Sunday, January 31, 2010

LiveSTRONG Seattle Marathon training weeks 7-9 - hoping to get back on track

Hi everyone!  Sorry for the absence for a while... we had the flu - possibly the H1N1 variety - run on a rampage through our house.  Three weeks ago, my wife was laid up with it for ~ 5 days, and after one day of everyone in the house being healthy, I came down with it.  So chalk up another week of missed training (and missed work) to laying in bed battling fever, bodyaches and the likes, and another week of recovering as well as catching up at work.  But with any luck, we'll all say healthy... which would be the first time in 2010 that the entire house has been healthy for more than a day or two.  Wish us luck.

While I did get a couple of rides in while Christine was sick (33.5 miles in 1:52:38), I basically haven't done any quality training for the last 3.5 weeks.  And as a result, the diet has yo-yoed from horrible (diet Sprite, popsicles and chocolate) to fairly decent: yesterday we tried quinoa for a new grain source.  But fortunately, other than a 2-sip encounter with a Odwalla Superfood, I have stayed gluten-free for the last 28 days.  It doesn't hurt that we've been baking our own bread products (Oregon Bread, tortillas, graham crackers).  Basically, the books The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Betty Hagman and Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts have been live savers!

Of course, having a wife that has been Gluten-Free for two years also makes meal planning a lot easier. :)

Moral of the story: despite no exercise, I've managed to maintain my weight at 196.6 over the last three weeks, although I probably traded a solid amount of muscle for not-muscle.  So I'm looking forward to getting enough endurance back to be able to actually run or put some time in on the trainer or exercise bike.  Because last I checked, it's only 21 weeks left til the 2010 Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon.  In the meantime, while I get my training back on track over the next couple of weeks, please support me and Team LiveSTRONG by donating to the fight against cancer!

Until next time... onward

Sunday, January 10, 2010

LiveSTRONG Seattle Marathon training week 7 - so far, so good

Hi everyone-

Just a brief update here... it's been a long week with one of the girls coming down with the stomach flu, passing it along to me, and now Christine looks like she's coming down with a cold.  So the cold & flu season that has hit our household early and often is back, although the stomach flu was definitely something new.

Anyhow, before things went downhill, I got in a pretty good start to an exercise week.  First, I ran the Oregon Road Runner's Club Y2KX last Sunday.  I did the 10k instead of the 20.10k as previously planned due to the tightness in the hip, and managed a respectable 55:06.  However, unlike last year, I didn't get an age group podium - a measly 5th this time around.  I probably would have done better had I not gone out in a ~8:30 pace the first three miles, then bonked into a 9:30 pace the last three.

After a rest day on Monday (in which I had my second-ever acupuncture session), I rode the home trainer on Tuesday: 21.84 miles in 1:15:06.  Then a nice run on Wednesday was cut short by right quad pain (which the doctor said would probably go away with more diligent and regular stretching), but I still got in 4.80 miles in 45:14.  Then a rest day... which saw the stomach flu set in.  So I was pretty much done for the week.  Weekly totals were:

  • Running: 11.01 miles in 1:40:20.
  • Riding: 21.84 miles in 1:15:06.
On the bright side, I have no survived my first week of eating gluten-free.  And so far, it hasn't been too bad.  I made up some Oregon Bread, which is basically a hazelnut / sesame seed / poppy seed bread.  (The original recipe also has flax seeds, but I haven't found a gluten-free source yet.)  The gluten-free diet seems to be helping make me feel less hunger and less discomfort, but part of that could also be week #2 of the "protein for breakfast" kick (who can complain about eggs & bacon every morning???).  Either way, I've had some luck: on my Saturday morning weigh-in, I was 196.6, which is down 4 pounds.  Yay!

That's all for this week.  Hopefully after another rest day tomorrow, I'll be back on track with some riding on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Onward...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

LiveSTRONG Seattle Marathon training weeks 5/6 - goals & resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope that your holiday season has been relaxing and enjoyable as mine.  And hopefully, you got in a bit more exercise than I did... while not completely slothful, I got in a grand total of 3 rides on the indoor trainer and one outdoor run in the last two weeks:

  • Running: 6.46 miles in 58:49
  • Cycling: 56.27 miles in 3:05:19
Not bad considering all the Christmas and New Years activities, as well as a successful fight against the cold that my wife had the three days before Christmas.  However, the increase in food and the (unfortunately sustained) decrease in activity resulted in something very undesirable: my first 200+ pound weigh-in since April.

Overall, it was a pretty good year for my weight... up until the last two months.  I entered 2009 at 207.2 pounds (yes, our scale weighs in 0.2 increments.  Training for the Eugene Marathon helped considerably, and I was down to 195.2 when the gun went off.  Yep, 12 pounds in 4 months.  But putting in the extra training - and the extra calories for energy - for the HulaMan half-Ironman saw me steadily bouncing between 193 and 198.  Apparently, if I'm going to spend my cardio riding rather than running, I need to adjust the fueling strategy if I'm going to lose weight.  But after HulaMan, I actually managed to drop again while moving into marathon training.  By the time the Portland Marathon came around, I dropped down to 191.8.  My lowest weight since September 1999. < big cheesey grin >  But a two-week business trip to Taiwan and Japan followed by fighting off various colds and flus, and I managed to put on about 6 pounds in 6 weeks.  And the holidays added the typical 2-3 pounds, pushing me over the 200 barrier: 200.6 pounds as of New Years Eve.  So I've got my work cut out for me.

How am I going to accomplish not only weight loss (my goal weight is 159, which is near the top end of my 147-155 range in college) but marathon training while transitioning into spending most of my time on the bike in order to minimize any further hip damage?  Well, a few things:
  1. Working with my current naturopath, as well as a new extended family member (wife's cousin's new husband) who is also a naturopath, it's become pretty clear that I need to get the blood sugar under control.  My blood work doesn't show anything anywhere near diabetes, but blood sugar not only influences energy levels, but it also influences hunger levels.  So I've started eating protein for breakfast (eggs, some bacon) and leaving the cereal for a mid-afternoon snack (I still like getting my Trader Joe's Os for their cholesterol-fighting abilities).
  2. Sometime in the next 1-2 weeks, I'm going to set sail on a grand experiment: going gluten-free for at least a month, to see how it influences weight, energy levels and inflammation.  There is precedent in sports for living low-gluten or gluten-free; most of the pro cycling team Garmin-Transitions stuck to a low-gluten diet during the 2008 and 2009 racing seasons to try to minimize inflammation.
  3. Along the same lines, I'm going cold turkey on the red meat.  We don't eat a lot of red meat in general, but giving it up will prevent me from feeling miserable and bloated (like I did today, the day after a beautiful filet mignon) as well as avoiding the inflammatory effects of some of the fats found in red meat.  I'll probably miss the occasional grilled burger in the summer, but otherwise, I'm ok subsisting on pork and chicken and turkey and fish.
  4. I've also adjusted the supplements that I take to drive down inflammation: I added borage oil to my fish oil supplements.  (For info on borage oil, you can always go to my favorite source - Wikipedia - but just Google it, and you'll find out all sorts or information).
Hopefully, those 4 dietary changes will allow me to up the exercise this year.  In 2009, I totaled the following:
  • Running: 627.90 miles in 96:15:21
  • Cycling: 376.18 miles in 22:39:24
  • Swimming: 2.34 miles in 1:14:00 (yes, I had precisely one swimming workout in addition to my half-Ironman... not recommended, but it worked)
  • Grand Total: 124 hours, 3 minutes and 45 seconds of cardio - after throwing in some hiking
This year, I don't have a running mileage goal since I have no idea what the hip will be able to take.  But I do have a couple of overall goals:
  • 250 hours of cardio
  • At least 2000 miles on the bike
With any luck, the dietary changes and the exercise will have me at a healthy racing weight by the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon (170-175 would be nice) and around the goal weight by the time the holidays hit.

Speaking of the Team LiveSTRONG event, I'm not going to talk about cancer this week... even though it's been rearing its ugly head.  But as always, I encourage you to join the fight by donating at my page or donating to any worth cause that researches cures or helps patients and families in the fight.  Onward!