Thursday, May 31, 2007

The body during IM training...

I'd been told by many people that during intense Ironman build it would be nearly impossible for me to keep weight on. Wrong! I thought I would make a quick blog about what has happened to my body in the past few months because I know I'm not the only one out there who has experience this.

During base training I had lost a fair amount of weight. In February I weighted 116 pounds and was very happy with this, but being a girl, I thought a couple more pounds would be just dandy. So I did my coach's diet cleanse to shed the last couple pounds before the big training began. Well, during the second week I had a major GI bleed. I think this was due to a combination of NSAID use and the diet cleanse. I advise anyone against eating nothing but citrus fruit in the morning and then training for 1-2 hours. It's like ingesting battery acid. But I digress....

It was at this point, when I was VERY anemic that my doc told me that I should start eating meat again. I obliged and added back chicken and fish to my diet and soon after the build phase of Ironman began

My training volume went up to >16 hours per week and all of a suddon my weight started to creep up. I started tracking my intake religiously. On a day to day basis I was ingesting about 1000 calories less than I was burning and I was very conservative with my estimates of calories burned (basal 1400 calories, 500 cal/hour exercise). And I was gaining weight.

I tried a lot of things. I cut out peanut butter.... gained 2 pounds. Starting talking to a nutritionist, gained 4 pounds. The only time I lost was when I totally ignored everything and just ate what I wanted for a week. Just to clarify my diet- I don't eat out, no junk food, pretty much a whole foods diet.

So why was all this happening? I think it is a combination of things. First of all, I've put on a fair amount of muscle mass. I owe that to the popeye gene I got from my dad. We are a muscley breed of people. But there's just nothing hot about big thighs, whether they're muscle or not.

Secondly stress is a part of it. I think women's bodies in particular react badly to stress, and hormones get all out of whack. I know that mine were messed up. After my suspected blood clot my doc suggested I stop taking birth control. I didn't menstruate for 3 months after which I went back on hormones. So my body was clearly not producing hormones appropriately. On top of that, lack of sleep is a big contrbuter to hormonal imbalance and the excess production of cortisol which slows metabolism. Defending my thesis 5 weeks from Ironman was not a smart move.

So yesterday when I went to the doc my weight was 126. 10 pounds heavier than my base phase. This has frustrated me to no end. I feel bloated and fat. My clothes don't fit right, I'm dreading race pictures. But I know that the next month isn't about losing weight. It's about fueling properly for the race and I can't sacrifice my performance for pretty race pictures.

I'm not looking for a bunch of comments telling me I'm not fat, etc. Just wanted to warn people out there that this can happen. Try to destress, get lots of sleep, and fuel appropriately during training. Your body might do weird things. You might lose a ton of weight, you might gain a ton of weight. You could lose muscle or gain it. But I think what it comes down to is the body reacts in unpredictable ways to huge training volume. Training 20 hours per week is not the most healthy thing in the world. But it's a way of life for us Ironman psychos and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Random Thoughts

1. Memorial day always reminds me of Carl . He was my one and only patient when I was in the first 2 years of med-school and into my PhD. He was really the only living veteran (WWII) that I was close to, so I would always send him an email on Memorial Day thanking him for his service to the country. Man, he was such a cool guy! I really miss him. He never talked about his time in the military. I think it bothered him. When he got out of the service he got his PhD in History and went on to teach Canadian History at Case Western. I just saw his family Doc this week, so he's been on my mind. It's always good to take time to remember people who had a positive impact on our lives.

2. What an amazing day! I didn't see a single cloud in the sky all day! I had a little snafu this morning. I thought masters was practicing at 7:30. I was excited that I would actually be able to eat before a swim workout (my nutritionist says no food 2 hours before a workout). I got up at 5:30, ate, and sat around until 7:00. When I got there they were almost done! Practice started at the normal time (6:00). Thankfully, the coach opened up the practice pool (25 yards) so that I could practice on my own while the club team filled up the 50 meter pool. It ended up being a great 4500 yard workout.

Then I had a 3 hour ride scheduled. I was supposed to wait until the heat of the day, so I went out at 1pm and had a hill workout planned in the valley. I ended up doing an absolutely beautiful tour of the North and South Chagrin MetroParks and climbed out of the valley 5 times. Right before I was to tackle the last hill I heard a voice behind me- "Jodi, is that you?" It was Charlie , fellow CTC member and blogger. It was so nice to have the company up Old Mill. Going up that hill used to strike fear in me! Today it was actually quite nice. Having someone to chat with made all the difference. Thanks Charlie!

3. Last week I did some clinical rotations. There were 2 days of OB (labor and Delivery) and 2 days of Internal Medicine. Man, I just loved OB! It was actually the surgeries that I thought were the most interesting. They let me assist on 3 cesaerean sections and they were amazing. I re-start med-school on July 16th and surgery is the first specialty on the list. I put it first because I was sure I was going to hate it and wanted to get it out of the way. Now I'm getting so excited for it! Who knew???

4. Anonymous struck again. Apparently I came off really full of myself in my last post. I certainly didn't intend for it and I hope I didn't offend anyone!

5. Man, I just can't wait for taper! I always thought that I would dread taper. But 3 weeks of recovery is really going to hit the spot. 2 weeks will be home with the family and I'll get to spend some quality time with my parents and my brother, sister in law and my nephew. I haven't been home since Christmas and I am SOOOO looking forward to it!

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

EPIC ride

I was starting to get a little disappointed. I followed many friends and bloggers last year in their journeys to Ironman and there were constant stories of struggle, battling the weather, rides that challenged the spirit. I didn't sign up for this darn race because it's easy! But mother nature kept throwing me Saturdays that were 65 and sunny. Can't a girl catch a freaking break???

So here bloggers, is my story of the epic ride

Lanny, my training buddy who I will be eternally grateful for, the guy who has gotten me out of more than one jam, the one who does my monster swim sets with me and leads when I look like I'm about to fall over, my personal workout scheduler, in his own words: my loyal servant- scheduled a ride for me today. He goes out with a group of roadies on Saturdays. Usually it is a 3 hour hammerfest. Once a year they do the Emerald Necklace tour of the Cleveland Metroparks, a 75 mile mostly flat (well, for Cleveland... I'm sure we did at least 6000 feet of climbing) and very scenic ride. My friend Tony had volunteered to help me round out the ride since I was probably going to need 100 miles. The email went out to the group... the ride was on for today at 6:15

The Radar

I woke up at 4am after a brief 6 hour nap (I was training the night before until 9) to practice my nutrition. I ate a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and some coffee. I went to the computer to check the weather. Uh oh. Not looking good. Big front coming through. I estimated we would get a nice band of rain at 8am. I got out the trainer just in case, and went to change.

I decided to try out my new DeSoto Tri-suit today to see how I could handle a tri-short for a 6 hour ride. When I was ready to go, I gave Lanny a call at 5:30am

Me: So, is it still on?
Lanny: The radar looks good, we're planning on heading out!
Me: You must be looking at a different radar than I am....

I packed my bike in the car, and felt the first drops. Ugh. We haven't even started yet! I ran back in the house and borrowed Colleen's super nice waterproof windbreaker. I was off.

The rain let up a tad and I met up with about 8 people at meeting place #1.

Hmmm.... I'm the only girl. Interesting.

We set off to meet the other half of the group

Crash #1

We saw the group up ahead- 7 more people. They were across a grassy median. There was a gap in the median so that we could go to meet them. There were 2 sets of train tracks in the median. Lanny sprinted up to meet them.

Riding fast while turning on wet train tracks... you know the result

Lanny was down.

5 minutes into the ride. He banged his hip and elbow really well and took all the skin off the top of his thumb. Lanny was a little worried about the hip. He's retired and knows a lot about how bad broken hips are as you get older. He's tough, though. We had one of the docs in the group quickly bike to his house to get some band-aids. I thanked Lanny for taking the pressure off me to be the catastrophe of the day, and 10 minutes later, we're off. 16 riders strong.

The flats

Our route first took us straight through downtown Cleveland. We were doing a nice and easy pace. I was very surprised by how laid back it was. I was enjoying myself. It wasn't raining. Life was good.

Just as we got past downtown and into some prime real estate (if you like the ghetto), one of the riders got a flat. He found someone else in the group who was good at changing tires (it really astounded me that there were so many grown adult male cyclists who can't change a flat! They must be very lucky. I have become an expert this year, unfortunately). When they had the tube changed I asked them if they found the puncture...

oh, we didn't look...

It took about 5 seconds. A huge piece of metal. There was a big gash in the tire. So off the tire went so we could patch it. When the tire was back on, we saw that the tube was still protruding. It had now been at least 20 minutes (God only knows why). We were antsy to go. He wanted to bag it and call his wife to pick him up. As we looked around at the neighborhood we suggested he try riding on it for a few minutes to get to a better location. That he did... for 20 feet


At this point I was up with the front pack who was waiting a block up.

A guy says- I have a spare tire

Damn! Who carries a spare tire? That's awesome.

So back we go with the spare tire. This for some unforseen reason takes another 15 minutes. Just as they are done I look at another guy's bike.

Do you have a flat, too???

Yup, another flat

He is much faster at changing a flat than the other guy, so a few minutes later he's ready to go

Me- Did you check for glass in the tire?

Him- no...

I quickly scan the tire and there is clearly a piece of glass, a large one, sticking out of the tire. Why don't people check this! He would have flatted about 2 seconds after he started riding again. Oh, well. his gash was not as big as the other guys and we are off.

45 minutes later, we are moving! Yeah! But now, of course, it's raining.

5 minutes later, another guy pulls over to the side


Oh, dear. Here we go again. 15 minutes of changing a flat and we can finally leave. Dude, I'm pretty sure my grandma, if she were still alive, could change a flat faster with her arthritic hands. Sheeesh.

The Hammerfest

So now we're back on track, but have only traveled 16 miles in about 2 hours. People had plans and needed to get back. People who have the abilities to ride very fast. So what do we get?

A good old testosterone driven hammerfest.

At this point it's pouring. We finally get down into the metroparks and Lanny calls out to the group:

Paceline! Get ready to go

Oh, dear.

Within about 2 minutes I found myself at the back of the paceline. It's raining cats and dogs, my brakes are essentially useless, I can't see, there are huge puddles on the ground, I have to pee, and I'm hanging on for dear life to the wheel of a guy going 22. Remember I am the only one in the pack without a Y chromosome. So, in other words, the only who sees this as maybe not the smartest idea. But you better believe I'm going to pedal my little legs like my life depends on it. I might not have a Y chromosome, but I do have my pride...

If peeing your pants is cool...

Consider me Miles Davis

So I'm hanging on for dear life and my bladder is now screaming. There is just no way I'm going to ask these guys to pull over, and if I stop I would lose the group for sure. It's pouring, I'm wearing spandex, I've been told this is what I have to do during Ironman (especially since I'm going to be wearing a 1-piece), so what the hell. I look behind me... clear. And I did it. Yes, I peed on my bike. Oh my gosh it felt so good. Pressure relieved.

Ok, peeps. I think you know my luck. What would happen right after I do something I have been dreading but have been told I need to do? Yes, it stopped raining. I couldn't believe it. The one time in my life I wanted it to absolutely pour, it stops raining.

And what comes next? Potty break. I just shook my head.

Crash #2

The pace slowed down and I soon found myself with just 3 people, seemingly in front of the group. We waited for a few minutes and then the group rolled in. There had been another crash! One of the riders got caught in a rut and went down hard on his head. He was quite shaken up and we still had 50 miles to ride!

The wheels come off

My week had been very light. We've been a little worried about over-reaching since the stress of my PhD defense really seemed to get to me. My workouts were super light and this was to be a very easy zone 2 ride. And other than the 30 minute hammerfest, it was pretty decent. I forgot to put my HRM strap on this morning (dammit) so I don't really have an idea of how hard I was going. But it was flat (again, it's all relative... it was the Alps for someone from Illinois), so I'm sure it wasn't too bad. Still, at mile 65 my wheels started to come off. Not literally, of course. I just lost my legs. They started to ache, I was tired, it had started raining again, and I still had 2.5 hours of riding. I have never wanted a ride to end so badly.

My friend Tony dropped back, as did 3 other riders and we started to take it easy. I told him that this wasn't my best day and said he'd help me get my mileage in and we'd take it easy.

Man, I have some great friends!

The rest of the ride was, thankfully, very unremarkable. The rain stopped at hour 4 and Tony and I did a nice loop through North Chagrin. For the 4th week in a row I had to climb out of the valley after putting more than 90 miles on my legs. That is fun, let me tell you. But I made it back to my car at hour 6 with 101 miles in the Ironman bank.

My Transition

I had to do a 40 minute "brick" elliptical run. There was just no way I was going to be seen in public covered in road schmoo and pee. So I went home, took a quick shower (I think they should have showers in T2 at ironman, by the way), put on my HRM strap and headed to the gym... without the damn HRM monitor! So I had the monitor but not the strap for the morning. And the strap without the monitor for the afternoon. I need to grow a brain one of these days.

I will leave you with a recipe for a recovery shake that has absolutely changed my Saturdays. I'm not a zombie anymore!

1 banana
1 cup Orange juice
1 cup frozen strawberries
25 grams protein powder
2 tablespoons flax seeds
3 grams glutamine

Grind it up and be amazed at how great you will feel!

Oh, and your moment of Zen:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ok, let's catch up, huh?

So, I haven't been blogging for a few reasons. First of all, I've been super duper busy. But I've also been stressed beyond belief. I always try to refrain from posting when I get really down on myself and negative. I told that to Paulo and he said- why, because you're afraid people will see you're human?

So here is a little paragraph to let the blogger world in on a little secret- I'm human and I get really stressed, and really negative, and really emotional.

The past 2 weeks I've been a mess. The combination of hitting my peak Ironman training weeks during my thesis writing and defending has put my emotions more out of whack than they have EVER been. The first thing that set me off in a big way was my knee. It has not been getting better. I had my first long run since the fall scheduled for 2 weeks ago. Paulo was in town and he agreed to do my 90 minute run with me... and he also forced me to stop at 50 minutes because I was in pain (Thanks for talking sense into me!). I was so upset that I just absolutely lost it and burst into tears right on the towpath in front of dozens of strangers. It was the realization that there was something really wrong with my knee and I was likely going to run the Ironman marathon as my next long run, with my longest run ever at 14 miles. (I still think that's true, by the way, but more on that later)

Then for the remainder of last week I had a breakdown at least once per day, with my worst day being Thursday. I spent the entire day on the verge of tears and at least 2 hours of the day in tears. The final straw was me going out shopping for an outfit to wear during my defense and not finding ANYTHING after hitting a dozen stores. Yup, I lost it because I couldn't find something to wear.

Then my parents came into town and they had an absolutely calming effect on me. They got in at 8:15pm and I dragged my Mom to Anne Taylor Loft and made her pick out an outfit. As always, she knows exactly how to make me laugh. As an example, the next day as we are driving to my defense she says-

Mom- Your body lotion is weird. That Sweet Pea stuff- it takes a long time to rub into your skin

Me- You mean the shower gel?

Mom- Hmmm... I guess that would explain it

I was in tears for the first time on Friday when I went for one last bathroom break before my seminar. But they were tears of laughter. My mom got her hands and arms wet and they foamed up like crazy. You had to be there, but it was a good thing that we had already used the bathroom because I think we would have both peed ourselves we were laughing so hard!

Defense went well. There were so many people there! I felt really special and it was just a really positive experience with lots of hugs and support. It's really nice to have it over, though

I love my parents! They spent the weekend fixing my yard and cleaning my basement and doing my laundry while I was out doing biking and stressing and doing my post 120 mile bike ride coma.

Know who else I love? My roommates. They both got off work to come watch my defense and they bought me the nicest gifts with thoughtful cards. I couldn't ask for more wonderful people to make my house feel like a home. And no 2 people can make me laugh as easily as Matt and Colleen. I have SO needed it lately!

Some more tid bits... some of which is probably TMI for the blogger world

1. 2 weeks ago I had to have an abscess cut open. If I could choose a place to have an large infection, lets just say this would be one of the last places. Lets leave it at this- it was where a large proportion of my weight is when I'm in the aero position on my bike. Exactly 3 days after I had minor surgery on my crotch I did a 2 hour trainer ride. Exactly 5 days later I rode 100 miles. Lets just say, after what I've been through the past few months, Ironman will be a dream.

2. My knee has been X-rayed. The results were unremarkable. No break seen. However, I am still about 90% positive that I have a small hairline fracture of my patella. All my symptoms are totally consistent with it. My runs from here on out will be on the elliptical trainer. Aqua running is out because the main pain is upon extending my knee and the added resistance of the water is too painful. Thankfully, you don't have to extend at the knee to bike!

3. In the past 3 weeks I have ridden 125 miles, 100 miles, and 116 miles on my Saturdays.

4. The morning after my defense I overslept, screwed up my nutrition, but still managed to really enjoy a 116 mile ride with Jen. The company was great and we managed to do 12,400 feet of climbing and I saw 15 deer in the first 2 hours of the ride. Holy smokes!

5. I went to watch the Cleveland Marathon today and cheer on some buddies. DaisyDuc BQ'ed and I cheered my roommate Colleen into her first half in sub 2 hours! What a day!

Colleen after the race:

DaisyDuc at mile 11

6. Tomorrow I start my clinical refresher. Tomorrow and Tuesday I get to watch babies being born. It is really going to make it hard to get my training in. I have to find a time to swim on my own since I have to be at the hospital by 6:50. Sigh... and I thought this would get so much easier after my defense!

I'm sure there's much more to say, but I have to get some sleep. Hopefully it won't be 2 weeks before I catch up with ya'll again!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Don't worry, I'm still here!

But you can call me Dr. Jodi now


I have a LOT to talk about, but I defended my thesis a few hours ago and have to get ready for my 7 hour bike/ 45 minute power walk tomorrow. It will be a very, very (4am) early morning!

I'll catch up on Sunday night!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

My Saturday, By the numbers

107 miles ridden in the main set
18 miles commuting and warm up
125 total miles biked
4 x 10 minute high zone 3 intervals in hour 3
3.2 miles run
8400 feet of climbing
3 amazing people that did a tag team to help me get my mileage in
1 pothole hit
2 bottles launched
1 tired flatted
1 tire fixed by yours truly with no assistance whatsoever
6 geese dodged
3 wild turkeys spotted
1 squirrel hit by my tire (so sorry, poor innocent squirrel)
2.5 power bars eaten
3 powergels consumed
4 bottles of gatorade drank
2 bottles water taken down
1 crotch really, really sore
1 really stoked chick

And just a small story that only the Cleveland peeps will really appreciate.

When I had been riding for 90 miles Tony and I came to a fork.
He said- "we can go back now, or we can head into Holden"
I said- "Is it hilly?"
Ha! What that really meant was- Please, oh please tell me that you are talking about a different Holden than I know
He said- "yeah, it's really hilly. Let's go- you need hills"

So down we go. And the Cleveland peeps know the rest of the story.


Yes, the hill. The hill that brings grown men to tears. The hill that kills the spirits of dozens of triathletes every year. The hill that you can actually hear coming. How? As you approach that hill during the Greater Cleveland Triathlon all you hear is:

click, clack, click, clack

What is that? That is the sound of cycling shoes on pavement.

I did buzz kill hill at mile 95 of my ride

and I survived. With my shoes IN the pedals, thank you very much

But then there was this little catch... I had been gone for 95 miles and I was in friggin Mentor Ohio! Yeah, not close to home. So we headed back and of course, needed to climb one more huge hill to get out of the valley. It seriously took every once of strength I had left, in the granny gear, to get my tired ass up that hill.

And now I think I can really say

Bring on CdA, baby! At least the bike course....

(oh, and knee is feeling better- Yay!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why on earth do I do this?

1. When I see a 6 hour ride on my schedule, my whole body smiles
2. I love the smell of chlorine in my sweat when I'm riding the night after a 4k swim
3. Because I can
4. It was either this, or follow my true dream of becoming a French runway model
5. Seeing the sunrise is a beautiful thing. Why not see it every day?
6. Running in the rain kicks ass
7. I always wanted to be able to bounce a quarter off my ass
8. Gives me an outlet for my impulsive spending
9. I don't have anything better to do
10. I've met more truly wonderful and inspiring people this year than my 27 prior years combined
11. I really like to be sweaty
12. I like to take my calories in the form of amorphous brown chocolate flavored carbohydrate packs
13. Because, really after the first hour your crotch goes numb and you don't feel that hard plastic seat anymore
14. To find out if I have What it Takes
15. Because I just bought almost $200 worth of "nutrition" and I'm sure not going to eat that crap at work
16. Because it makes my dad so happy
17. I feel invincible when I'm not sore the day after a 6 hour workout
18. There is no better way to wake up than a 5k swim
19. Triathlete men are hot
20. I have to justify the countless hours I spend on the Slowtwitch forum
21. For the finisher's chute
22. I want to see how many times I can legitimately go to the doctor in one year
23. I need a good excuse to eat more peanut butter
24. Nothing makes you regular like a steady diet of 3500 calories per day
25. I love the way spandex feels on my body
26. There is nothing quite like the feeling of true exhaustion after a really long brick
27. I feel like a superhero in my wetsuit
28. My bike was made for me and I was made for my bike
29. Because it's hard
30. Always having a good excuse to get a massage
31. I never liked underwear anyway
32. Peanut butter Cliff Bars, Peanut butter Power Bars, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch...
33. I needed one more reason for people to think I'm crazy
34. The far east/southeast side of Cleveland is an amazing place to be on a bike
35. I can now get "wasted" off one glass of wine
36. Saturday nights are overrated
37. Being outside is freeing
38. I really want to see if it's possible for me to pee while biking
39. Racing makes me smile
40. Feeling firsthand the electricity in the air 30 seconds before the canon fires.