Monday, May 30, 2011

Kris' Link to His High Trestle Bridge Pics

Another test.
Why do long weekends feel short?

Running With a Broken Bone

So every season I pray for no illnesses or injury. This season I got both in the first couple weeks of training! There’s some good news though. First, it happened really early in training. So I have time to recover and still make my training goals. Second, the injury is not running related.

I broke my thumb! In a really stupid way. I slammed it in a car door! No exciting story about climbing a face or down-hilling a technical route. No glorious wipe out on my bike. I just slammed it in a car door! ugh!

There is actually more good news. It’s my left thumb and I am right handed. It’s only broken above the first knuckle. And it’s not a toe.

I think it’s going to be a couple more days before I can run without it throbbing and hurting more. But a few days off won’t hurt me. Especially this early in the game.

My biggest issue right now is that it still hurts (though less than the day it happened) and the pain wears me out. I am so tired! Also, we are heading into another conversion at the bank. So not only can’t I take a day or two off to rest up. I need to do file input all week. And I only have nine fingers to use for that now. Grr.

I guess the second biggest issue is that I can't craft. Crafting keeps me calm & sane. I think I may use this as a learning opportunity. What do we do, when we can't do what we usually do? What happens when our pacifiers disappear? Guess I'll find out.

I hope the rest of the season goes without mishap!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Day After Tomorrow

So I was right, the kitchen and laundry didn’t get done. We did get back late from the Tour of California. But the second day at the tour was less work and much more fun!

Monday was a crazy day at work and it was also my first day of hill training.

This season I vowed to actively pursue hill regular hill training. I made it over the hills last year in San Francisco. But I want to fly over the hills this year. I’m trying to cut a full hour off my finishing time this year. So being strong on the hills will really help that.

So after work Kris and I took Heather and drove 20 minutes or so to Point Sal. The wind was gusting like a tornado (it is always windy in Santa Maria. But some nights it gets really bad. This was one of those nights).

We got out of the car and the wind was not only gusty but FREEZING cold! I wanted to say, “Let’s do this another night.” But my schedule is tight. I’m not sure I’d be able to make it up this week.

Besides, I’m a firm believer in “Whatever doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger”. So, every time I train when it’s extra hard, I am increasing my mental strength and believe me, mental strength is more important than physical strength when running a marathon! Ask any marathoner and they’ll agree!

So we start up the trail and I turn back to look at Kris and ask, “Can I change my mind?”

He grinned, “Sure.” (He knew I wouldn’t change my mind).

So I take off jogging and I am freezing! The wind is blowing cold and hard right in my face. Ugh! But I knew I would warm up fast and I knew if I just got to the top of the first big switch back, I’d keep going. So I told myself that if I made it to the top of the first big switch back, I could stop and go home.

See, it’s all mental. All I had to do is make it to that one point and I knew I would finish the rest of the run.

And I did. I climbed and climbed. Or should I say I ran the steep parts and walked the flatter parts to catch my breath. But I pushed myself hard and started running again as soon as I got my breath back. I repeated this until my Nike+ said, “Half way point”. Yeah!!!! That’s when I got to turn around and run downhill!

I FLEW downhill! I was able to stay in control even though I really let the stop out! I was working almost as hard on the downhill trying to go as fast as I could and stay in control. It felt so good to run so fast! I rarely get to experience that feeling. I was really pleased how easy it was to stay controled and that my knees and feet didn’t feel like they were being pounded. Like on my bike, I kill on the downhill!!! :)

But I have a lot training to do yet to move past my ‘hill slug’ status! See you next week Pt. Sal. It was fun!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Week Number One and I'm Already Killing Myself!

It’s my first week back from vacation and the first week of marathon training. And I am wiped out!!!

You know how it is when you get back from vacation. It’s seems like two weeks worth of work is piled up on your desk and it takes at least a full day to get through your e-mails alone!

On top of that, the Tour of California is in full swing and I volunteered to work two days of it leaving me with a shortened work week. That may sound great. But when you are trying to catch up from your vacation you really need all five days of the week. So I ended up working 10 -11 hour days. Then had to wake up early on Friday to get to the Tour of California. And the worked entailed standing on my feet all day in the sun. I was wasted by the end of the day!

My feet hurt so bad it was hard to walk back to the car. I was worried about the team run the next morning. So I tried to keep my feet up as much as I could when I got home. But again, I had so much to do at home, I’m afraid I didn’t get much rest. But I made it to the run and through the run.

It’s fun to see everyone on the first day of a new marathon season. People meeting each other and it’s fun to see where people are starting from.

I have a relatively small team for the Nike Full marathon. There are seven of us. It’s early yet. So we may pick up a couple more runners in the next few weeks or so.

I was feeling pretty tired all day today. I tried to keep drinking because I could tell I was dehydrated. (I got a little sunburned at the tour yesterday too and I’m sure that contributed to it). But I had so much to do. I ran around too much and got to feeling really ‘punky’ as my mom would say.

So the kitchen didn’t get cleaned, and the laundry didn’t get finished. But too bad. I can’t run myself into the ground and there’s always tomorrow. (Though I won’t get home from the Tour until late. So they won’t get done tomorrow either). Oh well. There’s always the day after tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Article Really Freaked Me Out - So I Posted it Here For Your Consideration

This was posted on the "End Fat Talk" page:

You, too, can’t have a body like this

To get the abs, male models have to starve, binge, booze, suck sweets, slap on fake tan and be Photoshopped
Peta Bee

Daniel Martin regularly puts his body through hell. For days at a time he restricts fluid intake so severely that the resulting dehydration causes headaches, haziness and overwhelming fatigue. Having trained for weeks like an Olympian with high-intensity circuits, running and weightlifting, he then cuts out exercise for 48 hours and opens a bottle of red wine to drink alone. A six-day carbohydrate-depletion diet, in which he eats little more than chicken and broccoli, leaves his muscles weak and his brain so starved of glycogen, its source of fuel, that he feels dizzy and disorientated when he stands up. He can barely walk, let alone hit the gym. And the reason for this torturous ritual of self-deprivation? Martin is preparing to bare his abs in a photoshoot for the cover of one of Britain’s top-selling men’s magazines. At 33, Martin is a veteran of the fitness model circuit, his finely etched torso having gleamed from the pages of Men’s Health, the market leader, more often than that of any other cover model. He has the body and looks that epitomise what men (and women) have come to perceive as the pinnacle of masculine attractiveness. Part of the allure is that this Adonis-like beauty is seen as somehow attainable through hard work and a sensible diet. While female models are criticised for fuelling the rise in eating disorders by looking underweight, their male counterparts have largely escaped such adverse scrutiny. By and large, we have collectively assumed that those rippling abs represent the result of the kind of gym-dedication and healthy living that can only be admired. Behind the abs, though, is a far from wholesome reality.

Last week the male fashion industry was criticised when one mannequin manufacturer brought out a super-skinny model with highly defined abs and a tiny 27in waist. According to Beat, the eating disorders charity, such unattainable images pile on the pressure that can cause low self-esteem, body-image issues and eating disorders in vulnerable young men.

Yet Martin’s modelling career depends on the pursuit of that ideal. Two days before a photoshoot, he says, he begins to dehydrate by restricting the intake of water and other fluids to a minimum. After almost a week of carbohydrate avoidance, he also begins to “carbo-load” by eating pasta and sweet potatoes for 48 hours. “That forces the muscles to fill up with glycogen so they look bigger,” he says. “Being dehydrated makes your skin shrink and become taut so that it sticks to the muscles and gives a dry, vascular appearance, making your veins stick out, which is what the magazines want.”

Many male models drink alcohol — brandy and gin are favourites — to speed dehydration. “I open a bottle of red wine the night before, and on the morning of a photoshoot I have another glass of wine and some wine gums,” Martin says. “The sugar in the sweets and the alcohol draw more water from the skin, leaving you looking as lean as possible.”

Among models and many others in the industry, Martin says, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that the pre-shoot regimen is standard. “There is definitely a sense that magazines expect you to turn up dehydrated and dizzy,” he says. “I’ve been on castings for fitness magazines where there are six or seven models who are so groggy and out of it that they need to grab a chair to sit down and literally can’t speak.”

James Fricker, a 22-year-old sales executive from London who has also modelled for several magazines including Men’s Health, agrees that the expectation to arrive at a shoot in a hypoglycaemic haze is immense. “Everything you put in your body immediately before pictures are taken is aimed at making you look as lean and muscular as you can for the camera,” he says. “Before a shoot I would often eat jelly beans, as the sugar improves blood flow and vascularity. Having your veins stand out is desirable because it makes you look as if you are in the best shape you can be.”

Such techniques have been used by bodybuilders for years, and many claim that they are highly effective in achieving a temporarily “pumped up” appearance.

“Depleting carbohydrate in this way is a process known as ‘cutting’,” says Dr Stewart Bruce-Low, a sports scientist who has researched strength-training approaches at Southampton Solent University. “Allegedly it helps the muscles to increase in size, as stores are replenished with carbohydrate two to four days before a competition. As every gram of carbohydrate, or glycogen, is stored in the body with around 3g of water, the likelihood is that muscle fibres would bulk up even more if someone was dehydrated, although no research has been conducted to prove this.”

But taking the body to such extremes carries a risk. Lose as little as 2 per cent of body fluids after a workout and the result can be a drop in concentration and a rise in body temperature. More severe dehydration triggers electrolyte, or body salt, imbalances that can cause cramping, chills, nausea and clammy skin as well as putting a strain on overworked kidneys. There are potentially fatal consequences. “Any imbalances in sodium or potassium levels can cause heart arrhythmia,” says Dr Martin Sellens, director of sports science at the University of Essex. “If fluid levels drop too low for too long, then potassium becomes concentrated and that can cause the heart to stop.”

Bodybuilders have died as a result of self-imposed dehydration before a competition. “One man’s potassium levels had been raised by this kind of approach and when he ate bananas, which are rich in the mineral, as part of his carb-loading phase, it tipped the balance and caused heart failure,” he says. “It can be highly dangerous.”

Jon Lipsey, the editor of Men’s Fitness magazine, says that he is unaware of models going to such lengths to hone their physiques. “That’s just not how the people we use do things,” he says. “Everyone who appears in our magazine is in very good shape — they train hard and pay attention to their diet to achieve that look, but not to that extreme.”

Fricker says that tricks are sometimes used to create an unrealistic illusion of abdominal perfection. Last year, one publication featured him in an article entitled “Scrawny to Brawny” in which it was insinuated that readers could transform their bodies into something resembling his rock-hard physique in eight weeks. “But the ‘before’ picture they showed of me was one from five years ago, not two months previously, so it was misleading,” he says. “Quite often, ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures are taken on the same day. Models are asked to slump their shoulders and un-tense their abs in the ‘before’ shots, then art directors use lighting, better posture and Photoshop to get the ‘after’ effect they want.”

Fake tan is popular, as the darker skin tone achieved makes muscle definition more obvious, and photographers often ask models to perform what is known as “the coughing technique” — an action that increases tension in the abdominal muscles just as a picture is taken.

Yet the fitness gains are often aesthetic rather than functional, says Fricker. “I took part in a Men’s Health ‘survival of the fittest’ event with four of their cover models who looked really fit but weren’t. “They finished at the back of the field, behind ordinary members of the public.”

But the pursuit of that perfect six-pack shows no sign of slowing. Recent research by the Harley Medical Group, the largest cosmetic surgery chain in the UK, revealed that the number of men aged 35 and over choosing to have a tummy tuck has risen by 55 per cent so far this year, compared with 2009. And a University of Florida study suggested that changing perceptions of the ideal male physique have triggered a wave of body-image problems among men striving to achieve a muscular look. Professor Heather Hausenblas, the exercise psychologist who carried out the research, said: “If you look back at the ideal male body, 50 years ago it wasn’t this hyper-muscular physique that we see now,” she says.

“We have seen a significant rise in the number of men who are dissatisfied with the way the look and want to be more muscular.”

As long as we continue to buy into the dream that such bodies are attainable, cover models will flaunt their ripped midsections on magazines proffering the irresistible notion that chiselled abs are up for grabs. “But it’s impossible to look like that seven days a week, despite what the magazines try to tell you,” says Martin. “We can’t achieve that look. Nobody can.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vacation's Over!

Well the TNT Kick Off meeting was today. The training for my 2011 marathon is officially underway!

I had a huge scare a couple weeks ago. It started when I was wrapping up the work week to go on my two week vacation. Thursday of that week I felt a cold coming on. By Friday I had a full-fledged cold.

I flew out to visit my parents early Saturday morning. When I arrived at my parents place I felt dreadful. But I figured it was jet lag. After a good night’s sleep, I woke up feeling worse!!

My parents are quick to medicate. Me, not so much. It felt like the worse cold I’ve ever had. But as we all know, you can’t medicate a cold. It’s a virus. So, extra rest and extra liquids is the best I knew to do.

But the coughing was so bad that I was getting a relentless headache and my throat hurt so bad I couldn’t talk. I spent the whole first day lying in bed in a lot of pain. My parents begged me to go to urgent care. I kept declaring “You can’t do anything for a cold.” But when I woke up Monday morning, I hurt worse than the day before. So I thought it couldn’t hurt to see the doctor. Worse case scenario, she’d tell me, “It’s viral. Can’t do much. Just get lot’s of rest and drink lots of water.”

But my worse fear was that I had to start official marathon training two weeks from then. I had to get well and fast! So off to urgent care I went. ...and waited for over an hour.

The doctor took a blood sample to determine if it was bacterial or viral. She told me, “It’s viral.” But she went on to say she could give me some steroids to get my body from attacking itself so hard and that should relieve some of the symptoms. Great. At least I could do something.

I was worried about not being in good shape in time to start the marathon training. So I asked the doctor if I was ok to run when I started feeling better. She paused for a moment then said, “Yes. ... But stay hydrated!” No problem.

I didn’t run at all that week. In fact, I spent the WHOLE first week in bed. I couldn’t talk so if I had to respond to a question or convey a communication, I had to type on my computer. It was very quiet in the house that week!

I was so paranoid about my training that most days I dragged myself outside for short walks just to stay on my feet and try to keep my strength up. I think it paid off in the long run.

By Thursday, I was feeling only marginally better. My husband was flying out on Saturday to join me on my vacation and I had been looking forward to going on runs with him. I was worried that wasn’t going happen, but also that I might not be fit enough to do anything with him!

By a miracle, I was feeling on the mend by Friday. By the time my husband’s plane landed, I had use of my voice again, though my husband hardly recognized it! We went on three different runs that second week and I felt darn good!

We had great runs. The first one was on a piece of the high trestle trail that runs from Hawkeye park and out of town. It’s lovely and treel lined. Dad dropped us off at one end and picked us up three miles down. We appreciated that since that meant we could run the trail without doubling back to the start.

Next we drove out to the high trestle trail bridge which was about 25 miles from Hawkeye park. It spans the Des Moines river and is a pedestrian trail. So you don’t have to worry about traffic at all. They also sculpted beautiful pillars at each end of the bridge and cool squared arches across. At night the sculpture is lit with blue LED lights. Just beautiful!!!

We timed our visit so I’d have just enough time to get three miles in just before dark. Then we hung out so Kris could get pictures. He got some spectacular shots!

Then we hiked the 1.5 miles back to the car in the dark through the trees. It was so fun!!!

Our last run was in the morning. (I don’t like mornings!) I routed a course that took us through my old neighborhood and past three of my alma maters and brushed by the park. I knew Kris would enjoy the course.

We lost each other though as I got stuck for 10 minutes at a light on HWY 69! Ugh! I knew we were in a tight time crunch so I short cut my route a bit and ended up in front of Kris. (I still got in a solid 3 miler though).

But the best thing, is Kris had wanted to run in the rain while in Iowa and he did! This was our last day to run and as luck would have it, it was raining! And WINDY!! Especially on the last mile in, we had to run against a stiff head wind. It was really hard but a good run!

We had to hurry home though because we had an the spa! All four of us.

Every time we visit Iowa, Kris and I and my parents go to the spa at the same time. I say, “The family that spas together, stays together!”

A great time was had by all. But vacation’s over, tomorrow, I start training!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Book Review

The Hating GameThe Hating Game by Talli Roland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do not like reality shows in real life, all. But I loved this book. The characters were fun, funny and  believable. And you're kept on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next.

It was a super fun read!

View all my reviews