Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Juice Fast: Day 2

OK, here's the post I want to write about yesterday:

I drank juice.

I didn't eat any food.

I was hungry.

I was grumpy.

The end.

But, since I choose to blog about my experiences, I guess I owe all of you a little more.  Except that I wasn't a very good blogger yesterday.  I failed to capture even one picture of all of the beautiful juices and smoothies I made.  Seriously.  Not even one!  I don't even have a good excuse.  Honestly, I just didn't do it.  Each time I made my juice or smoothie, I was in a rush because I, once again, have taken on too much.  So, I told myself each time that I would take a picture the next you see where this is going.  And then, suddenly, it was 10pm and I was about to go to sleep.  And that's when I panicked about the fact that I didn't have any pictures for my post.  So, I did what any reasonable person would do.  I began putting together the juicer that I had cleaned just a couple of hours before and I started to load fruit and veggies on the counter.  Until Paul, in a state of confusion, asked me what I was doing.  When I told him I was recreating my juices from the day so I could take pictures of them for the blog, he gently reminded me that I was on my way to bed because I had to get up at 4am to go running with my running know, to train for that little marathon I have in a few weeks.

So, I dropped the ball on taking pictures.  But, I didn't drop the ball on the challenge.  I stayed committed all day.  I made wonderful juice concoctions full of beets, carrots, apples, celery, romaine lettuce, oranges, peppers, and many other fun fruits and vegetables (but not all at the same time).  I drank smoothies to fill me up and I felt good.  Except when I was hungry...which was actually a lot of the day. 

Here's the thing.  I really like this challenge, but Day 2 was definitely tough.  Don't get me wrong, I actually felt pretty good.  I felt less bloated and somehow "cleaner and clearer." But, I was also irritable and hungry and headachy.  So, I'm calling Day 2 a reasonable success.

I'm still glad I signed up for this challenge.  I like these things because they make me more mindful of what I'm putting into my body and how foods make me feel.  I'm such a mindless eater most of the time that I end up eating handfuls of random things throughout the day that I don't even know I'm eating.  I can't tell you how many random handfuls of cheddar bunnies and chocolate chips end up in my mouth on any given day.  So, this challenge is good because I actually have to pay attention to what I'm putting in my body.  I'm being more mindful.

But, I'm not going to lie.  I'm really looking forward to my bowl of yogurt and granola on Thursday morning...and my glass of wine Thursday night.  Wait a minute!  Isn't wine just grape juice...?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

18 Miles!...oh yeah, and a juice fast

OK, before I recap my first day of the juice fast that Emilie has created, I have to talk about my biggest accomplishment yet.  On Saturday, I ran 18 miles!  That's the farthest I have ever run.  When I did my 16 mile run a couple of weeks ago, I had a REALLY awful run.  By mile 13, I was really doubting my ability to complete a marathon and I found myself telling Paul that I didn't think I was going to do it.  Then, when he told me I could drop out if I wanted, I got really mad and told him that there was no way I was going to drop out and have to tell everyone I decided not to do it.  Yeah, it wasn't my finest moment...hmmmm, now that I think about, I bet that's why Paul ran ahead of me for most of the 18 mile run on Saturday :)

So, because of my horrible experience during my 16 mile run, I was really dreading the 18 mile run.  My legs have the tendency to seize up around mile 11.5 and then I'm forced to run with permanent charlie's not fun AT ALL!  But, this week, I was proactive and made sure I drank Gatorade during the first few miles, and I used my camelback to stay hydrated the whole time.  It worked!  I only had one tiny little leg cramp around mile 15, and it went away as soon as I stopped to stretch it out.  I finished the run feeling good and strong, and I even felt like I had a couple more miles in me.  So, I'm hoping my 20 mile run is just as good.

I'm in the home stretch of marathon training.  The Vermont City Marathon is May 26th, so I only have a few weeks left.  I have reached the point in training where I fluctuate between complete excitement, total fear, and ominous dread.  One moment I am exhilarated by the thought of crossing the finish line, and the next moment I'm terrified of standing at the starting line.  Luckily, I have been through these feelings before with half marathon training, so I can talk myself through them. 

So, on to the second half of this post.  Emilie, my favorite blogger (it's true Emilie!) and Clean Food Challenge creator, organized a three day juice cleanse.  Since I always do the Clean Food Challenge along with Emilie, there was no question as to whether I would participate in the juice cleanse.  It started yesterday and ends tomorrow night.  Totally manageable!  I modified the cleanse slightly to accommodate the high mileage I'm running right now.  I didn't want my runs to suffer, so instead of just juice, I added smoothies to my day. 

My smoothies are pretty much just fruit, greens and water, so I figure it's close to all juice.  I'm also including  hemp seeds in my smoothies for some protein.  Oh, and I'm also allowing myself one cup of coffee each morning.  There is NO WAY I'm giving that up!

Yesterday went pretty well!  I had a smoothie for breakfast and dinner, and I drank Odwalla juice (Green Machine) for lunch.  I planned to make juice in the morning, but I didn't have enough time after my early morning run.  I also guzzled a lot of water!  I had some points during the day when I REALLY wanted to eat actual food.  At one point, my coworker was munching on tortilla chips and I wanted them so bad!  But, overall I felt like I could handle it.  So, I'm now on day two and I'm drinking my smoothie as I type.  I have some yummy juice for lunch and dinner will probably be another smoothie...or maybe one or two glasses of juice.  I'm wondering if today will be more difficult than yesterday.  I find with the Clean Food Challenge that I always struggle half way through.  I guess I'll just have to see what happens.  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 22, 2013

One last hurrah

So, Wednesday was the first day of spring...and the day before that my kids had a snow day. 

I think winter just wanted one last hurrah. 

I'm running 16 miles tomorrow and the weather forecast shows temps of 24 degrees with 12 - 19 mph winds, which means it will actually feel like 11 degrees!  Sounds like fun, huh?  Unfortunately, spring in Upstate NY isn't really that different than winter.  Here's the thing.  I have lived in this area for a good portion of my life, so I know that March is never really warm or springlike.  But, for some reason, I never fail to be disappointed.  I get through February by telling myself that in a few short weeks it will warm up and everything will melt and spring weather will return.  And then, I spend March feeling annoyed by the weather.  There will be the tease of a few warmish days, which for those of you in warmer climates is not actually warm at all.  Then, the temperatures will drop below freezing again and it will feel like spring will never get here.  Throw in a snow storm or two, which always happens in March, and you have the makings for complete disappointment.

A friend of mine just posted the following picture on facebook, and it sums it up perfectly:

so true..

I just want it to be warm.  I don't even care if it's really warm.  I'm just looking for solid 40 - 50 degree weather.  I want to be able to go running without having to put on three layers of clothing and my hat and gloves.  I just want to throw on a long sleeve shirt, my pants and a pair of shoes and head out the door.  I'm not one to wish time away at all.  In fact, I'm usually wishing for time to move slower so that I can take everything in.  But, in March that all changes.  I'm so ready for this winter to be over. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I've got this!

OK, so after my last post about marathon training, I spent the next few days consumed with fear.  I read other bloggers' accounts of the marathons they have completed with panic rising in my chest.  I let my mind run wild with self-doubt and negative questions. What did I sign up for?!  Why would I ever think I could actually do this?  I don't even want to run for 26.2 miles!

But then, as these things tend to work out, the clouds parted and I began to feel OK again.  It didn't happen immediately, but over a period of a few days I began to feel better.  I stopped reading the race recaps on my favorite blogs with fear and read them with excitement instead.  I began to talk to my friends who are also running the VT marathon, and I started to imagine myself crossing that finish line on race day.  Then, last Saturday, I ran my 12 mile long run.  It was pretty cold outside and very windy.  I ran with three other women that I run with regularly, two of whom are also regsitered for the VT marathon.  One is a first-timer like me and the other has completed two other marathons.  So, we met early on Saturday and pounded out 12 miles.  Seriously, we pounded them out.  It wasn't overly difficult, even though the wind was brutal, and I didn't struggle with the run at any point.  It was just a typical weekend long run.  Later in the day, one of my running buddies sent me a text telling me that she felt surprisingly good after the run, and I replied with "me too!"  And, that's when it all came together for me.  Over the past 2.5 years, I have been building myself up as a runner.  I have gone from running 1.5 miles with great difficulty to being permanently trained for a half marathon (that was my goal last year and I accomplished it).  At this point, I can easily run 11 - 13 miles on a weekend long run and not even feel it.  That's quite an accomplishment in 2.5 years.  So, there's no reason to doubt my ability to run 26.2.  Will it be tough?  I'm sure it will.  Will I struggle?  I'm sure I will.  Can I do it?  Absolutely!

So much of half and full marathon training is mental.  If you put in the miles each week, your body will be able to make it through the distance at the end.  But, training is more than physically training your body.  It's really about training your mind.  Ask anyone who has struggled through an "easy" three mile run.  There is so much doubt that creeps into your mind when you are training for something like this.  There are so many moments on a long (or short) run when you feel like you can't keep going.  When you doubt yourself as a runner.  Those are the moments that we dig deeper and find something in ourselves that we thought wasn't there.  There's no greater feeling than finishing a difficult run and knowing that you kept running even when you felt like you couldn't.  Sure, there are plenty of physical struggles that runners endure - calf cramps, side cramps, knee pain, dehydration, bathroom issues, etc. - but the mental challenges are the ones that shake us at our core.  Those are the challenges that require us to go deep inside ourselves and find something that will help us endure.  That something is different for everyone, but the challenge is the same.

I know that I will continue to struggle through the rest of my marathon training.  I will have bad runs and good runs. I will have days when I am terrified about the upcoming race and  days when I can't wait for it to get here.  I will continue to doubt myself and be plagued with negative thoughts.  But, I will also discover a strength in myself that I don't always remember is there.  I will push myself to the edge, and find a way to keep going.  I will embrace my mental demons and find ways to overcome them.  By the time I cross that finish line, I know that I will be better because of it...all of it...the good and bad.  That's what running has done for me.  It has taught me to persevere and face my fears head on.  It has taught me that I am capable.  It has taught me that the struggle is part of the journey and that it is up to me to carry on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Year of the Marathon

Yes, I am still writing.  I'm easing in slowly as I figure out where I'm going with this blog.  I do know that the name and domain is going to change, but I'm not sure when.  I'm taking things one step at a time.  In fact, that's how I'm living the rest of my life right now.  I'm in the process of researching and planning for some (hopefully) big changes that will allow me to actually do what I want to do.  But, it's going to be a long process (1 - 2 years), so I'm learning to take things one step at a time.  It requires a lot of legwork and planning, so I'm focusing on that right now.  For me, 2013 is definitely the year of refocusing, planning and moving forward.  I feel so excited and nervous about the direction I'm going.  It's exactly what I need to be doing.

On the health and fitness front, 2013 is shaping up to be a pretty big year as well.  It's the year I'm finally going to complete a full marathon! This one, in fact:

The Vermont City Marathon was featured in the January 2013 Runner's World marathon guide as being a great fast, family friendly race.  I had already registered for the marathon when the article came out, but I was excited to see that I made the right choice.  Burlington, VT is about 50 minutes away, so it's an easy race for me to get to.  

I'm already registered and the training plan is attached to my refrigerator.  I'm already a few weeks in and I'm already experiencing all of the emotions that come along with training for something new and exciting and BIG!  I'm fluctuating between complete fear and total confidence.  I'm constantly questioning how I'm going to run for 26.2 miles while simultaneously envisioning myself crossing the finish line.  But, most of all, I just keep reminding myself that each distance has seemed daunting when I first set out to conquer it.  After all, I think I was most nervous about my first 5K.

Wow...look how far I've come.

The other day, one of my facebook friends posted the following inspirational picture and I immediately shared it with others.  This is exactly how I am feeling right now.  I know it's time for me to conquer the marathon, even if many of my waking moments are spent doubting my ability to actually do so.

That's the beauty of this sport.  There are tangible results that go beyond body size or weight loss.  There's the excitement of running a new distance for the first time.  There's the feeling of fulfilment you get after completing an event that you were terrified of completing (Ragnar, anyone?).  There's the constant knowledge that if you just keep running, you'll reach a distance that at one point seemed impossible.

So, this is it.  The year that I conquer the marathon.  I'm sure I'll be talking about it a lot in this space.  I hope you don't get sick of me :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Let's try this again!

Oh, hello there!  Yes, it's me...the blogger who dissappeared in October. 

I have no excuse other than that I just stopped blogging.  Honestly, time just kept passing by and suddenly I realized that a month had passed without a blog post...and then two months...and then three.  For a while, I figured my blogging days were officially over.  Except for the fact that I really missed blogging.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, I really love writing.  I'm hoping that someday it can become a job for me...even if it's just a part-time job.  Since I'm no longer in graduate school, blogging provides me with a writing outlet.  So, it looks like I'm back!

I spent the past few weeks thinking about my blog and what I want it to be.  So, I'm ready to re-focus myself and move forward with this little space of the internet that I call my own.  I have some ideas, including a new name and revamped image.  I'm going to spend the next few weeks getting my act together.  I'll be posting frequently to get myself back in practice and I'll be making some design and domain name changes in the coming weeks.  My goal is to have my new and improved blog up and running by March 1st.

Since I don't really have any readers, I'm using this post as a reminder to myself that I have committed to this.  I'm ready to write and I can't wait to get my new writing space all set up.

Expect some fun stuff in the coming weeks!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm still here...

I survived Ragnar, and I have SO much to say about it.  It was incredible.  But, I have to spend some time sorting through the pictures and thinking about what I want to say about one of the best experiences of my life.  So, the post will be up in a day or two. Thanks for your patience.