What’s Your Vice? Mine is Sugar.

You’re in my house now!

Last year our local grammar school sent out a survey in which they asked for opinions about whether the kids at school should be allowed to have chocolate milk at lunch. The students had asked for it but there were concerns about the sugar content in the milk. I love a good survey almost as much as I love sugar so the kids and I took the time to respond.

Did I really care if the kids could have that milk? Naaah.  But I did want to make the point that I had just been up at school and saw that there was not only sugar in the tomato sauce and ketchup they serve but also antibiotics in their pre-grated cheese. To me, those hidden ingredients were more concerning than the 100 calories of milk that everyone knew contained sugar, no matter what Jamie Oliver says about flavored milk.

Like so many others, I love sugar.  I grew up in the heyday of Big Sugar’s shameless grip on the general public’s consciousness.  My brother still likes to mock my parents for putting a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola on the table at dinner time every night for us 5 kids!

How many times have I been given candy for comfort.  Or as a gift?  Or as a reward?  I can’t help but think of “something sweet” as a symbol of love and care.

I really believe that sugar, itself, is not bad.

How can this be bad for you???

How can this be bad for you???

But having sugar at every meal and snack is very bad. That I do believe.

Just ask Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, whose video Sugar: The Bitter Truth, went viral about 5 years ago.  Ever since I saw that video I have monitored the sugar I give to my kids.

Last year, when I started this experiment to truly change my habits and started scrutinizing my meals more carefully, I realized that it wasn’t my kids I should be worrying about, but me.  I was eating sugar at every meal!

Whether it was sugar in my coffee, honey – – or better yet, agave syrup, that sounds better – – in my fruit and veggie smoothie, a few pieces of dark chocolate for an afternoon snack (for it’s antioxidant benefits, I swear!), or whipped cream with my fruit after dinner, I was eating tons of blatant sugar every day. I somehow justified it because “It wasn’t like I was eating a junky diet of fast and processed food.” My chocolate was organic, free range, and free trade from the co-op, dammit!

But I needed to lose some weight and I wanted to feel better (both mentally and physically) than I did. That’s why I joined GG40.

I decided that, while I didn’t have a problem with sugar, I should cut back a bit.

So I stopped adding sugar to my coffee. And I woke up every morning for about a month, angry. I was so resentful that I couldn’t have sugar in my coffee, even though it had been my choice.

That seems like a terrible way to start the day. So I decided I would have sugar with my coffee but try to cut back elsewhere.

No more honey or agave in my smoothie. Umm. Yeah. After that yummy coffee those smoothies tasted like crap. I didn’t want to admit that I wanted (and needed) that sugar so I just cut out the smoothies altogether. Problem solved.

I could go on and on about my denial and anger and bargaining. No matter how many examples I give, though, they all ended in the same place: sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty. I wanted to stop eating so much sugar but I couldn’t.

When I finally realized that I couldn’t actually control myself enough to skip sugar at even one meal or snack, I felt so embarrassed and defeated. I usually see myself as a strong, thoughtful, powerful woman.

Was I really going to be beaten by sugar?

It took about another month and a lot of thinking about my body image, my daughter, my real goals for GG40, and reading about how sugar probably kills as many Americans as tobacco for me to finally accept that sugar was a problem for me.

That day, when I finally accepted that sugar was my vice, I started to turn my habits around for real.

I started again with my morning coffee. Instead of being angry, I tried to acknowledge and joke about how hard it was to give that up.

It was still pretty rough.

I love, love, love to have a cup of coffee on the couch chatting with Joe in the morning. Those first few weeks, sitting there every morning with my flat, flavorless, coffee stunk. But I did it. One cup of coffee at a time.

Then I took on the smoothie, the snack, and every other sweet I longed for each day. It took months before I stopped thinking about cookies and cakes and ice cream and candy every day. I actually obsessed over sweets so much that sometimes I’d dream about devouring sweets I don’t even like, like bread pudding (ewww, wet bread), just because they had popped into my head.

I still eat sugar but really try to eat it only as a treat instead of as a regular ingredient.

Although still hoping it makes into a section on here.

Although still hoping it makes into a section on here.

Since I gave up sugar I have lost weight, have greater energy, have clearer skin, feel healthier, and I cope better with stress. I don’t have that roller coaster feeling I used to have.

But even with all the benefits I am feeling with this change of habit, if I found out tomorrow sugar was good for me, I’d go back to it in a second. That’s how I know I am an addict.

Sunday’s Rose and Thorn – Week 43

If you’re doing a challenge along with us we’d love to know your rose and thorn as well.  Leave it in the comments or zip us an email.  We love the company!

Answer 3 questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What was your rose (the best thing about your week)?
  3. What was your thorn (what was the worst part of your week)?

Allyson

  • S: rest
  • M: rest
  • T: 2.5 mi run and hill walking
  • W:  rest
  • Th: 2 mi run
  • F: rest
  • S: rest
My thorn this week was trying to live out of a hotel and manage the construction at our home.  As always seems to be the case, things are not going according to plan and we are delayed getting back in there this week.
My rose was the workout room at the hotel and squeezing in a couple runs.  Hoping for more this week.

 

Jessica

  • Sunday – Rest
  • Monday – Strength training with Joey
  • Tuesday – Walked 5k+
  • Wednesday – HIIT
  • Thursday –  HIIT
  • Friday –  Strength training with Joey
  • Saturday – Rest

My thorn this week was no running.

I have two roses this week.  First, Joe asked to work out together again, which we haven’t done since we had kids.  We’ve been doing it two weeks and I am really enjoying it.  Second, my sister and her family are here for the next ten days.

Karla

S:  Yoga
M:  3 mile run
T:  PT, Tabata, push-ups and free weights
W:  3 mile run
R: Rest
F: Rest
S:  9 mile run
Rose was getting my nine mile run in.
Thorn was dealing with a lingering sinus infection (thus the rest days).   In hindsight, although I felt good at the time, I think I relapsed post long run, as I am not feeling great again today.  Ugh.

10 Tips From Karla for Dealing With Injuries

I’ve had a lot of running injuries. I mean, I have had A LOT of running injuries. Don’t believe me? Check out this photo of the various running rehab items I have used over the past 12+ years.

Karla Injuries

 

In fact, there are but a few running injuries I have not had, as evidenced by my listing: shin splints, medial tibial stress syndrome (yes, that is a real thing), bursitis of the knee, illiotibial band syndrome (ITBS), bursitis of the hip, a pulled groin (he he, I said groin), Achilles tendonitis, and the worst of the worst (cue Darth Vader music): plantar fasciitis (PF). I have stupidly run through some injuries, only to make them worse and have taken months off (and refrained from wearing heels) only to have my injury (PF) not really improve. I have had cortisone shots in my FOOT (yes, that killed). I have been through physical therapy twice (three times if you count the time I was hit by a truck and fractured my collarbone, but that was not related to running) and, when I listened, it actually worked. Some may wonder why I still run. But, if you have read any of the previous posts, you know. I want to keep running and I NEED to keep running. It is just part of who I am. Thus, explaining the small fortune I have spent on the cache of rehab paraphernalia.

 

Now, I am not a medical doctor – I have a JD, not an MD – and I am, in no way, giving you any advice on how to treat your individual injury (that’s my lawyerly disclaimer). If you have had a persistent injury, go see a medical professional, preferably a sports medicine doctor – someone who specializes in dealing with people like us. People who want to be fixed so that we can get back out on the road or trail.

 

Short of going to a sports medicine doctor (which I have had to do twice), I have figured out a few things that have worked for me. Of course, I am not even going to pretend that I follow my own tips or listen to my body at every turn. Nope, not even a chance. I’m stubborn and I don’t like to give up. If I set out for a goal, I want to reach it, even if my leg falls off in the process. But, that is not really all that sensible (I originally had sensical here, but my husband (aka Mr. Fancy Pants PhD candidate) informed me that sensical is not, in fact, a word) if I want to actually keep running long term. So, instead, I try to do a few of these things:

 

  1. Increase mileage gradually – 10 to 20 % per week or 1 mile per week for long runs. Same for speed and speedwork.
  2. Listen to the body. If something hurts, slow down (no speed work), rest it, and ice it. When it starts to improve, gradually increase mileage to previous levels.
  3. The foam roller is a miracle worker. Whenever my IT band starts to act up, I roll it out on the foam roller. It is a “hurt so good” type of feeling, but definitely worth it.
  4. The golf ball is to plantar fasciitis as the foam roller is to ITBS. Same deal – whenever my PF it starts to act up, I massage it out with the golf ball.
  5. I have no idea how Rock Tape or Kinesio tape works, but it does (I am partial to Rock Tape, but both work well). I wrap it around my arch or put a strip under my knee when I feel little kinks. I have also put a strip on my IT band, starting from my hip when that feels owie (I don’t care if that’s not a real word – it is in our house and probably most of yours).
  6. Yoga, yoga, and more yoga. For me, I have found that when I do yoga regularly, I am much less likely to become injured. Even if it is only 20 minutes a week, it helps.
  7. And in that same vein, do something other than running. Cross-train, cycling, weights, whatever. Just do something on the off-running days.
  8. Running three to four times per week is what works for me. It leaves time for yoga and cross training and gives my body a break from the repetition of running.
  9. Keep the core (including hips) and feet strong. I don’t have a lot of extra time, so I do my physical therapy exercises (leg lifts, hip exercises, etc.) during my cross-training workouts. I stretch whenever I can and need to, wherever I might be. Frequently, this is while drying my hair in the mornings (quite the visual, eh?). For my feet (also while drying my hair), I balance on one foot for as long as I can. I close my eyes to make it tougher. This works those little muscles in my feet to keep them strong(ish) and to hopefully stave off the dreaded PF (is that Darth Vader music again?).
  10. Massage. Oh, the miracles that a good massage therapist can work. I started seeing a massage therapist regularly when my husband was deployed (I had just a tad bit of stress going on) and have continued to go when I can. She can feel and sometimes see the tension in certain areas and knows how to remedy it. In my experience, I have found that massage therapists associated with physical therapists or (a good) chiropractic office have more experience with sports massages than those at a spa or chain massage establishment.

 

And there you have it. That’s pretty much all I can think of for know. Plus, I’m tired and still need to proof read this thing. Keep running, listen to your body, and have fun!

Sunday’s Rose and Thorn – Week 42

If you’re doing a challenge along with us we’d love to know your rose and thorn as well.  Leave it in the comments or zip us an email.  We love the company!

Answer 3 questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What was your rose (the best thing about your week)?
  3. What was your thorn (what was the worst part of your week)?

Allyson

  • M: 2 mi run
  • T: rest
  • W: 3 mi run
  • Th: rest
  • F: rest
  • S: 2 mi run
My rose was fitting anything in this week. We are in the middle of major house renovations.
My Thorn was moving out of the house for plumbing work and trying to fit it some workouts this week. And next week will likely be the same!  Make it work.

Jessica

  • Sunday – Rest
  • Monday – Strength training with Joey, walked 5k+
  • Tuesday – Walked 5k+
  • Wednesday – HIIT
  • Thursday –  Walked 5k+
  • Friday –  Strength training with Joey
  • Saturday – Rest

My thorn this week was no running.

My rose is that Molly and I just signed up to run a 5K at Disney when we go in February.  She is such a good friend, that kid.

Karla

  •  S:  Rest
  • M:  Snorkeling at Molokini Crater, Hawaii!
  • T:  Yoga near the ocean; hiking
  • W:  Swimming in the ocean and pool
  • R:  Rest (long travel day)
  • F:  Rest and recover
  • S:  8 mile run
Rose:  All the super awesome fun stuff in Hawaii, but my favorite was playing in the ocean with Whittaker, my 7-year-old.
Thorn:  Knees are kind of achey after my 8 mile run.  Need more glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate!

Snapshots of Some Favorite Runs

In this week’s motivation post, we are each sharing a photo of a favorite run.  Ever enjoyed a run so much in a beautiful spot that you forget about the effort (for a moment or two, anyway)?

Allyson

Serenity Now

The Spring after my mom passed away in 2007, a very kind uncle and aunt of mine decided to take my brother and his family and I for a much needed R&R getaway.  They chose Carmel, CA.  We rented a little house on the coast and all hung out for a few days, sharing good memories of my mom and making new some new ones together.

This beach and coastline was literally steps from where we stayed.  Each day I would get out for a run.   After about a mile along this breathtaking coast, my mind would be transported away from the pain of loss, I would breathe in the salty air, and my steps would become effortless.  I would focus on being grateful.

Karla

Aloha, runner!

Aloha, runner!

This photo was taken just a few days ago during a run in Makena, Hawaii, on the island of Maui. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It is tough to tell in this photo, but the water starts out a translucent blue and then changes to a deep cobalt that is truly stunning. This has been a much anticipated trip. I planned it during my husband’s deployment as a dream to come. And it has definitely lived up to our expectations. I snuck out for this run at 6 am, just as my little ones were waking up. The air was so moist and warm that I wasn’t sure I could complete my intended 4 miles, but as I ran past the shore, the palm trees, the historic church, and stunning villas, I decided I could keep going. Because when you are running in paradise, everything just feels a little sweeter.

Jess

That looked a lot worse from the bottom.

This is the hill I hit in the middle of my favorite run when I am home.  It took me three months of running before I had the courage to run it.  It still worries me a little bit.

The road winds up a mountain right next to what we locals call “The Falls”.  I took this shot last Autumn, which is my favorite time to run it.  I never, ever tire of this view even when I am tired of running!

I love the water and the tourists that usually hang out beside it.  I love the mountains.  I love the forest and its critters..  I mostly love to see how it changes each time I run it.  It takes my mind off running and reminds me that I can change too.

Sunday’s Rose and Thorn – Week 41

If you’re doing a challenge along with us we’d love to know your rose and thorn as well.  Leave it in the comments or zip us an email.  We love the company!

Answer 3 questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What was your rose (the best thing about your week)?
  3. What was your thorn (what was the worst part of your week)?

Allyson

S: rest
M: 2 mile run
T: rest
W: yoga
T: 3 mile run
F: rest
S: 2.5 mile run

My thorn this week was not really getting in a long run.  We are undertaking some major plumbing and house work and I have been swamped with all that entails.  My rose was enjoying time with more family visiting!

Jessica

  • Sunday – rest
  • Monday – rest
  • Tuesday – Tibetans, 5k
  • Wednesday – rest
  • Thursday –  Tibetans, 2 miles
  • Friday –  rest
  • Saturday – rest

My thorn this week was not too much exercise.

My rose is that my kids were in camp, one in computer camp, one in circus camp, and one at “mommy camp” (he’s two) with me every day at the zoo.  We all had a great time!

Karla

S: 20 min elliptical; 30 min yoga
M: 3 mile run
T: 2.5 mile run (partially while passing the soccer ball with Whit)
W: Rest
R: Rest
F: Rest
S: 4 mile run in paradise

Rose: Everything since we arrived in Hawaii. Even on my “rest days,” we swam and played.

No thorn this week.

 

It’s Jess and I’m Starting a Girls on the Run Chapter

GOTR Addition Tee

Hello again! It’s Jessica.

One thing this challenge has given me is an opportunity to run with my 7-year-old daughter.  I know.  I go on and on about it.  Really, though, it is the thing that has given me the most joy in this experience.

My birthday is in September (and I should be over 40k by then) so the challenge will be over for me.  Because I don’t want the fun to end – – and because this challenge has also reminded me of the complicated relationships we females tend to have with our bodies – –  I decided to start a chapter of Girls on the Run in my town.

Girls on the Run is an international physical fitness program that focuses on empowering young girls to live healthily and confidently and on their own terms.

Starting in September, a friend of mine and I will meet twice a week for a couple hours with a group of 3rd – 5th grade girls.  Using the curriculum from Girls on the Run  we’ll talk about things like working together, conflict resolution, healthy habits, nutrition, self-confidence and body image.

Obviously, physical fitness is also a major part of the 10-week course, with the ultimate goal that each girl completes a 5K.

I am really looking forward to it, not only for the chance to run with a larger group of girls, but because it is never too early to start building your tool box for life!

If you are interested in joining Girls on the Run in your state or starting your own chapter, find out more here.

Are you already a part of Girls on the Run?  Any tips or advice?  As newbies, we can certainly use it!

Sunday’s Rose and Thorn – Week 40!

If you’re doing a challenge along with us we’d love to know your rose and thorn as well.  Leave it in the comments or zip us an email.  We love the company!

Answer 3 questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What was your rose (the best thing about your week)?
  3. What was your thorn (what was the worst part of your week)?

Allyson

  • S:  3 mi run
  • M:  rest
  • T:  rest
  • W:  40 min walk
  • Th:  rest
  • F:  3 mi run
  • S: rest
My thorn was not getting much exercise in this week, but my rose was spending lots of great time with my family who was visiting for my daughter’s birthday!

 

Jessica

  • Sunday – Tibetans, 4.5+ mile run
  • Monday – Tibetans, 1 mile run
  • Tuesday – Tibetans, 5k
  • Wednesday – Tibetans, 4.5+ mile run
  • Thursday –  Tibetans, 4.5+ walk
  • Friday –  4.5+ mile run
  • Saturday – rest

My thorn this week is that the vacation ended.  No more running on the boardwalk and beach!!

My rose is that I got out on the boardwalk and beach EVERY DAY this week.  There is no place I’d rather run.

Karla

  • S:  Rest
  • M:  3 mile run
  • T:  Core, strength, and PT exercises (including 50 fo-real push-ups)
  • W:  3 mile run (at 6 am — ugh)
  • R:  Power Yoga
  • F: 7 mile run
  • S:  Rest
Rose:  Tie between my Tuesday workout and my long run.  Once upon a time (pre-kids) when I was still in the Army reserves, I could do 45 push-ups in 2 minutes.  Yes, 45 REAL push-ups in 2 minutes.  On Tuesday, I did 50 push-ups (in sets of 5 and 10 with lots of breaks in between) and, although it wasn’t in two minutes, it’s the most I have been able to do in a long time.  My long run also felt really good.

 

Thorn:  That darn 6 am run.  Ugh.  I used to run first thing in the morning all the time (again, mostly pre-kids) and now I can’t stand it.  I felt horrible the entire way through and not great after.  My long run was also a morning run, but I had time to ease into the morning, hydrate, get a little something to eat and some coffee (ahh, coffee) first.  That clearly makes a huge difference for me.

 

Karla’s Wednesday Motivation

photo1The mom runner in me loves the message in this sticker (which is on the back of my car). The ten-year-old boy in me loves the inappropriate humor of it.

As mom runners, we are a different breed from non-runner moms and from non-mom runners.  We don’t have the luxury of being able to run wherever and whenever we want.  Instead, we run whenever and wherever we can — home from our kids’ tennis lessons, at 6 am, at lunch time, around the field at soccer practice, on the way to school to pick up the kids, Saturday mornings when everyone else is lying around, on the fly when our kids are napping (whether we are hydrated or not — go, go, go, now), or with our budding runners (“I want to run with you, Mommy!).  We have done it all, because we have no other choice. We juggle our love of us and running and being fit and staying sane with being a mom and all the beautiful insanity that goes along with it.  But, we are better for it and so are our kids.
So, get out there and “Run Like a Mother.”
P. S. It’s okay to giggle — I do every time I read it.

Sunday’s Rose and Thorn – Week 39

We’re a day late this week because we have all been so busy.  It reminds me of how hard it is to fit exercise in to a busy life.

If you’re doing a challenge along with us we’d love to know your rose and thorn as well.  Leave it in the comments or zip us an email.  We love the company!

Answer 3 questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What was your rose (the best thing about your week)?
  3. What was your thorn (what was the worst part of your week)?

Allyson

  • S: rest
  • M:  3 mile run
  • T:  yoga
  • W:  rest
  • Th:  2.5 mile run
  • F:  rest
  • Sat:  4 mile run

Thorn:  my knee is still tweaking a bit.  Trying to keep up with stretching and rest days.  Rose:  Otherwise I’m feeling good on my runs!

Jessica

  • Sunday – Tibetans, 4.5 mile run
  • Monday – Tibetans
  • Tuesday – Tibetans, D2S Phase 2 Timed Metabolic
  • Wednesday – Tibetans, D2S Phase 2 Strength 2
  • Thursday –  Tibetans, D2S Phase 3 Strength 1
  • Friday –  Tibetans, D2S Phase 2 Timed Metabolic
  • Saturday – Tibetans

My thorn this week is that we weren’t able to go to the last week of a running series that we’ve attended.  It would have been nice to get in a last run with Molly before it was over.

My rose is that we are on  vacation this week, where I can run the boards and the beach every day!!

Karla

  • S:  2.5 mile hike to the beach
  • M:  3 mile run
  • T:  Yoga (Jillian Michaels’ DVD — seems like an oxymoron but it’s a good workout)
  • W:  Runner’s World core workout
  • R:  3.25 mile run
  • F:  Runner’s World core yoga workout
  • S: 6 mile run
Rose:  Getting moving every day this week!  And I actually felt really good on the 6 miler.  Why is it that long run sometimes feel so much better than those short 3 mile runs?
Thorn:  A few little links and twinges popping up.  Nothing serious but definitely something to be mindful of to keep in check.