Monday, January 31, 2011

I need a Hobby

I imagine that most people consider exercise a hobby.  Whether we gravitate towards group exercise classes or solo runs most of us do not get paid to do these things.  We lead an active lifestyle but we also have careers to tend to. Many of us also have spouses or significant others and children that demand our attention.  Perhaps that is why exercise, for us, is a  necessity.  We need to exercise in order to keep our sanity.

But beyond all the miles logged  how do you like to spend your free time?    What hobbies do you have?  Are you a weekend artist or musician?  Do you have a green thumb which nurtures a fabulous vegetable garden?  Do you read?  Knit?  Sew?  Build things?  Fix leaky faucets?  (I have a leaky faucet.)

I unexpectedly went from a full time job to a different part time job a few months ago so I have found I have more free time.  Unfortunately, I have found that I am wasting this precious free time.  Most days I sleep in more than I ever have before (by sleeping in I mean 9am).  I still exercise 5 days a week, but I need to supplement this hobby with something else.  I also read a lot, but I like to save that for right before bed otherwise I feel I am wasting daylight.   I like to bake, and I make a mean cheesecake, but since it is only my husband and myself, baking needs to be kept at a minimum otherwise shopping for larger size clothing will become a new hobby.

Being that my part time hours tend to start when most of you are finishing your work day, I find I am pretty much waiting all day to go to work and I hate that.  Help me lead a more productive life!  :o)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hydration Nation

We all know that water is essential to life.  The human body is made up of about 70% water.  Water is the vehicle that transports nutrients to the rest of your body.  It transports oxygen throughout the body and removes waste produced from cellular reactions.

We lose water from our bodies throughout the day through sweating, urination and also respiration.  So it makes sense that more active individuals need more water than a sedentary individual.  Thirst is a sign of dehydration, but you are already dehydrated way before you start to start to feel thirsty.  A urine with a dark yellow color is also a sign of dehydration.

So how much water do we need?  It varies based on the individual and how active one is.  A good rule of thumb is to divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water a day.  If you are active or live in a dry climate you will need to adjust that amount upward.  Does this mean we need to drink that amount of water daily?  No.  Actually, we tend to ingest a fair amount of water through the food we eat, especially if our diet includes a lot of water based fruits (melons, apples, peaches).  Obviously, we need to supplement the water we get from the food we eat by actually drinking water.

Lately, I have found this to be very difficult.  I carry a 32 ounce Nalgene bottle (BPA free of course) filled with water with me to work every day.  When I was training for the Chicago Marathon, I forced myself to drink 2 full bottles while I was at work, and whatever I had at home during dinner and after dinner was a bonus.  During that time I never felt thirsty or had that dry pasty feeling in my mouth.  Best of all I had a lot of energy and rarely felt tired even though I did 4am runs, an hour of weights, then worked on my feet all day for 9 hours.  Now, I probably barely drink 20 ounces of water a day and I notice it.  My skin is dry and my mouth is desert dry.  My urine is not the lemonade color is should be, but worst of all is I am tired.  By the time I get home I am beat.  I notice, too, that my workouts are not as stupendous as they once were and I have more craptastic runs than I do fantastic runs.  I am attributing this to dehydration.  I know I need to drink more so why don't I?  Who knows.  Sometimes I get sick of the taste of water.  Sometimes I am too lazy to refill my cup. All I know is I need some creative ways to sneak in more water to my diet 'cuz what I'm doing now just ain't cuttin' it.

Do you drink enough water throughout the day?
What tricks do you use to incorporate more water in your diet?

As a side note I want to thank my followers for, well, following me.  I have been a blog reader for years and held off being a blog author for a long time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My running story...

I have always been a fairly fit person.  In high school I played softball and volleyball.  In college I took regular 2.2 mile brisk walks (my route from my home through the local park and back) and did weekly step aerobics classes.  I even went on the occasional bike ride that started off as 4 miles but turned into 10.  But I never ever considered running.  In fact many years after graduation, a high school classmate of mine invited me to start running with him (he ran the Boston Marathon in 2007), but I balked at the idea and told him I would ride my bike beside him instead.

My husband and I were married in 2004, and as can happen to any married girl, I gained a few pounds.  Now, I am not talking about 40 or 50 pounds or even 30 for that matter.  I gained about 15 pounds from 2004 to 2005.  I was still fairly active during that time, joining the local rec center and still riding my bike, but I couldn't lose any weight.  After a move across the state for education reasons, I found myself in this new town with a fantastic gym.  I joined said gym and in early 2006 participated in a Health Challenge they were having.  During this 12 week program, I changed my eating habits, incorporated strength training into my workouts and increased the cardio.  I started tracking my heart rate and logged my meals in a food journal.  I even started running on the treadmill.  I remember how proud I was for running 15 minutes straight.  I thought I was bad ass for going 15 whole minutes without stopping once! At the end of those 12 weeks, I lost a total of 17 pounds and 22 inches from various bits and pieces of me.  Better yet, I felt so good.  I ran my first 5K in May 2008 and loved the whole race experience so much I did another one that August.  I took what I learned from the Health Challenge and continued to exercise, but even though I was changing up my routine, I felt like I needed to recharge.  Lucky for me I won personal training sessions at my gym.

This personal trainer I "won" also happened to be a former Division I college cross country athlete.  I remember telling him how I ran a 5K that year.  Gosh, I must have sounded so silly, but he suggested I shoot for a 10K next.  Well, I did and I actually ran that pretty fast -- a 9 minute/mile pace.  (Hey, that's fast for me!) That year I also ran a 10 miler.  He told me how the gym was forming a running club and thought I may enjoy training for a 25K.  I was sold.  That training started in January 2010 with the race being held in May.  I was amazed at the progress I made during that time.  Who was this girl running 10, 12, 15 mile training runs in the snow and cold?  I don't think I know her.  I can't say I crushed that 25K, but I was so proud that I finished.  I went on to do a 10K from hell (actually it is my favorite race yet, you might have heard of it, The Camp Pendleton Mud Run with my superhero Muddy Runner) and a half marathon all within a month.  I figured I trained this hard for this long why not run a marathon? So I did on 10-10-10, I ran the Chicago Marathon (that will be a post of its own someday).

I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would be a distance runner. It is still kind of weird thinking how far I have come. Do I enjoy it all the time?  No.  In fact I so desperately want to love it like so many of you love it, but more times than not, I just don't.  Why do I still do it?  Because I know after the first 3 miles of any distance run it will get easier and after completing a double digit run, I feel I can accomplish anything!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The treadmill made me do it

I just couldn't bear to throw on layer after layer to brave the 11 degree temperature this morning so I opted to run on the treadmill this morning.  Sounds good, huh? Well, yes and no.  I did get my planned 3 mile run in which is awesome, but I cheated.  I have this horrible habit of holding on to the front of the treadmill about half way in.  I hate doing it and I tell myself every time I get on I am not going to do it.   My mind plays tricks on me, however, and before you know it, my arms stop swinging and grasp the front of the 'mill.  I know it affects my stride in a negative manner because my knees tend to hurt after a treadmill run.  That's one more reason why I hate treadmill runs.

Treadmill.  Friend or foe?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I did it...

My step into the blogging world has begun after dodging the pleas of my now fellow bloggers far too long.  I'm talkin' to you Muddy Runner!

I feel I need to enroll in a remedial computer class to uphold the standards you guys have set, but give me some time and I may just enlighten you the way you have me.

just another mile...