Postponing my Marathon

Brooklyn Half 2014It’s hard to let go of something you trained and prepared for. To know you put the time and effort in and it isn’t going to happen. I’ve been going to physical therapy for my pulled groin which caused by my hip. Apparently my hip isn’t as mobile as it should be and hence the pain.

The good news is I no longer feel like I’m throwing my leg when I walk. The physical therapist recommended I skip it and I toyed with trying for the half. But another exercise move had me yelping and I knew it wasn’t possible. If stretching too far or putting all my weight on my leg hurts; running is going to be impossible.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow and I’ve done it before. The first half marathon I was supposed to run I developed a stress fracture in my hip. (yes, the same hip). There were a lot of tears that time, this time it’s more frustration/disgust. I know there will be other races in my future. I have one scheduled for June.

I have decided that I am going to focus on the good and stay positive. If I get frustrated I will make my life miserable and I’ll drive everyone else around me crazy. I have a lot to look forward to:

  • I will be strong for my June race and I’m going to kill it.
  • I have a lot more mileage under my belt now and I know I can do an 18 mile run.
  • My weekly base mileage is higher than it was.
  • I now have a bunch of exercises that will keep my hip strong and healthy.
  • I know which nutrition works for me and how to fuel for long runs.
  • There are races every month, the possibilities are endless.
  • I had quality time with my friends.

I don’t look at the training as a loss and I don’t regret running the miles. I look forward to my next race and enjoying it. I look forward to being pain-free. (well, as pain-free as someone running 18 miles can be).

Have you been forced to miss a race due to injury or illness? What did you do while you were sidelined?

Blue Apron – Was it Worth It?

2P_012815_1Last month I had the opportunity to try Blue Apron meal services. I received a discount off my first order and thought it would be fun to try. The meals looked pretty good and all of the ingredients were sent to you, along with the recipes. Most recipes said they took between 30 and 45 minutes.

I liked that I was able to choose which meats I would like sent and which I’d rather not have. There are vegetarian options if you choose to skip meat all together. Unfortunately you could not choose dairy free, wheat free or nut free. I chose the three night plan and you could choose between 2 sets of meals. You couldn’t, however, choose each meal. There was the option to opt out that week’s delivery if you didn’t love the meals or ingredients.

The food was fresh, the recipes were detailed and had photos. Most meals took me longer to make than I anticipated but we did enjoy the results. Oddly, I received ingredients for turkey chili on a week when I had just made turkey chili. I repurposed the turkey and brown rice for other meals. The steak (pictured) was delicious as was the cabbage underneath the meat. My husband also enjoyed the buttered potatoes.

Most meals definitely had me thinking outside the box and I’d make them again. One meal I just couldn’t wrap my brain around was Japanese sweet potatoes with miso and candied cashews over rice. We opted out of the rice and added in shrimp, which went really well with the miso sauce. (I also cut the sugar down on the cashews – it was ridiculous).

A lot of meals were on the higher end of the calorie spectrum, which isn’t helpful for anyone looking to lose weight. Most meals we had some leftovers from though, a lot of portions were just big.

We ended up only taking two deliveries. I think it’s great if you don’t have foods allergies and want to try out some new meals. If you’re looking for quick dinners after work or to lose weight this may not be for you.

Have you tried a meal service? What did you think of it?

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Fitness and Healthy Meals Can Be Done, Even With a Long Commute!

crockpotI usually avoid reading the opinion section of my local paper. The comments are usually pretty off the wall and tend to make me crazy. But every now and then I can’t help myself, like tonight. “No wonder why Staten Islanders are fat, they have long commutes. No one wants to cook or exercise after a 12 hour day. I suspect people are collapsing and ordering takeout.”

A four-hour commute is a pretty big exaggeration on the part of the writer. But even if it were true, there are ways to have decent meals and to get some fitness in. It takes some planning and some flexibility but it’s definitely doable. You don’t even have to get up at 4 a.m. to do it. (unless you want to and then I bow down to you).

I don’t love to get up super early but I can do a half an hour to workout. Not possible for you? How about 3 10 or 15 minute mini workouts? That gives you 30 – 45 minutes of exercise. Do you get a lunch break? How about squeezing in a quick sweat session or a brisk walk then? My gym offers 30 minute classes at lunch time, which is great if you get an hour for lunch. (I realize not everyone does).

No time to cook? Prep meals on the weekend so you have foods you can reheat. Stir fries can be made in minutes if food has been pre-chopped. (You can buy it that way, no one is judging). My other favorite tool is my crockpot. I can set it to 8 hours and it will turn off to keep warm when it’s done. Dinner is hot and waiting when you get home.

Another handy tool is the pressure cooker. They’ve come a long way and are much safer than older models. You can cook meals in minutes and you can cook a lot at one time. Leftovers are a blessing when time is tight.

What are your favorite tips for fitting in fitness?

What’s your quick and easy go to meal?

Need help with figuring out how to stay on track and eat healthy? Not sure where to begin? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, and together we can come up with a plan that works for you. No diets, gimmicks or magic pills!

 

 

Why Those Seemingly Healthy Foods Are Not Helping You Lose Weight.

smoothieAre you frustrated because you’ve been eating healthy but not losing weight? It’s easy to overdo seemingly healthy foods. It doesn’t help that some of those foods are as healthy as we are led to believe. I know, I’ve been there too.

Granola bars that don’t have much protein but do have a lot of sugar. Green juices that have 28 g of sugar but no protein or fiber to help keep you full. Fruit, which I love, is a natural sugar but we are meant to eat 2 – 3 servings, not 5! Packaged oatmeal and flavored yogurts have hidden sugars as well. Sugars are a big reason why we’re not losing weight.

If you look at reduced fat and fat-free foods you notice that the sugar content is higher than their full fat counterparts. Reduced fat peanut butter has more sugar than regular and it often has less protein. Once fat is removed from a food it needs additives to make it taste good and have the mouth feel we crave.

I’m not afraid of fat and I don’t choose fat-free foods. We need it to process fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K and we need it to build hormones. It also helps to keep you full. It is, however, calorie dense and if you are looking to lose weight it’s something to pay attention to. Choose the avocado, nuts or the cheese – not all three at every meal. But do have a little healthy fat at each meal, you need about 1/4 cup of healthy fats per day.

I generally do not count calories but I am a big fan of portion control. It’s one of the things I like about the 21 Day Fix Program. They send little containers that help you portion out your food so you can take your lunch or dinner along with you and not worry about if you’re overeating. It’s eye-opening to see what an actual serving of meat, grains and oils looks like.

I don’t recommend measuring out leafy greens and low starch vegetables, unless you tend to skimp on them. The calorie content is low and the fiber content is high, they’re great to help you fill up at a meal. Since there are so many options it helps keep meals interesting, colorful and crunchy. (Crunching is a great stress buster)!

Need more tips and tricks? Are you curious about the 21 Day Fix Program or Shakeology and how they can help you on your healthy journey? I’m happy to chat with you, send me an email: janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

Running, Injuries and MRI’s

ellipticalRunning has been difficult. Not because of the mileage but because I pulled a groin muscle. I rested a few days and tried running but my 10 miler turned into a 6. After another week of rest I called the orthopedist and made an appointment. The bad news – I needed to get an MRI. It’s my version of hell: loud, closed in and you have be still. I’m trying to keep my karma positive so I don’t end up spending my afterlife in an MRI machine.

I got the report and I can breathe a bit easier. There are not cracks or tears, just inflammation and some bursitis on the hip which is from every day wear and tear. (It also said I a small cyst on each ovary. I know this because I read the report as I was getting changed. I think it would have been good to mention even if it had nothing to do with my hip and groin).

A steroid shot was an option so I took it. Normally I’d skip it and heal on my own the race is in less than a month. I feel like I need to get another long run in to feel mentally trained as well as physically. I also don’t want to hurt myself further so I can actually complete the darned race.

In the meantime I joined a gym. I don’t enjoy going to the gym but I like having access to the elliptical machine and the bike. I was sore after the elliptical machine but it still felt better than running. I’m hoping after today’s steroid shot I can get a short run in tomorrow. I really want to do a long run this weekend, it’s really the last weekend to do one.

So I sit here with my ice pack on (yes, that’s a fun injury to ice) and driving myself nuts. I know I’ve been running consistently but I also know how I feel at 18 miles. Could I push through to 26? I believe I could, even if I end up walking after 18 miles. I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that.

Have you felt under-trained but still completed your race?

What cross training do you do when you’re injured?