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.


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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About Me

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine