Monday, June 11, 2007

Threshold and sunscreen

I capped off a serious week of training (92 miles!!) yesterday with a nice little 29 miler. I had set my sights on 38 miles or 4 out and backs on a flat, fast section of road between Sausalito and Mill Valley, but opted out after 3 loops. Why? Because after spending 5 hours catering an event for my sister, I decided to take a different approach to this run. Instead of playing it safe, practicing my nutrition and pacing plans I decided instead to see where my threshold was. That threshold would be the DNF threshold. I wanted to find what someone I use to know called "the pain". I haven't ever had to slog through miles and miles while suffering, so I decided to see what errors I would have to make to DNF. It was a good day to do so since I started out late in the day, after working, in the blazing hot afternoon sun.

I was not however dumb or haphazard. I tried to make sure my hydration was on point, because of the heat, but still managed to get severely dehydrated because I was not taking in any food. I wanted to see when the tipping point was for calorie intake via solid or liquid food. I also wanted to see what kind of pace I could push while doing so. I think if you don't know where that tipping point is, it is likely you could err in a race and DNF. The first out and back felt good, clipping along just under 7:15 min/miles. I was using this as a training run for my 100k which means I probably should have been at 8+min/miles, but I was in this to push. I could tell that hydration would be an issue for the day even after just one out and back. I grabbed a refill at the house and headed out for lap #2 sans food. I made it to mile 16 before my body signaled that I should have eaten sooner. I knew it would be a push to get home (mile 19) without completely cracking. Thus, I found that I must begin my intake of foods between miles 12-14, and continue at about 200 kcal/hour. I pulled back on my pace to 7:30min/miles on #2. I arrived back at the house feeling dehydrated (probably was more so since I was losing electrolytes and not getting them back from food) and felt like stopping. However, I wanted to experience running "in the pain" for a long interval, so I bullied my sister into running an out and back with me despite the fact that she was exhausted from hosting the baby shower all day. I definitely needed her to help push me along. I ate a larabar and drank a Vega shake and we headed out. The nutrition helped me get my head straight a bit, but I was still dehydrated. I am not use to running in the heat and so its to be expected. I could tell that I had lost about 5% body weight and was confirmed in this when my sister (who doesn't really ever comment on my weight) looked at me while standing in the kitchen that I looked "really thin". Its not like she hadn't see me for several hours that day....

We pushed through the final out and back at about 7:45-8 min/mile pace. I was tired, dehydrated but still moving, which was awesome and validating. I managed to push 9.55 miles past where I logically could have pulled the plug. All in all, it was a great test. I had to remember as I was running and changing my perspective, that not every training run should feel good, should be an exercise in how to do things right. Sometimes it should be a test, it should be an excavation of pitfalls, it should be hard. And it was great! I finished tired but happy. I learned valuable lessons and am a stronger runner for it. After my run, I started refueling with a delicious Green Machine/Hemp Shake and a Greens & Whey bar and then after I had ice bathed, showered and changed, went to Whole Foods for a delicious brown rice, black bean and grilled veggie burrito (yes, food is that important to me.....)

I don't wear sunscreen. Nope, not anymore. I use to be highly prone to burning, I could think about the sun and turned bright red. I got so burnt when I lived in south africa that my dr. told me I might at some point develop skin cancer if I didn't always cover my shoulders. So why do I not wear sunscreen? Cuz I don't need it! Since I have refined my diet from healthy to uber healthy and really have reached a level of eating that is so positive for my body, one of the positive side effects is that my body now can properly utilize the Vitamin D from the sun. All food is essentially how we eat the sun and we need precious Vitamin D for many reasons. However, most people burn because their nutrition is so poor that they cannot utilize the Vitamin D from the sun. Yesterday, in the mid afternoon sun, I put it to the test. I ran for nearly 3:45 with a singlet on and no sunscreen and while I got a nice tan, I did not burn. That would have been formerly unheard of for me. It is nice, really really nice to feel like the benefits to my healthy diet unfold exponentially and in such interesting and unexpected ways. I am what I eat, and so my body is becoming something made of the best, healthiest stuff possible. Oh yes, oh yes....

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