Thursday, 21 October 2010

Attitude problem. Who, me?

What goes around, comes around. I guess that’s why it’s called cycling. And because I have been in a crap mood all week, I make no excuses for the bad pun. O, wait. I just did.

Whilst last week was great for training (I felt good, did good) this week was the opposite. Hopefully next week will be a compromise and have a show of balance about it.

On the weekend, I had a hard lesson in watch what you eat, don’t compromise what you eat, and get some long sleep. It set me off for the week.Or maybe it was just the hail and snow the fell that got me going? Good quality sleep for a short time doesn’t quite have the same gains as good quality sleep for a longer time. And adequate hydration is crucial. Don’t forget to drink your water!

I spent the weekend away massaging working Clydesdales and Percheron crosses. It should have been centring and good for my soul, and on some level it was. But on another level, my sugar and hormone levels got in the way and I have been cranky ever since. Perhaps it has something to do with being at a decision point with cycling, racing, horses. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just because there’s a bucket load of shit going down at work, I have final exams in four weeks (oops 3 now), have two horses to look after for the next few weeks instead of one, am still having “health issues”, and I am over the politics of cycling and need a break from the freight train I have put myself on.

I have a long weekend coming up, and on Monday, all things going to plan, I am going to have incredibly stiff, sore legs from riding Moonie on Sunday. Needless to say, I am really hanging out for go home time today, and some extra time over the next few days for riding my bike in the sun, more sleep and chilling with my ponies (and text books).

Monday, 11 October 2010

Little progressions

Today marks Day 4 of a block of fairly intense training. Four days in a row of pushing myself into the hurt box, sometimes fartlek style, but hey a good peak power reading* is still valid!

I am pretty stoked, because it's been well over a month, nearly 2 months since I felt this "good". And what's the difference?? Industrial strength probiotics.  When I first started taking them (I am talking prescription variety here, not the healthfood shop version) within a week I felt an energy I had not felt in many many years. Then, with the testing period, I had to stop taking them, and I fell back to being heavily fatigued, foggy, achey. Now I am taking them again, with last week being week 2 of ingesting these horsesized capsules. I soaked up the last week of training without the usual crash and burn fatigue, and whilst I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow, I am also looking forward to the next four days of training I have planned out for myself.

Happy happy! :-D

*I scored a hit in the powerprincess wattage output stakes.Hammering up a hill always helps though ;-)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ride like a cavetrackie

As well as now being a one trick pony, I am going to out myself as a paleo fuelled trackie. You may have noticed the new byline on the blog header. Okay, fine. So what does that mean?

Paleo means no grain, no starchy carbs, no processed foods, no sugar, no dairy, no industrial seed oils (eg canola). This provides a good definition and outline.

But as an athlete, I need to fuel. So the grains and starchy carbs will be in, in a very specific manner, at a very specific time. The proviso on the grain is to prefer other starchy carb options such as sweet potato etc, and to totally avoid wheat and gluten loaded grains. For example, after training last night I had porridge of rice flakes and buckwheat groats, nuts, coconut flakes, LSA, 2 eggs scrambled in, berries, banana and some lactose free yoghurt.  Mostly organic of course. Okay, so I compromised with the yoghurt (maybe I should call myself primal instead?).

I have progressed to this point over the last 6months, modifying my diet to overcome gut related issues. It wasn't a massive change, just some small progressive tweeks. Gluten and lactose were the first to go, and probably the biggest change I made. In doing so, I’ve had some excellent side effects, such as an almost immediate disappearance of joint pain and flu-like muscle fatigue and pain, and brain fog, with an increase in overall energy. Whodda thunk??? I’m liking those kind of side effects. Combine that with becoming an anti-wheat convert after reading about the nastiness of this beasty on the human gut, my ideas about what constitutes healthy, healthful eating have changed.

Why is this here, and not in my eatmydragster blog? Because it’s actually about training and racing bikes. As in, how do you fuel quality performance and recovery in training and racing when you don’t eat the regular stuff such as pasta and bread etc? There are some excellent books (see Cordain and Friels Paleo Diet for Athletes for one) and an abundance of great blogs (check out the blogroll on eatmydragster) as to the hows and whys of the paleo eating regime. But there aren’t too many blogs or books on paleo eating for track racers, let alone sprinter types. Most training for racing literature focuses on endurance, because, as we all know, anything done on a bike is an endurance event, even if it takes 10seconds to do. Uhuh.. mkay.. riiiiiiiiiight. (I actually suspect it's easier to do research on endurance cycling, quite simply). You’ll hear that sprinters need endurance because they’ll have several sprint rounds to the final, and need to be able to cope with that. Sure thing, but it’s not the same as racing 40km, 90 km, 160km, or an IP on the track. And to find anything about fuelling for a 500m -1000m TT, forgedditabout. That kind of event is frequently dismissed as it’s so short you don’t need to worry about it, so long as you are plenty hydrated.

So I am turning myself into an experiment of N=1. Heaven forbid, I am not even in the usual cohort range of experiment guinea pigs: wrong gender, wrong age, wrong total training hours per week to qualify for most ex phys cycling trials. But this is my blog, it’s about me. So you’ll now get the occasion menu for racing and training, as well as how I feed myself while away from home. And you'll get the odd research article. And the occasional link to an interesting blog post. And maybe some motivation/incentive to give it a crack yourself.

One mind

Message to self:

One goal, one race, one time.

No distractions. No detractors. No digressions.

This track season my goal is to have one goal.

To be singleminded, single focused and specialise in one event.

Everything I do will be for that one race. It will be a challenge for me. I like diversity, stimulation. I get bored easily. So it’s as much a test in my self belief, my capacity for obsessing, my tenacity to stay on track and not wander off chasing butterflies.

One goal, one race, one time.

It's Time....

It’s time. Yes, Gough, it is. Normally by now, I know what I will (or rather, plan to) be racing over the coming track season. This year not so. I have no idea of my real race fitness (limited is my estimation), and as per usual, being incredibly endowed with an overabundance of shutzpah and selfbelief as I am, I’m telling myself that I won’t be ready to race until January at least.

Country Track Champs are out this year, as I have theory and prac exams to sit/stand for my Equine Myotherapy certificate. Xmas Carnivals are a serious probably not at the moment. That needs qualifying by some real world racing in a few Thursdays’ time. Yeah yeah been saying that for a few months now!! Oh next week I’ll be there. Ha! ie Probably not.

I need to plug some racing gaps from January to March and I think club racing will be it. Women’s Omnium in January; well I organise that one. Perhaps a couple of the country opens, then it’s onto the Champs.

State Masters are in February and Nationals in March. I am very happy that Nationals have been brought back a month, as most of us are completely trashed by April. But in reality the timing totally sucks for me. I am on the State Junior team, and Junior Nationals ends 3 days before Masters Nationals start. Both are in Sydney. Juniors will trash my energy and legs with 12 hour plus days standing, getting dehydrated, less than ideal eating, fitful sleep etc. Then I fly back to Melbourne on the Sunday, only to get back in a car on Tuesday for the return trip. I could stay in Sydney but the additional expense, and not going home to wash, pack, regroup etc is as bad as the turn around going home and back. Damned either way.

Somehow I think it’s going to be a quiet season.

Friday, 1 October 2010

The verdict....

So, it’s official. There is “nothing” wrong* with me….

I don’t have cancer, crohns, colitis and am not celiac. My breath tests came back negative, but because I had post test symptoms (which is not meant to happen, go figure) then the tests are probably “false”. My change in diet is working in terms of improving my gastric health (which by the way, is very healthy according to the GI. Ha! Well, I guess he did actually LOOK at it), so the verdict is: keep doing what you are doing.

So what does this mean for me? It means I now keep monitoring my post training recovery, have bloods done twice yearly to check my status to stay on top of any deficiencies that crop up, and maintain a gluten free, lactose free, low grain diet to manage gut health.

It’s been a challenging 6 months but it’s been “revolutionary” in that I have had time to think about this thing called cycling, and what it means to me, particularly when it sits alongside another deeper passion called dressage, which has had an opportunity to bloom after a very long dormancy.

I’ve done a stack of research on gut health, and how a thing called leaky gut can do all sorts of weirdarse things to the body, from achy joints and muscle fatigue, to cancer. I’ve been lucky enough to find a blog by a cycling coach that supports some ideas I have around track sprint/short course training. I am about to take some ideas that I worked on last year with one of my very good mentors, and extend them further. My preparation for the coming season has been nil, so it’s a great opportunity to put into practice those ideas, combining time efficient training with what would be considered a radical diet for athletic endeavour.

And alongside training for one event only this season ie Nationals 500m, I am getting back onto my Stubben, with the help of a horse whom is very dear to me. It’s kind of ironic that the horse I trained and competed on for many years, so that he now carries the honourable title of Schoolmaster, is about to become my schoolmaster. I am borrowing Moon from his current owner, to get my dressage muscles back into a state where I can get on my mare and stay put when she leaps about expressively in her early stages of training. So after spending years training my lovely little stockhorse, he gets to return the “favour” and train me!

And, in other news… I scored an autograph from the current World Champion, who obliged my request to sign his magazine cover photo last night at the World Road Champs Gala Dinner. Shweeeeeeeeeeeeet! I got to tell ya, he is SHORT!!!! LOL