Friday, April 9, 2010

It's All in Your Head...Or IS It?

I'm sure you're familiar with that saying "it's all in your head" - the cynic in me believes that's true for a lot of things. For example, I've been taking fish oil caplets (blech, ptooey) for four months now. My primary reason for taking them was to get the heart healthy Omega-3's, since I don't eat seafood of any kind. When I was considering getting some fish oil (blech, ptooey), I was also looking at some glucosamine, as my knees were kind of bothering me (this was late last year), and I'd heard that glucosamine was good for your joints. Well, I was told by several people that fish oil would help my joints as well as my heart, so that's what I ended up buying. I didn't connect that the fish oil really did anything for my knees, although they did stop hurting. But who knows, maybe they would have stopped hurting anyway...maybe I was just doing some particular exercise that strained them a bit. Long story short (I know, too late) - my knees hadn't been hurting until this week. I blamed it on too much running (which I still think I overdid) but you know what? I've been out of fish oil for about two weeks now. Coincidence? Hmmmmm. I guess I'll find out when I finally remember to get to GNC and buy some more.

Here's another "it's all in your head" thing. I've had some energy products lying around - GU and Clif Shot Bloks to be exact. These are supposed to give you energy during a long run - apparently after about 45 minutes, your glycogen stores are depleted and these sugary substances are a quick way to keep you going. The dieter in me looks at these as 100 calories of pure sugary carbs - and why would I want to waste ingesting 100 calories of a pretty gross substance (seriously, GU is a thick sugary gel) when I am running to burn calories?!? Plus, I've managed to run for 45 minutes several times and haven't keeled over, so really - do I need these?

But, with the duathlon coming up, I knew that I was going to have to have something between the two 5K's to keep me going, so before last Sunday's run, I tried a GU in their Espresso Love flavor - and it was about as oogy as I figured it would be. To mask that taste, I had a couple of the Shot Bloks in their Black Cherry flavor. Now those were good - it was like eating athletic gummy candy...and I am an athlete and need my special athlete's candy (don't I wish this were true)! I washed everything down with a few sips of water and set out for my run. Which started off normal for me - precisely at .13 (yes, just past the first one-tenth of a mile) I wondered what the hell I was doing and how soon I could stop. You might think I'm joking, but sadly, this happens every time I run. As usual, I got past that little self-imposed hurdle and kept on running. And I have to say that it was a great run. I felt really good, even though the humidity was really high and I was sweating like a pig glistening with a healthy glow. Was it the energy gel? I have a hard time believing that it was (we have established that I'm pretty cynical, right?). But let me just say this - tomorrow, before each 5K that I'm going to run, I will be having my athlete's candy - guilt-free - and I will run with unbridled energy! At least, that's the plan.
I think the route for this 5K looks really long - much longer than the other 5K's that I've run. But a 5K is 3.1 miles, so they all have to be the same, right? Here is yet another thing that is all in my head - the idea that this route is so much longer than any other 5K. It's not. I know I'm feeling this way because I have to run it twice. So in that aspect, yes - it is long. But with my candy energy gels, I can do it. I just need to brainwash myself into believing it!


  1. so so so much of this is in our heads huh?
    the omega 3s I FIRMLY believe in and have just discovered something called OMEGA BRITE for kids (but thats a whole nother rant :)).

    and the 5k? I lamented to the race people at disney how "long" the last mile felt.


    and off the record :) one woman whispered: I think you just ran 13.6

  2. I've been trying to convince myself of the whole fish oil thing. I've read such good things, but my head keeps saying "fish burps". And that stops any forward progress dead in it's tracks.

    Right now I'm working on getting down a vitamin/mineral tablet - and I have to get my head out of that - because all I can think of are pre-natal vitamins and morning sickness and my daughter is 27 years old! It is all in my head and my head remembers icky things for a long, long time.

    You will do great with this challenge. You are ready, you are fit and you will knock this outta the park!

  3. I believe in fish oil being good for you they have a lemon flavor at GNC try that. If your not used to a lot "sugar" at one time be careful that can sometimes cause GI distress. Hope not since it seems to work for you.
    Your gonna do just fine at tomorrows race trust your training.
    Can't wait to read the race report.

  4. I thought you were going a different direction! I thought you were going to say it was all in your head that you kept tasting fish in you mouth! That is what keeps me from trying those. And I hate swallowing pills.

  5. I never could stomach Gu (or Gatorade) so I reverted to eating natural food. When I trained for my marathon, I would drive around the route I was running and drop bananas, pretzels, peanut butter crackers sometimes. I ran with a woman who used to carry a baggie of boiled salted potatoes because it was all she could stomach. Cliff came out with the shot bloks just before my last marathon in 2008 and I used those at mile 20 - they worked well to get me through the last 10K. When I ran distance I didn't much worry about the calories - figured I was burning it off anyway.

    No matter how you fuel I KNOW you're going to do great and I'm really looking forward to your report!

  6. Good luck on your duathlon. I'm really looking forward to your report since I'm interested in those too!

  7. Gu is nasty... until I've been cycling for an hour or two. Then it seems a whole lot more attractive.

    Good luck!

  8. Ha! I liked this because I am cynical too--especially about supplements and such. I used to take glucosamine, and never could tell if it helped me or not. Now that I think about it, it probably did not help much, because now that I have so much weight off, I don't feel the need for it. But regarding its effectiveness--I had a Bouvier once who was up there in age, and I noticed that he would circle and circle before he could lay down--like it was hard for him. So I started giving him glucosamine, and he would plop down and get up very easily. Then when I ran out of the glucosamine, he would do that same circling again. So I am a believer in glucosamine.

    That cracks me up 'what the hell I was doing and how soon I could stop'. That is always how I feel too, and I think of you every time I run at all. Good luck on your race!

  9. Ok, ok, I'll go take it. Not my favorite, but you're right, you're right! I use the orange flavored paste stuff. Expensive as all get out but easier than honkin' pills.

  10. Placebo or not, it works for you. And I love that you are accepting your new ID as "athlete." So cool!

  11. I don't like those gooey things or gummy things for race fuel. Know what will give you those good quick digesting carbs? Medjool dates. Delicious, too. Yum,yum!

    I don't prefuel for a 5k unless it is first thing in the morning. Breakfast is enough for that.

    For race day, though - you really need to take off the dieter cap and make sure you have enough fuel to get you through the race and beyond. Not only will you be using the calories burned from the running itself, but the adrenaline shots from participating in the race will also sap your energy.

    Rest, rest, rest now. You need fresh legs for the duathlon!

  12. hey, as long as it helps I'm all for it! You are my running inspiration oh most amazing Shelley!

  13. I love "glistening with a healthy glow"! You definitely shine!

  14. You can do it Shelley, you will do it tomorrow! I have all confident in you!

    I never take energy gels or other things for runs. Personally I believe you don't need it if you're running less than 10K.

    When I had my first 10K last September I wasn't well the week before. When I told that in the train to an elderly couple who were going to run too she gave me an energy tablet. I took it during my run but nothing happened.

    Maybe you could take a banana with you to eat between your runs? It's good energy too.

    Good luck sweety! Make me proud tomorrow.

  15. I take fish oil. I don't have a problem with it. It's supposed to be helpful with inflammation and supposedly any illness or knee problem is indicative of inflammation. At our age, late 100s, we need to take fish oil. Just do it and be quiet.
    But this other weird things you describe is fishy. How did runners, Jim Fixx ever(run) do it without this stuff? It reminds me of this thing for weddings. You used to get a wedding invitation in the mail. Now they have a 'save the date' invitation. I'm thinking of starting a save the date for the save the date the olden days an invitation was enough. Now we need to save the date for the invitation. So why not save the date to save the date?
    I loved "glistening with a healthy glow." That was killer.

  16. I can't wait to hear how the race went!!! You're an inspiration. Seriously.

  17. Hi Shelley,

    I swear by the fish oil. I've been taking mine for a year now and my cholesterol, good and bad have impoved tremedously. I would be willing to bet it helps the knee.

    I'm doing a 5K (my first) in June. Can't wait!


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