Step Up and Tri – December 2012

Welcome to December’s Blog.

As you all know, I was off in Nepal for a month, chasing a 40 year-old dream. As a 7 year old in England I saw a movie with my Mum, called The Lost Horizon, and I loved it so much I dragged her to it at least 7 times. That was my first encounter with Nepal and I wanted to go right then and there. At 17 I realized I could actually get there, yet I let it slip away. Every year I found a reason not to go, and before I knew it, 40 years had passed. 2012 started off with a tremendous amount of loss and reached the tipping point for me when my best friend, Lee, died. I was on my way to her memorial when I was in a head on collision in rural N. Carolina- where both the other driver and I could have/should have died, or at the very least been seriously mangled. The longest 30 seconds in my life were as I climbed out the back passenger door (the driver’s side of the car was destroyed) and ran back up the road, certain that I had killed the other driver. Earlier that week I was sure things could not get any worse, but as I was running round that bend, seemingly in slow motion, I felt like I was in a nightmare where things just kept falling apart. To my relief, as I rounded the curve I saw the other driver walking towards me and we both escaped with minor injuries. Initially I felt like it was just one more thing in a string of loss and bad luck,
but then I realized that this was actually a sea change- exactly because no one was dead or seriously injured. And of course I realized that this was one hell of a wake-up call. Life can change in a split second- it can be over or so dramatically changed as to be unrecognizable. So just what, exactly, was it going to take for me to chase the dreams I had had since I was a child? I needed no more incentive, and booked my trip to Nepal that week.

The trip could have been anti-climactic with all that build up, but it surpassed my expectations and allowed me to cap my year with tremendous positivity. Nepal showed me that you can turn anything around, and it allowed me time to heal and to process and to lay some old ghosts to rest. I had a tremendous amount of time to myself in which simply to think: once on the trek I was hiking in solitude for 6-8 hours a day, and then in my sleeping bag by 7pm usually with nothing to do but journal and read. One of the high points of the trip was to hang prayer flags for all the people I have lost, and for those people my friends have lost, at 17000 feet at the top of Larke Pass, deep in the Himalaya and that felt like an honor. I built stupas in honor all those people, and I thought about the love and support of all my friends and clients who have buoyed me up all year and proven to me that life is empty without good friends. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

I travelled through villages that seemed as though I had stepped back 500 years in time and played with children who have nothing, yet grin and look you in the eye with the most incredible innocence and openness. The villages up in the mountains showed me what true subsistence living is all about- if supplies can’t get there carried in on foot or on the back of a mule, then those supplies aren’t coming. Simplicity. (Easy for me to say of course, as I am
not the one who has to exist in that subsistence way of life- but honestly, the villagers seemed content and were so welcoming.)

Many of you are chasing other dreams: racing dreams, ironman dreams, sub hour 40k dreams, marathon dreams, and it very much feels like the pilgrimage that Nepal was to me. Who knows when these dreams first take root, but they grow and grow till they can’t be ignored, and when you finally decide it’s time to commit it will be one of the best journeys you ever undertake that will teach you much more than what you can do physically. It will teach you about your mental toughness and what really matters, and just where the edge is and that you can in fact jump off and simply get stronger. And just like Nepal, it is not the final destination that is important, it is being present in every moment- even the unpleasant moments (filth, food poisoning, physical hardship, the joy of squat toilets and no running or hot water for 16 days …. ), and toughing it out and smiling all the way through because it is a once in a lifetime experience, outside the pale.

So, whatever it is you are chasing, don’t wait any longer. Make it happen as soon as you can and watch it transform your life and teach you so much more about who you are and just what you can do. Endurance training and racing is so much more than putting in silly amounts of hours swimming, biking and/or running- it is a journey to yourself, and I bet you like what you find there.

Hiking Cartoon

Nutrition Corner:
Understanding the Role of B12 in Endurance Exercise by Erica Goldstein.

Vitamin B12 is the one vitamin that can only be obtained from animal sources, such as
fish (especially shell fish), beef, poultry, eggs (the yolk in particular), and dairy. B12 serves two main functions: promotes effective nerve transmission as well as proper red blood cell
formation. B12 is consumed in the diet from animal sources and requires the acidic
environment of the stomach for digestion, release of the vitamin, and absorption, which is a
complicated physiological process. Athletes that consume medications of a chronic nature to reduce or slow acid secretion in the stomach (i.e. to control acid reflux) should have their levels of B12 monitored periodically.

B12 is required to help support the integrity of the myelin sheath that coats and
protects nerve cells. Nerve cells create the impulses that allow your muscles to function. The myelin sheath can be related to the casing that covers the common cable cord in any
household. This casing ensures an effective transmission of the electrical signal from the outlet to your television for continued viewing without interruption. If this casing was compromised then maybe your TV would start to flicker or in worse cases viewing would be totally interrupted because the cable could not efficiently transmit the electrical signal from your outlet to the TV. In a human, the interruption in nerve cell transmission can manifest as loss of balance, tingling in the extremities, fatigue, and mental confusion. In fact, a deficiency can occur over several years and lead to irreversible damage to the nervous system. Therefore, adequate absorption of B12 from the diet is essential for continued health and performance.

In the role of red blood cell formation, B12 assists folate, another B vitamin, to remain in
its active form. Folate must be in its active form for DNA synthesis to occur, which is necessary for the proliferation (i.e. division) of red blood cells as well as appropriate formation of the cell. If a B12 deficiency occurs, a particular type of anemia results and this can negatively affect both health and performance because red blood cells are required for performance through their capacity to carry oxygen to cells and also remove carbon dioxide. Oxygen is of course necessary for energy production. In conclusion, carnivores obtain the B12 they need from consuming varied sources of meat, fish, and eggs, in addition to dairy.

Vegans and some vegetarians may have a more difficult time but many foods such as soy milk and cereal products are fortified with B12. The possibility of consuming a B12 supplement also exists. The recommended daily amount of B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms (µg) per day. A 3-ounce serving of salmon has 2.4 µg, a 3-ounce serving of beef has 2.1 µg, 8-ounce glass of skim milk has 0.9 µg, 1 large egg has 0.6 µg, 3-ounce serving of chicken/turkey has 0.3 µg.

Recipe: The following is a homemade trail bar adapted from the Meal Makeover Moms, http://mealmakeovermoms.com/recipes/snacks-smoothies/grab-and-go-granola-bars/. These bars can be made with B12 fortified oats and cereal and they freeze well and can be easily stored for quick access to nutrients post-workouts. Moreover, this recipe makes 12 bars and each contains 200 calories, 9g fat (1.5g saturated, 0.9g omega-3), 30g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 4g protein.

¾ cup quick cooking oats
1 cup Shredded Wheat cereal
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup ground flaxseeds
1 cup dried fruit (any combination)
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips

Place the oats, Shredded Wheat, walnuts, dried fruit, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor
and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped (fruit should be the size of a pea). In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Add the oatmeal mix and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the pan and flatten down. Bake 18-23 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Mmm mmmm, good.

A retreat good for the soul
Our friends Kristina Jensen and Lori Klinger are hosting a Healing Heart Retreat in Costa Rica this May. Please check it out. It’s going to be an adventure of a lifetime!

Always time for a laugh
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfvpzkGfpEA

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About TriCoachDara

I have been a multi-sport coach for 15 years and during that time I have trained hundreds of athletes for whom triathlon, running, biking, fitness and health must fit into very busy lives. My clientele includes lawyers, doctors, full time mothers, office workers, school teachers, nurses, and entrepreneurs – and every one of them has a jam packed schedule. My goal is to help each athlete strike a balance between training to their maximum potential and balancing the various other aspects of their lives, as well as to provide all the information they need to perform at their best and stay healthy and injury free.
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