Sunday, November 22, 2015

NYC MARATHON Tips and Tricks

The NYC Marathon was definitely an amazing experience, I have never in any of my races had so many people cheering. The energy in the city is definitely electric!

Start Village Recommendations
1) take the bus from midtown, it is the most orderly and warm option
2) Bring food, eat your normal breakfast but bring more food you may be in the start village for 3 hours; save your pre race nutrition for the normal 45 minute window before the start
3) Wear clothes you can donate to good will
4) find somewhere to sit that is blocked by the wind and bring plastic to sit on

I was a bit disappointed to find that my wave had to run on the bottom level of the Verrazano bridge but it was still an amazing view. I really think that this race, much like Big Sur should be run for the experience not for a speedy time. If you have people cheering find out what side of the road they will be on and the approx mile number or you will never see them!

First 10 mile recommendations
1) Wear your name on your shirt, people are always looking for names to yell
2) High 5 the little kids along the side
3) Enjoy the bands, singers, and choirs in Brooklyn
4) Watch out for the pot holes and uneven roads
5) The cups are very slippery, watch your footing through aid stations

I felt fabulous the first 10 miles, although when I saw coach around mile 8 she said I wasn't hydrated enough so I tried to drink more water after. Frankly the porta potty lines were so LONG I was trying to avoid having to pee.  **if you can make it to the porta potties under the Queensboro Bridge there was no wait at all! Highly recommend**

Second 10 mile recommendations
1) It gets a bit boring in Queens but you are there for a short time
2) The Queensboro Bridge is quite a hill but don't fall out here, walk if you need to
3) The energy off the bridge is amazing and will give you life but remember you have a ways to go still!
4) the back half of this marathon is deceptively hilly
5) If you have specific nutrition you can arrange for someone to have it waiting for you

I had a lot of trouble with nutrition, energy and pains the back half.  It was really my own fault as I hadn't run much since the Ironman and it would seem my energy stores were not up to where they should be in my muscles. My stomach started growling about 10 miles in even though I had followed my normal nutrition plan to a T.

Last 6.2
1) Bronx has some fabulous music to get you grooving
2) Once back into Manhattan, 5th ave is just a steady up hill for almost an entire mile
3) SALT!!  The weather this year threw a lot of people, I was handing out my base salts left and right
4) Getting in to the Park is decieving, as you leave the park and go back in for the finish
5) There is a small hill towards the finish, save your energy!

Thankfully I saw my friend Shawna around mile 20 when I was hurting and a bit frustrated realizing I wasn't going to make my time goal.  I literally jumped on her, luckily she is strong :)  She ran with me for a little while in her regular clothes/boots even though she had her own marathon coming up in a couple weeks!

I think the best part of the race is having lived here so I had memories in each borough not to mention knowing so many people along the course both cheering and running.  If you can get in and pay the crazy fee this race is definitely worth doing once although I'm not sure I will run it again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New York City Marathon

I can't say it is a dream come true to run the New York City marathon this coming Sunday because frankly even once I decided to run a marathon I still had no desire to do NYC. While training for my first marathon in 2013 I ran through Central Park and happened to go right by where the finish line was being set up.  I was completely overcome with emotions I had never felt before and decided that perhaps I did in fact want to run NYC. There was something about seeing the finish line set up on the same road I had run countless times before that made me feel the urge to cross the line.

Getting into the NYCM is no ease feat, in fact one might surmise it is actually easier to just run a marathon than qualify for NYC. As an inhabitant of this fair city I had the ability to join the New York Road Runners, run 9 races, volunteer once and get guaranteed entry into the marathon.  I will admit this is perhaps easier than applying for a lottery and being denied, however running 9 races while juggling triathlons and a broken foot proved very challenging. I do wish they would update their policy that if you register and pay for a race but have a doctors note it counts towards your 9 races, instead they give no leeway which resulted in my wearing a walking boot to the start of a half marathon, walking the half marathon and then putting my walking boot back on.

This race is one of the big iconic marathons and while I was really excited to qualify it fell into the backseat compared to my Ironman goals this year so my training has been slackerish at best. I mean I ran a marathon about 4 weeks ago after swimming and biking so surely I can manage a marathon this coming weekend.  It certainly won't be a personal best but I can enjoy the experience of running in New York City streets and bridges, taking in all the scenery of my home turf and I know the crowds will be excellent. I'm really just in it for the experience but in reality isn't that why every marathoner runs except the pros.

I can't help feeling a little annoyed at the amount of waiting that shall commence before hand in Staten Island as my wave doesn't get started until 10:40 but my bus leaves midtown at 7am.  Plenty of time for a swim and bike before hand but I can't seem to find the course maps ;-)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The cost of Ironman

The Ironman experience was truly priceless but when I first signed up I decided to keep a spreadsheet of the costs associated with training to get to the big day.  I think the cost is a very personal thing because there is a way to do it on a strict budget or a way to go all out but I tried to do it within a reasonable budget.

The first expense is of course the sign up cost which let me tell you is a little tough to stomach at $821.50 inclusive of the insurance and fees.  I decided to go the coaching route which added a monthly cost but there are also lots of books and resources to be self-coached so that is not a required expense. I did not track my additional grocery spending but training not only increased my food intake but it also caused me to buy more healthy, fresh foods.

Every training session needs fuel and there are many options for race nutrition from gels, gus, powders and even real food.  I chose Generation Ucan and supplemented with some squeezable fruit pouches, over all I spent about $500 on Ucan. Your bike will need accessories but I ended up spending some money to get a new bike that was carbon after I won a bike in a raffle. I needed new tires after getting a flat and then bought an aero bottle holder, new seat, aero bars and several pairs of new shorts in the great "comfort" experience of 2015.

There were many training camps offered throughout the summer that I did not attend because I wanted to keep the budget under control.  I did, however travel to do a free camp in Chattanooga to get a feel for the course and I think that was the best thing I could have done.  Seeing the course for myself and knowing I had concurred it was a big confidence booster although it was definitely expensive to fly with the bike.

The thing about the Ironman is that it isn't just that one day you spent upwards of $700 dollars to participate in, it is the gym memberships, the pool memberships, the early morning work outs, the hundreds of miles on your bike, the countless miles on your shoes, it all adds up. I think it is important to keep this in mind when you sign up because the stress of training coupled with the stress of paying for everything can be overwhelming. You don't need all the bells and whistles but some of the whistles, like coaching, make the overall experience better and probably more successful.

My total over all ended up being around $7,000 but I am sure that doesn't count a lot of things I should have added.  Looking through the list I realized a lot of the things I spent money on I could continue to use and therefore get more bang from my with that happy news I am delighted to share I will be doing Ironman Louisville next year!

See, never say never, I guess I was one and done until that one was done and then well I need to beat my time ;-)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ironman Chattanooga Race Report 2015

Apologies ahead of time this will be a LONG one, but hey the race took me 15 hours 41 minutes so there is a lot to write!

"Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life" John Collins, creator of the Ironman race

Let's make things more interesting:
-144.6, an extra four miles added to the bike course.
-7:30am late start taking at least 30 minutes off the normal 17 hour time limit.

My excitement levels were high the minute we started our roadtrip to Chattanooga the Thursday before race day. I made sure to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated which resulted in MANY pee breaks for the entire trip which ended up taking well over 14 hours. I packed all kinds of healthy snacks but by hour 13 I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie from a gas station. We arrived Thursday evening and trying to find a grocery store proved more difficult than anticipated but we picked up a few supplies and got settled in our house.  I highly recommend renting a house as it took the pressure off trying to find proper food and gave space to spread out.

Friday morning it was chilly and rainy and my desire to do anything was extremely LOW but J and I headed out to get in a little 25 minute or less swim above the damn and believe me it was less.  I think I ended up swimming maybe 10 minutes max because I was freezing, it was raining and I was just not in the mood to be cold and wet.  The water felt great and I was still looking forward to not wearing a wetsuit. After changing in the biggest handicap port-a-potty we had ever seen we headed over so J could buy race tats.  Seeing the line we decided checking in would be smart so we headed to sign our lives away in waivers and pick up our swag. Excitement level was at an all time high!  We headed back to the house to pick up Z so we could drive the bike course and then head to whole foods to purchase more food. My parents arrived later Friday and I made a big pasta dinner for my last really large meal because I don't like to eat a ton the night before a race. 

Saturday we got all the gear bags dropped off (what went in the bags is a whole other post!) as well as our bikes even though it was still raining!  At the athlete meeting they noted the water temperature had dropped closer to the 76.1 wet suit cut off and I was pretty disappointed as more rain was forecast.  The irony is not lost that for my first triathlon the morning of they announced it would not be wet suit legal and I cried because I wanted my security blanket yet this time I was hoping for no wetsuits! Things like this show me how far I have come and make me feel very proud.

I slept pretty well and woke up excited with no stomach nerves which is very good for me.  Shortly after waking up the alert came out it would be wet suit optional which made me very happy, although at this point we were already awake so no extra sleep.  We headed to put my nurtition on my bike and in my run bag and then drop my special needs bags.  At that point I realized the myathletelive had been in the bike bag all night and not fully charged, sorry people who were expecting it to work and sorry self for the 75 bucks you spent. After minor tears over that I realized if something was to go wrong it was best to be that, at this point I was hoping it would still work so I wore it the whole race without realizing it never gave my location!

Swim 1:14:59
Spectators were allowed on the buses to swim start which was fabulous because they kept me occupied and made the time pass, Z even held my place in the LONG port-a-potty line.  Time seemed to fly by and my sherpas spent some of the time looking for items from their bingo cards which were a huge hit. I had my three scoops of Ucan and before we knew it the sky was brighter and it was time to march along to swim start, I quickly put on my borrowed swim skin, swim cap and goggles and did some exercises to warm up.  The wet suit swimmers went to the right and we walked by them so the line didn't seem quite so long and before I knew it we went through the arch way.  Many people had said we would go in two by two, but that was not the case, essentially you walked to the dock and just jumped in with about 20 of your closest friends.  This part created a bit of anxiety but I walked to the edge and more slid into the water, got myself together and then off I went. It was a surreal feeling to think that a year of planning had finally come down to the actual race.  The water felt great, the river is very clean and I was excited for the swim instead of anxiety ridden. It was pretty smooth and I enjoyed the scenery on the shores, it didn't feel as fast as my swim in June and there was definitely more contact with other swimmers.  At one point someone grabbed onto my leg and would not let go so I gave the a swift kick which seemed to discourage them from touching me again.  There was a tiny bit of chop at one point but luckily I trained all summer in the ocean so this didn't affect me but I heard a lot of people mentioning it.  I got sandwiched between two very large guys at one point and had to maneuver my way around them but once I saw the bridges I knew I was home free.  The left turn into swim exit was not difficult but getting out of the water was a bit hard, I wish I had practiced at these stairs, you had to really bring your leg up to sort of crawl out and next to me it looked like one girl might drown with people crawling out over her. 

T1 8:45
Jackie had me visualize what I was going to do in transition and I think this helped calm me.  I got excited to hear and see my fan club upon getting out of the water which got my blood pumping even more and then I faced that lovely hill up out of swim exit which was fun.  I remembered where my bag was but there were so many volunteers to help so things went very smoothly.  I ran into the tent and it was pretty crowded so I just looked for an open chair and sat down, a volunteer quickly ran over to help. I got the swim skin off, bike jersey on, salts in my shorts pockets, chamois cream on, glide on my feet, bike shoes on, helmet on and I headed out to find my bike.  A nice volunteer actually unracked Scottie and passed him to me and we headed to the mount line.

Bike  7:56:46
I am so happy I rode the bike course back in June because it helped me know what to expect and really increased my confidence.  The first set of train tracks out of town were covered in bottles and nutrition that had been ejected from bikes but I had no trouble and the tracks were covered, signs were there to slow down and volunteers worked tirelessly to clean up the road. I stayed in my zone, I raced my race as people FLEW past me for miles.  I didn't let it get to me and at one point I told myself it was because I did such a great job on the swim so these people needed to catch up. My goal was to stay consistent, pee twice, fuel properly, not fall and hopefully do a 7:45 bike split (15mph). I felt great on the bike and at times I pulled myself back to make sure I had something left for the second loop.  I sipped water every 15 minutes, Ucan every 30 minutes and BASE salts every 5 miles. Special needs came at the perfect time, I sucked down two fruit pouches, grabbed my third Ucan bottle, smeared on more chamois cream and was off on my way. My backup BASE had spilled all over the bag but luckily I had more than enough on me.  The rest stop after special needs was my first pee break and I decided to ask for the time of day because my watch only showed how long I had been biking and I was unaware of what time I had entered or exited the water. A kind volunteer said "12:20 pm" and I swear I could have kissed him!  This was my "moment" the pre-finishline moment that meant so much to me and made my day because at that point I knew that I was fully capable of making the 6pm bike cut off.  Around mile 95 I started having some trouble with chaffing and I pulled to the side of the road, apologized to the people cheering, put on more chamois cream and much to  my chagrin realized I should have done it sooner, the last miles were painful to say the least but I kept a smile on my face! I didn't get into my aero bars even once because I was too nervous from my last accident and I know this hurt my pacing on both the bike and the run, I need to get better at my bike confidence and handling.  I passed Scottie to a volunteer, said we were on a break but that he did a good job so he deserved to be taken care of and wobbled to my T2 bag. Total of 9 scoops of Ucan, 2 fruit packages, about 5 bottles of water.

T2: 9:13
This transition was not as busy, presumably because it took me so long on the bike but I had my pick of chairs and a very nice volunteer who assisted me with an almost complete outfit change! I put body glide on my feet with toe socks in hopes of no blisters.  I sucked down a fruit packet while the volunteer put my Ucan in the back of my tri top, I grabbed a hat put on my race belt. peed and went on my way only to realize about half a mile later I hadn't grabbed any of my base salts...FAIL.

RUN: 6:11:48
I got to see the family as I left out on the run and Z even ran down the huge hill to see me on the river walk, my biggest regret of the race is not taking the two seconds to go give him a kiss, my poor sherpa.  I went out WAY too fast, the excitement had me on a high and I was just so happy to be off my bike but I settled into a routine.  The first aid station had base salts so I picked up a few and set about my run to the aid station and walk through the station. About mile 4 my stomach was a bit unhappy with me for the first time of the day, I think due to my heart rate being a bit high for the first miles of the run and I threw up.  Nothing terrible and I think my proper fueling on the bike really saved me here, I slowed my heart rate down and it took a little while for my stomach to cooperate.  I didn't eat much from miles 5 to 13 and when I got to special needs my stomach was still a little iffy but I sucked down a fruit packet while dealing with my HUGE blisters.  I was so glad to have clean, dry socks and Vaseline in special needs because these blisters were out of control, I had been so careful not to get my feet wet so I have no idea what caused them.  My half marathon mark was 3:03 so all in all I ran a consistent run and I actually passed a ton of people so I was happy with my progress.  I found a partner who was going my speed and we hung out for a lot of the back half, Lauren and I power walked like soccer moms, dragged each other running, toasted to the joy of chicken broth and shared our stories which made the time pass more quickly.  I ditched her toward the end when all I could think was getting to that finish line, sorry Lauren!

The last time down the big hill on Barton was amazing a group was playing T.Swift so I started singing, they were yelling and giving me high fives and I kept screaming I'm an Ironman, I'm doing this, this is happening!!  At the bottom of the hill stood my rock, my support, the person who has had to suffer through the brunt of my insanity and he had a huge smile on his face and I said quick you can't miss my finish (of course he runs WAY faster than me so who knows what I was thinking.)  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry that the amazing journey was coming to a close and as I ran people kept saying you did it, you are an ironman.  As I rounded for the finish I saw a few people that I knew I could pass so I did with care to make sure I could get a good finish line picture and then I don't know what came over me but I SPRINTED, I mean full out ran down that finisher shoot.  Someone said "Oh wow what a finish!" and before I knew it I heard those words I had been waiting to here..."Katrina Purcell from New York City, NY, you are an ironman". I looked up, gave Packy, and all my angels a kiss and then the winner of the race put my medal on.

Total time 15:41:31        

Turns out that I passed a lot of people on the run, my bike and run times were pretty consistent and I really couldn't be more proud.  I wasn't the fastest person but I did my best and I didn't let others affect my race or mindset.  I kept my fueling and hydration plans under control even when there was a minor hiccup. I thanked volunteers and spectators all day, I had a smile plastered on my face and I enjoyed every single second (ok maybe not that second I found that really gross port-a-potty but all the others).

I am so happy I started this journey and I am so thankful that my parents, Z, Joanne, My aunt and uncle and Jamie and Mike could be there to share it with me.  It truly takes a village to get to the race in one piece and I could not have asked for a better support system. Z massaged my calves while waiting for swim start, carried every single bag, took on anything that could possibly cause me stress and kept me calm.  My words when I crossed were I am never doing this again but that has worn off and I could entertain it but first I have a long to do list of things I promised to do "after the race" :)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

On the Road to Ironman...

I need to do a race report, and I will soon but first I felt that there are a lot of emotions that I wanted to wrap up so that the race report can be more focused on the race.

A little background on me, I was NEVER considered athletic, in fact I was down right scrawny throughout middle and high school. My siblings were both extremely athletic and used to physically remove me from situations if they found I was annoying. It was very powerful to be called an athlete and feel athletic as well to have my brother call and tell me that he was proud of me (then he called me crazy :0)

2012 I turned 30 and my best friend talked me into training for a half marathon and so started my fitness journey.  I HATED the entire process and I knew I would never do another race ever again, but as we all know you should never say never. We did the diva half marathon in October and the minute I crossed that finish line I was hooked on the race endorphin high. I have never in all my other races hurt as much as I hurt after this first half marathon, I was sore for DAYS.

When the opportunity to start my tri journey presented itself I was worried and concerned about swimming as well as the bike but I decided that my 30s were a time to conquer fears. The first tri I signed up for was a half iron distance, 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running perhaps not the recommended first distance but I like to really go for it when I sign up.  Eventually my friend Jo convinced me to sign up for a mini tri so that I could get a feel for transitions and the tri experience.

September 2014 is when the journey to Ironman really started because I signed up for Chattanooga and I was wearing a walking boot unable to swim, bike, run or even walk very well. This is not the ideal situation and I don't recommend unless you are prepared to really throw yourself into training. The nerves really got to me at certain points because I felt I was missing valuable time to be improving my skills but trying to ensure I recovered properly from my stress fracture.

Doing an Ironman your second triathlon season is not something I recommend to the faint of heart. I am not a strong swimmer or biker and although my skills have greatly improved they caused some heartache during training about time cut offs. I got the option to upgrade my bike by winning a raffle in April and instead of going with a time trial (triathlon) bike I elected to go with a carbon road bike and add aero bars.  This decision was smart because adapting to the carbon bike and aero bars was still difficult, the bike is much lighter and tends to be harder to control. I took two spills, including one only a month out from Chattanooga which really shook my confidence and limited my swimming.

Leading up to the race I felt very calm and settled because I knew I had put in the work and the day would be what it was but the training had already given me such a thrill.  There were so many days I didn't want to cycle one more mile, the pool was the last place I wanted to be and towards to end all I wanted to do was sleep but I stuck with it. Just getting to the starting line of an Ironman, uninjured and ready to give it your all is an accomplishment and I was feeling very proud of myself.

Race day is about execution, following the plan and being able to adapt when things don't go to plan.  Fitness only gets you so far which is actually a good thing for me! :)

Spectator Bags!

I wanted to wait until after my race so that I didn't ruin the surprise for my spectators but I put together a post because I know many people were asking about the goodies.

I went on Oriental trading and bought 12 draw string backpacks, cowbells that matched my team colors as well as some glow in the dark bracelets.  The site runs some good sales and is a great place to pick up things in bulk.  I found small things of wipes on sale at my local CVS and threw those in each backpack because you never know what the toilet paper situation will be like!  Someone in a group I'm in found some TRI tissues so I had her send me some and put a packet of tissues in each bag.  I saved old NUUN containers and used them to put advil in each bag because let's face it the day is very long for your spectators. I also threw in hand sanitizer because again its a long day and you never know what the bathroom will have.

I bought some paint and glitter to decorate each bag as well as the cowbells to make them a bit more personalized.

Each bag contained a BINGO card that I created with typical things you might see at an Ironman event and the winner was promised a massage and the game was a BIG hit!  They used pens to write the time they saw the item in question and my dad was so competitive he started it as we waited in the swim line at 5am!  This was also something fun for me while I was doing the race I would see things and think to myself oh that's on one of the cards so it passes the time.

I found a spectator guide to the area online and added some key information about where our house was located, the shuttle information and added some other resturant information more specific to the tastes of the people from my group.  At the last minute they called for rain so I went to a dollar store and threw in ponchos.

Then I took into consideration each personality to fill the bag with snacks I felt they would like, some ideas include candy, trail mix, nuts, airplane liquor bottles, gum, and hard candies.

 I also hand wrote a personalized note to each person thanking them for their support as well as coming to cheer.

My T-shirts were made using custom ink and were a HUGE hit apparently!

If you need any help thinking of ideas or are too pressed for time to put together spectator bags but really want them just reach out to me via the blog and we can discuss pricing.

Happy Racing!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015


One week until race day...

On September 29th when I signed up for Ironman Chattanooga it really seemed like this day would never arrive.

I am feeling quite proud to have decided to start the journey toward an Ironman, stuck with the training when I would rather have slept or relaxed, spent so much money and be ready to head to the start line!

How many workouts you might be thinking and I wanted to give a little breakdown, keep in mind I do not train with music because you can not race with music.  While some of these workouts were completed with others many were done completely alone with my thoughts.  This journey has given me so much time for self reflection and I have been very lucky to realize how happy I am with myself and the people in my life right now.  It has also given me plenty of time to think about those no longer with me and how they have impacted my life.

Duration: 107:41:26
Miles: 1509

Duration: 43:17:52
Miles: 218

Duration 46:05:29
Miles: 69.75

Total miles: 1,796.75 (I tried to get this all together from training peaks so I might be off a little.)

Wow I don't know about you but I am exhausted reading that!  The most important though, 144.6 comes next weekend!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Oh wow, 26 days until the race!  I was doing pretty well nerves wise but over the weekend I had my second bike accident in as many months and I'm pretty beat up.

I thought the crash in July was bad timing but this crash during build weeks is DEFINITELY bad timing. I'm nursing some pretty disgusting roadrash on my shin and hip coupled with cuts on my ankle, knee and hand.  To be more accurate, Z is nursing some brutal cuts on my leg and hand :) I could not be doing this without him!

The shirts for the sherpa support team have come in and I will let you get a sneak peak at the front but I'm keeping the back a secret.

Bib numbers were released this week and I will be lucky number 1098 which is either the code for a jailbreak or a tax form depending on which of my parents you talk to :)

I have also rented myathletelive which is supposed to be better at tracking me during the even itself so be on the look out for instructions on how to keep track of me on race day in 26 DAYS!!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Coeur Shorts Review

Due to my Ms Susie saga I found myself in the market for some new shorts and I decided this time I need to spend a bit of money to get some very nice shorts. Coeur was a brand highly recommend by the Ironwilled Women Who Tri group as well as other women on several boards I frequent so they seemed like a logical choice.

I ordered the cycling shorts in the Supernova design and when they arrived the first thing I noticed was the quality of the fabric.  They were very soft and shiny, I was excited to test them during my hour spin session.  Once I got them on the first thing I noticed is they were quite short although I am all leg so on someone of normal height they might be the perfect length.  The big issue is that there were no grips around the leg openings and when I started to cycle the already short shorts rode up on each leg. I ended up trying to pull them down while riding and I have no idea how I could manage them on a long ride.

The chamois is very nice and I really like that it goes all the way to the legs and is seamless but for the price paid I was extremely disappointed.  I will be returning this pair, however someone mentioned that the tri shorts do have the grips so I have ordered a pair to test out.

The saga of Ms Susie

Now that I have aero bars on my new bike I have run into quite the issue while doing longer rides.  PAIN.  I'm not talking a little bit of pain, I'm talking raw, chaffing, extreme pressure.  Ms Susie is NOT happy and if Ms Susie ain't happy, ain't no one happy.  I began the search to find a solution to this issue a few weeks ago to no avail.

Last weekend during my 70 miler I came to a completely breaking point, during part of the ride I couldn't even sit in the seat it hurt so badly. After sitting with some frozen peas I decided I needed to take immediate action to ensure that I was able to complete my Century Ride this weekend.

I realized that my kit shorts were feeling pretty baggy which means they tend to shift and bunch a lot while I am riding, I think I shouldn't have ordered mediums on top of the fact I have lost weight/body fat recently.  On a few trainer rides I tried other shorts I bought last year but nothing was able to fix the pressure.  I ended up ordering bike shorts from Coeur because they were highly recommended on several boards. Another friend suggested Fushion shorts and I ordered a pair of those too.

I also read up online about seats including a very informative article on the Cobb Cycling site that I HIGHLY recommend for anyone having issues.

Their female fit specialist is extremely responsive and I ended up rush ordering a Plus seat. My bike mechanic, other wise known as Z was able to watch several online videos and we got the seat all set up.  I did a very short spin on it and I think it will be MUCH better for my ride.  The opening in the seat is very much at the right spot and I felt that I could get fully down into aero without any pressure or pain. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

87 Days! Bye Bye June

June is but merely a memory so time to take a look back on a monthly recap.  June is the first month that I have been able to be consistent with my schedule although I have missed a few OWS due to weather and going down to watch Jamie do her Ironman!!

Training weekend went very well and I'm so pleased that I went because it did increase my confidence going into the race. Work has still been very busy but I have limited my focus to training, work, sleep and Z and I feel better.  I do need to get this move done but Z is helping with all of those details and I should spend some more time with friends which I am going to try and arrange but right now sleep is my biggest priority.

Less than 90 days until the race so I've given up soda, candy, fried food and alcohol. Time to really buckle down and make sure that I put myself in the best situation possible for the race.

Swim: 29,301 yards (WOW)
Bike: 223.7 miles
Run: 6
Total: 246.34  (now we are talking)

January Totals:                                    Feb:                             March:
Swim: 9,801 meters                         18,756 yards                   8,625 meters
Bike: 43.46 miles                               123.5 Miles                    92.76 miles
Run (AlterG): 7.16 miles                    13.5 (Alter G)                24.8 miles
Total Miles: 56.71                           Total Miles: 147.6              Total: 122.92 miles

April Totals:                            May Totals
Swim: 7,464 yards               Swim: 7191 yards
Bike: 67.58 miles                  Bike: 44.3
Run: 53.58 miles                   Run: 4
Total miles: 125.4             Total Miles: 58.07

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Follow the Leader!

Today was a HUGE day for me, ok maybe all caps is overkill but it certainly felt like a really big day for me :)

One of the greatest gifts of triathlon is friendship. I've been blessed to meet so many new and inspiring people from online forums and my teammies. Today I met up with Jaime in Jersey for a nice 40 mile ride to beat the incoming rain. The caveat was she had never ridden from the GW so I would have to be the lead biker which is a first for me normally I just put my head down and follow the leader.

The first obstacle of the day was the bridge itself and I was very nervous to be doing it alone even though I have accomplished this feat in the past.  I tried to ride up the ramp but when I hit the sharp curve things did not go well and I ended up kind of stuck.  Luckily no one else was there to witness my klutzy actions and I was able to unclip, jump off the bike and walk it up the rest of the way.  I was a bit nervous in the areas around the towers where you have to turn and things are tight if someone is coming but it went pretty well.

Jaime and I met up at Strictly's bike shop and set off on our way up 9W, planning to do about 20 miles and then turn around.  I forgot to start my watch but realized fairly quickly and started tracking, but I was trying my base salts for the first time and planning to take them when my watched beeped every 5 miles however my watch was beeping every mile.  (At no point did my brain say to me "Wait it only beeps every mile on RUN mode").

We found a nice flat parking lot and I was able to practice getting into and riding in my aero bars, things started out very shaky but Jaime gave some great advice to put my weight back and let me abs absorb the shock instead of my shoulders.  Once I leaned back things felt more comfortable and we set back off on our way.  I may have taken us past some tree pruning which was a little nerve wrecking and we may have almost gotten on a highway but I did managed to admittedly stumble on the coffee shop in Nyack where everyone meets up!

After checking out the GPS we decided to go back a different way so we rode down to the water and then realized we missed our turn so we went to ride back and were smack dab in a hill.  I was in my big ring and at first couldn't change to the small ring, I freaked a bit and felt VERY clipped in (I felt like I was going to fall and couldn't even get my foot out) but I was able to get into that little ring and shift properly to get up the hill.  SUCCESS!

We made a few stops on the way back so I could check the GPS but luckily Jaime is nice and calm and not type A.  There are some beautiful river views and nice houses in that area and I was able to get in and out of aero bars several times on nice flat roads, even with cars! After the horrible hill climb back up to Englewood cliffs I realized that I had inadvertently taken us the safer route to cross over 9W instead of having to make a left off the road, score!

Riding the GW back was a bit heart attack inducing as there were a lot more people out and about including walkers who were not looking to see bikes and did not listen when you yelled 'On your left!'  I had a near miss through one of the tower sections and I decided to walk the ramp. The cross city ride was dangerous, people have no idea the actual rules of the road or they just don't care at all and I had a close call with an impatient taxi driver but I made it back in one piece!

All in all I felt it was a very successful day and training peaks thought I had run a 3 minute mile so it agreed today was ground breaking...ironman fail. :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Training Weekend Rundown

Months ago it was mentioned on Facebook they would be doing a free training weekend in Chattanooga.  Knowing that I am super Type A I decided that it would be money well spent to head down and get the chance to train on the course I will see in September. I felt that seeing and feeling the elevation would mean more to me than a map. Frankly on previous races I never spent much time looking at course maps so this is a first for me.

Day 1 Thursday
I borrowed a HUGE bike case and had Scottie taken apart and packed, we were supposed to fly to Charlotte but our flight got canceled due to storms so we headed to Atlanta. Scottie got on the first flight out but I ended up stuck at Laguardia for hours waiting for another flight. I finally landed in Atlanta, reunited with Scottie and then rented a car to drive 2 hours to Chattanooga. The drive was fairly uneventful other than periods of blinding rain!  I arrived about 2am to my friend, Catherine's house.

Day 2 Friday
A noon ride of the course was on the menu but first Scottie needed to be put together so I located a bike shop downtown and headed over to have them reconstruct my bike. They did a pretty good job (the bike shop that took it apart made sure to put tape markings) however the aero bars were definitely not right but since I am not really used to them it didn't matter too much. I headed to the meet up point and luckily my new pal Melissa had a jug of water for me. We filled up our bottles and I hoped for the best as it was HOT and HUMID and I wasn't feeling so prepared for that. The group set off right at noon and I knew I was severely out gunned pretty quickly.  I feel bad with the intention of just doing my own thing but at a stop light they waited for me and once I caught up I told them to just go ahead.  At this point my heart rate was almost 190 and I was getting very overheated, sweating like a crazy and having some trouble breathing.

Once they went ahead and dropped me (about 5 miles in) I pulled to the side and texted coach who of course dropped some knowledge and then yelled at me to do my own thing. Unfortunately I had overdone it at the start so it was a little hard to get things back together but I ended up doing about 26 miles. I beat myself up the WHOLE time, I was frustrated, there were tears, and I was convinced I was going to let everyone down but I kept riding. Once I got the bike all back into the car I decided to think about the positives; the ucan worked like a charm with no issues even with the heat, I had gone down all the hills without needing to feather my brakes, I had ridden all alone in an unfamiliar place and hadn't just gone right back. Basically my bike confidence had actually improved even though it did not feel that way.

I went home, took a shower and promptly passed out on the bed in the deepest sleep of my life! I even still had the towel wrapped around my head, I am really surprised my friend did not take any photos. We went and picked up my packet for the swim Saturday and then had some yummy BBQ!

Day 3 Saturday
The morning started off with a 2.4 mile swim in the river and I was NERVOUS but I managed to not throw up which was pretty impressive.  Luckily both Melissa and Ann were doing the swim so having people to hang out with on the little bus up to the start calmed me a bit. We started at a dock in front of a BEAUTIFUL house that overlooks the river but there was a delay in the start which did little to help my nerves and made me wish I had brought water. People were in wet suits but I had opted to go tri suit because I'm positive that IM chattanooga will not be wetsuit legal.

As people were jumping in the water I heard them complaining it was cold and someone had advised me the day before that it wasn't very clean.  This is where I was reminded everything is relative. The water felt amazing on my skin since I am used to swimming in 58 degree water so far this year and I could not only see my own hands as I swam but I could see the feet of the people in front of me! The start was a little confusing but once I got into a nice groove (after some prompting from Ann) I felt great.  My swim workouts have definitely improved my swim fitness and also my patience with the sport, for the first time I never checked my watch to see how long I had been in the water. I did not have a single panic attack and I never rolled to my back for the first race EVER. I did end up almost in the middle of the river and had to be prompted by a canoe guy to get back on course...oops.  Towards the end I saw the finish and I decided to sprint which my left calf did not feel like doing and it completely cramped up but even then I did not freak and after some solo right leg kicks then no kicks I was able to get the cramp out enough to walk out. I ended up swimming 2.74 miles due to my little tour and the current was definitely on our side so I was very happy with my time even with the cramp.  Note to self HYDRATE!!!

Post swim we took a little 4 mile walk around part of the run course because I was explicitly told NOT to run and I am behaving.  It didn't feel too bad and goes through a neighborhood and then along the river that we just swam in which is kind of fun.

Day 4 Sunday
The goal was to tackle one full loop of the bike course and the start time was moved earlier due to the oppressive heat.  We set out with the C group and it was a much more enjoyable ride.  The course is very beauitiful and the hills are not bad compared to what I see in Jersey which gave me some confidence. Again my ucan worked very well in the new bottles I was testing out, basically I used the bottles from my run hydration belt mixing the ucan with a little water. I did have nuun in my water bottles but ended up trying some base salts finally. I actually really liked the base salts and came home to order some. I also tried out some new toe socks at the recommendation of my friend and I have ordered some of those too!

The ride went well and we averaged somewhere in the neighborhood of 15mph, one down hill I was up to 30mph! That one will be fun on race day although I am nervous about how crowded it might be with other bikes.  For the most part cars were respectful but we had a few close calls on some of the smaller roads where cars didn't wait to have time to pass.

I am so happy I went down to see the course and after my mini meltdown the weekend provided me exactly what I wanted. I met people I will be racing with and formed friendships (including some that I have known online but never in person), I got to see and experience the course, I tested out my nutrition plan (now to make tweaks), I feel 100% more confident about the swim and I did another travel weekend alone including lugging around the huge bike case that caused me to get quite a few stares and people saying "That is such a huge case for a little girl." You should have seen their faces when I explained it was my bike and I was training for an ironman, so much for calling me a little girl...that's little bad ass to you thank you very much! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

So you drank the koolaid? A Guide to what to bring to your first race

A good friend of mine has been following along on my journey via facebook and recently reached out to let me know she signed up for a mini pool tri this coming weekend. In our conversations I have a million ideas for blogs to help newbee triathletes so I will be starting a little "You Drank the Koolaid" blog series for the newbees.

I signed up, I'm going to swim in a pool, get on my bike and then run now what the heck do I bring with me? Everyone is different but I am going to try and give you a pretty comprehensive list of everything you might need for a small mini-sprint tri (your list for a longer race will be different, we can get into that at another time).

YOU- getting to the start line of any race uninjured, healthy, and rested is extremely important. Properly fuel with a morning breakfast that you have used prior to training before
*Nothing new that you have not tested out in training in some way shape or form

  • Tri Kit- you will wear this the morning of, I recommend a two piece because it makes bathroom breaks far easier for but for a shorter distance you could get away with a one piece
  • Tri bra- if your kit doesn't have a bra you will need a separate bra but you need a tri specific one or you will stay wet all day
  • Light Bike Jacket- if the weather is cool you will want to wear a light jacket in the morning while getting ready and leave it with your bike in transition for the ride
  • Throw away flip flops in case you don't get them back; don't wear your running shoes that morning
  • Swim cap- normally given to you by the race in a certain color
  • goggles- I recommend bringing two pairs just in case you have any issues race morning
  • BIKE
  • Bike shoes- if you are not doing clips you can just use your sneakers
  • Water bottle in water bottle cage on bike
  • Race numbers applied to the bike
  • Flat repair kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Socks- make sure you have used them before
  • running shoes
  • Race belt with the race number on it
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
Odds and Ends
  • Glide-apply to any area that can rub, chafe (for me that is anywhere that a seam can move on your limbs, bottom of shorts around thighs, arms where sports bra rubs) This should go back in your bag not stay in transition at this distance. 
  • Baby powder- put this in your bike shoes directly if you don't wear socks, put it in your socks for the run (it will help dry your feet) This should go back in your bag not stay in transition at this distance.
  • Nutrition-bring something that you have worked with before depending on the total distance.  Don't eat on the bike if you have not practiced it
  • Tire Pump- you should check your tires before every single ride and add air as needed but this does not need to stay in your transition area
  • Towel- Some people will bring a towel for when they come out of the pool and arrive at the transition area
  • Sunscreen
Setting Up Transition
  • Bring a small mat or towel to place your items
  • place next to your front tire (this is what they do at longer races) or under your back wheel (I have seen this at shorter local races) You really just want to make sure to take up as small a place as possible, less is more here
  • Helmet goes on handle bars or mat and should be unbuckled and MUST go on your head and be latched prior to unracking bike
  • Pay attention to the rules of your transition area to make sure your bike faces the right way (try to get on the end for easy access
  • Unbuckle your race belt and place it across your sneakers
  • Roll your socks so they can roll on your foot easily (after you have placed powder) then put them in each shoe
  • Bring a bucket- some people will advise this to wash off your feet, in reality it ends up knocked over and water everywhere. if you are concerned about your feet being dirty have an extra bottle of water at your spot
  • Take up a ton of space- there are so many people trying to fit in a small space the more area you take the more likely your stuff gets tossed around, heck your stuff will probably get thrown around regardless
  • Forget your race number!!
The most important things to bring are ENTHUSIASM, ENERGY, PRIDE and SMILES.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

BIG SUR Race Recap

April 26th, 2015 we ran the famous Big Sur Marathon

Leading up to the marathon we learned that my Aunt Rita was not doing very well so I picked hot pink as well as a headband that said "Save them all big and small" to run in her honor. My first marathon was run in Packy's honor so it made sense to honor Aunt Rita. Big Sur was on my list after my friend Marci mentioned it in 2014 about the time registration was already sold out. We knew that 2015 was going to be our year and had alerts set for the 4 different days they would allow a couple hundred spots. 
I signed up for this race while wearing a boot and unsure when I would be allowed to run.  Smart? eh probably not but I REALLY wanted to go see California for the first time and it seemed so far away time wise. Coming towards the race I wasn't allowed to run in January as expected and the weeks faded away faster than my tan lines (let's face it my bike tan lines will NEVER fade).  ANYWAY my longest run pre-marathon was 10 miles, recommended? NO. But hey who likes to follow things like recommendations. 
I left to San Fran with the express orders to enjoy, take selfies and not over do it. 

How could I not stop and enjoy the view!?

The race starts at 6:40am and you have to take a bus to the start, the buses leave at 3am because they have to drive the whole course and make it back before the roads close. I woke up at 2:30am to have my hot cereal and then packed a bagel and my prerace Ucan in a throw away bag.  It was chilly and I really should  have taken advantage of the bag check or brought a throw away shirt but I didn't think how cold it would be. The bus ride was pitch black and it was kind of eerie to drive the course and know the long downhills would equate to LONG uphills on the run later.

We had fun waiting and reading silly signs on porta potties and talking to other runners and then suddenly it was time! As the sun started to rise I realized we were by a HUGE mountain and the view was breathtaking to think it had been there in the darkness the whole time. The race started with a nice rolling downhill and I tried to keep to a good consistent pace. I knew that the 600 foot elevation climb starting mile 10 and ending mile 12 was going to be my prime opportunity to walk and take my second Ucan dose so I tried to keep consistent running until then with one bathroom break.

If I am speaking honestly my foot/ankle started bothering me about mile 6ish but nothing horrible that made me think I should stop.  Was this a smart call? Maybe not but hey we each make our own journey and on this day I thought about my Aunt and how she had been facing immense pain and still going to work daily. The incline at mile 10 proved even greater than I had imagined and it was a fabulous time to take my ucan and reflect. My half marathon split was 2:38 which give the elevation gain was very respectable.

The wheels kind of came off a bit after that and I slowed for sure as my foot bothered me a bit more. By mile 20 I took advil from a delightful runner I had met who was completing a marathon in her 49th state.  Wow the people you meet can be so inspiring during these things. About mile 21 which was near a cut off I met two girls who were doing their first marathon and the one was near tears convinced she wasn't going to finish.  At that point I decided doing a run walk with them to encourage them through the wall was my purpose.

At mile 23 I had the most amazing strawberry I have EVER tasted in my entire life coupled with some fabulous cheering and ponies in tutus.  The crowd support was amazing considering there was no real way to get to the course unless you live along the Pacific Coast Highway. The view were amazing, nature is so powerful and beautiful and it was the perfect setting for the introspection that I needed to do.

I ran my heart out across that finish line, all the pain from my ankles was gone and I threw my hands up in the air and I had an even greater feeling than my first.  About 2200 feet of total elevation gain is no joke, I knew I was undertrained, I knew I just wanted to finish and I did.  It gave me a lot of confidence going into the ironman that I can gut out a marathon even when everything hurts. My Ucan worked very well, I started to get a bit hungry towards the end but it took me a bit longer than I had planned. Still working on the overall Ironman nutrition plan but feeling pretty dialed in.
Probably the coolest medal ever. 
I HIGHLY recommend Big Sur but HILL TRAIN.  The elevation is no joke but the view and people totally make up for it.  The road is very slanted and at times will probably cause some hip issues, especially toward the end.  The down hill grades can be very steep and I believe caused my ankle issues.  I think starting next year they are turning it into a total lottery but sign on up, I highly recommend it if you like a spring marathon!

My videographer and support!
I called after the race to tell my aunt that I finished and she passed away a few hours later. I know I honored her and continue to honor her by not slacking and never giving up, just the way she lived.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

FOUR months!!

I promise that a Big Sur Race report is coming but not today.

Four months from today will be Ironman Chattanooga! I'm glad that as a gift to myself today I had a great swim, I even figured out what 'breakthrough' in training peaks means and checked it.  The day really started off like any other,  except I hadn't slept well the night before so I was pretty nervous about my stamina for such a long swim. The walk to the pool was steamy due to humidity so sliding in the cool water felt amazing instead of the freezing cold sensation for most the past months.

From my first 400 warm up I felt great, everything was in sync, arms were doing what they needed to, kicking was on point, kept the core sucked in and breathing was great.  I never felt like I got out of that groove and the whole swim went by pretty quickly well except for the SPRINTS that Jax so nicely added at the end when I was already tired and whoa nelly.  I'm pretty sure my brain said to me "Why are you trying to drown?" I did get a slight cramp in my right calf during the second to last sprint but was able to get it to go away in my ten second break between sprints.

I hate single arm drills, because they suck but also because they are missing from the Garmin ;)
I do feel my swimming is improving, I would like to see the per 100 meter average go below 2 minutes but that is a lot to ask.

I will however have to change my response when people say, "What is your swim time goal for Chattanooga?" because right now I say "Not dead".  I guess it might be time to come up with a time goal.

The tool my dad built me to track my sets is so helpful because in my 8 sets of 75 I would ALWAYS lose track but now I can easily look and know which number I'm on.

All in all I am not feeling where I wanted to be at this time in my training BUT I do feel I am where I can be for what my body is allowing. Coming up in June I will be venturing to Chattanooga for a training weekend on the course and I feel like this will be the true test of my mental state.

That's all for now but I promise I have some good ideas for blog posts running around in my head and I'll post them soon! (Especially now that I know people are reading! haha)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May!? NO WAY

The month of April was a bit difficult for me and was another month of inconsistent training, this time due to nagging foot/calf pain and a complete meltdown.

Was it crazy to sign up for an Ironman so soon after becoming a triathlete?  Probably
Is it completely INSANE to also take on a new role at work while Ironman Training? DEFINITELY

Throw in a new relationship, a need to move in to a new apartment the month before your race, timezone travel, lack of sleep and some reoccuring foot pain and BOOM you have a complete meltdown on your hands. One day I managed to throw away my license, credit card and $50 after a run because I tried to hastily clean up my apartment. This resulted in me sobbing into  my cell phone while digging through the huge trash bags in front my apartment. Luckily Z is the most patient person alive and talked me into just going back inside to order a new credit card and license.

I spent a lot of the time icing my leg to prepare for Big Sur and sleeping instead of working out. They say that rest and recovery are also important disciplines of training but when you are doing them they feel counter productive. All I could think about is the looming race which is counter productive to getting rest.

A race update for Big Sur is coming and at some point I promise to find more time to blog.

Here are the rather disappointing April Numbers; here is hoping to a more consistent May...

January Totals:                                    Feb:                             March:
Swim: 9,801 meters                         18,756 yards                   8,625 meters
Bike: 43.46 miles                               123.5 Miles                    92.76 miles
Run (AlterG): 7.16 miles                    13.5 (Alter G)                24.8 miles
Total Miles: 56.71                           Total Miles: 147.6              Total: 122.92 miles

April Totals:
Swim: 7,464 yards
Bike: 67.58 miles
Run: 53.58 miles
Total miles: 125.4

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Six Month Countdown...Bye March

Wait, where is the calendar going?  The days are FLYING by, what do you mean I will be doing an Ironman in less than 6 months?

March was a dicey month with travel and sickness.  We were away at the beach which was FABULOUS at the start of the month and then in the middle drove down to my family's home to celebrate my birthday.  While we were away for my birthday I wasn't feeling my best and turns out I had a sinus infection which severely hampered my training efforts obviously as I just struggled to breathe and work. I would love to have a solid month of training under my belt sooner than later.

I need to be better about blogging as well! I have tons of topics floating around my head but with work and trying to keep myself on my training schedule I'm stretched a little thin.

Nutrition changes are going very well and I need to sit down and write what I have changed up so far and how I think it is impacting me.  I need to be better about this in the long run but I'm starting small to make sure I stick with it.

I need to stay healthy for April, hit more of my workouts and blog more!  Updates to come :)

January Totals:
Swim: 9,801 meters
Bike: 43.46 miles
Run (AlterG): 7.16 miles
Total Miles: 56.71 

February Totals
Swim :18,756 yards
Bike: 123.5 miles
Run (Alter G) 13.5 Miles
Total Miles: 147.6 (now I just need to do most of that distance in one day :-P)

March Totals:
Swim: 8,625 m
Bike: 92.76 miles
Run: 24.8 miles
Total miles: 122.92

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The devil is in the details

How many times a day do you find yourself thinking, "I wish I was as skinny as that person" or maybe "I wish I was as fast or as strong." The risks of comparing yourself without the full details is that you don't know how often that person trains to be that fast, how many years it took them of 5am work outs, you don't know if that skinny person feels terribly about themselves or if they struggle to put on weight. 

A few weeks ago I did metabolic testing to give myself some valuable knowledge as I forge ahead with Ironman training. I wanted to find out my exact heart rate zones so I could heart rate train properly as well as find out my body fat percentage and my metabolic rate just for extra information. I wasn't very shocked to learn my body fat percentage but when I shared the information with some friends they seemed very surprised to learn the number and the response was always "but you are so skinny."  

Let's start with what is your body fat percentage? Your body fat percentage is your total mass of fat divided by your total mass. There is a certain level of essential fat in your body that is necessary for life functions and that percentage is different in men and women.  For men they must have 3-5% for life functions, women must have 8-12% for normal life functions. Please note I am not a doctor, I did not stay at a holiday inn express last night and nothing I am talking about is intended to be medical advice!

My number is....drumroll...27.5%.  This puts me in the average range for women and I would ideally like to be in the fitness range and I believe I can make the necessary changes to get there before Chattanooga. This is not my BMI, personally I don't think BMI is every really accurate because it only uses your height and weight not actual information about your body fat. Let's explore a little bit about why my body fat percentage is 27.5% and what it means.  Where your body fat is stored is more important than the number of how much you have. Of course we have all heard "a moment on the lips forever on the hips" some people carry their body fat on the thighs, hips and butt, some carry it around the middle and some have visceral fat which is stored around the organs.  Unfortunately for me I have the later so I'm what you might call skinny fat and now I need to make some changes. 

Every day your body burns calories just to exist and that is your metabolism at work, I learned that my metabolism is 12% faster than the average person my age, height and weight.  Essentially I burn 12% more calories just to exist and then add in all my work outs and I need to ensure I am taking in enough calories to sustain life. That my friends is how someone gets skinny fat, they don't eat enough calories so their body thinks it is in a famine and begins to store fat for when the food runs out. My focus in the coming weeks will be on ensuring I get to at least 2100 good calories per day, proper fueling before work outs and proper refueling with protein after work outs.  

My avoidance of nutrition has gone on long enough and I need to take it seriously to make sure I get the results that I want from Chattanooga.  Nutrition can make or break race day, the devil will be in those details and I want to make sure I set myself up for success. 

January Totals:
Swim: 9,801 meters
Bike: 43.46 miles
Run (AlterG): 7.16 miles
Total Miles: 56.71 (if my math is correct)

February Totals
Swim :18,756 yards
Bike: 123.5 miles
Run (Alter G) 13.5 Miles
Total Miles: 147.6 (now I just need to do most of that distance in one day :-P)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What does impressive even mean?

This is going to be a bit stream of conscious so I apologize ahead of time.

Today after a rather trying day at work I was invited to happy hour which of course I declined by saying I had swim tonight so I couldn't go.  The person said "oh are you training for something?".  I said, "yes, an ironman." My coworker responded, "Wow that is so great, you are extremely impressive."  Here's the thing I was NOT feeling impressive today, I wasn't even feeling semi-impressive.

I woke up this morning and started my day as I have the past week, with 100 bicycle crunches, hey I'm going to the beach in three weeks and sometimes you have to be concerned with the vanity muscles :-) I must say though I am not noticing much of a difference.

I headed to Performance Health to run on the Alter G for 30 minutes and three miles later I was feeling pretty good. Off to work where well let's leave the details out but say it has been challenging lately.

After work it was manual therapy at 7pm, you might think oh that sounds like a massage, Katrina you are crazy that sounds delightful.  No, no it is not delightful.  Over the past several months Jason, my therapist has unceremoniously torn my tendons apart from one another after they fused together.  Generally I wither in pain and leave with bruised skin and actual finger impressions.  Today after messing with the foot for a bit he moved to a calf cramp that has been plaguing me.  Don't get me wrong after I feel better, during I wonder what the heck I'm doing to myself while trying not to try to punch him. After I get this body buffing thing which is kind of relaxing and at least dulls the pain, then I had to sort my schedule which many times feels like another job.

At this point I was exhausted and NOT feeling like swimming, it was freezing, I was tired and in pain. I texted my delightful coach to tell me to get my butt to the pool and she obliged.  Dragging myself to the tram to Roosevelt island it was freezing and I thought to myself in September this is the night you are going to think back to and know you are ready.  You are dragging yourself to the pool because you have a goal and a dream and you have to put in the time to get there even on the days you don't want to.

Swimming just doesn't provide me the stress relief of other work outs and I don't understand why.  For 1600 meters in between horrible coughing fits I tried to convince myself that the water was washing away the worries of the day.  It wasn't the prettiest but it wasn't the worst and hey it was a work out completed.

When I got back to my locker I had a simple text that made me smile, "How was your swim?"  I have a sherpa, he even timed my intervals during my trainer session yesterday, I'm so lucky. I'm pretty sure I would not be so happy if I didn't have him helping me to keep balance.

Then I came home to a card from my first and most loyal sherpa, MOMMY.

Today I didn't feel impressive. I did suck it up and go workout even though I just wanted to sleep,  does that make me impressive?  I certainly think the people in my life that support me and deal with me on a regular basis are impressive.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Don't give up on a goal because of the time it will take, time passes anyway...

January 2015 is just a memory...are you happy with how the new year is going? Where do you stand with your goals?

I find it better to set small monthly goals rather than overall year goals at the start of the year.  Breaking things into smaller portions makes you more likely to meet the challenges and remember it takes 21 days to build a routine!

January brought my new coach into my life which has started the path of consistent post foot saga workouts.  I had my last round of biopuncture and have now started to see some promising results with the foot during swim and cycle work outs. The alter G has let me do some runs at up to 90% of my body weight and I wait to hear tomorrow that I can run on a regular treadmill. Progress is slow but consistent at least.

Recently I saw that some people were giving the year a word, sort of defining how they plan to look at the year. I have chosen patience because I believe it not only stands for my training but also my personal life. The title of this blog is a quote that has been on my mind a lot over the past years as I struggled with setting on a new path. The time will pass anyway, don't spend so much of your day looking so far into the future, live in the now where time is currently passing. Don't put something off because it requires too much effort or time because that time will pass anyway and you won't have an accomplishment to show.

It feels great to be getting to a point of "real" training and I can't wait, oh wait yes I can be patient to see the gains from training come slowly over the next months leading up to Big Sur which is my first race of the year. Sometimes we get so caught up in the future we don't enjoy the now enough and I'm going to try and be better. Racing tends to lead us to always look ahead to the next race but we need to recognize each work out and what it means to building us into athletes.

I set up nutrition tracking much to my chagrin but I wanted to at least track calories to make sure my training is fueled properly. I have started cooking my weekly meals again to make sure I'm not spending a lot of money to eat unhealthy food at lunch.

Here's to patience and my second word for the year, happiness. Patience with myself will lead to complete happiness.  Patience with training and not rushing into things will make sure that my foot is fully healed.  A wise man told me "in the scheme of 8 months, 2 weeks is a drop in the bucket".

What word describes your year?  How can you set small goals to make that word a reality?

January Totals:
Swim: 9,801 meters
Bike: 43.46 miles
Run (AlterG): 7.16 miles
Total Miles: 56.71 (if my math is correct)
Total Workouts: 28

Monday, January 26, 2015

So much Data...what does it mean?!?

I belong to a triathlon team and our goal is to mentor and guide new women in the sport of triathlon, in fact that is a topic for another blog!  I mention it because today in our private group there was a lot of talk of swim information and what it all means.  These new fancy watches record all this data but what does it really mean to the normal athlete? Well apparently not much, there was a lot of debate and confusion so I thought I would break down some of the swim stats you are seeing from Garmin and what they all mean to me.

See below from my most recent pool swim:
SUMMARY Section:
Distance: Pretty self explanatory, the total meters or yards that you swam in your work out.
Pool Length: Again, this is set by you on the Garmin. You have 25/50 and then you can set custom length. 
Time: This is the elapsed time of your work out
Average pace: This calculates the average time it takes you to swim 100 meters over the course of your work out.
Calories: I never really use this to guide me but it gives you ball park what you burned.

TIMING Section:
Time: Is your total work out time
Elapsed Time: If you tend to pause your clock while working out for breaks, etc this will be MORE than the time section because it is calculating the overall total time. 
Average Pace: Again this is your average 100m time pace
Best Pace: This is the fastest 100m pace of your work out. (I think my watch got confused for this workout)

SWIMMING Dynamics (this is where things get tricky):
Total Strokes: How many strokes did you take in the entire work out? This will be affected if you are doing drills that don't involve strokes with your watch arm.
Average Strokes: This is the average of how many strokes it took you to go one pool length. 
Average Stroke Rate: This is breaking down how many strokes do you take in one minute, depending on how long it takes you do a pool length this number should be higher than your average stroke per pool length. 
Max Stroke Rate: The largest number of strokes that you took in one minute during the work out
SWOLF: The time in seconds plus the strokes it takes you to complete one pool length.  Ideally you want this score as low as possible. 

Now the real question is: What does all this mean to me?
Well as a swimmer you want to be as efficient as possible, gliding in the water with each stroke. Ideally you want to take as few strokes as possible while still moving quickly on each pool length thus having a low SWOLF.  The two values really work together to ascertain your over all swim health because a very low stroke count but a very long time to reach the other side will not be over all efficient.  Same with a high stroke count but low time to cross the pool, you are expending a lot of energy.  You need to find the sweet spot that results in a lower SWOLF.  

Your body composition may also affect these numbers so it is important as with all work outs NOT to compare yourself with others, if someone has longer arms they may have less strokes or if you are doing drills your numbers will be thrown off. If you want to compare work to compare your own workouts to see your development over time but keep in mind certain drills will affect these numbers. Also, try to limit your push and glide off the wall because this will really throw off your stroke numbers, there are no walls in an open water swim!

Did this clear things up? Still have questions? Leave a comment!