Healthy Habits

Can you believe it? It’s March? When did that happen?

Spring is almost here…or it would be, if I didn’t live in Ohio. But alas, it’s March 1st, and we’re expecting a huge snowstorm tonight into tomorrow. Have I mentioned I despise hate tolerate love snow? No? Right…because I don’t! Snow is pretty when all you have to do is cuddle by a fire with a cup of tea and a good book. Otherwise, I’d just as soon not have it at all.

Anyway…
I’ve been busy. Work, run, sleep. Repeat. Busy, but not doing a whole lot. I’ve also been making some pretty big changes in my life, and I’m terrified excited about them. Some you’ll hear about further down the trail, as they are both private and still fresh enough to have me a little on edge. But let’s talk about the new healthy habits I’ve picked up.
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Writing. Keeping a consistent writing schedule has always been difficult for me. I have a stack of product and company reviews I need to write, and that all feels like work. The problem is I love to write, and once I get going, I can feel the words flying onto the page with rapid force (hence this post). But it can’t feel like work. I started another writing project last week, a journal of sorts, that I may publish in the future. It’s related to that sensitive topic (Please forgive my cryptic prose. I’m not ready to be so exposed.) The point is I’ve been writing, every day for a week, in fact. To my surprise, it’s been quite easy to set aside ten minutes each day to write. Isn’t it amazing how, when there’s no agenda, we can enjoy the things we once loved? That is something I hope to apply to other areas of my life, and hopefully my running. I’m still going to journal every day with that project, but my goal is to post something here on days I don’t work. Some days it won’t be much, and I’ll try to work in those product reviews over the next few months.
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Nutrition. I’m continuing with my whole food plant-based diet, but just like anything, it needs a tune up. My job has made it easier by providing tons of healthy, vegan options, but, after spending a day at a grocery store, the last thing I want to do is shop. My healthy habit for March sounds easy. I’m going to start each day with 20oz of clean water. First, I’ve been waking with migraines lately, and some of that has to do with hydration, or lack thereof. I can’t control the weather, specifically the barometric pressure…trust me, I would if I could…so I’ll start with water. Second, I’m hoping extra hydration will help curb some of my appetite issues, including my new-found sweet tooth. It’s worth a shot. Sounds easy, right? Drink up!

So that’s it! I’ll have a running post up in the next few days as racing season starts up soon. I’m tapering (read: keeping my fingers crossed) this week for a 50k next weekend. That’s going to hurt a bit. Better save that tale for next time.

What healthy habits are you starting this month? Let’s hear them!

Overcoming Excuses

If you read this post earlier…you may notice a difference. The original text is below…so feel free to scroll down and catch up. But I wanted to say a few other things…and share how the rest of my day went.

A bit more:
Tonight, I’m feeling completely refreshed. I ran (more on that in a few), I talked with two ladies who really set me straight on a personal issue I’ve been struggling with, and had a reconciliation with a friend with whom I’d had a falling out about a month ago.
I feel alive.
So the kids and I celebrated with pizza and beer (for me).

I do want to talk more about the run today, and some of the things I’m doing while training for this 24 hour monster.

The course itself isn’t challenging…as long as you can handle the loops. I’ll be posting my race goals in a post later this week. The challenge for me comes in the time involved…and the boredom. Just shy of a one mile loop, nothing exciting is going to come from the scenery. So it’s best to practice running in the boredom. That’s when your thoughts can get you in trouble. But I digress…

I’ve decided to go back to HR training for at least the build weeks of this cycle. And here’s why…I need to keep this easy. It’s the only way to stay upright for this long. I know me. Give me a flat road, and I’m going to want to RUN! But I can’t, or I won’t make it.

Here’s my run for today. I ran on the dreadmill…as boring as possible, but it also kept external factors at bay: constant elevation, constant speed, constant temperature. I didn’t use the fan. Oh…and I didn’t eat or drink once I started.

The plan:
1. One hour in Zone 1 at “ultra pace.” Here’s the super scientific calculation for that:
Ultra pace = (Slow-as-sh*t + 30sec) per mile.
SLOOOW. It’s tough mentally. It’s just faster than I could comfortably walk. (My Zone 1 peaks at 147, max HR for this segment was 146)
2. Increase speed to force HR to the top of Zone 2 without going over. Hold for 15 minutes. So far…so good. (My Zone 2 peaks at 162, max HR was 161)
3. Decrease speed back to ultra pace. Keep HR in Zone 1 for 15 minutes. (Avg HR for this segment was 143 – Zone 1)

I’m trying to accomplish two things here. First, I’m training my body to learn my race pace and keep my HR low while doing it. Did I really use the above calculation? No. But I’ll tell you how I chose a race pace when I cover my goals. Second, I’m teaching my body to burn fat, instead of ingested calories. Believe it or not, this is possible. Will I eat during the race? Of course. But I’ll be doing this workout (in a controlled environment) each week without food or water. Of course, both are easily accessible during my run, and I’m watching my HR like a hawk.

I guess we’ll see how this plays out.
Next post should cover race goals. Look for that in a few days!

Here’s the original post from this morning if you missed it.
My recovery time is over…back to a regular running schedule (I use that term VERY loosely!).
I know. I have a million viable excuses to not train this week.

I ran 50mi just two weeks ago.
It’s hot and humid…even before sunrise.
The kids are restless.
I have a million things to do around the house, and to get ready for the upcoming school year.
I need a job. I’m stressed. I’m tired.

But I need to run!

I took two easier weeks after the 50 miler. This was especially tough, as I had no lingering pain and zero muscle soreness. Zero. Simply amazing what the body can do if you slow down and you do the right training!
The first week I didn’t run on any consecutive days, and staggered my runs to get two 36hr breaks. I managed 30 miles on my feet, including plenty of walking.
The second week, I ran no more that 2 consecutive days without taking a rest day. I went back to my hour long runs during the week, and put in 40 miles.

But now that time is supposed to be over. My resting HR is still in the normal ranges, but this heat and humidity is zapping all of my energy. I feel terrible…like a slug…a wuss.

Tired. I feel tired.

I’m going to work on a few things starting today. I’m going to wear my HRM during all my runs this week, just to see what’s going on. Maybe I’m pushing too hard. Maybe not. I need more data. I also need to increase my hydration just a bit. I’m not super thirsty, but I know I’m going to lose a ton of water in sweat the minute I step outside. So a little preventative maintenance there.

And I hope this feeling passes.