Monthly Archives: March 2010

Spring allergies?

Yesterday, I was not feeling 100%. I have a sore, irritated throat and I didn’t have as much energy as usual. I’m thinking since we went from 40 degrees on Monday to 65 on Tuesday, it’s my Springtime allergies flaring up.

But I decided a workout would (hopefully) make me feel better!

First, I ran 1 mile outside on the track in 9:43! I was going to do two miles but after the second lap, I could tell I was done.

But I managed to go inside and do some low intensity weight training.

  • Chest presses – 12.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Shoulder presses – 7.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Reverse flyes – 7.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Dead lifts – 12.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Bicep curls – 15# body bar, 1×15; 18 lb body bar, 1×15
  • Tricep presses (aka “skull crushers”) – 15# body bar, 1×15; 18 lb body bar, 1×15
  • Side bends – using 20# kettlebell, 2×25 each side
  • “Leg pull in” ab exercise – 2×15
  • Leg extension machine – 55#, 2×15
  • Leg curl machine – 55#, 2×15

I felt pretty good after this workout and for a while afterwards. But toward the end of the night, my throat got worse and today it’s showing in my voice. But I’m just going to treat the symptoms and monitor how I feel before I decide whether or not to run today.

Do you exercise when you are feeling under the weather?

Recipe: Chickpea Burgers with Guacamole

Doesn’t that sound like a strange combination?

007The original recipe on which this was based was called Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce but as I was preparing to make the main dish for girl’s night potluck last Wednesday (St. Patrick’s Day), I realized “I need something GREEN!”

Guacamole was an easy choice and I have used it on black bean burgers before so I was sure it would be just fine on these too.

But first, I had to make the burgers! I changed a few things from the original recipe but I’m still “quoting” it.
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Ingredients:

    • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
    • 4 scallions (aka green onions), trimmed and sliced
    • 1 Flax “egg” (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water)
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon ground cilantro
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Whole wheat pita pockets

Directions:

Place chickpeas, scallions, flax mixture, flour, cilantro, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender.

Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse, moist mixture forms that holds together when pressed. Form into 4 patties.

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Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray then add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.

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Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.

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I was so afraid these were going to be soggy and not hold together very well, but I was pleasantly surprised!

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I tallied up my version of this recipe and each burger was 150 calories. Love it!

We enjoyed these burgers in pitas with guacamole (yum!) and some lovely fries and ketchup.

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I love girl’s night!

These burgers were so delicious! I think I have another recipe to work into my rotation. I love how this was a non-vegan recipe but with a few small changes, I made it so 🙂

Major carb-age

This morning, I started my day off with my Monday tradition…a delicious green smoothie!

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This smoothie contained: 1 cup Light vanilla soymilk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon almond butter and a whole lotta organic baby spinach. YUM!

Mari has decided to start a Green Monster Challenge where she will have one green smoothie a day (as one of her meals) for a month. I’m going to do my best to participate but it’s going to require some creativity on my part 🙂

I had coffee with coconut milk creamer and almonds for a snack but forgot to photograph them, sorry! I am out of practice.

Since I had a smoothie for breakfast, I decided it only made sense to have oatmeal for lunch! Here was the star ingredient:

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I am really enjoying these Peeled Snacks dried fruit. The company sent me free samples to try and so far, I have loved them all!

The dried cherries were soft, chewy and not as sweet as dried cherries I have had in the past. That is my favorite thing about these snacks, which you can find at Starbucks.

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I loved having oatmeal for lunch…this might become a habit 🙂

Later in the afternoon, I had another cup of coffee (oops) and some yogurt.

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After work, I went on a 5-mile run and I was quite hungry when I got home. I had my usual Monday night pasta dinner!

023I had 1 1/4 cups of Barilla whole grain spaghetti, topped with Meijer organic pasta sauce (pictured below), steamed broccoli, a chopped up vegan burger and nutritional yeast. Plus a pita pocket with Smart Balance Light on the side.     022

This sauce was pretty good and I definitely liked the price and ingredients list. But the 365 brand I had a few weeks ago (roasted red pepper) has so much more flavor.

This wasn’t too shabby though!

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For my after dinner snack, I had to try out a new product I picked up at Meijer yesterday:

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These are basically like sandwich thins, only they taste like Thomas bagels and have a hole in the middle 🙂

I topped mine with peanut butter and chocolate chips! I splurged and got the Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips this time, yum.

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But apparently, I got a case of the “runner’s munchies” because I decided to bust out the Oatmeal crack Squares for another snack.

I had two little cups of cereal with soymilk before calling it a night (as far as eating goes) just after 9:00.

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I’m going to have to be careful with these this week. I can’t help it though…they were on sale for $1.67 at Meijer and I had a $1 off coupon. I got a $4 box of cereal for 67 cents!!

Hope you had a great Monday too! Now that my glycogen stores are definitely replaced, I can go to bed now, ha ha. Good night 🙂

Running from the rain

After taking the last two days off to rest and recover from my trip to North Carolina, I was so glad to take off on a run this afternoon!

Speaking of being out of town, I have to give a huge thanks to the ladies who filled in for me while I was gone. I was so impressed with their guest posts that I want to go out of town again soon, ha ha. Thanks girls!

Back to today…it had been cool and cloudy all day, hovering between 45-50 degrees.

At first, I was not thrilled with this but once we got going, it was perfect. Until it started raining…sprinkling really.

But somehow, we managed to finish and not get too soaked. We must have been outrunning the rain because this was quite speedy for me!

  • Time: 48:17
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Pace: 9:39/mile

Woo hoo! Not bad for a rainy Monday. Tomorrow will much warmer as will the rest of the week. Looking forward to it!

How was your workout today?

Pound for Pound: Week 5

I can’t believe we are five weeks into this challenge already! We still have a long way to go (ends June 30th) but I’m sure it will fly by.

If you’ve missed any of my weekly updates along the way, check out my Pound for Pound Challenge page.

Last week, I felt like I had finally overcome emotional eating and I still feel like I am in control of that. I don’t think it’s something you get over permanently but I’ve definitely made a step in the right direction.

I also wanted to focus more on what makes me happy and stress less. I feel like I worked on that this week but I’ve still got a ways to go. Going to a conference with my husband and some really great Christian friends definitely boosted my spirits though!

I also challenged myself to get in two days of weight training, which I am proud to say I managed to complete!

And I journaled every day but had to break the 9:00 rule a couple of times while I was out of town just due to scheduling. But I only ate if I was hungry, so I am proud of that.

Overall, even though I was out of town Thursday-Saturday, I felt like I did pretty good with my eating and exercise. I wrote down everything and exercised in the hotel gym Thursday (ran 2 miles) and Friday (morning-elliptical and weight training, evening-ran 3 miles).

I did not eat ONE thing that was not vegan the entire trip, even though keeping it this way was very challenging at times. So I had a clear conscience as well.

Let’s see how I did…

Last week’s weight: 147.8 lbs

This week’s weight: 147.5 lbs (-0.3)

Total pounds lost: 4.1 (5.9 to go)

I am so excited that 5 weeks in, I am getting close to halfway to my goal (of 10 lbs). I definitely feel like I have faced a few challenges along the way so far (like going out of town) and yet have been successful. This is a great feeling!

I’m telling you guys: journaling, exercise and attitude. That is what is working for me. I don’t “diet” or restrict my calories, I just eat when I’m hungry and portion control so I don’t go crazy. I average 1700-2000 per day depending on my activity (I eat more on long run days).

I exercise about 6 days a week, sometimes running, sometimes weight training and sometimes taking the dog for a nice walk. It doesn’t have to be a certain amount of time or a certain intensity to be effective. Every little bit counts, just make sure you do something!

My attitude has to be positive. Even if I had gained weight this week, I would’ve been okay with it. I also didn’t expect to lose a lot, so I didn’t set myself up for disappointment that way. Just do the best you can and go with the flow. Be happy and confident!

It felt so good to stock up my refrigerator and pantry yesterday and I’m looking forward to a good week of healthy eating and moving. With the exception of today, the weather should be lovely this week so I am really looking forward to that.

Thanks again to all the ladies who guest posted for me while I was gone. You all rock!

Checking in with Lent

Did you all give up anything for Lent? How’s it going? I gave up eating bars for Lent, which seems silly but it has been quite the challenge. Like any good or bad habit though, I feel like a few weeks was all it took to break myself of eating them. I really think I’ll go back to eating bars sometimes but mostly Larabars (which have few ingredients) or making them myself.

Goals

I would like to get in 2 more days of weight training this week and make that a regular thing. I’ve been doing my own Body Pump style workout but I think I might change it up and try some heavier weights with less reps this week. Gotta keep the body guessing!

I also want to get outside as much as possible. Spring is finally here and after the long cold winter we had, I must take full advantage 🙂

What are your goals for this week?

Guest post: Amanda's running story

Hi Everyone!

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My name is Amanda and I blog over at Two Boos Who Eat with my husband Andy. I was pretty excited to write a guest post for Sarah. Her blog is one of my favorites. I’ve been reading it for quite for some time!

I grew up with a marathon runner. My father runs anywhere from 25-45 miles a week! Growing up, I spent a lot of time at races and the running club my dad was a member of. I always felt that running was in my blood but never found a time to start.

I remember the first time I tried to run. I figured it would be easy. I could only run for about 30 seconds before practically passing out! I was out of breath, sore and tired. I kept at it and eventually was able to run a mile. (Though, I admit I’m still pretty slow. I can maybe run a 12 minute mile.) I honestly can’t believe how difficult running felt for me at first. I started to think that I would never be able to do it!

I started using the Couch to 5k program 9 weeks ago to help train myself for my first 5k. I’m running with my husband on March 27th! The Couch to 5k program is an excellent tool to help a new runner get off the couch and out running. I never would have imagined that I could run 3 miles! It’s a little scary being a new runner and I’ve experienced some pain along the way.

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My knees and heel on my right leg have been killing me. I went to a running store where they had me try on several pairs of shoes for people with motion control/stability issues. I wish I had bought these shoes earlier! I’m wearing Brooks Ariels. I also invested in a shoe wallet so I can run outside without holding my id or my keys.

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Buying an ice pack for my knee has helped tremendously too. It’s hilarious to me that I have given up junk food and soda for things like running shoes, shoe wallets and ice packs.

My first 5k is on March 27th and I hope to finish. I decided to stop giving myself a goal time because I should be thankful for the ability to finish over anything else. Slow and steady wins the race. I hope to continue running and would love to sign up for more races in the future.

Thanks for letting me guest post Sarah!

It is so good to be back in town but I am so glad to have left for a while because these have been the most amazing guest posts! I am so inspired by these ladies and I know you all are too. Thanks Amanda and good luck on the 27th!!

Guest post: My First 5K

Hi! My name is Mari from Namaste Mari and before I go on to tell you about my first 5K experience, can I just say how honored I am that Sarah chose me to do a guest post on her blog. Especially since she is one of the people that motivated me to run my first 5K. Ever since I started to follow her blog, she has inspired me with all the amazing things that she has done to make herself healthier in every aspect of her life!

Before I tell you all about my big day…let me just give you a little back story on me, if you don’t mind =)

A few years ago I was overweight and extremely unhappy in my own skin. After a really bad year, I decided to make a change! I went from eating fast food almost every single day to watching my portions and filling up on fruits and veggies instead of super sized fries. I also started to workout religiously…I went from weighing 220 lbs to dropping down to 138 lbs. I was even featured in Self magazine.

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However the quote in Self haunted me “I wanted to be the girl I envied, running down the street. Now I am, and I owe it all to Self!”. By the time this article was published my running was sidelined because of an injury; I developed plantar fasciitis.

Every time I would try to pick up running again, something would stop me dead in my tracks but this year was different…this was going to be MY year. I made a vow to myself that I would run my first 5K before the end of the 2010.  My plan was to run my first race in May but Jess from Fit Chick in the City encouraged me to run The Coogan’s Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K Race at the end of March. I used the Couch to 5K Training regiment and I found it extremely helpful. It was easier to tackle this challenge one week at a time instead of looking at the big picture and getting discouraged. I joined a gym and would train whenever I would get a chance. I also found a great running partner on the other end of the Coast! Amanda from Two Boos Who Eat was also training for her first 5K and we became a great support system for one another! (Wish her luck on her upcoming race!).

When the race drew closer, I started to train in the park so that I could get accustomed to running on hills. A few days before the race, I started to develop pain in my shins…probably from the hills in the park Crap what did I do? I asked Jess for some advice and she basically told me to stop running until the race…she said one thing that stuck with me “do you want to run tomorrow or do you want to run for the rest of your life?”… the choice was simple. I took her advice and just relaxed for the next couple of days.

Race Day!

I could not have asked for a better day! The sun was shining and the sky was blue…the temperature was around 40 degrees…great running conditions. The race started at 9am but we got there a little early and it was a ghost town.

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My nerves were getting the best of me but having my family there was very reassuring, they even made me a sign. (titi is auntie in spanish…my niece held the sign)

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I  reluctantly parted ways with my family and found my place in line…before I knew it, the ghost town was filled with around 6 Thousand people!

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My legs were trembling either from the cold or fear…I started to talk to the lady next to me and told her I felt like I was about to go onto a Rollercoaster ride…you know that feeling? when you are excited to go on the ride but there is a little voice in the back of your mind, telling you to get off of the line.

Before I knew it, it was time!  I was off running my first race…

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I felt so great and then BOOM reality hit…THE HILLS! The race was being held in Washington Heights which is known for it’s hills and boy did I feel them. There were times that I just wanted to stop but I dedicated the 5K to my grandmother who passed away two years ago and I promised myself that I would make her proud. I fed off the energy of the people cheering and all the bands playing along the route and knowing that my family would be there at the finish line. I ran! I ran up and down those hills, I ran when I thought I had nothing left in me…I RAN!

And just like that I ran right through the finish line! (I completed the race in 33:06)

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The minute my legs crossed that line, my eyes filled with tears! I was filled with so much emotion, I finally did it! I went and hugged my family and sobbed like I just completed the NYC marathon because to me, I just did!

This is only the beginning for me…I can not wait to conquer many more!

Thank you for reading my recap and once again, thank you Sarah for including me in your guest posts!

Namaste…

Guest Post: ToFoo Yung

I am currently enjoying the beautiful state of North Carolina! Since there is not a lot of time to blog, I have another awesome guest post coming your way.

Please welcome Carrie who is not only a vegan and yoga teacher, but an awesome cook as well! Thanks Carrie for sharing this recipe with us, I can’t wait to make it when I get home 🙂

Egg Foo Yung is a typical Chinese American dish that you might find at your local take-out joint.  Basically an omelet filled with veggies, and traditionally deep fried, although many home cooks pan fry their Egg Foo Yung. 

Egg Foo Yung was derived to please Western palates and is based on the more traditional Chinese dish of Fu Yung Egg Slices from Shanghai. 

Egg Foo Yung is one of the few Chinese dishes that does not come cooked in sauce, but rather with a brown sauce or gravy on the side. 

The vegetables in Egg Fu Yung vary greatly but often consist of celery, onions, bamboo shoots, and almost always mung bean sprouts

Different from an omelet, in Egg Fu Yung the vegetables are actually combined with the egg before frying rather than folded in the middle.

A batch of freshly sprouted mung beans is actually what lead to the creation of this vegan version of Egg Foo Yung, or ToFoo Yung, if you will! 

I have a huge batch of mung beans that just came out of the sprouter, and I was looking for ways to use them up.  Salads and stir-fry seemed so boring, then it hit me; Egg Foo Yung!

This dish comes together in less than 30 minutes, and is a great BLD (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).  Serve it with a side of stir fried broccoli and garlic for a complete meal.

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ToFoo Yung
Serves 2

  • ½ block Extra Firm Tofu (pressing is not necessary for this dish)
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup freshly sprouted mung beans
    **bean sprouts are available in the produce section of
    your grocery store if you do not have sprouter.
  • 2 tsp. Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish

For Sauce:

  • 1 ½ cup mock chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 3 Tbs. Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbs. agave nectar
  • 1 ½ Tbs corn starch
  • 4 Tbs. cold water

Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and set aside.  Begin heating 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet (you want your pan and oil to get screaming hot).  In a large bowl add all Foo Yung ingredients (to cilantro), crumbling tofu over veggies.

Using you hands, squish together tofu and veggies, as if you were making a meatloaf.  Add tofu-veggie mixture to screaming hot skillet, then using a wooden spoon press it around the bottom of the skillet to form a thin layer (like and omelet or a pancake). 

Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until bottom of tofu layer is browned.  Using a large spatula flip tofu mixture over (keeping it together as best possible, and pressing any bits that fell apart back together).  Reduce heat to medium and continue to brown on opposite side.

While second side of tofu is browning, in a small sauce pan add stock, tamari and agave and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, re-stir cornstarch mixture and whisk into broth.  Reduce heat and simmer until desired thickness (should be the consistency of gravy).

Again, using a large spatula plate the ToFoo Yung on a dish, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and serve sauce on the side to pour over at the table.

I’d like to finish up by thanking Sarah for letting me guest post for her this week and share this exciting recipe with you. (It was my pleasure, isn’t she amazing?!)

If you liked this recipe visit me at The Happy Vegan Yogini for more great vegan recipes.

Guest post: Run, Bianca, Run!

Hello, friends! I am currently in the midst of North Carolina and there’s not much time to think about blogging. Thankfully, I have another awesome guest post to share, this time from another vegan runner! Thanks Bianca, for sharing your story 🙂

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Hello. I’m Bianca — vegan, aspiring cookbook author, and the blogger behind Vegan Crunk. Sarah asked me to fill in for a day while she’s away.

On my Vegan Crunk blog, I typically stick to posts and food porn pics from my upcoming Southern vegan cookbook or from recipes I’ve made from my large collection of other people’s published vegan volumes (I’m a big cookbook hoarder!).

I rarely post about fitness goals or routines, though I hit up the gym five days a week.

Since I’ve been following Sarah’s blog, I’ve been inspired to push my workouts even further — namely to start running. A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t even dream of moving my feet faster than a brisk walk. The few times I’d tried jogging, I was out of breath within seconds.

I wouldn’t have considered myself out of shape by any means. For the past several years, I’ve taken weekly spinning, Zumba, boxing, and cardio aerobics classes with no problems. For some reason though, I simply could not run.

I’d almost resigned myself to never, ever running, but I can’t stand to fail at anything. I’ve always believed I can do anything I set my mind to, so I set a crazy goal: by this fall, I will run (even if it’s only part of the way) in Memphis’ annual St. Jude Half-Marathon (which raises money for children’s cancer research).

My friend Lindsey sent me the running program she uses, which starts you out with a little running time, then a little walking time, some more running time, and so on for 30 minutes. As you improve, you move up to increasing running time and decreasing walking time.

Here’s the program:

  • First step: 2 min. running/4 min. walking (repeat 5x)
  • Second step: 3 min. running/3 min. walking (5x)
  • Third step: 5 min. running/2.5 min. walking (4x)
  • Fourth Step: 7 min. running /3 min. walking (3x)
  • Five Step: 8 min. running /2 min. walking (3x)
  • Sixth Step: 9 min. running/2 min. walking/8 min. running./2 min. walking/9 min. running (1x)
  • Seventh Stop: 9 min. running/1 min. walking (3x)
  • Eighth Step: 13 min. running/2 min. walking (2x)
  • Ninth Step: 14 min. running/1 min. walking (2x)
  • Tenth Step: 30 min running!

So far, I’m on Step Three, and though it may not seem like much, running for five minutes straight is a big deal for me. You can go through one step per week if you choose, but I’m taking my time.

I’m aiming to do each one at least 10 times before moving on, but those running sessions are peppered in between my regular boxing, Pilates, and spinning classes. At that rate, it’s taken me about one month per step.

Hope this program helps any aspiring runners out there! See ya on the running track!

I am so thrilled for Bianca and I know she will be able to meet her goal. I used a program nearly identical to this one back in September 2007 and here I am training for my second half marathon. I never thought I would be a runner either, so those of you who want to run, give it a shot!

Guest post: Pitfall of comparison

I am out of town for the next few days so I have asked a few of my favorite bloggers to fill in for me while I’m away. Kim was the first local blogger I ever met and her friendship has been such a blessing. I hope you will enjoy her post! Please also check out her food blog 🙂

Greeting River City Fitness readers! 

I’m so glad you read Sarah’s blog and are encouraged by her healthy lifestyle.  I definitely am.  She has been a great source of encouragement to me while living here in the “River City”!

Since I started running in January 2009, I have noticed my feelings of competition and comparison have gotten stronger.  Sometimes, this is a great thing; other times, it can be very damaging.

Let me give you some timeline:

  • 10th grade: a 19 minute mile – I didn’t run at all
  • Jan 2009: 43 minute 5k pace 
  • March 2009 – my first 5k: 39.41 (I wanted it to be under 40)
  • November 2009: 35.49 (5k PR)
  • March 6, 2010: 36.03 (my last 5k with little training due to weather)

I was very, very happy with this time until I thought: Kim, you should have pushed yourself or you should have trained harder

While hanging out with a friend who also ran the same 5k last weekend, I asked her what her time was.  She said “Oh, it was very slow – a 29 minute.”  Ha – slow?  What was she thinking? 

Then I saw on Facebook this morning that a dude I know posted a 34 minute 5k.  How can these people who weigh more than me run faster than me?  I was shocked this morning – and then that makes me just want to get out and run.

But, if we only run because we want to be better than someone else, faster than someone else, skinnier than someone else – we are not running for the right reasons.

Here are some reasons you should run:

  • For your health
  • For your sanity
  • For your skin (Vitamin D, outside exposure)
  • For your skinny jeans

I love that last one.  In the past year + of running, my jeans size has gone from a 10 to a 6, my weight has dropped almost 25 lbs, and my cholesterol numbers were all better today than they were last year at this time. 

How do you beat your mind at the comparison game?  Set your own goals based on your abilities.  Don’t say, “Next 5k I want to beat so-and-so’s time.”  Say instead, “I want to run it without stopping” or “I want to beat my own time.”

That is my goal.  I am running a half marathon in June and I want to beat my first half’s time of 3:00:07.  That is my only goal. 

If you are going to compare – compare only with yourself.  Better yet, don’t compare at all.  Just get out there and run – for the health of it!  (That’s a slight change of a Louisville saying)

What are some good, healthy fitness goals you are setting for yourself?