Getting Purified

At the beginning of the week, I started the purification program offered by Standard Process brand of dietary supplements.  They develop and sell (through health care professionals like chiropractors) whole food supplements, and grow most of the ingredients for them on their certified organic farm.  I know about this program from Jill S. (and her husband – my upper spinal care doctor) and some friends who have participated in the program themselves.  It’s a 21-day program designed to help cleanse your body of toxins (e.g., food additives) and to help you learn better eating habits (i.e., practice “clean” eating).

I was really excited about this, based on results my friends have experienced (e.g., glowing skin), but really nervous, too.

Oh, stupid internet!  I just wrote four more paragraphs and now they’re gone!  GONE!  (Just kidding, internet.  I still love, love, love you.)  So where was I?

I was nervous about having what I needed on hand throughout the program because I’m more than a little bit disorganized and scatterbrained when it comes to the kitchen.  But just a little prep time on Sunday, to buy some fresh fruits and veggies and prepare some approved soups, and I was completely prepared for this week.

The program goes like this:  The first seven days are the “cleanse” phase, and the first ten days involves a restricted diet.  Days 11 through 21 are also restricted, but must less so.  For the first ten days, food consumption is restricted to supplements, which include shakes (up to seven, I think, are allowed per day), unlimited vegetables, fruits up to half the amount of veggies consumed, and one or two, half-cup servings of brown rice, quinoa, or lentils.  It probably goes without saying that a minimum of eight glasses of water are required each day.  And I’m to refrain from consuming alcohol, caffeine, or other stimulants, nuts & seeds, dairy, grains (with the exceptions above), and any processes or refined foods.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

I’m on day five, and I have to say I’m feeling prett-ee good!  Here are some observations:

  • At the beginning of the week, I thought the shakes sucked.  They didn’t taste bad,  but they sure as hell didn’t taste good, either.  Now, although I still wouldn’t say they taste great, I think they’re not half bad.  I’d heard that if you take a 21-day “fast” from something (e.g., sugar, salt), that it would dramatically change your palate.  But I was always too lazy to test that hypothesis – until now.
  • Related to the first item:  Straws are good.  I’m so glad that I remembered to pick up straws, as the shakes are much more pleasing through a straw than just drinking them from a cup.  I know not why.
  • Remarkably, I never got a caffeine-withdrawal headache.  I’d intended to cut out coffee a week before starting (so I wouldn’t go in to total shock), but I kept putting that off.  I realized that I was never going to start unless I just decided to start.
  • I have not felt hungry throughout this process.  Between the shakes and the veggies, including the soups, which are tastier than I expected, I’ve been full the whole time.
  • However, the first couple of days were hard because, even though I wasn’t hungry, I was craving things.  Sweet things, salty things, crunchy things.  I just had this nagging feeling of wanting something else to eat, even though I wasn’t even hungry. (On Day 3, I really wanted French fries & ketchup!)   That just drove it home as to how much mindless eating and junk I must cram into my poor body on a daily basis that I would be craving things.  Can you say “addict”?  The cravings haven’t completely passed, but they’re way less intense now than on Monday.
  • Sweet potato fries are so good.  And one should not be left alone (or in my case, with another party who wasn’t interested in them) with more than one serving of them.  I overdid it a bit with these yesterday, which resulted in my first belly ache of the program.  The upshot of that was that it made me realize that I had not one digestive/intestinal issue during this program before that point.
  • You can say “no” to crap food.  On Tuesday (Day 2, still craving pretty intensely) all this junk food (cookies, candy, chips – and later pizza) was available to me at work.  A couple of people said I should just eat what I wanted, and then start over “tomorrow.”  Yeah, and go through that again?  I don’t think so!
  • I have lost five pounds or so.  Weight loss isn’t my primary goal with this program, but it is a longer-term goal of mine.  I was hoping this program would help me get on the right trajectory toward a truly healthier diet.  And that I’d start to actually lose weight, instead of just talking about how I’m about to lose weight.
  • Seasoning can be key.  I just double checked the booklet, and I don’t see a specific, obvious remark about salt/sodium.  So I guess I was laying off adding too much salt to stuff all on my own.  Anyway, this stuff (below) is awesome as an alternative to salt.  Tastier, too, because of all the flavors involved (although sea salt is component, it’s mostly spices).  Just a bit of this and “plain” lentils are quite delicious.


That’s all I have to report for now.  I’m so happy I decided to try this.  Although it started out slightly difficult, it’s getting easier as I go, and sticking to it is making me feel really powerful and proud of myself.  I’ll share how the rest of the program is going sometime next week.


Playing Catch-Up, Part II

Part two for the two reasons I’m playing catch-up.  That is, 1) I’m trying to bring the record up to date, and 2) I am literally trying to catch-up on training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 4th.  Fortunately, I still have enough time to train properly for the race.  But I am not where I was hoping to be by now.  Let’s go through this quickly….

First, let’s back up and explain why I am even registered for the race.

When registration opened in the fall, I just couldn’t justify the expense of the registration, which I believe started at $75.  Naturally, the price increases over time, and my bank account balance wasn’t following suit.  So I’d pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to run it again this year.  On one hand, I was disappointed because I have never been to a “big” race and because I think every other runner I know has completed  a half or a full marathon in Pittsburgh.  At the same time, I figured it wasn’t that big a deal.  The Pittsburgh Marathon will still be here next year.  And the next year.

Then, over Christmas break, my sister-in-law Sue was telling me about how our friend Linda (who participated in the relay last year) was trying to talk her into registering for the half marathon.  (Sue has run a few races and trained using 5K and 10K apps.  A half would be a first for her.)  I explained that I wasn’t planning to run it because I didn’t want to cough up the money (by this point in time, the entry fee was over $100).

The following day, Sue was cleaning out her purse on my mother’s living room floor.  It was like Mary Poppins with her carpet bag –    a bottomless pit of Sue’s things, my niece’s stuff, gift cards, trash, etc.  Suddenly, she pulled something out and flung it at me.  It bounced off the wall and landed at my feet.

Sue: “Grab that.”

Me: “What IS it?” [thinking it looks like a token for Chuck E. Cheese’s]

Sue: “It’s a gold coin we got at work for the company’s 150th anniversary.  It’s been in my purse for five months.  Take it to the pawn shop, and then register for that race.”

Me:  “?????”

It looked something like this.

It looked something like this.

The next morning, I went to the pawn shop and got $85 for the coin.  So I forked over a mere $20 and change to register for the race.

Did you get that?  I am running the half marathon in Pittsburgh because my SIL threw gold at me.  Literally.  Has anyone ever thrown gold at you?  I didn’t think so.  And yeah, I totally want to be her when I grow up, too.

As soon as I was registered, I mapped out a training plan*.

It was so exciting!  

For like a minute.

Then winter showed up, big time this year.  Between the dangerously low temps and the icy, treacherous conditions, many, many runs were skipped in January and February.  Once we got some decent weather,  I was trying to “catch up” on training – trying to run more miles than I was really ready for.   And that just can’t be done – especially when you’re my age.  So I wised up, quit being so hard on myself, and adopted a saner approach of accepting where I am, and carefully following a plan to gradually build both endurance and speed.

Now I just need to be disciplined and stay very close to my training plan for the weeks that remain.  Lucky for me, I have some awesome training buddies to assist me.  There’s my crazy, 5:00 AM weekday group, which fortunately has included Karin lately.  I can keep up with Karin!  When Karin and I are there, we each have a buddy to run with, instead of just watching the other gals disappear into the horizon.  And then there is Jill S., with whom I have been doing my long runs early on weekend mornings.  Jill is the only person I know who also prefers to run very early, even on the weekends.  She typically goes at 6:00, but she’s willing to meet me as early as 5:00 (that’s AM, people!) when I have to get back home early (e.g., so Bob can leave for track meets and practices).  I pretty confident that I’d struggle to get my workouts in – especially the long runs – if I had to go it alone.  So God bless my running friends for also being out there.

So what’s up next?  I’m embarking on a “purification” program that I’m hoping will help me kick some nasty habits/addictions (e.g., sugar, caffeine), as well as help me kick-start some weight-loss plans.  That is, I am hoping this plan will get me into some better routines for eating so that I can actually lose the pounds that I’ve put on in the last year or some (and more), instead of just talking about how I’m going to lose weight.


*Note: Since my SIL was also in need of a training plan, I bought her her very own copy of my beloved Train Like a Mother, by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell.  I figured it was the least I could do for her in exchange for her generosity! 

Playing Catch-Up, Part I

Let’s see….  I’ve been lazy and not logging enough miles over the last 2-3 months.  And it’s hard to get motivated to blog about running when you’re, you know, NOT really running much.  Yes, yes, Mother Nature is partly to blame, but I have to take at least some responsibility for my lack of miles.

I’d started a December and year-end rundown post, but never finished it.  Two months, and a mere 105 miles later, here I sit, trying to figure out where to begin.  I have both too little and too much to say!  Let’s start with the easy wins.

I never shared A Christmas Story 10K post race.  This, my friends, was totally worth getting up at 4:00AM for!  Lots of people dressed up.


Jessica and I weren’t that ambitious.

Ms. Jessica Marks, making this look gooood, before setting a 10K PR.

Ms. Jessica Marks, making this look gooood, before setting a 10K PR.

But we had a great time.

Sporting our Major Awards

Sporting our Major Awards

I mean, LOOK at these things!  I didn’t expect them to be so big.

It really IS a MAJOR award!

It really IS a MAJOR award!

So let’s review what happened since then.


I had a lot more runs planned than actually executed.  Mostly the weather intervened.  Twice, when it was potentially-lose-a-toe-cold outside, my generous running babes treated me to guest passes to treadmill at the Y.  Other cold or icy days, I told myself I was going to get up and treadmill in my basement.  I didn’t.

Until one Wednesday a couple of weeks ago when I finally, finally dragged my butt to the basement only to learn….MY TREADMILL IS DEAD.  Well, not dead, but the belt is slipping.  And it’s ancient.   It’s a wonder it lasted me this long, so I don’t think it’s worth having someone come and attempt to fix it.  Especially since, um, I don’t really use it.  Ever.

On one hand, I hate the thing and can’t say that it will be missed much.  On the other hand, I owe this old, loud thing a debt of gratitude.



If it weren’t for this old thing, I never would have started.  I started running in the winter, one exhausting minute at a time, when I would have been too embarrassed to go outside to run (where people could see me).  It was only after the weather warmed up some, and I could run for, say, a quarter mile or more at a time, that I was brave enough to head out and hit the street.  Where, naturally, I learned that running around outside beats the snot out of being alone in your basement.

So I cheer and yet I cry that my trusty treadmill has passed.   I plan to give it a big, awkward hug before we drag it to the curb to be picked up by Waste Management (once the driveway thaws enough to get it out there).

The very day that I learned that I couldn’t use my treadmill anymore, I signed up at Planet Fitness.  (Or as I’m calling it, the poor girl’s Y.)  I have already gone a few times when the weather was too crappy to get outside.  I still hate to treadmill, but it’s significantly less painful in a place with ginormous fans, lots of open space, other people, and TVs (even though they all seemed to be tuned to news or sports and I don’t watch them).  Now that I have a gym membership, at least I can start being consistent with my runs, even if the weather continues to be an obstacle.

I intially titled this post, “Playing Catch-Up,” but I just added the “Part I,” because I realized that I’m so not going to get it all in one post.  It’s weird that I have so much to say over so little running!  Next time, I will bring you up to speed on my (lack of) training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon – and how I came up with the coin to register for it when I thought my budget was going to force me to pass again this year!


Because I had the stats ready, anyhow….

2013 Run-Down:

Miles Run:  506.94
Time Running: 92:57:45
Average Pace: 11:00 min/mile
Total runs: 121