Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Works For Me

I have been thinking lately about what works for me. This is a pretty broad topic obviously but i mean in the big picture of triathlon, training, lifestyle and most importantly HEALTH. I think it's very easy to get lost in the training/racing/image and forget that it should be about our overall physical and mental health. If something I am doing is "hurting me"( and i dont mean a sore hamstring, etc) I need to check back and adapt my lifestyle.

One example i have is when i got Melanoma. My lifestyle of staying in the sun from 9-2pm had to change.  I had to be suspect of suntans and wear my sunscreen. When my Iron has been low, I have to realize that when I work out harder I need to eat more red meat. When my family says they appreciate me being with them and not running out to train, I listen and remember that my family is more important to me than any training piece that day. When my husband was dying I really really thought alot about what sports and my lifestyle meant to me, and this year, my first summer without Rich I have a few thoughts i wanted to share.

So What works for me at 47 yo. Believe it or not I still feel I can get faster.

1) NOT doing Ironman every year. Dang that's a tough one to swallow. I think if i lived in a warmer climate maybe i could, but living in MN, and at my age i think its hard enough for women over 35 yo ( sorry that is young i know but its true) to keep muscle. IM training is very catabolic. We are slowing down as is, so even tho it hurts in a different way, doing short and fast has been something I think i will keep doing. Ouch i know.

2) Strength and PT specific pre-hab. Note i didnt say Cross Fit or Boot Camp or TRX or p 90x or...
Go ahead and do that, but for me? I know where my weakness is and I know what works for me. What i do is VERY VERY non glamorous. Oh boy is is not glamorous. But i do it 3 x week for 30-40 minutes and I do it till i fatigue. I know i am fatigued when my glutes are sore in the morning, but they arent a "OMG i cant run sore, " just a " yup those guys are working," sore. I used to just do thru the stuff and go " check, check, check.." now i go thru it and keep it going till i know i have fatigued.
Trust me ALOT easier when i am not riding 100 miles and running 20. It was really hard to do the strength on top of the IM training. That being said i think that is when we need it. FORM falls apart in long distance. Racing short makes your muscles work differently, not saying you dont need it for short distance, you do, but for Long Course i think the strength is even more critical.

3) Rest/Recovery/Sleep. This summer i have had some things personally that have made my sleep less restful. We all know our sleep needs. And we all have reasons we may not sleep soundly, kids being one of them. I Find naps to be super helpful even for 30 minutes. I know not everyone can sleep 8hours a night, but maybe skipping an early workout is ok once in a while to sleep in.

4) Trusting the Plan and the Coach. I have learned the hard way that its just a plan. Sometimes the body doesnt want to bounce back as fast as my head does after a race. My coach reminds me that its just a plan, its not the bible and its not set in stone. I do trust my coach and If I didnt I would be in deep doo-doo. I would overtrain and I would push the envelope a bit more. Jen keeps me honest with myself bc I dont think I am 47.

5) More bodywork. In addition to PT visits 1x month ( give or take) for strength updates I see alot of people to help keep my body moving. Some of you may roll your eyes and say " that sounds lovely" but trust me, its not all fun and I dont look at it as a luxury ONE single bit. I am able to do the massage bc i have a membership and its reasonable.I also see a Rolfer who consistently unwinds my Rt Lumbar muscles and gets my body all connected so im not being rotated or torqued right.  My DC puts my first rib back where it belongs and moves my lax ( loose) left shoudler joint back where it should be, Then we talk for 10 minutes about biking. The Docs at Spine and Sport ( DC as well) do the deep work and ART that hurts alot but has kept my Left Hamstring and my Fascia all loose. There isnt too much rhymre or reason to when i get all this stuff done, Ideally I see someone every other week and often its weekly. ( not all of them, but one of them) knowing how bodies work, and injury usually doesnt just HAPPEN unless its acute and trauma. Overuse injuries creep up on us, so I try to stay ahead of it.
And yes you guys in your 20's and 30's, just wait:) You will see.

6) Nutrition. This is where i tell you i follow a regimented Gluten Free and No sugar diet.


You know I respect anyone that has to do that. I m glad you know your body. For me I dont put a heck of a lot of time or thought into what i eat as long as its not making me sick. I eat well.I eat a variety of things and I try to eat frequently and not alot of processed stuff. But last week i had wine and beer the week before Lifetime. I had candy bars. I just think moderation is the key. I am way over the " I did this amount of exercise so i can eat this..." mindset. Half the time after a race esp a longer race i am so sick of sugar all I want is a burger and a beer. At onepoint this summer i had food poisoning. Spinach and Beets were the cause. So honestly I have been eating lighther greens and havent had raw spinach in weeks. Very sad bc I was eating that ALOT, but I can eat kale. Cooked:)

7) Lastly and most important in the WHAT WORKS post is faith in myself. This sorta taps into what Hunter Kemper talked about ( still owe you a post on that) as he talked about all the injuries he had, one question we had was how he kept so positive? I know deep down inside that any race i do I am going to lay it out on the line, I am going to take chances and go for it. The worst case is I fail and I get passed or I dont do what i thought i was capable of. Or someone else has a great day! I have no control over that.
What I do have control over is that no matter if i win, lose or DNF, or DNS ( boo!) is that I am solid in who i am. If I go into a room full of friends or family  I tell ya most of them dont really care how i did. They ask, they support or they say " oh bummer," and then the topic moves on. Strip away any suntan, any PR, and race win and what I have left with I am pretty happpy with.

Rich used to remind me that he loved me for who I was and I was perfect just as God made me. This stuff is all fluff. Whether or not you believe in God, we are all equal in God's eyes and so at the end of the day, win or lose, epic training or simple 20 minute walk, we can all be thankful for what we can do and the chance to do it without a facebook post or a shout of glory as you cross a finish line. Its funny. I dont do this stuff for the accolades. Dont think I dont like them, I mean we all love doing well and if you are a competitive athlete its sorta just in you. But at the end of the day we choose how we let it affect us, and we all know that as quickly as you are on the top, many others will be a top soon as well.

Keep your head on straight and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mpls Tri-Lifetime Fitness Triathlon aka "Let it Rain Let it Rain."

 What a long day! First off I am so thankful we got to even race. Another race was totally cancelled bc we got so much rain ( 5 in ) and the lightening and thunder was ongoing. It would NOT let up!

I got up at 330 am, when the storm started. Ate and got moving to the race site to park. With 2300 athletes btwn the OLY and the Sprint it would be a busy parking area in the neighborhoods around Lake Nokomis. Got parked around 445 and waited. and waited. and waited. The rain continued and the lightening and thunder were ongoing. The Lifetime group did a great job communicating " STAY IN YOUR CARs" till the storm passes yet it didnt seem like the storm would pass.

Transition was to close at 645, Pros at 7 and my wave the Elite Master wave was going off with the Elites and was at 716. I think i got into Transition around 645, and obvously it didnt close! It was ongoing rain and at least the thunder seemed to stop. We had a few updates from race officials and at 745 am we got the final word that we would be starting the race at 9 am. UGH. Pros would go off and do two loops then we would go off in a TT start, no more waves for the elite, which was fine actually just get us moving. The big change was that bc of the flooding we would all be doing the Sprint Course. I had "HOPED" that we would get to do the OLY swim and OLY run but no luck. It was a full on sprint and honestly it was the best decision to keep us all together and to get the race safely underway.

It was actually fun. To hang out with some fellow racers, do a warm up run ( I wore my kiwami skinsuit to warm up!) and get to know a few of my fellow rack-ees ( those who racked near me) a bit better. Right before we started we sorta all said "oh dang that was fun, girlfriend time." :)

Race was not wetsuit legal which was GREAT. I just wore my kiwami race suit and prayed for a good swim. We went off in 2 sec intervals with another racer. Very well done. I think i covered the 400 M in 6:55, which was decent. Sorta funny it was so wavey that we all were getting thrown around. The storm had kicked up a wave pool. I was super thankful i had not worn my wetsuit at all in the last 2 open water swims. Sure makes a difference. I felt great, just hard to see where i was going but cleared the water fast and got moving.

Here I am looking like i am trying to get my move on thru the LONG transitions! I looked at how slow we all were but that is bc they moved a few things around to make it fair, bc they had to change the bike course ( extended the sprint) to avoid flooding.

So onto the bike. The roads we were to ride on were the better of the course, which honestly i was thankful that we didnt have to ride the backside by harriet bc they are rough and with standing water it would have been really really hard and dangerous. The night prior I had a broken cable on my bike so I had to make an emergeceny stop back at the Expo where Kevin, the great owner of my sponsor GEAR WEST BIKE AND TRI, helped me out. What a nice guy. He said " this is easy!" and i was in and out in a flash. I had been told by none other than Hunter Kemper, ( I want to blog on him tmmrw!) to lower the pressure in my wheels if wet. I Was really glad i had. I heard Hunter talk at a Sports Medicine Conference the day prior to the race. He really made my day, what a great positive guy, a great family man and a great athlete as well. More on the adversity he has faced later. Anyways.....

Bike was GREAT. UNtil i heard this "flapflapflapflap" about 4 miles into the ride. I thought i had a flat. Then it just sounded like something was hitting my back wheel. Well i slowed and didnt fully stop but I wasnt flat and i didnt see anything on my disc so i thought " as loud as this is I am moving on!" And then it stopped. It must have been my number form the seat post, it was so wet that the number had gotten so wet it fell off. I also realized the cover i have on my disc valve was gone, that little hole, you know if you have a disc what i mean. So btwn the two of those it surely didnt cost me too much time but i had to get it back up to speed pretty fast or lose the girls i was hunting down. Ended up riding legally with 2 girls i know, we took turns taking over the front( again legally as the moto went by us as well) and anotehr girl was dangling off the back never taking the lead so...?? anyways. I just rode my race she did whatever she thought she had to do to hold on i guess.

We all came in together and ran out together other than danging girl on the back who was from New York, and later i learned was 47, so phew on that that we dropped her like a hot potato on the run. 

Ran out with Two girls and we pretty much ran the entire time together. Sorta fun actually and i was breathing SO LOUD I decided I had better pipe down since i know heavy breathing isnt really a sign that you can GO if one of them goes! :) But suddenly around mile 2 I sorta started to pull ahead. I didnt really mean to pull ahead i just sorta did, and maybe they slowed down but as we got about 1/2 mile from the finish i realized i was alone. Not by much but enough that I "thought" I could just keep it going and not have to sprint anyone at the finish. I am 100% ready to do that but for the sake of recovery I would rather not! 

So as I got closer and more familiar with where i was on the lake and closing in on the finish i just picked it up, and heard people cheering and cowbells a ringing and turned around quickly to be sure there wasnt a stealth non heavybreathing kid in my shadow. There wasnt and I just got on home. And felt really Ill afterwards:) The timing of the race sorta messed with fueling. But as you can tell the gel for my run is sitting in my top. There was NO Way i could swallow that during a 5k, and it was a good thing I didnt take one thing on that run bc coming out of T2 I had a sidestitch. Shut it down, nothing going in for 20 minutes and it worked. 

Ended up 1st Master Elite, 6th OA i got beat by like 6 seconds by a 16 yo. Ha, that is funny. Last weekend it was a 22 yo, they keep getting younger! The reason we arent near each other is that we TT started the swim:) I Also realized the girls i was running with started the swim about 6-8 seconds ahead of me, so i realized when i was running at mile 2 that i need to just stay close and that if worse came to worse finish with them. 

What a day. The post race food was sorrounded by a mud pit, getting my award i had to take my shoes off, and the shower i took after the race was pretty full of mud and dirt. Im really amazed we got to race!

I am super thankful for the chance to race every single time i do it. And thankful for people like Cathy and Liv to push me. Liv and I talked about that after how if done legally riding together ( she and I exchanged legal riding pulls at Waconia as well.) is really awesome bc you just make each other go faster. And you know what I mean with LEGAL exchanges of the lead, no drafting in my playbook.

Not wishing for a sprint yesterday, but I never think getting some extra speed work is a bad thing. I wanted an OLY to practice for nationals but at the same time other than the swim, the bike was SOLID 17 miles and i blew my watts out the sky roof, run too, was great, much faster than i expected. So all good.

Makes me wonder why i think i want to do IM next year:) I am really loving the short and fast right now!

Thanks for reading and I do want to blog about Hunter Kemper, he just really had some great take home's that Id like to share! Have a good week!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Lake Waconia Race Report aka remembering how to suffer!

My directions from Jen for this race were pretty funny. One said " turn yourself inside out" the other was " smile and enjoy yourself. " Hmm. Lets see how those two meet in the middle. I think that the later was had after the race was over, tho the picture here shows I wasnt going to be a focused cranky old lady the entire race: Yes we get to swim in nice lakes when we get outside the metro! I feel very lucky just sad when the season is SO. SHORT. #notfair

So, without further chit chat about the unfairness of now 2 months of summer...race report.

I had a bad week. I think i had food poisoning or a bad case of the nerves or i had the stress outs  ie LIFE stressouts. I didnt feel good and my diet was not sticking to my ribs as i hoped. Lets just say that i was debating how much immodium i may be taking race morning. I have cut out Dairy and Whey and it "seems" to be helping. This is a HUGE BUMMER in that i have been having Whey in the AM EVERY day now for over a year. hmm. Not totally convinced but lets just say I have been better without it. So that had a mind game going on me that week as i just felt FLAT all week. Sleeping alot more, bad GI, and so my real honest plan for this race was to give it what I had. And i did. 

Swim: Lined up with the elite men and women. I didnt get clocked like i usually do maybe bc i let David and Kevin and Steph go ahead. Steph comes back to haunt me about 5 seconds from the finish. Oh well. I Swam well, sighted well and came out with two women in my AG and decided i needed to ride like i stole it. So after i smiled for the camera i did just that. 

Bike: Rode hard, its a rolling course, we had SOME wind but not enough to really feel like i rocked me and usually with that deep a front wheel it will move me around over 12 mph so i guess it was less than 12. Not hot at all, actually i was shivering in the water before we started. Water temp was 75 and air was 60. Where was my humidity?! 

I got passed around mile 5 by a girl i had just met. I diecided this was good, and Sarah a girl who is in my AG and raeally strong was about 400 feet ahead i could see her the entire time. So as i played cat and mouse legally with this girl by mile 10 i was closing in on Sarah. Finally after i took my nice lovely Gel I had rocket fuel and i was off to catch Sarah. Around mile 15 i was sad the bike was ending. I guess this is good for my next race that is 26 miles, todays was 20+. But i did think "uh oh, hope i have legs bc the run is NOT FLAT!"

Run: Despite using my running shoes many times, of course the insoles bunch up race day, never in T practice. So running out with both liners bunched up proved to be a good exercise in "ignore it." I didnt feel too sharp going out. I really had no idea who was ahead of me, but i did know that Sarah had snuck back to me at the end of the ride. So i knew she was lurking behind me. 

I just ran and at the mile 1 water stop a top cemetary hill ( yes its a hill and its a cemetary, fitting for how you feel) I heard "2nd woman." I was like " oh crap!" And then i made that feeling go out of my head and thought " ok, now you have 4 miles to run and you have to make this count." I started the rollers into town and made sure to try to take another gel which was not welcome. Thank you for trying but no thanks. I had about 1/3 of it and grabbed water to get rid of the sticky mouth. As we turned at mile 2 ( out and back, darn!) i saw the train of women behind me. One was REALLY CLOSE. But the one i knew was the threat was Steph:) D 1 Swimmer and runner. Fast girl. Anyways I just ran i didnt look back bc i knew i couldnt go any faster than i was going. In the final stretch where you go DOWN cemetary hill ( yes thank you my quad is quite unhappy today with that muscle breakdown) you also get to rise up again before the finish and just before the chute two peeople said to me " GO. YOU HAVE TO GO NOW." well....when a leg with 23 F runs by you and you do the math you think to yourself " well played, good run!" and not much else. I had nothing to grab her and nothing to get another kick, just hoped nobody was with her. 

Photo thanks to Nick Morales ( tri juice) and Terrence Lee who was working so hard to sprint for me in this last one! Terry's wife Cathy is a super triathlete too and i had to wonder where she was, she flatted which is a bummer but then she ran her new baby up the hills with the jogger and finished with a good wkrout for sure. 

So. I was 3rd OA! Yay me! I was super pumped bc i was happy with how i executed the race, took chances and also turned myself inside out. And i did smile. So mission accomplished. 

Tom also raced and he did great, would have won his AG but he raced elite so i think he is bummed not to get a beer mug. I have three now so I sure cant drink 3 beers at once and happily offered him one of mine :) 

Here is the winner, Suzie, Me, and Steph cooling down. 

So, what is the take home? The take home is that some girl was in the AG and actually beat both me and Steph. Sorta stinks but i guess she is pretty new, she is a good athlete and we have talked about her entering Elite, and hopefully now she will. But that sorta was a bummer, for me, not for her! This was a BOUS race. And I was one off the podium for that but in all honesty? I had such a great time in CALIFORNIA in October 2010. I loved it. I would be honored to get a pass down but likely would let someone younger and new take it. I cant top Orange County in October with a trip to La Jolla after with Rich. ITs a good memory and i may leave it as that.

Rich did race with me. He comes with me in some form, often a prayer card, and in this case it was on my number:

Next up is the cabin, lake superior, family time, Dairy Queen ( haha, lets test that Lactose thing) and then a few more tune ups before Lifetime Fitness. I sorta feel like I need some more rest. I have loved the speed but i also feel like i am more beat up than IM even makes me, its a different beat up. Still feeling like I want more IM in 2014 just deciding which one ( yes i know you already heard that) but now i am narrowed to IM Canada ( Whistler) or IM MT or Wisconsin. I sorta feel there is unfinished business in Madison. But that is a blog in and of itself. But here is a teaser 2011 "newbie, no clue what i am doing and my nutrition was messed." 2012 "rich died about 2 weeks later,not my strongest 11+ hours" 2014 "Settle up."

Happy summer y'all.....