Monday, May 25, 2009


I've played sports my entire life but I have always sucked at running.
In April I ran every few days on the paved trails up to 2.5 miles. This month, I have finally built to 4.5 for a "long run." It's been slow and I wasn't prepared either. What I mean by prepared is that I have to baby everything about my runs: stretching consistantly for flexibility (overuse injuries plague me), eating just a little but not too much at the right time before a run, the right socks, new shoes fitted at Elite Feet about every 5-6 months worth of milage... My body is not forgiving and already, from running on old shoes, I've had twinges of knee soreness.
Running has always challeneged me in this way. Even when I was conditioned for a marathon, an 8 mile run could never be called "easy." I run slow, at a 12 min. pace that could creep up to 11min/mi if the stars align just right. This is just where I am. My passion far exceeds my natural ability as Alison Colavecchia says.
It's REALLY hard to start over in running. When you were running long distances, you feel like that's the runner you have become. You also develop a healthy fear of losing that conditioning. I had to take a year or more off from running as I got more tired and more consistantly suffering from my symptoms until I could find out what was plaguing me. I ran a couple short races and took a cycling class regularly but I really struggled to show up for work outs with how bad I felt. I was hard on myself too! I thought I was lazy, or getting older, or just never slept well enough, etc. So, now that I'm on a healing and healthy path, I've started to run again but I am basically a beginner in terms of my physical condition. In my mind I can still go out an run 8 miles any day I want. :)
My other challenge right now is what I eat. It affects me immediately and/or sometimes up to a day or more later. I can get really exhausted, body fatigue, body aches, itchy skin, headache, sinus trouble, asthma and wheezing, my fingers can swell & pop, I develop ezcema on my hands, arms and face, I have sleeping trouble although I feel so tired and sick I stay in bed.... Needless to say it affects my workouts when I eat an offending food. And I mess up ALOT. Sometimes due to temptation: living in a household with a doughnut, cookie, bread, pasta, etc eater. Sometimes it's due to cross contamination and I have no idea I'm eating it. But mostly, I don't have a lot of natural foods available in this small town Alabama so it's very easy to reach for a normal food item and try to get away with it.
The biggest hurdle however is our food laws and labeling lies. Even though I try to read down a list of chemical names, it is hard to know every single name for a derrivate of wheat/barley/oats, soy and corn. Companies can be very misleading and hide allergens under "natural flavoring" or "spices." Even more obscure, if it's not a top 8 allergy (such as corn) they don't have to specifiy it. And if they buy an ingredient pre-made and it contains the offending allergen, they don't have to specify it on the label because they didn't add it. Pointless! It boils down to a mess and almost every single packaged food in the store contains wheat, corn or soy.
It's very frustating to think about every single thing you eat.
I do believe though that eating whole foods is the healthiest path for everyone and I'm better for it I'm sure.

If you haven't seen the PBS documentary KING CORN, I highly recommend it to scare you into checking labels.

Current inspiration: Alison Colavecchia "On Being a Beginner"

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