Sunday, January 30, 2011

Training schedule

Definitely subject to change, but for now this is what I've come up with...  Please excuse my low quality screen cap image!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I ran tonight for the first time in over a month...

and it went ok.

I can't say much about my time, but I completed 3.1 miles on the treadmill tonight after not having run for over a month.  Not bad for someone who has been on a pretty insane weight loss diet for several months!

Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 40 mins
Avg HR: 148
Max HR: 170

I felt pretty comfortable with my HR around 150-160, and didn't have any problems with breathlessness at higher rates.  I do realize my pace was pretty awful, but I'm sure that will improve with more training.

By the time I was finished I could tell I was reaching my limit as far as fuel goes.  My legs felt like jelly and I was starting to get a little bit dizzy at the end.  When I got home I had an apple, an ounce of leftover chicken, some leftover roasted broccoli and carrots, and a clementine and that seemed to get me back on an even keel.  I don't think the apple was the best carb choice but it was one of the only things I had in the house.  I'll need to try a few different things for post workout refueling.

I finished my tentative training plan for the half marathon and will be posting that in the next couple days!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My running history and thoughts on a training strategy

I have a love/hate relationship with running.  I have never been much of a runner and the longest race I've run is a 5k.

There.  That's my history.  This is the part where people might think I'm a little nuts for considering a half marathon.

When I ran my 5k, I was doing a lot of CrossFit and not much running at all besides a couple 400m runs a week.  I was thoroughly shocked to find out that cross training gets you in shape to run!  I was daunted by the 5k but I ended up running it in 35 minutes or so, and part of that was while team carrying a huge log.

After finishing the 5k, I continued to do CrossFit several times per week, and would throw in 2.5 to 3 miles runs occasionally.  At the time, my husband and I were travelling to western Washington fairly often to spend time with his family.  His mom was dying of cancer and it was a really stressful time for everyone.  Looking back, I can see that I was using running as a way to handle the stress, and through that time I started to enjoy hitting the trail in solitude in the early morning.

I haven't run much since then, and I quit CrossFit altogether in December 2009.  A few sprints on the treadmill here and there, one 2.5 mile session at the gym and one 3 mile session around the neighborhood last fall is all I've done.

Training wise, I've looked at a few half marathon plans and have found a couple that I like but I haven't settled on one yet.  I plan to run 3 times a week, strength train 3 times a week using Wendler's 5/3/1, and have at least one full day of rest.  I'm currently on a fairly low calorie diet to drop some weight (I've lost 35 lbs since September and have 18 more to go) but I'm looking forward to being done with that next month and ramping up the exercise.

Probably not many posts around here between now and February but I am excited to take on this challenge and will be back to document my progress!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What is the Paleo Diet, and my thoughts on 'paleo' eating

The Paleo Diet is a nutrition plan based on evolutionary biology (ie: what caveman, hunter-gatherer ancestors ate).  The idea is that humans should consume foods that we were genetically designed to eat, and to avoid foods that wreak havoc on our biology.  In general, people who follow paleolithic nutriton eat a diet that consists mainly of meat, seafood, veggies, nuts, seeds, fruits, and quality fats.  They shun grains, beans and legumes, most dairy, sugar, and refined, processed foods in general.  The three big gun authors in the paleo community are Loren Cordain - The Paleo Diet, Robb Wolf - The Paleo Solution, and Mark Sisson - The Primal Blueprint.  My favorite author to follow, and the one whose approach I most agree with is Robb Wolf.

The paleo community is growing and becoming more mainstream (some would even say cultish), and there is some disagreement about which foods should be allowed and not allowed.  People who follow Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint may be more lax with foods like cream and butter, while more dogmatic paleo dieters will shun even green beans, which are technically a legume. 

Personally, I've grown a little weary of the dogma and, frankly, religious attitudes I've seen from a lot of paleo dieters, and have little interest in debating the pros and cons of the paleo diet so you won't see much of that here.  I'm also a little weary of hearing the term 'Paleo', but I use it here because it's an easy way to for people to identify the way I prefer to eat.  I look forward to the day when the paleo community drops the 'paleo' term altogether!

What you won't find here:
- I am not a scientist or an intellectual.  I don't have a college degree, or any credentials after my name.  You won't see much debate over the details of pubmed articles or long-winded breakdowns on the latest research.
- Apologies for how 'paleo' or 'non-paleo' my diet may be from day to day.
- Much reference to the theory of evolution, since I don't swing that way. 
- The term "Grok on!" or references to what cavemen did or did not do and eat.

You will find:
- Primarily non-scientific banter, and some references to research supporting my position.
- Geeky stats, training logs, recipes, photos of daily meals, and daily randomness.
- What worked for me and what didn't.
- Opinions on the latest happenings in the paleo community.

Why do I chose to eat paleo? 

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or pcos as it's more commonly referenced.  Pcos is a group of symptoms that's caused by metabolic dysfunction, and is associated with much higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, infertility, and obesity, among other nasties.  The paleo diet addresses and corrects the causes of metabolic dysfunction.

I also have auto-immune diseases in my family on my mom's side (rheumatoid arthritis and graves disease), and a history of diabetes, heart disease and stroke on my dad's side.

As if that wasn't enough reason to ditch damaging foods, avoiding dairy has all but eliminated my acne (acne is another symptom of pcos), avoiding sugar balances my mood (I spent many years battling depression), and avoiding grains and high-carb foods resets the outrageous, out of control hunger I feel when I eat the Standard American Diet. 

Do I believe that the paleo diet is right for everyone?

In short, yes.  I believe that paleo nutrition is superior to other nutritional plans and that it would be a benefit to all people when properly executed.  Tweaks (including varied macronutrient ratios and even high and low-to-no carb plans) may be necessary for different groups of people depending on climate, location, genetic makeup, disease states, athletic level, etc.  But I do think it's the healthiest way to eat.  In ten years I may be eating my own words, but I'll take that chance.

Are gluten containing foods really so bad?

Yes.  I believe that the wheat we eat today has been tampered with and hybridized into something entirely different than the ancient grain we used to consume, and that over time, overconsumption of the modified grain has damaged our ability to handle gluten, the primary protein in wheat.  For many of us, much more than are formally diagnosed, our bodies are damaged by the consumption of gluten which opens the door to developing disease states such as cancer, alzheimer's, heart disease, arthritis, thyroid disease, and even very common things like gall bladder disease.  Recent research shows connections between a large number of disease states and gluten.