Day 4: Running

Today is my first run in this Whole30.  Running, as much as I love it and I love the experience, stresses me unlike any of the other sports.  It gets my heart rate up and points out just how bad my core strength is.  These past few months have been very frustrating.  Over the past 6-7 years, my runs generally average between and 8:30-8:50 pace for the most part.  Sometimes quicker, but rarely have I had a run where the average pace was over 9’/mile.  These past few months, they have all been in the 9’/mile pace range.  I am so slow!!  I don’t know where it went, but it’s been a very humbling experience, to say the least.

However, it hasn’t completely been just because I’m out of shape or a fatty.   I get really bad seasonal allergies and my allergy doc (who is also an Ironman athlete) recommended putting as little stress on my body as possible during the bad seasons.  In the past, I would do my normal workouts at normal intensity, and then five days later I wind up with a sinus infection and migraine.  Last fall, I think I had a chronic sinus infection from October through mid-December.  Headaches every day, trouble concentrating, really tired and lethargic.  This was a lot of the reason I wanted to clean-up my diet this year.  So…per my doctor’s recommendation (his voice of reason), I have been trying to go slower and not get my HR up as high.

My worry is that when I’m running ‘slower’, I’m not actually sure I could go much faster if I wanted to!  It’s really frustrating.  A year and a half ago I ran a 1:42 half marathon (over a hilly course!).  It was totally the highlight of my athletic career to-date.  I was so proud of that.  I had been chasing 1:45 for awhile, and to crush it, well – I was thrilled.  But after that, everything went to crap.  This year, I’m trying to get back to where I was in March 2012.  I was bring really consistent with my training, which I know was why I had the success.  My issue now is that my body is in a different place than it was then, so there are things I have to be more cautious of if I want to have consistent training, steadily increasing volume.

Anyhoo, I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this topic later.  It’s something I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of months.  It’s very cathartic to write about it and get some of the stuff jumbling around in my head out.

Pre-workout: Large hard boiled egg
Workout:  45′ minute run at moderate intensity 
(HR monitor went to crap and wasn’t reading correctly)
Post-workout:  2 kiwi, 3 ounces of applegate farms turkey

Before the storm!

My street before 12/11 storm

Breakfast: 7:15 am, 3 eggs, roasted butternut squash, sausage patty, 1/2 yam.

Breakfast 12/11

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!  I’ll have to come up with a new veggie side tomorrow, because I’m out of squash.  My veggie box is being delivered today (hopefully…I haven’t heard otherwise), so there will be some stuff in there I can dig into.

Lunch: 12:30pm, Sweet Potato Basil soup with pulled pork, leftover brussel sprouts with apples

Lunch 12/11

So.  Much.  Food.  So yummy.  Since I’ve been working at the dining room table all day, I switched things up and moved to the living room for lunch.  In dealing with leftovers, I decided I’m not going to eat the same main meal two days in a row.  It gets me burned out on the food which makes me not want it, which then makes me get off track.  I’m loving experimenting with my pulled pork, though.  That’s what’s nice about it – it’s very versatile.  I can put it in salads, in soups, over veggies or even on its own.  I can eat it all week but not have it the same way twice.

Since I’ve been working at home today I noticed that I’m not as hungry as I normally get during the day.  I think it’s the stress of sitting in one place for so long.  I hate sitting in a chair all day.  At work, I get hungry around 9:45 or 10, and today I didn’t feel like snacking until 11 (I had some cashews then).

I think the key to a good meal is having a colorful plate.  Not the actual plate, but the food on the plate.  You eat with your eyes first.

Workout #2: Bonus Bike
I didn’t actually have this planned, but since I had time I went ahead and hopped on the trainer for a bit.  Not horrible, but I could tell it was harder today than yesterday.  Cumulative fatigue.  I had a handful (or two) of raisins after the workout.

Dinner:  Roasted Cauliflower Soup, kielbasa sausage and mushrooms

Dinner 12/11

I wasn’t that hungry after the huge lunch, so I didn’t have dinner until late.  It was better than anticipated.  I did the sausages in a pan and then sauted the mushrooms in the sausage juice.  Very tasty.  I diced up some green onions to put on top as ‘garnish’ (because I’m fancy like that).  I think tonight is going to be an early bed night, I’m pooped.  Long day and two tougher workouts.  I’m really proud of myself for staying good so far!!

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Day 3: Time for the Real Test

Back to work today, back to the grind.  I was really, really hoping for a snow day today, but no such luck.  All the other schools are closed, but I will be trudging through the slushy roads like every other worker bee in Newark.  A snow day is the most awesome thing ever – it’s like bonus time.  Anything can happen on a snow day.  The best part is, since it’s a bonus day, you can do whatever you want!  You can get a head start on chores and household stuff, you can sit in your pjs and watch movies all day, you can call friends or family – whatever you want.  I love snow days.

I’m a bit nervous about entering ‘normal’ life with my Whole30 commitment.  It’s one thing to stay committed at home, where I’ve cleaned out my pantry and fridge and have a fairly predictable schedule.  It’s another thing to go into work and be confronted by lunch invites, snackies in the breakroom (or, by my desk), lots of stress inducing conversations, etc.  All these things have the potential to throw me off track.  I hope by acknowledging that I know these things will happen, I’ll be strong enough when they do to resist.  To keep my eye on the prize; my health and my goals are worth more to me than a momentary indulgence in delicious little treats.  Eye on the prize, eye on the prize…

I did not do my swim this morning because I was nervous about the road conditions that early in the morning (I leave for the gym at 5:25 for swims), and because I wasn’t 100% sure the gym would be open.  They posted on Facebook that they’re open regular hours, but too late now.  My plan is to ride the bike when I get home tonight.

Breakfast: 7:10 am, 3 eggs, breakfast sausage, roasted butternut squash

Breakfast 12/9

This was good.  I think I like this breakfast sausage recipe better than any other one I’ve tried.  I didn’t put fennel in it (because I didn’t have any), but it’s still really good.  I think it’s the dusting of cloves that gives it the flavor depth.

I felt a lot more ‘awake’ this morning than I have in the past few weeks.  It might be that I switched my coffee to be mostly caf (I usually do a half caf blend), but I don’t think so because I felt the ‘more awake’ right from the start, before I even had coffee.  Hm, maybe something is starting to work?  It’s probably too soon to tell.

Lunch: 12:45 pm, mixed greens with pulled pork, pomegranate seeds, one egg and 1/2 avocado with lemon juice squeezed over it.  Pineapple and melon for a sweet treat after.

I forgot to take a picture!!!  I’m so disappointed (but not as disappointed as no snow day today).  It was such a pretty plate, and it was really, really good.  I’m sure I’ll have it again sometime this week, so I will remember then.  The guys were having pizza, and normally I would totally have caved and had that too, but I resisted.  As I was sitting there, watching them chow down and me eat my salad, I started thinking about what I feel like when and after I eat the pizza, and what I feel like now.  Absolutely no comparision.  I feel so much better after having my salad.  The pizza might smell and taste delicious, but there is so much regret associated with it.  It makes me feel bad.  My salad was so loaded with awesomeness that I think half the effect was just me feeling so good about myself because I knew I was putting some really great stuff into my belly.

I think I’m still in Whole30 honeymoon phase.

I love this pulled pork recipe.  I’ve made it a couple of times and it always turns out really well.  My boyfriend likes it too, so I can make it while he’s here.  This time I used a bone-in pork butt from Whole Foods (3.5lbs for $19!!!).  It will serve me for about six meal combos, so I guess it’s ok.  It’s so good.

Pre-workout: 5:15 pm hard boiled egg, few cashews

Workout: 5:45 pm, 60′ on the trainer, 10′ Warm-up, 5 x (5′ on, 5′ off)

Dinner: 8pm, Coconut encrusted chicken, brussel sprouts and apples, 1/2 baked yam with ghee

IMG_0070

I had a handful of raisins while I was prepping dinner, after my workout.  I’m nervous about tonight.  In the past, I’ve had issues with getting enough calories in post-workout so that I can sleep well at night.  I should be ok tonight, but still.  I want to get a run in tomorrow morning, weather permitting.  I felt really good during my workout, I was able to push some bigger gears and I didn’t feel weak, lethargic or dizzy at all.  I’ve probably used all my glycogen stores today and there won’t be any left for tomorrow!

I have to keep reminding myself – this is a journey of self-discovery.  The point of doing is to learn things about myself and what I need to perform best.  That means => stuff will go wrong that I need to learn from.  I need to be strong enough to extract the learning opportunity from the errors and leave the negative connotation behind.  It’s of no use to me to dwell on the past if I don’t take the learning moment.  Otherwise, I’m just making myself miserable, and I’m better than that.

I’m pooped, and very much hoping for a snow day tomorrow.

Day 2: It’s getting cold out there

I woke up at 5 am today.  Yup, 5 am.  On Sunday.  It wasn’t even Doccie whining that got me up, it was my own internal alarm clock (although, he did whine a bit at 5:15.  I think he can sense when my eyes open and starts whining then so I can’t go back to sleep).  I’m sure a nap will be in order later today.

Breakfast: 8:15 am, leftover mustard glazed chicken thighs and mixed roasted veggies, three eggs with spinach.

Breakfast 12/8

This filled me up, almost too much!  Maybe one too many chicken thighs or eggs.  The eggs were much better today, without the salsa.  The chicken thighs were again delicious.  Those are definitely going to be one of my go-to meals.

It is cold outside today!  It says the temp is 30 or so, but it feels so much colder than that.  I think it’s the storm approaching.  Since it’s so nasty out, I’m going to stay in and prep all my stuff for the week, meals, clothes, training plan, etc.  I might even actually read a book.  Very lazy day ahead for me!

Lunch:  2pm, roasted chicken and sweet potato basil soup

Lunch 12/8

I wasn’t too hungry, or just didn’t feel like eating.  I think I had some cranberries and cashews around noontime, so that could be it.  I’m kind of over the chicken, it might be time to chuck the rest of it.  I dipped it into the soup, which improved it.

Dinner: 7:15pm, Meatballs and mariana sauce with steamed zucchini

Dinner 12/8

Dinner was delicious.  I added some oregano and basil to the mariana sauce to make it more Italiany, which helped a lot.  It was smelling to tomatoy before then.  I baked the meatballs and then put them in the sauce to simmer for about 45 minutes.  I’ll probably have some cut up melon and pineapple before bed.

It snowed…and snowed…and snowed today.  I think I got about 10″.  It started around 11.  I took Doccie out around then and there were just a few flakes in the air.  Then, I went to Kohls and it started to blizzard.  I was going 15mph on the way back home.  It kept going until about 3 or so.  I’ve never seen it get so bad so quickly!  Crazy.  I went outside and shoveled the front walk and my driveway, so that was my workout for the day.

Snow on Limestone Road

Normally on a day like this, I would crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy the day watching Christmas movies and eating chocolate good things.  I resisted today.  The temptation was most definitely there, but I held out.  I stayed focused on the BIG GOAL and on staying true to my promise and myself.  I’m so proud of myself!!  I survived the first temptation.

I made a pork butt in the crock-pot today, too.  I’m going to try it both in my soup and in a salad.  I’m not normally a big salad person, but I think this one will be different.  I’m putting the pulled pork and 1/2 an avocado, so hopefully it’ll be filling.

What is Whole30?

After reading a couple of entries in this blog, you might ask yourself, “What the heck is the Whole30 anyway?”.  Below is a quick overview of what it is, at least in my world.

What is it?

Whole30 is a 30-day program that aims to change your relationship with food and help you understand the benefits and positive reactions that come from eating a natural diet.  It asks you not to eat foods that trigger negative hormone reactions or can cause havoc in your gut.  Basically, it’s an attempt to bring your body back to how it’s meant to function, healing it after a lifetime (in my case!) of having to process food we’re not really meant to ingest.  It’s set-up to go 30 days, but many people extend longer than that.

The diet is made up of whole foods, nothing processed.  The guidelines call for minimal sugar, mainly only that found in whole fruit or whole fruit juice.  If it comes in a wrapper or from one of the ‘inside lanes’ in the grocery store, it is most likely  not compliant.  It seems like it might be restrictive because of those limitations, but think about it.  Is not eating chocolate chunk cookies or cheesey crackers made of whoknowswhatperservatives really something you want to be unhappy about?

I know, I know – chocolate chunk cookies and cheesy crackers are delicious!  They are, but think about it – what’s going on ‘inside’ when you eat those?  What’s the impact on your health, your moods, your mental acuity, your fitness, your digestive system?  In essence, this is the goal of Whole30: to make you think about how you nourish your body in a more meaningful way.  To encourage you to think more deeply about the choices you make when ingesting something and consider the impact it will have, both long-term and short-term.

What do I eat, when do I eat, how much do I eat?

The creators of Whole30, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, have made the bulk of this program available for free, but there are add-ons you can pay for to help shape your experience.  There are daily E-mails, E-books and regular books that you can sign-up to read or receive.  These resources go a layer deeper into the program to provide structure and information about why the program exists and how you can make the most of it.

There is also a host of free information online (along with the program description).  There is:

In an ideal world, you will eat three meals a day.  No snacks.  The rationale is that because you are eating foods that are full of nutrition, and because you’re not counting calories, you should be eating enough to keep you satiated until the next meal.  (this doesn’t generally work for me, as I usually end up snacking a bit, but always on compliant food!).

That’s it in summary.  The thing I lost track of the first few times I attempted this is that it’s really supposed to change your relationship with food.  I was looking at it primarily from an ‘eat this, not that’ perspective, which misses the point.  I’m trying to learn good habits and break a few bad ones, so you really need to ‘drink the Kool-aid’ if you want to be successful at the program.

Day 1: Let’s try this again

I fell asleep on the couch last night somewhere around 8:30/9, and then work up a little before midnight and made my way upstairs to real bed.  I managed to turn the Christmas lights off the tree tonight, hoping that Doc would sleep in a little bit and not whine at 5 a.m.  Mission accomplished!  Whining started at 5:40.  At this point, beggers can’t be choosey, so I’ll take it.  I don’t mind getting up around the same time every day, as I think it ultimately makes it ‘easier’ to wake up consistently when I want to.  Since this is a weekend day, I’ll probably take a nap sometime this afternoon.

Breakfast:  9:30 am.  3 eggs scrambled with peach salsa and spinach, roasted butternut squash and chicken.  And, some fizzy water with lemon to make me feel fancy 🙂

Breakfast 12/7

This was good, but I think the peach salsa was too sweet to be coupled with the spinach and eggs.  That is probably a fail.  I only roasted the squash for about 20 minutes, so it wasn’t completely done but that’s ok.  I have leftovers, so when I warm that up it’ll finish then.  The chicken is leftovers from a whole chicken I roasted last weekend.

Today is my ‘clean the house and get organized’ day.  I was at my parents Thanksgiving and then didn’t get a whole lot accomplished last weekend, so today I want to clean, do some laundry, grocery shop and meal plan for the next week.  I feel a lot more together (empowered?) when I have all my stuff together and organized.  It’s when I don’t that things tend to go amuck, and I really want to prevent that from happening this go-round with Whole30.

Lunch: 3 pm, notsomuch. Apple and sun butter, lara bar

For some reason, I just wasn’t hungry for lunch.  Breakfast had me filled up, but not in a great way, all afternoon.  I think it was the peach salsa…it just didn’t sit right for some reason.  I went grocery shopping and then came home and took a nap after that, so maybe it was inactivity too?  Who knows.

Dinner: 6:30 pm, Mustard glazed chicken thighs, sweet potato and basil soup, leftover roasted veggies (brussel sprouts, onions and mushrooms)

Dinner 12/7

I finally got hungry around 5:30 so prepped the chicken thighs I defrosted last night.  It’s not normal for me to not be hungry; my stomach was off yesterday, so I think it’s remenants of that.  I was prepping the chicken and started cutting the fat off the thighs (because that’s what I do!) and I stopped myself.  The point of eating real food is to EAT THE FOOD, all of it.  I ate all of this, it was totally yummy.  I didn’t know what to expect from the soup, but it was so good.  Creamy and flavorful.  I always feel so satisified and good after a meal like this.  I know I’ve just filled myself with lots of good nutrition and it’s going to do good things in my body, and to top it off, it tasted great.

Overall

I was fairly productive today, I vacuumed and shopped and cleaned the fridge out.  Sometime in the next few days I need to make the list of my three ‘Go-to Quickie Meals’.  I have an idea of what they are, but need to finalize.

My mood today is ok, probably a B-.  I’m still really worried about how I’ll feel when I workout again, but I guess there’s no use stressing about it until I know.  All I can do is prepare, which I have.  (I have tons of sweet potatoes so I can carb up whenever I need to!).

I put my scale (body scale and food scale) in the bathroom closet this afternoon.  It’s gone for the next 30 days, outta sight, outta mind.  I need to do a before picture, as much as it pains me to do it.  I’ll try it tomorrow and post it…I think.  No, I will.  I promised to be honest, so I’ll post it.  Tomorrow.

Whole30: This time, GAME ON!

I have a lot of thoughts about what should go into this post, as I have a lot of reasons and objectives I want to sort through during the next 30 days.

Motivation

I have a mixture of motivations for taking this on now, as the holidays are approaching fast and furious.  At first glance, seems like it might be setting myself up for failure and for that reason, I initially resisted thinking ‘it’s futile to even try – I’ll just disappoint myself (again) and get frustrated and feel even worse‘.   Then, I thought about it and why it was so horrible to do it ‘during the holidays’.  For me and my life, the holidays aren’t really that much of a stresser.  It’s still me and Doc at home (with Eric making occasional appearances), I still have to work and deal with the ‘goodie of the day’ in the kitchen (it doesn’t really happen on a daily basis, but sometimes it seems like it does!), I still have to deal with getting all my work and personal stuff done, I still have to figure out how to get training sessions in, etc.  It didn’t seem like there was really a good reason not to do it now.  So…off I go!

I’ve tried this a few times and end up failing miserably, usually somewhere around either the 4-5 day or 10-12 day mark.  It’s at those points where I feel like I’ve got it figured out, I can do this!.  In reality – I don’t, and the fact that I would stop then just proves that I don’t.  The reason I break is usually one of the reasons I (subconsciously) started in the first place: I was relying on food for something other than nourishment.  That has to stop if I want to continue to work towards my goals.  I can’t eat for emotional reasons and expect to run a fast half or full marathon, it just won’t work.  I really want to run a fast half and full marathon.  I really want to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  In order to reach those goals, I have to figure out how bad I really do want it, and how far I’m willing to go out of my comfort zone in order to do so.  Because I’ll have to, there’s no question about that.

Fears

I’m really nervous about a few things, based on my past attempts at Whole30.  I’m fearful of the things that caused me to fail in the past, the false confidence, unwillingness to be uncomfortable (in hopes that one day it will be comfortable!).  I’m fearful of being tired, of having craptastic workouts, of being hungry and surrounded by non-compliant options.  I’m worried that I won’t allocate enough time or budget to food prep, or that I’ll choose the wrong foods to prep and end up hating what I made (which will send me straight to Subway).  Over the next few days, I’m going to document my strategy for dealing with those things once they happen.  Because I know they will happen.

Why try, Again?

I’m normal and healthy, medically speaking.  My BMI is around 24, I don’t have abnormal blood markers, I’m active, I don’t drink a lot and I don’t smoke, so as the medical community are concerned, I’m good.

But in my eyes, I’m not.  I’m also a triathlete, and I want to be good.   I don’t want to merely be a participant (not that there is anything wrong with that!  It’s all about your goals and what you want to get out of it), I want to kick some ass.  I’m over being at the front of the middle-of-the-pack (or if I’m lucky, back of the front-of-the-pack).  In order to do this, I need to be healthy.  I don’t think I’m necessarily unhealthy, but I do think there are aspects of my metabolism and body comp that could be better.  If I want to really become a better triathlete, I need to shake things up, somehow.  This is my attempt to do that, to (hopefully) re-set my metabolism so that I burn fat more efficiently, stabilize my blood sugar and cravings and reconnect with food to understand it’s role as nourishment, not comfort.

I’ve eaten probably an 80/20 Paleo/SAD for the past few months, so I’m not sure what to expect at the start.  I guess that’s why I always fell off the wagon, too.  I figure, I’m healthy, I eat Paleo for the most part – who cares or why does it matter if I have a few slices of pizza?  It matters.  At least, for what I’m trying to accomplish as an athlete, it matters.

My Commitment

I’m using this blog to help me be accountable.  I need this, because when you live by yourself, it’s very easy to eat an entire bag of peanut butter M&Ms and not have anyone know about it (not that I’ve ever done that..:)).  Blogging daily about my experiences will also help me sort through some of the issues I know will come up, giving me an outlet to process those.

Over the next 30 days, I promise to:

  • Blog every day, the good, bad, the ugly
  • Not check MyFitnessPal (I will put it into my “Never Use” folder on my phone)
  • Be honest
  • Not weigh myself
  • Make it 30 days

Here goes something!!