Win Some, Lose Some (but ending on a good note)

Good evening from a beautiful night in Chicago…warm with no humidity and lots of sunshine – perfect!

The weekend was definitely a mixed bag – some nice parts, some not so great. I’ll start with my dark and early wakeup call on Saturday – I had the alarm set for 4:15 so that I could make it to Grant Park in time for my volunteer call with the Girls on the Run event! I was so nervous that I’d oversleep that I kept waking up to check the clock, but ultimately got there right on time.

I was put on the dispatch team, which meant I stayed in the operations tent. Initially they were calling for rain and general gross-ness on Saturday, so I guess I should have been grateful that I was protected by the elements, but it turned out to be a lovely morning and I wished I’d been outside to actually see the event as it happened! Instead I heard a lot of cheering (which was super cute) and the National Anthem but not much else.

Nonetheless, I definitely want to volunteer for this again – it was a HUGE logistical undertaking and just really impressive to observe. Hopefully next time I’m assigned to “bus greeter duty” or “runner refreshment” – something where I’m either interacting with the girls or on the course. Sitting in the tent and just waiting for messages to come through on the radio – while important – wasn’t exactly stimulating!

At any rate, I finally took off around 10am and was super hungry and super tired. It’s so rare that I buy breakfast, but I didn’t feel like oatmeal or pancakes – I really wanted eggs and just something savory in general. But I did not want to cook and did not want to prolong my trip home. So I stopped at Dunkin Donuts and got an eggwhite flatbread sandwich and it was just perfect – exactly what I wanted. I ate it and went back to bed and finally got up a few hours later.

And…the day kind of got away from me at that point. I really don’t know why. I just started picking at things to eat (even though a. I barely had food in my home and b. was not the least bit hungry) and just kept going. I think it was a combination of feeling sort of disoriented from the lack of sleep and weird nap time, plus missing my normal morning workout (whether I do a class or run, it’s always in the morning on the weekends), and some general life stress. It wasn’t good.

I did leave the house to go grocery shopping, thinking the break might help me get back on track, but I kept eating once I got home and finally stopped in the late afternoon. I felt so gross and full. I sent a few emails and watched a little tv, and finally convinced myself to move my ass and go for a run. I’m so glad I did. It did not feel good when I first got started (my tummy is sensitive on its best day; to try to run after a binge was probably not my brightest idea), but I pushed through and ended up doing 7 miles, and actually feeling pretty good (still running with low heart rate training, which probably helped – it was more gentle than a typical run). By the time I got home it was 8pm or so, and unsurprisingly I wasn’t hungry for dinner. I had a glass of red wine to help me relax, some air popped popcorn, and some frozen kefir and called it a night. I thought I’d be really hungry when I woke up this morning but I definitely wasn’t – that’s how much food I consumed yesterday. I more or less stopped eating in the late afternoon and still wasn’t ready for anything today until I got home from the gym around noon.

Today, thankfully, was better in most ways. I went to my HIIT class at the gym and stayed around for yoga. That’s when things got not so great – I was doing a vinyasa and felt my neck start to tweak, and within seconds I knew I’d pulled something. I don’t know why I’m prone to this kind of thing, but it happens from time to time with me, always on the right side of my neck. Sometimes it’s not so bad, but as soon as it was happening this morning I knew it wasn’t good. I immediately stopped and tried to massage it a bit, but that didn’t really work, and I knew I should have just packed up but I felt like I could push through it. And I did, for awhile, but ultimately left once we started doing poses I just couldn’t handle.

My readers may recall that almost EXACTLY a year ago, I did the same thing, only that time the injury was aggravated by a sit-up at the gym and I went several days before seeing a doctor. This time I was smarter (I think) – as soon as I got home I went to my cabinet and found the leftover medicine from last year’s injury (prescribed on June 15, so I still had 10 days before hitting the expiration date!). I took a pill and used Icy Hot and a head press on my neck and just hoped for the best.

The medicine finally kicked in an hour or so later and it definitely worked – I was able to get through the rest of the day pretty much pain-free. I just took another dose so that I can sleep through the night, and we’ll see how I feel tomorrow morning. I definitely don’t want take anything unless I have to, but I also don’t want to be stubborn – if it hurts, I’m taking something.

Thankfully my eating was on track today, so I’m ending the day on a good note. After the medicine started working, I did my cooking for the week – I made a red curry shrimp meal and turkey meatballs with greens for my dinners, and made my first attempt at pad thai for my lunches – it looked totally legit, so hopefully when I have it tomorrow it’ll taste good too! I also made a strata with broccoli and mushrooms and cheese for my breakfast, and the aforementioned frozen kefir with blueberries for dessert. I’m still really trying to cut down on carbs and eat them mostly before mid-day, plus trying to bump up my protein. So we’ll see.

I randomly saw some article in Time that was written by Monica Seles, the tennis star and spokeswoman for binge eating disorder. I really do not believe that’s me – my binges are rare, especially anywhere near what I did yesterday – but I really identified with what she wrote. Basically she was saying how she was doing everything perfectly, listening to her coaches, staying in shape for her matches, but that the binging was this secret thing – I feel the same way. With fitness I’m right on the money, and when I’m eating in public I know my meals look good. It’s the behind the scenes stuff that is such a struggle.

What worked today was occupying myself with projects (yes, to cook I was around food for hours, but thankfully that didn’t make me go nuts), and when I finally finished up, I went to the beach for a little while. I just sat in the late afternoon sun for an hour and a half, listening to music and zoning out. I always marvel at just how little time it takes for the beach to make me feel at once calmer and reinvigorated. By the time I got home I was legitimately hungry for dinner. It’s funny – I know a lot of people get cranky when they’re super hungry, and I guess I do if it’s extreme – but for me, hunger is a triumph. It means I haven’t binged or overeaten or whatever you want to call it, and my body naturally needs a new round of food. I’m grateful when I feel hungry.

Anyway, that’s where we’re at. Hopefully I’m in good shape for the week – I do feel prepared, so we’ll see how it goes. And I REALLY hope this neck strain is short-lived and I can get back to my regular life pronto!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend – it’s so nice to be feeling summertime sunshine and warmth!

Happy Global Running Day!

I had all manner of plans of getting out first thing this morning to catch a pre-work run, since I knew I wanted to take a conditioning class during lunch – and totally opted for sleep instead. πŸ™‚ So of all the days to skip a run, I pick the ONE day dedicated to the sport! But I’m not going to sweat it – I did do my conditioning workout and it felt amazing, so I’m just going to call this Global Exercise Day and leave it at that! Meanwhile my legs are feeling shaky in a great way – it felt REALLY good to be using weights again!

Yesterday ended up being a rest day (kind of a long story), but on Monday I had a beautiful 5-mile run. I was worried it might feel a bit taxing since I did 10 on Saturday, but I felt awesome. I was so pumped up when I got home! Per my new experiment, I faithfully kept my heart rate low and consequently ran slowly, but not TOO slowly, so that’s good. I’m so curious to see if/how the heartrate-based training has any impact once my real NYC training begins.

Other than that, not much to report. On Saturday morning I’m volunteering with a Girls on the Run 5K and I just got off the event planning call. I will be showing up at Grant Park around 5am to help with dispatch duties. I think the call organizer said they’re expecting about 7,000 runners, half of them the actual girls who participate in the program, so needless to say there’s a lot of coordination that goes into these events. Sadly for the girls it’s supposed to be hot and rainy on Saturday morning, but I have a feeling they’ll rally! Me, I’ll be relying on coffee. πŸ™‚

Not much else to report from here! I’m hoping (again) to run before work tomorrow morning so that I can do yoga during lunch – we’ll see how that goes!! Have a lovely evening!

A New Plan!

CRAP – I just wrote nearly an entire post and somehow deleted the whole thing with one keystroke! And of course it was beautiful prose that I’ll never get back – GRR! But I will try to rewrite!

Okay, so for the past month I’ve been on a running program that has me running 5 days a week, with emphasis on speedwork, hill work, and long runs. And I’m super proud of myself that I only missed one of those workouts, despite my crazy work travel. I was hesitant to try this program because I feared the constant running would trigger my hamstring to flare up, but it really does feel okay (it’s definitely tighter than my right leg and I do feel it from time to time, but it’s totally manageable). I’ve run faster speeds than I ever have before, and I feel like I’ve improved a LOT.

Technically the program goes for 8 weeks, so it would culminate right around the time I have to start official training for the NYC Marathon. And after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to stop it now, after just 4 weeks. For one thing, I don’t want to risk overtraining, and being worn out before my real training even begins. And for another, while this program was GREAT in that it really emphasized pre-run dynamic stretches and post-run cooldown work, there was no room for any weights or strength training. Over the past four weeks I’ve only done one HIIT class and one straight-up strength class, and boy did I feel it – not weak, per se, but definitely less strong.

So my new approach for the next four weeks is a more holistic one – run when I want to (inc one long run on the weekends), and enjoy my other classes otherwise. Because once the marathon training really kicks in, the fun classes will fall by the wayside. So ideally by July I’ll have better rested legs and a stronger body, and I’ll be ready to go.

I’m also experimenting with heartrate-based training (Google Phil Maffetone if you’re curious). The idea is that you want to keep your heartrate in the aerobic state (which is challenging but not stress-inducing) vice the anaerobic state (which does level stress across your nervous system). Ideally you’ll be focusing on slow-twitch fibers vice fast ones, and VERY ideally you’ll burn more fat vice sugar. We’ll see about that. πŸ™‚

I took this new concept for a spin on Saturday. My running plan called for 9 miles but I wanted to make it an even 10. I sent my Garmin to beep every time I veered from the aerobic stage to the threshold stage – and it started beeping away in no time. I felt bad for the runners around me – the damn thing was chirping like a bird every 5 seconds, or so it felt like!

In order to keep my heart rate low, I had to slow way down – which is hilarious considering how slow I already am! I actually thought it was going to be kind of pleasant – I’d look like one of those effortless runners – but because I had to go so slowly, 10 miles took FOREVER. And I don’t know why, but I was super dehydrated during the run – which is rarely a problem for me. Technically it was the first warm run of the season, but I ran in Hawaii in Feb in temps way hotter and did fine. Not sure why I was guzzling water like a lunatic, but god bless Chicago for having so many water fountains along the trail!

So the point is – the run was a slog. I was exhausted by the time it was finally over. And the funny thing is that, in the end, it really didn’t take me all that much longer to finish, it just felt like a lifetime. But the data didn’t lie – I plugged my Garmin into my computer today to compare yesterday’s run to my previous two long runs, and sure enough, those were faster but my heart rate was way up.

I have no idea if I’ll be successful in adapting to this new way of running (new for me!), but I’m totally willing to test it out over the next month. Supposedly your body and heart rate start to adjust and you’re ultimately able to go faster for longer stretches of time, with a decreased risk of injury and an easier recovery time,Β  so we’ll see. I can at least try it out!

And now you’re up to speed on me (LOL no pun intended! I am so funny!). πŸ™‚ Today was a rest day but I spent the better part of the morning cleaning and then walked to the beach this afternoon, so I still got in a little bit of movement, and tomorrow I’ll get back to running with the heart rate monitor and we’ll see how it goes. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!!

Catching Up!

Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends! I cannot believe June is around the corner – time is flying!

And blog posts have been missing. πŸ™‚ I last wrote before I was about to take off for a quick trip to New England, for fun and for work. What an awesome few days – I flew to CT early on Saturday morning and spent the weekend with my family, then took the bus to Boston on Monday morning for a work event.

I was a bit focused on food because my last work trip was not so successful when it came to making good choices – I was by no means perfect last week, but definitely improved, so that was good. After I landed on Saturday morning, my dad picked me up at the airport and we went to his favorite place for pancakes. I knew I had a long run ahead of me, so I had some pancakes and half an omelet, figuring I’d get that good protein/carb blend. There was a pancake option with whole wheat flour, but I went with the regular batter – I wanted a treat! And wow – they were lighter than air and super fluffy! I was sad that I left so much on my plate, but I knew two things – one, delicious they were but nutritious not so much, and two, since my tummy is so sensitive I wanted to tread carefully.

I guess it worked, because I had a beautiful 8-mile run later that afternoon at a trail near my parents’ house. My pace was good and I felt good too. For dinner we had pizza and I happily indulged – I could have done without the (small) third piece but by no means was it some sort of pig-out.

Sunday was a bit of a different story; it was a rest day from exercise and my parents had a huge picnic so that I could see all of my family. The food was incredible – all manner of burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and seafood on the grill, plus a ton of sides – and I definitely overindulged but didn’t really let it get to me. You know how people say that it’s okay to enjoy Christmas and Thanksgiving because they only come once a year? Well I applied that logic to the picnic. πŸ™‚ I don’t have any more home visits planned until the holidays, so if my mom is going to serve her signature strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert, I will have a big piece. And I did. πŸ™‚

On Monday I got in 3 miles and 4 strides before my trip to Boston – I didn’t feel quite as springgy as I did on Saturday, but I got it done. Once I arrived I met up with my conference organizers and worked steadily until dinner. We all sent to a really whimsical restaurant and I split an app with a friend of mine (roasted watermelon and pork belly – delicious!) and had a take on moussaka for my entree. The only thing I’m kicking myself for is alcohol – I had two glasses of wine at dinner, which isn’t horrific, but when we got back to the hotel I went to the bar with two members of the steering committee and kept drinking. And I regret that – because I didn’t need it but wanted to let loose and hang with them. Hindsight is 20-20 and all that – I should have just gone to bed or just ordered a club soda. Whatever – lesson learned.

The next day was the first workout of my running program that I completely missed – the morning was out because I went to bed late and had to be up really early to help get things set up (and the wine definitely took a toll on me), and after the conference I was too tired. I did not beat myself up about it – things happen. Workouts sometimes get skipped. It’s okay. What did go well was the food, so I was happy about that!

Wednesday was more of the same – it was my scheduled rest day, so I took it, and for the most part kept food under control. Thankfully on Thursday I was back in action, with both running and eating, and over the long weekend both have been okay too.

Rather than belabor this post, I’m going to end it now and start a whole new one to recap my run on Saturday, and a new plan for the month of June. Stay tuned!


On Saturday I had my long 8-mile run on a beautiful trail near my parents’ house and it went really well – my pace was good and I was feeling great.

Almost There!

The best thing happened to me a few minutes ago – I really thought it was Tuesday night. For awhile. And then that moment hit when I realized it was THURSDAY and I felt so happy!

All good stuff to report since Tuesday – I did take my full rest day yesterday and felt GREAT. It was so nice to give my legs (and lungs) a break. I did walk a bit more than usual but it was so beautiful out when I left work – a coworker who normally works out of DC was in town, so my plan was to walk her to her hotel – but once we got there we decided to go shopping, so I got in many more steps than I’d planned! But that’s kind of a perfect way to spend a rest day – by still getting in just a bit of low-key movement. And the shopping was fabulous too. πŸ™‚

Today’s workout called for 4 miles and 5 10-second hill sprints. As has been my trend, I set my alarm with the intention of doing this before work but defaulted to more sleep. I will not feel guilty over this!! If I really had to get that workout in, I would have…or I would have gone after work…the point it, I knew I could go during my lunch break and thus I did. I ran my 4 miles at a faster clip than usual, and while it was challenging it was not a struggle – win! And I ended up kinda loving the hill sprints so I did more than 5 – I actually lost count! In all a great workout.

Tomorrow I REALLY do want to run in the AM because I want to go to yoga during work and to my dance class in the evening. I am going HOME this weekend!!! So that means I can’t do my usual long yoga class at the gym on Sunday.

Since I might not blog tomorrow night (will be packing and getting to bed pronto because I have a super early flight on Saturday morning), I’m going to write a bit about my plan of attack for the weekend and early part of next week – I will be home in CT from Saturday to Monday morning, then will travel to Boston for a conference on Tues and Weds. We know that my travel of two weeks ago was not exactly a success, food-wise (though workout-wise it was golden), so I’m trying to really plan as best I can.

The actual weekend should be okay – I already know I’m having breakfast with my parents at a pancake place that my dad loves, and I’m already planning on ordering an omelette for protein with a small side of pancakes so that I can try what he’s always raving about. My plan is to use that big breakfast to fuel a 9-mile run in the afternoon. Then we’re all going out to dinner, but I think I should be okay since hopefully I’ll be coming off of a good run.

On Sunday I’m going to watch my dad play baseball in the morning, so that’ll zap out some down time, and my family is coming for a cookout in the afternoon, so again, it shouldn’t be too hard. I think I’ll be okay over the weekend.

I’ll be on a bus up to Boston on Monday morning, so I’ll just pack a breakfast, no problem, and I guess grab something for lunch once I’m there. That should be fine. We have a group dinner on Monday night and I saw the menu of the restaurant – it looks amazing. I hope I can just sample here and there and not go overboard.

Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be at the mercy of conference food, but I just remembered, I can at least bring protein/fiber bars in case the food options aren’t great. That was definitely a stupid mistake I made last week – it’s so easy to pack those bars and I really could have used them when the breakfast choices on two days were lame. Lesson learned.

I’m hoping that since I’m on an upswing after my collapse of last week, I’ll be able to keep up the momentum. This conference is the last work trip I have on the calendar until the fall, so I just need to get through it. Then I’ll be facing a lot of time in the office…which is problematic in other ways…I can worry about that another day. πŸ™‚

Ok, off to catch up on Veep and get to bed! Enjoy your THURSDAY evening, friends!

Catching Up!

I totally meant to blog at least once over the weekend but just forgot/was lazy. Anyway, to bring you up to speed:

I had a challenging but great 8-mile run on a breezy and chilly Saturday morning. I hate when I look at my iPhone weather app and just see the little breeze emblem – and I feel like I see it all the time here! I thought about defaulting to Sunday but I already had other workout plans, so Saturday morning it was. Thankfully it really wasn’t as cold (or as windy) as I’d anticipated. I took two podcasts with me for the run and never got bored. My legs felt tired but that was totally expected since I’ve been running so much and took my dance class on Friday night. It was challenging, as I said, but overall great.

On Sunday I really, really wanted to get some strength training in, even though per my schedule it was a rest day. But I hadn’t done weights in well over a week (longer? I can’t remember!), so I went to my HIIT class and was SO HAPPY that I did! My legs didn’t feel bad at all, considering how much I’ve put them through, and the exercises we did really targeted my upper body and core – precisely what I needed. Clearly it had been awhile, because I stayed for yoga and my arms felt like jelly! All good, all a gift. I am so grateful that my body has held up during this pre-training cycle.

On Monday my workout plan called for 3 miles and 4 strides. To say I wasn’t entirely motivated is an understatement -I really had to drag myself to the gym during my lunch break. I know I pushed myself with the Sunday workouts, but in a way I wanted to see if I could, you know? So I promised myself that all I had to do on Monday was the 3 miles, and they could be easy ones, and I could skip the strides. But a funny thing happened – not only did I run just a bit faster than I usually do…but I totally had the energy for those strides. πŸ™‚ Love when you surprise yourself!

Today I was supposed to do some steady running and some hill repeats. I did set my alarm so that I could go outside before work (to the one hill that is near me), but I didn’t sleep well last night AND it was cold out this morning so I defaulted to a daytime workout. As I was getting ready this morning I remembered that my favorite treadmill class is on Tuesdays – and it totally fits the bill because it incorporates speed and inclines! So off I went and I only wanted to die once – a good thing! I felt like I challenged myself in a really good way and definitely got a harder workout than what I would have done on my own.

And tomorrow is a rest day. Thank god. And I’m NOT going to play around and just take a yoga class or something – I am FULLY RESTING. At this point my legs feel really heavy and I know a break will be wonderful.

I’m debating whether to continue this pre-training regimen for its full duration – at this point I’m in the middle of my third week and it’s an 8-week program. Part of me wants to see it through, of course, (technically the 8 weeks will end right at the time I need to start officially training for NYC) but part of me doesn’t want to tempt the fates – if I just cut it to 4 weeks, I will have proven to myself that my running is exactly where I want it to be for real training, and I won’t have risked any overuse injuries. So we’ll see. I don’t consider myself competitive in the slightest – BUT – I do like to prove things to myself, and I like to stick to commitments, so from that perspective I want to ride this thing out. On the other hand, god knows there are a million other kinds of exercises that I love to do (and at times very much prefer!) aside from running, so it might be nice to spend those last 4 weeks having fun and then buckling down to the real stuff. We’ll see. I could twist my ankle tomorrow and this could all be a moot point! (please do not twist your ankle.)

I think I’m back on track with food, for the most part. The weekend was a struggle, as it always is, but I felt pretty good Sunday and yesterday and today. I just need to get back into my groove and stick to it. I’m just trying to remind myself how much I prefer to eat well and to feel good – framing it all in a positive, non-judgy way. Or – trying to, at least. πŸ™‚

Your Favorite Traveler Returns!*

*am I being presumptuous? Maybe I should have titled it “your favorite traveler who also blogs and loves UConn basketball and hates olives returns” – I OWN that title! πŸ™‚

Back from nearly a week of travel to much warmer climates – it was so nice to see sunshine and not have to rely on a jacket! I’ll start at the beginning – I flew to New Orleans on Sunday morning and pretty much hit the ground running. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to check into my hotel (it was Mother’s Day weekend after all), so my plan was to walk over to the National WWII Museum, just under a mile from the hotel. Holy cow – intense. And considering I basically majored in WWII in college, I learned a lot! The museum is still fairly new and just does a fantastic (I was going to say “tremendous” but it sounded a little too Trump for my liking) job of integrating technology and multimedia elements throughout your visit. Similar to the Holocaust Museum in DC, you get a dog tag of a soldier and you follow his/her journey throughout the museum, checking in at kiosks and listening to how his/her story unfolded. I actually had Paul Tibbets – you may know him as the pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima – definitely a notable figure in history!

The museum was just really well done. The only only thing I’d say – if you were thinking about visiting – is to leave younger kids at home. There’s a very powerful 40-minute multisensory film that you can watch, and even I had a hard time with it. Plus it wasn’t exactly cheap – my ticket was over $30, and granted that included both the film and a virtual submarine experience situation – totally worth it for me but it would be a lot for a family with kids. But I’d definitely go back. I feel like as we get more time from WWII, you start to forget the sheer magnitude of it – it truly was a global war, and the casualty toll was just astronomical. Really sobering experience to be at the museum and be reminded of it all.

Anyway, I wrapped up my visit and was able to get back to the hotel with time to shower and change and head to a bar to meet up with my analyst friends. That was why I was in NOLA – for a conference of my peers. Technically it was work but I genuinely consider so many people in this group to be my friends – so it was more fun than work! We ate at Emeril’s restaurant that night and it was just delicious. The next day we had a half day schedule and had a group dinner at Brennan’s (also delicious and beautifully historic!), and on Tuesday we had a full day of discussions. Finally that evening I had dinner with one of my friends (my inner introvert took over – I needed a break from the group dynamic!), and flew out the next morning. I was sad to leave – it was so fun being in NOLA for a second time, and I appreciated the city much more, plus of course I had a blast with my analyst friends (and learned a ton too, as always). We’ll meet up again in DC in November – which feels far from now but I know it’ll be here before we know it!

Wednesday morning I flew first to Houston, then connected over to Nashville, and arrived in the late afternoon. I was there to conduct a security audit of the airport, so my hotel was just a few minutes away – not anywhere near the downtown area, which of course was sad but it was far more convenient this way (and much cheaper). On the advice of the front desk girl at the hotel, I had dinner at a lovely restaurant on Wednesday evening – given how many chains dotted the highway near my hotel, I was surprised to find an independently run place!

Thursday I worked from 9ish until the late afternoon, but the station manager took me on a great little driving tour of Nashville, so I finally got to see what all the fuss was about! Wow – really cute city. I can see why people like it! The downtown area was pretty much exactly as I’d pictured it (one main road with bars/restaurants/shops just lining the street, music coming from every direction), but bigger. I also got to see the area around Vanderbilt and would have had lunch at a new. hip-ish neighborhood but a massive storm made us double-think our plans – so we headed back to the airport and just ate there. Anyway, I came back to the hotel for awhile then did dinner again on my own (this time at a super charming place that was actually hidden just behind my hotel – I never would have seen it on my own!) and then went back to the airport around 10pm to finish things up. I got back around midnight.

This morning all I had to do was debrief the station manager and fly out, so I finally got back to my condo around lunchtime or so. I unpacked a little and promptly fell asleep. πŸ™‚ Then I went for a quick run, got back and showered, did some strength exercises, went to my dance class, and ran over to the grocery store because I had zero food in the house. I found pints of blueberries and California cherries on sale – spring/summer is definitely around the corner!

What went right about this trip was RUNNING. I was, well, thrilled to be honest – I brought my little plan and stuck to it like glue. It helped that the fitness center in NOLA was one of the best I’ve ever seen in a hotel – not only was there fancy cardio equipment, but there were balls, mats, bars, kettlebells, and even a foam roller (plus the usual weights) – it was GREAT! And the treadmill cracked me up – I had a similar one (I think the brand is Life Fitness) in my hotel in Paris in February – what’s awesome is that you can “run” through a bunch of cities and paths in Australia and New Zealand – it REALLY helps make the treadmill time fly by! I have no idea why those are the selections, but whatever, it’s distracting and enjoyable and I think I had a smile on my face the whole time! In Nashville my expectations were low – I was just staying at a suite property near the airport – but the room had a lovely treadmill (granted the tv didn’t work, but that was totally fine), and, randomly, a trampoline and…two hula hoops. Isn’t that bizarre?! Great for core workouts, I suppose! Anyway, I got my runs in and was really happy.

What did not go well: food. Holy crap. Okay on the one hand – yes, I absolutely loved indulging in some of the southern specialties (I got to try two kinds of gumbo, had shrimp and grits, some lovely cocktails, etc etc etc). If it stopped there I would have considered this all a success. But it was like…the Friday night before I left, I had drinks and chips/dip with my neighbors, and I almost feel like that opened the floodgates. Saturday after the Van Gogh exhibit I indulged again. I reined it in on Sunday for the most part, but then inexplicably bought a pack of peanut M&Ms after having that awesome meal at Emeril’s (which, yes, included dessert). Thankfully it was just a one-serving and not one of those “share” packs, but still – WTF? And then the rest of the week just kind of spiraled out from there.

But even that I feel like I could somewhat take in stride – until today. I started the morning somewhat more successfully than yesterday (the hotel had free breakfast, and per my tradition I went nuts on cereal yesterday because I never have it at home, but today I just had plain oatmeal like I usually do), but when I got home – despite having bread and peanut butter and actually kinda looking forward to a pb sandwich – I went straight to my freezer and pulled out ice cream and stood there with a spoon, eating it over the counter. Why? Why? And from there it just devolved.So much so that I had to be really careful on my run because my stomach was still so heavy from all of that food, even though by the time I ran several hours had passed.

I think I am in a better place now – I bought salad stuff and fruit at the store, and just had a salad with eggs for dinner – so we’ll see how it goes. I have zero plans for the weekend (which you know makes me nervous), but I THINK that I feel so gross over all of this that I should be able to stay in control. I’m just glad I’m not traveling this week and can revert to my usual foods.

I guess when I look at it, this happened for two reasons – one, yes, I’d been restricting carbs (but to a reasonable extent, nothing crazy!), so my body was probably super excited when I ate a few more than usual, and just went haywire from there. And the other part – as much as I heart my analyst group, it’s not lost on me that I am the only girl in the group who isn’t married. We had a discussion about how working moms can keep it all together and I just sat there – obviously I had zero to contribute. And that’s fine since kids aren’t in my future anyway, but still – I just felt really less than. And abnormal. And I hate that.

But whatever, nothing can be done about that and eating certainly isn’t going to help me look good enough to get married one day! So hopefully tomorrow I will get back on track – we’ll see. Thank god the exercise part is going well and I’m feeling strong – I need to focus on the positive here.

Okay, that’s enough for tonight! Off to bed. Happy weekend, everyone!



Next Trip Around the Corner!

Hello from a chilly but lovely Chicago!

I’ve just finished up packing for my next round of travel – off to New Orleans first thing tomorrow morning, then onward to Nashville on Wednesday and home on Friday (barring any weather catastrophes!). I’m excited for New Orleans because I’ll be going to a conference with some of my favorite colleagues in the world, plus it’ll be fun to be in NOLA after first visiting the city last year. Nashville is a bit different – I expect to be tethered to the airport so I don’t think I’ll actually get to take advantage of the city. But that’s okay – I’m happy that this trip will have me back in Chicago in time to enjoy the weekend.

Yesterday I did not get up in time to run my mileage before work, but did make it to the gym during my lunch hour and banged them out – 3 miles and 4 strides (for me this was about a minute on, 45 seconds off, 4 times through). I felt awesome when it was all over.

I could have gone to my dance class last night but was a bit worried about exercise overkill – as I’ve been writing, this is the most mileage I’ve run in a LONG time, and I really want to make sure my hip/glute is up to it. So instead I accepted my neighbor/friend’s invite to sit in our courtyard and drink cava during the most beautifully warm Chicago night that we’ve had so far this season. It felt like the right decision. πŸ™‚

This morning my plan had me running 7 miles, which I was ready to do when my alarm went off…then second guessed when I heard the unmistakable rumble of thunder immediately afterwards. So instead I killed some time (read: went back to bed) for a bit, and finally ventured out once my phone app assured me the storms were beyond my area. It said it was going to be windy, but I was really lucky – it WAS windy, but not nearly as bad as some of my runs. I’ve had them where my ear buds fall right out of my ears, and while today’s breeze was strong, it was manageable. Plus I ran into the wind on the way out so it was at my back on the way home – it almost felt like cheating! I listened to the Runner’s World podcast for the first half and to music for the rest. Great run!

Later this afternoon I went to see an exhibit at the Art Institute which focused on Van Gogh’s three bedroom paintings. It was GREAT. I am not a fan of Van GoghΒ  (I don’t like his swirly style), but this gave me a newfound appreciation for him and made me want to learn a lot more about him. The exhibit itself was epic – my friend and I stood in line for over an hour!! Afterwards we treated ourselves to cocktails and a charcuterie plate and watched the Cubs win yet again.

And that pretty much brings you up to where I am now – eating a salad and watching some tv before an early Saturday night bedtime since I have an early Sunday morning flight ahead of me. I did my best to prep for a successful trip – I have oatmeal ready to go, half a cucumber in case I want to munch on something, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and an apple. I’m sure I’ll indulge a lot in NOLA, so I figured it’s better to get a good start and give myself some room for fun.

I probably won’t be writing until I’m home, so have a good week, everyone!

On Our Way to Friday!

So happy to be writing on the other side of a sunny and not-so-cold day in Chicago! Allegedly tomorrow we’re going to see temps in the 70s…I shall believe it when I feel it!

No entry yesterday because my running plan called for a rest day. I debated doing weights but ultimately decided to just let it be. This plan has me running 5 days a week, which is more than I’ve done since marathon training – and even then I was running only 4 usually! The mileage is low but the frequency is greater, so I figured if the plan calls for a day off – I’ll take it. And I totally luxuriated in taking the bus home last night (the pick up is just across the street from my building, whereas I walk about 10 mins to get my usual train home) and finishing up a book. All good.

Today I was supposed to do 3 miles with some hill sprints. I did set my alarm…and I did make an effort to get up…but I did end up going back to sleep. No big deal – I knew I could go during lunch or even after work if it came to that. Thank god for more opportunities!

I ended up taking that treadmill class at my gym that always terrifies me and makes me feel SO proud in the end. I figured with the speed and incline that we use, it was even more intense than what my plan called for. We started with a drill – you run at incline 2.0 for one minute at a time, starting with an easy speed and then increasing it for each minute, total of 4 mins running. Not the biggest deal. Until the next round – at incline 4.0, and then at 6.0 (I did have to take a fast walk break in between those two sets!). Then we “cooled down” with a walk at incline 15 and went onto the next drill (my memory escapes me but I think it was a blend of speed and incline).

Anyway, this class usually goes for 45 minutes and we work out to just before 40, then finish up with some stretches. Well with the new spring schedule, the class has been cut short to 30 mins so that the instructor can get onto another class. So I finished up and did the stretches with everyone, then did another .5 miles on my own, just so that I got in a full 3 miles to satisfy my schedule. And I felt amazing. It was the fastest .5 miles I’ve ever run!

Tomorrow I’ll close out the week with the same workout I did on Monday – 3 miles and 4 strides. The plan is to take it outside before work so that I can do yoga during lunch and hopefully get to my dance class tomorrow night. So far my hip is holding up – it’s sore-ish but totally manageable – I’m hoping that the pre-and-post-workout exercises that I have to do are helping to keep it grounded. Those have been interesting – the warm-up is always the same (tons of lunges in every direction imaginable, plus some additional flexibility movements), but the exercises I do after each run have varied – some are straight-up strength training moves, some focus more on core, tonight focused on my IT band – it’s nice to keep mixing it up.

Not much else from here – off to eat dinner and watch more Veep and get to bed early! Good evening!

Two Days Down!

In the middle of the afternoon my friend and I were talking about how she’s going to be volunteering at an animal shelter on Tuesday nights, and I said “oh so I guess you’re starting next week?” Totally thinking it was Wednesday. Sadness ensued, but I’m over it. πŸ™‚

I did get my butt to the gym this morning (only to later find out my post-work plans were canceled, naturally!), and this time ran “hills” on the treadmill. My workout called for 15 minutes of easy running, then 6 30-sec hill inclines followed by quick cooldowns – if you were running actual hills, you’d run up them and jog back down and repeat. But since I live in pancake-flat Chicago (am not complaining!!), I manufactured some hills using the incline feature on the treadmill. I think it worked! Next time I’ll try to go a bit steeper and a bit faster. The whole thing ends with another 15 mins of easy running – plus stretching beforehand and core work afterwards.

Tomorrow is my rest day and I’m debating if I’ll actually rest or if I’ll do some cross training. My favorite HIIT class is offered at lunchtime and I have a conference call beforehand, so my thought is that if the call ends in enough time for me to zip over, I’ll take it as a sign. Otherwise it’ll be complete rest.

I do have to be careful thoughΒ  -I definitely felt the soreness in my left leg today, especially troubling when I was walking back to the train from work (usually walking is pain-free). So I really need to monitor it. A little pain is fine, but I do not want this turning into an actual injury.

Other than that, not much to report. We had a day-long staff meeting today and I enjoyed most of it (I like hearing what other colleagues in my department are doing). The meeting coordinators ordered in pizza for lunch, but I brought my Greek chicken/orzo situation – I think it was the right call. I’m now making lunch a bigger meal than dinner (and it’s where I get my carbs), so pizza could have been okay – but I hate feeling really full in the middle of the day, and I just felt safer going with my own food. I think that’s okay.

That’s all I’ve got! It was finally a bit warmer today and my walk home was so pleasant. Temps drop again tomorrow (and it might rain), but it’s supposed to pick up again this weekend – we’ll see! Since I’m on travel all next week, this theoretically could be my last chilly week at work – something fun to think about!

Hope everyone is having a lovely evening. πŸ™‚