20 June 2013

No More Excuses and Pooping Your Pants

I ran a 5k last weekend and it didn't go well. I can live without a good time, but I also didn't have fun. I was staring down a long road of marathon training, and I couldn't remember the last run that made me happy.

I'd become full of excuses. There was always some reason why my runs didn't go well. It was my stomach, my ankle, the course was not as advertised, I was recovering from a week off, I was recovering from an MS relapse, it was too humid, I had too much other shit going on. I was becoming a drag, even to myself. Especially to myself.

Fortunately Sean makes espresso every morning, and last Sunday I woke up and smelled it. (Get it? Work with me here people.) The only person who was making me train for that marathon was me. And I didn't have to do it! That was as exciting a discovery as the day I realized I could get to "Inbox Zero" by deleting everything in my inbox. This is the year of the obvious revelation.

Fast forward one week and everything feels so much better. I decided to stop being so serious about running for a while. I'm still running, but instead of marathon training, I'm preparing for a road mile race in August. That's like a million percent less running. Yeah I know, you thought I was going to say something sane like I was taking up horseback riding or crochet. But I'm still a running addict. Training for a mile means lower mileage and higher intensity, which is what feels natural to me right now. The same thing happened last summer, so this must be my biorhythm or something.

On Saturday I did an exciting and fast workout at the track - 6x300 with tiny little 1:00 recoveries. When I'm mile-training, I run lots of short intervals at goal race pace. The intervals get longer as the race gets closer, so you get accustomed to running at race pace for 4x400m, 2x800m, etc. There are also a bunch of 5k paced intervals and hills thrown in. I'm running 5 days a week instead of 6, I might take some random extra days off, and I'm going to be a little more casual about strength and core work. I don't think this lackadaisical attitude will last forever, but it's fun to get off the Type A ride for a while.

I love how training for a mile race is like a vacation from "real running." This feeling will probably last until my third hard track workout.

As you know, I love writing about losing control of my bowels while running. It's therapeutic and usually has at least a hint of humor, as long as I wait until the horror is over before writing about it. I've often wondered why more people don't talk about pooping in their pants. Imagine my surprise when I found a spate of pants-crapping blog posts last week. Check out my favorites: The Awful Truth About Jogging, and a story about when a fart isn't really a fart (during a race no less). That last one includes photos! Not for the squeamish. And this one isn't all about pants-shitting, but it turns out really fast girls have these issues too.

Until next time, may all your runs be near a toilet. See what I did there?

14 June 2013

And the winner is...

And the winner is...

Commenter #5, lpg, who wrote:
I was a vegetarian for 16 years but gave it up once I had kids. One of my kids is a vegetarian anyway; one sometimes is and the other has some limiting digestive issues (as do some of his cousins). We have had some luck with alternative diets. I am just curious to hear more. (paper)
Congrats lpg! Please contact me and let me know where to send your copy of The China Study!

10 June 2013

A Plant-Based Giveaway

Most bloggers these days do giveaways. It's probably the most prevalent meme of blogging today, at least among the blogs I read. I like the idea of giveaways, but I don't have much traffic, and I'm not interested in going out of my way to attract sponsors. One day recently I realized, duh, I can give stuff away too, I just have to buy it with my own money. This means I have total control over what I give away. Total control is good.

And, since I only average like four page views a day, it also means you have a good chance of winning whatever I give away. Hey, that rhymed!

As you probably know (because I wrote about it 47 times), I recently read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It was good. You can read some of my thoughts about it here. I'm giving away a copy because I want more people to learn about the science behind plant-based diets, and how good they are at disease-proofing you.

This book is awesome, but it's not fluffy. It's jam packed with great information, and the science is explained clearly, even for the biologically averse like me. After reading it, you'll feel like you have an honorary PhD in nutrition.

If you're interested in either a Kindle or paperback copy of this book, let me know in the comments. Tell me what format you'd like (Kindle or paperback), as well as what you're interested in learning from the book. If you want to tweet about the giveaway, leave me another comment with a copy of your tweet, and that'll be a second entry for you. Got it?

I'll pick a random winner on Thursday at 8pm EDT. This is open to anyone in the U.S.

04 June 2013

Rhythm, Breakups, and Balance

Last week was difficult. My ladies track workout was solid on Tuesday, but the tempo run on Friday was a horror movie, and my long run didn't quite happen. I seem to have gotten out of the rhythm of running. First I was sick, then exhausted, and now I'm officially having my real experience with burnout.

I used to hear people talk about being burned out and I thought they probably just weren't that into running. For two years I was so obsessed with it that I couldn't imagine not wanting to run every day. When I was injured, I'd go crazy because I couldn't run. When I could run, I'd think about running all day, checking and rechecking dailymile, training books, or logs. I'd calculate splits and projected race times until my head spun, but I never got tired of any of it.

Maybe it's because I've been running 6 times a week. Maybe that's too much. I used to run 4, then 5, and then last fall I started running 6. I loved it. I was less sore and more energized (mostly). And I wasn't injured. I thought I had it all figured out.

Maybe it's because last week I had a major GI "event" right in front of the local high school. At 7:20 when all the kids were getting dropped off for school, I dropped my own kids off. Sadly there was no pool. I jogged to the track bathrooms which are always open. They were locked. I attempted to clean up in the woods. It turns out leaves do more smearing than wiping. And they are so brittle this time of year! I tied my shirt around my waist and regretfully decided to run home in my sports bra, but I couldn't decide if I should jog back by the high school - the shortest but most crowded route - or go a longer but more sparsely populated route. I jogged back and forth on the same stretch of road four times while I waffled. I finally made it home and rushed to work. I was so mad at running.

Maybe it's because we went to Woodstock (NY) last weekend and there weren't any good roads to run on. (Or maybe I didn't find the good roads because I was already burned out.) It was either a narrow shoulderless rural highway or a nice road that went straight up a small mountain. For once, I didn't want to run on vacation.

Maybe it's because it was so humid last week. Every run was done in 95%+ humidity, and my respiratory system didn't seem to be acclimating. I felt like I was running at 10,000 feet, but without the nice scenery.

After my failed long run on Sunday, during which my ankle hurt and my stomach rumbled and I ran laps around the block so I wouldn't be too far from the comfort of my own bathroom, I was feeling really dejected. Was running breaking up with me? My coach recommended a week off, and I was elated. I knew I wanted a week off before she suggested it, but I was too scared to even say it out loud.

It's definitely the right call. I'm loving it. I'm walking to work, meditating, reading, and sleeping in (until 6am!). Today was gorgeous running weather and I didn't care that I was missing it. I'm supposed to run a half marathon in July but I think I'm going to skip it. I was supposed to start marathon training yesterday for Baystate, and I don't care. And somehow, shockingly, it all seems right.

I think I'll be itching to run by next week, but maybe I won't be. Will that be the end of the world? No. Because before I was a runner, I was a person. I think I'm still a runner, but maybe I'll become a less obsessive one. For the last couple of years, I thought balance was overrated.