Pumped Up

I’m starting the week on the heels of an epic ketogenic diet failure. Turns out, keto isn’t so forgiving when it comes to cheating. I.e. drinking beer and eating the occasional weekly Friday or Saturday night slice of pizza. I feel bloated and I think I’ve actually gained 3 or 4 lbs since I started this whole experiment.  Performance wise, I feel good, but not any better than before.

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the whole concept now that I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks. Fat Head Pizza is bomb diggity but how is that possibly healthier than eating a sweet potato or some carrots? Pork rinds are f*cking delicious but I really just want to go back to eating an apple as my snack every day. And if the goal with keto is to not be hungry and not snack at all, I’m not sure if I can get down with that!

For now, my keto experiment is on hiatus and I’m going back to what I know. Paleo-ish. Goodbye dairy, hello fruits and tubers and other non-grain carbs. Over the last year I’ve become accustomed to looking at sugar and ingredient list rather than carb count on labels and I’m sticking with it. I suspect I can stay at least cyclically fat adapted with this model.

My parents I am keeping the meat. Pretty much a total carnivore nowadays. I’ll skip the chicken, but give me all of the beef and pork. I found another great local meat supplier at the farmer’s market yesterday. I’ll plug him here when I get home and find the card. It makes all of the difference when you know that your meat is coming from a few miles away and was slaughtered within the last week. We had some thick, juicy NY Strip for dinner last night.

PSA – A lot of packaged meat in the grocery store is over a month old by the time it gets to you and some companies inject carbon monoxide into their meat for packaging so that it keeps the “fresh” red color. Of course the FDA allows this.

It’s weird how things work out, and I’ve said this before, but I always end up listening to podcasts that seem to speak to exactly what I’m going through. What you seek is seeking you. Last night when I was walking the dogs I listened the episode of the Paleo Solution – Nutrition and Obstacle Racing. In this episode Robb Wolf talks with Elijah Markstrom, who is trainer and obstacle course racer.

In the last few weeks I’ve taken a liking to shows that are focused on athletics and nutrition for trail, ultra and obstacle course running. These guys and gals are badasses and their nutritional needs are different than us average mortals. I enjoy hearing about what diets and they’ve found work best to enhance their endurance performance. Elijah Markstrom has some really interesting thoughts on fat adaptation and (good) carbs and how to make them work together.

Beyond that, I had a really great weekend. The Pirates were in town playing the Rockies so we went to two baseball games – Friday night party game and Sunday afternoon chill game. Nina and I went shopping on Tennyson on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I finally made it to the Yogi Exchange, which is a resale boutique that sells workout clothes. The owner makes incredible jewelry and I picked up a pair of her lotus flower earrings and a few new tops. I also scored a sweet pair sneakers for $18 on sale at Ooh! Ahh! Saturday night Jim and I hung out in Boulder at Mountain Sun Brewery and then played a rad new board game called Settlers of Catan with some friends until late night. Summer is too much fun sometimes.

I also found a new workout class that I’m obsessed with – BODY PUMP. My gym has always had this class but I’ve never tried it. I’m not super into group fitness outside of yoga but I’ve had a few people recommend this class to me. I’m sad I didn’t try it sooner. In Body Pump you use barbells and weights through a series of tracks that isolate and work different muscle groups. It’s meant to get you lean and toned – say no more! The class has very little cardio and very serious strength repetition. I think it’s going to complement my training nicely.

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New lotus flower earrings from Yogi Exchange.

Have a good week everyone!

Memories in a Playlist

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how James and I have been married for almost a whole year – and how happy I am to not be planning a wedding this year. It’s crazy. I wandered onto some old playlists and found this one that was created exactly one year ago today!  It’s a short but so important list of songs that were the must haves for our wedding.

“Canon in D” Piano and Violin was the music playing for the processional as our amazing friends and family walked in. Of the traditional, this was one I always liked and this version is nice and went well the next song…

“Hoppipolla” by Sigur Rós is the song I walked down the aisle to. After listening to a bunch of the traditional bridal songs, I knew I wanted nothing to do with them. When I found Hoppipolla I knew immediately that it was the one! The mood, the timing and the beauty of this song brought tears to my eyes.

View More: http://lacandellaweddings.pass.us/slebrich-wedding

Hoppipolla vinyl given to James pre-wedding. Photo by La Candella Weddings

“Party Hard” by Andrew W.K. was a fun addition that was heard a couple of times throughout the night.

“Fuego!” by Murder by Death is hands down OUR SONG. We entered our reception to this song. We’ve had a lot of amazing times to this song.

“First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes is the song we danced our first dance to. Because, it really was the first day of a new life. ❤

 

Be Nervous but don’t be Afraid

I saw this magnet at a shop in Boulder the other day and it really resonated with me. I like to stop and look at the racks of cards and items with motivational quotes that you see in boutiques everywhere, but I’m not one to buy them and place them around my house. This is one I may go back and get.

It says “BE NERVOUS BUT DON’T BE AFRAID.

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There’s a slew of motivational quotes along the same lines about facing fear and living outside of your comfort zone. Are they cheesy? Maybe. But it is so important to remember to live your life to the fullest without letting fear or apprehension stand in the way.

BE NERVOUS! Have you ever been so nervous that you feel like you’re going to puke? Yes? GOOD! When you feel nervous and anxious at times; it means that you are pushing your boundaries and building on your experiences.

Think of the last thing you did that scared you, or made you uncomfortable.

Now, think of how amazing you felt when you pushed through the discomfort and made it to the other side. Think about the pride you felt and how the experience has changed you, even if in just an infinitesimal way.

The morning before my first half marathon I was pacing around the room to calm my nerves and remember saying to Jim “Someday I’m going to look back and say, do you remember how nervous I was before my first race??”

This is what we’re made of. The little things are the foundation for being strong to stand up to the bigger things that will inevitably come our way. Go out there today and run an extra 1/2 mile, hold that yoga pose for 10 seconds longer, try a new recipe, pick up a new book, take a different route to work, be late (don’t get in trouble), get in trouble! Don’t psych yourself out – you are fucking awesome.

Tree of Life

I had a great weekend with my college friends Rich and Tessa who were visiting us from NYC. It is so refreshing to spend time with friends laughing and exploring. As I get older and life gets crazier, it’a always great to see friends with whom you can pick up right where you left off no matter how much time has passed. Good hangs 🙂

Something cool happened today. I got to take Tessa to her very first yoga class! Tessa is the girl who talked me into running my first half marathon so it was great to be able to introduce her to something new. I had a feeling she was going to love it and she kicked some serious ass.

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Last night we were talking about what to wear and Tessa decided she would wear her Tree of Life tank top. Perfect.

We went to the Core Power studio in RiNo. I have done classes with Core Power instructors at Red Rocks and other gyms but never in one of their studios. They’re always legit flow classes that will give you a bit of a challenge. The Rino studio is beautiful and, bonus, we each got a free week for being first timers at the studio!

Our instructor, Leslie, who was amazing btw, opened the class with this quote:

 “When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” – Ram Dass. 

What serendipity that Leslie decided to use this quote on the day that Tessa happened to be taking her first class and very deliberately chose to wear her Tree of Life shirt! So cool when the universe gives you little hints that you are in the right place at the right time.

Namaste.

And, here’s some street art that we spotted in RiNo this afternoon.

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Seeking: Strength Training Ideas

I am sitting in traffic on the way to the coffee shop dictating this post. I knew I didn’t want to type a lot today so I’m getting this started in the car. I want to save my coffee time for some good old fashioned journaling I need to do. Pen on paper.

I’ve been thinking about how great it would be to find somebody, not a coach per se, but another person who is on a similar journey to talk through the questions and the successes and believe me, failures of this process.

Right now, I have a lot of questions with respect to strength training. I’ve had a trainer, I know a lot of exercises. I have done Insanity a hundred thousand times (I love you Shaun T but I wore myself out on these videos!). What I’ve never had is someone to help me design a runner specific strength training program. Sure, I can research and do this on my own but I want to know what works for others!

In my current training schedule I have four days of running, two days of rest (or light yoga) and one day of cross. On my shorter mileage days I like to do weights at the gym before I run but I find that if I do a leg day to close to a long run day it makes my run day a lot harder, or if I do arms/abs I end up running out of time if I still want to run. I am strong but I want to be stronger. Should I trade one of my shorter run days altogether for strength training?

I listen to a lot of running podcasts and this episode of Run to the Top – If You are Serious About Your Running, Time to Get in the Weight Room with Jay Dicharry got my wheels turning.

A lot of people discuss and emphasize how crucial strength training can be for runners. I have to note that a lot of people also disagree with that claim. Jay is an experienced, athlete, coach, researcher and author. Jay has books that dive deeper into the topic but what I like about this interview is that he summarizes by identifying 3 categories of exercise that are especially beneficial to runners, and why.

Jay’s list includes:

  • Postural endurance
  • Strength training
  • Explosive training

Give the podcast a listen if you’re into this sort of thing. Here is also a link to Jay’s blog.

I’m curious to all of you runners out there, what do you do to incorporate strength training? Do you have any exercises in each category that you recommend? I’d love to hear from you and share ideas on this topic.

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Berkeley Lake, taken on my run this morning.

New Training Cycle, New Diet

Week 1 of training down, 17 more weeks to go. I did my first long run yesterday – 8 miles. I may have had a little too much fun on Saturday night so I was dragging until early evening but once I got out, I felt so good! It was a bit slow but an encouraging run nonetheless.

As I mentioned in a previous post that I am working nutritionally to become fat adapted for this training cycle. I bought the ketosis test strips and have been following a pretty strict low carb/high fat diet over the past week. I tested this morning and was very surprised to see that I already had ketone levels in the moderate range!

Note, I have been eating a mostly low carb/high fat diet for almost a year now. I don’t think my body went into ketosis in just a week, I was already primed.

The main change that I’ve made for this diet is, drumroll please…I’m eating meat. I’ve been mostly vegetarian for a long time. I am very aware of the ethical, environmental and nutrition pitfalls of the meat (factory farming) industry. I am consciously eating ethically and locally sourced meat whenever possible. We are lucky to have many farm to table restaurants and shops to choose from in Denver.  Wheat Ridge Poultry and Meat is a neighborhood butcher shop that is quickly becoming a weekly stop for me. Their collection of local, vegetarian feed meat has yet to disappoint. Also, they sell flats of eggs from local farms and fresh cheese!

Another reason I stopped eating meat so many years ago is because it just didn’t agree with my stomach. I am being careful to moderate how much I eat and I am not eating chicken at all.

I don’t like labels but I’ve talked a lot of Paleo and being Paleo-ish, but now I’m following more of a Ketogenic diet. The main differences I’ve encountered are that higher carb fruit and veggies that would be acceptable on Paleo are out on Keto, and dairy products that would not be acceptable on a strict Paleo diet are OK on Keto. This means I CAN HAZ CHEESE! I am also reintroducing some soy products that were not allowed with Paleo.

It’s a tradeoff. Keto at first seems to be more limiting but I was ready for a shift in my daily food pyramid. Maybe it’s because I got a little loose with the Paleo diet but it was not sustaining me. I know my ratios were off and I was eating mostly fruit and vegetables with little else. I’m starting fresh. I am still going to focus on eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods and steering clear of sugar and low carb junk food.

Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been eating for the last week.

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Hanger Steak and Cauliflower Rice

Hanger Steak with Coconut Chili Cauliflower Rice I got Hanger steak from Wheat Ridge Poultry & Meat, sliced in thin and cooked it in a saute pan. This paired with the coconut chili cauliflower rice made for delectable, spicy, Asian fusion style dinner.

Fried Tempeh Salad Fermented soy is allowed in moderation on a Ketogenic diet. This is great news as I haven’t been able to eat tofu or tempeh for a loooong time. I fried up a square of tempeh in coconut oil and sprinkled some dukkah on it, then chopped it up into squares and put it on a big ol leafy salad with some bleu cheese. I had this for dinner and then lunch the next day.

Fat Head Pizza When I first heard about Fat Head Pizza I was like, “You have to be kidding me, this is Keto???” It’s basically baked cheese with more cheese and some sauce on top. Recipe here – Fat Head Pizza, the Holy Grail. Amen. I topped it with sugar free, low carb canned tomato sauce, sliced mozzarella and veggies. It lasted me about 3 meals. Needless to say I will be eating a lot of this pizza.

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Baby’s first Fat Head Pizza

Pork Shoulder Steak with Greek Side Salad I’ve been wanting to do a slow cooker meal with pork and so I went to the meat store looking for something that would fit the bill. They had large trays of pork shoulder and also shoulder ribs and shoulder steaks. With a recommendation from the butcher, I went with the shoulder steak and decided to grill them. We did one plain (salt, pepper & onion powder) for me and one with BBQ for Jim. It was juicy, slightly crisp and full of flavor. I paired mine with a Greek side salad with olive oil dressing.

Pork Rinds! I know I’m the last person in the world that you would imagine snacking on pork rinds but as a chip lover they seriously satisfy my snack craving. This may toe the line of low carb junk food but snacking has been a challenge and these babies are good. EPIC brand makes pork rinds in BBQ, Sea Salt & Pepper and Maple Bacon flavors.

So far so good! I’ve also been eating lots of eggs, avocados, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts/nut butter, spinach, kale, celery, pickles and mustard.

One thing I miss, ok two things. Plantains and Larabars! Plantain chips were a go to snack and I was hooked on eating a Larabar before my morning work out. Some Larabar flavors (Coconut Cream Pie for the win!) are Paleo but I don’t know if they’re Keto. I’m not super into food logging and counting macros so I’m shying away from foods that seem to be on the higher carb/sugar side.

Happy Monday, everyone. Enjoy the grind.

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Monday Music Recommendation 

A few sexy tunes that I discovered last week on CPR Open Air.

Earl St. Clair, Pain 

 

Whitehorse, Nighthawks 

First Mile Blues

I’m a few runs into the first week of training and feeling OK, but can we talk about something? Why does the first mile of a run suck so bad?? For me it’s more like the first 2 miles so when I do my 3 mile short runs it can leave me a bit frustrated.

The first thing someone might ask is “Do you warm up?” When I go to the gym I do a few weight exercises, stretches and maybe the stair climber before I hit the treadmill. When I’m running outside I do some stretches at home and hit the ground running. Essentially, no… I don’t. Case closed? To be honest, I’m stubborn. I am ok at cooling down at the end of a run but I kind of hate warming up. You want me to jog before I go for a run?? No thank you.

Scientifically (aka Google says) that it takes the body 7-10 minutes to transition from state of rest to a state of athletic readiness. Guess how long it takes most runners to run a mile? Ding, ding! It’s 7-10 minutes. I can feel it when my body makes the transition – my joints and muscles loosen up, I start to break a sweat, my breathing becomes steadier. This starts around .5 miles and then gradually works up to where I’m in my zone.

My thought process along the way goes something like this:

Mile .001 – I’m out of bed and getting started, let’s do this!

Mile .20 – Hmm…my knee hurts a little and my legs are so tight, probably should have skipped that yoga sculpt class on my rest day.

Mile .30 – Well, I’m still running and I’m still alive. Why am I breathing so heavy?

Mile .50 – I’m kind of thirsty, should have brought my water.

Mile .70 – This still sucks but I do feel a little better. Starting to sweat… I thought maybe I wouldn’t sweat today.

Mile .80 – Distractions! Look at the sunrise/people/swans on the lake/lush trees/construction signs/whatever I can stare at.

Mile 1.00 – First mile down, I should be feeling better any minute!

Mile 1.20 – Ugh my legs still hurt. Why do I run?

Mile 1.30 – This grade seems much harder than it should. It’s, like, not even a hill. How am I ever going to run Rim Rock??

Mile 1.50 – Oh cool, I’m still running. Haven’t stopped.

Mile 1.75 – Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Mile 2.00 – Wait, I’m running? I feel like I’m floating on clouds! I could do this forever. My legs and breath feel neutral and I wonder what I was so worried about for those first couple of miles.

It’s easier to push past the initial frustration when you’re on a 10 mile run but when you’re on a 3 mile short run it almost doesn’t seem worth it.

Of course, rather than warm up, my solution is “Make a playlist!” A playlist is a solution for most of life’s problems. If I don’t have the right music going at the beginning of a run it makes it exponentially harder to get through the first miles. Also, I hate stopping so having to change music mid-run frustrates me even more.

Thus I give you First Mile Blues. Some songs that make me want to scream at the top of my lungs and that help to dull the pain of running. A lot of these songs are on my other running playlists but I’ve picked out the ones that get me the most pumped for miles 0-2. That way there’s no down time, no thinking time. Once I’m in the meat of my run I can chill it out a bit.

You’re not going to be really surprised that First Mile Blues is mostly punk songs and you might laugh at me re: Kelly Clarkson. It’s explicit and mindless at times. It’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but dammit, it works for me.

First Mile Blues on Spotify 

What am I missing?

What music gets you pumped up??

Disclaimer: When it comes to warm ups, don’t listen to me! You should definitely warm up before any exercise. Here are some great tips from Runners World on exercises to get your body loosened up before a run.