Sunday, November 30, 2008

The wheels of change

The wheels have slowly started their rotational journey bringing my life onto the pathway of change. I’m not entirely sure where I am heading with all this but I like challenging myself when faced with the unknown.

After reading a rather interesting post by the
paleo runner last week in which it lead me to read about Tim VanOrden and what he has achieved with running by adhering to a strictly 100% raw vegan diet has inspired me to make some changes in my own nutritional habits. His site also led me on a path to other raw eating websites, communities and podcast interviews and my interest has been captured.

My reasoning behind thinking about making the transition from the paleo diet to a largely raw vegan diet is based on a number of reasonings.

The main issue I have at the moment while following paleo/primal eating guidelines is that while the diet has provided everything that I expected from it and what others have claimed it would. It’s just not giving me everything I need. The diet stabilized my energy levels so that I don’t experience the post-carb lows that I used to have before but the trade-off was that I don’t seem to be experiencing any highs - physical, mental or spiritual. Everything feels just a bit - how do it say it - BLAH. I am also missing what I will call my vitality or life energy. Running is not the only thing in my life that defines who I am and what brings me joy and I am in need of feeding my other personas.

Vitality is something that I experienced strongly during my university years (my mid 20’s) when I ate basically as a vegetarian/vegan for three years and during the period of time I regularly practiced periods of fasting and raw food eating (mainly fruits). I read a lot of
Arnold Ehret’s work I don’t ever remember thinking about my lack of energy for any of the numerous physical pursuits that made up much of my day. Perhaps too much at times when class lectures needed to be attended.

Arnold Ehret has been described as inspiring many prominent people in the raw food movement including Gabriel Cousens and David Wolfe amongst others whom I am yet familiar with. I still have on my bookshelf at home two of his books – RATIONAL FASTING and THE MUCUSLESS DIET HEALING SYSTEM. During my first year at uni these books became my bible. At the time I was searching to rejuvenate my physical, mental and spiritual aspects of my life and over a period of 12 months I had completed a big change.

Other reasons for wanting to make a transition are based on some changes that we have made in respect to the health of our children. We have virtually eliminated all preservatives from our menu due to health reasons and have introduced some non-dairy items as one of our children appears to be lactose intolerant. Our shopping cart is also being filled with more and more organic products as we are questioning the way products are grown and produced. This is also leading us on an ethical journey as our family is questioning how our food reaches the shelves of the supermarket and into our homes. I won’t go into ethical arguments here as there is a lot of information out there to provide some interesting reading for those so interested.

And finally on a last note I’m just starting to get sick of cooking and consuming large amounts of animal-based proteins. I’m even losing the taste and smell for it. It’s like listening to new music released on the radio – it sounds great at first but after listening to it over and over again you end up not being able to listen to it anymore.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The next challenge

Finally after months of waning motivation since running my marathon and 90km ultra run in July and August I have been presented with the next life challenge. With only a few weeks to get myself in shape it will be an interesting experience to see what I can do when push comes to shove.

During some quiet introspective thought last weekend I was toying with the idea of finding another challenge. I looked through my books, notes and blog favourites - ultra books, 50 marathons-50 days, detox, master cleanse, crossfit, raw food, primal blueprint, paleo diet, etc. By the time Sunday evening had rolled around I was ready. I had decided that I would jump back on the paleo diet but I had also set myself a daily mileage goal minimum of 21km which I would try and stick to for the next 21 days - 21 in 21 had a nice ring to it.

Well by the time Monday evening (day 1) was upon me, things didn't go quite to plan and thoughts of a 90 minute run were laid to rest with the setting of the sun. It also signalled the end of my motivation. However a text message from a friend which I read while getting the kids ready for bed was enough to change everything.

More details to follow....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A good start

Five days have passed and while I have been eating well following the paleo diet guidelines my running is lagging behind. I have had breaks up to 6 weeks due to injury or rest in the past and have found that I can usually jump straight back into and quickly rebuild my lost aerobic fitness. But this time around the running is a struggle. Not sure if my problem is physical or mental but I need to sort it out quickly as I need to get motivated.

I have run every day this week for about 20 to 50 minutes (covering about 3-6 miles) and together with my diet I have lost the 5 pounds that I gained during my holiday and exercise lay off. At least that is a good starting point for next week as I increase the volume of training.

While I had my break I spent some time thinking about my training and decided that I need to add more volume and increase the duration of my daily runs. I find that my fitness quickly improves when I increase my run duration to longer than 100 minutes of running. On some runs it takes about an hour for me to feel comfortable and I generally start running better for the remainder of the session. So as I like to have a written plan to follow I have roughly drafted my weekly schedule to look something like that shown below.

Monday - AM) Run easy 1h-1h40 (8-12 miles) PM) Ride home
Tuesday - AM) Ride + Short interval of fartlek session // Easy run
Wednesday - AM) Run easy 1h10 (10 miles) + Strides PM) Ride home
Thursday - AM) Tempo run + Hills (total 12-14 miles) PM) Run home 1h
Friday - AM) Long trail run 2-3h (20-25 miles) + Strides (barefoot)
Saturday - AM) Easy run 1h30 + drills, hill strides or bike if tired
Sunday - AM) Longer tempo run or long intervals

Along with all the running I'm hoping to get in at least two yoga sessions per week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Offseason

I have been away from it all from a while. Away from running, diet, work and other stresses. I have just returned from two weeks in Thailand with the family and after enjoying the break and the food I have decided that it is time to get back into it. The extra pounds I have also put on hear my body crying out for me to quit this offseason hedonism.

I started running again yesterday. Well actually that statement is not entirely true as I was forced to run to work yesterday as my stepson had borrowed the car while I was away on the weekend and drove several hours away to spend some time with some friends while he is over here on holidays from the UK.

The running felt OK but the heat was something I wasn't expecting and about 30 minutes into the run I was overheating. I also decided to wear the polar to see how my heartrate responded. Well it looks like I have some work to do as my HR drifted up to around 185bpm and sat there until I decided to walk to allow it to drop back down to a more acceptable 150bpm.

I just checked my Garmin and it is evident where I went wrong. The kilometre splits started out at 4:30 pace before dropping to 4:15 and then I followed it up with another two kilometres at sub 4:00 pace. Strangely this happens whenever I start back running as my legs are refreshed, refuelled and free of the usual niggles and fatigue that they are plagued with from the repeated abuse they receive.

Gradually after a few weeks building the volume back up my pace gradually goes back to a more sustainable pace and the HR drops.

Post-run my legs feel completely toasted and it took several hours before I could walk without discomfort. I'm not a fan of the transition period as my legs and body become reacquainted with their friends the road, pavements and trails.

Day 2: Early start

After discovering that my wife's bike had been stolen from the bus stop where I had chained it up for my ride home last night meant that...