Sunday, March 23, 2014

Taper Time

Tapering is exciting and scary at the same time. Exiting because the race is near....the day you have been planning for is coming. Scary because the work it done, you are as fit as you are going to be for the race.  The coulda, shoulda talk has to stop.... you did or did not.  You are finished, training that is.

Biggest mistake an athlete  can make now is trying top off fitness, or test fitness.  If the plan says 4 x30 sec hard, then run 4x30 sec hard, not 5 and not 1:00 because your legs feel so good.  SAVE it for race day.  Training partner riding, running, swimming longer or harder than you- let them go, stick to your plan.  

Come Tue or Wed you should have more energy and start feeling cagy... dont do that massive yard project after work since you finally feel like it, don't scrub your floors and clean your cupboards, go shopping for 2 more, get off your feet and rest. Come Friday you want to feel like a caged animal- ready to let loose on the race course. 

Eat clean....less processed foods, whole foods, fuel your body, but be mindful of the decrease in training so curb your caloric intake. This is NOT the week to lose weight, much like fitness, maintain what you have.  If you are not at race weight so be it, embrace your weight.  Come Wednesday eat more meals with smaller quantities, increase carb intake (this does not have to be 5 white bagels) it can be fruits, quinoa and other whole grains.  But Thursday evening being to taper off the high fiber. 

Hydration begins Monday - it takes time for your cells to plump up.  Water  + electrolytes all week, add some extra salt to your food.  Alcohol dehydrates you....have a glass of wine if you want, but skip the 2nd or 3rd this week and be sure to have water + electrolytes before bed. 

Move with purpose. Nerves may increase as the week progress - so slow down, watch your step. Tripping or falling can be problematic.

Race day checklist- do you have one? start one now.... not the night before the race. Don't assume the expo will have what you need, go to the bike shop Monday or Tuesday - Be ready early.  Assure your spouse or partner that you are okay just a bit nervous and maybe on edge, apologize and make plans for spousal pampering, dinner, flowers the week after the race.  

Race day plan?  Plan it out beginning dinner the night before... food, calories, plan for the swim, bike, run ? Race day goals, reach goals? Back up plan in case it does not go well.  Are you ready to suffer?  As Macca says "embrace the suck?"  

Expo...enjoy the expo but don't eat every sample, don't try new product race day because the sales guys says "prevents lactic acid build up"  NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.   Don't freak out looking at everyone- yes there are a lot of really fit people- focus on your days, your goals.

Enjoy..... you are blessed to be 6 days from race day and prepping to race!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Letting go of control....

nytro women- all AG winners
How is that for an attention getter?    I write "letting go on control" relative to hiring a coach.  Many of us have years of racing, training experience and some many years with different  coaches or simply have been self coached.  We hire a coach because we
realize we are not the expert (even coaches hire coaches- myself in point. Not because I don't what to do but because I need an objective outsider and someone looking at the big picture - am i too tired, can I do more? . I learned very quickly the rational objectivity I have with my athletes goes out the window when it comes to coaching myself. Somehow the rules change.   In any case when we hire a coach we are turning over most (or in my case 99%) or all off the control to someone else.   While that can be refreshing, as in no longer having to think about what workouts should I be doing- should I go longer/harder, shorter etc. it also is scary.  So having trust in your coach is key.  1- trusting they know they are doing and 2- trusting they are monitoring you and understand what you are doing.  

Do I trust my coach.....yes.  But it is not easy.  I am tired, sore, grumpy and putting in workouts that are very different to me.  I had a workout Friday.  Nailed the swim and was on fire, but had nothing  on the bike - I could not come close to power he as looking for so I bailed on the intervals and just rode. I was contemplating not running 45 minutes as written due to the horrible bike, but I wanted to try - I was telling my self 20 minutes and when I die I can tell him SEE how tired I am.  10 minutes into the run, my stride was easy, feet felt light and I had a great 45 min run.  Surprised- yes.   
Craig rocked it-  fun racing with friends 

We (coach and I) discussed racing Sunday- it seemed like a great idea until I failed my Friday workout.  Now I was signed up (but with insurance so I could cancel)  He altered Saturday to 3 hour ez ride ( no intervals) and I felt ok as long as it was easy.  I really did not want to race.. ( can I say really, really)  but I wanted to test my new tri kit (which I LOVE thanks to Betty Designs for the cool design and Champion Systems for a super comfortable kit) , Aquasphere Phantom wetsuit and to go through transitions, race day prep etc.  So I was IN.  I had my old race wheels with heavy tires but bike was running well (  thank you Nytro ) and I did not feel like making it race ready- I took off the heavy stuff, taped on the Pit Stop (just in case)   -

Superseal is interesting..they do a sprint first- so while I did not have to be there until 6:55am ( late for this sport) my wave did not go off until 8:45.  Lots of time to watch nearly the entire sprint and hang out.  Luckily there were a lot of my friends racing so we chatted, watched and the time passed quickly.

Swim - 1500 M in the shape of an R.  I kid you not and after watching many go off course I was nervous.  Not knowing if I would have feet to follow I studied, counted and watched. I still got confused, had to ask 2 times where to go- I felt great swimming and had a good swim but frustrating to keep stopping and worrying I was off course.  

AG wins + 1st and 2nd Amateurs 
Long run to T1- under the tunnel and my T1 was slow. So slow in fact as I was sitting on the ground Mo is yelling at me " this is not an Ironman"  - again why we race.  On the bike and as soon as I dialed in the my watts I knew it was not going to happen.  Lots of fatigue and ache in the legs and could not maintain the targeted watts. In fact I could not hold what I held last weekend for intervals.  Frustrated, negative talk and then around mile 5 I stopped looking and just rode. Enjoyed the fact it was 80+ degrees and I was racing.  My bike was slow and watts were lower than 70.3 but I was now onto the run.

Run- nervous about my foot, but I slipped on the Hoka's and off I went.  No spring but were okay starting off.  I dialed in 70.3 pace and thought I would see what happened in a a mile. So far so good, survived the soft sand and foot felt great.  Picked it up for about 1 minute a bit and soon realized that was not happening either. So decided to think O'side training day.  Ran a steady run and a steady pace and felt good.  Tired yes, heavy legs yes but enjoyed the run a lot.  Lots of familiar faces and that is why racing local is so fun.  Managed a fast last mile and finished.  Not tanked, tired but all okay.  Raced alongside 3 of my athletes and it is inspiring to be on the same course with them as well.  

Nutrition- again why we race.  Using Ignite-  tired 3x scoops of IN Carbs (180 calories) + Refresh Electrolytes in my bottle.  3 scoops is TOO much.  It was too thick and racing while not feeling great it was hard to get down. So better today than in 2 weeks- need to keep it to 2 scoops.   So I only had may 60 calories on the ride- and drank water only.   Took an Ignite Gel right before the swim and that was awesome!  During the run I struggled getting it open - settle down.... so I threw the gel and used the "energy drink" on the course which was surprisingly good. APX.  I wish I had thrown a Bonk Breaker into my bag as back up- as i know I can always eat one- even when redlining.  So again - this is why we race before we race :)  I am still 

Awards was fun....every category it seems like there was either Nytro, HERev, Zoot or TCSD so lots of cheering and fun.   Coach had me riding 2 hours after the race but Riley called  "native foods?"  On my way... 1- quality family time with R trumps a  2 hours spin 2- not sure the extra 2 hours would make or break O'side.  So enjoyed the afternoon and called it a weekend.  Again every time I race I am reminded of the great friends I have made in this sport and every year there are new friends too :) 

Consensus-  "you are tired"  Yes.... so taper begins.  ease up, rest, still train with short intense intervals but need to shed the deep fatigue I have.  Glad I have 2 weeks as well for my neck. I have a disk that is slipping out due to the bike bailout trying to avoid the truck 2 weeks ago and when it moves it causes neck pain + headache that starts dull and slowly gets deeper and deeper. So that is NOT fun.  But surely I have time for that to heal up.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

work, travel, training and listening to your body...

Tough weekend of training for me.  Perfect ride on Saturday (on tired legs) but executed 3x20 min intervals and hit the power targets - albeit nearly with tears on the last one.  The run off the bike was to be 1:10 with 2 miles ez and 4 at race pace (which I have yet to nail off a hard bike- will see what happens in Oceanside)  1- decided to run Lake Hodges (trails) 2- it was 88 when I started and was probably not hydrated well enough 3- the trail I picked was steeper and rockier than I thought 4- I carried a bottle 2 miles and doubled back for it and it was GONE  5- these are my excuses for an epic fail on the run and calling it a day at 55 minutes.  Not really a confidence booster.  HR was 180, pace was slow, legs heavy and I got a wicked blister on my big toe (under the callous)  

Sunday 1:30 run aerobic.  Hit relatively flat trails with flat legs.  Just not pop and mile 9 the blister popped, searing pain and I was hobbling. Another sucky run.  Also due to amateur move earlier in the week wearing running socks with my boots I had a big blister on my heel that hurt.  0-2 on the runs AND, AND my PF flared up. Not sure why- but it was achy while running and really sore on Monday.

Monday up at 4am for a flight to DC - I was sore and SHOULD have worn my running, safe, comfortable shoes and NOT my boots (even with my orthotics) Airports, plane change and walking and my PF was even angrier.  Monday night was all about work and issues - meanwhile rolling my foot under the table, icing, damage control.   Slept in the night split and Tue am woke up feeling ok.

10 mile run on the schedule.  I SHOULD have bailed on the run.  I fell into bed around 11:30 and was up at 5 to run (which was 2am CA time)  Headed out in the dark and was not comfortable so gutted it out on the TM. I should, should have stopped.. 0-3 bad runs.  When will I learn....

Tue and Wed were 10+ hour days on my feet and working, which is the WORST thing for PF but well gotta pay the bills.  There I was with my Hoka's and dress pants- major crisis management. Tue- bailed on my planned run and am now worried. What have I done...I am hoping a few days off running, laser treatment and continued stretching, rolling and icing and I will be ok. Travel and work stress me out and exercise is my sanity....but looking back now- ugh- I could have taken 3 days recovery, focused on work and come home ready to roll.   Looks like I'll be riding a lot....not sure about running for the near future.  

Frustrated with ME.  I know better.... 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stay alert when riding....

last wednesday riding with gina, leslie, monica and heidi eastbound on elfin forest road we had a serious near miss. you can read the replay here  heidi did such a good job I elected not to re- write the story but to reflect a bit.

my bike handling skills may have saved my life yes...but so did paying attention to the road, riding single file and having the rider behind me vigilant as well. had we been in a pace line, aero, the outcome may have been different.  we often ride through elfin aero and in a paceline..and i would not refrain from doing it but just be aware.  i felt the truck with trailer come alongside and immediately sensed he was close, if i was aero (which i don't recall)  i came up and out of my bars.  radar was up.  i don't think he maliciously tried to take us out, i think he was following someone who abruptly turned and he did too without remembering, realizing, recognizing we were right there.  the fact he did not stop when i screamed (his window was down) or after gina and les chased him down is the issue.  slamming on my brakes, careful not to go over the bars, unclipping my right foot, rolling and throwing the bike saved me, the bike and a pile up behind me.  but monica too was paying attention and did not t-bone me or run me over. 

all in all we were reactive and lucky.  the take away.... pay attention out there, be aware who you ride with and their skills.  if you are not comfortable with him or her, give them feedback.  i have on more than one occasion asked a fellow rider to single up or not ride so close.   i have ridden with people who make me really nervous and i avoid riding with them in groups.  when in a group if i am nervous i will drop off the back or go to the front.  i avoid getting boxed in or riding next to  someone who is in the road, knowing if they swerve, they will take me out.  if there is not a bike lane, a wall,  no shoulder or a drop off, ride in the road, you want the car to go around you.  a near miss without any place to go is dangerous. 

accidents happen but we can do what we can to be safe.  that's my .02 on bike safety.

follow up on the incident... i reported the license plate to the police and have not heard anything.  i looked up mark's tractor service and found a phone number.  as much as i want to call up and berate him, egg his truck.. i think i am going to call and ask if he realizes how close he came to running me over, what could have happened?  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nutrition problems...Try Ignite Naturals

If you have read my blog or know me.... you know my nutrition challenges when it comes to Ironman.  Let's just say my last 4 IM's somewhere around mile 10-16 of the run I start the porta-pottie tour.  Sometimes every mile. 1- its NOT fun. 2- it affects my race due to time on the pot 3- loss of fluids makes racing hard.   So....I am continually on the quest for no GI issues.  

I can manage a 70.3 without issues.  It is the IM. 

I recently connected with Ignite Naturals via a friend who gave me a gel.  I cannot do gels.   1 gel while running within 10 minutes I am looking for a bush (even in training)  3 weeks ago at Miramar Lake (where there are porta potties ever 1.5 miles) I tried an Ignite Mango Peach Gel at mile 6.  Mile 7 no issue, mile  8 I actually felt the energy from the gel not the usual stomach cramping.  Now I was interested.  My next run I tried 2 gels- Mango Peach and WildBerry.  NO issues and I felt great.  So what makes them different?  Made from 100% organic fig paste or 100% organic brown rice syrup with zero fiber, Reload™ Energy Gels are made from real figs, brown rice and fruits to give overworked muscles and tired cells the nutrition they need to produce a natural boost of energy. It’s a wholefood energy gel for a holistic approach to producing energy. 

NO SUGAR (processed that is) I think that is the key for me.   And it's all good stuff AND it tastes good. Will see how they taste at mile 18 but hey- taste does not matter, it is about fuel that works.  So I am confident in using Ignite on the run.

BIKE- training I like real food on the bike - BonkBreaker is my nutrition of choice. But racing that does not always work AND with some new bike training that includes on the edge nearly puking  intervals I find I cannot choke down  stomach real food. And doing intense intervals without calories does not work either.  So.... enter IN Pure Carbs.

100% Clarified Brown Rice Solids: Easily digestible source of energy.IN PureCarbs seizes the natural fast-absorbing complex carbohydrate properties of brown rice while maintaining its nutritional benefits.  I used to use Carbo Pro - this is better....pure carbs but NO sugars.  I am starting to believe that sugars are causing my GI issues.  

Mixing IN Pure Carbs with IN Refresh Harness the lush properties of tropical and desert plants with IN Refresh. By using 100% plant-based high quality real food ingredients that are in as close to their natural state as possible without handing you a fresh tangerine or a cup of blueberries, IN Refresh seizes the natural fast-absorbing hydration properties of the plants while retaining their nutritional benefits. 

3 scoops IN Pure Carbs + 1 scoop IN Refresh 180 calories/bottle and it works!!!!

I am excited to put this to the test.....March 29!  Oceanside 70.3 will put it to the test. 

If you are interested in trying Ignite.... and take 10% off IN0970

Hopefully local bike shops will soon carry the products..... or if you want to test drive a gel-  hit me up- I have a lot of them :)  

Stay tuned...there are more great products that Ignite Naturals makes but I am still testing. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Training, ....surprises and being open minded

drowned rat riding in the rain 
Finishing up my 3rd week with Coach Chris and WOW is really all I can say.  Each week is different than the last, I don't know when my schedule is being updated (early on he said some athletes he gives workouts the day of - I would DIE)  But there is something about not stressing for the following week.  I glace at the workout but not the details until the day or 2 before.  Last weekend after a killer bike on Saturday and a tough run off the bike I saw a 1:20 run on Saturday and asked Coach why 1:20.....he replies did you see Tuesday.  Oh... right there I see 1:40.  Meanwhile I see Monday ride 2:30- which I assume is a recovery ride... with 3 intervals in the ride.  I nearly texted him to say WTF  really, you think I can do this. But decided to try it first...and well I hit the power targets. I was darn impressed with myself.  (ok and him too)  

This weekend started with Thursday  - more interval hell  more challenging intervals. 1- they need to be done on the flats and 2- outside.  It was predicted to rain..Thank to to Rachel for meeting me at Fiesta in the rain and suffering through the 1st one - she left which I don't blame her for at all!  I appreciate her suffering through 1.  I made the 2nd one but by # 3 it was raining sideways, gusting wind and well I wimped out.  I did 1/2 of #3 and then manged to run in the rain with iced feet.  Yes I run after every bike ride..and those who know me know this is NEW- I have been known to do 1 or 2 T runs in a season.  I believe in them, have my athletes do them but used to hate them- but now they are actually okay.  Suddenly 30-45 min run is not so bad after seeing 90 minutes a few times.  It's all perspective.  

I am focused, replaced Electrolytes for Chardonnay (although I am celebrating with one glass tonight - day off tomorrow)  I used to HATE days off and now I am excited for 24 hours of recovery. ice bath, compression, compex, ART, laser... you name it I am doing it.

My foot is about the same but in crazy triathlon talk that means it still hurts, is manageable, and I am increasing running every week- that is the bonus.  More running and NOT more pain.  It's not healed but it is manageable.  Hoka's for long runs ...trying to get back to Newton's for shorter runs as I like to feel the pavement.  Trails are better than the road.  I wear the night splint and "love" it.  So all in all, cannot complain.
Endurance House Trainer Party 

John has ramped up training with me too.  After Saturdays big brick he assumed today was off.... I did the 1st part of the run and came home for him- he was dressed in winter clothes headed to the coffee shop....all it took "come on you wanna run?"  And he was dressed and out in the pouring rain with Mako and me.  We are eating about 10 meals a day.  It's fun.... He says "whose idea was today?"  love having a coach... Chris I say and off we go.  

Julie at work Sunday 
Thursday I sucked it up in the rain. Saturday I was not sure I could again.... TIna planned a trainer party and a few of my athletes were going so John and I packed up- trainers, bikes, run gear and we headed to the Endurance House for the party.  We set up and it was NOT raining.... good company but intervals on the trainer are so f''ing hard  not my favorite, At 45 min , I borrowed a helmet and hit the road for the rest of the ride..few showers but my Nytro Champion System super vest kept me dry ok not really but it was warm.    We headed out for our 90 min run and then joined the pot luck- that was the bomb..vegan chili, quinoa salad 3 ways (mine with kale of course) other delicious treats. Fun to hang and train with some new peeps!   Sunday - ugh more rain..... I was a sissy and rode the trainer- it was a recovery ride so I was able to write training plans, watch House of Cards and sweat a lot,  Drenched on the run.... but that is okay. 

Tomorrow is off and then- I peeked, Will take it one day at a time! 

Power Dinner for Sunday Night 

Winter Weather and Big Training called for comfort food 
Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

1 pound rice penne pasta
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can of organic veggie broth 
1 cup milk (almond) 
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups shredded organic chicken 
1 bag TJ frozen artichoke hearts- thawed and chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 (17 1/2 ounce) jar roasted red pepper, drained and sliced
9 ripe olives, pitted and sliced - greek 
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Shaved Parmesan cheese

Prepare noodles. Drain.

Stir broth, milk, salt and cornstarch together in a large saucepan until cornstarch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.

Stir in noodles, chicken, artichoke hearts, wine, red peppers, olives,, cheese, lemon juice and black pepper.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon in mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, until