Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ups and Downs on the Downs

After going to a fascinating lecture by Aseem Malhotra on Thursday evening – the subject was Sugar, and the role of ‘big-food’ in ensuring that it remains central to our diets, despite the evidence that it is at the heart of the obesity epidemic – I caught a cold. It was probably from eating a tasty M&S buffet on the train on the way home (germs, hands etc..).

I had a decent run on Friday but that was before the cold set in. Friday evening I was dosed up and coughing hard.  So the long-weekend of running and hill-walking seemed lost as I snivelled my way through work on Friday afterrnoon. There were loads of exciting races this weekend, the 3-Forts Marathon, East Grinstead 10, Haywards Heath 10, Burgess Hill 10k. Not being in great shape I had not entered any of these but at least I hoped to get out into the hills for some pleasant exercise and support friends who were competing. Perhaps I’d enter the 10k on the day…

Saturday came, the sun came out and I felt crap.  The realisation that I’d not be doing much running was bad for my morale; in order to feel that things are moving forward it’s important to have short term goals as well as long term ones. So I was down and the fridge was prepared for a bank-holiday weekend; late-season hot-cross buns for breakfast, scones for tea, potatoes for the roast dinner; all for the kids of course but what would the harm be if I were to take a few days off-diet? I kept busy on Saturday and perhaps I munched a few too many carbs (150g I reckon). Reports came in of fun and success at the first races of the weekend and I felt crapper. Luckily whiskey is zero-carb – I needed it!

Sunday morning, no change. Jane, Cam and I went up the Tank Tracks on the regular village ran started recently by our friend Mandy. Cam felt crap as his Asthma was playing up. I felt crap as I had no energy. Jane was the only one to run up the hill. Bit of a downer for me but at least we got out for an hour and it was lovely. We had a pleasant walk later on as we went out to support Marina and Janna in the 3-Forts Marathon (Marina’s 3rd LCHF marathon in 3 months!). I felt wasted on the hills. And it was here that the motivation caved. There were pork pies for the kids in the picnic lunch! And crisps & a beer in the pub later. So easy for me to fall off the waggon; my weight is fine so what does it matter? Still low on motivation at dinner I had some potatoes and a scone. At least I can console myself with the fact that they tasted great.  Met up with Marina in the evening; 27 miles of hills and she looked and felt great. I think I have to learn to be a bit harder. Back on plan tomorrow for sure.

Monday; another glorious day. Still felt crap in the morning with no voice after losing it somewhere the night before. I couldn’t manage a pull-up. But something was telling me that the cold might be improving already. Lots of jobs to do around the house as we are having a new conservatory fitted and the old one needed clearing out. After lunch I started feeling better and on a whim I tried pull-ups again and managed 3. So I thought perhaps a little run could be on the cards. Jane’s advice has always been to rest if it’s in your chest and it was not, it couldn’t do any harm. So, mid-afternoon I blew my nose hard and got my trainers on.

After a mile warm-up I generally know if it’s going to be a difficult run or a good one. I felt great. I don’t know where the energy had been hiding but it was back. The 3 mile jog turned into a 3 then 5 mile threshold and then an 8 mile blast. The best quality run I have had all year. Where did that come from? 

I wondered if it could have been the carbs in the pastry, beer and roast potatoes the day before. The sudden influx into that almost carb-free zone. But they couldn’t have fuelled the 1200 calories that Strava says I used in that 1 hour burn-up.

Needless to say my motivation is now sky-high again. For the last few weeks I have been focusing on my knee recovering, but I have actually been doing some good training. So a good blast was on the cards. And crucially I think that perhaps when you fall of this waggon it’s not such a mountain to climb back on. Much like the return to the diet after 1 week off skiing I think we can switch to and from burning carbs or fat that much more quickly when we are well adapted to it. Must do some research on this subject.

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