Hot damn! I am bouncing off the walls, that is how good I feel. Is it the enthusiasm for hard training, the dietary changes, or some combination of the two? I’m not used to having so much energy without caffeine and sugar in the tank. I don’t want to jinx myself or speak too soon but if feels like a breakthrough moment.

Highlights of the week:

  • Was officially selected for the 2015 USA 24-Hour National Running Team that will compete at the World 24-Hour Championships in Italy in April
  • Started a new training cycle under my coach Michele Yates
  • Wrapped up the 10-day low carb experiment
  • Took  my first running “test”
  • Started looking ahead to the fall

Team USA

I woke up Monday morning to messages from Maggie about Facebook updates from USATF on the US 24-hour team selections- it was still unofficial at that point but a great way to start the day! On Wednesday I received an email from USATF informing me of my selection, and by Thursday the official roster was posted. Though I’d been thinking of this moment for the past two months, I only knew for sure that it would come for me after the final qualifying races took place earlier this month, and it’s still a different feeling once the announcement goes out there and becomes official. It’s real. I made it! I don’t usually brag too much but this is one time where I’m just jumping for joy.

Photo: Linsday Bruinsma

Photo: Linsday Bruinsma

Training

Since I’d been trying a short-term carb reduction for the past week, with mostly easy running as my body adapted to the fueling changes, I was nervous about going into my new training plan and doing speed work without carb-y dinners and breakfasts leading up to the workouts. The worry was unnecessary, my initial workouts felt amazing, with no bonking, no weakness and plenty left in the tank. I feel like the nerdy kid who wakes up raring to go to school every morning. Which brings me to the diet.

Couldnt refuse beers with the beard. Photo:

Couldn’t refuse beers with the beard. Photo: Veronica Mikhaylove

 The Low-Carb Experiment, part 2 (aka the lifestyle)

After 10 days of this, I felt so good that I had little desire to go back to eating a lot of carbohydrates, though I did go have some ramen for dinner on Wednesday to carb-load for my “running test” the next morning. The noodles didn’t agree with me very much, which is too bad because who doesn’t love ramen? I gave up on my caffeine fast Thursday morning as I was heading to do running performance tests on an empty stomach, but I did go back to eating lower carb diet most of the rest of the day. It’s really difficult to completely restrict carbs when there is ramen in the world, beer on tap with Rob Krar, and famous Staten Island pizza after a freezing wet trail run, but it’s not every meal any more.

Ready for takeoff. Photo: Polly DeMille

Ready for takeoff. Photo: Polly DeMille

 The Running Test

You can’t fail this one but the numbers won’t lie. I’ve long been curious about finding out what my real max heart rate is but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve considered the value of getting all the data: VO2 max, lactate threshold, and metabolic efficiency (ratios of fat and carb burning at various intensities). I’ll detail more about my experience in a separate post, but the short version is that it was worth it to me. Some of my hunches were confirmed: I burn fat well (actually much better than I imagined possible), my max heart rate of 190 is close to the maximum number that I see on my watch during the fast sprinting end of a race, my lactate threshold pace does correspond to my 15K/half-marathon PR pace, and the VO2 calculators at Jack Daniels are pretty close but not entirely accurate.

 Looking Ahead

Summer and beyond still are a big empty space on my race calendar, but not for long. I’m leaning towards committing to Spartathlon and the NYC Marathon, with the possibility of no other serious racing in the fall. Even the late winter-early Spring is up in the air. I think I’d like to race something at some point but I don’t feel very motivated to focus on anything but Italy right now.

Week in Review: January 12

Monday: 4-mile treadmill tempo

Tuesday : 7-mile treadmill intervals

Wednesday: 3.5-miles easy

Thursday: AM: Treadmill test: ~6 miles in a14 minute warmup and 36 minutes of progressively harder running, strength training. PM: 6.5 mile moderately easy hilly trail run

Friday: AM: 45-minute MELT class. PM: 45-minute pool running class

Saturday: 8 miles of longer intervals on the treadmill

Sunday: 11 mile trail run