Training in Black Earth, WI

Where the hills never end…where friends make it so much better…and the Hauser Diet is evident…

Last weekend my husband Ross and I traveled to Wisconsin to one of our favorite places – Black Earth, which is right outside of Madison, WI, also known as the Horrible Hilly Hundred territory by cyclists. Our friends, Kurt and Diane, have a cabin up there and they allow us to stay there with them, so we always have a great time. Kurt is a chiropractor in Morton, IL, just outside of Peoria. We met him about 10 or 12 years ago when he volunteered at the charity medical clinic that we used to run in rural Illinois. His wife Diane is the office manager at their practice, and is also an excellent natural medicine practitioner.

We always have a blast when we travel these friends. They too are into natural medicine, love to eat “weird” foods, like to go on adventures, and shop in quaint little towns for local delicacies such as wine from a local vineyard, homemade chocolates, distinctive mustards and hot sauces, or hand made soaps and lotions. So usually our weekends with them are filled with training, eating, and adventure. And this weekend was no different.

I must digress for a moment…I am training for the Disney Marathon in January, as well as the team duathlon at Miami Man in November. I am doing the 56 mile bike portion of that race. My partner is Rob Donovan who recently ran the Chicago Marathon during the heat and chaos in October. His wife Christine completed her first Ironman last April – IM Arizona. We met this couple while in Sanibel Island, FL. They live across the street from our other good buddies, Rick and Evette. We have become fast friends with this great group of people and see them whenever we can and communicate with them on email. Rob and I spent the day together “sherpa’ing” our Ironma triathletes back in April. The four of us really didn’t know each other back them – we had only just met the month prior. But we bonded like glue during that trip! Talk about adventure! Well, one of the weird things that happened at that race was Rob discovered that I am a picky…well, not only about picky foods that I eat, but picky about everything that I put in and on my body. I wouldn’t eat in submarine sandwich shop because the meat had MSG; I didn’t want the suntan lotion because it contained PABA. I wanted to find fresh food. So having spent 15 hours together, he quickly learned about my natural medicine passions. Clearly he thought that I was from another planet. You may be asking why I am even telling you about this – well…the reason is that when he signed us up for the team duathlon at Miami Man, he called us “Team PABA”…because ever since that weekend, he has been mercilessly making fun of me and my idiosyncrasies! There are many more, but we don’t have time to go into those…so anyway, the point is…I went up to Wisconsin to do some cycling and running in preparation for Miami Man duathlon and the impending Disney Marathon. Whew…

My coach Pete Alfino, from, planned some very interesting workouts for me – back-to-back “bricks” on Saturday, followed by a half marathon on Sunday. For those of you who may not be familiar with the “brick” – these are where you bike, then run immediately following your bike ride. These are used to help strengthen your legs, and get you used to running immediately following the bike, as you would in a triathlon or duathlon. When you first start doing these, you hop off the bike, change your bike shoes to running shoes, and then start out on the run, your legs think that you are not going to be able to run, but eventually you start feeling better and you are able to do it. I remember my first duathlon about 4 years ago…I didn’t really practice any bricks very much, so after I got off the bike and started running, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to run. I just wasn’t used to it. So it’s definitely something good to practice when you are training for triathlons and duathlons. But I digress…

So, Coach Pete had me doing three back to back bricks. Now mind you, this is very hilly countryside, so biking and running in this terrain is rigorous, to say the least. When I did the Horrible Hilly Hundred ride last June (you can read about in the “in the news” section of this website” I would power up some of those hills thinking I was not going to make it. A couple of them required me to walk up…so needless to say, I am a bit apprehensive about training in this tough territory. But it will make me stronger in the end – so that’s a good thing.

My husband Ross is also training for the Miami Man ½ Ironman, so he too was to do the triple brick workout. Our friends Kurt and Diane are just getting into biking, so they wanted to ride with us. So all four of us set out on our bikes on a chilly, but beautiful, Fall morning. We rode for an hour along the hills of Black Earth and the surrounding areas – beautiful countryside, but difficult riding. Then we all rode back to the cabin, and Ross and I set out on our run. Running on hills is just as, if not more, challenging than biking on the hills. You can definitely feel it in your calves and thighs after running up and down the hills.

I would have to say that I used to be kind of psyched out by the hills of Black Earth. Prior to attempting the Horrible Hilly Hundred back in June, I used to get really upset riding in Black Earth. The hills would kill me, I’d have to walk up some of them, and I just dreaded what was around the corner. Having now been training with Coach Pete for a number of years, I have definitely become stronger and more able to “embrace” the hills, instead of fearing them. I was actually quite amazed at how much I had improved since June.

Part of my training program involves weight lifting and CORE strengthening. This is a key factor to becoming a better athlete. It is particularly important for women because we have a predisposition to osteoporosis – so this type of training will help prevent fractures, as well as improve overall health. Strong women stay younger. I cannot encourage you enough to do get on a program to help yourself.

But back to the triple bricks – we completed our run, then got back to the cabin, changed from running shoes to biking shoes, slapped on the helmet, gloves, and long sleeve shirt and got back on the bike. We repeated this three times. So we were out training for over 4 hours. The temperatures were nice and cool, in the 50’s for most of the training. I personally love this type of weather, because I do not function optimally in the heat. I, of course, attribute this to having a propensity to alkaline (higher than normal) blood pH levels. This is one of the key factors related to determining your Hauser Diet Type. You can read more about that at My Hauser Diet Type is a Monkey. You might be thinking – “what? A Monkey?” The Hauser Diet involves blood testing to determine which of the five Hauser Diet Types you are – Lion, Otter, Bear, Monkey, or Giraffe. The macronutrient breakdown of each of the five diets correlates with the way these five animals normally eat in nature. For example, a lion eats meat. The Hauser Lion Diet Type is a high protein and fat diet – just like a lion would eat. The Otter eats meat and a few plants. The Hauser Otter Diet is made up of a lot of meat/fat, yet adds in some carbohydrates. The bears eat a little of everything – meat, vegetables, fruit, carbs. The Hauser Bear Diet Type is the balanced Diet Type, requiring that the Bear eat meat, veggies, fat, fruit, and some carbs. Monkeys eat a little bit of protein and a lot of veggies. Hence the Monkey diet is a lower protein/fat diet, consisting of a lot of veggies, and some fruits. Finally Giraffes eat plants. I am sure you have all seen the Giraffes chomping on leaves from trees. Giraffes don’t eat steak – they eat veggies. So that’s how we determined what to call each of the five Hauser Diet types…but I digress….again.

I continue to be amazed at how much better I run and ride when the weather is not 80-90 degrees. If you have these same tendencies, you may want to check out where you can take a short quiz to help you figure out what your Diet Type might be. The best way to know for sure is to come into our office and get tested. But taking the quiz will give you some insights. One word of caution – be careful not to answer the questions related to what you LIKE. We want to know how you FEEL with certain foods and in various situations. Anyway – back to the training…

Getting off the bike during one of the transitions!

Getting off the bike during one of the transitions!

So included in this article are a couple of pictures of us training that day of the triple bricks! Don’t we look like we are having a blast? Well, you know what? The reward was Ehling’s Apple Explosion! This is a recipe from the Hauser Diet book that Kurt Ehling is famous for. He and Diane made that pie for us, so we were able to eat it after that massive workout. What a treat! That’s one good thing about exercising, eh?

Ehling’s Apple Explosion from the Hauser Diet book! Does that look    fabulous or what? What a great post-exercise treat!

Ehling’s Apple Explosion from the Hauser Diet book! Does that look
fabulous or what? What a great post-exercise treat!

Diane had also recently just purchased the Hauser Diet book. It was so funny when I arrived at the cabin to find her reading it – and trying out the recipes. She made MJ’s Chicken, Green Beans Almondine, and I made some of the salads from the book. So at least I know that one person has been using the recipes! Just kidding.

Yummy Caprese salad, together with the Apple Explosion!

Yummy Caprese salad, together with the Apple Explosion!

Day 2: We woke up to a drizzling day in the 40’s. I needed to run a half marathon – 12 miles through the hills. Would we let the rain stop us? Nope. I knew that I would quickly heat up, so I decided to just wear a tank top and shorts, even though the temps were a bit chilly. Good move! I was even hot! Plus the rain cooled us down a little. I also just recently purchased an IPOD nano and tried that out for the first time on the run. This really pumped me up and helped me power up those hills, keeping my stride short and strong. I listened to wide array of music that most people probably wouldn’t like – including patriot songs like God Bless America; contemporary Christian praise songs; old 70’s ballads; and even some Italian crooners! I know – what a mix! But hey, whatever gets you going, right?

We have many maps of the area, so we mapped out our 13 mile course – taking a new direction that we have never done before. We ran through beautiful wooded areas, with an occasional smelly pig farm, through corals with horses, and of course, a few cows – it is the dairy state, right? We came upon some new hills that we had never tried before. I jacked up the volume on my IPOD and embraced them. Even as it began to rain harder, I just stuck in there and worked hard at it.

YEAH – I finished! Soaked and sore, but done!

YEAH – I finished! Soaked and sore, but done!

Interestingly enough, I believe I paced it very well. I actually had some strength at the end of the 13 miles as we were approaching the last hill. I powered up the hill as best I could, then leaned into the downward run…and kept it going, finishing the last 2 miles under 9 minutes/mile. For me, that was a great accomplishment – considering I used to be an 11 minute/mile person just a few months ago. I was very happy to finish strong.

For the next few days, my calves and thighs were very sore. I know it was due to all the up and down hills on the bike and run. Coach Pete was actually happy with this because he knew that I put in a good effort. I took a rest day on Monday. Tuesday I rode my bike with my riding group (yup, it’s very dark at 5:30AM in Chicago pre-day lights’ savings). By the end of the week, I was feeling no pain. I took Enzyme Max, and MSCLR Enzyme 2 of each every few hours. This helped heal the massive tissue damage incurred that weekend!

We did finish up the Ehling Apple Explosion too! And boy did it taste great post-run! Yet another great time was had with out good buddies Kurt and Diane too…

Ross and I walking in the forest area around Black Earth…

Ross and I walking in the forest area around Black Earth…

…along with Diane and Kurt.

…along with Diane and Kurt.

What did I learn from this trip?

  1. I can overcome my fears – fear of the hills of Black Earth. I embraced them and felt stronger for it.
  2. I can run when I am tired. Having done the triple brick the day prior to the half marathon, I was tired. This will help me be able to complete the marathon.
  3. The Hauser Diet book recipes are yummy! Ha ha
  4. The Ehling Apple Explosion is awesome – try it out some time! YUM!
  5. That good friends can pick up where they left off and have a great time no matter what the circumstances – and good friends can eat leftovers for breakfast and not bat an eye!

The training is going well ….I’ll see you on the road…