Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dinner (Mis)Adventure

Growing up and throughout college I ate a lot of food from a box. I didn't care what was in it as long as it tasted good and I could make it fast. When I walk through the grocery store and look at all the crap I used to eat on a regular basis...I am just amazed. So when I made the transition to a Paleo/Primal diet, I had to learn how to cook real food. And I had to learn quick.

I ate a lot of hamburger patties the first month (or two...or three...). It was the easiest and quickest thing I knew how to cook; even then I had little to no experience cooking them. Slowly I began branching out: scrambled eggs, frozen chicken breast cooked in the toaster oven...frozen veggies were a life saver! Luckily for me the internet is full of great people who share their Paleo recipes, and I decided to give some a try. Lo and behold, I discovered that I really enjoy cooking! Keeping an eye on everything, and prepping stuff to put in next, and trying to time everything to be ready at the same's a little stressful, but in a good and fun way because when you're done you get to EAT! I've also learned that I really like cooking for my friends and family. Good Food + Good People = Happy Cavegirl.

Which leads me to tonight's story.

A miscommunication between me and my friend led to me having a lot of food and only myself to eat it. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm going out of town this weekend which meant it had to be eaten tonight. I picked up some KC Strip Steak from the store on my way home from work. (My friend is a vegetarian, so I didn't have any meat in the house. Cavegirl needs steak.) I had asparagus and butternut squash at home to go with it--before tonight I had never cooked any of these things by myself.

I think it would have turned out better if my husband had not been working late.

I preheated the oven for 350 degrees and cut my squash in half lengthwise. That was more difficult than I had imagined. I placed the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and added some water. I put that in the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes. While that was going I set about washing some dishes. When the squash timer got down to 25 minutes I put the steaks on the broiler plate, put them in the oven, and set the oven to broil. Then I broke the stems off the asparagus while the skillet warmed up, put some olive oil in the skillet, and started sauteing the asparagus. When they were just about ready I added some butter, rolled the asparagus around in it, and turned off the burner. While I was busy with the asparagus, I forgot to keep an eye on the steak! They weren't bad...but they were a little overcooked. The asparagus and steak were done (and overdone) but the squash still had 10 minutes. I decided I didn't have time to wait. I needed everything done by 7:00 to watch the only TV show I care about watching: The Big Bang Theory. I pulled the squash out of the oven and started scooping out the could have used those last 10 minutes. Not to be deterred, I grabbed a fork and started mashing. Then I grabbed the butter and started mixing it in. I let go of the bowl for a split second and...

it fell in the sink of soapy water...

The asparagus was very tasty at least.

Cavegirl Runner

Monday, September 24, 2012

Race Week

Saturday morning I'm running my second 10K ever, the Combat Air Museum Winged Foot Run. My Mom is participating in the 5K walk (Go, Mom!), then we're going to hang out in Topeka for the day. I mentioned in my last post that my first 10K time was 1:07:01. My goal for this one is under an hour. I received an email from the race director a couple weeks ago that said about 30 people had registered, so this is going to be a small race. (Medal??!) Usually I start in the middle back of the pack, but I think I'm going to start up with the faster runners on Saturday. I want to really push myself and see what I can do. I want to really race!

The only distances I have raced are 5K & 10Ks. The week of a race I'll hit it hard Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and not do anything physical on Thursday and Friday. I give my body two days to relax and recover and by the third day (race day) all I want to do is run. This morning I did the Spartacus Workout from my Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. Tomorrow morning I'm going to group run--no idea how far or how fast that will be. Then Wednesday will depend on how I'm feeling from Tuesday's run. If I don't feel like running I'll ride my bike and do some strength training.

It was my Mom's idea to do this race. Back in June, my Mom, my sister, and I participated in Jazz in the Park in Topeka--my Mom walked and my sister and I ran. At Jazz in the Park there were brochures for Combat Air Museum. My Mom grabbed a few, stuck one in my race packet, told me she wanted to do it and asked if I would do it with her. I couldn't say "No" to that! I love my Mom.

Cavegirl Runner

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Fall Y'all!

Today is the official first day of fall! The start of fall makes me happy and sad. I'm happy for the cooler weather--this summer was dreadful hot. But it also means that winter is not far away, and I don't care much for cold weather. It also means less and less daylight, and I really like the sun. So I guess the only thing I don't like about fall is that it precedes winter, and I don't like winter. So I'll just enjoy the great fall weather while we have it and not worry about winter until it gets here! Living in the moment as it were.

This morning I celebrated the start of fall with my longest run ever: 7 miles. I only stopped to walk once, and that was because I tripped and fell around the 2.5 mile mark. Don't worry, I'm OK--I did a nice tuck-and-roll and only scratched my hand a little. The first 4 miles were a breeze. Around 5.5 miles my legs started cramping but I made myself keep moving forward and I passed the 6 mile mark at a time faster than my last 10K. The last mile I  mostly focused on my form and how close I was to being done.. It wasn't easy, but I'm super proud of myself for doing it. 7 miles?! Just a couple months ago I would not have thought it was possible.

A new season is a great time for some new goals. This summer I focused on endurance because I wanted to run a 10K. I got up to 6 miles in my training runs, and ran my first 10K in 1:07.01. This fall I want to get faster and stronger. The only way to race faster is to run faster. There is a fairly new running group in town, and I've ran with them one time so far. We ran 4.5 miles averaging a 7:49 pace. Yeah, that's faster! I was going to incorporate intervals into my training, but I think I'll just run with these guys a couple days a week. I also want to get stronger. I started doing body weight strength training this summer, but have gotten a bit lazy the last couple weeks. This fall I want to strength train 3 days a week, either with free weights or body weight.

What are your health and fitness goals this fall and how will you accomplish them?

Cavegirl Runner

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Got Allergies?

I don't! Well, let's say, not as bad as I used to.

Old Story: I would tough it out for about a month through: dry, itchy, red, puffy eyes; stuffed up nose; runny nose; constant sneezing; scratchy throat; sinus congestion that led to chest congestion that led to a cough; wheezing and difficulty breathing; lethargy; and a few sinus infections. Basically, I was MISERABLE! Eventually I would break down and take allergy medicine. For a couple years in recent memory I was on a prescription nasal spray, OTC eye drops, and an OTC anti-histamine during allergy season. Last year I took generic Claritin for 2 months straight. That's probably not advised. When I was a kid, ragweed and hay fever were the worst!

New Story: I'll have a sneezing fit every once in a while. (A sneezing fit is where you sneeze about 10+ times in succession.) These are usually on days when my husband, who claims to not have allergies, is also having sneezing fits. Recently my nose has been itching like it wants to sneeze, but nothing ever happens. Sometimes the inside of my right eye will get red and itchy, but this seems to be a sign of not enough sleep and/or water. Other than the random sneeze or runny nose...that's about it. Oh, last night my nose was a little stuffy when I went to bed.

I'm sure you're wondering, "How the heck did she manage that?!" Short answer, I changed my diet. As a side-note, I don't really like the word "diet", but that's a post for another time. I truly believe changing my diet is the answer. The biggest thing I cut out was grains. Check out this post from Mark's Daily Apple:
"Last, my own nearly debilitating seasonal allergies literally disappeared when I got rid of grains (and cut the chronic cardio). It may have been related to the autoimmune connection between anti-nutrients/leaky-gut and hypersensitivity to proteins in grass seeds and pollen (grains are grass seeds). Many MDA readers report a dramatic reduction in hay fever or allergy symptoms when cutting grains."
Now, Mark Sisson does not promote chronic cardio, e.g. distance running. But I really like running and I think it helps alleviate some of my allergy symptoms! There's nothing I love more than a few good snot rockets on a morning run. Ah, clear sinuses! And the heavy breathing clears out any congestion that may have settled overnight. Yeah, I'm a spitter, too. If you see me on the road, you may want to watch out!

During this allergy season I have also cut cheese out of my diet. Dairy has properties that facilitate mucus production, and more mucus is the last thing my body needs during allergy season!

Cavegirl Runner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cavegirl Runner Manifesto

Definition of MANIFESTO, from
"a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer"
I'm a goal-oriented person. I like to have a reason for doing things. So, why am I Cavegirl Runner, and what do I want to do?

Everything posted here will have to do with health, wellness, exercise, motivation, and inspiration. It might be a link to an article I found interesting or a picture from Facebook. It might just be an update on my health and fitness journey. I even have a couple people lined up to do a guest blog from time to time. I'm very much looking forward to that! My goal is to post at least 3 times per week, so don't forget to check in to see what's new!

And don't forget to "like" Cavegirl Runner on Facebook!

"I'm just a girl searching for health and fitness, and hoping to inspire others to do the same."
I am Cavegirl Runner.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Who is Cavegirl Runner?

I ran cross country and track in for a small 3A high school in Kansas. I did pretty well, competed at the State meet a few times, not everyone can say that. After graduating and moving to college however my activeness basically stopped, unless you count Marching Band. When I was in high school (and younger, obviously) I would eat whatever I wanted. And let me tell you, I had a serious sweet tooth. Brownies were my ultimate kryptonite. But I didn't think anything about it because I was active with sports all the time and I thought I looked and felt fine. In fact, I never gave much thought to my body or how I looked until I started college. That's probably unusual, but it's true. So, I started college and was busy with class and new friends, and was still eating the same way but not exercising. At some point I started to notice my clothes weren't fitting as well...I decided that since I did not have time to exercise, that I should stop eating sugary stuff, so I did, and it worked well enough.

Fast forward to my 3rd year of college. I had moved off campus and was living with 3 other girls, working part-time, going to school full time, and had all sorts of school related stress going on. I think this is when my health really began to nose-dive. I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't eating. I would eat Pop-Tarts and a Red Bull for breakfast. Lunch would be a granola bar and a giant cup of coffee. Dinner was the easiest thing I could throw in the microwave. I would try to run for 10 minutes and would be so tired I would have to take an hour nap after. Eventually my body started to revolt.

I went to the Student Health Center because I could not stop shaking. I was sent to see a counselor and given a prescription for Xanax. The medical doctor also advised me on my eating habits. Slowly but surely I started to feel better. I had been abusing my body for quiet some time.

Fast forward a couple more years (yes, it took me 5 1/2 years to graduate). I am much better, still have a few issues but nothing I don't usually feel like I can't handle, and I start to really look at how and why I eat. I begin to adopt a "Clean Diet". I buy some magazines and cook books, and I stop eating anything with HFCS. I think this point was the start to my search for good health through food.

Then I graduated and started looking for a job. I wasn't having any luck and needed something I could control in my life so I started running again. It was much easier this time especially with a running buddy from work to encourage me. It also helped that she was a personal trainer at the time and a super-faster runner than me! She told me about this crazy thing called the Paleo Diet and how she used to eat that way and was trying to start again. I found it interesting, but like many, I didn't think I could get over my love of all things bread.

Fall came and I started substitute teaching, and our early morning runs ended. I took about 5 months off from running. But during this time, I discovered Mark's Daily Apple! THIS was the changing point in my life. I bought his books, I started reading other Paleo Diet blogs, and eventually I decided I was going to do this: it all made perfect sense. I did not go 100% all at once; it happened gradually over a couple months. I thought I felt and looked fine before, but now that I've made this transition, I feel fabulous almost all the time!

Today I'm pretty strict Paleo/Primal. I eat more fruit than anyone would probably advise, but I think my want of sweet fruit stems from how much I loved cake and candy as a kid. I also have a tendency to overindulge in nuts. I didn't say I was perfect, but I'm trying! I started running again in March. This year I have ran the Warrior Dash, five 5Ks, and a 10K. Coming up this fall I have another 10K, the Color Run, and hopefully a Halloween and Thanksgiving race. I recently started running with a new running group in town and discovered that I can run a lot faster than I thought. This winter I'm going to start swimming and strength training because I want to race a few sprint triathlons next spring. So that's me.

I am Cavegirl Runner.