By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
February 11, 2016
Here was a funny conundrum I fell into this past weekend, which was quickly answered by my previous blog….How do you maintain a good work ethic when you feel like garbage? Considering how sick I was this past weekend, I kind of had little time to really worry since I found myself in the middle of a rather busy weekend. My head was filled with mush and negative thoughts as I cursed the very moment I decided to wake up each day and not call in. Naturally, this time of year is supposed to be rather slow for everyone, but with inclement weather mucking things up in the east, well it just seems people would rather shop online rather than get out of their car, scrape the snow off their porch, dig their car out of a snowbank, curse the cop that gave them a ticket for parking in a spot for too long because it was buried in snow, try to scrape the ice off the window, try to start the car to no avail, go back in the house and pout, then try to make some tea of coffee, but then find out the pipes have been frozen or whatever so thew only thing to drink is wine or Yoohoo, turn on the computer to play Candy Crush, stumble onto my company’s website instead, drunk buy the latest special we are offering (in in the case of the Yoohoo, accidentally buy something due to the dopamine/sugar rush), regret buying the item because how the heck is anything going to get through all of the snow and then fall asleep as your dogs start sniffing your mouth, wondering what in the world were you drinking. All this because it is just too hard to get to the store right now. Yup, it is a complicated world we live in as we spin at an unfathomable speed through space. While much of the country is getting killed with bad weather, I have to worry about 85-degree weather next week in Phoenix when I run in the 10th Anniversary of Ragnar Del Sol. I wonder if the medals will be made out of tin?
Being sick is not something new to me, but the fact I am not completely out of my mind when I am sick is rather bizarre. All this clean living has been helping me out tremendously I guess. I had to take my health a little more seriously this past weekend, and went against some of the typical conventions I usually engage in when I fall a little ill. I decided to try some raw eating, which is a strange concept for me even though I am a plant based eater that typically eats a lot of raw food regardless. But then again, not so much lately. My bizarre potato fetish, which a friend jokingly asked me why aren’t Irish girls knocking at my door (it’s okay, she herself was Irish, which made the quip even more hilarious!), has been the focal point of my diet lately. When my initial 10-Day Challenge was over, I went back to incorporating some other carb-based staples to enhance my life. But alas, the extreme changes in weather finally caught up to me, taking me deep under the weather and making me feel like I had been run over. I actually had to turn my heater back on to sort of normalize the temperature in my house, which remarkably traps whatever weather seems to be happening at the time being. But the most drastic thing I did was go almost fruitarian. Yup, I bought 20 bucks worth of fruit and made it last much of the weekend, only indulging in some rice and beans, mainly because on Sunday I was really feeling the desire for some starches and some iron (which I have mentioned before, I can tell when my iron is kinda low). I certainly stuck out like a sore thumb at work, as my co-workers were chowing down on Hot Pockets and I was eating a delicious medley of apples, oranges, blueberries, grapes and bananas. It was all the more eccentric on Monday, the day after the Superbowl, when I saw the leftover abominations of the previous day. Massive amounts of chicken wings and bratwurst. Bacon wrapped everything. Some kind of meat log that just did not look appetizing at all. I guess I looked equally weird when my tongue was blue from the massive amount of blueberries I ate. But you know what, as the days progressed and moved along at a snail’s pace, I held up. I managed to survive two rather rough days of work, days that were filled with more boxes than I could ever imagine. I ripped up my hands like crazy. My arms were red with scrapes. While my head was foggy, I still survived and worked hard even though I was getting fed up with the sadistic number crunching of my boss. By the time Tuesday rolled in, I was pretty much well from whatever had decided to invade my immune system.
I think I taught myself a valuable lesson. While I do not like doing it very much, sometimes you have to turn the tide by accepting some odd eating choices. For me, going with uncooked food was rather tedious and difficult, but it really helped. Eating the fruits helped hydrate me much better, getting some sweet juices in my system while replenishing the various vitamins and antioxidants I might not get an abundance of within a standard high carb diet that I typically partake in. I ate some greens as well and generally stayed away from the things that would make me feel bloated. Now, I will not recommend this sot of drastic change without a little leeway, because the lack of carbs really affected me in a bizarre way. While I was feeling better by the hour, it was really hard to charge myself up. I was like my car this past weekend, where it takes about five minutes for it to react in a way where when I punch the gas pedal, there is a reaction. I have seen some people really work well with a raw diet, but then again, some of them probably weren’t burning as many calories as I was during the day (I can only assume I was destroying 3500 to 4000 calories a day, maybe even more). I’ll admit, I said “screw it” on Monday night and sort of pigged out, getting some Primal vegan jerky strips and some ABC Cookies at The Loft when I watched this horrible action flick called “She.” Trust me, when you watch a movie that has axe-wielding monks, ninja knights, post-apocalypse Nazis, Frankenstein’s monster, a weird Robin Williams knock-off who multiplies and a hairy fat guy wearing a pink tutu…you are gonna want to snack on some fun food just to keep you from burning up too many calories from the laughing.
I was really glad to be feeling better on Tuesday, for I really needed to get my body working after nearly a week away from the grind. Jon gave me a pretty simple workout, one where I would just do some deadlifts, power rows and floor presses. Now, the floor presses were especially hard to begin with, for I had to complete 100 with 55-pound dumb bells and with this being the first day back after a week, I struggled to get through the exercise. But I wasn’t prepared for how bad I was at the dead lift. I have already chronicled how much I have fallen off the map with this exercise, merely from the punishment I take at work and the fact I am not doing these as much as I would like to. I was supposed to do five sets of three, but just did 15 whenever I could at 295. Yup, I used to have no trouble with heavier weights and now I’m down to 295. I will chalk it up to the sickness, for I was a feeling a little light headed every time I did a lift. I’m still disappointed in myself for falling so far behind on this, but when you destroy your shoulders and hands due to repetitive motion like I do, it gets hard to maintain this stuff. I ended the workout with some power rows, which are basically a combination of dead lifts and barbell rows. That was no issue for me, for rows seem to be my best workout. My spirits were certainly much higher after getting through all of that, for I was wondering just how awful would I be after going the previous week on so little food (I was so sick, I was only eating a couple of small meals a day). Sure, I had the Eli Manning-Superbowl glazed look in my eyes (which for Eli…is all the time) after the workout, I had survived. But my day didn’t end there.
I was feeling so good after lunch at Chipotle that I started mulling over the idea of doing a two-a-day. It seemed rather ludicrous considering I was maybe only 80% well and the heat had suddenly been turned up. You see, it went from windy, 60-degree days to sunny 80-degree days in less than a week. But I opted to go for it anyway. With the dial firmly set at 81 degrees and me being too lazy to bring my camel pack, I churned out a little 3.43-mile run with a 9:35-per minute mile pace. I was pretty pleased with the results, for I was heaving after one mile…a huge shock to my system so to speak. This is the best reason I can think of when it comes to running these short runs after a long lay-off. Why open yourself to injury by overdoing it? Now, what I did on Wednesday was something I completely didn’t prepare myself for. Since I wanted to try and prepare myself a little more for Ragnar, I decided to do a one-hour run in 81-degree weather once again. I figured the last few runs I had available at my disposal might be better utilized in the heat, which is something is more of a chore than a pleasure. Now, this is not high heat like we have seen during Arizona’s gruesome summers, but it can be pretty brutal getting out there at this time of year. You know you are in for a rough time when you use up all your water within the first four miles of your run, which means A) I have to put more water in my pouch and B) drink less water to avoid potential water logging and cramps. Now I started off pretty slow, but I ultimately cleared out my one hour run with 6.26 miles, or a 9:37-per minute mile. I certainly could have pushed the envelope and gone even further, but I decided to save the effort for Friday, when I might be a little more rested and a bit more ready after a week of rebuilding my body. With just a week to go, I didn’t want to overdo anything. Earlier that day, I finally paid off my portion of the van money needed for the team I am running with. It was rather funny walking around the campus for the University of Arizona, for it seems to get shinier and brighter every time I go back. And yes, I still wish all that cool stuff I see these days were not “under construction” or “giant hole in the ground” when I was maneuvering around the campus, wondering how the heck can I get to my class when a bevy of bulldozers and an eight-foot fence are all over the main campus mall. Aye, these kids have no idea how good they have it!
Needless to say, it was a pretty eventful week for me, and I was once again assured that I am still in pretty good shape in spite of sickness and my heavy eating. Yup, I’m starting my carb loading for the weekend a little early, for I kind of liked going the all fruit and veggie diet during the weekend, even though the acids from the fruits kind of tickled my sensitive spots on my teeth and made it weird whenever anything would touch them. But, I have to get my butt moving, for some people on my team not only did the Sedona Half Marathon last week (which is running up a mountain and down), some are doing the Phoenix Marathon this weekend, with Ragnar the next weekend. so yeah, I need to be ready because I may have to take upside extra running or more likely than not, be the guy that is not sore and hurting. We shall see. It’s going to be an interesting blog post so to speak.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.