Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ironman Lake Placid Course Review

No emotion...just a detailed review of Ironman Lake Placid

Location: LP is hard to get to and especially from the West Coast. Keep this in mind when traveling. Sunday race and we planned to travel on Thursday but changed to Wednesday at the last minute.  Due to a 6 hour weather delay in Dulles our trip was 18 hours door to door. San- Dulles- wait 6 hours. Dulles to Burlington + 2 hour drive.  You can fly to Burlington or Albany and the drive is similar in time but from Burlington the scenery is spectacular. You ferry or take a bridge over Lake Champlain (unless you land at midnight and the ferry is not running)  In any case we were pleased it was only Wednesday to allow an extra day for recovery and to catch up on sleep.  The long travel + the time change takes a toll for sure.

The village of Lake Placid is quaint and centers around the Olympic venues and has a great feel.  It is all Ironman, signs on the stores and restaurants and the vibe is great,  We stayed at the Northwoods Inn right in town.  A run down hotel with a 5 night minimum at $295/night- but well that is Ironman.  It was ok but would not stay again due to noisy air conditioner but we had a kitchenette and that was a bonus.  I would consider the following: The Haus (which as some kitchen units), Adirondack Inn or the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid. 

Staying in walking distance just makes the days leading up and race day stress free. It is nice to walk down and swim and bike and then come home and rest a bit and hit the expo etc. vs driving each time.

EXPO- expo and registration are in the old Olympic skating rink- which is now an outdoor grass field. Great set up and the actual registration is in the school a short walk away. 

SWIM: Mirror Lake is not a big lake and with 2500+ athletes it is full. The lake has the famous cable (6 ft underwater) and if you are lucky enough to get a spot on top it makes sighting really easy.   The course is 2 loops with a water start.  They start encouraging athletes to get in 25 min before the start- this is a long time to tread water so consider this before you get in.  Water temp was 74 so wetsuit legal- highly recommend a farmer john wetsuit- as full was VERY hot.  I got in after the pro's went off and made my way to the front to problem, with 10 min to go.  Swim spread out quickly and I was in open water soon.  I expected a fast swim but came out 58 (which is a bit slow for me)  I did end up on the cable but with people on either side I was whacking the buoys every 10 feet or so. 2 loop swim to be prepared to run out and and dive back in.

BIKE: This is a HILLY course!  I ride hills, love hills and did not prepare mentally for how tough this course is.   They are steep hills and the mentally tough part is that you descend first and then climb all the way back into town x 2. And in 2012 the wind picked up heavily so lap 2 which is tough to begin with was even harder with a serious head wind. I found this course more challenging than IM St George because the climbing was in the 2nd 1/2 vs climbing and then descending.  The famous 3 bears are as noted....steep but are packed with people and that helps tremendously!  If and I am not, no way no how,  were to do this race again I would be riding Great Western Loop doubles... 90 miles and 9000 ft of elevation. This is a tough course and I would be less concerned about aero riding and more about long rides on steep hills.  

RUN:  The run is NOT flat either.... you run out of town down hill... again the down first and then the up.  And the up is STEEP.  I was already feeling terrible and the run was a struggle and the hills just made it even tougher.  I would add some up hill transition runs to training and do some steep hill repeats on long runs.  IM St George (old run course) was tougher but this is not for the weary.   The finish is amazing as you run through town packed with people and final run is around the stadum.

Since this was not my day and a tough race overall it makes me less objective.....but if you want a challenge than IMLP is a good one!

Friday, July 27, 2012


I have had so many ask me if I am going to try and squeeze in another race and try to get to Kona...and the answer is no.  I have been fortunate enough to qualify the last 3 years and we spent glorious weeks in Kona each October and loved every minute of it except for the last 10 miles of the race when I swore I would NEVER come back. We stay with great friends and enjoy the Superbowl of triathlon. How can you not WANT to go....

At the beginning of 2012, before I broke my leg, bailed out of 2 races and had a sub-par IM in July I was 50/50 on going to Kona....why?  Lets start with the practical - it is a really expensive trip- minimum $5k for the 2 of us and with JD starting college in the fall we have a big bill forthcoming.....  But honestly that is not the real reason.... I just don't have the burning desire and that is where the question lies...why?  You have to have a burning desire to do any Ironman and especially Kona in the heat!  To be philosophical.....I have never raced well in Kona and maybe I have allowed the fear get to me?  Not sure, but the desire and will is not pressing as it has in years past.  The last 3 years I have  had a back up race planned in case I did not qualify at my A race and this year I did not and that was intentional.  If all went well and I secured a slot we would decide yes or no. I weighed the options around mile 80 of the bike, knowing full well it was not in the cards to happenat IMLP.  I could start the run and see if there was a miracle in my legs and if not I could have stopped and used LP as a training day and entered IM Louisville (yes it is still open)  or could have grabbed a community fund slot to Canada.  But I did not want to....

The other reason and I think this is the most compelling right now is family....Ironman training is a part time job.  I have my brother and family coming from Hong Kong for a week and will be in Lake Arrowhead and then JD and Riley come home from their month in Shanghai.  I want to enjoy the time with everyone and not stress about training.  JD and I leave August 19 to drive to Colorado for college and I want to have some fun along the way.  Can I train and have fun? sure but it is different.  For the 2 weeks before JD leaves...I want to have the energy to stay up late, go water skiing, camping and hang out with my teenagers.  

I also have another race booked...IM Cabo in March.  So I have another IM on the books that is not too far away.  So I am content, really I am, to take some time off and enjoy my family and friends.    I am not hanging it up and I confess I have looked at some 70.3 races in Sept/Oct as I may get a tad restless...but that will be a last minute decision and not a focused A race-more of fun race with some friends.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Moose Inn

Monday morning we got up and enjoyed a massive breakfast of gluten free pancakes with bananas + eggs + really crappy hotel room coffee Starbucks coffee.   We made the most of our kitchen(ette) and I was the wife extraordinaire and made banana gluten free pancakes and eggs served in bed!   Since we had spent $1000's for a crappy race we spending a lot of cash we decide to save where we can.
Big Moose Inn from the water
On the road by 11and off to The Big Moose Inn.  Good friends/co workers whom I have known/worked with for over 10 years bought this place 3 years ago in Eagle Bay NY.  They were living in Orlando and packed it all up and moved her to run the 12 room place.  Moosers (as are the people who summer or live her full time) are great people.  This place is not like any place in California.  This is what books are written about.  The locals call their places "camps"  We were invited to a "camp" of some people we met on the deck on Monday night.  This camp is probably worth well over $3 million and is a setting of 3-4 houses with the main house looking like a private inn.  Kids are running all over, parents and grandparents around.  They house was the woman's (who is a bit younger than me) great-grand parents place.  It has been redone, added onto and it simply stunning.   The kids who summer or come for a few weeks take swim lessons every weekday AM on the Big Moose dock 10-12 and then have afternoon activities that range from the local water park to overnight hikes.   Everyone knows everyone.

one of the 3 docks at the BMI
The Big Moose does a tremendous bar and restaurant business and the locals (who many live in homes with water access only) come by boat for a cocktail on the deck or a sensational meal.  We are cell phone service with any carrier and limited wi-fi.  But the restaurant offers sensational ahi, rack of lamb and a wonderful wine list. 

We are making the most of our time....started with a short swim across the lake and then had breakfast on the deck.  Weather on Tuesday brought a lot of rain and we just relaxed and then went out on the boat in the afternoon with the owner and his kids (his 1 day off a week) We saw many of the camps and some just peeking through the trees. All lakefront and with boats and docks afloat.

John was helping with a few projects around the Inn and I was drinking hard cider on the deck checking facebook and ready blogs working.  We had dinner in town with Mark and the kids and a local pizza and bar.   There was no gluten free pizza in Placid but we found some in Inlet NY at the Matts Draft House- that they and our  new favorite beverage, AngryOrchard Hard Cider and Gluten Free Pizza.  Great meal and early to bed.

Training for Ironman is about logging miles in swim,bike,run and that is the fun part (most of the time) but the nutrition and recovery part is the challenge. What to eat and not to eat and when to eat to get the maximum recover.  What do drink and not do drink (alcohol and big training don't mix) So it is a constant vigilance to eat well, hydrate and be well prepared for your next workout.

So post race it is always refreshing to not care.... so for example Monday I had eggs and coffee (not bad) , Frito's for lunch with a red bull (bad), JB and I shared a bottle of wine (no appetizers) and soon had pulled pork nachos... followed by more wine and a delicious dinner. Tuesday was 3-4 cups of coffee (recovering from the genius idea of a 2nd bottle of wine) 1 bagel with peanut butter gu (what a tri geek but I love PB on bagels and the did not have any) lunch was the rest of the chocolate we had brought along and some carrots followed by Angry Orchard Ciders and dinner that started with chocolate chip cookies and pizza and salad.   Gee wonder why I wake up not feeling fresh and cheery....

Today.... I think we shall explore the Fingelake Wineries and continue on Johns serious research on Adirondack chairs for his new business venture.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ironman Lake Placid

2012 has not been my year for triathlon.....breaking my leg Feb 8th wrecked all hopes for Oceanside and it was lots of recovering, frustrating running after 11 weeks off but it seemed like it all came together.  I was feeling strong the last few weeks- my run was a bit shy but I was thinking underdone is okay vs overdone.

I felt great race AM and was up and fed and off to my 8th Ironman..
SWIM: crazy how 2500 people can fit in Mirror Lake- it is not a big lake.   It is a water start and people started getting in 25 minutes before the start..I''m sorry I am not treading water for 25 minutes.  I stood in the water for a while- 74, felt really warm with a wetsuit on.  I met a woman that would inspire me throughout the day.  She is 47, stage 4 cancer and hopes to be around for 6 more months.  She has 13yo daughter and devoted husband and her dream before she goes it to complete an Ironman.  My eyes welled with tears and I hugged her luck...I wish I had gotten her name to see if she completed her journey.  She is done with chemo, did not help and she "is feeling strong" but was worried about finishing in 17 hours. 
So the cannon goes off and it is the usual dog fight.  I found my own line on the inside and sprinted hard and soon settled into a good pace (or so I thought)  I was working hard and swimming alongside another female.  We pushed each other and I was feeling okay, not great, but okay.  LP is a 2 loop swim so you exit the water round the corner and dive in for loop 2. I glanced at the clock looking for 26 and say 27:54...ugh...knowing I would slow some on the 2nd loop I was worried.  I tried to pick it up and just did not have it.  So I settled and fought with the girl next to me. I was on the cable and she gave me zero room so every few yards I would whack a buoy with my hand.  It was like whack a mole but was not nearly as fun and there were no prizes.  Swim seemed long. Finally the golden  red arches that saw SWIM OUT and we are on land.  I see 59....crap, slow, slow, slow....

BIKE: I don't rush transition I try to be calm and methodical.  I am out and on my way out of town.... computer is on and power is reading 24, 35, 41 watts.  I am confused.  I am climbing a small hill at 47 watts, this is the hill where I am suppose to keep it at 195.  I am so distracted. I nearly hit someone and realize I need to focus on the road. I hope that somehow it will "fix"  Well it did NOT - it went from low to really high. I was seeing 276, 301 which is an all out effort for me- so not likely.  I am trying to calibrate, reset, figure out what the heck is going on..... I realize I will not have power and will need to race with HR an PE (perceived effort)  Not a big deal but we did not talk about racing this way.  Okay, Julie get it together and race..
So I focus and race.  I realize that I am 1 hour in and not feeling great - my legs are not tired but not feeling great. I am not feeling great.   My attitude is crappy and then we hit the major descent and I focus and go down fast... really fast - 47mph was my top speed - holy crap I got the speed wobbles and hung on. I figured I needed as much time on the downhill as I could get- it was exciting.  I was struggling after that and without complaining for too long- it was not fun.  70 miles of no fun, is NO fun.  The bike is usually the most fun for me in an Ironman, sure there are low points, but this was low most of the time.  Climbing the 3 Bears into a headwind was even less fun.  I love to climb!  I don't like wind but climbing in the wind I can usually get in a positive space that I am stronger than others and I rock....but today was all about self doubt and pity.

RUN: As I am finishing the bike I am wondering how I am going to run.... usually I am excited to get off the bike and began the final leg.  I sat in T2 head in my hands mustering the will to start the run.  I headed out and was not making any decisions, judgements at that time as the 1st few miles can be rough.  These were rough indeed and with each mile it was getting worse.   I tried the positive talk and there was none of it. I debated stopping, what do I have to prove? I have done 7 Ironmans.  What is the point of drudging through this....well the point is not quitting.  I could have justified stopping but I decided to finish for the woman who may not be able to finish and may not have the chance to start one again, I decided to finish because of all the people following me in San Diego- I owe it to them to and I finished because my husband traveled this far and was out on the course for this long and he deserved to have me finish.  It was not pretty, I shed some tears of pity, some tears of pain and I met some cool people who were suffering as much as I.   It was a slow run and at points I would run 100 steps and walk 25.  The last 3 miles I decided I would just walk, I was done, it hurt too much and my time no longer mattered.  And then John comes running down the hill, cheering and supporting me and slowly jogging along side me and so I started.  He did this for 3 long and painful miles - getting the crowds to cheer and getting me to the finish line.  He should get 1/2 the medal.
And I finished.... not with the victory and elation of my others but with a feeling of accomplishment.  
I look like death...and felt that way too!
Recovery....a huge plate of nachos with guacamole and a really scary blue vodka drink.  Not really performance food but it tasted darn good....add the dark chocolate with cherries and I was ready for bed.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 2 in Lake Pacid

10 solid hours of sleep!  Much needed.... had a great dinner with John and Maureen and early to bed.  Woke up feeling good...whipped up some GF pancakes in our tiny kitchen and topped with my new favorite - I thought I bought plain butter but this instead and love it!

Decided to ride the run course today since running 13 miles is a bit much... all you hear about IM Lake Placid is how hilly the bike is...hello, how about the run. Yes- definitely not a PR kind of course.   Wow... the climb back to town is a steep one and I can only imagine how that feels at mile 25.  Let's see...find the positive- I run a lot of hills!! Okay done- I am ready holy cow I should have run more hills, parked my car at the top of a steep hill and done all my runs from there....

The scenery is beautiful and we run by the Olympic ski jump- which is very cool!   And very steep and high and scary to think about.  I have a feeling the run is lonely....we go out a lonely country road and turn around and run back....the in and out of town suffering up the hill that looks a little phallic on the garmin profile will be awesome.  See something to smile about as I run up the hills. 

Did a nice run today and the town is hopping with athletes, family and has a great vibe.  I love the village and the expo....everyone has that amped up Ironman look about them. 

Confession time....did some major recon on who is racing in my AG and well let's just say there is some serious competition-  Chick went 10:15 on this course last year?  How can she be as old as me?  really????  UGH!  Oh well.... the day is my day to do the best I can do :) not get caught up in someone else's race...why check? I like to know- who is out there and where their strengths are...seems she can swim like and fish and run even faster and ride pretty darn well too.  I know, I know.... "there is only one thing  you can control and that is your attitude"  I am controlling it....

Cocoon of Confidence! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lake Placid

Arrive at 3am you have no idea what a location looks like....and we crashed hard.  So much for staying on East Coast time- Ha!  I slept until 9 and then groggily found Starbucks outside the hotel.  We are staying at the North Woods Inn right in town 1/4 mile from the expo and race start... great location to be in.   Hotel is rustic.... but we have a small king room with kitchenette so we are golden,

I connected the Brandy and after coffee we headed to the swim.   Soooo beautiful!   The lake is surrounded by trees, real trees - no Southern CA wimpy trees.  As soon as we got there we found Maureen and Tom and suited up for swim.

Sure enough there is a cable and it makes swimming/sighting really easy!!!  Hoping I get lucky on race day.  Will be interesting to see if race is wet suit legal as the water was warm.  Personally I hope no wetsuit!  

The lake is not big- we nearly swim the whole lake and the beach area is not spacious....I cannot fathom the mayhem come race day.  The lake is across the street from T1- so don't be expecting any fast must be close to 1/2 mile.  We had a stellar swim and it felt good to shake out all the travel.  

Onto registration to get "tagged" and duh....forgot my license - so we checked out the expo, ate lots Bonk Breaker samples, GU chomps and random other tiny food until we needed real food. Green Organix was selling heirloom tomatoes with EVO, basil and seasonings by the bowl- OMG so good....that and a monster GF brownie + iced coffee and well not rally breakfast/lunch of Ironman but it was good.  JB bought a bag of brownies...I need to avoid those. 

I powered out some work and vacation :)  and back we went to get registered and get my bike.     878 cannot say I love the number but it works!  But I can say I love the backpacks..thank you IM for skipping the string bags which I donate to the goodwill  and stepping it up to a real bag we can use!!

And look at the mountain of them. Ok so its not about the schwag... but I like to get cool stuff

Found some delicious grilled chicken and veggies and then the hammer dropped....sooo tired- nap time!  kept is short as I want to get on normal time.... caught up on facebook, read blogs, surfed the net, worked for a few hours and now off to test the bike for a quick spin....

John is out and about... being the patient sherpa and very supportive, well until he said, why are you rolling a 1080 when it's so heavy, why not lighter wheels..... I yelled shut up, shut up, if you cannot be supportive then go way and I stomped into the bonk breaker tent.  So I explained the aerodynamics usurp weight at times and after careful thought and analysis and seeking opinions I opted for this wheel set up. 

Why travel Wed for a Sunday race....

Getting to Lake Placid from San Diego is an all day the best of times. So I knew I wanted a buffer day, just in case and to give me adequate time to adjust to the time change.  Although I have been on East Coast time all week- up at 4-4:30 every day. 

Today was no different.....but that was good as I skyped with the kids for 20+ minutes...they are having a great time and are learning a few words of Mandarin enough Mandarin to speak at ease.  They have met some great kids from around the world and have become fast well as enjoying all their time with their cousins and Aunt and Uncle. Today they are off the Beijing for 4 days for a amazing trip - definitely jealous there.

Julia and I took the pups for an early run and I showed her the running route and how to tire out Mako if her run was shorter than 90 minutes.  And we rolled at lines in San Diego, well except for the 27 ( yes that is how desperate I was) people in line at Starbucks and we were on the plane and off to Dulles..... 5 episodes of Breaking Bad my new horrible addiction and we landed in Dulles- Our layover was 30 minutes but we soon learned of a 45 min delay which we stupidly thought was a good thing as we had to take a shuttle, tram and hike through 2 terminals.  As we were walking toward our gate I noticed the longest line I have ever seen.....and then noted without registering there maybe a problem  that the line was for United Service Desk.  We we soon learned cancelled and grounded all over the East and Mid West and that compounds it all.... our plane was here and the pilot here but out crew was in Pittsburgh.

Our departure went from 4:45 to 5:30 to 6:30 to 7:30 to 8:30 and now 9:10.....crew in en route, they say and not additional delays...... as frustrating as it is.... at least our flight was not cancelled.  We booked onto a back up flight at 10pm to Albany, rented a back up car and went and ate.  And now we wait and wait and wait..... so if all goes well, we land in Burlington 11:30- get on the road by midnight and have to take the long way as the ferry will be closed....and we hope to roll into Lake Placid by 3am....midnight out time- 18 hour later.

Well....again..race is Sunday do plenty of time to sleep and recover.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Packing for Ironman

When you travel for a race it takes planning well before the day before.... since we leave tomorrow, today was about packing.  I started with my race gear...I carry all this on the plane- just in case something gets lost.  This way I know I will have MY stuff....a lot of gear can easily be replaced but not my kit, shoes and all the other well planned out gear.  So I follow my really long check list (every time- just to be safe) and lay it all out and check off each item as I put in the bag. 

This is when the butterflies really kick I am measuring out carbo pro, drawing lines on my bike bottles (why?  so I drink 1/3 of the concentrate every hour on the bike)  1 600 c bottle on my bike and the 2nd bottle in special needs.  3rd bottle in T2 and I carry for 1st hour+ on the run,

Nutrition plan for IM:
Swim- 0 calories  - cannot eat or drink (other than lake water) on the swim
T1- nothing
Bike- 1st 20 minutes sip water to get my stomach settled and then every 30 minutes take 1 big swig from concentrate of carbo pro/Hydra C5 and chase with water-  220 calories /hour-  1 sleeve shot blocks if I need more calories-
3xVO2 max/hour for sodium, electrolytes and amino acids- I dump these in my bento box and eat them like candy- well you get the idea, not baggies or issues there- shot blocks in my jersey pocket and extra sleeve in special needs- see I like having a bag in special needs, gives me something to look forward to.  Even though I know it is a bottle and shot blocks, I like the dream about getting someones snickers bar or some delicious treat..not that I would eat it, but it's fun anyway
Run - Carry 394 (seriously this is the number on the package) why not 400?   calories in one bottle for as long as I can...goal is to get in all calories in 2 hours...ditch the bottle and finish on coke.  And this is where I start the Motivator....all caffeine baby....

The DEA would have a field day with this....really not that exciting but these are my supplements.  Optygen HP, Flax Seed, Glucosomine MGM, Vit E and D,  Pure Maters Multi, Wheat Grass
Now that I have all the important stuff packed...I randomly fill anther giant bag with clothes, shoes and other gear for the 8 days of adventure and fun!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to start the week off right!

Started off my week my favorite way....coaching a swim session at Ventura Cove 6am!   I usually get up way early to make sure Mako gets in a solid run before I take off...but today still got up at 4:30 Ironman race anxiety already kicking in so eager to start the week.  And took the pups out for a nice walk and chatted with my brother in Shanghai and tossed Mako in the car and off we went..

Beautiful morning and we were at VC by 5:45 and had some fun.  Mako has been wary of the water and reluctant to go in our pool.  I tossed the ball on the beach and each time a little further in the water...within 10 minutes he was a swimming fool. It was great.

Coaching session started and he promptly retrieved his ball and dropped it at my feet. I could coach, videotape and exercise him at the same time.  Again...Mako does not understand what tapering for Ironman means.   Week off to a great start....had a little body work done- IT Bands are not cooperating with me right now- but we have 6 days... all in good time.

Next was checking off the work to do list...I will be working while in LP but want to get ahead as much as possible. I usually write athletes schedules 1 week at a time for maximum monitoring but went ahead and did 2 weeks as I will be a tad busy on Sunday.   Have  list of clients to call and contracts to review for my HPN job and then it is on to packing, last minute shopping....

Okay I checked the weather- Sunday says 
clear Clear. High of 79F. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.
I will take it.....I know it....ok back to work!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Racing, racing, racing....

Big day for racing...I know so many that toed the line at Vineman or Lake Stevens 70.3 and frankly I was just plain jealous... It was great fun tracking them along the way- many are good friends, some are my athletes and some I work with in swimming- my phone and computer were busy with updates on who was doing what fun to "watch" from afar.

7 days for me....and I toe the line!  I will be done and probably have a few beers in me by now- come Sunday July22nd.  Am I ready?  hell no, I will never be ready, there is always one more key swim,bike,run to be done.   yes I think I am.... all those months worrying about my broken leg and blown I am worried about a really tight IT Band from too much running.  Ha!  Imagine that....

One week our from Ironman, let's face it, I never feel great. And thanks to Training Peaks and my 4+ years of comments I can look back on my best races and see I felt like crap at this juncture.  This is why data AND comments are soooo valuable.  You think you will remember...but come on we don't.  So having the history is reassuring.... as long as you are honest.

Yesterday my easy ride felt like crap... 2 hour spin and I just was not feeling it.  Panic, holy cow,  I am over trained, will never be ready in 8 days.... worry, worry, worry.... Should I even run Sunday am? Will 30 minutes be too much....Mako is wagging his tail, dropping his ball at my feet, come on mom, come we take off and my legs were like new. Springy and it was magical...we had to dial back the pace and quit at 30 min vs looking at the watch for how many more??? And swim was long, but good..... I did some 100's on pace and was very pleased.  Tempted to do more...but less is more when you are 7 days out from Ironman.

I have not checked the weather for race day, I have not started packing, I am starting to stress a lot all the time a tiny bit!!!

Tomorrow race week officially begins....."move with purpose" my husband says. And he is a wise man since I broke my leg tripping on the damn dog stairs, broke 2 toes dropping a 10lb weight when a 10lb weight fell off the rack at the gym, fractured a wrist on a lip in the sidewalk that was jutting out 2+ feet, that was so small that when I went find it it took me a long time to locate it....and the list goes on!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Fair skin + 3 hours /day for most of my child hood in a swimming pool do not bode well for healthy skin at 45. Add skin cancer running in my family and I should really have taken up indoor track cycling...vs Ironman- where the sun is unavoidable.

My trips to the dermatologist, every 6 months are dreaded...she comes as me with the liquid nitrogen and starts blasting. The last visit I left with $225 cream ( no generic and not covered by insurance) to use liberally on my forehead.   The cream is chemotherapy based and attacks the cancerous or pre-cancerous cells and draws them out.   3 weeks and not a pretty sight.... end result 1- I now have bangs (had to cover the unsightly scene and stop the open mouth staring) 2- the dark spots are gone.

I always like when the derm asks if I can train before the sun comes up... um- hard to get in 6 hours on the bike before 7am- although maybe there is market for the vampire training.  Okay, I know there is the trainer option but I live in SD and darn it if I am paying the price we pay to live here I am enjoying what the city offers....some of the best outdoor cycling anywhere. 

So the goal is cover up- I always wear a short sleeve jersey (no this picture is not me since she has NO sleeves)   and 90% of the time my Zoot arm coolers.  They block the sun...and do a good job of keeping me cool- they are especially effective when they are wet.  

face and legs are covered in sunscreen...I use Solbar most of the time and it works well. But when I am lazy or too tired from training I take the easy way out and use the Neutrogena "wet" spray on sunscreen.  Not sure how well it works as my back has some wicked tan lines from the pool - but I am sure it is better than nothing and I use it more frequently. I keep it in my car, swim bag, in the garage near the dog leashes to spray before a walk etc,..

So why this really boring interesting post about sunscreen? In 10 days I am racing IM Lake Placid and that is 10-11 hours in the sun all day....and well I don't stop in Ironman to reapply nor do I let the awesome volunteers slather on the think, gooey, zinc filled NO-AD sunscreen for fear of clogging my pores. This is not a hygiene acne issue but a cooling issue...I need my pores open and pouring out sweat to keep myself as hydrated as possible.  I have used heavy zinc sunscreens and had my skin stay white and barely sweat.  No sunscreen is a really bad idea as well. 
So I just ponied up $23 for Endurance Shield Sunscreen...developed by Pro Triathletes so it will make me faster during my Ironman it must be good.  Right? Hoping so....they know what it feels like to have glue on your body or to have sunscreen run in your eyes at mile 10 on the bike that feels like batter acid and causes you to lose all your aerodynamic benefit of your bike fit because you are sitting up and trying to rub out the burning sensation and not crash or take out another triathlete.   And then you effectively rub off all the sunscreen and allow a full burn....

At this point the amount of $ spent to get to the starting line is ridiculous and makes me wonder how I will ever retire if I keep doing this sport which really is not that much...another $23 is good investment in healthy skin!   I'll happily review the sunscreen post Lake Placid which will go like this- if I PR then the sunscreen was amazing and well worth the $23 but is anything goes wrong...of course it is the sunscreens fault.   No new things on race day,..I know...I will proudly wear it daily before the BIG DAY,

See what a taper does.....more time to obsess consider the small stuff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Training Peaks update

If you are not a triathlete or you are don't know what Training Peaks is you may want to skip this post....

For those who use TP as a coach or as an athlete... There is a new release that states....

The new data editing capabilities will enable users to: 1) delete segments of data such as warm-ups or cool-downs and erroneously created segments, 2) edit specific points where data spikes have occurred, and 3) drop entire channels like heart rate, power, pace, temperature, and more. Workout totals, average and peak value calculations will adjust automatically after editing, and edited values will be reflected in Training Peaks charts, like the Peak Power and Peak Pace by Distance charts.

OK so blah, blah, blah....but my little twisted mind read it this way (not the red)

The new data editing capabilities will enable users to: 1) delete segments of data such as warm-ups or cool-downs and erroneously created segments, like when you ride 20 watts over what coach says or when you are hammering up a hill because you can and well you just want to  2) edit specific points where data spikes have occurred,when you could not let that guy cruise by and say "nice ride ladies"  and 3) drop entire channels like heart rate, power, pace, temperature, and more. when you kill it on a recovery ride Workout totals, average and peak value calculations will adjust automatically after editing,and your coach will never know  and edited values will be reflected in Training Peaks charts, like the Peak Power and Peak Pace by Distance charts. and when you are flat at a race or have major fatigue it will be baffling since you edited what you did!

Really I am kidding.....come on why pay a coach and lie about what you did.  I believe in full disclosure and then think of really good excuses as to why I went to hard, too long etc.   Never seems I am making excuses for slacking off..... As a coach now I can see through most excuses because I have used most of them - really you went to hard because you are lacking self control.  Been there, done fact I was way over my power guidelines a little aggressive on Saturday and instead of a litany of excuses I gave myself the lecture in training peaks. Coach still chimed it, but I know, I know....

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tapering, quite house, restless dog

13 days and counting to Ironman Lake Placid!  Kids arrived in Shanghai safely and Mako does not understand what tapering means...

This weekend I had a lot of extra time on my hands....why?  3:30 was my LONG ride - wow...amazing to be done riding before noon, even after a luxurious post ride coffee at Peet's with Jen.   I was home and showered and not wiped out for the day.  

I decided to ship my bike with Tri Bike Transport since the kids were originally coming with us and with 4 people + a bike we would need a BIG car...and I signed up tor TBT last year- anyway it is nice to not have break down and pack the bike, BUT I have to give up my bike 2 weeks early.  So I had to have it ready to go and at Nytro by Sunday noon  -  we decided to drop it off Saturday and have a date night-  Actually out to dinner on a Saturday night in Encinitas-   we had a great time, ate too much and still manged to be home by 8:30! 

And the house is quite....with 2 teenagers gone there is less mess no mess and less stress.   I love my kids but summer and teenagers = late nights and continual texting of "can I go..." and usually the texts come in around 10pm or 10 minutes before they promised to be home. So my sleep is interrupted and I really don't fall into a deep sleep until they are both home.  So with them  over 6000 miles away, somehow I can not worried.   Makes it easier as they are with my brother and family for the 1st 2 weeks.

Thanks so Skype we are in touch and I am up to date on their trip so weekend exploring the city and settling in.  JD Skyped me after his 1st day of school.... "holy F Mandarin is HARD.  This is REAL school"  Not sure what they expected but seems they worked from 9-12:30 with a 20 minute break- they drilled them on vowels and sounding them out. JD and RM are the only 2 in the class as the other kids have been there 2 weeks and are more advanced at this point. After 5 hours of hard work they headed out on the town for some sightseeing and shopping.

Today's taper ride was one of the best in a long time.....catching up with rock star Beth and Noko for a ride that was all about chatting and enjoying the beautiful Southern CA day.   I have 3 more big swims.... checking them off 1 at a time... I know they are good for me and good for my IM and now with the race in sight I can do them. Yesterday I knocked off 2x 1000  3x500 and then 10x100 and I was shocked at my pace on the 100's...double take on when I came in and was thinking okay that is just the 1st one and then I knocked them off 1 at a time.   See I have NOT been swimming with the clock- I was just too frustrated with my times and pace so for the last 3 weeks I swim all by feel and have pushed it hard and now to see the clock- I am liking it..... In a weird way and very unlike me I am looking forward to my next swim- and will be using the clock :)

From here on in.....focused on eating well and sleeping well!   Dinner tonight- Kale with small amount of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, toasted hemp seeds, dried blueberries and cherries + toasted almonds...marinated all day and it was delicious!  Small amount of salmon for good protein and I am satiated and happy.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Checking them off

18 days to Ironman Lake Placid!  And it is taper time.... Last long ride (done), last long run (done)  Cha ching, in the bank.  Still some work to be done...but the long stuff is finished.

Maureen and I rolled out Sunday for a tour of San Diego....starting in Carmel Valley and heading West.  Along the way we came upon a "friend" having breakfast.  Yes there he was on the frontage road consuming a mole.  We had to stop and take a look and snap a picture... and off we went.   Next up the spectacular San Diego coastline and Torrey Pines Beach.  We hit the coast early, you don't want to be near the coast on a bike in the summer...traffic, tourists, car doors and cyclists are not a good combo.  And from there we headed through Elfin Forest, made it through before the parade closed the road and soon we were heading East.  Nothing like leaving the coast and coming upon Vineyards.  Orfelia....truly beautiful to ride by, too bad their wine is terrible.  And then it was time to go up.... only 1625 feet but a nice climb up the 78 after passing the very stinky the lovely Wild Animal Park.   Soon we were heading down Highland Valley Road, one of my favorite descents, more so on my road bike but still a really fun road.   And the we cruised through Rancho Bernardo and back to Peets Coffee, had to do a "hot lap" to get to the magic 100 miles!  And that was it....done.   One of my favorite rides - spectacular weather and good company,

Monday was a family day with my Dad turning 80!  My sis and I spent the night with him at Montage in Laguna Beach.... sensational and horrifically expensive dinner and a great night!

I can only hope to be as energetic, articulate and put together at 80.  Maybe I can get a Porsche too when I'm that age....

Tuesday was long run on deck!  First 90 minutes with Mako and then dropped him off  and hammered the last hour on my own....ooof!  Not all that easy or confidence building but well- training is not always easy and I can only hope the marathon at LP is a bit faster and more enjoyable. 

There is a sense of relief and anxiety to have finished the last of the big training....Relief as it gets tiring but anxiety as in holy cow it is done...there is not much more I can do to get fitter, faster and prepared for Ironman. So I go from confident and excited to worried and filled with trepidation. This is where my coach is so helpful in grounding me.  

I recently read a great article from the US Olympic Swimming Trials and my take away is " Cocoon of Confidence"