Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nothing Ventured... Nothing Gained.

This morning was the Arrogant Bastard quarterly qualifier and I missed the cutoff by almost 2 minutes.  It was my third attempt this week to qualify.  I'm not done yet and will be running it one last time next week with Kendall and Perla who have paced me the last two qualifiers.  We'll see if they're the magic combination  that gets me back on the team again, if not, I'll be done for this quarter.

The question, is WTH has happened that I've not been able to qualify?  Good question.  Let's start with the fact that I haven't blogged since June 6th when I wrote about Jake. (Such a glorious ending to that story!) That just happened to also be the same day I made a major change in my nutrition and decided to completely detox off of sugar, but I wasn't comfortable talking about it on my blog.  As an addict of various substances, I walk a different road than most people in my fitness community and am reluctant at times to talk about it, preferring instead to just go quiet while I work through it.  Thanks to the help of some very special friends, I've gained enough ground that I see hope and am willing to speak about it now in a public forum.

The mantra I follow now is "If it tastes sweet, it is sweet, so don't eat it."  That applies to all varieties of sugar, yep including fruit. Yes, it's a harsh stance and truly sucks with the plethora of summer fruits available now, but I wanted  to get this started in time to enhance my race results for today.  My original thought was that dialing in my nutrition would enable me to lose body fat, become more fat reliant for fuel as opposed to just carbohydrate driven, and consequently make my training more effective for muscle gain and speed.  It hasn't exactly worked out as planned.  Instead, it's worked out better in some areas but possibly backfired in others.  First, here are some stats:

Body Fat Test on 6/10/13:
146.35 Weight
35.26% Body Fat
94.7 Lean Body Mass

Body Fat Test on 7/10/13:
143.15  Weight
32.20 % Body Fat
97.1 Lean Body Mass

This means that in 30 days of sugar, dairy and grain abstinence:
-3.20 Body Weight Loss
-5.51 Body Fat Loss
3.30 Muscle Gain

Yes, 32.20 % body fat is still way too high for health and performance, I know that.  I also know that I've hovered between 33-35% for the last three years, and have been unable to drop the numbers no matter how many lifestyle changes I tried to adopt.  I always got derailed by my emotions.  Until now.  This is the first time I've been able to ride out the craves and emotional spikes.  No, I haven't done it alone, and that's what's made the difference.  My addictions are high maintenance and I need people close to stay clean and sober... and sugar free.  That's just me, but more power to those of you who are able to beat your demons solo!

So, to me, these are very powerful stats.  In addition to the measurement changes, I can also say my sleep is greatly improved, my mood swings are gone, my general disposition is much calmer and will wonders never cease, my psoriasis is finally moving toward remission.  It's not completely gone yet, but it is better than it has been in over three years.  So, I must be doing something right.  Right?

Now, the flip side is that not only am I not faster, I've slowed down pretty dramatically, as my teammates can testify from training with me for the last month.  But WHY?  Everyone I speak to says it shouldn't be happening and that it's originating in my head, not my body.  While it doesn't feel that way to me when I'm training, I have to give it credence and see what's changed in my head.   (BTW... last Thursday when I made my second attempt, I opted to use a Hammer Gel.  Figuring the rocket fuel would cinch the result, and I'd deal with any craving flashback afterwards... truly addict thinking. lol  The sugar didn't help at all, seriously, zero...  It did however, leave me queasy for the whole night, and I have given my roommate the last of my race "supplements" to prevent me from ever thinking that will be a good idea again.)

The only thing that I can think of is that on May 8th, I made another major life change that has had a huge impact on my thoughts and behaviors... I entered a relationship with someone I choose to call a spiritual mentor.  One of the very first things she suggested was daily meditation.  I've always been told I'm one of those people who really need meditation to balance my hyperactive brain, but until I met Carla, I have never been able to sit quietly long enough to quiet my head.  For years I've just relied on my running to keep my head under control... with very limited results.

Now, I am able to sit quietly every day for about 30 minutes.  My goal it to be able to do it twice daily, but I'm not quite there yet. The benefits have already been amazing.  Not only am I far less inclined to jump or speak every time a thought pops in to my head, I'm all around calmer and my head is all around quieter. I realized just how much of a change there was when I went to the dentist last week for the first time in four years.  Not only did I NOT need the laughing gas , I was calm before I went, calm when I sat down, and calm during the injections.  Wow.  That's an absolute first. Seriously.  I've always been terrified of dentists. Oh, and did I mention the psoriasis?  Guaranteed that the meditation is also playing a major role in bringing it into remission.

But, I am now seeing the flip side may be that when I do need to ratchet up to high intensity, like this morning, my brain is actually resisting it.  It seems I kinda like a quiet head and I really like not feeling the constant anxiety that has always been part of my mental background noise.  So, maybe I've gone to that black and white world of all intensity or no intensity.  As my roommate Hope suggests, I may just need to give myself permission to experience periodic healthy controlled high intensity, like on race days.  I do hope she's right, and we'll find out next week when I give the qualifier one more shot.  I really like being Roadkill and I would greatly miss the adventures and camaraderie of the Arrogant Bastards!