Saturday, June 26, 2010

A(nother) New Way of Eating

Last November I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  Basically, in a nutshell, it's an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid.  Most doctors don't know, and don't seem to care, WHY this happens, they only seem to want to treat the resulting symptom of low thyroid hormone by prescribing a substitute.

Because I am a "I-want-to-know-WHY" kind of person, when I was diagnosed, I started doing some research.  There are a host of theories out there, but one seems to come up quite a bit-food allergies.  Well, namely gluten actually. 

About the time I discovered this potential answer I met a dear friend who had an experience with a food allergy that went undiagnosed until adulthood.  She had suffered from asthma pretty much all her life.  The condition worsened when she was pregnant and nursing to the point she was using an inhaler an alarming number of times a day.  The only thing she could think of that had changed was an increase in her consumption of dairy.  After her family doctor laughed at her for thinking she had a milk allergy, and after he refused to test her, she found a doctor who listened and discovered she was in fact allergic.  As soon as she removed all dairy from her diet-no more asthma.

I decided to have a full allergy blood test done...and have now been told I'm allergic to: the whole cow (dairy and beef), eggs, garlic, barley, coconut, peanuts and a few more things that I can't remember off the top of my head.

Well, isn't that a kick in the head!?  I was drinking a whey protein shake every morning, especially before my runs.  I was drinking chocolate milk, or eating a peanut Cliff bar, for recovery.  I eat garlic almost every day...especially in my eggs!

Before I get comments about this food allergy thing being a bunch of me, I was a bit of a skeptic, too.  But, I've spend enough time researching that I could just about get an associates degree in immunology and I believe there's something to it.    Although I find it all very interesting, I won't bore you with the details here.  What I want to focus on is the fact that I've pretty much eliminated the "off-limits" foods from my diet for a week now...and not only do I feel better than I have in quite a long time, I have lost three pounds.

And, no, it's not because I'm not eating enough.  I'll admit, the first day or two I had a hard time finding things to eat that weren't on "the list" and ended up eating so few calories it would have left Twiggy starved.  But, since then I've eaten well. 

Interestingly enough, after two days with none of the "bad" foods, I felt ....lighter.  I left for vacation and even after seven hours in the car, my fingers and ankles weren't swollen (as they normally are).  On day two of the longest road trip of my life, I threw the list out the window on the way to my favorite donut shop.  I decided I would eat the golden, chocolatey, cream filled, heaven-in-my-mouth delicacies, even if they were going to send me to an early grave...because they truly are the best thing I've ever tasted in my life.  I completely over-indulged the whole day, with enough milk and eggs to start my own farm stand.  That night, the only word for my lower extremities is "cankle", and I could have barely gotten my wedding ring off my finger if I had wanted to.  The next day, after I had put several hundred miles between me and pastry bliss...and returned to food sanity...the extra water was magically gone (even though I was in the car another almost 12 hours).  

One thing food allergies are said to cause---inflammation.

So...I'm embarking on yet another "new way of eating".  I intend to strictly avoid all the foods on the list, while consuming about 1200 calories a day (plus extra on work-out days) with a healthy (as yet to be determined) ratio of fats, carbs and proteins. 

I'm excited to see how the new way of eating will affect my workouts right along with my weight!   It will take longer to find out if there's any kind of change in the thyroid...but if the food-allergy theory is correct, it could even mean no more Synthroid!  We'll see.

Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Obsession--Newton's

Well...even though I'd really love to get a bike and train for a tri...I think it's a bit too much right now.  I'm loving the spin & weight classes as a way to cross train, but I'm still "just" a runner for now.  (Truth be told, I just don't have the money to sink into of these days I will.  Until then...I'll stick with my drug of choice.)

I'm getting close to being set free from the "NO running" restrictions, and I can NOT wait.

Run Like a Mother recently posted about a different kind of running shoe-Newton's.  Intrigued, I did the obsessive thing and looked at virtually every single website I could find (trust me, there are a lot of them out there).  I think I'm hooked.  I'm going to order a pair tomorrow!!  My hope is I'll have them in time for my post-injury run.  It's basically like barefoot running with shoes on-how about that?

As soon as I get them, I'll start my official "Newton" review.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I subscribe to Runner's World and get a daily email with all kinds of helpful information.  My favorite section is the forum.

The other day a fairly new runner had a question about the "10% rule".  For those of you who haven't heard of it, basically the "rule" says you shouldn't increase your mileage by more than 10% a week.  The poster asked if it was okay to increase a single run with 10% of the weekly mileage.  This question sparked a very lengthy argument debate.  One zealous writer pretty much blasted the "rule" saying it should be completely ignored.  One poster actually took it to mean you "should" increase your mileage by 10% every week.

Then there were people like me....who said, "I need rules".  If I had followed this rule when I started out, I don't "think" I would have gotten injured.  Maybe I'm wrong...who knows.  We can't turn back the clock to find out what would have happened, but I know one thing's for sure, I'm going to keep it in mind when I can finally get back out there again.

The whole conversation got me to thinking about rules in general and why it is that I like them (generally speaking).  I think for me, they provide clear boundaries.  When I was younger, those lines were seen more like state lines, begging to be crossed over in order to discover exciting new territory.  Now that I'm a little older, and hopefully wiser, I like to think of them as bowling alley bumpers.  If I can stay inside the lane I'll do much better in this game called life.

What's really important is learning the "rules", and especially what they really mean.  Not just in running...but in every aspect of life.

I can't wait for me to get back to running either, right?

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon.

BTW--I did get some bike shorts-and LOVE THEM.   I actually finished a whole spinning class on Monday without feeling like my nether regions were on fire.  Those veteran spinners were right-one week in the saddle toughened up more than just my leg muscles!  Tomorrow's challenge--an hour spin class followed by "Extreme Abs" (about 15 minutes abs, 15 minutes glutes)....I really don't think I have glutes, but maybe this class will help me find them!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Props to Spinners!


I went to my first spinning class today.  Let me say--I have complete respect for spinners.  I'm sure that riding a real bike on a real road is much harder.  But we road "up" and "down" about 12 hills whereas if I were riding a real bike I would have picked a relatively flat route--especially for my first time.

I should have known it was going to be hard when I walked into the room and the temperature was about 60 degrees.  Even still, everyone there had a towel!!  One woman had her arms in her shirt it was so cold--but they all told me not to worry, I would be grateful for the air as soon as we got started.  They were so right!  It didn't take 5 minutes for us to want the 3rd and 4th fans on--and that was with all the lights off!!  (There's like a little spotlight on the instructor.)

From the moment I sat on that rock they want to call a bike seat, I realized what this thing is for in the all bike shorts I've seen.  Yes, I "knew" but there's a big difference in knowing something intellectually and knowing it personally.  My legs felt the work heart rate certainly felt the work out....but the real test of my will happened where my body parts met the leather.  Thin running shorts do NOTHING in the way of padding.  My butt is wide, but trust me-there is NOT enough to pad a bike seat in the places that matter.  I will be investing in either a gel seat or a super expensive (meaning super thick and padded) chamois before my next class!  Without going into any more unnecessary detail--I'm sure my husband will appreciate the investment.    ((BTW, for you experienced spinners out there, my calf injury prevented me from standing up.))

As if an hour of bike hell wasn't bad enough, I went straight from there to Body Pump.  That class makes me feel strong.  When I'm "pumping iron" I feel like THIS, although I probably look a little more like THIS!  I don't want to get all buffed up or anything, but I would like to be stronger and have some muscle definition.  I want to believe this class will help me get closer to that goal.

While I was straining to lift those weights pumping all that iron, I noticed the instructor still had the timing tag on her shoe from Cotton Row.  After class I asked her what her time was--54 minutes.  Then she had to go and tell me she just started running in January!!  Now, I'm not going to go beating myself up because she's been a trainer for 8 years.  She had a considerable head start on me in the fitness department.  She had a solid base of strength and cardio that I'm going to say gave her a huge head start.  But...she also just ran the Country Music 1/2 Marathon a few weeks ago!  (From what I've heard this is a seriously difficult race---and she did it in just over 2:10.)  Impressive.  But, again, she's a professional physical fitness trainer.  I refuse to compare myself --an arthritic, slightly overweight, out of shape 40 year old-- to her (I'll skip the adjectives).  Kudos to her.  That's what I say (even if I did call her a bad name in my head at first).

After I finished wiping up my sweat, and picking up my jaw from talking to Miss Fasty-Pants, I felt GREAT.  I'm so glad I went.  I'm even more glad I did both classes.  There really is something to the endorphins that exercise provides.  I feel like a new person.  I still want to run and I can't wait until I can hit the trails again...but spinning and weight lifting are pretty darn good substitutes in the interim.

Thanks for stopping in.   Come again soon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Active Recovery Plan, I "can't" run for six weeks.  I would very much like to include the 10 days I didn't run pre-race, but my tyrant of a husband has "ordered" me to start counting the recovery period from the day after.  We'll see.

The options are almost overwhelming.  But, the thing I know I have to do is make a plan.  I know myself well enough to know if I don't make a plan, I'll wind up not doing anything at all.  I am scraping the idea of training for the sprint tri.  That would mean buying a bathing suit.  No.  That would also mean buying or borrowing a bike.  No.

Strength training.  Spinning classes.  Water running.  I think I'll focus on those three things.  And my diet.  I want to lose weight.  I don't think I've mentioned it on here...I found out from my doctor that my vitamin D level was on the low side.  And, no surprise, my thyroid isn't working.  She seems to think taking vitamin D will help the thyroid which will help my metabolism, which will enable me to lose weight.  I also had a full allergy panel done-the results won't be back for another week or two.  I've read how food intolerances can cause the kind of thyroid problem I have.  Once I have that panel back I'm set to meet with a nutritionist. 

I have to take a look at training plans and do some backwards math to see where I'm at with my marathon goal.  I have no doubt I CAN do it....but I want to be in good shape for it, unlike what happened with Cotton Row.  So, I think I have to decide what the goal is....distance or speed.  If distance is the goal, then I'm going for the marathon.  If speed is more important, then I might just go for a half in late November.  I actually think I like that plan better just because I "know" I can go faster than what I've been going....but I've been told to slow down in order to go further.

THAT is why I'm training for a marathon---I want EVERYTHING right NOW.  This whole process is about me learning that some things really do take time.  And, some things take longer for some people.  But, "sitting down" is not an option.  Even if I can't run, I can move forward toward my goal.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cotton Row 10K--Yo!! I did it!!

Thankfully before sitting down to write this post...I read THIS BLOG.  Reading that post changes what I was going to say about the 10K race I ran yesterday.  Well...I should say what I was going to say about the effort I gave running.

Let me start with saying what I'm about to write will be a little like writing in a foreign language for me.  I'm going to attempt to write in a way I'm not used to.  Instead of telling all the things I should have done, the things I didn't do, the things I want to do for next time...I want to focus on what I did RIGHT.  It's going to be hard for me.  Although I believe I'm a pretty optimistic person...I am that way when it comes to other people, not myself.  I can tell anyone they did a GREAT JOB, except myself.  That changes today.

I did a GREAT JOB!!

I set out 12 weeks ago to finish a 10K, and I did it.  There were some goals I had to let go of along the way, but I finished the race.  There was a point in there that I wasn't so sure I would, but I kept going and I did it.


I resisted the urge to blog about how nervous I was.  Instead, I had a party for my training group the Saturday before the race.  I thought focusing on a party instead of the run would help, and it did!  I cooked some pasta and some sauce, and the people who came brought salad and bread and dessert.  It was a lot of fun. 

The day before the race  I worked the packet pick up.  Man, let me just say...THANK YOU to all the volunteers who help to put this race on.  WOW.  I'm amazed at the number of people it took.  I had no idea just how big this race was going to be.  The Races for the Cure I've done in the past were big...but I never really stopped to think about the people who put the event together.  I just took it all for granted.  I paid my entry fee, showed up, and had a great time.  But, the man-power it takes and the countless hours the race director has to put in to bring it all together blow me away.  "Thank you" just doesn't seem enough to cut it.  (This picture is only 1/3 of the expo room--all those people behind the tables-volunteers!)

Anyway, having not run for 10 days, and the fact the last two times I tried to run were so painful, filled me with more than just a little trepidation.  I considered switching from the 10K to the 5K, but I figured I'd come this far, I might as well go all the way and stick with the original plan.  I got a decent night's sleep...I drank a protein shake for breakfast...took some drugs (anti-inflammatories and Tylenol) all my stuff together...and set out for the race.


I pretty much held my breath until I took the first step of my warm up.  I had no idea what to expect....and I got something I would have never guessed.  My left leg, the one that's been hurting all along, was PERFECTLY FINE!!!!  But...(isn't there always a "but"?), my right leg was hurting.  I think it was just tight from not running so long.  It didn't kill me, but it didn't feel good.  I joked with my coach that I hadn't learned how to limp the other way so I should be fine!  After a slow and easy 1/2 mile warm up, the gun sounded and we were off.

I had planned on trying to stay with a pacer who was running 12:00, but I was going to be fine going slower.  (After getting the MRI results, my goal had dwindled down from "run the whole way no matter how fast/slow" to "FINISH".)  I was so excited to be running again, I had to pull out my phone and snap a picture!!  It's not very good, because I was trying to maintain my pace and not let myself get run over!!  You might not be able to tell, but there were about 1500 people in front of me and maybe 600 behind!!

My husband told me he was going to be around the 1 mile mark, so I was searching for him pretty hard, but he wasn't there.  He found a way to get to the end of mile two--which was MUCH better!  This starts the hardest part of this course for me.  There's a little hill, and then about a mile long incline to the "real" hill at the very end of mile three.  His smiling face, and words of encouragement kept me going at that point, although I took a little walk break going up the little hill and then again at the water station.

I walked the hill to the sound of the theme from Rocky, "Gonna Fly Now", thanks to a gracious home-owner who apparently plays it every year!!  (That's AWESOME, I loved it!!  It kept me moving, albeit slowly, unlike some people I saw stopping on the way up.)  When I got to the top I really did want to quit.  I'd like to say my leg hurt, but it didn't at that point, I was just over the excitement.  I knew I wasn't going to do well by my standards.  I had already walked before the hill...I didn't feel like I could keep going.  And then I remembered---it's "all" down hill from there. That worked, and gave me the best running of the day (average pace of 11:30, best 7:57).  

Even after that great mile, when I got to the end of mile five, I seriously considered trying to find a side street to slink down. if he could read my mind...just as I was about to cry, my darling husband showed up again. 

I had fallen a little behind my running partners for the day and one of them called my name.  I managed to say "I'm here" as I was looking around for my escape route.   She said, "no, LOOK!"...and there he was, smiling ear to ear.  He told me I was doing great and that he was so proud of me.  He told me there was just a little more than one mile to go.  Just when I didn't think I could do it, he told me I could!!

That infusion of love and support carried me through to mile 6....when the finish line was in sight, sort of.  There were 2 banners--the first was just a little tease.  I had decided before the race that I would sprint from the first to the second (the real finish line)...but when the first one was in sight, the second wasn't.  Drained and done, I attempted to renegotiate my goal with myself.  And...then I saw him AGAIN!!!  My loving husband decided to show up short of the finish to cheer me in!!  And, it worked!!  I started sprinting at the first banner.  I gave it all I had.  There was a "photo line" that was just shy of the finish...and I made it there full on (my picture probably looks horrid because I was about to lose my protein shake at that point....)  I pulled up on the pace and heard what I later found out was my daughter yell, "FINISH STRONG!!!" enabling me to take the final two or three steps to the finish mat for a final time of 1:18:23.  ((My final sprint pace?? 5:37!!!))

Thankfully I remembered to keep moving through the chute, turned the corner, and .... surprisingly enough did NOT toss my cookies.  I did, however, forget to stop my Garmin so my numbers were just a little off.


I was feeling like poo, beating myself up, thinking of all the things I didn't do...until I read THIS BLOG.  Honestly, it made me stop and think about what I do.  I'm never happy with myself.  I could tell everyone out there how great they did--and cheer in the final "runner" (who finished with a time of 1:56:50)...and tell every single one of them how GREAT they did---EXCEPT myself.  I won't go into all the thoughts I had against my accomplishment, they are not only unproductive...they are COUNTER productive.  I like to think the whole "this-is-what-you-did-wrong" approach helps...but it doesn't.  I'm not saying it's wrong to look at ways to improve...but not at the price of waiving off what I did right. 

I did it!!  I finished a 10K-my first 10K ever-with an official time of 1:18:23.  I finished 86/100 in my age group and 1920/2048 over all.  I refuse to allow myself to think there's anything at all wrong with that.  I'm NOT lazy.  I'm not pathetic.  I gave all I thought I had to give at the time.  Recognizing the fact that I might have had "more" isn't wrong, it's a tool I will use next time.  It's the same thing I found out at the Cookie Dash when I managed to pull out a sprint at the end when I thought I was giving all I had.  It's the same tool I used at the end of this race when I sprinted in.  I didn't think I had it in me, but (with help from some well-placed "cheerleaders") I found just a little more.

I'm proud of what I did.  Yes, I want to run faster next time...I want to run the whole way next time...I want to be able to run further.  But, I am really happy with yesterday's results.

Yo, Self, I did it!!!


Okay, I'm taking the required six weeks off.  My left leg is SCREAMING at me today.  It's definitely bone.  My muscles speak a decidedly different dialect than the bones do.  I'm listening.  Even after getting a trail run invite from a precious person I never thought I'd have the chance to run with...I'm sticking with the recovery plan.  I can think of thousands of reasons to keep going, but the one reason to stop outweighs all of them--I want to heal.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!