Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Challenges (Good Ones)

Last month, I had hoped to improve my sleep habits and even set up a little challenge to get myself there. Well, I outright failed that challenge, not only not improving my own sleep habits but also failing to help out the others who signed on to this with me (some of them did just fine without me--good for them!--and I apologize for being so little help).

This month will be different. I've set up some new challenges...and I hope not to fail at them.

1. The first challenge: to run again....for real....outside....before midnight on July 1. I believe I'm close. My back has been feeling (dare I say it?) good. I haven't had a pain-free day yet, but the pain I have has been much less. The Pilates exercises that I learned last week are the first that consistently make my back feel better immediately after I do them, and this effect seems to linger. I'm still VERY stiff when I wake up in the morning, but I'm trying to mitigate that with some yoga poses (child's pose and cat/cow) before I even climb out of bed. I've also eliminated the glute exercise that seemed to make things worse (the standing side leg swing) and am trying to hit only the ones that do no harm.

So fingers crossed!

2. The second challenge I signed up for is a formal one. Amanda at Run to the Finish has been leading a healthy challenge every month this year. I haven't been able to do the exercise-specific ones, but June's Green Smoothie Challenge is right up my alley.

Five days into June, I've found this surprisingly painless given how disorganized with eating I usually am. I acquired some greens-enhanced protein powder, a bag of pre-washed spinach, some bananas, some almond milk.....and that's all I've needed. The protein powder I'm using is called Vega One, and it's working for me because it tastes good and has all the needed nutrients but contains no artificial sweeteners. I tried a different brand on the first day and felt terrible; I discovered later that it contained both maltitol and xylitol, which work like laxatives. Sugar alcohols are the reason I can't drink Nuun before or during runs (it has another sugar alcohol, sorbitol).

This is a helpful challenge to me because I start off the day ahead of the game on getting enough vegetables into my diet. Throw in a glass of low-sodium V8 and/or a salad for lunch, and I'm truly good to go. For an indifferent cook (sometimes you could say I'm even hostile to cooking!), it's a lifesaver.

Tomorrow is National Running Day and I'm planning to celebrate with 30 minutes on the Alter-G, hopefully at 90% body weight. I'm glad to be able to celebrate at all! What are your plans for National Running Day?


  1. I'm in - GO GREEN!
    I love the goal for a real run by midnight July 1!!! You are getting there!
    National Running Day falling on my rest day ... hmm. Maybe I'll rest on Tursday instead!
    Hope you have a great run on the Alter G!

  2. I've never had a green smoothie.  I may have to try one....

    I plan on running either at lunchtime tomorrow (if it's not pouring) or after work.  How far I go depends on how much time I have. :)

  3. I am glad your back is feeling better and I am glad you mentioned that about the protein powder. I don't use it very often but when I do I will be sure to look for an unsweetened, more natural kind. No laxative ingredients allowed, lol. 

  4. I am not doing the green smoothie challenge...but I think I am going to go and have one right now just for kicks! happy National Running Day! I am going to get a nice long trail run in because today was my rest day and I have been going crazy! 

  5. I'm so not in on the green challenge because I know I'd last about 2 days. Trying to embrace smoothies though! Slowly getting there. Sort of.

    I am celebrating tomorrow with 5-6 pain free miles as my back is back in business. YAY! Finally! I *knew* it would take about 6 weeks. Sure enough, it stopped hurting right at the 42 day post-injury point. Crazy! 

  6. Green is in! Happy Running Day!!

  7. BostonboundbrunetteJune 5, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Glad to hear that the pain is getting better.  That is always a good sign.  I am also happy to hear that you will be able to celebrate on the Alter-G for a whole 30 minutes!  

  8. I'm glad I'm not the only one hostile to cooking!  Great new challenges.  Have fun on the Alter-G!

  9. I'm glad you're doing the smoothie challenge! I probably should have signed up too, as I've been making them almost every day for L and I.  I hope hope hope you can run by July 1st, too!

  10. great job on the green challenge!  I should jump in on that.  exciting about your 30(!) minute  run today.   I hobbled on a short 2 mile run this morning - my legs are still so sore from Sunday.   I'm anxiously awaiting the date of your real run!!! 

  11. RUN THIS MONTH?!?! Wooohooo!! Fingers crossed for you!!

  12. Wow, that green smoothie sounds like something green! HA...............

  13. Hope the alter-G run went well today!

    Love the Green challenge. Funny though I rarely have  a problem getting in veggies.

  14.  I am SO HOPING for your July 1st date with outdoor running - we are cheering for everything to continue in an ever improving and positive direction.  And 90% for 30 minutes on the Alter-G???  That sounds like a perfect way to CELEBRATE your running, in general, as well as National Running Day! :-)

  15. I think your sleep challenge was what I needed, at least for those days that I actually followed it! 

    Must say, though, it makes me a bit sad to see "hostile to cooking"!  I wish everyone could get the joy out of it that I do.   Maybe I'm just crazy :)

    Hope your run went well.  Me, meh, nothing for days.  Life is just too crazy and I let it get that way.   I know I should take a book from you with your sheer determination to get back out there.  Me, i'd take up couch surfing as the official new sport!

  16. I hope that the dream comes true and you can run pain free very soon.
    Great new challenges!

  17. raina_smalltownrunnerJune 7, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    A green smoothie challenge sounds like a good one to me! I make some without a recipe, but should look and see what other things are out there besides what i throw in.
    I really, truly hope your number 1 goal is met...before that july 1 date! Get 100% Terzah

  18. Amanda@RunninghoodJune 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    I'm totally indifferent to cooking.  Almost hostile too!  :)  I was on a smoothie kick last year.  Kale, spinach, fruit, broccoli, protein powder...the words.  But haven't had one in a loooong time!  I didn't do anything special on NRD...just ran.  Which is a treasure in itself.  :)

  19. I've been a little blog MIA recently, glad to hear your back is improving and I have all my fingers crossed you'll be running OUTSIDE on July 1!!!  

    I almost always throw in some spinach into my daily protein smoothie...a friend who's a little bit "raw cooking" told me that spinach cells are more absorbed when it's blended vs chewing (unless we chew for 20 times, which really...does anyone seriously do that??) so I guess I've been green smoothing it for some time now :).

    Hope you had a great Alter G workout on NRD! :)

  20. Hostile to cooking...that line flat cracked me up. :)

    I so hope you're able to do some running outside! I'm missing it, with my focus having been so narrow in th elead up to Dirty Kanza, and now that my knee is hurt.  I think it's just about there, though.  Thank goodness.

    That smoothie challenge...hmmm...I need to get in more veggies...still not so sure this one is for me.