Training For Life

I have had a rough couple of months when it comes to my training and diet.  I have been dealing with some aches and pains, which has kept me from running much at all. During the peak of my training, I would have thought this would be heaven. I was wrong.

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About the injury:  I’m not exactly sure what it is. I get an aching, throbbing pain in my lower calf when I run and also after my runs. At first I thought it was Achilles, since that was SO TIGHT and nagging me months back. Then I thought it was plantar fasciitis because my heel would also hurt. Now, I’m thinking Soleus.

Regardless of the injury, the bottom line is that I have not been running. Maybe 8 times in the last 2 months. This obviously means no races have been on the calendar. Hence, no training schedule. What does this all add up to? One unhealthy mindset for this girl.

When I finally got onto the trails a couple weeks ago, my mind became so clear. That kind of clearness that only runners know of. And as most runner/bloggers know, I had a stellar blog post written out in my head. Word for word. It was amazing. Then weeks passed, and it never got put on paper. So, here’s my half hearted, untrained, unedorphined attempt at replicating that post.

When I was training for my 50 miler I spoke a lot about how healthy I felt when it came to my diet. For once I was using food as energy. Eating to live, not living to eat. Food meant fuel. Calories meant energy. I was worried about bringing in ENOUGH calories, instead of counting calories to try to bring in LESS. I was eating whatever I wanted and had the healthiest self image that I’ve ever had.

Now’s when I’ll get real. When I’ll tell you things you may not know. What you see and what I see when it comes to my body is way different. I have always seen myself 10-15lbs heavier than I am. Even when I was really fit and placing top 3 in races, I would tell my husband, “I feel like people must say, ‘I can’t believe that heavy girl runs so fast”.

However, when I crossed the finish line of my 50 miler I felt like I belonged there.  I was fit, trim and healthy.  Now, 6 months later I am battling the thoughts and images that belonged to my old self.  The self I thought I lost on those trails, grinding it out in pursuit of that 50 miler dream.  The diet is no longer a non-issue.  It is back to being a battle.  I workout usually 5+ times a week, but I’m not training for anything, and that’s where I think the issue lies.  No races on the schedule. That’s tough. I need that. I need a goal. I think everyone does.

So, time to figure it out. How do I develop that 50 miler self image and “eating to live” mentality when I am injured and not running? I will guess this will be as tough of a grind as those back to back long runs at Case Mountain!

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Eating To Live vs Living To Eat

 

I posted this picture on Instagram a little reluctantly. I wasn’t sure if I wanted my clients to see what I used to look like. I was embarrassed by it. But then I realized that maybe they need to see this. Maybe they need a visual that it isn’t “easy” for me. It doesn’t come naturally. While I’ve always been an athlete, I too have gone through a heavy phase. Although, admittedly, I don’t ever remember being this heavy. However, what I do remember was through my high school and college years when I struggled with my weight DAILY…HOURLY!! I was also way more focused on my diet than I am now. I would track my calories. My fat intake. I felt like I was always on a diet. So, how did I get this heavy? It wasn’t lack of exercise. The picture on the left was taken while I was a top athlete. Practicing basketball 2-3 hours a day. So, what changed? How am I 20-25lbs lighter now at the age of 34?

DIET! And I don’t mean I am on a diet. Quit the contrarary. I am eating more fat a day then I used to intake in a week. But, GOOD Fats. Coconut Oil, Nuts, Avaacados, Chia Seeds, etc. Also, my husband and I are now Vegetarian. This means we are eating WAY more vegetables. However, I think the biggest change has been GETTING RID OF THE PROCESSED FOOD-LIKE-SUBSTANCES!!! Reading the labels of what I am eating. Staying away from the packaged foods that contain things I’ve never heard of and/or can’t pronounce. High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, Aspartame, etc.

I used to drink diet cokes daily. I would eat only low-fat and fat-free foods. I would eat Frosted Flakes for dinner, which was okay because there was 0g of fat! I am convinced that this was what made me heavy. What made me feel so unhealthy. What made me constantly crave food and go on crash diets. I regularly watch food documentaries and they have taught me so much about the American Industrialized Food System. Documentaries such as Food Inc, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry for Change have made a HUGE impact on my outlook on food.

Don’t get me wrong, I am FAR from perfect with my diet. In fact, it is still an area I struggle with at times. However, instead of daily and hourly it usually happens mostly when I PMS or very spruratically. I have also noticed that training for ultra marathons has been a breakthrough for me. Why? Because every day, especially before and during the long training days I use FOOD AS FUEL!!! I eat to live! I need to intake a certain amount of calories to perform at a top level. Getting back to the real purpose of food has been such a great experience for me.

All in all, I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. I would do anything to be the athlete I am now back in my collegiate basketball days, but the past cannot be redone. So, as I dance into the future I will continue to learn more and improve myself each day. I would love to move closer to an all plant-based diet and have plans to start our own garden soon!

Eating To Live

Being a Personal Trainer and involved in the fitness world my whole life, I feel there are some misconceptions about me.  I think people think that weight, body image, diet, etc have never been an issue for me.  This is about as accurate as the preconceived notions that working out everyday is “fun” for me.

After 26.2 miles a beer was well deserved!

After 26.2 miles a beer was well deserved!

What many people may not know about me is that have struggled with my weight, and have had body image issues since the age of 15.  I went through the “phase” that many girls go through, dropping a drastic amount of weight in a short time.  Eating all “non-fat” foods, and tracking my calorie intake.  At its worst  was consuming under 1000 calories a day, all while exercising/practicing up to 2 hours a day.

This didn’t last long, and I never got to a point where I looked “unhealthy” skinny.  I actually looked and weighed average.  At 5’4 I was 115 lbs.  However, it was the fact that I had lost about 20 lbs in 6 months that was unhealthy.  It was scary for my parents to watch, and luckily it never spun too far out of control.

Although, those who have been through that phase know that it never fully goes away.  For me, I spent a majority of the next 15 years living with an unhealthy relationship with food.  I was consumed with it.  I thought about food all the time, however, only indulged in “healthy” food.  (I’ve learned the Low-Fat/Non-Fat foods I was eating were just as bad as any other food.)  I could never eat a Snickers Bar without a huge amount of guilt.  I would always know the amount of calories I was consuming.  I would go through phases when I would binge on food and sweets, and then follow it up with , “Monday starts my diet”.  It was a yo-yo of ups and downs and not healthy.

However, there have been short periods when I have felt VERY healthy with my food relationship.  This is when the weight seems to fall off.  Not when I am doing my Monday fast, or documenting my calorie intake.  That is unhealthy and I would rarely see lasting changes.  Right now is one of those periods that I feel I have a very healthy relationship with food and how it relates to my body and its function.  Food has taken on a whole new purpose for me.  A calorie has taken on its actual definition.  This is a good feeling.

I am currently training for Bimblers Bluff 50K Trail Race.  This means a lot of running.  One hour runs are now my “short runs”.  There are times I am in the trails for 2 hours, this being the ONLY 2 hours I have open in the day.  Therefore, I need to be spot on with my nutrition.  I will confess I need to get better with this.  I am never as prepared as I need to be, and actually need to take in more calories while training.  This is because CALORIES = ENERGY.  Their intended purpose.  I am EATING to LIVE, NOT LIVING to EAT.  I am eating whatever I want, as long as it will make me excel in my training.  Pasta the night before I long run.  Gu gels while on the trail.  Electrolyte Mix with calories in it, NOT the Powerade Zero!  Why, because I NEED calories!  What a wonderful concept.

And guess what?  I weigh less right now than I have in years.  I am eating whatever I want and losing weight!  This is reason #221 why I train for races.  My life becomes healthy.

Vegetarian: To Be or Not To Be

Image***I must disclose that below you will read my opinions. I am not fully educated on this subject, but plan to continue my research & education. I understand many do not agree on this subject and I respect that: this is MY journey***

While in Florida I have done all of my TV watching on my iPad since our bedroom does not have a TV.  Through the Amazon instant video app, I have watched, “Vegucated”, “Forks Over Knives” and “Food Inc”. The only one I had not scene before was Vegucated, however, the impact that film had on me lead me to rewatch the other two. Continue reading