Saturday, February 18, 2017

Embracing the Trainer

This is my 11th season as a Triathlete and my 2nd season "embracing" the trainer.  Every coach I have had, 4 in total, have given me trainer workouts and up until last year I politely declined refused to do them.  My reasoning justification was as follows

1 - I live in San Diego and (until this year with mega rain) can ride outside nearly every day so WHY sit on the trainer
2- I have a flexible work schedule and can ride outside most days
3- Anything you give me on the trainer, I can do outside ( or so I thought) 
4- I don't like the trainer- the main reason! 
5- I am doing reasonably well on the bike and thus don't "need " this form of punishment - okay so maybe it will help but NO
6- This is a hobby and I want to enjoy what I do and riding alone on the trainer is not fun

This was acceptable or my coaches did not want to enforce it for 9 years and for the 1st year of working with Mike.  But at the start of our 2nd year, the trainer became " if you want me to coach you, YOU WILL, ride the trainer as prescribed" So my husband (who has wanted me on the trainer for years) happily purchased the Wahoo Kickr.  I now had a "smart trainer" where I could control the watts and desired effort from an app on my iPhone.  I cannot say I liked it but it was 100% improvement over the old school trainer and then the Computrainer (with 1000 wires and took an engineer to connect each time) we once had.  I also moved it from the "pain cave" to the living room and we purchased a Smart TV so I could watch smutty Netflix shows to pass the time.  
At the start of this season the trainer got even better.... really it did - in 2 ways - see look at me now "liking" the trainer. 

1- TrainingPeaks workoutbuilder where I can upload the exact workout into TrainerRoad  and the tension adjusts automatically based on the workout.  IE:  10 min warm up at 130W, 5x 1:00 @230 W and the trainer adjusts the erg to 230 watts- so I just try to hang on and get the workout done.   Less thinking and just do the work as the "smart" trainer adjusts and I can stream random shows on the big screen. Current trainer viewing is People vs OJ Simpson - OMG great entertainment as I am sweating a river, literally, during intervals.  
2- Zwift is the the latest, genius, innovation in riding inside.  Zwift is described as your digital destination for fitness, fun and adventure.   You ride as an avitar online wtih1000's of riders all over the world.  It is fricking amazing..... I held off for quite a while and finally gave it a try a few weeks ago when I had a 1 hour recovery spin and it was raining outside.   Within 10min I was in a pack on a climb  and pushing over 300W to drop the group I was in,  With my headphones on and music cranking I was apparently calmly talking aggressively shouting at my fellow riders to  "get off my wheel" "take that" "ha dropped your sorry ass"  and John walks about the corner asking what is going on.  I tell him just a recovery ride as I am out of the saddle with sweat pouring on the mat and yelling again.  OMG this is FUN!!!

 If you haven't tried Zwift- do !    You can upload your workouts in Zwift as well but if you do that you cannot draft, pass others etc - so I don't do that.   This AM I  had a trainer workout and was just not feeling the motivation  to buckle down alone (sorry Mike) so I hopped onto Zwift  - There were 1300 other riders on the same course from all over the world.  You can see the names and country flag of everyone around you and it flashes when they pass you. 

Today my " tragedy" was as I was .4 miles from the summit of a long climb my iPad died... turned off - OMG I was screaming...NO no no.  Dang it had to quickly re-start with my phone.  Lesson learned- plug in the iPad -

Riding the trainer is hard -  how some people do it for 3-4 hours I will never know and will not be doing.  Again I do this for run and even Zwift is not fun for that long....

If you are looking to stay safe, maximize time, suffer a bit, increase FTP- I recommend the trainer...and give Zwift a try- it really is fun!   

RE: set up.  Kickr sells a ridiculously expensive mat as in $70 for the " power mat" .  I found a great alternative on Amazon - the Supermat  $29.99. Durable and can absorb a lot of sweat and protect the floor.   They also sell the Wahoo Kickr Desk  which is very convenient and also very expensive at $229.   I found a tripod stand @$49 which works great - why do you need this?  To hold the ipad,  phone, random stuff to say aero and keep riding.   So there you have it..... hope to see you in Watopia soon!  

Monday, February 6, 2017



After a few recent doping violations were handed down in triathlon, both from by supplement use, it made me really think about supplements.  What am I taking? What are others taking? What is really in them and how do you know if they are possibly tainted.

The two sanctions that were recently imposed by WTC  were for Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 is a SARM (selective androgen receptor module) created by GTx to avoid and treat muscle wasting. 

These 2 women both have compelling defenses, passed polygraphs and in my opinion inadvertently ingested the supplement due to cross contamination.

While it is easy to assume that an inadvertent anti-doping rule violation can only happen to someone else, anyone that uses supplements is at risk, even after taking recommended precautionary steps.  Many of the comments on Slowtwitch say just this – the ONLY way to be sure you are not taking a banned substance is to not take any supplements.  No risk there…. but what is a supplement?  Salt tabs are supplements….so here it gets a bit dicey.

The ones that are red flags are dietary and nutritional supplements.  These are defined as products containing “dietary ingredients” intended to supplement the diet. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, herbs, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues and glandular, metabolites, and other dietary supplements.   
Here is a helpful link on the WADA  site.   “Learn to recognize Red Flags”. Watch out for claims like “newest scientific breakthrough” or statements like “secret formula,” “money back guarantee,” “quick fix,” “used for thousands of years,” or “what the experts don’t want you to know”, or the use of impressive sounding scientific jargon – there maybe something in the supplement that is banned.  By using the word proprietary blend, they can add some PED (performance enhancing drug) not label it and no wonder your new energy supplement works wonders. 

Triathletes in general are always looking for something to make them leaner, faster, stronger and it is tempting to fall for the “miracle supplement” that will increase your power, raise your V02 max etc.… Certainly a pill is easier than mile repeats on the track or V02 max intervals on the trainer.... 

Keep in mind there can be health risks associated with nutritional supplement use, and second, even if you “unknowingly are taking a banned substance” anti-doping rule violations may occur.

Pay attention to where your supplements are manufactured.  In many countries, the manufacturing of dietary supplements is not appropriately regulated by the government. Even in the US there is little government regulation on the supplement industry.   Keep in mind every supplement manufacturer does not own the manufacturing facility.  If they run their pills on machines that just ran a banned substance your pill may tainted.  Is that enough to test positive, not sure, but why risk it.

I have read that as many as 20 percent of supplements available to athletes can contain ingredients that are not declared on the label.  Therein lies the risk.  Anyone who tests positive for a banned substance will likely have to deal with the anti-doping process, regardless of how the substance got in their body – knowingly or unknowingly.

This also goes for prescribed drugs.  Any female over 45 likely has low DHEA and Testosterone.  I certainly do and my Dr did not blink an eye in trying to give me prescription for both. When I explained that I am a competitive athlete and cannot take either, she said but “it’s for medical reasons” I explained further and she was dismayed, she had no idea.   A friend recently looked up her prescribed acne mediation and found one of the ingredients is banned.  Look it up WADA  Hit control F and type the drug/ingredients in the search box, if it comes up, you cannot legally take it. 

There are exceptions and if you must take that drug you can file a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption)  Athletes may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take particular medications.  If the 
medication an athlete is required to take to treat an illness or condition happens to fall under the Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) may give that athlete the authorization to take the needed medicine.

So who gets tested…. clearly the Professionals do and some top age groupers as well.  So if you are a MOP (middle of the packer) reading this, thinking this does not apply to me, you are wrong-  it applies to everyone, whether you are tested or not.  It’s about playing fair.  That is like saying you should not be given drafting penalties because you are in 20th place in your AG.  Rule are rules.

AND this is your health. Focus on whole foods, all colors of fruit and vegetables, natural protein, bone broth and pro-biotics. With a proper diet, supplements are not necessary.  
Recap of helpful links  

Bottom line: Eliminate the risk.  The risks associated with supplementation are clear and the responsibility for assuming these risks ultimately rests with the individual triathlete  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My "new" diet..... LOL

Well I've seen a lot of posts about people doing the Whole 30, drying out, cutting out sugar etc in January...I pondered it but after reviewing my December I decided I did not indulge enough to warrant a body reset.   or so I thought
Not your friend and they like to hitchhike
without permission 

We brought home lots of great memories from Santa Cruz, time with the kids, hiking and running and a real vacation.  And as an added bonus I brought home a tiny deer tick who made a meal in my arm. The day after we got home I was taking my arm warmers off post ride and went to brush off the dirt only to realize it was a tick, embedded.  I pulled him out whole and he was alive... watching him run around the sink before I torched him and put him down the disposal.  I did not think about saving him for testing.... The days passed and the arguments continued as to whether I would allow John to cut open my arm, as we was SURE there was a tick head in my arm.  See he really is a Dr in his own head.   Despite my insistence that I got the whole tick out he was pressuring me, but I held firm on that.  NO HOME surgery by my NOT Dr husband. 

John has a sister who has suffered from Lyme for years and it is he was genuinely worried.  Meanwhile I had a low grade headache, was sleeping 10+ hours a night and feeling low energy but not sick perse.  I consulted with a fellow triathlete who is  MD and he said if it was him he would do the 21 day antibiotics - no question.  1- tests are often false negative for Lyme 2- it can take 30+ days for a positive test and the longer you wait to treat, the higher the risk of long term complications.

I went to see my Dr who immediately put me on 21 days of Doxycycline and sent me to the lab. He said regardless of the test results take the 21 days due to the % of false negatives.   As with any drug there are side affects but I was not too worried. I figured get on probiotics and up the yogurt.

I took my first dose and an hour later I had stomach cramps, chills, nausea and had to lay down.  1 hour later I woke up feeling sicker... it soon passed. I was convinced I now had Lyme disease until I took the pill the next AM and same thing.  For 4 days I was miserable. Thanks so Dr Google and a few consultations with some smart people I began to realize these symptoms were from the antibiotic.  Great 21 days of this!   It was suggested that antibiotics were wreaking havoc on my gut and my body- they are causing massive inflammation.

Gotta love a drug that says common side effects: nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, skin rash or itching, swollen glands, body aches, flu symptoms, weakness, increased pressure inside the skull, ringing in ears, dizziness, vision problems....And it seems I enjoyed most of these.  

Fast forward to the anti - inflammatory diet.... No grains, no dairy, no sugar,no legumes, no alcohol....Ok so maybe I will do a January detox.  At this point I was willing to try anything and yes anything....Cutting out all the stuff is just discipline but it is the adding in of grass fed beef, collagen and bone broth that made me pause.   The fermented foods are no issue- Kombucha, raw sauerkraut etc - Love that stuff!  

Buying frozen grass fed beef bones and cooking them for 2 days in the slower cooker was enough to make Roo and Mako crazy and me rubbing essential oils under my nose.  I swear our house smelled like a meat processing plant.   For more on why to drink bone broth.   
YUUUM  -#notsomuch

1- I am basically a vegetarian so this is a big leap
2- I am freaked out by meat on a bone, let alone a pot of bones in my house

BUT when your health is compromised, well mine anyway, and my training was halted, I was willing to yes try anything.

So..... 5 days after I started I woke up
- without a headache
- no nausea
- no stomach cramps
- muscle aches gone
- back to 8 hours a nigh and no naps (well maybe a 10 min power nap)

The idea is that grains/dairy/sugar/alcohol can cause inflammation. My normal healthy body does not react negatively to these groups normally but under the antibiotics it was.  And why the bone broth, collagen, fermented keep creating healthy bacteria in my gut that the drugs are killing every day.

I am definitely not feeling 100% but I had a solid training week and only have 8 more days of the nasty drugs.  I am doing okay with workouts up to an hour but longer than that and I am struggling. Why? the antibiotics reduce the glycogen in your muscles- hello bonk?  And i am not getting enough carbs. I am eating a lot of sweet potatoes but on my longer workouts this weekend I was hurting...

My plan for this week is to add in unsweetened applesauce pre workouts, add some dried fruit/plantains on the longer rides and work on increasing my carb intake with more potatoes. 

What does an average day look like- I do NOT log my food but thinking about the last week I can pull together what I have been eating...

Breakfast- - NOT all on the same day ( well maybe on some days)

  • SoDelicious Coconut Milk plain yogurt with berries, Pepita seeds and hemp seeds
  • Against the Grain Vermont Roll  with avocado  ( cassava flour)  Cassava is a root vegetable and used for some breads  ( Leslie turned me onto these- lucky for me (unlucky for her) she has been on this diet and is a chef and an amazing resource. 
  • Sweet potato with eggs, spinach and other random vegetables 
  • Coffee (this technically should NOT be in the diet) but come on- I have given up everything else- with Organic Coconut Milk
  • Guzzle glass of bone broth I think of this as medicine
Lunch - I am not a 3 meal a day person so I don't have a proper lunch perse usually a 2nd items from above or 
  • Eggs with whatever veggies are in the fridge with vegan cheese (ez to make)   But it does not melt so if you want melted cheese go for  Daiya  (but that is processed and I am trying do as little processed food possible ) 
  • Grass fed meat, organic chicken or some non processed protein in a coconut wrap with veggies and lettuce 
  • Nuts of any and all kinds
  • Fruits and veggies 
  • Sweet potato chips for that " I need a salty snack"
  • Jilz crackers 
Ride Food
  • dates
  • dried plantains (sprouts/Trader Joes sells them) 
  • Lara Bar, RX bar, Paleo Bar (OMG- they LOOK really good and I did not when I scanned the ingredients I was looking for grain/dairy and there was not any so I was happy.  Took a bite of the chewy vanilla pudding bar and it had an odd taste so I look again at the ingredients- #1 ingredient  "Hydro Beef Protein (grass -fed)  WTF... there is NO pudding than can mask a cow" That was too much 
  •  I need some more ideas..... 
Dinner - more of the same....bottom line whole food, real food, no f'ing good stuff Although I am told my body will soon "reject" or not want the inflammatory foods the longer I stay off them... 

The plan is stick to the plan until next Tuesday when the drugs are finished!  I may or may not crack open a bottle of wine and order a pizza or I may give this a go for a bit longer... 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2 months off

I am good at coaching my athletes to take a proper end of the season break- even encouraging them to take a break from me, as much as they love the daily dose of Dunkle. It is good to take a solid break from swim/bike/run and a mental break from waking up to a Training Peak's email with your workout of the day.  But me personally..... I am not so good at losing fitness or taking that break, that is until 2016. The last few years have been do as I say not as I do. 

By the time we crawled, okay walked, out of the Grand Canyon after R2R2 I was so ready for a break, not "I want to quit kind of break" just a proper unstructured few months.  So I hit the pause button with my coach and just chilled out.   I am not a sedentary person so I was active most days,and with 2 Vizslas you cannot be sedendary. Prior to our trip to HK and Myanmar I was cruising the coast on my bike and taking some fitness classes.  My glute was seriously aggravated from, well a LONG season of 2x70.3's, 3 Ironman's and R2R2R, so I needed some time off running.  Then they closed the pool renovation and Alga is cold and well....really I wanted to take a break from swimming too.

When I landed back in the US on 12/4 I was eager to get on my bike, but more so because that is my social time, girl time and I was jonesing to catch up with everyone.  I logged quite a few miles in Dec on the bike but it was casual and slow, as in 40watts under IM slow, it was tooling around, chatting, being annoyed with traffic as it was cutting into my "chat " time. It was also logging miles to allow for holiday sweets and beverages.  Yes gaining a few lbs is okay but I was not looking go gain in the double digits. 

Sure we did some good rides, GWL + Descanso, Rice and Couser etc but the ride times were way way off.... so far off that I nearly missed an appointment.  I plan ride times within 5 min 90% of the time, that is until now and I was off 15-30 min off.  Off season pace.   To say it did not bother me would be a tiny lie, or a huge one as I HATE losing fitness.  Rationally I know needed to lose fitness, not care about watts etc, but when you see your Average Power and ride time for a ride you regularly do and it is shockingly off, it makes me pause and think the climb back up is not going to be pretty.  

The pool reopened mid December and well 4 weeks out of the water + 3 weeks of 1-2 swims a week takes it toll.   I refused to drop down a lane because I am a swim snob  so I suffered at the back of my lane until I had to put on paddles and when that was not working I got out.  Petulant? maybe.....but well it's December I was on my own plan.

The idea of hitting the gym hard in December is good in theory, but did not happen for me.  I went a few times, enough to feel it, but I was operating on do what I want to do. I hopped around to a few strength classes but resolved I know what I need to do and how to do it.  While clinching my cheeks for 20+ min in barre class may give my rear a boost I am not so sure it will help me in the back 1/2 of the marathon in an Ironman.  Functional vs vanity. 

And just like that Jan 1 rolled around and I woke up that familiar email from Michael Ricci:  Schedule for Sunday 01/01/2017 to Monday 01/02/2017.  And I am once again a "follower", although probably not as good of a follower as Coach Mike would like.  I still question, challenge and push a bit or a lot....but the plan is in place.  I dusted off the WahooKickr and reacquainted myself with the suffering on the trainer, can I remind you all how much I DISLIKE that beast.... OUr runs have a purpose again and the weight room is not optional. Biking changes much as riding is my social life I want to "follow the plan" which may mean riding shorter than my friends are, doing intervals when I'd like to be chatting it up...yes this is a hobby but I have big goals for 2017!  So it's striking a balance of fun/socializing and following the place that was written by someone I trust and who knows me and what it will take to tick off the goals.  Got that Mike? 

Here's to 2017 and collecting hardware! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Back at it

Last blog post was 11/21 in the beginning of our Myanmar/Hong Kong adventure.  I started 7 blogs on the trip and just never finished them....what we saw and experienced simply could not be captured in pictures let alone words- so I quite writing and just traveled.  My advice to everyone is get out and experience this amazing planet.  Buy less stuff and experience more.  

Visit any place that inspires you, intrigues you, scares you or is interesting.   For all the negativity about the US, I challenge you to visit other countries, developing countries and you will appreciate all the good in the US.  While many are upset with the President-elect, be thankful we live in a democracy and we have a say in our leadership.  Are you frustrated with day to day challenges....try a country without paved roads or electricity.    And a trip away is good for the marriage.... no racing, just experiencing new lands together. 

Post trip we were unpacking and repacking for our next trip to Santa Cruz. Getting"ready" for Christmas. 

 We spent 5 days in Santa Cruz with the kids and dogs and it was fantastic..... It was 5 days of running with John and the dogs, amazing hikes with the kids and dogs, cooking in our VRBO, playing card games and the funniest game ever Watch ya Mouth, discovering SC dog beach and checking out all of Riley's favorite spots.  I was hoping for quality time and we got our money's worth.

My inspiration to write today is the book.  Shoe Dog  A memoir of Phil Knight and the creating of Nike.  The book is sensational on so many levels.....A humbling tale of how Nike became a $30Billion was not overnight, it was not easy, it was not without so many near fails....the story is riveting, interesting and just plain fun.    

There are so many appealing factors.. running, sport, business, athletics etc.  There's something about athletes. Maybe they know about passion, defeat and team spirit better than others. And maybe that's why they are better than others in handling a real crisis. And when a bunch of them come together to create a company, the story had to be this fascinating. This book reveals a lot about Phil Knight. A humble man who saw the best in others. Maybe he was lucky to find such a driven team or maybe he could just appreciate the good in others better than anyone else. This story is about the time when entrepreneurs created real stuff. Bowerman and Knight, with their expertise in running came together to create shoes that would make running easier for athletes. It was creating something 'real'.  An honest memoir. Read it if you are struggling in a startup. No. Read it anyways ! I am sad the book it over....

Happy New Year!!  Bring on 2017

Monday, November 21, 2016


The Yangon domestic terminal is state of the art in comparison to the Bagon terminal. Tiny, old but efficient.  Without checked bags we are off the plane and on our way in minutes.  

 With our wad of kyat wade through the mane eager taxi drivers. The one we select has a passenger who is a tour guide- convenient 😏. He pitches us en route to the Aye Yar River Resort in a day of touring.  All bookings btw done on Agoda- best app for international bookings.  Book, pay and easily stored with maps for navigation. 
Early check in and I was ready to sleep... jet leg! But we headed out and spend the morning on foot and car seeing a few of the nearly 1000 pagodas and temples.  Just amazing... they are all over in the grass, fields and along the road.  Some really small and others massive... the 

16 hours in Yangon

16 hours in Yangon ... a try at the blogger app.  No pics.. just thoughts 

Getting from my brothers to HK Intl airport is painless.. modern, efficient and a comfortable train ride. Yangon airlines was passable (barely) and now that we are on Air KBZ I've upgraded my opinion of Yangon Airlines.

Arriving into Yangon is impressive as you approach a brand new international terminal. Modern design and beautiful.  Navigating is quite easy and we soon found the $ exchange. Suddenly out 16 $100 bills turned into $2,600,000 kyat.  2 x 3 inch piles of bills.  Crazy... next stop with our wad of cash and was the SIM card and whamo we have cell service. 

The 10 mile taxi ride took nearly an hour due to rush but traffic. The time change is -90 min from HK.  How is that for a new one.  By the time we arrived at the Chatrium Royal Lake Resort I was famished and exhausted...the plan to seek out a place for dinner soon was killed and we found ourselves in the hotel Restaurant and a lavish buffet where you selected raw fish, lobster, meat etc to be grilled as well as copious other options of which some were questionable but most very good.  So far my impression of local wine is quite low.   We feel into a deep sleep by 8:30 with full bellies and enough drinkable wine to feel good.   

The 5:20 wake up call was not necessary as we are still a bit jet lagged and had been up for a bit.  A lavish breakfast included was wasted on me but the coffee was strong and flowed readily.   Onto the dometic airport for our flight to Bagon with a very friendly driver who commentated the entire drive and we undrtstood little of what he said.  We nodded and smiled and toward the end hear "Trump"

But am still unclear if the context.  This terminal is quite old, although ornate, and bustling. Noisy, busy and chaotic. And into Air KBZ and cat piss comes to mind. They were quick to serve breakfast- bun with a mayonnaise and mystery spread, pink cake with frosting and a chunk of dark chocolate.  Wishing now I'd enjoyed the omelette and fresh smoothies. Coffee is warm and instant. 

 Let the adventure begin!