Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Where'd that ball go?

Monday was a rest day for me, and anyone who knows me knows that I take my rest days as seriously as I take my workout days. I decided to take advantage of the time by "going long" at work and using my trigger point massage gizmos. After I'd worked over both legs, I hopped in bed and tried out the massage ball on my rib area - very gently. It seemed to help, and I wondered if it would do anything for my abs, too. I put the golf-ball-sized ball on my stomach and pushed and just started laughing because I couldn't see the ball anymore. I wondered how much faster I would go if I'd just lose 20 pounds or so.

Today I had a quick 30 minute run, which felt good, and a quick 30 minute swim, which was awful so I cut it short. It was tight around my rib and makes me wonder if I didn't hurt my pec muscle when I fell. I have a book that says I should go see a doctor if that happens, and my wife said, "You should go." I pointed out that I had seen a doctor last Monday, so I guess I'll just keep seeing how it feels.

On the Celiac front, my local newsletter reported on some studies that came out regarding thresholds. They only tested gluten at 10mg for a few weeks, and I feel that's too short a time to tell if there's long term damage. I think the study recommendations are too loose and any regulation based on them would give consumers a false sense of security. The cumulative effect of small amounts of gluten over long time periods was not studied.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Good Celiac PR + working out

I had a meeting with the group putting on the Austin Celiac Awareness race and someone said I was "famous." Evidently, I showed up in her Google tracker as a "runner story" for the Houston Marathon. It just makes me think again how small is the US Celiac world. It's good PR for Celiac Awareness, for sure!

This past week I needed a lot of medical attention, the sum of which is, "We can't tell you if you broke a rib or not." OK. Helpful. I can feel myself getting stronger, so either the rib is broken and it's no big deal, or it's not and it's no big deal. So I won't do anything risky, but I am doing my workouts.

Saturday (yesterday) was one of those days that just doesn't go right. I was helping my wife and told her I was going to lay down for a minute, and three hours later she was reminding me to take the boy to his Discovery Imagination meeting. I needed the sleep, but it was prime workout time.

Because I had family commitments, I decided to double up the workouts today. Now, before anyone goes nuts on me for over training, tomorrow's a rest day, so back off. It only totaled up to 90 minutes, anyway.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mmmmm... Beer

The big news that hasn't made the blog yet is the introduction of Redbridge beer. It's a beer a Celiac can drink. In celebration of the nationally-issued product from the same folks that bring you Budweiser, I had my first post-marathon beer ever this year. It was good, and I couldn't tell you if it hurt or helped my recovery. Somebody needs to tell Anheuser-Busch that their "restaurant locator" needs to give at least one result, even if it's 50 miles away. I put my zip code in and it gave me no results. It might hurts sales, (but the word on the street is that the specialty liquor stores are selling out anyway.)

Today was the fourth day this week I've been in a medical office, and no, I don't work in one. I still don't have my lab results, so in true "what you don't know can't hurt you" mode, I've been exercising while waiting. I had a good ride. I think it may be the first time I was actually able to spin 100 rpms on the bicycle. The rib is feeling better today, so I must either be doing something right, or at least not making things worse. It doesn't feel good enough to go swimming yet, however.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

FDA sucker punch...

The FDA has released their guidance on having a gluten free label, allowing 20 ppm - without much science to go on. I don't know about you, but in my book, "Free" means "with none" - so if this regulation goes into effect, I won't be able to trust "Gluten-Free" labels either.

In my opinion, the FDA is conducting another mass experiment on the population. I work hard enough to keep gluten out of my diet. I don't need the FDA confusing the food service industry by saying that "when you are serving Celiacs, some gluten is okay, after all, it says Gluten-Free on the label and it has 20 ppm." For those of us who are diagnosed, the FDA is guaranteeing a minimum level of environmental gluten in our food chain. Gee, thanks. Maybe we can get the EPA to guarantee a minimum level of hazardous waste on your computer keyboard.

You can read the document for yourself here.

In other news, I did my first workout on schedule today, and I have another volunteer for the Celiac Awareness Race/Walk in May.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

Last night I remarked to my wife that I felt as if I was going about the training for doing an Ironman backward. Some people might say, "Well, you should do the swim, then see if you can do the bike after that, and then see if you can do the run after that." I figured that the run was the hardest part, so I focused there. I still need to learn how to swim (better). That's backward.

Then it came to building my workout plan for this year. I was sitting in the doctor's office, and I agonized over how many days I should do training and on which days. It took the doctor a half an hour to see me, and I went through three drafts of just the days. I finally settled on something that I thought looked decent. Then I said to myself, "Now I just have to modify one of those training programs to fit my schedule." I have about three Ironman training books, so I picked the one I thought would work and looked at the schedule in it. It was a perfect match! And then I started thinking, "What if I had picked up the book first? That would have saved me a half an hour..." Backwards...

While I wait on my bone density and x-ray results, I could tell you about that advice I received from the only other Celiac Ironman (woman, it turns out) I know. I think the best advice was that I need to figure out what is really important and settle for the "best I can manage" on the rest. That approach seems true to me and straight-forward, so that's advice I'll take.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Nice Walk...

I went for a short ride last night. I put in about 10 1/2 miles on my Computrainer. Luckily, I'm one of those people that can ride or run staring at a wall for hours on end. I do prefer the outdoors however. Today, my wife said that she wanted to go out of the city and maybe go for a hike. Since I'm in recovery mode right now, that sounded like a very good idea to me. We packed the kids and the scooters in the car, went to the park and hiked about 3 miles on the asphalt trails there.

I found another celiac who has done an iron man distance triathlon. I think she did Coeur d'Alene last year, so I sent her an e-mail asking her for advice.

Well, it's probably time to try and figure out my training schedule. So it's time for me to stop blogging and go do that.

Friday, January 19, 2007

About That Bruise...

For the uninitiated, there is a lot of pain associated with running a marathon. Your legs hurt during the marathon, and then after the marathon they hurt worse. For days.

I'm familiar with that pain, but this year I had more. The doctors at the finish line said that I should seek medical attention if my bruise hurt for more than four days and didn't get better. I called the nurse line today and they had me do a simple test --- press on my breast bone and see if my rib hurt. The answer was yes, so now I have an appointment on Monday to see the doctor. Personally, I think it's cracked, but I'll wait for the x-ray. There is a part of me that feels like these skeletal injuries are in part due to my previous bout with osteopenia, but my wife thinks I'm wrong on that point, and that I am just accident-prone lately.

With all this injury talk, I sure don't want to sound like a whiner, but for the purposes of this blog, I feel it's important to record significant events, feelings and training issues. So moving on, I'm in very good spirits. This feels like a minor setback in my training. Plus, I'll have a great story after I heal. "Yeah, I ran 20 miles with a cracked rib." Finally, today I got a massage for my legs. I always love that.

Another reason to be in good spirits is that I may have helped a friend of a friend with his ill wife. She said, "I know someone who knows about Celiac, I'll get you some information." So I passed that along today. I'll keep you posted.

Also on the celiac front, I asked the people at Saltstick if their electrolyte tabs contain gluten. They were able to tell me that "The capsules do not contain any added gluten as far as I know. The cellulose used as the capsule material is "hypromellose". The rest of the contents are salts. There is no added filler. Hope that helps! Race strong!" They had a nice PDF file on their website explaining the different components of the current top electrolyte pills. There were some pretty big differences between them. It makes me wonder where I can get an analysis of my perspiration...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Post Race Tidbits

Last night I enjoyed going to both the Houston Racing Triathlon Club meeting and the Katy Fit post marathon party. I don't think it was nearly as much fun for my wife and kids, but I really enjoyed myself.

The best part is that I'm already looking forward to a number of upcoming events. This is different from previous years when I felt like I didn't want to see a pair of running shoes for weeks afterwards. The next big target on the horizon is the MS 150. I got some good advice from some Ironman-distance triathletes, who said, "After the first day when you get to Lagrange, strap on your running shoes and go for a long run." I thought, "Perfect." Based on that mental self-talk, I think my mental recovery is complete.

My physical recovery is going pretty well too. Today was the hardest day for the legs, but I walked for 20 minutes and I can already feel that soreness going away. Pretty soon, I'll I will be left with is the bruise on my ribs. Oh, and I should mention that I got away with trying something new on the day of the marathon. I tried some Access shakes, and they seemed to work out for me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Houston Marathon results...

Well, I continued on my trend for the year. (Having a good race marred by an unpleasantry)

Of course, the weather was perfect. The woman set a course record for the full marathon, and a new US record was set in the men's half marathon. I always joke that they put the average temperature on the literature to entice runners from other states, but that the weather has varied between hot and humid and arctic chill. Luckily, this year we managed to get the weather right in the middle. It could've been 10° cooler, but that would really be complaining.

My prerace training wasn't ideal because of my cruise and wrist. But having done 17 Houston marathons in a row, I had to toe the start line for number 18. Things were going brilliant until the 10K mark, when I hit a seam in the pavement. This time I fell down on my right side, hurting my hand, elbow, shoulder, and the back and front of my chest. The guy running next to me said, "Gosh, are you okay?" I said, "yeah" --- and after running about three steps, feeling the impact of my flying forward roll and seeing my bleeding hand, I revised that to, "No, I really hurt." I got patched up at the 7 mile medical tent and kept going, but I'll have to admit I was thinking that 20 miles was a long way to go at that point, especially after I missed my wife at our usual 8 mile rendezvous.

I ended up finishing strong at 4:55 (4:50 chip time) - just a one minute per mile fade off of my planned 10 minute pace over the last 20 miles. Medically, it's not that bad, but I did go to the post-race medical for only the second time in 18 marathons, and my chest hurts worse than my legs, if you can believe that. Still, the time was a twenty minute improvement over last year...

Funny story, I joined a training group and have consistently run at the very back of the pack at a 10 minute pace all year. I was the guy constantly cajoling the others to run the actual workout instead of speeding through. Some weekends, I would come in last, a half an hour behind the next closest guy. I passed two runners from the group two miles from the finish. I wonder if I should tease them a bit?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thunder rumbling outside...

As you can probably guess from my lack of posting, I have been down with taking care of my family. They all had the flu. Since I had my flu shot, which is recommended for celiacs in Canada, I have just had a mild case.

Marathon Sunday is just two days away, and today I went to pick up my packet. The Marathon expo was pretty good, but the folks from TP massage weren't there, so I couldn't get my massage ball. I guess I'll have to order off their website.

Because the weather forecast is "sketchy" I'm considering doing something I don't normally do, which is to change something the day of the Marathon. I figure between my recent illness and the rain, I don't have much to lose by trying a new supplement, but I have a lot to gain, potentially. We'll see.

On an unrelated topic, I saw a scientist recently on Nova Now who was wearing her bicycle helmet incorrectly. I need to send her an e-mail...

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Good News, Bad news...

The last two weeks have been marked by a hectic week at work, followed by a hectic vacation to my parents (slowband connection = no posts), followed by a hectic week at work. I didn't train as much or as well as I would have liked, and I always felt "off my feed" as I was taking an oral vaccination for typhoid for a now-no-longer-upcoming trip.

All that aside, it was dark and early when I tromped to the local park office January 2nd to be one of the supplicants to reserve a spot for my first (annual) Celiac Awareness Race and race directing gig. Even though I was 19th in line, I was amazed at how fast the dates and locations disappeared. (A veteran reserver for the boy scouts took some 15 dates). Even so, I managed to secure the 19th of May (third choice), so there you have it. Even better, one of the local race directors said he would send me his checklists, which will obviously be like manna from heaven for a newbie race director like myself. Yippee! Now I just need to focus on logistics.

It's a good thing my marathon training is in the bag for the Houston Marathon on the 14th. Training this week has been awful. I went to do my interval workout yesterday on the treadmill and stepped off before the first repeat. Some days you just don't have it, and yesterday was such a day. I went to bed and promptly slept for 11 hours straight, so you know something was up. I probably have what my kids have.

I had good news from the doctor. I can take my wrist brace off. This is the first "two handed" typing I've done in over a month. I'm cleared for all my "tri" sports and just have to wear my brace while riding a bike. I'm pretty happy I don't have to have a cast or brace for the marathon.