21 Day Fix: I love bread too much for this.

I’ve mentioned that I broke down and bought the 21 Day Fix program. Tomorrow is my first official day.

If you are unfamiliar (which I’m not sure how you can be because it seems like everyone on Facebook is doing it), it is a workout/nutrition program that is designed to help you lose weight and make lifestyle changes while doing it.

The main way it attempts to do this is through portion control. You get different sized containers for different food groups, and you get to eat a certain number of those containers per day. For example, I’m in the 1200-1499 calorie range, so I get three green (veggie) containers, two purple (fruit) containers, four red (protein) containers, (only) two yellow (carb) containers (boooo), one blue (cheese and nuts…ONLY ONE CHEESE??), and one orange (seeds and dressings) per day.

I am not a healthy eater. I love love love love food. I tend to binge on the unhealthy stuff I adore (pizza! Oreos! CHEESE!), don’t eat a lot of veggies (I’ll go on kicks every once in a while, but it’s rare), and sometimes just forget to eat.

The sheer number of containers I get to eat every day astounds me. Honestly, that is probably way more food than I actually eat on a daily basis in total. The difference is that it is mostly proteins and veggies, whereas now my diet is mostly carbs and cheese.

21 day fix meal

21 Day Fix: eat ALL the carrots!

In addition to the diet stuff, you get seven different workouts (one for each day of the week).

Most people do the 21 Day Fix to lose weight. (I think they advertise that 10-15 pounds is typical. If I lost that amount of weight, I’d be a toothpick.) I am not. I mainly just want to tone up and get in top shape before I start half marathon base training (and, you know, to look good on the beach next month). I wanted this mainly for the workouts and the Shakeology drinks. However, I’ll still do the before and after stuff for you at the end of this journey.

I will warn you that I probably won’t be super strict about the diet stuff all the time (I envision having a sort of “cheat” day–or weekend–where I still watch what I eat but get less strict on the containers). I still need a pizza every so often or I will go nuts.

That said, the program does allow for pizza. For the super low price of two yellow containers and a red container, you can have a fourth of a 12″ pepperoni pizza (which is like…a slice)! I calculate on days when I get Little Caesars, I’m probably eating about 10-12 yellow containers because I love pizza AND I love Crazy Bread. So that would be like…my week’s worth of carbs in one sitting. (And this is why I’m not toned. Pizza DOES taste better than skinny feels. So does cake.) Actually, I’ve mostly refrained from pizza for the last month in preparation for this. I haven’t died yet.

I am also allowed four ounces of wine if I give up one of my precious yellow containers. (Is there even a point to four ounces of wine? And I can’t enjoy my wine WITH my pizza?)

Get ready for a lot of asparagus and carrots, as I think those are about the only two things that go in the green container that I actually enjoy. I’ve experimented with some spinach and broccoli recipes but haven’t gotten past a mere toleration of them yet.

I’m a little sad that black eyed peas take up a yellow container. As do corn and potatoes. Come on, those are healthy(-er than the things I usually eat)! But I feel the need to hoard my yellow containers for yummier things like pasta and bread.

Thank goodness garlic is considered a freebie.

Anyway, I have spent the last few weeks experimenting with recipes and whatnot. I’ll share my favorites in some upcoming posts.

21 day fix salad

This is one green, one purple, and one blue container. Adding vinaigrette, one orange container.

Week of 8/18/14 – 8/24/14: Do Whatever I Want, Week 1

I’m officially on no training plan for what feels like the first time in forever. And it basically stays that way through the middle of November! Yay, running freedom! Of course, I’m doing a running streak starting in October, so it’s not 100% freedom for that entire time, but close enough.

week of 8/18/14 to 8/24/14

Monday: Total Body Cardio from 21 Day Fix and 2.5 mile run (12:24 average pace)
Tuesday: 15 minutes of Upper Fix from 21 Day Fix and 5 mile run (11:40 average pace)
Wednesday: Lower Fix from 21 Day Fix
Thursday: Pilates Fix from 21 Day Fix and 2.5 mile run (12:04 average pace)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 3.5 mile run (11:57 average pace)
Sunday: 2 mile run in the awful triple-digit heat index and full sun (13:18 average pace)

Wow, LHR training did a number on me. My legs and my lungs have completely forgotten what a normal pace feels like, which is ridiculous since I didn’t do it that long. The first two miles of Monday’s run were slow going (with a lot of walking…and a lot of bugs), but I did some strides for the last half mile to remind my legs what running feels like.

Then I hit the treadmill on Tuesday to help with my cadence and pacing. I’d noticed that the cadence on my last few runs had been really low (150 vs my usual 175-180), which I figured was what was causing me to be less efficient. I managed to stay mostly in the 170s while running on the treadmill, which is good. I did take four walk breaks (totaling about 7 minutes out of the hour), so my average cadence was a little lower at 162 (my walking cadence is around 120).

Finally, my legs remembered what they were supposed to do, so when I headed out on Thursday (after the heat index dropped from triple digits!), they automatically went to around 10:30 min/mi and wouldn’t slow down, so I ended up walking a bit. Okay, so maybe I’m going to have to recondition on pacing a little, since my lungs haven’t caught back up yet.

Saturday, I did manage to run nonstop (thanks, rain!), albeit a little faster than I initially meant to. (Mile 3 was run in 11:16. Not super fast, but faster than my easy runs need to be ran.)

You will notice that I tried to stick with doing my 21 Day Fix workouts every day (until I got to the weekend, anyway). This is because I officially start the program at the end of the month (details to come), so I’m trying to get in the routine. It made running tough though! Sore, jelly legs are hard to run on.

Clearly my best race photo!

I finally found some pics from April’s Richland Creek Run on the Nashville Greenways Facebook page. I was in a few, but they were less than flattering. (Apparently I don’t make attractive faces in races where I feel like I might vomit at the end. Something to work on.) There was, however, this one…

Yes, that is me in the front. Obviously, I am running so fast that no camera can catch me, which matches up well with my theory of why I have no pictures from the Country Music Half.

Week of 8/11/14 – 8/17/14: LHR Training, Week 3 (Not Really)

week of 8/11/14 to 8/17/14

Monday – Rest day
Tuesday – 3 mile run (151 bpm)
Wednesday – Yoga Fix from 21 Day Fix
Thursday – I carried two heavy lawn chairs for over a mile…that counts as exercise, right?
Friday – I shot a wedding for 5 hours
Saturday – 1 mile run (174 bpm) with non-recorded 1 mile walk back
Sunday – 2.3 mile run with recorded 2.3 mile walk back (and forgot my HR monitor)

This was a terrible week. Probably the worst non-injury-related running week I’ve ever had.

I already wrote how Tuesday’s run went wrong. Then I wasn’t motivated to run slowly, so I decided to give up on low heart rate training. On Saturday, I went out for a “normal” run, only to have it interrupted by stomach/GI problems a mile out and had to walk back. And on Sunday the same thing happened, just a little farther into the run, and let me tell you how much it really sucks to have to walk 2 miles before you can get to a bathroom.

Also, I’m pretty sure the two actual weeks of LHR training has messed up my pacing, as 13 minute miles were feeling like 11 minute miles used to. I pushed to about an 11:30 pace for a three minute interval and felt like I might die. Hey, remember when I ran faster than that for over 2 hours? Uggh.

It can only get better.

Dear Maffetone, it’s not you, it’s me.

As I alluded to in my last post, I am having a hard time with LHR training. To the point where I don’t want to run. And if I’m not running, I’m not improving. There’s no point.

I’m going back to running normally. For now.

Maybe I can revisit it in the future. It seems like it might be a good choice if I were actually planning to run a marathon. Or if I were coming back from injury. Or just had plateaued in my improvements from other training. But none of that is true. I got a 2 minute 5k PR the day before I started this nonsense. I’m definitely not plateauing. And why fix what isn’t broke?

I don’t want to dread running. I want it to be fun (or as fun as running gets). I don’t want to spend 5-6 hours a week doing hardly any mileage. I’m just miserable doing this.

My take-away from this experiment is to slow down my easy runs even more. Run/walk intervals are okay for them, but if I want to run them straight, I need to stick to around 12:30-13 min/mi pace. (I have a tendency to speed up to half marathon pace.) I’m also going to start monitoring my heart rate during more of my runs. I would love to see what I’m doing normally. I don’t even know what my max heart rate is.

Maffetone Method, I don’t doubt that you are useful…to some people. I am just not one of them right now. I know that I didn’t stick with it long enough to even attempt to see an improvement. I just don’t think there would be any if I was hating doing it so much.