Sun and Sleep

My second lake weekend in a row!

It was a blast hanging with friends from my a capella group. We floated, we drank, and we sang. I finally remembered to take a picture of myself doing cool things for you.

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Surprisingly, I stuck to my plan to try and mostly eat clean for the weekend and it paid off because I didn’t gain the pound or two over the weekend like I usually do.

But I wasn’t so responsible on the sleep front. I decided that it would be a great idea to stay up drinking on Saturday night until 6 in the morning. Double whoops.

In addition to my “I’m never drinking again” attitude in the morning, I also kept feeling guilty for depriving my body of the sleep it needs.

I’ve always been a sleeper. Even when I was little, I would sleep in until 10 or 11am on Saturday mornings.

My naps are known as “nap comas” to my family and friends, because I can often be found sleeping for three to four hours on an afternoon when I told everyone I was going to lie down for a quick cat nap.

My friend loves telling everyone the story of how one time in the sorority house everyone thought I had gone out of town because they hadn’t seen me all day. When I came downstairs for dinner at 5pm with sleep-filled eyes they just laughed and laughed.

During the week, I usually go to bed around 12:30 or 1am and wake up at 8:30am, so I usually get a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. But sometimes I am still exhausted at work. And I always have a hard time waking up.

I am notorious for sleeping through my alarm(s). Currently, I use three alarms: a clock radio across the room on my desk that I have to get up to turn off, my iPhone alarm set for three different snooze times, and a deaf person alarm clock that has a vibrating disc that goes under your pillow. Hilarious, I know.

For fear of me sleeping through exams in college, my dad bought me a puzzle alarm clock. The batteries were screwed in to the side of it and you had to put a four-piece puzzle back together before the damn thing would shut up.

No wonder my first year roommate hated me.

When I got home from the lake last night, I promptly slept from 6-11pm, and then went back to bed at 1 o’clock and slept through the night. For the first time in awhile, I really felt rested and wasn’t sleepy at work at all.

That got me thinking. I have a busy week ahead of me and normally I would probably push my bedtime back an hour or so, resulting in less shuteye.

But as I work on becoming a healthier person by eating clean and exercising regularly, I can’t forget about making sleep a priority too. I want to be healthy all around, not just healthy about this thing and not healthy about another.

If I’m going to treat my body right, I need to treat it right on all accounts.

And that means going to bed earlier. I remember hearing somewhere that your body wakes up naturally if you have had enough rest. Since I have such a hard time waking up, that makes me think I’m not getting enough rest – even though I do get 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.

Some people can get by with 5 hours of sleep, no problem, and others need more like 9 or 10 hours of sleep a night. I think I’m one of the latter. During the week and even on the weekend’s my A-type personality forces me to go go go all day long. So it does make sense that my body wants to sleep sleep sleep more.

This week I am going to try my best to go to bed earlier around11:00-11:30ish instead of 12:30 – 1ish. Maybe it will feel so good that next week I’ll try and go to bed around 10:30pm.

Maybe then I’ll be able to actually wake up on time.

How many hours of sleep do you usually get a night?

Do you have a hard time waking up in the morning too? 

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Going Barefoot

As I slowly navigate my way through the running world, I am learning more and more about basic things that I never realized were important.

I’ve almost done with Born to Run and not to sound sappy, but it has changed my whole perspective on running.

If you haven’t read it yet, you must.

The book description from Amazon reads:

“Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.”

Not only does the book inspire you to find happiness in running, which I love, it breaks down the mechanics of running naturally.

I tried switching my form yesterday and run how I should be – by aligning my feet with my center of gravity and hitting the ground mid-foot, and running with quick little strides to put less pressure on my joints. Apparently you should be taking around 180 steps per minute.

I felt so goofy and had no idea if I was actually using the proper form, but I sure as hell felt way lighter, smoother, and less fatigued.

I definitely want to work on my stride as much as possible while I’m still a beginner.

Born to Run also explains the ideology of barefoot running, which I am now obsessed with. This doesn’t mean actually running barefoot, except for Barefoot Ted, who would run up the canyons literally in bare feet, nor does it necessarily mean running in sandals or Tevas like the Tarahumara or the main gringo ringleader, Caballo Blanco.

Born to Run, page 168.

The idea of running barefoot is running with minimal cushion. The heel cushioning on many modern running shoes can make you more likely to heel strike, which in turn makes you more likely to get injured.

Well….I don’t want to get injured. And I have foot problems to begin with! Currently, I run in:

Saucony ProGrid Mirages.

I bought them about a year ago because I thought they were cute. Typ.

But lately, my left arch (on the foot I broke twice) has been aching during and after I run. I even went as far as to purchase orthotics.

I guess they work, because I have less arch pain when I use them. But after reading that orthotics are the devil, I reconsidered what was really at the root of the problem.

1. My stride (which we’ve already covered – I’m working on it…)

and

2. My shoes

My friend recommended these Merrell shoes to me:

Like most of the running research suggests, my friend warned me NOT to go straight into running with these babies. My feet are used to the cushioned 4mm drop shoes that I’ve worn for most of my life, and simply can’t handle the poundage. That would most certainly result in a stress fracture. No thanks!

Instead, I opted for these:

The description on the Merrell website says these beauts are, “for distance runners and those new on the path to barefoot running, our Bare Access Arc 0mm drop running shoe gives you a barefoot feel, with added toe to heel cushioning. Still allowing your foot to land flat and follow its own natural motion, its cushioning protects from sustained impacts due to longer runs or a new barefoot training program.”

I’ll still be careful, I promise! I will ease in to using them.

Soooo, they’re a little expensive (like all running shoes are), but it’s OK, my mom gave me a little cash money because she saw on the blog that I needed new running shoes. I shall start writing everything I need on CNG. Just kidding….kind of.

Oh yeah, I also bought these today. But seriously, I need them. Remind me to never buy an iPod shuffle ever again to work out with. As you know – since I’ve been complaining nonstop about them – the damn remotes on the headphones are just not waterproof.

Can you tell it’s payday?

I swear I’m not buying any other superfluous stuff/running gear/anything except food until after August 15th! Just like Janae is doing a personal challenge, that’s my personal challenge to myself.

Shut up, Georgina.

What is your take on the barefoot running debate?

Have you ever tried Merrell’s shoes?

Back to Reality

Long time no see!

I’ve been running around Southern Virginia for a few days (not literally) at Smith Mountain Lake with my Dad’s fam. I caught some rays, kayaked, jet skied (omg, best thing ever – I felt like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider) and played lots of Hand and Foot, my new favorite card game.

No, I don’t have any pictures for you. I’m good at remembering to take pictures of my food, but bad at remembering to take pictures of me doing cool things. I need to work on that.

But, lucky for you, I did remember to take a picture on our special road trip pit stop of the best lunch on the planet.

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That’s right, Bodos. Bodos Bagels is a legendary place of hungover happiness and glorious study breaks from college co-eds in Charlottesville. And it makes me so happy.

The thought of having a wheat bagel crossed my mind for approximately .2 milliseconds, but in the end I had to go with my usual-slash-never-tried-anything-else-because-it-is-so -good.

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Plain bagel with cream cheese, a caesar salad with no cheese, and a large diet coke.

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Bliss.

You know your gf is a blogger when you have to say, “Are you texting or taking pictures of your food again?”

Bwahaha.

I get to down this glorious concoction AT LEAST one more time in the near future – when one of my BFF’s ties the knot near C’ville in early October. Praise the lord.

I have been cheatin’ up a storm lately when it comes to clean eating. I started the mini-vacay trying though! I brought some of my own food, and made oatmeal with sliced bananas and granola sprinkles every morning.

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I’m going to a lake again this weekend for a quick trip, this time with my a cappella group – and I think bringing some healthy food again is the way to go. This time I’ll bring more options so I reach for carrots and wheat thins instead of the wavy ruffles. Mmmmm….wavy ruffles.

I ran once while I was there, but it was more of a trot/walk because it was hot, humid, and hilly. I’m not used to that shit.

I was actually excited to get back to my trusty cool (temperature-wise) treadmill at Crunch. And all day, I couldn’t wait to try out my new headphone plan.

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I got the idea from this guy and trusted him because he recommended the BudFits which I use and love. Dummy me, I didn’t realize that the the problem was the remote on my iPod shuffle headphone wire getting sweaty instead of the actual earphones. This method is DIY, which is right up my ally = cheap.

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But when I pulled them out at the gym, the remote was already long gone. I wasn’t sure if the remote wasn’t being responsive because of the plastic, so I ripped it off and tried again. Nope. It wouldn’t change songs or the volume up anymore. Blown.

So I did what I had to do. I ran my 5 miles without music. And you know what?

It wasn’t too bad. 

Maybe I’m channeling my new-found idols idols from Born to Run.

I did miss my music though, especially toward the end of the run. I don’t know if I should buy a new set of iPod shuffle headphones and re-try the DIY method, or if I should invest in some heavy duty waterproof headphones with a remote/compatible with iPod shuffle 3rd generation (which I have yet to find) or what.

I am glad to be back into my running routine though, nonetheless. The Tough Mudder is just around the corner, and I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

What music player/headphones do you use while you run? Puhlease help me figure out my headphone situation! What headphones do you use with your shuffle?

Food Anxiety and WIAW

No, this isn’t the kind of food anxiety you’re thinking of. It’s anxiety about not having enough healthy food in the pantry at all times.

It started last night as I went to prep my overnight oats in the usual fashion. Then I realized:

I was out of organic rolled oats.

*!@!@%#^&^%#$.

Stop the press! Emergency!

Ok, so I didn’t have my overnight oats on a Monday morning for once. At least I have power. I’ll live.

But allllll morning on Monday I was grumpy because I didn’t have my normal breakfast.

The food issues continued as the day went on.

I usually bring my lunch to work, but since I didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping over the weekend, I was forced to buy my lunch. I went over to the Cafe across the street from work, but they didn’t have power. (Of course my work had power though.)

I didn’t end up eating until 2pm after finally ordering a sandwich from Potbelly. At least I knew I would make it to Whole Foods that evening, and that all would be well on the food front soon enough.

It’s really weird – when I got home from the grocery store that night, and unloaded my goodies, I breathed huge sigh of relief.

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Huh? That’s funny I was SO relieved to have healthy food in the house.

I realized that not having a full stock of healthy food in my cabinet makes me anxious.

So then I asked myself: why?

Really, what am I worried about?

I’m lucky enough to be able to buy food when I’m hungry. I don’t need to worry like many people if/when I will be able to acquire my next meal. I know I’m not going to starve.

Am I worried about falling off the clean eating wagon if I don’t have food in the house? Maybe. I can definitely see myself ordering pizza if I don’t feel like going to the grocery store when I’m out of food.

If I order pizza and don’t keep up with my healthy eating habits, I guess I am scared I’ll gain back the weight back that I lost.

So….maybe it is the kind of food anxiety you’re thinking of, if the underlying cause of it is about weight.

And that’s not necessarily what clean eating should be about. It shouldn’t be about obsessing over what you’re eating so much that it causes anxiety.

I need to remember that I control what goes into my body and that if I don’t have groceries, I am not going to magically gain weight. I mean, c’mon, the Giant near me is 24 hours.

Time to take a chill pill and calm the eff down.

*****

So…..I’m not going to post everything I eat for What I Ate Wednesday. It doesn’t matter EXACTLY what I put in my body, as long as the majority of it is healthy and nourishes my body AND my mind.

As a reminder to me about what What I Ate Wednesday is about I’m going to try giving you a sneak peak into the general things I’m eating this week and my awesome din din creation last night rather than a play by play of exactly what I consumed.

My weekend breakfast lately has been a yogurt/fruit/granola combo, since I’m too lazy to make a breakfast involving any type of cooking on Saturday morning.

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I’ve taken to buying a new pack of granola, a new yogurt tub, and a new carton of blueberries when I’m halfway done with the first pack/tub/carton. Anxiety alert. Maybe I should start buying new food when I truly run out of old food, like a normal person.

My nuun shipment came in on Friday! Very exciting.

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So far I’ve tried the cucumber mint and the goji berry green tea. I’m a little hesitant to try the tangerine ginger flavor because I’m not usually a fan of orange flavors. But I’ll try it, I promise! I drank the goji berry green tea flavor on my treadmill and it wasn’t too flavorful to have on a run.

Tonight’s dinner was an oldie but goodie:

BREAKFAST BURRITOS

Whole wheat wrap
2 eggs
Cheddar cheese
Guacamole
Salsa
Chopped red onion
Chopped and sautéed potatoes

And to keep up with this month’s WIAW theme, check out my daily mile page to see my fitness log.

Have a fab fourth! 

Are you weird about HAVING to have food in your house, too?

What are your Fourth of July plans?

Sweet Treats and Running Geeks

After my Saturday morning run (treadmill 5K) I chowed down on a fancy raw granola bar from Starbucks on my way home from the gym.

20120625-105056.jpgIt was the first time I tried this brand and it was amazing! The bar had just the right amount of flavor and chewiness. I’ll have to see if they sell them at Whole Foods or if it’s just a Starbucks thing.

On Saturday night I went to a cookout in Baltimore to celebrate a friend’s birthday – and one of my fab friends from DC brought sweet treats a la Georgetown Cupcake.

So. good.

I had chocolate on chocolate, but I also tried a bite of birthday cake flavor.

20120625-105126.jpgEven if you are a clean eater or healthy eater you have splurge every once in a while. If I didn’t let myself cheat here and there, I would definitely have a hard time eating clean most of the time.

Another example of splurging/firsts/sweet treats from the weekend:

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I know frozen yogurt is all the rage right now, and I finally got to try some.

There are strawberries. That makes it healthy. Yeah.

I opted for the standard vanilla and chocolate combo with a dash of birthday cake. The G-town Cupcake birthday cake flavor sparked a craving!

My mom got chocolate with walnuts, kiwi, dark chocolate chunks and chocolate sauce. Ok, typing this is making me hungry…

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My mom also re-gifted me the below array of amazingness:

Yessssss

Looks like I know what I will be reading for awhile!

Coincidentally, Netflix alerted me that I have some more running geek merch arriving soon.

Netflix so kindly tells me:

“This biopic stars Billy Crudup as Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, the Olympic runner who overcame a physical abnormality to become the top American runner in the early 1970s. The film follows Prefontaine from his early years at the University of Oregon under the tutelage of Coach Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland), through the grueling Olympic trials and the 1972 Munich Olympics, and ultimately to Prefontaine’s tragic death.”

Sweeeeet. Embarrassing that it now looks like I am OBSESSED with running. But I guess that’s the point, right? I’m obvi still a hardcore beginner runner, but the only way to eventually become a hardcore still running runner is to throw yourself into it. At least, that’s the way I’m doing it.

I better go hide my new bookshelf of running reads before Tuna finds them next to my half-eaten pack of shot bloks or I’ll never hear the end of it.

What’s your favorite frozen yogurt combination?

Are you a geek about running too? Or just a natural?

The Weirdest Thing and What I Ate Wednesday #2

Running at 1% incline on the treadmill did feel a little different, but the only way I could really tell was that my legs just felt like they were doing more work than usual.

My 5 miler wasn’t too bad except my damn iPod shuffle headphones decided to give up on me again at mile 3.5. And they weren’t even the same ones that went haywire last week. They’re a different extra pair I have. This time all of a sudden the songs started repeating, cutting out, and the iPod shuffle voice that says “All songs. Playlist 1. All songs” decided to chat me up.  I’m assuming the headphones are upset about the are upset amount I’m sweating, but I’m not sure. Are your  iPod shuffle headphones ridiculously sensitive? I am going to try both sets of headphones again tomorrow, so hopefully I have some functional headphones for Saturday!

The weirdest thing happened after my run. I felt fine initially, stopped at Whole Foods, and headed over to Tuna’s. I wasn’t hungry AT ALL but I forced myself to eat half of a sandwich since I didn’t eat too heavily during the day. For the next hour an a half, I felt super nauseous. Like, almost lost my lunch dinner nauseous.

Jeez, I’ve never been that nauseous after a run before. Maybe I still hadn’t fully hydrated after cocktails Saturday night?

I drank a lot of water during the day, like I usually do – but I still had to go fill up my camelbak for extra water during my run, so I guess I was still dehydrated!

As usual, I googled my symptoms and got some answers.

Fluid Imbalance

Dehydration can contribute to a feeling of nausea, but overhydration can also cause similar symptoms. To find the right balance of water, weigh yourself before and after you run. The weight you lose will be mostly water weight, so weighing yourself will give you an idea how much water you need to drink. Start hydrating the night before a vigorous run. Before you run, drink 1 to 3 cups of water so you are not too full. Take small sips of water during your run, waiting until after you finish running to fully hydrate. If you are sweating a lot while you run, replacing water with a sports drink enhanced with electrolytes can help you hydrate more effectively; however, you should avoid drinking beverages that are high in sugar and salt, as they can be hard to digest and often lead to nausea or other gastrointestinal issues”(http://www.livestrong.com/article/522155-what-causes-a-nauseous-feeling-after-running/).

I need to get me some Gatorade. Or I could really pretend I know anything something about running and buy some shot bloks and/or nuun. I’ve haven’t tried either of them!

The nausea finally went away around midnight, and I had the rest of my sandwich for a midnight snack.

Good thing I’m taking it easy for the rest of the week.

*****

Ok, that’s enough bitching complaining for now.

It’s link party time!

Per usual, this is what I ate on Tuesday.

Breakfast:

My typ overnight oats recipe and a cup of hazelnut coffee.

I was still feeling a bit funny from Monday night, so I could only finish half of the oats. That was a first!

I finished the leftover overnight oats later for my afternoon snack.

Even though I brought my lunch, we ended up getting lunch from Lebanese Taverna at work. I had my new favorite – a chicken kabob, potatoes (notice a trend lately?), and a Lebanese salad. I tried to resist the pita bread because I don’t think it’s wheat, but when they brought us extra garlic butter, I couldn’t refuse.

When I take pics of my food on my phone when I’m around people, I pretend to be texting. Ha.

I’m in love with the tomato sauce flavoring on the chicken kabobs.

Lunch was absolutely delicious, but since it was the first big meal I ate since my after-run nausea, I felt bit too stuffed.

Dinner had to be quick since it was before a capella rehearsal. I chowed down on a turkey sandwich on toasted wheat bread with cucumbers, pickles, shredded cheese, and tomato basil hummus. Mmmmm.

I wanted to have a second diet coke for the day but tricked myself into having water by putting it in a pretty jar with a straw. As we know, I need to hydrate!

My evening snack was my newest obsession.

Not only is the packaging stinkin’ cute, but you also get dark chocolate balls with berry stuff inside. They’ve got antioxidants or something like that in them, so it’s good I’ll get some of those as I consume half of the pouch.

What have you been eating lately?

Have you made any fun new recipes this week?