Wednesday, 29 August 2012 12:57

Embrace The Suck

I reviewed Chris McCormack's book I'm Here To Win previously and on the way home from Rev3 Maine I read an article by him in the September issue of Triathlete magazine titled It's All In your Head. Having just come off of racing a 70.3 where I had mechanical issues and two other worldly blisters this article spoke volumes to me. If you can recall, it was just about a month ago that I gave you a recap of the triathlon training camp with Jeff Irvin.  During that weekend we discussed how neither of us has really pushed ourselves to the point of breaking.  There was always the thought that after the swim was a bike ride, then after the bike ride came a run.  We talked about how we needed to compartmentalized the events to race that event without worrying what was next.  How this was how the line of demarcation was drawn between the elite age groupers and us.  While Jeff and I are no slouches there is a lot of time difference between us and the top 10% of our age groups.  If you read Kevin and Jon's posts about Ironman Mont-Tremblant you can see that it is there as well.  Mind you that both of these guys are fast.  MattyO raced Maine as well and finished in 5:21 which is fast and still came up short of the podium.  Could he have pushed himself harder to get there?  I bet you he says yes. All of this is to say that if I want to get to that next level which at this point is a Top 20% finish in my age-group at Ironman Arizona then I have to 'Embrace The Suck'. I can no longer think to myself that this Ironman is about pacing myself because it is not.  It is about pushing past the pain when it shows up time and time again. Believe me the pain will be there at every corner if I allow it.  Keep in mind that the pain is not always physical, but can be mental.  For example, saying things to yourself like: this bike ride is soooo long and I can't wait to get off the bike.  You are hurting yourself because you are ready to give into the pain of your butt in the saddle, or pain in your quads, or boredom of being out on the course.  You are not special in thinking that, but maybe you can be special in pushing past it while other athletes are giving into it. When I was faced with a broken spoke I could have given up and nobody would have blamed me.  It was a mechanical failure and not much that you can do about that.  Had this been an injury I would have pulled out because this particular race was not the A race of the 2nd half of the season.  Instead I lifted my bike over my head and walked up the hill talking to myself.  I gathered my thoughts and told myself that it was all about the run if I could get there.  I tinkered with the bike and was able to ride, knowing full well that I was not going to have the ride of my life.  Instead of giving into that I yelled at myself that the race started at the dismount line.  I gave it my all and got there and flipped the switch.  I was ready to embrace the suck. I started running with determination.  I knew that it was going to hurt but I had a goal and I was not going to question myself at the finish line.  I thought back to swim like a swimmer, bike like a cyclist and run like a runner from that training camp.  I ran and when the blisters decided to show up I decided to ignore them.  When the quads were yelling at me to slow down, I yelled back to them to MAN THE FUCK UP! When my Achilles chose that it was his turn to aggravate me, my only response was you get to rest when I do. There was no secret sauce being poured over me to push me this far.  It was my desire and will to be the best triathlete I could be on that given day.  I was fueled by anger of the bike, but also a passion to prove that when the going gets tough quitting is not an option.  Taking the road less traveled is not easy, but it is rewarding. Crossing the finish line with a run split of 1:45 has me excited because my goal for Ironman Arizona is to run a sub-4 hour marathon.  Thought 13.1 miles I felt strong and can say I could have embraced that suck for another 13.1 miles.  I would have continued picking competitors off the course and hunting them down and not felt satisfied until I got there and then made the pass with authority.  This is something Matt and I discussed aft the race.  When you pass, no matter how much it hurts you do it with authority and don't give that competitor a chance to stay with you.  You want to hear the air come out of their lungs, their legs wither, and know that their brain just said to them: we can't keep up with that so slow down. I am a competitor.  I am fueled by my successes and failures.  I am learning to embrace the suck more and more.  The edge of the table to which I push my envelope has no end. I will push myself to reach my dreams and goals.

Can you say the same thing?

Published in Train
[caption id="attachment_6349" align="alignright" width="267"]experience_lessons_ironman_triathlon_endurancesport Source: New Media And Marketing[/caption] Ironman training has taught me a lot, and I am very happy with my decision to do two Ironman races in the same calendar year because of the lessons I have learned.  I am very inquisitive by nature and am always asking questions.  I am also a planner and like to know everything I am doing before I start doing it so that it limits the chance of surprise.  Lastly, I am a person with the ability to forget very quickly. With this combination of traits training for Ironman Texas and Ironman Arizona one right after the other has provided me the opportunity to understand what it takes to train for and race an Ironman, even two within months of each other.  We all see the pros and how they are able to train for 8 hours per day and take 2 hour naps and have their food cooked for them (although I'm not sure that Pro Triathletes have this going for them yet) but for us we have to figure it all out and in a limited amount of time. You see we have families, jobs, friends, and other responsibilities outside of the triathlon world. We will make mistakes during our training and hopefully we are keeping careful tabs on what we are doing so that we can avoid that mistake the next time we tie the laces on our running shoes, or buckle our chin straps on our bike helmet (you are wearing your helmet at ALL TIMES on the bike correct?)  The biggest mistake we make as age group triathletes is to ignore our bodies queues for rest, for food, for proper recovery.  We also ignore our training plans at times.  We have all been there when the plan calls for an 'EASY' 5 mile run and you get going and it feels great so you push it.  Big mistake because while you had a tremendous 5 mile run you have just set yourself up for a potential downfall at the next day's training session. When I started training with Coach C I would look at the schedule and laugh at some of the paces she wanted me to run.  It was practically walking, but today when I see an EZ run and I know it is a 10:00/mi pace I smile wide and love it.  It is those days that allow me to add volume to my training and that is the key to getting stronger and faster.  Volume.  When I was down in Houston last weekend with Jeff during our Triathlon Training camp we talked constantly about the keys to getting faster and we always came back to volume.  It was the ability to change the mindset from doing interval work all the time and running every run at 8:00/mi that has allowed us to get faster.  Jeff proved that by qualifying for Boston in his first attempt at the marathon distance this past February.  For me the proof was in the pudding when I ran a 4:09 marathon at then end of Ironman Texas.  My first stand alone marathon was a 4:29 back in 2009. When I see people posting on Twitter and Facebook about their workouts and it is repeatedly at top speed I wonder how long before they realize that doing that is going to cost them in the long run.  Experience is key in endurance sport, but so is asking questions of those experienced people.  I always email Kevin, Jeff, Jon and Matt about certain training techniques or equipment.  Why is something better than the other?  I have the benefit of being one year behind them (although I am older than all of them so you can teach an old dog new tricks) and I get to learn from them and their successes and failures. This past weekend I was scheduled to ride for 4 hours and 30 minutes.  I was going to start at 12 pm because of Karen's triathlon (race report coming soon) and so I knew that it was going to be extremely hot and that the key would be hydration.  I also got nervous that I would not have enough calories so I ate a lot prior to going out on the ride.  Upon leaving I told Karen that if it took me 4 hour and 15 minutes to do the loop then so be it.  If I rode between 16 mph and 17 mph then so be it.  This was experience taking over and knowing that getting the 72 miles on my legs was more important than doing those miles in 4 hours flat. Unfortunately I did not stick to my normal plan of eating and within 5 minutes of being on the bike I puked.  I knew that it was not from the heat but my concern was how long could this last and how would it affect me.  I kept pedaling and kept throwing up.  It wasn't liquid at all but the food I ate prior to leaving the house.  I could tell that my stomach was bloated and I wasn't dehydrated so I kept on going.  I also kept up with my hydration and nutrition plan of drinking every 15 minutes and a HoneyStinger every two hours.  This was working even though I did keep on puking until about 3 hours and 30 minutes into the ride.  It was at that point I stopped at a gas station (another thing I would not have done prior to this training cycle) and refilled my bottles with 2 liters of water.  I finished the ride about 45 minutes later and did my 30 minutes run and all throughout the run I felt great.  No stomach issues and no  dehydration as I managed to pee on the bike twice and once on the run. The lesson here is that I knew my body.  I knew what it could take and what it couldn't.  I knew that I would have to slow down and just pace myself and not try to set a PR in a training ride, which by the way means nothing even if you do.  The next morning I woke up and went for a 1.5 hour run and throughout the run I felt great but I knew I only wanted to run at an aerobic pace or what would be considered slow for me.  I wound up running a shade over 10 miles in the 1.5 hours and felt great the entire time.  Went to the pool later that morning and swam 3400y and then home for much-needed rest and recovery.  Recovery is not just putting your feet up, but also eating right and timing that eating.  It is also about getting the proper amount of sleep, of which I got plenty of. If you are just getting started in this sport or training for your first Ironman please be sure to ask questions of those that have done one.  Get the lay of the land and what is needed and not needed.  Everybody will have differing opinions on things but the more you ask the more you will be able to make a decision for yourself.  Listen to your body and even if that schedule calls for a swim but you can't just get your head of the pillow.....don't hit snooze reset the alarm and skip the swim at that time.  Maybe later in the day you will feel better and can get it in then. The lesson is to understand your body and listen to it.  I learned the hard way after training for the Las Vegas Marathon that every run cannot be done at projected race pace and still hope to race even better that day. Read this excerpt from this article in Inside Triathlon:  Even though the majority of hard training is below race intensity, it conditions the body, when rested, to sustain super-threshold intensity on race day because the body is more able to clear lactate. When you look at what the best endurance athletes have done historically, and I don’t care if you go back 50 or 100 years, you see a very high fraction of training done at slow and steady efforts, and they have always done more sub-threshold than super-threshold training. Keep this in mind the next time your training calls for an easy run and you want to push the effort.

What Lessons Have You Learned From Your Training For Endurance Sports?

Published in Train
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 16:33

Training In The Heat

[caption id="attachment_6319" align="alignright" width="272"]dehydration_heattraining_triathlon_ironman Source: HA Health[/caption] Training in the heat can be both good and bad.  When it goes bad it can really go bad.  During my Ironman Texas training days I would get on my trainer wearing 5 or 6 layers of clothing plus a heavy sweatshirt.  I wanted to mimic the heat that I would face in Texas in May.  I not only got on my trainer in that clothing, but I would also run in that amount clothing.  I am a sweater to begin with but this added that extra heat so that I could test  my sweat rate loss and what I needed to do to replace my liquid loss. Last weekend during the Triathlon training camp Jeff and I were talking about our sweat rate losses and what had happened to him the prior week.  Jeff had gotten dehydrated on a run and had to slow down his training in a big block and while it will not cost him anything it could have been a lot worse.  One thing I noticed when I was training down in Houston was how the humidity had such a huge effect on my performance.  In Dallas it is hot, around 105* hot, but in Houston it is not 'only' 98* but the humidity was 100% and that had a different effect on me.  I noticed the wear this caused on my legs when I went out for my ride on Monday and was still achy in my legs. Today I read an article on titled Thrive In The Heat by Scott Fliegelman.  It is an interesting article as it points out what to do during training and what to do during racing.  Here are the tips about training in the heat: Quick tips: training - To better simulate humidity on the bike, set up your trainer in the laundry room as you dry a load of wet clothes. --> This was my thought when I was on the trainer in my garage with all the doors closed and creating humidity with heat coming off my body in a 'cold' garage. - Plan to add sodium during practice sessions in the heat to aid fluid absorption. Shoot for 200mg per 8 oz of fluid, and then modify until you find the rate that makes you feel the best and results in minimal fluid weight loss measured by the post-workout scale. --> Using the Herbalife24 Prolong (500mg sodium per serving) and EFS Liquid Shot (400mg sodium per serving) my sodium intake was fine and never really a need for salt tabs during training.  I also did not add any extra salt to my food. - Keep an inexpensive scale in your car so that you’ll have the tools you need for pre- and post-workout weigh-ins when training away from home (please keep your shorts and sports bra on when weighing yourself in the parking lot). --> Just weigh myself in my house.  Today's 2h15m run resulted in an 8 lb weight loss and I drank 20 oz of liquid which means it would have been over 9 lbs of weight loss without the intake. - Try to align key race rehearsal workouts with especially hot and humid days whenever possible. Quick tips: Racing - Leave the aero helmet at home. Enjoy the better airflow of your road helmet. At aid stations, take an extra water bottle to pour over your head. --> Flying in the face of this thought is Craig Alexander's Kona race last year.  Wearing an aero helmet for the first time he beat his previous best bike time by 13 minutes.  The key was drinking on a set schedule and allowed him to hydrate without any issues. - Race in low-cut socks. High-cut socks can drastically reduce heat dissipation and possibly lead to blisters. --> This leads me to the question of whether or not to wear compression socks/sleeves on my calves.  I have not done it in training or in a race as I'm not convinced of the benefits of using them during a race.  Do you use them and if so have you worn socks or sleeves?  Ironman Texas was the first time I wore socks at all.  I have an issue with the squishy sound I would hear when pee and water would get soaked up by the socks.   - Stay ahead of your fluid needs. If you feel thirsty, you waited too long to drink. --> My watch beeps every 15 minutes and that is when I know it is time to drink.  This is not a question of should I, but when can I?  It is like Pavlov's dog.  The beep sound is made and I take a swig.  Being able to pee last weekend while on the bike was a sure sign that I was properly hydrated. - Visors work better than hats for shedding heat. --> I have worn both and I will say that I feel much better with a visor.  The water gets onto your head and soaked up in your hair and not the hat is the one thing I noticed right away. I had read an article a while back that the winner of Ironman Texas (Eneko Lllanos) trained for the race by putting a large amount of wet clothes in his dryer and turned it on and rode his bike on the trainer as well as run on his treadmill.  Now if I only had a laundry room as big as my house I would do this as well.

How Do You Train For The Heat?

Do You Do Sweat Rate Loss Tests?

Published in Train
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:03

Training Camp Triathlon Style

Training Camps have opened all across the country for the players of the National Football League.  For me, this past weekend was a training camp as well but this was a triathlon training camp.  I made the decision about a month ago to invite myself down to the Houston area to spend the weekend chasing The Carrot (Jeff Irvin) all around his neighborhood.  The timing worked out perfectly as Jeff was going to be doing his final big block of training in advance of Ironman Mont-Tremblant and I am in the throes of training for Rev3 OOB Maine and Ironman Arizona. [caption id="attachment_6303" align="alignright" width="300"]triathlon_training_cooktraineatrace_danglethecarrot_ironman At A Rest Stop Flashing Off Jeff's FLO CYCLING Race Wheels[/caption] Our plan was for me to head out from Dallas on Friday afternoon to get to Jeff and Annie's by dinner time.  We would eat, load up water bottles and be asleep early so that we could catch up with a group ride that started at 630a on Saturday.  We would ride for 4 hours then follow that up with a 30 minute run.  After that we had no plans but to make sure to get to bed early again so that we could be on the road running for 1.5 hours by 530am and then hit the pool for a good swim and then I would be back on the road to Dallas by lunch time.  All sounded great and you know what.....we nailed it. Friday around 1pm I got on the road after packing as if I were moving in with the Irvin's and not just staying for a weekend. This sport of triathlon that I love involves a lot of shit.  Let's see what I brought:  1 cooler with Herbalife products, rice cakes, powdered peanut butter, honey, plates and knives and forks.  1 triathlon bag with cycling shoes, helmet, water bottles, running shoes, swim cap, goggles, pull buoy, towels and running sneakers.  1 bag with clothes for wearing and clothes for training.  1 bag with laptop, ipad, cords and magazines.  Oh, and don't forget the bike and the pump in the car plus the small cooler that had fruit and 3 water bottles for the 4 hour drive.  As I had planned on taking it slow I didn't mind stopping nearly every hour to have to use the restroom.  Pulled up to the Irvin's house around 5pm and unloaded all that garbage.  As soon as Annie got home it was off to dinner. Now here is a funny story about dinner.  We go to an Italian restaurant and I order a veggie pizza with no cheese.  After Annie and I split a hummus plate I can see the waiter walk up to the table with the pizza and then turn around to head back to the kitchen.  Annie says that there was cheese on the pizza and so they had to take it back to make a new one.  After the food comes and we are chowing down and laughing and having a good time the waiter comes by with a complimentary dessert.  Guess what he brings?  He brings a cheesecake?  Really?  I just ordered pizza with NO CHEESE and you bring a cheesecake to make up for bringing the first pizza over with cheese?  Annie, Jeff and I just laughed at the irony of it all.  Off to the house we watch some Olympics and then early to bed. When the alarm went off in the morning I hit snooze about 100x as I was just not ready to hit the road but it was time to go.  Jeff and I load up the Team Baha vehicle and head out to the Lifetime Fitness gym.  From there we would ride two miles to the launch site of the group ride.  When we got to the launch site I had to buy some HoneyStinger waffles.  I got two vanilla and 1 chocolate.  I had never tried the chocolate and it was good.  Not as good as the Vanilla and Honey but better than Strawberry.  7am comes and the ride starts.  After about 30 minutes we are stopped by a train crossing and as we are standing there I say to the group:  Nobody told me we were going swimming in the ocean first.  I was covered in sweat and could feel the wet blanket of humidity covering me.  It was unreal how covered in sweat I was. Jeff and I split off from the group and ride at our own pace and move around the area at a very nice clip.  The one thing I noticed about this ride is that it is FLAT.  I mean completely flat.  I downloaded my Garmin data and the total elevation gain over 70 miles was 217 feet.  The ride in and of itself was great as it was a different route, obviously, than I had been riding but the company was awesome.  Jeff and I talked the whole time and laughed a lot throughout the ride.  One thing that was key was that we stopped a few time and I had to pee which meant that I was hydrating properly. At one point Jeff and I were going about 20 mph and enjoying ourselves when this terrier comes tearing out of his yard and chasing us.  We picked up the pace to the tune of 28 mph and the little dude was not just hanging with us but he got right in between us which means he was going faster than 28mph.  It was hilarious and I could not stop laughing at this dog.  Thanks pup for giving us our interval work for that hour. [caption id="attachment_6304" align="alignright" width="300"]triathlon_training_danglethecarrot_nap Dangle the Carrot and Cook Train Eat Race enjoying the Olympics[/caption] When we were done we put in a solid 30 minute run and the legs were starting to feel it by the end of the run.  There was this feeling of a huge gorilla sitting on my chest.  The air is thick and damp and it is a much different climate to work in than the weather in Dallas.  Once we were done with the run we decided to have lunch and as we were getting ready to go grab food we made the best decision ever which was to go and shower first.  Now here is where I feel for Annie.  In to the house come these two smelly and sweaty guys that had just finished working out for nearly 5 hours.  It was a horrendous smell that came into the house.  Shower off to lunch then onto the couch for some Olympics.  Now when they invent the ability to watch TV through your eyelids Jeff and I will be ready. As you can see from the pic we both passed out. On Sunday morning we were going to put in 90 minutes (sounds much longer than 1.5 hours doesn't it?) and then hit the pool.  As soon as we walked outside I knew that the run was going to be a slugfest.  Jeff and I had planned on running 10 miles in the 90 minutes for a 9 minute pace.  We decided to incorporate a 10 second walk break at each mile to simulate the aid stations at the Ironman races.  Once we started that gorilla on my chest had been joined by an elephant.  Seriously difficult to breathe with the humidity.  After about 2-3 miles I finally felt in a groove.  After 45 minutes we stopped at the car to top off liquids and off we went.  It was at this time that the sun was coming up and the weather felt great.  That lasted about 20 minutes and then the heat began to creep in.  When the 10 miles was up (after 95 minutes) and we were walking toward Starbuck's I could feel the bucket of sweat just dripping down over me.  I changed shirts in the parking lot and could actually ring out my clothes they were that bad. At the pool after the run and the 70* water felt cold.  Once I started my swim I thought:  Holy crap this is long.  Did the heat and humidity sap every ounce of strength from me?  That is when I realized that this was a 25 meter pool and not the 25 yard pool I was used to swimming in.  Every set felt longer than the next and it actually was.  I put in 2500 meters of swimming and it felt good on my legs.  The hot tub felt even better. Back at the house and Annie had made us waffles......yaa-hoo!  Oh these waffles were the best thing I had ever eaten.  I jumped in the car for an eat and run incident but I knew that if I did not start driving I would never make it home as the exhaustion would take over soon enough.  I managed to get home in about 4 hours and when I walked through the door the only thing I could think about was food.  I was starving and wolfed down dinner then watched Running the Sahara with Karen and started to doze off around 8pm. An awesome triathlon training camp weekend with Jeff was done and it was time to get ready to get back into my routine.  I cannot wait to have another triathlon training camp and right now we are looking at February in Austin where we can get some climbing in.  Thank you Jeff and Annie for hosting me.

What did you do this weekend?  How was your training?

Published in Train
Friday, 03 August 2012 16:30

Recovery, Recovery, Recovery

[caption id="attachment_6299" align="alignright" width="225"]recovery_snacks_meals_athletes_carbohydrates_protein Source: w8fit[/caption] Recovery, just like location in real estate, in my mind is the most important aspect to endurance training.  I have stressed this since I started in this world and maybe it's because of my age and I'm not getting any younger.  Maybe it's because I just love to eat.  Regardless of reason my emphasis on recovery is what I attribute my ability to have gotten through 2+ years of long course training with no injuries, very few (maybe 5 total) skipped workouts over that time and the ability to have not gotten sick during this time either. I believe that recovery is not just making sure that you are eating properly after a workout, but also throughout the day.  I also believe that making sure that your workouts are spaced out far enough to allow your body to recover provides a tremendous benefit as well.  If you are stacking workouts on top of workouts on top of your day job then you are creating a recipe for disaster.  The disaster may not hit this month or in this training cycle but eventually it will get to you.  You may burn out quicker because of the stress that you are putting your mind and body through, but either way your recovery has to be emphasized. How do I recover?  I recover with a 3:1 Carb:Protein shake within 30-45 minutes of my workout that lasts longer than 1.5 hours or is of high intensity (think 800m repeats or hill repeats).  2 hours after that workout I will have another meal that is carb focused.  If I don't have the opportunity to cook that meal, which is usually pancakes or waffles and sometimes a nut butter and jelly sandwich then I will make sure that I have another shake at that time.  Doing this allows me to restore my glycogen levels from the carbs and repair the muscle tears that I created during that workout with the protein.  I avoid fats as much as I possibly can in this window because I have not read anything that says that healthy fats will aid in my recovery.  That could be wrong and if it is please tell me. In regards to the timing of my workouts I do this by getting up before the sun and starting my workouts between 430am and 530am each time.  There are circumstances in which I will have to push my start time back such as bike only days so I start when the sun is starting to come up (I don't trust drivers) or when Karen is running and I start my long bike days later in the morning.  This isn't ideal as it gets very hot here in Dallas as the day moves on, but at the same time it preps me for Ironman race days since I will be on the bike in the middle of the afternoon and I can gauge my calorie/hydration/nutrition intake. By doing my workouts at the same time of the day I provide my body with what I believe to be optimal rest of nearly 24 hours.  Allowing the carbs and protein to work their magic over this time and given me the ability to get stronger and faster.  This also allows me to control my diet since I am not spending time having to worry about getting recovery meals into my body later in the day when there might be a craving for something else.  I know not everybody has the ability to do this during the week but if you can make it work my suggestion is to do that.  It is not easy getting up when you first start but after a couple of weeks it becomes second nature and you no longer have to worry about it. Check out this video from Sage Roundtree about recovery:
I also posted my recipe to Recovery Waffles here as well as have a few recipes for recovery shakes that use the Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength and Rebuild Endurance.  If you are interested in recipes for any of the shakes I make let me know through the Contact Me form and I will get them over to you.

How Do You Recover?

Published in Train
Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:32

It's Summer Time

[caption id="attachment_6181" align="alignright" width="190"]summer_electrolytes_sweat_training Source: Blog My Runs[/caption] It's summer here in the United States and in case you didn't know it just turn on your Facebook and/or Twitter feed and see all the people bitching and moaning that it is 98* and they were sweating while they were working out.  As a matter of fact take a screen shot of it because in about 5 months those same people will be bitching and moaning that it is cold out and they have to wear 4 tops and their boogers were frozen. Anyway, that is not the point of this post but thank you for letting me get that off my chest.  Today I wanted to write about the importance of electrolytes and how we need to be sure to stay hydrated all day and then especially during working out.  I was going to refer back to the post on March 22, 2011 that you can find [HERE] and  give you information about why electrolytes are important to our bodies during training, but you can just click that link. Instead I am going to discuss how today while I was climbing hills I tasted my sweat for the first time in what seems like forever.  I was cruising down a hill and a drop of sweat landed on my lip so I licked it and I tasted salt.  I thought that it was weird because ever since I wrote a post titled The Taste Of Sweat I hadn't actually been tasting my sweat.  This was an odd phenomenon for me.  I was so distracted by this that I kept licking my lip to make sure that it was actually sweat that I was tasting. I immediately thought that I was not taking in enough sodium and so I began to slug down the mixture of Herbalife24 Prolong and Prepare I had on my bike.  At first that didn't do anything but about 20 minutes later my sweat began to taste like nothing again. While I kept tasting that saltiness though I thought about that post but couldn't remember what it meant. As soon as I got home I dug around and found the post, which was from October, and here is what it showed:
    • Salty: You have been eating a great deal of carbs: breads, pasta and fried foods.
    • Sweet: Lots of sugar in the body which can come from fruits, chocolate, candy, or alcohol.
    • Sour: You’ve had a bit too much dairy and soy products: milk, cheese, or tofu.
    • Vinegar: Too much protein and animal products, which gets turned into ammonia.
    • Thick: When your sweat is thick there is a lot of gluten in the body which comes from breads and pastas.
    • Margaritas: Margaritas…enough said.
Now I have been a vegetable eating fool but have avoided breads, pasta and fried foods like the plague so this shocked me.  That was until I looked back at my calorie tracking from yesterday and noticed I had just gone over the amount of carbohydrates I was 'allowed' to have in my diet.  It is interesting how all of this stuff really does tie back to each other. So while you are out there training in the heat be sure to stay hydrated and get your electrolytes in balance.  Also, don't forget that the key to being able to workout the next day is proper recovery from that day's workout.  A 3:1 or 4:1 Carb:Protein drink within 30-45 minutes is key and be sure to follow that up with another carb based meal within 2 hours.  I have been following this formula for a year and am always able to get up the next day and push my body just a bit harder than the day before. Now back to your Facebook and Twitter rants about how hot it is.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 13:55

Forming Habits

[caption id="attachment_6145" align="alignright" width="360"]habits_triathletes_diet_exerciase Source: Training For Warriors[/caption] Forming habits takes approximately 3 weeks.  By habits I am not saying good or bad, just habits.  You can create a bad habit in as much time as it takes to create a good habit and the same can be said for breaking that habit.  A bad habit does not have to be around forever.  You need to make up your mind that it is a bad habit and stop doing it, which is not easy, but realize that within less than a month that habit will be broken. I am bringing this up because I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, who is pregnant, and we were discussing eating habits.  I mentioned that it is important for her to maintain her healthy eating habits and exercise routine (as long as the Doctor says its ok) because it will be that much easier to get back into these habits as long as she maintains them.  Her friend is also pregnant and has sort of thrown this notion out the window.  She said to me that watching her weight was not important now that she is pregnant.  It made no sense to me.  I wasn't saying that she had to be America's Next Top Model but that she should want to stay healthy not only for herself but also for her baby. After this conversation, in which I walked away shaking my head because maybe I missed something I thought about the habits that I had that I have broken and the habits that I have started.
  • I no longer drink alcohol.  I found it very difficult to train with any success while being hungover and it was more important for me to have a great workout then to be drunk and hungover.  I will still go out with friends and hang out and have dinner but they have come to accept that I won't be drinking and it gives them a designated driver.
  • I no longer order cheese on my pizza.  This was a tough one but once I got started and thought about why I was not putting cheese on my pizza it got easier.
  • I now drink approximately a gallon of water a day.  This has helped me stay hydrated in these Texas summers but I am also much more in control of my diet because I don't have phases of starvation.  My hydration levels, according to the Tanita scale, have been between 60% and 64% since I started this habit.
  • I no longer drink coffee.  Egads!  This was tough to do.  I was a two cup a day drinker.  One in the morning that had caffeine and the 2nd just after lunch that was de-caff.  With all the water and drinking green herbal tea I no longer have that craving for coffee.  The last time I had coffee my stomach erupted violently and that pretty much sealed the deal on that. recently ran an article with Healthy Habits of Fit Triathletes written by Pip Taylor that I found interesting and will share them with you here: They read hunger signals. To stay lean year-round, learn to eat when hungry and pass when full. This also means that you don’t feel pangs of guilt for chowing down on seconds because you know when you need it. Athletes who constantly restrain themselves suffer more guilt and are more likely to have blowouts. I have figured out that there are only two times when I am truly hungry.  1- My stomach growls and a slight headache comes with it. 2- When I start having ridiculous conversations that make absolutely no sense.  Time to eat. They sit down for meals. As a busy athlete juggling three sports, it’s easy to eat on the go all the time. Sit down to eat meals and switch off distractions to fully enjoy your food and be aware of exactly what (and how much) you’re putting in your body.  I have the benefit of working from home so I am almost always eating while sitting down.  I also enjoy cooking and I think this helps me to appreciate the food as I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor. They don’t overestimate calories burned. Many athletes overeat after a big workout because they think they can make up for a huge calorie expenditure. Try to only modestly increase intake to more accurately match training demands.  I consume the exact same shake after every workout that is 1.5 hours or less and the exact same shake after every workout that is 1.5 hours or more.  From there I eat a carb based meal within two hours and this has allowed me to maintain my weight within 1-2 pounds for the past 7 months. They are organized. Shop and stock your cupboards, fridge and emergency stash locations so you’ll have less impulse eating and reliance on fast food or sugary hits. Have a plan for meals and snacks throughout the day.  Fast food doesn't exist for me.  I don't necessarily plan my meals but I have a very good idea of what I am going to eat each and every day based on where I will be and what I have done in regards to training. They eat (healthy) fats. Fat is satiating and essential for optimal health, functioning and energy. This means you should eat fatty foods such as salmon, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil.  I don't eat fish and have restricted the amount of oil I use for cooking so my healthy fats are consumed in the form of nuts and avocados mostly.  I also take an Omega-3 supplement to offset the fact that I don't use oil or consume fish. They focus on themselves. What your body needs is not what your colleague, training partner or spouse needs. Don’t stack your plate next to theirs.  I do the majority of the cooking in the house so this is easy for me.  At one point though Karen could be seen trying to 'keep up' with my consumption habits and it played a part in her weight.  When she realized this and began eating for herself she quickly dropped the weight and has seen her performance improve. They sleep a lot. Calorie consumption increases when you are tired. Getting a full night’s sleep will keep you on track.  Sleeping is very important and I do not skip out.  Yes I get up before the roosters and get my workout in but when my body calls for sleep I will take a 30 minute nap.  I am also in bed by 9pm every night and allowing my body to rest and recover. They don’t skip meals to lose weight. Getting overly hungry will just raise cortisol (stress hormone) levels and make weight loss harder. Plus you are more likely to eventually break down and binge. Slow and steady is the rule for lasting weight loss.  Yeah, this is never going to happen.  If I am looking to lose weight I consume fewer calories but I don't skip meals.  Your body will hang out to whatever nutrients you provide it and convert it to fat when it doesn't know that another meal is on its way.  It is the bodies defense mechanism and can be avoided by not avoiding meals to lose weight. They get enough protein. Protein helps curb appetite and maintain muscle mass even when weight loss occurs.  We all knew that eventually the protein topic would come up.  Most Americans get too much protein so this isn't an issue, but I do focus on consuming beans, grains, legumes, tempeh, tofu to get all my required protein.  I also supplement my meals with protein shakes when I can feel the need for a snack and don't want to cook. This is not to say that if you follow these items here that you will be the next Chrissie Wellington but it certainly will put you on the right track to becoming a fitter endurance athlete.

What Habits Do You Have That Make You A Fit Endurance Athlete?

What Habits Have You Broken To Help Improve Your Performance?

Published in Train
Monday, 18 June 2012 14:55

Ironman Arizona Week 2

Ironman Arizona training is now into its third week and today (Monday June 18th) I can say I had the first good swim of the entire cycle to date.  For some reason my swim has been nothing but a fight between me, the water and my brain.  My body wants to cooperate but my head keeps fighting me about it.  I haven't been dreading the swim but there has been some trepidation about getting into the water. Today that changed.  I told myself that even though it called for threshold pace swims to just swim. Don't worry about the clock and just swim.  It worked as I wasn't fighting myself or my head and my times were reasonable.  Some I could be proud of and really something to build on. This past weekend I rode the CompuTrainer to the IMAZ course and over three hours I got in 58 miles.  I felt good and pushed my heart rate on the way out and recovered on the way back.  I think this will become a once a month ride to test my endurance on the course and see where I am at. Here are the stats for the first two weeks: [caption id="attachment_6083" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMAZ_training_Ironmanarizona_triathlon 2 Weeks In And Many More To Go[/caption]   A video capture of the first two weeks.  Don't worry it is short and that is how I plan on keeping them from here on out:
Thank You For Watching And Reading
Published in Train
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 11:44

Ironman Arizona - Week 1 Review

[caption id="attachment_6045" align="alignright" width="240" caption="The AZ State Flag Is Just Really Cool Looking"]ironmanarizona_imaz_triathlon[/caption] Ironman Arizona training has started already and the first week was not easy to say the least.  Hill work plus speed intervals plus temperatures reaching the 90s and humidity at a bazillion percent and you have the recipe for a tough week. All that being said I am very excited to be back in the saddle, so to speak.  Getting long rides in and working on my goals for IMAZ has been invigorating.  I am using Jeff's tips on getting rid of my Speedfil and using only water bottles on the bike.  With a 3 loop course on the bike this should be somewhat easy to do.  I am going to have my torpedo upfront along with a cage on the down tube.  Lastly I am going to put one cage on the saddle to hold a bottle of water so I don't have to stop at every aid station on the bike. Also my nutrition is changing as well.  I am still going with EFS Liquid Shot Kona-Mocha (800 calories in two bottles) in the torpedo but my down tube water bottle will have Herbalife24 Prolong (750 calories) coupled with Herbalife24 Prepare.  This mix is great because it provides me with calories and has a mango taste which coupled with the Kona-Mocha will make me feel as if I am at brunch rather than a 112 mile race.  The remainder of calories needed will come from two HoneyStinger waffles (160 calories per waffle for 320 total calories.)  This combination will give me a total of 1870 calories (~ 300 calories per hour) and no need to stop at special needs on the course.  The difficulty will be the timing.  I am used to drinking every 15 minutes and will continue to do so but will now need to include water in the rotation.  Nothing too difficult to do but it will take practice getting it right. The nutrition and hydration on the run will not change from Ironman Texas as I felt great the entire run.  My one goal is to train at a higher heart rate since I plan on racing at a higher heart rate.  The higher bpm will not be difficult to achieve with the weather being what it is in the summer here in Texas.  Of course with the higher temps will come slower paces, but focusing on heart rate is what I need to do.  Reading this post from my Spidey-Twin Maria Simone (we are born 1 day apart) of No Limits Endurance Coaching will help in re-enforcing this thought process.  Every summer I complain that my paces are slower and it isn't until August that I realize the weather is what is causing this issue and I'm not magically slower. Now for the swim......oh the swim.  I am seeing some great swim times from folks racing right now and I long for those days.  I know that I swam slower because I went without a wetsuit at IMTX but that does not make me feel better.  This is one discipline that I need to and will get better at.  I am going to an OWS clinic on Wednesday evenings to get the practice in.  As they say, practice makes perfect. Here are my stats from Week 1 and it looks like the percentages compared to IMTX training are right in line......Thanks Coach! [caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="491" caption="Ironman Arizona Training Has Just Started"]ironmanarizona_imaz_triathlon_training[/caption] DON'T WORRY VIDEOS WILL BE MAKING THEIR WAY BACK TO THE BLOG AS WELL.....HAHA!
Published in Train
Monday, 04 June 2012 11:44

Ironman Arizona - Here We Go

[caption id="attachment_5997" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Ironman Arizona: Let's Get It On!"]ironmanarizona_imaz_triathlon_training[/caption] Ironman Arizona is in 168 days or 24 weeks.  What does that mean for me?  It means that training for this race starts today.  I am very excited to get the training going for this race because there are so many people out there that are training right now and I felt out of the loop for two weeks while I recovered. I have set up my spreadsheet to track my mileage for IMAZ and to compare it to IMTX.  I would think that the mileage would be similar but I do think that there will be more swimming mileage.  I have found an open water swim practice hosted by the Frisco Tri Club on Wednesday evenings and I will be attending this practice as often as I can.  Based on the 1:34 I put up at IMTX I could surely use the practice. There will be a few changes going on during this training cycle:
  • My aerobic bike rides will be done at 140 bpm.  My goal will be to race IMAZ at that heart rate so in order to understand how that feels I need to train there. I will still be doing a lot of my work on the trainer during the week in the garage and with extra layers.  I found that this helped me to understand how much liquid to take in.  While it should be somewhat cooler in Arizona in November if I train at a hotter 'climate' then the cooler weather will benefit me on race day.
  • I have picked up a new bike computer.  I will be training with the Garmin Edge 500 so that I can track all my trainer work properly as well as when I head out on the bike.  This will allow me to upload my bike data for Coach so that she can truly adjust any bike sessions she has scheduled.
  • As mentioned above, I will be heading to the lake more often so that I can get the open water swim practice.  The beauty of this is that the summer will be with no wetsuit but IMAZ will most certainly be a wetsuit event.
  • My aerobic runs will be done at 155 bpm.  I raced IMTX in 4:09 which equates to a 9:31/mi pace.  I had some data before my watch died and it showed a 140 bpm during that first 41 minutes.  I ran that first loop in 8:27/mi and the 2nd and 3rd loops at 10:06/mi and 10:04/mi so I don't think my heart rate ever elevated above the 140 bpm which is not bad but I also know that I can run the marathon at a sub-4:00 pace.
  • My diet is going to be dialed in from day one.  I have been on a routine lately that has helped me keep my post-IMTX weight right near race weight.  In addition to that my body fat% is at 6% and that is an improvement from early April.  That being said Summer Bailey and I are going to be comparing the cost of training for an Ironman being a vegetarian versus being a carnivore.  This should be interesting and my spending will be chronicled through 'Feeding An Ironman'
Here are my numbers from  Ironman Texas and we can certainly compare them to Ironman Arizona as the training goes on.  
Swim Bike Run
Miles 110.8 2858.6 633.6

I would be ignorant to think that I will get through this on my own so I want to thank my sponsors for helping me out, but first thank you to Karen.  Ready to rock and roll this training?

  • Herbalife 24 - nutrition to help me start, keep going and recover.
  • Boundless Nutrition - when you want great tasting cookies you come to these guys.
  • Grapevine Grains - for the best oats and flours to make healthy dishes go to them. (CTER code gets you a 10% discount)
  • TriSwim / TriSlide - TriSwim removes that chlorine smell, while TriSlide protects against chafing and sores but also removes your wetsuit fast.
  • Sonix Studio - my partnership with Chad in this web design and internet marketing company that allows me the freedom to train and race.
  • Core Power - recovery milk that goes great in an Herbalife 24 smoothie.
And certainly last but not least.....thank you Coach.  Claudia Spooner of iRuniTri Mutlisport has gotten me to the start and finish of IMTX and will now have the task of doing the same at IMAZ.  Be prepared for lots of questions and suggestions Coach.

Thank you for reading and as they say in boxing:  Let's Get It On

Published in Train
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