Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back to the old routine

Over the past few weeks, I have learned something about:
a) My diet, and
b) My fitness regiment

I have noticed my energy level dwindling and my skin getting paler and paler (okay, this is normal during the wintertime. But I've been seriously pale). Although there are plenty of reputable sources that confirm that you don't need much protein in your diet, I have a funny feeling I am slightly iron and protein deficient. I have experimented with this hypothesis by loading my diet with dark, leafy green adn meats while limiting refined sugars. This small change to my mostly vegan diet has really made me feel more nourished. To each his own :-)

I still try to stay away from dairy/mis-combining my food groups, but I think it's more important to have a good RELATIONSHIP with food and feel satisfied without the guilt. It is especially important to feel nourished before workouts- makes all the difference in the world.

I have recently "bit the bullet" and got back on the treadmill. When I first became a gym rat and changed my body significantly, I owed that change to three things:
Strength training with my lovely trainer/friend/mentor Marissa
Bikram Yoga
and most importantly, REALLY fast treadmill workouts. Even though I never ran more than 5K on the treadmill (much too boring for that), I found that these high intensity workouts didn't allow me to "cheat" as much as running outside might. I decided to revisit these treadmill runs again.

When I first got back on the treadmill, I was immediately discouraged. I wanted to immediately return to my top fitness level: starting at 7mph (8.30 min miles) and increasing sometimes to 10.5 mph at the end of my workout (that's REALLY fast). I have learned that pushing myself too hard too soon will inevitably lead to failure, and also to a complete loss of confidence (which is what resulted in my unhappiness during my last marathon season). My wise coach Ramon recently set a facebook status update with great poignancy for me:

"Run only if the run you are about to conquer has meaning and satisfies both your body and mind. Stay away from senseless runs, they only damage your confidence and your body."

This is so true. Since the marathon, I have tried to accomplish this- I want to ENJOY my workouts, not fear them. Setting my expectations too high will only discourage and weaken me. I have taken these treadmill runs slowly, and have seen improvement! I have energy I haven't had in months! Today, I actually took the stairs to the 6th floor of school instead of the elevator! I have also noticed a change in my body. A small change, but a good one.

Basically, we should just do what makes us happy. Sometimes I don't want to get on the treadmill, but I know I will always feel better when the run is over (and during!). Even if it merely serves the purpose to sweat out toxins (especially after a late night), that is a run well spent. However, it is not healthy to be governed by guilt. It is JUST RUNNING!

PS - check out this weird piece of news:

Craving and chewing ice: A sign of anemia?
Is constantly craving and chewing ice a sign of anemia?
from Ruben Mesa, M.D.

Possibly. Doctors use the term "pica" to describe craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value — such as ice, clay, cornstarch or paper. Craving and chewing ice (pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency anemia — although it may be associated with other nutritional problems as well.

It's not known why some people with iron deficiency anemia crave and chew ice. Researchers from one recent study suggested it may be because of ice's pain-relieving properties, since some people with iron deficiency anemia experience tongue pain and inflammation (glossitis). The same researchers found that ice has a new and better taste to some people who are iron deficient.

In some individuals, pica is a sign of emotional problems, such as stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder or a developmental disorder.

A thorough medical evaluation can help determine if pica is due to an underlying medical condition. If the cause of pica is an emotional or developmental issue, cognitive behavioral therapy may be helpful. "

I really LOVE chewing ice! I think I need to find a new "addiction" for the chewing is a little cold for the season :-)