Up until this week, most of what I have written in my Running Journals has been mostly positive, well except for the minor "accident" I had in the woods. I have had a breakthrough experience with running (or so I think up until now but that may change say, oh around September when I have to run 13.1 miles) and it has been an encouraging and exhilarating ride so far. But we all know that there are downs along the road of ups in anything new we try. And I can say this week was a down week. My joints "flared" up. Running has definitely improved my joint pain and I haven't experienced the deep hurt of my joints for a couple of months. My runs this week have been challenging, painful and disappointing. On Tuesday I put on Facebook that I didn't want to run and many of my friends encouraged me to get on out there, just like I encourage them when they don't want to. But this time was different. I really felt that my body was just not up for it. And I was right. Although I got my 3.3 miles in, it was unpleasant and difficult through the whole experience. And of course afterwards my joints throbbed and my body ached.
I am slowly learning how to listen to my body. Figuring out if it is my body telling me to rest or the lazy beast in my head telling me to sit one out. I should have sat one out Tuesday.
Discouraged I went to yoga on Tuesday night and as it turned out, I was the only one who showed up which was a God-send because the yoga instructor (knowing my history of joint pain, feet pain and poor circulation) spent the hour and a half really just stretching me out and really trying to help ease the pain I was in. She even gave me an amazing foot massage while my job was to "fully relax". It was a-maz-ing and very uplifting.
There was a mini-class on how to train for marathons, sponsored by the Air Force Marathon on Tuesday also which I didn't attend but my friend and running partner, Bekah, did. Oh boy! If the yoga class wasn't encouraging enough, what she brought home and shared with me was over the top!
The Dr. who did the presentation explained how he trains - it is totally heart rate based. And his medical hypothesis that he used makes so much sense to me. I do love a good ol' fashion science lesson, you know. About 12 years ago, he came across the idea of running based on your target heart rate. This will most likely cause your pace to go down right away. But here's the cool science part of it: your goal is to strengthen your heart. As you heart gets stronger, your pace will automatically increase keeping your target heart rate the same. And isn't this why I started running in the first place? To become healthier for my family?
This totally makes sense to me! And it excites me because of this: he said the goal of running is when you finish a run, you should feel good enough to want to do it all over again at that moment. You shouldn't feel strained and beat up (which I was feeling all this week!). And according to him and his research, that is exactly how you will feel after most runs if you focus more on your target heart rate and not on distance or tempo - of course the exclusion is when you are training for a race and are on a race schedule and have to push yourself.
The other big "ah-ha" moment was that he said we should approach running like our kids do. Running for kids is play and fun NOT exercise. And our bodies are designed to run if we treat them right. Which is funny because Evan asked me a couple of weeks ago after I told him I needed to rest because I just exercised, he asked, "Mom, running is exercise?"
But unfortunately now I need a heart rate monitor. And because I don't want to run with my phone AND heart rate monitor I really want one of these bad boys - the heart rate monitor and GPS watches (yeah the least amount of money you will drop is $250!) . Swooning though! I have seen great reviews for both the Garmin 110 and the Timex Ironman Run Trainer, so if either one of these generous, outstanding companies (no I am NOT just saying that to earn brownie points from them) would like to sponsor my running endeavors this year I would completely oblige.
Thankfully Bekah took great notes and there is so many things I could go on and on about but I will only give you one more bullet point from the presentation. SUGAR is the #1 killer of good runs! Although I do not consumer as much as an average American does, I do consumer about 80 grams a day (averaged the last 2 weeks). To put this in perspective for you, women should only eat 24 grams and men should consumer less than 36 grams. ONE soda has a whopping 76 grams!!
After evaluating my diet - I have been using the MyFitnessPal app for several weeks now, so I knew quickly what my average intake was - I had to figure out how to pare down the sugar in my diet. I eat an abundance of fruit which impacts my sugar intake, but my biggest downfall... any guesses...
My can't-live-without-my-morning-cup-of-coffee with my Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Vanilla creamer. I usually use about 3 tablespoons (that's when I make it I think Jeremy adds more when he pours my cup). Three tablespoons has 15 grams of sugar in it! :-(.
Do you know how badly that hurt me when I saw the nutritional information! So, upon thinking about it more and after watching waaaayyyyy to many Netflix documentaries about food and our food system (which is another post I am working on for next week), I am going to try to slowly wean myself from coffee. Yep you heard it hear first folks - I have completely lost my mind!
Will I succeed? I honestly don't know. I know I am addicted to my coffee. Shoot I have been drinking it now for 20 years! I started on it young due to migraines and it was the only thing that helped when I was 13 years old!
So I have had a very long love affair going with my morning cup of joe! So to help wean me off of it, I am starting to drink this:
Pomegranate Green Tea :-/. It is sweet enough that I do enjoy it without any sweetener. So I'm going to attempt it. And I thought signing up for a half-marathon was crazy. I think weaning myself off coffee may find itself more challenging then a mere 13.1 miles.
So that is how I'm doing this week! It's been a long, tiring week but with some encouragement at the end and something new to try with my runs which gives me a new, brighter, "Let's go get 'em" outlook!
How's your healthy endeavors going? I would love to hear about them! Oh and if you have a GPS/Heart Rate monitor you love, let me know, would ya?