Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Health Nut and Triathlete's Guide to the Ins and Outs of 2013 and2014

Every New Years Day, the Washington Post Style section posts an "In/Out" list that examines the trends in 2013 and 2014 to see what is hot and what is not. Since they like to focus on clothing and fashion, there is not much about health, fitness, triathlons, food, or "nerdom" on the list, so most of what they list escapes me. I have no idea what they are talking about the majority of the time.

With that said, I decided to do my own take on this on things I noticed in 2013 and what may or may not continue in 2014. I collected these using the best non-scientific and statistical research out there which is highly unreliable with a large margin of error.  With that said, please feel free to comment on anything I missed or exaggerated:

  • Justin Bieber hit his high (or lowest) point in 2013 and now has recently decided to retire only to be replaced by One Direction. I will not comment on whether this is good or bad, but let me just say I am out of tissues currently in my house. 
  • Built up shoes: despite the push to go minimalist, which started in around 2011 and is not dead yet, the advent of Hoka running shoes shows a swing back to the running shoe companies. Maybe we were "born to run" in shoes afterall. Neither shoe trend is for me but they have gotten popular.
  • Paleo, HFLC, and Ketogenic diets: High carb diets definitely died in 2013 to be replaced with high fat, low carb diets. Atkins seems to have been reincarnated into a triathlete. think this will only continue to gain popularity in 2014. What is needed in 2014 though is some research beyond anecdotes that shows its efficacy or lack there of in elite athletes in particular younger ones. Joe Friel says he is a convert when it comes to health but what about speed.
  • Cleanses: Speaking of diet, I am seeing more and more people do a 30 day cleanse or detox diet. I think I will stick with veggies and the sweet tones of Michael Bolton to cleanse my body and soul.
  • UCAN, Bonk Breaker, Amrita bars, Energy bits and more "natural" fuels: The original Powerbar which had the consistency of laffy taffy but the taste of an awesome chocolate bar has seemed to have died. One redeeming factor of these was that they stuck perfectly to your bike without the need of duct tape. Over the course of this year though Powerbar has released a new natural energy blend product that is part gel, part fruit. In my opinion, this is only a sign of the changing times of people looking for more natural forms of energy. Similarly, companies like Bonk Breaker and Amrita bars are offering great gluten and sometimes grain free products. Generation UCAN also seems to be gaining traction as people turn away from traditional carbs. 
  • Bulletproof coffee: This maybe just a trend but it definitely is a popular in the endurance community. I may drink a cup in 2014 and run through Anacostia or downtown Phoenix just to see if it works better than Kevlar. Honestly, I still like my coffee like I like my woman: tall, strong, and blonde with no need for artificial sweetness
  • "Bio-Hacking:" Along the same lines as the above, more people are looking into nifty shortcuts to improve their health and fitness. Whether its cold thermogenesis, genome sequencing, electro pulse stimulation, or intermittent fasting people are definitely going to extremes to gain every last advantage. I will stick to hard work and sweat  
  • Heart Rate Variability: Even though Phil Maffetone talked about it many years ago in his "Big Book of Endurance," with the advent of apps like Sweetbeat HRV has gained traction. While I definitely see the value of it, I am not sure I am willing to take the plunge and base whether I workout or not solely on a number. To some extent, there is value in pushing through fatigue some days. (Note: repeatedly pushing through fatigue day after day is not smart, which is when I like to use  HRV to prevent chronic stress.) 
  • Tailless aero helmets: the old sperm helmet seems to be dying a slow death as a tailless aero helmet seems to be taking its place.
  • Ultras: whether it is ultra runs (like 26.2 was not enough) or multi day Ironmans, people are going longer and longer (and slower). I am not ready to make the jump till I have maxed out my speed in an Ironman
  • Spartan races, mud runs, color runs, zombie runs i.e. long, adult parades that you pay to get into: These are just not my style, but if they are for you, then enjoy! They seem to be gaining popularity and more races are popping up. Just based on the number of selfies posted on Facebook and Twitter of people at these events, people seem to love them; at least it's something active, fun and constructive.  
  • "God Damn Independents" (If you went to Sewanee you will get that joke): Indies have grown in force and are reproducing like rabbits. Dare I say this has reached epidemic proportions. There are just too many twenty-somethings riding fixed geared bikes of clashing outlandish colors, with odd but perfectly manicured facial hair, Ray Bands frames without the lenses, skinny jeans, and Good Will sweaters pulling up to Starbucks to work on their "thesis"/"book"/ "blog" on Apple computers and listen to indie bands on their beats by Dre head phones. Ooops I just described my life.   
  • Duck Dynasty: never heard of it till the most recent scandal, but apparently it was big so I will include it. Regardless of whether you support what he said or not, you have to give him props for his ability to grow that beard. If only I had that skill. 
Based on what 2013 dished out 2014 looks to be even more interesting.

Did I forget anything? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The weight of weight

I weigh myself daily. Why? I am not exactly sure. I have done so for the past 10 years. I remember when my grandmother passed away, my mother asked me what I would like from her house. I immediately said, "Her scale." You can see a) where and from which genes I got my obsession and b) how obsessed I was from an early age with body image. 

Currently I have a pretty high tech scale that spits out my weight, body fat percentage, hydration, muscle mass, and most likely my horoscope and the odds on the Redskins' game (that last one is easy since they always lose). At this point in my recovery it's a force of habit rather than an actual need. 
It fluctuates more than the stock market 

What is different now from when I was struggling with my ED is that while I still weigh myself, I make sure that the numbers do not affect my mood, actions, or thoughts.  After all, they are just numbers and, in reality, how your body is interacting with gravity on that day.

People, doctors, health care "professionals," and insurance companies obsess about weight and the number on the scale, and for understandable reasons. There is a strong correlation between health and weight, but honestly, one's weight is just one piece of the health jigsaw puzzle. The number leaves a lot out. It does not show body fat percentage, which is a better indicator of health, gut health, mental well being, muscle mass, or, most importantly, psychological peace. 

What I am currently struggling with is what weight is the best for me? While I am heavier now than I have ever been, I am also healthier and happier, which are definitely important. I am not sure though whether I am faster now than I was. Moreover, will I be faster at an even heavier weight? (I have no idea honestly but would love to hear your thoughts)

The best weight is the weight that optimizes your well being both mentally and physically. The same applies to race weight--the weight at which you perform best. If you are too light, you will fade too quickly and if you do finish then you cannot recover as quickly to race again. If you weigh too much (both fat and muscle), though, the extra pounds will slow you down. 

Weight also affects psychological health. If your weight is too low OR too high (interestingly both sides of the bell curve have similar symptoms), you will feel miserable, tired, cranky, etc. 
The number can be approximated by matching it with power to weight ratio numbers and body composition numbers. However, the only way to know your race weight is to experiment with different weights and find the one at which you race the fastest and recover equally well.

All of the numbers though mean NOTHING if you do not have the psyche to back it up. I could be at my "ideal" weight with ideal power numbers and ideal body composition, but if my mind, drive and motivation are not there, then it is meaningless. Those things out weigh any numbers from the scale....but that's just my two watts...

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Jewish Grandma

I think I have either Catholic or Jewish genes somewhere in my genome because I have a huge guilt complex especially when it comes to food and training.

If I eat a food I "should not" indulge in or skip a workout that I know I "should do," then I feel guilty. It does not stop there though. I continue to beat myself up sometimes for hours (maybe even days) after.

"Why the Hell did you eat that, Chris? Now you are going to get fat and slow..."

"You know, Chris. You should have really done that workout. Now you going to get fat and slow..."

Sound familiar? That little Jewish grandmother in my head has quite a critical eye.

I have to admit that my Bubbe is a pretty good inhibitor. Whenever I feel like I should reach for that doughnut in the teachers' lounge or that diet coke, my sweet little Bubbe will say "Now Christopher, you know what that will do your swim times. Oy!" So I remove my hand as if it had been slapped.

Honestly though, I do not like my Bubbe. I feel like food regardless of health should never make you feel guilty. Food is not inherently guilty or virtuous. It is we who assign these labels--labels that are completely subjective and arbitrary. As a side note, foods labeled as guilt free are already guilt free (ironically, it are these food that are labeled that we should be most careful of).

As we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday, I am trying to silence my Bubbe even though she is "family." If I eat something(s) that I know are not the greatest for me then that will be alright. I should not ruminate upon them but rather savor them. If I decide to refrain from eating something it will not be because my Bubbe told me not to or because of guilt but rather because it does not make me feel optimal. And on Thanksgiving, I want to be optimal since that feeling is something to be thankful for...but that's just my two watts.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

We are going to pump you up!

As I mentioned before in a previous post, this pre-season (a better name than off season), I am focusing a lot of time and energy on strength. Whether it is doing butterfly in the pool (I look more like I am twerking), doing hill repeats on the bike, or starting to trail run, my schedule emphasizes gaining muscle and making body and mind strong (insert: like bull).
Got a little too wild and crazy at a party...

This focus is essential for a good season next year. With my runner's build, it is hard for me to keep up with the big boys on the bike and my races suffer because of it. While I can put out a 4.0 watt/kg HIM race output, it is only a 240 watts compared to everyone else who can do much much more. Consequently, I have been proverbially hitting the weights to improve this deficit.

Going to the weight room is a little intimidating to be honest. At my gym in "Snottsdale," there are athlete whose biceps are the size of my waist. I walked past one person yesterday who had my body weight just on one side of bar. There are women whose diamond rings may weigh more than the dumbbell. Some are made of more plastic than the Barbie Doll that they are trying to look like. There are the high school athletes with full beards. Then there is little pipe arm me feeling like a mix between Spongebob:


And Homer Simpson: 

I have always enjoyed weight lifting in the past. I find it an awesome switch up from my normal swim/bike/run routine. It has also been a struggle for me mentally to do because of a deep dark, still ingrained fear that I am going to gain weight. 

Then I had one of those "Duoh! What have I been thinking? Of course!" moments this past week. As I stepped on the scale, it occurred to me that I actually want my weight to go up. Say WHAT?! Yep you read correctly: up. 

My "Health" score compliments of my gym

If the number on the scale goes down then that means my body is
sacrificing muscle. I am so lean right now at 3% body fat that any significant decrease on the scale most likely is a canniblization of muscle, the exact opposite of what I want. I have hit rock bottom or to paraphrase Drake, I am starting from the bottom and hopefully will get there.  

Talk about a 180 degree reversal of thinking! 

I am still struggling with my fear that if the number does go up then my run will suffer. My run has always been my strength  but will it continue to be, if I gain 10 more muscle mass like I am supposed to?

Since September of last year I have gained 10 lbs of muscle going from 125 to 135, and while I have not really improved per se in my races, I would say I am healthier and happier overall. I am recovering better from workouts, am sick less often, and most likely have better thyroid function.  

The only way to know though is to take the leap and hope for the best. Looking at the "data" out in the real world, there are plenty of triathletes who have raced 2:50 Ironman marathon splits while being 140-160 lbs but not many that are 135 except some select women.

Just because I am weight lifting does not mean that I am going to look like the 'roided up guys around me. Strength is not about size it is about how many neurons connected to your muscles can be recruited and utilized multiple times with the same force over the course of (hopefully in my case next year) 9 hours and 30 minutes or less. It is also about holding your form over the course of training without breaking down and keeping you injury free all season long...but that is just my two watts.

What are your thoughts? Do you follow a specific lifting/strength program? Has it helped? If so how? Leave your thoughts and comments bellow, I would love to hear them.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The F word

I have a confession: sometimes when I walk down the street, shop at the grocery store, or am biking around Phoenix and I see a person who is obviously overweight, I immediately think to myself: "Wow, that person is F-A-T!" I am ashamed to admit it even if that person really is overweight. 

Should we call these people out on their weight? What should we think about them? Should we judge them and say: "Why can't they just loose weight?" If we see them in the grocery store and judge them for what they put into their cart. "You really should not be eating those chips or drinking that cola." Maybe we should go up to them and say "You should really lose some weight" or give them diet advice. Even if we do not say it, are thoughts just as bad as actions? 

As a person who was teased for the majority of his elementary school and all of his middle school years for being fat, I feel ashamed to think the same thoughts that my bullies thought when they saw me. 

The thing that bothers me with these thoughts are that they are so automatic for me and society in general. Pictures of fat people on Facebook continue to pop up, and the reaction is usually mixed.  For example, back in the summer, the above picture of a man falling off his automatic scooter as he reaches for a pack of soda made the rounds on Facebook and the inter webs. 

Comments were all over the place from "What a loser" to "What has America become" to "He[?] is so pathetic" and finally "Why doesn't he lose some f-ing weight!"

Honestly I did not know what to think when I saw this picture. My emotions were mixed and torn between "Wow, I am glad I am not like that" to "I hope he is alright." 

I thought about my reaction to these situations and I realized why they occur. For me, I think that they pop up so automatically because seeing those pictures or people makes me feel insecure about myself. I am still afraid of becoming like that or like them, that I put up this wall of humor and ridicule to separate myself from that pain as much as possible. I create an illusionary "self." They are different from me; I am somehow better than they are. Both of these statements are obviously not true.

They suffer just like I do. They have feelings just like I do, so instead of seeing their differences, I should greet them with compassion and an open heart. That is all I can do to help them. Criticizing whether in my own mind or to their face does nothing but build walls between me and them and inflates an artificial ego.  

My initial reaction of disgust is not the problem until I begin to nurse and entertain these thoughts further instead of simply letting them go. Hopefully in time and with mindful practice, I will eliminate my own fears of being overweight and with them, these thoughts. Then, I can remove at least that F word from my vocabulary. The other f word is entirely fair game though...but thats just my two watts. 

I would love to hear your comments on this, so message me, leave them on facebook, twitter, or below. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Putting Life into Living

One of my favorite podcasts is Vinnie Tortorich's "The Angriest Trainer Podcast." Whether you are low carb/ high fat, No Sugar, No Grains (NSNG), vegan, vegan curious, fruitarian, or a flexitarian, this podcast is worth a listen. In addition to some great Rocky quotes, I  always get at least one bit of interesting info (either health related or something completely different) and of course a good laugh. While Vinnie touts the importance of a NSNG diet, he frequently uses his tag line "put life into living and do it with enthusiasm." Many interpret this as that it is alright to sometimes break the NSNG (or dietary) "restrictions"*** and have a treat for a special occasion like a birthday party or celebration. After all, to quote Vinnie once more

"It's not what you eat between Christmas and New Years. It is what you eat between New Years and Christmas."

Bottoms up and lights out
I am not sure if I take this interpretation though. I put life into living in a different way. Yes, food and libations enrich life and experiences, but they can also take away.
 For example, if I am at a bar or party and I have a drink, I am out for the night. Some people get happy when they drink, others get touchy-feely, and others get mad. I am what they call a tired drunk. A few sips and I need to go to bed. Needless to say, I have the tolerance of a high school cheerleader on Prozac; even Diet Coke gives me a buzz. If I put life into living with a drink, consequently, I actually enjoy life less than if I had refrained and stuck with my typical lifestyle. These moments of life into living set me back so much they are not worth having.

In the same way, if I have a piece of candy, a soy latte, or sweets, I feel disgusting afterwards.It may taste good for five seconds, but for the next five hours, Willy Wonka gets his revenge ("Augustus leave some for later"). I am craving those sweets long after the enjoyment has worn off. It's all that I can think about. Then I get really cranky, tired, and hungry--hungry enough to even go dumpster diving. I pretty much turn into Oscar the Grouch.  Is that living? No.

Indulgent food and drink are enjoyable. They taste good, they make us feel good, and we do not get called out at parties for being the odd ball who orders soda water and raw vegetables. In my opinion though (this phrase is critical because everyone is different),  the social event would be more enjoyable for the experience itself and the memory rather than the food or drink. 20 years from now I will remember having a blast, but chances are I will not remember what I ate or drank.

I put life into living by putting my energy into the experience itself and enjoying every single moment with a clear mind and not one that is in a brain fog from what I have eaten or drunk. Moreover, I enjoy living by having a clear memory of what has happened and no guilt, remorse, or regrets about what I did. Some (bless them) can still have a great time despite having drunken lots or eaten lots; their lives continue as normal if not better. Unfortunately, I am not one of them, but that is alright.

One of the problems and indicators of an eating disorder is avoiding social situations because of the fear of food or eating in public. I did this all the time. I would feign sickness to avoid parties where I would not be able to control the food being served. When people would ask me out for dinner and I did not know what was going to be on the menu I would stay home and "enjoy"  a calorie restricted meal (emmmm lean pockets) instead. Hardly what I call living. Now I jump on the opportunity to go out regardless of what food is there; food should and will not dictate whether I go out or not. What crosses my mind instead is "will this be a fun time?" If there is food that I want to eat there then I will eat it but that is not the main focus. I may eat before I go out or bring my own, so that it does not become an issue and I can enjoy myself to the fullest.

Creating those experiences is what I call living and I am going to do it with enthusiasm....but that's just my two watts.

How do you put life into living? 

***(I am not big on this word because as I mentioned in my previous post, my changes in diet have liberated me from the restrictions of fatigue, brain fog, and cravings) 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My solution to the triathlete's body paradox

Like the majority of the triathlon community I was "glued" to Kona coverage the other day. Since I cannot watch races without getting anxious to train myself, I had a friend message me updates as I rode my bike and dreamed of being there myself.  It was one inspiring race.

Also like the majority of the triathlon community, I have the pipe dream of getting to the big island one day and competing with the best. However, I do not just want to participate, I want to really compete. The Europeans, the Aussies, and the Kiwis, have dominated the podium for too long and one of my dreams is to bring back some American presence. It is definitely a far flung and crazy dream, but we can all dream, can't we?

I know already it is going to take a boat load of work, preparation and literally years of training before I can even fathom not only getting there but being able to post those crazy fast times. With that said the gauntlet has been thrown down, the challenge has been made, and I pity the fool (or mental demon) who tries to stand in my way.  Kona 2024!

Alas I digress and now back to more important matters...

Rockin' the W! 
What I actually found more interesting than the race itself was the festivities surrounding the race most prominently the underpants run. For those who do not know, every year, competitors and spectators alike run down the main street in virtually nothing but flashy underwear/multi colored fig leaves. Usually this would raise eyebrows and cause gag reflexes, but those running are world class athletes so their bodies are ripped (for the most part). I am talking about Men's Health and Fitness magazine shape but with no airbrushing. All natural, which is even more amazing! I did not even have to be there to feel self-conscious; the facebook posts were enough to make me feel uncomfortable and start doing crunches on the floor.

Now fast forward to the finish line. The winners of the race were not the ones who had the greatest bodies. They did not have ripped six packs nor a v shaped torso nor sub 5% body fat. They actually looked fairly normal. Don't get me wrong here. Van Lierde who won is one of the the fittest men in the world!
Photo by Nils Nilsen via Ironman.com
It makes you-well at least it makes me--wonder is it possible to have an awesome body and still race incredibly, pro-level fast? Moreover, which would you rather have? The body or the speed? Its a paradox.

I think it is possible to have both but not by doing crunches or training 30 hours a week. That strength pales in comparison to developing mental strength. If your mind is strong and comfortable in your body perception, then both the body and the speed will come, but that is just my two watts.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

So Rich Roll, Kanye West, and the Buddha walk into a bar,

One of my favorite songs is Kanye West's "Jesus Walks," especially because of the opening lines:

"We at war with terrorism, racism, and most of all we at war with ourselves..." 

A lot of people are at war with themselves. They do not love themselves nor respect themselves and as a result they do not care for themselves as they should. Even people (maybe even especially people) who have lots of success--you know the type: the ones who look practically perfect with the six pack abs and the v shaped torso, the expensive car, the trophy case, the expensive bike--- I am not sure whether they love themselves or not. Some of them may, which is great and I would love to see more of them like that, but the more glitz and glamor a person has, the more I question because, honestly, I was once one of them.

Back in the day (and periodically now and then) I hated the way I looked, so I literally declared chemical warfare on my own body. Armed with Splenda packets, diet coke, cereal, soy, and all the "fat free" products I could find. All the chemicals and unnatural (the only thing "natural" about them were the labels that said they were) in these foods nuked my gut, adrenals and body.

But doing this, only made me hate myself more. The more I found flaws in myself whether on the scale or on the cross country course, the more I had to hate myself, and the more wars I fought. Finally my inner conscious had to throw up a white flag of truce. I was getting no where but worse. The numbers on the scale were definitely lower, but so was everything else in my life. I was tired the majority of the day, I was irritable, and cranky, and my performance was suffering. All because I was uncomfortable in my own skin.  

To paraphrase the Buddha, unless you love yourself, are comfortable in your own skin, and confident in the natural gifts you posses in the present moment, you will go no where in training and more importantly in life.

Let say I did get hit that magical number on the scale, or the ideal power output, or that killer PR in my next HIM. What is it worth if I do not love the life that got me there. I will continue to chase the next thing, then the next thing, and so on.

However, if I feel truly am confident and loving with my body, the end does not become the objective. Rather the journey does, and just based on time, the majority of life is the journey with only a few seconds or milliseconds of "finish." (this is debatable since there really is not ends, just points along the way but I do not want to get all hippy-dippy, eastern philosopher on your ass now so I will leave that for another post).  

Fast forward 1500 years from Buddha to Rich Roll, who also put a similar message in his recent newsletter:

Now that is deep...but thats just my two watts. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thinking with my Gut.

The point of this post is not to give you advice on what to eat, how to eat, or even to eat. It is not based on scientific research; it is just a case study on me about what I found. It is not supposed to cure any diseases, ailments, or maladies, but it has helped in my own healing process and road to recovery. Will it do the same for you? No idea. I hope, however, by posting this that you will not only get a few laughs but also, if you are struggling with similar mental and physical problems, you will open your mind to the possibility of change and that change can and does come. 

As I mentioned in a previous post I am changing up my nutrition drastically. Why? I feel like my nutrition is limiting my performance and my life. Since recovering from my last ED relapse, I have been tweaking not only what I eat but also, and more importantly, my perspective on eating.

The key component in changing my perspective on eating is changing what I ate. Everything else, including how I feel about food, how I feel about myself, and even how I related to others, falls into place by changing up my diet.

Let me take you on my journey here:

When I was in the iron grip of my eating disorder. All I thought about was eating. What and when was I going to eat next? How many calories? Would that make me fat? Would that cause inflammation? Would that spike my blood sugar levels? What would people think? Essentially I was obsessed and living in a perpetually state of fear. Living in fear is no way to live a life. I needed a change.

Gradually over the past few years I have experimented with different styles of eating.

Originally I was a card carrying vegetarian, eating no meat but was what people like to call a junk food veggie. Every day, I would eat
bowls of Kashi (the old people on the box were my best friends), a few low fat, whole grain sandwiches with fat free cream cheese and faux, soy tofurkey slices, diet coke, coffee with Splenda and soy milk, and gas station protein bars, which are, let's be honest here, candy bars with protein added.

This diet worked for some time but I began to feel lethargic especially in the afternoon and I needed to eat every two hours or I would get really grumpy and when I say grumpy I mean that I would tear your head off if you talked to me or came in between me and my Diet Coke and fat free ice cream float. In workouts, I was fine as long as I ate. I would eat before, then again twenty minutes in, then another hour I would need something else, and then I would need something more just to get to the finish. When I finished I felt like I could eat a fridge. I was also thinking about food even more than I was when I was anorexic. Instead of liberating myself, I had just added another shackle.

Yep, she has higher
T levels. 
My symptoms of lethargy got worse and worse and I also found that I was not recovering from workouts. It got to the point that I went to see my doctor. It turns out that I was anemic and had low testosterone.
The doctor literally told me that the old women sitting in the waiting room had higher levels of T than I did. I obviously needed a change.

That is when I discovered and began to explore podcasts like Ben Greenfield, Rich Roll, and
Vinnie Tortorich (America’s Angriest Trainer). They were preaching the total opposite of what I had been doing, and if I learned anything from Seinfeld, if something was not working, do the opposite.

Instead of a diet based on grains like I had been doing, they were saying that I should base my diet on fat. Say what? Fat makes you fat! How can this be? They must be talking cray cray.

The other book I high recommend. 
Vinnie's book, which is one of most inspiring
and inspirational that I have read

But honestly they were for real real.

I remember when this first came out
I first had to start to break my phobia of fat, which was VERY hard. I had grown up in an era of low fat—that wonderful time they called the “’90s”. Fat was evil, fat made you fat, no yolks and all whites, fat free foods were “healthier” than high fat, go skim not whole, it was healthy if it was low in fat.

However, the science behind this lifestyle supported why else I was feeling like crap. The soy in my diet was raising my estrogen levels and lowering my testosterone. The grains too were blocking the absorption of key nutrients like iron, which was causing my anemia. Pair that with a lack of meat in my diet and it was a perfect storm for poor performance. Moreover the grains and artificial sweeteners, were affecting my blood sugar in such a way that I was craving food all the time. Even my depression was related to what I was eating. I have not seen any scientific studies, but in my opinion, the high carb diet and lack of fat was messing with my emotions. Everything was interrelated and everything was stemming from what I was eating.

Obviously the change did not happen overnight. It actually took over 18 months and I am still finding things to tweak.
1.    My first step was take out the cereal. No more Kashi, no more Fiber One, no more “Total.” This was the hard considering it had been a staple of my diet since high school, but after listening to how soy and grains can actually decrease T and boost estrogen. It had to go.
2.    After cutting out the cereal (I became a cereal killer, get it? Sorry last bad joke of the day), it only made sense to cut out bread too. I read Wheat Belly which was eye opening. Moreover, my doctor had told me that eating these can block nutrient absorption and cause anemia in certain people. Out!
3.    Without cereal, I had a bunch of soymilk in my fridge, and it would stay right there because I switched to unsweetened almond and coconut milk, which will not spike my estrogen levels.
4.    Speaking of anemia, I realized I needed to bring meat back into my diet. THIS was tough. I became vegetarian for lots of reasons. Believe or not it was to get a girl (Long story for another post) but it was also to lose weight and restrict my eating as much as possible. Over time though it became to stay healthy and also because of animal cruelty. Unfortunately and obviously, I was not staying healthy though, so I had to change that. I may not have been killing an animal but I was killing myself. I began eating meat and fish again but made sure it was organic and humanely treated. If I had to eat it, it better taste good and come from a trusted source.
5.    At this point, I was focusing on trying to get back to natural eating as much as possible. “Nutritional” bars and meal replacements, were as far away from nature as possible, so they go the ax. Sorry Special K. The stock of Kellogg and General Mills actually fell 7% the day I quit. Not sure if that is just correlation or causation.
6. Diet coke, my other vice, was also out. Believe it or not, I do not miss it that much. I love my self more than I love it. As long as I stay hydrated I keep the cravings at bay. Coke's stock also fell that day by 2%. 
So that is a lot of negatives, let’s add some positives. What did I add in? A lot of stuff. 
  1.  I started eating nuts more—not the salted, roasted, and sugar coated ones but the raw ones; coconut in all its many beautiful forms including milk, flakes, and butter; avocado, that beautiful nut, and maybe the athlete’s best friend. I am currently pounding two a day in smoothies and salads; chia seeds and flax seeds are a must to make pudding.
  2. Egg yolks- Before Subway and McDonalds made it “cool” I always ate my eggs white. No yolk at all.
  3. Sardines and other fish-much to the chagrin of my coworkers. I now only eat it at home when I am alone so that others do not have to smell it.
Of course my veggie intake did not remain the same. It actually increased! Veggies now are the base and foundation of every meal. 

My diet was looking clean but it still had lots of holes that I needed to plug. Prominently was my use of artificial sweeteners. Now this was a huge hurdle. I was a chronic user (scratch that, I meant abuser) of this sweet stuff. It was my anorexic’s cocaine. I put it in everything! I carried around a plastic baggie with the stuff just in case I would go somewhere and they would not have it. I would take it from restaurants like I was an old lady. Yep, I had a problem. I eventually switched to stevia, which was slightly better but I was still hooked on the sweet stuff. Thus, two weeks ago, the last domino fell. I took out all the “s” from my diet: “No sugar, no sweetener, no stevia, no shit!”

The first couple days were rough. Really rough. I had to break all the habits that I had formed for over 10 years. I had to stop reaching for the packets when I poured myself some coffee or expect it to taste sweet or expect anything to be sweet. After about three days though it began to get easier. The baristas at Starbucks stopped asking me if I wanted my usual. “No, just strong, tall, and blonde” (like my women).

SO that was a long post, but I hope you got something out of it. Remember though, to change the world outside, you must first change the world inside but thats just my two watts. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My (Gym) Odyssey

The (Gym) Odyssey, 
Complete with Sirens, The Cyclops, Circe, and the Locust Eaters 

When I lived in DC, I was a card carrying member of X Sport Fitness. This place was heaven on earth. A personal Mecca to which I went to almost daily (or at least needed to). This place had everything I could possibly wish for in a gym:
  • 24 hour gym and pool access 
  • A 25 meter pool that I could always get a lane to myself and was heated to a nice 80 degrees (i.e. old lady temperature which I find the ideal temp to swim in), 
  • Free weight/kettle bell/and lifting machine for every part of my body  
  • A sauna and steam room for heat training and detox 
  • Cardio machines for the occasional warm-up and cross training session, and a full stack of People and Cosmopolitan magazines that I could read while doing it (only joking about that last one).  
  • Attractive suburban mothers :)

With the exception of ice baths for recovery, an outdoor 50m pool, and a row of computrainers, I could not ask for more. Ironically though, what is supposedly one of the healthiest places to go (a gym) is actually a huge psychological trap of anti-health. Below is a compilation of my various trips to this gym. While the individual incidences did not happen in a single trip they nevertheless actually did occur (with some hyperbole) at some point during my 6 month membership. If you are a gym member, I hope you can relate....

I pulled into the parking lot and immediately found a parking space. It was about 300 meters from the entrance, but that would be a good warm up. As I walk towards the door I am almost hit by a large SUV with a “I AM IM.” The man behind the wheel honks loudly with one hand and with the other “checks in" on Facebook that he is going to the gym.  He does a few more laps around the parking lot waiting for the closest spot. Before I take two more steps, another woman with “Coexist,” “Namaste” and “Yoga mom” bumper stickers almost hits me. “Watch where you are going a-hole” she screams. “Namaste to you too” I think.

I then have to weave my way through a line of cars waiting for the valet parking attendant to service them. Valet parking at the gym? Yep, people really need to get to their workout as quickly as possible with as little work as possible. 

Finally I get through the entrance and am greeted by a young, girl
Why do I doubt this?
behind the counter. “Good morning, how are you?” She says without looking up from her phone as she texts someone most likely about how bored she it. I swipe my card but before I can grab a towel. She asks: “Would you like to buy some of our new line of protein bars? They are really good and super healthy. If you are looking to get faster, stronger, leaner, lighter all at the same time, these will definitely help you do that.” “No thank you—“ “But, wait let me show what else we have on sale” “I really just want to work out, thank you.” “Well how are you going to without the proper fuel? Or the proper recovery formula after? Are you on a multivitamin? If you are not you should be.” She grabbed my hand and dragged me over to a large corner of the gym devoted to everything “healthy:” tubs of protein powders with pictures of ripped guys with six packs, protein bars that looked more like candy bars, and ready made shakes whose ingredients lists looked like the periodic table of elements. “How come the people buying those tubs look nothing like the guys in the picture?” I wanted to ask but instead simply said “No thank you. I really just want to get my swim in.”
“Well have you met with our trainers yet for your personal consultation? It’s free! They will give you a customized body routine to get you ripped in no time. They are all certified.”

“My coach gives me everything I should do, so I am set.”

She looked crest fallen.

“Well, OK, have a good workout,” and she shuffled back to her station.

Finally, I was able to grab a towel and headed towards the changing room, which were up flight of stairs (or escalator--yes the gym had one of those too so that you could get to your workout more easily) and through the cardio and weight room. The moment I had finished climbing the stair--I refused to take the elevator--I practically collapsed on the ground in an epileptic seizure. Bright colored spandex burned into my retina from every direction. As my eyes adjusted to the blaze, I watched a woman clad in nothing but LuLu Lemon and Athletica exit the escalator, then hop immediately onto the stair climber. Irony! 

Row upon row of cardio machines hummed as their occupants stair climber/walked/ran/row/spun/ elliptisized/ twerked up a “sweat.” Most of the people were more focused on People Magazine's spread on Brad Pitt's newest fling than actually doing work though. One gentleman who was so absorbed in his Men's Health Magazine just sat on the bike with the pedals barely moving. At least he's here though.

I weaved back in between the machines but by the time I had reached the weight room, my way was blocked by a "trainer" and his client. The client was doing what I assume was a dumbbell squat. Her back was curled and she was barely bending her legs. 

"Good. Nice...deep sit now...and back up...Good." The trainer, gazing at his iPhone, said absentmindedly.  "Keep it up...Feel the burn"

"Is this right?" 

"Yep. Keep doing just that."  

Yep, he's certified--certified in texting. 

The weight room was packed as always with the typical gym rats: high schoolers who would do 3 reps on the bench press, let out a nice grunt then "subtly" stare at themselves in the mirror for a good 5 minutes, men whose arms were the size of my waist and whose whole circulatory system was visible, women who had more body hair than I do and most likely could eat me for dinner with a side of creatine and muscle milk pudding. 

At last I reach the locker rooms! Now I can swim!
I am not sure about you but all I can think about as I put on my swimsuit is this scene from movie "Airplane!" 

All one can and should do in the locker room is just keep your head down, your eyes on the floor, your towel firmly around your waist, and get out of there as quickly as possibly. One glance up and your memory will be scarred permanently. 

To the pool I go. After a quick hello to my Eastern European Life guard friend who does not speak a word of English and sits all day reading German romance novels, I hustle to the pool deck but before I could dip one toe in the pool, a rather cranky voice yells at me from across the way. 

"I'm sorry the pool is closed for Water Zumba."

I glance up at her then glance at the two old ladies in the pool. 

"The entire pool?"


"Well, good since I am here for the class," and with out missing a beat of the Justin Bieber song that had just come on the instructor's boom-box I dove in. 

In certain situations, you just have to go with the flow but thats my two watts.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A brief update

There and back again... A triathlete's "holiday"
I know it’s been a long time since the last post, but sometimes life/new job/training/and being a “gangsta” gets in the way. I will not summarize everything that has past since the middle of July but a brief bullet point list:
View from my morning ride
·       Moved to Phoenix and love it. New place is awesome with plenty of room for the trainer.
·       Started my new job teaching middle school English and love it
·       Training revved up then got rocky. I got sick (thanks to my wonderful students—a hazard the job), had to miss a few days here and there but overall not bad given the situation

·       Went to Vegas to “rock the W” but had to drop out at mile three of the run because of an exercise induced asthma attack—shit happens nothing I can do about it now but learn from it. To paraphrase Alfred, “Why do we fall off the horse, Master Wayne?” “I Don’t know, Alfred” “So that we can get up and [swim/bike/run] again”

·       Back in Phoenix now
·       Making massive changes in my nutrition (<--more on that to come)
·       Enjoying my off season by doing whatever I want without a Garmin, going to yoga, sleeping in, getting a tattoo (don't tell my mom) 

·       Right about to hop back into “preseason” training next week in a mini build to “Ironbaby” a self-supported Ironman in College Station, TX put on by Coach Bret (@ZenTri) on October 20th. Whether I will be able to complete it given my lack of training since Vegas. I am not sure but I am going to sure as hell try.
·       Planning for next year (<---more on that to come)

So that’s pretty much it in a cracked, organic nut shell. More to come so stay posted!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day everyone! Not only is Independence Day an awesome movie--one of Will Smith's greatest in my opinion--but its the Day that the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of

Independence (a little history factoid: the Declaration of Independence was actually proposed to the Congress on the 1st of July but in true congressional fashion it sat around for three days while the representatives procrastinated and debated. Some things never change). Even though America might be the land of the free, I think a lot of people in America and around the world for that matter are still living under the despotic rule of a pretty horrendous King. No, I am NOT talking about Barack Obama--I leave politics out of my blog as much as possible--I am referring to the mental despot that is dictating our lives.

For me, this was King ED. To put it bluntly, Ed was and still is an asshole. He was overpowering, self centered, and obnoxious. He dictated everything that I did from what I ate, how much I exercised, whom I hung out with, even what thoughts I "should" and "should not" have. Like other dictators too, he filled me with lies about grandeur and how great his leadership was. In true dictator fashion, he was obsessed with numbers. If the numbers were good, then he wanted more. If they were bad, then lord help those in his wrath. Whenever I questioned him, he would tell me that I was better off under his rule than the alternative and much better than where I was before his "leadership."

I lived under King Ed's fascist regime for about 8 years until like the Founding Fathers decided that I had out grown him. I had enough of his lies and manipulations, so I revolted and submitted this Declaration of Independence to him.
Dear King Ed,
You are a jerk. I have had enough of your lies, mental taxation without representation, and rule. You have done nothing for my well being. In fact, I think you have brought down my well being since taking control. You say that I am better off with you than without, but I disagree. You have brought me nothing but misery, limiting my ability to grow, explore, and overall be happy. Consequently, from this point on, I am declaring myself free from your tyrannical rule.
It is far from the artful prose of Thomas Jefferson, but it got the point across. We have been at war ever since. He has a few mental sympathizers still lurking in the deep crevices of my mind, who occasionally try to wrestle power away from me and my new government. Thanks to my "minute men" I have been able to fight them off for the most part.

If you haven't  guess I am of course talking about eating disorders, but mental tyranny exists everywhere. Regardless of whether it has a become a disorder or not, we all struggle with some form of captivity be it a substance, habit, social pressure, or fear. Today, I encourage you to write your own declaration of independence, overthrow that tyrant, and set up your own free mental society. This is America, damn it, and we, as cognoscente humans, have the freedom to do it but thats just my two watts.

A footnote about the Fourth of July to those not in the know:
America did not become "A-MEHR-ica" till recently. In fact, the more patriotic you are the less syllables America has. Usually, in true American fashion, we mark today with parades, cookouts, and fireworks. After all there is nothing more American than long lines of expensive cars (an American invention) with beautiful people riding in them, grilled processed meat from industrialized food plants (another American invention) washed down with Budweiser, the "king" (another tyrant if you ask me) of American beers, and blowing shit up in the sky (we did not invent fireworks. Those were (and are) still made in China, like 90% of American goods including those American flags and t-shirts you see everywhere). Anyway, have a great fourth of July.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Retail Confidential: A Diary of a Shop Rat

Sunday marked my last day of work at the triathlon store that I have called my office for the past year. To be honest, I am going to miss it a bit. My everyday work life resembled a mix of "$h!T triathletes say"

(and yes, I kid you not, almost every line in that video was said at least once over the past year),  and "Office Space" with me playing the Michael Bolton character. This clip accurately displays my commute fairly well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKlDBi0cyIA

The job had lots of perks that you cannot get in any other profession. While I may not have gotten health care, I got great bike care. I could get items at cost instead of the over inflated sticker price found at most stores and online dealers. If I wanted to race a sold out event that the shop was sponsoring, the entry bib was there waiting for me. The fully paid trip to Vegas for InnerBike was also a blast.

Got questions? Just ask the 8 ball

Pre race bike tune ups aside, I think I am going to miss working with the customers the most. I met a wide range of athletes from beginners, to seasoned back of the packers (and proud of it, these were my favorite customers because they were in the sport for pure enjoyment without any care for external gratification), to true weekend warriors, to elite age groupers, to pros. While it's not curing cancer or feeding the homeless, through bike fits, pre-race pep talks, and training advice, I'd like to think that I helped athletes enjoy the sport more. Chances are, no, but one can hope I made some impact. While many consider the retail world as not a "respectable" profession, and look down upon it, seeing it as a dead-end job without growth, I would say I have grown considerably over the past year.

Primarily, the retail world has taught me quite a bit about the triathlon industry and also reinforced concepts that I already knew. Primarily, no money in the world can buy you significant speed; only training can do that. Don't misread me here. I am not saying that the P5, Speed Concept, or even the DA are not fast bikes because they are. When put into a wind tunnel, they have some of the best aerodynamics in the bike world, but all those test (or at least the ones you usually see floating around the internet) come with a catch: they were performed WITHOUT the rider. Once you throw an untrained, slightly, overweight middle aged second year triathlete onto the gel pad covered saddle, the benefits between the bikes begin to average out.

Good equipment helps for sure especially if having nice stuff gets you motivated to train more. Good equipment will also shave off precious minutes from your time. However, at the end of the day, you can give the slowest person in the world a P5 and he will still be the slowest person in the world without training.

Moreover, when it comes to the really nice equipment, a large part of that price tage comes from the name on the side. Yes, Zipp wheels and Cervelo bike are really nice, and I would buy them if I could. However, there are other bikes that can go just as fast if not faster for half the price tag. You also do not need Zipps wheels for your commuter bike (we had a customer who did ask).

Moving to the other side of the counter is going to be an odd transition, but at least now, I can now fully respect the strains, and work that the person checking me out goes through on a daily basis and thus hopefully be a better customer myself. Instead of an "A+ type" personality, I should tone it down to a C or C-; these people are trying their best to not only serve me but everyone else too. They are not trying to consciously sabotage your race.

Although customers may not have learned a lot from the advice and tips that I gave them, I definitely learned a lot from them. I now know to make sure to always wear my most recent race finisher t-shirt when shopping. I may have to keep a few in the car just in case I need to pop into the store for an inner tube. If I was not wearing at least one piece of triathlon apparel or compression clothing, employees and more importantly other customers would not be able to recognize me as a triathlete. If I completely forget one day, I can only hope that they notice my m dot or your 13.1 bumper sticker on the back of your car. If all else fails, my license plate vanity tag of "IronXY" "2xIrnmn" or "3lete" should convey the message.

Working at the shop has also taught me valuable life skills, like changing an inner tube in record time, singing "My life will go on" in Mongolian (our Mongolian mechanic is a fan as well), how to sanitize, clean, and deodorize a wetsuit that has been in the Hudson river, the best homeopathic cures for saddle sores, and the list goes on.

If anything, I now know the importance of brick and mortar stores. While Amazon.com, eBay, and the like have some killer deals, they cannot provide the service, support and atmosphere that a store can.
I hope I am leaving this brick and mortar in better shape then when I found it but that is just my two watts.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chasing Vegas

If you read my blog post from yesterday about what I try to do and not to do in a race report, then please call me out if I stray from my parameters. Read on...

Rocky Balaboa famously stated in Rocky VI (one of the best films Hollywood has produced since "Shazzam") that
"its not about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."
Wise words from a guy who not only devours raw (most likely non-organic, pasteurized eggs), but also has gotten his brain kicked out of him by the likes of Apollo Creed, Mr. T, and Drago since 1981. Regardless, those were the words that replayed over and over again while racing Syracuse 70.3 this past weekend.

I went to Syracuse with one goal in mind: re-qualify for Vegas. Ever since Galveston where I skipped roll down because I thought the Vegas slot would never roll down to me in fifth, I have been kicking myself and craving a Vegas slot. I was originally supposed to race Rev3 Williamsburg, but the Vegas slot was too tempting to pass on. A week before the race, therefore, I pulled an audible and registered for Syracuse. It would my last shot at qualifying before I move to Phoenix; it was all or nothing.
I am going to skip over the logistics and details about my travels up, but if you are thinking about doing this race next year, here are a few tips you may want to consider:

  • drive the course before since the its good to know where the hills, turns, mile markers, and aid stations are. The scenery here is gorgeous too so you may want to drive it twice: once to get the logistics then once to take in the scenic and idyllic landscapes. 
  • Get into the water the day before since you can. Not many races allow you to do this but since its a state park, the beach has open water swim times. The water is cooler than you would expect
  • Drive the run course since you want to see the hills. 
  • Pack your own food. Syracuse is a college town and shuts down once the students leave. Restaurants are closed for the season so there are not many options within walking distance of some of the inner Syracuse hotels

Let's skip ahead to race morning where it all begins: The Swim

I will be honest and say that the swim is like any other swim: swim out, take a turn, swim some more, take another turn, and then swim back. Temperatures were at 70 degrees (21.1 C for you foreign readers), so ideal for wearing a long sleeve wetsuit with little to no chance of hypothermia. No thermal neoprene cap needed--although I did stash one in my bag just in case. My blueseventy helix was perfect, but I saw plenty of people in sleeveless. In the words of my man, Justin Timberlake, "as long as I have my [wet]suit and tie/Imma leave it [in the water] all night...let me show you a few things."

Even more typical of races, my wave got screwed and was seeded last with an 8:15am start, an hour and fifteen minutes after the pros. I am not a huge fan of late starts. I would much rather get out right after the pros as early as possible since there is less time waiting around and getting nervous, don't have to swim over, bike around, and run by, everyone. HOWEVER, this is out of my control, so I just have to deal with it until I get old or go pro whichever come first or occurs at all.
I went out strong and held a decent clip but I felt that I was holding back. 34 minutes is not my fastest swim but in retrospect saving my energy a bit for the bike ride was wise. With such a challenging bike and run course, you definitely do not want to go anaerobic. Moreover, wear tinted, smoked, or tinted goggles because the sun can be glaring.

The only difficulty of the swim at Syracuse was that there was ton of weeds at the bottom of the shallows so that when I emerged from the proverbial deep, I felt like swamp thing.

T1 was a very long run from the water's edge over carpet, into the bike corral, then another long run to the bike mount line. Thankfully they had strippers at the swim exit (get your mind out of the gutter if you thought I meant the other type of stripper--those came later). A huge volunteer who looked like he would have been an excellent lineman pulled off my wetsuit with ease, and without much time lost I was on my way. To minimize my transition time, I skipped the socks, slammed my feet straight into my shoes and took off. I have not yet mastered the flying mount yet but it would be wise to do so so that you do not have to run as long in your bike shoes.

On to the bike: the bike course is difficult but definitely manageable. A lot of people talk it up like its the Pyrenees, but it's not. The first 15 miles are a gradual incline and then it turns into rollers with an overall negative trend downwards. YOU HAVE TO PACE YOURSELF! DO NOT GO OUT TOO HARD! A lot of people went out much too quickly and were suffering in the later stages of the race.

My plan was to stick to 230watts and hold it there regardless of what gear I was in, what my speed was, or how many people past me. Like all races, this strategy takes discipline and the need to check your ego at T1. To parafrase those frozen waffle: "Leggo my Ego" Sticking with the plan though pays off.

I accidentally hit the lap button on my garmin which divided the bike up into two parts (the first is on the right):

For the first half of the race my normalized power wattage was perfect at roughly 229watts with little variability (VI= 1.03, which is good but not great). The second half it was slightly lower at 207 with greater variability (1.08), which I think was due to the turns. Regardless, a weakness to work on for the future especially in the lead up to my next race.

Nutritionally, my typical plan of three Amrita bars and then two gels worked great. Thats about 1000 calories total for the 2.5 hours. It would have worked better if I drank more.

What killed me on the bike was not the hills, but my lack of hydration. I underestimated how hot it would be and only brought two water bottles (my speedfil up front then my favorite Amrita bar bottle full of Nuun in the rear). This got me through the first aid station but not enough after that. I was relying on the aid stations to provide water, which they did, but the amount I took was not enough. I had to squirt the water into my speedfil but was only able to squeeze about half the bottle before the end of the station. I could not put the bottle in my rear cage because it would just bounce out. This left me in a water deficit and by the time I hit the run I was severely dehydrated.

T2 was nothing special so no need to elaborate.

The run was the toughest run I have ever done. The heat index was 106 degrees with little shade. I started out with a good 6:15 pace for the first two miles after which my race deteriorated. I would say it went down hill but on the contrary the course went up hill.  My stomach cramped up, and my energy was in the tank. I could not take in solid calories because that would aggravate my stomach even more. After slowing down the pace at mile 3, my energy levels still had not bee restored so I shelved my pride and did something that I have never done in a race before: I walked the aid stations.

At this point in the race, I did not care about Vegas, I did not care about the podium, I did not care about time, all I wanted to do was finish and if I had to walk the aid stations simply to get to the finish line so be it. I therefore would run from aid station to aid station at about a 7:15 clip then walk, drink two cups of water, poured another cup on top of me, shoved ice and sponges down my jersey, then drank some coke (not diet but real coke). I felt like a Boston Market rotisserie chicken that had been left in the oven for several days or a 7-11 "hotdog," rolling over again and again and not going anywhere but slowly drying up into a cracked tube of junk.  

The hills were brutal and the heat just compounded it. While I did not walk the hills, my Ironman shuffle was almost walking pace. I can usually handle hills but not today.

I finished but barely. I think almost everyone on that course had thoughts of quitting and I was no different. In this race, it was not necessarily the fastest who did well; it was those who kept going despite the conditions.

Overall, I finished first in the age group and 36th overall with a time of 4:46: 32, which was good enough to get the Vegas slot. Needless to say I have a lot of work to do before Championships:

  • My swim efficiency 
  • Hydration!
  • Power Variability and power levels in general
  • Run fueling
  • Do not drive 7 hours back home after the race. It will kill your recovery. 

While it was not my fastest race, this race taught me racing tactics that an easy race could never do. Its not the easy races that make us stronger and wiser, its the hardest ones but thats just my two watts.

Now a few shout outs:

  1. Adam Furlong who put me up for the weekend
  2. Amrita bars for fueling me on the bike
  3. The race organizers who put on an excellent race despite the adverse weather conditions
  4. An awesome crew of volunteers 
  5. Bonzai for giving me the weekend off