Nov 29, 2007

the big dogs

i was back with the big dogs this morning. it had been six weeks since i had run with the group. before i got my new schedule, i had high hopes that i would finally be able to start and end a run with the gang. i thought my days of bringing up the rear were over. but that was before i got my schedule with two back to back days of mile repeats. keeping up wasn't so much an option for me today.

which bummed me out. and so i had to keep reminding myself that my legs had two days of mile repeats in them and i was still out there, at 5am running faster than i would be if i was on my own. but i wasn't. oh, it was 5am alright, but i wasn't running very fast. once in the car, i ask coach what the mileage was and i found out what our pace was. shit. it shouldn't have been hard. but it was.

this was my first full week of new, shit hard schedule. in looking back at my food log, i did a really good job of refueling from sunday's run. so i'd like to think this wasn't a not-enough-food thing. it was a three-shit-hard-workouts-in-a-row thing. and they weren't awful. they were just hard. and hard is fine. it is what it is. it's week one. and since i love a good experiment, we'll just see how week two goes.

but if it all remains just too hard, in that it actually does kill me, or threaten to, before it makes me stronger, we'll rethink the schedule. rearrange things if we need to. i'm meant to keep coach posted on how i am feeling on the runs. let him know if the big dog runs are just too tough. i think this is sort of funny. they are always tough. i have no doubts he'll know the point at which they've become too hard. cause he'll look back to see if i am still there and i'll be sitting on the curb. crying.

but! hard workouts aside, the sugar free thing is no longer very hard. i can finally walk by the candy aisle and ignore all the bags of chewy, fruity, sugar covered things crying out my name. zanne, eat us. we are yummy.

and i want to say, don't mess with me, sugar. i am over you.

Nov 25, 2007

ten hills

this is how many hills i put into long run experiement #2. now, the long runs are not only an experiment in nutrition, but in the course as well. i need to get ready for this:

that's just the first 13.1. here's the second half:

there's a loop through a park with three big hills that i do all the time, so they are the most familiar and least painful. there is another hill that always remains a pain in the ass no matter how many times i go up it. and there are two hills that i avoid at all costs. one is just shit hard and long, and of course this is the one that coach advises is most like the hill at mile 22. and the other hill i ran by accident last summer & swore i'd never run again. that one is shit harder. and longer and steeper. and i put them both in the last 4 miles of todays' 15 mile run. this is now my new loop for the next 11 weeks. i'll add mileage in at other spots in the loop to ensure that those two shit hard hills remain in the last 4 miles of my run. every sunday.

nutritionally, despite the fact that i felt like i was packing for a day hike, today's run was fairly uneventful. it was a clementine day. i could bring this with me - didn't have to stash bananas at anyones' house. and i thought it might be fun to try something else too, so i brought a zippy bag full of bear naked granola. and i had some at mile 3 and 11. granola is hard to eat on the run out of a zippy bag with gloves on and some of it falls down your shirt and then you have granola in your boobs. and you are running and the granola is hard and this does not feel good. no more granola. but the clementine? that was dreamy. had it at mile 7. drank my heed and my water.which was easy. cause it was right there. on my ass. so handy.

there was no iamrunnerwomanhearmeroar this morning. it was more - at the top of maple road which sounds so lovely and benign, but kicked my sorry ass, i wanted the run to be over. and i walked. for a bit. but you get home faster if you actually run. i was only 3 miles from home, and it was perfect serendipity that the plan b theme song came on. --every plan b needs a good theme song.

so there it is. long run experiment #2. it was hard. i don't know if it was hard cause of the hills, or a food thing, or just cause i was tired. it was just hard. i couldn't have mapped a harder course if someone paid me to. but that's what i'll be doing for the next eleven sundays. i need to get used to it. i need to not want to die at the top of maple three miles from my house. although today dying would have been preferable. i wrote to coach and told him maybe one day he could just meet me at the top of maple road and shoot me.

now, to go start the refueling process. i will not start this week in a calorie deficit and have another shitty week of sluggish runs. scrambled eggs? oatmeal? what goes best with a nap?

Nov 23, 2007

still sugarless

one more week of no sugar. this was purely my choice.

i haven’t graduated to the stage where i can slowly reintroduce it. that’s probably because i still. want. it. and that was made abundantly clear last night as i tried to have a conversation with someone while standing next to the pie table. i. could. not. concentrate. and so until i get to the point where i can have a normal conversation with someone while standing next to a table full of sugar laden things and not want to eat any; i am still sugarless.

i was feeling so great and optimistic in the few days going into sunday’s long run. the no sugar thing wasn’t hurting quite as much. i felt like i had a handle on it all. but i had a hard time this past week with the food thing. i didn’t fill up the tank enough from sundays’ blissful run, and went into my week in a calorie deficit, still running and further depleting whatever minimal stores i had left –which resulted in fairly shitty runs on monday, tuesday and wednesday.

this whole no-sugar, rethinking the way i think (or didn't think, in my case) about food was crazy hard at first, harder than i ever thought it would be. i never have, and never wanted to think about food so much in my life. but then it got easier and i saw for one blissful hour and fifty three minutes how it can pay off so perfectly. then it got hard again and i felt a little defeated and discouraged this week. but i’m seeing the connections and i know there is a point at which it will all become intuitive. the nutrition light is finally, slowly dawning on planet zanne.

i’ve got 15 miles this sunday. i’ll go in well fueled again, but this time, will make damn sure i come out of it well fueled as well so i can get through the next week.

Nov 22, 2007

is there a sponsor in the house?

its hard to concentrate
and have a conversation
while standing next to the pie table
when on a sugar free diet.
here's what i'm thankful for:
a husband who sees me at said pie table
and knows what i am thinking.
and he says,
keep your eye on the prize.
step away from the pies.
thank god he was there.

happy thanksgiving.

Nov 20, 2007

plan b schedule

i've been running whatever miles i want to and however many days i want to in the past few weeks since the marathon. and while i totally thought it would make me wiggy - and it did, for a bit, i started to get used to it. but i never feel like i am officially "in training" until there is an actual schedule. i need a visual. i need a plan. and i need to cross off the squares. and so last night, my plan b schedule finally made its appearance in my inbox. my excitement over having an official schedule subsided a weensy bit when i saw that coach had said to take a deep breath before reading. oh jesus. am i gonna need a paper bag? so i open the attachment - and there's my schedule, staring me squarely in the face. he should have told me to pour myself a double scotch too. mile repeats. are back. to back. twice a week. back to back. screw the paper bag & a scotch. there has got to be a bag of gumdrops somewhere around here that i can cry into.

but after the initial shock of back to back mile repeat days topped off with a big dog run wore off and i had some time to mull over my new and very challenging plan b schedule, i put on my big girl pants and could see it was a good schedule in that what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger way; and i'm actually excited.

monday - swimming
tuesday - mile repeats
wednesday - mile repeats
thursday - big dog run
friday - off
saturday - bike
sunday - long run.
total miles most weeks - 44+

the long runs are really long and for this i am thrilled. i love long run sundays, and i love that there's a bunch of 'em. plenty of chances to figure out what works best going into run, during run & coming out of run.

let the madness begin again.
marathon training.
its official.
plan b training started this morning with a mile repeat.

Nov 18, 2007

long run experiment #1

test one of on-the-run fueling. today was the longest run since the marathon. last week & the week before i did 10 milers and brought my own water bottle - the kind that straps on to your hand. it was a pain in the ass. today, however, i got to try out my new birthday present from coach. and while i felt like a total dork with it on, i thought if it saves me from a sidewalk collapse, i'll wear anything. now, that said this was another kind of pain in the ass. the cold, leaky water in 35 degree weather kind. it is a weensy bit hard to get the bottles out and i hadn't quite closed the top each time i had water. i'm sure it will get better with practice. lets just say when i got home, i realized why my ass - specifically, my right cheek - was freezing.

i did love the fact that i could drink on the run whenever i wanted. and the thought of having little bottles from which to drink during a marathon and not having to mess with - literally - the water in water stops and just pray that some of it gets in my mouth and not on my shirt is very appealing. i will learn to close the tops and get the bottles out easily. the fuel belt is a good thing.

so, in addition to my new program of no refined sugar, increased calories and more greens in the days going into this run, i had some nutrition suggestions to follow/try out during the run. GU could not be an option. i had to try real food. a banana halfway through the run. and while i got the okay on HEED in one water bottle, i was meant to go for the water first and listen to my body to determine if the HEED was really needed.

i had my double breakfasts on friday and saturday. i had a small bowl of oatmeal (real, slow cooker kind) one hour before i left. and i set off in the pre-dawn darkness. and i almost never listen to tunes at this hour - mostly because i want to be able to hear the van that all serial killers drive pull up behind me before i get dumped in it - i had some rockin' tunes on and was way happy. way. i turned off the main drag and headed into the park. the pitch black park. and i suddenly remembered that i never map my runs through the park at this hour. and i'm freaked out by the canbarelyseemyhandsinfrontofmyface blackness and convinced that there's quite likely a serial killer waiting in the woods for some unsuspecting runner with a fuel belt to come by. so i turn the tunes off and think i'll just move swiftly and silently through the park and mr. serial killer won't even hear me. wtf is that noise? swish, swish, swish. jesus! the water. in my fuel belt. is loud.

four miles later, i'm coming up to my friends' driveway where i stashed a banana on the hood of their car last night. and i'm just hoping a small animal didn't beat me to it or it's not frozen solid. lo and behold, it is still there. and so 7 miles in to run. i eat. real food. while running. and i am happy. and i get to another park to wait for a friend who is going to run the last half with me. and i have my first sip of HEED - but in looking back, i'm not sure why i took it. i was feeling great. crazy great. i had just run a big dog run by myself. a little over 7 miles in an hour. i think i just took the HEED as insurance. to make sure the great stuck around. we set off for the second half of my run. which was even better. even faster. i took HEED one more time around 10.5, and i wonder why i took it here too. i'm not sure there was ever a moment where i was feeling lightheaded, or having trouble with the pace. again, i think maybe i just took it as insurance. i did definitely feel thirsty and maybe just needed water. i never had that hungry, hollow feeling like my stomach was digesting itself, which, um - would happen on long runs sometimes. and i never worried that i needed to run to the bathroom. i could just run. everything was in a happy place.

i had been waiting for this long run for 8 days. i couldn't wait to see how all my food changes affected the running. suffice it to say i had the best long run i have had in a long time. i was bummed the run was over. i could have kept going. long run experiment #1 was a success. can't wait to find out what happens on runs over 13.9.

all hail the sugar purge.

Nov 16, 2007

one down, one to go

tuesday nights' temptation aside, the cravings for the sugar really are lessening. really, they are. now its' more of a wistful longing. week one of the sugar purge is over. and i have never thought about frosting so much in my life. and i don't really do frosting. really, i don't. but its clearly in my subconscious. cause long before the sugar purge, there was this dream. i don't get it.

okay. i digress. one more week of purge to go. i've been good with my homework and have more assignments for this week. i've been keeping a log. a log of food and fatigue levels. the visual of the numbers has been a huge eye opener. now i need to pay attention to how the food affects the running depending on what, when and how much i've eaten. and in much the same way i love having all the numbers of paces and mileage so i can geek out over all the stats, i now have another set of numbers to add to the geek factor. now, if i can only get it all into some sort of pie chart.

Nov 15, 2007


so i'm making dinner the other night. tuesday i think it was, not that that's important. and i'm looking in my fridge for the fakey soy veggie shred cheese i have come to love and that i know is in there. and i swear its in there somewhere.

so i'm digging. pushing things aside. looking way back. and then i see it. way back in the far corner. holy shit. close the door. open it back up again. jesus. there it was.


there was a can of frosting back there. and i swear, it was smiling at me. if there was ever a time to call a sponsor. this was it. i call my husband downstairs. i text my coach. who responds with step away from the fridge. my husband threw it out. i didn't want to touch it. good thing too - cause as coach said, it might have accidentally opened.

and all of this a mere hour after texting my friend that i'm really not feeling the cravings so much anymore. perhaps i spoke too soon.

Nov 13, 2007

health counselor

my secret food girl. her name is jennifer, she's based in NYC, has run 6 marathons; and this is what she does. running and food. she runs, she trains other people to run. but since i already have someone to help me do that, i’m interested in the other thing she does – the food thing. the health counseling. in four short days, the things i have learned from her have already made a difference. granted, they haven't been the easiest four days, and i realize we’ve just started, but the silver lining is just starting to peek out of those gassybloatypoopy clouds and i can't wait to see what the next couple of months’ hold in nutritional store for me.

i love that her approach is holistic and most importantly, individualized. i mean, the books i’ve been reading are great, and i learn a lot from them; but what i couldn't learn was exactly how to apply all the information to my particular situation and be confident that i was doing it right. and this is where she comes in. the books didn’t address the gas, bloat & poop issue as much as i would have liked. she does. i took "increase calories" to simply mean “eat more”. which isn't that simple. but she broke it down & made it more simple. and after talking with her i now know that i would have eaten more of the same things i was eating, further compounding my problem. the books aren’t talking to me specifically. they don't know how many gumdrops i really eat. and until i hit that wall, i was in denial about the specific amount -- nor was i really aware of how toxic i was making myself. and so in its crazy way, hitting that wall was good, cause it was the catalyst to get my proverbial shit together. i had been told i needed to get my food in gear. just didn't believe it. had to figure it out the hard way. but with jens' help i will get my food in gear. and as always, with coachs' continued help, i'll just keep running and hope it all comes together and translates into a much happier plan b.

third times' a charm.

Nov 12, 2007

updates all around

run update

despite all the incessant chatter about food, not enough food, sugar, too much sugar, etc; i do still actually run. it's been three weeks since the marathon & after enjoying a full week off, i've been back at it and running for two weeks. i've had some crazy good runs and one crazy bad one. which happened to be today. my 5 miles turned into 8. don't even ask how that happens. it just does. it had a lot to do with the fact that i was thirsty & knew of one water fountain in the park that still actually exists & works. 8 miles the day after 10 miles is hard. and so it was more of a 7 mile run with 1 mile walk thrown in at the end. and i don't ever do that. ever. a run like today's would normally have thrown me into a panic of gargantuan proportions and i would have written a pleasetalkmeofftheledge email to coach to whine about how i was a slug and how can i possibly ever run a respectable pace again. but i think maybe i'm growing up. cause i'm not in a downward spiral over the run. a good run always follows a bad one. omg. i must really be coming out of the sugar haze.

sugar update

saturday was day two of no sugar. it was not much better than day one. the afternoon sugar (or lack thereof) slump hit me in the head like a sack of gumdrops. in my past life, i would have had some candy. or cookies to get me through the slump. god i loved those sugar wafers. and because i can't think for myself in my sugar-deprived haze, i ask my husband what i should do. should i go for a bike ride or take a nap? he says it won't kill me to not do something once in a while. and while i think that's debatable, i just went upstairs to sleep off the sugar slump. and the very first thing i think of the nanosecond that i wake up is frosting. i want to eat a can of frosting. the whole thing. with a big wooden spoon. chocolate to be exact. so much for sleeping off the slump.


as i write this it's day four. and things are starting to look up. me & my gi system have very high hopes. we also have a shitload of will power because in my past life i totally would have thrown caution to the dairy winds - gassybloatypoopybedamned and indulged in one of the dozen krispy kreme donuts that arrived at my house entirely uninvited yesterday. but, in this new life - this marathon runner who must get her nutritional shit in gear if she wants a chance in hell at a bq, i did not indulge. now, thats not saying i didn't want to. maybe the not wanting to part will kick in next week.

Nov 9, 2007


so soon? yes.
it aint pretty.

i had my double breakfast. double is a lot. its like, double. but i forged ahead. i had a delicious mid-morning post-shit-ass-fast-run smoothie. i had my lunch with a honkin' pile of greens.

but i'm getting ahead of myself. because before i had my lunch, i had to go to the market to get some bread. did you know that every damn loaf has high fructose corn syrup? i was starting to get mad. i was sort of throwing the loaves back on the shelves, letting them fall where they may. i finally found a loaf. in the homemade, $10 per loaf section. (it is quite yummy). so i'm walking through the market with my spendy loaf of bread. and i'm in a bit of a daze. and a little foggy. god, i'm so hungry. and in my past life, which was ah - yesterday, i would have grabbed a soda. or i would have gotten some gumdrops & eaten some while i shopped. and i bump into a friend and we chat. and i'm getting irritable. and i say i can't chat anymore, i have to go home to eat.

and on the drive home, i wonder if the half eaten bag of gumdrops that i triumphantly threw in the garbage last night is still in there. and then i snap out of it. and i think i need to call a sponsor or something. the stark realization that i am a candyholic has hit me. somebody please talk me off this ledge. i cannot be dumpster diving in my own kitchen for candy.

Nov 8, 2007

a perfect storm

i am unbalanced.
more specifically, my intestines are unbalanced due to a host of reasons.
but one theme kept recurring: i just keep feeding the instability. with sugar.
refined sugar to be exact.

so we chatted today. me and my health counselor. here's what i love: she's pretty convinced that we can get rid of GI issues altogether if i can get back in balance. i've got seven pages of notes from our conversation & my head is still spinning from all i learned. if i am mistaken or have interpreted my notes wrong - i'll post a correction, but i think i got it. lets just say i am contributing to my own demise by half the shit that goes in my mouth by creating a bit of a toxic atmosphere that manifests itself in a general feeling of gassy, bloaty, poopiness - that sometimes may have absolutley nothing to do with whether or not i've had dairy, but quite possibly everything to do with the amount of refined sugar i ingest. and the fact that this feeling of gassybloatypoopiness is a total crap shoot (pardon the pun) and i never know when its' going to happen, i am sometimes downright afraid to eat when i need to eat most because god forbid the gassybloatypoopiness hits during a training run or worse, when you are trying to bq. there is no time for poopiness when going for a bq. i realize there wasn't time for that sidewalk/ambulance thing either, but hindsight is 20/20. but on that hindsight thing: the unbalanced state of my intestines, coupled with my glucose, electrolyte, potassium levels and heart rate quite likely became the perfect storm that knocked me down.

i'll say this -- i like to think i am a fairly smart, educated girl. i just like to think it, i didn't say it was true. i am absolutley amazed by all the factors that come into play and how certain things can just throw everything out of whack. some things that are so bloody obvious if you just put 2 and 2 together. and other things that had never even ocurred to me. never would have put it together. while amazing & fairly mind-boggling, it all makes perfect sense. i should have counted how many a-ha moments i had during our conversation. suffice it to say, a bunch.

so that's part one. getting back in balance. i have some homework for the next two weeks. homework that involves cutting out every ounce of refined sugar. and i am already floored by where all that shit's been hiding. eating whole foods. foods with ingredients that you can read. increasing my calories by specifically doubling up on my breakfast portions in the two days before my sunday long run and after a big dog run. cutting out wine. must add greens.

i love the specificity of it all. instead of just trying to figure out how to arbitrarily "increase the calories" and get to a certain number; the possibility of all that calorie counting struck me as a fairly excrutiating task. but to eat double of the one meal i do really well and am really proud of and do it on specific days? that i can do.

so we start there with the two weeks of homework. then we'll figure out on-the-run foods. because once my body is back in balance, i may be able to tolerate the things i once thought i couldn't. and being back in balance will ensure that the conditions for the perfect storm will never crop up again.

this is gonna be a trip.
but i think i am finally headed in the right direction.
am beyond excited.

Nov 7, 2007

getting my ducks in a row

so i've started to get my nutritional ducks in a row. i figured now was as good a time as any to go to my doctor for a yearly checkup - which is usually not so much a yearly thing for me, but more like a twice in a decade thing. but i think a near collapse on a sidewalk and winding up in ambulance with an oxygen mask on suffices for a trip to the doctor. just to make sure everything is all kosher and it is indeed a nutrition/race day fueling thing and there aren't any underlying issues.

i tell her the whole sad sorry story of me on the sidewalk. then me in the ambulance. she wants to know what the glucose level was. i say 66. she says there's no way that level would have put me on the sidewalk. there must have been something more. she wanted to know what they found out when they took my blood in the ER - what were my electrolytes, potassium & other stuff that i forgot what she said. i laughed and said i never made it to the ER. finish line was more important. so, the poor woman didn't have a lot to work with. i was worried that she would just think i was crazy for running a marathon in the first place. i love her, but the last time i went to see her, i didn't feel a lot of love over the running thing. i mean ok, ok, i was in to see her for bronchitis and i actually ran to the appointment. and ran home. and hacked in her office in between. she didn't seem to thrilled about the fact that i ran there. but this time, i was thrilled that she took such an interest & seemed genuinely determined to figure it out. so she took a bunch of blood. i go back in two weeks.

in the meantime, i have been devouring nutrition books. with highlighter in hand. and a calculator, so i can plug in my weight and figure out how many calories i need to just sustain myself vs. how many calories i need to run 6, 10, or 26.2 miles. i wonder how many calories are in a horse. cause that's what i think i'd need to eat.

it's all a bit mind-boggling and i really wonder how i'll figure this out on my own. and i think because the whole coach thing works so well for me in that he tells me what to do and i do it - i needed to find the same thing for nutrition. i need a food coach. you know where this is going, yes? i am beyond excited to say that i have indeed found a food coach. we've already started. she sent me a huge questionnaire which i have already filled out & sent back. it was long and detailed. of course i had to divulge all the unpleasantries of my GI issues. she'll review. we'll chat. she'll make a plan. we'll work together on getting this right. i've already heard back. she's not afraid to talk poop. this is going to work out great.

love how the ducks are just starting to line up so nicely.