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SUNY Purchase 5K

Despite my delinquency in blogging, I did actually run the 1st of the 2 Corporate Cup races this summer at SUNY Purchase. The race took place on June 27th and started at 6:30pm. I had worked in the office all day and I wasn’t sure how I’d handle an evening race. I had time to stop at home after work before heading to Purchase. Rich decided not to run but was certainly a good cheerleader.

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(Not the most flattering picture of me but the best of the pre-race photos.)

The race had about 100 people entered and was well-organized and everyone was super nice. They had a DJ there and offered a pre-race stretch. The race started on time and, although there was chip-timing, the only timing mat I saw was the finish line.

We started about 0.1 mile from the finish line and the first thing I noticed was that it was straight uphill from the starting line. The start was pretty informal and, if I really cared about my time, I should have started closer to the front given that there was no timing mat for the start. The uphill lasted about 0.25 miles before turning into a long downhill that lasted a least a mile.

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(Free official race photo! I’m smiling!)

The water stops were manned by some friendly volunteers who were part of the charity Hope Community Services. All proceeds from the race went to Hope, a charity dedicated to feeding hungry people and providing homeless services in Westchester County.

I was feeling really good about my race during the long downhill….until I reached the mile 2 water stop. Ahead of me was an equally long uphill. While there was another downhill dip, the last mile or so of the race was primarily uphill. Including the uphill to the finish that I noticed as we started.

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Rich was waiting at the finish line and got a few good photos.

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My official time was 33:45. I actually placed 6th in my division (women over 40) and if I had made my initial time goal of sub-30 minutes, I would have won an award!

Post-race they had food and bottles of Sportwater – electrolyte enhanced water. There were 5 foot heroes (subs? whatever you can them?) and you could choose the traditional Italian or a vegetarian option. They also have Rita’s Italian ices (YUM!). As soon as I finished my huge slice of sandwich and started on my Italian ice, the skies opened up and we decided to head home.

This was a really fun event. Well organized and enjoyable. The course wasn’t easy but was fun. I would definitely run at SUNY Purchase again because it’s so convenient to home. I’m signed up for the August 2nd race already but I could do this event every year. I also want to see what other 5ks are available here because it’s a nice venue and close to home.

I learned a lot from my training. I’ve been using the Runner’s World sub-30 minute 5k plan. Although a few years ago I was ready to run a sub-30 min 5k, right now I’m not quite there. The training paces were too fast for me – especially in the summer heat – and I need to get into better shape first. Garmin Connect has started a 5k coaching program and based on my current level of fitness is recommending a plan for a 31:30 5k. I started last week and it seems more manageable right now. I won’t be ready for the August 2nd race in terms of time goal but maybe I’ll find a fall 5k to try to get faster.

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5K Training: Week 4

My week 4 training was interrupted by a work-related trip to San Francisco. I knew I had a butt-crack of dawn flight on Thursday so I managed to squeeze in a speed work run on Tuesday morning and a base-building run on Wednesday after work. Although I brought running clothes for a weekend long-run, I knew that it might not happen. And it didn’t. On the other hand my lowest step-count day in San Francisco was 12,000 steps and I peaked at 21,000 steps. My hotel was about 0.6 miles to the convention center and Rich and I did tons of site-seeing on foot. Highlights included a visit to AT&T Park to watch the SF Giants; a trip to the Presidio to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum, walk part of the Golden Gate Bridge, have lunch near Lucas Films, and visit the Yoda Statue; time with my 2 siblings who live in the Bay Area; and a visit to several local breweries. Not to mention that I taught a 2 hour course, participated in panel discussion, moderated a podium session, and attended various sessions. Overall a successful and enjoyable trip.

My Tuesday run was supposed to be a warm-up mile at 12 min/mile pace, two miles at 10 min/mile pace, and a cool-down mile at 12 min/mile pace. I’m quickly learning that adjusting to running outside is impacting my pace. My first mile was on target but I struggled to hit the 10 min/mile pace for my 2 tempo miles. One was at 10:27 and the second at 10:41. I took it easy on the way home – mostly because it’s a steep uphill. Strangely, my evening run the next night averaged 11 min/mile for 3 miles. Perhaps the treadmill effect… I’m frustrated that I can’t hit those paces right now but I’m hopeful that with increased consistency, I will be able to get there. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I did have an interesting conversation about speed on my trip. The gist was that, although I didn’t start running until age 38, I graduated high school with 9 varsity letters (4 in gymnastics, 3 in soccer, and 2 in lacrosse). It is perplexing that someone with my athletic background struggles so much with getting faster. Different theories were raised as to why – the fact that I started as an endurance runner (my first race ever was a half marathon) and am only now working my way back to introductory distance may have hurt me, for example. I think it’s probably multifactorial but the inconsistency in sticking to my plan and lack of strength training are probably major factors in my mind. I’d love to hear other ideas about the whys and the hows. Honestly a part of me is ok with just finishing races but another part of me wants to be much faster.

On the weight loss front… My diet bet ended 24 hours after my red eye landed back in NY. Given that the last 5 days of the bet were spent on a trip to San Francisco, I was worried that all of my weight loss would disappear. I’m disappointed to report that I lost my bet and had to pay up. But I’m happy to say that I have lost 27.5% of my body weight in the last 4 weeks. I truly think that losing 4% in 4 weeks – while certainly possible – would have been too much too fast. This is far more sustainable. I have chosen to sit out of my group’s continuing diet bet because my 25th college reunion starts in a little over a week and I don’t want to count calories at a time when I should be enjoying myself. I do think the bet aspect of it, as well as the group support, helped me lose weight. And I plan to continue discussing my journey to healthier eating here.

This week is more of the same. 4 mile run with 2 miles at tempo pace, 3 miles base-building (x2 but I’ll probably only do one of them), and a 6 mile long run this weekend. I’m on call this week which can always wreak havoc with a schedule but I think I should be able to get my minimum training done.

5k Training Week 3

This week I start adding tempo runs and speed work to my 5k training. It’s also the point in my training where I’m starting to have doubts about my ability to achieve my goal.

Last week I finished 3 of my 4 training runs and added a 15 minute walk on a non-running day. My easy 2 miler was at 12:25 min/mile pace and my 4 miler was at 13 min/mile pace. The target pace was 12 min/mile for both of these. On Mother’s Day morning I nailed a 5 miler at 12:04 min/mile. Certainly close enough to my target. For that run I used a combination of run/walk/run and heart rate training. I set my interval timer for 30 sec intervals. At each beep I checked my heart rate zone. If I was still in Zone 2 or lower, I ran another interval. If I was in Zone 3 or higher, I walked the next interval. Except on the steep uphill climb home, I never took an extra walk break. This seemed to work pretty well.

I am worried that I’m having trouble hitting my target paces while staying in Zone 2. These easy runs *should* be easy and they aren’t always. I’ve done some of my runs after being at work all day so I’m sure that has an impact and I also know that the warmer weather will require some acclimation. But it’s still frustrating! This week I need to add some 10 min/mile tempo runs and I’m really worried about hitting those goals.

As of Monday my weight was down by 2.3%. In the same way that I’m doubting my ability to hit my target paces, I’m also worried about hitting my weight loss goal. I have one week left to lose 4% of my starting weight. At this point that means that I have to lose 1.7% of my body weight in one week. To add to the challenge, I’m traveling to San Francisco on Thursday for a work conference. I know there will be many high calorie temptations during this trip. I’m going to try my best to eat healthy and get exercise on the trip so I hit my goals but…I’m not sure.

Overall I’m proud of my progress even if I’m not sure that I’m going to meet my goals. Having goals that are challenging can be discouraging or motivating. I need to find a way to keep my goals motivating so I don’t give up.

I survived week one of training. I successfully completed 3 of my 4 training runs. My plan called for 2 miles on Tues, 4 miles on Wed, 3 miles on Fri, and 4 miles on Sun. All were supposed to be slow – 12 min/mile pace. I had a light day at work on Tuesday so I started with the 4 miler and then did the 2 miler on Wednesday morning. The weather has warmed up considerably and I struggled with the pace on Tuesday when I ran outdoors mid-morning. The 2 miles were done on a treadmill and I added some extra walking to get my total work-out time up to 30 minutes. I didn’t get up early enough to run on Friday and then I got called into work at midnight Friday night. I got home at 3am which meant my Saturday morning long run involved a lot of walking. While I didn’t hit my pace, I did get the miles done. Sunday we spent an hour walking around Untermeyer Garden in Yonkers. It was beautiful and a good way to get an extra (almost) 2 miles of walking.

(Rich standing in the “Temple of Love and some of the beautiful tulips we saw.)

I did a good job with my eating for most of the week although I may have splurged a bit over the weekend. We were back at Yankee Stadium with Zachary (age 10) on Friday night and being overtired is never good for making healthy choices. At my lowest I was down 2% of my body weight but by Monday morning I was “only” down 1.7%. I’m still happy with that number and *spoiler alert* I’m down more already. For me the most important aspect is consistently making good choices even when tempted to overeat. I’m allowed to indulge but I want to balance that by eating less at other meals. I’m optimistic that I can reach my goal of 4% in 4 weeks.

My goals for this week are to finish at least 3 of the 4 training runs and try to reach my step counts on non-running days. I want to continue my weight loss journey and to make healthy choices over Mother’s Day weekend. I need to work on heat acclimation with my running because my paces have been off and I need to continue base-building so I’m ready to add speed work in the upcoming weeks. I’ve also started an online course called “The Science of Well-Being” and I’m trying to keep up with the weekly exercises. This week’s focus is on savoring and gratitude. Savoring is the act of stepping outside an experience to review and appreciate it. Gratitude is recognizing and appreciating what you have. I’ve been savoring the lovely weather we’re having and I’m grateful that I can get outside and run several days per week!

5k Training Week One

In an effort to increase accountability for both healthy eating and training, I’m trying to update my progress weekly. I have signed up for the SUNY Purchase Corporate Cup Summer Race Series. (http://www.corporatecupraces.org/) The first event is a 5k on June 27th at 6:30pm which means that this week is my first official training week. The second event is a 5k on August 2nd. There is a third 5k at SUNY Purchase in July that used to be a part of the corporate cup but now is a separate event. I anticipate that I will run that race also.

In the past week I started my diet bet and, as of Monday, I had lost 1.5% of my body weight. My goal is to lose 4% in 4 weeks. I feel that I am on track to achieve this. I have been using My Fitness Pal to track calories. I’m trying to stay between 1400 and 1500 calories per day. I’m pretty proud of how well I’ve done with my eating. Last week we went to a Yankee game and I knew that we wanted to try the Blue Point NY Pinstripe Pilsner – a beer made exclusively for Yankee Stadium. I calculated the calories I thought I’d consume at the game and made sure that my calorie count for the rest of the day was low enough to allow me to indulge. Similarly we saw the new Avengers movie at Alamo Drafthouse on Sunday (the dine-in movie theater). Instead of ordering the high calorie burger that I love so much, I ate a grilled chicken Greek salad that was delicious and much lighter on the calories. I’m trying hard to not under eat as that will certainly cause over-indulgences. I’m pretty happy with the balance that I’m finding, even though it takes forethought and effort.

Training-wise, last week was an easy week. I was recovering from the 5k and I knew that the new training cycle wouldn’t start until this week. I went for a 30 minute walk on Monday and got two easy runs done on Tuesday and Thursday. I took the weekend off from running – which isn’t ideal – but I think I’m back on schedule this week. The weather has finally broken so I was able to exercise outdoors last week. I know it’ll take some time for heat acclimation to occur and I always struggle a bit with the warm weather. I’m more focused on consistency that time goals right now. I think my time goals will come with consistency.

My goals for this week are to start my week 1 training plan. My plan calls for 4 runs per week. I’d like to make sure I finish at least 3 runs per week, every week. I’m also continuing to work on my eating and tracking calories. I’m trying to get my step count up a bit as I have definitely become more sedentary. I do well on the days that I run but often fall way short on my non-exercise days. I’m feeling good about my progress and will continue to work toward my goals.

Not only has my running blog suffered from benign neglect, but my running has also suffered from not-so-benign neglect. Over the last few years I have found it harder and harder to maintain a consistent training schedule and the result is that I’m slower and heavier than I’ve ever been. In January Rich and I ran the Goofy Challenge. Although the half marathon on Saturday went very well, I hit the wall – hard – during the Sunday marathon. We did finish but the last third of the race was difficult and painful. I was pretty disappointed that my training hadn’t been better and spent a lot of time thinking about how to do better. I know that I need goal races to get me motivated and I also thought that choosing shorter distance races would give me the opportunity to train to get faster rather than just focusing on the endurance needed for longer distances.

With that in mind, I picked the Garden City for a Cure 5k as my spring goal race. With children’s schedules, work obligations, and travel, I had a limited number of weekends to race. Earth Day weekend was ideal and the Garden City race claimed a flat and fast course. Plus it was a fundraiser for cancer which was a bonus. I bought and downloaded the Runner’s World training plan to break 30 minutes in the 5k and enthusiastically started training.

A brutal, non-stop winter meant that much of my early training was done on the treadmill. My foot pod has not been re-calibrated with my Garmin which means that I’ve been dependent on the treadmill to calculate pace. Not always a safe bet. My first few weeks went well and I was able to hit my target paces. And then my crazy travel schedule began. Two days in Washington, DC for a conference with early mornings and evening events. The following week featured a one day trip to Chicago for a meeting with a 6am flight there and 6pm flight home. Then I drove the kids to Tampa for Spring Break.  While I did run a few times in Tampa, I had heat acclimation issues which meant that my paces were off. The 21 hour drive home with a 4:30am arrival totally knocked me out for a week. And suddenly I found myself one week out from my race with virtually no speed work done and no long runs. I knew that I would not be able to hit my goal time and I also knew that I hadn’t prepared properly.

Race Day was sunny and a bit chilly. I definitely overdressed for the race as it was at least 5 degrees warmer in Garden City than home. The race had all the warmth of a local fundraiser with nice volunteers and a friendly atmosphere. The course was quite flat and ran through the local neighborhood around Garden City High School. Lots of enthusiastic locals were cheering along the way with plenty of official and unofficial water stops. It was definitely a fun event and one that I could recommend to anyone in the area.

I tried to keep my heart rate below 175 for the first 2 miles and below 180 for the last mile. I walked a few times to get my heart rate back down as needed but finished strong. My finish time was 33 minutes. Almost one minute per mile slower than I had hoped. I told Rich after the race that while I didn’t run the race I had hoped to run, I certainly ran the race that I had trained to run. IMG_8608

(Thanks to our friends Clara and Christine for the awesome finish line photo!!!)

What next? I’m starting a diet bet-type competition tomorrow. I need to lose 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. I have a big presentation in mid-May and my 25th college reunion coming up so it’s good timing. I’m going to sign up for 5k series near me at SUNY Purchase this summer. The first race is in late June so I have time to reboot my training plan. Rich has helped me to come up with creative ways to fit training into our busy lives. Last weekend I wore my running clothes to my daughter’s lacrosse practice and went for a run while she was playing. I think I need to do a better job of looking at my weekly schedule and planning around it each week. And I think that losing some of this excess weight will help me get faster.

Missing out on my spring running goal has helped me re-evaluate my commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and motivated me to try again. I’m always happy to hear other people’s tips and tricks for getting it done!

The 2016 NYC Marathon

On November 6th I had the pleasure of running the NYC Marathon with almost 52,000 of my closest friends… Or at least for the 26.2 miles of the race everyone seemed pretty awesome!

After months of pretty good training, my training for the last month before the race wasn’t good at all. Life got in the way and, since I’ve never earned a single dollar for my family by running, life took priority over training. Rich and I decided that we would make this race about enjoying the moment and not about running quickly. We were fortunate to be able to run with our dear friend, Michael, who is not only fun person but also raised an enormous amount of money for St. Jude – a cause near and dear to his heart.

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We were able to make this a marathon weekend, even in our home city. Friday after work we went to the Expo to pick up our race bibs.

We didn’t only Run 4 Rich…. We ran WITH Rich!

img_6444An artist at work!

Saturday we did an amazing bus tour of the marathon course. We sat next to the tour guide  who makes a living from leading tours around NYC. He was knowledgeable and fun. The tour was LONG – about 4 hours or so – but made the marathon more interesting and fun. We ended the day with a yummy pasta dinner near Time Square before heading home to prep our stuff.

Flat Rich and Flat Amanda are ready for an EARLY alarm! We drove into NYC and parked near Michael’s hotel before heading up to Central Park South to take the bus to Staten Island. We hung out in the starting village until it was our turn to head to the Verrazano Bridge. It’s hard to imagine the hordes of humanity!

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Getting ready to start!

img_6467The highest point in the race is on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

We spent a lot of time in Brooklyn and that’s a good thing. The crowds in Brooklyn are great! There are so many interesting neighborhoods from Bay Ridge –  which still has large Irish, Italian, and Greek populations – to the Satmar Jewish neighborhood in Williamsburg. We crossed under the Williamsburg Bridge and entered the hipster part of Williamsburg.

img_6465Almost at the 15k mark…

img_6466On our bus tour we were toward the building behind us was once called the Tower of Terror because it was filled with dentists

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Missing many of our running friends!

img_6464Halfway done!

img_6462I had warned Rich and Michael that the 59th Street Bridge sucked and I think they now believe me!!!!

 

img_64601st Avenue in Manhattan is AMAZING for crowd support. And you can always grab a drink at the Mile 17 Bar (which isn’t quite at mile 17 but close enough!).

img_6456My AWESOME resident, Laura, with her husband and nieces were cheering for us just as we were hitting the wall. Totally energized me!

img_6459Leaving the Bronx to re-enter Manhattan. This is the last DAMN bridge of the race!

img_6458We had to get a picture with Alexander Hamilton….The hottest ticket in town!

img_6457Full marathon #7 for me and #10 for Rich. Not my fastest but one of my favorites. It was such a different experience running this with friends and taking the time to really appreciate every moment. Such a privilege to be able to do this!!!!!

Thank you to all my family and friends who donated money to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore! And thank you for all of the love and support during the training and the race. I am truly blessed to be part of this running community.

 

Having faith in running

This could obviously be a post about religious beliefs and how they relate to running which, since most of my mid-week runs are done in a very large cemetery, could be interesting, but instead will be about believing in the training process. How do you know that you’re training will carry you across the finish line on race day?

Since I mentioned that I run through a cemetery almost daily, I will digress for a moment to share some thoughts. When we first moved into our house – almost exactly a year ago – and the previous owners suggested that we could run in the cemetery, we were both a little horrified. It seemed a little macabre and perhaps a bit disrespectful. Instead I’ve come to see my time in the cemetery as peaceful and meditative. I enjoy seeing my elderly neighbor on his morning constitutional where he not only greets me with a smile and wishes me a good day but he picks up trash from around the cemetery and clears the walkways of fallen branches. I read the names of the decreased and try to imagine what they were like. I’ve read about the Nobel Prize winning geneticist, Marshall W. Nirenberg, who helped crack the code of the translation of RNA into amino acids. I’ve come to believe, as Dumbledore has said, “To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” I consider it an honor to run in the company of so many lives who stories are unknown to me.

From the philosophical to the practical…. How much does one’s training plan really matter? As someone who has relied on Galloway training for all of my previous marathons, it is a mental shift to my current training plan. Galloway training, for better and for worse, relies hugely on the long run. Most of your training endurance comes from very long long runs with the mid-weeks runs mainly there to maintain fitness. As someone who often works long hours, there is a certain appeal to being about to do two 30 minute runs mid-week and, as long as nothing goes wrong on the weekend, put the fate of your training entirely on an every-other-week mega-run. Jeff Galloway believes that your “wall” will be the distance of your longest run in the prior 3 weeks and, therefore, recommends long runs up to full marathon distance. And I have done that several times.

My current training plan has a VERY different philosophy. Instead of 60 minutes of mid-week running, I am training almost every day. I spend over an hour on the bike twice a week for cross-training. I have 2 midweek runs in the 75 minute range – one is usually a fartlek run and the other an interval run – plus a weekly hill training session of about 35 minutes. Instead of 60 minutes midweek, I’m running 185 minutes midweek. Plus the biking and my Saturday long run and Sunday recovery run. My longest long run before race day will be a measly 3 hours and 15 minutes. At my training pace that translates to maybe 16-17 miles. Not the 27 miles I ran before my previous NYC Marathon. How will that work on race day?

I truly believe that my overall fitness levels right now are very high (minus my current cold with the cough that won’t go away). I’m running faster at the same heart rate than before, even though the temperature and humidity haven’t improved yet. The cross training has made me stronger and I’ve been mostly without injury (minor shin splints which resolve quickly with the foam rolling that I should be doing more consistently). And so it becomes a matter of faith. Do I believe in my coach and my training plan? At this point I have no choice so I will believe that I can get myself across the finish line in November feeling strong.

On the morning of Wednesday, July 13th, Rich and I headed to LaGuardia Airport for his first trip to Chicago. Although we had many touristy things planned for our adventure, the purpose of the trip was to run the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, July 17th. There is a group of people among our closest running friends who has run this race since it started. We have followed their escapades in previous years and made it a priority to join them this year.

In the days leading up to the race, we did everything against the rules of good race preparation. We went to two museums, explored the Willis Tower, tried craft beer, kayaked the Chicago River in peak sunshine with 12 friends, walked up and down Michigan Avenue, and explored Navy Pier.  We ate deep dish pizza, delicious burgers, and tasted tropical beverages. Not exactly your typical pre-race routine but absolutely worth every minute.

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A little Disney in Chicago… Cinderella’s Castle in legos at the Museum of Science and Industry.

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A rainbow greeted Rich for his first night in the Windy City!

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Looking down from the Willis Tower! It’s a LONG way down!

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The amazing Bean!

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The Race Expo at McCormick Place.

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(Nothing like a little sunburn the day before the half marathon!)

Running a race in Chicago in July is always an iffy proposition at best. Apparently last year’s race was brutally hot. This year was overcast which kept the heat down. We were lucky to have a fun group to run the race together, including my little cousin who I rarely see.  Incredibly, her bib number was in sequence with mine and Rich’s….

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We followed our friend Holly’s typical race strategy – run 2 minutes/walk 1 minute. Rich and I have been doing heart rate training rather than run/walk for the past year but the 2/1 intervals worked fine for us. We had a comfortable pace for our group and enjoyed the tour of Chicago.

img_5779This was the Glukos fueling area. Just as the rain was starting. Shortly after this the weather turned bad. As we ran through the tunnel at McCormick Place, the thunder and lightening started. The race didn’t do a great job of communicating with the runners. We were told the clocks were being paused for the thunderstorm but that clearly didn’t happen. We chose to head for the finish line…. Since Holly is deathly afraid of thunder and lightening, we picked up the pace a bit!

img_5780Luckily we made it safely to the finish line! There was a little chaos after we finished because the volunteers had been sent to safety so it was hard to find the medals but we persevered!

img_5775Another fun race!!!!

img_5777My cousin was so much fun!!!! We were all glad she ran with us. Her next race is the Chicago Marathon.

Some people might say it’s a waste to run a race for a fun time instead of a fast time but we knew that we were in Chicago to spend quality time with family and friends. Spending the miles with people we love is always valuable!!!! We are SO lucky!

Remember… I’m running the NYC Marathon as part of my Children’s Hospital running team. Please consider a donation, however small, to support an amazing institution!

Thrive 7 Day Reset

When I decided to register for the NYC Marathon, I realized that I needed to do something about my nutrition. During my training for my first marathon, I gained 10 lbs. Then over the last 2 years, I gained another 8-10 lbs. Although I’m not sure that I’ll ever get back down to my pre-marathon weight, I would like to fit in my clothes again. Furthermore I know that I’m very sensitive to food choices – both during the work day and during my longer training runs.

Back in March I tried to make sure I was increasing my fruit and vegetable intake. My goal was modest: eat one serving of either fruit or vegetable daily. That should have been easy but, honestly, there were days that I didn’t even achieve that goal. I knew that as the weather warmed up, it would be easier to get fruits and vegetables. We’ve planted a nice garden this year and we’ve joined a CSA which starts this week. Both should make eating a more plant-based diet easier. (I had a salad made from fresh-picked greens, carrots, and pea pods from the backyard tonight!)

In May we finally bought a Ninja smoothie maker. We used Simple Green Smoothies and started with the 10 day kick start. We had a smoothie for breakfast each morning and then ate our usual food the rest of the day. The smoothies all started with spinach and then added liquid and fruit. They were surprisingly filling and we were definitely getting several servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

For reasons of temporary insanity….or just inspiration….we decided to go a step further. Rich and I thought it would be helpful to do a 7 day cleanse. Rich researched options and we chose the Thrive 7 Day Reset. The plan is vegan, gluten-, caffeine-, and alcohol-free. A pretty far cry from how we usually eat. The initial shopping list cost over $200 for 2 people and we had to re-stock during the week. Eating a plant-based diet is apparently quite expensive!

We drank the same smoothie for both breakfast and lunch each day. The smoothies were either spinach or kale based. Most of them were tasty although I have found that I don’t love smoothies that have a lot of avocado in them (and I love avocado). Upon awakening we were supposed to drink hot water with lemon and turmeric in it. That lasted exactly one day as I couldn’t get it down. In addition to the smoothies, we ate a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack each day. The snacks were tasty – avocado, almonds, apples with almond butter (not eaten together, those are just a few examples).  Dinner was the equivalent of a large salad most nights. The most filling night was roasted vegetables which included sweet  potato.

We cheated one night when we attended a wedding. I think we both stuffed our faces as much as possible! I had some coffee without sugar (I usually drink my coffee to taste like coffee ice cream) but only a few days of the week. We went to our local brewery for beer one night but didn’t eat any food there. Other than those cheats, we followed the plan pretty closely.

The positives: I lost 3-4 lbs that week. I didn’t get the caffeine withdrawal headaches that I expected. I felt pretty energized the whole week. The food tasted pretty good.

The negatives: Rich and I had the same calorie intake even though we are not the same size. We were both starving all week but I think it was worse for him than for me. Some of the snacks weren’t terribly portable which made it challenging to figure out how to bring the food to work. The hardest of all was not being able to eat with other people. It was so restrictive that eating outside the home would have been almost impossible. And I gained some of the weight back as soon as we returned to regular eating.

Would I do it again? I think so. It was expensive and labor-intensive but I generally felt good the whole week (hungry but good). I could see doing this 2-3 times per year to reset my diet. More importantly we are continuing to have smoothies for breakfast most days (every so often you just need bacon and eggs) and I am placing greater importance on making sure that plant-based foods are included in my diet. I know that there is some seasonality to it – having a weekly farm share plus a garden will make that easy for the next few months – but I can do better than I was.

My goal going forward is to increase the amount of plant-based foods in my daily diet. I hope that will help shed a few pounds but that’s a secondary goal. Let’s see how things go as I increase my weekly mileage….