Fun Friday Q and A

I’ve noticed several bloggers have been doing Q&A posts recently, so I figured now is as good of a time as ever to answer some of those burning questions that I know are keeping you up at night!

1. How long have you been running and why/how did you start?  I have been running for 4 years.  The catalyst for my transition to a healthier lifestyle was seeing my fat arms in a picture that was taken from behind.  Nevermind that I had a muffin top and needed to lose 15 pounds, I was worried about the arm fat!  I started making healthier food choices almost immedately and started running with a Couch 2 5K program within a couple of weeks.  I ditched C25K when I had to walk for 5 min after running 8.  I figured it was easier to keep going….and I haven’t stopped since!  (Except for the stupid ITB injury, but I’m not going to mention that)

2.  Which Jen likes hills?  And why do you name them?  First, both Jens LOVE hills.  (If you are unfamiliar, I have a split personality: Crazy Jen and Sane Jen)  The bigger the hill, the better.  And, for the record, I’ve only named one hill… I affectionately call my “go-to” hill “Old Friend”.  (When I’m on my way to the hill, anway.  When I am 3/4 of the way up Old Friend, I usually say words that I hope other people don’t hear.)

Old Friend.  84' increase in .44 mile.  Making my mouth water just thinking about it!
Old Friend. 84′ increase in .44 mile. Can’t wait until I tackle this ‘friend’ again!

3.  If you could live anywhere other than Texas, where would it be?  I would not, could not live anywhere else.  So, if living in another state is required, I respectfully request to be taken out to the back 40 and put down like a lame horse.  Just make sure I’m buried in Texas!

Ain't Texas.  'nough said.
Ain’t Texas. ‘nough said.

4.  What is this obsession with peanut butter?  Peanut butter is quite possibly the most wonderful substance ever invented by man and is even better when paired with honey (God bless the bees!)  I consumed an inhuman amount of PB & honey during marathon training.  Even though I’m not 26.2 training these days, I still consume an inhuman amount of peanut butter.  This has, no doubt, been a big contributor to the 4 extra pounds I’m carrying around these days.

No caption needed.  This is greatness.
No caption needed. This is greatness.

5.  If you’re from Texas, why the hell don’t you own cowboy boots?!?!  I have owned cowboy boots, just not currently.  Even though I AM a die-hard Texan, I don’t pull off the ‘cowgirl look’ very well.  I can, however, pull off the ‘runner look’ without a hitch.

6.  What do you have against summer sausage?  Basically, if I have difficulty eating meat that has been ground up, mixed with mystery ingredients and shoved into a casing.  I have a similar aversion to bologna, weiners and the like.

Threw up in my mouth just looking at this pic!
Threw up in my mouth just looking at this pic!

7.  Why did you lock Crazy Jen up and throw away the key?  Crazy Jen caused a hitch in my get-along during marathon training.  Crazy Jen does things like: runs every long run at race pace, sets PBs during training, doesn’t strength train, doesn’t cross train, pushes through a run 6 miles after ITB starts hurting.  Just to name a few…  Let’s just hope I don’t lose my mind and go dig through the landfill to retrieve the key.

8.  Are crazy cupcakes for Crazy Jen?  Of course not!! All the Jens love all the cupcakes!  However, even Crazy Jen would prefer to avoid another Caramel Crack Cupcake debacle.

My "Caramel Crack Cupcakes", as they became affectionately called.
My “Caramel Crack Cupcakes”

9.  What is it with the pink compression socks?  There’s really no color better than hot pink.  I do have to admit, it can be blinding, at times.  Since compression socks are $50/pair, the pink ones were the only ones I owned, for a time (so naturally I always wore pink compression socks).  Santa brought me some black ones, and I have to say that I really don’t like wearing black.  I know my ninja brothers and sisters would disagree, but black is soooooo boring!Compression socks

Yes, Coach Bounds RAN across the field when I came to stretch on the track after my run last August.  And YES, I know he was making fun of me, but I really didn’t care 😉

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend, Happy Spring Break!

Sane Jen

 

Foam Rolling is Fun Again!

I was so excited about my upcoming run on Friday that in my last post I completely forgot to talk about all my Thursday night purchases (the ones I made killing time while Alli was at volleyball practice.  I know….dangerous LOL)!!!

First, I bought heavier hand weights.  I don’t think it is a secret that I have tried (successfully, I might add) to avoid strength training like the plague.  But, I realize that it is so important to keeping me out on the pavement.  And when I consistently strength train, I feel so much better and so much stronger!  I have been doing the strength exercises that were listed in the book I bought.  They have given me a great place to start and each week, I add a bit more weight.  I am beginning to notice a real difference!  Now that I have a base, I am going to start experimenting with some different exercies.  I never imagined I would look forward to it, but oddly, I am!!

Then, I bought a heavier resistance band.  I haven’t used my resistance band much because I bought a lightweight one and it just doesn’t seem to be a challenge.  I’m pretty excited to try out the new one!

Finally, I found this.Therapy ball

The muscles between my shoulders are so knotty and tight.  ALL. THE. TIME.  This is quite a bit larger than a therapy ball, and to get your back, you roll with the ball in between you and a wall.  I must say it works very well!  And it is easier than the foam roller for getting into the glutes, plus it is easier (for me) to find those spots in my glutes than with a therapy ball (OK, maybe not easier, just less painful).

Foam rolling has been almost a breeze lately.  I have to work very hard to find spots that need attention and that is a REALLY good sign!  Of course, there are still spots, but not many and they aren’t too painful!  #progress

Did I mention that I ran on Friday?? IT.  WAS.  AMAZING!!!  I actually felt like myself.  I stuck with the 5 min run/5 min walk intervals, and was terribly sad when the run was over.  I would gladly have gone a couple more intervals.  I think this is a great sign that my body is healing nicely.  The heart rate training is going to be good for me, as I have said before.  I had to hold myself back to keep that little devil from beeping at me (it went off 6 times within the first 3 min of my first interval).  Had I not had my heart rate set, I am SURE that I would have over-exerted myself.  I believe this will be one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle to keeping me injury-free going forward.

Now, I have to admit that Crazy Jen tried to make an appearance.  During my run, I began having that internal debate regarding what heart rate zone I had set for my run and how (at the time) Crazy Jen thought it was too low.  After the run, Smart Jen realized that my heart rate is set in the right place for this point in my recovery.  Thank goodness I don’t know how to change all that mid-run!

run

Since I can’t really blow the top off my pace (or the bottom, as it may be), I am trying to concentrate on correcting issues with mechanics.  I have been able to keep my left arm from crossing my body (which, if you remember DRIVES ME INSANE, and is not good form).  Cadence is always on my mind, but I have been doing a decent job there, considering the turtle’s pace to which my heart rate is keeping me constrained.  (Another plus to heart rate training……I can’t see my pace!)  Something else I noticed was that I could feel my glutes, which means they are actually awake and firing…..always a plus!

Even with the walk breaks and my phone in my FlipBelt (as opposed to an armband), I am still having logistical issues when attempting to take pictures.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to overcome this, so don’t expect many spectacular “seen on my run” photos.

I love the winter sun!
I literally had to stop to get out phone, as I am not coordinated enough to do it while moving.  #notaphotographer

Saturday morning, I got up early so that I could do my strength training and get all my stretching and foam rolling in before I left to referee a volleyball tournament.  I felt great!!  No soreness whatsoever from the Friday run!!  Another plus is that after standing for 8ish hours on Saturday and about the same on Sunday, I didn’t have any soreness or aches (like I did with my last tournament).  Overall I am VERY encouraged by my progress!

Many people have been asking about my peanut butter consumption and the absence of peanut butter jar pics.  Let’s just say that Alli, my almost 10 year-old, “scolded” me regarding the number of peanut butter jar pics I had posted! LOL.  So, for now, rest assured I am still consuming peanut butter like a wild person, even though the consumption is undocumented.

Happy Monday!!

Jen

Winning is fun!

On Monday evening, Logan’s soccer team made history.  Well, history was being made one way or the other, but the boys came together and made history in a positive way!  The first “official” game EVER was held on our soccer field (first historic moment of the evening) and then, something magical happened…..WE WON!!!!  The win was historic because: it was the first in program history, the first win of the season and the first win on our field!!  Now, there may not be another win this season, but we have already improved our record from last  year (ALL losses and one tie)!

My ONE action shot that actually turned out.  This was taken before my camera died of frostbite.
My ONE action shot that actually turned out. This was taken before my camera died of frostbite.
Team photo after the big win!
Team photo after the big win!

I was proud of the integrity shown by our coach and our players in the 6-0 victory.  We played a first-year program and had the opportunity to run up the score.  But, we were the recipients of that type of play last season (last season was our first) and it always angered our coach, because he felt it unsportsmanlike and disrespectful.  During the second half, he gave our reserve players most of the playing time.  When our starters were on the field, they were not playing their normal positions.  Logan, for example, usually plays right back on defense, but asked to play our midfield wing for second half.  He ALMOST scored a goal!!  When I asked him about it after the game, he said it was the worst decision he could have made.  He was tired after 5 min at mid and had 15 to go!  When the opportunity for the goal shot came around, he was so tired that he wasn’t able to get a good foot on it.  (And I was ROLLING, I laughed so hard!)  The REAL hilarity in all this is that Logan was ALWAYS midfield prior to high school (and yes, last year I thought Coach was CRAZY for making Logan a defender….maybe one of these days I will tell a funny story from my soccer coaching days).  Of course, the level of play is different, but it still cracks me up that midfield now tires him out!  (And let’s not forget he is my 6 min. mile Cross Country runner!)

Score

Game-time temps were brutal and only got worse (brutal by this Texas gal’s standards, anyway).  I don’t even know what the temps were except they were in the low 30s.  I don’t know what the wind speed was, but it was TOO much!!  Even with my handwarmers in my shoes, my poor toes were frozen.  It was so cold that the shutter on my camera wouldn’t even snap properly and the majority of the pics look like those extended exposure pics where figures are moving, but you can see the blur of where they had been.  And then the kicker – when I got up to leave my left thumb was hurting.  Like down in the joint by my wrist!  Tuesday morning it was still hurting so badly that I had to skip my stretching and foam rolling because putting weight on it hurt so badly!  I slapped some KT Tape on it, took Ibuprofen and it became manageable as the day went on.  Thankfully, I woke up this morning and it felt almost normal.

One-handed application.  Not bad.
One-handed application. Not bad.

In other news, I’m STILL addicted to peanut butter (and honey!).  I wasn’t THAT concerned during marathon training, although going through a 3 lb jar every 2 weeks should have been a clue.  I just figured that when marathon training was over, I wouldn’t have such an urge to eat peanut butter with every meal and every snack.  The peanut butter/honey combo goes with anything, everything, really.  I start my day with English muffin, topped with peanut butter and honey.  Banana with peanut butter and honey is divine!  The combo also goes with saltine crackers, Ritz crackers, pretzels…..I could go on and on and on!!!  Just call me the Bubba Gump of peanut butter.  (OK, NOW I need some peanut butter!)

I realized on Monday that I may need an intervention, when my (tiny) 2 lb. jar of peanut butter was half-gone in less than 5 days!  My concern isn’t so much my consumption of peanut butter, but my lack of exercise right now to offset it! I’m not TOO concerned, though, because I’ve only gained 4 lbs since my marathon and I really haven’t worked too hard to control my diet.  A little off-season weight gain is good, right?!?

My 2 lb jar of PB, half way gone in just 5 days!
Approaching emergency status if I don’t replenish SOON!

Happy Hump Day!  Texas is cruising to sunny and temps in the 60s by the weekend! (CAN NOT WAIT!!!)

Later,

Jen