30 September 2012

balancing running and sugar (heavy on the running)

I started running at the end of February this year - you know, when I started blogging.  Roughly 2 months ago, I gave up sugar.  Before I kicked the sweet stuff, I would top out running at about 4 miles.  That was as far as I could handle.  Recently I'm up to almost 11 miles.  11 miles!  No, shut up and think about this for a second.  I ran out my door in Linden Hills and wound up taking Minnehaha Trail all the way down to freakin' CEDAR AVENUE.  On my FEET.  No car.  No bike.  Just me, my shoes, and the pavement for 11 miles of runners' high.  Can you believe it?!

My sugar intake decreased, then my running mileage increased.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT.

Teresa, a good friend of mine with a sculpted bod that's been honed by running, climbing, yoga, biking, and hiking, recently turned me on to No Meat Athlete.  Good stuff.  It got me thinking.  I haven't hammered you with The Exercise Talk before, muffins, because a) it hasn't seemed relevant and b) if you don't exercise, you hate The Exercise Talk.  I'll give part of The Talk to you today, and part of it next time.  But as I was out this morning - look.  JUST LOOK.  Does anything beat a sunrise over Lake Harriet?  As I was running this morning, and the feeling of wanting to run forever settled over me, I had an epiphany.  It went like this:

I haven't blogged in a while.  I LOVE this song!  Amy Adams is just so cute!  I wonder if I sound like that when I sing.  What should I blog about?!  I'm running out of restaurants around here.  Hm.  Running.  Ooh, K-Pop!  This music is PERFECT.  I feel great.  WOW, an albino squirrel!  HI FRIEND!  I should take a picture!  No, I should keep running.  Out of restaurants.  I love taking these ridiculously long runs.  I also love how I feel now that I'm not scarfing sugary junk anymore.  Wait.  I should learn to speak Korean.  No, I'm learning Swahili.  WAIT.  Running.  Sugar.  LIGHT BULB.

So for obvious reasons I'll write a stream of consciousness book um... never.

Anyway, let me tell you more about my life now that sugar's no longer a part of it.  At first it went well!  I'm no stranger to giving up foods to receive some kind of benefit, whether mentally or physically.  In fact, I'm a little too good at it, so if you're trying to do the same thing and having a tough time, you probably should fantasize about punching me in the face.

A couple weeks later, I went to Kenya.  As I've shared, my diet was pretty barebones there.  I lost a little weight.*  I went running every other day, just like always, but running with my man Katunzi (a Kenyan who could be an Olympic athlete in like 17 different sports) in the thin, high air expanded my lungs to an absurd degree.  And there were no sugary treats to tempt me.  By the time I left, I was thinner, could run faster and farther, and way gung-ho about this sugar-free thing.

On my journey home from Kenya, I had a 4-hour layover in Charles de Gaulle outside of Paris.  It may or may not have been that time of the month.  I had a moment of weakness.  I NEEDED CHOCOLATE, OKAY?

Ever since that moment, I've been addicted to my high-quality super dark chocolate bars.  They aren't made with white granulated sugar, which is the gross stuff I'm really trying to avoid.  They're usually made with pure cane syrup or evaporated cane sugar, which is produced in a way that preserves a lot of the nutrients of the sugar cane itself.

I've come to terms with the chocolate thing.  This is how it's gonna be.  Chocolate keeps me from craving all the other crap I could be eating.  It has antioxidants, too.  The small doses in which I eat it are, all things considered, not bad for me.  Plus, that weight that I lost in Kenya?  It's stayed off!  I have never been this thin.  I'm trying really hard not to brag right now.  But you know my point: kick sugar and your body won't have anything to convert straight into fat anymore.

Chocolate also doesn't seem to be hindering my body from attaining its best.  I am a machine!  The only thing stopping me from running farther is the ache I get in the balls of my feet.  Once I figure that out, I'm ready for a marathon.

In summary, ditch sugar, lean on chocolate, run forever.  God, being vegan is awesome.

* Going to Kenya is actually a great way to drop 5 pounds.  You too can be slightly yet whimsically malnourished!


  1. Do you still eat fruit?
    Thanks for the shoutout:) Running is so great!! I love endorphins and taking everything in and listening to my body, especially during long runs.

    Recently I read No Meat Athlete's 10 rules for eating and it was really nice to think about those for a minute.

    1. Yes, I absolutely eat fruit. More often than before! I kind of can't get enough of it. I read the 10 Rules too, and I'm definitely on the smoothie train! Do you ever put veggies in smoothies?

      Well YOU are great! Seriously, the way you make physical activity part of your life is pretty inspiring.