Updates: Running Vegan?

If you could think of the worst time of the year to give up meat, what would it be?  Early summer before all of the cook outs?  What about before an annual fish fry?  Or…How about a couple weeks before Thanksgiving?  Well, that’s what I’ve done.  And actually, it’s not awful.

A few weeks ago I started watching a few YouTube videos and found myself watching Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech Ever”.  I heard him talk.  Cried for half an hour and decided I couldn’t eat animal products.  Then I cried for another half an hour when I realized we hadn’t had dinner yet and I had no idea what to make.  I was internally freaking out.

I declared it a “snacking” dinner.  We just got a bunch of small things and called it good.  I think had a bagel and some grapes.  Not an awesome meal, but I realized there are things available that really don’t include meat or animal products.

The next day I dug in with research.  I watch lots of YouTube “what I eat in a day vegan” videos, read blogs, poured through recipes.  I went to the store and came home with a trunk load of vegetables, some Earth Balance (amazing vegan butter substitute), bread and pitas.  I joined a couple Facebook support groups, listened to podcasts and found some helpful iPhone apps.  I tried some new recipes, then some others.  I started to experiment with tofu, tempeh, vegan cheeses, agave, and nutritional yeast (or “nooch” as the cool kids call it).

I started to feel absolutely incredible.  My face started to noticeably clear up almost immediately.  I lost a little bit of weight.  My running didn’t suffer at all.

I’m not ready to commit to this for life, but right now life is pretty good.

Now I just need to survive Turkey Day. 🙂  I’ll keep you posted.

Fitness Update and (belated) Happy Halloween!

Wow, how is it already November?!  Last week was good as fitness endeavors continue.

What I didn’t mention in the video is that I signed up for swim lessons!  They start this Thursday.  I’m both excited and a little nervous.  It’s impressive and strange how those first-day-of-school-jitters are still around even though childhood is long gone.  Will I look like a dork?  Will the other swimmers think I look funny?  Did I get the right swim suit?  Should I bring goggles?  Even if I decide not to pursue triathlons, I’ve always wanted to learn how to swim and think it’s a good life skill.  My boys laugh at me because I am taking swim lessons and they are already good swimmers and super comfortable in the water.  So stay tuned for adventure in not drowning. 🙂

More Races! More Running!

New Race!
Things just keep getting better!  This week I registered for the New Orleans Rock and Roll half marathon with my BRF in February.  We really enjoyed the Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon earlier this year and am super pumped for this next one!  I’ve never been to New Orleans so it will be an adventure to check out a new city too.  It’s also nice to be feeling well enough to feel like a half marathon in February will actually be possible. 🙂

Ankle Stuff!
The ankle is actually mostly feeling better lately.  I would give it a solid 97%!  I’ve started using alternating head and ice in the evenings which seems to be helping.  And I’ve only needed the ibuprofen a few times this last week.

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Pic from yesterday’s run. Who doesn’t love Fall!?

Running Stuff!
Last week I really focused on building a post run recovery routine.  I make sure to do some calf stretches while taking in some extra fluids.  This seems to be helping the ankle as well.  I’m trying to build in healthy habits to reduce risk of injury as my workouts build in intensity.  And they have been!  I’ve been working with my coach and the workouts have been gradually increasing steadily each week.  The progress is really encouraging and it’s so nice to get out while the weather is still beautiful.

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My super sister in law helped me with this healthy protein pumpkin muffin recipe – thanks lady!

Recipes & Losing Weight!
I’ve also been working on trying new recipes and finding healthy ways to enjoy Fall favorites while dieting.  I have been trying to lose a few lbs and realize that pumpkin spice lattes every day won’t get me there. 🙂

And if you’re interested, here is this week’s update on YouTube. 🙂

And… We’re Back

Back in school, that is.  With a full time job, a house full of active hockey players and running/fitness aspirations, I’ve been taking my Ph.D. studies at a relatively leisurely pace.  One class at a time. Usually with 2 or 3 week breaks in between.  I’ve taken two 3 month breaks for the past two summers to focus on the kids’ sports, the race season, and mental sanity.  That’s unfortunately not an option this Spring/Summer and the way things shake down I’m on just 1 week breaks between classes until sometime early November.

Last week was that one, short week off.  Last month I took a brief glance at the required textbooks for this class that has started this week.  One was the beloved APA manual. Got it, no worries.  Two other books were used in another course – done, no big deal.  The third was new to me so I ordered it.  Done and done.  Logged into my course yesterday to glance at the syllabus, read the instructor welcome, yada yada – essentially giving myself “class 1”.

Today I decided to gather all the books together and start going through the week’s material.  I busted open the box from Chegg (should have done that a couple weeks ago).  The used book is falling apart but at least I have it.  APA manual, have it but probably don’t need it.  (Most of that stuff is available on the internet and I’ve been writing with APA for so long I could do it in my sleep.)  Where are my Tochim and Creswell texts?  Searched all over and wouldn’t you know it?  These two happen to be the only two books I’ve ever borrowed and returned from Chegg.com prior to this course.  A quick check on my Chegg order history confirms what I was dreading.  I have never, ever, ever returned or sold a book before these two.  Not for my undergrad.  Not for my masters.  $200.00 and 15 minutes later, one text is on it’s way rush shipped to me and the other is loaded on my kindle.  Thank you technology.

The lesson here kids? DO. NOT. GET. RID. OF. YOUR. TEXTBOOKS!!!  Like, ever.

Lol Amazon.com - No.  I will not be buying this book for a third time.  Nice try though.

Lol Amazon.com – No. I will not be buying this book for a third time. Nice try though.

While it is tempting to sit here and continue to blog and research the latest and greatest running tips I will get started on my homework and do what I can.  Working in the education industry as instructor and administrator, one of the most frustrating excuses a student can give is “I don’t have my textbooks for X reason, so I didn’t do the work”.  I’m not that student.  That’s not how I roll.  My rushed book (which is the majority of this week’s reading) will be here Thursday.  In the meantime there is plenty else I can do to get started and enlighten myself on the intensely interesting and gripping subject that is quantitative research design.

Simply Shredded (weeks 1-4) Results & Review

Here we are at the end of week 4 of Simply Shredded.  I won’t write out the entire workout but I am including a link to my training plan and updated training plan.  As I got started with the Simply Shredded program I needed to change some things to continue to incorporate my running.  So how did it really go?  Did I stick to my exact diet the entire time?  Did I really drink a gallon of water every single day?  Did I run as much as I wanted to?  The answer to all of those is no.  No, no, no.  Nope, not at all.  I’m a human being after all, not a machine (contrary to popular belief, and not in a good way) but I did keep track of everything; good and bad.  As it turns out, I’m a documenting freak so it was fun for me to keep track of all of these nuances.  I also put a heck of a lot of work in this month.  Hope you find it helpful.  Otherwise, it’s just more documenting for me to keep to review later – win/win. 🙂

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Starting picture on the left through to the end of week 4 pic on the right.

The Goal: Reduce fat/lose weight

Results – Pics & Stats
Yay!  All this hard work seems to be paying off.  I lost 4.5 inches and 4.5 lbs these last 4 weeks.  Not too bad!  I’ve included a chart with measurements taken after each week along with some pics.  I did my measurements, weigh ins, and progress pics every Saturday morning before breakfast to stay consistent.  (The “starting” picture is a bit dark as I had to take them earlier than usual that day.)
measurements

Workouts
I followed the Simply Shredded program for my strength training.  I worked on increasing my weekly running mileage and made sure to include some HIIT to get my heart rate really going at least a couple times a week.  I didn’t always do the ab exercises that Simply Shredded recommends on Fridays.  No real excuse for that other than I work abs pretty regularly with my trainer and just didn’t feel like doing abs those days. 🙂  The calf exercises were also hit and miss.  I go to multiple locations of my gym chain and some of the locations don’t have those machines.  I also figured my running worked my calves pretty well.  I would say I did those about 75% of the time or so.  I did increase an inch in both calves which I was pretty excited about.
workouts

Nutrition
Followed IIFYM as best as I could (see other post on nutrition).  I wanted to cut (lose weight/fat as apposed to gaining or maintaining) but decided to first start with maintenance calories since I wasn’t sure how my running would affect my goals.  I calculated maintenance macros for the 4 days of lifting the Simply Shredded program calls for.  I also added in additional calories in the form of carbs for my runs.  For my runs I used this formula: (75 calories x miles ran)/4 = carbs in grams extra that day.  I only ate these additional calories if I felt I needed them.  I usually did use some or most of them on those run days but usually not all.  I did not add any additional calories for my HIIT sessions.  My hope was that this would contribute to my weight loss instead of maintenance.  It seemed to work as I was seeing results each week.  Had I not seen results I would have reduced my intake.

macros

A bit about this chart: The red bolded days are those I did not stick to macros exactly with everything weighed out.  On those days I got as close as I could, focusing on eating lean protein throughout the day but an event or special scenario came up that I wanted

Typical day of eating.

Typical day of eating.

to enjoy without being the kill-joy with the food scale.  I know I was close those days but not spot-on.  I didn’t do any full “cheat” days, just a specific meal on those days highlighted in red.  I thought it was important to note those though.  If wasn’t seeing progress I could look back and evaluate those more closely.

Hydration
I made sure to drink about a gallon of water a day.  There were probably some days I missed by a few ounces but am pretty happy to be close most of the time.

Overall Summary
I’ve really enjoyed the workouts in Simply Shredded.  I love that they are so short I can fit them in over my lunch hour without issue.  I can tell I’m getting stronger with each session.  My struggle now has been coping without rest days.  I have taken rest days here and there by doubling up on workouts the day before or after.  It’s been okay but definitely more effort than my body is used to.  I think it is getting easier though and I am pretty excited about my results!  🙂

ABD in One Year

September 2012 I started my Ph.D., this was my Facebook status update “AH! Writing my first paper in 8 years. What did I get myself into??”.  It’s been a long three years and there’s still a long road ahead but one year from now, if all goes as planned, I will be starting my dissertation research.  February 1st, 2016.

So what exactly needs to happen between now and February 1st 2016?  A lot.  The most daunting of which is this: Comprehensive exams (comps) during marathon training.  If I keep all my ducks in a row though, I should be starting to taper my training for the marathon when I start my comps.  I had a momentary panic attack today when I realized how close I am to the end of this whole big Ph.D. thing.  Yes, I still have 4 classes left…and then some big tests…and then the really big paper but other than that I’m almost done!  Seriously though, I’m now legitimately more than half way there and that feels good.  One year from now, I’ll be All But Dissertation (ABD) and done with college coursework.  That’s a darn fine feeling if you ask me.

First blog post ever!

This is all very confusing.  There’s a lot going on here on wordpress.com.  I told my husband I was considering writing a book to help me organize my thoughts and rambling musings to which he suggested a blog.  So here I am!  Woo! 🙂 I loved journaling as a kid so it sounded like a good idea an hour ago.  Now it seems like a jungle and not sure where to start.  Okay, will not panic.  Let’s proceed to the comfort zone – When in doubt… make a list.

Stuff I want to share:

  1. Introduce myself (who doesn’t like to talk about themselves?)
  2. Day in the life of a busy hockey mom
  3. Updates along the marathon training road
  4. Frustrations on progress with Ph.D. studies
  5. Attempting to accomplish the above while looking fabulous! (Gotta have goals right?)

So, let’s start with number 1.  I work full time doing a job I love as a university administrator.  My husband and I have two boys, ages 8 and 6.  They all play hockey.  A lot.  All three of them.  All the time.  Like, it’s a lot of hockey.  What about Summer you say?  Nope, in Minnesota it’s hockey all year long.  While I’m at the rink (which is often) I’m on the laptop working on my Ph.D. in Education and in my free time I’m working on training for my first Marathon coming up in October.

Well, there we go.  Post number one!  And I can cross that first one off the list.  Feels good.  Let’s see if I can keep this thing going now.  🙂