Tri Coach Tuesday: Salvaging Your Season

by Kurt Dallow, MD,  2 Doc Tri Coaching


I’m grieving. The race I had been training all summer for, Xterra Aspen Valley, was cancelled because of the horrendous fire and mudslides that have occurred in the Basalt area.

I scheduled time off from work and hoped to make a mini vacation with my wife, Cindy.  I trained hard all summer and looked forward to this race. But like all triathlons, they are subject to Mother Nature and sometimes she doesn’t cooperate the way we want her to.

The first reaction most of us have when a race is cancelled is anger. After all, we put a lot of time and energy (and money) into this race. Our bodies are pumped and primed to race and when we can’t do what our bodies are yearning to do, it’s FRUSTRATING!

Some people get angry at the race director but this is futile. He or she has also put a lot of time and energy into planning the race and the last thing they want to do is cancel it. It’s not their fault. The reality is, it’s no one’s fault. It’s the risk we all take when we sign up for an outdoor event and we need to remember that from Day 1 of training.

The second reaction is sadness. No, this is not the grief you experience when you lose a loved one or for those people in Basalt, who lost their homes. But it is still grief and the sooner we recognize it as such, the sooner we can get on with life.


What can you do about it? Here are some options:

  • Look for another race to do. For Xterra athletes consider another Xterra race such as the IronLake Xterra in Spearfish, South Dakota, August 24th, or Desert’s Edge in Fruita. Refocus and adjust your training plan so that the new race becomes your A race.
  • Volunteer at a local triathlon or outdoor event to ease some of the pain.
  • Look for something totally different and noncompetitive, but strenuous, like going for a hike or climbing one of Colorado’s mountains, to use up all that pent up energy!


Most importantly, just let it go. Move on. It’s not the end of the world. Watch five minutes of the news and you’ll quickly realize how unimportant a cancelled race is, in the big scheme of things. Remember how lucky you are to even be training for an endurance race!

For me, Aspen Valley was at the end of the season so I have chosen to throttle down the intensity of training and just maintain fitness. I’ll probably do a few local running races but will focus on planning out next year’s races. As my kids would say, it’s time to take a chill pill!


Kurt Dallow MD


Tri Coach Tuesday – Hormones, Muscles, and T Cells

by Coach Cindy Dallow, 2 Doc Tri Coaching


Most of you know that you need some kind of recovery drink or snack after a hard workout. However, you may not know why it’s necessary and/or what to eat or drink.

To better understand the need for recovery nutrition, let’s take a look at three things that occur inside your body during vigorous exercise:

Hormones Gone Wild

During high intensity exercise, levels of cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and glucagon surge in a grand effort to supply energy to the working muscle. As blood glucose levels drop, these hormones work together to stimulate glucose production by the liver. Cortisol levels, in particular, stay elevated for 30 to 60 minutes after we stop exercising and continue to catabolize protein and carbs even though we no longer need them for energy. Consuming a recovery drink or snack during this period of time will lessen the degree of protein degradation and depletion of glycogen stores.

Fire in the Muscle

During a hard run or ride, our muscles utilize three “branched-chain amino acids” (BCAA’s) to off-set the protein degradation and damage that naturally occurs with hard exercise. These BCAA’s are broken down in the muscle cell and used to generate ATP, which unbeknownst to most people, continues after exercise stops. To keep your body from having to breakdown more protein to get BCAA’s, you need to take in some “exogenous” protein in the form of food or beverage (aka recovery snack). Taking BCAA’s in supplement form is not as effective as getting them in food with “intact proteins”.

T-Cell Turmoil

Ever run a marathon and then gotten sick afterwards?  That’s because all that running (or any kind of hard exercise) temporarily lowers immune function which increases your susceptibility to infections. This occurs because cortisol and epinephrine suppress type 1 T-cell cytokine production which is vital for a strong immune system. Lowered immune function has been reported in exercise that lasts longer than 1.5 hours that is performed without nutritional intake during and after the exercise bout.

Nutrition can have a big impact on our immune system. For instance, a low intake of macro-nutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) or a low intake of specific micronutrients (zinc, selenium, iron, copper) can lower our resistance to infection. Aequate intakes of vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; and folic acid, zinc, iron, and copper help strengthen our ability to fight off illness or infection. These nutrients are found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, meat, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

So, what is a good recovery snack or beverage?  Anything with a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein from nutrient-dense foods (see below for examples). The carbs will replace the glycogen you just used up and the protein will lessen the need for BCAA’s and help promote muscle synthesis.

Complete original post from 2 Doc Tri Coaching here