30 Day Challenge

I concocted a new plan.
As you probably noticed I'm addicted to chocolate. I really have a hard time sticking to the 'good' chocolate when there is so much choice. Especially now that it's almost Chistmas and you can buy even more sweets than usual. Our Christmas Market just opened and you can guzzle your way completely through the whole town. As addiction never is a good thing I need to change. And I think I've got a good idea.

I'll start a new 30 day trial from tomorrow. 'Healthy' sweets only. Such as 85% cocoa containing chocolate, dried fuits and nuts. No milk chocolate, nougat or marcipan allowed. If I have a choice I'm eating whatever I want.
So that means that I'll stick to the good stuff for at least 30 days. I'll track what I ate and how I felt during this time and hope to get results afterwards.

As they found out dark chocolate is actually quite healthy I guess I should feelt great. Dark choci lowers blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy because it works against blood clotting. Also, it contains antioxidantes which help to protect your body from free radicals.

Dried fruit and nuts are wholesome snacks, too. Of course you should be aware of the calories they contain if you want to lose weight (just the same with chocolate). But in the end they are much more natural than a candy bar. Moreover, nuts contain unsaturated fats which are actually 'good' fats. They help to prevent heart diseases and keep your LDL cholesterol level low. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids which you usually only find in fish. These also help preventing heart diseases.

My goal is to be strong enough to say NO against all the unwholesome stuff during christmas time and also later on. I'd rather lose a couple of pounds because of more controlled eating instead of gaining weight during christmas time.
I also hope not to buy as many sweets as usual if I'm only to buy the 'good' ones because they are usually more expensive.

I'll keep you updated. :)


Join a Running Group!

We've had our first meeting just yesterday. Very impressive. 350 runners in one room (though not everyone looked that sporty...). Most of them want to run a marathon. Everyone looks excited.

The beginning was just annoying though. Friend#2 and me had some really important party-shopping to do and left our homes very late. That's why we were late then of course. 350 people in one room and two sweating blondes entering to look for seats. I wanted to sit on the floor in the very back. Instead we went in the very front. Embarassing.

The catering was awful, too. No food at all. Didn't they fear canibalism with all those penned up runners? The chocolate in my purse saved our lifes.
And in the end the meeting didn't meet my expactations anyway.

I expected a enormous, nicely decorated hall for us all and a glass of champagne for the start (or beer at least).
I expected lots of young, good looking men (and women but wo cares).
I expected a perfectly recherched speech about nutrition, health, shoes and functional shirts and that stuff.
I expected intermingeling and exchange of experience.
I expected a very nice evening with similar-minded people.

And what did I get? A little, crowded room, not even water, lots of elderly guys, a commercial about expensive shoes and a boring long lasting speech which didn't taught me any news (and running friend#2 who would rather listen to that crap than slag the speaker). I also got hostile looks from women who obviously did only expect attractive men there (just like me).

At least there was one nice talk but it was all due to friend#2 who intermingles so much better than I do. She spotted the only attractive guy in the room and smiled at him throughout the whole boring speech. No wonder the two of them intermingeled so wonderfully after all.

Altogether, the best thing was that we got a training schedule which starts from next week. This was the thing I was interested in. Ours is called 'ambitious marathon training' (sounds so much better than 'beginner'). But I must confess: I'm not sure if I'll be able to stick to it. If I only imagine the weekly quota I need a nap already.
And that's only the marathon training. I need to be trained for a triathlon, too. I guess the next five months are going to suck. But I refuse to start worrying before the first real training next thursday (they are going to chase us 10km round a tartan track ).

On the bright side I might be able to eat whatever I want over Christmas. If that's not worth the money...


How I quit smoking

This will be the story how I quit a sick-making habit.

A lot of people, even sportive ones, do smoke. I started in school just like probably everyone else. That's the time when you need friends and want to belong to a group. Health is not interesting if it comes to the gorgeous guy over there. And it's so much cooler to ask for a cigarette first than for the time or something. You'll never get a date if you're not cool.

10 years later you notice this inexplainable coughing when rising. Certainly because you need a cigarette. What else would it be. Even while you're ill and your body needs all power and vitamines you can't stop. Illnesses take much longer this way.

At this point in my life I also started running. And in the end sport was my wonder wall.
It still took a while (you know I'm not that fast) but at a point I didn't want to smoke anymore. That was not the point when I threw the stuff in the bin or anything. Nooooooo. It still took more time. I still didn't want anymore. But you are used to it. You love it. You're bored while waiting if you can't smoke. What would you do if you wouldn't smoke while drinking coffee??

But I tell you something: it's all in your head! That's why I wrote a little (huuuuge) note and pinned it where I saw it every two seconds (my mirror). It says: I won't smoke anymore (Yes, it's still there). I read it over and over and over. Daily. For weeks, months. The thoughts about quiting became manifest.
Meanwhile I also read on a (German) non-smoking-page. This one was nice. They didn't tell you you'd have to stop. In a test they told me that I wasn't even addicted. Hm. Then it should be easy actually.
So I followed some advise how to smoke less (I also would save so much money!). I didn't buy new packages anymore at once when I noticed they're about to get empty. Didn't smoke while biking anymore. Stoped smoking in my boyfriend's appartement. Didn't use the breaks at work for smoking. Didn't smoke while walking. Didn't smoke at home anymore.
When I felt ready I dismissed one after the other habit. Step by step. One by one. I took my time.
Eventually I left the cigarettes at home when I went out.
Then I also stoped smoking at home. So I really had no places left. Therefore, I also dismissed the one or two sickarettes I used to smoke with my morning coffee and before sleeping.

One or two days I struggeled. But not nearly as hard as I used to when I tried to quit just like that.
I still have some ciggis in my drawer. And I would be allowed if I liked to smoke them. Sometimes I even smoked while dancing and going out for a while. But that was rather seldom and I just hate the smell and the taste by now (you should see my disgusted face while I think of it).

Boyfriend#1 tells me when I'm whiny about anything I didn't make: Your will is a muscle. Train it just like you would with your body. And that's what I did. And you can make it, too. The only thing you need is as always: motivation.

I just won't smoke anymore (Not: I don't want to. I won't.) Don't leave yourself loopholes.


A second fitness sport eventually!

My brain figured it out by itsself and I didn't even notice. I'm going swimming now regularly. I pay for it at least twice a week. I don't know where this change came from. It just happend. Is it the affirmations at my wall? Is it that I told friend#2 I'll do the triathlon with her? Probably both.
But guess what: I'm really enjoying to swim. It's not too bad. And wouldn't there be so many old people it would be actual fun. My muscles in shoulder and back were actually sore after yesterdays training. And it was only an hour. I need to get better.
I have now two long run goals (notice the pun): the iceland ultramarathon and an ironman. :D

Tips to change your diet

Wanna lose a couple of pounds? Who doesn't?
Now we all know now what we
should eat but everyone has difficulties in following the healthy-diet rules. I do have my difficulties with them, too. It's just so bugging to get through the supermatket with all those colorful, funny packages. I'm working in one and see all these 'nice' things daily and it makes me furious sometimes. Everybody is allowed to eat that stuff and I'm not. And why? Just because I want to run that stupid marathon as fast as I can. But on the other hand I do look so much better than years before.

That's why I figured out that I needed a complete new behaviour in the super-market. I ignore the parts with the colorful, funny packages and stick to the fruit and veg part as often as I can. It's colorful in the fruit and veg part, too. Green apples, yellow melons and red tomatoes. I do enjoy the non-artificial colours. And if I want to reward myself because of an overwhelming sportive achievement I buy organic food.
It's actually not so much more expensive. But I just eat too much of it to buy it always.

It's still very difficult to leave the choci and go with carrots and cucumbers instead. But then maybe at least you can avoid supermarkets altogether. When I started to buy my stuff on small farmer's markets where you can also have a nice chat with the guy who knows exactly how the apples taste you'll start to consume less unwholesomes simply because you couldn't buy any. Moreover it's often much more fun there and has a holiday charme if the sun is out. And if it's not in walking distance: what does it matter? Take your bike on a nice ride and enjoy your ride and your shopping. Make the most of it.
If I don't have to work, I usually buy my stuff on Saturday mornings on such a maket. It's cheap and nice. And usually I've had a full workout afterwards because I buy so many nice things that I can hardly cycle home.

A good idea is also to look for substitutes in you diet. I try to substitute the sweets in the evening with a plate full of nice fruit. It doesn't always work entirely but at least I don't consume as much choci as if I hadn't had the fruit before.
I also don't go to work without my bag full of vegetables anymore. It looks much nicer than the stuff my collegues put in the microwave. Of course I'm not able to do this all day long but try to get better in substituting. But on the other hand I also almost always earned my chocolate by running, swimming and biking (You could have noticed here: Triathlon is close, too.).

In the end it's just the same with the running. Motivation comes first. I found a motivation: the marathon (and the triathlon actually). Also friend#2 helps a lot. And as boyfriend#1 always says: If you don't get what you want you don't want it badly enough.


Five steps to become a fast running rat

As you read in my last post I'm now offically a stunningly fast runner. Here is the proof.

Next year I'll run the marathon at that pace (but with a lower pulse)!
And with all that experience I thought I'd give you some advice how to become just as good as me.

1. Of course the base is always the most important thing:
Look after your nutrition. Everything is okay as long as you have it under control. Try to eat as much fruit and veg as you can. As an athlete you need all the vitamins and minerals you can get. For the hard training ones it might be advisable to take supplements. I found it out the hard way. I was slow and tired for weeks until I finally went to donate blood and they told me I couldn't donate because I had a huge iron deficiency. I always knew I had problems to get iron because I don't like meat (though I am no vegetatrian) but I didn't really check that often.
My advice: if you really don't like something special you should better check what you miss (This page can be helpful) and then do something about it. Either you take supplements or you try to substitute with something else.

2. Regular Pace Training: There are two different possibilities. If you are more professional than me you should chose both. I'm usually just too lazy to do both pace trainings. I have a certain pace lap and when I'm running this one, I usually try to run it as fast as I can. But you can also do a sprint training. You sprint as long as you can, then jog for a bit and repeat that as often as you can. You should try to sprint a minute at least. I committed that I'll start this kind of training after the last race this year which was last weekend. I didn't start yet. But I will, I will, I will! Soon.

3. Motivation: If you're not motivated you don't have to run a bit. You won't achieve anything if you just don't want to anyway. Therefore, you need to find out what motivates you. Is it a new pair of running shoes? An upcoming race? An attractive running partner? Nice music? Nature? The neighbour's dog running with you? Look for you individual motivators and try to find new ones all the time. It'll improve your motivation and that's just everything.
I have a friend who actually wants to do sports but he's not motivated so he skips his trainings all the time. He would probably need a partner to run with but that's kind of difficult in his case. He's too far away from me at least.
I am a musical running rat for example: For me running works with music only. Though I started running without having an mp3 player I noticed that long runs can really be boring without entertainment. I can neither run fast nor far without music. And a really big motivator to train longer or race faster is new music.
I also love my heart rate montitor. It tells me if I'm too slow and makes me run faster by beeping (though I don't hear the beeping anyway with my cool music). But it tells me my results in the end and this does motivate me for the next run.

4. Running Technique: If you really want to run fast run on the balls of your feet. You can do longer steps which don't take as much time as if you put your heel down first. Moreover, it is an gentle way to run for your knee joints. But you really need to train this technique for some time. Start with short distances. It can hurt tremendously in your calves if you run a long distance without having tried it cautiously first. Boyfriend#1 learned it the hard way. He couldn't walk for three days. I learned it not quite as hard. I could only not walk for 24 hours.

5. Races: The very best training is a race! Competition will let you run with all energy you have and not only all the energy you are willing to invest in a training. On the other hand, a race is exhausting and you shouldn't race too often. The reason: The more you race the less time you have to have fun with your sport, and fun is important. Moreover, you lose time to relax and regenerate. Remember: Only a rested (and motivated) runner is a fast runner. So if you notice that you don't benefit from your races anymore you should better skip one and take a week to rest entirely. It is a quite good idea to get an overview in the beginning of the season (which is usually around march - in Germany at least) and mark those races you are interested in. Then you can chose as many as you like and commit your participation early so you rather have to race then. If you are quite new in running you start easily with only few races.

In a nutshell: make sure your basic nutrition fits for an athlete, try to run as fast as you can on a regular basis, look after your motivation, try to improve your running technique and last but not least race as often as you can.

The Experiment

Stay on your couch today. Don't move. Eat as much as you want. You are allowed. This is why:

I ran a couple of days ago. Shocking, isn't it?!
But the really upsetting fact is: I ran 12 mins faster than usual! I repeat: 12. Just like that. Last time I ran 54:16 mins for a pace training. Same lap in the park that day. 42:33.
A day before the training I thought I an iron deficiency again which wouldn't have been surprising because I really don't eat a lot of red meat (the iron containing stuff). Obviously this wasn't the case. I take supplement most of the time anyway. (I'm a blood donor, so nobody has to sceam out loud that the sporty girl doesn't eat properly. Thanks.) So I really didn't know why I was that quick.

The good thing was: I had an assumption.
The reason why I ran was to relax myself. A dentist appointment was coming up and it was made fairly clear that I wouldn't leave the praxis without them pulling out one of my beloved teeth. I was full of mortal fear. Agony. Probably the pain would kill me. And if not the pain then at least my anxiety.
So I ran. Just the thing Oetzi would have done. Fleeing. As fast as I could of course. You'd better be the winner in Oetzi's times. And obviously I would have been the one that would have escaped the dinosaur (Though no Oetzi could have been as dumb as me and run back to the place where he met the dino.).

But of course I didn't want to tell to you to let your dentist get to your teeth without double checking. I don't want to see a lot of beautiful, young but teethless (male) runners at the next race (I don't care so much about the females.).
So I did just the same thing without a new dentist appointment coming up. And guess what. I even ran 20 sec faster than before they pulled my tooth out.

But on the other hand, I'm kind of complacent now. I really am that fast. Without fear dilating my veins.

And after all I did some detection and discoverd in my running logs: I did my regeneration work really well both times (and now you see why it might be helpful to protocol your trainings). A lot of no sports days before. Couch, choci, no moving. It seems to work. Never underestimate the importance of regeneration (and nutrition)!

And one more thing I leaned certainly: Training is much more effective if you can give everything because you're fit.

And next time I'll tell you how I became that fast a rat. ;)


How to be a healty running rat

I suppose it might a quite a good idea to drop some lines about nutrition as well.
Obviously you can't take me too serious most of the time. I mean the stuff about the tons of chocolate I eat daily is not very precise. I am really rather a nutrition control freak.

As you probably noticed everyone knows which diet is best for you (And I do, too.) Nutrions gurus and many different diets promise you to lose a million pounds a week and that kind of stuff. Doesn't sound real? Well try it (and pay 150 bucks) and you will be amazed! (Amazing how much money I spent on that shit!)
At least I am quite sure that all the diets I tried (and there are quite a lot, I started at 12) just made me more and more look like an (un)happy hippo. Of course they take all your self-confidence because you are too stupid to follow even such a simple plan as to only eat one carrot a day!
When I really was fed up with all that I decided I'll just go with healthy food (as far as I knew then). And guess what? It works! So you can stick with your weight easily and feel good.
Basically it's just this: fruit and veg as much as you want. Until your satisfied. Until you cannot crawl to your fridge again because your full belly is holding you back.

Maybe that's not what you wanted to hear if you're a fast food and sweets fan but believe me: you'll actually feel so much better, lighter, full of power and have a free mind! There are some raw vegans who state just the same (example). I'm amazed how they say everybody around you will notice your change. But I guess that's because you feel better if you eat healthy, are more self-concious and just have a complete new vision of the world.
In fact I also thought about going with raw vegan after boyfriend#1 brought it up. It sounded interesting and much like I would love it. But after thinking a while (you know I take longer sometimes) I decided that it might be too cumbersome for me. Sometimes it takes a while 'to cook' tasty raw food and I'd really miss my choci (which is not absolutely unwholesome if you buy the right one). Moreover, I learned right here that animal fats are sometimes healthier than they say.

Hence: strict raw vegan diet off the table.
The compromise: Raw-vegan (uncooked fruit and veg) with some vegan (including bread once in a while) and absolute carnivore food (chocolate).
Also, I try to eat fish on a regular basis (I didn't succeed yet). I also manage to eat some meat once in a while.

If you want to lose weight on the other hand you should control youself a bit more and step on the scales once a week (that's what I do currently so the next marathon will be easier). Of course you should do sports and it also would be a good idea to reduce the sugar containing parts of the diet, i.e. the bananas and grapes (and the choci of course!). What's helpful as well might be fasting a day per week if you can manage (or even over a longer period). A different idea would be to cut dinner out as often as you can (I can't) or only eat some veg for dinner (that's easier for me).

You really just have to listen to your body if you eat wholesome food. It learns what's good and what it needs and then tells you if you eate insufficiently.


Why would you have a second fitness sport?

All the sportive people do more than one sport. Yes, that's adviceable. You need to train your whole body in order to keep healthy and balanced.

At least that's what I read in many books. Well, it does make sense. I just noticed how underdeveloped my arms were when I lifted (veeeery light) weights some weeks ago. A bit training would certainly help.
You also have to stretch after sports. I tend to forget it. Always.
And why should I pay for sports if I can run for nothing? I need to pay for swimming (at least in winter), I have to pay for the gym. And moreover it's almost always crowded with old people who just noticed if they don't intervene now it'll be over soon.
After you did your exercise and want to use the sauna... oh no-no-no! Don't look closer at your companions. I know it's natural but ugh. And this grandpa is even staring. Wah!
Even in a female fitness club. Don't wanna see what I'll look like in 40 years!

So I decided: as long as I have to pay for sports running and biking must be enough for my body. But the affirmations on my mirror say something different. I guess my brain needs to figure out the rest on it's own.