Two a Healthy Life

One couple on a mission to become healthy


1 Comment

Channeling my inner tortoise

8139271342_41a042b917_b

Photo by matea2506

It is a classic tale, the tortoise and the hare, speed versus determination; however these two paradigms can be applied as approaches to running.  Being a typical man, when I started running I simply wanted to get faster and continuously pushed to turn in quicker times on my runs.  As I have mentioned before, I ended up over-training and having some knee issues.  Now that I am back training, I am approaching running from the other side.

Alex has never been concerned with how fast she was running, but chose instead to focus on how far she runs.  To date, she has never has any issues with over training or injuries (knocking on wood now).  We recently did a run together (our first run ever together) and it was ironically liberating to have to slow my pace so we could run together.

This experience put a spotlight on the issue of speed for me.  I continually try to push my pace (though I know I should be focusing on strengthening my legs and slowly inching up my mileage), so after that run I have committed to slowing down.

The marathon training plan that I am following has two runs a week for 30-45 minutes, but does not specify anything about distance you should run.  I am now using these runs to focus on my technic (breathing, foot placement, stature) and am recommitted to slowing down so that they are not as physically demanding.

This new strategy can be seen in the couch-to-5k and many marathon training plans that incorporate walking as part of the program.  Walking helps reduce the amount of stress on your body during a run, and can help people to increase their mileage more than running continuously can.  This all feeds into the idea of slow and steady build up.

I think I am like most guys, and when you tell us to slow down or take it easy, we just want to get out there and rip it up even more.  But what I have learned thus far is that the safest approach is one of slow determination.  With enough training you can eventually morph into the hair, but we all need to start out as a tortoise.

Run on!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Of good runs and bad

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimolsonphoto/8358642701/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Photo by Kim Olson

On Wednesday I had a good run; I think the first good run of my marathon training and since coming off an injury late last year.  There are those runs, that from the beginning you just know you’re in the zone, your steps feel light, your breathing is synched, the whole act feels fluid.  Not all runs are like this, in fact, most aren’t.

I am not one of those people who would tell you “even the worst day of running is better then the best day of being a couch potato”.  There are some days that my runs don’t feel good, where I am tried and it is a struggle to keep going and not turn around (and sometimes I do).

There was a piece on NPR a few days ago (listen above) that was about how in the facebook generation we have turned into a society of braggers, where people only post the good news online and leave out the rest.  To some extent I feel I have been that way on this blog, putting down the successes and not admitting the failures.

Over the course of the several months were I was dealing with knee issues, I was depressed about not being able to run, and I let a lot of the habits I had built for myself go by the wayside.  I went from 155, back up to, at one point to 170 (this was also in the middle of the holidays, but no real excuse).  Now I am back down to 163, but it is still a struggle to get back down to where I was.

What I am really trying to get at is that, even though I may sound like I have it all together from my posts, there are still those days where all I want to do after work is come home, get in my PJs and watch TV while gorging on ice cream.  As Newton said, objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted upon by a force.

Not every run is going to be great, not every day of dieting is going to feel good.  By I can honestly say that since I have gotten back on track the last several weeks, I feel way better then I did when I started to slip and eat junk again.  Keep your eyes on the horizon, remember why your doing what your doing, the long term goal, and keep in mind those really great runs.

Onward!


Leave a comment

Edge of the World

Nathaniel and I had a great weekend full of activity and healthy foods!

Getting up Saturday morning we loaded up my SUV with Nathaniel’s sufboard and headed to Pacifica. While Nathaniel spent time in the water I went for a run along the coast and saw some spectacular scenery. 

Pacifica is a great place to run and I can’t wait to go back and explore the trails along the coast more in the future. 

Image

I turned off of highway 1 and ran down this path towards the beach.

Image

Image

Intensely beautiful views everywhere.

Image

Runner or not I am still clumsy and I fell running up this staircase.

Image

Nathaniel rinsing off after about an hour in the ocean.

I was a little late getting back to the beach to meet Nathaniel (and he was a little annoyed) but the run was amazing. At certain points you are running along a sheer cliff and feel as if you are on the edge of the planet… although you are (obviously) on the edge of a continent. 

It is a crazy feeling of freedom.

It was my favorite run so far.


Leave a comment

Office Temptation

ImageToday I instagrammed my lunch.

I’ve purposefully tried to stay away from instagramming food because the light is rarely good enough to bother doing it with a phone and because I’d like to keep myself out of the cute kitties and food rut some people get sucked into.

However – today I made an exception because I was really really hungry and very thankful I had stocked up on steamfresh veggies this morning. I discovered these a few weeks ago and have been routinely eating a bag of veggies with a tofurkey patty and an egg for dinner. The meal comes out to around 300 calories and it is LOVELY to be able to make a hot and healthy meal in under 10 minutes although I think I am going to stop eating the tofurkey (too processed).

I decided I wanted the soup Nathaniel and I made this week for dinner instead of lunch so I went to Target before work and bought some steamfresh bags to hide in the freezer at my work. Interestingly enough the fridge at my work looks like a science experiment inside but the freezer is nearly bare.

I just wanted to share this lunch cheat with our TwoAHealthyLife readers. Even the more calorically dense steamfresh bags are under 250 calories which is pretty fantastic. I don’t buy the ones that come with sauces inside because I want to avoid that much sodium in one meal.

Eating healthy at work is really hard- there seems to be temptation everywhere. The snack machine in the hall is full of things high in fat, sugar and salt. This trinity is responsible for us craving all the things we should eat less of.
Image
Our primal EAT alarm goes off when things are balanced with these flavors – something Nathaniel and I can talk more about at a later time. But- there is a reason foods we would normally consider “savory” get sugar added to them. Hamburger buns for example have quite a bit of sugar in them… a lot of bread does. Sugar makes you crave that burger more.

My biggest challenge at work arrived shortly after Christmas. One of the editors was given an automated M&M dispenser by his mother and he brought it to work… It is now constantly filled with M&M’s and I have to walk pass it nearly every time I leave the office. It’s on my way BACK from the bathroom.

Image

I told Nathaniel this morning I would consider it a personal victory if I didn’t eat any M&M’s today (5 calories each) and so far I haven’t…

T-minus 45 minutes.


Leave a comment

A Race at Lands End

route

He Said:

Today we did another DSE run (they host them every week, so if your in the Bay Area you should come check one out, $5 for a race isn’t bad) the first one we did was the Embarcadero 10k and today’s race was the Golden Gate Vista 10k.

One of our friends had told us about it so Alex and I agreed to do the run without really reading anything about it or doing any research on the course.  The run was at lands end in SF and for those who don’t know, this is one of the hilly parts of the city (I know, where is it not hilly).  The run starts on a trail and then goes along the coast, where it peeks on a hill (or small mountain) over looking the Golden Gate bridge.

Without having looked at the map or realizing where the run was going to be held, it was a little bit of a shock when we got there and our friend told us it was going to be hilly.  The first half of the run went fine, knowing that there were going to be hills, until we got to the mini-mountain and struggling to get to the top of this thing.  There were a couple of guys in front of me, and just seeing them keep going helped to motivate me to keep going.  Getting to the top without stopping was my accomplishment for the day and it did make me feel good about the race.

Over all I ran the race in 54 min, which with all the hills was better then I thought I was going to do.  My comment to Alex in general about the race was how strange it still is sometimes to think that we just wake up and run six miles now.  Both of us agreed to the run without really thinking about it and not worrying about not being able to complete the run or dying along the road on the way.

Cheers to 10ks.

Onward

Left to right: Me, Nathaniel, Billy and Alli.

Left to right: Me, Nathaniel, Billy and Alli.

She Said:

A few weeks ago my best friend’s girlfriend asked Nathaniel and I if we would like to do a 10k with her and my best friend.

Without really worrying about it I told her we would do it – not even knowing the name of the race where it was or anything other than the fact it was in San Francisco and only cost $5 to participate in.

It’s so amazing to me that a year ago I couldn’t even jog a ¼ mile without dying and now I’ve completed a half marathon and can run a 10k any given Sunday without really worrying about it.

The only thing I do differently leading up to it is eat a different breakfast than I would normally eat. Usually I like to have a banana and orange juice before a 10k but today I had toast with peanut butter and orange juice.

Anyways – the date kind of snuck up on us and just after 8am this morning Nathaniel and I were pulling into a parking lot near Sutro Baths in San Francisco with our friends in the car behind us.

It was a brisk morning and we were quite cold as we checked in, paid our fees and just stood around waiting for the 9 o’clock start to roll around. A tall guy (about 6’5’’) sidled up behind Billy and was eyeing him really obviously.

It annoys Billy when people comment on his height or react strangely to him because he is tall so I told the guy “Yeah – he’s taller than you.” Which really embarrassed him and he wandered away…

Soon it was time for the race to start and Billy (the only one of us who has done a marathon) told us the course was going to be hard. I seriously hadn’t even known where the race was until we got into the car and were heading north towards the city … but Billy telling us it was going to be hard worried me a little bit.

We took off at 9 am and the big group of us went looping through the parking lot and then off road to a nice trail with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The view was fantastic for most of the run and around mile 1 we hit a staircase and I had to climb it – not running.photo-5

To be fair- the stairs were spaced really strangely for running. Only really tall people would be able to run them normally but for the rest of us you have to either bound up them or take a strange step and a half for every stair.

Those stairs were the only thing that really killed me on the run. I was dying by the time I got to the top of them (partially because my muscles were still cold).

I noticed a long time ago it takes me about two miles to start enjoying a run – after that I can cruise a long for a while and just be really happy to be out moving.

During the Las Vegas half Marathon I felt like shit from mile 0-2 and 9-13. Everything in between was fantastic.

I caught Billy and Alli on a long sloping hill near the three-mile mark and passed them near the top of it. Alli (sorry if this annoys you) is a lot thinner than me but doesn’t run as much and she has asthma. If she ran as much as I did she would totally kill me because I outweigh her by 20-30 lbs.

After I passed them on the downhill portion of that hill it was probably another half mile till we started climbing again. And then it was maybe another mile of long sloping hill.

I didn’t actually need to stop at any point on the race except for the stairs although I did walk with Billy and Alli for a few minutes.

The last big hill it came down to just making myself do it. I was slowly trotting up it and near the top stopped and took about two walking steps before I told myself I was being lazy and that I could finish it – and then I started running again.

Although the course was hilly and hard I set a new PR today by about 2 minutes.

I was really happy with how I did and it has me motivated me to start running on a more regular basis.

Onward!

photo


Leave a comment

ZELLA OMFG

zella

Some of you may remember that I recommended a champion sports bra to our female readers – I now have a pant recommendation for you as well!

I had been looking for a new pair of running pants because my Adidas weren’t fitting well and it is aggravating beyond belief to spend the first mile or so of a run yanking up your pants (muffin top – just say no!).

I tried on Nike (a past addiction), Adidas and Under Armour and just wasn’t happy with the fits I was finding. For pants I prefer black so some of the INSANE running pants Nike offers aren’t that appealing.

In frustration I decided to try the Zella brand at Nordstrom (not my first choice for an athletic gear retailer) and I was pleasantly surprised. Even the best running pants require a tug once in a while to keep them over your bum but Zellas are the least fussy pants I’ve ever owned.

When I tried on some brands at Nordstrom I could hear a slight a ”rip” sound on the delicate waistband seams when I pulled them up. That sound is a bad omen when you figure on a long run if pants don’t fit well you could be tug them a few hundred times!

As soon as I tried on the Zellas I knew I was in love. I am not quite brave enough for the “tight” ones (yet) but the Zella ‘Booty’ Reversible Pants are amazing. BONUS- they come in sizes 0-14 in both regular and long.

I wore them during the Las Vegas half marathon in December and didn’t experience any discomfort even after running in them for nearly three hours.

If you are looking for some new gym pants I strongly recommend these.


Leave a comment

Mr. Miyagi Yourself

A lot of the weight loss process comes down to pulling a Mr. Miyagi on yourself.

For example, I used to always run up a hill before crossing to the other side of the street and conveniently enough I always found a reason to stop at the top of the hill. The excuse was usually a car coming regardless of how far off it was and then one day I realized I’d be more likely to keep going if I crossed the street at the bottom of the hill before going up it and I was totally right.

To be fair – the last part of the hill is intense for new runner but I haven’t stopped at the top since I had this revelation back in the summer.

Another strange psychological aspect to my weight loss is that I am more likely to eat fewer calories on the days I exercise. The more I exercise the easier it is for me to be really strict on my diet although biologically I need more food.

Part of the reason for this is I know how many calories I can eat a day without gaining weight (give or take a few hundred). Anything I eat under that means I am theoretically losing weight even if it is more slowly (at least this is what I am telling myself).

So – if I don’t do anything but eat less than 1,200 or 1,000 I can still avoid a guilty feeling at the end of the day. Theoretically I should be able to eat 2,500 without gaining weight although my BMR is altered as a result of my weight loss.

 On the days I run it is way easier for me to say no to cream in my coffee, chocolate, cheese, extra salad dressing and carbs because I visualize that as canceling out 10 minutes of running or a half hour of running as I tally the calories in my head.

One piece of Tiramisu at Il Fornaio is equal to about 45 minutes of running at Alex speed. KNOWING how hard I worked and how it will be erased by treats helps me stick to my plan throughout the day.

Other things I’ve learned about myself:

If I tell myself I will run after work it will usually not happen but I am infinitely better at running before work.

Once I have decided to not eat sweets for a specific period of time saying ‘no’ is a lot easier and treats don’t trigger the ‘to eat or to not eat anxiety’… which is something discussed in The End of Overeating. Saying you are trying to ‘cut back’ is way too vague of a goal.

Thanks for reading, onward!