Category Archives: Weight Loss

Running makes me hungry

I have to laugh when people say things like, “I run so I can eat pizza,” because oh, how I get it. If I didn’t have 35 pounds to lose, I’d be all over that. 🙂 But for now, healthy it is. And because I am only down .5lbs from last week (booooo)–and because those blank spots on the Nike+ weekly graph are maddening–I’m going to try to do something physical every day. This is particularly important because my job means sitting on my ass, all day long.

I took advantage of the lovely day and went for a walk, which Nike+ seems to think was a run, because 492 calories seems like an unreasonable burn for a leisurely 4 mile walk. 🙂 Interestingly enough, my pace varies more when walking than it does when running:

Half marathon training walk

Hunger is definitely becoming an issue, though. The day is fine but come nightfall, I’m starving…and craving the junkiest of junk food. What foods do you eat to fuel your runs without piling on empty calories?

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Half-marathon training: week 2 recap

Happy Valentine’s Day! Aside from the endless romantic comedies on TV (no complaining here–I love a good chick flick), it’s passed without incident or interest. For the past several years, I’ve been out of the country on Feb. 14. There’s not much of a market for pink and red cards in Nepal or Nicaragua, so Vday hasn’t really been a part of my life for three or four years. 🙂

Regardless, I found myself eating ice cream for breakfast. (I bought it last night and was giggling in the store because it looked like preparations for the stereotypical single-girl Valentine’s pity-fest. Not my style a’tall.) I followed the breakfast ice cream with breakfast Oreos.

I’m not beating myself up, though, because Sunday is long-run day! I really, really look forward to long runs because I adore the idea of breaking personal distance records…and at this stage, every new mile is a personal record. It’s a celebration every week. 🙂

Here’s week 2 of the Higdon half-marathon training plan (click to enlarge):

Higdon Half Marathon Training week 2

I couldn’t bear to do just 4 miles today, especially because I did 5 two weeks ago. (PS, the chart above starts on Monday.) So, this was my week according to Nike+:
half marathon week 2

You might note that today has over 8 miles. No, I didn’t run 8 miles. I did 5.55 according to the Nike+, and then worried that the distance might be off, so I did another .5 on the walk home from the endpoint. And because the desert back roads of this town are still unfamiliar, I took the wrong road and walked two extra miles.

This was my run–it was an amazing route, but almost all a gentle downhill out of the mountains, which is killer for the quads–with a big dip for a shoe-tying stop and a walk a bit later:

half marathon week 2 long run

And then this is the walk from the run, with a .5 mile bit of jogging near the beginning:

Higdon half marathon training

So according to Nike+, I burned 1061 calories today–ice cream forgotten. And what a great run! And in week 3, the T/Th runs extend to 3.5 miles each, which I’m really looking forward to (To close this post and the day, I’ll leave you with two pictures from my run. Have an amazing evening and a beautiful Monday!

Half marathon training run

Beginning runner half marathon training run

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Running for weight loss: food as fuel

What is it they say–diet for weight loss, run for fitness? In my experience, that’s absolutely true. During the Couch to 5K program, I didn’t lose a pound. Probably gained several, in fact. I was traveling during those months, and the 30-minute run/walk workouts just weren’t enough to counteract the calories in the delicious local foods. Can’t visit a new country without trying the cuisine, right? It’s surprising how easy it is to out-eat your running, especially during those beginning stages.

One of my goals during this 12 month marathon project is to lose 40 pounds. As humiliating as it is to admit this in such a public forum, I currently weight 171.5 pounds, down from 175 a couple of weeks ago. If I manage to muster the courage, I’ll post “before” photos–motivation, maybe? At 5’5” with a medium frame, my goal weight is 130-135.

In the past two weeks, spurred on by my nutrition-obsessed, extreme athlete brother, I’ve made a genuine effort to view food as fuel for running. Now, I am what you might call “domestically challenged.” I can count on one hand the dishes I know how to cook–and since I’ve recently discovered that eggs are the cause of extreme, painful bloating, I’m down to about 2. (And I *really* miss my fried egg whites on toast.) For most of college and the four years of my professional life, I’ve resorted to packaged food. Even when making an attempt to drop weight, I’ve focused on the number of calories and ignored the quality of those calories. Light breakfast, skipped lunch? Yeehaw, I can eat a bunch of frozen pizza for dinner and still fall around 1400 calories!

Now, as a runner, it’s fascinating to have actual physical feedback about how certain foods affect performance, even on a 3-mile run. If I’m not well-hydrated, I’m sluggish. Eggs are off-limits. Eating too close to running causes sharp stomach pains mid-run. Frozen pizza? Maybe, but not four pieces of the thick-crust kind, and there had better be a good serving of vegetables in there. Whole wheat pasta loaded with vegetables and beans–great. A green monster made with yogurt? Amazing. (Seriously, spinach in a smoothie = best idea ever. Thanks to Oh She Glows!)

What’s even more exciting is that the way I think about and react to food has really shifted. In the grocery store the other day, a friend suggested a dinner of fried chicken and french fries from the deli, and my mind and body immediately revolted. I didn’t exactly think, “too much salt, too much fat, too many calories,” but instead felt the absence of veggies and a healthy grain. In the end, I decided on a big salad before the meal, and ate some of the fried chicken against the will of my newly-developed inner nutritionist. And what do you know–an hour later, the horrible grease was aching in my stomach.

Big triumph of the day: in the grocery store, starving, looking for something fast to take home. A month ago, I would have grabbed a frozen pizza (I love it, can you tell?) in a hunger haze and stressed about the calories later. I would have gravitated toward it as though I had no control. Today, I craved it but walked right past and grabbed veggies for fresh guacamole and a couple of chips. And a bag of brussels sprouts, because they’re delicious.

This is a big deal for me. 🙂

The transition has been easier this time because it’s easier to say and think “I need to eat healthy things to help strengthen my body for running,” than, “I need to eat healthy things because I’m trying to lose 40 pounds.” (immediate body rebellion) A lifestyle change as opposed to a diet, I suppose, but this is the first time I’ve actually understood what that feels like.

And before I forget, a fantastic column by a newbie runner over at Runner’s World. This guy has me laughing out loud every time, and it’s so good to know I’m not the only one!

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