A Triathlete's Primal Journal
I want to start this journal to keep track of my food intake and how it effects my energy levels and performances in the triathlon training/races I do. My entries will be sporadic and not on a daily basis for the time being. I will try to make entries as often as possible, but mainly when I feel the need to put something in writing. I'd like to be able to refer back to this journal down the road so I can do a better job of remembering the past. I will also use this journal to define any future goals or plans.
I will try to provide a summary of what I am eating on a weekly basis. For the most part, if its primal I probably won't record anything unless I make a particularly good meal that I want to remember. I could see myself making more entries if I want to keep track of the volume of food I eat in relation to my energy levels. Down the road, I may make more entries if I decide that I want to keep track of my meals for financial/budgeting purposes. I will also use this to make entries about the non-primal foods that I eat, how my body reacts afterwards and what it does to my energy. I figure that from time to time, I am going to crave a bagel, cookies or some type of sweet. Usually when I eat these foods, my taste buds and my mind really enjoys it for the first few minutes. Once my body starts to digest the food, however, I start to feel like crap. I get really tired, my stomach gets irritated and I always regret eating processed foods afterwards. Its always the same result, but I'd like to use the entries try to curb future cravings. For the most part, this journal will provide me an outlet to keep track of how I am following the PB.
This will be my journal for tracking my progress through training, how my training effects me on a day to day basis and my performance/energy levels on test/race days. Additionally, I will try to make a connection between my diet and performance. The reason I am combining the diet and athletic performance entries is because I feel like diet is one of the most important aspects of preparation and reaching my full potential. The fuel that I give my body is what is going provide me with what I need to do my best in training sessions and on race day. I will keep track of training sessions, rest days, and race stats. I will also provide pre-race meals and nutrition intake during the race.
I want to continue to get faster, stronger and more competitive so I can start to win races. This journal will help me track my progress, remember the past and plan for the future.
I competed in a Half IM triathlon this weekend and had major cramps in my quads and calfs on the run portion. I started out running 730s for the first 4 miles and then I ran out of my gels (not PB friendly, I know) and electrolyte pills. By mile 6, my legs were feeling really heavy and by mile 10 and on I had to walk/run the rest of the way cause of the muscle cramps finishing at 920s.
I've never had cramps this badly in a race before. This is my first year following the PB and wanted to know if it could be the diet? Maybe there is a supplement I should consider taking? Could it have been because I was drinking too much water? I was sweating the entire run but I was covered in salt halfway through the run. Should I have been drinking more gatorade instead of water? I also had a pretty weak breakfast. I didn't plan ahead and ended up eating a few handfuls of mixed nuts and dried fruit.
I'm thinking that maybe I need to take a supplement thats missing in my diet, bring more nutrition on the run, drink more electrolytes, eat a better breakfast or just train more next time?
Any input would be greatly appreciated!
My new go to morning or post workout snack. Extremely convenient in a time crunch. Really good replacement for protein shakes.
Add a little salt and pepper makes the little guys pretty tasty.
With the weather in DC in the low to upper 90s for the last few weeks, I've felt like I've been suffering in the heat more than usual this year. It may be due to my change in diet and following the PB since January. I try to keep most of my workouts in my Zone 2, (123-141 or 52-64%), which usually puts me in a really comfortable pace. Obviously as it gets warmer, my pace and heart rate will suffer as a result. But even still, I feel like staying in that Zone 2 should allow me to stay fairly comfortable. Unfortunately, I’ve just felt really slow in the heat.
I've been reading that a high fat low carb diet may be low in sodium intake for athletes. Loss of sodium can make one feel sluggish and performance in hot weather can be severely impacted. An additional 1 to 2 grams of sodium intake should be considered for endurance athletes. Two good sources for increasing sodium intake can come from adding sea salt to your food and consuming pickles. I am also going to start using Saltstick Caps during my long workouts to see if it makes a difference in performance.
This weekend I have another Olympic distance triathlon. The current forecast for race day is mostly cloudy, with a low of 78 and a high of 101. It will definitely be big test day for my heat performance. Luckily this race is local enough that I can make my own dinner and breakfast for my pre-race meals. I will be certain to keep track of what I eat and report on my race day performance on this thread.
Race Day Report
Big strides forward today (7/7/12) with racing on PB during one of the hottest race days I've experienced. The air temp was 82 at 615am when I left my car, water temp taken at 630am was 87 degrees and air temp was 93 by the time I left at noon. Dew point was 74 degrees and 85% humidity.
I know there are tougher races out there and people have experience more difficult conditions but I was impressed how my body handled everything. I have no idea how the professionals compete in the IM World Championship in Kona. Earlier this year I found it really difficult to transition from racing on a non PB diet to PB. Two of my previous races this year lead to a lot of cramping and overall terrible feeling while crossing the finish line. Today, I felt like I took a step in the right direction with figuring out my pre-race and race day nutrition.
A combination of reading the "art and science of low carbohydrate performance" and random website posts allowed me to make a few adjustments. Due to my cramping issues, I determined that my diet was lacking sodium intake. Throughout the week I loaded up on a couple pickles for a few days leading up to race day. Pretty random snack but I think it made a big difference. Also, it seemed to me that I was lacking carb intake. So I ate a handful of various berries throughout the week (nothing new) but I also added sweet potatoes to the mix. One for lunch and dinner yesterday and one for breakfast this morning.
No breakfast yesterday
Salad - sardines, avocado, kale, mushrooms, carrots, sliced almonds and red bell peppers. With sweet potato.
Chicken, avocado, kale, onions and mushrooms. Sweet potato and some watermelon since it was around.
Today's Full breakfast:
4 eggs, avocado, sweet potato and a coffee.
During the race I decided to go more PB style with no gels or electrolyte mix. I dropped two salt caps in each of my water bottles (PB enough...?), created my own dried raspberry nuggets and carried a little coffee in two small handheld water bottles that comfortably fit in the back pocket of my tri top (one for bike, one for run). In previous races, I used gels with caffeine which had great performance results in my opinion. For the raspberry nugs, I soaked a small handful of dried raspberries, strained them and then squished them together in my hands into a nug. Kind of messy but it makes it a lot easier to eat on the go rather than eating them out of a bag on the bike.
No cramping whatsoever, no salt accumulation over my body and after crossing the finish line I felt really good actually. I probably could have pushed a little harder but I decided that I wanted to see how I would handle the heat/new nutrition plan. Also decided against eating any of the post race food as none of it was PB friendly. Didn't regret it at all and held out for a few hours to make my own lunch when I got home.
Definitely not a brag worthy time but it was a good feeling to cross the finish line without bonking and no cramping.
DITRT (1mi, 27mi, 5mi) - 7/7/12
2:02 min/100 (pace)
20.69 mph (pace)
7:32 min/mi (Pace)
2:30:52 (Total) time.
6th of 16 AG and 24 of 182 Overall.
I thought it might be helpful for people to compare the results of recent blood work that I had done as part of a physical. I'm 26 years old 6'3, 170lbs, resting HR 48bpm, blood pressure is 104/70. The Dr. mentioned that everything looked good to him except my blood cell counts were lower than normal. I have never had any issues in previous tests regarding my blood count. This might be a sign of anemia, iron/b12/folate deficiencies. I was told to schedule another appointment for blood work in the coming month to make a comparison. Assuming all there isn’t anything actually wrong with me, I feel like its possible my counts could be low cause I was coming off of a tough weekend for triathlon training. Did a 13 mile run on the Saturday, 65 mile bike on Sunday, had an early dinner which lead to a 12 hour fast prior to the test. I also splurged on a bit of bread during dinner/birthday cake for dessert as well. But here are my numbers. Feel free to share your thoughts with me:
HDL Cholesterol 68
Total Chol/MDL Ratio 2.1
VLDL Cholesterol (Calc) 9
LDL Cholesterol (Calc) 65
LDL, Direct 75
Bilirubin, Total .7
Alkaline Phosphatase 47
Total Protein 6.7
Platelet Count 161
Granulocyte % 46
Absolute Gran 1.8
Lymph % 43
Absolute Lymph 1.7
Mono % 9
Absolute Mono .4
Eos % 1
Absolute Eos 0.1
Baso % 0
Absolute Baso 0
This is my first entry in over 2 months. My 2012 racing season has unfortunately come to an end with mixed results. Primal racing has been a tough learning experience for me. Going from winning my age group in two of four races last year on a conventional diet to making the podium on a weak performance in one of five races this year. Learning to race on a primal diet has been a struggle. My biggest downfall was attempting to transition from a reasonable carb intake to low carb.
Low carb proved be detrimental to my training routine. Without realizing it, taking carbs out of my routine caused me to run a calorie deficit on a daily basis. Towards the beginning of the year, I was eating plenty of carbs. My energy levels allowed me to workout 5 or 6 days a week, including 1 or 2 two-a-day workouts. When I switched to low carb, I was having a hard enough time getting 4 workouts in per week. I had low energy and had little motivation to workout on consecutive days.
My meals mainly consisted of eggs plus a little fruit for breakfast and a salad with meat for both lunch and dinner. I always felt like my hunger was satisfied. I never worked out or went to sleep craving more food. Once I finally realized that my low energy levels could have been a source of my diet, I did a rough calculation of my calorie input/output. I recognized that I was running a daily calorie deficit and needed to add carbs back into my routine. When I started eating more primal carbs, I was able to pick up my training volume. The time it took me to realize this issue resulted in poor cardio base. I also did not have sufficient time to get my speed up to par for the last two races of the year.
My last two races of the year ended up being events that I attempted to do for completion rather than time. I participated in an Olympic and Half IM distance. Unfortunately, during the Half IM, I crashed my bike on a rainy bike course only 2 miles into the bike leg. The only positive that came out of the Half IM was that I got back on my bike, completed the race and I still placed second in my age group. Due to the crash, I am still struggling to recover and get back on the bike or even run a few miles. I still have a little road rash that I am trying to repair but the worst injury came from my IT Band.
After several days of stretching and foam rolling, I attempted to get back on the bike. Riding my bike in the DC area with the Fall weather is one of my favorite times of the year. I tried to do an easy 60 miler but was forced to end my route after 40. My IT Band was so tight that I could not put any power into my pedals while climbing hills. Each revolution caused a burning sensation to run from my hip to my knee. I took this as a sign that I just need more stretching and more foam rolling. After several more days of recovery, I attempted to run an easy 4 miler. During the flat portion of my route I felt like my leg was back to normal. However, when I hit my first hill, I found that my leg had no power and eventually tighten up too much that I had to start to walk it out. I have not been able to workout since and need to schedule PT to get a recovery plan in order.
This post is ending on a negative note today but its getting late. I plan on describing the positives I took out of primal racing in 2012 and what my goals are for 2013.
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