Sunday, March 9, 2014

Beating the Wheat (and the Cow that Grazes It)

I know I've taken a hiatus from this blogging thing. But life took over, and I haven't been training for anything. And I'm sure you don't come here to read solely about my non-running life. (If you do, let me know and I'll just send you an email with the happenings of the last few months.) But after months off from a set training regimen, I'm about to jump into a 5.5-month long, double-marathon training season (Newport on 5/31, followed by Santa Rosa on 8/24). And so I return to the blog.



As I even think about blogging, I can't help but think about the focus of my blog. When I first created it in 2012, it was to chronicle how I'd be celebrating my 26th birthday by running 26.2 miles. But 26 is long gone, and 27 is nearly gone, so that focus makes no sense. 

I then think to the challenges I have ahead of me. Nearly six months of back-to-back marathon training just seems hellacious to me. (Don't ask me why I thought that was a brilliant idea. Or if I were even thinking at all.) What also seems hellacious is having to own up to the fact that I should cut gluten and dairy from my diet.

Let me back this up for a hot second. I first remember going to a dermatologist for eczema about 14 years ago, and since then, seeing multiple doctors and trying multiple creams (prescription and OTC) to help alleviate the problem. But like a bad significant other, it just keeps coming back. Red, dry, cracking skin, and the symptoms are sometimes so bad that my hands will bleed. I recently switched PCPs, and mentioned this issue to him during my physical. Based on recent research, he suggested eliminating gluten from my diet for a few weeks. I figured, "I've had it for over half my life. What do I have to lose?" In the last few weeks, my skin has improved (though considering my moderate lactose intolerance, it’s possible that my issues are due to a combination of gluten and dairy -, but I’ve also noticed that I have more energy, and my mood has improved. I also noticed that I felt my best when I didn’t have either gluten or dairy. (I had a moment of weakness last week where I allowed Ben & Jerry’s to enter my house. Damn you, Ben & Jerry's! Why must you be so delicious?)

If cutting both of those out will improve my overall health, and a healthier runner makes for a faster runner (or so I hope), then maybe I should try eliminating both for this training cycle. And then share how it’s affected my training, because from what Google has told me, there are very few gluten-free running blogs out there.

This (Newport) will be the first one I’ll have trained for sans gluten. And subsequently, sans post-long run breakfast burrito. Those I will miss dearly. (No joke, I've ended two of my long runs at taquerias so I could refuel with one of those glorious egg-and-cheese footballs.) 

Not ordering cheese and sour cream in the burrito is one thing. But you can’t have a burrito without a tortilla. If anyone can tell me where in Portland I can find a GF breakfast burrito, I will gladly treat you to one. Carb loading could also get interesting, but I know there are so many non-wheat options. I just need to get creative.

Do you have any dietary restrictions (either self-imposed or medically-imposed)? How do you cope?


  1. Ha, I lolsighed at your "26 is long past," because I said that ~1 decade ago, kid ;)

    Anyway, re: dietary restrictions, I'm a vegetarian (ovo-lacto-choco-whatever) but don't have any other no-gos currently. I was already a low-frequency meat eater when I started running 5 years ago, and I was only doing HM distances when I went veg, so I really didn't notice an impact either way on my training.

    All that said, I rely heavily on dairy (along with legumes, nuts, seeds) to meet the higher-than-average protein needs of a runner. It would be hard for me to cut that out, frankly. BUT, if I had a concrete measure like eczema flare to guide me, it would probably make it easier for me to adhere.

    Dunno if that helps at all, but in the meantime, you should get friendly with pretend-frozen-yogurt made from bananas in a food processor. Super easy, very tasty, and I bet you could throw in enough add-ons (including GF chocolate) that it would rival B&J's Chunky Monkey.

    1. Thanks for reminding me of the pretend-frozen-yogurt! I've tried and loved it. Banana + nut butter + walnuts seems to be a pretty good rival to B&J's Chunky Monkey, but the possibilities are endless!

      Thanks for sharing about your vegetarianism! And glad I could get a good laugh out of you with "26 is long past"!