Saturday, February 16, 2019

Skin Cancer Health

With spring and summer soon to be around the corner soon (fingers crossed). We figured this would be a great time to discuss skin cancer health. It's one of triathlon's dirty secrets. Pro Triathletes Dough Maclean and Leanda Cave are testaments to this.  How you protect yourself from over dosing from the sun in those early years through those forty years will effect you in your upper years. 

Jenell Butler is an FTR Ironman Triathlete and she shares her recent experience. 

It was over a year ago when a friend or two at work noticed a strange spot on the right temporal area of my head!  The neurologist who was working that day noticed it too and told me I better go get it checked out ASAP!  He thought it was a skin cancer.  I basically got busy with life ingored it for a good while!   The spot grew and got bigger in size!   

I finally decided to have a dermatologist examine the strange mole and she recommended getting the site biopsied   I finally agreed to have it biopsed.  I really did not think it would come back as skin cancer!  I was wrong!  When they told me the results I was a little bit nervous!  They told me the type of skin cancer I had which was a Basal cell carcinoma.   I was very lucky it was that kind. 

Basal cell carcinoma is very disfiguring and it grows and grows!  So the dermatologist said it had to be removed or it can grow further unto my face and can cause problems!  They told me the best way to remove it was doing the Mohs procedure.  The day after Christmas I had the procedure!.  I got nice little face lift from that procedure!  I now have a nice scar too!   The lesson learned from this is wear sunscreen and take care of your skin!   Don’t take your skin for granted!   It’s scary when you hear the word cancer!  Cancer can be deadly.  It’s painful to have it removed. 

What can you do protect yourself from the dreaded word skin cancer? 

Take Care of your Skin
We as athletes need to take care of our skin and be aware of the signs of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be deadly, if not treated in its early stages. We are at a higher risk for skin cancer, because we are out in the sun more. Our skin protects us against exposure to dangerous things in our environment, such as bacteria, viruses, and harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. 
How do we protect and take care of our skin?
1.    The best way to protect our skin, if possible, is to avoid sun exposure between 10am – 4pm. Which is difficult to do for athletes who are training and racing.

2.    Next best line of protection is sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF greater than 15, higher for fair skin people. Key is to apply a generous amount to skin 20-30 minutes before getting into the sun. Apply to all exposed skin. Must reapply at least every 2 hours, as athletes, we must carry it with us.

3.    Wear protective clothing, cover your skin with long sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide brimmed hats.

4.    Don’t smoke.

5.    Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.

6.    Apply moisturizer to skin and avoid harsh chemicals.

7.    Manage stress.

8.    Examine your skin.

So, what are the signs of skin cancer? What do you look for when doing a skin examination? 

Look for the A, B, C, D, E Rules.
A = Asymmetry– That’s a warning sign, the benign mole is symmetrical.
B = Border– Non-cancerous moles have smooth even borders. Melanomas have irregular borders.
C = Color– The presence of more than one color blue, black, brown, tan, etc. or the uneven distribution of color is a warning sign. Benign moles are usually a single shade of tan or brown.
D = Diameter– Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6mm in diameter.
E = Evolution– The evolution (or change) of the mole is the most important factor. The change, if it changes color or size, immediately get it seen by a dermatologist.
Skin cancer is abnormal growth of skin cells, it mostly develops on areas of the skin exposed to sun rays. Skin cancer affects people of all color and races, although those with light skin who sun burn easily have a higher risk.
Types of skin cancer;
Actinic Keratoses – Least Dangerous - These dry, scaly patches or spots are precancerous growths. Most people see these after the age of 40. These develop from over exposure to sun. Treatment is needed because the cancer progresses to squamous cell carcinoma. 
Basal Cell Carcinoma– Least Serious - This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC frequently develops in people with fair skin yet can occur in people with dark skin. BCC looks like a flesh colored pearl like bump or pinkish skin (mine). BCC develops over years of sun exposure and indoor tanning. BCC are common on the head, neck, and arms, but can form anywhere. 
Early diagnosis and treatment for BCC is important. BCC can invade the surrounding tissue and grow into the nerves and bones causing damage and disfigurement.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma– SCC is the most common type of skin cancer. People who have light skin are most likely to develop SCC. SCC often looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch or sore that heals and then re-opens. SCC tend to form on the rim of ears, face, neck, arms, and chest. Can also grow deep in the skin causing damage and disfigurement. Early treatment can prevent this spreading to other areas.
Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer but is the most deadly and serious because it often spreads. Risk for melanoma includes over exposure to the sun. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that arises when pigment producing cells known as melanocytes mutate and become cancerous. It’s rare in people with dark skin. Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin but mostly chest, back, arms, legs, neck and face. It looks like irregular shaped moles with different dark colors. 
Treatment is immediate. This type of cancer has staging. People prone to this cancer have high freckle density, high number of moles (five or more atypical moles), pale skin, red or light hair color, high sun exposure, age, and family history.
Treatment for skin cancer is important.If skin cancer is not treated, it can be disfiguring and deadly.
For basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, actinic keratoses, melanoma a trip to the dermatologist will help decide the proper treatment based on the type of skin cancer and size.
Types of treatment for skin cancer are:
1.    Curettage and electrodesiccation for smaller size cancers (95% cure rate).

2.    Mohs micrographic surgery (99% cure rate)

3.    Excisional Surgery

4.    Radiation

5.    Cryosurgery

6.    Topical medications

7.    Oral medications

Treatment for melanoma

1.    Radiation therapy and Mohs surgery.

Written by Jenell Butler, Ironman Triathlete 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

You Should be Training Your Gut

You Should be Training Your Gut

Most endurance athletes have had some GI distress during training and racing. It varies from athlete to athlete and is much more common for runners. GI distress or exercise induced gastrointestinal symptoms include both upper and lower gastrointestinal issues, and can substantially decrease your performance. It is much more likely to occur during high intensity efforts, high heat and dehydration.

The good news is that your GI system is highly adaptable and trainable. Yes, your regime should include gut training.
Some good guidelines to get your GI track to absorb more carbohydrate and fluids without upset and result in better performance. 

* Regularly consume your race morning breakfast before long training sessions. At least 2 hours before your session consume 60 - 65g Carbohydrate, triple it if its 3 hours. You can also try small amounts of low fat protein. Sip on sports drink (Gatorade) pre exercise for the sodium and extra hydration. This is all highly subjective and modifiable.

* Train, when possible, in the same conditions (hot & humid) as your expected race conditions.

* Know your sweat rate per hour, (this time of year may not be ideal for sweat rate testing). Try to consume around that amount per hour during all sessions lasting an hour or longer, however max absorption is usually at 32 - 40oz per hour.

* Pre-hydrate leading up to big events.

* Consume around 60 - 90g carbohydrate per hour of all sessions longer than 1 hour. If you can't handle that much, start with just 30g and work up. Experiment now, so that you have nutrition nailed down by race day.

* Consume 15 - 20 mg sodium per fl oz per hour. That will be 360 - 480 mg per 24 oz bike bottle.

Some athletes use Gatorade, but it does not have enough carbohydrate or sodium for sessions over 3 hours, and the Osmolality is not ideal. Some athletes use multiple sources for carbohydrate, sodium, and fluid and in the process over complicate their race strategy. For sessions lasting more than 3 hours, Infinit Go Far would meet all these requirements and is a good place to start.

* To decrease risk of GI distress, avoid NSAIDS leading up to and during big events.

* Reduce fiber intake leading up to and during races and long training sessions.

   Ricardo Costa, the senior author of a study on GI training has written a guide to managing GI symptoms in ultra-endurance sports, which is available on the website.  Costa concludes:

 * There is no substantial evidence to support the acute or chronic consumption of dietary supplements to reduce exercise-induced GIS, and subsequent symptoms.

*  To date, there is no evidence to support the acute and longer-term consumption of probiotics to reduce exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome, and subsequent symptoms.

*  To date, there is no evidence to support adherence of a gluten free diet in non-celiac runners to reduce exercise-induced GIS, and subsequent symptoms; unless specified by a health practitioner in response to a positive diagnosis of intolerance.

FTR Coach, Ironman Certified Coach & NASM Personal Trainer
Sherril Wade 

Friday, December 21, 2018

"'Tis the Eating Season, Eat better with these practical tips"

Tis the Eating Season 

We just navigated one food holiday only to be bombarded with “The Eating Season”. 

This is the season when the break room at work is filled with holiday goodies, we give sugar bombs as gifts, and we have so many gatherings where food is the centerpiece that it is difficult to keep from over indulging. So, we have compiled a list of tips to help keep everyone on track.

From Janice Phillips:

As the holidays have come upon us rather quickly, and the fun and festive season are in our midst. It can be challenging to stay on target for our racing goals, healthy eating and workouts.  A couple of thoughts to help us stay on target. 

The first thought is to not make excuses.  Sometimes we make excuses to splurge and it lasts all month. 

Make it a goal to eat 3 meals a day and not to skip meal especially breakfast. 
The next thought is be mindful of what we put in our bodies and to not overindulge in food and alcohol. 

Negativity can also play apart in the holiday season.  Stay positive and focus on the small goals as well as the large goals. 

Get enough rest, schedule your workouts and take good care of yourself during this holiday season.  My final thought is to keep your eye on the prize during the holiday season. 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

From Kristin Blaise: 
Ok, my tip for not over eating and eating correctly at all times but especially for the holidays: pack healthy snacks - always.  There are many prepared bars for all types of diet plans.  Nuts and seeds of any sort are always acceptable and have one of the longest stomach clear times making you feel fuller longer.  

From Coach Sherril:

It is always easier to not gain weight than it is to lose it. Drastic changes in your nutrition program are hard on your body.

Make yourself a priority! Don’t let the stress of the season derail your year of hard work and great nutrition. Recognize the holiday stress triggers and make healthy plans to deal with them.

Identify times when you won’t have healthy alternatives. If it’s potluck, take something good for you.

Headed out for a party, eat healthy and filling snacks before you go.

Plan ahead to avoid the everywhere temptations. You may need to stay out of the breakroom at work.

Decide ahead of time which indulgences are worth the extra calories. Write down the ones you plan to have, so you have something to look forward to.

Focus on fun not food! Remember what is important. Your family’s conversation and enjoying each other’s company far outweighs what is on the table.

If someone demands you eat their special dessert, kindly explain that it doesn’t fit in your nutrition program.

Remember to keep your plan realistic.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Evaluating Information on the Internet

I am taking a NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist course and read this great article in my text book that will help you differentiate between useful nutrition information and a sales pitch on the web.

Coach Sherril

Evaluating Information on the Internet

Surfing the Web has made life easier in many ways. You can buy a car, check stock prices, search out sources for a paper you’re writing, chat with like-minded people, and stay up-to-date on news or sports scores. Hundreds of websites are devoted to nutrition and health topics, and you may be asked to visit such sites as part of your course requirements. So, how do you evaluate the quality of information on the Web? Can you trust what you see?

First, it’s important to remember that there are no rules for posting on the Internet. Anyone who has the equipment can set up a website and post any content he or she likes. Although the Health on the Net Foundation has set up a Code of Conduct for medical and health websites, following their eight principles is completely voluntary

Second, consider the source, if you can tell what it is! Many websites do not specify where the content came from, who is responsible for it, or how often it is updated. If the site lists the authors, what are their credentials? Who sponsors the site itself? Educational institutions (.edu), government agencies (.gov), and organizations (.org) generally have more credibility than commercial (.com) sites, where selling rather than educating is the primary motive. Identifying the purpose for a site can give you more clues about the validity of its content.

Third, when you see claims for nutrients, dietary supplements, or other products and results of studies or other information, keep in mind the scientific method and the basics of sound science. Who did the study? What type of study was it? How many subjects? Was it double-blind? Were the results published in a peer-reviewed journal? Think critically about the content, look at other sources, and ask questions of experts before you accept information as truth. What is true of books, magazines, and newspapers also applies to the Internet: Just because it is in print or online doesn’t mean it’s true.

Finally, be on the lookout for “junk science”—sloppy methods, interpretations, and claims that lead to public misinformation. The Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA) is a coalition of several health organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. FANSA has developed the “10 Red Flags of Junk Science” to help consumers identify potential misinformation. Use these red flags to evaluate websites.

The 10 Red Flags of Junk Science

1.  Recommendations that promise a quick fix
2.  Dire warnings of danger from a single product or regimen
3.  Claims that sound too good to be true
4.  Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study
5.  Recommendations based on a single study
6.  Statements refuted by reputable scientific organizations
7.  Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
8.  Recommendations made to help sell a product
9.  Recommendations based on studies not peer reviewed
10.  Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups

Use the Internet; it’s fun and can be educational. Don’t forget about the library, though, because many scientific journals are not available online. Treat claims as “guilty until proven innocent”—in other words, don’t accept what you read at face value until you have evaluated the science behind it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! (Insel 22)
Paul Insel. Nutrition, 5th Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2017

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Training in East Texas Heat

Training in East Texas Heat

We all know its hot out and crazy humid! And we all know, we still must train in our remarkably unfavorable East Texas conditions. So, here are a few tips, explanations, and things to watch out for.

The human body is very adaptable to heat training. As you train in hot conditions, your body gets better at cooling itself by increasing blood plasma volume, then sending blood away from heat creating muscles to the skin where it dissipates through sweat. The more heat adapted you become the more you sweat, and you will start to sweat sooner. The average person sweats a liter per hour during training, that is 33.8 ounces. As a Texas athlete, you are most likely sweating a lot more because you are forced to train here and are acclimated to our environment. It is a good idea to perform a sweat test, so you know your sweat rate, then you can replace fluid oz. lost, plus half your body weight in oz., as soon as possible after training. A sweat test will also tell you how much fluid to consume during training. Make sure to add carbs and electrolytes on your long sessions. If you train in a dehydrated state, your heart rate will continually rise even though your pace and intensity have not. This is called cardiac drift and one reason it happens is the heart must work harder to pump thickened blood.

But, because we live in extreme high humidity and high dew point our cooling system isn’t as efficient and sweat evaporates slowly in an atmosphere that is already over saturated. As your core temperature increases your Rate of Perceived Effort increases forcing a slower pace to maintain your target effort. Heat adds as much stress to the body as added miles or faster paces, so make sure you’re not overtraining. Do your hard efforts on cooler days or early in the morning. If heat acclimation is your goal, gradually add in some low intensity training in the heat, just make sure those sessions are not on recovery/ easy days. Heat training is stressful and hard on the body, so think of it like a hard, high intensity session.
To beat the heat, here are some suggestions:

*Train by effort not pace, if your pace is on the slower side, you may even need to switch to a run/walk

*Wear light colored, wicking clothes

*Train early, even though humidity is at its highest, you will be cooler

*Use a visor to keep sun off face, and a visor will let heat escape better than a cap

*Look for shaded routes

*Prehydrate and precool

*Do loops around a location with water and wearable ice (frozen bandana)

*Before starting your long run, drop water bottles along your route

To stay safe, know the dangerous signs and symptoms to watch for:'

*Heat Exhaustion; heavy sweat, rapid breathing, fast weak pulse, headache, nausea, fatigue

*Heat Stroke; rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and vomiting, core temp above 104

*Dehydration; dizziness, fatigue, disorientation

Keep in mind, this summer when all your heat training is making you wilt, you are gaining valuable mental toughness and when things cool off this fall you will be better for it and faster.

Sherril Wade, Triathlon / Running Coach 
Ironman Certified Coach 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Am I an Athlete?

Have you ever shown up to a triathlon, running race, or other endurance event and thought "what am I doing here?" Maybe you looked around and saw a bunch people with the right gear that looked like they've been training for years. This was probably a time that if someone would have asked you if you're an athlete, you would  have laughed a little, and responded with "Who, me?" That "Who, me?" reflex has become a hard habit for people in our society to break. It originates from all the way back to the paradigm that was formed during our High School years. This is a time where the "athletes" were defined as the students who participated in athletics and the rest of the students were in PE. Now as grown-ups people imagine athletes to be those who have great physical abilities. Even if you google image search the word athlete, pictures of professional athletes show up as a result. However, among those pictures, there are a few that look like this one below.
I believe that this goes to show that anyone can fill in the dark figure representing the athlete. Thus anyone should be able to consider themselves as an athlete. It's not a word reserved for those who receive a paycheck from participation in a sport. 
The word athlete is controversial and loaded with stereotypes as previously discussed. You can find the word defined in many drastically different ways. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines an athlete as a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina. On the other extreme end of definitions, the Nike mission statement quotes the legendary University of Oregon track and field coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman stating, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” This just goes to show that whether you're the fastest individual or the last one across the finish line you can be called an athlete. 
Instead of searching for the perfect definition to follow in order to be an athlete,  I encourage you to think about the commitments you set forth. Think about the time you've spent working toward a goal and your perspective towards being an athlete might change. From a psychological standpoint, believing that you're an athlete can have such a positive impact on your performance. As your performance improves, the way you perceive yourself improves. Believing and perceiving are two major things that lead to achieving. A sense of achievement is another telltale sign that you're an athlete.  At the core of every athlete there's a great sense of accomplishment that comes from earning a medal, or simply being able to say "yep, I did that." 
In the end, if you have the guts to show up and to complete a goal, then you're an athlete. I wouldn't let anyone tell you differently.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Intro to the Writer

Hi everyone! I'm professional triathlete and multi-sport coach Garrett Mayeaux. I’ve recently decided to revive the FlyTri Racing blog and take on the role of being the primary writer. This is my first blog post of many that I plan to write. I’ll be posting short reads every week and occasionally bi-weekly depending on my school/training schedule. I thought what better way, to start than to introduce myself. Hopefully this will serve as a platform to connect the reader to the writer & provide credibility to what you may read going forward. 

I’d like to start with a little background to my journey into endurance sports and education.  So back in 2007, my 7th-grade year, I decided to join a swim team and to start running cross-country & track. I competed at a high level in both USA Club & High School Swimming by the time I was a Junior in High School. This was when I decided to end my swimming career in order to focus on other things leading into college. During my High School running career, I qualified and competed at the State Cross Country meet all 4 years. After High School, I attended college at Texas A&M University 2013-2017. During my second semester of college, I decided to put the two sports together by jumping into the sport of triathlon. Throughout my A&M years, I competed in numerous triathlons, including multiple appearances at the Collegiate National Championship. In August of 2017, I graduated with a B.S. in Applied Exercise and Physiology. Then in September of 2017, I qualified to become a professional triathlete at a race in Des Moines, Iowa. The week after that race I started attending Parker University to become a Chiropractor.

Now I’d like to give you a peek into what it’s like to be a full-time doctoral student and professional triathlete. For Chiropractic school the coursework is broken into trimesters, so we have 3 semesters in a year with short breaks in between each. Currently, I’m in my 2nd trimester of school and I’m taking a 26.5hr course load. Instead of describing my weekly school schedule that starts at 8am every day, I figured it would be easier to just show a block schedule picture.

Disclaimer: The bedtime is a goal that is often not met

On top of the already early morning start, on the Tuesdays and Thursdays that I’m able to get at least 6 hours of sleep I go to a club that meets at 7am to practice assessing body structure motion.

Here is a weekly outline of my training schedule, which I fit in around my class schedule. I’ve also added a picture of my training peaks if you’d like a little more detail.

Monday                        Tuesday                         Wednesday                      Thursday
Rest day                    AM 1hr swim               AM 1-1.5hr swim                 AM 1hr swim
Easy 30min-1hr         PM varying              Mid-day endurance bike           PM varying
training session         bike or run                                                                 bike or run
                                                                          PM easy run

            Friday                                     Saturday                                Sunday
      AM 1hr swim                       AM long bike ride                          Long Run
                                                       2.5-4hrs long                        1hr-1.5hrs long
      PM varying                      *occasional run brick
      bike or run                       *occasional PM swim

If you’re a number cruncher, my weekly totals hover around 15k-20k yards of swimming, 100 miles of biking, and 30 miles of running. Time wise I spend around 15 hours/week training.

This is representative of my usual training week if you just switch Saturday's run with Sunday's bike ride. This was a recent week of training with a Saturday running race

This is quite the busy schedule, but I still find time to study, socialize, sleep, and to watch a little TV every now and then. So needless to say life is good and I love pushing myself to the limit.
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed this intro!