Monday, June 20, 2016

What are you putting in your fuel tank?



Fueling for a race is similar to putting gas in a vehicle.  If you have 400 miles to travel, you wouldn’t just put half a tank of gas in your tank would you? And you wouldn’t put bad gas in your tank would you?  NO, you’d want to fill your tank with the best gas so that you’d make it to your destination in plenty of time and without problems.  Well, our bodies are much like a vehicle.  It needs to be fueled with the proper nutrients to perform at its best.  

I’ve done races in the past where I didn’t really focus on what was going in my body days leading up to the race much less on race day and let me just tell you that I suffered for it.  Have you ever finished a race where you didn’t just feel tired or achy from the physical part of the race, but you also just felt plain sick?  It can be stomach problems to just plain feeling like you have the flu.  I’m not an expert and I would never try to tell someone exactly what to eat.  I will say that you must find what works for you and it’s VERY IMPORTANT to fuel your body properly.  Not just on race day but days to weeks leading up to a race.  Honestly we should all thrive to fuel our bodies every day with GOOD stuff.  I’m not saying cut out chocolate cake.  It’s good to have a treat, but we don’t need to do it every day all day long. 


When I started this ironman training I began reading and researching anything and everything from training programs to nutritional programs.  Yes, I’ve fueled for a marathon before, but this is a tad different.  First of all it’s going to probably be a much longer day of physical exertion than what it takes for me to do a marathon.  Its 3 different sports all rolled into one day!

Now I’m the type person that must practice in training what I plan to do on race day.  I can’t just wake up on race morning and hope that I’ll remember to fuel properly.  I must practice it for it to become part of my routine.  So in all my reading on fueling for a triathlon they talk about eating while you are on the bike.  It makes sense.  You can’t eat while you are swimming and you don’t want to eat much while running because your stomach is bouncing up and down.  So that leaves the bike.  It will be a LONG day.  At least 10 hours.  Yes, the half ironman time limit is 8 hours 30 minutes, but you have to think about the time you’ll spend in the morning getting to transition, setting up your bike, then going to wait to start your swim wave.  It’s going to be a long day and you’ll need to fuel properly to finish the race without totally collapsing at the end.  "PRACTICE DOESN'T MAKE PERFECT.  PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT."


So for weeks now I’ve been practicing eating on the bike.  I take peanut butter crackers, etc. in my little fuel bag and try to eat something every 30 minutes.  Now, I’m not eating a hamburger and fries. LOL  I’m trying to put stuff in my body that is good for me.  Things with protein and carbs.   I read the book “Against The Odds” after doing my first 50K trail run a couple years ago.  John Pendergrass is a guy from my local area who in his sixties competed in six of the world’s toughest triathlons across six continents.  He talks a lot about nutrition and his training.  He wasn’t the fastest and most people didn’t think he could accomplish what he did, but hard work and dedication paid off for him.  It’s a great book. 

I was almost giddy the other day when I found a new “alert” on my Garmin watch.  It’s called EAT. J  I have it set on my bike settings to alert me every 30 minutes to eat.  The first time I tested it out and it beeped it kind of scared me.  The tone was different than my distance alert and I wondered what the heck.  But when I looked at my watch I just smiled.  The alert had worked at exactly 30 minutes into my ride.  I tell you these gadgets are so dang smart! It’s like a tiny little computer all on your wrist.  Well, I guess basically it is a computer.  I mean it’s a GPS, tracks ya distance, ya pace, ya time, you name it.. it tracks it. J  



Last week I even found a new data screen that's called “multisport” time.  I’ve got to test this out.  This will be cool if it works the way I think it works.  I can set it on my run segment of the TRI and it should give me the total time that I’ve been going so far in the race.  We are all focused on finishing before our 8 hour 30 minute time limit is up so this should help me to make sure I’m staying within the time limit on my last activity of the TRI. 


So back to nutrition.  I love this comment.. “When it comes to endurance events, a properly fueled twenty-year old Nissan can beat an under-fueled Ferrari every time.”   Many people think they need to cut carbs, but the truth is that endurance athletes need to eat carbs to do what we do.  Now there are good and bad carbs so do your homework.  Ever heard of “the wall” when talking about a marathon?  Well, some people say its lightheadedness or dead legs.  Hitting the wall is a common reason people end up having to DNF (did not finish) in a race.  Here’s some math for you.  (I got this from one of my nutrition books for triathletes)  The human body can store around 2,000 calories worth of carbs, which roughly translates to the energy needed for twenty miles of running… sound familiar.. “The wall”.  Most people hit the wall around here, exactly when their fuel tanks would be depleted without proper pre-race fueling and fueling during a race itself. 



I’m not a nutrition expert so I’m not going to go into tons of details.  I urge every athlete to do their homework.  Some people simply like to take GU gels when running.  My stomach can’t handle too many of those or I will have really ugly stomach issues after a race.  So I try to stay away from taking those every 45 minutes as recommended.  My best advice is to test your nutrition before race day.  That way you will have a great race. J  And remember the phrase… “The bike sets up the run” according to most for a half ironman distance. 


Oh and if you haven’t heard, Chocolate milk is a great recovery beverage.  I usually take it with me in a small ice chest when I train.  Chocolate milk provides the perfect ratio of carbohydrates to protein, just what our body’s need after a hard session. 



After a 15 mile run Saturday, a brick workout (bike then run) on Sunday and a 2,100 yard swim this morning, I plan to take the night off from exercise and eat some good food to fuel my tank for tomorrow. J  I've got some veggies from my dad's garden.  Going to be so good except I've got to scrape it off the cob first.  :) Happy training to you.

"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." Willie Nelson

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekend Training - 104 days to Augusta Half Ironman 70.3 miles!

As I sit here in my nice cool house, I don't think I want to get HOT again this weekend.  Boy it's been a HOT one!  Saturday morning we even started our run or I should say walk at 5:30am hoping to beat the heat.  It was ok the first loop, but by the time we started the 2nd loop it was just down right HOT. I had meet Frank & Krista to do 10-12 miles.  They had around 13 on their schedule and I just wanted to try to get in an easy 10 miler.  I hadn't ran all week because I was letting my knee rest that had started bothering me the previous week.  I have NO clue what I did to it.  However, that's usually how it goes with us runners.  A new aliment pops us unexpectedly and we can't figure out why.  It throws us for a loop.  What did we do wrong.  Too many hills, too many miles, running too fast, or just plain old over training.  Yes, sometimes we do know what happens to cause an injury, but I'd say most of the time we just don't have a definite answer.  So I rest when it happens.  I feel like it might be a little bit from overuse.  I recently did a 100 mile bike ride along with all the TRI training I'm doing.  So I'm telling myself it's overuse.  :>)  Anyway, we ended up walking most of the 10 miles.  We jogged here and there, but most of the miles were walking.  It was so good to visit with Frank & Krista.  I hadn't got to do that in a while.  Here's a picture we took when we were done.   I didn't realize my app put the word "GYM TIME" on the top of the picture until just now.. ha


Sunday a couple of my friends were going to Wiggins to Flynt Creek to TRI train with some people that Kathy had been talking to on Facebook.  I hated to miss church, but felt that I needed to go tag along to get in some good open water swim practise.  That's my weakest event as of right now.   Their plan was to swim 1 mile, bike 30 and run 20 minutes.  So I joined Kathy & Serina and missed church.  

Flynt Creek was beautiful.  I was shocked how clean the water was when we got in it.  We started at 7am so there were no boats out yet except for 1 small fishing boat.  

The swim was great!  We did 4 laps outside the swim area.  I think there were like 8-12 of us total.  It was a mixed group of men and women.  I had thought it was going to be only women until we saw the guys driving up and unloading.  They were all pretty good swimmers.  After swimming we got ready to start the bike ride.  One of the guys came over to tell us about a very bad dog that we would have to pass on the route.  That's when I started to get worried.  I hate mean dogs.  I had not carried any mace or my tazer.  I was so wishing I had it right then!  He said they would ride in front and if the dog came out they would spray him and for us to peddle as fast as we could to out run him.  Yes, this dog likes to chase you and will bite!! I don't know why owners of dogs let them do this to innocent bikers!!! Drives me crazy.  So we took off and I started praying immediately.  

Luckily the dog didn't come out! I was so happy!!! However, I knew we had to come back that exact way to get back in the park where were started.  The route was rolling hills.  It was a very nice ride.  I had rode most of the roads before when I did the Wiggins TRI so I was prepared for the hills. I'll never forget my coworker telling me her parents live right on the bike route and how they weren't really any hills in Wiggins. I told her after doing the TRI last year that she needed to get out of her car and on a bike and she'd see they have HILLS.  LOL  The guys that were with us would stop and wait at intersections for us to catch up to make sure the group stayed together.  They were really a very nice group of people.  One husband and wife was from the coast and they come to Flynt Creek to train most every weekend.  They are also doing Augusta in September.  All of sudden I hear a loud pop and notice my front tire is going flat! So I stopped.  One of the guys that was close to me asked if I was ok and I told him I was fine but my tire was flat.  He asked if I knew how to change it and if I had the equipment.  I told him yes.  He said they would go on because they would be turning around soon and heading back my way.  When he left I started taking off my bike tire and changed my tube.  I was so GLAD that my friend Frank had told me to learn how to change my own tire.  If I had not known, I could of either walked 10 miles back pushing my bike or sat there on the side of the road until they finished and came back to pick me up.  Boy it was hot changing that tube! NO breeze at all! My CO2 bottle didn't fill my tire up very much.  Thank goodness that the two fastest guys were heading back and stopped when they saw me.  I told him my bottle didn't seem to fill my tire up so he handed me his.  He also asked me if I changed it myself and I told him yes.  He said good job little lady. :>) 

So now we are on our way back......and I'm dreading the dog.  We all stop at the top of the hill to re-group and he reminds us that the dog is coming up so be prepared.  Thank goodness Serina had her tazzer with her!! We all started down the hill and here comes the bulldog looking dog hauling butt after us.  I was gripping my handle bars so hard.  He literally started coming my way and Serina popped in front of me and hit her tazzer.  He came to a complete stop and just stood there.  I was so relieved because he had his eye on me.  I was on his side of the road and if she hadn't been there, he would have probably gotten me! Thank goodness for good friends!! 

When we arrived back at our cars one of the guys came over and told us that the dog had nipped his wife.  He said they had been dealing with this dog for a long time.  I was saying in my head... WHY DON'T THESE PEOPLE PUT THIS DOG UP! I HATE MEAN DOGS!

We did not join them on the run due to Kathy's broke foot.  The doctor just released her to bike and swim, but no running just yet.  So we packed up our stuff and changed clothes.  I had Serina take this picture of us as we were leaving.  

We are all home now and I've had a nice shower and I seriously don't think I want to be HOT again. I thought about going outside to lay by my pool or in the pool on a float, but I think I'll stay inside with the AC on and nap.  We got us a good workout this morning!  They said they go most every Sunday to Flynt Creek to train.  I so want to join them more because I feel that I need that type of training to get me ready for Augusta.  I just don't want to miss Church every Sunday for training.  Serina made a joke and said we might have to change religions and go to church on Saturday.  ha   I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  I plan to pray about it.  Maybe God won't be too upset with me if I go train 2 Sundays a month until Augusta in September.  It's not like I'm in church every Sunday always..I do miss from time to time.  It's just not a planned training thing as why I miss sometimes.  One of my friends once told me that we can get to where we worship these races, training, etc. so I don't want to be one of those or for people to think that's me.  I just want to be prepared for the biggest race that I've ever done by September 25! Did I say that's only in 104 days?! No time to be playing around now.  LOL  It's hammer time.  


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Heat Wave Classic Triathlon 6-4-16

Whew where do I begin? First let me say this is a new “type” TRI for me in that it was a longer distance TRI.  I’ve done several sprint distance TRIs since 2011 when my good buddy Serina talked me into one.  #serinamademedoit …. Yes, there is a hash tag for her and if you search it, you’ll come up with several pictures with the tag. :>)  There are several of us that are her victims. It’s her personality. 
Jennifer, Kathy, Katherine,Serina, & Me before the race

So back to the TRI…  I tried to not focus on the race before hand in hopes I wouldn’t get too nervous.  I didn’t even talk it up on Facebook all week.  So unlike me. Ha   I had planned to not do anything on Thursday or Friday before the race but I went to the pool on Thursday and swam 900 yards without touching the sides of the pool at all (We can get out of the lanes and swim in a square without stopping) just to time myself and see how I felt.  Yes, I normally swim more yards than that (usually 1,200-2,000) and even do more than that from time to time without stopping, but Thursday I needed that reassurance that I could swim ½ mile (800 yards) with ease.  I don’t know why because I’ve done it so many times in the pool but I just needed it Thursday.  I swam 933 yards in 19:04.  I was very pleased and so very glad I went.  I was at peace and not nervous. 

Well that soon changed on Friday when Serina sent me a picture of a snake

in the lake that she saw when she went to pickup her race packet.  I had already planned to take my wetsuit and wear it.  I hoped the water might be wetsuit legal but if not I still planned to wear it.  I wanted to test out my sleeveless one and from all the literature I’ve read it takes 4-5 times swimming in your wet suit to really get the hang of how it makes you feel and how it can alter your stroke, etc.  Serina kept saying…. “what if you place in your age group because you won’t be eligible for awards if the water temp isn’t the right level for the wetsuit to be legal?”  I told her I didn’t care.  The race to me is all about practice for Augusta.  I wanted to practice in my wetsuit, test nutrition and bike shorts for comfort.  To me it was like a dress rehearsal preparing me for Augusta.  Yes, wetsuits can make “some” people faster.  Although there are many, many variables that play a role in the wetsuit like the quality, thickness, and even the type swimmer you are plays a role as to whether it makes you faster or not.  Wetsuits can range from $50-$1,200!  I have an average wetsuit that cost me $200.  So I certainly don’t have the best out there. The one thing the wetsuit does for me is gives me a sense of safety.  I feel that if a snake or alligator bite me that he would first have to bite the wetsuit and maybe it wouldn’t get to me or hurt me….LOL  I know, crazy right? (But in my head)  See while preparing for this Augusta ironman, I’m in a group on Facebook that is strictly about Augusta and every day they are posting pictures of ALIGATORS!  I told my friend that I’m not checking out the page as much as I did in the beginning because I don’t like seeing all the gator pictures. Ha!  The wetsuit also gives you more buoyance so it’s easier to tread water to catch your breath.  In general from most things I’ve read, a wetsuit can shave off 3-5 minutes for some swimmers compared to their times without one.  I’m not sure it shaved any for me because I swam the ½ mile (800 yards) in 20:31:06, which is slower than my 933 yards in the pool on Thursday.  The swim going out was tough.  The water was pretty chopping and it felt like I was on a small boat in the sea.  I felt like each time I took a stroke to go forward a wave would pull be back.  I was so happy when I reached the last buoy where it was time to turn and swim back to shore.  The swim in was much easier.  I was beyond thrilled that I never once got nervous or panicky in the swim.  I quoted scripture, counted strokes, and praised Jesus the whole time.  When I came out of the water I didn’t feel out of breath or wore out.  I was ready to hit the bike. 

I took my time in transition and dried my feet really good before slipping on my socks and bike shoes.  Once on the bike I headed out on the Natchez Trace.  I was so glad that it was overcast, however the wind was crazy strong.  The course was out and back.  There were several times that I felt the wind was going to literally take me down.  Several times I noticed I was gripping the handlebars pretty hard and I would remind myself to relax my shoulders.  My little bike computer kept going off and on so I never knew exactly what speed I was going.  (Reminder..get new batteryA couple of times I tried to turn my wrist to look at my watch, but the wind was so strong I was scared I was going to wreck so I decided I must be doing ok because I was staying up with some people that looked fast.  They had the real expensive bikes! I did eat some of my peanut butter cookies and a piece of my peanut butter sandwich when riding.  Yep...testing nutrition.  I need to know what works for me before Augusta race which is so much longer.  When I finished the bike leg and looked at my watch, I had averaged 18.3 mph.  Whoop Whoop.  Oh and I passed Serina on the bike when I was coming back in which really surprised me. We had to start the swim in race number order and my race number as 27 and hers was like 147 …. I was like WOW..She swam really fast cause she’s not too far behind me on the bike.  She amazes me! And my swim time was actually a tad faster than hers (a very little tad and I only mention it because she's a great swimmer and normally kicks my butt in the swim event).  Her transition time to the bike was shorter, which made it where we were able to pass on the bike route. :>)

I was feeling pretty good and saying to myself…this isn’t as bad as I had thought it was going to be.  Several people had told me to pace myself that the course was tough.  I was kind of wondering why they had said that up until mile 20 on the bike.  At that point my quads started to tire from peddling hard against the wind and trying to maintain a fast pace.   As I started the last leg of the TRI, which was the run, I was so tired.  My friend Kathy was taking pictures and she hollered to me, “only 6 more miles D”.  In my head I was saying 6 more miles. You are a runner.  This is what you do.  But my body was aching.  I was HOT and TIRED.  I was also hoping my knee wouldn’t hurt.  I believe that after my 100-mile bike ride, I aggravated my arthritis because my knee has been bothering me since then (maybe over use>>> ).  Serina told me I was not allowed to do any more big stuff before Augusta.  She said she’s going to kill me & Kathy if she ends up being the only one to make it to Augusta.  See WE talked HER into that race. Hee hee…. We got her back. :>) 

So my run was slow.  I walked off and on.  I counted the miles down wishing they would go by faster.   I was so ready to be done.  Around mile 2.5, my knee kicked in.  I almost wanted to cry.  Just as I was about to do just that two guys came running by me.  One of the guys was telling the other one how his whole body ached and he wanted to just walk.  His friend told him to focus on something else to get his mind off his pain.  And then he said one of my favorite quotes from Rocky… “It’s not how hard you can get hit, but it’s how hard you can get hit and get back up”.  Boy that was just what I needed.  I picked up my chin and told myself.. "who cares if you walk the rest of the way… you will finish and don’t hurt that knee worse to throw you out of running for weeks."  I’m not sure how I even managed a 10:36 pace overall for the 6.2 miles due to all my walking but I did. 

Someone had asked me how long I thought it would take me to do the race and I jokingly said maybe 3 hours.  I honestly hadn’t even tried to calculate a goal time.  I just wanted to complete all 3 events.  I was so shocked when I looked at the clock and my total time was 3:02:40! Whoop Whoop… I was so excited!  However, as soon as I got to where Kathy was standing I told her.. “WE’VE GOT TO DO DOULE THAT IN SEPTEMBER!”  She just laughed and said but look at your time.. You’ll be good on the time limit for Augusta Ironman.  I sure hope so! The time limit is 8:30 (I believe. Need to check that) Oh and I waited around for awards just to see what the time was for the women in my age group that placed and there was no way I would have placed without a wetsuit. ha  My age group was 50-54 and the top 3 women that placed did the race in 2:35 -2:45.. WOW.. talk about some fast old ladies.. hee hee 
At finish line..we took these real quick before Jennifer had to leave..she was doing another race in NOLA later that afternoon! She's a BEAST! 




So Serina, Jennifer & Katherine all finished the race too! I’m real proud of Katherine and she should really kill Kathy.. hee hee.. Talk about someone that one weekend does a “try it on” distance, which is shorter than a sprint distance and the very next weekend jumps to an almost Olympic distance! All of us have done several sprint TRIs before attempting the longer distance.  I’m not sure why the organization doesn’t change the swim to a mile because the bike and run are the distance to meet the Olympic distance requirements.  Kathy did only the swim due to her broke foot and she kicked that swim in the butt.  Super proud of her! She had a little panic the last time we raced in open water, but not this time.  She did great. 

I LOVED our swag bag! 
A cute shirt, a laundry bag, sunshades strap, phone charger and bike lights.  So that’s a wrap.  I also heard them saying during awards that this year was cooler for the race due to the overcast so I can’t imagine doing the race when it’s hotter..ha  It was tough but just what I needed for practice. 
The timers results... slightly different than my watch for swim & bike, but still a 3:02 overall time! And I wasn't the only one is a wetsuit...ha  Actually there was a lady also but I guess when they posted these times on the board she was not in yet.  They kept updating them as people came in and crossed the finish line.

Here's a few pics Kathy took.  Remember.... you CAN DO ANYTHING! :>)  Love, D








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