Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: January 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Week 3: A Lot of Words About More of the Same

Since I started this round of training, I haven’t had a day to just relax.  It’s been either train, work, batch cook, work on January goals, socialize, etc.  It’s been an awesome month, but my soul is starting to feel a little thin.  I wanted today to be that day, and it was cool to sleep in and watch a movie this morning, but since then it’s been DO DO DO DO SHIT.  I really really need a day off and some major vegging soon.  Maybe next Sunday?  Please please please?  I’ll muscle it away from ya…

Week four is the last one where the training schedule is the same.  The eating goals are the same.  I’m in a little bit of that third week motivation slump – like the third lap of a four lap course.  It’s no longer new and exciting, and it’s not yet “the last one”.  So, without much ado, let me talk you through my week.

Workouts:

My heel has gotten less creaky, I got to run outside 3 times and I’m not limping and feels better than it has for a while.  That’s a happy for sure!

I did a 1050m test (70 laps) and hit 23 mins.  That’s a ~35 minute mile.  Faster times than I’ve posted for a while/ever (for a while I had the pool measurements wrong so I thought I was faster than I was)?  It felt great to push myself in the pool and I am HUNGRY for some hard pool workouts that are going to come starting March.

Cycling has just been more of the same good.  I’m craving some outdoor riding, but I want to push myself to see what I have outside at a closed road course (Veloway).  I may have to break my zone 1/2 rule just once soon.  For now, loving the trainer movie rides.

Running – meh.  My HR finally came down a bit this week for the lunch runs, but Saturday’s run was just shit.  Allergies, lack of motivation, no music because I’m a dummy and didn’t charge my mp3 player, and just plain tireds made my heart rate go sky high after about mile 1.5 and I was either trotting or walking so I bagged it a little early (with the warmup and cooldown I got my intended 45 mins in, because I ran so frigging slow, but it’s not what I set out to do).  I’ll keep at it, but right now, runs are, pun intended, my Achilles heel.

Weights are good.  Raised everything to 22 reps, and I even upped some weights.  I’m getting stronger.  Let me tell you a story… I went about my normal weights workout on Wednesday…and Zliten and I were staggered so he was on the exercise before me. I get to the squat bar, put my weight on, and go at it. The first set went OK, but the second set was just WAY hard. I started thinking about how the day really drained me. Finishing his last set of the previous exercise, Zliten comes over and points to my bar and gives me a thumbs up. I’m like, what? I then realized I had put two 35s and two 10s on each side instead of 25s and two 10s. Holy crap, I squatted 125 lbs which is 20 more lbs than I was struggling with last week! I almost took the weight off, but figured if I could do two sets I could do three. It did make my hips (of all places) REALLY tender for about 12 hours after but I survived.  I’ll scale back a bit next week (115 maybe?) but that was awesome!

One more week of this schedule and then we start Base 1.  I’ll talk about that more next week when I have a training plan done.

Day by day (this should look familiar!):

Monday: Weights: 3×22… 190 lb* leg press, 40 lb pulldowns, 105 lb squats, 20 lb* dumbell chest press, 60 lb row, 80 lb* calf raises, 10 lb plate situps with twist. Swim: 1290m in 30 mins.
Tuesday: Bike: 11.37 miles in 30 mins.  Run: 3 miles in 36:30.
Wednesday: Weights: 3×22… 190 lb leg press, 50 lb* pulldowns, 125 lb* squats, 20 lb dumbells chest press, 60 lb rows, 55 lb* hammie curls, situps w/twist w/10 lb plate.  Swim: 1350m in 32 mins.
Thursday: Bike: 10 miles in 32 mins (hurty hip).  Run: 3.1 miles in 38 mins.
Friday: off
Saturday: Swim: 1050m test (in 23 mins).  Bike: 20 miles in 52:28.  Run: 3.1 in 40:30.
Sunday: off

Foods Stuffs:

Batch cooking is really awesome, but we found our limit last week.  We decided to cook 4 meals (so we’d have every meal spoken for) and while most were quick and easy, I decided to undertake making two indian dishes with homemade sauces.  If that was all we were cooking, it wouldn’t have been too bad, but after putting together 3 other things, it made the day DRAG and we were just grumpy by the end.

It also resulted in me not putting in the recipes in spark since I was so behind with everything, so I just guesstimated calories, so I was less motivated to track right away, so my food intake was more.  It also gave us some food fatigue – yes, it’s nice having food ready, but I missed my fish.  And Zliten pretty much needs a hamburger every week.  So it was just a little too much.

So, this weekend, we’re already done – it took us about 1/3 the time since we picked easy stuff and as such had time yesterday to squeeze it in.  I already have the recipies in and can now plan out my days ahead of time to maximize my scores!  Lesson learned, just like everything else, if some is good, more isn’t always better.

I’m actually seeming to do well with the no sweet treats.  It may be worth keeping up for February, minus one exception for the damn rum ball I have saved all month in my fridge, and I’ll allow one desert for v-day.  All other sweets need to be consumed right before or during workouts.

Only having one splurge meal per week is working out too.  This week I did really damn well, my “splurge” was a whole wheat thin crust all organic mini-pizza, and the same day but at a different meal, one olive garden breadstick and some croutons.  I did drink 3 times (weird week), so there is that.

Diet Quality Check:

Monday: 26
Tuesday: 18 (had a few drinks)
Wednesday: 20
Thursday: 15 (also had a few drinks)
Friday: 14 (oops :P)
Saturday: 1 (double oops – drinks and snacks at party)
Sunday: 14

Average DQ Score: 15.48 (down about 2 from last week)

Average Cal/Day: 2109 (almost 200 UP from last week)

High Weight 187.2, Low Weight 184.4

So, as you can see, I start out the week well and then all goes to hell.  I had a better diet quality on weekday nights where I had to subtract quite a few points for drinking than Friday and Sunday when I just didn’t eat the right food.

Piss poor planning prevents proper procedure.  This week was piss poorly planned.  Not making that mistake again next week.

Next week, my goals are to:

  • Keep the food calories lower, but diet quality the same or higher.
  • Plan out what I’m eating before I’m forced to just grab shit and hope it’s not too many calories/the right things.
  • Eat my damn rum ball on Feb 2 after training.
  • Try to make sure I eat my max fruits and veggies – nuts I’ll add once I have more workout hours, but 4 of each freggies per day shouldn’t raise my calories too much. Remember that avocado is a fruit.

The good news is that I’m back to what I was weighing before this weird spike last week for no reason, and down another 0.2% (4% overall) body fat and up 0.1% (2.4% overall) muscle in one week.  I’ll take it.  Diet score and calories be damned.

Other Stuff:

Things this week have been interesting at work.  A little bit weird, but also a little bit of possibilities opening up for me.  Totally specific I know.  If any of you follow me on twitter, please do excuse the vague messages.  Sometimes I just need to say things.  And since I can’t really say things, I just need to say vague things.  The thing that I am most impressed with is the fact that this time around, I’ve realized that one does not get where they want to be by not stating one’s intentions and hoping for the best.  If you want to get somewhere, the first step is making sure anyone that can help you knows what you want.  Even if it doesn’t work out, I can be proud I’ve done that.

I put a stitch in something!!! OMG.  The sewing machine was super intimidating, but I realized that today had to be the day, and Zliten was super nice and helped me get it set up and once I figured it out the first time, it really wasn’t so bad.  Now I’m kinda inspired to actually do something with it, but since my previous experience ended so horribly (with my first and only C grade in a class… the terror!!!), I’m going to take it slow.  Next month, I’ll mend something.  If I do more, cool.  If not, baby steps.

We had friends over for a game night and it was a total blast!  We played Mario Yahtzee, Apples to Apples, and Drunk Jenga.  Then, we had deep and meaningful conversations until 4 am and I had 3 overnight guests. 🙂  It was way fun and much less stressful than hosting a big party.  I think we’re going to try to do one a month (maybe let other people host if they want but I’m happy only having to navigate from the living room to the bedroom once we’re done).

Zliten has been uber-complaining about the couch lately, and when I mentioned I really, really need a lay-on-the-couch day soon (was hoping for today but… it ’twasn’t to be) and he pretty much refused until we got a new couch.  To be fair, his side is REALLY saggy and uncomfortable and hurts his back so I don’t begrudge him, but then all of a sudden, it went from a “nice to have” to a MUST BUY NOW (I love me some ass to couch time).  The store down the street was doing a sale on room groups + two flat screen tvs for free, so we went, we purchased, and when we found out it was 36 months no interest, and we had already maxed out the shipping cost, we went ahead and got some bedroom furniture we’ve been wanting as well.  So, coming in the next few days will be a reclining sofa, a loveseat, a coffee table, two end tables, three dressers, and we took home two nightstands and have them set up.

There was a rug that I was eyeing that will “tie the room together” (the couch is sort of a red/chocolate brown and we have a black entertainment center, grey walls, and navy blue trim 😛 so the couch DOESN’T GO AT ALL).  We’ll need to eventually (or sooner, dependng on how much I hate the brown/grey combo) have to repaint our living room a warmer cream/beige/something color.  But, we finally have adult furniture and can ditch the coffee table with one broken section spraypainted red and blue.

I got a fitbit, so now I’m part of the fitbit gang of our friends.  I swear, Zliten and M will both be constantly walking around the block by the end of this feud… let the competition begin!

…And last but not least, I finally did the last step to clean out the closet by getting enough storage to get all my “not-right-now” clothes stored away on the shelf.  January organization zone done!

And with that, I’m out party people.  Question of the week: how are your goals going for January?  Conquer something intimidating?

…and hey, if you like all this, come check out our family blog at adventuresintriathlon.com!

Week 2: Light and Dark

Training Happies:

First of all, my exciting news!  I got to do a bike test and run test this week.  Why so exciting?  Well, this is the first time I’ve really pushed myself on the bike since Kerrville (Sept) and on the run since Vern’s (Dec 15).  It felt WONDERFUL.  Most importantly though it gave me a great yardstick to set up my zones and see where I’m at.

The test is such – warm up if needed (I didn’t on the bike, but we did on the run).  Then, 30 minutes as high intensity you can keep up for all 30 mins.  The average heart rate for the last 20 mins of the test is your lactate threshold and you can take that and calculate your zones.

Bike: I totally rocked this.  I kept a 28.9 mph average on the trainer for 30 mins and found my average to be about 165 HR.  I felt like I was pushing and a little out of breath, but not close to dying.  I was pretty amazed that I had that in me.  I never ride like that unless I’m racing.  I may be deluding myself that my work on the trainer will translate that much into outdoor ride speed, but I can hope.

Bike Zones

Zone 1 Less than 81% of LTHR        <133
Zone 2 81% to 89% of LTHR      134 – 146
Zone 3 90% to 93% of LTHR      147 – 153
Zone 4 94% to 99% of LTHR      154 – 164
Zone 5a 100% to 102% of LTHR        165 – 168
Zone 5b 103% to 106% of LTHR        169 – 174
Zone 5c More than 106% of LTHR       >175

The run was a little less “omg I’m fast and awesome” – I have been not doing a lot of runs due to heel crankiness (which I seem to be over the hump with – I ran yesterday and I can walk today, so there’s that).  The extra fluff shows itself in spades in my run pace, but it is what it is.  It’s hard to tell because I didn’t break apart the warmup, but I think I would be barely under a 30 min 5k at this point.  Bleh.  It is what it is and it’s a starting point for the year.

The wonderful part of this run is I didn’t even need to take an average.  My lactate threshold is CLEARLY 175.  Anything below that, I’m ready to speed up.  Anything above that, my body starts shutting that shit down and if I want to maintain pace, I need to venture DEEP within the pain cave.  The numbers supported it too.  It’s awesome that I will know that if I want to do the best that my body has in it that day, I need to maintain about 175 until the finishing kick.  Another lovely thing is my stride felt great (once I warmed up and got the junk out of my legs – SO sore to start with).  I felt like my turnover was effortless and I was almost gliding around the track instead of pounding it.  I’m sure I still looked like the special kid but I FELT great.

Run Zones:

Zone 1 Less than 85% of LTHR        < 148
Zone 2 85% to 89% of LTHR      149 – 155
Zone 3 90% to 94% of LTHR      156 – 164
Zone 4 95% to 99% of LTHR      165 – 174
Zone 5a 100% to 102% of LTHR        175 – 178
Zone 5b 103% to 106% of LTHR        179 – 185
Zone 5c More than 106% of LTHR       >186

The good news is that I can extend my zone 1/2 runs to 155.  Which is a little better than 150.

If you’re curious about the method, Joe Friel on calculating zones.

Other than that, it was easy breezy beautiful.  I upped my weights on a lot of things this week.  I am going to up some reps next week to 22-25.  The swims are getting a little less awkward as long as I am mindful of my form – so that means a little faster.  I think I’ve finally conquered the swimp3 player getting water in my ears, so less dithering around with that helps too.  The trainer bikes are amazing.  I want to take this out to some roads soon for a reality check, but for now, I’m enjoying the fast numbers.  I didn’t really enjoy the elliptical instead of lunch runs this week, but it seems to have helped my heel so there is that.

By the day (should look VERY similar to last week, and next week, and the week after…)

Monday: 50 mins weights and stretching, 30 mins swim (1050m)
Tuesday: 30 min HR test on bike trainer (14.45 miles), 30 min elliptical (1.5 miles – kept HR around 140-150)
Wednesday: 45 min weights and stretching, 30 mins swim (1200m)
Thursday: 30 min bike trainer (12.02 miles), 30 min elliptical (1.45 miles – same HR)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 30 min HR test on the track (3.85 mile in 39:51 with warmup), 25 min swim (1050m), 50 min trainer ride (20.5 miles)
Sunday: rest day

Nutrition and Other Things That Go Bump In the Night

I’m spending a lot of time being really frustrated with the scale this week and I didn’t even eat that cone!  THIS IS WHY I HATE THIS SHIT.  I want to just train hard and track HR and pace times and have fun with it.  Now, my nice hard “crush it” days are really few and far between, and it’s all easy peasy, PLUS the scale isn’t budging.  Like, check it.  I’m up a lb.  I was hoping to be in the 170s by now and my low weight this week is up to 185.6 and my high is 187.2 :P.

And I’m doing just about everything right.  I finally got a batch cook week with zero refined grains or other badness.  My diet score has been in the 20s every day this week (that I haven’t drank… which is 5 out of 7).  I’ ve eaten out only 3 times this week, and 2 of them were healthy (one was the splurge burger and fries I was craving).  The only way I could improve those days is to eat MORE calories (I am not eating to my max of nuts and fruits).  My protein is spot on or even a little high (but not ridic-high, maybe 20g over max) because I’m eating 2 servings of meat again instead of just one, and my fiber is off the HOOK.  Besides the fact that I used a sauce that contained MSG in one dish (oops), this is a picture of clean eating per the diet quotient.  I’ve even tried to use more whole foods to carb up for my afternoon workouts instead of easy carbs like gels or bars.

Apparently that nets me a gain.

But I’m trying to take it in stride and with patience.  My jawline is starting to emerge from fluff.  I lost 4% bodyfat THIS WEEK and gained 2.5% muscle.  My measurements either got better or stayed the same.  My pants are starting to not fit quite so ridiculously.  For the first time in months, I actually feel like I look cute in things at times and not like an overstuffed version of myself.  My muscles are waking back up.  I’m squatting 105 lbs.  My swims last week felt less like flailing and about the same speed as last year.  My bike trainer work is in outer space right now (seriously, if I can translate that even partway to road speeds I’ll have some fatty PRs this year).  I’ve got the time to let my heel heal from whatever it’s doing rather than just trying to smash it into submission on the roads and Saturday’s run didn’t kill it (and thus, I may graduate to the treadmill or track instead of the elliptical for run days this week).

I just need to make the call that I’m all in.  And I am.  If I have to gain weight to lose weight later, so be it.  There is a grand plan and it takes until the end of June.  And that’s killing it in Buffalo Springs at the leanest possible body composition I can without a) doing it the wrong way and b) going frakking nuts.

My only modification is that on easy days, I’m not going to try to cram 100g carbs in my face before a 30 min easy ride.  That “snack-meal” in between lunch and workouts before evening swim and weights is making my workouts amazing, but unless I’m going to go out and kill some speedwork or a super long workout in the morning, a bar or gel will suffice.  I’m not going to go back to an empty stomach because that is toughhh now that I see how nice a fueled workout is, but I don’t need to cram a gel, half a bar, and dried mango in my face to pedal to a movie for 30.  I am going to continue to eat an awesome breakfast in between morning and lunch workouts because that also makes for awesomeness.  The calories were more this week.  But to lower the calories I also need to lower my diet quality.   So I don’t see that happening.

This will look like:

Monday/Wednesday (night weights/swim): eat normally, but eat 500 calorie “snack-meal” high in carbs between about 3-6pm.

Tuesday/Thursday (morning trainer/lunch run): *something* in the morning (gel, bar, etc), normal breakfast with a little extra museli in it, and an extra carby snack with lunch/within 2 hours of workouts.

Saturday: Fuel before (bar/gel), eat lunch after bike/run, eat dinner or “snack-meal” after swim and then eat normally.

Days off: Eat normally.  No extra carbage.

This will probably change as my morning workouts get harder/longer  (that’s what she said?) but for now, it’s working.

There is really nothing wrong I can do with my body by continuing to eat super high quality foods with just a few splurges per week.  The weight seemed to come off naturally last year when I did that combined with a good training volume, so we’ll see what happens.  I’m going to make it a goal to have 52 weeks of tracking this year (perhaps MINUS the week after each A race to allow myself to unwind a little bit and vacations), along with 52 sets of measurements and 52 progress pics.  I get in trouble when I don’t track, so my goal is to not give myself that long of a rope to hang myself with.

I just need to have a little faith.  Change does not happen overnight.  Years ago, I was not as happy with my job as I am now, and I thought about quitting.  However, I hung on because I had faith that this was just growing pains and something had to give and I believed in our product, and now I am THRILLED with where I’m at.  I may not be seeing quick progress, but I have faith that THIS is something that will get me to the next level.  I just have to give it a chance for it to do it’s magic.  I’m just a little scared of sticking with something that won’t work, but it just makes so much SENSE…

This Week in Food:

Monday: 22
Tuesday: 25
Wednesday: 25
Thursday: 9 (drinking night)
Friday: 19
Saturday: -2 (out to lunch burger splurge, drinking night)
Sunday: 23

Average DQ score this week: 17.25 (11.57 last week)

Average calories per day: 1927 (1795 last week)

The goal next week is to:

1. Try to make drinking nights not coincide with food splurges.  That should help the peaks and valleys.  Also, finding that doing something (playing a game, etc etc) while drinking helped me drink less while still enjoying myself immensely so more of THAT.

2. Try to maximize food score while trying to bring calories down a bit.  Though I had very few bad calories this week perhaps I could do better.

3. Try to incorporate nuts in my diet a bit more.  One serving per day this week.  Baby steps.

Questions of the week: What do you think is king, calorie count or diet quality?  Which should I focus on?  Trying to eat the best diet I can under x amount of calories, or try to eat the lowest calories I can while trying to maximize my food quality score?

Week 1: Back to Routine

Feels good, man.

Well, feels like home at least.  Except home got redecorated and things aren’t quite the same.

We cheered for 3M half marathon instead of running.  It was feels like 31, my heel was exceptionally cranky, and I had digestive issues which made me run back home (it was 3 mins away), but it was way fun to cowbell like a mother fucker for everyone.  Zliten’s squid hat was a winner to get cold and in-pain runners to smile, and we had fun.  It’s just a little weird not having run it.  I’ve not been so far from in half marathon shape in a long time and it’s just a little odd.  All part of a grand plan, yes.  But weird.

The bike has a new seat and a new fit, which I LOVE, but it’s taking my butt a while to HTFU and get used to more than 30-40 mins on my not princess seat.

I’m doing so many new drills in the pool I feel like an awkward, but working on becoming more efficient fish.  Plus I took the MOST time off swimming after the tri (in Oct/Nov/Dec I went maybe… 3 times?) so it’s the most awkward to me.

Weights, instead of my normal “pick random exercises that work each body part according to my whim” and do “as many until it gets hard”, I have a set 7 things to do.  With as heavy weights as I can do 3×20 (or more).  In a specific order.

Running is the worst.  All my runs are set to Zone 1/2 HR easy efforts with some optional strides (but not many).  I have yet to do my zones test (scheduled for next Saturday for running, biking Tuesday morning), so my goal has been to stay under 150.  Under 150 = 12-13 minute miles.  Up hills, it’s even worse.  I’ve read into it a LOT and this is supposed to help me but wow, this is a slice of misery when my brain is ready to kick some track ass.  On one hand, I do enjoy the conversational pace with Zliten, but on the other hand, I have an itch that it is NOT SCRATCHING.  Any reassurance in the comments that these super frustrating runs will indeed make me kick more ass is welcome.  I do have to remember though that just because my brain wants something, my body might not be ready for that.  The 30 min all out tests next week should be interesting.

I feel a little fatter, but also a little wiser and more rested.  I may not have any sort of speed, but my hunger is back.  My motivation is there.  I am looking down the barrel of months of solid work and saying “bring it on”.  No champagne race celebration orgies every other weekend.  Just four months of getting out there, doing what I’m supposed to, checking it off the list, and moving on.  No fan faire.  No race recap posts with pretty pictures.  I’m ready for it.  We’re back to a training blog instead of Adjusted Race Recaps-ity.

Monday: 30 min swim (1050m), 50 mins weights (3×20 of everything… 170 lb leg press, 40 lb pulldowns, ~35 lb weighted step ups, chest press w/17.5 lb dumbells, 50 lb rows, 50 lb quad press, and 10 lb plate sit ups with a twist)
Tuesday: 30 min spin (11.35 miles), 3 mile run (38:30)
Wednesday: 30 min spin (11.25), 45 mins weights (3×20… 90 lb squats, 40 lb pulldowns, 170 lbs leg press, 15 lb dumbbells chest press, 50 lb rows, 50 lb hamstring machine, 10 lb plate held w/situps with twist)
Thursday: 30 min spin (11.25), 2.65 mile run (33:33)
Friday: off (will be a weights day, but needed a rest day this week)
Saturday: 45 min spin (17.11), 4.2 mile run (54:55)
Sunday: 30 min swim (usually will be on Saturdays but that didn’t happen due to pool crowding)

Eating has been good.  Batch cooking is flippin’ phenomenal.  We went out Friday for lunch (and got kebaps, so it’s not like we went burger fries shake or anything) and will go out tonight (for Chinese food, so again, not complete splurgefests) on a double date (are you allowed to call it that in your mid-30s anymore?).  Otherwise we stuck to our plans and ate very much mostly good food.

We batch cooked:

Chicken tortilla soup

meatloaf, cauli-taters, and green beans

Parmesan encrusted chicken with rice pasta, light alfredo, peas, and broccoli (next time I’ll make sure I get either corn, quinoa, or whole wheat as rice means white rice which means refined carbs, oops)

The tortilla soup, which is usually my specialty, was off.  It was ALRIGHT, but I think it just had too much broth in it and not enough STUFF and it needed to be made on the stove, not the crock pot.  Everything else was phenomenal.  The chicken alfredo was about 350 calories and definitely killed my craving for it.  The meatloaf was a wonderful dinner.  The cauli-taters just tasted like mashed potatoes.  Those will definitely be staples.  We ate turkey wraps or sandwiches with the soups.

To fill in the holes, one day we had fish, quinoa/brown rice, and a salad, and one day we had a micro meal (chicken korma and basamati rice) and some other various munchies.  For breakfast, I had fage 0% w/granola and some fruit, or a sprouted grain english muffin and cream cheese w/morningstar veggie patties.  Snacks became really non-essential most workout days since I was way full with the fueling (snacks = pre/post workout fueling), but I dug into some carrots and tzatziki and/or fruit at times.  For Monday/Wednesday snacks (workout after work) I’m eating an english muffin w/jelly and some fruit and dried mango and finding 100g carbs not hard to get in, though my score seems to go up when I fuel with whole foods and fruits and veggies.  Hmmmm.

Scoring my days:

Monday: 19
Tuesday: 14
Wednesday: 18
Thursday: 4 (14 before many, many drinks)
Friday: 19
Saturday: 11
Sunday: -4 (not enough food, too many drinks)

Average score per day: 11.57

Average calories per day: 1795

The goal this week is to keep the calories either the same or lower, and improve the scores.

My low weight of the week was 184.4, my high was 185.8.  This does not make me happy, but one has to start somewhere, right?

Also noting: 0 cigarettes smoked on 3 drinking nights thus far.  I’ve used a bit of my puff puff thing, but I’m so enamoured with the waking up feeling so much less wrecked, hair and fingers smelling not like ass, and lungs (in the pool) feeling not like I inhaled shards of glass, I don’t think I can go back.  While it doesn’t quite feel like a drag of a smoke, the longer I go without, the less I remember what that felt like and this is just fine.  I do admit that the 0 nicotine just doesn’t do it like the one that’s the equivalent of an ultra light cig, so there is still work there, but I’m thrilled for now.  Also, not having to go outside in the butt ass freezing temps is motivation in and of itself.  As well as lungs feeling amazing – while I’ve not really noticed on the bike or run since the goal is easy breezy, I have definitely noticed it in the pool.  Another step to becoming an efficient fish.

We did all our measurements and pictures this morning, and I haven’t decided whether to share or not.  It is definitely good to have metrics, and perhaps I’ll use them eventually for comparison, but I don’t think you really care to know my calf circumference or my visceral fat.  The pictures… they’re pretty unflattering in mah speedoz.  I think I’d be more apt to share them once I have some better ones to compare it to?  Is that bad?  Hmmm…

Also, I’ll let y’all in on a sneak peak.  Zliten and I have started a new blog adventure together here at Adventures In Triathlon.  He tried guest posting over here and felt a little weird in my apartment with all the girly decorations and stuff, so while I’m going to maintain my own space over here (at least temporarily, maybe forever, we’ll see), we’re going to work on a building a space over there together.  The boxes aren’t all unpacked yet, and we have a lot of interior decorating to do, but check it out if you’d like and perhaps bookmark for later when we do our “Grand Opening”.

Question of the day: would you rather see me drop this site and move over there (though it will be a little more PG and a little less “share-y” and more facts and tutorials and useful stuff), or do you like my off color language and crazy rants and think I should maintain at least a once-a-week presence over here in my own pad?

24 Races in 12 Months Recap (Sept – Dec)

The year kicked off with a bunch of different races (Jan-Apr).

Over the summer, it got all triathlon and splash and dashy up in here, minus two running race. (May-Aug).

Now, for the epic conclusion – two new distances, one new huge PR, and lots of fun!

Sept 3 – Austin Tri Rock (Olympic Distance – 1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run)

Time: 3:25:52 (Huge PR by almost 40 mins)/ Zliten: 3:36:21 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: A well executed race with a HUGE PR.  Can’t get any cooler than that.  Solid swim and bike legs, and kept my head in the run and didn’t walk even though it was so so so so so hot and I wanted to, and thus, met my run goal pace!  Also, the angel lady giving out ice around mile 4.  And running with a frozen water bottle between my boobs for the first 3 miles.

Lessons learned about this race: Need to figure out how to not let heat affect me so much.  I can run a 11 min/mile 10k in my sleep but in 90+ degree heat and humidity it was all I had.  Also, it’s hard to not draft on a 3 loop Olympic course with ~1000 people, but you just do your best.

Zliten notes about this race:  Hot, hot, hot, and not in a good way. So our friend Justin also did this one with us along with Brian, but Justin and I were in the same start wave, so that was strange. It was a jump off the end of the pier and tread water until the start horn is sounded. we were in the back, and by the time everyone got in the horn sounded as soon as we jumped in the water. Not ideal but it works.

We swam up river, turned and then went down river past a band playing on a house boat thing. Really cool, then under congress bridge where ten gazillion bats live. Eww the water stunk like crazy. Next was up and out of the water. I was ahead of Justin most of the swim, but at the end he got a little ahead, by I think 3 seconds. In transition and out on the bike! First race in clips.. Oh boy, at least it was 3 loops of hills, because you know hills are easy. Had a great time.

Saw the tallest man I have ever seen ride by on his bike. My shoulders on the bike were where his knees were on his bike. Although drafting is not allowed I kinda fell into a pack with some guy from south Texas, Justin and one other guy who would pedal real hard get ahead, die out fall back and do it all over again. Oh well. Bike finish and I didn’t crash getting out of my clips!

Run start… its at least four hundred degrees and the run started on a dusty part of a trail, blah hot run that’s ok. There were some angels up near the corner with Jack and Adams and jack in the box. They had a cooler full of ICE and were handing it out. So down the shorts shirt and I held a handful on my head. It was divine. When I crossed the finish line I did everything I could to see straight and not toss cookies. Nutrition on this race I did poorly. Except for a little on the bike I couldn’t eat well. But I finished a new distance and it was great. Not only was it another race with Quix, but again a race with Brian, and Justin’s very first tri!

September 30 – Kerrville Triathlon Festival – Half Ironman Distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run)

Time: 7:24:13/ Zliten: 7:54:12 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: Finishing a HALF FUCKING IRONMAN!  All the work this year went to this one moment.  A solid swim (and first with earplugs).  A very respectable bike leg – hitting my A goal pace even though I slowed on the last 1/4.  Staying happy and positive on the run and crossing the finish line without puking and with a smile.

Lessons learned this race:  You cannot take Ibus on the last leg of a 70.3 no matter how much you think you’ve eaten on the bike, it’s not enough and it will sour your stomach immediately.  Keep trying to eat even if you don’t think you can stomach anything.  If you get lightheaded, that’s the point in which you must slow down.  This might possibly be the length/distance of a race where you can’t really party after (had a little champagne and food, but didn’t have interest in getting drunk, just TV and bed).  I cannot wait to nail a 70.3 nutrition strategy next year and take many minutes to an hour off this time due to how slow I had to go on the run.

Zliten notes on this race:

We made it! So excited to be here! I had a good swim, although when I left the water I figured it took me 20 min longer than it really did, so yay for that surprise. Next the bike, I stopped at mile 17 to use the porta potty. Had to I kept slowing down cause well when you gotta go you gotta go. Did great until mile 43ish. I couldn’t see anyone else on the course, it started to rain hard to the point where it hurt and I forgot to eat anything for 10+ miles. It really got me down. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish.  Ate some got back in it, passed a few people and got off the bike before the line at t2 without crashing.

The run was, well, getting warm and I made a game time call of ditching the camelbak in t2. I have never run more than 5 miles without my camelbak, but I was so chafed from it on the bike that there was no way I could keep it on. Thank goodness there was such great support on the course. I could have used the extra storage for gels and would have liked my nuun.

Its ok, so all is good and about mile 5 or so I end up running the same pace at the same time with a guy who is 1 lap ahead of me. We start talking and it ends up he is out there racing it on his own. He and his wife were in training for it the previous year and she ended up passing a few months before due to some issue. So neat guy, big downer on my mood as he is talking about losing a loved one for about 3 miles before I just kind of let him get ahead a bit when I took a little slow at the water stop.

Next run event was about mile 10-11, it was the last down hill bridge section and I got a bad cramp in my right leg. I tried to run through it but ended up stopping for a 10 count then walking until I had it in me to move. It was only a few more miles to go so I pushed through as hard as I could. All the volunteers were asking if I was ok, but darn-it I was going to make it. at the 11 water stop I downed a cola and an aid and started to pick up again. Hit the turn around and headed back where Quix was waiting to run me in. Of course my first question was where can I go HURL. But thankfully I crossed the finish line, then went and hit the medical tent before I even started to see straight. 2 ice bags 1 for my legs and 1 for my head. We did it though, so happy, I can’t wait to do it again and do it Better faster stronger! 7 hours 54 minutes of awesome!

October 13 – Showdown Half Marathon

Time: 2:25 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: Using this race as the middle of my first 20 miler and feeling great after!  Fastest half marathon this year, and thus, helped set Zliten’s PR.  Loved the course, and awesome schwag (cool medals, magnets, etc).  And, most importantly, got to meet Libby, who race directed, in person!  If I can justify the timing next year, I’m so in.  Especially because In N Out is right across the street from the race finish.

Lessons learned from this race:  Eat before showering after completing 4 hours of running or your tummy will sour.

Zliten notes about this race: Great course, Awesome volunteers and even better.. In N Out afterwards! I had a good time on this one, I wasn’t racing it to set a PR, I wasn’t racing it to keep up with anyone. I was just out for a run. Quix was going to do her own thing and I was going to do mine. At least that was the goal. What ended up happening is I was setting the pace for Quix and pushing to keep us going until about mile 11, that seems to be my drop off point, but I kept her in my sights and then sprinted the last few hundred and came in right behind her getting myself a PR at the same time. I would for sure go to another Active Joe event. It was one of the nicer organized small races I have been in.

October 28 – Dash for Dad’s 5k

Time: 29:44/Zliten: 30:20 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: The weather.  Brrr!  It was in the 30s!  Also, it was pretty cool to only finish ~30 sec slower than last year when this was just the middle part of a 15 mile long run.  Also, the 5k was well executed – I started slow (and even let Zliten pass me which was HARD) and built.  At the halfway point, I took off and rocketed past him and continued to kick ass.  So, the speed isn’t there yet, but the strategy is.  Also, the finish line food was EPIC, lots of different things from wraps to queso to scallops.

Lessons learned at this race: To get better at 5ks, you need to train for them.  Not marathons.  Also, awesome finish line food is kinda torture when you have to run 7 more miles after. 🙁

Zliten notes about this race:  Cold but fun, this is a challenging 5k course and it has some good hills that need a certain determination to run up. This year I did very well at this race, and had a good time supporting a great cause. Its also a nice bright red tech t that gets worn a ton.

November 11 – Rock and Roll San Antonio Marathon (Half Marathon for Zliten)

Time: 5:23:34/Zliten: 2:34:06 (half) Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: OMG EVERYTHING!  I FINISHED A FUCKING MARATHON!  High points: running the first half with Zliten.  Splitting off from the half marathoners and finally being on the marathon side.  The point around mile 16 where I started feeling good again (thx 303s) and Lady Gaga Born this Way came on and I was just running my heart out and singing (sorry everyone on the course).  The cheerleading squad that I promised I would go faster if they did backflips.  The realization around mile 18 that I *WAS* going to finish.  Mile 24 when I realized I had it in me to run it in faster than I had run the whole race.  Coming around the bend and up the hill grinning ear to ear, shouting at Zliten, pumped as hell, and feeling like a rockstar getting through the finish line.  Feeling good enough after the race to eat and drink beer immediately!

Lessons learned from this race:  More long runs and miles next marathon.  Basic endurance got me through, but to run the whole time, I need to do a few 20+ runs and more upper teens and basically become BFFs with the run nonstop for 4 hours thing.  Also, not signing up for a race the day I normally want to curl up in a ball and die due to woman cramps if I can get my crystal ball working properly.

Zliten notes from this race:  The race was good again until 11. I gotta work on that part. But the real fun of this race was after I was finished I went to the hotel packed everything in the car, checked out then headed back to the course to cheer people in while waiting for Quix. I brought a cowbell and stood under a bridge where it would echo like crazy and rang away while shouting at people that they had less than .1 miles until the finish line. Yeah that was awesome!

November 22 – Thundercloud Turkey Trot (5 mile run)

Time: 50:03/Zliten 50:11 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race:  Running 5 miles with 20k+ of my bestest friends before eating a bunch of food later.  Also, parking in a different spot so we didn’t have to sit in traffic for 3 years both ways.  Zliten got a huge 5 min PR and I only beat him by seconds!

Lessons learned about this race: You are not going to PR anything (or even not PW anything) 10 days out from a marathon.  The gas ran out around mile 3 to even try for it, and that’s ok.

Zliten notes about this race:  A good solid run, great weather, better parking, the 5 miles felt short compared to what we had been doing.

December 15 (8am) – Vern’s No Frills 5k

Time: 29:46/Zliten: 30:42 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: Wearing a tee and capris to a mid-Dec race (it was high 60s).  Love the Vern’s course.  Zliten used his Go Pro and recorded the whole race.

Lessons learned from this race:  There is no need ever again to race a 5k a month into offseason when you are fat and untrained.  There are no magical PRs here.  The gas ran out around mile .5 and just like Turkey Trot, this was ok too.

Zliten notes from this race:  Got to play with the new video camera strapped to my chest. I swing my chest around a ton, its hard to see whats going on. Verns is always good to run. If we lived closer I think I would run it once a week.

December 15 (6:30pm) – Trail of Lights 5k

Time: 40 mins and some change Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: Pretty lights – best mile 2 of a 5k ever!  Mid-Dec tank top run!  Two 5ks in one day!

Lessons learned from this race:  Worst organized race ever.  Started 20 mins late and was overcrowded (they sold almost double what was supposed to be their cap and didn’t cut it off).  While mile 2 was awesome, mile 1 and 3 were through areas in the dark that weren’t as well lit as they could have been and narrow – so most people walked (and I did too so I didn’t twist an ankle) and it was a cluster fuck.  First potty stop in a race (minus century rides) because I decided I didn’t care about the time.

Zliten notes about this race:  Way too crowded. Between the morning race and this one I went and bought the camera’s head band attachment. Way better video of a race that way. Lots of fun getting hit and kicked and run over and what not with the crazy number of people. I don’t think I would do this one again unless they did it as a real 5k race.

And, with that, it’s time for the 2012 24/12 race awards show! (We agreed on these unless designated)

Best Organized Race:

Any Jack and Adams Triathlon.  They go off on time, and like clockwork.  They know how to run a race.  Honorable mention to Showdown Half – it went off without a hitch too and Libby puts so much heart and soul into her races.

Best Medal:

So many cool ones this year!  Kerrville wins it because it’s also a belt buckle which is awesome, but honorable mentions to RnRSA, Showdown, 10/20, America’s Finest Half, and Tri Rock.

Best Race Schwag:

The visor from Kerrville, the shirt from Austin Half Marathon, and the pint from Austin Half.  Visors always > hats.  Nike Dri Fit shirts >all, and a silicone pint glass with your race logo means I will think about it every time I drink as it’s my preferred cup.

Race I’m Most Proud Of:

Quix: Man, this is hard.  Honorable mentions to RnR SA Marathon, Kerrville 70.3, and Tri Rock Olympic, but I’m going to have to go with Lake Pflugerville Triathlon.  I chased my unicorns and I caught them.  I’m very proud of the new distances I completed this year, but I’m going to have to give it to the race that was well executed from start to finish and I never gave up or in, and which I met every A goal I set out to do.  Still get chills thinking about this race.

Zliten: Kerrville Half Ironman!  I finished!

Race I’m Least Proud of: 

Quix: Jack’s Generic Triathlon. I failed to give anything here, just went through the motions, and had a bad attitude about the whole thing.

Zliten: RnR SA Half.  I didn’t stay properly hydrated, so gels made my stomach go bad.  I got some mad chafing.  Just not a good finish at all.

Worst Organized Race:

Trail of Lights 5k.  Starting 20 mins late for a 5k with no weather issues, sending us into peril in the dark, huge line for food and one little station for it for 5000 people… no bueno.

Most Fun:

Quix: Aw man, I have so much fun racing, but just to pick out the one I had the most fun on the course just loving the day… goes to 3M, pacing Zliten through his first half.  Honorable mentions to both the century rides, Kerrville, and RnR SA.  I guess I just have more FUN with distance than speed, I didn’t even consider 5ks on this list.

Zliten: Running the beautiful San Diego course was awesome, but so is triathloning on home turf.  So it’s a tie – America’s Finest City Half Marathon and Lake Pflugerville Tri.

Races We’re Repeating in 2013:

Indoor Tri, 10/20, Entire TX Tri Series. POSSIBLY Showdown Half and RnR SA.

What a great experience racing so much – though I’m glad to probably do half these races next year.  I’m tired just recapping them.  Now the time looking backwards is done.  Onwards and upwards to an amazing month of pre-season training!

Racing Weight – AKA Eat More (Good) Carbs

I kept hearing that this was the best endurance athlete nutrition guide, and many many many sites and articles and reports reference it.  So, since Santa didn’t bring it, I went ahead and ordered it.  It came last night, and I devoured it all today cover to cover, and then took these notes so I don’t just forget what I read.  And perhaps it may be interesting or useful for someone out there.

Verdict: I really think it’s a pretty great read – what he says jives with my thoughts on the subject, while obviously giving me things to work on that I have not been doing. It’s a lot of common sense stuff and seems reasonable.  He’s not preaching this as the one and only way you will ever ever be a fit human, he continually says that he is simply observing how the pros operate and trying to translate it into what the everyday age group athlete can do.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts and notes from Racing Weight, by Matt Fitzgerald.  And since it’s long, I’ve broken it up with a bunch of unrelated funny pics.

First of all, while I can say I’m a pretty kick ass 175-180 lb athlete, there is no question that I’d be a better racer and kick MORE ASS if I improved my body composition.  However, the key is to do it the right way – not with significant deficits and drinking only water through 3 hour runs and eating only celery.  He stresses that not everyone out there can benefit from losing weight, but almost everyone could benefit from improving their diet quality and nutrient timing.

How to find your racing weight (goal):

1. Measure your body fat %.  I’m using some hugely outdated numbers, but mine is around 34% (not terribly great).  My lean mass is 118 lb, my fat mass is 62 lbs.

2. Use his little handy dandy chart (of which I cannot find a picture of and I am too lazy to scan).  I’ll simplify – I have a pretty high body fat % for an endurance athlete, so I’m trying to improve up the chart a little bit to 26% body fat this season.  If I was already around 26% or less, my goal would be 18%.  If I was already at 18%, my goal would be 15-16%.  If I’m at 15-16%, he suggests I’m probably just fine where I’m at thank you very much (for my age and gender).

3.  The goal is to not lose lean mass, while lowering body fat.  So my ideal racing weight (for this year) is: 118+ 26% or 148.  That feels incredibly ambitious for me, but there it is.  I’ll repeat this each season until I’m where I want to be.

THERE ARE SIX STEPS TO PEAK PERFORMANCE:

1. Improving your diet quality.  Simply put, that is making sure you eat fruit, veggies, whole grains, dairy, lean meat (he separates out plant proteins here instead for veggies and vegans), and legumes in reasonable portions in moderate quantities, and avoid sweets, fried food, refined grains, and fatty proteins.

You are to score your daily choices thusly…

The Good:

Fruit: First 3 servings get you 2 points each.  Fourth gets you 1 point.  After that, you get 0 points (they do not subtract from your score but don’t add to it to suggest that eating a shit ton of veggies and fruits is going to somehow cancel out eating a whole chocolate cake)

Veggies: First 3 servings get you 2 points each.  Fourth gets you 1 point.  After that, 0 points (ditto)

Lean Meats/Fish: First 2 get you 2 points each.  Third gets you 1 point.  Fourth and fifth get you 0.  Sixth and on, subtract 1 from your score. (Once you hit that ~18-20 oz of meat per day, it’s probably time to shove something else down your piehole)

Nuts and Seeds: First 2 get you 2 points each.  Third gets you 1 point.  Fourth and fifth get you 0.  Sixth and on, subtract 1 from your score. (Nut butters and pistachios good.  Cleaning out a whole jar of PB with your finger bad.)

Whole Grains: First 2 get you 2 points each.  Third gets you 1 point.  Fourth and fifth get you 0.  Sixth and on, subtract 1 from your score. (For the love of Jeebus FINALLY someone not telling me that grains are bad… I feel so, so, so, so much better when I eat a decent amount of carbage – I cannot get full on protein and veggies alone, I just feel all weird and heavy and yukko)

Dairy: First 3 get you 1 point each.  Fourth gets you 0.  Fifth gets you -1, and sixth and on gets you -2.  (Some dairy good.  Lots of dairy very bad.)  He says this is both full fat and low fat.

The Bad:

Refined grains: First 2, you subtract 1 point each.  After that, -2.

Fried Foods: Just go ahead and subtract -2 for each of these.

Sweets: If the first or second ingredient is sugar in any form, it goes here and nets you a -2 each.

Fatty Proteins: He considers anything over 10% fat (give or take a little, 10.5% fat on your steak doesn’t automatically take it from +2 to -2, but it’s there for a reference) in this category.  Subtract 1 point for the first 2 servings, and subtract 2 for each additional serving

The Else:

Your first alcoholic drink per day counts as 0.  Each after that is -2.

Anything consumed immediately before, during, and after training doesn’t count against you (gels, gatorade, bike fuel, recovery drinks, etc etc)

A serving of anything bad counts as at least 1 serving (no half points for half portions).  THIS IS HUGE FOR ME.  I’m a notorious “oh just one bite” “oh just one more” so this will either make me commit to eating a full serving of what I want and be satisfied and enjoy it, rather than just nibble and not feel like I had the calories or enjoyed my treat like I did.

Servings are common sense size servings.  A medium or a cup of fruit/veg.  A glass of milk.  A slice of cheese.  Two pieces of bread.  A fist size of meat.  A palmful of nuts.

Significant amounts of low quality condiments (he’s sort of iffy here on what that means) like mayo or bbq sauce should get a -1.  Something like guac or tziki or hummus should be classified under it’s category since they have nutritional value.

Coffee and tea, lightly or not sweetened at all, doesn’t count towards your score.  A starbucks carmel frapp is definitely under the sweets category.

Energy bars – first one that is of good quality (read: sugar is not the first or second ingredient) is +1.  Anything after that is -1 for the second, -2 for the 3rd.  If they have lots of sugar, they go under sweets.

There is no “GOAL” score, but each day if you eat all your goods and no bads, you achieve 32 (29 if you’re vegan and cut out dairy).  The goal is to get as close to 32 as possible without losing your mind.

***He definitely pushes good quality foods like organics and food in season and grass fed beef and wild caught fish, and also the importance in eating a variety of foods for nutrients, but I’m just essentially detailing out his scoring system here.

2. Managing Your Appetite.  This is in place of counting calories, which most people find tedious (yep, though I do it).

He goes into a lot of physiological stuff here, but I’m going to skip that and let you read the book if you want.  What I took out of this is that we need to do is determine when we are belly hungry (tummy rumbles, etc) telling us to eat because we need food, and head hungry, when we just want food because it looks good, we usually eat around this time of day, we’re emotional, or it’s right there in front of us.

Insert obvious stuff about cheeseburger calories not filling us up as much as fish calories.  But we know that.  Lower calorie density food is good for gnawing on to fill up.

One great exercise is to spend two days eating ONLY when you’re hungry (belly hungry).  Once your tummy does the “I need food” thing, you are to eat within an hour.  Then, you are not to eat again until it says “hey, lady, gimme some grub”.  This helps teach the difference.

He goes into more helpful tips most of us have heard before – clean the crap out of your kitchen (out of sight, out of mind), spoil your appetite at meals with a big glass of water and/or brothy soup or salad starter, plan for contingencies (the “I know that Martha will have her famous deep fried cheesecake dipped in ranch and want me to try some.  I’ll say I’m stuffed and take some home and then bring it to the office”), etc.  The one new and interesting tidbit was avoid variety.  If you eat a soup, salad, and sandwich, you’ll generally want to consume more than if you just have a salad and sandwich offered to you, and more than if you just had a big ass bowl of soup, even if the portions for the multiples are smaller (boo – I’m a HUGE FAN of the soup/salad/sandwich combo, I like eating lots of different things in combo).  Eating something like a stir fry or bowl of pasta w/veggies is great because it’s one THING, so you may find you consume less.

3. Balancing Your Energy Sources

Carbs: If you are an endurance athletes you MUST EAT CARBS.  They are not your enemy.  He says frankly, a lot of endurance athletes do not get enough (good and/or properly timed) carbs.  I am definitely in that camp.  So many people have done the carbs are the devil thing at me, I think I’ve just subconsciously tried to limit them more than I should.  I certainly need to be taking in more once my training starts.

Here is how much you should be taking in (DISCLAIMER – as an endurance athlete, he says as a sedentary or just lightly recreational exerciser that less carbs is good):

4 hours per week (here I am right now): 2-2.75g carbs per pound of weight.  So for me, right now, 360-495g carbs.  As someone who usually tops out at ~200 when I track, this blows my mind.  And it get better from there…

5-6 hours – 495-585g carbs (2.75-3.25).  I will be in this range through all of January.

7-10 hours – 585-675g carbs (3.25-3.75).  I will get here in February and remain here through most of the year.

11-14 hours – 675-720g carbs (3.75-4).  I will dip into this a few times early this year.

I have no idea how my body is going to feel on this.  It feels like candyland and a ticket to 300lb town, but I’ve seen these numbers quite a few times, so it may be worth trying to stay close to the low end here and see how I feel.  Experiment!

Fats: eat fish at least twice a week.  Other than that, he only really poo poos really high fat diets for althletes (40%) and says that by maximizing your numbers above, you’ll be fine.

Protein: he recommends 1.2g protein per kg (or 2.2 lbs).  For me, that’s around 100g protein.  I’m usually close to that with my normal healthy diet so let’s move on.

4. Monitoring Yourself

He recommends daily to weekly weighing if you can do it without making yourself crazy.  Just take the number as a metric and move on.  Those who measure more often can correct issues quicker.  Measure body fat at least once a month.  He likes the body fat scales and notes while they’re not always correct in measurement, they are at least consistently off so you can track progress. (So I should stop avoiding the scale that clocks me in at 40% body fat and just remember that 40% = 34%)

He also recommends doing time trials at some stages when you record weights to see if your progress is improving.  If you’re slower at 145 than you were at 155, you went astray and probably restricted food too much or you’re just too low for your body.

5. Nutrient Timing Self in 6 months – I think you’ll be pleased with your results if you can get this one down…

Nutrients taken while exercising or within the magic 2 hour window before and after are MUCH more likely to get used immediately or stored in muscles and not in adipose (fat).

What follows are the timing rules for athletes…

Rule 1: Eat early.  Energy drink before workouts if you don’t have time for real food.  Eat a significant breakfast.  Snacks in the AM if you’re hungry.

Rule 2: Carb heavy in the morning, protein heavy at night.  For an endurance athlete, he’s not recommending like chicken and veggies only at night, but no more than 50% of your evening meal/snack should be carbs.  In the morning, it should be more like 80-85% and it should get less and less through the day.

Rule 3: Eat on a consistent schedule (at least 3 meals).  Figure out what works for you and do it.  (This is something I need to be better about – I tend to skip breakfast on the weekends so I can splurge with a big brunch I couldn’t otherwise justify)

Rule 4: Eat before exercise.  A big meal 4 hours out (2pm lunch for a 6pm workout).  A medium meal 2 hours out (5pm meal for 7pm workout).  Aim to consume at least 100g carbs in the 4 hours before a workout if possible.

Rule 5: Eat during exercise: Using sports drink/gels during workouts means that you take advantage of getting the calories in when they’re most useful and you’ll be less hungry later, instead of being me and trying to get by with the least amount possible so I can pig out later. 😛

Rule 6: Eat after exercise: As close as you can, but up to two hours out you should consume about 1.2g carbs per body weight (so for me about 215g, as in, more than I usually have in a day) + 20g protein.

Rule 7: Minimize eating late: to attain racing weight, it’s not horrible to go to bed “mildly hungry”.  If you can’t do it, have a late night snack of protein to help with building muscles.

6. Training For Racing Weight.  Pretty much follow a reasonable training plan.

This section says lots of common sense stuff like 80% training below lactate threshold, 10% at lactate threshold, 10% above lactate threshold, do strength training with heavy weights and power drills, etc.  Just like the Triathlete’s Training Bible has a token chapter on nutrition, this has a token training chapter.  It’s all good theory, just stuff I’ve already covered and know and studied with the other book.

QUICK START:

For those of us QUITE A BIT above our racing weight, we can take our first 4-8 weeks (depending on how close you are) of your season and attempt to lose weight faster.

He suggests:

-Maintain a 300-500 calorie deficit only.  More than this and training will suck.

-Commit to weights during this time.  Building muscle is most important now.

-Increased protein intake, up to 30% (sacrificing carbs for protein in the ratios)

-Perform at least one fasting bike workout per week – one moderate intensity, somewhat long bike workout without consuming calories before or during. (Since I have no bike rides planned more than 45 mins, I’ll probably just skip fueling in the morning before my brick day and on the bike, and then eat something during the run – which also gets me to practice eating on the run :P).

-Do very short power intervals at max intensity – like 20 x 20 sec sprints.

There’s more in there, but this is really what’s relevant to me, so I’ll stop here.

A few parting thoughts:

-The scoring system appeals to the video gamer in me – I want to get a high score so maybe I’ll skip the sweets or drink a little less if my score is in danger of sucking that day.  They gave 3 examples – a poor diet was like -2 (eating a typical American junk food diet), a decent diet (what looks like a reasonably healthy diet for the general population) was about a 13, and a super great healthy diet was 23.  I’ll be interested to see where I fall.  I kinda want to spend some time scoring myself before I set a goal, as he said, there is no specific “you need to be 20 or above” or something, it’s just figure out where you’re at, and if you are not at your race weight, improve.

-Holy crapballs, that’s a lot of carbs.  I’m open to it, and interested whether it will be this unicorn rainbow glitter explosion and I will magically perform way better, or it will be this spectacular fail and I’ll realize that it’s not my thing.

-However, I think the nutrient timing thing will be KEY.  All these magical carbs I’m supposed to be getting in are right before, during, and after…. I’m really not doing that.  Like, at all.  It’s a little scary to give myself access to all the sugar they want in my body during that time, but I guess it’s worth trying.

I think the ~1500 calorie eating and the suggestions here are going to be mutually exclusive, so I’ll have to decide which one I think is going to benefit me most.  I think the goal will be to gradually increase carbs before/during/after workouts and try to keep the rest of the day as normal/healthy.  However, the scoring system will definitely be fun to play with!

Question of the day: would a scoring system of your diet motivate you to try and make it better, or discourage you/make you crazy?

NOTE: Since I’ve written this post (and had it in draft) I’ve done one evening workout (killer weights + easy swim) where I had a 500 calorie 100g carb snack before (sprouted english muffin w/cream cheese and jelly, huge apple, clementines, celery, and tzatziki sauce), and today I had 50g carbs (a mini cliff bar and a gel) in the AM before my AM easy bike, a 50g carbs breakfast (1 cup Kashi cereal w/1 cup fage 0% yogurt) in between AM and lunch, and at lunch I had a 3 mile easy run, and ate lunch right after.  Let me tell you HOLEEEEEEY COW it feels awesome to start a workout super fueled like that.  I have landed both days around 1750 calories, but considering I’ve done 60+ mins of run/bike/swim/lift, I think that’s probably an ok level to create a calorie deficit. 1500 is a little too low for an hour of (what I call easy but is really probably moderate in real people terms) activity – though probably fine for a rest day.

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