Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2.2 miles

That's what I managed to do today, and I walked it. Not that that's bad - it's better than nothing - but I was hoping to do more. Now that school is in session, I'm realizing that I'm probably not going to be able to accomplish everything that I want to do every day. School is a priority. My family is a priority. Sleeping six to eight hours a night is a priority. Three huge priorities. Working out? Also a priority, but not as big as the other ones.

I keep thinking that I will just run a lot on the weekend. I envision myself going to the park and busting out five or six miles on Saturday and on Sunday. The reality? A top priority on the weekend is sitting in front of the television for four hours, chowing through several bowls of cereal, chugging coffee, and hanging out with my son. Yeah, can't wait for Saturday. That sounds divine right now.

Although I wish I had more time to myself, I do love what I do. Sometimes it's stressful, but usually it's a good kind of stress - stimulating as opposed to oppressive or overwhelming.

Wednesday's mileage: 2.2 miles
Week 3 mileage: 8.9 miles
Cumulative total: 52.6 miles

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tired but treading

Managed to run 3.2 miles today. I started at a speed of 5.0 and ramped it up by 0.1 every 1.5 minutes. It was challenging. I think I could have easily managed it during break, but because I worked out in the evening after a long day, my energy was pretty depleted. But I did it!

Monday's mileage: 3.2 miles
Week 3 mileage: 6.7 miles
Cumulative total:
50.4 miles (halfway there!)

Funny - some people run 50 miles in a single day, and here I am all proud that I managed to do it in two weeks. :-)

Tomorrow's a day off. I have to drive across the state to get some lab work done, and it'll probably be pretty late by the time we get home.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

8.5 miles, two days, still feel crappy

I managed to run five miles yesterday, meaning that I met my Week 2 goal of running/walking 22-23 miles. Today I walked 3.5 miles and adjusted the incline for more of a challenge.

Part of the reason I run/jog/workout/move is because it helps keep me balanced and mitigates the anxiety I often deal with. If I'm feeling low, exercise gives me a boost; if my head's all over the place, running gives me a point of focus. Unfortunately, that didn't really work today or yesterday. I stepped onto the treadmill feeling crappy and I stepped off the treadmill feeling pretty much just as crappy, albeit somewhat proud of myself for making the effort to regulate my mood. Plus, I've had this low-grade headache that's stuck around for most of the weekend. Really fun! Or not so much.

My totals are as follow:

Saturday's mileage: 5 miles
Week 2 mileage: 22.3 miles

Sunday's mileage: 3.5 miles
Week 3 mileage: 3.5 miles
Cumulative total: 47.2 miles (almost halfway there!)

Tonight's dinner: baked Mahi Mahi with onions, tomato, and almond slivers over wilted spinach and tomatoes. Really flavorful and very easy! I made it in the toaster oven.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Last two days

Thursday: Didn't run. Was exhausted from school and my one-hour-each-way commute. By the end of last semester, I was so accustomed to the drive that it didn't affect my energy levels, but after my relaxing one-month, no-commute break, I guess I need to get reacclimated.

(We bought our house before I even thought about going back to school. Of course, now we can't sell said house because the market sucks. I daydream about renting closer to the city and walking to my department every day - but I don't think it's going to happen.)

Friday: Was exhausted from school and my one-hour-each-way commute. I did manage to walk four miles on the treadmill after my husband and son had gone to bed. Running felt out of the question. Usually, I quickly get bored of walking, but last night I really enjoyed it and didn't push myself to ramp up my speed. While I walked, I listened to music and read a book.

Plan for today: Run/jog four miles, maybe five if I want to exceed last week's total.

Friday's mileage: 4 miles
Weekly mileage: 17.3 miles
Cumulative total: 38.7 miles

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Human vacuum cleaner

I'm so hungry. I've already had dinner (tuna and rice - two servings) and some potato chips, and I still feel famished. So I'm making a snack of cinnamon toast, in lieu of chocolate. :-/ Obviously this is not a low-calorie day.

I wanted to get up early and run, but that didn't happen. Did I mention that I am NOT a morning person? Instead, I waited until after work. Big mistake. I might feel more tired in the morning, but the reality is that my body is more tuckered out in the evening. I need to MAKE myself get up early! But I like to stay up late! It's a dilemma.

At any rate, I walked/ran four (arduous, not that fun) miles - 3.5 miles of running at 5.4-5.6, and about 0.5 miles of walking. I had to play mental games to keep going... If you run for just TWO MORE MINUTES, you can walk!

Today's mileage: 4 miles
Weekly mileage: 13.3 miles
Cumulative total: 34.7 miles (a third of the way there!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Already exhausted

Today I ushered in my first official day of the new semester. If there's anything more overwhelming than the end of the semester, it's the beginning. I look at all of my classes and syllabi and responsibilities, and I wonder how I am going to successfully make it through the next 3.5 months.

I decided to make this a rest day, but in actuality I walked a total of 2 miles on and around campus. I'm including that in my total.

Today's mileage: 2 miles
Weekly mileage: 9.3 miles
Cumulative total: 30.7 miles

I plan to get up early tomorrow to run for at least 30 minutes. We'll see if that actually happens. The problem is that I detest getting up even earlier than I have to, but by the time I get home, I have no energy to work out. It's morning or nothing.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Things I thought about today: the tragedy in Tucson, mental illness, snow, snow days (I did get one!). Potty training (my son is finally potty trained, as of today). Anxiety about the start of a new semester and all that it entails: classes, teaching, research, grant proposals, balancing work and parenting. The gnawing question of, When this is all over, will I have the job and career I want? Will I be good enough to have the job/career I want? Running three miles helped a lot... Sometimes I need all the endorphins I can get. They seem to subdue the negative self-commentary and the pointless questions.

I made a gluten-free pizza for dinner using the Bob's Red Mill mix and topped it with Muir Glen pizza sauce (YUM), shredded mozzarella, and onions. Personally, I really love the flavor, but the texture is distinct from, say, Dominoes or Tombstone or Mellow Mushroom. I've made this pizza for several of my gluten-eating friends, and while some of them have enjoyed it (or at least put up with it), others have had a less favorable impression. I must say, the gluten-y thing I miss the most is a giant slice of New York-style pizza pie.

Here's a picture of the finished product. It's not very pretty because we dove in and devoured it as soon as it was out of the oven:

Today's mileage: 3.2 miles
Weekly total: 7.3 miles
Cumulative total: 28.7 miles

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Waiting for the snow

It's supposed to start soon! The verdict's still out on how badly this will snarl transportation tomorrow morning. Personally, I'm hoping for a snow day and a chance to read one of the books I picked up at the library this afternoon. Being snowed in on a Monday sounds perfect!

Today's run: 4.1 miles at an average of 5.3 mph. I maintained a speed of 5.5 mph for at least 15 minutes. Progress! I remember when running for more than an hour at 10 minutes per mile felt like the easiest workout ever. That was 6+ years ago, but I think I can get back to that level if fitness. Maybe I'll even exceed it (eventually).

Today's Pandora stations: Sara Bareilles followed by Aerosmith. Favorite song to run to today: Say Hey by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Perfect way to get motivated.

Tonight's dinner: Random concoction consisting of black-eyed peas, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and some potatoes. It's simmering on the stove for the next hour. We're big fans of one-pot meals.

Today's mileage: 4.1 miles
Weekly total: 4.1 miles
Cumulative total: 25.5 miles

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Must... eat... more...

I love food, but for some reason, eating slipped my mind for most of the day. I had a small bowl of cereal for breakfast, an apple and some cheese for "lunch" (not a true meal, as I was too busy putting away Christmas decorations to prepare something substantive), and a couple handfuls of cashews and cranberries. Definitely not enough for me. I think part of the problem was that we'd run out of a lot of the food that I can actually eat (since I don't consume soy, corn, or gluten). I'm usually a creative cook, but sometimes I lack ideas, and putting off eating until something yummy magically shows up in the pantry or fridge seems like the easiest (not the smartest) option. :-/

This afternoon I walked 3.2 miles at an incline of 2-4. By the time I was done, I felt nauseated, not to mention ravenous. I'm planning to eat a big dinner... just haven't decided what that will be yet. My SuperRunner husband is at the grocery store right now. We're supposed to get a hefty winter storm tomorrow night, and we want to make sure we're prepared. Winter storms in the South are always interesting. :-)

Today's miles: 3.2 miles
Cumulative miles: 21.4 miles - this is also my first weekly total. I'm happy with it! Next week I'll try to walk/run a total of 22 or 23 miles.

ETA: Tonight's dinner: egg scramble. Onions, potatoes, spinach, hot sauce, a little bit of Monterey Jack cheese, and of course eggs. I also toasted up a couple of tortillas for my husband:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Today I...

...walked/jogged 4 miles. I probably walked 1.5 miles and jogged 2.5 miles. I meant to just walk, but I get impatient. And bored. Once I started "speeding up" (relative term), I felt good. I thought about how much I enjoy running and yet how lazy I am about my training. I do what gets me in a comfortable runner's groove; I rarely push myself beyond it. I might work on that. Or I might not.

...didn't listen to music while I worked out. Sometimes I don't feel like it. Instead, I caught up on some non-required reading. I especially enjoyed this article about "losers" who became runners.

...made basic pasta and sauce for dinner. This is my fave sauce from Trader Joe's. It's so good that I never add anything to it. It's pretty spicy, which I love. Spoon it over rice pasta (TJs sells that, too), and you've got a tasty gluten-free meal.

I adore Trader Joe's: the prices, the food, the quality. Trader Joe for president!

Total miles today: 4 miles
Cumulative mileage: 18.2 miles (Wow! Pretty happy with that!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Self-perceived limits

Last night I was watching "I Used To Be Fat" on MTV (surely there are other 32-year-old women who still watch MTV?). A teenager lost something like 90 pounds in three months. It was amazing. What was even more amazing than the weight loss was seeing her realize that her endurance and stamina far exceeded her own expectations. Once she figured out just how much she could push herself, she was on the fast track to health.

I thought of that today at school/work because I had to accomplish a task I didn't know how to do. I felt pretty stressed out about it, actually, and doubtful that I could do it. But I asked for help, dove in, and guess what? It was actually quite simple. I always worry that I'm not "good enough" to achieve my goals, but that's not true. I simply have to overcome my mental hurdles. Sometimes I need to ignore the self-commentary.

Today's workout: This evening I ran four miles on the treadmill. I felt tired and wanted to walk after one mile, but I didn't. I kept going, maintaining an incline of 2 and a speed of 5.1-5.4. When Pink's "Raise Your Glass" started playing on Pandora, my energy immediately skyrocketed - reminding me that, again, it's all mental.

Tonight's meal: My husband made a delicious vegetable and bean soup - hearty and hydrating.

I added cheese on top because I'm a cheese addict. 

Total miles today: 4 miles
Cumulative mileage: 14.2 miles

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

High calorie day

No running today... Just eating. Tonight was free-for-all night in our house, meaning that everyone got to choose their own food. My husband had leftovers, my son had a grilled cheese sandwich, and I had gluten-free macaroni and cheese (aka gluten-free heart attack in a paper tray - it's yummy, though!) Then we made and consumed chocolate chip cookies. Delicious.

It's nice to have a day off, but I'm already planning tomorrow's run. I'm thinking four miles.

In other running news, my husband signed up for his first 40 mile race today! I'm so proud of him.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don't think - just breathe

I felt frustrated and discouraged with myself by the time I arrived home from work today. I'm dealing with some uncertainties and unknowns, and there are few things I dislike more than uncertainties and unknowns. I'm a control freak. I'm working on that. What's worse, my mind tends to get stuck in deep ruts of self-criticism, and it's hard to break out of them. Running is one way to do it. Running fast(er than usual) is a really good way to do it because when I run fast, I can't think. I'm too busy remembering to breathe. By the time I'm done, I'm usually out of the rut and in a much better mental state. For me, running is a tool for maintaining mental as well as physical health.

Today's run: I started with 5 minutes at a speed of 4, incline 2. Then I set the speed to 5 and increased it by 0.1 after every minute. After 5 minutes, I went to 5.1 and repeated the sequence. Every time I started a new sequence, I began at a higher speed. I think my max speed was 5.6 or 5.7 - enough to make me feel winded. I finished with a slow jog.

Today's miles: 3 miles
Total cumulative mileage: 10.2 miles

I plan to take tomorrow off. As enthusiastic as I am about working out, I know I need to take a break once or twice a week. Resting can be a real psychological challenge.

Tonight's meal: Chicken and basmati rice stew with carrots, onions, mushrooms, and potatoes. It was delicious!

We have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow and the next day!

Another highlight of the day: Going to Trader Joe's to stock up on food for the next few days. Love the food, love the prices. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Going the (short) distance

First day back to work/school after a ridiculously relaxing holiday. I eased back in with some journal reading and sample preparation. Then I came home and walked/ran 2.2 miles on the treadmill. My plan was to just walk, but I get impatient - I like to get to where I'm going, even if I'm... going nowhere. I hiked up the incline to 3 and averaged a speed of about 4.6. Not speedy, but that's okay.

While I was exercising, I read The New Yorker and Scientific American, then checked Dean Karnazas' blog. Between the jogging and the reading, I was able to get out of work mode. Running always makes me feel so good - and more balanced.

Tonight's dinner: Rice pasta and tomato sauce (pumped up with some onion, tomato, and chopped spinach). This is a staple meal in our house. It's inexpensive, tasty, healthy, and filling.

I think my favorite part of cooking might be browning the onions. I love how they smell.

Today's mileage: 2.2 miles
Cumulative mileage: 7.2 miles

I've decided that once I reach my 100-mile goal, I'll reward myself with a new pair of running shoes. I desperately need them... It's just hard to make such a pricy purchase. Maybe this way I'll feel like I've earned them.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First post!

I'm a notorious workaholic who has trouble relaxing. Someone asked me a few weeks ago what I like to do for fun - what instantly relaxes me and gets me out of my own head for a while. I said running and cooking. Those were pretty much the only two things I could think of. It's not that I don't enjoy other activities, but for the most part, I don't find them particularly restful. Few things can avoid the steel trap of perfectionism and overanalysis that sits, waiting, in my brain.

I do cook as often as my schedule allows, and I run when I can. Over the December holiday I was reminded of just how much I love putting on my jogging shoes and getting into motion - if only for just a short while, and even if it's only on my treadmill (often the case). My goal this year is to push myself as a runner, even though I know I won't have much time between my lengthy commute, my full work day, and time with my family in the evening. I'm going to use this blog as a place to log my treadmill miles, my speed, favorite meals, and whatever else gets me into a zen state of mind.

First goal: Log 100 miles. These miles can be running or walking, treadmill or outside, fast or slow. Doesn't matter when I finish it.

Today's run: I wanted to see how long I could jog. I've been slowly building up my mileage, and at this point I can comfortably "run" (read: lope slowly) four miles. Today I went five miles at a speed of 4.7, which is between 11 and 12 minutes per mile. I walked for about ten minutes and jogged the rest of the way. As usual, I set the incline at 2. I felt really good, though I could tell I was petering out a bit by the end. My lungs and legs were fine, but I was tired.

Current mileage total: 5 miles.
Dinner tonight: Cannellini beans with tomato, onion, and spinach (variation on a creation by Gluten Hates Me), and baked chicken with a white wine/butter/lemon glaze. All homemade, and all really easy! I didn't use a strict recipe and it still turned out well - definitely not always the case. :-)
Plans for tomorrow: I've been running for the last few days, so I wouldn't feel horrible about taking a break. But it's my first day back at work, and a short run would probably do me good, just to help me transition back into work mode. I'm going to aim for 1-2 miles.