I lay in the dark, still like a tin soldier. It was quiet except for the whooshing of the fan. I breathed deep from my belly button. I tried a meditation technique I’d learned. But my eyes kept popping open involuntarily—like the first scene of a horror movie. It’s as if it was 4 p.m. instead of 4 in the morning. I’d been awake for almost two hours already.
Let’s go back to last week when everything came to a screeching halt. Toward the middle of last week, I started experiencing fatigue. Not tiredness, fatigue. Fatigue is different than being tired. It affects your whole body and puts your brain in a fog.
But I didn’t really pay too much attention to it at first. I thought I just wasn’t eating enough or something, so I made some adjustments to my nutrition.
And then I felt the tingling across the bra line on my back. I know this to be shingles, which I first got after my marathon in September 2015. My dermatologist (who is the one who treats shingles), still has not gotten back to me on what I should do about it. I have an appointment with a naturopath, but couldn’t get in until June 11, and an appointment with my endocrinologist, but couldn’t get in until July 14.
I don’t know if it’s the shingles that is causing my fatigue and high stress levels or something I am doing with diet and exercise. Yes, I have had a few days here and there that were pretty low calorie (1,100-1,200 range), but I’m not one to power through hunger, so if I get hungry, I eat. I don’t feel like I am exercising excessively—I’m doing less than 30 minutes 5 days a week! Usually, I do a long run on Sundays, but I listened to my body and skipped my long run last weekend.
I’m suffering, guys. I am like Yolanda on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills—only without her glorious walk-in fridge. I look fine, but feel awful. And it’s up and down! One minute, I have energy, the next, I need to lay down. Now I know why she didn’t go to Erica Girardi’s dinner party! Suck it, Rinna!
So, to be super blunt, I’m not that concerned with my inches or weight lost in Week 7 (last week), which were down, but so small it’s insignificant. Of course, it’s nice to have pictures. I can see some body change.
But whatever! I just want to feel good and be strong. That’s the whole reason I am doing this Metabolic Prime Challenge in the first place, and now here I am, totally weak. I think this means I’m out of the Metabolic Prime 12-Week Challenge.
I’m going to try some things:
Yoga (got suggestions for this?)
Substitute traditional lifting for some of the intervals to see if that helps
Walking outdoors instead of always on the treadmill
Epsom salt baths and tea every night if I can swing it
No TV or electronics after 8:30 p.m.
These things are going to be very difficult for me. I want to be a bad-ass. I want to be strong and muscular and be able to do a freaking pull-up.
I’m so frustrated, I could cry. But, I can’t…because I’m too exhausted.
Long distance running is a never-ending pull and push.
I feel it pulling me, but then I push it away…like Elaine Benes.
I don’t want to run far. But I also want to.
There’s just something about long distance running. I can’t quite explain it. When I think about going farther, I long to do it. (Pun totally intended in case you’re wondering.)
Even though I’ve run two marathons, I still don’t feel…sure. Did I actually do those? Can I go farther?
Maybe it’s curiosity.
But then my rational mind steps in like the police breaking up a high school party: Okay everybody, just put those crazy ideas down. Miss, what are you doing? Thinking about ultras? Let me see your Adventure ID, please. Yep, that’s what I thought. Says here you’re Injury Prone and Mentally Weak. You’re gonna have to come back to reality with me now.
I was watching Boundless (which, by the way, is my favorite TV show since Eco Challenge was canceled–remember Eco Challenge?!). This year, elite ultrarunner Rory Bosio is on Boundless with Spartan champion Hunter MacIntyre, and hosts Simon Donato and Paul “Turbo” Trebilcock. (By the way, the only nickname I ever had was in high school and it was Turbo.)
The episode gave me goosebumps. It looked extremely hard. But there’s me laying on my bed, thinking: Can I do it?
Part of me wants to go long. Part of me wants to just haul ass in a shorter race. (I didn’t get the name Turbo for nothin’…big fan of going fast.) And part of me wants to stay away from running completely and focus on building a stronger body.
I love all three of those things. But they don’t exactly complement each other. Which one do I choose? Do I have to choose? If I don’t choose, will I just be spreading myself so thin that I can’t do any of them?
During the Atacama 100-miler, Rory got lost around Mile 80. She couldn’t find the marker flags in the dark. Later, I couldn’t stop thinking about that part of the race. And then it hit me: That is me. I’m wandering around in the dark in the desert with nothing but a flashlight looking for something or somebody to tell me which way to go.
I was on a roll and, unfortunately, I’m not talking about the delicious Hawaiian kind.
The past two mornings I have been kicking ass: lifting, hill sprints, chia seeds.
And then yesterday afternoon fatigue hit me unexpectedly, and I would’ve thrown a little tantrum about it, but I was too tired. My HEC and SHMEC were out of checkity-check, you guys. Big time. I went in search of food, and at least I tried to eat things that were higher in protein. A chicken hot dog fixed the problem. (I pretty sure that’s the only time that’s ever been said about a chicken hot dog.)
Then I Googled adrenal fatigue. Reading through the symptoms I was like yes, yes, yes and yes and YES. Does this mean I have to stop running completely? *panic*
I was tired and now I was weepy. Yet my heart rate was up. I had to take my son to soccer practice. And, oh yeah, I’m one of the coaches.
But then I did something I never do, which was calm the eff down and be logical.
Let’s think about this: I’ve been going to sleep late and getting up early. I’ve been drinking 3-4 cups (travel mugs, actually) of coffee in the morning before even eating breakfast. And I have not been prioritizing rest and relaxation. (Real Housewives of New York before bed is not the most soothing practice. OMG, John, you guys.)
And, by the way, am I eating enough? My calories are low and the nutrients chart on MyFitnessPal has only been showing 20-30% of my daily diet as protein. That’s not enough.
Last night, I reread The Metabolic Effect Diet—specifically Chapter 3: The Metabolic Spark. I did really well following the guidelines in this book (and they aren’t that different from Metabolic Prime). But a couple points stood out to me:
Eat every 2-4 hours and don’t let yourself get hungry
Don’t skip meals or snacks
Metabolic Prime (and Jade’s other book Lose Weight Here) have changed their advice slightly on these points. ME Prime suggests going longer between meals and letting yourself feel a little hungry before you eat. But this didn’t work for me when I read LWH and it’s not working now.
Some other takeaways:
Jade writes in The Metabolic Effect Diet, “Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day because it establishes the proper hormonal fat-burning rhythms for the day.” AND THIS: “Breakfast should be consumed within the first 2 hours after waking up.”
DUDE! I’ve been waking at 5:45 and not eating till 9:30.
And then there’s this note about coffee and “sugar burners” (the book talks about how different people use more sugar or fat for fuel, or if they are someone who uses a mixed amount—I am a sugar burner). “One cup of strong caffeinated coffee before exercising can actually increase the fat-burning effects of a sugar burner’s workout.” BUT, he continues, if you drink coffee and don’t exercise, it will actually increase stress hormone production and lead to metabolic resistance. Uh oh.
Here are some things I’m going to try:
Reduce coffee intake: Have a cup before my workout, and possibly one more (cup, not travel mug) on my commute with the hope that I can eventually cut out that second cup over time (maybe green tea instead). I really like having coffee on my commute, though. This morning, before my workout, I had a lungo espresso and some water, and relaxed for 30 minutes. I did my workout at about 6:30.
Eat breakfast after my morning workout: This morning I had two fried eggs with two slices of deli turkey on a bed of arugula at 7:30 (see photo above). It was delicious! Then I had my naked smoothie two hours later as a snack. I think this will help me get my calories up a bit and, hopefully, set me up for more stable energy throughout the day by getting me off to a good start.
Eat every 2-3 hours: I know 4 hours is a long time for me. Trying to muscle my way between hour 3 and 4 seems to just lead to binge-eating or lots of snacking later. The snacks don’t have to be big, just high in protein and fiber.
More sleep: Okay, this is recommended in ME Prime, too, but I have not been doing a good job with this. I need to be more mindful about when I’m going to bed and getting up. I got 7.5 hours last night. Going to try for 8 tonight since it’s a Friday—seems like an easy day to start on.
More R&R: Yoga, baths, coloring. Going to aim for 15 minutes because I’m terrible at this and need to start small.
Things I will continue doing, that I’ve been doing a pretty good job with:
Drinking a lot of water (my goal is half my weight in ounces, so about 75)
3 HIIT workouts with weights per week (Metabolic Prime)
2 sprint/speed/hill running workouts per week (no longer than 30 minutes)
1 long slow run per week of 60-90 minutes
30-60 minutes of walking per day
Hopefully, I will be kicking ass again in no time.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not terribly observant and that I say the word “dude” a lot. Both of these qualities are terrible in writers and detectives.
Dude, that guy’s totally dead. Some crazed killer dude probably did it. We should probably figure out who that was, dude.
That’s from my new Detective Dude series. Coming out this fall!
(Shit, that’s not a bad idea. Nobody steal that. Yeah, I’m talking to all six of you.)
Anyone who knows me also knows that I have trouble staying on topic.
Week 6 Results
Anyway, Week 7 of the 12-Week Metabolic Prime Challenge is almost over and I’m, once again, late to recap the prior week’s results. (In case you’re as bad at math as I am, that would be Week 6 results.) But really you’re not missing anything because they were, as Detective Dude would say: Like super inconclusive.
I need to mention that, at first, when I weighed myself a couple days early (on Friday because I thought I might want to weigh myself before the weekend instead of on Sunday), I had lost 1.5 pounds. But then I felt like that was cheating, so I didn’t count it. When I weighed myself again on Sunday, I’d only lost .2. Whatever, dude.
Inches, once again, didn’t move much. I think I lost a half inch from my chest. That is not an area I’m concerned with.
My HEC and SHMEC (Hunger Energy and Cravings, and Sleep Hunger Mood Energy and Cravings) were in check last week, but I did not lose any fat, so after measuring on Sunday, I knew I needed to change something in my diet. I needed to become a Diet Detective which is what Metabolic Effect likes to say.
How to Become a Diet Detective Dude
First, because I’ve been adding fat to my protein and fiber smoothies yet not getting fat loss results, I took out the fat and I added a small amount of carbs instead. (I feel like this is more scientist work than detective, by the way, but whatever.) I used banana.
Unfortunately, I was hungry in an hour. So, I had a protein bar and was hungry an hour and a half later. I had another smoothie for lunch, adding a little banana again. Hungry again an hour later. I went home and raided the pantry like a bear in a campsite, and ended up eating a bunch of gluten-free crackers. An hour later, I felt tired and bloated and I just wanted to take a nap. (But my son came home from school and ruined that idea.)
The next day, I needed to try something different. Maybe I needed a little fat and a little starch together. I did stay fuller longer, but I had intense cravings all day. When I came home from work, I sought out the crackers again, plus three different kinds of chocolate, a pack of Sweet Tarts, and in a desperate attempt to stop the cravings, a ton of chicken jerky. I didn’t feel great afterward, and again, just wanted to nap.
In frustration, I wrote on the wall of the private Metabolic Prime group I belong to:
Yesterday I tried removing fat and adding carbs and I binged on gluten free crackers before dinner. Energy was super low. Today I tried doing a little fat and a little carb and I sought out the crackers again AND this time chocolate too. Again low energy. Back to higher fat, no starch tomorrow. I really want to figure this out. No inches lost again last week. Obviously, I’d make a terrible detective. We are in Week 7, right?
After writing it, I knew what I had to do. I had to put on my Detective Dude running hat and figure out my nutrition. Clearly, my hormones are super sensitive to starchy carbs and fat, so…I decided to “start over.”
On Wednesday, I went back to just protein and fiber for my breakfast and lunch shakes: 8 ounces unsweetened almond milk, a serving of chocolate protein powder, 1-1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, a CUP of spinach and a Tablespoon of chia seeds (the chia seeds were a new addition to add fiber and aid fullness).
The results were awesome. I felt fuller much longer, I had more energy and no cravings. Boom! My lunch shake was the same (just a little less of spinach because I can’t fit more than a ¼ cup in my tiny Magic Bullet blender at work). Dude.
I did have some snacks before dinner, but I was truly hungry (probably because the shakes were pretty low in calories). I snacked on chicken jerky and apple slices. I made salmon for dinner.
I am keeping my shakes the same for now and am looking forward to hopefully uncovering some real results this Sunday.
As Sherlock’s creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle so wisely said: It is better to learn wisdom late, than never to learn it at all, dude.
I was all prepared to not do this race this year. I’d accepted that I would most likely suffer from FOMO and embraced sleeping in and drinking all the coffee and maybe even making some pancakes. (Protein pancakes, of course, let’s not get crazy.) But then I ran the race anyway.
I suck at not doing races!
My neighbor is awesome and agreed to an 8 a.m. play date for our kiddos so that I could go to the race. (The hubs was out of town.)
For me, this race is all about the outfit. And I couldn’t decide on a shirt, so I got a pair of scissors and altered the race shirt, which is not a gender-specific cut. It says short sleeves, but they’re practically 3/4-length on women.
I really should have taken pictures of my process. Why do I never think of that? Here’s the video I used for guidance:
I ended up just making a tank. NBD. It was easy, but I did practice on a couple of T-shirts that I don’t wear anymore to get the hang of it.
The same day I picked up the shirt and race packet, I went to the Seahawks Pro Shop and purchased a few things. They gave me free Seahawks shoe laces and wings. Dude. I had to use them.
You guys, there’s really no racing this race unless you plan to start at the front of the pack with the dudes in singlets and short shorts. I’d rather run in my Sparkle Athletic skirt with my friends and enjoy the atmosphere of the 12s.
In case you aren’t familiar with Seahawks football, the fans are called 12s, as in the 12th Man, aka 12th Fan, etc. I can’t afford tickets to Seahawks games so this race is the closest I’ll probably ever get to the players…and, oh boy, did I take advantage of that this year!
The Seahawks 12K Course
But first, the course:
Like the title of the race indicates, it starts at The Landing in Renton. The actual start/finish is in front of the LA Fitness. Seahawk KJ Wright kicked off the event. Runners turn out of the parking lot and head north onto Logan Avenue N. (toward the Red Robin). Then you turn south onto Park Avenue N., the road that threads Target and Dicks Sporting Goods. Turn left (east) onto N. 8th Street and go around the back of Frys, then go left (north) onto Houser Way N. and now you just keep heading north onto Lake Washington Blvd. N. paralleling I-405 on your right and Lake Washington on your left.
The view of the lake is gorgeous, especially on a clear day like Sunday was. The Olympic Mountain range was in the background and there were bald eagles soaring above the trees.
At about 3.5 miles, you get to a split where you stay to the left on Seahawks Way and then into the parking lot of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center or VMAC (which here we pronounce Vee-Mack).
This is the Seahawks practice facility. The water stop is lakeside between the VMAC and the water. One side always features Nuun and the other side is water. Seahawks players and coaches, as well as volunteers pass out hydration.
Loop around the VMAC and next to the practice field, and then up and out of the parking lot to head back to Lake Washington Blvd. N., this time going south. I like an out-and-back course because you get to look for friends and at costumes going both ways. Continue south on Lake Washington Blvd. N. until you get back to The Landing. This time, though, you turn right onto Park Avenue N.—no need to loop around the business like before. Stay on Park Avenue N.—it becomes Logan Avenue N. as you continue south toward the start/finish line. Next thing you know, you’re turning left into The Landing parking lot in front of the LA Fitness!
I rocked the course this year. In fact, as I was running, I sort of wished I could race it. It’s not a flat course—it has rolling hills. Last year (which you can read here), it felt as if I was running uphill both ways, but this year, I enjoyed the ups and downs. That probably has something to do with the thousands of squat jumps and switch jumps and new jacks I’ve done over the past couple of months.
They did away with shoe timing chips, which caused a huge backup at the finish line last year. This year, throw-away chips were attached to race bibs. This was a huge improvement. Good job, guys!
They integrated timing chips with finish line video, which is super cool. Click here to see Zoë and me finish—she’s in the blue sparkle skirt and I’m right behind her in the silver one.
I also did something new this year. I decided I was going to hug the Seahawks players. I’ve never even high-fived them in the 3 other years I’ve run this race, so it was kind of a big deal.
I never recognize who the guys are without their jerseys and helmets on, as they are usually not the most famous guys from the team. I don’t really care about that. These guys have worked hard to play at the highest level, and the athlete in me respects that. Also they are huge dudes with big muscles. The two I knew of are Drew Nowak and Tharold Simon. (At least, I think these were two of the guys.)
“Should we hug them?” I asked Zoë when we got to the Nuun stop at the VMAC, and because Zoë has a bit of a crazy streak in her, of course she thought we both should.
We apologize for the disruption we caused at the water stop. But, dang, it was worth it.
Professional football players are not squishy. These guys are solid muscle, which quite frankly, would not make them very good cuddle partners.
My 7-year-old son describes the best hug as a light squeeze. Want to know what it’s like to hug a professional football player? Find a tree with a trunk a little wider than you, place your arms around it and give it a light squeeze.
What I Learned
You guys, running less works for me. I guess I didn’t so much learn this as be reminded. I know this, but I get caught up in reading about mileage, mileage, mileage. I can’t do that. I get injured and fat. Running less might not be for everyone, but for me, it works for…better running. I know that seems weird.
What have I been doing? Focusing on HIIT/strength 3 times per week doing Metabolic Prime workouts, then sprinting/tempo/fast intervals 2 times per week, and one rest day and one long run at an easy pace.
I didn’t have to push myself much at all during the race on Sunday. We ran at an easy sub-10:30/mile pace and finished the 7.6-mile course in 1:19:51. We even stopped for pictures a couple times, and of course, hugs. We walked through water stops, too.
Glad I got to run this race again this year. I guess I’ll keep the tradition going next year.
Now…I don’t have another race till June, but I think I’d like to do a 5K race in the next few weeks, if I can. Any suggestions?
My Metabolic Prime results after Week 5 are super uneventful, guys!
So now I need to do some more detective work because overall my Sleep Hunger Mood Energy and Cravings are all in check, but it doesn’t seem like the fat is coming off. I feel stronger, I have more energy, but the scale and the measuring tape aren’t moving.
I was exactly the same weight as last week. Inches didn’t move enough to even mention.
Because of what I’m eating I don’t feel hungry all the time like I used to. I definitely think that’s due to a higher protein and veggie diet, less starchy carbs overall. I just know now that carbs don’t last for me. I burn through them like a Kardashian kredit kard.
But I wonder…
Maybe I need a little more starch and a little less fat? So I will try that this week and see how it goes.
I was rocking when I did the Metabolic Effect Diet a few years ago, which suggested a few more starchy carbs than what I’ve been having.
Workouts have been going great. I’ve been getting them done in the morning and then walking in the afternoons. I even did sprints this morning on the trail!
Someone asked him a blogging question. Write what you want to write, he advised. You don’t have to write like the magazines. Write what you want to write about how you want to write it. Nobody’s telling you to do it a certain way.
Holy shit he’s right.
Sometimes, I get so caught up in the SEO and stuff. I can’t help it. It’s the evil copywriter side of me.
I really want to help people with this blog. I want to help people figure out how to get the most out of their fitness and/or running and/or weight loss journey, and so I get caught up in how to get my message out to the most people.
I’ll try to be better.
Books I Mentioned
These are affiliate links; if you use the links to buy, I may get a small percentage of that sale. I have read both the New Rules book and the ME book; so if you have questions about those, please ask! I recommend both. However, Lou Schuler says Strong is an updated version of New Rules that is better. Will definitely be getting it!
You guys, I’m staying the course. The water is deep, cold and unforgiving…wait that’s for another blog.
This fat loss thing is a journey. I’m late in posting this, but nothing too exciting happened last week as far as my Metabolic Prime Challenge results. Sheesh, it’s almost time to check in for Week 5 (which I’m not excited about because I’ve been PMSing this week and giving in to the sugar cravings!).
Why am I even on this fat loss journey?
I also ask this question every time I want a burger, fries and a beer. But I don’t think that’s what Metabolic Effect coach Tara Ballard (Prime Life Fit) meant when she asked her Metabolic Prime group to “find our why” in a call last week.
Here’s my why: WHY is this so hard?
I don’t mean doing the exercise or making new nutrition habits either. I literally mean finding my why.
On the surface, my why is that I want to look like an athlete. I want my hard work to be seen. Let it be known that I work out, people!
But seriously. I work out too hard to not look like I work out. The funny thing is, when I work out less, but work harder (quality over quantity), it shows more. Something to think about if you are contemplating signing up for an Ironman as a weight loss tactic. (Which is actually a thing I considered a few years ago. By the way: Don’t do this.)
But, let’s get deep, which is not something I like to do. I’m more of a stay-on-the-surface-and-crack-jokes-to-ease-the-awkwardness kind of gal.
If I really think about my why, and can be serious about it for like 30 seconds, then it is this: I want to be healthy inside and out as I age.
I don’t want to be dependent on drugs, joint replacements and using a walker in my 50s. I do want is to travel with my husband as we grow old together. I want to play soccer with my son, and to still be able to score a goal against him when he’s in college…although, truthfully, I can barely do that now even though he’s only 7.
I know that health is not all controllable. People get sick or hurt even when they do things right. But I want to control what I can control while I can still control it. Obviously, I have control issues.
Okay, enough with being serious. Now, let’s get back to the important stuff, which is how much weight did I lose this week?
It’s slow-going, you guys, but I did lose a pound. However, my measurements still haven’t changed much (.75 from my thighs–it’s something, I guess). It’s possible I’m doing something wrong when I measure because my clothes were fitting me different last week. My belt has moved a bunch of holes (that sounds dirty), and the thighs and hips of my jeans are much looser. Also, I had to move my bra clasp over. And other people are noticing definition in my arms.
I considered this winning when I checked in on Sunday.
I’ll just continue to float along on this journey adjusting my sails as I go. Unfortunately, I missed the connection for the fat loss bullet train, and had to catch a ride on an ancient vessel instead.