I recently experienced an extreme bout of glycogen depletion.
Glycogen keeps your muscles moving and brain functioning – when you run out of it you “bonk” or “hit the wall”… actually in the 1960s, it was determined that the major source of carbohydrate during exercise was the muscle glycogen stores. It was demonstrated that the capacity to exercise at intensities between 65 to 75% VO2max was related to the pre-exercise level of muscle glycogen, i.e. the greater the muscle glycogen stores, the longer the exercise time to exhaustion.
I had been experimenting with metabolic typing. It’s a very cool way to approach eating – working off the ideas of Weston A Price it focuses on individuality in dietary needs. As different as you and I look on the outside – metabolic typing assumes we are as different internally. Our ability to digest and utilize nutrients is a personal affair. However this diet lacks to take into consideration elite athleticism or the intensity and volume of training it requires to perform at a high level. Things were going fine until the intensity of my workouts was dialed up. The quality of my workouts slowly started to decline and finally I completely died on a very important brick workout.
This of course is all my own doing and extremely foolish. But I am one to learn the hard way.
During this time I was also experiencing high levels of stress (partly due to inadequate fueling) and lockdown of the muscles that make the lower leg posterior chain – primarily the soleus and gastroc. This tightness lead to the familiar feeling of shin splints.
I had Rev 3 Maine shortly ahead of me (landing in the middle of a build week) and once the problems were addressed I went to work on fixing them. Working out to eat – replenishing my depleted body sucking down carbohydrates – eating double what I once would have on a high intensity cycling workout because I needed it.
I was grateful to see Dr. Jay at Innate Swing – with his intuitive manipulations and graston tool work I was feeling more freed up through the calfs but still incredibly inflamed and unable to run.
I managed an easy 30 minutes two days before the race that did not leave me feeling hopeful. Nonetheless I wanted to race. The weather was GORGEOUS – PERFECT!!!
So coach and I decided the plan would be swim – bike – asses the run. If I was feeling at all twingy on the run HOLD back – this was not to be my race – My race is September 15th and that’s where I will lay down the 10k of my life!
Race morning was brisk and delicious. I watched the pro ladies line up and take off and it made my heart race – soon enough I will line up with them.
The swim was fun – a steep charge down the beach into the water and a long haul out of the water back up the beach. I came out strong and feeling pretty good.
The bike was slightly disappointing – the damage I did while not fueling properly was still being felt – I couldn’t get it going.
Finally the run. Despite my lackluster bike my first few steps on the run felt charged. Though before mile one the calves were blowing up and the shins twingy so as reluctant as I was to do it I had to reign it in. I slowed it up, held it back, running steady and focusing on working whatever had settled into my calves out. I crossed the finish happy just to have had a beautiful day and the chance to race.
Fortunately racing helped. The day after the race my calves were feeling much better but I still had tenderness through the right side and had developed a strong pain through my hamstring on the right leg as well. I was glad I took it easy.
I’m writing now from London :-). For now I’ll just say I’m entirely glad to be here – the hamstring is feeling better and my body feeling more my own.
A huge thanks to Rev 3 for making the race happen and then one to my family – without you I would not be who I am.
More to come soon!
Live for the adventure,