September 10, 2011

Healthy Discoveries

So, the healthy streak of no alcohol and low-glycemic index ovo-lacto vegetarian food was going swimmingly. The original plan was 10 days straight commencing the day we returned from our travels.

But, on night 3, E2 & J asked if they could come spend the night on their way up north. We were super excited to hang out with them, and, truly, both E and I were more than happy to take a quick break from the streak for a little wine with friends. So, we all sat around the dinner table, sipping wine and eating garden gazpacho, sliced garden veggies dipped in homemade hummus, brown rice tomato risotto (with oyster mushrooms for E) and J added some chicken sausages to his meal as he could not quite go full veggie after doing physical labor all day.

In exchange for the night off, E and I agreed that we should tack 2 full days to the remainder of the streak. We'll do this for every day we don't completely meet the goal (e.g. yesterday, I did a veggie juice fast for lunch, and the dinner meal was entirely on target...except the wine, but we've decided that any slip = 2 more full days). The current count is 9 days left, but we have plans on that 9th day with friends at a winery. So right now, it looks like the best we could do is 2 on, 1 off, 7 on, 1 off, 3 on. It should be interesting to see how long it takes us to get through the full streak and how many days we do in total before returning to our more ordinary reasonably healthy (but not super healthy) lifestyle. I have high hopes...

This morning, E2 and I headed out for a wonderful 4 mile walk (the last 4 I had to make up from the 6 I missed on Monday AM after the wedding). We hit up Starbucks and I opted for my favorite pre-workout drink -- a skinny vanilla latte (although sometimes I go Hazelnut). 9g protein. 14g carbs. 125mg Sodium. 75mg Caffeine. 90 Calories. What's not to like? We alternated talking and ended with a long-overdue fully-caught-up hug. I've missed my weekend long runs with E2, but a walk is almost as good.

After an hour of walking, my Garmin needed charging, so I stretched a bit and ate a Harvest Energy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bar. Mmmm... this tastes like a treat and at 250Cal with 9g fat, I wouldn't ordinarily want to indulge. But, I knew I had 8 solo miles to run and it was getting warm, so I erred on the side of extra fuel and electrolytes (140mg Na; 200mg K) , especially since I didn't have any sports drinks available to take with me.

And, what do you know? Between the latte and the bar, I made it through a 4 mile walking warm-up and a fairly difficult out and back 8 miler that ended in 84F heat (1200 ft total ascent, 300 ft net climb out and drop back) with nothing but water. I kept the run under 10 minute miles, including the stops for water walking, so my average pace without the stops was somewhere in the 9:40 range. Given that it seemed difficult, but not terrible, even with the heat and hills, I was quite pleased. Even better, when I got home, I wasn't totally useless. I wasted some time at the computer, took a good shower and prepared lunch without any of the post-workout fall-out I often experience if I don't tend to my energy/fuel needs.

The biggest healthy-related discovery of the week, however, was how delicious the St. Pauli N.A. tasted with lunch after my workout. I've never been a big fan of beer after runs. Some people swear by it, but the smell of the alcohol nauseates me after a hard work-out. It usually takes me at least an hour post-workout before a beer (or any alcohol) even starts to sound good. But, now, I've found the solution. Non-alcoholic beer! What a brilliant idea.

I thought I was being quite clever with my discovery. However, a German brewery already thought of this and ran a scientific study around the Munich Marathon (scientific abstract here). They concluded that non-alcoholic beer is an excellent long distance recovery beverage -- it's got all the great carbs you need plus it's got additional goodies that boost the immune system and help control inflammation, both of which are negative side effects of long distance high volume training and racing.

The moral of the story? Sometimes it's actually *good* to miss your goals and adjust.

1. If I hadn't missed my Monday run, I'm not sure I would have done the 4 mile walk with E2 *and* the 8 mile run this AM. The time with E2 was one of the best parts of my week, while the run was harder (aka better training) than it would have been in the cooler AM.

2. If we hadn't asked J and E2 to show up with wine last night, we would have drank the St. Pauli Girl N.A.s, and I wouldn't have learned the beauty of non-alcoholic beer as a training aid. 96Cals, 23g Carbs plus all the B vitamins and other random goodness you get from the brewing process without the stink of alcohol? I'm a fan. Besides, it tastes better than any other recovery drink I've tried.


Arvay said...

beer = good


Biting Tongue said...

Arvay: I can't deny it. It's true.