Five weeks to Antarctica race

low storm clouds over running trail

Training is almost back on schedule. I’m still running about a mile short on the weekend long runs (seven miles), but feeling nice and strong during the run and recovering quickly.

Rainy weather has made for interesting conditions in the bay area, but still nothing like Antarctica. Not a snowflake to be found, just a lot of rain and wind.

Luckily, I have a couple more training trips to cold places that should help at least expose my lungs and body to the frigid temperatures anticipated on race day.

Also, I don’t feel like I’m getting the hill work needed in what’s expected on the Antarctic race course, but I’m doing my best to get to the trails.

The run I get to do most days is just outside my doorstep and this is a training no-no. Even though it’s so easy and convenient and connects to the bay trail, which goes on for miles, it’s not even close to what I am expecting in Antarctica.

If I can’t make the time to get to the trails and put in the work, I will pay for this dearly in Antarctica in the way of tired legs and a lot of huffing and puffing. 😟

That two-week sickness really set me back, but I have five more weeks to turn it around. 💪🏼

I still need to finish my packing list as well. The race company posts their recommendations, but I feel like it’s missing quite a few things that will make my race a happy – or at least more comfortable – race. Will post my complete packing list once done.

Until next time, stay healthy. 🙏

It’s official, I’m bulletproof

It is with mixed feelings that I wrap up my bulletproof experiment.

On one hand, I lost weight, felt (and ran) strong, and rather enjoyed the coffee concoction as a meal supplement. Being a black (no sugar or cream) coffee drinker, the butter coffee was a sweet treat.

On the other hand, I experienced a little discomfort along the way, which mainly consisted of morning or late night hunger pangs, occasional heartburn, and forcing my meals into an eight hour window.

This last one was particularly tough socially. On weekends especially, my family and friends would get together for big breakfasts around 8am, before weekend activities commenced. If I partook, it meant I needed to wrap up dinner by 4pm. Who eats dinner before 4pm?

No one. Dinner, my last meal was made and served closer to 7pm. So it was awkward and anti-social to miss one of those meals. Loved ones thought I was starving myself, and sometimes it felt like it.

There were a few other side effects worth mentioning.

Slight heartburn or indigestion happened a couple of times, about two hours after the bulletproof coffee. It lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes and then went away.

Headache. Early on, in the first ten days, I had a couple of headaches that lingered all day. But once I got into a routine, these went away completely.

Dry mouth. Especially before my first meal, my mouth felt cottony. It’s not bulletproof sanctioned, but to avoid an awkward situation I’d pop in a piece of gum before walking into a meeting with questionable breath.

Mid-day sleepiness. Every fourth or fifth day, around 2pm, I felt tired and sluggish. This occurred much less after two weeks into the experiment.

Noisy tummy. After the coffee concoction, which was mostly decaf for me, my tummy would get loud. It didn’t hurt. It was just annoying and distracting, and if anyone was in earshot, embarrassing. This wasn’t limited to the coffee either. When I’d eat a meal, randomly, my tummy would get noisy. Really noisy. No bathroom issues post noisiness, it just loud.

Overall, intermittent fasting with the bulletproof concoction drove weight loss and performance strength. I ate far fewer calories on the fast. No big surprise here, but I wasn’t expecting to eat that many fewer calories without being hungry all the time. Sure, sometimes in the mornings or late at night I felt a little hunger, but after the coffee concoction, I felt good.

Lunch and dinner consisted of around 500-650 calories each. If I needed a sugar fix, I’d add a couple of dates to the end of dinner, but even with that, I didn’t come anywhere close to the 1800-1900 calories I usually ate. I felt the results mostly in my middle, which thinned a little.

As mentioned, the bulletproof coffee had probably improved my performance. While on it, I recorded the best 5K time in several years. It could have been the fitness training (and a myriad of other things), but I believe it was a combo of the oils, clean eating, and consistent training.

For anyone debating on trying it, I say do it and start slowly. Charlie Norton did a writeup on his bulletproof experience that still makes me chuckle. You want to ease into the butter and oil or you’ll feel it.

Start with whatever you’re comfortable with, but still within reasonable guidelines. A little white rice or granola might not hurt if you keep the overall calorie count down (although diehards would argue), but you can’t expect to see results if you’re downing a six-pack, bottle of wine, or pack of cookies during the week.

Until next time, stay healthy.

First 10k

I got in 6.2 miles last weekend. It’s a mile short of where I need to be on my half marathon training schedule, but given I’ve been so sick, I’ll take it. It’s my first 10k in many years.

Although neither bothered me too much on the run, I’m still suffering with a sore throat and wicked cough. The coughing attacks have been so bad, my back is sore from muscle strain.

While few people believe me, they insist it must have been something coming on before, all of this has been the direct result of a flu shot. I was perfectly healthy walking into the travel consultation and perfectly sick walking out post-flu shot.

I just didn’t expect the effects to take this long to blow over. It’s been eleven miserable days. Sick or not, I have a training schedule to stick to, so I got out there and got in a 10k.

Typically, experts recommend following “the neck rule” when determining to run while sick. The neck rule basically states that if you have pain or agitation anywhere on or below the neck, i.e., sore throat, stomach issues, fever, congested chest and lungs, etc., you should not run. Anything above the neck, i.e., stuffy nose, watering eyes, or simple cough, you’re probably okay to run.

Even with the neck rule in place, health professionals encourage runners to use common sense and check in with themselves.

For me, I had a sore throat, but was able to knock out six miles comfortably. Afterwards, I needed lots of rest. It knocked me out for the following 24 hours.

The run started off slowly. The first mile being the hardest followed by the second mile being the second hardest. After the third mile, I fell into a rhythm with my footsteps and breathing and moving forward.

I overdressed with long pants and a three-quarter zip over a performance tee. At 54 degrees, I could have run in a tee and shorts and was from start to finish.

Overall, it was a comfortable way to spend the time. No coughing, nice and warm, listening to music, getting some vitamin D. If you’re feeling a little off or down, I’d encourage you to get a run in. It doesn’t have to be six miles, but just something to warm up your body and muscles.

I also took a solid thirty minutes post-run to stretch, foam roll my legs and IT band, and ice my knees. The self-care felt wonderful.

Cold and flu season is upon us. My recommendation to anyone debating on running is if you can do it without hacking up a lung, go for it.

Skip the hard stuff (intervals, speed work, hills, etc.) and plan for a solid rest and recovery time post-run. You’re gonna need it.

Stay healthy. 🙏 💪🏼🏃‍♀️

Back at it

slippery when wet paint on run path with Saucony shoes

It took over a week to recover from the flu shot-caused illness, at least enough to start running again. I did three very tough miles in an attempt to get back on the half marathon training schedule. I hope to knock out six more this weekend, which is still a mile behind where I should be.

But I suppose I’m not the first or last runner who has encountered sickness during her training so let me share what I’ve learned.

If you get sick, get rest. I think sleeping for hours or days at a time actually shortened the illness. I didn’t try to get out too soon and simply let the virus take its course while I stayed hydrated and warm under many blankets.

Drink lots of liquids. No brainer here. The more liquids you can drink to help your body flush out the badness, the faster you’ll recover.

Vitamin C is king. I took loads of vitamin C even though I doubted it would help with the flu virus. It did. I wasn’t nearly as tired or feverish after I started loading up on the C. Make sure you have enough zinc in your system to absorb it too.

Sticking to the bulletproof fast was easier than ever. Since I didn’t have an appetite, eating during a short, say eight-hour window, was a snap. I ate only healthy, clean foods with mega-nutrients like avocados, lettuce, nuts, salmon, etc.

As an aside, I’m loving the bulletproof coffee concoction with the intermittent fasting, and will give an update next week after the three week experiment officially ends.

Last but not least, although I am no doctor, my experience has told me to avoid the flu shot. If you had the shot and believe it works for you, then keep at it. Good for you. If you’ve not had the injection in the past and not caught the flu, you probably don’t need it.

Although flu shots can have different ingredients, the most popular injection contains genetically modified dead flu strands along with a bunch of other junk they label stabilizers and preservatives. Oh, and don’t forget the wonderful lot of antibiotics they also include in there. Antibiotics in the flu shot. Strange, isn’t it?

This terrible mixture goes directly into your blood stream. In my case, a few days later it manifested into a painful and debilitating illness that lasted over a week.

I don’t care what the CDC says about its “safety.” It’s not like large governing bodies in the US have a fabulous track record of open and honest policies. Historically, they tend to make lobbyists and big businesses, like drug companies who produce the shot, lots of money. What a racket. 👎

Stay healthy runners.

Training setback 😫

After the flu shot last week, I became so incredibly sick that I was not able to get out of bed, let alone get in my six-mile training run over the weekend.

I was frustrated with the whole situation. I knew intuitively I should have avoided the flu shot, like I do every year, but the nurse so strongly insisted on it, I felt pressured and acquiesced.

After five days of flu symptoms and the worst sore throat I’ve ever endured, I’ve resolved to give up all my anger and resentment, and simply focus on healing myself.

What happened? On Wednesday, I was perfectly healthy when I walked into the wellness office looking for guidance on what I might need for my trip to Antarctica and Argentina.

I left infected – er vaccinated – and symptoms started the very next day. It began with a low grade fever, a few aches, a slight sore throat, and continued to worsen hour after hour.

The height of the illness came at 2am, about 88 hours after the shot, with the sweats and puking in the middle of the night, not unlike the real flu. Now, five days later, a small cough and terribly painful sore throat still remain. At least I have the strength to sit up and type and eat again.

While this story is somewhat controversial and goes directly against the CDC, I am confident that the “vaccine” caused the sickness. And because of that, logically, the CDC is wrong. It’s not like governing bodies of health have a good record of keeping us healthy.

In the past, food lobbyists have swayed US Dietary Guidelines so they could sell more wheat and corn and meat. If that’s possible, how much more powerful are the drug companies? Oh, it’s so frustrating!

Not that we’ll solve this today. Instead, I need to figure out my training situation. It’s like I can feel my fitness fading away with every fiery swallow.

I missed my six-miler due to this illness and don’t know when I will be strong enough to resume running. (I’m praying it’s in the next couple of days.) I need this swollen and painful throat to heal and the cough to subside. Once that happens, I’ll start back with three miles and work my way up again.

Assuming, I rebound in the next 48 hours, there is a 10K happening near me on Saturday. If I’m feeling well enough by Wednesday, I will register and run that for a my make-up training run.

Send healing prayers for a fast recovery. 🙏

Flu shot controversy

I visited a travel nurse earlier this week in preparation for my trip to Argentina and Antarctica. As the appointment progressed, we went through the usual questions and answers.

When are you leaving? How long will you be there? What are you doing when you get there?

All very perfunctory. She checked my vaccinations. Typhoid. Hep A. Tetanus. Check. Check. Check.

As she was closing up her travel nurse binder, she said, “And I assume you’ve already had your flu shot this season.”

I stared blankly at her.

Flu shot? I really don’t believe in the effectiveness of the flu shot. I know this is as controversial as a religious or political topic, and people have strong opinions one way or the other, but I’m strictly going only on my own personal experience.

In the past, when I got the flu shot, I got sick. When I didn’t, I didn’t get sick. I’m not twenty-something either, we’re talking about decades here. Every year in the past twenty years, except for one, I’ve avoided the flu shot and never contracted the flu.

The exception was when I spent a freezing winter night celebrating my niece’s February birthday at a Chicago hotel where we both swam in the communal swimming pool and then slept in the same room. I got sick, she didn’t. I’m not even sure it was the flu but I was down for the count for three days. So for argument’s sake, let’s say I got the flu.

I got the flu shot once and got the flu. I didn’t get the flu shot the other twenty years and maybe got the flu once. I like those odds.

So when the travel nurse incorrectly assumed I had the flu shot, I shook my head.

“I really don’t believe in them.”

She tried, unsuccessfully, to halt her eyes in mid-eye roll, but I saw what she was doing. Inhaling deeply, like one would begin a sigh or speech to a small child who had colored on the couch, she said, “Think of it like a seatbelt. You wouldn’t get in your car without buckling up, would you?”

I didn’t make the connection, but nodded half-heartedly in some form of agreement.

“Look, you’re going to be in a foreign country – two foreign countries – with lots of people from all over the world and you’re going to be on a ship for many days. One ship with hundreds of people is full of germs. Wouldn’t you rather travel knowing you’re protected?”

I tilted my head from side to side considering her points. I still didn’t understand the shot as a seatbelt analogy. I think of it as a needle that is injecting actual flu inside my body. It’s not even letting my epidermis fight it off like it should. It’s going right through it, invading my body with someone else’s dead flu cells.

Hey, I’m not an anti-vaccine person. I strongly believe in getting vaccinated, but the flu shot is different. Intuitively, for me only, something doesn’t feel right about it. After going back and forth for more time than I think she wanted to spend on it, I acquiesced.

Fine. I’ve never been on a ship, maybe there’s something extra buggy that I’m unaware of and this will ward it off as she promised. So I did it. The needle pinched and the contents burned inside my arm. After it was over, I worried I made a mistake.

Later that night, I noticed a red crescent on my arm where the shot had gone in. It ached and was heavy, but that’s often no different than any other shot so I tried to forget about it.

At 3am, I woke so super thirsty I had to get out of bed to down some water. The next morning my arm still hurt and I felt tired and achy. The travel nurse said I might so I tried to forget it as I got ready for work.

At work, I felt worse. I ended up leaving early to come home and rest before dinner. By the evening, I had a sore throat, cough, swollen and watery eyes, and heavy lungs. On top of it, I had a bad attitude. I knew it. Stupid shot. I went to bed early and visualized my body fighting off the flu, staying strong and healthy.

This morning, while feeling the painful, even sorer throat, waterier eyes, and heavier lungs, I thought long and hard about the email I would send the travel nurse. Boy, would I tell her.

But in the end, I didn’t want to ruin her weekend, even though my weekend was at risk. Snowshoeing with flu symptoms is not only uncomfortable, it seems irresponsible.

Plus I have to get my six-mile long run in this weekend and how I am going to do that feeling like this? Grrrr! 

I’m bummed, but staying hopeful that I’ll rebound between now and tomorrow’s departure time. The mountains are calling.

Send healing mojo. 🙏⚡️🏃‍♀️