Tired

The feeling of the week is tired. We’re behind at work, so that means OT. We can use the money, but I do have hard limits–I can’t start earlier due to both their timing restrictions and the nature of my job, and I won’t stay late because that’s when I work out and my training is too important to me. So I work through my lunch break. Damn I never realized how much I need that time away from my desk to re-charge. I’ve been skipping it for that precious OT–not just because we could use the money (my racing habit and new house are not cheap) but also because I want to help out, I’m in management and if I want others to pony up then I feel like I should be doing it too. It’s starting to take its toll on me. I rearranged my weekend runs so I could take the Saturday shift they are offering (again, good showing for management to be there, even though one of my leads is able to come in) and I know that I’m seldom able to come if offered in the future because of races and whatnot. Mentally, though, I’m drained. Hopefully this weekend (and the bank holiday on Monday) will go a long way towards getting us caught up and giving me a reprieve.

I’m not whining or complaining. I’m not playing the martyr. I’m making a conscious decision to work the OT. I could say no. I could take my lunch break (and pretty soon, I probably will). I’m choosing it because the extra income would be nice right now and we don’t have OT offered all that often. Just like I make the conscious decision to train hard, and I make the conscious decision to get up early to write and study. I own that these are my choices and in effect, I’m doing this all to myself. I just need to find some way to recharge. I’m thankful for my workouts because they’ve taken care of the stress element–I’m VERY glad to go run or throw around kettlebells after my shift. I’m also very glad that I’m coming up on a cutback week (what? did *I* just say that?) because I think a little bit of rest will be good for my body (even though I feel good and it’s going well).

I’m hanging in there. I’m tired, but I’m hanging in. All things are temporary, I’ll get through this. I get a little extra sleep tomorrow morning, I get to run with friends on Sunday (thank goodness, I *really* didn’t want to do all 18 miles alone). It will all work out. Staying the course for now and taking the small victories and moments where I can. Thanks for listening to my rambles.

More soon friends. Happy weekend.

Feelings Friday

It’s been a very rough week. There is a lot going on in my world–though not to me personally. Things that aren’t my stories to share, so I won’t, but it’s bordering on too much as it compounds all at once. I’m okay, though, I’m hanging on, and hoping the weekend will bring some resolution.

Workout game is strong–I’ve needed the release. Last night I ran in the rain. I wanted to. I looked forward to it even. It wasn’t as cleansing as I’d hoped, I didn’t come out of it feeling clean and renewed with my worries washed away. I came out of it feeling strong. It was dark (I got a later start than I’d wanted/planned), I’m lit up with my headlamp and noxgear vest. And I have the streets/sidewalks basically to myself. I know the passing cars think I’m crazy for being out, I got splashed a few times, the wind pelted me as I ran across the bridge–but I kept going. I didn’t stop. Nothing could take me down. It was warm enough that the rain felt good and I was in a remarkably good place while I was out there. I needed that.

My anxiety is messing with me some–I care too much. I internalize things. Its how I’m wired. And while I work to control how I respond to things, I honestly wouldn’t change the fact that I feel deeply. I would rather learn to deal with the negative feelings because it means that I also get to experience the good things. I would rather give until it hurts than pretend I don’t care at all. Tough times are temporary, I’m holding out hope that things will get worked out how they are supposed to. All I can do is my best, battle the anxiety with facts (because it is spinning some LIES right now), and manage my self-care so I have something to give to the people who need me.

Sorry for the rambles. It’s what I got today. More soon, friends.

My N=1 experiment…

So I’ve been experimenting with something for the past month. Quietly, haven’t shared it with many people (until very recently) because I didn’t want it to be a *thing*. I don’t do things because they are popular, I’m not jumping on some bandwagon, I was just genuinely curious.

I’ve been following a Keto diet.

Super controversial right now, especially since Jillian Michaels recently lost her shit about it. I didn’t want to talk about it or draw attention to it. I’m not going to proselytize or loudly complain about things I “can’t” have (it’s ridiculous…I can have whatever I want, I’m making a conscious choice. Why would I complain?). But I’ve heard some compelling things in documentaries and podcasts that made me curious. This isn’t just a diet or quick fix to drop a few pounds (though if that happens, I’m never going to complain). As someone embarking on serious endurance training, I’ve heard about the potential benefits for endurance athletes and it made too much sense to me not to at least try it out and see.

The basic gist of why I tried it, why it makes sense to me: the human body can only store so much glycogen–after a couple of intense hours of exercise, this is used up, and it becomes harder to replace it as you continue to go on–if you can’t stay on top of it (and very few can), you bonk (also known as the dreaded “wall” in a marathon). Even if you do manage to keep up on it, the amounts of sugar and fast-acting carbs you need to ingest, particularly over the course of an ultramarathon, will wreak havoc with most people’s digestive systems (runner’s trots). If you’re fat adapted (which is what happens when you’re consistently in ketosis), you’ll still require some outside fuel (especially in ultra scenarios) but the human body–even the leanest athletes–have enough stored fat to work through to avoid the dreaded bonk. So even if you can’t or don’t fuel at exactly the perfect intervals you can continue moving.

So I’ve been playing with this since the beginning of the year. I’ve managed to stay between 20-50 grams of carbs a day most of the time (I tend to go slightly over around my long runs, but haven’t noticed any negative impact from that). I’ve noticed that I can go longer and farther during my runs without fueling, or with significantly less than before. I used to take a gel about every 5 miles (about 1 hour), for any runs over 6 miles (I might take it earlier than 5, but you get the idea). I’ve gone 10 miles without any additional fuel without a performance drop. My last 15 miler, instead of the full 3-chew serving twice during the run, I took 2 chews at a time twice during the run. I’ve done training runs with just a few sips of gatorade in the middle miles and nothing else but water. And I feel good. It’s not perfect, I’m still working out the kinks and figuring it out, but by and large I plan to stick with it and see how it goes. I’ve lost about 10 pounds (again, not my main reason for doing it, but as someone chasing racing weight I will never complain), and honestly, despite how much I love carbs (and I do…) I don’t really miss them. It’s not like I’m saying “never again” to carbs. I had a beer during the hockey game the other day. I will eventually have real pizza again, though I’ve perfected my cauliflower crust and I’m digging it. And on race days anything goes–whatever sounds good I’ll go for. But as long as my training is going smoothly, and I feel good, and it seems to be having the desired effects, I might as well keep this up.

I never imagined this would be something that I would try and like. The idea of “giving up carbs” was foreign to me. I don’t miss them though–I made stroganoff with zucchini noodles last week, and it was amazing. I preferred the zucchini noodles, they gave it a richer flavor. Like I said, my cauliflower pizza crust is pretty near perfect at this point, and while I miss the convenience of having someone else make my post-run pizza, I don’t feel deprived. It’s a little more work (okay, a LOT more work) but I’m not coming home and crashing after my long runs (like I used to) so I don’t even mind it.

Again, I’m not proselytizing, you do what works for you. But this has been working for me and I wanted to share it since I’m a month in. Long run tomorrow–my longest in over a year and I’m really looking forward to it. Training recap on Monday. Happy weekend, friends! More soon

A good place…

My intention for my Friday posts is for them to be more personal, less training focused (though I’m me, so everything kind of comes back to running eventually…). I got away from that in the past year and I think that if I’d done more of it and processed the stuff I was working through I would’ve worked through it better than keeping it under wraps and just bugging my people with it. I’m in a good place right now. Things are starting to come together. I’m absolutely LOVING my training–the increased mileage agrees with me. I’m already at 100 miles for the month and I still have a week left! I’ve had some really good, solid runs lately.

Don’t get me wrong. My anxiety is coming out to play to be sure, but it’s much easier to beat it back. Still working on my time management and getting it all done, but that’s getting better too. Working on getting back to my racing weight, and I’m making real progress in that arena as well. Social anxiety gets me still–trying to make plans with friends, things that get me out of routine stress me out. But I have enough clarity at this point that I know I’m overreacting, that I’m being unhealthy about it and I can kind of force myself through to prove it’s not such a big deal. A skipped workout isn’t that big of a deal. A dietary indulgence isn’t the end of the world. I’m trying to strike the ever elusive balance and not get too caught up in anything. In effect, that’s part of what I’m loving about this round of training–with very little emphasis on speed or pace I get to just enjoy it. My watch isn’t ruling me (funny that I upgraded when I’m obsessing over it less, but hey, cest la vie), it’s just a tool.

Things are good, and I don’t have much more to say, so I’m going to close out for now. I’ll check in again soon.