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!