Inland Trail Marathon Race Recap

Heading into the Inland Trail Marathon, I was feeling far from confident. My foot injury from September had been replaced with an inner thigh\groin area injury. I’m pretty sure that I suffered the latter injury when I ran down the very steep hill in the Rocky River Reservation in a restrained fashion twice in three days because I didn’t want to slip in the rainy conditions. Of course, I could have just walked down the hill, but that’s what happens when your ego takes over and you’re more focused on posting great times during training instead of preparing to post a great time on race day when it actually matters.

Part of me thought that I should postpone my marathon because a bit of e-diagnosis—always a bad idea!—had me convinced that I was going to hurt myself severely, but I also wondered if it was just the same taper madness that convinced me that I had the world’s worst case of runner’s knee before the 2013 Northern Ohio Marathon.

I was on the fence all week until I had a conversation with my boss, who basically said, “The running season is just about over, so if you get hurt while you’re running the marathon, you’ll have the whole winter to recover.” When she said that, I decided to move forward with doing it. Thinking about this quote from Braveheart—which I watched for the first time on the day of my foot injury—also helped. If I didn’t run, I knew deep down that I would spent the entire winter wishing that I had, wondering if I could have finished the race, and feeling like I would give anything to turn back the clock to have one chance to run the marathon.

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Waited almost 20 years to see this, but it was well worth it! (Source)

The funny thing was that I’m relatively sure that it was just chafing. I figured that out for sure on Saturday in the late afternoon. This is probably TMI, but I had never had chafing issues in that area before this training cycle. In the end, I’m glad that I’m pretty sure that this injury just turned out to be something that is easily preventable, but before I figured that out I was a nervous wreck.

Anyhow, once I figured this out, I started to get really excited for the marathon. I had a hard time figuring out what to wear under my jacket, but once I realized that a hat would help me retain body heat if necessary, I decided to go with a t-shirt instead of a long sleeved shirt. This turned out to be a great decision because the weather was much warmer than I had planned during the final 6.2 miles!

inland trail marathon pre-race

Unlike last year, race day morning went very well, and I felt great after eating my usual peanut butter sandwich, banana, and green smoothie. This marathon was located relatively close to our house, so getting there was a breeze. I didn’t want to linger outside by the starting line for too long because it was cold, but I wanted to make sure that my GPS watch connected before it was time to go.

The field for the race was very small, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all. Once the bell started, I said goodbye to Sheila and took off! I wasn’t sure exactly when our timing chips kicked in because there wasn’t a mat, so I probably lost a few seconds at the start. Oh well!

Last year, I ran all of the way until Mile 20 or so and then took walking breaks from there. By this time, though, I was really worn down, and my walking breaks became very frequent and very long. Because of my prior foot injury and because I still wasn’t totally certain that my leg injury was just due to chafing, I decided to take walking breaks at various points at every mile in the race in the hopes that this would keep me from “bonking” at Mile 20.

The first 7 miles took place on local roadways. From what I read, this was a change from the old course that took place entirely on the Lorain County Inland Trail. Evidently some runners didn’t like that. I’m not sure why that was, given that the Inland Trail is a very scenic place on which to run, and it was definitely a lot more scenic than the new area.

I made sure to incorporate walk breaks into each mile and I also walked up the few inclines on the course. At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I really didn’t appreciate it when one of the policemen on the course told me, “It’s way too early to be walking” during one of my walk breaks at around Mile 5 or so. Fortunately, I was confident in my plan and his words didn’t unnerve me, but I can see how his words could have shaken up a first-time marathoner or someone who was self-conscious about using the run\walk method.

Around Mile 6, I told myself, “You just have 20 miles left to do and you knocked out a 20 miler with no problem at all last month. You’re feeling great and you got this.”

Sheila told me she would be waiting at the point at which the course went onto the Inland Trail, and I was definitely glad to see her smiling face around Mile 7. The Boom! Nutrition gel that she handed me was much appreciated at that point!

mile 7 inland trail marathon

Chugging along at Mile 7

Once I got onto the Inland Trail, I settled in for a long stretch of running. After a mile or two, I began to pass parts of the course on which I did my 20 miler and I felt a bit more of a comfort level with how my race was going. During Mile 8, I passed my friend Ryan, who was heading back on his way to a 3rd place overall finish in the half marathon. He shouted out some words of encouragement and gave me a much-needed pick me up. Forgive me for the digression, but this exchange reminded me about how great the running community truly is. Ryan is a multiple-time Boston Marathon qualifier and one of the best runners around, and the fact that he took time from his own race to encourage me meant a lot. The camaraderie that runners have is unparalleled!

Before the race, I had done some mental planning about what I’d do if either of my injuries flared up. I told myself that I would turn around at the half marathon turnaround if they did. As I approached the halfway point, I began to mentally steel myself for the fact that I would be commitment myself to finishing out the race regardless of how long it took or how painful it would be once I passed the half marathon turnaround. As I ran, I thought about one of my favorite scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Gandalf is attempting to convince Bilbo to go on the journey to Erebor, and this helped inspire me because I knew that it would be worth it in the end because I would have a tale or two to tell when I got back and because one is never the same after they cross the finish line of a marathon.

gandal and bilbo

Heard this quote for the first time in December 2012 and it made me eager for my running adventures in 2013 and beyond! (Source)

I told myself that I’d put on music at the halfway mark as a reward. Once we reached 13.1 miles, I was glad about the fact that neither of my injuries had flared up and I told myself that all I had left to do was conquer a distance that I had conquered multiple times during my training cycle.

Before the race, my stepmom had told me that she and my dad would be waiting for me in Oberlin with water and washcloths. If you’ve never run before, I highly encourage you not to discount the value of a cool washcloth during a race!

After I said goodbye to them, I trekked on past the Oberlin Country Club and towards the marathon turnaround point. Unfortunately, the course didn’t go all of the way down to Kipton and the really beautiful parts of the Inland Trail on which I had run my 20 miler. I know that some runners find an out-and-back race a bit boring, but I really hope that they change the course back to its prior form in the future.

Once we reached the turnaround point, I told myself that the worst was over and it was a relatively straight shot to the finish. By this point, though, I was beginning to feel pain in my legs. To motivate myself, I put on a song called “Fear vs. Faith” by Big Cleve, a Cleveland-area rapper who is also the pastor of Revolution 216 Church. (This song comes from his album Mistakes on the Lake II; I absolutely love that title!) The opening lines of the song are, “You can’t have faith and fear. Both of them are going to battle for your heart. Which one are you going to choose?” I told myself that I was going to choose faith in my training and faith in God instead of being fearful of pain and the distance that I had left to go and I kept on going strong.

big cleve mistakes on the lake

If you want to listen to his music, click here to check it out! (Source)

I saw my dad and stepmom again in Oberlin, and the cool washcloth again helped me feel great.

Once I reached Mile 20, I told myself that I needed to keep powering forward even though my legs were hurting more than they did when I ran my 20 miler. I kept Sheila informed about my progress on the way back, and this actually helped me a lot because it helped me see that I was knocking out the miles one by one. Although I ran each mile more and more slowly and painfully as time went on, I was encouraged by the fact that I was able to keep moving forward without taking excessively long walking breaks.

I held on pretty well until Mile 24 or so. At this point, I began to lose steam pretty rapidly. My walking breaks became more frequent, and while they weren’t as long as last year’s walking breaks, I began to get frustrated and I saw the possibility of running at a 10:00 minute\mile average pace slipping away. At some point during the race, I decided that setting a 30 minute PR would be a reasonable backup goal. I suppose I picked that because it was a nice, round number, but I saw this goal slipping away too. I repeatedly told myself that my goal for this race was just to finish and to set a new marathon PR, but the doubting voices in my head began to tell me that this was not going to be a triumphant day.

In the midst of this mental cacophony, I gradually conquered the last few miles and before I knew it I turned from the Inland Trail onto the road and towards the finish. I wasn’t really sure how far it would be to the finish, and I also saw that the finish was at the top of an incline. I decided to take one last short walking break because I didn’t want to hurt myself trying to sprint to the finish up the incline. However, once I saw Sheila waiting, I felt a bit embarrassed and I took off running. Of course, I had Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King blasting. As I ran, I thought about the bravery of Gandalf and all of the hobbits and began to feel exhilarated.

joe running

Fixing my headphones so that I could finish the race with triumphant music in my ears!

When I got close enough to see the official race clock, I realized that I wasn’t going to set a 30 minute PR and I briefly felt very disappointed. For a split second, I regretted taking extra walking breaks, turning around briefly to grab my gloves after I dropped them, and not running harder during Miles 24-26.

However, after I barreled through the finish line, a tidal wave of emotion came over me. I thought about how disappointed, uncertain, and fearful I felt while dealing with my injuries and thought about how the possibility of running 26.2 seemed like a very, very distant possibility as I hopped on one foot to my car in the Rocky River Reservation after my foot injury. The fact that I had pushed through all of those injuries and not only completed a full marathon—something that seemed like something I would never do 3 years ago—but also managed to set a relatively sizable PR began to hit home. As it turned out, I improved upon my previous marathon time by almost 30 minutes. I kept it together as I made my way through the volunteers and grabbed a bottle of water, but I wound up pulling a Dirk Nowitzki and having a pretty emotional moment by myself in the parking lot.

Shortly thereafter, Sheila caught up to me, and we had a good laugh about my public display of emotion.

joe and sheila postrace

 

I hobbled around the finish line area for a bit and we took some pictures before heading into the Murray Ridge School for some postrace pizza.

joe lebron chalk toss

Doing my best to simulate the LeBron chalk toss!

My experience after last year’s marathon taught me that the pain only gets worse as time goes on, so we headed out pretty quickly. On our way out, I met a friend from Instagram (@runningmama26.2) who had commented on my Inland Trail Marathon training pictures and who had run her second marathon in two days. Impressive!

I wound up with a time of 4:23:57, which is almost 30 minutes better than my previous marathon time of 4:53:55!

We spent the afternoon enjoying the Browns’ victory over the Buccaneers before heading out to Stir Crazy at Legacy Village to celebrate our 10 year anniversary of being together. Sheila and I began dating on October 28, 2004 and we went to Stir Crazy on our first date. I thought that it was appropriate to celebrate our love on the same day as we celebrated my second marathon. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I could not do this without Sheila. Back in 2012, she took the lead on helping us learn how to make healthy eating a regular part of our lives. I am so grateful that I married someone who has been willing to challenge me to be a better and healthier person even when I have been a very reluctant and contentious participant in the process. Additionally, she has never once complained about the amount of time that I spend training. While other couples were enjoying quality time and date nights on Friday and Saturday nights over the past few months, Sheila would graciously forgo those pleasant endeavors so that I could do my long runs or get in some cross-training at the gym. Never once has she complained about the logistics associated with cheering me on at a marathon or waiting outside alone to cheer me on for a split second as I dash past, and she deserves this medal just as much as I do.

inland trail marathon collage

I couldn’t do all of this running without knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior either. As I sat on the couch on the day of my first injury, my biggest comforts were found in the fact that I knew that I was still loved by God even if I never ran again, that God heard each and every one of my prayers, and that God was going to use my injury for a greater purpose. Without Jesus, I would have felt completely lost and alone. I don’t think that I could have made it through this rough period without God.

What’s next for me? I ran the Cleveland West Road Runners Fall Classic (recap to come soon) and now I’m in the process of taking a month and a half off from intense training before I start training for the full marathon at the 2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!

Thanks for reading!

After months and months of training, I’m so glad that the Inland Trail Marathon is almost here. Due to my injury, my race day was postponed for 3 weeks. I’m grateful to have had the extra time to training, but the anticipation and worry that is inherent with any marathon has been wearing a bit on me. I’m looking forward to completing my second marathon and to not being consistently worried about stepping on Butters’ bone or suffering another freak injury!

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Couldn’t resist sharing this pic of Butters’ Halloween costumes over the years!

On the other hand, I know that the weeks after a marathon can be pretty rough. I woke up on the morning after the Northern Ohio Marathon and thought, “What do I do now?” I had dedicated so many hours to training over the past few months, and I felt a bit purposeless when I woke up on Monday morning. I didn’t have access to a gym, so I didn’t do any exercise for 2 weeks following the marathon. Of course, all of the hours during which I used to be training promptly got consumed with work and I found myself feeling really burned out. Post-marathon depression is a real thing, folks! This year, I am grateful to have access to a gym, and I definitely plan on cross-training regularly during the next two weeks.

joe turned 33

Looking forward to some nice sessions on the exercise bike while enjoying LeBron and the Cavaliers!

As far as goals for this race are concerned, my goal is to simply set a new marathon PR. I ran the Northern Ohio Marathon in 4:53:55, and I think that a PR is a reasonable and worthwhile goal. Read the rest of this entry

We’re Back!

Hello everyone! It’s been far too long, hasn’t it?

Between training and life in general, late summer and the fall were a pretty busy couple of months.

With the assistance of Sheila’s brother, we were finally able to get the commenting system fixed. We are now using Disqus to handle our comments. I’m sure that all of the spammers who are trying to sell counterfeit Louis Vuitton purses are disappointed!

As anyone who follows me on Instagram or Twitter is aware, I didn’t run the 2014 Towpath Marathon. My training was going very well until I stepped on Butters’ Nylabone and my foot and ankle went in two different directions. I didn’t think that I was hurt too badly until I headed down to the Rocky River Reservation and took 3 steps and screamed in pain.

I took a week off of running and didn’t think that it was prudent to jump right back into it with a 20 miler, which is the run that was on my training schedule for the week following my injury. I know that some marathon plans only take runners up to 18 miles, and while I had successfully done an 18 miler a week before my injury, my experience in the 2013 Northern Ohio Marathon had shown me that it is hard to complete a marathon when one’s longest training run goes up to 20 miles and I didn’t want to fathom how much more difficult running a marathon with a longest run of 18 miles would be.

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I may be smiling, but it took a lot of effort to stand up to take this picture!

I’ve been looking forward to doing the Towpath Marathon ever since I stood on the front porch of the Boston Store in 2012 and cheered on my stepmom and our friend Holly. I’ve trained hard on the Towpath, read many race recaps, and visualized myself running that last beautiful mile with the Lord of the Rings soundtrack blasting through my Yurbuds. The idea of a sub-par, half-baked, disappointing effort in which I dragged myself across the finish line didn’t sound like a great way to run a race I’ve wanted to do for years.

Because of that, I decided to take some time to heal up properly and to run in the Inland Trail Marathon on November 2, 2014 with the simple goal of setting a new marathon PR. The event takes place on the Inland Trail in Lorain County, which is a course very similar to the Towpath. The race supports a great cause—the Murray Ridge Center, which is a school for those with developmental disabilities—and I am looking forward to a nice and relaxed marathon amidst the fall leaves.

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I did a 20 miler on the course a few weeks ago, and it went very well. Read the rest of this entry

Hey everyone! Something’s gone wrong with my commenting system and I’m in the process of fixing it. This is why you haven’t been able to submit comments over the past few days.

Week 10 of training for the 2014 Towpath Marathon is in the books!

Monday: I headed to the gym for 30 minutes on the elliptical to keep my muscles loose after my 10 miler on Sunday and burned 350 calories.

Tuesday: I took advantage of a bit of free time and added a 15 minute exercise bike ride to 30 minutes on the elliptical, and I burned 425 calories. My goal was to loosen up a bit for my run on Wednesday.

Wednesday: Sheila had a work meeting in the evening so I got in my 9 miles on the good ole section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath on which I ran many, many miles when we lived in Tremont. I knocked out those 9 miles in 1:11:25 for an average pace of 7:56 minutes\mile! As I ran, I thought about how much I have grown as a runner ever since I discovered the Towpath in April 2013. I thought about all of the runs that I had done in this area throughout 2013 in which I was thrilled to post a 10 min mile. I enjoyed the scenery and thought about how awesome the 2014 Towpath Ten-Ten was in June. We lived in Tremont for three and a half years before moving over to our new neighborhood, and living in Tremont in such close proximity to the Towpath was awesome! God blessed us so much while we lived in Tremont; they were 3 of the most transformative and memorable years of our lives. Even though I love where we live now, I’ll always remember my first year and a half of running in Tremont and praise God for helping me lose 20+ pounds there and giving me the courage to believe I could run 3.1, 13.1, and 26.2!

towpath throwback run

 

Thursday: Absolutely nothing was on TV at the gym, but that didn’t stop me from getting in 30 great minutes on the elliptical and burning 330 calories. I’ve gotten a bit outta sync with incorporating weights into my training, and in the back of my mind I’m slightly worried that my legs will fall apart during the last part of the marathon like they did during last year’s marathon. I know that I’m much stronger this year in comparison to my ability level last year, but I don’t want to see my hopes for a sub-4 getting dashed by a rough final few miles. In an effort to strengthen my hamstrings a bit, I dedicated much of this elliptical section to running backwards after I read somewhere that it was a good thing for runners to do. This really worked my hamstrings! You just can’t beat the burn of a great workout.

Friday: Rest day! I’m not sure if it was a rest day in the traditional sense given that I spent several hours on a ladder painting our bedroom, but I didn’t run or hit the gym.

Read the rest of this entry

Without further ado, here’s my recap of Weeks 6-9!

Week 6: This was a brutal 10 mile run. When I started running, the temperature was 91 degrees. The course on which I ran wasn’t shady and I didn’t carry water because I’m trying to see if I can make it through without using a water belt since it does add a bit of weight. I hydrated well before I headed out, but I learned the hard way that one’s body needs consistent re-hydration in temperatures like that. Making matters worse was the fact that I split up the run unevenly and thought that it would be a great idea to run 6.2 miles with no water.

By the time I got to my car, I was exhausted, dehydrated, and pouring sweat. The last 2.8 miles were a tough slog, but as I ran, I was motivated by thoughts about my first 18 miler last summer which took place on the same area of the Towpath on which I was presently running. I remembered how proud I was for persevering through that tough run and I told myself that pushing through would feel great, and I was proud that I did. I finished the run in 1:31:27, making for a 9:09 minute\mile pace.

10 miler

Week 7: My usual long run day took place when we were celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary at Ravenwood Castle, so I rearranged my schedule yet again. Sheila had Ceramics II on the night that we returned, so I knocked out my 12 miler on Big Creek Parkway in the Cleveland Metroparks. Considering that I had eaten and drank whatever I wanted during the past three days before the run and spent the majority of the day driving back from southern Ohio, I was expecting the worst.

Read the rest of this entry

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter know that I’m planning on running the 2014 Towpath Marathon on October 12th. I had planned on running it last year, but the government shutdown postponed the race because it takes place in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and I wound up doing the inaugural Northern Ohio Marathon in 4:53:55 instead.

My training last summer went terribly. Our June was very hot, and while I got some great experience in learning how to hydrate properly on a 95 degree day, I wound up having many awful training runs. In July, I hurt my hamstring when I jerked awkwardly after I was caught off guard by a viciously barking dog while running in my neighborhood. I finally recovered from that injury by early August, but then I wound up getting bit by a dog on my first full run back from injury. By God’s grace, he didn’t hit my tendon or cause severe damage, and a factory across the street from the trail happened to be open—it was 8:45PM at the time—and they graciously allowed me to use an industrial-strength first aid kit. My 15 and 16 mile runs in late August were brutal, but I finally rebounded in early September with some solid runs. I wasn’t doing any cross-training either.

This summer, I resolved to start my training cycle on a strong note so that I could head into the fall with confidence. I am an adjunct faculty at a local community college, and one of the community college classes that I teach didn’t fill. While this was disappointing because I love teaching, this freed up several hours per week for training. Our summer turned out to be very, very busy, and I’m not sure what I would have done if I had to teach two classes.

I’ve had to play Jenga with my training schedule a few times over the summer in order to accommodate unexpected events, but the general contour of my weekly training schedule is as follows:

Monday: 30 min cross-training (all elliptical)
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: 30 min cross-training (10 min elliptical\20 min weights)
Thursday: Run
Friday: Rest (during some weeks, Friday and Saturday were swapped)
Saturday: 30 min cross-training (mostly elliptical with a bit of exercise bike mixed in)
Sunday: Long Run

Essentially, I do 3 days of running, 3 days of cross-training, and 1 rest day.

Heading into 2014, I wasn’t sure what my goal would be for the 2014 Towpath Marathon. Barring injury, I was relatively sure that setting a new marathon PR would be possible but not much of a challenge. After the 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon, I took a look at my average pace time (8:37 min\mile) and I also began to consider the positive effect that regular cross-training has had on my times and my physical health.

In late May, I went to my friends’ wedding at Hale Farm and Village, which is located about a mile from the Towpath Marathon course. Read the rest of this entry

NOW Foods Product Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of NOW Foods.

When I started lifting weights for the first time, I had no idea about what to eat in order to build lean muscle mass, so I responded by eating everything. Literally. (Before you laugh, I first started lifting weights in the fall of 2000, an era in which dialup Internet was still relatively common and high-speed Internet was so rare that I thought it was one of the best things about college! Because of this, the great community of fitness and healthy living bloggers which exists these days was non-existent and the amount of information on the Internet about healthy eating and healthy living was very small.) After my buddies and I would pump iron, I’d go to the dining hall and eat everything in sight. Although this enabled me to build a decent amount of muscle mass, this method of nutrition also meant that the muscle mass was hidden under several layers of fat. Not a good thing!

After reading multiple articles about the importance of incorporating weightlifting into a runner’s cross-training plan, I decided that I should start lifting again once I joined a gym. However, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes that I made last time and I was determined to find a way to sustainably build lean muscle mass without relying on products containing a laundry list of artificial ingredients.

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to try out some of NOW Foods’ natural products through my partnership with FitFluential after I learned that NOW Foods is a company that is founded on the belief that natural is better. NOW Foods is a leader in the nutritional supplements industry that is dedicated to providing customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness by offering a variety of high-quality, natural, and affordable products. NOW Foods offers more than 1,400 natural products that are intentionally created with the goal of advancing optimal health through good nutrition.

NOW Foods All Products

All of the products that I received! (Photo by Ms. Lindsy Rivera)

Over the past few weeks, I have been using a variety of these products on a regular basis and have incorporated all of them into my training regimen. Here are my thoughts! Read the rest of this entry

As I’ve moved forward in my journey towards wellness, I have become increasingly concerned with what I’m putting into my body. Sure, I’ve done the easy things – I’ve cut out fast food for the most part, stopped drinking soda pop, and found healthy substitutes for junk food.

dont drink soda

Don’t think you can give up soda? Neither did this former 4-can-per-day guzzler, but I did! You can too. In the future, I’ll share a few tips about how to wean yourself off soda. (Source)

As time has gone on, though, I’ve really gotten into the habit of reading lists of ingredients before I consume things. Unless I’m eating at a restaurant, I have made a habit out of not consuming anything unless I can get a general sense of what’s in it. (This has made for a few awkward moments at social gatherings when folks have handed me boxed food or beverages and I have instantly started scanning the ingredients right in front of them!) As a general rule, I tend to stay away from items that have ingredient lists whose lengths rival War and Peace or items that contain a tremendous amount of artificial sweeteners.

long ingredient list

Always a bad sign when it takes longer to read through the ingredient list than it does to eat! (Source)

 

Earlier in the year, I started taking a look at the type of hydration and fuel that I was using during my training. I figured that there was no point in spending several hours running and training each week in order to improve my health if I was going to consume a plethora of harmful substances in order to have the energy to do so.

When I scanned the ingredient list of the sports drinks that I had been consuming over the past few years, I was dismayed. In an effort to minimize my calorie intake, I had been consuming a great deal of zero-calorie sports drinks. After doing some reading, I learned that many of these beverages had sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener that can potentially affect the body’s insulin levels and that caused leukemia in mice in a scientific study. No thanks! When I took a look at the lists of traditional sports drinks, I noticed that the second ingredient on the list was often “Liquid Sugar” or “Sugar”. Unbelievable! If I’m going to limit consumption of my beloved Mike and Ikes to holidays, what’s the point of drinking sugar?

sugar in sport drink

Drinking these types of things after exercising is like robbing Peter to pay Paul health-wise! (Source)

I started to look around for a healthier option that would allow me to hydrate properly before and after workouts without compromising my health and long-term wellness in the process. When the folks over at Ignite Naturals reached out to me earlier in the year and asked if I wanted to try a sample, I thought that I may have found what I wanted. Their initial email to me clearly stated that their product consisted of 100% plant-based electrolytes, which was exactly what I had in mind! Read the rest of this entry

Last week, I shared a few tips about how to start off your morning on a healthy note. Let’s move onto the next part of the day – the afternoon!

1.) Eat Lunch

We’ll start with the basics. There’s no point in talking about how to eat healthy at lunch if you’re not eating lunch. Many folks don’t eat lunch for a variety of reasons. Some don’t think they have time during the day, while others think that eating less during the day will help them lose weight.  Others don’t eat lunch because they don’t take the time to pack it and don’t want to spend the money to buy it.

If you don’t think that you have time to eat lunch, I encourage you to reconsider that view. Studies have shown that well-fed employees are more productive employees. If you really want to do the best possible job for your employer, make sure to eat!

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Eat these foods to perform better at work! (Source)

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Eating these common lunch foods can help make you more productive! (Source)

As I mentioned last week, skipping a meal with the goal of accelerating weight loss is a bad idea. If you skip lunch, you’ll find yourself feeling ravenous around 3PM. It’s a lot harder to walk past that vending machine unscathed when you’re starving! When you get home, your appetite will be out of control and you’ll be more likely to overeat, make an unplanned detour at a fast food restaurant, or eat frozen foods that are packed with calories, preservatives, and sodium. Read the rest of this entry

This morning, I weighed in and the scale read 190.0!

Because I rarely do anything in a conventional fashion, I neglected to do an initial “weigh in” on January 1, 2012 when I began my weight loss journey. I’m guessing that I was in the vicinity of 225-220 pounds because that is the weight at which I had been for quite awhile, but I don’t know for sure. Unfortunately, this means I don’t have an exact count on the amount of weight that I’ve lost. At the very least, I’ve lost 30 pounds over the past two and a half years. Praise God!

BeforeAfter

One of the biggest things that helped me lose weight was making several small substitutions in my diet and small changes in my eating habits. Over time, the effects of these changes added up to have a very positive impact on my health. In my opinion, none of these changes are exceptionally expensive or hard to make.

Over the next three weeks, I’ll be sharing a series of three posts with a few small, yet powerful, changes that folks can make in their own diets on the journey to health and wellness. This week’s post will be about small changes that folks can make at breakfast. Next week’s post will be about lunch, and I’ll end the series with a post about dinnertime! (I prefer to call it suppertime, but most people don’t like to call it that. Why is that?)

1) Eat Breakfast

You can’t make changes in what you eat for breakfast until you start eating breakfast. Some well-intentioned folks who are trying to lose weight don’t eat breakfast because they don’t want to consume calories, while others succumb to a busy morning schedule and run out of time to make breakfast in the morning.

Eating breakfast is crucial if you want to lose weight! I know that it may seem counter-intuitive to say that eating food is essential to losing weight, but it is. Read the rest of this entry