Week 6 C25k

Finished week 6 this morning! I am still staying strong and getting done everything I need to. This week I’ve been reminded how much of a mental game running is. Today’s run was a 22 min straight run. I wanted to quit probably 20 times during the run but I blocked out my thoughts and pushed through. This 22 minute run was the longest I’ve run without walk breaks since, oh geez, I can’t even remember. I don’t think I even ran that long straight during my half marathon. Or any of the last few training runs leading up to it. I know I was capable of doing it back then but my mind wasn’t strong enough. Now, I’m building not only my physical strength but also my mental strength.

In regards to my eating: I’ve been eating clean for about two weeks now. I’ve been fairly consistent with it! I went to visit my friend last weekend and even when I was gone I was able to keep my eating under control. In the past two weeks I’ve lost about 4 pounds. Not only has the scale moved, but my measurements have been going in the right direction too. Additionally, I have felt better myself. My energy has been up and I haven’t had any stomach cramps or pains since I switched up my eating. I haven’t really had too many cravings either. The foods I’m craving are healthy foods that fit within my eating plan. My favorite meal this week has been a spinach Greek salad – spinach, cranberries, walnuts, cucumbers, onions, chicken, and Greek dressing. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of spinach and since we’re visiting our parents this weekend I’m not going shopping until we get back. Now I’m trying to scrounge together healthy food out of what I have left. I made a Greek cucumber salad with cucumbers, chick peas, onions, tomatoes, and Greek dressing. Today I’ll eat that on a tomato basil wrap.

I’m looking forward to getting into the last few weeks of C25k! Next week is three days of running 25 minutes straight, the following week is 28 minutes, and finally, I’ll be running 30 minutes straight for three days in week 9. I’m almost ready to start my half marathon training. Starting Monday I’ll be adding in P90x for strength training. Can’t wait to see where this journey takes me!

~UnexpectedRunner~

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Clean Eating

In the past, I’ve eaten decently well for a few weeks and lose a few pounds, then ate like crap for a weekend. I’d weigh myself after my bad weekend and see that I’d gained the weight back. Instead of rededicating, I’d get frustrated that my healthy diet “wasn’t working.” How stupid is that?

So, this half marathon training cycle I’ve decided to be really serious. In addition to the runs and cross training, I’ve decided to commit to a clean diet. What does this mean? It means that I am going to try to eat as natural as possible. I’m going to avoid processed and artificial foods. I’m also going to cut out most alcohol (my birthday is next month and I can’t promise I won’t have even one drink). It’s almost like a paleo diet, but I’m not going to say that’s what it is for one simple reason: this isn’t a diet. I’m changing the way I eat. Food will be used as fuel instead of as a reward or a comfort.

I’m anticipating that this will help my half marathon training in a few ways. First, the better you fuel, the better you run. It’s that simple. After eating like crap, my runs are crap. I feel bloated and crampy and I fatigue so easily. Second, this type of eating will probably help me to lose a bit of weight. If I could lose a few pounds, though, I know I would be a faster runner. There is a ton of research that shows that losing weight helps you run faster. It makes sense. If you don’t have to carry around added pounds, you don’t have to work as hard to run, allowing you to run faster. Third, eating a healthier, more balanced diet helps your overall health. This includes your immune system, as well as your cardiovascular and digestive systems. If I can stay healthy, I won’t have to miss any training time from being sick. Obviously, less missed time would equal better running results.

I am so ready to dedicate the next 4 months to a healthy lifestyle and be a “real runner” in training for a race. Athletes make dietary and lifestyle changes to perform better. I am training to be an athlete. Therefore, I will do the same.

So far for meals this week I’ve had fish taco bowls with cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash with sauteed eggplant and turkey meat sauce, and cauliflower crust pizza. I am so ready to crush my goals. Half marathon, look out!

~Unexpected Runner~

Weeks 3-5 C25k

I haven’t posted in a few weeks (obviously). Between school and the holidays, life has been crazy. However, I have still been following my training plan! I just finished week 5 day 3 today. This one is tricky (run 20 minutes straight). I set my treadmill at a slower pace and just cranked it out. I managed the entire 20 minutes and probably could have gone farther. What this taught me is that (1) I am capable of more than I think (2) getting out of my head is my biggest challenge. I know I can run without taking walk breaks but my head keeps telling me that I should stop. I did a 5k (at home) on New Years Eve. Last year I did an actual race but this year my husband had to work and I didn’t want to drive home alone at 1 am so I did my race on my treadmill. I couldn’t push myself to run past one mile without stopping. I took so many walk breaks that my end time and pace were awful. It’s so frustrating because I KNOW I can do better. This morning’s run was a turning point, though. I ran that entire 20 minutes without any problems. Yes, my head wanted me to stop, but I didn’t give in. I kept pushing and felt amazing when I was done.

I can’t wait to push myself even harder next week with week 6 of C25k! I can’t believe I’m well over half way done with the training plan and I haven’t missed a single run. So ready to take on half training starting in February!

~Unexpected Runner~

Week 2 of C2 5k

Well, another week is done! This week presented a few challenges. Mainly, our treadmill broke. We had it 9 days before it completely broke last Wednesday. Luckily, we had a 30 day warranty so we’re getting a new one delivered for free tonight! 

Despite the broken treadmill, I still completed all of my C25k runs from last week. I had to do my third one at my school’s gym which meant having the discipline to go to the gym after a day in the lab to get it done. I am very proud of myself for doing it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my added long run in this weekend. The school’s gym was closed this weekend because of fall Commencement and I didn’t have the willpower to run outside in the cold. But, what better way to test out the new treadmill than go for a run? So tonight, we get our treadmill and then I’ll be doing a 1.5 mile run non-stop. 

Last weekend, I did my first “long” run. I was hoping to do a little extra and do a 1.5 miler but I didn’t have it in me. So instead I ran the planned 1 mile. But, I did it at an 11:30 pace and normally my long runs are about a 12 or slightly slower. So I did push myself! 

I haven’t felt much piriformis pain this weekend at all, but I also haven’t run since Friday. I’m hoping to be pain free on my run tonight! After my run I’ll do my yoga, roll, and then take an Epsom salt bath. I’m already looking forward to it! 

Now that I’m on week 3, I’m starting to look for 5ks to register for so that I can run a race after I finish the 8 weeks. I normally run a midnight race on NYE but that isn’t going to happen this year so I can spend that money on a race entry in 5 weeks! I find that it really helps when you have something you’ve invested money in. I want to train hard because I already paid for the race! 

I’m also starting to hone in on nutrition this week. Most of my groceries this week were all natural foods – a lot of fruits and veggies, as well as proteins like chicken, turkey, and pork. My husband is such a picky eater so I’m trying to find ways to sneak the veggies into the meals. So far this week I made him cauliflower rice stir fry with baked egg rolls, and then meatloaf filled with spinach, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. He liked both! I also made some protein packed granola this week from oats, peanut butter, a bit of honey, and a splash of vanilla. It’s perfect with the nonfat Greek yogurt I bought and some fresh blackberries! Hopefully I can get the nutrition under control so that the holidays don’t derail me! 

~Unexpected Runner~

Week 1 of Couch 2 5k

As I said in my first post, I’ve been running for almost a year and a half, however inconsistently. But, due to my piriformis pain I haven’t run much since my half marathon in September. So, with my next half coming up in April, I’m getting back into running. The 12 week training cycle will start in early February but before that I want to build my basis back up. I decided to repeat the C25k program to use as my base. But, I also decided to use the program to act as my speed work. My training plan for the next 8 weeks will be: strength Monday/Friday, C25k Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, long run Saturday, and cross train Sunday. In addition, I’m doing yoga every day. (I’m currently on day 8 of 30 days of yoga from yoga with Adriene.) 

While the week isn’t over yet, my C25k week is. I’m so proud of the hard work I put in this week! My comfortable running pace is usually around 5-5.2mph. Tuesday I did the walk intervals at 3mph and I pushed myself in the run intervals to go 6mph. Wednesday in the last two intervals I switched to 7mph half way through the run intervals. And today for every interval I did 6mph for the first 30sec and 7mph for the last 30sec. I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast before. It was only for 30seconds at a time but it was so fun! I had a big grin on my face during the fast part of my intervals. After I finished, I felt so accomplished and proud! So proud, in fact, that instead of my planned 1 mile long run, I’m going to try to double it this Saturday and run 2 miles without walk breaks. I’m not sure if I can do it but I’m going to try! 

~Unexpected Runner~

How Did I Get Here?

Hi everyone! 

This is my first time blogging ever, so please bear with me! I want to start by giving some background and explain why I’m starting a blog. 

I have always had body image issues. I’m 5’11” so I’ve always been the tallest girl in the class. Before puberty, I was tall, skinny, and lanky. I was so self conscious about being a head taller than everyone else. Then, puberty hit and I inherited my mom’s hips. Now, in addition to being the tallest one in the class, I also had the widest hips. Once middle school hit, I was overweight. Not morbidly by any means, but enough that middle and high school weren’t exactly easy. I never got asked on dates and twice I was turned down based on my weight. I ended up going to my senior prom alone because I didn’t fit into the cookie cutter mold of what a “cute” girl should be. When I left for college, I ended up gaining the freshman 15 plus a few more. The following year I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in England for 2 semesters. It was an incredible experience but it came with another 30 pounds of weight gain. I had to share a kitchen with 12 people which often meant eating out was much easier. I also didn’t have access to a scale for 9 months so I had no idea how much weight I was gaining. 

It wasn’t until I returned home and stepped on a scale that I realized I weighed 235 pounds. I was mortified. 

Being back at home, I was able to start eating better. With just some minor consistent changes of not eating out as much and reducing my portions, I was able to lower my weight down to about 215. At that point, my roommate asked me to run the Color Run with her a few months later. I started the Couch 2 5k app that week. From that, I learned that I do not have a natural talent for running. But, with every run I found the joy and pride in myself just so unbelievably incredible! So, I kept at it. I completed the 5k in about 45 minutes. Definitely not a fast time, but I was proud of myself for trying. 

Unfortunately, after the race I lost my motivation to continue running. I didn’t have anything to train for so I stopped working out. Luckily, college was so busy at the time that I had to meal prep and didn’t have time for a lot of snacks. This lack of snacking helped me to drop my weight down to about 200 pounds. 

The following year I started medical school. I was accepted into a dual degree MD/PhD program which meant I was facing 7 years of medical school and research. With medical school came much more stress than I had ever dealt with. This, combined with the free pizza lunches we had almost weekly, caused me to again gain weight. Once again, I was around 210. There wasn’t time for exercise – or at least I wasn’t making the time. I got engaged shortly after, and if I thought there wasn’t time before, studying for the boards while planning a wedding proved that there REALLY wasn’t time now. 

Luckily, after the wedding and starting the research portion of my program, I started to have free time again. In August of 2017, my friend asked me if I’d want to run a 5k with her and I agreed. We started training together about 3 times a week, and in September of 2017 I finished the 5k in 38:08. This was a huge improvement over my Color Run time from years before and I was elated. I signed up for two more races that year – a Santa run and a New Year’s Eve run. After October, however, the consistency faded and I was only running once or twice a week. The Santa Run had a finish time of 38:14 and I was so upset to not break my record. Then, the New Year’s Eve run was even worse. With temperatures of -4F without the windchill and a stomach bug that I was fighting, I was lucky to finish at all, which I did in 43 minutes. After this run I felt really discouraged and once again, I took a break from running. 

In May, that same friend asked me if I would want to train for a half marathon with her. I once again agreed and started enthusiastically training. We signed up for one in September and then one in April of 2019. I wasn’t doing perfect with my training – I would miss a run here or there – but for the most part I was staying on top of it. I was also losing weight throughout my training. I got down to 197! Then after a 9.5 mile training run in July I felt a shooting pain in my hip, which I now know was the beginning of my Piriformis Syndrome. My race was September 1st so I decided to take a few weeks off to see if rest would help the pain. It didn’t. The rest of my training was spotty at best, and the race was miserable. After mile 2 my hip started hurting. By mile 5, I was limping and my feet were screaming for relief. I didn’t run a single step after mile 6, but I hobbled the remaining 7 miles to the finish line. I finished in 3:23:42. I ended up coming dead last in the half marathon (my finish line picture is the profile picture). I’m not talking last in my age group – no. I was dead last in the entire race. I limped that last mile with the police escort behind me. Let me tell you – that is not a pleasant feeling. 

After the race I once again stopped training. I used my hip as an excuse to not exercise. I reverted back to my old eating habits. Then, after Thanksgiving of this year I stepped on the scale and saw 208. This is the heaviest I have been in a long time. The last time I weighed this much was probably the beginning of medical school. Once again, I found myself mortified by the number on the scale. 

So that leads me to where I am now. I have 4.5 months until my next half marathon and I have every intention of once again finding my love of running. My piriformis pain is still here. It was misdiagnosed by a doctor as Runner’s Knee so that really delayed the healing process. I had been doing the wrong stretches and strengthening exercises. Now, I’ve started to add in the correct exercises and I am hopeful that the pain will eventually subside. 

I will be doing a 12 week half marathon training plan, but that doesn’t start until February. So, in the mean time, I’ve started the Couch 2 5k app over again with a much higher speed in the run intervals. I am also adding in continuous long runs every Saturday. I’m starting this Saturday with an easy 1 mile run, and then I’ll add half a mile every week. By the time my training plan actually starts I should have a good basis of miles. I’ve also been doing yoga everyday. I am really not flexible and I think adding yoga will help with my hip pain as well as prevent future injuries. I’m also starting back to strength training (I did P90x during my last training cycle and I really enjoyed it). 

I’m really looking forward to training smart and training hard for this next race. I’m hopeful that I’ll finally be able to be consistent with my training and really see the benefits. I’m hoping that by blogging my progress, I’ll have an added level of accountability. I’m in a few running facebook groups, but they either aren’t back-of-the-pack friendly, or there are just too many people posting for my voice to be heard. I’m hoping this blog will give me what I’m looking for! 

Have a blessed day everyone! 

~UnexpectedRunner~

My second 5k
After the Santa Run
NYE race with my husband!