Afternoon Snack

bread3If you had told me three years ago that an afternoon snack would consist of

  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • handful of spinach or lettuce
  • whole wheat pita bread
  • dijon mustard

I would have said you were crazy. There isn’t one thing on that list I would have picked to eat voluntarily. Knowledge, time and motivators has significantly change my perception and awareness on what I eat.

Becoming a leaner runner

This past week or two i’ve started to see my goal weight on the scale. Which I am absolutely amazed and proud of. I’ve lost over 50 pounds in the past 5 years, and 28 of that coming in the prior 12 months. I hear folks say to not get too tied to the number and I try not to, but it’s a benchmark of general health for me and something I need to continually be aware of.

What i’ve been focusing and educating myself on more recently is how to become  leaner. I don’t know what percentage of body fat I have now (wouldn’t mind finding out) but know i’m still carrying some extra pounds around my waist that is excess fat. I would mind trading in some of that for additional muscle in other places. While keeping my overall weight about the same.

Over the past 12 months i’ve been trying to run about a 500 calorie deficit in my diet on a daily basis, this works out to be approximately 1 pound a week of weight loss. I’ve obviously not been too strict on that, but it was a good guideline that was reasonable within my lifestyle.

Changes in Food

My first priority is to start to eat more, you can’t build muscle while still in a calorie deficit. For now i’ve modified my plan to be around a 250 calorie deficit for a few weeks while I try to get some other things put in place (diet/training).

The other change i’ve made it to be more aware of how my calories are consumed. I’m adjusting my carb/fat/protein ratios so I am eating a little less fat and more protein. I’m currently at a 50% Carbs, 20% Fat, 30% Protein. Which works out to about

  • 198 Grams of Carbs
  • 35 Grams of Fat
  • 119 Grams of Protein

The two items in my diet I’m trying to focus on the most is reducing my saturated fat intake (dairy, animal products), and reducing refined sugar intake. The sugar is pretty easy, the saturated fat, not so much. I love cheese and meat.

My wife is a vegetarian and over the years she has made countless meatless dishes that you really couldn’t even tell were meatless. The fake chicken and ground beef soy products are also great alternatives when you feel like you need some substance.

I don’t plan on denying myself a nice steak every once in a while, but just trying to reduce my overall intake is what’s important to me.

Training/Strength

This week was the first week to start the Eugene Marathon training. I will be running 5 days per week, and average about 35 miles per week and peak around 45 miles per week. My goal is to incorporate two lifting days per week.

One day will be on a day that I have an easy run (Probably Monday) and another lifting day will be when i’m off completely (Wednesday). That would still leave me with a Saturday completely off and active 6 days per week. I can live with that

The two lifting days will be split between upper body and lower body workouts. I still am researching exactly what lifts should be done. I am currently doing some lifting, but without any kind of plan or record keeping. My goal is to do as much with free weights as possible, this will help develop surrounding muscles from the main muscle you are working on at the time.

Once I get the strength training plan figure out, I will post it up.

Looking back, looking forward

New Years Eve is always a good time for some reflection and projecting into the future for me. I’ve never been much into the “resolutions”, those life changing dedications that will flip your world upside down tomorrow morning. For me, those types of drastic changes rarely hold because there is no plan, they are just hopes and usually are so unrealistic that I can become disenchanted and give up by the second day.

However, last year around this time I had a few things in my life that I wanted to change. I wanted to:

  • Quit Dipping Tobacco
  • Hit the 140 weight mark I set for myself in 2008 (Was 165 at the beginning of last year)
  • Start exercising again
  • Get back into school

I’m glad to say that I have been able to meet or exceed all of these goals. In the past 12 months, I have:

  • About a year off of chewing tobacco (the hardest thing I’ve done in my life)
  • Hit 140 pounds and been able to maintain that range
  • Ran over 900 miles, completed my first half and full marathon
  • Completed 27 college credits with a ~3.8 GPA

Some of my goals were pretty specific, others were more broad. This worked for me. Quitting tobacco and losing weight at the same time was pretty dang hard, you typically want to eat more when you are in nicotine withdrawal  So, instead of eating, I would exercise. It was a great combination to work on 3 things at once. Was hard mentally at times, and I became short with my family, but I knew that would be a temporary inconvenience for a lifelong freedom from tobacco.

On the college front. I never went to college out of high school, went directly to work. The past few years I have been taking classes at our local community college to slowly work on my AA degree. I had quit taking classes around 2010 and never got back into them. Bottomline was I just needed to get my ass back in school and register for a class. Enough said.

Looking forward

Looking towards 2013, it is more of the same for me. I don’t want to lose the momentum I gained in 2012 and improve where I can. For 2013 my current goals are:

  • Run a sub 4 marathon (Eugene April?)
  • Run 1500 Miles
  • Take at least 1 college class per term
  • Maintain weight around 140, but focus more on a leaner body composition
  • Take 1 or 2 family trips in the motorhome this summer

I think all of these are easily attainable, they will just require some focus, knowledge and priority in my life.

2012 was a great year for us and I feel incredibly lucky to have the people in my life that we do.

Happy New Year!

Fueling Plan for Portland Marathon

What I carried with me

One item that I spent quite a bit of time on when training and preparing for the Portland Marathon was how to properly fuel during the race. I used my training runs to find out the best way to get fluids and electrolytes back into my system.

From my research, I knew that the reason people bonk at mile 20 is because their glycogen stores are depleted. Your body can only store enough glycogen to get you to about mile 20 and then the body tries to convert fat to use as energy and it’s a much slower process. In order to delay that from happening,  that you need to replenish while you run before you are tired.

Fluids

I knew from the beginning I wanted to carry my own water. I like to be able to drink when i’m thirsty and avoid the traffic jams as much as possible at the aid stations.

I played around with handheld bottles, fuel belts and a hydration pack. Here was my take on them.

Handheld bottle – Was out immediately as it couldn’t hold enough and found during my training runs that it threw off my balance, I liked having my hands free during long runs. I still use for medium length runs (6-10 miles).

Fuel Belt – I’ve got to say, never been a fan. Maybe I haven’t tried the right kind or the fit was off, but having a bottle constantly hitting my ass for 4+ hours was not welcoming to me.

Hydration Pack – This appealed the most to me. It could carry plenty of fluids, had pockets to hold shot blocks and power bars, was comfortable to wear for long periods and didn’t throw off my form. I picked up the Nathan HPL #20  a month or so before the marathon to try out on the longer runs. It was a bit overkill for my needs, but didn’t want to get something too small only to have to upgrade later, the weight difference between the smaller and larger packs was minimal. The HPL has been a winner for me, has plenty of adjustment straps to ensure a comfortable fit and enough pockets to hold whatever I need to carry. Some people have complained about the valve, but I believe they have improved it in recent versions, no problems here.

I think i’m going to do some more looking at different fuel belts, while the hydration pack works well, the excess sweat it can create on my back is a bit of a bummer on hot days.

Fuel

Picking the right fuel was all about trial and error. Use the long and medium runs to find what you like, what taste good and is easy to open and eat. A few things I learned for myself.

Gu’s – Can’t stand them..hate the texture, hate the sticky feeling in my mouth, can be messy, just plain don’t like em.

Clif Shot Blocks – These ended up working well for me in training. I tried 3 flavors;

  • Black Cherry – Has Caffeine
  • Margarita – Additional Sodium
  • Strawberry – Regular formula

I carried all 3 flavors and alternated between them all.

I also found during my long runs that I was just plain getting hungry towards the end of my run, so I started to pack a power bar or protein bar with me and eating some of those around the 3 hour mark. This also helped me with digestion of the shot blocks, if I eat too many, I feel like my stomach is just full of sugar.

Electrolytes

I’m a sweater, no getting around that fact. I also seem to have a high concentration of salt in my sweat as evident by the white streaks I have on my face after a long run. This meant I was going to have to take in some sodium during my runs. The shot blocks have some, but based on my calculations, not nearly enough to replenish what you are sweating out. I played around with adding a bit of table salt to my water (not a good idea), or just carrying a few salt packets from Wendy’s or McDonalds (that worked great).

The Plan

This was the plan I had laid out before marathon day and made myself a promise to stick to it. I do think it helped, I didn’t get a huge bonk at mile 20 and felt relatively good at the end, I credit that with sticking to the following:

Breakfast
Plain English Muffin
Creamy Peanut Butter
Honey Nut Cheerios
Non Fat Milk
1/2 Cup of Coffee

30 Prior to start – Shot Block
:30 – Shot Block
1:00 – Shot Block
1:30 – Shot Block
2:00 – Shot Block
2:30 – Shot Block
2:45 – Power Bar – half
3:00 – Shot Block, Salt Packet
3:30 – Shot Block
3:50 – Shot Block, Salt Packet
4:10 – Shot Block

Water as needed, and with shot blocks

By and large I stuck to this schedule. I allowed myself to fluctuate based on how I felt. The important part for me was to be sure I was taking in fluids, fuel and electrolytes on a regular basis, small enough servings that wouldn’t blow out my stomach

Miles 22-25 things started to go a little haywire for me and I began drinking some of the ultima supplied by the aid stations and eating some of the pretzels that were supplied, but overall I was really pleased with this plan. Any changes I would make would probably be to tweak it include a sodium packet closer to the 2:00 mark, It was a warm day in Portland and that meant I was losing a lot of sodium

Anyway, that is what worked for me. Be sure to use your training runs to test everything before you apply it on raceday!