Quest For 100

On October 31, 2016 I celebrated my 5th anniversary of living plant based. It’s been an amazing journey, which has featured extreme highs and success, but more recently had featured lows, dominating my life. While I haven’t been 100% PD (Protective Diet) compliant, I still follow the basic principles laid out by Dr. John McDougall; no meat, no dairy and no added oil. This was the basis ofgoing plant based I followed when I made the decision to change my lifestyle after reading his book.. The benefits for me have been nothing short of incredible. Yet what works for me, might not benefit others the same.

The last 12-18 months I found my plant based lifestyle trending the wrong way. It was a cheat day here, 5 pounds there, another few pounds there but didn’t worry much about it. Then it became, “damn, why are my pants so tight?” only to realize I have returned to being a vegan junkie, forgetting the basics of plant based, whole foods, while favoring processed or fast food (no meat and dairy) as a quick fix to my hunger. Looking in the mirror I can see where that has lead me.

Now at 200 pounds, I have gained by near 20 pounds over the last 2 years or so. I realized that 175 pounds was nice, it was just not possible to maintain. It was 180-185 pounds that seemed ideal. Running and lifting weights played into a slim and more muscular me, but little by little the running and weights fell by the wayside. The results, again can be seen in the mirror.

Thankfully there are many inspiration people around me, some I work with others I know from running. Through discussion with them, I realize if I continue to do nothing, my health and lack of activity will continue to suffer. With the help of two co-workers I have decided to get that positive mindset and work towards a goal.

Goals, since starting this lifestyle have helped me benefit, achieving small victories along the way before crossing the finish line. Yet, this lifestyle isn’t a race, there is no finish line, as I continue to learn every day, thanks to wonderful people like Julie Marie and Jerry Christensen, who promote a healthy, active “protective” lifestyle. I’ve also got a co-worker, Aaron, who just underwent surgery, but is back running, exercising and improving his health. He’s got bold plans to run every race that Brazen Racing offers (15 in all), in order to labelled a “Brazen Streaker” and be guaranteed his personal number for every race.

Down south in Merced, I met Ofie at the Razorback Endurance Race a few years back and we have became friends, seeing other from time to time at different races, but this woman is amazingly fit. From rock climbing and cycling to running and paddle boarding, there isn’t an activity she doesn’t do! Finally my American River running partner, Brian, while we have only run those two races together, without him and his support I don’t believe I could have finished. Always a positive outlook on life and during our races, he has spurred me to our latest challenge, which will be termed “crazy” by many.

Just 3 years ago, April 19, 2015 I ran my first ultra marathon on Mt. Diablo. It was also the first time I experienced a “runner’s high” that left me with the desire to run even longer distances. While I was sore and left barely able to walk, I was yearning for something more. The following two years I participated in the American River 50 Mile Endurance Race from Folsom to Auburn, finishing 13:52 the first year and improving my time by :12 minutes the following year. This year, due to my schedule, the unavailability of my running partner and a lack of drive (but not desire) I missed the AR50. We also missed the Razorback Endurance Race, which took place last weekend but we look forward to our goal.

Next year, nearly 48 weeks away I will run my first 100 mile race. Now 48 weeks seems to be a long time, one in which you could easily say, “I’ll start next week” only to find out you are less than a few months away from race day and you have yet to train. That won’t happen this time around. Once the sign up rolls around, I will commit, in order to have that goal on paper.

While I don’t have a full training schedule built, the first 12 weeks will set the tone for the rest of the training. During this time I will build a proper base on which to run, the goal, getting up to 90 minutes of running as soon as possible. The running schedule will have me running 4 times a week for the first 12 weeks. Just like when I started running it will be short, :30 minute runs as I build up to :90 minutes before moving on to a longer duration or distance. Even now I know I could run a 3-6 miles with no problems, but don’t want to do too much, too soon and cause an injury or other setback.

As with all activity, fuel becomes very important. While I already follow a plant based lifestyle, it will be a Protective Diet, where I feed my hunger. Julie has an amazing array or foods, which taste good and are simple to create. Last night, I got started a day early by making Shanghai Cucumbers and Spicy Asian Noodle Salad. Clean, simple and full of flavor! No more grabbing food while at work or when on the run at a fast food restaurant. Some advanced planning and constant set up will help me achieve my goals.

In conjunction with the running and eating, I am plan on getting back into the Stronglifts 5×5 program to build lean music and lose fat. I found this by mistake a few years back, but the results were proven, lifting weight I never thought possible! The feeling of strength is unparalleled!

I have also starting IF or intermittent fasting using James Clears’ beginner’s guide. This is not the first time I have experimented with IF, learning about it back in April, 2013 (Read IF). Basically you have a “feeding window” of 8 hours, in which you consume all your calories. The next 16 hours you go without food. My feeding windows is between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM. I know this goes against what a Protective Diet teaches, but I have found the results to be beneficial in my training, especially when it comes to the running. “Interesting enough I could feel a big difference when I ran 4 miles. It felt better to run on an “empty” stomach rather than one that had food in from lunch or breakfast” (Read IF-fy).

While the race director hasn’t set a 2018 date for the Razorback Endurance Race, it appears it will take place the end of May, as some runners voiced concerned about a potential conflict with the AR50. As soon as a tentative date is set, I will be able to update my training plan.

Approximately 24 weeks into training, I am planning on picking a 50k or 50 mile race to see where I stand before starting the 100 mile training. Thankfully I have an awesome trainer, Michael, who acted as my AR50 pacer last year, who pushed me over the finish line in record time. He has been contacted to provide input and feedback to my training plan. Currently, he’s in the midst of his own, personal training as he looks forward to the Tahoe 100 on July 14. He is a valuable resource of information and strategy as I look ahead to what the future holds.

It’s all in the mindset. Having already achieved some amazing feats, I am excited at the prospects and what the future holds. No more excuses! It’s time to test the limits and see just how far I can push my body. Running 100 miles will be unlike any else I have ever attempted. With a positive attitude, strong conviction and support of others, nothing will prevent me from crossing that finish line.

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Premier League: GW35 Retrospect

For the first time in 10 weeks my decision making didn’t pay off and I was left to ponder move before the DGWs begin. While I don’t have any players in today’s match, Watford hosting Liverpool, I can only hope that the Hornets tighten things up and don’t give the Reds opportunities in and around the box. I finished GW35 with 57 points, which included 3 players with just a single point. Between the pipes I had been strong with Heaton and Jakupovic, but in a hasty, last minute decision I brought in Caballero. What a disaster!

The once hot Crystal Palace has definitely cooled off. Their DGW34 wasn’t all that impressive, unless you owned Benteke. I chose Zaha and van Aanholt and held them over through GW35 for the Burnley match. Winless on the road, Burnley put in a great shift and held Palace goalless, 2-0. Zaha and van Aanholt (bench), each finished with a single marker. Benteke came into the squad replacing Llorente, played just 70 minutes and picked up a yellow card. Originally I had planned on holding Palace through GW37 and their home fixture against Hull, but their their defense ailing, these players may be in jeopardy.

Another failed move this week, one that I was one leading up to GW35 was introducing Gabbiadini. He picked up 59 minutes in GW33 and 85 in GW34, with an assist against Chelsea. It appeared he could be back in form. Facing Hull in GW35 at home, the table was set, as he was highly transferred in and captained. At the same time I was considering Afobe as a budget buy in order to introduce Sanchez for DGW36. Following other managers Gabbiadini came into my starting XI. It was a very uninspiring performance for the So’ton forward, who now has us asking questions on the horizon of DGW36 and DGW37 for the Saints.

At this point, you need to figure he could see a consider amount of playing time. I do believe he is their best option up top, but there is some risk with Long and Austin, who’s returning from shoulder injury. As of now, I have not see a return to fitness date, which could bode well for Gabbiadini owners. Liverpool, one clean sheet in the last 10 games and Arsenal, three out of the last 10 games, have given up goals, so Sot’on could profit offensively. Yet, it’s been the defense that has played better for the Saints. At this point, I do plan on playing Gabbiadini through both DGWs.

Elsewhere up front, it was Kane setting the tone for Sunday, picking up another goal while wearing the armband for 10 points. This was his third return in 3 weeks as they play away to West Ham this weekend. In GW37 they face Man United (H) and Leicester (A). Kane is a starter for the duration, along with Eriksen and Alli, as I plan on all three Spurs players through the end of the season. Early chances weren’t converted or all three players would have posted higher scores. That being said, Alli picked up 8 points with a goal and CS, while Eriksen added another assist and CS for 6 points.

On the weekend, it would be King for Bounemouth who topped all starters with 11 points, on a goal and 3 bonus points. While he doesn’t have a DGW, he will be play out the season in the starting XI. GW37 could see him as a strong captain option, home against Burnley, but the draw of the DGW players might be to strong, even with a solid match up.

Hazard returned for his fourth week out of five with an assist and clean sheet. He’s been dynamic and vital to Chelsea’s run to the title, but has only played 90 minutes twice in the last 10 games. Home to Boro in GW36 should prove fruitful…then again I am sure owners of Man City players said the same thing.

Speaking of Man City…Caballero, on paper looked to be the beneficiary of an injury to Bravo between the pipes. On paper, away to Boro appeared to be “business as usual” for City, who should have rolled into town and beat Boro. That didn’t happen, two goals and City were reeling, as they had to come from behind to register a 2-2 draw. As for Caballero, he was a late change on Saturday morning. I felt Heaton and Jakupovic didn’t have strong fixtures and I wanted to add a DGW keeper to my squad. In the end I opted to move Heaton, who scored 7 points against Palace, which included a CS and save points. But it was Jakupovic, 14 points that made me hurt. he registered a CS, save points, 3 bonus points and a penalty save. I can take solace in knowing I would have started Heaton, as he was in my starting XI before move to Slick Willy. Hopefully his gloves are more sticky come GW36.

Defensively, I rant with just two defenders this week as I activated my All Out Attack chip. Staring defenders were Yoshida and Bailly, both put in solid shift rewarding me with two clean sheets for 12 points. Unfortunately, Bailly was lost on the stroke of 60 minutes, but I was able to get the full complement of points from him. He appears to be a risk for the coming game week, which means another hit to transfer in a healthy defender, unless I hold him out of the gameweek in an away match to Arsenal. Bailly had returned 42 points in the last 7 games!

Tentatively I was rewarded a 9th green arrow in a row, a record I continue to build on, now in my 4th year as a fantasy manager. The 8 points hits, while beneficial, have still hurt my global ranking, as I moved up just 10k this week to 627k. It was my hope I would be around 300k by this week. I suspect I will drop after Monday’s game, but SHOULD remain with a green arrow.

Looking towards DGW36 I am not sure what to do. More injuries have put me into a quandary over what direction I want to go for the next 2 weeks. With no WC to use and just the Bench Boost remaining, I know I will activate it in DGW37. Injuries to Bailly, Aguero and Afobe all come at a cost as further transfers will need to be evaluated to see if I can fit them within my budget, which now stands at 104.4, a season high for me.

Initially plans called for Zaha and Benteke being transferred out in favor of Sanchez and Afobe. But the groin injury picked up by Aguero means that Jesus could be starting over the next few games. He looked excellent, partnering with Aguero up front in GW35. I am unable to bring both Jesus and Sanchez in, as I have a shortfall of 1.8m. So do we trust a very unimpressive Sanchez over back to back DGWs to flourish with the armband? Do we play the Brazilian young gun for City looking to impress with his flair and excitability on the pitch?

Options include passing on Sanchez but adding Ozil, who’s got two double digit hauls in his last 5 games. This would allow me the budget needed to add Jesus to the mix. Adding Sanchez leaves me with only 6.9m for a third forward. That list includes Origi and Rashford at the top with the usual suspects; Negredo, Deeney and Llorente also available.

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Premier League: DGW Double Take

Leading up to DGW34 I had been planning, scheming and strategizing on how to navigate GW34, GW36 and GW37. With DGW34 in the books, I have a solid core group of players to carry me through the end of the season. My previous article, Seeing Double had me favoring a Man City trio, not paying much attention to Arsenal or So’ton, each who play 4 games in GW36 and GW37. Injuries and a rethink seemingly have brought me full circle and now I have established, what I feel, is a good plan. Still, we need to get through GW35, but here’s how things are laid out.

GW35
OUT: Lukaku, Llorente
IN: Afobe, Benteke

Notes: While neither player have a DGW remaining, both are in form and feel they deserve to be in the starting XI. Benteke has Burnley (H) this weekend and Hull (H) in GW37, that’s enough for me. Man City hasn’t been all that impressive on defense, and Palace could nip a goal or two in that match. Afobe may seem an odd pick, but a budget forward, has 5 returns in the last 7 games, which includes 3 goals. Remaining fixtures include Sunderland (A), Stoke (H), Burnley (H) and Leiceter (A). We know Eddie Howe loves his offense, Bournemouth are safe, goals could fly! His inclusion frees up budget for use in DGW36.

GW36
OUT: Zaha, Gibson
IN: Sanchez, Holgate

Notes: Still high on Zaha, but I need to free up a midfield position in order to bring Sanchez in, who’s potential is too much to pass up. After GW35, it could be feast or famine for the Chilean, but DGW37 holds hope, Stoke (A) and Sunderland (H). It’s a case of I would rather be with, than without on the off chance he scores big. To free up the remaining funds, Holgate (4.1m) comes in with CS potential in GW36 and GW37.

This is what my squad looks like for GW36, which would carry over to DGW37.

Not sure what Big Sam’s intentions are with van Aanholt. I picked him up for DGW34, but saw limited play in just one game. Injuries have taken a toll on the Palace defense, but Schlupp still holds a starting spot. Depending on taking another hit in GW36, van Aanholt could make way for Jagielka, who was in my original plans, like Holgate has CS potential in GW36 and GW37, plus has some offensive prowess with 3 goals on the season. Fuchs, Yoshida and Bailly will constitute the rest of the defensive line due to DGW37.

We are still a few weeks out from DGW37, anything is possible. Not too surprising to see how drastically plans have changed in the matter of 10 days, when I posted Seeing Double. The possibility of City players still exists, but with the uncertainty surrouding who to start, they have all taken a seat on the bench for now. We will wait and see what GW35 brings before formulating a new plan…if needed.

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Premier League: GW34 Retrospect Part 2

This is the second in a two part recap of DGW34 (read Part 1 if you missed it), which ended Thursday, just hours ago as the Manchester derby ended in a scoreless draw. However, that’s excellent news for me, as I finished the week on 78 points. Not outstanding for a DGW by any means, but in this limited game week, where many managers fancied Negredo or Rashford as their DGW captain, I take solice in knowing Bailly picked up 24 points with the captain’s armband. Talk about a punt, but it paid dividends with the City and United going scoreless. Without the armband, Bailly was still my high weekly scorer with 12 points, just missing out on bonus points in the derby. My final score of 78 points has me seeing green for an eighth week in a road, a record for me in the 4 years I have participated.

 

As mentioned, Bailly was major punt on my part. I felt confident he would start both matches in DGW34 and knew his offensive potential was limited, requiring CS in order to make this work. Burnley was somewhat of a given, even at home with their limited offense, United was able to handle the Clarets, 2-0. The derby had me questioning the move, as City dominated the game, but the resilient United defense came up with big saves, big blocks and a few timely calls from the officials. In a surprised turnabout…not really…Gibson came back to redeem himself as Boro shutout Sunderland, 1-0 where he picked up a bonus point. On the whole, my defense accounted for 38 points!

I do believe Eriksen salvaged me from a rather dismal week with his goal in the Spurs 1-0 victory as he captured 11 points, with a CS and 3 bonus points. Alli was quiet in the win with just 3 points. There might come a time in the next few weeks I need to move one of these two players, currently it’s Eriksen that would be on the chopping block. After watching City today, I am not so sure I am ready to triple up on Sterling, Sane and Aguero. Hazard was supposed to be sold before this week to make way for City players. As it goes, he stayed in the starting XI and has me rethinking my strategy, which appears more foolish than foolproof. Hazard netted a goal, CS and 2 bonus points for 9, giving him good returns in 3 out of the last 4 games as we look toward an easy run to the end of the season after GW35; MID (H), WBA (A), WAT (H), SUN (H).

Overall a very pleased 78 points as I move up in the global ranking to 637k, as improvement of 78k spots. Since GW27 I have gained 495 points, averaging 61.8/week, a figured just over the 60 points a game I had set as a goal. The DGWs in 36 and 37 will be the turning point of the season for me. If I can gain 120-140 points, I have a good shot at 2000 points, down from 2170 points last year and a finish in the top 75k. Both mini leagues have made a drastic turnabout, now sitting second in one, just 44 points off the lead. The other league sees me in fouth place, 6 points out of third and 133 from the apex. Hopefully positive differential players will give me an advantage starting in GW35.

As I sit here contemplating GW35, I don’t really have a plan. My original of transferring up to DG37 has failed, as I didn’t bring in the necessary players last week, deciding to hold a few players back before of good fixtures. Two moves I know I will make, Gabbiadini and Benteke will grace my front line in GW35. With questions still surrounding the fitness of van Aanholt, he might need to make way for a DGW defender and I would like a keeper, most likely Forester to replace Heaton or Jakupovic. I was all hot and heavy into bringing in Aguero, but after today’s derby not sure that will be the case. IF a move is made for a City forward, it will be Jesus and most likely Sane if I double dip.

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Premier League: DGW34 Retrospect Part 1

With lofty exceptions, there was a letdown at the conclusion of the weekend games. I started GW34 with 4 players involved in DGW action; Bailly, van Aanholt, Zaha and Gibson. The only DGW fixture that appeared straight forward was Man United visiting Turf Moor and Burnley. Many managers, including myself took a chance on Middlesbrough. Gibson had been starting since GW30, but many transferred him in. I took a hit last week and bought Zaha to start in my 3-5-2. Van Aanholt and Bailly were late transfers, in order to take advantage of DGW34 and DGW37 for Man United. Crystal Palace also has good fixtures in GW35 and GW37.

The weekend started off greast with King getting on the scoreboard for Bournemouth, but finished with just the one goal and no bonus points finishing with 8 points. Ten man Hull played outstanding after losing Niasse but Watford didn’t mount much of an offensive showing and goalkeeper, Jakupovic kept a CS for 6 points. Everton, as expected disappointed at West Ham, Lukaku had but one shot and really never was in the game, looked a bit lethargic offensive. Yet, that’s been his road form, poor…piss poor. This is the final weekend I will own Lukaku, who is being transferred out for GW35.

Top performer over the weekend, Eric Bailly, solely based on the captain’s armband. Looking over my starters, including three Spurs players and a few different captain polls, there was never really a consensus captain. Names such as Negredo and Rashford, as well as Benteke and Kane seemed to come to the forefront. I decided on Bailly, as he had a DGW facing Burnley (A) and the Manchester Derby against City. Rolling the dice, I felt good about United shutting out Burnley, which they did, 12 points for Bailly to start the week.

While City wasn’t involved in an EPL match this weekend, but visited Arsenal in an FA Cup semifinal match. City lost 2-1 in extra time, but registered 20 shots with just 3 on target. United have won 2 of the last 3 games, in all competitions against City. The last October 26, 2016, 1-0 in the EFL Cup 4th Round with 1-0 victories in their two wins. Confidence is high, this game could be played out to a 1-0 or 0-0, which would mean Bailly ends with a minimum of 24 points for the DGW. Of course that’s speculation, but that was my rational for captaining him.

My 31 points tentatively gives me an 8th green arrow in a row, now globally ranked at 699k, but expecting better at the conclusion of the week. There is no movement in either of my mini leagues, but just 55 points off the leader and 5 points from second place. My other mini league has second and fifth separated by 27 points, I feel confident I can push into second place by the end of DGW34,

With lineups already set, it’s not too early to look to GW35 and impending changes to my squad. My “Seeing Double” plan went out the door in GW34, when I decided not to pick up Sane for City, as I was going to triple up with Sterling and Aguero rounding out my squad. A knock picked up by Aguero in their FA Cup match may have me changing strategy before GW35. More GW35 discussion later this week at the conclusion of DGW34.

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