Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 8: The sweet benefits of adaptability

“Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent.” -Nolan Ryan

When I set out to run 50 miles in 50 states in 62 days, I had a particular nutrition plan in mind. I've always been mindful of what I eat. During the run, I had planned on relying mostly on good, whole foods. Avocados, tomatoes, fruits, and vegetables. It was important for me to try and avoid relying on junk food for fuel.

I stuck to this regimen for the first few days of Run Hope. Before long, I had lost about ten pounds and I felt utterly exhausted. My fueling plan clearly had to be adjusted. Guys like Dave Horton have championed simple sugars as a means of fueling especially long runs. Processed foods, candy, and baked goods are all made out of tasty junk - sprinkles, powdered sugar, sweet doughs - that has little to no nutritional value. But, these foods are dense with calories and are perfect for providing a surge of energy for prolonged physical activity.

When I downed my first doughnut, I felt the difference almost instantly. Like Popeye the Sailor Man, I was rejuvenated, restored, brought back to glorious life! By the time I got to the milkshake, all was just peachy. Soon, word got around that I ate doughnuts. Before long, people - complete strangers - were bringing me boxes and boxes of the sugary confections!

I still relied on whole, healthy foods for fuel, but I had to incorporate the calorie-dense junk food for that extra needed energy. In life, as in running, adaptability is key to progress. Often times, curve balls get thrown our way. Things don't work out as we originally expected. Our circumstances change in frightening and unexpected ways. Rather than throw up our hands in defeat, we have to be able to find creative solutions to the problem. We have to be willing to stray from the beaten path. Eventually, we will find ourselves back on the road towards success.


Chris A. Gillespie said...

Lisa, I learned this the hard way during my training for my upcoming 413 mile GRACERUNNER JOURNEY. I discovered that instant feeling of "I'm not lightheaded anymore" with junk food along three consecutive days of 35 mile training runs! A bag of peanut M & M's and a Mountain Dew were my "donuts!" God bless you on your journey to help others!

TeeJay said...

Yes Lisa, life is a long succession of the curve balls you speak of (and Nolan Ryan threw during his career), and I know of no way to avoid them. We can't always smack the fastball out of the park; many times we need to be patient, keep our eye on the ball, and just make contact.
Success is measured in many different ways, and as we adapt, we learn new ways to accomplish our goals with equal success.

Frank Lilley said...

You are so right . . . we must all adapt! All the time! We THINK we have stuff figured out. But so rarely do we really have it right!

I love your posts. They make me think!!

Connie Kleinjans said...

I love that, all at the same time, you held onto your goal of eating healthy foods, but you also stayed open to the new. Many people would have stuck with their ideals no matter what. And they are built from ideas and not reality. It takes an open person, a person in flow, to accept the new when it contradicts the ideal.

There's a bumper sticker somewhere in there.

Tammy Brown said...

Very true! Great blog.
Thank you for a reminder. Life is not black and white, right and wrong.

And....when in doubt often a donut can help. :)

Eliza Ralph-Murphy said...

Do you think it was the combination of the fat and the sugar? Rather then just taking in sugar IE. mountain dew.