The Quiet Body

 

Getting to know your body inside and out; left to right - is key.

Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) – Getting to know your body inside and out; left to right – is key.

“The body you do have to listen to is the quiet one inside. That’s the one that sits there observing your bad habits (but not necessarily taking part in them), often as not muttering under its breath. (Oh what a fool inhibits me, I imagine mine saying.)

The quiet body is the one that stretches when you arise from a period of stasis, for example, because it knows that the longer (in length) you are, the longer (in time) you can go on; that the longer you are, the longer you live; that when all of your soft parts are pulled out to their optimum operating length are you really ready to do anything.

The quiet body is in charge of all of your set points: not just the one that maintains your weight but the ones for respiration and sleep and sex and everything else. The quiet body is stubborn and slow, slow to move (but not necessarily slow to react, if you’ve done the training). It is the body that knows when to quit and when not to start, in everything from exercise sessions to bedtime snacks. But you can seldom hear it from the noisy one.

You may have to motivate the quiet body, to apply a little conscious direction to get it moving — but it, too, is mutable, and it had great momentum.

That’s the thing that nobody knows clearly enough about exercise; how it gets things humming, gets the energy levels up,the systems working, everything cooking.

Just do that part and the quiet body will start carrying this new energy and momentum over into your daily life — whether your’re listening to it or not. You’ll find yourself doing things with a little more flair, more pizzazz, more reward. And all you have to do to reap these rewards is give a little kick to the momentum wheel every now and then.”

The Elements of Effort: Reflections on the Art and Science of Running by John Jerome

The Elements of Effort: Reflections on the Art and Science of Running by John Jerome

An excerpt titled “The Quiet Body” from the book “The Elements of Effort” by John Jerome. Simon and Schuster Pocket Books, New York, NY (1997).

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Toronto Triathlon Festival Race Report

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Rainy Swim Start TTF 2014

 

“It was a rainy day.” 

This sentence sums up The Toronto Triathlon Festival 2014 perfectly! Never have I had to complete a triathlon swim in such conditions as we had on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Every wave started about 10 minutes later than the planned times as the organizers made sure we were not racing in a full on thunderstorm.

The morning rain had settled to a drizzle be the time my swim wave was to start.  We were a group of about 60-70 women – two age categories together 35-44. Enough to catch a good draft all the way through, or so I thought.

The start of the swim was fairly smooth until we hit a bit of waves around the 400-500 metre mark.  The group was beginning to split up. I was at the back of the main pack just about to pass a vertical yellow cap on my right (a girl in my age category who had stopped and was treading water) until at that moment she went horizontal and began to kick once again, kicking my goggles off as I passed her.  I have always feared losing but have never lost my goggles in a triathlon swim.

Alas, today’s motto of “stay calm and carry on” brought my heart rate back down as I swiftly put the goggles back in place and began my journey once again.

Now it was just me and the kicker who was swimming quite a diagonal. At first, I tried to guide my new friend to swim a straighter line but then I remembered that we had a southwest wind today that would be pushing us to shore and away from our markers. This girl was smart! I am going to stick with her. To our markers we go!

Hitting a huge swell with 1-2 foot waves just before the turn around, my race goal of finishing today’s event in under 2 hours and 30 minutes was washed away and survival was the only thing on my mind.

velocity 3

I was wearing a 2XU Velocity V:3 wetsuit in a lake swim for the first time and I have to admit, I felt safe and very buoyant. Nonetheless, I had to resort to a few breaststrokes as it was hard to breathe during the swell.  This wasn’t an ideal swim to try my new V:3 out for speed, but in terms of safety and warmth, I give the suit an A++

Once we hit the police boat at the turn around it was home free. The wind was pushing us now toward our markers and toward home! Fantastic. I began to pick up my pace and pass many pink hats and men (the waves that would have been sent off 5 and 10 min ahead of me).

I did it! I conquered this!

Getting out of the water was a challenge as we had a slant board rather than the stairs the organizers promised us.

I didn’t so much have a problem with the slant board but those struggling from the earlier waves were having problems and, rather than barging through and potentially causing them to fall backward into the water, I waited patiently until I could safely get by and sprint my way in T1.  I was a little off my game getting out of T1 by about :21 seconds slower than my 2o13 time but when considering my overall swim time, I had gained an overall 2 minutes and 5o seconds.

It was time now to gain that :21 seconds additional time spent in T1 back on the bike and then some. My goal for the bike this year was to average 36 km/hr, one km faster per hour than last year.  I was confident I would hit this pace no problem with the new adjustment I just had with Heath at La Bicicletta (www.labicicletta.com) . The southwest wind certainly also helped to push me all the way out the slight uphill toward Eglinton Avenue. Coming back, this rendered a bit of a headwind, but I pretty much ended up meeting my goal, settling in at 35.9 km/hr, a gain of 1 minute and 33 seconds on last year’s bike time.

Getting off the bike and into T2 was just as tough as the swim exit as the conditions were slippery and there were some unstable folks in front of me slowing me down the hill toward my bike, adding :43 seconds to last year’s transition.

ultra race 4.0

Not to worry, I had already made some good gains on the bike and swim by now. My Zoot Ultra Race 4.0s slipped on perfectly as usual and off I went out to complete the final 10 km of today’s event.

 

 

My Garmin had malfunctioned since the swim, and the run is the main piece where I tend to rely on the device in order to pace myself as I have only two running gears – fast and slow – and now I needed to go kind of fast, but steadily fast so as not to ruin the whole thing.  I found a girl in the younger age category to run with for a while but although I felt good, I was scared off by her pace of a 4:36 km/hr. So, I backed my pace off a bit, all based on my going out to fast that backfired at my earlier race this year, the 70.3 Ironman Mont Tremblant in June.

My timer girl caught up with two other girls up ahead and I kept this threesome within my reach, pretty much the whole run. Problem is I should not have kept them in reach, I should have joined them! One of the girls in the threesome was in my category!

This is where my race report sadly ends as she would get second place and I would get third.

Third place is still admirable by all means. It is a podium finish after all and my net gains on last year’s time was an overall 5 minutes and 41 seconds. As much as I would have liked to have placed second, the only thing I can do now is set my eyes on second place at my next race – the Bracebridge Olympic Triathlon on August 1oth.

A big thank you again to La Bicicletta #PuveyorsOfAwesomeness, Genuine Health #ItMatters #CaCompte and, to my coach Erik Seedhouse, Team Triathlon Pro (www.triathlonpro.org) .

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Men’s and Women’s 40-44 Podium Finishers with the Women’s 2nd Place MIA

 

 

 

 

Olympic Distance Triathlon Pre-Race Fuel Preparation

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My morning cereal GoGo Quinoa 4 Grain. It is gluten-free buckwheat, chia, amaranth and quinoa.

 

My race start for the Toronto Triathlon Festival Sunday, July 13th, 2014 was 7:18 a.m. Breakfast needed to be at least 2 hours ahead of this start time, if not more optimally 4 hours. Since this is a “B” race, a not so important racing event, I decided to settle with about 2 hours and a half as I refused to wake up any earlier than 4:15 a.m.

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This is the GoGo Qunioa Cereal with a half a scoop of Genuine Health Vegan Proteins+, 4 TBSP of Camino Dark Chocolate Chips, 2 TBSP of fresh raspberries, 1 diced dried fig, stevia and cinnamon to taste.

 

 

The reason for having breakfast so early before an event is:

  • to avoid gastrointestinal distress
  • reduce blood flow distraction away from the muscles
  • allow enough time for the food to exit the stomach completely

So, why not just skip breakfast and opt to eat a bar or a gel? The 2-300 calories of energy from the bar or gel would not be enough sustainable energy for a 2 hour plus event like an Olympic Triathlon. According to Matt Fitzgerald, endurance athlete nutrition expert and author of the book Racing Weight, an athlete engaging in an exercise session or strenuous event over two hours should ingest at least 100 grams of carbohydrate 2-4 hours before the event. This is why I added the extra chocolate chips and dried fig to my complete breakfast, pictured above.

When piling up your pre-race breakfast plate:

  • race weightit doesn’t matter if the carbs are low-glycemic or high
  • studies have proven this
  • high-quality carbs are however a better choice; focus on choices that will help you continue to be lean for peak performance, such as the GoGo Quinoa Hot Cereal

As for hydration, during the event, water is your most important form although several studies have shown that carbs + protein mixed with water will help the endurance athlete sustain a higher given intensity over a long period of time. Protein delays fatigue along with carbs by reducing muscle damage. Protein also signals the brain to reduce the release of cortisol, the “stress” hormone. The protein and carb drink duo also promotes new protein synthesis during the workout and as such regular use of such a drink during exercise will preserve muscle mass and thus further promote a lean body composition.

That said, I dutifulactivfuelly prepared my ActivFuel+, which has 5.6 grams of protein + 8.5 grams of carbs (including beets) per 20.4 gram serving, along with the electrolytes sodium, potassium and magnesium, plus taurine, creatine, Appleboost, Rhodiola, and Vitamin B1 (which have been formulated to help with not only just endurance, but to assist with boosting strength and speed).  I prepared 500 ml for my Specialized Shiv Fuselage and another 500 ml for my Assos bottle that will go on my down tube bottle holder and an additional 500 ml which I will sip on all morning before the event. This will be more than enough liquid for this distance. To learn more about the formula in ActivFuel+:

http://it-matters.com/beets-proven-boost-endurance-naturally-support-body-inflammation-oxidative-stress/

http://it-matters.com/sports-nutrition-matters/

I will do my best to only drink when thirsty during the race. Matt Fitzgerald has stated this the best route to go in his book. I will also heed the advice from my coach, Erik Seedhouse of Triathlon Pro and author of Triathlon: The Hard Way, who tells me that most of us drink way too much while out there racing anyway and it is Erik who always reminds me of the days when Gatorade didn’t event exist.  Folks still ran marathons and ultra-endurance events and all they had was water and maybe some salty pretzels or quick noodle soup to help replace their electrolytes.

I had made a last minute trip to Sporting Life (by far one of the best all-around sport shops in the city of Toronto) to get some Hammer Bars as they are my favourite most natural gluten-free race day bar.  While up there at Yonge and Eglinton I stopped at Noah’s (our local Toronto health food store chain) to get some salmon for my pre-race meal, some bottled water and a snack, which ended up being a small serving size of chocolate Blue Diamond almond milk. At Noah’s, I stumbled upon this great PH 9.5 balanced water called Vortex 9.5 and since it was reasonably priced at $1.99 this was the bottled water I chose to bring home with me.  Having a higher PH can help to balance inflammation in the body among other things, so I figure I’d give Vortex 9.5 a try.

I duct taChoc_Raspberry_Roctane_packet-264x480ped one half of a Cashew Chocolate Hammer Bar to the top tube of my bike along with one Roctane Chocolate Raspberry GU Brand Gel. Roctane’s are separated from the regular GU gels as they have significantly higher concentrations of amino acids and citrates, plus a new amino acid complex Ornithine Alpha-Ketaglutarate (OKG) “that mitigates the energy-sapping effects of lactic-acid build-up, produces energy more efficiently, improves recovery through a decrease in exercise-induced muscle damage and maintain mental focus through delayed onset of fatigue signals from the central nervous system” (http://www.guenergy.co.uk/products/gu-roctane/ingredients-benefits_learn-the-science).

This again is more than enough fuel for the Olympic Triathlon, but I always bring a little extra just in case.

As I prepared my race belt, along with my lucky number 7-20 I attached one Roctane to the belt, along with an old container of Hammer Fizz, in which I put two MetaSalt Thermolyte capsules. My judgement here is that race day is supposed to be fairly humid with a real temperature feel of about 30 degrees Celsius and the salt capsules may just come in handy to reduce cramping on the run.

By around 9 p.m. I was feeling pretty relaxed and tired from a long day of running around so I didn’t need anything else to unwind me besides a Tazo Calm tea while preparing my gear followed by my magnesium citrate + glutamine bedtime drink, which I take regularly anyway. I added 10 ml of valerian root to the mix just to make sure I get to sleep right way and sleep straight through the night. Matt Fitzgerald does recommend magnesium supplementation in his book as it helps to relax the muscles and is one of the main minerals we tend to deplete with a lot of exercise and exertion. The valerian root is an herb that relaxes the nerves that I chose to use on my own demise, but I recommend before you try it, talk to your allopathic doctor and/or naturopathic doctor to make sure a: if it does not contradict with anything else you are taking and b: if it is really a good herb for you and your healthy composition.

The week leading up to your race is also equally as important as the night before so be sure to eat some additional sodium and citrus combinations as it has been said to be beneficial. Can you think of a better week to have chips and salsa? I had half a bag of Neal Brother Blue Corn Chips with President’s Choice Green Tomatillo Salsa between Thursday and Friday and the other half after the pre-race swim around noon today. Magnesium Citrate before bed during race week if not every night during hard training (as mentioned above) is great for replacing the depleted magnesium we lose from regular training and it also helps us sleep better while relaxing our muscles. On a side note, chocolate has a good amount of magnesium 🙂 But, I don’t recommend it before bed due to its theobromine content, which is a nervous system stimulant that may keep you up at night.

In the final 48 hours before your race, I recommend you reduce your roughage.  Cooked vegetables are best favouring the starchier ones like carrots, squash, rutabaga and potatoes. Pictured below is my pre-race favourite:

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Broiled Salmon sauteed with Sprial Corn Pasta, Spinach and Capers in light Olive Oil, Garlic and Red Peppers

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Congratulations, Men and Women 40-44. Our Women’s 2nd Place finisher is MIA.

This article is past tense, so you will see in my next article “Toronto Triathlon Festival Race Report 2014” that I did achieve a personal best time for the Olympic Distance of 2:31:29 which got me 3rd Place in my age category and 19th female racer of the day overall for the Olympic Triathlon Event. Pictured on the right, I am in the middle. I came back with a full 500 ml of Activ Fuel+, the half-Hammer Bar and the extra gel on my run belt. The breakfast seemed to hold up on its own really well, minus some belching during the swim. I may need to get up a little earlier and/or trim the morning meal back a bit in the future.

With regard to yourself, practice makes perfect. I recommend practicing your fueling and race-prep in race-simulation training sessions. Eventually, you’ll narrow down what works best for you and your body during race week and on race day.  I have heard some pretty bizarre pre-race meals that have won some folks many events, so just roll with it and do the best you can with what have always! At the end of the day just remember to:

“K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid.”

Meaning, some of the things in this blog post may be useful for you, some may not.  Take what you need and toss the rest.  Feel free to fire me any questions you may have to lynntougas@rogers.com

“A healthy, active body promotes an active, healthy mind. Exercise IS medicine and YOU are only as strong as your weakest link.”

 

Disclaimer:

All material on this website are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the author, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Race Preparation – Olympic Distance “B” Race

 

Selfie Lynn Jim Katie

One thing that is always recommended is to check out the water the day before you race if possible. Last year for the Toronto Triathlon Festival, we were unable to do this. However, this year there was a well supervised pre-race swim in chilly 61 degree Celsius Lake Ontario.

Katie (aka Dorothy Gale), pictured on the right was trying a second borrowed wet suit, the Nineteen brand, for her very first triathlon. Jim (aka Blondie), center has got in a good number a lake swims up north of the city in his new Nineteen wet suit, but hasn’t completed a triathlon for about 20 years. I, center (aka Wonder Woman) am trying a new suit out for the first time in a lake swim, and a second time overall swim. My suit is the 2XU Velocity 3. Katie and I are wearing two swim caps.  Jim is wearing one. When the water is 65 degrees or colder, you will generally find me in two swim caps.

Before leaving home, I was sure to defog my goggles with Aqua Sphere Anti-Fog. This helps with sighting and just overall comfort of being able to see all of your surroundings clearly. The swim is frightening enough for many of us, so making sure your goggles are clean and perfectly clear is a good thing to do.

Katie and Jim used baby powder on the inside of their wet suits to help ease them on.  I must admit I need no assistance as my V:3 is so easy to get on.  In the past though, I have always used Coppertone Sun Oil Spray on my body before putting my wet suit on and felt it helped the process along quite nicely. As another safeguard for keeping me warm in the chilly lake, I also applied Pro Bike Kit’s Competition 2 Strongly Warming Up Oil to my feet, chest, neck and wrists.

Katie had a bit of a struggle with her suit, as I coached her to pull the crotch and butt up really high so as to get the upper piece as open as possible so there would be no neck tugging and no shoulder movement restriction. We pulled her arms up as well to make more room for the shoulders.  I had her do a couple of swim catch up movements to see if the neck and/or breathing would feel any discomfort/restriction.  All good. Time to get in the water.

The water was indeed chilly at 61 or so degrees, so putting the head in at first was quite daunting so I doggy paddled along adding in a couple of breast strokes until I was ready for the dip.

In this temperature, it did not take long until I was able to swim normally.  The water got warmer as I headed west out on to the course, getting myself out of the shade. I swam about 200 metres out and then on the way back at about the 250 metre point I reset the lap timer on my Garmin as I picked up the pace a bit to what I foresee myself swimming on race day. Not too shabby, but not as good as my pool swim yesterday. It’s a GPS device after and may not be 100% accurate. At this pace anyway, if I stay with the pack and by doing so shave this time down another couple of seconds, I am right on track.

Exiting the wet suit is tricky, so I also recommend you practice this. My wetsuit had a little water exit as i got up out of the water, but not too much. You know you’ve got the wrong suit if a you’re a waterfall upon exit.

If your transition is nearby as in the TTF, you just unzip the top and wait to get out of the rest of your suit at your transition spot.  If your distance to transition is longer and/or your suit is tighter fitting, you may like to get out of your suit with the help of race peelers at the swim exit (volunteers designated to help you with your wet suit). *Check if your event has peelers as not all events do. Getting out of your wet suit is an art so practice it a lot! Watch and learn from the pros any chance you can get!

Now that I am back home, showered and I’ve had my lunch I am going to head out for a little ride to check out the mechanics of my bike. I rode on Thursday, and everything was fine then so this ride is purely just for peace of mind.  When you are doing your pre-race mechanical check however, I recommend you shift into every single one of your gears and be sure there are no slips. Go up and down your gears a few times. Pump up your tires to the recommended max pressure but know that you will have to add more air on race morning. If one pops now – better now than tomorrow morning! Check your breaks while stopping really hard after a little sprint several times.  Practice clipping and unclipping your helmet as this is also an art, especially when your hand dexterity will be reduced after a chilly swim. Really get to know your gear!

I may go for a couple of sprints up and down my street after the bike just to remind me of my race shoe feel and race pace, but that’s it.  No more than 10 minutes.

Join me later to hear about my carbo load pasta dinner and my Olympic Distance pre-race fuel prep. Its going to be humid so I will be packing and using my Thermolyte MetaSalt Capsules in addition to my ActivFuel and other fuel.

Salut!

Disclaimer:

All material on this website are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the author, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

 

Savasana is my favourite pose

Really, Savasana  is my favourite pose. Because for very little effort put forth, the benefits are almost endless for this active little nap of sorts.

The name Savasana (pronounced Shav-asana) comes from the Sanskrit words Shava meaning “corpse”, and Asana meaning “posture” or “seat”.  Savasana is perhaps the most important part of yoga practice.  Laying on the back, the arms and legs are generally spread and the eyes are closed. The complete three-part yogic breath is employed.  The whole body is relaxed onto the floor with an awareness of the breath rolling through the abdomen/lower frontal pelvic region, then the chest, followed by the hollow of the throat and back down again –  like a wave  rising and falling on the seashore with each breath.

“Acclimate” is a term many yogis use to describe why we must spend at least five minutes in Savasana at the end of every class. I would like to highlight this  “acclimatization” factor.  According to Meriam-Websters Dictionary, acclimate is defined as “to adapt to a new temperature, climate, environment, or situation”. With this ever changing world we live in, it makes sense to acclimate any chance we get to survive, to check in with our surroundings and our inner-selves.

Doing Savasana on a regular basis is to our bodies like pressing re-set on your phone, recharging the battery or simply turning the darn thing off momentarily – which we know with our digital devices, turning them off for even just 10 seconds usually solves most small problems!

So why aren’t we taking the time to complete our Savasanas, even at the end of class?

We must make the time to complete Savasana.

And there is no better time to start than right now!

For just five minutes of “acclimating” in Savasana, here is what you can achieve:

– lower blood pressure
– better sleep
– reduced PMS
– moderated body temperature
– improved breathing
– properly re-align your body, including your internal organs
– harmonize your emotions
– reduce gastric distress
– relax the lungs and heart
– strengthen the immune system

Now, who doesn’t want, not to mention – need all that?

Please visit the following link to find out how to perform Savasana:

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/482

*My preference is the variation in my photo insert. Support yourself with as many pillows, props and blankets as you feel you need to. There is absolutely no overdoing the props in Savasana. There more at ease your are, the easier it will be to relax into the pose.

savasana

 

Disclaimer:

All material on this website are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the author, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.