Archive for February, 2012

Marathon Training + Weight Loss

February 29th, 2012 | Ann

I realize that posting an “oh my gosh, I gained 1 pound” last Friday may have been a bit over an over-reaction. But really, you guys, I thought I had been working my ass off at working out, tracking my calories, drinking my 100oz of water/day and generally living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Not only did gaining 1 pound seem like a back-track of my weight-loss goals (remember, I am still losing – not maintaining), it brought up much bigger questions about losing weight while running. In the few blogs I’ve posted about my weight-loss goals working in beautiful harmony with my running goals, it seems like you, my awesome and knowledgeable readers, have been quick to point out that I may NOT lose weight while training for these half-marathons, and full marathon in October.

I want to lose between 40-50 pounds. Losing nothing? Not an option.

I took to The Internets and researched “Can you lose weight while training for a marathon?” And although Google posted 1.16 million pages, I read a few really interesting sites –

This article by Kim Mueller (MS/RD), published on talks about the science of weight-loss and how your body uses different types of calories – carbohydrates and protein, before and after a run. She also gives a formula for calories burned during running, which is accurate compared to my own experiences with heart-rate training and tracking calories burned.

This forum on Calorie Count asks the question about losing 20 pounds while training for a marathon (with the goal of Boston-Qualifying). Truthfully, the answers are discouraging. Other runners saying, “look – you can’t have both. You can’t properly fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to sustain long runs, and expect to restrict your calories enough to lose weight. It just doesn’t work that way.”

I think that’s going to be my biggest struggle – how do I fuel my body in a way that helps me reach my (running) goals, but also restrict my calories in a way that helps me reach my (weight loss) goals? I need to be smarter about this entire process.

This article from Runner’s World, “The Runner’s Diet” specifically addresses how to lose weight without sacrificing energy or performance by eating the right foods at the right times. The article recommends a 50-25-50 eating plan – 50% of calories from (fiber-rich) carbohydrates, 25% from protein and 25% from fat. Those totals are not for every food eaten, but for the day’s total food make-up.

After reading the information posted from “The Runner’s Diet” article online, I wanted to read the entire book. I headed to my local bookstore and bought the book lastnight –

Cannot wait to read this!

I want to talk more about “The Runner’s Diet” in an upcoming post, but if you have an opportunity to spend a few minutes, please click over and read the article; I’d love some feedback on the specific recommendations. Besides “The Runner’s Diet”, other general information and suggestions I’ve recently heard regarding losing weight while training for a marathon include….

Training for a marathon increases muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat, so it’s natural to change your body’s physique and still gain muscle weight. (To that I say, but I should be LOSING fat. I don’t think I’ll be losing 40 pounds of fat but gaining 40 pounds of muscle.)  To help track with muscle mass and the way my body is changing, I’ll be taking weekly measurements and pictures (thanks, Jay!) to see how my body is changing, week by week. Again, I still expect to lose more fat than I expect to gain muscle.

Glycogen storage can change metabolism and energy storage. The “taper” weeks leading up to a big race are designed to help your body store as much glycogen (energy) as possible, That extra sugar and glycogen can attribute to a small weight-gain. Key word: SMALL. I’m talking 1-2 pounds. Remember, I am still trying to actively lose between 40-50 pounds. Same thing with fluid retention. As I drink more water, my body processes at least 100 oz of water/day…. but not 40 pounds worth of water-weight.

What about “runger” – increased hunger because of running? Totally a real thing. As soon as I started running 4 times/week, I noticed a significant increase in my appetite. I was hungry ALL THE TIME. And it seemed like no amount of food was “satisfying”. That’s why I can’t wait to read “The Runner’s Diet” – I want to find out what types of foods to eat and when to eat them. I want to listen to my body and provide adequate fuel without compromising my weight-loss goals. How “hungry” is “too hungry”? When does stopping eating to accelerate weight-loss cause more harm than good during training?

I’m so thankful for resources – namely, experienced runners and experts I can look to for help and information on this journey. I’ve been using other cues to help with motivation, training and losing weight and I can’t wait to share more of those, too!

Have you ever been discouraged by the “unknowns” during your weight-loss or training journey?


February 28th, 2012 | Ann

Wednesday is It all Starts with the First Mile.™ at Marathon Sports at 6:30pm.

Marathon Sports is located at:
2312 West 50th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 920-2606

Come to It all Starts with the First Mile.™ for shoe fitting/apparel overview, devising a training plan for the Medtronic TC 1-Mile, and 25% off shoes!

Calling all new runners, non-runners, or runners just looking to hang out with other runners! Twin Cities in Motion is teaming up with Marathon Sports  to host three New Runner Nights designed to teach you everything you need to know about shoes and apparel, training, and race etiquette.  Whether you’re looking to run a mile without stopping or to improve your speed, these fun, informational sessions are designed to prep you for the Medtronic TC 1 Mile in May. Topics and speakers will vary each night so come to one or all. Prizes and discounts will be awarded to attendees. Join us on Facebook for more event details.

I’ll be there. And I’d love to meet you and talk about running!! If you want to meet me beforehand, send me a tweet @Minnesota_Ann or an email,

I hope to see you at Marathon Sports on Wednesday evening!!

Will you be there??

UKF Dubstep

February 28th, 2012 | Ann

This is so dorky.

Seriously…. I don’t even know why I’m telling you.

I have a new obsession with workout music. Specifically, “dubstep” music. What’s dubstep music, you ask? Good question. According to the Wikipedia site:

“Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South LondonUnited Kingdom. Its overall sound has been described as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals”.[1]

See…. it all started when iTunes Genius recommended “Right In” by Skrillex (click for YouTube link). The song is only 3 minutes long and totally gets me going while running. It helps me push the pace, run faster and harder, and my heart rate usually skyrockets. I love, love, love this song.

Anyways, I was on iTunes lastnight downloading some new music (hello, Week 4 of Half-Marathon training) and iTunes recommended UKF Dubstep. So…. I did some research and learned more. And then, I downloaded the “best of” UKF Dubstep 2011 on iTunes. 17 songs, including a 1-song compilation of ALL of the songs (1:02 long!) for $5.99

That’s right. The entire album. For $5.99.

Now you know. My totally weird and embarrassing music choice for Half-Marathon training. Dubstep.

Do you have any embarrassing music on your playlists? Time to ‘fess up!

Half-Marathon Training – Week 3

February 27th, 2012 | Ann

Hi, and Happy Monday.

Thanks for all of your feedback on Friday’s post, +1. I’m so, so, so thankful for all of your suggestions, support and encouragement. Sometimes just hearing someone say, “you’re not alone” is such a powerful message. I can’t say thank you enough.

Looking back to Week 3 of half-marathon training…..

Monday was our usual spin class with Kristi. No matter what kind of day I’ve had on Monday, I always feel amazing after sweating it out. Love, love, love my Monday spin.

Monday - Spin

Monday night, I went to bed early….. 9pm. I tried a new routine this week – morning workouts.

Ya’ll. It was awesome. I loved being done with my workout by 7am. I loved getting my sweat on in the morning. And despite the 5:15am alarm, as long as I made it to bed early, I didn’t feel any more tired getting up for my morning workouts than I did sleeping in and working out post-work.

Tuesday was my 1st morning workout. My legs felt stiff and sore. It was difficult to get them moving first thing in the morning. Once i went going, the rest of the run went well.

Tuesday - 3 miles

Wednesday was another AM workout. This time, I tried to run as fast as I could. Although my “comfortable” pace is around 13:20/mile, I really, really wanted to be under 12:00/mile.

By the end of the 2 miles, I was totally drenched in sweat. BUT I DID IT!!! I ran 2 miles in 23:45!!!

Wednesday - 2 miles

Thursday was my last early-morning workout of the week. My legs were really stiff and sore…. but I logged my miles and finished my week strong.

Thursday - 3.5 miles

Friday – rest day. Love the rest days. LOVE!!

Saturday was my “long-run”, 5 miles. It was really cold. I opted to run inside. I know, I know. I should have braved the cold. I just couldn’t do it!

Anyways…. Jay ran 9.2 outside around the lakes. I did my 5 miles on the treadmill.

The run was hard. On Friday night, Jay and I had fro-yo, and I ate Glazed Donut fro-yo, loaded with candy.

I know.

I know.

It’s 100% my own fault that my run on Saturday morning was so horrible. I had to stop a few times to use the bathroom. I couldn’t catch a rhythm. I knew I would struggle on the run, so I pushed the pace….. I suppose it was my way of dealing with my poor choices the night before.

I’m honestly really, really surprised I ran 12:43/mile. Last week, I ran 5 miles at a 13:15 pace (outside)…. I suppose I can attribute the majority of the difference in pace to the environment (inside vs outside).  Either way, 63:30 total time, and over 1,000 calories burned.

Saturday - 5 miles

Here’s what I learned during my 3rd week of half-marathon training….

1. I need to eat after my morning workouts. Typically, if I finished by 6:30am, I was showered and out the door by 7:30. I was eating breakfast between 7:30-8:00 ( on the way to work) – well over an hour after my workout ended. The solution? I bought some low-fat chocolate milk (170 cals/cup)  and will try drinking some chocolate milk post-workout this week.

I seriously got SO HUNGRY during the day. By 3:00 in the afternoon, no food felt like enough. I was “behind on my hunger” every day I had a morning workout and didn’t eat until after I had showered and left for work.

My goal this week is to do a better job fueling my body.

2. I need to stop freaking out about the scale. I don’t know what my body is going to do during half- and full-marathon training. And although I want to continue losing weight, I need to trust the process:
– Log the miles.
– Put healthy fuel in my body.
– Get to the starting line healthy and knowing I had done everything I could to be successful.

I’ll post more about Friday’s blog this week. I haven’t quite collected my thoughts in a way I can post yet…. but I want to talk about my feelings and moving forward with (and without) the scale.

3. Running on the treadmill is awesome. I love having the treadmill at home. I love being able to get up, get dressed, and just run. And although I really like my gym (and feel bad for not going this past week, except for Monday spin), I LOVE my treadmill.

I promise to post more details about my treadmill this week. I can’t wait to tell you about it!

If you’ve missed them….
Half-Marathon Training – Week 1
Half-Marathon Training – Week 2

Here’s to another successful, injury-free week of training!

Did you have a good weekend? Any awesome accomplishments to report?? 


February 24th, 2012 | Ann

Yesterday, I had a doctor’s visit….. It included bloodwork, check-up, tetanus shot, and height/weight.

Yeah…. so?

Well – I am in the middle of my 30-day no-scale challenge.

I got on the scale…..

And was +1 from February 6th.


Despite the regular workouts and half-marathon training. Despite the water, and the daily journaling. Despite the compliments from co-workers and family/friends.

I’ve gained weight.

(Just to verify, I also got on the scale at home this morning – still +1)

I ate a bunch of junk yesterday. Because I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to feel. I just didn’t want to deal with the feelings of disappointment, anger, frustration.

I feel like giving up.

I feel like throwing my food journal down the toilet.

My frustration is THROUGH THE ROOF. 10 on a scale of 1-10. I’m ready to quit.

Where do I go from here?

Healthy Coupon-ing

February 23rd, 2012 | Ann

I really like routines. In fact, I like Monday mornings because I love my week-day routines.

Weird, I know.

I try to keep some weekend routines, too, and Sunday morning is one of them:
– Get up, start coffee
– Let dog out
– Get newspaper
– Let dog in
– Drink coffee, clip coupons
– Make healthy breakfast for me & Jay

Most Sunday mornings follow the same routine. We usually do our grocery shopping and errands on Sundays.

After all, that’s when the new circular ads and manufacturer’s coupons come out.

Isn’t that what everybody waits for?

…… No?

I grew up in a house where my mom clipped coupons. Not in a crazy “extreme-coupon-er” way, but in a “hey, we can save some money if we are already buying these things” way.

And honestly, we’ve gotten the paper since July and I just recently started clipping coupons. I say, about 2/3 of the coupons are things I already buy: household items, toiletries, paper goods, boxed granola bars/healthy living products, dairy, frozen foods, and dog treats.

Sometimes it’s hard not to clip coupons if it’s something I would want – like, bags of candy or boxes of cereal or unhealthy meals. I like clipping on Sunday mornings because my head is usually pretty clear. Saturday is usually a long-run, and I almost always feel great (accomplished, proud, sore but energized) on Sundays. Having a weeks worth of workouts done helps me stay on track with clipping healthy food items or products.

I’m also a diligent list-maker. I plan out meals, I plan out grocery lists, to-do-lists, and even the order I’ll run errands in. Having a plan for my food and meals for the week helps me with clipping the items I’ll actually want and need. For example, if I know we are running out of coffee, or will in the next few weeks, I’ll clip a few coffee coupons. I’ll check the ads each Sunday, and once coffee goes on sale + I have a coupon, I’ll save some money on that purchase.

Now…. I know there are tons of coupon sites. Just Google “Coupon Website” and there’s over 379,000,000 pages. (No joke! I just did it!)

I’d love to think that one day, I’d get into those online coupon sites and REALLY save a TON of money. However…. for now? I spend about 20 minutes every Sunday, clipping things I’m already planning to buy. I organize the coupons by type and lay them out by category…..

I can’t believe I’m telling you how crazy obsessive I am sometimes. I just LOVE organization.

I pull out all my prior weeks’ coupons to see if I have any double-coupons, and then I check what’s on sale at the store. Of course, it all goes off my “master grocery list” –

Believe it or not, I do my weekly grocery shopping at Target.

Yes…. at Target.

I suppose part of it is because I grew up in Minnesota, home of The Targets. And maybe I just really like the convenience of everything in 1 place. Seriously, I can look at clothes, and shoes, and accessories and workout wear. Jay can look at electronics and sporting goods. We can look at pets supplies, luggage, home decorations. OMG. I could probably write an entire blog post about why I love Target.

But, I digress.

So I organize my coupons, make my weekly plan, search for deals in the Target ad, and come up with my final list.

Another amazing, helpful, handy tool?

This coupon organizer is the single greatest thing in my coupon-ing routine. The best part? It was $1. From Target.

BUY YOURSELF A COUPON ORGANIZER RIGHT NOW. You can even write your own tab labels.

Also – decide where you’ll be shopping and get hooked up with their “Rewards” program. Most stores have a “frequent shopper” scanner or some sort of deal where they give you discounts, coupons, etc. for free. For my trusty Target, we got a Target Debit Card – the money is debited directly out of your checking account, but because it’s the “Target debit card”, we automatically get 5% off every purchase! If we spend $100, we save $5! For 52 weeks, that’s an annual savings of $260. Just for swiping a different debit card when we check out. Cool, right? Right.

I hate spending extra time in the grocery section. But sometimes reading the coupons and looking for the matching items takes time. And sometimes, when the coupon says “50 cents off value-sized Planters trail mix” all you can find is the regular-sized Planters trail mix. And it totally sucks. And you have to be flexible, find something else you have a coupon for and planned to buy, and move on.

Here are Ann’s Tips for Successful (Healthy) Coupon-ing:
– Be flexible – sometimes they won’t have that item, and you’ll have to move on
– Have a plan, make a list!
– Only clip coupons for things you buy or are planning to buy
– Eliminate the opportunity to buy crap you don’t need. If you wouldn’t regularly buy a chocolate bar, why would you buy one with a coupon? Crap is still crap.
– Organize your coupons in a way that will help you save time & money
– It’s okay if you don’t love coupon-ing…. I promise you’ll love saving money
– Get hooked up with a ‘rewards’ or ‘cash back’ program – most are totally free!

And the biggest tip? Do what works for you.

Because if you try to follow my plan, or someone else’s plan, or a coupon website’s plan, you may end up completely overwhelmed and give up. Start small and figure out what’s going to work for you.

Lastly? Plan something fun with your money. I usually save between $20-$30 per week. Annually, that’s atleast $1,040. I can think of LOTS of things I’d LOVE to do with an extra thousand dollars!!

Coupon-ing, especially healthy coupon-ing doesn’t have to be a big deal or take a huge amount of time. Just start small, come up with a plan, and do what works for you.

Ready…. set….. COUPON!

Do you currently clip coupons? If so, how much $ do you save??

It all Starts with the First Mile.™

February 22nd, 2012 | Ann

This journey of completing 12 5ks in 12 months (during 2010) and 12 races in 12 months (during 2011) has been quite the adventure.

When I started in January 2010, I couldn’t run. I could hardly walk. But I kept moving forward. It wasn’t always easy, and I had my share of speed bumps along the way. I knew my goal was to run…..

I wanted to be a runner.

And it took me a long time to realize:

“If you run, you are a RUNNER.”

I wanted more than anything, to lace up my shoes and just GO. I wanted the feeling of the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin, and the ease and comfort of just RUNNING.

That being said, I remember 2 specific days during the fall of 2010 very vividly –

The day I ran an entire 5k race (3.1 miles) without walking.

The day I ran 1 mile at the gym without stopping.

Both of these days carry such incredible significance because they gave me the confidence to keep moving forward. They helped push me and motivate me in the right direction, and they gave me hope that one day I, too, would be a runner.

Don’t know where to start?

It all Starts with the First Mile.™
Calling all new runners, non-runners, or runners just looking to hang out with other runners! Twin Cities in Motion is teaming up with Marathon Sports  to host three New Runner Nights designed to teach you everything you need to know about shoes and apparel, training, and race etiquette.  Whether you’re looking to run a mile without stopping or to improve your speed, these fun, informational sessions are designed to prep you for the Medtronic TC 1 Mile in May. Topics and speakers will vary each night so come to one or all. Prizes and discounts will be awarded to attendees. Join us on Facebook for more event details.

Mark this on your calendars!!

Besides next Wednesday (2/29), there will also be sessions on Wednesday, March 21st and Wednesday, April 25th.

I can’t say enough about the positive experience(s) I’ve had at Marathon Sports.

Click to read about my most-recent shoe-fitting experience (November 2011).

Please, please, PLEASE –
If you need shoes…..
If you need gear…..
If you need help or advice for getting started….
And you live in the metro Twin Cities area, come to It all Starts with the First Mile.™  next Wednesday (2/29).

Marathon Sports is located at:
2312 West 50th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55410
(612) 920-2606

If you don’t know anybody and don’t want to show up alone, leave me a comment! I’ll be happy to meet you before the session starts! Send me a tweet (@Minnesota_Ann) or an email (, and I’d love to meet you beforehand.

If you’ve been inspired, motivated, or encouraged to run; If you’ve felt that desire to have the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the ease and comfort of just RUNNING; If you’ve thought to yourself, “there is no way I could ever run a mile without stopping.”

Let me tell you…..


Come to It all Starts with the First Mile.™ next Wednesday (2/29) to get started. I mean….. what have you got to lose?

Remember…. “If you run, you are a RUNNER.”

Do you remember the 1st time you ran a mile without stopping?

Local Minnesotans – will you be attending It all Starts with the First Mile.™ next Wednesday?

Morning Workouts

February 21st, 2012 | Ann

Hi, Happy Tuesday! Did you have a good President’s  Day? I worked, and then went to a killer spin class with Kristi. Afterwards, Jay and I made a healthy dinner and I went to bed at 8pm.

Wait…. what?

Yes, 8pm.

I was in bed by 8pm, lights out by 9pm and asleep by 9:30pm.

No, I’m not sick.

But I am planning morning workouts.

I got on Twitter lastnight and was OVERWHELMED by all of the support and encouragement! Thanks for your tweets and texts lastnight and this morning!!! If you don’t, you can follow me @Minnesota_Ann.

My alarm clock went off at 5am this morning. I’ll be honest, it was early. But I didn’t feel any more tired than usual. I was up by 5;15 and headed down to my treadmill –

Thumbs Up.

It was really hard to get started. After a few minutes of running, I had to stop the treadmill, and, uh, use the bathroom.

(What? It happens. I’m just being honest!)

I never caught my rhythm. My legs were slow and boggy. The entire time, I felt like I was screaming at my legs –

“C’mon legs!”

We ended up finishing 3.75 miles (including warm-up and cool-down) and I burned 551 calories. I’m pretty proud of my workout… it was really hard, but I finished. And I’m so happy to have already logged my miles!!

Morning sweat.

According to Ash and Kat, the morning workouts DO get easier. (Thank goodness!)

Do you work out in the morning or in the evening?

If you are a morning worker-outer, how long did it take to get used to the morning workouts?

Half-Marathon Training – Week 2

February 20th, 2012 | Ann


Welcome back, and Happy Monday!

Did you have a good weekend? I had an awesome weekend! Lots of relaxing and spending time with my favorites. In addition, I did some meal-planning and food-prep, put away laundry (a huge victory!) and got myself on-track for the week.

But this morning? We’re looking back.


Monday, Jay and I went to Spin with Kristi. It was awesome to see her (especially since we Zumba-ed on Sunday!) and her class was killer. Because it was Valentines Day, all of the songs were love-themed. I burned a crazy amount of calories and had a blast!

Monday - Spin

Tuesday, I ran 3 miles at the gym. It wasn’t a fantastic run, but it wasn’t horrible. Tuesday’s run was a very middle-of-the-road training run. The time went by relatively quickly and I was happy to log the miles.

Tuesday - 3 miles

Tuesday was also Valentine’s Day. Incase you missed it, click to see how Jay and I spent our love-holiday!

Wednesday was a quick 2 miles at the gym. I ran faster than my “comfortable” pace, and my heart-rate was at or near my anaerobic threshold the entire time. I knew the time would go by quickly (and it did!) and I was really proud for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone!

Wednesday - 2 miles

After my Wednesday run, I met up with Manda and Jen at the LifeCafe. I love that place! I has the calories displayed right on the menu, it’s healthy, and the food is delicious! It was awesome to catch up with these wonderful women!

Wednesday - Post-Run Dinner (Manda, me & Jen)

I rushed home Wednesday night to meet my beautiful new treadmill (click to link).

Thursday was my dreaded “end of the week” run. But I got to run on my treadmill! I had a blast and logged about 5 miles (3 running + 2 extra warm-up and cool-down).

Thursday - 3 miles

My Thursday run was my favorite run of the week. I was able to run about 1:00/mile faster than my “comfortable” pace. A HUGE VICTORY FOR ME! Now, I know it could be just that the new treadmill is “faster” than the ones at the gym. Maybe I wasn’t scared of looking stupid in the privacy of my own home. Whatever the reason, I totally killed my Thursday run.

My little buddy watching me run.

Friday was my rest-day. My glorious, wonderful rest-day. I had a girlfriend over for wine and gossip, and found out she, too, is running the Medtronic TC Marathon! Yeaaahhhh Sarah!

Saturday was our long-run. I was planning 5 and Jay was planning 7. We headed out to Lake Nokomis to run. It was BEAUTIFUL weather – almost 40 degrees and sunny. I loved it! We ran the 1st loop together, 2.5 miles around the lake. We stopped at the car for water and to take a Gu – my 1st time using a Gu on my run! I tried the Mocha flavor…. and after I got past the consistency, I actually didn’t mind it. The taste was still good in my mouth, and it didn’t upset my stomach.

Jay and I split up for the 2nd lap. He took off, faster than me, and totally hauled it around Lake Nokomis. I stayed strong and consistent and we met back at the car. I finished in about 1:05 (a 13:15 pace), and was really, really happy with my long-run.

Saturday - 5 miles

Jay and I grabbed some Subway (hello chicken breast on flat-bread!) and Caribou Coffee and ran some errands.

Saturday - Post-Run Coffee (LOVE!)

It was the perfect post-run recovery, and Jay logged 2 additional miles that afternoon on the new treadmil.

Saturday - Jay on the treadmill

Sunday was another rest-day with some easy walking (Biscuit got some exercise), and some stretching.

Between Week 1 and Week 2, I’ve run 25 miles. That is SO COOL! I’m feeling really good about half-marathon training. I mean, I’m learning how to shift my priorities, and still figuring out exactly how to make training work for me, but I’m getting in all the workouts and my legs feel GREAT! Looking forward to getting started with Week 3 today!

Did you have a good weekend? If you are training, how’s it going?

It’s Official.

February 19th, 2012 | Ann