Wildflower: Week -8 Training

Sat 10th: Hard Ride - 2hrs
Sun 11th: long Run - 7.1 miles
Mon 12th: Rest Day
Tue 13th: Swim, 2275m as 400m WU, 18x100m
Wed 14th: Run, Intervals at lake. 4x 1/2-mile
Thu 15th: Swim, 2,500m standard long swim, split with thumbs
Fri 16th: Long run - 6-miles
Sat 17th: Bike, hard, 1:28hrs
  • Current Location: Boulder, CO
  • Current Mood: Looking Back
  • Current Music: Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis

IM 70.3 South Africa Roads

The Herald Live reports that road work/repairs are to start on a major section of the road for the Ironman 70.3 Worlds this year. As previously posted, the new course is a compromise between the course they wanted and a course they can afford to repair.

Ironman South Africa Managing Director Keith Bowler was present in an orchestrated announcement, between the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, race sponsors Standard Chartered Bank and Ironman. The plan is to shut, rebuild and re-lay both sides of a section of Heugh Road.

The new course saves R175 milllion in repair costs, which is great news for local tax payers, who would have otherwise had to foot the bill. Aksed about the ipending "day-zero" where water effectively runs out, Economic development, tourism and agriculture mayoral committee member Andrew Whitfield said he was putting his faith in local residents conserving enough water for the race. Well, thats ok then.
  • Current Location: Boulder, CO
  • Current Mood: In a galaxy far far away
  • Current Music: South African Man - Hamilton Bohannon

Supplement Warning: MetaSalt

I've long been a carbo pro user, so I was especially disappointed to see that their MetaSalt Brand had been added to USADA's High Risk List.

I wrote this earlier for 303 Triathlon, I've no idea if/when they'll publish it and thought it worth sharing here.


AUTHOR: Mark Cathcart

Every now and again a triathlete is suspended for failing controlled substance test. More often than not, the announcement is made by the IRONMAN® Anti-Doping Program and sometimes from USAT. This week, it was announced that American professional athlete Lucas Pozzetta accepted a six-month suspension for an anti-doping rule violation after testing positive for a prohibited substance from a contaminated product.

It’s actually less than easy to find out what the contaminated product is, and since I’ve managed and worked with a number of professional triathletes, and am vehemently against athlete doping, I always do my best to keep up to date, especially when it comes to contaminated products. For various legal reasons(I guess?) the products are almost never discussed in the press release announcing the findings. That’s what happened in this case. No named product.

I went and checked the USADA High Risk List and while there is no indication of a link between Pozzetta and  MetaSalt, it’s worth noting that MetaSalt has been updated on the High Risk List (see attached entry). In this case, we had a bottle on the shelf in the pantry. Unfortunately since there is no batch number, or other unique qualifying detail, I can only implore you to discard this if you have it, I did.

Racing Clean is not just the purview of pro’s and age group winners, it is an important stance for all of us to take. It’s not sufficient to just demand more testing, that would come at an enormous cost. It’s estimated it costs some $300,000 to catch one cheat. I don’t want that bill added to my race entry price. Train clean, race pure.

  • Current Location: Boulder, CO
  • Current Mood: Great
  • Current Music: VISIONSMIX by oki-ni.com

My drugs and training, racing

I've had a solid block of 10-weeks training in my build-up for Wildflower long-course. I had the help of a coach to get my basic fitness back, workouts every day, sometimes two per day. Short, intense, and hard.

Despite this, I've had a number on incidents where I just "bombed". Sunday was a classic example. I'd done a 32-mile ride Friday, pushed hard at various stages, overall a good ride. Saturday was a day off; Sunday, Kate and I coordinated our long runs, we picked a route where we could split when I needed to run longer.

The run started fine, although it went down quickly. Instead of being able to run 8-10 miles, my legs, especially my quads. My knees also hurt more than normal, but overall I just felt I had no energy, nothing to put back in and start running. It was a long 2-mile walk back home, in a typical 20f drop in temps as the sun went down and the winds came in from the mountains.

This wasn't the first, but it was perhaps the most depressing and frustrating experience I'd had since last summers heart attack. Even a month after being discharged from hospital I was able to compete a sprint triathlon, albeit taking it easy, better than this.

Looking at back at my training data on Garmin Conect, and the actual sessions on Trainingpeaks, there was really no insight into what had happended. I'd just stopped.  After some introspection, I went back to look at the prescribed drugs I'd been taking since my heart attack. They are:

  • Lisinopril 5mg — daily — Lisinopril is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for treating high blood pressure, heart failure and for preventing kidney failure due to high blood pressure. It's a standard prescription after a heart attack, since I have a relatively low resting heart rate, I'm on the lowest dose. No obvious side effects.

  • Brilinta - 90mg - Twice daily - Brilinta/Ticagrelor is used for the prevention of thrombotic events (for example stroke or heart attack) in people with acute coronary syndrome or myocardial infarction with ST elevation. At least as far as I remember, the Cardiologist told me it's to stop the body healing over the stent. No obvious side effects.

  • (Low Dose)  Aspirin - 81mg - daily - Daily aspirin therapy reduces risk of subsequent heart attacks in patients with a prior history of a heart attack, coronary artery disease (like atherosclerosis), or risk factors for developing coronary artery disease. The downside of a daily aspirin, it interferes with your blood's clotting action. For me, that also means I have to carefully manager aspirin use with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen (Advil). Since I depend of ibuprofen after long runs to reduce the swelling in my knees, I avoid a daily aspirin the day before and the day of my long runs.

  • Atorvastatin - 40mg - daily - Statins are a class of drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. My cholesterol has been creeping slowly upwards since 1994. My diet and exercise has been great since 1997 but as my cardiologist said "you can't outrun genetics".

The statin has been problematic. When I started on them post heart attack, I had terrible back pain. Over the next few days it spread to my quads and knees. I went back to see my cardiologist, his advice, cut the tablets into as small as I can. Take a piece per day building over time to whole tablet per day. His suggestion was 1/4 of  tbalet per day (approx. 10 mg) a week, then 20 mg per day, then 40mg. If I had problems/pain, back off and go back to the prior dose.

I've worked up to 40 mg daily, but only through taking 20 mg (half a tablet) in the morning, and again before bed. Overall, I've beed pretty achy over the last 10-weeks, but not enough major pain to have stopped the atorvastatin. Except, as I said as the start of this post, I've been pretty achy, and in probably 3-instances, just not been able to complete a workout that should have been well within my capability by now.

So I've come back to re-considering statin use. On my 3-month appointment, my cardiologist dismissed taking a CoQ10 supplement. He said there was no proof it did any good. And yet, when I first got back to training, I received a recommendation for CoQ10 to counteract some of the impact of the statin from a couple of sports doctors that I respect.

Coenzyme Q10 levels deplete around 40 years of age, CoQ10 is hugely important for energy metabolism and oxidation specifically for heart cells and statins reduce the production of CoQ10. So taking a supplement seemed like solid advice. There were no real side-effects, and so it was a low risk addition. Based on what my cardiologist said, I stopped taking CoQ10.

On balance this may have been a mistake. The general fatigue, and joint piant I've experienced may be a direct result of stopping CoQ10 at the same time as peaking my consumption of Atorvastatin. I did a cholestoral test last week, which came back with HDL 34 / LDL 101, compared to a 2015 test of 51/134. My HDL could do with a boost, but LDL has certainly dropped with statin use.


To try to come to some form of conclusion, I've decided to take an easy week of training. No running, cycling or core work, 2x swim sets. At the same time I've stopped taking Atorvastatin. Come Saturday I plan my first 50-mile ride of the year, followed by whatever I can run on Sunday. At the same time over the past week or so, I've been taking a quality fish oil supplement in an attempt to boost my HDL and also doubling down on reducing all other high fat foots. Statins take about 2.5 days to flush through the system, so by mid-week next week, I'll take another cholesterol test and see where I am.

Effects of Statins on Skeletal Muscle: A Perspective for Physical Therapists - 2010
The Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle Function - 2013
Supporting the use of medication with nutrition: A focus on statins - 2018
Evidence of Plasma CoQ10-Lowering Effect by HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors - 1993

  • Current Location: Up too late.
  • Current Mood: Cranky - Apparently?
  • Current Music: Who Can I Be Now - David Bowie

Snowman - Post race

If I had a t-shirt slogan it would be:

didn't go as well as I wanted, went as bad as I expected

We arrived in South Denver aka Littleton, on a freezing cold morning with a brisk wind. Apparently we were to be "grateful" that it hadn't snowed overnight. To be honest, I actual was although I'd bought a pair of those cramp-on things that you attach to the bottom of your shoes, but deliberately left them in the car. (never try something new on race day!)

I got in a reasonable warm-up, and then it was line-up time. It was a reasonably small field for a half-marathon in a major city. I know because I finished in the top-100 Men, and was DFL, 94th.

I joined the back of the line-up in my new, post-heart-attack mode, dead last. Two reasons, 1. It would mean I'd likely pace myself better. 2. I'd be able to pass some people without being passed my and endless supply of runners, who were either going out too fast, or where just better than me :)

There was really one section of the course that had any snow or ice, a downhill in the first mile. After that the miles just ticked by on a concrete path next to the river.

It took me a disappointing 1:08:36 to get the first 10k done, that was 6-seconds faster than it had taken me to do the 10k at the same course back in December.

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South African Ironman 70.3 World Championships continues to evolve.

In what must be a face-saving switch, Ironman announced a change to the bike course back in January. Notionally to make the course safer for the athletes, it also conveniently reduced the need for R175 million in road upgrades that a cash strapped city and region couldn't afford.

Interesting they'll be implementing special police patrols to protect those training and racing. The local News24 has a list of the actions to be taken.

The big reason the Cape Twon area of South Africa has been in the news lately though isn't anything to do with the Ironman, it is that they have a severe water shortage and as reported today, pollution problems when an odourless brown water poured into Three Anchor Bay.

With the seasons in South Africa reversed from ours, they still have time to recover with the rainy season and winter ahead before the 70.3 Worlds. Will be interesting to see how it evolves.

Snowman Stampede Half Marathon

Next up for me in my Wildflower Triathlon 2018 Long course prep is a standalone half marathon tomorrow. I'm not really prepared for it, I've been doing much more riding and shorter distance running, as well as core work under my current coach.

So my expectation is really a DNF. But I've been here before. The competitor in me refuses to quit even if that means a 4-mile walk to the finish line. If I can get over 8-miles I'll be delighted.

According to athlinks, which I think is right, my PR from 8 finished half marathons is 2:04:45 at the Austin 3M half in 2012. Add to that my DNF in 2009, and my first competitive half, the Reckson Long Island Half Marathon that I did back in 1983, and this will be my 11th standalone half marathon.

Not bad for someone who was told in Spring 1979 he was lucky to be able to walk, and would never run again.

More South African Worlds...

Apparently South Africa is about to be awarded the Rugby World Cup 2023. Hopefully the host cities have learned something about the bidding processes and associated costs from what is going on down in Nelson Mandela Bay.

I've posted three times [here, here and here] already on the problems of funding the road resurfacing that Ironman require before hosting the Ironman 2018 70.3 Worlds.

The latest status is that they are looking for ways to patch the roads now, rather than relay them in order to come in at an acceptable budget. This right after the opposition in the city council tried to reverse the appointment of Ironman Championship boss Rebecca Nyangaresi-Gatan. Which makes seem increasingly unlikely that a good compromise will be found.

The other Interesting news is the logo competition is hotting up. Yup, the design for the event logo was supposed to be in by the end of October. Nothing much of a surprise, but from this we learn the City council are also leading the project to get bids on an event design. It's not clear if this is on a passthrough basis, or the city taxpayers are paying for the logo as well?

Finally, it what looks like a rambling op-ed, a citizen says it's more than just a race.

  • Current Location: Boulder, CO
  • Current Mood: tired tired
  • Current Music: I want to ride my bicycle