I knew about it much sooner than I knew about the baby shower (which turned out to be a vegan disaster). I’d been thinking that this would be my first big social function as a vegan and I was unsure how to navigate. I obviously had a dry run at the baby shower a couple weeks ago and that ended pretty badly so I started to worry even more about the party. Luckily, there were plenty of people there and very little chance that anyone would question what I was (or wasn’t) eating. But of course, when we went up to get food, the hostess was right in front of us, paying very close attention to the fact that I wasn’t grabbing a plate–I was just putting the few things I thought were safe to eat on my boyfriend’s plate. When we said goodbye at the end of the night, she mentioned that it looked like I didn’t eat at all. Ugh, what do you say to that?

They were expecting quite a few guests and the party was catered. An assistant came to set up the food and help clean up and she was in the kitchen when we were putting together our plate. I asked my boyfriend to ask on my behalf about the carrots because I figured they were probably buttered. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself since the hostess was right there, so that’s why I volunteered him to ask. This was her response, which I can hardly believe: “I have no idea, I didn’t make the food.” You what? You don’t know anything about the food? What? You were hired to warm the food and be a representative of wherever this food was catered from. You are employed by the catering company. And you don’t know anything about the food? After the CPK incident, that was the last thing I wanted to hear. I’m realizing what a long and lonely road ahead this veganism will be.

Needless to say, I did not eat any carrots.

I realize I am a very small minority but again, like my complaint about the waitress at CPK, if you are a representative of a company or restaurant and you are the only person I can be in direct contact with, I expect you to be knowledgeable of the food your company or restaurant has provided.

(Oh, also. It really sucks when you’re the one person at a St. Paddy’s Day party that can’t take an Irish car bomb.)

But I’m going to jump off my soap box now. Too much strife for one weekend! I’m going to try to enjoy the beautiful, unseasonably warm weather and my extra day off tomorrow. Adios!

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dreamsicle smoothie

I have taken every day since Monday off from the couch to 5k program and have been battling a wicked case of body shame. When I think of “body shame” what springs to mind first and foremost is young women adjusting to their newfound sexuality, wearing revealing clothing, and being “slut-shamed,” but there is a very different, very real alternate form of body shame going on in my head. I’m angry at my body because I feel like it’s failing me. I feel handicapped by this ankle injury–which isn’t even much of an injury at all because there was no trauma. It’s just wear and tear. I feel much older than I am and I feel regretful for letting myself get to this point. Crying and whining won’t change it, but with a bum ankle, there isn’t much I can do to change it. So, for now, I am throwing myself a pity party. It’s been hard. But my coworker did say that I looked thinner, which made me feel .0001% better (only because I know the truth, that I’ve only lost a measly 5 pounds, but I accepted the compliment as graciously as I could).

In a workout rut and in sort of a cooking rut, I opted to order pad thai tonight instead of trying to cook a vegan version myself. I’d never had pad thai so I decided I’d be better off seeing if I even like it before trying to cook it. Ordering vegan pad thai turned out to be quite an ordeal. My boyfriend placed the order and he asked for “no eggs” and “no fish sauce.” They called him back 10 minutes later and informed him that every sauce they use is already prepared and has fish sauce already in it except for three–teryaki, orange sauce, and sweet & spicy. The pad thai sauce that normally accompanies the meal is a sweet & sour. They subbed in the sweet & spicy for me and added a bunch of veggies. They were very accommodating and I was thankful. But I also just realized the huge amount of fish sauce (and potentially shrimp sauce in my favorite, red thai curry) that I’ve consumed in the past couple of months. Ugh. There’s nothing I can do about it now, and at least now I’m educated, but I hate to be a pain about ordering because I know chefs aren’t too thrilled about changing their recipes for picky customers. This all goes back to the guilt and shame I carry with me–I hate being difficult.

But, the meal was delicious and I have plenty leftover to eat at work tomorrow for lunch.

I leave you with this: I discovered an amazing smoothie concoction that I am deeming the “dreamsicle smoothie” because that’s what it tastes like!

+ = smoothie love

It’s also great with pineapple chunks. Let me know what you think if you try it! I have no measurements to provide–just wing it!

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big burger

For the first time in five weeks, I am taking an off day. Granted I’m only working out 3-4 times a week, so it’s not like I haven’t had any down time, but I’ve stuck very rigidly to my Monday-Wednesday-Friday running days but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it today. After I posted about shin splints on Monday, I asked my boyfriend if he’d be ever-so-kind as to rub some icy hot on the culprits. When we lifted my pant leg up, we saw that my left ankle was double its size–nearly softball sized! My right ankle was a little swollen, but not nearly as bad. I thought back to a couple weeks ago when I was running on the treadmill and slightly sprained my ankle (which I just laughed off at the time, because who sprains their ankle on a treadmill?) I decided it’s quite likely that my ankles have been swelling through this whole program and I had no idea because I never thought to examine them. Yikes.

So I promptly iced and elevated it and went to bed early. I went to work yesterday and it was a little tender, but it’s not like I had a limp. I couldn’t work out after work because I had a dentist appointment and I had to volunteer at the pet store’s adoption room, so I figured I’d get back to my run on Wednesday. This morning, my ankles (both) were a tad bit sore, but as the day wore on, I was feeling much more comfortable in my gait. It was a last minute decision to skip out on the work out just because I thought I could use an extra day. I don’t want to worsen an injury that will keep me from the program for even longer. But for all intents and purposes, I felt totally fine.

When I got home, my apartment was blazing hot (it was nearly 80 today!–in Chicago, in March!) so I stripped off my pants to put on some comfy shorts and saw that my ankle was even more swollen today. What gives? It definitely hurts much less. I have to wonder, because my left knee is a little sore, too, if my ACL reconstructive surgery I had 8 years ago is at all playing into this. I don’t know much about the body but I know my left knee is taking this pretty hard–I wonder if somehow that forces some swelling as far south as my ankle? I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud.

So instead of resuming tomorrow, I may be taking the whole rest of the week off. I’m really, really bummed about this because it’s beautiful weather and I even considered walking or running outside after work until I saw the swelling. Blah. I’m mentally driven but feel like my body is failing me. I’m angry and saddened that at 23, my body is so susceptible to problems. This doesn’t bode well for me as I age.

I didn’t feel much like cooking when I got home but I had a pretty big appetite. I decided to make not one but two vegan burger patties, resulting in the BIGGEST BURGER of ALL TIME. I’ve had some Morningstar patties in the fridge for days like these. I’m not crazy about them (I miss the “grillers prime” but those aren’t vegan) so I loaded up my bun with all sorts of veggies and a little bit of vegan mayo and I added a handful of daiya to the burgers as they cooked to mask their less-than-desirable flavor.

Behold, monster burger:

I unabashedly consumed it in its entirety. Don’t judge me.

I’m off to ice my ankle, I guess. Blah.

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feel the burn

I’m beginning to think my fancy new running shoes are causing more grief than good. The reason I bought them was because of some mild discomfort in my ankles and knees when running–it seemed obvious to me that this was due to poor running shoes and I needed an upgrade. So I bought running shoes that are full of good support (I can feel it, really!), but today I experienced a common little side effect: shin splints. Burning, awful shin splints. I have avoided them up until now, but now my workouts are upping the ante and I’m running for more prolonged periods.

It seems the longer I run at one time, the worse my shins feel. And it doesn’t really go away during the walking recovery. In fact, I’d say it’s worse during my recovery walks. I almost gave up on my workout entirely today, but decided the only option was to tough through it. By the end of my workout, the pain was markedly lessened–either that, or the pain had a numbing effect on my stupid little legs. I have yet to decide.

Today was three running periods of five minutes each. Wednesday will be two running periods of eight minutes. Friday is the make-or-break day: 20 straight minutes. I thought my biggest issue was my breathing–because I normally don’t feel much pain, fatigue, or discomfort in my legs at all, it’s really just the breathing that trips me up. Now that the breathing is more under control, I have the shin splints to tackle. It’s always something! Can’t I just have a good workout that leaves me feeling good and accomplished? It seems I always have some ailment to complain about.

I wonder if I should give my old shoes a go and see if that cures the problem. I’d rather feel mild knee and ankle discomfort than the shins-on-fire feeling I battled today.

If you have any suggestions or home remedy tips, I’m all ears.

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