Running, Biking, Triathlons, Swimming, Snowshoeing; what's next? Sal's kicks butt.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Half-Ironman Race Day Fueling

 On September 10th four of the Sal's Racing Team members will be competing in the Lake Placid Half-Ironman race. Two other members are their own relay team. None of us will be finishing in the 4-4:30 time range like the professional athletes, so nutrition almost becomes the fourth discipline.

Most races, whether official IM races or not, have a particular sponsor who supplies much of the nutrition sources on the course. (IM LP Suppliers Here) In longer races it's unlikely you can carry all of your own gels, fluid, etc, even if you have a preferred brand. Eventually, then, you succumb to using what the race organizers provide. This makes it vital that you try the race-day products throughout your training. At the very least figure out what, and how much, you should be consuming in transition 1 & 2 and while on the bike. With a bit of luck and good weather, this will make the run a bit easier and not a total bonk.

Jan and I began using Hammer Nutrition products years ago when she first began training for the full Ironman. They seemed to work well, weren't filled with simple sugars like many supposed endurance supplements, and didn't upset my stomach (or hers). Hammer has a guide; Hammer Nutrition's Secret of Success for Endurance Fueling Guide that is useful to read. Practicing all of this is vital though. I've gone into workouts and races feeling hungry and maybe only taking a gel or two and some water to begin and worried if I had done enough. Unless it's an ungodly hot, humid, high dew point day, it's amazing how little fuel you really need to begin a race. But maybe you can eat before a race. Fine, but figure out the best time to do so and what you really should be consuming.

All of this must be practiced. Try getting on the bike early in the morning and not eating solid food and just take a gel with water before leaving. Take gels, electrolyte fluids, maybe pretzels, Endurolytes, or other supplements during the ride and see how you feel. We did a 56 mile ride last week under cloudless, sunny skies and I thought my 60 ounces of fluids (Hammer Perpetuem, Endurolyte Fizz and water) would be enough. We also had Gatorade Energy chews. I had a really rough time over the last 10 miles and once home had 20 more ounces of water and a regular Coke before feeling better.

But now I know if race day is warm and sunny I'll need to rely on fluid from what's on the course in addition to what I carry on my bike. I'll also take a couple of minutes to hydrate in T1 and T2.  Keeping this in mind today I ordered Gatorade Endurance Formula and HotShots (supposed to help prevent cramping) online. Using the link provided by the IM site you can get 50% a six-pack of HotShots.

Good luck and keep hydrated!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Inspector Gadget

"Inspector Gadget, a bumbling detective, needs lots of help and luck to solve cases assigned by short-tempered Chief Quimby. That help comes from his young, but smart-beyond-her-years niece, Penny, and faithful dog, Brain, who has a human IQ. The trio relies on high-tech items -- i.e. Penny's watch links to a video communicator in Brain's collar -- and other tools to elude trouble from Dr. Claw of MAD. Despite Gadget's shortcomings, he manages to solve each case. Don Adams -- who played Maxwell Smart in the 1960s series "Get Smart" -- voices Gadget." Google search, 8/3/17.

Yesterday I went out running and realized I've turned into a replica of the Inspector. On my feet were high-tech cushioned air filled running shoes with sweat wicking socks. I wore my new triathlon race top that magically takes my sweat and converts it to a cooling mechanism (not sure if that really works, but it sounded good in the ad). I wore a water belt that can hold three 8oz bottles of fluid. I didn't carry just water though. I had two bottles of Hammer Heed and one bottle of water with Hammer Endurolytes mixed in. 

My hat was just a hat with lots of air holes. I had on sunglasses and suntan lotion. On my right wrist was a RoadID so if I passed out my body could be identified. On my left wrist was a Garmin, because what's the sense of running if you don't know the distance down to hundredths of a yard, the per mile pace, a route map in case you forgot where you ran and elevation?  On my upper left arm was the "new to me" phone carrying case a daughter gave me. 

All in all I figure I was carrying about 74 extra pounds. I guess gone are the high school days when I just ran. Sometimes at the track in training for football I would carry a big old stopwatch.

I doubt most people running today know what one of these is. It wasn't until my twenties that I got a Timex watch with a stopwatch built in. I thought it was magical. It was all I needed for years. Now it seems the older I get the more gadgets I need. Maybe I should get my heart rate monitor out of the dresser drawer and add that to the arsenal? I bet that would make me run like I was 30 again.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

We go up, we go down, all around town

The morning after our Mirror Lake swim five of us drove from the motel back to Lake Placid for a tour of the 1/2 Ironman bicycle course. I had biked the course a couple of times years ago with Jan and once by myself, the day before her Ironman race, but that was eight years ago. We have also ridden the course many times in our basement with Coach Troy and his dvd "On the Road: Lake Placid". These experiences didn't help my anxiety over the miles long steep downhill leading into Keene, NY.

I have several problems with going downhill fast on my bike.
1. Traffic. When training it's tough to trust cars and trucks will give you space, especially when the shoulder of the road may not be wide.
2. Road conditions. When you are riding on strange roads at 30+mph and don't know where potholes might be, it's tough to not be worried.
3. My bike. Will the brakes hold up? (I tend to pump them a lot going downhill, I think they were smoking and hot on the Keene descent). Will the front tire not wobble or fall off?
4. My bike handling skills. They are fair, not great, especially when I'm worried about the three items above, traffic being my number one worry.
5. I know that what goes down also eventually goes up. No race director puts in a downhill section on a bike course without making you pay for it with a tough climb. 

We survived the downhill, with crazy Lou who loves letting go and flying down, leading the way. I'm sure Lou and Mike W easily broke the 35mph speed limit. After that it was a fairly gentle ride to the small town of Jay, my favorite section of the course, before heading up to Wilmington and then "the notch" back to Lake Placid. The climb back to Lake Placid is tough, with many long inclines and rolling hills. It's not an easy course. When Lou saw our motel after biking 31 miles he called it a day. The rest of us kept cranking away back to Lake Placid, for a total of 42+ miles. We skipped one of the out and back sections due to a weather concern and figuring we had done enough.

I love the Lake Placid area, even when suffering on the bike, it's just so beautiful and different than the relative flat lands of western New York.

Monday, July 10, 2017

If I take one more stroke, it'll be the deepest lake I have ever swam around

Apologies to Samwise Gamgee for stealing/amending his quote about leaving the Shire with Frodo in "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring".

Six of us ventured to Lake Placid for three days of half-ironman triathlon training June 30-July 2. The weather was always on our minds as rain and thunder were forecast on and off throughout the weekend. We arrived Friday afternoon and before checking into our motel (The Hungry Trout - Wilmington) immediately began swimming in Mirror Lake. Jan was kind enough to kayak while four swam and one went shopping (she is "only" running the 13.1 mile leg as part of a relay team).

It's nice that the town sets up buoys for the IM swim course knowing that hundreds of people come there to train for the full IM or 1/2 IM. It's amazing how far away 800 yards looks across a lake. Many thoughts ran through my head while swimming;

1. I'm glad I have a wetsuit on. (bouyancy)
2. I'm glad Jan is nearby with the kayak.
3. This isn't Canandaigua Lake where I can stand up when swimming the buoys. Mirror Lake is up to 65 feet in depth, though its' average depth is much less. Still, if you get tired, there is no standing.
4. There are fish in this lake. Bass, trout, perch and more. I don't want to see fish, unless it's deep fried and surrounded by cole slaw, fries and buried in tartar sauce with an ubu beer nearby. Hopefully the noise of me swimming is scaring them away.
5. My sighting of buoys is poor. In part this is due to my goggles always fogging over, the buoys being small and me being scared of hitting another swimmer. This causes me to swim further than necessary.
6.  Lake Placid, the movie, wasn't based on fact, right? No crocodiles in this lake. Then why do I keep thinking about this possibility while swimming?
7. I hope Joanne, who is holding my wallet, cash and credit cards, isn't going on a major shopping spree while I'm in the water.
8. I'm swimming great! Fifty yards later.. I'm so slow, and back again. But I did get out of the water feeling pretty good, not overly tired. Something about training, maybe it does work?
9. I'm sorry Jan didn't get to swim (threatening clouds/rain moved in just after we finished). But at least she swam the course before (two loops) for her Ironman race a few years ago.
10. I'm really glad the rest of us had the chance to swim the course. My confidence has increased regarding the swim. I won't be fast, but hopefully will be steady and keep my breathing in check.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Waiting for Godot

Just to be clear, I hated the play "Waiting for Godot" when a professor in my freshman year of college forced us to read it. Thinking back on the experience I can honestly say it still bothers me we had to read that "classic". I still hate it. Maybe Seinfeld based his television show on Godot, since they joke about the show being about nothing.  In a 1990 poll conducted by the British Royal National Theatre  it was voted the "most significant English language play of the 20th century". That's so sad. There has to be better plays out there that were written in the 20th century.

I can hear you saying, but Mike, what does this have to do with running? Probably nothing, like the play being about nothing. Two days ago I was at my allergist's office for a 3:40 appointment. When the doctor's office (or dentist) gives you a time does it really have meaning? I think not. It's an approximation, sometimes off by minutes, or other times by half-an-hour or more. At the counter I was asked a bunch of questions and then given a list of questions to fill out in pen, the same one I fill out every time I visit. It's my belief they use these questionnaires as fire starters for charcoal grills.

I turned the form in and waited another ten minutes. I like my allergist. He's a good man, easy to talk with, knows his field well, and is a runner/biker. He remembers things about my family even though it's been months since we've seen each other (he might have a secret notebook to review before every patient, I don't know, but it works). But why can't a 3:40 appointment be 3:40? Why is it the norm in doctor's and dentist's offices that we wait? I don't want to wait for Godot, or my doctor, to be free.

I need to get home to run, or bike, or swim, or lift weights. Maybe I need to get Jan's dinner ready. There's a host of things that need doing and sitting in a waiting room isn't helping. So the next time you are waiting for your appointment go ahead and complain to the receptionist or doctor about how they can take a reservation, but not hold the reservation (Seinfeld). Let's see how he/she treats you then. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Lose 7lbs in 2 days! Try Mike's Diet for Free!

Well, not entirely free. I won't charge you for my secret diet information, but you will have to pay for the triathlon equipment, entry fees and traveling expenses. In a moment of insanity four weeks ago I decided to register for the Steelman Triathlon in Darien Lakes State Park held 6/17 and the Medved 5k for ALS held on Sunday in Rochester, NY at Frontier Field.

The triathlon seemed like a good choice since it was within an hour of my home, I hadn't done one in two years and need to train for the Lake Placid Half-IM in September and sprint distances suit me better. The 5k race is for a good charity, a Rochester Runner of the Year race, starts and ends at the baseball park and is well-organized. So, two races, one weekend, it was. Why not beat myself into shape?

The sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) was advertised as a flat, fast course. The organizers were right, the swim was flat and fast. Stupid me, I thought the bike and run would also be flat and fast. The swim began with the men, with women following five minutes later. The water was 74 degrees and for once the bouys, of which they had five, didn't seem a long way off. Unfortunately my goggles fogged so much I had to stop three times to clear one side so I could see anything. I definitely swam off course a couple times, but still finished in a respectable (for me) 14:02. My transitions also went well, no panicking, just kept moving along. 

The bike course was rolling and with one very significant hill around mile 5-6, a hill several people had to walk up. There were times on the course I was biking at 25mph and other times at 7 mph. It was also a hot day, and humid, 77 degrees at the start and 64 dew point. It was a small race, only 101 triathlon participants, so we were pretty spread out on the bike. The volunteers, police and traffic control was fantastic.

Going into the run I was tired and hot and we started up a long incline/hill. The course went off road and onto some trails and cross-country type running. We passed the finish line and had to do a second loop. I always go into a triathlon thinking the run will be the leg I dominate at, but it seldom works that way. This race was no different.

The great thing was that I finished third in my age group, the first time ever winning a medal at a triathlon! Of course there were only five in my group, but hey, in the past I would have been fifth.

My total time was 1:33:08. I had the bike segment at 13.2 miles, the organizers 12.4. They have my bike speed averaging 15.5, me 16.5 based on my distance and time (and my bike said 16.5 too).  The run was a slow 27:56, 9:01 pace. I really need to bike more.

Sunday's 5k turned into a blistering, hot, humid morning. It was 80 at the 8:30am start time and 70 dew point. My legs felt really tired. My first mile was good, at 7:54, but then I went quickly to survival mode, finishing in 26:09, about two minutes off what I would normally do. Jan also had a tough time, finishing in 29:21. We both earned RROY points, though, me 6 and Jan 4, so that was a bonus. I guess everyone had a rough day.
Jan, blue shirt on right
 Oh, and I lost a total of seven pounds from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. This despite drinking as many fluids as I could from pre-race Saturday to post-race Sunday. So try my diet plan out, it may just be what you need to get over the hump of not losing a few pounds.

Next up, more training; longer swims, bikes and runs. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Greek Tragedy: Camping at Lake Placid Act Two

Camping at Lake Placid, Act two.

Readers: please scroll down to the previous post, Act 1, to begin the play.

Scene 1: Sunday afternoon, bikers are done with their second loop, roads open to traffic, it is still pouring rain.
Queen: The coffee shop clerk told us it would rain the rest of the day and thunderstorm all night. What will we do Lowly? How will we stay dry and sleep? We have to be up at 5:30am to get to the 2009 Lake Placid IM registration.
Lowly: We could sleep in the SUV?
Queen: And just where will all our stuff go. Look at the tent, it's a mess. Give me the tablecloth.
The Queen clothespins the tablecloth to the tent. Now there is a beat up sun canopy over the tent, a checkerboard tablecloth on one side and garbage bags around the rest of the tent to try and keep it dry. The tent site is mud and puddles.
Queen: Let's see if there is a motel room, Lowly, please.
Lowly: There aren't any rooms, it's the IM, this area has been sold out for months.
Queen: We have to do something.
Lowly: Okay, get in the SUV, at least we will be dry for awhile.

Lowly and the Queen stop at the first motel, less than a mile from the campground. The Queen goes in while Lowly the servant knows this is futile.
Queen: Lowly, they have a room, Queen bed, it's ...
Before she can finish Lowly is in the office and paying for the room. Someone got hurt and went home a day early, canceling their room. Bad for them, but finally some good fortune for Lowly and the Queen.
Back at the campground, one last time.
Queen: Lowly, what should I do with the canopy and poles?
Lowly: I'll meet you at the dumpster, throw it in and let's get out of here!

Scene 2: Lowly and the Queen in a bar/restaurant next to the motel.
Waitress: Can I take your orders?
Queen and Lowly in unison: Just bring a pitcher of beer and two glasses, maybe hot burgers and some side dishes.
After dinner Queen and Lowly stagger to the nice warm room, with a clean, private shower, and  fall into a deep sleep until the 5:30 alarm.
Scene 3:Lowly and Queen arrive at the Lake Placid skating oval at 6:35. People have been sleeping on the sidewalk all night. There are 3-400 people in line ahead of them.
Lowly: You triathletes are nuts. This is crazy, I can't believe people get in line like this to spend $500 and race for 140 miles. Registration doesn't open until 9am.
Queen: I want to do this race.
Lowly: Yes Queen.

At 7:30 the organizers tease Lowly and Queen,letting everyone into the oval in an orderly fashion. People who volunteered at yesterday's IM get a special line. They get to register first.
At 9:00 the lines begin to move. It goes quickly and by 9:30 everyone is out of there.

Scene 4: Queen and Lowly are back home unloading the SUV.
Queen: Where are we putting the tent so it dries out Lowly?
Lowly doesn't answer, just drags the soggy mess over to the side of the road so the garbage men can pick it up in the morning.
Queen (jumping with joy and clapping): Does this mean we aren't camping again Lowly?
Lowly: No... I don't know. Maybe. But you were right, again, that 23 year old tent should have been tossed years ago. How did we ever fit us and three kids in there?
Later that night the Queen logs on to the IM web site.
Queen: Look at this Lowly, Lake Placid IM sold out on site. If we hadn't have been there I wouldn't have gotten in. Amazing.
Lowly: Well that's just great Queen, should I look for a campground to stay at for next year?
The end.