What I Learned From Being A Pacer

BL Medal

As you may remember I was a pacer for the Biggest Loser race held in my hometown this past weekend.  This was my first time being a pacer and let me tell you I learned a lot!

Lesson 1

I went into this half marathon with minimal training, but agreed to being a pacer for the race because it is 2:15 a mile slower than what I typically run for a half marathon.  I would never suggest doing this, but I was fortunate that my body could handle… and by handle it I mean come out incredibly sore, but not injured. 

Lesson 2

You never realize how much your stride changes when you slow your pace until you do it for an extended period of time.  My muscles hurt so much more after this race, because my stride changed due to the pace I was running, than any other half marathon I have ever run.

Lesson 3

I went into the race knowing this race was not for me, it was for everyone else wanting to finish in 2 hours and 30 minutes.  I did not invite or tell any of my family or friends to this race, because I didn’t want to be distracted from my “job” for the race.  Although I knew the race would not be for me, I ended up taking so much out of it that the race really gave more back to me than I ever thought it would.

Lesson 4

I have heard from many people that it is a gratifying experience to pace for others, I found that out at mile 12.1 of my race.  As I passed a girl with one mile to go, i heard “F* yeah!”  I turned as I slowly passed her and asked what was up? She yelled, “I’m going to PR! My last pace was 11:52, I’m going to PR!”  At this moment I felt the true joy of pacing!  She did not stick with the 11:30 pace, but came in just slightly behind and it was awesome to see her celebrate at the finish line.  I gave her a hug at the finish line and the whole experience nearly put me in tears.

Lesson 5

I can pace myself and I can run 13.1 miles without stopping.  This was the first time I have ever run a consistent pace and the first time I have ever run the entire distance continuously.  I started out using my Garmin, but I just don’t trust that thing and the pace just seems off, so I ended up using my split cheat sheet.

Pace Sheet

Tomorrow my family is getting together for a “Grub Club”, where we all make a dish we have never made before and then we eat and evaluate them all.  I plan to make a paleo recipe, but the rest of the family probably won’t have anything remotely paleo.  Look forward to a post of paleo and non-paleo recipes soon!

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Pacer and Paleo Applesauce

This is a busy week for me, both professionally and personally.

Professionally I am putting on, for the second time, a 5K/10K race as an alcohol alternative at the university where I work. I love racing and race directing is super fun too, but it is a lot of work no matter how large or small the event is. So Saturday will consist of a 4:30am wake up call so I can get my butt to work and get things going for the 9am start time. Wahoo!

Personally I am acting as a pacer for the first time in my life….For the Biggest Loser Half Marathon! This will not be my first run-in with Biggest Loser, a couple years ago I met Patrick the winner of that season.

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I am very nervous because I haven’t raced in a few months and I have never run at an 11:30 pace. I am typically a 9:15 pace, but I’ve been working on slowing things down…which lets be honest when I do long runs I should be running much slower than I actually do to gain the physiological benefits of anaerobic exercise, so practicing a slower pace is a nice wake up call for me. The other thing that makes me nervous is that I have never run 13.1 miles nonstop, but I am confident I can do it at this much slower pace. I need to just get to the start line and let my leg take over and listen to my body.

*****

Now for the good stuff! Paleo applesauce! If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will tell you that I’m not much of a recipe creator, I’m a recipe tester and I make little modifications here and there. This applesauce was awesome and tasted just like my mom’s growing up, but the nutritional stats are much healthier, sorry mom.

Paleo Applesauce
6 medium apples (I used apples from my aunts apple tree, not sure what kind they are exactly)
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp honey
Dash of cinnamon

Prepare apples by peeling, cutting and dicing them. Heat the water on medium high in a medium pot. Then add apples, honey, and cinnamon. Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take pot off burner and mash apples until desired consistency. Store and cool in refrigerator. Bon appetite!
**This only makes about 4 half cup servings, so plan accordingly if you want more…and you will want more.
{This recipe is from Cave Girl in the City}

Q/A: Have you ever paced a race? Any tips?

Paleo Bread + 3 Ingredient Bar Recipes

As promised yesterday here are the two recipes!

Paleo Bread 

2 cups blanched almond flour

2 Tbsp coconut flour

1/4 cup flaxmeal

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

5 eggs

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place all dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse ingredients together. Pulse in wet ingredients.  Pour batter into a greased 7.5 x 3.5 bread pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

IMG_0177 IMG_0179Paleo Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: This is my first time making paleo bread so I did not know what to expect.  If you are trying paleo bread for the first time know that this will not taste like your traditional, squishy, soft bread. It is more grainy and dense, but delicious when served warm topped with homemade jam and almond butter or coconut oil. 

{This recipe is from Elana’s Pantry}

 

3 Ingredient Bars

1 cup nuts (I used almonds)

1 cup dried fruit (I used dried cranberries)

1 cup dates, pitted

Combine all ingredients into food processor.  Pulse a few times, separate as needed.  Process continuously for 1-2 minutes or until a ball is formed, scrape sides as needed.  Once ball is formed in processor, press into a thick square in a 8 x 8 pan covered with wax paper. Chill for at least one hour.  Cut chilled bars into desired size and wrap individually for an easy to grab snack/dessert.

{For different combinations and the original source of this recipe check out theKitchn}

P.S. My pictures for this recipe were accidentally deleted, so click the link above to see how delicious they look!

Changes Since Beginning Paleo Challenge

Since beginning the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge, my diet has cleaned up significantly!  I was always that person who was apparently healthy and worked out regularly, so no one has ever questioned me and told me I need to get healthier…except my boyfriend.  Now don’t get me wrong he is not trying to get me to lose weight, in fact he would prefer I gain a little weight, however, we have had many discussions about him cleaning up his diet and losing some weight, but have never focused on me since my weight is at a healthy level.  Recently he has pointed out that I don’t help in his weight loss/get healthy journey.  For example, I always do the cooking, so many nights I would just make macaroni and cheese or lasagna, I love my comfort food.  So with his help I realized that just because I am at a reasonable weight, does not mean that I am healthy.  No, I never had a health scare to help me realize I need to clean things up and I’m happy that I am being pro-active, rather than responsive in my journey.  We just both want to be around to spend many years together, so we’re in this together.

Jed and I

 

Since I have begun my Paleo Challenge journey I have made a number of small changes that have made a big difference in my diet and my health…

  1. Eat three food groups at breakfast. First of all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it is one that I have always loved.  I used to be a bread or oatmeal eater (note: I still don’t think oatmeal is “bad” for you and after my challenge I may bring it back in my regular breakfast rotation) for breakfast, but I never got a good variety in my meal.  The majority of my breakfast was always carbs, which did not leave me full for very long.  Now I try to make sure my breakfast includes protein, carbs and healthy fats.  For example fruit, eggs and paleo bread. 
  2. Meatless Monday. Prior to this journey I did not eat a lot of meat, now I eat much more.  I have conflicting feelings on this based on a number of research readings I have done, but for now I continue to have meat in my diet.  I do like to have one day a week that is meatless though, primarily because meat is fatty and I cannot afford to buy the best of the best paleo approved meat that is lower in fat/hormones/other junk.  On these Meatless Mondays (or which ever day works in any given week) I like to make vegetarian meals like spaghetti squash lasagna or veggie stir fry.  
  3. Fill half your plate with produce.  This has been one of the biggest changes for me, bulking up my meals with fruit and vegetables rather than processed carbs.  Eating produce as my carb source I leave the table feeling satisfied, but not sluggish and bloated.  Filling up on produce rather than processed carbs helps keep my body healthy, reduces inflammation, and helps control my blood sugar better so I don’t experience any “crashes” during the day.  And an added bonus, as you fill up on produce it leaves you with less room for high calorie sides and desserts.
  4. Get more calcium. My normal sources of calcium- milk, cheese, yogurt – are out of the picture during the challenge, so it is important to me to continue getting enough calcium to keep my body in balance.  Some of the sources that I focus on now to get my daily calcium dose are spinach, kale, okra, salmon, and broccoli.  It is definitely more challenging, but it also forces me to make conscious decisions about my diet, no more mindless eating.
  5. Upgrade salad greens. We used to buy the bagged lettuce, but especially for the purpose of calcium, we have begun purchasing darker, more colorful greens.  Darker greens provide more fiber, calcium, vitamin c, and iron.
  6. Ditch the packaged diet food. Ditching packaged, processed food is the basis of the Paleo lifestyle.  I used to think if I was getting “healthy” grab-and-go bars or low-calorie snacks I was being healthy.  I realize now that choosing fresh fruit or homemade fruit and nut bars is the way to go.  Again by eating these I feel fuller, longer and do not experience cravings for more sweet stuff.  A bonus… you don’t ingest ingredients that you can’t pronounce or recognize on the back of the package.
  7. Redefine dessert. Since I have cut out processed carbs, I do not crave sweets, it’s amazing!  If I have a cheat meal, I instantly crave a luscious, indulgent dessert to follow it up, but when I eat clean I don’t feel the need.  I like to make 3 ingredient bars and eat fruit for dessert now.  I haven’t played around with paleo dessert recipes as much, but I have seen a number of yummy things I would like to try out.

I will be sharing the paleo bread and 3 ingredient bar recipes that I mentioned above tomorrow, so be sure to stop back!