Sunday, September 13, 2015

Race Strategy 101: We Do this For Fun

I've said it before and I'll say it again: With age comes wisdom and if you've successfully graduated,
then letting go of all the silly trivial, time-sucking, energy draining, crap in your life will earn you a very essential part of that wisdom degree.  Sure, you might have grey hair and struggle to read the menu's small print, but when you've  let insignificant clutter and noise life often throws at you behind, you've made it and it's that's all that matters!

Here's some "outtakes" and additional images from Ironman Mt Tremblant where the main goal was to finish the race but not without punctuating the final journey with as much fun as one could muster up . This is much easier to accomplish if you bring the right specimen with you.

Did you know you can't bring blueberries into Canada from the US? We didn't either.

If you're pretty certain one particular part of your race might be a wee bit challenging, don't fight it and by all mean, SIWS (say it with socks) if at all possible.

Enjoy the festivities even if there are no other athletes in sight wearing the required race wristband.
 (They're probably all tucked in their beds dreaming of sugar plums a Kona slot).  Drink, eat late, heck... you paid A LOT of money for the privilege, so make the most of it with imbibing and fireworks displays.

While preparing your trusty steed for race time, try not to laugh so hard you aspirate your own saliva.You'll need to save all that lung capacity for race day.

STICKY, I'm saying sticky at the end. 

And remember, EVERY day is a happy day with a glass of red wine.
Post race dinner with candlelight courtesy of my personal assistant/ sherpa/big sister

Thanks for stoppin' by!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Another Ironman Mt. Tremblant Race Report

WARNING! This write-up contains no drama or body fluids

First, let's hit rewind for a bit of comparison.

It's Sunday The year 2004, July 25th in Lake Placid NY. I'm doing my first Ironman. I'm not really excited, I'm petrified. I'm also a bit injured and perhaps even over trained.
Swim :1:06  Bike: 6:20   Run: 4:30

Fast forward eleven years later. I toe the IM line again. The course is different, I have vertical lip lines that I need Botox-ed. AARP won't leave me alone and the skin on my knees is sagging along other parts of my body.
Swim: 1:03  Bike 6:08 Run: 4:41

Let me remind you  I signed up in late April for this event with Carmen Monks who, unfortunately, didn't make it to the race with me. (sad face)

I had no expectations going in, due to the short build up. This alone made this journey that much more fun. Self-coached, no pressure, get in what I could and stay INJURY FREE. Simple and very attainable goals.

 A massive thank you to my sister Paula Davies who made this race possible for me in too many ways to mention. She is my rock and I was so proud to have her there to support me on race day. She had never experienced Ironman before and we had 5 solid days of laughing and shopping, eating and drinking (just a little) at one of the cutest little places on the planet.

I slept great the night before my race. I enjoyed every second of my swim. Thank you, Sue Phetteplace-Sotir for the feet and navigating our last wave through the masses of bodies out there.
I held back on the first loop of the bike so I wouldn't uncoil on the second. My nutrition plan, solid. At the 2 hour mark, I begin tightening up my intake to 15-minute intervals of either drinking or eating. I used a super concentrated mix of Ucan starch base fuel that contains bit of protein as my main source of fuel.

I only had 2 mishaps: My goggle strap broke right before I tried to get in the water for a few strokes before my wave went off. (my mini-meltdown was quickly resolved with a knot)
My wireless sensor wasn't picking up my wheel suddenly at mile 3, so I took the chance of slicing my finger off with a spoke and coasted a bit to move it ever so gently.  It subsequently went into the spoke (brappity brap) and I almost lost sed spoke. (shutter).  Pulled over, tore it off, handed it to a volunteer. Catastrophe avoided.

Then there came that run... oh yes, THAT run. Someone/something decided it would be better for us if it turned tropical like 7 hours north of Boston at a ski resort. You know, spice things up a bit, relish the handwringing of the athletes in calf compression. Witness the terror in their eyes the day before as they shop for IM trinkets and chat about the impending doom we were to face. This is when you exit stage right and shut down the energy zapping noise with Happy Hour by the pool.(with age comes wisdom punctuated with cocktails)

So we ran and we walked and we sucked it up. Some better than others.
Frankly when I saw my sister's face before beginning the second loop, I wanted to crawl over the fencing and just be done with it. Happy Hour was in full swing and we were missing it goddamnit. I was tired of the little voice saying,"Lainey... you have NO BUSINESS being out on this marathon run course. You know those 3 days of running a week and that one 15 miler you punched out? No good girly girl."  And as cute as it sounds, smiles and waves don't get you through the hot mess of a long sweltering marathon, just sayin'.

That being said, I wouldn't change a thing. The suffering was good for me. When I crossed that finish line, all I could mutter was "That was the hardest f-ing thing I have ever done." Here I am 36 hours later reneging my premature announcement that I'm NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.

I wonder if I can get room 307 again and my sister back down to the midnight finish line party minus the broken goggles and a marathon that almost broke me.

Thanks also goes to The Monsters In the Basement cycling group out of West Concord. They were an integral part in whipping  my sorry self into the best cycling shape I have ever been in. Also, Lauren Scafidi for her friendship and epic rides. Carmen and Karen Monks for the encouragement, Katie O'dair my second sister always giving it to me straight and Jen Marinofsky for looking at my training, giving me feedback, and also training with me. I can't leave out Caroline Kavanaugh for helping me with diet changes to become more metabolically efficient with food and training.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ironman Mt. Tremblant Countdown

It's closing in. I knew it would, just not so fast.
I have one more heavy training week, and then it's
TaPeR TiMe

I'm feeling tired, but not so beat down that I've
dug myself a hole that I can't get out of. I'm injury free and that in itself
is a miracle. My theory of skipping the 9-month training plan for an ironman 
seems to be working for me thus far. I'm in this to finish and avoiding a 26.2 death march on the run would be a nice little bonus.

I've gotten in 4 really big rides with the most recent, 4 of  the Vermont Six Gap Ride.
 You can go look it up if you're really curious 6 Gap Ride  but long story short (and freakin' steep) Lincoln Gap 
has sustained grades of 20% to 24%. To add to the excitement, there was a significant amount of
construction we had to contend with like doing a little hike-a-bike to even get to one of the climbs.
 Another included a 10-mile stretch of gravel not quite ready for pavement on 12A before
getting to our last and 4th climb, Rochester. I was never so happy to see pavement in all my life after that.
We left off Brandon and Middlebury Gaps (2 of the easiest) due to all the construction.

Anyone who rides with me, knows I'm a sucky climber. With that, I have done ZERO flat
rides preparing for Mt Tremblant. I don't ride a ton, but every ride is a quality ride.
Sure, I could throw in one or two super ez rides/recovery spins during the week, but
time is money.  I'd rather use the time to recover properly so I can hit it
hard the next time I head out. My perspective is a bit different with the running but I've been very
careful to keep the frequency, duration and build up in check as to not get injured.

All in all, I'm doing the best I can  toward preparing for Ironman within a 4 month window.
It's not an excuse I will use to fall back on if I have a shitty day out there, but more that my focus is on toeing the line void of the self induced pressure I would always put on myself,imperative I accomplish very specific goals that come with no guarantee for success no matter how much time, money,or energy is put forth. With age, comes wisdom and the ability to just let things go. I laugh at some of the silly things I used to obsess over and dwell on for days that I had no control over. Ugh. What a waste of time and energy I can never get back.
The plan: Lots of smiles and thumbs up and no whining. Anyone reading this
 planning to be there, you have complete discretion to call BS on me for not following my
own mantra for the day. 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Hate Running....

A very inconvenient dilemma eight weeks out from an Ironman wouldn't you think? More on that

May, my buildup month is behind me and June is quickly slipping away. MAKE. IT. STOP. I knew the time was going to fly by but geez.... It feels as if it's warp speed.

I'm trying to do everything I  can to enhance my Cliff Notes version of Ironman training and I'm nailing it.( except for that pesky run)

Sleep is number one on the list. I don't compromise on this. Sometimes I'm getting into bed 
and it's not completely dark yet and if I can sneak in a nap for 30/45 on the weekend days I
do it. 

Refueling in the 30-minute window after training. I make a huge effort to do this. Protein and carbs
in liquid form to get it in my system as quickly as possible.

Diet change. This one has been a  MASSIVE change for me and it's taken work.  I've cut out 30-40% of CHO in my diet. All the simple ones I try to avoid altogether.  The bagels, cookies, candy, pasta, chips, crackers- all but gone from my diet. I don't compromise on protein or fats in which both  help sustain and keep my blood sugar stable. It's not dieting. It's not calorie counting. It's teaching your body to burn FAT efficiently and maintaining a stable blood sugar all day. The very first thing I noticed was not feeling like I wanted to fall asleep at 3 pm in the afternoon at work and/or go looking for a sugar high to revive me. I'm working with Caroline Kavanagh (click on her name for a link to her site) She is teaching me to become metabolically efficient. What does that mean? In a nutshell, it teaches you to burn fat efficiently while training and racing instead of zipping through carbohydrate prematurely. 75% is DIET and only 25% training. Crazy right??? It's all about pairing foods CHO/PRO/FATS ratios. NOT starving yourself or feeling deprived.
The Lab

Testing to see when I go from fat burning over to CHO burning.
Caroline #1
I'm loving this for 3 reasons: Caroline knows her stuff. She is very knowledgeable in this particular field. She makes the transition painless by explaining everything thoroughly and gives great advice and tips to make
it as simple as possible. Trust me, it can seem overwhelming at first. Lots of numbers and ratios to think about.  She's an ACE at this and I'm very grateful I found her. Yay! I can't go without mentioning that she's in my age group and CRUSHES me if we both show up at a race. :-O

So about that running thing.... I used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE running. NotSoMuch right now.
Lots of things come to into play, but my main goal, whatever the issues may be is to get to Mt. Tremblant fresh, injury free albeit undertrained. If that means I have to limit my running because I can't cram in all the training, so be it.  I'm just hoping that heading out for a run sooner than later, moves from feet dragging to "Gosh!! I kinda like this!"

Tick ..Tick... Tick...
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Goodbye May!

Days that have passed since I signed up for Mt Tremblant
Weeks I have before I toe the line

 is sorting itself out quite nicely. The general goal: a steady build up of riding and running, but if I didn't feel like training some days, I didn't. There will be plenty of time for structure as June and July roll in and those months will be the
 The goal was to feel very comfortable with a 90-minute run and 3:30 in the saddle by the 30th of May.  Done and done.
I've been riding with a great group out of West Concord MA
most weekends and it keeps me on my toes. So much, the desire to ride alone is far from enticing. I work just as hard if not harder when riding with them. The dynamics are always changing for any given ride, but I'm honing my skills at pace lining, that is certain. So much, that I feel very comfortable either pulling in the front, nestled in the middle or being the last rider responsible for calling out approaching cars. I'm super aware of everything around me and I want us all to be safe.  I have favorite people I trust and ride inches from their wheel and  I hope other cyclists in the group feel the same behind me.  Yesterday on a Pack Monadock Century, I got my answer. " Hadar" a regular in our group, told me at the end  of  our trek, I'm smooth and steady and he feels totally comfortable right on my wheel. How nice is that?  Hugs buddy! Granted this isn't going to help me for an ironman, but It forces me to get out of my comfort zone.

As June approaches, things will start to ramp up. My ultimate goal is to get to that starting line fresh and ready to go albeit undertrained if that's how the chips fall. We can all agree it's going to be painful whether you've been training for 9 months or doing the Cliff Notes version. The best part is it takes all the pressure off. No injuries and daisy fresh-That is the present goal.

Another fun item in store for me next month is a  metabolic efficiency test at Inside Out Human Performance with owner Caroline Kavanagh.  How do I know Caroline?  Well for one, she's in my age group and consistently crushes me at any given local triathlon we both happen to be at.  She is quite the athlete and I'm super excited to work with her in getting my body to burn fat efficiently  instead of those limited stores of carbohydrates we tend to use up way too prematurely during training and racing. Admittedly, I feel a bit doughy as well and I'm looking forward to getting my diet to work better for me especially for the upcoming months.

My partner in crime for this little adventure (a 25 time Ironman finisher 12 rounds in Kona) wasn't 100% in but confirmed today he's IN-IN.
"Just following up w you on this…Looks like my body may cooperate enough to race w Elaine at IMMT"

No sense suffering on my own for the abridged training program (alcohol included and strongly encouraged)
Let's get this party started.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

It's A Woman's Perogative

I decided to do something a bit impulsive and thought it might make for some decent entertainment (think train wreck) so I'm resurrecting 
this cobweb infested blog in case anyone wants to see the outcome of this experiment. If by chance it goes better than planned, I'm leaving my day job, writing a how-to book and going on a book signing tour( exotic locations only)
As of April 15th, I was happy to repeat my entire race season of 2014. I did just
enough racing last season that felt balanced and most importantly fun. I set simplistic goals
and got my sorry a$$  back into shape without
getting injured and with the fun factor being utmost important. I found some self-control and didn't spiral into a mac & cheese/brownie relapse this winter. So with that, I'm ahead of the game in terms of not having to dig myself out of the winter sedentary black hole.

All was going well up until a week ago and suddenly I decided pushing the reset button and repeating the entire season as I did last year seemed less desirable.
Without an ounce of alcohol to blame on my impulsiveness, suddenly I was mumbling, "Where do I send my check?"
 And so, the drama begins...

I'm never getting this tat

I'm officially signed up for an Ironman Mt Tremblant August 16th. But here's the best part: I JUST
signed up for it today.
Here are some fun facts to back up why this decision most undoubtedly questions
my sanity.

*I have approximately 100 days (give or take) to prepare.
*My last ironman distance race was Lake Placid 2004
* I consider myself an injury waiting to happen. I'm convinced my frame is assembled with snappy
little toothpicks and dried up rubber bands for tendons.
My last 70.3 race was in 2009 and that one was a cluster f of a day I was happy to forget.
I actually had to go look up on Athlinks to confirm this. Yup, 2009- last 1/2 ironman.  Wow...
 and to think I used to love the 70.3 distance. It was by far my favorite.
Lake Placid 2004 (Notice the spectators riveted to my finish  shuffle)

I can't even quite put my finger on what triggered the idea, but all it took
was a teammate to say  "Let's do it."
The Team Mate

This is EXACTLY what got me in trouble in grade school.My report card often read:"Elaine needs
to pay attention to the work in front of her instead of what her classmates are doing around her. She is impulsive at times and often exhibits poor judgment skills." My mom will attest to my 
academically inspired social skills. Seriously... I don't make this shit up. Grade school party girl front and center.

I'll be updating the adventure here often. Not so much specific workouts, b.o.r.i.n.g...but more like
how many times a day I manage to say, "I'm not doing this" How I can consume an entire sleeve of Fig Newtons at 3 am from the sudden increase in my *activity*, and my success at not falling asleep with sharp instruments in people's mouths during the day from the fatigue.

Let's get this party started!!

Thanks for stopping by