Friday, June 24, 2011

Supplements & Life Focus

One of my athletes asked me, "What do you take?"  I laughed out loud.  "I don't take anything.  If I did, I should ask for my money back.  I'm not exactly 'tear'n it up' these days."

So, what should someone more focused on their athletic endeavors take?  I'm no doctor.  However, my advice would be this.  Talk to your doctor.  Get a blood test.  If you are low in iron - adjust your DIET.  Just about the only thing that I would endorse is fish oil, a multi-vitamin and maybe a "super food" type tablet - one for getting all your fruits and veggies if you don't eat well.

Don't take anything that you don't need medically.

Me?  Well, I'm going to a new doctor.  I think he even has a medical degree.  Seems to be a good guy.  Doesn't like the pre-cancerous spots on my arms and blasted me with a liquid nitrogen spray which felt like a thousand needles stabbing my arms and then a torch.  My skin boiled up with massive blisters (sexy) which started to pop and ooze.  (Painting a picture for you am I?)  A few band-aids and it didn't look too bad.  Until Greta the golden retriever took her leash (on our walk that very afternoon) wrapped it around my arm and ripped all the blisters off along with the skin.  Sure, it stung a bit.  (read: a lot)  I can't get mad at her.  She is a puppy (sort of) still.  She gave me an apology lick and all was forgotten.  Until 20 minutes later... when she ripped the other arm's blisters off.  Could you be mad at a face like this?

Time at my in-laws.

The "pre-cancerous" stuff is freaky.  It may be more than a little "pre".  More follow ups to come.  Not knowing is worse than knowing right now.  Out of my control.  The funny thing is... I always wear sunscreen.  I've been eating right - and still cannot achieve certain blood levels and other health markers.  Something "ain't right".  Some other medical issues going on which explain a few other things when I train, race and my inability to lose weight in spirt of eating right (even if I am not exercising a ton).  This needs to get fixed - pronto.

I always tell my athletes to get healthy first.  So 2011, will be a chance for me to get physically healthy and career healthy.  Be that staying in what I'm doing now, or changing to full time coaching.  The most important thing is to be healthy.  Physically.  Mentally.  Career.  Family.  Spiritually.  I have a few bold moves up my sleeve.  Nobody ever looks back and wishes they did more work in some BS job versus their passion.

I care about my family and friends, as well as those friends I have yet to meet.  Haters... well, I'll just delete your messages once I tack them up on the motivation bulletin board.

More Greta...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lake in the Hills Sprint Triathlon Race Report

A few weeks old, but why not?

It was a rough week(s) leading into this race.  The goal was to just get a workout.  Met the goal.  The weeks before the race I was working in Madison, Wisconsin.  Living in a hotel.  Eating out for every meal (if you count a cafeteria as eating out too).  No pool.  No bike.  Just some running shoes.  So leading into this race I had zero workouts since 5/15 (the FL 70.3) - except two times 2.0 mile easy "sanity" runs.  Long hours.  No training.  Watching people ride by the client site in the aerobars or running on the trail is killing me.

Friday night I drove to Elkhart Lake to marshal.  Went to bed at 11:40pm.  Up at 4am.  Marshal.  Drive home.  Up at 4am.  Race...  (I'll sleep when I'm dead.)

Expectations were low.

The swim:
Pre-swim, I joked with Paula Hewson as she helped me with my wetsuit that "they need to make wetsuits that don't shrink."  Never mind that wetsuit was perfect when I was 165 lbs.  35 lbs more today... it was "snug".  The plan for the lake was to just swim "comfortably".  Remember, I hadn't swam since May 15 - my bad.  I don't have enough money to train.  Had to work.  Swim (turtle slow as it was) was still respectable.

The bike:
No power.  Hadn't been on my bike in a month and it felt like it.  It was fun to be riding.  Had the 60-64 woman's "champion" drafting my ass the whole way.  I blew snot.  Farted.  Nothing... she stayed right behind me.  A veteran racer.  Then I gave her a squeeze of water as I put some on my helmet to cool off and sprayed her.  Damn... didn't know she was that close.

The run:
T2 was a joke.  The inserts in my shoe needed to be fixed - twice.  So much for a "sprint".  The four mile run was like breathing through a straw.  Still, it wasn't as horrible as I had expected.  Races - even sprints - are hard when you don't train.  Even at slow speeds.

Did hear a few folks cheering for me.  That was unexpected and nice.  It was a fun day.  Any day racing is a good one.  Even if I'm embarrassingly slow, fat and out of shape.

There is only so much time.  The current economic conditions mean I must work as much as possible.  NOW.  Training is taking a back seat... for now.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Racing, Racing in the Heat & the Potential for Death

Coming off of the very sad tragedy on Saturday at the Chicago 13.1 I read through the comments on various web sites criticizing race organizations, runners and the "safety" of races.  I think anyone who is simply human will keep Mr. Gregory and his clients, co-workers, friends and family in their thoughts.  After all, any one of us could be the next Mr. Gregory on any day - in any workout.  Sadly, he won't be the last death this season.

What do I mean by that?
Races are not safe.  By their very nature, racing - no matter what the speed - we are putting our bodies under stress.  That stress has health risks.  Risks which need to be taken seriously by all of us, no matter what your age and family history.

Tragically, as we enter "race season" we will also see more deaths to people who had no idea that they shouldn't be racing or should get some kind of treatment.  Every year we find out that people drown or had a heart attack during a triathlon swim and never made it out of the water.  Large race fields, which make races profitable, also make it hard for lifeguards and officials (if there are enough) to monitor the water.  Some races have OUTSTANDING coverage in the water - Elkhart Lake Triathlon is a great example.

A very good friend and former client of mine - five time Ironman and three time  Boston Marathon finisher, multiple sub 3:00 - marathoner; had open heart surgery at the age of 37 to replace a valve.  How did he find this?  He broke his toe a few weeks before the Chicago Marathon and went to get it checked.  Thankfully, his doctor said, "You know... this could be nothing.  However I'd feel better if you check in with a good cardiologist."  He did and there was no Chicago Marathon for him last year.  The "signs"?  Just the signs of taper - fatigue, hunger late in the day, heavy sweating during workouts.

When I found some melanoma on my arm - the "signs"?  Some rough skin.  Nothing unusual except in the way that it didn't improve with time.  Skin cancer is one of the largest killers of younger people due to the fact that most people "blow it off" until it is too late.  It's also the most treatable.

Get a complete physical with a FULL blood panel, a running stress test, an echocardiogram - the full shot.  No race or race series is worth dying for.

Another topic... race rules and safety preparations.

PS: later this week - the blog I promised on supplements.