Friday, July 31, 2009

Not-so exclusion diet, diet...

Well, after nearly 3 full days without a breakout of hives, Wednesday I started developing the tell-tale rash. Two Benadryl and a night's sleep later... hives were gone, but my issues apparently weren't!

I went in to see the doc again this morning and really didn't get any more useful information. We determined due to the upcoming race in NY that it wasn't worth it for me to take the steroids, so I'm sticking to Benadryl OTC and Tagamet (two different histamine blockers). Her only other suggestion was to try eliminating the following:

- fish
- nuts
- berries/melons and fruit I eat every day

She said that chicken, beef, veggies, and apples and bananas (she also mentioned grapes, but I eat grapes and I got a hive last night directly after eating a cup of them) was all fine.

So, I did some research on your typical elimination diets... all of things I'm supposed to be eliminating are OK TO EAT, and the foods I'm ok to keep eating are TO BE AVOIDED.

Weird, huh?

So, with the exclusion of my anti-inflammatory dinner, no nuts (I'm guessing this includes nut butters), and hardly any fruit...what the hell do I, as a healthy-eating athlete, actually EAT?

I'm totally open to suggestions.

I specifically asked about wheat and dairy, and she said those typically lead to symptoms of "intolerance" vs. allergic reactions.

But, seriously? All of our gel has "natural flavors"? and citric stuff. Every bar, fruit leather, and drink mix has some kind of fruit additive or flavor in it... so, what's a girl to eat on the bike?

Afterall, you can't live on bread and water alone!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Different kind of weekend

Well, the past week or so has been pretty interesting for me. I honestly still don't know what was going on with the body, but I'm guessing the combination of riding stress and life stress (long century in a lot of heat, riding the next day in more heat, little rest coupled with work stress, plus two hard days on the bike in the heat - one with a big bonk) led to a bit of lowered immunity and other wacky hormones running amok, and what do you get? THE RASH!

When I first started getting red itchy spots on Wednesday (I'd had a really bad itchy scalp on Tuesday night, but assumed that was sweat related with my Halo headband) I guessed it was heat rash. When I thoroughly broke out on Thursday into a massive splotch of red itchiness right after being outside, I still assumed it was heat rash. Some people thought stress. I took an oatmeal bath Thursday evening, and two Benadryl lessened the redness.

So, Friday I took a sick day thinking that sitting inside, no work, no riding, no heat would cure what ailed me. Well, I went outside around 4:30 to take out the trash and then the breakout started. I got to making dinner around 5:30 and finally around 6 took a Benadryl since the back of my legs was a massive breakout. Got better, and I woke up Saturday guessing that it wasn't the heat but possibly something I was eating that was causing my problems.

No fruit on Saturday, which led to no gel or carb mix on our ride. It was hot out. The lack of available bike food that doesn't contain fruit left me carrying this:

Yup, that was it.

It was really warm, and I was sweating, and physically/mentally stressed, but no breakout. I had a few mental issues and just physically didn't feel good, but Justin kept chalking it up to the hives and meds.

3/4 of the way through the ride we stopped to refuel

We both finished the ride pretty tired and stressed out, but all afternoon I still didn't break out. I had about 1/3 of a small banana as we watched a movie. My right hand got super itchy, but looked fine, and I went to bed happy that I hadn't broken out in hives in over 24 hours.

1:45 a.m. I woke up with my palms SCREAMING and a set of hives starting out around my belly button. Took two Benadryl and went back to bed, and finally was able to get back to sleep. I felt a little groggy the next day, but the hives had subsided. Yay.

Was really just struggling with what was going on. I hadn't eaten any fruit the day before and still broke out, so I had some berries in cereal, we watched the final stage of the Tour, and eventually got out for another hot ride here in the valley. Didn't take much food-wise still I wasn't sure what I could eat and we didn't think it'd be too long of a ride. I did take my gel this time around - it was scorching hot when I finally took a shot of it and I think it literally burned my throat!!

Justin was finally able to take me on a tour of our local Roubaix-like road. It's covered in oil, but not paved. Oddly enough, it was the only stretch of road on the ride where my tires were black instead of dirt brown!

Got home, ran some errands, enjoyed some English Toffee coffee

And set about getting dinner together. We enjoyed some Zynthesis, steaks, and asparagus. SO GOOD.

Yet again I felt a sigh of relief when I didn't break out all day. I wasn't taking Benadryl except when I was getting hives, since it beat them back down. Well, here comes 3:40 am and I'm woken up with flaming palms again, and a hive patch on my stomach again.


Got up super groggy from the Benadryl, was "asleep at the wheel" all morning, and went in for a doctor's appointment around mid-morning. Doc suggested I take 4 Benadryl a day (1 25mg pill 4xday - not too bad) and consider eliminating strawberries "since they irritate a lot of people". Nothing on how to figure out what is really causing my problems. So far I'm on day 3 of Benadryl round the clock, and I must say I'm not breaking out in hives now, but I am tired all day! Not falling asleep tired, just oh I could use a nap tired. Since I'm not sure how long to continue taking 4 Benadryl a day, I'm actually going to scale back to 3 today and probably 2 tomorrow. Will try 1 on Friday and see if I don't break out. Would prefer to not be taking this stuff, since I'm sure it isn't helping my training or recovery, but at least the stress from worrying about hives is mitigated. Though, if I back off the Benadryl and break out again, that will lead to stress!

Good times!

Keeping up with training this week despite the body oddness. Hope I can get through the workout today. Anyone got some motivation to spare? We've got two weeks of big races and travel coming up, so I'd like to be in decent race shape! Should be interesting.

Will get a shot or two later, but thanks to Luke for a killer selection of wines I hope to be trying out soon!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fun weekend!

After last weekend's hectic (but really fun) race and lots of travel and post-vacation stuff to deal with, I decided to have fun this weekend! Well, only the type of "fun" that a masochistic cyclist would enjoy.

I was kind of sad about missing mountain bike nationals, so decided I wanted to ride a century instead. I do recall asking Justin once on Saturday who's stupid idea it had been to ride a century anyway? Oh, wait.

The ride sort of had century FAIL written all over it from the beginning, but the 6 of us stuck together, and stuck it out. Long day, but we made it, and I consider the century as a success!

Gettin' ready in the a.m.

We started off the century (not fail!) by running late. Justin and I got up at a decent enough time, but then sat around watching the Tour, so the bikes weren't ready to go when Luke showed up (after fixing a flat tire).

When we got to the parking lot we found out that Dan had a set of Crankbrother cleats on his shoes, and Shimano pedals on his bike. Hrm.

And, no, there isn't an "app" for that! However, Stephanie did find a bike shop that was open a few miles away. Jefe and Dan sped off in pursuit of some new Crankbrother Candy pedals.

Stephanie and I, pre-century (her first!!)

Once back, we begin the final century prep!

Unfortunately, the Allen wrench that they had (and the rest of us oddly did not have any tools) didn't fit the pedals on the bike, so Dan was forced to ride around all morning unclipped, in bike shoes with cleats, carrying around a second set of pedals in his jersey pocket.

Stellar. He didn't complain once (er, not that I heard! :))

On the road again! Oh, not so much... red light!

Okay, now we're talking... I knew I'd be looking at this for many miles

Jefe, 6 weeks off a banged up wrist and riding strong all day

Just before Luke and I jam it up to the Lilac bridge

Bridge the gap!

The group met back up just over the Lilac bridge and then went out in search of water replenishment. The usual faucet had disappeared. Luke found a sprinkler head not far off, but I was a bit too nervous about it to try it. He said it tasted fine! We continued on and eventually traversed a bunch, descended, climbed, descended some more, went through road construction a bunch, and wound up at THE FIFTEEN frontage road over by Lawrence Welk (I think). I immediately noticed my rear tire slowly leaking air, but decided not to look down until we were all rolling. "Justin, is my rear tire going flat?" "It looks fine." ... "Well, there is some deformation going on. Just ride until we hit the next shady spot." Ok... it just got more flat, and eventually I slowed it up a bunch since I was feeling the rim on the asphalt. Score! First flat of the ride.

We found some shade and I changed my tube out. Stephanie continued on, and I think eventually Dan and Jefe did as well. Once my tire was back on the bike Justin, Luke and I took off. Unfortunately my shifting was all wonked out, so that took a bit of time to sort. Then we were off. I tried valiantly to hold on to Justin and Luke's wheels, to no avail. Justin was putting in a fairly blistering pace for my fatigued legs. Every time I put in a big effort to catch back on, it seemed like he had turned on the gas and sped up as well. I sat up as the grade began to climb, and shot off the back in a hurry. Justin looked back a few times, but I had nothing doing.

I began to wish I was suffering at 9,500ft instead of in the insufferable heat of this never ending road. I felt like I was melting. No breeze, and the waves of heat radiating off the asphalt were cooking everything in sight; including me. The rest of the group wasn't getting much closer. I had, sadly, forgotten my Halo headband, wasn't wearing gloves, and my sweat band was doing nothing. It was soaked through and just kept smudging my glasses.

Eventually I noticed a few riders in the shade. Stephanie had a flat also. I think I mumbled something about heading over to the gas station for fluids and kept riding. Dan and Jeff were hot on my heels.

It Air conditioning. Ahhh. I grabbed a Pepsi, everyone got gallons of water, Gatorade, etc. I drained some fluids and felt a little better.


We cruised it down the hill and into San Marcos, and found a Sport Chalet for Dan to switch out his pedals. Note to self: Sport Chalet is not a bike shop! He almost had to buy the tool he needed because no one in the bike area knew what an 8mm allen wrench was. Srsly.

We got moving again, and soon enough cruised it into Carlsbad! Felt soo much better. Unfortunately traffic was seriously hectic, but no one was injured.

We safely arrived at Pannikin's after a mad dash to get there and out of the way of crazy beach-going drivers.

Iced Vietnamese. So.freaking.good. I bought a 2nd one.

Blueberry muffin

Decisions, decisions...

Dan's cookie concoction. This thing was pure sugar, but the top was seriously good tasting

The line up

I got a bagel and cream cheese that I shared with Justin also. Yum, fuel!

Zippy returned to Pannikin's after he'd waited for us for awhile, rode, and reappeared

Back to it, heading over Del Dios back into Esco

It was warm, and I'd been dropped from Justin and Luke's wheels

Heading back to the coast later on in the ride

I ran out of liquid somewhere in between San Marcos and Carlsbad, and so did Justin. I was dying for hydration somewhere, and we were all just tired of being in the saddle. Finally we came around a corner and there was 7-11!

I high-tailed it straight to the water

Steph and Jefe only had eyes for Slurpee's!

Justin picked out an ice cream sandwich (oh so good)

We got moving again once we'd gotten some fluids for the final push.

One last stop light

Mile 100!

We hit a huge festival on the O-side pier, and managed to find our way out of the mess without being road kill. Luke and Jeff were nowhere to be found (I assumed they had taken off for "home"!), and once I hit the bike path I tried to find a second gear and just be DONE with it.

Justin caught me easily about 3/4 of a mile in and pulled me along for awhile. He kept trying to keep the pace, but I'd fall back, so he'd slow up and wait. My legs were just out of gas entirely. Steph and Dan caught back on, but I had my head down trying to suffer in silence.

We got back to the parking lot and Luke and Jeff pulled in shortly after. A wrong turn saw them go a mile or so extra north before turning around to re-find the bike path.

Stephanie and I post-century!

The crew - nice tan lines

We got home just before dark, and Justin and I finished off the Tour stage before hitting the hay.

Sunday we slept in a little, lazed around, watched the Tour stage (fire works?) and then eventually around 10:30 decided we needed a "plan" for the day! We knew we had to stop by Rock N Road for goods, and then the only other thing on "tap" was BBQ and beer with Jeff. We decided to do a short ride at Aliso from Jeff's place after hitting the bike shop. I like how he text'd at about 11:30 to say it was already 93*F!

Since I forgot my Halo headband AGAIN, I picked up a new one. But, only 'cause it was PINK

I have no idea what time we started, but it was really warm out. We descended this big hill down to Aliso, and about halfway down it occurred to me that we'd have to climb back UP after the ride. Jeff assured it us it wasn't that bad.

Entering Aliso (parking lot was pretty empty)

Cruising out

We saw a deer on Coyote! The thing didn't even move when we rode by.

I also crashed on Coyote. Stupid little tip over left me with some blood/swelling in the knee, bruising in the knee, and banged up elbow/hip. Idiot!

We had tentative plans to do two trips up Cholla, but my head was not in the right spot, so I nixxed that. One trip up Cholla, then it was over to descend Meadows, which Justin and I hadn't ridden since...hey check it out! 7/23/06. Almost exactly 3 years.

It was pretty hot climbing up Cholla, and I tried to hide in the shade of the kiosk once up top.

I alternated between complaining and going slow, and just hammering over to Top of the World. All I cared about was the drinking fountain once I got there!

Nice view

Sweet nectar - room temp water

No, he really never does stop

Holy load of locks, Batman!

Cruising back to the pad with my black and pink get-up for the day

Justin cruising

Can you hear the angels singing?

Bottle numero uno is cracked

Sweet nectar! The 2006 was heavenly. I savored every last drop

Then it was on to 2007 (I will hopefully be picking up some 2009 when it is available and will keep it until 2011 - this stuff is awesome)

The spread

3 hungry mountain bikers don't leave much for leftovers

The 3rd and final beer of the night...

Such hoppy flavors in the first note, and then soo mellow. No hoppy after-taste. Weird!

Justin and I finally decided to stop drinking all of Jefe's incredible beer and head home.

Today is recovery and taco's, tomorrow is back at it. Here's hoping I'm recovered enough for a longer ride!