Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random running update

I can't believe it's been more than two weeks since I've written a post. My computer deficiencies make it less than convenient to just sit down and write a quick post...plus, things like work get in the way!

Since the 4th of July we've had pretty good weather most days. I think there were a few random rainstorms at some point but most of my running has been in sleeveless tops. I always run in the mornings so even on hot days it is comfortable. I've had a few long runs that have extended into the warm mid-morning, but that's not a bad thing...I need to acclimatize for Kauai anyway.

I am currently in week 7 of my 12-week Kauai Marathon training plan. This time around I used a Runners' World Smart Coach customized plan. I tweaked it to suit my schedule and needs, and frankly I've tweaked and modified it so much that I don't consider this training cycle a good test of the effectiveness of the plan. I've followed the basic structure, particularly with the long runs. But the one thing I liked most about the plan is the part I've failed most consistently; that is, weekday long runs. A lot of the weekday runs are supposed to be 8, 9, 10 miles. Despite my good intentions, I have not managed a weekday run longer than eight miles, and most have been 6.2 - 7.5. It's not that I don't have the ability to run the distance, I just cannot get the motivation to get out of bed early enough to add 2-4 miles to my schedule. I thought summer would be the perfect time to do that, but...I am weak.

The last two weeks I have been running both weekend days, with a short race on Saturday (i.e. a tempo run for me) and a long run on Sunday. Back on July 13 I did the Magnuson Run Series 5K. The last time I did this back in May I was just over 25 minutes, and really hoped to break under 25 this time around. But it was not to be. My Garmin was unexpectedly discharged, and so I had no timing to encourage me (I don't know if that would have made a difference). I ended up with 26:55...not horrible I guess, but not great! It's a fun 5K to do though. They also do a 10K and 15K (and sometimes a half marathon), but I had no interest in doing more than one loop! (Although actually, I ran the loop beforehand as a warm-up.)
Afterwards, my parents and I went out to breakfast.
On Sunday, I did an 18 mile long run. This was one of those days where it got hot out before I finished my run. My average pace was 11:03 and really, I didn't care that much. I did appreciate a Rainbow popsicle at mile 16! (I learned this weekend that a popsicle is still good on a run even if it is not too hot out!) (This kind of goes along with the study that says that drinking an iced slushy drink can help improve running performance.)
This last weekend, I upped my race to a 5-miler (with a two mile warm-up). Again, a middling time (44:20) but a decent tempo run at 8:43 per mile. By some fluke of fate, I finished third in my age group.
It was a cloudy, slightly misty morning, perfect running, but after standing around more than an hour waiting for the awards, I was freezing!

The weather stayed cool and cloudy on Sunday morning for my 20-miler. Despite the good conditions, my average pace was exactly the same as the week before, 11:03 per mile. Please don't say that is now my long run pace....

For the last couple weeks, I have been experiencing some discomfort in my left achilles and calf. This is disturbing as it has always been my right leg with the problems (oh, my right ankle is twinging too, but that's normal). I've been trying to baby it by not overdoing too much (never mind the consecutive race/long run weekends). After my 18-miler I did an ice bath, which I think was a good thing, but I was too lazy to do one this week. Last night I put an ice pack on my right leg and a heat pack on my left (because the calf muscle feels tight)...I'll see how that works for a few days. I am not too concerned because it didn't feel any worse in the second ten miles on Sunday than in the first ten.

This Saturday is the Anacortes Art Dash Half Marathon, which I've run six times before (this will be #7). It's a favorite!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July Clean Eating (personal) Challenge

Now that all the Fourth of July hoopla has come and gone (including much delicious food and desserts), it seems like a good time to rein things in a little bit and stop eating all the food that ever fed. In particular, all the yummy sweets and treats which are my nemesis.

In the big picture, I think I eat pretty clean. I would say about 90-95% of my weekday eating (by volume, not by calories, unfortunately) is good, healthy food. On the weekends the less spectacular foods do tend to increase, but that's not too bad considering that I do my long runs on the weekend and can absorb a few more calories.

Sometimes I fear, though, that my 5-10% of treats just undoes all the good stuff the rest of the time. Like a handful of jelly beans or some sample chunks of garlic French bread from the bakery at QFC will send my body into a frenzy of inflammation and fat storage. (This is all in my head, not based on any real scientific theories or anything!)

I also suspect (probably realistically) that these endless extras are coming between me and my happy weight which is 5-10 pounds away (not to be confused with my elusive goal weight, another 10 pounds further away).

So here's my plan. Through the end of July (perhaps longer, once I establish the habits), on weekdays I am going to stick with whole foods, lots of vegetables and some fruit, healthy proteins (emphasis on salmon and other fish), plain yogurt, some fats such as avocado, olive oil, and possibly light butter or light mayo on occasion (less whole but I'm allowing it), and modest amounts of whole grains.

I am going to limit foods with added sugar (though not scrutinize the ingredients of non-sweet foods too intensely), and eschew candy, cookies, cake, pie, ice cream...all the good stuff. I really don't eat a lot of sweets but I find it hard to resist office treats (when they are available) or bakery samples. And I'm going to avoid white carbs.

I don't drink sweet drinks or alcohol, so that's not a problem, and I've already eliminated diet pop except as a treat on the weekends, so no changes needed there. I drink a lot of Starbucks passion tea (unsweetened), and it would probably be good to drink more water. That will probably be easier now that the weather is warm.

I am not going to stop using cream in my (decaf) coffee. I am not going to stop using a little bit of Splenda (in coffee) and stevia (TruLemonade in my iced tea).

For my after work snack I am going to emphasize protein rather than carbs (e.g. boiled shrimp rather than a pocket thin with almond butter). For now I am going to keep having a Clif Z bar before I work out in the morning (convenience rules), but I may boil some eggs and go that route instead, eventually. For now, I am going to top snacking on almond butter unless it is on an English muffin for a pre-run breakfast.

I would kind of like to go all gangbusters on the weekend too, but it is harder because I spend time with Rod and the food, while generally healthy, tends to be less spartan than my personal choices. Since I'm not on some kind of serious diet, I don't really want to impose my requirements on him too brutally. Also, I do run long mileage on weekends, so I think I need more calories to fuel my runs anyway.

It's about 4:45 now, and I am feeling pretty hungry, so I'll be heading to QFC for some boiled shrimp. Dinner tonight is the same as last night (and already prepped)--baked salmon, Apple Cowboy Slaw made with broccoli slaw and light mayo, and half an ear of corn. I may throw on some asparagus too, as I spent good money on it and need to eat it before it gets old!

In running news, I am working on a recap from Seattle Rock 'n' Roll a few weeks back. Last weekend I ended up doing two long runs, 11 miles on Saturday and 8 on Sunday. That made five running days that week so my mileage was over 40 even though 11 miles was my longest. This morning I only managed 6.5 miles as I couldn't get myself out of bed early enough. L.A.Z.Y. It's nice and really light so early, I wish I had the fortitude to take advantage of it! Maybe Thursday....

Here is the pineapple upside down cake I made on Saturday, which contributed to my ban on sweets.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

I know, it's Independence Day, but 4th of July sounds less stuffy. I ran the Yankee Doodle Dash 10K for the eighth time this morning! I started with 2.25 miles from my house to warm up. (It's actually less than a mile, I took a long route.) It was a perfect running day--cloudy and about 60 at 8:30. Still, despite the ideal conditions, I was slow--55:08--almost three minutes per mile slower than last year. I probably should feel bad, but I don't care too much. I wish I had been faster, but I wasn't. (Today's rationalization--at least I was under 9 minutes per mile.) At least I had a cute outfit! (The shirt says Firecracker and it's from Run Pretty Far.)