Sunday, October 6, 2013

A newbie goes to a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) event

This weekend I went to my first NASCAR event at the Kansas Speedway, and have to confess that I didn't know anything about the sport. In a Forbes article Steve Odland says "If you haven’t experienced a NASCAR race, you owe it to yourself to see one.  Once you do, you’ll be hooked."

My friend Jan and I spent pretty much all day at the Kansas Speedway watching the KS Lottery 300. On the way over they played the Talladega Nights movie (Will Farrell) on the shuttle, which was hilarious. We were in a nice suite and also went down to the infield for the fan experience behind pit row. It was so loud! From time to time I needed my noise reduction earmuffs. The race started before 3pm and was 200 laps! I thought I'd never get through them, but I was wrong. It was really cool.

We saw a lot of dramatic wipeouts (sometimes people would swipe the walls or clip each other) and some drama between Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski towards the end of the race when there were only a few laps left - &

It is amazing to see the speeds these guys and gals are driving with the precision, technique, and concentration that is required to be able to do that for HOURS! Practice laps were 177-184 mph. It's an adrenaline rush seeing that speed. Can you imagine driving that fast? And on a track with the curves?

The people watching was fascinating...I saw a lot of camouflage, college, and NASCAR clothing. Although I'm not into hunting, I am slight obsessed with camo (I have camo workout headbands, a Snuggie blanket, pants, and now a really cute Kansas Speedway hat with pink embroidery on it). There were a lot of flags in the parking lot - the American flag and college and NASCAR flags. NASCAR fans are some of the most loyal fans in the world, and no wonder they are interested. It's a really high-powered sport.

So after an exciting day at the track, I'm fascinated about learning more. Starting with going back to the beginning and reading about the history..."NASCAR was founded by William France, Sr., on February 21, 1948 with the help of several other drivers of the time. The points system was written on a bar room napkin."

And trying to learn more about the industry and the crazy amounts of money it generates... The average team is worth $143 million generating $100 in revenues? Wow. The industry attracts $3 billion in sponsorship money...twice the amount of the NFL. Wow. That is hardcore.

It's fascinating to think about the level of precision, technology, and skill that are also required by their support teams. It is amazing to see how fast the pit crews service the vehicles during pit stops. Not only do they have to do it fast, they have to do it for safety and optimum performance. There are some cars that we saw make pit stop after pit stop because something wasn't right! It's also interesting how they have to time the pit stops during yellow flag caution laps when the safety crews are cleaning up debris from the track. That way they can catch up again. There is so much more to it than meets the eye...drafting, geometry, design, fueling, etc. Many variables go into optimum performance.

When they have yellow flag caution laps, all of the lead work that the top drivers did to get there has to be done all over again as they get queued up again. It's interesting to see all the jockeying and maneuvering. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye, like driving and racing etiquette (some concepts here One gal in our group mentioned that the drivers had surrounded Kyle Busch after the crash to control and "punish" him after the Keselowski wreck because he was in 2nd/3rd overall at the time, and I hadn't noticed that.

I didn't know that most NASCAR teams are based in North Carolina and many of the drivers live there. The HQ is in Daytona. We got a program at the race and there are so many drivers...I don't have them all memorized yet ;)

I have friends and family that are NASCAR fans, and am happy to learn more about it. I think it's important to embrace new experiences and learn about different things!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Training plans tend to log miles OR duration, and I've always wondered which was best and which to do. So this year I started keeping track of BOTH mileage and duration in a simple spreadsheet that adds the day rows and weekly columns. My coworkers know best that I LOVE spreadsheets. I've now managed to totally geek out and combine my love for Excel with my love for triathlon :) 

In 2012, I logged my second highest mileage total since keeping track starting in 2009. Even after taking 3 1/2 months 'off' after Louisville to do strength training and minimal cardio. The remaining 8 1/2 months totaled 277 hours of training and 2,560 miles of swim/bike/run.

In 2013 my goal is to go back to my roots and have more life balance doing shorter events. That is what I'm built for, and I miss feeling that burn and having that different kind of challenge. Will start off with two 5Ks in January and February to see how slow I am. I will geek out using some of my favorite tools like:

McMillan Pace calculator ~
Triathlon Pace calculator ~
Runnersworld ~

If you are looking to get started on your fitness, check out sites like,, or for training plans, advice, and to search for local races. There are also countless run, bike, swim, and triathlon clubs in KC that you can join to meet up with active people with a spectrum of goals and a variety of paces. If your company does Corporate Challenge, sign up for some events!

We all start somewhere. In 2000, I did my first triathlon via Kansas City Corporate Challenge. I had no swimming background or experience, and did about every stroke imaginable (except Butterfly, lol) to get through that 500 meters. Halfway through, it felt surreal and I stopped and looked around in disbelief that I was out there in the lake. A friend shouted from the shore "Keep swimming Amy!". And I did. 

After years of getting coaching and working on my technique, I went on to swim several distance events including 2.4 mile swims in 2010 and 2012 at Ironman Louisville. Going back even farther to cross country, I had never run more than a mile in my life. Ran a marathon during Ironman and another in 2011.

Don't ever put any self-perceived limits on yourself (let alone let others do that to you). You can do whatever you choose to do if you put your mind to it and work hard. And once you break through, don't forget where you started or the journey. 

If you don't like running, maybe you like group classes or biking. Maybe you like shorter events and not longer. You can try whatever you want to and see what is best for you. Do whatever it is that you want to and enjoy doing, and remember we don't all have to be the same.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ironman 2012 Lessons Learned

" And all the things that break you, are all the things that make you strong. You can't change the past, cause it's gone and you just gotta move on, because it's all lessons learned." ~ Carrie Underwood song

Enough time has gone by for me to reflect on the 2012 Ironman training and the event itself, and to feel ready to post some lessons learned. 

1) I've always been an achievement, improvement, and perfection junkie and pusher. I can turn that on or off and dial it up or down but it still comes with risk of being self-critical to a small extent. I take care not to go too far with that and appreciate & enjoy all the positive things...try to make it a strength and not turn it into a weakness. 

After not finishing in 2012, I have a new, great, deep appreciation and thankfulness for my 2010 Ironman finish. Maybe that one shining moment was where the stars & variables were aligned to the maximum extent, and it was the best I could do. I really thought that I could be faster in 2012 and I was MORE PREPARED. Yet leaving transition #2 I was TWO HOURS slower than my 2010 time. I tried to alter my state of mind from time goal to a finish goal, didn't even want to face not finishing. As with risk management, you have to ultimately be prepared for any scenario but plan for and expect the best result.

2) Doing an event like that has SO many variables where some are in your control and some aren't. It is part luck, planning, preparation, execution, hard work, and mental. I think my biggest mistake was diluting my system with too much water PRIOR to the race...the days leading up to. I was super hydrated for sure, but think that I flushed all the electrolytes out of my body. My nutrition plan during the race didn't lack that. 

3) I can always work on the mental of the reasons I did Ironman was to try to challenge myself to toughen up. But let's face it, I really don't enjoy doing the endurance stuff (anything over ~3 hours where you have to take in nutrition during the workout). It's not fun for me. There are elements that are fun and of value or else I wouldn't do it. I really admire my "fast" endurance friends and the results that they achieve. It isn't a good thing for me to try to compare myself to that. I took myself out of my comfort zone, but it is still more fun to do things you are better at. We all have different skill sets and can't all be the same. I've been doing endurance events for 5 years now and it's time to change things up and have more fun. 

4) There is no shortage of wisdom quotes out there about "quitting". Well sometimes it is the wise thing to do. Coming out of transition 2, I was spent but tried to see if I could string something together for the run. My body was falling off of a cliff and I had 19 more miles to go when a volunteer put some ice on my legs and tried to elevate them. They cramped up so tight, so acutely that I wanted to start screaming. I knew those cramps were a bad sign and there was still so far to go. I ran through all of the scenarios and options in my head. I tried to walk one more mile and felt that the wise thing to do was not put my body at serious risk. The cramps, the heat rash, and I was falling off my nutrition plan. 

I got into a van to go back to downtown, and was sitting next to a 9 (or 10?) time finisher. I decided that this failure to get to the finish line wouldn't define me as a person. My attitude going forward, reaction, and lessons learned would define me. Don't get me wrong, not finishing is profoundly disappointing and it hurts. And it was really not fun having to explain what happened over and over again when I got back. 

But I have to focus on the positive that in 2010 I DID thankful that I wouldn't have that unfinished business because like I said, this isn't super fun for me. I understand both sides a lot better now...the glory of finishing and the agony of defeat. 

5) It is AWESOME having my life back and not having to do hours and hours and hours of long workouts that I don't enjoy. I have more time for everything I need and want to do. I am mixing up my training and focusing on strength again. I will be retiring from anything over Olympic distance triathlons for the foreseeable future.

So there you have it. I think that I've gotten past it in a healthy way. It will always hurt, but time heals all wounds. I choose to focus on the positives, and I will cheer on my friends that choose to do the endurance events! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ironman Louisville 2012 ~ 122.4miles out of 140.6

Thursday August 23rd

Departed for Louisville, this time sans Meagan Leahy, Alex Franz, Carly Farrel, and Mike Coburn. However, 2012 had a big KC contingent with a few veterans and many first timers! Travis Allen, Jon Bohnsack, Brad Cope, Todd Dicus, Heather Evans, Greg Fay, Brandon Goeman, Casey Kershner, Mary Jenkins, Julie Kareck Lopata, Hannah Lubis, Tami Martin, Barry Ogden, Beatriz Pettus, Jessica Provost, Erny Remy, Tom Ruzicka, and Jill Taylor. I arrived in town too late to pick up my packet...drat. Met with Jon and Brandon for pasta. Carbs!!!

Could not believe that this time has finally arrived, 11 months after I signed up AGAIN on 9/26/2011. I said I would never do it again, but I lied.

Friday August 24th

Picked up my packet in the morning then met some of the Louisville group including my 2010 buddy Toby for a drive around the bike course. Minda, who was participating in the wheelchair division was in our group (I saw her on Sunday and said hello on a very hilly part of the bike course). Didn't arrive back until 2pm and started to lay out my gear and special needs bags. Then met up with some KC folks to attend the athlete dinner. I already knew that the Voice of Ironman Mike Reilly wasn't going to be there, and the program was a little um, boring. There were a couple of great videos, including one of an iamtri group member that lost a significant amount of weight. Bravo! After the athlete dinner it was relaxing and early bedtime.

Saturday August 25th

The day before the race. Went to the practice swim in the Ohio River and it seemed to go fine. Grabbed some lunch, worked on my gear bags some more and then my parents rolled into town to meet me. We took my bags and bike down to transition and then went over some of the course info. Then we met Jon, his dad, and Brandon for some more pre-race dinner carbs! We went to Bearno's again on an early reservation. When we came out, there was a crowd waiting. I went back to the hotel and relaxed and got to sleep relatively early. It was a bit overwhelming to think about the magnitude of the race. Oddly enough, I was pretty calm but a bit nervous. The first time you do an Ironman, ignorance is bliss. I didn't have that luxury this time, I knew what I was in for.

Sunday August 26th

Start/Swim 2.4 miles

Woke up at 3:45 AM and got ready, ate a little bit. Met Jon down in the lobby and the plan was for my dad to drive us to transition when it opened at 4:45 and then to the start about a mile away. Brandon had 'ditched' us because he needed to do his own thing. Some people do. We jumped out the car and went in to pump up our tires and put drinks on our bikes. Then we were whisked to the start where we got body marked. As I made my way down the line to look for Brandon and Jon, I met up with Jon to get in line and was shocked that I didn't have to walk very far. We were very very close to the front, because of the new rule about no advance line-holding (camping out) and my dad driving us. I was thinking that we would have been midway through the line, but we guessed that we'd be in the water around 7:05 (it was actually 7:04:41 as I glanced right before jumping in). 

I was feeling nervous, but there really wasn't time for that. The 2 hours pretty much flew by. They were pretty strict about no cutting and no non-athletes in the line to keep things tight. Then they opened up the ramps and we moved forward, kept moving. There wasn't any more time to sit around and relax. They have volunteers come through the line to collect bags so we kept our stuff (phones, etc) as long as possible then gave them up. They played the national anthem, the pros went off, and then it was time to move. We walked down the ramp, and I felt really emotional and apprehensive. I went off dock #1 and jumped...then started swimming the 2.4 miles, 1/3 of the way up around Towhead Island and then 2/3 back downstream to Joe's Crabshack and the transition at Great Lawn park. At the island before the turnaround my arm hit the soft sandbar and I had to get up and walk a few feet to get to deeper water. I looked around and saw a lot of people on their feet moving over the sand.

I really didn't have any problems on the swim and it felt pretty smooth and steady to me. But as I approached the finish I wasn't happy with the time I was seeing on my Garmin. Around 14 minutes slower than my 2010 time...not really sure what happened there. I didn't lap that segment correctly and got some land in there, but it still said 2.9 miles (1/2 mile over the 2.4). Ummm, did I just swim way off? I never really got that far off course and swam fairly straight...I think????? Yikes. 

Bike 112 miles

I didn't let the notion of "catching up" to my 2010 time deter me, stuck to the plan of setting a very relaxed pace. Do not 'hammer' the bike or you will fry your legs. And everyone was passing me, EVERYONE. A couple of miles in, I followed the recommeded taped line across the train tracks and heard a thud. Reached back and confirmed quickly, yes I lost a bottle of hydration+nutrition. 2 miles into 112 is WAY to early to lose that, so I turned around and a gal retrieved it out of the middle of the road for me. Sigh. And I was off again. The first half was solid and slow 15 mph including some stops for water. I was feeling good but my feet were starting to get uncomfortable. I have had some tightness in my calves and feet with the longer distances, not pain but a lot of discomfort and annoyance. On the out and bike, I saw a gal laying on the side of the road not moving and the ambulances were on their way.

The second half of the ride I started stopping more frequently to stretch my feet and calves. Despite the sodium I was taking in (almost 900 mg per hour) I was really cramping up...mainly my hamstrings and my lower back ached a bit. After I stretched every 10 miles or so, I'd feel a lot better but just couldn't maintain that comfort and the stops were adding a lot of time to my ride. Some discouragement set in and the sun was beating down. I felt a bit disappointed. The last 20 miles the mini-meltdowns hit and I definitely remembered how tough and unforgiving the event is. If I'm having a meltdown, odds are I'm not having fun.

Despite the mini-meltdowns, I did spent a lot of time smiling and enjoying the fans particularly in La Grange. I thanked the fans, waved to people, I thanked the volunteers down the line as they stood there for so long attempting to hand water, sports drink, GU, bananas, and bonk breakers to us. I really tried to have a good attitude. I will confess something though, this long distance stuff really isn't my idea of a good time. I'm not particularly good at this really long endurance stuff. I do enjoy challenges and life lessons and epicness though...

I was so happy to get off that bike. Spent about and HOUR longer on there than in 2010...not what I was hoping for. I stopped too much. Total duration I was almost 2 hours off my 2010 and goal pace.

Run 26.2 (or in my case, 8)

Oh boy. My legs were just shot. I figured that I would walk for awhile and see if I could rally and put something together for the run. A volunteer saw that I was looking upset and came over to help with my gear. She was an nice. I got my stuff on and took a bathroom break and then headed out. My parents were at the fence line coming out of transition and I knew that they knew I was way off-track timewise. Still 2 hours behind my 2010 pace and target, so I knew the personal best time that I wanted was not going to happen..

I gave my dad a hug, gave my mom a hug and was so thankful they were there. My dad ran with me for awhile, which was impressive. I then saw a friend of a friend that had heard I was doing the race, and thanked him for giving me a shoutout. I saw Mary A and Jen K, who are also angels. And then yet another angel also known as Jenny W-C on her bike. I gave her a hug too. Then hugged Glenn. I would have hugged more people if I could have.

I power walked across the bridge and tried to gauge what was going on with my body. I was so sick of the Perpetuem despite practicing with it for MONTHS. I came to 3rd St and then tried to do the math in my head about what pace I'd need to do to make it to the finish by midnight for worst case scenario. It was coming to that. For 3 miles I tried some 3 minutes walking / 2 minutes running and thought maybe I could pull that off. Then walked again and it got more and more slow. I came to the aid station at mile 7 or so and talked to the volunteers...I wasn't sure I'd even make it to midnight and the notion of walking a marathon (19 more miles) at that point and not making it was a possiblity. My legs and feet were still shot. The volunteer helped me ice my quads but then tried to prop my legs up and my muscles started having severe spasms and cramps. He tried to send me on my way and I thought well, I'll go a little farther. I hit the mile 8 aid station and still had 18 miles left. At this point, the calculation wasn't adding up and I felt like a truck ran over me. I sat down for awhile and told the volunteers that I thought it would be wise for me to withdraw from the race. They talked through it with me, asking if I was sure...did I need anything, etc. I weighed all of the variables.

I looked up and saw my T2 volunteer lady and I started crying...I think I said "you are here!" and "how did you get here"? I thought it was a sign that it was time to she made it less painful. Another really really sweet lady got me some coke and some fruit and I cried. I felt so sad and disappointed but I knew it was the right decision to stop. I know my body and my limits and thought my ego is healthy enough to handle this. I looked up and saw Bea P running by, looking calm and graceful. In that moment I was so proud of her and happy for her. 

A staff van was picking up 3 other athletes at Mile 8 and I dragged myself up into the seat. I was sitting next to a 10 time Ironman. We removed our race chips, handed them to the driver, and it was over. I was sad and relieved at the same time. 

I was just shy of the next chip time marker at 8.2...and I was glad that I didn't get there and give my friends tracking me false hope. They kind of knew what was up when the splits stopped after the 3 mile checkin :(

All in all, I had been going about 12 hours and 15 minutes.

Med Tent Part Deux

My goal was to avoid the med tent again, but there I was back on a cot with a shiny metallic blanket. I couldn't feel my hands and my body was stiff. The numbness was moving up to my elbows. They tried to do an IV but couldn't find any veins...they tried the tiny sized tool on my hand and that didn't work either. So instead I sucked down 3 cups of chicken broth, a bottle of poweraid, and water. The volunteers in there are so sweet! They really do a tremendous job. 

After awhile I looked over at the next cot as the new inhabitant was settling it and it was Jon B from KC!!! Oh no...but he DID finish!!!! I was relieved to see his medal. He was in bad shape, but ultimately recovered!

Mom and dad came down and retrieved me...I was so happy again that they were there!!!! Being in the med tent in 2010 after I finished was depressing...I never really got to enjoy the party of the finish line. My parents were amazed at how terrible all the finishers looked too...a bunch of really fit people that can barely walk and look like trucks ran over them :) 

I was not a 2-time Ironman, but thankfully I did my 2010 race under my belt. For me, there is no unfinished business.


Coming soon...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Road to Louisville blah blah blah

You might read this post and think that someone else is writing it. It's Cranky Amy and it's time to buck up. 

Six months of training starting ~ February with winter base before that. The beat goes on. We're into the longest run, bike and brick (bike/run) segments but closing in on taper where the volume goes back down. I really do want to go to Louisville and enjoy it but I'm just ready to get there. I've reached that point in Ironman training where I just don't care anymore...bring on the event so I can go on with my life instead of cranking out hours and hours and hours on the bike and runs. 

On the positive side: I'm not over-trained or injured (knock on wood), have my nutrition and hydration down, and have come up with a few Jedi mind tricks I will attempt during the race :)

It's been one of the hottest summers (ever?) in Kansas City and we've had weeks and weeks with the majority of the days in a week being 100+ degrees. It's sad to see brown grass and vegetation everywhere. I've learned to cope up to a certain point with hydration and sodium intake, but have also dealt with heat rash and furnace-like conditions out there on the asphalt. After the Firecracker 100 on 7/7, I was seriously concerned that I might have something bordering heat exhaustion or heat stroke and had a horrible looking rash. It was fairly scary. Another bright side, though Louisville is in the 90's, the forecasts have been 5-10 degrees cooler than KC. Let's hope...

Last weekend fellow IMKYer Tami and I went out to Louisville to train and it was great to be reminded what a great venue it is. It really is a beautiful course. Now really is the time to focus on all the positive things, the good things. I AM thankful to have this opportunity to do this again and become a two time Ironman Finisher. I will hopefully execute the race FAR better than in 2010 when I didn't know what I  was doing and had the poison ivy incident. Do I always enjoy everything about the process of getting to Ironman? No. Is it good to take oneself out of a comfort zone and learn from this experience? Yes. It is worth it although it's tough sometimes. And lonely out there on the open road.

Another one of the many reasons for doing it has changed, and I find myself wanting to do other things besides THIS MUCH training. Fun things and spending more time with people. I do look forward to those things, and changing things up fitness-wise. I am really much better at and prefer shorter distances. I miss doing more strength training and also want to get my edge back.

So I know some people are going to read this and want to smack me :)  Just needed to vent! Time to go watch the Olympics...where there should be no shortage of motivation.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Kansas City Triathlon

It was a glorious morning for a triathlon. My first race of the season since I skipped out on Emporia the day after Tornadogeddon. The rains held off, and 90% of the Kansas City triathlon community turned out to race and spectate. To those that weren't there, we missed you! Thanks to everyone for the support and it was fun catching up. 

Swim 1500 meters: After two years of choppy swims with swells, we had nice water today for the Kansas City Triathlon 5150 (1.5 K swim, 40K Bike, 10K run adds up to 5150 meters...that is where that name comes from). The Garmin says it was about 1690 meters....hmmmm.

Huge props to Reds Coach Liz Weidling and Jenny Wise-Cook for helping me hike up my wetsuit!!!! After a heinous practice swim a couple of weeks ago where I had no pull, I knew the wetsuit hike-up would be key and yes I could actually move my shoulders this morning. Whoohoo! Basically if you don't pull up your wetsuit enough, it is going to restrict your range of motion which will impact your stroke and your speed. No bueno.

I'm doing lower volume swim training this year and was 1 second faster than 2011. Whoohoo. Also, didn't get kicked in the face like another gal I was talking to :( I had my own water for 98% of the race yet didn't have to get too far to the outside, just a little bit. 

T1: Took a hit here with + :47 seconds more than last year. Oh well. 

Bike: they changed the bike course this year so it was essentially a closed course (to general traffic) and there was some grumbling about the turnarounds but they were pretty wide and I didn't think too bad. I am a geek so yes I did check and saw that this years course had a whopping 13 feet MORE of ascent :) I did like it, but with the crosswinds it did feel windy from more directions today. Not bad though considering yesterday we had 25+ mph winds! Yikes, yes we did luck out. 

I tried to start conservatively and ended up + 1:21 compared to different course last year. I was pretty happy with my effort though.

T2: Fine, but + :34 seconds. 

Run: Sigh. + 1:12 BUT...I felt really good. I just don't have the speed this year. And there were a TON of FAST runners out there today. They were just flying by. It was quite impressive. 

This year I have spent a lot of time learning about, planning, and working on my training and race day hydration and nutrition. And I think it really helped. Between the bike and the run, I averaged 683 mg of sodium per hour and did 3 bottles total of water. 220 calories / hour on the bike and 180 / hour on the run. And so far, I don't have that post-race feeling like a truck ran over me although I could use a nap about now.

My overall time was just under 4 minutes slower, but it isn't horrible. I had a really smooth, happy race and executed everything the way I wanted to so I'm happy. What I really need to do is drop some's killing me!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

From 10 months out to 3 months out...

When I signed up for Ironman Louisville Part Deux, the event was 10 months away. Now here we are 3 months and 1 week away!

Next weekend's Kansas City Triathon (Olympic distance) is my first race of the season since I decided to skip out on the 3 hour roundtrip drive for 30 mph winds in Emporia. It feels so late for a first race.

I'm already ramped up to 5 hour bricks (bike + run where your legs feel like bricks) so I'm pretty sure that I'm ready for the Olympic distance ;). Then Kansas 70.3 (half Ironman) is a fast 3 weeks after that. I have to admit that I'm nervous about that because I phoned in the two 70.3's that I did in 2011. Being unprepared for those distances did not make for a pleasant day. I just want to do something more respectable to and for myself this year at KS.

Really, anything has to be better than last year...including my epic KS swim that I made it through after being swept across the course back to the first buoy line. It wasn't 2012 Ironman St George epic though...perspective!

Reading the St George race reports got me to thinking about character, preparation, and dealing with obstacles and challenges. I need to be ready for the tough stuff.

I have been participating in triathlons since 2000, and sometimes have days where I don't feel very tough. Like last weekend where I felt claustrophobically constricted in my wetsuit during my first open water swim this year. I felt so weak like I had no pull because of how my shoulders felt in the sleeves. I'd rather be a little chilly than feel that way. After the swim, we were biking the KS 70.3 course. My calves had been tight that week and that impacted my feet during the ride. The bottom of my foot was killing me more and more during the felt really tender. I literally wanted to cry and was worried about what the deal was. Thankfully after resting a couple of days, foam rolling my muscles (could feel a calve muscle knotted like a cord), and icing feels normal again! 

Everyone is different but here are my words of advice as a novice Ironman finisher. If you want to sign up for an Ironman keep your year simple. It helps for attempting to stay healthy, avoid burnout, and lower the risk of getting injured. When I do Ironman, it is all about Ironman and I'm 100% invested emotionally, financially, and time-wise. Sometimes I miss out on some things that could be fun, but my ONLY goals are to get to that Ironman start line healthy and in one piece, and then to complete it healthy and in one piece. That's it. Everything else is preparation for it or nothing else. For me it is all about singular focus.

Regarding nutrition, I'm working with my friend Aaron and have learned a lot. It is nice to be able to bounce that stuff off of him because who else wants to talk about calories, sodium, and ounces per hour all the time? I was so random and clueless about my nutrition in the past. I've learned a lot about sodium and endurance events. "Studies have shown that ultra-endurance athletes can lose 1-2 grams of salt per liter of sweat. If you consider that athletes may lose up to a liter (or more) of sweat each hour, you can see that over a long endurance event (12 hour race), it is not unimaginable that an athlete could sweat out a huge amount of sodium. Replacing this loss of sodium during the event is critical to performance and safety.
Symptoms of Hyponatremia
The early warning signs are often subtle and may be similar to dehydration; nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, confusion, and inappropriate behavior. At this point, many athletes get into trouble by drinking water because they think they are dehydrated. In fact, water alone will increase the problem of hyponatremia. At the most extreme an athlete may experience seizures, coma, or death." 


After my last two long runs, I'm needing to listen to Aaron more about implementing a different plan for the run. Running out of gas during long workouts is not fun. And you have to find that perfect balance of getting sufficient calories and hydration in without eating and drinking TOO much. I've made a lot of progress but still have work to do and every long workout is nutrition practice too.

So that is where I am 3 months out from Ironman! And hopefully I'll have a decent race report next weekend!