Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buckeye Half Marathon

To be honest - I was nervous.  For some reason (even though I have already run 18 miles for training), this race was a benchmark.  Something to see if this whole MS year of crazy was going to keep me from doing the marathon.  Something that has not happened in a year....a half marathon race.

I have had a down and up summer so far.  As stated before, June was filled with a vertigo problem that almost made me give up on training.  I was feeling tired and dizzy and ready to throw in the towel for training and then July hit.  All of a sudden I was able to run 10, 12 ,13, 14 miles....wait a second, my body was starting to respond.  August has even been better - I found myself doing even an 18 mi run.  :)

So here I was Sunday morning, a nice cool morning which I always appreciate, ready to start a half marathon.  The feeling that I had come a far way was just emotional and the feeling that I was lucky to be standing here made my heart race.  I was ready to accomplish something that once was not even a concern to me - it is just a half.

Once again the race was a family and friend affair.  Brandon and Mel were there, as well as Melissa & Diane from work.  My father, my father-in -law, my mother-in-law and some other folks that I have gotten to know over time.  Kim even came out to support us and take pictures.

The race started at 8:00 am and it was probably 60 degrees and nice at that time.  It was a large group this year - somewhere around 1,000 participants and we all walked the 1/4 mile to the start.  Diane from work was interested in running with me, since I was CLAIMING that I was going to use this as a training run, keeping my heart rate at 60 - 70% and staying somewhere between 11 min - 12 min/mile.  Well I did not expect to feel good.

The first mile was a quick one, Diane looked at me with her Garmin and said you know we are running a 9:40/ mi pace.  I smiled and said, let's see what happens.  I knew that I could not maintain that rate once the heat set in, so I thought I should keep myself at a little harder pace to begin with, plus for some reason, I was not dying.  Heart rate was more around 70 - 80%, but it is a race.  Mile 1 - 6 my time was 1 hr and 3 min.  I was smokin' (well for me this year anyway).  I felt good and was ready for the second lap.

For the second lap, it did get warmer, my paced slowed down to a more 11:00 min/mile pace but I was still running.  Not at one point in the race did I feel bad.  I finished with a time of 2:18:34 for an avg of 10:35/mi.  

No this is not a PR, yes I am happy.  Today marked a goal obtained...what will tomorrow bring?

BTW, you still can give money on my behalf to Run MS.  My sister is running the AK marathon for MS and me.  Donate here!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Diet Update 2 - THE POSITIVES

When I started to research about changing my diet I found some personal accounts of people who exclaimed that with in one week they started to feel changes; more energy and a clear head.  I cannot say that this was the case for me, but over the past 6 months I have seen many improvements.  I also have found that I was not craving the foods that I gave up nearly as much as I had thought I would.  I guess for me, the health of my body was a much stronger pull than food.

More Energy - One of the things that has crept up on me in the past months is more energy.  When I had my first attack I found myself needing somewhere between 10 - 12 hours of sleep each evening and even with the sleep I found myself exhausted every morning.  I felt as if all that I did was sleep and work.  If I had any extra time during the day, I would take naps to keep me awake.  I am not sure when it happened but at some point I found myself with more energy.  Currently, I get around 8 hours of sleep and even less some nights without feeling completely spent.  I also have more energy for extracurricular like exercise and hanging with friends, which is a nice change from this past winter.

Those who have been around me have noticed as well, I have crept out of the zombie land for the time being. Last week I ran 13 miles and I felt a little tired, but my body responded better than I would have thought.  I am not saying every day is perfect, but let's say I have more good days than bad.

Impulse Control & Planning - I would not say that I would over eat a lot, but I know that last summer working out 5-6 times a week- that many times we would go out to eat.  At least once a week at a bar with some fried foods and beer. I am sure that I was not putting the best foods into me.

With this diet I have to plan out food and meals for everything.  When I go on a weekend conference for work.  When I go out for the day.  When I go on vacation.  Lunch (and dinner) for work.  Every time I need a snack.  Every time I am hungry.  I also have to make sure that I have food (just in case).  There is no getting hungry.

Currently I eat breakfast (usually GF/DF cereal and rice mik) at 6 am, fruit at 8 am, almonds or walnuts at 10 am, lunch at noon - 1(lots of veggies; salad with turkey, fruit, carrots), handful of GF pretzels or similar at 3-4 pm and dinner at 7 pm (something different each day - the summer has been a lot of grilling!).  I eat all day, but really it equals less saturated fat, a lot of fruits,veggies, nuts and little to no refined sugar (most days).

I also avoid most eating out times.  I cannot get wings and pizza, I cannot drink beer (drink much really), I cannot stuff myself at the family outings or vacations - I have specific GF/DF stuff (my family has been great to make stuff I can eat). I am eating like I should have years ago.

Weight Loss -This really was a tertiary effect.  I was never planning on weight loss, I thought it might happen but it was not a focus.  In fact in Early May I weighed the same as in early February, if in 3 months I had not lost anything I probably wouldn't.  So I quit paying attention.

All of a sudden my clothes were fitting a lot looser and I was getting comments about whether I had lost weight.  I would not consider myself a giant girl but I was always 'curvy' as they say.  I finally weighed myself and 10 lbs had dropped off since May.  I say dropped off because last year I was working out WAAAAY more.  I spent the year trail running, training for marathons, swimming, road biking, mountain biking, on a two week backpacking trip and this year there were months that I was lucky I put in 30 miles of anything.  I am still only hitting maybe 3 - 4 workouts a week.

I knew this was true, as an exercise science major they always said diet was much more important than exercise for losing weight.  Study after study touting those set up on a strictly a diet change compared with those only on a exercise regimen, continuously lost more weight.  Of course the combination of both is the best.  

No fuzz head - I still have my memory relapses where I cannot spit out what I need to say.  I now think this is directly related to the MS but more on that some other time.  I have noticed a fog that was with me has lifted.  I can only describe it like those days that your sinuses cause the head pressure and you feel like you cannot think clearly.  Now I am a little more alert, focused at the job in hand.  That makes me feel a lot more confident in my job and tasks that I take on.

Really tasting things - Yes this sounds cliche, but I think that I found appreciation of things that sometimes were rushed.  I always have had a love of food, a mother who should have been a chef (self taught) taught me the appreciation of food from all over the world.  Being an Air Force Brat, we had the chance to travel and appreciate food from all over.  In my adult life time got in the way.  Paul is a good cook, but we had our standing meals that were repeated every other if not every week, because we were both tired from working all day.

Everything changed when I decided to do this.  My mother who once cooked delicious home-made macaroni and cheese, is now baking breads and cookies that I can eat.  Paul will spend a good hour or two prepping meals that simmer for hours.  We are using more herbs to flavor than we ever had; the sweet smell of cardamon, cloves, cinnamon from the Indian dishes, to the fresh sage, shallot and parsley potatoes that sit as a side to a fresh bison steak and grilled asparagus.

I want to be clear, I am lucky.  The supportive friends and family who have accommodated to my diet are amazing.  I have been blessed by many.  Paul who has just been taking this as challenge to keep me from craving anything I once had.   My mom who bakes for hours or cooks to bring me over a hamburger buns so that I can participate in the cook out.  My aunt and cousin who are experimenting and making dishes for the family get together.  My friends who will go to PF Chang's (for their GF/DF options), Vegiterranean (Vegan/GF), Altieri's (GF Fried chicken) over and over to just go out with me.  I am so loved.

I also want to be careful as to say this is curing me.  I do not know.  I will not know, really.  I am 9 months into a diagnosis that hit me like a brick wall.  I am still reeling and trying to make sense of everything.  I read blogs about those who have had a rough time of MS, those who are still climbing mountains with MS, and a lot that are in between.  In someway this diet is a bit of control , even if control is just an illusion, but in someways isn't all control an illusion?

Control is an Illusion

Attempting to control external events
will never keep us safe.
Control is an Illusion.
Whatever we try to control,
we separate from ourselves.
Whatever we try to fix,
we ruin.
Life is sacred,
and flows exactly as it should
We return to our breathing.
It knows exactly what to do,
rising and falling without conscious control.
In the same way
We sometimes have excess
and sometimes lack.
We sometimes assert ourselves
and sometimes hold back.
We sometimes succeed
and sometimes fail completely.
Our practice is to see all of this
without taking it seriously.
-Lao Tzu