Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rest days are important days to your training!

Most people have problems with getting started in a new exercise routine. The reason why these people often struggle with succeeding in their workout goals is because of the famous excuses: "I'll start tomorrow; I'll start Monday;  I'll start after New Years Day, on the third of January." OR: "I had a candy bar for snack today; I ate Doritos; or I ate pizza for lunch." So that makes it okay for them to skip a workout.

Don't fall in to that trap. If you say it everyday- you'll never do it. Just do a little bit every day until you're in a habit of exercising. Creating a new habit takes 30 days; breaking a habit takes 30 days too. Sometimes, creating one new habit while breaking one habit at a time is the best way to go, which is why most experts recommend a 90 day challenge, instead of 30.

My problem lately has been the opposite. I say I'll take a rest day today, and sometime later I'll be taking a walk, going for a run; in a yoga class or at the gym or heck, I'll be lifting dumbbells while watching TV or something. I've had weeks when I didn't go to the gym or the yoga studio, yet I was tired from working out too much. Why? Because I finally learned how to exercise at home. I workout anywhere. I'll run outside; I'll swim in a pool or a lake - or go to the YMCA. I'll play a sport, or if I start running around with my niece, I suddenly turn it into  a workout.
My niece is three years old and has been showing a lot of interest in dance and gymnastics. That means play time with her is showing her how to dance, tumble and believe it or not, yoga poses! Teaching her inspires and motivates me,  and my rest day is shot.
I have issues, I understand the importance of rest day...but I don't do it often. I'm not saying I haven't had "off" days because I've had plenty. Lately - I haven't had many and I'm struggling to sit still and relax.

Rest days are important because your body and muscles need a day to recover from being pushed to their limits. It's when you rest that the magic happens. Muscles grow when you sleep, and fats burns when your resting. Well...if you don't sleep too much or rest too often that is. If you're competing, you train every 12 hours for at least six days a week. If you're not competing  you should exercise four-five days a week. Taking the weekend off is common, but sometimes a Saturday or Sunday workout is the best workout because you're not pushed for time (that is, if you have a M-F job). Some people don't exercise on days they are off from work and that's perfectly okay; other's of us know that a day off from work is the best day! I'd love to have an every other day schedule. With my training for 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons, I know it's time to switch things up and find balance between three exercises that I love: Weight lifting, running, and yoga. Swimming is another favorite exercise of mine but I do it more often in the summers than in the fall, and winter.

Sometimes I think struggling to take time out from exercise is because the internet is filled with so many inspiration tips, and advice on how to stay motivated to exercise. I think I read into those posts way too much.

So, if you are like me, let's talk about fun things to do to get our minds off working out; running; yoga or what ever your favorite workout routine is.

Movies/TV shows: I love to watch movies and there are times when I can sit still and watch movie after movie after movie. It's rare I watch TV shows, but there are a few out there that can pull me in and keep me focused for hours. Going to a matinee at the local theater is also a good idea during your scheduled work out time. That is, if you exercise mid-day or nights like I do!

Sleep!: If you exercise early in the morning, then sleep in! Enjoy an extra hour or two of well deserved sleep! It's  a really good treat for your body AND mind!

Clean the house: Not a fun activity but re-decorating, laundry, vacuum, dusting needs to get done; so save it for your 'off workout days.' Zone in and clean up and you'll be too tired to exercise. Or at least you should be! Another tip, clean your car! If you own your own house, rake the leaves, mow the lawn! It's an active rest - but it certainly tuckers you out enough to not want to go the gym!

Learn a new hobby: such as photography; drawing; painting; baking; cook new foods; sew; cross stitch/nit.

Cook:  Learn new healthy recipes OR- cook a treat like brownies! Prepare your weekly meals and snacks. Or, take a rest day on a Sunday and watch football- or NASCAR race and treat yourselves to bar food or an ice cold beer. Or a fun drink you haven't had in awhile because of how focused you've been with eating healthy and exercising daily!

Read!: Wow, it has been a long time since I've read a good novel. Getting sucked in to a controversial Jodie Picoult story while drinking coffee/tea is a great way to relax and one of my favorite rainy day activities!

Write!: True story- if you don't already know- I'm a writer and most writers do not exercise as much as I do. Not saying they don't at all...I'm just saying athletic writers are a small group.
This November, I'm participating in NaNo. That stands for National November Writers Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel- or the start of your novel. That means I'll be busy writing everyday, that means I need a strict workout schedule and will be limiting exercise training time. This could be a good thing, this could be the start of where I finally find the balance between effective work outs, and accomplishing my writing goals, and dreams.

Those are my tips.

What do you do to successfully survive a rest day without feeling bad about NOT working out, or running?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Johnson claims seventh victory at Martinsville

Photo Credit: John Hemelson/Getty Images  for NASCAR
Johnson claims victory, October 2012
 Jimmie Johnson started the Tums 500 in Martinsville, Va on the pole, led a total of 193 laps eight different times and finished the 500 lap race in first.

"Definitely was a strong performance for the team," Johnson told members of the press after the race

This marks Johnson's 59th career win, and 7th at the paperclip  track, tying with teammate Jeff Gordon.

The driver of the No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevy started in 11th. After an uneventful but smooth and steady race, leading three different times for a total of 92 laps,  Gordon  finished in seventh and is sixth in points.

Kasey Kahne started in 15th and moved ahead slowly, had a chance to lead 12 laps and went on to finish third at the track he doesn't believe he is good at.

"Felt good to have a good run at Martinsville.  It's a tough track for me.  Has been since I came into the Sprint Cup Series," said Kahne.

 Kahne won the pole here in the spring, but in a weird twist of luck, his engine blew and he couldn't finish the race. Bad luck was a cruel April Fools joke that was played on the three Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Johnson and Gordon were involved in a wreck in the final laps and ruined their chance of a one-two- three finish for the team (Dale Earnhardt Jr. would've been the third).

Earnhardt Jr. was the only HMS driver that had survived the misfortune that day and was the one to finish third. His strongest season with the team will not end well for the Diet Dew No. 88 driver, he lost his chance at the Cup title because he missed the Charlotte and Kansas races for medical reasons. He returned to racing after a two week  leave by doctors orders. He suffered headaches after a crash during practice in Kansas in August. He decided to admit having headaches and went to visit a doctor after the crash in Talladega, where he was diagnosed with a concussion, presumably his second in a two month time span. Earnhardt Jr. wasn't as lucky this weekend as he was in the spring race. He started in 20th on Sunday and was a fast mover, holding on to a top ten spot the majority of the day, until a mis-hap with the Penske driver Sam Hornish, and Roush-Fenway's 99 Ford Carl Edwards. Earnhardt spun out as did Edwards and hit the wall, forcing Earnhardt to finish in 21st. Edwards finished in 18th.

Kyle Busch took home second position today. "So close, yet so far away it seems like here at Martinsville time and time again," said Busch in a post race interview. "(We) struggled early, got behind.  Spun out there, was able to work on it, get ourselves a pretty decent car.  Probably a third- or fourth-place car.  I think we were able to come home second there." 

It's been a difficult year for the No. 18 M&M's team, they are not in the Chase this year, they fell out of contention after a rough night in Richmond. 

Johnson has stolen the lead from Brad Keselowski. The No. 2 Miller Lite team fell two points in standings after finishing sixth. He started the day in 32nd, made a solid run and claimed the lead but couldn't hold on to it until the end. When asked what this meant after the race, Keselowski responded, "Means you can't count this team out.  This team has a tremendous amount of heart. I'm proud of them."

He went on to say, " This championship is going to come down to Homestead.  You have to be in a position where you're in shot of it.  We have to do what we need to do to be in contention at Homestead."

Looking ahead, Keselowski said,  "we have Texas coming up, very similar to Chicago.  I'm sure it's going to be a duel with the 48 there.  We'll keep fighting the good fight and really proud of today."

Clint Bowyer is now third in points. He was also one caught in mayhem last spring in Martinsville but the No. 15 Toyota team faced better luck today. The Kansas native was a threat for victory, as was teammate Brian Vickers. Bowyer finished in fifth and is now third in points.

Bowyer told media, "  It is what it is.  It was a good day for us.  I thought we had a car capable of winning.  As soon as it got cool, I got a little bit tight.  We lost track position when they beat us out of the pits there and I never could regain it."

This is the highest spot for the Michael Waltrip Racing team, owner Michael Waltrip has never been this close to a Championship title.

Perhaps the spotlight should shine on the No. 55 Toyota driver Vickers. He had the fastest car all weekend, and qualified second. He led 27 laps two different times, and battled for a position with Johnson but settled with an eighth place finish. Vickers will be back for a part-time schedule in the No. 55 for MWR.

The biggest heartache of the day was for the No. 11 team. Denny Hamlin faced misfortune today with two speeding penalties that sent him to the rear. When he finally caught up to a top five position, his engine failed and he was sent to the garage for repairs. Hamlin finished in 33rd place and is now 49 points behind the leader, now sitting in fifth position.

Hamlin did take time to speak to media after the race, "It ended in disappointment," he said. "We overcame the pit road penalties, things like that.  Just had a great car.  When these things happen, you just got to suck it up and move on."

His Cup title chances are shot for the season, "There's nothing I can do about it," he continued to say, "One of these days it's going to be our time.  It's just not right now."

When a reporter asked Johnson his thoughts on Hamlin's misfortune, he admitted, "What it does to my mind is say that anything can happen.  I think it was an electrical problem, what we've heard so far.  That can happen to anybody."

He continued to say, " I'm not smiling.  I'm not anything.  It can happen to me.  It can happen to the 2.  It's just one of those Voodoo things you don't do in this sport.  With three races left, anything can happen."

NASCAR's season is quickly coming to a close with three races left: Texas, Phoenix, and Miami-Homestead. It's a three man battle between Johnson, Keselowski and Bowyer.

To date, Kahne is in the best position of his career. After a destructive start to 2012, he's about to finish the season on a high note. He's heading to two tracks where he has a winning history and could win either race. Though his chances for winning the Cup title are now slim, he believes he still has a shot.

"We gained one point in the Chase, so that's good.  We've gained one or two points a week for the last few weeks.  We'll be there in like a year, I guess," he joked with media. " So, yes, we definitely still have a shot.  But we're a ways out.  I wish we were within 20 or 15.  I think we'd be a lot more legit at that point."

Johnson later commented about Kahne, "He's a great driver, great person. I really felt like if we got him in the Chase, he would do a great job and be a threat.  He's certainly showing that.
 I think he and that team are going to grow and get stronger as they get more time in the Hendrick system.  He's going to be a threat this year and for years to come."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Five Kahne race re-cap: Making peace w/my bad run

On Sunday October 14th (2012),  Kasey Kahne hosted his 3rd annual Five Kahne 5K, and I obviously attended. It was my first year attending alone, and it was the first year I didn't attend as a member of a media  site I wrote for so I did not take pictures, notes or try to steal some 'quote' for a news article I'd later write. I have to honestly admit, it was nice to not stand in front of Kasey shoving a camera or microphone/voice recorder in his face. It's also nice to not have to call him Kahne  (but I probably will); and I enjoy writing without having to mention that the Enumclaw, Washington native drives the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet for NASCAR's top team, Hendrick Motorsports (but as you see, I did that. It's a habit).
It was the first year I made this 5K all about me. Sure I was one of 450 runners to help raise money for his Foundation, which is estimated to have raised over $50,000 for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish, Victory Junction; and I did offer my time to volunteer for three hours on two separate days but that's just me, being me.

This is my public diary entry about the event. In other words, I'll be breaking grammar rules in this post (I doubt I'll do that  often).

Another one of my firsts for this 5K is that I set a PR goal (personal record). I honestly trained and dieted specifically for this event - I wanted to make this one the best and most memorable for me. A few months ago, after a good run and feeling overzealous from that 'runners high,' I stupidly tweeted that I was going to run as fast as (if not faster than) Kahne. Okay not in those words but it was something close to and probably more stupid than that. I have a tendency to say/tweet stupid things. You see, 32 year old Kahne can run 3.1 miles in 18 minutes. That's setting the bar high for me. (Side note for those who care, he finished in 22:05).


I have been running for a very long time. I started to run daily four years ago. I never once set a goal for time and distance. I never once cared about 5Ks or 10Ks or half marathons. In 2010, I ran my first 5K (for Kahne's 5K) and only cared about finishing - the second time I ran, that's all I cared about too; especially since the night before, I was at Charlotte's Bank of America 500 (race) until 2 AM. So I ran off adrenaline - dehydrated and tired.
I run outside, and I don't have a 'tracker' or a clock. It was in July that I started to pay attention to the miles - I wanted to run 3 miles at least once a week. Then I learned that I was running about two miles every other day, so that's when I started to get competitive with myself. I found out about and started mapping out my routes. I was setting distance goals and recording my time. I tried to run on the treadmill but that didn't do any good for me.
I. Hate. The. Treadmill. I call it the "dreadmill."

The week before - I finally reached my longest distance and shortest time. I ran five miles in 57 minutes. I was proud of myself and I knew right then and there that I had this upcoming 5K in the bag. Little did I know.

Thursday morning -I woke up feeling sick. I couldn't stand or sit still; nor could I eat or drink anything all morning long. In sheer desperation, I decided to drink a warm (room temperature) coca cola and within an hour, I was feeling fine. Later, I went out to Charlotte to volunteer for three hours at a running store to hand out the packets to runners for the Five Kahne. It was a quiet afternoon and I met some of Kahne's friendliest fans who were excited to run.
When I got home, I decided to take the day off from running and any other exercise.

Friday morning - I felt fine but decided to rest in fear I'd get too tired or sick again. Friday evening, I decided to take a hot yoga class. I modified the moves and stretched slowly.

Saturday - I volunteered for Kahne Foundation again and when I got home, I decided to take a third day off from running and exercise. Actually, the only exercise I did get was shopping. I ran from store to store looking for specific running pants to wear because the pants I have couldn't be found anywhere. I feared it would be too cold for shorts- and I have a serious problem. My clothes need to match- and they need to match my compression socks and sneakers. So - I didn't have black shorts that would look nice and match my black Sweat Pink tank top AND 5K t-shirt - - and my Sweat Pink shoe laces.
During my chaotic search for something to wear, my sister called to tell me she couldn't come to the race with me. I felt my heart sink to the pit of my stomach after that news.
After all that stress -and spending way too much money on running pants, I came home to eat a healthy dinner and rest on the couch while watching the Sprint Cup race on television.
Obviously, when I got to bed, I struggled to fall asleep ...but in the end I managed to get (maybe) five- or six hours of sleep.

Race Day

I woke up after 6:30 and wondered why my alarm hadn't gone off. I thought I set it to 6:30 -but I didn't waste time worry about that - I was nervous about the day ahead. It was gray and gloomy outside and the temperature was perfect for running.
My stomach was in knots. My hands, feet, legs, knees, were numb. I had a good breakfast, a small cup of black coffee and I drank a lot of water. I tried to convince my sister to come out with me but was unsuccessful.
Time moved on quickly. I met some of my writer friends- exchanged a few jokes and laughs and then was time to run.
 As soon as I started to run I was uncomfortable. I have no idea what was wrong with me but I didn't feel good at all. I want to say I was hot, and overdressed, and I had too much in my hands. Didn't I learn in the Fox and Hound 5K to have less in my hands and wear less clothes? What hurt the most was that my body gave up and I had to walk a few times.
 I've been thinking about it a lot; the race just repeats itself over and over again in  my head and I don't know why I didn't feel like I was 'in shape' or trained for this run. I'm somewhat speechless - as you see, it's taken me a week to write about it, and I'm still not sure I'm ready to talk about it. I keep wondering, "was I hydrated enough?"
"Did I sleep enough?"
"Did I eat too much?"
 "Was it really because I was overdressed?" OR - "was I so nervous from all the training, and the anticipation?"
"Did I set my goal too high?" "
 "Did I psych myself out?"
 "Did I train enough?"
"Did I train too much?"
"Was I being so hard on myself that I was leading myself to failure?"
"What could've caused me to feel so awful that I had to walk?"
I wondered, "was it too crowded and did I feel claustrophobic?"
Oh wait I know, writer friend joked with me that my number 37 was the same number for a driver that's a 'start and parker.' That's it, I was doomed by the number 37.
Or maybe I caused my own bad karma by joking that I could match Kahne's time. Is it bad to have that much confidence in myself?

On the bright side, I reached a mile in 9:08 minutes. Okay - that's pretty awesome but I'm cynical so I question, "had I not walked at all, would I have reached a mile in less time?"

The rest of the run was eventful and uncomfortable...I finished in 31:31 minutes. I was disappointed in myself for a few days. I'm slowly finding peace with my bad run.
Sure, it was the fastest I've ever run a 5K but I can't be proud of myself. I don't know if I want to run again.
I tried to run a little bit this past week and I felt why didn't I feel fine Sunday?
I felt fine when I ran on a non-noteworthy Tuesday night.
On the night I decided to stop writing for Skirts and Scuffs, I felt fine and ran the entire 3 miles.
I felt fine when I ran all those other days...why couldn't I possibly feel fine for the actual day I trained so very long for?
All the days I trained, I thought to myself, maybe I'm ready for a 10K- maybe I'm ready for a half marathon. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not.

I'm told there are lots of lessons to be learned from every race and this is what I learned this time:

a) You'll have bad races no matter how hard you train- or how prepared you are. Now that I know I can run 3.1 miles in 31.31 minutes when I feel like crap- I hope that means I can run faster when I feel good!

b) I found out that you can wear compression socks before and after you run- not only during your run. So now this makes shopping for running clothes 100 times easier!

c) I also know to not ever tweet that I can match someone's time or that my favorite football team will beat his team because - well, the Patriots lost to the Seahawks that night. That's a double dose of bad luck in one day, too much for me, that's for sure.

I want to thank all the 'sisters' from my Sweat Pink team for your kind words of encouragement and support. I'm thankful I found a group of wonderful ladies who love to run and exercise and eat as healthy as I like to eat. I hope to one day meet a lot of you and we can all go out for a run somewhere! I'd like you to know that I am looking into running another 5K this November.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Green Love

Favorite Lunch Recipe 

Green Salad 

Whether or you choose to eat it or drink it, this Green Salad is delicious. You can either throw these veggies in a blender, add water and juice up your lunch  to save time - or you can it eat.

Here's what's what I ate for lunch (Wednesday):

1/2 green apple cut
1/2 kiwi 
1/2 avocado
1/4 of cucumber
handful of spinach
handful of lettuce
handful of kale
6 cubes of tofu (as many as you'd like)
and a splash of balsamic vinegar

I normally do not use tofu, croutons or vinegar if I choose to juice up. I prefer to add celery and broccoli stems instead! 

I'm one who does love to cook but I don't normally follow a recipe to a T. I usually grab veggies, fruit, meat, spices and put it altogether in a dish. Cooking time is me time. It's a chance for me to forget about the day and relax - to be in the moment. Sometimes I listen to music, or have the TV on in the background. Other times I cook in silence and let my thoughts wonder. Cooking time is also a time when I think of stories I like to write, then after I eat, I write.

To be honest, this is  my first blog about "what I ate Wednesday," so I apologize if I bored you! As much as I love to cook, I should plan to share what I do eat, and drink more often. More importantly, I hope to learn more about healthy eating from my SweatPink and FitApproach team!