February 11, 2012

First Long Run: Food & Friends

This morning I woke up a bit congested with a heavy dose of post nasal drip, but I woke up early enough to help get it out of my system.  I ate my usual bagel with's a ritual I have before a long run.  I also decided to try a pre-run juice.  After a recommendation of a juice made with carrots, a beet, and an apple, I did some research and learned that carrots are great for workouts.  Not exactly sure why, but rest assured I will research further.  Anywho, I didn't have any beets, so I subbed it with an orange.  It was delicious.

I headed off to the run and it was freezing, but running with a purpose and being surrounded by amazing people makes it all worth it.  To show everyone what we are all about, I took a video of our Circle of Remembrance for anyone interested.

Note:  I made the video with my phone so the volume is off.  I also apologize for my voice when I speak...obviously is much louder and may cause you to jump.

We had a few people run the 10 mile route and it was great.  I love running with other people.  The company and conversations are great and really help pass the time when you are running for so long.  My garmin stats were: 10.27 miles in 1:43 minutes.

I came home to my awesome husband and two beautiful girls, took a shower, stretched some more, and made my favorite protein recovery drink.  The color kind of looks gross because of the spinach, but you really can't taste the spinach.  The girls had some as well...that's how good it is.

Blueberries, 1 banana, 1 spoon of peanut butter, a handful of spinach, chocolate protein power, and fat free milk.

I'm off to make some quesadilla's and have a lazy weekend with my family.  It was a great week training wise, but the rest is well appreciated.  Below are a few pictures I took at our run this morning.

Thank you for your interest in my training and I hope I can motivate you to get active.  If you every have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Have a great weekend!!!

 A great group for families
 The 10 mile crew
 Passing by the flags at Patriot's Landing
 Our friends from Patriot's Landing

February 10, 2012

Food is Fuel

The last couple of days, I've been feeling like I'm fighting a cold.  Luckily, I've been able to keep it away, but I've been doing all I can to make sure a cold and/or flu is not in my future.  I just started training for my ultra marathon and it would be quite demotivating and frustrating if I had to alter my schedule already due to a silly cold.

This week I have been focusing on my diet.  Making sure I'm eating healthy and nutritious foods.  The last day of 2011 I weighed myself and realized I hit my weight loss goal. Actually, I was 1 pound under.  That helped me start the year with a new mind set.  After 3 years, I would no longer focus on weight loss.  I will focus on my fitness, running, and maintaining a healthy diet.  Unfortunately, I lost focus of my healthy diet and using my increase in activity as an excuse.  However, I knew the truth...I wasn't doing all I could do to be a better runner.

My goal isn't to just finish an ultra, but to finish it with grace and in tact.  My miles will start to increase significantly and I want to make sure I'm fueling my body appropriately.  When I say a healthy diet, I'm not talking about diet products.  I'm talking about eating more fruits & vegetables and decreasing my intake of refined sugars and unhealthy fats.  A healthy diet to me equals eating foods that are nutritious and provide me with the vitamins and minerals by body needs to function optimally.  I splurge and encourage the occasional splurge because I feel that it helps people adhere to a life long change to a healthy diet.

Today, for lunch I made myself a turkey burger with a sandwich thin loaded with spinach and tomatoes.  I didn't want to have any sugary drinks, but wasn't in the mood for water either, so I decided to juice some fruits I had.  My friend, Filipe at is on day 5 of a 10 day juice fast.  Following his journey has really inspired me to start juicing again.  Juicing is a great way to include veggies and fruits in our diets.  I use to juice once to twice a day, but after moving to Washington I stopped.  Not sure why, but he inspired me to start again.

 Jennie-o turkey burger with cheese, onions, spinach, & tomatoes, along with a fresh fruit juice including strawberries, grapes, & a mango.

After my 6 mile run today I stopped and replenished my stock of veggies and fruits to start juicing.  Tomorrow I have a 10 mile run planned with Wear Blue:Run to Remember and I plan on juicing before my run.  There is a pre-run juice that Filipe recommended, but I don't have any beets, so I will replace it with an orange.  I don't think it will bring any sort of miracle to my run, but I know I'll have those extra nutrients in my body as fuel.

Nutrition doesn't make a runner, but it does help make you a better runner.  When going through those periods of race training, it helps your body stay strong as you increase your mileage.  I love food (healthy food and unhealthy foods) as much as the next person, but if more often than not we see food as fuel, we will make better choices.  Save the splurges for special events and outings.  You won't feel so bad if you eat healthy 85% of the time and trust me, you will feel so much better.

If you have any doubts or questions about nutrition and fitness, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Happy runnings...

February 7, 2012

Preparation is the Key

By the time I finished my run on Saturday with Wear Blue: Run to Remember, I felt so accomplished.  Not because I completed 6 miles.  I knew I could do that.  It was because I felt magnificent during and after my run.  I knew that this wasn't a fluke.  Not only had I crossed off all of my workouts during the week (remember, I love check lists), but I returned to my healthy eating habits.  Two disciplines that make you a better, stronger, and faster runner.

Preparation is the key to every successful workout.  I have experienced this time and time again.  Sometimes, when I get lazy and don't prepare, I wind up frustrated with myself because I know that I have no one to blame but myself.  A consistent training plan and proper nutrition are the primary factors when preparing for a training session or a race.  For race day, much more goes into preparing, but for trainings it really is a routine that you have to create to ensure you have effective workouts.

Now that I am finalizing my ultra marathon training plan, I am getting my butt in gear.  I must be a well rounded athlete.  One who realizes that to become a stronger and faster runner, I must cross train.  One that recognizes that nutrition has a vital role in how my body handles my workouts.

Sometimes a 3 miler is the easiest thing in the world and other's torture.  I'm sure fellow runners understand this.  My goal is to make my runs as easy as possible more often. 

Off to look for my next runner's high...

What's your motivation?

Motivation: reason, incentive, enthusiasm, or interest that causes a specific action or certain behavior

There are 2 kinds of motivation that drive people: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is internal. It occurs when people are compelled to do something out of pleasure, importance, or desire. A few examples are:

  • A person who exercises regularly because it makes their life better.  This person constantly reminds themselves of this before each workout.
  • An individual that truly enjoys running and the thrill of the runner's high they sometimes experience.
  • Someone who lifts weights, not to tone their body, but because they like the challenge of seeing improved strength with each session.
Extrinsic motivation is of course, external:  It occurs when external factors compel the person to do something.  A few examples are:

  • A person who attends the gym or exercise classes because their friend is going too
  • Someone who exercises to become more athletic for the football team or to complete a race they registered for
  • A woman who exercises to lose weight and improve her figure
  • Someone who begins a fitness routine to help lower their blood pressure.

Extrinsic motivation in fitness is probably the most common.  These are the things that usually drive individuals to start a fitness routine.  There is nothing wrong with this kind of motivation.  As I said, it is the most common driver.  The extrinsic motivators are usually the ones where you can define clear goals and assess those goals occasionally to make sure you are on track.  

Those who have followed a long term fitness routine, usually are motivated by internal factors, such as the ones stated above.  These are usually the individuals who see or read about and say "I wish I had their motivation."  It is very common that these same individuals began their fitness routines due to extrinsic motivators.  After succeeding and seeing improvement after improvement, it stirred something inside of them.

Intrinsic motivators usually lead to adherence to a fitness routing, but what if you just aren't there yet?  I know that's what you are asking.

I have been running for 3 years and there are people who always ask how I am so motivated.  I've heard comments such as "I wish I had your motivation" many times.  The truth is, I am not always motivated.  For someone to say they ALWAYS want to go exercise, workout, or run just isn't humanly possible.  Even the best of athletes has days where they don't feel like exercising. We do it anyway.

Q:  But how do we get to a point where "we do it anyway?" 
A:  There is no one answer to this question.  Everyone has their own way of self-motivating.  Essentially, we create extrinsic motivation ourselves. You must do the same.  What helps motivate you?  Goals, challenges, a friend, watching fitness infomercials?  Everyone will have different answers.

Check Lists:
I am very goal oriented.  I love check lists. For me, what works is planning out my fitness schedule, printing it, and hanging it up where I will see it every day.  If I miss a workout and can't cross it off the calendar, it really bugs me.  The more I can cross off that calendar the better I will feel.


Another way I motivate myself is by looking at pictures I took at different races I have run in.  Looking at the pictures brings back the memories and feelings I had when I finished the race.  The accomplishment I felt after each race is enough to get my butt off the couch and get working to get stronger and faster.

Running/Fitness Groups
Joining fitness groups with similar goals as you is also a great motivator.  Not only do you have the support of people who have the same goal as you, but many times you meet great people who wind up becoming awesome friends.  Having a support system and someone to talk to about your goals and the struggles that come with it is great, but having someone who understands because they are going through the journey with you is priceless. is a great place to find groups in your area with similar interests.  You can enter in weight loss, spinning, hiking, biking, running...anything your heart desires.  The search will bring back all the groups in your area related to the search.  That's how I found my running group in NC.  If you need help finding something, just let me know and I can help.

I am a very visual and social person so these are a few example of things that help motivate me when I need motivating.  Contrary to popular belief I am not always motivated and don't always feel like heading out for a run.  It's an internal battle we always have, but have the strength to win!

Find your way to stay matter how silly someone may think it is.  The important thing is that it works and you get active.