Saturday, April 23, 2011

NOLA nutrition failure

A couple more race pics from last weekend.

rockin the arm warmers

I think I can, I think I can.....

There is good nutrition info posted by some companies that make nutrition drinks.  In reviewing the info, it's obvious I didn't take in enough calories.

Accelerade (Pacific Labs) has a free nutrition handbook , Hammer has The Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success (and many other articles), Infinit .has an article on run calorie needs and another for bike calories needs (and many others)  Pacific Labs recommends replacing 30% of your calories burned and gives some formulas.  It says I burned 3000 calories on the bike and should have replaced 900.  I actually took in 400.  It says I burned 1500 calories on the run and should have taken in 450 calories.  I actually took in just over 100.  Here is the chart from the Pacific Labs handbook.

From Accelerades nutrition handbook

The Hammer Guide says to take in 240-280 calories per hour so about 1250 for me, I took in just over 500.  Infinite's run guide says I burned 1300 calories and should have taken in 400 calories. Infinite's cycling guide says I burned 2200 calories and should replace 660 to 1100.

All these endurance products are expensive!  Anyone from these companies want to sponsor me? I'll put your logo on my widely read blog :-)

Speaking of nutrition, I made some hummus tonight.  Yum!  Here is the recipe I used.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nola 69.1 Part 2 (The Race)

I covered pre-race separately here so I could come back to a shorter post in the future when studying my nutrition.

Race morning I woke up often (as usual).  The last time was 3:58 am and I just watched my watch tick to 4 am then got up.  Ate a peanut butter sandwich while making coffee.  Then ate a yogurt and got dressed, did my business and I was out the door at 10 til 5 am.  Once outside I immediately noticed the strong winds.  What's up with that?  I also noticed how cold it was, low 50's with very little humidity.  Luckily I had a jacket but I was missing my gloves.  As Ryan drove to the race site, I started to get a knot in my throat thinking about the swim.  I'm a BOP swimmer starting in the third from the last wave.  I knew the swim was going to be rough for me and I hoped I wouldn't drink too much nasty Lake water.  While nervous, I also looked forward to the sense of accomplishment I would feel when exiting the lake. 

We arrived at the transition area about 5:15 and started setting up shop.  It was pretty dark, but I was prepared with a flashlight.  As I set up transition, Ryan asked if I wanted to go look at the water, um no thanks.  I'll check it out once I have the things under my control set, the water is not in my control.  Before I was done setting up transition, Ryan came back and said I didn't want to go see it.  It was as bad or worse than Saturday.  Great.  Not too long after that, the race director announced the swim was cancelled due to high winds (20-25 mph sustained) keeping the emergency vehicles off the lake.  Wow.  I felt relief and like I was being cheated at the same time.  I mean c'mon, I came to do a 70.3 not a 69.1!  At the same time, I have no experience swimming in that kind of water and I have no where to get it (except here).  All the race day jitters left me and all the adrenaline left me, all at once.  It became much less of a challenge very quickly.

My transition area
Once the swim was cancelled, the start turned in to a TT start.  Pro's left every 30 seconds then age groupers left 2 at a time every 2 seconds.  Like I mentioned above, I was no longer nervous at all.  As we were all waiting out turn at a TT start, we all chatted.  The guy next to me was doing his first HIM and he flew here from Peru to do it.  Talk about jipped on the swim!  The guy behind me was saying he couldn't believe he was already in this age group (M45-49).  He's been doing tris for 20 years.  I told him this was my second year and first HIM and he was extremely supportive. 

One thing I love about this sport is how friendly and supportive most people are.  I've made friends with several people on line that I haven't met (yet) and many have been extremely supportive, motivating, inspirational, and provided good, straight forward advice.  I'm not going to list everyone at risk of forgetting someone, but you know who you are.  Trust me, I thought about you all during the run.

It was also really cool to have my wife and son here to support me.  My teenage son even got up early on Sunday (he was forced :-)) to come see me.

Anyway, back to the race.  Leading up to the race, I started to second guess my nutrition.  Once again my online friends reassured me to stick with my plan.  I put in the training, I'll be fine.  For the bike I planned to drink a bottle of water an hour and take two S Caps per hour along with a Cliff bar the first hour, Gu Chomps the second, and a Gu the third.  I mixed a bottle of Inifinite to bring along with my bottle of water just in case, and I brought a couple extra Gu's just in case.  The Gu's were all taped to my bike with electrical tape.

So we all inched our way up to the TT start and away we went, no adrenaline, no nerves, I was ready for a nice ride.  Once I got started, I checked my hr monitor and it had stopped working.  My plan was to keep my hr under 160 (upper z2) but without it, I had to go by RPE.  Not a big deal since I train with RPE sometimes and I pay attention to my hr and RPE correlation.  So the start was a short out and back past the start line.  After the first 10 minutes, the next hour was in to a stiff 20-25 mph wind.  I was pushing hard to stay above 17 mph but making sure to keep my cadence in the 85 to 95 range.  I didn't have to look at my bike computer to know, just like RPE, I practiced enough I knew when my cadence was right.  After a half hour I realized I hadn't eaten or had a drink yet and I really didn't feel like it due to the effort needed going in to the wind, but I remembered my dream and started eating and drinking water.  I started with half a Cliff bar. It was harder to choke down at race pace than it is in practice.  Guess I need to bike harder in training.

Things were pretty uneventful (except for being stung by a bee) for the entire bike ride.  It was crowded due to the TT start and there was no way to keep 4 bike lengths almost ever.  I was really enjoying the bike ride.  My legs felt great and all the training definitely paid off.  This was my first time doing bottle exchanges and as I came in to the aid station, I slowed down, ditched my old bottle, found a clean line, pointed to a volunteer and said "you, water, thank you" and was on my way, no big deal.  I finished a bottle of water and only half a cliff bar (plus 2 S-caps) the first hour, had planned on a whole Cliff bar, finished a bottle of water, a package of GU Chomps (plus 2 S-caps) the second hour, then a bottle of water and a GU gel the third hour (should have had 2 S-caps, more on that later).  My legs felt great though my rear end was ready to get off the bike at about mile 40.

So about the bee sting,  shortly after the first aid station, we had a tail wind and I was clipping along at 23+ mph when I felt something hit my left shin/calf.  I looked down and there is a bee on my leg, crap!  I had a minor crash after a bug flew down my shirt and started biting me last year, so I knew I had to keep cool at 23+ mph.  I looked behind me, no cyclists, came out of aero, reached down and brushed the bee away.  Phew!  Then about a minute later my calf started hurting.  I looked down and saw the stinger, brushed that away, no big deal.  My calf started burning for 2-3 minutes then no pain at all.  After the race, there was just one small red mark where he stung me.  Then 24 hours later, it started itching and 48 hours later I had a nice inch and quarter red welt/circle where I was bit.  Bizarre delayed reaction.  Race day adrenaline?

Anyway, back to the bike.  I stopped eating and drinking the last half hour and hammered the bike home with a nice 20-25 mph tail wind.  Came in to transition feeling good, ran past some people laying down resting, others eating, changed shoes, helmet and arm warmers off, visor on, spin the vanity number belt around and off I went.

I felt really good the first couple miles and was running sub 9 minute miles.  My sub 2 hour stretch goal seemed to be within reach.  I took some water and Perform at each aid station and ate a GU at mile 3.  It was nice having aid stations every mile or so.  It gave me something to look forward to.  Somewhere between mile 3 and 4 I started to not feel so good.  I'm not sure if I drank too much at the first couple aid stations or if it was because I didn't take any salt after hour 2 on the bike or both.  My stomach started complaining and my lower back, glutes and hips started getting tight and achy.  My next three miles slowed from sub 9 to 10's.  Ok, I can still get a 2:05 or 2:10 half mary.  Nope, the tightness kept getting worse and I'm pretty sure my stomach shut down.  Mentally I felt great, cardio wise I felt great (I wasn't breathing hard at all), I just couldn 't get rid of the tight achy feeling, I'm guessing it was cramps?  My time just went downhill from there and I really struggled the last 2 miles physically.  It was frustrating mentally because I wanted to run faster and I knew I should have been running faster, I just couldn't run faster. 

I was really hurting at the end, though you couldn't tell from my pic running down the chute. 

heel striker

Running through the finish line at Jackson Square in the French Quarter was awesome, then I stumbled around until I found my family.  I sat down, drank some water and talked a bit then felt even worse.  I left them to find a place to blow where I wouldn't gross too many people out.  I sat in a grassy area for a bit until I felt better then went back to them, only to repeat the drill a couple more times.  I never did blow, but I was as close as you can come to it. 

post race, still smiling, not feeling well at all

After a long workout I also have trouble regulating my temperature so I was too hot in the sun and too cold in the shade.  I had a wool pull over that I wore half on/half off as I alternated between sun and shade.  After about a half an hour, I started burping again which I took as a good sign, I also got my peripheral vision back.  Just then I realized I didn't have it and I must have had tunnel vision.  After another half hour I felt human again and watched my friend Ryan cross the line.  I told Annie that if he was hurting as bad as I was, it would be a while before he was social.  I went and found my family and had an Abita.  After that we went and found Ryan and Annie and had a couple beers while recounting our war stories.  Then we went and picked up our bikes, took a shower, laid down for a while then went out to dinner.  5+ hours after the race I was finally ready to eat and eat I did.  I was the first to start and last to finish.  Half a sausage and pepperoni pizza, a piece of veggie pizza and a fish taco.  The roof of my mouth was a little sore, dehydration?

After that it was back to the hotel, compression socks, then laying in bed watching tv.  It felt great.

Overall it was a great experience and a well run race.  The people of New Orleans were extremely friendly and the volunteers were amazing.  I was well prepared except for the high waves.

Bike: 56 miles - 2:53:20
T2 - 2:56
Run 13.1 miles - 2:15:06

It's hard to say how the day would have gone after the swim, but I did feel good on the ride.  I think I need to do more big bricks at race pace to dial my nutrition in.  It's obvious to me now that a 30 minute run off the bike isn't enough.  It does help for that first mile jello feeling but not the cramping.  I need an hour run after a 40+ mile ride at race pace for that.

Nola 69.1 Part 1 (Pre-race)

I broke this post in two for me to read only the race/nutrition blog (part 2) in the future.  If you just want race details, skip this post.

We left for NOLA about 7 am Thursday and drove straight through.  I like driving so it wasn't a big deal.  It was about 10 hours of driving that took about 11 with stops. 

funny what you see while driving all day

We stayed at the Intercontinental hotel just off the French Quarter.  The hotel was nice but parking wasn't too convenient.  We ended up doing the Valet thing which was expensive and meant tipping the car guys each time they retrieved the car.  We aren't used to that living in wide open central Illinois. We didn't need the car often, except when hauling gear, and as you saw from my last post, I have a lot of it.

Thursday night we went and walked around the French Quarter.  Very interesting place with lots of shops, restaurants, street entertainers, and unfortunately, homeless people. 

some of the many street entertainers

The Mississippi River by Jackson Square
One rule of triathlons is not to sample the local food until after the race, but the race wasn't until Sunday and this was New Orleans so come on.  Rules are meant to be broken.  First dinner was Jambalaya and Abita at Cafe Maspero, yum!  Lunch Friday was a bbq shrimp Po' Boy (and water).  Friday afternoon I met up with my good friends Ryan (bigr82 on BT) and Annie and we went to Athlete checkin.  Another pre-race rule is take it wasy two days out from the race.  Unfortunately, I was in charge of getting us to the checkin and I missed a turn so we walked an extra mile (at least), sorry!  Anyway, we checked in, went through the Ironman store, and the extremely small expo.

My SIL and BIL came too because they love New Orleans.  My BIL is battling Pancreatic and now Liver cancer so it was really nice to see him out and about and getting stronger every day.  It was also nice because my BIL use to be a hard core road bike rider/racer, so it's always nice to talk with someone that understands the physical and mental things that go on during race week.

Friday night we went to Dickie Brennan's Steak House and I had a blackened redfish over some sort of crawfish dish (and water).  It was outstanding.  Friday night I started going through my gear (checking it a third time) and I was noticeably nervous, almost jittery.  Got a great night sleep.

Saturday we slept in then I met up with Ryan and Annie to go to the Athletes briefing.  I also met fellow BTer Jennifer (Soccersandi00), her boyfriend Scott and two of their friends Mark and Tim.  I'm pretty sure Tim and I traded places on the bike a few times Sunday before he put the hammer down, never to be seen again.  After the briefing we went and got another shrimp Po' Boy for lunch, I was thinking I needed a "fueled by Po' Boys" jersey at that point :-). 

After lunch we went to bike checkin, rode for 20 minutes or so to make sure everything was good, then bricked a short 15 minute run.  All systems go!  The weather wasn't too hot and very low humidity, but the wind was strong so we went to look at the water.  Crap!  3 foot waves!  I decided I needed to go out in that to get a feel for it.  I've only swam in open water a half dozen times and never in chop like this. We went around the cove, since the official swim site wasn't open, and put on our wet suits.  The water was pleasant and we waded out to where we had to swim.  I swam for a few minutes trying to time my breathing with the waves and I didn't do too bad, but I did swallow a bit of water.  I looked around for Ryan and couldn't see him.  If we both were at the top of a wave at the same time, I could see him, otherwise I had no idea he was only about 15 feet away from me.  Once I stopped swimming, I pretty much floated thanks to the wetsuit so I wasn't nervous about drowning or being able to swim, but I was nervous I would swallow a bunch of lake water and have it come back to haunt me on the bike or run.  Oh well, it is what it is.  I swam for another 10 minutes or so and called it a day.  After that we headed back to the hotel.

bike checkin, very small transition spaces

hard to see the waves further out

Once back at the hotel, Cheryl and I went out for a nice pasta dinner.  Everything I ate in New Orleans was fantastic.  After that, I set the alarm for 4 am, Ryan and Annie were picking me up at 5 (Cheryl and Josh would come to the start a bit later).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He's making a list and checking it twice......

We leave in a day and a half so I started packing.  I decided to make a list and take some pictures at the same time.  They are a little blurry, I think my camera phone has some sweat on the lens.

For the swim, I'm hoping it is wetsuit legal.  The lake is getting warm!

sleeveless wetsuit, ear plugs, clear and smoked goggles, cap will be provided

I may go full sleeve

Tyr tank top and DeSoto Forza Riviera tri shorts
I'll wear the top and shorts for the bike and run too.  I'll wear my hr monitor (not shown for the entire race).

For the bike, I'll choose airflow or aero:

helmet, Halo head band, sunglasses, shoes

Yes, those are mountain bike shoes and I'm running spd pedals.  I was going to buy road or tri shoes and new pedals for this race but put the ~$250 towards the Xbox I bought so I could play COD on the trainer.  I'll buy tri shoes later this season or next season.  I forgot to show socks and a small towel to wipe my feet, I have the socks pre-rolled so they go on to wet feet easily.

For the run:

shoes, sun glasses, race belt, visor
I forgot to add socks here too.  I'll have a fresh set if I feel like changing them.  I probably won't.  I just bought the visor this week.  I like running with a hat on but it's been cool here so I thought a visor might be nice for NOLA.

Pretty minimal list.  All the things that go in transition, plus race day items, will go in one bag.  My daughter bought me a nice big Nike bag last year for Father's day.  The wetsuits, along with a garbage bag for the dirty wet suit, plastic grocery bags to ease getting the wet suit on (put each foot in a plastic grocery bag and it slides right in, same with your hands), along with some wet suit cleaner go in another bag.  All the spare stuff goes in a third bag.  Regular clothes and travel stuff goes in a suitcase.


Plan on the bike is
Hour 1: one Clif bar (in Bento box)
Hour 2: one bag of chomps (in Bento box)
Hour 3: two GU's (taped on top tube, maybe one spare)

Plan on the run: two or three GU's (in race belt or jersey pocket)

Race day items in transition bag:

- band aids
- permanent marker in case body marking needs touched up
- hand sanitizer
- body glide
- Swiss army knife
- chain lube
- flash light (in case I get to transition pre-dawn)
- Aquaphor (lube the chamois area)
- Chamois Butt'r single serving (one in the Bento box just in case)
- sun screen
- salt tablets
- electrical tape (to tape gels to top tube of bike)
- extra tire lever (I have two in my bike bag)
- extra CO2 (I have one in my bike bag)
- extra patch kit (I have one in my bike bag)
- bottle of water (to rinse feet if needed)
- baby wipes

but that's not all...

small towels to wipe feet, TP just in case, road id for warm the day before

still not all.....
- extra clothes and garbage bags in case of rain
- bike (of course)
- bike rack and lock
- lawn chairs
- blanket
- coolers
- yogurt, bananas, bread, and peanut butter
- good mood (Cheryl added that, I'm getting a little edgy :-))

I think that is all.  Did I miss anything?

Oh and if nursing my shoulders and now left foot just trying to get to the starting line isn't enough, I got in a wreck on the highway on the way to work. So it's pretty normal on I270 north of St. Louis to go from 60 to 5 mph rapidly then back to 60.  Everyone slows down as fast as possible, but not too fast so you don't get rear ended.  Sometimes you have to swerve a bit, but that is mostly to let the guy behind you know this is a more serious slow down than normal.  Check your speed.  Today was no different until the guy in front of me clipped the right rear bumper of the car in front of him spinning him out into the cable restraint system.  This guy left the highway half way and would have hit the oncoming traffic head on had it not been for this system.  The system chewed his car up pretty good and directed him back on to the highway sideways at which time I tried to squeeze between him and the car next to me and didn't quite make it.

My car

I love my car and take great care of it.  It's an '03 with 111k miles on it and people think it's only a couple years old.  They are shocked it has over 100k miles on it.  You can see, I missed by about a foot to the left and two feet forward.

The car that was in front of the car in front of me, the cables on the left probably saved his life.
You can see his front end was in the median and drug a bunch of dirt up with it as he was propelled back on to the highway.  The back end on the right side was mashed when the car in front of me hit him.  The driver was lucky, the cables probably saved his life (he said the same thing to me).  They did a number on his car though.

My driver side quarter panel hit somewhere in front of the tire.  I had nothing to do with the rest of the front end, the cables chewed that up.  In fact, if you zoom in, you can see on the hood where the top cable scrapped up the hood then busted his wind shield.

So, I'm not happy about my baby, but I'm lucky.  It could have been much worse.  It could have been race ending.  It's all about the race :-)......

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Funny Tri Dream (1 week until NOLA 70.3)

It's been a while since I raced participated. My last race was in July last year shortly after which I stopped swimming due to shoulder soreness.  Anyway, I was looking for some crazy tri swim start videos (shoot me a link to your favorites please) on YouTube and remembered the excitement and energy you feel just walking around before triathlons.  I'm guessing this is what led to a frustrating dream which is now quite funny.  I don't remember (or didn't dream about the swim portion) and not much of the bike except coming in to T2 at which time I realized, oh no, I forgot to eat or drink on the bike!  That's right, ~4 hours in to the race with nothing.  I was surprised I hadn't bonked yet and knew I would soon, so at T2 I stuffed all the food I was supposed to eat into the pockets of my tri shorts,  and headed out on the run, for the first time.  I got about 10 steps outside T2, which was in a building???, and turned around to grab a water bottle then headed back out.  This time when I got to the door, I realized I was wearing a jacket and long sleeve shirt which was too hot for the run so I turned around and took them both off, I couldn't figure out where to shove them so I got in line at coat check (lol) but that was taking too long so I went back to my bike and handed them to my sister (what the heck is she doing in New Orleans?).  Then I turned around to to leave and realized I don't want to run with no shirt on and as I'm getting the shirt on realize I need my number belt which is buried in my tri bag.  Anyway, finally off to the run, now having blown any chance at a sub 6 hour HIM, and a couple hundred feet into the run I realize, I'm not wearing any shoes!  What the heck, now I'm getting angry.  I contemplate running the 13.1 miles barefoot and quickly realize that is a bad idea.  When I turned around, my sister is there laughing (that's what she was doing in my dream, big meany :-)).  I woke up as I was heading back to T2 to get my shoes.  Funny stuff.

As for training, this was a recovery/taper week according to my plan.  I didn't do the swimming because my shoulders are getting sore again like they did last July.  I may not swim until the day before the race.  Biking this week is 3 hours and I should get that in and running is a little under 2 hours and I should get that in as well.  Tapering feels a little weird, kind of like recovery weeks do.  I'm a little more tired and achy, specially at the start of my runs, but I feel much stronger at the end of my runs than I do during bigger volume weeks.  Hopefully that is normal.

I did finally get around to trying out my Saris Bones 3 bike rack my parents gave me last November to make sure it will fit for our trip next week.  It didn't fit exactly as the directions said, but with a little modification, it should work just fine. I put my bike on it and drove around a bit. 

I also went back to the doc and let her know about the race :-).  She said no problem!  We went over all my blood work, echo results and all that.  She said I am a little low on salt, so I should increase my intake a little.  I think I will take salt pills at NOLA.  It is going to be humid and I sweat a lot.

Time to start printing maps and making lists. I may take some pictures to go with the lists as James suggested to me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another big brick (2 weeks to NOLA)

What do normal people do after a big health scare that turns out ok?  Hug their wife and go out to dinner to celebrate?  How about triathletes?  You got it, push the old ticker to make sure the doc got it right.  The plan called for a four hour and forty-five minute brick but due to some logistical problems I had to cut it short at four hours.  The pool didn't open until one and I had to be at church at 5:45 to volunteer. 

I wore the clothes I'm pretty sure I'll race in.  My De Soto 400 mile shorts and one of my Tyr racing tank tops.  I did buy some De Soto Forza tri shorts hoping they would do the trick since they have a smaller pad, but they are low cut so it feels like I have plumber butt when I wear them :-).  They probably fit better on skinnier people.  Maybe I'll be able to race in them someday.

So I got all my gear and nutrition together (no trivial task) and headed out.  I rode my bike to the Y to swim and when I got there (only 0.4 miles from my house) I realized I forgot the key to my bike lock.  I just got the lock and this was the inaugural use.  So I road back home, got it and biked back to the Y.  After putting all my stuff in my locker, I headed in to swim.  Swimming in the 400 mile shorts was no problem, but I never really got in to a good rhythm.  I did take in a couple mouthfuls of water, so that was good practice for NOLA :-).  Swimming with a guy that was lapping me about every five laps, wasn't much fun.  At least I was lapping the guy in the next lane at about the same rate.  I'm a slow swimmer and I'm in the second to last wave at NOLA.  I probably won't be DFL out of the water, but I'll be close.  That's ok, it will be fun passing hundreds of people on the bike.

After the swim, I biked home, dropped the swim bag by the garage door and headed out.  It was a beautiful day and quite windy as usual for spring in the Midwest.  Winds were 15 mph from the WNW gusting to 20+.  It was fun pushing 23 mph on level ground when I was heading due east.  Someday I'll be able to push that without wind assistance.  I rode at race pace trying to keep my hr between 150 and 155.  That's upper zone 2 for me.  I should be able to ride lower zone 3 for 3 hours so I might push it a bit.  I ate a cliff bar (240 calories) the first hour and drank about 10 ounces of water with it.  That's a bit low on the water.  On the second hour I drank 20 ounces or Ironman Perform (175 calories), that is low on the calories and I could feel my legs fading in the last 30 minutes.  I think I'll stick with water and go with GU gel or chomps for my calories.  My ride was scheduled for 2:15 but I cut it short to an 1:55 due to my other commitment.

Pic from Tuesday, I didn't stop on the brick.

After the bike, I changed shoes for my inaugural run in my New Balance 1080s.  I like them!  They feel less "boxy" than the 1063s they replaced. 

New shoes with Yankz laces.  What do you do with the ends?

I also took two Succeed S-Caps before heading out. I sweat out a lot of salt on long rides and runs. I usually have salt caked on my face and jacket and figure I will be sweating a lot at NOLA. I'll probably take two an hour on the bike and just drink water. On the run, I'll drink some Perform which has salt in it.

Typical salt stains on my jacket.

Running off the bike is always tough and always feels slow.  Surprisingly my hr didn't sky rocket when I started to run.  I actually stayed under 160 for a change.  After the first mile and a half, I started to loosen up and felt pretty good.  I took a GU and drank some Perform 15 minutes in and everything sat well. On the run, I'll target upper zone 2 (160 - 165) for the first half then let it creep up hopefully to LT (183) near the end.  If I feel good, I may throw that plan out the window and go zone 3 from the get go creeping in to zone 4 for the last few miles like I did at the Lewis and Clark HM last fall.

So the brick was

swim - 47:53
T1 - 6:56 (including riding home)
bike - 1:55:20
T2 - 4:11 (included finding my salt pills and hitting the porta-potty bathroom)
run - 46:50

Then it was a quick frozen pizza and off to church. 

I'm ready, but this is gonna hurt......

One last question.  To shave or not to shave?  My previous thoughts on shaving my legs were that cleaning up road rash is just an excuse because bikers like the way their shaved legs look.  I mean really, how many times do bikers really hit the deck?  Well, after having several rabbits run in front of me on recent rides while in aero position (read no handling or access to brakes) I'm reconsidering.  I'm actually surprised I didn't go down this week.  I'm just not sure I want to do the maintenance all summer.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Scary News -> Good News

Had quite a scare this week.  I went in for a routine physical because I turned 45 this week.  All the normal stuff, blood pressure is under control, took some blood to run all the standard tests, and did an EKG.  That's when things got scary.  Some voltage ratio was outside normal limits and indicative of an enlarged heart.  Crap!  My immediate thought was, "What about NOLA?", "What about training?".  Using my twisted male logic, I didn't tell my doc about the race.  After all, if she didn't know about it, she probably wouldn't tell me not to do it, right?  My doc ordered an echo cardiogram to investigate it further.  When my wife asked what the doc said about racing, she wasn't too thrilled with my logic :-). 

I did explain to my doctor that I averaged 5 hours a week of exercise last year and I'm about 7 hours per week so far this year.  My doctor said exercise usually doesn't cause this.  I still held out hope since she probably has few triathlete patients.  I did some research and sure enough, I could have athlete's heart.  So off I went to the cardiologist yesterday and got an echo cardiogram.  I resigned myself that if the doc said no to NOLA, I would still go and volunteer.  I also would get a second opinion from a doctor that treats athletes (I'm pretty slow, so calling myself an athlete sounds funny to me).  I also printed my exercise graph from the last 15 months to plead my case that I can race.

I'm pretty proud of this graph since I went from very little exercise to this and to be honest, I don't know anyone that exercises this much except for my online friends I've made.  After looking at the logs of some people training for Ironman races, this graph is less impressive (but still quite a feat for me).

I called the doctor's office today and asked if my results were in because a I have a 5 hour workout this weekend and a long race in two weeks and I need to know if it is safe to do this.  They called back after a couple excruciating hours and said, minor enlargement and wall thickening, but perfectly normal function.  I'm cleared to exercise.  Woohoo!  I did schedule an appointment for next week to go over the results in detail and maybe mention NOLA.

Blood tests were good in general but my cholesterol was a little high at 226, but the doc wasn't to concerned because my good cholesterol is 86 (more than double the normal good level), and my triglycerides were 56, under 150 is normal.  She did say my vitamin D is low and I figured that because everyone I know that has done blood work lately, gets the same result.  There must be some pharmaceutical company pushing some new supplement.  I'll see if I can get some natural source, like cod liver oil.  And my calcium was high.  She said just don't take any supplements.

So it was a scary week with a good outcome.  NOLA here I come!