Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why I might never do another 5K Run

I had some fun with my 7 Reasons I'm Not a Runner [ARTICLE] and now I discuss the highly revered 5K. It's a popular topic, and if you go to any of the common content-mills like or RunnersWorld you'll countless articles about how to train for it, how to run it, race day preparation, in-race nutrition, drop bags, and probably even how to tie your shoes for a 5K Run. I have commented a few times that for most of us the run is less than 45 minutes and a lot of this stuff is just noise and chatter, just go have fun.

I regularly run more than 5K on a daily basis. Usually between 4 and 8 miles on trail in the mountains of Colorado. Every now and then I do less miles for more speed, but not that often. In the big scheme of things I just want to have a good workout.

Doing a 5K with any level of competitiveness, even for my own stats and PR attempts, means I bust my butt for 30 minutes, which results in having to take a week off from training in order to recover, and I came in 2nd to last in my age group.

Even busting my butt on a PR attempt results in not a lot of training effect. See how few minutes are spent in any of the training zones in the above screenshot (from a 31:25 5K PR)? From a training perspective it's not all that beneficial when weighed against the time off of training to recover from this. It would probably be far better to ride the Tempo/Threshold Zone for a 10K. Probably as well to ride the Endurance Zone for 10-12 miles.

As far as I'm concerned, for us older folks, and people who run 25 miles or more in a week, the 5K can be the "sprint/interval training day" every couple of weeks, depending on recovery issues. It can be used as training for that last kick at the end of a longer run. I might do one to help motivate and inspire a friend or relative, a young runner, and give them support and pace them. Photo below is night-time trail running with my 12 year old son by headlamp.

I think the 5K is a great goal for a beginning runner. I think it's a great goal for the speed demon who can do 4-5 minute miles one after the other for 15 minutes. I think it's a great kid's run. I think a lot less stress should be put into it though for most of us who just want a great workout without getting all bent out of shape over details.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Incline Treadmill Calculator

This is an Incline Treadmill Calculator I have been using for a couple of years now for my Elbrus Race training. I also use it for training for my speed ascents on Colorado 14'ers and Utah Wasatch Front peaks.

Incline Treadmill Calculator

(if it doesn't load correctly please refresh this page)

If you have access to a Nordic Track or Freemotion Incline Trainer, they are able to go up to 40% incline. Some of their models can also do a negative incline of -6%. I've noticed though that the console report for vertical feet gained is a little off from the math as the incline gets steeper. I think this is because of their internal parts just counting passes of the sensor and doing integer math, instead of our Javascript calculator doing floating point math on the total miles and time. If anyone working for the company can explain it, I'd love to see the answer in a comment below.

7,167' in 114:06 (a little less than 2 hours) and 4.64 miles
If you don't have access to a steep incline treadmill, an average commercial treadmill should be able to do 15%. Let me quick explain the percentage of grade. This is the number of feet of vertical change over the distance of horizontal change. For example, if you walk 1000' and end up 10' higher, this is a 1% grade. Highway passes are rated for grade, with 6% or more being fairly steep for many trucks.

Riding the Incline Treadmill with Wireless Earphones

10% of a mile would be 528'. If you were to ride your treadmill for 2 miles at 10% you'd be going 1056' of uphill travel. As you can see, this can be quite a workout and an incline treadmill can be great training for mountain hiking.

Minimalist footwear is great to strengthen the feet for incline treadmill use
If you'd like to see some great example Incline Treadmill Workouts, check my posts here and at my OTHER BLOG for some of my own Incline Treadmill Workouts. Remember, stay safe when working out and don't do something that isn't good for you. YMMV.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stairmaster Workout - Stepmill Calculator

This is a Stairmaster Workout Stepmill Calculator I have been using for a couple of years now for my Elbrus Race training. I also use it for training for my speed ascents on Colorado 14'ers and Utah Wasatch Front peaks.

UPDATE: I recently rewrote this to output data similar to the Incline Treadmill Calculator. I want it to work better with my "Couch to Colorado 14er" Training Program, due out in Mid-March. For the Journaling system I suggest consistency when you log your training sessions. MORE INFO - 22 February 2014

Stairmaster Workout - Stepmill Calculator

(if it doesn't load correctly please refresh this page)

This Stairmaster Workout Stepmill Calculator will automatically highlight your results, so copy it to your clipboard and then paste into your own workout tracking software, or blog, or journal. Remember, if you can't measure and track it you can't manage it to the best of your ability.
Stairmaster Workout

Stairmaster Workouts:

I prefer simple, basic, Manual Program sessions when possible. There are some variations between models. Some allow you to start with simple Level Settings. Others allow you to manually enter your Steps Per Minute. In either case, a few minutes of messing around will let you find out which settings match your current level of fitness. Mine does Steps Per Minute, so I'll use that for these programs.

Beginner Stairmaster Workout

Set the Stepmill for 20 minutes at 25 steps/minute. After about 5 minutes bump it up to 30. Try to go up 5 steps/minute every 5 minutes until your heart rate exceeds your 80% level. If that doesn't happen, in the next workout start at 30 and work your way up. Keep going up until you end with 5 minutes in your 80% heart rate zone.

Intermediate Stairmaster Workout

Set the Stepmill for 40 minutes at 50 steps/minute. Your goal is to keep your heart rate in the 75-85% zone. Adjust the steps/minute up or down to accommodate this zone. It's not a contest to see who has the highest heart rate or the fastest steps/minute. Stay in that intermediate zone for the entire 40 minutes. This is a great cardio workout.

Advanced Stairmaster Workout

One: set the Stepmill for 24 minutes at 120 steps/minute. Enjoy the ride. This is similar to doing the famous Manitou Springs Incline, 2,000' of vertical, in 24 minutes. That's a really good result for that classic hill climb. If you want more info on the Incline [SITE ONE] [SITE TWO]

Two: Interval Stairmaster Workout: Use the Interval Workout Function to program in 120 steps/min for 3 minutes and 75 steps/minute for 2 minutes, and have that repeat 12 times. That's a great one hour interval workout.

NOTE: If your own Stairmaster Workout doesn't use a set static constant steps/minute the Workout Report screen at the end will tell you your Average Steps Per Minute. Use that number in the calculator above.

Stairmaster Workout Disclaimer: don't get hurt. It's pretty easy to fall off a Stepmill, and if you go off the back, expect to fall a couple of feet, much more than you would off a treadmill. Make sure a qualified professional has cleared you to use a Stepmill. Be careful.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ice Climbing Training: Shoulder Mobility Kettle Bell Circuit

I don't train shoulders hard for Ice Climbing as they don't have to do a lot of work, but you do need to keep them in balance with your lats. If your lats are too strong for your shoulders you could have some mobility and injury issues. Here I'm doing a quick circuit with kettle bells to loosen up and dynamically strengthen my shoulders.

Note that these are not traditional kettle bell swings. Don't throw a lot of weight around here. Pick a weight that you can do sets of 25 with. I mix up the order every other day or so with Front, Side, and Rear swings. Use a light balanced stance that allows you to be stable during the full range of motion for the swing. If you have to lift your heels a lot you are probably using too heavy weight.

I could do these every day and have full recovery, since I'm not going to failure or really stressing the muscle that much. YMMV.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ice Climbing Training: Ice Tool Chinups

Now that I'm done with Elbrus Race 2013 I have to start training in earnest for the upcoming ice climbing season, about 6 to 8 weeks away. This morning I did an upper body routine and I'll be sharing that with you over the next few weeks so maybe you'll start training with some of my tips.

This morning I did Ice Tool Chinups. Here I'm using a regular hangboard with the tips of the tools placed at the junction between jugs and slopers. I have to be careful not to slip, but that just adds to the specificity of the training I think.

10 Second Dead Hangs are a great addition to the training
Others I've talked to have said they use eye bolts and get a more secure hook with the tips. Whichever works for you, be warned that ice tools are pointy, and dangerous, and can damage walls and your hangboard. Be careful.

I'm doing sets of 3 here, and mixed it up with other training in Superset style - A set of Ice Tool Chinups and a set of Standing Low Rows in this case. Repeat a half dozen or so times and then get on to the next exercises. Over the course of the next couple months I will most likely add weight rather than increase sets or reps. YMMV...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Seven reasons I'm not a runner

I've had quite a few discussions with people who claim to be runners over the years. On Twitter and Facebook and in person.  Based on how these typically end up I have to admit I'm not a runner.

1. I can't run a 21 minute 5k
2. I weigh over 150 lb
3. I strength train
4. I don't do yoga
5. I stretch
6. I like the treadmill
7. I like using Nordic poles on steep trails

There's a quick 7 reasons I'm not a runner

I read an article recently categorizing runners into 8 categories, and some of the comments were obviously from some of these same trolls on social that enjoy putting people down who are not "runners like them" but seriously, I think if you're out having fun in the great outdoors, or urban sprawl, or even in the privacy of your own basement or garage, it's all good and all you really need to worry about is getting stronger, healthier, fitter, and maybe even putting aging away for a while.

I suppose that's being too optimistic.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Testing out the foot - Stairmaster at 9600' in Breckenridge Colorado

I had been to Utah and tested out the foot on the Stairmaster there, and managed to find a shoe/sock combination that worked. On Tuesday there I did 66 minutes at 75 steps/minute for 3300' of elevation. That's a bit less than a qualifier (3570'). I did that at 5200' of elevation in Utah County.

On Wednesday in Breckenridge Colorado at the Recreation Center I set it at Level 10 (slightly different control panel) which equates to 89 steps/minute for 60 minutes, resulting in 3560' of elevation gain in an hour. That's close enough to a qualifier to call it an hour qualifier. I had been planning to simulate an Elbrus Race as closely as possible by doing a Stairmaster Qualifier on one day, then in my condo use the Incline Treadmill to simulate the Classic two days later. This will test my ability to recover from an extreme event and two days later do another one.

I'll be doing something similar this last week before I go. I'm not training outside very much. Though I did do a 5.5 mile run on Wednesday afternoon after doing weights in the rec center, after doing the Stairmaster in the morning. Not sure I can achieve that this week. But I am happy with my Stairmaster performance last Wednesday. My foot was a little sore on Saturday and Sunday after the Incline Treadmill. More on that later.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Leashless dog and the sprained ankle

Well, at least this will be excellent material for my Elbrus pt. 2 book...

I can't lose training time, I can't lose fitness. But I have to eat and rest and heal. Quite the paradox. Elbrus Race 2013 coming up in 3 weeks now. Was getting to my peak. Hoping for a very fast recovery, or at least enough to let me run uphill fast two critical events.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Training at Breck Rec

I'm not used to training any other place than in my basement or garage, but when we moved to Colorado this summer I had to figure out a training program that would work for me. I'm peaking for Elbrus Race 2013 right now, so I can't really bail on weight training, in spite of the heavy mileage in running and fast hiking I've been doing. In spite of the great quantities of vertical I've been doing. I have a punch-card at the Breckenridge Recreation Center, which is about the most reasonably priced option at the moment.

I love the Cybex machines overall. They're pretty smooth and have a good action. There are a few differences in perceived resistance between them and what I normally do. In general though, especially for my upper body training, I'm just working strength endurance on the low side of the curve. I'm doing sets of 25 with a moderate weight. For some of these I had to do a rest-pause sequence. When I couldn't go any more I just set it down, took 2-3 deep breaths then kept going with the count until I hit 25.

After hitting the machines upstairs I went downstairs to the free weights and weight towers. Fortunately they have two squat/deadlift stations, since one was being used. I did a set of squats, which felt rather odd with a straight bar. and then some Romanian or Straight Leg Deadlifts. Then some sets of three singles in a row. They're singles because you set the bar down and relax your grip between each rep. Those also felt odd with a straight bar. For my squats I've been using the Safety Squat Yoke Bar. For deadlifts I've been using a Hexagonal Trap Bar. Both give me a much better position with my wrists and help me to avoid repetitive stress injuries there. I'm just glad they had chalk out and available.

I finished with another set of squats, then went over to the "Hungarian Core Blaster". Here's a [LINK] if you want to see what it is, but I totally dig it. You can get a great workout. In Utah I use a kettlebell to do the same type of motion. 

Then I finished with some bicep and tricep on a lat tower. I tested out some pullup and chinup motions, but was pretty wasted after last week so I ddin't push that any further. Finally some knee-ups on a stand.

Hyper/Roman Chair/Left and Right Side Abs:  25 ea
Roman Chair Ab Twist 10 rotations side to side
Cybex Lat Pulldown 25 @ 50 / 70
Cybex Shoulder Press 25 @ 40 / 35
Cybex Lat Row 25 @ 85 / 90
Cybex Chest Press 25 @ 50 / 50 (rp)
Cybex Let Extension 25 @ 50 / 50
Cybex Leg Curl 25 @ 110 / 110

Full Back Squat 15 @ 45
Romanian Deadlift 15 @ 135
Deadlift 3x1 @ 225 / 225 / 225 / 225
Full Back Squat 15 @ 45
Sorinex Core Blaster 2x 15 @ 45 ea
Cable Tricep 2x 50 @ L6
Cable Bicep 2x 30 @ L4
Knee Ups 10 (knees bent)

Bumper Plates on the Deadlift Platform
I'm thinking I'll do a long run tomorrow and then a shorter run on Wednesday with the option of doing weights again on Wednesday or Thursday. We'll have to see how my recovery progresses as I peak for Elbrus Race 2013.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Front Squats with straps

Several years ago I broke my right wrist. The scaphoid bone [CLICK] which is very difficult to heal properly. I managed to heal well enough, but lost a lot of flexibility and stability. When I climb too hard too often, like doing multiple 5.11 over a few weeks, I have to take time off to heal.

The usual front squat, done with an Olympic style grip, is impossible for me. Even with all the various drills. That's reality and I'm fine with that. I messed around with the Sting Ray but it didn't really fit well, though with some messing around it did work.

A few weeks ago I saw a trick in an article using some common wrist straps. The kind you use for deadlift or other pulling motion training. You wrap them on the bar then grab the middle over the bar and hang on with the bar balanced in the indentation of your deltoid muscles. See the video here for a better idea of what I'm saying.

One thing to keep in mind is that in spite of my lack of wrist flexibility and stability my lower body and legs are in fairly decent shape that way. I'm going way down here. If you attempt any kind of squat check out the curve of your lower back just above your hip bones - if you lose that curve at any point in your downward motion that's a little too far for your current flexibility or mobility. They're two different things.

Do what's right for you, and when in doubt have an honest intelligent friend help you out, or hire someone who is qualified.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What the Doctor said about my HAPE

I managed to get in to see my family physician, who I've seen for the past 8 years. He knows me pretty well, and his office is only a few minutes away from my house in Utah. I was in Utah to take care of some business and pack up a few things that needed to be in Colorado.

At the office I described my symptoms and told him about the oddities in the x-rays from Indonesia. He requested some new x-rays, saying that x-rays for broken bones are very different from x-rays for pulmonary issues. He looked at the x-rays, noted the slight shadow areas, but didn't feel like it was an issue at that time.
My x-rays smuggled out of detention in Indonesia
The girl who took my x-rays was pretty funny, helping me into the lead skirt after having me remove my shirt. The buttons would interfere with the x-ray she said. She took two views, helping me arrange my scapulae into the proper formation to extend my lungs for better viewing. She had me stand there shirtless and in the skirt while she developed the x-rays to make sure we didn't need to redo it.

Her: "This is huge! Your lung is huge!"
Me: "Which one?"
Her: "Huh? Oh, haha - no come look. This is the biggest lung I've ever seen."

So I went into the little shielded tech room and she pointed out how it filled the entire chest cavity. Who would have thought? She allowed me to put my shirt on and I went to meet with the Doctor.

After a few minutes he came in, looked at my x-rays and pondered for a minute. He said that with true HAPE it would be impossible to identify it accurately a week later at an elevation 9,000' lower. Then he said that my lung volume was probably twice his, probably twice most normal people. He suggested that I was probably not breathing fully, an autonomic response to rib damage, and that as the Doctor in Indonesia had said, the cartilage might not be fully healed for a year or maybe even more. In the meantime he wants me to practice breathing fully. All in. All out. Extend and expand.

Since he assumed I'd be running anyway, he said to run and focus on fully breathing. He also suggested Tai Chi or Yoga or stretching, anything to expand and open my rib cage. He said not to climb Rainier for three more weeks, but after that I should be good to go. I'm free to climb Elbrus in September. And of course day trips on 14'ers shouldn't be an issue.

I returned to Colorado and the next day set a PR on a trail 10k, 1k, and half mile according to Strava. Now that I know there's nothing long term or historic wrong with my lungs, I think I had a mental boost that day. Breathing deeply might have helped too. This was ultimately a 6.4 mile run with 800' of elevation up and down in 1:14.

Later that same day I visited with my Chiropractor in his Breckenridge office, and he thought it was a great prognosis. He does work for a lot of professional and extreme athletes, and understands that taking a year or two off really isn't an option. We're an odd bunch I suppose ...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Running after Alpamayo

While on my attempt on Alpamayo I became sick at base camp. It was almost identical to the illness I felt in September of 2010, while attempting Elbrus.

I awoke with a start in the middle of the night, unable to breathe. I sat up in my sleeping bag and the effect immediately wore off and I coughed out some thick gunk from my lungs. I laid back down and again had to sit up. I rolled around trying to find a position in which breathing was less labored, and found that laying on my side was a bit easier. 
After a few minutes of laying, breathing gently, I managed to drift off to sleep. I awoke with a start, unable to breathe, and sat up coughing. Repeat a few hundred times. That was my night on Elbrus, and that was my night on Alpamayo.


In the morning I described my symptoms first to Chris, a team member who is also a doctor, and he identified symptoms of AMS as well as lung inflammation. He gave me some recommendations, including taking diamox for the next day or two until we could work out how to get me down to Huaraz, at 9,300' and home so that I could seek medical treatment from a pulmonologist.

After an eventful trip down to civilization in Huaraz, Lima and finally Denver, I arrived home in Summit County Colorado, also at 9,300'. In the interest of experimenting with the lung inflammation, I decided to try running again and check my stats with my Polar Heart Rate Monitor.

Polar Training Load Report
I had been training for the Red Zone (requiring days of recovery before hard training) nearly every day for the month previous. I had the torn rib cartilage from Carstensz, but it was healing rough, and I was supposed to go in for more x-rays based on the results of the x-ray in Indonesia which had some "irregularities" in it.

With all of the hard training days in a row, in Colorado I was sleeping at 9,300' and had any types of herbs, medicines, food, hot tubs, etc. that I might need for recovery. Sleeping at 14,000' in Peru I had none of those. Chris also mentioned that in his experience both as a doctor and as a climber, that some people just suddenly fail after a few days sleeping at 14,000', or high camp as the case may be.

Strava activity report for last week

I mulled that one over a lot and seriously considered the times I was only at high camp for a day before the summit, vs. the times I had spent a few or more days at high camp. I have to admit that I've never had a summit after spending more than two days at high camp. It's a weird feeling to analyze yourself so thoroughly. I began to formulate various experiments to see what I could do to test this.

One thing that all my multi-day failures have in common is heavier loads and fewer rest days. I guess if I could suddenly arrive at 12,000-14,000' with almost no effort, spend four restful days doing nothing, then summit, it would prove one aspect of the theory. Since I would be taking effort out of the big picture.

I did a moderate speed 4 and 9 mile run, a very fast 2 mile run, and a very slow 2 miles in which I mostly walked. The fast 2 miles felt really good on my lungs, overall, without as much hacking and coughing as on the previous two runs. The slow 2 was mostly because I had managed to bruise the tendons on my left foot from wearing my shoes and socks incorrectly during the 9 and fast 2.

Trail Running at 9,300' + in CO
I'm in the middle of healing from that at the moment, here in Utah at 5,000' while I await a visit with my family physician for a physical and referral to a pulmonologist. I'm not running at the moment (to try to heal up from the bruised foot tendons) but am using the elliptical and stairmaster. I have to admit, I'm coughing a lot less right now with this low altitude and thicker air.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Breckenridge Colorado Independence Day 10K Trail Race

Yesterday we went to The North Face store in Breckenridge CO to get my packet for the run. I did it two years ago, and managed to find my stats on Garmin Connect. I wore a 305 GPS/HRM watch then. My old watch time was 1:11. I am hoping to beat that if at all possible, though I haven't been training for faster trail running. With my current emphasis on Elbrus Race 2013 I've been mostly trying to average better than a 30:00 pace on very steep terrain, such as on 14'ers.

First thing this morning I had a single scoop protein shake, then got dressed in the clothes I laid out the night before. I like to be ready for the event the night before if I can. I've been experimenting on the 14'er trail runs and a single scoop shake should be settled enough in my stomach that I can run by 7:00 AM - the start time for this race. We drove to Breck then at 5:50 AM and parked in public parking near Carter Park. I did a little light jogging on High Street, the beginning of the race course. In the past I've never done any warmups, so am experimenting with that now. It was cold and I wore a medium fleece jacket over my thinner fleece shirt. I've tested this fleece shirt on my colder trail runs and it's one of my favorites. As a bonus it has a chest pocket large enough for my rather large cell phone.

I had waffled a bit, but finally decided to wear the Nathan single bottle belt with a half full bottle of BSN No-xplode mixed half strength. Based on training runs that should be sufficient. There is an aid station at about the 5K mark, but it turned out to only have gummy bears and green bananas. This is one failing of the Breck Rec events. Don't count on the aid stations or feed line at the end. Be self sufficient.

We took off in one wave this year. Last time it was three waves. I lined up just behind the fast people figuring that anyone who passed me then would have earned it. There was a footnote on my Garmin stats that I was a bit miffed at all the slow people falling down and littering the trail and wanted to try to stay ahead of them.

When we took off everyone seemed to suddenly book it at about an 8:00 pace that I couldn't keep up with and it seemed like a hundred or so people passed me. I was pretty sure they couldn't keep that up for the single-track. Sure enough, on the section at the foot of the switchbacks heading toward the houses it slowed to about a 40:00 pace as presumably someone up ahead of us tried to figure out how to run on single-track.

I stuck to a few people that seemed to do the hills about as well as I felt like. Which was pretty slow and poor. I felt really burned out and slow. Of course, my Polar Training Load chart is in the red, so I'm totally unrecovered from my previous training. I did manage to play yo-yo with a few people, follow a few people who inspired me to keep plugging away, and even passed a few when the grade and width permitted.

At the top of the hill, the aid station, I finally took a drink of my bottle and psyched myself up for the long downhill. My watch said it had taken 45 minutes to reach this point. I would have to really haul to even match my previous time. I kept up a smooth pace on the pavement, and managed to speed up a bit as it tilted downhill, and at the top of the switchbacks at the last road crossing, stuck behind three really fast guys just making like gazelles on the way down. We passed a bunch of people on the switchbacks and I really got wasted with three switchbacks to go. I had burned out pretty fast. But I managed to figure out how to stay on their tails all the way to the end. I poured on the gas on the grass flats by the finish line.

I looked at my watch. 1:10 - not sure how that compares to reality though. I didn't hit the lap counter at the aid station either. I'd love to know what my downhill time was. I do have a Strava report, claiming a moving time of 1:11. In any case, I probably about matched my old time. I was hoping for better, but then I guess I haven't been training for running this fast at all this past year. And I've only been trail running outside since May after returning home from Carstensz.

I wandered around in a daze trying to get some oxygen and blood to my brain. I stretched and finally we walked down to the park and let the kids play for a few minutes. Then at the car I chugged a single scoop protein shake I had brought along for that purpose. No food at the finish. No times either. They are hand timing it by writing down stuff on clip boards. Tomorrow they're supposed to send out an email with the results. If they do, I'll post mine here.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Trail running 10 miles

Did a little over 5 miles up and back on Keystone Gulch Road toward Outback and up Foxtrot ski run. A little more than 1500 feet of elevation up and down. Training for Elbrus Race 2013.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fruit and Protein Shake Mix

I've been keeping my Training Load (from in the red zone for most of the last few weeks. That allows me to eat a few more carbs for recovery and healing. One way to get a few more carbs in is to add berries to your protein shakes. I usually have 2-4 protein shakes a day depending on my own nutrition needs. For one or two of them I use a more complete nutrition mix like FullStrength [HERE] from Shawn Phillips (formerly of EAS and Muscle Media). For the others I use a plain protein supplement like from BSN.

Here I have a FullStrength and some seasonal berries in the Ninja blender ready to become my meal.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

100 calories of craisins

Another demonstration of what 100 calories of nutrient dense food looks like. Dried fruit has had the water removed so is mostly concentrated carbs with a lot of sugar. Keep in mind that it can be a part of a healthy diet if you plan accordingly.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

100 calories of Walnuts

Walnuts are often cited as an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids in a handy to carry and easy to eat form. Many of these sources also point out that walnuts are extremely calorie dense. That translates to "a lot of calories in a small pile".

In regards to that, here's a photo of 100 calories of walnuts. 15 grams of walnuts is about 100 calories. This is 15 grams of walnuts. This is 100 calories. Enjoy ...

On the flip side, this is just about perfect to dice into a salad, or stir into rolled oats. Spread it out and make it take up more space and add flavor to something else.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lemonade the old-fashioned way

A long time ago we got a citrus press and used it to make orange juice out of those baby "clementines" oranges. My youngest daughter got a total kick out of it, and it's been our little daddy-daughter activity ever since.

While I was working in Utah my wife grabbed a bag of lemons as a surprise for us to make lemonade while she was in Ohio for "Skate for Hope", a breast cancer charity ice skating event in which she's a figure skater. I was happy, since it's our little thing to do while mom is gone, but I remembered we'd taken the citrus press to Utah and left it there.

I went to Target in Silverthorne and got a new one, actually a lot better than the old one, with a much beefier frame. Tonight I halved 7 lemons and let her squeeze them. She was able to really crank now that she's 6 and a good rock climber and gymnast, so she's really strong.

I poured some into a cup and she gulped it down, loving it fresh off the lemon. The boys however found it to be a bit strong. I mixed in a quart of water, and it was still too strong, so then I added in 1/3 cup of sugar. Not the best, but a lot less sugar than in the bottled lemonade. I tried some and it was still good and tart and acid tasting.

Like sneaking the carrot into the smoothie one night, the sugar is one of those things that you can reduce slowly till you don't add any at all, hopefully without anyone the wiser.

Do you have a favorite special do-it-yourself food you love to make with your children or family? Do you trick your kids into healthier meals slowly and gently? Let me know.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Scrambled Eggs, Salmon, Black Bean Tortilla

I did a 10 mile bike ride this afternoon, then went to spend a little time in the nearly hot tub. After I started up dinner for the kids, and digging around in the fridge found some leftover salmon and black beans. Just enough to stuff into a tortilla with scrambled eggs, salsa, and shredded cheese.

I folded the tortilla and let it sit in the George Foreman for a few minutes, then had a great healthy dinner. Very filling. What's your favorite quick meal that evolved from a container of leftovers?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Leftover Fruit Smoothie

We were going to have company over, so we had a lot of fruit that we were going to use for a large fruit salad. Something came up so we ended up with a lot of fruit. While we all love to eat fruit, it's a lot more efficient to drink it.

I sliced the stems off a half dozen strawberries, tossed in a pint of raspberries, pitted two peaches and a nectarine after cutting off some bruises, and put in 48 oz of water in the Ninja Blender

To thicken it, add body, some color, and a bit of protein, I added a scoop of vanilla protein. You could add milk or soymilk if you like. I pushed the high power button and let it run for a minute. I drank some and loved it. Best of all the kids loved it and asked for seconds.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Skyrunning for Non-runners

Yesterday I ran up Quandary. Well, run is what some of us call it. I have a few runner friends who were suddenly shocked to realize that those of us who "run" 14'ers and other steep stuff don't actually maintain a 7:15 pace all the way up. In fact some of the fastest "normal" people who do it have a pace nearly three times slower than that. We're going about a 20:00 mile. So about 3.0 MPH.

The conversation ends about then, and they no longer consider me a "runner" whatever that means. That's fine. If they want to get into it more seriously, I invite them to head on up to someplace like Leadville Colorado, at over 10,000' of elevation, find a steep incline treadmill and hop on. Set it to 0% inclination and flip the speed to 8.0 mph, about a 7:30 pace I think. Not all that fast, really, if you actually run. Now, every 3 minutes or so bump the elevation up 2% and let me know when you fall off the back of that thing.

If you're open-minded and want to keep the experiment going, set it at 4.0 mph and 0% and repeat the experiment. How high of an elevation can you go and maintain that speed? Repeat again, this time at 2.0 mph. It's a very different world. Yes, there are a handful of extremely fit people who can run a lot faster at that inclination, but even Kilian Jornet walks on some steep grades.

I did 1:52 from the lower lot. Strava timed it at 1:48 from whatever starting point their segment overlapped my path. That gives me #9 on their list. Not that bad, really. I have done it quite a bit faster in the past, around 1:30 from the little trailhead sign. I was testing my fitness for Elbrus Race 2013. Taking into consideration the nearly mile long combined stretch of slippery snow patches, and that I had just gotten to Summit County the day before, I think it's not that bad.

In fact, for training for Elbrus Race 2013 I think I'm way ahead of where I was this time of year for 2010.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Portion Control the Easy Way

Eating too much? Too little? How do you know? The labels on food tell you all the goodies, and with some third grade math, you can calculate the per-gram (my favorite) or per-ounce cost and benefit of everything you eat.

Just weigh it. First of all, zero your scale. Most scales will set the zero point based on the Tare Weight, or empty weight.

"the weight of an empty vehicle or container" -- Wiki

From here, add your food items one at a time, and if you have trouble calculating the individual items from the whole weight, just reset the zero point on your scale between items.

Studies have shown that even practicing professional nutritionists don't accurately calculate their caloric and macronutrient intake on a daily basis. This way you can say for certainty that you know what you're eating and with good journaling, can determine the effects on your progress.


If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eating "Normal"

Sometimes if you're injured, or did a really heavy high volume training session you'll need to eat "normal". Be reasonable, of course. You don't want to eat a whole cheesy fries appetizer all by yourself. Eat something healthy yet outside the realm of your normal diet. If your body craves something, maybe it's a good idea to get a little something outside the box, so to speak.

Here I am in Breckenridge Colorado at "Crepes A La Carte" near the Patagonia store. I love this place and eat there a few times a year. For me that's a lot. I'm sharing a Chicken Florentine with my wife, so I get about half. That seems to be a good size serving. I'm healing from torn rib cartilage and intercostal muscles from Carstensz [EBOOK HERE] and I managed to mess up some knee ligaments going back into my 30 miles per week training for an Ultra, perhaps.

What kind of food do you eat when it's time to heal, recuperate, or just cheat for a meal?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Simplify your meat eating

Many people think they love meat, but if it were plain, or minimally seasoned they might not even recognize it. They really love the sugar and salt and fat that's in various gravies and dressings and sauces and marinades.

Try eating your meat with simple low to no calorie options. There are many seasoning sprinkles based on vegetable shavings and powders. Mustard is perfect in my own meal plan. Here is simple grilled chicken strips with mustard drizzled on top.

What kind of simple meat options can you make work in your plan to simplify your meat?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cantaloupe Protein Smoothie

We had a cantaloupe that was going to go bad soon so I cut it into wedges and tossed it in the Ninja.

When the kids had drunk their fill I outvin a scoop of vanilla protein and it was really good. Experiment with your own favorite ripe fruit. I usually use bananas or various berries.  Now I'm curious about watermelon.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Polar Heart Rate Monitor Travel Suggestion

If you use a Polar Heart Rate Monitor, or one made by another company that has similar characteristics, here is a good idea to protect it and keep it all together while you travel.

Heart Rate Monitors in Sunglasses Case

The semi-hard sunglasses cases that zip are about the right size for the cloth/fabric strap versions. The older style hard rubber ones would require a larger case, since it won't fold small enough for this case. I roll up the strap so it fits inside the case, then put the rest inside the strap.

Parts exposed so you can see what's in the case

This works great for my RS800CX [CLICK TO BUY
] . I have it all spread out so you can see it. Strap, GPS, Heartrate transmitter, watch, PC USB dongle, and spare batteries. Ready for travel around the world.

If you have any cool tips like this, please post them in the comments below, or share on my Facebook Page [SEVEN SUMMITS BODY ON FB]

Friday, May 31, 2013

Dry out your running shoes

Your shoes will last longer and probably smell better if you let them air out after every training session. Remove the insoles since a lot of moisture can be trapped under them.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Snack for Hydration

A friend in pretty good shape overall mentioned a small snack issue. Sometimes the urge to snack is really a hydration issue.

One thing I like to do that can help with hydration while also appealing to a sweet tooth is to fill a Blender Bottle with water. I drop in an effervescent immune support tablet. I pour in a packet of EmergenC. Put the lid on and swirl till the tablet dissolves.

Usually I just chug it to give my stomach a full feeling. Sometimes I sip it over a twenty minute period to fill my mind. Either way it's good for you. Better than a normal snack.