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bear by san

March 2017



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writing plot octopus

is anybody alive in here? is anybody at all in here?

Some of this post is about fitness and weight loss stuff, and could be triggery to those that find such things triggery.

I donated blood today! First time in a year and a half (I was having iron level issues when I started eating a more flexitarian diet, and got refused several times. I seem to have a handle on THAT nutrient now, at least.) and for the first time, I gave blood via the shiny new apheresis method, where they take two units of packed red cells, centrifuge it, and give you back your plasma and a bunch of normal saline to bring your blood volume back up.

It took a bit longer, and my arm got cold (the saline is at room temperature, so it lowers your body temperature a little--and in New England in winter, room temperature can be pretty chilly!) but the result is that they get twice as many life-saving red blood cells, and I get to feel like a contributing member of society for a while. ;-)

Supposedly, it takes 650 calories for the body to rebuild one unit of blood, so I'm eating at maintenance today. Which is an awful lot of food, it turns out, given my training schedule--a little under 2500 calories.

I am about to shrink out of my skinniest pair of jeans. I've been weighing in at 178-179 for several days now, which is very encouraging. I'm not actually particularly concerned with losing the fifteen or eighteen pounds to my goal at this point, although I mean to keep working on it. I'm not in any hurry, though--that's mostly just to take some more pressure off my joints running and climbing. 

So close! And I'm so happy with my body these days. It does so much, so efficiently, and feels good doing it. I am strong and fleet of foot, and I love that.

Speaking of which, I ran a twelve mile long day last week, which kind of kicked me to the curb for the rest of the day. I need to pay more attention to nutrition while running (carbohydrate and especially electrolyte replacement) when I'm running for longer than two hours. Shamefacedly, I have bought some sports drinks.

And today I did 4.9 miles in 49 minutes. Despite it being cold enough that breathing was a bit of a challenge. I can't wait until it warms up into the 30s. Anything over 25 and under 65 is a pretty comfortable running temperature for me. 20 is a bit much on my tender alveoli, and below that I'm good for maybe two miles before I run out of oxygen.

Thursday, I have a much shorter long run--9 miles--on the hilly route. I guess I'll find out what giving away two units of red blood cells has done to my stamina.


In other news, I have broken 60,000 words and 300 pages on Steles of the Sky. There's still a heck of a lot of work to do--but I'm feeling pretty confident in my ability to do it. The book is more or less cooperating, and although the scene I am working on now is kind of a mess of [Go back and put in this brilliant idea later] notes, and a few [insert awesome banter here] notes, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm working well within myself, and I think I will even be able to take Boskone off without too much guilt.

Which reminds me, I will be at Boskone. And a bunch of other stuff this spring--check the Bear Appearances tag! 


A discovery for quick electrolyte recovery: save your pickle juice, and have a hit after runs. Fighters in the SCA taught me this trick many a moon ago, and it's served me well through run and bloodletting since.

Now, unless you enjoy the taste, it's a bit of a shocker during the adjustment period, mind...
Wayyyyy too much sodium.

besides, what you need on a long run is carbohydrates and electrolytes during the run. Otherwise OJ diluted in water works just fine.
First - congratulations!

Second - have you tried any of the power gels or chews for quick carbs? I started needing something on longer bike rides last summer. After a bit of experimentation, I've found most of the flavors of the Hammer gels to be the best for me. I even like the cappuccino ones (but don't like coffee) which have caffeine as well as carbs. They're harder to find than the GU, which seems to be more popular (at least with cyclists).
Thanks! And congrats to you! Nice riding!

I've tried the gels and chews--I started needing a carb boost at about eight miles/75 minutes of running--and I realized after using a few and reading ingredients that they were thinly disguised corn syrup. So I've switched to dried fruit (apricots are great--taste good, bite size, don't dry your mouth out like sports chews) and organic gummi bear/Swedish fish knockoffs. ;-) Much cheaper and probably slightly better for me.

I think for runs longer than 11 miles, I need a carb beverage with electrolytes. I had serious nausea issues after this last run--not just running out of steam during it. So I'm going to be trying a couple of brands of sports drinks, and probably adding a squeeze of OJ or lemon juice to it.