Ok so what am I getting at? Have you ever been into a training cycle and just been whipped? Tired when you get up, go to bed, or just BREATHE? I have. I want to share a few things if you don't mind.
There are very delicate processes that go on in the body. The body is an incredible machine and is built to adapt and overcome. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't listen to it and give it some help. So the first thing I am going to try to do is take a very convoluted and intertwined subject, pH balance and alkaline reserve, and iron them out. I have had one of the best teachers for this subject, my mentor and friend Dr. Ryan Bentley. He has held my hand through this for years trying to make it simple enough for even me to understand.
First off let me say that EVERY process in your body is regulated by pH. Yes I said EVERY. pH controls the rate at which enzymes work, pH controls the rate at which hormones work. pH controls the stress on kidneys (in acupuncture, your kidneys are your batteries so as an athlete you do not want to stress the kidneys. Western medicine monitors kidney function and can predict end stages of life based on kidney function. Hum...sounds like they are batteries to me). Anyway as pH goes crazy in the body due to poor diet (sugar, soda, simple carbs, red meat, and EXERCISE all tend to acidify the blood) your body has to accommodate those changes and then adapt physiology in the body to bring it back to normal. If you are not eating alkaline foods, such as lemons, onions, and watermelon just to name a few, where do you think that the body gets the calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium it needs to turn these acids into bases? It gets it from the bones. *One a side note, soda's are a HUGE culprit when it comes to stripping out the minerals in bone. You body has enough buffering capacity to buffer out 50 meq (mille equivalents) of acid. The typical American diet produces 100 meq of acid, and 1 can of soda produces 60 meq of acid. By drinking soda (carbonated beverages) you are giving yourself osteoporosus*Now back to your regularly scheduled program. As you rob the blood and bones of these minerals you are loosing your electrolytes (ever hear that word before athletes?). Now this is bad because electrolytes not only help control cramping, but also help the nervous system run smoothly and efficiently. When the electrolytes are low you get confused, lethargic and if they get low enough processes will stop causing you to pass out or even die. I know that sounds extreme, but when you race and all you drink is water, hyponutremia happens and has killed people. This is just one aspect or avenue that should get your attention as to why pH in athletes is soooo important and why food type and quality is important.
Now let's talk just pure energy, no not auras and qi. I am talking about adenosine triphosphate (ATP). If you did not know what this is, it's your gas pure and simple. Your body has a processes in it called:
The Krebs Cycle
Electron Transport Phosphorylation
You put food in, it's broken down into sugars and then it goes through the cycle and comes out ATP. In ideal conditions, 1 molecule of glucose can produce 36-38 ATP. 1 gal of crude oil to produce 36-38 gal of gas. But you throw off pH with poor diet, lactic acid, or poor lifestyle choices, the processes break down a bit. With pH off, you put in 1 molecule of glucose it goes through the magic and you get.... drum roll please... 2 ATP. No that is not a typo, 2 ATP is all you get. So you go from producing 36-38 ATP in ideal situations, to 2 ATP. It becomes very inefficient. Athletes are supposed to be all about efficiency, so take heed to what your body is telling you.
Mine is telling me that I need to take my pH and see if it is off because I am feeling fatigued. It could be from lactic acid from the training. You still have to take time off and let the body recover, but by knowing what your pH is you can possibly target your problems more accurately and cut recovery times down and get back into the game quicker.
Below is a graph for you egg-heads that shows the stages of Alkaline Reserve dysfunction. As you can see pH is listed on the side. Once you reach stage 2 of the depletion process you can see the kidneys are starting to stressed. Then at phase 3 we have a reversal of the trend, but by know the electrolytes are used up and the bones are getting hit hard to try to protect the body. At stage 4 everything is going acidic and the body has used its reserves and you are in trouble.
I was allowed to reproduce it with permission from Dr. Ryan Bentley. The graph was taken from the The Wellness Prescription website www.thewellnessprescription.net.
So you can add monitoring of pH to your training to help prevent injuries, and augment performance. You can monitor it in a variety of ways. Generally your local drug store has pH strips, or you can get a functional medicine test. The pH strip, while cheap and not as accurate as I would like. The functional medicine test will not only give you pH but other markers of health. Now notice I say health, and not fitness. There is a difference, but that is a blog post for later.
Remember this is your life, what you make of it is up to you. Dream big and reach for the stars!
I haven't written in a long time. Life happens and I can only deal with a couple of things at once. Interestingly enough it all works out in the end if you have consistency of purpose. There are definitely going to be trials and tribulations.
Leading up to and completing Louisville was more than I anticipated or was prepared to deal with, I think . I believe now that I tried to skip a few steps... for those of you that REALLY know me, you really don't find this too hard to believe. I have been lead to this conclusion by a loving wife and patient coach. To assume that I could achieve Kona on my first go around is pretty typical of me. Louisville showed me that there are going to be issues and you have to be prepped and prepared to adapt and overcome. I think I am a step closer, another race wiser. Instead of a blow by blow of the race I thought that I would give it a gloss over and hit on what I learned.
Lessons learned: 1) I need to be FASTER 2) I need to sustain that speed 3) Speed at the cost of form is not true speed 4) I am not pulling the muscle as much as I am cramping.
I will elaborate a bit on those lessons. 1) I need to be faster. I believe that 7:30 are not out of bounds for me. But as of right now my form for 7:30's are less than optimal. During the beginning of the run leg of Naples I was running with an Army Team Triathlete. We were banging out sub 7's actually. I was feeling great after the swim and the run and I was gonna have one heck of a time. Then we headed up a hill and bang there goes the calf. Knots up like a sprung slinky. This is where that overcoming obstacles thing comes into play. Previously I always thought that I was pulling the calf muscle, but I was about to see the light. I slowed then stopped and tried some stretching, I don't quit, I hate quitting, but I am not above walking. So I started again, SLOWLY. The excuses started to fill my head, what I was going to say, why it happened, but they are just that excuses. Then my angel appeared in the form of another competitor. As I was doing the whole, " What happened this time.." in my head up trots a guy and says," Are you in the lead?"
To be truthful I really had not thought about it much so I replied," I think so."
I got a,"Hang tough." as he took over the lead.
"Hum", I thought, I may really be in first place and I gave it up without a fight?!?!?! If this is the case, I think I will try to hang onto this guy. Keep him within striking distance until I can figure out something with the leg to get some more speed out of it. If I can match him without difficulty, then I can beat him.
So I played with the foot plant to see how it felt in different positions. After a bit, the pain went away. So I not only matched him, but I started to press him a bit. I could easily run an 8 to 8:30 without pain. If I would strike mid sole there wasn't any pain and I could maintain the pace comfortably. I really wished that I had tried this in Louisville. I could have had a better time, but there I just gave up.
I know had the confidence I needed to continue to press harder and harder. Long story short, on the return trip I did the hill with only minor difficulty, with 2 miles to go, I could tell the pace was getting to him, because he was looking over his shoulder. That is really a gratifying feeling. I was less than 10 yards when he looked back at me for the last time :)
I was now looking to the next guy. I was closing on him. We were 2 blocks out from the finish when he showed me that he too had another gear left. He left me rather easily :)
So now in retrospect is this what they mean by pain? Is that what they meant by pushing through? I don't know, but I can not wait to try it again :))
Thanks to Kristine Miller and the Miller Crew: Aidan, Zoe, and Eliana, Prsfit, Polar and all the tri freaks, runners and crazy people I know :)
PS the new bit of kit I got for this race was the CS500 bike computer from Polar. FREAKING awesome, huge display with the information you WANT on the screen. Once again top notch guys. A new pair of kicks, the Altra Instinct's, did awesome too, zero drop goodness :)
PSS For those of you that did not know. My time for the OD was 2:28. 1st Place Clydesdale over 40, 1st Place Clydesdale Overall, 2nd Place Age Group over 40, 14th Overall
I have waited a month to post about Eagleman. Coach, Kristine, and those close to me tell me it was a "Good" race. I expected more out of myself than what I got at Eagleman. My swim was atrocious, my bike wasn't good enough, and my run was well disappointing. So I learned that I have to learn from those types of races, and that is where you can learn the most, from your failures. Even though it was not that bad of a race, it definitely could have and should have been executed better. So let's start off with the comparisons:
Eagleman was a 70.3, Evergreen was an OD. I know the distance matters, but just the way I felt in the two makes me want to do Eagleman over again.
Swim: No comparison. Kristine said that I looked like I was trying to beat the water at Eagleman where as in Evergreen I never felt rushed, did not get anxious and concentrated on form and execution. She has been at the pool with me the last few times that I have been working on form and it has put me at a lot more ease. I always think I am doing it right and she is not afraid to tell me how it is, I just recently learned to listen :-)
So at Eagleman I took it on the chin and swam the 1.5 km in 40+ minutes came out of the water gassed. Evergreen was better but to extrapolate the results and compare is not fair but I can say this. I stopped at Eagleman no fewer than 6 times, 3 were in the first 200 yards. At Evergreen I never stopped, hold that I kinda stopped when I cleared my goggles, but I was still kicking.
Bike: Evergreen is just a bunch of rollers whereas Eagleman is FLAT, when I say FLAT I mean if there weren't trees you would be able to survey the entire 56 mile course without ANY problems. I should have crushed this. But I still just eeked out 22 mph. I really felt like I had no power or was timid. I did get knew shoes, (LG HRS Tri Carbon shoes and Speedplay Zeros) before Evergreen. I could really feel the difference. With that being said, Evergreen was not without its challenges. Evergreen is rollers. I like rollers, they are what I train on and I think it is why I did much better. I averaged 23+mph on the rollers. I almost had a wipe out, I was hanging with one of the Illinois tri team on the bike when I thought that I would push on a bigger hill as I stood up and hammered down, my handle bars slipped forward causing slack in the cables and the chain hopped off causing me to ram my knee into the point on the back of the aero bars. That sucked out loud and immediately began to swell, 3 days later it is still swollen and very tender to the touch. I endo'ed, but I did not go over the bars and somehow did not fall off or wipe out. The kid looked at me and said,"That was awesome and asked if I was alright?"
I smiled and said,"It's better to be lucky than good and it's gonna leave a mark, but at least I don't have to deal with road rash."
I never stopped, but I pulled the bars back up and was lucky enough that I did not have to stop to right the chain. I slowed at that point a bit because it hurt to exert force down, but I finished with a good time.
Run: The run my nemesis. At Eagleman I played it very safe and had a meh time. But at Evergreen I was tired of playing the part of wuss (please karma don't bite me in the ass for that statement :-)). So I ran, not a fast run, but faster than I have in any competition to date. Averaged 7:35 for the entire course, to be truthful, I averaged 7:45 for the first 4 miles then I stepped it up for the last to to average 7:35. Not a whole lot to say other than I know I can push a little more and I am gonna start striving for 7 min/miles.
So now the clock is counting down. Louisville is just around the corner and it has the Jekyll and Hyde reputation of being one of the easier Ironman competitions and one of the hardest. It holds the title of having the highest drop out rate of any IM competition to date. That happened last year and it was brutally hot.
So I am coming to grips with what I have to do. Will I qualify for Kona? Not sure, but I am going to give it everything I got. I am becoming more comfortable with my body, I still have A LOT of work to do on my body and skills, so if Kona doesn't come that's ok. I'll take a break after Louisville, talk to Kristine, and coach, and start to plan next year.
I have 3 definite goals: Kona, Maui, and Vegas. If I qualify for short course again I may run it for giggles, but those other three are the main goals. We will see what the future holds, but this is a lot of fun and I am enjoying the ride :-)
I am gonna say thanks again to a few people because they are the one's that have stood by me and helped prop me up when I need the hand. First and foremost my family and of course most of all Kristine. They have had patience when I have been pissy, supportive when I have been down, and right beside me through it all. I don't believe anybody can do this alone, if they can more power to them, but that's not me. To coaches Jeff and Diane Kline for doing all the brain work and having faith in me. To all my twitter friends who are quick with a shout-out, it makes me smile. I am not a sponsored athlete, I do not get paid by anybody but I think Polar, Hammer Nutrition, Zensah, Computrainer, and Newton products are among some of the best that I have tried. They are quick to educate and help and that is what everybody needs. They take time with noobies like me to even though they probably have answered the questions ten thousand times and they have patience. They have made the journey a lot more enjoyable. So once again thanks to all involved with getting me to this point and lets take it home now and CRUSH Louisville.
Ok a lot of the little to do tasks for IMKY are coming due. As I am working on them my stomach is turning and my nerves are going crazy. It is all leading up to this. The training hours are mounting, my weekend bricks are getting longer, my family time is suffering. Kristine is doing a great job of making the most of the time. The amazing thing to me is I can workout for 5 or 6 hours and still go out that evening.
But lurking in the back of my head is ALL the time is that scared little boy. Then thinking of all the time I have put into this and all my family has sacrificed for it. I really have to make it count for them to I must make it ALL count.
Received this in an email. I was excited and really wanted to do it, but alas it is 8 days before Ironman Kentucky. So close to my "A" race that the people close to me, Kristine, & Coach agree that I should not do it. Ugh, I am still immature and want to go do it just because. I was really excited and wanted to do it. Coach explained what was going on and Kristine was in accordance with him. Guess I will have to qualify again next year so I can plan on it, that is if I am not going to Kona :-)
So with Coach, Kristine and me now agreeing on what the path is, I will stick to the path and the plan. We will let the rest of this year pan out, but I did like the suggestion of another 70.3 to try to qualify for Las Vegas :-)
Here is the email:
CongratulationsTrevor Miller, you have qualified for the 2011 USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals after your finish in theThe Boiler Sprint Triathlonranked among the top 10 percent. USA Triathlon congratulates you on qualifying for the 2011 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship on August 20 in Burlington, Vermont. The USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship is the nation's premier Olympic-distance event with the top age-group athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, forming one of the most prestigious fields in the sport. Also, athletes from each age group will qualify to represent Team USA at the 2012 International Triathlon Union World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand next October. Space is limited and we expect this event to sell out. For more information on the 2011 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship and to register, please visitwww.USATNationalEvents.org Questions? EmailNationalEvents@usatriathlon.org