Guest Post: What I Wish I Knew Before Training for My First Half Marathon

Hey everyone! Happy 4th of July! I’m taking a short trip up to Santa Barbara with Kyle for a friend’s party and won’t be able to post for a couple of days. I’m so excited that Beth from Mangoes and Miles accepted when I asked her to write a guest post! She’s an AWESOME blogger and has such a unique and enjoyable writing style and takes amazing pictures to boot. I look forward to reading her posts immensely every day! Head on over to her blog if you don’t follow her already, I promise you’ll love her as much as I do! 

Hey guys! I’m Beth from Mangoes and Miles, where I talk about food, running, my adorable puppy, and my (dreadfully boring) life in general. I’m a daily stalker reader of Christine’s blog—I love her upbeat attitude, her California adventures, and she and Kyle are just the cutest things. (Amirite?)

So when Christine asked me to write a guest post, I was the happiest little clam. She’s been wanting to run a half marathon for a while now, but hasn’t quite mustered the courage. I’m hoping that I can nudge her a little in the right direction through this post. ;)

In March of this year, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. I’m not really sure why; I didn’t really like running prior to it (although I did it every now and then for kicks and giggles), but I wanted to give myself a performance-based workout goal to motivate me to get off my butt and do something.

I trained diligently above and beyond what my schedule called for the first seven and a half weeks of my training, and then I didn’t run at all the last two and a half weeks…and I almost didn’t even run my half. I was tired, overtrained, and burnt out.

Thankfully, I did finish, I enjoyed myself immensely (though I was cursing myself at mile 9), and it made me realize how much I truly love running. (I’m now registered for two more halves and planning on my first marathon in May next year!)

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But there were a few things that I wish I knew before I started training, and I’m here today to share them with you so that you don’t end up like me.

1. Build up some kind of endurance base before you start training.

When I first started training, I had only been running about 2 miles every other week. Not exactly in the best shape. Attempting to move from that to the training weekly mileage was a strugglefest.

Most plans start with the weekly mileage in the teens, and it’s very, very hard to do that week after week (and keep building on that!) if you haven’t trained your body for it. (Yes, you may need to train your body to train.)

2. Stick to your plan.

I never thought a two mile run was a “real” run. And I wanted to push my long runs, so I would add a mile here and there on those. Those extra miles quickly added up, and ended in plantar fasciitis (inflammation in the heel) and a few hip injuries.

Once you decide on a training plan, stick to it. It’ll be really tempting to try to push your mileage one, two, three miles every run, but don’t. Adding too many miles too quickly will lead to overuse injuries, and possibly even sideline you for your race—and that would just be a bummer.

3. Get decent shoes—or even better, get fitted for shoes.

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The one thing I think is an absolute necessity for any runner is a good pair of shoes. Any quality running store will analyze your gait and fit you for free. I started off running in Nike Free 3.0’s, which, while they have their uses, are not meant for long distance running.

Trust me on this one, the investment you make now will pay off later when your feet and legs are happy and well-supported.

4. Every run doesn’t have to be at breakneck speed.

Until very recently, I always had the mentality that I would need to run faster than the day before, and if I didn’t, it was a terrible run. But, just like adding miles too quickly, this can easily lead to burn out and injuries.

Your body needs rest. It can’t function at its maximum effort, day in and day out, for weeks on end without any sacrifices.

Now, almost all of my runs are at a comfortable pace, enough that I have to work to maintain it, but not to the point where I’m breathing heavily—or even audibly. Not only does my body feel much better, but I enjoy my runs a lot more, too. And then when it comes to speedwork days? I end up running much faster than I ever thought I could.

5. A little anxiety is natural.

Full confession: part of the reason I didn’t want to run my race anymore was because I didn’t know if I could finish. What if I didn’t? What would my parents, my friends, think of me?

The truth is, if you’ve put in the work, you will finish. Even if you have to walk. (I had to walk. There’s no shame in it.)

So get your butt out there, get your runs in, believe in yourself, and have the time of your life. The feeling of crossing that finish line after 13.1 hard-fought miles is so incomparable to anything I’ve ever felt before. It’s so worth every hard run, every moment of self-doubt, every early morning. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

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First Self Hosted WIAW!

Hey everyone, happy Wednesday! I look forward to it every week since I always find at least a couple new awesome blogs to stalk follow! I’m happy to announce that this is my first What I Ate Wednesday as a self hosted blogger! Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting!

Before I get into the food though, HOW CUTE IS THIS SKIRT? $18 at TJ Maxx. Boom. I’m absolutely in love with it and it makes me feel like a princess when I move. I’m 8, I know.

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Breakfast: Overnight oats prepared with the cast of characters you see below! Before eating, I topped mine with walnuts, both normal and golden raisins, and some PB Crave in Cookie Nookie! To be honest, I never got the big fuss about overnight oats. For some reason, they were delicious this time around, though. Guess my proportions were off before. Sorry for the bad pic!

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Lunch: Lunch was with the boyfriend at a Thai restaurant. I got a stir fry with mushrooms, baby corn (d’aww), celery, chicken, onions, and a delicious sauce. A Thai Tea was necessary, of course. I don’t understand why I pay $3 for one every time I see it at a restaurant when I can make it better at home for basically free. DON’T JUDGE ME, OKAY?

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Dinner: Today’s dinner came along really fast and with minimal mess. Win! I cooked a sweet potato and topped it with some Earth Balance and fresh basil, roasted some asparagus, and caramelized half an onion I had lying around. The best part of the meal was the pork chops. I just seasoned them with pepper and Lawrey’s garlic salt and pan fried them So simple, yet so delicious!

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 Dessert was in the form of a latte and Norwegian chocolate. Honestly, people need to know about how amazing the chocolate in Norway is. The Swiss get all the credit!

What was the best thing you ate today? 

Want to try some Norwegian chocolate? (say yes or I eat your first born child)

xoxo Christine

I’m Self Hosted!!

Hey guys! First off, I’d like to thank you for all of your wonderful, wonderful comments that you left on my post about Body Dysmorphia & Perfect Imperfection. It was my first really serious blog post and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about making my thoughts public for fear of being judged on my expression of such a serious topic. Stupid, I know. You guys are the best!!

Second of all, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve changed the layout of Apple of My Eye pretty radically since I’ve started self-hosting! The whole process was the biggest pain in the ass EVER, but I think the worst of it is over. I have basically no skill with any of this coding/transferring madness and I’m surprised I was actually able to get my site to come out decently. I might change the appearance a bit more, but for the most part, I like it!

Question: If you don’t mind leaving a comment, could you tell me if the blog is loading slowly or not? For me, other posts that are not the latest one load at a snail’s pace. 

Since I spent a ridiculous amount of time moving my site to being self-hosted, I didn’t get in a new post about what I’ve been up to, so here’s a recap!

I ate a lot of really yummy food:

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Nothing better than a bagel with lox and crispy onions!

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Ooey gooey get in mah tummmeh

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Literally the best ice cream EVER.

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And I got in a great workout! 

I started off with 30 minutes on this modified elliptical thingy that mimics cross country skiing and is tougher than the regular one. It gets my heart rate up to the 190s so I’m sweating like a maniac and definitely feel worked out by the end! I followed the cardio with a leg workout. I love exercises that don’t just isolate a single muscle group, but hits a lot of them. This is pretty typical for what I do on leg days!

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That’s all for now! Hope you have a fantastic day :)

Christine

 

Body Dysmorphia & Perfect Imperfection

Today I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart.

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As a young women, I (and I’m sure many of you) am faced with an enormous amount of pressure to be perfect. Perfection in regards to education, public appearance, and, of course, my body. To be honest, I think that it’s unescapable to not feel self conscious about yourself in some aspects.

For example, I’ve never really liked my legs. I have my mom’s bulky calves and thighs that are 100% genetic (okay, soccer for 14 years probably helped a little). And I mean, really, if I stood next to my mom and you only saw are legs, you’d laugh. They’re identical.

That being said, I have a friend who has a very similar body to mine. The funny thing is, she has great, and I mean GREAT legs. I look at them and can’t help but think, “Wow! Her legs look so strong and toned”.

Even though I’ve been told many times that we both have the same lower body and I know my legs are similar to hers and think that hers are beautiful and empowering, a lot of the times I still see mine as nothing but big and beefy and wish for slim legs that go on for miles.

Body dysmorphia is a crazy, crazy thing. 

These thoughts were brought up by some girls I know in college. A few of them have eating disorders and I’ve had to watch painfully as they hurt themselves from the self-destructive habits of someone suffering from an ED. They say that when they look in the mirror, they don’t see how thin they’ve gotten and can only concentrate on the fat on their body. They’re skin and bones, and they know they are too, but the demons of body dismorphia somehow manage to creep into their minds and convince them otherwise.

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What’s especially scary for me is the fact that an eating disorder can strike anyone. There is no “defining” quality or trait that marks the people who have gotten/have an eating disorder and it seems able to strike anyone. It could have just as easily been me, and I find that terrifying. 

I consider myself extremely blessed to not have been a victim of an ED.

The thing is, I don’t think I’m completely free from that threat. No girl is.

The pressure to be thin and perfect is so consuming and overwhelming at times that I can’t help but think that our culture and society, thought to be one of the most advanced in the world, is absolutely mad. I remember studying in a cultural anthropology class about different types of mental illnesses brought on by society that can be found throughout the world, and it really opened up my eyes to how odd the American obsession for an emaciated body really is. Just think about it from the perspective of a girl living in an third world country. She struggles daily to stay alive and provide for herself and for her family. A country where women and girls purposefully starve themselves, vomit up perfectly nutritious food and essentially ruin their good health must sound to them to be extremely and utterly insane.

For what do we do this?

I feel like we put ourselves under such unnecessary stress when we attempt to achieve perfection. Let’s be honest. No one cares if you weigh 5 pounds more or less, only yourself. Heck, other people probably won’t even notice at all. I could diet and battle my way into losing them, obsessing over a number on a scale, and it wouldn’t even end up mattering in the grand scheme of things. I could force my body to run for miles, essentially running myself into the ground, to try to change my physique into a “runner’s body” and get that ridiculously desired thigh gap, but that’s just not my body shape and it never will be.

I know this is a bit of a rambling and unorganized post, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I were to only focus on the negatives about myself, it would eventually destroy me.

Yes, I have my insecurities and know that there are times when I have a skewed vision of myself, but I need to remember that the self-doubt is such a small, small part of who I am as a person. I feel like many of us need to open our eyes and focus on the overwhelmingly large amount of positives about ourselves.

We are all beautiful, strong, funny, unique, and so loved for who we are, even if we don’t believe it at times.

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I guess to summarize this long post up, I refuse to let my insecurities consume me. Instead, I choose to focus my energy on being good to myself, worshipping my wonderful body and talents, and living life without the shackles of self-doubt. Beauty is a state of mind and I want to radiate my own personal joy and love to those around me. I’m determined to see myself not in the bits and pieces that I dislike, but as a whole and I will not be a victim to the unrealistic expectations of social media. I just won’t.

And I’d love it if you’d joined me with that pledge.

Other Posts of Interest:

Beauty in Every Feature  by Miranda

For [Body] Shame by the Fitnessista

Why I Love My Body (And Why You Should Love Yours, Too) by Beth

Lots of love,

Christine

Side Cramps & Beach Festival Fun

This morning started off on a bright and sweaty note with a beach-side run!

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I felt really good during the first 2 miles, but at around mile 2 1/2 I saw my younger cousin who runs cross country (he’s really good!) running with his team and I sprinted to catch up with him. Let me tell ya, worst idea EVER! I got a terrible, terrible side cramp and couldn’t even breathe without feeling like my side was on its freakin’ period. I had to stop for a while and forgot to pause my Runkeeper app, so my average time was not where Id like it to be, but oh well! At least I got out there.

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After my run, I drove home to have some breakfast. Pretty standard, as usual. I also had some really delicious mixed fruit on the side! Beth has got me following her lead and I’m becoming a watermelon MONSTER.

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When I was down by the beach, I ran by some vendors who were setting up for a big festival! I love anything carnival-like and had no problem persuading Kyle to come enjoy the seaside with me (a.k.a drag him along to shop with me).

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OMG GIRAFFE <3

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They had the cutest jewelry there. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up buying anything. I’ll be heading up to Santa Barbara for the 4th of July and plan on dropping some greens at the Lululemon there, so I figured it would be best to save up a little. Workout clothes>regular clothes

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We spent a couple of hours wandering the streets and eating some delicious food! We got a root beer float made with homemade soda and carne asada nachos. Talk about yum!

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Now I’m baking up a berry delicious cheesecake treat for a kickback I’ll be going to tonight as well as some sangria made from sparkling wine. Yum!

Side note: Sadly, Google Reader is meeting it’s maker in a few days, but I’ve found some solace in Bloglovin! I’d absolutely love it if you followed me there :)

What outside activities have you done so far this weekend?

xoxo Christine