Saturday, July 20, 2013

A New Challenge

     Once again, I've fallen off the blogging cliff.  We did finish marathon training and we did run our marathon.  Life just got a little too busy for me to continue documenting our weekly training.  Maybe eventually I will post pictures of that day, and give a detailed account of the Walt Disney World Marathon 2013.   But for now..

     I'm back, and I'm going to try and post some thoughts and share my experience with a new challenge - a one week juice fast.  Like many women, I've struggled with my weight and fitness goals.  You'd think marathon training would take care of all that, but really I just balanced out huge calorie deficits by eating more, and gaining a lot of muscle.  Since the marathon I haven't had any other serious fitness goals.  I flopped a weight-loss challenge with friends due to, well, life - being sick for a week, buying/ moving into a new house, and having out-of-town family visiting.

     Now I'm ready for something to kick-start my goals and 'start from scratch,' if you will. A clean slate.  Nothing but fresh vegetable and fruit juices for a week, possibly two weeks.  Cleanse out my system and detox. 

     I found a great website (Just on Juice) that outlines recipes for the week (x2 if you continue for a second week), and even gives you a grocery list.  So today I'm headed to Sam's Club and here is my list. :-)

  • 12-15 Granny Smith Apples x 2
  • 12 Cucumbers x 2
  • 7 beets x 2
  • 1 Bag of Carrots
  • 1 Bag of Oranges
  • 6-12 Tomatoes
  • 1 Garlic
  • 1 Bag of Basil Large
  • 4 Cups of Blueberries
  • A Bag of Grapes
  • 3 Bag of Celery
  • 5 Big Bags of Spinach or 8 – 12 Bundles of Kale
  • A Ginger Root
  • 7 Lemons
  • 2 Limes
 This is everything for one week. Probably split it up into two trips, for freshness and room in the fridge.  Not too bad, right?  I'm also going to get freezer bags to separate some meals ahead of time, for quicker prep.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week Seven (October 14 - 20)

Sunday - Rest

I've gotten really lazy about taking that self-image picture, but have full intentions of getting back on track starting Week Nine.  It just seems kind of silly because, even though I'm seeing changes, particularly the growing leg muscles (duh), I don't seem to be making any significant weight loss progress.  As of today, I'm only down a pound and a half from the beginning of this training program.  It's really not a huge deal though, because I know I'm getting faster and stronger each week, and I feel better in general.  Why stress?  After all, it's a rest day. :-)

If you're wondering how the vegan diet is going..  Well, let's just say, being a vegan is so much harder than being a vegetarian.  It's a challenge, so I've decided to take it on gradually and learn from it as I go.  Living dairy and meat free is definitely doable, it just takes a lot more thought and planning ahead, especially when you're training for a marathon.  I've been pretty good about eating vegan for breakfast and lunch, but then I don't feel defeated if I'm a little more lax at dinner time (without losing complete control..ha!).

Monday - 4 miles

This week we graduated from 3 mile Mondays to 4 mile Mondays (yay!), which will continue through Week Ten.  Today we took it to Downtown Orlando's beautiful Lake Eola Park.  Tom and I split up again, which we just find is easier when running on crowded paths.  This was an enjoyable run for me.  I did about 4.5 loops around the lake while listening to some worship music on Pandora, and even singing along.  Feeling so encouraged, I couldn't keep it inside.  As I went along, I was delightfully surprised to find my pace picking up without any real effort.  I finished with a 09:32 min/mi average.  For me, this is fast.  It felt so good. I ended up finishing only a few minutes after Tom and Jackson.  (They must have been taking it easy.)  Tom let me know that each time they passed the playground (where I take Jack every Friday after the library), he pointed and tried to direct them over to the swings! It's amazing how he can already remember these places.  Of course we spent some time playing immediately after the run.

Looks like he's in a daze, but he's humming along to the bounce.
Neither of us managed to get a shot of the man out walking his snakes and pit bull. No, I'm not joking, but I guess I can't prove it. :-P

Tuesday - 7 Miles

Yep, Tuesdays have moved up from 6 to 7. (Hooray!  Okay, I may have been genuinely excited about the 3 to 4 graduation, but this joy is slightly exaggerated.)  Today Jack and I met up with our friend Cheryl from the ORC for three loops around the lovely Lake Baldwin.  The temperature was noticeably cooler!  Nothing makes those miles go by faster than having a beautiful sunrise and someone to talk to along the way.  You almost forget you're running, almost.
Little man fell asleep, but awoke exactly one second after this picture was taken, sitting up like a zombie.

...Then he enjoyed his breakfast before we headed back home.

Tom went for his 7 Miles right after work, through downtown Orlando.  We usually run our Tuesdays separate because they are supposed to be 'pace days.' Since I'm pushing the jogger, I don't stress about my pace. Tom, on the other hand, has been doing a fantastic job at pushing himself on these days.


Wednesday - 4 Miles

Today we hit up one of our usual spots - Crane's Roost Park, for four loops around the lake, and I think we actually stuck together for the most part.  I felt a little bit slower today, but still averaged under 10 min/mi.  Jackson loves running around by the fountain after our workouts here.

A large, grumpy looking bird.

Captivated by the fountain.

You can't see it here, but at the top of that tower, there is a giant golden globe. Jackson likes to shout up to it, "BAAALLLL!!"
Thursday - Rest!

Friday - Long Run, 14 Miles

The plan for today was to head out at 4pm, shortly after Tom got home from work.  Grab a quick snack and go.  It takes a long time to run 14 miles, and we didn't want to spend most of it in the dark.  Well, it didn't work out as planned, thanks to a switch in the usual nap pattern.  Jackson didn't wake up till about 3:30, so we didn't want to rush off without giving him a chance to run around and play. So we had dinner and left around 5pm instead.  We didn't realize our trail of choice, the Little Econ Greenway, would take us over an hour to get to and not have any convenient parking.  While Tom found a nearby neighborhood to park in, Jackson got to spend some time on his feet.  Meanwhile, the sun was setting.  Needless to say, we started this run off on the wrong foot, no other way to put it.  Tom asked, "Well, do you want to make this our cross-train day and just walk for an hour?" I just wanted to get it done with. I had spent all day thinking about it, and if I had to hold it off till Saturday it would just seem like I never had a break.  Cross-train Saturdays are kind of a break that we look forward to. We had mentally prepped and physically fueled for a long run - So we did it. We ran 14 miles in the dark, on a trail we were unfamiliar with. 

We stayed together the whole way, 7 miles out and back.  At the beginning we felt unsure about it and prayed, "God protect us and get us through this." We heard some loud animals and were SURE it was some kind of primate..haha.. Still don't know what in the world that was, but we also heard and saw a pretty big owl. Boy was that thing loud!!  The first half wasn't so bad, actually.  Jackson fell asleep somewhere around mile 9 or so.  Tom and I both agreed that we were both struggling around the time when we had like 4 miles left to go.  I was determined not to throw in the towel and start walking, having another defeated walk back to the car (like my 11 mile run a few weeks back), I mentally did not want to return there, and it was worth the fight.  I switched around my music a few times, trying to find something with an extra drive to it. Nothing was really cutting it, and the miles dragged on. Tom was having a lot of knee pain. I was just feeling fatigued in general. (Thankful that I got a nap in that afternoon, or I probably would not have survived- ha!)

By the end, we both finished with the same mindset, "God, I'm glad that's done." We did not feel like champions; we were just relieved to have it done and over with.  We were at the car, downed some bottled waters and I just needed a place to sit. I didn't care how strange it looked when I pulled one of our beach chairs out of the back of the car and sat there, stretching my legs out towards the bumper.  The neighborhood probably wondered at our choice of a tailgate party. Like I said, it was the least of my concerns. That chair was perfect.

Do I regret it? Running these long distances.. Is it all downhill from here (we can only hope..!)? Nah.. I know there are good days and bad days. These bad days, and it could have been so much worse, only make the good days better. The days when you are literally running on cloud 9, the endorphins pushing you on as you run singing, with a smile. Every day can't be like that. But I know that these days are the ones that make me stronger. They are the ones that I can look back on, while I'm on another long run, and think to myself, "Remember that day on the trail, in the dark, and I was so exhausted, but I managed to still run 14 miles straight without taking a break? Okay, yeah, I can do this too then." This is what it's all about. I love it.

Oh, and this was the farthest distance Tom and I have EVER run!!

Our last view of sunshine.

We look forward to running this trail in the daylight sometime.

We passed a couple of parks at the beginning.

Tired little monkey kept falling asleep in between bites. I've never seen him chew so slowly.

The run that convinced Tom to get a knee brace.
There it is. All those steps summed up into a concise little map. Two and a half hours is a long time to run.
Saturday - Cross Train

We decided to take advantage of the College Park Jazz Fest 2012 and save our walk for that evening.  Obviously too crowded to do any kind of cardio walking in the midst of the festivities, but College Park is a really cool district of Orlando and has some great neighborhoods to walk through.  It was an unusually cool evening and we truly enjoyed the time with our little family. As much as we dislike Halloween and refuse to partake in it, lights are lights and Jackson, along with us, enjoyed several houses decked out in orange glow.  It was too dark to get any quality pictures, but take my word for it, what a gorgeous night for a stroll along a lake and among historical houses, with the backdrop of jazz music and the energy of a nearby crowd - perfect! 

On our way back to the car, we didn't really take time to watch the entertainers, however we were intrigued with this group of people.  It wasn't your usual concert scene.  There were candle-lit tables, complete with fancy dishware and wine and gourmet food lining up this whole stretch of road.  We'd never seen anything like that! I mean, these people went all out, packing up their own upscale restaurant picnic, each one a little different. It was so cool!

You can see one of the table set-ups there, but there were many more. We were just trying to get through the crowd, so couldn't really capture it.

Jazz Fest couldn't stir the sleeping giant.
Stay Tuned: Next week we will have a guest entry from none other than Mr. Thomas P. Crawford, runner extraordinaire.  ;-D

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week Six (October 7-13)

Sunday - Rest!

I happened to *not* feel like taking a weekly photo this time, however, I did lose 4 pounds this week!!  Yay!

Monday - 3 Miles

It was so nice to get together with the Orlando Runner's Club again for a group run.  I hadn't seen them since the day Jack and I left for our trip to Michigan.  The group meets at the Mellow Mushroom the second and fourth Monday of each month. Some people run 3 miles and some run 5.  This was a really great run for me because I could just feel myself getting faster. We actually thought it might rain, and Tom had Jackson's jogger prepped and ready for it. The rain held off till we finished- go figure!  Afterwards, we all enjoy a pizza meal together and catch up with each others' training and goals and life in general. It's really a great time and we always look forward to these outings. Runners are just fantastic people, what can I say!

Kinda what we look like running through the neighborhoods..

Waiting for our pizza!

Tuesday - 6 miles

Since this was supposed to be a "race pace" run, Tom and I decided to do our runs separately, mine in the morning with Jack and his after work.  He takes his pace runs seriously, but since I have the jogger, I just take it as a usual run, keeping in the back of my mind that I should be going faster.. :-P

For these runs, we typically go to Lake Baldwin Park at the crack of dawn, in order to keep it cool and get it out of the way.  This week we did the same, with the exception of- we had company!  Our new friend Cheryl from the ORC welcomed us to meet up and start our run from her house, very close to the park. We greeted Cheryl and her Vizsla, Pumpkin, at 6:45am and headed out. We looped around the lake (greeting her husband Marcus, also out running, along the way), stopped back at her house to grab some quick water, then ran off to check out Blue Jacket Park.  It was really an enjoyable run! And I know Jackson felt the same, because he stayed awake the entire time, singing and watching Pumpkin along the way.  He never even fell asleep, nor did he need his favorite blanket- now that is distraction!

Wednesday - 3 Miles

Back to the Seminole Wekiva Trail, starting at the San Sebastian Trailhead.  Highlight of this evening's run..announcing:
Out with the old... with the new...kicks!!
His last ones were in really bad shape, and contributing to some knee pain, so it was time.

He said they felt great, too! Style AND function.

Jackson loves to hold Mommy's hand during warm up walks.
We miss the REAL nature we used to encounter on our NJ trail runs.
 (Bears, deer, snakes..ok I don't miss the snakes..)

Afterwards, Jackson felt the need to water ALL of the bushes with his cup.

Thursday - Rest!

Friday - Long Run!

This week's long run was 'only' 9 miles (as compared to last week's 12!).  We decided to hit the Seminole Wekiva Trail, starting at Soldier's Creek Park.  We did a mile out one direction, to the end of the paved trail, then the mile back to where we started. Then we continued the opposite way on the trail till we hit about 6.5 miles, turned around and headed back to the start.  We thought since we started this run a little earlier than usual, that we'd finish before the sun set.  Nope. Both of us were surprised when it was dark around the time we turned around, with about 2 miles left to go.
This is the mile 1 & 2 stretch, aka Locust Lane.  I can't believe it's STILL (apparently) mating season for those nasty things.

For this run, I chose to set up my iPod to Pride and Prejudice, which I began listening to over a year ago during my late pregnancy walks.  I never got around to finishing it, but don't think it will be long now!  There was also a reappearance from my good friend, the 'fanny pack.'

I've decided to bring take my Gatorade/water mix on any run 6 miles or over.
Family! (I love them :)

It was both frightening and cool to have a train pass right by us just as we approached the intersection!
Getting Darker..

Giving Jackson a chance to stretch his legs and watch some kids practice baseball.

Bonus: Got pulled over for having a headlight out. The officer was also from Michigan, so we got away with a warning.
Saturday - Cross Train

We are blessed with some visitors this weekend!  Tom's brother, his wife and their chocolate lab came down from Hilton Head Island, SC.  We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon at one of our favorite spots- Lake Baldwin Park, first letting Coffee enjoy a run (with a bazillion other pups) around the huge Fleet Peeples Dog Park.  We walked the 2.5 mile loop around the lake, branching off for a little while into the downtown area and catching a great outdoor lunch at La Bella Luna.

Lots of pictures from Saturday:
Jackson found a safe place in the dog park. :)

...Just some pretty things along the way that I'm usually running past.

Coffee taking a break from a long walk in the sun.

Jackson running around after lunch, before getting back into the jogger.

Headed back to our place! (Tom was on call all weekend, so we had to take two cars everywhere.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Week Five (9/30 - 10/6)

Sunday - Rest

Weigh In - Same as Start of Training.

This Sunday we enjoyed our day off by going to church, grabbing some sandwiches at the new Wawa nearby, and finishing up The Lorax movie (which we loved!!) while Jackson took his nap.  Sunday afternoon we were surprised to find out that Tom's brothers were headed to town on business.  After dinner we rushed off to Downtown Disney to see them for a few minutes and to explore one of our favorite hangouts.  Even though we've been here many times already, we always make new discoveries, like Babycakes NYC, a cute little vegan bakery!  I grabbed a doughnut and a couple pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies to go.  They were fantastic!

We were also delighted to see one of the regular musical performers at DTD, Dominic Gaudious.  Other times we've seen him there have always been a group of young children dancing to his lively music. This time, there was a very obscure man, "The Dancing Machine," stealing the show.

At one point "The Dancing Machine" came over to give Jackson a high-five.  We were secretly relieved to watch Jackson turn and walk away, shaking his head 'no.'

Monday - Happy Birthday to my army sister on post in South Korea!

We took our easy 3 mile run to Crane's Roost Park in Uptown Altamonte, and then headed over to U-Swirl, our favorite frozen yogurt bar, for dessert.  With this new vegan diet, it's still easy to make a delicious sorbet concoction with their almost limitless toppings. :-)

Tuesday - 6 Miles

With storms looming and limited time, since I had evening plans to meet at Infusion Tea with the local ICAN (International Caesarean Awareness Network) group, I basically had no choice to hit the treadmill in our apartment's gym.  I wasn't actually dreading too much. Maybe it would be a nice change. Heck, it's air conditioned in there, and there's a TV, which I haven't seen the likes of in months! So I grabbed my bottle of half/ half water-Gatorade and set out.  I turned the channel to Spongebob and started up the treadmill. I had my iPhone there if I wanted to switch to music or podcasts.  With the hum of the treadmill I realized I hadn't turned the volume up nearly loud enough, and I resorted to reading cartoon lips till I noticed my wonderful husband and son looking in the gym window- what fortune!  And so nice to have visitors. :-)

The run was surprisingly very pleasant.  Another lady actually joined at the treadmill next to me, and it was nice to hear the footsteps of someone else.  The only problem was keeping track of distance.  I couldn't figure out if it was measuring in kilometers or miles. The flashing lights would let me know the km distance. The speed chart said 'per mile,' and yet another tracker had no specific unit of measurement.  So I was left to estimate, and just ran for an hour.  That should be about right, and the gym was closing at that time anyway.  All in all- that wasn't bad, and I'd do it again.  Maybe I'll try the other treadmill next time.

Tom, what were you doing?? Haha..

It rained the entire time I ran indoors.  Then it stopped just in time for me to head out and for Tom and Jack to get their 6 miles in.  Needless to say, they did NOT run on the treadmill, though part of me would like to see them try. ;-)

Wednesday - 3 Miles

This evening we headed to the San Sebastian Trailhead of the Seminole Wekiva Trail.  I realize each week we have repeats of the same places.  It's true.  Now that we have a baby, it's just not fair to drive long distance just to put him in another 'chair' for a run.  So we keep it close to home.  Just because we run in a lot of the same places over and over, does not mean that each run is a carbon copy of the other.

Take for example this run- it was a rainy day.  Not stormy, but rainy.

Sound asleep in there.
Thursday - Rest!

Friday - Long Run (12 miles)

**This week's favorite!!**

After last week's 11 mile catastrophe, I put a lot of thought into this one and did a few things different:
1) Broke out the hydration belt.  Tom got this as a gift for me years ago, and I just haven't had a real need to use it till now.  To be honest, and I never told this to him, but periwinkle is one of my least favorite colors, so I was always a little turned off by it (seems so silly..). To my delight, the thing fit like a charm and was SO comfortable!  It came with a water bottle, which I filled with half Gatorade and half water. It also made a great place to hang my bandana (which I use to dry my face as I run).
  The belt really was a life saver.  As the run started off, I decided to take a big drink at the completion of each mile.  This served as a great motivator, and also helped to ration out my hydration.  I only had a few drops left at mile 11, but at that point it didn't even matter.
You can't really see it, but there's my 'fanny pack,' aka hydration belt.

 2) We chose a different location.  Last week we took a secluded trail and attempted 5.5 miles out and then back.  Mentally, I think this made the run seem so much longer.  This time, we headed to one of our favorites- Crane's Roost, which has a mile loop around a lake.  The idea was to run as many loops as we felt like, but also feel free to branch off onto the roads.  Even though Tom and I ran this one at our own paces (so Jack wouldn't have to sit quite as long), I wasn't alone.  There are people everywhere at this park.

Off we went!  I set my iPhone to Andy Mineo radio on Pandora, since I found it to be a strong motivator on another recent long run.  I also came prepared with several chapters of Pride and Prejudice on my iPod, which I zipped into a pouch on my belt.  I kept my favorite podcast in mind as well, The Extra Mile, if I needed to change things up a bit.  Turns out the Andy Mineo station was sufficient for the entire run. It never got boring, and it pushed me along.  If it's not broke, don't fix it.  If I'm doing fine mentally, it's not worth the spent energy and frustration of messing around with tech stuff while running.

A few miles in, I got a good sense and plan of how I wanted this run to go.  I decided to do about 6 loops around, then branch out onto the road, 3 miles out and complete with 3 miles back to the park, catching up with my loves and hearing how their run went.  That's basically what I did, except for as I was finishing up the 3 miles out, I realized if I turned left I could just complete the block and catch up to the park again from the other side.  By the time I looped around, I still had 2 more loops around the lake, which was fine.  I actually got to see Tom and Jack just before mile 10.  They finished about 2 miles ahead of me!  It was encouraging to see them and hear that Jackson did fine for the entire run!  The longer I ran, the more I wondered if he was hanging in there, and tried not to stress about it, wondering if he was frantic or extremely bored.  He benefits from these runs in populated parks as well, often shouting out to the people ahead, like "Make way! We're coming!"
It's funny how it looks like I spent most of the run away from the lake, 
but really that big square is only 1/3 of the run.

 I passed Tom and Jackson less than a minute before hitting the 12 mile mark, and that gave me the extra motivation to sprint to the finish!  I cannot even put into words how amazing I felt.  I felt like a champion.  You could've told me I was an Olympian and I'd probably say, "Yeah.." as I collapsed and blissfully laid in the wet grass, breathing deeply with a huge smile on my face. I DID IT!! 12 MILES!! Never even felt like I needed a walk break!  This run was never a struggle- I felt so strong, and happy.  It was incredible, and I can't wait to feel that again. 

At some point I needed to pull myself up and catch up with my family.  That's when I realized how drenched I really was!  As if I walked out of a pool, my shoes were squishing as I walked along, and I had to literally wring out my bandana.  It made me wonder if, as these runs get longer, will I need to change my shoes or clothes along the way? Hmm.. 
Mom and Jackson are trying to hide the fact that they're eating while this picture is being taken. Fresh fruit makes a great post-run snack!

Some vendors were nearby for a special event, and Jack suckered a balloon out of them. :D
We grabbed a pizza on our way home, but by the time we got home all I wanted was a hot shower.  Wow- that felt almost as amazing as finishing that run. I could have stood there all night!  Afterwards, I learned something else about myself, or at least I chose to accept it.  Even though I burn like a million calories on these long runs, I typically do NOT have an appetite afterwards. I just want to crash and sleep.  This time I fought the urge to sleep (hey, it's Friday night!) and had some pizza.  I didn't enjoy it at all- I felt nauseous. Next time I will just sleep like I usually do, and just have a big Saturday morning breakfast.

Saturday - Cross Train

We kept our walk simple and stayed in our neighborhood, enjoying the sunset together.

On our way back, we grabbed some snacks at the gas station across the street from our apartment complex.

Now where does this guy find the time to produce potato chips??