8/9/09

Confidence builder

I needed this weekend. I am exhausted. Glad it is over but enjoyed it all.
Enjoyed the mental obstacles, the sore body, the worries that my injury would come back and the happiness when I finished the workout.
Saturday would be the big day. Therefore, I was mentally prepared...much more than last weekend. As for a week ago, there's just something about a 10am 100 mile bike ride which is not mentally exciting. However, my plan for yesterday was to leave at 6:30am for a 6 hour/110 mile ride.
Karel and I woke up at 5am to get the morning started. Coffee, my oatmeal mix (banana slices, blueberries, honey and raisin) and wasa cracker w/ PB. Not as much as I will do for IM but enough to keep my tummy happy for a few hours. I also had a different plan for my nutrition.
Due to my extreme hunger last week, I decided to go with Sustained Energy from Hammer rather than only heed. I am not a big solid food or gel eater when I work out and I prefer getting my 220-240 calories/hr from sports drinks. I am able to meet both my hydration and calorie needs at the same time and aside from my Hammer endurance amino pills, I don't need to rely on much else during the ride.
Here's what I prepared:
2 bottles : 1 1/2 scoops Sustained Energy + 1/2 scoop Strawberry Heed + 1 scoop base performance aminos
1 bottle: 1 1/2 scoops Heed + 1 scoop amino
5 Hammer endurance aminos (1 for each hour after the first hour)
Here's what I ended up/not taking in:
1 hammer bar (didn't eat)
3 hammer gels (only had 1)
1 gatorade Rain (70 mile mark, split that between 2 bottles of ice at a BP station)
My 3 pre-made bottles
4 out of 5 endurance aminos

My strategy worked really well and I'm so happy. I usually don't like to talk about my own nutrition because nutrition is very individualized. The biggest difference for people is the intensity of training. Secondly, I am also learning that the heat has a MAJOR factor in nutrition. This is my 3rd IM and for the past 2 IM's I've trained in the heat. But with an IM in Nov, IM in Oct and now an IM in Aug, my nutrition strategy has been different for each IM.
Depending on what zone you train/race in, your body will metabolize fuels differently. Sadly, this training can't be done overnight. So, for the future, for all my IM and long distance athletes out there, if you want to be able to train/race fast at a lower heart rate you must incorporate intervals, tempo and aerobic sessions in your schedule and teach your body how to efficiently use fat for fuel. In the end, your body will not rely on a constant intake of calories, which don't always absorb properly when you are trying to push your body to the max. The best training/racing scenario is to train your body to not need a lot of calories, thus teaching your body to use fat for fuel, rather than stored glycogen (digested carbs)
I would never suggest taking in more than 280-300 calories an hour because the body will have a hard time digesting and absorbing those calories to sustain your intensity. Your better off racing in a slightly anaerobic/aerobic zone (say around 85%) and taking in around 240-260 calories/hr rather than trying to push at 90% and trying to take in 300 calories/hr and having those calories sit in your stomach, undigested. Well, I can talk about this forever since this is my area of expertise so my take home message is start low and find your lowest calorie intake to sustain your energy output. You are better off knowing how little you need, rather than thinking you need a lot. Once you feel like you could probably do a bit more, then start adding 30-40 calories per hour to your intake. I suggest starting at 180 calories/hr for females and 220 calories/hr for males.

My workout started at 6:30 with 1-campy mile. I always love running with Campy and now that I can run again, I try to incorporate a mile with campy as often as possible.
After the run, I put my bike in the car and drove 1 mile up the road to the Trek store. I did this so that I didn't disturb Campy after my bike and before my brick run but luckily, Karel didn't go into work and he took care of my little one as I spent all morning outside.
I started my ride at 7 and it was a great feeling knowing that I didn't have to rush home to anything. I am still thinking like a student-athlete and I still feel like I always have something to do, but with a few nutrition consultations, IM nutrition plans and articles to write, my life is great right now. Anything to not have to study for an exam!
To sum up the ride, it was great. I felt awesome and I didn't want it to end. I didn't have any bad moments, no cramps, no fatigue issues and no mental situations that I couldn't overcome.
My workout included 3 x 20 miles descending (5 mile recovery) and I was able to do just that. I tried to focus on my power but I still have trouble keeping up my power with any type of tail wind. I was able to bring up my HR each interval so I knew I was working hard, regardless if my power showed it. I was happy that I averaged 19-19.2mph for all of the intervals and the first and third interval had the best power. The last interval (around mile 70, after my gas station fuel stop) was tough because I saw a guy on A1A in the distance and my competitive side came over and I just wanted to pass him. When I finally passed him, he drafted off me for a while,, which was fine.
The beginning of my ride I stayed in Nocatee so I could see Karel on his bike. I saw Karel and Jeff (and a few others) braking away from a group ride with at least 40 people. They looked so fast and Karel and Jeff were just destroying the group. I was inspired and I kept on pushing.
The next part of my ride was just beautiful. I rode along A1A with the ocean to my left for 25 miles. Just amazing. I had extreme side wind on the way home but I stayed in my zone and didn't fight the wind.
I had no stomach pains which was great and the sustained energy did the trick. I didn't really like the gatorade but I am getting my stomach prepared for it on race day. It's like I want to keep guzzling it and before I know it, my stomach is filled with undigested sugars just sitting in my stomach. I guess the key is to try to limit yourself to just a few sips so you don't end up with a bloated stomach.
The aminos were sooooo helpful. The BCAA's (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are metabolized in the muscles so essentially they are used for fuel during training. Most of all, the BCAA's help the brain during endurance exercise. Often, athletes get tired during endurance exercise and aside from fatigue a feeling of sleepiness or extreme tiredness occurs because of tryptophan (think turkey at thanksgiving) entering the brain. Well, the BCAA's will prevent tryptophan from rising and thus, as you supplement with BCAA's (branch chain amino acids, which decrease during endurance exercise) you will be able to stay more alert and focused during training.
As I neared the end of my ride, I realized that I was going to be over my 110 mile ride. I wasn't ready to see 112 miles yet so I purposely stopped at 111.78 miles. I'm saving 112 for my special day in 3 weeks.
After the ride it was time for a run. 1pm! Not only was it super hot at 1pm but the whole ride was super hot. I've been training in this heat for months and although it is getting easier, it is hot, hot, hot out there!
The run was great!! Almost effortless. I love it when that happens! My first run off the bike in 2 weeks and I did it after a 112 mile ride. I ran 3 miles and I was able to average 8:24min/mile for the 25 min run. It was a great feeling.
I was SO hot starting the run that I only used water in my fuel belt. I poured that water all over me and tried to hydrate every .5 mile with just a quick sip. After the ride I went into the Trek store (disgusting looking and smelly, I'm sure) and just drank from the water fountain until I cooled off. Afterwards, I dumped water all over my head when I walked back outside to my car. 1:40pm I was heading home to greet Karel.
We exchanged training stories and he made me pancakes!!!
Not just normal pancakes, super-sized pancakes for my super-sized workouts. YUM!!! Peaches and raisins inside. After my shower, protein + milk, recovery ice shorts and 1/2 hammer bar, I was ready to eat breakfast at 2:30pm. I also scrambled up some eggs (3 whites, 1 whole egg) w/ my pancakes and had a side of cottage cheese w/ fruit a bit after the pancake.



After an hour or so of resting (Campy and Smudla helped me with that)




Karel and I went to the grocery for some toppings for our pizza. It was soooo yummy!
We got a vegetable medley pizza which looked like this out of the box


And here's what I did with it






As for this morning. I did 18 miles. YAY! Libby (my good friend and physical therapist/miracle worker) has me on an aggressive rehab program for my severe case of piriformis syndrome which I've been dealing with for the past 4 weeks. After the first week of no running, my first long run back was 10 miles. Last weekend was 15 and this weekend was 18. I did the first mile with Campy and the last 17 all alone.
It was so hot outside, even though I started at 7am. It was a tough run, my legs were trashed and every step I was hoping that it wouldn't be my last step. Sure, if I was racing IMKY this morning I would be in my zone and I would be pushing through any type of discomfort but with 3 weeks to go, I am still walking on glass. I stopped several times during my run just to stop, sip on my heed and then keep on running. I didn't need to stretch or walk and if I had streets full of spectators I know I could keep on going through the soreness.
Here's the splits..I just tried to stay consistent. It was really hard with my lack of run training and I thought about going home several times. But, each mile I was thanking the "IM" gods for giving me a body and for allowing me to be an endurance athlete.
1 campy mile -10 min.
1 - 8:45
2 - 8:40
3 - 8:43
4 - 8:38
5- 8:30
6 - 8:43
7 - 8:52
8 - 8:37
9 - 8:32
10 - 8:48
11 - 8:43
12 - 8:44
13 - 8:52
14 - 8:53
15 - 8:36
16 - 8:45
average: 8:46

After the run, the ice bath was calling my name and on went the compression socks after I warmed up.

What a great confidence builder. I really needed this weekend.
Tomorrow morning: 6am recovery swim.
10am - MASSAGE!!!