Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monumental Training, Week 9.5...

Because "Monumental Training" is more fun to say than "International Training"...
(if you're new, I have the Detroit International Half Marathon two weeks before the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon)

Why Week 9.5?  Well, A. It's Wednesday, the week is half over! Get with it!  And B. I'm just going to tell you what's going on up to now, including today.

. . .

I broke my ass.

I'm going to call that my theme of the week.

I repeated that several times over the last few days.

I didn't really.



I actually had this problem two weeks in a row. This week, I was just a touch smarter, and maybe a bit tougher, about it. Monday is squat day. Last Monday, I squatted heavy, did some box jumps, did some kettlebell swings, ran 5 miles on Tuesday, and couldn't walk by lunchtime. I'm pretty sure Wednesday ended up being bench press only, and then I waddled back into the house...

This Monday, I squatted heavy again, completed 3 reps each at 85, 95 and 105. Then I did 4 rounds of 10 box jumps, 10 walking lunges with the 45lbs bar, and 10 pushups on the box. Tuesday, I ran 4 miles (it was supposed to be 5, but I ran out of time).   Today though... I could move! Sort of. So I did bench presses and 4 rounds of 10 burpees, 5 ring rows, 5 shoulder presses each arm at 20lbs, plus some ab work.  I have weak shoulders and I hate burpees. But I got it done!  I'm quite proud of that.

My long run on Saturday was a hot (literally) mess.  The schedule called for 12 miles. I didn't rush out the door, and knew it would bite me in the ass, but at about 9:00 a.m., I loaded the Camelbak and off I went.  Heading out the door, it was a perfect 68, and I was on mostly shady neighborhood streets. I was clipping along at about 10:20, which is faster than my normal race pace, but it felt good. I knew I was going a bit fast, but didn't stop to reign it in.

By mile 5, I was hurting. I was out in the sun. Nothing but the sun. It was hot. I could feel the heat in my face, and wanted nothing more than to quit already.  I slogged through the next 5.5 miles. At around mile 10.5, I had to pause and stretch, hiding gratefully in the shade under a tree. I even texted my husband to tell him I was struggling. "Finish it. You don't quit."   I beat myself up a bit, because, yes, I sometimes do quit. But I am not proud of quitting, ever. So I kept going. It was not pretty. In fact, it was agony.

I trudged home, collapsed, and promptly checked the weather. In the 2 hours I'd been running, the temp had gone from 68 to 78, with not a cloud in the sky. Considering the mild summer we've had, and the very cool mornings I usually run in, 78 was HOT. (I know this sounds ridiculous, but mornings this summer have been in the 58 - 62 range, and obviously no sun.) Also, my early splits were 10:28, 10:25, 10:02, and 10:38.  The early speed showed in the late slow.  But! It's done. Another long run in the books, and 12 miles closer to the Monumental Marathon!

Feeling buff post-long run. And showing off my new Inov-8 tank top, which performed beautifully!

What are you training for?  How is training going?

My Whole 30 Experience...

I promised this post a few weeks ago, but here it finally is. My thoughts on my Whole 30 experience.

As I mentioned when I started this, I recently read Chris Kresser's Personal Paleo Code. The book resonated with me for a number of reasons, and I really liked his acknowledgement that Paleo is not a 'one-size-fits-all' lifestyle. After all, I often argued to my husband, I can eat corn without problems, so why not have it as an occasional treat?

Kresser's plan has you do essentially a Whole 30. He calls it a Reset Diet. But you eliminate grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, butter, white potatoes (which are now Whole 30-approved), and take a few other important steps for 30 days. After this point, you can test various foods to see if and how your body reacts.

I posted earlier about the biggest hurdle I encountered, an accidental lack of carbs! We sorted that out with sweet potatoes and plantains and felt much happier and better able to perform while working out. So, a few things I learned:

  • I actually can't eat grains. I'd argued to my husband all along that I could handle corn, and I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't be allowed to eat it. For 30 days, I craved tortilla chips. All I wanted was chips and salsa. So, against the recommended plan, that was the first food I tested.  Chipotle chips and medium salsa? Down the hatch! Best lunch in a long time. 6 hours later while walking the dog? Sharp, painful stomach cramping. The corn wasn't completely out of my system until almost 24 hours later, and I missed my morning workout.  I actually still have not tested rice, though I did have rice noodles. Reactions haven't been quite as bad, but I generally don't feel good on grains.
  • Sugar is simply a habit. I found it very interesting how easy it was for me to give up sugar and move on. I've never had a big sweet tooth, and the Whole 30 made it very clear to me that visiting the candy bowl at work was simply a habit.  Again, I've had cheats here, but I am much more aware of it. Sugar is a conscious choice now, not a mindless "oopsy".
  • Dairy is iffy. I didn't get a clear answer on dairy. I haven't gone back to yogurt, and I'm very conscious of the cheese I choose to eat, but some days I feel perfectly fine, and others not so much. The obvious answer here is yummmmmmmm, cheeeeeeeeese!
  • Stress = Alcohol. I enjoy drinking. There, I said it. I also drink when I'm stressed. A glass of wine after a long day of work is delightful. Abstaining for 30 days really drew my attention to this correlation. But I still don't see it as a big problem. I understand the potential drawbacks to drinking, but also don't think a single glass after work is a big deal. I am glad to have seen the correlation clearly though so I can be aware if it becomes an issue.
  • Stress is a big problem for me.  My whole life is a big ball of stress. It's who I am. It seems like every management method, every supplement, every attempt to control stress simply fails. I am a sensitive person. I'm learning to embrace that. But it means I internalize and feel responsibility for, well, everything. And this is holding me back.
On that note...  a few things I didn't learn, or, my disappointments with Whole 30:

  • I can't lose weight. There, I said it. I went to a doctor, who figured I had adrenal fatigue, or just need to stop eating bananas after 4:00 p.m. (seriously) (I don't). I took supplements for my adrenals and had more energy, but not a single budge on my body. I took before and after photos on my Whole 30. Nothing changed. I will not post them. I changed how I work out, adding more strength and such. I can see a little more muscle, and my butt is bigger, but otherwise, yeah.. nothing changed. 99% of people have Whole 30 success stories of losing weight and being otherwise amazing. I do not.
  • I didn't feel 100% awesome, or find the fountain of youth of energy. The stabbing stomach pains I sometimes get are generally gone. I know my gut is healing. But, I still felt bad a decent amount of time. And I didn't have all the energy I thought I would. My workouts aren't easier, my runs aren't easier. I know part of this is stress-related, but....
  • In general, my joy toward food was gone.  Doing Whole 30, I felt discouraged about food. I saw it as fuel, period. This was good and bad. I am much more conscious about what it's doing to my body. But, I am discouraged by the high cost of eating the Paleo way (holy F meat is pricey). I am depressed by my inability to lose weight, look good, perform well athletically.  I still feel much more guilty about anything that isn't Whole 30. 
I refuse to make food a source of stress, which has led to a relaxation of my diet. But I often feel guilt over that relaxation. I know many of my issues are probably beyond diet, but in terms of Whole 30, I am a bit disappointed. I expected to see more and better results. I don't regret it, because I think the things I learned far outweigh the inability to drop some chunk. I would encourage anyone to do a Whole 30 to explore some of those cravings and connections within your diet. 

I do think when it comes to food there is a fine line to walk between health and stress.  While I'm discouraged that I didn't lose weight, I also feel like joy in food is more important. I have made many amazing meals that are Paleo. Dialed-in Paleo even (Kinda like 80% 30 instead of Whole). Diet didn't solve everything for me, nor can it. And with that in mind, I want to take the good lessons I learned and move forward without making food a stress point. I am conscious of what I eat, but I am dropping the guilt over the occasional cheat. I want to live the healthiest life possible, but I'm also aware that I'm only living one life, and I'm going to enjoy it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monumental Training, Week 8...

Week 8 was a bit eventful...  I wrote myself a pretty intense workout Monday, still cranked out my miles Tuesday, and regretted it by lunchtime Tuesday!

Monday, I did a 3x5 of squats at 75, 80, and 95, did ab work, and did 3 rounds of 10 box jumps, 10 push-ups on the box, and 10 kettlebell swings at 35. By the time I was getting up from my desk that day, I was hurting! I managed to crank out my 5 miles Tuesday, and well, can't even remember the rest of the week! I felt pretty badass until about Tuesday afternoon though!

This weekend the schedule called for a 5K race instead of a long run, and I was happy to oblige. Dear Husband decided to run with me since he started a new strength program this morning. Usually, he runs "with" me, and leaves me in the dust within a half mile. But, he decided to stick with me and push me along. We ran a 29:29 5K... my PR is 29:25. I'll take it!

Things have been extremely hectic at work, so I keep meaning to write more, and just, well, not. In the grand scheme of work/life balance, I have to work, I have to marathon train, and I have to find time to relax for my health.

What are you training for? How is your work/life/training balance?