As 2014 came to an end, Allison the Running Princess posted this question to her FB page:
While some chose short statements (“Not yet started!”), I stuck to three different words to describe what my running and fitness (and year in general) was for me:
average enroute wowzers
And it is in this theme that I want to reflect upon my year of eating and running because, after all, that is the very core of this blog. Remember, it used to be called I Eat Therefore I Run: One Glutton’s way of having her cake and eating it too?
The start of 2014 was just that: same old I Eat Therefore I Run trying to come up with things to write about (and not yet discovering the page break function in WordPress!). I did start the new year off with my recipe for Mini Vegetables Fritatas, and looking back, they’re totally primal! A sure sign of what was to come 😉
Posts of note include February’s #keepingitreal: Running isn’t pretty post and my goals, hopes, intentions for 2014. I wanted quality over quantity with running, and making the most of my food choices when it came to eating. I also wanted to invest time into learning about proper nutrition…
While I didn’t make it public on the blog, March was also when I started eliminating sugar from my diet and began learning about a low carbohydrate approach to eating. In April, I confessed to my eating sins.
In the beginning, this was the period where dietary changes were being implemented; in retrospect, it was a period of experimentation.
Going sugar-free and becoming a fat-burner was a huge priority, and I became an avid follower of Maria Emmerich, a ketogenic diet expert. I adopted an extremely low-carb way of eating, and waited for ketosis and its miracles to arrive.
Andre and Alicia came for a visit, and she was telling me all the wonders of her paleo way of eating. Secretly, I thought paleo was too liberal with carbs and I wanted to hit the ultimate goal of ketogenic eating: ketosis!
What I failed to understand at the time was that being extremely low-carb but doing high intensity exercise, like threshold runs and hill sprints for half marathon training, resulted in heavy-feeling, no glycogen legs. Low intensity long runs, on the other hand – ideal for fat-burning and using ketones for energy –were going well. At the time, I attributed this to waiting for ketosis to happen, but now that I’ve learned more, and not knowing whether I ever achieved ketosis, it seems to me this is how keto running feels. A very dismal showing at the Balmoral 10km, despite losing weight, led me to believe that I needed to rethink this whole ketogenic diet + running thing.
I started to rethink keto and compromised by sticking to lower-carb and high-fat eating by supplementing with paleo-friendly sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and for some, quinoa and rice. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is the point I went primal. I was also concerned that these added carbs would tip me back into being a sugar-burner, but they did not: instead, I became a fat-burner (without ever having achieved ketosis). To celebrate, I wrote an extremely in-depth post about everything I’d experienced and learned to date. I also wrote about the day-to-day changes I noticed after going lower carb.
At the end of May, I ran the EMF half marathon. While I didn’t get a faster time like I had hoped, it spurred me on to try new ways of training and fuelling. I started Primal Blueprint Fitness from Mark’s Daily Apple, and went from not being able to do one normal push-up to now being able to do two sets of 20!
I also continued to refine my now-acknowledged primal eating, and shared an extensive list of excellent resources and YES/NO foods. I had managed to find my own primal way, and was now looking forward to new challenges, changes and possibilities, a result of running up my first munro on the Isle of Mull. Progress in fitness, and proof that primal eating was having a positive effect on my physiology, definitely showed when I ran the Ballater 10 at the end of July. My time was faster than my slowest 10 mile race, and this was without concentrated training.
July ended with the creation of my Inform Yourself Friday series (which I will commence again next month), and saw me change the name of my blog! Out went the days of thinking I could eat what I wanted as long as I ran – I Eat Therefore I Run. In came the days of nutritional intelligence, knowing my body and quality training – Eat Primal, Run Hard.
It was also during this period that I started posting my own primal recipes!
I started joining the weekly practice of posting photos of and writing about my meals for a day, also called What I Ate Wednesday. I do this to be totally upfront with what I eat, day in, day out, no secrets. I also use this as another way of putting out the primal word, and educating people (women – there aren’t any male bloggers that participate in the weekly link up), that eating healthy isn’t a bunch of pint-sized meals, shakes and bars throughout the day. You can have your fat, and eat it in large portions!
This is where the fun really started! This is when all the dietary and fitness changes were making themselves known, and allowing me to really thrive.
I started this period of 2014 by reaching my goal weight of 65.9 kg (= 145 lbs = 10 stone 5), and reflecting on my entire primal journey to this point. My friend Amie from work had seen major success with primal eating as well, and she became my first Coconut Friend on the blog (I’m always looking for more Coconut Friends, so get in touch!).
I started my Primal Lessons series, (of which I will add to shortly), I competed in my first triathlon, I reflected on my five years in Scotland (in time for the referendum), Alicia became another Coconut Friend, but most importantly, in my eyes, I did something I had been trying to do for about two years: run my first sub-57 minute 10km! The previously mentioned posts are all great and significant in their own right, but for me, running the Baxter’s River Ness 10km in 53:50 was the absolute highlight of this period! Not only was it a new 10km PB, but I’d set two 5km PB’s during the race. Wowzers was just the beginning of it.
This past autumn, running-wise, has been spectacular! October saw me compete in the Bennachie Hill Race (8 miles of hills, trails and wind), break my 5km PB again at the very windy St Andrews Duathlon, and set a new 10 mile PB by minutes again at the Dundee Templeton 10, the hilliest race I’ve ever run, and the type of race where one doesn’t expect a PB. In the space of just over one month, I had set three new personal bests. This explains ‘Wowzers.’
The autumn wasn’t just about new PB’s though. There were more Primal Lessons, more Inform Yourself Friday’s, more WIAW’s, more recipes, and more hill running. There was even another Coconut Friend: Meg, my IG friend from Belgium.
The year finished with a much-anticipated Dairy-free Fat Bomb recipe (have you made these yet??!!?!), and my first giveaway on the blog. I wrote about how I approach eating primal in social situations and cheat opportunities, and I plan to write more about this next month.
2014 finished with a glimpse at what we ate, and did, for my very first Caveman Christmas.
Without a doubt, this has been a phenomenal year. It started as ho-hum but turned into awesome, and this was mainly because of the many changes I implemented. I learned so much, and it hasn’t stopped. I’ve also gotten to know some fantastic new bloggers in Georgie and Meg; and have deepened my friendships with others, like Allison (and her husband Steve), and my favourite MSP triathlete Erin (one day we will meet friend!).
I’m looking forward to what 2015 and I have in store!
What three words would you use to describe your 2014?
What were the highlights of your year?
What are you most looking forward to in 2015?