Sunday, June 30, 2013

Metal out!

Friday morning, my excellent orthopod did this:
Penny is for scale. It wasn't in my elbow. As far as I know.
... taking me from this:

Awkward self portraits showing escaping screw and ugly bathroom curtains
... to this:
Strict instructions to not remove the bandage till Monday.
She also did a "closed joint manipulation" -- took my elbow from 20 to 150 degrees under anesthesia, after hardware was out. WAY further than it went pre-op.

Getting hardware out was way less of a big deal than getting it in. I took pain meds for the first 12 hours after the nerve block wore off, because they told me to, but decided I didn't need anything by the next morning. Different from getting the bone set, where I took the good drugs (and a lot of naps) for about 2.5 days.

My first post-op PT appointment is Wednesday, but I can already feel an improved range of motion. It definitely extends further than it did before surgery, and flexion is about the same to perhaps a bit better.

I have high hopes that this is going to accelerate my rehabilitation. And in the meantime, it's not keeping me away from the things that I love -- I went for a glorious 4 mile run this morning, then cooked a giant pot of chili for a neighbor with a new baby. Good elbows, good times.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Weekly training summary, late version

From last week. Busy work week and recovering from that Afton run, punctuated by a not very fast weekday 5K race, and topped off with an elbow recovery milestone. Yes, that's right, I RODE MY BIIIIIIIIKE! (Cue happy music and a little dance.)

Monday: Rest. (Quads sore after Afton run)
Tuesday: Run 5.4 mi. Legs still tired. Sheesh!
Wednesday: French 5K trail race. Hot. Zapped legs. Good company. Kombucha. See report for details.
Thursday: Run 0.5 mi in Luna sandals, then 15 or 20 min of lunges, squats, and calf raises in the park.
Friday: Rest. Crazy rain/wind storm Friday night.
Saturday: Run 2:45 (13-ish miles) at Lebanon Hills with the group. Raining pretty hard at the 5:30 am start, tapered off and got muggy by the end. Lots of mud, standing water, and downed trees. An adventure! I was pretty spent by the end.
Sunday: Slept in. In the evening, ~4 mile BIKE RIDE!

Total: ~22 miles.

Notes on the Luna sandal run: Thursday was a beautiful cool morning after a hot sweaty race the night before. I wanted to be outside but didn't want a big run, so figured it would be a good time to try out the sandals for running. The verdict? Comfortable for a short run, no calf or heel pain, but the straps rubbed on my second toes. Gotta wait for the skin to heal before trying it again. Maybe I need to tighten the straps? Any Luna-experienced folks out there with advice?

Now, about the bike ride: I haven't ridden since I broke my elbow, and was concerned that I wouldn't be able to hold the handlebar comfortable since I can't fully extend it. (Both my bikes have road handlebars -- a mountain bike, commuter, or cruiser would probably be no problem). Turns out, I can ride at least a few miles at a time, though it is definitely more fatiguing when you can't lock one elbow.

And the feeling of freedom you get riding a bicycle? Yeah, I missed that. A little shoulder fatigue won't stop me. I'm riding every day I can.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Elbow update (or, "Why yes, I do have a screw loose", or, "Fear my mighty triceps!")

For those just joining us, here's a brief recap on the elbow situation:

Ten weeks ago, I broke my right elbow (olecranon) at the Zumbro 17 mile trail race.
Heading into Aid Station #1 with a busted elbow.
No bones were sticking out, so I kept going.
(Photo: Todd Rowe)
My surgeon has since said things like, "It was kind of shattered." And, "It was a bad break."
But she fearlessly reassembled it, throwing out one bone fragment that couldn't be pinned in place, and holding the rest together with a big plate and six screws.
Much better.
Since then, I've run with it in a cast, then an articulated brace, then nothing at all.
And decorated the brace with race bling.
I've also been doing physical therapy -- first active range-of-motion, then some passive range-of-motion and resistance work with Therabands. I'm slowly gaining mobility in the elbow.
What, doesn't everyone graph their active range of motion?
Last week, I noticed a bump by the point of my elbow. It felt like the head of one of the screws, the one nearest the elbow. I figured maybe swelling had gone down in my elbow so now I could feel the hardware. (I could feel the plate, too). But it seemed really close to the skin. I would occasionally bump it into things, which was painful.

I mentioned it to my physical therapist at last week's appointment and she was concerned. (More concerned than I was). She got me in for an X-ray that morning and, sure enough, the screw is backing out.
Yes, I've got a screw loose.
A CT scan yesterday morning confirmed that, and showed some more bad news: one of the screw tips is in my joint space now. Not a good place for a piece of metal. The good news? The bone looks healed.

My surgeon called this morning (while I was running) to discuss the situation. She thinks my triceps may be pulling on that proximal screw and pulling it loose. Fear my mighty triceps! Anyhow, since the bone is healed and the hardware is wandering into bad places, she advises removing it sooner rather than later.
"Okay," I said. "How soon?"
"Well, I've got time in the operating room tomorrow, or Friday. Which one works for you?"

Well, that's pretty soon. Surgery's scheduled for Friday morning. Hardware out, and a closed-joint mobilization (basically, taking the elbow through its range of motion under anesthesia). Should be a quicker and simpler surgery than the first one, and result in no cast, no brace, just a gauze bandage. Then moving the joint as soon as possible -- PT early next week.

I've got high hopes that this will keep my rehab on track and maybe even improve my joint mobility. And if nothing else, I get rid of this big lumpy screw sticking out of my elbow. And that's its own reward.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Epic Culinary Wins on Whole30

Ever gone camping? After a day of backpacking, bushwhacking, and skinny-dipping, you cook a stupendous meal of freeze-dried vegetables, tuna in a pouch, and instant noodles-n-sauce, slurp it down, and think, "This tastes AWESOME! I should try this at home!".

Then, at home, of course sanity sets in and you realize that it tasted great because of where you were and what you were doing... and that instant noodles-n-sauce should never grace your table again... until the next camping trip, anyway.

I don't think that's what's going on here, but check back with me in a couple weeks, when Whole30 is a fading memory. At any rate, these are some new finds that have been freaking delicious and that I think we'll keep in the rotation. Unlike the noodles-n-sauce.

Epic Whole30 Culinary Wins, So Far

  • Real fish sauce and anchovies as little salty umami-bombs. We sprinkled a little fish sauce on sauteed kale the other day and it amped the flavor way, way up. And I'd kind of forgotten how cool anchovies are. Gotta get to work on that Caesar salad real soon now...
  • Cabbage slaw for fish tacos. Shredded cabbage, a little green onion and jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. If it sits for 30 min while you fry the fish, it gets just a little tender. Yum.
  • Sauteeing vegetables in roasted chicken drippings. Cabbage (again) was awesome this way.
  • Kale chips for breakfast. Because, why not? I made them with lard, which added an unexpected and delicious slightly porky flavor.
  • Giant salad for lunch. With a big whack of chicken or tuna salad, it's totally satisfying.
  • Homemade mayo. Who knew it was so easy to make? I used a fork and a bowl and it took 10 minutes, tops. (I used light olive oil, not mac nut oil). Great base for chicken/tuna/egg salad -- and I'm not even a mayo fan.
  • Kombucha. Why have I not tried this before? It's a little sour, it's bubbly, it's funky. Like drinking a Berliner Weisse.
  • Dessert parfait: Fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, with coconut milk (canned) poured over the top. Oh MY is this good.

Whole30 Dining Out In Minneapolis, So Far

Haven't done a ton of this, but here are a few good recommendations:
  • Brasa. Little place in Northeast Minneapolis that is a paleo haven. Pulled pork, rotisserie roasted chicken and many of the meat specials are Whole30 compliant, as are many of the vegetable sides. You can eat WELL here for lunch or dinner. Plus there's enough variety for picky eaters, gluten free eaters, and even vegetarians can do pretty well by eating sides. There's great outdoor seating, and thanks to the giant roll-up garage doors, sitting indoors feels like sitting outdoors too, on a fine day. Finally, it's a steal -- a very satisfying two meat, three sides, and a drink fed two of us for $27.
  • Barbette. It's in Uptown, and also has outdoor dining, though it's on the sidewalk. Excellent Whole30/paleo options here, including a daily tartare, raw oysters, salads (like the salmon Nicoise we tried, which was 100% W30 except for the potatoes), vegetables, fish, chicken, and steak. The steak is very good. (But I did miss eating steak frites, which I love). Good service, fun decor, good place.
  • Burch Steakhouse. A new place in Uptown, by the folks who brought us the fabulous Bar La Grassa. We tried it before starting the Whole30, but it's a great place to go for Whole30/paleo food, though costly enough that we'd probably wait for a special occasion. But wow. Grass fed beef, beautifully prepared. Don't miss out on the starters and sides -- we had the roasted cauliflower with anchovies and it was incredible. We also had the lamb tartare, which was good, but next time I would focus on steak and veggie sides, which really shine.
  • Seward Cafe does a nice omelet with a wide choice of veggies. They also have good coffee, espresso, and smoothies.
  • Haven't been there during the Whole30, but it looks like The Bad Waitress could also put together a pretty good breakfast, with omelet options including chicken and chorizo, as well as lots of veggies including avocado. (I don't know if their chorizo is OK or not). Their coffee is from Spyhouse, so it's excellent.
  • What's that? You want fast food? Okay. Two decent options here, Chipotle and Five Guys. At Chipotle, get a salad with carnitas, salsa (not corn salsa, duh), and guacamole. At Five Guys, get a bunless burger with whatever toppings grab you (except ketchup, mayo, cheese, and bacon). Try not to eat the peanuts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Race report: Endless Summer Trail Series French 5K

(or, "Weather is here, wish you were great", or, "Any run is a good run")

So Rocksteady Running is doing a summer weekday night race series, the Endless Summer Trail Run Series, with four Wednesday night races, 5K to 7 miles, at regional parks. I decided to give them a try this year, and am having a blast. It's pretty awesome to wake up on a random Wednesday morning thinking "It's RACE day!". They draw an unusual combination of trail long distance and ultra runners and road runners (they're the ones in the clean white shoes), so there are lots of familiar faces and many new ones. And there's beer and pizza afterward. It's a great production.

This is race #2 in the series. After clocking a 1:00:01 (sheesh!) at the Hyland 10K a couple weeks ago, I was hoping to book a blistering sub-30. I think the last 5K I ran was... uhmmm... at least three years ago, and the one before that was while I was still in medical school. So not a lot of recent times to compare myself to.

Beer and pizza wasn't going to be a Whole30-friendly post-race snack but I wanted something good to enjoy while others drank cold frosty beer. So I brought along a bottle of ginger kombucha. I'd never tried kombucha before, but this seemed like a good time to check it out.

I zoomed out of work at 5 o'clock sharp, already changed into my run clothes. Met the husband and boys on the way home, hugs and kisses, and off to the park. It was a little alarming, as I sat in rush-hour traffic, to note that the temperature was 88 degrees. Going to be a toasty one! Drank a bottle of water and ate a leftover carrot and half a Larabar on the way there. Got to the park with 30 minutes to spare (not everyone was so lucky; they actually delayed the start by 10 minutes to allow people stuck in traffic to get there!).

Lots of friends were there -- Ethan had already run the course as a warmup, and gave me some beta. Christy went on to finish in second place for women. Amy was sparkly and ready to run after putting up some massive miles on the Superior Hiking Trail last weekend. I met Theresa, who had run 50 miles at Zumbro, then did Kettle Moraine 100K a couple weeks ago. Mike M and Ryan who I'd run with at Afton Saturday were there. Mike B reintroduced himself -- we'd run at Lebanon last winter. John was volunteering at the merch table again (I met him at the Superior merch table), and made the course his first run since a knee replacement last fall. Wow!
Having fun with Amy, even if 5K is not our distance!

Race director John Storkamp gave the usual pre-race briefing (water stop at the halfway mark, keep the flags on your left, pick up trash) with a few location-specific modifications (don't disturb the black milk crates by the trail; they're protecting nesting turtles!). Then a countdown, and we're off!

The course is a loop that goes along Medicine Lake, through the woods and through a beautiful wetlands. It's all nice wide, nontechnical trail, with dirt, wood chips, and mowed grass. The first mile is pretty gentle, and despite the heat, felt decent. The trail was thick with people for the first half of the race, though there was plenty of space to pass people. I talked with Joni, who I'd run with at Zumbro, until the pace got to be a bit much for me. I throttled it back and let her pull ahead. By 10 minutes in, my legs were letting me know that they had NOT recovered from Afton, and that this was not going to be a fast day.

We ran on, over some little rolling hills. Past a nesting painted turtle. On a long straightaway, my legs and lungs conferred and decided that we should walk. My overheated brain raised no objections, and I walked a minute, then started back up running. Whew! I was tired already.

The water stop was a little before the halfway mark, and I was ready for a drink. Those volunteers deserve hazard pay -- they survived not only heat, but man-eating mosquitoes! I gulped half a cup of water, turned the corner, and ran slam into a short, but remarkably steep hill. Power-hiked it, and at the crest, a steep downhill followed almost immediately. It was run to run down (my quads are mostly recovered from Afton), and I passed several people who were taking the downhill more cautiously. Bottomed out, and back up we go! These crazy rollers were kind of fun.

After the halfway point, the course levels out again, mostly, and goes along the lake and then through the wetlands (red-winged blackbirds!). I was pretty wiped out, and was loosely following a 4-1 run-walk along this section. Along here, I got passed by Cole, who was wearing Luna sandals and pushing a jog stroller, and Nora, mother of the baby.

Finally, after a long winding curve to the right, the trail started heading uphill again. The finish was audible, if not yet visible. Runners who had already finished were on the sides of the trail, yelling encouragement and telling us "it's just up ahead!". I broke into a run, and sure enough, there was the finish line, around a final corner and up a little hill. I ran it in in 35:17. It wasn't a 100% effort, but it was a good hard one. I was satisfied. Lots of racers were cheering at the finish line -- very cool.

After staggering around and gasping for breath a while, I reclaimed my kombucha. Pretty good! It reminded me of a Berliner Weisse -- lightly carbonated, tart, a little sweet, and the ginger was spicy and refreshing. I would drink that again, even as a post-race treat. (But if there were halfway decent beer, I'd drink that instead). I stood near the finish line and cheered in finishers, till the mosquitoes got to be overwhelming. Then wandered around meeting more friends. As the sun sank low and my stomach started to growl, I said goodbye and headed back into town. It wasn't a fast race, but it was a fun one. See you next month, Endless Summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Whole30, 10 days in

I'm at day 10 of the Whole30 now, and thought I'd check in before heading out to my weekday trail race tonight. Even though it's not as a radical a change for me as it is for most people who try it out (we were already gluten/dairy free and 90% paleo), it's still meant some significant changes. Some were expected, and some have been more of a surprise. Overall, this has been a good experience so far. It will be interesting to see what further changes happen in the next 10 days.

Good stuff:

  • Way less snacking going on here! I had gotten into the habit of eating a little something every hour or two, especially when at work, especially while ultra training. It got me the calories I needed at the time, but when my caloric demands declined, the urge to eat something (especially something salty and crunchy) lingered. I still have urges to snack, off and on, but since I'm full and stay full after meals, they're easier to rationally ignore.
  • More even energy. I always have pretty good energy, but would have a bit of an afternoon "slump". Not now, and I think my energy levels will be through the roof once I get to the end of this crazy work week and start getting 8 hours of sleep again.
  • No GI upset on runs. None. Even multi-hour trail runs, in heat, eating fiber-rich stuff like dates and Larabars. GI stuff has seldom been a big problem for me while running, but long runs are where it emerges, and it just hasn't.
  • Holy cow, I thought we were eating lots of vegetables before this. It's unreal how many we're eating now. C and I ate HALF A HEAD of cabbage last night in a cabbage slaw. Along with a giant bowl of guacamole, some lettuce leaves, oh, and a whole lot of fried fish.

Not-so-good stuff:

  • "I just got home from work, it's already 6 o'clock, and I'M STARVING." Most things we're eating require cooking. Some require significant prep. When we can plan ahead, it's awesome, but when you get behind on the food prep and organization, you can definitely end up scouring the kitchen looking for something to eat RIGHT NOW NOW NOW. 
  • "I just ate a banana and almond butter for a post-workout meal OH CRAP it says not to eat fruit post workout!" Still figuring out the "gray areas" of the diet (how much is "a little" fruit? How much is "limited" almonds and sunflower seeds? Am I doing it right?).
  • Eating out. We don't do it all that often but when we do, we want to eat well. It can be done, but it requires some advance planning... and it requires giving up some things that just look really good. 
  • Date night without a beer is really not the same, no matter how much herbal tea you drink.

Food recap for the last 3 days:

Day 8:

Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in ghee with hot sauce, steamed broccoli, small salad (greens and homemade vinaigrette dressing), black coffee
Lunch: Salad with spring mix greens, tuna salad (2/3 can of tuna, homemade mayo, celery, green onion, apple), tomato, avocado, homemade vinaigrette. Two carrots and a celery stick dipped in almond butter, hazelnut milk latte
Snack: Macadamia nuts, coconut
Dinner: Lamb merguez sausage, sauteed red kale with a little fish sauce, steamed baby turnips and carrots with ghee. A little later, fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, and coconut flakes with coconut milk. Oh my was that good.

Day 9:

Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in ghee with hot sauce, baked kale chips (tossed kale in melted lard), roasted tomato, 1/4 avocado, black coffee
Post-workout: Small banana with almond butter, macadamia nuts
Lunch: Salad with greens, tuna salad, sauerkraut, 1/4 avocado, and vinaigrette. Hard boiled egg, two carrots with a little almond butter
Snack: Macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, black coffee
Dinner: Fish tacos: Cod rolled in almond flour and fried in coconut oil, guacamole, cabbage slaw (cabbage, jalapeno, green onion, lime juice, salt and pepper) on lettuce leaves. This was really good.

Ran 5.4 miles. Quads still sore from 3 days ago!

Day 10:

Breakfast: Omelet with 1 egg, 1/2 a roasted red pepper, kalamata olives, and wilted salad greens, steamed broccoli, black coffee
Snack: Sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, coconut (I think I should have made TWO eggs for breakfast! I was hungry just 2.5 hours later!)
Lunch: 1/2 a grilled chicken breast, salad with greens, tuna/egg salad, 1/2 roasted red pepper, vinaigrette. Two carrots, black coffee

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Running with a broken elbow (or, "It's just a flesh wound!", or, "Come back here! I'll bite your legs off!")

Yes, you can!
When I broke my elbow at Zumbro (story in a future post), I googled "running with a broken elbow" and "running with a broken arm" the same night.  There's not a lot out there on the internets about running with a full arm cast (though a number of stories about short arm casts), so I thought it might be helpful to share my experience.  The summary?  Yes, it can be done.  If you're a little nuts.

At my first appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, I asked "Can I run?"  It was 5 weeks before Superior 50K, my first ultra, and I was not going to miss it, by golly.  She assured me that I could run as soon as it was in a cast, a week after surgery.  Before, that, low/no impact exercise was fine.

That curvy piece off to the left is supposed to be attached to something.

With my arm in a giant splint and a doctor's blessing, I was at the YWCA bright and early the very next morning.  I hit the elliptical [I believe that may be a first for me! I didn't even die of boredom], then cranked the treadmill up to 15% grade and walked, briskly, for 30 minutes up a big imaginary hill.  Hey, it beat another half-hour of elliptical.

As an aside, you want some funny looks and great conversations, go do a really sweaty workout at your local Y or running trails with a full arm splint or cast on.  Had a great talk with a guy who broke BOTH wrists and several fingers two years ago in a bike accident, recovered, and decided to bike across the country.  He concluded his story, "So you WILL get better! Hang in there!"  Oh yes I will.

My awesome orthopod fixed me up four days post injury with a ginormous plate and six screws.
Talk about race hardware!
I enjoyed two days of frequent naps, quality cat time, and Vicodin, then swapped the good drugs for Tylenol and hit the Y.  Still in a splint, I biked, elliptical'd, and did lower-body strength work (lunges, squats, situps, whatever I could think of).  Got into a cast on post op day 6 and the next day I ran a mile, on the indoor track at the Y.  It was slow and awkward, but nothing hurt.  The next day I ran 5.4 miles, no slower than usual.  (There's nothing like an 10 day, unplanned, radical taper to help your speed).  The 50K was ON!

On post op day 10, 4 days after getting my cast, I did the last big training run before Superior -- 25 miles at Afton State Park.  I wore my Hoka Stinsons, my go-to trail shoe at that point.  I carried a Velcro luggage strap in case I needed a field sling.  (I didn't).  Reasoning that I tie up my only functional hand with a handheld, I exchanged my usual Ultimate Direction bottle for a new-out-of-the-package Nathan Intensity hydration pack.  (Luckily, it worked magnificently the whole day).  I filled it with Nuun, stuffed 900 kcal of snacks into the front pockets (Shot Bloks, Gu and Roctane, Picky Bars), and I was off, in 39 degrees and crisp air, at 5:30 am.  A 30-minute out-and-back while waiting for others to get there, then the 15.5 mile race loop, then a very slow and gimpy solo 7 miles back around Africa Loop/Back 40.

It went pretty well, considering my entire dominant arm was in a massive fiberglass cast.  A little IT band problem on the opposite hip in the first 3 miles or so went away fairly quickly.  It came back in the last 5 miles with a vengeance, and I mostly walked the last 3 miles or so, occasionally jogging a segment or two.  I've never had IT band problems to speak of before or since.  I theorize they related to decreased arm swing on the right because of the added weight of the cast.  I had a pretty serious bonk at the end of the full loop, around mile 18, but got a second wind after eating an entire Picky Bar.  It was very difficult to get back up and head back out for the last 7 miles, but I did it.

I was in the cast for 3 weeks and ran over 75 miles in it.  It was funky, and awkward, but it worked okay.  I always felt like I would feel worse if I didn't run, so I just kept going for runs in it.  When I got it off and graduated to the articulated arm brace, it was a relief, but also a triumph.  Nothing was going to stop me from doing my 50K.
Graduated to a brace. I added the Superior bling myself.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Whole30, week 1 recap

I haven't been photographing food, but it's been pretty awesome -- both to look at and to eat. I feel like I'm eating well so far. Eating out over the weekend was harder.  Our goal has been to observe the spirit of the diet, but not interrogate our waitress about the ingredient list.

Great energy levels and very little urge to snack between meals -- since this was one of the main goals I had in starting Whole30, I feel like it's a win so far.

I don't seem to have the crazy week 1 Whole30 moods, maybe because it's not a huge departure from how I was eating before? We'll see how week 2 plays out.

Day 1 (Monday, June 10):

Breakfast: Broccoli, green beans and garlic sauteed in coconut oil, 2 eggs cooked in ghee, black coffee
Lunch: Taco salad (big bowl of spinach, ground pork with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and a big scoop of homemade guacamole)
Dinner: Grilled hamburgers, summer squash, sweet potato with ghee

Day 2:

Breakfast: 2-egg omelet cooked in ghee with turkey, broccoli, green beans and garlic, black coffee
During run: 5 dates, water
Post-workout: Hard boiled egg, banana, black coffee
Lunch: Salad with turkey, 1/2 avocado, tomato, and a hard boiled egg, with homemade vinaigrette dressing, then an apple and 2 carrots dipped in almond butter
Snack: Macadamia nuts, coconut flakes
Dinner: Roasted chicken, cabbage sauteed in chicken drippings, and a big salad with avocado and tomato, with homemade vinaigrette dressing

Ran 8.3 miles. Fueling felt fine with eating dates. No GI problems. It is a pleasant surprise how little I want to snack -- I have felt pretty full between meals.

Day 3:

Breakfast: Steamed broccoli, 1 egg cooked in ghee with Mean Green hot sauce, black coffee
Lunch: Salad with turkey, 1/2 avocado, tomato, and a hard boiled egg, with homemade vinaigrette dressing, then 2 carrots dipped in almond butter and 2 carrots plain
Snack: Sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, black coffee
Dinner: Salmon roasted in ghee, broccoli, big salad with avocado and tomato

Day 4:

Breakfast: Steamed broccoli, 1 egg + 1 egg white (left over from making mayo) cooked in ghee with hot sauce, black coffee
Post-workout: Omelet with kalamata olives, kale and carrots with tahini on top, 1/2 sweet potato, black coffee
Lunch: Chicken salad (leftover chicken, homemade mayo, almonds, capers, lemon juice) with lots of greens and tomato, 2 carrots dipped in almond butter
Snack: Sunflower seeds, coconut flakes
Dinner: Polish sausage, sauerkraut, 1/2 sweet potato
After-dinner treat: Blueberries, coconut flakes, almonds and walnuts

Ran 7.1 miles. I didn't eat anything on the run and was fine for the first hour, a little tired for the last 15 min. Overall, though, I'm pleasantly surprised that I don't seem to be any more prone to bonking than I was when eating more carbs.
The omelet was at my favorite restaurant, the Seward Cafe. Being a mostly-vegetarian place, the main Whole30-compliant items on the menu are omelets and stir fry. The omelet was great (especially the olives), and asking for tahini instead of toast was brilliant. Yum.
I was hungry by dinnertime! Then, after kid bedtime, still wanted a bite of something. (I wanted dark chocolate, but blueberries and nuts were pretty satisfying).
I am developing a little acne, which is seldom a problem for me. It's a little annoying.

Day 5:

Breakfast: Steamed broccoli, a little ground beef and 1 egg cooked in ghee with smoked paprika, black coffee
Snack: Apple, macadamia nuts, black coffee
Lunch: Chicken salad (leftover chicken, homemade mayo, almonds, capers, lemon juice) with lots of greens, avocado, and tomato
Snack: Banana with almond butter
Dinner: Pork shank osso bucco (from this recipe, but chicken stock instead of white wine) over sauteed green cabbage. YUM.

Odd, vivid dreams, but not about food.

Day 6:

Breakfast: A little ground beef, 1 egg cooked in ghee with smoked paprika, 1/2 sweet potato, 1/2 avocado, black coffee
During run: 8-10 dates, 1 Larabar, 6 S-Caps, water
Post-workout: Omelet with kalamata olives, kale and tomato with tahini on top, 1/2 sweet potato, black coffee
Lunch: Left over pork osso bucco and sauteed green cabbage
Dinner: Went out to Brasa. Paleo heaven: Rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, collards with smoked chicken, sweet potatoes with andoille, creamed spinach (yes, this was off the Whole30), and fried plantains. Unsweetened iced tea. Serious YUM. Herbal tea later.

Ran 15.5 hilly trail miles in muggy weather. Awesome, consistent energy throughout run but I was spent by the end. For longer runs I think I need something with protein. First time using S-Caps instead of Nuun; it seemed to work fine.

Day 7:

Breakfast: 1 egg cooked in ghee with hot sauce, broccoli, 1/2 avocado, black coffee
Post-workout: 1 egg in ghee with jalapenos, 1 banana and almond butter, a few blueberries
Lunch: Salad with tomato, avocado, sauerkraut and canned tuna ("Tunakraut salad"). Surprisingly good, if a bit random
Dinner: Out to Five Guys. Had a burger bowl with lettuce, tomato, fried mushrooms and onions, jalapenos, and mustard. Oops, I also had a few peanuts and a few fries. Honestly, eating out, when you're hungry, is difficult.
After dinner: 2 carrots, handful of sunflower seeds, coconut flakes.

Ran 5.6 slow hilly miles.

Weekly training summary, with Afton run

I suppose this is technically Week X of Twin Cities Marathon training (or week X-2 of Wild Duluth 50K?), but I am determined to spend as much of the summer as possible winging it. I'll start paying attention to my schedule again (modified Hal Higdon Marathon 3) when the long runs get to 16 or 17 miles in a month or so.

Monday: Rest (recovering from a 10 hour drive back from St. Louis)
Tuesday: Run 8.3 miles in 1:31
Wednesday: Rest (busy! work!)
Thursday: Run 7.1 miles in 1:15
Friday: Rest (busy!)
Saturday: Run 15.5-ish miles at Afton State Park in 3:35
Sunday: Run 5.6 miles in 1:07

Total mileage: 36.5

The Big Deal this week (which was devoid of cross training or strength training, thanks to a busy work week) was the run at Afton.  Since we're three weeks out from the Afton Trail Run 25K and 50K, it was fun to see so many runners out on the trails.  Lots of fun to run with friends from Superior, Upper Midwest Trail Runners, and some new acquaintances.

The Afton 25K loop is pretty stout.  Here's the elevation chart (courtesy of the race website):
Yes, I know no climb is more than 300 ft. It's still invigorating.

It's the second time I've done a full loop there; the first was 3 weeks before Superior and involved a long arm cast.  That was a 25 mile, 6 hour run (did some before, then repeated Africa Loop/Back 40 a second time after fighting off a serious bonk) so I was excited to see how it felt without the physical burden of a giant cast and the mental (and physical) burden of another 10 miles.

It was fun to see the course again, and nice to be on it without any snow, ice, or (many) downed trees.  I think I'd forgotten the hill up to the campground, I felt better on the downhills than last time, and the Snowshoe Loop, which had been a real mental struggle last time, was actually kind of fun (in a "crap, I'm really redlining it now!) kind of way.  That last hill out of Snowshoe pretty much did me in, though.  I was very pleased to be finished after a single loop.  But, coming at the end of my biggest mileage week since Superior, I'll take it and put those miles (and hills) in the bank.

- Ate 8-10 dates and half a Larabar, plus 6 S-Caps. Drank ~ 2L water.
- Carried my Nathan Intensity hydration vest. This is the 5th long (13+ mi) run I've worn it for and it has won a permanent spot in my summer running repertoire.
- First long run wearing my new InkNBurn tank top. It's a winner! Awesome fit, no chafing, totally comfortable, got lots of compliments. Only downside relative to my Icebreaker tops: after sweating profusely in it, it stinks. Hope it holds up in the laundry! (the InkNBurn shorts do, so I think it'll be okay).
- Longest run (and 3rd run ever) in my new Saucony Peregrine 3s. Very pleased with these, though my left big toenail was starting to complain on the downhills by the end. The feel is a lot like the Kinvaras, and those have lately been my go-to road shoe.

This morning, my quads called in sick.  They perked up a little during my slow hilly recovery run around the river, but I think they may have now called in dead.  That's okay, this coming week at work is going to be a gnarly one.  My main goal for the coming week is to survive work and make it to the French 5K (race 2 of 4 of the Endless Summer Trail Series on Wednesday night.  Gotta get all the coffee mugs!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why try Whole30?

The two adults in the house are trying the Whole30 diet this month (June 10-Jul 9). Heard about it? Tried it?Here's some info:

From the Whole 9 website:
Eat real food – meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. 

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.
  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain! This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold and fingerling potatoes off your plate.
We're 90% of the way there already. We've never been big on processed foods, and our kids were never interested in bread, rice, or pasta. Over the last 18 months, we've eliminated gluten and dairy (except for coffee cream) from our diet at home. We started the Great Gluten Experiment to see what it could do for kid behavior; an unexpected added benefit was that C felt better without gluten on board too -- fewer headaches, more even energy.

Once we figured out what to eat, we really didn't miss gluten or dairy much. We rarely eat out. (Well, except for Five Guys). We eat a lot of vegetables, eggs, and local meat. On the other hand, we both love beer. I'm a runner and eat rice, potatoes, black beans, and sometimes bread and cheese when I'm out of the house... but not often. I eat gels and bars and the like while running.

So, if we're 90% of the way to paleo already, why try the Whole30?

- We're curious to see if anything changes, interested to see if it does anything more for us. Will it affect my endurance? Reduce running injuries and little aches and pains? Give me more even energy?
- I wouldn't mind changing my graze-all-day eating habits. They were fine when I was at peak ultramarathon training, not so functional now that my mileage is half or two-thirds what it was. This is a good jump-start to change the habit of eating every 2 hours.
- No big events or travel in June, so it's a good time to give it a shot!

Why blog?

One spot for all my notes on running, eating, and playing. More permanent than Facebook, easier to find and consolidate than e-mail. And hey, it might be fun!