Tag Archives: diet

Weaknesses, Ambivalence, & a Great 10k

I’m at a week (and a half) in recovery mode: Last week I tried to get a bit more sleep (success), not work a ton of extra hours (moderate success), and ran only 23 total miles. I was feeling a lot more optimistic about the rest of Winter training and going into the Spring racing season. Especially after running the Back On My Feet Mardi Gras 10k on Saturday without falling apart (although it wasn’t without cramping).

The course was .20 short. Whoopsy. Mile 5 was slow because we ran into the 5k..bod and weave isn't in my repertoire.

The course was .20 short. Whoopsy. Mile 5 was slow because we ran into the 5k..bob and weave isn’t in my repertoire.

With honesty I’ve concluded that some of the discomfort and bonkyness I experienced at the LA Marathon wasn’t from having a cold (although that was the biggest contributor and certainly exacerbated things), but also was an illustration of several weak spots in my training and other habits that all reacted at once to the stress of 26.2 miles, on a hilly course, while fighting a lack of rest, a high level of stress, and illness over the past few months while also running at a (for me) high volume.


Screen shot from thumbnail…used without permission…is marathonfoto really never going to decide to charge a reasonable prices for downloading images?

Also, side note, I’m on my second “rest day” in a row (because of logistics and weather), so it’s plausible I’ve entered a reality distortion based panic where I can’t stop eating, feel 20lbs heavier, and am certain I’m out of shape. You know, the usual.

What are these training weaknesses? In no particular order here are the things I’ve pin-pointed, which if given some attention, it’s realistic to expect I would run (and generally feel) much better:

  1. DIET: True, I maintain a diet that more-or-less keeps me  more-or-less feeling good, and out of the hospital. Having faulty guts  means that I eat much “better” than the average person. But there are several areas where my vices rule me: lots of sugar, lots of coffee, lots of wine. If I just halved my consumption of those three things , I might wake up looking like Shalane… or at least, I’d reliably be able to button my slacks instead of trying to make leggings work-suitable. us-olympic-marathon-trials-results-team-amy-cragg-shalane-flanagan
  2. STRENGTH: I’m as total weak-ass. Figuratively and quite literally. I have very little strength and gave up my weight lifting habit once my weekly mileage went over 40. So, that was like 4 years ago, and now I have all kinds of hip, back, and core issues when I run… because those areas are so damn weak! And, as suggested, I think my ass is pretty wimpy too.
  3. SLEEP: Poor Jorge can share hundreds of anecdotes illustrating how much I struggle in the morning. I’ve been like this my entire life. Doesn’t matter how early I get to bed, my brain, mood, and body take FOREVER to wake up in the morning. If I sleep less than 8 hours (and who has time for THAT?!) it’s worse, and for me sleep debt seems to accumulate very fast and I almost always develop a fever, or catch whatever virus/bacteria is going around – this is what happened in Jan/Feb first the flu then the cold. I was logging only 5-6hrs of sleep per night from Thanksgiving until I got back from LA and said….NOooooooo I can’t take this anymore!
  4. STRESS: Productivity and stress have such a weird relationship. High productivity increases overall stress, but also decreases it… but then if overall stress gets too high then productivity slows down – creating more stress! GAAAAH! This is my life.

    This counts as a whole week's worth of ancillary work, right?

    This counts as a whole week’s worth of ancillary work, right? (and to be clear: this is me NOT Shalane.

  5. CLARITY OF GOALS: For the first time, outside of wanting to break 3:10 in the marathon this year, I don’t really know what I want from running in 2016 … which makes it hard to focus, do the supplemental work, drink less wine,  plan training, and choose races. Which brings me to my next point.

I’m still waffling like crazy over how to proceed in terms of racing and training. More specifically, I can’t decide whether I should go run the Catalina Marathon on March 19th, or stay home and run the Cary March Madness Half Marathon on the 20th (already registered). I registered for Cary on New Years Eve (it sells out within minutes most years), and then last month, very impulsively I entered a giveaway for an entry into the Catalina Marathon. I was really excited when I won! As it says in my entry post, I ran the Eco Marathon in 2013, and LOVED it. I also managed to finish as the first female, and 7th overall… which was an awesome experience. I wrote about it here.FullSizeRenderWhat I failed to consider in my impulsivity, was that this race is 5 weeks after LA and 4 weeks before Boston, and although it’s a comped race entry, I still need to FLY TO CALIFORNIA, which ain’t free. If the weather and sea conditions cooperate I don’t need accommodations because my bother, SIL, nephew and I will go out to the island on their boat. I usually take 36 or so hours to not be sea-sick, but I mean, who sleeps before a marathon anyway? Not me! The bigger concern is running with “sea legs”, basically then you feel sea-sick, but while you’re on land, running a race that is 26 miles with like 4,000ft of elevation gain. Awesome?

Note: not the actual boat.

Note: not the actual boat.

I honestly feel ambivalent, I can get on board with going and with not going. The biggest appeal is an extra visit with my family . I feel too awkward to ask to defer the entry, because, you know. Contest. But I also feel like a douche if i don’t use it. I need to make a decision so I can figure out how to train…

I can’t decide what to do. 

Thanks for hanging in here with me, now it’s time to CROWD-SOURCE this, yay!

What do you think? Catalina: yes or no?  (follow-up question, am I stuck being a jackass no matter how I handle this?)

Reduce training volume by 20% to make time/energy for supplemental work: yes or no?

Give up candy and wine: just kidding, don’t answer this one.


WIAW: How to recover from a marathon PR

Otherwise known as totally sit on your ass and pig out, with the occasional healthy detail.

This is not anywhere close to an exhaustive showcase of all I have eaten in the two days following Sunday’s run. It’s more like the highlights.

I am embarking on a racing weight effort starting tomorrow, it will hopefully leave me a bit lighter, a bit healthier in the intestinal region, and faster on my feet by this fall.

When I got home on Sunday night I order a much-anticipated pizza for Jorge, his brother, and myself. We also had some really good beer. Unfortunately, I was totally crashing-tired and my stomach was pissed about the marathon, apparently, and I wasn’t really able to enjoy it. No photo….sorry.

24hrs post race. Amazing Grass Superfood and strawberry smoothie. A full pitchers worth.

34hrs post race: Whole Foods trip while Jorge was at a 16″ Softball game. Apple Pie (which was polished off by 60hrs post race), Salmon Sushi, Chicken pot-stickers, and 3 buck Chuck Pino Grigio…

After that super fancy dinner by myself, I went for a couple of beers with Jorge and another couple. He made my day by wearing the best shirt ever printed.

48hrs post race: I looooove this cereal. It’s on my list of things I cannot buy because I eat the entire package. That list is not in effect for 72hrs after a marathon. Other items on said list include: marshmallows, nutella, fudgsicles, lays original potato chips, chocolate chips, graham crackers….it’s a pathetically long list.

53hrs post race: My awesome co-worker treated me to lunch at my favorite near-work place….where there is free soft-serve ice cream (one of my top 5 favorite foods). I am not sure what possessed me to order a tuna melt…I don’t actually think that I have ever had one before. It was good. The chips were better.

Self-Serve-Soft-Serve. Look at that pull! I have many talents.

62hrs post race: Trader Joe’s Mandarine Orange Chicken, White Rice, and x2 on the beer. Yes, that is my portion size. Feel free to judge.

While I have been busy rapidly putting on a few pounds, the girls shed a few at the groomer.

And that is all. I have to admit I am really looking forward to working out tomorrow and eating clean.



Here’s another photo from Monday: you’re welcome.

The following is my post from AT: Your Life today.

Everyone wants to see immediate progress, they want to go from dream to success in one tidy step.

Unfortunately the path to success meanders, and it can be very messy.

Many extremely successful professionals took many missteps, and were even fired from jobs or dropped out of school before finding their success.

Microchips and software didn’t become addictive games and apps for your smartphone in one attempt. They came, most likely, after many versions tanked in sales, or were scrapped altogether.

Weight loss is the same. If you expect to lose 2 lbs every week until you reach your goal weight, you will be very disappointed. You might lose 2 pounds some weeks, but others you’ll loose 3, or a half pound, and some weeks you’ll gain. But in the end, it feels just as great when you get to your goal.

For myself, the path to running a marathon at the standard I know I can has been anything but a straight line. I have trained for, or at least tried to train for, a half-dozen marathons. I have only completed two. I qualified for Boston, then broke my foot, I got in again, and the weather was unaccommodating. Now I find myself without a qualifying time to give it a go next year. So, I am running another BQ (boston qualifier) attempt in one month….eventually I will meet my marathoning success. But as my path to get there zigs, zags, skips, jumps, reverses, stops, and starts again, I will continue to embrace the process and learn as much as I can.

In your journal today, jot down some of the things you want to achieve, and what success looks like.

Then embrace the crooked line that will get you there.


I cook, really, I do!

From time to time, I have mentioned food on this blog. Usually in the framework of food-coma’s and colitis-triggers. I am no gourmet or foodie, I get annoyed when people say “I love to eat” (no shit, you’re alive), I am happy having oatmeal for dinner on any given night, and I will equally scarf lasagna and apple pie for breakfast. I can not tell (nor do I care to) the difference between a $7 and a $700 bottle of wine. I also think it is absolutely dispicable how little interest the average person takes in the quality of their food. Or in what chemicals and hormones are in it.

I am guilty of microwaving frozen veggies on a regular basis, and I use the “I don’t have time” excuse even though, as with everyone else, it’s bull. But I do think it is really important for everyone to know how to prepare a basic, well balance meal.

Typically, when I decide to cook something from scratch, or bake anything at all, I start off following the recipe, but inevitably end up with a product many steps divorced from the intent because I get distracted or confused or forget a step.

Therefore, I almost exclusively use idiot-proof recipes. That is to say, I really don’t use recipes much at all. Rather I follow some simple rules of cooking, or turn to “The Joy of Cooking” or the internet if I get stuck, or make a total mess.

As part of our healthy living project (which you can see here), my sister-in-law (who is an AMAZING baker/chef) posts recipes regularly. She also contributes to Mandee Miller’s FitFlashes every few weeks. This is my 3rd contribution to Mandee’s content. I thought I would share it here as well, because I often live by this recipe and I think it’s really important for people to know that even if you are busy and lack cooking skills (or recipe following skills), you don’t have to be condemned to frozen veggies and fast food (or rubbery/slimy) poultry!

Campfire Chicken

This recipe is extremely forgiving in regards to both your vegetable choices and seasoning choices. The iteration below includes protein, vegetables, and starch so it’s a complete meal for one! I call it a “campfire meal” because when I was a kid my mother would make a version of this, in tin foil, right over an open fire when we’d go camping. To make multiple servings use a casserole (or glass lasagna pan).

I choose to use cage-free, hormone-free, organic chicken, and organic vegetables. And I hope you do too.

Pre-Heat oven to 400°F

What you need:

Tin foil

1 chicken breast or 2 thighs

1 Zucchini

1 Yellow Squash

1/4 Red Onion

1 small sweet potato

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Seasoning of choice (generic Italian works well with 1/4 tsp of garlic added)


1 tsp Basil

1/2 tsp Oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the sweet potato thinly so it will soften and cook with the softer veggies. Chop others to bite size. Place all vegetables on tin foil. Mix in olive oil and seasoning by hand, coating veggies evenly.

Before adding oil and seasoning

Place chicken on top. Seal the tin foil like a burrito. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and vegetables have softened.

Chipotle ain't got nothin' on me!

Eat right out of the tin foil if you’re dining alone, or make it look like a far more sophisticated preparation by serving on a plate with a dinner roll for guests! (see photo at top)

For more recipe’s and awesome fitness advice and inspirations, check out Mandee’s FitFlash (blog) here. Scroll down to view the “Kitchen Creations”.

Look at me trying to be all well-rounded and stuff…now back to obsessing about The Boson Marathon and running in general!


WIAW – attempts at self-management

I stepped away from posting for about 10 days because I was overwhlemed and needed to scale back on self-imposed obligations for bit. I am happy to say it worked, I feel like Annabelle again, and after 9 terrible training runs in a row, I ran a fantastic 10-miler last night. Phew. Hopefully tonight’s Yasso-800’s are kind as well.

WIAW seems a great way to ease back in. Again, I really hate tracking food or calories, keeping a food log, or taking pictures of everything I eat. It just creates anxiety. I do really enjoy, however, operating on a theme (like Coffee WIAW, or esthetic WIAW).

Welcome to What-I-Ate-Wednesday: The Self-Management Edition: Here are a few things I did/made/prepared to help myself stay healthy this past week.

I was out of town for work last week and tried to avoid eating fast -food. I was in a town that is made up of mostly farm land, so there were a lot of options besides the typical McDonalds-KFC-Pizza Hut Triad. I did hit a Panera Bread for lunch, twice, and found (after 90 minutes of wandering around and getting lost) Sushi for dinner one night.

I packed my staples for the hotel, and managed to not feel off-track :

Yes, there is babyfood in there.

The other night (back home and in my normal routine) I was really exhausted and feeling a little bit sour-stomached. I made a bowl of cream-of-wheat with a large helping of blueberries, and some honey and cinnamon. It’s was very soothing and sent me right to sleep. This is one of my favorite snacks/meals and I can’t believe I hadn’t had it for months! I am going to pack some in April to make at the hotel in Boston (yes, I am already making my food list for that trip).

Would you like some cereal with those Blueberries?

We are still working in a sort of professional refugee camp, makeshift offices, shared spaces, and controlled chaos from the office break-in a few weeks ago. A natural side effect of this is that there seems to be more frequent trips to Starbucks and snacky offereings. To keep myself from over doing it, I made a giant “gorp” bin to last all week.

Yum...random assortment of options that leave me better off than donuts.

Speaking of donuts, in celebration of Fat Tuesday (I guess…) someone brought donuts from a local Polish bakery into work. I knew if I watched everyone else eat them and didn’t have one, I would just eat a lot of crap later on. We only have so much self-control to exercise in a day. So I had one, and it went down just fine!

Incidentally, I hit the donut lottery: chocolate cream!


WIAW: my daily drinks (other than water, of course)

I drink a lot of coffee, and I love smoothies. Here’s a heart-shaped collage of the last weeks supply of both.

(there were more coffees but I forgot to take pictures of them)

As for the love your veggies month, all my smoothies have a scoop and a half of Amazing Grass Superfood in them.

What are your favorite dietary staples? (By staples I mean: not necessary for survival, but you eat them most day anyway)


– to see more WIAW posts from other bloggers head over to Peas and Crayons.

WIAW – It’s a thing.

Several times over the last few months I have seen people posting visual food diaries on their otherwise not food-centric blogs…coincedentally, these posts were often on Wednesdays.

Yah, turns out that is not a coincidence but a virtual event called “What I ate Wednesday” (WIAW) dreamt up by a clever blogger.

So I am joining in. I am not holding myself to do this and post every week, but as it happens, if I am going to eat crappy, it typically happens on Wednesdays. I get up extra early on Wednesdays to teach a Spin class and consistently don’t sleep well on Tuesday nights. Being tired is my number one antecendent to eating decidedly NOT clean, and then spiralling into a box of sugary cereal by bedtime. This happened, in fact, just last week, and I have yet to be fully “back-on-track”.

That makes today (yes, I realize that it is now Thursday, not Wednesday. I was tired and wanted to NOT look at a computer last night) the perfect day to do my first “WIAW” post, so here it goes:

5:15am Water and Coffee (re-heated from yesterday's (Tuesday) pot. Yes, it's pretty gross) while sending today's (Tuesday's) email.

7:45am: Water and a Banana whilst getting ready for work at the gym

8:15am Venti Bold Coffee! (for sipping at until about 10:30)

10am, I sure do love bananas!

10:15 Trader Joe's Green Tea Mints...I love these, and they totally kill coffee breath! x2, then again at 3:30pm

10:45 Waaaaater! (refilled again after lunch, and at 4:30pm for the commute home)

12:30pm: Lunch (no, I didn't eat all my veggies...that's 2 lunches worth)

2:30 pm HUNGRY! Yesterdays lunch left-overs homemade rice and turkey chili.

4pm Thinking: OMG, why am I so hungry!!! I was so happy to find this bar under a pile of notes yet to find a home in the new office. I thought these bars were gone. Woohoo! (and I don't even really like them)

8:30pm Post Speedwork with the Boston Bound group. Feeling decidedly NOT hungry, but suspiciously nauseous. I ate 4 or 5 handfuls of this cereal while making dinner, because the box was on the counter. I am a cereal addict, and I am not kidding, if I see it, I eat it until it is gone. It's a problem.

9pm: DINNER! Finally! There was a second round of cornbread (which is why we don't make it very often), and a big glass of OJ for dessert.

That’s it! I felt hungry all day yesterday, I think this might be a product of trying to remember to take pictures of anything I ate. Think about food…want food? That’s the reason I never-ever follow prescribed diets…unless of course someone asks me to do it with them, or makes it a game or challenge or bet, because I am a sucker for all of those things.

But also, on Wednesdays I don’t have a HUGE smoothie for breakfast as I do most days, because it’s way to early to try to manipulate the blender, and people in the gym locker-room look at me funny when I bust out a green smoothie after spin glass, and then the tumbler gets all gross sitting in the truck all day…it’s a whole ordeal…

Another nice little side-effect was that when I put my dinner plate on the table to photograph it I said “Hey, let’s eat at the table tonight!”. And we did, and it was really nice. Even Jorge agreed (although, admittedly, without the marked enthusiasm I had) that we should eat at the kitchen table more frequently.

Yah, we’re bad, we eat on the couch, usually watching NCIS, or Fringe, if NCIS isn’t on. Gibbs makes good dinner company.

Well, I think I like this game! See you next Wednesday!

Oh, and,  for those who are following my Boston training (I know you’re out there because those posts get way more hits than the rest! Thanks for that!), I will post a 2 week re-cap this weekend.

Go enjoy your food, your exercise, and your day!


The answer to resolutions? Annabelle and Teresa, of course (an invitation).

Hey there!

Where do you think you're going?

Tomorrow, Teresa and I are starting up another round of our holistic-healthy-living-email-chain (which doesn’t have an official name…it’s still a baby). Let me know if you are interested, and we’ll include you in the welcome email going out tomorrow (it’s ok to join in late)! As before, you can participate as much or as little as you want/need, and you can set your own goals, we’re just there to shape, share, and support.

We’ll be providing some daily and weekly goals and challenges, as well as trying to keep things organized and helpful.

We did a round between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which I mentioned, subtly, here. It turned out to be an incredible experience. I was very pleasantly surprised at how open-minded, supportive, caring, and genuine everyone was!

Some great issues were raised and discussed, tips were shared, and progress toward personal goals was made.

So, if you would like to join us, either leave a comment below that includes your preferred email address, or send me a message privately at annabellewinters@me.com

Happy New Year!