Six Things Saturday – March 22

Spring Like Running

Happy weekend! As I mentioned, this weekend is going to be crazy between prom and my son’s DJ gig and everything else going on!I wanted to thank everyone for all of the great comments and messages over the last few days, and also apologize that I haven’t remotely caught up on replying or even reading all of the blogs in my queue … as I mentioned yesterday I am happy that

Today everything isn’t necessary directly related to running, but for me it is all linked together – diet and exercise are part of a larger whole, so I wanted to include all of them!

Running this week … has been a dream of spring-like mornings! To the point where I was happily willing to give up plans to run at all this weekend. So let’s get right to it!

1. Boston Marathon Survivor Dances Again

This is one of those ‘strength of the human spirit’ stories. Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing, had a bionic one built for her by Huge Herr from the Biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab.

At the TED conference in British Columbia she appeared as a guest of Herr, then broke out into a rhumba on stage with a dance partner! Amazing stuff that is a reminder of the resilience of the human body and the amazing innovation that is possible.

Check out the whole story here.

2. Who CARES If You Are Slow?!?

I have talked many times how I ran by myself for the first 23 years, only joining the running community in 2012 – and one of the biggest reasons was being embarrassed because I was slow. Of course, once I actually started running in public I realized that I wasn’t nearly as slow as I thought … but more importantly I realized that it DOESN’T MATTER! There is a great article from Jeff Gaudette at Competitor that is making the rounds this week, and came back to me the other day again from my local running group’s email list. Here is a bit of why he says not to worry:

What’s Wrong With Being ‘Slow?’
OK, so I can’t convince you that being “slow” is all a frame of reference. So I’ll ask you, why does being slow even matter?

Runners are perhaps the most welcoming and friendly group of athletes I’ve ever met. No runner I know has a problem slowing down to run with a friend. Think about it. Would you enjoy a run with a friend, even if you had to slow down considerably for them to keep up? I bet you would, and your running group feels the same.

In the email discussion, here is what one person noted that really resonated with me:

Also, when the 8 minute milers call themselves “slow,” the 10 minute milers stick to running in secret, and the 12 minute milers just bag it. It’s like when the size 6, 5’7″ women call themselves “fat.”

It was funny reading this, because just this last week or so I have seen people who are hoping to break 4 hours for a marathon talking about their long runs and an ‘easy 9 minute pace’. Quick math shows a bit of cognitive dissonance … and maybe a little dishonesty because the person is aspiring to a faster pace or is concerned about how their actual pace will be judged. Of course sometimes we can be faster over a 10 mile run than we’ll manage on a marathon distance, but my point is that we should be proud of who we are and what we do, not try to manipulate things to appear as someone we are not.

What do YOU think?

3. Food Allergies and Intolerances

As I have noted before, these last several weeks we have been working on Lisa’s food allergy and intolerance issues. After working with her allergist we started a Paleo diet, made more difficult by her nut allergy, which killed off a large chunk of how Paleo people get their sweets and snacks. Add in a very strong tree fruit (esp. apples) allergy and low-level coconut allergy … and it cuts into her possible ingredient list significantly. To the point where we could make exactly ZERO of the desserts from a popular ’49 Go To Paleo Friendly Desserts’ list.

Over time we have added things back one at a time, which told us two things: the childhood lactose intolerance never really ‘went away’ as much as it lessened, and she has an intolerance to gluten.

Interestingly, things like spinach that she thought caused some reactions in her digestive system were much better when eaten WITHOUT gluten or dairy. This brings home something I always remind people (and why I hate ‘one at a time’ testing) – complex systems are complex. They have non-linear behavior and complex interactions. An interaction means how one thing impacts is dependent on the levels of other factors. It is an absolute truth in manufacturing processes (job security for me 🙂 ) and also true in our body!

So this Friday we had a follow-up with the allergist. Lisa was supposed to have multiple tests, but the minute she went off her allergy meds to prepare she broke out in hives, so they had to limit what they tested. As a result, the information the doctor got was … underwhelming. Yesterday I would have called it a complete waste of time, but really all he did was to confirm everything we had learned … she has to stay on her meds and limit of eliminate gluten, dairy and processed sugars (she reacted to fat free half & half MUCH more than normal half & half, for example, with the difference being HFCS).

And since apparently Megan is becoming a weekend fixture, I wanted to point to her blog post from yesterday for a couple of reasons. First off, it is well written and provides loads of information and context that anyone with food issues. But the comments … are amazing. Everyone has come in to share their stories and what they have learned. Definitely worth checking out!

4. Weight Loss and Running

I have mentioned how this week I have been better about not bringing the computer to bed, and also about getting out there running first thing. The immediate result is that my daily mileage increased from ~7 to ~9 miles. And my work has had less ‘desk time’ and more scrambling around physically. Yet I was working the exact same eating regimen, and noticing that having a glass of wine after dinner with Lisa I would find myself at 9PM grabbing a few pretzels – totally unlike me. That told me my intake wasn’t keeping up with my added burn – so I added almonds to my afternoon snack, and found that helped.

The whole thing around exercise and food and weight loss is always a balancing act, which was brought up again this week at Runner’s World, in a frequently repeated theme of ‘why more miles doesn’t always lead to weight loss’:

You go for a 10-mile run, come home starving, and inhale a stack of whole-grain pancakes, a smoothie, eggs, bacon, toast, and a few well-earned cookies. Oops, you’ve eaten 1,200 calories—a few hundred more than you burned on the run.

What are your strategies for keeping eating under control when changing your running patterns? I know many people have found they gain a few pounds training for a marathon … how about switching between distances?

5. How Anyone Can Learn to Cook

One of the worst excuses I hear from people who eat out a lot or eat processed or pre-packaged foods is that they just can’t cook (as well as ‘there is no time). An article at Greatist this week debunks all of that, talking about how to get past the excuses and just start cooking. Here is part of one suggestion (check out the article for all of the explanations, I just copied the headers):

The Excuse: I’m Just a Bad Cook; It’s in my Blood

Get your facts straight.

Cultivate your intuition.

Remember what you’ve learned.

Why is this important and what does it have to do with running? When you prepare your food you are accountable for your intake, you control your ingredients and portions, and you learn about what works and doesn’t work for fueling your body. For me, the last couple of years of learning more about nutrition and eating properly balanced meals of whole, real foods has made huge improvements to everything about my body.

How have your exercise and eating habits worked together for – or against – your health?

6. Exercise Myths Busted

Another subject that comes up all the time are whether or not certain ‘truths’ are actually true. Just this week I had someone asking me about my knees … since ‘running is bad for your knees’. I had to give a quick explanation, but it is a reminder that sometimes we need to hear these things again and again before they sink in. CNN has a great article with some myths and surprising facts:

Surprising fact: Skipping sleep can cause weight gain.
Women in an American Journal of Epidemiology study who slept less than seven hours were more likely to gain weight; other research has shown that even partial sleep deprivation ups production of the hormone ghrelin, which triggers hunger.

There are all the usual exercise myths busted, but this is one I am personally working on – listening to my body, and keeping the laptop stimulant away at bedtime. The result is I get about 10 pages read in my book every night before feeling ready for sleep – and getting at least 30 minutes more sleep each night!

Bonus. How Vegans Get Protein

While we have been doing Paleo, which means our freezer is more full of meat than ever – and also that we have found an amazing butcher who only gets REAL meats from fresh, safe sources – learning alternate sources of ALL types of nutrition is something we should all strive to do. Here is a cool info graphic from PETA:

Wondering About a Vegan Diet? – An infographic by the team at PETA


9 thoughts on “Six Things Saturday – March 22

  1. Sleep is something that I’m still working on – I have trouble shutting things off at night and that includes my brain! I hope that you can figure out exactly what diet helps Lisa – having restricted food is so hard, but I have to think that once you guys figure it out, it’ll be so much better (spoken from experience)! I definitely think it just shows how complicated our bodies are, and it makes me think that the “food combination” folks might have something to their theories!

    • Thanks Laura – I think we are at an 80% solution with Lisa … the problems are breakfasts take forever to cook (compared to just having a yogurt) and a lack of desserts. We are working on it – rice is working well so we got rice flower. Will be interesting to see how that goes!

  2. I love the one about so what if your slow. I just read someone on my facebook post that even though some people many innocently run an 8 minute mile and complain about how slow they are, they don’t realize what they are doing those who run 9 or 10 minutes miles. We are all at our own pace and there is nothing wrong with that. I’ve already fallen back into that, because I am much slower coming back to running and seeing others who are faster and saying they feel slow makes me feel bad – Even though it shouldn’t!

    I think we should all just be aware of what we are saying.

    • Definitely Sara – and I think that in your case you not only see others, you have Wes and your own history adding pressure to what you ‘should be’ doing … but it is important to remember that staying healthy and enjoying running should be the top most important things.

  3. Haha, was just about to publish my 7 Things Sunday post for tomorrow, and stopped by to make sure I wasn’t “stealing” your articles again … yep, the cooking from Greatist and Exercise Myths from CNN were definitely on my list, too! We’re great at being on the same page!

    Thanks for the link up to my food intolerance article, and I’m so sorry that Lisa’s results were underwhelming. I can’t imagine how frustrating this whole process is for her, and I can’t emphasize enough how amazing you are for supporting her through this!

    On the running slow article …. such an interesting topic. I’m at running coach training right now, and the biggest thing that was pounded into my head today was that easy runs should really be easy. (Duh, I know). But really – I am that person that you mention! My easy runs are always 9:00 pace or below … but I should really be going WAY slower than that for longer marathon runs. It’s so easy to convince yourself that faster is better, and yes that 9:00 pace really does feel easy for a 10-mile run, but maybe I don’t know what “easy” really is. So, my point … I’m not sure if those people are being actually dishonest or trying to cover up their “slowness,” or are really just in the wrong mentality about easy runs? Regardless, it’s very sad that people who are slower feel like they should be less proud of their accomplishments!!

    • Sorry about the article! I am changing things up so hopefully we won’t have so much overlap, I thought about it as I published, but was glad you included it as well as it is very important!

      Yeah, the food stuff … we talked about how for many years she had these symptoms and were in at Brigham & Womens and all of these food-based considerations simply weren’t talked about yet … so regardless of anything else we’ve come a very long way.

      And I think I missed the mark in how I worded the running slow thing. Because you are NOT that person. Not so far as I know you anyway – you are honest, and open, and ready to share that you are not perfect or the fastest person in the universe.

      Look – we all get a warped perspective on these things as we go along … I was discussing it with Lisa and she says she’ll see my stuff on Instagram when she’s at work and I ran an ‘easy’ 10 miles and roll her eyes – because 90% of the population couldn’t BIKE 10 miles, let alone consider it easy … let alone run it! It is perspective that we lose through repetition.

      But when it comes to pacing, we can look at what we do on a 5k, 10k, half and full marathon for pacing. What I was saying was that there are people who have not broken a 25 minute 5K who are out calling a 9 minute pace ‘easy’ for a long run. It is a simple act of dishonesty that is done due to the feeling of pressure to appear faster than they are for some reason. I think some of it has to do with ‘competitive blogging’ – they see another blogger with success who is fast and try to emulate that person down to claiming pace times.

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  5. I’d echo what Megan said re: point 2. Rather than fibbing about running a 9 min easy pace and hoping to break 4 hours, I think it’s more likely that people are actually running long runs at 9 min pace when they should be doing 10 min pace. They may be able to pick it up to 8 min pace for a 5k, but they lack a grasp on easy long run pace v. marathon race pace. I’ve been a running coach since 2011 and I’m amazed by how many people do that — marathon pace ends up matching up close to training easy pace. I certainly did the same before I joined an organized running group and finally had a coach getting me to slow down on the long runs (and now that I do more heart rate training, it’s really hard to cheat and go too fast on “easy” runs!). But I get your point about how people get caught up in comparing paces and how that can discourage some, it’s part of the reason I try not to post about pace actually. Running is running, I don’t like the comparison aspect.

    • You are right – I have just come across a few examples recently that have really triggered my BS meter … one in particular that is either an outright lie or the person is really headed straight for injury-ville.

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