31 January 2011

Marathon Training: Day 1

But first things first- a quick recap of my super fun weekend!  Since this was the last weekend before my official marathon training begins I had not ONE, but TWO nights out in a row!  In Seattle!  Friday night I got the opportunity to go to the 2011 Night of the Stars event hosted by Quadrant Homes.  It was in the Columbia Tower Club on the 75th floor with an absolutely amazing view of Seattle.  The Space Needle looked tiny!  My friend Cynthia went with me and we got all dressed up and arrived around 7pm.  We had some adult beverages, some chocolate covered strawberries and some hors d'oeuvres...then hit the dance floor!  So much fun, we danced until they stopped playing music and made us go home.  I love girl nights! 

Photo booth fun!
Saturday night we headed back up to Seattle to Studio Seven to watch a friend's band play.  I went to high school with him and have been intending to watch his band -Aftereon-play a show for quite a while. The timing was always bad when they played the local clubs here in Tacoma though!  This time Will, Cynthia, Betsy and I all headed up, we stopped at Pyramid Brewery and had some dinner then headed to the club.  It was definitely an interesting place, in the "SODO" district, just down the street from the Starbucks corporate building.  It was a fun night, the first band was not great.  Ok, they were terrible.  But the rest of the bands sounded much better and I chatted a bit with my friend Shane after the show.  Overall, 2 really fun nights out! 

Sunday morning was back to reality!  I headed down to the waterfront for a run.  It was really cold and windy but otherwise it was the perfect day.  It took me about a full mile before I warmed up and could relax into a decent stride!  But I felt great the whole time, put in close to 5 miles then did some stretching before heading home.  Then of course it was time to head to work. 

This morning I am officially in training mode!  I headed to the gym and went to my yoga class (third time ever).  I am getting better each week and learning how to relax into the different positions and focus my strength into different body parts to make it easier to hold poses.  We have been working on a few different inversion poses and I can do one of them easily, one for about 2 seconds...and the other one I need to practice.  A lot!  But I am still enjoying it, even though I am completely out of my comfort zone.  I like the movement and fluidity of yoga, the awareness of my body and how it can bend and stretch.  For some reason it is fascinating to me.

And here is one of the songs I crank up when it comes on the radio these days.  Love, love, love this ladies voice!   

29 January 2011

Guilty Much???

I have this bumper sticker on my car.  It makes me smile.
So Monday is the big day.  I will begin the 18 week process that will take me 26 miles 385 yards down the trail towards the finish line of my very first marathon.  I am very excited.  I am very nervous.  I am very READY!  For those of you who have trained for and ran a marathon you know this is a huge commitment of time and energy.  There is no way to cheat when it comes to preparing for a marathon without it being painfully obvious on race day.  For those of you who know me, this type of thing is right up my alley.  I am one of those people who say "I am going to do X" and then I figure out the most logical way to achieve X and get to work.  Maybe I am a freak, but that is just how I function.

Anyways, back to the time commitment involved.  I sometimes get the impression that people feel guilty for taking time away from their children and families to exercise.  I can understand that, and sometimes I will take a morning off to spend some extra time with the kids and head to the park or zoo instead.  That type of activity is important also.  But rather than spending time feeling guilty about being away from my kids I like to think I am teaching them a very important lesson.  That being physically active is important- just as important as brushing our teeth and eating fruits and vegetables in order to stay healthy!

I want my children to grow up thinking it is normal to go to the gym on a very regular basis.  To go hiking and biking and swimming.  To set goals for themselves that seem impossible- and then achieve them.  That life is so much MORE than just going to work and watching TV.  I want to be the person that they look up to, that can offer them advice and encouragement and motivation when they need it.  So do I feel guilty for spending time exercising?  No way.  I think I would feel more guilty if I didn't.

In fact, the other day for some reason I didn't go to the gym like usual.  Niko and I ran into Safeway to grab something and he looked at me and said "hey Mom, are we going to the gym today?" and I told him no, there wasn't time to go today.  "Please mom, please can we go to the gym???" was his reply.  Gee, thanks for the guilt trip kiddo!  But it made me feel good that he enjoys going there and that he could sense our routine was a bit off.  He is one smart cookie!


27 January 2011

Vitamins A, B, Eeewww and Yuck

So one of my New Year's resolutions was to take my vitamins daily.  I know I made it seem as though I am just forgetful about taking them but really there is a very good reason why I conveniently "forget" to take them.  I was wonderfully reminded of that reason the other morning.  I ate breakfast like usual and then about an hour later I remembered to take my vitamins so I grabbed them and without further thought took both and washed them down with some water. 

My body is very sensitive to everything- from pain pills to vitamins to alcohol.  I usually stay away from most of these things because I don't like how they make me feel.  Well, this was the first time I had taken a fish oil vitamin.  It didn't really occur to me that I should probably take the vitamins at separate times, especially since one of them was new to me.  Approximately 2 minutes later I had this overwhelming sensation that I was going to throw up.  I honestly thought the flu had suddenly hit me, it was that bad.  Then it dawned on me that it was from the vitamins so I grabbed a few graham crackers and they helped to settle my stomach.  Then about 5 minutes after that I started burping fish oil.  It was DISGUSTING! 

So there you have it.  The truth behind my fear of vitamins.  Now I am very hesitant to take my vitamins at all- I try to make sure that I take them separately and with my meals.  The fish oil still makes me nervous although I took one yesterday by itself (with lunch) and it was ok.  But apparently it is very healthy so I will keep trying to remember to take them daily.  Or at least several times a week!  Maybe I should just start eating the kid's gummy bear vitamins :)  

26 January 2011

The Evil Jump Rope Club

So here is my facebook status from yesterday morning at 8:22am:

"Well I have asked the children to stop fighting about 30 times in the last 30 minutes. Patience, patience, patience. Good thing there is a heavy boxing bag with my name on it at the gym. Ah, I feel better just thinking about it!"

So I managed to complete our morning routine and drop Devan off at school at 8:58am and proceeded to drive straight to the gym just like I do every Tuesday morning.  I arrived right around 9:10am and headed straight for the boxing room to throw my gloves down on a bag to save myself a spot.  There are only 24 spots so this class does fill up quite often, but I have never had a problem.  So imagine my dismay when there are 2 of the regular ladies standing outside the door with irritated expressions on their faces and they tell me that the class is already full and has been for a good 10 minutes.  WHAT!!!  But I told facebook there was a bag with my name on it!  And I really, really wanted to punch something.

Then I remembered why the class was full- the instructor had started a jump rope club that would be Tuesday mornings from 9am-915am so all those people had saved themselves a bag prior to class.  Does that seem fair?  There is no possible way for me to get to the gym early enough on a Tuesday morning so I guess I will scratch this class off of my training agenda.  So I silently cursed jump roping for the next several minutes while I dropped Niko in the daycare and tried to figure out what to do for my workout that day.

And this would not only be affecting my workout at the present moment, but I need to now alter my entire training agenda for the next 18 weeks.  Yes, a jump rope club sounds so sweet and cute and innocent- but it is really quite evil.  A bunch of dirty rotten jumping people who can get to the gym at 8:45am on a Tuesday morning.  Ok, I am over it.  Well, not really.  Anyways...moving on.

So Tiffany, what did you do instead of your planned workout???  Well, I decided to try out my new Garmin watch and did a 2 mile run around the gym to clear the angry thoughts from my mind.  The first mile I didn't realize that the gps part wasn't tracking me, but the second mile worked like a charm.  I learned that 4 laps is .9 miles so that is helpful information.  I also used that time to clear my mind, ask for forgiveness for thinking such terrible thoughts about the jump rope club and rearrange my training plan in my mind.  After my run I hopped on the stairclimber for a sweet 100 flight climb (22:00) then did some strength training on my legs and abs.  Overall a good workout, not my intended workout but thats cool.  I am sure all those jump rope club members had a good time.  But I am not bitter.  Nope, not me.

Here is my new, rearranged workout agenda which will be starting on MONDAY! 

Monday- yoga class
Tuesday- short run at home on treadmill
Wednesday- boxing class at gym in morning, mid length run outside after taking Niko to school in afternoon
Thursday- boxing class then short run at gym
Friday- rest day (plus goalie at soccer)
Saturday- long run
Sunday- cross train- either swim or spin bike plus some sauna time at gym

I think this will work for me.  The one positive from this new agenda- I will get to take one boxing class from Andrea (Weds) and one from Kim (Thurs) instead of both from Kim.  I like both of their techniques so I am happy to be able to attend one of each!

19 January 2011

You Know How Yogi's Are

That is what Lesa (the yoga instructor at my gym) told me yesterday morning when I was still the only person standing in the large room where my very first yoga class was about to begin.  Ummmmm....nope.  Not a clue actually!  I explained to her that I had never done yoga before and she said that usually people kind of meander in a few minutes late and that since it was a holiday maybe I would be getting a personal lesson.  That seemed kind of like a lot of pressure for me so I was happy when a few others started to show up.  Altogether there were 6 students plus the instructor, which was actually perfect.  I was able to get a lot of extra help (which I desperately needed) yet the sole focus didn't have to be on me. 

I love taking classes at the gym, however I always get really nervous the first few times I go.  For one it is always obvious that a new person is there- kind of like starting at a new school.  The instructor singles you out, asks your name and background- then watches you the whole class to see what you are made of.  And let me tell you, I am more like Yogi Bear than an actual Yogi!  Holy moly, yoga is way more difficult than it looks.  But I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more self torture as I learn to become a human pretzel.  I know that once I learn some of the basic poses and can relax a bit more it will become one of my favorite activities.  It was very meditative and relaxing, yet at the same time I could feel my muscles working hard and I was actually working up a good sweat.  Which I felt bad about as Lesa had to keep coming over and rearranging my arms and legs into better positions.  She was very helpful and encouraging however and gave me lots of good tips throughout the class.  Mondays are going to be amazing.
I had a friend ask me a very interesting question today so I felt it made sense to answer it here as one of my 5 weekly food tips.  The question was what do I eat before I workout since I exercise in the morning.  This has been something I have altered and adjusted multiple times over the last year.  It does depend on what type of workout I will be doing, so it is not a difinitive type of answer.  So here are my 5 food tips for the week:

1.  Up until about a month ago I would usually get up, have a cup of coffee and a cliff bar then head to the gym.  This was a quick and easy source of energy for me, it never upset my stomach and my body was used to it.  Recently, while trying to drop a few pounds I have been just having a protein shake.  It has 140 calories, 30g of protein and only 6g of carbs so my body has to utilize fat stores rather than using the readily available carbs from something like a cliff bar.  At first I was nervous that I would crash doing a hard workout but it has not happened yet.  And I have done plenty of 2 hour workouts on just the protein drink without any negative results as far as my energy levels go.  I use the Muscle Milk Whey protein powder that I buy in an enormous bag at Costco.  The chocolate is best, the vanilla is ok but on the sweet side.  Oh, and I do still have my coffee before I head to the gym of course!  I make sure to eat within a half hour after working out and include plenty of protein then as well for muscle recovery.

2.  Sodas.  Pop.  Coke.  Whatever you choose to call it, I try to eliminate these as much as possible.  Even the diet ones really aren't that great for you.  They have strange artificial sweeteners plus tend to make me feel bloated.  Which is not pleasant.  Granted I might have a rum and diet coke once in a while but lately I have switched to cranberry juice instead.  With the rum still of course.  Much better! 

3.  I have stopped drinking milk.  Now before you freak out and tell me I am about to get osteoporosis let me explain.  Cow's milk has a lot of sugar in it and really isn't the best option out there.  I have switched completely to almond milk and coconut milk and don't miss regular milk at all.  These have much more nutritional value and are quite a bit lower in sugar and calories.  Although I was never a big milk drinker before, really I would just have it in my coffee or cereal so it wasn't that difficult to do.  My biggest challenge is at work- not because I am tempted by the 50 gallons of milk surrounding me but because we don't have the other types of milk alternatives available if I want to have a smoothie or something while I am there.  And this is just milk mind you- I am still eating cheese, yogurt and ice cream. 

4.  I measure EVERYTHING!!!  I read labels and serving sizes then scoop appropriately.  Do yourself a favor and stock up on tons of measuring spoons, cups, bowls...whatever and never just "eyeball" something.  This will save you tons of calories and also give you a better idea of what an actual serving size is.

5.  Bread- I love bread.  And bread isn't really bad for you...it just isn't good for you either.  But if you are going to eat it I would aim for something that has 100% whole wheat in it.  The more fiber the better and make sure there isn't any high fructose corn syrup.  My biggest weakness is probably bagels, which I only eat occasionally (or if I am carb loading for a big run).  I have recently been eating sandwich thins- they work great as a bun or to make a sandwich and they are only 100 calories each.  One of my favorite indulgences is Dave's Killer Bread- it is amazing.  But I try to eat bread only a couple times a week.  I am sure that will change once I get into my marathon training and I need to increase my carb intake.

***Happy Birthday to my friend and running pal Cynthia***

I made Cynthia yummy cupcakes for her dinner party

Here is a list of my  favorite things about her

1.  She encouraged me to train for a half marathon last year as our New Year's resolution and has ran every single race with me.  It will be very strange to run one without her. 

2.  She is smart and well educated.  She has a great work ethic and will be amazing at whatever career path she chooses.

3.  She is a good dancer and fun to go out with.  She makes me laugh, especially when we have multiple jello shots at The Rock.

4.  She loves shopping- even more than I do.  Which is a lot :)  And she is fun to go shopping with.

5.  She loves her dogs.  A lot.  They are spoiled rotten.  But it is very sweet and they are lucky doggies to have such a caring owner.

6.  She is a good mom and always makes sure her son has what he needs and is well taken care of.

14 January 2011

Back on The Scale

Today was my weigh in day at the gym finally. I have been putting it off not really wanting to see the damage from the holidays but I guess I was worried for nothing. The scale has not budged. I didn't even take my shoes off or have to round down or anything. It was just right on 152. Thank goodness! I tried to get the body fat analysis gadget to work but I think the battery was low and my circuit class was getting ready to start so didn't get to check that part. Oh well. Next time!

Yesterday I went and had my hair cut and colored. It had been several months and I was definitely ready for a change. I decided to go for an all over darkening and I really like how it turned out! I am also going be wearing my hair curly more often- why fight what comes naturally right??? Plus, as often as my hair is in a ponytail (at the gym or at work) it barely has time to look cute in between!

The new "do"
I think I have finally settled on a workout routine that is going to fit into my work/kids/marathon training agenda starting on January 31st. There is definitely a huge commitment to running a marathon. I am even going to have to adjust my work availability in order to do some of my training runs. But I am willing to make the sacrifice!!! So here is the plan on paper, I am sure that adjustments will be made once it goes into effect.

Mondays- yoga class at the gym or spin bike/strength train
Tuesdays- boxing class/short run
Wednesdays-mid length run/strength training
Thursdays- boxing class/short run
Friday- rest day. oh, and play goalie at soccer :)
Saturday- long run
Sunday- swimming and hot tub at the gym or spin bike/strength train

I think this is going to work for me. It keeps my variety of activities up so my muscles will hopefully stay at a balanced level and I can avoid injury by doing as much cross training type activities as possible. I am really excited to incorporate yoga into my workouts and I am really sad to be eliminating my Friday advanced circuit class but c'est la vie. That class kills my muscles and makes them feel like jello so that can't really be added into a "rest" day before my long runs. Bummer.

I had a fun time with the kids tonight. They are both finally to the point where we can start to play board games so I pulled out monopoly for us to play and the kids really liked it. Plus they can work on counting, reading and budgeting money. Overall, a pretty educational game. We played for about an hour and then I counted up each person's money to see who won. And guess who the winner was? Niko. Yes, Devan and I lost to a 5 year old. Too funny. He even did a little dance he was so excited!

I have yet another song that has me listening to it over and over so I will share it with you. It is one that makes me want to go on a crazy pointless road trip. Or run down a deserted highway for miles and miles. I don't really know what it is but I like it. Enjoy.

12 January 2011

My Fascination With Food

I would definitely say that I have a complete fascination with food.  Once upon a time (ok, twice) in the last 8 years I have tipped the scale at 200 pounds.  I think at my heaviest I was at 210 but that was 9 months pregnant with my son...so maybe that doesn't count.  At any rate I have definitely been up and down the scale over the last decade or so due to several reasons.  One of the reasons is named Devan, one is named Niko and the others are named things like french fries, cookies, pizza, cheeseburgers, chocolate and ice cream. 

So over the years I have began tweaking my eating lifestyle.  I have slowly lost about 10 pounds a year over the last 5 years and managed to maintain that weight loss.  So this is my year to achieve my final goal weight.  It is going to be very hard- I have tried to get below 150 pounds a couple of times and it is like my body is fighting me.  Apparently it is quite content in the 150 range, but I have a news flash- I am not content there!!! 

***Disclaimer-I am not educated whatsoever (at least as of right now) in the nutrition department but I am going to share with you some of my favorite eating tips and strategies.  Although there are a lot of them so I think I will make this a weekly topic and just give you 5 at a time.  Because if you try to do too much too fast it won't stick.  These are things I have adapted and trained my body to do over several years.  Maybe they will be helpful to you as well!

1.  My number one tip is to eat several small meals throughout the day.  I started eating 4 meals throughout the day of roughly 400 calories, eating every 3-4 hours.  If I do a hard workout I might add in an extra 200 calorie snack somewhere in there.  This keeps your metabolism going all day, as well as keeps your portions in control.  I cannot stand overeating now and can almost tell when I have eaten around 400 calories.  The trick is to pick something that will keep you full- 400 calories of a cinnamon roll and 400 calories of oatmeal with some fruit will feel very different in about 2 hours!

2.  Eliminate high fructose corn syrup.  It is in EVERYTHING!  Bread, ketchup, salad dressing, cereal...but if you take a moment to read the labels you can find products with something more natural- like sugar- instead.  Also yogurt, peanut butter and jelly, granola bars.  And by the way, try to find something with low amounts of sugar if possible!

3.  Drink water.  All day, especially while exercising.  Keep a water bottle with you and take sips all day.  Water helps you stay full and hydrated.

4.  Eat healthy fats.  Things like nuts and nut butters, avocados and olive oil are all heart healthy fats that help you stay full and satisfied while cutting calories.  Yes, they have a lot of calories but they are very filling.  Add some avocado to your salad or sandwich or add some peanut butter to your oatmeal (one of my favorite breakfasts) and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. 

5.  Eat more protein.  This is something I have started doing recently.  I will cook up enough chicken for a couple of days and stick it in the fridge so it is ready to eat when I am hungry.  Especially if you are following a workout program, protein is very important to help your muscles recover.  I have been making a lot of protein drinks as well (I use the muscle milk light whey powder) and that is pretty good.  Like having chocolate milk!  I make sure each of my meals has a good source of healthy protein throughout the day and it seems to help me stay full longer as well.

One of my next posts on nutrition is going to be about the long distance runner's diet.  I am working on it now and just finished reading about it in the book I have been reading.  Food is fuel, and if you pick the wrong fuel there are definite repercussions!  I will also address my biggest fear- hitting "the wall" during my marathon.  Just reading about how my glycogen stores will be depleted around mile 20 is enough to completely stress me out.  So I have been doing what I do best- lots of research!!!  Hahaha.  Yes, that is me.  Always prepared.  Well, as much as possible!

Great- now I am hungry!  Well, guess that means I should head to bed.  It has been snowing here for several hours.  The roads are pretty slick and when I got home from work a little bit ago I couldn't even pull my car all the way up my driveway.  Well guess what?  I looked out the window a few minutes ago and my car had slid halfway down towards the road.  So what did I do?  I woke my poor husband out of a sound sleep so he could move it for me of course!  Poor guy.  There was no way I was going out there- it is way too cold!!!  Thanks babe!!! 

08 January 2011

The First Week

Well, the first week of the new year was pretty full in my world!  I worked 6 days in a row, have been to the gym 5 times, played 2 soccer games (goalie both times, which I am loving by the way), had blood work done for my routine physical and made sure the kiddos were at school on time every day! 

I have been good about most of my New Year's resolutions, although tonight I realized it had been a couple of days since I had taken my vitamin.  Darn it, why is that so hard for me to remember???  I haven't touched the enormous bad of M&M's in my cupboard and also resisted the multitude of french fries that surrounded me last night while we were at The Blazing Onion after soccer!  I have been reading my book daily.  I went through all of our rooms today and found 4 huge bags of clothing to donate that we no longer wear.  So far, so good!

I did my first run of the year on Wednesday.  It was a hectic morning at our house trying to get the kids out the door (patience...ya, not so much) and I ended up leaving my new Garmin watch at home.  I was a little annoyed with myself but headed to the gym anyways and decided to just count my laps around the building again and estimate my time and distance.  I warmed up really quick on the spin bike for about 15 minutes then headed out the door.  I am pretty sure I did 20 laps, it could have been 21- I am not very good at keeping track because my mind wanders.  I have been told that one lap is just shy of 1/4 mile so I assume I ran close to 4 miles, maybe a bit more. 

I also wasn't in the mood to have music blaring in my ears so I just ran without any device at all.  Just me, my Vibram's and a bunch of warm clothing.  It felt pretty good, I ended up running for 40 minutes.  I could tell my pace was slow (intentionally) because I didn't need any recovery time at all.  Which was nice!  Next time I will make sure I have my Garmin with me so I can know for sure the distance around the building. 

I have signed up and committed to running 1000+ miles this year!  I figure that doubles what I did last year and will give me a good source of motivation to get out and run as often as possible, even a short run when I have time to build my mileage up.  How exciting!  I love a good challenge.  

I am currently trying to put together a training plan that will work for me.  I have lots of activities I enjoy doing, however I am not sure which ones will fit into my marathon training agenda!  So I am in the process of analyzing my work schedule, the class schedule at the gym as well as the Hal Higdon training program I will be following so I can create a spreadsheet of my workout plan.  I am excited to get started! 

Also, next Friday on January 14th I will check my weight and body fat at the gym.  I will do a weigh in every Friday after that, and a body fat check every other week.  Because I know you are all dying to know the damage from the holidays!  I am scared to get on the scale and  find out for myself!  Yikes!  But I do find that posting my weight is quite liberating- and it also keeps me honest.  And out of the cookie jar- well, for the most part!

Other than that, nothing too exciting to report!  Hope you all are doing well with your resolutions and goals! 

01 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, another year has come and gone.  Sometimes it seems like time goes slowly, then all of a sudden you look at the date and wonder how could it possibly be December already?  Time is such a strange thing isn't it?  We rush through our workdays and want Friday to arrive so we can enjoy our weekend.  Then when Sunday night arrives we wonder how did the weekend pass so quickly?  During the winter we can't wait for summer.  During summer we can't wait for winter.  It always seems as though we don't appreciate the moment we are in, just can't wait for it to be a different day or a different month.  When there really isn't anything wrong with the present if you take a moment to slow down and enjoy it.

Which leads to the first of my 11 New Year's resolutions for 2011.  I tried to keep them simple and straightforward because they are easier to keep that way.  My resolution last year was to start running.  That was it.  I ran 525 miles in 2010 according to my Nike plus rundown so I guess I accomplished that goal!  I also ran in 9 races -three 5K's, an 8K, a 12K, a 10 mile and three half marathons!  So this year I figure I should go all out and try to improve on multiple areas of my life that need a bit of tweaking.  So here they are, in no particular order:

1.  Live in the moment and appreciate NOW

2.  Run a full marathon

3.  Reach my goal weight of 140 pounds

4.  Read more books

5.  Take my vitamins

6.  Eat more fruits and vegetables
**I signed us up for a delivery service from a local farm (CSA) so every other week we get an assortment of fresh/local produce delivered to our front door.  I am very excited about this and so far have been pleased with the product (the picture above is of our first delivery).  If you are interested the website is
and if you sign up for your own delivery...well, make sure you tell them who sent you!

7.  Eliminate fast food, french fries and candy (with the exception of dark chocolate)

8.  Allow flexibility in my training plan to avoid injury (aka- listen to my body and modify if needed)

9.  Donate stuff I no longer need or use to those who may actually want to use it

10.  Have more patience (this will be the hard one!)

11.  Have fun.  I want to have lots and lots of fun.  Smile more, laugh more and honestly say that I love my life.  Hang out with friends.  Play soccer.  Play games.  Watch movies.  Go camping.  Go hiking.  Run.

So that is it.  My resolutions for the coming year.  Not terribly complicated.  But they are special to me, in my life.  Goals are important- they give you focus and make you accountable.  I wish you all a happy and healthy new year!  Make it a great one!  I know I will.