8/7/13

Ironman Lake Placid RR: 26.2 mile run

I wish there was a way to make the Ironman Lake Placid run course come to life as it was not easy and this profile does not do this course any justice. When a race director tells you that if this was a standard marathon, no one would sign up, you know you are in for a fun day if you signed up for a challenge. Oh - I have an idea. Take a hammer, start banging it on your quads and then when you can't take the pain anymore, keep doing it until you see a finish line in front of you with permission to stop the torture. Now you can feel what this course is like. Only kidding....well, not really. 




There are great runners and then there are great triathletes. To be a great triathlete, you must be able to execute with your swim-bike-run body and have the mental strength to quite the voices in your head that make you think a million things besides the feeling of "easy" on race day. Regardless of your prior fitness as a triathlete, when you plan to complete an Ironman, your body must be trained to go the distance. Your heart has to be strong enough to stay elevated for a certain amount of time and all organs and metabolic processes must be nourished, hydrated and healthy to go that extra mile...or 140.6. But more than anything, you have to want it. You have to know how to manage negative thoughts and bottle the positive ones. You have to answer the many why's that circle through your mind as to what you are choosing to do on this very special day. And most importantly, you have to check your ego at the door for the Ironman cares only about your ability to manage the controllables on race day and how you overcome the uncontrollables on race day. 

With only two "long" runs in my legs (13 and 15 miles off a 2 hour bike) in the past 10 weeks prior to race day due to our 10-day May trip to Czech as well as three months of no running due to my hip/back issues, I was relying on experience for this Ironman. I know I can do the distance and I reminded myself that in training that I can only race with my current level of fitness. I didn't need to prove anything to myself in training but instead, save my best effort for race day. You can only imagine the thoughts in my head as to me thinking I was not ready for this race but as I approached race day, I searched really hard for the one and only reason why it may all work. 

Patience. 

I stuck to my strategy of run/walk, knowing that that was how I trained my body and that is how my body would perform the best on race day. Kendra (2nd amateur) ran past me on River rd and she encouraged me to go with her. She was in my age group and I knew she would run me down and fly right by me but her encouraging words were great but I had to turn down the offer and tell her to run strong without me.

After a PR swim and one of my best executed 112 mile rides on a very challenging course, all I had in front of me was 26.2 miles of running. However, with my quads screaming at me for 25 of those miles, I had over 3.5 hours to remind myself how much I love what my body allows me to do. Not always does my body corporate and I have to accept that. Racing the Ironman distance is a gift and I never take that for granted. I love to push my body but it doesn't always respond the way I imagine and that's just part of the journey. I believe that the Ironman is a special event in that only the athlete can figure out how to get to the finishing line. Fatigue is going to be your #1 enemy on race day but without good mental strength, nutrition and pacing, there can be a lot more problems than your muscles getting tired. 

As I approached the transition tent, I looked around and saw only volunteers. I had the tent to myself and it occurred to me that I was in a great place for a Kona spot. I was aware of some of my competition but of course, I can't predict everyone's race and I can only spend energy on my own. There were very few bikes in the transition area and after an hour of swimming and around 5:45 of biking....it was time to execute my plan. 

I thanked the volunteers after I put on clean socks, my Brooks Launch running shoes, my visor and race belt w/ number and grabbed my two handheld flasks, each with ~150 calories in them (+ 3 gels in my pockets). As I left transition, I saw a mass of spectators and my legs knew it was time to run. I felt great!!
My Garmin 910xt continued to run on multisport zone and I switched over the screen to see the same things I see in training:
Current pace
Lap pace
Current HR
Lap time

I don't know why but when I race, I am always keeping an eye on my time...that is for swim and for bike. I always think about the time of the day and do some math in my head throughout the race as to what time of the day it is (it goes by quickly!) but for some reason, in 5 Ironman's, I have never looked at my watch for my total time or run time. 

In my opinion, the marathon run in an ironman is not to be "raced" for most athletes. It is to be paced in a way that your body resists fatigue as much as possible. I always say that IM racing is not about the fastest athlete but who slows down the least. In my case, I knew what my current level of fitness was going in and that I had endurance. What I didn't have was a few 16 milers that I would have liked to have complete in my training (Even with a healthy body, I do not recommend more than 2.5 hours of running in prep for an IM). But the past was gone and all I could do was to pace myself the best possible and rely on experience and what I know about the Ironman. 

What I know is that when you race an Ironman, you are often handicapped by physical limitations. Not so much by lactic acid being produced as very little of the IM is anaerobic (maybe parts of the swim) but instead, your aerobic capacity is limited by your ability (or lack thereof) to fuel and pace yourself in order to maintain good form and focus throughout 140.6 miles. With 5 Ironmans behind me, I know what it feels like to dig.....really really deep. When the body is hurting so bad and the mind says enough is enough. It's a constant arguement in your mind, over and over for the mind to shut-up about the pain, aches and fatigue and to just let the body do its thing. Amazingly, I have learned that I am only limited by my mind on race day and that is why I never push myself with training through an injury. I LOVE having my mind as my only limiter on race day for I know if I can overcome those thoughts, my body can continue to move forward and that's what the IM is all about. Move yourself mile by mile until you cover 140.6 miles and cross a finishing line. 

As for Karel, this was all new territory for him. But, I had so much confidence in him that he could do it. I just couldn't wait to see him on the course to know that we were going to do this together. 



This is what happens when you do your first IM....you feel GREAT on the first 6 miles....and think this is going to be a walk in the park...


Oh, hello second loop! Karel told me that all he thought about was wanting the run to be over. 

Digging deep....

I So wish I was there to see Karel cross the finish line...almost breaking 10 hours in his first Ironman!

Congrats Karel!!!!
66th overall
13th age group (35-39)
Swim: 1:10:20
Bike: 5:16:26
Run: 3:26:19 (first marathon!)
Total: 10:03:26


Despite the constant ache in my quads....


The doubts in my head....


And the 26.2 miles ahead of me. 




I managed to find that painful place where I could just dig deep and zone out. I was receiving cheers from the crowds (Thank you Ange, Mary, Jennifer, Mike, Duran, Laura and anyone else who cheered) as well as the pro and age group girls who were cheering me on during their race,  as I know they knew that I wanted a Kona slot and I was willing to work hard for it. 



Although I respect the distance, I love to race the Ironman. The course was so beautiful that I tried to enjoy it but it was not as enjoyed as pre race thanks to the emotions and fatigue I was feeling throughout the run. With a mix of walking and running (~11 minutes of total walking when I reviewed my Training Peaks file, with no more than on average, about 20-30 seconds at one time and my longest walk being 43 seconds at mile 15 and 3 walks at mile 22 for a total of 1:30 within that mile) I can't really describe what got me through this run aside from trusting my body that it knew what to do on this day. 

I knew I would not be able to run a "fast" marathon so I decided if I wanted to be in the running (literally) for a Kona spot, I had to run on the hills, walk before I really needed to walk and find a very special reason why I wanted this Kona slot and why all this pain would be worth it. 


With a few miles to go, my body was tired. It was empty despite a perfect fueling strategy and no nutrition issues. I had some coke here and there, I only drank water at the aid stations and I received electrolytes and carbs from my sport drinks and gels. 
The first 6 miles were comfortable, I managed to stay steady. Miles 6-10 were hard. My quads starting to hurt badly from the pounding, likely from the downhills that occurred within the first few miles. Then miles 12 and 13 were fun...hard, but fun as I was craving the cheers from the crowds to give me energy that I didn't have. I am not quite sure when I was passed by Megan (3rd place) but it was somewhere in the first loop. Then as I made my way back down the hills to start the 2nd loop, I knew this was going to be a strong race for me...not for the finishing time that I had no idea of, but instead, because I was actually digging deep when I could easily stop, walk and drop.
I managed to break down each mile just like I do in training and I gave myself my opportunities to walk to shake out my legs and take in nutrition. I then looked forward to running again as I was quickly moving closer to completing this Ironman. No mile was easy but some miles came faster than others. The volunteers were great and with more people on the course for the 2nd loop, I was thankful to be around so many other inspiring athletes reaching the same finishing line.
Every time I walked, I looked behind me. Luckily, no one in sight. I remembered getting passed by a few girls but their bib numbers assured me that they were not in my age group. I was looking for the 600-700 bib numbers as those were my competition for the day.
Passing mile 15 was an exciting time as that was my longest run in training. I welcomed mile 20 because that seems to be the point when you can mentally grasp that you only have a 10K to go. Yes, with 120 miles behind you, only running 6 miles is possible yet still a distant thought with what's to come on the course.
I wanted to see mile 22 so badly as I knew I was on the home stretch. Finally off the painful rollers of river road which was often lonely yet peaceful. Nearing town, my body was talking to me yet I felt like I was still running strong or at least, moving forward (same thing, right? I thought to myself).
I shuffled my way up the hill which supposedly had a 16% grade and then made a left turn to shuffle up another hill to see the chute to the finish, only to make an annoying left turn for 2 more miles which in my mind was just evil with less than 2 miles to go. Uggggg....here I go!!!
With 1 mile to go, I stopped to walk as my legs had nothing. I stopped right in front of the mile 25 sign and just begged my body to hang in there.  After running back up a series of climbs for the second time to get to mile 25, I felt like I had given everything to hold my 4th place position after the bike (being passed twice on the run). Still not knowing the times of others for when they started in the rolling start, I knew that my 4th place position was likely in jeopardy. Three Kona slots for my age group and Katie already receiving her slot at Eagleman. That means 4th place is the "worst" place I can be in with 1 mile to go. Absolutely NO room for error and certainly my decision to walk at mile 25 was on my mind but I had no other choice. 




I made the turn around just over 25 miles and with less than a mile to go, there they were. Jessica and Lesley. I had never met, seen or heard of these girls til the award ceremony but I knew them well enough at the turnaround that they were coming to get me. 
I knew that with the rolling start I would 100% get to race my own race but I wouldn't know when others started and how their finishing times with affect my times (in other words, would I finish ahead of someone to have them bump me out of my place due to me having a faster swim but not a faster bike or run).
They were running fast, almost effortless and I knew it was time. As much as I wanted to cruise the last mile and enjoy my 6th Ironman finishing line...I sprinted as hard as I could, with everything I didn't have. 

It was time....I switched over my Garmin before entering the oval for the last run to the finish line and my clock read 10:40.....OMG!!!
My legs exploded with energy as if I was starting mile 1 of a 5K. Could this really be true? Am I really going to have an almost 10 minute PR? 


Athletes always say at the finish line that there was no possible way that they could have gone an inch further. I completely collapsed at the finishing line but did not need medical attention. I officially gave my body permission to stop. 100% stop. At mile 25, I stopped but had to move forward. 140.6 miles completed in 10 hours and 43 minutes. 


Swim: 1:01.02 (PR)
Bike: 5:46:11 (strong ride on a tough course)
Run: 3:48:36 (PR)
5th age group (30-35)
179 overall 
12th amateur female




A few more pics from friends...thank you!











Oh, and my competition chasing me down.....

4th place (Jessica): 10:43.08
5th place (me): 10:43.14
6th place (Lesley): 10:43:26

Never think about the reasons why it can't work. There will be a reason why it will...you just have to believe in it...or spend 140.6 miles figuring it out.

Kona bound for the 3rd time. Thank you body.

Run splits for me:
8:43 pace, 3:48:36 finish time
Best 3 hours (including walks): 8:37 min/mile pace (20.88 miles)
Best 2 hours (including walks): 8:28 min/mile pace (14 miles)
Best 90 minutes (including walks): 8:29 min/mile pace
Average HR 147

Mile 1: 7:27
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:43
Mile 4: 8:10
Mile 5: 8:00 (started walking here for 20-30 seconds at a time)
Mile 6: 8:18
Mile 7: 8:38
Mile 8: 8:37
Mile 9: 8:56
Mile 10: 9:12
Mile 11: 8:58
Mile 12: 9:13
Mile 13: 8:22
Mile 14: 8:15
Mile 15: 8:40
Mile 16: 8:21
Mile 17: 8:54
Mile 18: 8:45
Mile 19: 9:20
Mile 20: 9:17
Mile 21: 8:53
Mile 22: 9:27
Mile 23: 9:36
Mile 24: 9:21
Mile 25: 9:45
Mile 26: 8:28

(all splits include walk breaks - I reviewed my Training Peaks file to look at my walk breaks and although I started walking around mile 3 or 4, I ended up walking 25 times and from my math guessing, it was around 11 minutes of total intentional/planned walking. Not to shabby to still end up with my best run off the bike!)

Love it when a plan works. The hard part is trusting yourself that you have the mental strength to execute.
Never stop working hard for your goals and believing in yourself that you can get to where you want to be in life.

Simple tips for an uncomplicated life


A few tips for a more balanced day: 
-Aim for 60 minutes of movement today (any way you like it, split up or at once)

-Snack on fruits and veggies 

-Surround yourself with people who give you energy, not take it away from you

-Be motivated by your personal goals that are meaningful and realistic, not by what others are doing and what you feel others expect you to do.

-Eat to be satisfied, fueled and nourished. Focus on a plant strong meal that is balanced with whole grains (1/2 - 1 cup) or high fiber starch (~30-50g carbs) +  20-30g of protein + enough healthy fat to make the meal taste great and hold you over (~7-15g). 

-Work on a good, better, best system. Don't try to be your best right now if you are just making good choices. Accept the patience that is needed to make small changes that will last a lifetime. 

-Learn to love new things in life. Not much is easy the first time you do it, especially if you want it to change you. 

-Snack with a purpose: control blood sugar, compliment meals and fill in nutritional gaps between those meals, honor hunger and don't be a clock watcher. 

-Don't let a store-bought household appliance run or ruin your day. Instead of chasing a number on a scale, use your eating and exercise routine for something more meaningful in life. 

-Reframe situations that appear to make you unhappy. Tired of your job? Be grateful you are making money to pay your bills. Is your training/exercise routine too challenging at times? Acknowledge that your body is strong enough to do something on a daily basis. 

-Let the important people in your life know that you love and care about them. 

-Tell yourself that you love yourself. 

-Stop wasting time reading tips in magazines, on the internet and in books that tell you how to get a quick fix for a healthy life. A balanced life is not extreme or rushed. Don't make excuses, make things happen with small steps that allow for some progress. 

8/6/13

The patient and mentally strong athlete - revisited

Do you want the perfect life? 

Life is not perfect. Healthy individuals get cancer, cyclists are an annoyance to drivers, employees who work less get paid more than you and when everything seems to be running smoothly, life happens and you feel unbalanced. 

So what you can desire in life, is the ability to want the most out of your life. You can define your own definition of the perfect life by one that is consistent and involves a lot of hard work, growth and reflection. 

Today I officially registered for the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii. This will be my 3rd experience on the big island, racing amongst the best (and most inspiring) age group and professional triathletes in the world. I will be arriving October 7th and departing October 15th. All the logistics of traveling are settled and all I have left to do is prepare my body and mind for my 7th Ironman. Nine weeks of another Ironman journey.

Thank you body.

One of my favorite parts of sharing my journey of life with others via my blog and facebook page is being able to revisit a few blog posts that describe my thoughts and philosophy of training and living a great life.
I feel we must all be patient in life, no matter what our fitness level.
We must always be mentally strong (and stable) to accept the demands, the outcome and the process in between.
And lastly, there are inspiring people all over this world. Although it is very important that we take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of others, recognize that there are many people out there who don't get your good days and maybe even wish for your "bad" days. We all experience life differently and at the end of the day, we can only go to sleep wanting  more out of life yet willing to make the changes to make those things happen.

Patient athlete

mental training

Inspired by Kona

For your viewing pleasure (and happiness): (thanks Courtney W for the link)-
Dan Gilbert: the surprising science of happiness



8/5/13

Ironman Lake Placid RR: 112 mile bike


There's really no way to know what to expect during the bike portion of a race, until you are actually on the course...on race day. Karel and I always do our homework before races so we watched lots of Youtube videos and read other links describing the Lake Placid course to better understand how to properly train and race in Lake Placid. Of course, every individual has their own opinion of a course as those of us from Florida will describe the mountains much differently than a local. Many people have asked me how we train for hilly courses since we live in flat Florida and my first response is always that we love to climb. If you don't love climbing, there is no need to seek out challenging, hilly courses for the mind is not going to be on the bodies side during the race when the legs are burning and the mind says "why are you doing this?" But what we do have is wind...lots of it. For every ride that we do, our legs never stop unless we stop the bike and put our foot on the ground. Sure, we can coast but what we do not get are descends or rollers. We have no opportunities for free speed for even if we get tailwind, the body is still working to produce power to move us forward. Gravity is not on our side unless we are on a bridge and we'd rather do intervals which simulate race day conditions instead of doing a bunch of bridge repeaters on the bike. 





I always enjoy seeing my Training Peaks file after a race. I choose to hide the other variables that I review on my file so I could show the similarities to the Ironman.com race profile compared to my training file. To the eye, the two course profiles make you believe that are only a few challenging sections of the course (2 loop course) but despite a view like this.....



This course requires more than just a strong heart, muscles and mind. You better have the right climbing cassette, know how to change your gears properly, check your ego at the door to properly pace yourself, have a great fueling strategy (and be comfortable grabbing your nutrition on climbs, descends and bumpy roads) and you have to constantly remind yourself that you have to run a crazy hard marathon after riding 112 miles in the Adirondack mountains.  


Here's my condensed version of the course.
You leave the transition area and go down a little hill veering left a little and then make a right turn down a steep hill which you can hardly see the bottom of the hill from the top. You then ignore the hay barrels in front of you which are there for those who overshoot the turn and make a sharp left turn after coming down a steep, short hill. You then go up a little, ride along the streets of down town placid toward the ski jumps and you finally approach mile 1.
You then go down another hill which is the same hill you run up twice across from the ski jumps and then do a little climbing, up and down and anticipate the long descent into Keene which covers a few miles at flying speeds...all before mile 15. You know you are approaching the descend because before you reach the Cascade Mountain trailhead and see the Cascade Lakes you  are forced to see a bright colored signs that warns you that the descend is steep enough for trucks to flip. For those of us who would rather be a chicken than a dead duck, you do not have to squeeze on your breaks as the road does level itself out but if you have the need for speed and forget that you are in an Ironman but instead, a competition to clock the fastest time, you can be like Karel down the descend at 49 mph. Karel said he could have gone faster but it was wet out.
After the first 15 miles or so, if you still have all your bottles from the roads that take a beating from the NY winters, you welcome a nice long section of rollers through Keene and Upper Jay/Jay on Route 9N. This is a nice place to wake up your legs but you have to be patient for you are approaching the climbs in less than 20 miles. 
The out and back section through Ausable Forks breaks up the course and continues to follow the trend of beautiful sights and views. This section is about 5.6 miles each way so it gives athletes a chance to see competition ahead and behind but also to ease up and gain any free speed if the wind is on your side. 
Nearing Route 86 in Jay, your legs wake up by climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing until you reach the top of this never-ending climb. It's not long, just annoying if you don't love to climb.
There are a few more rollers and then you reach Haselton road which is a nice 1 mile out and back to again scope out the competition or take a few breathers before the hard part of the course....as if the course wasn't challenging enough already.
You see a few flags and they are blowing toward you which is not the way that you you'd like it if you could use your magic and control the weather. But, it is what it is and off you go in Wilmington towards Whiteface Mountain.
12 miles of rollers, false flats, climbs and the notorious baby, mama and papa bear climbs. Nothing on this course is impossible, unless your body and mind think otherwise. Despite fabulous signs, spectator/volunteer support and beautiful views, this course presents difficulty between every mile marker and before you know it, you are back at the transition area....to do it all over again.





Karel and I both loved this course. Here are a few of my favorite things from my race.
-My body and mind enjoyed this course so much that by the end of the first loop, I felt like I had only just warmed up for my main set. I choose to purposely take the first loop comfortable, focusing on my IM power zones (upper Z2-low Z3) which I had done many times in training for our intervals and sitting on Karel's wheel. I focused on areas when I would get free speed and I didn't try to beat the wind (I've never won before in training and I didn't want to try again during an IM). My nutrition was spot on, my mind never wandered and my body never hurt.
-My body did fine on the descend but I purposely planned to save my energy for the climbs since I knew that I would be able to use my strength of climbing (primarily out of the saddle).
-There weren't animals on the course for me to say hi to like IMKY and IMWI but the views were amazing....despite the rainy weather on the first loop.
-My favorite sign read "I bet you wish you were off your bike right now" on one of the last climbs of the loop. I then saw another sign on the run with the same handwriting and graphics "I bet you wish you had your bike back right now". I couldn't stop laughing.
-I saw an elderly man around the Keene area sitting in a lawchair ringing a bell for both loops (over 3 hours of me riding). As the Ironman athletes were trying to speed up the day and go as fast as possible to get to the finish line, this man was perfectly content doing nothing and letting minutes turn into hours. It reminded me to really enjoy the day and by the 2nd loop, I didn't want to get off my bike, I was having so much fun.
-Not being passed by Karel until I headed toward Whiteface mountain. I saw Karel on two out and backs and as much as I wanted him to catch me so I could talk to him, I also wanted to show him that all that bike training had paid off thanks to his help. Of course, aafter we exchanged some words about our swim times, I yelled to him "I Love you" as any wife would do while racing 140.6 miles...and off he went with a few guys trying to stay on his wheel...good luck with that.
-I stayed within my own race day box. I remembered Gloria telling me that when she did IMTexas (her first IM) she told herself that if an athlete passed her she would only think positive thoughts that that athlete at that moment was having a good moment. It didn't mean she wasn't having a good moment and it didn't mean that the athlete (or her) wouldn't have a better moment in 5 miles but she told me to just focus on myself and to not waste energy on things out of my control, such as others being faster than me at certain points of the course. I really trusted myself and my skills on the bike and I feel I raced this bike course the best I could have raced (and have ever raced) by finishing the bike feeling hungry to run and so happy with how I felt (mentally and physically).
-I loved seeing my competition on the course as well as other athletes. I receive so much energy when I cheer for others and the same is true when others cheer for me. It is this never-ending wave of energy that comes when you help to pick up others and others do the same for you. I gave a thumbs up and some cheers to my competition infront (Katie T. ) and behind me (Kendra) as well as to the pro women who were looking super strong as well. Despite racing for a Kona slot, I felt like all the ladies in the course around me were loving the day just as much as me and I didn't want to wish a bad race on anyone for at the end of the day, if the girls who are better than me don't have good days, then I am not pushed to a higher limit.
-Both Karel and myself made sure we soaked up this opportunity to ride in the mountains. Because we both love to travel to race and race to travel, we picked this race because of the challenges and being so close to nature. Karel was having so much fun that he contributed to the wheelie count on one of the bear climbs had a group of guys with a sign checking off how many people could/would do a wheelie while climbing. OK, not a Sagan type of wheelie but nonetheless, it counted :) 
Here are a few bike stats from the race as well as what my computer looks like when I ride intervals or in races. You can see from my Garmin 500 stats, how I lapped the course, although on the 2nd loop I didn't lap at the exact same points because I forgot. I tried to fuel every 8-12 minutes from my drink, consuming a 350 calorie bottle within the first 75-80 min of each loop and the rest from a 300 calorie bottle + 300 calorie gel flask. I only grabbed water from aid stations for sipping and cooling. I also included Karel's stats from Ironman.com 


Bike stats:
Marni: 5:45.11 (average 19.41 mph), 3rd division after bike, 184 overall, 17th female
Splits from Ironman.com
distance 30 miles 1:21.5 (22 mph)
distance 26 miles 1:25 (18.17mph)
distance 30 miles 1:23 (21.41 mph)
distance 26 miles 1:34 (16.52 mph)


Garmin 500 splits 

Lap 1:
40 minutes (14.5 miles): Power 152W, HR 137, cadence 81, 21.46mph
1:05 minutes (22.29 miles): Power 149W, HR 135, cadence 81, 20.45mph
16 minutes (5.4 miles): Power 156W, HR 137, cadence 80, 19.61mph
46 minutes (13.75 miles): Power 177W, HR 144, cadence 80, speed 17.63mph

Lap 2:
41 minutes (14.1 miles): Power 149W, HR 132, cadence 74, speed 20.39mph
1:24 (27.7 miles): Power 151W, HR 136, cadence 79, speed 19.75mph
50 min (13.38 miles): Power 160W, HR 140, cadence 78, speed 15.87mph
(max speed 38mph)

Karel: 5:16.26 (average 21.24 mph), 21st division, 91 overall,  85th male
distance 30 miles 1:13.48 (24.39 mph)
distance 26 miles 1:18.53 (19.78mph)
distance 30 miles 1:16.09 (23.64 mph)
distance 26 miles 1:27.36 (17.81 mph)
(max speed 49mph)


And after riding 112 miles, we "get" to run a marathon! As an athlete who has raced 5 Ironman's, I know the hurt, the mental battles and what it feels like to finish an Ironman by running 26.2 miles after swimming 2.4 and biking 112 miles. For most of us, the IM run has nothing to do with how fast you can run a standard marathon or how many miles you ran in your longest run in training (or how fast) but instead, how much you can suffer, dig and want it when the body and mind tell you to stop, sit down and just call it a day, it's not worth it. For myself, I wanted to dig, suffer and show myself that I could do this for the 6th time but for my hubby, this was a new territory for not only was this his first IM but his first marathon and after dismounting the bike, this was the longest he had ever used his body.

8/4/13

Fruity pancakes


Is it really true that my body did an Ironman just 7 days ago? I am continuing with my no-sick/illness streak which started around 2007 (or earlier), my mind is fresh and the body is not experiencing any residual fatigue. Now this wasn't the case after my first two Ironman's when it took me a good 3 weeks to feel normal again but for the past few years, my quality approach to training is a combination of going into my endurance races hungry to race but also not overtrained so that I can bounce back quickly in order to function well in life soon after a race. Also, a good daily diet and sport nutrition regime assists in optimal training, racing and recovery.
This week has been easy in terms of taking it easy because I feel no pressure to rush back into training. The only thing that is a little off is still my sleeping which I am going to bed about 60-90 minutes later than normal at night (but then again, my life is super busy all day so if I am not training, my mind is often being occupied with a lot of other thoughts and ideas). I will continue to just go by feel (gadget free) for one more week and keep everything light, fun and comfortable.
As for post Ironman, this week Karel and I did nothing on Mon and Tues after the race. Well, we walked around on top of Whiteface mountain on Tues....slowly.


Wed was a travel day (from 6:30am until 8pm) and then Thurs we were itching to do something so Karel and I swam for around 40 minutes (stopping whenever we wanted). Friday I swam again (around a 3000 I think and Karel rode for 90 minutes) and then on Sat and today, I rode my road bike for ~2 hours (no HR monitor, power meter or attention to speed/distance). Karel rode on Sat with some friends and today he jogged for ~30 minutes.
I met up with a few strangers while I was riding, asked if I could join and drafted as my legs did no work for most of the ride. I feel re-charged but will be patient before I start training for Kona for next 8 weeks (Karel is already excited to help me train for my 3rd World Championships so my Training Peaks calendar already has workouts in it for the next few weeks thanks to him :) 

But what I am reminded of the most is that life can really rush by in an instant. I remember around 8 weeks or so out from Ironman Lake Placid, I felt like it was a light-year away and as the weeks went on, it just wouldn't come fast enough. Nearing the last two weeks before the race, I wanted things to slow down because I knew that in two weeks, it would all be over. All that training for a one day event and the experience that I thought would never come was completed in less than 10 hours and 43 minutes. 

Be sure that you are not rushing life, waiting for a vacation, longing for the weekend (on Monday) or finding yourself wishing for tomorrow. Make memories, live in the moment and set goals so that you are not counting your days but instead, making the most of your days here on Earth while you have them. 




Pancakes on Sunday are always enjoyed but 7 days post Ironman, yum, yum, yum. Real maple syrup, Karel's favorite butter and many special surprises in my pancakes to ensure that you are getting lots of nutrients in your breakfast meal. No need to reach for pills and supplements to give your body vitamins and minerals as you should always start with your diet to reduce risk for disease, to help change body composition and to live an active lifestyle as you work hard for your personal goals. 




Fruity pancakesServes 7

6 strawberries (chopped or sliced)
1/2 cup blueberries
1 egg
1/2 cup packed zucchini (shredded)
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup oat flour (you can use any flour, I like to mix up my flours when I made pancakes, I also love soy flour and rye flour)
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/4 cup milk
Olive oil

1. Mix together ingredients in large bowl up until the milk. Stir with a fork to evenly combine.
2. Add milk to create a soupy batter (which will thicken as it sits).
3. Heat a large skillet to low to medium heat (in between) and drizzle a little olive oil on the pan to prevent batter from sticking.
4. Spoon 1/3 cup servings on to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottom is golden brown (you can lightly spread out pancake to be a little flatter with your fork).
5. Flip pancakes and cook other side for 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve with a serving of your choice of protein: glass of milk, greek yogurt, grilled tofu, tempeh, eggs or cottage cheese.