Monday, December 10, 2007

You Are What You Eat

A friend asked an interesting question recently: now that it’s off season, what am I eating?

Aside from dropping mounds of sweet potatoes and gnocchi from my Thursday and Friday (and sometimes Saturday) menus, I hadn’t really changed much. Or even thought about it until now.

Because of my injury, I had been trying extra hard to up my protein and calcium while slowly weaning myself off high-calorie days (let’s just say Thanksgivings 1 and 2, plus last week’s wedding aren’t going to make my return to the track in January a simple, or light, task). But when I dropped the major carbs from my diet, I didn’t really replace them with any energy powerhouses—aside from a few cookies and pudding snacks.

I have to admit, however, that I’ve had almost no cupcakes. Maybe just one.

It’s no surprise, then, that my energy went through the floor. Even when I had a good workout, I didn’t walk away with any good vibes or any oomph like I used to. Maybe you really need to run to get runner’s high. But couldn’t I get aerobics high, swimmer’s high or station cyclist high?

So, since last week I’ve been picking up fresh produce 2-3 times each week and plugging more raw fruits and vegetables—a task that would be much easier during the summer when there’s more than carrots, apples and pears at the market—into my diet. And one of my favorite rediscoveries has been the pomegranate.

Last time I had a pomegranate, it was 1985 and Transformers were just a regular cartoon. They’re not really an all-star fruit that shows up in grocery stores, so I’ve just loved them through POM juice, Shirley Temples and CLIF Nectar bars. Yum! But when I was picking up fruit last Friday, I saw them! I picked up a single fruit and ate it without sitting down when I came home. There’s pomegranate juice everywhere!

And now it’s my new thing. I had another one today and will become one of those red-handed people who can’t disguise their love of pomegranates because all their skin and clothes (countertops and walls too) are stained with red juice. But it’s worth it and a little healthier than cupcakes.

Energy or no energy, I’ve still tried to keep up with my training. And I even went back a bit on my no-run December. Neil kicked my butt at racquetball on Saturday (I’m convinced that good tennis players cannot play racquetball, and I’m sticking to it) after which we ran a mile on the track. At least I was supervised!

We started slowly jogging and Neil said he wanted like to run to a mile at a relaxed pace. I clicked on my watch and we started lapping. It was a good pace; I talked the whole time; I did not hurt at all. He ran really well and at a steady pace for a 10:50 mile. As we turned onto the final stretch, he sprinted the final 100 meters (I refrained, believe it or not) and had plenty of juice left. Great job, Neo!

After the run we rode bikes for while, walked a few laps and then watched an NWBA wheelchair basketball tournament. These guys were tearing it up. You’ll probably know from last summer that I’m a big basketball fan. If you ever want to watch a game in which everyone hustles all the time, catch an NWBA game.

We wondered at first how these guys would play defense, but the chairs seemed to disappear after a few minutes. And when you see a guy sink several college-regulation three-pointers in a row, it’s almost impossible to walk away. Awe. Some.

Then we came home and crashed. We didn’t exercise with too great of intensity, but we were both whipped for Saturday. And most of Sunday.

By Monday morning, most of my sore spots from racquetball had loosened a bit, so I did my 10-minute elliptical warm-up at the rec. center before hitting the pool for a lackluster 3,000-yard swim:
  • 2 x 500 yards free warm-up
  • 10 x 200 yards rotation IM stroke order, then 200 IM kick

And that was it! While I don’t normally do so much kicking, I felt that I had been neglecting my legs since October and would put in a little extra kick time to get them back in the swing. I could feel, however, a lack of flexibility creeping into my ankles from the downtime. So, I’ll have to think about stretching and kicking a little more in my regimen.

But that’s twice in four days I’ve gone swimming. I’m so proud! And while there were no adverse effects from Saturday’s jog, I won’t be running anytime soon. A slight jog now and then might be all right, but I won’t be pushing anything this time.

Except my pomegranate addiction…


kelsalynn said...

Your pomegranate tale cracked me up... I'm the same way! I love it! You should try the Pomegranate V8 Splash- Mmmm-it's yummy!

TrainingtoTri said...

Mmm pomegranates are so damn good, I am horrible at peeling them. Have you thought about running in the water at all? I see these ladies at the pool who wear weighted belts and shoes and they say it's the best. Just a thought.

The Salty One said...

I'm so sorry I have been out of the loop! I a taking this week off from running so I have about an extra hour a day to catch up on blog reading!

Every athlete needs some downtime now and then. The good news is that with all your cross training you should be able to weather a few months off from running. And hey, jogging counts! Yes, and pool running might be a good thing for you in lieu of running if you're injured or just looking for some cross-training.

Anyway, hang in there and enjoy the holidays!

Joe said...

I like pomegranates but I find them to be a bit to tedious to eat.

Two swim practices in 4 days? Great! Now keep it up, Kid.

miss petite america said...

i heart pomegrenates!

i seriously need to channel your nutrition vibes. my carb count has gone up exponentially, mainly in the form of chocolate!

B Bop said...

Shamefully, I let the first 2 pomegranate's I ever purchased (intended for smoothies) shrivel up this summer because kept putting off learning how to get through the tough skin to the fruit.

Thanks for the reminder that I should have another day with the pomegranate.

triguyjt said...

gotta get me one of those pommies... I love all kinds of fruit.
better to get the natural sweets than the refined sugar gunk i usually seem to eat. including too much coffee.. see my 12-16-07 post