I'm keeping this short because it's early and I've got to go. We're heading West, first to Joshua Tree and then to Lake San Antonio to Wildflower.
We'll get there Friday and will have plenty of time to watch the Saturday races and prepare for the big day. My goal is to finish and do it in good style. Good luck to Mike and thanks Gale, Michelle and Giselle.
As you are making your way along the course, be sure to take a few moments (more than one if possible) to just look around and realize what a cool experience it is that you're doing right then. Notice sights, smells, sounds, other people (encourage them) and most of all, celebrate your incredible fitness. Wildflower is such a treat, enjoy it.
Your training has you fit, so just go do the event and have some fun - you know - that silly kind of fun that athletes have, that "normal", non-athletes can't understand.
I pretty much wrapped up my training this past Wednesday before I left on my vacation to Costa Rica. Things were super hectic before I left on this trip, but I did manage to get all of my training done and test all my equipment before taking off. Here's a little recap of how the the end of my training wrapped up.
-- I recieved my wetsuit and decided to try it on an 1800m open ocean swim which which was by far the hardest swim I have ever done. The first half of the swim was **** and I was having some serious issues calming down and just swimming. The cold water, rolling waves, and the suit all combined made it a character building experience. By the end of the swim, I did feel comfortable and really happy that I decided to test it out before the tri.
-- After the above mentioned swim, I set out on a 30 mile ride with some huge hills at a race pace. I pushed it really hard and averaged 20.5 mph. This was great, but I really did not leave anything in my legs for the run I was going to do after it.
-- I attempted to do a 6 mile run right after the bike and got a 1/2 mile into it and completely fell to pieces. I ended up walking/running 2 miles total before giving up. This was a pretty devastating experience as I was almost postive that I would be fine for this portion and I did not even have the strength in me to walk the complete 6 mile course. I was starting to question how I would do at the wildflower...
-- 4 days after my defeat, I set out on a 20 mile bike ride and 5.5 mile run with a goal to make sure I ran the whole run. I averaged 18.5 mph on the bike and did the run in about 50 minutes. This made me feel much better and I was stoked on this result. Now I was back to feeling ready and able to complete the wildflower. I needed that!
-- I got some experts to help me figure out what mutritional supplements I would need at the tri. They loaded me up with hammer gels, salt stick tcapsules, electrolyte tablets, and bock breakers. I have used all of these things a few times and the bock breakers and salt stick capsules seemt to be what I value the most.
-- Had the local bike shop tune my bike and get it race ready. They tightened up my shifters, gave me new handlebar tape, adjusted my brakes, and detailed it. She's ready to rumble.
So my open water swim did not go as well as I had planned.
My wetsuit, which was delivered from wetsuitrentals.com, protected me nicely from the cold waters of Lake Patagonia. It's the swimming that caused me a few problems. When the cold water hit my head it sort of took my breath away and my chest felt super constricted as I tried in vain to swim. The wetsuit felt comfortable enough on dry land, but once I was in the water it felt like it was strangling me.
I managed OK as I swam with the small waves created by the breeze, but struggled when I turned around and swam against it. I was so surprised by my lack of swimming ability since I can fairly easily swim the necessary 1,500 yards in a pool. My goal this week is to practice with my wetsuit as many times as possible.
I'll have more to report in two days since I haven't actually completed my open water swim drills. Tomorrow my husband and I are heading out to Patagonia. Not that Patagonia, but the one south of Tucson. It's an absolutely beautiful area with rolling grasslands and mountains surrounding it.
We'll camp at Patagonia Lake State Park - at least that's the plan - so I can do a few open water swims with my wetsuit. I also plan on taking my bike because I've been told the hills around Patagonia are similar to Wildflower.
Gale or Giselle or anyone else out there leave any tips or comments on anything I should try while I'm out for my wetsuit open water and bicycling test drive.
I went on a nice rolly ride this morning with my best friend's brother-in-law. We headed out to my favorite spot in Tucson, on the far eastside at Saguaro National Park. We started north of there, but eventually made our way into the park and through its 8-mile loop, back out to the main road and finally back to our cars.
I mention this ride because my cycling buddy for the day has been in numerous triathlons and gave out a few tips for race day.
1. We've heard this before, but practice what you're going to eat before the race. If you decide on Gel or Gu, consider taping them (duct tape) on the top tube of the bike's frame. Tape them so the tabs are secure, that way you can rip them off as you ride and slurp 'em down. I have yet to try this. He said this also works for energy bars.
2. Hydration. It's good to hydrate, but he said drink water the first half or two-thirds of the bike portion. You want to eat and drink during this section and not too close to the run because you may run into digestion problems.
3. I thought this one was kind of neat. On race morning, at your transition area, put your socks on and then roll them off. Later, when you come in from the swim, you can roll the socks back on instead of struggling to put them on wet feet.
4. He keeps his transition area pretty simple. The bike has its own water bottles. Next to it he has four other water bottles. He will use one of them to quickly rinse the sand off his feet from the swim. A small towel is nearby, which he dried his feet off with and then rolls on the socks. He actually doesn't race with socks anymore, but warned this could be problematic for folks not accustomed to running and riding without socks.
I have less than a month to go before Wildflower. This is scary for me and, of course, a little exciting. I've recently become obsessed with brick workouts because I figure this is really the only way to be prepared.
The online training program Gale provided us is chalked full of brick workouts. Today, for example I am supposed to swim and then do a speed running workout. I've been trying to push these two workouts as close together as possible in an effort to recreate a triathlon experience. Unfortunately, real life gets in the way on occasion and I've miss one part of the workout.
The other day I decided to create a mini tri for myself. I even set up fake transition areas. I swam the full 1.5 km, then changed clothes and rehydrated - this took four and a half minutes - and then jumped on the bike. Normally, I would cycle outside, but it has been annoyingly windy and I opted to ride indoors. I cycled 10 miles, then went over to the treadmill and ran three miles. My bike-to-run transition was two minutes because I casually filled my water bottle, stretched and then walked over to the treadmill.
Obviously not a full triathlon. At Wildflower I would have another 15 miles on the bike and three more miles running. The good news is, I felt OK.
I'm going to have to prepare and test out different types of energy bars or snacks for my transition. I am always famished when I finish my swim. I've also discovered that my foot strike on the treadmill is different than when I run outdoors. I seem to strike on my heel instead of more flatfooted and it causes my shins to get super tight. I spent considerable time stretching afterwards and the next day felt pretty good. Not sore, just a bit tired in the legs.
I haven't done too much experimenting with supplements during my tri-training other than energy gels before and during the longer runs and bike rides. However, right before my big ride on Sunday, I started taking L-Glutamine again. This is one of the only supplements I have ever taken and when I took it previously it was during weight training where I used it to speed musclre recovery. Knowing that it probably could not hurt to take something that sped muscle recovery, I decided to get back on the program for this last month before the wildflower. Unlike other supplements, L-Glutamine does not make you feel all wound up, bloated, experience anxiety, etc. In fact, you don't even really notice it working until you realize you are not near as sore as you should be.
Anyways, I've had nothing but positive effects from the L-Glutamine and I really wanted to know if there were any negatives that I was unaware of. I'd also like to know more info on other supplements that could be beneficial to my training as I get ready to peak before the Wildflower.
Not that I could compete with Mike if I wanted to but we're still getting snowed on here so I've still been spinning in the gym for my bike rides. A 100 miler does sound tempting though - but there's no way I'll be doing 116 miles! - if I do a hundred miler it's going to be a hundred miles and that's it.
The one advantage to spinning in a gym that I've found is I can read a book while I ride. Yesterday, I experienced the fastest hour of spinning ever as I got into the book I was reading and barely noticed the time pass. I was able to maintain good rpms too. I'm seriously considering trying out reading while running on a treadmill - of course, I've only used a treadmill once so far and I'm not used to them - at the same time it seems like it'd be easier than reading while running around a track. Do those eliptical machines count as running? At least on those there wouldn't be any chance of getting blasted into the wall. Maybe it's time I start looking into audio books.