Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Korey Stringer Institute Follow up

What I feel like in the heat
I finally got "my results" from my day of hell testing at the Korey Stringer Institute.  Detailed reports, graphs and analysis and a follow-up call with Dr. Robb, his team and my coach.   The call was thorough and here are the takeaways

1: Avoid Hot Races are you f'ing kidding me?  I did this test as prep for Kona
2: If it's hot, you will need to slow down.  
3: that was IT no more options.... after a painful pause I speak up, " Dr. Rob we are going to need more options"

I just paid a lot of money to be told, DON'T go to Kona or if you do be prepared to go really slow... WTF! 

Thankfully the call did not end after the first 7 minutes of "information"   

We took a deep dive to see how f'cked I really am much I really lose.  

Test 1: Substrate Utilization Test:  Bottom line is biking with a giant mask and every 5 min increasing my power by 11 minutes to determine carbohydrate and fat utilization.   People talk about the crossover point when your body goes from burning fat to carbs, well there was NO crossover as in my body burns 100% carbs.  Not that I thought I was fat adapted, as you all know how I feel about Keto and endurance sports, but seriously, I am a carb machine.

Bike Electrolyte Test:  2 hours IM Watts in 90 degrees and 80% humidity.  I lose 60+ oz an hour with 2180mg of sodium.  For reference a large bike bottle is 24oz,  so that is 2.5 bottles an hour and a lot of sodium and potassium.   This is actually 3.4% of my body weight- turns out that is not a sustainable loss.    So you say, drink more and take in more salt!  Well yes, I am dramatically under hydrating but the caveat is that most guts can only handle a max of  40oz an hour - so that leaves me 20oz short x 10-11 hours and well we know what happens... And 2180 mg of sodium an hour is a fast track to GI distress.  

Run Electrolyte Test:  1 hour but had to end early due to core temp.   Same hot and humid conditions and I was now dumping 74 oz an hour and 2660 mg of sodium.  So... I get off the bike in a hole and then sweat more!

Alaskaman here I come!

At least I know I am not crazy, weak, am imagining the issues I have in the heat.  And and... on the run, my core temp hit 103.9 which is when we had to stop, but that is when I start seeing black spots, the headache comes and dizziness-hello Honu!   

So now what...

1- Getting heat acclimated will help!  So I play to go to Kona 3 weeks early and 5 weeks out will plan a 4-day camp in Tucson or the like to kick start the acclimation.  Doing hot yoga etc along the way.
2 - Train the gut to accept more fluids and sodium.  I am trying a few new products to achieve this and will report back later.  
3- Don't be surprised if I run in Kona with a Camelbak,   There is no way I can get in enough fluids on the run drinking out of dixie cups with 3 oz.   I do my long runs with one now and it works!   

When I hung up the phone I wanted to cry, okay dramatic, my thoughts were why even try again?  I have everything working against me, I cannot change genetics,  what will be different this time? 
Goal is NO med tent in 2019! 

I am outfitted with knowledge and have some new plans and I am NOT READY TO GIVE UP!! 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Ironman Hawaii 70.3 2019

 I have avoided this race at all cost never raced here before because I detest the heat and historically fall apart it has never worked into my schedule time-wise.  

This year it was purposeful, planned and one of my key races.  So an A race!  I finished yesterday with my slowest 70.3 time , slower than my first race and my lowest placement.  But I finished, which for me was not about the medal or hat or another black itchy shirt, it was about a place that continues to humble me, strip me down and I refused to let Madam Pele win yesterday.


The swim, slow, but slow for most - It is hands down the most beautiful swim I have ever done. My heart loves DigMeBeach in Kona but Hapuna Bay is truly an aquarium.   AG waves but with 4 at a time rolling start within the wave, so closer to real racing.   I was wave 19!  Ye 50 minutes after the first men's wave, so lots of time on the beach waiting and watch, but I was surrounded by friends and competitors and it was just plain fun!     I loved every minute of the swim, sighting was a bit challenging but not too congested.  Swim 31:53

Bike,  I know this course and was beyond thrilled to be starting it midway.  And the new bike, the Cervelo P5 is a slice of heaven.  It's comfortable, fun and feels really fast.  Than you Skip and Nytro Multisport. I opted for 808's, which I have not ridden in a while and the crosswinds in Havi reminded me how they can be a bit squirley.  The winds were mild for Kona.  Headwind up to Havi, with the last 4 miles pretty strong, but that descent yeah baby!!!  20 min for the last 4 miles up and the 10 min down. And to make that turn into Waimea vs the 24 miles back to Kona was just bittersweet!   So so fun!    Bike: 2:40:59

It was hot, Garmin was reading 91 out on the Queen K, and humid, but I expected nothing less.   I drank 5x 24 oz bottles 3x Gatorade Endurance  + 2x water.   16oz = 1lb, so I took in 23 lbs ( per se of fluid)  4000 mg of sodium.   I felt great on the bike the only red flag was I did not have to pee.   

Off the bike and I was immediately dizzy, not a good sign but got through T2 and onto the run.   I had a, very hot,  180z bottle with 1000 mg of sodium that I was started drinking and got in mile 1-3.  The first few miles generally come easy in a 70.3 I was struggling, I knew it was going to be tough, but that is okay,  Mile 4, IT, started, black spots, dizziness and that feeling of I just may pass out,  I know now that means my core temp is geeting high and there is one way to get it down, slow down and drink more.  I spend a solid minute at the next aid station with ice, sponges, drinking and getting in what could and ran to the next aid station thinking I would have to manage the run that way.  Then nausea set in and I was worried if I drank more it would come back up.  Mile 5 I had to lay down, in the grass - stop the spinning and feel " better".  Not sure how long it was but then I was up again and it was walking/ run/ triage at every aid station.  Approaching the run turn around was the hardest part of the day,  I wanted to walk into medical, fall on a gurney and get ice, maybe an IV.  But I just could not let this Island win, so it was game on and it was not pretty.   I would  "run"  a minimum of 100 steps with the goal of 200, and then walk 50, which sometimes was 100.   I took one more mini nap and just clicked off the miles.  I quit triathlon 10x, took up knitting, started to curse Madam Pele but stopped and thanked her for this opportunity to test my self.  I can race well in cool temps can get the results I want, but this, place, this heat, is my test!  I am not willing to give up yet.   Run 2:35:24- at least it was not slower than my bike split - LOL.

So yes I went to KSI for testing, yes I learned some info but I do not have the report from them yet,  His goal was last week but likely 2 weeks from when I was there.    

Watching my AG on the podium is fuel to figure this out, watching people claim their Kona slots still brings tears to my eyes.  I love this sport and all the blood, sweat and tears that goes into it! 

So there you have it, we ALL have bad days out there!  


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Korey Stringer Institute Day 2



Today I paid a lot of money to sweat out 6.7lbs, get my core temp to 103.9, see lots of black spots and have to end the session early due to delirium.  Hey it was just like racing in Kona.   So mission accomplished.

For the past 24 hours, I have been urinating in what looks like a portable gas can.  At 2AM I swallowed a thermometer pill.  I have recorded in detail everything I ate and drank since noon yesterday.   I showed up at the lab at 8, was given my freshly laundered bike kit and was soon walking into the death zone heat chamber, which was set at 86 degrees and 78% humidity.  aka Kona conditions, except for last year, Dr. Rob noted because WE ALL KNOW LAST YEAR WAS THE BEST CONDITIONS IN KONA EVER! NO SHIT I digress, I walked in and said “fuck it is hot”

Onto the bike for a 2-hour bike session at IM watts, GO.  This was not as easy as I hoped, in fact my RPE was very high, and I am hoping the Kickr was not calibrated or I am looking at a 7-hour bike split.  I held the watts mostly and when my HR started to go up, instead of backing off as I would in a race I just let it go up.  Apparently, that is not a good idea, my core temp was going up too and let’s just say a 2 hour IM bike workout soon felt like a 2 hour FTP test.  3.5 bottles later, lots of good tunes and a Netflix movie “Kim Swims” which I highly recommend, I was done.  Meanwhile, I am wiping sweat, Maggie was wiping sweat and they were collecting sweat.   Dr. Rob is monitoring my core temp and every 10 min they ask on a scale of 14-20 how are you feeling.  Right, what is up with the scale, not 1-5 or 1-10, but 14-20 (it’s actual correlation to HR- 14 should be around 140…”

Then I climb in a giant tub lined with plastic and using distilled water I am washed down, scrub and wash.  I leave my clothes, the towels, and all the yuck and climb on the scale.  Done with test 1.

Gulp down 24 oz fluid  + The Right Stuff and force in a bagel and PB and sit in front of a giant ass fan.  Meanwhile, they are monitoring my core temp, which is taking over 45 min to return to normal.  Normal, okay let's go round 2.

The run, 1 hour, TM at IM effort in the same unreasonably fucking hot temperature Kona condition heat lab.  Music on let's go.  OMG its hot, its really hot, I slow the pace and decide to just run easy, shit I don’t want to run that easy, pick it up, okay it’s only an hour, if you run this pace in Kona, you are golden, 25 minutes, no way can I run this pace, okay slow down, running a bit slower is better than walking, okay this is better, not really but pretend it is, OMG my HR is 165, not really IM heart rate, only 30 more minutes. Then it's like someone turned up the heat and it was 105, HR is over 170 and the spots start to come, dizzy, spots- both white and black, people asking “are you okay?” Me, not really, so I walk a bit, okay 3 min walk, feeling better not really but lets fake it God it’s hot, “did you turn up the temp?”  Maybe its really 100 degrees, oh boy super dizzy, nausea.   Hey, it's just like being on the Queen K. OMG did I pay for this?  WTF.  Run over, what? What, why?  Seems more core temp was 103.7 and climbing.  Dr. Rob says, we have what we need.

Do the baby deer wobble to the tub, rinse wipe off and onto the scale again. I have been weighed more in 24 hours than I have in 10 years.   Sit in front of big ass fan and rationally decide to cancel Honu, cancel Kona and sign for Alaska Man. Seriously…

Dr. Rob says, well it's clear why you have issues, despite all the fluids you are still down 6.7 lbs.  Fuck!  Can we move IMWC to Antarctica?

Next? Full report early next week. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Korey Stringer Institute

LOVE this "preventing sudden death" 

Day 1 is complete at the KSI:  Korey Stringer Institute on the Campus of UConn in the Department of Kinesiology. They are renowned for their research and expertise in heat and hydration.  A department I am renowned for failing.

My last 2 (or 6)  ironmans were challenging as they resulted in massive weight loss 9 and 6 lbs respectively, foggy memory, black spots, delirium,  GI issues and just not a good time.   Add any other HOT race they have all included upper/lower or sometimes both GI distress - picture that in a porta potty when its 100 degrees, cramping, extreme nausea....  I know I am a heavy sweater 60-74 oz of fluid loss an hour ( known to date) and 1800-2200 mg of sodium. Numbers that are challenging to replace. I have tried so many products and plans and still strugle every HOT Ironman.  So I have come to mecca.  To the place, they do the testing and will give me actual numbers of sweat and sodium loss.

A long day of travel and I rolled in around 8 and unpacked my bike.  First thing I noticed was the plastic piece on the side that prevents something I am sure, was torn off  - see the x that is GONE.  I unpack my bike and put it together, hmmmm, wheel rubbing, try again, and then I see it. Fuck- seat stay is crushed in.  Holy crap, panic and lose my shit  Calmly think about what I can do?  It's 9:00 and I need my bike tomorrow and by the way, I am racing in less than 2 weeks.  Drink a bottle of wine No, I 'm here for testing so I got my stuff together, went to bed and prayed for a diving intervention.

In hindsight, I forgot the pads on the seat stay, although not sure it would have sustained that crash- I tape pool noodles on every OTHER possible place of impact and 100% forgot to protect this area.    I have not packed my bike since August and was in a hurry, chatting on the phone and was remiss.

Got to KSI at 8:30 and we were able to get the bike on the Kickr and using a knife and some electrical tape, we braced it up for the testing.   Today was substrate utilization testing - which is to determine my carb vs fat burning and actual Kcal/hour at various intensities.   All with this lovely mask.  The test was 1:10 starting at 50% of FTP and working up in 5 min increments to 120%, tracking HR/Power.   I don't have full results but here is a shocker I am not a big fat burner...LOL, no kidding not fat adapted. I burn the most fat at 68-72% of FTP, my sweet spot for Ironman.  And burn fewer calories than I hoped had previously thought.  They will work this up and give me the info post-visit.


After the test, we chatted a bit, and then I was given my urine collection canisters- oh yes, 24 hours of collection.   Nothing like walking about with urine in your backpack.  I was also given a log to commence at noon for ALL food/beverage consumption. Detailed as in type, amount, how prepared, brand name, time, restaurant etc.  And my core temperature pill which I swallow between midnight and 4am for the big testing tomorrow.

Rest of the day I am working and hope to check out the campus a bit.  

Tomorrow- 2hour IM bike in Heat Chamber - set at Kona conditions +  1  hour Run 



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ironman is hard

Every Ironman athlete should watch the entire run of an Ironman. Why? To see watch what unfolds in the race.   I spectated at IMSR this past weekend and with a 3 loop run course, you can park yourself and see everyone 2-3 times as they come in.    We could see people come into T2 and then out on the run course and it was clear the bike was longer and harder than many anticipated.  The rough roads and wind added to the already challenge of 112 miles.  People were moving slower rolling into T2. Some came out of T2 a new person, game face on, ready to take on the run.  Others have that look, walk, stumble of how the F am I going to do this.    Ironman is hard! 

With each loop of the run, the smiles fade, the gate slows and the look of determination settles in.  Those having the race of their lives are in the hurt locker big time by loop 3, you can see the pain and suffering.  Watching the ones who just keep moving, focused and steady, knowing how much it hurts, is what I just love about Ironman.  Some are responsive to cheers and shout outs and others are one foot in front of the other.   
Spectators need fuel too 
Nytro Women Tearing it up

Why should everyone see this? Because as your race unravels, or you think it does, when you are hurting so badly you want to walk, when you are sure you are dying more than EVERYONE else, trust me, you are not.   The people at the front of the race are dying too.  No one feels like they did those first 6 miles, so when that piano drops on your back, everything hurts, you want to die- have a PLAN for how to get through it.  

But Ironman spectating is quite fun!!   Throughout the day I checked in with myself to see if I had any FOMO?  Nope, I did not!   
Mothers Day fun! 


Post IM was even better as Riley came up and we had a lovely Mothers Day nearly dying in Bikram Yoga, wine tasting, napping and enjoying and amazing dinner in Sonoma.  So blessed to have spent a few days with her!  

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Think less and just go all out

 Today was the kick off of the Triathlon Season in San Diego with the Spring Sprint!    I am finishing 2 big weeks of training and yesterday was a sh&t show,   My HRV this AM was 7.7 " within your normal values and your subjective scores are trending positively. Proceed as planned"  

My Training Peaks looks like this-  and I was feeling tired.  But my plan was warm up, go hard and see what happens.  With very little on the line at the local race, let's just see.  My warm-up run was painful.      Ok, its go time, well not really, see I was wave #15 of 15, they put the 50 + women DFL, keep the slow ass people in the back, I suppose.  The 50+ men were in front of us.                                                                                                                                               Short swim- 500 yards, I had 100 yards of open swimming before catching the wave ahead and slamming into a guys head who was doing elementary backstroke going the wrong way, going to be a long day for that dude.
Out fast and up the ramp.  Quick transition. The bike was 10 miles and had 12 turns with  4 of them 180-degree turns.  This course has been dangerous but the widened the lanes and the marking of the crater-like potholes it was not too bad.  And with 90% of the people actually riding on the right side, it was easy to maneuver as needed.   My legs hurt, no question, but the power was there so I kept the pressure on. Whenever it started to feel better I kicked it up a bit.  Rode at 98% for 28 minutes, AV HR 160, so I was working.   So much that I was only able to take 4 sips of Gatorade Endurance and no more. Something about redlining feeling that does not allow for caloric consumption. 
                                                                                                                             Onto the run and I went out hard without looking at my pace and had the same approach as the bike, keep the throttle down and suffer.  I was running well, but fck it hurt.    Hard to the finish line, which was 3.23 miles- really people, how hard is it to make it 3.1 miles NOT 3.23.  But I digress- sub 7:00 pace and I am super happy!    
If I had let my head dictate the day, who knows how the race would have come around- instead I just went for it, did not look at number or paces- just hurt as much as possible, which is 100% doable for 59 minutes!  

The effort was enough for the OA Win, which I am humbled, to accept!  
The day was fun with my athletes Kasey, Alexis, Alexis, Gail and Stacy on the course getting it done!  Add my teammate Liz and a bunch of local friends and it's what I just love about this sports....friends, suffering, sunshine and so many medals! 
I encourage everyone to do a few Sprints- don't think, just get out there an go hard!  It's hard to screw up pacing on a Sprint.   
Racing for an hour on 4 sips of Gatorade is 100% doable!   Breakfast of Kona Red , 2 cups white rice with coconut oil + salt and a GoGo Applesauce pre-swim!