Wednesday, August 17, 2016

30 for 30: Can I smell your Donuts?

I made it. I'm 30 for 30.

On a whim and a bet with my wife, I hopped aboard the Whole30 "crazy train" thirty days ago. As I wrote in my first “trimester” report, I stumbled into this having no idea what Whole30 was. I have always wondered what impact nutrition would have on my training. For those not familiar with Whole30, it’s like Paleo, but harder. Think “caveman” eating. Meat, Fruit, Vegetables, healthy fats, and that’s about it. What can’t you eat? Grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol (has grain and sugar,) and did I mention sugar?















The wife and I had different reasons for doing Whole30. With my latest round of injuries, idle time is my enemy. I tend to “stress eat” when stressed and have an insatiable sweet tooth. Getting “lean” (less body fat) was my goal. I was definitely around 5-6 pounds above my normal weight. As I progress in a marathon training plan, the pounds tend to “peel off” to (or at least close to) my ideal racing weight. Reading Matt Fitzgerald’s book, “RacingWeight,” my target weight is 165 pounds. It's a fine line in marathon training, your body will burn a lot of calories so you need to fuel. Come race day, the lighter you are (within reason,) the faster you are. Five pounds equals five minutes off a marathon finish time.

Wrapping up my thirty days, I’ve noticed two things as a result of the program; 1) despite being on the front end of my current marathon training plan, I’m within five pounds of that ideal racing weight. I’ve never been at this weight so early in a training plan, 2) my energy is noticeably stronger. It’s hard to draw 100% conclusions, but for the most part I have had insane energy vs. being “off” the program. Sugar, processed foods, and perhaps dairy or wheat out of my body would be the reason why.

So, how did I manage over those thirty days and what were the toughest parts of the journey?


  • Not having a glass of wine with a nice steak on “date night” takes a lot of willpower.
  • Finding that candy bar in my backpack on the road in the hotel took even more willpower on day four. It's still sitting in my sock drawer waiting to be devoured. Or will it?
  • Yes, on another trip, I went to Dunkin’ Donuts, ordered plain black coffee (it was bland,) stared at the donuts like a Jr. High kid staring at the pretty girl in class, then asked the donut vendor “how much to smell the donuts?” #truestory
  • Travel and restaurants are tough to avoid dairy and sugar. You order a lot of salads with protein, and “hold the cheese.” Lemon makes for a pretty versatile "dressing" when the other options are loaded with sugar or dairy.
  • Two of my overall favorite foods are Mexican and Italian—both have a love of cheese like I do. A margarita with a Chile Rellano? No can do on Whole 30.
  • Liquids. I’ve basically lived on water, coffee, and tea. I’ve thrown out several bottles of tea variants that wound up having some sugar or sugar substitute in them. Honey, while seemingly healthy and innocently produced is a big “no-no.” All I can say is that it’s a good thing that coffee is allowed. My “saving grace.”
  • I have NEVER in my entire life gone thirty days without bread, sugar, or milk. I am historically a milk and cereal breakfast guy—that has all three “no-no’s
  • I've eaten more eggs in thirty days than I did in the previous six months. I like eggs, but I'm a bit "over them."
  • Going to  the movies is a particular challenge. I ALWAYS order popcorn, candy, and a Coke. No, no, and no. Yes, popcorn is not allowed, nor is corn. I opted for nuts (not peanuts. those are legumes and not allowed,) and perhaps a Larabar to satiate the stimuli of grazing and sweats in the theatre. Thank God for Larabar! They're legal (most of them,) and delicious.
  • All the avocados and bacon you want. Too much of a good thing even gets old.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Parts of it were easy to adapt to, but the fat I’ve carried for years (even after training) around my waistline is as trim as I’ve ever seen it. I wondered myself how I was able to get through the plan. I think the answer is I approached it like I approach my training. The question will be, what do I do now? 

In theory, (I’m not an expert on the plan,) you introduce the prohibited food groups one at a time to see how your body reacts.  Given all the benefits I’ve gained, I’m hoping I can maintain parts of the plan as I train for the New York City Marathon. Yes, I said that…I’m hoping (let’s call that “planning”) to race in my first marathon in nearly eighteen months.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Three Things Thursday: Foot Progress, #Whole30 Part II, NYC?

It's not that I've been ignoring you, but perhaps you've noticed, there's a serious lack of running in posts of late. An update on that front in today's "Three Things Thursday."

Foot Progress

For starters, whoever has been sticking their red-headed voodoo doll with pain pins;

"I give up, you win!"

I don't want to lament the injuries, but I can't ignore that my latest; a fracture of my fifth metatarsal is not a mind over matter issue, it was a broken bone suffered on a trail run the end of May in Sonoma. At least I was within reach of lots of pain relief in the form of a fine Pinot Noir.

I was in the ortho's office a few weeks ago, and he said I could get out of the boot, and resume light running in early August. I "half-listened" to his advice and couldn't resist running sooner.

It was a mistake.

My foot seemed to "flare up." I also tipped over on my bike after stopping (perhaps too much time off the triathlon bike) and caught part of the left outside part of my foot when I fell.  The foot seemed more swollen than it had been, so I went back into the boot. Shaista!

With almost three weeks in the boot again, the foot felt great, but still slightly swollen, but I was looking for another medical opinion on where I was at so I popped into my urgent care facility for them to take another x-ray. As the x-rays show above, the (black line) fracture has healed! White lines are good in x-rays showing calcium around the area that's healed. #yippee

#Whole30 Second Trimester

I've often considered my nutrition to be the "weak link" in my athletic endeavors. I have insane dedication to my sport, but I have a weakness to food--an insatiable sweet tooth, love my red wine, and sometimes tend to stress eat. That equates to a poor body fat ratio and literally carrying around too many pounds at times. As I first wrote HERE, my wife and I ventured into a Whole 30 nutrition plan. I'm in the second third of the program and starting to see some of the benefits; my energy seems to be much higher with less "swings" from high energy to a sense of feeling "run down."

NOT without its challenges however.

A family reunion (and neighborhood block party) is literally loaded with "bad things."



Just as I tend to go all in 200% with my training, I've been surprisingly dedicated to the program.

I've NOT eaten a candy bar I found in my backpack in my hotel room on the road. Who would have known? I would have.

My mom gave me a late birthday present treat. A box of Cracker Jacks which I love, but the only allowed ingredient is salt. That went in the drawer of "un-eatables."

I have thrown away bottles of tea that I discovered after one sip had some trace of sugar added. Coffee, tea, and water have been consumed in abundance. Not much else is "legal."

I am now on day #18, and starting to see the finish line in sight. The question is what will my diet look like after this considering the positive improvements I've seen. Can I stay eating healthy? Stay tuned.

NYC?

All this leads to the "elephant in the room," and that's, "when can I run, and when can I race again," and "will I be able to use the injury deferral I have for the New York City Marathon in November?"

I cannot predict that I will "toe the line" in New York in November, but I have a "green light" to run, and am going to try my damnedest to be there.

You might say, you should have started training three weeks ago to be able to get there. I know, but I have been working out an average of five days a week over the last five weeks. More importantly, I "doubled down" on my strength training prescribed by my running physical therapist with an emphasis on leg, hips, and core strength. This includes a lot of leg lifts, side planks, regular planks, and single-legged knee bends.

I feel stronger than I have been in nearly two years.

With that, again, stay tuned as my training progresses. I may use a variant of my run coach's Boston Marathon training plan and a Furman First training plan. The later will raise my conditioning and cardio, but be less stressful on my foot in particular that has been through a lot since last October with the stress fracture followed by my wine country break.

What a journey it's been.

And a bonus "Fourth Thing Thursday!" I made the short list (of 100) in the Runner's World Cover Search contest!!! You have 18 days to vote, and can vote daily HERE.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

How I got Duped Into Whole30: Ten Days In

Ironically, I got into Whole30 the same way I got into my first marathon...apparently, I'd mumbled to my wife that as hard as I train, I know I don't eat as well as I should. With her own motivations to radically alter the nutrition in our house, she casually mentioned, "let's try Whole30." Without really knowing what it was, I said, "SURE!, let's do it!"

I'm by no means an expert, but it's similar to a paleo diet. It has no dairy, no grains, no sugar (or sugar substitute,) no legumes (beans and peanuts,) no heavily processed foods (think MSG and sulfites,) and no alcohol. The good news is you can eat "real food." Meat, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats are the foundation.

With time off (still) trying to heal my fractured foot, I was depressed and tended to use food as my "drug" to cope. Not running, and eating poorly started to show up in my belly and on the scale. I also have an almost insatiable "sweet tooth." This all fueled the path that set me off on my Whole30 journey.

The morning after my last birth(week)day party, we started Whole30 together on a Monday. Not before binging on most everything I knew I couldn't eat for 30 days the night before. I am now sitting on day eleven. They say that this is the point in which most people "cave" and quit, but I've got crazy stupid dedication to anything tied to my run and triathlon fitness success, so I'm committed to making it the "whole" 30 days.

With that, my ten days of observations about the first third of my journey.

Day 1: What exactly is Whole30 and what the hell did I get myself into?
Day 2: All the avocados (healthy fat) I can eat? Count me in!
Day 3: I want to visualize that my arm is made from Cold Stone Creamery's cake batter ice cream and gnaw it off.
Day 4: Coffee is legal, but lattes (dairy) are not. I'm thankful for my new Nespresso unicorn cup.
Day 5: I'm out of town, and find a candy bar in my backpack. I gleeked all over my hotel room and stuffed it into my suitcase. It's now in my sock drawer at home.
Day 6: Starbucks and Panera Bread are the devil's paradise. Sugar and bread, oh my. Oh no.
Day 7: I'm calling "bullshit" on people who say they love kale. It has absolutely no flavor and it's only function is to provide healthy bowels.
Day 8: A fine steak without a fine bottle of wine is just wrong. (I abstained.)
Day 9: Who's the "asshole" who brought (my favorite) pecan sticky buns to our work meeting?
Day 10: "Excuse me maam, can I smell your popcorn?" (My wife actually stopped me in the movies before I actually asked. No, you can't eat popcorn.)

Over ten days, I've become "that person" in the restaurant that has a dozen instructions or questions on an entree. No fries, no chips, and while salad is great, what goes on top is heavily scrutinized. I've discovered that while cranberries in a salad are tasty, they're loaded with sugar. I picked them out of my salad today.

Lord, give me strength. This rivals the strength it takes to train for a marathon.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dental Mouth Guard Word Game: Runner's Version

Today's VBLOG post is further proof that I am always thinking about running and that unicorns and running even invade post-dinner game night in our household. I have to give credit to my wife for finding this online and ordering a set of dental mouth guards for the family. No, there's not a dentist in the family and even though my college age daughter visited the dentist this week, the mouth guards have nothing to do with dental work. This is the Seeking Boston Marathon "Dental Mouth Guard Word Game: Runner's Version" inspired by James Corden and a few other YouTube videos playing word games with a very awkward mouth guard in place.




Monday, July 18, 2016

Running Half Buff

Disclaimer: I received a Buff UV Half Buff as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Often imitated, but nothing like the original, this buff is more than half full.

If you're not familiar with BuffUSA, Original BUFF® headwear is the product that started the multi-functional headwear revolution. At its core is a moisture-managing microfiber fabric that is wind resistant and able to control odor.

I am already a proud owner of a Buff Original BUFF® headwear. The Original BUFF® headwear can be worn more than 12 different ways from a cap to a balaclava to a hair tie, for a personalized style and perfect fit. The original BUFF® headwear is made of a light-weight odor resistant fabric that can protect you from the harshest elements; sun, wind, rain, and cold. The HalfBuff is "cut from the same cloth" literally, but has less fabric lending itself to the hotter months. The "inverse" is also true as they have a Merino version worthy of the coldest runs you might have when winter rolls back around.

Being a survivor of skin cancer myself, I'm particularly cautious about what I wear when I'm headed outdoors for a run and equally careful about what products I use. I ALWAYS have something to help cover the head and Buff's UV protection is an added bonus in terms of protection.

Coming off a fractured foot, my outdoor runs have been limited of late, but I've spent the last month doing a lot of cross-training in the gym and like the HalfBuff for those workouts in "headband mode" providing help with the sweat. I'm a profuse sweater...as in I have "cartoon-like" sweat.

With several hot weeks left as I commence marathon training again (gulp...wish me luck, rub your rabbit's foot for me,) I will get a lot of use out of my HalfBuff. One of my fellow BibRavePro's turned me onto a great idea and that is soaking it in water and freezing it the night before a really hot run. She wore hers around her neck and it was a great way to keep the "engine cool" on the run.

Want one of your own?  Join us on Twitter, Tuesday night July 19th at 9:00PM EST  for #bibchat. Follow @bibrave on Twitter for all of this weeks questions.  Also follow @buff_usa to be eligible to win.

And don't forget, you can vote DAILY for me and my run buddy Liam in the Runner's World Cover Search contest HERE.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Lost and Found: The Disappearance and Return of Seeking Boston Marathon

Some of you have perhaps wondered, where did he go? Others know why I dropped off the face of the social media planet. Some of the later understood. Some didn't know what to say. Some perhaps felt sorry for me, and at times I felt sorry for myself. But alas...I have returned! Before I can say I've returned, I must first (re)address where I've been.
Last two years of injuries...and you wonder why I disappeared?

You might say that the last 24 months have been a long and winding and injury-filled road. Most recently, I dropped out of the New York City Marathon with news of a stress fracture one week before the race. Once again, I re-dedicated myself to "bouncing back" from injury so I went slow, but worked aggressively on my rehabilitation. I worked hard on strength, and returned to the race circuit (and podium) one week before Memorial Day. As I wrote HERE, I rolled my left foot on the rock of misfortune in Sonoma, CA over Memorial Day weekend. Instead of slurping down wine, I spent the afternoon in urgent care getting the x-ray and latest injury diagnosis; a fracture of the 5th metatarsal. That's the bone on the pinky-side of the foot where the bone slightly protrudes. An eighth to a quarter inch either way would have required surgery. I lucked out and got my second boot in six months. Lucky me.

Without getting melodramatic, I didn't fall into full-on depression, but I struggled with it. I even went so far as to go on a "Social Media Vacation." After all, how do you write about running, or do product and race reviews when you can't run? I literally removed my social media apps from my phone, and my wife was shocked that her social media whore of a husband shut it down.
Top Taco in Denver on a scooter

So what have I been up to and where do we go from here? First, the "what have I been up to." For starters, I didn't work out at all for four weeks. Not wanting to risk a "setback" I didn't do a thing. Quite the contrary, I gave up a bit too on nutrition and ate like I was still training. Perhaps stress eating would be more correct. My doctor’s instructions were "no weight bearing" so I spent the first week on crutches including two trips (one was a race for my son in Wisconsin,) and the second a work trip to Seattle. I quickly determined, that traveling sucks on crutches and upgraded to a "knee scooter" for the balance of my time in the boot.

Looking at the "glass half full," I accomplished a lot over my six weeks in run purgatory;
Jelly Bean George W.

1) Saw my son race a "draft legal" triathlon in Wisconsin.
2) Saw a George Bush Sr. portrait made out of Jelly Beans at the Jelly Belly factory.
3) Repaired a water heater thermostat. I was proud of myself, and my wife was underwhelmed.
4) Traveled to Wisconsin, Illinois, Washington (State,) Washington DC, and Kansas City.
5) Set airport speed records on my knee scooter in several of the above airports.
6) Attended Denver's "Top Tacos" event on the Auraria campus which was largely a grass field and realized knee scooters do well on airport floors, but not so much on grass.
7) Brought "down the house" with my karaoke rendition of "Stray Cat Strut" at our local pub, and danced on one leg.
8) Painted a “sugar skull” expresso mug for my Nespresso machine. Of course it was a Boston Marathon theme.
9) Attended the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and drank beer with my 21 yr. old daughter. There was beer involved with many of the above.
10) Volunteered at a fourth of July race and impressed the race officials by riding in my boot on a bike to deliver race registrations back-and-forth to the finish line.
SBM Expresso Cup Art

Did I mention I drank a lot of beer? I woke up at least once in a bed I hadn't intended to wake up in. Yes, my wife woke up next to me, (and thank you Ashley for letting us crash at your new pad.)

Moving ahead to what's next, I stopped at my orthopedic surgeon's office a week ago Monday for my first follow-up post fracture. Likely due to my strict adherence to the boot and the scooter, the doc said my x-ray looked excellent! Best news I've got in a long time. He "freed" me from the scooter and prescribed two more weeks in the boot. That ends this Saturday. Oh happy day. At that point, he wants me in a moldable orthotic and also gave me a "green light" to begin non-impact training.

I'm in my second week of getting back to the gym with a blend of swimming, elliptical, cycling/spin,
Daughter of SBM enjoying beer 4th
and the strength work I was doing as part of my last stress fracture. My strength work has a particular focus on hip strength. The un-answered question in my mind is what is the balance of my year look like. I have one (and only one) injury deferral from the New York City Marathon last year. I have battled with the math in my head and my doc's instructions to wait until August for running. That still may give me twelve weeks to train on top of a decent cardio and strength base should July go as planned. Stay tuned.

I know enough to know that you don't rush back from injury, but how many weeks do you really need to train for a marathon with a decent base? My mind and heart really wants a redemption race in New York in November.
Seeking Boston Seeks Race Volunteer work






































And don't forget, you can vote DAILY for me and my run buddy Liam in the Runner's World Cover Search contest HERE.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Runner Etiquette Question of the Day

I volunteered at a 4th of July yesterday and after the race, I was hanging around near the finish when an odd sight caught my eye. An adult male runner walked behind the row of post-race food which had the typical ice-water and bagels, but had the added bonus of Noosa sample sized yoghurts. I happen to be a big fan of Noosa as a local Colorado product that is all natural and boasts some insane flavors (my favorites are Key Lime and Tart Cherry...yum.) Ok...I stopped my drool glands and back to the controversy; the man walked up to the baby wadding pool full of ice and dwindling supply of yoghurts and grabbed what looked like 6-8 containers of Noosa. Hungry, or perhaps taking yoghurt back to his five friends sitting on the grass in the shade? Um...no.





















I dismissed the gluttony and went back to soaking in the post-race activity, then hopped (on my one good leg) onto my bike to head out of Denver's Washington Park to head for my car. There was the same guy with his wife (or partner.) Both of them had grocery bags full of the post-race fuel.

I'm hoping that this guy had some legitimate reason to have hoarded so much of the food. I should point out that they ran out of Noosa while runners were still filing through the food line after the race. Perhaps he had just lost his job...or he was collected food to take to the homeless? Regardless, this one had me stymied. I didn't feel it was my place to call him out on it, but perhaps on these pages, we could consider the ethics of over-indulging at the food trough when you may be taking food out of another runner's mouth.

What's your view, "total d-bag move," or "not a big deal?"


And don't forget, you can vote DAILY for me and my run buddy Liam in the Runner's World Cover Search contest HERE.
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