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I just re-read this this blog post that Andrew had posted earlier: http://enduranceandsustainability.blogspot.com/2011/06/junk-food-endurance-and-longevity.html
Our family recently made diet changes based upon the same idea that Ed wrote: “If a natural-foods diet could help make a sick person well, wouldn't it also make a well person more well?”
In our case, we were already eating “natural-foods” (buying organic, grinding our own grain to make whole grain foods, etc), but, Pamela was having an increasingly harder time digesting grain. After months of research and finding things like Dr. Wahls and the specific carbohydrate diet and talking to friends about their diets, she had reduced her grain consumption, but was not yet ready to make the change to a grain-free diet. If a natural-foods diet could help make a sick person well, wouldn't it also make a well person more well?
Eventually, she found Lierre Keith's book The Vegetarian Myth. Though the book targets practicing vegans and vegetarians to convince them that the lifestyle they are leading is good neither for their own health nor for that of the planet or the animals that they strive to protect, it is a good read for non-vegetarians as well.
Lierre Keith's book does not pull any punches and answered the question of “Why should we change our diet?” That was in December. At that time, I knew that the change was in the works, but she acted on it suddenly and decisively which is how she usually does things. I bought into the change on two fronts. First, the diet will prevent diabetes which is problematic in my family. Second, the facts that archeological evidence and observations of hunter-gatherer peoples in the 1800's and early 1900's revealed that many of our modern diseases did not exist before agriculture and the cultivation of grains convinced me that they are not really necessary and I am probably better off without them. She also showed that agriculture is an annual natural disaster for the environment.
Since around mid-December, I have not eaten any grains (wheat, corn, oatmeal, etc), legumes, or potatoes. We also nearly eliminated sugar. We still have some sugar in the form of chocolate. We have chocolate chips in our trail mix and often have 1/3 of a chocolate bar each after dinner. Other than that, our only sweetener is honey which we use in moderation.
Physically, the only changes that I've noticed is that I lost a bit of weight around my middle (~8 lbs) and I also lost a bulge or tightness in my lower abdomen that did not seem to be fat, but protruded a bit more than I thought was right. Our Rolfer theorized that it was inflammation in my gut that was alleviated by the new diet and that seems as good a theory as any. One other change that I've noticed is that my appreciation of the foods that we eat has grown. My wife is an excellent cook and I have always enjoyed what we eat, but it seems to me that my enjoyment has deepened. For instance, I usually have a smoothie with breakfast. I especially notice the new appreciation with my morning smoothie at work. When I take my first sip of smoothie, I feel like giving vent to a deep sigh of contentment. I take it as my body's approval of the food that I am giving it. Interestingly, I only noticed this feeling regarding the smoothie after our milking doe had her baby and we had fresh, raw goat milk to add to our smoothies again. Over the winter when we were making smoothies with grape juice, I did not have such a strong reaction. I have not noticed any adverse reactions.
My smoothie (I have feel good just thinking about it.):
- 1 banana
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup raw goat milk
- 2 oz each of: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
Sorry for the tangent. I see what you're talking about as managing stress. For me, not focusing on negatives helps me manage stress. I feel that it is good to feel a little stress and a little on edge, but like you, I try to manage that. When I attend one of the larger races, I like to arrive early so that I am not stressed about parking, but when I have an hour or more until the race, I don't want to start thinking about the race yet. Instead, I will bring a book or audio book to distract myself until I am ready to start warming up. But, I still see what I was talking about as related. As the race draws near, focusing on the things that I can control helps me to avoid negative stress that comes from worrying about the things beyond my control. When I get to the starting line, I like to feel relaxed and peaceful inside, but poised for movement. It is a balancing act. Feeling some stress and anxiety helps you to perform better, but immersing yourself in it can overwhelm you and ruin your performance.
Some are rather wordy …
1. I was pushed by my junior high coach to high jump rather than run 800m. But, I practiced running everyday anyway because of my dad's story about beating his older brother in the 880 in high school. He did not want to pass my uncle. He urged my uncle to go catch the other guy, but finally had to go do it himself.
2. I went out for cross country on a whim when met two classmates who were planning to go talk to the high school coach after school. (Ours was the first 9th grade class to attend new middle school instead of the high school next door). The funny thing was that I rarely socialized with those two guys so it was just a fluke that I spoke to them that day and went out for cross country that year. I was a little late getting home to go to the lake with my family and I went on my first run that Labor Day weekend at the lake. But, in general, I rarely trained outside of an organized practice. I ran one JV meet, improved my 2 mile time by 2+ minutes over the course of the year, and was the third runner at the regional meet.
3. The coach that formerly slotted me for the high jump let me run the following track season. He liked setting up mini competitions in practice and once had me racing against some high school sprinters. One or two of the sprinters dropped out after the second lap. On the final lap, the one remaining sprinter dropped and another jumped in relay style. It was a very close finish, but coach gave me the win.
4. Though I was very out of shape, I had an incredible run in Germany in the late 90's while I was there for National Guard. I asked permission to go to work late that morning so that I could run a 5K. I thought that it would be cool to have a race T-shirt from Germany. When I showed up, the race had been cancelled and I was invited to run 10 miles with some regular army people (2 women and 1 man). Though I suspected that I should probably get back to work, I decided to take them up on it. We ran 10 miles on some incredible pine needle covered trails and though I was hurting very badly in the middle, I got a second wind and finished strong. That is my best memory from the trip. The best moments in life are those that you're too busy living to stop and take a picture. Same trip, different run, I got lost and wandered onto a property where an armed German security guard came out of a guard house. We did not speak each other's language, but eventually, I pointed back the way I had come and he nodded.
5. I weighed a hefty 225 in June of 2000. (I probably peaked higher than that a month later, but did not weigh myself often.) I married my wife that August and adopted my wife's healthier diet and very moderate exercise via walks and simply not spending as much time sitting in front of a computer. I started running again after my weight dropped to around 190 and it was not so uncomfortable to run. I returned to competition representing my company for a corporate challenge event the following spring and my competitive fires were reignited. Corporate challenge remains one of my favorite events. My company did not participate for a couple of years after some mergers, but I am happy that this year we are competing again and I especially look forward to competing on the track in preparation for the National Master's T&F meet in June.
6. I got lost on my first long run from my current home. I covered 27 miles instead of 20 and walked a lot once I became uncertain about how many miles I would end up running.
8. I most likely never exceeded 30 miles in a week in high school.
9. I knew that I could compete at the state level after placing 6th in cross country as a junior in high school. That December, I resolved to win a title at state track that spring, but those plans were sidelined by injury. I ran 4:30 for 1600m at the first meet of the season and then I was injured with a not completely diagnosed hip injury until the week before the league meet. Coach kept me out of the league meet and I trained hard for two weeks. I probably put more effort into it than I should trying to make up for the missed weeks. Try as I might I could not break 5 minutes for 1600m in practice. At regionals in the 1600m, I positioned myself just behind the right hip of the leader and we ran that way for 1500m — a perfect race for a sit-and-kick type such as I was then. As we left the last turn, I kicked hard, but I watched out of the corner of my eye for the other guy to reel me in. I knew that I could not win because I was out of shape, but nevertheless I ran as hard as I could from my pursuer. But, he never showed and I won in 4:30. I also qualified for state in the 3200m — placing third in a very painful race. In hindsight, I should have run the 800m rather than the 3200m. I ran state and placed 6th in at least one of the two races, but I do not remember my time. It was a very disappointing season considering what I had envisioned for myself.
10. I won the state 1600m and 3200m titles my senior year of high school. I might have done well in the 800m also, except that it was only my third 800m race and I had never learned to run in traffic. I panicked when I found myself boxed after 300m and wanting to move with 400m to go. By the time I was no longer boxed in, I was in last place and finally recognized the mistake that I'd made by slowing down to get out of the box. With two medals, I must admit that I gave up when I saw that I would not be competing for the win. Perhaps if we had been competing for a team title, I would have pushed myself to get whatever points I could. But, we had a very small track team. (Most of the best athletes in school played baseball and softball in the spring.) Coach never talked about competing for team points. It is funny that my 20 points alone put us ahead of some schools that we never could place ahead of at smaller meets.
+1. Though I had won state titles, I walked onto my college team. The coach had spent his scolarship money, but I was treated like a scholarship athlete anyway. Some walk-ons were not treated so well, but it helps to have beaten a couple of his scholarship athletes. I had lost the competitive fire after high school. I enjoyed running and training and being part of the team in college, but racing was no longer important to me. I was not a big partier like some of my teammates who flamed out and never performed. I just lacked the drive that I once had. I had a couple of instances that showed me what might have been, but I found more injury than motivation. Looking back, I recall working very hard for someone who did not really care about competing, but the fact is that meets were not important to me and I found more injuries than motivation. Eventually, I quit after my second stress fracture. I enjoy racing now more than I did in college.
I don't really think of putting on a “game face”, but I try to put myself into a “game mindset”. I think it is what people talk about when they refer to being in “the zone”. Though I think that I experienced it in at least some of my high school races, I first understood it while playing pick up basketball games after I left the track and cross country teams in college. There were a few occasions when I was just so fully in the moment and so fully excluding everything outside of the court, the ball, and the other players, that I could see things developing earlier and react sooner. I expect that the very best competitors in a sport are able to enter this state at will.
When I race, I try to achieve the same by focusing only on the present — on those factors that I can control today. If I feel well prepared, I might spare some thoughts for those things that I have done that lead me to believe that I am ready, but I never want to focus on anything negative (too few miles, not enough time to warm up, etc.). Those thoughts won't help and if anything will derail your chances. I also like to visualize likely scenarios and replay scenarios from previous races that I think might apply. I find that it is helpful to imagine the discomfort that I will feel later in the race and that thinking about it ahead of time makes it easier to endure and maybe even embrace when it arrives.
I think that achieving a good mindset can make a bigger difference than many other things that you might do on race day. I have arrived at a race with barely enough time to pin on my number and line up, and still managed to have a good race because I had accepted that I would be late during the car ride and I chose not to stress about it. I prefer to arrive with plenty of time to check in and warm up, but just because something goes wrong (missed a turn on the way to the race, forgot my lucky socks/shirt/shoes/post-race snack, etc.) does not mean that I will have a bad race.
I appreciate the recommendation. I will see if I can make it work with my schedule. I will probably only get to the track about once per week, so I will likely be approximating some of your recommendations on the road.
I am open to any mile workouts/recommendations and will adopt anything that seems like it will work for me.
That would be very cool. It would be fun to meet someone from these forums.
I've also had some additional cross training lately — splitting wood for our wood burning stove, loading it into our garden cart, and then pulling the heavily loaded cart up hill to our porch for unloading. The uphill pull was especially challenging on a day when I did hill sprints in the morning.
Though I like the idea of smaller no frills races. It seems that locally, those are not the races that draw better competition. The few times that I have run a truly no frills race, I have ended up running solo from the start. One of those races is no more. Another I will probably give another chance as it appears that in other years there have been some faster runners show up.
Locally, I have noticed that we're actually getting some positive return on the higher race fees. For 5Ks, the price seems to have stabilized around $25. It's probably about $10 higher than I would prefer, but since 2008, it seems that local race management has improved. At that time, a new management company emerged and by paying attention to details they simply out performed other race directors or management companies and quickly expanded their share of the race management market. Other race managers took notice and have improved their performance as well such that Kansas City area runners are now better served than they were before. Generally, these events fall somewhere between the large group workout parties and the bare bones races. Sometimes they might have some elements of the larger events, but mostly the frills are minimal — excellent overall organization and execution, chip timing, and a DJ.
On the frills side, I did run an UltraMax event recently. They offered a lot of frills, but they still managed to focus on the competition more so than most other events do. I suppose I will post more about that in a race report.
Nicely done, Double.
I've been giving some thought to moving my logs from a Google Drive spreadsheet into an online log, but I am not completely committed to that. I put a lot of work into those spreadsheets and think that I would prefer to migrate at least some of my data to a new system. I've even considered developing my own log to try to incorporate some of the features that I've put into spreadsheet(s).
Ever wanted another developer? 😉
Charlene, I live in a similarly rural area and have had similar thoughts on a run. I've wondered if the van coming out of some driveway was the owner's van or perhaps someone who shouldn't have been there. That was on a long run, so I was not as familiar with those houses as with the ones closer to home. We have a couple of friends who have had items stolen (horse tack and a large six-wheeler). The people who stole the horse tack were caught after our friend spotted her items on craigslist.com.
Have you ever encountered loose livestock? A few times, I've stopped to tell people that their cows or horses were out. In one case, I found a lone horse wearing a halter standing in the road on the other side of the fence from some other horses. I walked/jogged with that horse for about 3/4 of a mile until I met a woman who was walking out of her driveway to look for it.
Recently, our farrier found a lost steer wandering along the road. He spent hours trying to track down the owner. He contacted all of the nearby farms and no one was missing a steer. So, he and his dad took the steer to the butcher and filled their freezer.
Andrew, I had not looked that far ahead yet, but I am sure that KC Smoke will send a contingent. I would say that there is at least a 50% chance that I'll be there.
I'll be turning 44 next month and there is definitely plenty of competition in our age group and beyond. I had the opportunity to compete in the Master's XC Championships last year and that was humbling and inspiring. Though I trailed behind many men older than me, I found it inspiring to know that if I work at it I might be able to run at a fairly high level for several more years yet.
Like in trail running or in mountain biking, where it is advised to pick a line and stick to it because if you look at where you do not want to go then you will wind up there.
Though not running related, I find it interesting that my wife says the same about horse riding. You need to look where you want the horse to go otherwise the horse is likely to go where you're looking.
I generally do not run with my driver's license, but I made an exception today so that I could stop and vote on the way to work.
I'm thankful that the drivers that I've met while running have limited their abuse to kicking up huge clouds of dust (though I think this is usually carelessness) or yelling verbal insults. I had not considered the possibility that drivers intentionally targeting runners would be more of a threat than careless or unobservant drivers. Do they swerve toward you, throw things? If the former, I hope that the intent is to scare and not to hit.
Though I have never had any threatening incidents while running that I think were intentional. I did have an incident while walking home from school once. I was walking home from junior high — passing the high school. As I walked on the one road in my route without a sidewalk, I had noticed how cars swerved around me to give me lots of space. Then, one car didn't. I noticed that they were acting differently well before they got near me and was very alert. As they approached, the passenger door flew open and I jumped out of the way. If I hadn't been paying attention, they would have nailed me.
I definitely agree that awareness of our surroundings is our best defense against either accidents or assaults while running.
I have considered a head lamp or a belt lamp, but the times that I have felt the need for one have been rare enough that I've never acted on it. Generally, the moon or the glow from the city illuminate my route well enough for me to avoid the potholes and I especially enjoy running under the moon. It is likely that I will turn off the front lights on my vest when there are no cars and a good moon in the sky.