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Posted on Feb 14, 2011 in Food, Working Out | 13 comments

Zippity Doo Da

Hello again! I am just riding so high off of my good news from this morning that I decided to give you all an additional post to get you through the rest of your day. You’re welcome! 😛

Nothing fancy, just an update on my eats and post-work activity. Lunch was a ginormous beast of a salad:

In the mix is a bunch o’ greens, red onion, avocado, and a couple pieces of leftover roasted duck that Ben and Taylor brought home after going out to dinner at the famous Peking Gourmet Inn for Taylor’s birthday over the weekend!

I also had a big ol’ green bell pepper with the rest of the homemade hummus that I made last night:

Green is definitely my least favorite color of bell pepper, but it does work pretty well as a vehicle for hummus (which let’s be honest, is always the goal!)

After work I took my good mood all the way to the gym and cranked out 1.52 miles on the treadmill! Unfortunately, that “zippity doo da” feeling didn’t last too long once my legs starting moving.

It was pretty rough, and I got a bad cramp not too long into the run, so I ended up doing a lot of alternating speedwalking (3.5), jogging (4.5 – 5.5), and sprinting (6.5). All in all, I got to a mile and a half and decided to call it a day. I did do some nice stretching afterward though, plus a li’l bit of ab work so I chalk this one up as a success!

Okay, short and sweet post for you guys. I have big plans to make up a batch of Green Monster Pasta for dinner tonight – I’m supahdupah excited about it!

Question: what is the best way to counteract cramps that come up when running? This has always been a problem for me, and my sister says it’s purely because I’m not breathing enough but I feel like I’m huffing and puffing away and it still happens! Tips from you more experienced athletes would be much appreciated!


  1. Make sure you do a bit of stretching before you start your run as well. Fluids never hurt (pre, during, post), and I find that bananas – frequently throughout the week – help limit cramps as well.

    Hopefully some of that will work for you! Definitely not professional advice, as I certainly don’t claim to be much more of a runner than you are, heh.

    • Thanks, Eddo! I definitely am trying to work in both pre- and post-run stretching because sometimes my leg muscles themselves will just be so sooooore if I push myself even just running, no weight training or anything. Still working out the kinks, but at least it’s getting easier!

  2. Hi Gretchen!
    I’m sending a super big congratulations your way!! That is fantastic news, great job! I wanted to write in and tell you how much I love reading your posts. I have a routine that every night when I go to bed, I set the alarm on my iphone and then look at Facebook before I drift off to sleep. I usually get to your blog through Facebook…. so, I read your blog every night before I go to bed. Sort of a silly routine, but I really like reading your updates. They usually put me to bed with a smile on my face.

    Keep up the good work! I know it’s not easy, and I’m really proud of you!

    • Awww thanks Katie!! It’s flattering that I made it into your bedtime routine — hopefully I can continue to entertain! 🙂

  3. Hey are you saying i’m not an experienced athlete? hahaha…

    • Never! And regardless, it looks like you’ve been right all along, sis, so feel free to gloat 😉

      • GLOAT!!!

  4. OK, when you get a cramp, it’s because you have too much carbon dioxide in your body, I learned this trick from the awesome Kristen Anderson when we would train for 10K’s. When you feel a cramp count your steps, and breath in for 3 steps and breath out for 4. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but it does two things: it helps you get rid of that carbon dioxide and puts more oxygen in your body, and it helps regulate your breathing, which makes you run better. Once your cramp has subsided go back to regular breathing, but keep a steady pace (that also keeps them from forming).

    • Thanks, Rach! Guess what Jenny was telling me is true then, but it’s so helpful to have a measure to go by (ie counting steps) for when it starts next time. I’ll definitely give this a try!

  5. Hey Gretchen,
    First of all, I have to say congratulations! And second, I really enjoy reading this blog. Keep up the good work (both on the health front and the writing the blog front).

    Since you posted something where I actually do have some knowledge (I majored in Kinesiology in undergrad), I thought I’d share it. When you say cramps do you mean the ones in your sides, right underneath your ribs? Or do you mean ones in your muscles, like in your legs, for example?

    If it is the side cramps then Jen is on the right track. Side cramps (or we also call them side stitches) are caused by irregular breathing. So the best way to get rid of them is just to slow down, take some deep breaths and let your breathing relax before slowly increasing back to your normal speed.

    If they are the other kind of cramps, and they could be anywhere in your body but usually in the muscles that are getting a workout, then Ed is on the right track. They often occur because of a lack of potassium in the muscle (which is easy corrected), which causes the muscle to trigger incessantly. When the muscle triggers incessantly it seizes up, similar to if you were flexing it, and doesn’t release easily. Stretching it should relieve the cramp for the time-being. Getting a little extra potassium (or maybe other electrolytes in general, ei. sugars or salts) will usually solve the problem. Bananas are an awesome source of potassium. But you shouldn’t have to change very much, just 2 or 3 bananas a week would be plenty.

    Sorry for this ridiculously long comment. I just thought I’d try to help, since I love your dedication, and applaud your efforts so far.

    • Thanks, Roger! Never a need to apologize for giving me such great information (and support! Thank you!!) cause this is really helpful. I am talking about the side-stitch, under my ribs kind of cramping in this instance, so I guess it really is just about regulating that breathing. Since running in general is still relatively new to me, I guess this part just needs practice!

      Thanks for the info on muscle cramps too though. I plan on doing more strength training in the future, so this is super good to know for when that begins since I’m sure I’ll experience a fair share of muscle cramps then too ahahaha. 🙂

  6. depends on where you get the cramps…cramps in your legs, feet, slow down but don’t stop…stretch into your stride. cramps in your stomach? my father always told me, you think that stopping will make the hurt go away? he was right, it won’t…so you just have to push through…try not to slow down too much, eventually you won’t get them (promise). bananas help for sure, potassium of any kind. sometimes it helps also to try and control your breathing and concentrate on breathing as deeply as you can.

  7. for side cramps — i find that breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth helps. also, if i press my hand against my side where the pain is, it goes away after awhile (but i look pretty decrepit). keep up the great work AND the great posts!

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