Sunday, January 27, 2013

You Are What You Eat

A new week, a new look for my blog!!!   While this week wasn't exactly a win in the exercise department
(-20s with windchill is not my ideal running weather), I did take some very positive steps forward in an effort to clean up my eating habits.   I was fortunate that my 6 week "Food Free-For-All" didn't have a significant impact on the number on the scale, but it really gave me a kick in the ass energy-wise.  
So, with the exception of a couple of drinks at Friday Night Wine Book Club, I did pretty well with my eating this week.   (The food journaling habit seems to be taking a while to kick in though).   I am also working really hard at kicking my "on-again, off-again" love affair with diet coke, which had returned to a passionate "on-again" relationship of late. 
Even though I didn't get out for my planned runs this week (I'm still blaming the weather...), I did manage to sneak in some workouts in my basement thanks to some old favourite workout DVDs video tapes.  (How retro!!)  I promised myself that, no matter the weather, I was going to get out for a run this weekend.   I am trying to re-establish a solid 5K base so that I can start working the "Bridge to 10K" program. 
I had trouble choosing an outfit that would solve the old "Not too hot, hot too cold" conundrum, (I had thought that -3 would feel like BIKINI weather after what we had to endure last week.  Not so), but eventually I settled on something.   Makenna decided to join me as well for her first run since the December 1st Santa Shuffle. (Yay!) We planned on a 4K+ route in our neighbourhood and headed out around 1pm with the sun blazing.  
It felt REALLY good to get back out there.  Everything seemed to come together and it was as if I hadn't taken 6 weeks off to Eat, Drink and be Merry.   After the first 2K I overheated and had to take off my jacket, but overall this run felt totally fantastic.   No cramps, no side stitches, no knee pain. I am also FINALLY closing in on a 7 mins/km pace.   I couldn't help but think that this may have had something a lot to do with how well I ate during the week and how well hydrated I was.   I have heard it, I have read it, I have even preached it to my Weight Watchers members, but I definitely experienced it today - you are what you eat.    Everything you put into your body is fuel and your engine runs so much better on premium fuel than the crappy, over-processed, low-grade fuel that we so often find in fast food restaurants and the frozen food aisle. 
I've noticed that a lot of my Facebook friends are embracing the "Paleo" style of eating.  In short, you eat only foods that would have been available during the "Paleolithic Era".  If a caveman ate it, you're good to go.  If not, steer clear.    Really, this style of eating makes a lot of sense to me - good, clean, wholesome eating. Nothing packaged, nothing processed.   I'm not quite sure if I could adopt this diet for the long haul (No Grains!  No Dairy!  No Chocolate!), but I'm contemplating adding in a week of Paleo-style eating maybe once every month or so just to see how it affects my training. 
Looking ahead to this week, I have 3 quick 4K runs scheduled during the week as well as my "long run" on Sunday.   (My long run is currently only 6K, but we all have to start somewhere).  Add in a yoga class and a couple of my vintage home workouts and I should start seeing my energy levels returning to their former glory sooner rather than later. 
Until we eat again,
J :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

No day like TODAY!

After taking pretty much the entire month of December off from any activity that didn't involve eating, drinking or spending money, immediately followed by a week long vacation in Mexico that involved more of the same, I decided that TODAY was the day to get back on the proverbial healthy living bandwagon.  And let me tell you, even though my brain was ready for this transition, my body had to be dragged kicking and screaming out for a "pre-training" run.   The weather forecast couldn't have been more co-operative so even though I am still battling some kind of head cold, I knew I had to lace up my shoes and get out there.

I had been doing so well with maintaining my healthy eating habits for the first 11 months of the year, but everything really fell apart in December.   It's amazing how one bad month can really throw you for a loop.  I've noticed that my energy levels for the past 6 weeks have been somewhat comparable to those of a hibernating bear, which I am certain has a great deal to do with my diet.   Today, I was determined to make better choices and recreate the habit of "food journaling". 

I've been giving a lot of thought to the goals that I have set for myself for the upcoming year and I have to say, I'm definitely nervous scared s*%$less.  I almost don't know where to start.  I do have a "training plan" of sorts, but looking at it after not running for over a month is rather intimidating.    I figured today I would just go out and do a quick 4K, see how it feels and go from there.  

So how did it feel, you ask?    It sucked.   A lot.   So much so that I only ended up doing 2 of the planned 4K.   My chest burned and my head was pounding which, in all fairness, is probably due more to the cold I am battling than the lack of exercise recently, but still.   It did feel good to get past my "fear" of lacing up my shoes though and I gave myself permission to quit after 2K.  I figure it's a start and every journey has to have one even if it's not pretty.  

Even though my ultimate goal for the year is the Island Girl Half Marathon in September, there is another rather large and daunting challenge I must face on the way - the Mississauga Marathon 10K race in May - which will be my focus for the first 4 months of the year.  Even though I have already completed an 8K race, I will be going back to basics to prepare for the 10K.   I do know that a good portion of the course is hilly, so I will need to add some hill work as well as some interval speed training, which will be new to me.   

I'm going to follow a plan that is similar to the one that I used to prepare for the 5K last year called "Bridge to 10K".   It is quite short, only 6 weeks, so I will use a program that I found on to take me to race day once I've completed the 6 week "Bridge" plan.   (I will also be following their "Half Marathon" training plan after the 10k is complete).  I'm going to spend the afternoon scheduling the runs, cross training sessions and yoga classes into my calendar so I have a clear picture of where I'm going for at least the next 4 months. 

I'm hoping that as my body gets re-accustomed to exercise and proper eating everything will start to fall back into place and the fear and doubt that have found their way into my mind will be remembered only in this blog post.

J :)