Marathon Training Update

Back at the beginning of August, I set the goal of being able to do a half a marathon (13.1 miles) in three hours. That probably doesn’t seem like that big of a goal considering that I’m training for a marathon and have been for a good portion of the year now. Plus, back in May I walked 26.2 miles at one time – but the problem is that I walked a lot of that time. I have to cut nearly two hours off of the almost-eight-hours that I did back then.

So, to make a long story short: During the time I was in North Dakota I not only ate whatever I wanted (instead of being Paleo like I normally am), but I didn’t do any running whatsoever. Sure, I walked 2-4 miles a day, but that is not the same as running. Then, when I got back to Ohio, I still wasn’t home, and although I walked more, I still didn’t get much running and healthy eating in. So, I was woefully behind in my training.

One of my first training walks/runs in August made me feel as if I were about to melt into a little ball of nothingness. At the end of an hour I was huffing and puffing and feeling quite dramatic and out of shape. When I figured it up and realized I hadn’t even gone at a fast enough pace to complete the marathon in the six hour time slot I had to work with, I was horrified. I couldn’t even keep up the pace for one hour? And I needed to do it for six! I promptly (as in that very moment), decided to be Paleo without any “cheat days” until after the marathon. Then I dove into eating healthily, drinking lots of water, and walking/running as much as possible.

A week later I was thrilled to accomplish my goal of 13.1 miles in 3 hours. Actually, a little over two minutes less than three miles. *cue happy dance* (haha, actually, cue aching legs and exhaustion)
I continued training, although most of the subsequent days I went for more of a 5 or six 6 practice, instead of 13 miles. Long walks/runs like that really take a lot of my energy, so I can’t do them too often or I wouldn’t accomplish much else. 
Eventually I did do 10 miles in 2 hours walk/run, which made me happy because it was by far the fastest I’d gone. (It also helped me put stuff in perspective: Instead of just being annoyed at myself  because I’m not faster/better than that, it helped me recall how until this year I’d never even done ten miles at once. Plus, about six months ago I literally couldn’t even jog for more than two or three minutes.)  

I wanted to get one more good run in during August, so I juggled things around yesterday and set aside three hours to work with. I then decided to have fun with the run and do it inside on the treadmill while watching a movie. (It’s still hard work, folks!)

By the end of two hours my legs were beginning to beg me to slow down, but I was like “haha, no.” Most of the time I traded off between 4.2 (which isn’t running, but for my short legs it’s still a really fast walk), and 5.2 (which is running…It feels like I’m galloping, actually, although I once saw my reflection and thought my legs looked like they were moving extremely slow).

When I reached the three hour mark, I was so very close to have gotten a whole extra mile in, that I went for 3 more minutes and ended my run with 14.1 miles. (And yes, I might have freaked out a little bit about keeping that pace up for twice as long, but hey…I’ve got 45 more days to train…)

Overall I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to run a marathon. I’m so grateful that God has blessed me with the health I now have, and that I can work toward improving it by eating healthy, exercising, and getting proper rest. It’s been a long road, but an exciting one.

Thanks for letting me share my marathon updates with y’all. I hope you’re having a fantastic day!

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Have you ever run (or wanted to run) a marathon? Does it even sound like fun to you? 

Hitting Milestones and Celebrating

On December 20th of last year I was musing about health issues I’d been experiencing (a leftover from my years fighting Lyme disease and some chemical allergies) and I wanted to pray that I’d feel better during 2016, then I realized something rather convicting. I wasn’t actively caring for my health like I should, so therefore praying and asking God to make me feel better was actually a lazy way out. Yikes.

Back when I was actively getting over Lyme disease I’d been very intentional about what I ate, making sure to fill my body with proper nutrients by eating Paleo. Paleo is a very natural diet consisting of vegetables (although not things like white potatoes, and peas), fruit, meats, eggs, nuts (not peanuts), and seeds and cutting out processed foods, white starches, grains, dairy, legumes, etc…

So, I decided to eat Paleo for 100 days and see how I felt. Not one to delay starting a challenge, I jumped on board the next day, although I did allow myself to have Christmas day free. (By the way, I don’t think everyone needs to be as strict as me, nor do I plan on always being strict, it’s just that overcoming other hurdles means I have to work extra hard.)

Over the next 100 days I noticed a shift. It wasn’t long before I began feeling better, but even on the days when I didn’t feel well, I wasn’t nearly as discouraged because I knew I was doing something to make a difference in my long-term health.

Then I began walking more, wanting to get into shape. On February 15th a friend suggested I start training for a marathon, which has been a life-long dream of mine, so I jumped on board. Around that time I also began rereading Every Body Matters. I started the book feeling confident that I could breeze through it, being encouraged but knowing I was on right on track. As I read though, I realized that although I was doing well with eating and excising I didn’t have healthy habits regarding sleep. Oopps. So that changed. Instead of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, I began trying to go to bed by 10:30 or 11:00 four to five nights a week.

And do you know what? Those changes have made a gigantic difference in my life. I am so incredibly, wonderfully happy that I committed myself to changing my lifestyle and I’ve been feeling leaps and bounds better than last year.

Take for instance my training for a marathon. At the beginning of March I set a goal to walk or jog 100 miles during the month. That was quite the daunting task since I’ve probably not even walked half that amount in a month before, but I was confident it could be done.

The first week I managed 25 miles and was pretty excited. Then I was informed I should jog and after doing math on how long it would take me to walk a marathon, I agreed. The next week I had a goal of jogging 20 minutes out of the entire week, 1 to 2 minute spurts at a time. It was hard folks, really hard, and I barely accomplished it. But by the end of the next week, guess what? I jogged (at 5 mph) for 28 minutes out of 60 minutes, mostly going in 3 minute spurts. I was ecstatic. Seeing the difference that less than a month of training had made was amazing. Then week 4 came and to my great surprise I ended up jogging (again at 5. mph) for 24 minutes straight, which was two miles.

I seriously never knew that I could change my health, my stamina, and my lifestyle so quickly. Each week I take two rest days from training (per the advice I’ve received), and genuinely miss walking on those days.

Yesterday was day 100 of Paleo, and I had told myself all along that no matter if I decided to stay on Paleo or not, I’d take day 101 as a celebration day where I could eat whatever foods I wanted. This morning though, instead of chowing down on the cheesecake I’ve been saving for the last week, I headed up to the treadmill with my computer to celebrate with an early morning walk/jog.

The most I’ve done in one day is 8 miles, and today I wanted to do 10. Two hours and twenty-five minutes later I had accomplished my goal. Excitedly marking it down in my book, I added up my miles for the entire month and… Not only did I reach my 100 miles, but I blew past it, walking or jogging a total of over 121 miles in 31 days.

It’s been a good 100 days and I’ll be back at Paleo soon, but for now? I think I’m gonna go and eat that cheesecake and then nibble on some white chocolate. 

D is for Diet

{My A to Z Challenge for 2013 has the cool theme of being chronically ill. It’s going to be fun, so stick around! 

D is for Diet

A lot of the past six years I have been on one kind of ‘diet’ or another for my health. Recently I started on the most strict diet I’ve been on so far (which I’ll be doing at least for six months, probably longer). Mostly I eat veggies (lots of raw ones!), and berries, eggs, some nuts, seeds and low-fat meats. Every once in a while I get some dairy products. 
Excluded are things like sugar (and substitutes, except for Stevia), grains -rice, corn, wheat, oats, etc…, beans, peas, peanut-butter, potatoes, most fruits, anything processed (which means no salad dressings, although I do eat mustard), etc.. At first it was hard. No bread, pretzels, corn chips, pizza, chili, stir-fried rice… No mashed potatoes, butter, cereal, cheese sticks…
After the first few days, though, it got to be a lot of fun. It’s a challenge. I like challenges! And with my family behind me and joining in, we began to make some fun meals. Here are some pictures, don’t they look good?

When ‘weaning’ myself from salad dressing I ate lots of lemon and lime juice.
Now I still like it, but I like plain salad and veggies, too. 

(Those ‘noodles’ are really spaghetti squash)

 Do you consider your eating habits to be healthy? What are some of your favorite foods?