Healthy and Sane

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

April 21st, 2010 · 24 Comments · breakfast, dessert, Mexican, soups

I tried something different yesterday – a track workout with Boston Performance Coaching. I had a good run last Friday, then another one on Monday. I was feeling like I’m really starting to get back into (and love!) running again. So when I received an email about this program, I thought it would be a blast. Thankfully my friend Molly was happy to join me. I was starting to get cold feet right before it started so I was glad to have a friend by my side.

We began with a few warm-up laps, walking lunges, kick-backs, etc. and then it was time to run timed laps. We were given pace tables to set our goals. Molly and I based ours on 8:27 minute miles at a 10K and our 400m lap goal was 1:37. Then we took off – three 400m laps. Molly stuck with me for the first 2 and then I told her to go ahead and finish strong. I did not have that much energy. My time: 5:58 for 1,200 meters. I definitely did not meet the 1:37×3 goal but there was no way in hell I could. After a few minute rest, we had to do it all over again. My time: 6:00. I was not in a good mental place anymore.

The good/bad news is that the coach noticed I had the wrong form. I wasn’t using my hamstrings or rotating my ankles. Apparently I was just propelling myself forward somehow without using the back of my legs so that’s why my quads and shins were screaming at me. On our next set I took it easy and concentrated on rotating my ankles and really lifting my knees up. It felt better but I didn’t push as hard as we were supposed to go and felt a tiny bit like a slacker. I know it’s better not to injure myself so I felt like it was the right thing to do but still. I didn’t even realize that I was having all these negative thoughts until Molly said: “Elina, you are doing great. You are so hard on yourself!” Whoa, I was being hard on myself!! Next set we did only 800 meters with 4 splits (pickup for 200, then jog, another pickup, then jog) and I finished in 3:55. A tiny bit faster than the first round but of course I had one lap less to do.

At the end I realized that I kind of shut down mid-way, and that’s not the right attitude. I talked to the coach later and she explained to me what I was doing wrong. I will work on rotating my ankles and picking up my knees. She said that I also have no hamstring strength, so I’ll work on that too. I’m actually surprised to hear that because I do lift weights and feel pretty strong, but we’ll see. Maybe a little more hamstring targeted exercises will improve my running form and will make it easier (and safer) for me to run.

The Harvard track in the distance…


Molly and her dog, Sydney… she’s such a cutie!

IMG_3899.JPG IMG_3900.JPG

Molly and I – I hate this picture of myself. I look so chunky. :(


Instead of taking the train home, I chose to walk back. I needed to clear my head. There were some gorgeous views so I snapped a few photos. So pretty :)



My instinct when I’m down is to go to sweets. I was determined to NOT eat emotionally. Instead I made a delicious dinner.


Tilapia in lemon/caper sauce, roasted asparagus, pickles and laughing cow with hot mustard on 12 grain bread + roasted tomatoes



Such a delicious dinner!


Then I turned my brain off and watched the Biggest Loser. It was emotional and inspirational. Exactly what I needed to lift my spirits! 😀 …. and then my amazing husband surprised me with this book:


I was so giddy with excitement!!! By then it was nearly 11pm and I really should have gone to bed but I couldn’t close the book. Every single recipe sounded amazing and since Dreena’s reputation proceeds her, I in fact know that all of them will taste amazing. I seriously would like to try every single one (Julie and Julia style? 😉 ). So yeah, the evening turned out just fine after all. I realize now that I was still running 8 minute miles (what was up with that stupid chart they gave us? just setting unrealistic expectations!!) and that the coach’s feedback was invaluable. I’ll be back there next Tuesday and see if she sees an improvement. :mrgreen:

Now let’s rewind to…


Banana walnut muffin + banana stuffed with Barney Butter + coffee



Hearty and yummy. I’m back on the Barney Butter wagon. Can’t get enough of the stuff!!



The track workout was a last minute decision but I also attended a pilates class during lunch. It was pretty easy although my abs were burning a few times. Love that burn!


Taco soup with 1/2 FFL english muffin


This was a giant lunch. I pushed through it although I had to leave some chicken. I also saved the english muffin for later and enjoyed it with a tablespoon of Barney Butter as a mid-afternoon snack.



Chocolate white choc chip cookie my co-worker’s wife made. Heavenly!


How do you deal with stressful situations? Is it hard for you to be constructive while in the moment? Do you turn to food? I’m really happy I was able to deal with my frustrations in a non-destructive way. Sweets will never improve my running time so I’d rather feed myself right and work on that pace. 😎

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - eliza

    get some confidence girl!

  • #2 - sister inna

    What IS up with their timing being so off? it’s like they want you to feel defeated the first time you do it???

    If it were me, i can see myself coming home in tears. i’m so glad you were able to see the positives — the trainer’s pointers are going to help you in the long run. actually, i think this is how my obsession with street kamp started. i felt pretty defeated in many ways but also felt hopeful that i might after all improve… the improvement came quickly b/c of the shift in attitude.
    well done on not bingeing on sweets and having a level headed response to the situation. :)
    also — go Adam!!! brownie points 😉 does he know he’ll have to eat some vegan meals now lol

  • #3 - Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)

    I bought ED&BV a couple of months ago but was traveling and never got the chance to make any of the recipes. Totally even forgot it was sitting on my bookshelf until you mentioned it!

  • #4 - MelissaNibbles

    The track workout sounds tough, but fun.

    You look great in that picture. Don’t put yourself down!

  • #5 - runeatrepeat3

    Form can make a huge difference, just be patient with making the changes and don’t change things too drastically or you will shock other parts of your body. Keep your chin up, it is all a process.

  • #6 - Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!!

    In the past I ALWAYS turned to food when I was “stressed” or “depressed”…..and even when I was “bored”, however I have spent the past year+ trying to work on changing that and viewing food differently, as a way to fuel my body & mind healthy and in a balanced way!

    I have had my ups and downs but it appears to be working as it is much easier to avoid going straight to it now……….=) I do credit a lot of that to my love of running, which is a GREAT stress reliever and no matter what is going on in my life I always feel better after.

    =) Laura

  • #7 - Claire

    I have always been super tough on myself regarding workouts. I always gave an all or nothing type approach to my goals and runs. I think that it is really hard not to but I really admire those who admit fully when they have a hard or off day but just say the next will be better…I still struggle for this but I know we can become more confident and know that just because our pace may not be where we want it to be, it is still obtainable.

    In college I was so tough on myself and definitely had turned to food. I think that now it is best to call a friend or talk to your man about things to feel better! Even just nice walks in that beautiful city of yours should help (I miss boston!)

  • #8 - Melissa

    Adam is so nice for surprising you with the cookbook! You totally have to have us over to test some of the recipes!!!

  • #9 - Ashlei

    I’m really hard on myself too sometimes, but half of it attitude. I’ve been working on increasing my hamstring strength when I do weights, and I think it’s helping my running :) Compared to my calves and quads my hamstrings are so weak!

  • #10 - Sophie @ yumventures

    Sometimes I have a hard time taking “constructive criticism” especially when its about something I’m already hard on myself about. It sounds like the coach has really good tips for you that will help your running a lot! When I am stressed out or get upset about something someone says I tell myself to forget about it for an hour, then go back and re-think about it when I’m not upset. I normally realize they have something good to say :)

  • #11 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    Hey, at least you were out there making an effort!

    I get down when I don’t have the right mental attitude and can’t stay focused on a run. Usually I just pout because I lose my appetite with running and so food doesn’t seem good. It definitely affects my mood though.

    Keep up the good work. You can do it!

  • #12 - ChubbyNewlywed

    I’m not so good at dealing with stress but I have to say that I am super impressed that you ran 8 minute miles despite feeling down!! That’s incredible! Do you think you’ll go back to the track workout another time?

    Unrelated: I was inspired by your post yesterday and decided to do a quick workout on my lunch break today. I survived! And even though my face was still beet red by the time I got back upstairs to my cubicle, I felt really great.

  • #13 - Elina

    Eliza – that’s one loaded statement!

    Innz – Adam already told me I’m not allow to pull the Julie & Julia on him 😉

    Erin – which recipe would you choose to do first? I already have the first 2 lined up. 😀

    Melissa – that track workout totally sounds fun, I just was in the wrong mindset. I’m going back there next week and I will not be defeated this time!

    Melissa – definitely! 😀

    ChubbyNewlywed – yay!! Great job! :mrgreen:

  • #14 - Kerstin

    Awww, it sounds like you were being way too hard on yourself. It is really frustrating when you put the time in to work out and aren’t happy with how you’ve done, but I always try to remind myself that something is better than nothing as all! And I’m jealous you got form tips – very cool!

    Can’t wait to see what you make with your new cookbook :)

  • #15 - Jenna

    I tend to “check out” sometimes when I am being hard on myself during a tough workout too. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You are fabulous and strong!

    And try the “You’ve got peanut butter in my chocolate” cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan—amazing! They are my family’s favorite cookie!

  • #16 - Gina

    is the taco soup homemade?? if so you should post the recipe it looks yum!

  • #17 - Elina

    Jenna – I already marked that recipe as one of the first to try. Good to know they’re as great as they sound! 😀

    Gina – I made it the day before. Here is the post: :)

  • #18 - maria @ Chasing the Now

    I tend to gnosh on carbs when I am upset or stressed. Luckily, it’s something I am making great strides with, but it can still be really difficult. I totally understand where you are coming from.

  • #19 - Shannon

    ooh, i need to hit up those workouts one night!! it sounds like you pulled through a tough day on the right side, so that is something to be proud of :) i’m hard on myself too, so i feel ya… you’ve never had any sort of feedback with running before, right? the feedback was only meant to help, not criticize :) it’ll be great if it will make you stronger, more efficient, etc!

  • #20 - Elina

    Hmm, I realize now that it sounded like I wasn’t appreciative of the coach’s feedback. I actually thought it was the highlight of the whole session. I meant the criticism in my head! I know rationally what I should be thinking but I still feel off. I guess I asked the wrong question in my morning daze. 😀

    Shannon – you should come sometime!!!

  • #21 - Valen

    I want to run!! I’m so jealous, but I can hardly walk with my shin splints and I have had them on and off for months! I have to only ride my bike, which I hate! All the food looks delicious!

  • #22 - Sara K.

    You don’t look chunky at all!

    I am dying to get that book, by the way.

  • #23 - Ali

    I def. eat when stressed, but I am reading the Secret, and I’m trying to (key word) trying to visualize not eating in emotional moments and facing the anxieties instead…..when are you coming to class again on Saturday?? That was fun!

  • #24 - pen

    First off, you DO NOT LOOK CHUNKY! I know it’s hard to have an objective perspective on one’s own physical stature, but you look beautiful and healthy and slim!

    Second, it is super frustrating to have expectations and then not meet them, but how knows, maybe the coach’s advice will make it easier to meet those goals in the long run! I know when I changed my running form, at first I got slower, over time, though, the form change paid off and I was running faster with ease.

    Hope yesterday (and today) are looking up!