Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Girding my loins

Preparing for battle. Putting my game face on. Settling in for the seige.

I have printed out the IMAZ 2010 periodization schedule and official training starts May 24. I had a little heart attack when I read the first date listed was April 26, but they have 4 weeks of "Pre endurance training" as optional. That's more for people starting from scratch. My original plan from Coach Chrissie back in December called for a month off serious training in May after the Galveston half, but I'm finding that difficult. And already I'm negotiating with myself. "I am taking off 2 weeks for the Tasmania trip in June, so I should go ahead and start training" vs "I don't want to burn out" vs "there are still a bunch of things on my to-do list for May I haven't done" vs "my mental health needs more exercise!"

I did read fellow T3er Jane's blog post about preparing- it's actually a facebook post and not on her blog, but I've cut and pasted it below. So I've got a lot of stuff already up and running: Diet Gourmet meals delivered, bills on auto pay. I did go to Sam's and stocked up on toilet paper, granola bars, fruit cups, soap, and tampons. I've done all the gardening I'm going to do aside from mowing. I've done all the home improvements I'm going to do for now. I've visited the family and warned everyone I'm not going to be available like I have been on weekends. All that's left to do is actually start training!

From Jane:
This isn't about training; it's about how to prepare to organize your life to accomodate Ironman training. Having done 2 Ironmans, and having my life become total chaos (I've had my electricity turned off, didn't mop my floor for 6 months, etc), I've learned some things!

1. Put everything on automatic bill pay. Most people already have this, but I didn't so...yeah - thus why my electricity was cut off (also, I'm kinda disorganized about bills anyway, sigh)

2. Get all your routine appointments out of the way: annual medical appointments, dentist, take your dog to see the vet, car inspected. It's going to be hard to find time during training.

3. If you take prescription medications, ask your doctor for a 90 day supply. Saves on pharmacy trips.

4. Get a maid. Or have a nice roommate/spouse to clean for you. Or accept a messy house. Seriously, after a 100 mile bike ride on Saturday and 18 mile run on Sunday, you are not going to want to vacuum.

5. Get 2 or 3 of everything and put extra stuff in your car and at work: gatorade, gus, helmet, sunscreen, tubes, bike shoes, towels, running shoes, chamois butter, etc. Nothing is worse than driving out to a ride and realizing you don't have bike shoes. For work, it's nice to have extra clothes, makeup in your office, especially if you shower there or at the pool. I have a hair dryer and extra set of makeup in my office.

6. Go to Sam's, Walmart, Costco, whatever and buy all nonperishables in huge amounts: toilet paper, laundry detergent, household items, etc.

7. Food - this is a tricky one. You are going to eat a lot. You will always be hungry. But you want to eat fairly healthy. Ideally you can cook yourself, but that takes time (not really the cooking, but shopping and cleanup.) You can eat at Wholefoods all the time (I did this the first year), but it gets kinda expensive. Decide how you are going to eat the next 6 months. If all else fails, you can always have PB&J for dinner.

8. Social life - uh, not sure what the best advice for this, since I have no kids, no husband and a low maintenance dog. And most of my friends are triathletes and "get it." Hmmm, I know Shawnda made it a specific effort to always spend time with her husband while she was training. Ask the married folks on this one. Personally, I found dating near impossible, especially a new person, unless they are training as well. But then again, is 16 mile training run really a "date"?

Okay, hope this helps. Let's see if I can keep my electricity on this season.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Slaughter Creek Trail

On my list of things to do in May was go hiking. The Slaughter Creek Trail is not far from my house and has been on my radar for a couple of months now. So I finally got out there and it's great.

I think the most interesting thing is the attitude change here. At most older parks, it's a "welcome to your park" feeling. Here it is more "watch yourself, this is our park, don't fuck it up!" There are tons of signs about rules, where not to park (though no signs saying park here, which I found confusing), if there is not parking available, please leave and come back later as the park is at capacity. No dogs. No water available. Don't let the gate lock you in as it's on an automatic timer. Trail is closed when wet. Don't leave the trail. And all the rest about leave no trace.

There is only one big loop of a trail and it's about 5 miles. It is really well maintained, well marked, and there are 10+ markers with little snippets of information. Most of them are about how the land was ill used previously- the ranchers' dump, damage to the soil, water use, natural gas pipelines. There were only 2 with references to actual animals or plants, which is what I would have liked to have seen more of. There was a time when I was working at the YO that I knew the names and habits of a lot of plants, animals, and birds. A lot of that information has leaked out of my brain, but I still enjoy learning new things about nature and our environment.

The trail, again, was great. It was a good morning for a walk, and only 2 other people out on the trail the whole time I was there. Lots of wildflowers, birds chirping, and good time to enjoy being outside before the summer hits. It did back up to some subdivisions of Circle C and you could hear the road, construction noises, and some kids yelling. There was one section that was bypassed, so I didn't do the entire 5 miles, but it was a nice 1.5 hour walk. I do really enjoy hiking. And checking this trail off the list makes me want to go to the Greenbelt- all 12 or so miles of it. Of course, the Greenbelt seems like a crowded mall compared to this trail! But it is really nice to have nature so close to urban areas, and people who live in Austin often move here just for parks like this, so it isn't any wonder that they're crowded. I guess I just need to try to go on weekdays and the less popular trail heads to avoid the majority of the crowd. So when can I get in a full day hike in the next two weeks?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Longest ride of May 2008 is recovery ride for May 2010

In preparation for CapTex 2008 with Team in Training, I rode the Old San Antonio road route out to the Valero in Kyle. It took me about 3 hours total, and I was spent, having to nap to recover afterwards. It felt really hard and was a huge accomplishment.

Saturday, trying out the new bike (more to come on that) rode the same route, able to keep up with other T3ers, in about 2 hours, averaging 14.7 mph, even with a strong head wind on the way back. A recovery ride. And it felt good. Not easy, but comfortable. What a difference!

Friday, April 30, 2010

A PR in Galveston, but that was brutal

It has taken me almost a week to write this race report because my feelings about it have changed as time has passed. During and right after the race, I was very negative about the whole thing, questioning why do I put myself through this. And after processing, thinking, and talking with other racers, I've put it in a little more perspective. But that's getting ahead of myself.

I drove in Saturday morning to see C race the Olympic. Turns out, the bad weather came through Friday night, and there were still high winds that apparently turned over and sank a police boat! So the swim was cancelled and they did a bike/ run race with a time trial start. C did great. And the winds died down as the day went on. It was a little tough because she was done and celebrating, and I was preparing. And I did not take the day before preparation seriously enough. I didn't manage my food intake and wound up eating some heavier things that did not settle well. And I was starting to get nervous. For Longhorn, I did all my worrying before, and was calm before. This time, I've been much more relaxed, and then started panicking a little.

Sunday morning, did my regular preparations, missed the group picture, but found the other 35-59 T3ers lounging in the beach chairs for the hour before our start. And then we were swimming. Very choppy- the wind had picked up as the morning progressed. I am a pretty calm swimmer, and this was the worst I've ever been in, drinking a lot of salt water and air as the waves slapped my face. Many swimmers were being rescued by the lifeguards on waverunners. And the salt water took off my body glide and I was getting pretty chafed on my arms. And it seemed really long.

But finally done, up the ramp and on to the bike. After some strong rides in training, I was feeling good. There was a cross/ head wind on the way out, so I talked to myself about being steady out, pushing on the way back, aiming for 2 hours out, 1.5 hours back. And it seemed to be passing quickly. My stomach did not settle as it normally does, and seemed bloated. I waited but then had to start my nutrition. Finally get to the turnaround, and there's a cross/ head wind. No tailwind at all! What a let down. But I was still maintaining 16 mph, so at least it was flat. I did have to take a bathroom break at mile 45, where Sparkle passed me- which is amazing that it took her so long! And then into the real head wind back to transition.

My stomach was still unhappy, but at least better to be upright. Shuffled the first lap, and then started feeling pretty good. I was making 14:30s and moving right along. Water and gatorade and ice at every station. But it was hot, and windy, and no shade. But I was getting close and I was on track to break 8 hours total, if I could just keep doing what I was doing.

And almost immediately after thinking I could actually break 8 hours, at about mile 9- I hit the wall. All of a sudden, I was light headed, and nauseous. I started walking and felt even worse. The next aid station I tried to take in even more liquid, but that did not go well. I never puked, but I dry heaved a little. I cried passing the T3 tent- I just wanted to quit and go lie down in the shade. K joined me for the last lap and that made me sad as well. I was on track, I was about to break through, I had done the training, I had lost weight, and yet the outcome was the same- the last T3er having to be helped in to the finish. And I was in a dark place- thinking this is masochism- we are hurting ourselves doing these long distances. This is not fun. I might as well go sit in a bathroom and cut myself- that's the equivalent to this punishment.

But I did keep going at a shuffle, K tried to talk me through it, and I tried the coke at the last aid station. The caffeine and the bubbles settled my stomach a little. And also knowing the finish was so close, I picked it up. I had a great finish- a bunch of T3ers and the last of the spectators were lining the finish chute and I was slapping hands and moving quickly, Logan announcing. And I did have a 15 minute PR from Longhorn! And immediately after finishing, directly to the medical tent. IV fluids, Zofran injection for nausea, and lying down in the shade. I felt immensely better. A number of T3ers came by to check on me, then saw C off before going to CK's hotel room to borrow her shower. Then driving back. The drive back was actually very pleasant- drinking coke, and talking on the phone the whole way back, and sitting. It was great!

So after talking to a number of teammates, pretty much everybody had a rough race. The heat and wind affected everyone. That is really reassuring, that it isn't just me. And lots of people had problems with the swim, with the crosswinds on the bike, and with the heat on the run.

And the bonk- I've never hit that before, and the stomach problems were leading directly to it. It was a scary place. And physical, systemic discomfort. I do not want to go there again. But at the same time, I've been through it now, so I can handle it if/ when it comes again. My legs actually felt good throughout. And I wasn't really any more sore afterwards than any of the training weekends.

So, lessons learned in Galveston:
1. T3 is great! Teammates are there for you even when you think you don't want them to be.
2. Salt water and waves = nausea.
3. Cross wind means you're fighting the wind the entire way.
4. Manage nutrition very strictly the day before the race.
5. Have back up nutrition to try different things if your primary is not working.
6. Pepto.
7. More sunscreen!
8. Salt supplement? More research needed.
9. Adjust goals to the conditions.
10. Ups and downs happen, just ride them along.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last chance workout

I had my last big workout before Lonestar and it felt good. Core and then spin, both a little shorter and less intense than usual. And I am feeling pretty good. This round of training for the half iron has been much calmer and I've had less anxiety. I have done the training, been consistent, and have built on the foundation from Longhorn. I am hoping for good things in Galveston!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Swimming with Brendan Hansen, for real this time

The second edition of the T3 Open Water Swim Clinic actually went off today, luckily the rain held off. C came up from San Antonio again, and we did a loop of the bike of Practiceman, but skipped the rest. Then we actually got in the water and went swimming. And Brendan Hansen is disgustingly fast. He creates a wake when he swims. Really, the water essentially moves around him and bends to his will. I tried to duplicate it, and no luck.

Good practice and good tips, but swimming is my least weak sport of triathlon. I'm steady and relaxed, just not very fast. But I did get some ideas to work on in the future: make the second half of the pull faster and extending more in the reach.

And so far, still moving right along for Lonestar. Tapering pretty well, only getting the crazies a little bit. It's funny that it feels weird not to work out now. But I am looking forward to the month off in May. Though what I'm looking forward to is kayaking, and camping, and gym classes, and dance lessons, and ...