Monthly Archives: November 2010

11/29/10 Shift Up

Monday.  Well I finished my first full week of marathon training.  Lots of okay stuff going on.  Nothing spectacular but I’m feeling a shift in the right direction.  I’ve been working very hard on my health and fitness — 100% effort.

A couple of years ago I bought Dr. Fuhrman’s 2 volume set called Eat to Live (came with audio version and a video too).  The first book is all the theory and science behind his thinking on how to Eat to Live.  The second book is menu plans and recipes.  I never got around to reading the first book and I jumped into the second book and declared it all too difficult and who the heck can shop and chop that much?

Last week on my drive to CT I pulled out the accompanying Audio Book that came with the package.  I finally got around to listening  to book 1 (well most of it, still some more to go.)  I was really surprised to find some interesting tidbits in there.  He was describing some of my symptoms to a tee.  (Topics of Malabsorption and toxic hunger being of most interest to me.)    As a vegan already I didn’t have a lot of problem with much of his premise on the problems with animal products.  But he really called me out as a vegan who eats a lot of bread and pasta has just as dangerous diet as a meat-eater.  (My Veganism has never been so much about diet as it is about causing no harm — I always figured a bagel wasn’t hurting anyone — except me apparently.)  He talked about a lot of other problems with eating for calories instead of micronutrients.  He is anti calorie counting and measuring. He works well with the Geneen Roth idea of learning to let your body tell you what to eat so I’m hoping to work these two plans together (and then bring in Dr. Beck for the triple whammy — these are three books that make the most sense to me). Furhman’s  philosophy boils down to high micronutrients/low-calorie eating.  Along the way a lot of illnesses are cured. Of course I grossly simplify a 200 page book.

I was already off sugar and that has been going fine (except I did have some wine with Thanksgiving dinner…)  But now I’m ramping up even more on the vegetables.  Pounds of raw fruits and veggies every day.  (Don’t get all excited, one tomato is 1/2 a pound.)  I’m working this week on eliminating white flour (no veggie dumplings or Pita chips for me) and upping all the veggies, particularly the green ones.  I’m eating salads with everything but the kitchen sink.  One full serving of a bean soup every day.  3 fruits a day.  I’m eating big meals, TONS of veggies in there (if you could have seen the size of the spinach salad I ate yesterday — would be family size at Carmine’s…)  But interestingly, I lost weight this week and I think I feel a smidge better.  I’m still tired but I think I feel just a little better.  I woke up the morning awake instead of groggy like I have been for months.  It’s a lot of work but I’m viewing this as a medical treatment ala Hippocrates “let Medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.”  I have a kitchen full of fresh fruits and veggies and a vitamix at hand to whip up powerful medicinal potions.

Workouts went okay…  I’m still confused why it is so hard for me to run (gee, you think it might be the extra weight you are lugging around?).  I keep remembering workouts from this summer where I didn’t totally stink.  Okay I think there were only 3 but they were pretty big.  My Litchfield Hills bike ride — 100 miles.  I ran 15 miles at training camp in May (okay my knee gave out at mile 15 but I thought I could keep going.)   I can’t remember the third one but I think I had three where I didn’t cry afterwards.   I don’t understand why my ability to do workouts has slid back instead of getting better.  A good friend of mine who commiserates on recovery with me keeps reminding me it’s not the workouts — it’s the recovery.  That’s been my problem.  Yeah, do 100 miles and then be in bed for a week.  I keep forgetting that part. 

On Monday I woke up with a weird lump on the side of my knee.  I kind of freaked out about it.  Of course I immediately jumped to the most dramatic of conclusions.  I couldn’t bend my knee without it hurting.  I did nothing to it so I was confused.  I didn’t run on Tuesday and I kept putting Boswellin cream on it.  After the swelling went down the remaining lump seemed to have some kind of pinched nerve in there.  I don’t even know how to describe it — it was right at the outside joint of my knee.  I was just worried I wouldn’t be able to run on Thanksgiving with my niece.  I kept massaging and Boswelling it and prayed for the best.

Thursday morning my knee felt okay.  I figured I would just take it easy.  I picked up my niece and headed to Manchester for the 79th running of the Manchester road race. 15,000 (yes that’s three zeroes) people signed up to run (plus the couple of thousand who were obviously banditing the race). What a hoot. People come dressed in all kinds of costumes. There are just as many spectators along the course drinking their bloody marys, wines and beers (yes at 10 a.m.) Bands playing at every mile. No this is not a half marathon — it’s a 4.7 mile race. I was laughing so hard. 4.7 miles and they had more entertainment than most of the half marathons I’ve done. Turns out this is a HUGE tradition. Was really happy to do this with my niece — her first race ever. She has real potential — for an avid rugby player. We did a 1/1 the entire way (1 minute run/ 1 minute walk) except on mile 2 which has the biggest freakin hill I’ve ever seen in a race where I had to walk. We made up the time by running down the other side. We were picking off victims right and left (okay, we were picking off a lot of power walkers but who cares it was fun anyway!)

Manchester Road Race Thanksgiving 2010

Saturday I did 1 loop of Central Park.  6 miles.  It felt like forever but I did it slow and steady.  I was still doing the 1/1 which I want to bump up but by the time I get to 6 miles I’m pretty tired. I do not include my commuting walk to and from the park (that is my homage to coach Shifu).
Sunday I did 5 miles doing 2/1 and I was tired by mile 4.5 and had to walk the last 1/2 mile.   Still I finished without being dizzy and I had no knee pain and no cramping.  These are good things.  I think a little more iron and I’ll be almost there.  That was the big goal from coach Ramon — do only as much on Saturday that will let you run again on Sunday.  This is really hard for me because I have to admit it breaks my heart that I can’t run 12 miles on Saturday and another 6 on Sunday.  It really makes me sad…
So last week I did a total of 15 miles.  This week plan is do 18-20 without feeling wiped out, no dizziness, no cramping and no knee pain….
I’m VERY optimistic that with continuing with this new eating plan, continuing with my vitamins, dropping some pounds and with the power of positive thinking behind me I will be ready to tackle week 2 of marathon training.  I have plans for a HUGE come back.  Just wait and see…
Here is a recipe from Dr. Fuhrman I’m going to make this week:

Thai Vegetable Curry

Serves: 8
Preparation Time: 40 minutes

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups carrot juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large eggplant, peeled, if desired & cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups green beans, cut in 2 inch pieces
3 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 (8 ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest or other no salt seasoning
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups watercress leaves, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted natural chunky peanut butter
2 pounds firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
unchopped mint, basil or cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

1. Place the garlic, ginger, mint, basil, cilantro, carrot juice, bell pepper, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, VegiZest, curry powder, and 1 cup of the watercress in a wok or large skillet.

2. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender.

3. Mix in the peanut butter.

4. Add the tofu, bring to a simmer, and toss until hot.

5. Add the coconut milk and heat through.

6. Top with the remaining 1 cup watercress and the cashews.

Garnish with mint, basil or cilantro leaves, if desired.

Note: This can be served over brown rice or quinoa. Frozen vegetables may be used instead of fresh.

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11/24/10 Thanksgiving

Wednesday. Well here we are one once again.  Thanksgiving.  I’m in CT and just came back from the shopping zoo.  Crazy.  Parking lots are full to the brim.  Traffic is bumper to bumper.  Everyone running around like a turkey about to get its head cutoff.  Rush, rush, rush, shop, shop, shop, buy, buy, buy so we can all sit down together tomorrow and enjoy a meal in peace with our families. 

I was thinking about what was different this year that I might be thankful for.  Of course I have all of the usual things — my family, my friends, my weerrk, my home.  But it’s been a rough couple of years for me and it’s easy for me to look at the list of things I’m not thankful for and feel a little defeated.  But after thinking about it what I’m really truly thankful for is the opportunity to try again.  One more chance.  Thankful for the ability to take one more run at getting better, feeling better, doing good.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to try.  I guess we all have that but this year I’m just thankful that I can get up each morning and try again.

I’ve had a good week.  Not a stellar week but a good foundation week.  I went to practice with my new team the American Cancer society.  It went okay.  I had a nice chat with my coach.  He was very kind to me.  I had told him about my difficulty in training and feeling okay one day exhausted the next four.  His response was less is more.  Whatever I think I can do that day, do less.  If I get to mile 8 and I feel like I can finish 10 with no problem.  Stop at 8.  “Your body will not understand the difference between 8 and 10 and you will just exhuast yourself.  Leave it so you can come back for more the next day.”  So on Saturday I walked to the park.  Jog/walked to Bethesda.  Did 2 lower loops and walked home.  That’s it.  3.5 miles (or so).  Felt weird.  Felt like I was cheating.  Sunday went down to cheer for Philly Marathon and was able to walk/stand for 6 hours.

Already I’m behind this week in training because I’ve been caught off guard with work and had to travel to CT.  We were greeted with a power outage this morning which threw me off kilter.  I have a sore knee, apparently I twisted it or something and have a mysterious lump on the side of my knee that hurts.  If it is not gone in a couple of more days I’ll have it looked at.  Meanwhile I hope to run (liberal use of the term) the Manchester 5 (or so) miler tomorrow morning.  Run/walk or walk or whatever I can do….

I’m kind of proud of myself.  Today is my 7th day of no sugar.  I decided I was going to get really agressive in trying to figure out what makes me feel bad and what makes me feel better.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about diet and food and eating green etc. Comparing notes with my friends. Getting a lot of interesting tips about combining foods and green drinks.

 I had been talking to my acupuncturist the previous week and I noted that one day I had eaten three meals, not that many calories but I realized I had eaten nothing green.  I ate oatmeal and berries and walnuts for breakfast.  Rice and beans for lunch.  And for dinner I was driving home from CT so I stopped at Whole foods and got some sesame tofu to go.   That was all I ate but I was shocked that there was nothing green in my diet that day.  I didn’t eat large poriions of anything but really where were the micronutrients?  Dr. Fuhrman would be so disappointed.

So I got to thinking about needing more green and how Dr. Furhman is always talking about eating pounds of greens.  (He the nutritarian believes in eating more foods with micronutrients and less calories.  So tons of veggies — raw, juiced, cooked.  Lots of fruits.  Less Grains, nuts, seeds but still some everyday.) 

I started to think about how easy it was to grab processed food and how few micronutrients you can easily miss out on in a day.  So I started to buy and then make a green drink a day (gets expensive to buy them.)  That got me on the quest of what would happen if I tried to go 30 days with no processed sugar?  That would mean no added sugar of anykind in cakes, cookies, breads, sauces or whatever.  No WINE or any other alcohol.  Let’s just try and see if that makes a difference.

So today is day 7.  I have to be really honest.  It wasn’t that hard.  As it turns out I don’t really eat that many sugary things.  I’m not a cake, cookie, ice cream person.  Could probably go my entire life without them.  Don’t think about them.  I’m a french fries and chips person.  If I was every going to have kids I would have named one Salty and the other one Fried.  So of course I didn’t go on a no salty or fried kick, just thought I’d attack the sugar.   As it turns out I was able to stay away from salty and fried at the same time.

I’ve been rereading Dr. Fuhrman’s book and really trying to incorporate more of what he talks about.  It’s just so much cooking and vegetables but I’ve been doing okay.  I’m trying to do that in conunction with Geneen Roth (Women Food and God) because in many ways he says a lot of the same things she does — she just talks more about the spirituality of the eating and he talks more about the actual food.  In the end the are both advocates of listening to your body, eating only when you are hungry and learning what your body is really hungry for.  And they both think your body is hungry for vegetables not ice cream.

I have not felt any withdrawl because as I said I really don’t eat that poorly.  What I’ve been doing this week is ADDING more vegetables.  A LOT more vegetables.  Green, green, green everywhere.  Spinach and Kale and Romaine every day and lots of it.  But other veggies too — lots (and when I say lots I mean LOTS) of carrots and mushrooms and zucchini and tomatos.  Fruits too — buying apples buy the bag.  Some sweet potatoes. 

I can’t say I feel that much different after one week but I think I do feel a little something.  A little brighter.  A little better.  A little something.  Not radical.  Maybe a glimmer.  Just enough to get up in the morning and try again.

The no wine for a week has also been disappointingly easy.  I thought it would be a big struggle but not really.  (Always looking for a good challenge).  I told my family I would not be drinking for the holiday.  They all just shrugged and chalked it up my weird diet/exercise behavior du jour.  I did have to laugh though when last night my mother offered me a glass of wine.  I said no thanks I wasn’t drinking, I was trying to work on feeling better.  She thought about it for a second and said “well okay then, how about a brandy?”  Too good.

Namaste and Happy Thanksgiving

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11/17/10 Whatcha gonna do?

Wednesday.  Ugh crappy, crappy week — I feel very hypo like my medicine is not working.  But I find the best medicine for a crappy week is settling on a new goal.   Know thyself.  I am happiest going for a goal.  I think the continual dissolution of all my goals was getting to me.  Okay so maybe I can’t do a 50 mile race in February.  And maybe I can’t do a marathon in January.  But for cripes sakes I should be able to do a marathon by March 20…. 

Sometimes you wait for signs from the universe to show you which direction to go.  My first marathon coach from Team in Training (TNT) is now the head coach for the American Cancer Society.  He posted a note that if you wanted to train for any marathon you could train with them.  I thought back to how I trained for my first marathon with him.  My favorite picture to this day in my living room is of me and Ramon and my best buddy Melissa running down central park south. I read his post and everything became perfectly clear.  Instead of running away from cancer I’m going to run for it.  I’m going to raise money for the American Cancer Society (okay I’ll probably just donate it) and train with their team for the next 4 months.  I’m going to do LA Marathon on my own (they don’t have anyone else running that race) so I’ll pay my own expenses to get there.

I’m going to run the LA Marathon in March and I’m going to follow Ramon’s plan to get there.  It’s a small team so there will be a good coach to runner ratio (which is actually not so good for me as I like to hide far in the back away from coaches). 

Of course there is the one downside that they actually run one night a week in the park.  I’m not sure I can do that but I did it once, maybe I can do it again as long as I don’t have to be up at the crack of stupid (sunshine) the next day.

So that’s the plan.  That’s the goal.  It feels right.  Starting back at square one.  Here I go….


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11/15/10 The Path is Not Straight

Monday.  I know I have been absent.   I’ve been sick and sick of being sick so I decided if I don’t have anything good to say I’m wasn’t going to say anything.  I’m better now but I wasn’t able to do much and I couldn’t write.  So now I’m up and I’m moving and trying to fill my cup with positive mojo.  It’s definiteley only half full…

I have to drop out of Rocky Raccoon.  Just another race I won’t be able to do.  I was already struggling, but now I missed two weeks of training and the race is only ten weeks away.  I’ll be lucky to be able to do 20 miles in ten weeks never mind 50.  So get out the big, ugly, black magic marker and cross another daydream off the list.   My list is now empty.  (Yes I know that makes some of my friends happy but it doesn’t really make me happy). I have some races that I signed up for but frankly I don’t see the point of flying out somewhere to just not be able to do it.  Why waste the money?  So for now, I’ll stay home and keep on doing whatever the heck it is I think I’m doing.  I don’t really know what that is.  One of my discoveries on my Journey to Fitness is the path is not straight.

It’s a challenge for me right now to not concentrate on all the disappointments and the fears that maybe I won’t ever be able to do any of the events that I’ve enjoyed in the past because of course intellectually I know that is not true.  I think it is hard for obsessive compulsives to sit quietly and wait for the next wave of motivation.  So I’m trying to sit with that unsettled feeling.   I’m just learning to live with a new lifestyle.  Everyday it is a check-in “what can I do today?”  Today I did some downward facing dogs and was very proud of myself.  It’s all relative.  Last week I couldn’t stand up so this week a downward facing dog was pretty good.    It’s about learning boundaries and learning to find that fine line of doing enough to get stronger and not doing so much as to get weaker.  Moderation is harder than obsession. I’d rather run for 100 miles than just 2.   I’ve heard people use the line “learning a new normal.”  I think that’s what I’m doing.  100 mile bike rides are not my new normal.  Nor are 3 hour runs.  It’s all a little at time. 

In some ways I feel pretty good.  I’m sleeping a lot so I do feel rested (unless I overdo it).   I’m letting myself a full 8 hours every night and no guilt about it.  I’m working hard on my food and trying to cook a lot to get good nutrients in my body.  I’m actually finally using my Vitamix which is good.  I’m making healthy soups and eating whole foods. 

I’m keeping up with the acupuncture.  I think I’m feeling better with that.  I don’t seem to be having any leg cramps any more.  My knees feel okay.  He’s working on my iron absorption — I think I feel okay but not ready to run a marathon tomorrow (wait, even when I was training for a marathon I never felt ready to run one so that’s not really any different.)  For whatever reason I seem to respond very well to acupuncture (plus I think Mark Thompson is nothing short of a miracle worker.)

I’m still training but I just don’t have a goal.  My only goal right now is to figure out what can I do regularly without wiping myself out?  I did 2 hours and 40 minutes on Saturday and that was too much.  Okay, I’ll try 90 minutes and see what happens with that.  Trial and error.

I do feel bad that I seem to be disappointing people.  In the morning when I go to the mail the security guard stops me now almost every day and says the same thing “are you riding today? I keep looking for you.”  Nope, I don’t ride anymore.  He looks sadder than I do.  Marathon morning when I was getting ready to go cheer all the security guards and several people in the building called to me “are you running?”  hopeful looks in their eyes.  “Nope, I’m not running, I’m going to cheer though.”  They all looked so disappointed. Friends write me ‘what are you training for?’  Nothing, I respond.   I feel like I’m letting so many people down.  I guess that’s one reason I haven’t updated the blog — I’m not feeling very inspired or inspirational.  And we all know how much I love to inspire people…. 

I’m sure I’ll do something one day again.  Everything looks so far away right now.  A 10k?  Really?  That seems far don’t you think?  A triathlon?  Are you crazy?  Do you know how much work goes into one of those?  And I’m talking about a sprint not an Ironman.  Nothing wrong with 10 laps in the pool.  Heck nothing wrong with 2 laps in the pool.   Just get to the freakin pool and then we’ll talk about a workout.

I’ve signed up for a 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Morning and got my niece to agree to do it with me.  It’s not like I’m not going to continue to train, I just don’t have a good goal yet.  A 5 miler seems just fine.  Tomorrow I will try running again.  I will make 5 miles my new goal.

Sorry, I was trying not to be so depressing but I think I failed.  I’m really okay, just in a quiet place.   I’ll be back, after a little rest and thinking.


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