Sunday, May 31, 2009

Race simulation (well, sort of)

First, the good news - I managed to get thru a 60 mile ride, including 2 big climbs!!

Now, the aftermath - today when I woke up I was pretty tired, and my stomach was extremely acidic. I recalled that I had a very high dose of caffeine yesterday (coffee bf ride, power gel with caffeine during ride, FRS 3 servings post-ride thruout the day and then another coffee to stay awake in the evening), not to mention tons of sports drink mix and energy bars. My stomach was hating me. Oh boy.

I was pretty sore, but for the sake of simulating a race situation (I figured I'd have a stomach ache, feel like passing out and have atrociously sore quads) I just said what the heck and went for a 50 minute run. It was HARD, but for some reason it felt good (I know, I sound like an adrenaline junkie right now).

After the run, my stomach made its final revolt....urgh. I feel like I just finished a half ironman. Well, might as well be prepared! I'm just soooooo grateful that I am not having muscle pain after everything I've done this weekend!!!!!
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Yet another newly approved drug.

"Savella, the third medicationapproved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of fibromyalgia, is now available by prescription."

It says, "Savella was approved by the FDA on January 14, 2009 for the management of fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and decreased physical function that afflicts as many as six million people in the United States. Savella is a dual-reuptake inhibitor that, in-vitro, preferentially blocks the reuptake of norepinephrine with higher potency than serotonin, two neurotransmitters thought to a play a central role in the symptoms of fibromyalgia"

and then of course it came with paragraphs and paragraphs of potential side effects, including suicidial thoughts and bla bla bla.....

To boost serotonin levels, exercise. if you exercise, you don't have side effects. you may be a bit sore but that actually strengthens your muscles in the long run. you will lose weight, you will feel better about yourself, which will boost your serotonin levels even further, and you will keep wanting to exercise to keep it up. THAT IS ALL I CAN SAY ABOUT SEROTONIN LEVELS.

I'm all about fibromyalgia gaining recognition in the medical community, and i know there are people who definitely need the help of prescription drugs to mitigate the pain. with or without prescription drugs, EXERCISE. if you take prescription drugs, exercise to counteract the potential side effects of these drugs. many of these drugs have weight gain as a side effect too, which totally defeats the purpose of taking these drugs because if you get heavier, your muscles and joints will be in more pain from lugging all that weight around. Move around, use your body, make it do what it was made to do - MOVE.

sorry if i sound pushy and frustrated. I am quite frustrated indeed. a day like today i wish there was a magic pill that would take my pain away. But i know, from my experience, is that the only thing that will take my pain away without further consequences is - well several things, are - time, eating clean, sleeping well, moving around/stretching and keeping my smile and positive attitude. It takes a bit more work than popping a pill. That is the bottom line. We have to WORK for our well-being. this one-pill/one-trick will solve all attitude has got to just go away in its entirety.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

a few kinks, prevent further injury by stretching and strengthening

I knew i would be quite sore today from the run yesterday so I decided to just stretch and do conditioning work this morning to nurse my hips. I definitely felt tension on my left hamstrings and inner thighs, which tightened up from the run - which to me still means that the hip flexors are not as strong so the other parts of my body are doing more work to carry me through. I started with some leg lifts, front/back (more like up/down since i'm laying on my back) and also lateral lifts (side ways). Lateral leg lifts are always tough because my body never uses the legs laterally - it's always front/back or up/down (walk, run, bike, sit, etc...). But doing those lateral lifts are helping me gain strength on my hips, so that has been a part of my daily, well almost daily, routine.

As i felt some serious tension on my left hamstrings I was relieved that i didn't jump on the bike or do another run this morning - a totally unexpectedly smart move on my part. :) I used a long strap to wrap my foot and pulled each leg towards me as i lay on my back (knees bent)...argh painful but it also felt pretty good as I released it.

Tonight I will go swimming for about an hour and a half. Hope i make it after a long day at work. Tomorrow is rest day (foam rolling day) and then I'll attempt my ~60 mile bike ride Saturday and see if i can hold up. Excited yet anxious.

The next several days are crucial - my full recovery is depending on them. I better be smart about it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I think I can run again

I woke up at 530am. I huddled up all my laundry, went downstairs and out the courtyard and into the laudry room and started the washing machines. Came back into the house and made some coffee. While coffee was brewing, I started stretching. I moved on to some strength exercises and worked up a sweat. Coffee was done and started to cool off. Had several sips of the coffee and went to move my laundry into the dryers. I came back in, put on my running cap and off i went on a 30 minute run.

Because all my muscles were already loosened up and in fact fired up to move, I started with a run straight out. 4 minutes. then 1.5 minute walk. I repeated this interval 3 times. Felt pretty good. Left hip flexor was feeling fine, no real kinks being felt anywhere, my upperbody was upright and stayed that way without much struggle, I was pretty happy. After the intervals, I just ran very easy for about 8 minutes...and the last 2 minutes I spent doing 30 second sprints 4 times, with a minute of rest in between. The sprints were challenging (as they are supposed to be...30 secs never felt so long) but they felt great. I came back in to my house and stretched my calves, hip flexors, hamstrings and inner thighs. Of course i didn't forget to take out my laundry out of the dryer and fold them (actually, only some of them due to time limitations). OMG did that whole process feel absolutely amazing. Well, except for the laundry.

The past 4-5 weeks have been frustrating but I think I made the right choice by not even going near running but focusing on conditioning and strengthening my pillars - hips and shoulders to be specific. Those have been chronically weak areas for me, with a long history of problems. I just focused on strengthening those areas while still biking (no hills) and swimming. I stretched religiously and diligently went through the strengthening exercises, and let's not forget the grueling foam rolling sessions. I'm so grateful and relieved that my run today felt pretty good.

I will probably give my leg a rest tomorrow and just swim. Friday I will do strength training and do regenerative exercises (meaning foam rolling) while giving myself a rest day before the Saturday ride. I'm going to see if I can do about a 60 mile ride on Saturday, but if i start hurting I will back off. If all goes well, i'm back to the regular training schedule of swim-bike-run all week starting Monday! I'll still mix in some strength work especially around running days.

Yesterday I called it - i called that the pain should end. I feel the power of my words making my weaknesses surrender.

I may even come out stronger thru this process. I'm very hopeful about the next couple of months.

Setbacks may not even be a bad thing - depending on what you do with it, it can actually provide you with the opporutnity to raise the bar for the next stage.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Need to start Running again...

It has been a blessed couple of weeks, I have to say. Two weekends of 40-45 mile rides without further consequences and the hip flexors are healing up nicely.

My only concern right now is the running part. I haven't ran, like really ran in months and with the recent injury I was discouraged from running even further. I'm basically going to start from scratch. 20 minutes of easy run tomorrow, followed by an 1.5 hr swim.

I was just reminded also that I had signed up for an olympic distance tri at the end of June. I have to be able to run 6.2 miles in a month. Swim and bike i'm very comfortable with, but the run is going to be a challenging one. Oh well, i'll consider it practice for the half IM race in August and do my best. Time is just flying by.

I tried getting up early this morning - i went on a rafting/camping trip over the weekend and I must have been so tired, I slept right through the alarm. I'm seeing my trainer Nicole tonight so i'm sure she'll work me pretty hard and make me make up for the missed training session this morning. My body needed the sleep apparently and I am glad that I let it happen, although it was really not my intention to do so.

This week's goal is to squeeze in 20-30 minute runs before every non-run training session, just to get my muscles used to running again. they will be easy. on Run training days, they will be a little tougher, but hopefully not to a point where it will induce any further injuries.

Time to put injuries behind and get it kickin'. i'm sick of talking about it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thank you Thank you Thankyou

I just wanted to say thank you to all the people have read my blog and left me amazingly encouraging and inspiring comments. I am sorry i haven't had the time to individually respond to them (work is non-stop and i've been out of commission for a couple of days thanks to my lactose intolerance ordeal), but I just wanted to say thank you for reading and thank you for caring to comment! I can do what i do only because I know that someone can be encouraged by my sometimes what seems to be a reckless effort. But it's so worthwhile when I read about you all and what you're doing to make your lives better! thank you for all your advice, all your thoughts, thank you thank you thank you. I'll try to post some stuff answering some of your questions, but that won't be until next week or so.

i'm finally gaining some strength since my stomach/discovering lactose intolerance incident (have i even talked about that?). still digestion has been rough but i'm getting there. i just did a quick 45 spin on the trainer this morning, feel o-k. will try to swim tomorrow after work, and then Friday probably yoga and then Saturday a long spin on the trainer before taking off to San Francisco for the weekend.

God bless you all and thank you again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

44 miles on the bike!

Saturday I rode my longest distance on the bike ever - 44 miles. I started from my house, stopped at Venice to pick up a friend (turns out she couldn't ride so I had to continue alone), then headed on to Malibu to meet my group. Riding back was a challenge, as by mile 35 I was getting pretty tired, esp my hip flexors. But thankfully I returned safely and I felt pretty good. I took a 30 minute nap before going to my strength training session. A bit of boxing mixed in, it was fun!

Sunday and today, however, not so good. My body has become lactose intolerant, I discovered. For a few weeks my stomach was bloating up quite extremely. I thought I was getting fat but this was a balloon like swell. So strange. It got to a point where I just couldn't eat anymore and I have been in pain for two days. I am starting to eat again, now no milk in cereal, no yogurt in my shakes and no more of my favorite cottage cheese snacks. Sad. Time to find other alternatives.

Hope to muster up some strength to be able top swim tomorrow.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An interesting discovery about Pain and Starchy Carbs

As i have mentioned in my previous posts, I've been on a new nutrition plan that is based on a 40/30/30 percent carbs/protein/fat ratio. I've also alternated that with 30/40/30 carbs/protein/fat composition as well and actually sustained that mix for about a good month, to see if i can promote better fat burning. It definitely helped...until about a week or two ago, when I started feeling more pain in my shoulders and arms when i woke up in the mornings. I certainly had the hip flexor injury, but i'm talking about the tingling/lingering pain we feel in the mornings. I hadn't had that in a while so I was a bit curious as to why that was happening again, especially when I wasn't loading up on weights as intensly as I did previously.

In the past 3 days or so, i upped my starchy carb intake just because my body was craving it a lot. I was pretty much back to the 40% level. I was doing some stretching in the evenings to alleviate the tightness everywhere as well - however i have to say i stretch often in the evenings anyway and the only real variable here is the increased intake in starchy carbs that may have contributed to the less pain i have been feeling. here's why:

i read an article about chocolate (just because) and within it i read that high carb foods enhances the level of serotonin (that's why women crave sugar like crazy during PMS) - so my guess is that while i have been working out although i have increased my intake of Omega 3 and 6 fats and protein to prevent inflammation and help muscle recovery, my low intake of carbs (cereal, oatmeal, my usual breakfast stuff) caused to lower serotonin levels and probably contributed to the heightened perception for pain. I think this makes sense.

Of course this doesn't mean that I'm going to eat carbs like there's no tomorrow - i'm just going to make sure that i eat at least 35% of my daily food intake that is carb-based, instead of keeping it at 30% or below. There's a balance to everything - i was focusing too much on the weight loss that I forgot to consider other important things.

when I say starchy carbs, i mean complex carbs from grains, not sugar or refined grains. sugar promotes inflammation, so we have to watch sugar intake levels - if our brain craves sugar because of low serotonin levels, it doesn't mean we should respond to it with sugar, cuz that would lead to inflammation. What we can respond with is exercise (boosts serotonin), followed by proper recovery nutrition (starchy carbs or sports drink and some protein) - so we double up on the serotonin WITHOUT exposure to possibility of inflammation.

ok, this is all my theorization based on experience and putting together facts - i'm not a nutritionist, i'm not a doctor, not a credited expert on any of this stuff. I'm just an expert on my condition and how my body responds to things. i enjoy learning about these things and applying them to my life. it has made me better. so here they are to share with you.

God bless,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

30 mile bike ride - success!

Finally, after 3 weeks of no riding (except for a few short spins indoors), I was able to survive a flat 30 mile bike ride without any painful consequences. Woo hoo! My hip flexors were a bit challenged, but it held up and felt pretty good especially after the stretches.

No hills yet until I can feel strong on the flats, but I look forward to hitting the hills in the next couple of weeks! I hope. If it takes longer, it will take longer.

I will walk off some of the tightness today - what a beautiful day!

God bless all!
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