Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 days......

1 week and I am will be in Kona!  Oh yeah.....cannot wait.  Funny in someways it seems like it was just June and other times it seems like this race has been looming forever.

As KP says...calm the mind.  I have to say, my mind is calm.  I don't feel pressure, anxiety or unease.  Surely that will change when hit Alii Drive and see all the competitors but for now, I am enjoying the peace within.  My confidence is good....looking where I was 4 weeks ago to now, I am pleased.  What is my fitness level? Hard to say, but I do know with less than 2 weeks to race day, the work is done. Nothing can be gained fitness wise between now and race day, so that is reassuring and worrisome as well.  

I say I have not expectations of this race....but that would be a lie.  Of course I have some expectations on timing....but there is not the pressure of where I place.  Being at the top of my AG, I am looking for a good day and  strong finish!  After the nightmare of last year, I am looking at a conservative race plan and if there is fuel in the tank, there is a lot of time to lay it down on the marathon. 

The heat has been my nemesis always....I'll take cold over hot any time.  Kona, frankly is not every cold, so I have been doing my part to acclimate to the heat.   I listened to a presentation by Jim Vance, read a lot from the experts, consulted my coach and have tried to do what I can to acclimatize.  With the searing heat in San Diego this weekend and now considering we don't have air conditioning I am pretty much acclimating sitting in my house and trying to sleep at night.   It was so miserably hot last night I went swimming right before bed and dunked a tank top in the water and went to bed soaking wet, windows open and fan on high.  Worked until about 1am and I dunked again and was able to sleep again.  Not ideal but not worried about racking up the sleep this week....its nice to sleep and be refreshed, but well, cannot have everything.
I was gong to pull the futon out and sleep in the backyard but after our diner ala fresco and the mosquito that joined us, I elected not to. So I went for heat training and sleeping.....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Racing for more....

We are 15 days away from the Ironman World Championships!!!  Let's face it, triathlon is a selfish sport, Ironman specifically.   We train 15-20+ hours a week and for those of us with a spouse and family the time has to come from someplace... either we are going to bed at 8 or up at 4am and that has an impact on who we live with.   So the rest of our lives we are on the run, catching up, trying to meet expectations of loved ones, work etc.   So where is the time to help others....

I am fortunate to be sponsored by Erin Baker Wholesome Baked Goods. They sponsor triathletes around the country who meet their expectations in racing, being good people and who knows what other criteria.  So we train hard, race hard and hopefully get on the podium wearing their name on our bodies.  In turn they stock us up with delicious Erin Baker cookies and granola and a plethora of other terrific triathlon related good...all compliments of our wonderful sponsors. Kestrel, Speedfill, Playtri, blueseventy ....

There is more to Erin Baker Wholesome Baked Goods than just healthy breakfast cookies and granola.  Every year they donate thousands of Breakfast Cookies to organization and events all over the country which promote activity and healthy eating for kids.  They also provide Breakfast Cookies and fruit to kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County, WA.

This year when EB asked me to return to the team they also asked for a commitment to give back to the community....EB has partnered with Janus Charity Challenge.  The Janus Charity Challenge is a unique fundraising program designed to help add more depth and meaning to an athlete's Ironman experience while making a world of difference in the lives of others. So I am challenged to raise money for any Boys & Girls Club in the US.

I decide I want to help I go to the closest B&G Club in 4S Ranch and pull into the parking lot and as I am getting out of my car, I notice the Escalade and Mercedes in the lot.  I pause and think....gee how can I ask people for money to help support a club whose members are driving cars nicer than most.... Not.  So I left.  The next club that came to mind is the one in Encinitas, similar problem.  For those of us who live inland...the idea of living in Encinitas seems pretty darn nice and how rough can it be?  I am sure there are kids in need in the area, but looking at their beautiful swim complex makes one really wonder.

So I did nothing for a long time....with my race coming up I realized I had to do something. I considered just writing a check and being done with it.  But I did not take the easy route and I contacted the local director and conveyed my issue.   She was terrific and steered me toward the most in need clubs.  I was drawn to the Encanto Branch, in SE San Diego.  Encanto is a hot bed of gang violence. This neighborhood as the highest rate of Juvenile probation referrals in the are.   Over 90% of Encanto students attend Title I schools (this designation is based on % of low income families). Club activities have a goal of creating a safe environment that will feed these young people’s need for alternatives to gangs and drugs, positive mentoring relationships, recognition for appropriate behavior, educational success, learning alternative methods of relating to a hostile environment, healthy lifestyles, and self-esteem building.

I am tired of our government throwing money into prisons when we are not dealing with the root of the problem....Okay off my soapbox.

Next is asking people for money..... Really not my favorite thing to do but well- I get asked all the time and if the cause if good, the person is taking on a new athletic endeavor I donate some money. If I don't want to, I don't , no skin off my back, no offense taken.  I was drafting some emails and I was thinking....gee setting the example is probably a good idea.  Meanwhile I was lurking online and pondering a new aero helmet ( assured to make me go really fast...)  I closed the page and decided to kick in $500 to my cause.  Then well, if no one else added $$, at least I did my part.  

The cool thing is that our entire team is raising money and by the end of the will be impressive.  Selfish triathletes all over the US raising money for kids.  I like it!!

So the next thing I had to ponder....who should I ask... well hard to say.  I didn't want to just send a request to everyone I know but how to decide... no rhyme or reason, less than more and well if I didn't hit you up for money and you feel like you want to is the link to make a donation!  DONATE NOW  If I did hit you up and you are feeling put off, get over it, ignore it and move on :)  If you did donate, thank you very much- really helping kids is good for our future. 

So there you have whining about my injuries, no updates on training, nothing about the hellish struggles of raising teenagers.... 

And for me while I am basking in Kona for a week.....laying in the sun, drinking Mai Tai's and pondering life , acclimating to the heat, carfull not enjoy the local food for fear of GI distress, avoiding the sun, going to bed at 8, eating at home to prevent any food poisoning and finally spending one hell of a long day swimming 2.4miles, riding 112 along the desolate lava fields of the Queen K and then running a marathon in the Kona sun.... at least someone will benefit.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Waking up with a hangover....

but the bummer is I have not had a drink in a while....eyes open, a bit foggy, dull ache in the head and cloudy.  This is what I have learned a mild concussion feels like.  You know that feeling of having just one too many glasses of wine, not the oh crap I drank an entire bottle of wine feeling, just one too many.  So I lay there each morning wondering why I did that and then I realize, wait I had water last night and went to bed at 8.

The good news is it gets better each day and once I am up and around it slowly dissipates, okay an Advil in the AM helps, but it is gone for most of the day.

For those who care  here is an update on the thigh, while it looks horrific as you can see, does not cause much pain.

My shoulder is painful- bruising is okay but the road rash is what hurts.  Fingers are torn up and covered in band aids to prevent form opening them up. I tore open the pad of the middle finger and that is a key area for typing so it hurts. I looked down yesterday and there was blood all over the keyboard- more band aids.  But seriously, 5 band aids to cover my fingers and every time I wash my hands they start to slip off....such a dilemma, have dirty germ filled hands or go through 25 band aids a day.   And my head....well the bump and bruise are dissipating and the dull ache gets duller every day.  So all in all, I am fine, just whining really.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Arrive Alive.....

So someone (okay me) had this brilliant  idea to do a long ride in the heat, serious heat, Kona training...So the plan was to ride the Stagecoach Century route which starts 80 miles East of San Diego.  I have done this before in January (yes, well I know why they hold the century in Jan and not September) 
Tati ready to roll...nice scenery behind her. 

So, John, Tati and I roll at 5:30 and start the road trip. It is foggy and 59 degrees when we leave our house. Tati and me are so happy we are going to be riding in the heat....famous last words.  As we head East we see the temp drop to 49 and we wonder, will is really be hot?  We exit in the Metropolis  ghost town of Ocotillo and pull into the only Gas Station and frankly only sign of life.  7:30 and it is 88 degrees, oh boy.

We stock up in the food mart and Jackie (John and he are now on 1st name basis) asks what we are up to and once we share the plan he says..."oh, your parents must have been at Woodstock"  As we are getting on our bikes a car full of Chinese Tourists (why the hell they are in Ocotillo I cannot say) pulls up and are chatting away and staring in utter amazement as we ride away.

So the ride out was as expected- hot but manageable, few climbs a long steady ascent (much the ride to Havi in Kona) with a whipping head wind (again very Kona like)  The temp is climbing, our drinks are hot but we are cruising. There are 2 places to stop in 50 miles- the "airport" or the Butterfield RV Resort.   At 40 miles we stop at the Butterfiield, but 10 lbs of ice and refill and chillax in the shade where it is only 95.   We are hot but doing well.  The last 10 miles were a strong head wind and it was not fun.  The good part is we are aero the whole time- no place to stop or slow down.  We make U turn and head is not well over 100 and getting tough. The tail wind was not as we hoped but we had more downhill than up. 

at 40 miles we are still enjoying the adventure. 

Around 4 hours I roll up to the "airport" and we had talked about stopped there for some ice- I slow as I miss the turn and then decide to circle back.  Well as I am circling I am in gravel and next thing I know I am down on the blazing hot asphalt and gravel.  From what I can recall it my shin grazed the asphalt, my thigh slammed down and then my shoulder and hard thud with my head.  Holy Crap.....lot of pain, disorientation and confusion.  I get up and asses that nothing is broken- just sore, bloody and well hot.  Tat rolls up and I am hunched over my bike, dizzy as can be and we spin to the store.  More ice and we regroup and I asses I am okay.  3 Advil, big ice chunk on my thigh which is rapidly swelling and we are off.  The last 90 minutes were a bear....well over 100, sore from the fall, tailwind dissipated and we are not having fun.  We have our heads down, iPods playing and fully immersed in the suffer fest.  John had gone by when we were at the store and when we passed him he nearly went down because we scared the hell out of him. This is a desolate highway   Pretty much all we saw all day.....

We are working our way back, water is tepid, but we are getting the job done.  I begin to wonder what we would do if we run out of water....we are not far but well delirious and then I see these

 okay this is when if gets bad if we have to use the water in trash cans that are placed in the desert for the illegals who are sneaking over the border.  No wonder so many is well hot as hell out there.   Luck for us, we soon went through a border check point ( I kept Tati close to me) and they had luscious cold water....chugged it and slogged home the last 8 miles.  

I roll up and take a shower with the 3 gallons of water in the car, peel off my bloody and torn clothes and put on dry clothes. I am feeling somewhat normal, despite the grapefruit size hematoma on my thigh and I venture in the store for some ice, only to find Tati sitting on the floor, in front of the fan having a buffet of snacks from the snack wish I had a photo, but I was worrying about my molting skin.  3 ice bags later for my thigh, shoulder and head and we are good.  John rolls in looking like he just crossed the desert, well he did actually and we head home...... 

Bad idea- yes, totally depleted us, risky and dangerous but makes a heck of a story for Ironman Training. I tell you this was the 180 degree opposite of hell when I got snowed in on my bike.  

Thank goodness I did  my long run on Saturday- best run ever!!! 18 miles in the bank and felt awesome.  Recovery is in order today....banged up body, bruises and muscles are sore! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

23 days....but who is counting

World Championship

Okay I am counting and wish for a few more weeks.....After my rest and recovery I am feeling good, strong but am running out of time.  Very specific workouts from KP - to the minute, power wattage, HR or running pace.  No room for error and I am doing my best to stay within the lines. NO ROOM FOR ERROR- he says and I have to agree.  Takes the thinking out of what to do each day- I sometimes have to write down the workout or I forget how many intervals at what watts...But it is good.  I feel good, am tired, but a good tired vs the in a hole shoot me tired.

So most people have one more big weekend and then it's taper time....since I used up some of the luxurious tapering, recovering a few weeks back, I have another 11 days of work and then it is taper time.   Since I am not dead tired, begging to recover, I am ok with this.   

Big weekend planned and am pyshed for it. Working around Riley and XCountry and JD's soccer so training had to be juggled.

Working on all my coaching as well....forms, getting set up and right that big test!  Need to get cracking on that! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

I am a coach.....

Okay not really.... I still have to pass the test and do more but I feel like I could be one!  Okay so all the details of day 1 are great but don't have the details of day 2 or day 3....all in my head :)

Synopsis is it was awesome!  I loved all of it....some was too beginning and some was too advanced and some was just right- kind of like the 3 Bears.  The specifics on were really informative.   We are swimmers, bikers or runners we are triathletes and remembering that is key.  How we swim, bike or run is different in some ways to those who do 1 sport.

My favorite part was the periodization and case studies.  It was fun working on plans for athletes training for a sprint or 70.3 and reading about their extenuating circumstances- or their limiters. There is so much more than the training plan- it's called LIFE.  Elites are able to swim,bike, run train when optimal and rest in between to maximize workouts.  The rest of us are juggling work, kids, life etc.  One presenter made a comparison between an Elite and an Age Grouper.  On a given Sunday his Elite does a long run, followed by a recovery nap and later a recovery swim etc.  The age grouper does the run at 6am and then throws down food, showers and jumps in the car to attend a soccer game, birthday  party and then plan dinner for the family. I was really expecting my photo on that slide....seriously!

So Friday night we had class until 8, had a quick dinner and I was in bed by 9:30.  I had a 90 minute run to do the next AM and asked a local where to run. She gave me a great route and when I asked it if would be safe running alone- she said sure as long at it was light. I asked if she runs there and she said yes, but she packs.  I say excuse me...."yeah, I am ex- military and I like to run with my gun."  Uh....okay I'm thinking not such a good idea.  At 5:30 it was dark and I was happy to suffer on the treadmill vs worrying about getting license and learning how to shoot a gun and then figure out where to carry it when I am running.  My pockets are just not that big!

So Saturday we were done at 5 and my room mate is a New Orleans virgin. She wants to see the French Quarter. So after a nap and some downtime we head out to my old stomping grounds.  See in college, we used to head to New Orleans at 2am when the bars closed in Baton Rouge- how we are still alive and never hurt anyone else is frankly a miracle.  The French Quarter is disgusting.....90 degrees, hot, humid and smells like a sewer.... At 7:30 it was already filled with lots of drunk people and so many are young college kids. Ole Miss was playing Tulane at 8 so they were out partying.....I felt soooo old- I was worried about them all, were they driving, what were they doing to their bodies- OMG and then it occurred to me I could be there mothers and then I realized in 2 years JD could be down there.  For the record- no school in Louisiana is an option for my kids.

On the way to the Gumbo Pot we had to get a frozen daiquiri- this is what New Orleans is famous for, well that and Hurricanes.  They sell daiquiris every 20 feet in Slurpee like machines and since there is no open container law you just buy one and keep walking.  These are soooo dangerous.  They taste like a Slurpee but let me tell you there are more than that.  Awesome dinner- grilled catfish on spinach and collard greens and I was satiated and ready for bed!

Home by 10....and blissfully asleep as the French Quarter raged on.   Sunday was a 1/2 day and were were out of there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

USAT Certification Training

USA Triathlon
USAT Level I Certification Training

What an experience!  3 days,  23 hours , 6 instructors and a whole lot of information, good information.  We started the day early Saturday AM with Bob Seebohar and he was terrific.  He covered Exercise Physiology, Triathlon Nutrition Strategies, Triathlon Strength Training and finally a night class about Metabolic Efficiency- his hot topic.  It was all terrific.  With only 90-120 minutes per topic it was really an overview but a great start. Anything that is really interesting or I feel I want more information there are books, webinars and more for continuing education. 

It was hard to not just absorb all the information and apply them to me and my training. Learning more about what I am doing right and what I can do better.  The overtraining subject was clearly very relative and close to my heart.  Partially through the class I began to think about the topics and how I can use them to help others when I have the opportunity to coach athletes.

The Metabolic Efficiency class was my favorite and one very relevant to me right now.  Since embarking on this path in May it was great to hear more about the process, how he came to discover the benefits, review the case studies and success.  I am eager to work with others on this process- number one reason to work towards metabolic efficiency?  Reduce GI distress during races!  That is the reason….those who take on the challenge see other great results that are overall health benefits.  Bob is passionate about the process and very clear that if you want other athletes to give it a try you must practice if first.  Practice what you preach!

Bob is a tough act to follow…. The next guy covered Running Skills and Economy Training- He was….well disappointing.  His presentation skills were weak, his material was questioned by many and he did not have the passion behind what he was teaching.   Now I am not a runner not profess to know a lot about running….but I have taken a few clinics, read some books and watched videos and he frankly offered information that was different.   Different is not bad, only bad if you cannot back it up.  Enough on that….

All in all Day 1 was awesome!   Did we party in the French Quarter?  Well I was up at 6, ran an hour in the humidity on New Orleans, sat in class 11 hours and well we were tired.  My roommate (who by the way is awesome) and I took a walk, had a quick drink and I was in bed my 9:30! 

Day 2…..up at 5:30 to get in a semi long run and dang it – it was dark and well New Orleans is a bit of a scary place. So I sucked it up , used mental toughness and ran on the treadmill.  Followed my run with my new favorite post run beverage, fresh coffee with a chocolate-mint GU as an additive, delicious indeed.

Commentary on the class…..38 triathletes from all over, mostly from the South, who are competing at all levels.  Some have been coaching for a while and finally decided to get the certification, others (like me) eager to start a coaching business and help others and some who are PT’s, own running shops, work in the industry who want more information.  Lots of fit people, Ironman shirts and the typical triathlon crowd.  4-5 ppl sporting Vibram 5Fingers, note on those shoes…they smell after a while.  The guy behind me is wearing them and frankly it smells like stinky feet all day long- UG!  

Sports Psychology & Mental Skills: Dara Wittenberg: USAT Level II, MS Exercise Physiology, CISSN
She was terrific, dealt with so many issues on the mental side of this sport.    A lot of it deals with assessing your athlete’s goals, needs and working with them to achieve them.  But she covered imagery and the success of visualization about your race, dealing with injury and how it affects us all- not just physically but socially- frankly most of us socialize as we train and when we cannot train we lose our social support as well, working with the other factors of life and how that affects training and racing…and so much more.  Race expectations, what are realistic and attainable, understanding why an athlete is racing, relaxation techniques, race plans, back up race plans, negative thoughts and how to deal with them, mantra- what is yours? “make it work” (stolen from Beth- is a good one),  you have to create a mantra that is true to you- know it, learn it and use it when it gets tough.

 Swimming Skills and Economy Training Ben Elder: USAT Level II
This is a good one….. When I started coaching swimming (back in college) it was hard.  See I don’t remember learning how to swim, so I had to take “swim classes” to learn how to teach.  I spent many summers thereafter coaching kids and soon evolved to teaching adults.  But around 24 I put the sport of swimming behind me….well for 15 years anyway.

5 years ago when I discovered this dynamic sport I jumped back in the water, much slower, but picked up where I left off years ago.  When I look   I don’t remember learning how to swim so it makes it harder to teach it.  Although having the opportunity to coach swimming for 5 years was beneficial, but I was coaching kids.  As Bob says….we teach kids and change adults.  Working with adults is more of a challenge, but can be done and one component I look forward to doing in my coaching.   

 We covered the  Dynamics of Coaching Youth and Juniors  and well let’s just say I love my 2 kids…..not sure about coaching others- maybe with time- never say never.

And we finished the day with Cycling Skills  and Triathlon Specific Training and Key Workouts with Justin Trolle: USAT Elite Coach.  He was awesome and so full of knowledge my brains are overflowing right now.   So much good information on biking skills, understanding the bike, planning for your race and more.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life is good....

Oh yeah....back in control and feeling good. Amazing how great it feels to sleep well and not be thoroughly exhausted.  4 days off was hard!  But done and since then have been following my KP's plan very obediently.  1 hour swim, 1 hour ride and 30 min run.  Each day.... well yesterday I got to run 45 minutes.  Each day my resting HR is lower and my legs feel better.  So interesting how we can be so used to the fatigue that settles and just live with it.   Going up and down the stairs is not painful and each day I am holding back.

So now I am ready and eager the last block before Kona....not sure when that starts but hopefully soon.

Rest of life has been terrific. JD turned 16 over the weekend and we had a great dinner on Friday with the family. I think the highlight may have been him driving to dinner in Dad's BMW.

 Early night for us all as both kids were up at 6am. JD for a soccer tournament and Riley for her first XCountry meeting.  I went with Riley knowing JD at games all weekend. She did fantastic in her first race - finished in the top 1/3 and more importantly with a huge smile on her face and a surge at the end passing a whole group of people.  1.65 miles.  I love the running community and am so excited for her.  I of course got my run in while they were warming up!

Rest of the weekend was soccer and a good one at that!  JD's team won the tournament, 2nd tournament win this summer.  Fun to watch and Riley came to all the games so we had some great time together. and we like that.  Kids were saddled with homework so it was a quite day. I took my CPR class, gearing up for my USAT (USA Triathlon) Certification course this weekend and started on my homework.  Gotta get that done- it is really fun.  I am writing mock training plans for sample athletes.  Will see how I do.

And since this post took me 3 days.....a new week has started and training is back to normal this week.....yeah!  More volume and increasing intensity!! . Feels good when I am feeling good.