Do You Feel Lost in the Off-Season?

Don’t have a coach?  Burned out?  Feeling fat and slow?  Curious what a triathlete should be doing in the off-season?  Want to train AND have some fun?

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I have the plan for you!  I designed a two week block that will start to get you rolling again during your off-season.  The two week block includes:

  • Swim, bike and run workouts.
  • Body weight training.
  • No special equipment required.
  • No online training log needed.

You are one click away!

This program is NOT designed for beginners.  It is designed for a triathlete with a season of training experience.  No special equipment or online training log required.  You just need a good attitude.  Or a bitter attitude and a sense of humor.  Both work.

Don’t delay!  Sign up today!

And, what if you are ready for a coach to guide the next step in your triathlon journey?  Want to make the move to the pointy end?  Please consider joining my team here.

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Race Report: Ironman World Championship Kona

Hardest. Race. Ever. IMG_0094

And exactly what I would expect of a race that determines a World Champion. Out of my three Kona experiences, this one had it all; ocean swells, relentless wind, and surface of the sun temperatures.  And for me, a touch of redemption.

If you have been following along, I managed in the middle of July to shatter my ribs and clavicle.  I felt crushed that a poor choice ended my year.  A few days later, I was bursting with joy when I found out that the dream was still alive.  Three months later I waded into the warm waters of the Pacific to race again.

 

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My biggest fears?  Someone crashing into my clavicle during the practice swims at the pier. Only 700 people from the US qualify for Kona.  The rest of the field swims counter clockwise in the pool and drives on the wrong side of the road.  As you can imagine, an unorganized open water swim course turns into a cluster of wrong way bodies.  I knew if I survived the practice swims, I just needed to get through the washing machine of the swim start.  Here is my I survived the practice look:

IMG_0064My other fear?  Crashing on my new, fast, wonderful and amazing Dimond bike.  The bike is “brilliant under pressure” and I had proven in my last race to make “poor choices” under pressure.  I was skittish during the wind gusts of my practice rides. I kept hope that my competitive spirit would shine through on race day keeping me aero whatever the conditions.

Here is my Ruster Hen House packed bike!  I save $400 in bike travel fees to Kona alone! Sherpa not included:

Here is my bike ready to be put back together again.  Super easy to build and fits on a coffee table!

 

The days leading up to the race were wonderful.  I shared a house with my coaching colleagues from Endurance Corner.  Coach Justin Daerr, IM Boulder Champion, carbo loading and my Coach Marilyn Chychota showing the breakfast choice of my sherpas:

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We hosted team Endurance Corner gatherings and enjoyed our friendships.  It felt more like our Tucson camp than prepping for Kona!

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THE SWIM:  This year age group women had a separate start resulting in less contact on the swim. I hope it lessened the temptation of drafting on the bike.  There were lots of swells and current this year. The biggest surprise was how warm the water was once you left the spring filled pier area.  It was hot enough that I considered ripping off my swim cap!  I think I spent most of the race in Kona fantasizing on how to get cool.

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How was my clavicle?  Good.  I lost a bit of strength in my upper body during my convalescence but my swim fitness returned.  I ended up middle of the pack out of the water.

THE BIKE:

Ironman Hawaii 2014
The problem with the delayed age group women start is that you feel like one of the last people on the surface of the sun finishing the race.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, is in front of you.  It gets a touch lonely out there.

By the time you reach some of the aid stations they look violated.  Bottles strewn everywhere with volunteers looking hot and ragged.  You wouldn’t blame a volunteer if they had a cigarette dangling out of their mouth with a whisky in one hand and a water bottle in the other hand!  I learned to always look for the water bottle with condensation.  The other bottles were too hot to drink!

My legs felt good, my bike felt great and the wind made every attempt to beat me into submission.  At one point I was riding on the course with a head wind that was so strong I had to pedal hard down hill. This was the first time I experienced this headwind on the way out to Hawi.  And yes, by the time I made it down Hawi, the wind turned into a head wind almost all the way back to Kona.  Meanwhile,  the sun and humidity crush your soul. On a positive note, I was not blown off my bike on Hawi.  Unfortunately a few folks got tossed.

I didn’t have as strong of a cycling day as I had hoped.  Nothing to pinpoint but I never hit the moments in the race where I felt great.  I did feel a huge accomplishment when I managed to finish the ride without crashing.  A simple and necessary benchmark.  Insert big sigh of relief.

I have an incredible sherpa team at my races (KT and David), and I know when I get off the bike immediately how I am racing.  If I have raced well, they are super excited and tell me exactly what I need to do to win.  If I come off the bike middle of the pack, they are super excited and tell me what I need to do to pick off one of my frequent competitors. Subtle but important difference.  David and KT at the fantastic WITSUP Women’s Breakfast:

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THE RUN:  I dialed in my pace right off the bike and felt good.  Scary good.  I avoided the illusion and paced the way I knew was necessary. I hit the ice hard and fueled well.  I could tell I was picking off people in my age group right out of the gate.  Things got hard after the climb up Palani.  My legs hurt a bit from the pounding but I kept it rolling.  At one point I climbed through 10+ positions and my team told me to keep running hard.  Amazed how I can go from planning my sport retirement to smiling as you cross the incredible finish line on Ali’i Drive. I ended up spent and happy.

Equipment issues:

I need a new race running shoe.  Current model discontinued.

I have a vision issue in one eye that has changed and I am having difficulty reading my power meter computer on the bike when I wear my contacts.  Need to change computers or placement of the computer.

Nutrition:

Spot on again this race.  75g+ carbs per hour on the bike with increased water consumption.  50g+ first two hours of the marathon.  Gatorade on course next year will completely change my nutrition plan.  I tolerate it well and will be able to give up having bottles in special needs.  I am exploring increasing my race caffeine intake.  Will experiment with that next year.

Finally, I am not thrilled with my race but I am happy finishing 18th in the world in my age group.  I have improved my finishing place each of the last three Kona races.


I learned more about myself this year than the previous six competing.  I found out in July what it takes to overcome something unexpected.  I found out I can break my body but not my spirit. I found out I have what it takes to dig deep, cry, hurt and move forward.  I found out that my family and my friends believe in me enough to make sure I kept believing in myself.

Special thanks to Coach Marilyn Chychota.  She had faith and the plan.  Her mantra, “Be strong and carry on…”  It worked.

I did not have the race I wanted but I did have the race I deserved.  It was a great year. Thank you for sharing the journey.

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Special thanks to my sponsors for their service and support this season.  It takes a village to qualify for Kona.  Thank you.

 

 

 

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Avoiding Nausea in Rough Water Swims

Question I received today:  Do you have any tips for avoiding nausea in a rough open water swim?

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I believe some athletes develop nausea in swimming due to allergy issues and their inner ear.  This is a great conversation for your athlete and their physician.  My physician advised me to take an Allegra at bedtime (one of the few allergy medicines approved for pilots).

Do not let the athlete take Dramamine! Or anything similar. Seems obvious but I have had athletes try that without telling me. Swimming can be dangerous and we need our athletes as sharp as possible to make good decisions in the water.

The easiest fix is to get the athlete used to great ear plugs (silicon ones tend to work best). By removing water from the inner ear, many athletes avoid dizziness and nausea.  Have the athlete also practice a quick application of the ear drying drops available at any drug store.  They can put in a few drops before and after the swim 

Ginger supplement before swimming can be effective at reducing nausea.  Something as simple as the ginger candy chews at can work. Some athletes may need a stronger supplement. 

I have worked with someone that had Meniere‘s disease which attacks the inner ear and causes Vertigo. She had great success with a pressure point bracelet on both wrists.  Remember, we don’t need to believe it works, we need our athlete to believe it works!  Packaging is everything.  

Other tips:

If possible, get your athlete in the water the day before the race to practice in the rough water.  My first Ironman was in Wisconsin and I practiced swimming in Lake Monona during a small craft warning.  It took me almost an hour to swim one loop of the the then two loop course.  It was the scariest swim of my life and made the calm water on race day feel like nothing!

Make sure the athlete is well hydrated and has had their pre-race meal outside the three hour window. They can sip on a sports drink up until thirty minutes before race time. Nothing after thirty minutes. Ginger before the thirty minute shut down.

Have the athlete get new goggles with excellent optics.  The athlete should sight with stationary landmarks and not moving objects (buoys etc.).  This will help reduce the risk of nausea.  

Everything has a rhythm.  Even a rough open water swim.  If you stay calm, you can learn to time the waves with your stroke.  Having the ability to breathe either side while swimming is essential to being comfortable in the water.  Each athlete should be able to breathe one side only away from the crashing surf.  

What if your athlete gets out of the swim and is nauseous?  If they can, have a coke waiting for them and/or a candy bar.  An old fisherman’s trick that seems to work on the sea.  Coke has save me a few times when I have been seasick!  

The best part of a rough swim?  It makes the bike and run feel so much easier.  Enjoy!

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10 Tips for Your Cold 70.3 World Championship

Looks like some cold temps for the start of the World Championship in Mont Tremblant.  The only thing worse than a hot race, is a cold race.  My top suggestions:

  1. Go almost nude under your wetsuit.  Guys just wear your tri shorts.  Women just your sports bra and tri shorts.
  2. Put your wetsuit on early.  I have found a light running warm up in your wetsuit can be helpful on cold days.  
  3. Wear disposable shoes to keep your feet from getting cold when you are waiting for the swim start.
  4. Wear new swim goggles or bring defogger.  Contrast in temps can increase fogging.
  5. Towel off after the swim.  Sixty seconds of drying off will make a huge difference.
  6. Put on Tri Top after you are dry.  Add an old full zip cycling jersey  that you won’t mind discarding.
  7. Arm warmers or long socks with the feet cut off.  Wear stuff you are happy to discard.
  8. Toe warmers for your cycling shoes.
  9. Vinyl long disposable dishwashing gloves.  Looks ridiculous but works!
  10. Aero Helmet with limited vents.  Consider taping vents shut.  No aero helmet?  Put a swim cap over your normal helmet.

Don’t discard anything unless you are sure you will not get cold on an extended downhill. Nothing worse than your hands shaking while going fast down a mountain!

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And a friend who is a USAT official asked me to remind you that you may only discard clothing and trash at aid stations.  Leave no trace and receive no penalties!

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Go get your race…and not hypothermia!

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5 Tips for Your Hot Ironman Louisville

Things are looking challenging this weekend in Louisville.  Most triathletes have been loving the cooler training  conditions this summer.  If you are one of them, don’t despair.  You can still get a great race.

When you arrive in Louisville, do not panic heat train.  Reduce fatigue and physical stress by staying out of the heat!  Race morning, try to have a homemade slushy (gatorade and crushed ice) to sip before the start.  

My Top Five Tips:

1)  No aero helmet.  If you must, make sure it is well vented. Why?  You want to be able to keep your head drenched in cold water.  

2)  Stay drenched. Treat every bike aid station as your personal caterer and valet. Slow down, grab nutrition (drink to thirst) and then grab a water bottle to douse yourself from head to toe. Take a second water bottle to do the same between aid stations.

3)  Reduce your pace on the bike. Let HR be your guide. The course has lots of short grinding hills.  Managing effort manages heat.

4)  Wear a running hat on the run. And make sure your top has pockets. Consider cooling arm sleeves. 

5)  Walk the back half of every aid station. Eat, hydrate and apply ice and water everywhere; hat, bra, pockets of jersey, shorts, inside arm sleeves and hands. I have won my age group at Louisville and qualified for the Boston Marathon by walking 25 aid stations!

Win the war of attrition on the run and you win the day. Managing heat and effort on the bike and walking the aid stations on the run can set the stage for a great day. Go get your race!

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