Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Wild Duluth 50K

Wild Duluth lived up to her wild name!  A few days before the race the weather reports were looking dicey. Lots of snow, freezing rain and wind. It was going to be an interesting day.

Due to Covid restrictions we were going to have a staggered start between 7 -10 AM, only 10 to a bus, no aid other than water at aid stations. Masks at start/finish/water stations. I was so excited to be able to run WD again. So grateful to the Holak's for allowing us to run.

I spent Friday night at Fitgers. I usually stay at Fitgers when not driving up race day. It's quiet, clean and I can always pick up last minute supplies at Trail Fitters. I picked up some gloves this visit.

Saturday morning I headed for Bayfront Festival Park to make my 630 AM bus departure, for a 700 start time wave. It was a beautiful morning. I had many layers packed into my hydration vest along with a PB&J, gels, sweet potato and rice. I was all set. 

I lined up with one other person at the start and Andy yelled go!  Off we went. In the darkness I could see the big wet flakes slowly falling to the ground.

My headlamp was only necessary for 30 or so minutes. I removed it and placed it into my pack. I was very comfortable in fleece tights, long sleeved medium weight top and light jacket, gloves and ear band. I pulled up my mask when I came upon a few runners, passing. The sunrise was gorgeous, making the snow flakes shimmer orange. Beautiful.

Every so often I stopped to take a few photos. The St Louis River, the large pine forest, the foggy lake. Spectacular.  

I felt good. Well rested, strong, enjoying each step. I noticed the snow was sticking to the ground, alarmingly so. I thought with the warmed ground that it would melt on contact. Not so. It was piling up on the grassy areas, the rocks and the boardwalks. The boardwalks were pretty trecherous.

As I ran along through the day a few of the faster runners from the later waves would catch and pass me, but for the most part it was a very quiet day. I was deep in thought, fully immersed in a day by myself, running away from the world and it's problems. 

The snow began to pile up. 3" in total by the end of the race. 

I came into mile 16 and was filling up my bladder which was empty. I had drained it during the first 4 hours. As I was filling it up, Doug Barton walked up. He was volunteering while Maria ran. It was good to see Doug, a friendly recognizable face, even through his facemask!  Maria began an hour after me so I never did see her out there. That was the only bummer of the race-with Covid and all of the precautions were weren't able to see one another nor hang out at the finish. It was so good that they took all of the precautions though, so that we could race.

I said goodbye to Doug and continued to scamper along the trail. The freezing rain began to fall. I could feel my arms were beginning to get wet. I didn't feel like stopping to pull my windbreaker out of my pack. I ran on. 

The beautiful trail. My quads were starting to get tired at about mile 27, a few  miles to the finish. I reflected on how grateful I was to check out of real life for a day and just enjoy myself, running down the trail. 

Eventually I popped onto pavement, following the next few miles to the finish. I felt tears upon my cheeks, trying to hold back. I couldn't. I was so happy and feeling such gratitude.

Pulling on my mask I came into the finish. I again saw Doug (yay), collected my shirt and cup, gave a million thanks to Kim and headed for my car. I drove home, smiling all of the way.

No pain, no tiredness, no low points. Just one hell of a lovely day to run.

Up next: Chesterwoods 50K November 8.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

...And The Cholesterol Numbers Are In!

I have been struggling with high cholesterol/triglycerides for as long as I can remember. I have a strong family history of the same as well as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, alcoholism, you name it, I have it. 

In 2008 I began to eat a vegan diet. In 2014 I curtailed higher fat vegetables and oils, in 2019 I became even more strict as I began began a SOFAS free vegan diet. Salt, oil, flour, alcohol, sugar free. Of course, I've been sober for 24 years so the alcohol was really not anything new.

My numbers just wouldn't come down!  14 months ago, while I was at the clinic for my broken ankle my Dr. told me she wanted to run another cholesterol test. Arg. The numbers were higher than ever. My body is really good at creating all of the cholesterol it needs.  My Dr. was adamant that I begin statins. I respectfully disagreed with her. I have ultrarunner friends who have used statins and have had negative effects. I didn't want to go there. I wanted one more try at lowering my blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. My Dr. was not agreeable. I wasn't going to fill any prescription for statins and I wasn't going to see her for another year. 

I contacted Chef AJ, who has become a SOFAS mentor to me. She suggested I contact Dr. Esselstyn at Cleveland Clinic for a consult. I couldn't believe that I could just call him up but that is exactly what I did. I  called him up and he outlined to me what I needed to do.

He told me that for at least three weekly runs I should run them as fasted. This would allow me to use the fat that was stored in my blood. I should also lengthen my fast between meals, for the same reason. He suggested I decrease the amount of starchy carbs I consumed such as potatoes, squash, peas, etc. NOT eliminate, just decrease. I should increase the amount of non starchy carbs I consume. In addition to not consuming added fat or fatty vegetables I should add 1 T of ground flax to my diet daily. This would increase my good cholesterol. No nuts, no oils, no avocadoes as usual but yes to the flax. Also I would increase my sleep by 1 hour, practice meditation, massage, yoga, etc. in order to relax and decrease my cortisol production. I was on board. 100%. 

I learned so much about myself as I began to follow these steps to lowering  my cholesterol. I learned that I have a deep mentally hurtful connection to certain foods. I broke those connections, it wasn't easy but it was doable. I was hoping the payoff would be great. I followed all of the steps he laid out for me with 100% compliance and diligence. 

Yesterday I had my mammogram, blood draw, physical, etc. I nervously awaited my blood draw results to show up in My Chart. When they did I was SO thrilled!! My numbers came down. The pay off was great. All of the steps to wellness are now habits, I will continue on this path.

My cholesterol dropped 78 points, triglycerides down 90 and glucose down 15. Yeah!

My Dr. was as excited as I. She asked a million questions while talking with me on the phone last night and has set up a Zoom meeting to discuss my lifestyle changes. She didn't think this was possible. I knew deep in  my heart that I could change this path. I'm so excited!  Now hoping all of the other annual tests come back as well as the blood draw did.