Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wait. What was my time?!

Date: July 29, 2017

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:02:32

I must say, I am really enjoying running races without regard to which state they are in.

In the case of today’s race, the Timpanogos Half Marathon, I decided to run it because it happened to be scheduled the weekend my full marathon training plan had me running a 13-mile training run. When I noticed my plan included a 13-miler this weekend, I searched for local races to see if there happened to be a half marathon scheduled nearby. Sure enough, there was.

I was also intrigued by the downhill course. I LOVE running downhill races. In addition, the race website promised a well-supported, scenic race so I overlooked the 6:00 a.m. start time and signed up.

I ended up absolutely loving this course. And, even though my training runs have been much slower–more like 11 or 12 minutes per mile pace–I was astounded that I averaged a 9:20 minute mile pace for the entire race. Starting off, I suspected that a 2:30 finish time would most likely be within reach than realized about halfway in, after I passed the 2:10 pacer, that this could end up being one of my faster times. In fact, I think this ended up being my second fastest time ever. Such a shock to me, particularly since I was in the emergency room at my local hospital with a blood clot in my lung only seven months ago. I’m truly surprised and happy.

If you are considering running this race, here’s what I would say in summary:

Packet pick up was well organized and the packets included standard fare. It did, however, take me three hours to drive to the packet pick up location and back. I joked today that it took me more time to pick up the race packet than it did to run the actual race.

The race shirts were a tad on the small side, but the medium I ordered is wearable–and a great fabric and design.

The medals were awesome, if you are into big, shiny bling. These delivered.

The event itself was very well organized. I felt as though the aid stations were spaced perfectly apart and well staffed. Water and Power Ade were offered at each stop. A couple of the stops–including the start–also offered Gu.

The shuttles to the start were great. It did kind of suck, however, to have to get to the starting line so early. I took one of the earlier shuttles (as they encouraged people to do), and ended up waiting for an hour-and-a-half before the race began. The early start and need to drive almost 45 minutes to the shuttle pick up meant that I got a grand total of three hours of sleep the night before the race.

I loved that they not only offered a bag drop, but they also had a clothing drop at mile one and mile three. The sweatshirt I wore during the first mile of the race was not, however, at the finish line as promised when I checked. Good thing I considered it to be a throwaway one anyway.

The course was the BEST. The majority of the race is downhill on a paved, scenic canyon road. As the course nears the finish at the local high school, it mostly uses well-designed, paved running/biking trails. The course was indeed scenic.

The finish line was great. Runners finished the race by completing a lap on the high school track, then making their way through the medal and food line. Food was plentiful and the volunteers were friendly and helpful.

A very nice feature of this race was that it encouraged participants to honor loved ones who had cancer because it was sponsored, in part, by the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Bibs offered at the start allowed people to write names of people who had either passed away from cancer, or whose treatment was successful. The words read, “In memory of” or “In celebration of” and, as always, I think races are a nice way to honor those we love.

I’ve certainly lost close friends and family to cancer and my aunt happens to be going through chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer right now. She was certainly in my thoughts as I raced today and I made sure to wear a pink “strength” bracelet in her honor.

In summary, I highly recommend this race to anyone who loves a good downhill race. It would not be hard to talk me into this one again, that’s for sure.

Lake Catherine via Alta

Date: July 13, 2017 5lake

Distance: About 3 miles total (out and back)

Last July, I hiked to Lakes Mary, Martha, and Catherine via Big Cottonwood Canyon. This year, I got to join a group hiking to Lake Catherine via Little Cottonwood Canyon (Alta Ski Resort).

This is a great, short hike with amazing views. Just remember to bring insect repellent. We aren’t used to having too much of a bug problem down in the valley, but get up into the higher elevations where it’s cooler, and the mosquitoes will be quite annoying.

This hike makes me want to go to the top of sunset peak. I imagine the view from there is amazing…

Park City Trail Series 10K

Date: July 8, 2017

GarminConnect_20170709-182235Distance: 10K (6.2 miles)

Time: 1:15:33

What a great race! I loved this second race of the four-race Park City Trail Series and already can’t wait for the 15K next month.

The weather was perfect, I got to run with my daughter and one of our dogs, and we had a really great time.

I don’t do a lot of trail running, but I am really enjoying it. It feels more “fun” than a road race even though I have to really watch my footing (or perhaps because of that). The course included two main elevation gains and drops, and the last mile-and-a-half was the fastest part of the course–which I loved. I was also reminded of the increased technical skills needed–I saw two people fall during the course and a woman had to visit the medical tent at the end of the race due to a huge gash on her forehead. Yikes.

I must also give a shout out to The North Face. They are a sponsor of the series and have IMG_20170709_183820-1been very generous with their give-aways. After the 5K race, I was lucky enough to win a drawing for one of their backpacks. This race, they were giving out free dog collars to all of the dogs who ran the race. Awesome.

The aid stations were very dog-friendly as well–with bowls of water for the pups who were running.

Thank you to Salt Lake Running Company for always putting on such great events. I’m grateful to live in such a great place for outdoor activities and people who encourage others to get outside and be active in our beautiful state. There are lots of ways here to #havemorefun

IMG_20170708_093359

 

 

Park City Trail Series 5K

Date: June 10, 2017

Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)

Time: 34:50GarminConnect

My daughter asked me awhile back about doing this race series and of course I agreed. She thought it would be fun because it’s dog friendly; I thought it would be fun because it means I get to hang out with her.

Today was a beautiful day for a race. The race announcer said there were over 500 participants, and we also saw lots of dogs. As far as I’m concerned, this was a perfect way to start a day: sunshine, mountains, running, and getting to hang out with one of my kids and one of my dogs. Loved it.

I also wore my “Stop the Clot” gear for the first time. Recently, I ordered a shirt and a hat from a fellow runner and blood clot survivor. He is doing such good work to spread awareness of clots and I’m gaining a whole new network of supporters. There are lots of us who have survived DVTs or PEs and it’s pretty inspiring. Not everyone is so lucky.

Next month: the 10K!!

5Finish

#StopTheClot

 

My experience with Whole30

Today is the final day of my Whole30 experiment. My review? It’s definitely worth doing and I’ll probably repeat it again at some point. More importantly, it’s going to positively affect how I eat on a regular basis from here on out.

nutrition

Google images. (Pretend this photo doesn’t include bread or dairy!)

Here’s what I learned.

  1. The American diet is filled with sugar, preservatives, and So. Much. Corn. Being on Whole30 forces to you to pay very close attention to food labels and you’ll be surprised at how much unnecessary crap is in our food.
  2. Eating clean is not hard. There’s no need to eat any of the crap because most of us are fortunate enough to have easy access to healthy food choices. Note: most.
  3. I tend to think a lot about my food planning and choices on a regular basis, but this took food obsession to an entirely new level. (One thing I didn’t like).
  4. Not drinking alcohol for a month was easy. Normally, I’m within the medically suggested “moderate” guidelines of one drink a day or less, so it wasn’t a big deal for me to quit drinking altogether. I did, however, think about how a glass of wine would be nice with dinner on several occasions, though. That thought crept into my head less and less as the month progressed.
  5. Black coffee is still good. Rather, GOOD black coffee is still good. For the first two weeks, I really missed having milk and sugar in my coffee. Today, I’m enjoying it black, particularly if it’s cold brewed.
  6. There are so many resources available online. Whether you use search engines or almost any type of social media, you will find whole communities of people following the plan and offering advice. The accessibility of information made it so much easier.

What I liked about Whole30.

  1. I dropped a few pounds. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become more difficult to keep my weight in check. I half-jokingly observe that I gain five pounds on one weekend splurge and then it takes me a month of serious dieting to lose it. In this case, I didn’t feel like I was dieting at all, yet I’ve lost 8 pounds even while eating the same number of calories. Note: Here’s where I broke Whole30 rules. While on Whole30 you are instructed to not weigh yourself or count calories. I did both.
  2. I slept so much better! A lot of people on Whole30 experience this. Improved sleep could be due to not drinking alcohol, but others surmise that the non-inflammatory qualities of this diet is the reason. In any case, it was great. I slept through the night every night I was on this eating plan when normally, one or two nights a week, I wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 AM and can’t get back to sleep.
  3. I didn’t get sick, despite being exposed to colds and flu. I had several opportunities to pick up various bugs that were going around and I didn’t get sick once. I credit the diet and exercise.
  4. Food tastes better. Fruit is sweeter and overall, I’m enjoying my food more. I’m more aware of how it tastes and I’ve become one of those people who consider a nice piece of fruit a perfectly satisfying dessert.
  5. I learned about some new food options that I will continue to eat in “normal life.” Riced cauliflower, coconut aminos, ghee, Epic bars, and many Luna bars are all great food choices whether or not you are on a restricted diet. A couple of compliant dinner recipes will remain longer-term favorites.
  6. I have a better appreciation and understanding for people who medically have to be on a restricted diet. I now know what diabetics or those with gluten sensitivities must go through on a daily basis.
  7. My digestion improved. 
  8. My skin became clearer.

What I didn’t like.

  1. The need to meal plan so meticulously forced me to constantly think about food to the point where it became obsessive. I didn’t like having to constantly think about upcoming meals and the need for grocery trips.
  2. I missed social gatherings. I’m not a regular party goer by any stretch of the imagination, but I found myself skipping out on a few events because I knew I would have a hard time with the food choices. I missed a couple of work celebrations as well as a Friday afternoon happy hour invitation when normally I would have gone.
  3. I cooked less for my family. I have two college-aged kids still living at home and I have to admit–they were pretty much on their own this month because they didn’t particularly care for most of my compliant meals. It worked out fine because they are so self-reliant, but this would likely be difficult with young children or a spouse who wasn’t also on board.
  4. So. Much. Meat. The first thing I will do is bring back legumes into my diet. While I enjoy beef, chicken, fish, and pork, I definitely ate more on Whole30 than I normally do because protein shakes, dairy, quinoa, and black beans are non-compliant. I look forward to incorporating more meatless meals into my diet again.

In summary, this was a great experience for me and my husband and the positives outweighed the negatives. We both feel healthier, we both dropped a few pounds, and we have both said that we will continue to “mostly” eat like this in going forward. I would say it was a win.

13 days in. My Whole30 experience

Almost halfway in to this. How am I doing? Great!

larabarlemon

Yummy.

First off, I know this isn’t a “diet” and I know I’m breaking the rules by weighing myself during this ride, but I was just too curious to avoid the scale completely. After ten days, I had dropped five pounds without ever feeling hungry or deprived. Really.

I also think this experience is going to adjust the way I will eat long term. It’s become pretty clear to me that, even with a generally healthy diet before, I was eating too much sugar.

This eating plan appeals to me because it makes sense to avoid additives and sugars. I won’t completely avoid dairy and whole grains beyond this month, and I will look forward to having an occasional beer or glass of wine again. I also miss oatmeal, quinoa, and bread. But not in a way that makes me crave any of it.

I honestly have not had any cravings on this plan at all.

If you are considering a Whole30 experience, I would say:

  1. Recruit your spouse or a friend to join you. My husband and I are doing this together and it’s made meal planning and shopping so much easier. Plus I like that we are sharing the experience.
  2. If you are used to drinking anything in your coffee–cream, milk, sugar–the first 3-4 days are going to make you sad. I’ve been drinking black coffee, whereas my husband has quit drinking coffee altogether. Yes, he had a caffeine-withdrawal headache for a few days. I, however, did not.
  3. You will probably find yourself eating the same few meals over and over. My favorite breakfast has become a baked potato (microwaved, actually) with one or two fried eggs and salsa on top. My favorite dinner is a burrito bowl. I take shredded greens and top them with cooked, seasoned meat, and add salsa and guacamole. Mmmm.
  4. Snack bars are a lifesaver in case you do get hungry between meals (yes, I know
    bison

    Also yummy.

    snacking is discouraged), or if you find yourself somewhere at mealtime and what is being offered is non-compliant (Whole30 vocabulary). So far, my favorites are Epic Bison Cranberry bars and Turkey bars. When something sweet sounds good, I am opting for Larabars–several are compliant and my favorites are lemon and key lime pie. (I’ve also ordered coconut cream pie and can’t wait for them to arrive).

  5. Traveling can be a bitch. That seems pretty obvious. My husband, who travels every week for work has had more challenges than I, but with prior planning, and some backup snacks, he seems to be doing fine. Plus, he reports that he is feeling so good, the effort is worth it.
  6. There are a TON of resources online. If I’m at the grocery store and wonder if something is compliant, all I do is Google it. There are also several bloggers sharing some great looking recipes and great cookbooks out there. There are also Facebook and Reddit groups focusing on Whole30.
  7. Stock up on ghee and olive oil. You’ll be able to cook almost anything with these two oils and they are permitted.
  8. Focus on what you CAN eat and not on what you can’t. This is stated in so many ways when you start to browse Whole30 resources, and it’s true. What CAN I eat? Steak, salmon, shrimp, chicken, ground beef (really almost any meat), eggs, avocados, guacamole, salsa, any fruit, almond butter, most nuts, almost any vegetable–including potatoes and sweet potatoes. As far as drinks go, I’m drinking mostly water but can also have club soda, LaCroix, tea, and kombucha. Sure, this will get boring pretty fast, but doing this for a month certainly won’t be hard.

I’m entering into the promised “feel good stage” of the plan and I am really looking forward to that. I feel good now so hearing the best is yet to come sounds amazing.

Timeline of the plan is found HERE. Evidently, I’m going to start wanting familiar comfort foods about now then I’m supposed to feel especially energetic and strong starting at day 16.

I guess we’ll see. I’ll let you know.

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whole30

From the Whole30 website

 

Whole 30 Diet-Day 1

whole

whole30.com

Let’s try this.

As a rule, I eat a healthy diet. I generally steer away from processed foods, I loathe most fast food choices, and I usually pay attention to my protein intake and I incorporate juicing into my regular diet. You could say I’m on the kale, Greek yogurt, and quinoa bandwagon–mostly.

I’ve been vaguely aware of the Whole 30 diet for the past couple of years but wrote it off as being far too restrictive because there are so many foods that are “not allowed.” Most nutritionists would argue that foods like whole grains, yogurts, and even an occasional glass of wine, are healthy and should be part of a normal diet for most people. I like the idea of a re-set of sorts, though, and that’s what this diet promises to be.

Here’s how the Whole 30 website describes the diet: “The Whole30 is, at its heart, an elimination diet. Just a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods could break the healing cycle; promoting cravings, messing with blood sugar, disrupting the integrity of your digestive tract, and (most important) firing up the immune system.”

I’m intrigued. If this gives me more energy and helps me drop those stubborn five pounds I can’t seem to get ride of, why not try it?

I also think I’ve got my husband talked into joining me so that will provide me with a lot of motivation.

So, for a month, we will give up dairy, carbs, and alcohol. It’s going to be difficult for me because a typical breakfast is oatmeal and yogurt, and it’s not unusual for me to consider cheese, crackers, and wine a perfectly satisfying dinner.

I’ll check in later and let you know how it is going.