May 22, 2015
by Sam
34 Comments

Five Things Friday 05/22/15.

Happy Friday friends!

Five Things Friday

How has your week been? Mine’s been busy, so I’m looking forward to some downtime today. But let’s get right into the usual Friday things, shall we?

Five Things I Ate This Week:

Mini Salsa and White Bean Loaves via Making Thyme for Health.

Salsa and White Bean Loaves

Quite possibly my favourite vegetarian recipe – that’s probably because of the salsa and cheese involved. These have been my work lunch/dinners all week. So good!

2. Peanut butter and banana toast.

pb and b toastMy pre-11 miler breakfast last Sunday. I ate about an hour before heading out and I think this was perfect pre-run. I’ll try it again for this weekend’s 12 mile run, but I think this is going to be my half marathon breakfast.

3. Little Cheeseburger and Fries from Five Guys.

Five Guys

Whenever I was working overnights last week, I found myself with a Five Guys craving around the 4-5 am mark. So naturally, I made sure to stop there for dinner a few days ago – best decision ever.

4. Banana protein oats in a jar.

oats in a jar

The best for on-the-go breakfasts. Although they require an unnaturally big spoon to keep my fingers from getting all messy and oat-y.

5. Blueberry Flapjacked pancakes with banana slices and Nutella.

flapjacked pancakes

Nutella was the other big craving of the week – perfect for a chocolate-for-breakfast sort of day.

5 Things Happening This Week:

1. Biggest lesson from my long run last week: chafing is a serious thing. I couldn’t find my usual pair of Nike running shorts that I use for long runs, so I used a different pair and definitely paid the price.

bodyglide

I feel like this was a solid investment.

2. Since I can’t find my running shorts, of course I had to run out and buy a new pair.

shorts

My last pair were black. This pair…is not. Somehow in the last few years I’ve developed a thing for pink and yellow. If only my high school (dressed in black, heavy-eyelinered, chain and spike wearing) self could see me now. I’d be horrified.

3. Did you see that Flapjacked released their newest flavour?

carrot spice

Carrot Spice! I’m thinking that some pancakes with a cream cheese icing is in order. Cannot wait to get my hands on this!

4. Thing I’ve learned lately: eye masks are a shift-workers best friend. Especially because there is a ridiculous amount of sunlight in Alberta in the warmer months. Back home, I’m used to it being dark by 9:30 in the longest days of the year. Here, we haven’t hit even June yet and there was still some light left when I took Atticus out for a walk at 10:00 pm the other night. I’ve never used eyemasks before but it’s making a big difference when I have to sleep during the day.

5. My parents are good at knowing how to cheer me up.

care package

They knew I was struggling with homesickness and work issues, so I got a cute little care package. That included a lot of purple things (my favourite colour) and Reese’s. And a picture of Atticus when he was all super tiny and adorable (now he’s kinda chubby but still adorable). It was such a nice surprise when I had been feeling down.

5 Things I Pinned This Week:

1. Because the universe conspires to help you achieve it.

I am doing this

2. So make sure you know that you deserve the best.

we accept the love we think we deserve

3. It’s never too late to start over.

start over

4. There is a reason.

universe can be cruel

5. This week’s drool-worthy pin: S’mores Oreo Brownie Bars via Bombshell Bling.

S'mores

Since we’re more or less into summer, all I’m going to want are S’mores. So throw that in there with brownies and oreos? SOLD.

That’s it for me – have a great weekend!

<— Weekend plans?

<— Are you a burger person? I am to some extent. I won’t think about them too often, but then once in a while I’ll get the “I need one rightthissecond” sort of craving.

<— Workout clothes: do you go for colourful and bright or do you stick to darks/neutrals?

<— What’s your usual pre workout meal or snack?

May 20, 2015
by Sam
29 Comments

How I’ve Been Training for This Race (Versus My Last One).

So in about a week and a half, I’ll be running my first half marathon. I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m a little bit terrified…but I am feeling pretty confident that I’ll be prepared to run it. Which is a good thing.

Although this is my first half, it’s not my first race. I’ve done a handful of fun runs, and almost 4 years ago I ran a 10k. Although I was happy with my performance then (I think I ran it in around 53 minutes) I’ve definitely preferred this training cycle to my last one. Although I’ll be running more than double the distance of my first race, I think this training cycle has gone waaaay better than my first one.

So, today I want to outline the differences between training for this race, and training 4 years ago.

1. My body is healthy.

4 years ago, I was stuck in “pseudo-recovery” mode from my eating disorder. I was about 3 pounds above my BMI-mandated minimum weight, so I told myself that I was healthy and recovered and that all was good. Definitely not the case – my body is not meant to be as small as I was back then. I was still undereating, obsessing about food and exercise, and not letting my body gain the weight it needed to really recover. If I hadn’t been on birth control, I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have had a cycle. I was not in a good place to be exercising at all, let alone training for a race. And I ignored the signs that my body wasn’t capable of maintaining that much exercise – I was exhausted all the time, I didn’t see a lot of improvement while I was training, and running took so much out of me. Obviously, running will be tiring, but I had to force myself through each and every run. Not exactly an enjoyable training cycle!

Not healthy

Healthy by BMI standards, but not in any other sense.

These days, my body is in a happy place. Everything works the way it should and my body is functioning well. I’ve seen vast improvements in my speed and distance over the last 10 1/2 weeks. Weight-wise, my body is happy and my hormones are functioning fairly well (I’ve seen a few hiccups, which I’ll talk about in a future post, but generally I’m feeling good). I’m tired when I finish my runs, but it’s happy tired – not a ‘dying’ tired. I can tell my body is in a good place.

2. I’ve been fueling properly.

In addition to being in a happy place weight wise, the extra energy and improvements in my running can be attributed to fueling properly. I’m not sure exactly how much I was eating when I was training for my 10k, but I would guess it was around 1200 calories daily. That wasn’t enough to sustain my body if I was in a coma, let alone running three days a week! No wonder I felt tired and run down all the time.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Fact: healthy fuel includes chocolate.

These days, 1200 calories happens by lunchtime. I generally don’t make a practice of counting calories, but I’ve counted on and off a few days during this training cycle to see how much I generally need to eat when I’m running quite a bit. And the result? I’m eating more right now than I was when I was recovering from HA. I listen to my body signals, eat a good balance of carbs, fats and proteins (and more carbs!), eat before runs, and take fuel when I need it. It’s made a huge difference.

3. I invested in the proper gear.

Although running itself is free, if it’s something you plan on doing frequently it’s a good idea to invest in the proper equipment. For my first race, I bought a $30 pair of runners from Costco and ran on those – it’s not surprising I ended up with runners knee and shinsplits for a while after that. 

Bright

This cycle, I bought proper shoes (I love my Nikes), good running gear, and a pair of compression socks. After runs, I have less pain in general than I used to and my knees haven’t bothered me once.

4. I created and followed a training plan.

For my first race, I signed up about 6 weeks in advance and ran 4-6 miles, 3 days a week. I didn’t pay attention to pace, I didn’t plan for speed versus distance runs, and I didn’t do any research on training whatsoever.

This time, I found a training plan online and tweaked it to my needs and preferences. I run 3 days a week, with a balance of long runs and speed runs. I’ve got weeks of higher mileage followed by weeks where I deload a little bit. Hopefully, that’s going to make a huge difference with the actual race.

5. I’ve been flexible with my training.

The first time around, if I had planned for a run – I did it. I ran at 10 pm if I didn’t have time during the day. I ran through knee pain, shin splints, illness, and hangovers. Basically, I didn’t allow myself rest if my body or schedule demanded it.

Rest day

This time, I listen to my body and adjust my schedule according to my knees. I took two weeks almost completely off when I was sick. If I was feeling BodyPump rather than a run, I’d go to that and move my run to the next day. Basically, I don’t freak out if I can’t keep to my training plan 100% – life happens and it’s ok to go with the flow even while training.

6. I’ve been keeping strength training a priority.

For my 10k, I brought out 5 pound dumbbells, a swiss ball and a yoga mat maybe once or twice a week to do a quick, simple strength routine. I still did it, but I didn’t see any difference or strength gained and I didn’t really know what I was doing.

Heavy weights

+ 5 more pounds

This training cycle, I’ve been keeping strength training a priority. I go to GoodLife Fitness two or three times a week for BodyPump or for lifting heavy weights. Actually, I just hit a deadlift PR two weeks ago – 190 lbs for 4 reps. Who says you can’t gain strength and train for a long-distance race at the same time?

So overall, I’m really happy with how my training has gone and I’m so excited for race day.

That’s it for me today – have a good one!

<—- Have you ever trained for a race? What strategies did you use?

<—- When training for an event, do you pay attention to fueling/how much you need to eat to feel your best?

 

This post was written as part of the Goodlife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

May 18, 2015
by Sam
59 Comments

I Eat Processed Foods (And I’m Ok With That).

So it’s no secret that I try to eat a relatively healthy diet. Lots of vegetables, proteins, fruit, healthy fats, whole grains and dairy (although I know that some people would argue with me over the ‘healthy’ label for those last two). Those foods help me feel my best, and help me feel energized. Most of what I eat comes from these categories.

But you know what? I also eat processed foods. White sugar is a common thing in my daily diet. I’m no stranger to the drive thru, I harbour a miner Coke Zero/Diet Dr. Pepper addiction, and I firmly believe that bacon makes everything better.

And I’m ok with that! I feel healthy eating the way that I do. I focus on quality foods, but I honour my cravings. And frankly, sometimes I just don’t want to cook dinner after a long day of work and I find myself picking something up on the way home. I don’t necessarily wait for ‘special occasions’, either. My special occasion for eating ice cream? I want some damn ice cream.

half baked

Over the last almost 3 years of blogging, I’ve seen a ton of positive changes, with a lot of bloggers move from restrictive eating patterns (either in the sense of severely limiting themselves to ‘clean foods’ or adopting a ‘gotta burn off those fries’ approach to indulgences) to a more natural and less restrictive approach. Which makes me super happy to see, because I think healthy is not black and white, ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ foods.

But one in a while I’ll catch a comment that gets my back up. A flippant “I don’t eat that” or “it’s not good for you”. Those comments bother me, because they leave me feeling like I need to defend myself and my way of eating. Like I have to explain myself for having no desire to chase the ‘perfect’ diet.

This might be my experiences with an eating disorder speaking, to be honest. Back in the day, I did have a superiority complex about food. People caved to their cravings for certain foods – I didn’t. I thought that since I was so good at something that so many people struggled with (losing weight) I was better then them, in some aspects. I’m ashamed to admit that my thought patterns steered that way, but it’s true.

perfect

(img source)

So comments like that bug me nowadays – it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (ie: therapy and self-discovery) to get me to where I am today with food. Where I’m just as comfortable settling into the couch with a pint of ice cream a la Julia as I am settling in with a big-ass salad. I don’t like feeling judged for the former. 

To be honest, I’m not even sure where this post is going – I’m just winging it as I go along and typing out my thoughts as they come to me. I guess I’m saying that I’m feeling 100% comfortable with how I eat and the candy/ice cream/refined carbs/fast food that works it’s way in there, but I need to stop letting other people’s comments about how they eat bug me. I think that a healthy diet can include processed foods. Other people may not agree, but that’s their prerogative.

I’m not better than anyone who eats a diet solely of fast food, just like somebody who eats paleo or vegan or strictly ‘clean’ foods isn’t any better than me. Food is just that – food. It’s energy and it’s how we get through our day. It has no say in who we are as a person.

<— What do you think? Do you notice judgement/morality issues when people talk about diet or eating habits?