It’s official: I’m addicted to running

This summer marks one full year that I’ve been running. That’s so short compared to so many of my avid runner friends, but what a milestone it is for me. For years I tried to be a runner but could not run for more than 1 minute at a time. I tried the Couch to 5k plan countless times but just never followed through with it. I had convinced myself I would never be able to run for 30 minutes straight, so I never got past week 1 of C25k. I would finish week one, then repeat it the next week, then stop for a week, then get discouraged and just quit.

Looking back on the old me I think “what the heck?!” What was wrong with me? I had created a mental block and could not get past it. I was healthy, capable, a perfect contender. I just didn’t want to put in the effort. It wasn’t until one day when I realized that I had Christ strengthening me. If I had God as my helper, what is there that I possibly could not achieve? So I said I would run a marathon. I signed up for one having never completed a race in my life, and I started training. And I did it.

And I’m going to do it again. I just signed up for my second full marathon that I plan to run in February of 2015. Hopefully with a year of running and several races under my belt I will be able to improve my time a bit. I know what to expect this time around, what I need and don’t need (large hydration pack that got tossed at the WDWM at mile 20 was a lesson learned) and have become comfortable peeing in bushes…that’s already saving several minutes! Last year I had one goal: don’t die. This year I would like to put a little more “umph” into my training and set a time goal. Nothing too intense, but something to aim for other than just finishing it. Now that this blog exists I plan to record all of my training on here. It will be fun to post pictures, times, and watch progress unfold. It’s easy to forget how far I’ve come.

I am just in awe of the way God has carefully constructed our bodies and what they are able to do. I feel so blessed to be able to go out and run. I hope some of you will follow along this journey with me.

Mel

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Just Keep Running

Sometimes after a big race it’s hard to get back in the swing of training. This has been me for the last two months. I’ve been stuck running 3-4 miles 3x a week and not pushing myself to go any further. After the marathon, I experienced a sort of runner’s depression. I’m a newbie, it was my first big race and I wasn’t sure how to get back into the swing of training after completing such a big goal of mine. My body was tired, and my head wasn’t in the game. 

Yesterday I watched a documentary on the Badwater Ultramarathon, and of course it flipped that little switch in the back of my mind that made me crave more (not that that is something I’ll be attempting any time soon). I realized that to keep on trucking I need to continue to sign up for races. Races make me train, they give me a goal. I’m still waiting for the day when I’ll wake up and go run 25 miles just for the sake of running, but sadly that day hasn’t arrived yet. 

Next up on my list is the Williams Lake 10k Trail Challenge next month. This will be a fun race and my first ever trail run which I am SO looking forward to! 

Just have to keep moving. Complacency is no state to live in. Bigger challenges stretch my faith, I want to rely on Him more. 

Plant Based Diet, Days 4-8 Recap

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 8 full days on a plant based diet with no added oils. I am pretty proud of myself!

The Physical

So far I’ve lost 3 pounds and have seen major improvements in my skin. My energy levels are extremely high; I especially notice how energetic I am when I’m running. 3 weeks ago I completed a full marathon and have been doing small recovery runs since (2-3 miles). At the beginning of this diet I felt that my body was really still recovering from the marathon. I wasn’t sore any more but I was still pretty fatigued. However, the last few days I’ve been out running and just wanted to keep going! I know I owe that to the diet. I also noticed some mild plantar fasciitis starting after the marathon and now it’s completely gone. Thank you, plants!

My husband and I both were chatting yesterday about how our desire for meat and cheese it pretty much gone. In the first couple days we were really struggling with an addiction to it, but now the only thing I miss is olive oil. I love to cook Italian food and am used to using quite a bit of olive oil, mostly to bring out the flavor in things. On my plant based expedition, though, I am not using any oil…or salt. I didn’t realize how much I rely on those two things for flavoring. Needless to say, this diet is teaching me to get pretty creative with spices.

The Spiritual

My mental alertness has to be one of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed. I love reading my bible, but in the past have struggled with truly devoting 100% of my focus to what I’m reading. My mind wanders to things that are on my to-do list when I should be sitting and spending time with God. I pulled out my bible and began reading the book of John the other night, and for the first time in a long time I felt that God was speaking directly to me. He had my full attention. I can’t help but think that by taking better care of my body, I’m being a better servant to the Lord. I know that the Bible says that our bodies are temples to the Lord, but I never really thought about what that meant. I usually just thought it meant to not sin…but no! In my Christian faith I believe that the Holy Spirit lives in me. The best way I can explain the Holy Spirit is that it’s our direct connection to God. If I’m about to turn down a wrong road that could lead to a major accident, the Holy Spirit is the voice inside that softly says, “Nope. Don’t go that way today, take another route.” Anyways, if the Holy Spirit is LIVING in me, shouldn’t I be taking pretty darn good care of my body? Hello!

Another thought that came to mind was doing my part. As an athlete I pray that God will protect my body from injury. I pray that He will help me train hard so that I can win races. I pray that He will protect me from sickness so that I can be at my fullest potential. If I’m down here feeding my body junk that’s going to make me sick, but praying that God will protect me from sickness, I’m not entirely doing my part. Sure, God still has the power to protect me from sickness and injury even if I’m eating junk, but that just doesn’t seem like the right thing for me to do. Of course, God loves me no matter what. He’d love me even if I ate McDonalds every day, but I want to do all that I can to take good care of the body that He gave me.

And that’s what I’m doing…right here, right now. Day 8 of plant based eating. The best is yet to come.

Battling Addiction, Plant Based Diet Day 3 Recap

Today is the end of my third full day on a plant based diet. I think I could get used to this! My energy levels are still very high, as is my mental alertness. However, this diet definitely requires some mental discipline because (at least for me) it involves battling addiction.

Addiction to unhealthy foods, that is. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my husband and my’s regular diet up to this point contained a lot of meat, dairy and oil. We are now eating veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes and cut out added oils (even virgin olive oil). They don’t call it a “vegan challenge” for nothing. Having eaten meat, dairy and oil for most of my life and suddenly giving it up is a big transition. But, my husband and I decided to go into this together to lose weight and better our health and it’s working!

Luckily we both find each other pretty humorous and were able to laugh about it today. He really wanted some meat for dinner.

This was his, “I really want a steak but I’m trying to be thrilled with this vegetable soup” face…

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This was probably the day that I realized that we are truly addicted to meat. Ethics aside, I know there are varying views on whether or not grass fed meats are healthy for us, but for me being addicted to anything is not good. So we’re battling it.

The good news is that we both are fully aware of this and are glad to be creating new, healthy eating habits. And we’ve both lost weight already! That’s a plus.

Until next time,

Stay classy, eat grassy. 🙂

“Vegan Challenge” Day 2 Recap

veggies

Today is the end of our second full day following a completely plant based diet. In case you missed the challenge that I’ve decided to take on, you can read about it here. I wanted to do a quick recap each day of how I’m feeling, mostly for myself, but also for anyone who’s interested in the effects of a plant based diet.

So far I am very full of energy! I also have felt very “light,” if that makes sense. I didn’t realize how much my regular foods were making me feel weighted down and sluggish. Yesterday both my husband and I were so excited to just be starting the diet, we hardly cared what the food we were eating tasted like. Today he mentioned that he was craving steak for dinner so I opted for a mushroom dish that we both loved (mushrooms are a great meat replacement!) This diet is completely different from what we normally eat, but this is a challenge that we decided to take to better our health. Our regular diet consists of lots of meat, dairy and oil. As you can imagine, neither of us have felt great. This diet is challenging us to eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains and teaching us to make them delicious!

While we’re only two days deep, we can feel the difference! It’s very obvious that we are feeding our bodies foods that they have been craving. It’s currently my bed time and while I would normally be exhausted, I have energy left to burn. That’s something I haven’t had in quite a while.

It’s much too early to start monitoring different aches and pains I deal with from running, but I’m sure I will have updates on those soon. In the mean time, stay tuned for more vegan recipes and some recent race recaps! 

Be blessed! 🙂

 

You’re Going What?

Vegan.

There I said it. Yes, starting today my husband and I decided to take a 30 day “vegan challenge.” Or maybe we should just call it a 30 day plant based diet. Anyhow, going vegan is always something I wanted to try, but there is one book in particular that made me take the plunge. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn; a wonderful book that showcases Dr. Esselstyn’s research that has proven a plant based diet can literally reverse heart disease. He also provides evidence of the many diseases that can be prevented by eating a plant based diet, including diabetes and cancer. On this diet you eat from four food groups:

1. Vegetables

2. Fruits

3. Grains

4. Legumes

My husband is doing it specifically to lose weight, as am I, but I also wanted to do this as an experiment. Every day I’m keeping a journal of how I feel. I will be monitoring different aches and pains and seeing how the diet affects them, as well as my energy levels and overall mood.

To sum it up, my husband and I decided to take on this challenge for health reasons. We both need to lose weight and I personally need to learn how to eat more plant based foods. This is a wonderful way for me to get creative with my foods and learn how to make plants yummy. Every day during this 30 day challenge I will include a short report on how I felt that day. I hope this encourages people to get creative with food and learn new ways to eat more fruits and veggies!