Monday, October 20, 2014

Dick Collins Firetrails 50 - Saturday, October 11, 2014

So what happened?

My goal to run two 50–milers this year without a pacer came to an abrupt halt at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, 2014 . . . a mere 6 miles from the finish of the Dick Collins Firetrails 50.    Time is everything in these races - the clock is always my biggest nemesis -  and I missed the final cutoff at Mile 44 by 15 minutes.

I knew this was going to be a tough race for me.  With 7800 feet of elevation gain/loss over the 50 miles and climbing being my biggest weakness, I worked my butt off in training, spending countless hours climbing mile after mile after mile in the Arcata Community Forest, treating each long run as if it were the actual race, pushing myself harder than I think I ever have before in training.  I had already blown it three months before at Mt. Hood, and I wanted this race so, so badly.  I had learned some hard lessons at Mt. Hood, I knew what had gone wrong there, and I was as prepared as I could be for Firetrails.

I ran this race probably smarter than any other race before.  I didn’t participate in the jackrabbit start (I never do), staying back from the rest of the early start runners, working my way into a good running groove.  Before the second aid station, I caught up with another runner, Pamela, with whom I was pretty evenly matched, and we spent about an hour running together, silently agreeing to power walk the inclines, and getting to know one another.  I lost her at the third aid station, the first time I saw Shorty, but once in awhile I’d catch a glimpse of her ahead of me, which assured me that I was on track.

I did a good job consuming around 260 to probably 280 calories an hour in solid food and fluids which, for the most part, sat okay on my stomach.  I didn’t have too many issues in that regard until later in the race, but I knew it would happen and knew to adjusted accordingly.  I didn’t hang around the aid stations as Shorty and I had a great plan for getting me in and out quickly.  I arrived at the turnaround a full 30 minutes before the cutoff, so I felt comfortable spending an extra few minutes there to let my stomach settle a bit.  Sometimes it’s better to take those extra minutes or you will find yourself paying dearly for it down the road.  It was going to be a tough climb out of that station - the hardest, longest of the race - I knew I needed to be fully prepared and I was.

The second half of the race is just as tough as the first - only in reverse - and knowing I was starting to come up against the clock, I pushed it as hard I could without pushing myself over the edge.  I came into Steam Trains the second time badly in need of the portable bathroom and some extra butt paste, which took a few extra minutes more than I would have liked, but again, you do what you have to do.  It was use the bathroom there or squat in the poison oak a short time later down the trail.  Either way, I would’ve had to take the extra time.

This race was chock full of long, tough climbs, and the climb up to Sibley aid station left me kind of shaky, and I again needed to take a couple of extra minutes to collect myself and get ready for the next section.  Even with this, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind I would finish this race.

When I arrived at Sibley and saw Shorty I leaned over, hands on my knees, my head against his stomach and said something about it being a tough climb (okay - the whole race is a lesson in tough climbs).  Unbeknownst to me, there was a woman sitting at a picnic table right behind us and she said to Shorty, “And they do this for fun??”  He said something about us runners being crazy and then turned on the nearby water spigot so I could stick my head under it.  That felt so good!  He got me out of there in a short amount of time, but I ended up having to use the bathroom again as I left.  Probably not very sanitary to walk into a public bathroom with food in your hands, but hey, at that point who cares?

Coming into Skyline Gate, the last aid station where I’d see Shorty, was - again - tough.  Again - I knew I was going to be pushing the cutoffs and I needed to get there and get out.  There was a split railing fence in front of the car, and I remember I just stood bent over, hands on the railing, trying to compose myself.  I was SO tired.  Shorty was great, though.  “Sit down for a minute, but you have to get out of here.”  As soon as he had my stuff ready, I got up, grabbed some orange slices from the aid station, and start shuffling down the trail.

Bear Gate Aid Station was 4.5 miles away.  There was a nice downhill stretch that I tried to take full advantage of, passing a few people in the way include my morning running friend, Pamela.  As I came up on her, we acknowledged each other with her saying how tired her legs were and me saying mine keep trying to cramp.  It actually worked better for me to run than to walk in that regard. 

The cramping issue had been hovering around the fringes of the race for a few hours, and I had been very diligent about taking an S-cap every hour on the hour, and once in awhile taking two, being mindful of the balance of fluids to salt.  There was only time did I ever feel nauseated, but because of the exertion I was putting out on the climbs, food was sitting in there like a boulder and it was becoming a hinderence.  There’s a saying in ultra running: If your stomach is going south, hit the reset button; that is, puke it up and start over. 

I came to a fairly open area about 3 miles or less from Bear Gate AS, so I went over to the fence, stuck my finger down my throat and proceeded to puke out an amazing volume of “stuff.”  Actually, it was quite extraordinary, and if hadn’t been me doing the puking, I would have been quite impressed.  As it often goes, once I started throwing up, it just kept coming.  I spent probably a good five minutes throwing up while at the same time fighting cramps in my stomach muscles whenever I would bend over.  Have you ever tried to throw up standing up straight?  It’s not easy.

Some of the runners I had passed, of course started passing me, including Pamela and another female runner.  Pamela gave me words of encouragement, and the other lady left a ginger chew for me. I don’t really like ginger, but once I stopped puking, the chew actually helped and didn’t taste too bad.  Probably helped my breath a touch, too.

Once I threw up, I felt SO much better - light - and was actually able to move along at a little bit of a faster pace.  Then about five minutes or less down the trail - WHAM!!  It was like someone - something - grabbed both of my quads and the outsides of my hips in a vice grip and started twisting.  Stopped me dead in my tracks.  I have never in my life felt such physical pain.  My quads muscles were very contorted, especially the right, from the cramping.  Thank God - and I mean thank you, GOD! - another runner and his pacer were right behind me. 

As soon as I seized up, both stopped to help.  The pacer told his runner to keep going then proceeded to work on me.  It’s all sort of a blur, but I remember trying my best to not scream from the pain.  I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand up straight - I could not move.  The pacer - Dennis - dump a salt pill in my mouth and instructed me to work on massaging my quads.  He asked questions about the race, I answered to the best of my ability.  When the salt didn’t work within about a minute, he dumped another one in my mouth, stuck his left leg behind my legs for leverage, and proceeded to massage my right quad as hard as he could.  I don’t know which hurt worse - the massaging or the cramping, but all I could do was apologize (silly, I know), say how freaking bad it hurt, and hang onto his back in an effort to not fall over.

Another female runner who I think came out to run just a few miles with a race participant, stopped to help, as well.  She held me up on the left side while he was bent over working on my right quad.  She said, in a wonderful German accent, “Have you ever had children?”  Me through gritted teeth: “No”  Her: “Child birth is worse.”  To which I surprisingly quipped: “Then I don’t want to have children.”

Both kept saying it’ll pass soon, hang in there and at some point . . . voila!  Everything “miraculously” loosened up and I was able to move.  They both ran with me a short way, me profusely thanking them, then lady went off in her direction, Dennis gave me some final advice, then took off to catch up with his runner.  I will be eternally grateful to those two folks.  If they hadn’t come along when they did, I have absolutely no idea what would’ve done.

As Dennis took off, I looked at my watch and knew the likelihood of me making the 5:45 cutoff was close to none existent.  I had lost too much time, my legs were too tired, and I was having to be very mindful of more cramping since there was no one around to help.

I came into the Bear Gate AS - Mile 41.5 - with only 30 minutes to go the next 2.7 miles, with - yes, you guessed it - another climb.  Much to the credit of one of the workers, he said, “You can do this.  You’re going to have to push hard on the climb, but you can make it.”   . . . . . . . . . I have never worked so hard on a stretch of trail in my life.

I left the aid station shoving some food in my face, and as soon as I’d downed that, I start running and within a short distance hit the hill.  I don’t know how long it was, but it was long and steep.  A couple of short downhill parts were rutty and rocky and I had to be careful not to trip and fall.  But the climbing - I climb hard.  I passed five people in the 2.7-mile stretch, four of them on the hill, including the woman who gave me the chew (thanked her as I passed her) .  All of them had passed me during my puking bout or my cramping bout, and I think they were surprised - and rightly so - to see me moving as strong as I was.  I kept looking at my watch, trying to calculate how far I was from the aid station.  On a short downhill stretch, I saw a guy who had been following his wife all day.  He told the runner in front of me that we were about a mile out, and that’s when I knew without a doubt I wouldn’t make it.  It was just a minute or two from the cutoff.  I would be only six miles from the finish and not allowed to go on.

To my credit, I kept running as best as I could, even though I knew I wasn’t going to make it, passing one more runner before I got to the aid station.  The volunteers all cheered me as I came in, and I walked a few feet past them, trying not to cry.  One of the ladies was extremely nice to me as I partially sobbed that this was my 2nd 50-mile DNF in three months.  Her comment: “You didn’t quit, we just can’t let you continue.”  It was very sweet and made me smile somewhat.  Then she said, “There’s someone here for you,” and I turned around and Shorty was walking up to me.  To HIS credit (because I know I smelled terrible), he held me while I cried, “I tried so hard! I tried so hard!”  He just kept saying, “I know you did, babe.  I know you did.”

He had been at the previous aid station - hiding somewhere - because he knew I’d be close to the cutoff at Bort Meadows.  When I kept going at Bear Gate, he drove to Bort Meadows knowing I wouldn’t make the cutoff.  It’s not like I sobbed uncontrollably or anything, but after the effort I’d put out the previous 12 ½ hours and 44 miles, I deserved to shed a few tears.

Not surprisingly, I had issues with cramping the rest of the evening.  Getting in and out of the car was interesting, because almost every single move put my legs or hips into a cramp.  By the time I finally got to sleep that night, I think every part of my body, with the exception of my hair, had cramped multiple times at some point.

Not finishing this race has been an exceptionally hard pill to swallow.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt better prepared for a race, I don’t think I’ve ever run a smarter race.  The cramping and puking took the cushion I needed to make the final cutoff.  But even with the setback of the cramps and throwing up, I ran the 2.7 mile section from Bear Gate to Bort Meadows in 45 minutes, and that’s with a significant climb.  The course from Bort Meadows to the end is fairly “flat” (compared to the rest of the course), so there is no doubt in mind that had I been allowed to continue, I would’ve finished the final six miles by 7:30 - the final cutoff.

I believe the cramps were what Dennis, the guy who helped me, said they were - old fashioned muscle fatigue.  I’d pushed my legs harder than I ever had before, it was a just a little too much, and they decided to go on strike.  But they bounced back remarkably well, for the final miles, reaffirming the fact that I was in great shape for this race.

I know there will be other races.  I know this race provided some good lessons.  I know, I know, I know. . . . . . . but it still hurts and it still sucks.

I’m going back next year, and I’m going to get that finisher’s jacket.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday . . . Happened on Thursday

I forgot to weigh in yesterday, but today I was 142 (or was it 143?).  I am yo-yoing between 141 and 143, which is fine.  Just so long as everything stays at 145 or below.  However, that being said, last Friday I weighed in after my 20-mile long run and I had hit . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . .140!  Yeah, yeah, it was exhaustion weight, but so what.  That number was definitely on that scale, and I would've done some type of "woot-woot-white-girl-hoola-dance, but I was too tired and I needed to get showered ASAP so I could take my dad to a doctor's appointment.

I also treated myself last Saturday to three new pairs of work slacks (thank goodness for the Kohl's Easter sale), so the crotch of my pants is where it's supposed to be (at crotch level), and I no longer look like I'm carrying a load in my britches.  And since I'm actually wearing pants that fit, I actually look like I've lost weight.  Go figure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

20 Days Since My Last Post?

Dang.  Didn't realize it'd been that long.

I'm still hanging in there with the new eating program.  The 30th will be two full months, and although I think I will begin adding a few grains back in here and there, I am going to do my best to keep it at a low level, like maybe up to 150 grams once a day four times a week.  My coach keeps encouraging me to not poo poo things like white rice and sweet potatoes, but I am determined the do a solid 8-week stint of this and then see where I want it to take me.

After the eight weeks, I will try adding things in on Mon, Wed, and Fri, and then some extra recovery carbs after my long runs.  My body still seems to think it's suppose to be getting all these extra carbs, so my long runs have been a bit tough, but I suspect that will change soon.

Right now I'm getting excited about my upcoming Memorial Day Weekend trip and seeing my buds, Karen and Kate.  Saturday's run that weekend will be 25 miles on the Cascade Crest trail in Washington, Sunday's run will be 15 in Kate's territory around Astoria, OR, then we'll head down to Portland and finish up with the Trail Factor 50k in Forest Park on Monday.  I miss those ladies and am looking forward to running with somebody!

Next on the list will be Mt. Hood 50 in July.  That and Dick Collins Firetrails 50 are my goal races for the year.  Goal races to be run without a pacer.  My reasoning - if I want to run a 100-miler, I have to be able to get through 50 miles on my own.  That's the protocol of most 100-mile races.

So there's not much about this year that's not an experiment. Praying and keeping fingers crossed I continue to stay healthy and uninjured!

Friday, April 4, 2014

No Ice Cream? No Chips?? Now What?!?

Meet my two new best friends:

Zoi Yogurt
And pork rinds

Zoi yogurt mixed with a little bit of low fat Lucerne Vanilla yogurt, top with raisins and chopped almonds . . . I - AM -IN - HEAVEN!!  The Hub keeps telling  me that one cannot live on this alone (for breakfast I add sliced fruit), but I'm out the prove him wrong.  . . . . Not really, but I LOVE this stuff.

Pork Rinds - Thank you, Andy, for this suggestion as an alternative to chips when I need something salty and crunchy.  Just a few does the trick.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

One Month . . . And Counting

I haven't had a chance to post here in over a week, but between work and a huge transcription job I've been working on at home nights and weekends, posting here has been at the bottom of my list.

However, since yesterday was the beginning of the second month of this "experiment," I figured I needed to get some result logged.

When I started this one month ago, I weighed in a 147.

Today: 141.9

Measurements - well I haven't measured my measurements that I measured on a string (are you following this?), but I wrapped the same string around my waist and my rear end this morning, and I've lost close to an inch around my waist.  Not so much around my rear, but however, there is a small amount of decease aka improvement.

(<~~~~ happy cat dance)  YEA!!!!

I've already discussed what I've gone through with the diet change, so I won't beat a dead horse; but it really hasn't been that bad, and aside from a craving now and then, mostly for something salty and crunchy, I'm staying very satisfied.  My "guilty" pleasure is my yogurt concoction with raisins and almonds in the evening.

So now we'll see where Month #2 takes me.  I've basically reached my goal weight (140 being the goal), so I'm not looking to lose any extra weight.  However, if it does come off and it's easy to maintain, then that'll just be icing on the  cake scale . . . and an excuse to buy some new clothes!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 21 - Let's Make Cheeseburger Quiche!

I went looking for a sports drink picture and found this one.  Cracks me up.  She really looks like she's been exerting herself and needs electrolyte and fluid replacement!  (PS - That's exactly how I look 3-4 hours into a long run or an ultra.  . . . NOT!)

Yesterday got the almond butter packets I ordered, and today I got the UCAN.  Tomorrow it's going to be 18 miles out at Headwaters, so it'll be a good run for experimenting.  The almond butter packet I sampled last night wasn't too bad, although I ended up with heartburn a bit later.  Maybe I should carry TUMS with me tomorrow, just in case.  Heartburn + running = Ugh.  And since I won't have any blue sports drink with me . . . .

The UCAN - You mix a packet with 16 oz of water and drink it 30-45 minutes for you exercise, then re-up every 90 minutes if you're going to be out there longer than 2 hours.  I plan to take an extra bottle of water with me, carry an extra packet, and gauge if I think I need to drink some more.  As always - we'll see!

Oh, regarding the cheeseburger Quiche - I found a recipe in the 'net yesterday, and it looks delicious!  I'll have to report back on this one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 19 - Weigh In (drum roll, please . . .)

I love my kitties.  They keep me sane.  . . . sort of.

Well, shoot.  Why did I pick Wednesday for weigh-in day?  Can I randomly go back and pick another day after last Wednesday?  No.  That'd be cheating.

Not what I had hoped for, but today I weighed in at an even 144, so a drop of .7 of a lb.  Better than a sharp stick in the eye, right.  I wasn't expecting miracles . . . but a hint more - like weighing in at 143 - would've been nice.  Something to look forward to for next week, I guess.

Been having a great email conversation with an on-line running cohort, Andy, regarding low carb running.  For health reasons, he has had to drastically change his diet and has been an invaluable source of information.  We "talked" running food and electrolytes today.

Not sure if I mentioned in my last post, but I ordered a sample pack of UCAN and some packets of almond butter.  Hopefully, they come before Saturday's run for experimentation purposes.  Also per Andy's suggestion, will be trying cheese on the run.  Love me those Baby Bels.  Should be able to fit a few in the vest pocket.  Am also considering trying a hard boiled egg - the perfect food.

I mostly came in here to document my weigh-in, so not much more to tell, except that for lunch today I am quite enjoying my mash up of hard boiled eggs (2), avocado (whole thing), chopped red bell peppers, tomatoes, lemon juice, and a little bit of sour cream, and my carrots and Baby Bels.  Quite tasty, with mandarin oranges as a chaser.

Have a good one, folks ~

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 18

Six days since I last wrote.  Haven't felt like writing, and now God has answered my prayers and provided me with a really big transcription job that is going to keep me very busy for the next couple of weeks after work and on the weekends.

Anyway - so what's happened since my last report.  Let's see . . .

Saturday, the 15th, I had a 16-mile run at the very benign McKay Tract . . . .and it freaking worked me.  I didn't take any electrolytes with me, and barely ate anything over the 3:40 I was out there and only had water.  I haven't bonked that hard in awhile, but I deserved it.  Lesson?  Even though you're working on becoming a "better butter burner," at some point in the run (like after the 2-hour mark), you need to start thinking about ingesting some calories and refueling.  Point well taken.  My legs were tired for Sunday's 10, but I felt better than I anticipated, so it's nice to know I'm recovering fairly well.  Also, last week was my first 40+ mileage week in quite awhile, so I deserved to be just a tad bit tired.

I've cheated a couple of times on the weighing thing, but since tomorrow is the official weigh-in date, everything else is just a fairly tale.  That being said, both Saturday and Sunday after my runs, I weighted in at 141.  Woot Woot!  Haven't seen that number in ages!  I don't anticipate my weight being that low tomorrow morning, but it sure was nice to see for a short time.

Sunday, I tried my hand at making black bean and hamburger meatballs.  Sauteed up half an onion and a bunch of garlic, then pureed that with the beans, then hand mixed it all together with the meat, adding an egg as a binder.  If I'd been smart, I would've added some shredded cheese.  Next time.

I didn't season everything enough, and there was sort of a different texture, but overall I was pleased with the results.  I made "spaghetti noodles" using thinly sliced zucchini, dumped those into some spaghetti sauce to simmer and soften up, and sauteed Brussel sprouts, mustard greens, onions, and garlic separately, then slapped it all together on a plate.  It was good!  The Hub - He took the meatballs and wrapped them in a tortilla with lettuce, ketchup, and mustard.  *sigh*

I've ordered a sample of a product call UCAN that an on-line ultra runner buddy, who is a low carb eater, is using, as well as some almond butter packets.  Hopefully I'll get it before this weekend's long runs so I can begin experimenting.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 12 - Weigh In

Not much progress on the weight loss front.  Okay - NO progress on the weight loss front and even up .70 lbs.  I need to measure myself, but I'm not holding out too much hope for a difference in that department in only one week.  I think, for whatever reason, I've been sort of compensating for the "loss" of the grains, etc., and have been overeating a bit.  I need to watch that and work harder at sticking with eating when I'm hungry, not just because I always eat at noon, or I always eat at 5:30 or I'm bored, or whatever.

I'm still feeling a bit sluggish in the running department, although yesterday's speed workout went pretty good.  8 miles with 8 x 1 fartleks scattered throughout the mileage (for you non-runners, that would be 8 bursts of speed, each being 1 minute in length).  They were too fast (all in the 8:00-8:15 average pace range), but I didn't feel horrible, just a bit whipped at the end of it all.  (FYI - I don't like speed work.  It's a necessary evil, but I don't like it.)  I was pleasantly surprised, however, that my legs weren't feeling too bad during my strength training session this morning.  I'm hoping that one of the positives of the changes I'm making is faster recovery.

For lunch and dinner, I've been sticking with salads full of goodies or leftover pork, chicken, or fish with some type of veggie, or eggs (e.g, last night's dinner was a slice of leftover roast pork, spinach sauteed with onions and garlic, a fried egg, and a few slices of avocado.  It was really good!), as well as my usual breakfast of fruit and yogurt.  The salads are getting a bit tiresome, but Shorty's making a pot of chili beans I'm looking forward to.

Weight - 144.7 (bleck - that's a gain of almost a whole pound)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 10

First - If whoever is reading this is from Humboldt County . . . How'd ya like that shaker last night?  Our household was in bed when it hit.  Four of the cats scrambled to under the bed, one road it out on the back of the couch (good job, Goofy!), I stood in the bathroom doorway, Shorty went out to the living room to hold the TV in place, and Dad (who spent the night) didn't even get up, although it woke him up.

This past weekend was my first long run weekend with the dietary and HR training changes, and things went better than I anticipated.  I was so freaking hungry when I got up in the a.m. that I ate a small amount of fruit and yogurt with almonds and raisins, and then had a small amount of raisins and mixed nuts for the run on Saturday.  I ate some of it because my stomach was growling, but tried to keep the food intake limited.  "Why?" you ask.  Good question.  As I said before, this whole change is to get the body to use its fat stores for fuel, and heaven knows I have plenty of that on reserve.  If you feed yourself constantly during a run (especially carbs), you are defeating the purpose.  And like I said before, that's is a very simplified answer.  The full on answer is too much to put here.  Google "Metabolic Efficiency Training" and "Bob Seebohar" for more information.

So it was plain water in the hydration bladder, some electrolytes, a small amount of raisins and nuts, and work on keeping the HR between 132 and 142 with a goal of an average of 137.

I ran out at Headwaters (as it offered me more chance of actually running, as opposed to the Community Forest whether you're either going up or your going down), and by and large things went really well.  My legs were feeling a bit heavy at the end, but overall I felt good - not trashed and depleted like I usually do after a long run, and that's obviously due to keeping the HR low.  Finished the 14 miles in around 3:45 or so, so all in all not bad.

Sunday's run was wet, wet, wet, and, again, slow.  By the end, my legs were definitely feeling it more than the day before (and are today, as well, when going up stairs), and I felt fairly depleted the rest of the day.  We pretty much watched movies all day (it was pouring rain), so I ate when I was hungry and did my best not to sit and munch on stuff just because.

Breakfast/Brunch was 2 scrambled eggs with loads of spinach, some ham, a little bit of cream cheese melted in, avocado, and a small glass of milk.

Munched on Cutie mandarin oranges, had something else, but I can't remember what.

Dinner was a nice salad with hard boiled egg, avo, and my homemade dressing, some pork loin, Brussel sprouts sauteed in a little bit of olive and butter with garlic and onions, and red chard sauteed separately but the same fashion.  A short while after dinner, I actually had the bowl out for some fruit and yogurt, but asked, "Are you really hungry?"  The answer was no, so back it went.  Victory!

I won't be officially weighing in 'til Wednesday, but it's been hard to not pull out the scale.  Did it once this weekend and was happy with what I saw.  Won't do it again until Wednesday.

I am definitely feeling a difference.  The highs and lows throughout the day are decreasing, which is nice, and the full on munchies are decreasing.  Although Karen, who posted a comment the other day, posted on Facebook pictures of pizza and chocolate chip cookies, which just about killed me! ;-)

Oh - and my biggest "find" was to mix Zoi plain Greek yogurt (full fat) with some low-fat Lucerne vanilla yogurt, add in my fruit and raisin/almond mix . . .  Oh My!  I've nixed the idea of Greek yogurt for quite some time now because the ones I have tried, I haven't liked (flavor or texture), and those brands are so much more expensive than my cheapy Lucerne - especially considering the amount of yogurt I go through.  However, I do like the Zoi/Lucerne mixture, and the Zoi is "only" $.88 more per the same size container.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 7 - The Seduction of Birthday Cake

See that picture?  There's one of those suckers sitting in the kitchen here at work RIGHT NOW from one of the best bakeries in town.  ACK!!!  I sniffed it, then walked away and commiserated with a co-worker who can't eat it because of severe food allergies.  At least it gives us something more to bond over - foods we can't eat.

Yes, I could cheat, but that'd be cheating, right?  And how would I feel about  myself after work?  "A moment on the lips . . . forever scarred by your own lack of self-control."

I did, however, purchase myself a high-quality chocolate bar this morning and will spend the next couple of weeks letting that be my sweet treat in the afternoon.  Just a small amount, letting it slowly melt in my mouth.

Shorty made a wonderful beef and veggie soup day before yesterday.  A bowl full of warmy goodness with a dollop of wonderful sour cream - delish!

I've been eating a couple of hard boiled eggs with butter in the late afternoon, and that seems to get me through to dinner since, generally, we don't eat 'til around 6:30/7:00.  Even though I kept telling myself "Don't do it!", I got on the scales this morning, fully clothed, but was happy with what registered.  Remove the clothing (get your minds out of the gutter), and things are good.

Last night did my first true run monitoring my HR.  Had to do it manually, but ugh! it's slow going!  My 7 miles took me 10 minutes longer than usually, and that's on a fairly flat course.  I foresee my week long runs taking quite a bit longer.  BUT - I know in the end all this will be worth it.  Visualize the finish line!  Visualize the destination! Your dreams will come true!

Meals yesterday:

Breakfast - Fruit and yogurt
Snack - (I can't remember)
Lunch -  Chicken breast and salad (was at a continuing ed class)
Snack - 2 hard boiled eggs with butter and four celery sticks with peanut butter
Dinner - 1 1/2 bowls of beef veggie soup with sour cream
Treat - About a tablespoon of peanut butter

PS - The Hub is still not convinced re the whole full fat thing and told me there is new research that a diet rich in proteins and fats is not good for you.  My question - what kinds of protein and fat are we talking about?  Besides, dontcha know that eventually even breathing will kill you?  Okay, maybe it's the lack of breathing that actually kills you.  I don't know.  I'm sure there's research out there on the subject.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 5

Had a really great discussion last night with my coach regarding nutrition.  He is very much in the camp of lowering grain intake and increasing lean proteins and healthy fats, especially the fats part.  He said doing so will not only help replenish the fat stores I will eventually be using for energy, but I will also stay satisfied longer - not feel hungry to soon.  Like today, I had my usual half an apple and half a pear (sans my delicious homemade granola) and yogurt (low fat vanilla mixed with non-fat plain).  Started eating it around 8:15 or so and finished over the course of about half an hour (I eat at work at my desk).  By 11:00, I was so hungry, I was starting to get shaky, so I ate a couple of hard boiled eggs warmed up with butter, salt, and pepper. (As an aside - my mom and I used to eat hard boiled eggs like that.  Memories . . .)

Anyway - back to the fats.  Once I use up the yogurt I've already purchased - which won't take long - I'll be going full fat yogurt.

Coach also talked to me about "Bullet Proof Coffee," which I've heard a lot about lately.  Again, a lot of my reading is showing people are liking this - including Coach - that it keeps them feeling satisfied longer, and they even are feeling more energetic and alert.  Hmmmm . . . .

Lunch Today - Leftover steamed asparagus and carrots with oven roasted chicken legs (skin removed), half an avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, and some lemon juice.  It looks like a mess on the plate, but it's really good.  Loving the avocado!  The Hub is making a bean and veggie soup for dinner.

Weight this morning - down 3 lbs. to 144.1.  Woo hoo!  Sure, it's probably just water weight, but so what - I'm stoked!  I don't expect to see that kind of progress the whole time, but I'll take what I can get for now.

Reminder to Self: Need to go home and look for HR monitor.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day 4 of this Experiment

So far so good!  I mean, how bad can it be when I'm eating my version of carne asada atop a bed of red and romaine lettuces, spinach, and cabbage with cherry tomatoes, black beans, broccoli, hard boiled egg, shredded cheese, and salsa?  I have had a couple of cravings for something salty and crunchy/crispy, but a tsp or so crunchy peanut butter seemed to do the trick.

As far as weight goes, I will be weighing myself once a week - Wednesday mornings.  Weight fluctuates so much, it would be ridiculous and irritating to weigh myself every single day. 

I did the math re heart rate and figured out my max heart rate right now should be 137.  Suffice to say that quite often I am well over that, especially when climbing hills, so I'll be having to slow down, which means more time on the trails and roads . . . which translates into "get your butt up earlier or else you'll be out there all day."  I think my hopes of running with a group of ladies I've been in contact with has to be set aside for now since I will be running so slow in order to keep the HR down.  Hopefully, however, I will soon be leaving people in my dust!!  (Well, not likely, but at least I'll be able to keep up better without all the huffing and puffing.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Low Car or Metobalic Efficiency Training . . . .

That's the big question (see the title of this post).

Today on my run, the timing was perfect.  I had saved a podcast of an interview with Sports Nutritionist (and amazing athlete) Sunny Blende, who was a guest on my favorite podcast, Trail Runner Nation.  By the way - if you haven't listened to these guys, they're great.  They strive to bring information that can be used by any runner at any levels and I will save up podcasts - or even relisten to some - just so I can listen to these guys while out for the long (*sniff* lonely) runs.

But I digress . . . .

As I said, my timing was perfect in listening to their podcast today because of their interview with Sunny Blende, who talked about metabolic efficiency training and eating and how it differs from just a low carb diet.  I then went to her web site and read her article on the same and am quite excited about the information.  (

In reading about low carb diets, I have been trying to figure out where dairy, such as milk and yogurt, fit in and beans, if at all.  I am a dairy girl.  I love my milk and yogurt (cheese is a given on a low carb diet), and Shorty and I supplement our food budget quite a bit with beans.  Could I still eat these mainstays?  According to Sunny, yes!  Metabolic efficiency is all about a balanced diet and training, but the big thing is to stay away from grains and white starches completely for 4-8 weeks: no pasta, no rice (white or brown), no bread, no chips, no potatoes (not even sweet potatoes).  Doing this forces your body to use your fat reserves for energy, as opposed to just your small carbohydrate reserves, thereby allowing you to run longer and more efficiently with fewer calories.  That's the simplistic explanation, because there's a whole thing in there about heart rate training, but I won't go into that.

So I am looking forward to discussing both aspects (low carb vs. metabolic efficiency) with  my coach to see which way I should go.

Oh - the whole metabolic efficient eating?  Makes you a better fat burner / better butter burner.  AND, she basically guarantees that if you follow the program, you lose the gut.  Who doesn't want that?!?

This whole switch has my mind reeling . . . and it's only been two days.  Today we went grocery shopping and bought a ton of veggies and lettuces and cheeses, and I spent the better part of an hour preparing stuff to take to work for snacks for the next few days.  It was kind of time-consuming, and I hope that once I get the hang of it, it'll go faster (i.e., veggie sticks, slicing up cheese,  preparing lettuces ahead of time for salad during the week).  You may be asking, "Why not purchase the already prepared stuff?"  Simple Answer - We can't afford it, so it ain't gonna happen.

So how'd the last two days go.  I'm not sure if I'm hungry here at 7:30 p.m. or just think I'm hungry because I'm talking about food.  And I know I'm craving tortilla chips only because I can't have them.  But the way I look at it, if my husband can stop drinking and . . . wait for it, wait for it. . . STOP CHEWING!!  (41 days and counting!!) . . . surely I can go a few weeks without some rice or pasta or bread or chips or even my delicious homemade granola.

My weight at the start of this: 147

I need to find my sewing measuring tape and measure my waist to see where I end up in about two months.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Low Carb Lifestyle

The amount of information on a low carb lifestyle and its benefits is almost overwhelming.  However, after much reading and talking with others who have adopted this lifestyle, I have decided that at least for the next four weeks, I am going to give it a go.  Why?  Glad you asked!

I turned 48 on February 23, and over the last couple of years, since really settling into menopause, I have found it harder and harder to keep my weight at what I consider best for running.  I struggle to stay under 150, and at the same time, my belly pooch keeps increasing.  This is probably a combination of menopause and hormone replacement therapy, which I could stop, but let's face it - the world does not want Leslie to stop her hormone replacement therapy.  At least not for the moment.  And I like the idea of staying out of jail. (Yes, things were that bad before I started on the drugs).

My coach, Gary Vale, has been talking to me off and on over the past year about a lifestyle change to  eating fewer carbs, but 'til now, it just hasn't seemed like something I want to do.  I mean come on - the world of endurance running has done almost nothing BUT say you can't perform without stuffing yourself with carbs (ever see an aid station table??).  I mean, races even have spaghetti feeds the night before so you can "carbo load."

However, yesterday as I sat at work in  pair of jeans that only a month or so ago fit very comfortably but were now cutting me in two, I decided enough is enough. 

I work hard at being physically fit, but where I used to see progress in my body, I now see things slipping backward at an unbelievable rate.  I'm a slower runner than I was two years ago.  I don't have the energy I used to.  My body is thickening in places I don't want it to thicken.  And I can't believe all of this is simply because I'm getting older.  Something has to change.

I don't expect this to be easy.  I have never been one to count calories or anything like that.  But as one individual I've been talking with told me, if I really want a change, it's going to take work, but will eventually become the norm and it'll be worth it.

So as I step off into the great unknown, I will try and post here more often and provide updates.  I don't know if anybody is bothering to read this blog anymore since I rarely ever think about coming in here, but it will help keep me honest with myself.

I'll back soon ~