Tag Archives: health

IMLP Training Week 5-Out Of The Basement

The weather report for this Saturday indicated a day clear of any precipitation and a high of around 40 deg F. Armed with my new Pearl Izumi Thermal cycling jacket and Craft windproof gloves, I thought I could finally get a long ride outdoors instead of hunkering down in the basement on the trainer. Unfortunately, that 40 degrees was a high that would never be reached even during the warmest part of the day. The 12 MPH breeze didn’t provide any help either.

The one part of my cold-weather cycling wardrobe I seemed to have overlooked was my feet. I had some neoprene covers for my shoes, but they are pretty meager in covering the feet. I remembered some friends had mentioned a tip of putting plastic bags over my feet to block the wind that steadily blows in the triathlon specific cycling shoes with all their numerous holes for keeping your feet cool in the warm temps. Not very beneficial when the temperatures is in the 30’s.  My feet tend to sweat a bit and I feared that the sweat would cool and end up making my toes even colder. This was remedied by a good pair of SmartWool socks since wool keeps you warm even when wet. I covered the bags with a light liner sock so I didn’t look like too much of a dork with bags coming out my shoes.

I set off on my ride and it was a bit chilly. The breeze was out of the Northwest and it provide a nice added resistance. It felt good to ride outside and see all the familiar views again on my regular route out through Pennsylvania Amish country farmlands. It is a truly spectacular place to ride bike.  The majority of my cold-weather gear was working great. My new jacket was toasty and my toes were not totally freezing. My fingers were another story! The new Craft gloves with fingers failed in the cool air. I tried to curl a few digits back into my palm, but it provided only limited relief. I had the choice to buy mitten-style gloves when I bought these and I was really wishing I did right now.

An hour and forty-two minutes and 27 miles later, I eventually made my way home. I spent a 15 minutes in excruciating pain thawing out my digits.  That hurt like hell! I didn’t realize what time it was while riding and when I got home I went into panic mode since I only had 30 minutes to eat and thaw out before heading over to the Rodale Institute for a Seed Planting seminar.

Vegetable Gardening 101

My first attempt at a garden last year was a bit of a disaster. When I came across a class on Seed Planting & Propagation over at Rodale Institute I jumped on it. We are pretty lucky to have the cutting edge of organic gardening right at our back door. The class was taught by a lady named April who had worked at Rodale for 35 years(since she was 16). I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed during the class. It seemed that there was a bit of gardening knowledge that was assumed and I apparently didn’t have it. Most of the people in the class seemed to have been experienced with gardening, but I asked my basic questions in an effort to dumb thing down a bit.

I find gardening very overwhelming. There is so many things to remember with all these different plants requiring different things at different times. I think I just need to push through it, make my mistakes and learn from them. It is how I learn best anyway.

After the presentation, we walked over to the greenhouses and April showed us some of the plants and seeds they had going at different stages. We then headed back and separated out some starter plants and replant them individually. I was pretty psyched to find that we could take home as much as we wanted. I got starter plants of Kale, Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes and Peppers. I was pretty excited about that. Hopefully I can get them to the garden in May.

The class ended up going until 2:30PM. I got home and had just enough time for Denise to give me a haircut and then shower and shave. We were heading over to Horn’s in Bethlehem to meet up with one of my old hockey buddies  and his wife who we hadn’t seen in like 10 years. We enjoyed a nice dinner and chatted away for a few hours. Turns out my friends’ wife and his son are vegan, so we had a lot to talk about. Good times.

A Moment of Weakness

The topic of Vegan Treats Bakery came up in conversation and we stopped by there afterwards since I had never been there. The stuff in there was amazing looking. I got three things that were all some sort of combination of peanut butter and chocolate. When I got home I devoured the one treat that looked like a little chocolate cake. It was decadent. Hard to believe there was no dairy in it. Although all the sugar in it was not exactly healthy. This is the kind of thing that differentiates “vegans” and plant-based people. Vegans are just looking to substitute possibly unhealthy things for animal-based products and plant-based people just want healthy options that do not include animal proteins. I guess I crossed the line here. That will have repercussions tomorrow.

On Sunday I headed down to the Lehigh Parkway for my 1:30 long run of the week. It was actually colder than Saturday, but running surely warms you up more than cycling. Later in the day, after lunch, I ate one of the other vegan treats from the night before. Not long after, I crashed hard. It was like I could not move. I fell asleep on the sofa and had trouble getting up. I even had a headache for most of the evening. The sugar had taken its toll. My pancreas was not happy.

I really timed this wrong since I have my yearly blood tests done for our work health program. I am sure all this sugar will do wonders for my triglycerides. We shall see how that goes. Until next week.



The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food – NYTimes.com

Great article describing deception that “Big Food” corporations are playing on the human “guinea pig” population which is ultimately leading to the obesity epidemic. This pays back twice because we buy the crap food which makes us sick and then all pharmaceutical companies a cut because the Doctors push the meds down your throat to try cover up the issues. Sad!

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food – NYTimes.com

7 Reasons to Choose a Plant-Based Diet – Business Insider

Looks like Plant-based is going mainstream. See it popping up all over the place even in Business sites. I can think of a few more reasons than they listed, but glad to see this…

7 Reasons to Choose a Plant-Based Diet – Business Insider.

8. Because it makes you feel great.

9. Faster recovery time from workouts.


Why People on a Plant-Based Diet Live Longer…

Here is a great article from Kathy Freston of the Huffington Post’s Healthy Living section that summarizes all the benefits of going plant-based. She has managed to put in a page what many books I have read took volumes to explain. Albeit, they did go into more detail but she has nailed the key points.
Why Do Vegetarians Live Longer?

Tour of Toronto…

I got up early on Friday morning and headed out for half hour run around the neighborhood near our hotel. We then got cleaned up and headed down for our complimentary hotel breakfast. I had some waffles with syrup and it ended up wiping me out. I got back to the room and had to take a nap. Definitely not used to eating that kind of crap anymore. We eventually got going and headed into Toronto for the day.

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As you can see from my Garmin track below, we put on 10 miles of walking around the city. I even forgot to start it up a couple times so it was probably more than that. We checked out a good part of the city and hit Kensington Market, Chinatown, and the Entertainment and shoppping districts. The TIFF film fest was going on and that area was quite crazy. We enjoyed lunch and dinner at the Fresh restaurant on Spadina. It was so good! Amazing how tasty healthy plant-based food can be.

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We walked around most of the day and did some shopping in a couple outdoor stores. Sometime after 4pm we headed back down to the waterfront for the Vegetarian Food Festival. The festival was pretty good with stands from the China Study, Vega Foods, and lots of delicious samples. Rich Roll was also supposed to be speaking there on Saturday and Sunday, but we had to head up to Huntsville after this. We had thoughts of eating at the food festival, but we decided to catch the bus and head back up to Fresh(on Spadina) again for dinner. I had quinoa onion rings and a “buddha” bowl which consisted of thai peanut sauce with marinated tofu cubes, tomato, cilantro,cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, herbs & spices.  I was still pretty full from lunch so I could not even finish my meal.

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After dinner, we headed back down to the car and made our way up to the Deerhurst Resort up in Huntsville, Ontario. It took ~2-2.5 hours to get there, so we did not get into our room until 11PM. When we pulled in they already had alot of the gates up for the transition area and the bike and run chutes.


Dr. Joseph Mercola: Coconut Oil Benefits: When Fat Is Good For You

I am surprised how many people are still in the dark about the benefits of coconut oil these days. It is a plant-based oil and not one a hydrogenated vegetable oil. Just because it has saturated fat people think it will raise your cholesterol. Here is a good article about it and some good references at the end as well.

Dr. Joseph Mercola: Coconut Oil Benefits: When Fat Is Good For You.

Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World


Revisiting My Goals for the 2012 Season…

imageI thought it would be a good time to review my goals for this season as I approach my  “B” and “A” races for the year. Although most of the work is behind me now and there isn’t a whole lot of time to do anything about these now, it is always good to see how I have done with these.

  1. Run 9 min/mi or less pace for half-iron distance runs(8:30 for olympic dist). – I think I have definitely increased my run pace with a good loss of weight and an increase in speed/tempo runs. A recent 5k during 100 degree heat , on a course that I usually run fairly slow on, produced one of my faster 5k times. I also feel like my average LSD run pace has increased as well. One of the keys to this will be holding back a little on the bike leg, which I will get to in a latter goal. Looking at my long runs(> 8 miles) for 2011 vs. 2012, I had run 166 miles for 27:48 hours in 2011 resulting in a 10:02 avg pace overall and in 2012 I have run 145 miles for 23:33 hours for a 9:45 avg pace. This improvement in my slow runs will hopefully translate into an improvement in this discipline. Not sure if I can get to 9:00min/mi but anything under 10 I will be very happy about.
  2. Get down to 165 lbs. – As of this writing, I am weighing in at a solid 169.0 lbs. While not the 165lbs of my goal weight, 4 lbs away is a pretty successful attempt at getting there. I was weighing upwards of 197lbs back in January of 2012, so a 32lb weight loss in 7 months is nothing to sneeze at. So, I just saved 4 lbs to feed off of during the 6 hours I will be racing on September 9th.  One other positive improvement has come along with this weight loss : a extremely healthy diet. I have now transitioned to a primarily plant-based diet in the last 2.5 months and am feeling the benefits of it. Despite the loss of weight I feel really good overall, my performance is increasing and (knock on wood) no injuries.


  1. Consistent strength training and especially core work throughout the season. This goal still needs some work next season as I prepare for Ironman Lake Placid. I did increase my strength training and core work, but it still leaves much more to be desired.
  2. Maintain 20+ mph average speed for all races. This one is up for debate. One thing I realized as I gained more experience, is that I need to keep my bike effort in check in order to save my legs for a good run off the bike. This may mean conceding to ride over 20MPH and depending on the course that may not be attainable under normal conditions. I did do a good amount of quality bike efforts and hill repeats throughout the season, so I do feel like I improved as a cyclist. The IMLP Training Camp surely demonstrated this in my ability to easily do the full IMLP Bike Course in 7 hrs and still have good legs during a brick run afterwards. We will see how this turns out on race day.
  3. Decrease Transition times by 20%. – I have been practicing my T1 bike mounts and trying to get the whole rubber-banding of my shoes dialed in to eliminate any more bad mount experiences(Ironman Miami 70.3 and Independence Sprint Triathlon). Think I have found a good pair of sockless running shoes with the New Balance Minimus Zero’s and have got them outfitted with a pair of Yankz laces for a superfast T2. If the Independence Sprint Triathlon I did earlier in the season is an indicator of this goal, I think I can say I have easily met it with a T1 time of 53 secs and a T2 time of 1:03 min. That was with a wetsuit too.
  4. 2:00 min/100 yds pace or less for swims. I am feeling very confident in this goal as well. My pace for the .25 mile swim during the Independence Sprint Triathlon was ~1:27/100 yds given the time of 6:23. Additionally, the two 30 min swims I did during the Troy Jacobson IMLP Training Camp produced swim distances of just over a mile both times. The pace for these were 1:39/100yds and 1:38/100yds respectively. Far and below the 2:00 pace of my goal. Granted not all races will not be wetsuit swims and have a Mirror Lake surface with a rope running 4 ft below the surface, but I do have some leeway here.
  5. Dial-in on long course nutrition. The IMLP Training Camp really helped with this goal. The ability to do a 7 hour ride and come off the bike with fresh, non-cramping legs was proof of this. One big breakthrough was the learning of my need for salt supplementation from Troy Jacobson to eliminate cramping, especially during warmer weather events. I am a big sweater and there is always a nice coating of salt that comes along with that(which is why my dog enjoys licking my legs when I get home from a long run or ride). During the 7 hour ride in Lake Placid I was constantly nibbling on salty corn/flaxseed chips(natural Doritos) and hydrating with Skratch Labs Hydration mix, which has a higher than normal sodium, potassium, and magnesium content.
  6. Continue to Have Fun! I am definitely still having fun and am enjoying this journey, so I would say this goal is still “in the bag!”

My third Steelman Triathlon(1 sprint, 2nd Olympic) will be this weekend. Despite a changed bike course it should be a close “apples-to-apples” comparison to last year and further indication of whether I have successfully met these goals or not. Regardless of the outcome, Meeting that last goal is ultimately the one that matters to me the most, because when it all boils down nobody cares about what the times you got. It is all about enjoying the journey and constantly seeking to “Find Your Greatness.”