Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Is Food Literally Addictive?

Hello everyone, long time no chat.

A couple things here...one, I will be doing a race recap of my first race of the season shortly.  Also, I will add my thoughts on the Boston Marathon bombing too.  But first, something I have been thinking about for awhile.

I'm reading a book called Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss.  To sum it up, it is an interesting read about how the food companies over the last 60-70 years have added more salt, sugar, and fat to our foods, experimenting in labs and with focus groups to come up with "foods" that cause our brains to light up and get excited.

Having seen Super Size Me back in 2005, I was literally disgusted to the point I couldn't eat McDonalds for 6 months.  If you haven't seen the documentary, a man eats McDonalds for 30 days straight, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  He also gets very little exercise in an attempt to live like an "average American".  At the end of the film, he gains nearly 25 pounds and has more health problems.  Now, having read Salt Sugar Fat, it does cause me to think.  

We eat so few natural foods in our life.  Even the meat you eat from the grocery store has gone through some processing.  Orange juice from the carton?  It's been grabbed by the food companies and turned into a food product.  Cheese?  Modified.  Bread?  You know.  Aside from a cucumber, an apple, or a chicken from your own backyard, the food you eat has most likely been modified by one of the food giants.  And for those who didn't know, Kraft was at one point under Phillip Morris, the same manufacturer of...CIGARETTES!

But really, what can we do about it?  I mean, I don't live on a farm.  I live in Denver, an urban environment.  I can't raise my own food.  

I think the best thing we can do, ultimately, for our health/obesity is to eat as smart as possible.  Read nutrition labels.  Limit your intake of sugar/sodium/salt as best you can.  And for the love of all that's holy, get some exercise!

Okay, now with that being said, I'm off to make brownies!  (they aren't for me. ;-))

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week Seventeen: 4/22-4/28

Better? Slightly? With setbacks.

Monday, April 22: Bike: 8.79 mi in 27:09; avg cad 87; 19.43 mph
- 27.2 mph max
- no DVD; just pedaling in front of the TV
- hoo ha a bit sore from yesterday
- Snow and gloomy makes me not want to train. But, since I know I need to, I decided on some unstructured time on the trainer.

Tuesday, April 23: Off: tired
- Stupid work being stupid for the third day in a row. I also am apparently keeping up my streak of not working out on Tuesdays this month.

Wednesday, April 24: Run: 3.95 mi in 35:39.40 - 9:01/mi
- amended out-and-back
- a little breezy
- lungs, once again, can't keep up with my legs ... dangit.
- Was hoping to do more (story of my life), but Brandon wasn't feeling well, so I decided to help him out instead. Still got a great run in, so no regrets.

Thursday, April 25: Bike: 21.01 mi in 1:15:14; avg cad ~75; 16.76 mph
- max speed maybe 21.1 mph
- Platte trail
- cyclometer ... may be dead :(
- I am pretty sure that is my fastest ever average on the Platte. Funny thing is, for most of it, it didn't even feel that difficult. New bike, I *heart* you.

Friday, April 26: Swim: 200m in 4:29.95 - 2:15/100m
- 2x100m
- ow that hurt
- I canNOT take extended time off swimming. That was awful. However, in other news, the cyclometer is NOT broken - just being stupid.

Saturday, April 27: Bike: 2.31 mi in 9:05; avg cad 76; 15.26 mph
- 34.3 mph max
- pedaling to Jeopardy
- I think my crotch is bruised ...
- Really wanted to get in a better ride, but way too painful. I think the indent of leg into nether regions is bruised because where it hits the saddle? OW.

Sunday, April 28: Run: Cherry Creek Sneak: 5K in 28:13 - 9:04(-07)/mi
- 1st race of the season
- 8:30 1st mile ... lungs fell apart
- Hoped to swim, but we forgot how much racing takes out of you - even if it is just a 5K.

Time- and mileage-wise, this was a better week. Bruising essentially my crotch sucks because I really want to ride. Swimming ... I don't even know what's going on with that and my strength work has gone down the tubes. The race, while not exactly the result I would have liked, is a positive for the glimpse of the possible.

Weekly training time: 2:59:50
Weekly training mileage: 39.29 mi
Yearly training time: 55:23:28
Yearly training mileage: 398.35 mi

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week Sixteen: 4/15-4/21

April needs to end. That is all.

Monday, April 15: Off: trip/work
- Trip prep after work and then a whole lot of driving leaves very little time for working out. Also: fuck you, Boston Marathon bombers.

Tuesday, April 16: Off: exhaustion
- We had grand schemes of swimming and lifting after TriSports and bike shopping ... but the extreme lack of sleep caught up with us and we crashed. Okay with it, ultimately, because NEW BIKES! And we pedaled quite a bit on them ... so it's not like we were completely slothful ...

Wednesday, April 17: Run: 3.1 mi in 29:43.12 - 9:35/mi
- Reid Park loop in Tucson!
- chillier than expected
Bike: 3.29 mi in 13:33; avg cad 67, 14.57 mph
- 22.9 mph max
- attempting to test out the new QRoo!
- Run was surprisingly wonderful. Not where we'd like a 5K to be, obviously, but sub-30:00 is still nice. Would have really loved to have gotten a better feel for the bikes, but with wind like that? Tricky.

Thursday, April 18: Off: driving
- 5am to midnight in a car leaves no time for getting in a workout, unfortunately.

Friday, April 19: Off: exhaustion
- After being in a car for so damn long and having to be up 3 hours after I went to bed to go to work leaves me with no energy to do anything but sleep and sleep a lot.

Saturday, April 20: Run: 2.39 mi in 23:48.24 - 9:57/mi
- neighborhood loop
- hoped for longer; legs/lungs said nope
- Legs felt very interesting on this run - worse than Wednesday under similar pre-conditions. Maybe the compression calf sleeves in the car ride down helped ...

Sunday, April 21: Bike: 15.85 mi in 57:49; avg cad 69, 16.45 mph
- max speed maybe 28.8 mph
- Cherry Creek trail
- cyclometer acting up re: speed
- Hoped to swim too, but didn't happen. Despite the bike technical difficulties, got a taste of how powerful the Dulce can be. Now, just to name cupcake ...

A road trip does not do well when it comes to working out ... which means it's probably good that our next long planned one is driving down to Tempe for IMAZ ... and we'll also probably take our sweet-ass time doing it so we can still get in a few taper-y workouts. This month is also a disaster in terms of my workouts, but I still feel fairly confident about the base I've built up so far and I still have about a month until official training starts. All I have to keep in mind is that next week is a new start, tomorrow is a new start, the next hour is a new start.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go ride my shiny new bicycle. :) (new post on that coming sooooooon)

Weekly training time: 2:03:53
Weekly training mileage: 24.63 mi
Yearly training time: 52:23:38
Yearly training mileage: 359.06 mi

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week Fifteen: 4/8-4/14

Not good, again. My own fault though. Read on.

Monday, April 8: Swim: 900m in 20:37.10 - 2:17/100m
- 100m, 200m, 300m, 200m, 100m
- took a long while to get going
- could tell I didn't work my upper body a lot last week
- Started this week off on a good note. Going to work hard this week, but not crazy hard. Need to get back in the swing of things smartly.

Tuesday, April 9: Off: exhausted
- Was hoping to trainer, but got home from work and crashed. Understandable, given that it was my third open in a row.

Wednesday, April 10: Run: 4.44 mi in 40:35 - 9:08/mi
- MX12 treadmill set - beginner
- almost did intermediate - hopefully next week
- Was hoping to lift as well, but mrrmrr had treadmill issues so lifted without me ... therefore, I didn't want to make him wait. Should have, in retrospect.

Thursday, April 11: Swim: 200m in 4:28.59 - 2:14/100m
- 2x100m
- yucky-tasting pool water
- We totally have vacation brain. Also, it's weird - I can be in open water that tastes funky and I don't care ... because it's unpredictable open water. But pool water that tastes off? No can do.

Friday, April 12: Off: vacation brain
- I am getting a new bike in less than a week and going to Tucson and it is hard to focus on anything else. Screw you Bob. I am so done with you.

Saturday, April 13: Lift: 45:00
- 3/10/10 back extensions; 3/10/140 w.a. dips; 3/10/60 lat pulldowns; 3/10/50, 60, 60 low rows; 3/10/10 bicep curls; 3/10/90 angled leg press; 3/10/10, 12, 12 incline db flies; 3/15/16 med ball twists; 3/10/6 med ball bosu tosses
- been way too long since I've lifted
- All this did was to remind me that I have failed in strength training. I know better. The iron keeps me honest ... dangit.

Sunday, April 14: Run: 5.36 mi in 54:32.34 - 10:10/mi
- Orchard loop
- would have been better had it not been for the stupid wind. I hate wind.
- Good run to end the week on. Pseudo-salvaged the week. Can't wait for next week, as it's a new start and I think a new bike will bring fabulous new motivation.

What I said Monday? Ha, right. It was a slightly better week in terms of time, but other than that? Crap. A second straight week I haven't gotten on my bike and it's because my new wheels are so close I can taste them (TUESDAY!). I shouldn't use that as an excuse, but I can't help it. I'm just thankful that my running is at least still continuing to go well.

Weekly training time: 2:45:13
Weekly training mileage: 10.48 mi
Yearly training time: 50:31:45
Yearly training mileage: 334.43 mi

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week Fourteen: 4/1-4/7

Not such a good week here ... read on.

Monday, April 1: Off: scheduled
- Work was just shitty enough that I almost changed my mind on this, but decided to keep it. I did, however, do some strenuous damn house cleaning. Which I probably should have logged in BT.

Tuesday, April 2: Off: dead
- Wasn't planning on taking today off, but my achy and exhausted body said otherwise. Which is okay - I'd rather listen to my body and rest rather than push it and get injured.

Wednesday, April 3: Swim: 2100m in 46:08.88 - 2:12/100m
- 4x50m, 3x100m, 2x200m, 1x300m, 2x200m, 3x100m, 4x50m
- that was a lot of swimming
- Was going to head back to the gym later and lift, but that huge swim took a ridiculous amount out of us.

Thursday, April 4: Run: 4.41 mi in 40:35; 9:12/mi
- MX12 treadmill set
- no music for last interval
- burgers were a bad idea
- Work schedule was a little screwy, so squished this in after dinner and before the MX12 spreecast. A little harder today - I blame dinner.

Friday, April 5: Off: dead
- Oh god so tired. Up later than usual due to the spreecast - which was totally worth it, especially because we got on and talked to Macca! - but when I have to be up ass-early, it's not good. This week is slowly turning into a disaster.

Saturday, April 6: Run: 6 mi in 1:00:57 - 10:09/mi
- RunCO Saturday run
- miserable course
- 27:18 at mile 3
- Last half of that run was awful. Still, did it. Moved furniture for the rest of the day, and am kind of upset I couldn't log it on BT.

Sunday, April 7: Off: exhausted
- This week was a giant pile of fail. Bad sleep, too big of a week last week? I'm ultimately happy I listened to my body this week, but still, I can't help but be upset at the same time.

Not a good week in terms of activity, but great from a learning perspective. I may feel differently if a week like this happens in say, September.

Weekly training time: 2:27:41
Weekly training mileage: 11.71 mi
Yearly training time: 47:46:32
Yearly training mileage: 323.95 mi

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Are we off-putting?

So I’m reading an article on the NYC Marathon PR disaster in the January issue of Runners World.  This is what I do when I fly; I read.  I read a lot.  There is a short blurb asking runners a very important question: Are we living in a bubble?

It got me thinking.

I love being an athlete, and more specifically, a triathlete.  I am part of a very special/elite group of people.  Like being a pilot, being a triathlete takes a specific skill set that 99.9% of the population cannot do.  I have heard estimates that less than 1/10th of 1% of the population can currently be commercial airline pilots.  So I would say that puts me in pretty elite company.  Even though I downplay my job a lot, because honestly, to me, it is just a job, to the majority of the population, it seems pretty cool.

I guess I have often felt the same way about being a triathlete.  To me, this is just my hobby.  I don’t do it for a living.  I’ll never win a race, and I am certainly no elitist.  I’m an age-grouper, grinding out the miles one day at a time.  But I do love it so much.  I love it the same way a knitter enjoys knitting, a pianist enjoys playing the piano, a woodworker enjoys carving wood…well you get the idea.

But are we, as athletes, getting to a point where we are no longer seen as special?  We put the stickers on our car, get the M Dot tattoo when completing an Ironman, brag about our accomplishments on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.  We wear shirts in public signifying our past races and visors advertising the last 70.3 we did.  We encourage those around us that our lifestyle is more healthy and that people should be thinking about “buying local” and joining a Crossfit class.  Shouldn’t this stuff impress the non-athletes?  Shouldn’t people be looking at us in awe and saying “I want to do that?”

Or are we isolating ourselves?

I like spectators at my events.  People who will cheer me on and wish me well on the course.  A lot of these spectators are non-athletes and will never achieve what we have.  I don’t want to scare them away by being too “elitist” or snobby.  Personally, it’s why I’m not a fan of vegans.  How do you know someone is a vegan?  They’ll tell you!

I think the important thing to remember is this: for most of us, this is not what pays the bills.  Simply put, this is our hobby.  In the same way that dog-owners get excited about their dogs and Red Sox fans remind you that they are not the Yankees (screw that, you have the second highest payroll in MLB and it took you 86 years to achieve relevancy again) we should perhaps tone down our giddiness over what we do.  Remember, 99% of America, and perhaps the world, doesn’t have an interest in achieving what you do.  No one is saying that what you are achieving isn’t monumental.  The racing community is proud of you.  And maybe, just maybe, that’s enough.

March Recap

Morning everyone.  March, all in all, was a good month.

Let's visit the numbers:

6400 meters of swimming or 3.97 miles of swimming
108.3 miles of cycling
33.89 miles of running
1:21 of strength training

To answer my dear friend Dr. J's question about my times, a lot of my times are skewed because I'm doing a lot of indoor training.  A lot of treadmill work, a lot of bike trainer time.  :-)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Round-Up

If you've been following along with my weekly updates, you know that I kind of kicked a little ass in March. I had some huge numbers and am very happy with that. I'm feeling leaner, my pants are fitting better, I think I'm looking better and, most importantly, I'm getting faster.


Running: 43.99 mi
Swimming: 8600m (5.3 mi)
Cycling: 103.14 mi
Lifting: 7 sessions
Other: 25 minutes of dancing

Running has gone very well recently. I thank the MX12 treadmill set for a lot of that, as well as just putting in the damn miles. I ran more in this month than I did in ANY month of last year (which says a lot about how last year went).

Swimming is getting there. I'm slowly getting stronger and swimming longer distances. I know that to get better here, I just have to put in the mileage, so I am.

Cycling is off and on. NEW BIKE SOON AND I CAN'T WAIT. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Lifting ... isn't great, but it's fairly steady and I'm glad I'm sticking with it.

And while I didn't do much outside of tri-related activities, I did do a bit of Irish dancing to try to win my weight in beer (which I didn't, but I got in the finals). Better than nothing, I guess.

I've had steady growth so far ... and I have one more true full month of base-building left. Let's see what I can continue to do ...