5 days before the Memorial Day weekend, I got roped into running a leg of the Vermont City Marathon.  Our friends were part of a relay team and had someone drop out.  So would I agree to run 5.4 miles in their stead?  Ugh, I guess.  I ran a leg last year (the shortest one, 3.2 miles) and it was fun cheering everyone else on and getting caught up in all of it; seeing people that came from all over to run in this marathon, running into people you know….it’s all pretty cool.  The city gets packed!  Honestly, I was looking forward to a quiet, nothing-planned, quiet holiday weekend, but also wanted to help out my friends. So I ran my 5.4 miles….

And nearly collapsed.  Miraculously, I made really good time (just under an hour).  I felt like I was really just walk-jogging the whole way; didn’t think I was averaging 12 min per mile.  After 2 miles, I was ready to be done.  My quads were starting to hurt and it was hot.  It. Was. Hot.  75*, which is nice if you’re just guna be hanging out in the sun doing nothing.  But to be running in that temp? I was thankful for the route I was running—it went through a few nice neighborhoods and so many houses had sprinklers set up on their lawns aimed at the street so we could run through it for a brief cool-off.

I saw a man wearing a shirt that said “I hate running.”  I immediately thought I need that shirt.  I was just miserable the whole time. It was hot; my quads were screaming; I could feel a blister coming on; and worst of all, I just couldn’t get in my normal running “zone.”  The place you hit after a short time where you feel like you could just run at that steady pace for hours? Never got there.  I had my music blasting but that was no help.  I got to the end of my leg and had to do everything in my powers not to throw up.  Then after I finished cussing, I came to the conclusion: Nope. I’m never doing this again.

I had been running in the mornings before work, but on the treadmill, and only for about 2-3 miles at a time.  Not 5.  And as much as I was struggling for the next 2 days, soreness, blister and all, some good has come out of it:

*After the marathon, I thought “I just ran 5 MILES! FIVE MILES!! I can push myself to do other things to get in better shape.

*I really should do something about this belly pooch.  If I’m not constantly watching what I’m eating, every pound I gain goes right to the stomach, while my boobs and booty are spared. So. Unfair.

*Bottom line: Time to get my ass in better shape.

My first order of business?  Get a workout dvd.  Yes, I was running everyday, but I wanted to change up my routine and have another option in case I didn’t feel like hopping on the treadmill. So I got this

No, my goal isn’t to be “shredded” in a month, but I’d like to see what I can really accomplish. I mean, I’m getting up at 5:30 am every day.  I figure, I might as well make the hour I have worth it! Otherwise, I should just stay in bed (which I want to do most days).  Today was day 4 of using the dvd.  At first, I thought, “oh I’ll just do the 20 minute workout and be good.”  Because yes, it is hard work, even starting on level 1. But on the second day, I also felt I could get a short run in too. So on day 2, I started with a 20 minute run, then the 20 minute dvd.  And my calves were SO SORE.  It really kicked my butt.  Day 3, I upped it to a 30 minute run and the dvd.  I was feeling good, even though still a little sore. But it’s a good kind of soreness.  Hurts so good….

And of course you can’t shed any unwanted lbs without altering your diet a bit.  So I’m trying something I (again) never thought I’d do: Low carb.  If you know me, you know my weakness is pasta, cereal, pasta, pasta, mashed potatoes, pastries, and pasta.  So I did a little research and learned about foods that are good at helping you feel full and also trim the belly fat (you can find it here).  AND I also came face to face with a nightmare discovery: pasta not only adds fat to your belly, but when you eat it, it sends receptors to other parts of your body and takes the fat from those other parts and PUTS IT ON YOUR STOMACH.  Blasphemy!  Depressing.  But I made my grocery list, and bought things that came recommended.   I’m not following a strict diet, but I am trying to eat more healthy and pump up on the protein, so that website was a good introduction for me. Black beans? Yum. Avocado? Yummy. Shrimp? Yes, thank you. Almonds? I can do that.

So far, the eating change has gone really well, and best of all: It’s not as hard as I expected.  I’ll have 2 eggs and just one piece of toast in the morning, or instead of toast, I’ll eat some black beans with it.  Lunch is a big salad with tuna or chicken on it, or just the protein from last night’s dinner with some yogurt and almonds.  Dinner is whatever… Since I’m working out, by the time I leave work, I’m averaging about 600-700 calories allowed by dinner time.  My only restriction there is the portion size.  I’m eating off a small salad plate, rather than the big dinner plate. Yesterday was hard because it was pasta-Thursday (the only day of the week I’m allowed to make pasta for dinner at home).  But I was good and put it in a small bowl and ate my salad first before diving in to my delicious bowl of pasta with vodka sauce and turkey meatballs….. mmmmmm.  And I’ve noticed at work, I don’t get sleepy at all (despite waking up at 5 am every day).  I don’t get the 2:30 pm tiredness that I used to and I think it’s because with more protein in my body, my blood sugar stays regulated throughout the day.  My snacks throughout the day are simple: an apple, a rice cake with peanut butter on top, strawberries, etc. No more cheese-its, tortilla chips, chex mix….. And more water. Water. Water.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  Maybe in a couple weeks I’ll be able to move up to level 2 of the dvd!  And so far, I’d recommend it for anyone trying to get started on a new program but can’t get away to a gym or just plain doesn’t like working out.  It’s only 20 minutes a day and you feel good when you’re done.  BAM.