Tuesday, April 29, 2014

There's Always a Rainbow

When it rains it pours right?!  This post is about the Weekend Where Everything That Could Go Wrong Did, so if you're not in the mood to read about my series of disasters, just skip this one and I'll post something happier later in the week :)
Where to begin here.  I'm actually feeling much better today after having a day to calm down and gain some perspective.  The problems I experienced seem kind of trivial in the big scheme of things now (my personal health and safety remains intact) and I even learned a few things (there's always a lesson right?).
Saturday morning started out with me getting stuck inside a jacket while heading into work.  Yep, straight up trapped!  I stood in a parking garage downtown at 8 in the morning and tugged and pulled with all my might but could not unstick the $*%&* broken zipper on my jacket.  I tried tugging the entire piece of apparel over my head to remove it, but my head wouldn't fit through the neck hole! Haha George Costanza rears his large bulbous head again.  I stood there evaluating the situation and then just decided to rip the jacket in two.  So with all of my might I grabbed the coat on either side of the zipper and with pure brute force ripped the zipper right off the jacket!  BAM! FREEDOM!  Jacket: 0  Jill: 1  I was down a rain jacket but I could care less at this point - I was free!  This incident didn't really phase me, but I wonder now if it was foreboding the rest of the weekend to come...
Saturday evening was when I experienced two separate personal affronts.  One was work related and one came about through the cesspool that is online dating.  I'm not going to go into detail about the first, but I'll just say I volunteered to help someone out at the last minute and they completely took advantage of my kindness.  I didn't stand up for myself at all in that situation (something the Universe has tried to teach me over and over again, especially at my last job) and was not in the best mood when I received a rude/inappropriate message via the online dating portal.  What is it about being hidden behind the veil of a computer screen that gives some people free reign to say things (I hope) they would never say in person?!  I didn't learn my lesson on the first occasion but by this point, I'd had it.  I actually wrote something back to this person along the lines of "You are a classless human being and a poor excuse for a man."  And then promptly blocked him.  I actually felt rude myself when I sent it at first, so you can see how hard it is for me to actually stand up for myself!  This is something I'm trying very very hard to work on.  But then I realized I did the right thing by telling this person that they couldn't speak to me, or any woman for that matter, this way.  Someone needed to.  Why not me? 
I didn't get home until after 1AM that night (longest day everrrrr) and woke up Sunday morning exhausted and ruminating on the future of humanity after my run-ins with people who seemed to care only for themselves.  Why when given the opportunity do people choose to do the wrong thing?  Why when faced with a kind person, do certain people see that as an opportunity to prey on their kindness?  These thoughts were getting me down, as my super sensitive mind always wants to know 'why' and feels things so deeply.  But I realized I didn't have any answers for these questions, because I can't control other people.  The only way to feel better was to let it go and focus on the positive people and things in my life...and then my phone died.
What's the count for the weekend so far?  Oh yes, we're up to headache #4.  I marched into the Apple store close to closing time Sunday night hoping against hope they could fix this very expensive piece of machinery.  After much trying, they gave me the bad news.  The phone was dead with no chance of revival.  My only option was to replace the phone - AT FULL COST.  #*&^*(#&$ WTF!  Of course the phone was out of warranty and I was still under contract.  The nice little Apple Genius lady told me the price to replace my old model iPhone and I kind of lost it.  It's no secret that my funds this year are very limited.  My current salary is less than half of what I was making at my old job (yes for real, just let that sink in for a moment) so I live paycheck to paycheck.  When unexpected expenses like this come up, I can't pay them save for the fact of dipping into my savings.  Thankfully I have some because otherwise, I wouldn't make rent some months!  So there I stood with tears in my eyes and this poor girl didn't know what to do!  She was like I'm really sorry there's nothing else we can do.  I was SO embarrassed and kept apologizing for getting emotional - I just told her I had a really rough weekend and this kind of capped it off.  Who cries in the Apple store over a broken phone?!  This girl apparently.  Looking back a day later, it sounds ridiculous and it wasn't even the phone that got me upset.  I think it was the accumulation of negative experiences over the weekend, combined with the fact that when she asked me if I had anyone else that could help me out by giving me an old phone or something, I said 'No, I don't have anyone else'.  I just felt so alone.  A feeling I have been feeling for some time :( 
So where am I going with this whole disaster of a weekend story you might ask?  A few years ago when things like this would happen, I would think to myself that I probably did something to deserve this bad luck (crazy right?), but after the series of events that has happened to me in the past few years, I can see the personal growth that has occurred because I didn't react this way in this situation.  Well, maybe I did for a few minutes, but then I just realized, it was bad luck.  Sometimes things just happen that you can't control and you don't deserve.  The faster you move on, the faster things turn around. 
It started raining tonight and is supposed to rain 4-6 inches over the next two days here in Baltimore.  How appropriate that a physical rainstorm is actually accompanying my figurative rainstorm.  But I just know that on the other side of this storm there WILL be a rainbow.  There always is. 

How was your weekend?!  I hope that it was a million times better than mine :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Liebster Award!

Hello there and happy Thursday to you!  Last week, I was nominated for a Liebster award by this really cool dude named Jeremy, who blogs over at Confessions of an Amateur Athlete.  Isn't that sweet?!  He is a hardcore runner who lives out in the deserts of Arizona.  Sounds like heaven.  Go ahead and check him out!

You may recall this post from way back in September, when I was nominated for my first Liebster award by Angelena at On Fire Fitness.  The way Liebster awards work is that bloggers nominate other bloggers, showing their blog some 'love', and ask them to answer questions so that readers can be introduced to them and get to know them better.  Then the nominated bloggers nominate others, pose questions, and so on and so on (pay it forward-like). 

I'm going to answer Jeremy's questions below, but I won't tag anyone specifically this time around so no one feels pressured to answer.  If you'd like to answer any of the below questions, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

1.  Tell us what your blog is about!
I would put my blog in the 'Healthy Living' blog category, but I believe there's more to it than just that.  I discuss physical health and a lot of running, but I also talk about emotional health, and just general life stuff.  This place is sometimes a dumping ground for whatever is on my mind at the time!

2.  What made you want to start blogging?
I always wanted to write in some capacity, but those creative juices got a bit stifled when I entered corporate America.  I started reading blogs about 4 years ago, and kept thinking I'd love to start my own.  I finally took the plunge last year after going through a rough period in my personal life as a way to 'start over' and finally start doing some of the things I'd only ever dreamed of.  The blog was one, running my first half-marathon was another!

3.  What's your favorite way to stay active?
I guess Running is the easy answer here but I really love most forms of exercise.  I grew up being part of a very active family.  My two sisters and I were always involved in some kind sport and we also grew up spending 90% of our 'playtime' outside.  We never really sat still and thank goodness video games really didn't come about til I was older.  In addition to running I like biking, hiking, swimming, lifting/strength training, group classes, boot camp classes, and lots more!

4.  If you could have dinner with ONE person (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
This answer changes all the time for me!  I think currently I'd love to get a private audience with Oprah.  I think she is such a benevolent, wise and gifted spirit and I'd love to be in her midst.  Maybe some of that magic would rub off on me :)

5.  Waffles or Pancakes?  Favorite topping?
Mmmm, both of these items usually have dairy in them!  Although I'm sure I could follow a recipe and make either one of them myself without dairy, we all know I have zero patience for the domestic arts!  I have eaten Eggo waffles and thought they were ok, and I also bought some milk-free pancake mix in the past but I gotta say, I'm not really wild and crazy for either of these breakfast staples (eeeek! the horror).

6.  One guilty pleasure of yours after a tough workout/run.
My favorite food treats for pretty much any and every occasion are Vegan Treats!!!  It's too bad I can only get them in Bethlehem.  Or maybe that's a good thing, because if they were in Baltimore I'd be there every day and would probably develop diabetes from the incessant sugar overload.

7.  What's one fitness activity you haven't tried, or don't do often, that you'd like to try?
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, I really really wish I could get into Yoga.  I have the best of intentions but it just never 'sticks' with me.  I think I am too hyper for it?!
Pretty much  (Pinterest)

8.  If you could only eat ONE thing for the rest of your life... what would it be?
OMG what kind of question is this?!  I have some favorite foods but the thought of eating one of them over and over every day kind of makes me want to vomit!  Hahaha.  I don't even think I could stomach Vegan Treats every day for eternity.  I guess I'll go with my best friend and my version of heaven - an endless supply of pre-peeled (this is key!) snow crab legs (true story, ask her!).  I'll dive into that for the rest of my life.

9.  Describe your dream vacation.
Lately, I have really been craving a solo vacation to somewhere beautiful and outdoorsy.  I'm thinking out West somewhere where I can hike, commune with Nature and the Divine and sort out my purpose here on this planet :)

10.  Link to your favorite blog post!
I think my favorite so far was about That Time I Tried Online Dating. 
**Editor's Note:  I just recently dove back into the online dating pool, and can I just say, that online dating is really just THE WORST!  It has not gotten any better the 2nd time around.  This may/may not be material for future posts - stay tuned.

That was fun!  Thanks again for tagging me and for the thoughtful questions Jeremy!

Your turn!  Pick a question and answer away :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interview with a First-time Half Marathoner - MY SISTER!

I have a special treat for you today.  You may remember I mentioned that my youngest sister was preparing to run her first half marathon this year.  Well I am happy to announce that a few weeks ago in the city of Brotherly Love, she successfully completed her first 13.1 mile race!  Laura participated in The Love Run in Philadelphia on March 30th and I couldn't be more excited and proud of her.  She just started running last summer and it's amazing how far she's come since then!  But, I'll let her tell you that story... Enjoy her interview!

Pre-race, looking fly

First of all, congrats on running your first half marathon! That is an incredible accomplishment and I know it's no small undertaking! Alright so here goes the fun part. All my readers want to know more about you so let's jump in to some questions!

Q1: When did you start running, and do you remember why you first started? What/who was your motivation? (No shame in mentioning your fave sister at this point! Jk)

A: I started in June. I wanted to do something active and have time for myself. I didn't want to join a gym because I didn't want to have to put my son in the daycare and I tried running solo but didn't feel safe or very motivated. I saw an ad in our community newsletter for a couch to 5k class over the summer so I thought I'd give it a try.

Q2: Did you have any goals in mind when you first took up running? Get in shape? Take time for yourself? Run a race?
A: Well the class was called couch to 5k so we all had to sign up for a 5k at the end of it to have a goal but I didn't have any plans after that.

Q3: Did you immediately like running?
A: Nope! And it was very slow at first, walking a lot the first 2 months until we were running each time. But that's what I needed, when I tried doing it myself I pushed too hard and got burnt out instead of building up to it.

Q4: Tell us about your training regimen - how long you trained, how many runs/miles week, did you train with a group or follow a program?
A: June, July and August we worked up from 0-3 miles
September, October and November were 3-6 miles
December - March were 6-11 miles
All 3 times per week with a coach and 6 other women

Q5: What have you learned or what has surprised you most throughout the process of training for this race?  What were some of the biggest breakthroughs and some of the hardest challenges?
A: I don't really have an answer for either of those questions. I guess it is surprising to learn you can run in single digit temperatures when you're eyelashes freeze but also very hard!

Q6: Ok now for the best part! Can you tell us a little about the race? You don't have to give a mile by mile breakdown, just how did you feel throughout, what were you thinking the day before/during the race? And how did you feel crossing the finish line?!
A: My biggest fear going in was getting separated from my group since I had trained with them and never ran solo. We ended up starting together, then at mile 3 we separated into 2 groups of 3. Mile 5 was the only hill and immediately my other partners stopped and walked which I didn't want to do so I took off on my own for the remaining 8 miles! Miles 5-7 were my best. 7-11 were really boring, 2 miles straight down and 2 miles back the other way. The beginning part running throughout the city was really exciting and had a lot of spectators cheering which I realized helps drastically even though you have no idea who these people are! On the 4 mile stretch by the river there were 0 spectators which was rough and it was at the point of the most pelting torrential downpour (3 inches of rain that day!) the last 2 miles all I thought about was seeing my son at the finish line, that's what kept me going, knowing he was sitting in the freezing cold rain waiting for me to get done. I thought I would get some mysterious burst of energy to sprint towards the finish line but that never happened. I drug myself up to it and immediately after stopping it was like a tidal wave of pain crushing you. My feet, my legs, the cold, the rain, I felt it all, it was awful and all I wanted was to get indoors, dry clothes on and warmed up. I didn't really feel elated about finishing until 2 days after.
Laura's pre-race fuel, not a pornographic image
Her son waiting for her at the finish line!

Q7: Do you think running will continue to be your new favorite form of exercise?
A: I feel a little burned out so I'd like to try yoga, Pilates or group classes but I definitely want to stick with it.

Q8: Are you planning any more races?
A: Half in September, hoping for better weather!

Q9: And lastly, is there anything you'd like to tell someone who is considering taking up running as a first timer?

A: Accountability. Having a coach and a group relying on you to show up at 5:15am, even on Saturdays!.  I would not have lasted if I was trying to do this on my own. At times we all needed to be encouraged.
DONE!!! She is officially a half-marathoner!
I want to thank Laura for taking the time to do this and share her story.  I hope other new runners see her as the inspiration that I do.  It's no small feat to stick to a 3x week training program for 9 months that meets at 5AM every morning - I know I definitely would never make that call time! 
**Note: My sister trained with the Run Diva program in Allentown, PA.  She raved about her coach, Alicia VanDerSluis, so if you are in the Lehigh Valley area and looking for a beginning running program, I'd recommend checking her out.
Any other first time half marathoners out there?! 
Has your running inspired any of your friends/family members to pick up the sport?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The 7 Minute Workout - For Real


I know this sounds too good to be true, but hear me out on this one.  I read about this workout app on another blog a few weeks ago (Finding My Strong) and knew I had to try it.  I mean really what did I have to lose, other than 7 mins of my life?!

So I went directly to the App Store and downloaded this bad boy onto my iPhone.  It's a FREE app by the way, and I believe it's also available for Android devices.  The workout consists of 12 body weight moves that you perform for 30 seconds each, with 10 seconds of rest in between.  You can literally do this workout anywhere and the only equipment required is a chair (or something you can do tricep dips/step ups onto).  This is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout similar to Tabata.  (Tabata is 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest.)

For the past year or so, I've been in love with HIIT workouts.  A few of the reasons being:
  • The workouts are shorter in duration than standard steady-pace cardio workouts
  • Workouts can be done anywhere
  • Require little to no equipment
  • Improve athletic performance, endurance and speed
  • Greater fat burning than standard cardio
  • Combines strength training with cardio
Obviously to be an endurance athlete, you need regular longer workouts every week, but I love doing HIIT in between run and lifting days.  I feel like they help make me faster and stronger and I have definitely seen results in fat burning and toning.  These type of workouts do what standard steady-state cardio can't in terms of getting ripped. Hahaha!  But seriously they are a great addition to your workout regimen.

Soooo, how did this one pan out?  Going into it, I figured I would probably go through the circuit 3 times to get a good workout and that proved to be just the right number of sets!  Before you begin, you can click on each of the 12 moves in the list within the app, which will launch a demo video of that move, in the event there are any you are unsure how to do.  These are the moves:
  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Wall sits
  3. Push-ups
  4. Abdominal crunches
  5. Step-ups onto a chair
  6. Squats
  7. Triceps dips on a chair
  8. Planks
  9. High knees running in place
  10. Lunges
  11. Push-ups and rotations
  12. Side planks
I knew how to do all of these so I was pretty much set to go.  Once you press 'Start' on the app, you have a 10 second countdown and a soothing voice announces the first move.  GO TIME!  You should go all out for 30 seconds.  The soothing voice will then pipe back in and tell you it's time to rest for 10 seconds.  Yippee!  I'm not gonna lie.  During the first round, 10 seconds felt like too long to be resting.  But by the 3rd round, um no.  My heart rate had zero chance of going back down and that 10 seconds seemed like 2 seconds.  So, after 10 seconds, the voice comes back on and announces the next move.  It goes on like this for 12 moves/7 mins.  After each 7 minute set, I grabbed a quick drink of water, and then started the app again for a total of 21 mins.

This may not sound like a full cardio workout but remember you are going ALL OUT/sprinting for 30 seconds over and over again so it's much different than doing a comfortable 30 min steady-state cardio workout.  You get results in less time here.

Verdict:  I really love this workout, the app in general, and the fact that it's Free!  If you travel, if you're on vacation, or if you just don't have the time to make it to the gym that day, this app is so convenient.  Start it up and just do what the voice tells you to do.  How easy is that?!  I've used this so many times since I downloaded it about 2 weeks ago.  I encourage you to go to the App Store right now, download this baby and give it a try.  You have nothing to lose but 7 mins - WORTH IT! 

I personally think unless you are an absolute beginner or just getting back into exercising you should do this more than one time through, but you could split it up throughout the day.  Do one circuit in the morning and one at night; or even tack this onto the end of a run for additional conditioning/strengthening.  I like that it has a pretty even mix of upper body, lower body and core moves.  It's pretty much the perfect easiest little circuit in my opinion.  (I am getting no kickbacks here, I just really like this app!)

So what are you waiting for?! Go workout for 7 mins and then let me know what you think!!

**Disclosure:  I am not a doctor or medical professional so please be safe and use your own personal judgment when starting/doing any workouts I feature!

Do you like HIIT workouts?

Would you/did you try this App?  What did you think?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sole of the City 10K Recap

What a FANTASTIC weekend it was here in Baltimore!  It was beautiful, sunny and warm - 70/80 degrees!  It is really amazing how happy warm weather makes me, and probably the rest of humanity. 

Going into the 10K this weekend, I didn't have much of a plan or really know what to expect, because I've never run a 6.2 mi race.  It was such a strange distance to wrap my head around.  Not a little blip of a race like a 5K, and yet only half the distance of a half-marathon.  Although I work out consistently year round, I had mostly been cross training (HIIT, biking, lifting, swimming) for the bulk of 2014 thus far.  I haven't done any speed work this year, and have only been running 1-2 times a week, mostly due to the weather since I'm not a huge treadmill fan.

Goal time:  My 5K times are usually 25 mins and change.  So if you double that, a 10K time would come out around 51 mins.  However, I knew I couldn't realistically sustain 5K pace for that long so I was hoping to come in around 53/54 mins. 

Attire:  The forecast for Saturday morning was high 50's/low 60's (it would reach 75 later in the day) so I went with a short sleeve shirt, shorts, ProCompression socks...and I wore the cat on my head.  HA! Kidding

Fuel:  I had no idea what to eat for a race of this distance.  Before a half-marathon I usually eat a bagel and drink a bottle of Gatorade so I did the same here.  I kind of think it was too much food, even though I ate 2 1/2 hours before the start, because my stomach felt a bit nauseous at points during the race (could've been the heat too, I dk).
Getting there:  I left later than I wanted to (happens every time) and there was SO much traffic once I got down to the race area in Federal Hill.  Under Armour was one of the sponsors of this race, and they graciously offered up the lots on their campus free of charge for runners.  The line coming off the highway and snaking into the Under Armour lots took FOREVER.  Or perhaps it just seemed that way because I had to pee.  So I finally got in and got a spot and then hi-tailed it the 6 or 7 blocks to the starting line just in time to spot 2 girls from my old job who were also running.  It was now 8:50am meaning I had 10 mins to use the port o potty and get back to the start!  I made it with 2 mins to spare.  Giddyup.
The race:  I believe the announcer said there were over 3,000 runners.  I'm not sure, but in any case the first two miles were completely PACKED.  I started at the back since I was using the loo, and it was very difficult to maneuver through people for at least the first two miles, maybe more.  Oftentimes, I jumped onto the sidewalk and ran there for awhile just to get out of the crowd.  The first few miles were all downhill which was lovely, but of course I knew this meant the return would be all UPHILL! Ahhhhhhhh  The course itself was beautiful.  We ran right through the Inner Harbor and through most of the picturesque areas of Baltimore.  Its times like these, when I run through these streets that I have known for the past 10 years, that I am reminded how beautiful Baltimore can be.  My memories here are of course mixed now after everything that has happened in my life, in this city, but there are times like this where I move the nostalgia out of my mind and just look at Baltimore with clear and present eyes, and like what I see.  This was one of those days :)
We turned around at mile 3 and headed back to Charm City Run, the store where we started.  Note: This was also the last mile marker I saw on the course! I have no idea where miles 4, 5, or 6 were.  Didn't really care because I was wearing my Garmin but I guess my head was in the clouds (per usual).  I was very warm by this point but not really tired.  I had been running a little over 9 min miles so I wasn't sprinting and I think I probably should have started out a little faster.  When I race I'm always afraid of pushing too hard, because I'm afraid I won't have enough left for the end, I'm afraid of being uncomfortable.  Yet I know, getting outside of my comfort zone (in any pursuit) is what will lead to great results.  Just another life lesson smacking me in the face today.  In any case by the time we got back across the harbor (sometimes running across the little tourist footbridges, which were tiny and crammed!) to around mile 5, the hills began!  This is when I started feeling nauseous off and on, and by this time I was just really HOT.  This had been the hottest running weather all year so I guess I just wasn't ready for it. 
The last mile was almost ENTIRELY hills!  At one point, a woman next to me turned and said, 'Are they serious with this?'. Hahahaha.  I was like, 'I know, who designed this course?!'.  It was pretty nuts that the hills all came in the second half.  Anyway I was enjoying myself but as I neared the end, I realized I was not going to come in around 53/54 mins, but I sprinted the last few blocks anyway once the finish line was in site!
Official time:  56:03.  Oh the perfectionist in me really wishes I would have sprinted for 4 more seconds to come in under 56 mins!  Oh well, room for improvement next time :)  I finished 776 out of 3100.
Verdict:  I kind of really liked the 10K distance.  Like a lot.  It's not as vomit-inducing as a 5k, but not as scenic as a half-marathon.  I think I want to do more of these. 
After the race, I met up with my friends and got all the latest gossip from my old job.  Funny how far removed I feel from that world now.  It was nice to see them though.  We got food/water/beer.  It was so warm, much warmer than it has been all year, and I didn't realize how much I had sweated, but after the race, there was salt everywhere on my body.  This happens to me in the summer, but I wasn't expecting it this early in year.  I was disappointed there was no sports drinks available, but I did eat a bag of really salty pretzels to make up for it.  We hung around for awhile sitting in the sun and listening to the live music and some of the awards.  At one point I heard them say the top female finisher in the 50-59 age group finished in 49 mins, and it was at this point I felt like the slowest person on earth.  Wah wahhhh

Hope you all had a great weekend too!
Any races this weekend?
Do you like 10Ks?

How was your weather this weekend?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Running, and I Have a Race in 6 Days?!

Spring has finally sprung in Baltimore my friends, and I hope it has come your way as well. 

After a week of very little exercise due to living out the wrath of the cold from Hell, I was itching to get outside and run, especially because sunny warm weather was in the forecast.  Also, I just realized the race I signed up for in January is next weekend?! Ahhhhhhhhhh cue under-training cry of panic. 
I'm running the Sole of the City 10K downtown next Saturday, a race put on by Baltimore's hometown running store, Charm City Run.  When I registered for this a few months ago, I had no idea how time would fly or just how much sweet ol' Mother Nature would prohibit outdoor training this season!  Ahh well, I've never run a 10K before, so you know what that means?  INSTANT PR baby!  Hahaha, no matter what time I run it in, it will be my best ever!! Yippee for first time races. 
I don't really know how to pace myself for a 10K.  I know I definitely can't sustain a 5K pace the entire time, but I also know I have to run a bit faster than half-marathon pace.  I'm really just looking forward to seeing what a 10K feels like.  One of my running goals this year was to run some shorter, more varied distance races, and this fits the bill.  I'd also like to add a 10 miler to the mix at some point as I keep seeing more and more of these crop up.  I know a lot of you were running the infamous Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC today - what great weather you had!
So, running this weekend.  I decided to run a 5K after work on Friday because the temp was pretty mild and the rain they were calling for all day had been holding off.  I still wasn't feeling 100%, but I hadn't worked out since Monday and I was really just looking to stretch out my legs and hoping the fresh air would continue to clear out my stuffed up head.  I didn't feel that great running (legs were tired and heavy and my body felt weak), probably because I hadn't eaten or drank much all week.  I didn't really have an appetite for days, and I know I should have been pushing fluids, but once again, I just didn't feel like it.  So I think I was running on a half empty tank.  I came home and crashed/napped for a bit and then pulled it together for a night out downtown. 
Saturday, I was not feeling well.  My body was very achy and I felt like I backtracked with my sickness!  I don't know what was going on, but maybe I overdid it running on Friday in my weakened state.  (I only had 1 drink out the night before so I know it wasn't that.)  I got lots of sleep that night and spent the first part of Sunday watching some interesting programs on the Oprah network, and started feeling much better again. 
I headed out for a longer run - about 5 and a 1/4 miles - which felt worlds better than Friday's run.  I think the weather had something to do with it as well.  It was nearly 60 degrees in Baltimore and sooooooo sunny! I even noticed some trees blossoming.  All was right in the world.  What did make this run difficult was my constantly running nose!  Everything is still draining and clearing itself out, and running only exaggerates these processes.  I had to keep blowing/wiping my nose on my shirt. I know, GROSS!  But I mean, I had to keep my airways open for you know, breathing! Anyway, I ran a couple splits in the 8:50 range which was faster than I thought I'd be after such bad nutrition/hydration all week so I'm not complaining.
Got to break out one of the running skirts my sister got me for Christmas!  (My running outfits never match.  I'm ok with this)
So my strategy for this week will be to EAT ALL THE THINGS in an attempt to recoup my nutritional losses from last week.  And, I plan on drinking water and sports drinks like crazy to replace everything I lost from my leaky nose last week.  I also broke down and bought some Laura's Lean Beef when I went grocery shopping last night.  I still have very mixed feelings about this, but I felt that my body really needed some meat, especially after last week.  I just felt like I needed the added protein, iron, and B12, and I can't tell you how good it tasted.  Like a slice of heaven, with a side of guilt :(
I'm hoping to enjoy the run next Saturday and am trying not to run with a goal time in mind.  Now, I'm off to EAT...
Have a great week!
How was the weather near you this weekend?

Did you get outside to run/workout at all?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I am Human

Lesson learned Universe.  Thanks a lot!

This week I was literally knocked on my arse with the gentle reminder that I am in fact human, in the form of a raging cold which I am sure originated from the depths of Hades. 

I seriously could have used that.

I can't even remember the last time I had a cold.  I mean I. never. get. sick.  Au contraire.  I guess in fact, I do.  I am such a stickler for hand washing.  I wash my hands all day long at work, being around the kids and, hello, diapers!  I wash my hands as soon as I walk in the door to my apartment every night, and especially when I'm at the gym (multiple times I might add).

So I have no idea where this cold came from, but instead of rehashing where I may have gone astray (like I do with so many things in life), I finally decided to allow myself some grace and acknowledge that perhaps I didn't do anything "wrong" and I just caught a cold, like millions of other humans on the planet do each and every day.  That, in and of itself, is a hard little lesson for our Jilly.  Sometimes you don't do anything wrong and crap happens.  We are own worst critics, well I know I am anyway.  When other people are sick, I feel empathy and want to soothe them.  When I'm sick, I first deny it, and then try to soldier on as if I don't deserve the TLC I so willingly give others in need.  Being sick feels like I failed.  Failed what, I have no idea.  Crazy. 

I am actually thinking that the recent lack of meat in my diet could have contributed to my lowered immune response, but I'm not sure.  For a bit of background, I actually attempted to go vegetarian once before, many many years ago, as a freshman in college.  I was 18 and admittedly I probably made many unhealthy choices when I eliminated meat, but I only lasted a couple of months.  I was sickly, run down, and literally starving so I caved and once again became carnivore.  My roommate actually lasted a couple of years as a vegetarian, but she eventually got tired of being sick all the time and now eats meat again too.

So, I don't know.  Maybe I have to give myself grace on this front too and admit that I may be the kind of person who needs meat in their diet.  The thing is, the more I read about factory farming and what happens to the animals I ultimately end up consuming, the more guilty and disturbed I feel biting into a hamburger.  I can't unlearn the things I've learned.  Once you go down that rabbit hole, there's no going back.  I know many people choose to ignore these terrible facts and I've done that, I do that, as well, but I feel I may be a 'highly sensitive person' (check out this article for more info), and it's always in the back of my mind. 

I literally cannot stand the thought of a chicken spending it's entire life in a pen the size of a sheet of computer paper with no room to move, to flap its wings, or do anything other than lay eggs.  Or a pig trapped it's entire life in a crate no bigger than it's body, unable to move or turn around until it's eventually fat enough to become my morning bacon.  And don't even get me started on milk.  Thank goodness I'm allergic to it.  Impregnating cows just so that they start lactating and then removing their calves from them the instant they are born, so that they LITERALLY cry out for DAYS for their missing babies, who will now become veal (Farmers have actually reported hearing mother cow's desperate wails for their children that they never see again.).  I just can't even.  How do I reconcile the realities of what has happened to these innocent animals, that now sit on my dinner plate?  I have no answer for that.  Sure, I guess some people will argue, circle of life, and food chain, and we are the higher beings and all that.  Except that you don't see people sitting down to feast on the family dog or cat (whose fate was spared thousands of years ago when we decided to domesticate them), so those arguments don't really hold water.  I know this for sure, if I actually had to hunt or kill my own food, I would surely starve.  Being removed from the process, not being the one to actually do the deed, makes it far easier - true for so many things in life. 

Maybe if all pigs played the guitar we wouldn't eat them??

So, I don't know where I was actually going with this post other than to say, I'm fallible, I'm human and I will continue to make mistakes, probably get sick again (?!), and probably let myself and others down more times than I can count in this one messy lifetime, but I think I've got to be kind to myself and allow myself and others the grace to be exactly where we are when we try and fail. 

Anyway, after two solid days of feeling like the walking dead, and eating chicken soup (I know) every night, I am finally starting to feel a bit better. 

I don't know what I'm going to do about the meat thing.  I already don't eat dairy, so eliminating meat is difficult, to say the least.  I love meat and feel my body needs it, but maybe I'm wrong.  For now I'm going to continue my research and allow myself to just BE where I am in the process at this point in time.

*I have some websites, books and videos I can recommend if you're interested in learning more about where our food comes from, if you want to jump down that rabbit hole.  If not, I understand!  Let me know.  I'd welcome recommendations from you on the subject as well!

When was the last time you were sick?  Do you continue to work through it, or do you allow yourself some rest days?

How do you feel about eating meat?