Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A half-assed race report.

Dear Diary,

after reading some of these articles, I have to admit I'm intrigued.

I'm at the perfect place to experiment, too. I had a great year last year, and then lost a lot of fitness due to the sloth.grad school matrix. I'm at my running baseline, and about to start a new training plan for the Bandera 100k. During this time, in addition to losing strength and speed, I've gained 13 pounds.

So, I have a bit of a background in chemistry, and I've read the research, and I have to say, it's intriguing.

Much of the time when I binge, unlike others I've known, I don't binge on candy or cookies. I binge on cheese and meat. So, I'm trying out the New Atkins diet. Yes, they got some of my money. I bought the book, and am currently in induction phase. So far, I'm on day 3, and I don't feel unusually tired or have horrible breath.

I have to say it's odd that in a decade, the pendulum of my dietary habits swung from vegan to keterogenic.

Here's a typical work day:

Breakfast: an omelet, with 1-2 eggs, cheese, turkey bacon, some roasted red peppers and herbs, and chai made with half-and-half.

Snack is a low carb/low sugar light and fit yogurt and crystal light.

Lunch is broccoli, mashed cauliflower or the like, and usually fish, cooked in olive oil and herbs.

Afternoon snack is some sort of Atkins creation, like a bar or other treat.

Dinner is usually chicken or fish and some greens.

It turns out that some of my favorite foods work well with this. Greek salads. Antipasto. Fish. The only craving I anticipate having is breaded meats. The only other possible stumbling block might be my love of crackers and cheese, but as the crackers are simply vehicles for cheese, I'm researching flax meal crackers. There is also a way of encrusting meats and fish with flaxseed meal.

I actually kinda started this diet last week, but went off it this past weekend to do the Mt. Taylor 50k. I didn't think that a brand new style of eating, four days old, was a good way to go into a race I was neither trained for nor ready for, starting at 9000 feet and climbing to 11,000 feet. Twice.

The race, btw, was gorgeous. The aspens were turning, and there were part of the course where the light shone golden through the aspens and the forest floor was littered in golden leaves and dappled sunshine.

Other parts of th course, I'm sure were beautiful, but I was whining and crying at 10,000 feet on my way up to 11,300 feet. I was a regular I Love Lucy


Why am I doing this? I shouldn't be here. I wasted a spot that could have been used by a real athlete!


I did the first 25 or so miles with Caroline, who is Deaf. have you ever had a friend whose lamguage you dom't really speak? i know very little ASL, relatively speaking. We drove out together, and I tried gamely to communicate what was happening at the race meeting to her in my pidgin sign language, usually falling back on providing a type of closed captioning on my ipad.

At the race, we quickly fell into the back of the pack. The first part of the race is a clmb up to La Mosqua Peak, maybe 10,800 or so. then downhill for a while, then another climb up the Continental Divide Trail to the start, where you begin the second loop, which climbs Mt. Taylor. I turned my ankle a couple of times, nothing major, but Caroline started having serious knee problems heading up Mt. Taylor, and had to drop soon after.

Caroline is interesting because she can cook. As in, COOK.

She is always posting these wonderful dishes she's made on Facebook. Here's an example:

See, now, if it were me, it wouldn't look that pretty. It would be on a paper plate, sans garnish. Might even have ketchup on it. I would call it "beef with mushrooms." But not Carolyn. No. This is breaded petite sirloin with balsamic portobello mushrooms. Except she wrote it in Italian. Cause she's all classy and shit.

But, that's not the most interesting part of Carolyn, the cooking. The most interesting Carolyn Fact is that she apparently used to weigh 200 lbs more. Three years ago she started power walking, then jogging, and she lost 200 lbs. She did her first half iron a year later. She hasn't finished an ultra yet, but she will. 200 lbs makes my 40 lb loss seem kinda like, well, bullshit.

But, I digress. During the race, we hiked along, running the downhills. We were followed closely by chatting people pulling flags. One of them was Sweet Baboo, who has breathed the same air as me for twelve years and knew, at mile sixteen, that I was building a case for dropping out of the race. Unfortunately, he's too ethical to give me any real aid on the course other than carrying my bottle of Tylenol (shhhhhh.) but he was sympathetic when I did my Lucille Ball imitation.

After climbing Mt. Taylor, there is a cutoff, which I made by a few minutes. Then, you run down, down, down (three miles) into Water Canyon, where you see a sign informing you that it's one mike straight up back to the aid station. THAAAAAT's right. Three miles down, nearly 1000 feet, and then one mike back up.

The last few miles of the course were straight down a ski slope. The last mile or so, I saw this

I came into the finish and got this


I also got lovely turquoise and lava rock bracelet.

Last night, we had a "debriefing" at a local pizza place. After rewarding my feets with a pedicure, I headed over there and had a Mediterranean salad. Mmmm.

If you are interested in the Mt. Taylor 50k, which I fully expect to be New Mexico's signature ultra, the website is . All money raised goes to the runners and to charity, the charity being a Navajo running organization. Mt. Taylor is sacred to the Navajo, as is distance running

So, that was my week, Diary. Now I'll spend the next two weeks focusing on "Induction" and getting ready for Javalina Jundred.



  1. I'm off to read the article links. I've had a foot injury since April (that I hope will be resolving one way or the other SOON) that has completely destroyed my running fitness and sapped my strength and resolve. I've also gain more weight than I'd like to think about.

    Between that food photo and your description of her, I wish I was FB friends with Caroline!

  2. I found a seed cracker recipe at which is really easy and really good.

  3. That George Sheehan quote totally made my quote page. And made me feel like a rock star. Thanks.

  4. I too don't crave the sweet stuff or bread, but meat. Just meat. I had the same thinking about crackers as just vehicles for the cheese so I started using meat like sopressata (which I'm probably spelling wrong) as the cracker. So much better! Particularly for something like a goat cheese, it really brings out the flavors in both the meat and the cheese. Yum!!! Now I'm hungry, but my acupuncturist has me off dairy for the time being -- except for swiss. Weird, but at least I get *some* cheese. I think I'll do sushi for lunch, I could really go for some fish right about now...

  5. I've been toying with the paleo diet, which hasn't been nearly as hard as I anticipated. I don't miss bread like I thought I would and haven't yet let go of dairy. Or tried to. Love the hero quote, but not as much as I love that picture of the trail through the trees.

  6. Once again I am in awwwweeeee! You gals rock it out!

  7. I've been doing Paleo for almost 3 weeks now and feel great. I've made these paleo crackers twice now and they are AWESOME!

    Good luck on the Atkins and your training. :)


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