Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WHOLE 30 DONE! (kind of)


Yes!  I finished it!  Woohoo!  The last week of Whole 30 was difficult.  We had employee campaign events at work that all involved food.  I made it through a whole day at the office smelling caramel brownies. (Yes, I took one home and put it in the freezer.)  I made it through a weekend at the lake with family where one breakfast included waffles and sticky buns.  As in, that's it.  (I brought my own food.)  My reflections below are of the program/month as a whole.

Challenges
My family did not do the Whole30 with me.  I didn't cook separate meals for them, but I did cook extra food for them for dinner.  For example, I sometimes made rice/pasta/grain for them and just did not eat it myself.  Overall though, I think their consumption of these foods went down because I do the majority of the meal planning/cooking in our house.

However, Whole30 is a huge pain in the ass in terms of meal prep and planning.  Prior to Whole30, I regularly planned meals a week in advance and we ate at home the majority of the time so I didn't really think this would be a big deal.  I was wrong.  Whole30 added a lot of prep work to our meals.  When days went smoothly - I got out of work on time, picked the kids up and they were playing blissfully without fighting while I prepared the meal - it was fine.  When days did not go smoothly, getting food on the table was stressful.  I will concede that I could have done much more prep work at night after my kids were in bed, and I did do that sometimes, but then I felt like my whole night was centered around food.  I also had to do way more grocery shopping mid-week, which is not something I would do pre-Whole30 because I would run out of food that was compliant.  (We went through almost 4 dozen eggs/week.)  I do think that over time, this would even out a little.  My daily schedule was also a bit off from making breakfast.  Previously I would put some oatmeal in a container and make that at work for breakfast.  During May, I made eggs every morning which made me get to work about 15-20 minutes later than usual, which meant I was getting home later, and circle back to the beginning of this paragraph.

I generally avoided going out to eat during May, although Pre-Whole 30 we generally took the kids out once a week.  My family was not a fan of the going out to eat ban, and frankly, neither was I.  We ended up going out to eat twice during the month, as part of larger family get togethers.  It was ok, but I guarantee during those times I probably inadvertently ate some oil that was not Whole30 compliant.

I have commented before that I didn't like how food basically dictated my month.  I felt like I was constantly thinking about what I was going to eat for my next meal.  Part of this is likely personality driven.  I tried to follow all of the Whole30 rules to a T.  In the interest of full transparency, there are two instances where I unknowingly cheated:

1) Nate wanted to make bacon for me for Mother's Day.  I read all of the ingredients of the varieties of bacon at Woodmans (A TON) and picked a Nueske's variety that I thought was compliant.  I ate that bacon up!  The next time I went to buy it, I couldn't remember the exact variety so I grabbed the package that looked familiar and scanned the ingredients.  There it was. "less than 2% solution includes sugar".  Shit.  The next pack of bacon I bought was the Pedersen's variety from Whole Foods (which is not our regular grocery store).

2) We had a salsa and guacamole competition to raise money for employee campaign at work.  I wanted to participate so I taste tested the varieties with a spoon rather than with a tortilla chip.  Thought I was all good.  There ended up being corn in one of the guacamoles.  Sue me.

Finally, I am so.sick. of eating meat at nearly every meal.  Also, Whole30 compliant brats are so far from being a real brat.  My 2 yo son is a bit of a brat connoisseur and he spit them out. #truth

Surprises
I blabbed enough about this but most of my oral allergies have not been symptomatic while on Whole 30.  I am planning on eating these foods while introducing food groups during the reintroduction phase to see if any one group of foods (legumes, gluten free grains, dairy, gluten) trigger the allergy.  Today I ate strawberries on peanut butter and had no reaction so it appears that legumes are ok.

After my first week, I really felt like it was impossible to be a runner and do Whole 30.  I don't think that is the case, after figuring out proportions of fat, protein and carbs that worked for me.  Caveat - I am not doing any marathon training right now, so I don't know if I would feel the same then.  (My mileage has been in the 20s per week.) However, I do know plenty of paleo distance athletes!

I do not know this for a fact because I do not own a scale, but I did not lose any weight on Whole 30. I lost some during the first week because that was when I was primarily only eating vegetables and wasn't doing enough protein and fat.  At this time, none of my clothes fit differently, which is usually my weight barometer.  I even wore some tight pants today and they fit me as they always have!

The Good
Ok, so thus far I have made Whole30 sound pretty awful, which isn't my intention.  However, I think the sensationalism of "whole30 changed my life" just did not ring true to me. I did not notice any difference in my energy levels.  I ended up sleeping more on Whole30 than previous - feeling tired around 9 PM and dragging myself out of bed at 6 AM (early morning runs were pretty nonexistant!) My motivation to do Whole30 was a big science experiment to see if I could stop taking acne medications that made me feel awful by making some dietary modifications.  In that regard, I see Whole30 as a success, even if I don't find a certain trigger food in the reintroduction.  My face is far from entirely clear, but it is better even compared to when I was taking two medications a day and putting prescription cream on my face every night.

I don't recall feeling that uncomfortable stuffed from eating feeling all month, but I wasn't bloat free.

Protein!  Aside from all of the have-nots, the biggest dietary change for me was eating tons of protein and I really liked it, particularly for breakfast.  Learning how to incorporate protein + fat into EVERY meal was a big positive of this program (which was mostly from reading It Starts With Food).

Cooking!  Yes, I couldn't fall back on all of my reliable weeknight meals, however there were several meals that I was used to making that were Whole30 compliant and I did enjoy branching out a bit and trying new things and new methods of cooking. Some things, like zucchini noodles, I will keep making because I love them and don't feel that true pasta is necessary in all situations.  Others, like cauliflower pizza crust, may not be in the heavy rotation, unless gluten ends up causing me symptoms.  There are other things that I didn't really miss.  I bought organic grass fed, yadda yadda butter to make clarified butter at the beginning of the month.  I haven't made it yet and haven't entirely missed butter.  I think this is because foods that I normally associate with butter were not Whole30 compliant (e.g., popcorn).

Grocery bills.  Ok.  There was that $15 rotisserie chicken.  Overall, though, I didn't find Whole30 to cause any significant increase in our grocery store bills.  The biggest difference in our grocery shopping habits is that we did not enter the middle of the grocery store.  Ever.  It was kind of exciting.

The Food!
People's first comment when they hear about Whole30 is, "I could never do that." Indeed, this was my own comment last year when I first found out that my SIL was doing it.  Maybe it is some of the Whole30 "tough love" rubbing off on me, but really anyone can do this.  It is challenging, it does take a lot of pre-planning, and there are some moments when you're like "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CAN I EAT A COOKIE" but overall, as the website says, you aren't curing cancer.  And really, everything I ate in the past month has been YUM-O (with the exception of those Whole30 compliant brats.  Eesh.)  I found it really helpful to add a few paleo/Whole30 instagram accounts to my feed to keep me motivated and provide new ideas as well as some blogs.

At the beginning of the month, I kept a food diary because I was going to report on everything I ate.  That was beginning to make me feel even more like food was controlling my life, though, so I stopped.  Here is generally what I ate, in case you are curious:

Breakfast
I had eggs for breakfast every day.  I varied how I would make them to avoid from getting bored. Before I started Whole30, I was pretty egg obsessed and even after eating dozens of them in the past month, I still love them.  I even ate them for dinner sometimes!  I would often have 3 over easy eggs on top of leftover roasted veggies from the previous night's dinner.  Or, I would scramble them with other veggies.  One night we had a fritatta for dinner so I had that for breakfast the next day.  On rare occasions, I would eat 3 eggs with meat - I recall doing this with the adobo pork I made because I loved it so much.  Often I would cut up 1/2 avocado to include with the egg/veggie combo.  Sometimes, I ate 4 eggs.

I started eating only 2 eggs at breakfast and would be so hungry before lunch.  Once I added an egg, that was better.

I really loved these breakfasts and by the time I got the hang of it (and added more food), I didn't feel the need to have a mid-morning snack anymore.

I also had 16 oz of coffee, blended with a TB or two of coconut oil every day.  This was a habit I got into mid-February after trying to reduce dairy consumption.  (Coconut oil replaced half and half for me.)

Lunch
Lunch was mostly leftovers from the previous night, which is what I was having for lunch pre-Whole30.  I love the Whole 30 hamburgers with mushrooms, onions, avocado and peppers on top.  I also love this fennel chicken on top of salad greens with hardboiled egg, tomato, cucumber, and avocado with the basil dressing mentioned in the recipe.  I would often have fruit with lunch in addition and more veggies.  I had a salad every day too with homemade dressing - either olive oil or avocado oil with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and salt & pepper.  Also, I had a lot of cream of broccoli or cream of butternut squash soup made with coconut milk (both recipes from the Whole 30 Cookbook).

Snack
I often had a handful of nuts (macademia, almonds or cashews) when I got home while making dinner.  If it was really bad, I would also have a few dried apricots or dehydrated apples with the nuts.  I was always really hungry when I got home, which wasn't a previous snacking time for me.  However, before Whole30 I always had 2 or 3 afternoon snacks at work, which I cut out this month.

Dinner
While dinner was often stressful to make, we ate some yummy food. Here are some of the meals we ate in the past month:

1.  Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Ginger Sauce from Whole30 cookbook

2. Baja Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa (modified a recipe from Fresh20) and lettuce cups for the taco shell

3.  Crock Pot Carnitas:
serve in lettuce wraps topped with guac - YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I made these twice in the month.  Loved them!

4. The aforementioned Basil Chicken - also made this a few times

5. Cold Thai Salad with Shrimp https://www.pinterest.com/pin/90353536252901502/

6.  Tilapia Puttanesca with green beans

7.  Burgers on grill - used portabella mushroom caps for bun topped with peppers, avocado and onions - made these often

8.  Salmon with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes

9.  Rotisserie chicken on top of zucchini and yellow squash garlic zoodles

10.  Zucchini noodles with Romesco Sauce and Shrimp

11.  Salmon with salsa and roasted potatoes

12.  Green Bay Packers Fritatta (I named it that so my kids would eat it) - just sauteed yellow pepper, mushroom and asparagus in a fritatta with italian seasoning and garlic - and Pederson's Bacon

13.  Cauliflower Pizza Crust with veggies (*Admittedly this lacks protein.)

14. Chicken, Broccoli and Carrot Stir Fry with Sesame Seeds - use coconut aminos and sesame seed oil as the sauce.  I ate without rice, but the fam ate on top of rice.

15. Cauliflower rice with salmon and roasted veggies

16.  Chicken meatballs with zucchini noodles.  Not providing the recipe because these were not that good.

17.  Sweet potato and ground beef and onion hash

18.  Grilled flank steak with grilled zucchini and red potatoes - another one that we ate a few times!

19. Garlic Zucchini noodles with over easy eggs on top and roasted sweet potatoes

20. Pheasant Poppers - Nate's Uncle made these and they were yummy!  A chunk of pheasant meat and a slice of jalapeno on a toothpick, wrapped in bacon and roasted in the oven.  Everyone else ate them dipped in ranch dressing :)

Reintroduction
Because I was doing this to see if any foods trigger acne, I am going to do the reintroduction that is outlined in the book.  What does this mean? Basically I have 10 more days of Whole 30.  

Day 1 (Today):  Eat Whole 30 + add in legumes

Day 2: Eat Whole 30

Day 3: Eat Whole 30

Day 4:  Eat whole 30 + non-gluten grains (e.g., corn, rice, quinoa)

Day 5: Eat Whole 30

Day 6: Eat Whole 30

Day 7: Eat Whole 30 + dairy

Day 8: Eat Whole 30

Day 9: Eat whole 30

Day 10:  Eat Whole 30 + gluten

What does this mean for you dear reader?  MORE WHOLE30 POSTS! ha ha ha {evil laugh}.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Off week + Updated Race Schedule

Last week was an off week for me - meaning, all my plan said was to do 4 30-minute runs.  GREAT timing because my husband was out of town for most of last week which meant having to be a weekend warrior of sorts to get four runs in.

My runs last week also put my May 2016 mileage over May 2015 mileage!

All in all, I enjoyed just running last week.  I listened to this ROO podcast over the course of two of my runs, which was nice.  Julia and Lauren have such soothing voices!

I did have trouble relaxing and running slow for my runs though.  I pushed the pace too much which was fine but I know the value of running easy over the long term and sure enough last night's run my hip/butt was sore.

This week kick's off my summer 5K training which is a lot of track work.  I have also figured out my summer race schedule!  I will be racing the 5K on the following dates:

June 5
July 20
August 4

My fall will be a transition to longer distances.  I have an 8K on September 16 and am eyeing a local half-marathon on 11/6.

Whole 30 Update

Day 23 of Whole30 has begun!

According to the timeline, I should be mid-Tiger Blood stage and over the Day 21 "I'm So Over This" hump.  I definitely had a few "I'm So Over This" moments last week and I don't really feel all "Tiger Blood Hear Me Roar" but I have noticed that I am not passing out from being so tired by 8:30 pm.

Challenges
The last week was so much better than the week previous in terms of challenges.  I was really nervous about last week because my husband was going to be out of town 6 of the days/nights and I was worried I was not going to be able to keep up with meals, etc much less keep our kids alive and get to work on time :)  We made it!

The biggest challenge I had was pancakes.  I know, #firstworldproblems.  We started incorporating a "breakfast for dinner" one night a week several months ago and I let my kids pick what we have.  They either pick pancakes or waffles and last Wednesday it was pancakes.  My love for pancakes runs deep.  I REALLY wanted some of those pancakes!!!!!!!!!  Alas, I stuck with my eggs.

Overall, it is getting easier for meal ideas and meals to come together.

My digestive system has yet to adapt to Whole30.  Digestive distress is not uncommon according to the Whole30 authors (and billions of blog posts on the subject).

Surprises
At some point in the last week, I started to feel full from meals.  HALLELUJAH.  The magic in this, I think, is fat, particularly at lunch.  I have taken to eating an avocado or having a coconut milk based soup with my lunch.

I ate a STRAWBERRY!  Strawberries have been a large oral allergy of mine since around college.  I tried one last week, had no reaction so continued to eat them.  That is a nice perk.

I ate a PEAR!  (see Strawberry)

I did not miss rice with my stir fry.  I made a really delicious sesame chicken stir fry on Friday night for dinner.  I made rice for the fam and I didn't even miss the rice!

Cravings

  • Pickles
  • Banana peppers


I haven't checked Whole Foods yet, but do you know that no varieties of pickles or banana peppers (as in the jarred/pickled kind) that were at my local grocery store are Whole30 compliant?  Believe me, as I checked every single variety (to the chagrin of my husband and children).


  • Hummus - Legumes are one of the banished foods :)


  • Brats


I also checked every organic variety of sausage/brat at Woodmans and every single one said "contains less than 2% solution of....sugar"  I almost cheated on that one last night figuring in the "less than 2%".  But, I stuck with my hamburger.


  • TORTILLA CHIPS


  • KETCHUP


Whole30 compliant ketchup exists.  I just haven't made it to Whole Foods to get some.  I didn't initially buy any because I typically do not really eat ketchup all that much.

Workouts
So far the biggest surprise for me with this whole thing is the impact on running.  I was expecting to feel sluggish and slow but on the contrary my runs this month have felt amazing.  I am not entirely attributing that to Whole 30, but there must be some small impact at least.  I am really curious about the impact of this type of diet on running, particularly after reading Tina Muir's post.

Other
Holy eggs.  Last week, I bought an 18 pack of eggs on Sunday and went to Costco on Thursday to get a 24 pack and again bought 18 yesterday. I am eating eggs all.the.time.  Good thing I love them!

I also broke into a Lara Bar stash that my brother-in-law bought for me.  LaraBars are technically whole30 approved, but they are sorta sanctioned cheating so I was trying not to eat them.  Sometimes, a girl's gotta have a coconut cashew bar, y'know?!

My face is looking good, so much so that my husband said "Your face looks better".  (A man of so many words, no?!).  I mean, it's not glowy-amazing, but much improved.

So, one week to go!  After my 30 days are up, I am planning on doing the reintroduction plan since the whole reason I did this was to figure out if I had any food sensitivities that were contributing to symptoms.  This adds ten days onto the whole ordeal.  I have decided to let the results of the reintroduction guide me as to "the future".  Several people have asked me if I am going to keep this up just so I can eat strawberries/almonds/apples/etc.  Eating according to the Whole30 rules is not sustainable for me.  It is not worth my sanity to try to keep up with this.  The only reason I have been successful is because there is an endpoint!

That said, I likely will not go entirely back to the way I ate before.  My early prediction is that gluten will be the troublemaker.  The fact that my mom has Celiac may be heavily influencing me on this one, but that is my hypothesis.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ten Years of the 5K

I don't have an extensively long history of running the 5K.  However, Elizabeth's comment on my last post had me wondering if I truly was "in the best shape of my life".  My 5K time from Saturday is 6:05 pace, which is faster than the pace I ran cross country in high school.  Back in my day, a cross country race was 2.5 miles though!

Thanks to the handy website Athlinks, I was able to find TEN YEARS of 5Ks that I have done.  There are not that many.  Fourteen to be exact, and two of those I was pregnant. 

Because I am a nerd, I plotted these on a graph, which took me far too much time because Excel kept interpreting my times as AM/PM.  One =TIME (h,m,s) formula later, I had a graph!

The red points are 5Ks that I ran while pregnant.  (I had a goal to run a 5K with each of my pregnancies.)

So based on my 5K time alone, I am in better shape than I was post-graduate school, which is the one of the two time periods of my life when I was focused on running (the first time I qualified for Boston).  The other being NOW!


Monday, May 16, 2016

"She Believed She Could Do It, And So She Did"

Last week, I got another motivate wrap from Momentum Jewelry with this mantra: "She believed she could do it, and so she did."  I was excited to wear it for my first 5K of 2016 held on Saturday.

After a spring marathon last year, I did 4 5Ks, each with the goal of breaking 19 minutes.  I was not successful:

May 16, 2015: 19:41
May 31, 2015: 19:51
August 6, 2015: 19:52
September 12, 2015: 19:20

UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  I was so frustrated.  Always finished those races feeling like I had no gas in the tank. But also, not really training FOR the 5K. I don't recall doing any consistent track workouts last summer, so I don't really know what I was expecting to happen.  Divine intervention?!

After Boston last month, I again took up the cause of the sub-19 5K.  The last few weeks, I have done 400s.  I have done 800s. I have been on the track at 5 AM with a renewed purpose:  2016 was going to be the year I was breaking 19 if I had to run a 5K every weekend to do it.

I had a 5K lined up for last Saturday - May 14.  It was the same race as the 19:41 race last year, which I won, by nearly 2.5 minutes, with that time.  It is a small neighborhood race but the prize pack is great and I really wanted to win the race again to get the prize pack.  After a series of great track workouts, I felt like I could get close, if not break, 19 as well.

I was REALLY tired the night before.  Normally, when my kids get up, I am up for the day.  However on Saturday morning, I fell back asleep and my husband let me sleep an extra hour.  AN EXTRA HOUR!  I had my Whole30 approved breakfast (omelet with turkey and green beans), coconut oil-blended coffee.  The race wasn't until 9 AM so I had time to lounge for a bit.

I wanted to leave my house around 8:15 so that I could get there early to do my warm-up.  Warm up? Que? I had not done a warm up before a race before (outside of cross country and track in high school) but my plan from EH was specific:  2 mile warm up with 2x2:00 moderate sections.  I knew this would be good for me because a) The first mile sucks, right!? and b) I have found that my aging body needs the warm up :)  [Side note: EH was appalled that I hadn't been doing warm-ups prior to 5Ks when I disclosed this post-race!]

I got to the start around 8:30 am, parked and set off for my 2 mile warm up.  I definitely was nervous, but also excited.  My legs felt good and loose by the time I was done.  I peeled off my pants and left them in the car and then ventured to the start in my Oiselle singlet, my stride shorts, and a long sleeve.  I had about ten minutes until the start.  

It was COLD.  At one minute to go, I peeled off my long sleeve and ditched it in a bush near the start. Everyone else was wearing long sleeves and pants.  I knew I would get hot though and was already warm so I stuck with the tank and shorts.

At the start.  I never want to start ON the starting line.  I know I should be a little more confident about this.  I lined up behind a woman who was on the starting line and she was wearing a jersey from a local running store's team. I hypothesized that she was likely fast.  I also saw a woman who beat me at my last 5K attempt, in September.  This made me excited.  Competition! Bring it!

The gun went off and I started running at a fast pace, but not all out.  I ended up in one of the lead packs of men.  I had no idea where other women were for most of the first mile.  At around the first mile mark, the running store lady passed me.  My watch beeped: 6:07.  I knew I had to run 6:06 miles or better to break 19.  I was happy with that first mile - it didn't feel too fast, but was still on pace.  

For most of the second mile, I just stayed with the first place lady.  She had a (male) friend that was cheering her on like "you got this"...which I just pretended that he was cheering for me.  I didn't know what our 2nd mile was during the race (it was 6:01) but we lost him by that point and then it was just the two of us.  

Then I started getting nervous.  I felt good, but didn't want to pass her and then run out of steam. Decisions, decisions.  I decided to stay with her.  Then we came to a small hill.  This was like my personal version of Heartbreak Hill.  I totally fell apart on the real Heartbreak hill last month and I was NOT doing that again.  I passed her on the uphill and then just kept running.  I had no idea how far behind me she was (not very) and I rounded a corner at mile 3 (didn't hear my split).  I saw the finish line and the finish clock - It was still in the 18s!!!!  I ran fast and crossed the finish.  My watch said 18:54.  I congratulated the second place woman and thanked her for pushing me, relaying that I had been trying to break 19 for a year and a half!  

I walked over to the results tent because I wanted to be sure it was official before I really celebrated.  I looked up my bib number and there it was.  18:53 OFFICIAL RESULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (Second place was 18:58).  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!  

yes Yes YES!  I set off to do my mile cool down and came back to claim the prize pack.
My friend (and EH's wife) said via text: "Redemption".  I was excited about it but don't really feel redeemed.  It's hard for a neighborhood 5K to redeem the hole that is the Boston Marathon. I would trade never breaking 19 in the 5K for a 3:15 at Boston.  Yep.  That one still hurts.

Back to the 5K, so I'm trying to think of a new goal in that distance to work on for the summer.  Maybe 18:35 which would be sub-6:00 miles.  A huge jump, but I think I could do it.


WHOLE 30 Update

I am midway through my sixteenth day on Whole30.   According to the Whole 30 Timeline, my Days 9-12 were pretty common.  I did not have boundless energy come Day 12, however, that may be an artifact of my kids not having a great night of sleep :)

Challenges

Day 9 was the hardest day so far.  I grabbed the wrong pyrex container for lunch - so I had a pyrex full of grilled peppers instead of one containing a hamburger, portabello mushrooms and the peppers.  I was REALLY craving things that day and felt really hungry all day.

I am getting better at eating the recommended portions for portein and fat so that I feel full after meals.  Honestly, reading the meal planning section of It Starts With Food was really helpful for me in terms of letting go of some of my preconceived notions about how much I should be eating.  Eat more!!! 

I have lost some weight.  I'm not exactly sure how much because I don't own a scale but all of my pants are bigger on me.  This is something that I wasn't really trying to do, but I have also heard that it is hard NOT to lose weight on Whole30.

Surprises

This is the part of the post where I feel a little voodoo witchcraft.  Sometime near the end of college, I developed an oral allergy to several types of fruit (peaches, pears, strawberries and apples) and nuts (almonds, walnuts).  Periodically, I will test eating these things to see if I still have a reaction.  Several weeks ago, I ate some almonds in a trail mix at work and had a reaction (hives, itchy mouth).  I had to go buy some benedryl at our employee pharmacy.

I have been eating almonds and even ate several slices of apple last week with no effects.  HUH?!  Not sure if that was a fluke or what, but that was my biggest surprise of last week.

Cravings

I still had a lot of cravings all last week, again, all at night.  Mainly, I was craving Toppers Stix.  How disgusting is that!? Even my husband was a little grossed out by that one!

Chocolate.

Tortilla chips.

Chocolate Cake.

Popcorn.

Sparkling water is the antidote to my cravings.  So now I have a can of sparkling water when we sit down to watch TV.

Workouts

My workouts continued to go well.  After finishing It Starts With Food, I made more of an effort to eat something with protein post-workout than I had done in the past.  The RxBars have been good for that.  (Again, these contain almonds.  No reaction!)

I also had a race on Saturday!  BIG NEWS THERE (which I will reveal in a separate post).

Other

Reading It Starts With Food was really helpful during this week.  It made more aspects of Whole30 make sense to me and gave me some motivation to push through.  I think referring to the aforementioned timeline is also helpful because it reiterated that my cravings and hunger were very common for the stage I was in and thus, gave me motivation to keep going.

I will say though that not all Whole30 is rainbows and unicorns.  On a negative side, this is the first time I have ever tried a "diet" of sorts and I do not like how obsessed it makes me about food.  I feel like I am constantly thinking about food and planning what I can eat so that I stay in Whole30.  For example, last week Thursday was a really stressful day at work.  I picked my kids up from daycare and both of them were out of sorts and thus needy.  Prior to Whole30, that would have been a day where I would have said, "Screw the meal plan, let's go out to eat or have a pizza" and I was just really stressed trying to get the Whole30 approved dinner on the table.

Also, anxiety about going out to eat is annoying.  We like to go out to eat once a week and I am making us eat at home because it is easier for me to cook something that will be ok to eat versus going to our usual spots were literally nothing would be there.

So yes, there are psychological bad habits that Whole30 tries to help you with, but I kind of wonder if it is creating some bad habits as well!  Maybe once I get to the "tiger blood" stage (aka the stage were you have boundless energy and feel amazing) I will think differently.  Apparently Tiger Blood begins around day 16...I'm waiting!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Links

I read a lot.  So I'm going to post some links of blog posts, articles, etc that I have read recently that have stuck with me.

On Mute
http://gobigorgohome2016.tumblr.com/post/144164350195/on-mute

The First Mile Always Sucks (Totally).

Bang My Head Against the Wall

Monday, May 9, 2016

Two Track Workouts

Last week I had two workouts on the track, both occurring in the early morning.

Workout #1: Thursday
This workout was really scheduled for Wednesday however Tuesday night was a TERRIBLE night at our house - everyone kept waking up all.night.long - which meant I overslept and then my daughter has swim lessons Wednesday nights.  Cue Thursday morning track workout.

It was slightly chilly, aka perfect running weather.  I had 10x400.

I ran to the track on the most direct route, which was 1.81 mi warm up.

My 400s were to be at 90-95 seconds each.  Nailed that:

1:24
1:26
1:26
1:30
1:27
1:28
1:28
1:29
1:27
1:28

It was so weird to be doing 400s after focusing on the marathon distance for almost half a year!  I ran home for the cool down to get some coffee and get to work!

Workout #2: Saturday

Saturday was another morning, although not quite as early given that I didn't have to dash off to work.  I again ran to the track and incorporated some of the track into my warm up so that i could start at the true 800 starting line.  4x800 was up, with an 800 recovery jog in between each.  Goal pace for these was 3:00-3:05.

4x800:

2:59
3:01
3:02
3:01

Rest:

3:51
3:57
3:55

I incorporated my last rest jog into my cool down for a total workout of 7.76 miles.

All in all last week was a good running week.  The other two days on my plan were easy runs with strides.   I got a bonus workout in on Sunday because my daughter has been going gangbusters on her bike lately and wanted to go on a "long" bike ride (4.17 miles).  I ran with her.  Our pace was all over the place, given the downhills that she flew down and the uphills that I pushed her up but we finished in 40:37.

Total mileage last week: 26.08

Whole30 Update: Day 9

I am starting my ninth day on Whole30.  So far it is going well.  

Challenges

My biggest challenge has been figuring out how much to eat during a meal.  Initially I was just eating more vegetables at my meals and not incorporating enough protein.  This meant that I was STARVING by dinner time.   Breakfast has consistently been 3 eggs with roasted potatoes of some sort (red, sweet, or a mix of both) and sometimes a piece of fruit.  I have kept my coffee intake at 16 oz (which is down from the 24 oz I was drinking).

Parties.  Dining out.  Those were my biggest challenges during week 1.  I had a work party, a Mother's Day taco feast (most of which was fine because I did the cooking), and Mother's Day brunch out.  I made my mom a cheesecake, her favorite, for Mother's Day and REALLY REALLY wanted to eat a piece.  I did not.  However, I may make a cheesecake for myself during the reintroduction to diary week. :)

Surprises

Honestly, it hasn't been too difficult to switch to this diet.   I mean - yes there are definitely times that I would like to eat something that is out, but for the most part, it is fine.  There are little things here and there that I am surprised with in regards to ingredient lists - sugar really is in everything, even if in small amounts.  (Hello bacon, I'm looking at you.)

If you read the whole30 timeline, the first two weeks can be filled with a variety of withdrawal-like symptoms (e.g., headaches, feeling sluggish).  I have not experienced any of this.  I was anticipating that my workouts this month might be a little off from doing this but so far, so good.  Perhaps I am wrong, but I am chalking this up to the fact that my diet pre-whole30 wasn't too terrible.

Cravings

This has definitely solidified that my worst eating comes during the evening hours, after my kids go to bed.  The 90 minutes from 8-9:30pm have come with the cravings.  My body is definitely used to having a snack with my husband at this time.  Typically we have popcorn, which is off limits this month (sad face).  This is also the time when I will go to the cupboard and have a handful of chocolate chips, maybe a girl scout cookie or 2, oh and look at that box of cereal.   I have been trying not to eat at all during this time.  I have been mildly successful at this.  If I do have a snack, I am not eating fruit; the idea being that fruit is an "approved" sugar source.  I have been having a handful of nuts if I really can't take it.

Workouts

Two of my staples for workouts, Nuun and Picky Bars, are not Whole30 approved.  Typically I would eat a Picky Bar before a morning workout, or after an evening workout.  My husband stopped at a natural foods store and got me some Rx Bars, some of which are Whole30 approved.  I have only tried one so far and it was good.  Very dense.  Several types of Larabars are also Whole30 approved, however, I was looking for something that had a bit more protein.

I have not eaten anything prior to my morning workouts this month.  This has gone fine, and I had two tough track workouts that I did first thing in the morning last week.  I have swapped Nuun for plain water.  I added some lemon juice to one of my waters to simulate the taste of Nuun lemonade. 

I also used to have a scoop of plant protein powder in a smoothie for breakfast prior to Whole30.  

Benefits

I haven't felt bloated since starting this.  I really haven't felt like I was a bloat machine beforehand, but I definitely can tell a difference between how my stomach "normally" felt and how it feels now.  Also, my skin has already improved.  I no longer have the painful, inflamed, cystic bumps along my jaw and neck that I had for like 6 months prior to this.  (Side note: I quit taking the medications that I have been taking since January from my dermatologist on day 1 of Whole30.) 

Drawbacks

No beer.  No cheesecake. :)  

Really, the biggest drawback for me so far has been not being able to turn to my "go-to" foods in a pinch.  Last Friday we were already running low on food in our house (not uncommon as we do our grocery shopping on Saturday) and typically we would either have a pizza or go out to eat.  I stopped at Whole Foods to get a Whole30 approved rotisserie chicken (because I was NOT AWARE of what is all in a regular on) and was a little shocked when the cashier rang me up at $14.99.  (Seriously rotisserie chickens are $5 at Costco).   Our grocery bill for the most part has gone up a little bit, likely because I am consuming more meat than I was eating prior to Whole30, nothing drastic though.

I'm getting sick of eating eggs and potatoes for breakfast.




Monday, May 2, 2016

Whole30

My decision to try the Whole30 diet was not a quick one.  The first I ever heard of it was when my SIL did it last year prior to her wedding.  I thought it sounded a little crazy because I only knew what she couldn't eat.    As I posted in February, I have had a lot of skin issues in the years since having children (and I wasn't really a stranger to them prior to having kids) and have always turned to dermatology.  I started investigating the link to food earlier this year and after being really disappointed with the medications I am on, thought WHY NOT.  I could sit here and wonder if there was some dietary link, or I could actually test that hypothesis.

I did some research on the website and set a target date when my same SIL told me she was doing her second Whole30 in May.  Boom.  Ok. Sign me up.

I checked the book out of the library and became more familiar with "the rules".  I would say that the book is not necessary - their website is very comprehensive.

In a nutshell, the Whole30 means that for 30 days you do not eat any sugar, alcohol, grains (even quinoa), legumes, soy, peanut butter or dairy.  You also try to eat 3 (maybe 4) meals a day.  NO SNACKING.

On the one hand, I thought that this may not be too difficult because I have drastically cut my dairy consumption and have really upped my veggie consumption in the past two months.  On the other hand, I am a little nervous about a few things:

1. No legumes.  I generally eat a lot of legumes.  Chickpeas, black beans, white beans, lentils.  SIGN ME UP.

2.  Intersection of Whole30 and Running:  There are a lot of message boards about this, and my training partner for Boston is paleo so I know that it isn't impossible.  I am going to have swear off my tried and trusty Nuun sports drink though.

3. No snacks.  I eat all day long.  Truly.  Ask the people I work with.  I am not necessarily eating unhealthy things, but I am eating probably every two hours during the day.  That will be a hard habit for me to break.

4. No popcorn.  This was a "Surprise! You can't have that!" item for me.

At the time of writing this, I am 1.5 days in and have already noticed some challenges.

1.  I need to make my meals a lot bigger.  This is a common thing, based on my reading of participants.  Yesterday I only ate a bunch of meat for lunch and paid for it in a big way come 3:30.  Even after an enormous dinner, I felt so so hungry.  I was a little crabby because of it and my husband actually asked me, "Are you hangry right now?!".

2. Fruit is ok to eat and I am definitely using that as my sugar crutch.  Trying to incorporate fruit with every meal rather than binging on it at the end of the day.

Have you ever tried Whole30? If you have, I would love to know any tips or websites that you found helpful!

Strong Finish to April!

First week of summer training went really well.  I started off the week with two "easy" thirty minute runs.  I ended up running slightly over 30 minutes just to make them each an even 4 miles. First run was 32:15 (8:05 avg pace) and the next day my 4 miler took me 31:28 (7:51 avg pace).

Friday night I was up for a speed workout.  I had to do my workout at night because I had an early morning work meeting so I was out after my son was sleeping.  I needed to do a 2 mile warm up, 8 x 30 seconds at 5K pace (for me, aiming for 6:00 miles), with 90 seconds of jogging in between and a 1-2 mile cooldown.

I was a little fast on my 30 second spurts.  My paces for all of them were:
 5:35, 5:58, 5:58, 6:43, 5:26, 5:26, 5:45, 5:37

(I have no idea what was going on with the 6:43.)  I felt really smooth and great.  My warm up and cool down were also fast (7:28 avg pace for warm up; 7:16 for cool down).

I felt good though so I didn't worry about it.

I had 6 miles up for Saturday and given our schedule for the day, I had to do this in the morning, almost 12 hours after my Friday night workout.  I still felt great.  I was supposed to do 3 easy miles followed by 3 moderate miles.  My splits were: 7:22, 7:29, 7:28, 7:01, 6:51, 6:47.

I'm not going to lie.  I had moments on Friday and Saturday where my mind went to, "Why couldn't I have felt like this in Boston?!" For the most part, I'm past it.  :)

Dedicating 43 minutes to running on a Saturday is so much easier after months of dedicating 2+ hours!

Weekly Mileage Total: 20.18

Also, we are at the end of another month!  My April mileage was 99.03, which is down 4.6% from last  year's April.  Part of this is because last year, my spring marathon was in May.

January - April 2016 miles total: 562.13
I am still 131.55 miles ahead of last  year with my running this year.

I am looking forward to May - the weather is improving and I have a 5K on the schedule.  I am also doing the Whole30 diet for the month of May.  More on that in an upcoming post!