Saturday, June 8, 2013

My First Half Marathon

Why running is harder than cycling:

Nothing against cyclists (my dad is an amazing and avid cyclist! And I love cycling at the gym) But I just wanted so badly to be able to coast while maintaining speed for a little bit to give my legs some recovery time, but knew it would drastically slow my time and I would be passed by several people.  The idea of all those people passing me was worse than my burning and tingling legs.  There is just no rest in running.

So here is my story of running a half marathon - a bunch of women from my church signed up to run a 13.1 mile race on June 8 - See Jane Run.  I wasn't sure if I would be in town that day or what my plans would be so I didn't sign up, plus I hate signing up for races way in advance in case I injure myself or something.  I didn't really train for it, just stayed in shape lifting and teaching my exercise class twice a week, with an occasional cycling class about every other week.  I did run 6 miles with a friend back in the middle of April and felt pretty good about that.  

Then last week I did a 5 mile charity fun run (not timed) and kept about an 8.5 minute/mile pace.  This gave me confidence and I was thinking about just signing up and running the half marathon, but wanted to get in a longer run that Saturday.  However, I totally got sick after - dehydration and the like - all weekend.  So I didn't get in that extra long run to prepare me :/  But then on Tuesday...I got the text.  A girl who had signed up hurt her knee and wouldn't be able to run it.  She asked me if I would take her place, so I said yes...ah!!  The anxiety settled in and all week I was pretty nervous, as I always get before a race of some sort.  But at least I would have the opportunity to just get a half marathon out of the way!  It had kind of been on my bucket list of things to do.  

Anyways...about the actual race - I just wanted to write this down for my own record and thought "what better place than my blog?"  I started out really fast...well, really fast for me in long distance.  I set a goal the night before to finish in 2 hours and felt that would push me and be fairly realistic.  I started the race next to the 1:45 pacer and then passed her around mile 2.  I was feeling pretty good and going pretty fast.  I was passing people right and left.  I knew I wasn't at my "aerobic" pace and knew I was using quite a bit of my glycogen stores, but my pride was getting the best of me and I didn't want to slow down.  Plus I had carb loaded pretty heavily the night before and this morning and knew my glycogen should last a good amount of time.  I think I stayed at this pace til around mile 3.  Then exhaustion started kicking in.  People started passing me.  I fell back a little bit.  Then at mile 4, I had to use the john.  I grabbed a goo packet and some water and walked for a few paces, then started again.  This time at my aerobic pace.  But my muscles were starting to become exhausted.  More and more people were passing me.  But I knew I still had over half of the race left and kept telling myself to just stay at pace.  It was definitely a mental battle.  Not ever having run more than 6 miles before, I didn't even know what to expect, or what lied ahead.

Mile 5 (I think) was one of  the hardest.  It was so hot, and we had to run up this one street, and turn around to come back down that same street, which was divided by cones.  Oh how I so badly wanted to just cross the cones and skip that street!!  "Til I Collapse" came on my ipod, by Eminem.  That has always been a super motivational song to me while running.  I had to put it on repeat and listened to it a couple times to keep going. 

Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that s*** out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

What better lyrics to run to!?!  I always somehow find that inner strength when that song comes on and I just pull it outta me.  Mile 6...awesome!  It meant I was almost half way...mile 7...more awesome!! I was over half way.  I was keeping my pace and feeling pretty good.  I knew I was ahead of my 2 hour goal because that pacer hadn't passed me yet.

Then mile 9 was approaching.  I couldn't move my legs anymore.  They hurt.  So bad.  Then the idea hit me that I still had 4 miles left.  I couldn't even imagine myself running 4 more miles!  I didn't think my legs would make it.  I had to walk.  I wanted to cry!  I thought once you found a good pace, you could just keep going since you had unlimited fat least that's what I'd just been studying in the Personal Training manual and what I'd learned during my undergrad in Exercise Science.  But that's theoretical.  That doesn't take into account how your joints hurt - your hips, your knees, your ankles.  It doesn't take into account the mental anxiety and stress involved in depleting your body of energy and performing the same task over and over for multiple hours.  However, in my moment of despair, I saw a saint - somebody handing out whole bottles of water!  I didn't know what that water would ultimately do for me, but I was grateful for it when I got it.  I started drinking some, then splashed some over my left shoulder.  It felt AMAZING!  Then over my right shoulder.  Then down my chest.  Over my head.  The cold water seemed to refresh my muscles and re-energize them.  It was like I was at the start of the race again (or maybe just mile 2). 

Just then, the 2-hour pacer jogged up next to me.  I knew I had to stay with her.  I had to reach this goal.  I started my pace again.  I kept with her for the next two and a half miles.  I even got ahead at some points and was feeling really good.  Then with about a mile and a half left, my legs cramped so badly I couldn't keep running.  I started walking (if what I was doing could even be considered walking) and watched my goal run away from me.  It was depressing in some ways, especially because I kept thinking if I kept up with here, I would be done with this race that much sooner.  But I just couldn't go.  I walked a bit further, then saw a pole up ahead.  "Just run to the next pole" I told myself.  I did.  Then I told myself to just keep jogging to the next pole.  Once I got there, I had to walk again.  People kept passing me.  Ugh!  Then a girl passed me and the back of her shirt read "You are stronger than you think you are".  Because my mind kept saying I couldn't do this, I knew I could.  The whole next song that came on, I just kept repeating those lyrics to the beat.  I jogged that whole next song!  Then I had to walk.  Then I came on the 13 mile marker!!!!!!   I seriously couldn't believe it.  I just wanted to cry.  I couldn't believe I had made it.  I saw the finish line.  And I sprinted for it.  I passed probably around 10 people.  I had my glycogen stores back for that last bout :)  And I finished strong.  

Then I collapsed. 

Here are my results: (Danielle Curtis is who's place I took in the race)

Total Time: 2:03:25 
Avg Pace: 9:26 min/mile

After affects: five hours later, I still wanted to cry thinking about how hard that was and because my body hurt so bad.  My left knees KILLS!!!!!  I seriously can't walk normally, and stairs are excruciatingly painful.  Both my hamstrings feel strained.  However, I do feel accomplished - almost like I can do anything in the world.  I have a new-found determination to accomplish other goals I have in my life.   I also feel skinnier :) (which is always a plus for women!) and every time I stepped on the scale after the race, I weighed less and less.  (I don't normally weigh myself multiple times a day, but I was just curious how my body would react after running a half).  From the time I weighed myself in the morning to the last time I weighed myself after the race, I lost about 2.4 pounds, which is amazing because normally you weigh less in the morning and more as the day goes on.  

Well that is my story of running my first (and possibly my only) half marathon.  In sum, it had a lot of goods and bads, positives and negatives.  If I could go back, I would definitely do it again.  It was a journey I will always remember.  


What is something you have done out of your comfort zone?  What did you learn from it?  

What is a goal you have in your life?  What steps can you take today to accomplish that goal?  Just take one step and you will be that much closer. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Real Abs are Made in the Kitchen

I've been hearing this phrase a lot lately in my research and since changing my eating habits and hitting the gym regularly, I have definitely found this to be true.  Back in March, I was inspired to have my own "March Madness" where I revamped my eating habits and (for a change) planned out all my meals - five a day, plus extra things to eat if I got hungry.  I realized that when I got hungry, that was when my self-control was at its low.  When my stomach grumbled, my hands tumbled...over anything it could get a hold of!  Planning out my meals helped my body know when it would be fed to prevent food cravings and binge eating, ensured that I got all my nutrients and protein, and allowed me to plan things I liked and looked forward to in order to prevent boredom and dissatisfaction.
**Changing something as drastic as your eating habits is a very psychological thing.  Something that really helped me during this month of revamping my diet was trying to read positive things about health and nutrition.  It just got my mind aligned with my body and actions and definitely made it easier to eat clean.  

So here's the first two weeks of my meal planning.  *DISCLAIMER* I didn't measure out everything to a T and I don't have all the macro nutrients calculated.  This is a rough outline I used and am posting for my own record and to give you guys some ideas to base your meal plans (or individual meals) around.  Everybody's needs are different and this is where you need to listen to your body. You can also use a calorie counter (such as myfitnesspal) or the like to get an idea of what your needs are.  

Pumpkin spinach shake w/Chia seeds
Whole wheat bread w/almond butter & cinnamon
Omelet w/peppers, onions, spinach
Snack (pre-workout)
Celery w/peanut butter & hemp seeds
Herbal tea if hungry
Salad – Spinach, Canellini beans, egg white (hardboiled), feta cheese, tomato, lemon dressing.  
If hungry, snack on protein bar or mixed nuts.

Pineapple Spinach Shake w/Chia Seeds
Mixed nuts w/craisins. 
Fish w/rice & Asparagus
Celery w/peanut butter & hemp seed
Protein Mix w/cinnamon. Protein bar. Sesame snack
If hungry, snack on apple or protein bar

Oatmeal w/Chia Seeds, protein, cinnamon Wheat toast, almond butter, cinnamon, honey.
Greek Yogurt w/strawberries, cinnamon, honey, pecans
Grapefruit w/cottage cheese
Protein bar & carrots Grapefruit w/cottage cheese
Salmon burger w/spinach salad arugula/pea sprout salad w/carrots, kidney beans, Caesar dressing. Sourdough toast.
If hungry, snack on nuts. 
As you can see, I didn't always follow through with what I planned.  If I did, I bolded it.  If I didn't, I crossed it out and wrote what I actually ate. 

Peanut butter spinach shake
Homemade carrot protein bar
Egg white breakfast burrito
Greek yogurt w/strawberries, cinnamon, honey, pecans, and hemp seed
Sun-dried tomato chicken & asparagus  ate out – thai food
Oatmeal w/chia seeds, protein, cinnamon
Grapefruit and cottage cheese
Turkey burger w/asparagus
mixed nuts
Sun-dried tomato chicken w/asparagus
Bagel w/avocado and cream cheese - CHEAT
Chocolate protein w/hemp seeds
Salmon burger w/spinach salad
Protein bar
Sun-dried tomato chicken w/asparagus

Week 2 

(Changed the format here) 

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5

Banana/blueberry protein shake
Orange & homemade flax Muffin
Sourdough bread w/shredded chicken & tomato
Vegetable quinoa
Salmon Burger w/broccoli
Orange & homemade flax muffin
Eggs w/shredded chicken & cottage cheese
Green shake
Page 8 (Greek Chicken)
Protein Shake
Cottage cheese w/cantaloupe & pineapple
Black bean soup w/sourdough bread. Add shredded chicken?
Salsa w/black beans & cottage cheese
Page 5 (pan-seared oven-roasted chicken w/brussel sprouts & mushrooms)
Salmon Omelet
Nuts & orange
Black bean soup w/sourdough bread
Green shake
Leftover 8 or 5
Protein Shake
Nuts & apple
Eggs w/quinoa
Pea pancakes
Turkey burgers w/broccoli's something like this: 

I don't plan out my meals, but I plan out my protein.  I just let everything else fall around that.  Because I am trying to build muscle and not lose any, I try to get around 1 gram of protein per pound of my body weight.  Since I weigh around 140, I divided that by 5 meals and figured I needed around 28 g of protein per meal.  I always make sure I get my protein, fruits, and vegetables.  Then every couple days, I will have a high carb day where I eat lots of good carbohydrates with my proteins. My favorite good carbs are oatmeal (do not get the packets!! they are sugar-loaded), quinoa, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pita chips, whole grain cereals with almond or coconut milk, couscous, brown rice, aaand I think that's about it.  Increasing and decreasing your carbohydrates is great because it tricks your body and speeds up your metabolism, burning more fat on the days you don't eat as many carbs.

You can follow me on Instagram as well to see more meals/tips.  @hspeaker

Bumping up my protein and even my weights in the gym, I have seen more pounds drop on the scale and have gained more lean muscle.  

CHALLENGE: Make a list of the benefits or gains you see/feel when training mean and eating clean.  Put these somewhere you can see them.  Once you crave these feelings and results more than you crave that chocolate ice cream, you will be able to reach your goals!!  Thrive on that :) 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Livin in the Now, Looking Forward to the POW!

Earlier this month, my family lost our grandfather to liver cancer.  It was a fast and unfortunate tragedy, but one that brought my family closer together and closer to God.  I love my family immensely and until this, we have been so fortunate not to have any other major fatalities or illnesses.  Each time I went to the doctor when I was younger, I considered myself very blessed and lucky to have impeccable genetics, not having to check any of the boxes under "family illnesses" on the background questionaire.  Going to see my grandfather suffer from such a widespread and ever increasing illness made me realize one thing - nobody is exempt from disease, no matter how "perfect" your genetics are.  We all have the right to live long, healthy lives...and setting health goals puts us on the path to exude the happiness ensued from living a healthy lifestyle.  Goals concerning health can be tricky and hard to make, focusing only on how much you want to weigh or putting up a picture of someone who has a totally different body type than yourself and saying "this is what I want to look like".  These goals often leave us feeling depressed, hungry, and usually less healthy than when we started. So here are a few tips in setting health goals that will actually strengthen you, motivate you, and sustain you!

While our goals need to be motivating, they need to be realistic.  Goals like "losing 10 pounds in a month" may be motivating, but may not necessarily be realistic.  So what are realistic goals?  Think of things you have control over every day.  Start with those simple things.  Can you go for a walk or run for 15 minutes in the morning?  Can you park a little farther away from the grocery store and maybe carry in an extra bag when you take the groceries inside?    Setting goals where you can track your progress and see results will not only motivate you to keep going, but will help you realize the power you hold in setting and achieving goals.  As you set these small, daily goals, these decisions and actions will transform into habits.  Before you know it, it will not even require mental effort or strain to do this, but will be a part of who you are and feel natural, easy, and even fun.

Health goals should constantly be reevaluated and changing.  A few months ago, I set a big goal to lose 10 pounds.  In order to achieve this goal, I started with small goals that put me on that path.  For me, I knew diet was my biggest fall-back.  So I set a goal to just simply record everything I ate each day.  I didn't set a goal to change my diet, because I wasn't ready for that, and I didn't necessarily know what needed to be changed.  As I just recorded what I ate, it made me realize a lot of my weaknesses and gave me the mental preparation to change.  Each week, or couple of weeks, I have reevaluated what I was doing and how that was working to get me to my larger goal.   After recording everything I ate for two weeks, I then planned my meals - everything I was going to eat - for the next week.  I planned 5 meals a day, with extra healthy "snacks" in case I got hungry.  Knowing when I would eat and what I would eat put my body at ease and helped me not to binge eat...ever.  It was incredible.  I allowed myself one cheat meal in the week as well.  I continued to do this for a few more weeks until binge eating was no longer a habit, and my body relied on those healthy, sustainable meals.  Since then, I have not had to plan every meal of every day, but have a rough idea of what I will eat each day.  Since our bodies and fitness levels are constantly changing, so should our goals be changing constantly as well.

In addition, we should always focus on positive things when setting health goals - what you want to eat every day, instead what you cannot eat.  Set goals of how many servings of vegetables you want to eat every day, instead of saying "I can't eat chocolate this week".  If eating sweets is where your weak spot is, set a goal to eat a serving of vegetables, or drink a glass of water before you eat those sweets.  You may find your appetite decreases and you do not have as great of a desire to indulge as much as you normally would!  This can serve as a stepping stone to that healthier, fitter you.

The way to a healthy lifestyle is not an overnight change, nor is it something that you do only for a month, or 100 days.  It is a series of small changes added up to make up your lifestyle and destiny.  Setting motivating and realistic goals, constantly revising and changing those goals, and focusing on the positives will allow you to change into the person and see the results you may have never thought possible.  As Shawn Achor  says in his book The Happiness Advantage, "Happiness is not the belief that we don't need to change; it's the realization that we can."  

**Disclaimer!!  Sorry I haven't written in a couple weeks...I GOT A PUPPY!!  It was a lot more work than I thought and I haven't had time for much else.  I pretty much have down a good schedule for him though, so I should be able to find some more time to write! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do You Like Green Eggs & Ham?

I am S.A.M...Sustainable, Attainable, Maintainable :) 
I am S.A.M.

S.A.M. I am!

>>That S.A.M. I am, that S.A.M. I am!
>>I want to be that S.A.M. I am!

>>I do!  I like them!  
>>Sustainable, Attainable, Maintainable I am :) 

Green Eggs and "Ham"

  • 1 cup Spinach/kale 
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites

      >>Blend ingredients in a blender and set aside. 
  • Ham, turkey, or some other meat (I actually used turkey!) 
  • Cauliflower (I process mine til it is small and looks almost like rice.  I'm not a huge fan of cauliflower but I don't even notice it!) 
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Any other veggies you like! You can get as creative as you want :) 

    >> Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil, safflower oil, or some other vegetable oil in a frying pan. When hot, add vegetables and meat.  Cook for a few minutes until softened and starting to brown.  
   >>Pour in the egg w/spinach and kale.  Stir with spatula until cooked and eggs are no longer liquid!  
  • 1/4 c low-fat cottage cheese
   >>For added protein and creaminess, you can add the cottage cheese.  Add just before the eggs are done and cook it in with the eggs.  Top with Pepper.  (No need for added salt!  There is salt in everything else we eat!  Especially if you top with salsa.) 

Sustainable, Attainable, Maintainable you are! 

These tasted amazing!  I tried blending up the greens because when I just cook them in my eggs, they are kind of stringy and have a not-so-appetizing texture.  Blended up I don't even notice they're in there!  And they turn green...HOW COOL IS THAT!?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chorizo Egg Burrito

My husband found this little gem at Safeway the other day. Soy Chorizo sausage!  It makes super tasty eggs without even having to use an egg yolk, lowering the fat content even more.

In order to sustain and maintain a healthy lifestyle, I love finding healthier alternatives to foods and meals I already love. My husband and I ate at this little French Cafe by our house and ordered some real Chorizo eggs...oh my they were delicious!  When he found the soy version (for only 89 cents too!) He had to get some! Not only was it a healthy alternative, but a cheaper one too!!

You can use this gem in so many different's how I used it this morning.

Chorizo Egg Burrito

3/4 C Liquid Egg Whites (organic from Costco)
2 oz Chorizo Soy Sausage
2 C Spinach

Cook in a large skillet and serve in any whole wheat tortilla.

(Be careful when buying wheat that it says whole wheat. When it just says "wheat" it is still refined and a lot of the protein, fiber, and vitamins have been removed).

Nutrition Facts (without tortilla)

Fat: 4 g
Carbs: 7.2 g
  Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 26 g
Vitamin A: 122 %

Holy smokes. Talk about simplicity! I'm pretty sure it took me less than 10 minutes to make. Even less time to devour down all the tastiness!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Instead of spending tons of money on protein bars, I experimented with making my own!  You can eat these in the morning for breakfast, as a midday meal, or a pre-workout meal.  I even eat these protein-filled little treats as a dessert :)

Protein Pumpkin Spice Cake


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (or more!)
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of allspice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 c honey, or other sweetener
  • 1/2 c canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 c water
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in a bowl.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Add walnuts or pecans if desired.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.  *For a moist cake, cover immediately with foil after taking it out of the oven.  It will contain all the moisture.  

Nutrition Facts for 1 Bar without nuts: 

Inspired by Jamie Eason's Carrot Protein Bars.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Prevent Muscle Breakdown with a Protein-filled Breakfast!

Wanna lost fat?? Maintain your muscle! Amino acids (AA's) are the essential building blocks for the muscles. After fasting for 8+ hours, you need to replenish your amino acids or your body will go straight for your muscles to get the AA's it needs for energy.

Here's an idea for a yummy breakfast or midday snack with over 15 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. The Nutrition Facts posted include a medium sized Fuji apple.

Almond Butter Apple Dip

1/2 Cup Fage 0% Total Plain Greek Yogurt
1Tbsp Almond Butter
Cinnamon to your liking
1 apple

Enjoy :)

You can add bit of honey or other sweetener if you need, but the sweetness of the apple should be enough!
Do you have any other delicious, sustainable dips you like?? Please post!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Purpose in Blogging

My husband and I just sat at our kitchen table for 15 minutes shouting out random words that rhymed in order to create a title for my blog.  This is what we came up with - Sustainable, Attainable, Maintainable Health (SAM).  Despite our laughter and spurts of turrets, each of these "-ables" were chosen for a specific reason - to share my goals, progress, and journey in attaining and maintaining a sustainable healthy lifestyle and helping you on that road too.

In setting my own health and fitness goals, I wanted something that would last.  I didn't want to get to my ideal physique, only to have it ruined a month later, then battling again to get it back.  I don't think weight or physique should be a continual struggle in which we are constantly at battle with ourselves.  Synonyms found for sustainable are "endurable, comfortable, cozy, livable, satisfactory, etc.".  In order to attain and maintain my ideal physique, I realized that it must be all of those things.

The number one rule in achieving greatness is visualization.  Rarely do people ever succeed unless they first visualize.  This is the first step in reaching your optimal health - seeing yourself already there and knowing you can attain it.    Make your goals easily seen every day.  Write them on a white board, hang up a picture, or look in the mirror and visualize the better you.  You must have complete confidence that your goals are attainable.

My husband is pretty confident that I have ADD (he was diagnosed and has done loads of research on it) and I'm pretty sure this manifests itself in what I eat and how I exercise.  I am constantly coming up with new ways to cook things or adding/changing ingredients in our meals.  I love discovering new workouts and exercises.  This keeps my healthy lifestyle fresh, fun, and full of exciting other words, maintainable.  I will be sharing tips and tricks of this maintainable healthy lifestyle and how to keep it from getting boring and time-consuming.

“If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with," (Deepak Chopra).  Visualize your ideal, make goals to get there, and start today.  Sustainable, Attainable, Maintainable I come!!