A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn....

It's gonna get harder before it gets easier. But it will get better, you just gotta make it through the hard stuff first.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hello, MAF, or geeking out.

But before we divulge in numbers, I have to admit I love experimenting on myself - in a good way, kind of, of course. So, after watching Fat, sick and nearly dead with Larry, and after going through my birthday week (nothing fancy, but a little few too many slices of cheese, pork and cookies), I figured I'll see what it's all about. I wanted to do Vegan version of Frutarian anyway, and here I was also supposed to give my intestines and colon some rest from digestion. Well, since I didn't have a juicer (the movie focuses on 7-60 days of strictly juice fasting), I had to rely on Vitamix. What, of course, messed up the purity of experiment - I now was consuming plenty of fiber, even if no grains/dairy/legumes/fat or protein from animal source. However, my agenda was to see how I, someone who generally eats healthy (focusing on veggies, very few fruits, no sugar/grain/rare dairy, and with lean animal protein mostly from chicken), and who is certainly NOT fat, sick or anywhere near dead, would react - will I see all those beautiful side effects of cleansing out of toxins, vibrant skin, energy rise, and awesome sleep?

So, I set out for 7 days - I bought more veggies than I could consume regularly, and threw it all in (no, I don't do recipes, I don't care much how the taste blends together, it's all food and goes in, as long as it is not disgusting). Problem #1 - I belong to a rare group of people (at least here, in US, and especially of those who exercise) who does not drink enough liquid. I hate drinking. I can carry around a bottle (one) of water all day, and never finish it. Unless I am running and it's hot, drinking is a problem, regardless whether it is water, tea, or even beloved coffee (I suck on 6oz coffee for 30 min in the morning, what always delays my running start). So, to "drink" the veggies, you have to add quite some amounts of water. What dilutes amount of veggies. What ends up being 5x16oz bottles - and I barely finish it - with basically no more than 600 cal in it (cucumber, celery and all kinds of grassy leafy stuff is not very calorie-dense). Technically, nobody was supposed to have enough calories on this - it was a FASTING thing after all. The problem was, I still exercised. And while I managed to lift weights just fine, any kind of cardio (Stepmill and jogging tries) escalated my heart rate exponentially like crazy. Like, shuffling at 13 min/mile hit 150's right away. That did not bode well with me.

On day 5 I gave up, and ate sensible dinner.

Stats: 6 lbs lighter. No vitality to speak of. I was sleeping ok lately as is (finally!). I wasn't weak, really, and going through the day was fine, and surprisingly I wasn't hungry - I was consuming plenty of fiber to keep my digestive track occupied. Obviously, it meant no rest for said digestive system. And every pound came back within 3 days, what means it was all water weight (nothing to hold on to, because I also consumed no salt). Here we go.

Why bringing it up? Because, first of all, it was an experiment, and as I said, I like testing things out and if you ARE fat, sick and, you know, not well at all, please stop eating crap and juice for a bit!), and secondly, because I did buy a spanky new Heart Rate Monitor - so I can dive in to Maffetone method as I mentioned in a post prior!

Here we go. The cheapest version I could find to do the job - to keep me at heart rate of 135 (180 minus age) for the next 3 months. And since I announced it - seems like everybody's doing it, or had gone through it recently. So, why am I behind?

Since I am technically-challenged, Larry helped to set me into the "Zone" of 125-140, however, the watch doesn't beep. And since I am an old lady now, and run in the wee-dark hours of the morning, I have to stare into the watch's window only when I come by the street light, but this shall do.

So, since the WHOLE full year, since last September, I haven't trained or even run consistently, and last month took off, yet again, for the foot (feet) injuries, my theoretical fitness level is just fine, but my running/endurance level is quite low (other runners comparing, or myself a year before, of course, not general population). And as I said above, my first shuffle with HRM while on fasting resulted in walking. My first real run a full day after eating normally was much better - I managed 8.5 miles on our local hills (they exist), and kept 135 on flats, couldn't make even 120 on downhills, and was easily spiked on hill climbed, which I ended up walking.

So, today, I set out on the flat neighborhood streets, where the inclines/declines do not go above 3% (may be 4?) and do not last more than 0.2M (or so).

First thing to find out - I always knew I am slow to start, but now I really knew it - for the first mile I couldn't even make my heart rate go to 135, I was slogging so slow. But once I warmed up and my legs got some turn over, another revelation: keep 135 on flats wasn't the slogging I was doing this year (CMV and other crap be damned), it was actually, well, not work, but some kind of poetry in motion. It was running. Albeit my running on flats at 135 resulted in about 11 min/mile.

And this, my friends, is my real, true, no bull starting point. And I am ok with it.

On a family news, we went to a great yarn shop in South Austin for some fun, and Larry is almost done with the bathroom! I will be peeing and showering right off my bedroom again this weekend! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing beyond my own blog.

Well, I am in a bind now as I am out of races this Fall, busy with 500 jobs (a slight overestimation), getting ready for a transition my life, and thanks to a podcast with Larisa Dannis about her training (a second podcast by her, as well as some interviews and stories), I purchased a heart rate monitor for the second time in my life (my first, from 2005, is happily dead for as many years back, but I did use it). My idea this time is not to train for speed/hills using HRmax, but train by Maffeton method for a few months. Since I have an added stress/time consumption of attending a 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training beginning January, picking races is nearly impossible (those I still sort of want fall on the weekend I study, those that accessible, I am not even remotely interested in - which reminds me, I am in a total burn-out of finding races I get inspired by), I thought doing Maffetone right now, coming off injury (and almost a year of sporadic non-existent running training, even if my fitness level was kept high and under control) fits into my life's schedule perfectly. Couldn't be better, in fact. So here I go...

In a meantime, Larry is approaching an end of his bathroom remodel so he can start training for his goal race next year, and I had finished one of my longer knitting projects. What does not mean we are going to stop either. :) He's got a list of stuff on our house that is a mile long, and I had purchased a stack of $1 knitting journals on sale, so my ideas are flowing like crazy (and I also need more yarn!)

While at that, I managed to write a couple of articles (Wonderland trail sparked some creativity with trail running regardless what my personal goals are), one of which is already posted on Endurancebuzz.com - an article about goals, and another should go up some time soon - about using trekking poles in hiking and running (they saved my tush at said Wonderland!).

On a delightful note, I got my Russian passport renewed for travel. On a totally shocking note, the very same day my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Life is like that - it's like Universe was telling me it's time to go visit. Now it's REALLY time to go visit...and I bought a ticket. As we speak, the kids are doing good - my adult children are actually on a normal track in life for a change, and I hope it stays long this time, and may be, just may be, rolls into a serious "forever" attitude change.

Never give up hope.

And tell those you love and cherish how much you love and cherish them.

What triggers a thought in me how hard it is in our society, day and age to be on either giving or receiving side. I posted something on my FB page to a few people who I feel are important to me - and it was silent for the most part. I think it made them uncomfortable - what, in turn, made me uncomfortable, so the post went down. Are we not supposed to be doing that? I read some story over here, and it really made an impact on me...But why, why can't I tell people they matter to me, and I hope I am their friend for real, not over internet?

But anyway, life goes on. I turned 45 a week ago, and the whole week was filled with attention and kind wishes, and that felt awesome. I miss people's communication a whole bunch, and I hardly have really close people in Austin, just a few - whom I do make an effort to see. But I miss my other friends, and family, and this hamster wheel of life, work, busy schedule, just really needs to slow down...says I, ironically. I keep on planning...it's been a long time planning. Gosh, when is the time to execute??

(but at least I re-signed to a local library, and since it sucks big time, I'd love suggestions what I can order for them to have for me to read! Please help a fellow foreigner out, I've been out of scene for a very long time, and my personal suggestions are all around classic literature, and I read most of it by now!)

"Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it". Kahlil Gibran.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Skunk cabbage and Social media.

There is little in common from the first sight. Well, there is little in common, period, but nevertheless, those two things happen hand-in-hand to me, so here it goes...

My good friend Gunhild from Spokane, WA, had posted a photo of Paintbrush on her Facebook page a week ago. Paintbrush is my favorite mountain flower, so I commented. Apparently, it was one of those games, where now that you commented, you're involved in a social media game - in this case you get assigned a flower yourself by your friend and have to post it on your FB page. I am not into gaming FB and clogging the outlets, but I dd want to tell the story, because, faith had it, the flower assigned to me is Skunk Cabbage. Huh?

Well, here is the story (and Gunhild did not know anything about it). Back when I lived in PNW, and my best training partner was Mike Burke, he would come with trail names for his friends (his was Bushwhacker). I had some lingering of Bear (between being Russian and kind of tough), but frankly, I wasn't i to it enough to get it stuck. One day in the spring we were running up high in Columbia River Gorge, our paradise, as always, getting slightly lost because I like taking weird turns, talking, short on water, occasionally screaming into the air just because...and as we ran through the field of marsh and skunk cabbage, I noticed how pretty the flowers are, yet how stinky the smell is. To which Mike responded: "Well, since I always get to run behind you, pretty flower, let me tell you, you don't smell much better". And then he added "Wild flower you are".

I didn't get offended, or no. And no, this new name didn't get stuck either, though he still calls me that. But I did go out to a tattoo place and got myself a "Wild flower" - along with engraved Chinese character inside that means "Bear", and if you read it with petals, it would give you "Able".
  Photo - original from June 2006.

As for Social Media - and why I rather write this long story to share instead of simply posting a photo of Skunk Cabbage on my Facebook - here is  this video that came to my attention on the same day my assigned flower came.

It is 15 min (last 7 are Q&A), and in the nutshell, it's about staying connected vs being FB friends. There is a reason I don't play "accumulate friends", don't accept friendship offers unless I've talked to people about something beyond "Good job" at a race, hope that those I do have care about my life somewhat - as I care for theirs, and because I do, I prefer to comment on their posts instead of just like, since "Like is a symbol of laziness" - and I totally agree.

Facebook is a great tool. I tried to get off (3.5 years), take 1-2 weeks breaks, but by now, I do realize in this day and age, this is the way to communicate. Then communicate, damn it! Talk! And if you don't - it's ok, we don't need to be friends, don't have to, it's not bad, but please, don't be upset and don't take it personally that I cut a few names off. When I share about something - I'd like to know it's been read.

And since I express myself rather wordy, here is a blog to stay:)