Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tapering, Shopping and Other Ramblings

I don’t have a race this weekend.  I don’t have race next weekend either.  I’m actually going to taper for the Across the Years 48-Hour Run.  I usually have a flippant attitude about tapering.  I often say it’s something I do the day before a race.  It’s not that I don’t believe in the value of tapering.  It’s just that when you’re racing every weekend, you can’t possibly give yourself two or three weeks to taper.

I used to rest or do light cross-training for the first two days after a race.  I would also rest for two days before a race.  That was my compressed schedule for post-race recovery and pre-race tapering.  Some weeks, that would only leave one day for normal training.  To squeeze in more training, I’ve cut back to only one recovery day and one pre-race rest day.  It took time to adapt to that schedule, but it’s been working reasonably well.

I know that racing this often and training right through my race schedule has to be costing me something in term of performance.  I viewed most of my recent races as “B” races.  I raced each one as hard as I could under the circumstances, but they weren’t the race I was training for.  Across the Years is my “A” race.  All this time that I’ve been running marathons every weekend, I’ve really been training for Across the Years.  I deliberately gave myself two weekends without races, so I could actually taper for a change.

Today, Deb and I went grocery shopping.  As we were bringing our groceries to the car, I made a comment about how busy the store was.  She said, “Of course.  It’s Saturday.”  Somehow I lost track of what day of the week it was.  I’m had races for the last 19 weeks.  I’m not used to being home on Saturdays.  If I’m not racing, I’m on a plane so I can get somewhere for a race on Sunday.  Because I’m home, it seemed like a weekday.

Our grocery shopping says a lot about how much my eating habits have changed.  We used to do most of our shopping at Cub Foods.  Once in a blue moon, we’d stop by a co-op that’s farther away, but only to get ingredients we couldn’t find at Cub.  We stopped at Cub on Friday, but only to pick up a few things.  Today we were at the co-op, and we filled our cart.

About half of what we bought today was for one recipe.  I wanted to try Scott Jurek’s 8-grain strawberry pancakes.  I needed to buy seven of the eight types of flour I would need.  A few years ago, our kitchen got infested with flour bugs.  I don’t know how many half-empty bags of different kinds of flour we had to toss.  Since then, we’ve pretty much stuck to just bread flour, corn meal, and occasionally whole wheat flour.  Now I’m ready to branch out again.  I also needed to but a few of the other ingredients, like coconut oil and agave nectar.

While we were there, I also got some almond mozzarella.  I keep making batches of chili.  Then when I have leftover onions, peppers and mushrooms, I want to make pizza.  I used to make Chicago-style pizza all the time.  I haven’t lately because it uses quite a bit of cheese.  Tonight I made a vegan deep dish pizza using almond mozzarella.  Since we now have whole wheat flour, I made it with a whole wheat crust.  It’s not bad, but I still miss the Italian sausage.

Another sign of my changing eating habits is our grocery list.  Milk, yogurt, and cheese used to be staples.  Now I don’t want to run out of almond milk, salad greens, coconut milk or bananas.  We also buy a lot more fresh vegetables, beans and nuts.

I’ve talked about (mostly) eliminating meat and gradually cutting back on dairy.  I’m also trying to cut back on foods with added sugar.  Of course, we won’t talk about the 26 GU packets I bought on Friday.

While I’m not used to tapering, I really needed the break.  Ever since the Seattle Quadzilla, I’ve been feeling like I was hit by a truck.  Also, I really needed some time to catch up on things at home.  I just finished going through a year’s worth of financial statements.  When you’re home an average of three days a week, and one of those days is spent unpacking and packing, things stack up.

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