I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

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, October 21, 2014

Hello, MAF, or geeking out.

But before we divulge in numbers, I have to admit I love experimenting on myself - in a good way, kind of, of course. So, after watching Fat, sick and nearly dead with Larry, and after going through my birthday week (nothing fancy, but a little few too many slices of cheese, pork and cookies), I figured I'll see what it's all about. I wanted to do Vegan version of Frutarian anyway, and here I was also supposed to give my intestines and colon some rest from digestion. Well, since I didn't have a juicer (the movie focuses on 7-60 days of strictly juice fasting), I had to rely on Vitamix. What, of course, messed up the purity of experiment - I now was consuming plenty of fiber, even if no grains/dairy/legumes/fat or protein from animal source. However, my agenda was to see how I, someone who generally eats healthy (focusing on veggies, very few fruits, no sugar/grain/rare dairy, and with lean animal protein mostly from chicken), and who is certainly NOT fat, sick or anywhere near dead, would react - will I see all those beautiful side effects of cleansing out of toxins, vibrant skin, energy rise, and awesome sleep?

So, I set out for 7 days - I bought more veggies than I could consume regularly, and threw it all in (no, I don't do recipes, I don't care much how the taste blends together, it's all food and goes in, as long as it is not disgusting). Problem #1 - I belong to a rare group of people (at least here, in US, and especially of those who exercise) who does not drink enough liquid. I hate drinking. I can carry around a bottle (one) of water all day, and never finish it. Unless I am running and it's hot, drinking is a problem, regardless whether it is water, tea, or even beloved coffee (I suck on 6oz coffee for 30 min in the morning, what always delays my running start). So, to "drink" the veggies, you have to add quite some amounts of water. What dilutes amount of veggies. What ends up being 5x16oz bottles - and I barely finish it - with basically no more than 600 cal in it (cucumber, celery and all kinds of grassy leafy stuff is not very calorie-dense). Technically, nobody was supposed to have enough calories on this - it was a FASTING thing after all. The problem was, I still exercised. And while I managed to lift weights just fine, any kind of cardio (Stepmill and jogging tries) escalated my heart rate exponentially like crazy. Like, shuffling at 13 min/mile hit 150's right away. That did not bode well with me.

On day 5 I gave up, and ate sensible dinner.

Stats: 6 lbs lighter. No vitality to speak of. I was sleeping ok lately as is (finally!). I wasn't weak, really, and going through the day was fine, and surprisingly I wasn't hungry - I was consuming plenty of fiber to keep my digestive track occupied. Obviously, it meant no rest for said digestive system. And every pound came back within 3 days, what means it was all water weight (nothing to hold on to, because I also consumed no salt). Here we go.

Why bringing it up? Because, first of all, it was an experiment, and as I said, I like testing things out and if you ARE fat, sick and, you know, not well at all, please stop eating crap and juice for a bit!), and secondly, because I did buy a spanky new Heart Rate Monitor - so I can dive in to Maffetone method as I mentioned in a post prior!

Here we go. The cheapest version I could find to do the job - to keep me at heart rate of 135 (180 minus age) for the next 3 months. And since I announced it - seems like everybody's doing it, or had gone through it recently. So, why am I behind?

Since I am technically-challenged, Larry helped to set me into the "Zone" of 125-140, however, the watch doesn't beep. And since I am an old lady now, and run in the wee-dark hours of the morning, I have to stare into the watch's window only when I come by the street light, but this shall do.

So, since the WHOLE full year, since last September, I haven't trained or even run consistently, and last month took off, yet again, for the foot (feet) injuries, my theoretical fitness level is just fine, but my running/endurance level is quite low (other runners comparing, or myself a year before, of course, not general population). And as I said above, my first shuffle with HRM while on fasting resulted in walking. My first real run a full day after eating normally was much better - I managed 8.5 miles on our local hills (they exist), and kept 135 on flats, couldn't make even 120 on downhills, and was easily spiked on hill climbed, which I ended up walking.

So, today, I set out on the flat neighborhood streets, where the inclines/declines do not go above 3% (may be 4?) and do not last more than 0.2M (or so).

First thing to find out - I always knew I am slow to start, but now I really knew it - for the first mile I couldn't even make my heart rate go to 135, I was slogging so slow. But once I warmed up and my legs got some turn over, another revelation: keep 135 on flats wasn't the slogging I was doing this year (CMV and other crap be damned), it was actually, well, not work, but some kind of poetry in motion. It was running. Albeit my running on flats at 135 resulted in about 11 min/mile.

And this, my friends, is my real, true, no bull starting point. And I am ok with it.

On a family news, we went to a great yarn shop in South Austin for some fun, and Larry is almost done with the bathroom! I will be peeing and showering right off my bedroom again this weekend! :)


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the new HR training, I've heard a lot of podcasts about it and it really seems to wrk for a lot of folks

Kirstin C said...

I love geeking out on this stuff. The MAF experiment has been fascinating to me too, even though I can't really evaluate it as I have been in easy recovery (and inconsistent running) mode after Vermont 100. I can't blame Maffetone for my under-training for that, in fact I really must credit it for getting me across the finish line. In the meantime, I don't mind giving it more time until I can evaluate it for speed. The funny thing - I am at peace with not having any right now.

I think dehydration especially in sports is over-hyped. Have you read Waterlogged by Tim Noakes? Fascinating.
Anyway, for those who do eat lots of veggies, you don't need to take in nearly so much water as those who eat processed carbs and grains due to the water content in the veggies, so there's that consideration.

Hope you have a good MAF experiment!

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