Monday, February 28, 2011

Great way to start the day!

So... I was off to Houston early this morning for my second training session with Ruth. She is an awesome, sweet young lady, and I think we compliment each other nicely. She is speedy, and I have endurance for the long haul.

We did some warm up drills and stretching before we started off to finish 6 miles in what we hoped to be an average pace somewhere around 12 minutes per mile. Wow, we held it for 5 miles, then did the last mile slowly for cool down. We followed the workout with lots of quality stretching and a stop at Starbucks on our way back to her house. I do my level best to maintain racewalking form during these workouts, but the soft knee is always going to be a problem for me, and I am OK with that. Just so Ruth does not pick up any bad habits from me, which I don't think she will. Her form is awesome, and I know she works on it all the time!

Oh, and, I tried a chin up on the bars at the park. I really was able to do 2!!! I have not even tried to do a pull up since I was in high school, so I am totally amazed I was able to get my chin above the bar!

Now that I have done back to back hard efforts, I don't feel obligated to any structured workout tomorrow. I have to work all day in the mattress store, so whatever happens, happens.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A day in the Life of a Paleo Newbie

Even though my diet has been almost totally Paleo since January 18, I still consider myself a newbie. I am really enjoying eating limitless amounts of delicious veggies! That is where my day began this morning. Funny how much butternut squash tastes like potatoes when you fry it until it is a little browned. I made an egg scramble with purple onions and butternut squash for breakfast and it was really good with organic (low sodium) salsa on top! Hubby even ate it!

I have seriously wanted to go to Georgia’s Market on I-10 in west Houston because they have in indoor farmers market. Most of their produce comes from local farmers. Raymond and I headed to Houston to check it out. I bought 3 large bags of assorted produce items and only spent $13. Everything looked fresh, so I stocked up. The funnies thing was the comparison between butternut squash on steroids that I buy at a regular grocery store and the locally grown miniature ones at Georgia’s. I guess commercially grown produce is force fed so much fertilizer that it grows way beyond what it should. I wonder if that means it is less nutritious.

On to a couple more stops. I actually found market fresh turkey patties at Wal-Mart. Will wonders never cease? When we exited Wal-Mart, I saw something really cool in the parking lot! Have any of you ever seen an Art Car?

I was not the only person who stopped to take a picture or two with the handy dandy cell phone camera!

We made it home and I piddled around putting the groceries away and got dressed for the workout I was supposed to be doing this morning. (I didn’t do it this morning because I woke up starving.) The plan was to push reasonably hard for 15 or 16 miles, trying to maintain a 14 minute per mile walking pace for most of the walk, and have fun doing it! Breakfast was at 8:30 am, and I didn’t eat again before my walk started at 2pm. I used my Hammer stuff (Perpetuem, Hammer Gel and Endurolytes) and took along a Lara Bar just in case I felt hungry. I only drink plain water… I get my Electrolytes from the Hammer stuff and all sports drinks are crap in my opinion, because they are loaded with HFCS.

The first couple of +/- 1.5 mile loops were warming up for a fun walk. I was feeling fine and both loops as I walked through the cemetery and back to the park, I saw this awesome mound of construction dirt and a bunch of kids playing on it. Boy did that bring back memories. The next time I came around, the kids were gone, so I ran up and back down that mound every time I passed it.

I felt so… shall I say… Primal? Here is a picture of the hill. I stopped for a couple of minutes to watch a hawk fly over head, searching for something… maybe a partner? I am not sure what their call means, but it was an amazing sight. I also had the chance to evangelize a little Paleo to a woman who admired my muscular appearance. I also bragged to a young girl admired my muscles about how hard I have to work to look like this! I just missed getting hit by a home run (maybe about 10 yards), and a ball exited the batting cage. Even though I throw like a girl, I tossed the balls back…

What a great workout! I maintained my pace of 13:58 minutes per mile for 14.5 miles! That is just a tad faster than 24 hour 100 mile pace and what I am working toward. Of course the HR got up there a few times, but that was when I was running up that hill like a damn fool! I strolled another .5 mile to get to 15 and cool down a little. The real goal here is to make 13:30 minute per mile walking pace an EZ pace. The way I feel today, that is going to happen!

Thanks for reading about my amazing day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Specific Goals

So, I have been thinking long and hard about what I am trying to accomplish since beginning the Paleo diet. Of course, it is not really a diet unless you define diet as either 1a, 1b, or 1c from the following example. 1d most certainly is not what I am thinking when I say diet. I am eating when I am hungry and not eating when I am not hungry, simply because some silly schedule says it's time to eat.
Definition of DIET
1a : food and drink regularly provided or consumed
b : habitual nourishment
c : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
d : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight
2: something provided or experienced repeatedly

But, to clarify, I did go into this desperate to lose some weight so that I could meet a huge performance goal... talked about that already: Make the US Centurion List. I was not feeling healthy, and I was totally lacking in any confidence in my ability to meet the challenge I had already signed on for.

There has been tons of discussion on Strong is the New Skinny about how the word skinny offends, shocks, startles. I cannot let words of any kind get in the way of my goal which is to get to the body weight my genetic makeup tells me I am supposed to be. Yes, I am weighing myself, because that is one measure of progress. I am also taking measurements... mainly waist and hip. I am also paying attention to how much better my clothes fit. I may never wear a bikini (I am almost 50 and have been moderately obese all my life) but I am fine with that... this is not about how I look, it's about how I feel and meeting that performance goal.

I also understand, as I have stated in the past, that being an endurance athlete does not exactly scream Paleo/Primal... but it is what I do. I also do some lifting, and maybe as I get to the weight my body is supposed to be, I will be able to increase my lifting to help speed up the body fat loss.

Talking about food again... baked pork country style ribs seasoned with garlic, a little cayenne, thyme and rosemary. Side of steamed butternut squash and a veggie salad dressed with high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

My walking workout last night was amazing and spot on! the details:

so... the goal of these slower, steady paced treadmill workouts is to try and get my body to recognize that 13:30 is an ez pace. Start off the first mile for warm up, then increase the speed to 4.4mph or around 13:37 minutes per mile pace and maintain that pace while keeping the hr at around 70% for 4 miles at that speed, then slowly ramp the speed down in the last mile for cool down.
This was a very successful workout. 6 miles - 1:23:29 - overall average pace 13:55 - miles 2 through 5 pace 13:37 - Average HR: 128 / Max HR: 138

Next blog post will certainly contain a progress photo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Omg, another blog entry!

Just have a few things to share today.

#1 – thanks to Strong is the New Skinny for challenging us to do better!

#2 – I want to share my workouts from Monday and Wednesday… they are on Running Ahead. It’s the website I use to track all my mileage.

#3 – I will be turning 50 on March 11, and I am truly excited about reaching this milestone. I am healthier right now than I have ever been, because I was the FAT KID all my life.

#4 – thanks to Ruth for needing a training partner on Mondays! She and I are going to make a great team. She is faster than I am, and I have more long distance endurance. So, she will help me become faster and more efficient, and I will help her increase her endurance!

I also like to talk about my meals… This morning, I had a couple pieces of bacon and one egg. I was not really hungry, but hubby cooked breakfast, so I ate a little.

Lunch: some celery sticks with cashew butter, radishes and heirloom tomatoes with olive oil vinaigrette (still not very hungry).

Dinner tonight after my treadmill hill workout: 2 small flounder filets cooked in a mix of olive and coconut oils, a small sweet potato (increasing carb intake with mileage increases) and a huge serving of mixed veggies (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, squash and onions) with garlic and olive oil.

Feeling great, off to clean up the dishes then in the shower and to bed early! Sleep is awesome!

Thanks, Jerry!


Paleo? Me?

I have been thinking about starting to blog again. But, finding the time to write is a real challenge for me. These pictures show the overweight, struggling me... the trainig pic is over the summer, doing a 12 hour overnight training walk with some friends in Houston.

I finished my first 100 mile event January 1, 2011. I was really overwhelmed at the time, so happy and proud! This was my third attempt, the first two ended in DNF. Not that a DNF in a 100 is the end of the world. Each race has its ups and downs, and Did Not Finish is better than Did Nothing Fatal! The self portrait below is how I looked right after the race, at my heaviest weight in a long time.

Immediately after the race, as I was driving home from Phoenix, I had a huge revelation. I will never reach my goal of having my name added to the Centurion list. I was 20 to 25 pounds overweight, and yes, I did just walk 100 miles, but it took me 45 hours of a 48 hour race. The more I train for ultras, the more crap I ate. I was desperately trying to keep my energy level up. It seemed as if cookies were the answer. I also ate twice as much fruit as I did vegetables. Trapped in a low fat, high carbohydrate cycle, I just kept gaining all the weight I had lost back, a couple of pounds at a time.

The back story on the initial weight loss: I have always been a carbohydrate and sugar junkie, and after I stopped drinking alcohol to excess… sugary foods were the next logical step. I moved from one addiction to another. When I realized what had happened, I was all the way up to 215 pounds. That was in 2004. My back was such a mess; I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. I went to the doctor for one thing or another (I don’t remember the reason) and the doctor finally got through to me. He told me if I kept this yo-yoing with my weight up, I was going to kill myself. You might as well just stay fat. That was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I started walking, a little bet every day. The more I did, the better I felt. So I looked for an eating plan I could live with. I changed my carbohydrate intake to brown. I ate more fat (olive oil and peanut butter), and I ate lots of vegetables and fruit. I lost 70 pounds in about 9 months and found racewalking. I never knew I had a competitive bone in my body… now I was racing regularly and have even won a few walking competitions. The more I raced, the more I wanted to race and I did my first full marathon in 2006! Wow, that was awesome, but I know there is more. That’s how I found about the Centurion list. In order to get one’s name added to the list one must walk 100 miles or more in 24 hours or less at a judged competition. Competition meaning there are more than one person making a Centurion attempt. This is the goal I have had in mind since 2006.

Fast forward to where I am now, driving home from Phoenix on January 2, 2011. I was ready to give up on my Centurion goal because I had let my food addictions take over yet again and was back up to 170. I mulled this over and finally posted something silly on Facebook about the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon. If they would count the 20 extra pounds I am carrying around, I could just add a 15 pound pack and enter the heavy division of the marathon. A new, awesome friend saw it and sent me a private message about Paleo, and the rest is history.

January 12, I flipped the switch and removed everything containing sugar from my food intake. I already drink high quality coffee black with no cream or sugar, so I could still have my cuppa joe. It is amazing how when I set my mind to NO SUGAR, I was able to just quit, cold. I was still eating a few grains such as one slice of homemade wheat bread made in to French toast, or a serving of organic oatmeal. I talked to a couple more friends about slowly cutting the grains and they suggested that would just be self-torture, so, January 18 I flipped that switch and have had NO grains since. It took a couple of weeks to learn to eat when hungry and to stop obsessing over food logging, and I lost 6.5 pounds by January 22. It was so easy; I didn’t even feel like I was depriving myself of anything. Oh, and drinking coffee is no longer a necessity… but a pure pleasure. My energy level had increased dramatically! I didn’t start my serious training until after I had lost a total of 12 pounds, which was January 30. Can you believe it? I lost 12 pounds in 18 days with little effort, and this time, I can actually see the weight coming off my waistline. It’s like a miracle for me, as I have ALWAYS been fat, even when I was thin. I know a lot of people who read this will understand that statement.

I have been absorbing everything I can find online and recently bought the revised edition of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. I also love reading from Mark’s Daily Apple. I am sure I will buy Mark Sisson’s book next. The folks at “Strong is the New Skinny” are also great sources on inspiration. I love to read the testimonials people send in about their amazing transformations, physical as well as emotional!

Today is February 23, 2011, and my weight this morning was 151.2. That makes my total weight loss to date 18.8 pounds. I am back to my endurance training 4 days a week, and desperate to find a way to include more strength training to my routine. I know ST is critical… maybe with a little exterior prodding, I will be encouraged enough to find a way to fit all the things I need to do into my schedule. I posted on FB the other day and will repeat here that my lumbar spine is pretty jacked up… no disc material left between L5 and S1, so there will be none of that: “Lift Heavy Things”, I will have to figure out how isometrics and resistance bands, etc can make a difference. I am stronger, but don’t want to derail my endurance training because I did something stupid with weights. Oh, and check out this calf muscle. Isn't it awesome!

Maryann, who is so happy to be where she is today, only needing to lose another 5 to 8 pounds, but ready to let the body decide what it wants to weigh!