I could not believe it’s been since February that I last posted here. I knew it had been a while, but I figured it hadn’t been that long.
What have I been doing since then?
I’ll start with fitness, since that’s what I write about most here.
1.) Piling up miles
When I committed to the Quad Rock 50, I decided to explore a training approach that included higher volume. I’ve done that in 2014…I’ve done some sort of run or ride on over 200 days this year. That’s about as many workouts (running/riding) as I’ve had in a whole year in the past.
Adding it all up, in 2014 I’ve:
- Run just under 2500 miles (2478 by my count)
- Rode 1600+ miles (1610 by my count)
I’m not entirely convinced that a high volume approach is right for me. I’ll have more to say on this in the future.
2.) Raced (once so far) – Quad Rock 50
At some point I might write more extensively about my experience at the Quad Rock 50. For now, I will say that it was a tremendous experience. I finished in just over 11 hours (11:02:25) – not as good as I was hoping for. I suffered from a lack of fitness and some issues with my nutrition. But I learned a lot about ultra distance racing.
And it didn’t stop me from taking another step forward into the ultra distance.
3.) Signed up for my first 100 mile race – Oil Creek 100
The Oil Creek 100 is on October 11.
Coming off the Quad Rock 50, I knew I wanted to do another ultra distance race in 2014. I spent some time going back and forth between another 50 miler and jumping up to 100 miles. I decided to move up to 100 miles. I’ll explain the reasons in a subsequent post, but it was about more than just wanting to complete the distance.
There is something about the journey, about the process and discipline of training, that I needed. More later on this too.
4.) I still have not mastered my eating habits
This is an ongoing struggle for me and something I need to continue working on.
I’m convinced that this has more to do with what’s going on in the rest of my life (non fitness) than anything else. I’m eating almost as a way to pass time or numb some things that may not be quite right in other aspects of my life.
Maybe this is an excuse and I should be able to just have the discipline to eat better. But to me there is something else at play here. There is a disconnect somewhere else that I have yet to resolve, and eating is a way of distracting myself from dealing with that disconnect. If I could ever resolve that disconnect, I have a feeling that my eating habits would fall into line, almost effortlessly. I’m still trying to explore these things to see if I can make some progress here.
The other major thing I’ve explored a time or two on this blog is things like addiction, depression. Things haven’t been right for me in a while. I’ve gotten some insights about this over the past 6-8 months that I hope to explore more fully. I think writing about them might actually help bring more clarity to them. I’m actually feeling half decent right now, which is more than I could say for the better part of the last few years.
The other aspect that I’m constantly thinking about is career and how that plays into everything else. I believe I’ve figured out some things there as well. Now it’s just a matter of putting some plans into motion. This is where I encounter the most “Resistance” (a Steven Pressfield term), and I think it’s a major influence on other aspects of my life (eating habits and everything else).
Things really cannot be separated
In this post, I’ve neatly separated things into “fitness” and “non fitness.” What I’ve discovered is that for me, these two things cannot be separated. I need to be in nature and moving –runs and rides are not simply about getting ready for the next race or improving my health. There is something more to it than that. It gets into the nature of soul and spirit – I’ve been reading a lot about this recently and gained a ton of insight. I’m looking forward to sharing some of that here as well.
Finally, there has been the usual chaos and fun of being a husband and father. I don’t spend much time on that here…but I try to spend as much time as possible in those spaces and find it a constant learning experience.
Getting to a regular schedule for posting here on this blog is an important new goal for me. It’s one of the next steps I need to take to move things forward. It feels good to be back at it.
The word for September—fog.
Just about every morning started with fog on Schooley’s Mountain. I cannot remember a September with worse weather than 2011. It seemed like we got rain every single day. It got so bad that schools were closed due to flooding. The streams are so full these days that even the slightest rain causes flooding. The back yard is a swamp.
I put in a lot of miles in September…here are the totals:
- Running: 293 miles on 20 runs
- Riding: 136 miles on 4 rides
The fact that I only had 4 rides in September indicates how wet it has been…I don’t ride in the rain. I run instead.
The term “fog” also summarizes my September workouts. Very sluggish; not much energy or speed. I’m guessing the sluggishness is my body adjusting to a higher mileage routine, but it could also be due to weak nutrition and rest. I’m doing more of the little things right these days, especially with nutrition and rest. Getting better but not quite where I need to be (yet). My plan is to continue the high mileage routine through my next race (late November), then evaluate how it went. You don’t develop strength overnight.
As October sets in, my workout routines will not change much. I hope the weather cooperates and I get more opportunities to ride my bike.
I plan to increase my workload in one area during October—this blog. I plan to post once per day for the month of October. Writing is like running. The more you do it, the better you get. I’m considering a crazy idea for November, and I need to improve my “writing endurance” to make it work. So I plan to post here frequently during October.
I hope you’ll join me by subscribing or checking back frequently.
August was a month of transition.
After descending through June and July, I finally stabilized in August. I gained control of my eating habits, re-started consistent workouts and even got a bit inspired.
This is the first time I have calculated the total number of miles I’ve run in a month. I frequently calculate the total number of miles per week, but I never extended the idea to the month. I was actually shocked when I saw the totals for August:
- Running: 252 miles on 17 runs
- Cycling: 350 miles on 9 rides
The total mileage feels good, but the number of times I got out the door (26 of 31 days) feels better. It confirms that I’m starting to get the consistency back. It’s interesting to compare August with July…in July I mustered the strength / discipline / resolve to do a meager 11 workouts.
In August I experimented with adding an extra easy running day to my week. My weeks have had the same profile for the last 10 years—running 3 days, cycling 2 days, strength / flexibility work 2 days. I decided to add the extra running day because I’m convinced that:
- More running (done right) leads to faster running
- I can manage the potential for injury from increased mileage
- Shorter, more frequent strength and flexibility work is better than allocating two whole days
And you don’t get breakthroughs without trying new things.
So far so good. The extra day of running hasn’t negatively affecting anything yet.
In September I plan to increase the intensity of my workouts (most of them anyway). I’ve got a strong enough base that I can add intensity without risking too much injury. I don’t plan to increase the miles.
My Big September Challenge…Nutrition
In September I intend to crush a 30 Day Primal / Paleo Challenge that I issued myself. The rules are as follows:
- Eat Primal. Eat vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, meat and healthy fats. The good news (for me anyway) is that I already eat these items. I’ll need to make some changes however, like eating more fish and evaluating the “quality” of what I eat in these categories.
- Avoid eating junk. This is where it gets interesting. I’m completely avoiding my key vice, the 5 Cs (Cookies, Cake/brownies, ice Cream, Candy, sugar Cereal) and as many other processed foods as possible (including pretzels, popcorn, chips, soda, bread, pasta). What will I eat as snacks? I have no idea.
- Focus on sleep. I average five or six hours of sleep per night. For the next 30 days, I’m aiming for seven hours of sleep per night.
- Play. I’m going to play more actively. Hopefully my two kids and dog won’t wear me out within a few minutes. If things go well I may even get stronger.
I know 30 day challenges are trendy and this might seem a little extreme, but I’m eager to see how my body responds.
And you don’t get breakthroughs without trying new things.
To accomplish my 2011 and 2012 running goals, I need to master the art and science of recovery. My current nutrition strategy just isn’t effective enough. It’s constraint that I must eliminate. I’m hoping to go all in on a new nutrition strategy, and now is my chance to experiment. I’ve been reading about Paleo / Primal for two months. I recently picked up The Paleo Diet for Athletes and it looks promising.
After circling around for the past 3 months (really the past 12 months), now’s the time to take a real step forward.
Does anyone want to take up the Paleo / Primal Challenge with me? Got any experience with Paleo / Primal that you’d like to share?