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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Dbl weekend aka sleep?! I don't need no stinking sleep aka deer dressed as coyotes

So another weekend comes to an end as the PEAK 500 inches its way closer and closer into my consciousness...

This time last year I had literally no races or long runs under my belt..having signed up for at least 10
but showing up to only one due to either pain...depression.... anxiety...or a combination of all three
my hair had fallen out in clumps...
I had painful tumors...
my tree fort abode was inundated with a huge nest of carpenter ants....
just a few of the highlights...
basically my life at that time had all the trappings of a made for television drama starring Ally Sheedy...

Fast forward a year
and well...many
not all
but many of those things have changed...
and I feel blessed to be sitting here writing this post...

You see I just spent the weekend running back to back races...
well actually back to back to back races
as I did a double TARC 50k Friday night into Saturday and Sunday I found my way back to a Grand Tree race I have not been to in ages....

Downstairs Doc is eating pistachios watching TV after having spent some time with his head in my lap getting a head rub...
and now I am alone in the office looking out over the pond.
I am watching the big pine tree that the raccoon likes to hang out in summer.
I am watching the wind dance around in its branches while I am thinking about this weekend and my life...
and what I want to share in this post...
and I just realized something...
and I mean it...
if it comes to be that my time here is cut short
I would not be afraid
because of moments like the ones I experienced this weekend
I would know I lived well.

Friday morning before the bell rang I was sitting at my desk reading a post my friend Steve "the Bard" Latour had written about his wife and their anniversary on FB...it touched me...then I realized that my friend Steve who had been training so hard had injured himself and his trail running plans have been put on hold...
I am not sure where the thought came from but I wrote to him and said I would run his 50 k before I run my 50k this weekend...
because Steve always reminds me that the glass is half full...
and
Steve is a Tugger
The Tugger creed
if we had one...which we don't
except maybe
"training is for idiots"
or
"cookies are good"
well if we had one it would be
"is it the journey not the destination"
So I knew running a 50k before a 50k would kind of make me slow....probably since I would be pulling an all nighter I would be tired and slow
and stupid
I would be tired and slow and stupid...
but I didn't care
I have no one to answer to...no one to impress with my running prowess
no one gives a flying fadoodle what my time is..
so I said cool gonna run all night and then run the race with all the TARC animals on Saturday morning...perfect...
then it got EVEN MORE perfect when Julie wrote me and said cool your running all night..how about I come Saturday morning and run the second 50k with you...keep ya moving...
so...
now I get to run back to back ultras..
AND see all the Trail Animals
AND run with my dear friend Julie...
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY

So I finished my day Friday and rushed to meet Doc.
I shared with him my idea to start the 50k tonight around 9 pm and then nap in the car till 6 am when he would come and meet me at the race start bringing coffee and breakfast...

He was not overly enthusiastic due to the fact that I obviously did not think this through....that running all night just to ummmm run when you should be sleeping is strange...and he was just worried about me alone in the woods...
I assured him that I would be fine and I would have my phone with me....
he still wasn't 100% on board but understood that I am slightly crazy and so this kind of last minute planning thing is actually normal for me

We went out to eat at the Gardner Ale house (a favorite of mine) and it was fun to just gab and relax with a glass or two of wine...
when we got home I washed my face, changed my clothes and finally grabbed my gear bin and threw in some extra sweatshirts and overnight running stuff along with a few bars, a bagel sandwich and some extra batteries...
I kissed Doc goodnight and I was on my way.

The TARC classic is one of a series of awesome ultras in Massachusetts and New Hampshire under the Trail Animals Running Club.  This race was held in Weston Massachusetts a suburb of Boston.  When I got to the start the gate was locked so I had to park outside.  I took a few minutes to get my self ready snapped a pic and  headed past the gate, past the porta potties and out to the trail head.  I noticed right away that all the pink ribbons had reflective tape at the end and so any concerns I had about not finding the trail were quickly replaced by thoughts of the bagel sandwich in my jacket pocket.  The course is a 10k loop and for the 50k you do it 5 times...I decide I would ultra shuffle/walk the first loop to make sure I did not get lost (and also so I could partake of the delicious bagel goodness)
Note pink tape with reflective sticky at end...even I could not get lost...well I did once but I was under duress from the coyotes stalking me

The first loop went smoothly and I had a few back and forth texts with Kev and a few pics posted to FB as I walked along gazing at the moon (which was incredible) and just breathing in the cool crisp air and listening to the peepers going bonkers.  A few of the reflective tapes had fallen so I took the time to attach them to trees.  When I finished I dropped a layer and headed back out with just my water bottle.  The next 4 loops were really great I felt strong but it was nice not to be racing not to have to worry if I have someone coming up behind me that I have to get out of the way for or to figure out the best and safest place to pass a runner I may want to go faster than...it was a no pressure run much like the first 7 days of the PEAK 500 when you are pretty much alone on the trails...

I define this as my bliss..
it is what I am searching for..
trying to achieve..
and when it happens...
when I am in the blissful state it is to me like...
coming home.....

When I find myself in this place
my heart, my emotions, my physical self...they are all balanced..
I am calm and centered.
This state is one that for me is very difficult to achieve in my normal day to day life...
too much anxiety issues, OCD, BDD ED
I am barraged by too much stimuli
too much noise....
just
 too
  much.

But not this night.  Not on these trails..
the only anxiety I felt was when I came down a hill and at the bottom there were 3 sets of glowing white eyes..I ended up running the last 2 loops with a large stick...I talked with Kevin M at the race the next day and told him I was stalked by coyotes and he laughed and said "sounds like some deer to me"  hehehe yep knowing me I was scaring the bejesus out of the poor relatives of Bambi

I believe I finished a few minutes shy of 4 am...so around 6 hours for the 50k... with walking the first loop and running slow knowing I had my race the next day and there would be little sleep....I was pretty pleased with the time.
I quickly got in my backseat with my sleeping bag.  I bundled up in a little ball and got ready for a little nap....in my initial sleep state I thought I heard a car door slam and voices...I did not wake completely though until I heard a second car door slam....I got up and opened the door and there was Josh K the RD and Justin getting ready to go run the course one final time before the race start at 8:15 to make sure all the tape and signs were in order...I told them about the markers I put back up and the coyotes stalking me and I went back to sleep...I woke up like 10 minutes later got out to stretch my legs and pee and 3 cars pulled in...it was Bob C the other RD there to open the gate and start setting up and two racers....I gave Bob a big hug talked a bit and then I moved my car inside and spoke with he two other early birds...I decided I needed coffee and I needed it now...I knew I was not going to fall alseep so I decided to go get coffee and bring it to Doc and change and brush my teeth and then head back a least a little bit cleaner and with fresher breath...

Back around 7 am and it is always so much fun to say hi to everyone...Emily had made the coolest T-shirts and I got one and I gave her a big hug...saw Bill and got a hug and then I talked with Kevin and Michael and his wife Crystal and then Julie showed up and we searched for Brenda and gave her a hug and we actually planned to run as a threesome...for every TARC race the yeti mascot is there and we all give a great big growl an howl before the start...and then we were off...it was Brenda, Julie and me and we pretty much started close to last...after the first mile Brenda was ahead and Julie and I slowed it down and so started basically over 7 straight hours of gabbing....
This was in front of a gorgeous field of purple vincta flowers...this was my fav part of the trail and we would stop and enjoy the sights for each loop...no wonder we were almost dead last!!! WE STOPPED TO SMELL THE FLOWERS : )

I stole this off of FB Wendy took it when she was volunteering

this is going to be a kitty tree...I found the perfect log so had to stop and carry it a mile to a road  crossing so I could go back and grab it...again this kind of slowed down our time hahaha

By the end of the 3rd loop Julie started to have some tummy issues...she could not eat anything or drink anything and what she ate made her super sick to her stomach.  When we ran it sloshed around in her stomach...and you know the feeling..and it made her want to hurl..so we took to walking the fourth loop when her tummy needed a break and then running until she wanted to hurl again...she made it through that loop cause she is a Tugger and she is one tough cookie. For the final lap Lindsey (she is doing a documentary on Ultras and trail running and I think TARC specifically and I am one of the people she filmed and interviewed) came out running with us with a camera...it was funny to have her run ahead and set up a shot as we came running  by..it was fun to have her with us as she is really sweet and was totally cool with the magpie twins gabbing away incessantly....it was about 3 miles in that I saw the tree and had to pick it up and take it with me...I have been looking for something like this to create a cool natural kitty tower for May and Japhy Ryder our cats...so I carried it alone for a while then Julie (even with her worsening tummy) grabbed an end and we carried it some more and then I took it back and carried it alone and thank god we came on a road crossing because the darn thing was heavy and I was tired!
I have to say running across that finish with Julie was awesome...there was a huge stump and Bob and Josh yelled I couldn't finish the race till I picked it up and carried it over the finish line
ummm
it was like a HUGE stump
so no doing...
at the finish we gabbed with Norm and Bob and Josh
I made plans with Lindsey for her to follow me to my place to do the interview so I could have a glass of wine haha
I said goodbye to everyone  (after I got a kick ass TARC bumper sticker for the subie) and headed home.

Doc was waiting for me and opened a bottle of wine and we had company staying over so I said a quick hi to them washed my legs and feet under the hose ran upstairs and changed into sweatpants...did my interview...then covered myself in deodorant  changed into half decent clean pants and a shirt..dragged a brush through my hair and we were off to my fav dive bar where I gorged on nachos with chili and a rare steak salad and then....
fell fast asleep at the table...

Prerace with Doc, Lara, Blair and puppy








The next morning we were up at 5 am..I put my hair in pigs..brushed teeth, filled water bottle and we were on the road to Wolfeboro, NH to run Muddy Moose a Grand Tree race I had not done in quite a few years. This race is not easy...it has some tough elevation and just some rather un-runnable sections of trail as you are just running through total muck that has the consistency of cement.  My plan was to just get time on my feet....do it in under 3 hours....not push myself, but still not come in dead last..put forth like 50% effort.  Doc did great finishing in just a little over 2 hours (except near the end when he fell right in the mud) and I ended up just under 3 hours walking all the hills and gabbing any chance I could. I made some new friends on the trail which is always one of my favorite parts about trail racing...all in all I can say I had a perfect weekend.

Its funny I am doing all these back to back race weekends to prepare for PEAK...just like when I run with my log I am coming in close to the very very very back of pack. My finish times do not say "ran a 50k before starting this 50k" or "ran 62 miles yesterday" or when I run with my log my finish does not say "ran the 50k with a log on her shoulder".  I have actually had people say I saw your results and your not really as fast as I thought you were (yes people have actually said this to meand I have had people tell me that people have said Michelle Roy is not as good as I thought she was.  It could have a negative impact on ones self worth lol....and there have been races where I have been disappointed in a finish time and yet I still more often then not make the choice to use races as training and or run with the log.  I think as I get older I realize it just does not matter.  There is always someone stronger, faster, prettier, younger, smarter, funnier ..
there are just so many more ER's
if you don't let the need to constantly compete against others go you will miss the true joy of competition...
it really is about
toeing the line
stepping up to the plate
getting your arse out of bed on a rainy day
running through the pain
running through the sadness
running through the anxiety and worry
running just to see what is around the next bend
running not for a finish time
or
pr
or
medal
or
trophy
or
name listed
or
finish line photo-op

choosing to run a race when you know you will not be in the top 3 let alone the top ten let alone the first half....
running a race when the odds are YOU WILL NOT FINISH....

and yet you still show up
you still walk up to that starting line
you still take that first step...
for noone
but
you..

PEAK 500 or 490 or 480 or 470 or 460 or 450 or 440 or 430 or 420 or 410 or 400 or 390....whatever....the sharpie says at the end of the ten days

here I come....

for a taste of that bliss....














Monday, April 22, 2013

bliss aka thankful

I waited..
it just didn't feel right
this post...
because it is a happy one..

I felt guilty feeling happy
I felt it wasn't appropriate to share..
not when people were suffering..
I needed to wait until it was appropriate

but when has enough time gone by
that it is OK to say...
I am happy....
when others are so profoundly sad?

I don't think there is a correct answer to that question...
maybe I am suppose to write about what happened in this post
I imagine that is the appropriate thing to do...

but it is not a story I can tell...
I wasn't there..

It is one Doc could tell..
but he won't....
he keeps his stories...

I on the other hand...
well...
mine spill out..
just like watering a root bound plant....
they spill on the table and pool there..
I don't bother wiping...
eventually the spill will dry up..
eventually a new story will be ready to share...

I have a story
It is one of bliss..
It is the bliss found in a weekend of running trails
trail races to be specific..
ultras to be exact..
Traprock 50K Saturday
and DRB 50m Sunday

I didn't win any medals
I didn't pr
I wasn't particularly fast
nor was I slow...

I just ran
and I had no preconceived notions in my head about what I should accomplish
I just ran
I didn't concern myself with who passed me or who I passed
I just ran
I didn't feel fat or anxious or ugly
I just ran

I shared the trails with new faces and old friends
I felt like I was HOME
I feel at home when I run these New England trail races
I feel like I belong...that I am accepted....that I just fit...

I feel comfortable in my own skin...my body is graceful
with it I glide over rocks and roots
it pushes me up steep inclines
and with it I skip and dance down the hills..

I am older
but my body keeps me moving forward...I am thankful for these times..
me and my body working together
common goals...
no hatred
no shame

we just ran
and for this I am so very thankful....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hill repeats rock walls and strong legs aka how to combine PEAK/DR training and yard work

After a really tough weekend I refocused myself... took a deep breath... and made the goal of starting off this week on a good note...

Work has been really such a saving grace for me..when you teach and you have people depending on you it goes a long way to take the focus off your issues....I was a bit nervous as today I requested time off for PEAK..it is always kind of scary...even though I am taking it off without pay it is hard to explain why I should be allowed to take this time away from my job and my responsibilities....I am waiting to hear back...I don't know what I would do if I am rejected..but for now I will think positive thoughts...

A friend had suggested I try the fitbit app on my phone so that I can try to begin to look at food as fuel vs food as something to get all freaky about ...It is a simple way for me to track what I eat and to make sure I am eating enough to fuel my training...it helps me to see how many calories my body needs just to live and then how many it needs to fuel a run or hill repeats with a tree or even stacking wood...I started it yesterday and you know what?  It kind of helped me to feel a bit grounded...it is just a tool, in truth another band aid, but what ever works and helps to focus and calm me is worth trying.

So I started in earnest my daily DR/PEAK training that will continue for the next 3 months
My focus will be on running back to back races on the weekends to prepare myself mentally for the multi day Peak.  During the week I have decide to do some thing new.  Instead of hitting the gym I am focusing more on training in my own back yard.  I feel that going inside on a beautiful spring day is really not a great choice for me..the fresh air and the sunshine really make me feel so much more at ease...so although I love lifting...I think I am going to put that kind of training on the back burner for now.

Across the street from my house is the Hunnewell Town Forest.  It is a great little place to trail run.  It has  many many hills that are honestly pretty steep and rocky and rooty.  So when I got home yesterday from work I put on my weighted vest and started to fill the wheel barrel with the wood we got last fall and push it over to the wood pile to replenish the rest of the stacks.  I moved close to a half cord before I stopped and grabbed my 40lb log and slung it over my back and walked to the trail head of the town forest.  I did hill repeats with the log...it took me a total of 8 minutes to go up and down one time.  I got in 5 repeats before I felt a hand hit my bum(I had on my ipod) and I turned around and it was Doc who got home from work.  We walked back to the house gabbing about our day....the drivers along that road do a double take when they see me carry this thing around Natick.  Last Friday I grabbed my vest and the log and Doc and I  went for a walk all through the forest...we went up past the water tower and came out on a pretty busy road that Tillys market is on...we stopped there (I left the log outside) and grabbed some fresh salad and a fage yogurt for dinner and walked back to our house..we got quite a few turned heads...I loved just going for a walk with Doc and gabbing and incorporating errands...and I was training...but it did not feel like training : )  Yesterday we walked by a neighbors house and they were having tree work done and there were like 6 big guys outside who made some remark to Doc about my log he just laughed and said something funny back.  I think our neighbors pretty much know that the two of us are a bit different in the way we do things : )

We have so much to do on our property.  The yard work will keep us busy every weekend if we let it.  We want to fix the house up and plan to sell it within a year or so to get back to a more rural location...Natick to us is still like living in the city : )  So what I have been doing is making all our yard work into DR training.  I put on my weighted vest and my old sneaks and we do things like forage and then dig out huge boulders or we look on Craigslist for people who want their rock walls to be taken down and the person gets the rocks for free...we have quite a few walls we are building and or building up on..this is tough work...we also have a bunch of areas that we need to be filled in with soil so this past Saturday and Sunday morning we spent a total of over 15 hours driving back and forth to the dump to fill buckets and bins and eventually the back of the truck on a tarp with the free soil they have there and making all these new garden beds and filling in old ones where the soil was crappy.

My goal is to do something every weekday that is hard...the gym is NEVER hard...pushing a wheel barrel of rocks up a hill over and over again is hard...digging up the boulders first to fill the wheel barrel is even harder...I want to work up to bigger and bigger logs for repeats...and i want to do the training in my back yard....in terms of trail running we have so many trails locally that connect just by brief jaunts along roads...I just want to start running out my door and well...running...explore where I live..leave the car parked..no driving to train..only driving to races on weekends...I also want to start running home and biking to and from work at least twice a week...Doc also wants to start hill repeats at 5 am after he is done with Boston...all his training had been focused on that as he wants to PR there..after it is over we can start to train for his first 50 miler and for winter DR as he wants to go back this winter.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Queen of Crazy Town

I'd like to introduce you to the Queen of Crazy Town....

The Queen of Crazy Town spends 8 hours doing heavy duty yard work and yet still looks in the mirror with disgust and tells the person looking back that she is ugly, lazy and fat..

Hating oneself can be exhausting 
It is difficult to hide it from the people you love....
and you end of feeling doubly guilty for bringing them into the madness

The Queen of Crazy Town is sitting in the living room after a long day of yard work
she is eating popcorn
she has the bag next to her
she is rigid with anxiety as he walks over...she knows he wants some of the popcorn...but she does not want to share it
he comes over and takes the bag from her side and grabs a handful
anxiety quickly becomes anger...
she puts the bag on the coffee table and under her breath she says:
don't want it... you just eat it..
he asks what is wrong
and she says..obviously angry...nothing

It does not make sense to him he is bewildered and hurt and now he is angry
he does not understand her sometimes..she won't share what she is feeling..
she holds it all in and then it comes out in a few terse words..
she keeps herself closed but by doing so she calls far more attention to herself
he says Forget it...
and walks away to the kitchen to put the popcorn on the shelf.

She is filled with guilt
with shame
and she is embarrassed...so much so she wishes she could just disappear into the pillows of the couch....
She can't control it...
she does not even want the popcorn..she feels guilty for eating it
and yet
SHE WANTS ALL THE POPCORN..
you see the Queen of Crazy Town has always hated to share her food...
food makes her feel guilty and ashamed and yet
she wants it all for herself...
she hates when people ask to share meals...
appetizers are really difficult for her she never feels like she will get enough food...
she always does because she eats very fast..she eats more than anyone else...more than her stomach can hold...
she fills herself only to have a break down a few hours later and hate herself even more...
She may be crazy but she knows herself

There are times she makes plans to go out to eat but she has to cancel at the last minute..
last Thursday for example..
she went running...
she felt slow and fat and awkward
she started to slowly build up to a very toxic level of anxiety as she ran
this anxiety was so great at one point she felt like she could not breathe..
the anxiety was so great she had to text her friend and cancel ...
she had to get home..
she could not leave the house...
it makes her feel pathetic and weak..
but she is afraid  to go to the restaurant/bar...
she feels that once there she will have no control...
she can't go if she has not exercised that day or she has not exercised enough...
she can't go if she feel bloated or her stomach is hurting or protruding or _____ (insert craziness here)
at home she can go up to bed..close the door....away from food and read a book
or just go to sleep
and hope
tomorrow she feels differently...

Sometimes when the Queen of Crazy Town removes herself to the quiet of the bedroom..
she stands in front of the mirror.....
naked

she bends over and grabs her stomach and makes it jiggle
even though seeing this happen makes her cry...
silently with tears rolling down her cheeks
she stands first sideways to note how much her stomach protrudes
and then round and round she spins
pin pointing every dimple or sag she sees...
she makes herself dizzy and sick...
then when she has beaten herself down
when she has made herself feel completely worthless
she crawls under the covers
she turns out the lights
and she continues to cry
ashamed
that
she
just
can't
make
it
stop....

Crazy Town can actually be a nice place to visit...
but
sometiems it is hard for me to understand why Doc would want to live there....

Monday, April 1, 2013

Parameters of a community AKA chickens are for eating not emulating

Community
There are many definitions for the word community....
The definition I am writing about  relates specifically to the community of people who do endurance sports like OCR DR and ultras.

The type of sport may differ but we all share a common interest in fitness, health and well being...basically in being the best that we can be in our chosen area.

What defines a community is shared interests ...that is what brings people together, for example the Death Race FB page...it is because of the shared interests of the members that there is a DR FB page in the first place....these shared interests are what makes the DR community strong..it gives the community its power
at the same time these shared interests...this power...results in our community being preyed upon in terms of marketing...

FB has become the latest mechanism by which people sell a product whether it is a person or a thing...it is the new "underground" marketing tool.....people join these communities and tout themselves as members with shared interests but at the same time they are there to MAKE MONEY OFF OF THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS, and I am not to keen on this fact...

In some cases it is less of a worry to me.  When members of the DR FB community say hey everyone I can get you a good deal getting into a race or a good deal on gear or shoes...where they may get a discount when people join a site, for example The Clymb...this is not something I am concerned about... if I join The Clymb and  I buy something if another member of the DR community who shared the link gets 5 bucks off their next purchase... well that is fine with me...I am assuming that this individual is not the CEO of The Clymb or is not a distributor of products on the climb..just an old fashioned gear whore lol..

The slippery slope starts when members of a community start to use the community to "sell" a product that is theirs or a product that they distribute....now I know right off the bat one of you will be saying out loud..well just don't read that thread Michelle and then you can avoid the marketing aspect you have issues with...
My answer is...yes I have the ability to not read a thread that discusses a product and therefore just ignore it..and I agree that some people may be very interested in this product and that is fine as well..if a person is completely transparent in what they are doing i.e. saying this is my new energy bar that I created and I am interested in selling...here are the ingredients and a link to a site where you can check out this bar...and everything they claim about this bar when I research it is backed by a trust worthy source...well I have few if any issues with that.

My issue is with a so called member of the community USING me to make money...if they truly felt like they were a member of the community and cared about the people in that community they would not try to sell you something that does not do what it claims to do..

For example...if this person sharing their new energy bar with the members of the DR community said that their energy bar did something that it did not or could not do and backed their claims with what I call "marketing ploy science"....
or worse...
they came on the DR site to give away free samples of their bar (backed with little if down right silly science) as if they are just helping out fellow DR peeps ...
that is a problem..
why?
because they are not in it for the good of their fellow DR community members...
they have a  goal...
and it is not making you a better OCR, or ultra runner...
it is lining their pockets with cash.

You see people if you are seen eating this bar and touting the miracle benefits that this bar supposedly has because you believe what the person says to be true because why would someone want to sell you something that does not work????

duh

and other people hear you or see you post about it or talk about it
or if it is something you wear and there are pictures of you wearing it at a race...and your a good athlete or the thing just looks cool..it makes other people want to emulate you...

you are now that person's marketing bitch....

My issue is not with someone touting the benefits of Inov8 over Salomon, or Chia Surge over GU on the DR page....my issue is someone trying to expand their product...or sell their product to make money off a community that I care a great deal about.....when their product claims to do something that it can't do

Bottom line...
there are people out there trying to sell us products that do not do what they say they will.....
and this just plain pisses me off...

There is nothing wrong with getting caught up in the latest fads...
we all do it for one reason or another...

We want to lose weight
The women on the box is a fitness competitor of course this stuff must work!  Take one pill and I will burn 2x more calories???? Drink this bubbly drink that cost 3.00 a bottle and I will burn an extra 100 calories just sitting on my tush!!!!! Pour this powder on my meals and I will lose over 30.5 lbs in 6 months!

We want bigger muscles
Take these 3 pills before you work out and then take 3 more after you work out...that's it...oh wait take 2 when you wake up and 2 before bed...it is only $70 dollars for a bottle of 30 pills a bargain!!!  It says it is backed by a research study!!! That must mean they work...and the guy selling this is on the cover of Muscle and Fitness he says he uses them and he is ripped..of course it must work!

We want to be more than the weekend warrior
It says online that training with a mask will simulate high altitude training..it will increase lung capacity increase anaerobic thresholds increase oxygen efficiency increase energy production increase mental and physical stamina increase mental focus...if its on the Internet it must be true!!!

The problem is we are spending  money on shit that is crap..or we are hurting our health
fads can do damage...
to your pocketbook and to your health
and I am sick and tired of being preyed on as if I am some dumb ass who does not take the time to actually research the claim of the newest fad...
that I will buy your product because it looks cool or bad ass...
not this gal....

So I took the time to do some research on a so called training tool that has been touted on the DR FB page within the last week (and strangely enough the entire thread just "disappeared" into thin air last Friday)   This training mask thingy...I brought this mask thingy up to Doc a few months ago when I saw someone on FB touting that they would wear it during a half road marathon...I researched this mask online and I asked him What is the science behind it and why would you want to buy a thing like this to train for a race?  

And here is what I found out from research and from Doc.
I found one of  the the most popular training mask sites on the net to see what the science was behind the mask.  I looked at the studies and pretty much the main study that was done was for firefighters (who have to wear masks when they rush into a building) and these were not necessarily firefighters that were climbing to the top of Pikes Peak to fight a fire...so not even at altitude.  The study that backs the use of these masks based on a little snooping online was done at the University of NAIT or the Personal Fitness Trainer Program, School of Health Sciences, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

I had never heard of this University so I looked that up along with the authors of the study who work at the NAIT school of Health Sciences where they teach personal fitness training.  The study the training mask uses was a firefighters training study.  It was presented at the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology conference and was published in Tech Life magazine (an alumni magazine of the university itself).  Has this study been peer reviewed??? Is this study pub med searchable? hmmmm.

So what is "real" and what is "bullshit" when it comes to what these masks can do?

Based on the things that the mask claims that it does I asked Doc to tell me what was real and what was bullshit.. see response below..

Respiratory muscle training (which is what these masks are really designed to do) has been shown to increase lung capacity ONLY in low fit individuals or individuals with respiratory disorders.  Individuals who already perform upper body resistance/strength training are already training muscles assisting in respiration. It is possible, in high fit individuals to strengthen the muscles of respiration (diaphragm) and assisting muscles (inter-costal muscles, and muscles of standing posture) to such a degree that large intra-plural pressures can be created such that air-ways actually constrict resulting in a decrease in air flow.    Numerous studies have shown that the pressure increase required to achieve a training effect are large, and substantially greater than the pressures developed by many commercially marketed masks.  A claim has been made by a commercial device vendor that using their device will improve aerobic performance at high altitudes.  There are no peer-reviewed studies supporting this claim.  Added airflow resistance does not simulate the effects of increased altitude on the cardio-respiratory system.  While shortness of breath is a common symptom during physical exertion at high altitudes, this symptom is not related to impaired respiratory muscle performance.  Respiratory muscle training is not a substitute for using established and effective altitude acclimatization protocols. There are no peer-reviewed studies to support the concept that oxygen uptake, efficiency or anaerobic thresholds will be favorably improved by training with these masks.  Of the few studies that have been performed, many have been poorly designed and are confounded by such issues as lack of a control group.

Doc basically said if you want to wear a mask to make running a certain distance more difficult then wear a mask (my response was you could just stick a sock in your mouth and it would be cheaper)....
true it is harder to breath with a mask on
so
I imagine it is harder to run with a mask on
which makes you I guess a bit more of a badass then the mere mortals that run mask free

then again

I imagine it is harder to run a certain distance in a chicken costume then in just shorts and a tshirt
but I don't think that will become the latest fad....
chickens are just not badass..

but Pandas...

well that's a different story...

ps
then again what do I know...
I actually did the grapefruit diet...