Friday, March 30, 2012

Nutrition Plan - Half Iron Distance

Breakfast - cherry pop tarts, coffee

About 15 minutres before start - One serving of Infinit cycling mix in water

Swim - no nutrition

Transition 1 - No nutrition

Bike - Two 21 ounce bottles with 1.5 servings of Infinit Cycling Mix each, baggie with an extra serving of mix in my pocket, take water off the course

Transition 2 - No nutrition

Run - Two flasks, one with Infinit Napalm (@400 calories worth), the other plain water, water off the course if needed

Galveston - Expectations

Whenever anyone asks me "What should I expect for this race?" I usually tell them not to have expectations.  A lot can go wrong, and frequently does.  In preparation for this year's Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3, I went back and reviewed last year's results.  Ouch.

So what should I expect for this race?

I want to go out there on Sunday and swim faster than I did last year.  I remember the wind and water were rough, but I'm a stronger swimmer than I was last year.

I want to ride faster.  As mentioned in my previous blog post, I had five flats and I'd like to avoid that entirely.  I had a good split in the Longhorn 70.3 last October, and I'd like to do better than that.

I'd like to run faster than I did last year.  I messed up my nutrition by not carrying enough to handle the extra hour I spent changing tubes.  This hurt my run split.

And I want faster transitions.

But what should I expect?

I don't really hold any expectations.  I've learned through experience that anything can and does happen.  I know what I want, and I usually go out to a race with three goals in mind.  One time goal that I'd be satisfied with, another that I'd be very pleased about, and one that I would probably do cartwheels after finishing the race if I met the goal.

I have learned quite a bit since the last time.  I've learned about training, I've learned about equipment, I've learned about racing...

And I've learned about me.

But I don't hold expectations. Except to expect the unexpected, and to pray that the Tri Gods smile.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Galveston 70.3 2011 Recap

I'm gearing up for the Galveston half ironman on Sunday.  It was the first half ironman I ever did, and was quite an experience.  So, I tracked down my race report.   In retrospect,  the race was somewhat of a very large learning experience, and in a few days, I'm going back out to make new memories on the course.

So, here's the original report:

The swim was a deepwater start.  That’s when I realized what I had signed up for.  The whistle goes off and we all start swimming.  The swim out was good.  Not too crowded.  As soon as we made the first turn, it seemed that hell broke loose.  The wind was coming across us, and if you’ve ever seen a plane land in heavy cross winds, you’ll know what it was like.  I was swimming DIAGONALLY.  It was somewhere soon after the turn that I got kicked in the face.  The water was cold enough that I couldn’t tell if I was bleeding or not, and kept going.  About two minutes later, I got a perfect smack to the back of the head.  I would have started laughing if it hadn’t hurt so bad!  The rest of the swim was uneventful.  After we made the next turn and headed back to land, the wind didn’t affect us as much, and my speed went back up.

Transition went well.  We had strippers!  As this was my first triathlon, I really didn’t know what to expect, but the wetsuit came off FAST, I got to rinse the salt off my legs and face, and off I went to get my shoes.  I was surprised to see how many bikes were still in transition. Transition went well.  Sunscreen, socks, shoes, belt, bike, helmet and glasses.  I almost forgot my timing chip, but remembered it at the last second.  The first split was fine.  Uneventful.  The wind was tiring, but it was a beautiful ride.  The hill called “Big Nasty” cracked me up.  So much riding in the hill country had me prepared.  I settled into a good pace and occasionally got out of the saddle to change my position.  I made the halfway point in good time.

At 30 miles I got my first flat.  Between 30 and 40 I had five separate flat tires on the back tire.  On flat four, I had someone pull over to toss me a tube, I changed the tire, used the last of the CO2 I’d carried from the last flat (she was out too) and while she was STANDING THERE, her tire blew.  I was stunned.  And we had no more CO2 to give her tube back to her.  She walked on-I wish I could find her and thank her.   I’ve had my tire checked-there’s nothing wrong with the it, and nothing IN the tire.  I found out later that someone salted the course with tacks.  The course director said that this was the worst course for flats that he’d ever seen, and that someone the day before (on the sprint) had four flats.  Quitting?  Not an option.  On the way back, I counted down the miles and did the math “Okay, five miles-If I flat again, it will take me this long to run with the bike...Okay, four miles-If I flat again, it will take me that long to run with the bike.”  I wasn’t going to quit.

When I got in to transition, I unclipped the right foot to lean to the right, the wind caught me, and before I could unclip the left foot, I fell over on my left side.  Par for the course.  I only hope someone got a good laugh out of it.  I’m still finding bruises from that fall! The run didn’t go as well as I would have liked.  I haven’t seen the official times (after five flats, who really cares, as long as I didn’t DNF).  The flats screwed up the nutrition that I’d had dialed in for the race.  It showed.  My shoes got REALLY wet, and about mile 2 I felt the blisters start on the bottom of my feet.  But I kept thinking:  if this was supposed to be easy, it wouldn’t have the word “ironman” associated with it.  So I kept going.  I walked through some of the water stops like I do when I run a marathon, and just didn’t stop.  I’m not really fond of the four lap course-two laps would have been better.  But as far as spectating went, it gave me a chance to see my kids and family several times.

I’m still not really sure how to feel about the race.  I went out with a time goal.  That fell apart between miles 30 and 40.  On one hand, I PR’d this race, and I’ll PR the next time.  But I’m frustrated with how far I missed my time goal by.  I keep hearing about how five flats-people would have DNF’d, so I’m encouraged that I didn’t give up, but I’m also discouraged. But, most importantly, I know I’m physically ready for the HIM.  Onto bigger things!  And I’m going to make an annual thing out of the Galveston HIM. (and I’m going to look into steel belted radials!) I got to see the best part of triathletes.  I’ve learned that the sport is not truly an individual sport, but a team sport.  Everybody helps everybody, everyone cheers for everyone. You guys make me proud to be a triathlete.  I wish I could thank personally the people who threw me tubes and CO2.

As I read through this nearly a year later, smarter and more experienced, some thoughts come to mind.  I'll post on my reflections and goals for this weekend tomorrow, as well as my nutritional plan.   A lot has changed for this season!  What a great race to kick off the season right!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Choosing a giveaway winner... Mommy style!

I can't claim that this was my idea.  But I liked it so much, that I'm going to do it too!

Writing names on paper after feeding my support crew!
Folded paper into a medium size box.
Handle with care. HA!
Kicking the box around...
Standing on... Okay IN the box...
Rolling it down the stairs... Okay, she did it THREE times!
Let the two year old pick a name!
And the winner is........
TanyaC!!!  I will be contacting you shortly with your e-giftcard.  I would absolutely love it if you would post a picture of what you get on my facebook page so we can oooh and aaah over it.  I'm only sorry that I don't have more to give away so that we can protect all of you and your kids.  This isn't the last giveaway though.  Share my facebook page and when we hit the magic number I'll give another RoadID to someone listed from the "likes" on my facebook page.  Stay tuned because there will be other giveaways happening here from other companies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hump Day How-To "Blisters and Chafing"

The bane of every runner or cyclist's existence.  Blisters and chafing.  How many of us start working out to get healthy, only to be deterred by 'certain areas' chafing to the point of walking bowlegged for a few days?   Or blisters on your feet or toes, so bad that it looks like you've got extra toes growing in places (ewwwwwww!)?  Never fear, my blog post is here!  To help you, that is.

Blisters and chafing are caused by too much friction.

Let's start with your feet.

The first thing you should be doing is going to a running store to have someone do a gait analysis on you.  While this is important for many reasons, most of the time, not only will they put you in the shoes that are going to assist you in running the way your body was made, they'll also put you in shoes a half size large to accommodate for normal foot swelling during running.  Proper fit is part of blister prevention.  And remember, 'cotton is the enemy!'  You want socks that are made for running.  You can usually buy these when you get your shoes.  Good socks usually run about ten bucks a pair.  These are your feet we're talking about.  Ask what socks the sales person wears when they run, they'll usually point you the right direction.

The most common places for chafing include waist (from shorts/waist packs), thighs and/or bikini line, bra/heart rate monitor strap lines, and nipples.  I repeat, 'cotton is the enemy.' Look for clothes with high content synthetic fabrics.

Wear sweat wicking fabrics and fitted clothing to prevent chafing.  One of the biggest things you can do to prevent blisters and chafing is to use some form of lubricant.  Some brands include 'body glide,' 'chamois butter,' vaseline,' etc.  Talk to runners and cyclists in your community or on online forums such as BeginnerTriathlete for their advice and experience.  Most will willingly tell you what works for them.  As with any situation, lubricant is personal (okay, it's hard not to giggle at that...).

After the damage is done, there are still things you can do.  During a 50k, I was about 3 miles in when a blister developed on my heel.  A fellow runner had some electrical tape, and felt inclined to share upon asking.  Two short strips over the top of the blister got me through the next 28 miles without further damage.

Other things you can use:
Mole skin
Band aids
Electrical, medical, kinesiology (or even duct) tape
More lubrication

Blister treatment is highly controversial, as popping a blister leaves the skin open for infection, but leaving the fluid inside can cause greater pain.  In the interest of not giving medical advice, I'm only going to state what I do.  I poke a small hole in the side/bottom of the blister to allow the pressure to release, then I leave it alone.  I keep it clean and dry, and if it starts to look infected, I seek medical advice.  As for chafing,  well, good luck on your next shower because it is going to hurt.  You can put neosporin or one of the sunburn sprays on it to help, but expect everything to sting like Hellfire for a day or two until it dries up.  As with blisters, I keep chafing clean and dry, and if there is any sign of infection (extensive swelling, hot to touch, very painful) I seek medical attention.

Some do's and don't's
Don't cut off calluses: they're formed by your foot needing to protect itself, and they help with blister prevention
Do keep your toenails short, but not too short
Don't be afraid to try something new if what you've tried hasn't worked
Do use lubrication liberally
Don't continue a training run if a blister develops on your foot and you can't handle it immediately; not stopping the damage immediately could cause you to lose days, if not weeks of training time
Do plan ahead: if you have a spot that always gets a blister, consider trying a band aid or tape during the run to see if that prevents the blister entirely; during rides, coat the seams of your shorts in advance to prevent chafing
Don't be afraid to wrap or lube your equipment to prevent chafing or blisters: I once wrapped a band aid around a heart rate monitor strap that consistently gave me problems
Do ask advice: ask anyone and everyone who might be able to help you, especially those in the sport

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Safety comes in a nice little tin box...

Remember that giveaway I mentioned?  Pay attention, here it is.  I'm giving away a $35 gift card for RoadID.

I just got my RoadID in the mail this week.  And the timing is perfect because I'm getting ready to do my first century ride.  To be honest, I had my doubts.  I make my purchases based on what's best for my family, and spend quite a bit of time weighing purchases for their value.  So when faced with dropping money on something that has no sure need, it's a lot harder to make the purchase.  And as I'm one of the budget limited athletes in the sport, many things either get pushed back, bought used off craigslist, or not purchased at all.

I guess this is where I should mention that I not only bought one, I bought three of them.

When I came across RoadID about a year ago, I thought "GREAT IDEA!"  Being a firefighter, I see some of the worst things that can happen.  After looking into it, though, it was one of those things that got pushed back.  Fortunately, nothing really bad has happened to me in the time it took for me to get off my lazy butt and order something that really isn't that expensive (well, there was that car at the intersection).  But then, something else happened.

My five year old told me she wanted to start running like mommy does.  Did you hear my heart stop for a second?

The area I live in has a race every year for kids, and she wants to run in it.  So, I'll let her run it without mommy.  I'll be there at the finish line cheering her on and acting goofy like any other sports mom.  But, a few days after I ordered my RoadID, I ordered hers.  And her brother's.  And since ordering their RoadID's, I've realized all the situations that it would have been good to have emergency phone numbers on my kids.  Both kids travel with their grandmother a couple of times a year.  Granted, nothing takes the place of having kids know their own address and phone number, but we also teach our kids "stranger danger."  And if my kid gets lost, I JUST WANT THAT KID BACK NOW.  Every parent knows there's a million "what if's..."  Wouldn't that be a nice peace of mind to have next time you go on vacation, all the kids wearing their RoadID's?  I know I'll have it.

As far as using it for being an athlete, it's just a damn good idea.  A military friend of mine helped me deck it out with my name, driver's license number, blood type, and an emergency contact.  It left enough room for a motivational phrase that I plan to use to help me get through my races.  My husband and kids aren't always on hand at the races, so if something did happen, RoadID has an interactive ID that give emergency responders a phone number to call for medical history and emergency contacts.  You can update as often as you need to.

Don't want that fancy medic alert bracelet?  Here's another option for you.  Another bunch of options for you.  RoadID has so many options that it was easy to get different ID's for me and the kids.  Mine is black, my daughter's is purple, and my son's is blue.  And bands and ID's are individually replaceable if you need or want to change something.

Did you make it this far?

So leave a comment telling me if you are an athlete or a parent or both, and what you plan to buy if you win, then go over to my facebook page here and "like" it. The more comments you leave on this post, the more entries you have, up to one entry a day. I'll do a random drawing next week.  If my facebook page hits 100 "likes" I'll do a second giveaway, so tell your friends!

Don't feel like waiting until next week to get your RoadID?  You can order one here.  It isn't expensive and is totally worth it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Update

Oh Em Gee... Is it still Tuesday? Between the phone calls and chasing a small dinosaur around the house and yard (and that stupid time change) it feels like it should be later in the week. 

How's your week going?

I spoke with RoadID this morning about the giveaway and we got some details hammered out.  Look for the details on my Facebook page over the next few days.  Think we can get the "likes" up over 100?  Then we'll do a second giveaway!  (Hint, that facebook page might be part of winning...)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ironman Cycling Training... With Kids...

The racing season is really getting fired up, and I was fortunate enough to find TrainerRoad.

I frequently get stuck on the trainer for cycling, as it's my go-to when I'm stuck in the house because of a small herd of dinosaurs (or is it a herd of small dinosaurs?).  Add a little netflix or hulu, and I'm usually good to go.  I'm one of the many that isn't quite able to invest in a power unit for my bike, and percieved exertion always seemed a little vague to me.  So when I found TrainerRoad, my entire cycling experience changed.

The first thing I want to say is that if you've never trained with power, you don't know what you're missing.  It finally doesn't matter whether or not you have a power unit.  TrainerRoad uses a virtual power curve unique to each trainer, and they add more on a regular basis.  GO! TRY! IT! NOW!!!  The second thing is that power units can be expensive.  So, it's worth it to go check out TrainerRoad.  Even if you have a power unit, you should look at TrainerRoad.  It's compatible with so many pieces of hardware - yours is probably listed.

Before I actually tried it, my trainer sessions usually consisted of me, on the bike for an hour or more, on the trainer, with a movie, or a book on my kindle app.  I'd go as hard as I'd think my legs would let me go for my intended amount of time.

Then, I started looking a little more closely into how I could improve my cycling.  TrainerRoad is new - Nate and Reid are two great guys that are working on the system while they're working their own jobs. (Update-they've gotten to quit their jobs and do TrainerRoad full time!)  They're great on the customer service end, and they love getting suggestions on how to make the system better.  Sufferfest - who we all know and love to hate - has ten videos out that you can drag and drop into the TrainerRoad system.  And those are just the workouts that have a video component specifically designed to go together.  There are enough workouts to keep you busy for weeks.

So I signed up.  It isn't expensive or complicated and went with the garmin stuff I already own (suunto movestick apparently works as well).  Power is set at 200 ftp for default, and you can do a 8 minute test or 20 minute test to figure out what your ftp should be.  I plugged my computer into my tv and did the "8 minute test."  Now, don't get me wrong.  The test isn't 8 minutes long, it's an hour, but by the time you get to the 8 minute intervals, they feel like an eternity.  When I finished, I had an idea where I stood, cycling fitness-wise.

But I had goals in my training.  Something tangible to seek, rather than just getting on my bike and going.

It got even better (ha ha) when I got to the workouts that had Sufferfest videos as part of them.

There you are, part of the Tour, or cycling down a mountain with a buddy, or part of a criterion.  It was sooooo cool!  Even the support crew gets excited to see it on tv.  "Mommy?  Which bike are you on?"

Overall, I'm really looking forward to what happens this season.

Here is TrainerRoad's Public Release:

 "CONTACT: Nate Pearson,



Reno, Nev. (February 28, 2012) -- Recently released TrainerRoad -- an indoor training system developed for cyclists and triathletes -- offers athletes structured cycling workouts with live ANT+ data based on power, heart rate or VirtualPower™. The TrainerRoad software is both Mac and PC compatible and offers more than 190 workouts scaled to match the current fitness level of each member.

 “It’s our vision to develop an indoor training system that helps athletes improve no matter where they are starting from today,” TrainerRoad co-Founder, Reid Weber said. “As fathers, cyclists and professionals, Nate (co-Founder) and I both know the everyday challenges faced by cyclists to get the best training possible with limited time. TrainerRoad was designed to help everyone from the casual weekend rider to professional athlete improve their cycling fitness.”

“We bring the ability to train like you have a power meter with VirtualPower™,” TrainerRoad co-Founder, Nate Pearson said. “We take the known power curves of certain trainers and translate speed to power on the fly. The end result is that the user feels like they are training with a power meter without having to feel it in their wallet. Accuracy depends on their trainer, but members are seeing great fitness gains across the board.”

The user focused software saves all member data to the TrainerRoad cloud creating a stream of rider data and a community of riders excited about getting faster. Career pages track member progress, calculate workout stats and auto generate intervals allowing members to review past workouts and share them with friends, teammates, and coaches.

In addition to a vast library of targeted, focused workouts and powerful analytics, TrainerRoad features social sharing options, race simulations and integration with training videos. TrainerRoad also integrates with Netflix, iTunes, Hulu and many other websites providing entertainment while training.

“We wanted to provide a valuable product at a reasonable cost,” Pearson said. “For a low monthly cost, members have access to all of the software features. We are confident that for the price of a few energy gels TrainerRoad will make riding indoors fun, motivating and competitive.”

TrainerRoad membership costs $10 per month, including a 30-day, no-questions-asked refund period. Membership includes access to all current TrainerRoad features including training plans and support.

TrainerRoad also has CompuTrainer™ support on both Mac and PC.

Designed to help cyclist and triathletes improve their fitness, TrainerRoad is a powerful indoor training system that offers structured workouts based on power, heart rate or VirtualPower™ with live ANT+ data for motivation. For more information visit or follow TrainerRoad on Facebook at twitter:@TrainerRoad"


DCRainmaker did a review on his blog that seems pretty complete.  You can find it here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Humor - Runner Style!

Some weekend humor for you!

Quick disclaimer, though - I found these on the internet, and don't know the back story.  So if you do, and one of these offends you, please leave a polite message, and I'll remove the image.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Lake Travis Fire Rescue Does St Baldrick's

Every year around this time, many people get involved with St Baldrick's.  That is, they shave their heads in order to raise money to support childhood cancer research.  Tomorrow, February 10th, several of the men I work with will join the people raising money for a good cause, and shave their heads.  I happen to know that most of these guys have been growing their locks out for some time.  They've done an absolutely incredible job raising money.  But they'd like to raise more.
You can help them.  I'll post pictures tomorrow after the event, but follow the link below to help raise money for childhood cancer research,

Lake Travis St Baldrick's Page

Want to go out and join them? Head over to Fado's Irish Pub, 214 West Street, in downtown Austin.  The event starts at 10 am.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

RoadID affiliation and giveaway!

I'm so excited to announce that RoadID has agreed to help support the scholarship!  And you can help!  Simply follow the link from here to their page, and when you check out, 10% of your order will automatically be donated!  RoadID has generously offered to help get the word out with a giveaway, so head over to my facebook page here and like it so you can be one of the first to know when the rules are up and the giveaway starts (next week).  So, thanks, RoadID, and happy training to everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Exciting Announcements

Over the next few days I will have the privilege of announcing a new affiliate, and some other exciting developments.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You know you're an endurance athlete if...

You've ever accepted lubrication from strangers.

You know what and where an IT Band is and what it stands for.

You have more used sneakers in your closet than goodwill.

You're always hungry.

People ask you how long your last/next marathon is.

You've ever missed a party because it was the night before a race.

You regularly see the sunrise on a workout.

Spandex is a staple of your wardrobe.

Losing a toenail doesn't bother you.

You know that Ziploc makes a really good sports wallet.

You've ever contemplated what workouts you can still accomplish while injured (then gone and done it).

You've ever dreamed about showing up to a race late, missing gear, or without clothes.

You know how far it is to every intersection within a five mile radius of your house.

You go through sunscreen faster  than you do shampoo.

You can talk about fartleks, body glide, and chafing in your netherbits without giggling.

You have a drawer dedicated to workout clothes, and it's the biggest drawer you have.

You carry a pair of running shoes in your car.

You stopped bothering to scrub off that chain ring tattoo a long time ago.  It'll come off when it comes off. 

You plan  races 6-12 months or more in advance, but you wait to the last minute to book a hotel.

You look forward to the taper, but when it arrives, you're insanely bored.

You've ever said "only" and "10 miles" in the same sentence.

Your commute to work is shorter than most of your workouts.

You have a different set of tan lines for every sport.

You've ever peed behind a tree.

You've ever used frozen vegetables to ice a knee, ankle, etc.

You've ever run or cycled faster just to get away from that dog (snake, deer, skunk, etc).

You can expertly play "Dodge that poop."

You've ever played road games to entertain you while working out (counting beer cans, road kill, etc.)

You know how long to wait after eating before you run.

You know how far a kilometer is.

You collect safety pins four at a time.

Your workouts take you to the next city or town and back.

You know cotton is the enemy.

You probably don't wear underwear when you workout.

You answer with your age group if someone asks how old you are.

You pay attention to the weight of your gear.

You've ever planned a vacation around a race.

You wash your workout clothes separately, and/or with special detergent.

You talk about "hammer" or "brick" and it doesn't have anything to do with building something.

You've ever named a bicycle.

Your workout socks are lucky if they last a few months. 

You ever go to work smelling like chlorine.

The letters "DNF" make you cringe.

You've ever met another endurance athlete while working out and exchanged numbers/emails so you have a new workout buddy.

You base your workout routes on where the rest stops/bathrooms/water fountains are.

You might have more than one bicycle, but there's a really good reason for each.

You have a pair of sneakers for running, a pair of sneakers for the gym, a pair of shoes for cycling, a pair of sneakers for wearing around town, etc.

You know the difference between physically tough and mental toughness, and that you can have one without the other.

People don't believe you when you tell them how old you are.

People don't believe you when you tell them how much you weigh.

You've convinced a few people to start being more athletic/healthy.

Got any to add?  Post them here!