Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm alive. Just injured.

Seeing as how it has been almost three months since my last post I figured it was long overdue to check in.  Before I get into the details, I feel a little back story is necessary.  People look at me a little cross-eyed when I try to explain it all in person, so maybe this will help it all make sense....

Let's take it way back to May 2014....

In May of last year I was coming off of a rough spring season because of this constant nagging pain that I had been experiencing.  The pain/discomfort shows up in the following places all along the left side of my body:

  1. Groin - top of thigh
  2. Hip - lots of tightness and loss of flexibility
  3. Low back into piriformis area (sciatic nerve)
  4. Tightness in mid back accompanied by that feeling of "it needs to pop"
At the time all of the symptoms were very manageable and served as more of an annoyance than anything.  Around the same time I got the news that I was chosen for a spot in the Chicago Marathon and training proceeded to kick into high gear.   Throughout training the symptoms were very manageable and would come and go so I never felt the need to back out of the marathon.   When you're running 200 miles a month, things are going to get sore, tight and a little uncomfortable.  I was keenly aware of how I was feeling and knew when to back it off on occasion.  

Jump forward to October 2014 and the Chicago Marathon! (you can read my race report here )  One of the post-race tidbits I didn't tell too many people was what happened after the race.  I hobbled my way back to the hotel room and Brandon got an ice bath ready for me.  When I went to get into the tub I lifted my right-leg over into the tub with no problems (just the normal "hey you just ran a marathon" soreness).  When I went to lift my left leg into the tub it would not move.  Literally, would not flex or move.  I had to pick up my left leg and bring it over the side of the tub.  The pain was intense at the top of the thigh into the groin and I couldn't bend it.  I knew something wasn't right but didn't know what.  After Chicago I took two months off of racing (except for that little 5K I ran two weeks later.  Inured.  Stupid, I know.)

After some actual time off things started to feel better and Spring 2015 racing season was underway with a few 5K's and ending with the Fairview Half Marathon in April where I set a new PR.  The week following the half we took a vacation to Jamaica which allowed for some much needed rest both mentally and physically.  Once back in town I tried to pick running back up and that's where it all went downhill.  The four pain points I listed above came raging back but this time they weren't manageable.  I consistently couldn't make it past 2.5 miles in a run and the pain would stop me in my tracks.  At the end of May I waved the white flag and surrendered myself to the notion that I was injured.  It was no longer just annoying, but now it was stopping me from doing what I love.  My last real run was on June 1, 2015.

June 2, 2015 - I made an appointment with an ortho and went through the usual round of x-rays on the spine, hip and pelvis.  I had an MRI Arthrogram (for those not familiar, an MRI arthrogram is where they put a big long needle of dye down into the joint.  Buckets of added fun. >sarcasm<) done to confirm there was no labrum tear.  That came back negative, whew. I spent several weeks (and a lot of money) with a physical therapist.  After seeing the PT, doing all of my PT homework and not doing ANY running or strenuous physical activity for 4 weeks I wanted to test the waters.  I wasn't expecting to be cured, but I was expecting to see progress.  I went out for a run and didn't even make it a half mile before the back pain and pain radiating down my leg flared.   Frustrated would be an understatement.

I took all of my x-ray images and MRI results in for a second opinion and FINALLY things started to make a little sense.  This wasn't an issue isolated to my hip, but rather something going on in my spine that was causing a domino effect of issues.  MRI #2 was done on the spine.  On my way to pick up the results from MRI #2 the whole drive over all I could think was "If that report says that everything looks fine and dandy, I'm going to lose my shit."  (Pardon my french, but that's the filtered version.)  There is NOTHING more frustrating than dealing with chronic pain that countless hours spent in doctor's offices and buckets of money being dumped into tests, only to be told "we don't know".  I've cried every day for over a month and anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not a crier.  In fact I suck at showing emotions.  Unless I'm hungry :)  Having no outlet to relieve stress does a number on you mentally and I'm not going to lie, there's been some really dark moments throughout this.  When I got the MRI report, I cried.  Again.  This time because it did give us some answers!  Most importantly it validated that I am not crazy.  This pain is real and needs to be dealt with.

MRI #2 provided some answers and combining that with the previous round of images has lead me down a new path of putting this puzzle together.  As of today, here is what I know....
At 31 years old, hearing that your issues are in your spine is completely terrifying.  However, what's done is done and now the next steps are to figure out how to fix it and/or keep the degenerative aspects from progressing.  Next week I have an appointment with doctor #3 and I hope to start making progress in how to treat this.

I will run again.   Not sure when at this point but I'll be back out there.  My desire to walk, sit, and function as a normal human without any pain is goal #1.  When I'm ready to run again, I'll have to work even harder to stay strong so I can keep these issues at bay.  Challenge accepted.  





Sunday, April 12, 2015

Race Report: Fairview Half Marathon

As many of you know I've dedicated myself this Spring to working on short distances and speed which has worked out really well.  Three weeks ago I got a wild hair and decided to upgrade my 5K registration and instead tackle the full 13.1 miles at the Fairview Half.  The Fairview Half is part of the The Active Joe event series which are hands down my favorite races.  Every aspect of these events is top notch and I can't say enough nice things, which is another reason why it's hard to say no!  This particular course also happens to be full, and I mean full, of rolling hills the entire way.  It's grown quite the reputation for being a super hard course, but it's also an absolutely gorgeous run through the countryside.  This is the elevation chart from Garmin:

With only three weeks to really train for distance, I knew this would be a tough race but I was mostly excited to scratch that half marathon itch!  I've had a blast doing 5K's, but deep down I'll always be a distance runner.   Going into race week I had zero expectations for the race and sadly, I had zero confidence going into it as well.  Why?  The week before I got in an 11 mile run and it was awful (by awful I mean in comparison to MY previous training, nobody else).  I had to stop 4-5 times to stretch, my whole body ached and I ended up at 11:25/mile.  It took me 2:05:31 to run 11 miles.  When I finished that training run I actually told Brandon that I regretted upgrading to the half and it was a foolish move.  While, a PR was never my goal for Fairview, I wanted to feel good during the race and with the pains I was feeling that day I just knew it was going to be a 13 mile death march.

>Fast forward to the day before the race<

The whole week leading up to the race they had been predicting thunder storms but on Friday, the weather Gods were blessing us with a much cooler and dry forecast!  I started to get excited about the race and just decided that if anything, this was going to be a great hill repeats workout with a ton of friends!

Race morning was a beautiful morning at about 56 degrees and partly cloudy.  I decided to line up with the 2:10 pacers and hang there for as long as I could.  The race started and immediately I settled into a 9:45 pace.

Miles 1-4:  I felt surprisingly good these first few miles so my new goal was to just hold this pace as long as I could and see how far it got me.  I honestly expected to sputter out around mile 9 (hello Old Stacy Road hill) but I'd bank some time while I still felt good.

Miles 5-8:  These miles were a blast!  There was a cool-ish breeze and the sun was starting to peak out!  I picked up the pace without even noticing and squeezed in a 9:27 & 9:28 mile.

Miles 9-11:  Going into mile 9 is where you encounter the most beastly hill of them all, Old Stacy Road.  Damn you.  Having run this race a few times, I knew exactly what I was in for. Once you make your way up you get a slight reprieve before turning to make your way up regular Stacy Road. I don't like anyone named Stacy.  ;)  Even after the climbs I was shocked to still be keeping a 9:45ish pace so at that point I knew I could at least finish in under 2:15.

Mile 12-13:  Mile 12 is where my good pace almost came to a screeching halt.  Everything hurt and the legs just didn't want to move.  I desperately wanted to finally take a walk break but I looked down at my watch, did some quick math and realized that if I walked and added 2.5 minutes to this per mile pace, I'd miss out on a PR by about 35 seconds.  After I realized that, my next thought was "Oh hell no I'm not walking!".  I didn't just run a fantastic race, on a whim, to just throw it all down the tubes one mile out.  I took what was left of my GU and just ran.  As I was approaching the 13 mile marker I saw that not only was I going to PR but it was going to be a decent one!

Side note:  A HUGE thank you to the guy with the long hair wearing the TX running shorts standing near the 13 mile marker.  I was running on fumes, trying to refrain from puking and your high five and words of encouragement are what propelled me to run as hard as I could to get an even loftier PR.  I don't know who you are but thank you!  

Heading into the finish
I crossed the finish line with an official time of of 2:07:52 that makes a new PR by 1 minute and 38 seconds!  (This time also makes a course PR by about 6.5 minutes since I ran it last in 2013.)
In all honesty, I was shocked.  But very happy!


Brandon also had an awesome race, a course PR, with a finish time of 1:45:13.

I'll probably always be my own worst enemy when it comes to believing in myself.  That 11 mile run the week before is a perfect example of what I always tell other runners, do NOT let one run discourage you.  I should be better at taking my own advice.  Not every training run will be great and not every race will be a PR.  The one thing I am thankful for is that despite my doubts, I still decided to leave it all out on the course that day.  I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and I'm so glad I did.

Thank you to The Active Joe for another event that was full of laughs and lots of fun!  The race was great, the volunteers were amazing and the citizens of Fairview were so awesome in being out there to cheer us on!   The spirit of the running community is what sets us a part from any other sport.  I've never met another group of people who truly know how to put the magic in the misery of those hills, and encourage each other to be better each and every day.  The entire 13.1 miles yesterday there was someone cracking jokes, cheering each other on, being super cheesy for the camera and all around having a good time.  It was definitely some of the most fun miles I've ever been in!

The Active Joe also produces one heck of a medal for every race!  The windmill spins!

Always earned, never given.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ZOOMA Run-cation Weekend!

As many of you know I was selected to be an ambassador for the ZOOMA run held in Austin on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  I decided that after a few weeks of solid stress that I'd capitalize on the situation and turn this into a little "me time" run-cation! On Friday, I loaded up the car and headed south!  You honestly could not have dreamed up better weather for this weekend so the drive down was so quiet, peaceful and relaxing.

I arrived at the gorgeous Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa around 11am and was promptly checked in by a young man who was easily one of the nicest people I've ever met.  I unloaded everything into my room and then wanted to take advantage of the weather so I set out for the trails.

If you've never been to Hyatt Lost Pines I HIGHLY recommend it!  There is so much to do from running the trails, hiking, swimming, kayaking, trap shooting, etc.  Speaking of the trap shooting, I had no idea they even had that until I was out on the trail and heard gunshots >insert slight panic< and then realized based on sound it was likely trap shooting.  This was my second visit to this resort and the next time I go there will definitely be some trap shooting!  

Back to the running...I made my way down to the river for a quick pic.  Side note:  I never run with a phone or sunglasses but I wasn't exactly sure where the day would take me so better safe than sorry.

I did a 4 mile out and back along the trails and then my stomach decided it was ready for some lunch and a beer...I mean this is vacation after all, right?!?

After lunch I headed back to relax and do some reading.  With a view like this from my patio, how could you not just want to sit out here and read for hours?

This book is awesome by the way.
As part of race weekend, the sponsors of ZOOMA host a mocktail/cocktail party the night before. This was where I FINALLY got to meet some of the awesome ladies I've interacted with through ZOOMA.

Chatted it up for a little bit and then headed to the room to catch some shut eye, race day was a few hours away!

Saturday morning I woke up and went through my usual pre-race routine with breakfast, drank my Arginine Extreme, and a little warm up with stretching.  All of the ZOOMA ambassadors were meeting up in the lobby before the race to catch a quick photo.  Hands down the best part of this weekend was getting to meet these ladies.  Many of us have been following and supporting each others running endeavors via Instagram so it was so nice to meet in person!

After a little chatting and picture taking it was off to the races!  Literally.  The start/finish line for the 5K was right outside my patio, so that made for a really convenient start line experience.  I met up with Candace in the starting corrals and we both laughed and talked about how "not-fast" we were feeling that day.  I downed a gel for good measure and then we were off!  I approach 5K's much differently than I do the half or full marathon distance.  You can survive anything for 3 miles so my game-plan was to push myself that first mile and if I didn't feel like total death I'd keep going for it.  The first mile marker came up at .86 miles on my Garmin so I was thrown off on if either a) the marker was wrong or b) my Garmin was super confused by all the trees.  Either scenario was likely so I just decided to ignore it and run.  Just after I passed the 2 mile marker I knew I had it in me to keep truckin' and possibly hit a PR, but then I started to feel a little woozy.  (I'm sure the burger, fries and beer I had on Friday had nothing to do with that.  Oops.)  A few minutes later that woozy was magnified by the overwhelming aroma of fresh poo, to which I then see this guy:
That explains it.

Luckily he was so pretty to look at and the finish line was in sight to keep me distracted.   I crossed the finish line with a time of 27:19.  I was 3 seconds away from a new PR.  :03.  I had two initial thoughts on this:

1) >four letter words< >kicks dirt<  Why couldn't I have picked up the pace on that one part??  Ugggghhhhhh.
2) I completely changed my thought process and was really proud of that time.  Why? Because I was consistent.  Back in February I ran a 27:17 at a local 5K.  You know how when you set a PR you hope that you can do it again and that it wasn't just a fluke "you had a super excellent" kind of day thing?  I walked away from that finish line thinking I can officially say that 8:48 is my 5K pace.  This time last year I couldn't break the 30 minute mark in a 5K.  One of the biggest tools we have as runners isn't a pair of shoes, or fancy gadgets, or the best diet in the world...it's our way of thinking. 
If you think you can, you will.  Just takes time to get there and knowing HOW to get there.  I've grown leaps and bounds over the last year in how I train.  It's one of those things where I so wish I had known then (when I started running 5+ years ago) what I know now, but what can ya do? 

After gathering my thoughts, and a banana, I made my way back to my room.  My plan after the race was to take a quick shower and then hop in the car to make the 4.5 hour drive back home.  I got back to the room and decided to check my official results and see where I placed, hoping for a top 10 in age group.  I pulled up the results and my jaw about hit the floor, 2nd place in my age group!!!  Shut the front door.  Y'all, this was my first time to ever make the top 3!  I've come in 4th on a couple of occasions so to FINALLY sneak my way into the awards category was so exciting!  

Garmin Stats:

Obviously knowing I was getting an AG award meant that the shower and drive home would just have to wait a little bit.  I find it fitting that the first time Brandon won an AG award I wasn't there, so he wasn't there to see me get mine.  However a sweet lady from the hotel offered to take my picture:

I'd hang this on my fridge if I could, but for now it will live in my office.

I called Brandon to share the good news and then I showered up quick and made the trek back home to celebrate with him!  He ran a local 5K that morning and ended up taking 1st in his age group so it was a great running weekend for the Culpepper household!

This little trip away was short but so needed and so fun.  It made me realize that I should take this time more often and seek out more adventures.  The Hyatt Lost Pines Resort was exceptional and I can't wait to go back for another trip!  

Friday, March 13, 2015

What's the scoop ice cream?

There hasn't been any racing going since my last post (which was a 5K PR) however, there has definitely been a lot of other things going on!  One of my goals for Spring was to get faster using the knowledge that I gained from my Coach throughout Chicago Marathon training.  After that training wrapped up he wanted me to focus on racing shorter distances and improving foot turnover, which in turn, helps you get faster.  Since I've been back in the running game I've included speed work just about every week and it has indeed paid off.

This past Monday I ran an 800's workout which I previously hadn't done since August 2014.  The results were taking roughly 45 seconds off my average pace!  That is huge.  For me at least.  When I was plotting out my training paces I honestly wasn't sure if I could pull it off but low and behold after reviewing old data, I did it!  In August of last year I was averaging a 9:25 pace and this week it was an 8:40 pace.   Changes happen outside of your comfort zone.

In addition to speed I've done something regularly that I thought I'd never do.  Yoga.  At least twice a week, for 30 minute sessions, I bring up YouTube and practice yoga.  Honestly?  I can't really say I love it, however, I do enjoy how it makes me feel.  My nagging hip and back issues are appreciating the extra TLC so that is incentive to keep at it.  Maybe one day I'll get the balls to go to an actual yoga studio, but for now, my living room works just fine. Because I feel like this should be documented:

In an effort to not only improve my running but to also get ready for our upcoming trip to Jamaica, I've been back to my calorie counting ways.  The non-running related result?  I dropped a pant size!  By dropping a pant size I mean I can get into them with ease.

As my running quads and calves get bigger and the waist gets smaller, the struggle to find pants that fit right is a small act of God.  Y'all feel me?  Especially with skinny jeans.  When you wear flats every day, skinny jeans are about your only option for work.  This results in me owning multiple pairs of the same pants. Sigh.  #thestruggle

So with so many racing events going on around Dallas this weekend, what am I doing?  I am heading down to Austin to lead the final 10 mile training run for the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon, 10K and 5K!  I'm so excited to meet the fellow ambassadors as well as all the women who have worked so hard to train for this event.  You can still sign up for the race and save 10% off any registration using code LINDSAY15.  

In other VERY exciting news, I have been chosen as a StrideBox Ambassador!  For over a year now, each month I have had a little box of happiness delivered to me so to be picked as an ambassador is so exciting.  Some women like to have boxes of makeup, or outfits shipped to them but for me I'll take a box of running goodies!  This month's box did not disappoint!  Side Note:  If you want to get in on the StrideBox greatness, I will have discount codes next week!  Stay tuned.....

Between Brandon and myself, we use just about everything we receive in each box.  This months box included:

So far I've used the running stretch strap and the chews from Bonk Breaker and loved both!  Every box always has a few samples of some form of GU or chews, electrolyte mix etc.  We have a bowl in our pantry for all of our items that are so handy to just grab and go!  We've tried out so many new products this way and many of them have ended up in our regular running purchases.

One of things that StrideBox does that I love is their #strideboxreasons on each box.  Sometimes they're just fun and sometimes they make you think.  This months really got me thinking "I'd rather be ____________ than lucky."

Put in the work because luck doesn't always show up on race day!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Race Report: Cupid's Couples 5K - New PR!

I've been looking forward to this race for awhile because the last time I raced was back in October at the Chicago Marathon and a week later we did the Mavs 5K.  So almost 4 months have gone by without racing and needless to say, I was way overdue.  We picked this race because it seemed like a fun way to spend Valentine's Day.  You can register as an individual or you can choose to partner up and race as a couple which is a fun concept!  Since I got back into the swing of things in January my focus has been on short distances (nothing over 5 miles) and incorporating speed work and cross training into my routine so I was curious as to how I'd fare in my first of a series of upcoming 5K's. My goal for this race was to run based on feel and not really pay attention to my watch.  I wanted to push myself to see exactly what I was working with moving into Spring.  After you've run so many half marathons and fulls, it's so fun to run a 5K and know that it's only 3 miles.  I can push myself for 3 miles, that's a warm up.  Mentally it's a fun feeling because it boils down to thinking "this is only 30 minutes or less of my day, suck it up and push."

The race was in McKinney which is really familiar territory so I was expecting a few hills along the course but nothing terrible.  Race morning we arrived early and met up with my sister who was also running.  The race itself left a lot to be desired as far as production goes, but for a 5K I really don't care about bells and whistles.  However, would it be too much to ask to put a darn trash can near the start line to toss a GU packet into?!  Sheesh.  After scouting out a trash can we lined up and took off just after 8am.  The course is mostly through neighborhoods and has quite a few twists and turns along the way.  I took off at what I knew was a bit faster pace than usual but it felt good so I pressed on without looking at my watch.  When I got to the one mile mark my watch buzzed so I looked down to see that I had just run mile 1 with an 8:37 pace.  Say wha?!?!?  That honestly took me by surprise! While I knew that holding that pace for the entire race would be tough, I also knew that even if I came close I'd be setting myself up for a huge PR.  One mile down and only two more to go?  Let's do this!  My pace slowed slightly towards the end of mile two and by 2.5 I was really close to taking a quick walk break but I refrained.  With less than a mile to go I knew I could push to the point of almost puking and take home a shiny new PR.  Around mile 2.7ish we turned a corner and I knew exactly where the finish line was and it was just the boost I needed.  I came across the finish line at 27:17 which was 1:40 faster than my 5K in October!

Final Stats

  • Overall Finish Time:  27:17
  • Average Per Mile Pace:  8:48/mile (24 seconds faster per mile than just four months ago)
  • Mile Splits
    • Mile 1:  8:37
    • Mile 2:  9:03
    • Mile 3:  8:59
  • Division Place: 6th out of 35
  • Overall Place: 89th out of 381
  • Team LovePepper came in 4th out of 40 Teams!!  
Team LovePepper
It is so incredibly rewarding to see hard work pay off!  We have a few more 5K's lined up but I'm most excited about the ZOOMA Texas 5K in March!  Hoping that after a few more weeks of work, that I'll be able to push myself even harder.  

The weather was absolutely gorgeous which made this morning even more awesome and a really great start to Valentine's Day!  

I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day, it's the ultimate in Hallmark Holidays.  Everything is overcrowded and overpriced.  I want flowers on a Tuesday, any Tuesday, just because you like me not because marketing says it's mandatory or you're a bad spouse.  Brandon and I will only spend $5 on each other, if that, and it's always something silly.  This year we did do silly gifts but first we took full advantage of the gorgeous weather and continued one of our favorite traditions.   When either of us get a PR, it is ALWAYS celebrated with a margarita.  Always.  Blue Goose did not disappoint!  

We used Valentine's Day as an excuse to spoil ourselves and finally bought ourselves fancy beer glasses.  Our beers will no longer be poured in just any glass, they will be in the appropriate glass.
Remember how I said we do silly gifts?  I bought Brandon 5.5 lbs of gummy bears to fill up his jar he keeps at his office.  He loved it but I must say, he wins the award for greatest Valentine's gift of all time.  A little back-story....I love Dairy Queen Blizzards.  I do.   DQ Blizzards will always hold a special place in my heart because they remind me of my childhood.  It was always such an exciting day when we'd make a trip to DQ to splurge and have a blizzard.  (I'm sure it may have a little something to do with why I was a chunky monkey kid.)  Sadly as I've gotten older I've had to swear them off because they are loaded, and I mean loaded, in fat, calories, sugar and who knows what else.   About two years ago they opened up a DQ about two miles from our home and my inner fat kid was reeling with excitement but grown up Lindsay knew I had to stay away.  We enjoyed a Blizzard when it opened two years ago and that was the last time I've had one.

So what in the world does this have to do with Valentine's Day you ask?  Brandon came into the kitchen Saturday morning after our race and handed me this red velvety box that by most standards one would say was jewelry.  I was caught off guard because I am not a jewelry girl and would have been perplexed if that's what he had gotten me.  When I opened the box I busted out laughing....

He said "For Valentine's Day I'd like to go get Blizzards".  Pretty sure I laughed for a solid five minutes at this thing and as silly as it is, I love it.  The best part is that it's not even a fancy spoon, it's the exact plastic spoon they put in your Blizzard.  How in the world he ever came up with the idea to get me this I will never know, but that's why I love him.  After two years of being behaved, we went to DQ and I went all out.  Medium Blizzard with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and yes, please double the candy serving.  Pretty sure that adds up to about one billion calories but it was so worth it.

Nothing on Saturday was logged into MyFitnessPal because I think it would have imploded if I had.

This Valentine's Day was honestly the best one I think we've ever shared together.  We had so much fun and shared a lot of laughs.  Looking forward to carrying on the tradition next year with a couples 5K and I think the DQ Blizzard Spoon will make an appearance each year as well!  


Thursday, February 12, 2015


Today I turn 31.  In honor of such occasion, I ran 3.1 miles to start my morning!  I really can't imagine kicking off my birthday any other way.

Not sure why 31 feels so much different to me than turning 30 ever did.  Is it because I am officially now "in" my thirties?  Or maybe it's because I had the realization the other day that this marks 10 years since I graduated from COLLEGE.  Oy vey.  Just saying that makes me feel older.  Remember when you were getting ready to graduate college and you had it all written out how the next ten years of your life were going to go?  Remember that?  Yea, so do I.  Did my life go as I had planned? BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


It has been a wild ride but it turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  

31 is shaping up to be a great year!  After a few months off I am back in the fitness game and more importantly my head is in the right place.  I lived in marathon training mode for SO long that I almost forgot the basics of overall fitness.  I've racked my brain trying to put it into words for this blog post but I just can't.  If you've run a marathon before, you get where I'm coming from.  Your mindset about fitness/nutrition is different for marathon training.  Two major changes I've incorporated to get back on track:

  1. I started counting calories again via the MyFitnessPal app.  After metabolic testing I realized how important this piece was and I'm loving it!  I'm also back to my 80/20 rule for food and that's my happy space.  80% of the time the diet is on point, 20% of the time I do whatever the heck I want to.
  2. Going against every ounce of my being I joined a gym.  I haven't had a real gym membership in over 8 years.  Many moons ago I became a gym rat and had an unhealthy obsession with the gym.  Long story short, I canceled my membership and never looked back.  After years of running and only running I finally listened to doctors orders and began cross training.  Spin class, strength class, HIIT workouts etc. and I LOVE it!  I've learned so much over the years that me and the gym can now have a healthy albeit love/hate relationship.  
I'm still running and still in full on 5K mode but with a healthy dose of everything else mixed in! Even yoga.  Because I'm sure I look like a complete idiot I do my yoga from the comfort of my living room.  It's actually eye-opening to realize just how inflexible you really are.  It's really peaceful in the early mornings being serenaded by the sweet sounds of puppy snores from all over the living room while I pretend to know what I'm doing and channel my inner yogi...    

Also on the agenda for 31...
  • Trip to Austin for the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon, 10K and 5K!  You guys this is going to be so much fun and an absolutely gorgeous run through the hill country!  You can use my code LINDSAY15 to save you 10% on any registrations.  
  • Trip to Jamaica - our last three vacations have all been for races so this is a do nothing vacation.  The only exercising I plan on doing is walking back and forth to the bar.
  • By the grace of God I will be ready to tackle fall racing season and go for that sub-2 hour half marathon!    
I'm hoping another trip may be in the works for 31, we just haven't decided where to go yet!  Who knows what curve balls this year will throw at me but I do know that I feel incredibly blessed to live this wonderfully imperfect chaotic life.     

Today I plan to go out and celebrate by eating pizza, cheesecake and certainly beer for good measure.

Calories don't count on your birthday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Resting Metabolic Rate Testing

One of the biggest aspects of running that I've struggled with over the years in nutrition.  The age old question of "How many calories should I eat each day?" has been one that has given me fits from the get-go.  I knew roughly 1600-1700 calories was my magic number to just maintain my weight day-to-day and that doesn't include any form of exercise.  I got that number off of basic calculations from sites online and by trial and error over the years.  But what happens when you throw in exercise? Let's completely throw off every calculator in the interwebs and see what happens when you throw in marathon training?  Running 40-50 miles per week? And strength training?  #allthenumbers

Makes your head hurt doesn't it?

Enter The Cooper Clinic and their world renowned fitness and nutrition experts who offer Resting Metabolic Rate Testing.  A simple 10 minute test that will determine if you have a slow or fast metabolism and how many calories you burn at rest.  Basically if you laid in bed all day it will tell you how many calories you burn.  Losing weight is a really simple concept.  You must burn more calories than you consume.  However, you have to know all the numbers in order to accomplish that and for the cost of $103 for the RMR test, I say it's worth it.  

So how does the test work?

For Dallas locals, I made an appointment with Cooper at their Dallas location.  If you've never been there before, it's not a building...it's a compound.  It's like it's own city.  They instructed me no exercise, stimulants, supplements for 12 hours leading up to the appointment.  More importantly, you have to fast from food AND water for 12 hours.  I'm pretty sure the two most dreaded statements that can be made to a runner are:

1) You have a stress fracture
2) You need to not eat or drink water for 12 hours.

Food is one thing, I can live with that but no water is tough.  Especially for me who tends to drink about 120 oz per day.

On the morning of the appointment I arrived hungry, thirsty and tired from a night of no sleep thanks to allergies.  (I want to punch every cedar tree in the damn face)  They have you wait in a little quiet and calm area so that you allow your heart rate to come down for the most accurate results.  The nutritionist (who was very nice) brought me back and explained the process.  Turns out she lives out in my area so we chatted and then I answered questions about my activity levels throughout the day, exercise, job types etc.  Once all questions were answered she handed me the breathing tube and this lovely clip that I used to pinch my nose shut.  That was the worst part, however it's necessary to ensure that all of your breathing is being done from the mouth.

*Fun fact about me: I go into a straight panic attack if I lose the ability to breathe out of my nose.  True story.  This happens regularly at night because of my allergies and it's the reason I won't have sinus surgery because they pack your nose for like two weeks.  Not enough meds in the world to sedate me through that, no sir.*

Back to the test....

While she was doing some calculations I sat and breathed into that lovely little machine.  Staring at the wall.  Rather boring but you can handle anything for ten minutes.  You can watch the machine doing the calculation and it slowly starts to average out your RMR number throughout the ten minute span.  After the ten minutes was up she input my info and voila, I had my answers!  

At rest (days with no activity) my guess was accurate at 1600 calories, which is why I've been able to maintain my weight when I follow that number  >cough cough<.  HOWEVER the real ah-ha moment is understanding how many calories I should be eating when I do workout.  What happens to our bodies when we don't eat enough?  It goes into starvation mode and holds on to everything it can find because it is afraid no more food is coming.  So if any of you think that eating less and less is the answer, stop it.  If you eat only 1000-1200 calories per day, stop it.  Based on my typical workouts (this number will of course vary by type of workout) I need to be eating closer to 2000-2100 calories on those days.  Or possibly more, again depending on calorie output during workouts.

If you click on the image, you'll be able to see the section "How does your metabolism compare?" a little better.  Mine came it at 16% higher than average so I have a "fast" metabolism.  Shocker.  Now I have evidence to throw out when people tell me I'm hangry, rungry, cranky...whatever.  #science

So, what now?

Step 1:  I know my calorie numbers.  The first step is to actually wear my HR monitor during workouts to get accurate numbers in that department.  Not sure I'll wear it during my runs.  (If you've ever had the under side of your boob sliced and diced by a HR monitor, you fully understand where I'm coming from on this.)

Step 2: I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to start tracking all of this and letting it do the math for me.  When I lost the bulk of my weight after college (about 20lbs) I did it through diet, exercise and tracking calories.  Since that was almost 10 years ago...oh sweet Jesus...things have changed and this app is pretty nifty.

Whether you are looking to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight I'd highly recommend this.  Knowing the numbers is the first step, actually making all of the numbers add up is the next and most important part.

...and knowing is half the battle.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Embracing the 5K.

At the end of 2014 I wasn't sure which direction I wanted to take my running as I explained here.  I've spent much of January easing myself back into running and a regular workout routine.  The cold and rainy weather meant that the treadmill and I would be spending a lot of quality time together.  I shook things up on the treadmill and started doing some fun speed workouts that included a series of sprint intervals and varying paces.  After a few of those I decided, yep, Spring 2015 is going to be the season of the 5K.  Honestly?  I'm SUPER excited about it!  My heart belongs to the half marathon and full marathon distance but it's nice to change things up every once in awhile and allow different muscle groups to take over for a bit.  My ultimate goal is of course to PR in the 5K and lay the ground work for my other big goal in fall: a Sub-2 half marathon.  

So far, the 5K Schedule is starting to fill up. If you live in the area, please join me!  I'd love to see some familiar faces at races.

February 14th - If the weather is decent (it's always a gamble this time of year) I'll be kicking off Valentine's Day with Cupid's 5K .  Not looking to PR at this one but just excited to race again!  Not to mention I am not a fan of Valentine's Day where restaurants are overbooked and over priced, so I figure a nice brunch after the race sounds way more fun.

February 21st - Stonebridge Ranch Half Marathon and 5K - I'll be doing the 5K and hanging around to cheer on the half marathoners!

March 28th - ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon, 10K and 5K - I am proud to serve as an ambassador for this race, it's going to be such a fun event at the GORGEOUS Hyatt Lost Pines Resort.  Seriously if you've never been, it's amazing!  You can use my code "LINDSAY15" to save 10% on any distance race registration.  

April 11th - Fairview Half Marathon and 5K - One of my favorite events!

Nothing is on the calendar just yet for May.  Any suggestions?  What events are on your calendar for Spring?