Retrying Gluten

Mmm gluten for breakfast!
At half term, we took the three children camping in France. It was a seven hour drive from Calais to the campsite (although with stops it took us ten), and we stayed in the Dordogne region for 7 warm and wonderful nights.

I’ve been gluten free fairly consistently since I was diagnosed as coeliac in 2014. I relaxed things a bit after having baby F, and then in France, I relaxed things a lot. An awful lot. You know how it is in France – lovely croissants, lovely baguettes, lovely madeleines, lovely everything glutenful and lovely… mmmm.

So we had a very laid back holiday and I ate lots. And I felt fine! Which was great. But then when we got home, two weeks ago, I found myself buying croissants and eating bread again, simply because I had been eating it in France.

And then I started to notice some digestive problems. I don’t know if the bread in France, being mostly freshly made, is just better tolerated by me, or if there is a bit of delay between starting to eat gluten and actually feeling the effects in my body, but about 12 days after getting back I was really uncomfortable, bloated, miserable and in pain. The symptoms kind of crept up on me slowly, getting worse until I felt pretty diabolical. I started to get horrible stomach cramps on top of a sore, bloated stomach and it was only then that it occurred to me that it might be the daily consumption of bread/pastries that was the problem. 

I feel like a bit of an idiot for being so dismissive of what was a massive problem for me in the past. It was especially noticeable when I went running, because although I am carrying a bit of extra weight around my stomach, it started to feel like I had a bag of water strapped to my waist with the way everything was wobbling and sloshing around.

So, I’ve learnt an interesting lesson. Gluten really is absolutely awful for me. It really does make me feel horrible. Obviously I knew all of this, but I had kind of forgotten it. When you watch other people eating it all the time with no obvious problem it becomes easy to convince yourself that it can’t be that bad. But it really is. My body hates it. So I am recommitting to a 100% gluten free diet and hoping that my poor stomach settles down and stops being so uncomfortable.

I have also signed up for a 21 day healthy eating challenge, which is being run by a local nutritionist I met at a business breakfast meeting last month. I am really excited about it! It starts on 3rd July, so I’ll blog about how it goes.

Update: I wrote this over the weekend and I have stopped eating gluten again. I did a run this morning, Flatter stomach, no pain, and I took almost a minute off my current 5km time, bringing it to 33:22. Hurrah!

This week’s training


I ran three times this week. I still feel like I’m recovering after pushing quite hard last week, but I did do a long run on Thursday as it’s been three weeks since I last did anything over 5km.

I’ve had some knee trouble and have been dealing with horrible headaches most of this week, so I haven’t felt great to be honest.

Monday

Asics Pace Academy run in Runkeeper. 30 minutes. Loved it and felt good.

Tues + Weds

Rest days, although I was literally itching to get out. The weather was beautiful and warm and I love running in it. I wanted to keep my legs fresh for:

Thursday

9km steady run. I did 5.5km of this on trails through the woods near our house which was lovely. The other half was on pavement. The trail running was more draining than I anticipated and my thigh muscles were hurting a bit by the end. An old injury in my right knee surfaced and caused me quite a bit of pain in the last half km. 

Friday

Rest

Saturday


I was a bit nervous going out, thinking that my knee was going to stop me running after Thursday, but it was actually fine. I just did a slow round-the-village 4km and my son came along on his bike. It was a scorching afternoon and I felt tired, heavy and bloated.

Sunday

Rest.

Plan for next week

The next next Asics Pace Academy run in Runkeeper (there are five and they are designed to help you improve your 5k speed), some strength exercises, a steady run for as long as I feel good and I’ll probably do parkrun on Saturday. I have a 5k race the week after next and I’m hoping for a not-too-embarrassing time so next week I won’t be pushing too hard.

Me and Boo

I was digging around photos this morning, trying to update all my social media stuff to something more coherent (mainly because I work online), and I found this old photo of me. I had to put it next to one of my daughter. It must be really strange for my parents. The power of our genes!

Genetics and generations

Eight Weeks Fitter

runkeeper runI’m writing about running a lot at the moment, because I have honestly fallen in love with it all over again.

Eight weeks ago I did my first wobbly, gasping run. Today I went out to do some pace training (trying to get under 30 minutes on my 5k), and:

a) I didn’t feel like I really, really wanted to stop running pretty much the whole time
b) I felt stronger and calmer during the run, and
c) When I was finished, I honestly could have run the same thing all over again.

I am still running nice and slow, but my intervals are pretty good – around 5:30m/k or less, which if I could sustain (if only), would bring me in at 27:30. Ahhhh, I can dream 🙂

When I get home from a run I examine all my data in Runkeeper (I am a numbers addict), happy to have another run to add to the collection. These days, my mind is so much clearer than it has been for such a long time and I can focus on the present without constantly being distracted about the future (like I was when we were trying for baby F, or how it was last year when I was so tired from the broken nights I could hardly see straight).

I am grateful that running is still here for me, especially after the arthritis diagnosis. That freedom of being out, especially at this time of year when the weather is warmer, is just wonderful. I’m already looking forward to Thursday morning 🙂

The Elusive Sub 30 Minute 5k

Post-parkrun today. Slow, but happy.

I know that for some people a sub-30 5k is super slow, and for others it’s fast. That’s the beauty of running – it’s all about bettering yourself, wherever you are on the continuum.

The last time I ran a sub-30 5k was 2004 (ouch!!). I am a lot older, and I’ve had three children since then. I was working towards it last year, but my sleep was so broken with a young baby that the running I was doing seemed to be damaging my joints more than making me fitter (I have osteoarthritis). I got down to 32:12 at parkrun, but had to stop as the pain in my right toe got so bad I had started to limp.

This year, things have been better. Sleep is not fully restored, but it’s at least approching the normal (broken) sleep of motherhood rather than torturous nights resembling Navy SEAL hell week.

On 18th April I did my first gentle run after a winter of horrendous joint pain. In the spring I’d changed my diet, added some supplements and cut down the sugar to reduce the pain and inflammation and it worked enough to get me out of the door again.

I’ve now been running for 7.5 weeks and I’ve built up a nice base level of fitness that means I can run (very slowly) for an hour.

This last week I’ve stepped up my training to include some hill repeats and 5k reps. I’ve loved it and I’m feeling much stronger, but when it came to parkrun today I could really feel the extra work I’ve done in my legs. Oh, and I’ve also had three dreadful nights sleep on the trot.

So, today’s parkrun time was 34:18, which is slower than I think I can run at this point, but it’s a good starting time to work up from.

After 7 long weeks I have also, finally, started to drop a little bit of weight. I was 5.5kg over my pre-baby weight to start, and I’m now 4.8kg over. It’s the first time the scales have shifted, although to be honest it’s not something I’ve been focusing on. Still, it’s good to see a move in the right direction.

When will I see a sub-30 5k again, I wonder? I am hoping before the end of the summer – I am down for a 5k race at the end of August, among others, and barring illness or injury I’m hopeful I’ll be able to do it by then.

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