October 18, 2011
I've always enjoyed reading blogs, but had never thought about actually starting one. I guess this blog is really more of an opportunity for me to collect my thoughts and experiences in a kind of journal. If anyone else wants to read it and chime in, then great!
Over the last 10-12 months or so, I have made a lot of significant lifestyle changes. They seem significant now, but in looking back, they seemed to be small changes here and there.
It started with a dramatic change in diet. My family has always worked toward eating more healthily over the years, but early this year we took it a step further by going on a 30 day elimination diet (guided by our doctor) to see what kind of food sensitivities we might have. Also, I needed to work on lowering my cholesterol, or be faced with medication. This lead to becoming more educated about food, specifically by working with a nutritionist and reading books by Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food, Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules). Basically now, we are focused on eating "whole" organic foods, and locally produced whenever possible (or financially feasible). Additionally, we work on limiting dairy, gluten, and corn in our diet.
Also during this time, I decided to switch to a "standing" desk. I had read several articles about the dangers of sitting all day (I work from home), and how we need to get up and move around more. After converting my desk, I don't think I could go back to sitting at a desk. I stand all day as I work, and not only do I feel great, but I am more productive at work.
In about February of this year, I heard about the "Warrior Dash" that a coworker was going to participate in this August. I thought it sounded like fun, so I signed up, effectively giving myself 6 months to be able to run 3 miles with obstacles. I began running slowly on our local school track, and begin increasing my distance. I've never been a runner, so this was a challenge. I continued to run periodically until about June when friends suggested I try the Manitou Incline. My first try took over 1 hour and 15 minutes to make the 1.1 mile climb (2,000 ft elevation gain), but I was hooked. The climb was followed by a 3.5 mi jog down the Barr Trail.
As I continued to run, and do the Incline, I was plagued with aches, pains, and a good case of bursitis in both of my knees. I wanted to keep running, but the continuous icing and knee bracing was not much fun. It was at this point that I took more of my doctor's advice and read "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall. I loved the book, but more importantly I started thinking more about barefoot running, or the barefoot running "style". The first thing I started doing was mentally forcing myself to run down the Barr Trail as if I had no shoes on. This helped me start using my legs/feet as nature intended, and suddenly the knee pain and jarring impacts were gone. Also, my back straightened up, my form got better, and best of all I could run with less effort. I then purchased my first pair of minimalist huarache sandals from Invisible Shoe . I now run in these whenever possible, including up the Incline and running the trail back down. My goal is to work towards true barefoot running, but from what I've learned from reading other books and sites, I will be making sure I take my time in working up to that.
So, here I am now in mid October 2011, 40 lbs lighter, great cholesterol results, BP of 116/72, actual arches in my formerly flat feet and a developing passion for trail running in Colorado. From here, I'll work on posting updates as I continue this journey. My goals at the moment are to lose another 25 lbs, do the Manitou Incline in under 40 minutes (current best is 47:07), run the full Bolder Boulder 10K in May (in my sandals), and to run a 5K barefoot by the end of next year.
If you've made it this far, you now know more than you ever wanted to! Feel free to post questions, comments here anytime and I'll respond.