24 February 2009

A Food Centric Post

I'm not a huge pop* drinker. It's empty calories, generally bad for you, and often horrendous for your teeth. Every once in a while though, I go on a pop-drinking binge. I actually don't like many types - I stick with the following:

  • Coke
  • Cherry Coke
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Sprite
  • Cherry 7-up
  • Ginger Ale
  • Cranberry Ginger Ale (mm, how I long for Thanksgiving already, since I got shafted out of it this year.)
  • A&W or Stewart's Root Beer
  • Orange Soda**.
  • Orange Fanta, only imported from England though.***
Do not put weird additives into any of the above. Cherry Coke, Cherry 7-up, and Cranberry ginger ale are the only exceptions to this rule... though I'm not sure they even count because none of them taste "syrup-y", ala Cherry Vanilla Coke, Vanilla Coke, etc etc. I don't drink Pepsi, ever, and yes, I can instantly tell the difference. I was born and raised in a strictly Coke drinking family - Dad would go through a 2 liter every other day (He had dentures... lucky.)

The point I'm getting to with this rambling, is, yesterday I didn't get around to packing my lunch in the morning, so I bought lunch down in the company cafeteria. I probably grab lunch there about once a week, and when I do, I always grab either a bottle of Coke or Dr. Pepper. So, I grab my lunch, (which turned out to be a sad attempt at beef stroganoff, but I digress..) a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and head back to my office. Open up the bottle, take a swig of Dr. Peppery goodness, and hey. what the.. why do I taste cherry Robitussin..???

Dr. Pepper Cherry.

What. the. hell. I proceeded to Google the socks off of "Dr. Pepper Cherry", but only found Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla, which this clearly is not. I even checked their main site - no mention of this terrible waste of good Dr. Pepper. For those of you thinking didn't you notice the cherries on the bottle, stupid? No.. No I did not. It was in the slot where my beloved Dr Pepper always resides. Sneaky bastards in the cafeteria. I guess we must be a test market or something for this stuff... or its really, really old and work got a good deal on it, which could very well be the case too. For those of you curious about the taste, it initially tastes like Dr. Pepper, and then you're hit with the aftertaste I can only compare to Cherry Robitussin. It's very medicinal tasting. The fizz is a slightly red in color, and the drink itself is dark black cherry in color. It is not sickening sweet like the aforementioned Cherry Vanilla Coke (which, was a failure - how do they still sell that stuff?). It also comes across very flat. I guess that's what they mean by "Surprisingly Smooth", as stated across the top of the label. All and all, it was a failure, and I was disappointed by my lunch.

To make sure my Monday wasn't ruined, I headed down to GMU's Jim McKay Natatorium. If you're in the area and haven't been out to this pool, I strongly recommend taking a trip there. Its $6 to get in, but its a very, very nice facility. There's some 25m lanes, 50m lanes, diving boards, and a separate "warm up" or recreation pool. Swimming in a 50m pool makes my day. I did a good deal of work with a pull buoy, and I really feel it today. I depend far too much on my kick for propulsion instead of my arms. Great for sprinting through the pool, terrible for triathlon, especially longer distances. I also timed my 1 mile pool swim, and was under my predicted time for the US Master's Short Course Championships coming up in April. Assuming I continue to improve, I'll shatter my prediction.

I also made some cinnamon swirl bread. Quite possibly one of my favorite things to make toast out of. Turned out awesome. For those that are curious, here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes. Mix in the first cup and a half of flour. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The 3 cups flour is approximate.. you might need less. Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a non reactive, covered bowl until doubled -usually, about an hour, Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again.

Roll dough out on a floured surface into an approx. 12-inch by 7-inch rectangle. Brush lightly with either a little bit of butter, or I prefer just a very little bit of water. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar-cinnamon mixture over dough. Roll the dough into a tight log, fold under the ends, and place seam-side down into a greased loaf pan. Lay wax paper over the top of the pan. Allow to rise for about an hour, or until its about an inch over the top of the pan. (I heat the oven to 150, shut it off, place the pan in, and leave the oven door cracked. It tends to rise a little better than it will in my rather chilly house).

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until done.

All for now. I still haven't decided on which helmet I want. I'm leaning towards the black though... I think it matches my race kit a little better... but then again, I have white shoes.. so maybe I should get the white and silver helmet to match the white and silver shoes? I'm making this far more complicated than I need to.

* Its Pop. Not soda, not Cola, not Coke. Pop. I'm from Northeast Ohio, and I'm not going to call it "soda" because I moved.
** Orange Soda has always been the exception to this rule. No idea why, but
that's how us northeast Ohioans talk. It's grape pop, but orange soda.
*** Seriously, the best orange soda in the world - its like carbonated Orange Juice, since they don't use preservatives or
artificial flavors. Amazing. I used to be able to find it at a local import place back home, but it closed down.

18 February 2009

RoadID Giveaway, Bikram, and a new helmet

First, head over to www. healthytippingpoint.com if you'd like to have a chance to win a free RoadID. Caitlin has been given the opportunity to give away two free RoadID's, and was directed to my blog by the good folks at RoadID. I'll warn in advance - there's another graphic picture from my time in the hospital. Caitlin rewrote my story from a previous blog, and also sent over a few interview questions.

Yesterday, in my post-half marathon recovery, I decided to head to my first Bikram Yoga class early in the morning. I figured it would be a great way to stretch out my muscles and relax. For those of you that aren't familiar:

Bikram or hot or fire yoga is a series of yoga poses done in a heated room, which is usually maintained at a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 40 degrees Celsius). A vigorous yoga session at this temperature promotes profuse sweating, which is said to rid the body of toxins. It also makes the body very warm, and supposedly therefore more flexible
Thanks, Wikipedia. I found the class to be.. interesting. The hot room felt very good, although halfway through I was kind of grossed out by the idea of being in a room with 15 other very sweaty people. The yoga poses definitely helped to stretch out my muscles though, and I felt great afterwards. Not sure that I'm sold on the whole hot yoga thing yet.

I ended up swimming at night again. In my lane in the mornings, its always 3-5 girls that are at my speed. At night however, I swim with Seb, Jason, Fabrice, and new guy Tim. The contrast of the conversations that happen between sets is hilarious. Although I'm aiming to swim in the mornings more than the evenings, I'll always venture to the evening masters swims for some comic relief. I think I get a better workout in the morning, because it doesn't become as much of a draft fest as the guys tend to suck me into.

I still haven't replaced my helmet post-crash... I've just been using an older helmet that matched my previous bike. Do I go white or black with the p2c?

17 February 2009

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon: Race Report

This past weekend I ran the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, while supporting some other teammates who ran the full marathon (among others, Sarah and Es).

Friday we ventured down, picked up our packets and such, then went to dinner with the team at a great Italian place (thanks Sarah for your expert random selection!) After dinner, we met up with the others staying at a teammate's beach house up in Sunset Beach. We hung out for a while, then all ventured to bed around 10:30 (to be fair, I didn't go to bed until about 11:30; I was up talking to Sebastian since I couldn't sleep). I set my alarm for 4:00

3:55am, I was wide awake, panicking as I thought I missed my alarm. Standard race day procedure... I always wake up 5 minute before my alarm in panic. I pinned my race number on my shirt, tossed on another pair of pants over my race day outfit, along with my arm warmers and a hoodie. Went downstairs for coffee, a banana, and started drinking my Gatorade. We were out the door by 5am to drive the 30 minutes to the race. I'll forgo the details of the person I was driving with getting lost as he decided NOT to follow the person that grew up there... but we got to the race at 6:10, for a guntime of 6:30. Not ideal for me, but alas I gathered my gels, met up with Jason, Lori, Es, and Dude prior to the gun. About 5 minutes later, we were off.

I started out running with Lori, Jason's wife. Mile one ticked by at an easy 11:30. Due to being late and not having adequate time to ehm.. take care of business, I had to slow down a bit just after mile 1. If the saying "I have to pee like a race horse" is based on fact... I feel extremely bad for horses. Port-a-potties were every 2 miles along the course, but I noticed a huge line of people waiting prior to race, so I figured those were going to be filled at mile 2. I knew I couldn't hold on until mile 4, so my quick race day decision skills spotted a Burger King. Yep, ran in, went to the bathroom, and ran back out. Luckily, others had followed suit, so the BK employees didn't think I was nearly as nuts as I felt. I settled into a good grove now that business had been taken care of, and maintained 10ish minute miles for the next 5 miles. I felt awesome, and couldn't believe how easy it felt to run. Around mile 4, I had a slight issue with my jaw rattling around a bit from impact and causing pain, but I was able to tune out the pain and continue going.

Just prior to the 8 mile mark, it happened. I must have been relaxing my upper body too much, because suddenly my jaw dislocated. sonofa... Extreme pain. I stopped running and tried to figure out what to do - my jaw was essentially locked up. Every step hurt as the impact travelled directly from my feet to my jaw. Luckily, there was an aid station at 8. I looked at my watch, saw 1:36 at the 8 mile mark, and was happy with my race to that point. I sat down at the medical tent, iced my jaw, got it to work again, and took some ibuprofen. I continued to ice my face as I waited for the pain killers to assist. Another runner came in to get band-aids for some gnarly blisters, and looked at me like I was crazy for icing my face during a running race. Oh well. 45-50 minutes ticked by, and I figured I was fine on time to walk the rest of the way. So, I walked from mile 8-13, and jogged the last .1.

Given the mid-race siesta and walking, I am okay with a finishing time of 3:22:13. I know I had a great race up until mile 8, which surpassed what I thought I would be able to do with the lack of run training. I'm not sure whether my nutrition was good or not - I did feel a bit of cramping towards mile 7. I felt like I was on target with nutrition, but maybe was low on salt. Hard to say, considering I hadn't run that far since my accident.

I'm happy with a 12.8K time of 1:36. Good start to the season.

12 February 2009

Eating: Success.

Just a quick update, for those who were a bit concerned about my crazy eating habits...

Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, orange juice, 2 pieces of bacon
Morning snack - apple, cup of tea
Lunch - turkey sandwich on wheat, small salad, grape juice
Afternoon snack - handful of raisins, water
Pre swim - celery w/almond butter, 1/2 sliced sweet potato, water
Post swim - chicken fingers (yeah, not healthy..), more water

Breakfast - water, toast, orange juice
Breakfast #2 (I had to go to the dentist at 7am..) 1/2 blueberry bagel, OJ
Lunch - salad w/chicken, iced green tea
Afternoon snack- handful of raisins (they sit on my desk..)
Dinner - Cajun grilled mahi mahi on chedder grits (sorry southerners - i have to call a foul on grits.. they're pretty gross.), and mixed veggi's.

So, I'm back to eating healthy again. My jaw is tired from eating so much, but I guess I need to train it! I had NO idea that my calorie count had slipped that low - its not healthy for a sedentary person to get 700 calories, let alone someone who exercises. I'm going to go back to food journaling to make sure that doesn't happen again, at least until it becomes habit again.

On the positive side, I feel 129028342308 times better now.

I leave in the morning for Myrtle Beach... where I'll attempt a half marathon on minimal (4 runs?) run training in the past 3 months. Oh, and apparently its supposed to rain. At least I'll get to cheer for the other Z'ers that are out running the marathon!

10 February 2009

Analysis: Does my Chi just hate me?

Lately I've been in some sort of "funk" Not limited to just loosing my groove, as Es did with training, but something just hasn't been right. I've been very restlessly sleeping at night - I either toss and turn, or I can't seem to drag myself out of bed. I try to go to bed early, I lie awake until midnight, fall asleep, and then can't muster the energy to get myself out of bed in the morning. I love swimming, but I lose the battle of getting up to swim in the mornings lately. No strength workouts either. I started utilizing the snooze button, something I've almost never turned to. And we're not just talking about hitting it once; no no, I hit it repeatedly for 2-3 hours, from 4:50am to sometimes 8am.. I've always been the type that can operate on very little sleep, can get up at the ass-crack of dawn no problem. I've been feeling very lethargic as of late, and I can't pinpoint why.
So, I set up my own personal investigation on myself, to find the root cause of the problem. These are my findings:

Dehydration - When I do wake up at night, I'm often extremely parched. I'm not one who usually has this type of issue, so I started recounting the amount of fluids I've been taking in. I realized I've been drinking maybe 24 ounces of water per day for the last week. Maybe. Yikes. One of the effects of dehydration - weakness and fatigue. Check. Time to start major hydration strategies.

Malnutrition - I started to look at what I've been eating. My jaw continues to pop out of socket whilst biting/chewing, and is in a perpetual state of soreness. I've let this get the best of me; and, upon review of my diet over the last two weeks, I'm consuming maybe 700 calories a day. 700 calories. Psychological effects of malnutrition? Listlessness, tiredness, apathy, disinterest in what is happening around you. Dull spirit, possible irritability, and poor memory. Check. Uhh... seriously not good, time to start forcing myself to eat.

I believe those are two of the major factors right now. Underlying factors most likely include a bit of depression as a result of some recent events in my life, as well as post traumatic stress. There's been some tough times dealing with the effects of my dad's death on my family. There were some issues between my mom and sister, due to some miscommunication and expectations, coupled with general emotions out of whack... that of course I had to get sucked into to straighten out. Sometimes taking care of my mom is a very draining task, because it forces me to deal with my own emotions (I'm totally an emotional stuffer.)

Time to start taking care of myself, or I'm going to have some serious issues down the road. I'll report back how the increased nutrition and hydration alter my current state. My Chi is out of whack.

Or, maybe its just on strike?

08 February 2009

A letter to my neighbor

Dear Neighbor,

I noticed you have a road bike on your balcony. I'm not one to judge, but guessing by the overall condition of the bike, I'd guess you're not an avid cyclist. I would appreciate you not looking at me like I am OCD or crazy, just because I use a vibrating toothbrush to clean the chain on my bike. It's perfectly normal, if you really want to keep your bike in good shape. I can loan it to you, along with my red bucket, and you too can have a sparkling clean bike. I suggest topping it off with a little pledge on the frame (spray it onto a rag, not onto the bike! Overcast onto the rims would be a disaster.)... it will give your frame a gleaming shine.

Seriously. Stop staring at me while you play with your little yippy dog. I'm not crazy... I just like my bike.


I went out riding with the team today, just a 90 minute very flat ride. The weather was awesome. It felt great to be on the bike. There were a few bumps and ruts in the road that sent my heartrate skyrocketing from fear, but overall, I enjoyed myself. I can tell the strength workouts are helping - I could hold aero with back issues, though I sat up half the way to enjoy the scenery. I might look into having my bike re-fit in another month or so... between weight loss and increased lower back strength, I may be on my way to a more aggressive fit.

Ironman, here I come. :)

02 February 2009

It's beginning to wear on me.

I never thought I'd say this... but things were so much easier when my jaw was wired shut.

The dental work hurts. A lot. And its wearing on me. I've been to the dentist 4 times in the last 2 weeks. Each time, more teeth are drilled into. Then later in the evening... my mouth throbs. I'm repulsed by the thought of eating or letting anything even touch my teeth... and then I lay in bed nearly in tears that evening because my mouth is in an intense amount of pain... even after taking two Vicodin Extra Strengths (which, probably isn't even healthy to do). Who would have thought having my jaw wired shut was the *least* of my problems in this whole mess? Because I'm young and never had any issues with my teeth, the nerves are still very large. Apparently the older you are or more work you have had done, the nerves shrink up. Every chip he goes to fix, he runs into a nerve. Then he has to move the nerve, do some more drilling, and finally start to seal it up a little while we wait for the crowns and partials to come in.

I go back Wednesday for a cleaning. Then I have to wait until February 23rd to have some crowns done. And then another 3 week wait assuming the insurance stops being assholes and they can do the veneers. We're talking into April before this mess is done. I'm hoping to have all the work done before starting the tri season. Its taking a huge toll on my workouts - I can't get my heart rate up too high or I end up with severe pain in my mouth. I'm worried about my race season.

Sorry for the extremely whiny post. I'm just frustrated.