Monday, September 1, 2014

Embrace the Chaos - Ironman Peak Week Training - 4 weeks to go until Ironman Chattanooga

When I was a parent of a newborn I read some advice that helped: embrace the chaos. It works for me for Ironman Training.
There was sort of a bombshell dropped this week that our bike course is 4 miles too long. I am working hard to not obsess on that point. But obsessing is much easier than it looks so I'm sort of failing sometimes.

I'm in full chaos mode right now. Here's a small snapshot of what's going on in my life:
  • The guinea pigs are probably hungry because I forget to remind the kids to feed them. Also their cage is way overdue for a clean out. 
  • The only suncreen I can find is the almost empty bottle. (acutally I did find my sunscreens when packing my bike bag this weekend ... sweet victory! Now where did I put that bag of chomps?)
  • All birthday party presents for my kid's friends are gift cards.
  • Sadly, my nieces birthday gifts are sullenly sitting in the laundry room waiting to be mailed. 
  • We are eating sort of a lot of take-out food.
  • We were out of tissue paper for so long that my husband took it upon himself to  order cases of all paper products via amazon.com. I am was actually really pretty thrilled about this when they arrived.
  • My summer vacation pictures are 2/3 put in albums and just perpetually taking up 1/2 the dining room table until I can remember to order a third album.
  • The cars need washing but the idea of taking off the bike rack is simply too overwhelming so it hasn't been done. 
  • I took my son to swim practice Thursday but there was no practice that day for his level, doh!
  • Everyone, including me needs new swim goggles.
  • I'm in bed most nights before my kids. Everyone knows it and laughs about it and it's okay. 
So, it's not horrible.  In fact sometimes it's pretty funny and luckily my family is pretty supportive. Admittedly, my nieces would have preferred their presents on time.

So bring on the TAPER!!

This "weekend" was the last of the humongous training weekends. Saturday 16 mile run, Sunday 112 mile bike, and today 2 mile ows.

I was thinking this week how a marathon taper differs from an Ironman taper. When I taper for a marathon I very quickly get antsy about the race. But with an Ironman taper I'm just so unbelievably tired that for the first 10 days or so my only thought is Oh My Goodness I'm So Glad This Workout Isn't Longer. Luckily, I remember from last time that the first week of the taper isn't very much of a cut back. I remember saying last year, perhaps coach's definition of taper is different than mine as I slogged through I think an 85 mile bike ride. This year, I think I'm more prepared.

What's on my mind? Well, staying healthy and uninjured. One of my teammates took a tumble on the bike Sunday Morning and banged his shoulder. He's okay and I hope he's back to training as early as tomorrow. Another came back from a trip to Vegas with a "Go karting injury" we're pretty sure that "go-karting" is a code word but either way he's injured which stinks. This reminded me that this race is so long that the thing to focus on now is just to stay healthy to the starting line.

Planning and Packing. It's time to make a plan for packing and transition bags and stuff. There's plenty of time but it is actually time to get started with that stuff. 

Not obsessing about the course. It is what it is and I'm about as ready as I'm going to get. So, no point in worrying, right?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I blog therefore I Stitch Fix?

Not too long ago I was reading something or other on some blog or site or tweet and I read about Stitchfix.

News flash - I hate shopping!

Second news flash - I am not known for being well-dressed. Which is sometimes a downer. 

It was like I was reading about something too good to be true. Somebody shops for me? It comes in the mail? I can send it back if it's no good?

Actually at first I did think Stitch Fix might be a scam. But then I checked it with my girlies on Facebook and the fashionistas had heard of Stitch Fix so I decided to give it a go.

I literally signed up from a hotel room - on my phone. I had to wait a while till I got my first fix (they were backed up). 

When it came I was conflicted about what was inside. There were five things. One maxi-dress, 3 tops and one pair of black pants.

Okay so the black pants were an easy yes. I mean they fit and who doesn't need a few good pairs of black pants? Exactly-nobody. 

The three tops were all things I wouldn't have picked for myself. But then I thought to myself: well when left to myself I buy nothing and that clearly isn't working. I did this to have somebody pick for me. So, I consulted my live in fashionista (my 10-year old daughter).

She liked all three tops. So I decided to keep them and see what others thought.

The maxi-dress was rejected. I can't wear them without feeling like I look ridiculous and my daughter agreed. So it went back.

I've worn all three tops. They all got compliments. Then again people are shocked not to see me in running shorts probably. Interestingly, my least favorite gets the most compliments. Just further proof that I should not shop for myself. 

The top in the picture is my favorite. It's nice to have grown up clothes in my closet. So for now Stitch Fix works for me and I have something to wear to PTA meetings :-)

If you want to try Stitch Fix here is a referral link. Which is good for me - I get a credit and I think you get a discount.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What will I wear? - 5 weeks to Ironman Chattanooga - Coeur Sports Triathlon apparel review

Sounds like a silly topic, eh? What will I wear? But it's actually pretty important for a race this long.

Also by this time in training a lot of stuff is worn out. So if you need new shorts or socks or whatever - now is the time to buy them and break them in for the race. 

The old addage of nothing new on race day is certainly good advice when it comes to a race this long.  So, practicing in what you want to wear is important at least for me. Plus, I had it in mind to perhaps make changes based on what I wore in France. In France I changed my bottoms for each leg of the race. (swim: swim bottom, bike: Garneau bike shorts, Run: Zoot tri shorts).

Trial and Error
For the past few weeks I've been trying out items that I think I might wear. Last weekend (not the one that just ended) I wore my planned outfit for a training session in Clermont. It held up well so that outfit is the plan.
You can't see much of me but I'm in my tri top and shorts there under the silver/blue helmet.

The big change that I wanted to make is that I want to wear trishorts for the entire race. The reason for this is three-fold.
  • One, putting on shorts when your legs are wet is almost impossible. 
  • The second reason is that if I can shorten my transitions it's free speed. I'm not going to win anything but to be finished 10 minutes sooner is 10 minutes sooner.
  • Third reason the more simple my transition bag is the less chance there is to make a mistake and forget something.
But ... and this is a big but(t) for 112 miles on the bike I need to be comfortable. It's a need not a want.

For 112 miles of cycling the butt must be as comfy as can be :-)
As a present to myself after some race I bought a Coeur Sports tri kit. I bought it because it's super cute. But they do feature what they call the seamless chamois. I only bought it because it was cute so when I got the shorts I opened them and was like ... what is this? I mostly wore it as a run kit becuase I was favoring bike shorts for my biking. But I did wear them one day on the bike trainer and I was super amazed at how comfortable they were.
See my cute Coeur Tri kit. It's even red - my most favorite color.
What's the problem - it's just shorts, right?
Here's the thing with me. Bike apparel is highly personal. For me I cannot stand when a chamois has stitching or a seam anywhere near where my leg joins my hip. I have a skinny leg and that gets pinched between my leg and the bike seat and it is quickly excruciatingly painful. To the point where I want to cry. For example Sugoi shorts are a no go for me due to the stitching on the chamois.

The Coeur Sports chamois runs the entire length of the leg on the inside of the short. There is no seam to rub on the inside of the leg. Which is why Coeur sports calls it seamless. It's a good name but honestly I think you have to see it to understand it. Mine are in the laundry so there are no photos. Sorry. But you can find a picture on the Coeur Sports website.

So about a month ago for an 80-mile ride I wore the Coeur outfit. I was prepared to be in misery since it was a trishort and not a bike short. I even carried an arsenal of extra chamois creme in case I needed it. I was amazed at how comfortable it was. It is a different feeling than being in a bike short because you are more aware of where your sit bones are on the seat but it's not a bag awareness for me. What's more I was more comfortable than I had been in bike shorts. Plus I wasn't sliding all over my seat. My sit bones were more able to anchor me on my seat. I think that equaled less friction. It was great.  I had literally no chaffing or irritation after that long ride which has never happened for me even in bike shorts. I was sold for the bike. I'm a convert. I finally have a favorite pair of shorts.

Friday I wore these shorts for my 2-mile open water swim because my question was how long would this chamois stay wet after the swim. They were dry before I finished my slushee so I think I'll be okay. I will say because they are intentionally cut looser on the top of the short (which I love) I can feel water moving them around while I swim but they didn't come off so it was just an interesting sensation while swimming and I got used to it by the end.

After examining the seamless chamois last week my training buddy ordered herself a pair to wear. Here we are modeling our cute shorts.
Sunday I wore a pair of Coeur shorts for the 85 mile ride and 60 minute run. I was fine. Interestingly during the ride for the first time the shorts rode up a bit and bunched at the top. It happened to both of us wearing them that day. It was very hot and we think it might be because the shorts were soaked. I'm not sure. It wasn't perfect but it also was easily fixed by tugging down on the leg. So for now I am sticking with the plan. 

So the plan for the race is this:

T3 tritop / Black Coeur shorts - for the whole thing. Swiftwick socks - one pair for the bike and another for the run.

I will wear the DeSoto arm wing cover thing for the bike. I will put a change of shorts and run top into my t2 bag in case I want run shorts for the marathon but it's just a backup option. I will also pack a jacket for the bike in case of cooler weather/rain. I will also pack a long sleeve top for the run in case of cooler weather. Those are all just backups. Also if it's wetsuit legal then I'll wear a suit for the swim over the outfit.

Training update:
Longest training week yet. I broke 20 hours of training and logged 14k yards of swimming. No wonder I'm tired :-) I swam 2 miles ows on Friday. I battled nausea which concerns me but I'm not sure what to do, I ran 20 miles Saturday and biked 85 miles with an hour transition run on Sunday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ironman Chattanooga six weeks and counting

Holy Crapamoly ... Six weeks to go until Ironman Chattanooga.

Interestingly my panic attacks are mild and spread sort of far apart. I think it's because I'm too busy just getting the workouts done to worry about the actual Ironman race.
Seems pretty evenly split time-wise. I actually feel like I need more swimming. I'm always sweating the swim.

This past week was an adventure getting things done. My husband was traveling and my kids were home with camp mommy and of course there was the occasional summer monsoon thrown in to complicate my workout schedule. But I got it all mostly - done.

I tried this new shirt on Thursday I think. It says it's the coolest shirt ever.  I honestly couldn't tell any difference. It has little metallic beads on the back that felt cool in the ac but I couldn't tell when outside exercising. Of course, it is still almost as hot as the surface of the sun here so maybe it's just too hot for anything to help.
We did a quick and dirty trip to ride in Clermont for just Saturday. The goal was climbing. We climbed somewhere between 3700 and 4100 feet over 70 miles. Different computers got different total readings. Whatever it was close enough. We also went faster than we've ever gone (avg moving speed 15.3) so it was an intense day.

We loaded five bikes into the family truckster and squished in 5 people too. Luckily miss Nicole is pretty small.
I wore the outfit that I plan to wear during the Ironman Chattanooga race and it performed well. My team tri top and black Coeur trishorts. I have to say I think the Coeur shorts work well for me. They are expensive but very comfy. The thin chamois that runs down the entire inseam of the short works very well for me.  I just have to try swimming and then getting on the bike with the wet chamois. Also strangely I find that I do better in tri shorts thank bike shorts which seems odd but appears to be true. 

Then back at home we ran just 12 miles but on tired legs that was a tough run. I would think I was really pushing the pace and look down at the trusty garmin to see ... oh, 11 minute miles, how can that be. But it just was. So I got it done. That's all I can say. I was very tired. I honestly think it was more the 8 hours of driving than the workouts. The travel takes it's toll.

Go to school little people!

Today the kiddos started school -- it's a wondrous day for Mom's all over Miami. I did get up to swim today although I was about 2 minutes late because I had an unscheduled stop. I was pulled over by a policeman about 50 feet from my house. My lights weren't on. I was apparently half-alseep but once he realized I wasn't drunk (perhaps the swim suit gave me away) he let me go. That's the best possible ending to that story. And I hopped out 10 minutes early so that I had sufficient time to do the french braid for the 5th grade fashionista.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Swimming Biking and Running ...oh my

Swimming - Alligator Lighthouse Swim advice.

My blogger buddy ... she's actually a real life friend too but blogger buddy is more fun ... is prepping to swim Alligator Lighthouse which I did last year. I wrote about it here.

She asked me for feedback and suggestions and before I gave her any help I went back to read what I wrote. It's all pretty much true. Of course, she's going to do the swim pulling somebody in a kayak so that's a lot tougher.

So here's my advice in a nutshell TriathlonMami!
  • Have a boat and a kayak to support you.
  • Change swimmers on a time basis not a distance basis. 
  • Be prepared to swim more than 8 miles
  • Be prepared to swim some of the time against a current or tide shift
  • Sunscreen, and more sunscreen it's a long day in the sun
  • I hope you don't get jellies but if you do you can borrow my jellyfish suit
  • Stay for the after party it's a fun time
  •  Smile and enjoy the swim. It's the one of the most beautiful places on earth. 
Biking - Get that Bike Cleaned up 
I have 3 friends fundraising for Chron's and Colitis Foundation in conjunction with training for Ironman Chattanooga. They are hosting a bike washing event this Sunday in Miami so bring your bike down to Mack Cycle Sunday afternoon and for just $15 somebody else will wash your bike for you.




Running - Virtual Run - also fundraising. 
The bike wash fundraiser only works for those folks here in Miami but this virtual run works everywhere.

 
Let me be honest here for a second. Two of my training buddies who are fundraising are really behind. It turns out that they are much better triathletes than they are fundraisers. They have put in about 18 weeks of training for this race which takes a lot of time and they are probably about physically ready to race this triathlon. But for the fundraising they are under a lot of pressure to get it done. This is why I'm helping them to promote these things. Any help you can give is really appreciated.

So, this is a virtual run. Which means that you can run anywhere ... and actually truthfully you don't have to even run at all I guess. But that's no fun so get out there and run. You sign up and you even get a medal mailed to you in September. That's fun, right?

Please visit this link and register today to run this virtual run. They need at least 100 people to register in order for the race to be a success.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for helping. I'm helping these two guys mostly because they are my friends. However, my son did actually get colitis when he was just one year old. I was and am extremely thankful for the medical care he received at the time. His case was simple and temporary but research is important for these diseases. So feel good when you donate to this cause.