Tag Archives: diet

Off-Season Update and Some Swag Nov 9 2015

Just a little update here on how things are going during the “off”-season. The rebuilding process is being established and I have been laying the groundwork for a solid foundation for the upcoming season.

Miracle Mornings…

After recently reading the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I have miraculously turned into a “morning person.” I have tried many times before, but it just never stuck. But by using the techniques in this book it is becoming a reality for me. I have now been waking up early every day for over a month now, including weekends. I believe that by focusing on the things that are really important to me as the reasons to get up early has made a difference. If you are interested in getting up earlier and being more productive with your days, I would highly recommend this book.

Pump!…You Up!!

So what am I doing with all the time I have during these early mornings? Strength training! If you have followed my training updates in the past, you know how strength work typically gets bumped first. Which is common in endurance athletes. Well, I have been working with Fernando Paredes from Fusion Fitness & Performance Studio to develop a solid functional strength program. So I have been fully committed to making this a regular part of my training and it is the top priority of my “Miracle Mornings.”

This new habit is becoming even more ??? since I am really starting to feel the impact it is making in my training. My run times are dropping and I am feeling more solid from the core when I run. I really believe this will be making a difference in my performance for the upcoming season.

The Pain Cave

Over the last 6-months I have been working on getting my “Pain Cave” in my basement up to snuff so I have a good place to train during the Winter months. I happy to report that things have come along quite a bit lately. I have recently had some Radon Remediation done in the basement so that I am not sucking down radon all Winter long. I just got the post-remediation test results back and they were < 0.3 pCi/L for a week long test (anything under 0.5 is considered fresh air), so that is good news. I also picked up a 43″ 1080p flat panel TV for my Zwift bike trainer rides which really puts you in the drivers seat. I moved my smaller flat panel over the treadmill, so now I have dedicated TV’s for each or I can watch a TV show on one while doing the Zwift ride on the other. Pretty sweet!

Pain Cave November 2015

Pain Cave November 2015

Ommmm

One other aspect that I have been working on is developing my mental fitness. A strong mind is essential in endurance activities. I have also been establishing a daily meditation habit with the help of the Headspace iOS app. Meditation seems to be quite the buzzword these days, but I hear more and more endurance athletes attributing a lot of their success to it. Through my early mornings, I now have been able to establish it as a new daily habit. I have to say it is pretty relaxing, but shutting my busy mind off is no easy feat some days.

I have also been reading Matt Fitzgeralds’ new book “How Bad Do You Want It?” which delves into the mental coping mechanisms that endurance athletes utilize to command amazing performances. It has been a pretty interesting read so far and I hope to post a review on it shortly as I wind down the last couple chapters here.

iThlete HRV Guest Post

I recently did another guest post on the iThlete HRV blog about my off-season and how my Heart Rate Variability has correlated with what I have been doing lately. Be sure to check that out. iThlete is also having a 15% off all sale on all HR sensors this month, so you may want to check that out too. I highly recommend the Finger Sensor for easily checking your HRV in the morning. They are also planning on releasing some new features to the iThlete Pro App this month which I am looking forward to as well.

Weight Loss in Endurance Sports

Runner’s world recently posted this article on How Weight Loss Affects your Running Speed?  In it they claim that you can drop 20 secs/mile for every 10 lbs you lose. Multiply that by 26.2 and you got a nice PR on your hands. Add that reduction to your watts/kg rating for a 112 mile bike and you just smashed your leg PR and probably an Ironman PR as well. Really provides a good motivation to drop those excess pounds during the off-season.

Unfortunately, this is one area that my “Miracle Mornings” have not provided too much help too. I have been trying to keep my net calories around 2100, but I am still hovering around the same weight. Unfortunately, I may have to cut that net figure down a few more hundred to see anything significant without increasing training load too much. What will make this more difficult is the holiday eating season is coming up too. Should be challenging.

So, since we are on the topic of weight loss affects to endurance activity, I dug up a few more articles on the topic that I thought were helpful….

What’s my Optimal Racing Weight? | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 1 | TrainingPeaks

Why is Weight So Important in Cycling? Part 2 | TrainingPeaks

Trainer Season…

As we are now heading into Trainer Season, DC Rainmaker just published his 2015-16 Trainer Recommendations. I would highly recommend reading this if you are in the market for a trainer this year. I will probably be saving myself over $200 this season just from reading this and getting a new controlled trainer sooner than I planned to. Worth a look.

Some Macca Drama

Looks like there is a bit of drama going on with Chris McCormack over some accusations being made from surf legend, Sunny Garcia. I first heard about this over a week ago on the TRS Radio Podcast during the beginning of episode 62 with Gordon Ramsay & Lew Hollander. But I haven’t heard anything new since then until I saw this post on Slowtwitch today. Sounds like some pretty serious allegations so we will see how that plays out.

Well, that is all I got for now. Hope everyone is enjoying the off-season and renewing their motivations for the upcoming season. Take care and happy training!

 

 

Fuel Your Training with Natural Energy Alternative…Or even better, Amrita Bars

While whole foods are a great source of nutrition, but they are not always easy to carry along for a long workout or race. I think a more convenient option is to have a combination of whole foods in an easier to carry package. A great example of this would be Amrita Bars.

Ready_to_ride___fuel__training__ironman__imcda__nourishyourpassion__amritabars_April_18__2015_at_1037AM

Was fully stocked with Amrita bars for my 4.5 hour ride on Satuday.

Amrita Bars are made with non-GMO and mostly organic ingredients that are identifiable with your own eyes. There are no artificial ingredients and they are the perfect balance of nutrients you need to get your through your race.

One option would be to keep some of the whole foods options, like the ones recommended in this article, in your special needs bag as a little something different to fuel you through the second half of the bike or the run.

Anyway here are some ideas for other whole food alternatives…

Source: Fuel Your Training with Natural Energy Alternatives | TrainingPeaks

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#17(Apr 20-26 2015)

Week 17 was not the typical recovery week. Usually my recovery weeks start out with some very low HRV readings and a general feeling of “blah”. At least in the early part of the week. This week I felt pretty darn good. I took Monday totally off of training and had an easy swim on Tuesday. My HRV, on average, went higher. I skipped my bike workout on Thursday with the intention of doing it Friday since I had off. Friday I had a pretty good swim and  I never did get that bike ride in. Now I have two days off. I did have the St. Luke’s Half Marathon on Sunday, so I thought I could justify that.

<a href=

iThlete Timeline Week 17″ width=”625″ height=”295″ /> iThlete Timeline Week 17

Friday night we had dinner with some friends at The Dime in downtown Allentown. I find myself in Center City Allentown a lot these days? Food was pretty good, but they are still working out some growing pains on the service side. After our dinner, we went to the Wise Crackers Comedy Club at the Ramada Inn on McArthur Road in Whitehall to see Jimmy Carroll. Side-splitting funny guy!! Nothing like have a good laugh.

iThlete Training Guide Week 17

iThlete Training Guide Week 17

My wife enjoyed The Dime so much that we headed back there in the morning for breakfast. We had to go downtown anyway since I had packet pickup for the half marathon which was just down the street. Food was good, but service still a little lacking. She didn’t bring my coffee until after the food…WTH??!

I quickly breezed through the expo and then bumped into a few people I knew and ended up chatting a while. My wife found some sneaker deals so that tied us up some more. Then there was the health food store across the street…more time. DIdn’t get out of there until 11am.

Farm near Fleetwood

Farm near Fleetwood

Saturday was a really nice day and I got an easy 3 hour/50 mile ride in. Just enough to maintain my bike endurance and not too much to tire me out for the half marathon the next day.

Training Peaks Calendar Week 17

Training Peaks Calendar Week 17

I wasn’t planning to taper for NJ Devilman, but it looks like I will be a little tapered.

Training Peaks-PMC Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015

Training Peaks-PMC Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015

Training Peaks-TSS by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015

Training Peaks-TSS by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015

Training Peaks-Volume by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015

Training Peaks-Volume by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015

 

Race Day

Had a great nights sleep Saturday night into Sunday. After I got up and started making my breakfast smoothie, my stomach started grumbling a bit and I started feeling kind of strange. I drank some coffee and about half of my smoothie before I was making a mad dash for the bathroom. Not good when you have a 13 mile run ahead of you.

My wife made up her concoction of baking soda and lemon juice, to calm my stomach, and I chugged that down. It helped a bit. Enough for me to get my stuff together and drive down to the race. I parked about a mile away and figured I would jog a mile to the start line to warm-up a bit. I only made it a about a half mile before things started brewing. I started making a b-line for a bathroom I spotted on the other side of the park I was walking next to. I will spare you details, but I decided that I would not be racing today. I then walked back to the car and headed home.

The next two days were not fun. I haven’t felt that bad in a while.

Not a real good start to the race season, but hopefully I have gotten that out of my system. Literally and figuratively!

Fortunately, next Sunday is New Jersey Devilman Half Lite(50 mi) so I should be healthier for that. I would rather miss a half-marathon than a half ironman.

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#16(Apr 13-19 2015)

Only 10 more weeks until Ironman Coeur d’Alene!

Training Peaks Calendar Week 16 iThlete HRV Timeline week 16 - April 13 -19

Training Peaks Calendar Week 16 iThlete HRV Timeline week 16 – April 13 -19

Week 16 was a pretty solid week of training. I ended up with around 15 hours total volume, which also included one day off due to me being stressed out from a screw-up at work. It also inlcluded no strength training whatsoever since I totally blew that off. But, the training was good. The weather also cooperated with some very nice days. The weekend was incredible too.

iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 16

iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 16

iThlete HRV Timeline  Week16

iThlete HRV Timeline Week16

My Heart Rate Variability(HRV) was all over the map. There were some good days and some pretty low days. I managed to eke out a low, but green 68 on Monday morning which was surprising since I did a 4.5 hour bike Saturday and 18 mile run on Sunday. I felt good all weekend though despite a HRV of 55 on Saturday. Fortunately, this is the last build week of 3 and next week is a recovery week. It will be a feel-like-crap week, but hopefully I will be back online for my half-marathon race next Sunday.

The Pool was a little cool this week due to a broken pump. Good practice for Coeur d'ALene though.

The Pool was a little cool this week due to a broken pump. Good practice for Coeur d’ALene though.

My shoulder is back to normal again. I was able to get all my swims in this week. I also got a little “Polar Bear” training in since the heater in the pool was not working. It was quite refreshing actually. I forgot all about it after 200 meters.

_sunset__barn__strava_April_16__2015_at_0637PM

Caught a cool sunset on Thursday night at a barn near Bowers, PA. Just happen to turn around and see it.

Since the weather has been nicer, I was able to get in some longer bike rides during the week. On Thursday I managed to get in 32 miles and was fortunate to get the shot above on my way home that night. I just happened to turn around saw this amazing opportunity. Despite some blue artifacts from the extra lens from my LIfeProof phone case, the shot came out pretty well. I had to stabilize the phone on a fencepost to get a sharp image.

Ready_to_ride___fuel__training__ironman__imcda__nourishyourpassion__amritabars_April_18__2015_at_1037AM

Was fully stocked with Amrita bars for my 4.5 hour ride on Satuday.

Saturday was a really nice day! Temps peaked at around 80 degrees and the winds were light in the morning. It got a little breezy in the afternoon, but it was mostly tailwind at that point. I was well stocked with Amrita bars for the ride and felt pretty amazing all day. A definite confidence booster for Ironman Coeur d’ALene. I also bagged a solid 30 minute brick immediately after too.

Barn and some farm equipment off of Huffs Church Road

Barn and some farm equipment off of Huffs Church Road

Amish Horse-and-buggy hitched up near Fleetwood/Kutztown.

Amish Horse-and-buggy hitched up near Fleetwood/Kutztown.

On Sunday, I headed over to the Ironton Rail Trail(IRT) for my long run. My goal was a Zone 2 run for 2:50 and ~18 miles. It was another amazing day and a little cooler than Saturday which was perfect for my run. There was a slight wind, but wasn’t a major factor. I ended up completing the 18 miles in just under 2:50 at around 9:20 pace while maintaining median zone 2 heart rate. This was another big confidence booster, since in prior years my HR would have been a bit higher at that same pace(Exhibit A). One of my goals this year is to maintain a 9:30 pace for the Ironman run and to do that I wanted to execute all my LSD runs at no more than that pace. I have mostly acheived that so far and this run is my best example of that. Happy!

Beautiful day for a 18 mile run on the Ironton Rail Trail on Sunday.

Beautiful day for a 18 mile run on the Ironton Rail Trail on Sunday.

 

Well, next week is a recovery week so I am fully prepared for a HRV nosedive and feeling like crap in the beginning of the week. Hopefully things will rebound a bit by the weekend since I am racing the St. Luke’s Lehigh Valley Half Marathon on Sunday. I would like to shoot for a PR, it is not my main focus right now. I may go out with that initial intention, but my let off the gas if I don’t “feel it.” I have my first triathlon, New Jersey Devilman Half Lite 50,  the week after so I don’t want to screw that up. That’s all for now…thanks for reading!

 

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#15(Apr 5-12 2015)

Only 11 more weeks until Ironman Couer d’Alene! Week 15 was another build week. I had planned about a 16 hour week in volume, but ended up with only 13 hours. This was mostly due to a shoulder bursitis flare-up issue that kept me out of the pool and some dog emergency issues on Friday. I was able to get in some more strength training time with the time freed up from swimming. The weather has also perked up a bit so I was also able to get some more time on the roads.

HRV

HRV was good most of the week until Monday morning which is highlighted in orange in the Training Guide chart . I would guess this was mostly from my 17 mile run on Sunday. The rest of the week was in the green sweet spot of the chart. I actually felt pretty good Sunday night, but was slightly fatigued on Monday morning. Then again I always feel that way on a Monday morning.

<a href=

iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 15 – April 5 -12″ width=”401″ height=”401″ /> iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 15 – April 5 -12

iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 - April 5 -12

iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 – April 5 -12

Things rebounded early in the week after a big dip the week prior, but continued to decline a bit towards Monday AM. I missed my Sunday AM reading due to my dog waking me early and I forgot to take it before getting out of bed.

Training

Monday was a beautiful day and I was able to get a good 28 mile ride in that evening. Tuesday was rainy and I resorted to the treadmill. During that treadmill run I started getting some pain in my left shoulder which continued to get worse. I tend to get some Bursitis issues in that shoulder from time-to-time due to an old high school football injury. It usually goes away fairly quickly though. I tried testing it out in the pool on Wednesday and only got about 200m in before I pulled the plug. No sense in aggravating it. So, swim training was nixed for the week.

Training Peaks Calendar Week 15iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 - April 5 -12

Training Peaks Calendar Week 15iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 – April 5 -12

Training Peaks PMC and <a href=

TSS chart Week 15-April 5 to 12″ width=”625″ height=”205″ /> Training Peaks PMC and TSS chart Week 15-April 5 to 12

 

I supplemented the extra time with some strength training, and longer bikes and runs. I had planned to have a good long swim and possibly a decent bike ride in the afternoon on Friday since I had off of work that day. That plan quickly changed when I noticed that my dog, Yuki, was bleeding from his mouth.

Yuki

Two days before Yuki had broken into the bag which contained two doses of Prednisone I had given to my parents while they dog-sat him. This was after having his dose that morning, so three doses. I had called the vet and they said he would be ok, just may drink and pee a bit more. He seemed fine while my parents had him and Thursday night. But then I noticed him licking his paw and it was all blooding Friday morning. I thought his paw was bleeding, but finally realized it was coming from his gums. I tried to stop it, but it kept bleeding so off to the vet we went.

They took him in the back tried to stop the bleeding. The vet said she thought his liver was not clotting his blood correctly due to the Lymphoma/cancer. I told the vet about the extra doses of Prednisone, but she never said anything about that. She also brought up about trying some chemo since it the Prednisone was not working along with some VItamin K to help the liver and get the blood clotting again. She said the chemo would put the cancer into remission and help his liver. The original vet expressed that the chemo would be rough on his liver which steared us away form that, but this vet deals with more of the oncological side and she disagreed. So we decided to proceed with that.

The Prince of Lock RIdge Park Yuki

The Prince of Lock RIdge Park

The bleeding continued off-and-on until about 7PM Friday night, which had me on high alert all day. I was putting ice on his gums to help stop it. That is fun trying to hold an ice cube on your dogs gums for any length of time. Eventually it stopped and I am happy to report he has been doing pretty well so far. He had one night where he was kind of moping around, but the past couple days he had been his normal self.

 Weekend Training

Saturday was a beautiful day but very windy out. The wind and the fact I was still on high alert with Yuki kept me on the trainer Saturday morning. I think it was a record long 4 hour ride on the trainer for me. Fortunately, I did get outside for my brick run that followed.

Sunday was a gorgeous day so I headed down to the Lehigh Parkway for my long run. I logged a decent 2:40 17 miler and managed to keep my average around 9:30 all in Zone 2. This was one of my goals to keep all my LSD runs at 9:30 pace or below. I will let the photos do the talking here…

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 - Blue Bells

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 – Blue Bells

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 - Post-run recovery streamside with an Amrita Bar

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 – Post-run recovery streamside with an Amrita Bar

Next week is going to be another build week since my schedule gets confusing after that. I am doing the St. Lukes Half Marathon on April 26th and then New Jersey Devilman the Sunday after that. I may end up doing two lighter weeks in a row or maybe a semi-light week for St. Luke’s and just train through it.

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#14(Mar 30 2015)

Week 14…back to building again. It feels good to be too. Temps are starting to warm-up again, although the winds have been howling away. My HRV is back in the green again, so full speed ahead. The body likes to be working hard.

<a href=

iThlete Training Guide Week 14 Mar 30-Apr 6th 2015″ width=”423″ height=”461″ /> In the Green! iThlete Training Guide Week 14 Mar 30-Apr 6th 2015

iThlete HRV Timeline Week14 Apr 06 2015

iThlete HRV Timeline Week14 Apr 06 2015

While I had planned on a 16 hour training week, I only realized about 12 hours of that. Most of that was from lack of strength training and some running on the back of the week.

First Road Ride Outdoors!!!

On Wednesday the weather and timing all coordinated to give me my first road ride on the actual road. This Winter has not played nicely for riding and I am pretty easily swayed to ride on the trainer since I do get a more consistent workout. It was a beautiful evening as I made my way out to Kutztown. There was a decent wind coming out of the North but it made for a easy cruise home. I was flaunting with the daylight a bit with a 1:40 minute ride though. I was just so ecstatic to be out.

The only downside to it was the roads are atrocious! Major potholes everywhere and the road that were recently paved, but then quickly oil and chipped are all buggered up already from the plows shaving off some of the chips. My God I can’t stand that stuff! Regardless it was nice to be out.

Friday swim…I ended up bagging my LSD swim on Friday, but then made it up on Saturday morning. This worked out ok since the pool was fairly empty Saturday morning. This in turn made Saturday a swim-bike brick which was different for me. I opted to hit the trainer on Saturday since the winds were crazy and the gusts were 25-30mph. I could have gone out and endured the winds and did some hills, but I was thinking about the safety factor. Riding along with a very flat-sided tri bike in strong wind gust has a tendency to blow you out in the road. This along with the fact that I haven’t been doing much in the way of bike handling from riding on the trainer so much, I opted to stay indoors. I did open all the windows and the door in the basement, so there was a little wind. 🙂

Yuki Waiting Patiently for a little "brick" walk after my long trainer ride

Yuki Waiting Patiently for a little “brick” walk after my long trainer ride

I did a 3.5 hour trainer ride following the Trainer Road Excelsior +2 workout. It was a nice mix of easy endurance with around 4-20 minute tempo intervals thrown in. The workout is typically 4:15, so I had squeeze in the last temp session. It worked out pretty well timewise too since the Flyers were on in the afternoon as well.

TP Training Calendar Week 14 Mar 30 to Apr 6 2015

TP Training Calendar Week 14 Mar 30 to Apr 6 2015

I did end up skipping my 20 minute run brick, since it was getting to be dinner time and I already did a swim-bike brick. I kind of regretted that on my Sunday run since my legs were really stiff and tired. I have found that I tend to run much better on Sunday when I finish with a brick run on Saturday. Does anyone else notice this too? Please leave a comment if you have found this to be true or not.

Easter Bunny Run…More Hopping than Running!

I got off to a late start Sunday just from putzing around too much in the morning. The weather forecast on Saturday said it was NOT going to be windy on Sunday. WRONG! It was almost as bad as Saturday and the gusts were crazy. As I mentioned my legs were really stiff and when I noticed I was running out of time since we had to be at my in-laws for Easter Dinner, I eagerly obliged by cutting it short. Oh well, hopefully next week will be better.

 

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#12 & 13

I have falling behind a few weeks on my training log updates, so in an effort to catch up a bit I am combining a couple weeks here.

Week 12(Mar 16-22)

Week 12 was the second of two build weeks for me. I ended up with 12:46 hours of volume and a TSS of 760. While the volume was actually 15 minutes less than the previous week, the TSS level was actually 12 points higher. Obviously a little more intensity, which is one of the things I am concentrating on this season. I am trying to eeke out a little more performance this season. There was nothing real significant this week, just a good solid week.

HRV(see below) was also steadily increasing during the week too which is a good sign that my body is responding well.

Week 13(Mar 23-29)

Week 13 was a rest week! Woohoo…not so fast. As you can see from my HRV Timeline below, recovery is a rough process on the body. It started off ok and started going downhil on Wednesday surprisingly with a very high 93 reading. While I would think that would be a good reading, it rated as a very low activation level.

iThlete HRV Timeline March 29 2015

iThlete HRV Timeline March 29 2015

iThlete HRV Reading Mar 25 2015

iThlete HRV Reading Mar 25 2015 – 93 High Activation

I don’t quite yet understand the whole activation level yet, but the popup from the iThlete Training Guide says it all. Things just went downhill from there too.

Am I Getting Sick?

As my HRV continued to decline, my body responded in concert with it. On Thursday, I started coughing a lot at work. By the time I got home Thursday night I was really feeling like crap. It felt like the onset of Bronchitis to me which would not be good. I pushed on and went out to dinner with the in-laws to a local Italian establishment. I gobbled up the large dish of garlic & olive oil they provided with the bread hoping to beat it out of me. I was really feeling bad by the time we left though.

All Hail…Oil of Oregano!

My wife has a small dropper bottle of this Oil of Oregano(OOO) stuff that she frequently takes when she feels any onset of sickness. She had given me some, along with a bunch of other natural remedies, a month ago when I started to get what I thought was the flu. That went away in 24 hours. I didn’t know what actually worked there, but the OOO was one of those things I took.

Oil of Oregano

This time I just took some Oil of Oregano only that night before going to bed. It tastes like a hoagie, but it is pretty strong. As it cascaded down my throat it burned pretty good. It was a good burn though.

I woke the next morning feeling perfectly fine! What the hell? Ok, I am a believer now. I was planning on doing a long swim on Friday morning since I had off of work, but blew it off just in case. I still felt great in the afternoon, so I ended up doing a tempo run. It ended up being a great run too. The weekend proceeded as planned with a long bike and run, Saturday & Sunday respectively.

Oil of Oregano can be purchased in most health food stores. It is pretty expensive for a small vial, but you don’t use that much so it lasts a while. I am a believer for sure!

iThlete HRV Training Guide March 29 2015

iThlete HRV Training Guide March 29 2015

The remainder of the weekend was business as usual. I got in a long bike & brick run on Saturday and a fairly long run on Sunday. All good. Looking at my training guide above it looks like shotgun scatter and a rainbow of colors.

Ok, next week is back to business and a full build week. After the crappiness of my recovery week, I am looking forward to it now. I really hope the weather turns to some warmer temps. Riding the trainer and treadmill in the basement is getting a bit old now. I want some fresh air!

Ok, that’s all for now…thanks for reading!