Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm In!

Marathon #2 is officially on the books!

I couldn't wait to find out yesterday. As soon as my plane from Cozumel landed, I had my phone on and was searching through my emails before I even hit customs. I'm so excited, but mostly because I'm choosing not to run this race for me. I'm working on putting something together that will help someone important in my life. I'll let you know when I get all the details worked out. :) Right now, it's time for a run!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Checking In

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but I promise I'm still around sweating it all out. It's definately full swing summer here in Houston and I'm finally starting to adjust to the heat and humidity again.

I've had to start adjusting my schedule so that I don't run during the hottest times of the day. (We don't want a repeat of National Running Day now do we?) Getting up early is a challenge for me, but I've been managing it more lately.

I'm trying to work at keeping a good base so that if I get into the Chevron Houston marathon this year, I'll be ready to start adding on the miles. I think I'm really ready for marathon #2 and hope it can be here on my turf. Please let me get in!

Don't let these pictures fool you. Sweat is dripping from every inch of my body. Gotta love the summers in Houston!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

SugarFree Finale

As many of you know, I just finished a 10-day sugar free challenge. Only natural sugar from fruits and other foods were allowed into my diet. This meant no artificial sweeteners, no alcohol, no nothing. I knew I'd had to give up coffee (since it's not worth drinking without sugar) so I weaned myself off of it before the challenge started. My only caffeine came in the form of unsweetened green tea. I started this journey to prove to myself that I didn't need these foods. I didn't do it for weight loss or for a cleanse, but just to see if I could do it.

How hard was it?
I'll be honest, when the challenge started June 1st, I'd only told one person. I think I was afraid I might fail and that's why I didn't want anyone to know. If I started cheating, who was gonna find out? The first couple of days were easy, except I did cheat once. The first day after work, I decided to run home instead of drive. I was ill prepared for the heat and started worrying about getting dehydrated, so I stopped off for a G2 gatorade. I was mad at myself for failing so early in the challenge, but I also did not want to faint. I didn't even finish half the bottle, but I thought about quitting the challenge since I'd already screwed up on the first day.

But why quit just because I made one mistake?
Instead, I started telling people around me so they could help keep me accountable. Sure, I wanted sugar and sweet stuff, but it wasn't a dire need. I managed to get through a full day birthday party with everyone drinking around me and me only consuming water. At least there wasn't birthday cake to torture me.

Was it hard?
I had to watch what I ate, but it wasn't really hard, it just required more work. I had to buy new bread, new peanut butter, etc because the brands I had contained some form of sugar. For breakfast, I ate more eggs instead of bagels or breakfast bars that are full of sugar and I found myself more full than eating the normal junk. My lunches and dinners did not change much, except I could no longer eat Subway - all of their breads contain sugar. I ate more salads (with oil and vinegar only) instead.

Did I experience withdrawls?
Yes, the headaches started Sunday night. I had a terrible one, but I didn't take anything for it. I assumed it was from the sugar (or lack of). For the next week, I still had headaches, but they would come and go, not lasting very long. When I had sugar cravings, I substituted them for other things, like pretzels or pickles (and no, my sodium intake did not increase from usual). When work stressed me out, I wanted to go home to a glass of wine but I just chose not to. Water, green tea and milk were my only liquids for the last 10 days.

What have I learned?
I learned that I can stick to a challenge. That even if something seems hard, if you really want it, it can be done. I never cheated again after that first day. Yes, I wanted cupcakes and wine and all the other things that I couldn't have, but I didn't need them. I learned that producers hide sugar in almost everything! I even found sugar in my soy sauce and in a few jars of my pickles.

How did I feel?
I noticed my energy levels rising. I was more productive at the office. I wanted to do more than just lay on the couch after work. I had more energy to work out. I stayed up later than usual. I slept sounder. I lost 3 pounds.

Am I going to keep going?
No. I know a sugar free life is attainable, but I've decided it's not for me. Yes, I want to continue to limit sugars in certain foods that don't need it. If it isn't sweet, there shouldn't be sweeteners in it. I also want to try to cut out fake sugars in general. No high fructose corn syrup or splenda or anything else. Just real sugar or maple syrup or honey, but all in moderation of course. I want to look into more natural ways to fuel my body for my workouts instead of relying on Gus or shotblocks. But I like sugar and I like sweets and there's no reason I can't indulge myself in a cupcake, cookie or frozen yogurt every once in a while.

Do I recommend you try it?
Yes. I love the way I feel right now and had no idea that it would have made such a difference. If you are interested, I would definately encourage you to try it.

So now that it's over, what am I doing on my first day off my challenge?
Going to a beer festival of course!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Running Day

I thought I had a brilliant idea today. It's National Running Day, so of course I had to get a great run in. Although I've run around work and around my house, I've never run from work to home or vice versus. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Houston and I thought today was the day to do it.

Wrong. Today was my first DNF. I've never quit a run before, but today was that day. As pretty as it was outside, it was also 97 degrees and I haven't run in anything hotter than high 80s this year. I also forgot my water bottle in the office and chose not to go back and get it. Bad decision. The route home is in full sun with very little shade. I started off with a great pace and lots of energy. That quickly faded when I got out of downtown and a mile and a half into the run. I was thirsty and my blood sugar was dropping and it was HOT. Two miles in I stopped at a convenient store for a gatorade to quench my thirst. Sugar Free Challenge Fail.

The G2 helped a little, but I was so hot and tired and drained and I felt like I was going to pass out. Luckily for me, I have a friend that lives halfway between downtown and home. So I called her. But no answer. So I talked myself into continuing to run, hoping she'd call back. I passed her apartment and headed on home. Less than 2 miles left. But guess who comes running my direction? My friend! I told her I was exhausted and she promised to drive me home if I could make it the 3 blocks back to her apartment. Yay!

I don't know if I've ever been so glad to be done with a run before. I felt bad for not finishing what I started, but I also didn't want to pass out from the heat and not have anyone nearby. I really want to try again to run from work to home, but maybe I'll wait until fall (and remember my water bottle next time!). After a short cool off period at home and refueling, I grabbed my bike and headed to downtown to pick up my car. All in all it was a great workout day, but I set my goals a little too high and need a little more practice before I try it again.

Total for the day:
Weights - 60min
Run - 4 miles
Bike - 5.5 miles

June 1st

It's day one of the 10 day sugar-free challenge and I'm already worried that I won't make it! How terrible is that?! I had already weaned myself off of coffee (because honestly it's not worth drinking without sugar), so I started the day with a hot tea. But what do I eat for breakfast? My normal morning meal consists of bagels or muffins or FiberOne bars - all sugar laden and not a viable option for the next 10 days. Instead, I had two scrambled eggs. Now it's only 10:30am and I'm starving! Time to raid the kitchen to see if there's anything edible that doesn't have sugar in it to fuel me for my lunchtime workout. I've got my fingers crossed!