T minus 2 months until MY FIRST MARATHON!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to dedicate consistent time to this blog.  This summer has been rewarding and busy.  My family even had the chance of a lifetime to visit Rome and embark on a Mediterranean Cruise.  We came back just in time to prepare to go back to school this week.  However, despite the busy-ness, I have been maintaining my training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon. 

Today marks exactly TWO MONTHS until I #RunWithTheMarines! I am so excited and scared at the same time. Over the past few months, I’ve been dealing with a weird pain in my shin area.  It turns out that I have an anterior shin splint.  I’ve been evaluated by an Orthopedist and so far I can still run.  We are working on a plan to keep me running without serious injury.  One good thing is that I already use the Galloway Run/Walk method and was using his training plan as well.  In the plan, after a high mileage long run (18+ miles) the following two long runs are shorter distances (6-8 miles max).  So your body gets time to recover before you increase the mileage again.  I’m already up to 20 miles which is where some training plans max out.  I won’t be attempting 22 for a few weeks.

Here I am after I completed 20 miles on the NCR trail. I turned around at the 10 mile mark for an out and back.

Here I am after I completed 20 miles on the NCR trail. I turned around at the 10 mile mark for an out and back.

I am looking forward to being able to call myself a Marathon Mama in 2 months!  Crosstraining and listening to my body will allow me to do that.

How has your training gone this summer? Have you been able to maintain your fitness? Did you get some vacation time?

Marathon Training–Week 1

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I have been maintaining 15-20 miles per week since the Marine Corps 17.75K in April.  However, this past week marked the beginning of official Marathon training.  I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26th with my fellow Hysterrunner, Joy.  We are doing the Galloway method which builds in long runs and recovery weeks and peaks at 26 miles before the taper.  The belief is that by tackling 26 miles before race day it is less likely that you will hit the wall at mile 20-21.

This week’s long slow run distance was 13 miles. The weather was perfect – 62 degrees at the start.  We’re running along a tree-lined trail early on Saturday mornings to beat the heat.  As we both have several half marathons under our belt, this should have been a piece of cake.  However, we realized that without the crowd support it isn’t.  We did it though! As one of my Facebook friends posted afterwards – “Like a BOSS!” LOL!

Next week is a recovery long run – 5 miles – but I’m nervous about the 15 miler scheduled for the week after.  That will be the furthest I have ever run.  I’m sure that we will get through this training cycle one week at a time.

There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime knowing that I have – Unknown

Thank You #SexyShred!

Over the past 4 weeks, I have been participating in an awesome challenge. Started by @FeministaJones, it is a social media-based community Health and Fitness challenge.  It was created as a way for her to get off a serious plateau.  Now in its 5th and final cycle, I was happy to be able to participate as I have been firmly on a plateau for a few months now.

Very Clean Eating + Awesome Exercise Challenges = #SexyShredlifes short eat clean exercise

Clean Eating

Each week besides adhering to the clean eating diet, we were encouraged to do additional food challenges in the hope that these swaps would become lifestyle changes.  I have been eating clean for a while but I benefitted from being more mindful of my food choices and paying attention to portion sizes.  My personal challenge as I did this was to actually track what I ate and how much. I suffer from – Rungryitis. I run, I’m hungry, I eat like a bottomless pit.  This is a new issue for me.  But no matter how clean you eat, overeating is still overeating!

Thanks to #SexyShred, I have not had an overeating day and there have actually been days where I still had room to eat more yet felt full.  I think it’s because I was more mindful of what I was eating. The other benefit has been completely detoxing my body of sugar. The only sweeteners allowed are raw local honey and maple syrup.  So I’ve had honey but even that I’ve had sparingly.

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Here are some examples of foods that I ate on the challenge – Honey Oat Muffins, Zucchini with Eggs & Chicken Sausage for Post-Run Breakfast, and Pumpkin Blueberry Coconut Jars for afternoon snacks. Check out my Pinterest Healthy Recipes board for more ideas!

Exercise Challenges

So you all know that I am a Hysterrunner and that ever since my surgery I have been aiming to add more strength training into my routine.  Bikram Yoga and Aqua Zumba have been good to me for cross training.  But strength training and focused core work has been hit or miss.

#SexyShred had us aim for 240 minutes of exercise this week which is doable with my running schedule.  It also had weekly exercise challenges which pushed us to do things outside of our comfort zone – burpees, push-ups, crunches, wall sits.  All exercises which I hadn’t been incorporating regularly have been re-introduced into my routine.  One day we had to do 15 Russian twists every hour we were awake; another day was a 3-exercise circuit done as many times as possible in 20 minutes.  Being accountable to my fellow shredders was the motivation I needed to keep up with the challenges.

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Russian Twists with a 13lb weight!

Dealing with the Winter weather we have had over the past few weeks here in Maryland has made keeping up with my running hard.  As I wanted to not only hit the 240 minute mark but exceed it, I found other ways to exercise when running wasn’t possible.

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One Saturday morning the snow and ice derailed my long run plans but instead of sleeping in I did 3 workouts in one day – Yoga for Runners at Charm City Run and the circuit at Curves followed by a class at Xpose Fitness as a part of the #SexyShred group workout day.  Other days, I worked out in my basement.  I’ve finally started working on my upper body strength!

Results:

I have definitely seen improvements in my overall fitness levels in the past few weeks. Weekly 1-minute tests have improved for me – 0 Burpees in week 1 are now 15; 63 jumping jacks to 72! Today I will be completing the post-tests as well as my last workouts of the challenge and I can’t wait to see my progress.

Have I left the weight loss plateau? Sort of. After weeks of the scale not moving, I lost 1 pound on #SexyShred. My clothes are falling off as my body is changing from the strength training.  I’ll take that! It’s still Progress!

Did you do #SexyShred? Have you done any exercise or weight loss challenges for this year? Tell us about your progress in the comments.

Faith and Fitness Routine

november 2013 routineAs we begin a new month, I would like to share my current fitness routine with you.  It is what is working for me right now and feasible to do with work travel and the upcoming holidays.

A good workout routine is one that should allow you to grow both physically and spiritually.  This month Faith and Fitness Magazine is celebrating their 60th issue! Quite an accomplishment! The editor’s page speaks about the qualities of a good routine.  I am sharing portions of it here.  Please feel free to visit the magazine to read the entire article as well as all of the articles in this month’s issue.  Here are the ‘routine’ characteristics evident in “a good physical workout, an intentional lifestyle and in the very core of our spiritual design – your faith.”

DETERMINATION AND PERSISTENCE – What is your “Don’t give up” attitude? That is the strength when no one else stands with you. It is the hope that drives you to go forward and go hard beyond reasoning, popular consensus and even obligation.

LISTENING AND LEARNING – This is your capacity to take every experience in every moment and process it into a God-given opportunity to grow. It is fueled by persistent humility and eagerness to discover and apply. You do this best when you realize that to be like God is to be free from the narrow limits that control and destroy.

CONFIDENCE AND BARING – These are markers placed throughout routine to guide us. They are the tried and tested that give us familiarity and assurance. These qualities provide a recognizable spiritual genetic fingerprint to the repeating but continually evolving journey.

MEASUREMENT AND DEFINITION – Maybe you can feel it and sense it. But are the changes and strength really there? Routine gives us the needed parameters to achieve and define progress and growth with measurable results. There is no vagueness only clarity. Your physical fitness can be measured in health and muscular definition. Similarly you can taste and see God’s blessings and guidance.

EVALUATION AND VISIONING – Finally, no routine is ever complete and simply begun again without the important processes of reflection and anticipation. God gives us others because this isn’t meant to be a solitary experience. It is usually not without some pain but it is most certainly intended to be brimming with hope. Routines are documented, sometimes poorly, hopefully well and with detail. Take time to review the experiences, conversations, notes, emails, prayers and journals — everything in your routine that now becomes a new layer to your life. This is your new skin, fresh cells created so you can Be Life in new ways like you’ve never been able to before.

– Faith & Fitness Magazine ~ Brad Bloom, Oct/Nov 2013

100 miles

During this Sunday’s #runchat discussion, a few of us decided to keep each other accountable for both our mileage and, especially, our speedwork! Check out this post for links to the Google Doc spreadsheet if you would like to join us. There will be surprise giveaways along the way. This is a great way to celebrate Movember and stay fit during the upcoming holidays.

Angie Runs

Can you run (or walk) 100 miles in the month of November?

During one of my weekly #runchat discussions, a group of us were talking about a way to be accountable and stay motivated.

Join the challenge! It’s an easy Google Doc spreadsheet. Just add your name (or whatever you want to be known as) to a column, and log your miles for the day.  Keep in mind rest is important!

So you think this is too easy?  Well there could be surprise challenges or mileage checks along the way. Who likes speed work? May even be prizes. (I recently won some swag from Body Glove / Surge that I am willing to share, I also make awesome head bands.)

Are you in?!!? Tell your friends.

I am not shy about telling you to get out there and get it done. I also don’t do well with excuses…

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It’s RUNtober!!!

I woke up yesterday morning singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  It is one of my favorite months to run.  Last year, I spent most of the month of RUNtober on bed rest.  Not this year.  This month is going to be epic!  Why, you ask?  Because RUNtober is the start of Fall Running Season.  There are so many who have trained all summer for goal races in this month.  I’m one of them but before I tell you about that…

I ended September with Race #12. I ran the Run Wild for Autism 5K with my son through the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  Last year, this race was the last one I ran before my hysterectomy.  I ran it in PAIN.  This year, I ran an 11 miler on Saturday as a part of my half marathon training.  So I just had the goal of finishing for the 5K.  Since this was more for my son than for me, we were both fine with that.

Here we are before the race. What you can’t see is that we both took advantage of the free Starbucks coffee before the race started.  My son also had a couple of donut holes from Dunkin Donuts.  Not the best pre-race meal but we actually had breakfast in the house before we got there.

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The race itself is simple with a few HILLS as the Zoo is in Druid Hill Park.  But, the majority of the race goes through the Zoo so you get to see it in a way that you don’t normally when you visit.  We ran past sleeping cheetahs and saw the penguins coming out of their home as they woke up.  Pretty cool.  The post-race activities are AWESOME and geared towards families, including of course those with autistic kids.  Zoo volunteers roam around the post-race area with live animals.  The best part as far as my son is concerned is that autistic families get to go to the zoo for FREE after the race.

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Now that you know how I ended September, let me tell you how I plan to celebrate RUNtober!  My goal race for this year – Race #13 of 2013 – is the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon on October 12th!  I am hoping to PR with this race.  My BRFs and I have been maintaining a 13 minute pace on our long slow runs.  Our ending strides have been in the 12 1/2 minute range so if we pull and push each other through I know a sub-three hour half marathon is possible for us.

Besides the half marathon, I plan to run 100 miles this month! I will be using the hashtag #RUNtober to document my runs on twitter (@doctornayaka) and dedicate my miles to end childhood obesity with the Saucony Run4Good app.  Feel free to do the same.  My crosstraining for September slipped a bit as I got my son settled and back to school.  Bikram Yoga and I are about to be reunited and it feels so good.

One more good thing about this awesome month – tonight I am going to meet my favorite Bad Ass Mother Runners – Sarah & Dimity!  I was featured on Another Mother Runner website in August.  It will be great to meet the brains behind the books and site in person.

How will you celebrate RUNtober?  Do you have a race planned this month? What do you like about Fall?

Progress Not Perfection

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. – First Timothy 4:15, Bible ~ New International Version

It’s Labor Day Weekend.  My scale-free summer has come to an end.  Technically, it ended last Thursday in my doctor’s office.  But, I still kept up what I was doing and did not step on a scale at home or look at my weight until this morning.  The verdict…I have lost 1 pound.  Am I upset? NOPE!!! That wasn’t the point.  Although I do still have some weight to lose, I needed to focus more on becoming better at getting fit without focusing on the scale.  I also took measurements of my body at the beginning of the summer. 

Body Part L/R July 17th August 30th
Arms 14”/14” 14”/14”
Thighs 21”/21” 20”/20.5”
Calves 14.5”/15” 14”/14.5”
Waist 39 3/4” 37”
Hips 44” 43 1/2”

 

I’m so excited!!! (cue the Pointer Sisters!) I have definitely toned up this summer, including almost 3” lost on my waist! No wonder Erika of The Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss actually commented on one of my Instagram photos with one word – CURVES!!

So how did I get here? I focused on training for Fall races in my running.  I didn’t race at all for July and August – just trained.  I made sure that even when I was travelling I made time to run.

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I ran a 7 mile loop of the Rock N Roll Philadelphia course.

2013-08-03 20.46.18 I ran trails in Delaware State Park.

I did the exercise challenge which I posted for July as a part of my crosstraining.  Lots of crunches, planks, and pushups.  I mixed up my crosstraining a lot actually.  I did Vinyasa Yoga for a few sessions, Aqua Zumba for a few sessions, and tried TRX for the first time.  I believe I’m in love with TRX and will definitely be adding that to my weekly workouts for the Fall.

My eat clean progress was continued as well.  I always find it easier to eat more fruits and veggies during the summer.  There are so many to choose from.  I did the green smoothie challenge in July – YUMMY!!! With the exception of a few days when I was travelling, I have had a green smoothie almost every day for breakfast.  My hubby got into them as well.  So on the mornings when I didn’t make one, he made one for us.

All in all, it was a great summer!  For this Fall, I am going to focus on FITNESS and drop the last few pounds of FAT. Details soon to come.  In the meanwhile, remember to…

progress not perfection

Did you have a Scale Free Summer? How did you do on your fitness goals this summer?

New Goals–What’s Beautiful?

Thanks to Mother Nature, I barely ran this past week.  Tuesday evening was stormy – thunder, lightning…so Twilight Tuesday was cancelled.  However, I found a TV exercise game online.  I did the exercises during Dancing with the Stars The Results show. 

I did get to Bikram Yoga on my lunch time on Wednesday.  I followed that up with a 2 mile run on Thursday morning before work.  All in all, not bad for someone who completed 2 half marathons in 8 days.  I probably needed the rest more than I realized.

Next week, I will be building back up my miles and beginning speedwork in preparation for my next challenge. Thanks to the encouragement of the wonderful Dr Shauna Harrison, I have signed up for the Under Armour What’s Beautiful competition.  If you don’t know, Under Armour Women “are redefining the female athlete by setting epic goals and pushing past where we’ve ever been and where we thought we could go.”  As a part of the challenge, you set goals for yourself with the hopes of crushing them.

I had already set a challenge for myself for 2013.  I planned to run 13 races in 2013, including my first half marathon.  Well, in the past few months, I have blown through more than half of my goals.  At this point,month 5, I have already run 6 races including 2 half marathons!!!  So for my challenge, I have upped the ante so to speak.  I am aiming for a sub-three hour half marathon! Yes, that means I will be running at least one more this year!  My specific goal is:

I Will run 13 races in 2013 including a sub-3 hour half marathon and rebuild my core.

I’m still working on my Summer/Fall race schedule.  However, I’m thinking Rock N Roll Philly and/or the Baltimore Running Festival will probably be on it.  One of those two will be my goal race.  This will mean running and training strong this summer to be ready to blow through this next goal. 

Classes are done for this school year so I get my Thursday evenings back.  That means 3-4 runs and 2-3 crosstraining sessions are back in the schedule.  Woohoo!  This week’s schedule looks like this:

Monday – Bikram Yoga

Tuesday – Twilight Tuesday Tempo Run 3-4 miles

Wednesday – ?

Thursday – Speedwork

Friday – Bikram Yoga

Saturday – Long Run 6-8 miles

Let’s see how I do this week!

What are your goals for this week?  Are any of you doing the Under Armour What’s Beautiful challenge?  Is anyone else sick of this crazy weather?

My Medical Progress & Monthly Goals

I haven’t written official monthly goals in a few months.  But, it’s May, the month for mothers, especially mother runners Smile! So I ‘m writing them down.

I still have some twinges of pain in my incision from time to time, especially with extra exertion, like in a race.  In fact, after I was finished with the Iron Girl, it throbbed for a while to a beat which felt like my run pace.  I spoke to my Gynecologist at my follow-up appointment last week about this.  He said that I should expect to feel throbbing for up to a year.  He said it would be ok if I worked on abdominal work, though.  I had been trying it intermittently, with the exception of Bikram Yoga, because it hurts.  The night before my surgery I did 175 different types of crunches because I could.  Now I can barely do 10.  However, I have no adhesions and have healed well so I can focus on building back up my abs. Woohoo!

I had my follow-up general practitioner doctor appointment on Monday, the day after the Iron Girl.  I wore my medal to the appointment, of course.  My BP is down to 120/80!!! We were both very excited to see those numbers.  I still need to stay on the single medication for now but we will be reassessing in 4 months.  My task until then is to take my pressure before and after a few runs as well as to do a few test days without medication and take my pressure on each of them.  The research scientist in me is looking forward to collecting this data. LOL!!!

Now that I have a clean bill of health, here are my goals for this month.

Running – Frederick Half Marathon on May 5th ~ Race 6 of #13in2013 then to maintain my distance and do some speedwork to be prepared for the Baltimore Ten Miler in June.

Abdominal Work – I’ll be adding 15-30 minutes of ab exercises to our post-Twilight Tuesday runs starting in May.  Looking forward to working with my sole sisters of BGR on a common goal.

Bikram Yoga – Get in at least 3 sessions this month.  I love Bikram.  It helps me to be more flexible and I always feel centered after these sweat pink sessions Winking smile!

Strength Training – Help! I need to figure something out that is consistent.  This is my weakest link!  My goal this month is to figure out how to be strong.

Do you set fitness goals?  Have you dealt with coming back from illness?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Wordless Wednesday – My Weight Loss Journey

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June 2012

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April 2013

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!