Week 3 & 4 – Everywhere you go….

…always take the weather with you! A new cold front hit the North East last week and once again, everyone seemed to respond as if it was the first time snow had ever fallen. This extended to the cancellation of quite a few races this passed weekend, including the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in York, which would have been a long run “look see” as to fitness and training progress and slid nicely into Lochaber Marathon training (which I’m no longer in the country for).

Campaign #CheerioFatty continued until the eve of the race and once cancellations had been confirmed, I went all out with a 5 course meal at our Country Manor Hotel & Spa Middlethorpe Hall. The next day there was also “cake”. Whoops. Consequently my plummeting weight has plateaued, probably helped along with no treadmill session due to family commitments and no long run due to race cancellation. Excuses, excuses, still it’s Game (back) On this week.

However, my stats for the clean eating campaign look something like this and I now weigh the least I have weighed, for 6 years:

  • Jan1st- 7th, miles run = 20.38, lbs lost = 5.4 lbs
  • Jan 8th – 14th, miles run = 21.21, lbs lost 4.4 lbs
  • Jan 15th – 21st, miles run = 3.65, lbs lost -1.2 lbs

I’be just received a set of these Tanita body fat monitor/scales and regardless of how accurate they are, they will show relative improvements, so long as I stay hydrated. The weight lost will soon cease to matter and it’ll be about fat: muscle ratio. And while we’re talking about body changes and motivation to change, have a read of this blog Medalslut Regardless of whether you prefer a good cop or bad cop approach, this lady has certainly changed her lifestyle, health and body. Personally, I never notice anyone’s size unless they draw my attention to it first and I’m therefore not a good friend when it comes to congratulating and/or ‘having a quiet word’. I’ve also found a lot of commonality and inspiration from this Fella Ultra-runner Jon Mackintosh

So far I have this result (week 3):-

York-20130119-02403But no discernible running races to see how the weightloss has affected that aspect of my life. So now, with the Half Marathon gone, I search for something else to run before I depart for hotter climes. Unfortunately, I’m starting to feel a bit of a ‘jinx’ coming on and the last few races I have blogged about have been cancelled, so I’ll keep schtum on my last distance target. Meantime, I should make my second appearance at the local park-run as Race director, having just completed a turn in all the other volunteer positions. You’d think I’d know what I was doing by now, alas, I’ll probably still manage to fluff the intro and knacker the results 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get to run a few more as well before I depart. I guess we take  these free local 5Ks for granted and you never know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

Also, please remember to check out my reviews page which is still getting built but I’ve a list of stuff as long as my arm (some still in boxes) to review…first up, the Salomon S-LAB 2013 version of the 12-set; surely one of the Daddy’s of the latest range of rucksacks?

Ciao Bellas.

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New Years Food Flounce

As more details come through regarding the lock,stock n barrel move to the Far East, the likelihood of having a Goal Event or “A” Race before summer, dwindles away. However, training continues in a somewhat structured manner and if I do manage to find an outlet for the training so be it. It’s good to know that my focus for running doesn’t necessarily need to be Run Event “A” and try and achieve time/WAVA “B”. It’ll be nice to be Half Mara ready and Marathon capable, come April and the surprisingly mild weather has made long runs very pleasant, so I continue to smile whilst the Achilles holds out.

Twenty-Thirteen training started with the NYD park-run, accompanied by Hamster and donning my new Lunarglide+ 4s. OMG these are sooo different from the 3s and make my preferred model, the mark 2s, seem clunky and heavy by comparison. More importantly from my perspective, is that the 4s have no seam along the inside foot a.k.a blister sites.shoes Bonus. Hamster and I chatted  and caught up for the first 2 miles and then, at the point where my fitness fell short, I shut up and concentrated on not succumbing to my dodgy belly. A modest 25.34 which is a nice target to beat over the coming months.  I managed at rather tougher, windier 25.16 at Ediniburgh a few days later [where FiWright got awarded her 50 teeshirt but didn’t actually get given it on the day], again, succumbing to that feeling of dodgy guts. But then, I had altered my eating, so I couldn’t have expected anything else. Altered? Yeah, I was suddenly not eating chocolate :-p

Clean Eating

I have heard a lot about clean eating and experienced a week of such at the Fitcamp I attended last May www.TheCamp.co.uk . What surprised me that week was that I didn’t feel hungry. Not once. I ate all my food and I enjoyed it. I was also exercising frequently and through-out each day. Sure I was extra tired but not hungry. Two friends have also recently had a lot of success with weight control following a similar approach (take a bow LabWalker and Corrah) and I decided on Hogmanay that I would adopt a couple of new habits and carry them out for 20 days as a wee experiment.

Habit Breaking

Every year we as a nation resolve to lose weight/take up a new fitness regime/stop smoking or similar and hence the gyms are fit to burst and the streets are paved with new runners. Nicotinette sales and Slimmers World subscriptions shoot through the roof. Good luck if you ARE one of those, making and sticking to 2013 resolutions! I have never succeeded in keeping any specific New Years Resolutions but this year I thought I would make a few positive changes for a short time and see if the effects were sustainable and whether the changes could become part of my life (rather than a finite diet which can be restrictive and lead to grumpiness)

There is much myth and mire written about the 21 day habit forming theory but in reality what I need is: consistency, reward and motivation. I find that not doing too many things at once (quality over quantity) and being realistic in the approach works best. I might need to lose 20 lbs according to some BMI chart somewhere, but let’s just start with 7 lbs, shall we?

My guidelines are:

  • Drink only water or herbal tea
  • Choose the most natural food available
  • No artificial sweetners as substitute for sugars

I kept a food diary for 8 weeks; painful to fill out every day and painful to read, but it has helped me acknowledge the following “shocker”

I drank up to 30% of my total calorie intake: fruit juice, hot chocolate, coca-cola, non-alcoholic drinks when out i.e. virgin cocktails, fizzy juices like lemonade, tea with milk and sweetner, often 8 or more a day including Starbucks, Costa and other brands with full fat sweetened milk.

Not only were these drinks adding calories without filling me up or providing satiety, they were also adding E-numbers, various toxins (think aspartame et al) and elevating my sweetness signals, which if you’ve ever tried having “just one” chocolate/biscuit/slice of cake you’ll know that one begets the desire for more!

After 1 week of “clean eating” I was astounded as the scales registered over 5 lbs difference! I weighed myself at the same time, one week from initial weigh-in on Hogmanay morning (31/12/2012). If anything my exercise has been slightly down this passed week. We’ll see how the next 2 weeks go but I am quite hopeful that I will be below my lowest running weight and as I write, I am just 3 lbs above it.

Consistency- just do the three things above

Motivation – to drop below my lowest weight recorded since I started running in June 2009 (bearing in mind I didn’t actually lose any weight, although I lost bulk, until February 2011 !!!)

Reward – a lighter me running around, putting less pressure on my knees, ankles, feet, joints, ligaments and that all important Achilles tendon. I may have bought myself a new swimmer as well 😉

Restaurants

In my day to day business and social life, I tend to eat out quite a lot. At least 3 times a week. Instead of avoiding the situation I’ve decided to become a pain in the backside, in order to be Good to myself and not let someone else’s menu dictate portion size and content. Be a pain, why not? It’s your body and chefs don’t usually mind making small changes especially if it saves them money because you’re leaving things off or out. I’ve had chefs come over and make suggestions as to how they could decrease the fat or calorie content of their dishes for me (when I’ve been bothered to ask and I’ve known the establishment pretty well).

  1. Make protein the focus of the meal. I go for baked fish or grilled skinless chicken
  2. Ask for no bread and take the sauce on the side
  3. Substitute salad for any creamy side dishes containing mayo. You can usually have this instead of chips/mash
  4. Only drink water
  5. If you must have a starter, ask if the soup is non-cream or ask for a salad
  6. If you must have a dessert, ask for sorbet or fresh fruit salad (no cream)

Travel

I can’t see myself as a good “Mom” who always has an apple or healthy snack squirreled away in my sensible handbag but I can say that faced with one of the denizens of unhealthy travel eating – the petrol station – I can note that they have very little which might qualify as clean food. However (as I told myself last week) DON’T PANIC! Do the best with what’s available and that goes for buffets, set menus and the like. I opted for a black tea (no milk or sugar) and a plain oaty porridge pot. OK, carbs yes but not full of junk….and it was one little pot of porridge in a week full of fruit and water and good clean eating. I always thought it was weird that folk would come spiraling off a diet after eating one of something they deemed as bad and then just restart the following Monday. No, darnit, keep going. I am not fretting about it but I am still concerned that unless you want a plastic cheese sandwich (their only non-mayo option), there’s not much for the weary, hungry traveler who doesn’t want pies, crisps and chocolate. Maybe I should’ve packed something in that sensible bag eh?

booksSo bearing all that in mind, the couple of long runs have been tough due to a lack of carbs and general stodge to draw from. I re-read various parts in the Allen Carr Easy-weigh book and also Fit B*tch in the Kitch which centred on the fact that milk is designed to fatten up baby calves and cereal is used to fatten up livestock. So for the moment, cereal is off the breakfast list (Carr advocates fruit and fruit only).books2 I use coconut, soya, rice and other milk substitutes as well as soya yoghurt so without milk in my numerous cups of tea, I’m quite low on dairy at the moment too. I wouldn’t be adverse to protein for breakfast tho! I’ll not lie, I did find a 14 mile LSR on Halva and Yerba Mate tea a little tough but it’ll take some time for my body to get used to this. Halva is my carb-gel substitute for longer runs and it is yum-tastic and you don’t need much to satisfy a little hunger pang.

[I’m a bit worried about having a carb fest or eating any carbohydrate foods incase I slump into a coma an hour afterwards!]

Summary

01 – 07 Jan

20.4 miles run

5.4 lbs lost

Some useful links

HABITS http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/09/how-long-to-form-a-habit.php

YERBA MATE TEA http://www.selfridges.com/en/Food-Wine/Categories/Shop-Food/Tea-coffee/Tea/Yerba-mate-tea_554-3002133-YERBAMATE/?cm_mmc=SEO-_-google-_-googleshopping-_-Teapigs&_$ja=tsid:32977%7Ccc:%7Cprd:12641253%7Ccat:Food+%26+Wine+%3E+Categories+%3E+Shop+Food+%3E+Tea+%26+coffee+%3E+Tea

HALVA http://www.dvah.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2147494253

Christmas week training

So week 2 flew in, as the mayhem of DIY and no working shower at home, melded into the zone of Living Primarilly on Chocolate. Bang goes my easy-diet theory and there appears to be a lot more vegetarian junk food available this year. At least it meant I visited the gym a bit more, to deal with my ever-cumbersome long hair (the over the bath shower head just doeasn’t cut it). The_FabsSeriously, I should just go short. I know I suit it and it would make more sense in the grand scheme of things…….but with an average of 79% humidity(!) I could end up with a Beatles haircut circa 1960s. Men don’t appreciate the nuances of hair maintenance and just how much extra time this could add on to my daily get-ready-for-work routine.

However, the training seems to have gone well. Attempting to run “only” 7 miles in week one was futile and after 8.5 miles (broken up with a cuppa at the gym, with Hamster) at 10.20 min/mile, I realised I would have to concentrate to achieve the required distance at a slow enough pace. Week 2 was slightly worse: 9 miles almost exactly but at 10.05 pace. Although this might not seem particularly speedy, my vdot calcs give me a LSR of 10:40-11.05. However, if I don’t pace-watch, my comfortable pace appears to be 9.45. Go figure. Will I lose out on the benefits of fat-burning if I run too fast or is it just that I’ll be knackered and not able to give my other sessions a decent bash? Time will tell and we’ll see what 11 miles in week three, will bring. I may have an option to have Hamster shouting me back, although as a much speedier runner than I, the slow pace might cause him slow-form injury e.g. if you force yourself to run slower than your own easy pace, you can sometimes cause an injury by a change in form and I’ve often suffered sore toes when forcing a very slow run and haven’t found it particularly easy to change to smaller shorter strides (because I just speed up…). Gah, etc.

The Intervals have thus far proved very manageable. In week 1 my heart-rate went through the roof at 174 BPM after the last 2 (of 6). However this week, my HR levelled at 164 BPM max for the last 3 of 8. I forgot my ipod, which is usually a good companion on the treadmill, but found I was totally “zoned” by the 5th rep! Eager to see what 10 x 400m will bring.

John using the auto-tracker viewing Jupiter near Monymusk

John using the auto-tracker viewing Jupiter near Monymusk

I filed this session under “going great guns” especially having sat eating chocolate round my Aunty Deirdre’s the previous day; enjoying the company so much but took the opportunity to look through Uncle John’s telescope and saw 4 of Jupiters moons, plus 2 distinct planet bands and some incredible detailed moon craters! Astronomy is the new Sega (possibly). But I digress >>>

So, as we near the end of the month, with my two weeks of structured training, my expenditure looks like this:-

ChartImg

I would hope to increase the bike and swim time and next months donut will probably show intervals versus long runs versus easy run commutes.

Week 2 also saw me show up for my first volunteering stint at park-run. I’d been getting a tad hacked off with emailing the RDs and finding there were no slots left on the weeks I could manage because I had been “too late” to volunteer. It now seems there is a problem with my yahoo e-mail which kicks back an undeliverable from the park-run address. Weird as it’s the same Nywanda address I use for all my on-line ordering and that seems to work fine. I still haven’t done registration, so I’ve put my hat in for that in a few weeks time and then I will have done every position, including race director. Puts me in good stead for maybe cajoling interest in a Bandar Seri Brunei PR event 😉 I will have to do RD and back-up timer duties again though, to make sure I know how to load the software etc as Hamster did it for me last time :-OP100007hamster b

Talking of park-run: FiWright gets her “50” teeshirt this Saturday and I hope to attend my 4th PR location (others so far are Glasgow Strathclyde and Belfast Victoria) by running Ediniburgh next weekend to see her receive this recognition and also run at Aberdeen this Tuesday for the NYD event. No PB attempt for me but it’ll be nice to see where I’m at on an eighty% effort (wind & rain dependant). Park run is so good for gauging progress and I haven’t run it since August(!!) when I got a long overdue sub 25 min 5K (and yeah, I know, I really should be loads under that, yet I just can’t find the motivation to get into the hurt-zone). www.parkrun.org.uk

P.S. Still no sign of the Salomon back-pack or purple Nike Lunarglide+ 4s I ordered direct from the manufacturer 😦