7 days till 50k

This time next week I will be well into my first 50k. Hopefully, I will be just about finished with my first lap and looking forward to my second. Last weekend, Joe and I took a field trip out to Torreya, got about two-thirds of the course done and still had some left in the tank. That does a lot for my confidence and keeps those pesky butterflies at bay. I’m feeling pretty excited for this race and hope to come in at somewhere under seven hours. A funny thing, that, saying that I hope to be finished running after seven hours. I find myself saying a lot of funny things lately, like, “we stopped short at 24 miles,” or “that four hour run went by fast.” I guess this is just the life of an endurance athlete and I should stop fighting it and embrace the strangeness. All I know for sure is that I’m looking forward to spending a day on the trails next Saturday and then basking in the glory of having¬†accomplished¬†something I never imagined possible. Oh, and then taking much time off ūüôā

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Say It With Me: Strong, Not Skinny.

I’ve been¬†embarrassingly¬†addicted to Pintrest lately. I put off jumping on the bandwagon for a long time, but once I started organizing my life by photos, I was hooked. I love organizing. I love photos. What’s not to love about Pintrest? A few things, actually.

First, I know for a fact that Pintrest was invented from a collaborative effort by cupcake and wedding cake companies everywhere. Half of the pictures are of those delicious deliciosnesses. It’s very hard to love Pintrest when you are a cavewoman. There are enough cookie, cake, and dessert recipes posted to drive a defenseless sugar monster into a stampeding rampage of fury.

Second, it’s a total time suck. I hate losing hours to the internet. That’s one reason Facebook and I had to have a talk. And that’s the reason I’m trying to ease off of Pintrest.

Third, I can’t stand the photos of bikinied, super-skinny women with comments like: “I wish I could have these abs,” or “gotta start working out before summer!” or “this is good motivation.” It. Drives. Me. Crazy.

Sure, I remember what it was like to be focused on thin. I remember diets and running and scales and guilt. It’s hard to forget jean sizes and fat photos. I’m not saying these girls are stupid, I’m saying that they have their priorities programmed by media and an unreachable ideal. Who in the world thought it would be a good idea to make women everywhere think they are not good enough until they are skinny enough?! And who in the world keeps making skinny enough even skinnier?! I’m so freaking mad! I just want to grab these girls by their shoulders, shake them and yell, “It’s your body! Do it for you!”

When I aspired for skinny, it was for other people. Yeah, I wanted to look good. I wanted to be attractive and by direct result, happy. But here’s a game changer, ladies: when that’s your goal, it’s NEVER (never. never ever ever.) good enough. There is always a skinner, always another pound to lose, always another dream to chase. Read: there is never a happy.

Now that I aspire for strong, it’s all for me. That 30lb overhead press? That wasn’t for you. That was for me. Those back muscles? You never even see those, but I can feel them when I do boy push-ups. Oh, I’m still chasing the dream. I want stronger biceps, I want faster split times, I want a harder core. But in the meantime, I’m happy in this body and that’s directly because I have worked hard for it. Because I have done it for me, not for the camera, not for the skinny jeans, not for some idea that I should want everyone to want my body. As long as I put in the time, it doesn’t matter what goal there is because I am moving towards it and getting stronger every step of the way.

Let me tell you something: strong feels better than skinny. Strong is easier than skinny. Strong kicks skinny in its wimpy little ass and doesn’t say, “I’m sorry, did that hurt?” Because maybe if it did hurt, skinny should have spent more time in the gym and less time in front of the mirror.

I'd rather be able to carry a log up a hill than an idea that women can't hang with the men.

I'd rather be able to climb a wall with just a rope than a Top Ten Hottest list.

My self worth is measured by the things I can do, not the number on the scale.

I love sitting at the beach as much as the next girl, but I could also swim, bike, run all day long if I had to.

No, I haven't always been in shape. It took me YEARS to realize skinny is not a goal. It took me YEARS of hard work to get my body. But everyone has to start somewhere.

Posted in Journal, Training | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Oh yeah, the training.

Usually, the lack of training blogs corresponds to my lack of training. I’m happy to report it is not so in this case. I’ve been averaging 3 Kettlebell workouts, 3 Sweat Therapy sessions, 1 7-mile run and 1 long run every week. Since healing up from my ankle mishap, I’ve put in an 18-miler and am set to go out this morning for a 20. Runs, for the most part, have felt good and my legs are holding up to the battering. I think I’ve finally found the right amount of cross training and running to keep my knee problems in check.

Some fun things:

I did the TPD’s TAC Team’s physical fitness challenge at Boot Camp yesterday and finished under the 7-minute time limit. Involved: a weighted vest, burpees, sled pull/push, a gas mask, shuttle run and some very¬†fiery¬†muscles.

Laurel and me with our finisher's trophies.

I found a hydration system to wear on the long runs and at the 50K race.

Nathan Intensity Women's Hydration Vest

It is very comfy, moves with you, doesn’t dig into the shoulders and kept my 18-miler feeling nice and breezy. Very impressive review from someone who doesn’t like to run with ANYthing.

Paleo is still going splendidly. I’m getting into some good habits and it doesn’t feel like pulling teeth anymore. I had one run in with some donuts last Sunday, but a day and a half of feeling like a puffed up sugar pastry left me with incentive not to go down that route again for a while.

There you have it! Short and sweet for this Sunday blog. Much love to you all!

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A Very Significant Event

It happened. And not in a planned out, carefully structured kinda way, but in a whirlwind turned snowball-rolling-downhill turned Abominable-Snowman-on-crack kinda way.

Yesterday was The day, as we all know. Jerritt and I do not celebrate The day because I dislike the decapitated flowers, mystery boxed chocolates and scary animatronic baby animals. Also, the commercialization, the cards that could have been trees, the unwarranted expectations…oh, you don’t want to hear the full rant. So when I got home, it was any normal day, except for the fact that Lucy & Leo’s, our favorite Tallahassee cupcakery, was having special flavors in celebration of the-day-that-shall-not-be-named.

This was all preceded by a semi-flex on Sunday night where I indulged in a beautiful little petit four-sized cake bite and an even more precious cakey chocolate cookie. So you can imagine that the Sugar Monster was well awake and had been jostled out of his hidey-hole.

And that was preceded by an ankle injury Sunday morning which followed the same routine of my previous ankle injuries. Here’s how that went down: pleasant running (even for 20 degree weather)…root…ankle roll…popping sounds…pain…cursing the root…cursing the heavens…then cancelling all my workouts for the week (which you know causes me more pain than the ankle thing). Since that unfortunate event, I have been on a strict regiment of rest, ice, Aleve and elevation. There’s already much improvement but I’ve got everything crossed that by taking this week completely off my feet, I will be able to resume running this weekend.

With those two precursors to the-day-that-we-do-not-celebrate, Jerritt and I debated for about 10 minutes whether or not we wanted to go to Lucy & Leo’s and have a non-special day cupcake. Oh, I think you know what was decided.

This is a photo I stole from Lucy & Leo's website. Oh, if you thought I could spare a moment to get out my camera phone before shoving the cupcake in my face, you are sadly mistaken.

I had one perfect strawberry shortcake cupcake with whipped icing which was warm, fluffy and just the right amount of sweet. And a cakeball. In serious discussion about whether or not I should have another cupcake, I threw it all in the air and said we should have pizza for dinner. That’s right, I said pizza.

One Momo’s gift certificate had been burning a hole in our pocket since Christmas and it was going to be this fateful night that we handed it in. My rationalization was since I didn’t have to do any training the next day, feeling like crap from the flex wouldn’t affect my workout. Feeling a little sick (but extremely happy) from the cupcake, I devoured a greek salad (half of which was feta cheese) and my half of a medium pizza. I believe I commented no fewer than 15 times how delicious it was, how much the crust had improved and how much I loved grain products. Standing up afterward was another story; I had made myself drunk on pizza. I can see the disbelief in your face. But, listen to my symptoms: I couldn’t see straight, walk straight, felt a little like I was going to pass out, and was pretty giddy.

This morning, I felt the slight effects of a hangover. Dry mouth, headache, puffy face, fuzzy feeling all over and something like 20% regret and doubt but 80% sure I had had a good time the night before.

Now that that is out of the way, I can focus again on all things non-cupcake and I’m happy to be back on the paleo track. It was a set back for my digestive system, but a cleansing for my mind. Dawn, you were totally right.

P.S. I guess this is as good a time as any to also mention that I bugged out of the New Mexico 50K. The expense was too great and I had to step up and do the fiscally responsible thing. Sometimes being a real adult sucks.

The good news is that I found a race just outside of Tallahassee and am now registered for a closer, hotter 50K.

The bad news is that it is more than a month ahead of my New Mexico training schedule. Meaning, I will not be trained for the complete distance and will have to gut out the other five miles. Yahoo.

Posted in 50K Ultra Trail Run, Paleo! | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

PALEO GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!!!

OH MY GOD, CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED?!?!?!

Sorry for the shouting, but this is the best. The very, very best. You know those girls in the little brown uniforms are going to be out and about soon, peddling their morsels of sugary, corn syrupy goodness. Last year I couldn’t wait. I looked up recipes that were way too complicated for me to attempt. I thought about buying last year’s leftovers on eBay. I found a site that stalks Girl Scouts in your area and I watched. Like a hawk. Every day. And then they came and it was wonderful.¬†I actually don’t like most Girl Scout cookies, but those Samoas…man, can I demolish some Samoas. Imagine (just close your eyes and imagine) my excitement (fist pumping, hopping, wide eyes, maybe a little more yelling) when I saw this:

Girl Scout Cookie Larabars

I about fell out of my chair. Not only that they were Girl Scout cookies, but that they were my FAVORITE Girl Scout cookies.

Oh My.

I made them tonight. Upon first taste, they were okay. Definitely good, but not Samoa good. Upon second taste, it hit me – the texture of the caramel from the dates, the crunch of the cookie from the chocolate, the coconut. It was Samoa, it was paleo, it was heaven. Upon third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth tastes, it got even better. Everything was right, nothing was missing and I can officially un-stalk those peppy little girls set up at the grocery stores.

(I tweaked the recipe a little. I added about 50% more chocolate – and used dark chocolate chips. They were very sticky, so I rolled them into little balls, flattened them into fat discs, then sprinkled them with more shredded coconut and pressed a little chocolate chip into the top so they had the Samoa’s round, donut shape. Oh, and I made a triple batch.)

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Muffin of Evil

No fewer than five people have told me how amazing Tomato Land is. That’s quite impressive A) for Tallahassee and B) considering I don’t know that many people. So when I found myself starving, on my way home and about to pass right by, I made the split-second decision, flipped on my right turn indicator and parked in their tiny lot. Spending probably an inappropriate amount of time looking at their menu, I was asked twice by an enthusiastic employee if I was ready to order. My problem was that they are not very paleo friendly. Fried okra, fried tomatoes, locally sourced cheeses, artisan breads. Drool. I considered ordering a salmon sandwich sans bread, but went instead with sides: sweet potato fries, roasted root vegetables and collard greens.

Very proud of my paleo meal (which wasn’t strictly paleo – the fries had a delectable dusting of sugar [like something a fairy/crack dealer would sprinkle atop your food] which I half-heartedly knocked off and the roasted root veggies had blue potatoes which were picked out after I unmasked them [by taste, of course]), I got back in the car, unclasped the styrofoam lid and was slapped in the face with this:

The first temptation of Megan.

Immediately, the voice inside my head spoke out:

“Oh my god, I am going to eat that.”

“Okay, I’m going to eat half that.”

“Who would know?” “No one would know.”

“I’ll have one bite.”

“Are you kidding, with the ‘one bite?'”

And so the bargaining began:

“Stop thinking about it.”

“Just eat the rest of your food and pray you’re too full for it.”

“You cannot eat that.”

“You can smell it and have one bite.”

“Here’s the dealio: no bite, smell okay…and one lick.”

“I’ll lick it.”

That’s where we stood. I snapped the photo so I could proudly blog once again about my amazing willpower. I finished my super yummy lunch and settled on smelling, but not eating the muffin. We looked each other in the eye, I picked him up, broke him in half and as the fluffy goodness inside exposed itself, I caught scent of sweet corn and butter. In other words: perfection, in the shape of a muffin.

My resolve began to crumble:

“I could have just one bite.”

“I wouldn’t have to tell anyone.”

“No one would ever find out.”

“JUST STUFF IT IN YOUR MOUTH! QUICK!”

“This isn’t a horrible way to flex. One little, buttery, golden corn muffin.”

Luckily, I have the blog to hold me accountable. I knew the ensuing guilt would prevent me from burying my corn muffin secret deep inside and I would eventually have to reveal that I fraternized with the enemies: grains. Thank you, blog (and by blog, I mean blog readers), for making me responsible for my actions. The few times that I have eaten out since beginning paleo, I have been able to specialize my order. No bread, no potatoes, no cheese. That didn’t really feel like a sacrifice because I never had to see the offenders doing their seductive dance on my plate, so very close to my fork. Today was different. I saw him, he saw me and I had to tell him to his little corn face: I don’t want to eat you. This corn muffin brought me to the cusp of my paleo faithfulness but I am proud to say I kept my balance and both feet remain firmly on the non-grain-eating ground. Cavemen rejoice!

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Sugar Monster Shrinkage

I’ve become master of myself. The frenzied outings for ice cream and cookies have ceased. And not just because I don’t eat that stuff anymore, but because the cravings have become manageable. Manageable means that they’re still there – passing the bakery on my way to produce or seeing desserts at a restaurant still gives me a pang of longing deep in my heart – but my mindful eating is no longer overruled by the sugar monster inside of me.

My rendition of the Sugar Monster. His needs are simple, but great.

I really thought this would be harder. Not to undermine other people’s attempts at getting off The Sugar, but it just so happens the longer I go without it, the less I want it. At the beginning of this cavewoman thing, I was seriously stalking cheesecake. Now, I could give or take it. Don’t put words in my mouth, I never said I didn’t want it. That creamy thickness, the tart and sweet happily marrying in my mouth, the sighing exhale as all stress and worry melts away from my body. Oh, I can vividly imagine it and if I were to take a bite right this second, I can promise you two things: I would not regret it for a millisecond and it would send my sugar monster over the cliff, gobbling up cookies, cake, brownies, and ice cream as it went.

So, is it worth it? Right now, the answer is no. Is life without cheesecake a life I deem worth living? Also, a resounding no. This Paleo thing was never about me stripping my life of all the foods that I love. I won’t ever feel bad about having a special occasion slice of cheesecake, but at the same time, I’m very grateful that I’ve found that life is not all about that sweetness that comes at the end of the meal. You can have sweetness in all other things if you just open your eyes instead of your mouth.

Dormant, just as a good sugar monster should be.

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