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.
OhhhhhhhAhhhhhhhhhh
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

31

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.

No.

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.