Monday, August 29, 2011

Seek Success

 "Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence."               
                                                                                           ~Colin Powell



Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Am a Morning Runner

This past weekend I went to Sacramento to visit my friend, Carly to volunteer for an organization I am very passionate about, Girls On The Run (just click on the link and you'll see why).  The event was on Saturday morning, and the afternoon was to be filled with lunch, a stroll through midtown, a loop around the State Capitol, a visit to the Crocker Art Museum, followed by a drive around surrounding areas in hopes of finding a place that I might like to live someday, and completed with a glass of wine and a chick-flick I've been wanting to see since I read the book, Something Borrowed (cute movie, better read).

Whew! Busy day! Just thinking about it makes me tired all over again.

And, yes, even though I only live two hours away, I took some time for a couple tourist-style photo ops.

I love this bench in front of the Convention Center.  Look closely at what it says!  

Capitol building.  The front was being used for two weddings and a Quincenera, so I settled for a corner view.  

Backtracking just a bit... I arrived on Friday just after noon feeling like I could eat a cow; only I don't eat meat, so I settled for an iced coffee to hold me over until lunch time at 2:00.  We had a late lunch because Carly wanted to take me to happy hour at Dad's Kitchen.  It was featured on The Food Network's Diners Drive-In's & Dives, and if Guy Fieri says it's delish, then you better believe I'm going to give it a try!  


I am so glad I held out because everything was Uh-may-zing!!  I tried the organic Gold Rush Ale and it was just as smooth and delicious as I had expected.  I wanted to try one of everything on the menu, but clearly that wasn't an option so we decided to share the Veggie Burger (made with quinoa; a new twist on a veggie patty yet nothing short of perfection) with their beer battered onion rings as a side.  My mouth is still watering just thinking of those not-so-little slices of heaven.  We also ordered the Sauteed Mushroom appetizer which was so good that I drizzled the remaining garlic-wine sauce on my veggie burger.  And in case that wasn't enough food, we also ordered the Green Machine sans cream cheese (a veggie sandwich on focaccia), which we had to wrap up and take home uneaten because we were so full after sharing the mushrooms and quinoa burger.  I suppose the up side to that was that we had dinner taken care of and it was as equally fantastic as everything else we ate.  Seriously, if you're in the area, go to Dad's!  

After lunch we wandered around the area a bit and went to Trader Joe's to pick up some fixin's to make Scrambled Tofu Pita Pockets for dinner the following night.  When we got home it was time for a run.  Yes, a run.  Apparently half marathon training slipped my mind while I was soaking up all the deliciousness at Dad's and let me just tell you, it was NOT easy!  Less than a mile into it I started cramping on my left side and was instantly exhausted.  Two miles in and the cramping had switched to the right rib cage.  Then came knee pain, back pain, coughing and more exhaustion.  The combination of my poor vacation eating during the day, paired with the lack of sleep I was running on due to the previous 3 nights I had spent having cough attacks that followed a mysterious summer cold from the week prior, made for the worst run ever!  I was terribly disappointed in myself because I was such a train wreck, yet proud that I didn't give up.  I only stopped once to take this picture of the Sacramento River at sunset.   

We had planned to head out for 7 or 8 miles, but it started getting dark; and even though Sacramento is on the list for the top 20 safest places to live in the nation (one of several reasons I want to move there), we thought it was best to cut our run short finishing 5.12 miles in 57 minutes.  I'll be honest though, I was grateful for the darkness since I was such a mess anyway.  During my pity party; however, Carly pointed out that if I was able to hammer out 5.12 miles at just over an 11 minute pace then just imagine what I could do a) on my usual morning runs without a days worth of food and beer in me, and b) on race day which is still 5 weeks away.  That somehow seemed to put me at ease.

Note to self: You are a morning runner, Amanda.  Running in the evening after a day's worth of eating and energy usage is hard.  Avoid it at all costs; but if it must be done, remember that it is doable-- you're just going to be cursing yourself the entire time.  

I hope you all had a better run this weekend than I did!  


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Motivational Monday: Brought To You By, Tuesday

Today's motivation comes from a very personal place.  My cousin, Tim is battling cancer for the second time.  Throughout his treatment process, he has been journaling and his wife Kara has posted some of his entries on her blog as she keeps friends and family updated.  The most recent entry is the inspiration behind this weeks motivation:
I am not going to quit until I've WON 
You can't stop me 'til I'm DONE
You can't stop me NOW!!! 
          -Tim McGibben  
If he can stay strong, and get up every day to fight another day; the rest of us have no excuses.  So, Get up. Face the day. Be Strong. Stay Strong. Get running. Get moving. Get healthy. Stay healthy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not All Things Monday Are Bad

In attempts to give some structure to our blog, as well as to help keep us on our toes and blog on a more regular basis, Danielle and I are going to try our best (we're busy girls, so no promises) to bring you "Motivational Mondays" and "Wordless Wednesdays".  I'm sure the names speak for themselves, but in case you're having 'one of those days', I'll spell it out for you:

Motivational Mondays will include anything from a quote, to a picture, or even an entry, with an element of motivation and/or inspiration behind it.  Some of these can also be found under our "Motivation" tab at the top of the page.

Wordless Wednesdays will be just that--wordless.  This is not to say we will not be blogging on Wednesdays, but rather, we will be posting pictures instead.  On occasion, the picture might include words in the picture itself, or as a caption as a means to explain the picture; however, we will not be writing full entries on these days.

On a side note, Mondays and Wednesdays are also *special* days for Danielle and I outside of the blog world.  Currently, Monday serves as our grown up, guilty pleasure, less-trashy-than-Jersey Shore TV day--Bachelor Pad 2 is on! Watch it with us.  You won't be disappointed! Also, Danielle and I participate in Wine Wednesdays.  Again, a name that speaks for itself.  It's Wednesday.  We love wine.  We drink wine.  That's all there is to it.  Since we live some 60+ miles away from each other, we don't actually get to celebrate this joyous occasion together, so sometimes we take a picture of our glass and wine of choice for the evening and text it to each other.  Let it be known that this is not a requirement for Wine Wednesday; we're just dorks and like to add in that element because we're that cool!  All you need to participate is your favorite wine and something to drink it out of.  And hey, if you're having 'one of those days' as mentioned above, that "something" you're drinking out of doesn't even have to be a glass if you catch my drift.  We won't judge you.  Pinky swear.

So, with that said, I'm off to find some motivation for our first series of "Motivational Mondays"!  Check back shortly to see what I've come up with, and don't forget to watch BP2 with us tonight!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Frustration Nation

This week has not been good for me. Don't get me wrong, my runs have been so good! Better than I imagined. I have switched up my scenery with a course that has some hills (nothing too major) and a great view. It looks a little something like this...

Beautiful, right?! Scenery... check. Running... check. Self esteem... cricket, cricket.

I'm eating right, working out 5 days a week and I feel like I've gained weight. Now, it wasn't my intention to lose weight. It was my intention to finish 13.1 miles on October 2nd. However, shouldn't I be losing something?! I've been eating less meat and trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies (and other proteins) into my diet and have been doing so for the last 2 weeks. However, like I said, it has not worked. If I don't see a change after week 3, I'm switching everything up.

In the book, Half Marathon Roadmap by No Meat Athlete, he explains how your training program is like a road map. If you get lost along your way, find a new route towards your goal. This is very helpful to me, a first timer in the running field. If something that I am doing isn't quite working for me I'm going to change it up until it does work for me. 

So, today, on my rest day, I decided that I was going to take it easy, but still get some physical activity in. I went to the local track. For the first mile I sprinted the straight-aways and walked the curves. Hello, quadriceps! Then, for the next mile I did a light jog with push-ups on each straight away and sit-ups on each curve, with some squats thrown in there as well. I could feel it working and it felt great! Each week, twice a week, I will incorporate this type of exercise into my running.

Plus, it didn't hurt that I had a stretching partner when I got home...

Here's to hoping something works!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inspiration to Step It Up!

It's always helpful to have a goal in mind as a means to gain motivation for any sort of physical activity or fitness regimen.  Clearly, the upcoming Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in October is my motivation to hit the track four days a week.  Regardless of my finishing time, I will not be the girl who doesn't finish.  Absolutely not.  No way, Jose!  My ass is running 13.1 miles in 47 days!

And speaking of asses, check out this one...

Holy hotness and motivation--I want that ass!

The photo is from the August issue of Women's Health Magazine.  I saw it a few days ago and was immediately inspired to step up my workouts in order to one day (hopefully sooner than later) look like that.  With all of the training I have been doing, I have been literally running myself into the ground.  I started feeling sickish last week--on the morning of my birthday of all days-- but with the help of extra doses of vitamin C and Lysine, I managed to fight off a cold and what felt like the beginnings of an ear infection.  I'm wearing myself out with so much (maybe too much?) running, and am left with little energy to get in any cross training or strength training days.  I'm using my rest/XT days as rest days only.  Not good.  The nice definition in my legs that I have become so proud of has slowly started to dwindle in the last week or so.  And more importantly than the aesthetics of it, I know that I need to strengthen my legs in order to make them strong enough to carry me across that finish line.

Knowing that I was going to have to make some big changes this week to address said leg and energy issues, this photo couldn't have come at a better time.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and that we are given what we need when we need it.  In this case, what I needed was a sexy photo in a magazine that has been lying on my night stand for a month because I'm the queen of procrastination.  I tore out the page, and the picture is currently hanging from my photo board in my room directly across from my bed, as well as set to the lock screen on my phone.  I opted not to hang it next to my Jennifer Aniston photo on the snack cupboard given that I am currently living with my sister and her two children.  It's easier to explain that her perfectly beautiful body reminds me to grab for either a) healthy snacks, or b) nothing at all.  I imagine it would be more difficult to explain to my 4 year old niece why there is a picture of a butt in our kitchen.  Anyway, I have the picture in two places that I will see it constantly throughout the day to remind myself to do (or not do) whatever it is that will help me accomplish that goal.

So, with that goal in mind, I'm off to do some leg and tushy toning.  I'll be combining my favorite workout from my trainer, appropriately called "The Hot Mess" (a pyramid of get ups, back lunges, squats, burpees, and v-crunches), with this Lean Legs, Tight Tush workout from Women's Health Magazine.

What are some of your motivational techniques and inspirational guides?  Share them with us in our comments section!

Happy Tushy Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Music to my ears!

For the last week or so I've been really debating my next running shoe. I have had minor pain in my left knee and I'm not sure if it's from my shoes or lack of muscle. Before training for the half, I wasn't very active. I would lift weights, walk on the treadmill uphill, and/or do the elliptical, but nothing close to running more than a mile or so.

Luckily, my pals at Sierra Running Company were able to help me out. I explained my situation and my concern for the knee pain so early in the game. Plus, I was hoping I wouldn't have to give up my oh-so-pretty running shoes. (Insert blog title here) Since I have a so-called neutral foot (they watched me walk) and there is only a little pain in my left knee, and not both, the kind gal encouraged me to keep using Nike Free +'s. Obviously, if the pain gets worse, doesn't go away, or moves to both knees then I'll need to part ways with my shoes.

In the mean time I will be focusing on strengthening the muscles around my knee using these knee exercises. I'm going to focus on both my quads and hami's to hopefully get rid of the pain. I figure it can't hurt and if any of you are in the same situation, I hope this helps! I'll keep y'all posted... happy pain free running!