I wish I could say I was a completely clean eater on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in the past few days I’ve found my hand in the Oreo bag more than I care to admit.
During my morning taper run I thought about the next thirteen days and what I must do to ensure that I give myself the best chance for race day success.
The easiest task is to clean up the diet. I say it’s the easiest because I know the rules.
Sticktoitiveness is a different story.
I went to Whole Foods yesterday to get back on track. Believe it or not, once I (or you) get going with this kind of venture, the non-processed foods begin to whisper sweet nothings much the same way that Oreos do at 3:30 in the afternoon, the witching hour in my house. Juices and smoothies require serious pre-planning, though, which can be difficult if a spinach and kale run didn’t happen the day before. Mommyland can be very unpredictable.
I have whipped up three lovely glasses of green juice and two nice sized smoothie servings that should keep me going until the end of the day tomorrow. I have planned steamed salmon and kale for dinner. Lunch will be light, but with plenty of carbs since they are still necessary to ensure proper racing energy.
My nineteen miler was the most successful run of them all, because I adhered to the rules of clean eating and restricted (most) carb consumption to earlier in the day.
Let’s hope for Wonderful Wednesday and Thriving Thursday!
In order to avert overzealousness, I’ll be taking baby steps to Fabulous Friday.
The past few weeks of running, including my nineteen miler, were done without audio books. I finished the last chapter of Dead Until Dark a few weeks back, while sitting in my car at Whole Foods, eating kale salad before going to pick up the kids. I knew how it was going to end, since I’d watched it play out on t.v., but even so I was sad to say, “Goodbye,” to the book version of Sookie.
Yesterday I downloaded the second book in the Hunger Games series; Catching Fire. It started little ahead of where the last book finished, but I was pulled right back in and excited to see where we would go. I feel a sort of kinship with Katniss, Girl on Fire. It isn’t logical, but she did get me through some of my very first long runs, while at the same time running for her own life in the games. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be channeling her with flaming fingernails on March 18th, so it was appropriate that she would be my choice for heroine du jour during these final weeks of training.
Those few weeks without stories made me realize that I’ve got to have one (or two) going at all times. I had checked out When Margaret was Young, by my favorite author Jane Hamilton, but could never figure out how to get it to import to my phone. In a way I was glad, though, because what if I didn’t like it? Could Jane Hamilton be my favorite author anymore if I couldn’t connect with her book? I returned it without listening, but will try to go back to it later, when I have less on my plate. I would hate to be disappointed by my book of choice at this juncture.
After my lunch date with Sookie, which turned out to be a surprisingly calm and enjoyable addition to my schedule, I decided that I needed a car read. While at the library, waiting for the girls to fill their “library purses,” I hunted down the audio book for Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
I’ve often wondered what it was about that book that kept me so entranced as a young girl in the sixth grade, reading it for the very first time. I figured that it would be good research as I ponder the kind of books I myself want to write, and at the same time, be my companion as I eat my lunch. It probably sounds like a pretty nerdy and isolationist thing to do, but it is very hard to get quiet these days, and it’s less sad than eating alone absolute silence.
As a side note, I have returned to the land of exhaustion. After writing about Sweet Sleep, where I felt recovered from the overwhelming tiredness that had been plaguing me, it took one night of a past eight p.m. bedtime to fall back into the realm of six p.m. crashing and burning.
I wonder if it’s this point of marathon training and part of recovery? Maybe I’m coming down with something?
With only twenty-nine days until the race, my most important goal is to stay healthy. Peach called me yesterday with another cold and cough, my girls have been blowing their own little noses, and I watched a coughing boy at pre-school wipe his hand down the entire banister as he descended the stairs, surely on his way to the doctor. Germs are everywhere!
It is my biggest fear that I’ll get sick within days of the race and be unable to compete. That scenario has occurred two other times in my racing history. There’s nothing worse than being ill with a deep lung cough and cold at the same time that hundreds of people are running your race.
Fear aside, books in place, continued rest, one more big run, and quiet car lunches are on the menu until tapering begins.
Tapering. The final stage of this journey. I can barely believe it’s almost here.
Exactly one year ago, upon my return from the ING Miami half marathon, I tried a cleanse. I didn’t do it (primarily) because I was searching for better health. I did it because my running partner Sandra had just finished week three when we met at Loews Miami and she looked so darned good in her tiny bikini (lounging by that beautiful pool), I wanted a little of the zex appeal that the cleanse might provide for me.
As soon as I got home I bought a juicer. I read the book CLEAN, a cleanse by Dr. Junger, and cut out the “elimination” foods like dairy, coffee, wheat, strawberries and peanut butter (apparently bad for the gut).
I ate garlic sandwiched between apple slices, a ton of kale, and chia seeds for a snack. My one real meal of the day was at the lunch hour, usually salmon and a steamed green, but Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Detox had a delicious chicken recipe that I cooked a lot, too.
Overall I felt great, but there was a weakness I didn’t enjoy. I fully expected to complete the three weeks that the plan called for, but on the last day of week two came down with the most horrendous flu like illness, complete with fever and shakes and all, and the cleanse had to be forfeited. I threw up the white flag and begged for some macaroni and cheese.
I had lost seventeen pounds and as you might imagine, it crept back onto my bones with a quickness.
It wasn’t a complete loss however, because it gave me the opportunity to analyze my diet. The ways in which I thought I had been eating healthily were (in truth) more about deprivation.
For me, food is like alcohol and drugs to those who abuse those things. Once you get off the stuff and climb aboard the wagon, you have to put in the effort to stay there.
I’m a busy girl. I’m a girl whose physiology makes too much sugar in the blood a very bad thing. Running has been used in place of metformin and has allowed me to stop pricking my poor little finger tips. I am addicted to sugar and once I start to ingest it (after a period of near constant analysis of life without it), it’s really hard to stay focused; much easier to grab a donut and plummet back down into Candy Land.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m back on the healthy eating wagon, but not entirely for health related reasons. I’m vain and I like skinny jeans. I’m going to try really hard to stay glued to my seat instead of swinging off the back end like some rodeo rider looking for a quick fix.
Unlike the full cleanse, I’m choosing to continue to drink coffee and dairy. I like peanut butter and strawberries, so those will stay too. Instead of reaching for a bowl of cereal the moment I crawl out of bed, I’m going to follow Gwyneth’s lead and have a glass of room temperature water with lemon to jump start the system. I wasn’t a huge fan of the almond milk that was a staple of Dr. Junger’s plan, but I will have an afternoon snack of chia seeds and chocolate milk, because the enrgy it provides is what I need at 3:00 p.m., otherwise known as the witching hour.
Since the day I joined Jenny Craig at the impressionable age of seventeen and throughout the next twenty three years, I’ve learned a lot about a good diet. Much of what I learned has been tossed away, some has remained, and new things that work for me have been added.
Learning to manage one’s health when it comes to food (and happiness with race photos) is a cumulative effort. A personal and lifelong cumulative effort.
After a food and wine filled weekend in Virginia, I decided to get back to the plan yesterday.
I had neglected an entire list of Mommyland chores the week prior, so yesterday was an exercise in diligence. I checked off each to do box, one after another, and felt a little more in control of my situation by the time the girls went to sleep last night.
One of my goals for the day was to do some juicing. I am in desperate need of vegetables and nutrients in my diet, and since I lack the gene necessary for interesting and delicious cooking, juicing gets it done. Plus, the girls like to help me, so I feel like they are getting a lesson in healthy living.
Sorry about the fuzzy photos, something’s up with the camera.
My race is now 16 weeks away. I went back to look over Hal Higdon’s plans and have decided that Novice 2 is where I should be. I am jumping in at week 3, which is fairly easy with the long run at only 6 miles. Yesterday I logged 3.5, and will attempt 5 today. It’s pouring rain right now, so maybe mom will watch the girls this afternoon so I can go. I’m dying to get to Jen’s vinyasa tomorrow while the kids are at school. I hate to play favorites (I really do love each and every Evolve teacher), but Jen’s class is the perfect mix of flow, intensity, and centeredness. I’m going to try my hardest to make it there.
Yesterday’s to do list only has a few more boxes to be checked off; pay pre-school tuition, finish unpacking and fold the enormous pile of laundry. There will be a few moments of gratification when it’s done, and then I’ll probably sigh.
Before that occurs, though, as inevitably happens, the next list has begun to write itself. The tree needs its ornaments, the presents I’ve already gathered need to be wrapped, and the baby jesus lights need to be untangled. December is on its way.