Friday, February 7, 2020

Ragnar Del Sol

So staying home for the weekend was not an option... from triathlon camp to gravel camp to a Ragnar Running Race.   What the F?   I am not going to lie, I was worried. My run fitness is low, my hammie is mostly good, but what would Ragnar do to it?  I was 100% committed to NOT running if I was in pain.  We had some backup runners, so I would not have let the team down. But I was reallly really hopeful!

What is Ragnar? Ragnar relays are running events in which teams of 12, mostly insane people, take turns running 186 miles all day and through the night and into the next day until they are hangry, delirious with fatigue and smell like a rotting animal, all the while living, mostly in a van. It's the most fun you can imagine and a great way to "intimately" get to know your co-workers. After peeing in the desert together, changing in parking lots, wearing each other's sweaty night vests, discussing bodily functions, and marking them on the window..there is not much left to learn about each other. Can you say Team Building?

My team - Courtesy Standards (long back story) is comprised of my HPN co-workers, and we had a blast! This year I was in Van 1, which is the BOMB as you are done first.
Van 1

Then I ran 3 legs all-around 6 miles, and each one was faster than the last one!! And NO, can you read this, NO pain in my hamstring!!!  I was diligent with warm-up mobility, cool down, and the hypervolt, but I am elated!!!!   My pace was slow, but I have let go of that and am focused on building miles!

So this was a great test for my next slice of insanity.    Otillo SwimRun Catalina in less than 30 days.   Here my BFF and I will swimrun a total of 24 miles (19 miles running and 4.7 miles swimming) broken into 7 swims and 7 runs. Lucky for me, it is not this weekend.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Gravilla Femenina : An Intro to Gravel for Endurance Women

Baller Women 
Wow, just wow is how I write the recap of my 3 day  Gravilla Femenina (women's gravel) camp experience. 
These views

I finished up Smashcamp, a 6-day triathlon camp felling fantastically fit, exhausted, and filled with mojo and energy.  I was so excited about the biking in January. My run is a bummer, but only because it is slow, pain-free is the best news, and I know it will come, and let's face it Ultraman running is not about being fast, so I keep my eye on my goals.

Gravilla Femenina camp guide said,  "come to camp with fresh legs"  well let's be honest, my legs were far from fresh, but I adhered to the rest of the guide about equipment and gear, and I brought my attitude.

This came was run my Jess Cera and Whitney Allison, women PRO cyclists, and ballers in the gravel.   The crew at this camp were some badass women, top-end cyclists,  including former pro and bad add triathlete (not me), so I am not going to lie, I was scared shitless mildly intimidated with this group.
So not the road! 

Day 1: skills day We rolled out of Canyon Bikes at a faster pace than I would have selected and got to "Lemon Twist," and off we went.  Game on for some new trails, some I did okay on and others I was peeing my pants and scared, it was touch and go, and I did not crash but nearly did and was out of my comfort zone and my element. I crushed some parts and carried my bike on others, I was terrified and laughing and terrified.  I kept saying #thisisgravel

Day 2 Route here  Take a look, right? Cuyamaca, Mt Laguna -yup you got it but not Sunrise Hwy, not the 78 but trails all around, yes the ones that you see on your road bike and think ultra running or mountain biking, but yes we gravel biked them.  Not going to lie, it was the hardest, scariest, emotional day for me on a bike. I cried once, laughed a lot, said fuck so many times,  wanted to throw my bike - but I like her too much, was short with people, was intimidated, had some really proud moments, and was humbled to the core.  Initially, I was angry about how hard it was, but I came around to bucking up and doing the best I could, tried not to worry about the people waiting for me and did what I could.  If that meant bike on my shoulder, then so be it.   I started to learn to trust my bike and to believe in me. 
these views

At dinner that night, we had a great conversation about how hard it was and about growth.  It was 12 strong ass women, and I was proud to be in that group,  Can I tell you how tired I was, how smashed I was- I was!

Day 3: Palomar, I woke up tired, 5 hours of sleep.  I don't sleep well when I am so so tired, and my readiness score 53 out of 100.  Ignore that.  Big breakfast of Kodiak Pancakes with almond butter, extra coffee, and my badass Betty Kit on and out the door.   I had climbed Palomar 9 days before, and here we go again but up Nate Harrison- on the gravel.  My legs hurt, I was not sure, but I found my groove and LOVED it - this is my jam.  When we hit the turn that was steep and on gravel with a few rocks, I laughed, because 3 days ago I would have gotten off my bike and walked, but now, not a big deal.  18% grade in gravel - get after it.  It was great!   We regrouped on top, and the descent was AMAZEBALLS.

So, I laughed, cried, got stronger, was way way out of my comfort zone, but am fired up for more. 
Top of Palomar

a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements.

Jan 3: I wrote out my goal.... and #4 was 
- DO NOT be complacency!  Step out of your comfort zone. 

So I JUMPED out! 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Betty at Smashcamp

11 started blogs, and 0 finished. I deleted them all and well, hello 2020, as we almost end of January.  How can Jan almost be over?

Lots of info to share, in another post, as this is about Smashcamp!   If you know Hillary Biscay, you can only imagine what kind of crazy she can brew up for a 6-day camp! 

I jumped in ready to go.... it was the most fun I've had in a long time, the hardest I have worked in a long time, the most tired I have been in a long time and did I mention the most fun?  The or 5, and the thing about Hillary's camp is you just roll through it.  It's all about the attitude!   When you are suffering, drooling, dreaming of a beautiful warm bed, and Netflix, you have another camper whooping it up about how awesome the day is, and you snap out of it and get after it.
thing about a camp like this is EVERY camper has a low moment

Thursday- shakeout run, which was faster than my current running pace.  A dip, in the 58-degree ocean- which was a 30 min swim that was fucking cold, wavy and choppy on a foggy afternoon. The kind of day that if you were not at camp, you would  text your friends and say, "I'm out." 

Friday was a LCM swim with the forever set, which means lots of bands ONLY swimming LCM- enough said.   Then Palomar from Kit Carson- and well Palomar in January is not only cold but hard, really hard! But thanks to the fantastic sag by Mike Plumb, we had warm, dry clothes and all the food and drinks necessary for the ride.

Saturday kicked off with a legit Swim Run Course in the
lagoon  +running on trails I did not know existed.  It was cold as fck and so so much fun!   3 swims and 3 runs for the first go around, and while I was happy with 1:07 of an adventure, of course, the Hillary touch was an entire 2nd round, that had to be faster.  Holy Shit is all I can say.   Afternoon "shake out " ride through Elfin.

Sunday was THE BIG DAY!  Can you say GWL + Descanso + Mt Laguna + Engineers Road fck m then around Cuyamaca and finishing GWL vie Lyons Valley.   I was a tiny bit terrified nervous, but in the end, it was AMAZEBALLS!!!   So hard, so fun and with the sag, all the food... an entire tube of NUUN, 12+ bottles + no clue how many cliff bars, shot blocks, peppermint patties, red bull, dr peppers but is enough to feel excellent the last hour and really want to break 8 hours!   The goal for next time :)

Monday  - rest day- LMAO not at this camp.   10-mile run that was supposed to be progressive, but for me, it is the longest run since Sept, so I had to suck it up, swallow my ego and run a pace that will not injure me or set me back. But let's be honest, I felt like a total slacker, although not sure I really can go faster, in my mind, I was holding back from that 6:00pace,  LOL - I love when I make myself laugh, And that afternoon we did a neat 10,000 yards,  Did I say fck me?  again :)

Tuesday was Mt Woodson- a few stellar campers ran the whole thing, and well, this old lady with not 100% hamstring did a power hike instead and capped off the week.

Totals for the 6 days

Swim: 19,000 yards
Bike: 215 miles: 20.320 ft of elevation
Run: 22.75 miles
Hike: 9 miles

That is the equivalent of SMASHED! 

As a coach, I have to say it is really fun to be a camper!   So, kids, I coach... I have some good ideas :) But I also get what it's like to suffer, work hard and most importantly EAT ALL THE FOOD, I mean most importantly have all the fun!   

So for this weekend..... Bring on the Gravel Camp! 

Thursday, November 28, 2019


I hate when I let too much time go between posts.... the longer I wait the less I write and the started blogs add up! 

This post could go on for pages and pages but then everyone gets bored and does not really read  it and I get bored typing it, let’s face it, I am not a travel writer and then my fabulous trip to Dubai never makes it  in my blog, which would  not be earth-shattering but I will have been remiss to not recap. 

If you stop reading now... that is fine but read this
1-  If you ever have the opportunity to go to Dubai then GO!  
2-  The consistent message we received was " yes we are the Middle East but we are the most liberal city in the ME.  We welcome Westerners and want you to feel safe and come visit"  

Random thoughts on the city/country
  • ·       Clean
  • ·       Stunning architecture
  • ·       1000 cranes in the city and every building under construction has 100’s of visible workers- there is NO lack of a labor work force here, most are Indian and Pakistan
  • ·      the UAE is 7 made up of 7 states:  Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and 5 others you have never heard of 
  • ·       13% of the population of Dubai are Emirates, the rest ex-pats over 150-200 (depending on who you ask Nationalities)  So 100’s of races.
  • ·       English is the business language and spoken everywhere
  • ·       Servers is top-notch in hotels, restaurants, shopping etc
  • ·       People are so friendly and always ask where you are from.  I may have said Canada 
  • ·       The % of women in the Abaya is very low and even lower for men in the white robes
  • ·       Dubai is very liberal (for the Middle East) 
  • ·       There is no trash  on the streets and minimal trash bins, we learned it not custom to eat/drink while walking in the UAE.   People sit and drink coffee, eat-in establishments, no walking and NOT in their cars. 
  • ·       There is however very little walking, everyone drives, there is no infrastructure for walking.   There are few sidewalks.
  • ·       No parks and minimal green space in the city
  • ·       Did see 1 dog, saw 1 stray cat
  • ·       No guns, even by the Royal security.  It's not uncommon for Prince Mohammed to drive himself around. 
  • ·       .01% crime.  No guns, no gangs.  Ideal to walk around at night alone, however, without sidewalks not sure how I would do that, but they like to promote it, 
  • ·       Racism is not tolerated however did learn that surely it exits but it’s not prevalent.  Dubai as we know it was developed in 1966, upon the discovery of oil. 
  • ·       Falcons are the country bird.  They, in fact, carry their own passport and generally, travel in first class.  Where do they go?  Where they can hunt -  its been outlawed in Dubai (seems they were so good they have put a major dent in the rabbit and bird population,  they are so effective they were messing with the ecosystem.
  • ·       Camel Racing is a huge sport, however, the jockey is a robot vs a human. And there is a state of the art, a full medical facility for Camels.

  • ·       Camel Polo is not a big sport more of a gimmick “ for tourists, it was fun, however.  Camel rides are not comfortable, Polo is not as easy as it looks.  I locked mallets with another player and nearly fell off- the mallet is wrapped around your wrist and while recovering from my dropped mallet and having a strapless bra wardrobe malfunction the camel took off and I was nearly thrown off – saved myself but slammed my back into the saddle.  I have a nice bruise and sort of hoped when I was back at the pool, someone would say  “oh what happened? “ I casually reply  “Camel Polo”   But no one asked.    I did try to work in  "last week when I played Camel Polo...."to a few conversations just because I could. 
  • The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is worth the 90 min drive.   It covers 30 acres and the courtyard holds 40,000 people for prayer.  Men can wear shorts, t-shirts and flip flops, women have to dressed in sleeves, pants, shoes and a headscarf.  
  • Are the women treated as equals- see above for a clue, but on the surface sure, go deeper, not likely.  But as a tourist, I was treated just fine.  
  • The UAE is not a democracy, you have NO rights.  Be respectful, respect the culture, follow the laws and enjoy the visit.  
  • Lots more on Dubai.
    ...but those are the highlights  

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Not going to lie....

Felling a lot, a bit, low today about IMWC.  Up until today, I have not had any regrets on pulling the plug on Kona.  It felt right from the beginning and I kept checking in with myself mentally to see if I was really okay. Travel day came and went, no issue, the  Ho'ala Kona swim came and went and no issues, Monday there was all the Kona chatter and I was interested and following along.  Yesterday I woke up a storm cloud above my head, so so grumpy, edgy and simply pissed off.   I went to the pool and was angry at the water, angry I cannot bike or run, angry that I had such great fitness 3 months ago and was looking forward to the Kona build, angry that this season was not what I wanted, angry that I cannot even do the Tri club TT up Mt Palomar on Saturday.... can you say just angry!   

I knew it would hit me at some point and it's better to just face it, own it and move on!  

I then read my friend Taryn's blog  and just felt like a total asshat.   Thank you Taryn for setting the example of Ohana.   I mostly pulled myself out of the pity party I was having and tried to get a fucking grip on reality.  Hello I have my health, sort of, but its not Cancer, I have a healthy family, both my parents are alive at 85 and 86, an amazing husband, 2 kids that are thriving, my business is doing well... and so it goes!  What right do I have to be upset.  

That lasted for 11 seconds and then seriously.... all the hard work, all the effort, all the patience of NOT going to Kona last year so this year I would do 1 Ironman, the big one and it be epic or not!.   Sure I have amazing memories of that amazing place, it really is my happy place.  Race week in Kona is magical!  Some asked why not still go?  

Because I just could not be there knowing I was not lining up Saturday AM!   Call me shallow, call me whatever.... but there you have it!   The way I can see going and not racing would be to cheer on my athletes, so I suppose I CAN do it!   So come on athletes!   

My iPhone is really happy with as my Screen Time " Social Networking" time is way down!   Why, because I am working hard, staying focused and trying to be productive.  Or maybe just maybe avoiding the Kona spam.

I'm not completely off, I am checking on my friends who are racing and some of the Kona virgins- loving their excitement and newness about that magical place.  The first time you swim in Kailua Bay- heaven,  LavaJava macadamia nut pancakes,  Kona coffee,  swimming to the coffee boat,  rubbing shoulders or maybe just glimpsing the amazing  Pro triathletes eating at the same place you are,  riding on the Queen K and I could go on.....  I love everything about that place, except that 20 miles of the marathon on the Queen K.

I know settle down, suck it up and just be grateful! 

Saturday, yes I will be tracking the race, but since I cannot climb Palomar, which I am  am not bitter about, I am going to get my level 2 US Masters Swimming Certification.  Stay busy and producivproductivepm and then I catch the end of the pro race!!! 

So there you have it.... done complaining and I promise not to post any TBT posts about  "when I was in Kona" 

And FWIW I am still on the push up challenge!  100 a day-  so 900 push ups to date!  + the core challenge....  Not to late to join!  Click here.

Sunday, September 29, 2019 drug!

This came across my desk this week form Matt the Founder of The Feed 
I agree wtih what he says here....  My .02, if you have a product /nutrion plan that is working and those produts are not caffienated, I'd suggest Caffeine Pills.   I have used these , careful when you buy pills as many are 200mg and that is too much per hour.  For an Ironman I generally preload with coffee in the AM,  take 100mg at hour 2 and 4 on the bike and then every hour on the run, or I switch to coke for the 2nd 1/2 of an Ironman.   For a 70.3, I preload with coffee, take 1 pill at 90 min on the bike and then 1 at 45 min on then run, then use Coke.   
Another option are Salt Stick with Caffeine which takes care of sodium ++ and caffeine. 
Whatever you do, as with any nutritiion, test it out many times in training BEFORE race day.  
If you have questions about caffeine/nutrition/hydration, please reach out - as I am happy to help in any way!
 Below is from The Feed, authored by Matt, the Founder
The most used performance-boosting drug in sports is caffeine, but most don't know how to use it properly to boost athletic performance. With this week's launch of Maurten's Caffeinated Gel, we have been getting lots of questions about how to use caffeine properly.
I'm going to breakdown how to use caffeine like a pro to fuel your training and racing:
Caffeine will boost your athletic performance
44 of 46 scientific studies show that caffeine boosted athletic performance. Historically, it was believed it was helping increase VO2Max, but more recent data suggest that the impact is more on relieving mental fatigue and decreasing our perception of fatigue enabling us to push our bodies harder.
You want to pre-load caffeine before you start.
The research shows that most athletes want to pre-load caffeine before they start training, and especially before racing. It also will take a lot more caffeine than you probably think to get to a performance-enhancing level. In reviewing all the scientific studies and in our own use, we find that 200mg of caffeine pre-training is the optimal dose. If you are coffee drinker, we recommend ~100mg in a cup of coffee or espresso within an hour before you start. Then during your warm-up or on the start line, we have been using Maurten's Caffeinated Gel for another 100mg of caffeine.
During your workout, you want to keep caffeine topped up.
Once you workout starts, you want to keep consuming caffeine if your event is over 90 minutes. Aim to consume 100mg of caffeine per hour for the first 3 hours. The upper limit is 500mg to 600mg of caffeine per day.
How much caffeine is right for me?
The first question to ask is whether you are a "habitual" caffeine user? Do you drink coffee every day? If so you want to be on the recommended levels above. If you occasional consume caffeine, the above recommendations are still valid. But if you don't consume caffeine, start lower and cut the recommendations in half to start. We have a number of chats about Maurten's 100mg of caffeine being pretty a high amount, while that's true compared to most products on the market, Maurten has done their research and for 95% of athletes a 100mg doses of caffeine is needed for it to be an effective amount for athletic performance.
How long will caffeine last?
Caffeine will start to work 5 to 15 minutes after you consume it. It will reach it's peak impact between 45 minutes to 90 minutes after consumption. The half-life (or when the effect will be diminished) is between 3 to 6 hours after you take it.
Should I stop drinking coffee/caffeine before big events?
This has long been a practice by riders I've worked within the Tour de France to taper caffeine usage before a big event. While it can't hurt and seems logical, there is little scientific data to show that this will make the caffeine significantly more effective in competition. We say avoid the headaches and withdrawal and just keep your pre-event caffeine usage at a reasonable level, but don't go cold turkey.
What are the best products to get caffeine?
1.     Maurten Gel 100 Caf 100: This is hands down the current game-changer when it comes to caffeine. You also get 25g of carbs for quick-acting energy.
2.     Clif Black Cherry Bloks: These are the most popular selling Clif Blok flavor and they pack 50mg of Caffeine per serving, note that a serving is 3 bloks. So each "Blok" is 16mg of caffeine.
3.     Tailwind Colorado Cola Drink Mix: Aside from it tasting like cola (tastes great) it packs 35mg of caffeine per bottle/100 calories. It is our favorite caffeinated drink mix and if Cola isn't your favorite it has 3 other caffeinated flavors.
4.     Run Gum: This is a fun way to get caffeine on the go. Created by 2x Olympian Nick Symmonds. The regular flavors have 100mg of caffeine per pack (2 pieces of gum) and the Extra Strength Spearmint is 200mg! We recommend chewing it for a 2 minutes then taking it out of your mouth before it becomes a bit bitter.
5.     Ascent Pre-Workout: This is my favorite way to get going before gym workouts when I don't want the carbs of Maurten Gel. It packs 150mg of caffeine per serving and taste's great.
6.     Coffee: Our favorite coffee options are a new product from Infinit that is an amazing Cold Brew Coffee that also packs 20g of protein and our favorite Boulder blend from Boxcar Coffee.
Pro hack: you want to take your coffee to the next level introduce it to your coffee's BFF the Vafels fresh baked Belgium style waffle. Place the Vafel over your coffee and it will gently warm the waffle while you wait for your coffee to reach drinking temperature. Vafels are available in both regular and gluten-free and we freeze them to lock in the flavor so they arrive fresh to you.
Stay caffeinated.