Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Heard recently in Miami, "AAAH it's soooo Hot outside!"

Is it a bad joke to talk about it being hot in Miami, Florida?

Maybe. But I'm doing it anyway. I'm a contrarian like that.

Yesterday I woke up and walked outside. I was met with summer. Which is to say that at 7 in the morning it was already 80 degrees and very humid. There was a breeze so it wasn't totally unpleasant but experience told me that later in the day it would be.
almost 5 pm and 70% humidity. Notice the feels like. Oooh Pleasant.

It was. The sun is so strong that during the day you can literally feel it baking your skin during the middle of the day.

I think training in the tropical heat is a specialized thing. I'm certainly not an expert or a doctor or anything so I won't give you actual science. I will say this. In my opinion it only makes sense to listen to people who are in a similar experience as you. So if you live in Miami (like I do) don't take hydration advice from people who live in Zimbabwe.

Miami running lore says it takes about 2-weeks to adjust to the sudden increase in heat and humidity. It's not a pleasant 2 weeks in my experience. That adjustment for me probably started yesterday.

Since I'm training for Ironman Chattanooga which is in September the bulk of my training will be over the summer in what is normally called "extreme heat."

Some Amy tips for running in the heat:
  1. Drink a lot of cold water. If you happen to be a follower of the whole "drink to thirst" thing. Well, I hope it works for you. I think it can get you in serious trouble. Most folks will carry fluid even on short runs in South Florida. 
  2. Wear technical fabrics and let as much of your skin expose to the air as you can stand. 
  3. Plan for chaffing. Glide is your very good friend.  
  4. Run early/or late if possible. Avoiding the direct sun is impossible but most people will try to run or ride early in the day to avoid the hottest part of the day. 
  5. Visors not hats. I normally run in a hat but during the summer I stick to a visor (I put sunscreen on my scalp) to allow whatever heat can escape through my head to escape. 
  6. Change to dry clothes (including socks and shoes) as soon as possible after your workout. Heading into air conditioning after running in the heat in sweaty clothes is super uncomfortable.
  7. If you are a heavy sweater you will want to rotate your shoes because they will be wet from sweat. Some heavy sweaters will change socks halfway through long runs.
  8. Salt may be your friend. I like to eat more salty things in the summer. Don't go crazy but it does help me. Many folks down here take salt tabs which include good mineral stuff. Be cautious you don't get too much potassium because that can cause your heartbeat to become irregular. Because I use Infinit on the bike which has a lot of potassium I no longer take salt tabs.
  9. Seek shade. In Miami it can be as much as 10 degrees cooler in the shade. 10 degrees. Ahhh sweet sweet shade.
  10. Don't use spray sunscreen. I think these make it harder to sweat. This is totally anecdotal - I have no proof. But I am much more comfortable when I wear cremes. Plus they actually keep me from getting a sunburn which the sprays don't seem to do.
  11. End your run at the beach. I like to swim briefly after my run almost totally to cool off a bit. It's so great and it's also just a terrific perk to living near the beach :-)

Speed in the heat
I run with folks who can maintain their speed when it's hot out. I am not one of those folks. I slow down a lot when it's hot outside. A LOT. I have learned to expect this and not panic.

When to stop
If you are light headed. Stop. If you are dizzy. Stop. If you stop sweating. Stop. Do not question yourself and most certainly do not feel like a wimp. People do get in very serious medical trouble pushing the limit with the heat.

And that's it. Run safe. Embrace the heat :-) It's summer here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

High Five, Low Five, Five, Five, Five

Five weeks to go until Ironman 70.3 Raleigh

Five months to go until Ironman Chattanooga

Amazingly, I'm not really freaking out right now. So that's good. Life is hectic but just with boring normalcy (just exactly the way I like it). That usually helps a little bit in keeping the freak out at bay.

Training is progressing well I think. I'm actually not concerned about the distance at Raleigh which feels good although my legs were very fatigued at the end of the training ride yesterday and it was just about 50 miles. But I think it's cumulative training fatigue from the week plus my nutrition was not spot on.
swim volume down, bike and run volume up. Other = tennis :-)
So all in all a good start to triathlon training for the first tri of the year. Perhaps not my best use of common sense to make my first race of the tri season a 70.3 ... but oh well.

Since I'm confident in completing the distance at this point my hope is to perform well at the 70.3. Well is of course a relative term. My long standing goal for a 70.3 race is to finish in 5h30minutes. I have never really come close but it continues to be my goal. Everything will have to go really well from weather to nutrition for me to make that happen.

It's too far out from the Choo Choo to make a goal there.

Here are some things I've been wondering this weekend?

Does anybody upgrade to the premium Training Peaks and if so why? I clearly have the free version if you couldn't tell from my question.

Are triathlon camps worthwhile? I found a tri camp in Chattanooga at the end of July. Called MPI Training Camp. It would be an expensive weekend but I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to go train on the course? Driving it's about a 12 hour drive each way. Flying with a bike ... annoying each way. Thoughts? I also found just an open water swim race there in June.

Do you know about the stingray shuffle? A much more famous blogger than yours truly was stung by a stingray in Tampa. You can read about it here. Luckily he's doing fine. It's actually a timely reminder for me to remind my kiddos to shuffle in the water. The stingray shuffle is just shuffling your feet as you walk through shallows as you stir up the sand any rays resting should just swim off without stinging you. They are pretty gentle but like all wildlife ... wild.

If you accidentally step on them they will sting you. I've never been stung. While it's not a normal occurrence in Florida it's common enough that I know people who have been stung. It's good to be close to a hospital because the toxins can cause big trouble. I know a woman who was in ICU for about a week after being stung while out boating (meaning they weren't near a hospital). And of course there was the crocodile guy who died when he was stung in the heart which I think has got to be really rare.

I took  my kiddos to the beach last week and I didn't remind my kiddos about the shuffle and we have seen a ray there. I'm super surprised that nobody who was near him on the beach thought stingray but maybe it's a local thing.

Did you see this guy Swimming with Dolphins?
So many people are saying these dolphins were protecting this guy from Sharks. Could be although sharks to my limited knowledge hunt dolphins.  It is good that he wasn't eaten by a shark. I think it would be cool but also very freaky. Dolphins are huge and strong. I have only swum with them in a tourist setting.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Swim Miami 5k swim report

In Brief
I did it. 1:52 was the time and I felt great the whole way. If you're in a hurry that's the scoop.

The long swim details
I picked up my stuff the night before because otherwise I'd need to get there too early in the morning. I knew then that I had huge pre-event nerves. I saw a few friends at packet pickup which was calming even though we were all nervous. I made a plan (turned out it was a bad plan) to start with my friend Victor and follow his feet.

The Weather
Early Saturday morning the skies errupted into huge thunderstorms. So loud that I couldn't hear my alarm go off. Which actually didn't matter because I was awake. I hadn't slept soundly with pre-swim nerves and the storm woke me up. It was ridiculous.
This is an actual picture from the morning before the swim. It was nuts. Reported wind gusts of 60 mph at Miami City Hall too. We had more damage from this little squall than we've had from actual hurricanes.

I texted and facebooked with people who were there working the event and/or parents of kids swimming the 800 which was the first event. They delayed the first events 30 minutes. So I watched the weather, ate my breakfast, said bye to my husband and kids and headed out in my swimsuit and raincoat. Amazingly by the time I got there it had cleared and it went on to be a beautiful morning.

I got to see my friends kids finish the 800 which was really fun. Neither of my kids wanted to swim it this year but maybe next year they'll do it.

So many friends
It was great to see so many people who I knew at this event. Folks from swimming and then also lots of triathletes.  It was a very friendly environment.

I still hadn't decided what to do with nutrition. There was a feeding station at the dock and my friends had gu in their swim suits. But I personally have a tender stomach when swimming so I was unsure. Plus the 2.4 mile Ironman swim doesn't have a feed station and I'd already done that. So, I asked one of the swim coaches and she said don't worry about it because it's like a long workout. Just stop and get some water at least once. Done. Decision made. I just went with that. I had a gu about 20 minutes before starting and that was that.

The swim itself
This is the 5k women's start. We could stand on the icky bottom to wait for the start. I do not want to know what we were standing on because it felt very barnacle-ish. My friend and fellow blogger triathlete Christina aka triathletemami was out there pulling her friend Kerry in the kayak. She is a true inspiration.

We swam 3 one mile loops. There were 4 groups to start 19 and under males then females and then 19 and over males then females. Since I tend to start too fast and freak out I found some friends who I knew were a little bit slower than me to start with. I wanted to stay with them to keep my pace slow. But after about 3 strokes I had already lost them so that was also a bad plan. The start was typically agressive because there were many triathletes who feel the need to wrestle in the water. So I just tried to find my own spot and keep my slow pace. And crazy as it sounds I did fine. No freak out just calm swimming. Who is this girl and where did the girl who always freaked out go? Good riddance to her actually.

The first lap was fine. I passed my friend Edson the only person I actually saw who I knew during the swim. He was doing breaststroke so I could say hi.

The second lap was even fine. Toward the end of the lap I debated whether I should even stop for water but Jamey had said to so I did. It was very refreshing to have non salty water in my mouth but my stomach felt weird for a minute or two after that so maybe next time just rinse and spit is a better plan. Luckily my stomach calmed down. Swim swim Swim still swimming. I wasn't actually as bored as I had been in the Ironman swim. I would do some counting and some singing and just kept swimming focusing on my stroke.

At several points I would be swimming next to other swimmers for a while. What always amazes me is sometimes I'll be next to somebody going the same pace and they do about 3 arm strokes to every one of mine. They must be exhausted. On the other hand in this swim I was passed by lots of speedy's doing the 10k and the mile they look so relaxed and smooth as they just blow past you. It's really impressive.

During the third lap my calves were a little twitchy but I just kept plugging and I never cramped. I passed a lot of white caps in my third lap. And I got my first real "hit" while swimming. I was just chugging a long and I got a solid elbow to the goggles. It was a solid hit and we both came up to get our bearings. Ouch. I had to reajust my goggles. But then I just kept going. I didn't see him coming so I might have swum into his space - who knows. But it really hurt.

I was stunned that I still had some energy so I just concentrated on keeping up my rhythm and then at the very end kicked a little harder to the finish. I passed 3 people in the last section to the finish arch so that was fun.

All done. I'm very proud of this one.
And that's it. 5k swim finished. Time 1:52 which if the distance is correct puts me at a 2:03 pace. Not setting any speed records but that's faster than I swam with a wetsuit on during my Ironman swim in June so I'm happy with that improvement to be sure. 

What's next?
Next up 70.3 Raleigh. It's 6 weeks away.  It will be my first triathlon of the year. I have only 2 scheduled this whole year which is insane.

This was what the week looked like. So much swimming. So little running and biking.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The key to great abs

My weekly abs workout is usually summed up with this ... swimming. :-)

Also, my abs are nothing so great. These two pieces of information are perhaps related. Also, I never pass up birthday cake.

But Thursday in Masters Swimming they had us do 2- 100s of butterfly kick with fins (thank goodness).
This is Michael Phelps ... not me.

Announcement. Amy (that's me) doesn't know how to swim the butterfly stroke. It's true. But I'm working on it. I do drills and one of these days before I'm 100 I'll probably be able to swim a 25 butterfly without drowning. But today is not that day.

So about 10 meters in the coach gives me a tip (because I'm undoubtedly doing it wrong and look like if I wasn't holding onto the kick board I might drown) push down (into the water) more with my bellybutton. Okay then.

First there was some floundering while I tried to remember where my bellybutton was. I mean I know where it is but to figure out what that meant with this particular maneuver took some finagling. And once I think I figured that out. Not the rib cage - the bellybutton - and was concentrating on that movement. Two things happened.
Not a terribly helpful diagram of what I should be looking like when I do butterfly. Thankfully there is no digital or film evidence of my flounderings.

1. My butt came up out of the water with this new kick push the belly down and foreward thing. I think that's the plan but I can't be sure.
2. Many more muscles in my abdomen were engaged than perhaps has ever happened at one time before.

I slowly made it through the first 100 and started the second 100 and my newly crazily engaged ab muscles were seriously screaming in agony.


So, while I see about 100 ads a day in various publications for how to get great flat abs I've never seen one suggest go out and do 1000 yards a day butterfly kick. But I bet that would really work. That and occasionally eating smaller amounts of the birthday cake perhaps.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I have most likely bitten off more than I can chew

Swim Swim Swim
A few months back my training pal Nicole suggested that we put together a team to register for a 5k open water swim in April. The event is called Swim Miami.

With months to go it seemed like an okay idea and with the group discount it was not expensive so I did it.

So, now that swim is only a few days away and I'm pretty sure I'm not ready. I swam every day last week starting Tuesday. Total of 8k yards. That's not a lot by swim standards but remember I'm not a fast swimmer by any measure. That's double what I was doing in the weeks leading up to the marathon.

My swim volume is definitely coming along but still a 3 mile swim is HUUUUGE. So I'm not sure I'm going to be able to pull this off.

I may drop down to a 1 mile swim or I may swim 2 miles of the 3 mile course (it's 3 one-mile loops)
and call it quits. We'll see what happens. I'm going to swim my little heart out between now and then to see if I can be ready.

Also my husband will be out of town so I'll need a babysitter for the morning - for any distance. Volunteers?

Cycling update
In other news one of our training group is racing IM Texas in just a few weeks. So she had her longest ride of the training cycle this past week so we all did a chunk of the volume with her.

She did the full 112 but I and a few others only did 85 and I will admit I was toasted after that distance. It was the longest ride I've done a long time it was a good wake up call.

At the start the plan was 100 and I thought at a reasonable pace I'd be fine. Wrong-o. At 60 miles I knew I was tired. At 70 I was really uncomfortable and I was really happy to be finished at 85.

Project: "Get Strong!"
I did a few months of strength work toward the end of last month. I stopped because it was simply too expensive.

But it's time to start again. I definitely felt muscle weakness in the last third of the Rome marathon. Coach says that is most likely because the terrain was so uneven that it was more like a trail run. Makes sense. But definitely strength plays a big part in speed and endurance. So it's time to start again. I know because it says so on Training Peaks :-).

So expect more details on that later.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Are you a fooler?

If basketball players are called Ballers (a silly moniker if you ask me) then are April fools pranksters called Foolers? Probably not.

My kids were super excited about April Fool's Day yesterday.

They are 10 and 7 years old.

They got it into their heads that they wanted to fake injuries for school. An idea I was only sort of behind. I'm not a big fan of pretending you have an injury because really being injured is such a rotten deal. Would hate to "karmically" taunt an actual injury. But it was their idea so we went with it. My daughter wore a sling and my son had his wrist wrapped up with brown athletic tape. I told them they couldn't use the "prank" to get out of any work and they should tell their teachers the truth early. We also sent in homemade Brown"e"s for the teachers.

I'm not a huge fan of true pranks so that was the extent of our April Fools day. How about you?

March Totals
2014 Swim 8750 yards, Bike 152.83 miles and Run 104.39
2013 Swim 9610 yards, Bike 255.86 miles and Run 60.81 miles

So what's good about this is that my swim volume isn't that much off from last year when I had an IM to prepare for in just a few months. I remember feeling like I was swimming a ton last year and this year I feel like I haven't swam much so that means that perception is just perception. In fact - last year in March I had a half-iron and I had a good swim result.

The bike/run split from year to year is I think just the push for run volume.

What's up next for me?
I am registered for an absolutely insane swim event April 19th. A 5k open water swim at Swim Miami. That's just nutty.

I am not ready for this swim especially seeing as I could only swim about 45 minutes yesterday before I wanted to puke. Perhaps still recovering from my stomach stuff. Perhaps just really out of swim shape. So lots of swimming coming up. And I'll be upfront it's not impossible that I won't swim this event. We'll see how the swimming progresses.

my new suit. From splish. To motivate me to swim more.
Last thing that's coming up. More Roma photos up next. Just travel photos though.

Have a good week!

What's the longest you've ever swum  - in a pool or open water? 
For me of course it was the 2.4 mile Ironman swim.