Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fuel Your Fire

A few years back, lets say around 2009, I was the biggest I'd ever been. 5'8 and floating between 195-200lbs. Not good. So I started working out and I changed my food choices. I refuse to say that I went on a diet because to me that implies that you are cutting out certain foods for only an extended time frame. I made the choice to become a vegetarian and as I went on, learned what foods were better for my health. Over time, my tastes actually changed substantially, and I was eating things that previously, I wouldn't touch.

But all of this took time. And once again I find myself redefining my relationship with food. Instead of it being a meal I need to look at it more like carbs we meet again! One adjustment that I did make was to my carb intake. I don't buy bread and a lot of my carb intake was in the form of fruits/veggies, quinoa, and pasta usually on the weekends for long runs. As a vegetarian I can say I do not miss that bloated feeling you get when you consume carbohydrates. I like the "I'm not full but I'm not hungry" place. This all came to bite me in the ass when I bonked out hard core this week and depleted my glycogen levels.

It all happened pretty fast it felt like. It was a Wednesday morning. I woke up at 4:15 and knew I had to be on the bike by 5 but I did not feel energized or motivated. Still I forced my body up, convinced my brain this is a side affect of it being 4am and pushed through it. I was pleased with myself afterward but I dreaded the track run I would have to do later that afternoon. A mile into my warm up and I was still fighting my brain. Sometimes during my run warm ups it takes me a few minutes to get into the groove, but this was no such situation. My mind had quit on me and so I turned off the machine and went home.

I laid in bed for a good 3 hours, just lounging around. So very unlike me, which was when I knew something was up. I started telling my friend, who is an athletic trainer, how I felt tired and without energy. She's like, "Sounds like you might be over-training, go tell your coach." Words I didn't want to hear but knew were the truth I needed. After a quick chat with the coach lady, we decided to pull me back a day; no exercise Thursday or Friday morning and I would have to eat some extra carbs. She suggested whole wheat pasta and sweet potatoes. I'm not gonna lie, I haven't had sweet potatoes since Thanksgiving and whole wheat pasta tastes like card board BUT I went to the store and got my hands on both of these...along with some bagel thins, peanut butter, and nutella :) I figured if I was in need of carbs they didn't all have to be over-the-top healthy :)

So food for fuel and rest for recovery. I slept in Thursday morning and after work went home for a luxurious 3- hour nap. When I said it felt great, it's only because I am limited on alternatives for anything better at this moment :) Oh! I know! How about a new pair of running shoes? Sometimes monotony ensues when you train day-in-day-out, especially with endurance sports. I'm pretty sure that's why I do three of them though, Triathletes are a sports attention-deficit child. To counter this, I try to come up with mini-rewards for myself, a huge Americano will get me through a hard swim set and a new pair of running shoes will pick up my pace. It was getting to be about the time anyways, my knees get extra sensitive when it's time for new shoes, so it's safe to say I felt it coming on.

It's always humorous when I buy new shoes. I've done the "shoe test" at Fleet Feet twice now and out of 6-7 brands of shoes I always end up with the same pair....Nike's. Nothing else I own is Nike, and honestly, I don't think it's the "biggest" brand in endurance sports, BUT they fit me well and they compliment my stride and over-pronation well. The interaction usually goes something like this though: (I walk into the store, my old running shoes in hand and am approached by a sale's associate, lets call him John), John: "Hi, can I help you with something?" Me: "Yes, I need these (holds up old running shoes) in your most recent generation. (I refer to the "new line" as a new generation....I'm not so sure as to why). At this point John will either look at me a little taken back for 3.5 seconds or laugh and say, well alright then, let's grab those for you. And just like that I am all ready to run, so to speak.
By the time I got off work Friday afternoon I was more than ready to run. Ideally I would have liked to run outside, but it had just snowed a few hours before and with my little ice incident a few weeks ago I wasn't about to bruise my bum again. So I turned out a solid 6 miles on the treadmill and then did a wicked legs workout afterward. I had fueled my fire well enough in that day and a half off that it burned like hell when I let it.

P.S. As a rule of thumb, have a beer while cooking healthy food ;)

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