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Wish List Wednesday… Hilling and “over”filling

On Today’s Wish List Wednesday, Ill deal with my desire to improve my running through up and down  terrain and my inability to handle those buffets and potlucks.

So…………

Today’s Running Wish Is…….

I wish… I lived near more runnable hills

Set up- Horrible Helpful Hills

Hills improve your running in every way imaginable. They build muscle, improve your cardio, and can be used as an important  tool to build speedwork. This is to say nothing of the fact that a lot of the courses that I hope to run later in my life have lots of terrain. Unfortunately I live in pancake flat Florida. Seriously, one  of my favorite parks in Florida to run in is called Flatwoods Park in New Tampa. It lives up to its name and then some. In fact any good place to run in the Tampa area is similarily plagued by flatness. If I want to run hills outside, it requires some driving which means more time and money that I dont always have, or a treadmill.

The IDEAL Wish- Must Repeat, Must Repeat, Must Repeat

I want a couple of things here. I want a big a gigantic hill near my house thats good and long with a nice huge incline so I can ran some quadricep bursting hill repeats. So I can feel the pain of pushing through #9, when I can barely feel my legs. So I can run hell hill mondays for real and barely be able to walk home. I also want a nice long hilly course with some severe  enough up and down to make a real difference. That has specific miles that I dread running and horrible hills that I can give fun hateful nicknames too.

I would love some sort of big hill right near where I live

The Reality- Treadmill trudges 

I have to run most of my hillwork on treadmills. The hill setting on my treadmill sets you up on repeats through 4 increasing sized inclines, each for a minute, with a minute flatter section following.  I typically run it for 50 minutes and the level of inclines I select depends on what I am training for. The 50 minutes generally means that I will complete 4 sets of 4 hill increases, discounting time for beginning and end.

Ocassionally, Ill pop up to a little town about 20 minutes or so away from where I live called San Antonio.There is a college there called St. Leo University, and I will leave my car there (semi-legally)  and hit some hills. In particular there is an 8 mile loop with decent hills that goes around the area. The run is pretty, and I would do it often but there are problems. Firstly, its not a runnable course. There are no shoulders on the side of the road to run most of the course on. Stepping off onto the side of the road is fine with me, but thats not any better. Ruts, branches, leaves, unstable grass are all characterize any off road running you must do and I dont want to injure myself in pursuit of good hills. Secondly, if you stay on the road, get prepared to dodge traffic around blind spots. Youre running on (and I mean on) 2 lane roads in a rural town and cars do not slow down and do not really want you there, so it can get really dangerous. Of course, its also a 20 minute drive so it means more gas and mileage on my car.

I trained hard for hills (in my way) before Gainesville. I had the treadmill on a super high setting every Monday and I ran San Antonio a few times in preparation for that course. Still, it felt like I was making an effort to run hills, rather than knowing how to run hills. It showed on the back half of that race which didnt have huge hills but steady uneven terrain. If I had consistent hills to run whereby it would be second nature, I would have killed that course.  But I didnt, and I flamed out in the back half.

The Possible-  More of the same

In this case, the possibility is also the reality. Hit the treadmill at a hard incline setting.  Or maybe just put in a extra hill workout (I dont know where) on the treadmill thats a straight climb where I put it on a slow speed for a long time at set incline which I could increase from week to week. Other than that, a move further north (somewhere in Florida possibly) to a place with some terrain would be helpful. It might be on the horizon for me.

Now my food/nutrition wish…

I wish I could control myself at pot lucks and buffets

The Set Up- Willpower now departing

For whatever reason I always seem to end up at a lot of potlucks/buffets. My capoeira group has them with surprising frequency and they are fun, cheap entertainment to go to. They are packed with delicious food choices, ranging from yummy salty snacks, to delicious dinner treats, to to decadent baked goods. Bring something to one of these events and you have fair game to go to town on the humongous spread of food that is ineveitably there. I have a problem with this. I can never determine how much is good enough, and I want to try anything. Besides the food is just sitting there for free, waiting to be eaten. What ineveitably seems to happen is that by the end of the evening, Captain Willpower has left the galaxy, and the eating frenzy commences. It can get worse with buffets that I pay for. I just want to go to these things and not leave feeling gypped or stuffed to the point of embarrassment and disoredered eating.

Temptation is hard in this case for a couple of  reasons. To begin with both of these situations are fairly low cost.  So of course I want to get as much as I can for whatever I spent. Plus in many cases its food I will not be able to produce on my own (cost and talent)and may never see again. So I indulge too much.

The Ideal Wish- Satisfied but not stuffed

That I could attend a potluck, and try a small sample of all the home cooked stuff and savor it slowly and just move on. That I could enjoy the worthwhile food, that came from the many talented home chefs I know and not touch the store bought crap that appears on the same pot luck table. That I could walk away and avoid picking at smaller things the whole evening. That I could leave one of those events feeling like I had a good time, and satisfied that I enjoyed and not consumed the food (which is a line that I cross far too often). Or that I could go to the buffet, isolate a good variety of things I want to try and have a couple of small plates of dinner, than maybe one or 2 dessert treats and walk away. That I could feel like getting my money’s worth was not an excuse to eat six consecutive plates of food goodness.

The Reality- Fixing the smaller percents

I am a healthy eater pretty much 90 to 95% of the time. I count calories, eat colored meals as often as possible, and eat the right mix of foods as often as I can. Whole grains, carbs, lean proteins, fruits and veggies are regular parts of my diet that I enjoy and I eat routinely. I work out really hard and really often so if an opportunity for an indulgent meal comes up on the week or weekend I dont pass it up. I definitely have earned it and I am smart enough to know that a return to healthy eating consistently and my workout pace will prevent me from sliding down an unhealthy path. I am also smart enough to know, that being healthy doesnt mean you need to deprive yourself of tasty and decadent foods once in a while. Good food is meant to be eaten, albeit smartly.

The problem becomes when I attend these situations and I lose self control. I feel justified – due to expense and effort – to just go to town and binge badly. Thankfully, they dont happen THAT often. Still they do occur. Last summer I went to Asian buffet and ate so much that I felt no desire to eat anything for close to the next 24 hours. As recently as a week ago,  I was at a capoeira event with a pot luck where I ate plate after plate after plate after plate. The food was so good, everything home made, unique,  and scrumptious. I couldnt get enough. It was deliciously bad.  Probably about once a month and half an indulgent meal becomes an eating fest. Thankfully it has not effected my running or training, but I would still like to get this under control.

The Possibility- Self Control and Strategy

This one is also tricky to correct. I enjoy food a lot, especially new types of cuisine from home cooks. I dont get the chance to eat what they offer that much. I dont get the chance to try new foods that much. I just dont have the time or the money to experiment with new foods.  So I overcompensate by taking advantage of these situations too much. As far as pot lucks go, I plan on writing a list of strategies down on an index card which will be reminders of why binging is a bad idea. I also plan on trying to not be that hungry when I am there, maybe eat a small meal beforehand. Also, I plan on bring a super healthy snack that I can pick at the whole night and stay by. I have completely cut myself off from all buffets. After I went on the cruise with my family, I knew there was no other option.

I guess the more intrinsic thing to do would be to develop more self control. Thats still a huge work in progress. Healthy eating habits are a constantly developing challenge. Finally, learning how to cook with more variety and more flavor would probably also temper some of what happens on those days. No need to over experiment, when I can do it myself

I might need to carry this around in my wallet

Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0

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