July, 1969 AD We Came in Peace for All Mankind."
By far the best "foot" quote I could find.
|A black foot?|
|A black foot?|
"If you cheat yourself, who won't you cheat?"
John McGuire, former Navy SEAL
Race start is mere hours away. Will everyone follow the rules?
If you think there's no cheating in our sport you're just not paying attention. You're naive. Oh sure, the pros used to take all kinds of things to win just like the Tour de France, you say. Are you sure?
“The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation.” ― Cheryl Hughes
Didn't they just kick Frank Schleck, FRANK SCHLECK, mister clean, out of the Tour de France last week for a failed drug test? (And would this necessarily point the finger at his brother, 2010 TdF winner Andy Schleck? And didn't Andy get the victory when Alberto Contado finished ahead of him but was ultimately disqualified for a failed drug test?
As a preamble, consider the following. I ran my first Boston Marathon in the late 70's and am most familiar with the bogus female winner of the 1980 race, Rosie Ruiz. Reportedly having qualified for the BAA race in the NY Marathon, it was later proven false when it was discovered she'd taken a subway to the finish. That's right. SHE TOOK A SUBWAY to get to the marathon finish line. The first woman to complete the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston that year, unusually, she was neither sweating profusely not did she have the body habitus of the typical endurance athlete. When queried why she didn't look fatigued after this punishing event, she replied, "I got up with a lot of energy this morning." She didn't appear in any of the race photos. No one could remember seeing her on the course. She was later disqualified.
In Triathlon, one might think it much easier to bend the rules, or ignore them completely, in a small home town event. However, for this piece I'll keep my comments limited to iron distance racing. And, not just any non-WTC race but the World Championship in Hawaii. That said, please do not interpret this as critical of WTC or IM Hawaii in any way. They've just been around a long time and have had a good while to experience the "creativity" of man kind.
In the early 80's, not long after the event moved from Oahu to the Big Island, there was less monitoring of the swim than today. Also, rather than being a rectangular swim as it is today, the racers swam more of an out and back around a big sail boat. Add to this, the fact that for many triathletes, the swim is most definitely not their favorite part. Thus, the temptation to swim "as far as I felt like" and just turn around proved too tempting for several.
About ten years ago, complicity among athletes was suspected but due to the difficulty of absolute certainty, it may not have been pursued. I think the issue involved one athlete riding to the limit of the bike route in Hawi with two timing chips, only one of which was his own. In other words, one competitor went 112 miles, at least one other significantly less.
In last years event, a gent cut about 5 miles off of the run by neglecting to include the 2 plus mile out and back portion known as the energy lab (NELH, National Energy Lab of Hawaii.) He also claimed to have lost his timing chip on the run. It was noticed immediately by several of this gent's competitors and their families that something was awry. Shortly after the race, he issued a heart felt confession and apology on Slowtwitch.com and to WTC as well as the competitors in his age group who's races he'd upset.
You probably remember that the 2004 women's winner was disqualified shortly after the event when her blood was found to contain EPO. She admitted wrong doing even before the "B" sample was analyzed. In one of the very good things about triathlon, when second place finisher Natasha Badmann was elevated to victor, she was quoted as saying, of all the things that happen to the winner, she "missed the flowers" the most. A few months later, Ironman veteran Bob Babbitt of Competitor Publishing, at an annual dinner where Badmann was in attendance, surprised her with a re-creation of the finish line for her to cross complete with "flowers, lots of flowers." Nice guy!
I'll finish this piece with the thought that it's been reported that some age groupers, with nothing more to win than a trophy, are thought to have illegally injested steroids, human growth homone, testosterone, etc. in their quest to win. To again quote John McGuire, "If you'll cheat yourself, who won't you cheat?"
|Race start is mere hours away. Will everyone follow the rules?|
"The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothing and skin - the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world."
W.E.B. DuBois to his daughter Yolande, 1914 _________________________________________________
Just when you are comfortable with your training plan, or life in general, you round a corner and see something like THIS! We always like to be prepared for that which surprises us. Well, a little prepared any way.
Yes, these are full sized aluminum canoes just like the ones you used at summer camp. The artist, Nancy Rubins, calls this Monochrome II, Chicago. I had the privilege of seeing it on Saturday at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Got a lump on the back of your knee? Somebody mention Baker's Cyst or popliteal cyst? Although it may be news to you, these are more common than many people suspect. While not normally an isolated finding, there are two bursae (bursas) in the back of the knee joint which can fill with fluid. Even though it feels like a mass, and when we think mass we think cancer and these have nothing to do with cancer. Most commonly these are a secondary process in reaction to something going on in the knee joint itself. They are neither life nor limb threatening but can be quite bothersome. They are not the result of an infection. People who have them will report that some days they're large, some small, and while intermittently painful, the patient can actually be symptom free for much of the time.
The mass or fullness is actually fluid that has filled the cyst, much the consistency of the normal fluid found in a human joint. Often times they will accompany arthritis in the older patient and, although less frequently, a torn knee cartilage (meniscus) in the young.
If one is diagnosed with this problem, a number of options will be discussed and one of them is simply to do nothing. Many patients, once they discover that it's not cancer, will choose this option. Others prefer an aspiration of the cyst and injection of a steroid preparation. If still symptomatic to the point where, if a potentially treatable issue is uncovered, the next step might include plain x-rays and follow up MRI. These might be stepping stones to arthroscopy. In the patient with enough arthritis, and an accompanying Baker's Cyst,to warrant a knee replacement simply replacing the joint (not so simple for either patient or surgeon) will lead to resolution of the cyst.
Lastly, very infrequently, no other causative agent can be located and the patient will request excision of the cyst. This is pretty rare in my experience.
So, if your doc tells you that you have a Baker's Cyst, there's no rush to do anything, analyze your options and after weighing the risks/benefits choose what's best for you. Patience is always helpful.
|Underpants run participant, Kona, Hawaii, 2011|
"It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got"Sheryl Crow
Triathlon training takes a long time. (Duh, many of you say.) This is especially true when preparing for the longer distance events. There's only so much you can do squeezing training in and around your schedule before you have to do the same to their schedule whether "they" is wife, husband, kids, co-workers, etc. Frequently we find ourselves battling that inner demon who tells us that we need 30 more minutes on this run but our soul tells us to go home and relieve the baby sitter.
I was rereading John L. Parker, Jr.'s "Once a Runner" this week and thought a page spoke directly to this. I'm sure you've all read this wonderful text - if not go to Amazon.com and order a copy right now - but wanted to refresh your thought processes reminding us that endurance athletes have had to vault this hurdle for ages.
Here are fictional runner Quenton Cassidy's thoughts on the subject while tubing down the Ichetucknee River with his girlfriend Andrea:
"In order to arrange this day of perfect drifting, an entirely traditional local pastime, he and Mizner - now floating up ahead with his date - had arisen at 7:30 and run seventeen miles. It was the only way they could spend their day in the sweet haze of Boone's Farm apple wine and still appease the great white Calendar God whose slighted or empty squares would surely turn up someday to torment the quilt-ridden runner. They went through such contortions occasionally to prove to themselves that their lives didn't have to be so abnormal, but the process usually just ended up accentuating the fact. There were several ways it could be done. If they were going to the beach, they might put it off and run when they got there, but contrary to popular opinion, beach running is only jolly fun for the first five miles or so. After that, the cute little waves become redundant, the sand reflects the sun up into the eyes blindingly, grains of sand slip annoyingly into the heel of the shoe or flip up on the back of the leg. Fifteen hot miles on a long, flat beach sounds like good sport only to those who haven't actually done it. Also, the ocean is too infinite: the run seems as if it will never end.
They could always put off training until they got back in the evening, but that just made things worse. No beer! None of the sticky wine! Their friends would slyly tempt them, to see if they really took all that training stuff seriously. It was too much to ask. Better to get it all over with and then be able to enjoy the day like any other citizen."
Any of this sound familiar in your life. I'm bettin' the answer's yes.
|Underpants run participant, Kona, Hawaii, 2011|
Time to Change Swimming Holes!
"Where's the booze? It's flowing like mud around here." Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman
So how does alcohol affect endurance athletes anyway?
Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore.
When you're at a wine tasting with a bunch of doctors it can be kind of boring. One thing for certain is going to come up - a study done a number of years ago showing a cardio-protective effect of alcohol consumption, but only with one or two servings per day. More than once you'll hear someone state, over their third or fourth glass of wine, "I'm really working on that protective effect." It's like they want you to think they'll live to be 140 years old!
This observation is true but, again, it's optimal effect is with a single glass, possibly two, daily. The other side of this equation is a college student, one of my kid's roommate for example, a gent we'll call Joe. Joe didn't return to the dorm one Saturday night his freshman year, and when he stumbled in mid day on Sunday - with a big plaster splint on his hand from an injury of unknown origin (which would eventually require surgery) - and, oh yeah, the papers releasing him from jail where he'd spent the night having been arrested for being drunk and disorderly, he just sighed. But, at some schools, isn't boorish behavior the norm on a college Saturday night. How much worse does your behavior need to be to raise the ire of the gendarmes?
I make this example to provide a range of minimal to near maximal consumption and the potential effects on athletic performance. Many of us, particularly the more youthful, may underestimate the ability of alcohol to reverse the effects of those hours, even weeks of training. It can reduce your endurance as well as your decision making capacity as illustrated above. It effects your pattern of sleep in both duration and cycle, particularly REM sleep, essential to memory and hormonal development. This has been shown to have a deleterious relationship with post workout muscle repair, the key to the training effect. (See Triathlete's Training Bible by Joe Friel) The hormone HGH, human growth hormone, is one that's gotten a good deal of press recently. Part of it's function involves muscle repair and growth, and alcohol has been shown to decrease HGH secretion by 50% or more! This is an important sentence that should be read twice.
Most of us are already aware of the diuretic nature of alcohol which contributes to dehydration. And, in a sport where we spend so much time and effort figuring out our proper diet, race nutrition and race hydration, alcohol only compounds the problem.
There are a number of other issues with alcohol including inhibition of nutrient absorption like zinc, vitamin B12 and thiamine just to name a few. Remember when we used to drown in Tour de France information when Lance was pushing for number 6 or 7. Heck, they'd even show footage of the team dinners after he won a stage, no alcohol in sight of course. I recall seeing Jan Ullrich with a wine glass in his hand at a Team Telecom meal. Retrospectively, maybe Lance knew something Jan didn't. Maybe he knew a lot of things Jan didn't!
So, for your best athletic performance, keep the alcohol to a minimum, Doctors orders.
Image 1, Scott Mueller
Dr. Post's blog is written for the endurance athlete with up-to-date information pertaining to common, and not so common, multisport medical and injury issues with specific attention to exercise safety. If you don't break it you don't have to fix it.
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John Post, MD
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Charlottesville, VA 22905