Sunday, January 5, 2014

Running Low on Caffeine & Oxygen

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Today was a good day. Well, it had it's moments, but overall, it was good. I made an omelet for breakfast with butter, whole eggs, veggies, cheddar cheese, a slice of Canadian bacon and avocado. I also had a whole wheat english muffin (with butter) and some fruit - wow, now that's a yummy meal. And let's not forget my one ounce of coffee. Do you know what an ounce of coffee looks like?

1 ounce of coffee

Not much. I've been drinking herbal tea in the morning, satisfying my desire for a hot morning beverage. I can't say I'm missing the coffee. Tomorrow will be the big day, my first day with zero caffeine. And my first day following the 28-day Healthy Lifestyle Challenge. I didn't have a burst of energy this afternoon like I've had the last few days but that might have been because, oh I don't know, maybe because I ran 6 friggin' miles at elevation. Now that will take the wind out of you.

I was also wheezing a lot during the run and after. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. It was another unseasonably warm day in the mountains and even though I'd packed clothes for running in freezing temps, all I wore were a pair of cold-weather running tights, a long sleeved tech shirt with a slightly thicker shirt over that. No gloves, no headband covering my ears. It was about 45 degrees, in the sun I felt perfect, the shade was a tad chilly but nothing painful.

But boy was I struggling. I got a stomach cramp around the 2nd mile and had to live with it off and on for the rest of the run. When it seemed to be getting worse I told myself I'd stop when I had to, but otherwise I'd keep going. Fortunately the pain ebbed and flowed and never got so bad that I had to stop. I had to push myself that last mile or so, I really wanted to stop, "Michelle doesn't quit" was good enough to keep me moving forward.

After my run I got curious to know if anyone has ever calculated how much time you lose when running at elevation. Sure enough, someone has. I found this thread on discussing the issue of adjusting pace for elevation. If I understand correctly I can safely take off about 24 seconds per mile on my pace based on the elevation at which I was running. My average pace for this run was 10:51, subtracting 24 seconds puts me at 10:27 per mile. My 6.5 mile run from Catherine's last Sunday was at 10:47 pace, with hills, so that all sounds about right to me.

Like I said, I was wheezing a lot after the run, way more than normal. I used my inhaler and things got a bit better. I've been wheezy ever since. Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow and be back to normal. Food wise it's been a good day. I had that big breakfast and then didn't eat again until dinner. That's not normally how I roll but today it seemed to work.

And like I said, tomorrow is the first day of the 28-day Health Lifestyle Challenge through my gym. I'm planning to have 1/2 of an avocado and 2 hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. With tea. Beyond that, the day is a mystery. I might have to do the Whole Foods salad bar for lunch. Except it's so pricey, so maybe I'll run home for something else. I don't know, I'll figure it out. I always do.

I am a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for weight loss and maintenance. I have an office in Marin County, CA and I'm also available to see people via Skype. To learn more please visit my professional website at


  1. i like to schedule what i'm eating for the whole week and then do what food prep i need to on my "sunday" preceding the week that way, each day all i have to do is portion it out into containers, stuff it in my lunch bag and off i go! it works for me.

    1. That's smart. These days I don't have the mental energy for that. I know it probably saves you in the end though so I should seriously consider it. Thanks for the advice.


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