Monday, February 27, 2017

NOT fat adapted

Starvation Half Marathon
Fat Adapted Half Marathon
Run 13 miles on empty Half Marathon

Being "fat adapted"  or "keto-adapted"  is the concept that you train your body to use fat as fuel without catabolizing muscle protein for glucose.  This is a trend in the world of endurance sports and I have yet to see top Pro's or likely top AG'ers effectively race Ironman fat adapted.  I think it is great for body composition and for sports like Crossfit but Ironman?  Not drinking the kool-aid.  Can you pull off some long workouts fasted? Sure, can you do them well? sure but 10 hours in an Ironman - not so sure.

In any case my post is not about fat adaption really it is about small town 1/2 Marathon I ran Saturday and if I was fat adapted would possibly have fared better off.   Side note, I eat a reasonably high fat diet and what some may say a low carb diet, for an endurance athlete. Why you ask? I went on this food protocol ( I prefer that to diet) when I was dealing with potential Lyme Disease and the antibiotics that were wrecking havoc on my body. I gave up all grains, dairy and refined sugar.  Post antibiotics I decided to stay on this protocol as I was feeling good and wanted to see how I felt when I was off the drugs and back to training. Turns out I am feeling great.   

I digress back to Saturday.  Race day breakfast was mostly carb due to the 16 miles I was running (warm up and cool down) and was 3 cups unsweetened organic applesauce, scoop of vegan protein powder and a banana.  I had my 2x Huma gels for the race in the car and that was where they stayed due to a last minute dash to the porta pottie to find a long line which took me on an additional warm up run to a nice field and thus was running to the start without my gels. I figured I would make up the calories with drinks or whatever they were serving on the course.   I did want to test the Huma out in a "race" (training race) but well not that day.
1/2 filled you get about 1 oz water

My legs were tired and sore and I was not looking to post a PR, but was looking for a solid run.  The rolling hills on the course were at times 8% grade and that is not rolling to me. that is gasping for air running but really walking.  It was a small race so I did not expect an aid station every mile but I did expect more than 3 aid stations and I did expect more than water, as in water ONLY, at each aid station.   I did hear electrolyte drink but I got the tiniest cups of water only. I asked "any food"  and the reply "at the finish line"  So as I stopped to drink as many Dixie cups as I could - really this size and half full at mile 4 I did not realize that was it until mile 8.  

Let's just say by mile 10 ( or12 with my warm up) and after I took ALL the cups of water laid out I was in trouble.  Had I been fat adapted (maybe) my body would be fueling off my fat but it was not and I was bonking. As in I was dehydrated and needed calories .... every corner I was longing for a table with water and any kind of food.  I began to wonder about the foliage along the road, was it eatable ?  My pace slowed and legs got heavy.  The 2 people that passed me with Camelbacks made me, want to rip them off their back and suck down the fluids and calories, envious.  I was seriously looking for discarded gels or anything really in case someone dropped one.

At mile 12 (14) I am thinking thank goodness just 1 more mile and there is a table with kids handing out jelly beans.  At first I thought it was a mirage but nope, jelly beans- i dove in and shoveled them down. I asked of water, "wait I can get you some"  Never mind...keep running slowly to the finish line. And the finish line, by the way was at13.3 miles.... In my state that extra .2 miles as like a mile.  Okay slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

I am dreaming of guacamole and other delicious ways to eat avocado's.  At the finish line I received a medal with an avocado and an unripe whole avocado and water.  I spied a table with huge doughy cut up cinnamon rolls and I inhaled 1 or maybe 2 or 3. I'm sure they were not  grain free but if someone had tried to take it away I would have punched him.  And I did after all have another mile to run.   

Yes this all sounds quite dramatic but it was really piss poor planning on my part, not reading and asking about on course nutrition and forgetting my gels.   I did my last mile cool down death march and drank 3x 22 oz bottles of electrolytes, recovery and water and did not pea for over 90 min.  Yes a tad dehydrated, mind you I sweat buckets.  I drove to Barons in Murrieta and got some fresh guacamole and a bag of carrots and inhaled it all in the parking lot .  Add an almond milk latte and I was sane enough to drive.  

I will say I felt terrible all day- just a reminder of what lack of fuel and calories does to the body. Headache and sluggish.... I like my calories and carbs!  

While I don't plan to "fat adapt" it would have been nice on Saturday!  

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