Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taper week, 10 mile run, bacon party, and faileo

It's been a bumpy ride the last few weeks, but I've officially reached my taper week.  Or maybe I should say, I've finally reached my official taper week.  Over the last few weeks I've been dealing with overtraining, lack of motivation, some poor food choices and the consequences of those choices.  As a result I've backed off a little from my training schedule and it's had me a little concerned I might not be prepared enough by race time.

But, Saturday I completed my 10 mile run and it felt okay.  Not good.  Not great.  But okay enough that I feel confident I can complete the race.  Here are the stats from my 10 mile run on Saturday:

Distance: 10.03 mi
Moving time: 2:08:13
Avg HR: 139
Max HR: 159
Avg moving pace: 12:47:17

My pace was a little under what I figured my race pace would be.  I think part of that is that I just didn't want to push too hard the week before the race.  Maybe part of it is due to sub-par nutrition as well.  If I can tighten up my diet this week and get some good rest I am sure I'll have more in the tank come race day.

Something struck me as funny as I got started jogging, heading out of my neighborhood while chewing a rough spot on my nail, which I feel a silly need to state is not something I make a habit of.  I thought, "I'm chewing my nail as if I'm just mosey-ing along with nothing better to do.  I think this running thing has just become another part of my life" and I chuckled slightly to myself.

In other, food related news...  I spent most of Friday preparing for our bacon party.  I must have sent 8 or more pans like this through the oven!

Bacon, ready for the oven
The menu was not paleo (though I managed to keep the whole affair gluten free!) and it consisted of:

Almond stuffed bacon wrapped dates
Goat cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates
Caramelized onion and bacon dip with veggies

Bacon explosion
Baked potato salad
Broccoli and bacon salad

Chocolate chip cookies with bacon
Bacon and toffee cookies
Dark chocolate bacon fudge

Here is the spread
Stupidly, perhaps, I planned to do this while I was still logging pretty high mileage.  With the exception of the copious amounts of dark chocolate I've been consuming recently and the occasions I've gone, uh, nuts with the nut butters, my diet has been pretty clean. 

As I mentioned, I managed to keep everything gluten free, but there was a fair bit of sugar in several of the dishes.  I did not cut the sugar in the cookies, and dates are, of course, just little bits of sugar.  There was dairy in the dip, and obviously the cheese.  The fudge was dairy free, but the toffee bits clearly aren't sugar free, and neither are the gazillion dark chocolate bars I used to make it.

Dark chocolate, I've come to realize, is a slippery slope for me.  It's one of Mark Sisson's sensible vices, and has positive qualities including mood enhancement and a high antioxidant content.  There are also downsides including added sugar, caffiene (though some may consider that a plus), and a really high calorie content. 

I was fortunate enough to be gifted a LOT of quality dark chocolate for Christmas.  I mean, it honestly must have been well over $100 worth of chocolate.  But it's been a blessing and a curse.

First, chocolate is not paleo.  It sounds stupid to say, and it sounds obvious, but it has taken me a long time to realize this, due in part to the fact that dark chocolate is pretty regularly consumed by people who follow the primal movement.  A chocolate bar, no matter it's quality or country of origin, is a highly processeed food that contains added sugar.  I think it can be a very occasional treat, but should not be a regular part of a clean natural foods diet.  At least not my natural foods diet.

Second, it seems I've become unable to resist the stuff.  Shortly after Christmas I taped all my wonderful gifted chocolate in a box and placed it in the closet because, honestly, I had further weight loss goals and was having a hard time looking at the tower of chocolate all day long.  Not long after that taped shut box was in the closet, there was a ripped open and retaped box in it's place.  And then, there was a double sealed, double ripped open taped up box on my desk, until I asked my husband to put it somewhere I wouldn't find it until May.

Then, I started buying small size dark chocolate bars at the grocery store, and eating them before my run.  At first, it was nice to have a little bit of chocolate before a run.  I got a nice little energy and caffiene kick and felt really good while running.  But I soon started to not feel so hot during and after the runs where I ate chocolate.  By then, I knew where the chocolate box was and the last few weeks have been a full on dark chocolate fest.

I have eaten 3 to 4 oz bars of chocolate before several recent runs, and every time it's been a poor experience.  Once I got really sick afterwards, and the stuff jacks my heart rate so high I have a hard time keeping my heart rate down where I want it to be, causing me to run on sugar instead of fat during my run, which hasn't been working well because my carb intake is pretty low, which raises my cortisol and....aaahhh!!!  It's a cascade of stress on my body. 

Basically, I can't control myself and it has been taking it's toll on my energy and health and fitness goals.  I've also been getting some nasty muscle cramps since my chocolate consumption has been high.

With the exception of two Trader Joe's 85% dark chocolate lovers bars, which I'm saving for a really special occasion, I have now used up my chocolate stash.  I also forced myself to dispose of the remaining chocolate bacon fudge which I have been less than successful at restraining myself from today.

I have to say, I am hugely relieved!

The bacon party is over, the chocolate is gone, and I'm ready to get back on track.

For the last several days I've been waffling about what I want my next health and fitness goal to be.  Now, I've decided: after the race, I'm going to take two to three months to really dial in my diet and refocus on exercise with the goal of losing 8 lbs.  Then, I will reasses and switch my focus to something strength or aesthetically related (ie: building muscle).

Coming up in the next several posts: recipes and pics from the bacon party, and details on my nutrition and fitness plans.


  1. I have been following your blog for a while now but haven't commented yet. I was excited to find you as I too am eating paleo and training for a 1/2 marathon (in Missoula, MT, so we're sorta neighbors!). It's definitely a change to go from running long distances on the SAD to Paleo, and my longest run so far is only 4 miles, so having your comments about the longer runs and fueling will be helpful, I'm sure!

  2. Hi there, neighbor! I saw you on my followers list and have checked out your blog but I also haven't commented yet.

    I have actually been meaning to post more about the fueling I'm using and why, which I'll probably do sometime this week. Gels didn't work well for me, but I found a paleo recipe that does, and I'm excited about it :)

    When is your race?

  3. I would love a link to that paleo gel recipe as I'm sure the one I have used in the past is garbage! My race is in July, and my training has only been hit or miss so far due to injury and illness, so we'll see how it goes--I might be walking a lot!

  4. Posted! I'm looking forward to following your progress :)