Yippee

Looks like the blog is staying clean, and the Garmin connect links are working again.

I’m not really sure where today’s run came from.  I was feeling pretty beat up after yesterdays weight set and 5k swim, and a serious lack of sleep last night.  Grabbed some coffee around 3:00pm and that seemed to help.  I finally logged off the work computer and headed out the door at 5:20 for my run.  The workout called for an hour, with intervals, but I didn’t want to push it too far hard.  I chose to do a my standard 5k loop instead, and just let the run happen.  After a bit of a cludgy start, faffing about with HRM strap and wonky HR readings, I was cruising pretty effortlessly through miles 2-3, and ended up with comfortable negative splits (IF = .987).

I think I’m going to be just about ready for some fresh FTP and pace testing next week!

Quickie week in review

Another pretty good week of workouts. EC strength workouts are a bit tough to get used to, but that’s to be expected. Good long ride on Friday, and a nice MTB on Saturday. Also got 2x PAP workouts done.

This coming week I hope to start masters swimming again at Berkeley Aquatic Club,  On Saturday I’m riding the Hell of Hunterdon (80 miles, 5000′ climbing) and Sunday running the NYRR Colon Cancer Challtnge 4-miler.

I also want to TRY to get in 2x core workouts a week.  We’ll see how that works out!

Moving to the next phase

I’m starting to make serious plans to embark on a new phase of life.  Starting to list action items, do the research, experiment with installations and lots of reading.  By the end of the months I hope to have registered with the state, & fed, lock in domain names, and set up initial web presence.  By the end of April I should have certifications completed and can hang out the shingle.  Stay tuned for the news!

Limitless

As I was progressing through my outseason training, it began to be very apparent that my running needed some help.  I’ve been given some advice by other coaches that I should consider a professional gait analysis.  As I did the research on this, I came across some strong recommendations for Pursuit Athletic Performance (PAP) in Old Saybrook CT.  I signed up for their gait analysis evaluation as a birthday gift to myself.

My appointment was for this past Friday, and the session went really well.  I was the first athlete of the day, and had the full and undivided attention of Coach Al Lyman and  Dr. Kurt Strecker (DC).  The evaluation included assessment of:

  • muscle length
  • joint mobility
  • joint stability
  • motor control and coordination
  • appropriate muscle action
  • resiliency and resistance to fatigue and
  • functional strength

This was accomplished through a combination of static measurements, stretching measurements, and video recording of my running form on a treadmill, both barefoot and in my normal running shoes.

Here is the video evaluation:  (not pretty)

The evaluation lasted almost four hours and I came away with a very detailed and specific report.  Basically my core strength, stability and balance need a LOT of work.  Without this rebuilding, I’m on a course to get injured during training or racing, which will set back my long term goals of a Kona qualifier.  None of this was surprising to me.  I knew that I was hitting the limits of my run fitness based on how I felt after racing or running hard sets, or anything longer than about an hour.

I came out of the evaluation with a set of exercises and stretches to get me through the first phase of rebuilding my running.  The evaluation criteria and results and recommendations was presented in a printed guide, with photographs of the specific exercises and stretches, as well as a DVD with video examples of the same exercises and stretches.

So now, the rebuilding work begins!

 

Food as Fuel

I’m just about through my first Whole30 session.  30 days of focused attention into what I shove in my pie hole.  I dropped all grains, dairy and sugar from my diet during January to see how my body would react and how it would affect my training.  The results are pretty awesome.  I dropped  over 5 pounds (from 162 to 155) and lost 3% body fat (18%-15%).

The Whole30 program is a really strict approach to a Paleo diet, which is based around the theory that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were healthier, stronger and lived longer (excluding accidents and being eaten by saber-toothed tigers).  During my experiment, I focused on good quality, organic meats and eggs, lots of vegetables and fruits.

Some of the stuff I ended up eating weren’t Whole9 approved.  For example, Lara bars are considered a “sweet” and should be used sparingly in the Whole30 program.  I love Lara bars, and would occasionally use them as breakfast or a mid-morning snack when I had a early morning workout.  I also ate Kind bars for the same reasons.  Kind bars are less paleo because of the added honey as a sweetener, where Lara bars are just fruit & nuts.  I kept adding Hammer Whey to my breakfast smoothies because having a chicken breast for breakfast isn’t my thing (yet).  I also used Hammer Recoverite right after a hard workout because this stuff just works for me and really does help me recover faster.

I also had a couple of days where I just threw out all the rules and ate what I wanted for a particular meal  Those days were interesting experiments to see how my body reacted to the different foods.

So what have I learned from these last 30 days?

  • I’m much more tuned into my body’s fuel needs.  Sometimes feeling hungry is my brain telling me I’m over-stressed.
  • Having too FEW calories are as bad as having too MANY calories.  I get really grumpy the day AFTER I’ve shorted myself calories.
  • Real foods taste great.  I’ve always liked fresh vegetables, salads and fruits, but I’m finding that I start CRAVING them right after a day where I’ve had stuff that isn’t paleo.
  • I may not be celiac, but I have much less GI distress by eliminating all grains.
  • Sticking to a paleo diet means that I’m thinking about my next meals frequently.  It takes more work to eat this way.

At the start of this experiment I was worried that I’d have problems keeping my energy levels high enough to maintain my workouts.  This was never the case.  In fact, I never had a serious bonk or even “afternoon dip” in energy levels.  I used to have both of these problems on my standard diet.  In fact, my energy levels seemed HIGHER when I’m on this eating plan.  That’s likely due to increasing complex carbs from fruit & veg and eliminating simple carbs from sugar and grains.

So what’s next?   Part of the program is the “reintroduction” phase where I’ll add back some of the eliminated foods one at a time to see how my body reacts.  I’ll probably start with some limited dairy.  Before I do start the reintroduction, I want to get my blood work done to get a new baseline.

Ever forward

 

Progress…

The last few days have been great. Weight and BF% are moving down at a slow & steady pace. I’ve passed through the major ‘deprivation’ stage of the dietary change. My energy levels have actually increased, even with a decrease in total daily calories. Wednesday’s bike, and Thursday’s run went very well, with nice negative splits on the 3x1m intervals.

Moving along

Got out for a 60 min run today.  17F, ran with some of the Y-Tri club girls.  I skipped the intervals as I was the run “leader”.  Instead I worked to maintain a solid Z2 pace.  I came in with a 9:21/mile avg, spot on my current Z2 pace and felt really good the entire route.  I may have been able to raise it to 9:15, and still stay in my Z2 HR zone.  The entire run felt really good and strong, with solid form; feelings that are becoming the norm over the last three runs.  I think that the 5lb weight loss over the last two weeks is really helping.  I’m working through the Whole30 program.  I’m hitting 80-85% of the goals, really focusing on zero sugar, zero dairy, zero grains.  I fall off the wagon now and again, but it’s by conscious choice and I try to limit the damage by focusing on portion sizes.

On the blog front, I’m playing with a cleaner look to the site, and eliminating some of the extra widgets.  More work to come.

Race Report: TriRock NY Sprint – Harriman State Park, NY 13 August 2011

TriRock NY Sprint – Harriman State Park, NY
800m swim, 15m bike, 5k run
http://www.compuscore.com/cs2011/aug/nytri.htm

Swim: 14:01
T1: 2:47
Bike: 50:57
T2: 1:18
Run: 25:58

1:35:01

8/26 A/G, 48/289 O/A

Signed up at the last minute simply to “do a race” and shake of the last of the grad school rust. Goals were to go hard, stay on the gas the entire race and see what happened. And thats what I did. I feel pretty darn good about the results, given minimal run speed work, no planned speed work on the bike, and limited swimming. I was confident that I could have a good race, as this past week I had some nice snap in my bike & run, with a breakthrough brick on Wed.

The race: Well run event. Competitor Group has taken over the SBR series and this was the inaugural year. Well organized setup, plenty of parking, nice venue, plenty of helpful volunteers. They lose points for not having the bathrooms open right away, but that may have been the state park employees. Live band, huge breakfast burritos, and free Red Hook beer after the race (but none for me).

Swim – I was in the third, and smallest wave (nice!). I opted for no wetsuit as the water was warm, and it was only an 800m swim. Course was out and back, but the challenge was all the lake grass. The first two waves chopped up the stuff so it was like swimming in Miso Soup. I had to slow up a couple of times to pull the crap out of my goggles, and untangle my hands and arms.

T1 was faffing about with my Garmin and socks. Next time I race a sprint, I leave both at home.

Bike – the course was a long out-&-back, then a short out-&-back. Up a hill, then down a hill. Lather, rinse, repeat. My race plan said “if you are not in pain, you aren’t moving fast enough” so I pushed and pushed. I flew by a ton of people, and only got passed by two or three. I’ve been trying to improve my descending as well, and that really helped on this course.

T2 faffing with the Garmin cost me here too… WTF is wrong with me?

Run – out on a “trail” that used to be a paved path, but was pretty degraded. Started climbing almost right out of the gate, and kept going mostly up until the turnaround. Splits reflect the course: 9:04, 8:29, 7:52.

I got chicked around 2 miles by a 45-49 AG woman (she blistered the uphills), but held off all others in my A/G until less than 400m from the finish where I got passed by two guys flying past me. At that point I was calling down to Scotty for more power, but the silly engineer was out on a break or something ’cause he never returned my call.

Lessons learned: Poor transitions cost me at least two A/G spots. That’s a lesson that stings a bit, but it’s easily fixable. My run needs improvement but it’s come a long way in just a couple of months of effort.

One more thing. It really feels great to write a race report again.

Thoughts on Endurance Nation Lake Placid Rally

It was really interesting to attend the Endurance Nation camp before drinking the Kool-Aid to see whether people were really getting results, and it sure seems like the training works.  I met up with a bunch of IM virgins who were using the EN program and appeared to be fit, fast and almost ready to race.  Everyone was very enthusiastic about the program, the coaches and the entire EN community.  Coach Patrick was a great master of ceremonies for the event.  He kept the program light and fun, gave great talks about the course, and the keys to success at IMLP.

It will be interesting to compare/contrast the EN camp with the Fireman Ironman camp this coming weekend.  While not exactly the same type of event (Fireman camp doesn’t have scheduled/coached workouts) I will get the opportunity to talk to a lot of other athletes with a lot of other coaching plans, including some pro and top-ranked amateurs.

 

Moving in the right direction

157.0#
15.2% BF
BP 110/70
The numbers are moving in the right direction, almost 2# down and 1.4%BF lost. I think that the CrossFit is really working as I’m feeling a lot stronger. I was feeling tired yesterday afternoon, when I went to run, but once I got out on the road the legs opened up and felt really strong. I’m also noticing my shorts and swim suits are tighter across the quads & hamstrings. That’s a good feeling! My diet feels just about right. Not ravenous at any time, lots of fruit & veg and meat. Simple, clean diet. I’m allowing my self to indulge in regular coffee (as in, “Coffee, Regular” to the NJ folks) and I’m actually feeling BETTER for it.

I get bloodwork done today, so we’ll see if the REST of the numbers are moving in the right direction as well.