A couple weeks before discovering the PB, I happened to set myself a fitness challenge of running a 10K. I had only ever done that once before, years ago during my last serious fitness attempt, but I posted a poor showing and didn't enjoy the experience. (At one point, an elderly, fat woman passed me going up a hill.)
One year ago, I weighed over 200 pounds (I'm 5'9.5") and probably could not run to the end of my block. But I had been working out doggedly (classic chronic cardio) and at 180 pounds at the end of 2009, felt like I could once again make it through such an ordeal.
Then I discovered the PB, which changed my life like a second puberty. I rapidly became more fit and healthy than I ever dreamed possible. Now I was really psyched to run the 10K!
My training was 100% primal, my diet more purely carnivorous as the weeks progressed. I never counted a calorie or balked at stuffing myself silly (when not fasting). I ran a lot less (just a couple times a week) and on the other days I carried weights, or went for a stroll with my baby in my arms. I tried to walk and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, though I have a full-time desk job. I also did plenty of shovelglove, which I find more like play than exercise, for 15-30 minutes most days. And when I was tired, I rested.
On the day before the race, about seven weeks after going primal, I was down to 157 pounds and much more muscular. I went to pick up my bib, and couldn't help gawking at the tables where the other runners were filling up on the complimentary "carb-load" lunch.
My own pre-race-day lunch was a feast of pure meat fit for Tarlach: churrascaria after a 16-hour fast. I ate so much I had to take a nap. Then I skipped dinner and breakfast, and headed to the race light as a feather and burning with ketones. I tied the race chip to the heel loop of my VFFs and, in a flash of primal inspiration, stripped off my shirt, spat on my hands and slicked back my hair. All I was lacking was a pot of woad and a penis gourd. (Probably for the best, now that I think about it.)
I started easy off the start line: after the first mile, this course went uphill 400 feet over two miles, and I needed to conserve my energy. But my VFFs were my saving grace! The path was rocky and uneven, crumbling asphalt strewn with debris; the runners were thick on the ground at first, and I was glad I had practiced curb running as I deftly slipped past the first few runners who were starting to flag.
Then I hit the hill, which felt far bigger and longer than I expected. Runners quickly began dropping off left and right, and my VO2max was sorely tested and found wanting near the summit. Grimacing, I broke my stride and furiously power-walked until my breath came back.
On the way downhill, I plunged back into oxygen surplus, and made up a lot of time. I felt like I was soaring through the air in continuous long jumps, pouncing like a parkour traceur from target to target. This was my specialty, the bulk of my training: anaerobic precision work. I was really in the zone!
On the last mile, the runners were definitely thinner on the ground, and starting to look a lot like the pictures in the "post your progress photos" thread. I had emptied my energy reserves and was clinging to the end of my rope. A tiny Chinese woman passed me like a minnow. But I stayed focused on my form and finished strong, with a little insane burst at the end to make Dr. Tabata proud.
When I first signed up for this race, I had hoped just to make it to the end. Then when I discovered PB, I set an ambitious goal of completing it in less than an hour. So I was overjoyed to finish in 53'39", the 70th percentile for my age group (30-34 Male), and 79th overall! Not bad for somebody who had been overweight and chronically ill his whole life until a couple months ago.
Incidentally, the VFFs were a huge attraction for the other runners. At least a dozen people asked me about them before, after, and even during the race, and for every person asking more were listening with interest. Naturally I raved about them. I think we primalists may be ahead of a major fashion trend. Vibram really needs to send Mark an endorsement contract (and me a new pair of shoes).
I want to emphasize that this was a 100% PB achievement, and I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Mark and the whole MDA community. It was your logic that persuaded me; your stories that educated me; and your pictures that inspired me. So my victory is your victory too.
Thank you, and Grok on!