Friday, December 26, 2008

Creating tie-ins to expand awareness

Here's a great article on Alek Komarnitsky’s Christmas lights that increased awareness for Celiac. The thing that I really like is that Christmas lights don't have anything to do with food or medical or support groups. It opens up a whole new avenue for awareness by tying in the awareness message to a topic with broader appeal.

The Christmas season also brings up Christmas cards. Because Celiac is genetic, and many people on Christmas card lists are related, I think that Celiac news should make the list. It doesn't have to be too obvious, but saying things like, "We visited this vacation spot because of the great gluten-free options" can signal to family members that they might want to look into Celiac, too.

Awareness in N. Texas/Newsweek

It's always great to see awareness activities make it into the media. Here's a good article about James McConnell, 11, who was interviewed by Newsweek. I think it shows a good example of how national exposure can result in a knock-on awareness activity locally.

Celiac screening should be considered for IBS sufferers

The medical world changes oh too slowly for those who are suffering from Celiac, but it does change. The American College of Gastroenterology has released new guidelines for IBS sufferers, part of which includes ruling out Celiac disease. Of course, readers of this blog would have known that in April 2007, but it's nice to see the docs catching up.

The relevant guidelines are quoted here:
    --  IBS patients with diarrhea or a mixture of diarrhea and constipation
should be screened with blood tests for celiac disease, a condition in
which one cannot tolerate the gluten protein found in wheat and other

GF Search Engine - needs work

I heard about a new Gluten free search engine here. I appreciate the effort, but the site needs work. For starters, the site is not just a search engine, it also has a store, which sends a mixed message about the impartiality of the results. Parts of the site do not work with the Firefox browser. Finally, after I entered "awareness" as a search term, the first ad served by Google was NOT for gluten-free products.

It's pretty apparent that the site is simply using a slightly customized Google search. Anyone using Google themselves can likely replicate the results from the search engine. The value in the search engine would be in creating a "search first" list for the celiac-specific and GF specific sites. It's not clear that the results delivered by the search are any better than plain Google results as yet.

The site could be made better by getting rid of the Google served ads, removing the store and making all parts work with all browsers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

25K in 2:26:11

Well, I have to say I was pretty pleased with how my Houston Masters 25K run over the weekend turned out. I think I learned a little bit about my Celiac body during race conditions. I actually pushed this one to race speeds (for the distance), carried water in my 32 oz. water bottle so I could drink when I wanted, and gutted out the last three miles, running.

True story - I think 15.5 miles is farther than I've run consecutively in a long time (if you don't count me stopping for a few seconds to refill my water bottle at mile 11). If you'll recall, my 13.1 mile time trial ended in disaster a few weeks ago. I was determined not to repeat the under- hydration mistake. But I've also made the over-hydration mistake as well.

I carpooled to the start with some of my Katy Fit running club. I set up well - even got a pre-race massage -- and only took about 30 seconds to cross the start line. I started with a cramp in my side, one of those annoying little things - not enough to make you care but enough to make you notice. It stuck with me the whole way. By mile 12 or so, I had taken two electrolytes and had drunk enough to "slosh" -- that is, my stomach wasn't keeping up with the fluid I was putting in... It's an odd thought, because I think I drank about 48 oz. I'd eaten half an Access bar.

The last few miles were interesting. I had to talk myself into keeping running, but I knew I was slowing down a bit and starting to hurt. I struggled up the last hill about half a mile from the finish when two of my (much) faster friends said "Hi" as they blasted by me on a cool down run.

Now, that annoyed me a bit (they looked pretty fresh for all that distance), but it also lifted my spirits and I found I could keep pace, albeit about 25 yards back. So that pickup became my "kick" to the finish line. I did not feel great when I finished, but after a few moments, the nausea passed and I felt pretty good. I got a post-race massage and went home. I would have gone out to Denny's for something afterward, but I just didn't have the energy to explain gluten this time. Afterwards, I wondered if using Celiac as an excuse to skip a social meal was a good or bad thing.

So - what could I do better for next time? My next scheme will be to try electrolytes tabs and bananas -- It's pretty likely I'm not getting enough carbs. Gatorade seems to be unreliable because of the different strengths it is mixed on the course, and my body does not like "gu-ish" things. Maybe Shot Blox?

Then there's the post-race food problem. Everything looks good. I've noticed from using my Wii fit that I overeat after a hard workout or race, so I need to be really health conscious afterwards. So better preparation (stocking the cupboard with good food and not soda) would be smart.

Anyway - good day, good run.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Awesome celiac/run day.

I had a good chat today with one of my friends in the Celiac Awareness business. We talked about various strategies and tactics to get doctors more likely to diagnose Celiac. It was a great call.

For my run, it wasn't an auspicious start - I barely had the energy to get out the door and mostly walked to the track. Somewhere, I learned it was a good strategy to just get out the door, and then just try to walk, then jog, then run, then do the workout. That worked today, despite a late start and an initially tired start. I was supposed to run 2 miles twice at 8:34 pace, but it seemed easy. My last mile was probably around 7:50, and I finished not breathing hard. Now if I just ice my legs and get to sleep, the day will have ended up pretty good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Time trial meltdown

Just a tip - don't do a half marathon time trial the day after a flu shot. Let's not mention that stupidity ever again...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flu shot - tip for better running

I got my flu shot today. It's one key tactic I have that helps me get to the marathon start line every year. It's been a long time ago now, but I read somewhere that in Canada, they recommend that immune compromised people should get a shot. They also recommend that Celiacs get a shot.

There must be something to it, because at work, I get them for free and my employer has surely run the numbers. So the strategy is to feel a little crummy now, with the idea that if the flu is going around in January, it will miss or "lightly hit" me, and I will still be able to race. (I suppose I will also have to work that week, but it's a good trade-off.)

I think the better part of the deal is I can be slightly less paranoid in the days leading up to the race. I know runners who won't shake hands the last week before a race. They should get a life. The time to not shake hands is after the marathon. That's when you're the most worn down and likely to get sick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Old school/New school

I'm preparing for a half marathon on Friday, but I got reacquainted with the Nordic Trak today. I had a "honey do list" sort of day, and by the time it was time to run, it was too late to go out to the Y or even hit the pavement (tornado warning/thunderstorms passing through). I keep a Nordic Trak from the early nineties around to do low impact workouts. I haven't been on it seriously in years, but tonight was the right night. That's the old school workout.

The new school workout is that I got a Wii Fit for my birthday. I love it, especially those balance games I am absolutely terrible at. The yoga has been a regular feature for about a month now and I've started adding in the strength workouts. I'm making progress.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Finished 5K in 24:21

I did the Komen Race for the Cure 5K over the weekend. Wow, was it crowded -- Some 30K people, they said. I was in the competitive race, and I finished before some of the noncompetitive 5k participants crossed the start line. Anyway - I ran it evenly but not too hard, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. The weather has really improved around Houston, with lower temperatures and humidity. It's the best time of year to be in Houston.

Oh - and I spent about 5 hours around the outside of the house, cleaning up debris, cutting back damaged limbs and so on. I'm glad I did. The city debris crew have been working my street all morning - and mine is in a dump truck now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Autoimmune Awareness/Research Bill

HR 7078 was filed yesterday with some interesting provisions, and Celiac is one of the conditions listed. As someone who worked hard to put something like this into the Texas Republican Platform, it gladdens me to see the bill introduced. I like some provisions and disagree with others. I hope it generates some good discussion.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First run in weeks

Today I went out for the first run in weeks. Planned vacation, then a hiatus for hurricane Ike has truly eaten into my training time. It felt good to get out again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sleep deficit

The Summer Olympics are over and it's time to get back on a regular sleep schedule. Training has been nice and boring, which is exactly how I like it. No injuries, no problems, just steady progress. I felt very good for a nine-miler on Saturday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Amy's 26th (Flanagan gets Bronze)

Amy Begley-Yoder ran 26th in 32:38.28, a little over 2 minutes behind teammate Shane Flanagan, who appears to have set an American record of 30:22.22 in the process. It wasn't Amy's best time, but I think she probably ran the race she wanted to, so good for her. Based on what she said about her pre-race strategy and abilities relative to the field (I haven't seen the race yet), she probably had to put out 102% for too long to stay with the top group and then cracked.

I hope NBC shows some of it now that there's a US medal winner. Amy's bib number was 3140, I think. An interesting note for the future is that Shane's first Olympic appearance resulted in a 22nd place finish, so I wonder what the future holds for Amy?

I nominate Amy for fastest Celiac on the planet - I'm proud of you!

Go Amy! Women's Olympic 10K final starts in 15 minutes

NBC Olympics has Amy Begley-Yoder starting the 10K in lane 3. Amy had to find her own cook in Beijing. GO AMY!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Runners live longer and have fewer injuries

I always suspected the findings from this study.

Selected study findings:
Runners were half as likely to die over 19 years.
Runners had fewer injuries of all kinds, including those to their knees.

I've always said that running keeps me young, now I know it's true...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Elite Weightlifter with Celiac

The Boston Globe reported a story about a weightlifting athlete with Celiac. I had a couple of thoughts about this interesting article. She keeps three meals prepared at all times. That really surprised me as an potentially effective way to keep thoughts about hunger at bay.

Another was that her parents pushed her into weightlifting at the age of 12, to help with her swimming. I don't recommend that. I think the chances that kids can overdo it and wreck some part of their body for good is just too high.

Finally, she mentioned that on a road trip she bought bottled water and gained a small amount of weight because there was too much sodium in it. Weightlifters hate extra weight because of their weight classes. That's a real "thinker," because sodium can be pretty useful preventing cramps - but weight can be a problem for athletes such as myself. I guess perhaps we just file this under "interesting, potentially useful."

Friday, July 25, 2008

100% Gluten Free Restaurant

It's a small world when I can review what I believe to be the first wholly GF restaurant in Texas.
Delicious n fit. We were in town for a swim meet and just had to go there. It's at 930 W. Parker #420, Plano, Texas 75075.

I ordered the first chicken fried steak I've had in years. (It was good, not great.) The mashed potatoes with gravy and corn were excellent. We also got the last piece of strawberry cake tonight, which brought back some memories. My kids were more enthusiastic, saying things like "this is heaven." I'd definitely go back, but if you have a large party, make sure you call ahead.

Mayo Clinic Highlights Celiac Disease

I noted this article today. This one was interesting in that, coming from the Mayo Clinic as an authoritative source, it will likely get lots of media play and quoted widely.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Race last weekend

I did the Jeff and Brede's triathlon last weekend. It was short (for me) 300 meter swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run. I was pleased with the results - 116 out of 400 and right in the middle of my age group.

I wasn't pleased with the safety, though. Just after the mount line for the bicycle, I pushed off to get going and looked up to see A CAR coming toward me in my lane (it was in the LEFT lane, and it had whipped around the corner on the wrong side of the street). That was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. I jammed on brakes full and unclipped -- not exactly an auspicious start. The other safety concern was all the athletes who rode their bikes back to their cars WITHOUT HELMETS. That is an automatic DQ and with good reason - but the USAT official was long gone. Some of those people were podium material and ought to know better. If the officials won't enforce it (and stay until the transition area is empty) - USAT shouldn't have the rule. Who is USAT kidding? I have NEVER seen this rule enforced, but I've seen plenty of helmet-less idiots both before and after races.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Treadmill workout(s)

People ask me where the heck I come up with time to train. For starters, we should all be exercising more. What are we supposed to be doing in the way of daily exercise? An hour? Who gets that and is gainfully employed with two kids, I want to know.

I went to my son's swim meet on Saturday. On a lark, I brought along my running kit. I'm glad I did, because I went inside the Y and ran my workout (10 miles, easy) on the treadmill there. For those of you unfamiliar with "swim meet timing," let me just say you get there very early, the kids hop in the pool real quick to "warm up" and then sit around for an hour or so for things to get going. You actually just watch your child for perhaps 15 minutes over the five hours you are there.

It's just dead time - unless your wife hangs out waiting and calls you when it's his turn. So, I just put my cell phone on the treadmill and waited for her to call. I'd jog out (thanks honey!), watch the race, and then keep going. It was like free time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2 mile time trial - 14:04

I did my TT over lunch -- 2 miles in 14:04. It might have been short.

Lost 2 lbs water - did I mention I've been weighing myself to determine my rate of sweat loss?
96 degrees
49% humidity

I'm pretty encouraged - I didn't run negative splits, but the second half effort was much harder. I did go through 1 mile in 6:52 and 1.5 miles in 10:27. The 10:27 is significant, because even if the path is short, I went through the same 6 loops in 10:48 before I started "Beat the Heat." -- so on the same course I've improved perhaps 15 secs/mile (and this run was definitely hotter).

Oh - now this is interesting. I just pulled out my post-Celiac-diagnosis PR/goal list. And right under the 2 miles is a 14:20 I ran in May of 2006. I think that was a treadmill run, so I'm not sure it's a fair compare. Still, I'm running near my best times - whoo hoo!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gene-Testing measure becomes law

OK, so this is a post on something that happened a while back, but remember, Oprah preempted it. There's been a fairly steady march of legislation that prohibits discrimination on a variety of fronts (racism, etc). One of those fronts, and perhaps the newest one, happens to be genetic testing. The latest version of the law prohibits employers and insurance companies from discrimination when a genetic test reveals susceptibility to a costly disease. It passed overwhelmingly.

This whole area leads to some interesting personal behaviors. Some people I've talked to pay cash and use fake names when they do genetic testing, and others don't do it at all (although honestly that's mostly because of the expense). Also, there's the question that genetic testing for Celiacs is more about ruling the condition out right now than confirming the diagnosis. While the law was likely targeted at conditions that are super-costly, it applies to everyone.

I'm unclear on whether this law will help or hurt the cause of awareness, but on balance, I think it will help. While most people don't like discussing medical conditions, this legislation likely makes it less personally costly to do so. One thing that would help awareness would be a lawsuit brought by a Celiac under this statute, but I honestly don't wish that on either the employer or the employed -- there's better ways to raise awareness. Only time will tell. Stay tuned.

101 degrees...

I've been doing steady workouts with my Kenyan Way running group. Last night - I was thinking that I'd run a little hard on Saturday and would run with the evening group instead of the morning group. Now I know why 1) more people show up for the morning workout and 2) why the program is called "Beat the Heat". As part of my pre and post weighing, I look at the ambient temperature. Imagine my surprise when it registered 101 degrees Fahrenheit! Oh my! Well - I was sore and stiff, but I warmed up pretty quickly as you can imagine. We ran 25 minutes of hills, did the always difficult core workout and then called it a day. It had cooled down to 96 degrees. I lost 2.8 pounds of water over the space of a sixty minute workout - and I'd had 16 oz during!

Happily drinking Gatorade now and looking forward to an off day tomorrow...

Monday, June 9, 2008

GIG conference ROCKS!

The GIG conference was held this past weekend in Dallas. I went up Friday night after work for the Saturday session and drove home Saturday, but the long drive, expense, time away from my family, $4 gas and short sleep was all worth it.

The day started at 5:15, when my wake up call came for my 10 mile long distance run. Unlike other conferences, my running buddy was a fellow race director and we talked as only two GF long-distance runners can. Most of it was about the distance, training plans, etc. But a lot of it was about how we were going to meet our respective "next challenges" and in some part, how Celiac plays a role in that. So the miles "flew by" (Literally - she's fast, so I'd agreed to run harder than normal, and my legs are still somewhat sore). But it was an awesome run - and slightly less humid than Houston.

And then there was check-in and breakfast. Food vendors were all around with various dishes on offer, and there was the regular buffet line. I went for a corn tortilla, bacon, and eggs, but I stopped cold after the scrambled eggs. I went into what I call "cross contamination mode" as an entire tower of various breads sat next to the eggs. I told myself, "It's all gluten-free." It took saying it about three times, but I finally started to believe it. And that's when the security settled in - that calm feeling you have when you are "safe." It drives into your core and you say, "this day, I'm not worrying about food, period." A few weeks back, I talked about the "desperate hunger" of a diagnosis and the uncertainty around food. This conference was the antidote - where the food world revolved around me (like it used to, pre-diagnosis).

There was a "buzz" here, too. You wouldn't hear talk of poor business prospects here. Vendors all had smiles and talked about going from success to success in a market growing at 30% a year. Lots of individuals were taking on lots of initiatives -- new races, new newsletters, new research, new findings. There was more opportunity than people, and you could feel that in the air.

The MBA in me also noticed that people were wearing fewer hats as things have become big enough to specialize and divide responsibilities into what people are 'good at." People were in their element, researchers, nutritionists, vendors and participants didn't have to be all things to all people. There's a part of me that wonders if that will be a conference effect, or if people will carry that home, thinking, "THAT part of the community need is something I don't have to do anymore..."

I went to a few sessions. None were boring, so I may blog about them in the future. Time for bed now.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oprah goes gluten free?

I was telling my sister how I was going to do a blog on some important legislation that passed recently, when she told me that Oprah is going gluten free. Say what? Well, after some research it turns out that she's just doing it as part of her 21 day cleanse, but there's a big part of me that really doesn't care if she's in it for the short term. Oprah is a monster-juggernaut commercial phenomenon - just look at what she did for the books in her book club. She's done some recent stories on links to autism and Celiac as well.

And for roughly 1% of the Americans that do the cleanse, there will be one Celiac that will probably note a remarkable difference and perhaps seek help. Go Oprah!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Need better data on inactive ingredients

People who know me know that I am trying to lose weight and get faster this year. Well - I can definitely tell you one way NOT to do that. I had a stomach bug that basically took me out for a week (I managed maybe 16 hours of on and off working over the entire week...)

I worked some of those hours on Tuesday. By Wednesday it was clear I was headed for worse trouble, so I made an appointment for Thursday morning. Having been without solid food for days at this point, I literally dragged myself to the doctor's office, which wore me out. (My wife was running our children around to their various functions.) The doctor looked me over and said I looked 'very bad' -gastritis. She ordered up a slew of tests to be on the safe side. I drove to the lab and revived in their waiting room somewhat.

I decided to go over to the local pharmacy and try to fill my Carafate prescription. I told the pharmacist I was a Celiac and asked her if the Carafate had any gluten. She was holding a bottle in her hand, but she didn't know and said she would need to call the manufacturer - could I wait or come back? At that point, I was wondering if I could drive home. I called my wife, and she offered to check and pick it up. So I drove straight home and went to the futon, where I lay for about four hours in misery, too tired to move. Meanwhile, my wife came home, we found out it was gluten free, and finally got the prescription -- about five hours later and honestly the best we could do, given our circumstances. I finally had my first dose around 6.

The point is - for Celiacs - the "inactive ingredients" may or may not be. If there was better information, I wouldn't have had to suffer for those five hours. Has anyone else out there suffered a similar lag between prescription and acquisition? What coping approaches to you use?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vacation was good

After those big events, it's nice to take some time off to recover. I went up to Ohio to visit with family and didn't do much exercising - just the odd run or round of golf. It was really nice to recover and relax. Now if I could just get a vacation from my vacation...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

MS150 recap

Okay - I know the ride was almost a month ago, but there have been some intervening activities you will find out about as I go.

My MS150 ride this year was good, but it beat me up a little more than last year - I think there were two reasons. One, was that there was an unusual headwind blowing about 20 mph for nearly the whole course. The other was that I didn't do nearly as many rides during the week this year as last year, so I ended up with just a little less stamina than I had the last time around.

But, unlike last time, I was well-prepared in the food department and I packed appropriately for the weather (which was cold at night and in the morning).

The thing that probably concerned me the most was the number of cyclists who met the pavement unintentionally. I saw 6 or 7 cyclists on the road - and believe me, it wasn't intentional. I think maybe the MS150 is just too big for it's own good, or the people just are trained enough to be safe out there.

LaGrange was good. I got out a bit to see the rest of the fairgrounds and the town this year. I slept really well Saturday night in my 25 degree rated sleeping bag.

I can say I was truly annoyed by the music selection on Saturday morning (I could see a college fight song or two -- but OVER and OVER and OVER?). It was as if they had only two CDs.

I set a new personal speed record of 41 mph going downhill on the hill right before the State Park. I had to brake for someone on the way down (which I must say irritated me, but I'd rather be safe than sorry).

Of course, the best bit of the ride again was the State Park. I shifted early and didn't drop my chain, although I did misgear an early hill and had to clip out. The rest of it was just joyous, as I tried to maintain my speed through the hills, with some success.

After the ride was over, I was ready to do another one - but I was set to go on vacation.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wondrous Bike Ride

A few weeks ago, I had one of those runs that makes you feel glad that you are alive. Yesterday, I had one of those bike rides. The weather was perfect - the weather was just a little cold, foggy and overcast, but the roads were mostly dry and not slick. No wind.

I joined forces with some people from my team and we started out easy with the large group. As the ride strung out, someone went by and I hopped on his wheel. Two others hopped on as well and we cruised until we hit the first turn a few miles down. The pack broke up a bit and the road narrowed, but we still made good time and were able to reform. As we descended a long hill, some challenges presented themselves - wooden bridges and road debris, but we skirted those and I suddenly found myself drafting off my teammate, making very good time. I took a turn and we pulled into the back of another paceline. I was content to sit there, but my teammate pulled out and I went with him. I had noticed by now that I was pretty much the fastest one out there going downhill (my weight was good for something). On stretches that were mostly downhill, I would take a pull. We jumped out again, and he pulled, then I pulled and we skipped the first rest stop. My heart rate was really sky high at this point, but I gamely jumped on the wheel to keep the draft going uphill. We saw another paceline and I thought "refuge." So I took the front for a strong pull, then he did (with me struggling) and we finally pulled in the back. I was nearly cooked, 16 miles in, but I thought I might be able to recover. And I did, for a bit. The paceline held together pretty well for another 10 miles or so, but when we turned, I had a bit of crosswind and knew I was in trouble. I finally cracked a mile short of the 2nd aid station, where everyone stopped. At this point, my teammate and I pulled out our maps and said, "Wow - we've covered a serious amount of pavement." It was just 3 1/2 miles to the turn for the longest route. Time off the bike always restores me, so we hopped on pretty quickly and fell into a pattern of "sharing duties." I'd go hard on stretches that were mostly downhill, he'd drag me up sections that were mostly uphill and give some rest on the downhills, too.

Long story short, we traded off that way through the rest of the ride, well matched and flying. Toward the end, I was hurting a lot and standing up on some uphill sections to keep pace, but we pulled into the parking lot with a 19.7 mph average. It was by no means a "long ride" (more like 3 1/2 hours of intervals for me), but it was an immensely satisfying ride with just two weeks to go to the MS150.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Workouts working

I've had some pretty good workouts lately. I'm feeling faster, but I'm not really checking my times.

I had two strong Saturday long rides on my bicycle in preparation for the MS150.
I did several tempo workouts, and the night before last even played soccer afterward in a little neighborhood pick up game. I miss soccer.

On the celiac front - I asked if there was a "gluten-free" option for a carbo-loading dinner for the training series. I know there isn't, but it makes me feel better for asking.

I'm losing weight, but oh so slowly. The other day, I weighed in at 4.8 pounds under my starting weight. Then my wife said, "You still have your keys in your pocket?" Well - yes - that's how I weigh in. I guess life is different for people with purses. (I didn't tell her I was also carrying my cell phone and wallet.)

Work and home have been busy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I think my offseason is over

Lately, I've really been itching to get back on a regular workout scheme. Last night, I was free on a Wednesday for the first time in a long time. I was bored, so I created a running workout schedule. I guess I'll be starting that up with some more biking.

My GIG Celiac Conference note came in the mail today, too.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Won my age group!

I didn't peak for it and I didn't plan it, and I can't remember my time, but I won my age group at a fun run this weekend! We just came back from a cub scout campout and I realized I had enough time to make it over to the high school for the run. So I did. This year, I made it with enough time to chat and warm up. My big strategy was to line up behind the cross country team and run an even pace. The first part went well. Aside for some jostling at the too-narrow start, the cross country team dusted me so fast that there was a good amount of room to run. The second part was more confusing... The mile splits they called out were 7 min, 15:23 and then I finished in 23:22 (I think), for an overall 7:30 pace. Something wasn't quite right on the mile splits. But never mind - I knew I'd done well given my 31 mile bike ride up by Lake Livingston.

The kids wanted to come, too, so they came later with my wife. The weather was rainy in spurts, so they decided to start the kids race early. I didn't have my cell phone, so I had to run back to the truck, only to run to my wife caught in traffic, to turn around to run to the registration table and then to run to the mile start. (Did I mention the earlier 5K?) Then the kids said, "Dad - will you run with us?" "Um, sure"

Wouldn't you know it that both of them outran the pack for first place in boys and girls? It was a small race, but that was sure fun. And the best part wasn't the winning, it was that we all did our best and we did it as a family.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Basketball player improves on GF Diet

I read a story that was remarkable. An Indiana high school basketball player improved rapidly (increase in 20 point games, double digit rebounds, etc) after being discovered having Celiac and changing her diet. But the improvement in her performance isn't as remarkable to me as how quickly she was diagnosed. Kudos out there to everyone working on Celiac Awareness! Someone really helped her with a quick diagnosis leading to a subsequent recovery and impressive stats. Good luck at State!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Finished 6 week program last night

Last night, I finished a 6 week training program that was on Wednesday nights. It was put on by the local bicycle shop and was a good core workout, a little spin work and followed by a quick run through the park. The weather was nice and cool, making the run one of the most enjoyable I've had in a long time -- nothing like my 54 mile bike, 2 mile run brick workout on Saturday.

One of the things I didn't elaborate on in the last posting that maybe I should have is this concept of being "solid." After I was diagnosed and starting feeling better, I started feeling more solid. It showed up in funny ways. I would accidentally break things, like tree branches or furniture, that I bumped into or kicked (where before they had always won, and I ended up hopping around with a bruise).

Last night, as I was out running, I saw a new picture of what this "solid" feeling was like -- and it involved less weight and more core strength. I know it's pretty vague, but I thought I'd share because I think its a good result.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Starving to Death

I had a couple of conversations this week that took me right back to where I was five years ago -- the week of my diagnosis with Celiac.

The first conversation was at Weight Watchers. I signed up for the core plan and was going through the whole spiel with the instructor. She was pointing to a continuum of hunger and saying "you need to stop eating before you are stuffed and not get so hungry that you get desperate."

In a flash - I remembered back to that desperate hunger when I came home for the first time and realized whole swaths of the pantry were off limits. I recall being determined I was never going to put that poison gluten back into my system. Hunger is powerful and I remember being confused and at a loss, hour after hour, meal after meal, about what was next and safe. I remember filling those gaps with marshmallows, nuts and coke -- just buying myself time so I could think straight until I could plan the next meal. The experience drained me then and just going back there drained me again. I was surprised at how powerful the effect of that memory on me was. After all - it was nearly five years ago.

Since then, over time I "got healthy" - but my weight drifted up. I think I have a lot of positive emotion associated with that weight gain. To me - the gain has coincided with my improvements in health. So the extra pounds represented being more muscular, healthier, recovering quicker, even a "safety margin" of fat in case I needed it.

Which brings me to my second conversation. I was talking to a person from my cycling class about Celiac. I told him how, pre-diagnosis, I would drink four cokes with my Beligan waffle w/ ice cream dinner, go for a run, then go out with my girlfriend for Texas pecan fudge pie a la mode and not gain weight. He asked me how that was possible, and I explained that my intestines were so destroyed by my autoimmune reaction to gluten that the food just passed through without being absorbed. Even though I was eating, I was literally starving to death.

And when I said that -- starving to death -- I received one of those lightning-flashes of clarity. It struck me that my self-preservation instinct really drove some powerful thoughts and emotions for me around food. It's absolutely silly to think that someone with my means could starve in an country with such ready access to food, but in that twisty, emotional world, not everything makes sense and not everything is logical. These feelings around food, driven by my self-preservation instinct, are some of the strongest emotions I cope with. At (blessedly infrequent) times they've made me snap, be less of a person than I should be and driven me to tears. I realized that it's taken me five years to get the emotional space to want to do something about it.

When I finished an Ironman, half Ironman and marathon in the space of four months, it exploded any idea or emotion I had in my mind that Celiac could hold me back physically any more. With nothing left to prove physically, I've been thinking that the next step in my training is to finally drop the weight. Based on the conversations this past week, I've found that this next step in my journey may be much more about my emotions and mindset than anything else.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Two days a week

I'm working out two days a week with a little stretching here and there - Wednesdays with the tri team at Bicycle World and Fitness and Saturdays with the training series. I'll just see how that goes. I've felt like adding some more cycling in-between, so I'm sure that's a good indicator that I'm getting over my workout burnout.

I've decided I'm going to start losing weight, too. I'm not sure how yet (or how much of that I want on my blog).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Set Celiac Awareness Race Date - Swam yesterday

On the Celiac Awareness front - I reserved Bear Creek for October 25 for the Celiac Awareness Run, so I can start that whole ball rolling again... On a separate note, I was reading an article in a GIG newsletter. The doctor was saying that he encourages his fully healed, asymptomatic patients to think of themselves as "Celiacs, but not having Celiac disease." I think that encapsulates things nicely, so I'll start using that convention going forward.

I must be starting to get the hang of the whole "off season" thing. Last weekend I drove SAG for the bicycle training series I'm taking, and yesterday I swam, which felt pretty good, too. I haven't run in weeks - After a steady diet of workouts for about a year and a half. I'd forgotten how much fun taking some time off can be.

I haven't decided when to start back up with 3 times a week, but I guess my body will let me know when I can't stand not running anymore.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Been sick - workouts on hold

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. "Know your body and cut back when you are tired." Well, I've been sick for four days, two bad and two blah. As is my usual custom, I usually can my workouts on days like that, but now I'm thinking about some extended time off with limited workouts. I'll keep you posted (or not).

From an awareness standpoint, one thing that concerns me is people who are trying to find celiac but misspell it - you know, words like:
  • seeliac
  • seeliack
  • seleac
  • sealiac
  • sealiack
  • ceeleac
  • ceeliac
I think search engines might pick up and correct come of these, but not all. Any thoughts?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Motivation, anyone?

Well - after the marathon, I usually go through a quick period of "post marathon blues" where it just seems a little harder to get up in the morning, get motivated, etc. Every year, I seem to think I'm going to plan my workouts for after the marathon, and every year, it seems I don't.

This year was a little bit better because my kids are so active now I really can't go into a shell for a week or two - they have too much stuff planned. So I think that's good.

Plus - the MS 150 training rides have started. I joined a local team and the ConocoPhillips training series. I promptly made my first dumb mistake in the ride. No - not that we rolled when it was about 40 degrees out - but that I thought the ride would take two hours when it really took three. I ate just one banana at the pit stop and then couldn't figure why my legs were so tired for the last bit. Live and learn.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nineteen Houstons!

I wasn't real hopeful for a good time this year with all the "catch as catch can" training I'd done over the last two months. Those of you who know me know I skipped lots of workouts for illness and work. I went into the expo and pulled pacer tags for 5 hours, 5:15 and 5:30, figuring that I would do my typical "fly and die" and gut out a finish around 5:30. My plan was to run 10:45s until I couldn't, then run as much as I could on the way in, taking off my pace tags as my estimated finish time matched the later times.

But something happened on race day and I'm not sure what. Maybe it was the good weather, maybe it was the race atmosphere, but I just ran well within myself and started popping off 10 minute miles. Over and over and over. Before I knew it, I had covered 16 miles at that pace. Then I ran two 10:45s. Then I switched over to a four/one run/walk ratio. I cruised across in 4:54:15, ecstatic.

Did I learn anything? My body seems to react to something different every year now. This year, I think it reacted to not having enough mileage trained at marathon goal pace. I think I need to:
  • lose weight
  • put in more speed work (to not only get faster, but to also have more chance to run an even pace for the whole distance. The farthest I've made it without walking is probably 22 miles - a nut I would love to crack. I think at this slow end, I'm really "in between" my running gears.)
  • put in more base mileage
So I think maybe the FIRST running program (see earlier posts) might really work for me. If I can keep those 10 minute miles through 26 miles instead of just 16, I can knock half an hour off my time.
I've also already signed up for number 20.

Friday, January 4, 2008

My treadmill exploded!

Remember last year how lightning struck nearby and a few things stopped working, including my treadmill? It was like losing an old friend, so I called the local treadmill repair shop for an appointment. The nice lady on the other end politely asked if the treadmill was plugged in and turned on. "I tried that already." I said as I quickly plugged the treadmill back in and bent down on my knees to flip the switch in the back. When I did, the treadmill belt shot forward about 4 feet, landing me flat on my stomach and shooting me back off the treadmill into my scale and some other stuff piled there. I politely told the lady good-bye and told her it looked like it was running.

My family, hearing a yelp and some crashing, had shown up at this point. I proudly announced that my treadmill was working. I put the kill switch back in and (on the sides of the treadmill this time), flipped the reset switch.

The fireworks started. Literally -- sparks were shooting out from the area under the foot guard about a foot from my face. I asked my wife to unplug it (she says I yelled) and get the fire extinguisher. Smoke was coming out between the belt and foot guard, but it stopped. The house smelled of ozone for a good five hours after that.

I called the nice lady at the the treadmill repair place back and made an appointment. It's a good thing it's taper time for the marathon.