Friday, April 27, 2012

Marathon Dreams & Short-term Goals


Yesterday was filled with a bit of suspense waiting for the NYC Marathon lottery!


Bummer! I did not get in to the ING New York City Marathon 2012. I wasn’t exactly expecting to get in as such a small percentage does, but it was fun to hope. At the same time, I was super nervous. Putting that marathon on the calendar would put a major deadline on my injury rehab, and I’m not sure I can do that yet. I rationalized that if I got in, I was simply meant to run it, whatever that means. But I didn’t.

So at this point, I am really considering if 26.2 is in the plans for 2012. That was what I said after dropping out of the marathon in March. I’d pick a Fall marathon. I would love to run the Marine Corps Marathon on Team Best for Babes fundraising for an organization and cause that I love.


But, I’m not sure that’s a great idea at this point. In fact, I’m totally sure that’s not a great idea. Right now, I am logging zero miles. There are just over 26 weeks until MCM 2012. That means I’d need to be ready to start marathon training in 6-8 weeks. Do I think if everything worked out perfectly that it could happen? Sure. But everything would have to work out perfectly. I’d need to be running in 2 weeks and be able to build a base with zero issues and then be covered in fairy dust or something in order to survive marathon training without irritating just healed injuries.

So I guess that’s my answer. I would love to run 26.2 in 2012 as planned, but it’s just not a good choice for my body and long term goals. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on getting back up to speed (pun totally intended), hopefully getting a 5K PR, and tackling this amazing race.


This race starts practically in my back yard and goes across this fabulous state (despite what everyone else says!) to finish on the beach in Island Beach. A team of 12 people cover 200 miles in 24 hours.

beach nj 

I am totally excited about this, and I am in the process of building a team! If you or someone else you know might be interested in joining us, let me know here or on Facebook.


And finally, in the very short term – the next 6 weeks, I am going to do something I don’t usually do. I’m going to focus on the scale. I’ve gained 10lbs since having to stop running, and I still had 20-ish lbs left to lose before that to get to a healthy weight for my height and build. The added weight does not making running any easier on my body, and it is one more frustration to deal with in addition to not being able to run. It’s got to go. So, I am being bold and planning to lose at least 11lbs between now and my 30th birthday in June. It’s within healthy guidelines of 2lbs per week for sustainable weight loss, and it is completely doable if I focus on my portions, avoid emotional eating, and get to the gym to get in some cardio in addition to all my strength exercises.

This is not a weight loss blog, and I usually don’t do this, but for the next 6 weeks, I will post a weekly weigh-in on Fridays to keep myself on track with this goal. On weigh-in day, I’ll also share something that is either working great for me or a challenge I’m having when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness.

Also let me declare loudly and clearly, the scale does not define me. It’s a tool that I am choosing to set a goal with at this time. This is about getting back on track to a healthier, stronger, and fitter body.

Does anyone else have a goal they’d like to set for the next 6 months? How can I help you be accountable for it? It does not need to be health or fitness related!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What exactly is okay to eat?


I find myself asking this question far too often. Partially because I have some crazy food allergies that began in my early twenties and have continued to develop. My body seems confused about the answer to that question, and I’m working to try to figure out how to help it. My family’s been gluten-free for 3.5 weeks as a start because gluten is such a highly reactive food for so many people. Dairy’s next. These aren’t permanent changes at this point. They are trials as we continue to learn and evaluate how our bodies respond to various foods.

But at the same time, I read, listen, and watch to as much as I can about holistic health, nutrition, and earth friendly living. We strive to eat as organic and local as we can (how much exactly changes all the time). We avoid GMOs as best we can. We grow what we can and we belong to a CSA. We’re working had. But I have to tell you, I am so damn confused about it all. There’s a few things that are obvious. Organic is better than conventional. Non-GMO is better than GMO. Grass-fed is better than grain-fed. Free range is better than factory farmed. But after that, well it gets dicey.

As an athlete, I hear a lot about the Paleolithic Diet which is no grains, no legumes, and no dairy (among other things I’m sure I’m missing) with a focus on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. I know many runners and other health-minded folks who follow it. The increasingly popular CrossFit program swears by it. Just the other day, my chiropractic said it was probably the closest we could get to the ideal diet. It’s based on the idea that this is how we were designed to eat.

Then there are the Weston A. Price Foundation folks. They emphasize animal products including raw milk, cheese and butter along with grains prepared best for digestion (lots of soaking and sprouting) along with fats and oils including lard, animal fats, butter, coconut and cod liver oils. This or variations of this are very popular in some of the holistic parenting circles as a traditional foods diets. It’s based on the idea that this is how we were designed to eat.

And then there are the vegans. They also claim that this is how we were designed to eat. I recently watched two films, Forks Over Knives and Hungry for Change. Both were heavy on the plant-based diet, although it was more central to the former than the latter.

hungry for change

Hungry for Change really focused on how we are overfed but starving to death. It mentioned or touched on a large variety of topics including nutritional deficiencies, skin care, juicing, visualization, mental health and emotional eating, chemicals and preservatives in our food, negative self talk and more! Many of the people in the film were not only vegans but some of them raw vegans. They talked about detoxes, chia seeds, and spirulina. They covered a lot of the trendy health foods right now and their role in nutrition. It was a call to take back our health, get moving, and feed our bodies with the nutrition we need.

forks over knives pic

Forks Over Knives made the argument that animal products are causing all of our health problems from cancer to circulatory disease. The experts in the film explained how animal foods promote cancer growth while plant-based foods reduce it. They referenced the China Study among other things. It’s a message of food being able to cure so many of our health problems instead of surgeries. I found this review of it to bring up a few contrary points.


So there you have it. I don’t know what to think. I’ve learned some about all of it and yet I know there is so much more to learn. Every which way someone is telling me that something is going to kill me and something is the key to my health. Every where I turn folks are arguing. Some are saying even grass-fed meat is not good enough. It’s as much the problem as anything else. Grass-fed farmers are arguing back, of course.

So what I am missing? I get the discussions. I see points on both side. Of course bio-individuality, individual allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances play a role in answering this question which no one in any of the camps would like to consider. Gluten, dairy, soy, corn, animal products, and more – it’s all going to kill you. So what in the world can I eat? And who is right? I know this is not the only issue that this happens with, but usually I have a gut instinct that combined with research and information helps me decide. On this issue, I’m truly perplexed. I just want to know what to eat to be healthy, happy, and good for the planet!

What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

It’s garden time! Well, with this unseasonably warm weather, it’s been garden time for quite some time. But, I am thrilled to say that this past week we finally got all of our seeds planted (only about a week later than last year which was only about 3 weeks later we had wanted to begin with – oops!). We used a lot of seeds from last year so we’ll see how well they germinate. We stored with them in a cool, dry cabinet with some of those moisture absorbing packets that come in shoe boxes or pill containers. Our seeds primarily came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds with a few extras coming from Pinetree Garden Seeds. We are committed to a non-GMO, organically raised garden.


For some reason garden planning always manages to overwhelm me. I think it’s because a) I really have no idea what I’m doing and b) I want to do a little bit of everything! But we got all our seeds planted in the same evil-plastic cups we used last year successfully.


The boys were a big help/total terror during the process, but they are excited and that’s what matters! They helped write labels on tongue depressors and put them in the (hopefully) correct cups.


We still need to get the grow lights up today as we have things sprouting and reaching for the window but here is our shelf of seeds. We have a couple variety of tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplants, green bush beans, onions (totally wrong timing for these but we had seeds so figured why not!), broccoli, and cauliflower.


The extra cups that didn’t fit on the self went onto the back porch.


Plus we direct sowed carrots, two types of lettuce, spinach and kale in to the garden.


Our 2 year old strawberries are looking happy.


Our raspberries have some nice new growth. They were transplanted here mid-summer last year.


And our blueberry bushes planted last year have some pretty blossoms on them.


Plus we’ve got most of our herbs planted. Cilantro, thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, fennel, parsley and chamomile. The oregano and fennel are a few years old and keep coming back strong!


Those pots will be moved throughout the patio to decorate as we work on finishing this beautiful patio we got last fall. After that, we hope to start some sunflowers in this spot so they fill in blank spot on the back of the house. I’ll post patio before and after pictures as soon as we get a little further along. I won’t wait until we’re done because I fear we never will be!

I can’t wait to see and eat the goodies that will be growing shortly! Combined with our CSA, we will have plenty of fresh produce along with lots to preserve. We just got a juicer so I know that is where a lot of the extra, we don’t know what to do with it, veggies will be going. Yum!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

Two posts in one day? Crazy I know. Actually the earlier post was supposed to post yesterday but it didn’t.

Happy Earth Day! Some favorite moments enjoying nature in the past month…


Someday I’ll run again. Hopefully someday soon.

At the beginning of January, I posted my hoped for/intended/first draft race schedule for 2012. As expected (and predicted in a comment on that post by Kristie!), that schedule has changed and continues to change. I had to switch from running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nation’s Capital USA Marathon to walking the half marathon.
broad street
And today, I deferred my entry to the Broad Street 10 miler until next year. Boooo! There’s just no way I can run 10 miles. I might have been able to if I got back to running and ignored the pain but that’s clearly not gotten my anywhere good.
Soooo…. next up on that calendar is RunAmuck 5k! I ran this last in NY, and I am registered to run in NJ this year. This one is purely fun, and I should be fine to run with my how my rehab is going.
Ah yes, rehab. That’s my dailymile training report. I’ve ran 4 miles in the past 4 weeks.
I am working hard at getting injury-free. The plantar fasciitis has improved with rest, ART therapy, at-home ultrasound along with all the stretching and exercises I was doing before. The problem is that the two times I’ve run, I have definitely felt it in my feet afterwards. Bummer. I am trying a new therapy called the MELT Method that seems promising added to the rest of what I am doing. I took a free class and figured it couldn’t hurt to try. I’ll report more if I have success with it.
At the same time, the “slightly irritated knee that turned super painful when I stopped running and then got better after walking a half marathon” is getting a little more attention. I also felt it when I ran those few miles. So, I headed to the doctor and found myself back at physical therapy. I figure if I am already sidelined, I might as well get as strong and healthy as I can before I return to running. I am loving this new physical therapist. We’ve identified some major weaknesses in my left leg, especially in the hip. I’ll be getting new prescription orthotics and keeping up with a ridiculous number of squats, lunges, and other very painful rehab exercises combined with foam rolling, sticking. and stretching.
I’m taking a weekly spin class, some strength classes, and trying to stay active amid all this rehab. I need to get back to yoga as well. And hopefully, before I know it, I’ll be out there logging some miles stronger and healthier! I’m resisting adding or confirming any of my race calendar until I’m nearly recovered. But, that didn’t stop me from throwing my name into the NYC Marathon Lottery! It’s a crazy, scary shot in the dark as a ridiculously small percentage get in through the lottery, but hey why not! I’ll let you know how that goes on Wednesday. Follow me on twitter or facebook for the update!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

*that* mom's bookshelf - April Edition

I've been behind on my posting here, but I've been busy reading! This makes 9 books for the year making my 12 book goal for 2012 look a little low. Maybe I'll aim for 12 books for each half of the year!

I'm also in the middle of a gluten-free trial diet with my family, which may turn into a gluten-free, casein-free trial. I'll share more about why and how this is going in the next few weeks as I hopefully come up with some more answers. And, I'm still trying to recover from my running injuries so that I can get back it. I just started round 2 of Physical Therapy (with a therapist who I will hopefully like a lot more than the last) today, and I will update soon on what's going on and what's working for me (once I figure it out).
Run Less, Run Faster is built on the premise of running less miles at a faster pace in order to better train your body. It incorporates 3 weekly runs combined with 2 quality cross-training workouts. The argument is that by resting your running muscles while exercising others you are going to be able increase your fitness while avoiding injury and burnout. Makes sense to me. While reading it, I could not have possible run less because I was on my running hiatus due to injury. I find that my body and my schedule do not allow 5+ days of running weekly, and I thought this book would give me helpful information on how to train without hitting the kind of mileage others cover. The workouts are precise with goal paces and effort levels. There is also information on complementary strength training and stretching. I am not ready to take on one of the training plans, but I found the information interesting and I would consider it in the future.

This book looks at both food sensitivities as well as nutritional deficiencies as a cause or contributing factor for a variety of childhood ailments. I was curious for both my children who are not good sleepers. One has frequent stomachaches while another is extremely sensitive and anxious. There was good information on everything from good multi-vitamins to specific vitamin deficiencies in addition to food allergies or sensitivities. I found the information on zinc to be very interesting and new to me, while the the information regarding probiotics and fish oils reinforced what I already knew. The author has a brief but excellent section on melatonin as a sleep aid. We use this already for my older son, and her section increased my confidence in our use of it. I'm considering taking either or both gluten and dairy out of our diets as a trial but fear the change. Dorfman asks parents to be detectives in their children's nutrition and symptoms. It is still a daunting task, but I found her information helpful and this is something to which we keep returning.

This book describes itself as a guide to understanding and parenting unusually sensitive and empathetic children. It stretched my ideas of intuition and empathy at points, but generally I was struck the descriptions that related to my own son who is extremely empathetic. He absorbs so much of the emotion around him. The stress of those around him affect him greatly. Crawford intersperses her writing with stories of children and families she's counseled. These served as helpful illustrations of her points, but I admit to skipping some when I was in sections that seemed less pertinent to my child. I appreciated her descriptions of how a highly intuitive child sees and feels the world. She adequately explains that there are a lot of ways children can deal or not deal with this gift. My child for instance instead of being overly helpful and concerned for others gets to a point where he is so overwhelmed by the emotional input that he acts out in frustration and anger. Crawford spends most of the book explaining what a highly intuitive child is and some of the problems they may experience with short mentions of tools along the way. For the most part, she saves the tools for one chapter at the end of the book. This chapter is a very helpful wrap up of the information prior and includes more tools for giving these kids the skills they need to thrive with their gift.

This was a great first book for us as we entered into a gluten-free lifestyle (whether temporary or long-term). Korn describes what gluten is, where it's found, and a little bit about why you might want/need to avoid it. She mentions children who are casein-free in addition to gluten-free but doesn't actually provide much helpful information for casein-free life. She covers how to deal with school, talk to your kids, cross-contamination, eating out, and more as far as the basics of gluten free life. She does not include recipes but has a helpful list of easy go-to meals.  One issue I found was conflicting information on ingredients that may contain gluten. In one part of the book Korn lists things that previously were considered sources of gluten but are now known to be safe for gluten intolerant individuals; however, in the back of the book there is a go-to list of forbidden ingredients and some of those supposedly 'safe' ingredients are listed as forbidden. A little confusing to say the least! But overall, this was an easy read and a helpful start to the 'G' free world!

Shauna James Ahern is the author of the blog Gluten-free girl  as well as the book by the same name. The book chronicles her history with processed food, her discovery of celiac, and her journey to loving food and cooking. Discovering she had celiac disease forced her into the kitchen where she discovered simply amazing, high quality food. She definitely writes like a food snob, talking about finding rare olive oils and truffle oils and describing the tastes in detail. At my house, we already are kind of food snobbish so she was preaching to the choir. I enjoyed reading some of the stories, but others I was bored by her flowery writing. But, I love that this is a book that tells someone who must live without gluten that it is not the end of good food, in fact it could be the doorway to great food! She also discusses some of the practicality of meals with family, eating out, and just overall life without gluten.