Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gut Bliss - Day 3

Wednesday, June 15 is the third day on the program.  Which means after today I only have SEVEN MORE DAYS of this.  I'm not bored - yet.  Just figuring that i need to be more creative about my meals.  I am going to get sick of beans and rice and smoothies pretty soon.

Jumped on the scale before having any beverages - and I'm down another 2.8 pounds!  Total weight loss is close to 4 pounds.  Started this morning with a non-green smoothie - blueberries, bananas, and almond milk. Then realized that I needed SOME sort of green smoothie.  Remembering I had a packet of smoothie ingredients in the freezer - from FEBRUARY - I decided to use that.  It had beets in it.  And later that day I remember why it's been sitting there since FEBRUARY.  It's a god-awful mix of nasty tasting stuff.  I managed to get down 16 ounces of it before lunch but threw the rest away.  GROSS.  No more beet smoothies for me.

I should also mention that I slept in a little today - did not do a formal workout.  Got in a little bit of walking today while at the office.  I am pretty sure that I stood the entire time at my desk today.  No sitting other than the two meetings and my lunch.  Not bad.  My feet still feel pretty sore, and I would do some squats every now and then to kind of stretch everything out.  This standing desk thing is still something to get used to.

My lunch was pretty awesome, actually.  Beans, rice, avocado, corn, and avocado with a peach/pineapple salsa, plus a green salad.  Yeah, beans and rice, but adding the corn and the salsa is yummy.  I've eaten avocado with my lunch pretty much every day this week.  Not overly full today, and there was a point in the afternoon where I decided to finally get my snack from yesterday - cherries and grapes.  I didn't realize I was hungry, but I scarfed those down pretty fast.

Slacking a bit in my water consumption...I think I need to find a better way of getting my water other than the infused stuff.  And yet, I need to stay off the artificial sweeteners.  Maybe some different combinations - but in reality, that gets expensive.  I'm not sure I'm ready to use the fruit after it's been soaking in water all day.  Meh.  I guess it could be worse.  The water app is helping, a little.  At least it reminds me that I need to hydrate.  But I'm not gonna lie - I miss those flavor water packets.  My Jolly Rancher Watermelon and Cherry.

I guess it's something to think about - when the ten day span is over, then what?  The books suggests that you can incorporate things back into your diet little by little - and see how your body reacts to using them.  Of the SAD GAS items - what am I missing most after three days?  Not the soy, and not the alcohol.  But that's two out of six.  Let's see....I miss ice cream and yogurt.  PB&J sammies.  Which I could probably actually have if I found a good type of bread.  And then there's the sugar.  How do you really give up sugar forever?  I might google that and see what has been written about it.

Dinner was some "smashed" sweet potatoes and yams with a little corn.  I bought vegan butter and vegan cream cheese.  The Vegan Butter we've had before - Earth Balance, I think.  But I never had this brand of vegan cream cheese - Daiya.  Tofutti is not an option because it's soy based.  This replacement smells like cream cheese, the flavor is just a little...what's the word...stale?  I think it's fine for adding creaminess to something  - like smashed potatoes or maybe eggs.  I don't think I would enjoy this brand of cream cheese on a bagel.  As I'm writing this now - about 45 minutes after eating dinner - I'm a little hungry, but I don't really feel like eating anything else.

Three days down - seven more to go.  Time to read up on some other recipes i can enjoy!

Gut Bliss - Day 2

I'm beginning this post on Tuesday morning, June 14th.  I know that it will be finished and posted tomorrow, but first to recap yesterday....

1.  Consuming an entire pitcher - 72 ounces - of smoothie is no easy task.  But it's doable.  And it makes you pee alot.
2.  I'm still getting hungry, so I'm not sure I'm eating enough.  Maybe need to build up those salads a bit.
3.  Infused water is pretty good - you just have to stay on top of it.  This also makes you pee alot.
4.  In one day, I already feel more "regular" than I have in weeks.

TMI, I'm sure.  It will probably get more TMI before the 10 days are up.

On Tuesday morning, after consuming my morning infused water beverage (more on that later), I weighed one pound less than yesterday.  I was hoping for something more transformative, but I'll take the pound.  This was, of course, after drinking 16 ounces of water.

What was in that water, you ask?  2 slices of granny smith apple, a dash of cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of ACV.  Supposed to be another fat burner, but the jury is still out on that.

The Morning Smoothie consisted of kale/spinach greens, one frozen banana, frozen mango, and my first try with Hemp Seeds!  Which are normally very expensive, but I got these for free from Thrive Market based on my most recent order.  The traditional serving is 3 tablespoons, but I stuck with two because these seeds are pretty high calorie.  They are also great fats and super high in protein.  They are much nicer to blend in my Ninja than the whole flaxseeds are.  So we may play with that for a while.  This smoothie went down easy, and I still had enough to pack a Kleen Kanteen and bring it to work.

The Morning Workout today was a speed workout - and sadly, I did not follow my half-marathon training schedule for said speed workout.  It was quite chilly and foggy outside when I arrived at the Rose Bowl, so I opted to run on the treadmill inside.  I did Coach Jenny's Speed Treadmill workout on PEAR sports - minus my heart rate monitor (which I think I killed because I accidentally washed it last night, damn it!).  I was totally starving after that workout.  

Stopped at Ralph's on the way in to work (I can tell already, this is going to be a habit while I'm on this 10 day thing) and picked up an avocado, three dates, a handful of almonds, and some organic gluten free salad dressing with no added sugar.  I can use this with the avocado to dress my salad at lunch.  

Still a little hungry at 9:30am and 10:30am.  Noshed on some leftover almonds from the weekend.  The second half of my smoothie is still in the fridge.  Water intake is going well.  The infused drink from cucumber, mint, and lime is definitely interesting.  I prefer the strawberry, lemon, and mint.

I had a lunch meeting where I did eat a few pieces of turkey (processed meat, though, not the greatest idea) and a small side salad; then back to the office for my "real" lunch:  salad greens, edamame, black beans, and sweet potato.  Plus half an avocado.  The morning smoothie is still in the fridge.  I haven't touched my grapes and cherries yet.  2:33pm, and I'm feeling pretty full, but not uncomfortable.  It will be time for a walk soon anyway.

Home and no dinner waiting.  That was okay with me.  I snacked later on a green apple and some grapes/cherries.  My hubby had eaten a birthday lunch with his stepmom at Cheesecake Factory.  He brought home some kind of chicken pot pie and carrot cake.  I managed to avoid both, but once he asked me to throw the carrot cake away, I did just barely sample a taste of the whipped cream and cream cheese frosting.  DAMN IT.  I feel good about not wanting more, but I don't like carrot cake anyway.

Not a bad day.  Side note - my standing desk is tough to get used to.  I need to sit a little during the day - i go home with sore knees :(

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gut Bliss - Day One

Off to a good start - as I'm writing this it's only 9:52am and I haven't quit yet, LOL.

First beverage of the day was a half a grapefruit squeezed into a glass with 1 T of honey and 1/2 T of Apple Cider Vinegar.  This is supposed to help with fat burning.  We will see.

Then I created my Smoothie, according to the Smoothie Shred group, not Dr. Chutkan's smoothie.  Still much of the same ingredients - I'm missing the psyllium husks, so tomorrow I may throw some metamucil in there.  My photo below is really dark :(

Today's ingredients:
Power Greens for Juicing (Kale and Spinach)
1 granny smith apple
1 c green grapes
2T Whole Flaxseeds
1 frozen Banana

They say you can drink it all at once or split it up. I filled one Mason Jar with smoothie stuff from this pitcher and drank the rest for breakfast.  It's a good pre-workout energy drink, but my 9am I was starving.  Tried to stave off hunger by eating a handful of grapes and a few almonds.  Hope.  At 10:38am, I went to the office fridge and drank the rest of my smoothie, from the Mason Jar. 
Ah, the importance of the Hydro Flask - that I need to drink a shit ton of water today.  Seriously.  And none of it can have those artificial sweetener sugar free flavor packets.  Damn it.  So I made some fruit infused water this morning.  Bought some lemon, mint, lime, and cucumber.  The first batch of 24 ounces was strawberry (which I already had with me), mint, and lemon.  It's seriously delicious.  Tomorrow I'm going to try lime, cucumber, and mint.  That is supposedly fat burning.  

Lunch time - I had a salad of greens, edamame, black beans, avocado, and brown rice.  The avocado was supposed to make things a little creamier with no dressing.  I'd say it tasted okay.  It was filling at least.  In the afternoon, I finished off the grapes and made more infused water with strawberry and lemon.  So I'm feeling pretty good about my day thus far.

Home for dinner - Charles had prepared a fish dish with some sauteed greens and a big salad of cucumber, tomato, and red onion.  The salad was dressed with balsamic and apple cider vinegar and a little oil.  It was quite delicious and I could have eaten a full bowl of that stuff.  Going into 7pm, Charles had already gone to bed and I was strangely hungry.  I was preparing my water infusion ingredients for Tuesday and one of the recipes called for just two slices of green apple - so I ate the rest of the apple with some peanut butter.  Sugar free, all natural peanut butter.

Day One is in the books.  Moving on....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

10 Days to Gut Bliss?

Okay people - if you've kept up with this blog AT ALL you know that I have tried a dozen different things to stay fit and lose weight.  I've been a vegan, a fruitarian, vegetarian, powered-by-Ketones, and a few others, HA HA. Recently I've discovered the incredible quest for a healthy microbiome - Gut Health, if you will.  I picked up the book GUT BLISS by Robynne Chutkan and decided to try her 10 Day Gut Bliss Plan.  

Her book basically covers all the various reasons why we, mostly women, suffer from cramps, bloating, and constipation.  Yeah, shit we don't really want to talk about.  Her book is fascinating, enlightening, and just a little gross, ha ha.  You have to get over that she talks about poo.  There are chapters on digestion, hormones, "sex and the bloat", celiac, inflammation, IBS, leaky gut, and others.  Then Part 3 of the book talks about how we eat, drink, sleep, and move our way to "Gut Bliss".  The book ends with her 10 day program and some suggested menus and recipes.  

These ten days are not going to be easy for me.  To succeed at this program, you need to eliminate all those foods that reportedly cause your gut to misbehave.  And a lot of these foods are things we normally eat, all the time.  Her acronym on how to remember what NOT to eat spells SAD GAS:

Artificial Sweeteners

Shit.  This is not going to be easy or fun.  I have heard stories of people detoxing off dairy and sugar; but I've also heard just as many stories of people having a ton of energy and feeling really great without these food products in their system.  

How does this affect me directly?  Let's see....

SOY - not really a problem.  I prefer almond milk to soy, I don't really dig tofu or soy cheese.  Does Edamame count?  Hopefully not, since it's not really over-processed.  I should look that up!

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS - dang it.  No Diet Coke, no sugar-free creamer, and no flavor packets for my water!  This is a huge staple of my work day because that's how i get my water consumption in.  My goal to combat this is to try and make some fruit-infused waters from time to time, drink more green tea, and use that water-log app on my iPhone to remind me when to drink.  

DAIRY - I have been trying to get rid of dairy for months.  Giving up ice cream is the biggest thing, but this is technically a ten-day challenge so I'm not giving up dairy forever.  Just trying to keep it away for ten days and see how I feel.  It's entirely possible that I may never go back again.  Fingers crossed.

GLUTEN - No wheat, barley, or rye.  No bread, no cereal, no pasta.  that's a sad, sad thing.  And at least for the ten days, I'm going to try not to get hooked on the notion of specific gluten-free products, at least not without reading a ton of labels.

ALCOHOL - this won't be a real problem.  We don't drink a lot these days anyway.  I can do without that glass of wine or margarita for ten days.

SUGAR - this is probably the toughest one because you really have to read labels carefully with all the hidden sugar out there.  If something is low-fat or fat-free, it's probably got a ton of sugars in it.  High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sucralose, maltose, dextrose, honey, agave, maple syrup, and stevia.  Fruits and veggies are okay - they are natural sugar.

And if that's not enough - here's the additional list of things to limit during the ten days:  beans, broccoli, cabbage, carbonated beverages, caffeine, fatty foods, meat, processed foods, and salt. 

FUCK.  What CAN I eat?????

--Greens.  A shit ton of leafy greens
--High Fiber Foods (sweet potato, certain fruits, certain grains)
--Colored Produce - let's try and taste the rainbow, LOL
--Water, Water, and More Water 
--Fresh Vegetable Juice
--Papaya and Pineapple
--Fennel Tea (where do I buy that???)

Dr. Chutkan has a recipe for a "Magic Smoothie", containing ripe banana, mixed berries, spinach/kale, ground psyllium husk, flax seeds, and almond or coconut milk.  

And speaking of smoothies, it's kind of cool that this other thing happened to turn up in my gmail inbox - it was a 30 day smoothie shred challenge from Thomas and Brooke Tadlock - they are super vegan body builder people.  The deal is that you drink 72 ounces of smoothie a day for 30 days.  Well, at least that's where they are starting us.  They also say that we should focus this week on working out 50% harder than normal.  Which, I don't know how that works into my half marathon training, but there you go. 

So, there you go.  Then 10-Day Gutbliss Plan AND the 30 Day Smoothie Shred Challenge start tomorrow, June 13th.  And as always, stay tuned for all my updates.  

My Quest for a PR Has Officially Begun!

Since I became a runner in November of 2009, I have competed in 4 full marathons, 24 half marathons, three triathlons, and a handful of 10K and 5K races.  I.  Fucking.  Love. Running.  2016 has been an odd race year for me - hardly any races during the first half of the year and the bulk of my competitions coming in the second half of the year.  My very good friend Crystal Collins arrives in SoCal on October 7th-ish, and together we will compete in the Long Beach Half Marathon.  My second time on this race as well as our second time competing together.  Crystal is a much faster runner than I am.  She can break 9 minutes on a regular basis.  As much as I would like to beat her - I don't think I will.  But I am determined to PR at this race.  No matter what it takes.

And it's going to take a lot.  Currently I'm heavy, not in great race shape, and not eating well.  So I'm on a quest for better habits, better health, and a PR in October!

But we need a plan, right?  Of course.  You can't expect to compete in an endurance race without a plan.  So I dug out my "Run Less, Run Faster"  book that I bought from a Runner's World website.  The premise of the book is that you can train for a race with only three quality runs a week.  That's right - just three.  The rest of your time is spent on cross training and rest.  Now, I'm a bit of an overachiever with training; while I'm sticking to three quality days of running, I'll be doing more cross training and swimming in the "off" days.

Now to start this mess and figure out your 18 week training schedule, we look for our goal time of finishing.  Using the charts in the book, you find your desired race pace.  For me, that's a sub-2-hour race.  Roughly a 1:58 half marathon.  THEN - you check another chart for your baseline 5K pace.  That's where all the other designated paces for your training days come from.  Using that chart, you determine what your short-tempo, mid-tempo, long-tempo, and HMP (half marathon pace).  Once you have all those times determined and written down, you begin to fill in the workouts for your three quality runs.

Speed Work comes first.  This is usually and all-out effort for certain designated distances.  They vary week to week.  They use the term RI for "rest interval" so you know how long to rest between speed sets.

Then you get to do a Tempo Workout.  The workout determines how far to run and at what pace.  It might be your short-tempo, mid-tempo, or long-tempo.  Or it may be your HMP plus 20 or 30 seconds.

Finally - there's the weekly Long Run.  Distances vary - you don't necessarily build up to 13 miles but you build to 13 then rest a few weeks, maybe do a 15-miler, and so forth.  I honestly have no idea how the formula works.  But I need to make it work.

It's alot of work plugging in the numbers and paces and determining what days you are going to do which workout.  According to the workout schedule I'm posting in this blog, I do my three quality runs on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.  I'm probably going to switch that around, (a) because I don't think tempo and long run should go back to back; and (b) I can no longer swim two days in a row either.

The training calendar is here:

And you'll definitely notice that Long Beach isn't the only race I've got going.  I'm still trying to earn that Cal-Half Series Medal, and that's what the Shoreline Half Marathon and the Avocado Half Marathon come in.  The Catalina Sprint Triathlon is a whole other quest, and we'll learn more about that after Long Beach!

As of the drafting of this post, I'm done with Week One.  My speed workout was tough - I was not able to sustain a full-out effort for 400 yards at a time, and I sure couldn't manage on just 90 seconds rest between sets.  This workout was modified to 12x400 TOTAL, with one 400 as fast as I could, followed by another 400 walking/jogging.  Then start all over.  So that was roughly a three mile run.  
The Tempo Run was supposed to be two easy, THREE miles at 9:40 pace, and one more easy.  Uh-huh. I did two easy, ONE mile at 9:40 pace, and one easy to cool down.  Okay, so far this training week is not going well because I'm tired, heavy, and slow.  Saturday I did my long run, which called for HMP + 20 seconds...meaning each mile at 9:42.  Which, now that I'm writing this down on "paper", I'm realizing that I will not PR with a 9:22 minute mile.  It should me more like a 9:09 minute mile.  Maybe I need to recalcuate - I will consult the book again.  ANYWAY - on Saturday June 11th I logged 8 miles in 1:35:47.  HOLY FUCK.  That's super slow at an average pace of 11:53 per mile.  My splits were up and down, ranging from 10:53 on the low end to 13:18 on the high end.  And not anywhere near "negative splits", as I'd done in so many of my earlier races.  So as you can see, I've got alot of work to do!

Monday, June 13, I'm starting a 10 day "Gut Bliss" plan, from the book I read of the same name.  Hopefully this will get me on the fast track to eating more high-vibrating foods and dropping some weight.  So that blog post comes later.  

Stay tuned for deets on Week Two and beyond!

Monday, May 16, 2016

May Is Half Over and I Am Discouraged

Dang it.  I hate when I get so ambitious that I can't see straight.  It's funny to think that one year ago today, May 16th, I was part of one of the hugest activites ever for Pasadena City College....and yet one year later all I really want to do is just sit around, binge watch TV and knit.

That's not all the way true.  I enjoy my fitness and training - and while I don't have any races coming up just yet, I have been making the best of my time at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center - and because of where we live, I have access to good running hills.

Still, I made a huge list of stuff I wanted to get done during the month of May, and at the half way point of the month, I am definitely not half way through my list.  Some things are going well - some are not.  Here's a quick update:

1.  Morning Routine - okay, skip this one (insert sad face here)

2.  Write Every Day in May - ugh, skip this one as well

3.  Ride my Road Bike at least one hour at a time, one day per week - okay, here's a success story.  Sort of.  I've taken Lucille out for a ride twice now:  once with Charles and Phoebe at Hansen Dam, and once with the hubby to Hansen Dam and back.  Both rides were decent - Charles says I'm a climber, but I never do feel like it very much.  I feel very grateful to finish these rides, but I'm proud that I get out there.

4 and 5 are about reading more - Fiction and Non-Fiction.  Doing okay here....slowly slugging through the GUTBLISS book, which is absolutely blowing my mind.  So far, no fiction.  I actually sold that FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTERS CLUB book so I'll need to get started on WHITE QUEEN soon.  I struggle with whether I should finish my non-fiction book first.  Maybe I'll try to mix that up a little this week!

6.  See 3 Movies - epic fail.  Not one theater film yet.

7.  Do all the felting that I've completed over the past year - Some success here as well!  Felted three bags over this past weekend.  Two of them will probably become presents at some point; the third one did not turn out as I'd hoped; it will need some alterrations.  I still have two more bags to get in the washer; one of them still needs a strap and an i-cord.  Maybe by this next week.

8 and 9:  scheduling fun dates with my friends Amy and Ryan.  Another Fail.  I suck.

10.  Send Mother's Day Cards to the Moms in my Life - another success!  They were a little late getting out, but they got out!

11 - 13:  all epic fails for now.

14.  Do 10 pushups each day.  Real Ones.  Not Girlie Ones.  Meh.  Started this and realized that I can't even do three pushups at once before getting whooped.  But in all fairness to me (ha ha), during the first week of May, I did have some weird back and neck pain that kept me off the pushups.  Although the way my back and shoulders feel with all the swimming I'm doing, I don't think I'll be doing many more pushups this month.  Maybe I oughta just call this one now....?

15.   Putting the iPad away at least 30 minutes before bedtime - this is working!  I'm using my initial time in the bed to do my reading rather than screwing around with my devices!  I wish I could say it's helping my sleep, but Duke still has the runs, so one of us has to let him out at night to use the bathroom.  Poor Duke.

16-18:  Writing, Tomatoes, Business Cards - all epic fails for now.

19.  Getting a new plant and repotting Matilda:  SUCCESS!  

I've not been able to keep plants alive - EVER.  But now that I have a new place to live that seems to really inspire me to have foliage around and so when we moved into the Sunland house, I got a fern.  And named her Matilda.  So this past weekend I repotted her and she's hanging on our front porch.  She looks amazing.  Then I bought my second house plant - a dracaena.  I named her Grace.

20 and 21.  Make Sourdough Starter and Healthy Baked Goods - meh.  Maybe this weekend.  Phoebe and I have started doing some baking on the weekends.  Let's see if she'll come over.

I have two more full weeks of May - plus Memorial Day Weekend.  I can finish this To-Do List!!