Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DNSs and a Nutrition Reset of Sorts

The past 6 weeks since elbow surgery have been an interesting time for me. Not only have I learned to master some daily living skills with my left hand (like hair washing, teeth brushing, food preparation), I successfully managed airline travel (yikes on the TSA pat down!), and have seen how curious humans are about each other.  If I had a dollar for every stare and conversation about the RoboArm, I’m fairly certain my bank would show a deposit of $528,367 by now.
I have to admit that of the 15+ years I’ve been participating in endurance events, it’s been difficult to have several race DNSs ("did not start") over the past 2 months.  I am sad to defer these races.  But really, I mean REALLY, I go back to “This is just an elbow and arm.”  As my physical therapist said, “You have legitimate pain and discomfort, but you’re not as bad off as that guy… and that guy is not as bad off as that woman… and so on.” We all have our relative “woe is me” spheres, but it’s important to remember to put yourself in perspective.  I have nowhere near anything that many others close to my heart endure everyday:  severely impaired vision, recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, complex auto-immune diseases, terminal cancers, mental health challenges, and so on.  I ain’t got nothin’ so those DNSs are now just reminders of how lucky I am (and hope to be) to try again in the future.

Another interesting finding during this post-surgery recovery time has been my experience with a nutrition reset.  After surgery, I simply had no appetite for several days.  Exercise was limited and my mind had to adjust to “you just can't do XYZ for a while” (and there's that woe is me stuff). As my appetite returned about a week later and activity level increased, I realized that I had been participating in some habitual eating prior to surgery.  This is something I teach many of my athletes: learning or re-learning the WHY of eating (biological need vs. emotional need vs. habit). And here I found that even I had digressed a bit recently with ignoring the true signs of biological hunger.  Some may see this as a fault… how can she not practice what she preaches 100% of the time?  I see it as part of being human and getting caught up in routines. Sometimes we have to get out of our own everyday living to have a fresh look at what we are and aren't doing. Even health professionals need to do this periodically.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you take drastic measures like wrecking your bicycle in order to undergo a nutrition reset. However, consider changing up your usual routine for a few days to see what you notice about your nutrition-related behaviors. If you work from home, go to the library for a few days. If you have food at your desk, move it away. Think about your “why” when you eat and make notes in a log. There’s no guilt to be had about what you’re doing nutritionally.  Just observing and learning… and possibly implementing some behavior or environmental changes to support a healthier and happier you.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Part 2: To Do's To Mess Up Your 70.3 Triathlon

Important note:  This post is most definitely satirical in content.

In my previous post, I gave some nutrition-related tips to follow leading up to your 70.3 race to result in less than desirable results. Here are a few additional To Do’s (read: common mistake triathletes make) on race day that make for horror stories later.

  1. Wait until race morning to finalize your nutrition and hydration plan and get it all together.  I really shouldn’t have to say more on this other than… really?!?
  2.  Consume lots of sugar right before the race. Especially the 1-2 gels in the 15-60 minutes right before your swim start.  That’s super duper for getting your body into high sugar burning mode.  Yaay for crash and burn, baby!
  3. Buffet-style eating on the bike so that you are loaded up for the run.  Many of the current sports nutrition recommendations are to aim for upwards of 350 calories per hour for training/racing events over 2.5-3 hours in duration, so go ahead and stuff anything and everything in.  You’ll love how heavy you feel when you get to the run and it will be fun to see how your stomach and gut respond.
  4. Make sure you’re trying calorie sources you’ve never tried in training.  It can’t be all that bad to introduce new sports nutrition products, especially the high simple sugar products on top of you becoming under hydrated in process. Your gut will soak it all up, so to speak.
After the race, forget about everything that went wrong.  That way you can repeat these mistakes for the next time. 

(These 2 posts were a bit harsh, I admit.  Please remember, these ‘tips’ are truly not intended to be followed. If you do find yourself with nutrition and/or hydration-related issues, give me a jingle after the race and we’ll tackle it. You really shouldn't have to suffer with nutrition being the limiter to your best athletic self!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Do These Things To Mess Up Your 70.3 Triathlon

Important note:  This is mostly satirical in content.

With many of my athletes and friends competing in this weekend’s Boulder 70.3 race (and loads more races to come over summer months), I want to share a few things you can do to most certainly have a subpar race day. These are common mistakes triathletes make in the few days prior to their race. I do not make up this stuff.

  1. Eat meals and snacks in the couple days prior to your race that you don’t usually eat prior to a big training session. Make sure to sample all of the sports nutrition products offered at the Race Expo. Keep thinking “I will burn off these calories during the race.”
  2.  Or change your dietary patterns in the week prior to the race. You know who is eating “low carb” and killing it, so you better follow suit to see the same results. Or on the flip side, your coach demands that you “carb load starting 3 days in advance”, providing you a nutrition plan that has Pasta Jay’s and the local bagel shop staff working double shifts to meet the demand. This is all excellent because undereating or overeating both work perfectly for race day.
  3. Forget about hydration the couple days before the race. Especially here in Colorado Rocky Mountain High. You’re too busy and anyway, you’re going to have some tasty microbrews to relax and get your extra B vitamins. Electrolytes?  Poo-poo. We all sweat the same and the body can take care of itself. You don’t need no sodium.
  4. Devise your race day nutrition plan the night before.  You’ve trained well and checked the boxes from your coach for several months. That’s all that matters. The nutrition plan is easy-peasy.  Make sure to plan sports nutrition products you’ve never tried in training. The guy at the Expo swears by product XYZ, so it’s bound to work for you too.
Let’s leave it at that for now.  Next up, some nutrition-related tips on what to do on race day to guarantee good times.

Okay, I know... nutritional satire is not always funny.