I'm a loser, baby...

Please excuse the lack of bra
and abundance of  clutter...
Yesterday the dresses I'd ordered for my friend's bachelorette party in April arrived (we're all wearing $17-25 "bridesmaid" dresses from Target).  Since I was unsure of size and the reviews were that the dress fits pretty off, particularly through the chest, I ordered a 4 and a 6.  I tried the 6 on and it fits reasonably well...though the fit through the ribcage is really snug and I have a tiny ribcage (a 32-34 band size in most bras).  If I gain so much as a pound I think I will split the seams or be suffocated--good incentive to keep losing!

It's a big win for me to squeeze into a 6.  This Summer I was in a similarly-cut size 8 Target dress with plenty of give.  2 months ago I was pushing a size 10.  16#s of fat loss make a world of difference on a shorty.  The remaining 12#s I have to lose should easily have me fitting a size 4, which is right where I want to be.

On a bit of a downside, since making the switch to a ketogenic diet I have been battling nausea during pretty much all of my runs. For a while I thought it was side-effects from the pain meds I was on for my wrist, but I'm only taking those meds at bedtime, now, at most...so just 1 low dose/day. I'm not bonking at all, just feeling borderline pukey, especially if I try to push the pace/effort at all (which is tough to avoid when running in snow--it's hard work!). I'm not noticing this so much while on the nowhere bike, but that could be because I'm still riding relatively gently...hard to push with much intensity when I still can't put full weight on my right wrist.  And my sit bones have not re-adapted to the bike, so more than an hour in the saddle is not yet comfortable

I asked the other keto endurance athletes I know online (and one I know IRL) about this and no one has had this experience with nausea. It's starting to harsh my running buzz, though. One suggested that it could be "keto-flu," but I am not experiencing this at any other time and have always been one of those fortunate souls who can go from a higher-carb diet to ketogenic carb levels without any ill effects during the transition, when most people would get Atkins/Keto-flu. Quite the opposite. Making the transition always made me feel like a million bucks.

One guy said it took him a solid 6 weeks before he felt fully "keto-adapted," so I'm going to give it another 2 weeks to see if the nausea relents. But in that time my mileage is increasing and I have a 6 miler and 7 miler in that period. I know I can't continue to run further than that if I'm queasy (and raw ginger and diet ginger ale aren't really helping).  My 40th birthday is ON Mardi Gras, so that seems like an ideal time to revert back to a carbier diet, for a while...I don't want to entirely forgo a pączki or 3 on the big day. Or beer.

If the workout nausea continues for the next couple of weeks, then I'm probably going to do something on the order of the South Beach diet, but not as low-fat. Simply avoiding sugar, white flour, potatoes, and white rice...crap carbs, and emphasizing whole foods and lower glycemic carbohydrate sources. Maybe trying to stick with 100-200 carbs/day, instead of under 50.


A Weighty Matter

OR "how realistic is your target weight?"

This is something I've been mulling over in recent weeks. I'd sort of loosely set my target weight at 125 (I am just under 5'4"...mesomorph with some endomorph tendencies, medium-boned, nearly 40), as years ago (pre-running/cycling) I got down to 124 for about a week. I looked great and wouldn't have wanted to be slimmer, but was not particularly fit/muscular. I'm thinking my body fat was probably in the 22% range.

The photo at right was me about 11#s above my smallest weight.  I was 135#s and had lost 50#s from my heaviest non-pregnant weight.

I found some useful resources recently that have me rethinking my goal weight...and have me believing my goal weight is not so far away. Our scale has me at 25.5%...and even though body fat scales are notorious for being way off, I think ours is probably not that inaccurate, based upon these graphics:

25ish% looks about spot-on.  Granted, the people photographed appear to have better skin-tone and I don't see a lot of evidence of pregnancy/stretch-marks/c-section scars -- It would be interesting to see illustrations that use models in their 30s and 40s with a rugrat or two to illustrate the visual effect of skin sag with age and "abuse."  But the relative amount of padding looks like what I see in the mirror.

So I plugged my #s into this calculator and it spits out 20% body fat at 132#s and 18% at 129#s. This assumes I lose no muscle mass. I'd have to get down to 15.5% body fat to weigh 125#s! So totally not gonna happen, nor would I want to be that lean. 18% sounds far better for my bones and overall body type.  I'm clearly hauling around a lot more muscle now than I was in that top photo.  I'm expecting to be about 5#s heavier at that same clothing size.  5#s of muscle is so full of WIN!

In reality I will likely lose *some* muscle mass if I continue to eat enough of a deficit to lose weight and don't increase my current activity, BUT I will also be ramping my workouts back up in coming months as my wrist heals and I can log more miles on the bike (including outdoors), so come Summer the muscle mass will be increasing.  Especially if I pause the weight loss for the competitive running and cycling months.

I also put together a photographic journal page to visually document my progress.



Due to a miscalculation on my part when I was setting up my training plan for my upcoming half marathon in early April, THIS is the week I should start training, not NEXT week.  I highlighted race day as the last day of the plan, not realizing that a Sunday race counts as the entirety of week 12...this had me starting training next Sunday.  When I changed the plan to reflect the day before race day--a Saturday--as the end of the plan, then it moved everything back a week.  So today is technically day 1 (but it's a planned rest day, anyhow).

No biggie.  I had already planned to run the week 1 mileage this week, then repeat the mileage the following week.  I'm also able to take my wrist brace off tomorrow (yippee!!), so I'm going to carefully and gradually re-incorporate indoor bike rides back into the schedule (hopefully).

I'm more-or-less following Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan.  I think this is the same plan I used for my very first half marathon, though I wasn't riding at the time and had only 6 months or so of running under my belt when I started training.  After not running or biking or doing anything for 5.5 weeks I've lost some fitness, so it would be unwise to train any more aggressively than this plan details.  As is, it starts at the same sort of mileage I was doing all Summer and Fall, before my wrist fracture.

I ran 3x this week, for a total of just over 10 miles.  It felt pretty good.  I've definitely lost fitness, but I think the charts I've seen suggesting loss of ~10%/5 weeks of complete inactivity are pretty spot-on.  I'm thinking that in a month I should be catching a whiff of my previous running fitness.  Bike fitness I don't expect to see until closer to Summer.  Even though I have plans of getting 2-3 indoor rides in every week until I can actually manage steering or braking, 40-50 miles/week pale in comparison to 50-100 that I was covering all Fall.  Plus it's really tough to push myself hard indoors.

Dane and Mongo -- skinny boy & fat bike
I really hope I will have the opportunity to get out on the Mukluk before Winter's end, but, like last year, we've not had much of a Winter.  Today DS noodled-around in the yard for a while.  Fat bikes just aren't as interesting or useful without snow and/or sand.  Yesterday DH competed in a 3 hour fat bike relay race that was mostly on muddy terrain.  The only snow to be found was created snow on the edges of ski runs.  A week ago he and 3 friends went out on fat bikes and found decent snow along snowmobile trails, but it was short-lived with several days in the 40s.

My wrist and hand strength and flexibility are slowly, but surely, returning -- though a half-full 16oz. coffee mug is about the extent of what I can hold and cutting with a scissors is still difficult.  I'm hoping that by this time next month I might be able to manage some outdoor rides on my road bike or cyclocross bike--assuming road conditions are favorable.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were, after the trend of the past 2 Winters.  The only real limiting factors will be my ability to shift and brake (good incentive to upgrade my low-rent brake pads on the CX bike, for certain).  Very important measures of whether I can ride outdoors or need to stay indoors.


And I ran, I ran so far away...

OK, it was just 3.1 miles, but my plan was to go out and attempt to do my best with 2ish and be happy.  My legs felt so good at the point where I would have turned home to run 2, so I kept going.

Free from my fiberglass shackle!
This was yesterday and my first run--first workout of any kind--since I busted my wrist in 2 places 5.5 weeks ago.  The day before yesterday I had my long arm cast removed and replaced with a removable splint.  I wear the splint for 10 days, aside from showering and range-of-motion and stretching exercises.

The run felt really good.  Not fast, but I also took it VERY easy.  My arm felt a little tender with the movement of running and actually hurts a good deal more with the cast off than it did with the cast still on.  My orthopod. warned me of this and instructed me to take the prescribed narcotic pain med in half-to-whole doses.  There have been moments where my wrist hurt as much or more than it did when the injury was fresh.  This is in large part due to severely atrophied muscles and tendons and ligaments that are essentially sprained (wrist fractures with bone displacement rarely don't have significant soft-tissue damage).  I also still have a good deal of swelling in the wrist joint and hand that prevent flexibility.

Today I had some relatively mild delayed onset muscle soreness (hammies, quads, abs), but I was expecting that.  5+ weeks of 0 activity do not come without a price.  I'm just so thankful that I felt so strong and comfortable actually running.  The only obvious effect was, perhaps, a decrease in aerobic performance.  But as an asthmatic that's the sort of thing I deal with randomly even under the best of training circumstances.

And I am already finding that my wrist range of movement is better today than it was yesterday--I'm 2-handed typing, again!!!--so I expect that my recovery will go well.  I have a follow-up appt. with the doc in just under 3 weeks.  I'm guessing that by that point I will have minimal pain and some functional use of my hand and wrist.  Perhaps I'll be able to manage some "nowhere bike" rides in the coming week or so.  Well...I don't think I should attempt that until the splint is off, so not for another week+.

For now I am focusing on easing back into running.  Given how well my 5k run went yesterday, I think I'll do another 3 tomorrow and continue with 3-4 milers on alternating days for the next couple of weeks.  I have 2 weeks to carefully rebuild some fitness before I start training for my early April half-marathon(s).  I'm planning to more-or-less follow Hal Higdon's Novice 2 training plan, which starts with a week of 3 3-milers and a 4 miler.

Nike Free Run+ 3 Shield
To celebrate I ordered a new pair of running shoes (and also because I am due to add a new pair into rotation)!  I ordered the sort of "weatherized" version of my favorite shoe.  Seems fitting as we are in the middle of Winter...or "Winter."  I'm not minding that we've had little snow.  I'd not be venturing out for runs with this wrist business were there measurable snow on the roads.  Our roads are essentially bone-dry--phew!  The Nike Free Run+ 3 Shields should be nice once we get into Spring sloppies, too.

I also purchased another necessary evil: wrist guards for both arms.  It's quite clear that I should be encased in Nerf™ or bubble wrap for off-road riding astride 2 wheels, but since that would be rather uncomfortable and not particularly sweat-wicking, wrist protection of the sort that downhill mountain bikers wear is the next best solution.  I wear a helmet to protect my fragile head, so it only seems wise to protect wrists, given how common wrist injuries are in the mtb community.

Troy Lee Designs 5205 - they even match my mtn bike!
I did a little research and found that other mountain bikers who have suffered similar injuries have found the Troy Lee Designs 5205 wrist supports work well as a means to prevent wrists from mangling (or at least lessen the degree of damage) during mtb falls.

I purchased one for each wrist.  At $35/each they seemed like a small price to pay for a bit of insurance against ever being handicapped like this in the future.  AND ever having to take such an extended break from activities I love.

I'm guessing it may be another 2 months before I'm able to ride any bike outdoors.  I would likely wear these on the road bike for a while, too--until I have full strength to support my upper body well.  The more I baby myself now and don't overdo things, the faster I'm likely to be able to get back to riding and running strong.  Better to be a bit conservative and have a down year now than to go out too aggressively and risk never again having a strong one.  Managing injury recovery well is in really just as important as training well when not broken.  Though I will say that I'll be bummed if I don't get a chance to ride my new fat bike in the snow this season.

Slightly changing my focus/goals for the year may be necessary, too.  I wanted to really tackle some mountain bike races closer to Fall.  That may end up being an unwise plan, so my alternate plan would be to concentrate on duathlons, again.  This would be far from the end of the world.  I did several dus 2 years ago and really love that event.  I love that it makes equal use of both of my sports and the strategy involved...and leap-frogging other racers in each leg, depending upon our individual strengths.  I wouldn't mind doing that again this year, if need be.  I don't think I was ever as fit as I was when I was training hard for those events.  It would be interesting to see how much stronger/faster I could be with continued weight loss, too.

This broken bones cloud could certainly have a silver lining.  And my mountain bike will still be there for racing in 2014 if I have to wait until then to do more than casual rides.