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September 22, 2011

Warning: shoulds and woulds ahead

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I've been running for almost two years now (okay, I'm three months shy of the mark) and I'm going to tell you something I don't talk about very often: it's not really getting any easier.

For some reason, I thought I would have graduated to High Gazelle status by now. I thought that I would be passing more people on my jaunts around the lake, not struggling to keep up with the power walkers. Surprisingly, I'm still operating in the Aging Clydesdale level. Heavy footfalls abound.

I've been thinking about this, and some of you have had a lot of good ideas about my present run malaise, namely that it's not new and shiny anymore. Now, it's become part of everyday life. It's become just something I do, like brushing my teeth, or perusing the Facebook, or milking my cows. (Okay, so maybe I don't milk cows…)

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I've been eating healthier for almost two years now (okay, I'm three months shy of the mark) and I'm going to tell you something I actually DO talk about quite often: it's not really getting any easier.

Well, I shouldn't say that it's not getting any easier, but rather it's not necessarily as automatic as I would like to think it should be by now.

Sure, I do great at breakfast and morning snack (what, am I five?) and lunch. Hell, I even make solid choices in the mid-afternoon snack zone. But after 3:30, all hell is breaking loose again.

Of course, all hell breaking loose looks different today than it did last year. This year, all hell translates to a bowl of granola, an extra serving of frozen wild blueberries with heavy cream, or God forbid, some pretzels. But it's still a good old fashioned carb and calorie fest and my muffin top is really settling in for a long winter's stay.

Woulds and shoulds are tricky territories to navigate. 

Know what I'm sayin'?

 

Comments

Why does 'good for you' seem to be so hard for us? Just had to say,(after watching video) that I had NO idea that Aidan was so tall. Wow! And it goes without saying, beautiful.

I think it's even more difficult with the fall upon us. I noticed yesterday that 4pm was my "quitting time" in terms of energy levels and that it was at a distance to dinner that made me snack. I've been having Tazo Green Ginger tea with Stevia and lemon at 2:30pm - think that I'll repeat at 4pm and read a book for a bit to combat the urge to snack.

Girl, I totally hear you!! I feel like I'm still just starting my journey, but it started in January & I've lost maybe 10 pounds and gone down one size!! I thought I'd be all skinny & hot by now. lol. But the reality is that life gets in the way of all the healthy choices. I'm human. And I'm 30 and just starting to make these healthy changes in my life. It's going to take a long time to undo 30 years of unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity.

I've started to look at it this way. If I'm staying on goal 80% of the time, I'm doing good. If I have a bad afternoon, or day, or week, I wont give up. I'll just keep pressing forward learning from my mistakes. And in the meantime I'm trying to focus less on the skinny & hot person I wish I could be, and start looking at the curvy & hot person I am now. Because that's all I really have. Now. And the wonderful body I have now. And the healthy choices I'm making now.

Thanks for continuing to inspire me & for your vulnerable honesty. :) You rock!! Keep it up girl!!

i wonder if a schedule shift might help...like if the 3:30 activity was running instead of eating cheddar bunnies, would that make things easier? of course, things like lives and kids get in the way of making your own schedule, but you never know...i am right there with you in having run for what feels like forever and still huffing and puffing away each day.

I love your blog posts! Everything you say is so true and it makes me laugh. You may not be skinny but you are funny and I think, in the big scheme of things, that's more important.

What is it about that 3:00 to 3:30 time period? That is always my downfall time too. The worst part of it is I work for a catering company and we ALWAYS have sweets in the walk in refrigerator. It is horrible!

You are doing great, keep inspiring everyone!

I hate to break it to you, but I ran for 20 years and never fell in love with it like some people do, and never got very fast either--probably because I never loved it. When I retired from the navy, I put away my running shoes and never looked back. Of course, I also promptly gained 30 lbs. But then I DID fall in love with cycling. I've read that you're bicycling too, so maybe you could try cycling more, running less? But then, what do I know? I'm struggling with the same woulda, coulda, shoulda stuff you are. Guess the only thing to do is to keep at it. *sigh*

I hear you, LOUD and CLEAR! You have taken the words right out of my mouth! I couldn't have said it better! I have been on-again/off-again with good diet and exercise, and have recently tried to get back "on" - and it NEVER GETS EASIER! I WANT to eat healthy because I know it is better for me, but I am continually bombarded with temptations to eat things that are not healthy, or even, as you said, eat too much of stuff that IS healthy. It's terrible how focused on food our whole society is. I think I would've been better off if I had lived back when there just wasn't such an abundance of food EVERYWHERE. I feel like an alcoholic who is continually surrounded by bottles of liquor or cans of beer.....it's ridiculous! Ok, sorry....I didn't mean to start ranting on your blog, but I'm SO glad to hear I am not the only one who struggles with this issue. Sometimes I really feel like I am. I feel like there are two kinds of people: those who eat whatever they want & don't care, and those who eat healthy all the time & aren't tempted by the other stuff. I definitely fall somewhere in between and sometimes feel very alone here. Thanks for sharing today. :)

She IS tall, huh? Sigh. Love that kid.

You know Jean, I gave up my afternoon Chai about three months ago. Was convinced the sugar was doing me in. But now, sometimes I think that was the treat and the thing that kept me honest.

So can relate to you. I thought I would be skinny and hot too. But, Im trying to be content and fit enough. For now. Everything is always subject to change!

You know, I try to imagine running later in the day, and have never been able to do it. Something about early morning works for me, but maybe its time to shake it up!

I could kiss you right now. Thank you!

Its rare to hear a 20 year runner admit that. You know, Im not any faster than the day i started. I was thinking about that on todays run. Just thinking about how I felt about never getting faster. And honestly? Im okay with that most of the time. I do love the biking, but fall in minnesota calls for a much more dedicated person than I. Once its below 45, I dont do it. I have been back to swimming. Which is boring as hell, but something i can do and dont hate at all. : )

Youre not alone at ALL. So many people can relate to this. Seriously.

I too, have never really fallen in love with running. I want to love it, but I don't. What I have discovered is that it is less about moving more and more about eating less--or rather, better. Have you read 'Good Calories, Bad calories' ? if not, do. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that breads, grains, dairy and sugar need to become a thing of my past. Paleo is what works for me...even before it was 'paleo' (I have been following a diet on and off for about 15 years that calls itself a 'detox' diet --2 weeks 4 times a year, and always had much success) but what I have come to discover since reading up on the paleo movement is that it I have had the tools all along, just the wrong science backing it up. (Not even wrong, just ill-informed) The best thing about Paleo/Crossfit? I haven't counted a calorie or measured a portion in 2 months...and I am steadily dropping the weight. All sorts of things have stopped hurting, I am seeing muscles I haven't seen since high school, and I have my life back.

You're preaching (or complaining) to the choir. I thought running would lighten up a little after a couple of years (being of the Clydesdale turn myself), but it hasn't. And I have to keep working at eating right, too. Bummer!

You really seem to be pretty balanced though. Don't get discouraged. Thanks for the fun and commiseration you bring into my life!

The afternoon is always bad for my eating habits too. I have my set snacks (yes, I'm 5 too) that I take to work, but once I get home my supper choices and my evening munchies take a downhill turn. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

You know, Im reading The Paleo Diet, and it makes me want to curl up into a fetal position with bread, and cry.

Yep, preaching to the choir here, too. I started my Eat Less (Better) Move More plan on May 1, and have lost about 15 lbs. I know I am in better shape, but it's Just So Hard. this month I have been diligent about going to the gym or to yoga, 5 days a week, and have stayed pretty honest about the food. Yet, haven't dropped an ounce. What's worse, when I went hiking with friends last weekend, I felt slow and out of shape and I couldn't believe how much I ached. Very discouraging, but I'm trying to find the will to lace up the sneakers every day and keep at it....

Running isn't easy and don't let anyone tell you any different - it's not easy for ANYONE - sure, you may have those runs where everything is going right and it seems like it takes a little less effort, but it will always be work. I love the idea of running, I love the endorphin rush after a run, I love telling other people about my runs, but the actual run - I don't love it, ever. Eating healthier, that's another story - as I sit here shoving cheerios into my face - they're healthy right?

Keep it up, Jan. Just keep it up. There definitely will be the reward of feeling more in shape. I mean, i have my not so great days, like today, or even the past few weeks, but I know that what im doing is good for me, whether i get any smaller or not!

I'm not a runner, but I've been walking every day for 2 years, haven't changed my eating habits (which are generally pretty good) and the weight I had lost at the beginning is creeping back up. I asked my trainer about it and she says that you have to change up your cardio exercise periodically because somehow your body acclimatizes to it and it doesn't burn calories the way it did. This is depressing news. I have some exercise dance DVDs waiting to try now, in addition to the walking. Ugh.

I hear you. I rebelled the other night, and had a snickerdoodle AND a torta roll from Costco, and then my weekly weigh-in divulged a 2.5 lb weight gain. First cheat, first weight-gain. I'm not inclined to argue with THAT. All I'm doing at this point is arming myself with information. I know that there will come a time when I make choices based on short-term, rather than long-term goals...and I think you should read Good Calories, Bad Calories...It's not a diet, just information. And you will find yourself, almost from the first page, tsk-tsk-tsking with indignation over all the misinformation out there.

Is that Gary Taubes? It is, isnt it? I have read about half of Why We Get Fat. Maybe have to pick that up again.

I hear you! I do know that I would never have picked up running if you didn't inspire me. I am certainly thankful for you and your woulds and shoulds =)

I could have written this post, Cathy! I am the exact same way with food. I eat fantastically well (and healthy, I might add) at breakfast and lunch and by 4 pm, the fridge pops open and I am grabbing cheeze sticks and smothering them in natural peanut butter. My will power stinks in the afternoon and after dinner...forget about it! It is a daily struggle. I am with you, Sistah!
Tracy

go Christine!

I totally hear you! I've been running for almost a year now and I'm still slow and I don't like to do anything over three miles. I saw this poster on a friends blog today and loved it -

"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch."

Love the sentiment. Keep on doing your thing!

I just want to say that I often see your tweets about running and you are going farther and farther all the time! I keep thinking, "Slow Down, there, Cathy! I'm trying to catch up to you!!"...because I am about a year behind you on the course and, remember, a year ago you weren't going as far as you are now. You are doing GREAT!! Blah days come and, well, come...but just remember...I'm so proud of YOU!! (There, doesn't that make it all better to have some complete stranger proud of you?)
:)

Yes, I absolutely know what you're saying! I am 40, never ran previously in my life, but have probably been running a steady 3x a week with a run group for a couple of years starting from zero, and I am still huffing and puffing after about 20 minutes. I read (mostly on the RLAM blog) of these women who started running 18 months ago, and are now doing half-marathons in under 2 hours. What?! Why is this not me? I am dedicated and I look mighty fine in a run skirt :) But this is not me. So I have to try and be content in finishing, but at my own turtle-like pace.

I find that the run group keeps my spirits up. We're all struggling with something... and some things have nothing to do with running, or fitness, or nutrition. Life is just downright hard in a lot of ways. So hang in there, girl, and thanks for sharing!

I'm with you. I've been doing this for almost 3 years now. Weight Watchers and a combination of yoga, Jazzercise and biking. I hit my goal, and in a few months started to gain. I've kept it to about 5 pounds, but not without constant diligence.

The exercise part is easy in comparison to the food part. I just feel like when I work out so much, and am careful so much of the time, I should be able to drink a few beers and eat a nice juicy burger without having it show up on my gut...ya know?

So I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that this just is the way it is.....dagnabit.

Oh Cathy! You are making me smile. My "guys" have been talking about the Paleo diet and I have just recently clued in that this is the new diet fad (?). Anyway, I am with you on the bread. I am trying to explain to my 14 year old why I am laughing. He says "no one really does the Paleo diet, do they? That's just stupid!"

I just have to say that I also started a similar approach to fitness/eating healthy in Jan 2010. Also started running. I've done a few 5K's - and keep thinking the running will get easier. It's not for me. I read Runners World about people who couldn't run 1 minute and now are training for half and full marathons. I don't get it, what am I doing wrong!!??? But seriously, thanks for your motivation and honesty Cathy, you're the best!

Stevia has been a big part of my diet change - doesn't mess with the blood sugar levels. My diet didn't have enough protein and had too much sugar.

Or you could just put on some Dave Grohl and dance around the house! ;-)

Well thanks, Ann. But keep in mind, Im going long, but speed is not at my command!

You know, maybe if I hooked up with a slow paced running group. Because I hear you: all these peeps who are new runners and now doing 1/2s and fulls. It kind of kills the spirit! LOL!

Dagnabit indeed!

I mentioned that i was looking into the Paleo diet to my neighbor, who said shed have a hard time imagining me hunting and gathering in the neighborhood! LOL!

Maybe the idea that if it was easy, everyone would do it. I mean, dont get me wrong... I head out for a run, the first 10 minutes is always, WHAT? HOW AM I DOING THIS? and then I settle in. Never really speeding up, usually breathing okay. Trying to remind myself to keep a happy expression on my face so people dont judge me by the way Im running. : )

Mid-afternoon is my "treat time." It's the part of the day when I do have some junk food and a cup of coffee. I am willing to do that once (ok, sometimes more) a day, so that I don't have to think about it all the time. I don't think I could give up my once a day junk if you paid me.

I can very much relate. I am *not* a runner by any means. But, in reading "No Need for Speed" I've finally come to understand that I am sort of a runner. There are days I love it and days I swear I will never attempt it again. But, I always look at it as only one aspect of my training (no, not workouts, training because then it has more intent). On the eating "better" it's the same thing. I've gone years doing "well" avoiding anything I cannot pronounce. Then every item in the bakery calls my name. I'm fairly well convinced a lot of it has to do with what we have grown up with: food as comfort rather than sustenance. And around 3pm, like clockwork, my day goes nuts and demands chocolate or carbs (or both) in some form or another.

And YES, thank you for your motivation. It reminds me of others working hard to make change & that I am not alone.

Know what you're sayin'? DO. I. EVER. I began eating healthier 5 yrs ago this month and shed 70 lbs, but in all honesty, it's no easier today than it was 5 years ago. Every day is a challenge and some days, I fail miserably. Two years into eating healthier, I began running. During the 1st year, I made steady progress. I even began training for my first half marathon only to develop Achilles tendonitis when I reached the 9 mile mark. I took a 2 month hiatus from running to allow time for my tendon to heal. After 6 weeks of physical therapy, I returned to running. Not quite sure what happened, but I have yet (2 yrs later) to accomplish that mileage again. This morning's run was only 3 miles, and after the first mile and a half, I was in breathless agony. What the hell? How can that be? How can one do something consistently for 3 yrs and not only does it not get any easier, but becomes increasingly more difficult? Regardless, I will keep running. Because it's only when we move out of our comfort zones and force our hearts to work harder that we improve our cardiovascular fitness. And at the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about anyway?

Cathy, I so get it. The first time I saw Paleo mentioned was in the comments on Dooce's blog after her post. I started researching right away. Then someone talked about Primal Blueprint, which is Paleo but with a bit more moderation and I couldn't stop reading.

I swore I could live on rice, bread and pasta alone for the rest of my life and after a few days, I really wasn't missing it at all. It was incredible. It's like someone turned off a switch in my brain and food became so much more about fuel for my body's needs. You're already eating so healthily, it really wouldn't be a huge sacrifice, I promise.

Oh and the pounds are dropping off....that's the bonus in it all.

In the meantime, just keep swimming, just keep swimming (Dory from Finding Nemo).

Have you ever heard of Paleo eating? Our family started this three weeks ago, I have lost 13 pounds, I am not hungry all the time and I feel great! It is not far from the way you are eating. Look at "Mark's Daily Apple", it has changed our family. The carb flu was horrible but worth the after effects.
Thanks for keeping it real! You have inspired me in so many ways.

What is it about 3:30??? I thought it was because I am a teacher and am just getting home. Sometimes the phone rings to break me out of my 3:30 chip-eating mania!

Good for you, Marianne!

So youre following the primal blueprint? Ill have to check it out. I really will.

I have Pam. I even bought one of the books on it. But, Ill have to look at the site youre mentioning!

i know what you are talking about. Some of us are natural runners and others will always find it to be a struggle. I am in the last group and now I am older and my knees are going and I feel like a failure all the way around. Brene Brown has encouraged me to Fly my Freak Flag high. I am doing that. Maybe I don't fit into what so many think is the ideal woman but I still am working hard to help those in need and I walk the best I can.

Do what fits you, follow your heart.

The body's catabolic processes are at their peak early in the morning - the best time for exercise for the purpose of weight loss. :)

Hi Cathy,
I have to tell you that Paleo really works for me. Everyone really thinks it a big sacrifice, but I have not found that to be true. I feel so good when I eat Paleo and I feel like crap when I don't. I hear what you are saying about running, I ran for 5 years without any improvement, until I starting eating paleo. I have energy and I feel like I've got my true body back. I'm 51 and I won a challenging uphill 3 mile trail run recently. And you have to know that I've never been athletic in my life. I know that the popular media tries to bash paleo, but I'm a science-oriented person, and it's hard to argue with the research that supports paleo, as presented by Loren Cordain in The Paleo Diet.

I'm right there with you Cathy. It's all a learning process. Baby steps. I've fell off the exercise and eating well bandwagon about a month ago. But falling off this time means only working out 3 times a week were as before it would have been 0, so I'm still better off then I was before. I think sometimes our bodies and minds need an adjusting time to get back to what the new normal is and then we keep going!! Hang in there.

Yeah, but slow and steady wins the race! Keep at it. You're an inspiration to so many of us!

Cathy, what is the little pink pouch for on your running shoes?
As for the rest of the blog entry, I think you are doing very well. I mean, have you looked at your before photo and your photos as of late? You look rockin' girl!!!

Please be kind to yourself here. First, you are doing awesome. Look at the unbelievable changes you have made in your life. Second, maybe as we settle into long dark days here in the frozen tundra, move to a more social form of exercise. Yoga or zumba or pilates maybe? Third, consider treating yourself to a trainer....not once or twice a month, cuz honestly, who can afford? But every six weeks or so, just to help bust through the plateau?

You Are really hard on yourself sometimes Cathy, and it makes me sad. In reading through some old posts (haven't had time to read in a while) you've made me laugh, and cry, and think about making sure i tell my kids how much I love them. You really impact a lot of lives in a very positive way, and you should not spend one minute beating yourself up.

Note to self: read paleo book. My daughters rowing coach swears by it and she is super athlete.

Here's my profundity for the post: Hellz yeah. I hear you.

Ok. I had the same thing this spring with running. The novelty was brushed away completely and I was struggling to say that YES! I'm gonna stay a runner!

Also at least it's extra servings of 'health'. Me; I just polished the last remaining pizza tid bits as I was cleaning up the kitchen. Go me! Oh the strains of staying my calorie zone of the day!

Oh and I'm also the same way with making wise choices and portion control until. 3-4 ish afternoon. After that...

Thanks for posting :)
A

You rock, you have come soooo far. I love the honesty of your posts about your struggles. I know it's tough for you but it encourages me to know that I am not alone in this war.

Hi Cathy,

I don't understand so well english. I just wanted to congratulate for your two years. You said that you had "present run malaise" i see also your pics of strawberry... are you pregnant :-p ;-)
second, Please change your running shoes regularily or you will be injured. Don't give up and cheer up

I've been running since Feb, started with the C25K program & am still struggling with my breathing & rhythm. I was hoping it would become more natural as it seems with others. I persist because other people expect me to have stopped by now & I want to prove them wrong, maybe thats my problem I should be doing it for me (there's that should again)

amen amen amen... to the running...to the carbs... to those friggin' vanity pounds :o))))

I have tried to look at my exercise the way health professionals (whoever determines this stuff) encourage us which is to include 30 minutes or more of physical activity in your week at least 5 times. I am doing better than that more often than not the past 3 months so it's all good. Top it off with eating in moderation-even if it is an occasional non-healthy or diet food and it's even better. Not smoking and drinking and laughing all have health benefits too. So in my opinion your contentment and the regularity which you have struck in these things makes you better than most. At some point we need to just be able to enjoy life. Constantly striving for an unreachable goal never helps anything. Hopefully the MN winter will be mild(er) this year and the holiday food fest which starts with Halloween candy and runs through Easter chocolate bunnies won't becken you as strongly as year's past. You've already come a long way, Baby. :) Look back and be thankful for the health and the fact that you can make choices about your body, mind and soul. And just maybe the running gods will shine down on you and sprinkle you with more love as your feet hit the ground the next time you run.

I recently tried the 'Ultra simple diet'. After having tried several eating patterns and avoiding certain foods, this 7 day diet that releases your toxins and jump starts a good eating habbit sounded perfect, so far I like it and I think what I learnt in these 2 weeks will stay with me for quite some time.
Good luck with your running schedule, I am in the same boat. I was hoping to run a 10K by now but on certain days, even a 5K seems like a dream.
Podrunner helped me to monitor my running on a daily basis - http://shalinic.blogspot.com/2011/08/podrunner-podcast.html
You are inspiring at least you admit your snacks, so far I don't have guts to admit what all I eat at 4:00pm each day :-)
Take Care

I have been Crossfitting for several months. I am certainly more fit, my clothes are too big on me and I feel all around much healthier and confident (I hate to run, by the way). But I still have 60 pounds to lose (when thinking in terms of weight as opposed to body composition). It seems like the Crossfit community really embraces the Paleo lifestyle due to its ability to properly fuel intense workouts, not necessarily for its weight-loss effects (that is a pleasant side-benefit for those of us who need it). I have subscribed to WW countless times and I never follow through on it, so I am up for something new. I am going to do a strict Paleo diet for 30 days and see how it goes. The amazing thing is that my trainer says that I am eating way too few calories...that I should actually up the calories to 3,000 (gasp!), because my body is constantly thinking that it is starving now and stores all the fat supplies for these lean (ha) times. This goes against the grain of everything I have ever known about weight loss, but I'm going to try it. I will let you know how it goes after 30 days! Good luck on your journey, Cathy, and thank you for sharing and for your honesty!!!

I, absolutely, know what you are saying. And, I'll share another unfortunate truth with you -- you don't "own" ANY of it! The first time you hope to go on automatic ... you will be betrayed by your own inner "gimme'-carbs-and-fats demons"!
Pinterest has a cute poster -- "you are lapping everyone on the couch!" So ... keep on keeping on!

Lift weights...you will see some body definition and be happier.

Cathy, this is a long a$$ article, but it does explain some of what's going on by the end of the day. It's about decision fatigue. Sounds to like you're doing the 80-20 rule. Good 80% of the time. Keep it up, it's always slower than we want it to be. And according to your move more pictures, you look great! happy weekend.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?pagewanted=all

P.S. have you tried Pinterest yet?

What Brene Brown book did you read, by chance? I have one. Havent opened it yet, but I like her whole vibe!

The thing is, the science behind is seems really solid, I mean, we didnt have BREAKFAST CEREAL in caveman times. LOL! You know, I could always give it a solid 30 days and see how I feel. One quick question: is there any dairy on Paleo?

Thank you. Im a little weepy right now. Thank you.
I am thinking about doing an occasional trainer. Maybe this is a good time to do so. : )

You are adorable! NO! Not pregnant, thank the Lord. : ) I DO need new shoes. Thanks for reminding me. Its on my list!

Jo, is it possible you are trying to go too fast? I ask that in all seriousness. Im a slow runner. Slow and steady. I know that interval training will make you faster, but I like slow and steady. Maybe try slowing down your pace just a little, and hang in there!

Thanks Jody. This is really resonating with me right now, for some reason. Enjoy life. Thank you for that reminder. xo.

Another nod to think about paleo. Im not sure why the idea of it scares me. Maybe its because Im sad to give up my sprouted grain bread with my eggs in the morning! : )
Good luck!

I know this. I really do! Ive dabbled, but never succeeded in keeping it with regularity. Need to do this.

Thanks for the link. Off to read.

a few things: first, have you thought about meeting with a run coach for like 2-3 sessions to have him/her evaluate your running? it would be totally worth the $; you may need some tweaks with your running and that might help you with preventing injury and getting your love back for running. i hate running (always have) b/c it hurts my entire body, and this past month my personal trainer has been working on my running technique with me. turns out i've been doing it all wrong forever! i don't think i'll ever become a "runner" but i think what will happen is that i won't HATE it when i'm forced to run as part of my exercise training. i bet you will totally benefit from some "run coaching"...

second, i think i've mentioned before that you might be "crapping out" after 3 pm everyday b/c you aren't eating enough protein. another thing to think about is if you are getting enough sleep; this can also lead to "over-eating".

third, i just love your blog. you keep it real. and you are f'in' hilarious; my first laugh of the day is when i read your blog every morning.

good luck and hang in there!

one more thing after reading the comments. my trainer said to me the other day that strength training will help increase your cardio endurance, but cardio training will not help you improve your strength. perhaps you should consider throwing some strength training into the mix? again, good luck and keep us posted on your progress...

Interesting post. And I might be to late for you to see my comment, but I had to ponder my response and wanted to talk with some of my fellow runners on the subject. And we've all come to a similar conclusion: it really doesn't get any easier. Yep. Its the dirty little secret of the running community. Its hard. Its freakin' hard. The awesome runs are to often far and few between. But you know what? The rest of it is worth it. The feeling of knowing you can bang out 5 miles. The feeling of rock hard 'runner' legs. Knowing your are cardiovascularly fit and being so is doing good things for your insides. The post-run sweaty glow. And just the confidence that running feeds into the rest of your day/life.

There's a line in a League of Their Own where Tom Hanks tells Gina Davis that its the hard part that makes it great. That's running. I hope you stick with it, in the same way I hope my new running coworker sticks with it. Because, at least for me, the value I get out of the miles I pound are worth it, even the tear bringing sucky ones (like last night's).

I know you don't do races, or haven't done many of them, but for my newly running coworker, doing a 5k with the rest of us (in her words 'real runners') really showed her some of the fun side of it all. Races really are a celebration, a time to acknowledge you really can kick some pavement ass. Consider it please. And don't give up on the sport.

As for late afternoon snacking-from the talk in the office its totally the change in weather/greyness. We're already making plans to run in the dome this winter and do another internal work out challenge when the new year starts (tracking minutes of working out against your coworkers). I know you don't work in an office, but have you consider doing a fitness challenge through Lifetime? Something to keep you motivated as we head into the yucky months? (I don't know what Lifetime has, but the Y has the LazyMan triathalon every summer.)

Long rambling reply here, but keeping on track and motivated is FREAKING HARD. Look to others to help out or pull someone through yourself (its sometimes motivating to help someone else). At least you're one step ahead-you've noticed it and are already moving to thwart it. And that means you've already come a long way baby.

On the food...for me, it seems like if I steer clear of processed foods and sugar and realistically monitor my carb intake, I can EASILY manage to stay away from more, for days on end. But if I have even a little, I want more more more and it's an internal battle all day. And it's not a fun place to be in. And if you are counting calories, that could be preventing you from being able to use your muffin tops off. :)

Good luck! I am on the road trying to get healthy and hopefully lose 10 - 15 pounds, and you are way ahead of me and look fantastic! And I also think you're hilarious and love your blog and FB posts. :)

Have a great weekend!

And The Schwarzbein Principle is an amazing book...taking Dishing Up Nutrition to a new level. I have been doing the program for a month now and feel fantastic. So many of my little aging issues are changing: aches and pains, cravings, painful monthly visitor, moods, anxiety...all much much better. And I'm finally losing weight again!

Again, good luck!

I always enjoy your honest updates. I seem to struggle in may of the same ways. I love your Minnesota prespective on things as you tend to post about what is on my mind at any given time. The heat, the cold, the jeans not fitting the way they did in the fall! Just when I feel that I am getting into my stride with working out there seems to be some new roadblock that is put in the way. Keep chugging along and keeping me feeling normal!

All good advice, for sure. I know that im not getting enough protein. I have it at breakfast, but lunch is where its tricky. Working on that. Sleeping. Well thats another whole thing i could post about. I have sleep problems. Have for a few years. : (

I know that I should be doing this. Maybe this is the fall I will finally connect to that!

Thanks, Kathy! I always appreciate you weighing in because you talk the talk and walk the walk. : ) And maybe I do need to think about running over at the state fair coliseum to mix things up a bit, or the dome. Im definitely feeling good about the fact that I CAN bang out the miles. I mean, I am rarely if ever dying out there. I always settle in and think, Wow, look at me. Go figure. And I just keep plodding along. And adding an extra swim to my week is a good thing. I like the fact that I can swim. Grateful my mom forced me to learn as a kid, and that I was on swim team. I have definitely come a long way in this process, and im proving to myself that I dont have to throw in the towel on anything.

I do much better when I steer clear as well. Last night, I caved and had a blue raspberry freeze. Man it was good in the moment, but not so good for me. : )

Dont they love that book? Might have to get that one pronto!

Can i just say that I LOVE YOU! I am dealing with these EXACT issues and my love/hate with running and my actual "speed"....thanks for writing down my exact feelings. I appreciate it so much! :-)

I"m not really sure if you're asking for our advice or our tidbits but here's mine (probably typing this for my own benefit rather than yours - so please don't be offended.) Maybe an attitude shift is necessary. Who said life is supposed to be easy? The easy road is a sluggish body that contains sluggish organs that work extra hard to keep it going. The body THRIVES on movement. Give your body what it deserves - movement/running/yoga/swimming/any exercise! We are supposed to move. Just change up the workout. Are you doing sprint work or varying your speed/distance/hills etc? And as for everything in life - it if was easy everyone would be doing it! (Just my two thoughts.)

No, no dairy on paleo. The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain explains why. Dairy was the first food I gave up on this long journey and I felt much better after I did.

I like to read this blog: http://stephenson.typepad.com/
regarding good paleo information.

I hear you. And no, I havent done any interval training. Its definitely a need for shift in attitude. Ive definitely been learning in the past year that expectations and shoulds really dont have a place in real life. : ) And i have no plans to quit moving, of course. Heading out for a run now. Who knows? They all feel different!

Thanks for the link. Im definitely interested in this. Even bought Robb Wolfs book. Trying to learn more about it. : )

I'd to share my current running obession with you. My son is a High School Cross Country runner. When they have track workouts, the coach has them run to a metronome. Apparently, 180 steps per minutes is an ideal pace used by all Elite runners. And it is a pace that every runner should be running no matter how fast. Confusing? Read this:
http://www.healthybalancefitness.com.au/2011/03/run-your-best-stride-length-and-turnover/

I'm comfortable in the mid 170 range. My obession? Finding songs I like to load up on my little MP3 player with around 175 beats per minute. I can't wait to go out and try out a new song that I found! Run to the beat!

Ive heard of this through Chi Running. You can buy a clip on metronome to help pace your running. Interesting!

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