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#40 Spartan meets Endurance with Chris Russell

[podcast src="https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4778216/height/90/width/480/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/88AA3C/" height="90" width="480"]spartanbkCoach BK and Chris Russell wit RunRunLive.com and author chat about Chris's experience as an endurance athlete and doing a Spartan Beast.   Coach BK - Braving Karma Coaching   www.BonnieKissinger.com Athlete Health Assessment:  www.bonniekissinger.com/aha Chris Russell   http://runrunlive.com/

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Conversations of two Ironman Idiots training for another long a$$ race

So this all started out with us finishing Ironman Wisconsin 9/11/16. And having signed up for a 50K/50miler a month later. (Inner voice of reason: who the f does that?) One of us is more of an idiot than the other. "How do you say this", she asks. There IS a substantial difference between 50k and 50 miles. Just saying. Raven, idiot #1, is the coach too. Jade, idiot #2, she's stubborn. And going out of town for a work conference. Where Millers Meadow is, decent technical single track. So. On the way to the trails to get some running in .... Jade: I'm gonna take the mountain bike to Millers Meadow tomorrow and try out the single track. Raven: yeah. Good luck with that. You really need to be careful. You're two weeks out from your 50 miler. Jade: ah. I'll be alright. Raven: Whatever. Don't call me when you've broken your arm or face. You really need to keep your hands and feet in the vehicle! Keep your eyes on the open space. I'll be fine. Uh hu. Jade: Look. I was trying to be good. Thought that would be better than going out with my friends and getting shitfaced. Raven: At this point, I think it would be be smarter to get shitfaced with your friends than try out the single track for the first time. Whatever. At running trails. Raven: Lets just go get those southwest egg rolls. Jade: Wouldn't take much. Raven: Ok. Let's go. Hahahaha. Three loops in. Done. Clothes changed in the park parking lot. When did I become the person that's ok being mostly naked in public. That triathlon thing has broken me. Egg roll bound. End of the story .... featuredImage.jpgRaven, idiot #1, flings southwest sauce shoveling a stolen fry in her mouth. She looks down, sees the glob of sauce on her BRAND NEW iPhone 7 and breathes a sigh of relief that it didn't drop on the IMMoo jacket.  

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Stop Worrying about Carbs

Just focus on the right kind!

During the past two decades, diets have cast carbs as hell spawn sent to fatten you up and destroy you with diabetes.  These diets demonized all carbs, from whole grains to fruit, and urged you to get them out of your life.  Some forms of this nutrient deserve that evil reputation, but many don't. By avoiding bad cards you can speed weight loss and doge disease. Article source: Fetters/Men's Health

But beware:  shunning the good carbs may hurt your health and fitness goals.

What Carbohydrates Really Are

Like proteins and fats, carbs are macro-nutrients - in other words, substances that stoke your metabolism and keep you alert and active.  As an analogy, think of carbs as your body's primary source of crude oil.  Through digestion, carbs are transformed into glucose --kind of like high-octane unleaded gas.  "Carbohydrates are the only nutrients that exist solely to fuel the body," says Donald Layman, PhD, a professor human nutrition at the University of Illinois. Without glucose, your blood oxygen levels suffer, your energy levels tank, and your risk of a brain fart rises. You should consume 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories form carbohydrates, according to the USDA's most recent recommendations.  So if you're a moderately guy consuming 2,600 calories a day, that means 1,170 to 1,690 calories of that total should come from carbs.  And since carbs-whether from sugar, starch, or fiber - contain 4 calories per gram, you should shoot for 295 to 425 grams a day.  This amount, says Layman, will help your brain, blood, and nervous systems function at their best. If you keep your intake under 80 grams of carbs a day, as some diet plans suggest, your body will begin breaking down its fat stores to produce ketones, a poor man's "glucose", which can lead to that low-carb "cloudy" feeling.  Excess dietary carbs become excess body fat.  So losing weight and helping your heart is as simple as cutting back on the white bread, right?  Lets read on.

Why You Should Strive for Complexity

The quality of your carbs is as important as the quantity, says Frank Sacks, MD, a nutrition professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Complex carbs, found in starchy veggies and whole grains, ar linked to healthier weight and lower risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. "Complex carbohydrates are difficult for the body to break down, and that's a good thing,"  says Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, a researcher in gastroenterology and nutrition at Cleveland Clinic.  THese carbs digest shlowly, and the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream is also slower as a result.  The increases in your blood sugar and insulin levels are moderate enough that they don't reach levels associated with body-fat stoarge, Cresci says.  Plus, they make your good gut bacteria happy.  "The gut microbiata prefer complex carbs over any other food source," says Cresci.  After theses guys feast on the carbs, they send beneficial compounds into your bloodstream.  These compounds, called short-chain fatty acids, may help lower inflammation and strengthen your immune system. Most foods that contain complex carbs are also high in fiber, which regulates blood sugar and helps you feel full.  In a 2015 study, people who were asked to eat 30 grams of fiber a day on top of their normal diet lost about as much weight as folks on a strict diet.

How the Wrong Kinds of Carbs Can Hurt You

Refined carbs, such as those in white bread, cookies, and chips, have the opposite effect that complex, unrefined carbs have.  After you eat, your blood sugar rises; in response, your insulin levels skyrocket. Plus, your gut bacteria spit out inflammatory compounds.  So a daily Boston cream sets you up for metabolic malfunction, elevated triglycerides, obesity, and the chronic diseases that accompany them. Cutting out those breakfast doughnuts may help you erase the one encircling your waistline.  And yes, if you eliminate almost all carbs from your diet, you'll drop even more weight-but not for the reasons you might think.  On a low-carb diet, your body churns through its stores of muscle glycogen. And for every bit of muscle glycogen you burn, your body release twice as much H2O.   So initially you'll lose weight, but it will be more form water than from body fat. To effectively reverse the weight gain associated with the intake of simple carbs, you have to shop smart.  Beware of products that market themselves as low-fat.  When food producers remove fat from cookies, ice cream, yogurt, or salad dressings, they often replace the lost flavor with processed sugar (yes, sugar is a carb), which is more easily converted into body fat than unprocessed carbs. And don't let the "gluten free" trend hook you in: Many gluten-free pastas, breads, and baked goods contain more sugar and calories than their conventional counterparts.  So unless you're among those with celiac disease or known sensitivities, there's probably no health reason for you to cut out gluten-containing whole grains like wheat, barley, and rye.  And don't forget:  gluten is a form of protein, your muscles' friend. A general rule: the fewer ingredients in the food you're buying, the better.  Choose apples, not low-fat, gluten-free, cinnamon-sugar apple chips.  While fruit does contain simple carbs, those carbs come with plenty of fiber.  In fact, a 2013 BMJ study found that fiber from fruit may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.  "Anyone who cuts down on fruit to reduce their sugar intake is making a big mistake," says Dr. Sacks.

How Carbs Fuel Your Fitness

Carbs are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver and also serve as fuel for high-intensity and endurance exercise.  If your fitness regimen is intense-say, you're training for a marathon-you need 40 to 60 additional grams of carbs per hour of exercise to help your performance, says Stuart Galloway, PhD, who studies exercise metabolism at the University of Stirling, Scotland.  Another way to think about this is 1 extra gram of carbs per minute you work out.  According to 2013 research in the journal Sports Medicine, carbs boost performance during the endurance and high-intensity work-outs.  Better performances burn more calories. [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"] After your workout, you need to consume just as much carbs as protein-ideally more.  That's because insulin may help with protein synthesis and muscle building, a 2015 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests.  Aim for a 1:1 or 2:1 carb-to-protein ratio after you hit the gym.  Lift some choc protein shake, apple slices with almond butter, or pita and hummus. So here's your prescription:  Eat a consistent amount of complex carbs every day (unless you're running a marathon or doing some similar activity the next day) from the greatest variety of whole sources possible.  Then enjoy all the disease-fighting, gut-filling benefits.

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6 signs that you’re BURNT OUT

[box] There are a number of very LEGITIMATE reasons why we can feel ABSOLUTELY DONE.  Stress, life events, illness and the list goes on and on.  Here are some small signs that you need to take action to improve your health and energy levels. [/box]

1. You forget what in the world you were doing almost immediately.  Drawing blanks.

Did you know that when you are under stress, the stress hormones actually counteract your abilities to recall from your memory.  It's a brain thing.  Add in maybe not sleeping well. "During sleep, your brain replays whatever you learned that day and moves it into long-term storage."  ~Sandra Ackermann, PhD (University of Zurich). Meaning if you are sleeping and have been stressed out all day, this process just doesn't happen.

2. Your cuts take longer to heal

We are talking about a little cut or maybe something bigger.  The healing process includes producing collagen, forming blood clots and recruiting cells to protect against germs.  However, when you are stressed, your body has higher levels of chemicals called glucocorticoids, which suppress your immune system.  Think about it like this, when you are stressed, your body thinks it needs to fight or run, not spend energy worrying about healing.  So this makes your little ouchies heal more slowly, giving you a small sign that you are stressed out and your adrenals are in hyperdrive.

3. Ladies ... your cramps are AWFUL

Stress can make your period late.  And awful.  This is because the hypothalamus, the regulatory center of the brain, senses that your body is RUNNING ON EMPTY, and so delays the release of the egg.  I mean, really, why release an egg if you're not going to be able to support a pregnancy? Or you feel super frazzled during "that week".  Studies have shown that women feel way more frazzled and out of control, due to the adrenals not being able to produce hormones in balance, so you FEEL CRAZY.

4. Your digestion is a MESS

Reflux.  Constipation.  IBS.  blah blah blah.  Stress can alter gut secretions and slow or speed up digestion cause lots of issues.  The good bacteria in your gut takes a hit.  Everything gets off balance.  Why do we care.  Nutrient absorption.  You really need to be using what you're eating.  Your immune system is mainly in your gut.  You're gut is your second brain.  Imagine how you would be doing if your brain was filled with crap.  or empty.  or chronically inflamed.  All due to stress.

5. Scratch scratch scratch

Did you know that the skin's nerve endings release chemical signals called neuropeptides that communicate to the brain "something is wrong" in response to trauma or other stimuli.  This is a form of inflammation that can leave you super itchy.

6. Your dreams are wacky

People you are sleep deprived (quantity and/or quality) can have crazy dreams.  The super smart people really aren't sure why.  They think that maybe it's related to your brain prioritizing REM sleep, the most restorative stage, but also where dreams occur.  Also, the fragmentation of the REM cycle can cause you to remember more and for you to pop in and out of REM, instead of the cycle we are designed to go through. [divider style="double" top="20" bottom="20"] CONCLUSION: Look for the little signs.  Knowing that "stress" is a real thing, not just a word to be thrown around.  And it causes real issues in the body.  Left unchecked in the early stages, you get bigger issues.  Fertility issues.  Depression. Big Digestion Issues.  Fibromyalgia.  Other autoimmune issues.  etc. etc. etc. These energy / stress issues don't have to get you. And it's not a realistic idea "let's cut out the stress. It's not the external stress that's killing us. It's what we do with it. So fixing these issues MUST be done on a multi-level approach. Heal whats going on. Crowd good stuff in. Work on dealing with life in a more positive and productive way. WANT TO TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THIS WITH ME? LET'S DO A FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION! [button color="blue" size="big" link="/health-discovery-form/" icon="" target="false"]Get Started Now[/button]

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Iron Kelly – a race report to start things off

traithlete-parking-only-225x300So this is the first time I've written an actual “race report” and its a hard one.

How do I write that overall I was upset with things? I mean everyone keeps on me about how awesome I did and how amazing it was for day 99 .. and I keep thinking SHIT have i got a TON of of work inorder to be able to do an ironman next year. I will say I wouldn't have finished without the help of my guide that I met that morning. He thought on his toes and probably could have pushed me a bit more in some areas. I started off the day with a piece of toast and some greek yogurt and had trouble getting that to go down. I started the day at a pain level of about 7.5 or an 8 out of 10. It was a rough day... i never found my groove in the swim. The water was shallow and in many a spots you could stand up in it.. it was about 68 degrees from what I heard. The cold was welcoming in many ways I knew that the colder it was the colder my temp would stay for longer. But I ended up doing lots of side stroke and the shunt tubing was moving and I cramped up as a result. In practice I had not had to swim much on my side because we know that makes the tubing more of an issue. Ben had it arranged that at the point the courses overlap that we would basically double back since it would be the same distance. The fear of being kicked in the head was at times overwhelming. Had that happened it would have been game over for sure. We started in the water absolutely last and came out not last. LOL but it was rough. Some how we spent about 3 minutes in T1 … that's long for me. But we go to bike and I start out strong... like 17 miles and hour on a mountain bike strong and kept that pace for about 5 miles even and then all hell broke loose with my head. It was to the point my head was swelling and I couldn't get my helmet to adjust any bigger so we slowed down and it took me just over an hour to bike 14 miles. I didn't take in even 8 oz of water at this point. Ben tried to remind me to drink stuff but I just couldn't seem to focus at some points. Few times I almost went off the road. I also had a few points where my right arm went pins and needles numb and the shunt tubing again moved and I had some cramping. It was a bit slower than I had hoped. Generally T2 is a quick less than a minute transition for me because I don't clip in at this point so no shoe change. Today it ended up taking forever for me and I'm not sure why (well other than a potty break I needed and to run cold water over my head and hands) the run (walk really). So the walk with a few short jogs was bad. I was joined by 2 friends... the one wanted to chat. Which was good but I needed to have my focus going. To the point he and a friend in England skyped during part. It was nice but I couldn't hear her and she was talking to me but yeah it was just hard. Then had to stop for a picture at the turn around for them. I just needed to race and be focused. I almost lost my stomach a few times and the few short jogs HURT my head and caused cramping. I carried ice packs in my hands and at the water station we got more ice cubes for me to have and put down my neck and that. I don't know that I drank much more water n the course either. Some of the time Ben was like yeah we did that don't you remember and honestly I don't frown emoticon We came into the finish line and for a while I didn't see it even when Ben did... but after getting the medal and some water and walking over to the tent.. I started to crash. I mean room spinning and I was going down hard and fast. So into the ice bath they had for the Half ironman people I went. I was in the ice for a good 5+ minutes to get things under control. :( However, in reviewing my old PR for a sprint tri .. I was reminded that on that course I missed the second loop of the bike. So I did PR the race. If i had done the second bike loop before it would have added a good 60 minutes to my time(the course was HARD and my bike had issues and I had to walk lots of it)... so today my time was technically just under a minute longer BUT I did 2x the bike distance. I'm frustrated and scared at how much in some ways this has shaken my confidence about my long term plan. I know I should be proud...I was on day 99 out of surgeries but its still hard to realize that as much as I train come race day so much is so out of my hands. I also realized I need to work on the buddy thing. Ben was great.. I seriously couldn't have asked for a better buddy for the first time racing with a guide/buddy and him never doing it before. But I had trouble talking to him because I didn't want to scare him with how I was feeling at certain points. And at other points I needed him to sort of keep me more focused in my race and let others move along. But I think I shouldn't have to rely on someone to do that for me. If I can get my run back to an actual run rather than a mostly slow walk that will really help. I just don't know where to go at this point with things... not sure it was a smart idea to have raced so soon. But then I think I needed to know I could still do it. And prove to myself that it was still in me. I needed to see how I would react. I know I need more open water swim time rather than in a pool so much if I can. But that was mostly due to not being allowed to swim in open water till incisions were more healed. I can come up with a million and one excuses for things the fact is I need more training and a better plan going forward.

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Iron Kelly – floor walking

traithlete parking onlySometimes things happen for reasons. We don't always understand them at the time however.

I started my journey to becoming a triathlete in a rather odd way to some.  I started by downloading the couch to 5k app to my phone.  I had no idea at that time what a triathlete really was or distances required or anything.  I started to do the program and asked friends what to do on the "off days" as I was over 300 pounds and wanted the weight GONE asap.  Several suggested biking. So I got a bike and went to work. That's when someone said if you run and bike... can you swim?  Umm well I did when I was a kid, was my response.  And the answer came back then do a triathlon.  And blindly I went at it with no real idea of what I was now jumping head first into.  I'd like to say it was easy but honestly that would be a lie. There have lots of set backs but I've also set higher goals then I ever thought possible. Right now the biggest one is to complete a full Ironman distance race.

Its kept me going through some pretty rough stuff lately.  Most notable is 8 brain surgeries that happened over a span of 104 days.

Nothing like having a hole (well 2 in my case) drilled into your head to add some perspective to life for you.  During those hospital stays- some of which were 3 weeks long I would get up as much as possible and walk the hall way...back and forth. It was to the point the nurses started to comment about what I was doing and why. My answer was I need to keep moving so I don't loose too much as I train to be an Ironman. I became known among the staff that that was my goal.  My neurosurgeon encouraged it, supported it, reminded me of it when I was feeling really bad and in a bad place emotionally. What was even more emotional was that there were patients on the neurology unit that were there for what they called "far less than what I had been too" ...which I'll never really understand how one compares what one has endured to another person's journey.  You know what if you are a patient in the hospital – unless it was an "easy" delivery of a healthy baby... guess what it just sucks! So anyways, I'm walking and walking and walking and other patients being nice would ask how are you and that... and soon it got around that I was walking to train for my Ironman. I'd have trouble sleeping at night and be there walking. After the last surgery I had a walker and yes still at it... and still saying "one day I'm going to be an Ironman". Soon I noticed other patients would start walking more and more with me.  I soon had a group and we regularly walked the floor together. It was a great group. We'd chat and a few times people would ask us what we were doing. And the reply was "this is Kelly, she's training for an Ironman. We are helping her and pacing her."

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Magnesium is CRITICALLY important for the person and the ENDURANCE Athlete

Magnesium deficiency...what foods are good sources of magnesium? Is magnesium important for training and racing, or for general health?

CHECK OUT what Dr. Marshall Porterfield from NASA says about magnesium.

[audio mp3="http://www.bonniekissinger.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Podcast-Magnesium-M-Porterfield.mp3"][/audio] [box] Magnesium is involved in numerous processes that affect muscle function including oxygen uptake, energy production and electrolyte balance. Thus, the relationship between magnesium status and exercise has received significant research attention. This research has shown that exercise induces a redistribution of magnesium in the body to accommodate metabolic needs. There is evidence that marginal magnesium deficiency impairs exercise performance and amplifies the negative consequences of strenuous exercise (e.g., oxidative stress). [/box] Magnesium is an essential mineral that demands attention when it comes to health assessment. It is required by virtually every cell, and it’s vital in more than 300 chemical processes that sustain basic human health and function, including muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve function, cardiac activity, blood pressure regulation, hormonal interactions, immunity, bone health and synthesis of proteins, fats and nucleic acids. Magnesium is also crucial for energy metabolism by the activation of enzymes known as ATPases, which are needed to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate). When ATP is broken down, energy is released for all muscle contractions, and when exercising strenuously, this turnover is extremely high, meaning that ATP needs to be synthesized quickly. Thus a shortfall of magnesium can limit energy production, leading to fatigue, lethargy, reduced power, muscle twitches or cramps. Chronic deficiencies of magnesium are also implicated in reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of osteoporosis as well as anemia, depression and irregular heart rate. Virtually every body system can display symptoms because systems throughout the body rely on magnesium. Athletes in particular might find it easy to explain away fatigue or muscle cramps, lowered immunity, and even altered heart rates, and indeed these symptoms are common and multi-faceted in cause. However, a simple magnesium deficiency could also be the underlying factor. There is emerging evidence that magnesium requirements are significantly elevated in athletes, and that performance might benefit from higher intakes. Aside from being used up in the production of energy, magnesium might also assist performance by reducing accumulation of lactic acid and reducing the perception of fatigue during strenuous exercise through its action on the nervous system. Magnesium is also lost through sweat, so athletes training hard in hot and humid environments might further increase demands. [box]

Magnesium Depletion

The "Journal of Nutrition" reported on a study in 2002 that examined the effect of magnesium depletion on cardiac function and energy needs during exercise. Post-menopausal women were put on a diet supplemented with 200 mg of magnesium, followed by a non-supplemented diet. The restriction of dietary magnesium resulted in decreased magnesium concentrations in the body, which translated to poor cardiovascular function and poor energy during exercise, the study showed.

Effect of High Intensity Exercise on Magnesium Concentration

A 2006 review by Forrest Nielson and associates reported in the journal "Magnesium Research" stated that your body responds to exercise by redistributing its supply of magnesium. Concentration of magnesium in the blood increases by 5 to 15 percent after short bouts of high-intensity exercise. An increase is also seen after moderate exercise that is done over an extended period. This is a transient change, however, with plasma levels returning to normal within a day. Possible explanations put forward for this phenomenon include decreased plasma volume, muscle breakdown and transfer of magnesium out of the muscles during contractions.

Endurance Exercise and Magnesium

According to the Nielson study, there is evidence that cross country skiing, marathon running and other extended endurance exercises decrease plasma magnesium concentration. This may be the effect of increased loss of magnesium through sweat and urine, and the movement of magnesium into other areas of the body. The explanation seems to be that your body sends magnesium to the parts of the body with the greatest metabolic need, where increased energy production is required. [/box] Magnesium is not produced by the body, so it needs to be ingested daily through the consumption of magnesium-rich foods such as whole grain cereals, leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Magnesium deficiency is actually quite common—dietary surveys indicate more than 70 percent of the population consumes insufficient magnesium. This is probably because our eating habits generally rely on processed, high-starch and refined foods, which are all poor sources of this vital mineral. Eating a variety of food will help you meet and maintain magnesium requirements, and provide you with other essential vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are one great source of magnesium and an easy addition to any diet—add them to cereal, salads, pasta and rice dishes for extra crunch or simply eat a handful as an afternoon snack. Spinach and kale are also rich in magnesium, but some magnesium is lost through the cooking process. Some common foods might also be magnesium fortified, and certain sports foods and supplements do recognize this important mineral by including it in significant amounts. All of these sources contribute to overall requirements, so check labels to gauge your intake before turning to a supplement. The recommended daily allowance for the general population is a minimum of 300 to 350 mg for women and 400 to 450 mg for men. Research suggests that endurance athletes can safely consume 500 to 800 mg daily, and there is debate as to whether this amount should be higher still. Aside from poor dietary intake, there are other potentially serious factors that may cause a magnesium deficiency, such as gastrointestinal absorption problems, physical stresses such as illness or even very cold weather, alcoholism and diabetes. Additionally, medications, prescription and non-prescription, and/or other supplements can interact with magnesium and its absorption or action within the body. So it’s important to first discuss with your doctor your own circumstances and any other medical issues that may be causing your low magnesium status and whether supplementation is required in addition to eating magnesium-rich foods. Source: Triathlete, Pip Taylor Jan 14, 2015

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Brazil nuts225Sesame seeds200
Pumpkin seeds (roasted) 532
Almonds 300
Peanuts (roasted, salted) 183
Walnuts 158
Rice 110
Whole-grain bread 85
Spinach 80
Cooked beans 40
Broccoli 30
Banana 29
Potato (baked) 25
(Milligrams per 100 grams).

References

[tie_list type="checklist"]
  • Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
  • "British Journal of Sports Medicine": Oral Magnesium Therapy; R. Pokan; 2006
  • "The Journal of Nutrition": Dietary Magnesium Affects Metabolic Response; H. Lukaski; May 2002
  • "Magnesium Research": Relationship Between Magnesium and Exercise; F. Nielson; September 2006
  • USDA nutrient database
[/tie_list]

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A rockstar 70.3 race until I ran into the Inferno. 

IMG_4644I've been at this awhile. Been working my tail off really. To get faster. I wanted to see some numbers that show I'm on the right path in regards to training. Having had a health crisis last year, I wanted to see that old athlete that I know back at it. Heck, I did a dream board and tossed my dreams out to the public. Add in I have this voice that is a whiney beeeacht. And for that matter, being a coach....I wanted that darn PR!

I'm one of those slower athletes.

I've had to work my tail off in the pool. I am not all that strong on the bike. I am good on the run.  I'm injury prone. My legs bitch all the time.

I'm mostly a hot mess.

In fact, 5 years ago I weighed more than I should. And I couldn't run around the big block of our house without stopping three times. So this PR thing, it means more than just the numbers. It's an indication to me that I'm on the path to that next better version of myself. In general. For sure in the athletic sense. Then add in the considerations that are always in my mind in regards to my heart health, having recovered from a-tach/a-fib last year. Truth time: I have been in denial that I'm a different athlete now as compared to pre-heart crisis. I wanted to prove to myself that...I was a whiner, instead of me having a big aspect (limitation) to work with.

So I wanted that darn PR. BAD!

Pre-race: So in Kansas did a good amount of heat training. Knew that the run would be harm. Trained and nailed down the salt pills. Etc etc. We traveled to Boulder two days before the race. Felt good. Drank a ton of h2o.

SWIM

Did a swim warmup. Felt awesome. Ready to roll. However.... ...the first 500 yrds where pretty difficult in that I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. I was pretty irritated with that because I felt the body was great, but had to breast stroke a couple times to get things under control. There was zero way that I was going to get that get to me. I knew that the breath would eventually chill if I could find a strong rythym that connected my breathe with my stroke. I had to change my mental chant to.... "You Are F'in Awesome" So that did the trick. Got my pace together and got to work. Was racing down the homestretch chasing down color capped rabbits when some inspired swimmer decided she was going to grab my legs, almost pull my chip off and continue to flounder around all around me. So the next time she got on me she got a soccer elbow. That did the trick. ;) Goal on the swim was 45. Got 49 something. I see masters swim in my future this winter.

BIKE

Traveled through transition. Maybe a bit slower...I like to reset my mind and get myself ready for some biking. At altitude. Uphill for the first 11 miles. The bike was actually going really well. After a difficult-breathing swim I usually need some caffeine to hedge off exercise asthma. So I was chomping on some juicy chomps. Yum.

Funny thing about endurance races, the good (and bad times) ebb and flow.

So I drank on the bike well. I took salt like clockwork. But I couldn't get enough calories down. I could barely get my drink mix down. Altitude? :-/ So in the back of my head I was thinking about the run and thinking "oh crap", but I just couldn't get anything solid down. Managed to maintain my goal pace until about 45-50. Started to not feel all that great. Missed a turn briefly...And frankly, my back was pissed. I hadn't had back issues for a long time and during this race my back was mad the entire ride. I was thinking "holy crap how am I going to run after this..."

RUN

Back to transition, did my normal reset, rinse my hair with a lot of water, and got myself ready for the run. Actually, I didn't feel all that terrible. Ready to roll out. They had changed the course. No, I didn't really read the athlete guide. Or listen much at the briefing. I was making friends. :) So I joined the run with all its going-ons really hoping my brain was functioning well and that I was in fact doing things right.

I'm notorious for my wrong turns.

So the first mile felt decent. On pace. I had a pretty aggressive plan, but hell, go big or go home right?! Though I did have a plan b. Well, pretty much immediately after mile 1 the heat hit me. The sun. A solar flare maybe...

The run felt like an INFERNO.

I guess the temp was...88 or something like that. HAWT!!! So we (me and all of my voices) momentarily paused plan a and moved to plan b, thinking we could get back to plan a (or plan a-ish). Well... I was really "encouraging" myself to run station to station, which seemed to be every half mile. Kept thinking about that dream board and the goal I wanted. :-/ I liked the run course changes personally. More water the better. And not a lot "lonely" spots. The run was more like a trail run as the hard packed dirt had been recently TORE UP with an ATV or something. Anyway, it was very difficult to run station to station. Just didn't feel like I was getting enough o2. I don't run well in the heat. And here is where the "heart aspect" comes into play in a big way. So plan a was out. Plan b...that's what I was trying to get to when one of my voices said it would be a good idea to drink the red bull. Hahaha. Yes. I know. As a coach...Id say "heck no". But I needed to do something different. I really wanted the second half of the run to be different. I said to myself "oh sh$t, how much worse can it get..." Hahahaha. A whole lot worse, I mean, who wants to finish with GI Distress all over you! 2nd loop did get better. Some Zach dude said to put the ice on the femoral arteries. Did that.

WHOOP!!

I got a bit faster. Kept drinking the naughty drink. Doing all the cooling strategies. Actually had to stop and use the facilities. Happy kidneys. Sort of finished it on my terms. Not the PR that I wanted... I did cross the finish line welcoming this new athlete that I am and saying goodbye to the old athlete.

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How diet pills can trash your health

[box type="warning" align="" class="" width=""]Energy/health ALERT: PHENTERMINE (very common prescribed diet pill) essentially chemically drives the fight or flight system, leading to adrenal depletion. The adrenals are responsible for kick starting your ENERGY systems and responding approximately to stress (or living, breathing, waking up, standing up, etc, not just when ur getting yelled at by ur boss. Kids. Spouse. ;) ). SPECIAL NOTE: if you are taking said pill and go in for an elective procedure, Anesthesia will cancel surgery for two weeks, so your body responds normally to stress/etc, so you don't end up dead on the table. Katie Kramer Richardson have Brian "Amen" that, and Karla Wagner too, my local gas passers. Adrenal depletion=low sex drive, stupid hormone issues, irritability, low energy, crappy sleep, depression, infertility, blood pressure issues, heart palpitations, EP heart issues leading to fun stuff like A-tach, A-fib, stroke, heart failure, untimely death. Eat clean. Exercise. Be more healthy. Solution for a lifetime. Private message me if you have questions or are taking this and want to know how to repair the adrenals.[/box]

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Athlete yoga 101: normal but undesirable: one hamstring is tighter than the other

Hamstring imbalances, one side compared to the other, is very common and can be a source of a lot of issues for the athlete.

hamstring-2So lets be super general here. This is a BIG FAT TOPIC. Let's go with the imbalance as a matter of anatomy and habit. A lot of the times, one leg is dominate. One quad is dominant. Stronger. So the other leg, a bit weaker, etc. This creates imbalances that have affects with both hips/ball and socket joints. They come habit, how the hips function. This concept is generally why one hip hurts more than the other. One is "less centered" in the joint than the other. For me personally, my right leg is dominant. As a soccer player for years, you can imagine the fascial patterns and muscle development. Not to mention the wear and tear...It wasn't until I started seriously practicing yoga that I really became aware, aware of why and aware of what to do about it. Pretty soon found myself pain free. So off I go learning more. Now I know that I pronate more on one foot more than the other, which has affects along the kinetic chain. Little things like driving in a car a lot. Sometimes your putting more pressure on one hamstring than the other. Due to how the seat is built. Or you're sitting in the seat with bad posture.  Pressing the gas pedal with the same foot all the time has affects. Sitting on one leg habitually at work has an affect. You get the point. Your physical habits have a big impact on our training.  Sometimes it isn't the training, it's the lazy habits, and the training brings up the affects in a BIG FAT WAY.  So is it your run form, or your desk form.  :) lateral-pelvic-tiltLet's chat a second about the pelvis. Think of it as a bowl. It can tilt in four directions. It's not a stable as everyone thinks. And can get "stuck" fascialy  speaking due to this and that. Moms, you know what I'm talking about. The heavy baby on one hip is classic. Heavy purses on one shoulder. So it's not as "stable" as what we think. Let's put the "back" into this conversation. If you have one hamstring tighter than the other, generally speaking, the opposite side of your back will be tighter. And since I can resist, the opposite shoulder/neck of that (generally speaking) will be a troubled spot as well. BECAUSE ITS ALL CONNECTED. The back is trying to straighten things out.  As the picture above shows you, the pelvis can tilt laterally. The back will try and straighten it out. Which causes the shoulder/neck to go the opposite way. So things get tight, and tighter and tighter. BOOM. Disc issues. Spine issues. Inflammation. Herniations. Pain meds. Loss of quality of life. MOST FROM SOFT TISSUE IMBALANCES Easy thing is .... YOGA has the means to help you identify the issue. Yoga has the means to help you address it in a smart way. HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT! Try this video out! [embed width="853" height="480"]https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z-RawDwT_00[/embed]

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