REV3 Olympic Connecticut

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Despite a nasty crash on my bicycle 3 weeks prior and very aggressive physical therapy, I was able to get my Knee injury in enough condition (ran for the first time 3 days prior to race day) to drop out of the ½ Ironman distance and complete the Olympic distance. I can honestly say that the recovery was greatly shortened thanks to my sponsor’s Recovery Pump and First Endurance MultiV. I went from x-rays on my hips and knee and banged up pretty badly to racing with very satisfied results on the bike and run portions. Having the proper nutrients in my body and then a leg system that flushed the junk out daily really sped up the recover process.

Ok, so the swim portion was probably the worst swim I have EVER completed. I have a wall of swimmers in front of me that should not have been in the front and I could not get past the line they formed. Sorry folks, but this is not the place to “buddy” up with your friends and stick together. Do that on the run, but not when swimming and in effect creating a wall where faster swimmers cannot pass. In addition, this is where my body talked to me and said “Hey buddy, you do realize you have been eating doughnuts for the past 3 weeks and not exercising right?” The lungs were burning and I couldn’t believe how fatigued I was… this is usually a strength segment for me; Not today Zurg, not today! (Buzz Lightyear reference for those with kids).

I will say that the run was a great for my feet as well. Being very flat footed, I tend to get hot spots and other issues. The combination of using SBR Sports Triglide on my feet makes them perfectly setup for both the bike and run. I apply it before the swim, it stays on in the water (primary purpose is to make taking off the wetsuit easy and effortless) and despite the sand and road crap it only comes off with soap. I have to say, anytime I can go out and my feet aren’t a concern is a good result. Thanks SBR Sports for the fantastic products!

Finally, add the fact that I am pretty much a flatlander racer/training athlete. Lower Michigan isn’t exactly a mountaineers paradise. I do have a few hills I can climb, but nothing like Quassy’s repeated hill grades that go on for over a mile in each section. However… what I discovered is that I am actually a pretty good hill climber on both the bike and run! I thought I did decent in Knoxville, but was very happy with my performance considering my physical condition in Quassy. I give myself an A++ in that category since I was smart and far faster than usual for the terrain. I have to say however, that being able to go 48 mph downhill without peddling and passing other athletes FAR larger than myself is a major testament to the Kestrel 4000 SRAM Red. Fact is, I’m just not that good that I can say it was about my legs. It really helped in keeping me in a good pace/cadence and ready for fresh legs come running time.

So the course as usual was awesome! REV3 really has some great course layouts. I just love the scenery, but it was more difficult to take it in compared to Knoxville because the course seemed to be a constant turning scenario. It was challenging, yet just enough to make you push yourself and want to return next year to do better. I can’t wait till next year! Of course the family loved the amusement park venue and were either at the beach or on the rides the entire time. This really helps getting them to come and participate when you have 15 races in a season. Not only do I get burnt out, but so do they, so having entertainment for them is critical. They can’t wait for round 2 at Cedar Point.

Challenging but just enough to demand you come back again and give it another go

 

I was able to meet most of my teammates that I hadn’t already met in other races. What a great team and group of people! All I can say, is well done Carol on the choices. I had a great time chatting at the team dinner afterwards and hearing how Andy was crazy enough to do both the Oly & ½ back to back, hat’s off to your bro!

Niagara Falls & camping with family was the bonus/icing on the cake. I love the fact that we get to travel across the United States and stop at some of the greatest tourist attractions in the world! Going on the boat ride at Niagara Falls was fantastic!! The family has never been before and of course loved all that water. Camping is what we do and we are doing a ton of it this year. I think we have only been home on the weekend a total of 3 weeks since April. Good thing I have a break in races until July.

Quassy – ORevMiddlebury, CT

 

Name:

Cooper, Chad

Bib #:

1042

Age:

39

Hometown:

Brighton, MI – USA

Status:

OK

Division:

35-39 Male

Wave:

Men 35-39, 40-44

Start Time:

6:49:27 AM

Penalty:

Total Time:

02:43:51.033

 

Swim

 

Leg

Places

Scan Time

Segment Time

Segment Length

Pace

   

Overall

Division

   
 

Swim Finish

79

13

7:15:36 AM

00:26:09.083

0.90 mi

01:48 min/hm

   
 

Swim Totals:

00:26:09.083

0.90 mi

01:48 min/hm

   

Bike

 

Leg

Places

Scan Time

Segment Time

Segment Length

Pace

   

Overall

Division

   
 

Bike Out

69

10

7:17:55 AM

   
 

Bike In

96

13

8:39:50 AM

01:21:55.050

25.68 mi

18.81 mph

   
 

Bike Totals:

01:21:55.050

25.68 mi

18.81 mph

   

Run

 

Leg

Places

Scan Time

Segment Time

Segment Length

Pace

   

Overall

Division

   
 

Run Out

95

14

8:41:20 AM

   
 

Run Split 1

103

17

8:57:12 AM

00:15:52.963

2.10 mi

07:34 min/mi

   
 

Finish

119

20

9:33:18 AM

00:36:05.043

4.10 mi

08:48 min/mi

   
 

Run Totals:

00:51:58.006

6.20 mi

08:23 min/mi

   

Transitions

 

Transition

Time

 

T1:

02:19

 

T2:

01:29

Once again, REV3 Tri has created a phenomenal race venue where not only the racers enjoy the weekend, but the whole family is included. We’ll start with the end… since my son has been able to walk he has crossed countless finish lines with me over several years now. This race of course was no exception. What I love about REV3 Triathlon is that anyone can cross the finish line with you. The other company will disqualify you for such action. Having the family at the finish line is always a joy for me and this race stood out to me for many reasons.

  1. Location – Knoxville downtown is a refreshed and young person’s community these days. The finish line was at the World’s Fair which is a perfect location. You feel like a lot is going on and yet it has a secure perimeter so that you feel safe as well. Nice sidewalk paths, green park areas, water fountain all converted from the old rail station field.
  2. Course route – Riding about 26 miles outside of town and into the countryside you get a better flavor for the surrounding area as well. It’s one thing to visit for a weekend and hit the “tourist traps”, it’s something completely different to see the surrounding area and get a good feel of the community.
    1. Bike Route: A challenging course and some good climbs of 4.2 grades several times, so there was nothing easy about it. My gluteus muscles would not release until mile 40 FINALLY! Still, I was happy with a pace of 19 mph average through the course. Not bad for a person who pretty much only has flat training grounds.
      1. The scenery is what makes this race unbelievably awesome. It’s one thing to go out and crank hard on a race and get through it fast, it’s another to do that same exertion and have a huge smile on your face because the mountains are gorgeous! This is one sweet course in the spring time weather and lush mountainside. Best views on a race course to date!
  3. Kestrel – I have to say this was the first real longer race test for the 4000 SRAM Red machine! It performed as expected and really helped over my prior bicycles in the mountain area. Going down hills and not having to crank while others did to maintain a good speed was nice; opportunity to hydrate and recover. So far it’s been a fantastic bike.
  4. First Endurance – Hands down the best flavor grape nutrition on the market. I haven’t been able to do a race without at some point needing to transition to another product simply because I can’t take the same flavor for hours on end. These guys have got their science down and flavor in order. Love IT!!!

  1. Run: Again a challenging course because it’s pretty much flat for the Olympic distance and about 300 yards after the “Turn here for Olympic distance” the hills begin for the ½. They start with little climbs and make their way to some LONG climbs that repeat several times. Heading the opposite direction as the bike course (now going South West), you head down the Tennessee River and into some bike paths that lead into subdivisions. These aren’t your typical subdivision. Each house was on about 1 ½ – 2 acre parcels and the subdivision entryways were old confederate looking granite or concrete ½ circle walls and pillars. Quite a statement. The houses and properties looked like something straight out of a Hollywood film set. Gorgeous landscaping, mansion houses and their back yards were on the Tennessee River. Unlike anywhere I’ve seen to date, and believe me I’ve seen a lot.
    1. Foot action – What was nice about the run was that my feet were a non-issue. Nothing worse than being on a race and having something chaffing or causing discomfort. As I discussed in my prior blogs about getting the proper shoe fit, it pays dividends when you are out on the course. So the best thing I can say about AVIA is that I didn’t even notice my shoes in the course! I also have to thank SBR Sports Tri Slide for their product. I use it on my neck for wrist and ankles for the wetsuit and also on my feet for the run and bike. I spray it on before the swim and it stays on throughout the entire race! That’s impressive and I fear it would either wear off in the transitions or cause me to slip and fall; neither occur. No blisters, no chaffing, just happiness!!!

  1. Swim course – A bit chilly but no issues race day because they started once in the water pretty quickly. I was able to warm up a few minutes as well which makes a big difference for me. The course was supposedly 5 minutes longer than necessary, but I didn’t care and still came out in a respectable time compared to the others. I liked the course and it was cool how spectators could watch in many spots unlike others where you go way out and can’t see much.
    1. It’s usually the little things that you forget about or don’t know that over hours add up to big problems or discomforts along the race route. Like having goggles fog up; what a pain when you have elbows and feet going every which way and your trying to de-fog your goggles. Luckily, SBR Sports Foggle has not once let me down. This stuff works great, no fogging and I can see clearly throughout the race even it I get a foot in the face and it breaks the seal on my goggles. I can also testify that a wetsuit that is too tight in the arms and shoulders makes for a long swim. I honestly love my TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit. It’s the first suit that gave me enough room in the arms and shoulders but it still tight. I don’t think you could drown in this thing, but I don’t want to try either.

  1. Camping: Always fun and even more now that we are in the posh 5th wheel. It is nice to come back to the comforts of a home away from home and be able to relax with all your stuff. You can’t do that easily in a hotel room. Volunteer Park Campground people are wonderful and friendly, but holy crap are they devoted to University of Tennessee! The upside is that the big rocks are also orange so you won’t hit the with the trailers. J
    1. What a difference to be able to relax in the leather recliner with my Recovery Pump and let my legs heal from the race. There is no way I’m giving back this product is they ask for it! Well worth the investment if you are in the market for recovering your legs after a workout or race. My legs are about 90% after an hour to 1 ½ hours on this device.



 

  1. Race results – Oh ya, here are the results. I was happy with the pace on the swim (subtract 5 minutes) and my bike pace. Unfortunately, I forgot my running fuel and that definitely impacted my run pace, but overall I loved the event so much that it didn’t really matter.

Race Results

HalfRevKnoxville, TN

 

Name:

Cooper, Chad

Bib #:

685

   

Hometown:

Brighton, MI – USA

Status:

OK

Division:

35-39 Male

Wave:

Wave 1: Men 35-39, 40-44

Start Time:

7:30:22 AM

Penalty:

Total Time:

05:46:31.646

Swim

 

Leg

Places

Scan Time

Segment Time

Segment Length

Pace

   

Overall

Division

   
 

Swim Finish

62

13

8:10:06 AM

00:39:44.243

1.20 mi

02:03 min/hm

   
 

Swim Totals:

00:39:44.243

1.20 mi

02:03 min/hm

   

Bike

 

Leg

Places

Scan Time

Segment Time

Segment Length

Pace

   

Overall

Division

   
 

Bike Out

61

14

8:12:49 AM

   
 

Bike Split 1

61

12

8:42:20 AM

00:29:31.203

9.50 mi

19.31 mph

   
 

Bike Split 2

83

21

10:35:12 AM

01:52:51.416

36.00 mi

19.14 mph

   
 

Bike In

82

21

11:12:07 AM

00:36:55.773

10.50 mi

17.06 mph

   
 

Bike Totals:

02:59:18.393

56.00 mi

18.74 mph

   

Run

 

Leg

Places

Scan Time

Segment Time

Segment Length

Pace

   

Overall

Division

   
 

Run Out

83

20

11:13:47 AM

   
 

Run Split 1

83

21

11:39:07 AM

00:25:19.393

2.80 mi

09:03 min/mi

   
 

Run Split 2

94

24

12:10:50 PM

00:31:43.570

3.50 mi

09:04 min/mi

   
 

Run Split 3

100

25

12:43:33 PM

00:32:42.650

3.20 mi

10:13 min/mi

   
 

Finish

110

27

1:16:53 PM

00:33:20.103

3.60 mi

09:16 min/mi

   
 

Run Totals:

02:03:05.716

13.10 mi

09:24 min/mi

   

Transitions

 

Transition

Time

 

T1:

02:43

 

T2:

01:40


If you are like many hard chargers out there, you will at times push yourself to “uncomfortable” new levels, some of which will leave lingering reminders that you are in uncharted territory. One of the results for many is sore feet. Whether from running more miles than your body is currently comfortable with, or changing to a new shoe line. So, who can experience this problematic symptom and what does it mean? Well, triathletes, cyclist, runners, weight lifters… the list can go on. Essentially, your feet are taking on a bigger load than they have previously been accustomed to. Just like lifting more weights than usual, your muscles become sore and lactic acid settles into your muscle tissue creating the sensation of fatigue and soreness. Your feet are no different; most of us in the Western Hemisphere exist in a world of cushioned foot protection and barriers to allowing our feet to function at their normal operating levels.

I have extremely flat feet, so flat in fact that I had to sign a waiver to join the Marine Corps. Yes, they actually still require the paper signature; it’s not an old Hollywood script line. Why do they require this? It’s well known even to an organization as slow adopting as the military that an arch is pretty important to protecting your body when carrying a load or traveling long distances. So what? What does this have to do with you? Well, how about weight lifting? Heavy load on your feet? Endurance athletes “tend” to travel long distances. So what happens here is that the foot is unable to take the impact of the foot strike and the effect is that a repeated shock travels up your leg to your knees, hips, and back all the way to your head and out your body. Over a period of time which varies for everyone, your body sends in reinforcements and protects itself in several ways. Fluid in the knees to protect and cushion the impact of the joints, pain in the feet to tell you to “STOP” what you are doing. Adjusting your hip to compensate and allow the other half of the body to take on the majority of the load. I can go on, but the end result is a zig zag effect throughout your body. Ever have a sore foot, tight calf, and then your opposite hip is in pain? That’s the zig zag effect. Ok, back to the sore feet.

 

 

(Disclosure: I am currently sponsored by AVIA shoes http://avia.com/)

Shoes have evolved from the basic sandal to complex basketball shoe. There are two rules of thought circulating today, barefoot runners and protective supporting shoes. According to some, your foot pain is a result of you over protecting your feet. MacDougall explains. “The foot is the greatest disciplinarian. You can’t over-pronate, can’t over-train, can’t over-stride … if you do anything wrong, the foot will tell you `uh uh, don’t do that’. Shoes are like morphine: a sedative that deadens the pain.” (http://www.barefootrunner.com/2009/07/baring-your-sole/) Popular sport shoe companies will tell you that your born foot flaws will never develop to the perfect foot. Example, I am flat footed and my feet will never develop a proper arch to absorb the shock impact of hundreds of miles consistently received in a single pair of shoes. Therefore, protect and adapt. If you’re interested in barefoot running, I suggest doing more research as there is a ton of information available. http://www.barefootrunner.com/ Supporters of barefoot running will say that for centuries we didn’t have running shoes and yet we somehow did ok. I would have loved to seen Roman warriors in a pair of running shoes! Yet I digress. Allowing your foot muscles to work all the fibers, both major and minor, your feet become stronger and naturally adapt. I can accept this for some people, but the reality is, not everyone has the patience or time to build up to this approach over several months. Also, not everyone is successful even after giving it the proper slow build.

I have friends that have gone the natural route (and are flat footed) and over a SLOW building process are achieving stronger feet without pain. I simply don’t have the time to test this theory at the moment as my sponsors would not be happy with a negative end result of “sorry I can’t run because my experiment went awry”. That being said, ALL of them are in reality combination runners. In other words, they use both types of shoes depending on the situation. In my history, I developed serious problems when in the service due to improper foot attire. Military boots back in my day did not accomodate for imperfect feet. I was told I could never run again. Shortly thereafter, I went to the University of Michigan and they told me my problems were simply from flat feet. I met my coach and he said that it wasn’t a factor to prevent me from running marathons. Twenty some-odd years later and I have completed many endurance races including Ironman distances! (www.REV3tri.com) So, whether you subscribe to either theory, the greatest news is that both CAN work for you. Before you go stepping into uncharted territory with barefoot running, do your research. Before you go picking out the most expensive and coolest looking shoe on the shelf, go to a qualified store and get a proper fitting. For more information on this see my prior posting on Picking the Proper Running Shoe: https://fncec.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/picking-the-proper-running-shoe/) Ever notice in the spring/early summer how you first go barefoot and the feet are Uber-sensitive to every step and pebble. Yet, a few weeks later you can walk over all kinds of stones without wincing. So, I would bet that a combination of strong feet and the right shoe is a great formula for success!

Believe it or not, the sole of the shoe DOES make a difference. There are normal, over pronated, and under pronated feet in the world. To ensure you have the right shoes, understand what each model was designed for. For example, (generalizing here folks) Nike are worn by many normal foot runners, Avia have many natural solutions, Brooks are known for flat footed runners, etc.

Second, shoes wear out even though they still look pretty, which is another issue entirely (why are your shoes still pretty? They should be dirty… kidding… well mostly). I can get a little over 400 miles on Avia brands. How do I know? I track my miles and when my feet get sore or my knees begin giving me feedback, I know either I have developed a problem or my shoes are at the end of life cycle. Over several pairs of shoes in the same model, I have identified how many miles I can get on that shoe. Yes, my shoes will very often still look wonderful, but that doesn’t mean they are still healthy to use. Dump ’em and get a new pair!

If I had to gamble on why so many people have sore feet or issues, I would bet the majority of the time is because they are either in the wrong shoe, or the shoes are beyond their life capacity!

This is probably the next in the line of foot issues. People frankly just don’t stretch enough and this includes the foot. Yoga is a great solution to stretching out your feet and whole body. There are several exercises you can attempt. The important key to remember is that it’s not just about the single muscle area to stretch, you need to stretch the supporting areas as well. That means your Achilles tendon, calf, hamstring, etc. If you don’t stretch, you are begging for Plantar Fasciitis to develop. That’s basically foot pain from the heel to the mid-sole. For flat footed people the opposite often develops, from the toe to the mid-sole. Roll a tennis ball over your feet several times a day. If you hear or feel crunchy stuff in your feet, you definitely are not stretching enough. Which leads me to the next level, therapy.

IMPORTANT: These stretching exercises should not cause pain, but rather a pulling feeling. Try to do each exercise 2 or 3 times during the day; not necessarily all in one sitting.

Heel pain exercises: before getting out of bed

Plantar Fasciitis causes many people to experience intense heel pain in the morning, when taking the first steps after getting out of bed. This pain comes from the tightening of the plantar fascia that occurs during sleep. Stretching or massaging the plantar fascia before standing up will help reduce heel pain.

1) Before sitting up, Stretch your foot by flexing it up and down 10 times.

2) While seated, roll a rolling pin or tennis ball with the arch of your foot. If you are able to, progress to doing this exercise while you are standing up.

After these exercises, put on your shoes (with orthotics inside them) or wear supportive sandals. Do not start the day walking barefoot on hard floors or tiles, or your heel pain will return.

Heel pain relief exercises: during the day

 

 

Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put the leg you want to stretch about a step behind your other leg.Keeping your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat 4 times.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Achilles Tendon Stretch

Stand on a step as shown. Slowly let your heels down over the edge of the step as you relax your calf muscles.
Hold the stretch for about 15 to 20 seconds, then tighten your calf muscle a little to bring your heel back up to the level of the step. Repeat 4 times.

 

 

 

 

Hamstring Stretch

Extend one leg in front of you with the foot flexed. Bend your other knee and lean back slightly. Your pelvis should be tilted forward. Keep your upper body upright as you hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds, then switch sides.
You should feel the stretch up the back of your extended leg (all the way up your calf and thigh).

 

 

Marble Lifts

Place marbles on the floor next to a cup, as shown. Using your toes, try to lift the marbles up from the floor and deposit them in the cup. Repeat exercise 15 times.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Towel Stretch


Grab a rolled towel at both ends, holding it under the ball of your foot. Gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your knee straight. Hold this for 5 seconds, release for 10 and repeat for 2 minute sequence.



Another suggestion is active recovery techniques. (Disclaimer: Sponsored by Recovery Pump www.recoverypump.com) For many people the foot pain is merely a symptom of issues occurring further up the leg. Pushing the lactic acid out and bringing in the good nutrients through massage and compression techniques helps me recover my legs up to 90% after a grueling event or training program. I can’t say enough about these types of solutions, they allow me simply to perform at levels that I otherwise would take several days to recover from. If you attend any REV3 or Ironman events, look for Recovery Pump booths and try them out. There is a reason the Pro’s use these types of solutions. From the NBA to Ironman competition, the pro’s are using these devices because they cut your recovery anywhere from 25% to 85%. To better understand Active Recovery vs. Passive Recovery see the following http://www.recoverypump.com/science.html.

 

I am not qualified to tell you when you need physical therapy (PT). When in doubt, see your family physician and let her determine if a referral is necessary. I have been in and out of PT many times over the years because I simply didn’t take my own advice of stretching enough. Plain and simple, that’s what lands me in the doctor’s office every time. Choose your physical therapist wisely, get referrals, talk to the physician about their technique applied and what to expect. Make sure it matches your expectations and your ability to commit to the work. Yes, you WILL have homework and be expected to complete exercises and stretches between visits. My last visit was over 1 ½ years ago and I doubt I will be back, only because I hope I learned my lesson to STRETCH! I have been subject to the Graston Technique (http://www.grastontechnique.com/SlideShowHowGTWorks.html) and it worked well for me. I have seen specialist sports therapy doctors who have worked miracles as well. I also have had the privilege of working with Olympic physical therapy coaches and they are unbelievable. Each one requires patience and time to heal properly. If you end up here, don’t expect to complete the program in one or two sessions.

 

When in doubt, see your doctor and let them make the professional diagnosis. Whatever you do, don’t put it off and make it worse. There’s nothing worse than the person who “sucks it up” to only make the matter worse and end up with a lifelong chronic problem. If you watch the professional triathlete, if there is a problem that is other than mental pain, they walk away from the race. Better to walk away from one race in order to come back again, then to lose an entire season because you thought you could “tough it out”! You may have developed an injury or have plantar warts, bunions, hammer toes, bone spurs, any number of issues that are chronic. If this is the case, the doctor can offer a solution, which may point you back to physical therapy.

 

Use your own judgment however when you do face a situation of a doctor providing a recommendation. I have faced doctors who were Podiatrist (foot specialist) and surgeons on top of that. What’s the quote “A carpenter sees a hammer as the solution to every nail problem”, well guess what a specialist solution is to many of their clients issues? I was told that my foot issues were chronic and that “we” needed surgery to “CUT” the nerves and “FIX” the problem. REALLY DOC? Needless to say, I got a second opinion in which the other doctor (who advises US Olympic doctors) said they have seen many clients go through the procedure only to end up at their office with the problem still existing. Why? Well, in my case it was just masking the pain, not relieving the real issue, lack of stretching! A combination of sports therapy, Chiropractic care (see prior posting on massage and Chiropractic care:https://fncec.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/massage-therapy-chiropractic-care/) got me back on my feet! Let’s just say you have bigger problems at this point and they are not going away quickly, get help!

To keep you on your feet and out of the doctor’s office, build your program strength slowly. There are many free and paid coaching plans available today to ensure you make your gains safely. For running, I love Hal Higdon and it’s free (http://www.halhigdon.com/). For multi-sports, try either TrainingPeaks.com or Active.com for several solutions, some paid, some free. I used Gale Bernhardt for my Ironman. Best bet is to visit your local library and use those tax dollars you keep sending to Uncle Sam.

 

Finally, rest those bad boys! You may just need a break in order for your feet to recover properly. Borrowed from eHow (http://www.ehow.com/how_2365203_soothe-sore-feet.html)

 

  • Soak your feet. Soaking your feet is a great way to relax all the muscles and ligaments in them and using Epsom salts increases the health benefits. Epsom salt is natures wonder drug, removing the bodies toxins, reducing swelling and even sedating the nervous system. Fill a large bowl or your bath tub with warm water. Add Epsom salts and olive oil and mix the ingredients with your foot until the salt is dissolved. Soak your feet for 15 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry.
  • Massage your feet. There are a million nerves and pressure points in your feet that when gently massaged will send signals to your brain that help you to relax. Using lotion, gently rub your arches and the pads of your feet in a circular motion and stretch your toes by wedging your finger between them.
  • Massage your legs. Rubbing your calves and thighs will also help to increase blood circulation. All the parts of the body are linked together in an intricate web, so by rubbing these stems that link directly to your feet, you’ll ultimately stimulate your feet as well.
  • Elevate Your Feet. Sore feet can be caused by many reasons and it isn’t necessarily because of irregular use or abuse. In order to soothe your feet after a long day of standing or walking, elevate them so that they are above your heart. When you’re on your feet all day, they will swell and bloat, so by elevating them you’ll increase blood circulation and reduce swelling. Sit on the couch with your feet on pillows that are stacked on your coffee table or lay in bed and elevate your feet there instead.
  • Wear proper footwear. If you suffer from chronic foot pain, it may because you are wearing improper footwear. Make sure that your shoes aren’t too tight or too loose. Feet will swell as the day progresses, so if your shoes feel tight in the morning, they’ll be way to tight in the afternoon. If your shoes are too tight, they will cause your feet to slide, banging into the sides and toe cap of your shoes and can cause blisters and sores from the constant rubbing.
  • Purchase insoles. Nowadays, there are many options when it comes to insoles, arch supports and cushions. You can buy a variety of foot supports in the drug store, but for chronic foot pain, visit a podiatrist and have your arch supports specially made. For women who enjoy wearing heels, companies have begun to make insoles that are specially designed for women’s fashion footwear, including sandals and stilettos.
  • Prevent sore feet. If you know that you’re susceptible to sore feet, prepare for days when you’ll be on your feet a lot, like a long work day or vacations where you’ll be doing excessive walking, by wearing your most comfortable footwear. Take a small dose of a mild pain reliever in the morning before you head out.
  • Prepare for hot summer days. In the summer, our feet are up against the elements when it comes to foot discomfort. Extreme temperatures and humidity can cause even the toughest feet to get irritated. When wearing open-air shoes like sandals and flip flops, powder your feet with a talcum or baby powder or swipe deodorant across your soles before slipping on your shoes. This will create a barrier between the heat and sweat and will help to prevent irritation, excessive rubbing and blisters.
  • Treat sores. If you do get blisters and cuts, treat them immediately with proper first aide. Open wounds need to be disinfected and blisters should be covered with second skin and/or bandages. Foot sores may start out minor, but if ignored can turn into serious infections.

Races Races Races

Posted: April 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

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How to Breathe Correctly By Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-breathe-correctly/

breathe

Unless the afterlife has wifi, I can presume that you’re alive and reasonably well if you’re reading this post, so I’m going to assume you’ve been successfully breathing for some time. You get enough oxygen into your blood to support your physiological requirements and power your limbs, organs, and muscles. You know how to inhale, and exhaling is a breeze. You even know how to breathe through your nostrils like a champ. In other words, you can breathe well enough to live. What could you possibly be missing?

There’s a pretty good chance you aren’t breathing correctly. At rest, when sleeping, while running – you can probably breathe different and breathe better. Okay, you’re willing to accept that, as a whole, we’ve missed the mark on a host of supposedly mundane activities – eating, exercising, sitting, sleeping, standing, washing, heck, even pooping – but breathing? You’ve gone too far this time, Sisson. You’re firmly in the deep end. I breathe just fine.

Hear me out, and before you read any further, I’m going to have you take a deeeeep breath, so I can show you what you’re doing wrong. Don’t skip ahead; no cheating.

Put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. Take a big breath by inhaling through your nose or your mouth (whichever is most natural for you), slowly. Really fill your lungs, and note which hand rises more. Did your right hand move first and most, with your left hand lagging behind – if it moved at all? Did your shoulders go up? Did your traps rise like you were shrugging a couple dumbbells? Congratulations, you are a chest breather.

Now, procure an infant, preferably one with an exposed, protruding belly. Gender matters not. Got one? Great. Lay your infant on its back and watch how the kid breathes. Does his chest rise and rib cage expand? Maybe a little, but the bulk of the action is happening in the belly button region, right? That kid is “belly breathing.” In other words, he is using his diaphragm, a sheet of muscle located between the thoracic and abdominal cavities that (if you do it right) draws oxygen into the lungs upon activation. When it contracts, it moves down into the abdominal cavity, pushing the belly out, increasing the capacity of the lungs while lowering the air pressure, thus spurring the influx of oxygen. The external intercostals, muscles located between the ribs (flex your core with a finger on your ribs and you’ll feel the intercostals fill the gaps), also assist with respiration, but the diaphragm is the prime mover.

If your right hand rose first and most prominently in the previous exercise, you did not effectively utilize your diaphragm. Like the office worker with inactive glutes from too much sitting, you have an inactive diaphragm. Your synergist muscles – the helper muscles that assist the prime mover – are forced to take over. Without the diaphragm contracting and opening up the lower half of the lungs, less space is available for incoming air. Not only that, but according to some, the lower half of the lungs is also by far the most efficient at delivering oxygen; the bottom 13% of the lungs brings in 60 mL O2 per minute, while the top 7% only brings in 4 mL per minute. Chest breathing to the exclusion of diaphragmatic breathing (and that bottom 13%), then, is highly inefficient because it squanders added capacity and more effective tissue.

To really accentuate the inefficiency and help you understand how exclusively chest breathing limits your oxygen, let’s try a couple quick exercises. Stand tall and shrug your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold that position and take a deep breath. Or, rather, try to take a deep breath. You can’t do it. You can take in some air, but not a lot, and what you can take in sounds labored. There’s a big whooshing sound that just doesn’t feel right. It feels… weak.

Next, hunch over at the thoracic spine. Imagine you’re typing away at the computer (shouldn’t be too hard, seeing as how you’re probably reading this post on a computer) and let your chest cave in, your shoulder blades spread out, and your head droop forward. In other words, give yourself the type of terrible posture that millions of us sport each day. Hold that position and try to take a deep breath. It’s belabored, right?

Finally, suck in your gut. Flex those abs and flatten that belly. Inhale, and note how thin and ineffectual your breathing sounds and feels. Your diaphragm is pinned against your contracted abdominal muscles. It can’t go anywhere. It can’t do anything, and your breathing suffers for it.

These seemingly exaggerated scenarios actually are not. Realize that a good portion of people go about their day with tight traps, shrugged shoulders, rounded backs, and caved-in chests, constantly sucking in their stomachs as they try to breathe. You see them every day. You work with them. You might even do it yourself without realizing. It’s anything but rare. It’s normal! Alan Watts writes of this “normal” breathing as “fitful and anxious,” with residual air “always being held and not fully released.” Folks hold onto their air and simply pile more on top with the next breath, rather than breathe completely in and completely out each time. They get new air mixed in with the old stuff, enough to function but not enough to thrive. You’ll notice that the only time they truly expel everything from the lungs is when some stressful event elicits a massively audible sigh. That sigh clears everything out and brings a fresh supply of air back in, thus giving a boost of oxygen to the blood and helping us deal with the stress. In other words, most of us can’t even figure out how to breathe deeply in and out on our own to promote relaxation. We rely on our subconscious to do it for us.

I say, why wait for our subconscious to kick in? Why not practice proper breathing at all times and reap the benefits without having to wait till stress accumulates and does it for us? Why not do some diaphragmatic, or belly breathing?

You can do this lying down or standing up. To start with, I prefer lying down because it lets you really relax and focus on the movement of the diaphragm. Place your hands on your belly, or even lay a book with reasonable heft on your belly (this will give you something to brace against). Now, take a deep breath and let your belly expand as your diaphragm asserts itself. Your chest and shoulders may rise and your ribs may expand, but this is totally normal and expected as long as the belly moves first. Next, slowly exhale while tightening your core and contracting your abs. As the abdominal muscles contract, they’ll push the diaphragm back up. This will reduce the volume of the thoracic cavity, increase the air pressure, and expel the air contained therein. Continue to take deep diaphragmatic breaths for a couple minutes. Inhale three seconds, exhale six to ten seconds. Big, deep, slow, relaxing breaths.

Do you feel the difference? The relaxation? You might even fall asleep if you’re not careful. While there appear to be objective benefits to making this your default setting, like increased oxygen supply (great for general living and athletic performance), and I’ve already gone over how deep breathing can enhance a healthy lifestyle, the real allure of breathing with your diaphragm is simply using your respiratory as it was meant to be used. The benefits we get from breathing this way – like a reduction in hypertension – stem from eliminating the short, rapid, vapid breaths of chest breathing. We’re not getting “more” or “extra” oxygen; we’re just getting the amount of oxygen that our body “expects.” Nay, that it deserves.

How did belly breathing work for you? Were you a chest breather, or are you way ahead of the curve to begin with? Practice it enough, and eventually it’ll become second nature. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!

Recovery is key to good season

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags:

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http://recoverypump.com/

I like many of you do my best to be smart and train properly; however, there comes a time that you have to recover in order to be a solid performer. For years that meant tapering and usually 3 weeks hard training and 1 week recovery. I then also wondered whether the pro’s having access to some equipment and resources the masses don’t get really made a difference. The short answer is ABSOLUTELY!
So what about the common hobby athlete or even the die-hard? Well, Recovery Pump is a solution available to everyone now and it started in the medical field that has now broken into the athletic circuit.
I started using the system and truly was overwhelmed by the immediate results. I’m happy to support products I use when they support the claims being made. However, these guys are relatively new in the sports area to the masses and I am going to guess will be a standard resource to athletes in no time. I can go out and HAMMER my legs on the bike or several hours, hook up the recovery pump afterwards… And by the next day I have been having ZERO fatigue or soreness. Now it’s one thing for your legs to feel recovered, it’s another to run the next day and see if they perform. Yup, it’s like they had a warm up exercise the day before and they have been solid for the next exercise day. It has shortened my recovery massively!
Only one problem, my wife keeps taking the system and using it too! So now there’s a waiting list in the house.
If you are interested in trying one, head to a Rev3 event Revolution 3 Triathlon and look for them offering demo’s. You do need a doctors prescription I believe to purchase one (don’t hold me that for sure) but I haven’t seen anyone with a doctors objection yet when you present the material for their review.

Good luck!

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was crossing a finish line! Well, the excitement is starting to ramp up and my teammates in the South are hitting the race courses for a couple of early season Half and Full Marathons; but the real fun starts in May with our first ½ Ironman event in Knoxville Tennessee! I just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU’s to those who have helped me getting prepared and providing some great equipment for what I hope will be a fantastic season. 15 races across this wonderful nation of ours means I need good stuff.

First to Carole Sharpless! Our fearless leader on Team Trakkers. Without Carole, our team would be a bunch of meandering nomads looking for a race without understanding. In the words of Forrest Gump “Momma always says there’s an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been. I’ve worn lots of shoes. I bet if I think about it real hard I could remember my first pair of shoes.” I’m guessing Carole is wearing Avia running shoes right now.

Recovery Pump: More to come on these guys, but all I can say is WOW! I have been using their compression boot and it is nothing short of working miracles after my legs take a beating!

Kestrel: I was super excited to see what the Kestrel 4000 Pro SL SRAM Red could do, and I am truly impressed. After a winter of being on the trainer, I was getting doubtful that I had worked so hard and didn’t see much gain. Well, I got outside this past week and quickly realized that the hard work and an incredible bike has improved my speed thus far by 4-5mph!

SBR Sports: All I can say is my body thanks you for not smelling like Chlorine and itching all the time now! My hair and my wife’s hair thank you as well.

Revolution 3: Charlie, thank you for the opportunity to show others what a great program Rev3 puts on! You guys blow away the competition and have the best quality races on the face of the planet!

Avia: I was uncertain whether a flat footed person could pull off wearing Avia. I am pleasantly surprised that my feet are actually in better shape than on my prior long time “other brand”. If you think shoes don’t matter, then you’ve never run anything long enough to discover just how important the right shoe is.

 

So often we read about exercise technique, how to run faster, swim faster, bike… yes, faster! I too have written about these along with nutrition, sleep, and many other topics. But the one that is missing from nearly all the blogs, professional sites, e-mails, and coaches is massage therapy and Chiropractic care! We read about stretching and whether to do it pre, post, or both, but rarely do I come across anything worthwhile regarding massage therapy. I have been a client of massage therapy for many years and frankly it has been a major asset in my toolbox. I can admit verbally that I don’t stretch, not just a little, I mean at ALL! Yes, I know I need to and from time to time will jump on the bandwagon and scare my muscles into thinking I might make it a habit, but no such luck. My only saving grace is massage therapy and Chiropractic care. We’re not talking about the kind you get on vacation overlooking the tropical garden with Zen like atmosphere and can’t believe you just forked out $90.00 + for a surface experience.

I’m talking that my massage therapist needs a drink after she is done with me. A deep tissue or sports massage gets into the areas that really need work and can often leave me wondering what the heck am I paying her to punish me like that for. It’s a massage that leaves you going thank you and at the same time “this is really uncomfortable and painful”. However, the results are nothing less than stupendous! I have received massages around the world and fortunately think my options locally are as good as the best in the world. They don’t mess around and in return (assuming I consume sufficient water afterwards to flush the toxins out) I get a body back to a condition ready to take on more racing punishment. So, I think that a combination of proper stretching (taking my own RX here), massage therapy, nutrition, sleep, and hydration can transform an average athlete into a top 10% finisher on a consistent basis.

Couple of pointers:

  • Ensure you are already hydrated before you begin a massage
  • Ensure you drink sufficient water afterwards in order to flush the toxins just released from your tissues
  • Skip the feel good massage and get a sports massage or deep tissue
  • Stretch to prolong the work you just paid for and invested in
  • Let your massage be your workout for that day. A good massage is as good a workout as a light workout day.

 

 

Just as debatable in some circles, Chiropractic care has its devout believers and agnostic naysayers. I was in the later circle until a few years ago when I decided to give it a try. I found for myself that while it initially worked in the beginning it quickly wore off and I found my body would revert back to its old familiar troublesome ways. However, after continuing to go twice weekly and then backing down to just once a week after my massage my body responded by staying properly aligned and functioning the way God intended it to. Believe me, for a guy like me, this is nothing short of a miracle considering the beating I give it each week.

 

So while Chiropractic care takes some time to shape up the body and transform the skeletal and muscular system into the proper locations, you have to remember you are training those systems to take on new memory and break long established habits. Just as you don’t expect (maybe hope) to workout twice and suddenly you’re in shape, Chiropractic care also takes time to achieve the full benefits.

 

I believe that without both of these treatments, I would have been on the bench due to my stupidity of not stretching and paying the consequences for such poor decisions. Fortunately for me, I have health coverage for both massage and Chiropractic care which is very rare. I believe that including it in the health benefits actually is proactive rather than reactive medical care. I am sick far less than the average bear and keep the other typical medical cost at bay.

 

 

Figure 1http://www.kestrelbicycles.com/TRI/4000-PRO-SL—SRAM-RED.aspx

 

 

 

 

I put the new bike on the trainer today after an hour of swim sprints. The trainer is set to typically be more difficult than actual road riding. I have to say that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since my previous road bike was pretty darn nice and got me through some tough races last season. Well, I can tell you that it was NIGHT and DAY differences! What am I talking about? How about after 36 miles I was consistently 10 – 15 beats lower in Heart Rate the entire time WHILE going easily 2.5 mph faster
(training ride was hill simulation, not flats). Big deal? Well, it you are out there for hours and still have a full marathon to complete after 112 miles of biking, yes, it’s a huge difference. I got off the bike and my legs felt quite fresh and ready to keep going. Could make a real nice difference between last season’s successes and this season’s lower times! Is it worth it? It all depends on where you are in your racing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ingredients are right on par with my needs as well which is really more important than the taste I suppose; but who likes gulping down stuff that taste awful? What even better is the EFS Energy Drink while I’m performing is REALLY tasty. I can’t stomach most things hours on end, but I can tell you this stuff isn’t going to be a problem. Wait, it may be only because I want to drink more and have to stop! How does it compare to the other stuff out on the courses? Not even close. Now I don’t have to carry as much stuff to keep my ratio’s in balance. Check it out… http://www.firstendurance.com/pdf/efs_2010.pdf

 

My body has really been taking a beating lately with the coaching that I’m getting. Ben Greenfield is really getting me in line for the upcoming race season. I haven’t been recovering nearly quick enough and I’m tired. I started taking the MultiV and it has been a real help. Face it, the water softener strips all the minerals from the water regardless of how much I’m consuming. I was already on a suppliment meant for endurance atheletes but it wasn’t cutting it. The minerals addition is making a huge impace. I’m back to my regular sleeping patterns and have far more energy during the productive day. http://www.firstendurance.com/multiv.html

 

Received my first order of Ultragen Recovery Drink! One of the best tasting products out there. It’s like a milk Shake dessert!! I look forward to my workouts just so I can have my Ultragen afterward. I’m not looking for the desserts either because I feel like I’m already having it. My body is really responding to it as well and improvements are quite marked. Thank you for an awesome combination of effectiveness and flavor! http://www.firstendurance.com/ultragen.html

 

 

So now I UNDERSTAND that the wait is worth it! I feel like a kid in the candy store with a whole dollar! (pre- 1970’s I guess)

 

Waiting Sucks!

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Ok, I received my notice that my new Kestrel bike is shipped. Waiting for my clothing gear and can see what it looks like (very cool). Upgraded to a new 5th wheel Bighorn and won’t have it out until April when the snow stops. It seems like Christmas just keeps coming and it all is sitting in storage waiting for the outdoors! Ok, I love the snow, but when you have all this STUFF and cannot use it outdoors yet, WAITING Sucks!!

I will say however, that I got my SBR swim products and they are incredible. The shampoo, conditioner, and body soap have made a world of difference in after pool swim chlorine itchy skin. I’ll be writing about that later. And the Foggle actually kept me from having to clear my goggles every 10 minutes.

So, waiting sucks but at least I still am happy, have something to look forward to, still smiling, and yes still love the snow!