Run!, Slacker, Stomach

Running on Atkins

On March 30, on doctor’s orders I started the Atkins diet.   Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking- “but, wait, all the yummy carbs!’.     Ok, now I want a donut.   Anyways, moving on.     I may have spent one last weekend indulging in all the things I was about to lose.     🙂   I also bought one of the books, the newer ones- The New Atkins Made Easy.  The original book was published back in 2003 and from the free preview I downloaded online, it read more like a science book.   I didn’t want or need all that- I didn’t need to be convinced, I was doing this because I was told to.

If you’ve been reading awhile, you’ve seen me talk as nauseuam about my stomach and it’s stupid-ness (gastroparesis).    This is not the first time I have been told to limit my carb intake, however this is the most severe it’s been.    But as this current flare up has now gone on for almost a year, I made a sad face and told the doc I would do my best.

So in brief-  Atkins is a lifestyle change that believes that a lower carb intake will help weight loss and help with some recurring or long term conditions.    This is where my doc comes in.  He suggested it, so I figured I would give it a shot.

Atkins has 4 phases-

      Phase 1- Induction-     20g carbs
Phase 2- Ongoing Weight Loss- 25g-50g- for some people higher
Phase 3- Pre-maintenance  60-70g
Phase 4-Lifetime Maintenance  80-100g

For perspective- the normal recommended intake for carbs is 180-300g.

At each phase, you can add in more foods that were previously restricted.  Like fruit and some starchy vegetables among other things.   Now Atkins is primarily geared towards weight loss, I didn’t really care about that so I started at the higher end of phase 2.   Now I won’t complain about weight loss if it happens but that is not the end goal here.   My goal was to aim for an average of 40-50g per day allowing 2 cheat meals a week that should not send my daily limit over 100.  If I stuck to that, my weekly average would be around 64g of carbs.    Why cheat meals?  Because Pizza.   I cut way back on the pizza intake but I am not cutting it out completely.

That's real food, maybe I can do this
That’s real food, maybe I can do this

I read the whole book but was slow in finishing it so sometimes I was a little misinformed.   Like the time I was so proud during family dinner because I substituted broccoli for the pasta in Spaghetti.  Too bad I didn’t realize that the sauce could hide a ton of carbs!   Oops.   It took me a while to join the website.    But since it actually confuses me that’s not such a bad thing.  I downloaded the app but really just stick to the Lose It app for keeping track of daily carb intake.   I also decided to keep some notes about this little experiment was going.

Week 1-

Didn’t do the best grocery shopping, snacking is kind of hard.  Also dinner is hard but not as hard as I thought it would be.  I had a moderate headache for the first few days.   Running felt hard but doable, so I just tried to take it easy.  I was so tired, I had thought about cutting back on soda this week too but there is no way I would have made it through the week.   It kept me from becoming a crazy person.  I think I figured out how to eat out most everywhere except Mexican food.  Friday night was an accidental/ intentional cheat at Taco Bell.  I am usually not a fan but they had a new item that was pretty good but super carb heavy.  Oops!  In plus news, I dropped 5 pounds in 4 days.  Not the point of this whole experiment but interesting none the less.

Weekly Average-  72g- not too bad

I can add salt, sweet!
I can add salt, sweet!

Week 2-

Started off so much better.  I did a better grocery shopping the prior weekend so I felt more prepared.  Monday and Tuesday were great, on track counting wise.  Wednesday evening was my first weekly cheat meal but that was fine.  What was not fine was the cheating on Thursday evening, Friday evening, all Saturday and Sunday lunch.  Umm, yeah that was bad.   So bad.   I still had a headache most of the week but stomach wise I felt ok.  I learned that if Lay’s are in the house, I have zero self control.    But on the upside, I pulled off Thursday’s 11 miles on only 15g of carbs.   This was the longest run since the dietary changes took places.  Until this I wasn’t sure I could pull this off, let alone at the pace I did.

Weekly average- 106-going the wrong direction

Week 3-

Started the week out well, fell apart by Thursday.  Why do I have such problems later in the week?   I do feel like I feel better when I restrict more but it’s hard.  I really want some damn potato chips.      My mother asked if feeling better was all in my head and I said well that would work too.  🙂

Weekly Average- 90g

Week 4-

SLO race week.  This was a problem.  I felt conflicted between following the new plan vs the common consensus of carb loading prior to a race.   I couldn’t decide what would be better.  In the end I consumed more carbs than the past few weeks and it was not a good idea.

Weekly Average- 130g– Ouch

So that was month one.    Even knowing that I need to buckle down and really commit to this to see if it helps, week 1 of month two has been a failure.     I do fine while at work.  I have actually started eating breakfasts again, I figured out snacks and I look forward to my lunches.    I figured out how to eat at most of the restaurants I frequent.     Even pizza, replaced a large pizza and bread sticks to share with a medium pizza and a salad to share.

This is awesome, have no idea where it came from but I want it.
This is awesome, have no idea where it came from but I want it.

I start each week with resolve but stumble hard by the end.  Last week, cookie Friday proved too much temptation.    I hadn’t really had many since Christmas but Friday I ate way too many.  Ugh.    I think the diet is helping but it’s hard to tell since I have no follow through by the week end.   I have a little less than 2 months before I go back to the doctor, so I really want to try and stick to it to see how it goes.     Plus I don’t have a half until mid July at the earliest, so now would be the time to figure this out.   Beside the other alternative is some heavy duty antibiotics that will break the bank if my insurance doesn’t always kick in like they have warned me.  Expensive like the cash price could be a down payment on a car.  😦    So Atkins and I need a little more time together.  🙂

So, thoughts?

Any tips on how to stick to this?

Ever have to restrict something?

Ambassador, Race Day, Recap, Run!, Slacker, Stomach

2015 SLO Marathon Recap

I ain’t even mad, bro.😀.  Actually my new motto might be “just hang on”.   But before we get into that, let’s talk about the expo real quick.

The Expo-

Expo haul- love the ambassador shirts this year!
Expo haul- love the ambassador shirts this year!

Saturday dawned rainy and windy.  Those running the 5k ran in the rain.  The rain had cleared by the time I arrived to pick up my packet and attend the ambassador meet and greet.   Picking up my packet was super easy and I wandered around the expo before heading out to the meet.   I was there less than 10 minutes before I spent money at the Lorna Jane booth.  Oops, but since that was the only thing I bought, I think I showed restraint!

The meet up was outside and it was so damn windy, I thought we were going to blow away.   It was nice catching up with the repeat ambassadors from last year and meeting the new ones.   A few of them I had been trying to meet since the Ventura half.    It was so windy and cold that after chatting, getting our shirts and taking some pics, we all scattered to do our own thing.    I headed home to rest a bit and figure out food.   I had been having a mental struggle all week, going back and forth between following my new diet rules or following conventional running wisdom.    Spoiler- I chose wrong.

Flat Slacker
Flat Slacker

The Race-

Sunday was supposed to dawn cold and windy, so I tried to prepare for that.  I didn’t feel like I got enough sleep and my stomach was cranky but neither of those are new things on race morning so I didn’t pay too much attention.   My mom was dropping me off so I didn’t have to catch the 4am bus to the start.   I got to the start with 15 minutes to spare so I figured I would hit the port-a-potty line just to be sure.   The lines were huge.   By the time I got out of there, they had moved the corrals up to the start line, oops.

Miles 1-5-  9:25, 9:14, 9:20, 9:36, 8:31

The whistle blew and we were off- sort of.   I ended up starting behind the 2:45 pacer.  Rutro.  My fault but the first mile and a half were spent bobbing and weaving.   I dropped the 2:45, 2:30, and 2:15 pace groups when I decided I just needed to run my own race and not worry about catching the 2:00 pace group.  In one way it was freeing not having to worry about keeping them in sight.   It meant I had to pace myself and while I knew breaking 2:00 was unlikely, I was feeling strong and thought I could PR- sub 2:05.

We hit the first of the long hills and I still felt good going up.  Last year at this time I was already sucking air and tiring out.   Thanks to all the weaving I did at the start, my Garmin and the mile markers didn’t match so I just checked my total time at each of the course markers.  I was feeling pretty good as we the flat section before turning up another long climb.

Miles 6-8- 9:36, 11:25, 9:29

About a 1/4 mile into 6, my stomach started to make itself known.  I began to wonder if I was going to have an issue.  But wasn’t even the biggest thing to happen that mile.  Maybe it’s because I was focused intently on telling myself I was fine and not paying attention to much else, but the next thing I knew, I was airborne.    

It’s still kind of blur but I remember hitting the ground and rolling.  My water bottle ended up about 10 feet down the course. WTF?!  About 5 different runners stopped their race to come help me.   Some helped me up while one chased down my bottle.  A bike medic was there in seconds.    I was kind of in shock/ denial, so I honestly don’t remember if I thanked all of them.   I posted a big shout out to them on my Facebook page but I feel bad if I didn’t say it right then.  😔  I assured the medic I was ok and kept running.   It was few yards later that it all set in and then I was trying to talk myself out of hyperventilating myself into an asthma attack.

Eventually I calmed down and I was still on track to PR.   Halfway through mile 6, my stomach let me know that I needed a bathroom and I needed it now.  There were no bathrooms at that point.   I had to start walking because it was either walk or embarrass myself.   I walked the rest of 7 just taking deep breaths.   I felt a little better by the turn around so I picked up the pace.   I said goodbye to the PR hope but knew I could still beat last years course time even with the fall and the walking.   At mile 8, I was 4 minutes ahead of a last year.

Miles 9-11- 13:01, 9:48, 9:54

Around 8.5, my stomach reared again. I was near an aid station so I looked for bathrooms.  I finally found them off to side and back away and bolted for them.    Not sure if I looked urgent or if he did this the whole race but there was a volunteer who directed me to which port-a-potty was open.  Thank you!

After that snafu, I was back running but had slowed a bit.  Shockingly enough I was still on track to beat last year’s time.   I just had to stay under a 10:00 pace the last few miles.   My legs felt strong; bruised and bleeding but strong.  My mental game still felt on point as well.   Despite the morning so far, I wasn’t defeated and I wasn’t  giving up.   We had a nice decline portion before we went from the roads to the railroad trail.   I knew there was the suspension bridge and a few streets left before the finish line and I was still hopeful.

Miles 12-13.1- 10:37, 12:49, 2:17

Mile 12 slowed some towards the end thanks to my stomach again but I thought if I could a 9:00 for the last mile and sprint the .1, I could still pull this off.   I shouldn’t have gotten cocky.   My stomach threw a fit in the last mile.  Why are there no bathrooms at mile 12.5?!  Ha!  There were 2 times I had to get myself completely off the road, out of the way and just stand still, focusing on deep breathing and calming my stomach.   My fastest pace was now a jog but I was mostly walking.

It felt like more than 100 people passed me in that last mile.  Including the 2:15 pace group.    The last .25 mile is a paved path that goes around the pavilion at the Madonna Inn and I had been looking forward to sprinting it.  I walked 90% of it before jogging across the finish line.   Half marathon#12 done.

Finish- 2:15:07

Once I crossed the finish line and got my medal- which I feel like I fought for!- I was looking for a bathroom. I had wanted a finishers picture but the line had about 50 people in it and that was just not going to happen.  I also should have stopped at the medical tent but I had other priorities.   Plus, my arm warmers had done a pretty good job of drying the blood.

Oops
Oops.  But my socks were on point!

My mother found me fairly quickly and we headed for the back of the pavilion where the port-a-potties and UPS trucks (bag check) were.   After that, I made it as far as the grass by the trucks and just tried to calm my rolling stomach.    I wanted to try to find some of the ambassadors and see how they did but was just not up to moving.    I had eaten nothing and had drank very little throughout the race as I knew my stomach was just not up to it.    I let myself have a bit of the chocolate strawberry protein smoothie that Jamba Juice made for the finishers.   It tasted like a Frosty.   🙂   We ended up leaving not long after that, I was feeling rough again and couldn’t handle another port-a-potty, so we headed to the McDonald’s down the street.  Real bathrooms and I got an ice-cold Diet Coke.  Oh the magical healing properties.   🙂

Half smile/ half grimace
Half smile/ half grimace

Like I said at the beginning, I am not mad or even sad.   There were quite a few times throughout the race where I could have said screw it and bailed or phoned it in (see Ventura) but I knew I was stronger than that.  My legs were feeling fresh, tumble not withstanding, my head was in the game and I was determined.    I think that’s one thing that came out of my McMillan training plan that I wasn’t anticipating- the confidence.  I knew I could I do it, and I still honestly believe that if it hadn’t been for my stupid stomach, I would have PR’d, hills, fall, headwind and all.    Yes, the wind had picked up and was pretty bad but by that point it was the least of my concerns.  🙂  So with everything that race morning threw at me, I am damn proud of that 2:15.isWatermarkedI love this race.  I love the course and the crowds.   The expo is still my favorite and the volunteers and staff are amazing.   Seriously, I think the bike medic was there before I stopped rolling.  I am already looking forward to next year.

Ever fallen while running?  This was my first time. 

What race/ run are you really proud of?

Run!, Slacker

I Needed That

I really, really needed that.

If you’ve been along for the ride awhile, you may have heard me mention a time or a million that my stomach and I don’t get along.   Also that it’s been a rough 10 months, stomach wise.   That roughness carried over into my running and things slowed down.    I was so gung-ho to set PR’s in 2014 and it just didn’t happen.   Even though I finally accepted that and moved on, a part of me was still frustrated.   Also with doctors but that’s another story.

While I have trained pretty consistently this year, I am still not where I was before my flare.  Walk breaks have become a part of run, long or short, slow or fast.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with walking, heck I look forward to those breaks on most runs.    But long runs stressed me out.   I don’t know if I hid it well or not but I was beginning to dread long runs.    I felt like I was moving so slow and that I walked too often but just couldn’t seem to pick it up.FullSizeRender (6)Beyond that I have a serious mental block when it comes to long runs past 10 miles.  I love half marathons but double-digit slow runs by myself?  Umm, not so much.   I have done one 12 mile run outside of a race.  One- and it took me 2.5 hours.  Actually it might have been longer but I’ve blocked it out, I am pretty sure I walked the last 2 miles.   So when I saw so many 12-16 milers on my training schedule, I had a mini freak out.   And I haven’t run a single one.   Once again I topped out at 10 for most of the runs.    Which was noticeable in Wine Country when I hit a wall at 10. Did that make me go out and run 12 the next weekend? No.    Then my doctor changed my diet pretty drastically and I missed 2 long runs in a row.  Crap.   I knew I could not miss another with SLO being so close.

While I am looking forward to my 5k race tomorrow, it is one that I know leaves me super sore.   So sore that I knew banking on a 10-12 mile run with a fast finish on Sunday was probably foolish.    Because work was a little crazy this week and I worked longer days on Monday and Tuesday and couldn’t leave the building on Wednesday and Friday, my boss said she was going to try and let me leave a little early on Thursday.   This sparked an idea but I wasn’t fully committed.  A small part of me thought I could move my long run to Thursday instead.  My 5K race is not a PR race but more for fun, so I figured if I was a little tired for it that was fine.    But I was still on the fence about if I even wanted to run that many miles after working all day.   Or if I even could.  IMG_0023I got off an hour early so I headed to the lake to run a few laps.  My stomach was the crankiest it’s been since I started this new diet, but then I had cheated the day before.   I also wasn’t dressed for a long run.  I wasn’t wearing compression socks nor a 10+ mile sports bra.  Yes, I have different sports bras I wear depending on the length of the run.    If I did run long I was going to split it. 7-8 miles at the lake and then I was going to head to the river path for the remainder.  My mother was thinking about meeting me for the second part.   So, in other words, I wasn’t expecting much and anticipating another Slacker moment.

I warmed up with my usual slow first mile before picking it up.    Miles 2 and 3 clocked in at 9:57 and 10:10.  So not long run pace.  I should have been aiming for 10:45-11:15.  I went out too fast, there was no way I was maintaining.  I was irritated with myself and doubting that I would even follow through with driving to the river path.  Then my mother texted that she wasn’t going to make it.  There went that motivation to follow through.    Ok fine, I was just going to run until I was tired or my stomach rebelled, I figured 6 miles tops. haterunning Around mile 6, I noticed that I was still running.  As in, I hadn’t taken a single walk break.  Not one and I felt pretty good.  Huh?  I did stop for a bathroom break but decided to just keep running after that.  Mile 7 and I was running.  Mile 8 still running.  Mile 9, more running.  Still no walk breaks.   I was starting to think I might actually pull this off.  Miles 9, 10,  and 11 all came in at 10:00 or under.   Did you see that 11?!?!  I cleared 10 miles on a long run!!!!!!  I wanted to throw a party and celebrate but I was surrounded by strangers!     I stopped my Garmin at 11 and walked the 3/4 of a mile back to my car.

Dudes, I ran the whole thing- no walking breaks!!  Who am I?  And 11 miles at that pace and not racing?!  I know it’s not much by some standards but for me and the past year, I was stoked.     It also reinforced that consistent training works and does pay off even if you don’t see it immediately.   I was seriously beginning to doubt I could even hit double digits after the last few weeks.  I was feeling rough and not confident in my running ability at all.   I had chalked my last race up to being a fluke and was mentally preparing myself for a rough race in a few weeks.    I didn’t know how badly I needed a long run- a good, long run.    Until I pulled it off.  🙂  Bring it on SLO!

Lapping the lake so many times, I passed a few people multiple times.  I was wearing a tank that says “I hate running” and that was getting a few comments.   🙂    I passed one pair of older ladies multiple times.  They said something to me once but I didn’t quite catch it.  Another 2 times past them and they stopped me.  One asked how many I was doing because I had to be near 20.  I wish!  I said that I was aiming for 11 miles and only had 3/4 of a mile to go.    I passed them again on the cool down walk and they said good job.  🙂

I still want to do a little happy dance when I think about yesterday’s run.   Training works, who knew?   I think I need to get this McMillan plan laminated for future use.  Haha.  Now I should probably get some sleep, I have a mountain to run up in the morning.  🙂

How do you feel about long runs?

Who is racing this weekend?

What was your last great run?

Run!, Slacker

Running in Circles

Monday was a big day at work for a few reasons and by the end I was looking forward to a nice, easy recovery run after work.     I chose the lake path again, partly due to the flatness after the previous day’s 10 and I because I thought it would be a good place to test out my new shoes.  They fit great in the store but I had to go up a 1/2 size.  When I wore them for the puppy walk on Saturday night, they felt too big, especially going downhill.  Ruh-ro.   This time out I paired them with my Pro Compression Trainer Low socks (love by the way) as they are a little thicker than my other socks.  So much better! newshoes

My mother met me at the lake and we set out.  I was feeling tired and my leg was not appreciating the heels that I had worn all day, so I wasn’t expecting much.    After a 10 minute warm up walk, I broke away to run, not sure I was going to 3 laps or 4.    I think the Sayonara’s had my legs a little confused.  They forgot it was supposed to be an easy day.    I averaged a 9:35 pace for the next 3 miles with forced walk breaks in each mile because I knew I should be running slower.  4.25 miles in total for the day.   I felt pretty good in the shoes, but then it’s only been 8 miles.   I was trying to pay extra attention to my form since I knew they were a lighter weight than I was used to, it did get a little sloppy towards the end.   I will have to work on that next time.   🙂

Today was D-Day otherwise known as doctor day.  After waiting so long, I was kind of afraid something was going to push it back again.  I skedaddled out of work at 1:45 because I was afraid of any traffic issues.  Of course, there were none so I ended spending some time in the parking lot.  🙂   For the first time, my mother joined me at the appointment.  I just wanted a better answer so I was all for anything that might make him listen more.     We were there for 2 hours, granted part of that was waiting in the waiting room.    I was prepared for him to want to order tests, I was prepared for different medication; I was not prepared for was for him to admit that he needs another opinion.  Umm, aren’t you the specialist?   So I have a bunch of blood work I need to do followed by 2 new heavy duty antibiotics and then a histamine blocker?  They are also working on a referral for a doc down in LA.  Boo.

source
source

One of the antibiotics he initially wanted to prescribe dictated no strenuous exercise because it could damage your tendons.  I guess I had my “hell no” face on because before I could say anything (or freak out) my mother spoke up.  She implied that I could get really bitchy without running -haha- true story!  He switched medications so I am still ok to run.   It just means that once again I am going into a half marathon while on antibiotics.  After getting out of the appointment I was just felt drained, and after 3 days of running/ walking I turned the evening into a rest day.

This week might end up with fewer running days but I am trying not to stress on it.  I start class tomorrow and am trying to figure out how to do a business mixer and the gym on Thursday.   I need to do my long run on Saturday because the company picnic (or beach day) is Sunday.  This school thing is really throwing me off- when am I ever going to do business internationally anyways?

How about you guys? Ever wanted to snap at a doctor?

What company picnics? Yay, nay or never had one?

How has your week been?

Run!, Slacker

On the Brightside

Happy Tuesday! Congrats on surviving Monday!  At least that’s how it felt to me.  🙂

Even though I had used my one rest day on Thursday for the mixer, Sunday was less of a real workout and more of catching up on things.  I worked up quite a sweat cleaning my car.   I don’t know if that’s more indicative of how hard I worked or how dirty it really was.  I spent over an hour on just the inside.   It is now so very clean.   Well, the windows are still streaky but that’s because I have zero talent at washing car windows.  Seriously, it’s bad.  This may be a cop-out but I called that my workout for the day.  🙂

All were in my car, I think I have a problem
All were in my car, I think I have a problem

Other than that little blip, I’ve been doing really good with my no excuses plan so far.  I have had plenty of reasons to skip a workout but I wouldn’t let myself.  First the two weeks of little to no sleep; that at least finally getting a little better.  No lie, there have been more than a few naps.  Then it’s like since I made a comment that I may as well get used to my stomach never being perfect, it decided to pick a fight with me.  And it is still fighting with me, so yeah, June’s been a little rough.   But I’ve kept trucking.  And running, even if they haven’t been the best workouts.    I am currently on track for one of my best month’s mileage wise, knock on wood.  Pace, however has taken a big hit.  So, I am trying to think optimistically and call this a base reinforcing month.

I came to this lovely epiphany while running yesterday.   My mother wanted to try the new path again without Zoey and asked if I would run it while she walked it.  We figured we would pass each other a time or two.   I needed to do 5 miles but again my stomach was hating me so I was wondering if I could even complete 2.   I walked most of the first mile with my mom before attempting to pick up the pace. I focused on my breathing and tried to keep a steady pace and just kept going.    I made it to the top of the street, turned around and headed back.  I passed my mother but we just waved and kept moving.   I felt a little rough but at the same time this felt like the best run I have had all month.    I knew I wouldn’t hit 5 unless I deviated from the path, so I went right onto one street and looped back around into the housing complex before then turning off onto the trail section for the last bit.  I finished up my 5 just as my mom was completing her walk.  There were some rough moments but I just kept breathing and this turned into the best run of June so far. good5

While running, I was thinking about my stupid stomach and how this time last year I would have just said screw it and not run, even if that meant a month off.  And yes, that’s happened before.  But, realistically, these flares happen, so better to deal with it than ignore it.   So with that being said, I have decided that my last few month of runs haven’t been that bad, all complaining aside.   This flare will pass and I will reintroduce speed work into my work outs.  I actually kind of miss it.  🙂   And if that doesn’t work, I have an appointment to see my gastro doc in August.  I’m not sure where this sudden shiny outlook is coming from, normally I’m rain clouds and cynicism.  Who spiked my Diet Coke?!

After yesterday’s great run, I kind of really wanted to run today.  However I had made dinner plans to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  Since the schedule was gonna be tight, I decided to make today my rest day.  I also used that as a reason to finally get the blood work that I have been putting off.  So far, no bruising, woo hoo!  Dinner was good and I got the perfect fortune in my cookie-cookie

It’s almost Hump day! Almost at the half way point now!

Ever get any good fortunes?
How about a running epiphany?