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Day29 and experiencing an awakening


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I started Whole30 29 days ago.  Earlier this year in March, I ran into a friend of mine and it was quite obvious to me that he had lost a lot of weight.  I asked Jeff what he had been doing and he told me that he and his wife had been following a nutrition plan called Whole30.  He said that he had lost over 30 pounds since the beginning of the year and I must say that my ears perked up when I heard that.  A month later, my wife I am were on our way to Greece on vacation and I downloaded the Whole30 book to my iPad and starting reading on the plane.  The first thing that impressed me about Whole30 is that there was no hidden agenda.  There was no multi-level marketing program and no required supplements to take as are typical with so many "health-oriented" MLMs.  Also, people were experiencing the kind of results I wanted.  Not just weight loss, but they were experiencing an awakening of health and wellness.  I wanted that.


As I started reading the book, I was very intrigued by so many people talking about feeling better.  First a little about myself.  I am a 52 year old male, 5'7" and tipped the scales at 209.3 when I started Whole30.  Over the past year, I have completed 3 sprint triathlons, one 5k and one half marathon.  However, to put it mildly, I suffered through these events.  I knew my weight was too high and I was really challenged getting enough air when swimming.  I have also wondered over the years if I am asthmatic or just allergic to something.  Anyway, I use an inhaler before exercise and I struggle; especially when the humidity is up to get enough air in my lungs.  More on this later.  As background info, I gave up diet and regular soft drinks over 2 1/2 years ago and gave up milk about 4 months ago while training for my third triathlon, so the idea of giving things up and experiencing results was not new for me.


Ever since I turned 38, I have been dedicated to working out.  I think I'm pretty diversified at the gym.  I lift weights.  I practiced yoga for years.  I took spin class twice a week.  I dabbled in 5k running events.  Back in 2010, I started training for marathons.  Since 2010, I have completed 7 full 26.2 mile marathons.  As I mentioned earlier, in 2015 my wife and I began triathlon training and I have completed three (3) sprint distance triathlons.  However, with all of this physical activity my weight has stayed pretty much within a 10 lb range with a median weight of about 204 pounds, a low of 197 and a high of about 210 over the past 10 years.  As I have grown over the years to become a pace group leader in my marathon training group, I know that it is common for people to gain weight while training for a marathon.  There is a common phrase that we use to combat this phenomenon, "you can't out-exercise a poor diet".  This phrase has haunted me for years because I honestly would scratch my head and wonder, "What is a proper diet?"  A proper diet for life and a proper diet for marathon training.


Our marathon training seasons starts right after Memorial Day every year.  And as each season approached, I would vow, "This would be the year I would put it all together. I will emerge from this training year looking and feeling like a distance runner"  Each season would come and go with a medal for my races and a feeling like I was missing something.  I have had great mountain-top experiences while running.  My zenith was the Chicago marathon in 2013 with a PR for me followed by disaster at the New York City marathon a month later.  I strained both of my Achilles tendons that day and I have been on a 2 1/2 year journey of trying to heal those tendons while still training.  Because as we all know, runners are crazy; we can't stop and rest or we risk falling behind our training schedule.


I finished reading the Whole30 book while I was in Greece and during the trip I started to socialize the idea with my wife that perhaps we should try this.  My wife has accomplished 14 marathons over the past 12 years and she had just had her second best time ever at the Dallas marathon in December of 2015.  My wife has also completed the same 3 triathlons so she is definitely a very accomplished amateur athlete.  I knew though, that in order for me to have success with Whole30, I would need her along for the journey.  She is a nurse and has a very scientific mind.  While we were in London waiting to board our flight back to Dallas, I asked her to download the Whole30 book on her iPad.  She did and she began to read during the long flight back to the US.


We agreed that we would start Whole30 on May 16.  This was one week after we got back from our trip and also 20 days before our 2016 marathon training season kicked off.  If i was doing the math correctly, the tiger blood should start kicking in as the season begins.


On Day 3, I did my first run on the program.  I kept it short, just 2 miles on a flat road and a nice easy pace.


On Day 6, my wife and I did a 5 mile run replicate of our typical Saturday morning "long" runs.  Absolutely no energy and I still felt like I was carrying a lot of extra weight.  Not enjoyable at all.  "What is going on here?"  No sugar, No GUs, no energy.


Day 7, 15 mile bike ride in the evening.  Hey, my speed is up a little and my legs are spinning free.


Day 10, on a business trip for a few days in Arizona.  I brought compliant snacks with me but am relying totally on restaurant dining.  Made it through the trip just fine.  Went on a 3 mile run.  Speed is vastly improved, but is it the dry air in Mesa or renewing energy levels?  Don't know; just happy with the run.


Day 13, 12.5 mile bike ride.  The speed I experienced on Day 7 is back again.  My breathing is more relaxed and I feel like I'm getting more air volume in my lungs.  Very fun ride.


Day 18, Swimming laps.  Another cool experience.  I'm breathing better, so much better.  For the first time in a year, I'm able to get enough air in my lungs to feel comfortable in the pool. This is starting to get cool.


Day 20.  First day of marathon training program starts with a timed mile run.  I run a 9:05 mi.  It is muggy out, but I'm breathing great and feeling really good.  This is a real good time for me and I'm happy with it since just two months prior, I ran a 5k in 35 minutes and suffered through that event.


Day 26, people at work are telling me that I look like I am losing weight.  Many of them know I'm on Whole30.  I'm also able to wear some clothes that I haven't been able to comfortably wear in years.


Day 26.  I stop at the pool for a quick 30 minute swim session on my way home from work.  I realize half-way through the swim that I forgot to take my inhaler.  I was able to complete three (3) 50m laps in a row which for me is a big deal since I am basically a beginning swimmer who plowed through 3 triathlons.


Day 27.  Second training run with marathon group.  We run 5 miles and I am surging ahead of my group but I constantly loop back behind the group to not pull the group to the wrong pace.


Day 29.  3.75 mi training run with my wife.  Horrible running conditions.  75 degrees, 94% humidity.  I took my inhaler as a precaution, but I'm able to handle the humidity much better than in prior years.  I'm really encouraged.


On the cusp of my Day30, I feel like I am experiencing an awakening.  I am experiencing a new normal.  I'm scared to reintroduce restricted foods because I don't want to lose this feeling.


This program is manageable.  Doing this with my wife has been key.  She has been on board and has been awesome with meal planning.  We have been a support to each other and her scientific mind has been busy processing all of the changes she is experiencing for herself.


In summary, I feel like for the first time in a long time that I am becoming the person I've always wanted to be and for the first time in my life, my nutrition is consistent with my values.  I've always wanted my life to reflect my commitment to exercise and training.  Its just hard for people to believe it when you are overweight.


My wife and I want to continue our Whole30 lifestyle as we progress through the current marathon season.  I hope to continue to blog about my experiences running and training for marathons and triathlons while enjoying the benefits of Whole30.


Thanks Jeff and my amazing wife Pat.


What are you waiting for?  Your own awakening is 30 days away. Start tomorrow.


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