Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why I'm doing Whole 30

I've joined a diet cult. Yes, it's true. Despite reading Matt Fitzgerald's book (well, listening to it on Audible), and actually agreeing with it in many ways, I've chosen to follow a plan which fully meets the definition of a diet cult. (Per Matt Fitzgerald: It has a name, advocates claim it is the best diet, followers are emotionally attached to it, it demonizes certain foods, and it uses fear to recruit new converts (fear about the negative effects of certain foods)).

I'm okay with that.

Before I go into why, how, and what, I should probably explain what Whole 30 is.

Whole 30 is a food program that eliminates a few large categories of food for 30 days, essentially to reduce inflammation and the supposedly negative effects of these foods. It is not meant to be primarily a weight loss diet, but I suspect most of its followers do it to lose weight (like me). After the 30 days, when you feel awesome (presumably), you can slowly reintroduce the forbidden foods to see how they affect you.

The basic rules:
*No sugar or artificial sweeteners of any kind
*No alcohol of any kind
*No grains
*No legumes (except green beans and snow/snap peas)
*No dairy (except clarified butter)
*No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
*No faux baked goods (even if made with Whole 30 approved ingredients)

What you can have:
Meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, sweet potatoes, potatoes, avocado, coconut oil, coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk, olive oil, nuts and nut butters (not peanut), clarified butter, vinegar, salt, fruit juice as an ingredient.

All of the allowed foods are things I love to eat, and not hard to embrace. Giving up the forbidden foods is a little harder (though not as hard as you'd think). Sugar, obviously, is the hardest. I have a love for sweets, but I know not eating them is better for me. Alcohol is not a problem, though it's a little tricky weeding out hidden alcohol, like vanilla extract and Grey Poupon mustard (made with wine). Grains and legumes are not hard for me to avoid on a personal level, but it's hard for Rod to accept. I'm still trying to convince him that I don't mind if he makes beans or rice for himself. Dairy is doable, although I have a lot of yogurt in my fridge that I bought before this idea! The hardest part is giving up cream in my coffee. But I have switched to coconut milk, and that's going well.

For some reason, it has been easier for me to embrace a strict program like this than my usual moderation. Drawing the line between just a little (sweets and starches), and what I really want is just too nebulous. "Nothing" is mentally easier than "a little something." (Because I always want more.) Eliminating those foods entirely (for now) creates quite a large calorie deficit. Part of that is filled by eating more avocado, plus the coconut butter and other fats. The coconut milk is comparable to cream in my coffee. Still, I believe I am consuming a more managed number of calories, especially by cutting out those little nibbles like store samples, office treats, a little of this, a little of that.

One of the things that has happened is that I have been eating higher calorie meals in order to largely eliminate snacking. Snacking meaning noshing, really. I still have a couple extra mini meals to support my running. Generally, on weekdays, I have a small snack when I wake up, part of my breakfast as soon as I can after running, the rest of my breakfast later in the morning (mostly due to my work schedule, otherwise I'd have it all soon after running, probably), then lunch in early or mid-afternoon, possibly a small snack when I get home from work, and dinner later in the evening. (That probably sounds like eating all the time....) I have been eating sweet potatoes or potatoes almost every day, to make sure I have enough energy to work out.

I think that covers how and what, now why?

Well, I already said that "why" I picked Whole 30 was because eliminating foods that are triggers for me seems easier to manage. Why I'm doing it at all is because I really want to lose a few pounds before ratcheting up marathon training in March. Moderation efforts over the last year have not resulted in weight loss. In fact, I think I weigh at least five pounds more than a year ago, and at least ten more than I would like for training purposes. Beginning with the marathon taper last May, then my running injury in the summer (though I cross trained like a mad woman), and then the holidays, I just have not been able to rein myself in.

I'm hoping this will give me a jump start. Plus I'll have the benefit of weaning myself from sweets and seriously moderating other carbs. I'll probably have to give up the coconut butter when rice and beans come back.

By the way, I did read the Whole 30 book, It Starts with Food, and I'll admit that I really disagree with a lot of the philosophies and science/nutrition theories. They may be right or wrong. But still, in practice, I think the 30 day program is something that will work for me.

One of the non-food rules is that you're not supposed to weigh yourself (except once at the beginning and after you're done). I may not be following that one strictly, though I'm not doing it daily or anything. I think I've lost a pound or two. I really do feel less bloated and wobbly (although I will always have far more wobbly bits than Bridget Jones ever had).

After today I will have been doing this strictly for a week. (The week before I was tapering off sugar and carbs, though that all went out the window on Super Bowl Sunday.) I have not had any major or intentional slips. The only flaws have been that the first coconut milk I bought had impermissible sulfites (I think), and one day I had pho (no noodles), but the broth may have included non-compliant fish sauce and I added a few drops of sriracha (also apparently non-compliant).

On Friday I bought a Costco cake for a work event. I cut and served the entire cake without eating a bite or licking a smear of frosting from my finger. Mental win.

Apparently a lot of people feel sick and weak in the first few days, presumably as the toxins depart their bodies, but that hasn't been an issue for me. Maybe it's because this isn't a radical change for me. I'm used to the good foods and I don't really eat a lot of junky food. I'm almost 25% done and feeling strong!

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

If I Ran the 50 States

First...I have a long blog post written about my trip to Maui in January (and the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon), full of cool pictures... And it will not upload. I suspect it is because I have too many photos. But I don't feel like going back and taking out a bunch of pics, so for now it is just sitting, waiting. For what I don't know.

Now, on to my topic!

A few days ago I was sitting at work waiting for a client to show up, and I passed the time by internet researching marathons I could run if I ever wanted to run a marathon in every state. Right now I've done marathons in eight states (multiple in some), and half marathons in a few more.

I've never really wanted to do all the fifty states, either in marathons or halfs, and probably I still don't. The reasons are simple...

*There are some states I don't even really want to go to, let alone run a race in.
*I don't know if I will even run fifty marathons in my lifetime (I've run 16 so far, plus a 50K, and more than 50 half marathons, in about ten states, plus Canada and England).
*I run about 2-4 marathons a year (only one in 2014). At that rate it would take 10-20 years to finish! Unless I upped my annual quota, and that would be hard on my body and bank account.
*Marathons are expensive! And destination marathons even more so.

Still, I was able to go through an alphabetical list of states and find a marathon (sometimes more than one), that I wouldn't mind running, or maybe even want to run. I wrote them down so I could remember. But I should have marked which ones sound really good, as opposed to okay.

Here are the states and marathons I've done already.

Arizona - Tucson Marathon (twice, 2011 and 2013)
California - CIM (2009, DNS 2014, hoping for 2015)
Hawaii - Honolulu Marathon (2012) and Kauai Marathon (2013)
Maine - Mount Desert Island Marathon (2012)
Massachusetts - Boston Marathon (2011)
Minnesota - Twin Cities Marathon (2012) (I'm still interested in Grandma's Marathon too.)
Oregon - Newport Marathon (2010), Portland Marathon (2011), Eugene Marathon (2012). (My 50K was also Oregon, McKenzie River Trail Run in 2012)
Washington - Sammamish Marathon (2010), Seattle Marathon (2012), Light at the End of the Tunnel (2012), North Olympic Discovery Marathon (2013 and 2014)

Since I've already planned my marathons for 2015 (Vancouver BC and CIM), I guess I could consider adding another state or two in 2016. Of course there's always a chance I might go for a marathon in a state I've already done, like Hawaii (haven't ruled out the Kona Marathon--or half marathon--and the Maui Marathon (it's in September, Maui Oceanfront is January).

For some of these I want to run, I actually find the half marathon more appealing. The ones that are appealing to me these days....

The Little Rock Marathon in Arkansas. It's at the end of February and I was toying with trying to do the half this year, but it wasn't practical. I really might plan to do the half next year, but the full marathon...don't know.

Coeur d'Alene Marathon in Idaho, Memorial Day weekend. Someday. Coeur d'Alene is easy to get to, but Memorial Day weekend always has so many options.

Chicago Marathon. Definitely not the top of my list, but someday. Maybe.

Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska. Don't know why, but this is crazy popular. So it must be worth doing.

New Hampshire Marathon - I want to go back to New England in the fall. Alternatively, I wouldn't mind doing the half along with the Maine Marathon half--they're on the same weekend!

New York City Marathon. Definitely not a priority, but it has to be on the list, right?

OBX (Outer Banks Marathon) in North Carolina. Actually I think I just want to do the half, especially if I get a chance to do it this fall (it's early November). Rod has a hankering to go to the Outer Banks, so maybe!

Flying Pig in Ohio. When pigs fly!

Philadelphia Marathon. It just sounds appealing.

Kiaweh Island Marathon in South Carolina. Definitely would consider the half here too. I think it's in December.

Austin Marathon in Texas. I've heard good things about it, and Austin seems like an interesting place to visit.

St. George in Utah. Actually there's a few that appeal in Utah. (Ogden, Utah Valley.) It's supposed to be a good Boston qualifier, because it's downhill. Of course, there's still the elevation issue!

Vermont City Marathon. Another competitor for Memorial Day weekend. It's been on my list for a while.

Richmond Marathon in Virginia; also MCM, of course.

I started putting in links to all these marathons, but I didn't save my work, had a mishap, and don't want to start I'll leave it at that. I'll let you know if I sign up for any of them!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Farewell 2014

Here we are at the end of 2014. I was about to say I can't remember what I did on New Year's Eve last year, but I just remembered--we ate a nice dinner (maybe steak and lobster tail?) and went to see Les Miserables, the movie. Loved it.

This year we're at Wapato Point, on Lake Chelan, for a few days. We're heading home tomorrow, early enough to see the Rose Bowl. It's been very cold here, 10-20 degrees every day. I have been wearing long underwear and fleece tops every day, even inside (although it's plenty warm inside). I have been running despite the cold, six sluggish miles yesterday and 8.25 pretty good miles today. I don't know if I'll be able to run tomorrow before we leave. It may be a topic of contention.

Today I added up my running mileage for the year. You know I had two months with almost no running in June and July (except for my marathon on June 1), due to my knee injury. A few weeks ago I added up the miles and thought I was on track for 1500 miles. But today I was more careful and ended up at 1496.86. 😩 Oh well.

I pulled my bicycling miles from Garmin (I did a lot of riding over the summer!) and got 1496.83!

Even though I am sad about all the running I missed during the summer, I would never have had the opportunity or idea to ride long distance (for me) if I'd been running regularly. In addition to long solo rides every weekend, I did four group rides, from 30 miles to 100K (62 miles). I really want to resume riding in the spring and summer next year. As well as running all the miles.

2014 is really divided into two parts for me. Part 1 is pre-knee injury. I started a new training plan, hoping to regain speed after all my marathons in 2013 made me slow. I wasn't looking for PRs but instead building a solid base. I went just barely under two hours at the Mercer Island Half Marathon, but missed two hours by a minute or two at the Whidbey Island Half (the first time ever in the seven times I've run it). I had solid but not spectacular times in the Shamrock Run 15K, Portland Rock 'n' Roll Half, and Bloomsday.

All this was leading up to my mid-year goal marathon, the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. I ran it in 4:28 in 2013, and felt like I had more to give.

Turns out I didn't. This year I did 4:31, which I consider pretty much equivalent, because they changed the course and the first half was a bit harder this year. I think my second half was actually faster in 2014 than 2013. But still, I don't plan on doing NODM again, at least for a while. I might do the half marathon someday, because I love the event and the area (Olympic Peninsula).
Finishing NODM.

Then Part 2.... After NODM I really wanted to turn up the training a notch and build speed over the summer for my big goal marathon, CIM in December.

Well, we know how that went. A week after NODM I hurt my knee and that was it for the summer. Well, that was it after a few failed runs and no doubt making it worse. I cycled and cross trained like a maniac, which hopefully kept me somewhat fit, but was not at all like running.

In August I was able to start running again. I spent the month run-walking and getting used to the feeling of running. (So awkward! So heavy! So slow!) In September running felt normal again and I was able to increase mileage and start doing speed work.

Over the summer and fall I dropped out of so many races I had preregistered for. Seattle Rock 'n' Roll, Anacortes Half Marathon, Bellingham Bay, Portland Half Marathon, and finally CIM in December. There were a few others I might have done, but luckily hadn't registered for.

In October and November I made my racing comeback with the Snohomish River Run 10K and Fowl Fun Run 10K. My first half marathon back was Seattle--which I had registered for a year in advance. Thank goodness that $60 (or whatever it was) didn't go to waste! I think my time for Seattle this year was about the same as last year. I don't want to check because I don't want to be sad.

So that means I feel like I am at about the same place this year as I was at the end of last year. Which is obviously somewhat discouraging. But maybe my spring build-up will be faster and better this year. Or if not...that's okay too. I'm not going to let it ruin my life.

One thing I think I have gained in the last few years is a greater sense of "who cares." I have had the experiences of being crushed by a missed goal, especially if it was so close. I spent years feeling bad about the Newport Marathon--which was my second fastest marathon ever. WHY? Finally I can remember it as a good race that I ran quite well, and a great trip with my parents by the way.

The reality is that I may never have another PR. I'm not saying I won't, but I'm getting older and while I know I can get faster, I don't know if I can get fast enough to beat my times from five years ago. That's no reason not to train hard, work on improvement, and enjoy running most of the time. There's enough suffering in running (speed work!) to be suffering about running.

So here's to the end of...a year...and to the beginning of another. See you next year!

January addendum...I wasn't able to post this yesterday because of a problem with the pictures I had included. So today I deleted the photos...sad (and boring). And I did manage to get in five miles this morning before heading home!

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