It's official!

Registration Confirmation.jpg

It's official!

I'm registered for the Stumptown Trail Runs 50k!  Yikes.  

Well, I guess it's really happening!  As I stare down the barrel of the next four months, I have a bunch of plans in place to keep myself injury-free and keep my family happy--starting with doing a bunch of my runs as morning or evening commutes to and from work in order to protect weekend family time. So far, so good--but I'm only in the pre-training plan training plan right now, so I haven't had to run for longer than an hour at a time. 

Stay tuned for March, when I'll be creating MapMyRun routes home from work designed to take me 4 or 5 hours.  Zoinks.

In the meantime, while I slowly build mileage in an effort to avoid injury, I've been experimenting with becoming fat-adapted--essentially eating and running in such a way that my body starts burning fat instead of sugar when I'm running.  (I won't bore you with the details here.)  Important for me is that in order to become fat-adapted, one has to spend the majority of running time at a low heart rate--for me, under 140 bpm--which can be surprisingly hard to do.  I started out having to run 13+ minute miles to keep my heart rate that low, which is just plain boring.  Now I'm down to the 12-minute range, and I'm hoping I can get to a comfortable 11-minute mile before the race.  The bonus of all this slow running is that my runs are EASY, and easy usually means injury-free.  (I really hope I didn't just jinx myself!)

Folks love to debate this fat-adaptation concept on the internet, and the jury is definitely still out on its benefits, but you know how much I love to treat my body like a science experiment.  In this case, I'm hoping that learning to burn fat on my runs will allow me to run longer distances, however slowly, without bonking and without needing much fuel.  That's the magic of fat adaptation, and I figure it's totally made for someone like me, who loves running for hours on end, but who will never be the fastest.   We'll see!


PS: I took a fun, terrible-quality video of a segment of my run home the other night!  I have been collecting little chunks of video from runs to practice using my new YouTube channel (which, I hope, will someday be populated with actually useful videos in which I talk about things, rather than just doing that awesome mid-run heavy breathing.).  Check it out here: 

Easing in with an Easy Recipe (and an Injury Update)

I've been away for a while!  As it turns out, having a stress fracture--and therefore not being allowed to run for months--did not result in me spending all that extra free time writing for the blog.  Instead, I've worked a bunch, enjoyed a busy holiday with the family, and performed in a musical (which is something I do sometimes!).  My stupid metatarsal is taking its sweet time getting back to normal. I blame the kids, of course (shhh, don't tell them).  Not being able to truly stay off my feet has taken its toll, even with the walking boot that I was rocking for 2 months.

As spring approaches and I ease my way back into running, I'm also easing/barreling my way back into the wellness-focused life I'd been living.  Yes, I know it's "wellness-focused" to take necessary time off for physical therapy, but in the moment it just feels like one big couch-bound Netflix marathon.  In the vein of easing, I tried an amazingly easy recipe yesterday that turned out to be AMAZING.

This beautiful image--not mine--clicks through to the source site--OhMyVeggies.com

This beautiful image--not mine--clicks through to the source site--OhMyVeggies.com

As it turns out, I made a couple of tweaks to the original recipe, but they were minor:

  • I pureed 2 cups of canned corn kernels into the soup, and added 2 cups of frozen corn kernels at the end for texture.
  • I slow cooked on low (in my new Instant Pot!) for 10 hours, but the potatoes were still not tender enough for my immersion blender, so I pressure cooked the soup for 15 minutes before pureeing,  If you're using a regular slow cooker, just give it more time or cook it on high instead.
  • The only toppings I needed were some toasted and crushed corn tortillas and a ridiculous amount of avocado, but Wife stirred a load of sour cream into hers and loved it.
  • Bonus: turns out toddlers love this soup.

Next up:

  • I'm hoping to be cleared to try running on the ground soon.  I've only run in the Alter-G treadmill (which is this amazing anti-gravity thing), and I'm starting to work out on an elliptical and stair climber, but I'm itching to get back on the trails.
  • As my show closes and I have more time for cooking actual meals--much to my family's delight--I'll be messing around with (and sharing) more recipes!
  • I'll be sharing my 2017 race plan as soon as I have more info on my foot.  2017 is supposed to be Year of the Triathlon!

Who is Cait?

I get more feedback than the average gal when I run. I hear “right on!” from dudes I am trying to ignore. “You go girl!” is a common one from the ladies, too. This happens on the road, on race courses, out on the trails. If I see ten people out on my run, I can almost guarantee at least one or two of them will say something to me. If you closed your eyes and listened to my run, you’d think I’m one impressive athlete, but you’d be wrong—I am definitely not a fast runner.

I am a fat runner.

You read that right. I run a solid 11-minute mile on a flat surface, and it’s not rare to catch me chugging up long hills at a less-than-blistering 13-minute pace. People cheer me on because I’m straight-up chubby, and it’s not often you see a 30-something woman carrying 40 extra pounds along for 5 miles, except for perhaps on reality TV.Wahine

Sure, runners are generally an inclusive bunch, and on some days the cheering masses are right—I do need a little affirmation. Still, often those hurrahs just serve to remind me that no matter how many hours I’ve logged on my feet, no matter how many more miles I’ve run than they have this week, I’m still considered less of an athlete because of the extra pounds.

I combat the feeling by reminding myself of my boosters' good intentions, make a mental note that I should not be turning lemonade into lemons, and feel lucky that I am, in fact, doing great (and weren’t they kind to notice?). It usually works.

Last spring, while training for my first half-marathon, I often ran a particularly hilly 6-mile route. I killed it on those hills back then, and I loved taking in the views from the road. One freakishly cold afternoon, I rounded a bend on my way back downhill to see a chubby 20-something woman jogging toward me, hustling her way uphill.

Finally, I got it: The urge to say “you go girl!” was overwhelming.

I found it hard to suppress not only because she was chunky, but because she was running hard and smiling and clearly working her butt off on that hill. I opened my mouth to cheer her on, and closed it again. We both knew we were athletes, and that with every step we were at proving that women don't have to be skinny to be healthy.

It took a long time to get to the place where I worry more about my fitness than my body fat, and I plan to stay here by cooking (and sharing!) my mostly plant-based recipes.  Rather than pursuing weight loss, I try to focus on health in my cooking, eating, running, and writing, while trying to fit it all into my crazy life.  There will be days when I skip the cooking, running, and writing altogether, and weeks when my infant son keeps me up so much at night that junk food takes the place of sleep, but I’m ok if my pursuit is of “good enough” and not so much perfection.

All that to say that I will likely continue to be the big girl on the race course, and you are welcome to cheer me on.