Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FIVE TIPS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH RUNNING

Yes, it is true.  YOU can fall in Love with running too. Yes, you.

It occurred to me today that my blog, Running For Dummies, has yet to give any advice for new runners.  I am always quick to point out my blog name is tongue-in-cheek. This blog is not intended to be an instruction manual for runners.  I'm the dummy here, sharing my growth experiences along the way.  I have such a passion for running and I wanted to share with you how I got there, so maybe you can fall in love too.




Here are my five tips to fall in love with running.

1. Step out of your comfort zone. 
The one thing I always hear from my friends who don't run is, "I can't run, I hate running." 
Lets first talk about why you might hate a certain exercise.  I used to hate planks. When I was in boot camp we did a one minute plank at the end of each session. If one person in the group dropped before a minute, the whole group had to do it again!  I would stress-out over those planks. I would spend the entire one hour boot camp class thinking about and dreading that one minute at the end. Why did I hate it? Because it was hard! Why was it hard? Because I wasn't good at them. Why wasn't I good at them? Because I hardly ever did them!  So I started doing one plank a day, every day, with no time requirements. I would just hold as long as I could.  Sometimes back in boot camp I would struggle to hold it for that one minute. After doing a plank every day over a period of a six months, my plank record is 7:30 continuous minutes! You can read how I did it here.  Do I hate planks now? No. Why not? Because I can rock a plank!  Is it still hard? Yes, sometimes. But do I love it? Yes!

The moral of the story is that if you want to love to run, you have to do it.  You have to fight through the uncomfortable feelings in the beginning. You have to accept the fact that it will be difficult at first. If you decide not to do something because you are not good at it (yet), you are missing out on the opportunity to grow.  You don't have to be good at it, you just have to do it consistently.  You will get better, it will get easier. I promise.


2. Go Slow, Be Patient.
The biggest mistake I made as new runner all those years ago is that I started off too fast. I would head out at a pace that is too fast to sustain and then get frustrated and ready to give up before I reached the end of the block. Start off slow. Go even slower than you think you can. Give your body time to adapt to this new exercise. You can worry about speed later, right now work on endurance. Be patient. It will take time, but it will be worth it.


3. Do Run/Walk Intervals.
There is no shame in walking. The ultimate goal may be to run continuously without walk breaks, but in order to get there, you have to build up to it. Start your run at a slow pace and maintain it as long as you can.  When you feel that you need to walk to recover your breath, take a walk break but keep moving forward.  As soon as your breath is recovered, pick back up into a jog again.  This is where it is important to be honest with yourself.  Only walk when you need a breather and start running again immediately when you catch your breath.  Don't stop and walk if your breathing is fine, just because it may be a place on your route where you usually stop and walk.  Don't walk a moment longer than you need to, because this is where the magic happens.  You will find that over time that your running intervals will get longer and your walk breaks will get shorter.  Before you know it, you won't need to take walk breaks at all.


4. Avoid Treadmills (at first).
I am not denying that treadmills have their place in training. My treadmill runs were instrumental in my speed work training. Treadmills can be beneficial in so many ways.  They allow you to have strict control over your pace and time, they provide shelter from the weather and a safe environment to run.  However, right now we are trying to fall in love with running.  I don't think anyone ever fell in love with running on the dreadmill treadmill.  When someone tells me that they hate running, but they only tried to run on the treadmill at the gym, I say D'uh!  Almost everyone hates the treadmill.  I love to run with a passion, but even I dread the treadmill.  It can be boring and monotonous and that clock staring you in the face can play major tricks on your mind. Running is a mental game as much (or more than) a physical one.   I suggest starting your love affair by running in the fresh open air.  If you are stuck on a treadmill for now, check out this post on how to make your treadmill runs not suck.



5. Buy Good Shoes.
When I first started running and some of my toenails fell off, someone finally enlightened me that I should be buying my running shoes at least a half size bigger than my street shoes. Go to a running store, have them fit you for a pair of good quality running shoes. If you are running in poor quality shoes that are too small and not the proper fit, you are needlessly making it harder on yourself.  The great thing about running is that it is free. You don't need a gym membership or expensive equipment, you just need to invest in a good pair of shoes.  If you are not sure what that means, check out this post about how to buy the proper running shoes.



Do you have a love affair with running? What tips to do you have for new runners?  Let me know how you are learning to fall in love with running.  

Keep Running,

Lea

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Monday, August 27, 2012

INSANITY WEEKS FIVE & SIX RECAP - INSANITY HEADACHES


Thanks for following along as I blog about my experience doing the Insanity DVD's.

If you need to catch up:
Week one and two recap
Week three and four recap
Recovery week recap

Month Two (Week five and six):

On that first day, I was  really nervous.  Month two began a whole new series of workouts.  They are longer and more intense.  Was I ready for this?  I had the fit test and then the first work-out of month two, Max Interval Circuit.  I thought it seemed like too much to do the 25 minute fit test and then the new longer one hour work-out back to back, but this was on the schedule, so I had to power through.  I was really happy with the results of my fit test!  I improved on every exercise except for the globe jumps, which for some reason I haven't been able to reach the same number I reached on my very first fit test.  I wonder if hubby counted wrong the first time, how is that possible?


After the first workout in the second month,  I felt a sense of relief.  All in all it wasn't as bad as all the hype. I really read some scary things online about how hard month two would be.  Seriously, it is not that bad. Don't misunderstand, I still couldn't keep up with everything, I was still dying, but it was manageable.  I could do this!  It was kind of like month one, but a little longer, with some new more advanced exercises.   I like the poster below with Shaun T.  If you can get through it all, then you probably are not working hard enough.  You are supposed to fail in each and every workout.  You are supposed to have to stop and take breaks.  If it was easy, it wouldn't be Insanity.  The only real failure is quitting and that is not going to happen.



Immediately following my first workout, I developed a pounding headache.  I didn't think anything of it, took two Tylenol and went about my night.  On the second day I felt fine all day at work, but as soon as I started the warm-up, that pesky head-ache came back.  I fought through the warm-up and stretching but my head-ache was only getting worse.  This was the Max Plyo day, so when they moved into the first jumping exercise of the regular workout, I realized I couldn't continue.  I had to turn it off.  It took two more Tylenol and felt better a short time later.   I had hoped this wasn't becoming a trend, but I wasn't going to beat myself over this though.  I was into the second month of Insanity and the very first workout I missed.  No big deal.  Skip it and move on.  My results wouldn't be diminished by one missed work-out.

I really started to get frustrated when it happened again on both Wednesday & Thursday.  Both times about 20 minutes in.  It wasn't debilitating, so I pushed through to the end anyway, but it was definitely effecting my performance.  I was frustrated that I couldn't give the workout everything I had.  What is going on? I did some research online and everything I read said it probably is related to not enough calories or dehydration. I drink a ton of water every day and I generally don't drink caffeine.  I follow the calorie calculator that came with the program and eat about 2000-2200 calories a day, so I didn't think that was it.  Maybe I needed even more calories now that I've moved into month two?

On Friday, I decided to eat a much bigger lunch than usual to see if it had any effect.  I was willing to use any excuse to go to my favorite local Mediterranean buffet and load up on the best hummus on the planet.  On both Friday and Saturday I completed the workouts without a headache! I was so relieved!   I'm not sure if it was the food or not, I did notice on Friday in one of the killer warm-up exercises called 'side to side floor hops' that I started to feel a little head pain, so I stopped doing that exercise and it never developed into anything.  Could it be that exercise? Fair warning to my male readers, girl talk about to commence.  I was on my period those first four days when I was getting the headache. I'm not sure if there is any correlation there.  Whether it was the calories, my period or that insane warm-up exercise, I was just happy that the headaches seemed to have stopped.

It gave me a renewed sense of gratitude for being able to complete the workouts, rather than complain about their difficulty.  It really is a privilege to be healthy enough to exercise at this level and I will work hard to remind myself of that fact.  It is easy to forget.  There were days when I didn't feel like doing it.  I did it anyway. There were days I was tired.  I did it anyway.  Every day I hit play on the DVD player and that is the key to my success so far.  You don't have to do it perfectly, you just have to do it.

Running has really taken a back seat to Insanity.  It is too much on my body to do both.  I have been lucky to get one good run in a week.  I miss running a lot and look forward to returning to it.  I plan on continuing with the Insanity workouts three days a week and running three days a week once I officially complete the program.  Right now, six days a week of one hour Insanity sessions and running on top of that proved to be too much.  When I attempted to run on Insanity days, my legs were sluggish and my pace was slow.

After completing the first two weeks of month two, I feel great!  I generally enjoyed the month two workouts even more than the ones in the first month.  I can't believe I only have two weeks to go, the time has flown by!  I can't wait to compare my before and after pictures, measurements and body fat percentage at the end.  Although my weight is exactly the same as when I started (that is a good thing, I was worried about losing weight), I think I can see more defined muscle definition in my obliques already.  It will be interesting to see the before and after pictures side by side.  I'll share them with you once I complete the program!

Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

PLANK LEADER BOARD



Ever since I broke the seven and a half minute plank barrier, I've been getting a lot of requests from my readers to share my tips for holding a longer plank.  I wrote a blog post about it awhile back, you can read about it here.  In a period of about six months, I went from a one minute plank to more than a seven minute plank by doing it every single day.  If I can do it, so can you. It just takes a daily commitment, time and patience.


I thought it would be fun to start a Running with Ollie plank leader board.  Send me your continuous plank times and a picture of your stop watch to runningwithollie@gmail.com. You can even add the Plank Leader Badge to your website or blog to show off to all your friends. I will keep a running list of the  top 20 plank times that will include your name, your plank time and your website or Twitter handle (if applicable).  Let's have a friendly competition to push ourselves to hold it up a little longer. If you are new to planking, check out my blog post for some tips to hold your plank longer! 

Can you beat any of these times? The plank leader board is officially closed but I'd love it if you would leave your best plank time in comments!!! Happy Planking!



 
 
How to get on the plank leader board:
The plank leader board is now closed. Please leave your plank time in the comments.
1. Make sure you are following Running with Ollie blog by clicking "Follow with Google Friend Connect" on the right side bar.
2. Submit your best time and photo of your stop watch/timer to runningfordummies@gmail.com or tweet me your picture and time @gealenders.  (I'll retweet and follow you).
3. Be sure to include your name, your website and/or your twitter handle (if applicable) so I can link back to you.
4. Copy one of the plank leader badges HERE and add to your site (if applicable).

It is easy to show off your mad planking skills to your friends and followers.  Go HERE to for the HTML code to copy a plank leader badge to your site.




Click HERE for the HTML code
Click HERE for the HTML code
Click HERE for the HTML code
Click HERE for the HTML code


Saturday, August 25, 2012

JUST SAY NO TO ARMPIT FAT - HANDFUL BRA REVIEW

I didn't intend to do a review of the Handful Bra.  As a matter of fact, I had never heard of the Handful Bra until I won one in Livin The Fit Life's virtual 5K!  When found out that I won I was so excited, I never win anything! They shipped me a purple sport bra, one of the first of the new adjustable strap models.  I have to be honest and tell you that sports bras are not usually on the top of my money-spending priorities.  After all,  I don't need a lot of support in this area, so I always figured almost anything will do.  I have been known to run with just the built in bra's that are sewn into my tank tops.  I usually buy a stretchy 3 pack of sport bras from Wal-Mart for $15 that I thought were serving me just fine.  It is not like I am one of those runners that shows up on race day just wearing a sports bra. 

I had no idea what I was missing.  When the Handful Bra arrived in the mail I slipped it on right away and immediately noticed a difference in overall comfort.  First of all the straps are soft, almost felt like satin against my skin.  It made me realize that the thick elastic straps on my cheapo Wal-Mart sport bras were too tight.  The fit of the Handful Bra was comfortable and supportive, but not at all restrictive.  I ordered a size small and the fit was wonderful.   My usual sports bra sometimes squeezes out that lovely armpit fat.  I look at pictures of myself in my workout clothes and cringe at those little pockets of fat.  This problem area disappeared with the Handful Bra, everything remained covered, supported and nothing squeezed out of the sides.  All this time, I was just wearing the wrong bra.  Who knew?  I'll keep doing those push-ups anyway.


Another feature that I love on the Handful Bra is that it is lightly padded.  I'm not saying I want to look  boobalicious when I am working out, it is just nice to have a little added natural looking feminine shape.  My old bras just flattened everything into one unattractive uni-boob.  This bra separates and flatters.  If you are one of those blessed individuals who doesn't need any help in this area, the pads are easily removable.

I loved it so much that I wore it during the whole next day under my street clothes long before I was ready to do my workout.  This bra can definitely also be worn as an everyday bra.  It is comfortable, supportive and stylish.  As much as I was loving it, the true test of a sports bra is it how well it holds up under an intense workout. As many of you know, I just completed week 7 of the Insanity workouts.  I am happy to report that while Shaun T was kicking my butt, the Handful Bra took care of my boobs.  It stayed secure and kept the moisture away from my skin, despite the fact I was sweating like a dripping faucet.  I didn't have think about it once, no tugging, no adjusting.


Working out in my Handful Sports Bra




Who knows? After discovering this great sports bra, maybe I will turn into one of those runners who show up at races just wearing a sports bra.  Thank you Handful for saving me from armpit fat forever!

Keep Running,

Lea

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MY FITNESS AHA MOMENT



My fitness Aha moment didn't come the time I looked in the mirror and cringed at the strange overweight girl staring back at me.  I hated what I saw.  I wondered how I let myself get so far out of hand.  I wondered what happened to the old me, the thin me, the cute me?  I made a decision in that moment, that it was time to get my act together and to lose weight, but that wasn't my aha moment.  The real aha moment didn't come until much later.  You see, I did the lose the weight.  Fairly quickly actually.  I started running and limiting my calories.  Run a lot, don't eat a lot.  It was a formula that I thought worked for me.  I gave up carbohydrates almost completely.  I gave up everything "bad."  I limited my calories and I got thin.  I was happy, or so I thought.  Over time, I couldn't maintain all the restrictions I was putting on myself.  I usually either got sick, injured or bored.  I would start eating carbs again. My brain would start to flip.  I would start to eat more and run less.  I would eventually gain the weight back, plus some.  Eventually I would I have the mirror moment again and repeat the process. Again and again.  It got to the point where I knew at any given time I could get small in three months.  It was easy.  Run too much, eat too little.  It was a cycle that I repeated more times than I care to admit.

I traded a Diet Coke in my right hand for a half marathon finishers medal.
My real aha moment came when I finally came to the realization that living a healthy life did not have a start and end date.  In the past, I would circle the day on the calendar 90 days later and know from experience that I could be skinny in that time frame, it just required a ton of running and a ton of not eating a lot.  A vacation, a wedding, a trip to my hometown? No problem, just give me 90 days.  The goal was always a magic number on the scale.  Once I reached that goal, I felt like I was done.  I had the all-or-nothing mentality.  I was that crazy person who would miss a work-out and double up the next day.  I wouldn't dare eat anything unhealthy, ever.  I was great at losing weight.  I was terrible at maintaining it. I was either in it 110% or I was not in it at all.  I got sick of tired of being sick and tired.  I was worn out on starting over.  I didn't want to start over anymore.  I wanted to be healthy.  I didn't want it to be about losing weight anymore, I wanted to be strong.  I wanted to be fit but also to enjoy life.  Could I have both? Were those two things even possible together?

My fitness aha moment came when I truly learned to practice moderation.  Too much of a good thing is still too much.  I learned how to eat whole natural foods to fuel my healthy body instead of surviving on processed foods & Diet Coke.  I learned  that being skinny or achieving a number on the scale was not the goal.  The goals were to be healthy, strong, and athletic.  Once I realigned my thinking, everything changed.  Now I have a well rounded work-out routine that includes some running, because I will always love to run, but also includes weight training and Yoga.  I eat healthy, whole foods most days, but enjoy a couple of indulgence meals every single week-end without fail, and most importantly, without guilt.  I eat carbs. I drink wine. One bad meal is no longer a trigger for weeks or months of bad eating.  If I miss a work-out or overindulge, I just move on.  This is a healthy lifestyle. One bad day is merely a small blip on the big radar of life and has no long term effect on my health and fitness progress.  You can't do any real damage in one meal or one missed work-out.  I eat more, run less and I am more fit than I have ever been in my life.  Once I came to realize that this was my healthy lifestyle, not a diet, not a 90 day challenge, that is when everything changed.

What was your fitness aha moment?

Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Admit it! I Am a Cheater! Top 5 Rules of a Cheat Meal



 We all know cheating is bad, right?  We were all probably raised not to cheat. 

Things you probably should not cheat on:

(I am not trying to tell you how to live, I'm just saying.)

1. Your spouse
2. Your taxes
3. A test
4. In sports
5. In cards

But your diet?  You should cheat on your diet.  I think it is the key to a successful, healthy, sustainable, lifestyle.  I don't really like to call it a cheat meal.  The term cheat mean implies that it is not part of the plan.  I call it an indulgence meal. When I indulge, it is absolutely 100% part of my plan.


Once or twice a week, I eat what ever it is that I want.  Sometimes it is a cheeseburger and french fries, sometimes pizza and beer, or tempura sushi and wine.  I eat my unhealthy meal, I enjoy and savor every second and immediately go back to eating healthy for the next meal.   I believe it is the key to my success.  I do this every week-end and it has never had any negative impact on my health and fitness goals or progress.  When I was trying to lose weight, I continued to lose weight.  Now that I am trying to gain strength and muscle, I continue to gain strength and muscle.  I don't go overboard.  I enjoy it and move on.  It has had very little impact on the scale, if any at all, but goes a very long way in the mental battle.

I usually save my indulgence meals for the week-end.  I make really healthy choices and exercise all week long and when the week-end rolls around, I loosen up the reigns.  In the beginning of my healthy journey, when turning down junk food was still a struggle, it really helped me mentally make the right choices.  If someone at work was passing around doughnuts, and I felt like I wanted one, I would tell myself that if I really wanted a doughnut I could have one on the week-end as part of  my indulgence meal.  I learned to say "no" now for spur of the moment urges, so I could "yes" later to planned indulgences. This is the key, the indulgence meal is not a spur of the moment decision.  It is planned. 

Here are my Top 5 Rules of a Cheat Meal:

1. No Guilt.  Savor it.  Enjoy it.  If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you are missing the point.
2. Plan your indulgence meals.  They should not be a spur of the moment decision. 
3. Don't forget everything you know about portion control.  An indulgence meal should not be a license to binge. 
4. Limit your indulgence meals to two times a week most of the time.
5. Move on.  Don't allow an indulgence meal to be a trigger to more bad eating.  Do it, love every second of it, and move on.



Simply put, I can eat anything I want and maintain my slim figure.  I may just have to wait a couple days for it until my planned indulgence meal rolls around.  A healthy lifestyle includes having balance. 

What is your favorite Indulgence meal?  Mine is sushi and red wine.

Keep Running,

Lea

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

INSANITY RECOVERY WEEK | IS INSANITY MAKING ME INSANE?




Week five of Insanity is the recovery week.  I was looking forward to a break in intensity while still continuing the program.  What I didn't expect is that after two days of the same easier work-out, I was bored to death.  Core Cardio & Balance is a whole new work-out that is somewhat slower in pace, intended to give your body the recovery it needs before moving on to the more intense month two.  The exercises are similar to the first month, there is just a lot more resting between exercises.  I was bored.  What is wrong with me? Is Insanity making me Insane? Shouldn't I be loving this break?

The work-out itself is more like a regular non-insanity work-out, maybe similar to what I've done at a boot camp.  I still got my heart-rate up,  but I don't believe I cursed Shaun T's name even one time.  OK, maybe once.   I couldn't wait to get through this easy week and get back to the real Insanity, although I knew in the back of my head that I would probably be begging for the easy week back once the craziness of month two started.  I've been reading blog recaps of month two and they are scaring me.

On the last day of the recovery week, I ran 10 miles.  I hadn't been out for a good run in almost a week and I was itching to get out there.  When I picked up my Nike + GPS watch it said on the screen, "Are we running today?"  I really don't appreciate the judgmental tone.  You're a watch.  You don't know me.  I've been working out hard!  I don't need to explain myself to a watch. Am I a bit defensive?  Maybe.  I miss running.



I hadn't planned on doing a long run that day but it was a rare cool Texas morning with low humidity.  I felt good, so I just kept running beyond the six miles I had planned for that morning.  It has been a month since I have ran a true long run (more than an hour) so I started to feel fatigued by the end, but overall it felt really good to get out there.  After the ten miles I still had to do my Insanity work-out that day, which felt fine at the time, but by the end of the day my body was really tired. Do you know what GPS watch said to me after that long run? "Way to get out there." Who programs these things? It felt a little snarky.  I just decided I need to give me GPS a name.  Any suggestions? 


At the end of the day, I made the sad realization that I couldn't train for the half marathon that I wanted to run in September, the day after my birthday, and continue the Insanity program.  It was one thing to run 10 miles and do the recovery work-out, but it would be too much to run 13 miles and do the regular high intensity work-out in the same day.   I had to choose, and since I was already half way through Insanity and I wanted to see it through to completion, I decided to break on half marathon training until after Insanity.  I would still run, but those long runs had to temporarily come to a halt.  After all, Insanity is a 60 day program, running is forever.  I am starting to think that maybe I will start full marathon training at the end of September.  I could run three days a week and pepper in some insanity work-outs or weights and yoga the other three.  What race should I run?  The Dallas Marathon (formally White Rock Marathon) or head out to Huntington Beach for another Surf City?

I was happy to end the boring Insanity recovery week even though I was scared to death of what was to come in the second month of Insanity.  Please stay tuned to find out.

Keep Running,
Lea

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ode to Greek Yogurt: Top Five Ways to Love Greek Yogurt



Oh Greek Yogurt, I love you so
Your protein is high and your sugar is low.

I love you so much, let me count the ways
You made it easy to give up mayonnaise.

I love ranch dressing, so when I have an itch
I sub the mayo for yogurt for a wholesome switch.

My Mexican meal is not what it seems
Greek yogurt replaces the sour crème.

You give all the flavor without all the fat,
You're dinner & breakfast and mid morning snack.

You have all natural ingredients
I can eat you all up and still fit in my pants!



I don't know about you, but I LOVE Greek yogurt.  Maybe you don't write silly poems about your favorite foods, but that's OK, I'll do it for the both of us.

There are so many reasons that I love all natural plain Greek Yogurt, mainly because it is all natural, high in protein and low in sugar, but also because it can be used as healthy substitution in so many foods.

Here are my Top Five ways to love Greek Yogurt:

1. Ranch Dressing:  Did you know if you buy those ranch dressing packets and replace the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt it tastes almost the same as actual fattening bad-for-you-but-so-good Ranch Dressing?  I never have to crave ranch dressing again.   Note: don't buy the Ranch DIP packet, make sure you buy the one that says SALAD DRESSING.



2. As a sour cream replacement:  We make these stuffed spinach & turkey mushroom caps on a weekly basis.  I stir in Greek Yogurt in the meat mixture and my taste buds don't know it is not sour cream.  Click for recipe here.



3. In sweet potatoes:   I mix about 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt into about three large cooked mashed sweet potatoes.  It makes them so creamy and delicious and as a bonus adds some protein into a starchy carb food.  I mix up a batch for the week and eat a little with my lunch every day.


4. With berries and fruit:  My 10am snack everyday is a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with berries.  Maybe my taste buds are skewed from all this healthy eating, but I swear it tastes like an ice-cream treat.  No one give me a real ice cream treat please, I would like to continue to believe this fantasy.  



5. In Protein Shakes:  Add to protein shakes for an extra creamy texture with the bonus of added protein.



There you have it, my top five favorite ways to enjoy Greek yogurt.  What are yours?

Keep Running,
Lea


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Thursday, August 9, 2012

FIRE & ICE RACE SERIES 10K AUGUST 4TH 2012 RECAP



I am very thankful that the Fort Worth Running Company hosts these race series.  August-November is the Fire & Ice Series and December-February is the Winter Race Series. They are inexpensive no-frills races which fit perfectly into my race schedule and budget.  No frills racing, no medals, no t-shirts, just a bib and a beautiful race course through Trinity Park.  They have official timers, photographers, water stations and plenty of competition.  You can't beat it for $10 a pop especially when I have committed to myself to run at least one race a month in 2012.  Races can get expensive!

I went to the Fort Worth Running Company's store on Seventh Ave on Friday before the race to pick up my bib.  I can't walk into that store without buying something.  They had the cutest pink Nike boy shorts on display and I told myself that I'll just try them on, not buying anything today.  They turned out to be super cute and it was payday so I splurged a bit.  Now while I love fashion and shopping, I am not a big spender on clothes.  I've been known to walk the aisles in the Juniors department (yes, I am 38).  I am a bargain hunter for sure.  So $35 for a pair of work-out shorts was a little out of my usual spending habits.  I rationalized the purchase with three points:



1. I am supporting a locally owned Fort Worth business that gives back so much to the community.  I would rather give my money to these good people than to some giant corporate sporting goods store.
2. I have been on a no-spend lunch budget for the last three weeks.  That means no lunches out during the work week.  I skipped at least three $10 lunches out over the last three weeks.  At least now I have shorts, if I had bought lunches, I would have nothing to show for it.
3. Most races cost between $30-$50 to run, they give you a "free" shirt and you get whatever style they decide to give you.  This race only cost $10.  These shorts were kind of like my "free" shirt had I paid more for the race, only better, I actually like these shorts.

OK, done rationalizing.  I know you don't care where I spend my money.  Someone let my husband know. Onto the race.

The night before any race, I lay out my clothes and pull together all my running accessories.  I call it my "Flat Dummy," borrowed or inspired by, Moms Run This Town who do "Flat Mamas" on their Facebook page.



I get up at 5:30 on Saturday to prepare for the 7am start time.  This by the way, is about an hour and half earlier than I got up any day this week for work.  I drank my coffee and my two bananas and headed the race site. 

I stood at the starting line and waiting for go-time.   First rule of Running For Dummies? Remember to load your GPS satellites BEFORE the race starts! D'uh! I don't know my official time yet, because it took a minute or two for the satellites to load while I was already running.  My GPS watch is missing a couple minutes of data.  Nevertheless, I was off and was faster than my training pace, as is the norm for me at the start of races.  I tried to slow down a bit, but I really did want to push my pace this time and try to PR this race.  Since this was a shorter distance, I figured I could sustain a slightly faster pace than my usual long race pace.

I followed closely behind a guy with huge calf muscles, who unbeknownst to him, became my unofficial pacer.  I was determined to stay with this fast guy.  I was working hard and definitely pushing my pace a little outside of my comfort zone.  I was using my music and my new pacer friend to stay upbeat.  The first three miles were a breeze, then mile four and five started to get harder, but I sustained.  It was during the last mile, that I started to lose my pacer and I slowed.  I started to develop a side stitch, which never progressed into anything debilitating, but was annoying and effecting my breathing, so I had to slow down a bit.  Despite my issues at the end, I still maintained a respectable overall pace and even achieved a new personal record.

Mile 1 -8:09
Mile 2 -8:16
Mile 3 -8:23
Mile 4 -8:20
Mile 5 -8:25
Mile 6 -8:44


missing .12 miles of data because this dummy forgot to load the satellites before the race started.


The most amazing part of it to me is that I ran this same race a year ago and it took me 1:06 to complete the same 10K. It is very motivating to see how far I have come in the course of a year.  I was nearly 15 minutes faster than last year, but in the interest of full disclosure, last year it was raining during the race.  I wrote a blog about how I believe I came to be faster, if you are interested in checking that out (here).
 


Finished in my new shorts!
Update: I just found out that I placed FIRST in my age division!







Official Time: 0:51:23
Pace: 8:17
1st in my age division, females age 30-39
8th place overall


Hubby said, "Congratulations, you're the fastest old person I know."  Ha Ha!

What is your next race?

Keep Running,
Lea


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