Sunday, August 30, 2009

riding the tugaloo course

ok. so there has been so much anticipation for this course. everyone you talk to has been saying how tough this course it. it is full of hills (which it is) but after all the anticipation and stories, i was expecting mount everest.

a few of my team mates racing tugaloo met out there this morning to ride the course. and despite what we were anticipating - i was not as bad as what we had envisioned. now - i have that thorn in my side, as you read in the below blog post, so even though i realized the course was not as intense as i thought, i was able to complete it in 1:53 hours, so when healthy, perhaps i can knock 15-20 mintues off that. the biggest challenge of the course is the first 6 miles out of transition 1 - you go straight up hill, and while there are a few valleys, the peaks are very close together so not a lot of time to get the heart rate regulated, so the heart rate soars, and the legs fatigue. there is a slight break after the 6 miles mark, the next large peak is at about mile 10. the glory too, is that while we come out and circle back on the course - you end up hitting the first 6 miles again as your last 6 but backwards. so you end the course on a climb.

on a healthy day, this would have been very enjoyable, but today - the first 2 miles made me literally want to turn around. i drove 1 3/4 hours to turn around...and then i was anxious about getting sicker - but i was already there and committed...was i really going to quit? my heart rate was beating about 10 - 15 beats higher than usual, and i felt like i was breathing through a straw, and with that - of course my legs had no juice to spin. this chest sickness is really brutal for a ride. my cadence was lucky if it could push a 75. my speed on the flats was a difficult 14-15 mph...pretty sad. and even with that speed, i just wanted to stop pedaling. my team members were ahead of me, and kept getting further and further away. we agreed to leave no one behind, so at every turn they were waiting for me. so sweet - they knew i was sick. i hate to be that person that makes people wait, but they were really nice. they knew i did not have my riding legs on, but boy it is tough when everyone is riding faster, stronger, and better than you.

i kept going, and so did the hills. i cannot say that four letter words did not keep entering my mind on their approach, and then i got through it...and sometimes pain and anxiety was present (well that was always there - really)

anyway, before i knew it i was at mile 20, which meant i had 6.2 to go. and conveniently, i missed a turn and ended up doing another 8.2 instead, and a few more hills...but i made it.

so as a result - i did my race course, the race that will be happening in 13 days. so if i can do it on a day that i felt like i was breathing through a straw, i can definitely do it healthy. i just need to get healthy first. i will and i will rock this race come race day.....power of suggestion, right!

thorn in my side

the thorn is this chest cold that will not go away. it began 3 weeks ago,off and on - bad day, good day, good day, bad day...... i would still train and feel a little bit weaker, but could go on. i traveled to Houston on business, and our schedules were pretty tight, and i was only able to train one day, and ran a 6 miler. by the end of the trip i felt great; completely rejuvenated. i returned home on a friday, and went to my brick training on saturday and continued to train hard until my day off on wednesday. by tuesday, i ran an 8 miler and felt GREAT....until the day went on and i began the downhill spiral to feeling sick again. despite feeling exhausted, and feverish - i taught my fitness class that night - and well, did not get any sleep the entire night because of chest tightness and fatigue, and just not feeling well.

i took the wednesday following off, per the schedule, and while not feeling myself, i began to feel better....until my thursday swim. are we seeing a pattern here! downhill again. are you kidding me - i have a race in 2 weeks. this cannot be. of all things...i do not get sick - Ever!

so i reached out to my coach, and he pretty much said do not train friday and saturday ,and take sunday by ear ( well sunday i was riding my race course at tugaloo - so i was not missing that). he said i was more than ready for this race, and not to worry. if anything, rest may actually help me do better on race day, while being sick for the race will make for a terrible time.

and actually that was experienced today - next blog...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

inspired heros

i began my journey with team in training not really having a true connection to the blood cancers that i am training and working to raise money for, but knew it was a terrible disease that too many people are suffering from. in turn families and friends near and dear to that victim are suffering too - that is the reason to simply do something to stop it. that is the reason i chose to accomplish a personal goal combined with a goal to help others.

after training with my team, i have met more wonderful people that i could have ever imagined - some more private about their reasons for training than others; but eventually the stories come to surface. all too many of the people training have a far too close connection to this terrible disease - husbands, wives, parents, children, siblings. everyone training has a connection, a connection that drives them forward to train harder day after day to make a difference for those suffering and to prevent others from suffering in the future.

this disease not only effects those with the disease, but effects their loved ones, in a way that i never want to experience. you can see the drive in their eyes, and the hope & pain for their loved ones that are struggling all while staying strong to conquer the disease they unnecessarily received.

it is for these people, and team members, that my heart and eyes have opened, and have become unbelievably inspired with a heavy heart - i now have my true inspiration to get me through race day. it is for all my team members that have had to become too close to this disease, and for all their family members they are training for. your strength, your faces, your honored hero.

my heart if so full for these people that have found their drive in their sorrow to make a difference.

they are my inspiration, and will be in my head and heart on race day.

they are the true heros. thank you team for your inspiration.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

run, run, run - and run a little more

run - 8 miles this morning. and when i think back to before i began training, i had a 3 - 4 mile max on the pavement that i would run. and now i am doing 8, with plenty left for more.

hills, it is all about the hills. this really came to surface when i ran in Houston this past week. i ran on the flats, and was flying in what felt like a gazelle on the sidewalks - effortlessly. i realized i had not ran on the flats in ages, and that all my training had been only on the hills. that was the lightbulb. intervals and hills.

run like it is your last chance to do so, train like the champion you are, & focus like nothing else matters. be strong & persevere - it will come. one step at a time, one minute at a time. strong.

Monday, August 24, 2009

open water times 3

3rd open water swim, this time at Lake Allatoona - full of wind, current, and WAVES. what was a key learning for me, that has happened all three times, is that i cannot eat anything short of 2 hours prior to my swim. i am not sure what it is, but between the current and the waves, my stomach is completely unsettled - not necessarily nauseous - but ready to vomit at anytime unannounced. not good. so solution is not eating shy of 2 hours of the swim. just that.

as far as the monday night swim training - holy cow. we don't call this peak training week for nothing. so - you time your 100 meters, and then add 5 seconds to that. you have to leave the wall after swimming 100 meters every 2 minutes. so - if your 100 meter is a 1:53, then you need to swim 1:58, so you get a 2 second rest between sets. as for the sets - here we go....
400 meter warm up
100 meter race speed
100m race speed plus 5 seconds
200m (2x100)
300m (3x100)
400m (2x200)
500m (5x100)
600m (3x200)

now - in between the actual sets, we get 10 seconds rest.

i have never swam so fast, so consistently. what a work out!

what was slightly disappointing, and especially those who need to accomplish their goals, is that my lane was stopped to begin the cool down in the middle of the 600 set, so were unable to complete it. that was a huge let down.

swim like a fish (or shark for that matter)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

back from business travel in Houston (weather worthy of only the strong with heat index of 110 degrees), and right into brick training with the team. we have actually reached the peak training period - the time when we train intensely for long intervals for 2 weeks pulling together all we have been working towards; then afterwards - the time when we ratchet it down for race day (only 3 weeks away!)

at this brick session, we did less mileage on the bike, but increased the run mileage afterwards. so i did a 20 mile bike, and a 4 mile run. and i did it! 4 miles, and still felt like i cold do another 2 if i needed to which would be race distance. now - of course fall temperatures have come earlier, and that has been a huge factor in how i am feeling during my training. so let's hope that race day temps are cool!

i am not sure how i am feeling, and i am not sure how i expected to feel at this point. i suppose i thought i would feel like wonderwoman or something - having everything coming easier....i don't know. i am definately a lot stronger, and all the hill training on the bike and run have proven unbelievably effective in increasing my strength, speed and endurance.

i will tell you what else - those ice baths really work. i actually look forward to them in a wierd way while training. as painful as they are, they are soothing on the legs at the same time. i have also mastered the best way to stay "warm" while icing - wear a hat, scarf, and pategonia capelline on the top while sipping a warm beverage. today - 2, 20 bags of ice, and water to the top of the hip bone for 15 minutes.

almost there - and strong to the finish! Go TEAM!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

me & my coaches


on my way back from my lovely training day & team picnic, super tired and not feeling well, although proud of what was accomplished - was not thinking too clearly and by the time i had gotten home (or almost) - i heard a terrible noise that i very quickly realized was my bike hitting the top of my carport that i just drove under with my bike on the roof. #$%. and actually only an exhale is what came out of my mouth. seriously. i quickly, got out of the car and soon saw that the roof rack was ripped off the roof, and my seat was torn, and well - i took my bike down and saw that the fork looked funny; but not laugh funny. and sure enough the front tire did not fit very well back onto the forks.

i threw the bike into the back of the runner and off to the bike shop. so it looks like the aluminum part of the forks that hold the tire on are bent and full of stress fractures. it cannot be bent back because aluminum will break. so a new fork it is.

not sure i feel like writing more on this.

trials & tribulations

fiona is the lovely lil' girl in the center, and i am just left of her in my TNT gear

5:30 a.m came way to soon this morning - and on top of that the flu i am been trying to fight came on with a fever similar to the one i endured on thursday. my ride eventually broke that fever, but here we are on saturday - and welcome back, fever is here along with the ache, pains, swollen glands, and airheadedness that come with it.

today was our first transition training - pretty important since we have two of them at triathlon. not to be missed, along with another open water swim and brick work, and a picnic following with our honored hero Fiona & family.

6:30 a.m. depart and off to Mary Ellis Park past Lake Lanier. transition clinic at 8 a.m., but bike set up (and all other set up @ 7:30).

it was really great, and alot of insight was gained from this clinic. i learned i have more yet to purchase - i am hoping though that i am nearing the end of the purchasing cycle, although as your read on the next blog - these two items are nothing.

off to the lake for the open water swim. my Olympic team is to do a 200 meter warm up, then we are all doing a group start when we all plung into the water together and begin swimming. mind you , this tends to get the heart racing, and on top of that you don't see the person you are swimming next to until you are on top of them, literally. the swim options were to do a minimum of 3 x 400, 4x400 (which is just beyond race distance). and of course i had to do the 4. typical.

what was not expected in the open water today was the current and huge amount of wake that was experienced. we were swimming in rollers in the lake where boats must have been coming far too close to the channel buoys we rounding. at points the swells were so hight you could not sight the buoys you were swimming to. another great thing i started to learn a few weeks ago, was to practice breathing on both sides, instead of just taking breath on the right. and today i was very grateful i did. depending on the side i was swimming, the swells were hitting me, and would get a mouthful of water. on top of that, this lovely flu i have was beginning to reak havoc on my stomach, and the peanut butter & jelly sandwich i had eaten over a hour ago.
come to find out- alot of the swimmers had experienced sea sickness today from the roughness of the waves and perhaps that was not part of my flu.

anyways, i plunged through it, and of course - Fiona was going to be there, and the option she chose was to fight, and so i chose the same option.

what i was not prepared for was the first section of the brick - the swim to bike. your equilibrium is so distorted that firstly, you have trouble walking straight; and secondly, your heartrate does not have time to regulate itself back into its' surroundings. so, needless to say, i had some trouble spinning my legs on the bike - but that too could be part of me just being weak today.

had a great picnic with the team. i got to know alot of my teammates better and that was great. it was especially great to see Fiona and speak to her about her first week in first grade! if it were not for her astounding spirit, and the team for helping raise money for her treatment - i hate to even think of the outcome. she was communicating brightly with her beautiful blue eyes, and infectious spirit - and is sure to continue to inspire us all into our next few weeks and through race day. that is what it is all about.

Fiona's strength is infectious, and at 6 she has no idea of how powerful and strong she is, just by being herself.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

the first ice bath

what a ride today.

let's just say for all those who understand riding and average speeds - here you go.
maximum mileage today 33.4 mph, average speed - 13.2 . can you say CLIMBS?

i did the atlanta cycle vinings route, it is a 21 mile loop through beautiful homes and surroundings through buckhead, but we rode to it from our house, adding another 11 miles to the route. it seemed easier than putting the bike on the roof, and driving there - funny how we think sometimes.

weather was really steamy 90 degrees. we started about an hour later than usual, and wheels to the rode was at 9 am.

it was truly grueling, and spectacular - and finished at about 11:45 and decided to run a mile to get our legs used to the transition of bike to run, which is not an easy one. i have decided to do this from now on, each time i ride - my legs need the training.

so after a great, and challenging week of training, so pains and strains have begin to rear their head. ligaments in my inner ankle are hurting, and a bunch of other random spots in my back and legs - so enter the ice bath. yes - the ice bath. so the icebath is comprised of just that - a 20lb bag of ice and cold water about hip deep. just enough to get all your lower covered. this was not a very pleasant feeling, and was actually pretty stressful. my legs went from experiencing pain, to a weird tingling feeling, to a warm feeling, to well - nothing. and it was not until i got out of the ice, that i realized i could not really walk. it was more of a hobble, hobble, hobble. no time for injuries - need to do what i need to, 5 weeks until the big day!

i am sure this won't be the last ice experience.

my body, the science experiment

so in all this training, we are also supposed to be researching all the nutrition products you need while you train, actually during your ride, swim, run, etc. sounds relatively easy until you realize there is not perfect scenario; what works perfectly for one does not work perfectly for another. you obviously cannot take any nutrition while you are in the swim portion of our race, so you ideally need to get your body primed for the nutrition before your swim, obtain most of your nutrition on your bike because your body has trouble digesting or processing nutrition while you run. so - like i experiment. so from this point on, i will use this section of my blog to track my nutrition experiments....

first attempt - 1 bottle cytomax (2 scoops), accell gel every 30 minutes after the first hour of training, and a bottle of water....
result - serious bonks, loss of energy
-need to gel every 25 minutes to avoid the bonk and loss of energy effect of the gel that happens after every 30 minutes

second attempt - training at cartersville (loved it)- 32 mile ride, 3 mile run (hard grind the last 6 miles of the ride pushing 24 mph. (note to self...spin the legs, take it easy before the run) Temperature in the 90's
- 1 salt stick before the ride,
- 1 bottle cytomax with herbal lift( guarana),
-one bottle of carbopro (2 scoops),
-gel every 25 minutes after 1st 45-60 minutes of training,
-gel shot before run,
- 1 salt stick right before run.
result - while the ride was stellar, and the guarana provided a great alert feeling about 60 minutes into the ride, i experienced some lower gastric distress (the carbopro was a new introduction) - my run left alot to be desired. my quads cramped directly on the beginning of the run. having never cramped before, i was not sure what was going on . when i stopped to take a look at my legs, my knee caps were bounding on their own, and it looked like there were gremlins in my quads moving around under my skin. apparently this was the start of cramping.

The next day i was 3 lbs lighter due to water weight loss from my training.

-take the 2nd salt stick 15 minutes before my ride is over to transition into the run. taking the salt stick just before my run did not allow enough time to digest and absorb the electrolyes.

-add additional water bottle cages behind my seat post to hold plain water. adding calories (gels and carbopro), my body needs more water for digestion.

3rd attempt (atlanta cycling vinings route 32 miles, 1 mile run) temperature in the 90's, air quality bad
-one bottle cytomax with herbal lift (1 scoop)
-one bottle carbopro (1 scoop)
- 4 gels every 25 minutes after first 45- 60 minutes
-no salt sticks
- not too bad
-slight gastric distress
-loss of energy after about an hour 1/2
- no cramping
-gels very effective, but tough to get down in the heat
-needed more water....alot more. definately need to get more water bottle cages.

stay tuned for more science experiments :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

training inspired

next week should be good - the saturday training we actually put all our training together into series of actual triathlon events, over and over....FUN! more importantly, afterwards, we get to meet and picnic with our honored hero Fiona who i mentioned in an earlier post when i first started training. i still cannot instill the power this little girl has at 6 years of age; the strength she was forced to develop at such a young age is awe inspiring, and she inspires me daily. she and the gentleman i met last weekend at my training. this gentleman was probably in his 40's and has been in remission for 1 year. he spoke to us and was still choked up and raw from what he suffered, and conquered. i have NEVER met another person so psyched to be alive. he rode his bike with so much enthusiasm, he literally fisted and pumped his hands in the air as he rode. so grateful, so thankful, and had his wife riding with him the entire way. that is it. that is what this is all about.

GO TEAM - and swim, ride, and run with the power these patients teach us daily.


movin' on up

OPEN WATER SWIM - yup, that was today. and there were so many apparent anxieties so many had regarding this - or whether or not people actually had anxieties, the coaches "coached" us prior to this for weeks in advance on how to mentally move through this in the case we "develop " an anxiety.

and the result ---outstanding. i am not sure how i felt about the open water, but more that i can't think of anything because i have to do it. i have to race in open water, so it is what it is...and i just have to deal with it. so with that said, i never let fear enter into my mind.

so we began relatively close to the shore, probably 50 - 100' out, and in some spots it was probably only 4' deep. we swam around poles in the water, keeping the poles on our right side swimming in a clockwise order and warmed up with a 2 x 250 meter swim ( 500 meters). our practice/ train was 2 mores sets of the 250 (another 500 meters). now - there were buoys out in the beginning of the channel, and we were provided the option to do that swim as well. way out there. sure, why not. so off some of us went and did 2 sets of the 400 meter (800 meters). and funnily enough - i ended up rounding the wrong buoy and did probably another 50-100 meters. the thing here is that the buoys all looked the same, so it was tough to "site" between them.....good thing race day has clearly defined buoys.

what is different in swimming in open water, is that firstly, you cannot see another person next to you until you are virtually on top of them, you cannot follow lane lines at the bottom (there are none), and you have to site. you have to look ahead constantly to ensure you are on course. that takes a little getting used to.

all good here, and finished up with a 4 mile rolling run, completed in a speedy 35 minutes, including a 2 minute water break.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


phew. it is almost time for my fundraising event, and my fingers are crossed that i raise lots of money for this amazing, unbelieveable cause that touches way too many people to imagine. every 5 minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer. every 5 minutes. that is not acceptable.

we had are weekly brick training today at Cartersville, about an hour north from my home. so up at 5:30, depart at 6:30 and wheels to the road at 8 a.m. but before the rubber meeting the road, our coaches always round us up to provide insight into the days training and perspective and motivation of our goals - to stop blood cancers. today it was taken a step further and and alumni of the TEAM and a 5 year cancer survivor was there speaking. he was a middle-aged gentleman there with his wife, and was still choked up to this day about how excited he is to be alive, and riding with the team to accomplish raising money for the cause that helped him to kick his cancer. WOW. unbelievable and strong. and just like us - it could happen to anyone, and he chose to fight and kick his cancer. he was humble, strong, and amazingly appreciative of what we do. now that is motivation!

so lets talk about this training, today...

32 mile ride - 3 mile run. gorgeous rolling hills, and a lot of cows. dorothy - we are not in kansas anymore. dogs sleep in the middle of the roads here - this is country. but what a beautiful country it was.

the morning started off overcast and a comfortable temperature, but of course that did not last too log, afterall - we are in georgia in august. so in past blogs, i have discussed my hill training - the pain...and yes, i am still training on that hill that kicked my butt so i can kick it - and am getting better and each time i ride it i become more familiar with myself and the bike. but it was not until today, that i realized how much my hill training has helped me begin to be a better rider on the flats, easily spinning at at 20 mph speed, and hitting the peaks and valleys with ease and a better understanding. and the best part was the last 6 miles when there were not curves in the road, and it just opened up and there were about 10 bikers . i consistently held a 22-24 mph speed on the flats today. that was a first, and it felt great. problem was- i had to run afterwards, and ideally you don't want to grind your legs to that capacity at that point so close to your run...but it felt so good (until the run).

the run was, as you can imagine from my ride, not as strong -and now being 11:30 it was extremely HOT! i could have heated a large room. and to top it off - the water cooler that is placed on the side of the road serves as our turnaround point had been ran much further that i needed to, so there was some walking involved. and rolling my ankle twice did not help either.

another thing that was experienced today on my run was cramping in the very top of my quad, just above my knees. it was a very strange feeling the did not initially feel like a cramp, just a wierd flutter. i kept running through it, and the right one stopped - but the left kept getting a strange feeling it it, so i stopped to look at it and saw my knee cap jumping by itself, and my muscle moving on its own like there was a gremlin in it. so i was beginning to cramp. now - was it from pushing and grinding too hard at the end of my ride, or my new experimentation with nutrition? too tired to figure it out today! nutrition experimentation is a whole new topic, and a story that goes on forever, because i still don't have the answer. maybe another day.

train using the attitude of our survivor, today; with strength & exuberance

back up to speed

so these past couple of weeks i have dealt with the ongoing recovery of my glute strain, which turned into inflammation of my bursa (no ideal how to spell that); and was out of town part of the time doing flowers for a nantucket wedding and catching up with family.

of course - where was time for training. well - my plan was to train every day, in a swim/run swap daily. my bike was not brought with me due to the extremely high cost to bring your bike on a plane, and my fear that something would happen to my lil' Blue.

so from my prior posts, there was conversation regarding my injury caused by what else but over training. so theoretically, this time away came at a good time or at least you would think. after giving my glute 5 torturous days off, which by the way, each day made me continually more fatigued; i thought it would be good to go for a light 4 mile run. so i did - was not bad. got my 90-95 stride cadence, and was good. well great, i am healed! next day found a great pool at the high school and did my swim workouts with no problems (btw - i still LOVE swimming). next day decided to do my 6.5 mile run. real smart! that did not go well. my sister met me for my second 3.2 mile loop, and i made it about 2 (well that would be 5.2 since it is my second loop) and my glute began to burn. i decided to be smart and just stop and walk. i even had my sister get the car to come get me when she got back to the house. just brilliant - but have grown to now know that stupid moves to run on injuries will not help you to recover, but only make you further injured.

it is a fun psycological game!