Sunday, June 13, 2010

Race Day Round Up

San Dimas Triathlon 6/13/2010

This may not be the most interesting entry to most of you, so I won't be hurt if you skip it. Also, it involves a bit of "too much information", yet another reason why you can feel free to pass. However, if you've ever considered doing a triathlon longer than a sprint, you'll probably find this informative and interesting. Mostly I'm writing this entry for myself, in order to list the things I need to address in my last 7 weeks of training for my Half Ironman.


I woke up at 5. I managed to get 6 or so hours of sleep which is definitely more than before any race I've done. I had some coffee, yogurt and almonds for breakfast and took the dog for a quick walk. My stomach was not feeling great. Something wasn't digesting properly, to put it nicely. I don't think it was nerves because I wasn't feeling nervous. Apparently I got that out of the way on Friday night. After all, I haven't been training for this race and the 2 weeks in India off from any endurance was a definite dent in the work I'd been doing beforehand. Anyway, excuses excuses right? The point of this race was to figure out what I needed to focus on going forward in my training and if my current equipment would comfortably support me through a HIM and that's exactly what was accomplished today.

I drove to the race, got check in and transition set up with enough time to make it down to the lake and check in with the water for a few minutes. As always, confining myself to pool training bites me in the ass in the early parts of the swim leg. I even felt it just doing a few practice strokes. My heart rate rose quickly, my breathing was erratic and I felt a little panicky....nothing unusual though. I swam around until I calmed down, got used to the water and reacquainted myself with my wetsuit. The water was perfect.

Swim Leg

This was a pretty small race as far as number of people goes, but all of the women started at the same time which made for some crowding, elbowing and kicking at the start. I have a hard time keeping my cool in these situations. It raises my heart rate which, coupled with the open water, makes it hard for me to get my breathing under control. Nothing freaks me out more than sucking wind while swimming. This was a tough course in the sense that the route was awkward. I had to do a lot of sighting and follow a lot of buoys. I definitely swam more than a mile that's for sure. First half of the swim was a battle for control over my body. Second half of the swim I finally found my rhythm and picked it up. I passed a lot of people and I felt good. When I finally made it out of the water (36 minutes) I felt as if I could've kept going.

Training Focus: 3-4 open water swims in my wetsuit prior to race day in July
More tempo swims in the pool pushing through rough breathing no stopping


I'm not trying to win. I just like doing I like racing? Total masochism really. Anyway, I'm not a transition nut. If I'm thirsty, I'll down a bottle of water at my bike before heading out. If I feel tight, I'll take a moment to stretch. No big deal. Until Specialized calls to sponsor me or something I will continue to take transition lightly. That being said, this transition involved a steep hill coming out of the water. Bare feet, cement, debris covered sand...meh, I made sure I didn't step on anything. 5 minutes

Bike Leg

God I love when you come out of transition on your bike and immediately onto an epic hill. No really, get it over with. Unfortunately, the bike was 3 hilly loops, and I found out at the end of loop 1 that transition hit half way through the steepest hill. Painful. First loop I had shifting and chain issues. I had to pull off twice to fix it, which added a good 5 minutes or so to my bike time. The second loop felt fast and the third loop felt neverending. I estimate there was only about 1-1.5 mile of flat per loop. The rest was moderate to decent grade hilly. I'm a strong bike rider and this was not a good performance for me. I felt good on the moderately steep hills, but on the steeper ones I slowed to a crawl. People flew past me on the steep hills. Also, I miss my 700 wheels on the downhills, 650s just don't pick up speed the same way. Overall, I was not comfortable in my saddle. I had to keep adjusting. Also, my bike shoes are totally destroyed. Both of them are ripped at the velcro and I had to keep reaching down to tighten them in order to get full power on pedal strokes. I definitely wasted some energy there. 1 hour 41 minutes My usual time for a 40K is 1:25, add in the stops for dealing with equipment and the hills...I still could do better on the bike than 1:41. My bike mojo is not in full effect yet.

Training Focus: HILLS!!!!!
Fast turnover work on very moderate exactly the point where it's uncomfortable
- hold the pace there for several minutes
Longer distance rides once a week - 30+ miles
Equipment: New saddle (Specialized Ruby Women's Saddle)
New bike shoes


Again, I took a minute here, drank a bunch of water and washed my salty sweaty face off. My stomach was feeling a little wrong at this point. Too many shot blocks? I ate more than normal on the bike. Maybe it was the Nuun? Usually I drink Accelorade or Nutromax. It seems unlikely it was my nutrition though, since I was feeling not so good when I got up. 4:30

Run Leg

Never have I wanted or needed a run to be over like this. The first mile was tough getting my legs. I have not been doing bike-run bricks yet, so this was not a surprise. I was doing 100 breaths on, 20 breaths off ,willing my muscles to transition to running mode. The run was also hilly with sections of trail running. It was a very pretty run but tough, especially after the hilly bike. I started to feel my legs after mile 2. Of course, as I started running harder my stomach started cramping up. I would stop and double over for a minute trying to relax. After passing the water station at mile 3, I was desperately in need of a bathroom. Luckily I didn't have to wait too long. I was barely able to keep it together walking at that point. Visit to the ladies room number 1 didn't do the trick. I ended up stopping at bathrooms 4 times in the last 3 miles. It was AWFUL. And frustrating!!! My legs were there. When I was running they felt alright considering, but my stomach kept stopping me. All in all, a LONG painful run. Pushing through while dealing with that is extremely hard. I had several moments of wanting to drop out, but I didn't. 1 hour 21 minutes - that is 30 minutes longer than my run normally would be. Ouch.

Training Focus: Longer tempo work
Brick work!!! Especially post hilly ride. Once a week hilly bike 10-15 miles followed by a 3-5 mile run
Equipment: Still considering a trisuit
Change socks from bike to run (normally I do this but I thought I'd try not today which was a bad idea)
Compression socks for recovery

My stomach problems didn't end with the race. I barely made it home post race, in case you're wondering. All in all this race did exactly what it was meant to do. I'm happy I pushed through the "run" but I am now hyper aware of how much work I actually need to do in the next 7 weeks.

Recovery Meal

Pizza! I think I earned it. As you know, I don't condone rewarding a good workout with crappy food, but this is a special case. Tomorrow it's back to lots of good, healthy vegetables and organic low fat proteins. Yum.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Omega 3 in DHA Form

More on Why Omega 3 Fatty Acids in DHA form are Rad

While perusing Facebook status updates this morning, I found a link to this fantastic article care of the fine folks of Crossfit Endurance:

You may recall, on April 28, I wrote a blog entry (actually there were 2 blog entries dedicated to this because it's so important) about the necessity of balancing your intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6 and how it is essential you are getting your Omega 3 in DHA and EPA form. In case you missed it, take a moment to go back in the blog and check out those 2 entries here and here. And thank the Economist for informing people!

Coming up next week, keeping on topic with the ocean, I'll be writing about shark fin soup and all the crazy awfulness that it causes. Less about health and more about environment for a second. I think the ocean deserves some attention. Until then, wish me luck in my triathlon on Sunday!

This is real by the way. Some guy actually made a scuba suit for his cat, as well as his dog, for that matter. Seriously, check out scuba cat on youtube and if you're anything like me, you'll end up wasting the next hour clicking on links to crazy shark videos.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dirty Dozen and Seafood

The List

About a month ago I promised I'd provide you all with a list of fruits and vegetables that you should really strive to buy organic (very cutely referred to as the "dirty dozen") and others you could probably pass on and save a few dollars. I've found that plenty of other people have done a lovely job of this for us all, so I'm providing a link for you to peruse at your leisure here. In addition to those listed I also recommend buying all of your animal derived food organic as well. This way, you know your money is going to a farmer that does not use hormones, antibiotics and other yucky practices in raising their cattle/pigs/chickens etc.

Farm Raised vs. Wild: The Seafood Dilemma

Jan Van Kessel Still Life

If you've read former entries in my blog, you know that seafood (fish in particular) provides us with a wealth of essential nutrients and vitamins. In light of the BP Gulf disaster that is currently occurring, I thought this would be a good time to discuss the moral and health issues that come with ingesting seafood, whether it's better to be eating farm raised (for environmental balance reasons) or wild (healthier and more "humane"). Some of this information is fairly new information to me, and definitely has me rethinking my bi-monthly purchase of farm raised shrimp from Trader Joe's. Shocking, I'm sure.


PCBs are man made chlorinated compounds used as coolants & lubricants in a variety of electrical equipment up until 1977. In 1977, they were banned due to their obvious and serious environmental & health impacts, but are STILL present in our environment. Fish absorb PCBs through their food and, in turn, we absorb them by consuming contaminated fish. It has been found that farm raised fish, especially salmon, ingest far higher amounts of PCBs through their feed than wild fish. Frankly, alarmingly higher amounts.

What Exactly is Meant by Farm Raised?

Farm raised fish are actually raised in the ocean in pens. The situation is very similar to the way chickens are raised for their meat and eggs, only in the water. They are crammed in, have very little room to swim around and are much more prone to disease and infection because of this. The fish are fed antibiotics, are fattier than wild fish, have lower nutritional value and contain higher levels of mercury & PCBs as mentioned above. In addition to all of this charming stuff, farm raised fish escape, infecting wild populations with disease and generally wreak havoc on an already delicate and damaged ecosystem. Lovely! As if the creatures in the ocean didn't have enough crap to deal with already. FYI, farm raised salmon is fed food coloring to give it the same rich pink color that wild salmon have. Lame. Long story short, farm raised fish are not only bad for us health-wise, but they also suck for the environment.

As far as my super cheap farm raised shrimp habit from Trader Joes is concerned, read this nastiness and this as well. Buying wild American caught shrimp is best. Not only is it fresh caught as opposed to farmed, but there are laws limiting the amount of bycatch. Bycatch is one of the saddest negative impacts of net fishing. Check this little guy out:

Victim of Bycatch


In light of the above information, it is obvious that farm raised seafood is not environmentally sustainable and has negative impacts on our health as well as the ocean. So, wild caught it is. That leads to another huge issue-overfishing. I recommend checking out this website along with doing more of your own research. Inform yourself and do what you can. The more people out there who actually think about where their food is coming from, the more of a difference we can make. Our ocean is essential and directly tied to our health and well being and we are destroying it. Everything is connected and impacts each link down the chain after it.

Motivational kitten says "Keep that farm raised crap away from me!"