Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Good Outweighs the Bad

For me, a good run will always make up for a bad run.

Sunday was my scheduled long run: 5 1/4 miles.  I reached the park at a time which I considered to be early enough (8:30ish), hiked the mile up to where I start running the loop, and set off jogging.  Since I wasn't feeling at my best, I thought the thing to do would be to go back and forth along a 1/2 mile section of trail that had mild elevation changes.  The first mile is always the hardest, and this was no exception.  Only problem was, the second mile was even harder.  I didn't help that, as often happens on long trail runs miles away from any facilities, I really needed to heed the call of nature.  As I huffed and puffed up the very gentle hills, I started to feel terrible: shaky, slightly sick to my stomach.  I decided the best thing to do would be to run back down the slope to the park entrance, take care of myself, and call it a day.  All told, I did put in about 45 minutes of running, but it wasn't the training that I wanted.

There in the restroom stall, once I noticed how much I was sweating, I put two and two together.  There's been a heat wave on the peninsula lately, I was running in direct sunlight, I hadn't been drinking too much water because I really had to pee, etc.  This combined with the shakiness and nausea meant that I was dealing with mild dehydration and/or heat stroke.  So the best thing for me was exactly what I was doing: drinking the rest of the tepid water from my water bottle as I gently cooled down and stretched in the shade.

This morning, as occasionally happens in the morning, I was negotiating with myself while still in bed.

"Do I have to get up and go to the gym?  I was up twice during the night, so I haven't had the best sleep.  I'll be dancing tonight, so I'll still get some exercise.  It'll be easier to wash my hair here at home."

"Yes, I do need to get up.  Getting out the door will be super-fast.  I'll feel so much better during the day if I go to the gym."

"Waaah!  But I don't have any get-up-and-go!  I'll waste my time at the gym."

"It will be fine.  All I have to do is walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes.  If I want to do more than that, I can."

I think it really helps to have the mentality of showing up and doing something, even if it is less than you really want to do.  Every bit of movement is beneficial.  Plus, exercise does make me feel a lot better.  I know that I can take it easy and do a simple workout on the treadmill, or elliptical, or bicycle, so getting in to the gym is not intimidating.  As it turned out, I walked for 3 minutes on the treadmill, then ran 3 miles at a 6.2/6.3 mph pace.  Finished up with some stretching and foam rolling.  Now I feel great, and I'm happy that I was able to do a good run.

[Trigger warning: Calories and calorie restriction.]

I'm on a mailing list for trainer Sean Flanagan, who linked to this article by Mike Howard: Calorie Denialism.  Overall, I like it, specifically for the following two quotes: "To be clear, eating wholesome, minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods is the best way to ensure good health....[But] You CAN still gain weight eating unprocessed foods."  Yep--dried fruit and nuts are very calorie-dense, and I find it very easy to eat those in substantial quantities.  "I will ask you to ponder the irony of those calling calorie counting obsessive while they meticulously avoid anything that didn’t exist more than 10,000 years ago or voraciously scan ingredients lists to make sure there are less than 3g of carbs per serving or ensuring they are devoid of gluten."  As if folks who are not trained anthropologists even know what foods were actually around prior to 10,000 years ago.

Where the question lies for me, is whether one can successfully combine Intuitive Eating with mild calorie restriction for the purposes of fat loss.  I'll have to think on this more.  One of the pitfalls of calorie counting with calorie restriction, is that one might be so focused on hitting a target calorie count every day.  If that target is 1800, and your intuitive eating has led you to consume only 1600 calories, you might feel the need to tack on another 200, just so you meet your quota for consistency.  Then, two days later, you've eaten your 1800 calories, but you're so, so hungry and would really be satisfied with a piece of toast and peanut butter.  But that 200 calories will be too much.

For me, Intuitive Eating needs to trump.  It's more important to be attuned to my body's needs, and to deal with my mental and emotional attitude towards food, than to attempt to maintain a "500 calorie a day deficit" in the hope that my body will consume itself and lose a pound a week.

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