Sunday, December 19, 2010

Marathon #3, Week 1

Somehow I find myself training for a marathon. How did that happen???? I've been doing little running over the past few months, just concentrating on building back up the speed I lost when I was injured. This week I started focusing more on mileage than speed. I logged 18 slow miles. I also did 3 Crossfit-style short strength workouts on my own. I even crosstrained a bit. Plus, I'm living la vida low carb. It's no wonder my bottom was dragging on my 9-miler yesterday!

I have yet to figure out the BALANCE with all of this. I'm trying to run 3-4 days a week. One of those days will be my speed day and contain a few sprints or intervals. I don't want to lose what speed I've gained back. One or two will just be easy miles. Then I'll do my long run of the week. Mixed into all that will be a couple or three strength workouts--- functional, full body movements like burpees or push ups/pull ups. I also don't want to lose what strength I've gained over the past 6 weeks with Crossfit. I really enjoy those types of workouts---not so much the Olympic lifts like cleans, deadlifts, etc., but the high intensity interval activities. And for the most part, I can do them in my home gym or my garage.

All of this on no or very little bread! I discovered that I had become a carb-addict. Like many runners, I was just living on tons of carbohydrates. I was starting to carry a bit of weight in my stomach (carbs will do that!) and was always hungry. I'd have terrible mood swings when I was hungry. I had difficulty building muscle. For a month or so, I have been following a Paleo-style diet with carbs coming from fruits and vegetables. I eat plenty of eggs and meat and seafood. I eat almost no processed foods and little sugar. Other than my morning oatmeal, my days are pretty much grain-free, including pasta. I do have a "cheat" meal or two per week---especially Mexican! However, I've also given up beans and rice. The beans never really, ahm, agreed with me anyway.

I have read about 6 books on this type of diet: Good Calories, Bad Calories, The Primal Blueprint, The No-Grain Diet, Paleo for Athletes and it all makes sense. I've also spent numerous hours on blogs and websites reading up. If you want to look into it, read Mark Sisson's blog at or Robb Wolf's blog. There's also a Pa Nu blog (Google it), which is a slightly different take on the Paleo/Primal diet with the allowance of dairy. Crossfit advocates tend to follow this type of diet. I find myself searching for what will work best for me---somewhat of a cross between Paleo Lite, Primal, and clean eating.

Is it working? I dunno. I sure didn't have much energy on my run yesterday. However, I didn't drink any Gatorade or take a gel---it was water-only for 9 miles. I didn't carb load with bananas or apples like I could have the day before. It's just really tricky. I am seeing my abs for the first time (who knew they were under there?), so I think I've maybe reduced a little body fat. (You know you can be "skinny fat?" You might wear a size 4 or 6, but your body fat can be at an unhealthy level. And a lot of runners are skinny fat.)

I keep reading that 80% of body composition is diet and only 20% is exercise. However, I'm pretty sure completing a marathon in four months is 80% training and 20% diet! :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Running Amok

Tired. Very, very tired. Yesterday, I completed my 30 days of Crossfit. (I should post a before and after picture, ha ha.) I didn't think to weigh myself on day one or anything, so I have little to compare. Oh well. At this point, I'm backing off Crossfit a bit and dropping down to only 1 visit per week because my running is about to ramp up again. Luckily, they offer 5 visits for $49, and with the holiday coming up, I'm pretty sure about once a week is enough.

I have, however, joined in on a Crossfit challenge to row 100,000 meters by Christmas. My real goal is get as far as I can toward 100,000 meters.... maybe 75,000. I would have to row 3700 meters every single day between now and Christmas to make it. Let's be real here, people! I do enjoy rowing, but I've rowed 14,000 meters over the last three days. I think I have rowers elbow!

I like challenges though! Honestly, 3700 meters is only 20-21 minutes worth of rowing at an easy pace. But, my new half marathon group is starting soon, and I've got to get my mileage back up a bit. I still plan to do CF twice a week, run 3 days per week, and hopefully have 2 rest days. Not sure where rowing 3700 meters per day fits in there!

Five folks came to my Tom King Classic Half Marathon team meeting on Monday night. They are all five new to half-marathoning. The race is pancake flat---the only flat race around---so it's perfect for beginners. I'm excited for them to begin their training. There are two more weeks of sign ups, but I'm happy with 5 runners if the YMCA is happy with that few. I do LOVE MY JOB coaching. It's amazing to see someone build up from a 4 or 5 mile long run to double digits, then finally to accomplish 13.1 miles. I think the day we do 10 for the first time is my favorite, next to race day. Ten miles seems so insurmountable (even if you just ran 9 miles the week before). But it's not. I just want to get them (and myself) to the starting line healthy! I'd love to get a personal best in that race or the one a month before, but that means a little more running than the 10-11 miles per week I've been doing!

I ran 3.3 today. That's something. I'm planning 3-5 tomorrow and a whopping 7 on Saturday. Very soon, I'll be doing those double digit runs again. I think I've missed them. I haven't done double digits since 13.1 on September 25. It's good to be healthy and excited about running again!