Sunday Review: Training Week 2

So spring has finally arrived in London and the past two days have been sunny with blue skies (although still quite chilly). Running in the sun is in my opinion one of life’s great pleasures and based on the number of people in the park today, I don’t think I am the only person to think this! Following some of the challenges last week, I have taken it slightly easier this week and both runs have been amazing. I have felt strong and had no energy issues. Partly I think this is because I have got the vegan nutrition right (I am eating more than I normally would) and because I have set myself the challenge of running at 07:30 minute miles (I am much better when I give myself objectives!).

On the nutrition front, if it is a morning run, I ensure that I have had a lot of carbs the night before (more than I would normally consume) and then a carb loaded breakfast at least one hour before I head out. If I am running home in the evening, I make sure between lunch and running, I consume a massive amount of carbs but also healthy sugars (e.g. date based bars). While I feel fuller than I normally would, it seems to have worked this week.

In other news, I have run over 300km since the 1st January! Boom!

  • Monday – managed a seven mile run home from work at 07:31 miles and it felt good
  • Tuesday – rest day but I had meant to swim (fail!)
  • Wednesday – rest day but planned
  • Thursday – rest day but planned
  • Friday – rest day but I had meant to go to the gym but did managed a long walk
  • Saturday – rest day but again I managed a long walk
  • Sunday – managed a 10 mile run in the sun and did it in 07:24 miles (yay!)

Life is more than what you eat and how far you run… (part 1)

A tale as old as time – one of the biggest highlights of the week was going to see ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with a friend. The film was amazing and there was something great about going to see something that was both new and familiar. The film was pure nostalgia. I thought Emma Watson was amazing, there was a genuine ‘gay moment’ (although I imagine most kids missed it – as did my friend!), the music had been updated in places but was still faithful to the original and it made me smile! I have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat ever since (who says you have to grow-up!).

Raise a glass (or not) – Thursday night means bar night at work and while it was hard, I imagined to stay ‘dry’ and no give in and have a drink. At first it was hard because people kept asking why I wasn’t drinking (such a weird question to ask but given how much I drank in the past not unsurprising) but after a while it was fine. Plus being the only sober person, I remembered all the gossip the next morning!

First steps – I also headed down to Bristol for the night to see my brother, sister in law and nephew. The young man is just about walking although a lot of the time it looks like a drunken swagger. I hadn’t seen him since Christmas and it has changed so much since then. Time really does fly and it won’t be long before he is talking (and talking back!). It also marked the first family trip since going vegan and it was absolutely fine!

Meet the parents – on the way back from Bristol I jumped off the train at Reading for lunch with mum and dad, as it was his birthday this week and tomorrow is Mother’s Day. We headed to pizza express as I wanted to try the vegan and gluten free pizza. Turns out it is no longer on the menu but they made it for me anyway and it was good! Most the conversation was about my nephew which seems to be all we talk about these days! Strange to be back in a town where I went to school and unlike Beauty and the Beast it was changed so much I didn’t feel that must nostalgia.

Observation #1: Urine smell

As I progress on this health and wellness journey, I thought I would select something of interest or that has amused me each week to discuss in more detail. And what better place to start than the smell of my urine!

On roughly day 10 of being (almost) vegan I noticed that my urine smelt different. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of the day I need the bathroom it smells the same and not how it used to (although ask me to describe what it sued to smell like and I couldn’t tell you). I have always noticed that certain foods impact the smell of my urine (I mean you asparagus!) but normally after a few hours all goes back to normal. Not the case with going vegan!

Is the smell bad? No! Do I think it is an unhealthily smell? No! Am I concerned? No! The only thing that annoys me is that the smell reminds me of something and I cannot for the life of me remember what. It reminds me of something I once ate but who knows what and when. #weird

Having googled and done some reason there doesn’t seem to be any scientific rational for why my urine should smell different although people do comment on boards and in forums that something similar has happened to them (on the one hand this makes me feel better as I am not alone but on the other hand I don’t feel very special!). The reasons people give vary from an increase in fruit and veg (maybe), to your body detoxifying itself (I don’t buy that) or simply put it is a coincidence (which I plain don’t believe). On the food front the only thing I have eaten more of is garlic and that can impact smell but I used to eat a fair amount anyway. Over the next few days the garlic is being cut out to see what impact that has. Likely none!

Sunday Review: Training Week 1

So this week marked the first full week of being vegan and trying to train for a summer triathlon. Overall it was fine but I found the long run I usually do on a Saturday morning very hard. What is interesting here is that I haven’t changed my diet that much for being vegan to have that much of an impact. My pre-run meal was always porridge with a banana and berries along with a scoop of protein powder. The protein powder has gone but the rest has stayed the same. This is something that I need to explore more as the long run was simply painful!

  • Monday – given the exercise I had done at the weekend, I decided that Monday would be rest day
  • Tuesday – I ran home for work (5 miles) and my goal was to go fast and I did! I managed 7.30 min miles. It is always so much easier to run a decent time when you have a day of food in the tank
  • Wednesday – a short run home from work because I couldn’t face the tube
  • Thursday – a five mile run to the gym, a PT session and then a two mile run home. The run and gym session felt really good but I was really hungry by the time I made it home
  • Friday – second rest day of the week!
  • Saturday – I ran 10 miles and while it was just under 8.00 miles it was hard going especially when there was any kind of a hill. I was shattered by mid-afternoon and had an early night which is not normally the case
  • Sunday – given how tired I was yesterday, I decided to have a third rest day this week as I feel my body needs it. I plan to swim tomorrow night instead


Vegan beginnings

Today marks 10 days since I decided to change my way of eating for the better!

The rationale was simple, I was putting too much crap into my body, expecting my body to train, and my body was having none of it! I spent my 35th birthday running between my bedroom and bathroom with an upset stomach and I knew I had to do something. I was quite literally sick and tired of being sick and tired. Action was needed and I made the decision to go vegan, reduce my gluten intake and quit alcohol. Nothing major then!

I have been flirting with the idea of going vegan for a while and have decided to finally take the plunge. Ten days later I am still going strong although I would not say I have managed to be 100% vegan all of the time. To kick off this blog, I thought I would start with 10 things I have found by being vegan for 10 days:

  1. You easily consumer 10 pieces of fruit and veg each day – this may seem obvious but for the first time in my life I am actually eating more than the recommended daily amount and I feel great as a result
  2. You go to the bathroom more often – the more you put into a system, the more the system needs to get rid of! I am hoping that this is a short term reaction and over time everything will go back to normal
  3. You head clears – this has perhaps been the best thing for me as I usually have a foggy head in the morning and late afternoon. Not any more..
  4. You realise the impact of a good nights sleep – while this might partly be because of the lack of alcohol, I am now sleeping better than I have in years and don’t find waking up in the morning a challenge
  5. You shed a few pounds – while not the main reason for going vegan, it is a nice side effect, so far I am down a few pounds
  6. You don’t get bloated – I was worried that the bloating I normally get from sugar, alcohol and gluten would simply be replaced by bloating from the increased fibre intake but not the case. My stomach is flat!
  7. You get clearer skin – I have always hated my skin since I was a teenager but over the past ten days it has got clearer and looks fresher!
  8. You can still exercise – on average I run three times a week and hit the gym and the pool once a week, I was worried how this would be impacted by going vegan and the only real issue has been the long run on the weekend where I just don’t seem to have enough energy. Shorter runs and sessions are fine though…
  9. You can eat out (but it can be a struggle) – at the start of this post I mentioned that I had not been 100% vegan and that is because a couple of times it has not been possible to be vegan when I have eaten out
  10. You get weird looks from people when you say you have gone vegan – the number of people who have rolled their eyes or tutted when I mentioned I had gone vegan is more than I expected but hopefully when they see the difference they will change their minds and see the error of their ways…

Ultimately my goal is to try this for 30 days and then make a decision about what to do in the long term.