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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rochester Runner of the Year

Only two races left in the Rochester Runner of the Year series (sponsored by GRTC). First up is a 5k in downtown Rochester, the East Avenue Grocery Run, held on November 4. The last race in the series is the Race with Grace 10k, held in Greece, NY on Thanksgiving morning.

It took me a long time to learn that competition sometimes comes down to who shows up and runs the race, stays healthy and motivated. Thinking about how you would have finished in a race if so and so competed isn't relevant. You compete against yourself and who is there on that day. In that vein our Sal's group is doing pretty well against Rochester area runners.

Jan has completed five races in the series (4 is minimum, 6 maximum out of 12) and I've done six, so we are eligible for an award if we finish in the top five in our age group. Currently Jan is third and could finish anywhere from third-sixth in her group. I am second and could finish from second to fifth.

Pete is second in his age group, but could finish from second-fifth. Eileen is fourth and if she finishes the next two series races will be at least top five. Mike W is in seventh, but if he runs the next two series races and finishes in the top three or better could possibly make it to a top five spot.

I find the RROY series a nice motivator to measure myself against myself, really. Can I stay healthy all year, since the races run from March - November? There are a variety of distances, from 1 mile to the half-marathon, a good method to discover which distances you are best at. Can I maintain my speed compared to the previous year if the same course is used? Speed is all relative since my 5k per mile pace times are about the same as my marathon per mile pace from ten years ago. But on the other hand, I'm sixty and have been a "runner" since I was twenty-three. Normal society would consider that amazing or weird, depending on who you are talking to. 

And so I continue to run, albeit slower, since it usually feels good and I'm able to.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Pre-Race Caffeine?

There have been many scientific experiments regarding the effect of caffeine on athletes. Despite these studies one's own personal experiences generally determine whether you believe caffeine is necessary prior to a workout or race. Runner's World 2017.

I am a caffeine user. Judging by my ever slowing race pace over the years it probably doesn't matter if I drink a cup of tea or coffee before a race or not. There are times I'm so anxious before a race that I can't even finish eight ounces of coffee. I think it's out of habit, the hope that it helps my body wake-up and become regular (i.e. bathroom) that drives my usage. The argument can be made that the caffeine makes me seek out a port-a-pot too often before a race to make drinking a cup useless.

When I get up before work to lift weights I'll definitely take a mug of coffee with me to the basement. At least then bathroom concerns are alleviated since I'm still home. The same is true when I do an early morning indoor bike ride. A water bottle is on the bike and the coffee mug is on a stool next to me. 

Wondering what kind of coffee to drink? Check out this Runner's World article.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Icebergs in Mirror Lake?

Race morning for our Lake Placid 70.3 jaunt was a bit on the cold side. Only thirty-eight degrees when we were setting up our gear in transition. Brrr. After months of being worried about heat, especially on the run, we got just the opposite, a beautiful, but chilly, race day.

Mirror Lake had cooled off from 70 two weeks prior to 61 on race morning. Jan and I went out and bought booties, which in our practice sessions worked great. After much planning I went to get dressed for the race and couldn't find my swim cap. Panic quickly overtook me as I ran back to transition. I couldn't find it. It wasn't anywhere in the house we rented. What to do? Jan and I went to the race start early to try and get a replacement but couldn't. I was really worried I would be disqualified right at the start. I ended up being the only swimmer with a blue cap, but they let me in the water.

I had a great swim, actually enjoying myself, passing people, feeling good, getting rid of my pre-race anxiety. It's amazing what training and adrenaline can do. Then we came out of the cold water into 20 degree colder air. It was brutal. Mistake one was taking off my wetsuit before the long run/walk to transition. Now I only had on small tri shorts. Transition took forever, I think it was the same for many people who were trying to dry off and get warm enough for the bike leg. Mistake two was not planning ahead and changing from wet, cold shorts to bike pants. Mistake three was not having another layer on my top. Mistake four was thinking winter bike gloves would be enough, they weren't. I was worried about heating up too much later on the bike. I should have been more worried about freezing going downhills.

Jan Swim
Long story - but I dropped out after only 3 miles on the bike. I was frozen, hands were numb, I couldn't hold the bike going down little hills and didn't want to risk the 7 miles down to Keene.

Congratulations to Mike W, Eileen W and Jan (my wife), who not only put up with me, but completed the IM 70.3! They were awesome. The temperature didn't really go up until the run when it hit about 60+ degrees. 

Jan at Finish
Jan Bike
Mike W Bike

Eileen Finish
Special thanks to the Katz's for volunteering at the swim session for several hours. I think they got colder than any of us. Also - these photographs are under copyright. I did purchase a photo from Finisherpix. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Race Day Approaches!

The IM 70.3 race in Lake Placid is Sunday, September 10. Six of our Sal's members have been consumed with training and planning for this race for months. I was particularly worried about excessive heat and/or humidity. Silly man. The forecast is now for 40 degrees at 7am race day, and climbing to 60ish by mid-day. The water is holding at a refreshing (chilly) 63 degrees. Now I'm hoping the nighttime temperatures don't bring the water in Mirror Lake down even more. The wind chill on our bike ride should be exhilarating.
On a positive note, the run should be nice and cool, perfect temps and little wind.

I think it's time for a little triathlon humor, so I borrowed a few cartoons from the Interweb.

For Lou

This next one is for MW. If I see him do this in transition my race is over. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Judgment Day at the Dentist

I've had regular attendance at dentist's offices since before getting braces in the sixth grade. It's an important part of being healthy, but I'm kind of tired of going. The week before my teeth cleaning appointment is similar to tapering for a race. Did I brush enough? Maybe I should floss more than once a day? Do I need to use a mouth rinse more? Will the hygienist admonish me for not taking better care of my teeth?  The day of my dental appointment is worse. What should I eat? Do I skip the coffee? If I brush and floss right before driving to the dental office will it make my teeth shine?

I actually received some positive feedback from the hygienist at yesterday's appointment. But what is going on with the up-selling? I felt like I was in a running retail store. "Do you need socks with that new pair of $120 shoes you just bought? How about our new energy drink? Shorts? Hey, we have this top on sale, it would look great on you!" Suddenly you just spent $250.

The hygienist asked if I wanted some special mouth cavity search to look for oral cancer with a new tool they have, but it's not covered by insurance, $25-30. I declined. Later she wanted me to buy a "special" mouth rinse that would kill more germs, $30-45. I declined. She pushed that one a couple of times, I can only imagine what the markup is. Jamie was a nice, competent hygienist, but she made sure to let the dentist know I wouldn't be buying the extras, so he could give a little push. Of course if my teeth start to rot out in a year I'll regret not paying for the rinse and test.

When did dentists start taking your blood pressure, and why? Of course mine was higher than normal, someone is about to stick their hands and assorted sharp instruments in my mouth, no, I'm okay, really.

My next appointment is in eight months. Does anyone really know what they are doing in eight months on a specific day and time? (maybe if you are training for an IM, but otherwise, no). Sure, put in the book, what difference does it make. You'll call me twice, send me a postcard, text my wife (3x, but not me), so I think we will figure this out. Meanwhile I'm going to begin feeling anxious over my next race.

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.