Clean Eating Update: Week 5

So the scale says this was a good week.  As I suspected, last week’s bump up must have been water retention from salty corned beef, because I’m down over three pounds from one week ago.  I really don’t think I was that level of careful this week, but on the other hand, it does show the continued 80/20 approach I’ve been working with seems to be yielding some results.

Fun fact:  I am at my lowest weight since August 30.

That being said, I’m still five pounds higher than where I was this time last year.  Still, I’m down six and a half from my peak weight and down five from when I started to make a concerted effort to clean up my habits.

At this point I do feel like the four things I’ve implemented are pretty much going to stick with me as a lifestyle change.  They’re pretty much habits now.  Sure, it is hard to pass up the bread, but it feels a lot better to see a good number on the scale.

Sugar:  Still haven’t had any desserts/sweets or artificial sweeteners since five weeks ago.  I definitely see what people mean about getting rid of all of it reducing the craving for it.  I hardly think about sweets any more and they are very easy to pass up.  This was the first thing I implemented and I think the one I’ve been most successful with.

Dairy:  I have had occasional dairy, with a big hit yesterday.  Dairy has never bothered me in my life, but since I haven’t had much of it in quite a while, I did notice that my stomach was crampy last night.  So interesting to note.  I don’t think I’ve seen other benefits (clearer skin, less bloating) but it would be hard to tell because I gave up other stuff too.

Bread:  This one continues to be tough.  I picked out all of my croutons from my salads yesterday, and that sucked.  And I really wanted bread with last night’s dinner.  But I didn’t.  I have only had one slice of bread since I gave it up, and that was the night before my half marathon.  I think I need to just stay away from it.  I can easily see myself sliding back into a few slices here and there if I let myself unclench the iron fist approach here.

Wine:  This one is my least successful one.  I’m definitely 75/25 or so on this, but I continue to work on my two glass a day minimum.  But I’m working on it.

All along this journey I have also tried to reduce my intake of processed foods.  This week I felt was a good one in that department.  I made lots of food from scratch this week, and even dabbled in creating my own spice blend.  I definitely notice a much better feeling when I eat whole, unprocessed foods.  More apples and veggies with hummus over my SkinnyPop (although that’s still not a terrible choice).

So this week, I plan on trying to work the 80/20 ratio with processed vs. unprocessed foods.  I can’t decide if restaurant meals are included in “processed”.  For what I am now choosing, I’m going with no.  When I go out to eat I am now always choosing either a salad, or a grilled fish or meat, or something with brown rice (as opposed to potatoes or fries).

All in all, a good week.

Race Calendar

After talking yesterday about wanting to set up a new training plan, but not having a goal race in mind, I decided to sit down and attempt to map out this year’s running events.  I try to average one race a month, so with it now being the end of March, it’s probably time to think more comprehensively about the year in running for me.

I didn’t run races in January or February.  The weather here was just too terrible.


3/15 NYC Half Marathon
3/28 Sandy Hook 5K


April is tough.  I plan on traveling while my kids are on break so that takes out one weekend, and Easter takes out a second.  I’m looking at either:

4/25:  Maren Sanchez Memorial 5K
4/26 Minuteman 10K


5/9:  Mother’s Day 10K
5/24:  Bridgeport Hospital Home Run 5K6

6/27:  Stratton Faxon 5K
6/28:  Stratton Faxon Half Marathon


7/24:  Trumbull Sunset Run 5K


8/30:  Women’s Triathlon (!!)


9/21:  Fall Distance Festival either the 10K or 20K


10/4:  4 Mile Trail Race


11/7:  Vicki Soto 5K
11/26:  Thanksgiving 5 Miler


12/12:  Christmas Village 5K

Yes, I did throw in another half as a possibility.  I ran that one last year, so I know I can do it.  I’m not sure I’m up for it, so it’s a possible.  I do like the idea of the 20K in September, that’s a long range goal and I know it’s doable (weather will be better then too).

I also have a Triathlon in the mix for August.  A group of women and I are going to train for this one together.  I am not sure about it at all, but I’ve committed so I will get there.  I have no idea how that will go at all.

There it is, my goal races for the year.  Guess it’s time to start signing up for some of these!

Half Marathon Training: Recovery Week

So here we are eight days post marathon and the road back has been both good and bad.

The good:  My feet and calves recovered quickly, aided I have no doubt by the awesome compression socks I got at the NYC Half Expo.  After the last one my feet were likely the worst of it, with blisters and bruised toenails (one of which later fell off entirely), and I’ve really had none of that this time.  Part of that has to do with the cooler temps, I think, but I also did better in the sock department.  Same goes for chafing; it was a much bigger issue last time, and while I did have one little bit of it after this one, it healed up quickly and I’m already good to go there.

I’ve already done two 3+ mile runs and they both felt great.  I don’t want to lose the fitness, so I moved up the runs in my plan.  Plus I have a 5K this weekend (I honestly would have done one Saturday if I could have) so I want to be ready; a week off won’t help me do well there.

The bad:  My quads are STILL killing me!  Eight days later!  I am not sure why this is, and this definitely didn’t happen to me last time.  I noticed they were still sore a few days later, and they loosened up after I took a yoga class on day 3.  But the soreness kicked back in like a mofo after I took a kickboxing class on Friday.  Not sure if it was because I was using muscles I hadn’t been using for a while?  But it is the same soreness I had after the race, so I have no idea if I just made it worse by taking that class.  I ran through the soreness yesterday, and have a 4.5 miler planned for this morning, so I hope it starts to wane soon.  I feel like a senior citizen with how slowly I am navigating stairs and getting up and out of chairs!

The other not so fun thing is that the bruise I got two days out from the race is still bugging me.  Running 13.1 on it definitely didn’t help it heal.  I know it will go away in time but it is still an annoyance.

I’m also very tired this week, which I’ve heard is not that uncommon.  I’ve tried to indulge in as much sleep at night as I can but I find myself dragging a bit on the energy levels during the day.  Also very “rungry” still, which is probably all mental at this point.  Yesterday I could Not.  Stop.  Eating.  I tried to fill the hunger with apples and popcorn and healthier choices but it was insane how often and how much I wanted to eat.  Need to get the mind over matter thing back in check!

Here’s what this week looked like for recovery:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  60 min yoga
Thursday:  3.5 miles @ 12:56 pace
Friday:  45 min kickboxing, 30 min strength training
Saturday:  shoveling
Sunday:  3.4 miles @ 12:36 paceMonday:  4.5 miles (I am waiting until the temps rise above 20 degrees to do it so it’s not done yet!)

At this point I am thinking about setting up another MyASICS training plan even though I don’t have another distance race picked out.  I am definitely more motivated when I know the plan tells me I have to run that day.  I think it will push me to keep the mileage up as well; if I am left to my own devices, I will likely not run much above 5 miles and I want to keep up the fitness that comes with throwing in a long run here and there.  I’d like to find a good ten miler sometime in May perhaps, but I don’t really know of any at this point.  We’ll see.  :)

Clean Eating Update: Week 4

Otherwise known as the week where I didn’t do so well.

Alright let me digress here and go piece by piece.

Sugar (Week 1):  Still doing well here. Never had dessert, which is the biggest crux.  Also still haven’t had any artificial sweeteners.  There are definitely still times where I want something sweet, but they are definitely less.  It is a lot easier to resist the sweet stuff now that I’ve been off of it for so long.  I did have several gels during the race, and I know they’re chock full of it, but obviously that was a special situation.

Dairy (Week 2):  Didn’t do so well here.  I totally forgot that feta cheese is dairy on Saturday and had Greek Salad and spanakopeta loaded with it.  And what’s a greek restaurant without flaming cheese?  Still, I only had it on Saturday and haven’t had it since.  Fridays during Lent aren’t exactly easy with no cheese and no meat, but I’m figuring out ways through.

Wine (Week 3):  Totally blew this one hard this week.  I’m so off the 2 drink a day wagon.  I have to get back there.  I had wine on Thursday, lots of it.  I did fine Friday and Saturday, but Sunday found me drinking 3 glasses of Prosecco to celebrate my race.  And yesterday?  I had a bad day, let’s just say that.  But I’m owning it and being accountable, so it’s time to move on.

Bread (Week 4):  Have done really well here, although I did have a slice at dinner on Saturday in preparation for the race, and another on Sunday as I was recovering.  But none before or since, not even croutons in the salad.

I think I am going to take this week to really get back on track before I add anything new to my clean eating goals.  I’m honestly not sure what to tackle next.   Maybe the “white stuff”?  I already don’t eat much of it, but I do have white potatoes, rice and pasta occasionally.

As for the weight component, I was down all week until the last two days, which have been Corned Beef and Cabbage days.  My weight was up this morning, and I am hoping/guessing it is the sodium from that (combined with two rest days post race).  I’ll look again in a day or two to get a real sense of where I am at this week.

NYC Half Marathon Race Recap

Wow, it’s over.  I can’t believe it’s over.

I went into NYC by train with my youngest son on Saturday to visit the race expo and pick up my race number.  It was pouring rain out and we had our overnight bags with us, so I opted for a cab rather than hoof it over there.  Lesson number one of NYC:  do NOT wait in the cab stand at Grand Central.  We waited about twenty minutes there for a cab, and probably could have walked it in that time.

The race expo was very crowded.  I had thought of going in during the week, and if I ever get lucky enough to run this race again, that is what I will do.  It was impossible to see all of the vendors and my son, being on the spectrum, was very off put by the crowds.  I had wanted to get photos in there but the crowds made it impossible.  I did get one shot with my race number, but that’s it.

It’s at least near the finish line on the race map.

After we were able to check in to our hotel, I took my son for a short walk up to Central Park to see where I would enter for the race.  I wanted to be as familiar as possible with everything ahead of time. Fortunately it was about a fifteen minute walk from the hotel, not far.

photo 2-1
We saw tons of barricades around 7th Avenue, and signs like these around Central Park.  Very exciting!

I went back to the hotel and laid out my race gear for the next day:

photo 1-1

From there it was just time to wait.  We had a nice meal out after my husband and daughter arrived, where I ate bread and cheese and didn’t worry about the “rules” I have in place.  After that it was early to bed.

I was up by six and had my usual power bar meal and a cup of coffee before getting dressed.  I had planned two different outfits and opted for the lighter jacket over the race shirt, with a throwaway sweatshirt over that while I waited for the race to begin.  I was out of the hotel by 6:45.

As I walked up towards Central Park, there were runners streaming in from all over.  I didn’t go more than half a block without seeing the first of them and by the time I got close we were in a long line going up 7th Avenue.  We got to the area that I had been at the day before.  It was absolutely packed.  I’ve never seen anything like it at a race.

It took a full twenty or so minutes to go through security (metal detectors!) to enter Central Park.  I had thought I would be super early, but hadn’t counted on that wait.  It was chilly and windy so I was glad for my throwaway!  I was shocked at how far the entry point was from where the corrals and the toilets were (hundreds of them, but there were 20K runners, so that makes sense).

Before I knew what was happening, I heard the National Anthem from a distance, signaling the start of the first wave of runners, the elites. I started to find my way to where my corral was.  I knew I was in the second to last corral, so it took at least another ten minute walk to get there.

I finally found my spot, and settled in.  It was twenty minutes to start time.  I heard all sorts of conversations around me.  I was very nervous.  What did I think was doing here?  I felt very alone as I heard people talk to the friends or partners they came with.  Two guys next to me were speaking German.  I honestly thought about walking out right then. I mean, the course is 13 effing miles!

nychalfmap I wasn’t sure I could do it.  But I made myself stay in the corral. Finally, it was go time.

photo 4-1

With a race of this many people, go time means you slowly meander up to the start line.  It took me eight minutes.

The first two miles were easy downhills, and I tried to go as comfortably fast as I could.  I didn’t have my RunKeeper on to save my phone’s battery, so I had no idea how fast I was going.  The clocks at each mile marker were set to Wave 1’s start time, so they were not a great gauge.  I did note that between mile one and two there it looked like I was at 11 something.

We left the park for a bit and ran up 110th Street outside Central Park to hit mile 3.  I started to feel the effects of pushing for speed there, so I slowed down a bit.  I realized later that it was also a bit of an uphill, so that made sense.

5K Split: 36:52

Worse than I thought, all things considered.  But probably for the best to conserve energy.

Between mile 3 and 5 are the worst hills of the course, Central Park’s famous Cat Hill among them.  I pushed myself to run/walk them rather than just walk them, and I had the energy to do so.  I took a gel somewhere in the fourth mile, earlier than I’d planned, but I felt very depleted already.  I also made a point to take Gatorade at the fluid stations to replace the electrolytes I knew I was sweating off.  I removed my light jacket at some point in this section as well.

Once we hit mile 5 the worst of the hills were over and I was feeling OK.  I was excited to see what the rest of the course outside the park was, since I’ve already run two races within the park.  We finally hit mile 6 and I knew we were going to be exiting soon.

10K Split:  1:15:31

The moment we left the park onto 7th Avenue and you can see Times Square just beckoning you down the way was incredible.  I busted out with a huge smile and tried to take a few photos.

photo 5-1

My family was waiting for me at 54th and 7th, just a few blocks away, so I stopped for a few photos and high fives.  I was feeling great, even though I was easily 6.5 miles in.  It was great to see them there, and the course itself was pulling me forward.  From there it was a straight downhill into Times Square.

photo 3-2

Running through there was amazing. I didn’t even think about how tired I was.  The scenery was amazing.

From there we turned right onto 42nd Street and went towards the water.  The wind kicked up a lot here, so I had to put back on my jacket.  The “fuel stop” was somewhere between mile 7 and 8 here, so I grabbed another gel and pushed on.  The ground was sticky from all the gel packets that had just been thrown down.  Blech.

We hit the West Side Highway and looped around a bit before heading south.  I was still marveling at how good I was feeling here. This was where I hit the wall on my twelve mile run two weeks ago, but I felt OK.  Lots of people were starting to walk around me, and it felt good to pass them.

I should have taken more photos on this stretch.  I was insane to be running down here, with no cars at all.

15K Split:  1:55:05

Finally we could start to see the World Trade Center looming up ahead.  It was beautiful, and as we ran it got bigger and bigger.

photo 4-2

After Mile 9 I could feel myself starting to wane again.  I took another gel and kept taking Gatorade at the fluid stations.  I high fived and cheered every photog I could see, trying to keep moving forward.  I didn’t feel bad like I did at my first half at this point, but I was definitely starting to feel tired.  I ran more than I walked through Mile 10 and Mile 11, which brought us down near the tip of Manhattan.

It was around Mile 11 that I realized it was almost over and I still wasn’t feeling that wrecked feeling I had at my first half.  I knew I could still run more than I needed to walk, and passed even more people.  At Mile 12 we hit the Battery Park Tunnel.  I couldn’t believe we were going to run through it!  I took a few walk breaks but knew we’d hit an uphill at the end, so I wanted to keep moving.  We hit the 20K split inside the tunnel.

20K Split:  2:35:00

I knew 20K was 12.4 miles so there was not that much to go.  I broke into a grin again as we left the tunnel, trudging up the overpass to get on the other side.  The view was incredible.  A sign on my left said 800 meters to go….less than a kilometer.  I ran/walked until I saw the 400 meters to go sign and jogged a little faster.

Finally we hit the 13 mile marker as we turned onto Water Street.  I started to tear up.  I couldn’t believe it was nearly over.  Even though I was tired, I almost wanted to keep going….to see more amazing things, to be a part of this great day, great event.  I had done it.  I didn’t even feel like dying.  I was going to make it.

I turned the final corner and ran towards the finish.  I heard a friend call my name and I gave her a thumbs up.  I crossed the finish line at 2:43:37, four minutes faster than my first half.

I grabbed my medal and the heat blanket (really a piece of thermal foil) and moved out of the chute as fast as I could.  My family was waiting at the end of the chute and I was ready to see them.

photo 5-2

What a great race.  My goal had been 2:45 so I beat it.  I felt good throughout, even towards the end.  I was tired but not dead.  After my first half I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to race that distance again, but after this one I would love to do it again.  It wasn’t as hard as the first (of course the course and weather were better).  I didn’t train as well for this one but still made it through.

I’m thrilled with the outcome.  I’m so grateful to have been able to do it.

Here are some photos from New York Road Runners from the race, so much better than the photos I took on my phone.  They really give you a sense of the awe and wonder of this event.


I am all packed and ready to go for tomorrow.  I will travel by train from my home in SW CT today to visit the Expo and pick up my race bib, and hopefully enjoy some great runner geek shopping.  I’m worried it will be crowded and there won’t be much good stuff left, but life and family dictated it would work out like this.

Today will be horribly rainy, but I’ve been stalking NYC weather for days.  It is amazing how different it can be from where I live, just 60 miles away.  I’ve decided on my capri running pants (wore them for my first half), my good socks, my NYC training tech shirt.  Beyond that, I’ve packed two options.  It looks like it will be in the low forties to start the race and upper to finish.  I could go either way on my choices, so I have two in mind.  One is a warmer fleece jacket over my shirt.  The other is a lighter jacket with a throwaway sweatshirt over that.  The latter is what I think I will do but we’ll see how it goes.

It’s amazing how much gear you have to think of when you’re running a long race like this.  In my bag I’ve also included:

  • compression leg sleeves (for the train ride home after)
  • foot massage roller (same)
  • armband for phone
  • fuel belt
  • GU gels
  • earbuds, phone charger

I am also not wearing my running shoes into the city today, as it will be pouring rain today and I don’t want them to get wet.

I don’t plan on tracking my run in RunKeeper.  I think it will use up too much phone battery, so I’m just going to log it manually at the end.  It will kill me a bit not to have that map in my data, but I can’t risk a dead phone after the race.

This week’s runs have felt good.  Slow and easy, even five miles felt very doable, so I’m confident that tomorrow I can take it slow and steady and complete the race in roughly the same time or slightly better as I did my first half.  I did stub my toe yesterday and it is sporting a glorious bruise, so I’m a bit concerned about that, but I did run a bit yesterday just to see and it felt OK.  I spent most of the rest of the day puttering around the house and resting it.

I got up early this morning and decided to do what I have seen other bloggers do for big races, estimate where I will be when on the course.  This made it very real to me….and if by chance there are any readers out there who will be visiting NYC tomorrow, come cheer me on!  This is my best guess:

Mile 0:  8:15
Mile 1, Central Park, 90th and 5th:  8:28
Mile 2, Central Park, East Ave near 106th:  8:41
Mile 3, Central Park, 110th near 6th:  8:54
Mile 4, Central Park, West Ave near 97th:  9:07
Mile 5:  Central Park, West Ave near 79th:  9:20
Mile 6:  Central Park, West Ave near 61st:  9:33
LEAVE CENTRAL PARK:  9:35 (West side entrance on 59th)
Mile 7:  Times Square, 42nd and 7th (there are bleachers set up here):  9:47
Mile 8:  41st and West Side Highway:  10:01
Mile 9:  23rd and West Side Highway:  10:15
Mile 10:  West Side Highway north of Christopher Street:  10:29
Mile 11:  WSH Between Canal and Chambers:  10:43
Mile 12:  WSH Just north of Battery Park:  10:57
Mile 13:  Maiden Lane and Wall Street, 11:12
FINISH LINE, Wall Street and Water Street:  11:15

There’s nothing left to do now but go into the city and take in each moment.  I can’t wait!  This is my absolute dream race, the first one that made me think I could attempt a half marathon.  I cannot wait to experience it.

Clean Eating Update: Week 3

So I just completed my third week of self imposed “cleaner” eating.  Each week I have eliminated something to “clean up” my diet and hopefully spur weight loss.

This week the scale shows a slight gain, less than a pound.  I am not too worried about it, because I had not one but two restaurant meals yesterday, and I think that’s the culprit.  The sodium in restaurant meals is always a killer.

I do not normally eat out very often; we hardly ever go out for dinner and I may have lunch out with girlfriends once or twice a week.  But yesterday was my daughter’s birthday so the two things coincided.  I’m going to drink more water today to hopefully flush out the sodium and move forward from it.

So here’s where I am at:

Week 1:  Eliminate sugar, including artificial sweeteners, as much as possible.

This is still going strong.  I’m slowly working my way through the last of the sweetened non dairy yogurt I had purchased (I use it with my oatmeal), and I’m still not stressing about the sugar in my Clif bars that I use for running days (although I am having oatmeal on at least half of my running days now).  But I have totally gone cold on the use of artificial sweeteners, and am happy about it.  I still miss the sweetness in my coffee some days, but mostly I am over it.  I took a sip of my daughter’s tea yesterday, and realized it had the sweetener in it, and spit it out.  Once we get through our last box of the crap she’ll be on natural sugar. I’m done with it.

Last night was tough because it was her birthday, but I stayed strong and didn’t have any of her beautiful birthday cupcakes.  I nearly did, thinking, it was a special day, but I ended up realizing that it wasn’t worth it.  I don’t feel strong enough in my “sugar sobriety” yet to chance it.

Week 2:  Eliminate dairy.

This is mostly going well.  I again had a little sprinkling of cheese on some pizza that I didn’t stress too much about.  Also, my husband made a dinner on Sunday that had a cream based sauce.  I’m not going to be as militant about the dairy because these are such small instances.  I honestly don’t know if it is helping me feel any better, not having the dairy.  But I like the almond and coconut milks enough not to miss it.  The only rough spot continues to be if I am out and have coffee.  I’m still not a fan of it black.  But I’d rather do that than go back on my word.

Not sure how long I will keep up the no dairy thing.  I may end up, after Lent is over, allowing myself minimal amounts (say real milk when I am out in my coffee).  I’m not sure what it’s really doing for me.

Week 3:  No more than 2 alcohol units per day.

I’m not going to lie, this hasn’t always been easy.  Last night, for example, I really wanted a third.  It was my daughter’s birthday and we were enjoying a lovely evening, and I was ready to pour another.  But every time I replay that sentence for myself, it worries me that it feels “tough” to stick to 2 drinks a day.  So when I look at it that way, it seems like a no brainer: if you can’t say no, that means you have a problem.  And I really, really don’t want to have a problem.  So 2 a day it is.

Ideally, I’d like to continue to whittle this down further.  That’s a goal I will continue to work on.

What to do this week?  I think it’s going to be bread.

I don’t eat a lot of bread to begin with, but it is sneaky.  It shows up at the table at restaurants, my husband loves it with every meal, the nice crusty Italian kind.  I don’t eat sandwiches so it won’t be hard to live without there but the kind that I I think it is OK to have one slice of here and there?  It has to add up.  Plus my family are big crouton eaters in salads, and I just munch away on them, thinking that they are part of the salad.

Four or five of those suckers is probably equivalent to a slice of bread.

So this week I’m going to be vigilant about the bread.  No bread.  That’s the plan for the week.  All that crusty leftover garlic bread in my fridge will have to be parceled out to the kids or frozen, because I.  Will. Not.  Eat.  It.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 76 other followers