27 Feb

Five Links Friday

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Here are five blog posts/articles/etc I came across this week that I want to share with you!  Who knows, you might find a new blog to follow.

  1. How I back up, edit, & organize my blog photos
    I always forget to rename my photos I use for the four blogs I manage.  This is a great post on how to manage those photos.  And even better is her use of Picasa instead of purchasing an expensive photo editing application.
  2. Weedkiller detected in Sun Chips
    I try to stay away from chips for the most part.  Every once in a while I’ll eat the chips at one of my favorite vegan cafes in Okc or munch on a few at our work cafeteria if I don’t have another choice.  But this is disgusting and I will now stay away from Sun Chips!
  3. Motorcycles
    Some days I really miss my Harley!  But most days I don’t.  I just lost too much confidence to ride a bike on the street so I’m content with not owning a motorcycle.  I would like a trail bike though.  However, it’s not high on my priority list….so I live vicariously through Amy!
  4. Vegan Quinoa Breakfast Bake
    This looks disgusting….but I read the ingredient list and I KNOW it tastes amazing!  Anne would never let me down. LOL
  5. Beware of this head fake: healthy cereal that isn’t
    First of all, there is NO healthy cereal.  It’s either made of sugar, grains, or processed shit. On top of it all, if you put milk or yogurt on cereal, it’s even worse!  Just stay away and choose something else for breakfast….as long as it isn’t a PopTart!
20 Feb

Five Links Friday

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Welcome to the second installment of Five Links Friday.  While I started this to be lazy, I’m actually finding some fun stuff to share with you guys!  Read on…

Here are five blog posts/articles/etc I came across this week that I want to share with you!  Who knows, you might find a new blog to follow.

  1. Cascade 100
    This girl is an ultra-runner and this race is insane!  Take a look at the elevation chart.  The race starts with 4500 feet of climb in the first 10 miles!
  2. Why you should start eating more walnuts
    Ann is one of my favorite bloggers.  She does eat meat but she has great advice, as well as the science behind it, on current and relevant nutritional methods.
  3. The one thing you shouldn’t be eating
    This is a good post about an ingredient that is doing much more harm than good!
  4. Bikes vs. Cars: The Deadly War Nobody’s Winning
    This is a major issue in Oklahoma City and our surrounding suburbs.  It’s mostly due to urban sprawl and non-cyclists difficulty in adjusting to an every growing cycling community.  I don’t think there’s an easy solution here.  Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.  In the words of this countries most famous crack-head, “Can’t we all just get along?”
  5. Couples who choose not to have children are ‘selfish,’ Pope says
    I used to like this pope.  As an atheist, I don’t agree with his beliefs, but I liked the fact that he was pretty inclusive of everyone and a very humble man.  That was, until he made this asinine statement; a generalization that made him look ignorant and uneducated.  I guess we’re getting more of the same old shit when it comes to the Catholic church!
17 Feb

#16WeeksToGlory: Week 7 recap

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Call me a slacker.  Call me lazy.  I totally blew off my long run this week.  I know I should have sucked it up and slogged out the door to run with my running group, but I was just so damn tired.  All I wanted to do was sleep!  And so I did.

I did get up an ride 18 miles with the Schlegel Bicycles group though.  That was a lot of fun….mostly because it wasn’t a fast pace.

We’re now in week 7 of our 16 week training program.  Our runners have experienced some injuries and should be starting to think about nutrition for those really long miles.  Mile 17 seems to be the magic point where lots of marathon runners hit the wall.  Hitting the wall in a marathon is a horrible feeling, especially knowing you still have 9 miles to go.  But training hard and understanding your bodies nutritional needs can help prevent the wall from appearing.

It’s really interesting to watch other runners go through the same issues I had when I started running marathons.  Non-runners seem to think we just go out and keep practicing running long distances.  There’s just so much more to it than just running!  And most of it is all in our heads!!!

So let’s see how our runners are doing…

Chad Hetrick

ChadAge: 32
Are you noticing any differences with your body, specifically strength or endurance capability, with the mileage increasing this high? Running long on the weekends definitely makes the midweek runs seem a lot easier.
How are your injuries? Healing or new ones? After my 18 mile run last week my right hip was a little sore. Since I’ve had a previous injury there I took it easy and cut off a few miles this week. It seems to be back to normal after my run today. I have another high mileage week next week so I’ll see how that goes.
Have you started to think about nutrition during the race? I constantly think about it. Probably too much yet I still haven’t nailed down a plan. It will likely be some combination of Humma chia energy gels, shot blocks, electrolyte pills and water. I’m loving the chia energy gels.

Christy Taylor

ChristyAge: 42 (will be 43 in January)
Are you noticing any differences with your body, specifically strength or endurance capability, with the mileage increasing this high?
I was able to run 10 miles this week without issue. I did incorporate spin classes to help strengthen my knee. While I am still behind in mileage, I have been able to gradually increase mileage without swelling. My knee feels a bit tinder and I’m handling the workouts well. If all goes well this week, I will add strength training. I was able to maintain an average pace of around 8:30 – much better than I thought I would be able to maintain. The biggest challenge for me is patience. I want to RUN, however, I have had to admit to myself that I just do not heal like I used to and have accepted the importance of taking understanding my limits.
Have you started to think about nutrition during the race? Nutrition has been on my radar. I came across an article discussing an aggressive fuel plan (I believe it was about every 15-30 min) that alternates between Gatorade and goo. It will be something I will need to begin practicing. I’ve never had anything during a race outside of liquid. My other challenge regarding fueling is Crohn’s disease. Finding the right combination now will be very important. I have repeatedly read about “the wall” and I don’t want to be the race participant who ends up losing control of my body. (I often think of Iron Man races where the people are crawling, running sideways, refusing help and collapse). My *other* goal is to finish while mostly vertical.

 

Zella Classen

ZellaAge: 22
You should be around 14-18 miles for your long run this week. Since the magic number seems to be 17 miles where a lot of marathon runners hit the wall, how did you feel after your long run this week? Well my long run this week was 12 miles. I will be running 15 miles next week (as I am a week behind) But the 12 miles was pretty good! I haven’t ran that far before so all of this is just one big journey. The last 3 miles really sucked. But I still enjoyed it! I averaged a pace of 9:45.
Are you noticing any differences with your body, specifically strength or endurance capability, with the mileage increasing this high? Yes I do feel that endurance is getting better. And my mental strength for running these distances. My hip flexors are definitely getting stronger they didn’t seem to bother me so much during my run this week!
How are you injuries? Healing or new ones? I haven’t had any issues lately!
Have you started to think about nutrition during the race? I have, sort of. So far experimenting with different energy has been good, I’ve liked them all. I need to look to see what energy sources they will be providing and possibly try them to see if they work for me… Maybe I’ll do that soon lol

 

John Doddy

JohnAge: 50
You should be around 14-18 miles for your long run this week. Since the magic number seems to be 17 miles where a lot of marathon runners hit the wall, how did you feel after your long run this week? My long runs were 15 and 17 miles over the last two weeks. During the last few miles my thighs felt REALLY fatigued. Afterwards my body was sore but I recovered quickly.
Are you noticing any differences with your body, specifically strength or endurance capability, with the mileage increasing this high? One thing that surprises me is my endurance. Now I can run 8 plus miles without even thinking about it. A year ago I would have needed a lot more preparation before running that distance.
How are you injuries? Healing or new ones? I’m still monitoring my IT Band situation and it seems to be under control. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any new injuries.
Have you started to think about nutrition during the race? I’m thinking about my nutrition and taxes but I haven’t finished either task.

 

Lexi Garrison

Lexi
Age: 31 (32 in February)
You should be around 14-18 miles for your long run this week. Since the magic number seems to be 17 miles where a lot of marathon runners hit the wall, how did you feel after your long run this week?  Well, my 14 miler last week felt great! Unfortunately due to an injuring from my gracefulness (not running) I had to miss this week’s 16 miler.
Are you noticing any differences with your body, specifically strength or endurance capability, with the mileage increasing this high?  I have noticed that my strength is getting to where it surprises me. Last week I even beat my previous half PR by over 3 minutes.
How are you injuries? Healing or new ones?  While walking through the kitchen Saturday afternoon. I stubbed my pinky toe on a stool and ripped the nail plus some wide open. After a trip to the minor emergency clinic it’s bandaged and I have to go see a pediatrist this week sometime. I’m walking fine but the issue is going to be putting a shoe on my foot. Hoping to get a lot of time in on the bike and elliptical at the gym this week.
Have you started to think about nutrition during the race?Not much more than what I’m already doing with nutrition every 4 miles or so.

13 Feb

Five Links Friday

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Ahhh, laziness!  Most of the time I’m the epitome of lazy.  All you have to do is look at my house to understand that.  When I should be cleaning, I’m watching TV!  When I should be doing the laundry, I’m sitting in a coffee shop.  When I should be writing a substantive blog piece about health, exercise, or running, I’m looking for the cheap way out.

Hence, Five Link Friday!

I know, this is the cheap way out.  But, I own this little blogging slice of heaven so I can publish what I want!  Don’t judge.  You know you want to be as lazy as I am.

Here are five blog posts/articles/etc I came across this week that I want to share with you!  Who knows, you might find a new blog to follow.

  1. 10 workouts you can do in a hotel room

    PumpsAndIron.com.  This is a new blog I just found but it looks pretty helpful.

  2. Spiced Vegan Lentil Soup

    I love Cookie + Kate’s recipes.  Loads of her stuff has made its way to my Evernote recipe account.  I highly recommend her stuff.

  3. Creative ways to display race medals

    We’re all looking for a way to re-purpose those race bibs!  This post has some fun ideas.

  4. My top 5 blogging tips

    I’m not sure how many hits Mary gets each month, but she usually has some fun content.  It’s not real informative, but it’s short and worth a scan.

  5. Vanilla Bean Almond Butter

    Holy crap this looks amazing!!!

09 Feb

My Monday Mantra: #IBlameStacy

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20150208_204437127_iOSThere are lots of activities in life that hurt.  Running a marathon, competing in a half ironman, listening to Kanye West’s music are just a few I can think of at the moment.

Yesterday I rode 50 miles on gravel with a bike that was made for Saturday afternoon strolls to the beach.  Guess what?  That freakin’ hurt!

Honestly, I wanted to back out of the ride but my friend Stacy basically told me she’d drive to my house, kick my ass, kill me, kick my ass again, then duct tape me to her handlebars to make me participate in the ride.

I opted for the easier activity: I rode it myself!

I have three bikes.  One is a Cannondale road bike.  One is a Cannondale TT bike.  And one is a Trek FX 7.1 rigid fork bike that is made for tooling around the city and stopping at coffee shops and bars.  So in my complete stupidity, I decided to ride 50 miles on gravel roads using this bike.  I wasn’t about to do it on my two Cannondales!

By mile 25 we were tired.  At mile 35 we were cursing.  When we hit the turn at mile 40, I could hear Stacy screaming behind me, “There’s ANOTHER F*CKING HILL!”

In all honesty, a 35-40 mile trek would have been perfect.  We slogged out those last 10-15 miles in pure torture and finished dead last.

When we got back to the start, I dumped the bike, grabbed my cooler, and popped open a beer….something I had sworn off for the month of February.  Stacy didn’t even care what kind of beer I brought for her.  She was so tired she just opened it up and started drinking.

While I had a good time, as I sit here in a coffee shop on this beautiful Monday morning in Oklahoma City, I can feel the soreness in my back and quads.  And here’s the bad part….the real soreness won’t set in until Tuesday morning.

My hashtag mantra today is #IBlameStacy!

Stacy and I have decided that next year we will sit in a bar and take pictures of our food an beer while the rest of the group tortures themselves on this ride again!  We will hashtag that day with #Suckers!

I can tell you that I saw some pretty cool sights while riding through BFE Oklahoma though.  One of the best was the house with the dozen or so goats hanging out on top of the cars parked in the driveway.  Kurt would be proud.

20150208_180623858_iOSI can’t imagine the beating those cars have taken.

20150208_155807310_iOSMostly I just loved the solace of it all.  I love the horses and livestock you see on these back roads.  I love being alone with my thoughts, no headphones, no music, no distractions other than the random redneck driving too fast in his truck.

20150208_180610811_iOS 20150208_175456524_iOS 20150208_155825307_iOS 1My friend Neil has been giving me shit about m y pink bottle!  Personally, I like it.  I had to steal it from my wife because I couldn’t find my other bottles.  Other than the lipstick on the spout, it worked just fine!

I’ll leave you with one final thought: Chamois Butter!

 

 

05 Feb

Running isn’t bad for you; poorly conducted research is!

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Caveman_301If you’re involved in the running community, you’ve most likely seen some recent studies that claim long distance running is not very good for you.  Actually, these studies claim everything from it’s bad for you to you might as well just be a couch potato!

What truly bothers me about these studies is that most people will take them for face value, failing to dig deeper and deeper into what the study actually researched.  There are so many variables to consider in scientific studies and most of these studies leave out crucial pieces of the puzzle.

Not once have I seen these studies speak about these important questions:

  • How does nutrition affect running versus sedimentary lifestyles?  Does a vegan runner have a different life expectancy than a carnivorous runner?  What about a vegan non-runner versus a carnivorous non-runner?
  • Were the participants past or current smokers?  Did they grow up around a smoker?  How does second hand smoke factor in?
  • The last set of questions brings up occupation?  Do you work in a bar or smoking environment even though you’re a non-smoker?
  • What’s the family health history of each participant?
  • Were the participants vegetarians, vegans, or meat eaters?
  • What environment did they grow up in?  What was their social structure like as a child?  Adult?
  • Marital status?
  • How did the study participants die?  Disease?  Accident?

All of those questions play into how the body functions and the way it reacts to stresses placed upon it.

Look, humans have been around for about six million years.  Modern humans, that we recognize today, have been around for about 200,000 years.  We’ve been running long distances to hunt for a long, long time.  Endurance, before our ability to make tools, was our strength!  To come out at this point and say that long distance running doesn’t hold benefits or is bad for you is just reckless and contradictory to what most of science tells us.

There are a couple of points I want to make in writing this post:

One, if anyone tells you that running is bad for you, run!  Run far and run fast from this this person! (no pun intended)

Running is a fundamental part of our DNA.  Stamina is what separates us from other animals.  In Chris McDougall’s Born to Run book, he presents much more in-depth, scientific research about this.  But the fact is, humans were born to run!  It’s what we do and we do it well.

kelloggs-frosted-mini-wheats-hot-or-cold-large-8Two, always look at who conducted the study.  Who funded it?  Who has the most to gain and lose?  A perfect example is the processed food industry.  Companies like Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Proctor & Gamble spend tens of millions a year on studies they want swayed in a certain way to prove that certain foods have certain effects.  It is to their benefit that they back up their claims with scientific proof.  The problem is, most of us don’t know where to look to figure out who is funding such research.  That’s why YOU, the consumer, need to read to become informed.  A great book about this topic is Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.  Moss did excellent research into why our food supply is one big pile of chemical and marketing excrement!  You know those Frosted Mini-Wheats they claim will help your kid get better grades in school?  52% sugar.  That doesn’t include the milk you just poured on top.  I didn’t realize a truckload of sugar helped you get good grades!

And lastly, I’m not sure I care if running will shorten my life or is just as effective as sitting on the couch.  I’d much rather live a healthy life running than a fat, unhealthy life full of disease and big & tall clothes!

Personally, I plan on killing over at the finish line after completing a 140.6 mile Ironman Triathlon!  NOTE: I would like to apologize to the future race director for my untimely demise, but trust me, I will die happy!

2014 Redman Half Ironman Triathlon....pre-med tent!

2014 Redman Half Ironman Triathlon….pre-med tent!

02 Feb

#16WeeksToGlory: Week 5 recap

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We’re about a third of the way through our training cycle.  It’s interesting to see small injuries creeping in because of increased mileage.  These are critical times when a runner has to pay attention to his/her body and make adjustments so they can continue to increase mileage over the next 11 weeks!

Let’s check in and see how our runners are doing with the increased stresses on their bodies and winter weather wreaking havoc on training!

Chad Hetrick

ChadAge: 32
How many miles did you run this week?
40 miles. January was my biggest mileage month ever!
How did you handle running in the nasty rain and cold this weekend?
I avoided it. I ran east/west Thursday through neighborhoods, took rainy Saturday off and ran trails at Arcadia Sunday. No wind in the trees!
Are any injuries flaring up or healing?
Overall, I’m feeling great right now. All previous aches and pains have gone away. I made a dumb shoe decision running at the track on Tuesday and have some massive blisters on both feet. They don’t feel good but hopefully won’t last too long.

Christy Taylor

ChristyAge: 42 (will be 43 in January)
How many miles did you run this week?
I ran a total of 9.5 miles. Way behind what my weekly mileage, but felt the best since injuring my knee.
How did you handle running in the nasty rain and cold this weekend?
I have a waterproof hooded jacket that I used. The first quarter mile was unpleasant and the remainder felt really good.
Are any injuries flaring up or healing?
My knee is healing. I’m finally feeling like I can achieve my goal. The last few weeks had me questioning my goal. I went through the same mental block last fall recovering from a hip injury and ended running faster than ever.  I’ve been concentrating on how my knee feels and paying close attention to my stride. If I feel myself favoring my knee, I stop and reassess. So far, so good!

 

Zella Classen

ZellaAge: 22
How many miles did you run this week?
I ran 18 miles.
How did you handle running in the nasty rain and cold this weekend?
I think it went better than I thought it would! My pace was a little slower. But I’m not worried!
Are any injuries flaring up or healing?
Yeah last week after my 10 mile run and then working on my feet 7 hours afterward my right foot started hurting. I think I re-injured an old sprain. So, I took it a little easy during the middle of the week but it’s feeling a lot better!

 

John Doddy

JohnAge: 50
How many miles did you run this week?
After a Week 4 total of 33.5 miles, I only ran 6 miles during Week 5 due to a respiratory viral infection.
How did you handle running in the nasty rain and cold this weekend?
N/A
Are any injuries flaring up or healing?
I’m continuing to monitor and treat my IT Band Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis. So far neither condition has negatively impacted my training.

 

Lexi Garrison

Lexi
Age: 31 (32 in February)
How many miles did you run this week?
I got between 21 and 22 miles.  But the best part was every bit of it was outside in some amazing weather!
How did you handle running in the nasty rain and cold this weekend?
Saturday morning’s run actually wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be and I’m glad I forced myself to get to the lake.    I decided to suck it up and loop the lake (not avoid the damn by turning around half way), although I did make sure the dam was in the first half of my run and not the last half.  The rain was just light enough that I really didn’t notice it and there was very little wind that morning (even on the dam it wasn’t bad).  I was actually surprised at how wet my clothes were when I got back to the car, and I was definitely glad I remembered some clothes to change in to as it didn’t take long for my body to cool off.
Are any injuries flaring up or healing?
No injuries really although I did have some good learning experience on Saturday.  I decided to wear my old running shoes since it was going to be nasty and I’m not quite ready to get the new ones that “broken in” yet…  Last year I had some trouble with pain in my right hip once I got to mile 9 in my runs.  However, since I had switched to the new shoes I hadn’t had any hip pain, even up through 12 miles.  Really all I have dealt with is some very minor shin splints.  Saturday though was a different story.  Three miles in, I could feel my hip starting to hurt.  I pushed through it taking a few breaks to put some pressure on my hip joint using my fingers (not like that really helps but…).  I made all ten miles in a decent time, about 5 minutes slower than normal.  It just reminded me though how important shoes are and made me realize the new shoes are going get dirty at some point so it might as well be now!  The old shoes are definitely going into retirement after this weekend!

02 Feb

I’m going on the wagon!

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Over the last six months or so I’ve been a bad, bad boy!  The famous “Beer After a Run” has consumed my life to the tune of too much wasted money and weight I can’t shed.

I’ve combined my COOP F5 habit with eating out at lunch every day and most evenings because I was getting too lazy to cook.

All that stops today….for the month of February.

When I decided to lose weight back in 2012, the first thing I did was stop eating out.  I brought my lunch to work every day and that alone helped me control portions and ingredients.  It’s amazing what portion control will do for your waistline.

But I also coupled that with a decrease in alcohol consumption.  Think about this…

We run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Each of those days I have beers afterwards, whether I bring it or we go out.  I’m a pretty solid COOP F5 drinking.  That means I’m consuming three to four cans of F5 at 270 calories per can.  That’s roughly 1000 calories in beer alone.  Add in whatever I’ve eaten for dinner and we can push that to probably 1600-2000.  And that’s for dinner only.

I eat very well, but eating out can still be bad.

Tonight I will go to the gym to swim and run a couple of miles (because I blew off running this weekend.) and I will weigh myself to get a baseline.  I’m guessing I’ll hit the mark at 196.  At my lowest, I was weighing in at 184, and I still needed to lose 15 pounds!

So, let’s see how much I can drop over the next four weeks of clean eating.  I still run and swim like crazy so hopefully I can drop a good 15 for the month of February alone!

I’ll see you on the other side…..and you better have a damn beer for me.  I’m sure I’ll be cranky!

01 Feb

Lactic acid buildup in runners

Marathon.

shutterstock_154016036It’s important to note, before you read this blog post, that I’m not a physician, dietitian, registered anything, or have any background in science or medicine.  I’m just regurgitating what I’ve read on the internet and hoping to pass along the information.  So take it all with a grain of salt and understand that I could be totally wrong!

I’ve been running for almost three years and one of the biggest problems I face in long distance running is total fatigue and soreness when the mileage gets high.  When I say high, I’m talking about distances over a half marathon.  At this point,  half marathon is nothing but a training run in my book.  I’m not saying that to be insulting.  I’ve just done a lot of running and 13.1 miles isn’t a big deal any more.  Trust me, it once was!

Over the years I always thought the solution to delaying fatigue was continuing to run longer and longer in training so my body adjusted to the distances.  While this is a good training technique, it’s not exactly the end all/be all solution.  So many outside factors go into running long distances you can’t just nail it down to one issue.  All of our bodies are different and handle the stresses of exercise differently.

Last week I was watching an episode of Stan Lee’s SuperHumans.  This particular episode had Dean Karnazes.  If you don’t know Dean, just look up any ultra-running blog or story and you’ll see his name all over it.  He has done some amazing things and I would probably rank him up there with Scott Jurek, Anton Krupicka, and Jenn Shelton: three of my ultra-running heroes.

Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes

The host took Dean to a doctor and gave him a lactate threshold test.  I’ll invite you to look up the indepth particulars of lactic acid, but here’s the short scoop.

Usually, the body uses oxygen to produce energy in the body. However, when you push yourself hard during a workout, your body requires energy faster than your body can produce it using aerobic methods.
When this happens, your body uses anaerobic methods to produce energy, as it can do this much faster than with aerobic methods. Lactic acid – or lactate – is a byproduct of these anaerobic energy production methods.
Copied from wikihow.com

This buildup of lactic acid can cause the burning sensation you feel when your muscles get fatigued.

I went on this little sidebar from Dean’s story to tell you this….

As Dean runs longer distances, his lactic acid levels don’t change.  In some cases, they actually go down.  Now, I have no idea how this is possible.  I don’t understand the science of a lactate threshold so I can’t answer that question. But it brought me to another question: could friends of mine who are so successful running long distances, like Katie Karmer-Ochoa and Cory Davis, experience the same phenomenon as Dean?  Cory and Katie are consistent 3 hour and sub-3 hour marathoners.  I’m not saying they don’t get tired, but the ease at which they run is unparalleled within our running circles.  I could train and train and train and still not run like they do!

I asked Katie about a lactate threshold test and she’s never taken one.  I’m not sure if Cory has done it either but I’ll ask him soon.

Scott Jurek running with a Tarahumara runner in Mexico.

Scott Jurek running with a Tarahumara runner in Mexico.

So how do people like me, an average runner, ward off the effects of lactic acid buildup?

There are several theories that try to help reduce lactate levels.  Some are as simple as hydration and nutrition.  Some deal with breathing techniques.  I’m not sure what the true answer is, but I’ll list several here to help you find your way.

  • Stay hydrated during long runs.  One of my biggest mistakes in races like marathons and triathlons has been hydration.  Here’s the ironic part: I drank loads and loads of water.  This was actually a huge mistake.  In the 2014 Redman Triathlon, I went into kidney failure at mile 7 of the run because I had consumed gallons of water and I effectively washed out all the sodium in my system.  I was in hyponatremia.  This is where your kidneys can’t function properly because there’s no sodium to help hold in the water!  I don’t suggest you get to this point.  I took six bags of IV fluid after the race to get me re-hydrated.

    To sold this problem, use sports drinks with electrolyte replacement qualities.  You’ll have to experiment to figure out what works for you.  I hate Gatorade and PowerAde but those are the two most often used drinks in races.  One of my favorite is Skratch powder.  It’s organic and healthier.  Unfortunately, you have to mix it yourself which takes precious time in a race.

  • Breathing.  Ever get a side stitch?  From what I understand, it’s caused by lack of oxygen to those muscles.  I try to solve side stitches by breathing slower and deeper, trying to take in more oxygen in hopes it will make it’s way to the affected muscles.  I’m not sure this is a proper technique but it works some of the time.

    Delivering more oxygen to your  muscles also helps with lactic acid production.  The muscles will use oxygen first (for energy).  The more oxygen, the less lactic acid.

  • Increase your magnesium intake: eating leafy greens like kale, spinach, chard, beans, and some nuts as well as tofu will all increase your magnesium.  Maybe this is why a vegan like Scott Jurek is so successful.
  • Baking soda in water.  I’ve never tried this but I saw a suggestion of drinking water mixed with baking soda.  Baking soda is and alkaline substance and can help neutralize acid levels.  To get the correct mix, wikihow suggests mixing 0.3g of baking soda for every kilogram of body weight into 12 oz of cold water. and adding a little lemon juice for flavor.
  • Vitamin B.  Once again, we get back to those green vegetables and beans!

I’m sure there are a million ways to skin a cat.  You just have to find the best method for you.  And if you find the magic cure-all, please let me know so I don’t end up in medical again.

 

29 Jan

To headphone or not; that is the question

Young person listening misic running in city street

Hi, my name is Sean and I’m addicted to my headphones.

I’ve been running with headphones for almost three years.  Music pumping, beats thumping, it carries me to a different place while I run.  I love it when the 30 Seconds to Mars’ song Kings and Queens comes on my playlist and charges me up.  If I’m alone, I will sing out loud.  Sometimes I even forget that I’m not alone and you’ll hear me hum a tune!

I couldn’t live without my headphones!

Or so I thought.

After training and competing in the Redman Half Ironman last year, I realized that I wanted to be much more involved in triathlon.  And for the sake of safety, triathlons do not allow headphones, earbuds, or music of any kind during competition.

I’m not here to argue that point.  I totally agree with them.  Triathlons are dangerous and allowing a racer to wear earbuds while riding a bike at 40+ mph is downright reckless.

I use my headphones to help me with my cadence while running.  I set up a playlist that contains the beats per minute I want to achieve.  As I stride along, I can rely on the music to keep me at pace.

But all of this changed on January 1st when I dumped the headphones, and I’m so much happier I did.

The addiction was real.  There was separation anxiety, depression, nausea.  It all led to loss of appetite and experimentation with controlled substances.

Ok, I kid!  But seriously, the addiction was quite real, and it was tough to overcome.  I had to come up with new ways to handle my rhythm and cadence.  Since breathing correctly is so important in long distance running, I’m having to work at it very hard and come up with creative ways to stay on track.

There are many reasons I dumped those headphones, the main reason being triathlon.  But running without them has many benefits that just outweigh the need to wear them.  I can now hold a conversation with my running partner.  Before, I was alone in my own little world where I would escape.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but running on a busy road or trail while daydreaming about the song blasting in your ears can be dangerous.

A recent study found that injuries among pedestrians wearing headphones tripled between 2004 and 2011, with most accidents occurring in urban areas.
NY Magazine

When I was in the military, I started to realize why the drill sergeant would call cadence.  It wasn’t just so we would all stay in formation at the same pace.  Calling cadence helped our breathing; chatting with your running partner has the same benefit.  Yes it’s tiring.  Yes you will find it difficult.  But so what?  There’s benefit and that’s all that matters.

My advice?  Dump the headphones.

headphones-1vl0

Make the change slowly.  I think you’ll eventually get to the point where you’ll love it.  And the best benefit is that I can now hear that car….or dog….creeping up behind me!

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