Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ginger Tea for Breakfast

I was tagged by TriguyJT (who has a nice bio in Ohio Sports and Fitness this month), and I will respond to that shortly, but this morning I've got to ask you what it is that you think caused me to miss half a nights sleep last night.

I had my tri swimming clinic again on Sunday. We had a really nice workout, and afterwards I felt great. I didn't get the post long workout crash that is typical after pushing my limits. I was SO happy to finally be back after my long bout with the illness in January. After the workout, I headed over to The Feve to eat, since my typical spot, The Black River Cafe had a line to the door. The brunch at the Feve was awesome!! A little more expensive than the Black River, but still affordable. I started off with a cup of wild mushroom soup. Then mama bear (my server, yes at the bottom of my receipt it said thank you....mama bear.) brought me a giant a sweet potato burrito with sides of black beans and rice with diced tomatoes and herbs, and a tangy coleslaw. Everything was delicious.

As I sat at the bar waiting for this dish and drinking my coffee, my neighbor commented about her friend "giving me the flu" by sitting next to me. I overheard this...I mean don't you overhear almost everything your neighbors say when you dine alone. I may have been reading, but I smiled when I was brought into the trio's conversation. I proceeded to tell them that I already had the flu and it attacked my upper respiratory system for three weeks. Their response was that this is "the other strain" of flu with a quirky smile. I get it.

So, moving onto today, I finish my afternoon/early evening workout and stop at the nearby coffee shop to refuel. The food at this joint isn't too great when you are so hungry you could eat enough for two (they do have decent cookies). I passed up on my typical choices....lentils and rice, granola with soymilk and opted for the med-ah-terranean turkey wrap, going against my better judgement of ordering meat from a questionable source (as in factory farmed....shame). When I ordered it, the employee taking my order AND the employee making a drink right next to him both chuckled. I found this odd, and asked them if the med-ah-terranean turkey thing was a poor choice for some reason. Hell, I'm a regular and I thought they would tell me the truth. The cashier assured me they were not laughing about my food choice, but some other peculiar occurrence that only two people who are cooped up together for 8 hours day after day could laugh about. I took their word for it, and I got the med-ah-terranean thing.

So, here I sit typing away in the pre-dawn hours, when I'd really like to be working out. But instead, I am having ginger tea because I was lying awake in the fetal position this morning from 3:00 until 5:00 while my stomach seemed to by experiencing what was comparable to an earthquake. This was accompanied by a mild fever, and I thought that if things got worse I might be talking to the porcelian gods. Are you kidding me?? Not again!!!! Prior to going to bed "it" didn't, uh, come out the wrong end, but it sure came out the right end with a vengeance. I went to bed and didn't think too much of it, other than questioning if I worked out too hard today or IF I ATE SOMETHING BAD.

So, as I finish my tea and debate wether I should try and get some more rest or get the day started I am wondering.....was it my neighbor with the flu or the food at the coffee shop? I'm leaning toward the coffee shop food because my symptoms are WAY better than they were in the middle of the night. And, the coffee shop employs mostly militant, fixed gear riding vegans....who just might think it was funny that some meat eating yuppie looking dude ate the turkey that was "accidentally" left out over night. I mean, these are the folks that like to threaten cars with their U-locks and often refer to themselves as being a part of the "fixed gear army." And giving someone tainted meat/dairy is kind like food warfare, no?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lucky Birds

During my run yesterday, I finally returned to that blissful space often referred to as runners high. I began to think about the physiological events that were happening. I thought about my quickened heart rate and how it accompanies the endorphins. Shortly thereafter, I thought about the canary, whose resting HR sits somewhere around 1000 bpm. Whoa!! And, birds get so much exercise flapping those wings so many times each day, except for the ostrich. Well, the ostrich is so big that its resting heart rate is much slower than 1000 bpm. But, that is another story. This story is about canaries.

With all of that exercise and a ticker that's moving at breakneck speeds, I bet they live their lives in a constant state of runners high, or shall we call it birds high. Not only do they get to fly around and sing all day, but the endorphins have to be quite active under those feathers. The endorphin generated euphoria would be a logical explanation for all of the singing, I suppose. Are there any zoologists out there who can confirm that birds really are living this blissful existence? I guess if you come into this life as a canary you have a HUGE chance you will spend your entire life in jail (a.k.a. be a pet and live in a cage), which is not so desirable.

Or, you could be one of those lucky wild canaries. The one with the racing heart that gets a huge amount of exercise and sings all day. That life just might be something like the meditative space that I hope to find somewhere between mile 3 and mile 15 of a run.....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Man vs. Virus

My friends, I'm pretty certain that what I have been fighting over the last 3 weeks has been some sort of viral infection. Folks all over NE Ohio have been suffering from attacks by these little cell invaders. If you're interested in how a virus executes its attack, you can read this or ask her, as my knowledge of the life of a virus is minimal. But, I think I learned something about the pesky virus over the last 3 weeks.....

I like to think of a virus as smart. They seem to know what's going on with your body so well. For example, they'll move the focus of their attack around from your head, to your sinus cavity, to your throat, to your chest, etc. searching for a weakness. My recent virus did this. The virus knows when you are vulnerable. It will attack you when you are sleeping or after a hard (or even not-so-hard) workout. For example, I was feeling much better last Monday and then after a short run that evening my muscles ached like I'd just run 15 hilly miles on the pavement.....and then the next morning my throat was under attack (a.k.a. a little sore).

So, after nearly 3 weeks of resting and fighting this virus with tea and cayenne pepper I found it's weakness. Beer and whiskey. So, if you have this nasty upper respiratory infection that is going around, I would recommend drinking an ample amount of strong beer from your local brewery and include a few ounces of your favorite whiskey. When I worked at a liquor store many years ago, our regulars would refer to this plan of attack as "scaring it out of you," and they practiced it regularly when they were sick, modifying my plan by eliminating the beer and attempting to consume a fifth of whiskey (and likely succeeding). Note that said regulars at said retailer were sick often. At any rate, here is an example of what this plan of attack might entail....

Go to a party. Enjoy talking with folks at the party, especially if they are members of your local tri club or have other interests similar to yours. At the party attempt to drink a 6 pack of beer over a few hours whilst talking to the good people in attendance. If you don't drink the entire 6-pack that is ok, but try and drink at least enough of them to induce what you might call a good beer buzz. Drink whiskey when a toast is proposed. Leave the party and sit in the car for an hour on the ride home (which may entail a snowstorm, if mother nature says so). Upon realizing that the local beer and whiskey taste good, and considering the effect whiskey has on your desire to continue consuming more beer and whiskey, go ahead and stop at the bar around the corner from home just before hitting the hay for the night. Have one more big mug of beer concocted at your local brewery and a little more whiskey. Go home. Sleep on the sofa in your clothes until 7:30 a.m., then put on more comfortable clothes and sleep as long as you can. Wake up to a headache that can be attributed to your hangover and realize that your throat and sinuses feel better than they have in many weeks and that you didn't wake up with a sore throat for the first time in about a week. Then, you can praise beer and whiskey for it's ability to cure your viral infection. Tell all your friends about your discovery and resume endurance training near previous levels the next week.

* Disclaimer: The author believes that consuming an amount of beer and whiskey that results in sleeping in your clothes can induce sickness under certain circumstances, and is only recommended when a viral infection is near defeat (think of it like giving speed to a hyperactive kid, as in the case of ritalin). Alcohol consumption to the point of memory loss, urinating oneself, vomiting, waking up in bed with a stranger, or provoking a fistfight is not recommended.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I must be feeling better...

Because it is Friday night, and I just had a date.

We watched basketball.

I ate a little.

And I drank alot.

And, eventually....

things were going well enough that I suppose you could say it got hot and I began to sweat,


No!! Of course it wasn't a first date!!

More like an old fling. Well, not that old, it's only been 3 weeks.

But after tonight, I'm not sure how I went 3 weeks without it....

We watched the Cavaliers hit big shots and play tough defense down the stretch to beat Atlanta, even with the plethora of injuries that are plaguing them right now. Austin Carr's exhilarant voice coincided with the hum of the trainer as Damon Jones made big shots and the Cavaliers defense made big stops. Life is getting back to normal. The Cavs win, and I put on some lycra for the first time in 3 weeks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Power of Meditation

Yesterday, the world lost one of it's biggest advocates of world peace and freedom from suffering. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died at the age of 91 (or so). He spread his ideas on the power of transcendental meditation to the Western World, with the help of The Beatles. When he caught the Beatles using drugs on a visit to see him, they had a falling out...but that is another story.

Maharishi Mahesh believed in the power of collective meditation, holding the belief that if enough people meditated regularly in support of world peace, it would be achieved. Now, maybe you think the yogi is cool.....or maybe you think he is a crackpot, but either way the world will miss a man who spread the message of a better way of life than most of us experience. Whether or not you believe in his methods, how can you not believe in his message?

In light of my longstanding illness and current sore throat, I've begun to wonder that if you all would meditate on my rapid recovery tonight before you go to bed, or tomorrow morning upon waking that I could return to my normal training pattern by tomorrow evening. Then, I thought the yogi would probably think I was being selfish and look down upon this, so I came up with another (better) idea. Think about your relationship with your maker; your god or goddess, and how it effects your day to day life. Think about what you give back to this earth and all of its inhabitants....and what you are creating or leaving here for the next generation. Collectively, we all make up the reality that is the world we live in; whether we meditate or not. Just think about it...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Don't Ease Me In

After a 2 week hiatus I got in a little run today; about 3 3/4 miles nice and slow. I pretty much felt like crap until a half hour into the run, and as soon as the endorphins flooded my body, it was time to stop. I'm still having some sinus issues hanging around, but as long as these short, easy workouts don't impede my healing sinuses you can officially consider my back on the wagon.....Or, maybe back in the saddle is more appropriate. The plan....ease back into 9-10 workouts/week.

I was welcomed back to my running life by a wonderful Phil Lesh and Friends gem. If you noticed the song reference in the title of this post, you might want to follow the link and download this show. It is a beauty.

As soon as I feel up to it I'll be back on the trainer. I'm going to try and lower my saddle a cm or so....I'm thinking that the cause of my knee discomfort was my saddle height. My thoughts on that matter go something like this....
I've been working on peddle mechanics quite a bit this winter. One improvement I've made is to keep a neutral foot through the bottom of the pedal stroke. In other words, my toes used to point slightly downward at the bottom of my stroke....now, they do not. Once I began to put in more time in the saddle, and got in a couple of road rides (one of with was about 45 hilly miles), the back of my knee was stressed by my new, smoother, more powerful peddle stoke not working in conjunction with my saddle height. So, the saddle will go down a hair, and my knee will thank me.

...and one more thing. What a freakin' wonderful football game last night!!