First Quarter 2014 Fitness Goal Check In

To help with accountability this year, I’m checking in on my 2014 fitness goals every quarter.

1. I am a vegetarian.

It’s been three months and counting since I dove into a plant-based diet, and I haven’t had any lapses. The first few weeks were rough with the increase fiber intake doing a number on my digestive system. I immediately lost five pounds, and have dropped an additional two.

a peak at the bRUNcher's plate

Being a vegetarian does require planning so I don’t find myself at a restaurant or event that does not offer vegetarian-friendly options, and it also requires meal prep so that I’m not running to a fast food restaurant famished. Oatmeal, smoothies, soups and salads are daily staples. I eat a lot, and it is not unusual to find a granola bar, nuts or fresh produce in my purse.

this is what i eat

One of the most popular questions people ask me is about how I consume protein. My answer: eggs, avocados, tofu, Greek yogurt, nut butters, a variety of beans and nuts as well as FlapJacked Protein Pancakes and Vega One protein shakes. I am getting at least 70 grams of protein most days and as much as 130 grams of protein on long runs days.

The best part about the transition is all of the new foods I’ve tried. I’ve had to ask the stock boy in Publix to identify leeks and bok choy to try new recipes and eaten seitan for the first time. My goal for the next quarter is to cut back on soy substitutes and limit junk food.

2. I am running 2,014 kilometers in 2014.

The second goal has been a tough feat. I logged only 176 miles during the first three months of the year. To remain on target for 2,014K this year, that number should have been closer to 313 miles. I did take two weeks off from running to cope with a terrible head cold that leg to laryngitis and pain in the back of my knee. But I’ve also run on snowy trails and rainy days, so weather isn’t a legitimate excuse. I’ve just skipped too many runs.

Q1 mileage

Despite my disappointment, I won’t kill myself to make up for the lost mileage. When I review my mileage from last year, I see my performance thus far as a major improvement. And the long leap from 400 miles in 2013 to 1,251 miles in 2014 is a big, hairy audacious goal. My plan is, now that I’m up to a 14-mile long run, to maintain my current level of endurance and continue to build on it each week.

Question of the Week: How have you made progress on your 2014 fitness goals?

It’s Okay to Walk. Really.

Moment of truth? I’ve never run an entire half marathon. I’ve hit walls and had to walk-run the last few miles to cross the finish line. I’ve walked up tough hills, to calm cramps and when I’m feeling winded. Even during my best runs, I slow to walk through water stations. Sometimes I find myself trying to convince my half marathon training group, which is full of mostly first timers, “Really, it’s okay to walk.”

the first five steps are the hardest

You guys know my story, about how I built endurance through a walk-to-run program to complete my first 10K. Eighteen months later, I still believe walking helps me clock my fastest times. “What?” you say. “It doesn’t make sense.”

First, get the crazy notion out of your head that walking equates failure, and instead start thinking of walking as recovery.

Walk to warm up. This is how I begin most of my runs instead of stretching. And when in crowded races, walk a few tenths of the first mile until the crowds thin instead of darting around other runners or stepping on their heels.

Walk through water stations while refueling with gels, water and sports drinks to avoid the embarrassing moment of choking while running (been there, done that). Walking also enables you to navigate slippery piles trampled Dixie cups and idiots, eh I mean volunteers, who stand in the middle of the racecourse shoving sugar-water in your path.

Walk up steep hills when necessary to avoid all out exhaustion at the top. Even without trying, you will make up the time on the downhill. Trust gravity.

Walk when you begin to shuffle your feet, feel tired or sore. The change in pace will wake up your brain and give your legs a restart for better form. It reduces the impact of pounding pavement on your body, so you are able to cover more miles with better body alignment. It also reduces your heart and breathing rates to delay fatigue and manage energy.

Question of the Week: When do you walk and how have you found it beneficial to your fitness?

What Happen to Week in Workouts?

week in workouts

It’s been a few months since I last presented Week in Workouts. I originally posted them here because it annoyed me that a lot of fitness folks I follow tell you they exercised but not how; I wanted to break down my routine into warm up, reps, etc. … [Continue reading]

Strength: Wilma Rudolph

wilma rudolph running

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: the potential for greatness lives within each of us.” ~Wilma Rudolph Wilma Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold … [Continue reading]

How to Choose a Good Race

espirit de she

So you want to run, eh? Forking out the cash for a race can help you ensure you stick to your goal. Here's my guide to finding the race that's the best fit for you. Choose a distance. First decide your goal, whether it’s a 5K, 10K, 15K, half … [Continue reading]

Apple Pie Pancakes

eat all the pancakes

All the deliciousness of homemade apple pie for bRUNch with pancakes made of whole oats and quinoa in lieu of butter and crust. Apple Pie Pancakes Prep time: 45 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 60 minutes Ingredients 1 large apple of … [Continue reading]

FlapJacked Protein Pancake Mix Review

cinnamon apple in the pan

Pancakes are my favorite. After all, they are why I began distance running and my reward after Saturday morning long runs. So I was thrilled when FlapJacked Protein Pancake Mix sent me three samples. They were gone in three days. Pancakes are ideal … [Continue reading]

Humility: Ann Gregory

Ann Gregory

Before Venus, Serena and Althea, there was Ann, who swung her tennis racket and golf club to make her often overlooked stroke in history as the first African-American woman to play on golf at the national level. At age 25, the then-Ann Moore won the … [Continue reading]

Cantina Laredo’s Valentine’s Especialidad Preview

my veggy entree

I recently dined at Cantina Laredo to preview its Valentine's Especialidad menu for Feb. 13-15. The three-course meal is $35 per person, and only $15 more for the added cocktail pairings. General Manager Matt Langston shared with Nashville Food … [Continue reading]

Boldness: Tommie Smith and John Carlos

an olympic salute

This month is Black History Month, so I’m reflecting on my favorite African-American athletes for the next few weeks. Since the Winter Olympics open in Sochi, Russia tonight, it’s fitting that we remember U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos. … [Continue reading]