Monday, May 20, 2013

Big Surf Racing...CA style

The Encinitas Sprint Tri was this weekend....a special race for me as it was my first real triathlon 6 years ago.  I had done one other and they cancelled the swim ( so that does not count) There were big waves 6 years ago but not as big as yesterday. 4-6 feet and it did not let up. Thank you for NOT cancelling the swim.

Yea Liz conquered the swim
Elite wave went off at 6:40 and I did not start until 7:48 so I had the benefit of watching many waves battle the rip, the surf and it was fun...the announcer was great as he was up high and was commentating on the rip.  At first it was pulling hard South so start to the right, then it was pulling North so start to the left and then it was pulling out and it changed 3 or 4 more times.  Watching the numbers try and get out was fun. Bottom line run straight in and start diving and when the big ones come hold onto the sand (the wetsuit makes you pop right back up)

This is as good as it gets for a swimmer!  But I was so impressed by so many who embraced their fears and toed the line. They went for it and a lot of them make it out...and back in.   Some did not, but they tried it and were still able to do the Duathlon.   It was hard and scary. I got slammed hard coming in, full body tumble, goggles off, hit the sand....The adrenaline was high!

Nytro girls (missing Kristin) 
The most fun was the bike (an easy 10 miles) but I spent the whole ride looking for all my friends and with each one I would get a huge smile knowing they had made it.  It was all about relaxing, patience and not panicking.  And they did it!

The run was short and fast and I felt great.... the bike albeit short was just painful.  My legs are shot from CrossFit and lack of riding.  I have been running every day minimum 30 minutes and I can see how it pays off...I am used to running tired and sore and my legs know know how to respond.

HERevolution team + me - Rockstars who
also braved and conquered! 
CrossFit and endurance training is NOT easy and most simply quit- as would I if I had a key race or racing season.  But I am committed to 3 days a week...that means my biking and running suffers.  I am experimenting with 3 days in a row and then hoping my legs will loosen up for the weekend for some longer rides but last week that did not work out so well due to being sick,  And I am traveling early this week- so will take in in stride.... what I want to see is if the CrossFit strength will pay off when it comes time to race... even though my running and riding is compromised. I have to increase volume or Vineman will not be doable and I will just have to keep it slow and see.  If it fails, it fails...but I will have tried it.   I absolutely love it- love the muscle confusion, the energy and the sheer physical abuse....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Whole Food, Paleo, No Sugar, No processed food challenge

There are a lot of crazy diets (not weight loss but way of eating diet) these days...from Paleo to the Whole30day program..Riley and I have been talking about doing a "challenge" for a while and post Costa Rica seemed a good week to do it. We designed our own program.. whole food, no package and unaltered state.  Paleo is too strict as we need nuts (which is limited on Paleo) as R is vegetarian.  We also love fruit so we are not cutting that out.... we are cutting grains, dairy (well I was until CostaRevenge would not go away),  all processed foods, sugar and alcohol.   

What are we eating....fruits, lots of veggies in all forms, eggs (thank you Costo for selling 18 packs of Organic eggs), nuts (salted), avocado and more veggies.   I have had 1 cup of coffee per day with unsweetened almond milk - this is a biggie for me. I am a full pot a day coffee drinker + energy drinks which I have had ZERO of since starting this.  Wine - out of the diet. 

What am I missing... Mocha's from Starbucks - saving $$ though.  Quinoa chips -  while they are not bad as they are organic with minimal ingredients, I am sticking to it for a week. Chocolate covered acai berries- did not realize my addiction to those.  As for training- since I have been sick it has really been limited so not an issue...I put Nuun in my bottles ( I know it processed but I need electrolytes) and have had few Pure Bars when I was in a jam - yes processed but only ingredients are Wild organic blueberries, cashews and almonds with protein, fiber and antioxidants What I have realized is that already eat pretty close to this diet... so not a big change.   Riley is realizing this is good and we are considering week 2. 

Will see how this jives when I start training again.. for real. Since I booked a house for Vineman I better start riding again.  Tried 2x this week but no go.... once CostaRicaRevenge goes away- I am hoping to log some really slow  miles on the bike.  Going to pay the price for no riding in 3 weeks. 

Costa Rica....

I get it now .....why everyone loves Costa Rica! What is NOT to love...beautiful, reasonably clean, amazing food, all about being outside and while parts are quite overrun with tourists not all of it is (yet)  I highly recommend getting down there sooner than later...

even a city hotel in Costa Rica is a resort
We were there 7 nights and that was perfect...Travel is long, but well you are going to Central America.  San-Dallas - 3 hours (ouch) but met up with many of my colleagues and we chilled at an Irish Pub and started off the trip right with a few ciders.  4 hours from Dallas to San Jose ...where the adventure began! 

We transfered to the Marriott San Jose as it was already a long day... San Jose is the capital and a big city. The hotel was nesteled in a coffee plantation and we had an amazing dinner and off to bed....
the violinist behind the screen

 Monday AM we boarded the bus for Marriott Los Suenos (which is near Jaco - on the Pacific Coast but inside the bay.

hard to really see the crater. 
En route we vistied the Poas Volcano (not Arenal which is the famous one in the rainforest- but I digress)  It was a nice stop, short walk and is now a hot crater lake.  Massive in size and steaming hot and smelled of sulfur.  And back on the bus.  We arrived at the Marriott Los Suenos and it was paradise. Lush, tropical, humid and it just called out relaxation.  The grounds are beautiful and the rooms quite comfortable.

hard to see but these are filled with water and
live fish with floating candles.  
We had a very relaxing day at the pool followed by a sensational dinner on the beach- the red carpet was poured out at all dinners.  Amazing food, decor and entertainment. 

Early in the AM John and I went kayaking and snorkeling.... kayaking was fun and quite challenging coming back into the wind. Due to recent rain and wind the water was choppy and there was not much to see snorkeling.  While the water was not clear it was heavenly and warm..we walked along a beach, enjoyed fresh pineapple and truly felt very far from home. 

Kayaking, beach, fruit and fun!!!  

Pura Vida Pura vida literally means Pura = pure and vida = life, but “pure life” in correct Spanish is actually “vida pura”, making the real meaning of “pura vida” closer to “plenty of life”, “full of life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, “real living”, or “cool!”

If we thought kayaking was fun...we had no idea what was in store for us the next day. Zip was amazing.  12 platforms, screaming through the rainforest- such good, clean fun. Fully belly laughing and was definitely a highlight.  Followed by an amazing dinner in the jungle and local drummers..... big fun in Costa Rica!

After 2 night in the rain forest we headed to Guanacaste...which does not look far but let me tell you- it was Cambodia all over again.... 9 hours on a bus!  One stop which was really 2 hours out of the way to the National Park for a crappy lunch and a boat ride to see some cool crocodiles, monkeys and iguana's.  But frankly we saw them when we were driving and the mega detour was just not worth it :)  but that is all over no more complaining.  The reward was JW Marriott Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast.  

Guanacaste is a wonderful spot...but is far away.  Even flying into Liberia (which cuts down the transfer time) it is a fully day of travel to get there-  Frankly if I had to do it all over again I would skip the pacific coast- why? it is not all that different that other coastal resort hotels. 

What i love about Costa Rica is what other locations do NOT have....rain forest and volcano's.  I am disappointed we did not see Arenal Volcano and the Cloud Forest - but that gives us a reason to go back.    Don't get me wrong..I loved what we did and am thankful to have seen all we did.  But for the future, for clients for friends...see what is NOT in other geographical locations.... rain forest, volcanoes etc/   

 Beautiful beach, warm water.... and relaxation. While this was a "work" trip is was a pure incentive and it was marvelous to  NOT plan the trip, NOT pay for the trip and be a guest.   This was the first trip John and I have taken without the kids and that did not involve a triathlon in ever a long time.   So it was all good...
I better get working in hopes of joining the trip next year.

The official trip ended on Friday and group of stayed for a few more nights of RnR.  We laid low and enjoyed the zero agenda!

Final night we found a great local spot for dinner.  Lola' was accessible via beach or a long gravel road.  We opted for the 1.3 mile walk.  It was high tide so we did a lot of ocean walking and shortly after our arrival the skies opened up. Poured for 30+ minutes- it was a warm rain and we had shelter.  It was all good!   Special drink was a blended mojito and they were delicious.  First real rain of the year so the locals were thrilled....Lola's is named after the pig -  she was massive!  I avoided any pork in case it was from Lola 1.   What turned out to be amazing fresh and local food...also turns out to have "had issues"  8 of us were hit the next AM and regrettably 5 days later I am still feeling "lolas revenge"  Hoping the trip to the Dr and his meds will help.
Not the perfect ending to a near perfect trip but well....such is life!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Catching up on reading

travel means reading....I boarded our flight to DFW with 6 magazines- Triathlete, Lava, Inside Tri and Outside. I diligently read each one and tear out articles, ideas that I want to revisit later.  I have a fairly well organized binder at home with tabs for swim, bike, run, strength, racing, injury, nutrition - when I find something good I tear out and add.  It is a good resource manual for my athletes and me personally,  

One of the cool articles I read today 

There 2 camps in swimming....1- high elbow or 2- deep catch.  I came from the school of high elbow but have experimented with the deep catch and event paid for a lesson to truly feel the difference. I remain in the high elbow camp and thus am excited when I read article that support my thinking.

....most swimmers naturally opt for the deep pull. But doing that is like putting your right foot on the gas pedal and your left foot on the brake … the entire way. Pulling with EVF requires a leap of faith. You simply have to trust that using EVF reduces drag enough to more than compensate for the greater power you will get with the deep pull. When you first try pulling this way, it will feel downright awkward. But keep working at it and you will soon get stronger and the motion will become more natural. The stronger your “EVF muscles” (scapular, shoulders and forearms) get, the faster you will go.

So I will keep my teaching as is....and my swimming as is until I can be convinced otherwise.

The other great article was in Inside Triathlon about race set up. I tore out the key pages and thus do not have the authors name or info to give credit where credit is due....for that I apologize. Here are some key bits I picked up

- "the goal is achieve what we call  a no-loss gain, basically riding with extra stuff (without adding drag) says Chris Yu (Specialized) - this is primarily for long course races.   
- Pack behind the saddle-  tucking stuff up extremely tight behind the saddle is a no loss gain (Yu) 
- Hide your bag-  tuck it behind the stem
- Mounting bottles to the frame (down tube or seat tube) is a speed loss.  All test show they add drag- where to put them? behind the saddle or horizontal front bottle carrier

-less rolling resistance is the goal.  tests show a 25 mm tire has roughly 15% less rolling resistance than a 23mm tire.   The time saved by switching from a slow rolling tired to a fast one can equal the difference between a great aero frame and a mediocre one ( says Morrisson) 

Great article in Inside Tri by Kim McDonald-  Find your Long Course Requirement- long article....but few nuggets that caught my attention
- Are your long runs too long?  I learned from my coach and ran my best IM Marathon (3:51) with my longest run being 2:30.  While the 20 miler, 3+ hour run is a perceived "mental" necessity I think it breaks down the body too much, requires more recovery than gain from the run and can lead to poor form and lead to over training. 

- Are you practicing your race n nutrition plan?  this is easier said than done..I can practice my race plan all day every day but never is the day the same- for me the "excitement" of racing add a GI distresser that I cannot emulate in training.  so while yes, try the combo to make sure you can train effectively with it - it is hard to know until race day how it will hold up. 

More to come...but good stuff so far! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cross Fit Week 1

Last week was "ramp" week.....3 1 hour sessions learning the "moves", proper form and getting a taste of the real deal  This week was the real deal.  Cross fit sun is open 5 days (M-F) and the die hards go 5 days a week...after more conversation I also learned they are not swimming, biking, running but possible are returning in the pm for Olympic Lifting classes.  I decided to commit to 3x week so I can retain some semblance of a triathlon schedule.

Monday I was nervous and excited and attended the 7am class.  6 people - all veterans but really nice.  A nice warm up and then jump rope 3 min non stop.  Next up 3 min of DU (double unders)  right rope goes around twice before you land.  This is hard and takes wicked coordination.  But I managed 1, yes 1- before you start laughing I soon learned it has taken some months to master their 1st one.  Meanwhile the guy next to me is linking 40+ DU's...ah what to aspire to. The WOD (workout of the day) 1 arm dumbbell raise, squats, 1 arm dumbbell raise, plank row with weights- 20 sec max/10 sec off x 6.  Does not sound like much....HA.  tell my body that on Tuesday.  A bit of running and stretching.  Tue I could feel it - my run was definitely stiff...but i was feeling good.

Wed I went to the 6am class with with 12 + people there is a lot of energy.  More jump roping and DU's and then the WOD was frankly crazy.  Farmers Carry - 36 lb kettle bells and you carry with arms straight and walk 5 min.  If you stop, 5 push ups - sounds ez- NOT.  Then 10 lb sledge hammer onto a big tire- 2:30 right and 2:30 left (reminded me a bit of macheting in Cambodia)  Next dead lifts 5 min and finally take a 15 lb sand ball and throw it as far as you can, run and pick it up and do it again.  Can you say total body workout!   Went direclty to 3 hour ride ( not hard-cannot go hard- legs and body hurt) and topped it off with a 30 min run and actually was able to muster up 10 x 1 min hard effort!   That was a day...  spending the remainder of the day at a desk and my computer caused for some late night pain.

Oh boy Thursday's swim and ride were slow and painful.  I am committed to CF and will dial back efforts in Swim. Bike. Run.  It is hard!

Friday I ran before CF and oh my..... jump roping I am getting the hang of and not too stressful. More dead lifts and yes I can feel my hamstrings ( but not in a bad/injury way- in a holy cow muscle use way)  and then the WOD 75 burpees for time.  Get out..... it was hard...I mean hard.  My HR had to be close to 190 and I was nearly crying - but secretly loved it.  6:53.  Went directly to Yoga and the plank was nearly impossible.

All in all a solid week.....I only swam 2x 45 min, Ran every day - which I committed to but not a lot.  4 x 30 min runs/ 2x45 min runs and a crazy trail run on Saturday 1:40- but not hard. 2 rides - total of 5:30 of riding.  3x core power yoga.  As hard as the yoga is when I am sore, I feel so much better after.  My only real regret was on Saturday (feeling the burpees and the trail run) I thought I was going to CorePower 2 but instead was Sculpt - which is hot yoga + cardio + weights. When she said burpees I nearly cried.....

Marriott Guanacaste
I am sore, challenged and excited.   Sort of disappointed to miss a week of CrossFit and Yoga but well we are Costa Rica bound!  HPN Globals Presidents Club trip so we are off to 6 nights.... 1 night San Jose, then we move to Marriott Los Suenos and then to Guanacaste for 2 nights at the Marriott and finish 2 nights at the Westin.   1 week of luxury that I did not have to plan and we do not have to pay for!! We have not been on an Incentive Trip since my days with Starwood- this will be great.  Small group of 12 + guest...we will be busy kayaking, zip lining, checking out the volcano, snorkeling, jungle touring and then have the final 2 days alone to relax or most likely find another adventure of our own.