Inflammation

Inflammation is easily recognized when in occurs after an injury such as hitting your finger with a hammer instead of the nail.  The affected part soon becomes red, hot, swollen and painful.  However global inflammation within the body can be harder to detect as the symptoms are less obvious.  When itInflammation-101-329x300 occurs in the digestive tract there may be bloating, indigestion, irritable bowel symptoms.  In the joints there can be body stiffness, joint pain and fatigue.  Low energy levels, skin eruptions can be a sign of inflammation as well.

How does one determine if they have inflammation in the body?

There are a number of ways to diagnose inflammation, including history, physical examination and blood work to name just a few.

Foods can both cause inflammation as well as treat it.

A holistic nutritionist such as a functional medicine practitioner can help
to diagnose and treat inflammation naturally.

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Ironman Mt. Tremblant – August 16, 2015

Race day was calling for the weather to be very warm and humid, my worst conditions.  I tried not to focus on this as I made my way down to transition to check my tires and put last minute food into the special needs bags.  After the tires were filled and the bike was in order I made my way down to the swim area (after waiting 20 minutes for a porta-potty, they wouldn’t let us use the empty ones in the transition zone as these were for the elite athletes).  I made it to the beach just in time for a quick dip in the water and wait for my heat to march under the archway towards the water.  I stayed at the front of the heat with hopes of not getting too jostled once the gun went off.  I could barely see the first buoy because the fog was quite thick.  Once the gun went off I found a good space and rhythm in the water but had a tough time sighting due to the fog.  I kept in line with the majority of the arms in front and hoped they were going in the right direction.  I found that when I was in close proximity to a buoy then it was visible so I just followed the crowd and headed for the buoys when I could see them.  Once I veered quite a bit to the left so from then on I tried to stay close to the inside.  In the middle of the lake before the first turn, the water seemed to swell quite a bit and waves became prominent for a while.  It felt a bit like Lake Simcoe, no big deal.  I felt quite good on the swim and exited the water with a 1:05 showing on my watch.  Let the wet suit strippers pull off the bottom half off and I jogged happily to the transition to change into the bike clothes.  When I got to my bike I was alarmed to find that I could not get the bike out of the rack!  The bike to the left had their handle bars firmly tangled inside my spokes.  This is not how I left my bike this morning.  After several minutes of jostling, I finally freed the bike and I was off.  Luckily the clouds had still not cleared so the temperature was comfortable for the first part of the bike course.  I actually took off my sunglasses and settled into a comfortable ride.  By the time I hit about 60km the temperature was climbing and when I hit the hills on at 70km I was starting to feel like I was cooking from the inside.  The first loop was good, I stopped at special needs to replenish the liquids and get more food, but somehow my Garmin got jostled and it was not working once I left this stop.  After 4km of the garmin was still not showing any progress so I turned it off and started it again, luckily it worked but now my times were off.  The second loop really got hot and I stopped a couple of times to grab ice from their buckets that they kept the gatorade and water.  Shoved ice down the bra top, poured water over the helmet and back and continued until the next stop to repeat.  Finally hit the hills again, lots of people walking at the side some lying on the side of the road due to the heat.  I was hot but could still keep a reasonable pace.  Finished the bike in 6:36, changed into running clothes and started off for the run.  By the time I hit the first water station my GI tract was starting to show signs of distress, stopped in a potty.  Got some water, ice and continued.  This trend was the norm for the first 14km of the run!  I could not pass a porta-potty without stopping!  Finally the stomach settled, I finished the first loop and was feeling better.  I decided that if I did  NOT stop at every potty and just continue to move forward ( I would not call what I was doing a run) then I could do a negative split!  This is just what happened.  I felt stronger now and continued to move, not even walking the hills at the end which most people were.  The finish line was a welcome sight and seeing David, Pat and Don was so nice.  They were my cheering section and had bright orange T-shirts on that said “Judy Snider’s fan club”.  It was a great day overall, I loved every minute  and cannot wait to do another Ironman next summer.

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Ironman Race Report

Rothpicture 2014July 31, 2015

I completed my first full Ironman distance triathlon on July 20 in Roth Germany.  The training was great, I enjoyed almost every minute of it and I was definitely ready, fit and healthy for the event with the help of my coach Al Chud.

In the days leading up to the race the weather got increasingly warm,  the race day forecast was for sunny, hot (32 degrees) and humid conditions.  I began to fret about this forecast as I do not fare very well in hot temperatures, but I was assured that plenty of water/sponges would be available on the course to help cool down.

The morning of the race was indeed warm but beautiful.  My swim was great!  I felt like a pin ball as there were so many swimmers close together the entire time and finding a clear path was not easy.  I stayed close to the middle of the canal which was the clearest path I could find.  After swimming under the bridge (which is right across from the swim finish) I expected the turn final around to be close (as we were told by all the veteran athletes).  The turn did not come for quite a while!  This swim seemed very long.  At last I reached the end, looked at my watch 1:05, very happy with this.  I found out after the race that the swim course was in fact 300m longer due to them moving the last turn around 300m further from the bridge (so spectators could see the swimmers better) but they forgot to move the first turnaround 300m closer!

I walked to the transition area to retrieve my bag (just as my coach instructed me to do), brain fog set it in and I forgot my bib number, picked up a bag that seemed very light, looked inside to see a bib with Peter’s name on it…oops.  luckily I wrote my number on the swim cap.  Quickly took my bag into the tent and changed.  Ate a bar while heading to my bike.  The heat of the day was starting to be felt, I could feel the sun biting the skin and it is only 8am.  

The first part of the bike was quite good, very scenic but I was getting increasingly hot, so at every aide station I dumped a bottle of water on my head but the water was not cold so it did not really cool down the body.  As the time went on I found that I could not eat anything (and did I ever have food on board, sandwiches, bars, baby food, gels).  the sandwiches were melted and runny and I could barely nibble at one.  I managed a baby food and a good deal of fluid that was becoming hotter by the minute.  I took salt pills regularly and quickly ran out!  Not good.  At the top of Solar hill (great crowds on this hill) my support team (Multisport Canada support) handed me my special needs bag with more food (I still had the food from the morning) but no extra salt, John Salt (very funny coincindence…) gave me some from another bag but it only lasted an hour.  I tried very hard to get some solid food in but it would not go down I was too hot/bothered and just needed to cool down.  Several more aide stations and warm water on the head did very little.  My speed was quickly reducing and my legs were starting to cramp.  The concentrated electrolytes in my bottles were very warm and gross to the palate, so I abandoned this and only took the electrolytes they handed us in bottles.  Ate another baby food and one gel, hardly enough for 6 and 1/2 hours of riding.

At least I was not falling off my bike from heat exhaustion as I saw others lying on the side of the road or falling off their bikes as they passed out.  It’s too bad they do not have ice cubes or ice water in Germany.  It would have made the world of difference to me.

T2- changed, headed onto the run route slowly…tried to run.  Suddenly my left Quad AND Hamstring cramp at the same time!  I have never experienced cramping before and this was excruciating.  Once I was able to move I walked and then tried to resume a semblance of a run.  It was not be.  Cramps again in the calf as well.  Walked some more, drank electrolytes,  met Richard Pady from Multisport who said it would be better with time and to keep drinking.  He was right after an hour and 1/2 ( 10km) I was able to amble for 500m at a time before cramping.  At this rate it would take me over 6 hours to complete the marathon.  By 21km I could run and walk a little more and by 28km I was starting to feel human,  thank heavens for the thunderstorm that rolled in at this time.  By 35km I was able to sustain a very slowwww jog until the end.   Yay…I did a negative split.

I finished the race,  loved every minute of it even though the day did not go according to plan.

When can I do this again?

What is Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine is emerging as a new trend in health care.  However many people do not understand what Functional Medicine is and how it can help them feel better.

Functional Medicine is a science-based, natural way to become healthy again.  Instead of looking at and treating health problems as isolated diseases, it treats individuals who may have bodily symptoms, imbalances and dysfunctions.

This means that if a person suffers from diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, obesity ( examples of just a few issues)  they might have visible symptoms however the cause of the disease may in fact be far below the surface where we cannot see.  In Functional medicine, the cause lies in altered physiology in which there is an underlying dysfunction and/or imbalance of bodily symptoms.  

Underlying causes of disease can include: hormonal imbalance, immune imbalance, mitochondrial dyfunction, digestive, absorptive and microbiobiological imbalance, toxic chemical exposure to name just a few possibilities.

The functional medicine practitioner restores balance in the body’s primary physiological processes rather than treating symptoms.  Much like a detective.  The first step is a comprehensive history and examination followed by advanced laboratory testing.  After the diagnosis is made balance can be restored.

Let me give you an example of a recent case of a person suffering from heart pain, headaches, dizzyness and low energy.  Her medical doctor had done all of the tests to rule out a heart condition.  The initial blood tests revealed signs of  chronic inflammation.  Advanced functional medicine tests for the cardiac system were ordered and revealed imbalances/dysfunction in a number of vitamins, fatty acids, minerals,and there was evidence of oxidative damage.  She was given the appropriate vitamins, minerals and  essential fatty acids .  Within six weeks she was feeling much better and resumed her regular exercise and daily routine.                                                                           

Low Energy Levels?

A common complaint of many people today is the lack of energy, feeling sluggish in the early afternoon or even soon after waking up in the morning.  Many people find it hard to stay asleep throughout the night even though they are very tired.

I have found that the high paced lifestyle that we lead with plenty of stress (both good and bad) is having a negative impact on our adrenal glands.  The adrenals are small glands just above kidneys and the hormones that they produce impact almost every part of the body.  If you are stressed for days,weeks or months the body is forced to pump out adrenaline, cortisol and other chemical transmitters that in turn act on the pituitary, nervous system, digestive tract, ovaries/testes and more.  It is not hard to see that over time this constant barrage of stimulation of the adrenals causes not only the adrenal glands to become overworked but all of the target organs suffer as well.  You can now understand why a person with adrenal fatigue would also suffer from body fatigue and low energy.

There are easy, non invasive ways to test the adrenals.  Treatment for adrenal dysfunction can take up to six months to restore with diet, homeopathics/supplements and lifestyle changes.  It is also important to keep in mind that everyone is individual so even if two people both suffer from fatigue it does not mean they both will require the exact same treatment regime.  Consult with a professional who can test and interpret your results before starting any treatment.

Overtraining doesn’t help, but it was worth it

This past weekend was so beautiful both days that I could not help myself….I said yes to a long easy ride with friends for Saturday.  It was amazing, with the sun shining and good company  (and some pretty steep hills).  This ride followed a pretty hard tempo run on Friday.  Sunday was the scheduled long run (leading up to New York City Marathon) of 34km.  Did I ever suffer on this run.  The second loop of 17km felt like I was crawling!  I wasn’t doing too badly in fact but it felt hard.  That is exactly what happens when you over train.  My body was not used to cycling such a long distance (over 80km) as I had not been on the bike in over 5 weeks and my longest ride all year has only been 75ish km.  Not a very smart move.  But you know what?  I would do it again if the sun was shining and my friends said ‘Let’s go for a ride Saturday’.  It won’t happen every week and I think you have to do what you truly enjoy.

Luckily for me, I have not injured myself only feel tired.  But happy.

Fall is here, time to get the body marathon ready

Fall is a wonderful time for running, the weather is usually cooler, the trees are changing color so the scenery is lovely.  The triathlon season is over so I can concentrate mostly on the running without feeling guilty.  I have taken it fairly easy since my competitions in Israel but now it is time to ramp up the mileage and the intensity as we near the New York City Marathon in seven weeks.  Diet is key during this time as I am always hungry after workouts and it is easy to pack on the pounds.   I have found that drinking water with and without electrolyes throughout the day has been very good.  Image