Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Physical Challenge: Week 3

Our gluten-free family on a hike in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

Week 3 really spanned the gamut.  For the first part of the week, I was still shedding the cold I had been fighting during the second half of week 2.  Toward the end of the week, I squeezed in some great training runs.  And the end of the week culminated in Memorial Day Weekend, when we went camping in the North Fruita Desert (on Colorado's Western Slope, not far from the Utah border) and went hiking in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.

As usual, here's the by-the-numbers recap:

Training Days: 6     (To Date: 15)
Rest Days: 1     (To Date: 6)
Weight: 157.5     (Net Gain/Loss: -2.5)
Running Days: 3     (To Date: 10)
Running Miles Logged: 17.9     (To Date: 63.1)
Average Run: 6.0     (Short = 4.7, Long = 6.8)
Cross-training: Hiking, Mountain Biking

The numbers this week don't tell the whole story, though.

For example, the low running mileage doesn't do justice to the great hill workouts I did.  All of my training runs were on trails, and all had some pretty hefty elevation gain.  It was great to make my quads and gluts work extra hard, and not just crank out lots of flat miles just for the sake of the numbers.  I have to remember that there are two major aspects to the Virgil Crest Ultra - one the one hand, there's the 50-plus miles of running, but on the other hand, there's the 9,000 vertical feet of elevation gain.  It's important to respect them both, and last week I focused more on the elevation gain side of things.

The other part of the story that the numbers don't tell is that of my body weight.  Not that I'm obsessing.  But if you're following closely, I weighed in at 155.5 at the end of Week 2.  Which means I've gained 2 pounds over the course of Week 3.  What's more, on Friday I weighed 154.5.  I had actually lost another pound, but over the course of the three days of Memorial Day Weekend, I packed on an average of one pound per day!  That's no small accomplishment.  The reason why was simple enough - I went on a gluten-free bender, and joyfully partook of the myriad food delights that come along with camping and holiday weekends in the summer.

GF pancakes cooked over an open fire in the desert 

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on gluten-free bread.  Root beer.  GF beer.  Hot dogs.  Cubed potatoes cooked with butter in pockets of aluminum foil.  Watermelon.  Apples.  Oranges.  GF pancakes.  Bacon.  Chocolate.  Chips and salsa.  Most of the hot food we cooked over an open fire.

And it wasn't just what I ate, but the volume in which I consumed it.  Case in point: 11 hot dogs over the course of the weekend.  Sure, they didn't have buns.  But 11 dogs is 11 dogs.  No?

So, the weekend was a blip on my dietary radar.  I'm back on track today, and I'm sure those two pounds will fall right off and I'll continue my progress.  And let me tell you...each bite of food was totally worth it.  The weekend was delightful, partly for the food, partly for the company, partly for the scenery, and partly because I completely unplugged - no computer, no cell phone, no watch.

The highlight of the weekend from a casual cross-training perspective was our hike to Rattlesnake Arches.  It's home to the second highest concentration of natural rock arches in the country (behind only Arches National Park in Utah).  After driving the Jeep off-road on a rugged track that brought us to the remote trailhead, it was a 6-mile roundtrip hike through the canyons of the McInnis Canyons NCA to reach the payoff: the Rattlesnake Arches.  They were truly stunning.

Now, after that restful weekend, it's time to step up my training - higher mileage weeks with more elevation gain.  And it started today, when I had to drop off my Jeep at the mechanic to have some routine maintenance work done on it, and I decided to run home, just for good measure.

So, how did you celebrate Memorial Day this past weekend, and what was the gluten-free highlight for you?

- Pete


Stephanie said...

Beautiful picture of the arch :) Sounds like a nice weekend!
We did our first hike of the season (a 2.5 miler, but tough enough for our rusty joints). It was a great workout, and got me pumped up for the summer! We're trying to work our way through all the best hiking/backpacking spots in Utah this year.
Got a question for you: What do you take on your backpacking/hiking trips? I'm trying to find good GF/DF food that I can eat easily on the go. I like Alpine Aire foods for dinner meals, so I think I'm set there, and I'm sure I can handle breakfast, but worry about the between camp times when I'll need to eat. Usually I'll do something like a tuna packet with some rice crackers or chips, some nuts/fruit/veggies, and my new fave snack is the Sticks and Twigs by Mary's Gone Crackers. Do you have any other recommendations?

glutenfreeforgood said...

Great post, Pete. While I'm totally impressed with what you're doing, I'm also connecting with Kelli on all this! I backpacked for 10 days in the Wind River Range when I was 7 months pregnant. =) Have some great pictures of me with my backpack on and a big belly.

How did I celebrate Memorial Day? It was also my birthday, so I broke a 2 week cleanse with s couple days of celebrating (my daughter surprised me from NYC and brought a bunch of GF treats from Babycakes Bakery). We started with a brunch of GF waffles, eggs, mimosas, etc. Then dinner at Bloom (a great place for GF diners). Salmon, wine, flourless chocolate cake. And in between all that, GF cupcakes from Mermaid Bakery in Denver. OMG! They were delicious!

It was a big birthday in multiple ways. But UGH! What a way to end a mostly raw, whole foods cleanse. Now I'm paying the price. But am back on my cleanse, so all should be well in a day or so.

Keep up the good work with your training, Pete. It's fun to follow along. And hang in there, Kelli. Sending good energy your way!


kellibronski said...


It sounds like you had a great weekend and special birthday.

It was great to be out camping and hiking, but I was definitely moving a bit slower than usual. :) Ten days in the Wind Rivers is tough anytime, I can't imagine being this pregnant! I hope you were not there during the mosquito season. We went on a climbing trip in July 2006 and although the rock climbing was great the mosquitoes were brutal!


peterbronski said...

Hi Stephanie... Glad to hear you got out for your first hike of the season! What's on your list of best hiking spots in Utah for this year?

For backpacking/hiking trips, I often take: tuna fish packets, sometimes rice crackers or Mary's Gone Crackers, well-cooked bacon, fresh apples and oranges and other fruit (some people don't like the space and weight they take up, but I love the refreshing taste, they give nutrition and some hydration, and when you eat them they get much smaller!), chocolate, peanuts, perhaps a PB&J sandwich on GF bread, carrots and celery, peanut butter or almond butter (great on apples, celery, etc.), raisins. When I'm out for a big day, I tend to eat smaller meals/snacks fairly regularly, rather than stop for a big lunch. During the winter, it's easier to carry perishable food items, since you're basically walking in a fridge. During summer, it gets a little harder. In general, I'm not a super big fan of dried fruit. Makes me too thirsty. I also used to carry GF granola/energy/snack/protein bars, but I've gotten away from that recently (feeling burned out on those...). Hope this helps!

Also, Melissa at GF for Good makes some great trail foods and snack bars.

Cheers, Pete

peterbronski said...

Hi Melissa... Sounds like you had a great Memorial Day weekend! I know what you mean about going off your cleanse for a few days. While I wasn't exactly on a cleanse diet before hand, my Memorial Day weekend diet was quite a bit different from how I've been eating in recent weeks! It was fun to fall off the wagon, so to speak, but it's also nice to be back on track this week. Kelli was fabulous this weekend. It's great to be able to get out in the backcountry together, even at this stage of the pregnancy.

Cheers, Pete

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Awesome family trip! Love all the photos. :-) But, Pete, 11 hots dogs!! LOL I am in shock. I don't eat 11 hot dogs in a year's time. But you might not eat as much chocolate as I do ... we all have our weaknesses! I was just reading an article about how much more food people consume on holidays. Having been at a crab feast on Saturday and eating until there was a big pile in front of me, I can certainly identify with that.


peterbronski said...

Hey Shirley... Yeah, 11 hot dogs is a lot. But they were spread out over 2 or 3 days! =) It was like reliving my college days, when I would eat my way through an entire pack of hot dogs in the course of pulling a single all-nighter.

Cheers, Pete

Stephanie said...

Thanks Pete! Lots of great suggestions! Definitely helps :) I totally forgot about Melissa's trail mix! I've made that before. It's some good stuff!
The list this year includes Mt Timpanogos (our favorite hike we've done in previous years), Nebo, Arches/Bryce Canyon area, and we've got plans to backpack through Red Castle in the Uintas next month.

peterbronski said...

Hi Stephanie... That's a great hiking list! Have you been down to Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument? Spectacular canyon country and zero people.

Cheers, Pete