New Plan

New plan, gang!  Oh, yes, hi there.  I suppose it’s been a while… I’ve just been, um, napping. Seriously, though, new plan!  Before I weigh you down with tales from the terrible training episodes I been through with running (you can put your kids to sleep with those in later entries), I thought I would give you a little running update.  Because I still am running, no matter how funny my body thinks it is to send me to a doctor who may or may not believe that I make up my injuries.

The plan all along as been for me to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February.  With nine days to go until the sign up date, I am PUMPED.  runDisney also released information on a new experience they are offering during the half marathon weekend this year.  In addition to doing the half on Sunday, runners can now sign up for the Glass Slipper Challenge, running a 10k on Saturday morning and then the half marathon on Sunday morning.  You get to run both races through Epcot (10k) and Epcot/Magic Kingdom (half marathon), three t-shirts, AND three medals!  All for the low, low price of $270 and your first born child.  Don’t worry Disney; if it’s a girl, she’ll be named after a princess.  No promises for boys, though.  Could you work on some better prince names?  I feel like hospital staff would blame medication if I told them to write down “Charming” as a baby name.  Still, it’s better than Hashtag.  Yikes.

Image{Source}

I plan on being completely and utterly out of my mind and signing up for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  Go big before going home, right? All of my profits from photography shoots will be going to fund this 19.3 mile endeavor, so we won’t have to pay for it out of our relatively tight budget for the regular life stuff.  I am so excited to sign up; I have been watching different runners’ YouTube videos of running the half marathon the last couple years on a loop.  I’m pretty sure B is about to go out of his mind.

And if he’s going out of his mind just waiting for me to get to the sign ups, I am going out of my mind with an even newer addition to the running schedule.  After an excited text message discussion with B’s Aunt M (the lady who decided that, yes, I am running the Princess Half in 2014), she mentioned that she planned on following a training schedule that would have her ready to do a half in the fall, which is the exact same plan I am using.  I had talked to B before about being ready to run a half in early September, but he mentioned that it might be a little special to run the first half marathon with Aunt M in Florida.  True, it would be, but what will I do for another five months?  Sticking to 5ks and 10ks for that long seems a little wasteful with all of the training.  And if M is planning on running a half in the fall, why shouldn’t I?  Running through Cinderella’s castle will still be AMAZING, and maybe I won’t be as scared out of my pants if it’s my second half marathon.  Plus, with the added challenge of a 10k the day before, shouldn’t I see if I can do a half marathon first?  Well, it makes sense to me!  Now, in October, I will be running my first half marathon here in Massachusetts.  It will allow for my friends and family to come cheer me on for my first if they want to (something that may please my parents a little more than missing the first in Florida), and I will get some experience under my belt.  I’m on pace to be finished with a couch-to-half training schedule by the end of September (I will have to repeat some weeks during the summer because of travel issues), so October should be perfect.

Next race coming up?  10k in Portland, OR! 

Pain Isn’t Always Gain

In my quest to run a 10k in July and the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, I hit the training pretty hard.  I have never been a “runner.”  I hated running growing up (when you have larger body parts, you avoid movements that, um, showcase them), and it was always hard for me to breathe comfortably.  Beyond field hockey and tennis, I avoided it like a snail avoids salt.  But now that I have fallen in love with running, I wanted to make the most of my time and effort.  I combined my efforts for running with my efforts for weight loss and RAN, as in “I’m going to see how far I can go… oh look at that, I just ran more than I have ever gone.”  My longest run three weeks in was 6.2 miles.  For me, that’s a lot.  I was ecstatic!  I ran a 10k!  Where is my medal?

It turns out, and I’m sure all of the pro running people are shaking their heads at me because they know, you aren’t supposed to up your weekly mileage that quickly.  That week I ran 6.2 as my long run?  Yeah… I ran 22 miles that week.  Oops.  But I was feeling great!  No big deal!  I’m young!  The next week, though, my body told me it was displeased in a major way.  My right knee began to hurt.  It didn’t hurt when I didn’t run, so I figured it was something I could just get through.  No pain, no gain, right? 

Wrong.  It got worse.  I couldn’t run at all, and it began to creep into my standing time when I was teaching.  My doctor’s office couldn’t make an appointment for me at a convenient time for another week and a half, so I scaled back a little.  I tried doing shorter runs.  Nope.  I tried doing the elliptical.  No ma’am.  I tried a knee brace.  No way.  I tried a stationery bike.  Try again later.  I tried getting my cardio in with Jillian Michaels’s videos, and let’s just say it ended up with me on my yoga mat, tears running into my ears, begging B to tell me why three hundred pound people on “The Biggest Loser” could run and I could barely do a butt kick.  Poor guy, he’s a trooper.

My primary physician saw me for about ten minutes, moved my knee around, and told me it was patellofemoral pain.  It could be tendonitis, it could be swelling, blah blah blah.  Here’s a referral to physical therapy.  I picked a physical therapy office in the same medical building and called the next day, expecting to see them in a week or two.  After all, it had taken just my basic physician a week and a half to see me after 2:00 PM.  Bless them, the physical therapists took me in the next day. 

Can I just tell you how magical physical therapists are?  I met with my PT Rich and an intern from a local PT program, and they listened to everything I had to say.  When my pain was hard to describe, they were patient and took it all in.  They really looked at what the causes could be, and they didn’t tell me to just rest and take some Advil with every meal. 

Two of the best things they showed me were my daily stretches.  If you experience tight hips or knee pain, gently try these out.  I thought they wouldn’t do anything for me because I was already doing them, but the longer you hold them (note:  not just to the count of ten!), the better you will stretch everything out.

Image    Image

I also found this super helpful, quick yoga video on YouTube from Rodney Yee.  He’s the yogi.

I have been going to PT for about three weeks now, and my knee is about 90 percent of the way there.  I had always read articles in running magazines on how pain is temporary and your brain will try to talk you into not fighting through it.  If you know something hurts, get it checked.  There isn’t any way I could have fought through this, and while it sucks that I now have to train myself all over again, I can do it better this time. 

Who Runs the World?

Apparently I do.  Or, at least that’s my plan for parts of it.  Ever since last year’s “Oh, I should run a 5k before I turn 30” stroke of genius, I have really begun to like running.  Love it, in fact.  I have even started calling myself a runner.  I have a subscription to a running magazine.  Who am I?

I was perfectly content with sticking with 5ks and 10ks as challenges, but then I discovered a little nugget:  The Disney Princess Half Marathon.  It encompasses many things I love:  Disney, theme parks, castles, princesses, running, and goal setting.  It’s a half marathon run through and between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (that’s the one in Florida, for those of you who mix it up like I used to), and you get to RUN THROUGH THE CASTLE!  YES!  Now, clearly this is going to be a challenge.  A half MARATHON?  Good Lord, what is going through my head?  I just mastered the 3.1 mile run, so why not add on another 10?  Sounds like a solid plan!  Oh my gosh.

Now, I have a few secret weapons in my back pocket, the first being B’s Aunt M.  Aunt M has run this race before, and she was supposed to this year before she ended up injuring her ankle.  I texted her after hearing about the race, and she got back to me immediately, writing nothing but encouragement and “Yes!  Doooo iiiittttt!”  (She, of course, is much too classy to use so many extended letters, but that’s what it sounded like in my head, so I took liberties to translate it for all of you.)  Unknowingly, I was then signing on for doing it (I was still in the decision process), and promptly received a “Let the training begin!” package in the mail, filled with a princess crown sparkly tattoo and a running magazine.  Aunt M then excitedly told everyone we knew that we were going to run the race together – including my parents, who didn’t have a clue that I was even thinking about running a half.  Have I mentioned how adorable Aunt M is with her excitement?  Love her!  Her encouragement has really helped with my confidence about being able to training and get through it.  If she thinks I can, why can’t I think I can?

I also am the most ridiculously stubborn person I know, aside from my immediate family members (hey, I have to get it from somewhere… and this is all genetic).  When I set a goal in my head, I have to do it.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  This has actually caused a few issues (more posting on that later), but I jumped onto the training wagon with fervor.  I have had to take some downtime for the past two weeks, and it has killed me.  I have dreamed about running.  I have daydreamed about running.  I have tried it when I possibly shouldn’t have.  (Hint – I have a doctor’s appointment set up for the coming week… you do the math.)  I am going to do this.  I must.  I set the goal, and it WILL happen.  I’m scheduled to do my first 10k on the Best Coast during the summer, so I am stepping up my distance in races as the half gets closer.

So as I go along on my training regiment, I’ll share my experiences with you.  First up, what it is like to deal with Runner’s Knee.  I’ll tell you what, it’s not fun.  It downright sucks.  Just ask B.  No, he doesn’t have it, but he has a noisy wife who has it, and he has suffered plenty through all of my caterwauling.

Do you like to run?  Any tips for a new one?

Cool Running

Best movie from the 1990s, right?  Okay, definitely one of the best.  Who doesn’t love a Jamaican bobsled team?

To answer your immediate question, no.  I did not join the Jamaican bobsled team.  They told me I was just too see-through in the winter and my accent was off.  Better luck next time.

I did, however, knock another one of my goals off from my 30 Before 30 list.  I ran not one, not two, but THREE races this year, and I frickin’ ran them.  Sure, there were definitely a few moments of walking, but I didn’t do it that much.  Maybe a minute or two here or there, and certainly less than a mile total per race.

The first race was the one that meant the most to me.  I was running it by myself; no one else was buddied up with me, and I wanted it that way.  I do a lot better when I can set my own pace and pick out people in the crowd of runners to beat.  You in the pink hat?  I don’t like the way your ponytail is swinging.  I’m going to beat you now.  Dear dude ahead of me, you kind of smell from back here.  Peace out.  It was even worse when I knew the guy who stunk during the third race… side note:  I was related to him.

The race started bright and early on a relatively cool June morning.  It was the morning my seniors would be graduating from high school.  It was an emotionally loaded day.  B made me some toast and peanut butter, put together with a side of aspirin to help control the feeling created in my throat when I run.  (I have been told this may be part of asthma, maybe not.  Super helpful, doctor people…).  I put on my new running shoes and jumped in the car for the short drive to the registration area.

I wore a t-shirt I made with my colleagues for Winter Carnival two years ago.  It was the first t-shirt I had with my married name on the back.  This would be the first time I got to achieve a running goal with my married name.  It sounded like a good combination.  And, of course, I had to wear my pink running shorts.  Who doesn’t want to run in those.

My mom and dad came to cheer me on with B.  My mom wonders where some of my cousins and I got the running motivation because no one in her set of siblings runs.  I haven’t the foggiest.  We just have goals, and some of them involve running.

When the race started, I wanted to make sure that I paced myself to run most of it.  There were little kids running the race in bare feet.  This race took place through the downtown areas of TWO CITIES.  Note to self:  When I have kids, they will not run races in cities with bare feet.  No.  The first song on my iPod to randomly play was Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.”  Thanks for the pep talk, Kelly.  Much appreciated!  I didn’t end up walking until a little after the second mile marker.  Not too shabby.

The end was a little rough, but as I rounded the last corner and ran along the river portion of the course, my iPod decided to have a sense of humor again.  Anyone remember this somewhat inappropriate song?

How did my mom let me listen to this when I was 14?  Questionable.  Very questionable.  Either way, it came on for the “liquid” part of my race finish.  I kicked it into gear for the rest of the race, and ended up coming in with a time that surprised me.  29:48.  I was under a half an hour!  Sweet!  Oh, and yes, I will take some water now, thanks.After getting the first one in, I wanted to see just how well I could run the Four on the Fourth (a race in our hometown on the fourth of July).  I told B we would be running the first mile, and then we would only separate at the two mile marker.  Well… once I started running the first mile, I was gone.  Sorry, hunny.  I walked a good portion of second mile to wait for him, but he never showed up.  So I ran.  And walked a little.  And ran some more.

And guess what?  For the first time, I beat B.  By three minutes.  Do you know how long three minutes is?  When it’s the first time you beat your husband in a race, it’s a frickin’ long time!  I was pleased.

The third race wasn’t so great only because I didn’t pace myself correctly and blew it.  Womp womp.  But I finished, and I am still glad I ran it.  You can’t beat your time every single time, right?

Running is turning into something nice for me, and I can proudly say that I have proven my high school field hockey coach wrong.  Oh so wrong.  She said the last day of field hockey practice my senior year would be my last day holding a stick.  She also said that I just wasn’t cut out to run.  You know what?  Now that I am 26, I can confidently say, “Suck it.  You have no idea what you are talking about.”  Happy early early early early 30th birthday to me!

Run It!

It’s vacation week!  Finally!  For those of you who think teachers get too many vacations, please go find the closest door, open it, put your hand next to the door frame, and then shut the door on your hand.  That’s how I feel when you make fun of a profession you have never tried but feel that you have the right to say your piece.  Please.  Not even you deal with your kids all day when there is a full moon.  And let’s remember, they are very different kids when they are away from you and around their peers, for better or for… not better.

But I’m not here to write about my kids (whom I really do love and were not the reason I was so ready for a vacation).  I have been noticing that with all of the running around I am doing (more like driving) and with my current stress levels, my time for working out has decreased, which in turn has led to the scale’s increase.  Soooo not good.  Add to that all of the Easter candy our parents gave to us a couple weekends again, and you can tell that I haven’t been feeling super confident with my body image. 

{Source}

Yes, I blame you, Mr. Googly Eyes!  Now come here so I can nibble on your ear…

I promised myself that I would step it up during vacation, and I have been pretty excited by the progress I have made in the past couple of days.  True, there is no way that I would see an improvement on the scale, but I am more focused on feeling better about my physical fitness first.  I decided to go back to what seemed to work for me last year at the beginning of the summer:  going to the track.  I set a distance I want to go (typically around four miles), I turn on my iPod, and I go.  As it turns out, “going” is a lot easier these days.

I have never been a runner.  I have never pretended to be.  My own mom has often told me that watching me run looks painful (thanks, Mom!).  I have a problem with one of my hips, and one of my legs is a little shorter than the other, so I kind of “limp” when I run even if I’m not in pain.  I also have asthma, which is tons of fun, and not a runner’s build by any stretch of the imagination.  But that hasn’t stopped me.  I am determined to RUN a 5k, and I started my training this week.

I started with just seeing how far I could run before I had to stop and wheeze.  My muscles are often ready for more, but my lungs say otherwise.  I paced myself and ran a full mile before I had to let myself breathe.  Sweet!  A full mile!  I walked the rest of the four miles.  The second time I went back, I decided to push it even more.  I ran 1.5 miles before stopping, walked a mile, and then ran another 0.625 miles.  That is the most I have run by myself… probably ever.  I’m getting there!

I’m really proud of my progress, and I cannot wait to go back to the track today.  Anyone have any running tips for beginners?  I know a lot of people swear by the Couch to 5K program, but my iPod is too “old” to use the program.  Have you started any new workouts lately?

Workout Wednesdays: What’s Going On Under There

Workouts have become a staple in my weekly routine, and I have to admit, they make getting dress a lot more fun in the morning.  If I feel like I’m working on looking good, I feel better about how I look.  It’s one of those happy cycles I’m not in a hurry to break.  (Except for the occasional “I need chocolate and lots of it!” days, because you know those happen!)

I’ve covered some of the great finds I have found with workout gear, but on Twitter recently, one of the Twitter accounts I began (and recently stopped) following was talking about how hard it is to find a sports bra that does the job.  Sister, sing it!  I know that feeling all too well.  I have gone through countless sports bras since middle school sports, trying to find something that would support, strap down, and otherwise render motionless.  Unfortunately, with a chestial region like mine, there is no such thing.  Seriously.  There isn’t.  There is, however, a way to make things a little more comfortable as you run up that hill.

PROBLEM:  The Bounce – Bustier women need more support in their bras.  That’s a no-brainer.  They also need to use sports bras that are rated for higher levels of activity to counterbalance any sort of bouncing.  That’s not always so well known.  I have always been mortified with any type of bouncing going on, and the right activity level can help out tremendously. 

{Source}

The bra above is a good example of what to look for.  It should have full coverage and be rated for an intense workout.  Smaller-chested ladies have the luxury of being able to shop for different levels of activity; those of us who have been “overly blessed” (yeah, right) do not.  My rule?  If you can find a great sports bra with full coverage and it’s rated for high intensity, make it your primary type.  Light intensity is just like putting on a regular bra.  What’s the point in that?

The fabric also plays a huge role.  If you are just skimming through this, no matter what size you are, listen to this piece:  COTTON SPORTS BRAS WILL NOT WORK.  Cotton is super comfortable, yes, but it does not hold up well.  It may work for a few uses, but after a while, it will lose shape and will not wick away any sweat.  Your ladies will just be bouncing in two puddles of their own.  Gross.  Go for a sports bra that is made out of lyrca or nylon because they are known to wick away sweat better.  They also keep their shape and maintain it longer.  Also, please don’t put your sports bras in the dryer!  Bad news bears!  The elastic will get crunchy and lose its elasticity.  The fabric will start to shrink (that’s never good) and won’t have as much support.

PROBLEM:  The Uniboob – Ugh, uniboobs.  So embarrassing.  There is a simple way to combat it, though.  Meet your new best boob friend, the racerback bra:

{Source}

You can get it lined, unlined, whatever, though I wouldn’t go for a fancy one like the picture above.  Plain is good for this.  Find one that has a little underwire to it because that will keep the ladies separate.  If you use one of these under the high intensity sports bra, you are good to go.  I live in this combination at the gym.  I wouldn’t work out any other way.  My racerback is an older one I got from Victoria’s Secret, but any will work.  Give it a shot!

PROBLEM:  Not Fashnionable – I’ll tell you what.  Sports bras weren’t meant to be tops.  Sorry, but they were just meant to be sports bras.  That’s it.  However, if you have the body to rock one as a top or if you want to have a little color popping through, find a sports bra is a fun color to liven up the outfit!  You could even get in on the neon trend with your workout gear!

{Source}

What problems do you have with workout gear?  Any tricks for working out that you have found?

Calorie Couture

Working out is one of my healthy addictions.  I love to get the blood pumping and the sweat pouring.  With so many people finding their ways to the gym because of new year’s resolutions, I seem to be in good company these days.  Well, maybe for another couple weeks or so…

I found this gem on Pinterest, and I would have to say it has become my workout mantra.

{Source}

I fully believe it.  I don’t quite understand my fellow females who wear pushup bras under their very tiny, thin sports bras.  Uh… isn’t the point to strap them down?  There is no reason to go to the gym if you just want to look cute bouncing on the elliptical.  Seriously Barbie, get out of my way.  I have some calories to burn, and you working out at 0.2 miles an hour is not accomplishing much.  Have fun chasing that Ken doll in front of you.

While I may have my own opinions about fake worker-outers, I do still think that while your face shouldn’t look like you’re a model after a good workout, your clothing can still look great.  Why wouldn’t you want to look adorable going to and from the gym AND be comfortable and supported?  Sounds like winning all around to me!

For pants, I like having something that covers me up a little in the winter because it’s always freezing when I come out of the gym.  Sure, I’m still sweating profusely, but when that sweat freezes to my nose and forms long sweatsicles on my walk across the parking lot.  Nope, they’re not boogers, thanks.  I’ll break them off when I get to the car.  I also like bottoms that have a little stretch to them so that they keep their shape.  Here are some great pant/capri options:

Gap, Adidas, JCPenney

Or if those aren’t your style, you could just stop.  Hammer time!

{Source}

In the spring and summer, I much prefer shorts.  With my new and improved thighs, I love a good pair of shorts that don’t look like I’m trying to rip off my brother-in-law’s basketball shorts but ones that don’t show off my butt either.  Since I workout either at home, at the cardio room at school, or running at the local track, I’m not in prime “look at my booty” locations.  Though I’m not quite sure what a prime “look at my booty” location is.  Hmm.  These shorts seem to be a good length with some fashionable features:

Gray, Pink, Green

Onto tops.  Ah tops, the bane of those of us with developed chestial regions.  I have friends who can work out in spaghetti strap tank tops.  If I did that, I would need a “bow chicka wow now” soundtrack playing in the background.  Like I said before, I don’t work in locations like that.  My brand of classy isn’t spelled with a capital K.  To counteract gravity and Mother Nature overgifting, I need shirts that are super tight, absorb sweat, and give the outfit some color, like these:

Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple

There are, of course, sports bras under there when I wear them.  None of that loosey goosey business.

How do you look cute at the gym?  Have you jumped on the workout wagon?