Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Bike Shoes

I bought new bike shoes today.  They were on sale for only $85, because they were the last of last year's model.  The new ones are $180 or so.  They happened to have them in my size.  The fit isn't perfect, but it was hard to beat the price. (They are a little long, because I have wide feet.)  They are Specialized Trivents, my first pair of triathlon cycling shoes.

I am always a little surprised when I buy cycling gear.  I bought some shoe covers, too back in November.  They haven't gotten any use yet.  I remember after I did an 70 mile ride in 100 degree heat, where I got dropped by my partner, my tire blew out, and I got calf cramps, how I was kind of surprised when I went out and bought a new tire.

I can't say I love cycling, but I guess it is is still in the back of my head.  Is it because it feels like unfinished business, because I was never the cyclist I wanted to be?  Does part of me actually like it?

The shoes make sense.  I still ride my trainer to get exercise, not having a treadmill or any other kind of stationary machine.  My old shoes are too small because my feet got bigger, and were hurting my feet.  Still, I did buy triathlon shoes instead of the slightly cheaper regular road bike shoes they had on sale...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dream Come True Race

I have really wanted to do another marathon. I finished it, which was my main goal, but I didn't run it, which was my secondary one.

I haven't signed up for one, because: (A) I haven't had time to train and (B) I'm limiting myself to local races.  (A) was the main problem.  (B) was only sort of one.  There are  a couple local trail marathons, but I'm not really a trail runner.  There is a marathon an hour and half away that is partially on trails, but mainly on roads. Still an hour and a half is a long time to spend in the car before and after a marathon.  

Now (A) isn't the problem it was.  Rory is in preschool until the end of May, so I have the time to train at least until then.  (I'd like to find a school for him in the summer, too, but the school he is enrolled in doesn't have a summer program.)  Still, I haven't found a local race I'm excited about that I could train for through May.  Then, luckily, I read an email from a local running store and in the news section it mentioned the Surfer's Path Marathon.

I always wished they would have a marathon in Flip Flop.  It seemed easy enough to come up with a course, just by combining the Wharf to Wharf 6 mile race and the Santa Cruz Half Marathon.  The Wharf to Wharf is point to point, so just looping it back would get you 12 miles.  The W2W and the Santa Cruz Half both have the same start points, just in opposite directions, so adding them together gets you up to 25.1.  Just add some 1.1 mile loop in there, and you have a marathon.  They did just that!  And it is on May 20th, just perfect in terms of timing for Rory's preschool schedule.

Some people think doing local races are silly, since you could always just run the course any time.  But I actually like familiar courses for racing, and really like this run in particular.

I really, really hope training goes well.  With my disastrous 10K a week ago, it almost seems foolish to sign up for a marathon.  I hope that I can get my tummy problems straightened out, and manage my stress better.

Things I hope will help:

1) Yoga 3 days a week
2) Napping lots
3) No overtraining.  Using swimming and cycling for recovery only, not trying to build speed in either, or doing any racing.  This means laying off Masters swimming.
4) Eating a healthy diet, but NOT trying to lose weight.  Trying to follow a low FODMAP diet
5) Doing a beginner's marathon training plan, instead of an intermediate one, although I have lots of half marathons and one marathon under my belt

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Fructose Malabsoprtion

While browsing the web, I found an article that questioned the health benefits of coconut milk.  It is linked below:

It talks about something I've never even heard of before, fructose malabsorption.  Apparently, up to 40% of Westerners suffer from it.  Isn't it strange that I've never heard of it?  Everyone has heard of gluten intolerance, but only 6% of people suffer from it.     

I've given up wheat and felt much better.  I assumed it was the gluten in wheat, but apparently people who suffer from fructose malabsorption can't eat wheat in large amounts, because it is rich in fructans, which breaks down into fructose.  The symptoms of fructose malabsorption include brain fog and fatigue, which I attributed to gluten intolerance, and disappeared when I gave up wheat.

I've never tried to eliminate fruit my diet.  I have sometimes even used apple juice in a sports drink concoction. Lots of commercial sports drinks have fructose, too.  Cytomax is one I've used unsuccessfully, because it caused bloating, one of the signs of fructose malabsorption.  

I've always thought of fruit as all natural and healthy.  I've read you can eat to much of it, but I thought this was because it might make you fat.  I guess I have also heard that excess fructose taxes the liver, too, but I didn't know it caused brain fog, fatigue, and stomach bloating.  

Lots of vegetables are bad for people with fructose intolerance, too.  Onions, which I use in almost every recipe I make are no-no's.  So is kale, another of my favorites. 

Luckily some fruits are tolerable.  Bananas, berries, stone fruits, and citrus are OK because of their glucose to fructose ratio.  Glucose enables you to absorb fructose better, although you still can't go overboard even with these safe fruits.  

So I'm going to try this out for a while.  Maybe I'll find some relief from the problems I've been having, like stomach bloating and heart palpitations.  I was at a loss, but at least having one more thing to try gives me a bit of optimism.

I ran 10 miles today, at an easy long run pace, while B was at preschool. I ate a rice cake and banana for breakfast, and had Hammer Gel (supposedly safe for those with fructose malabsorption)  No palpitations, no stomach distress.   So Day 1 of the experiment was successful.  Hope it continues to be and I'll have a solution to my problem.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Super Bowl Run 2012

I did the Super Bowl Run in Flip Flop on Sunday morning.  I've been kind of stressed out lately, and my stomach still isn't 100% after recovering from the flu.  (I've been watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, and have learned you aren't supposed to tell people you have the stomach flu, because it is TMI.  Oh well.)  But I decided to do the race anyways, and try out a new pre-race breakfast and see how it went. I told myself I wouldn't push too hard, and just tell myself that I was doing Half Marathon pace instead of trying to P.R. a 10K.

I've been under some stress lately, and my workouts haven't been going well.  I had heart palpitations on an easy run 2 weeks ago. I think it is a combination of stress and stomach discomfort that is the cause.

The night before the race I had baked sole with olive oil, lemon and garlic powder, white rice, and some frozen mixed veggies.  I woke up 4 hours before the race and ate 2 gluten free waffles, a banana, and some yogurt with applesauce and a little sugar free strawberry jam.  A couple hours before the race I had a large glass of coconut water.  I had one Hammer Gel 10 minutes before I started my 20 minute pre-race warmup, and took sips of water every ten minutes before the race.

I did my first mile in about 9:15, not too fast.  My heart rate was already pretty high, though.  I had a heart palpitation during the second mile, and finished it in about 10 minutes.  I slowed down, walked a bit.  I didn't want to stop running or turn around and head back to the start/finish.  By the time I got to mile 4, I had averaged about 10 minutes per mile, but was getting more uncomfortable. My heart rate was still way too high, at 170 bpm just walking.  I decided to just walk back to the finish line.  Experiment in pre-race breakfast was over.

I wasn't too uncomfortable as long as I just walked.  Rory and Raybon were waiting for me at home, and I was a little anxious about them, but just decided I should relax and enjoy the walk along the coast as best I could.

I finished in about an hour and 20 minutes.  I think I may have gotten last place overall.  Towards the end of the race, some volunteers asked how I was doing, worried I'd pulled something.  I told them about my heart, and one of them walked with me to the finish, very concerned.  She found a nurse, and someone else working the race who came over and talked to me.  I told them about how this was a problem I've had for a while now, but that the cardiologist who had done a lot of testing on me said my heart was fine.  My heart rate was still around 160 just standing around and talking.  They offered to drive me home, or even just follow me home, but I said I felt OK, and that my heart rate would return to normal soon.  I stopped at a bakery and got a gluten free scone and then drove home.   My heart rate returned to normal before I got home.  I was a little tired and spacey the rest of the day, but had fun having friends over for the Super Bowl that day.

The nurse I talked to mentioned that it might be the Vagus Nerve that is causing the problems.  It is the 10th cranial nerve and involves your heart, lungs, and your entire digestive system.  Stress and digestive problems both cause problems with the Vagus Nerve which can lead to heart palpitaitons.  I'll have to research this a bit more.  I guess I'll have to try harder to figure out pre-race nutrition, and to manage stress in my life in general.  Rory being in preschool should help a little bit, although right now it is hard to leave him in a new place without me.

So I'm not sure what I am going to do now.  Just try to relax for a while.  Should I cut back on working out?  Nap more?  Stop eating dairy?  Run 10K's instead of Half Marathons?  Don't race at all?  Do one sport instead of two or three?  More Yoga?  More prayer?  I'm a little confused.  My life seems a little bit out of control sometimes, especially when I get sick or something stressful just lands in my life.  I'll take it day by day for a week or two, just working out as much as I feel like and putting a priority on rest.

If I do another 10K, I will try doing it on an empty stomach.  No breakfast.  Just a Hammer Gel and water.  Raybon suggested that I don't sign up for races, and just try to do runs on my own to test my nutrition.  I may do the Jenny's Light 10K in March.  Maybe I'll do the Flip Flop 10K instead of the Flip Flop Half Marathon.