Monday, May 17, 2010

The Physical Challenge: Week 1

Heading up the East Ridge of Mount Sanitas

Well, Week 1 is officially in the bank, and I'm feeling pretty psyched with how things have gone.  For those of you who want to the quick recap, here's a by-the-numbers summary:

Training Days: 5     (To Date: 5)
Rest Days: 2     (T0 Date: 2)
Body Weight: 158     (Net Gain/Loss: -2)
Running Days: 4     (To Date: 4)
Running Miles Logged: 27     (T0 Date: 27)
Average Run: 6.7     (Short: 4.7, Long: 9.1)
Cross-Training: Hiking

Already, my training and my diet are paying dividends.  Over the course of the first week, I've lost 2 pounds, which places me 1/5th of the way toward my target weight loss.  The improvement in my running has been remarkable for taking place over such a short 7-day time span.  I opened my week with a 4.7 mile run that felt good, and concluded my running for the week with a 9.1 mile run that felt great.  I can't tell you how encouraging it is to feel this kind of progress after such a rough couple of months.

My friend, Melissa, who blogs over at Gluten Free for Good, said this would happen.  Earlier this winter, I lamented to her how I was frustrated to be sick yet again, and how I felt as though I had lost much of my baseline fitness.  "It will come back," she said of my strength and stamina.  "Your body remembers."  It seems she was quite right.

In order to track my progress and bring more "science" to the process of training, I've developed an elaborate Excel spreadsheet that I use to track not only the date, my bodyweight, and my miles run.  I also include info such as my time, my per-mile pace, the temperature, cloud cover, wind, elevation gain, and more.  This will help me better understand how my body performs under different conditions, so that I can more accurately train the way I need to, can more precisely predict my race performance, and can more appropriately tweak my gluten-free food intake to supply the energy and types of calories that I need.

From a gluten-free diet perspective, I really want to emphasize that I am NOT on a diet of restriction.  As I said they would be, the changes I've made have been subtle - drink more water, less coffee, juice, wine, beer; enjoy dessert a few nights per week, not every night; snack on fruits and veggies primarily; and decrease portion sizes slightly.  We still cook with butter and olive oil and whole or 2% milk.  I still enjoy dessert (i.e. flan).  I still have a glass of wine or a pint of beer with dinner.  And I still eat the same kinds of meals we've always eaten; the same kinds of meals you'll find in our cookbook (for example, the past week included scalloped potatoes and ham; spaghetti carbonara; vegetarian stir-fry with rice noodles; garlic chicken).  In a sense, I'm not on a diet, really.  More accurately, I've tweaked my diet in order to refine the "fuel" that's powering my training and racing.

On the summit, with Boulder far below

Week 1 concluded with a bit of family friendly cross-training... a loop hike up and over Mount Sanitas, a 6,800' peak that stands just outside of Boulder.  The mileage was modest: about 3.5 miles or so.  But it packs a good bit of elevation gain into that short distance: some 1,200-plus vertical feet from trailhead to summit.  And, I was carrying some training weight - with Marin on my back in a carrier (which included water, snacks, diapers, etc.) - I had about 30 extra pounds to lug to the top.

It was a wonderful way to enjoy a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon, and a great way to end the first week.  Looking ahead to Week 2, I plan to incorporate some longer runs, plus some mountain biking (in part, as a way to give my knees a break from all the pounding).  As usual, my gluten-free diet for the week will trend toward lean proteins, paired with fresh veggies and gluten-free grains.  Our meal plan for the week includes dishes such as grilled Atlantic salmon steak with lemon risotto and beurre blanc sauce, stromboli, black-bean papusas, and boneless country-style pork ribs.  Now that's a recipe for fueling endurance sports if I've ever heard of one!

Lastly, while we're on the topic of endurance sports and the like, you should know that we're doing a cookbook giveaway in conjunction with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.  As many of you know, I'm one of the NFCA's spokespersons as an Athlete for Awareness, and the cookbook giveaway ties into the AfA program.  It runs for the next two weeks, and we're giving away three (3!) cookbooks.  To enter, you have to correctly answer five questions about the Athletes for Awareness program.  Each question focuses on a different athlete, and to find the answers, you'll need to peruse the NFCA website, the athlete blogs, and/or do some intelligent search engine queries on the Internet.  Good luck!

- Pete


Stephanie said...

Wow great results already! I've been working to get myself in shape for the hiking season (after a, oh, um, 6 month hiatus...ahem). It's tough, but thankfully the body does remember, and the challenges start to feel good after awhile :)
Keep up the good work!

peterbronski said...

Thanks Stephanie! I appreciate the encouragement. Do you have any hikes planned? Any mountains on your tick list?

theMom said...

You said,
"The mileage was modest: about 3.5 miles or so. But it packs a good bit of elevation gain into that short distance: some 1,200-plus vertical feet from trailhead to summit. And, I was carrying some training weight - with Marin on my back in a carrier (which included water, snacks, diapers, etc.) - I had about 30 extra pounds to lug to the top."

You put this little item directly beneath the picture of poor Kelli who quite obviously toting a little "training" weight, too. Kudos to Kelli! You did awesome!

Oh, uh, you too, Pete.

kellibronski said...

Hi theMom... You're absolutely right! Kelli gets full credit, too. We were carrying about the same amount in training weight. =)

Cheers, Pete

gfe--gluten free easily said...

What great photos of all of you! Marin looks so happy in her little carrier. Who wouldn't be with that easy ride and that view, right? ;-)

I'm going to update my latest roundup post on celiac awareness to include your link for your giveaway--woohoo for those soon-to-be five lucky winners!


glutenfreeforgood said...

Thanks for the mention, Pete. I just now saw this as the NFCA post came to me via Facebook. I'm glad you're doing so well. You're young, strong and have lots of endurance -- you just got sidetracked with some nasty cooties for a few weeks! But if you give your body the right tools (nutrient building blocks), it's amazing how quickly someone like you can return to normal (which in your case means beating yourself up in the backcountry).
P.S. Yeah, Kelli! Girl power squared!

peterbronski said...

Hi Shirley... Believe it or not, this was the first time Marin enjoyed going in the carrier. She's such an independent little woman that she likes to walk herself everywhere!

Hi Melissa... Thanks for the supportive words! I've had some great trail runs this week, and it's great to be feeling back in form. Yes, girl power squared! We're adding another little lady to the family. It's just me and the dog representing the guys around here these days... =)

Cheers, Pete