Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Paleo Diet or Eat Bacon with Little Guilt.

Being on "The Paleo Diet," since mid-October, I felt I would share my experiences with this new "lifetsyle" I have specifically been on the plan published by Robb Wolf,  The Paleo-Solution.  There are a few other plans out there by other authors, notably, Dr. Loren Cordain.  But I think they are all mostly the same.

I can't remember the actual reason for making this move, but I had been hearing about the "evils of Wheat" for a few years from many sources, including my mom.  When Professional mountain bike and instructor, Gene Hamilton of www.betterride.net/ had switched over and was feeling great, I thought I would give it a try.  And I didn't go on it because I was overweight, I mostly tried it for the mental and other general health benefits.

So I immediately jumped into the spirit of the diet and eschewed wheat products while I researched the actual plan I was going to follow.  Immediately (like within 2 days), I felt better, with generally more energy. A friend of a friend recommended Wolf's plan, so I bought the book and dug in.

Wolf's premise is that our nomadic, hunter-gatherer ancestors were healthier than our agrarian ancestors.  He says that if you go to any anthropology department, they will tell you that.  Wolf is a former vegetarian and biochemist.  I got a B in CHEM 2 the third time I took it, so he could tell me whatever he wants and I would have no choice but to believe him...

Wolf states that grains contains toxins that are a part of their natural defense mechanism.  These toxins stick in the gut and block the uptake of other nutrients.  Meats, veggies, nuts and fruit don't do this so they are OK.

Foods that are GOOD:  Meats (including bacon!!!  Woot woot), nuts, berries, fruits and vegtables.

Foods that are BAD:  Wheat (including bread; white or whole wheat), grains (including corn and rice), and dairy (milk and cheese).

So after 3 months on the plan here are the pros and cons:


I feel great!  I rarely get the "afterlunch" zombie feeling.  I have more energy in general.

I get to eat lots of meat!  Especially bacon!!  And steaks too!

I lost weight, initially about 5 lbs of body fat.

I have gone off my anti-depressants.  I directly attribute this to the diet.  DISCLAIMER - I also talked this over with my Doctor.  And it is much harder to be certifiably insane now...

I heal faster.  The Paleo diet is also billed as anti-inflammatory.  I recover faster from my workouts, and my ibuprofen intake has been much lower.


It is harder to eat out.  Finding wheat free meals at restaurants is hard.  Fast food is nearly impossible.

It is harder to eat over.  Other people find it frustrating to have me over to eat, labeling me a "picky eater."  I tend to go off the diet when other people cook.

It is expensive.  Wheat products are cheap.  Substituting bread with fresh vegetables and nuts is more cost intensive.

I lost weight.  After losing the initial 5 lbs, I continued to lose weight, cutting into my lean body weight.  But then again, I haven't been lifting much lately either.

Bottom line:

The pros outweigh the cons for me.  The way I feel now trumps my craving for Oreos.  And it's not like I'm gonna die if I eat some, I just feel markedly better if I don't.

This diet may or may not work for you.  Everyone reacts differently to different plans.  But it worked for me.  It won't hurt you to try it.

Really, I think it's the gluten...  I think I could eat oatmeal and corn with no problem.  And i don't think I've ever had a bad reaction to dairy.  But I try to stick to the plan.

So there you have it.  No wheat, feel great.  I encourage you to try it, but read a book, don't just go off of my review!

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Sunday, January 23, 2011


Well, I have officially committed to run the Expedition Idaho Adventure Race:  http://expeditionidahorace.com/Our_Concept.html.  Looks to be a very good race; A very good price for the length and it looks to combine some of the things that make these races so much fun, like surprise challenges.

The biggest challenge will be the training.  Last year, my biggest problem was trying to find the time to get ready for races like the Laramie Enduro and the Colorado 1/2 marathon.  And honestly, coming into this type of thing in the wrong shape REALLY sucks the fun out of them.

So even though this is only the third installment, besides committing to the race, I am also committing to not being the Old Slow Guy...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Trudge!!!

That's me with the headsock in the bottom right with Jim trailing not far behind me.  So far so good.  (Photo by Evan O'Toole).
Inspired to write this by the many runner's who were very successful (Ray, Evan, other Josh), you will get the perspective of how the Old, Slow guy got through this.  Check the links at he bottom of the page.

I first ran the Trudge in 2009, invited by my AR partner mentor, Sean.  Conditions that year were pretty mild, and I was able to run most of it.  I remember mostly that the shot of Scotch at the aide station burned for about a half-hour and no amount of energy gel could fix it.  But that aside, it was very fun, and I was addicted.

The next year found me in Kuwait.  Luckily, Sean was there and ran the Camp Virginia version.  I can't quite say it had the epic feel to it, but it was still a lot of fun.  I ran the 11 mile loop.  I remember trying to catch the guy ahead of me at the very end, and I almost did it!  Only to see him peel off for another 11 miles...

I also remember that the Chaplain and the Doc, both old men, did the 22 miles.  And both ended up in the Troop Medical Center.  But they finished!

Fast Forward to this year:  Being stateside, I entered as soon as I could and also convinced my other AR buddy, Clint to run, as well as Wyoming newby Jim, from the flatlands of Indiana.  Of course, Alec kept promising impossible conditions and promise of certain death.  He wasn't too far off this year.  With conditions as bad as they were, Alec saw it fitting to move the start point to the most exposed, windy spot that he could find.

After the warnings and inspirational sermons from Alec, we brave 45 started the race, lurching from our starting spaces like like mildy hungry, overfed cattle.  Knowing that I would probably burn out well before the end of the race, I started out rather quickly.  Hopefully, I would inspire that people that are actually fast to achieve their best...

The first half of the race was very enjoyable; I stopped only for quick clothing adjustments and for a light snack.  I passed Clint, Jim, and Sean and was able to keep up with Ray and other Josh.  After about a 1/2 mile, everyone had spread out and was trudging through the same tracks.  Although that made it easier, it still wasn't easy as the snow was knee deep.  You could sometimes run between sections of snow, but it was futile to attempt anywhere else.

Once at the aid station, I had my shot of Scotch, ate some figs, and refused a second shot.  So far so good...

Beginning the fencline climb, oddly enough things started downhill.  I went as fast as I could, and at the top, tried to run, but face planted and got my first bad hamstring cramp.  I went to the side of the trail, and downed all the Endurolytes I had, while watching Sean and Clint pass me.  Starting off again, I passed Clint, and was actually able to run all the way down Devil's Loop, keeping Sean in sight.

But alas, passing him was not going to happen.  I slowly faded, cramping more and more.  Clint re-passed me, along with a few other trudgers as I was trying to eat my frozen shot blocks.  As others disappeard out of sight on the back stretch, the low point finally came when I got an immobilizing hamstring cramp while standing in knee deep snow.  I couldn't sit down to stretch, but I couldn't get rid of it.

In the midst of my angst, another runner came up behind me.  I apologized because I was unable to move out of the trail.  She offerred help, but because she forgot her magic wand, she couldn't do anything.

So she moved on, and because whining is against the rules, and quitting is against my nature I was finally able to move on.  A few ridges later I was able to see the finish line and my spirits picked up, along with the wind speed.  Cruising along with not too much problem, I shuffled to the finish line in 3:50 or so.

The home stretch (photo by Evan O'Toole).

The girl who passed me had organized a rescue party, but luckily, they were unnecessary.  I got some soup and a beer and waited for Jim.  When he finished, he told me he hated me, (but later admitted to the epicness of the race).  Jim, Clint and I finished a bottle of mead, huddling in the truck, out of the wind.

So that's how an old slow guy does an epic race.  I finished 20th out of 30 in my class, which bumps me out of the bottom 3rd, barely.  I was far from first, but not last.  I didn't defy death on a 2nd loop.  But I had fun and finished.  It was a good race to start the year.

Next up, Moab AR?

Other reports:

What this is....

This blog is to chronicle my epic efforts and mediocre results in the world of racing.