Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breakfast/Lunch 9/29

2 eggs (short on eggs this morning!)
1/2 C. Spinach
F&W Salsa Verde
Coffee w/Half-n-Half
Half of an Ezekiel English Muffin
3/4 wedge of Laughing cow light
About a dozen dried cranberries
Calories:  368
Fat:  23
Carbohydrates:  20
Protein 23

Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers - Market Blend
4 oz. Valley Fresh Chicken Breast
1/2 C. Brown Rice
Calories:  305
Fat: 5
Carbohydrates: 32
Protein: 34

Official Photos


Getting ready to swim!

On the bike!

Why must wetsuits be soooo unflattering.  Still excited though; who gives a sh*t?!

Just sooooo happy that I have the choice to be there!

Dinner 9/29

Mama Mary's 100% Whole Wheat Thin Crust - 7"
1/4 C. Health Valley Organic Shredded Cheese
.25 oz Mini Pepperonis
.75 ounce Boar's Head Low Sodium Ham
3 T. Tomato Sauce
Calories: 368
Carbs:  62 g.
Fat:  16 g.
Protein 19 g.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Afternoon Snack 9/29

Fage 2% w/Cherry Fruit Yogurt
1/2 Ezekiel English Muffin
1 T. Marantha no stir Almond Butter

Claories:  305
Carbs:  37
Fat:  11
Protein:  17

Total for Day:

Calories 908, Carbs 82 g , Fat 40g, Protein/64 g

Lunch 9/29

Calories:  246
Carbs:  16 g
Fat:  13 g
Protein:  19 g
Romain Lettuce
6 Cherub Tomatoes
1/4 Red Pepper
2 oz. Low Sodium Turkey Breast
1 T. Briana's French Vinaigarette
1 oz. Cabot 50% Less Fat Cheddar*
1/3 of a LARGE Honeycrisp Apple*

Ate my dessert first... apple and cheese not pictured!  :)

B'fast 9/29

Calories:  356
Carbs:  29 g
Fat: 16 g
Protein: 28 g
1 egg, 2 egg whites
1/2 C. Spinach
2 T. F&W Salsa Verde Ranchera
1/4 C. 2% Cottage Cheese
1/2 Ezekiel English Muffin
1 T. Smucker's SF Preserves (Apricot)
6 T. Organic Half-n-Half for Coffee

Going to try this picture food journal thing...

Training/Technical Thoughts about Redman 70.3

Time to reflect on the technical side of the race.  As a first-time 70.3 racer and 2nd year triathlete, I don't expect to be finishing super-duper fast, but I do expect to see improvement from race-to-race.  So the goal is to look at what I did right and where I can improve for next time.

Oh, yeah... next time.  :)
Memorial Herman Ironman 70.3 Texas - April 10, 2011

And, if anyone wants to join me for the weekend of craziness, but not the distance, they have a sprint too!

Back to business...

Pre-race nutrition
Got so busy during the day with the added drive around the bike course and taking Denise to the LBS for water bottle cages time and opportunities to eat just got away from me -- I did hydrate though!  Quite honestly Friday was a nutrition fail for me and I hate to admit it because that's the one thing I had total control of.  By the time we had dinner Friday night I felt nauseous and like I had low blood-sugar (which I haven't felt in over 3 years!)  I ate 3 bites of pasta, 3 bites of chicken.  I was done.  My stomach was just a mess. 

Breakfast race morning was okay. Over a period of time I got in 20 oz of g'ade, 2 power bars, 1 banana and half of my Ezekiel English muffin with almond butter, leaving behind 1 banana and the rest of the muffin.  No surprise here that I couldn't eat everything, but I have figured out that the Power Bars definitely leave me feeling better while racing, so I made a point of getting those in. 

The Swim:
The swim was good.  I think my plan of attack was fine, but unexpected happened (with my zipper cord) and it impacted the execution. I definitely could have pushed harder on my 1000m stretch, but since I had to deal with what was happening at the moment, it made it a challenge since every so many strokes I was having to relocate the strap.  Looks like my average heart rate for my swim was 126 with a max of 137 (seems a little low?). Next time need to secure zipper cord appropriately, but other than that it was a good swim.  I'm continuing to show improvement on the swim, so that makes me happy!  Pace was 2:22/100m for 1.2 miles.  at the 1 mi swim at Silverlake, with a wetsuit my pace was 2:44/100m.

The Bike:
When I left on the bike I was riding at 155 HR and it took a few minutes to come down (I think it was just excitement), but I got it in check and was able to manage it until the climbs.  I really did try to ride smart because I was worried about the run later.  I wanted to keep my HR between 145-150.  My Average HR was 151 with a max of 168.  I did make 1 quick stop to pee, but it was super-fast.  Honestly I didn't worry much about "rolling hills" because I thought spin would have been enough simulation.  My nutrition on the bike went great!  My hand-up plan was perfect and I had no problems.  At first I thought I wouldn't have changed a thing on the bike, but maybe I could have pushed it more? I mean, if I'm going have a crappy run anyway, why save it?  Ugh!  I was just afraid I wouldn't have anything left for the run though.  Maybe more longer runs after my long bikes, would give me a better indication of how to manage my heart rate, showing me how far I can push it on the bike.

The run:
Was tough.  The first 3 or so miles were hard on my already tired legs, but they did start feeling better -- I felt that same way at Lonestar.  Low heart rate of 139 for even jut 2 minutes left me feeling dizzy and light-headed.  I'm happy I was able to roll with it and figure out what to do to keep moving forward, but really disappointed overall.  I know my nutrition probably played a hand in feeling so crappy, but it seemed even though I was taking in fluid nothing was really doing anything for me.... so why carry it? That's why I dumped it with Darren at mile 6-ish  It just made me frustrated.  I kept my gel thinking that needing to get to the next aid station in 15, or so, minutes would be my focus.  The last couple miles, after I addressed my GI issues, I felt better and I actually felt more comfortable running than I did walking!  I honestly thought I'd be able to run more of it and then regretted not doing more on the bike.  Average HR was 141 with max of 166 (at the very end!).  I was hoping for a 15:30 pace, given we were having cooler weather.  My nutrition on the run needs refining.  Maybe 8 hours of g'ade and Nuun aren't going to work for me? I either need to finish faster or find nutrition that works for me on the run.  I also think that doing some longer runs after long bikes would give me opportunity to try different things. 

What I need to do:
  • Nail down the proper nutrition for the long day.  Nutrition is fine pre-race/swim and bike, but can't seem to continue it on the run.
  • Train more on hills, if there are going to be hills.
  • Try to more accurately determine HR zones so I'm confident I am working where I need to be. 
  • Do more longer runs after longer bikes
  • If I decide for sure on Lonestar, I want to train on the course, in the wind, frequently.
I'm a little nervous about signing up for another 70.3 because who wants to sign up for an event if they can't make the cut off? We'll see how marathon training goes.  Hopefully the Anemia issues will be resolved soon and the cooler weather will help too!

I'm not knit-picking on myself, I'm still glad I finished.  :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My First 70.3 - 2010 Redman Half Iron-distance Triathlon

Packet Pickup went according to plan and was very easy. It was a nice, smooth process and nowhere near as chaotic as picking up for the Oly at Ironman’s Lonestar 70.3 last year.

After we checked in our bikes we participated in the athlete meeting then headed back to the hotel. Our family and friends and 1 of our coaches, Melanie, were due to arrive at the hotel. We planned an early dinner then early to bed. Everyone arrived and I was glad to see Hubs and Cass. Incidentally it was Cass’ birthday!

Let’s just say the best laid plans can fail. I’m not sure why we thought getting a table for 9 was a good idea on the Friday night, before the race, at an Olive Garden restaurant right near the race host hotel. Us and 1,000 other triathletes were in search of carbohydrates for dinner! We called around and found that Zio’s had no wait. We drove 4 miles down the road only to find they also had a 1:30 wait… they misinformed us on the phone. We waited a while, but by now my sugar was getting low and my stomach was getting nervous. I could feel the wave of low-sugar and nerves coming over me. I had a nervous stomach most of the day and really didn’t eat well – that’s not to say I ate crap, I just didn’t get my calories in. By the time we were seated, half of the group (understandably) ordered to go. I had to stay; we promised Cassie a birthday dinner all week long… you know, the kind where you’d get a special dessert! In her world that’s a big thing – bigger than a 70.3. She was such a good girl on the long trip to OKC for Daddy we just couldn’t let her down. We told everyone we needed to stay, but that they should feel free to go on. As soon as they ordered their food, a table was ready! We all went in sat and had dinner. Everyone else was finished before our food even arrived… it was just a mess, but Cass was happy. So basically my pre-race dinner was 3 bites of pasta and 3 bites of chicken. I know I should have done better, but my stomach wasn’t having any more of it

I finally made it to bed by 10:40 (also not in my race plan).

Thankfully I got up at 4am without issue. Everything was ready to go and I felt way better than I did the night before. We made it timely to the race site and setup smoothly in transition. I checked and rechecked everything and headed out to meet up with Melanie and Jim to start eating my breakfast. I knew it was going to be important after not eating much the night before. I was able to get everything down except 1 banana and ½ of my Ezekiel muffin. It would have to do.

Me, Hombre (my training partner) & Denise
Shortly thereafter we all squirmed into our wetsuits and waited. When they started corralling everyone I all of a sudden felt a rush though me; it was time to rock and roll! I said my good-byes and headed back to transition, then to the corral to find the pink caps. Whoohooo, this was really happening. Here we go!

The Full Iron wave started and we noticed there were many people wading through the water because it was so shallow – it was curious to see. When it was time for my wave to start, I was super excited and not really nervous anymore. I felt good and knew that today was going to be a good day no matter what. I knew my training and best effort would get me through to the Finish and that it wasn’t a question of “If?” only a question of “When?” I was the 2nd pink cap in the water I “claimed my space” in the very front of the pink. By the time they got us all together in the water they told us we could swim inside the buoys (because the water-level in the lake was so shallow), but that we had to go outside of and turn around the corner buoys. I decided I would swim a straight line from buoy-to-buoy. No cutting or adding distance. I came there to swim, not walk. And swim I did!

Hombre, me & Denise
My swim start was a little rough at first, but only because my heart was in my throat after the gun went off. I was waiting for other athletes to swim over me, but that never really happened!? Once I realized I was in the clear, I was able to relax and get my heart rate down. My plan was to swim the first third easy and keep my heart rate in check. On the next 1000m, pick it up and on the last 200m go easy on the way in and get ready for the bike. I don’t think my 1000 was all that much stronger as the current kept wrapping my zipper cord around my arm. I had to keep fumbling with it to get it out of the way, but I never could get it to stay in place. My bad for not doing it properly to start! I never had the issue before. Later, I would realize I had one angry chafe burn under my arm. During the swim It was hard to tell how I was doing relative to everyone else because I never stopped to look behind me. Finally, I saw that I had caught up to some of the guys in gold caps in the wave before me! That was a really good feeling!! My swim time was 46 minutes, for 2:22 pace for 1.2 miles – that’s an improvement over my 1 mile swim pace by about 14 seconds per 100m. When I got out of the water I saw my peeps and heard them cheering… I was so glad they were there!

I deliberately took time in transition to dry off well and get sun screen on. In 4 minutes I was off on the bike. I felt good. I was excited and happy-happy!

Hubs, me and Cass
Now we had taken time to drive the course in the days leading up to the race and I knew the directions from memory. It was surprising how comfortable that, in it of itself, made me feel, because now I only had to worry about navigating the hills. After the day we rode the course for a few miles, I kept trying to visualize how I’d go about each climb, but really wasn’t sure because I just couldn’t figure out how challenging each climb would physically feel. It was more of a challenge than I anticipated so I really made it a point to ride by heart rate, even though there were places I could have rode faster. I just kept thinking about that run later. The long climbs were tough if they weren’t steep, and the steep climbs were hard if they weren’t preceded with a good downhill. At times I felt like I was flying and had moments of greatness shifting gears precisely as needed, but then other climbs I miss the technical queue and the climb would suck it out of me.

In the end I gave it my best, smart, effort.  My nutrition was great and really, I wouldn't change thing -- except practice more on hills pre-race!  Everyone was very friendly on the course and very encouraging. Several athletes commented to me about having a good ride, which made me feel strong. My first lap was done somewhere around 1:40 and the 2nd lap quite a bit longer for a total ride time of 3:46 for 14.9 mph average. I was really hoping for 16, and was surprised how badly the 10 mph climbs impacted my overall average speed. But now I know what I need:  more hill training if I’m going to do Redman again. As bad as that second lap left my inner thighs burning, I was still having fun, and having my pink tutu wrist band was a great reminder to stay present and really enjoy what I was doing… and I did just that.

I came off the bike and made another 4 minute transition to the run. Here’s where I started to get a little nervous and really had to dig deep to keep it together because I realized I was still on track to finish under 8 hours. I pushed through the first 3 miles struggling to keep my intervals. My legs were spent, but I just kept saying, “They’re going to feel better in a little bit.” Melanie greeted me on the run and it was nice to see her smile! I really missed seeing everyone on the bike! It had gotten hotter by now and there really wasn’t any cloud cover. My 139 HR felt like 160 and I knew I wouldn’t last at that rate, but I just kept trying different things to get everything in check. Eventually I figured that power-walking for 4 minutes and slowing down for a minute was covering more distance, faster than my running was at the moment (Thanks for planting the idea Cathy!!!) Plus, I could keep that going for a while. I figured when I got to the part of the course with some shade I could try to run again, and it would get cooler too and work in my favor. In the meantime that chafe from the swim came back to haunt me with a vengeance. It didn’t bother me on the bike, but it was screaming mad on the run. I had to stop at every aid station after about mile 4 for Vaseline and fresh sponges to pack and hold under my arm as I ran. Let me tell you, that chafe hurt worse than any single part of my body.

I can’t even tell you how good it felt to see friends and family on the course. I know they thought I wasn’t having a good time (they all say I get too serious, but that is my happy-pretty race face!). In my head I was thinking back to my very first tri, a relay, at which I was 300 lbs and I rode a bike on the Danskin bike course (very much like the Redman course this year!), but now I was going 56 miles and not 12! Plus, I swam before and now was running too? How freakin’ lucky was I to be able to get my health in a place that I could make the choice to do this!

I was almost through with my first lap and Melanie came out to find me. She told me everyone had something very special waiting for me at the turnaround. When I got there they serenaded me with Bon Jovi’s Living on a Payer… “Ooooooh, we’re HALFway the-re… oooh-oh, living on a prayer.” And that’s just where I was… half-way there. 1 lap down, 1 to go! By this point I just couldn’t stomach another swallow of Gatorade or Water with Nuun – I dumped my fuel belt off with my husband (in hindsight, a bad call) and kept my gel. I didn’t want those fluids anywhere near me. I tried to take a swig of G’ade at every other aid station, but was really only drinking water and was doing my gel. The plain water felt clean and refreshing. Since I never tried anything else other than Cytomax and G’ade I was hesitant to try something else. “Nothing new on race day!” kept running through my head, when I considered trying some solid food.

I was still tending to my chafe at every station and one v’teer commented on my pink tu-tu bracelet while helping me. I told her what it was about, and about our loss of Elysha. Even though it made her cry, sharing was a good reminder for me as to enjoy the day and not forget to have fun. Elysha would have been reminding me at me to lighten up!

On the last 3 miles I was able to pick-up and run again, but was delayed by GI issues. I had to stop 2.5 miles from the Finish to “address” them, which was kind of a bummer, but after, I was feeling much better. I saw Mel and she pretty much helped run me in. Still though running at a HR of anything more than 139 was leaving me feeling dizzy and light-headed – probably because I had no more electrolytes in me. Mel tried to get me to eat. I did choke 3 dry pretzels down though! I just couldn’t drink anymore; my stomach had it.

I have to say Mel and Chris have a unique sense of humor. The things they say/ask/do to get you feeling more optimistic at a given point in time is sometimes insane, but it generally works. Mel tried with “So what’s next on your schedule?” Or something like that, I said “Nothing!” I wasn’t playing along. Really, I was trying not to become overwhelmed with emotion and lose focus, because I knew I didn’t have far to go. Mel is so encouraging with, “You’re going to finish, it’s going to be great!” “Look at you; you’re doing it!” “I’m so proud of you!” All I wanted to do is stop and cry! But you know no one can breathe, cry and run simultaneously! I even had to shew her off a couple times to pull myself together because she is the best at making an already emo girl all weepy when she’s about to accomplish the biggest thing she’s ever done in her life! Gotta love their optimism, and I do!

She thinks she “lied” to me and told me we were ¼ mile from the finish. I knew we were a little further, but I was ready to get it done. I started running again and it was actually less painful to run at this point than it was to walk! I just kept my pace down and made my way, right-left-right-left-right-left to the Finish. My only regret was that crossing the finish I was looking down at my feet the whole time! I never really saw the “Finish” sign until I saw the pictures after. I did hear the commentator give shout-outs to my family, BAM and my coaches, Chris and Melanie. I did smile when he said “She says this is just a start and that she’ll do a full one day.” because I immediately thought, “Yes I will!”

My Daughter Cassie and me!
I crossed the finish in 8:36 to my family and friends and I could hardly believe I had done it. My coaches, my training buddy, my family all helped me do this and I’m so grateful for the chance to do it and to have the ability to do it. Several years ago this wasn’t even an option for me, so no matter what my overall finish time was, it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a start. To go from not being able to run past the Boeing building on Bay Area at the beginning of last season, to finishing my first 70.3 this year, is okay in my book.  And even if I’m not the fastest, I’m still on my way to reaching my full potential.

You might think this is end of the story, however…

I could go on about how it took 7 people in the medical tent to tend to my chafe burn. Really, it was 7! I counted!!

Or, about how I lost it and boo-hoo’d when they didn’t have a women’s Finisher’s shirt left. Really? Really. In their defense, they did take my name and address to send me one – they were short overall.

The Happy Finishers and Coach
Hombre, Melanie, Me and Denise

Or the guy from transition who remembered I was the women who boo-hoo’d because she didn’t get a women’s Finisher’s shirt, and nicely offered to fetch me a men’s shirt, so I’d have something to wear that night (I still get my pink Finisher’s shirt too). He rocks!

Or all the volunteers who were awesome, friendly and supportive… and sooooo many of them! They really were fantastic! One told me, “Redman is the longest day of the year for me, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

But, really, there was the text I received at 4am the next morning, when the race day alarm I set, was never disabled. I couldn’t help but look at my texts and saw I had a new one from a number that was unknown!

“According to the results BAM as a first place finisher: 
Donna T., Athena-Master!”

Yeah, I was the only one in my division, but I still had to cross the Finish to get it!

Me and my BF, Beth

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Redman 70.3 -- The Pre-race Report (Cuz I'm Geeky like that!)

So we hit the road around 7:40. Had some issues to deal with before leaving, so we departed a little later than originally planned.  The race wheels I'm using were too deep for the strap on my bike rack, so I had to change back to my old wheels for the trip.  Later, I would figure out if I just turned the bike the other way, it would have solved the problem.  Doh!

We had an entire itinerary planned.... down to the hour.  No. Really, we did, because once again, I'm geeky like that... and my coaches encouraged it.

The drive was fairly uneventful.. all except running 4 toll booths in Dallas.  Neither me or Hombre could figure out where we needed to get off to use the loser-without-a-toll-tag lane.  :P  Already we were running from the law!  Hombre refused to be Thelma to my Louise -- I think he thought his legs were more like Louise's

We stopped just North of Dallas at Central Market and loaded up on some yogurt, snacks and a sandwich so we would have some in-room-nutrition and could eat a reasonably healthy lunch while driving -- I wanted to beat the Denton traffic on 35 -- ugh!

The whole way we're texting with Mel and Chris.  They recently went to a USAT coaching seminar where someone suggested having their athletes send them pictures of their food as a way to journal food. You might imagine we were having fun with that... mostly pictures of Hombre stuffing his pie-hole though and one of me sitting buddy-buddy with a life size statue of Ronald McDonald, suggesting where I'd be getting my pre-race nutrition from.  Okay, you know me better. Not really.

Outside of that, we obsessed about the race and our plans. Evidently Hombre's plan is top-secret (and kept in a folder with a picture of a Pug puppy on it???), as he kept hiding it from me.  We continued to talk convincing ourselves we were going to be okay with however things went... and really, we were, for as much as someone can comfortably admit it's okay to possibly, maybe not be, as super-awesome as you hoped.  "Remember, it's about the experience and finishing." 

This race will be a baseline. We can only go up from here.  Right? Right.

So the next morning was our "scheduled" open water swim. I got up according to plan, had my nutrition and tried on both wetsuits again.  I wore them both for a while in my hotel room... even surfed Facebook in one!  I still didn't want to buy one, so I was determined to make the rental work.  I knew already which one fit better.  Ugh! 

I have to say, the one reason I like training with Hombre is because when he says he's going to be ready, he's ready. He's on time... all the time.  It was no surprise he was in the lobby waiting at 6:30 for our trek to the lake.  As soon as we walked outside we felt the wind, "Woah!"  At the moment we had not thought about what it would mean for the lake.

We took the "scenic' route in the darkness and an extra couple miles to find the entrance.  It was still dark, but we could tell we were in the right place -- volunteers were setting up and since it appeared we were at a wetsuit runway show, we figured we were in the right place.  As the sun came up we saw the water, and like Usher sings, "OMG!"

Wind was high and the water was white capping.  It looked like Galveston!  We were taken a bit by surprise.  After a mini-freak-out, we collected ourselves and made it fun.  In all actuality it did turn-out to be great fun!  I really enjoyed it, once I figured out how to navigate the waves.

We had a quick breakfast and then headed out to the bike course.  The course is laid out in two 28 mile loops, so 1 loop is 14 out and 14 back.  It's kind of nice to have that manageable distance in your head, even if it means you're doing it 4 times.  We decided to go out to the turnaround and start from there.

By this time the wind had worsened.  Hombre, being the engineer he is, estimated that they were Category 1 winds of 35-40 mph now.  All I know is I've never heard wind howl o'er the plains like that before, nor have I have been threatened with being pushed completely over on the bike, and I'm no light-weight!  If I had to equate the course to another race, it's similar to day 1 of the MS150.  Rolling hills, with several bigger and longer climbs, but I don't think anything that's going to be traumatic, but definitely challenging.  I felt good knowing what to expect after inspecting the course.

I felt solid all the way around from the swim, bike and run.  The next day we'd do the last couple miles of the run course and take some time for race visualization.

The remainder of the day was spent chillaxing and going over maps and race plan... and a nap!

>>  Fast Forwared to Friday....

Another tri club friend made it out to OKC and we took her to the OWS clinic and Hombre and I did our 30 minute easy run.  It was a good run and I took the opportunity to run the the last couple miles of the course.  My run, itself, was okay -- nothing that felt like my last two runs though.  I didn't let it bother me.  We collected Denise from her OWS and took her to cruise the bike course.

The rest of the day we gathered and prepped to check our bikes in.  Later, our family and friends would arrive.

To be continued....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wow! It's Race Week!

To day is my "Friday" at work, but it's every bit of a Monday.  I have a feeling that anything that can go wrong, will, just to test.  I came into work this morning and our phones were down, as per the norm for this dilapidated area whenever it rains.  It's just a constant fight between us and AT&T.

I have so much to do and in spite of prep done over the weekend, there still seems to be so much more? Why is that?  It's just a tri... only twice the length and complicated with an 8 hour drive to the location.  I don't remember River Cities being this crazy.

But, then again, this is the race I've been training for.  It's going to be great.

My last bike this weekend was wet and short.  I have no problems riding in the rain, unless there's thunder/lightening.  I was supposed to have a 2 hour right, but instead opted to shorten it to 1:20 when the skies decided to open up. Hombre was having some mechanical difficulties with his bike, so I headed back home to grab the car and get him back.  Hubs came for the ride this weekend too -- he's gonna kill it at the Du. :)

My rental wetsuit finally arrived.  It's a 2XU which actually fits -- surprise, surprise!  The one I purchased as a back-up also arrived.  LOL  I'll have to try them out though and see which is best.  I really don't want to buy a new one right now, but I have to have what works best for me.  Some time before Wednesday morning I need to find a moment to swim!  Sh*t!

I have an appointment at the massage therapist tomorrow and really need to go see Doc Thea... my glute is tightening up again.  Must. Roll. Tonight. Cassie's b'day cupcakes are due at school tomorrow, and they're not even made yet -- guess what Mom will be doing tonight while packing. Supermomma, to the rescue!  Thanks to Hubs the laundry got done AND put away all in the same weekend -- at least it will be easy to pack.


Oh man... fast forward >> to Wednesday!

So Wednesday came and went and it was nuts.  I had a great run Wednesday morning and ran at a 12:47 pace -- which is a PR.  The weather was a little cooler so that's what made the difference.  I really needed something good to happen with my running!  Perfect timing.  It was a real confidence booster!

I had a massage and Robin said my IT Bands felt good.  My Glute is still super tight, but I can cope with it, I think.  I don't think it's a showstopper.  I also did something to my shoulder/neck while sleeping on Tuesday night -- figures.  It more of annoying kind of pain, you know, the kind you feel when you have to check your blind spot driving!  Robin suggested seeing Thea the same day, since I was all nice and loose, for a final adjustment.  I called Thea, and she took me (she's so great!).  She gave me a last tweak, cracked my neck (that was a first for me!) and worked on my Glute and shoulder/neck.  I"m good to go!

Oh I never did get my test swim in, but I did get cupcakes delivered to Cass' school for her birthday!

So today is Thursday and I'm in OKC!  The last few days have been crazy at work and getting everything together and done at home, but now I can focus and relax. We picked up supplies  and settled in for the night.  I woke as planned at 3:30 and now I'm sitting here writing my entry wearing my wetsuit!  Seriously, doesn't everyone wear a wetsuit at 4:50 am and compose a blog entry?

So the 2XU wetsuit fits completely different than the Zoot (the Zoot fit is way better!) no gapping in the chest, no weird rub between the legs (the neoprene on the 2XU has a strange feel to it) and just fits altogether better.  I hate to buy a new one, but hands-down, this one fits better. 

So this morning we have our OWS and later our 10 mile bike check and drving the bike course.  Then Friday is bike check-in and other prep and family arrives. 

More to come!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

1)  I ♥ my Garmin.  Just plugged in all the destinations I'll need OKC while there for Redman.

2)  Just had a nice lunch with Boss and Boss' Daughter.  I appreciate the impromptu get-togethers.  My Boss is great and I enjoy her -- she's been so busy lately, so lunch was a nice treat.

3)  Got my handlebars wrapped white and it looks great.  Balances my white saddle.  :)  If I can't BE super fast, may as well look faster than I am!

4)  My G'ade Endurance formula came in yesterday.  I can  breathe... sorta.

5)  Called wetsuiterentals.com to find out where the heck my suit was follow-up.  Turns out their really behind schedule and they're really not making any promises, but will "do their best."  I really got concerned when she told me, "You wanted a FULL wetsuit, right?"  Aaack!  No!!  I requested a sleeveless!!  WTF?  I have a race and called them 5 weeks ago!  Fortunately I found another wetsuit online and purchased it.  Hopefully I can just return it when the rental arrives, but I have to have something, just in case.  I feel way better knowing I have a back-up plan!

6)  My training buddy is getting as neurotic as me, pre-race.  He's okay though.  He's only reconsidering his entire technical approach to riding his bike :o

7)  Air conditioning is on back at work.  No need to wear Body Glide daily.  Whew!

8)  I'm really at peace with not worrying about the things I can't control.  This is progress.

9)  I'm thinking about trying acupuncture for allergies/sinus issues.

10)  Volunteering at a Kids triathlon this weekend. Hubs first race is in 3 weeks and now Cassie tells me she wants to do the kids race the same day, right after Hubs is done.  :)

11)  It is scary how quickly you can forget technical stuff.  I really worry that if the day comes I have to leave where I work, I'll be so technically behind the curve that I'll be back on Help Desk!  And yes... it's THAT bad -- especially now when we're not spending money on technology.  I can't get any new "toys".

12)  Oh!  Don't forget my Calcium.  :::tossing it back now:::

13)  English Bulldogs are on my mind still as an option for a family pet. 

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


That's the countdown to Redman 70.3.  Yikes!

I've got several things I need to get together and get done:
  • Brake pads for cabon race wheels installed (my awesome Coach lent me his Blackwell 50 and 100!)
  • Get handle bars re-wrapped; going white!
  • Fix armrest pads (and pray one of the 3 sets of CeeGees Cushy's armrest pads I ordered comes in!).  These are the best arm rest pads EVER!  SO thick and SO comfy!
  • Practice my "helpless" look in case a get a flat tubular during the race -- and pray I don't.
  • Take a longer than 15 minute spin in the race wheels. (Wednesday)
  • Pray my wetsuit comes in and fits; rented from wetsuitrentals.com. 
  • Get checklist together.
  • Start packing.
  • Get addresses for race logistics in Garmin
  • Find my pink wrist tu-tu (♥ Elysha).  I'll need the reminder to enjoy the experience!

My last long ride this weekend was awesome.  I nailed my nutrition, but took it a bit slower; it was my training buddy's weekend to have a bad ride.  We did 60 miles.  I kept heart rate down, even though for stretches I really could have gone easily faster.  I just kept thinking to myself, "On race day I still have to run after the bike."

I'm coming to terms with not setting a goal, other than to finish.  The blog post I snipped and shared from one of my favorites really hit home.  For the most part I'm okay, but a little nervous, however there is a part of me that is confident I will finish, but I want to have fun.  Coach says, "the race is like a victory lap after all the training!"

My BFF just decided this week that she was coming to my race!  I'm so excited! Also, one of my coaches, Melanie, is coming... along with another tri club member.  I'm getting excited!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

(Ironman) Race Day Tips!

The following excerpt is from one of my favorites, Elizabeth Waterstratt:  IronTime.  I did not write this -- Elizabeth did.  She is a seasoned Ironman/triathlete.  I wanted to share the points she makes because I think they apply to any race, not just an Ironman, that is a challenge for you (or me!).  Plus I wanted to keep it handy to refer back to.  :)

Please, please, check out her blog and thank her for sharing!  Again... full credit goes to her -- the following is snipped from her blog.

"So here it is; a list of Ironman tips. Some are about training, some about the race itself. But the common thread that runs through all of them is the sense that to make it through 140.6 miles - whether it’s your first time or your tenth time - you need these four things: (1) Respect the distance by arriving with (and following!) a well-rehearsed plan (pacing, fueling), (2) let go of the outcome if it’s your first race (you are there to finish not race), (3) expect to overcome obstacles (always take action) and, (4) take it one step at a time every step of the way.

To all who contributed to this list – thank you! If you also have a tip, add it as a comment.

Someone told me no matter how I felt when standing at the water's edge that once the cannon went off everything I did in training would kick in. It did. Also, take the course one leg, one buoy, one mile marker, one aid station at a time, whatever it takes. When swimming, there is no sense in thinking about the bike or the run.

My focus was to just FINISH. Forget about racing the first one! I had a smile on my face at around mile 12 and one of the volunteers said "Keep on smiling, your body will know what to do with it".

Keep moving forward.

For those of us who are 14+ hr ironmen the things that have really helped me are:

1) Hire a good coach and believe in the plan.
2) You need to put in the training to get to the finish line, but in the end it is your nutrition plan that really determines what kind of day you have out there. Find a simple plan that works in training and stick to it.
3) "Forward progress" is always a good mantra!

Expect a huge range of emotions & physical sensations, both good and bad, during your Ironamn. Remember, whatever you're feeling in the moment, it too shall pass.

My very wise coach told me to ask myself all day "What will it take to get to mile 18 on the run? What do I need right now to get me there?" That singular focus kept my head in the game when it became almost overwhelming. The answer was almost always: I need to eat, I need to drink, or I need to get out of my head. Stick to the plan. The plan is what got you to the starting gun and it will get you to the finish line.

I saw a friend about halfway through the run when i was really starting to hurt. She told me something like, "Dig deep, it will all be worth it, even though it sucks right now." Those words stuck with me and helped me get through it!

Ironman is like a contest to see who can whistle the loudest. A smart, smooth and steady effort will get you across the finish line whereas a hard or reckless effort will run out long before the finish.

Take in everything and every moment. Prepare for the worst and pray the best.

Smile! The day of Ironman is so amazing! Remember to enjoy the fact that you are able to be out there!

Know that you will have good moments and bad moments throughout the day. When you're in a bad moment, know that a good moment is coming. Just keep putting one foot in front of another.

Stay in the moment. Don't think ahead at all (or behind). Think, what do I need to do right now; eat, drink?

The only goal should be to finish. If you're having an "off day" or something isn't going right, you can't be down on yourself for being 30 minutes or 2 hours slower than you'd hope. The only goal is the finish line.

Ironman is all about crisis control. How well you handle and rebound from each one that arises on race day determines how well you can do.

When one thing goes wrong you don't have time to sit and complain about it - get over it and move on! Check in with yourself and if something is wrong nutritionally or emotionally ask how you can fix it. And lastly don't be an idiot; don't wear new shorts shoes or socks on race day unless you've specifically worn that brand before!

Before I raced my first in Florida in 2006, I asked an older gentleman who had done 20 IRONMANS what his advice was; I still remember it word for word: "Don't just savor the finish line, savor every minute"

Here is a mantra (that I got from a complete stranger on race day): On Ironman Wisconsin race course in 2008, a guy passed me on one of the 3 sisters hills....I jokingly... said, "Ha, ha I didn't think my legs were supposed to hurt this much yet" and he said, "well your legs are a long way from your heart."

You need to be MENTALLY plugged in to the training, racing, the grind of Ironman. It's not just the race, but the months of preparation leading up to it. So mental preparation for the race, but also during training is key. And, support from friends and family because it really is a full commitment.

Learn, in training, the difference between feeling sorry for yourself and just needing to HTFU. You won't regret it on race day.

Expect 5 things to happen that you weren't planning on. That way when your goggles get kicked off your face, or something gets caught in your chain, you can "check it off" and it won't get you off course mentally!

1. Expect to race like you train. If you spend your long training rides and runs lollygagging and chatting with friends, don't expect to miraculously be transformed into Speedy Suzy just cause its race day.
2. Consistency in training is the #1 contributor to race day success.
3. Understand that the faster folks are not necessarily working harder on race day than you are. They just are faster at aerobic intensity and most likely work harder in training.
4. K-I-S-S: it ain't that hard. You swim, you bike, you run and you pay attention to what you are doing.
5. Race day swim and bike legs should be the easiest of the entire training cycle.
6. Walking the final 6 miles or so of your IM will totally obliterate any good feelings you had while over-riding the bike.

An ultra running friend once told me that the key to getting through long events was to "be here, now". Keep your "box" manageable and stay the heck in your "box".

Ask yourself while racing, is what I'm doing right now going to help (or hurt) my run?

Practice your nutrition on every long ride. Be anal. Write down what you ate, what you drank, how much of it, weather conditions and how you felt. Change only one variable at a time until you nail it.

Stay with what you are doing - do not ruminate about what just happened, whether it was a kick in the head from another swimmer or a bad gear choice on a hill. Stay PRESENT, think about your swim strokes -- follow your foot around the pedal stroke -- feel your foot hit the ground as you run -- you will stay present and fully tuned into what is happening - this gives you all of the current information that you need to sustain as you go. If a change needs to be made you are poised, ready and fully informed to make the change on the fly which is needed often in Ironman. As the day happens you are fully engaged, present and hopefully having fun!

Have a mantra. And a plan B and plan C. Reassess and use them.

The race itself does not define you. The efforts you put in to training and preparing yourself for the race will say more about you as a person than the race itself. Training needs to be a priority, but it does not need to consume you. Inevitably, life will happen. Road blocks will cause you to stumble in training, and the same is true on race day. Deal with the hurdle, make adjustments then move on. Today may not be your day. But it's just one day in your great life. Learn from it. Grow from it. And apply your new found wisdom to tomorrow.

When you get down (which is inevitable over the course of such a long day), focus why you signed up in the first place. Concentrating on that carrot can help you successfully navigate.

Believe in your training and everything you learned during that time. Things rarely go accordingly as planned and all of that knowledge will come in handy when you have to adjust to the unknown.

#1 - Practice practice practice the nutrition plan in every long training day. Have it nailed down and part of the routine well in advance of race day. Kinda frightening how many people I saw asking in the 2 weeks before the race "so, um, what do you guys think I should do for my race nutrition?"
#2 - Pacing. Hold back, don't get caught up in the excitement so much that you blow your pacing plan because it's easy to do. Because mile 20 of the marathon looks like utter carnage from all the people who blew their legs out on the bike.

The day before Ironman Canada, Lisa Bentley spoke and said something very that stuck with me. Come away with one thing you are proud of. Whether it's a swim PR, bike, or just how you handled the rough water. That stuck with me and I think it’s good triathlon advice but especially in an Ironman where the urge to dissect how every detail could have been better can overshadow the positives you achieved personally or otherwise. It would be a shame to come away with only negatives on such a long day.

With the length of an Ironman there is time to change things around if something gets off. I thought my body was doing great until I jumped off my bike in T2 and the stomach cramps started. After trying to fuel and run with an angry stomach I decided to stop fueling and take in only water and salt tablets in an effort to get my stomach happy again. This unfortunately led to a little bit of walking and some slower miles towards the middle of the marathon, but saved the rest of my race. Once my stomach calmed down and I started fueling again, I continued to feel stronger and stronger and ran the last 10 miles of the marathon continuously with each mile getting faster. So if something gets off, try to figure out a way to fix it, and do it.

Take the training one day at a time and the race one mile at a time. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the magnitude, but this helped me manage things with smaller 'bite' sized pieces.

The race is really only 140.1 miles. The last 1/2 mile doesn't hurt.

Make sure you have spare sunscreen, Vaseline, salt tabs, and nutrition in your special needs bags. Throw in some band-aids too in case you chafe. And, if all else fails, don’t be afraid to take a short nap - around mile 21, I was curled up like a baby next to a traffic cone on the Queen K Highway. Can’t say that it helped but it sure sounded like a good idea at the time.

The ultimate goal is to finish your first one no matter what your fitness level is. In the end it is a mental game to get to the finish line and you would rather have your mind more “fit and prepared” than your body.

I liked watching You Tube videos of Ironman and becoming an Ironman to get my mind more prepared. I love the one about the athlete who passes out in the middle of the run and gets revived and they ask him if he wants to go on. He stands up and says yes sir to the woman and keeps on going; that in my mind is a true Ironwill, the will to never give up.

Accept that your day will have some high emotions and some low emotions, that way when you start to get frustrated and down on the day, you can say 'duh, this is normal and will pass'.

Change a flat(s) during long rides, even if you never get any in training, still go through changing your tire on the side of the road with the tools you will have on race day. Then you can feel confident if you get a flat during the race, you've done it before.

Enjoy the race and remember why you're there.

Do your 110 mile ride solo and pack all your edible calories on you, a buffet on wheels if you will. Make minimal fast stop(s) (simulate special needs) and replenish your bottles. Pass your bike off, and hit the run with your gels ASAP. If something doesn't feel right, fix it and redo the exercise. Once you’re satisfied, write everything down you ate and drank and record the temperature as well. Analyze race day temps, modify hydration accordingly and then repeat your training day success with flexibility based on course terrain and weather.

Don’t underestimate how badly it hurts – make peace with it and know that everyone else, no matter how fast or slow, feels pain. How you deal with it is what sets apart those who finish and those who give up along the way.

Pack your shovel. Because at some point during Ironman, you are going to have to dig deep to get yourself out of a hole. It also doesn’t hurt to pack your big boy/girl pants.

For all racing this weekend, the best of preparation and luck to you. Yes, it requires a little bit of luck to finish Ironman. Luck with the weather, your equipment and your body. But the other 99.9 percent is in your hands. So, plan your race and then race your plan. Be flexible and connected enough to change your plan as you encounter obstacles. And when all else fails, one foot in front of the other all the way to the finish line."

Friday, September 10, 2010

This Week -- Where'd it go?

The taper has begun... or has it?  Officially it has, but doesn't quite feel like it. I feel like I've been busy training!

Yesterday I had off.  My company's owners are Jewish and observe Roshashana -- so the company is closed.  So what does any good triathlete-in-training do with a free day?  Train, of course!    I started the day with a brick in the morning and an OWS at at Twin lakes.  Also hit the local tri store to pick up some items needed for Redman.  Oh, and a convenient stop at Froberg's for some farm fresh fruits and veggies!

I finally picked up a new pair of trishorts.  It's been hard to find some comfortable tri shorts for a longer distance ride. It's not that they're not out there, I just hate spending that kind of money.  I did the same thing with cycling shorts.  Bought several pairs of less expensive shorts then finally convinced myself to drop $100+ for some good ones and it totally changed the way I felt about cycling, for the better.

The only silver lining is that I generally buy men's, so now my Husband almost has a pair of tri shorts for each day of the week!  :)

So I finally got some 2XU Endurance Tri Shorts.  They even looked different on the hanger -- they had a distinct ergonomic shape and they are women's.  I tried them on and never had a pad fit so perfectly the first time.  No tugging or pulling into place.  They worked well for the swim and I will try them biking today and for my long bike on Sunday.  Here's hoping they do the trick!

I also had to get a new pair of running shoes.  I thought I needed at least a mild stability shoe, but the arch support is just in the wrong place for my foot.  So after trying 8 pair, the salesperson said, "That's it, I'm putting you back in a Neutral shoe."  Okay... she's the professional.  I had stayed away from Asics because I blew my toe through my first two pairs in less than 3 months.  Well, as turns out I needed a size-and-a-half larger for proper fit!  (Running shoes should be larger than your street shoe size!)  So again I tried on a half dozen pairs of neutral shoes and they just weren't quite right.  I said to the salesperson, if I was to try the Asics again, which one would you put me in?  She said the Cumulus or the Nimbus.  I said reluctantly, let me give them a try.  As soon as I put the Cumulus on, it was like air  (unlike my Mizunos, these have gel in the forefoot) -- so I went home with the Asics Cumulus 12.  :)  My first run in them was pretty good, except that it takes me several runs to get my Yanks in the right position; tight enough to keep my shoe on, but loose enough so that my feet don't fall asleep.  I'm optimistic these are going to work. 

So that's it.  I'm counting down the days to Redman and otherwise helping Hubs get his scheduled training in and still keep mine going.  He's doing his first Du October 10th.  Whoohooo!  

Still waiting on my wetsuit from wetsuit rentals.  I'm a little nervous about it.  Ugh!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Like a Rollercoaster...

Not only do you go through physical highs and lows, but the emotional too. I don't initially handle either well.  I generally need time to absorb, process and reflect. 

This was a tough, but in the end, rewarding weekend.  I know you have to have the bad training days to keep you right-in-the-head , because you never want to take anything for granted.  There are no up-your-sleeve tricks in triathlon you can just pull-out on race day. You want to be confident, but not over-confident. 

My swim Friday night was supposed to be a continuous swim for 45 minutes.  I felt like a dead-weight in the water.  It was just awful. I couldn't rotate, couldn't breathe... all I did was drag my a$$ like a tugboat for an amazing 1800 yds. 

On Saturday I had my longest training ride -- it was 5 hours.  I knew I wasn't feeling right to start, and even commented to Hombre, "...you might have to pull me along this morning."  It was, to say the least, a craptastick ride which ended with me calling my husband to SAG me in at 3:30 and 52 miles in.  From mile 30, I was light-headed and had absolutely no power in my legs.  My quads burned, but my heart rate was fine!  Nothing made sense.  My nutrition on the bike was great... but I did change-up my breakfast a little -- but I doubt it's what caused me to tank.

It goes without saying that these kinds of occurrences can really affect confidence with just 2.5 weeks before the biggest race of your life.  And yeah, as I obliged myself the need to SAG and sent my training buddy on his merry way, I planted my a$$ on the sidewalk right in front of the local Nursing home, sobbed, texted my coach and waited for my Husband to collect me and my dignity.   

Damn, I'm such a wuss (even if only for those few minutes).  I'm glad that it's generally just a momentary lapse of strength and belief in my self.  In the end it typically turns out to be a good thing.  It makes me mentally stronger.  Truthfully, I haven't had a training ride like that EVER, so I should consider myself lucky?

On Sunday morning I was supposed to do my 2 hour long run.  My plan was to volunteer for chip pick-up  and then run on the course for 2 hours.  That morning it was finally obviously why Friday and Saturday were so bad.  :P  With gastro issues, I decided to pass on the run and leave it for Monday when I was off.

On Monday I hit the pavement around 11am for my run.  I figured, may as well do it then since that's about the time I'll be running at Redman.  I really wasn't sure how this run would go, since I had a party at my house the night before, and had gotten up extra-early to be at the tri.  I also knew I wasn't completely hydrated from the day before either.  I went anyway, and with a positive attitude.

The first hour was good... was able to keep my heart rate in-range.  It was a little humid and quite warms still but I had waaaay worse runs.  I did stop to help someone with their bike chain and ran out of hydration.  I called Hubs and he delivered some Water/Nuun and G'ade Endurance to me on my run course. He's awesome, huh?  :)  I am super-lucky to have such a supportive family!

At about 1:15 in, it started pouring rain.  At first I was like, "sh*t!", but then I enjoyed the coolness of it.  I actually caught myself smiling a couple times as I slogged through the puddles.  I was feeling really good and realized my 155 heart-rate felt like 135 and I was running well!  I definitely negative split my long run and ran the last two miles without my walk intervals at a good clip.  It was the first time all Summer I ran a 13-something pace.  I haven't done that since last year in the Fall!  I can only hope for a nice, dry and cool day for Redman.

About 2 hours after I ran, I hit the pool for an easy 30 minute swim for 1800 yds.. that's more like it. :)

In short (or not so short) the great run made up for a sh*tty ride and I'm feeling more positive.

18 days... 18 DAYS!!!!!

I'm renting a wetsuit from Wetsuit Rentals  I can't wait for it to arrive.  They're sending me a Quintanna Roo, sleeveless.  QR actually does lengths and are sending me a men's short -- I'm excited.  Hopefully I'll get it today!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Can't think of a clever topic, so this week it's totally random...

1)  That whole darned experience of volunteering and spectating at Ironman Louisville was amazing.  I'm excited to v'teer for IMTX -- I want to be a "catcher" in the Finisher's chute and assist the athletes when they cross the line.

2)  Why are Ironman-branded events soooo much money? 

3)  Mel executed a smart race.  She walked the talk.  She did everything she's been telling us in training all along, and that is leading by example.  I got so lucky to find such great (and affordable!) coaches.  I can only hope for half the patience Mel had during her race.  And trust me, I'm praying.

4)   Why do so-called friends have to say hurtful things?  In jest, or not, some things are just off limits.  It's time I eliminate people like this from my life.  I can't change them, but I can certainly leave them behind.  And for YOUR sake, I hope you read this and it hurts, because what you said was thoughtless and unkind -- you gave no regard to how it could impact other people.

5)  You might not like it that I have good, solid and trusting relationships with my family and friends, and therefore feel the need to conspire negatively upon me.  I've reached out to you over and over again. You rarely ever reciprocated, and when you did it was always on your terms.  Another reason to leave you behind.

6)  Why did I waste numbers 4 and 5?

7)  I really wish there was a transporter like on Star Trek.  I'd be spending some quality time with family and friends.

8)  Cassie is doing well in school.  Still all "green", which means she's been a good little egg.  She starts dance next week at her old dance school, which she loved and had more fun at.  I'm excited she'll have fun again.

9)  Oh!  That reminds me... need to check on Swim lessons for Cassie.  My little fish can swim 5 laps of the pool's width!  I'm bartering babysitting for swim lessons for Hubs --and concurrently save us from divorce by having Mel teach him instead of me. :)

10)  Party at my pad this weekend in celebration of Mel's finish.  Gonna be a busy weekend.  I have a 5 hour ride on Saturday, on Sunday I'm volunteering for chip pick-up at a race, then a 2 hour run, then party prep!

11)  I need new running shoes.  Started with Mizuno Wave Nirvanna but they over-corrected and caused me IT band issues.  I switched to Mizuno Wave Creation and they worked for me.  Now, either my gait has changed or the construction of the shoe has changed (probably my gait), but I need to go back to a stability shoe.  Not as strong as the Nirvanna.  Considering the Brooks Ravenna or Adrenaline.

12)  Need to make a list of things I have to get done before Redman. Bike needs some love, car needs an oil change.... blah, blah, blah.

13)  I wish today was Friday.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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