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!

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