Monday, July 28, 2014

Ironman Canada - destination

This is not my race report...but intel on the destination-  

Now in the 2nd year of the new Ironman Canada (which used to be in Penticton) and now in Whistler , I decied to go for it.  The inaugural year "looked" so amazing it seemed a great West Coast option. 

Whistler- stunning village in the mountains.  Very European with cobblestone streets and chalet s about.  Arriving in Whistler it was easy to see that the town had already embraced the race. Banners and signage were up for the race.  The Ironman feel was about. 

Getting here:  Flights to Vancouver are plentiful and reasonably priced. We flew Delta- leaving SD at 6:20 am and were in Vancouver by 11:30. With 4 of us in the group we found a 1 way car rental $145  much less expensive than the shuttle ($62pp)  Cars are on site in Vancouver and we were loaded up and ready to go by 2. With the 90 min drive the total travel time is long but as it would be to any other destination. 

Since we had a car, we made trip to the Whole Foods in Vancouver to shop for food for the week and grab lunch.  It is a beautiful, windy, drive to Whistler.  We had minimal traffic but I hear the later you arrive the more traffic to contend with.  

Accommodations- we chose the Westin since we have been here before and I have a relationship with Starwood.  All rooms have a kitchen- we booked the 1 bedroom which makes it nice for those not racing an Ironman ( so John has a place to hang out when I am in bed at 8)  There is a Hilton next door  - also have kitchens and separate bedroom. There are numerous accommodations and reasonably priced  @ $190-220 up until race day.  No price gauging for Ironman.   You DON'T want to be in Creekside- 3 miles away.  The Upper Village offers some nice options as well.  Here in the Village you don't need a car, other than to get to the swim (pre race days) Race day there is a shuttle.  It is 2k from the village, so an ez ride or jog.   I don't recommend a car while you are here-  you have to pay for parking and there is no need to have one, with a grocery in the village and plenty to do + numerous restaurants.   Nestors Market is 2k from the Village and offers higher end, more oranics and nice range of food options.   Need your Juice Fix, check out Green Mustache.
Whistler Village

Ironman headquarters - registration, finish line is in the Olympic Village- a short walk from all Village locations.  The layout is a big grassy area for the expo, tents etc - spacious and easy to get around.   Expo is like any many US Expos- big IM branded tent and mix of IM sponsored booths and local products- nutrition etc.  A spacious and well staffed ART tent which is so appreciated.  They are well practiced and know how to treat an athletes body.

Bringing the family- many, many options. A great destination for your family to play while you rest.  Gondola, Zip Lining, ATV but Mtn Biking is the big sport here- dowhill.  More Mtn bikes than road bikes- really.

Food:  We ate (twice) at Carumba  - great pizza with standard, GF and WW crust.  Pasta was okay- but offered GF as well.  Special pre- race lasagne looked delicious. Affordable and appropriate for a large group.   Friday we at at Sushi Village and I highly recommend it. They open at 5:30 and there was a line out the door. Great sushi and some unique offerings as well. Breakfast we cooked in and lunch was on the go.  The Village is hopping at night with outdoor dining and music all bout.

Swim - nice lake 2k from the village, surrounded by snow capped mountains. Stunning.  64ish degreee.s  Thur and Friday it was cold and windy so be sure to bring sweats, beanie, sweatshirt etc... we were bundled up ( and I hear 2013 was the same) Low of 50 at night so again plan accordingly. Not a lot of parking so by Friday it was congested ( we had a friend with a car)

...more on Whistler the Ironman to come 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday before Ironman

1 - wake up 4:30 so we can be on race day schedule? no because Mako wakes up at 4:30 and stands in our doorway until Roo wakes up and when Roo wakes up  we all wake up

2- Ez run, flush out the legs  and visualize Ironman  or stay on my feet with 2 Vizsla's on leash. Mako well trained and running alongside and Roo running all over trying to figure out what the hell is around her neck.

3- 1 hour of calls, work and emails.

4-  2 hour ez ride on road bike, TT bike long gone with Tri Bike Transport

5- More work and the realization that I will not be on vacation in Whistler but working (a lot) call to ATT to set up voice/data plan for International travel.  So speedy.... 27 minutes later all set up.

6- More drug dealer  tiny plastic bags laid out with white powder, pills and other assorted racing and training needs.  Sharpie to mark what power is what, how many calories are in each bag- double bag so powder not dispersed all over luggage.

7- shoes, helmet, final packing- giant pile in my bedroom- how much gear do you need for an Ironman.

8- call from client?  " are you free Friday or Monday for a meeting?"  Uh no.. trying to schedule call around Ironman and then set up face to face.

9 - realizing we return Tue at 11:30pm and my flight to Boulder is Wed 11am for Training Peaks University 3 day class and then Ironman Boulder coaching.

10- Swim lesson, masters coaching - purposely give long main set as I need to review a contract on my iPhone.  I am usually 100% committed to my swimmers and coaching but well I am blaming Ironman.  

11- Starbucks- caffeine and a few more calls

12- Apple Store..iphone is acting up as in breaking out in song on it's own and with songs I'm not sure I have on the phone.  While there use gift card which was not working for new headphones.  Card not working and I slip from calm patient customer to start raving WTF customer..the louder I get the larger the space around me.  Manger soon arrives and "fixes" situation ie: make the crazy lady quiet.  I apologize and ask if they have ever done an Ironman.

13- Lululemon - for running shorts.  I have a pair of black speed shorts and they are MIA.  After hour  + of going through all workout bins- shorts, sports bra's, tops, cycling gear etc I give up and go shopping.  My mantra "do not buy anything else"  With 11 items in the fitting room I recommit and buy only my replacement shorts.  And learned not to wash or dry with 100% cotton towels- why? causes pilling.  How is this the first time I have heard this?  noted...

14- My 10th visit to Nytro- RaceDayBoost supply was low - as in 4 pills short in what I need.  So why risk it right.... does Race Day Boost work ? hard to say - I have had great races and not great races using it.   It is sodium phosphate loading- why? supposedly boost glycogen storage, provides lactic acid buffering and increased time at anaerobic threshold (where I will NOT be during Ironman.

15- last few hours of work, packing, re- packing, unpacking to make sure I packed what I thought I packed, review of race day check list and then trying to remember what I put in my gear bag that shipped with my bike. Decided if I could not find what I was looking for (ie: race goggles and sunglasses) I must have sent in gear bag.  Note to self: write down what was in gear back vs frantically stuffing it as I am headed to 6am masters realizing I have to drop off that day and want to save a trip. 

16 - goal to be in bed 8:00 - as we have a 3:30 wake up  - 9:30 I was in bed.... well it is Tuesday before Ironman that is okay to short sleep tonight! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What happens 10 days before an Ironman

NONE of this has to do with training BTW

1- you get offered a "free" condo (due to injury and other issues the party cannot go). Condo location in "village' at the gondola.... another cool person staying in the condo. me the address so I can see on a map (i'm anal that way)  The email delayed, work day gets busy... I take a risk and cancel my non refundable  in tiny print  hotel suite at the hotel,  that is btw walking distance to EVERYTHING to stay in the condo. Sound good lets save $$. Blame my mothers health for the cancellation and plead, plead to get out of the hotel booking.  DONE.  Later in the day, I check the location of the condo and it is 5k from the village, wait I say, 5 minute walk, no google maps shows 5k ,  Yes it is at the base of A gondola not THE gondola.  Aaaaahhhh.... my suite is gone, I don't have a car and I want to be in THE village.  (mini tantrum here)  I humbly call the hotel, " Mom's cured"  and I can travel  or something like that.  Thankfully they re-instated my reservation and  passed on congratulations to my mom who was miraculously cured.  And we are back in business.

2- rented a disc for 5 days but forgot that I decided to send my bike Tri Bike Transport, which means the bike is gone 10+ days.  The 4 day rental had been graciously offered for 5 days (thank you Rachel and Moment Cycle Sport)  but now I need the dics for 15 days...they offer 4 or 10 day rental.  Ironman is not cheap....double the rental and still a discount.. check rental prices and duration in the future.

3- The disc cannot be on my bike for TBT  (has to be in a wheel bag) so I go back Nytro who I am soo thankful for.  Russ graciously put the disc on and then I hear "is your bike 11 speed?" NO- spacer fixed that.   Next "have you ever put this disc on this bike?" No, why.... well the brakes will not work.  What do you mean, won't work,  "well I have to open them so wide that the crank hits the brake"  Um.. this is a problem. I see a bloody ankle riding 112 miles hitting the crank- not all that aero either.  Russ, amazing bike mechanic, works on it, trades out the brake pads and we are in business.  I have a disc AND rear brakes.  Disc off, wheel on, Disc in bag and bike left at Nytro.

4- yesterday during my "housing crisis"  ( I say that in jest- if my crisis comes down to where will I stay in Whistler- I realize my life is pretty blessed- I get it)  in any case... I was scratching my arm ( alot)  Today I look and see blisters, itchy blisters, oozing blisters...which means one thing poison oak.  Panic, panic.... I have bad reactions.... I don't want the systemic outbreak.  Solution, steroids, crap banned substance.  Call to Dr, How many days do i take the pills?  How long will it be in my system?  Nurse says they will get back to me, please hold and then can we all you back? I panic.  Nurse asks me "ma'am is this a medical emergency"  NO it is an Ironman emergency.   Meanwhile using sssting stop and well it's nnnnnnoooooot working

5- Di2 battery died (again)  Charger packed and is at home.  Luckily Leslie has one too and I camped at her house to charge it to ship it so I can ride it when we all get to Whistler.

6- did I mention my arm itches

7- Shoe dilemma.  Hoka's don't hurt my PF. Hoka  are heavy and I am worried by mile 21 when my cadence is 27 and I cannot life my knees when I am struggling to drive my knees and engage my glutes that my shoes  will feel like lead bricks and stick to the pavement  will feel heavy.  So yes here I am 10 days out ....what shoes will I wear.  Did I mention my Hoka's have a blow out?  Will that compromise the shoe, my run? I superglued it- how is that 10 days out I am not sure what shoes to wear?  we are always learning....right. Do I wear the new Hoka's same model I just bought off ebay? Oh what to do....

8- Bento Box- this one is big (lol) I cannot use a normal bento box due to the electronic cables and how they lay on my bike.  I have one attached to the seat post but it is hard to get into and I have to come out of my aero bars.  So I ordered a slick  aero one- Bontrager speed box ( yes it will shave 10 minutes off my Ironman bike split)  but I need industrial velcro to attach it and I could not find any so ordered some on Amazon...arrived today but I dropped off my bike to be shipped!  what to do.... Project in Whistler

So there you have it... meanwhile I am coaching, working my real job and being a mom and a wife (sort of ) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Recovery +

Soon after posting my last blog I read the following article from purplepatch - Matt Dixon and it again resonated so well.  I encourage all athletes to read

What is the "money" here or the highlights (from my perspective) 

For example, an athlete may be very disciplined about hitting every workout on their training plan, however, a better application is to be very disciplined about listening to the body and allowing yourself to miss a workout in favor of recovery when necessary.

The essence of discipline is rejecting what you want today, to achieve what you want tomorrow
  • Cannot stand to see a slow pace- EVER! Training with GPS/timing often adds stress and depression.
  • Mentally and emotionally struggles with recover days. Feels guilt or sees them as a waste of time.
  • Believes in an inflexible training plan. Will execute every session on the training plan regardless of how the body feels or ‘real world’ events that are happening (job, family, lack of sleep, etc).  this is why we hire coaches who monitor and work with the athlete- when life "happens" we should consider altering training, short term adjustments can prevent illness, injury or burn out 
This is hard for ALL of us..... missing a workout can feel like "failure", riding off the back makes us feel slower.....but we need to trust in the plan or coach and keep the big picture in mind.  As my old coach Kevin Purcell used to say "do you want to win the workout" or " execute on race day"  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Recovery...don't deny your body

Triathletes LOVE to post, blog, talk about monster training weeks, (me included), how many hours, miles or meters logged.  For some it maybe boasting, some it maybe pride, some it maybe to psych out their competition, some it’s just fun…. For every “110 mile bike + 5 mile run” posts how many “awesome 3 mile recovery run” or “day off” posts do you see? 

Not many….  Yet, these workouts are most likely the ones elevate athletes.   As a Masters athlete I generally accept and understand the need for recovery except for when I am greedy and eager to train, train, train and as a Coach I do as well.    I have a new Coach (since February) and while I am training with more intensity and higher volume I also have more days off than ever.  3 Mondays of each month are DAYS OFF not light swim, ez run, and days off as in no swim, bike, run, yoga, and strength.
This took some getting used to.  In the beginning I would email coach, how about an easy swim?  NO.  Thought on ez spin?  NO.  I soon stopped asking and really started to tune into my body, was my body eager to train or was it my brain?  Usually my brain.  I started to notice I was less afraid more excited about my Sunday workouts knowing that Monday was off.   Ironman training is often about finishing the workout knowing you could keep going, roll one into another, but resting before it is necessary is also key.

As an athlete I get caught up in what my competition or training partners (sometimes one in the same) are doing… and then I let go and remind myself I am different (my strengths, weaknesses and daily stressors are unique to me alone) and my coach is coaching me for what I can handle.   As a Coach this is crystal clear, as an athlete the waters are muddied somewhat at times.

So after the fat 24 hour week I was so proud of, I backed that week up with 9, yes 9 hours.  5 weeks out from an Ironman I wanted to roll more volume.  My coach (as do I) like to schedule 7-10 days at a time and this is why.  Coming off a monster week and then a day off I was tired.  I knew it.  I was not sleeping well and was starving- 2 key indicators of fatigue. So I waved the white flag and let coach know – here is how the coach/athlete relationship flourishes.  The Coach can only know so much by looking at training logs, HR etc, he/she needs the athlete feedback. I surrendered and he responded with some deep recovery.  Sure I could have written “feeling a bit tired but ready to go” and the week would have gone as written, but I have done that and paid the price.   As an athlete only you really know how you are feeling (listen to your body) .  Lose the mindset of it I tell coach I am tired, she will change my schedule and that is a bad thing.  Embrace it as in “I am so glad I have a coach who monitors my training and wellbeing and adjusts to how I am feeling” Think of it as the stronger athlete takes recovery!

This is why I love coaching, training and racing and having my own coach- It makes me a better athlete and a better Coach.