Monday, June 12, 2017

Madison 70.3 - first "Race" back.

Well, that was interesting.

I did Madison 70.3 yesterday. It was my first race back from all my surgeries and injuries.

A brief re cap –
I had surgery on both of my Achilles over the last 14 mo. That’s about a 12-month rehab process, and while I thought I could beat that timeline, I wasn’t able to. I think I could have with 1 but the issues around having both sides done, for whatever reason was a lot. In addition to that my hips were compensating for the lack of calf strength that I still battel with and were becoming sore to the point they were considering MRI to see if there was a tear. I told them this wasn’t a conversation I was willing to have right now…

Anyway, no excuses, just that’s where I am. I have been biking a lot and while swimming a ton, have been swimming on my own all the time.

I felt strong for the bike going in, and knew my swim was solid but wasn’t sure how well I was going to go relative to how well I used to swim. So, I was excited to see.

I truly haven’t run in about 18 months. Yes, I have had periods were I could run. My 2 longest runs were 10 miles each. There really were only 2 of those. I did jump in a half marathon that I surprisingly held up the pace (1:28) quite well with no running prep for it, but that’s was f’d my hip up about 8 weeks ago and I haven’t run at all since.

Since then I have been walking at an incline on the treadmill. It's great for rehab, keeps the HR up but it's 65% different muscles to walk than run, something I learned this year. Well, I learned it when I walked at IM FLA before surgery – LOL

I was supposed to do IMTX which I knew wasn’t really an option so I had to withdraw.
I was supposed to do IMFLA 70.3 but still wasn’t ready
I’m signed up for LP, but will not be ready so had to withdraw

I was tempted to punt Madison too considering I haven’t been running… Jim thought it was a good time to get back in the game though and see. Additionally, Tanya was going there to race and I was going to be there all weekend and didn’t feel like watching again.

I agreed, but wanted to keep training all week. The last thing I wanted to do was taper for a race that I wasn’t ready for when all I want to do is regain some fitness.

Couple of the options going in were:
-       Just do the swim and Bike.
-       Do the swim and bike and od a run/walk pattern.
I really didn’t want to risk anymore injury setbacks (it's been almost 3 years of injuries – I’m over having them)

In my mind, I wanted to start at the back swim and ride great then do one of those options. However, I didn’t want to have to swim over people, and given there was several miles of bike path at the beginning of the bike, I didn’t want a lot of crowds to deal with there. Additionally, Scott Iott asked if I would start towards the front with him to help pace him on the swim, so I went up front.

Swim -
I liked the rolling start, it was nice to not be pounded. I think most people set themselves in the right spot which was nice. My pacing and effort was a bit forgotten so I trusted some of the swimmers around me after hundred yards and just drafted. I figured even if a touch slow (which in the end I went around them) the day wouldn’t be about a min here or there in the swim for me.
26:57 (1st AG)

This is where the day got interesting. I had done literally NO course recon other than listening to some thoughts from others. I really didn’t care because truly it was just going to be a hard effort. In training if I try a new course, I would just use the course management skills I know how to use. If I come to a hill, ride it like I would a hill, etc. So I rolled with that.

It was a tough, hotter very windy day. It ended up being over 2K feet of climbing.

The issue was in the first 3 miles both my nutrition which included my Infinit nutrition (salt and carbs) were tossed. I was left with 1 bottle of coke and a single gel. (I couldn’t stop and get them, they rolled into a ditch under the bridge). I tried to get stuff at the aid stations but the volunteers were doing that thing where they don’t put there arm up with the nutrition so I ended up getting cliff blocks which are hard to navigate on super bumpy roads. The point is I just didn’t get all the nutrition I probably needed.

Whatever, it was just a training day and I have practiced being light on calories in training I told myself. Thank God I had practiced that because I was feeling it for sure.

I wanted to bike a bit better, but had to start finding places to relax and conserve power. I ended up with only 285 NP but the first 90 min was closer to 300 so you can see where I dropped off a bit. Ride ended up at 2:18

Now here is where it gets interesting. I had a 3-motorcycle escort and from what I could assess and was later confirmed, about 6-7 min lead…

So, revisiting my original options. I would feel like a total dick not starting the run. Literally EVERYONE hears my name coming in, cyclists waiting for me to start the run…. SO, I reluctantly started.

Run… Well Walk run, well more walk than run (not really but kind of)
I didn’t want to have to explain the cyclists my walk run strategy so I thought I would just run steady and smooth until (hopefully soon) people would pass me and I could hide in a crowd. I used to try to run sub 6:20 pace so when I started out at basically 8 min pace, I was being conservative.
 The cyclist would keep encouraging me to stay strong they are still a way back, and I would sometimes explain, that no, in fact I wanted them to hurry up and catch me. LOL

While I was feeling NO INJURIES for literally the first time in years, my quads were so locked up and cramping it literally was almost impossible to move them. I have no idea it was from the lack of nutrition, or the fact I truly haven’t run, but this was my reality.

Please someone, come catch me.

Mercifully, Ryan caught me about 20 min in and then a few more started to come by and I could start to really do my run walk. I wanted to do 4/1 but it wasn’t lining up well with eh aid stations and I NEEDED some hydration and was even trying to eat pretzels and chips to get the salt.

A few guys would pass and would think, let’s go, lets run with them, I just couldn’t. People would encourage me and tell me I looked strong (probably the same people who say child birth is beautiful). While I appreciated the encouragement, I knew I looked like shit. I saw some 12 min miles in there, those were fun…. Then I just wanted to try to break my bike split which I did – BARELY. OMG. 2:14.

So that’s where I am. My swim and bike seem to be back to par. My run, just hasn’t been worked yet. I need to assess how and what I need to do to get that back. Still deciding that, but I felt good that once I do get my run going again, I can still play at the front for a bit.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fueling for training and racing

My take on metabolic efficiency when it comes to training and racing.

As someone who struggled big time with nutrition and stomach issues, I tried every trick in the book to try to figure it out. When I did, it was a HUGE change in my results.

Here are my thoughts and beliefs.

Metabolic efficiency is the way to go as the foundation of how you eat and train. Without getting into the how to here, I found during training:

-       Eat that way as your baseline nutritional practice. Without a doubt.

-       Train that way on easier and, work up to solid endurance days. I would try to get to 2 hours just water (or now using the hydrate/BCAA blend) then I would try to shoot for about 200-300 calories an hour on the bike, ideally a nut/fruit mix for the first 1-2 hours of eating to keep blood sugar in check. After that, I would eat pretty much what I wanted to get those calories.

When I worked with a pioneer in metabolic efficiency as my personal coach, I would listen to him tell me that I could break 10 hours in an Ironman with as little as 80-100 calories an hour. I agree it probably could be done, but disagree it's the best wat to race.

I DO AGREE it's the best way to be ABLE to race if needed.

What do I mean by that?

The practice for racing is thought to take the gut out of the equation so that you effectively eliminate one of the largest problems Ironman athletes have. Gut shut down.

Ok, that’s true, but I also still prescribe to the nothing that the research shows the more you are able to get in and assimilate, the better you will do.

So, I think the metabolic efficiency coach was leaving results on the table from calories in, and I think Asker was not used to, or hadn’t dealt with the gut shut down people get only after 7 hours.

The body will use blood in 3 ways and in this order: 1- cool to body. 2- bring oxygen to the muscles 3- IF AND ONLY IF it can do the first two will it start to digest food. So, you need to be very good at the first two and can burn the right fuels so when you go hard, which makes the first two things tougher, or its hot, or a combo, you can still have energy and not get a bad stomach.