Sunday, August 17, 2014

Running is hard

And it's getting more difficult with each passing week.

Although, I do have to say, I've had a pretty productive summer. I meant to write a race report for the North Fork 50k (where I achieved a 20-minute course PR and won 3rd in my age group). I also meant to write a recap of the Chase the Moon 12-Hour Endurance Run (where I was only able to squeak out 41.2 miles in 10:50... had to cut it short because I wasn't feeling like I'd be able to manage another 3 miles in an hour, and then passed out in the parking lot... but still managed to snag 2nd in my age group).

I fear my racing days are over.

For a little while.

Currently, I am humbled on 3-mile runs. Since shortly after Chase the Moon, I haven't had a single run over 3 miles without a walk break, including a few 3 mile runs that are more like I'm practicing a reverse of the Galloway method (5 minutes walking, 1 minute running). I was not prepared for how quickly things were going to change. You can read every blog on the subject and still not know how your own body will respond. I've been fortunate in some respects, and for that, I'm grateful.

It's worth it, though. At least, I think it's worth it. Most people say it is, anyway. Eventually? Immediately?

I'll let you know in February 2015 if my opinion's changed.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Getting my motivation back

Racing season seems to burn me out.

I don't do myself any favors. By the time I'm recovered from one race, it's time to start tapering for the next one. In between races, I seem to do very little running. I mean, I just did this amazing thing, and you're telling me I still need to train? What's up with that?

Anyway, in an attempt to get me to actually start running more, here is a recap of my top five moments from the last two months (aka, the five moments from the last two months):

1 - PRing my 50k time at Greenland Trail by over 16 minutes, and FINALLY breaking the 6-hour barrier, and taking second in my age group. I went into this race under-trained--my longest run at this point was only 20 miles, with a few hikes in the 4-5 hour range, so I was pleasantly surprised when I started the third of four laps feeling remarkably fresh, and looking back I can see that besides the last lap, my splits were sort of even compared to 2013.

Fun fact: when I turn 30 next year, I'm screwed. With my time for this race (5:50:06), I wouldn't have placed top 3 until the 50-59 age group, and wouldn't have placed second until the 60-69 women's age group.

You will note that I have no idea where the gift certificate for this year
actually is so...I cleverly substituted my third-place finish gift certificate
from last year. You never would have known.

2- Randomly meeting Steven Sashen while wearing my Xero Shoes at a festival in Boulder. You may know Sashen from "Sh*t barefoot runners say," or from an appearance on Shark Tank, or, if you're a running dork, you'll know him as the owner and founder of the company formerly known as Invisible Shoes.

I 'fessed up to my Hoka addiction after Aaron
took this picture.

3 - Watching three top Tarahumara runners compete in a race I was actually running. The Hardscrabble Mountain Trail Run was one of the toughest races I have run to date, and actually the shortest (45k). My watch gave me an ascent of 3,317 feet, most of which is completed in the first half of the race, with a depressing trudge up an active dirt road to get to the finish line, PASS the finish line, run down and up a final steep hill, before circling back around to the finish. Hands-down the BEST post-race meal I have ever had, and some incredible views of the mountains. If I hadn't been so beat up by the time they lapped me, I really would have enjoyed watching Horacio Estrada, Isidro Quintero and Miguel Lara show us how to climb some mountains.

Not to be outdone by...

4 - Playing Rarajipri with three top Tarahumara runners.

Fun fact: Rarajipari is NOT a game meant to be played barefooted.
Or in denim capris. Or a cotton t-shirt. Really, I was just running.
And finally, last but not least of my adventures...

5 - Summiting the highest peak in Colorado.

This sign was on the ground at the summit, but the altitude was
updated  in 1988. Mt. Elbert's official height is 14,440 feet.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The 21-Day Sugar Detox - Recap

So, I survived.

I am an emotional eater. That means I suffer from thoughts such as, "How sad, that donut in my stomach is all alone; let's give it two more friends and a pizza party," and, "If I were a caveman and this box of chocolates dropped in my lap, what would I do? Eat the whole thing, because I have no idea what chocolate might run away, and I'll have lost my chance."

While I am a fan of flowing, never-ending prose, I've summarized the highlights of the last 21 days into three lists.

The Pros -
1. I am sleeping so much better, and waking up refreshed. Even on the weekends, I don't feel the need to sleep in--although today, while I was ready to go at 5:30, I did stay in bed until almost 7:00.
2. The urge to snack every thirty minutes is gone. It has been since the beginning.
3. Almost immediately from the start, I dropped a lot of the bloating troubles I've had. (See Con #2)
4. I've learned some foods I am sensitive to. I am pretty sure removing gluten, grains and legumes helped a lot. (Again, see Con #2.)
5. Three weeks without alcohol, except for the 1 oz. I had to celebrate our move, has made me a very cheap date.
6. My palate has changed significantly. Sweet potatoes and carrots taste like candy. The thought of a donut makes my taste buds retreat in fear.
7. I didn't have bad acne before, but my skin looks a little better.
8. I cooked a lot!

The Cons-
1. I've had to start eating meat again. I am doing it as ethically as I can short of hunting it myself.
2. I've learned some foods that I am sensitive too. Not good news. I had hoped it was the increase in nuts/seeds I was consuming, but it is more likely dairy--which is allowed in full-fat forms without specified portions on the 21DSD Level 2. I ate way too much cheese.
3. In the beginning, any physical activity (eg., walking up the stairs, moving an entire apartment) had me exhausted. This went away, but more aggressive physical activity
4. The entire detox, Aaron would tell me occasionally that my "color was off." My smartass retort was, "Maybe it's finally ON." But no, it was really off.
5. Because of my moral objection to eating meat, I spent a lot of money on food to make sure it was as humane and sustainable as possible. (This included finding out the name of a cheese maker and yes, that her goats all had names; buying pastured eggs from the most local farms I could find at Whole Foods; massive amounts of Googling and talking to butchers about the conditions the meat was raised in, etc. etc.)

The Mehs -Not good, not bad just things
1. Three weeks is not enough time to tell if this has an effect on my endurance.
2. My net loss weight is zero, due to Con #2.
3. Ketosis breath. Blech. Not really a con, since it signifies good things, but it does mean I brush my teeth more to get the taste out of my mouth.
4. I'm thirsty all the time. When I do wake up in the middle of the night, it's to get water, or to pee because I've had so much water.

I cringe at the word "detox." While it may be, for lack of a better word, a "detox," I think it's more than that. This is a lifestyle change. This is my default, go-to way of eating. Donuts and pizza are the rare exceptions rather than the rule. Processed soy products, frozen dinners, packaged foods, wheat-based dinners, grain-centric meals are not my ideal way of eating--it never was. But the addiction to those foods is gone.

Would I do it again? Heck yes. WILL I do it again? Most likely, but since I do plan on this being the majority of my diet from now on, it will be more as a hard reset when I get off-track.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

21-Day Sugar Detox, Day 14 - One week left!

The last few weeks, I've been scrambling around trying to pack a two-bedroom apartment to move it across town to another two-bedroom apartment. I think we got rid of most of our furniture in the move because we were just too damn tired to move it. The list of furniture we have left (Poang chair from Ikea, Ikea dining table, dresser, and a World Market coffee table) is shorter than the list of furniture we either threw away, sold, donated, or put in storage because muscle fatigue made the idea of carrying it up a narrow, twisting flight of stairs seem like running the Empire State Building.

But we are official in our new apartment! It's pretty sweet. Even though we were sleeping on an air mattress for the first few days, and run an air purifier at night because we can hear every movement our neighbors make (i.e., plugging in an iPhone, moving furniture at 3 in the morning), and if we don't turn our bedroom heater on, it sounds like a goblin is banging a hammer on the pipes. Why a goblin? Because, my apartment, my juvenile imagination.

It is really swell to be out of the purgatory which is suburbia. Not to knock the suburbs, but without kids to send to the highly-rated neighborhood schools, it's not worth dodging soccer moms in SUVs that have no regard for other people on the road, or runners trying to cross the street at the crosswalk. Gosh, I've Hoka-kicked so many SUVs in Littleton.

These are my Hokas.
There are many like them,
but these are mine.

The 21DSD is going well. I've lost a bit of weight, at one point was down 7 pounds and that wouldn't do, so I've upped my calorie intake by including an extra snack per day. I know I'm not supposed to track my weight during the detox, but since I haven't actually been hungry in 14 days, and haven't been exercising at all except to move 400 pounds of books, 300 pounds of furniture, 35 pounds of cats, etc. etc., my energy levels aren't really affected.

One of my first nights in the new apartment, I was worn out from a long day at work, followed by continued packing/cleaning of the old apartment. (We used our Jeep to move, so we were moving little bits at a time and only really finished moving this past Tuesday. Longest. Move. Ever.) Anyway, I thought, "I deserve pancakes. I've earned pancakes for dinner."

So I made pancakes. I don't remember where exactly I found the recipe, but it was a simple blend of coconut flour, eggs and chopped banana. I added some baking powder for fun, and pecans because I had them. Heated up a pan with some coconut oil, poured, and was pretty impressed by the initial results.

Nice. Round and pancake-like. I let it sit for a few minutes until the edges started lifting up. And then I realized I hadn't unpacked my spatula. Panicked. Improvised with a small cheese slicer and a butter knife.

And this happened. 

Awesome. So whatever, I start to eat my weird banana omelet thing because it tastes great even though it looks a little more like an abstract Africa. While I'm eating, my cat Jack decides to show me he ate a piece of string earlier in the day. I'll leave out the details of the awesome time I had chasing him around the apartment before he could scoot his butt on everything I own.

Good times.

Hopefully the next week is a little less uneventful.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

21-Day Sugar Detox - Day 3 and 4

Only Day 4, and I'm already slacking. I did write Day 3's post yesterday, but never submitted it. Oh well, rewrite.

I'm disappointed with how good I feel. I thought this was supposed to get tough. Of course I wrote that today at lunch, and then an hour later, had my head on my desk moaning about how much I miss sugar. Even though I didn't eat much sugar beforehand. Also, what's with all the typos today? I've had a lot of those.

So these posts are pretty lame because the food I'm eating, while good, is really gross looking and not really conducive to taking photos. But all bloggers post pictures, so here's one of my empty Blender Bottle.

Last night, I picked up my copy of The 21-Day Sugar Detox. Recipes galore! Many of them are customizable. I currently don't eat beef, pork or chicken (my flimsy argument is that they're not real animals, but really I probably just think they're cute), so I can easily replace, for the most part, ground beef or pork with ground bison. (Ok, I think bison, salmon and elk are cute too.)

So, great book, but what's with all the beautiful pictures of sugar crystals? Don't you know what that does to a girl on Day 4 of the program?

Now to where you judge my foods.

Day 3:

-2 eggs, 1 egg white, 1.5 plum tomatoes, 1 cup raw spinach

-Leftover bison chili, half an avocado

- 3 oz bison medallion
- mixed baby greens
- simple spinach soup from the 21-Day Sugar Detox

- celery and homemade almond butter

Day 4:

I tried to make today a little more interesting. This was the first time for the detox I included fruit (was supposed to be doing that every day, but I didn't have any that fit the bill). Before leaving work this morning, I made a modified version of The 21-Day Sugar Detox's Coco-Monkey smoothie. Really simple, and very satisfying even without the sweetness.

I've never really liked mashed potatoes, but I've wanted to try making their more Paleo-friendly counterpart, the mashed cauliflower. Somewhere on the interwebs yesterday I ran into a truffled mashed potato recipe, and for some reason I find myself with an overabundance of truffle oil, fresh cauliflower, and organic butter that's about at the end of its life. Add a pinch of rosemary, and .. Okay, add a lot of rosemary, because what's the worst that could happen if you add too much rosemary, it tastes more rosemary-ish? And that's a bad thing? Anyway, rosemary is essential. Doesn't even need garlic, because for some magical reason, cauliflower is always subtly garlic-flavored.

Today's breakfast was equally as exciting as yesterday's. Egg plus tomato plus spinach equals delicious monotony.

Mid-morning oh-my-gosh-give-me-second-breakfasts-please - variation of 21DSD coco-monkey smoothie (I used 8 oz. full fat coconut milk, 28 almonds, 1 under ripe banana and 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, just omitted the avocado).

-3 oz. leftover bison medallion over baby greens and carrots

- 6 oz. salmon
- truffled mashed cauliflower with rosemary. Actually turned out really, really good!
- mixed baby greens

- 1 oz. aged cheddar

Monday, February 10, 2014

21 Day Sugar Detox - Day 2

Amazing how fast you can lose fitness. I mean, I ran practically every day in January until I got caught up with traveling for work and wound up in New York, where it was way too dangerous to even breathe outdoors. Since, my training has been really spotty. I couldn't even sleep last night realizing my next 50k is less than 3 months away and I haven't run more than 10 miles at a go since September. Dreams of DNFs for a 50k... ugly.

Aaron and I went for a short jog after work for him to try out his new Inov-8 shoes and for me to stop being lazy. Somehow I managed to pack up my two pairs of road running shows (even my XeroShoes were packed up). That left me with two trail shoes. I love my trail shoes. On the trail. On the road, I'd do better barefoot. Running on nails.

But it's too cold for barefoot running today, so I opted for trail shoes. My right IT band and knee are still grumbling about it. Got my heating pad on it now. His name is Jack. Purring, but not sure he's happy.

I'm not feeling any symptoms of cutting back on carbs/sugar yet. I also haven't been hungry. Weird. Very weird.

- 2 eggs plus 1 white, half a cup of spinach, 1.5 plum tomatoes

- leftovers (bison chili)
- half an avocado

- salmon
- baked broccoli
- small green salad (mixed baby greens, celery, baby carrots)

- celery and almond butter
- coconut butter truffles

20-minute torture jog

Totals Calories: 1718
Fat: 118g [58%]
Carbohydrates (fiber): 66g (29g) [14%]
Sugar: 26g
Protein: 127g [28%]

Sunday, February 9, 2014

21-Day Sugar Detox: Day 1

This was not very well planned at all, but I think it's about time I make a change in my diet. I hope this 21DSD thingy is a hard reset for my eating habits.

Side note. Every time I say or hear "eating habits," I can't help but think of how beautifully Louis CK sums up my diet. Definitely not safe for work, not safe for kids, not safe for the easily offended.

Generally, I eat like crap. I've been vegetarian (with a two-year vegan stint, a few flirtations with pescatarianism here and there) for the better part of the last 8 years. I started racing (read: finishing) ultramarathons in 2012. I wasn't really racing per se--once I placed third in my age group, but there were only five people in my age group, and the girl who won the AG award finished about an hour before me. I usually finish comfortably at the front of the last third of the finishing pool.

Training for an ultramarathon means running a lot. For me, it meant running a fair amount more than the average person, but not nearly as much as serious marathoners and ultrarunners. It also means that I eat whateverthef*&!Iwant. Even though my racing season is only about four months long, dinner usually looks like this whether or not I'm training:

This was my lunch yesterday. Yeah. The whole pizza.
At least I only ate half the donut. Trying to eat healthy here.

I have a strange relationship with food, which I'm sure I'll flesh out publicly over the course of the next 21 days as sugar deprivation begins to settle in. I may even share half-naked pictures when the delirium hits. Who knows.

So let's get to the part where you all can judge my food, k?

Apparently I already screwed up with breakfast. The protein powder I use, which is the best that I've found for my gut that tastes pretty great, contains more than one ingredient (a no-no), and also contains stevia.

I didn't understand why stevia was on the forbidden foods list, but part of the point of the 21 DSD is to reset your palate, and I guess some people think stevia is sweet? I think it tastes like crap, much like aspartame, personally, but it doesn't shine through in the Raw Protein.

Normally I eat a lot. My caloric intake was too low for my preferences for today, but I'm still feeling a bit ill from yesterday.

- coffee (a lot)
- green smoothie (baby kale, protein powder, wheat grass powder, almonds--only 170 calories, but I was still feeling sick from dinner the night before)

Looks radioactive. Tastes like... blended kale and protein stuff.

Lunch (still not feeling great)
- avocado
- handful of almonds and pecans

- bison chili

- an attempt at cinnamon coconut butter truffle. Mine did not turn out very good, but that was entirely user error (too much salt and cheap vanilla). On the bright side, I did make my own coconut butter. Why have I never had coconut butter before now?

- thought about running. didn't.
- moved kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, and about 400lbs of books from my current apartment in suburbia to my new apartment in the city.

Calories: 1537
Fat: 109g. Yowza
Carbohydrates (fiber): 55g (29g)
Sugar: 15g
Protein: 97g