Thursday, April 26, 2012

You know you're a parent and an endurance athlete if...

Sleep is a thing of the past.

You rarely see your significant other because when you finish your workout, they're off for theirs.  Someone has to stay with the kids!

You've ever gone to the gym at a certain time so your kids could see thier friends (who were also at the gym at a certain time so they could see their friends).

You've ever asked which stroller has the least rolling resistance.

You've ever chosen a gym based on child care.

You've ever cleaned children's toys out of the bathtub so you can get in, fully clothed, after that long ride or run in the rain.

You've ever hired a babysitter so you can workout.

You've ever fed the kids dinner in their stroller,while you trained.  Or you ran with the stroller over to a local restaurant and picked up food for the kids, then had them eat while you ran back.

You don't buy sippy cups.  The kids get all they need in bottles in the shwag bags from races.

You've ever worn a macaroni necklace during your workout, or anything similar.

The "Mom Song" is one of your favorite workout songs.

You've ever evaluated a bicycle for it's ability to pull a trailer.

Your expensive race bike is stored next a a pink bike with training wheels or a spiderman bike.

Working out IS your quiet time.

You have to check your workout shoes for action figures, toy cars, and barbie accessories.

You look forward to a workout because you might actually get to pee by yourself.

You've ever used the wii fit while holding a newborn.

You finally get out the door for your workout and you realize you're wearing your child's breakfast.

You know exactly how much time you'll get during nap time.

You've ever planned your workout around Spongebob or Sesame Street.

You've ever put the kid(s) to bed late so you don't have to get up as early for the morning workout.

You've ever used the stroller or trailer to get gear somewhere during a workout.  Without kids.

You can expertly combine workout time for you and play time for the kid(s).

You know which trainer to buy to minimize the risk to little fingers.  Or toes.  Or tongues.

You've ever had to explain that, no, an ironman is not Tony Stark.

You've ever put a bike with training wheels on your trainer to appease a kid.

You've ever had to explain that the medal you came home with meant you finished, not that you won.

You've ever had to schedule your races or training around play dates.

You've ever wondered how old the kids have to be before you can start entering them in races.

You've ever run out of people to watch the kids.

You know you can use baby wipes to clean countless workout accessories, and you'll probably still stock the wipes when you no longer need them for the kids.

You've ever stored your workout nutrition in leftover milk storage bags.

You let your kids drink your leftover workout drink so it doesn't get wasted (without caffeine, of course!).

You brag more about your five year old running her first 1k last month than the 5k you just won this morning.

When your child climbs up the bike that you've spent an exhaustive amount of time and money on, and kept it meticulously clean, and all you do is take pictures.

The only thing you eat after a hard workout is whatever is leftover from the kids' breakfast or lunch.

Your two year old son wears a swim cap and your five year old daughter can expertly put it on him, then another on herself.

You've ever used, or considered using a sippy cup for your nutrition needs during racing or training.

You've ever had to skip songs on the mp3 player while you were working out because they were from your kid's playlist.

You note on your workout logs where you had to slow or stop your workout to help your child with homework. (If you use TrainerRoad, you note it in the notes section that your power dropped because you were helping/dealing with a kid.)

You've ever used kids as an excuse to get out of a workout.

You've ever stored any of your workout supplies in a lopsided clay pot.

There are diapers and wipes in your triathlon bag.

You've got to scroll through the cartoons on your dvr to get to the stuff you wanted to watch while you were on your trainer.

You've ever used nipple cream to prevent chafing anywhere.  Including your nipples.

You've ever extensively researched just how much exercise you could do when you were pregnant, then got told you were doing too much. (Moms)

You've ever stood in front of a mirror and lined up "the girls" before walking outside of your bedroom in a tri suit. (Moms)

You've ever run with a jogging stroller, or trailered the kids behind your bike and called it "training."

My favorites:

Your child wants to do a race like mommy or daddy does.

Your child understands the importance of starting and finishing.  And that winning isn't crucial to a good race.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tri Tip Tuesday

So sometimes, triathletes resort to unusual methods to accomplish a task neccesary for the sport.  In this case, I've got one for you that definitely qualifies as unusual.  Are ya ready for it?

So you're out on a long ride and you're chafing.  AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!  A handy fix is to stop at the closest grocery store or market, and pick up some nipple cream.  That's right, I said nipple cream.  You'll find it in the baby supplies aisle, near the bottles and formula.  It's made from pure lanolin, and you can get a tube small enough to fit in a bento box, jersey pocket, or flat kit bag.  Better yet, that market or grocery store will have a bathroom that you can use to apply that lanolin to legs, arms, and clothing seams; wherever or whatever is chafing.  It tends to be expensive, so this is best used as an emergency "I'm going to have scars when this ride is over" fix, but it will get you to your destination without too much more pain.

Otherwise, get enough lube before you ride or run!   What's your favorite chafing solution?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 2012 Race Report

WOW, what a day!  I went out with some ideas of what I wanted to accomplish, but no real expectation of what would happen. If you read last year's race report, you know I had a few problems in 2011. Switching races, the Austin half iron is a pretty different race in terms of terrain, weather, and who you race against.  So preparing for Galveston race day still held some mysteries for me.

About two weeks before the race, I'd been part of a century ride on the Ironman Texas course.  At mile 3 of 100, I'd hit a small ledge the wrong way and gotten asphalt sandwich for breakfast.  This left me with a few injuries in addition to the adductor sprain I'd sustained during the marathon in February.  So injuries included a AC (shoulder joint) sprain, badly bruised right femur head, sprained adductor, and small patches of road rash on my shoulder, chin, and knee.  The majority of the injuries had healed by race day, with a few shiny new patches of pink skin, with the exception of a still sore femur, and an adductor that still acts up at about four miles. The biggest impact these injuries had was on my training. Swimming didn't get any attention for a full two and a half weeks, and running was slow and easy for about the same time. The only thing that got any real attention was my bike training. Some of this was obvious on race day.

This year my wave went at 7:30 instead of nearly 9 am. Yay! Walking into transition the day before and leaving my bike was an entirely different experience this year. I knew what to expect, I knew what to do, and I felt a lot more comfortable with my gear this year. Getting up early the next morning to get to transition was also much more relaxed than the previous year. Once again, I knew what to expect. I walked my gear in, set up transition, and looked around. One of my favorite things about Galveston is that there is only one transition, and it keeps it simple for me. Then a funny thing happened. Somebody asked my advice. It was the greatest compliment I've gotten in this sport.

Grabbed sunscreen, goggles, wetsuit and cap and wandered out of transition, and over to see the pros start their race.

The next thirty minutes went quick, and soon my wave was jumping in the water to start. The swim went well. About the same as last year, with the exception that we weren't swimming diagonally this year. A kick to the face here (with pause to put my goggles back on), a scratch to the face there, an ankle grab (are we having fun yet?) and it was pretty much business as usual. Rounding the last corner buoy, something strange happened. I'd gotten into a large pack of swimmers, and all of a sudden, I could feel a bit of a pull! I'd heard of this happening, but never really experienced it.  It only lasted a few seconds, but was pretty cool when it happened.
Out of the water and into transition. With a quick stop by the strippers (wink wink). I looked for the biggest guys available and ran to them. RRIIPP! Wetsuit OFF! The rest of transition went so fast for me that at one point, I stood up, looked down and though, "Okay, what am I forgetting?" Out of transition to the bike.

This may forever be my favorite course. It's very nearly a straight line out and back on the sea wall. Both years I've done this race, we had a head wind going out, and a tailwind coming in. There are few hills, and the roads are in great condition. I do have a sneaking suspicion that the bike segment is a little bit longer than 56 miles, but as long as they don't change the bike course, I'm fine with it (so I can continue to see myself improve). You'll notice on the sidebar of my blog the logo for FLEXR Sports.  This was the first race that I got to put their bottles to the test.  I have a bottle on my seat tube, and a torpedo mount on my aero bars. Perfect amount of nutrition and water for 3 hours. I picked up some water from the aid stations, but did not need to keep the bottles with me. I held back on the bike some, and didn't go all out, so I could pace the whole race better.  It turned out to be a good plan.

Back into transition.  Expecting the wind, I took both feet out of the pedals, preparing for dismount and didn't fall this year!  Yay! Run with the bike to my spot, shoes changed, helmet off, hat on, water belt (my nutrition) on.  And.  GO!

And...  The run.  This year's course was different.  Three loops, including a section on the airport tarmac. I. Don't. Like.  I DO like the three laps vs the four, but the four laps had more shade and was more family friendly.  And less wind affecting the course.  But.  Great run overall.  I was pretty happy with it.  Spectators, you guys rocked it!  You shouted out bib numbers of anyone and everyone to encourage and keep us going.  Thanks.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with the run.

So that just leaves a few things to mention.

Overall pretty good.  I need to tweak my bike nutrition just a bit, but once I got off the bike and started running, things were great.  The  FLEXR Sports system really impressed me.  I'll post a review of the setup, but I'll also be upgrading bottles to handle the increased demands for Ironman Texas.  I do want to add that the setup accommodates those using Infinit Nutrition's custom mixes quite well.

Shades and helmet:
I've been reviewing the Rudy Hypermask sunglasses, and this was the last bit of my review process.  I'm happy with them.  I also had to replace my helmet after my wreck in mid March.  I chose the Rudy Slinger.  Great helmet, light and with lots of airflow.

This is my second half iron distance race with a sub six hour time, and I PR'd by almost five minutes.  My transitions were faster, and my run was much stronger.  My swim left something to be desired.  I had a slower swim by less than twenty seconds.  I was disappointed a bit by this because I'm a stronger swimmer this year, and it wasn't as difficult as last year.  But truthfully, I left something out there.  I was trying to pace myself better, and didn't really do a great job of it on the swim.  And I'm sure that the limited swim training following my bike wreck had a small bit to do with not knowing how to pace myself that well.  My bike was also a bit slower.  Once again, pacing.  But, I'm really not too upset because I ran much stronger, and finished with very little left in the tank.  So, much better overall pacing for a strong bike leg and a good swim leg, and a great run.

By the numbers:
Overall 5:52:50 (PR)

Swim 39:59
T1 4:11 (PR)
Bike 3:02:08
T2 3:12 (PR)
Run 2:03:20 (PR)

2011 (for comparison)
Overall 7:11:30
Swim 39:41
T1 6:11
Bike 4:08:35 (roughly 45 minutes worth of flat tires)
T2 3:28
Run 2:23:35

Previous PR 5:57:30 Austin 70.3, 2011

One thing I want to add to my race report is the fact that Lance Armstrong raced this race. Going into Galveston, I had mixed feelings, and I wasn't alone. I respect him, his ability, and what he does for cancer.  But I wasn't looking forward to media issues, security issues, and any other looky loos that we might have to deal with that were only out there for Lance sightings.  Compared to last year, all three of what I mentioned were a little more amped up than, and money was definitely being made off of his racing.  But there was a moment of clarity for me that made this a race I will remember forever. I was heading out on the bike, and I wanted to see how far I could get before I started seeing people coming back the other direction.  I think I was at about the 20 mile mark when the cyclist I was passing pointed out the media train coming back the other direction. Sure enough it was Lance Armstrong himself.  Mr. Yellow Jersey. I realized in that moment, as we cheered for him, that he swam the same bayou that I did, he was riding the same course I was, and he was about to run the same roads I would be. I'm not sure what other sport in the world puts the pros on the same course as the age groupers, but I hope this doesn't change.  Afterward, I heard some funny stories that made him seem even more human, with the same race nerves and nutrition issues that ALL triathletes have to work through.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Galveston: My favorite part of the race

With Galveston in the books, I've had two days to really think about things.  And before I post my race report, I want to tell you about my favorite part of the whole day.  The course is beautiful, and a top contender for my favorite (tied with Kerrville) and I had a great race.  But that wasn't what made my day so great.

Tanya, Marium, Angela, and Brad accomplished something amazing.

Tanya has nearly a dozen triathlons under her belt, and this was her first half ironman. She and I had been corresponding about nutrition prior to the race, but I hadn't met her yet. I got the chance to meet her after the mandatory athlete meeting.  She'd come down with her sister and her eldest child to participate.  Tanya has three kids and is a very busy mom, so fitting in training and racing is hard, but somehow she makes it work!  I learned a lot from her about Eleanor Rocks, uniforms, and endurance.  Fast forward to race day, Tanya had her chain come off the bike near the end of the bike segment, and had a minor wreck.  She got right back on and finished the race.  I saw her after she finished, and she was still trying to cool off from the race.  But, wow!  Tanya, you did an amazing job. You reminded me of why I race, and as a mom and a triathlete, you are an amazing example for other moms around you.  Thanks for making my race so great!

Marium went out to better her time from last year.  2011 was a hard year for many triathletes, and 2012 was no exception.   But I looked for Marium's results because I knew she had been working hard to improve, and she's training for Ironman Texas.  She improved her half ironman time by 43 minutes.  That is an amazing amount of time, and not easily done.  Angela was also trying to improve her time from last year, and met her goal by a full 20 minutes.  And when it comes to transitions, Angela just smoked through them like she's a pro.  Marium and Angela have full lives outside of triathlon, and sometimes find it difficult to meet all the demands of triathlon and their other responsibilities.  But they did it, and absolutely smashed last year's times.  I wish I could have caught up with you guys after the race.  You two did such an amazing job out there!

And last, but not least, Brad.  This guys is relentless.  Also in training for Ironman Texas, this was a tuneup for him.  But his last half ironman didn't go so well.  He'd had a stomach virus the week before, and wasn't able to have the race he wanted to.  This time was different.  He went out there, and rocked the course, putting in a respectable time.  He completely rewrote his own half ironman race standards.  He's given me a new cycling challenge!

The best part of my race was seeing these four people reach their goals and make some amazing accomplishments.  I take the sport of triathlon for granted sometimes, forgetting how few of the general population participate.  It's easy to dismiss major accomplishments when your perspective doesn't match reality.  When you're surrounded by people who excel at such an awesome leveln(aka: eat triathlon for breakfast) it doesn't take long before perception and reality don't match.

Tanya, Angela, Marium, and Brad did an amazing job on Sunday, and while I know more than one of them expressed disappointment, they stepped up to the starting line.  The courage to start requires more than finishing because sometimes things happen, and finishing the race might become impossible.

True courage is starting down a path, knowing what lies ahead may take more than you have to give.