Thursday, May 21, 2020

Day 18: Well, THAT was a surprise!

I'd just got in from 5 miles in the Cherry Creek State Park, which was GORGEOUS this morning. Barely a cloud in the sky, cooler temps than the previous two days, and a nice chat with my youngest son, Ryan.

So, I send him off to head to bed (he works nights at Amazon) and decide it's shower time. I'm feeling a little down, slightly stressed, monstrously fat, and as I peel off my clothes, I'm thinking, "I'll bet I've actually GAINED weight the last couple of weeks. While I've gone like 96% plant based, I'm munching too much at night and still throwing in the occasional egg or cheese something. Let's say I'm less than perfect. 

I figured, I'm already crabby, I might as well suck it up and hit the scale and pound that extra nail into my little pity party coffin. So as I stepped up, I said, "233-34." I don't know about you, but when I am expecting a bad result on the scale, I like to say it before the scale does. I think it's to lighten the bad news. So, I step up...... the scale says 224.0. What??? That cannot be. I got off and did it again..... 224.0. Huh?????  I showered, came back out: 224.0. Huh.......... Okay.

So with a little bit of goods news (that's 17+ pounds in about 5+ weeks), I was ready to recommit to doing even better. Haven't lifted in a week. Got to get on that. Haven't done Yoga with Adrienne in about a week. Got to get on that. Need to try the 5 days of juicing....... we'll see (oh yeah, I mean, Got to get on that).

On the less than perfect side, the knee thing has become a fairly constant source of pain. At this point it seems like I really need to focus on the icing to reduce inflammation. Got to get on that. 

All in all, I guess the transformation is moving along nicely. Day 18, almost in the books.

Happy almost Memorial Day. Gonna miss the Bolder Boulder this year.....

Run on.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Day 13: Things are happening!

Plant Based Stuffed Peppers
Things are happening.

Not today. I mean, things will happen today but I just woke up so not THAT much has happened. But the week in general, has been pretty positive.

No specifics yet, but I'm either losing significant weight or redistributing it. Pants that seemed snug, or downright tight are now loose. A pair of shorts I hadn't worn in a while began creeping down my hips making movement interesting. When they settled in halfway down my rear end, I resembled a gang member, or maybe a plumber. I spent the day pulling them up (I now have a weird new found respect for anyone who actually wears their pants that way on purpose - not easy). Anyway, weight check is at the end of NEXT week. I'm preferring spreading that out as to not get discouraged by a bad day here and there.

Most everything was a little more challenging this week as I worked a BUNCH. Virtual meetings, live online classes, and the prep for them made little time for other things. What suffered the most was Yoga with Adrienne. I hope Adrienne understands, but some of what she's asking me to do is taking adaptation and some of the soreness that goes with that is keeping me from participating. And of course, I'm busy (sounding like a victim here and it's all her fault!!!).

As per usual, the running has good days and bad, but I'll still turn out about 45-48 miles for the week and I guess I'm okay with that. I still envy those who are out there cruising at any speed on knees that don't look like they hurt, or pop, or buckle. Eh, we'll fix that soon enough.

In the diet world, I'm maintaining my plant based focus. I made my not-quite-world-famous enchiladas earlier in the week and it gave me the idea for some plant based stuffed peppers. I created a "stuffing" sort of based on what we like in the enchiladas. All in all, they were great. There are a few things I'll do differently from a spice perspective next time but they were definitely a treat. Might not let them cook so long either.

The thing that seems to be blossoming the most is my commitment to, and enjoyment of my meditation practice. In fact, just the words "my meditation practice," are beginning to feel comfortable. While a big goal of meditation for many people is peace and/or calmness, I'm really getting into the mindfulness component and working on my ability to recognize and reign in the distractions in my head. 

AND...... I finished a book. While that may not seem like much of an accomplishment, I'm pretty cranked up about it. It seems that I must be picky when it comes to books as I acquire them thinking they're going to be fantastic, only to find that most authors write 200 page books and should have stopped at 100. Maybe a personal problem. Who knows?

Oh, by the way, the book was North by Scott Jurek.

So the "transformation" continues. Stay safe and run on.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Day Seven: Three Discoveries

Yesterday morning I began the first sentences of an update. Upon review, it was merely going to be a whinefest about my knee. It has not been a good knee week. So, upon even further review, I'm glad I didn't finish and publish it.

The week hasn't been that bad I suppose. Come sunset, I will have logged about 47 miles or so (not totally sure because it's only sunrise and who knows what the day holds). I will have also committed to my transformation for a day over a week. So a bad knee, while no fun, can be counter-balanced by some good.

So, back to yesterday. I hit the bed Friday night with legs that were just plain dead. I mean, finished-a-marathon dead and I had only gotten in 10 miles. I knew my resting heart rate the next morning would be sky high and my planned easy day was going to be miserable. 

Then, I woke up. 

I guess my first discovery wasn't actually a discovery, rather a reaffirmation, or re-discovery. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that a discovery is, 
"an act of finding out or learning of for the first time." So, by definition this one maybe won't count as this particular discovery has been discovered before. AND......, I should add here that says that discovery is, "the act or instance of discovering."  REALLY?  That's as good as they could do, defining a word by nearly using the exact same word? Lame. I digress.

As mentioned a few posts ago, I track my resting heart rate. The target for a while has been sub-50. Unfortunately, once hit, I jumped back to 51, 52, and was totally ready for a 56 given the state upon which I called it a night. But there it was...... 47. The first step in re-discovery/discovery #1: our bodies are amazing recovery machines. I did my yoga and felt great and felt equally fantastic for my entire five miles. Sore knee? Not me.

Discovery #2 was, perhaps only moderately ground breaking. I have run in the Cherry Creek State Park thousands of times since moving to this area in 2004, or maybe it was 2003. I know this place like the back of my hand. Yet, yesterday, I discovered a new trail. Not like, new-new. I'd seen it existed before I had just never actually ran it. It was fabulous.

It's a wonderful time right now in the CCSP. Spring has things blooming all over the place and a little snow melt in the hills is filling the streams and turning them into wonderfully noisy things, like little kids when they're playing and having a blast. 

I was pretty sure that this "new" trail wasn't going to be long and I had a good idea where it emerged. Nonetheless, I was surprised how just getting off the main trail a little brought about so much silence, so much peace. I like that. Some nicely placed log jumps, a small meadow, and it eventually paralleling the creek, made it WAY fun.

Discovery #3 came about as a complete surprise and a result of Discovery #2. I was about 150 yards from my newfound trail intersecting the main drag when I had to maneuver a thigh-high log obstacle. I stepped over, looked ahead, then looked back and thought, "this would be a good place for an outdoor meditation." SO.... long story short, that's what I did. It was completely and amazingly different.

I've seen those people along the trail meditating on the rock, the tree, the ground. They always looked artificial to me, like they wanted to be seen meditating out in the wilderness. But, oh well, no judgment here. Just do it. Who cares who sees (now I know that's how those "artificial meditators thought about it too - maybe Discovery #4?)?

Normally I do my meditation practice in my office. It's isolated from the rest of the house and as such much quieter. When Andy (Puddicombe, founder of Headspace), says to be aware of the noises around me, 99% of the time there is nothing there. But out in the wild: birds, the creek, the occasional airplane, the leaves in the breeze. So what was I supposed to do? Should I have deserted my breath and zoomed in on the babbling brook seeking a connection with each drop of water making its way downstream? Was I supposed to block it all out, but in my mind ruining my whole great idea to meditate in this beautiful setting?

So, I did both. It was great. Don't know if it was right or wrong, I only know ta it was perfect for me right at that moment. That is what meditation is about, the moment.

The rest of the run was just me, my thoughts, my at-least-for-the-day good knee. Nice. 

Three discoveries. AWESOME day.

Run on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Day 3: The Other Side of Hydration

Water, Water, Everywhere, but man I gotta pee.

In one easy sentence therein lies the downside of hydration. I mean, I've done this before and I knew what was going to happen if I drastically increased my H2O intake. Unfortunately, knowing is not coping.

So, today I went for 6 miles at about 11:45 am. Shouldn't be a big deal, right? Well, it is if you've already consumed 70 oz of water. There are runs you could take where having to pee three times wouldn't be a big deal and there are runs where finding a place to go ONCE would be a monstrous challenge. Today, was the latter. The answer? The answer is better planning of the delicate balance between run, water, pee. 

I have the evening nailed. I tend to stop drinking around 6:30 pm and generally make it through the night without incident. So, it's just a mater of properly managing the run with the hydration. I'll get it. Is this getting too personal? We're all runners here, right?

In other news, the meditation thing is getting much more comfortable, but the yoga on day 3 has hit the wall. My body parts this morning were saying, "Hey, we know what you're trying to do here, but NO, we're tight and tired and we like it that way." Knowing as I do the tight gap between gotta and wanna, I press on.

Had a very rough day running yesterday. My knee actually buckled out from under me three times. The first was bad enough that a passerby biking lady asked if I was okay. Hmmmm, I've been better. 

So everything else is great. I won't do a weight check until Sunday but am optimistic about the week's results. 

Much to be grateful for, and I am.

Run on.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

BONUS Day One recipe!!!

Holy Buckets!!! Made this plant based enchiladas tonight and it was delish!!!

1 can of organic black beans
1/2 can organic corn
2 cups almond cheese 1- cheddar 1- japlapeno
3/4 cup cooked rice
3/4 cup chopped red pepper
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup cilantro
1 TBSP Vegan butter
1 tsp organic oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small lime
1 can Organic enchilada sauce 

Organic corn tortillas

  • Heat everything on a large skillet (except rice and cheese) until colorful and ready.
  • Mix in skillet makings with rice, and cheese and wrap in tortillas.
  • Cover in enchilada sauce and cheese to taste and bake roughly 25 minutes at 350 (mine was at 5700 feet altitude). 
Add topping to taste (Linda smothered hers in more cilantro - I went for shredded lettuce).

Transformation: Day One, or so.....

This picture from 2000 hangs on the fridge
and in my office. Roughly 175 here.
It was Gary Vaynerchuk who said, "Document, don't create." So here it is, the documenting of my transformation. I'll more than likely be chronicling here twice a week or so. I like this venue because this documenting is really for me rather than some public hype thing. Given RunSpittle's moderate readership, I'll be safe here. So, here goes.....

If we were being completely true, Transformation Day might have been about ten days ago. 
Or it might have been Tuesday. Anyway, Since the outset of the pandemic, I have eliminated red meat and chicken from the home menu. In the last ten days I have gotten much tougher on the cheese and sugar stuff. Yesterday, I have decided that between now and my birthday (Nov 6), I will undergo a complete physical/health transformation.

This decision has been stalled for some time. But a meeting of various forces interconnected in the universe brought it to the forefront yesterday. I blame three people: My wife Linda, Rich Roll, and Scott Jurek. My wife has been 99% plant based for way over two years (occasionally having the cheese cheat). Her hounding and semi-preaching may have paid off. Roll and Jurek just happened to show up yesterday at the right time (and maybe I blame Lindsey Hein's Friday podcast with Jurek too).

So, back to Tuesday. Tuesday evening, after a long week of weird back pain, the real pain hit. And it hit hard. It took me all of five minutes to remember 28 years ago...... kidney stone. It was a ROUGH night. The next day was greeted with LOTS of water and a mild WebMD recommended pain reliever. The pain was a hair stubborn for a few days, but in the end subsided through daily drowning. I guess THAT was the thing that really put me over the edge.  My dehydrated, junked out, sugared up body needed an intervention.

So without lingering around the negatives, here's what happening:

1. I will, of course, continue Running, Jogging, Walking. After the last few weeks, I'm easily at 40-45 miles a week and will hover on either side of that fuzzy line for awhile. A bright thing that has been a result of the last five weeks of mileage has been a nice drop in my resting heart rate. In my young fit skinnier days, I'd sit around 42 ish most of the time. Lately, a well rested night was a 52 or 53. It has slowly been coming down to where my first sub 50 reading was yesterday, and today we hit 47.

2. Weight. It's GOT to come off and so far is. Three weeks ago, I was at a robust 240.6. Usually in my twilight years, I've ranged between 225-35. The highest I have ever been was 245 SO...... too close for comfort. Last week 235.8, today 229.6. The goal, if I were being honest, is 169 by my 69th birthday (seems like an easy matching).

3. WeightS. Yeah strength training and some hip flexor work (found a great routing on youtube by NAU coach Mike Smith).

4. Water. Half my body weight in ounces. Easy, making the habit happen.

Crow Pose by Adrienne
Maybe Later!
5. Plants. I'm not committing to anything really other than staying away from meat, dairy, sugar (processed), soda, and general bad things. I don't plan on giving it a label as to not upset any carnivorous friends and relatives. The five day juicing is coming as well, maybe this coming week.

6. Supplements. While plants can reverse all kinds of ailments, I'm giving my knee extra help with Glucosamine. The rest of me is adding B12, C, Zinc, and D something that I don't remember right now. 

7. Meditation and What?????. I've dabbled in the Headspace app for over a year, but have really found myself getting into a nice groove the last week. I'm finding some nice tips for better focus and it's been really helping in my world of ZOOM classes. And WHAT? Yoga with Adrienne. FINALLY found a nice beginning yoga routine that should really help physically AND mentally. My goal is to do the Crow pose by my birthday.

All in all, I may do all of this and be hit by a bus on Nov 7. No problem. I'll be a gorgeous corpse......

Friday, May 1, 2020

Grateful Running in the Pandemic.

It's interesting the subtle change. It's not just today or last week, because it can also happen in that race when, for awhile, you've been reduced to a walk. You're going along and you think, "well this isn't so bad," OR you're thinking, "Man, walking sucks." Then all of a sudden, the walk becomes a jog, a run, a jaunt..... then in that next moment, it's completely different and you know it.

In the weeks when my "someday to be replaced knee" reduced me to only walking, I had decided that it was okay. Walking was exercise, right? I could burn calories, cover some ground, get some exercise and take care of this movement fix I've had since childhood. That would all be just fine. Then...... one day I had the urge. I broke into a jog and everything changed, everything.

I can't really describe it. And there are plenty of people who feel the same way about walking, or riding, or maybe even skipping. But I don't. To me, I can't find the walk rhythm, no flow, over stride, not sure what to do with my hands and arms. Running, it's different. It feels different. It sounds different, and even when done as slowly as I am presently doing it, it LOOKS different. And at this time, after all these years and all these miles, it's like home. The run makes the exercise okay. 

In fact, the run makes the world okay.

So on this May 1st, 2020, I am GRATEFUL that somehow I have brought myself out of the walk world and am back where I belong.... in the run world. It's improved my attitude, it's made me easier to get along with, it's given me a more positive outlook (which is hard to do because I'm pretty positive), it's made this pandemic easier, and it's, frankly, just made me feel like me.

The day I ran my 100,000 mile I wrote, "Running was/is a simple activity, cyclical in its nature. One foot placed in front of the next in order to move forward: to cover ground, to open my mind, to allow me opportunities to escape my troubles or celebrate my triumphs. Mostly, to connect me to and strengthen my relationship with this planet upon which I exist. For that, I am ecstatically, humbly grateful."

It's still true.

I've read the social media posts of the elite and "serious" runners who seem to be uncomfortable just running during this time of doubt. They lament over missed opportunities, races cancelled, medals lost. I get that, I really do. If I were elite and saw the Olympics being moved from my grasp and placed in this unknown spot, I wouldn't like it either. In some cases, significant income is being lost, and I wouldn't like it either. Not just elites, too. If I were faster, well trained and was missing the chance to run Boston, Chicago, London, Berlin, New York, I wouldn't like this a bit. My memory is good enough to remember THAT kind of serious and I wouldn't have liked it at all.

But maybe, just maybe, if that stuff is all our wagon is hitched to, well, we've grabbed the wrong wagon. At least that's how I see it. And maybe, just maybe, that comes from the years of having to find the bigger reasons to engage in this activity because being fast went by the wayside years ago. HA, maybe it's jealousy. Couldn't tell you for sure. And in the end, I guess I can only do me.

But in the end, I'm really thankful I found this incredible activity so many years ago. And I, like all of you, have no idea what tomorrow brings. Whatever it brings, I'd like to greet it running; fast, slow, real slow......... I don't care.

I'll greet it whatever way I can.

Run on.

Running Bucket List? Yeah, I've Still Got One.

June has arrived and the weather has made a change to FABULOUS. Moisture and chilly was much of May (sounded like Yoda said that), but the w...