And So It Begins…Again
Well here we go. My brother and I signed up for our second Ironman triathlons (IM) in Tempe Arizona on November 17 th of this year (his idea). Yes, one wasn’t enough and so it’s time to get moving, for real.
This one is a bit of a do-over/revenge for me.
My first IM was the St. George Ironman in May of 2010. The water was a balmy (freezing!!) 59 degrees; there were hills on the bike, and even bigger hills on the run. Being my first race of this distance, I didn’t know what to expect. And although I was reasonably well trained, that run took me to the dark side. You know, that kind of suffering that takes you to a deep, dark place.
But this time, I want to see what happens if I prepare myself to the fullest. (And also see how I do on a flat course.) Yes, I have a detailed training plan, but this time around I’m going to refine my health as best I can – sure, you can train for an IM and forget it all when you’re not training, but the recovery is where you truly make gains in fitness. This time, my eating, recovering, and supplementing will be refined to a science as well. (That is, as scientific as you can get with a busy life and family with three little kids.)
One thing (or rather, mistake) I made during my last IM training was eating anything and everything I wanted. Normally I eat really well, but given the amount of calories I was burning, I let it all go and ate whatever I wanted. My kids are lucky I didn’t eat them, too! ;)
Although calorically dense food, this stuff is nutritionally bankrupt. This isn’t news, but food like this does one thing – create tons of inflammation in the body. Not that I wasn’t already inflamed with the sheer amount of training I was doing! At age 39, it’s a wonder I escaped uninjured last time.
This time around, at age 42, I’m more interested in self-preservation rather than seeing how hard I can flog my body. While I truly enjoy the training/suffering, I also want to inflict the least amount of damage on my body.
Sure, you can heal from injuries, but I’m talking about oxidative injury – the stuff that leaves a cumulative toll on your body, and basically accelerates the aging process.
You can think of oxidation as ‘biological rusting’ – just being alive creates oxidation in our bodies. Illnesses, exercise, crappy food, chemicals, sun exposure, etc. all contribute to oxidation. Our DNA (genetic code) becomes damaged from this, and after a while it doesn’t get repaired as well. Hence, the aging process.
So, stay tuned and I’ll be telling you about all the ways I’m going to try and keep my body not only healthy, but at peak health over the next 5 and 1/2 months.
Here’s what I’m doing for starters, to cover my bases:
In addition to a what I want to call the sensible, moderate diet* (some lean meats, and basically lots of plants) I’m going to have 2 Green Drinks each day. A great way to get your veggies in, (because I’m lazy and pressed for time, its easier for me to drink my veggies than crunch salads all day long) putting a bunch of veggies and fruits into a blender is an efficient way to get high doses of all the great stuff in plants. The darker the plant, the higher its antioxidant content is.
*This means eating lots of plants, some animals, and very little processed, packaged junk. You know, eating real food. Yes I eat grains, yes I eat some dairy (but not much).
It isn’t the training that makes you stronger, but what your body does when it’s done. Training only tears the body down, and given the optimal conditions for recovery, things get rebuilt a little bit stronger. So day by day, one gets a little bit more fit over time. The best ways to recover are:
So there you have it. I’ll be covering these in much greater detail in the future.
Here I go. Wish me luck!
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Being from Colorado, we know altitude. Denver and the Front Range areas are roughly 5000+ feet, or a mile (1600 meters) high. This elevation, while nothing extreme, definitely presents a challenge to visitors.
Often times I am asked, “just how long can I rest while I recover from my injury/illness, before I start to lose my fitness level”? All of us are hesitant to give up the gains we have made from all of that training. Although this is not a straight forward question, there is plenty of enlightening research on this subject.
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