Monday, August 26, 2019

Why I Have Returned to Low Carb

I friend asked me a question:


Your question today caught me off guard. “Do you know a lot about nutrition?” Is what you asked. I’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to feel good. The 8 years I spent traveling back and fourth to China 30+ times, flying from Germany to Latin America 5 times a year and then flying from San Diego to Europe 5 times a year. Tore me apart. I couldn’t sleep I couldn’t run with any joy I was a miserable person. At one point I did some blood work and then worked with a nutritionist to right everything that looked wrong on the blood test (High Triglycerides, Low HDL Off the charts Iron).  There is history, my Dad passed away on the golf course from a massive heart attack, my brother passed away from ALS and my Mom suffered with Alzheimer’s until she passed away. The writing was on the wall. I better fix things or I was just going to be like them. They would want me to fix things. The nutritionist put me on the Whole 30 diet which is essentially and elimination diet and had me taking blood glucose measures daily. It worked we balanced my blood sugar and my energy returned to normal. My Triglycerides went down my HDL shot up and we got rid of the Iron the only way you can by giving blood. 

The the important thing I learned is the body doesn’t distinguish between the sources of stress. Doing a long hard bike ride or the stress I had a few years ago of deciding what I wanted to do next for my livelihood is the same to the system.  Under heavy stress your body floods your blood with Cortisol. To counteract the flood of Cortisol your body releases Insulin into the blood. The best way to control the insulin is through the food you eat. The best way to control stress is through a mindfulness practice. I use HRV and a blood glucose monitor to measure my stress and my blood glucose in the morning. 

My stress is really low even when the brands slow pay me. I have a mindfulness practice that works for me. I journal in the morning, do a bit of meditation while I also measure my HRV. In the evening I do Yoga. I learned all of this from Tim Ferriss who famously wrote the 4 Hour Work Week and has one of the best Podcasts on the planet. You can search Tim Ferriss and his morning routine and you’ll get a great mindfulness head start. I also suggest searching his podcast for interviews with Dom Diagastino. 

Recently I noticed some weight gain that didn’t seem natural. I tried training the weight off and that didn’t work. So I went into my library of books and pulled out all the books I own by Mark Sisson. The Primal Blueprint and the Keto Reset are the two I read over again. I looked at my current diet and pulled out everything that was processed. I lost 12 lbs in the span of 6 weeks. The bulk of that 12 pounds was fat. I took a blood test recently and everything is on the positive. 

I’m not writing this to tell you what to do. I’m just trying to share what I did and if you find the urge to take a look at things, give you the resources I used. 

Cliff Harvey one of the pioneers in LCHF says this about the general food pyramid 

The macro nutrients have some basics overall functions: 

Protein - Structure - Easy to understand right? 

Fat - Structure and Fuel - Not as easy given the Fat is Bad mentality. 

Carbs - Fuel 

Wait just a minuted. If Carbs are mostly just fuel and we are told to eat 65% carbs what happens to the fuel we don’t use? 

My issue in the past with this way of eating was to figure out how to incorporate it into the “training” that I do. I put that in quotes because I still train a heck of a lot but I sure don’t race too often. Starting your own business and trying to race don’t mix too well. That said I’m 3 years into the business and the revenue continues to climb so I’m getting to the point where I can think about racing again. So back to the problem. I did Ironman 70.3 Saint George 5 or 6 years ago. I was full into HFLC and feeling good. I did the entire race and didn’t have a single gel packer or swallow of Coke. My race was ok. It wasn’t the fastest ever but it wasn’t slow either. I knew though If I wanted to go longer than 5 hours I was going to need to change. I never figured that out is simply moved on. 

The hardest thing with any way of eating it figuring out how to manage it when on the road. I determined at one point that it was too difficult and that I would cheat while on the road. Well it’s easy to figure out what happened next. My LCHF plan went completely out the window. I didn’t start stuffing my fact with Grains and Sugar but I didn’t not have those either. This brings me to June of this year. I tried training the weight off me and it just didn’t budge. In June I went back to the basics of LCHF. The problem of how to train still stood. 

Recently I signed up for a course taught by Dan Plews on incorporating LCHF into training. Dan raced the Ironman in Kona last year. He won the Amateur race and set the course record for Amateurs. Last year was a really “fast” year. The first time a male pro went under 8 hours on that course. The key thing though is that Dan did using this eating approach. It also helps that he is a University Professor and has executed extensive studies on LCHF as well as HRV for athletes. It was a great course and taught me a huge amount. The basics message is train low. In your day to day training and living stay LCHF and then race high. Use carbohydrates during the race to stay strong throughout the race. Through the LCHF system you simply don’t need the amount of calories pushed through your system. So even though you are going back to using carbohydrates it’s roughly 50g an hour which is way lower than the general guidelines for long distance racing.  

This is all just a start. I’ll update more from time to time. I’m still figuring out the right volume of food and the make up (Macronutrient base) of that food. Like today I had just fat and a bit of protein before a 50 minutes fairly strenuous training ride this morning. I really struggled the last 15 minutes of the ride. That tells me that I either  didn’t have enough Carbohydrates yesterday or I need to add some into my pre ride meal. 

If you have questions like Scott did I’d be happy to answer. 

It’s a good life...... 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Running Injuries

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been dealing with some knee pain. I think it started by doing some hard running on the track and then was finished off by the down hill repeats on the trail. It doesn’t keep me from running but it is quite painful when I start running. It also causes me to change my stride. The picture above is the result of the changing stride. My right, side to compensate is taking more of the force pressure and therefore is shuffling more than it is lifting. On a recent trail run I took my eye off the trail for a split second and down I went. My right foot caught a root. I landed on my right knee and right elbow and somehow also landed on my left knee and left hand. I laid there for a minutes or so. Stood up shoot it off and finished the run. I had no choice I was 40 minutes running or a great deal more walking away from the car. 

This past Saturday I did my first race of the year, the Wild Duck 5K Cross Country Race. I’ve done the race a few times and had such a blast last year I decided to do it again. I took an extra long warm up to get that left knee working pain free. It kind of worked. I took the first mile out very conservative for me and then cruised the next 2 miles. I didn’t want to risk pushing so hard that I did more damage to my knee. I finished in 21:39. Last year I ran 21:16. I’m satisfied with the race this year. After the race I stood around talking to folks then I hobbled my way through a warm down. I knew damage was done. 

Yesterday I made it 4 steps into a run and stopped, my knee is damaged. This is the first running injury I can remember in a decade or more. I’m going to heed the advice I give everyone, rest. I’ve got a week this week where there is some forced rest coming up. I have one of those medical screening tests where you have to fast the day before and I’ll be out the day of the test too. That’s as good an excuse as any to take the next 5 days off of running and hope for the best. I won’t just lay down. I’ll swim and I can ride without any pain. There is also a great deal of mobilization and yoga in my future. I’m confident I can work it out in a week. 

It’s a good life.....

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Running and Marines

Stupid Workouts - a couple weeks ago I decided to jump into one of my buddy’s workouts. What he described seemed easy enough. Down hill repeats. He had 3 weeks to go before his Leadville Traill 100 debut and downhill running is not his specialty. We met in a trail parking lot, ran 20 minutes to to the top of a hill and then started our workout. We ran 10 x 1/4 mile down the trail and walked back to the start. I really enjoyed the first 3 or 4. On each I picked a line I wouldn’t normally choose challenging myself to be comfortable on any footing. All was going fine. On 4-8 the workout started to get to me. First of all my friend is the ultimate half stepper. He will never let you pull along side, he always has to be a half step ahead. He’s also notorious for doing workouts too hard. So here I was feeling quite good pulling up along side of him just to have fun. Every time I did that he would surge ahead. I finally gave up at 8 and simply jogged the last two. It’s been 3 weeks and my IT Band still feels those down hills. I should have called it a day the first time he half stepped me and just run on the trails while he finished his workout.

Other than doing stupid workouts It’s been a great week. My wife is out of the country in the Middle East. She’s having a blast making new friends and seeing a new country. I highly suggest you go to that part of the world. The people are incredibly warm and friendly. Our son is in a completely different part of the world doing his work as a US Marine. That’s him on the left in the picture. Because he’s off doing his work contact with him is rare. But this week he and I have been in constant contact. He texts me any time he has down time. Almost all of the banter has been about our mutual love for music. New Tool songs on Spotify or the bus driver blasting Green Day. He’s gone for at least 4 more months. It’s hard knowing he’s doing really dangerous things while he sleeps on the ground where who knows what kind of snake and spider lurks. It’s always great to hear from him no matter what the topic is. Just knowing he’s ok makes me sleep a little deeper. 

Back the training. I did a MAF test this week. I haven’t done one in a really long time. I ran 10:15 miles for 4 miles. That’s kind of pitiful for me but it is what it is. Thing think I do know is at that effort I can go for a really long time. My goal is to comfortable do a trail 50K in November. I’ll have to up my running distance over the next few months and the only way to really do that is to slow down first. Next MAF test is in 3 weeks.