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Chasing Potential - Reset

 Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Simple is good. It's time for me to take a different approach to this blog, and also to the food that fuels my training. Let's talk about the blog first. I love science, and enjoy pouring over the details for a longer blog post. But it takes a lot of time, which I rarely seem to have enough of. And I realize that many of my readers may not share my passion for science, or have the time to read long blogs. I'd like to get back to the heart of why I started this blog on lifetimerun.com. As a runner for 25+ years and a mom of 3, I have experienced so much in the sport I love. I've fought injuries and finally learned to respect my body when it needs time to heal. I've made it through 3 pregnancies, only to be left with abs that were stretched out and totally uncooperative. I have been so tired from sleep deprivation that I wanted to lay down on a park bench instead of running, and ended up walking home. My Coach (MK Fleming) patiently led the way, encouraging me to rest, while also challenging me to find little bits of time to squeeze in fitness. 

I've had so many battles with food, and the challenge of accepting that with multiple food sensitivities, I can't eat like most people. I was on the verge of developing an eating disorder long ago, wrought in the complicated life of being a collegiate runner who couldn't (or shouldn't) eat 'normal' food, along with constant GI issues. I was lucky that I didn't end up with a full-blown eating disorder, but I realize that many female runners aren't so fortunate. I know what it's like to feel helpless after having a colonoscopy in my early 20's, when multiple doctors were unable to find solutions to my GI problems. I also know what it is like to feel free when I have finally found a solution, at least for now!

I plan to restart my Chasing Potential blog, but with a more clear focus on issues that female runners face. Things like safety, running through pregnancy, eating disorders and disordered eating, hormones, menopause, food sensitivities and much more. I'll bring in experts including Coach MK and other Life Time Run Coaches to interview for topics where I'm not as well versed or I don't (yet) have personal experience. The guys are welcome to read as well and some of it will be relevant, but Chasing Potential is written with a female-athlete focus. I'll continue to write more general articles on LifeTimeRun.com as well. 

I still plan to weave in some science, but it will be a lesser focus. I plan to write on things relevant to women who run - like footwear, and how to make smart (yet fun) choices that your feet won't hate you for. How to navigate the diet industry and all the hype around specific diets. You make the choices and I'm not prescribing or recommending any diet, but I'll give some background on how different foods and ways of eating (I dislike the word diet) can impact your training. 

Coming back to that other 'simple' topic - food. After having the stomach flu for the 2nd time this year, my GI problems started a major flare. I've been studying the low-FODMAP diet for over a year, but needed a push to embrace yet another dietary change. Cooking for a family of 5 is hard enough, whether it is myself or my husband in the kitchen. Changing up our cooking style yet again wasn't an appealing thought, but I finally decided I had to give it a try. I hated the feeling of being bloated and looking slightly pregnant (though I am not!) much of the time. My training runs were feeling awful, while I was constantly missing my paces. I felt like my abs were stretched out and just not working! 

Long runs are so much more fun when my gut is happy and the sun is shining! We had 60 degree temps in Minnesota last weekend, a rare treat for April. I had to get out & enjoy some miles! 

The low-FODMAP diet is specifically for IBS (check out this article on lifetime-weightloss.com) but I'm doing it with a more whole-foods approach. I find that for now, it is more simple than reading a bunch of labels to look for gluten-free products that meet all of the requirements to be low-FODMAP. I can still eat a lot of vegetables, moderate amounts of many fruits, all meats (assuming they're not seasoned with FODMAP ingredients), eggs, most cooked gluten-free whole grains, and (thankfully), COFFEE! I'm glad I didn't have to give that up, as I RUN ON COFFEE. Literally. That's about all I know of that I can drink before an early morning run these days. I am even making my own pecan milk to give it a little extra flavor, as the gums in commercial nut milks seem to be a problem. 


I can't complain about eating foods that look like this! I'm obsessed with spiralizing veggies right now. Beautiful foods just taste better.

OK, I said I was going to keep this short. That's enough for today, but I'm excited to write more on some really meaningful topics. I will weave in some of my own training & racing, but ultimately every runner is unique, so what I'm doing may not be relevant to what you need to do to chase your own potential. I hope you enjoy the change! 

Thank you for checking in on my #ChasingPotential journey. I would love to know what issues or topics you would like to see in the blog, so please comment on any of the social media accounts linked below!

Last blog post: "Gait Analysis" 

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Rebekah Mayer, National Run Training Manager at Life Time Fitness. Follow me on Instagram at rebekah_mayer, on Twitter at @rebekah_mayer and our team at @lifetimerun. Find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/lifetimerunclub