Exceeding the Minimum

Over the past few weeks I haven’t had a lot of wiggle room with physical activity. If something hurts my knee, it’s off the list. If the Coach suggests 20 minutes the spin bike or pool running, I do exactly that. If she says “2 x 10 squats”, I do exactly that. If the PT says “Foam roll for 1 minute”, I hop right off of that torture tube at exactly 60 seconds (because I hate it).

This may be exactly what I need to do for this injury treatment – which is progressing pretty well, for now – but it’s made me extremely antsy. I haven’t worked out for more than 45 minutes in about 4 weeks. A routine that once supplied a consistent load of endorphins to my system has turned into one that seems resistant to them. A brain that was once happily occupied with a detailed training schedule is now spending way too much time thinking.

Thinking back to my training throughout this entire year, there are a few trends. When I started working with my Coach, I completed most of the workouts, while consistently skipping – or, “not fitting in” – a few of them(cough, strength training, cough). I spent way too much energy focusing on how slow my pace was. Then I realized maybe a few of those skipped workouts may have been important. Then I realized maybe the few beats of HR over MAF I consistently ran at may have done more harm than good. Then I realized I actually didn’t train very consistently at all.

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Fast forward to July – October, and I filled as many workouts in as “completed” as I possibly could. I could probably count on one hand the number of days I didn’t do what was prescribed, and there would have been a damn good reason for it. But I also just did exactly what was written out. Rarely less, but never more. (One exception: the 100 minutes of plank of September.) Katie was running me to the bone, and I feared anything extra would be a mistake. If it wasn’t planned on my schedule, written out in exact numbers, or approved beforehand, it did not happen.

I never exceeded the minimum of what was put out there for me to do. I stayed where I was comfortable. I never said “this is getting easy – give me more!”. I only tested limits when I was explicitly told to do so.

We’ve got a few new ideas to put into place next year, and one of them is that I’m okay with a few extra nudges, a few extra pounds on the weights, and even a few extra days of those gym sessions. But really, what I’m realizing now, is that I can’t always put that on someone else.

Sure, I love having the guidance of a coach. But during the 26th mile when I’m running solely on faith and the boxes I’ve checked up to that day, I only have my mind. And if my mind can’t get past the minimum required of it, I’ll lose worlds of possibility.

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Photo credit: @stravarun instagram.

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For the Nth time this year, a new page has turned. We’ll see where that gets me & these recovering legs…

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After the run, we have gratitude

My little world has had two little successes this week: running, without any pain. And while I barely got to the 2-mile mark, because those miles are real slow and easy, this is monumental in my mind.

Melissa: This may sound weird, but…do you think it could have been made worse by the {unusual} stress lately?

Me: Absolutely. 100%. No doubt. Worst timing ever.

After playing one soccer game one week after MCM, my legs were  destroyed. Every barely-recovered muscle tissue that had a voice spoke loud n’ clear: you better stop that right now! And since early November, my running shoes and ego have been side-lined. Add an unusual stress level, for other reasons, and a huge hole where my running-outlet once comfortably sat, and you have a recipe for one unhappy-injured-runner.

Those around me (namely the one dude that lives with me and has the unfortunate obligation to deal with this every day) have seen a Low low; when it rains, it pours. Necessary apologies have been sent to those human beings, because I know it’s exhausting to constantly give that reassuring care to an athlete’s exaggerated broken heart. I finally wised up  and took one full week off, which coincided with stress levels dropping like an anchor. We’re on the up n’ up! (Thanks entirely to home-remedies, foam-rolling, the Lacrosse ball peanut, him, Coach, deep breaths and Dr. Paul.)

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And it feels so good.

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My boss e-mailed me yesterday morning – subject: “grateful” – a short list of the simple things she’s grateful for, and I was like “Yes, THIS.”  Because it’s no secret that gratitude is linked to happiness, and maybe happiness is linked to deep-tissue-muscle-healing. You never know…

Ergo, this week,  I’m grateful to have 20 minutes of pain-free running. That’s all.

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Joy is…

Joy is_hiking in CA

There’s a small light at the end of a long tunnel; this week has probably been the roughest part of the ride, and it’s high time for a turn-around, folks. My attitude needs a reality-check, and every time I remember this quote it does the trick.

Joy is….

…hiking in Garrapata park with that dude (seen above). It’s right off of Highway 1, close to Big Sur.  In one direction you see mountains on mountains, and in the other, the sea. My Colorado-trained, land-locked hiking brain can’t get enough of this.

…a hard-earned jar of Justin’s chocolate almond butter pairing up with my favorite Love Grown Foods treat.  2014-11-11 19.09.41
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…curling up on the couch every Thursday night with the newest episode of Serial  {podcast} and very anxious, curious minds.

….finally purchasing a big-girl swimming suit so I’m not longer that chick with the floatie-belt and a bikini. I went grab-bag, of course. We’ll see!

….reading a novel for the first time in months. There’s nothing better than that can’t-put-this-book-down feeling. “Sycamore Row”, John Grisham. Go.

…(speaking of books) counting down to the WILD premiere!! Reese, you nailed it. I have no doubt.

…the return of fall squash. In particular, squash noodles.

squash and eggplant_dietitian on the run Squash and seafood_Dietitian on the Run

…training him to run what will definitely be a kick-ass marathon, and a huge PR. Two weeks to go!

…and joining this team of rock-star gals. More on that to come!

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What’s bringing a little light into your world this week?
Share the wealth!

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In Case You’re Wandering

Well, whatdoyaknow, it’s another rainy day on the central coast! Probably just some sympathy rain for the polar-vortex-sequel hitting most of you around the rest of the country. I’ll take it. And I’ll keep you busy while you’re comfy and cozy indoors!

Some reading and wandering I’ve been doing ‘round the web:

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1) “The New Rules of Fitness” – OutsideOnline.com

I’ve learned a lot about hydration in a short amount of time, thanks to some nudging from the Coach to take a second look at things. This list touches on the importance of quality hydration practices, but also a lot of other interesting things that have emerged in our world of fitness recently.
(Of note: this is not breaking news, rather it was posted in April, but a good read nonetheless.)

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2) “Affordable Care Act Enrollment FAQs” – NYTimes.com

Whether or not you support ACA, I think we can all agree there are questions. And here are some answers.  It affects everyone – read up!

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3) “What is your life purpose?”  – MarieForleo.com (MarieTV!)

first stepQuite a deep question to ponder on any day, but hey, if not now then when? Amiright? Decide where you’re going. Even if it’s just to stick around on the couch in sweats for now, making plans.

Either way, now you know about MarieTV and your Tuesdays just got better!

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4) I’ve saved the best for last. If you haven’t watched “New Girl” (Fox) yet, you’re missing one of the most brilliantly scripted characters on television.

Start here (warning: some NSFW words). You’ll see:

slipperiest loafers_buzzfeed

Photo source: buzzfeed.com

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What’s open on your browsing tab(s) today? Add to the list!

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Cardio & Kitchen Abs: November Challenge

Well this post is about seven days late, but not a dose-of-ab-inducing-awesomeness short. Don’t you worry.

My colleague and fit-buddy, Melissa, brought me onboard for her November “Abs Challenge”, and you know I can’t turn down a monthly goal. The first week’s focus: the kitchen & the cardio workout.

It’s a pretty common misconception to think that you’re 1,000 crunches away from a six-pack. Rather, those abs may never been seen if you don’t tackle nutrition and cardio, too. Core strength can be achieved in a variety of ways, but if you want visible results you have to take it a few steps further.

Exhibit A: the interval workout.

Track Interval GRP workout_Dietitian on the Run

I’ve spent more time with the 6-lane oval in the past 6 months than I have in the past six years. (But it’s worth noting that you certainly don’t have to run in ovals to get in a quality interval workout!) With any interval/speed workout, make sure you give your muscles a proper warm-up with some walking, jogging, strides and/or plyometrics (depending on how much/fast you intend to whomp yourself). Then, hop to it!

If you’re training for a race, have your goal-pace in mind (goal race pace = GRP). If you’re just out working on your fitness, go by feel and your level. Ex: recently raced a 10K for the first time? Go for that 10K pace by feel. Turn the hurt up a notch for the 800s (GRP – 30 seconds). Something comfortably hard. Don’t be all chatty during that 1 mile or any of the 800s, but don’t reach that finish-line-puke-threshold level.

Cool-down. Recover. Refuel!

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Now that we’re in the kitchen, we have Exhibit B: Quality Carbs.

natures carbohydrates_Dietitian on the run

Newsflash: most people eat plenty of carbohydrates! Rather, most people eat them in excess. And the body is so used to this that is has plenty of mechanisms in place to put the extras away for later. In case we, you know, randomly go into starvation mode or suddenly find ourselves with NO FOOD ANYWHERE or maybe decide to hibernate. All of which are such unlikely circumstances today that what actually happens is we store layer upon layer upon layer of extra carbs. Some of it can be found in the liver and muscles for quick use, but because those stores are pretty full, too, guess what’s next? Your belly! 

And your abs don’t take precedence here. They hide in the shadows.

So, rather than pile on the extras, let’s hop on nature’s carb party! If your goal is to build lean body mass (muscle), shift your focus to natural sources of carbs and leave it at that. They happen to also be full of fiber and water, so you fill up pretty quickly! We’re looking at things like squash, potatoes, fruit, beans and legumes. And did you know some nuts have carbs, too? YEP. See, plenty of nutrient-dense options!

These are just a few of my personal favorites:

Natural Carbs_Dietitian on the Run

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Ready to join? It’s okay if you’re late, too. Check out Melissa’s posts for some more food & workout ideas, and let us know if you’re in!

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