Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Promise, Mtn Lion Jersey & Pumpkin Consumption Tips

I PROMISE to do an injury post soon, detailing what I have learned and CONTINUE to learn as a result of two muscle strains incurred over the past 6 weeks. I haven't run trained during this time, which is frustrating, but it is what it is. I will share what I have learned on GETTING THE INJURY UNDER CONTROL by doing things, like active release therapy, trigger pointing on your own and aqua running to maintain run fitness (when it doesn't irritate the muscle strain!). Lindsey, are there things you should NOT do?   why YES!  Do NOT walk endless miles of DC streets with a backpack and whole foods paper bag crammed with heavy items (jars of nut butters, grapes, winter squash, etc.) without cash so you can't take a cab home. More on that later...

but first, 

SLOG JERSEY:  Lauren, a self-professed animal lover, sent me purchase details on the mountain lion jersey pictured below.  Roughly 25% of GTWD blog (slog) readers find this web site by searching for images of bob cats and javelinas on google.  These people don't linger here long--the avg duration of their visits are 0-1 second.  I think we can capture this audience for longer by offering mountain lion jerseys, of course with some kind of slog twist.  To appeal to the tri crowd, perhaps "slog reader" can grace the back of the jersey... or "Please don't draft me.  I'm trying to GTWD."  I am not at all surprised, but these jerseys are currently out of stock on amazon.  In the meantime, please comment below if you are interested and suggestions on how YOU would like the jersey customized.
PUMPKIN:  Pumpkin spice lattes are available at SBUX.  SLOG TIP.  Get the pumpkin spice misto, commonly known as a cafe au lait.  Compared with the latte, it is lower in cals... since it's 1/2 coffee and 1/2 milk and cheaper.  Alternatively, bum a couple sips off your visiting aunt's latte while on your morning commute to work.  No fashion tips, here.  I store my credit card/ID/costco card in a ziploc.

MORE PUMPKIN:  canned pumpkin is in season and I'm currently mixing it in EVERYTHING.  oatmeal.. cottage cheese (it just LOOKS gross)..  cranberry sauce is also a nice mix-in to give it some sweetness.  you're welcome.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yes, I did race Ironman Canada!

I have attempted to sit down and bust out this Ironman Canada race report for four weeks now, but am suffering from a huge case of writer's block. I'm currently sitting in the hospital waiting for Matt to get out (a story for another day, but yes, he is okay) and have nothing else to do besides write this thing, as Purse has abandoned gchat and left me all alone to my own devices. Despite my constant complaining about crap coverage at Kaiser, their wireless coverage is indeed second to none. Move over Palo Alto Medical Foundation!!!

Anyway, here is how I "remember" IMC:

Ahhhh....the "high desert" of Canada......beautiful venue, people, and terrain.

We arrived Thursday before the race and met up with Paulo and Khai and settled into a soon-to-be-familiar-to-lauren "chill" pattern throughout the rest of the week. I felt mentally prepared and as physically prepared as I could be, and was ready to "race" my second irondistance race and my first attempt as a pro.

We stayed in the guest house of an awesome couple near Skaha lake. Upon hearing that the AC window unit died the afternoon before the race, they took it upon themselves to purchase a new one. I eagerly set Matt to the not so small task of assembling said window unit....yet another of his unpredictable sherpa duties.

Race Day:

After I unsuccessfully attempted to shove down a bowl of rice and eggs (note to self: take Purse to all races as her egg bombers are edible), Matt drove us to transition where I sat around in the endless porta potty lines. Count down ensued and we were off...or once again....everyone was off but me. I took it out WCS hard but apparently not hard enough as the feet I found were actually slower than mine. Unfortunately, I didn't figure that out until halfway through the swim. The swim was a big disappointment for me, but I tried to put it behind me as I came out of the water and prepared for the bike.

Bike was solid for me and was another exercise in mental toughness as I attempted to follow The Plan. My typical 70.3 bike plan consists of just riding hard, but I learned at Kona that this is not a good ironman strategy. Jonny and Paulo gave me some bike course intel, but apparently my listening skills were suspect as when I thought I was at the second of the seven "bitches" (these are hills, mom) I was actually only at the top of Richter pass. I started passing people slowly throughout the course, and blocked out the bad mental moments with a few key phrases. I ended up gaining ground and passing a number of girls and was excited to face the unknown: the 26.2 mile run.

The run was what I unfortunately but realistically expected it to be. I felt as good as one can feel during an ironman for the first hour and then, as Matt would later confirm, I began to crumble and explode. I paid for my lack of run training on the first hill (dedicated blog readers will remember the foot saga). I knew I had ridden conservatively and had been relatively smart with my calorie intake, so I tried to hold out as long as possible and finish without getting delirious and yelling at loved ones. After I was passed by a girl with less than 3 minutes to go, I saw Paulo throw down an exasperated pirouette in the air, and this gave me the energy to make it to the finish line with a new PR, but not a time or place about which I was particularly proud or happy.

I definitely see this race as a building block for next year. I've learned much about the mental side of racing this year and will take all of what I learned and apply it to an INJURY FREE 2010. I have a couple more races this year and then plan to settle down and GTWD this winter, after a couple weeks of non-triathlon activities...KEEPING FINGERS CROSSED FOR AN EARLY SNOW SEASON.

Race video and lots of photos to follow when I get home tonight. This is Lauren speak for next month.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

USAT Elite Nationals - 9th

On August 22 I raced USAT Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home to the Univ of Alabama and city where you can get a turkey panini packed with green apple slices, gouda and cranberry mustard with side salad and bowl of fruit (upon presenting your USAT membership) for $3.81. SICK.

I earned ITU points for my 9th place finish seeing that nationals also served as an ITU Continental Cup. Why do I care about accruing precious points? Your points determine your ranking in the ITU points list--the more points you have, the higher your ranking. USAT, the governing body for USA triathlon, is inclined to send athletes with good results (thus, more points) to bigger races, like a World Cup. By consistently racing, placing well & s/b/r-ing faster, I have the potential to attend said races. If you get mediocre results (like ninth) and do 2 ITU races/yr (like me in 2009) you'll painstakingly move up, but it's better to race MORE and place HIGHER so progression doesn't take a LIFETIME. That's the goal here.

Background: Coach Paulo resides in neighboring TN and trekked to nationals to watch me and his other athletes race. I suspect the Chipotle presence in Tusca made the trip a SLAM DUNK.

The women athletes were introduced individually and jogged past the crowd to select a spot on the pontoon for the dive start. After brief deliberation, I placed myself between Hayley Peirsol and Margie Shapiro. I figured I'd get clean water on the Hayley side as she is her own front pack. Maybe 200 meters in I noticed packs forming on the ends of the field. Who can remember precisely what happend 2.5 wks ago, but I found myself on Jenna Shoemaker's feet who wore a conspicuous, red race suit, and thought to myself I HOPE PAULO IS WATCHING THIS (3 consecutive wks of 28k meters/wk in the pool is good for something). I came out of the water on her feet (first out was Hayley, a pack of 3, then me and Jenna) and she BLAZED through transition--I have never experienced such an intense transition before--like LIFE OR DEATH to hang with her. On that day: DEATH.

BIKE (6 loops): It was a sad affair as I was alone and did not hang with the 3 women who passed me in the early laps (being dropped/passed by all on the HILL). watts/kg. blast it. Paulo knew what was going on in my head (as he has received colorful post-race texts from me) and reminded me to FOCUS & STAY IN THE RACE. Me: yea, he has a point, stay with it. At the half-way mark, it was clear I was no catching the front pack (who had likely settled down the pace now that they were a bigger group of 8ish--boo), I slowed down, per Paulo's suggestion, to complete the ride with the pack behind me. Instead of dropping off completely in my slow-down-and-join effort, I made sure I got up that G-D hill on lap 4 and we merged around the top of the hill. Our group of 6 'pacelined' like a carousel the remaining 2.5 laps and we found our way...

OUT ON THE RUN. The motor home in background indicates I am in fact in BAMA:

The run included 4 loops, passing a total of 8 aid stations stocked with COLD gatorade and water BOTTLES--great race support. I ran most of loop 1 with Amanda Hahn (effort level quite high) but I fell off our pace and slogged through the rest solo. The best I could have placed was 8th since the front pack started the run WAY in front of us (and I have not yet approached a 30 min 10k time). Paulo kept me honest with encouragement throughout and I crossed the line in 9th--it was a different to race with him on the sidelines. Reality is he won't be at every race, so I must keep myself in check from start to finish.

I have lots to take away, namely s/b/r faster, but ALSO, I over-indulged Saturday night with EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF FOOD--too much for MY stomach to handle. The following week I felt nauseaus after EVERY meal eaten. To my dismay, I found little compassion as everyone just told me to not eat so much all the time.

My dad sent me this lovely basket of flowers the following Tuesday as congrats/bday tidings since I turned a landmark 25 on race-day, celebrating by paying adult prices on my rental vehicle.