Tag Archives: nutrition

New Weekly “Swag Bag”-October 19 2015

So I am trying a little something new here. I am going to start to put together a regular weekly post containing some tips, websites, ideas, or anything I found interesting in the previous week. Hopefully, others may find these useful as well and  also it also forces me to develop a more regular posting habit. If you like this and get some benefit out of it let me know in the comments. I may play around with the day of the week it comes out, but for now I am shooting for Mondays.

My Miracle Mornings…

So, I have never been an early morning riser. I have always wanted to be and tried a few times, but it never lasted. One the rare occasions that I do get up early(usually for a race) I do feel much more productive for the rest of the day. I don’t want to jinx myself here, but I think I found my solution in the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. So far I have been up early for 6 of the last 7 days now and I am pretty confident that it is going to stick. If you have a desire to get up earlier and make your days a little more productive by attacking those things that always seem to get put off first thing in the morning, then I would highly recommend this book.

In keeping with that theme, I also came across these other posts that also provides some tips for making the most of your morning routines…

Create A Lasting Morning Routine by Making Two Changes
Why Your Morning Routine Isn’t Working, and How to Fix it

Oh Bananas…

I haven’t tried this yet, but here is an article about eating the entire banana peels along with the bananas. We eat a ton of bananas at home and our compost bin is full of them. This article shows you how you can utilize the whole thing and gain some added nutrition from them too. The B12 part kind of caught my attention since I supplement that daily.

People around the world are eating banana peels because they know something that Westerners do not


Time for Reflection…

Now that most triathletes’ seasons are winding down for the year, it is a good time to start looking back on what went well and what you need to work on for next season. Here is a nice article from Training Peaks that provides a brief outline on how to go about that in a SMART way…

Three Steps to Take Now to Plan Your Next Triathlon Season

Building the Foundations…

So, as we are reflecting on the past season and starting to turn our focus on the upcoming season, it is important to start laying down a foundation for all those long workouts. One of the ways I am doing that is to develop a very consistent strength routine during this off-season. I taking advantage of that extra time during my “Miracle Mornings” to lay the groundwork for a stronger foundation via strength training. While I am fortunate to have a great strength coach in Fernando Paredes at Fusion Fitness, there are a lot of good resources out there on strength training for endurance athletes. Here are few articles I came across that I thought were pretty good…

7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes

The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists

One-Hour Workout: The Pros’ Strength Session

That’s all for this week and I hope you found something of use from these tips.




Fuel Your Training with Natural Energy Alternative…Or even better, Amrita Bars

While whole foods are a great source of nutrition, but they are not always easy to carry along for a long workout or race. I think a more convenient option is to have a combination of whole foods in an easier to carry package. A great example of this would be Amrita Bars.

Was fully stocked with Amrita bars for my 4.5 hour ride on Satuday.

Amrita Bars are made with non-GMO and mostly organic ingredients that are identifiable with your own eyes. There are no artificial ingredients and they are the perfect balance of nutrients you need to get your through your race.

One option would be to keep some of the whole foods options, like the ones recommended in this article, in your special needs bag as a little something different to fuel you through the second half of the bike or the run.

Anyway here are some ideas for other whole food alternatives…

Source: Fuel Your Training with Natural Energy Alternatives | TrainingPeaks

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#19(May 11-17)

Another 16+ hour build week concludes. Only 5 more weeks until Ironman Coeur d’Alene!

Sunset on the Railroad Crossing
Sunset on the Railroad Crossing

How am I feeling? A bit fatigued actually . Not terrible but I can feel the stress of heavy load. The weather has also been unseasonably warm for Spring which is kind of taking its toll on me. I do not do well in warmer temperatures. Usually I am even worse in the beginning until I acclimatize a bit.

Despite feeling a bit fatigued, I am still having some good workouts. I even skipped a few workouts last week and still ended up with more volume than I had planned. On Monday, I took the day off of training and just mowed my lawn instead. I wore my HR monitor and Garmin so I counted it as a workout. We’ll just call that active recovery. 🙂 I needed that day after not having a long run the Sunday before.

Training Peaks Workout Calendar IMCDA Week 20
Training Peaks Workout Calendar IMCDA Week 20

There was a couple cooler days during the week that I ended up going longer just because it felt good. I am trying to listen to my body and go with the flow a bit. My HRV continued to decline a bit earlier in the week, but gradually improved as the weekend approached. I then saw a slight drop again after my long run on Saturday, but held steady after a long bike on Sunday.

<a href=
iThlete Timeline Chart-IMCDA Week 20 2015b” width=”625″ height=”295″ /> iThlete Timeline Chart-IMCDA Week 20 2015b

There is still a bunch of data points lying on the left of the iThlete Training Guide below. Big indicator of lower energy levels.

iThlete Training Guide-IMCDA Week 20 2015
iThlete Training Guide-IMCDA Week 20 2015

I had planned on riding a local 64 mile charity ride, called the Dream Come True(DCT) ride on Sunday so I moved my long run to Saturday this week. I was a bit nervous about my run on Saturday since I self-destructed on the run the week before. During the week I ordered a new Camelbak Octane LR Hydration Pack to help alleviate running out of water on my long runs again. My FuelBelt was not cutting it. I was glad I did, because it was really hot again and I drank every bit of it. I actually emptied the bladder as I was on my cooldown walking up my street.

Ready for a 3 Hour Run Camelbak & Amrita Bars, #selfie
Ready for a 3 Hour Run-Camelbak & Amrita Bars

I also played it a bit conservatively too and kept my pace around 10:00/mi just to make sure i got the volume in that I wanted. I also had several extra pounds of water strapped to my back which must have slowed me down a bit. I was happy to have a good long and successful run and I was able to put the previous week behind me.

On Sunday I woke up early, for me on weekend anyway, to do the DCT ride. The ride was only 64 miles and I wanted to get about 5 hours in. Usually 5 hours for an LSD ride would be about 80 miles for me, so I tacked on a few extra miles getting to and from the ride start at the Trexlertown Velodrome.

The ride was pretty flat for the first half and was along many of the roads I typically ride. I rode along with a girl from work and a couple of her friends for the first half. I eventually latched on to a couple guys with orange helmets around the Kempton area that were going my typical pace. A few other guys joined them and a pace line was formed. I stayed behind them about 10m or so and avoided most of their draft. I don’t want to get used to that. Also the stretch of road from Kempton to Werley’s Corners is awesome for getting down into the aerobars and just cruising.

Ready to Rain on the Farm
Ready to Rain on the Farm

I ended up bagging the final rest stop and just heading for the finish. It was getting kind of hot and humid out too, so I was eager get home. My legs were a bit stiff early in the day too since I had run long the day before. I don’t typically do that, so it was a bit different riding on tired legs. I did seem to get a second wind though on the last half of the DCT ride which worked out well since that half had all the climbs in it.

I ended up with around 80 miles in just under 5 hours. Not a too bad for a pretty mellow ride. It was a good end to another build week.

My fatigue level(pink) in the Training Peaks PMC chart below is peaking out a bit at the end of the week. My plan is to do a few easier days early in the week before I head up to Lake Placid for a training camp over the holiday weekend. I want to go into that fresh in order to take advantage a that big training block.

Training Peaks PMC Chart IMCDA Week 20
Training Peaks PMC Chart IMCDA Week 20
Training Peaks <a href=
TSS and Volume Charts IMCDA Week 20″ width=”625″ height=”307″ /> Training Peaks TSS and Volume Charts IMCDA Week 20

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#18(May 4-10 2015)

Now with the NJ Devilman race behind me it is time to focus on the final 8 week build for Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Unfortunately, the affects of the Devilman Half Lite continued to linger well into the week.

Training Peaks-Training Calendar-Week 19
Training Peaks-Training Calendar-Week 19

I was very exhausted on Monday and decided it would be best to take a rest day. On Tuesday, I did my normal endurance/form swim, but did a zone 2 bike ride that evening instead of my usual run. My legs were still really sore and they were not ready for a run just yet. My Heart Rate Variability was stilling showing signs of stress until about Thursday when it rebounded and shot back up int the 80’s again.

<a href=
iThlete HRV Timeline Week 19″ width=”625″ height=”296″ /> iThlete HRV Timeline Week 19

As you can see in the HRV timeline above, there was a bit of a death spiral for the next 5 days after the race. Saturday then rebounded quite a bit and then some long LSD workouts pulled things back down again. I had hoped that taking the entire day off on Monday would help to expedite my recovery, but things continued to decline after that.

The iThlete Training Guide below reinforces this as well. A majority of my morning readings are showing up on the left side of the graph indicating a lot of low recovery days. Granted that this week also a build week so overreaching a bit was part of the plan, but I still have another two weeks of build to go. Given this I am starting to consider adjusting my plan to only do two weeks of build and then follow with an easy week before I head to Lake Placid for a training camp. I want to be fresh for the camp since it is a big block training on its own. This is the kind of thing where HRV helps you manage your training as you go. You can follow a schedule but if your body is not responding to it you need to adjust. Using HRV and the tools that iThlete provides allows you to do that.

iThlete Training Guide Week 19b
iThlete Training Guide Week 19
Peakin' through the Clouds -Sunset in Kutztown
Peakin’ through the Clouds -Sunset in Kutztown

On Friday I headed over to Dutch Springs for a hour  open water swim. It was a good swim but definitely not without some drama. You can check out the full scoop here…

Fabulous Four’s

On Saturday I decided to ride the Quad County Metric route which is a well-marked ride that runs by my home. Turned out that this years actual ride was this same day, so I ended up riding along with everyone doing the ride. I hooked into the ride just up the road which is on one of the tougher hill climbs on the ride. As I came upon the hill there were riders all over the hill zig-zagging up the road. Since I was pretty fresh I zipped up the road and passed most of the people. It is kind of mean since they probably have about 25 miles into their legs at this point.

It was a rather moist day. While it was not really raining, there was this mist in the air all day and I just felt “moist” all day long. After losing my iPhone to moisture the day before, I was not about to bring out my new phone for pictures today. It did dry up a little bit and I was able to capture one image.

West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek
West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek

I felt kind of bad riding with people doing the ride, but I was not utilizing their rest stops and I did veer off of the course for a bit. It was a pretty challengin ride though. it had about 4500 feet of climbing in around 56 miles. I tacked on some extra mileage so that I got about 72 miles in 4:40. I tacked on another 30 minute brick run right after too. All-in-all there were 4 category 4 climbs. Play that number!


Dirty D&L Run

On Sunday I headed up to the D&L rail trail for my long run. The plan was a 3 hour run which should end up being about 18-20 miles. It was a unseasonably warm day for sure. The D&L trail is nice for long runs due to its length, but it can leave you high-and-dry since you have to carry all your hydration and nutrition. I like to park midway at the Cove Road Trailhead so I can do a 4 mile out-and-back to the south and then re-tool and do a 5 mile out-and-back to the north.

D&L Trail LSD Run dry dusty feet
D&L Trail LSD Run dry dusty feet

I took a two bottle Fuelbelt, but I ran a little dry on the second half of the run. Somewhere around mile 12 things started to fall apart. I don’t know if it was the heat or the pretty hilly bike ride the day before, or both but the wheels fell off. I ended up doing a walk/run the last 4 miles of the workout. It was a bit of a confidence buster.

I managed to get back to the car and everything was ok. Given how spent I was, I decided Monday would be a rest day. Next week is another build week, so I needed some recovery to get the most out of the next week. We are coming down to the wire here and I don’t want to sabaotage all the hard work I have put in this season.


IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#17(Apr 20-26 2015)

Week 17 was not the typical recovery week. Usually my recovery weeks start out with some very low HRV readings and a general feeling of “blah”. At least in the early part of the week. This week I felt pretty darn good. I took Monday totally off of training and had an easy swim on Tuesday. My HRV, on average, went higher. I skipped my bike workout on Thursday with the intention of doing it Friday since I had off. Friday I had a pretty good swim and  I never did get that bike ride in. Now I have two days off. I did have the St. Luke’s Half Marathon on Sunday, so I thought I could justify that.

<a href=
iThlete Timeline Week 17″ width=”625″ height=”295″ /> iThlete Timeline Week 17

Friday night we had dinner with some friends at The Dime in downtown Allentown. I find myself in Center City Allentown a lot these days? Food was pretty good, but they are still working out some growing pains on the service side. After our dinner, we went to the Wise Crackers Comedy Club at the Ramada Inn on McArthur Road in Whitehall to see Jimmy Carroll. Side-splitting funny guy!! Nothing like have a good laugh.

iThlete Training Guide Week 17
iThlete Training Guide Week 17

My wife enjoyed The Dime so much that we headed back there in the morning for breakfast. We had to go downtown anyway since I had packet pickup for the half marathon which was just down the street. Food was good, but service still a little lacking. She didn’t bring my coffee until after the food…WTH??!

I quickly breezed through the expo and then bumped into a few people I knew and ended up chatting a while. My wife found some sneaker deals so that tied us up some more. Then there was the health food store across the street…more time. DIdn’t get out of there until 11am.

Farm near Fleetwood
Farm near Fleetwood

Saturday was a really nice day and I got an easy 3 hour/50 mile ride in. Just enough to maintain my bike endurance and not too much to tire me out for the half marathon the next day.

Training Peaks Calendar Week 17
Training Peaks Calendar Week 17

I wasn’t planning to taper for NJ Devilman, but it looks like I will be a little tapered.

Training Peaks-PMC Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015
Training Peaks-PMC Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015
Training Peaks-TSS by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015
Training Peaks-TSS by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015
Training Peaks-Volume by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015
Training Peaks-Volume by Week Chart-Week #17-April20-26 2015


Race Day

Had a great nights sleep Saturday night into Sunday. After I got up and started making my breakfast smoothie, my stomach started grumbling a bit and I started feeling kind of strange. I drank some coffee and about half of my smoothie before I was making a mad dash for the bathroom. Not good when you have a 13 mile run ahead of you.

My wife made up her concoction of baking soda and lemon juice, to calm my stomach, and I chugged that down. It helped a bit. Enough for me to get my stuff together and drive down to the race. I parked about a mile away and figured I would jog a mile to the start line to warm-up a bit. I only made it a about a half mile before things started brewing. I started making a b-line for a bathroom I spotted on the other side of the park I was walking next to. I will spare you details, but I decided that I would not be racing today. I then walked back to the car and headed home.

The next two days were not fun. I haven’t felt that bad in a while.

Not a real good start to the race season, but hopefully I have gotten that out of my system. Literally and figuratively!

Fortunately, next Sunday is New Jersey Devilman Half Lite(50 mi) so I should be healthier for that. I would rather miss a half-marathon than a half ironman.

IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#16(Apr 13-19 2015)

Only 10 more weeks until Ironman Coeur d’Alene!

Training Peaks Calendar Week 16 iThlete HRV Timeline week 16 - April 13 -19
Training Peaks Calendar Week 16 iThlete HRV Timeline week 16 – April 13 -19

Week 16 was a pretty solid week of training. I ended up with around 15 hours total volume, which also included one day off due to me being stressed out from a screw-up at work. It also inlcluded no strength training whatsoever since I totally blew that off. But, the training was good. The weather also cooperated with some very nice days. The weekend was incredible too.

iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 16
iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 16
iThlete HRV Timeline  Week16
iThlete HRV Timeline Week16

My Heart Rate Variability(HRV) was all over the map. There were some good days and some pretty low days. I managed to eke out a low, but green 68 on Monday morning which was surprising since I did a 4.5 hour bike Saturday and 18 mile run on Sunday. I felt good all weekend though despite a HRV of 55 on Saturday. Fortunately, this is the last build week of 3 and next week is a recovery week. It will be a feel-like-crap week, but hopefully I will be back online for my half-marathon race next Sunday.

The Pool was a little cool this week due to a broken pump. Good practice for Coeur d'ALene though.
The Pool was a little cool this week due to a broken pump. Good practice for Coeur d’ALene though.

My shoulder is back to normal again. I was able to get all my swims in this week. I also got a little “Polar Bear” training in since the heater in the pool was not working. It was quite refreshing actually. I forgot all about it after 200 meters.

Caught a cool sunset on Thursday night at a barn near Bowers, PA. Just happen to turn around and see it.

Since the weather has been nicer, I was able to get in some longer bike rides during the week. On Thursday I managed to get in 32 miles and was fortunate to get the shot above on my way home that night. I just happened to turn around saw this amazing opportunity. Despite some blue artifacts from the extra lens from my LIfeProof phone case, the shot came out pretty well. I had to stabilize the phone on a fencepost to get a sharp image.

Was fully stocked with Amrita bars for my 4.5 hour ride on Satuday.

Saturday was a really nice day! Temps peaked at around 80 degrees and the winds were light in the morning. It got a little breezy in the afternoon, but it was mostly tailwind at that point. I was well stocked with Amrita bars for the ride and felt pretty amazing all day. A definite confidence booster for Ironman Coeur d’ALene. I also bagged a solid 30 minute brick immediately after too.

Barn and some farm equipment off of Huffs Church Road
Barn and some farm equipment off of Huffs Church Road
Amish Horse-and-buggy hitched up near Fleetwood/Kutztown.
Amish Horse-and-buggy hitched up near Fleetwood/Kutztown.

On Sunday, I headed over to the Ironton Rail Trail(IRT) for my long run. My goal was a Zone 2 run for 2:50 and ~18 miles. It was another amazing day and a little cooler than Saturday which was perfect for my run. There was a slight wind, but wasn’t a major factor. I ended up completing the 18 miles in just under 2:50 at around 9:20 pace while maintaining median zone 2 heart rate. This was another big confidence booster, since in prior years my HR would have been a bit higher at that same pace(Exhibit A). One of my goals this year is to maintain a 9:30 pace for the Ironman run and to do that I wanted to execute all my LSD runs at no more than that pace. I have mostly acheived that so far and this run is my best example of that. Happy!

Beautiful day for a 18 mile run on the Ironton Rail Trail on Sunday.
Beautiful day for a 18 mile run on the Ironton Rail Trail on Sunday.


Well, next week is a recovery week so I am fully prepared for a HRV nosedive and feeling like crap in the beginning of the week. Hopefully things will rebound a bit by the weekend since I am racing the St. Luke’s Lehigh Valley Half Marathon on Sunday. I would like to shoot for a PR, it is not my main focus right now. I may go out with that initial intention, but my let off the gas if I don’t “feel it.” I have my first triathlon, New Jersey Devilman Half Lite 50,  the week after so I don’t want to screw that up. That’s all for now…thanks for reading!


IMCDA 2015 Training Log-Week#15(Apr 5-12 2015)

Only 11 more weeks until Ironman Couer d’Alene! Week 15 was another build week. I had planned about a 16 hour week in volume, but ended up with only 13 hours. This was mostly due to a shoulder bursitis flare-up issue that kept me out of the pool and some dog emergency issues on Friday. I was able to get in some more strength training time with the time freed up from swimming. The weather has also perked up a bit so I was also able to get some more time on the roads.


HRV was good most of the week until Monday morning which is highlighted in orange in the Training Guide chart . I would guess this was mostly from my 17 mile run on Sunday. The rest of the week was in the green sweet spot of the chart. I actually felt pretty good Sunday night, but was slightly fatigued on Monday morning. Then again I always feel that way on a Monday morning.

<a href=
iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 15 – April 5 -12″ width=”401″ height=”401″ /> iThlete HRV Training Guide Week 15 – April 5 -12
iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 - April 5 -12
iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 – April 5 -12

Things rebounded early in the week after a big dip the week prior, but continued to decline a bit towards Monday AM. I missed my Sunday AM reading due to my dog waking me early and I forgot to take it before getting out of bed.


Monday was a beautiful day and I was able to get a good 28 mile ride in that evening. Tuesday was rainy and I resorted to the treadmill. During that treadmill run I started getting some pain in my left shoulder which continued to get worse. I tend to get some Bursitis issues in that shoulder from time-to-time due to an old high school football injury. It usually goes away fairly quickly though. I tried testing it out in the pool on Wednesday and only got about 200m in before I pulled the plug. No sense in aggravating it. So, swim training was nixed for the week.

Training Peaks Calendar Week 15iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 - April 5 -12
Training Peaks Calendar Week 15iThlete HRV Timeline week 15 – April 5 -12
Training Peaks PMC and <a href=
TSS chart Week 15-April 5 to 12″ width=”625″ height=”205″ /> Training Peaks PMC and TSS chart Week 15-April 5 to 12


I supplemented the extra time with some strength training, and longer bikes and runs. I had planned to have a good long swim and possibly a decent bike ride in the afternoon on Friday since I had off of work that day. That plan quickly changed when I noticed that my dog, Yuki, was bleeding from his mouth.


Two days before Yuki had broken into the bag which contained two doses of Prednisone I had given to my parents while they dog-sat him. This was after having his dose that morning, so three doses. I had called the vet and they said he would be ok, just may drink and pee a bit more. He seemed fine while my parents had him and Thursday night. But then I noticed him licking his paw and it was all blooding Friday morning. I thought his paw was bleeding, but finally realized it was coming from his gums. I tried to stop it, but it kept bleeding so off to the vet we went.

They took him in the back tried to stop the bleeding. The vet said she thought his liver was not clotting his blood correctly due to the Lymphoma/cancer. I told the vet about the extra doses of Prednisone, but she never said anything about that. She also brought up about trying some chemo since it the Prednisone was not working along with some VItamin K to help the liver and get the blood clotting again. She said the chemo would put the cancer into remission and help his liver. The original vet expressed that the chemo would be rough on his liver which steared us away form that, but this vet deals with more of the oncological side and she disagreed. So we decided to proceed with that.

The Prince of Lock RIdge Park Yuki
The Prince of Lock RIdge Park

The bleeding continued off-and-on until about 7PM Friday night, which had me on high alert all day. I was putting ice on his gums to help stop it. That is fun trying to hold an ice cube on your dogs gums for any length of time. Eventually it stopped and I am happy to report he has been doing pretty well so far. He had one night where he was kind of moping around, but the past couple days he had been his normal self.

 Weekend Training

Saturday was a beautiful day but very windy out. The wind and the fact I was still on high alert with Yuki kept me on the trainer Saturday morning. I think it was a record long 4 hour ride on the trainer for me. Fortunately, I did get outside for my brick run that followed.

Sunday was a gorgeous day so I headed down to the Lehigh Parkway for my long run. I logged a decent 2:40 17 miler and managed to keep my average around 9:30 all in Zone 2. This was one of my goals to keep all my LSD runs at 9:30 pace or below. I will let the photos do the talking here…

Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015
Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015
Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 - Blue Bells
Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 – Blue Bells
Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 - Post-run recovery streamside with an Amrita Bar
Lehigh Parkway Run April 12 2015 – Post-run recovery streamside with an Amrita Bar

Next week is going to be another build week since my schedule gets confusing after that. I am doing the St. Lukes Half Marathon on April 26th and then New Jersey Devilman the Sunday after that. I may end up doing two lighter weeks in a row or maybe a semi-light week for St. Luke’s and just train through it.