How to Not Quit Training for Your Marathon


I didn’t desert this blog for no reason.

You know how when your mom says if you don’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all?

I was just following her advice.

Because after Sunday’s long run, I’d just about hung up my sports bra and hobbled away from running. For good this time! I mean it!

I took some days off, though, to…um…cool off. Here’s what happened:

Sunday was my fourth double-digit run of my marathon training and I only made it 11 miles. So, I’ve done 10, 10, 10 and 11. And after I finished, I didn’t know if I could possibly do more than that. I was supposed to 12.

I couldn’t even do one more mile. On a treadmill!

The plan had been to break up the run with 6 on my regular gravelly trail and 6 on the treadmill since I’d had such a hard time the weekend before. Well, thanks to an unexpected visit from a friend I hadn’t seen in a while—insomnia—I got a late start Sunday morning.

By the time I was at 5.5, it was approaching 90 degrees, and since heat makes me want to lie down and wait for crows to peck me to death, I went home instead. I grabbed my favorite BCAA drink (which I’d stored in the fridge), got in the car and drove to the gym.

By the way, the gym is a half of a mile from my house. And I drove.

Then, I started the painful process of restarting to run. But it wasn’t my legs that hurt, it was my GD feet! They felt like pieces of glass that shattered with every step. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.

Somehow, I willed myself to 5.5 more miles and called it quits. I drove home with my tail between my legs, and when I got there I declared this whole marathon training thing to be dumb, stupid and I never want to do it again.

Which is a complete 180-degree turn from where I was two months ago when I thought I would be the next great ultra-runner (over the age of 38). I’d planned to kill the marathon, then crush a 50K the following month and then a half marathon the next day after that.

Haha! What a moron. Who was I kidding?

And here’s the other thing: Running over an hour does not help my body look or feel great. My jiggly stomach is all the evidence I need that my body gets STRESSED the hell out on long runs. I can literally feel the flood of cortisol washing through me.

I see those elite ultrarunners with their light and muscular bodies, and feel inspired. They look like they’re flying over the trail. It looks so fun.

I hate them.


So, I’ve had a few days to think on it.

First, I am not quitting this marathon. I’ve already done that once. I will see this thing through to the fiery end.

Although, I admit, I’m nervous about “finishing or else!” because I felt so great and had such a wonderful first marathon with Zoe. I am worried that this one will be just 26.2 miles of me mumbling the “f” word. Will it ruin the joyful memory of the first one?

Second, I think I need different shoes.

Here’s the deal. I have two pairs of Brooks that I run in: the Cascadias and the Adrenalines. I like Brooks, but…I have foot issues.

I did one double-digit run in the Cascadias on my gravel trail and my arches hurt bad. So, I did the next two in my Adrenalines. My hallux limitus toe hurt pretty bad, as did the bottoms of my feet from all the gravel.

That’s the reason I decided to split up my run Sunday…to save the bottoms of my feet. Well…it didn’t work. As I mentioned, they were as painful as ever.

So, maybe instead of a hydration vest, I should look at trying the Hokas.

I’ve read the Mafate can be helpful for hallux limitus.

Everyone’s got their opinion on these Franken-shoes, but from what I’ve read, they can be really helpful to someone like me who a) can barely bend her left big toe and b) runs on gravel all the time.

Maybe if my feet didn’t feel like they’d be beaten with a meat mallet for two hours then I wouldn’t have been so grumpy after my run on Sunday.

I don’t know. We’ll see. Cross your fingers for me. I’m supposed to do 13 miles this weekend.

If you don’t hear for me from a while, you can guess how it went.

Gear Check: Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Vest

Like most women my age, I’ve been saving up for a designer bag. Except this one straps to your back, holds water and was designed by someone with more balls than Michael Kors.

Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest - First Impressions
Link to UD

No disrespect to MK. Love him, but a guy who wears boat shoes sans water vessel doesn’t portray the type of toughness I was thinking about.

Anyway, I stopped in at my local running store yesterday and I tried on the Ultimate Direction Women’s Ultra Vesta (AKA the Jenny vest as it was designed by ultramarathoner Jenny Jurek). And, you guys, I’m in love.

The vest costs about $125. I have had my eye on it for a little while, so I set aside some money. When I purchase it, it will be the most expensive “bag” I own.

And I’ll only use it once a week!

But it’s worth it. It’s so light, which is super important if I’m going to be loading it up with water and gels and my phone and my pepper spray and God knows whatever else it is I want to take on a long run.

It’s like the magic Mary Poppins bag of running.

I’ve looked at some other vests and they are heavy with nothing in them. Also, most of the hydration packs and vests I’ve looked at don’t have bottles or pockets on the front. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the bottles on the front of the Jenny vest, but I don’t think I’ll mind them–they’re small.

If the store yesterday would’ve had my size in stock, I’d have bought it on the spot. Luckily for my husband, they have to order it and won’t get it till next week.

What’s the most expensive (but totally worth it) piece of running gear you own? (Besides your shoes; that doesn’t count!)

An Interview with Me After My 10 Mile Long Run

Today, Grunhild Swanson became the oldest woman to finish the Western States 100.

Today, Alysia Montano, who is still breastfeeding her baby, won her 7th national title by winning the women’s 800 meter at the USATF Outdoor Championships.

Today, I washed my whites.

Okay, that’s not fair. I also put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. (After my son unloaded it.)

And, well, fine. Because you asked…I did run 10 miles, which I was pretty proud of because I did it alone and that’s the longest I’ve run all by myself in a while, as in probably a year or more.

Yes, it was quite a feat. Since I won the day today sort of like Alysia and Grunhild, I shall now share my post-run interview with myself.

Congratulations on a solo 10-miler. How did you feel out there?

I felt pretty good, you know. I was a little worried about the weather since it hit 95 yesterday, but I lucked out today with cloud cover, a breeze and temps in the upper 70’s.

What were you thinking about while you were out there?

Well, I was listening to an audiobook called As You Wish, so mostly I was thinking about The Princess Bride. I also thought about whether or not I would go blind after a bug committed suicide by flying into my eyeball. The rest of the two hours is a blur, really.

My 10-Miler Interview

How prepared were you for this run?

Well, I skipped my long runs the last two weeks, so I would say about as prepared as I normally am.

Well, congratulations, and we’re looking forward to hearing about how your next run goes.

Thanks! And thank you all for your support out there. Can’t do it without you. Shout out to my boys. God bless. Peace!

This is the Running Book I’ve Been Looking For

We all know lifting weights and doing strength training is good for us. Especially if we are runners.

I have been enjoying my weight lifting sessions. I love seeing how much stronger I am getting. Buuuuut, I have always wondered how beneficial the strength training plan I was using would be for a runner.

I’ve been wondering that for a while. I’d say, pretty much since I’ve started lifting– so about two years now. As much as I sometimes think I could be only a weight lifter, I am in my heart, a runner.

Last night, I was looking for recommendations for a new running book using a search on Pinterest. I just finished Older, Stronger, Faster by Margaret Webb, which I enjoyed and plan to review here later. Anyway, I needed something new.

I came a cross this article, Strength Training for Runners: Do It Right!, on My index finger trembled as I clicked on the article. Could this be the book I have been looking for?

Guess what?

I think it is! (I haven’t finished it yet, I just bought it on my Kindle last night–only $9.49! But I’ll probably get it in paperback, too.)
This is the Running Book I've Been Looking For

The book is called Anatomy for Runners, but don’t let that science-y title put you off. (Read the article I linked to above for a taste of what you’ll learn in the book.) The book’s author–Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS–explains that he wrote the book because he was a runner, who kept getting injured.

This is the Running Book I've Been Looking For
Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS

The book explains–in easy-to-understand language–how running affects our anatomy. And then gives you a strength training plan to complement your running–to make you a better, stronger, faster runner who will (hopefully) get injured less. I can’t wait to get through it.

I will review it when I’m done, but I couldn’t wait to share it here in case anyone else has been looking for this book.

Why I Started Keeping a Food Diary Again

If things aren’t working, then why keep doing the same thing?

If only I’d kept a food diary back when things were working, then I’d know what it was I was doing different…and wrong.

I read an interesting piece in Eat To Perform about eating enough and eating well for your goals (i.e. to lose fat or to gain muscle or to run a marathon *ahem*). I used their little food calculator (linked at the end of their article) and it made me think…Am I eating ENOUGH?

Why You Should Keep a Food Diary | Mom vs. Marathon

I’ve just been basing my nutrition on hunger. And I feel like if I’m not hungry, then it is probably okay. Okay, so am I eating right for my goals? Hmmmm.

Last night, I decided to write down my food for the day. So I went back to my MyFitnessPal account (@momvsmarathon if you want to look me up) and wrote everything down that I ate yesterday, and guess what? I am probably eating too much fat.

Yesterday, my nutrition broke down like this: 20% protein, 35% carb and 45% fat. I didn’t eat particularly well yesterday, but I would say it was a pretty typical day. I’m not a nutrition stickler, but I try to make healthy choices most of the time.

I went ahead and pre-planned my food for today (Wednesday) in the food diary. And I ate very close to it. Just made small changes if I ended up straying from what I’d planned.

Here’s how the breakdown went today: 30% protein, 40% carb and 30% fat. Better. I still need to get some more protein without the fat. Got ideas?

I also ate a ton more today and am still short of what the ETP calculator said I should be eating, which was over 2,000 calories. Even MyFitnessPal has me down for over 2,000 calories.

Surprisingly only ate 1,676 calories. But I don’t feel like I can eat any more! I’m so full. Obviously, I’ve gotten used to less food if I’m this full after 1,676. Not saying that’s good or bad. Just a fact.

So, I wonder. Am I eating enough for the amount of exercising I do?

It’s a mystery and I think keeping a food diary will help me solve it.

Do you keep a food diary? What do you use?

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report

Five friends. Fifty-two miles. One car. One day.

Ah, Rainier to Ruston, I love you.

It’s not the most hard-core race. It’s not the most scenic after about Leg 4. But, man, it’s my favorite race every year.

This is the fourth year running the event for us, the Honey Buckettes Have the Will. We were just the Honey Buckettes in 2012 and 2013, but our faithful relay driver, Will (Tiffany’s husband), joined our team in 2014, so we adjusted the name.

And did we ever have to will ourselves to the finish line this year. It was just so hot! We are not used to it up here in the Seattle area. We had no time to acclimate. It was raining and in the 50’s earlier in the week. Sheesh!

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Start line photo! Don’t worry, the bigfoot didn’t eat Tiffany, she was already running because we basically rolled up and the race started. Yeah, that’s how we do relays now. ‘Cause we’re pros.

Legs, this year, were assigned as follows:

Leg 1 and 7: Tiffany

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Tiffany ringing the bell as she hands off to Mel after Leg 1.

Leg 2 and 8: Mel

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Mel rocked the tough and muddy Leg 2!
2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Zoe and I slip/climbed down the steep dirt and rock path from the road/bridge to the trail to cheer Mel on during Leg 2.
2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Like a dummy, I had on flip flops.
2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
A view of the bridge over Leg 2. It’s so pretty up there.

Leg 3 and 9: Alyssa

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Alyssa flies into the finish for Leg 3 to hand off to Will for Leg 4!

Leg 4 and 10: Will

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Will rockin’ out the sandy 3-mile Leg 10.

Leg 5 and 11: me

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
I spent more time in Honey Bucket lines than I did running this year, I think. I enjoyed scaring the guys in this line at the Leg 9/10 exchange–they were running Leg 10, and I was not for the first time since 2012. And they’d never run it before.

Leg 6 and 12: Zoe

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Zoe running strong into the finish at Leg 6/7 exchange.

For the past three years, I had to run Leg 10 and it’s 3+ miles in sand along the Puyallup River. I was so, so happy not to have to run it this year, but I did feel bad for Will.

I’ve also run Legs 2 and 6 (twice!), and 4 (and Leg 10 three times) in our past relays. I’ve run Leg 3 a couple times just for fun with Mel and Tiffany (not during the relay). So I’m getting more and more familiar with the course. Message me if you ever have questions about Rainier to Ruston!

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Me and Mel recreating a photo from a previous year. I have gorilla arms.

My report will cover the legs that I ran this year, 2015…

Leg 5 of the Rainier to Ruston Relay

Our start time was 8 a.m., which meant that I wouldn’t run till almost noon. And it was hot for us Pacific Northwesterners. Probably 80 or so about the time I started my leg. There was a slight breeze, though, so that helped a little.

Leg 5 is net downhill (a 140-foot loss) 4.6-mile run on the paved Orting trail. I’m mildly familiar with it as I’ve run or biked it a few time here and there over the years.

I took a gel before starting the leg for two reasons. I hadn’t been sure how to properly fuel for a run that I’d left my house for at 5 a.m. and wouldn’t be running till 11:30 a.m. Just in case I hadn’t eaten enough, and also because it was so hot (and I knew I’d need more energy), I took a gel about 15 minutes before I ran. I think it helped me a lot.

Also, keeping in the spirit of our team name, I used the Honey Buckets even though I’d just gone not 20 minutes before.

I enjoyed the straight stretches of this slightly downhill trail because I could laser-eye peoples’ backs, catch them and then pass them. I probably slowed down when there were curves and couldn’t see anybody.

Mile 1: I took off too fast even though it didn’t feel too fast. I just knew an 8:13 pace would not be sustainable in the heat. Besides, I’ve been running slower lately to train for a marathon, and haven’t been doing a lot of speed. So this pace surprised me a little. I kept trying to slow down, but because of the slight downhill and the race adrenaline, it was difficult.

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
As I began running, I realized my music wasn’t in. I knew I needed music for this hot, basically straight, leg.

I felt really awesome despite the temperature! I wondered for how long I would feel awesome.

My first mile was 8:59 pace.

Mile 2: I continued to target and pass people, including a couple of moms of kids at my son’s school (one whose daughter is in my son’s class). I think they were running with someone running the ultra, though, so that doesn’t count. It was fun to see some familiar, but unexpected, faces during the race.

My second mile was 8:37 pace.

Mile 3: I started to fade a bit. My body was like Whoa Nelly, you aren’t trained to run this fast past a couple of miles. I just tried to hold on.

I noticed people switching sides of the trail to take advantage of the shady patches. At first, I thought it wasn’t a good idea because it would add a little distance, but dang, it was hot.

I also was pouring quite a bit of my Nuun on my head to cool off even though it was warm by then. Thank goodness Nuun isn’t sticky and doesn’t stain!

I think this mile had a stretch through a swampy bog place. It was hot, muggy and still on that stretch. No wind or fresh air. Couldn’t wait to get past it.

Mile 3 was 8:52 pace.

Mile 4: After the bog, there was a stretch of cottonwood trees and the cottonwood seeds were blowing everywhere. It was snowing cottonwood. I got it in my mouth, so I tried to run with my mouth close and I got it in my nose.

Also, in a rare move (because I hate holding things while I run), I took off my hat, dumped more Nuun on my head and did not put my hat back on until the finish.

Mile 4 was 8:57 pace.

Mile 5 (.6 of a mile): I knew I was getting close and I think that made me speed up a little. I was very hot, but didn’t feel too bad. I was just so hot.

Mile 5 (.6 of a mile) was 8:43 pace.

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race
Tagging Zoe at the end of Leg 5 sans hat.

Zoe took off for Leg 6 and we quickly jumped in the car since Leg 6 is just under 3 miles.

Overall, Leg 5 isn’t too bad, but it’s not as fun as legs 1-4 since it’s on pavement. There was more shade than I expected, too. Mostly patchy, but it helped.

Leg 11 of the Rainier to Ruston Relay

The dreaded Leg 11. The city leg. Nobody wants it. But I’d done Leg 10 for the past 3 years, so anything’s better than 3 miles in sand, right?

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Tending to our Leg 10 runner, Will.

Poor Will suffered through Leg 10 and he had to do Leg 11 last year. Next year, Will, you get to choose your legs, I say!

Leg 11 picks up where Leg 10 leaves off along the Puyallup River. It’s a mile in the sand, and then over 4 miles of running through industrial portions of Tacoma and hilly downtown. It’s billed as an 80-foot gain, and a 44-foot loss over 5.7 miles. I knew I’d be running much slower on this leg.

I pottied (again!) and took a gel about 5 minutes before I started the leg. I know both of those things helped.

Mile 1: I pretty much knew what to expect since I’ve done Leg 10 so many times. Surprisingly, though, this portion along the river features softer, deeper sand. Yay! I just kept telling myself it was only a mile (a little less, actually). I was super excited to see the turn from the river up to the road.

I somehow led several runners up onto the road and then across the street toward the overpass.

Mile 1 pace was 11:03.

Mile 2: One strong runner passed me on the hill/overpass that I chose to speed walk. After that, it wasn’t so bad running through the industrial offices and such. The faster woman was pretty far up ahead and the others had dropped off behind me somewhere, so I was kind of alone–at the very least, we were all spread out. But I sort of knew what to expect on this portion, too, because we’ve always waited for our runner in the area.

I was expecting to see my team, but they weren’t in the usual spot. I hoped they hadn’t decided not to stop somewhere. I turned a corner and spotted them up ahead.

They’d formed a victory arch and it made me smile big. Loved it! My team is awesome. There were no other teams in the area, and I think I only saw 1 or 2 teams stop for their runners along this entire route.

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
My team rocks!

After that, though, I knew I had a long, lonely road ahead.

This leg then curved and joined a busy city road. There are a lot of turns on this leg, so I’d printed out an extra copy of Leg 11 and had it in my handheld, but the course was well marked with orange arrows on the ground.

I think it was during this mile that we ran past some sort of plant–a gas plant– that was misting water. Yuck. And also through a construction site, so the pavement changed to gravel for a short section. I had to bargain with myself–just run to the tractor, then you can walk for a minute.

Mile 2 pace was 10:07. And I was very pleased with that.

Mile 3: The gravel section went under the freeway and provided some much needed shade. I allowed myself to walk through the shade, just to cool down. I had been sipping my now-warm Nuun periodically, but because of the breeze, I couldn’t tell if I’d had enough, so I at least tried to have a sip every mile.

After going under the freeway, I passed a woman WITH NO WATER. I offered her some of my Nuun, but she declined. I can’t believe anyone would run nearly 7 miles in 85+ degrees with NO WATER. Let’s be smart, people.

In front of us was a man with a nice, consistent jog. We passed the woman, who was now walking (with NO water), and rounded a corner then had to go up and onto a bridge over the river. The incline was a little steep and he slowed his jog to a wog and sort of wobbled up it. I decided to speed walk. It was much easier and I passed him. Speed walking FTW!

After coming down off of the bridge there were some pretty major street crossings and I got stuck on an island at a freeway on/off ramp with a couple ladies, who were suffering some cramping in their quads and hips. It made me take stock of my muscles. My calves were sore, but that was it. I also checked to make sure I was nice and sweaty.

Mile 3 was a 10:10 pace.

Mile 4: I didn’t really want to leave these two women because we were headed into a sketchy part of downtown Tacoma, but one was walking and the other one was, I think, doing a run/walk/run thing. I was just walking when I felt like I needed it, and I felt fine. Hot, but fine.

So after a half mile or so, I was basically alone. I could barely see a woman in bright pink socks way ahead of me and then the two ladies with sore muscles were way behind me.

I passed some people who looked rough, but they left me alone. One man, and a woman with him, who looked like they might’ve been homeless, commented on my sparkle skirt: “Shiny!”

BTW: Sparkle skirts (like the ones we have from Sparkle Athletic) are great in relays. It’s so much easier to spot your teammates in a crowd!

I eventually caught the girl with the pink compression socks on a hill. We walked several pretty major hills together and chatted. She hadn’t trained for the race at all. Eek!

Mile 4 was a 12:17 pace.

Mile 5: We continued to walk hills and jog the flat parts for a bit. But after  a while, we parted. I felt like running more and she was going to walk. I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to the course here because I was chatting. I don’t remember much, except more hills.

Mile 5 was 11:27 pace.

Mile 6 (.7 of a mile): Finally, I could tell I was getting closer as I started to recognize the area around University of Washington-Tacoma. Unfortunately, I’ve been around there a few times for races. I’m a Washington State University alumni, so boo Huskies and go Cougs!

It was nice running through the small campus, though. And it was funny when I saw a guy in a WSU hat letting his dog poop on the UW lawn. (He picked it up, though.)

Pretty soon, I was getting close to where the finish was last year. But wait, where was it?

They’ve had to move the finish of Leg 11 the past two years, I guess. It took me a couple minutes, but then I saw the bell and my sparkle skirt-clad teammates. But then I got a red light.

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Leg 11: longest leg ever.

Argh! So close. This was a long leg, I was ready to be done. And, finally, I was. Zoe took off, but then she got stopped by a red light. Oh well.

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Zoe’s thinking: When’s this light gonna change so I can get running?

Mile 6 (.71 of a mile) was a 11:33 pace.

Overall, Leg 11 is rough. It’s not scenic after leaving the river. It’s dirty, hot, noisy and a little scary in some parts. There’s also hardly any shade. Bring water…and maybe Mace.

We finished in our slowest time since we started the race in 2012: 8:46:43, which works out to be like a 10:06 pace over the whole 52-mile course. That’s actually pretty dang good considering the weather!

No matter. This is one of my favorite races because you get the experience of a relay, but you get to go home and sleep in your own bed at the end of the day. I know Honey Buckettes Have the Will will keeping coming back every year!

2015 Rainier to Ruston Relay Race Report
Back: Tiffany and her husband Will, and Mel
Front: Alyssa, me and Zoe

Losing Fat to Run Easier (Plus What I’ve Been Up To)

People talk a lot about weight loss, but fat loss is where it’s at, people.

Weight loss doesn’t take muscle into account. So, you could be losing weight, but losing muscle instead of fat. I don’t want to lose muscle! I want the fat layer around my stomach gone because running with an innertube around your waist is cumbersome.

Fat Loss for Running | Mom vs. Marathon
After my long run on Sunday.

I admit, I fell off of the fat loss wagon a while ago (ahem, Christmas). I continued to run alongside the wagon, so luckily I didn’t stray too far off track, but it’s time to hop on and get rolling once again.

I think you can’t be on the fat loss wagon if you’re not mentally prepared to be on it, really. You have to be committed before you try to jump on. If you half-jump, you’ll miss. And that’s okay. Just try again when you’re ready.

Doing some fat loss research can help you get ready to make the jump. I started re-reading one of my favorite books on fat loss, The Metabolic Effect Diet (not a diet, BTW). That gave me a big boost. Then, I was in the library, browsing the running books. I had heard about Margaret Webb’s book Older, Faster, Stronger on a podcast, and when I saw it in the library, I checked it out.

In Webb’s book, she shares her journey to a “super-fit year.” Essentially, she took a year to try to get as fit at 50 as she was when she was in her 20s. She also shares advice from experts on everything from improving V02 max to nutrition and more. While I’m not over 50, the tips really work for any age.

Anyway, she, too, was having some trouble with her nutrition. She was eating healthy, but still gaining fat or just staying the same. She made some adjustments after speaking with a nutritionist; essentially the same changes I’m making: more protein and vegetables, cut or reduce dairy, get carbs from vegetable sources.

(I made like 6 sweet potatoes on Monday, so I always have some good carbs ready. I put the oven on 400 degrees, spray the potatoes with some olive oil and then put them in for about an hour or until they start leaking their sugar–caramelizing. So good!)

But Webb also had this little tip that I am totally stealing: When tempted by pizza or other junk foods, she asked herself if she wanted to carry that food with her for 26.2 miles.

This has already helped me. There is a particular tempting chocolate candy in my desk drawer at work. But, by asking myself how eating it will help or hurt me in the marathon, I’ve been able to completely resist any temptation to eat it. I don’t even care about it. It’s not even calling my name. I may even throw it away! #junkfoodrebel

The other thing that’s helping me, is taking pictures of all my food for a week. I have been logging my food by photographing it for the past two days, so far. It has helped keep me mindful. It also made me realize that I had eaten processed grains yesterday when I thought I hadn’t!

Nutrition Adjustments

This week, my focus is on nutrition. (Last week, was sleep. Read on for that.) I am cutting out dairy and changing my carbohydrate sources.

Luckily, I’ve been a “diet detective” in the past and I know that eliminating dairy will help me. My husband got a machine that I affectionately call the Coffee Ferrari. It makes lattes. Lattes are delish. I don’t even need to sweeten them. (I’m a freak who likes black coffee.) But dairy and me do not mix so well.

There was a time in college where I couldn’t even drink milk because it made my stomach so upset. I know I’m sensitive to it. So why do I keep eating (drinking) it? Out with dairy.

The other adjustment I am making is where I get my carbs from. I know how things like toast, pizza, chips, etc. affect me, yet I was justifying them as my “carb.” I was often binge-eating chips after work because even though I told myself to have just a few, I couldn’t stop.

We all need carbs, but I need to get my carbs from whole unprocessed vegetable and fruit sources, such as sweet potatoes, apples and strawberries. Even the Ezekial bread (toast) I had Monday needs to be cut out if I want to be my optimal self for running this year.

And that’s where the question from Margaret’s book comes in. Do I want to run a marathon carrying a Reese’s peanut butter tree around my waist? No.

That’s not to say that I will be perfect with my nutrition 100 percent of the time. I know there will be times when I decide I do want a bit of junky chocolate candy. I will just be making more of a conscious decision about eating it instead of mindlessly putting it into my mouth.

If you’re interested about what sort of nutrition advice has helped me, check out the tips from Precision Nutrition. Their sensible, easy-to-follow, advice on nutrition has changed how I eat for the better. The Metabolic Effect Diet is also great, as I’ve mentioned.

Other people I look to for fat loss advice include Jill Coleman and Neghar Fonooni.


I started this whole fat loss wagon thing with sleep. I began last week by making getting to bed by 10 with lights out by 10:30 a habit. I’m still in the process of making it a habit, and although some nights I’m in bed at more like 10:15 or 10:20, it’s still earlier than what I was doing. The goal is still 10. That gives me 30 minutes to read a book and relax. Sometime I take a melatonin tablet if I can feel I’m still too wired.

I need at least 7 hours. Seven and a half hours is perfect. I usually get up at 6 or 6:30. This week, I feel like I need more sleep, but I think that’s because of “girl stuff” starting soon.

Taking Measurements

I also started measuring myself on May 11. I hadn’t weighed myself in a while. I was up to 159. I only lost half a pound as I was 158.4 on Monday. Not really a huge deal considering I have been doing heavy weight training for quite some time, so some of that weight is muscle. For me, the biggest indicator of how I am doing is my belly.

When my belly circumference is bigger than my chest, it really bothers me. (It’s so not fair! I got so ripped off in the chest department!) Anyway, they’re exactly the same right now. Boo. And the measurement did not change between May 11 and May 18.

Marathon Training

I’m still unsure about any training adjustments. I took Saturday off because I was really exhausted from the week of training and I walked instead. I did a 5K with the dogs. I don’t think my running needs any adjustment, but I may swap out a couple of foundation runs per week for biking since those runs are more for cardio fitness. Take some stress off the ol’ legs.

I am still deciding what I want to do for my lifting workouts, though. The next phase of the plan I’m on includes a lot of unconventional movements (medicine balls slams, for example) that I don’t know that I can do at my small gym.

I might be in the market for a runner-focused heavy lifting plan to do twice a week, while continuing my Metabolic Effect circuits 2-3x a week. Anybody got one to recommend?

Here’s what I’ve been up to, training-wise, since Friday:

Friday: I can’t remember what I did Friday. I think I ran, but forgot to enter it in DailyMile. So it doesn’t exist.

Saturday: I remember Saturday because I didn’t do jack. I was supposed to do a foundation run. But I was feeling so tired, I decided to just take the day off. I’m trying to listen to my body and I just felt wiped. I needed to sleep in. I needed to recover a little.

Instead, on Saturday, I did a lot of walking. First, I went in the morning before my son’s flag football game. I only had about 20 minutes or so, but it was a nice relaxing walk with a cup of coffee. I just had to dodge the crazy amount of slugs crossing the sidewalk. It was just over half a mile. Then, later in the day, I took both Bennie and Lucy for walks, which ended up being a 5K.

Sunday: Sunday was my long run. I thought I did everything right. I went early; I ate about an hour before (a protein shake made by me). The only thing was maybe I was a little dehydrated. I took Nuun with me just in case. It was overcast and cool enough for a cool long-sleeve shirt and capris.

About a mile into the run, though, my stomach took a turn for the worse. And it was touch-and-go the rest of the way. I didn’t need to use the bushes or anything, but the ickiness came in waves. I slowed down so I was on the slow end of my pace. Even if I had to go even slower, I just kept going. Just keep moving forward, I thought. Even if I had to walk.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have to walk, though. In fact, I ran the entire way up this monster hill that I usually have to walk up. That was nice.

I did 6.35 miles in about 1:12.

Monday: Monday is a recovery day with no running. But I usually do a weights workout on Monday. I think I forgot to write Monday down in DailyMile again, so I can’t remember. I think I did my heavy weights workout…

Tuesday: Tuesday, I remember. I got up in time to go run, but I lacked the motivation. For some reason, I just don’t care to run outside early in the morning by myself. A little later in the morning is fine, but before about 8 a.m., I just don’t want to. So I did my Metabolic Effect circuits instead:

Made it 5 rounds with 12# dumbbells: 12 squat with a row, 12 chest press/crunch, 12 squat with curls and 12 squat with side raises.

I ran after work and I’m so glad I waited. I felt great! I did my fast finish run, but I was running about 5 minutes behind (had to be at the bus stop at a certain time), so I cut 5 minutes out of the middle of my run. I did: 2.96 miles in 30 minutes. 5 minutes slow, 15 minutes easy, 10 minutes at tempo pace.

And I totally saw two snakes on the trail. I’ve never seen a snake in the six years I’ve been running on the trail. Crazy!

Afterward, I did my build a better butt workout: 3×12 goblet squats with a 15 pound dumbbell, 3×15 back extensions on my Swiss ball, 3×12 glute bridges with two 10-pound dumbbells on my hips. Only took about 10 minutes.

And THEN, I went to yoga. Man, I really love going to yoga.

Snake on the trail
Snakes. I hate snakes.

Wednesday: On Wednesday, I started the new phase in my Get Stronger Faster program. I’m on week five. Here’s what I did:
1. Kettle bell jump squats 6×6 with 26.4#s
2a. Bodyweight skater squats 5×6/6
2b. 1-arm kettle bell strict press 3×6/6 with 18# and 1×4/4 with 26.4#s
3a. Bodyweight sprawling mountain climbers 3×8
3b. Kettle bell Russian twists 3×8/8

I had to stop at 3 rounds to get home in time for my son’s bus. Later, I did my foundation run on the bike trainer. Went 5 miles in 30 minutes.

Thursday: Finally, we’re caught up to today! I had a foundation run scheduled for today, but since I’m going for my long run on Saturday, I swapped it with the speed work and did speed work today.

I did 2.25 miles in 25 minutes: I was able to do the 5 minutes slow, 5 minutes easy and the 5x(1 minute at 5K pace, 2 minutes slow). I was not able to do the last slow 5 minutes because I had to get to the bus stop. Happy with how it went.

And I was able to get to yoga again! Yay!

Tomorrow, I have strength again and I’m excited for some new workouts.

What do you do for strength training? What time do you go to bed? Did you make it through this really long blog post?

(Sorry for the massive post, but I had some technical difficulties earlier in the week and this is the first time I can post anything!)