Did You Dream?

When you were a kid, did you dream? Did you want to do something, be someone, go somewhere you never thought possible?

Have you seen those dreams into reality? Given up? Or still working on them?

When I was a kid I learned at a very young age to compare myself to the best. I was a perfectionist who never reached perfection in any one area. I wanted to do and be and go and see so many things and places that I never took the time to focus on just one. I think I had the ability to be amazing at one particular thing, but I never finished exploring my options to hone in on one thing, and so here I am. Talented and skilled, educated and capable, well-traveled and wise but not an expert in anything.

In high school I knew I wasn’t a great runner. But I loved to run when it was in season. I also loved softball when that was in season, so I never really had the chance to see what I was truly capable of in XC.

In college I improved quite a bit but instead of comparing myself to my former self, I compared myself to the women who were winning. And who had full scholarships to D1 schools. I never let it in that I was decent at running. And therefore I never really allowed my true potential to surface.

I lived too much in the here & now. I wasn’t willing to make investments in myself by running through the seasons, fueling my body appropriately and taking care of myself.

That’s going to change. One thing I’ve learned this year and through so many years of running is that life has many seasons. I’ve referred to this past year many times as the season of regrowth. It wasn’t important that I did well, it was only important that I did it. I had been stuck in a 1+ year-long rut and needed to get out.

I’m out. And now I’m working on getting my insides healthy and stable so I can begin training for my 3rd marathon. I dare to set the goal to break 4 hours at this marathon because I am finally willing to invest in myself long-term. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon “someday” and also “someday” I’d like to finish an Ironman triathlon.

So next year is an investment year. I want to make this investment in myself. I dare to believe in myself and in my potential. I no longer compare myself to professional runners. And the alternative to that is not the extreme opposite end. Because I somehow started believing that if I wasn’t a professional runner, I must be one of the weekend warriors who are happy to finish last (no offense – glad you’re all out there!).

Truth is, I am competitive and I enjoy pushing myself to be my best. I am not the best and I am okay with that. But what I am not okay with is being less than my best. So that season of my life is over.

Today was day four of the candida detox and I am feeling the changes. I don’t feel great, but I didn’t expect to. I don’t expect to for a while. But I am eating and excited to eat. And my food choices are thoughtful and careful and the foods I’m putting into my body are medicine to my condition. And it feels good that my food has purpose.

And the relative torture I’m dealing with now is an investment in my tomorrow self. Healthier, stronger, happier.

So I want to know. Were you a dreamer as a kid?

It’s Only Been a Couple Days

It’s only been a couple days, but I woke up this morning feeling better than I’ve felt in months. And I decided to step on the scale, because I am doing that now every morning.

For the past several months I have been feeling yuck. Beyond yuck. Digestive woes at the head of my problem, I wasn’t sure what was going on. Stress. I caused a lot of stress in my life from putting too much pressure on myself.

Acid reflux came on suddenly in addition to the digestive issues I was having. And I started taking a prescription antacid in hopes that it would relieve the acid reflux. Digestive woes remained.

Did I have IBS? It didn’t align with other symptoms, but was the only thing I could think of. But alas, no.

I cut out gluten which initially I thought was the answer. Until it became very clear that it wasn’t.

My weight would not budge. I honestly thought that this past summer of training would have reflected in the scale. But it wasn’t. Didn’t matter what I ate or didn’t eat. Calories in, more calories out. The weight stayed the same. And I continued to feel gross.

On Sunday I ran the Monster Dash 10k, for fun. Except my 10k turned into a 5k, as death was creeping over my body. I felt the worst I’ve ever felt. I honestly don’t think I could have run another loop to round out the race. Later that day I took a nap, which I can rarely do. And I woke up feeling more sore than I did after my Olympic triathlon and more sore after my last marathon. I was facing certain death.

Except I was fairly certain what was going on. And here’s where things turn good.

Frustrated, and tired of feeling sick, I walked into Natural Grocers to buy something. Anything. God, help me. I just need my insides back.

After a brief conversation with the Vitamins & Supplements Associate, it became obvious to me what was going on, and in one small fraction of my brain I felt silly for not seeing this sooner or on my own. But the symptoms were different than I had experienced in the past.

Candida overgrowth in my gut. An imbalance of good bacteria (not enough) and yeast cells (setting up camp) was zapping my energy, causing nutrient malabsorption, and weight gain (or lack of weight loss, anyway). Because according to MyFitnessPal, if every day were like today I’d be a super model by now. But instead the scale doesn’t budge.

I started a high dose of probiotic. Best time to take it is 30 minutes before eating. I stopped taking the antacid. Apparently antacids do not actually lower acid in stomach. And one of the causes of a candida overgrowth (besides stress) is a high-acid diet. I cut out all sugars. No grains, no dairy, no fruit (gasp!), no caffeine, no alcohol, no vinegars. No foods that have been dried, smoked or cured.

Focus not on what you can’t have, but on what you can have. These foods are helping the yeast thrive. And until I can get my army of good bacteria restored and in fighting position, I need to starve and eliminate the enemy.

I felt near death the first two days of aggressive treatment. There is a certain feeling of a yeast die-off effect. And it’s much like the flu. Fatigue like I have never experienced. Brain fog. Aches and pains. If I could have slept through it, I would have. But life goes on. I’m sure it’s not done. I just woke up feeling particularly good this morning and needed to share.

Here’s why.

There are two parts. I’ll share how they came to me. I decided to weigh myself and take measurements of my belly, which has felt swollen and gross for way too long. I wanted to see the effects of this internal change.

This morning I was down 1.2 pounds from yesterday, and yesterday I was down 1.6 pounds from Sunday. 2.8 pounds in 2 days. Inflammation, good bye.

I got back in bed and decided to end my alarm, which I use through a sleep app called Sleep Cycle. And I was blown away.

The following images show a cropped version of the stats screen from one night of sleep data collected by this little gem of an app. It measures your movement in bed. One roll over it doesn’t assume you’re in a light sleep, but if you are tossing and turning or literally getting out of bed, it senses that and marks the data appropriately.

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To some, this data may look like I’m sleeping soundly. Because I go to bed early, I usually get a good ranking of sleep. That’s based on time in bed. I guess laying there awake is more restful than not being in bed at all.

But then there was last night.

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And no wonder I woke up feeling like I had actually slept. Because I actually did.

It’s only been a couple days, but it’s working. Life is slowly returning to my body.

I owe the good sleep in part to Natural Calm, a powdered magnesium supplement I had started taking on Sunday as well. But the rest is the change in my diet and the beginning of the civil war going on inside my gut. I know the good soldiers are winning.

Here’s what I ate yesterday. I did not starve myself at all. Aside from caffeine withdrawals and brain fog, I mostly felt ok.

Black bean soup (questionable) with plain yogurt (the only dairy I’m allowed, along with Kefir) for lunch. Almonds for snack. Grass-fed beef patty with a layer of plain yogurt and topped with a fried egg cooked in coconut oil for dinner. I can’t explain why that tasted so good, but it did. So good. Quinoa cooked with coconut oil and green beans, lightly salted with real sea salt.

This morning will be eggs and veggies and a little quinoa.

And for snack today, celery with almond butter.

Did you know that buckwheat is a seed, not a grain? Because of this, I will be able to eat the coconut bread I made last year. It’s my antifungal bread. I can’t wait to eat it with eggs for breakfast. Just need to buy coconut flour and buckwheat flour and get baking.

So happy to be getting my body back. What a long and frustrating battle it’s been. I have one more race, a half marathon, on Sunday. And then I get a break from endurance training while I really tackle this head-on. December 28th, marathon training begins. And hopefully by then I will have my insides figured out and will be able to reintroduce some sugars without anything going too horribly wrong.

Nerding Out

I’m sitting here over a plate of quinoa pasta and veggie sauce, trying to figure out how to intertwine my marathon training with my half ironman training, and the volunteer duties I’m scheduled for indefinitely. When do I fit in strength training? And yoga? And walking my dog? And sleep? Do I have to go to work?

In order to allow 18 weeks of solid training for the Bend Marathon on April 26th, I’ll need to start my official training program on December 28th. After the marathon, I’ll have exactly two weeks to prepare for the Pacific Crest Long Course Triathlon.

Oh, by the way. I decided to do the Pacific Crest Half Ironman (referred to as a “long course triathlon” because it’s not technically an Ironman-brand race). It’s June 27th and won’t require travel costs since it’s right in Sunriver, and I will be able to train on the course. So that’s that.

I’m picking up Hal Higdon’s Intermediate #1 marathon training program. Between Novice & Experienced. Novice programs bore me, even though ‘technically’ it’s been 6 years since my last marathon and I don’t have a super great base.

Well anyway. I can’t follow his program to the T because I really can’t skip biking altogether. And I have an obligation on Mondays and Wednesday’s to volunteer in the Deep Water Running class at Juniper. 50 minutes of deep water running is most certainly a workout.

My plan is to add one swim workout and one bike workout each week. This will keep my focus on running without completely ignoring the bike or the pool. I will also add two strength circuits and I will do my best to include a nightly 10-minute yoga session. Cringe if you must, but I cannot dedicate 45-60 minutes to yoga. However, ten minutes of focused stretching before bed each night will help me sleep and keep me loose.

The first week looks like this, and each successive week is similar but with increasing distances:

M: cross train
T: 3 mile run
W: 5 mile run
H: 3 mile run
F: rest
Sa: 5 mile run @ race pace
Su: 8 mile run

The two 3 mile runs, on Tues and Thurs never get longer than 5 miles during the 18-week training plan. Wednesday & Saturday mileage climbs to 8 and 20 miles, respectively. And Friday focuses a lot on running the specific pace you plan to run on race day. So those three runs shouldn’t be altered. I will most definitely need a rest day and Friday is a good one!

So, after careful consideration, I have modified the training program to look like this:

M: Deep Water Run + 30min swim + 10m yoga @ bed
T: 3 mile run + strength circuit #1 + 10m yoga @ bed
W: Deep Water Running + 60min bike + 10m yoga @ bed
H: 5 mile run + strength circuit #2 + 10m yoga @ bed
F: rest + 10m yoga @ bed
Sa: 5 mile run @ race pace + 10m yoga @ bed
Su: 8 mile run + 10m yoga @ bed

My plan is to start the training program the week after Happy Girls Run (half marathon) – next Monday – and stick to this mileage/time until the program really starts. This way I’ll have a chance to test the schedule against my actual life and make adjustments as needed without cutting into the actual training program.

The strength circuits are adapted from Racing Weight: A Quick Start Guide by Matt Fitzgerald. Up next: nutrition, meal planning, supplements and hydration.

I’m considering hiring a swim coach to work with me but I might do that after the marathon and take advantage of the two months post-marathon to improve my swim. Consistency through the winter months will be better than what I’ve done in the past.

Ok! Now I’m starting to feel ready!

How do I do Both?

Here’s the question. Can I train for two different long-distance races in the same season? I’m not talking about two marathons, but a marathon and a half ironman.

When you look at training programs, they’re designed to focus on one event, and all your training sessions are geared to help you get ready for that one event. I’ve considered choosing a tried-and-true marathon training program and plugging in extra workouts so I don’t completely abandon biking and running. But will I be rested enough to keep up with high mileage running?

I don’t know.

This is what I love to do. Help people achieve goals. So I am not going to let myself get in my own way. I’m just going to write a program for my client, taking into consideration her goals and her schedule and other needs and go from there.

In 2015 I would really like to run a marathon and finish my first half ironman triathlon.

So today I have the books and blank pages out. I got my bike set up for winter indoor training in the non-insulated unfinished spare room and I think it’s going to be a great set up for me!

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I also updated my 2015 race goals and agenda. It needs some amending but if you’re interested, check it out! The link is at the top of my page.

Cheers!

How Are You?

How are you, anyway? I feel like all I do is talk about myself on here. My goals, my struggles, my determination, my successes.. some of you respond with what’s going on in your life, but most just keep the focus on me..

I want to know what you’re up to.

Are you coming up on a big race, to close out your 2014 season? Are you past it? Injured? Recovering from something amazing? What are you thinking about for 2015? If you had to set three goals for 2015 today, and they had to include easychallenging, and near impossible, what would you choose?

I’ve been focusing a lot on my 2015 racing season so I can get started on my training programs. It helps to know what you want to do before you decide how to go about doing it.

Is there a new technique, piece of equipment, race, personal habit, or food you’d like to try in 2015?

Just curious about you.. please take a few minutes to respond! I would like that a lot!

Cheers!

trikatykid

The Universe Wants You Running

Last night I won a $250 gift bag from Fleet Feet Bend at a Pink Palooza party, which was designed to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. October is breast cancer awareness month.

I can’t believe I won. I caught myself saying to my mom, “I never win anything.” and then I realized how untrue that was.

It started a couple years ago when I won a $70 gift certificate to a gear store in Portland for my 2nd place performance at the Ride, Row, Run in Maupin, Oregon. I had finished 4th overall, and 2nd for women. It was both an honor and a surprise, and that was the last time I raced in 2012, and 2013..

2013 was a very difficult year for me. I lacked motivation to try, and when I was able to overcome that initial barrier, I lacked desire to suffer. I basically quit on myself. I gained 25-30 pounds and I was miserable. I hated my job because it was keeping me from being active and I resented my paycheck because it never had enough extra to pay for a gym membership or a race entry fee or new running shoes.

And then one day in early 2014, I decided I was tired of my own voice. I got a sales bonus at work and before I could divvy it up between bills, I bought new running shoes. I registered for my first race in a year and a half – the Dirty Half – a trail half marathon in spring.

Between tutoring and sales bonuses at work, I was able to once again invest money in my own health through races and triathlon gear. I started volunteering at Juniper Swim and Fitness in deep water running and was able to build a base without risking injury. I was recruited to coach a running group on Saturdays, and that has been the best thing for my running since who knows when.

After taking an entire year off, this year I raced:

Dirty Half (13.1)
Deschutes Dash (1st Olympic triathlon)
Swim Across Suttle (1.3 mile swim)
Portland Triathlon (Olympic Duathlon)
Zombie Run (5k – tonight!)
Monster Dash (10k – next Sunday)
Happy Girls Run (2 Sundays)

Not to mention my birthday triathlon which was amazing.

Last spring I won a gift bag from Lay it Out Events for a running photo I submitted. This fall I won an entry into the Happy Girls Run half marathon based on an essay I wrote about what running means to me and how much I need it in my life. I earned an entry into the Monster Dash for my volunteer duties as a running coach. Last month when I was in Portland, I cashed in my gift certificate for a hammock, which I absolutely love. And so last night when I won $140 running shoes, a pass to Crater Lake Vodka for 6 people, and an entry into the spring training program (which was already regifted because I am a coach), I was wrong when I said I don’t ever win..

I am not at my potential. I still have about 10-15 pounds to lose to be where I was at the triathlon in 2012, and another 10 from where I really want to be. But I am moving again. I am involved. I appreciate my job because it allows me to live in this beautiful runner-loving town of mine. I appreciate when I have extra money and I have learned that investing this money into my own health and happiness is the best investment I could ever make.

I did not just win shoes and race entries and hammocks and other great prizes this year; I won my life back. And I am so grateful that the universe obviously wants me running.