Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peak Training and the Attack of Irene

This past week was my last week of peak training before the start of my "half-taper" week and then "full-taper" week. I am very excited, but at the same time I'm a bit nervous. This is really all the hardest training I am doing? I mean my longest ride was last week, not this week. I did a swim time trial and do feel ready for that. My longest run of my training program was today and it was only 9 miles. I mean I know I need to trust my training and know that everything will be ok, but it can be hard to do. Looking back, I think I could have handled the more intense training program, but you know what they say about hindsight...

Anyway, like I said I did a swim time trial yesterday, as well as a pretty solid brick workout. The TT went pretty well. It was slower than I would have liked (pretty sure I am always saying that) but I felt really good the whole time and I know that I will swim faster in the race because I always do. My long ride this week was only 40 miles, and last week it was 50. I'm not sure about the logic behind this, but I hope it will be ok. This morning I did a long run with my cousin Anne and it went well. My right calf is still bothering me some, but even when it hurts it's not so much that I feel like I have to stop or slow down. It's sort of just achy. I know this doesn't mean that I shouldn't be careful, but it does mean that hopefully even if it hurts during the race I will be able to finish.

My legs and feet are starting to feel the way they do when I need a new pair of shoes. The problem with that is that these shoes only have about 130 miles on them, which shouldn't be enough to warrant a new pair yet...

Yesterday's brick was in the late afternoon. I got off my bike, loaded it into my car, began to run, and the rain started. It was the very beginnings of Irene making its way up the coastline. We had a break last night and this morning, but the rain started again this afternoon and the rain and wind have been picking up steadily. Still, it's not really as bad as I thought it would be. We're hunkered down in out apartment, all ready with non-perishables, water and flashlights, just in case! Hope everyone is staying safe!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top 10 "Training Aids" and My Fav Nutrition

Like any sport, triathlon is not something we can do just using our bodies. There is a fair amount of equipment involved (often more than the average non-triathlete thinks about). It is not as equipment-heavy as say, ice hockey (ahem ahem), but there is the bike (and accessories), the running shoes (and accessories), and the swim cap and goggles (and accessories).

Every athlete, endurance or not, relies a great deal on their bodies and minds. We just ask our bodies and minds to do what they do for a lot longer than the average athlete. And in order to do that we often rely on training aids besides those basics (bike, shoes, goggles, wetsuit) listed above. So I wanted to make a list of the training aids I use on a daily basis; those that, in my triathlete life, I cannot live without. As I began to make this list, however, I found that it was rather long. Turns out that I am not as self-sufficient as an athlete as I had imagined. Also interesting was how many items are nutrition...see earlier post about always being hungry...

I will now list the top ten training/living aids (besides the basics) that I think are most important to triathlon survival (in no particular order). I've decided to break the nutrition out of "training aids" list and give it its own section:

Foam Roller - The first thing I do when I get home from a tough workout is hit that foam roller. So far I believe that it has single handedly kept my hip problems (IT band syndrome) in check. It hurts bike a b*tch but in a good way...I guess...
HooHa Ride Glide - I am ashamed to admit that this is a relative newcomer to my training aid repertoire. What the heck was I doing riding without it? I don't know but life is definitely better now. And as a bonus, I smell like menthol for my entire ride and sometimes for a few hours after, even post-shower...
Bandanas - These, in contrast, are not a newcomer. I have been a slave to the bandana for many many years. Keeping the hair and sweat in check while running or while riding, the bandana can be tied as a headband, cover the entire hair under a helmet, or just used as a sweat rag. I have, however, stopped using it as an everyday hair control item, which is what I did for several years when my hair was very short. You're welcome family.
RoadID - Luckily I have not actually needed this item yet (knock on wood), but I still think it's super important to have. I almost never have much on me in the way of identification when I run or ride, so this has all my important contact info and alerts any potential rescuer to my asthma. I even wear it in open water swims!
Chill Bottles - Better than regular water bottles, these have a liner that keeps your water/electrolite mix/gatorade/whatever colder for much longer. Add ice cubes and even on the most sweltering days you can still have a cool drink 2/3 of the way through your ride. Excellent.
LogYourRun App (and iPhone) - This app (there are many like it) has been truly awesome for me. I use it to monitor how far I have gone when I run and to save my running and riding routes. It's not always 100% perfectly accurate, depending on signal strength, but it's darn close. The GPS system saves my routes and I can upload them online and into my training log on the LogYourRun website. The website also allows me to map out routes before I go out. Only trouble is that sometimes my bike computer disagrees with the mileage my logyourrun app gives me. Who to believe?
Compression calf sleeves - Sure, the jury is still out about whether or not compression really works for recovery or performance, but the anecdotal/circumstantial evidence is in its favor. And I like it. I have an interestingly sore/possible pulled muscle in my calf and I love the compression sleeves. They also helped deal with my shin splints last year while half marathon training. I want full tights, but darn those things are expensive!
CO2 cartridges - Hands down beats having to pump up a flat in the middle of a group ride when the testosterone fueled peloton waits for no man (and definitely not the silly chick who is supposed to be a "shop leader" and who ran over a piece of glass trying like a maniac to keep up...)
Honda Fit - It fits in my Fit! With the back seats down, that includes two bikes and ALL of my basics and training aids. Transition bag? check. Pump? Check. Bags of clothes for race day cause I can't be sure what the weather will do? Wetsuit? The kitchen sink? CHECK! All that, and my athletic supporter (aka my wife, who should rightfully hold the number one spot on this list)!!
Indoor Trainer - Also a relative newcomer in my life, it has made this training season much less stressful. If it's 115 outside, or thundering and pouring, or what have you, I can always set it up and train in my living room. I add it in on days when I am time-crunched as well. Plus, I think that I actually work harder on it than I do outside because there is no coasting. Ever. I think added in with plenty of real rides with real hills, indoor training has made me stronger.

Honorable mentions: Body Glide, Swimmer's Ear Solution, Coppertone Sport Sunscreen, Old Navy Running shorts (I swear they are the most comfy!), new Uback sports bra from Nike (it is cute AND has clasps! Sooo easy to get on! Super support!), Netflicks streaming on the Wii (for those days on the trainer...)

Training Nutrition Staples:
Coffee - Ok so I don't drink this during my workouts, but most of them wouldn't get started without it. I basically can't get started without it. And I am not the only triathlete who says so, so I will not be ashamed.
Stinger Waffles - LOVE LOVE LOVE. These are my favorite before I start a hard training session or ride. I can eat them as close to the ride etc as I want without any discomfort or GI issues and they're delicious.
Luna Protein Bars - Quick way to get in protein post-ride if I can't get a meal in right away, and they're the best tasting protein bar. Plus they're fewer than 200 calories, which you don't often find in protein bars. This means I can get most of my post-workout refuel from REAL foods a little later without going overboard on the calories.
G2 - The low-calorie Gatorade. All the electrolites without all of the calories. I like to get my calories from Gus and Chews rather than liquids when I am working out.
Bananas - This is no revelation. Natures perfect pre-workout fuel. Every race morning, and most other mornings too. Gotta get that potassium! They even fit in your jersey pockets when you're riding.
Gu (Jet Blackberry or Vanilla Orange Roctane) - I only take the ones with caffeine, so jet blackberry and Roctane are my fav. The vanilla orange tastes like a creamsicle. They're super quick, so they're easy to deal with during a workout and don't upset my stomach.
Stinger Chews - MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! Seriously, these are so tasty. I cut the top off of a pouch and put it in my bento box. I can eat one or two when I get to stoplights or pop one in my mouth almost whenever on a ride. They are delicious and organic and I like the consistency better than the clif shot blocks which stick in my teeth.

Alright, now you know all my training secrets!! (Ok there are still a few). Now it's time for me to get to the Y and jump in the pool! Everyone be good and have fun training!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thank yous, sleep and endurance rides

Well my friends, I am happy to announce today that I completed my very first 50 mile ride. Many thanks to my friend Dave who has been doing my endurance rides with me. Without him I would probably be lost out there somewhere, right now. Still. My sense of direction is impressively lacking, as my friends and family can all attest to. Anyway, this time I did the first hour of my ride by myself, and then met up with Dave for the last two hours. I felt pretty good the whole ride, pushed it on some hills and finished feeling very accomplished. Yay!!

My training has been going really well this week, although I have been very tired a lot recently. Sometimes I am pretty groggy for my morning workouts, which can mean I sort of swim in a fog for the first half of my pool time. I've been trying to get myself to bed earlier and get more sleep (as well as feed the beast enough to stave off the grungry, as discussed in my earlier post), but it can be very hard with the rest of life getting in the way.

Another interesting turn of events is that I seem to have counted the weeks incorrectly in my training calendar. I don't know if I repeated a week somehow or what, but yesterday when I tried to sort it out, it had my race landing one week later than it actually is. SO I've had to rearrange things, and the long and the short of it is that I am skipping what would be a recovery week and moving on with the next build week instead. I know this isn't the best thing to do, but I didn't really have many other options. There are only 2 more build weeks left, and then I begin my half and full taper, so I think that it will all work out OK. Just gotta be diligent with the stretching, the ice and the sleep.

So with that I am going to bed. One more thank you to send out tonight though: Thank you to my wife Erin. Yesterday was our 1st Anniversary. She is an essential part of me being able to follow this dream and without her, I would be lost literally and figuratively :)

I am sure there will be many more thank yous to come, however. This race is not far away and it's a big deal for me. I have gotten a lot of support from my friends and family, so I'll be thanking them all shortly. :D Thank you in advance for putting up with me until then!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


How satisfying is it to check out your training log at the end of a good training week and see how packed full it is? Personally, I find it super duper satisfying. This is not to say that every single one of my workouts was stellar, but I got through them all! My running is still pretty slow, unfortunately, but I haven't been doing any speed work to speak of, because I really don't want to aggravate my hip if I can avoid it. This also means that I have to try to avoid running downhill (which then means I don't really spend much time running up hill since up and down usually come in pairs...). Basically the running hasn't been the best it could be, but darned if I am not doing the full times allotted in my training plan! Without my legs falling off!! YAY!!

Quick, knock on wood for me.

Anyway, I have reached that level in my training at which my hunger has reached new heights. Don't get me wrong, as my family and close friends will tell you, I have always been hungry. By always I mean constantly, since forever. One of my friends coined a term to describe me when it's been more than an hour or so since my last meal: "grungry." Yes, that is a hybrid of the words "grumpy" and "hungry." But all of these phenomona have grown as I have amped up my training. I have tried not to be constantly grungry, but it's really tough. I have also tried very hard not to overcompensate in my caloric intake. I know I am burning a lot, but with the way I want to eat you would think I was putting in 40 hrs of training a week. I'm not.

"With all that training, you must be able to eat anything you want!"

Oh how I wish that were true, family and friends. But it is not. I am much more vigilant with what I will put into my body now than I ever was before all this working out.

Which reminds me. My friend Jackie was visiting the other day and we were talking about training etc (she is an avid runner, has done triathlons with me, and currently is riding Mitchell, my old bike), and she said to me "Hey Jo, remember when you didn't run?" haha. yeah. I reminded her of how we both used to be terrified to ride our bikes and about the yard sale I had riding to the graduate student office a few years ago, crashing my bike in the middle of the road for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than I couldn't balance. haha...

Anyway, my wife and I just remodeled our office and I need to build my new storage rack (so that I can get some of my tri gear put away and out of the main living area...), then I have to hit the pool (yay for a brick AND a swim today!)

Later kids!