Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Things we do for Love

Have you ever done something that is not really in your comfort zone, something you would not choose to do on your own, something that you may not even enjoy doing but you do anyway because it makes the person you love very happy?   

Last night I did something that I would only do for my husband.  I went with him to a bar to watch the UFC fights, on a Saturday night at 10 PM after a very long day that included me getting up at 3:30 AM to go running in Fort Worth.  

Line for the post race beer tent
I will admit, it was not a complete sacrifice for me to go to the bar with him because I did get to eat wings and finally drink my post race beer.  I did not visit the beer tent after the race yesterday morning because 1) it was 8 AM and I have lost the ability to drink alcohol so early in the morning (which was not a problem in college when tailgating started at 7 AM for football games) and 2) I had to drive 45 minutes to get home and drinking a beer on an empty stomach before getting in the car to drive is not a good idea when one beer can make me tipsy. 

Not only was I willing to go to the bar with my husband to watch the fights, I did this AFTER I got home from another event that evening.  Earlier on Saturday, I met a friend at the Dallas Museum of Art to attend the Distinguished Writer series in which acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates spoke about her incredible career as a writer before she read some excerpts from her current memoir.  So when I got home that evening, I was in a completely different frame of mind. 

I had to switch from listening to Joyce Carol Oates, award winning novelist, poet, professor at Princeton University and Pulitzer Prize nominee to...  the aggressive, sweaty, violent, bloody bouts in the UFC.  From the cultural, literary, serene setting at the Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art to the loud, multi television, testosterone fueled environment at the sports bar.  Oh the things we do for love...

And what was the magical thing that my husband did for me that made me willing to stay out late after such a long day?  He took the kids and got out of the house when I got back from the race just so I could take a NAP.  Now that, my friends, is what love is all about. . 

Have you made any special sacrifices for the one you love?  What have you done for that special someone that you would never done on your own?  Has anyone done something special for you in return?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Race Day - Cowtown 2011

I am so excited.  I finished my very first 10K this morning!  Whoohoo!

I went to bed last night a little worried about getting to the race on time this morning.  Last week at training I heard horror stories about past Cowtown Marathon weekends.  Stories of traffic at a stand still for hours and participants missing the start of the race.   So when I woke up this morning (at 3:30 AM, before my alarm even went off), I was dreaming about being late for the 7:00 AM start time.  I laid in bed until about 4 AM, then finally got up to get ready for the race and to drive to Fort Worth.  Although it is normally about a 45 minute drive from my house, I gave myself plenty of extra time for traffic this morning.  The good news is I got there in plenty of time and did not have to sit in traffic.  The bad news is I was there by 5:30 AM and had to sit in my car until the Expo doors opened at 6:00 AM.  This just gave me time to get tired again! 

The weather was a brisk 47 degrees before the sun came up, then it warmed up to about 51.  I was dressed in layers so I shed one of my shirts before the race started.  I met up with some other Team In Training members and we lined up for the race at about 6:50.  We chose the 9:01 to 10:00 minute pace group and it took less than two minutes after the gun went off for us to actually cross the start line.  The 10K race is limited to 6,000 participants but according to the Cowtown online results (bib number 16432), about 4,300 people completed this morning's race. 

Waitingfor the race to begin at the Start line
The first two miles were VERY CROWDED and I had a hard time keeping a consistent pace.  According to my Garmin, I was running as slow as a 10:30 pace during the first mile.  After we passed the second mile marker, the crowd started to thin out and I was able to pick up my pace to between 8:20 and 8:40 for the next few miles (those hills slowed me down a little).  I was surprised at how quickly the race was going when we passed mile marker four.  This was unchartered territory for me in a race setting, since I have only run 5K distances in the past.  In fact, I have only ran one 6 mile training run so far and that was on the treadmill during the ice storm of the century

At mile five, I checked my watch and knew that I I was on track to finish the race in under an hour which was my goal time.  In fact, I had enough energy to increase my pace to 7:50 for the last mile.  Spectators were starting to line the route at mile six, which is when I started looking for the finish line.  In my head I only had 0.1 mile to go because I was thinking back to my 5K races.  Then I realized that a 10K is 6.2 miles and I had a little further to go.  Once I had the finish line in sight, I broke into a sprint for the last 30 seconds and crossed it with a (gun) time of 59:12.

After receiving my finisher medal and cooling down, I headed straight for the food tables for some yogurt, bananas and oranges.  I found a few girls from our team and we headed over to check our race results.  Oh yeah - I had forgot that my chip time would be different than the gun time!  There was a crowd of people trying to find their names on the results board.  After 10 minutes of searching, I finally found my name. 

My chip time was 57:28, which is a personal record (well it is a record because it is my first 10K).  However, my watch shows that I ran 6.56 miles in 57:35.  Maybe it was all that running back and forth trying to pass people those first few miles that added on some distance.  All I know is that it feels great to finish and I am looking forward to my next race already.
Post race picture so disregard the "race hair"

Friday, February 25, 2011

On the way to my first 10K

As part of our training, we were encouraged to sign up for a local race with our teammates to get a feel for the racing experience.  Although I have run several 5K races, the 10K distance is new for me.  So this weekend I am running my first 10K in Fort Worth, TX.  The Cowtown includes a kids 5K, adult 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon and an ultra marathon race.  I did not even know what an "ultra marathon" was until I looked it up on wikipedia.  
An ultramarathon (also called ultra distance) is any sporting event involving running longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.2188 mi).  There are two types of ultramarathon events: those that cover a specified distance, and events that take place during specified time (with the winner covering the most distance in that time).
The Cowtown ultramarathon is a 50K, which basically means I would have to the 10K route five times in a row to complete the distance that these elite athletes will run.  Yeah, thats not going to happen.   
Unfortunately, my hamstring in my right leg has been bothering me since my workout at lunch on Wednesday.  Although I was scheduled to run three miles yesterday, I decided to give my leg a little more rest so I did some light walking and stretching instead.  If it continues to bother me in the morning during my warmup, I might try to take frequent walk breaks during my race.  Although I wanted to run the 10K at a race pace, I may have to hold back and run at my training pace so I don't injure myself. 
This afternoon I am heading to Fort Worth (about 45 minutes away) to scope out the race area, figure out the parking situation for the morning, pick up my race packet, and attend the Health and Fitness Expo.  My original plan was for my husband to go with me to Fort Worth, go out for an early dinner, then spend the night nearby so I could get a good night's rest and be within walking distance of the starting line in the morning.  However, our babysitting options did not work out as planned so I will be sleeping in my own bed instead.  Did I mention that the race starts at 7 AM?  That means I will be setting my alarm for 4:30 AM so I can drive back to Fort Worth in the morning (alone, because again we don't have a babysitter).  My husband is a little bummed because he is always there to watch me race.  At least he will be there with the kids for the half marathon in May
I thought about bringing my camera to take pictures along the course but I don't have place to stash my camera.  So I need some feedback from all you dedicated long distance runners out there - what do you use for races to stash your stuff? You know, the important stuff like your keys, camera and phone. 
Check back tomorrow for an update on how my minor injury affected my run, the results of my race, (hopefully) some pictures from the weekend.   

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Accountability 101

After my first day of training with TNT, my husband asked me if it had been hard to get up early that Saturday morning to go running. Although I do have a habit of hitting snooze at least twice before I actually get up, I told him that it was not too bad to drag myself out of bed at 5:45 AM on a Saturday. On a day that it was 27 degrees and pitch black outside when I left the house. A day where I got lost driving to the running store (did I mention that it was still DARK outside) and dropped my peanut butter toast on the seat of my car (pb side down, of course) while trying to turn on my GPS to get directions.

All kidding aside, I told him it was not that hard to get up early.

Of course then he asked, What is difference between getting up early on Saturday to go running and getting up early during the week to go running before work? Oh yeah, he called me out.

You see for the past few weeks on Sunday and Wednesday nights before I go to bed, I have been setting my alarm to wake me up at 4:45 AM the next morning so that I can go to the gym and hit the treadmill before getting ready for work. Each morning I have opened one eye, looked at the clock and thought "Way too early" then immediately reset it to go off an hour later.  Then I roll over and go back to sleep.  That is why in the past four weeks, I have only made it to the gym ONCE before work.

The difference between dragging myself out of bed on the weekends and snoozing through my workouts on the weekdays can be summed up is one word – ACCOUNTABILITY. No one holds me accountable for showing up at the gym during the week. If I decide to reset my alarm and get another hour of sleep, I don’t have anyone to answer to but myself (and my husband because he hears the multiple alarms going off each morning). However, I have made a commitment to train with a team and they expect me to show up every Tuesday night and Saturday morning. 

The best way to stick to your own exercise, fitness, walking or running routine is to build in some ACCOUNTABILITY.  So I came up with a few tips, which I call Accountability 101, to keep us all on track:

1. Set a goal.  Whether it is getting in shape for bathing suit season, losing that last 10 pounds of baby weight, or running your first 5K - sticking with a fitness routine will be easier if you set a specific goal.  If you want to get in shape, put a picture of that bikini on your bathroom mirror and count how many weeks you have until the pool opens for the summer.  If you are trying to lose weight, start with an initial goal of 5-10 pounds and set a reasonable date for losing that weight (1-2 pounds a week is recommended).  If you have more weight to lose, set another date for the next ten pounds and keep it up.  If you want to starting walking or running regularly, register for a local race that is 2-3 months away.  Circle the date on the calendar and find a training program that includes a mix of running and walking (like the Couch to 5K).  Now get moving!

2. Plan ahead.  Do you have a calender at home, in your purse, or on your phone?  Is it filled with dentist and doctor appointments, school functions, your kid's basketball practice, play dates for your kids, or your next book club meeting?  I bet your work calender includes a schedule of client appointments, deadlines and meetings.  Our lives are busy, so you need to plan ahead for your workouts.  Friday afternoon (when you are in front of your work schedule) or Sunday nights are great times to plan your exercise for the upcoming week. Write your workouts on your calendar, in ink, and honor that appointment you made with yourself!  It may mean getting up before work to go running (more on that below), heading straight to the gym after dropping the kids off at school, going for a walk outside on your lunch break, hitting the gym on your way home from work, or even going to Zumba or Yoga after the kids go to bed.  I also like to set out my running clothes and shoes the night before an early morning run and I pack 2-3 workout outfits in my gym bag and put it in my car on Sunday nights so I am prepared for the week. 

3. Say it out loud.  Start by telling yourself that you deserve to spend time to take care of your body and that you will start doing that today.  Then tell your spouse/parent/best friend that you are starting a fitness program.  Mention it to your co-workers, share the news with your friends, and work it into conversation with your neighbors.  By telling others, you are creating accountability partnerships with the people around you.  The next time you see them, they might ask you how the walking/biking/running/fitness program is going?  You want to be able to answer them honestly and enthusiastically, "It's going great!"  When I signed up for a half-marathon, I told all my friends and co-workers because I need the accountability to keep up with the months of training ahead.  Every week someone asks me how my training is going and it is great motivation to stick with my training program. 

4. Recruit a friend.  Another great way to stay motivated is to exercise with a friend or spouse.  Find someone who is willing to help you reach your goals and who encourages you to exercise, and be willing to do the same in return.  Together you could sign up to try a new fitness class, start an early morning walking routine, or make a weekly date to jog at a local high school track instead of going out for brunch (healthy for your waistline and your wallet).  If you told your friend that you would meet her at the end of your street at 5 AM to go for a walk in the neighborhood, would you feel guilty about staying in your warm bed while she was waiting alone outside in the cold?  (If not then I don't want to be your walking partner)!  What if you don't have someone who wants to join you on your fitness journey?  Then get out and meet a new friend who has the same fitness goals as you by joining a local running or walking club or talking to the girl next to you in a group exercise class.   

5. Keep a fitness diary/training log.  This can be something as simple as a spiral notebook or more technical like an online training log.  It does not have to be fancy, but keeping track of your workouts can help you maintain accountability in a fitness program.  Start off by listing the date, time of day, and mood going into your exercise session.  If you are weight training then you need to list the exercise, amount of weight you lifted, the number reps and number of sets you performed.  If you are walking, running, or biking then keep track of the distance and/or time that you exercised.  Also keep track of any group exercise classes and take notes on if you enjoyed the class, was it to hard or easy, or if you liked the instructor.  After each exercise session, write down your mood and how your body feels.  After a few weeks you will be able to look back and decide if it is time to increase your weight on a certain exercise or add another 10 minutes to your cardio.  Then compare the log to your calendar and see if you are showing up for your exercise dates that you plan each week.

What keeps you motivated in your fitness program?  Do you have someone who keeps you accountable? 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 2 - In Review

After a very busy beginning of the week, I decided to listen to my body and actually REST on Thursday.  I had set my alarm for 5:00 AM Thursday morning, but I hit the snooze button instead of hitting the treadmill.  Lunch was spent at my desk working on Team In Training letters, then I had a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting at church that night.  Although this might sound busy, it was actually a rest day for my body - which I really needed.

On Friday, I got my workout in at lunchtime because I was picking up my mom at the airport after work.  After picking up the kids from daycare, we drove straight to the airport to pick up my mom before heading home for a late dinner.  Mom and I went out to our favorite local Italian restaurant and split a pizza.  It is a BYOB place and I really wanted to bring a bottle of wine but I decided against it because I had to get up early the next morning for...

Training with my team!  The morning started out fun because I won a prize for best fundraising website of the week! Last week I was dressed in layers for 27 degree weather and this week it was a perfect 58 degrees for our run.  Next week I plan to bring my camera to take pictures of the beautiful trails in Grapevine.  We run in a park along the lake and it was so peaceful to be outside early on Saturday.  I started out slow the first 1 - 1.5 miles then ran my usual pace the last 2.5 miles. 

Since mom is here, I decided to take a rest day from the gym.  Instead we played outside with the kids,Trey taught Sophia how to catch a baseball, I baked pumpkin quinoa muffins, we went for a walk in the park, and of course we had to feed the ducks.  After a game of tag, we headed home to cook dinner and get ready to watch the NBA All-Star game. 

Weekly mileage: Sunday - 3.1 miles, Monday - 4 miles, Tuesday - 2 miles, Friday - 2 miles, Saturday - 4 miles (Total of 15 miles)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rest days are supposed to be for rest...

When I woke up Wednesday morning, my entire body protested when I got out of bed.  My legs, glutes, calves and shoulders were all in pain as I stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the water for a hot shower.  Mentally I started counting backwards through my workouts... and realized that I had not had a rest day in SEVEN DAYS.  Eagerness and excitement about my race, combined with the great weather, had let to four days of running in a row (combined with three weight-training days).

As usual, I went to the gym on my lunch hour on Monday.  However when I got out of the car and saw the sun shining and felt the warm breeze, I knew that I did not want to be stuck inside on the treadmill.  After changing into my running gear, I headed back outside and started running toward some unfamiliar residential neighborhoods near the gym. I cranked up my iPod and set out on what I thought would be a nice easy run.  I didn't count on the fact that every street I turned down would have a HILL.  So my expectation of an easy run turned into four miles of hill work. Although I dread hill work, it feels so good when it is over.  Well, until the next day when the soreness sets in.  

Tuesday night I was scheduled to meet my team for a two mile training run, so at lunch that day I decided to do some weight training. I am learning that cross training is crucial during training, so I include weight training and yoga on my cross training days.  My lunch time workout consisted of super sets of chest and triceps, followed by super sets of legs and abs.  Yes, I worked out legs in the middle of fours days of running.  I am paying for that now, thank you very much. 

At my group training Tuesday night, we met at a local high school track and focused on warming up, speed work, stretching and cooling down.  I realized that I don't always take enough time to warm up for a run so I will be working on that from now on.  Stretching is a good habit that I have kept since my high school cheerleading days, while the cool down laps were a great time to get to know the other team members.  Running with a group really helps the time (and the miles) go much faster and is so much more fun than running alone. 

Wednesday's rest day was crammed full of taking care of the kids, working all day, running errands at lunch, picking up kids, and cleaning the house before my mom arrives on Friday.  Oh, and did I mention my new dishwasher is still broken?  Yeah, I standing at the sink in my pink fuzzy slippers washing dishes until 10 PM last night.  So much for "resting" on my rest day. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

From Bundled Up to Beautiful Sunshine

Because the weather had warmed up considerably since Saturday morning, I decided to actually run outside on Sunday afternoon. It was also a great chance to get the kids outside for some exercise, fresh air and family fun time. We waited until Tallen woke up from his afternoon nap (around 3:15) so he would be in a good mood, then packed a few snacks and drinks, grabbed the stroller and diaper bag, and headed to Andy Brown Park just 5 minutes from our house. Trey dropped me off at the start of the trail around the lake while he headed to the playground with the kids. I planned on doing a complete loop around the park (which was about 2.7 miles) before heading back to the playground to meet them.

Running outside is soooo much better than running on the treadmill. One of the reasons I started running is because it gives me a chance to be outside while getting some exercise. Sunday was a picture perfect day at the park with all the families outside playing Frisbee, flying kites, kicking soccer balls, playing basketball and of course, feeding the ducks. I guess the beautiful weather gave me an energy boost because I managed to finish my 3.1 miles in less than 28 minutes (averaging about a 9:00 minute/mile).

I met up with Trey and the kids on my way back to the playground and we walked over to the lake to feed the ducks. Although we forgot to bring our own bread, at least two families were kind enough to share thier's with the kids. After feeding the ducks, we found a bench in a sunny spot and let the kids eat their snack. Family fun day was not over yet. - after the park we went home and had a dance party in the living room before dinner (Shh, don’t tell the kids but we were really just trying to wear them so they would be ready for bed).

Because of the unexpected beautiful weather (from 27 degrees on Saturday morning to 73 degrees on Sunday afternoon) I did not want to waste my time in the kitchen cooking, so dinner was a little scattered. For the adults it was chicken chili thrown together at the last minute. Sophia had an egg sandwich, Tallen had peanut butter and jelly on wheat and dessert was grapes and orange slices.  Trey put the kids to bed while I tackled two days’ worth of dirty dishes in the kitchen. I really don’t think it is fair to have the dishwasher and microwave break in the same week!

Highlights of the weekend: Tallen got his first haircut on Saturday and he looks so grown up! Sophia helped me make red velvet cupcakes for Valentine’s day for her daddy. Family time at the park in the beautiful weather put us all in a great mood.

Week 1 - Off to a slow start...

My first “official” training with TNT was Saturday morning. My alarm went off at 5:30 to give me time to wake up, get dressed, eat some breakfast and leave the house by 6:15 AM. Side note: Breakfast was one slice of whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter, topped with half of a sliced banana - running fuel! Our first meeting was at a sporting goods store about 25 minutes away from my house, and was not sure of the exact location so I wanted some extra time to find my way there. Let me just point out that it was still dark and 27 degrees outside when I left the house so I dressed in multiple layers to keep me warm until it was time to run. I recently learned about the “20 degree rule” of running. Whatever temperature it is outside, dress like it is 20 degrees warmer because your body will heat up quickly once you start exercising. Still, I brought a hat, gloves, and a fleece to wear over my running clothes until I was actually warmed up.

Walking into the store was a little overwhelming because there were more than 50 people there at 6:45 AM on a Saturday! I soon realized that there were two groups meeting at the same location: the TNT group and another running group affiliated with the sporting goods store. At first, I was happy to be inside and out of the cold but I did not realize that we were going to be sitting through more than an hour of announcements, and info sessions about shoe fittings and apparel. By 8:00 AM I was antsy to get back outside start running (and I was wishing that I had stopped for coffee).

Finally around 8:20 AM we headed outside for a two mile run. This was mainly a short run to determine who the “runners” were and who the “walkers” were in our group. Although my race is in the Dallas area, other TNT members are training for races in San Diego or Alaska (both marathons and half marathons). Basically the run was more of a free-for-all instead of an actual group run, so I just focused on getting in some miles that morning. In two weeks I will be running (my first) 10K and I should be getting in longer runs right now.

Next was the walk clinic, to learn how to speed walk. The last part of the day was a shoe fitting, to get us into the proper running shoes. I had just bought new shoes last month because I was experiencing some knee pain from running in shoes that were about a year old, so I did not stay for the shoe fitting. Still, my first training managed to take up almost four hours of my morning! After all that, I felt that a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks was justified and necessary to get me through the rest of my day.

Mileage logged last week: Monday – 2 miles, Tuesday – 4 miles, Thursday -3.1 miles, Saturday 2.2 miles

Friday, February 11, 2011

Food, Fitness and Family

You might notice that things look a little different around the Suiresphere. I have been making some big (and exciting) changes to my blog and thought I might let you know what to expect in the future. In the past, my blog has mainly focused on my journey through motherhood. However, just like my family, my blog is growing to include my family’s journey toward healthy living with three main areas of focus: Food, Fitness, and Family.

When I started this blog almost three years ago, Sophia was still a baby. I loved being able to share my stories about the challenges and joys of motherhood. Since we live hundreds of miles away from our families, it was also a great way to share pictures and details of our daily life. When Tallen came along almost two years ago, he turned our world upside down. Colic, reflux and non-stop screaming and crying became the soundtrack of our daily life. I felt steamrolled by motherhood and did whatever I could to survive each day.

Around the time Tallen was about 9 months old, I started to emerge from the fog of infant insomnia and actually started living a normal life again. One of my first goals was to get my body back in shape (two babies in less than three years people!) so Trey and I started to make healthy lifestyle changes. Better food choices, exercise, and cooking at home together were important. Instead of going to dinner and a movie for date night, we would take the kids to Trey’s parents on Saturday mornings and go to the gym together. Afterwards we would head home to cook (because it is impossible to cook with two kids running through the kitchen). We also started running together, which was a really hard for me after several years of inconsistent exercise.

By May of 2010, we were both following a regular exercise program and making healthy choices. At our family beach trip at the end of May (one year after Tallen was born), I was back in my bathing suit and running along the beach beside my husband. Guess what happened when we got back from our vacation? Absolutely nothing…

You see, getting back in shape for our beach vacation had been my goal and once I reached it, I was finished. Being at the beach had interrupted our exercise schedule and it let us slip back into the mindset of eating “treats” while we were away from home. I mean who goes on vacation and doesn’t go out for ice cream? Back at home, I was still making better food choices most of the time but I indulged in “treats” too often, did not enforce healthy eating for my kids, and the worst part, I did not keep up with a consistent exercise program.

Towards the end of the summer I could tell a difference in my body again, so I signed us up for a few 5K races in September/October and we starting running together again. Unfortunately, Trey got injured and work got busy for me so I did not stick to my training plan as well as I had hoped. I did run both races but after that I did not see the inside of the gym again for about two months.

It is easy to come up with excuses – I was working more than 40 hours a week and I usually work out on my lunch break. Instead of taking time for myself at lunch, I would work straight through the day and not leave my desk for 10 hours at a time. Our bodies are not made to handle this type of stress or long periods of inactivity! I saw my chiropractor a lot more than I saw the gym during those few months. I was tired all the time, did not have energy to work out, and was not sleeping well at night. My clothes were getting tight and I was more irritable. Something had to change.

First thing to change – FOOD

It is much easier to embark on a healthy lifestyle if you have a partner who is willing to make the same changes and to support your decisions. Thankfully my husband was on board. We knew we were not giving our bodies the food we needed and we had slacked off on making sure we had healthy options for our children. As parents, it is our responsibility to show them the right things to eat and teach them how to make healthy choices. Some of the food changes we decided to make are:

1) Eat as many whole foods as possible (no processed foods).

2) We joined a produce co-op to get organic, seasonal, local produce.

3) Stopped eating all red meat and pork, but substitute with seafood or ground turkey.

4) We only drink water (no regular or diet soft drinks in our house).

5) We eat small meals and snacks throughout the day (I eat 5-6 times a day).

6) No more fast food. Ever.

7) 90% of what we eat is prepared at home, so we rarely eat out at restaurants.

8) We started keeping a daily food log (

9) We offer our children the same foods we eat

Second – FITNESS

Exercise had to become of part of our daily routine. I had to commit to a healthy lifestyle – and not just have a goal of looking good in a bikini for the beach. I wanted to get out and exercise beyond the walls of the gym so I decided to start running again. I signed up for a 10K and a half marathon this spring to have those goals but I know that my exercise program will continue beyond the race. (Or I will just sign up for another race because I do like have a goal that I can achieve). Some of my fitness goals are

1) Get moving every day, even if it is 30 minutes of dancing with the kids

2) Incorporate strength training at least three days a week

3) Keep a log of my workouts (exercise & weight) so I can track my progress

4) Sign up for a local race - 10K and half marathon

5) Find a running program to prepare for the race (I have used Couch to 5K in the past, now I have joined Team In Training). I currently run four times a week.

6) Make exercise a priority, even if that means exercising at 5AM before work if I have a busy day planned

7) On weekends, go for a long run early Saturday morning, go on a hike with Trey or take the kids to the park. If the weather is bad, find inside alternatives instead of being a couch potato.

Third – FAMILY

Not only are we making these changes in our immediate family, but we hope to educate and encourage our extended family as well. Trey’s parents keep our children every week and we have stressed the importance of offering them healthy food. Don’t get me wrong, I get that grandparents are supposed to have treats for the kids, so I have not banned ice cream from their freezer. However our kids love a variety of fruits that could satisfy their sweet tooth – which means they won’t be bouncing off the walls from their sugar rush when they get home from Gran’s house. In our family, we have decided to

1) Include our children in trips to the grocery store and let them (gasp) touch the produce! Sophia loves to fill her own cart with colorful fruits and vegetables.

2) Make cooking a family affair and get everyone to help. Trey and I both still cook together (or he keeps the kids out of the kitchen while I cook during the week). Sophia loves to help me chop, measure, pour and stir. She also asks to taste all the ingredients and is more willing to try foods that she helps me cook.

3) We research restaurants in advance. Often we will look up nutrition facts online and decide what we are going to order before we even walk in the door of a restaurant.

4) We educate our kids about food. Sophia knows that eating too much sugar will make her tummy hurt and an apple is a great choice when her tummy is hungry.

5) Last year we planted a vegetable garden and the kids loved seeing peppers and tomatoes growing. This year we plan to actually take care of the garden and eat the food we grow.

6) We offer to make a healthy version of a family favorite dish at holiday dinners.

7) I will be the person who always brings the veggie tray and dip (Greek yogurt dip rocks!)

8) Live by example and encourage others to make healthy choices (If you start making lifestyle changes, people will begin to notice. They may even ask for advice)

9) Celebrate the little things by baking something fun with the kids. Life is too short to never eat cupcakes again!

Food, Fitness and Family – the core values of our Healthy lifestyle. I hope you stop by the Suiresphere often to see how we are managing this lifestyle change. What changes have you made recently to start living healthier and happier?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let the Training begin!

This snow and ice is really interfering with my training!  Instead of meeting up with my team at 6:45 AM last Saturday morning for a two mile run, I was forced to head to the gym so I could run on the treadmill.  Although I am anxious to meet my team there are two high points here: 1) I was able to sleep in until almost 8:00 AM instead of dragging my butt out bed before 6 AM on a Saturday and 2) I got to run inside at the gym where it was much warmer than 25 degrees outside.  Although the treadmill can get VERY BORING, I didn't mind staying warm after such a cold week.

I have been running 3-4 days a week since the beginning of January, so I have worked up to some longer runs.  However on Saturday I decided to see how fast I could run a 5K (3.1 miles).  Since I have not actually participated in a race since October, I figured my pace had inproved.  Instead of relying on the treadmill, I use my Garmin FR60 to keep track of my pace and distance.  (Yes, I do keep track of all my runs and chart my progress.  I can't help it, I'm an engineer and I like to have as much data as possible).  My watch always shows that I am running faster than the treadmill, so let's just assume it is more accurate.  According to my Garmin, I ran 3.1 miles in 27:36 with an average pace of 8:54.  That is one of my faster times, so either I was really pumped to be inside where it was warm, or I really hate treadmill running and I was trying to get it over with as quick as possible! 

Monday was a fast two mile run (17:21) at lunch followed by weight training for legs.  I'm not sure this was such a great idea because now my legs are SORE.  Tuesday was another run day so I got in four miles at lunch.  I started out at a slower pace (9:30) because my hamstrings were tight but I had to speed up for the last half mile because I was running out of time to shower and change before getting back to work. 

Becasue I work full time, I usually work out on my lunch break.  This is a great way to break up my day, get out of the office, and get in some exercise.  If I waited until I got home from work at night to go to the gym, I can honestly say it would never happen.  The problem is that I have a limited amount of time for a lunchtime workout (40-45 minutes) and this will not be enough as I work up to longer runs.  So it looks like I am going to be switching to the dreaded 5 :00 AM treadmill run at the gym before I go to work.  Although I feel great when I actually get up and go run in the mornings, I hate the pep talk I have to give myself to actually get out of bed and make it there! 

In case you were wondering, here is the training schedule from Team in Training for the next few weeks.  I am actually ahead of the curve here but that just means I will be more prepared for my race!! 

                    Sun        Mon                 Tue           Wed         Thur               Fri         Sat  
Feb 6-12     Rest       2 miles/WT       4 miles      Snow       3 miles/WT      WT       2 miles
Feb 13-19   Rest       4 miles/WT       2 miles      WT          3 miles/WT      Rest      3 miles
Feb 20-26   WT         4 miles/WT       2 miles      WT          2 miles             Rest     10K Race!
(WT - weight training) - I may also switch up weight training days with yoga or pilates.

Wow, I am kind of glad I have another snow day today to rest because just looking at the schedule wears me out.  Don't worry, I can always add some rest days as needed if I feel I am training too much. 

Don't forget to check out my TNT page for more details about a special little boy who has beat leukemia.  I am now running in honor of Jacob Norvell. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow... somewhere else!

On top of the ice storm of the decade (well, the worst ice storm I have seen in the 8 years that I have lived in Dallas), we received almost 6 inches of snow last night.  So, for the fourth day in a row the schools are closed and most people are home again with their kids.  I say most people because I am one of the crazy dedicated people who braved the snow covered, slippery roads to get to work this morning.  By the time I got here, my body was sore from gripping the steering wheel in fear and peering anxiously at the road while continuously checking my mirrors to see if a DART bus was going to run me off they road (which almost happened yesterday on my way to work).  It took more than an hour to travel the 22 miles from my house to my office and I considered turning around and going back home more than once. 

Even though schools are closed our wonderful at home daycare provider, Ms. L, is open today.  Ms. L watches Tallen all week and has both of the kiddos on Mondays and Fridays.  Sophia normally has preschool Tuesday through Thursday but it has been closed all week due to the weather.  After being stuck at home three days in a row with the kids, Trey is looking forward to letting Tallen and Sophia burn off some energy at Ms. L's house today while he continues to play "snow chauffeur" today.  Today's schedule looks something like this: bundle up the kids so they stay warm in the car, drop them off at daycare, pick up his mom at her house, take her to work, run work related errands like the bank/post office, go to the gym, buy snow gloves and pants for Sophia so she can build a snowman when she gets home, pick up his mom from work, take her back to her house, then finally pick up the kids from daycare and bring them home.  Considering that the maximum driving speed on these snow covered roads is about 25 mph, this makes for a very long day.  

View from my office
While Trey is busy playing "snow chauffeur", I am sitting here in my office watch the snow continue to fall outside of my window and placing mental bets on how long it will take me to drive home.  No way that I can make it home in less than an hour.  90 minutes? Maybe I should leave a little early to beat some of the traffic.   

The worst news of the day is because of the snow, ice and cold weather - my first training session with Team in Training is cancelled tomorrow.  I can't let that stop me though, because I just signed up to run the Cowtown 10K and the race is only three weeks away!  So after I make it home safely tonight, I might change and head back out to the gym.  The good news is that my gym is literally two blocks from my house so it should only take me about 20 minutes to drive there... I hope. 

Maybe I could hitch a ride on a snowplow.  Oh that's right, Dallas doesn't have snowplows - because it is not supposed to snow like this in Dallas!!  I blame the Steelers fans and Green Bay fans for bringing the snow with them to Dallas!  Stay warm and enjoy your Superbowl weekend. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice, Ice Baby...

On Monday I knew that bad weather was headed our way, but I don't think any of us were prepared with the ice and cold temperatures we are experiencing here in Dallas this week.  It started raining Monday evening and turned to ice overnight.  The sound of ice hitting the roof and back of the house woke me up at 4 AM on Tuesday morning.  Because of the severe weather, I decided against getting up at 5 AM to get in a morning run at the gym.  I have been training for a few weeks, even before I signed up with Team In Training.  My goal is to run a 10K in the next month or two, so I chose the Cowtown 10K in Fort Worth, TX.  Basically I need to run 3-4 days a week to work up to the 6.2 miles I will be running on Saturday, February 26th.  With a few morning runs at the gym, social runs at RunOn in Coppel on Wednesday nights and weekend runs in the neighborhood I have been averaging 12-16 miles a week for the past month. 

So instead of getting in an early run before going to work on Tuesday, I was up watching the news to see if the roads were safe to drive to work.  About two minutes into the morning newscast, I knew it was pretty bad outside.  All the major school districts were closed, which meant both kids were staying home too.  The icing on the cake was when I tried to open the back door to let our pug, Coco go out to potty, and I found that the door was completely frozen shut.  I put on a pot of coffe and a few extra layers of clothes just to stay warm in my own house. 

Trey decided around lunchtime to drive to the gym to check out the roads.  His verdict was that I would NOT be able to get my car out of the neighborhood and he was doubtful that I would be going to work the next day (Wednesday) either.  He slid about four times and said several area roads were closed by the Lewisville police because cars were sliding off the road.  I spent most of the day cooking for the kids, doing laundry and washing dishes before it got even colder outside. 

That was a good decision because today turned out to be even worse than yesterday.  I got up with the intention of trying to drive in to work around 9 or 10 AM.  However, the schools were closed again and the news was reporting "rolling power outages" across the city which meant we could expect losses of power for about 15 minutes at a time.  The side roads were still covered in ice and Trey said he slid multiple times when he went to get extra firewood for our fire tonight.

Finally around lunchtime today , I decided that I wanted to test the roads for myself mainly so I would know if I could finally get to work in the morning. I chose the closest destination I could think of - which is the gym.  Although I slid more than once on the way there, I did make it to the gym safely.  The best part is that I accomplished a huge milestone in my training  - I ran 6 miles today!  Even though it was on the treadmill (it would be a death wish to try to run outside on those ice covered sidewalks in 14 degree weather), six miles is the longest distance that I have ever ran at once.  I feel much better prepared to run the 10K at the end of this month, and I also learned that I get to run the Cowtown 10K with my Team In Training teammates!

So overall, today turned out to be a pretty good day.  I got up, made breakfast for my kids, had coffee with my husband, played several games of Hungry Hippos and Hullabaloo, then ran six miles at the gym.  We are having family movie time this afternoon and I am looking forward to Trey building another fire tonight.  I might need to ice my knees after this run but at least the fire will keep me warm.