Saturday, August 30, 2014

MACC One Love Ride - Metric Century

Today was my last super-long bike ride! My intention with this ride was to do one more race simulation, this time to test out my new nutrition plan - Generation UCAN!

Today I ate half a bagel with peanut butter at 5:45, on my way over to my Ironman Friend's house. Last week I had trouble with my belly feeling "empty" and now that I know I will have a few hours between getting up and my wave start, I think I will need to eat breakfast at the hotel before I head over. So my friend and I rode down to the ride together. She was supposed to be doing the 100 miler (century) but with her injury taking her out of her full Ironman and really basically out of training much at all, she chose to do the 30 mile route and then to wait on me to finish. That was SO sweet of her to do that!

We arrived at the venue and it was really jumping! Lots of participants and the volunteers were some of the most helpful I've seen. I registered this morning on site, something I rarely do. But it was a last minute confirmation that I would be able to do the ride, and the registration + active fees would be just about the same as registration on site. I'd rather give that money to the charity rather than to active. They didn't have any small shirts, but I got a medium and I'll wear it today and give it to my hubby to wear after this! :)

I mixed and drank a packet of Vanilla UCAN with protein 30-45 minutes before the ride. I think I like the vanilla better than the chocolate. I suspect that is because I refuel with whole chocolate milk, so anything else tastes watery and my body doesn't like it! 

The ride started and I took off to do my thing. I wanted to come as close to pacing in Augusta as I could without this being the same course. I did a pretty good job, maybe a little faster. I mistakenly tried to power up a hill and my left hamstring started to give me grief. I wasn't sure what was going on since it didn't feel like pain, more like twinging or a pinched nerve or something. It was weird. I was afraid that I would need to drop down to a shorter route. But it never hurt, just twinged, so I kept going. When I stopped at mile 31 for the rest stop/refueling and got back on the bike, everything was fine and continued to be the rest of the ride!

I had had one bottle full of Nuun and another full of water when I started the ride. I finished the entire bottle of the Nuun, but only about 1/4 of the water bottle. I put a packet of Orange UCAN and 10ish oz. of water in the bottle that had had the Nuun, and topped off the water. This turned out to be just enough fluids for this mostly sunny day. I'm really glad it was a sunny and humid day for me to practice with. I was able to drink the UCAN on the bike just like any other drink. But then I was left with an empty water bottle the rest of the ride. I'm wondering about stopping at another rest stop during the race (if there is one??) or if I should practice chugging my UCAN while I'm stopped and refilling my bottle with water/Nuun? Something to think about and practice...

After my rest stop, I noticed there were a lot of people with flat tires. I know there were at least a dozen in a very short distance. One of the last ladies who was changing her tire said something about tacks on the road. I assumed that was some sort of code phrase, but my Ironman friend told me that people do put tacks on the roads before/during bike rides (as well as turning signs like they did at the Covington Century). Not sure what sort of person would do that. They could have really hurt someone.

I felt like there were maybe 4-5 significant hills and then a bunch of hills that looked awful but didn't feel too bad to me. I was surprised when Garmin prompted me that I had set a new elevation gain record of 2519 feet! It was hot, humid, and windy - but the hills didn't seem that bad. Either I'm getting better at them, or my brain was playing some good tricks on me! LOL

I have decided that tomorrow is a rest day. I haven't had one yet in this build cycle (14 days so far) and I'm very, very tired. We usually swim at the lake on Sunday but with this being Labor Day Weekend, my training buddies assure me that the last place we want to be is at the lake trying to swim. I was thinking of hitting the pool instead, but I'm just really, really tired. I think my body will be better served by getting some rest before this last week of PEAK training!

4 weeks to go! And on Monday, I can start saying that I have a Half Ironman "this month!" WOOHOO





Friday, August 29, 2014

Swim Waves are UP!

While I was out on my run this morning, my "partner in crime" (aka tri camp roomie, Lisa) messaged me to tell me that the swim waves for Augusta 70.3 are up!

I am wave 16 at 8:32 AM wearing a red cap.

This is good news for my mom and dad who are coming to watch me race. They can sleep in! LOL I will have about an hour and a half to kill between transition closing and my wave starting. But I'm an experienced Disney racer, so this is nothing I'm not used to. And it's not "Disney Early"!

So here is my estimated timing for the race:

8:32 AM - start swim
9:05 AM - out of the water
9:15 AM - on the bike
1:15 PM - back from bike
1:30 PM - on the run
4:00 PM - finish line!

7.5 hours is my sort of mental goal. Faster or slower matters not to me as long as I finish under 8 1/2 hours, but this is an estimate for my parents (and anyone else who wants to keep track of me on race day!). The course closes at 5:50 PM so that gives me a lot of wiggle room in case of mechanical issues on the bike or a general bonking! ;)

Starting on the run at 1:30 in the afternoon means it's going to be a hot and steamy run for me. I guess all this running in the afternoons is going to be helpful in getting me acclimated to running in the heat of the day.

It's getting real now... the race is 4 weeks from Sunday! Now we just need bib numbers and the Athlete Guide to be posted on the website! Can't wait!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Long run... Wednesday???

Today I did my long run. Yeah, on a Wednesday. Weird, huh??

A few weeks ago - or maybe it was last week, my days are running into each other - there was a discussion on the Augusta 70.3 FB group about doing the long run before or after the long ride. I've always done my long run the day before my long ride, so that makes it on Friday. I did it before the ride for 2 reasons. The first one is that it's too hard for me to get in a really long ride on Sundays. My friends I've been training with do their rides on Saturday. The second reason is that it's too hard for me to get in a long run on a Sunday. LOL Additionally, I read in The Triathlete's Training Bible that folks who are prone to running injuries should do the long run before the long ride.

Then someone on the message board posted that the best bang for your buck is to separate them out - do one midweek and the other on the weekend. Most folks cannot do this. But I can! I have a number of hours to kill on Wednesdays while my daughter is in dance rehearsal. So far I've done a brick during this day, or a run and a swim. But I could do my long run. And maybe that would improve my long ride performance?? Well, it can't hurt to try.

The only complicating factor is that the least non-boring place to do a long run near the dance studio is Stone Mountain. Hills. Yuck. And it's not the flat terrain I need to train for on race day. But it's really just for a few more weeks, and if doing this helps me with my remaining long rides, then I'll deal with the hills.

I have to admit I was pretty scared. At the last minute, I scrambled to try to find an alternate location but couldn't get the directions to pull up and I didn't want to waste my time. So I went to the Mountain. And it was HOT. 88 degrees. 45 percent humidity, which was nice, but really - almost 90 is hot no matter how humid it is or isn't.

I had to do 3 laps, plus a little more. The first lap was HORRIBLE. Why are all of my runs so awful until the 4th or 5th mile? It's ridiculous! After that lap, the remaining two were actually quite pleasant. I was taking it easy and even walked a little more than my 4/1 intervals. There are a couple of hills in particular that are strenuous, and I didn't want to push it. So I just walked up them! No biggie! When it's cooler and I don't have a huge race coming up in a month (from tomorrow! GASP!!!) then I will tackle those hills!

What cracks me up the most about running at Stone Mountain is that no matter which direction I run around the mountain, or how many miles I am running, I always end up having to finish by going UP a hill like this:

This isn't even one of the bad hills!! Sheesh!!
 I started off this run really apprehensive because I've never run more than 10-11 miles at Stone Mountain and that was almost 2 years ago and we ran lots of the trails instead of just 3 times around the rock. I really wasn't sure I could do it! By the last lap, I was feeling so excited and proud of myself! When I looked at Garmin, I was even prouder! I actually finished this 15 miler TWO minutes FASTER than my 15 miler at my completely flat park!! WOOHOO!


Yes. I took a picture of the Garmin. Because I'm silly like that! Go me!!
I finished just in time to stretch a bit and leave to pick up my daughter. Good thing she was sweaty after dance so neither of us had to gross out the other! I came home and did a cold water soak for my legs. It felt SO good! Also did plenty of stretching and rolling to encourage my legs to recover. Tomorrow I do have a bike ride, but it's 'only' 25 miles... not 50+ like usual after my long runs. I'm so excited to see how my long ride goes on Saturday! I think I'm doing a local ride as another race simulation. I need to experiment a little more with the Generation UCAN before race day!

Race day... a month from tomorrow. In case you missed it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The last big push...

Last week was taper week and my daughter's first week at her new dance studio. She is taking 10.5 hours of dance classes per week over 5 days, plus rehearsals. This new studio is about 15 miles away from our house which can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes to get to, depending on time of day and day of the week.

This week began the last "Build" period before my Half Ironman. It also marked the beginning of my younger daughter's dance and drama classes at our old studio. She is taking 3.5 hours of classes per week over 3 days. This studio is 5 miles away from our house and usually takes 10 minutes to get to.

These studios are in opposite directions. ;)

Next week, my older daughter also starts her outside classes one day per week (Human Anatomy & Physiology, and Speech/Debate). These classes are located approximately 11 miles from our house, in a completely different direction.

This schedule has required changing up my entire routine, and that includes my workouts. I've been working out in the afternoon/evenings while my older daughter dances. It's hot and miserable and requires me to deal with pop-up thunderstorms and different locations and fueling challenges, but so far, so good.

I also received some terrible news this week. My Ironman friend - who has been so inspiring and so helpful to me in my training - is going to have to miss her race (IMChoo) that is the same day as my 70.3. She has suffered an injury that requires her to put her training on hold. I would not be where I am today with my training if it hadn't been for her encouragement and support! Therefore I'm dedicating the rest of my training and my race day to her!

This week I experimented with nutrition, using the samples of Generation UCAN that I got from Tri Camp. The results have been incredible! I'm hoping that I can get more of it to try out in the next 2 weeks so I can decide if I want to try to use it on race day instead of what I've been training with all year! Yikes! And I've known about UCAN since 2012 at least, when my Disney running friends at ROTE started using it. I didn't try it because they said the texture was awful, and I have texture/food issues. But since I had a sample, and since I've been hearing so many incredible things about it, I decided to try. The texture is chalky but not nearly as bad as I had expected. And the results make it worth it! I'll keep you posted on my further tests with it!

Only 2 more big training weekends and then it's time for the taper! I'm SO excited. Race day is 5 weeks from tomorrow!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tri Camp - Sunday Report

To say I was tired on Saturday night would be an understatement! I came back to the hotel and packed everything up because the late checkout of 1:00 wouldn't be late enough for my pacing (though when we came back to the hotel around 2:45, there were still folks checking out. Apparently some folks were told they could have until 2:00 or later). Loaded up the car and headed over to the start of the Ride for a Reason ride put on by Tri Augusta!

Parking and packet pick up were a breeze! This was an inaugural event, but since it's put on by tri peeps, they knew what they were doing. We lined up according to pace (with me in the way back! LOL) and it was time to roll.

I had planned this ride to be a Race Simulation, meaning I was carrying everything I needed on me and I would only stop for water one time. The ride was going to be a little over the 56 mile course due to the start and stop point being on the other side of Downtown Augusta, but I planned to measure my time and ride my game plan pacing and see how I did.

I had no idea how challenging this would be. I have ridden 50+ miles quite a few times and rode this course once before. But always we stopped several times. I didn't realize how big of a difference that makes. Last time I rode the course, we did a total of 40 minutes of stopping - I had to look that up. It's big. And each time I've done a long ride, we take lots of stopping breaks. Not a big deal, but it's not race simulation - at least not for me. I'm not fast enough on the bike to allow for rest breaks.

But the great news is that my racing plan worked just beautifully! My nutrition and hydration worked well and the one stop to refill water is just enough. I have to admit to being a little panicked during the last 1/3 of the course that I was way off my expected pace, but I wasn't. I pulled into the finish and checked Garmin and found out that I'd averaged 14.2 mph and that includes the water stop and any time I had to stop for traffic (since I turned off the auto pause for the day). I was well under the cut-off time, and just above my own minimum expected pace.

Post -ride! Sporting my Covington Century jersey!


Which leads me to one of the best things about this weekend - an adjustment of my expectations!

Before last month, I was very nervous about my first Half Ironman.

Then last month, I went to train on the course  - swam the river once, ran/walked one loop of the run course, and gently previewed the bike course. I felt so confident! In fact, I felt sort of cocky.

This past weekend, during Tri Camp, I was served a dose of reality. It's going to be hot. And humid. And hard. I'm going to be out there for a long, long time and I'm going to get worn out. I'm going to wonder why I did this and I'm going to feel defeated. WHAT A BLESSING that I experienced all of this during Tri Camp and not on Race Day!!!!!! Can you imagine if I'd felt exhausted and slow on the bike course during the race after having felt strong and fast during that preview ride (when we took 40 minutes of stops)? Can you imagine if I had to swim the river with all the debris in it when I swam a beautiful, fast, pristine river in July? Can you imagine two loops of the run course feeling achy and sore and slow when I felt strong and fast in July? I would be dealing with a battle of the mind - and we all know I struggle so badly with that!!

Thanks to Tri Camp weekend, I now have a balance between knowing the course and knowing that I can complete the race and realizing that it's honestly going to be hard work. It's a Half Ironman, after all. Notice the lack of mention of butterflies and rainbows in the title. It's not supposed to be EASY. When I finish this - be it a perfect race where everything falls into place or where I've had to fall back onto a contingency plan - I will have done something amazing at the end of the day!

So there you have it - all the details you ever wanted to know about Tri Camp! If you missed either of the other days, click on these links: Friday's report or Saturday's report. I am so glad I attended this camp and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to complete or compete in Augusta's Half Ironman triathlon!


See you next month, Augusta!! Only 46 days until race day! And I'm more excited than ever!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tri Camp - Saturday Report

So when I last left you, I was zonked out by 9:30 PM in the hotel room on Friday night after a river swim and a harrowing escape from a tornado! :)

The alarm went off around 6 on Saturday morning so we could get ready for a very busy day! The first stop was Peak Performance for a 2.5 hour series of lectures on physiology, injury prevention, and Augusta 70.3 course strategies!

We packed the house!

Wonderful way to start the day!
I was surprised that I did know pretty much everything they talked about, however I picked up 2 pieces of information that will help me SO much in my training!

The first one is the runner's stretch (AKA the calf stretch). I've been doing it WRONG for more than 5 years now! Goodness sakes! Also, the PT that was speaking encouraged us to stretch in all 3 dimensions, not just front and back. That's going to revolutionize my stretching routine (and reinforces why yoga is so good for triathletes!).

The second one is something the other PT said (and I tried to type out the entire quote but didn't get it all down) about understanding your physiological response to each individual sport. I think that's part of why I still struggle so much with cycling. I don't know what I FEEL like well enough when I'm cycling. When I run and when I swim, I know exactly how long I can keep on going with how I'm currently feeling. I know that I start off slowly and feel miserable, but as I keep going I feel better and stronger. I know my body so well with running that I can pretty much tell you the exact mileage where it all falls into place. But I don't know myself that well with cycling yet. I guess it will simply take time to get to that point.

After the seminars were over, we drove back over to the transition area and carpooled up to the swim start again. This time there were well over 100 of us in the water, and the river was full of debris from the previous night's storm! But they were very prepared for us! There were at least 10 kayakers and a dive team in place to keep us safe!

I'm not sure I'm actually in this picture, but I was out there!

Hmm, now I'm wondering if this particular picture is from Friday night? Regardless, it's awesome so enjoy it!
I was glad to get to practice with such a large group of folks swimming out. It was nearly like the number of people we'll have in our start wave. I jumped in from the dock again, knowing full well how much debris was in the water (because we could see it all piled up next to a pontoon boat that was tied up at the dock). As I was swimming, I kept getting covered in leaves and weeds and sticks. I was afraid I'd come out of the water looking like Swamp Thing! My time was a couple of minutes faster than Friday night, but still not as fast as last month. It doesn't matter, because I felt great in the water. As much as I could, I was making this a race simulation so my goal was to sight well and keep my heart rate down.

Came out of the water and got ready for the run. We were all taking off together so it wasn't a true brick, but that was OK. I was planning to do a race simulation on the run so I had my hydration belt all ready to go. I took 2 bottles of Nuun, a spare Nuun tablet to refill with, 2 packages of Honey Stinger Chews, and a tube of chapstick. The course had water and I planned to refill as necessary. I also set out for the 4/1 intervals I have been practicing (pretty sure I'm giving up on the 10/1 intervals). I did not pause my Garmin during stop lights or the water stops because I won't be able to pause the clock on race day!


There I am messing with my Garmin!
And, we're off! I was towards the front for about 90 seconds! :D
 I started off slowly, and quickly noticed how humid it was at 11:30. I'm not yet sure what time I'll be on the run course, but that is pretty close. The skies were overcast, but I can tell it's going to be a hot run especially if the sun is out on race day. I need to start preparing for that by running in the afternoons/evenings. The hydration and nutrition plan worked fine. The only surprise I got was when I was refilling the bottles with water, I would drop a half a Nuun tablet in there and put on the lid. Well, my iFitness bottles have some sort of special top that is no-spill. Apparently the carbonation coming out with the tablet dissolving combined with the bouncing around of me running would set off a miniature explosion up my back every now and then! It startled me the first few times it did it! I learned that if I take a small sip, it will release some of the pressure, and then once it's fully dissolved, it never happens again.

I had done the course last month, but this time I was going to do both loops so I could mentally prepare myself. Yeah, it's boring and it's going to be sort of hard and hot. But I understand the course is lined with folks on race day and my parents will be there to cheer me on, so I think the adrenaline will power me along.

During the 2nd lap, I noticed that a lot of folk had dropped out and gone back to transition. Thankfully, a local friend (who I'd only really known on Facebook by seeing her name around LOL) was right behind me. At the water stop, we realized we were pretty much the last ones out on the course, so we decided to stick together. It made the end of the run go by much more quickly to have some company - so thanks, Amy! :)

We got back to the transition area and I convinced Amy to get in the water with me to cool down our legs (and the rest of our bodies) in the makeshift ice bath! Oh, that felt SO good! I need to do that at home more, I suppose.

Headed back to the hotel to meet up with my roomie and get cleaned up for the club social and dinner. My appetite had not yet kicked in despite it being nearly 3 PM. It was a little unnerving so I took some Gatorade with me to sip on. I was afraid I was dehydrated. I ate a little of the food at the social, and then we went to a fun local restaurant in Augusta where I had chicken tenders and fries that didn't even taste good to me. Not sure if it was the restaurant, or if the workout had sucked it all out of me. I'm not one for thinking that my food was "too bland"! LOL

Back to the hotel early, and thankful we missed out on the round of thunderstorms that threatened to cut our workouts short. But the forecast for Sunday's ride was NOT looking good. I just kept my fingers crossed and prepared to ride in iffy conditions on Sunday.

That story will have to wait for later tonight or tomorrow! :)

Click here for Sunday's story!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tri Camp - Friday report

I'm going to try to start this post but I'm not sure how far I'll get... I am SO tired! In that sort of triathlon-training-induced way!

I drove to Augusta on Friday afternoon and checked into the hotel. Met up with my roomie and we headed over to the transition area for the optional Friday events - a river swim followed by a 15 to 30 mile bike ride, depending on your pace. I knew there were over 100 participants registered and I was surprised at the number of folks who could make it in on a Friday afternoon!

Most of these pictures were taken by other people, obviously! I'm so grateful they took them and posted them on Facebook! :)

Getting ready to get in the water. I'm in the green cap, pretty much in the middle of the picture!
In the water... green cap, white goggles, orange buoy - towards the back!
Can you believe I actually jumped into the river?? I'd heard we may have to do this on race day, so I decided to see if I could handle the shock to my system of the cold water. Truly, it felt great! LOL The swim took less than 30 minutes, but not about 4 minutes slower than last time. I think it's because we weren't as far towards the middle of the river where the current was strongest. Also, I had to deal with more people around me, so that slowed me up a little. Doesn't matter, though. Still way faster than in the pool!

Came out of the water and got ready to head out on the bike. The skies looked a little ominous, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that we would get our miles in. The plan was to go out as a group on an out-and-back route (the first part of the course) and then when we saw the lead folks come back, we were to turn around and follow.

As I rode, the skies grew darker and darker. And the wind really started to pick up. I was a little over 7.5 miles into the ride when a couple of ladies in front of me stopped and started to turn around. As they did so, they said, "Did you see the lightning?" I had not, so I was glad they let me know. I turned around immediately and headed back - the skies looking worse by the minute. Then the thunder started - and it sounded like it was right next to me. I've never pedaled so quickly! My Garmin says at that point I was averaging over 22 mph! LOL

As I pulled into the transition area and looked down the road I could see the rain coming. I rushed to get my bike on the rack, but the rain was faster than I was! I got soaked!!

Pretty, huh??

Got back to the hotel and my roomie and I took turns getting our bikes out of the monsoon! We showered up, and went to dinner at Farmhaus burgers with lots of the folks from camp and TriAugusta! It was jam-packed and our dinner took forever - but boy was it good! I was so tired, though, and we had a long day ahead of us on Saturday... so it was early to bed.

And that's where I have to end for tonight... so I can get to bed! I will post Saturday and Sunday's details tomorrow! So check back then! :)

Click here for the details on Saturday's camp activities!