Vans was in Whistler, Canada for six days last week leaving me with the girls for our own little week of adventure.
Not to worry though as we didn’t waste any time getting our own little party started …
The girls understood that Daddy was away doing a bike race at our friends house in another country and that we had to continue on our usual routine as best we could without him. For me, that meant no more morning or weekend runs with the usual girls or using soccer practice as a time to do some of my Rouxbe cooking assignments.
The running part was an adjustment, but luckily I work for a company that provides showers and a locker room so I took my running outside a few days week during my lunch hour. The distance is only four miles and there is only about 9 feet of elevation (picture a completely flat bike trail and business park) so instead, I motivated myself to start running faster.
I was able to maintain an average pace of about 7:37/mile each day that I ran on my lunch break. The temps were in the 90s too so it was pretty hot when all was said and done but it was a nice stress reliever which I have needed since work is growing more and more insane lately. I have also been using my standup desk more and taking the six flights of stairs at the office. I keep reading articles about how sitting is slowly killing us by raising our triglycerides and insulin levels and that a mere 30 minutes of activity doesn’t do squat to combat the damage. I commute at least two hours each day to work, I sit at a desk all day long most days and when I come home, I am sitting with the Peanut doing homework. I know it may seem like I am on the go all the time but the reality of it is, I do spend a lot of time in a chair. Think about yourself. How much time do you sit in a car, a chair, at a desk or on a couch? Really think about it. The number may surprise you.
I also recently have been diving more and more into my favorite type of cooking. The online cooking course I am taking through Rouxbe is great but it is your basic plant-based cooking style using things like coconut oils and cashews to create rich and fulfilling meals. My family history of severe heart disease and heart attacks really makes it hard for me to eat that way all the time. I truly believe in the work behind Dr. Esselstyn and when I finally received his wife and daughter’s cookbook, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, I have been on an plant-power cooking adventure!
Rouxbe does have a unit on oil-free cooking and I am eagerly waiting to get there so I can learn even more tips and tricks to cooking fantastic plant-based meals without oils or nuts.
It is really important for me to try and maintain a healthy heart (as it should be for everyone). I don’t need to share the statistics that prove Americans are getting more and more unhealthy and are more and more reliant on pharmaceuticals to try and “fix” their ailments. Drugs do not reverse anything. They are only a band-aid which is why I love Dr. Esselstyn’s message. He’s a doctor, a cardiologist and is first line of defense for any of his patients is to avoid medication and put them on a plant-based oil and nut free way of living. Not a diet, a way of life.
I know I know, so many of you are probably thinking “What?! You already do not eat gluten and meat, what on earth are you going to eat now if you leave out oil and nuts?!” It isn’t that difficult to cook oil free. Oil has no nutritional value to it what so ever. It is pure fat and can do massive damage to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery. Nuts will be a little harder as I do love almond butter. What Dr. Esselstyn and his crew (including his son Rip who is the founder and drive behind Engine 2) say, is that if you do not have a history of heart disease that 100% avoiding nuts and fats like avocado isn’t AS crucial.
I should preface this by saying I am TRYING to be better about living this way. In the years before Vans and the girls, my diet was very much low fat and nut free and I truly felt my healthiest (minus that gluten thing). However running and training for ultra races also presents various problems when you are maxing out high mileage on a weekly basis. In fact, my usual pre-race breakfast is a bar that contains a lot of nuts! What to do?
When asked about “moderation” Dr. Esselstyn’s response is generally, “if you eat unhealthy foods in moderation, you will have a moderate heart attack.” It makes sense. I am just trying to get the hang of it all. Eating this way and being active is doable. Rip Esselstyn is a former professional triathlete and firefighter who ate this way during his training days. It can be done. We shall see where this road takes me.
In other healthy news, the Peanut had another soccer game this weekend wherein she played goalie during the first half. One goal made it past her but her team soon rose to the challenge and returned the goal and many more.
It was a pretty grueling weekend. The temperature was in the 100s both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday started early with soccer photos for every single team in the league!
We had the soccer photos at 9 am (and it was scorching already) followed by a game at 11:00 am. Come noontime, everyone was fried and exhausted. Since I wasn’t able to run on Saturday due to all the soccer activities, I planned a run with Stonegate, Burning Girl and Pigeon for early Sunday morning. I haven’t seen Pigeon in quite some time so I was totally stoked when she said she could run with us!
Pigeon arrived at my house promptly at 6 am and we ran ourselves down to the trail head to meet Stonegate and Burning Girl. The sun had just come up and Pigeon and I were catching up on some lost time and laughs. I love how we can always pick up wherever we left off.
We headed out on New York Creek looking to do about 16 miles for the day. My house is about a half mile from the trail head so that added an additional mile for us. Right off the bat my legs felt a little tired but they soon came back to life for a short while. The run out is always nice. It is somewhat downhill and we’re usually super excited and chat the whole way. By the time we passed Spanish House over by Folsom Lake the conversations were starting to slow. I felt like I had a bowling ball in my tummy for a while but it luckily subsided after I ate some food and took a salt tab.
The trails are a bit technical on this side of the lake compared to the route I normally go but it was a nice change of pace and it had some real nice rolling hills that we’d run and occasionally walk. Poor Pigeon had run 26 miles on Friday, 15 on Saturday and was sticking with us on our 16 mile run today. Her legs were beat but she was able to hang with us.
We chatted and shared stories. The girls laughed endlessly at my fear of birds and Stonegate is longing for the day when a turkey crosses my path on the trails. I am sure she will have her day one of these days especially as we approach Thanksgiving.
Even though we started running at 6:30 am you could feel the heat coming. The air was thick on our route back and we were reduced to walking a bit more. We also encountered a million mountain bikers on the trail having a few close calls with some head on collisions.
Overall it felt good to be back out running some distance on the trails. I definitely feel the absence and I hope that I can rebuild the stamina I once had when it comes to running longer. I am also looking forward to the next two weekends coming up. Lots of adventures are ahead quite a few of them will be in Tahoe!