Saturday, February 1, 2014


It's February! Sort of an exciting month for me, given that it's the month I will turn 40. FORTY. Part of me is super proud to turn 40 and feel like I'm in such a good spot in my life, but still, FORTY sounds so.damn.old and how is it that *I* am that old already??

I know I know... tons of women are awesome at 40, even better than when they were 30... and I think I fall into that category too... I can honestly say that at 40 I'm in a better place all around than I was when I turned 30! But it's still just weird because 40 sounds old but I don't feel old.

And even at 40, I still find myself trying to learn more about anything and everything! I find myself more than ever wanting to challenge some of my own personal long held beliefs... So I experiment on myself and pay attention and see how it all works out. With the Nutrition Challenge I took on a few weeks ago my current experiment has me eating lower and lower carb diet and while all my previous experience and knowledge would lead me to believe I'd be bonking left and right on all my workouts, experience right now is disproving that, which I find quite interesting.

I'm not like in ketosis or anything (and don't worry I am NOT starving myself!!), but my carb intake recently has been limited mostly to fruit and maybe 1/2 a sweet potato here or there. And in the first 7 days I ate this way I definitely finished workouts with less energy than I started, but this past week I've noticed a shift for sure. I feel quite steady energy all day, even during shorter workouts of higher intensity, and have experienced no bonking at all. I get tired still, but it's not the type of tired that feels like it could be cured by a Coke... it's more the type of tired that is cured simply by rest, you know? I think there is a difference.

Yesterday morning we swam 5K. The intent of that- since it was a long workout- was that it would all be relaxed effort but as it goes when 4 athletes are swimming together, it all ended up being a race harder than I intended... part of me was happy that I was capable of putting out a decent effort for that long, but then since I was trashed for the rest of the day, I'd have to admit that it was too hard of an effort given my current fitness level in the water. BUT it didn't feel like I needed sugar to fix it. So I think that's a plus!

I'm still doing a lot of my running at MAF and it's super cool to watch the improvement come little by little. I've repeated the same 'long' run route the last few weeks... watching HR and strictly capping it at MAF which requires walking up some of the longer/steeper hills... Frustrating at first for sure but SO WORTH IT when you see how much better you feel a month later! First time I ran this route (3 weeks ago) it took me 1:46. The following week it was 1:42, then last week 1:39 and today 1:37! Same HR each time. Today I could feel I was moving along faster than before but it wasn't harder which was super cool. And since it's all at MAF I know I'm running at an effort that allows my body to utilize mostly fat for fuel... In an experiment of N=1, I'm purposely choosing to skip carbs before and after just to see what happens and how I feel and surprisingly (shockingly, really!) I can say I feel fine! I definitely remember a time when I would have taken a gel for any run of 90' or more but I don't feel like my body requires that anymore which is pretty cool. I am consuming a much higher amount of fat and protein and still a TON of plants so I don't feel like I'm depriving my body of nutrition, but I am withholding added sugar that I've always believed athletes NEED to survive. Turns out, at least in my case, I don't need sugar like I thought!

I don't envision myself trying to race without carbs this year, and when I start doing higher intensity training sessions I'll make sure I am fueling them so I can get the most out of myself, but for right now I am enjoying this little fueling experiment. I definitely don't think all athletes need to experiment with this, but right now I'm enjoying my ability to disprove some of my own long held and very firm beliefs about nutrition and fueling...

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