Header from Fyr til Fyr 60k. Photo by Moses Løvstad

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Chester Woods USATF 10 miler and An Experiment

After age 28, it is harder and harder to get faster at short distances. This is at least my understanding of the biology of aging. For this very reason, I need to force myself to keep running tempos and intervals so I can improve at and continue to enjoy longer races.

In terms of heart health, it is the short, hard bursts of exercise that really improve the hearts of those with ischemic heart disease, and this is perhaps a lesson we could all learn from. So, I ran a tempo run at a race today. It was a training run, in that no tapering was involved, no Garmin and I didn't want to go so hard that my running would be affected in two days.

I drove to Eyota, MN this morning, an hour from our house, and if that town doesn't sound small, what town does? They have a 50k, 10 mile, and 5k with staggered starts in the gorgeous Chester Woods. The 10 mile race is part of the USATF Minnesotal trail and ultra series. Here is the Chester Woods Trail Run website.

The race started out very deceivingly on a road followed by a short stint on a bike path, but then turned into mostly dirt & grass and some sand trails, at times techincal and the hills just kept coming, each one seeming to be steeper than the last.

There were about 200 runners and the runner in second place after the first mile was a woman. I could not imagine she didn't start too fast. I was the next woman after her, though there were about 10 men between us or more. There were also at least two women right behind me, but by mile 5, after it had started getting more technical, I dropped the women and passed a few guys. It was grueling - but the guy I ran the last 4 miles with did it barefoot! I gave him kudos, but turns out it wasn't on purpose "I intended to wear my Vibrams (he pronounced them VEEbrums), but I brought two left shoes. Literally ouch. He really slowed on the patches of gravel but managed to beat me.

I finished second female out of ??? in 1:13:20. It was an age group course record, so I get on the website! The first place female ran apparently in 1:08 something, shattering the old course record of 1:11:38. I guess her name was Jenny somehting, but I am eagerly awaiting the results to learn more. Isn't this a nice hat that all participants got? (that's a lake behind me down that hill in Chester Woods (CW)).

The Belly Mystery Solved (?)

My ophthalmologist friend, Andrew Doane, posted a link on Facebook today about diet soda and one thing I learned about in the  article  was "The Diet Soda Belly", that compared to controls, people who drank diet soda had a 70% increase in waist circumference (this is a study from the University of Texas Health Science Center where they monitored 475 adults for 10 years and it was presented at the 2011 ADA meeting) . For a woman who must (but hates to) admit she drinks 2-7 cans of diet soda a day, I have to suspect this may be contributing to my belly. I have officially given up diet soda- for two weeks.

In the name of science, I am going to buy a tape measure today and then begin recording my waist circumference, hip circumference and weight each day (the latter two as controls) to see if eliminating diet soda helps my problem and how much. At the end, you can expect a pretty graph (if not a pretty belly). 


Here is Christian, with his best friend, Soren, on the last day of school at the Three Rivers Waldorf School. (We love that place!)

29 comments:

PiccolaPineCone said...

I don't buy your hypothesis and here's why - according to the article you linked to, the aspartame in soda raised blood glucose levels which triggered the liver to store the excess as fat. According to your blog posts, you are experiencing belly paunch while losing weight! If diet soda were the issue, your body mass should be increasing from the fat storage. I believe your belly is somehow mechanical (I was joking in my comment on your last post) but still, somehow mechanical...

sea legs girl said...

PPC, the way I read it was their hypothesis was it was it was an increase in abdominal fat. Either way, maybe I do have excess visceral abdominal fat from the artificial sweeteners despite weight loss!

That was so extremely cute that La Cocotte called El Guapo "ma soeur" because of the outfit. That brings me extreme happiness for many reasons.

Anonymous said...

Definitely get a second opinion (good physio therapist) on the diastasis recti and check the "mutu-system" (they have also a lot of free stuff) and the "tupler technique". If you have one it means your whole core doesn´t work properly which might have been the cause of your injury! It is really worth working on this! Also check this link; it isn´t exclusively about diastasis but eye-opnening:
http://www.alignintegrationandmovement.com/1/post/2012/04/how-to-contract-your-deep-abdominal-muscle-the-transversus-abdominis.html
Good luck!

Brianne said...

It could be the diet soda (that stuff is terrible!) or it could be diastasis recti (a lot of doctors don't know how to properly check for it) or it could just be your 'problem area.' Don't we all have one? I think most bodies have preferred places to deposit fat (for a lot of women it's thighs and arms...read, me). Maybe having kids and getting older is making it harder for us to hide those spots. I'm just shooting from the (fatty;) hip here... what do I know.

sea legs girl said...

Thanks, Anon. I will get a second opinion once we move back to DK. Without health insurrance, it is way too expensive. I just had to make sure it wasn't a malignancy. The Ob-Gyn I went to was not a "believer" in diastasis recti more than a few months post-partum. I will take a look at this website and thanks for your time and the info!

sea legs girl said...

Brianne- keep on shooting from the (very lean, I'm sure) hip :). I appreciate it. I can't help feeling this conversation will benefit a lot of women who have struggled with post-partum bellies to sort out the possible causes. Good stuff! This is why I love blogging!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

I would be the outlier in that study:) I used to drink a ton of soda in college (1 3 litter bottle of diet pepsi a day-puch) and had a flat belly and was overall skinny as well. Now I drink 1-2 cans of diet pepsi a day and my belly looks almost the same (well, the 1 6 y old who came 2 weeks late added some extra skin). So, I don't think diet soda is the causal link here.

Congrats on the race!

SteveQ said...

I think you're making way too much of one bad photo. My ultrarunning photos make me look paunchy, but it's bloat and posture. I just don't see it in any but the one photo of you.

It's not diet soda, at any rate, though if you downed all of those at once you might look bloated.

Olga King said...

You drink diet soda? Blech. Or any soda for that matter, but diet for sure. Good run though!

Grace in TN said...

Slg - are you still nursing? I ask because with both of my babies, no matter how thin I got from running and no matter how much core work I did, my belly desperately clung to some fat. I truly think it was some survival mechanism to ensure I had what I needed to feed the baby. After I weaned, poof! It was gone in a week or two, no exaggeration. It stands to reason that the thinner you get and the more you endure, then the tighter you body will cling.... Just another post partum theory to toss in the hat.

sea legs girl said...

Ana-Maria, maybe there is just a breaking point when the belly or abs can't hide/take the diet soda anymore? I don't know, but I'm very curious what happens in the experiment.

sea legs girl said...

Steve Q: you do know how to freak a woman out! What picture??

It woudn't be a problem if it were just a picture - it's the incessant "when are you due?" that I don't enjoy (though I have made an art form out of making the asker feel less embarrassed.

sea legs girl said...

Olga, I would love to see what you would say if you walked in our kitchen: SR has an entire corner dedicated to his regular soda and I have mine for diet. SR even gives it to Natti and Andreas for dinner but I am so adamant that Christian not drink any of it. It's a set up for conflict. Basically I have been looking for a reason to give it up. So glad I have this blog to motivate me!

Brianne said...

Stand your ground. Delay the introduction of crap (ie. soda, diet or otherwise) to your boys' systems. Seriously. I'm a little surprised that two physicians would have even a drop of it in their house. But it just goes to show that doctors are people too:) (The military health care providers I've had the 'pleasure' of dealing with down here would lead one to believe otherwise.) My 4 year old has yet to sample soda and though I'm sure we are judged as being 'too strict' (for reasons other than not letting her eat junk, no doubt), I'm going to continue to try really hard to delay her first taste of the 'sweet nectar.' Oh, and if you drink diet soda to curb your appetite (which, because you're so thin, perhaps you may want to re-evaluate and eat instead at certain times, which may also help your belly problems - the whole malnourished African orphan syndrome thing, as someone mentioned), you may want to consider switching to Perrier or something similar. I hated bubbly water when I lived in Europe but have since become addicted to it. It's expensive here so I only have about one a day but a few sips here and there do provide satiation.

Olga King said...

Soda in my house only on a huge occasion. Kids do get a drink when are taken out, what I have to close my eyes to, as Larry keeps pointing out I live in US and shall obey the rules where it's normal. But home - no. :)

Kirsten said...

You - drinking a lot of soda full of artificial sh..? And give it to your kids? Hold så op med det, lige med det samme!!!
And now a really stupid remark but I have to. You are a vegetarian, not eating a lot (!!!) and have cut out things from the list of allowed foods - maybe you are in dire need of proteins? Maybe your belly is equal to the bellys of the little cute kids with big brown eyes?

Olga King said...

p.s. by the end of the experiment in 2 weeks if you hold it true and do not sub things with something else I expect you to loose both weight and belly fat. Larry did. And he only gave up 1 soda a day.

maria said...

To help with cravings subbing sparkling water for soda is a good idea, you could also try lemon (or lime) water; cheap and acidy.

Soda for kids? Oh, universal condemnation! I still love a Diet Coke now and again, from drinking my mom's supply when I was a kid. I didn't lose my teeth or get diabetes.

SteveQ said...

Running song of the week: "Sixpack" by Jeff the Brotherhood. Might seem abrasive for the first few bars, but give it a chance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqVUwVmYrlQ

Danni said...

I said it before but Kirsten's remark seems at least worth considering. As you are an anorexic vegetarian, couldn't it be possible?

Diet soda makes me bloaty.

sea legs girl said...

Alright folks, you can stop worrying about me being starving girl from Africa. I do eat fish and/or eggs every single day. I am a "pesco-vegetarian". My training immediately suffers (and my recovery) if my protein intake drops. Plus omega 3s are the best.

Jill Homer said...

Diet Pepsi is my favorite comfort food in the world. I'm certain it would be easier for me to give up anything else, including ice cream, chocolate, even sushi. I've also never had a flat stomach, although from looking at my relatives, I'm pretty sure this is genetic more than diet-based. (From my dad's side, we all have ghetto booties as well.) Anyway, good on you for giving up the sauce. I've actually tried, and it honestly made me miserable enough that I decided to allow myself this admittedly unhealthy habit in the name of a continuous cheap and easy source of happiness.

Alicia said...

I'm pretty sure you can still be starving even if you eat fish and/or eggs every day--how MUCH fish and eggs are you eating? Anyway, I agree with the other two that I think it's the starving African orphan belly...

Oh and nice job on the race AND on an excellent self-portrait!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

OK folks, diet soda is not the evil. Or soda for that matter. Anything in moderation! SLG, for me, I can't deny myself something completely, bc I want it even more. So, I allow myself 1 can of diet soda a day, 2 on special occasions. Seltzer the rest of the time. And, gasp, I am still alive and healthy:)

Karen said...

Well crap. I was going to run the 50K at this race, but decided against it this spring when I felt like I raced too often and didn't do as well as I wanted. It was on my calendar and everything.

Congrats on the AG record, and maybe we'll meet somewhere else in the future.

SteveQ said...

Ah, I love discussion of Kwashiokor in Denmark in the morning.

Olga King said...

Too much salt in your diet? I just went to a nutrition/hydration/electrolyte seminar last night.

SteveQ said...

I've been thinking... pregnancy forces you to change posture to accomodate the baby weight and change in center of balance. Perhaps you're still "running pregnant" when you're not and it's just postural.

sea legs girl said...

Steve, it was actually when I was just standing around that people asked if I was pregnant. But it is an interesting idea. Maybe it explains why my posture has changed a bit (for the worse).