How to train on vacation

I always tell people my favorite race distance is 10k. Part of that is I just think it is a fun distance to run but the other reason is that I am really, really, REALLY bad about training consistently for any distance longer than 6 miles. I don’t tend to enjoy getting up early on Saturday mornings (SHOCKING, I know…) and so my long runs seem to just not happen. All this means that whenever I decide I want to do a half-marathon it never seems to end well.

So. Many. Injuries.

Well crazy me decided it was time to attempt my second half-marathon (last year’s never happened when I came down with bronchitis the day before). To ensure accountability I signed up for a half marathon training program with my local running store! I am (fingers crossed) hoping this will end in a successful half-marathon finish! Training started a couple weeks ago but I was only able to attend the first run and then I missed the next three runs because I was off for a 10-day vacation to Mammoth Caves, Kentucky, Chicago, and Naperville. This was my first test of dedication.

Prioritizing my homework runs (especially the two long ones) while on vacation was a challenge for me. I like to sloth it up on vacation and do a whole lot of nothing.

However, fear of showing up to the next training run horribly out of shape and unable to keep up was a great motivating factor. With my sister as my cheerleader we were able to complete all but one of my homework runs. Considering it was replaced with LOTS of hiking and sightseeing I am going to call that a success.

Here are the five things I do to ensure I reach my fitness goals while on vacation:

  1. Pack everything and then double check: Nothing is worse than starting your vacation with the best of intentions only to reach your destination and notice you forgot your running shoes, or sports bra. I make a list, and check it twice, and then I check it again just to make sure that I’m not missing any of my non-negotiables.
  2. Have a running buddy: This will make it easier to stay motivated when all you’d rather do on vacation is laze about. My sister was able to run with me, and it made it a lot more fun, especially since we were running new, unfamiliar routes.
  3. Have a plan: Before leaving I reviewed my Training Program’s schedule and talked to my pacer to ensure I knew what I should be aiming for with my runs. I couldn’t follow their schedule exactly but I was able to create one that ensured I met the program goals.
  4. But be flexible: It’s vacation! A time to relax, not increase stress, so if you miss a run because you wanted to do something else instead, your pace isn’t quite right, or your workout got cut short, don’t worry about it. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and instead figure out your plan moving forward.
  5. Mix it up: Does your hotel have a pool and you love swimming? Then go swimming! Take hikes, or runs in new places! Practice yoga outside! Incorporate your workouts into your vacation and you’ll find they’re a lot more enjoyable!  

What are some things you’ve done to ensure your fitness routine stays on track even when on vacation?

Let’s do this! (again…)

It has been almost a year since I updated this blog and over a year since I opened up about my break up and the abuse I had lived through for five years. There were several times where I thought “I should update the blog…It’s just sitting there” or someone would tell me “I love your blog! You need to post more!” I really wanted to, but I found it hard to be honest enough to open up about how I was coping, and more importantly how I wasn’t running or eating healthy.

“Make sure you’re working out. It will really help you feel better!”

I quickly lost track of how many times I was provided this, admittedly well-meaning, advice over the past year whenever I opened up to someone about the amount of anxiety I was feeling. Exercise is supposed to make you feel better, it increases your endorphins, and as Elle Woods says “Endorphins make you happy!”

Runners often talk about the “runner’s high” they feel, the high that justifies running distances that non-runners find crazy. Once I started running, it was always a sure-fire way to improve my mood, that is, until it wasn’t. 

I have old posts about how running has made me feel emotional and, while rare, I’ve been known to cry after an especially strenuous workouts or races. However, those tears were rarely accompanied with feelings of sadness. Last year, that was not the case. Every run caused me to break down into, often uncontrollable tears, and a need to stop running catch my breath and inevitably end my workout to go home feeling more depressed and anxious than when I started.  I don’t think it would surprise anyone to hear that I dreaded my runs and very quickly decided to take a break from running.

I threw myself into other workouts. I was going to find something that worked! I joined my coworkers for a free introductory Crossfit class. But while they left the class feeling amped and ready to sign up for a membership. I went home, took a quick shower, and crawled into my bed crying for the rest of the evening wallowing in sadness and anxiety.

My therapist recommended Zengo, and while I truly loved the workouts, will probably do it again, it also left me in tears at the end. Yoga wasn’t any better for my emotions.

A quick Google search reassured me I wasn’t broken and it is actually incredibly common to feel this way after working out. Still that didn’t make me feel any better, and it’s hard to vocalize to people why you aren’t willing to try their fail proof suggestion of working out more in order to feel better. It’s hard to motivate yourself to do something that you know is just going to make you cry and feel crappy, so I didn’t.

I threw myself into anything that would make me feel better. I ate whatever the hell I wanted, calorie and carb counts be damned! I found a therapist knowledgeable in narcissistic emotional abuse and began seeing her weekly. I surrounded myself with friends and activities, became more active in my church community, and prioritized my alone time to help me recharge when necessary.

None of the above was easy. Every time I ate a piece of pizza or cake, decided to see friends instead of work out, or noticed that my clothes that once draped over my body were becoming decidedly tighter I heard my ex’s voice in my head chastising me. “Why are you eating that?” “You could be skinny if you wanted, you’re just lazy,” “It isn’t hard to lose weight you just have to do it.”  My therapist helped me work through silencing those voices. While I still hear them occasionally, now they are so quiet I can easily drown them out with my own positive mantras.

Running again and feeling great about it!

I am running again (and training for another half marathon!), and slowly resuming my health eating. This past year wasn’t easy and building my stamina back up was, at times, frustrating, but the end result was worth it. Mentally I feel better than I ever have with a more positive outlook on life than I could have hoped for. The hard work was worth it, so here’s to the next year!

Is it finally spring in Maryland?

It seems the weather is starting to warm up a little here in Maryland. Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees and today it is supposed to get up to 74 degrees.

I’m just hoping it stays this way, and we don’t get another freak snowfall in April….

After seeing the forecast yesterday morning I decided it was the perfect day to go running after work. I brought my running clothes to work, because otherwise I will lose all motivation the second I get home and realize lying on the couch all evening sounds much more comfortable than three miles…I can’t be the only one who deals with that struggle. Anyone?

Anyway, since this past Sunday I celebrated Orthodox Easter, that meant last week was Holy Week. I spent every night in church, and while I loved it, it also meant I didn’t get to go running at all next week.

Did I mention I have the Sole of the City 10k on Saturday….Yeah I haven’t been feeling very confident about that run as a result.

My run today was great, the weather was perfect for it! I left my Garmin at home, which was a disappointment but based on the mile markers on my route I managed to run about 3.5 miles. Two of those miles without stopping to walk!

Check out that view!

After my hiatus from running I’m still working back up to the endurance I had before, which means all my runs involve walking and rests. Although, those walks are getting shorter and shorter each time I go out.

Then it was back home for home made beef and broccoli with fried cauliflower rice while watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Yumm….have I mentioned this is one of my favorite quick meals?

As long as you end the night with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime and you’re doing life right.

Seriously though, have you watched this show? If you haven’t you NEED to. Best show that is out there right now. Do yourself a favor, ignore the awful title and watch it if you haven’t already.

Did you go running or exercise this week? How did it go? 

Have you watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and are you as obsessed with it as I am?