About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I spend countless hours running in the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, TX. I call it "going to church". I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Diet? No Thanks!

Gluten-free, low-fat, Paleo. Which diet is right for you? How about the Cookie, Baby Food or Volumetrics diet? Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? It certainly is confusing to know how to eat when a new study is published every week touting new claims or pooh-poohing the foods you thought were healthy. What is good for you today will cause cancer next week. 

Read: Red Wine Health Benefits ‘Overhyped’

News Week rated 32 of the most popular diets categorizing them based on weight-loss, heart-healthy, diabetes, etc. I haven’t read about them because I don’t diet. It’s too complicated so I just try to burn as many calories as I put in. Eating natural unprocessed food is more important to me, but occasionally it’s just necessary to grab a Whataburger. Bacon? You betcha, but not everyday. Everyone is different so if you are having success with the Cookie diet, more power to ya. 

One of my favorite foods is chia seeds. Not because they taste good (they taste like nothing), but because they are healthy for you (so far). Packed with omega-3 fats which are important for brain and heart health, chia seeds are beneficial for inflammation and blood sugar control. That’s why I eat some just before I consume a whole box of Krispy Kremes. 

Chia is easy to use too. Just soak some seeds in water (1 to 5 ratio) and they will turn into a flavorless gel that resembles fish roe. Spoon some into your hot cereal, smoothie or simply mix it with juice. This juice/chia mixture is what I use in races instead of gels and bars which gives me a late-in-the-day energy boost. Think slow steady energy instead of the spike and crash that sugar brings.

I hope this strategy helps me in the Jemez 50 miler in Los Alamos, NM in a few weeks. I’m still slogging up and down North Franklin Peak and frequently hitting the trail to get ready for this challenging course. I’ve even been doing hill repeats in my neighborhood once a week. 

Jemez Mountain 50 Miler
I rarely do hill repeats, but when I do I always puke. Stay thirsty my friends.  Said the most interesting man in the world. 

Apache plume
Unknown flower, but look at that green bug
My neighborhood run is really boring, but I hope the quick intervals will help add some speed to my race. Who knows, I may even finish before dark. The desert is where I prefer to run though and I have seen much beauty out there lately. Apache plume is blooming right now. This bush gets a rather plain white flower at first, but then the bloom turns into a stunning pink feathery looking thing. 

Prickly pear cactus

The trails are also lined with many different species of prickly pear cactus that are also in full bloom. I have a hard time focusing on my running because I always want to stop to capture the natural beauty of my surroundings. Sometimes I have to leave my camera at home so I’m not tempted to lolly gag on my run. 

Gambel's quail
I hate doing this though, because I never know what I’m going to run into on the trail. Several times I’ve come across a Gambel’s quail calling for a mate. These birds have an interesting looking feather sticking up on the top of their heads giving them a comical look. They are usually on the ground, but perch up high when they are looking for some action.  I was also able to get a picture of a Ladder-backed woodpecker.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker
The highlight of my training this week was several trips up Mt Cristo Rey in El Paso. The trail is smooth with few tripping hazards which is a nice contrast to the rugged trails of the Franklin Mountains. The grade is not too steep so you can actually run most of the way to the top and the view up there is spectacular. When you arrive, you are greeted by a 29 ft tall statue of Christ. The 360 degree panorama lets you get a glimpse of New Mexico, Texas and Juarez Mexico.  


Juarez Mts

My fellow Team Red, White and Blue members along with some Run El Paso Club runners also ran the mountain and, as always, I tried to captures some action shots while I ran. Afterwards we all met for a fine breakfast at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing. No one seemed too concerned about the paleo, low-carb or flat-belly diet. Eat sensibly and burn more calories than you consume and you should be fine. 

See you on the trail.

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