Friday, July 25, 2008

Steelhead prep

Last week was 13.5 hours. This week's a little easier at 11.5 hours. I'm very thankful that my body has tolerated this training schedule without significant injury. Hope I didn't just jinx myself.

Goal for Steelhead. Hmmmm. A Steelhead PR would be nice - that's under 7:50. A 70.3 PR would be nicer - that's under 6:40. I would love to finish Steelhead comfortably enough to feel that IM Florida in November is attainable.

I feel that I've gotten stronger under Coach Dan's guidance. I definitely feel faster on The Bike (it's really not me, I think it's The Bike). I'm LOVING training with power - I think it's really going to help me save some of my legs for the run. My running is pretty stable. My swim is probably my weakest - needs work before November. I also have to buckle down my nutrition - I'm getting a lot better at it, though.

My daughters are all in a tennis tournament this weekend at Franco's in Mandeville, Louisiana. I'm taking The Bike up there to try to squeeze in my 2 hour ride somewhere between matches. I'll try to recruit one of them or my wife to do the 35 minutes run off with me.

We've moved into our new house, but still living among boxes. It takes so much time to get situated! We'll get there...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Los Angeles

My family and I vacationed in L.A. recently. My wife's brother Geno lives there in Ranchos Palos Verdes, a really beautiful area and biker's mecca. While we were there, Geno was nice enough (or cruel enough) to arrange for me to ride with his friend Logan. He forgot to mention what a beast Logan is on the bike. Actually we had a great ride along the ocean - what incredible views! It was rather hilly and Logan had to wait for me a lot, but it was nice to get some training in while on vacation.

We also did a lot of the other typical L.A. things with the kids - Disneyland, Sea World (in San Diego), Universal Studios, the beach, Hollywood, etc. The girls also wanted to visit Dash, the Kardashian's clothing boutique. They're pictured below with Khloe, one of the sisters, who was so incredibly nice during our visit. It's a shame Khloe is going through such a difficult time right now.

While I was at WIBA, my wife, my girls, and a bunch of family and friends surprised me by moving all of our stuff out of storage into our newly completed house so that I would have more time to train - how friggin' sweet was that? I got home after being away for 3 days and everything, including all the heavy furniture and boxes, was here. We slept in our house for the first time the night I got back from WIBA. We still have plenty of box unpacking to do, but what a great head start!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Refueling window

I saw this article recently - good information about replacing your glycogen stores.

I Finish, Then Refuel Fast

by Suzanne Girard Eberle, M.S., R.D.

You come in the door sweaty and tired, but glowing nevertheless after finishing a satisfying five-miler. That's after putting in a full day at the office, of course. A hot shower and the recliner are calling you, but the dog needs to be walked, the kids are demanding attention, and your spouse is scampering out the door to a night class. Dinner is a distant dream.

Or perhaps you run with the gang at lunchtime. You have 10 minutes to shower, dress, and become a productive member of society again. Too bad the cafeteria is all the way on the other side of the building.

Refueling after a workout or race is the last crucial step you must take to ensure that you get the most out of your training. Optimal physical performance requires careful attention to both pre- and post-workout meals. If you consistently miss the window of opportunity that exists after exercise to replace muscle glycogen stores, you set yourself up for poor training and racing efforts in the upcoming days.

The physiology behind this phenomenon is simple. Your body stores excess carbohydrate (sugars and starches), primarily in your muscles and liver, as glycogen. Because of this, the carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis influence the amount of muscle glycogen stored. Since muscle glycogen is the fuel of choice for working muscles, your reserves directly affect your ability to train and compete -- especially in endurance events.

Classic studies conducted by exercise physiologist David Costill illustrate the link between carbohydrate consumption and glycogen storage (see the graph above). Repeated bouts of daily exercise accompanied by a low-carbohydrate diet (40 percent of total calories) produced a day-to-day decrease in muscle glycogen. When the same athletes consumed a high-carbohydrate diet (70 percent of total calories), their muscle glycogen levels recovered almost completely within 22 hours of the training bouts. That's an extra boost needed by those runners who train daily. In addition, training efforts are usually perceived as being easier when muscle glycogen is maintained throughout a workout.

Researchers continue to refine the formula for optimum muscle glycogen repletion. A key element is the timing of your carbohydrate injections. A period exists after intense or long endurance exercise where muscles are most hungry for glycogen restoration. This 15- to 30-minute period immediately following exercise appears to be the most important time to consume carbohydrates.

This window can quickly close, though, as you hunt for family members following a race, or stretch, or shower and redress before scurrying back to your desk. Furthermore, since exercise tends to elevate your body temperature, which in turn can depress your appetite, you can't rely on hunger cues to prompt proper refueling.

Post-Exercise Eating Strategies - The most efficient way to rehydrate and begin replacing the carbos your system craves is to drink a sports drink, fruit juice, or (gasp!) even soda immediately following exercise. Aim to consume 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrate (approximately half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight) within the first 30 minutes following a long run or race. If you choose one of the commercial sport drinks intended for use during exercise (Gatorade, AllSport, PowerAde, etc.), be sure to drink an adequate amount after your run. These drinks are less concentrated (14 to 19 grams of carbohydrate per cup) than fruit juices (25 to 40 grams per cup) or soft drinks (40 or more grams in a typical 12-ounce can). Obviously, soft drinks aren't the ideal daily recovery fluid, as they lack nutritional value, but they'll do in a pinch.

Beer is a poor refueling agent. Its diuretic properties offset any hydration effect, and beer provides relatively few calories from carbohydrates (11 to 15 grams in 12 ounces). At postrace celebrations, be sure to reload first with juice, soda, or a sports drink.

The key is to find a drink that agrees with your stomach and taste buds and then begin consuming it immediately. Be prepared away from home by keeping powdered sport drink mixes or small containers of fruit juice on hand. If you are hitting the trails or going to the track, be sure to bring your recovery drink along.

The best recovery plan also includes eating as soon as possible. While it is important to start consuming carbohydrates right after exercise to replace the muscle glycogen you expended, a couple of glasses of Gatorade alone won't do the trick. You need to complete the job by continuing to snack on high-carbohydrate foods every two hours until your next meal. Aim for 50 to 100 additional grams of carbohydrate every two hours. Some healthy choices include an energy bar (4050 grams), four fig newtons and a banana (about 70 grams), or a cup of yogurt with cereal stirred in (about 60 grams).

Robbie Vandervalk, an investment banker in midtown Manhattan, often squeezes in a run at lunchtime and knows all too well the effects of eating too little, too late. He starts off by grabbing water and fruit at the health club following his run, then picks up pizza or a sandwich on the walk back to the office, saving some yogurt for a late-afternoon snack. "If I get caught up with things at work and try to subsist on just yogurt and fruit, I feel horrible a couple of hours later. I could eat for the rest of the day after that, but it doesn't help," explains Vandervalk.

Kristy Jorden, one of the Boulder Road Runners' fastest females (17:41 5K, 36:55 10K), does most of her training first thing in the morning before heading off to work as a physical therapist or spending time with her 19-month-old daughter, Zoie. After working out, Kristy eats a breakfast of cereal, milk, and toast as soon as she can -- "at least within an hour" -- and feels that it sets the tone for the rest of her day. "If I don't eat fairly soon after I run, it screws up my energy for the rest of the day," Jorden says. She keeps high-carbohydrate snacks -- Clif Bars, bananas, bagels, and a powdered sports drink mix -- at work to refuel between clients.

If you've been dragging at work or can't seem to stay up with the pack, you may be underfueling your muscles rather than overtraining. Assuming that you are eating a balanced diet of foods from all five food groups -- runners cannot live on carbohydrates alone! -- experiment with this post-exercise carbohydrate window for a few days. Chances are you'll feel better throughout the day and, more importantly, during that next run.

The " no appetite" blues

  • Anticipate and prepare for a depressed appetite following long or exhaustive efforts.

  • Concentrate on immediately consuming adequate recovery drinkes that provide fluids and carbohydrates: juices, sports drinks, and even soft drinks in a pinch. Taste matters. You'll drink more of it if it tastes good.

  • Ease in high-carbohydrate foods as tolerated. Popular choices include yogurt, fruits, low-fat milk shakes or "smoothies," cereal, bagels, sport bars, and baked potatoes.

  • Satisfy salt cravings with salted pretzels or lite popcorn, soups, low-fat crackers, or salt sprinkled on your baked potato.

  • Resist the urge to wait for your appetite to return. Your muscles' ability to replenish glycogen is greatest during the "carbohydrate window" immediately following exercise. You may end up so hungry later on that you can't make a nutritious choice.

Suzanne Girard Eberle, a registered dietitian, is a former TAC (now USATF) 5,000-meter champion. Along with deciphering the latest nutrition news, she is busy running the trails in Boulder, Colo.
Permission granted to redistribute, as long as you acknowledge the author, FootNotes and the Road Runners Club of America.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

WIBA remembered

Now that I've had a week to let it all sink in, I'm realizing what a great weekend it was.

We got up Saturday morning, and headed down to Lake Mendota for a swim. A marina at UW - Madison was our take off spot - what a beautiful campus. The water was choppy, and very cold compared to Louisiana water. We swam out and around some of the boats in the marina. The way out was against the chop which was rough, but the way back in was sweet with the chop.

The bike was next. We all drove over to Olin Park and got ready to take off. I rode out the first few miles with a big group, but as the miles and the hills came, we all spread out somewhat. I don't know how, but I found myself riding with my teammate Chris - yeah, the beast that qualified for Kona this year. I was not familiar with the course, so we had to stay together. I really enjoyed riding with him, and I did my best to hang on, but really slowed him down a lot. Luckily, there were a lot of meeting spots along the bike course, and I was able to let Chris go on. Then came Stu.

Stu and I rode the rest of the course together. The hills on the Wisconsin course are brutal for me - we have no hills in Louisiana. Stu, too, had to be very patient and wait for me a lot. The course was very windy that day, and there were several times going down hills that I thought I was going to be blown over by gusts. I ended up riding 72 miles, the longest I've ever ridden.

Saturday night we went to dinner at the Great Dane. I had a great time with my new friends Steve and Pharmie. It's really strange to meet people after you've followed their blogs - they're even better in person.

Sunday morning, bright and early, we ran 13 miles around UW and downtown Madison. What a terrific course. I ran with RobbyB, Stu, Dan, Steve, and Art. I ran with Rural Girl right at the beginning, but sensing that I would definitely get chicked, had to move on to a different group. The weather was awesome, and the run went by really fast. Steve the running beast paced us back in to the terrace - he showed no mercy.

Chris led a bike maintenance clinic back at Endurance House. Unfortunately, I had to head back to Chicago to catch my plane back home. I had a few noise issues with my bike that Chris looked at and fixed while I was at WIBA - he's an awesome bike mechanic.

Many, many thanks to our incredible sponsors - BMC, CycleOps, Vision Quest Coaching, Zipp, 2XU, SRAM, - and to Ironwil and RobbyB for such a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

WIBA - Friday

Like I mentioned in my last post, as of last Wednesday I've finally finished with the absolute deadlines on building the house. Now it's time to focus more on training. Just in time to head to Madison, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Brick Adventure, aka WIBA.

WIBA is an incredible training weekend held in Madison, Wisconsin, open to everyone but held especially for individuals who are competing in/considering signing up for Ironman Wisconsin. It consists of a series of training events and teaching lectures about triathlon, as well as a bunch of serious tri comraderie.

I flew in to Chicago Friday morning, and rented a car to drive in to Madison. I arrived early afternoon, in time to join the rest of the Evotri team on a tour of Saris/CycleOps given by Maggie. We were given an incredible tour of their facility, where they make their bike racks, bike parking docks, indoor cycles, and power meters. The whole facility had such a down-to-earth, "family" feel to it, coupled with cutting edge technology at the forefront of biking power innovation. It was really awesome to see.

We next went to a restaurant on State Street called Gino's. There we ate supper and listened to a talk about training with power given by Angie Sturtevant, the Director of Fitness for CycleOps Power. Ironwil and RobbyB gave out some nice schwag to all participants, and some great door prizes. The night was ended by heading over to a local ice cream shop and enjoying some serious Wisconsin dairy.

We were all so pumped about the start of the weekend!