Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When 8 weeks seems like 8 days

I'm a planner so I'm usually looking ahead to big events like my 70.3 at Door County in July.  It's good in that I'll be prepared, not so good in that it feels so close already.  

Since I failed taking in nutrition at New Orleans, I decided for this 70.3 I'm going to do some real nutrition testing. It's hard for me to practice race nutrition since I'm usually not hungry for the first couple of hours of training and I jave trouble eating if I'm pushing hard.

I need to go back and re-read the nutrition propaganda I read while preparing for NOLA, but if I recall correctly, I need about 250-300 calories/hour on the bike.  My training plan this weekend called for a four hour ride so I figured I might as well get started practicing. I mixed a three hour bottle of Infinit ride formula, that's six scoops in a 20 ounce bottle for a total of 840 calories.  Loaded another bottle of ice water, grabbed some honey waffle stingers, put on some sun screen and headed out about 8:30 am on Memorial Day.  I also wore my heart rate strap for the first time in forever. My goal was to keep my hr under 150 since I know when it's above 160 or so, any calories I take in just sit there.

It was already starting to get warm at 8:30 in the morning and it was a bit windy, but that's pretty typical for the St. Louis area and I was really glad it wasn't raining.  I've done 4 hour trainer rides before and they are mind numbing.  I have a nice 26.4 mile loop that goes right past my house so the plan was to do two of those loops plus a 15.4 mile loop.

I took a decent size sip about every 15 minutes and followed it immediately with water. It was very strong and didn't sit well for a few seconds but that feeling went away pretty quickly.  So I just rode on and on, taking in nutrition like clock work, enjoying the day, saying good morning a bazillion times and letting my mind wander aimlessly.  I finished the bottle about 2 hours and 45 minutes in and was glad to be done with it.  That's the most calories I've taken in on the bike by far and I didn't barf so success!

After two laps I was still feeling pretty good, even though it was over 90 degrees, so I decided to do another 26.4 mile loop and go for 80 miles, my longest ride yet.  I ate a honey waffle stinger during hour 4 for another 180 calories then I was done eating even though I had a ways to go.  The last loop and a half, I stopped and poured water over my head a couple times to cool off.  After the ride I had salt caked all over me but felt pretty good.  Even my knees and butt felt pretty good considering what I had just done.

just a little salt
That was a successful test though I need to push a little harder in the next test.  My hr average was only 139.  I would also like to try some other nutrition. Any suggestions?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gateway Olympic 2012

This past Sunday, I raced the Gateway Olympic tri put on by 3 Disciplines Racing. This is a great race venue and the folks at 3 Disciplines put on a nice race.  The course is flat and fast and would be perfect in the weather would turn out to be a little cooler, which it hasn't for the last three years.

I met up with my BT/blogger friend Anne and Troy, who I met last year. This was Troy's first Olympic Tri and he just learned to swim in January.  Despite his lack of experience, I wish he was in a different age group :-).  He is fast!  I also met up with BT friends Mike and Jennifer.

It was really great meeting up with friends at the race.  I never really got any of the pre-race anxiety I normally get.  I attribute that totally to hanging out with friends that had the same concerns as I did.  The day before the race we met for packet pick up then drove the bike course, swam the sprint course, and rode the run course.  It was a perfect pre-race warm-up and course check out.  After that we went out for some pizza and beer at a local establishment and it was delicious.

swim start
Unlike last year where I stayed in a camper, I stayed at home since the race site is only an hour from my house. Actually it's much less time at 5:30 am but I'm glad I have a radar detector because there was an officer shooting radar at 6 am on a back country road.  What's up with that?

I didn't dwell too much on my goals for this race but after coming off a five minute PR last weekend, I figured a couple minute PR would be no trouble.  More on that later...

So race day I had my usual yogurt, banana and coffee and headed to the race site.  Got set up in no time and chatted with my friends and those around me.  Headed down to the water, listened to the pre-race instructions and got ready to go.

I'm a pretty slow swimmer so I seeded myself near the rear and with everyone inching forward before the siren went off, I started out DFL.  Oh well, no where to go but up, right?  The swim was uneventful and I felt pretty good.  Just tried to keep it smooth and steady and do a better job of sighting this year.  The water temp was 74 degrees and I wore my sleeveless wet suit for the first time in a race and it was perfect.  Last year the water temp was like 62 and a full wet suit was perfect.  I kept it smooth and steady and sighted every six strokes on the first half and every four strokes on the way back.  I had the normal negative thoughts at the start of the swim.  I suck at this, why am I doing this, this is crazy, I can DNF now and save some pain.  Pretty much the same drill every race. About half way through, I decided to tread water for a bit and my feet hit the bottom!  I stood up and looked around and it was weird standing up that far out in the lake.  I started swimming again and had the normal second half of the swim thoughts of, I'm going to do this, no problem, just keep swimming.  I swam until my hands hit the bottom and stood up. I wasn't tired at all and started jogging up the big hill to transition and stripping off my wet suit.

hill up to T1
Once in T1, I had a little trouble with the wet suit but not too bad.  My lower back has been bugging me a little making it tough to bend over so I sat down, which I usually don't do. Rinsed some sand off my feet, put on socks, shoes, helmet, sunglasses and I was off.

The bike is a very flat and fast course and just like last year we had a tail wind going out and a head wind coming back.  I was holding 22-24 mph on the way out, so I knew the way back would be 16-17 so I hammered the way out the best I could.

flat and fast with a couple small hills

the roads weren't closed but the traffic was light and the locals nice

nice country roads
About 15 minutes into the bike, I took a gel and drank some water.  The gel didn't sit so well, so that would be it for nutrition in this race.  I drank to thirst, but that wasn't sitting so well either.  I ended up taking in about 2/3 of a bottle of water.  By the half way point I got a stitch in my side.  I've never had that happen in a race. I was thinking it was a bad sign, but couldn't stomach any more water. About a quarter way in, I passed a racer with a 26 on his calf.  Of course he would have none of that and chased me down. A bit later I passed him again and he returned the favor.  He would pass me up the hills and I would pass him on the flats.  We started chatting a bit and kind of laughed at each pass.  I passed him with about a 1/4 of the way to go and he said he was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to catch me again.  I said, don't worry, I'll see you on the run :-).

T2 went fine. Changed shoes, grabbed race belt and visor and I was off.  By this time it was mid eighties and my side stitch was worsening making it hard to take a deep breath.  A PR was in reach if I could just run 9 minute miles.  After running sub 8 minute miles last weekend, I still thought a PR was in reach.  The run is across a rock lined dam on asphalt with no shade.  It's like running in a sauna.

start of the run

pretty run, but hot!

At mile one of the run, I took a sip of water and grabbed an ice cold towel (nice touch 3D racing!) and kept going.  I don't have a Garmin so I was trying to do some math in my head.  I don't really remember but I think I was still on track the first couple miles.  At each aid station I poured some water on my head and arms, grabbed a towel (until they ran out on the way back) and took a few sips of water.  At about mile 4 I was really getting hot.  I was tempted to pull the shorts out and pour some cold water in to cool off but I didn't want to freak out the volunteers, many of which were kids :-).  Somewhere around here 26 guy caught me and said he was surprised he caught me.  I told him he was having a great race and he ran away from me very quickly.  I looked up his time later and he averaged 8:34 miles.  I was no where near that.  With about a mile to go, I started getting cold chills even though it was 87 degrees and I was in full sun. I'm not sure if I stopped sweating, but I knew chills were a bad sign, but walking would have taken even longer.  At this point I also knew a PR was out of reach (I could do math with one mile left :-). I finished a little under 2 minutes slower than last year and have to admit I was a little disappointed.

I didn't feel well after the race and continued having bouts of chills even though I was still sweating.  Drank about 5 bottles of water and gatorade, looked at the food but I felt so crappy I knew it wouldn't stay down so I skipped it.  Hung around for a while visiting with friends then took off for home.

They never posted the transition times for last year, which makes it tough to compare, but here are the numbers.

2011     2012
swim 0:37:04            swim 0:39:29
        T1 0:03:19
bike+T1 1:18:21     bike1:14:06 1:17:25  
    T2 0:01:14
run+T2 0:59:22     run 0:58:13 0:59:27
total 2:54:47 2:56:21

While I didn't think it was possible to swim slower than last year, I managed to by over 2 minutes!  The run up to T1 was quite a bit longer this year so while my combined T1+bike shows a minute faster, it was probably closer to 2.  My run+T2 time was about the same which is disappointing since my run seems faster this year.  A couple reasons I can think of for missing my PR.  First, I haven't been swimming much, duh! Second, last year I was coming off big volume getting ready for NOLA 70.3.  I'm still ramping up for my HIM in 8-9 weeks.  Third, I was dehydrated.  I weighed myself before and after and lost 8 pounds which is 5% of my body weight.  I drank about a pound of water during the race so I finished 7 pounds lighter.  I drank about 5 pounds of water after the race and on the way home and still lost 2 pounds by the time I got home.

Oh well, assuming I stick with this crazy sport, there is always next year.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Season Opener

My first race of the year was a repeat of the first tri I ever did.  The event is May Madness in Effingham Illinois run by Cutting Edge Events.  The folks at Cutting Edge do a nice job so if you are in the area and want an early season tri to get the season started, check it out.  This year the weather was perfect, upper 50's to start, sunny and calm, nothing like it was two years ago at my first tri. This year I also got to meet up with a friend from work, his wife, and a BT friend, so it was much more fun than racing alone.

Race day, I got up at 4 am (for the third time in four days).  It's about an hour and a half drive, but with no traffic at 4 am, I was able to make it a little lot faster :-).  It was pitch black when I left, but drove into a nice sunrise to start the day.
nice start to the day
Once at the race site, I quickly registered, got body marked, and started setting up.  I was set up in no time, and just hung out and visited.  Ran into a super fast guy from my fitness class and chatted with him and his wife for a while.  Chatting with friends does wonders to limit the pre-race anxiety I feel.

The water was a nice 66 degrees (with a wetsuit) and smooth.  I started near the back since I'm a slow swimmer and didn't have much contact.  I felt pretty good on the swim and sighted better than normal.  I'm just not a real strong swimmer.
beautiful morning

distance looks longer in open water to me
The bike route was a flat out and back with a couple little rollers at the beginning.  My goal was to make sure I was breathing hard the whole time. I managed to do that most of the right until my knees started feeling bad so I backed off a tad.

The run is also a flat out and back and I had the same goal as the bike, keep pushing it.  I ran as fast as I could and just tried to hang on.  I passed a woman with a Garmin at about half way and asked her our pace.  7:42, yikes! No wonder it was hard, that's fast for me.

My goal going into the race was to shave three minutes off my time from two years ago.

2010 2012
swim 10:53 10:03
T1 2:00 1:23
bike 41:10 39:23
T2 1:00 0:51
run 26:53 24:35
 total1:21:54 1:16:14

I'm a little bummed my bike average was below 20mph but it doesn't surprise me given my knee issues.  I was pleasantly surprised I was able to run under 8 minute miles, actually more like ecstatic!  I haven't run a 5k that fast in 20 years.

I did manage to take home some hardware.  3rd in my age group! Don't tell anyone that there were only three in my age group, that would make it an attendance prize :-).

The TYR tri top almost hides the 8 pounds I'm trying to lose :-)

Looks like I need some spray on tan and to work on my guns :-)
Sprint tris are a lot of work for a short race.  I probably spent two hours packing my gear, racking my bike, etc, an hour and a half driving there, an hour and a half driving back, then another hour cleaning up my mess all for a little over an hour of pain. I think I like the Olympic distance the best.
back seat mess

front seat mess
Overall, it was a great start to the season.  My first Oly is next week and I'm dreading the swim.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Just Like That

It's race season!!!  I've been so busy I feel like it snuck up on me kind of like vacation did :-).  I did order some replacement tires and tubes and well as dig out the Yankz laces I won doing XLMIC's Jingle Bell Hell run .

swapped these out over the weekend

Those are butyl tubes.  I got tired of pumping up my tires every 3 days with latex tubes.

New shoes with Yankz laces installed

I still need to go over my gear checklist and decide what to bring to this event.  I'll have to less the house about 4 am Sunday, not really looking forward to that.

Here are a couple random throw in pics from my ride this evening.

I can see for miles and miles

and miles and miles and miles :-)

Oh, an update on Goal #3 I set at the beginning of the year. With eight weeks to go, I was down six pounds.  I figured I had it in the bag since I can lose a 1/2 pound a week just by watching my diet.  Well, after three business trips in six weeks, I gained all six pounds back! Luckily I normally don't travel that much (and lucky I didn't gain more), so I should be able to lose it again, just not by my goal date.  With that said I have a couple trips coming up in the near future.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I have a shoe problem....

When I bought my road bike a couple years ago I decided to continue using my mountain bike shoes to save a little money.  When I got my bike fit a few weeks ago, I decided to get road bike shoes and cleats thinking maybe the shoes and cleats somehow had something to do with my knee pain.  The jury is still out, but I don't think the shoes or cleats had anything to do with my injury.

I wore these Shimano M075 for the last two seasons with Shimano SPD cleats and pedals. They worked out well as I was use to clicking in and out of the pedals since I was use to them from my mountain bike.  They were also pretty fast to put on in transition with the Velcro straps.

My mountain bike shoes
During my bike fitting, I tried on about 10 different pair of shoes and one pair stood out. These Sidi Genius 5 Pro shoes fit like a glove.
My new road cycling shoes
My bike fitter talked me into Look Keo pedals to go with the shoes.  This setup has been harder to get used to than I thought it would be.  First, it is hard to walk in these shoes because you have to balance on the ball of your foot.  I feel very unstable in them.  The best way to describe it is reverse high heels, though I've never actually worn high heels :-).
Reverse high heels
Second, the pedal is single sided vs. double sided like the SPD pedals. Third, the pedals default to being straight up and down making clicking in tricky.

Default Look pedal position
While the Sidi shoes are super comfy, they aren't super easy to get on.  The two Velcro straps are easy but sliding the top strap in is a little tricky.  It takes me several attempts to get the strap fed into the clasp correctly even while sitting on my couch.  I started getting nervous about trying to get them on and strapped correctly during my upcoming races where I may have numb fingers and will definitely have a highly elevated heart rate. So........ I bought another pair of shoes.

Shimano TR52 tri shoes
The one giant Velcro strap should work out well while racing.  We'll find out in 10 days......

Knee update: My knees are improving.  They no longer hurt 24/7 which is a big improvement, but I'm far from pain free.  Sometimes I'm pain free, other times there are little niggles here and there like you get during a good taper.  Sometimes while cycling one or both patella will tighten up and feel like stones at which point I back off even more.  I have new pains now too, but none are permanent.  I've had my left IT band at the knee get sore while running (never had that in the past, have had problems with my right IT band at the knee so I know what to do for it).  A little stretching helped that. I've had the inside of both knees start hurting while running and biking.  I backed off and the pain subsided.

So for now, I continue to run and bike but take it easy.  When I experience pain, I back off a little and so far that seems to work.  I'm also using compression and ice, but not as often as I should.  Need to fix that.