Friday, June 29, 2012

Bike Maintenance 101

This weekend is something I have been looking forward to dreading for a while. With assistance from an incredible group of people from I AM TRI, I will be able to ride the bike route for Ironman Louisville.  When contemplating doing an Ironman, I knew I did not want to sign up for IM-Wisconsin which is known for its tough hills. I was not looking for hills. I was looking for a nice flat course. So I signed up for Louisville.


A dirty Dolce
The Louisville bike course has a total ascent of 2198 ft. Yah, good idea. "No hills". I guess that was back in the days of my naivety. 

As I've learned more about myself, I put my best foot forward when I have a clear understanding of what I'm facing and I have my mental game 100% turned on. So when  I AM TRI  posted several opportunities to come down to Louisville and experience the courses first hand, I knew I had to do it. 

In order to have a great weekend of riding, I wanted to make sure my Dolce was in the best possible shape. I've chosen to stay with a road bike instead of investing in a tri bike. So I've tried to make sure adjustments which will allow me to have a comfortable ride without sacrificing too much speed.
Dirty, grime and goop With temperatures expected to climb to 103 on Saturday, I wanted to get an Aero Bottle installed on the front of my bike. I spent the morning at Little Ade's in Pekin where I learned a little bit about bike maintenance.

Apparently, I am a bad bike owner because I haven't been properly taking care of my baby. I'm surprised I didn't get shamed out of the shop bringing my Dolce in looking like this. My chain was covered in red dirt. The frame covered in muck and goop. Slowly, I was introduced to the joys of cleaning a bike chain, joint and chain lub and walked out of the shop with an armful of products.

Abby cleaning the Dolce.
My little princess, Abby, came out to help me with the bike cleaning. She helped me wash and dry the frame, joints and chain. Of course, on a day where the temperature exceeded 90, she was more than happy to come out and play in the hose for a while. On the other hand, I think she's been rather bored for the last few days and having a little project probably captured her active little mind.

All cleaned up and ready to ride!

We finally got the Dolce all cleaned up. She looked all bright and shiny,  ready for some lub. This is the part where I started to feel a little nervous. What if I lubbed something which didn't require it? Using a wax based lub for the chain, I about broke my back squirting, turning peddles, wiping the excess lub off and lubing some more. I think I burned quite a few  calories just cleaning up the bike. The staff at Little Ade's explained when lubbing plan on spending 10% of your time putting on the lube and 90% of the time wiping off the excess.

Look at that shine!
Unfortunately, I had to take a drive into Peoria to visit a second bike shop to see about the Aero Bottle for my Dolce. With the clip on bars, I wanted to make sure I was getting the correct bottle for my specific needs. Luck be a lady tonight! I found the right system (in stock) for my bike; however, reading a black and white instruction sheet with 2x2 pictures explaining the details of the installation is where my patience came to an end. I decided it was time to wait for my road crew to come home from work and with assistance from a YouTube video, the bottle and bracket was installed with ease.
I was a little worried about cutting the straw on my aero bottle however.  I decided to take it for a spin with the extra long tubing just to make sure the bottle wouldn't fall off before cutting the tube. Some reviews of the Profile Design Aero bottle did mention issues with splashing, but the YouTube video made it sound as if the splashing would be minimal, if any.  Now call me crazy, but that aero bottle made a mess even with the yellow mesh properly (?? maybe ??) installed. My hands were sticky as they gripped the aero bars. My legs were dripping in a red stream from my knee down to my shoes. I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to make an adjustment and reduce the splash. The roads around the county can be bumpy, but I'm not sure I will find smoother roads to train on any time soon.
My other concern is finding the correct motion to dump a bottle of fluid into the aero bottle without dumping half of it down me and my Dolce. 
I guess I'll have to wait until the weekend to talk to the real Ironman experts to see if they have any advice for me. Maybe there is some secret devise to enable me to have fluids available at the ready without turning into a sticky bun!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Z3 High Octane Bars

Last week I attempted my first Century bike ride with several members from T3. My 100 mile ride was mainly fuel by Hammer Perpetuem, Hammer Heed and Gu Gels. I even had some Shot Bloks with me, but I didn't take any on the ride.  In the middle of my ride, my stomach felt a little bloated and I remembered thinking I would be in trouble if I had to get off my bike and run at this point. 

I am an avid podcast listener, primarily in the fitness and nutrition categories. (Go figure, huh?) Several podcasters including Ben Greenfield and Jon of Garden Variety Triathlon Podcast, discuss fueling concepts which go against the current high carbohydrate, pure glucose protocol. Ben Greenfield promotes a low carbohydrate lifestyle for the endurance athlete. Jon promotes a plant based diet for triathlons.

As a Type II Diabetic, fueling with pure glucose doesn't make sense to me. Sure, I know I need the fuel for my system, but what is it doing to my glucose levels? When the glucose burns off, will I bonk? All of these questions made me wonder about alternative fuels which can incorporate fat, protein and glucose while eliminating preservatives and additives. 

Most of the energy bars I've tried seem to have some type of icing or chocolate covering on them. Has anyone else thought about this? How am I supposed to eat this things without becoming a hot, sticky mess while eating coated energy bar in August in Louisville, KY??? 

I have found a mission. I am going to find the perfect energy bar which I can create (No laughing from those of you who know how little actual cooking or baking I do.) which isn't coating with sugar which will melt all over before I even have a chance to enjoy them.  

Mixing the ingredients
I put a request out on Facebook asking friends if they have any recipes for me to try and I got crickets chirping. So instead I decided it was time to check things out with my friend Google. I found a Z3 High Octane Bar. The recipe is simple, requires no oven (which is fabulous on a hot summer day where the temperature is 102) and contains fiber, fat, protein and carbs. Each bar contains 340 calories, 45g Carbohydrates, 5g of Dietary Fiber, 16g of Fat, and 10g of Protein. 

The ingredient list was simple and straight forward, which of course I need: quick oats, natural peanut butter (I chose Chunky), honey, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, flaxseed and whey protein powder. I also picked up supplies for an additional batch to mix up some bars using dried pineapple and white chocolate chips. Hey, if I'm going to do this,  I might as well have the flavors I really enjoy, right? 

Z3 High Octane Bars
After mixing together the ingredients, all you have to do is press the mixture into an 8x8 pan and refrigerate until ready to serve. I tried a square of the High Octane Bars and they were really quite yummy. I am still concerned about the melting factor considering the bars do have chocolate chips in them, but I thought was a good start to my quest for the perfect energy bar. I am going to package a couple into snack size baggies and try to use them this weekend during my practice ride on the IM-Louisville bike course. 

Do you have a recipe for a energy bar you would like me to test? Send it me! I'm on a mission!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training for the Open Water Swim

With Ironman 70.3 Muncie now just, what?!?!? 10 days away???, I know I need to really focus on the swim and build my confidence. My two week hiatus has not been very helpful in making me reach my goals. 

Once I received my doctors orders to avoid running and weight lifting while taking prednisone, I decided the next week would be devoted to swimming and cycling....with an emphasis on the swimming. 

On Saturday, I swam the required 400 yards for the Tremont Triathlon. On Sunday, T3 held an open water swim at Lake Windermere. On the first lap, I experienced my usual cricked open water swim veering hard to the right. In order to gather my thoughts and calm myself, I did flip over on my back for about one minute. However, I reminded myself that one lap around the lake was somewhere between 400-500 yards and I knew I could complete that. 

The first lap is always the hardest. I really must remember to do a warm up before taking off in the future. I don't know what it is, but that first one or two minutes of accelerating your heart rate can really be tough. I did two more additional laps, but again I had issues with my Monster Banishers! The right side is continuing to leak even after tightening and trying to adjust them. 

On Monday, I went to the 11 am lap swim at the Tremont Pool. I had 50 minutes to do the following workout: 
WU: 500
MS1: 3 x 50 (20") Descend 3 x 50 (15") Descend 3 x 50 (10") Descend. Set Total: 450
MS2: 4 x 100 (20") Descend, 4 x 100 (15") Descend. Set Total: 800
MS3: 400 any pace you like, counting strokes and focusing on form.
CD: 100 easy
Total: ~2250

For some reason, my goggles were not a problem on Monday and I was thrilled. I felt good about being back in the water and building my strength in the swim. I came back to the pool on Tuesday without a swim plan. I just wanted to be in the water after my time trial bike ride. Abby came with me to the lap swim because she is now trying to get ready for the Mini Triathlon the park district will be putting on this August. Since she's not doing swim team this year, she needs the time in the water; however, she was quickly bored with swimming laps. Instead, I asked her to help me out. 

For the lap swim, the pool staff sets up 3 swimming lanes; however, I wanted to swim without lanes to simulate the open water. I took over the other half of the pool closing my eyes testing my ability to swim straight...and then I asked Abby to beat on me as I swam by. I figured my eyes were closed. I wouldn't know when it was coming and it would be great practice for Ironman Muncie

A friend sent me this link after I posted on Facebook about how my daughter enjoyed helping me train for the open water swim.

To say the last, Abby truly enjoyed her chance to beat on her mommy. She took a couple of pot shots, but all in all she did a great job. She even grabbed my ankles and threw the kick board in front of me so I had to practice swimming over someone else (like I could really do that anyway). I almost choked on the water laughing at her enjoyment.

What strange measures have you taken to prepare for an open water swim? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The next challenge

As I sat here quietly enjoying my computer veg out time, I received this text from Awesome Cheryl
I found our next challenge after iron man!  Patagonia expedition race!  373 miles of hiking, biking and kayaking.  10 days. 
My response: 
Oh my, you like to push me all the time. Give me a year to say no no no & then we'll register.  
That's how it happened before we signed up for Ironman Louisville.  I said No No No and then (sucker) registered. 

And you all wonder why I do this shit.   

Race Review: Tremont Triathlon 2012

The 5th Annual Tremont Triathlon was held on Saturday, June 23rd, and yours truly was an active participant for the fourth consecutive year.  I wish I could say this race was no big deal for me. I mean heck - I'm training for an Ironman; however,  it doesn't matter if it's a Sprint, Olympic, running race or otherwise, I get nervous. 

Coming into T1
Nervous to the point of thinking "Why am I doing this?". Luckily, I was able to start my pool swim early in the morning and I didn't have to wait long before getting started. When I registered, I anticipated my 400 yard swim would take 7:30. Maybe 8, but I was determined to see an improvement in my swim times; however, coming off a week vacation where I did a couple of ocean swims and nothing the week leading into the sprint tri, my swim was not where I wanted it to be. Add in leaking goggles (yes, my new monster chasers!) and I was more than a little disappointed with my 9:12 swim time! (NOTE: This was my 2nd slowest swim time ever!!!! 2011 - 9:09. 2010: 8:57. 2009 - 9:31. Wow. Sad.) I did have to push my negative little devil, Diablo, to the bottom of the pool again as well. For me, swimming sucks...unless you work at it consistently. 


Heading out on the bike
Halfway through my swim, I realized I hadn't started my Garmin. Grrr. a quick hit or 2 on the lap button and we were back in business. I also discovered that I like to talk way too much in transition. My husband and Awesome Cheryl were there at T1 cheering me on and I just started chatting away. Transition time: 2:18. (Very important to note). 

Lesson Learned #2: SHUT UP!!!

I took off on the bike. I was a little worried how my legs were going to hold up considering I just did a 100 mile bike ride on Thursday, but luckily my body recovered fairly well. I wouldn't say they were 100%, but at least 90%. So I felt good on the bike. Two of the big boys from T3 quickly I couldn't even identify one of them. Then a 62 year old man passed me. Say what??!?! Are you kidding me? Ooooohhhh no! That ain't gonna fly with me. I stayed within a 100 yards of him until the bridge going over I-155. I actually passed someone on a hill!!!! I passed him and didn't look back. Booyah! 

I finished the bike in 45:56 minutes, an average of 17.6 mph. I transitioned to the run in 1:26....after stopping, turning around and throwing my sunglasses back to my stuff. Grrr. Now all I needed was to scratch them up, but I really didn't want to run with them on. The first half mile is usually pretty tough on the legs. While they weren't easily striding, I didn't feel as if they were cement blocks either. I was sure I was running an 11 minute mile though and decided to be brave and look at my Garmin. 9:00 minute pace! Hahaha, yes, it's going to be a good day. I wasn't even pushing. I felt relaxed, comfortable and happy!

I see the finish line
The run portion of the Tremont Tri can be a little hot. There isn't a lot of shade out on the run portion, but it's a nice segment of road where we don't have to worry about oncoming traffic. I was a little disappointed at the aid stations. The volunteers were sitting down, reading and pointing to the glasses as runners came up asking for water. Since I knew most of young ladies who had volunteered their time, I felt comfortable giving quick slightly harsh instructions on what they should be doing. 

Shortly after the aid station I felt my #@*#*# shoe lace come untied. Are you serious? I stopped to do a quick tie job and took off again. I finished the run leg of the tri in 28:40 with a 9:15 pace. In the past, I've dealt with leg cramp, but not today. Not a single cramp in sight and I finished feeling good! Total tri time: 1:28:49.9. A new person best!!!! However, 4th in my age group. Seriously?!? By just over two minutes....ahhh! If only my goggles hadn't leaked....If only I didn't turn around to throw my sunglasses....If only I didn't have to tie my shoes.....If only I didn't talk so much in transition....If only, I could have brought home some hardware!! Oh well. I knew today was more about gaining confidence and getting my #1 goal - a personal best!

Here comes my honey finishing her 1st Triathlon
Now it was time for more  important things - cheering on my hubby in his first triathlon ever. After 4 years of him being my road crew and chief supporter, Awesome Cheryl & I were going to be there for him. (She took most of these pictures by the way!)

Unfortunately, our family calendar hasn't been very training friendly for Jeff. With softball and swim team most nights during the week, games and meetings, he didn't have a lot of time to train. I think he had a few of the "Why the hell did I sign up for this thing?" thoughts before starting his swim as well. He looked nice and relaxed in the pool, transitioned to the bike and took off.  His bike time was just over 50 minutes with a 16.0 mph pace. Nice for a rookie and better than my first few triathlons. Transitioning to the run was tough. While he had been running, he didn't do any bricks prior to the triathlon. I think the shock to the legs made his legs feel a little tighter than usual. He finished the tri in a PERSONAL BEST of 1:44:53.2.

Triathlon Newbie, Bruce
Triathlon Newbie, Bret
Awesome Cheryl and I took a volunteer spot at the final curve cheering on the final finishers of the day. We were able to watch 1st time triathletes achieve their goals. Apparently, it's a rule for the male newbies to wear neon pee green shirts for the run. Hahah. A few of the newbies told me I was crazy for training for an Ironman. Yah, I know. I've realized this more than once and had serious doubts regarding my ability to finish, but I will work through it all and make it happen...hopefully. 

A fun group of ladies who did the relay
The best finish for me to watch was an all female relay team called the Schweddy Betties. They decided to enter the tri as a team thinking it would be fun and finished as triathletes wanting to take on the challenge of doing some races as individuals in the near future. As their runner came to the final curve, they all ran in together celebrating their joint accomplishment. 

Lesson Learned #3: Remember to have fun. That is why you started this journey anyway. 

The Tremont Triathlon Team put on the Tremont Triathlon. They put together a 1st class race. It's an ideal race for anyone who is wanting to tip their toe into the sport of triathlon or for an experienced racer who is shooting for a personal best. 

Congrats, T3, on an excellent race as well as to the races who achieved their goals!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Doctor's Orders

Let's suppose YOU are two weeks out from a Half Ironman and the PromptCare doctor tells you not to run or lift weights for the next 5 days because you are being put on prednisone. How would you react? 


Not so gracefully. 

My eyes aren't big anyway, but
this is just plain ridiculous. 
We came home from Vero Beach, FL last Sunday. It was a wonderful, relaxing vacation with family. I'll post more information about that later, but during this past week I've slowly started putting in a lot of time doing a new exercise. It's called scratching. Scratching my legs. Scratching my arms. Scratching my back and then finally on Friday scratching my eyelid. 

This morning I woke up and my eyelid was so swollen I couldn't fully open my eye. It didn't hurt. It was just simply annoying. The area surrounding my eye was puffy and itchy. I just couldn't take it anymore. I decided it was time to visit Prompt Care. 

The staff asked if I had used anything different this detergent, lotion, etc. Right before vacation we purchased some new suntan lotion, but I didn't see how that could be it. New lotion, but a product we've used in the past few years. Because the area around my eye was affected, the doctor prescribed prednisone and told me no running or weight lifting while on the medication.  Ummmm, excuse me? I just registered for a Half Ironman in Muncie. It's less than two weeks away. Apparently, prednisone can cause hip pain and arthritis. So while I can bike and swim, weight bearing exercises are out for the week. That sure is going to make teaching classes and training for my Half Marathon kind of tough!

However, I will listen to the doctor. I know I don't want to mess with the long term affects this powerful drug can have on my body. Interestingly enough, I also have to test my blood glucose levels several times a day since prednisone can cause BG levels to increase. Oh yay! 

After I returned home from Prompt Care, my husband reminded me that we did use a new product called Tide Pods while on vacation. It will take some time and experimentation to find out what exactly caused my body to react like this, but I definitely want to figure it out because a week of no running and no weights for me is definitely crazy talk. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Skinny Rules

I've found a new book to add to my "Have to Read" book list. The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper. I mean seriously who doesn't love Bob? The fabulous and hot trainer from The Biggest Loser who is also an avid CrossFit fan? I know I do. 

Bob's The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin consists of 20 simple rules for weight loss which reflect his no nonsense approach to getting healthy and fit using the only approach which truly works: hard work and commitment. 

Pick up your copy of The Skinny Rules to move toward your goal of getting fit and fabulous. If you want to try his banana-nut cinnamon muffins, watch his clip on MSNBC.