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Ultragirl's Race Prep

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I'm a 28 year old female training for her first ultramarathon. I turned vegan overnight because I didn't know how to cook. When I taught myself, I simply taught myself how to cook vegan. No "slow process" for me, thank you.


But I could always use tips on keeping it cheap, simple, fast.


I love running to death. Two other things I love are powerlifting and swimming. I'm of Russian origin but would rather watch aikido on youtube than give Systema attention. I'm reading Scott Jurek's Eat & Run.


I adore my workouts and hate to miss even one. My weaknesses are not measuring my food and inventing cocktails. I'm looking to drop weight and bodyfat to be lighter on my feet. But excess is not the enemy. I have only one enemy and it's what I perceive to be mediocrity. I like to ask myself for more, and am happiest when I surprise myself. I am keeping this journal because I would like to be happy more often.


The race is in the first week of April, which gives me exactly 7 months.

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Thanks. I just signed up for Umstead. It was such a close call - all the spots filled in like three minutes. Something like 1000 people competed for 250 spots online… What an exciting morning!




I'm signed up for the fifty mile option.


The book is inspiring, certainly. So far I like the emphasis on that critical mass point where your reaction to a situation is either ordinary or extraordinary…and determines, I suppose, whether you are one or the other, or at least tending toward one or the other path. Which fits into what I've been thinking a lot about which is weirdness. Ways in which it is necessary to be weird in order to be good at what you love. I don't get a whole lot of help from the idea of beating other people… I just want to win over myself… but the idea that I might be WEIRD enough to persevere where others don't gives me a way to think about triumph that is personal without being vindictive.


And telling a story, particularly a story about one's own life, plays into that. It's important to connect the point of where you want to go with where you've been… memories are a hidden source of strength! Plus I dug that onigiri recipe.

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Saturday September 7.


I'm a bit of a thinker and most effective when I plot out the reasons I do things. One of the reasons I started writing this is to track what's keeping me going internally so I can look back on it later. And if I happen to articulate something that resonates with somebody else, well, that's just great. On the other hand a viewer's request for hard data will do wonders if I ever get too reflective.


There are sports victories and there are the victories that put us in a position to excel at sports… meta-victories.


Today I had three running meta-victories:

1. Got the green light for Umstead. (And could afford it, lucky me.)

2. Discovered a running partner in a girlfriend I didn't even knew ran.

3. Bought my measuring cups so no excuses.


In running as in life to optimize something we need a balance between what worked in the past and what can serve us even better in the future. So today I asked myself, what are tiny changes I can make that will yield dividends down the line? You can't change everything--what efforts of will are the good investments?


1. I've been working out in the evening but want to return to an upon-rising regime. That's still the only way to be 100% certain that I'm watered/rested/alert etc. and nothing happened during the day that's affecting my performance now. And yes, there's research that suggests that running on an empty stomach/low carbs is beneficial for fat loss, but I refuse to demean myself by going on about fat loss. That's what society wants women like me to do, so we don't get any funny ideas about actually having power in the world, hah!

2. That said, I have to count my calories. I just do. The only way to have fun with the data is to have data in the first place. Then I'll go nuts on the macros. The distinction is internal satisfaction (getting a PR) vs. doing what other people want you to do (not even lifting heavy in the first place).

3. Whipping up pousse-cafes for imaginary friends isn't a goal I have ever had, but it's certainly in the way of my goals. I like studying, and I happen to like studying food and wine, and there's a lot I can learn by reading without trying my hand at it. Do I go invade Russia after reading about Napoleon? No, then I don't need to open that Chianti.


Qualitatively, today feels all right. Here's to starting in on the quantities.

Edited by ultragirl
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Sunday morning market time!


Only the freshest & cleanest.



-baby bok choys

-green onions

-snow peas




-brussels sprouts


-extra firm tofu, five spice tofu, tempeh

-pink lady apples

-baby apple bananas


-fresh lima beans

-fresh garbanzo beans

-old-fashioned oats

-90% cocoa bar

-vegetable bouillon


Leftover from before.



-dried red chilis

-a tomato

-shirataki rice

-bag o lentils

-bag o quinoa

-rice and hemp proteins

-red and white miso soups

-organic cacao powder

-flax seed and fiber

-almond milk

-nutritional yeast

-apple cider vinegar

-liquid aminos

-horseradish, sriracha, soy sauce, dijon mustard, tandoori paste, lemon and lime juices

-olive oil, flax oil, smart balance oil, white truffle olive oil

-balsamic, white wine, and rice vinegars


-sherry rum sauce

-minced garlic

-some spices


So when I was growing up our kitchen was all creative chaos & we let a lot of food go to waste. As an adult I like a nice inventory.


Can you just imagine the masterpiece potential here? Can't wait to get my variety + sense of fun + nutrition + limited portion sizes + spontaneity revved up this week… Can't imagine I would ever choose liquid calories over something I can make with my hands + chew properly but… my bar is stocked really well. So, shakes! If I must insist on drinking some portion of my daily allowance, let's have shakes come back in a big way. No more boring shakes as a mere band-aid for the macros… True, honest, satisfying concoctions that are new + exciting enough to keep me entertained.


I don't experience addiction so much as I experience boredom. It is vital for me to have new materials + techniques to work with all the time, and that may mean every week or every day if necessary. One of the reasons I strayed from bodybuilding in my early twenties was failing to acknowledge that some bodybuilding-sanctioned ideas are just wrong.


For instance, know enough about cutting and you think, "Hey, having repeated meals with less-than-fresh ingredients is fine, right? So long as I'm hitting my macros and calorie count, I am totally healthy." Or, "I know! If I want to cut, I'll just have the same breakfast and the same lunch forevermore, and that won't ever become a problem!" Or, "I'm too hardcore to mess with something frilly like cooking. Better zap the same fish over and over and never learn anything." Well, go down that route long enough and you may end up subsisting on two tuna salads per day or some cottage cheese + vodka with whey protein on the side. The math is not the be-all end-all of our engagement with life-sustaining things. Today's shopping - and veganism - is my chance to remember and celebrate that.

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Brainstorming from the running forum.


I really like a schedule that looks like this. This feels natural + proper to me.


MON - 5-10 mile run

TUES - 5mi speed work

WED - 5-10 mile run

THURS - 5mi speed walk

FRI - 5mi run or rest

SAT - super long run (depends on week, how far away the race is, etc.)

SUN - rest w/fam + friends


I'm sharing this with my coach tonight. As you can see, I have yet to go bonkers on sharing training specifics. No "yay yay look at the coconut I lifted today" over here. I definitely will though once am satisfied that I've thought the plan through for the long-term.

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I guess outsiders can't tell because I haven't shared too much yet, but I've really re-hauled everything in the last two weeks. The end of this came with the successful Umstead registration. Now I will go through a number of phases in 7 months leading up to my race.


The first phase is UMSTEAD HONEYMOON and it will last exactly 25 days.


From tomorrow until October 1st I'm basically going to want to be as pure as possible, really cut out the alcohol, drop the calories, and basically milk my excitement for all it is worth. My running/lifting program will milk it too, within reason. I don't want another popped calf as it was really one of the major tragedies of my year, bigger even than human entanglements… So yeah, Iet's get with a hardcore Monday morning and not look back.


But I can't be TOO specific, or I'll run riot. Let's just say 1200 calories of clean, satisfying foods and heart-into-it training. There's no point in declaring macros because I am not going to hit them, nor will I avoid everything that promises to give me a buzz, but I can hit 1200 and I can run. It kind of needs to happen, because anything else is procrastinating. Anything else is that lazy summer I'll-quit-beer-later feeling. And summer is OVER, genius.


Let's GO. Wish me luck!

Edited by ultragirl
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Monday September 9 - Imitation of the Phoenix.


sleep: plenty

supps: niacin, milk thistle, probiotic, vit C, calcium, multi


training: today was about making sure I can run on a recently sprained calf. so I could not go too far or too fast, but I got an easy 5 mile run and about a mile walking that made me feel amazing. this is the most running I've done since pre-injury. thankfully had enough lifting/cycling/swimming to keep up morale + conditioning while I waited out the recovery. boy oh boy do injuries suck. i lost only half a month, but i bled morale every which way… until now, apparently. i can barely sleep i'm so excited for what tomorrow brings.



1 med sized avocado - 250 cals 0g protein

3 squares dark chocolate - 360 cals 6g protein

2/3 c. oats - 200 cals 7g protein

1/2 c. almond milk - 15 cals 1g protein

1 frozen apple-banana -65 cals 1g protein

1/2 c. snow peas -30 cals 2g protein

1 tbsp garlic -5 cals 0g protein

1 tbsp soy sauce - 10 cals 2g protein

3 oz. five-spice baked tofu - 180 cals 18g protein



1 Wittekerke beer - 150 cals 0g protein

5 oz red wine - 120 cals 0g protein

1.5 oz scotch - 105 cals 0g protein


total cals: 1490

activity: -600

net cals: 890


magical protein score: 37g



*had a big raw veggie and tofu salad + another glass of wine + another 2 squares of chocolate I don't feel like tabulating

*read about macrobiotics today w/mixed reaction… on the one hand, these food philosophies are a distinct 1st world problem wherein we try to milk health + pleasure back out of a world of affluence and overabundance… on the other, it's idiotic not to see ethical and philosophical consequences in every act of self-nourishment we engage in, and deepening that commitment is more-or-less always worthwhile.

*am seriously considering adding small amounts of fish back into diet (as in macrobiotics) due to 1. my not feeling overwhelming compassion for fish. 2. my original love is bodybuilding so am tempted to use the relatively cheap protein sources available in tilapia and tuna and cod if it gets me to where I want to be macronutrient ratio-wise. 3. in a cutting diet we want to reduce hunger and in the past I've gone hours and hours between meals if only I have a little fish protein.

*these calories are too high for my taste… i'm glad they're uber clean but I've done 800s before and i kinda want to do a few net-800 days again… it's part of the intellectual challenge to me to do it right. the puzzle makes it more fun… I abhor that relaxed self-satisfied attitude and that's where I stray if I 'take it easy' and eat/drink above a 1200. f*ck taking it easy, that's what OTHER people do.

*cutting down on alcohol would be an AMAZING move, but I can't get all perfectionistic otherwise will rebel… all in due time, keep tapering.

*trying upon-rising training tomorrow and will stick around for an extra hour if necessary and will generally enjoy my fixed calf!

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Did you guys know if you don't have dairy for a while your body stops producing the enzyme you need to break it down?


Vegan Horror Story #1


I remember converting to veganism and about two weeks in breaking down one night for some ice cream. I was just about to deepen my commitment and the old ways made a BLIP on the radar screen. I wanted a rumspringa, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumspringa), as the Amish have it. So I consumed some dairy and… thought I was gonna die. I had never been in so much pain in my life. It was the middle of the night and all of a sudden I was imploding from the inside. Just not funny at all - utter hell. And from then on I never had ice cream.

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Brainstorming for speed work.


Once my calf can 100% be relied upon, I'm going to want to do the painful speed work that will push me to OBLA and ultimately make me faster. I am not too nervous as I have found a strange quasi-religious calm when I am being most machine-like and I have purposely sought out strange circumstances (hot field houses, loud music, etc.) for sprints to help take me out of daily life.


Advice from Jurek: "After you’ve been running for 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week for six to eight weeks, you’re ready to start running occasionally at 85 to 90 percent of your physical capacity, or the point where lactate is building up in your muscles but your body is still able to clear and process it. Build to where you can maintain that lactate threshold level for 5 minutes. Then take 1 minute of easy running to give the body time to recover, then repeat. As you progress, increase the number of the intervals and their length while maintaining a 5: 1 ratio between work and rest. So you would do 10-minute intervals of hard running followed by 2-minute breaks, or 15 minutes of hard running followed by 3 minutes of rest, and so on. After four to six weeks, you'll be able to maintain this effort level for 45 to 50 minutes. And you’ll be faster."

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