If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A balancing act of walking a thing line.

The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
I think my body is slowly turning a corner. The last couple of weeks I had some great training runs. In fact, I had the weekly mileage of 55 and 61 (no laughing, the days of 80-100 mpw are over, and it is very respectful for me once in Texas, since I simply don't like circling much here and no Forest Park or Columbia River Gorge wondering exist anymore, these were my peak weeks last 2 years when I was in shape and hard training) with quality workouts being, well, good quality (hills and intervals alike), and my mid-week distance runs (11-13M) at a solid (not fast, but solid) pace. I even managed a 20M somewhat hilly long run on Saturday - and enjoyed most of it too! Played with Garmin and explored, ran every single step, fueled in a new way mixed up with an "old" way (Whole30-compliant and 2 gels). After visiting a seminar by Meredith Terranova I applied new knowledge and took in some water/salt/calories right after the run and recovered greatly enough to smash my best time next day on a very relentless and technical 7M trail loop! That very seminar also pointed out to me that I don't consume enough protein - and I had to bring in the Egg White powder back into my eating. I got some good sleep here and there, even if it meant I had to heed help of Melatonin (sleep is more important right now than no chemicals in my body), and once every week managed an 8 hr night!

I finally worked out what doesn't agree with my digestive system and IBS - beyond Whole30 - and for exactly 8 days now I had not a single symptom (imagine - even vinegar!). The Whole30 wrapped itself up very well, and Larry and I are staying course with small deviations - and I mean very small (he tried cheese and oatmeal and wasn't thrilled with how it made him feel, I attempted a goat milk yogurt with same - bad -results, but brought back 85% dark chocolate at a square here and there).

In 30 days Larry lost 14 lbs, 4 inches off his waist, 2 inches off belly button fat and 2 inches off his behind. Woohoo! He hasn't been there since 2007. My numbers are much milder - and only rolled in last week (it took Larry 2 weeks to begin shedding, and over 24 days for me): 5 lbs weight loss, and an inch and a quarter from all measurements (waist, belly, butt). He is happy, I am satisfied. We put a scale away, and got on it in 3 more days - and each got a negative 2 lbs additionally. I think I'll just keep it on once-a-week basis, as I used to be pretty obsessed with my daily weigh-ins. But more importantly than weight, for me it was a regulation of my distress (even though, as I mentioned, there are more foods I had to eliminate than what that particular diet suggests), and Larry had a number of benefits: clear mind (as he puts it, sharpest he's ever been in his life, period), no mood swings, better handling of situations, no ups and downs of energy crashes, no (or much fewer) cravings, no hunger feeling between meals, better recovery from workouts, and - joints and back pain is gone! That was a biggie, and if I didn't see it myself, I wouldn't have believed or promised anybody (even though it has been described). In the latest research it was shown that some grain proteins as well as some dairy proteins and sugars have inflammatory tendencies. We are not sure which ones Larry had, and he will slowly test them out. In his own words: 
"My mood swings have stopped. My mid-afternoon doldrums at work are gone. My mental acuity is drastically heightened. No more strong hunger cravings an hour, or two, after a meal.  I don’t miss the sugar.  Ok, I confess, I do miss it a little bit.  But, the benefits I’m seeing outweigh my desire to indulge.  Will I eat something with sugar again?  Sure I will, especially if some red velvet cake balls mysteriously showed up on my doorstep. J  But, sugar won’t be a staple item in my diet like it has been for my entire life."

Here are some links I posted on my FB wall for the IBS-strugglers:




Cardiologist, and New York Times best selling author of "Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health", Dr William Davis was an expert for a question about wheat. Here what he says:
"It's not just every runner who has a problem with wheat, but every human has problems. And it is not just about gluten. Let me explain. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, efforts to increase the yield of wheat via a variety of genetic techniques resulted in the creation of an 18-inch tall high-yield, "semi-dwarf" strain that boosted yields by up to 10-fold. But the changes introduced for increased yield resulted in changes in many other genetic and biochemical characteristics of the plant. 

One protein that has undergone extensive change is gliadin. In addition to causing mind "fog," addictive relationships with food, and appetite-stimulation, it is a highly inflammatory protein. Research at the University of Maryland, for instance, demonstrates that gliadin opens the normal intestinal barriers to foreign substances in the intestinal tract and thereby leads to inflammation of many organs, including joints. This is at least part of the explanation for why wheat consumption is associated with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Hashimoto's thyroiditism. 

There's also wheat germ agglutinin. In addition to causing direct bowel toxicity that can be experienced as acid reflux or bowel urgency, it also gains access to the bloodstream and inflames joints, causing joint stiffness and pain. 

Then there's amylopectin A, the "complex" carbohydrate unique to wheat that acts more like a simple sugar like sucrose, sending blood sugar sky-high after just 2 slices of whole wheat bread. High blood sugars cause an irreversible change to the proteins of the body called "glycation." The proteins of the cartilage of your joints, such as knees, hips, and back, undergo glycation, making cartilage stiff and brittle, leading to cartilage erosion and, eventually, arthritis. 

That's just a sample of what modern semi-dwarf wheat, the creation of genetics research, can do to humans, runners included. So it is no surprise that, by eliminating wheat, you felt better in a number of ways. The key: No human should be consuming this product of genetics research, else you pay a substantial health price. Because runners are among the healthiest of people, given their devotion to exercise and health, elimination of wheat is among the most powerful strategies to adopt for overall health and performance.
I had followed through with all but 2 of my January resolutions to the end. I had stopped doing "whatever" exercises at home after the run in the last week (time is an issue now that more training picked up, and I am going to the gym 4 times a week anyway) and the water consumption. Honestly, the 40 oz wasn't making me feel better at all, just more bathroom visits (and also less sleep). I am more of a camp "drink to thirst". Luckily, my thirst sense is working just fine in the race, and when it's hot, I drink more without problems! During my regular life, I am lucky if I get 20oz in a day.
I also finished my knitting project, even with a sudden decision to re-make the front panels!
The new and exciting up-lift of my training coincided with arrival of 3 pairs of Merrell shoes for me to test - a set up from Endurancebuzz (for which I write sometimes). I will get a review officially out, but for now, let me tell you - what lovely shoes! Minimal, flexible, yet enough protection, wide forefoot, good grip, light, and lovely color. BUT - one negative so far, and it's a biggie: the mesh has a double-layer, and the under-layer is such that it holds water. Once you cross a creek (or run in the rain - PNW beware) - you are bound to be wet for the rest of the run, which in long distance race is not an option. La Sportiva Crosslights are still my choice of shoes for a race season and thankfully, I still have 4 pairs of it from my good (sponsor) days.
With excitement of coming back - like I told Liza on our faithful run together "Don't write me off as dead yet!" - the fine line is to not overdo things. Yesterday I felt rather dragging my feet after those 2 awesome weeks, and went extremely slow for only 4 miles in the morning. Yes, I am still on a streak for running every day - and after a discussion with Meghan Hicks I decided to give it an honest try for a year (read her article on it in "Marathon&Beyond"). As we say, there is not a run I don't like, even if it's a 2 miles slow shuffle. Those runs have given benefits for me as well as recovery runs and quality workouts - but I am being careful to use that 2M once a week exactly as a rest day in every other way. Anyway, today I did my hill repeats, and even upped the number - so feeling back in the game, yet at the same time I had decided to move mile repeats from Thursday to next week, to protect the rising fitness and not slam it before it's too late to see. Being smart I am:)

And another upturn of good training - my view on my own racing is taking a more positive outlook. Not only do I begin to have some kind of goal in mind for the upcoming season, I had also decided that I am not done "my way" with Hardrock, what meant I needed to find a qualifier to apply for the following year - and I picked Grindstone 100 in October. It's my birthday, it's a new-ish race I was interested in anyway (not a fan of repeating much), it's towards the end of the year when I can re-access how I feel without pushing (still planning to take time off after Kansas 100k at the end of April for a couple of months), and it agrees with our 2013 idea of "East of Rocky, not West". Sophie S. spoke highly of it too.

Nothing else going on worth mentioning, massages, running coaching, and that boring job. The weather is nice here, and while winter is officially over in Austin, right now we are still in a period I can enjoy a little - may be for another 2-3 weeks. More trail work with local groups and HCTR, more volunteering gigs are coming, and I am so looking forward to some travel (even if for a race in Alabama!) - I miss getting out of routine every month. Miss my friends! Hugs to all.

“The funny thing about the idea of a comeback is that it is not very forward thinking. It is a focus on getting back to a place of something ….. Moving forward means letting go of where you were and focusing on creating something new …” Devon Yanko (nee Crosby-Helms)

p.s. Another speaking of writing arrangements - an article came out in Endurance Buzz! What I think about cross-training.


Chloe said...

Is the pair of Merrell that took (and kept) water the Proterra? Ive been eyeing them but that would totally be a deal breaker.

Olga said...

All 3 of them retained water. Road Glove 2, Bare Access 2, Mix Master Move Glide.

Unknown said...

Hey olga, interesting changes with your diet. As you know, i am going down a totally different road with all plant based nutrition- but, NO WHEAT. I have told many people that removing wheat from my diet has probably produced the biggest changes- and the, er, "internal combustion" in my digestive tract is gone. Also, many similar results as you amd Larry- no adternoon lows, foggy thinking, cravings- i feel g reat and no more joint pain either.

Danni said...

I thought I responded already but evidently not. I think your results with the Whole 30 seem awesome and I'm impressed by your knitting skills.

meredith said...

So happy to hear that "timing" of eating had a positive impact!!! With the thought of vinegar causing a problem for you, I am going to send you some info on pH balance with your food. I wonder if acidic foods are on your problem list... Keep plugging away friend!

Olga said...

It's the wheat thing...

Olga said...

Make your order! I love to knit, but living in TX doesn't lead to wearing much...

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