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Monday, January 31, 2011


This has been somewhat of a trying weekend.

I knew that the weekends would be the hardest when it came to paleo, but for the first weekend, this was quite the challenge. On Saturday, my niece turned three, and we got to go to her birthday party. It was a great time, except of course for the fact that I could not eat any cake, cupcakes, cookies or ice cream, all of which looked like the most delicious food on the planet. And of course, I knew it would be like this going in. These are the things you have at a birthday party (particularly for a child that young), and it is my choice not to eat them. It was difficult, but the wife and I managed to make it. I even rediscovered my love for granny smith apples, which now reside in my fridge.

Then, Saturday afternoon/evening, I had a show, which meant we had to come home, cook some lunch, and get ready to go in a relatively short amount of time. The good news was that we had not used all the steak from our steak salad the other night, so I made a quick late lunch of steak with onions and broccoli. Delicious.

After the show, the family wanted to go out to eat, and a Mexican restaurant was chosen. I love Mexican food, mostly because the first ingredient in everything is cheese. I ate a steak and a lot of fajita meat, but I could smell the baking cheese all around me. My mouth is watering right now as I think about it.

Now, here's where it gets ugly. My brother-in-law is doing the Austin Half-Marathon, and was scheduled for a 12-mile run on Sunday, so he asked if I'd like to join him and his friend. I said sure, knowing that I had an extra 6-7 to do on top of that. I would have liked to do 19, but given last week's debacle, I didn't want to risk over-shooting. This sounded like a perfect option, so I agreed to meet them.

I got up early and did my extra miles first. For the first couple blocks, I tried running with a knee brace (as precaution), but I really hated the way that felt. I've always had an awkward running form, and apparently it does not take well to having my knee movement restricted. I took it off fairly quickly. Still, braceless, I felt great in those first five and a half. As I neared the meeting-point, I was feeling really good about today.

And for the first few miles with my running buddies, I still felt good. However, about mile 10, I really started to drag. The good news was, it wasn't my knees or my lungs. The bad news was, it was everything else. My hamstrings in particular were very angry with me, and every minor hill we encountered made my calves burn. It was as though there was nothing left in them, and I was getting very frustrated.

Around 12, my stomach started hurting. This was a very bad sign. I'd had a banana before I left, but not a full meal, and the fact that I was already hungry spelled doom. I tried to ignore it and continue on, but as the stomach pain faded, I got more and more thirsty. I have a CamelPak that I wear on any run over 10 miles, but I drained it pretty quickly. Fortunately, there are several water stops along the Town Lake Trail. Unfortunately, I couldn't slake my thirst.

My plan had been to run my 5 1/2, then run 12 with the boys, then jog the two miles home. As we got to mile 13, I knew this would not happen. The combination of too much water, not enough food, and too many extra miles were crashing down on me. My legs were rapidly giving up. I kept up until about my 15.5 mile mark, and then I had to walk most of the rest of the way. I tried to start up a few times, but each time I did this, I felt sick to my stomach, and I didn't really want to throw up on the trail, so I stopped again.

I caught a ride home (thanks again!), and got in the shower, where I just sat down and let the hot water do its thing. After the shower (as I usually do), I weighed myself. I had dropped 10 pounds in a week, which is just not healthy at my size. That's a 6% drop for me. My wife and I talked after this, and we decided that now is not the time for me to do the Paleo diet. It kills me that I can't stay with her on this journey, but I'm simply burning too many calories, and I can't afford to buy the amount of steak it would take to make up for what I'm not getting from pasta. I'm still staying away from unnecessary sugars, and I haven't had caffeine in over a week, but I need my carbs for the next three weeks.

Sometime down the road, I would like to try this again, preferably when I'm not in the middle of an intensive training program. When I do it again, I'll do it more gradually, rather than loading up on carbs one week, and having none the next. For the most part, I will still likely eat a lot of paleo meals. I'll just have them with a side of spaghetti.

The whole experience made me very nervous. I'm kind of worried that I could barely make it 17.5 miles today and yet, in three weeks, I'll be expected to run another 8.5 miles past that. However, I won't be deterred, because of the following points:

1) My diet was odd. I'm back on a normal meal schedule now.

2) There were several long breaks in between running moments for me on Sunday, and it's always hard for me to restart.

3) I've done this before with no training, so doing it with training will have to be easier.

4) Race-day adrenaline

and finally, 5) I already paid for it.

Today's run:
50ish / Overcast, then sunny
17.5 Miles
3 Hours 1 Minute, 51 Seconds

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