Stressed is desserts spelled backwards

20140827_122048_resized

Lustig means Joyful in German and funny (or weird) in Swedish, but Robert Lustig is neither of those things. At least it’s not that side of him that shines through in his book “Fat Chance”. He’s pissed. And coming from his angle, as a pediatrician working with obese kids, it’s understandable. That main thesis of the book is that we tend to place blame on the individual when it comes to overweight, and that this, in many respects, is wrong. What set him off was the current boom of obese children, and the idea that any way you put it, they are victims, not perpetrators. He then goes on to claim that this is at least in part true to the grown up population as well. We are victims of our hunger-adjusting hormones, and of the food that is made available to us.

Just like six million other people, I’ve watched the video on Youtube where he lashes out at sugar and the FDA. Some might feel that he comes across as a little cocksure and arrogant, and some of his statements are a bit bold. For these reasons I like the book more, even though it’s not as easily digested as the video. (It’s not light reading, and most of the book is really about clinical work and politics. Obesity on a population level.) For instance he takes care in the book to mention that sugar is not proven to be an addictive substance, but that his personal view is that it behaves as one. All in all he is a bit of a maverick, but I personally think he does a very important job in trying to change eating habits among the poor in the US. I hope he gets some influence.

Normal bread to a Dane

“Normal bread” to a Dane.

One funny thing is that a lot of the remedies he suggests are already implemented here in Denmark. The supermarkets are full of fresh produce, traditionally the Danes eat a lot of whole grain bread. And, as in Germany, they are nuts about organic food. The situation described in the book, where there are only fast food joints or supermarkets with ready -made meals is completely alien to me. Of course, Denmark is also famous for Danish pastry, beer, sausages and cigarettes: It might just be because I live in a privileged neighbourhood. Last fall I attended a PTA meeting for my daughter’s kindergarten, and one of the parents hijacked the meeting, and went on for an hour to discuss an apple pie (organic, without added sugar, but sweetened with apple jam) that had been served to the kids. She claimed that it was damaging to introduce the kids to the concept of cake and party food. That the idea itself was damaging to the future health of our children. Holy shit.

It makes you ask, as Matt Fitzgerald does, “Are you part of a diet cult?”. Maybe I am. I’m trying to lose weight to run faster, and I do obsess over nutrition. My main focus though, is to enjoy good food and never ever feel hungry. So a personal sugar ban is a good thing for me.

DSC_0906_edited-1-1024x960Speaking of diet cults, the whole family went to a raw food restaurant a couple of weeks back. And we all got a massive stomach ache. It turned out every salad on the menu was dressed in “nut milk”. How much nuts can a person really eat? And why do you have to call it milk? How come every health food movement focuses blindly on the exact things you aren’t allowed to eat if you follow that diet? Examples are paleo “cookies”, raw food “pizza”, gluten free “muffins”, vegan “burgers”. There is so much delicious vegetarian food around, why slap people in the face with a big disappointment like that instead of just selling a diet on it’s strong suits?

Rant completed.

 

Advertisements

Tempo run with a view

wpid-20140822_200006.jpg

I stopped and restarted my tempo run to take this picture. It looked better in real life. Right after this shot I saw a double rainbow in perfect symmetry over a bridge with symmetrical towers on each side. But I had a tempo run to do. I kept my hoped for race tempo for 40 minutes and then went home.

This morning I was caught by surprise to see hundreds of lightening fast cyclists with those alien helmets on. Apparently Copenhagen is on the “Road to Kona”. (If it was just a little farther along that road we’d have a nice climate.)

wpid-20140824_092951.jpg

It looked like a nice sunny cool day to do an Ironman. Even though, for some reason hours and hours on a bike doesn’t appeal to me.

I am pretty psyched about running this half marathon. I think there’s a good chance I’ll PR.

Meet the Spartans!

sparta-badgeI’ve finally joined a running club: Sparta is one of the biggest athletic clubs in Denmark. And they have a huge running division for us average joggers as well. There are other options out there, but the main selling point for Sparta is that it’s such a big and diverse organization, so there’s several different sessions to choose from every day, which means that even if you have highly irregular work hours, you still have some good options. We meet up at Idrætshuset, and then the coaches present today’s activities, and you can join any group. I am usually happy running alone, but it’s nice to meet some new people and maybe get some help to pull through the long runs and tempo runs. We’ll see how it goes.

I have been to one training, and I got some tips from one of Denmarks best half marathoners. I am running a half in three weeks time, and the plan is to get two more tempo runs @ 4:40/km for 40 mins, and then do short tempo runs and easy running up to the race. I’m also going to be careful with what I eat up to the race, meaning less beer and junk food. I love a simple plan.

10% off physiotherapi for members only.

10% off physiotherapi for members only.

Diminishing returns or just bad math?

Like all runners I dread the day when I’m gonna have to tell myself: “Yup. I’ve reached my potential, this is as good as I can get.” It has partly to do with aging and all that nastyness, but also another thing: At one point you reach the point of diminishing returns. Your added effort will at one point yield less effect. Because you approach the limit of your abilities, and you’re training as hard as you possibly can. Athletes are high up in this zone of course, they train as much as they have to. But for me, even before I get there I will reach the limit for how much time and energy I can use on running. Sad but true.

But before I get too deep in the glass, there is one thing that I, for one have gotten wrong: When you’re shaving minutes off your PB, not every minute is equal. There’s not a linear relation between speed and race times, or even speed and pace!

(If you count in miles and fathoms and such, the next bit will sound like gibberish. Sorry for that.)

For instance, I’ve improved my 5k race time from 25 minutes to about 20. Five minutes! Hooray! That’s a 3km/h increase in speed. Now if I increase by another 3km/h, will I get down to 15 minutes for a 5k? No, actually that will leave me at about 16:40. Not to be confused with diminishing returns. It’s the same increase in actual speed.

Likewise, the difference between a 30 and 25 minute 5k is a lot smaller than between a 25 and 20 minute one. So consider every minute you shave off your race time a bigger feat than the previous.

When it comes to regular pace, the difference in speed between 3 min/km and 4 min/km is 5km/h. Big. The difference between 4 min/km and 5 min/km. is 3km/h. And for the next step down, between 5 min/km and 6 min/km, it’s only two.

A graph would be nice here.

Anyway don’t expect to get your pace down from 5:00/km to 4:00/km as easily as you did from 6:00 to 5:00! Expect it to be 1,5 times as hard, and give yourself credit for that. Plus of course it’s also one step closer to…

podr

 

Correct me if I’m wrong. ;-)

Running “naked”.

image

Runkeeper finally managed to delete all of my activities. Suddenly I had two separate accounts with the same login. And now it’s gone. I take comfort in that my legs keep good count of the mileage, even if it’s not on some server somewhere. The results will have to be the measure of my training. I’ll start a new log on paper next month. Maybe. I like the feeling of not keeping count.

Wow!

I credit trail running for my new PB! 10km in 43 minutes. That’s a 3 minute improvement. Finally broke the terrible 45 min barrier!

I’ve lost a little bit of weight as well, but the main reason I’ve improved is probably that I’ve added a lot of easy mileage. Any off day, when before I would rest, I now run just 4-7 km really slow and easy. Also been trail running in Norway. In case you didn’t know, Norway is extremely hilly. The wife and I went for a run from Sognsvann to Ullevålseter last week, and I was surprised at how easy the hills were for both of us. I’ve been wondering about this route for a long time. I though i’d probably have to walk part of the way, but it seems running every day, even if it’s not far, has given me a great speed boost. I’m surprised, though I guess everybody really knows this. It’s something else to experience it yourself though. Running is more comfortable than ever.

I’m still off the sugar, although not religiously. I do feel it’s the easiest way for me to maintain a good weight. (I’m still 8kg heavier than I was when I was a fully grown teenager, so I’m far from the anorectic.) I eat sugary foods if it’s something extra special, like something really delicious and home baked, but avoid the sort of everyday snacks most people eat, and I eat mostly whole grain types of bead. Don’t miss the sweets much really.

43 minutes on a 10k… I’m pretty pleased with myself. Mostly because breaking 45 was my ultimate goal when I started out running. I guess now the game is on for a 19 minute 5k. And a half marathon PB should be around the corner. I still have to put some more work in if I am to beat Lars Budolfsen, a parent at my daughter’s kindergarten: He just finished 17th for marathon in the European Championships! 2:17:54. I don’t really know him but I still feel proud that my neighbourhood is represented. Bravo. Guess he’s been hill training as well, the race was in Zürich.

 

 

Morning in the woods.

I’m still on summer holiday. I had planned to run on the road today, but after a km I decided to head into the forest instead. We have plenty of pavement home in Copenhagen.

Trail running heaven

The summer holiday has finallyt arrived, and I spend my days running and eating and playing with my daughter. I could not have been happier. I’ve found my strong, and I believe excellent just happened!

Inspired by real ads.

Inspired by real ads.