Monday, September 15, 2014

Holy crapola - 2 weeks from yesterday.

The word of the day is "anxiety" or "anxious".
I know, it's hilarious, right? Chihuahua's are pretty funny.

Two weeks from yesterday is the race.

In my mind I know I'm as ready as I'm going to get.

The hay is in the barn. It's a rural reference. If you don't get it you need to spend more time with farmers.

But that didn't stop the nerves from preventing my sleep last night. And today I have a whole buttload of butterflies in my belly.

Obsessing is the time consumer during taper

I know myself. I will choose random tidbits to obsess about during taper.

So this week I've chosen to obsess over my bike tires and my rear hydration cage.

I put new tires on the bike last week. Replacing Continental Attack/Force with Continental 4-season. I did not want these but the others were on back order. So the guy in the store said the difference is minimal. I'm sure on some level he's right and I rode yesterday and had a nice ride. But it is a lot more tire than I had before. Even I a girl can tell that. And the brand Continental describes the difference between them as a "significant increase in rolling resistance". And I don't really want any significant resistance that I can avoid.

So I've chosen to obsess on this and if I can find some Conti 4000s before I check the bike Friday then I'm going to change the tires again.  If not then not but this is apparently what I'm going to worry about this week. And that's all.

Regarding the rear hydration cage this is so random and silly that even though I can feel myself stressing about it - even I know it's not a big deal. But there is a chance that I have to remove my rear carbon hydration cages for transport on Tri Bike Transport. And then of course, I'll have to put it back on in Tennessee. This is not a big deal. And yet I had at least one dream about dropping the whole cage on the bike course during the race. Ahhh gotta love it. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3 weeks - 19 days actually but who's counting until Ironman Chattanooga - The nutrition plan

Sorry for the delay ... but
I actually wrote the draft of this post over the weekend. But yesterday was a tough day. I started  Monday by going to a funeral. With the exception of my dad's super non-traditional memorial about 6 years ago this was the first funeral I've been to since I was in high school. Really, not fun. Oddly, within the last 10 days I know of 3 people who have died. 2 Were parents of people I train with. One a parent of a mommy-friend. Uber-downer to say the least. However an excellent reminder to live for the day. Life can and will change in an instant so enjoy each moment. Impossible advice and yet also perfect advice when it works.

Yesterday after the funeral I sat down to edit this post and well post it and it was just too dry and serious and just not good. So, I didn't publish it coming back to it today to make it better. If it's still crap just know it's the best crappy post it can be.

Where is the race anxiety? Where ... oh yup, there it is.
I'm three just three weeks away from my second Ironman. The focus of this post will be on what my nutrition plan is but first I want to touch on my lack of race anxiety. Why well just to make this post a little longer than it already is. Actually just because it puzzles me and writing it here helps me work that out a bit.

I was super anxious before Ironman France and I am wondering why I'm not more stressed before this race. Clearly some of the reason is that since I completed France it's not a totally unknown thing. But it's still a massive race so I should be nervous. I should be anxious. Don't get me wrong I'm not brimming with bravado - I'm just not panicked. What else could it be? My guess is actually that it's because I'm doing this with my group. So I'm not alone. It's just a thought but that's what I'm thinking for the moment.
I saw this somewhere and I love it. While I draw strength from folks cheering me on I have finally figured out it's okay that I just do this for me to enjoy the journey.

That being said - I did have some trouble sleeping last night. I'm happily drifting off to sleep and then blink - 20 days - crap! 20 days. Crap - totally awake. But I just read a little more and drifted back off to sleep.

And now back to nutrition. What follows next is long, tedious and boring. I'm not sure anybody cares. So feel free to skip it I won't be bothered.

This morning I walked into the gym and the owner offered me a doughnut. He didn't actually have one with him he just thought I should eat one. This is a sign that I'm pretty close to race-weight.

As of this morning I weigh about 115 pounds. I'm 5 feet 4 inches tall. So that makes me a full-sized adult but I don't carry around a lot of extra pounds to burn through on race day. The good news is that the weight is holding steady and I'm about 8 pounds heavier than I was when I went to France. I hope those extra pounds are solid muscle.

I absolutely need to do my best to make sure my body is topped off at the start. So, my nutrition plan starts pre-race. I start putting an extra 200 calories or so into my diet 3 days before the race. This is usually in the form of a bar of some sort. To clarify I eat normally and add an extra bar during the day. I also take some supliments (daily vitamin, magnesium/calcium). I'm also drinking lots of fluid at this point ... but that's always true. I want my muscles rested and as full of glycogen as they can be. I was told that it takes 48 hours for your body to convert fuel to glycogen stores. That's the reason that I start this so far in advance.

The day before the race I will eat a giant carb-fest breakfast. In theory this is what I'll be burning the next day in the swim. My meals the day before will all be a little bigger and while balanced they will be more carb-based than usual. I will eat a little extra salt all day the day before the race and hydrate with a mix of water and elecrolyte drinks (gatorade - osmo - pedialyte). I usually don't also add salt-tabs. I'm not a heavy sweater and there is sodium and potassium in my bike and run formula. Too much potassium can cause an irregular heart rate so combining infinit with salt tabs should be done with caution. The night before the race I'll have pasta with meat sauce. I'll eat at 5pm and then I'll also have some sort of late night snack right before bed - possibly left over pasta from dinner, possibly a bar. I will not have any garlic rolls and probably no veggies at dinner other than the tomato sauce.

I am a little bit of a freak about controlling what I eat leading up to races. I drink bottled water. I avoid dairy products and anything out of the norm. No fish, nothing rare, nothing fried, nothing spicy, no sauces. Think grilled chicken and rice. Where normally I want to choose fun local eateries I tend toward plain simple safe foods when I'm traveling. 

Race Morning
At the butcrack of dawn I will awaken after pretending I've slept and eat as much of the following as I can choke down.

  • Small cup of coffee perhaps with a touch of cream
  • a banana
  • a hard-boiled egg
  • 2 cups of oatmeal with dried cranberries and sugar. 
This is what I eat every morning on the weekend before a long workout. I make it at home. I honestly don't know how I'll do this in the Holiday Inn in Chattanooga but I will. For France we had an apartment and I carried the ingredients in my suitcase - this is how far I will go to control the food I eat.

About 60-90 minutes before the race I'll try to eat a Luna bar. 20 minutes before the swim I'll take some chomps. This used to be a Gu gel but I've switched to chomps for everything else. However because chewing on chomps might take longer I might stick to a gel here. I'm undecided. If it's a gel it's plain and decaffeinated. During this time I'll be sipping on some sort of electrolyte fluid possibly Osmo but I'm not picky. But I stop that about an hour before. I can be nauseated when I swim so I don't want a stomach full of water.

This is sort of where I want my mind to be at the start. Calm and relatively confident that I can go the distance with courage.
What do I eat during the race
Swim - nada. There are people who eat gels during the swim. Not me I'm too busy hoping not to puke anyway.

In transition 1 - I take a few sips of water and rinse my mouth with mouthwash. I don't take in any calories until I'm on the bike.

I have an alert on my Garmin that ever 7 minutes I swallow 4-5 sips of my Infinit mix. Yes the beep is annoying. Yes, I'm sick of my infinit by the end of the ride. Oh and yes the ride has an extra 4 miles to it. Woo-hoo!

love this! Can't use it too often, right?
I also plan to take a few gu chomps every hour. I usually try to do this at the tops of climbs to make up for the extra burn of climbing. I start with 3 bottles of Infinit mixed and I will mix three more bottles somewhere on the course. .In special needs I will have more Infinit powder and water. This is because I have never actually successfully picked up water on the go on the bike. Weird but true.

My plan at water stops is to proceed all the way to the left with extreme caution avoiding all the other people who don't know how to grab a bottle either but they are trying to do it during the race. Then I will come to a full stop at special needs and mix my bottles. I will also have a snickers bar there waiting for me. Yum. I have eaten a snickers in almost every long run half-way. I also did it in France. It's my tradition. I keep it in a refrigerated bag in special needs :-)
an actual photo during an actual snickers stop on last weekend's ride. Notice my new fancy bike shades.

Special needs in this race we see twice. Mile 52-ish and also mile 99. I think the second pass will just be a fly-by. I'm not even sure if it will still be staffed honestly.

T2 - In my transition bag I have tums. Also again mouthwash to wash out the infinit taste. After 7 hours brushing your teeth would feel fantastic but that would be silly. I used tums in both France and also in Raleigh. Something in the Infinit mix creates gas in the belly. Plus I have a 16 mile run stomach. The idea is to chomp on some tums to get ahead of the giant gas bubble. In Raleigh this worked well. My stomach felt fine. Of course that's half the distance. In France I remember my stomach being very tender during the run - very tender.

On the run my alert goes off every six minutes. 2 sips of Infinit Mix and a sip or two of water.

This is my run formula. It's a little sweet for my taste but whatever. It is luckily a different flavor than I have on the bike because by the end I'm suuuuuper sick of that flavor.

I will be carrying a fuel belt with 2 bottles one of Infinit and one of water. Each Infinite bottle lasts one hour so I'll remix as needed using water from the aid stations. So I'll start with one mixed bottle and 4 pouches of powder. Perhaps I'll have some pouches in special needs instead of carrying them the whole race. I will also have gu chomps and even caffeinated gels for extra calories. Also in special needs will be wipes and pepto bismal tablets to chew on if my stomach is upset. In France I enjoyed the crackers on the run and also cola.

So the run plan isn't as rigid as the bike plan. I have more options because I'm moving slower. Also, this is a different run nutrition strategy than I have used in the past. Staying away from gels going with chomps which hit my stomach slower and sticking with liquid calories for the most part. I remember feeling very tired in the run in France but not horrible energy-wise. So, I'm hoping that holds true in Chattanooga. As with any marathon my plan is to keep moving forward at all times.

Uninvited Pool Guests
Last but not least I leave you with my favorite photo of the week. This is from a masters class earlier this week here in Florida. Ponta Vedra - not Miami. Can you imagine? He was about 3.5 feet long which is long enough and while the swimmers waited for animal control to get there he apparently climbed onto the swim deck causing them to dash away. That's an exciting swim workout. I have not yet seen a gator in a pool and I hope to keep it that way.

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 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.