10/26/13

2 weeks post IM KONA (recipes and pics)

Wow - I can't believe it's been two weeks since IM KONA.

After a few days, the aches, burns and chaffing subsided and that was a sign that I was officially in my off-season...and  I'm totally enjoying every day of it! Three full weeks of no weight bearing activity (ex. no running, plyometrics, etc.), no workout structure and no alarms. There's plenty of time to catch up on house chores, be super creative in the kitchen, take longer walks with Campy and just give a little TLC for my awesome body for what it allowed me to do this summer. And to rest up for a very exciting season of destination races: St. Croix 70.3 (May), IM Austria (June), IMWI (July). There's a lot of work to do in the off season after my recovery period and I am really excited to set new goals and to enjoy another exciting year with my healthy body.



Just to recap the past few weeks, there have been no post-race blues, no guilty feelings about no structured activity (typically 30-60 min of working out a day - swim, elliptical, walking, core/hip work. I've only biked once on my road bike) and a lot of transitions with Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition. There will be many exciting announcements to come but in the mean time I have been working on new services, camps/clinics, discussing coaching with potential athletes (love working with athletes who love hard work and dreaming big!) and Karel now offering Retul fitting and his pre-race "valet" bike tune-up service (IMFL is around the corner and there are many bikes in Jax that are now faster thanks to Karel working his magic on them).

And to summarize the past two weeks in pictures, I must say that my life post Triathlon season doesn't look much different than the training for two Ironmans over the past 22 weeks. Triathlons are my lifestyle, not my life. I will never stop eating for health as I know the same foods that help reduce risk for disease also help to fuel my active lifestyle. 

Can't beat this fall weather! I love my Campy walks!

What a stud - IRON DOGGY!

Sauteed kale with olive oil, tossed in a skillet with a stir fry of corn, cooked quinoa, mushrooms and onions - topped with asiago cheese. Side of cottage cheese (Daisy Brand 2%) and pineapples.

Road bike spin followed by a shop at the farmers market. Not a bad problem to have a bag overflowing with seasonal fruits and veggies. 

Putting my farmers market finds to good use - rye bread with scrambled eggs and fresh strawberries and a side of sauteed kale, onions, garlic, red peppers. 

Thin roasted, crunchy potatoes (425 degrees, slice thin and toss in olive oil and season with salt/pepper and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown) and a stir fry of quinoa, peas, tofu, tomatoes, chickpeas and mushrooms. 

Working at Baptist Medical Center South - I always leave with a better appreciation of my health and feeling so incredibly thankful that my body allows me to do what I choose to do with it. I also learn something new every time I see patient. Luckily, the day I worked last week wasn't filled with Cancer patients. Those days are always hard on my heart. 


Trimarni stew - broccoli, chickpeas, black beans, tofuy, garlic, onions, peppers, quinoa (or brown rice) + marinara sauce (about 1/2 - 1 cup) + water to meet consistency needs. Cook covered on low heat for 1 hour and plan for leftovers (they will taste great the next day).


Karel's Czech inspired egg salad - dill pickles, tomatoes, leeks, green pepper, eggs (hardboiled) and greek yogurt (0% Fage) on a bed of mixed greens. 

I spoke at 1st Place Sports as part of a panel of experts to a group of half marathon and marathon runners. My talk was on pre and during sport nutrition for training and racing. I gave away a lot of my special tips and suggestions and had lots of props. 

What a perfect combo for a snack (or pre dinner munchies) - cucumbers and feta cheese

Oh - SURPRISE! I got a new bike - thank you Karel!! 

.......Which means Trimarni and her one of a kind, custom paint job, is for sale! Email me if you are interested in the price and specs on the bike (Karel has kept this bike maintained since I got her with tune-ups at least every 2 weeks). 



And now - happy times are ahead. This weekend - Campy is taking his first trip to Miarmi for Miami 70.3 to watch Karel race and to cheer on all the amazing athletes (like Trimarni athlete Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point) who is doing her first ever half Ironman!

After 12 weeks of working together - coach and athlete are reunited at last!


That bike (and the legs behind it) have the need for speed! 




I love making memories with these two!


Happy 5 year anniversary (10/26/08) Karel!! I can't wait to keep making memories with you (and Campy)


What a lucky doggy!



Great times in Miami! Can't wait for race day tomorrow! 



10/24/13

Pomegranate, apple and hazelnut pancakes and ginger strawberry smoothie

In the Trimarni house, we eat for fuel and for health. And most of all, eating is a happy time so we also eat for pleasure.

The same foods that fuel our active lifestyle, also keep our immune system healthy. Most of all, they are mostly whole and are found in a farm/garden so they also reduce our risk for disease.

There are no bad, off limit or temporary foods. We don't diet, cleanse, fast or do anything extreme wit the diet.

The only thing extreme about us is that we enjoy racing for 140.6 miles and Campy gets waaaaay too much love (but that will never stop).



We love whole foods that offer the nutrients that we need to support our healthy and active lifestyle.

We don't count calories, we count training hours. We enjoy the rewards of what a well-fueled, healthy and strong body allows us to do - year round - whether we are training for starting lines or moving for health gains.

We don't have a working scale. We eat for fuel, health and pleasure and after a few years of understanding our individual needs and best style of eating, we've discovered that it is possible for the body to take care of itself.

We don't believe in restricting food (especially whole foods) but instead, move the body more (ex. walking).

Whether we are enjoying the off-season, peaking for an Ironman or traveling the world, food enhances our life and doesn't control our life.

Why do you eat what you choose to eat? 



Ginger Strawberry Smoothie "meal"
10 ice cubes
30g protein powder (I used Solgar Whey To Go)
Dash of cinnamon
1 celery stick (chopped)
1/2 ripe banana
1 tsp fresh ginger (chopped or grated)
4 strawberries (stems removed)
10 baby carrots (mini)
1/2 cup Kale (Washed, chopped)
1/2 square 90% Dark chocolate
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup water

1. Blend ingredients in 6 cup blender for 90 seconds (this will make more volume and a more frothy smoothie.
I use the Oster Fusion blender. 
2. Pour 2.5 cups in large cup and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings (5 cups total)



Pomegranate, apple and hazelnut pancakes

1/2 cup apple (shredded) - I used gala
1/2 cup rye flour (you can use any flour)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (I slice in half and then soak each half under cold water for a few minutes and then use a knife to cut pomegranate into segments and then pop out seeds with my hands into a bowl).
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 egg
1 tbsp hazelnuts
1 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup 0% Fage Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Skim Milk
1/2 cup oats
2 tsp oil (for pan)

1. Heat large skillet to medium heat. Drizzle 1/2 - 1 tsp oil and spread around pan for even coating.
2. Mix ingredients in large bowl and stir until evenly combined.
3. Use 1/4 cup and pour batter onto heated pan and press down to make flat pancake.
4. Cook 4-5 minutes on one side (or until golden brown) and flip and cook other side for 3 minutes.

Makes 7 servings

I have not had time to figure out calories as I like to do for some of my creations where I actually measure ingredients for cooking purposes. I will notify everyone when I put nutrition facts on this blog. For now - enjoy mindful eating as I always do. 





10/23/13

Kona RR: 26.2 mile run

So, just to recap where I left off....

I woke up at 3:30am so that I could voluntarily use my body to:

Swim 2.4 miles
(source)

Bike 112 miles

(source)


And now I get to talk about running a marathon.


And because I do not call myself a runner, but instead, a triathlete, I am ending my Ironmand World Championship by running 26.2 miles.

As if running a marathon wasn't hard enough, I choose to run 26.2 miles after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. A marathon is certainly never under-valued for the every-day running enthusiast who strives to be a marathon finisher and I can't say it enough that I am so incredibly grateful for what my body allows me to do for a total of 140.6 miles. I realize that I could choose just to be only a swimmer and "only" swim 2.4 miles in the ocean. I could also be only a cyclist and "only" bike 112 miles. Or, I could only be a runner and  "only" run a marathon.

But as a competitive athlete, my mind demands more to prove my toughness. I have chosen a multi-sport lifestyle because it not only challenges my body but also my mind. Seven Ironman finish lines ago, I decided I didn't want to settle for single-sport finishing lines. Absolutely nothing wrong with each sport performed alone but I have dedicated year after year to become the best multi-sport athlete I can be.

As an endurance triathlete, I realize that I have a lot on my plate. Oh yes, life is hard enough to manage but on top of that - nutrition, sport nutrition, stretching, strength training, training, racing, sleep. It's a lot to be an athlete, let alone an endurance athlete.

I take my sport, which is a voluntary sport, very seriously.

And what keeps me smiling throughout every race is knowing that I have trained myself to handle the mental demands of race day.

It's easy to sign up for an Ironman but you must have the motivation to train. Your inner drive keeps you going because of a meaningful goal that keeps you moving forward through soreness, bad workouts, injuries and stressful days.

The Ironman demands taking risks and learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And success as an Ironman athlete doesn't mean that you have the perfect pacing and nutrition plan but instead, that you are able to stretch your physical and emotional limits. When the body and mind want to give up, shower and lay down on the couch - you have to find a way to silence the screaming in your body so that you can finish what you started.
The Ironman requires that you handle competitive pressure in a good way so that you do not throw away hard work, good coaching and proper planning because you are nervous to see what the body will actually do when you put months of training together, of three sports, only for a one day event.
The Ironman requires that you believe in yourself for no one can move your body for 140.6 miles except for your own mind that controls the body to want it more than it has ever wanted it before.
The Ironman requires you to be an amazing person when it comes to adversity. The Ironman tests you when you are most vulnerable - like three weeks out from a race and you get sick or injured or during a race and you lose your fuel, get a flat tire or your GPS malfunctions. The Ironman tests you when the forecast isn't in your favor. When you feel scared or intimated by things out of your control, the Ironman wants to see how you use experience to adapt to the adversity. The Ironman wants to know if you can avoid making the same mistake twice (i.e. overtraining, poor pacing, etc.) and if you are strong enough to actually accept your mistakes in the first place instead of blaming your own mistakes on the weather or the course.

The Ironman is nothing more than a metaphor of life...although, when you cover 140.6 miles in an Ironman event, you get a big shiny medal and a t-shirt.

What I love about the Ironman, but most importantly as an endurance triathlete, is that I can develop skills during training that I never knew were possible. I can focus on what is important at that moment in time and set goals for myself for the future to keep me waking up every morning to see what I am capable of achieving for that day.
Lastly, the Ironman teaches me the skill of patience. Knowing that you can not cover 140.6 miles by training for a few weeks, the lesson I have learned the most with the Ironman is that hard work feels great. It's not easy and it's not quick and it requires more than just putting in the miles.

The Ironman is a lifestyle and that is what keeps me craving more, year after year. Every time I start a race, I look forward to the opportunity to be with myself all day and to cross the Ironman finishing line knowing that with every race, I am becoming a stronger human being.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After 112 miles, I was excited to step foot on the ground for the first time in 5 hours and 30 minutes. I stopped my computer on my bike and hit lap on my Garmin 910. I handed my bike to a volunteer and bent over to remove my shoes. I carried my shoes with me through transition which was a long run all the way around the entire pier.

I finally reached my T2 gear bag which contained two gel flasks, my 110% Visor, a clean pair of socks, my bib number + race belt (with safety pins attached), my Brooks Launch running shoes (with lace locks) and a small hand towel and then headed inside the Women's changing tent.

I was very unsuccessful at emptying my bladder fully on the bike so as soon as I put on my shoes, clean socks (kept my compression CEP calf sleeves on) and visor (with the help of a volunteer giving my ice cold water), I went straight to the port-o-potty in the Women's changing tent.

One of my rules with needing to go to the bathroom during races is go the first moment you feel the urge. Do not wait until it gets too late and the transition area is a great place to go as there is a better chance you will find more potties than on the course with athletes.

Completely relieved after I went to the bathroom (I made us of my time by putting on my bib number belt), I stretched out my legs and walked until I left the changing tent until it felt "right" to run. I was in no immediate rush as I knew all was going well - no GI distress, great pacing and if all goes well, a very exciting PR.

After leaving transition area, I was mobbed by spectators. Of course, everyone was behind the barricades but they gave me so much amazing energy. I saw a few friends in the crowd (Lane Vogel and Lacey - thank you!) and made my way a bit up Palani, to the right and then down Hualani to veer left on to the notorious Alli drive.


I had mentally and physically prepared myself for this run. I completed the 3 x 2 hour runs which were all off the bike (1-2 hour bikes) and felt much stronger than in Placid 14 weeks ago. Also, I was reminded by a good friend of mine and a phenomenal top triathlete that when you become stronger on the bike, running is much easier off the bike. My power had improved 10 watts in 14 weeks which for me, is huge on the bike but most of all, my body was healthy and 90 days of no running meant lots of hip work to bring me to Kona with a strong body.


The run course is exciting and beautiful....until you step foot on the Queen K hwy around mile 10.

So to soak up all the excitement, I could not wait to see Gloria outside of our condo, just 2.7 miles down the road. It was the highlight of my day as I knew she would be cheering for me and I just hoped she had a message for me from Karel and my parents.
video





I'm not going to sugar-coat the run but the first few miles took a while to pass. I was feeling good in my body but it was just an overwhelming amount of energy to hold on to that I struggled to get my rhythm. I needed to go to the bathroom (nothing was distressing my GI system, I just needed to go and the body was telling me to do so) so I went to a potty and it was being occupied. This was just after I saw Gloria so I am thinking around mile 4 or so, just about 1.5 miles before the turn around. I stood outside the potty for what felt like forever but it was only about 30 sec or so until I decided to continue on to the next potty. Ah - relief.

I stuck with my plan of mostly going by RPE with a goal pace of around 8:30, if I ran faster, I would walk until I reached my goal pace. If I was slowing down a bit on the inclines, I would accept that time as I knew a decline was coming and I would still walk 20-30 seconds. I started walking at mile 2 and mentally stimulating, the mile markers were not at each aid station! This made things feel so much better as I walked the aid stations which meant I was walking just after each mile marker. It's odd but when you are running a marathon, something has to keep the mind occupied and I like to do math.

I was monitoring my current pace and average pace for the entire run. This was very helpful for me because I noticed that even with the walking (just like in training) I was not losing a lot of time all at once. I would gradually see my average pace go down but I was hoping for a 3:40-3:50 marathon and I had plenty of room to achieve that. I trusted myself and nutrition with my flasks and occasion coke + ice from the volunteers when needed. I had paced myself on the bike and as long as I was keeping myself cool with ice cold sponges and ice down my bra top, all would be in my favor. Just one step at a time.

After the turn around, I felt accomplished. I mentally broke down this run into sections.

Get to first turn around. Get to Palani. Climb Palani. Run the 4 miles on Queen K hwy to energy lab. Run the 2 miles to turn around in energy lab. Run 2 miles back up the false flat in energy lab. Reach mile 20 on Queen K Hwy. Reach mile 24 and know you only have 2 more miles to go. If Campy can run 2 miles, you can run two miles. Reach mile 25 knowing you are almost home. Soak in the last 1 mile - you do it! 

The way back on Alli drive felt harder than the beginning but it was nothing that I couldn't handle. I just couldn't find my groove and with my experience in IM racing, I knew it would come.

Nearing mile 8, I started to feel really good. Perhaps because I was approaching town and the cheers were coming or maybe it was because I had passed Gloria again and received instant energy from her. Whatever it was, as I made my two climbs out of town and toward the Queen K (I couldn't WAIT to walk at the aid station on Palani but it was near the top and seemed to take forever as I shuffled my way up), I really looked forward to the Queen K hwy.
                                                 

                                     
With 2007 being injured in Kona, 2011 having GI issues...2013 Kona was the year that I would run happy.
                                         
                                                       
                                       
There were only two spectator-allowed areas on the Queen K hwy and they both occurred within the first 2 miles on Queen K hwy. So beyond mile 12 or so, it was quite - aside from the occasion athlete throwing up, peeing/pooping in the pushes and what looked to be many cramping and bonking bodies struggling between each aid station.

But, then there were the success stories. Seeing the pros, my friends (go KATIE  THOMAS!) and so many other athletes who were racing in the Kona for the first time. My own nutrition athletes (Christine, Fran and Nicole) and many friends who I have met along the way.

I tried to get my mind to a happy place - like I was running in my neighborhood, on a Sunday with pancakes waiting for me at home. I kept trying over and over to "feel" like that but I couldn't get myself there. My mind new I was in Kona...so did my body. I was hot, getting tired and using all my strength to get to each aid station. My goal was to slow down the least amount possible and I knew those last 3 miles would make or break my race. I did not walk between any aid station (aside from two potty stops on the course + transition. No GI issues, just nature calling and a sign that my body was functioning beyond normal for an Ironman) and unlike my past 6 Ironmans, I consciously paid attention to my overall time.

As I was nearing the energy lab, I was not scared. I knew what to expect. Never on the course did I feel overheated and I used the energy lab as a place to relax - as much as possible. I was not concerned with my pace from miles 16-20 and I just kept telling myself "keep moving forward. You will get there. You will get there." Sometimes I said it out loud "You are going to get there and you will PR."

I even told other people I was going to PR. I needed to verbally say it out loud as I knew I could easily surrender to the voices, the pain and the fatigue at any moment. I new my aid station stops were getting longer but between them I was running strong 8:05-8:30 min/miles. I knew I could keep this up, I just needed help to get there. I saw a friend that I met in Kona, Sherry Anne and she offered great help. She looked strong running and as we walked through the aid stations together, we exchanged supportive words. I watched her running form and tried to emulate it - that really helped.

A girl from Australia who was playing cat and mouse on the bike, run up to me on the run. Kristy helped me have the race of my life.

Mile 22 of an Ironman is an odd place. Feeling so close yet 30+ minutes of running feels like forever.
Kristy and I chatted, talked about how many IM's we have done, what we do, where we are from. I wasn't able to chat in full sentences but enough to make mile 22 go by as quick as to be expected in an Ironman. I asked Kristy about her day and she asked about mine. I told her I was going to have a big PR today as long as I keep moving forward.

I asked her to help me get to mile 24. She pushed me like I've never been pushed. It wasn't the type of lactic acid push as if I was running a 5K but instead, making me run a pace that felt uncomfortable and it was risky. But it worked. I was picking up the pace, even if I didn't have to but it was enough to give me confidence that I could finish this race stronger than I have ever raced before.

I told Kristy at mile 24 that I needed to hold back a bit but thanked her for the push. She ran ahead but I ended up catching back up at the last aid station on Palani. I no longer walked but instead sprinted down Palani. I told her I needed to go under 10:40 because that was my goal. She cheered for me. I saw my friend and pro triathlete Haley Chura, she cheered for me.

It was all becoming real. All I needed was mile marker 24 as confirmation that I was finishing this race in a PR. Checking my watch, my initial goal of 10:35 was slightly out of sight so sub 10:40 was driving me for the last 25 miles.

My cheeks hurt so bad because I was smiling so big. It felt much better to hurt in my face than in my aching quads.

video


But all around - I felt good. I never felt a low and I reminded myself of that. I tried to reflect as much as possible in 1 mile as I could - on the past two IM finishes in Kona, the past 6 Ironman finishes, going into IM Lake Placid (with what I felt was unpredictable run fitness to say the least) with Karel about to do his first IM and then me shockingly Kona qualifying and having a 10 min PR. I thought about the obstacles that I have faced in the past year, the struggles in life and a few happy moments that came to mind. I was so lucky to have Gloria there with me and so many fans cheering from afar. I missed my parents and wished they could have been there but I knew they were watching me all day. I thought about Campy who always thinks I am a winner and I thought about Karel who believed that I could have the day I was having.

I had so much support on the course from Gloria, friends and friends from afar and then came the finish line.

There it was. The finish line chute.




The shortest part of the race that is looked forward to the most.


I was beyond excited about how the day went but one thing I didn't expect was happening...

My legs did not feel fresh.

Aren't legs suppose to all of a sudden feel fresh in the finishing line chute?

Doesn't everyone look great crossing that finish line?



Oh, with every stroke, pedal and foot strike. It was time.

I ran up the finishing line and my body was officially done.


PR - CHECK.



10:37:10

6 minute PR from IM Lake Placid.
PR Kona Swim
PR Kona Bike
PR Kona Run: 3:51:14 (8:49 min/mile - with planned walking miles 2-24)



31st age group (30-34)

RESULTS

7x Ironman Finisher, 3x Ironman World Championship finisher



Thank you Body. 

10/20/13

Kona RR: 112 miles



It takes a long time to bike 112 miles, so I will make this relatively short. I will also conclude this blog with a few tips on how to be a better endurance rider. 


The Ironman World Championship bike course is relatively boring. Although you have an ocean view for almost the entire 112 mile bike ride, you are surrounded with desolate roads in the company of lava fields. The most interaction you will get, aside from packs of cyclists trying to abide by the “no drafting” rules for 112 miles on rolling hot asphalt, are the cheers from amazing volunteers every  10 miles or so and the occasional group of spectators standing outside their nearby resort.


The first section of the Ironman World Championship bike course stays under the radar when it comes to the notorious Queen K hwy and climb to Hawi but it is far from unexciting.


After leaving transition area, we make a left turn and then take a climb past a shopping center to meet Queen K hwy. We then head south and continue to climb until we reach Palani. The same course that we “get to” run up, is the same course that we fly down on our bikes….only 6+ hours earler and likely 10-15 degrees cooler (It was ~82 degrees per Garmin 500 when we started the bike). Although it is great to soak-in the 2-3 row deep of spectators, you have to be very careful not to enjoy the scene as you are forced to make a sharp left turn onto Kuakini hwy. This section is only a few miles long each way but it is a nice time to get into the zone. Knowing that the race is not made in the first 20 miles of the race, I choose to take this section easy and to enjoy the free speed heading back into town after the first turn around at the top of the steady climb on Kuakini hwy. I was also greeted by my cheering roomie along the road which just made my day since I hadn’t seen her since 5:30am.


video

After climbing back up Palani road, it was time to enjoy the view on Queen K hwy (19) for the next 32-35 miles until we make a left turn onto 270. 



The Kona bike course is not technically challenging but it does require the ability to be smart. Having two world champ bike rides behind me, I discussed with Karel as to how I would “race” the bike as we both knew my fitness was there for a PR bike. With IM Lake Placid behind me, I had the endurance so Karel just focused on getting me faster…it worked. My power improved without the fatigue from long miles. What a great feeling to go into this bike and trust my current level of fitness and ability to execute on this course.
My plan, just like in training, was to break the race into intervals. With my Garmin 500 screen showing me normalized power, average lap power, average speed, lap speed, current cadence, lap time (I choose not to wear a HR monitor during the race because my HR rarely changes with endurance training and I know enough about my body that I was not going to be limited by my HR on race day). At every specific point on the course that would signify a change, I would hit the lap button. I hit start when I started the bike and hit lap when I started on queen K. I then hit lap about every 20 minutes on the queen K hwy and at every aid station, I would also shake my legs out and sit up as I grabbed water to cool my body and to rinse my mouth. I made sure that at every single aid station I grabbed cold water to pour inside my Lazer helium helmet and on my body. I choose to not wear an aero helmet (just like in Placid) because I don’t feel comfortable with them on my head (practiced with them and they give me a headache), also, I get out of my saddle especially on rollers or climbing so it doesn’t benefit me for my up and down motion and lastly, I feel much cooler with a regular helmet with ventilation.



I had 4 bottles with me on the bike (1300 calories) and 1 gel flask (250 calories) for a total of 1550 calories. I felt energized the entire bike but I also have to thank Karel for giving me a great training plan to prepare for this race as well as a great racing strategy.

Nearing 270, I felt great. I had checked the weather the morning of the race and took out my course map to draw arrows as to which way the wind direction was going throughout the morning. The weather showed SSE until 10am and the SSW until 1pm and then S. I knew that we would get some strong side winds heading back and Karel told me ahead of time to ride “strong” the last 25 miles. In other words “Do not overbike the first 60 miles of the bike to Hawi”.


I took this amazing weather forecast as “free speed” and not as an "easy" day. There's nothing easy about an Ironman and absolutely nothing easy about running a marathon after biking 112 miles in Kona, Hawaii. 



 I conserved my effort but I also knew that just because we had some help with the wind at our back to Hawi (and shockingly calm conditions for the 6 mile climb to Hawi) this was not the course to take a lot of risks for any athlete who enjoys the tail winds too much will pay on the way home. I knew what to expect coming back North on Queen K and I didn’t let my mind jump ahead as to what that would feel like. I trusted Karel’s plan to stick to my own watts and to be sure I had energy on the last 30 miles of the bike for rollers in tailwinds are great but rollers in cross winds feel 10x worse.

Once you make the turn on 270, there are rollers and it is a windy section to the slight turn to Hawi. The climb is not steep like Placid climbing but it is enough to cause conversations in your mind as to how you will feel after you reach the turn around at mile 60 and then ride back home in crosswinds…only to finish the day with a marathon on a very hot, rolling course.

The turn around at Hawi was very welcomed and I really stayed in the moment on this day to keep focused on myself (nutrition, mind, body) but also the honor to race with the top athletes in the world. Watching the pros ride in the opposite direction was surreal – where else do age group athletes get to race next to and at the same time, on the same course as the professionals?

I stayed up with my nutrition every 10 minutes and made sure to conserve my effort back to Queen K hwy. 270 is a very hot stretch of road and for about 90 minutes, my garmin data showed an average of 95 degrees and I could feel that! I was glad I used cold water at the beginning for keeping my core temp controlled was critical for good muscle contractions for running off the bike.

There’s no way around it but the ride home was challenging. It was really windy. However, I felt strong. Despite 1 hour of riding at 16.67 mph, I felt good and knew that I didn’t have to question my speed for my overall pace and time reflected that I was having the bike ride of a lifetime and with a little math being calculated in my head, I was on the way to a PR day and three PR’s for my 3rd Kona. Holding back in the swim was the best thing I could have done for I had the energy on the bike when I knew I could take a few little risks and get myself ahead. I felt strong enough that I was able to pass people and that validated my pacing strategy that it was all paying off by being patient for 80 miles.

The last 25 minutes were great, nearing town it was a relief that it was time to run. All those bricks for the past 22 weeks were ready to come into play for my body was actually hungry to run. For the first time, I wasn’t ready to get off the bike and I also wasn’t dreading the run. It was one of those moments where mentally and physically I was in a great place.

Checking my garmin overall time, I was shocked and the first person I wanted to hear his reaction was Karel. I could just hear him as I was dismounting my bike “wow!” Karel knows that cycling has been a big work in progress but he has never given up on me and I have never given up on myself. It took a lot of smart training and a lot of patience but on October 12th, 2013, every solo workout, hip exercise, bike fit and suffering behind Karel’s wheel was lumped together for a 10 minute PR since 2011 IM World Championship. Because my last three IM qualifiers have been on hilly courses (IMKY, IMWI, IM Placid) it’s hard to compare times but after Placid, I had improved my IM Pace by 10 watts and knew I was going into Kona as a stronger, faster and smarter cyclist.

Stats from my garmin:
5:29:13 for 111.98 miles
2832 KJ
Power average 148
Cadence 81
Average speed 20.41mph
Average temperature – 90 degrees

Splits:
23 minutes: 157 W, 20.54mph
20 minutes:  144 W, 24.07mph
21 minutes:  158 W, 23.94mph
20 minutes  152 W, 24.55mph
1 hour: 150 W, 21.2mph
16 minutes: 161 W, 17.09mph
54 minutes: 146 W, 20.97mph
20 minutes: 148 W, 20.95mph
1:04 minutes: 148 W, 16.67mph
26 minutes: 125 W, 19.11mph

Stats from Ironman.com



Ok – so now that you anxiously await the 26.2 mile run that helped me experience a 6 minute PR since Lake Placid, I want to talk about a few key things that are important when it comes to riding strong for 112 miles.


-On the days leading up to the race, I heard many people talk about the winds in Hawi. Word got out from those who had “tested” the winds during taper week that the winds were so strong that it was hard to stay upright, it was almost scary. I choose to ignore those comments. Thankfully I also had Gloria with me to ease any worries in my mind. Not only did I feel it was energy costing to do a race warm-up in the Hawi winds but also, there was nothing to prove that we would have those winds on race day. Although it is always good to be prepared for the worst and enjoy anything better than what you expected, it is also important to not waste energy on things out of your control. You can’t control the weather but you can physically and mentally prepare for it. As Karel says “you can never beat the wind – don’t try”.


-I have been very open about my “train smart and hard, recover harder” training philosophy which includes low volume, relative to many Ironman distance training plans or philosophy’s of coaches. This is a challenging topic for as athletes, we are always on the verge of injury and burnout for if we are not teetering on the edge, we may be limiting our potential. However, the key to not falling off the edge is to train with the least amount of training stress, in order to receive the most physiological training adaptations.
Since the 10 weeks prior to IM Lake Placid on June 28th and until October 12th, 2013, my “long rides” were no more than 112 miles…and I only did that once at the end of June. 99% of my bike rides were time based and I only did 4 x 5 hour rides. 99% of the time, I had a planned run off a long bike, anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on when the workout fell with my periodized training plan. Most of my long rides for IM training were between 3 and 4 hours. Yep, that’s it. I never did a single brick (or workout) over 6 hours.
Now you may say that with (now) 7 Ironman’s behind me, I have endurance. However, our other philosophy is “get faster, before you go longer”. Training harder works both the aerobic and anaerobic system for intervals start at above IM pace and then as the intervals get longer and the body gets faster (and covers more distance in a certain period of time), the perceived effort is easier and less energy is expended. Higher intensity efforts are done in our workouts (not super leg burning but just harder than what you would be able to sustain for 112 miles. Also, keeping in mind that the goal is to get faster with endurance training without the residual fatigue for there’s no point to train for 112 miles and race with the same fitness level for 12-16 weeks because the body is too tired to get any faster). This allows the body to use energy stored in muscles (glycogen) and to teach the body to shuttle lactic acid but without risking quick fatigue. Thus, in practice, the lactate and aerobic threshold is raised for a more efficient athlete. Also, with a train harder approach, the other positive outcome aside from getting faster is the increase in cardiovascular efficiency (VO2 max increasing) and improvement in endurance. Lastly, what every athlete hopes for is consistent workouts. A long workout increases the risk for fatigue and overuse injuries because the body is tired and poor form results  - likely at the result of lack of available fuel. With the right workouts (And I blogged many of them with my training over the past 6 months) you will find yourself getting faster and improving endurance at the same time.




-One very important rule for triathletes is to check your ego at the door and forget what happened when it happens. Don’t compare yourself to other athletes, don’t get upset if you can’t perform like you’d like to perform at the specific moment in time and most of all, don’t try to make up time. When you finish the swim – it’s over, forget about it and don’t try to make up time on the bike. When you are on the bike – this is where you can set yourself up for a strong or suffering run. Many times, it’s much better to hold back a bit on the bike in order to run steady and strong on the run. Remember, as a triathlete, it’s not about finishing a race and bragging about your bike split from miles 1-56 of the bike or perhaps the entire bike ride. As a triathlete, you don’t have to be a great cyclist but instead a good swimmer, cyclist and runner. Knowing that a great race day performance is about executing, stay within your own fitness abilities and have a race plan that allows you to execute with your current level of fitness with the conditions you are given on race day (terrain and weather).