Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keeping Pace

Not much new, lately it's just trying to keep up with Maddy who has one speed, full throttle. Last couple of weeks has focused on getting ready for 'cross. Unfortunately I've only been on the 'cross bike once in those 3 weeks. I did however finally dig the mountain bike out of the back of the garage and had a few great rides at Patapsco.

The past couple of weeks I've been on the Paleo diet. If you you're not familiar with it it's basically the South Beach diet on a diet and is less of a diet and more of just a way of eating for better health. The premise is we as humans can subsist on the same foods that our Paleolithic ancestors ate, lean meats, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. That's it. No dairy, no sugar, no grains, no legumes and certainly no processed foods. For the general population the primary goal of the diet is simple, control the body's insulin response to high blood sugar ans reverse our body's increasing resistance to insulin, commonly referred to as Syndrom X. While it has long been accepted that high fat and cholestrol diets attribute to coronary heart disease and artherosclerosis, new research has been shown that in fact high levels of glycogen in the blood stream may play a larger role in this than fat and cholesterol and is the catalyst for these conditions more commonly associated with poor health. What's the difference? Well, not all carbohydrates are the same, especially when comparing fruits and vegetable to grains. In the end it comes down to the glycemic index and glycemic load of a specific food to reduce insulin. It's interesting to compare different fruits and vegetable to grain based food products. While GI may be similar, the GL for grains is far more disproportional. GL more accurately measures a food's long term effect on blood sugar while GI is more immediate.

Going cold turkey on a lot of foods I'm used to having and the constant hunger were the hardest parts, drinking my coffee black almost made me stop drinking coffee. For the first week I had a dull headache and needed to eat every two hours or so. If I wasn't at home I found myself looking for salad bars to get some fresh fruit to snack on. I finally found mixed nuts with some dried fruit like raisins was satisfying for longer periods. Eventually the constant hunger and headache subsided and it was easier to go between meals with less snacking, however I made the mistake of missing a meal a couple of times and this caused a complete crash. Since it's hard to eat enough fruits and vegetables for carbo loading and recovery eating, I did allow myself to eat potatoes and sometimes rice. The past couple of days I've fallen off of the wagon a bit, it takes a lot of preparation to have foods readily avilable so you aren't tempted by readily available processed and high carb foods sitting around in the pantry.

Last weekend I decided to get a hard race in my legs so I figured why not some long, hilly road race in PA? So Sunday I drove up to Reading for the PA St. RR Champs. Race was advertised as 75min on a 13.3mi figure 8 course. The math on the laps didn't add up and come to find out the race was actually 80mi. What's another 5 miles? Well, since I can't remember the last time I rode 75 let alone 80mi, I might as well have been 20 more. I was also a bit worried about bonking as I hadn't done any longer rides since starting the Paleo. For breakfast I has a grilled steak and two baked potatoes and on the drive up a couple of bananas. After adelayed start we finally go out on the road. The race started out slow and on the first long climb some kid goes off the front. Everyone sat around and laughed saying if he stays away 6mi into an 80mi race then he deserves to win. Well, after about 8 other riders managed to bridge up to him after the course of the next 60mi he still won. For me this was just training and I was just looking to finish and get in a good workout. From the start the rough PA roads started taking their toll on my lower back. Halfway though the back pain went away but my quads started cramping. By the last lap the cramping had given way to muscle spasms. I survived the two hard climbs and stayed field. Took about a top 15 in the field sprint but didn't realize there were close to 10 guys up the road so ended up 25th which was fine by me considering I haven't ridden that distance in months let alone race it. I also never felt hungry or had the feeling of bonking which was a good sign.

This weekend is a pair of crits to hopefully put some final hard, fast miles in the legs before 'cross satrts next weekend. Maybe this week I'll get the 'cross bike out and dust off the skills a bit. Don't want to be the guy smashing into the barriers and taking out the course tape!

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