03 December 2012


I realized that on my previous post, I made a mistake: I reviewed pace instead of time.  The speed trials that I had set up are done for the most part on a single course, with a specific start and end point, so that I can rule out GPS wobble.  On any given walk, my distance will be measured between 0.85 and 0.89 miles.  It isn't a huge difference, but when you're talking about a few seconds of pace difference, a tiny delta in the distance becomes significant.

So, here's the latest version of the graph, measured in time, instead of pace:

rubiTrack 2 - Speed Trials - View 4

Here are the significant data points:
  • 7 May 2012 - 13:45 minutes.  First data point.  The next 3 data points are all in the 13:50 and high 13:40 range.  This is my best time so far.
  • 23 Jul 2012 - Either 14:23 minutes or 13:13 minutes.  I'm not entirely sure what's going on with this one; rubiTrack says 13:13 minutes for the Active duration, and 14:23 for the Total duration.  I have 14:23 written down in my spreadsheet.  Looking at the graph, it makes more sense that it was 13:13.  It's also interesting that this is from the week that I chose to stop eating meat.  Since it's an anomaly, we can discard it.  It doesn't matter.  What matters is the next data point, and what happened after that.
  • 6 Aug 2012 - 13:26 minutes.  This is a clean reading; there's no discrepancy.  I measured a full 19 seconds faster than my best time a couple of weeks after going vegetarian.
  • 13 Aug 2012 - 13:37 minutes.
  • 28 Aug 2012 - 13:52 minutes.
  • 4 Sep 2012 - 13:59 minutes.  These data points are all leading up to the backpacking trip.  I'm getting progressively slower, despite regular walks to build up leg strength.
  • 14 Nov 2012 - 14:25 minutes.  I had been eating meat for a day, including a major creatine source the day before.  It was also colder than it had been in a while, and I got a cramp in my leg halfway through.  So, I'm OK with discarding this time.  It doesn't matter one way or another.
  • 19 Nov 2012 - 12:54 minutes.  Best time to date.
  • 3 Dec 2012 - 12:07 minutes.  Insane.  I knew that I was walking fast, and I was able to keep pushing hard until the end.  Of note: I had only eaten one meat dish and one egg dish between my last intense workout, a run on the 1st, and this walk.  The remainder of my protein sources during that time had been vegetable-based.
What I get from this is continued confirmation of what I suspected in my last post.  I was still building muscle while eating a vegetarian diet; I just wasn't able to push myself as hard in an intense situation.  I suspect very much that this does come down to creatine stores.  If it does come down to creatine, there seems to be a lag between when it's first ingested and when it's available, though that may just have to do with my body's enzymes.

At some point I'd like to revisit this, and see if I can achieve the same results on a vegetarian diet.  Clearly, there are people out there who are able to perform at a high level on a vegan diet (i.e. Brendan Brazier and Scott Jurek).  Furthermore, I found Susan Lacke's recent experiment with a Paleo-Vegetarian diet very interesting, and I might try that next time around.  For now, though, and for the foreseeable future, I'll continue on with my "flexitarian" diet.  (Or, if you prefer, "flexible pesco-ovo-vegetarian".)  While I might be able to get the results I'm looking for without the flexible portion, on a diet where I get my protein and other nutrients from plants, fish and eggs, that wouldn't work due to social constraints.  I don't think it would be fair to my wife for me to be eating fish at the dinner table, which she despises, and not eating the dishes that she kindly cooks for our family.  It's tough enough when I'm not eating meat.

Anyway, I'm done with this topic for now.  Back to the reports.

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