Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ultra Dreaming, and Wrapping Up a Couple Weeks of the Great Diet Experiment

Winter in Bradley Palmer State Park can be both beautiful and a little foreboding - no wonder the Colonial residents preferred traveling by sea, instead of by the few, dark wooded roads, when headed to other area settlements back in the 17th century. In fact, the early Puritan settlers of Cape Ann were mortified by the dense forest that they found when they arrived. While the immense amount of timber would provide the raw material for the early shipbuilding industries in places like Salem and Boston, the Puritans were convinced that Satan was the chief resident and anyone who ventured too deep among the arbors was bound to lose their souls!

Fortunately I am getting familiar enough with the trails in the area that I am not nearly as spooked as I once was. In fact, running through Bradley Palmer is actually relatively soothing and scenic with all of the corridors of cleared land among the borders of tall trees, and then the Ipswich River flowing close by on the North end of the property.

I went Saturday with the idea of doing a little ultra training and route discovery. Gil's Athletic Club, or
GAC, as they are known by most everyone in the trail and ultra world, puts on a staple race of the winter time trail season. The G.A.C. Fat Ass 50k happens typically the first weekend after New Year's (January 9th, 2010 this year) and is set in Bradley Palmer. Runners basically have the option of running the 10k course one to five times, with the ultimate goal being to snag a January 50k. The course itself is rolling, and incorporates all types of terrain, from asphalt and packed gravel, all the way through to the rooty and rocky. With the idea that I'd be attending the GAC Fat Ass this year, and attempting to tap into my inner maniac, my goal was to get to know the course and run an easy 10k with my Ultra strategy.

When I arrived, it was cold and the sun was setting, which I know would have scared the knickers off of the
Puritans, and I noticed that some of the recent snow was still hanging around, which I knew would make for some interesting running:

(Frozen Swamp)

(Ah, nice and easy...)

(Crunch, Crunch, *sigh*)

(Find the trail, if you dare!)

(Hoping the devil isn't seeking his due, as the sun sinks lower!)

All in all, it was a decent run, but my ultra pacing and walking breaks flew out the window with all the navigation of the unfamiliar course. With that said, it isn't a hard course to follow and find on your own with a trail map, but I found the blanket of snow and some seemingly absent trail intersection markers made things a little more dicey than usual.

About 4.5 miles in I got turned around and off trail, and realized my ride would be waiting for me back at the parking lot soon, so I revved up the engine and headed for the access road, which provides a direct route back to the main lot from pretty much any end of the park. In actuality, I missed the last 1.5 miles of the course, but got almost 10k, as the last mile and a half run parallel to, and actually on (for a segment), the access road.

The abs are a little sore, but seem to be recovering much quicker from longer runs. Perhaps that is the progress I have been looking for?

Nonetheless, I will continue my 'Ultra Training on Short Notice' experiment next weekend when I look to find the rest of the course and then add another loop to see what 20k does to my nagging injuries. I am going to see if I can snag a pair of CWX Stabylx Tights and perhaps they will allow me to go a little further with less pain by stabilizing my ab and hip
flexor regions that have been so slow to heal over these last few months.

Great Diet Experiment

So week three has closed and it appears I am doing something right. I actually spent week two reading more about caloric intake and weight loss, and decided that I would try a more focused approach at monitoring the calories of the non-processed and natural foods I have been eating. I quickly found that my calorie intake is actually much less because some of foods I was eating that were processed and contained a little hydrogenated oil, but were still within the parameters of my old diets added more calories, but contributed no nutritional value, which has allowed me to cut more crap out, and focus on a couple higher calorie items, like nuts, that contain needed nutrients.

Of the four days I counted calories I was safely below my
allotted calories for the day every day, and surprisingly didn't seem ravenously hungry. Which makes me wonder if some of the processed foods we eat actually contain additives that mess with the body's chemicals important to the communication of hunger?

As far as exercise is concerned, week two and three both had 4 workouts. Week two I ran an interval workout that totaled 3.5 miles of short and fast repeats, and at the end of the week I raced at the Fells. I also did resistance training super set workouts on two other days. This past week I ran long at Bradley Palmer, and also did an interval workout with longer reps. Essentially I wanted to run a timed mile for reference, and following the mile I added three more repeats (400m, 800m, 400m). The workout accounted for about 4 miles total. In addition to the two running days, I did another two sessions of resistance training super sets. It was a bit of a tricky week because I didn't do anything for the first three days, and then worked out Wed., Thurs., Fri., and Sat., so I felt slightly fatigued and a little over worked Friday, but the slower pace Saturday allowed for some nice active recovery.

The weigh ins have gone from disappointing to very pleasing:

Week 1: 193, Week 2: 194.5, Week 3: 188.

I am totally pumped to see a dip below 190 and weighed myself twice that day to make sure it wasn't due to water loss from the run. We will see how this week goes, but I am optimistic that this is working!

Happy Trails!

1 comment:

pathfinder said...

Great job Rob.....I seem to always struggle with a 10 pound or so problem....seems my body just won't give it up.