To miss an event … Did I miss the fun?

I’ll put it up  front. I didn’t do the Brass Monkey this morning. I decided that I don’t “need” to do the race, and I am only going to do it for the fun of if. Now my idea of fun does not include falling into a freezing cold river and then getting back in the boat, and not being able to warm up again because its a freezing cold southerly and I’ll be almost hyperthermic by the end. That is worse case scenario, and probably not likely to happen, but it was going through my mind yesterday as the wind and the rain was coming down. I had decided last night I wasn’t going to do it if like that…

Anyway, left it till this morning to make the decision, when I woke up it was still overcast and drissly, but not as horrible as yesterday, but what actually made up my mind was the fact that I had a sore throat and felt like crap. That made the decision, don’t want to turn this probable cold into full blown pneumonia (now before you huff and splutter, its happened before, and I have a tendency, when I get sick, to get really sick). But last year I managed to do 1 of the races with a full blown chest infection, against doctors orders, and praying to the gods that I wouldn’t fall out. But then prioritys have changed and the reason for doing this event has changed.

Now my only problem is, did I miss a fun race on the water? I’ve just checked water levels and looks like the river level has risen from the paltry 40cumics of last weekend to 80cumic, now that would have been a lot more fun, and less incidences with the willows. I just hoping that for some reason they had to cancel the race, than I won’t feel so bad for missing it.

I always know in these cases that if, i had have got my butt out of bed and dragged myself there I would have enjoyed myself… now I just feel like I missed the fun and remarkably disappointed in myself.

Oh well, the decision was made, and I can’t take it back… bring on race 2 and hope the river level stays up and the weather is better.

The Issue of Cramp

Just a few words before I begin

I have decided to start a writing a series of blogs on the issues that exist around endurance sport. Most likely about sport science but not necessarily so. These blogs will be different from my normal unintelligible ramblings that I normally put up. I will try and include thought out arguments or facts from as many sources as I can find. I am thinking of doing about 1 a week and basing them around some issue or event that has occurred during the my training or planning of the my training program. Though, as I don’t necessarily have a issue every week, it might be based on something that I have read. I want to be able to create discussion through these blogs, for I am sure that there could be many opposing views to what I write.

I want to do this for two reason:

  1. I have a tendency to read a lot of stuff in books and the internet. But I sometimes forget about what I have read. By writing about it and clarifying my point of view on what I have read, I will be able to remember and understand my point of view better.
  2. I thought when I first started this blog, “I don’t care how many people read my blog”. But as it turns out I do. Should I be ashamed to admit that I am looking at my blog stats, and feel disappointed when I only get 20 views in a day. But then considering the general every day stuff I write about I don’t blame people for not wanting to read. So with this series of blogs I want to encourage more people to view, and hope that more people will add there comments and views on what I have written.

Please note: I am going to reference all my sources at the bottom of the page, but I ain’t at university any more so I am not going to qualify every statement I make with a reference. I am sorry to the authors and the purists out there, but that’s my worse memory from University (adding a reference to each statement) so I am not going to make myself suffer through that again.

The issue of cramp

So this week I am going to start with the issue of cramp. Cramp is not something I suffer from to any great degree. I hardly never suffer from cramp when training, and is only in races that it has truly troubled me to any great degree. In fact on the coast to coast run, when I got cramp, I truly didn’t know what to do about it, as I never really suffered before to any great degree. Though this week when I was on my run at lunch time for 90min my legs started cramping, but I think that was because they were so cold.

There are 2 theories around what causes cramp in endurance athletes:

  1. Electrolyte depletion theory: This is the most common theory out there, this is one of the reasons that us athletes drink and spend all that money on those (not so pleasant) electrolyte drinks (raro would be cheaper). Basically, for those of you out there that don’t know, the principle is that we sweat out so much electrolyte that the if it is not replaced, this causes the muscles to cramp.
  2. Muscle Fatigue and Spinal Reflex theory: This is a more recent theory and was develop because there was serious flaws in the first theory.Now its harder to explain because it is all to do with the physiology of how the muscles work. But in very lamens terms, the muscle firing system gets fatigued during exercise and this causes the muscle to contract involuntary.

A person who is medically dehydrated and has low electrolytes will cramp, but all their muscles will cramps, not just 1 or 2, which is the case with exercise induced cramp. The problem with this first theory is that the during exercise when a person sweets they lose more water than they do the same percentage of sodium, so actually the sodium concentration has actually increased. Oh this too time consuming to explain, and I can’t do it as well as these guys so go here to get all the facts. Basically when we sweat the sodium concentration increases, then stimulates the thirst response, and you drink water which will bring the sodium level back to normal. It would be my possible conclusion that we have been tricked into drinking electrolytes because we have been told to over drink, making us more likely to be over -hydrated. So if we follow the drink when thirsty principal, we wouldn’t be replacing all our water loss, only about 50 -60% , this is completely against all hydration information I have been told. I am unsure what will this mean a person is going for a extremely long period of time (by long I am thinking 24hrs, as 10hrs proves to work OK in this theory)

Also the body is quite good at regulating its sodium levels, without any external source, sodium isn’t just available to it in the cells, there are other places it can draw it from, including the bone. Sorry I am getting away from cramp. I think hydration and fluids will be a lead on topic from this one.

The electrolyte depletion theory has been around for over 100 years (workers of the Hoover Dam were given salty milk to prevent cramp), and has been popping up every decade or so. And people have been using circumspectial evidence to prove that this theory is correct. The theory has also been supported by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute… now if you can’t see the problem about research that has been done to support the profits of its owner, than go away and think about it.

The Muscle fatigue theory, says that the muscles that are more likely to cramp are those that cross 2 joints. For example when swimming, the toes are pointed, and the knee is also bending. This means that there is a higher chance of getting cramp, the same can be said about the cramp you get when sleeping.

From my experience the muscle fatigue theory seems to fit my experience a lot better. The only time I have got cramp is in places where I have pushed my muscles beyond what they had before had to achieve. Made them work so much harder.

The trouble with researching cramp, is that it is difficult test in a lab, so they (the scientists) have trouble truly understanding it. But the research they have done in the field seems to indicate that cramping athletes have the same sodium levels as there fellow non-cramping athletes.

So conclusion, I think that electrolyte drinks have been over marketed, and I think I need to seriously consider removing them from my training nutrition. But even though I have read the supporting evidence to show that this has merit, I am a little scared to remove them. The muscle fatigue theory is in its infancy and a lot more research needs to be done to understand it further. I have a few questions in regards to this topic, is there ways of helping the muscles overcome this, will compression tights help? I will also like to know how does cramp stop works?

References

The science of Sport Blog – To get the actual un-paraphrased truth, visit these guys blog.

Speed, Agility & Power: Gatorade Sports Science Institute

The plan

So I have written myself a 10 year plan. It was inspired by a recent blog of Gordo’s and Alan Couzen’s. But it was actually me thinking last night, I could “retire” from all this activity in my life. I had missed Weedcatchers, because I was keep the “life” balance going by having dinner at Eamon’s parents. His mother and sister have such a completely different life from me, I could “retire” and that will allow me to do some of those things. But that just ain’t me any more. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have to get up and 6.30 every morning and not get home to 7 or 8 at night.

Its not a complete product yet. I expect it to evolve. But it’s a reference for me to look back on so I can see where I am going or if I have delved of course. If I have delved off course, why and what can I do about that.

Have to give a plug to Harvery Norman

A couple of weeks a go I made that blog called “Men!”. Well the case proved that the receiver that we baught from them 6 months ago didn’t do what we thought it could do. Had a HDMI label stuck on the front of the receiver, but it turned out that it didn’t actually stream the sound in HDMI (after reading the manual through, half a dozen times we realised it).  Anyway, Harvey Norman replaced the receiver with a new one that does HDMI sound. They didn’t have to,  but I still feel that it wasn’t explained that way when we brought the amp, but I think that’s really great service of them.

Slippy Slidy

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to pack my road shoes last night, for my run at lunch time. I think that it was more a case of its 10 O’clock, I need to pack for tomorrow, what do I need… throw everything into a bag, than me thinking the case through fully. Sometimes I do wonder how I get to work fully dressed. Though sometimes I do manage to packed things that just don’t work together.

So anyway at lunch I got in the car and headed for the hills. Decided to run along the crater rim. I started ok, except for the odd patches of ice that covered the entire walk way and ran down some rocks, I was not all to confident just to run over that, so had to make a bit of a detour around the track and went a bit “bush”. But then I got on to the “fun” bit of track. The track had a fine layer of mud that turns the track into a staking rink. After struggling with that for 10mins, I decide to give that up as a bad idea, and skirted across the road to the mountain bike track. Its made up of a sandy harder surface, so not so muddy. On the way, I still managed to slip on one of the metal things they put on track to help bike traction. I think it was basically had so much maud on the shoes they just slipped. I am now sporting a lovely grazed knee 🙂

Today, would have been a good day to have the trail shoes. Maybe next time.

Training Update

Run along crater rim 90min avg Hr 153

Today! What a day!

Well I thought today, I’d just be writing a blog about my ice block frozen paddle this morning… But oh no I have so much more to add!

Well I will start with the coldest paddle I have ever suffered, this includes paddles in 2 degree frosts. So I was up early to get in a 70min paddle this morning. Was aiming for the 4th bridge in that time, approx 10K. It all started well, my hands were even hot by the 1st bridge that I had to take my pogo’s off. So got to the 4th bridge all in good time, turned around and headed home. It wasn’t until the 3rd bridge that the “pre southerly” encountered me. I’ll call it the “pre” southerly because it wasn’t the same front that hit us a couple of hours later. It was a head wind into a icy icy wind and it was rather strong. If you know the river you know it doesn’t get waves on it often, normally just ripples, but I encountered “waves”. I was freezing (I was wearing merino base layer, thermal top, paddle jacket & hat, this is normally way to much and makes me overheated, but had put the merino base layer on because someone mentioned snow), I think it took me to lunch time to defrost. Most of the morning I was sitting in our nicely air conditioned office with my winter jacket wrapped around me.

With that front hit this morning and feeling like I did, I didn’t think I’d make running class, after work. But decided to wait and see.

So at lunch time I had a appointment with the podriatrist. Basically, I went in wanting some advice, could I improve my biomechanics so I didn’t need orthodics, as I don’t like using them on trails? Can he fix my current orthodics so I don’t get blisters in my instep when running for more than an hour. He put me on the treadmill and analysed my gate. Basically, my left foot is pretty hunky dorry, it’s my right one thats the problem. It turns a whole lot still. Thats why he thinks I feel uncomfortable on the trails on it, because it just ain’t stable. So conclusion, with the amount of running I am doing and planning to do, I can’t keep doing it on the current orthodics, because I will break down sometime. We can’t build up my current orthodics because when we do, I get blisters. So that basically leaves me with starting again with new generic different brand orthodics or a custom made orthodic. Given my history the first is more likely just to end me up in the current position so really the only solution is the custom made $450 orthodics.

Crap! who said that running was the cheap option to take. I did try to convince him that I haven’t been injured in ages… but he pretty much said if you want to take the risk… But the upside to the custom orthodics is they aren’t as bulky so shoes should feel more reactive etc. So got a appointment on Thursday to get a plaster cast of my feet, and then it’ll be a couple of weeks to get them made.

So lastly, the weather cleared up, so decided that I would go to running class, but as I am sitting here at 6.40 typing this blog I obviously not there. Got stuck at work, till 5.45 and I didn’t really have time to get to running class. Of course if I really wanted to I probably would have made it, but being a ice block twice in a day didn’t really apeal.

Oh and one other thing… some how, ain’t got a clue how, I was driving out of the car park after work, and I managed to cut a corner to tight and hit the sign, so now my car has a nice stratch down the side.

Geez.. maybe I won’t get out of bed tomorrow… hmmm, planning a 3 hr lunch break with a trail run. If the weather is crap, I’ll just head towards burwood forest, rather than the hills.

Lets play a game…

Today I had to take my car to work, had an appointment at lunch time.  I had a run planned after work. For 5min I sat in my car thinking “Have car can travel”, but couldn’t think of anywhere to run that would have been remotely interesting in the dark without lights, so ended up making the 2 minute journey to Hagley Park. I wasn’t very inspired by this prospect but without anymore exciting alternatives to mind, said “what ever, the figure 8 again”. Well it was still slightly light to start with so started down a unlit path, which become pretty black by the end of the path. This led me to my new exciting game, “prove how well you know the park, by running all the unlit paths you can find”.

It worked, changes the whole experience, and was actually smiling at the end of the run. There are some incidences, like you miss the 20cm deep puddle in the middle of the track, or you miss the corner of the path and start running of road, toward the middle of nowhere. But the park is well lit around the edges so you can always find your way. The last 5min of the run I took a short cut through the field to my car (did you know there is a luminescent grass, well at least looked as if it slightly glowed). Couldn’t see where the hell my feet were going but could see where I was heading.

So new game, maybe I should name it after myself “Nad-yas night park run game”, well not very imagnitive, and might need to flesh out the rules, but give it a go next time you are on a night run around a park..

What happened to the music?

Am I just getting old? I can no longer to relate to the generic bubble crap that seems they seem to play on C4. Even the alternative or indie stuff they play seems to be pop marketed as indie (after all its popular to be indie in some groups, I was one of them).

Let me put that aside, after all I will let the new generation enjoy and listen to the music they want, with out too much critism from me. There is after all soooooo much music out there that there is music that seems designed just for me, no the point of this blog, is what has happened to my music hobby, or has my multisport obession over loaded me, so I have no time to create a music collection that I could be proud off.

My tastes in music are pretty eclectic, but I suppose my taste’s are generally towards Indie and Punk Rock. Yes, I was a Nirvana convert, I was 13 when Nevermind came out, so they shaped my teenage years, and I never moved far from the Genre. But I have always loved 60’s and 70’s music as well. The 80’s was just horrible, and I think the Cure where the only decent group to come out of that decade (Oh wait, didn’t they start in the 70’s). Oh yeah and I’ll have to say U2 weren’t too bad in the 80’s either. In university years I went Goth, yes still a Marilyn Manson fan. So my music tastes is generally quite dark. I did have a period in my life where I like Enimen (uh still do) and 50 Cent (what the hell was I on!)

I’m getting off track, my point is, I seem to have lost track with whats the latest “good” music out there. I no longer buy albums (well who does, the internet is so much easier to pick and choose). At work I’ll genrally listen to Last.fm, which is really cool, because you just type the type of music you want to listen to and it “learns” what you like and introduces you different music. However, at work I am so often distracted, and what I am listening too is just noise, I might think I like that but pay absolutely no attention to who was actually playing. But I realised today that my playlist at work and home is almost 2 years old, and I haven’t updated it in that time.

I still like music, but I seem to be stuck with my old tunes, is this what happens to most people? Do we stay stuck with the music we listened to when we were teenagers. Is it that I no longer have the time or inclination, to listen and learn new music? Is it that now with the overload of music now available on the net has made it “too hard”? Is that I ma no longer interested in the marketed “pop” stuff, that I no longer get introduced to the music I like? Or is it just the people I hang around with? Will my current playlist now and forever more be the soundtract of my life? Can I live with that? If I can’t, will I do anything about it? What happened to the music?

Post Script

Been thinking further about this. What I think I have discovered is that I am no longer “passionate” about the new music, I listen I like, but I don’t anaylse / obsess… So what happened to the music passion?