Dear cell phone, we’re breaking up…

At work today, while scrolling through Facebook (my job requires it), I saw this blog: The Only Remedy for FOMO (fear of missing out) 

With coffee in one hand, phone in the other, all while replying to an email, I scrolled through it.

  • Saying yes when your heart says no? Check.
  • Scrolling endlessly through social media? *looks down at cell* Check.
  • Constantly checking phone? *see above* BIG check.
  • Sleeping less? Yes.
  • Compromising self-care? Unfortunately.
  • Rushing? Yep.
  • Choosing convenience over quality? *rips protein bar open* Nodding.
  • Feeling like you’re missing out on things? Yes.

It struck me – I am on my phone way too much, scrolling social media, not even looking for anything. I don’t even like Facebook. From the second I roll out of bed until my head hits my pillow at night, I am attached to my phone like it’s my life source. Texts, apps, browsing….

I need a break. It’s peak week for Boston prep: 63 miles. On face value, that’s not bad, but considering total time commitment, it’s a lot. Fueling, sleeping, mobility, strength, driving, showering…..All in, it’s quite a chunk of time, not to mention the accompanying mental and physical exhaustion.

IMG_8439
This is more time-consuming than it looks.

I need to be focused and refreshed to successfully navigate my week. If I added up all the “5 minutes here, 5 minutes there” cell  time, it would be an embarrassingly large number.

What could I do with all the time I mindlessly squander?

What instantly comes to mind:

  • Spend five minutes applying makeup in the morning
  • Do more yoga
  • Spend more time being present with my boyfriend at home
  • Pet and love on my dogs
  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Cook/meal prep
  • Meditate
  • Clean
  • Blog
  • Take an epsom salt bath
  • I could just sit and do nothing, aka relax

The sheer amount of time I spend being “connected” changes my mindset. I’m hardly ever relaxed (unless I’m running, about mile 12 or so). Everything feels like an emergency, always go, go, go. I instantly respond to texts and notifications, being available 24/7.

I can’t remember the last time I had a meal with no interruptions – just me sitting at a table, enjoying food. This realization saddens me; It’s a big wake-up call.

Marathon training, especially peak week, is a naturally busy, exhausting time. Why am I making it harder on myself? My self-care is slipping. I’m not spending as much time on critical things as I should. This isn’t surprising, but I need to help myself more and cut out the crap, especially the special kind of crap that adds no value to my life. *looks over at cell phone*

I need an intervention.

I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to work, but I am committed to spending less time being “connected,” instead being present and living life, the one not obtained through a screen.

I want to come home from work and set my phone down, not picking it up again until I leave my house the following morning. I want to eat dinner with Derek and have an actual dinner – food, conversation, relaxation. No phones allowed.

I want to be able to just sit and BE without feeling like I need to be doing anything at all. My mind is constantly going the way it is. I don’t need to add fuel to that already-burning fire.

Parameters, which are bound to change to make this sustainable:

  • One hour of phone access per evening
  • When not in use, place phone in bedroom
  • Use an alarm clock (not my phone)
  • Turn “do not disturb” on my Garmin (it buzzes with every notification, instantly alerting me)
  • Possibly others I’m not thinking of now – I use my phone a lot…

I’ll notify my close family and friends that I’ll be doing this, so they don’t text or call and wonder if I’m dead. (Hi, mom!)

Tackling this makes me excited, even a bit nervous. I want to see what positivity I can add to my life. I know I can be a better girlfriend, dog mom, friend, daughter, employee, runner, human.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently wrong with technology and social media. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve gained a lot through both – ideas, people, connections. But I need to have a healthy balance between screen time and real life.

March 13-19 Training

Week 14 was an interesting one! I felt the beginning of a cold on Friday, March 10, which worsened over the weekend and was full-blown by the start of this week. It was so sick on Tuesday that I barely got out of bed. Luckily, I rested that day and was able to complete all of my mileage for the week.

IMG_8453
Spring in North Dakota – only one layer of thermals!

The good: I hit all my mileage (plus an extra 1.5 miles!).

The bad: My cold made it hard to breathe. My lungs felt like they were being compressed with a 500 pound brick. I also went out way too fast for both my strength and race pace runs. When I get nervous, I tend to run too fast.

Monday, 3/13
•5 easy miles, no idea on pace, slow

Tuesday, 3/14
•Impromptu rest day – sick with cold so stayed in bed most of the day

Wednesday, 3/15
•11 easy miles, 8:40 pace
•Full-body lift
•5 minutes of planks

Thursday, 3/16
•6 miles tempo, 7:06 pace
•8 miles total

Friday, 3/17
•9 easy miles, 8:30 pace

Saturday, 3/18
•9 “race pace” miles, went way too fast, 7:15 pace
•1 cool down mile, 10 miles total

Sunday, 3/19
•12 easy miles on schedule
•ran 13.5 miles, 8:15 pace, 664 ft. gain
•Full-body lift
•5 minutes of planks

Totals
•56.5 miles
•2 strength sessions

IMG_8496
Any day the sun comes out is a good day.

Overall, I’m pleased with the week. I wasn’t sure what my body would allow me to do since I was sick.

My focus going into this next week is to actually hit race pace (7:45). I need to calm my nerves and dial it in. Next week is peak week and I have 63 miles on the schedule.

I’m feeling excited, ready, and hungry for a PR. I cannot believe Boston is only 28 days away!

March 6 – 12 Training

Week 13 is done! I’m pleased to say it was a great week overall.

The good: I managed to hit all my miles and paces. Not too fast, which is my biggest struggle. I lifted twice, which I’m happy with. The further you get into training, the harder it is to fit this in. Also, it feels SO much heavier on fatigued legs, but it’s important to do it anyway.

The bad: The weather took a turn for the worse (winter storm, sub-zero temps), so my quality runs were on the treadmill. I also started getting sick at the end of the workday on Friday. This was made much worse by a long outdoor run on Saturday, and another outdoor run Sunday.

IMG_8401
Most of this week’s runs were this – COLD, windy, snowy, gloomy. Mother Nature doesn’t care how close Boston is. How selfish!

Monday, 3/6
8 easy miles, 8:47 pace
Real feel of -15 – yikes!
5 minutes of planks

Tuesday, 3/7
6 miles at strength pace, 7:36
11 miles total

Wednesday, 3/8
Rest

Thursday, 3/9
9 miles at GMP, 7:42 pace
12 miles total
This run felt amazing, even on the treadmill!
Full-body lift
5 minutes of planks

Friday, 3/10
7 easy miles, 8:38 pace
Another real feel of -15

Saturday, 3/11
16 miles, 8:11 pace

Sunday, 3/12
5.5 miles, 9:06, outside during a winter storm!
2.5 miles on the TM, no idea on pace, but slow
8 miles total
Full-body lift
5 minutes of planks

Totals
62 miles
2 strength sessions

IMG_8374
-15 degrees. Why are we smiling?

I am looking forward to warmer temperatures so I can get outside for my quality runs, namely my marathon goal pace runs. I am getting down to the final weeks, so I’d like my body to become really familiar with a 7:45 pace out on the roads.

This coming week, I’d like to work more short strength sessions in instead of two larger, more intense ones. From here on out, it’s all about maintaining strength up until the big day.

February 27 – March 5 Training

Week 12 was a great training week. It was a cutback week, only 5-6 miles, but was a welcomed mental break.

IMG_8287
Running past my house, probably in circles to get to an even number.

The good: nailed all my hard runs and the paces felt easy! Did some climbing on my long run and that also felt easy.

The bad: because of weather, I rearranged my schedule and put too many quality runs close together. My body is feeling the effects of that. Note to self: do not put quality workouts back-to-back. Bad, bad idea. I also didn’t finish my mileage from Tuesday, so I put 3.5 easy miles on Wednesday morning, my rest day. So, I didn’t have a rest day last week. Also a very bad idea. Even though they were short, easy miles, my body needed a day off.

One more thing I shouldn’t have done was allow myself to run my easy 10 on Thursday too fast. Even though an 8:13 pace is easy, I shouldn’t went slower to allow my body recovery time. I also ran my “race pace” day too fast. My goal marathon pace is roughly 7:45, but I ended up doing all nine miles at a 7:20. FAIL. Normally, I’d be excited, but this isn’t good because I need to dial into race pace.

When I get nervous, I tend to run too fast. I know it’s a ways out yet, but running the Boston Marathon has me both excited and freaked out at the same time.

IMG_8163
Love me some deadlifts. Don’t mind all the crap in my garage.

Monday, 2/27
•Easy 6 miles, 8:48 pace

Tuesday, 2/28
•Strength run day, 7.5 miles total
•6 at strength pace, 7:36

Wednesday, 3/1
•Easy 3.5, 9:04 pace

Thursday, 3/2
•Easy 10 miles, 8:13 pace

Friday, 3/3
•Easy 3, 9:14 pace

Saturday, 3/4
•Easy 14, 8:22 pace, 639 foot gain
•5 minutes of planks
•air squats and push-ups

Sunday, 3/5
•Race pace day, 11 miles total
•9 miles at GMP, 7:20 pace
•Full-body lift
•5 minutes of planks and additional core

Totals
•55 miles
•2 strength sessions

IMG_8233
My treadmill and I have a complicated relationship.

So, overall it was a successful week, but I made many mistakes this week, too. My goal for Week 13 is to dial in and stick to the plan – no switching days/mileage around, and not running any prescribed paces too fast.

My experience with disordered eating

This week, as I was logging food into My Fitness Pal, it hit me: I’m at a calorie level I’ve never been at before (while being in control of my food).

I’ve been reverse dieting myself through marathon training and am currently sitting at 2,111 calories a day. That may not sound like a terrible lot to you, especially with running 60-mile weeks, but it’s huge for me. It’s been a long, bumpy road to get here.

When I looked at that calorie number, I teared up. I then found this Runner’s World podcast and listened to it. At work, nonetheless – not recommended, by the way. It stirred deep emotions.

fullsizerender

It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I’ve been seeing Instagram posts all week, and each one instantly brings me back to a different place in my life.

I’ve talked about it a bit, but I’m never admitted it out loud to anyone. I am a disordered eater and have been since childhood. I’ve never perfectly fit into one of the categories, but I’ve been through a lot of them:

  • severe restriction (think 500-800 calories a day),
  • binges (where you physically can’t stop eating and feel like you will explode),
  • purging,
  • orthorexia,
  • and different combinations of everything listed.

At one point, I attended Overeaters Anonymous . No one knows this other than those at the meetings. I digress….

I felt out-of-place, judged almost. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was very nice, but I did notice the sideways glances.

“Why is she here?”
“She can’t POSSIBLY know what binges are.”

I can’t know for sure these were their thoughts, but it felt like it. I quit going, but it was the  first step to admitting I had a problem. Even though I wasn’t diagnosed, I knew I had to face my demons, or they would continue to follow me.

My eating patterns came in waves; sometimes, I’d go without restricting for months, but when a stressful situation came about, bam, back to restriction. The same went for all the other food issues.

Binging is the hardest for me. If you’ve ever binged, you know what I’m talking about. Binging is not simply indulging in unhealthy food or even overeating something. When you binge, you physically lose control. It’s like another power takes over. You keep eating and eating until thousands of calories are consumed and you feel physically unwell. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world.

It makes you feel so weak…so vulnerable. Then you promise yourself next time you’ll be better. You’ll be stronger.

I feel somewhat okay sharing this, because I know I’m not alone. You cannot judge a book by its cover. If we all knew what others were facing, we’d feel much less alone.

Running has helped my disordered eating, but there are also some things about the running community that could change for the better. Disordered eating is far too common among athletes.

  • Skinny is a dirty word. I never use it anymore. Why do we culturally aspire to skinny or thin?
  • Thin does not equal better, faster, etc. 
  • Running should never be used as a punishment or as a way to “earn” food. Food is not earned, it’s a basic need.
  • The idea that low-calorie diets are healthy. Especially if you’re an athlete, you need to be eating far more than 1,200 calories. Low calorie does not equal healthy. A lettuce salad is not a meal.
  • Empower everyone, especially women, to learn about nutrition. Don’t listen to the fads. Actually learn the science behind food.
  • The whole “negative space” concept. Women are not better when they are smaller, always striving to take up less space. Women are powerful. We deserve to take up whatever space we feel appropriate.

Even though I’m at a place of relative control now, all the same thought and behavior patterns remain. Now it’s a matter of whether I act on them.

The feeling of being so hungry you’re hollow inside still gives me a sick sense of power and being “in control.” I could still easily binge on a regular basis if I had one little slip. I’m not sure if that’s normal, but I think those feelings will be with me forever.

If you are struggling with any type of disordered eating, know that you are not alone. Please reach out and seek help in whatever form you are willing and able to. You are not weak or lacking some special willpower everyone else seems to have.

Please don’t be ashamed. Seek help. You are worth it.

February 13 – 26 Training

And just like that, I’m 2/3 through training. Today marks seven weeks until Boston. This is the time in training when fatigue sets in. Mind, body, and soul need a little extra rest and TLC.

img_8135
Who doesn’t jump for joy after a successful 16-miler?

Training is going so well. I’m hitting my paces, too fast most times, and I’ve been strength training regularly.

I faced a niggle this past week. On Thursday, I had a killer “race pace” run and went out way too fast. After, I saw my right peroneal tendon was inflamed and slightly bruised. I had a massage that morning and went into full-blown danger mode: rolling, The Stick, voodoo floss, compression, and the whole nine yards.

I was able to complete all runs at prescribed paces and the inflammation is going down. Crisis averted!

img_8016
I hear my hammies creaking and see Black Lab hair on the floor. Real life.

Week 10, February 13-19
Monday, 2/13

•Impromptu rest day – just traveled back from Florida and my body was fighting the early stages of a cold

Tuesday, 2/14
•3×1600, 6:31 pace
•7 miles total
•Lifted full body, 5 minute planks

 Wednesday, 2/15
•Easy 6 miles, 8:43 pace

Thursday, Feb. 16
•Easy 10 miles, which I inadvertently turned into a progression run!
•8:36, 8:18, 8:18, 8:09, 8:11, 8:05, 7:57, 7:52, 7:38, 7:04
•8:00 average pace overall

 Friday, 2/17
•Easy 6 miles, 8:43 pace

Saturday, 2/18
•12 miles, 8:19 pace
•575 feet gain
•Full body lift, 5 minute planks

 Sunday, 2/19
•8 miles at GMP, 7:36 pace
•9 miles total

Weekly totals
•50 miles
•2 strength sessions

fullsizerender
Thank Jesus for training partners who go out in crazy cold.

Week 11, February 20-26
Monday, Feb. 20
•Easy 8 miles, 8:58 pace

Tuesday, Feb. 21
•5 tempo miles, 7:17, 7:11, 7:11, 7:08, 7:01
•10 miles total

Wednesday, Feb. 22
•Rest day

Thursday, Feb. 23
•8 tempo miles, 7:22 pace
•11 miles total

Friday, Feb. 24
•Easy 8 miles, 8:56 pace

Saturday, Feb. 25
•16 miles, 7:58 pace
•675 feet gain
•Push-ups, squats

Sunday, 2/26
•Easy 8 miles, 8:37 pace
•Full body lift, 5 minute planks

Weekly totals
•61 miles
•2 strength sessions

Overall, I feel great and am happy to be so far into training. The nerves are starting to kick in a bit already. When I get nervous, I go out too fast. Thursdays are supposed to be goal race pace days, and I’ve been turning them into tempos.

This week, I will focus on keeping my paces honest and slowing down a bit. Off to Week 12!

One-week food overhaul

It’s Week 11 of Boston training and I am in full-on training mode. I average 55-60 miles a week and lift twice, adding in accessory and core work. My body burns through food like nobody’s business and I’m constantly hungry.

fullsizerender
8 miles = a sleeve of Thin Mints! Hashtag math.

I’ve been reverse dieting myself through my entire marathon training cycle. (A reverse diet is the 180 of a diet. Instead of cutting calories, you slowly add, building your metabolism without gaining fat/weight. Marathon training is the perfect time; all the extra fuel helps performance, plus who doesn’t want to eat more?)

I’m currently at 2,053 calories a day, adding additional calories on long run days, which, for me, is anything 11+ miles. That may not sound like a lot, but for a bodyweight of 104-106 pounds, it is. I’ve also joined the 300 gram carb club.

As of late, my eating is sloppy. Actually, that’s an understatement – it’s been atrocious. I’ve given myself a free pass to eat like a toddler because hey, I’m marathon training! I deserve these cookies, and this cake, and that bag of gummy worms. It’s fuel, right?

I’m also not hydrating like I should. No joke, I drink about 60 ounces of coffee in the morning, sweetened with sugar-free syrups, of course. The water I do manage to drink is heavily flavored with Mio. Yes, the supremely unhealthy, chemically-charged liquid drink flavor.

fullsizerender
The mutant orange cup is my water. You can taste the chemicals from here!

I believe the key to eating, like most things, is moderation. I’m not a proponent of “eating clean,” whatever that means. Those two words actually make me cringe, but that’s a whole different topic.

While I do meet most micro-nutrients daily, my macros are so high I’m able to eat treats like crazy. This whole week I’ve had at least four Girl Scout cookies as a part of my well-rounded breakfast. Yikes. Confession: most days, I meet my micros with vegan gummy vitamins. VEGAN GUMMY VITAMINS. Even my vitamins are chock-full of sugar.

I work so hard to ensure my training is on point, and yet, I coat nearly every “food” particle in Walden Farms. I empty a bottle of Maple Walnut syrup every two days. I order them by the case. Ugh, so much fake sugar and chemicals…

Again, I’m not against using artificial sweeteners or eating real sugar. I believe in balance, but I’m at the point where balance doesn’t exist. I need a do over.

img_6994
Oh, caramel Walden Farms, on top of Cocoa Pebbles, how I’ll miss you. At least there’s walnuts in there I guess.

In an effort to clean up my diet, I’m embarking on a self-inflicted one-week “reset my taste buds” cleanse of sorts. Here are my personal parameters.

Let me set down my S’mores Girl Scout cookie so I can type this.

Off-limits:
1. No added sugar – real or artificial. Bye, Walden Farms and Diet root beer.
2. No packaged food – unless it’s a whole food, such as a fruit or vegetable.
3. 100 oz of water daily. No Mio.
4. No white flour products. I have no problem with flour, just none of the white, processed shit.

Allowances:
1. Black coffee in moderate amounts.
2. Either a scoop of protein powder or faux meat (Gardein, MorningStar, or the like) to meet protein.

It’s only one week. I can do it, I think. After the week is over, I’ll assess and go from there. I’m interested to see if and how it effects my running, and my well-being in general.

Cheers to a healthier week! Oh, and I’m starting on Monday, naturally.