Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The blog has been quiet.....

...but the brain has been going full-tilt.

I've been doing a ton of thinking of late about where I'm at as opposed to where I've been and where I dream about being someday. That's not to say that I haven't been thinking about these things for quite some time, as I have, but just that in the last couple of weeks, it's been some very deep and reflective evaluation. Aside from the larger life-milestone-accomplishment sorts of thinking (mid-life crisis, anyone?) - the majority of my musings have centered around what I am doing/should be doing/should NOT be doing to get myself to true "fighting form."

At the moment, I'm hunkered down under the covers, on the upswing from what appears to be a 48-hour (hopefully) surprise bout of the flu, which when combined with my severe lack of running for the last several weeks means that I will be DNS'ing the Timberline Half Marathon this coming weekend. This will be only the second race I have ever failed to start - with the first being a free 5K a couple months ago that at least didn't precipitate the waste of an entry fee. I'm not happy about it by any stretch of the imagination, but more powerful is my desire to not blow myself out trying to finish a course that I am ill-prepared to take on. In fact, I really wasn't adequately trained for the Rock-n-Roll Half on the 20th; for the majority of that run I was tired, somewhat dehydrated and after about mile 8, plagued with muscle cramps.

So let's talk about this "fighting form" for a moment. What does this really mean?

What I am beginning to figure out is that I am nowhere near to this state of being....regardless of the running I've done over the last 3 years, my recent fascination with CrossFit, or the improvements I've (tried) to implement in terms of my diet - to be honest, in this particular area, I would give myself about a D+.

The month or so of CrossFit workouts I've done have thoroughly convinced me that my fitness level is paltry, at best. Sure, I can run for a few miles without stopping, and sometimes I can slog along for several miles/hours without becoming incapacitated, but as far as actual body strength is concerned, I'm practically worthless. My weight is still way too high (my apologies to the "fat acceptance" crowd, but being this fat is not acceptable!!)

Indeed, the only thing about which I appear to be consistent is my inconsistency. And as maddening as it is to constantly be falling off the truck shortly after I claw my way on, I still hold on to that slender hope and the stubborn insistence that I'm not ready to throw in the towel for good just yet.

Thanks in part to the ever-intrepid Cilley Girl, I've been directing a lot of my attention to Paleo and Primal-type diet information. Based on the sheer volume of success stories and the seemingly solid science that many of the Paleo/Primal advocates use to back up their claims, it appears more and more that this is the way to go. Grass-fed meats, fresh vegetables and fruit, raw, whole dairy (at least in some cases), spices, healthy fats (olive, avocado, nuts) - unadulterated by factory processes and preservatives and refined sugars and the seemingly counterproductive elimination of grains ....really and truly, this is the diet that ALL of us should be eating. No joke, folks!! Not only has it been proven, but it's just plain common sense.

I am really starting to recognize the ridiculous volume of sugar-and-chemical laden junk food that is simply *everywhere* - one can't even go to fill up their gas tank anymore without being bombarded with advertisements for and the presence of gallons of soda, dumptruck loads of chips, cookies and other salty snack foods, not to mention the hotdogs/nachos/hamburgers all camping out limply underneath heat lamps. Fast-food joints are liberally sprinkled throughout the suburbs, and even the grocery stores are stacked to the ceilings (at least in those ill-advised "middle aisles") with food that has been scientifically proven to be outrageously unhealthy. Junk food has literally become a staple in the modern American diet. It's cheap, it's oftentimes quite delicious, and it is not possible to escape it, at least unless one lives fifty miles out in the middle of the desert or on the snowy mountaintops. And - this isn't even scratching the surface on the mounting evidence that grains are not the heart-healthy staple that has been pounded into the collective dietary consciousness for the last century or so....

And it is just SO easy to keep shoveling it in one's mouth.

In any case, I am steering closer and closer to simply getting over myself - and the tough initial weeks - of commitment to a Primal diet. Besides, any diet where I don't have to give up red meat and butter is pretty much tops in my book. It's the sugar and the junk that needs to go.

The other thing occupying my mind lately is the process of finding a balance between running and CrossFit. I am adamant that I am not going to give either of them up, but I need to figure out how to fit them together so that I can keep doing my beloved half-full marathons while doing enough to make progress with my WODs and get good at "lifting heavy things." I know there is a way to do it, but I just don't know yet what it is. I'm going to start with the CF trainers and see what they recommend - and then the coming months are going to be a journey of finding out what works. As I see it, CrossFit should happen at least three times a week to have a real impact, and that leaves only two weekdays plus one weekend day for running, which in turn allows for one day of complete rest (which is pretty much non-negotiable.) The other option is doing the WOD in the morning and running in the afternoon three days, plus one day of just running plus the weekend run/race, and that might be beneficial - but it would be hard to do timewise. Sooooo.....I guess it's just going to be trial-and-error time for the forseeable future.

One way or another, it's time to get serious about all of this. It's nice to at least have the path illuminated - I now need the motivation and the power to step on it, start walking, and stay on it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I know, you thought this blog was broken or I was dead or maybe I just ran off to join the circus or something. Well, none of the above are true. Life goes on, apparently. So for those of you who are still reading, here are the other two things for today:

2. Sunday = Portland RnR Half. It will be interesting. "A" goal is 2:55. "B" - 3:00-3:05.  "C" - 3:10-3:15. "C" is most likely, but I am trying to be positive here, and I am going also to try very hard to earn my "A". I'm looking forward to the bling and my personalized bib and the excitement of a big ol' noisy race with a giant expo and carbo-loading with all of my running peeps - Jenn, Kim, Ronda, are you listening....???? I'm also looking forward to connecting with a whole gaggle of Running Chicks (ya'll know who you are!) --  especially those with whom I'll be doing Ragnar Northwest in July. I've not been running much the past couple of weeks, but......

3. .....I *have* been doing Crossfit workouts 2-3 times a week. The kinds of workouts where sweat is literally dripping off of me onto the floor, where I can barely get to catch my breath and I doubt I could possibly ever in a million years manage even one more squat or kettlebell swing, but somehow I do. I am hoping that the conditioning I've been doing will make up a little for the lack of running. At least in any case, several of these workouts have involved 200, 400 and 800 meter sprints, so it's not like there has been zero's just that the non-Crossfit days during the week are supposed to be my running days, and with only a couple times being the exception (plus long runs on the weekend), I haven't followed through.

We'll see how this somewhat slacker strategy plays itself out on Sunday....