Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've been thinking lots about adjustments lately, adjustments to my workouts, to my body, to my equipment, to my eating, etc.  Too many things to think about!

I'll start with eating, we all know I have a problem with food!  I've made some adjustments - I started to make a conscience effort to include more protein.  I enjoy my bagel with light cream cheese a couple days a week, but I also have my homemade quiche the rest of the time!   I know we can keep reading about it, but the carbs in the bagel are great, but they make me crash quicker than the proteins!  All this working out and I haven't lost a single pound,  I've actually gained weight so we all know this is where the problem lies!

Another "food "adjustment I made was moving from the G2 Gatorade to Skinny Water. I love G2, but since I can't drink much of anything else, I was drinking LOTS of it.  I didn't realize how much extra SALT I was consuming until I went diving one day and couldn't get my wetsuit over my calves!  (Then proceeded to put a hole in the $500 wetsuit)! -- onto Skinny Water and that seems to have solved that problem, I'm not a gigantic bloated mess anymore!

If you read my blog, you know that I'm hyper-mobile, so I'm always getting adjusted from a bones standpoint, I can't go a week without something falling out of place.  Before I started training, I could go months, now its 5 days before I start to feel it.  It's nice that I'm body aware, but its getting old.  I went to get my road bike re-fitted and during the fit she measured my legs, one leg was significantly longer than the other, I'm like "wait" -- wiggled around a little.. "how's that?" -- yea I can move it around... It made for an interesting bike fitting that's for sure.

So, I did get my bike adjusted. I knew I needed it, but didn't realize HOW MUCH I needed it.  Apparently I've been riding several inches too low on the seat, too big of a saddle, cleats in the wrong spots, handle bars in the incorrect position.. hm.. that's why I'm slow :)..   I can't wait to go out and ride tonight to see if it makes a difference, or if there are so many changes that I'll just be in pain! I know my rear end will be in pain.  That new saddle is..... skinny.... I didn't have an old lady seat before, it was the one that came with the bike!  But apparently my waggling back and fourth  wasn't due to anything other than me trying to keep my butt on the seat! who knew??

I'm starting to really think about running, been stressing about running shoes.  My current shoes are massive, and have big orthotics.  I am ready to go to the Evo (no Toe shoes for me.. ewe), but I went into the Running store the other day and they half talked me into a cross-country shoe (minimalist shoe).  UGH.... too many things to think about!!!!

John is getting good at taking pictures, but with that comes my scrutiny of my form on ALL THREE Sports!  I found several adjustments I have to make swimming too.. I really had no idea I was picking my head out of the water that far to breathe, maybe he was catching the sighting breaths only.. but still.. 

4 Weeks until my first Olympic distance Tri, I really need to iron out these adjustments!  Then the 50 mile ride for Autism in Sept.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Race Day # 6 2010

Race Day!

I do love going to the SheRox/Danskin races in Webster for two reason:
1). they're in my backyard
2). so many newbies

These two races are GIGANTIC!  I've participated with any number from 1500-4000 women, yup that's not a typo 4,000!!!  I love seeing the women there, all shapes, sizes, ages (yea you can see everyone's age advertised on our LEGs)!  Many of whom its their first tri, but for most of them it won't be their last! It is so addicting!  I am so damn slow, yet I can't stop!  Sunday was race # 6 of the season!  I'm getting comfortable with being last! (at least this time it was just last in my age group).

I am amused at the quantity of CRAP people bring to transition though, most races require you to walk and/or ride your bike, yet people pack for the weekend!  I saw bags big enough to carry a body home (or maybe that was the point?).  You need the gear that you're going to USE during the race, not every contingency known to man... people its not going to SNOW in July.. you aren't going to need a blanket, you aren't going to need 43 pairs of socks.. and for heavens sake, you don't need a comforter and pillow set out in your transition area.  I did wonder if some folks were going to take a nap in transition!  I felt junk-envy when I saw the woman across from me, she had about 1500 calories worth of energy packs.. 1500 CALORIES!  do you know how long of a race you'd have to do to burn that???

Ok in all seriousness, packing for race day has actually become pretty easy for me, especially a sprint!  My bag seems to pack itself.  The day before, my bench seems to "collect" gear. - Then as I pack my SMALL BACKPACK, I make myself a little "woman" - I say "swim, bike, run" and make the little woman out in how I would look in each sport.  This way I won't forget anything. 

Unfortunately this race was yet another one that just about killed me though.  Saturday about 4PM, I started to get a migraine, and not just a normal one!  A really, really bad one!  I was getting pretty bummed because we had so many people from the group doing it, PLUS I was hosting the after party! I've never once thought, "I am not doing this race." but about 6PM, I thought "if I feel like this in the AM, I'm not doing it."....

Lots of drugs later, and probably 2 hrs of sleep later, it was time to get going!  Even though I ate properly, I'll spare the details but suffice it to say I was not properly fueled for the race!  I didn't feel "as bad" in the AM so I decided the show must go on!  Thing is HUGE races take FOREVER to get going, there were 23 waves of over 100 people in each wave!  4 minutes a wave!  It was after 8 before I even got to swim!  By the time I got in the water, I needed more drugs.   It was pretty funny to lay out drugs with my Gu on my tiny little towel in transition.

I had an ok swim, there was no way it was 1/2 mile ;)..  I tried something different this time.  I'm normally an outside back of the pack person, this time I tried outside and FRONT.  The Danskin & SheRox races are SUPER polite so I thought if I got kicked today it wouldn't be that bad.  Turned out  I kinda liked it.  I had lots of feet and arms all over the place, and had a few abrupt noodle stops (people with noodles standing in my way) but other than that, it was quite nice!  I even saw a big box kite out there, I might have to go try to find it again later.

I probably would have had a better overall time but I just moseyed along to T1.  I could have taken a rest in one of those comforters/pillow stations.   I jumped on the bike and went for a ride.   The ride was pretty nice because there were lots of people for me to pass!  That NEVER happens, and especially when I didn't feel well, this was a little boost for me!

About 1/4 mile from the end of the bike, there's a big cluster of people, spectators, runners, bikers, etc. This woman on a bike was ALL over the road, and would not let me pass her.  My choice was to get hit by a car, run over a runner, or just sit back and watch her COAST down the road, she wasn't even peddling .. so aggravating.

I eventually passed her and sprinted down the last 25 yards.  I was actually mad at that point so I ran to T2.. kinda funny for me!  Then the run UGH!  Migraine, AND my miserable running ability - I decided to run/walk every .25 miles.  I actually kept up with that, except the few places where I knew people. They made me run longer (thanks guys) btw, I use the term "run" loosely. 

I rounded the corner toward Waterfront Mary's expecting to see the old lady with the hose, she was not there.  She was about 100 anyway :( how sad- I missed her, I'm sure about 2000 of us missed her.

Once I rounded that last corner, I knew I had just over a mile to go - woohoo!  I really thought about swimming though, I could have jumped in the lake shoes and all and swam to the beach no problem!  It would have been easier than the run!

I love rounding the corner to Webster lake, its FILLED with people cheering you on.  I knew I could run in, so I did.... then .. thank goodness, it was DONE!

We collected the group, and went to my house for a cookout!

Congrats everyone for finishing, and for kicking ass, and for really having a fun party after!  Anne, Alexis, Me, (the tall one) Mireya, Julie, Pam, Stellah!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swim Tidbits

I thought I’d write a bit about swimming tidbits.  These are tips I’ve picked up or told over the years a ton of times.  May sound stupid to some of you, but believe it or not, some people were never told some of this! 

Gear- what to buy.

The most important things are FIT AND COMFORT Do not listen to people that say you have to have the most expensive, fastest, most innovative, etc .. what you need is the item that FITS YOU best and is most COMFORTABLE!

I’ve been to way too many ‘talks’ where the speaker says “you NEED to buy the wide goggles, you can see more” – well if your face is shaped differently and you constantly get water in your eyes, you can’t see ANYTHING, it is USELESS.    I personally cannot wear those types of goggles, my face is short and the water leaks under my cheeks.  I’ve seen friends with flatter noses try the same thing.. bottom line, try them!  Expensive doesn’t mean “better” for you!  You have to find the goggle that FITS.

I do find that I enjoy a TINTED goggle especially on sunny open swims!

Swim Suits v TriSuits:
Again, you don’t NEED a tri-suit (one piece suit to swim in, bike in, run in). Try one out, see if you like it!  There are different kinds out there.  I’m short, so I personally like the two piece tankini and then tights/bike shorts.  You can also go to the restroom a little easier with two pieces!   Plus, I have a problem with the zippers on the tri-suits, they like to come un-done on me.

FIT AND COMFORT, it’s up to you on what you are comfortable with, don’t let expense or peer pressure make you get one.  It is best though, to have one ‘outfit’ to wear during the entire race, especially the shorter ones. Find what works for you and do it.

I love my wetsuit!  The first time I swam with my wetsuit, it cut 10% off my time on a ¼ mile!  Again, you don’t need an ‘EXPENSIVE” one, but you do need to find one that fits you comfortably.  Wetsuits are generally uncomfortable though if you’re not used to them.  They will be tight around your neck, and arms if you get the sleeved one.  You should be able to move, and breathe without the feeling of being strangled or reduced lung capacity.  A wetsuit should not be loose though.  You do NOT want enough space where water can ‘woosh’ in your suit, that will keep you cold and uncomfortable.

Sleeves vs sleeveless -  up to you, the conditions you will be swimming in.  Again this is down to FIT AN COMFORT (see a theme?).  What is your tolerance to the colder water? Do you freeze in warm water?  Sleeves are probably better for you.  Are you super buoyant as a swimmer? Sleeveless might be the way to go.   These are factors to consider when going sleeves or sleeveless. 

I go with my sleeveless unless the water is less than 64 degrees.  My arms are pretty buoyant (as is the rest of me), so the sleeves make me feel like I have to work harder to keep them down.  – personal body type though. 

Remember what works for one person may not work for someone else, take in all the advise you get, but use your judgment!

Gear- How to take care of it.

Goggle’s –
 If you’re getting water in them all the time, first, are they too tight.. yup.. TOO TIGHT!  You can tighten them to the point where the lip flips over and becomes useless.  Try loosening them!  You want a little suction, but you do not want indentions in your eyeballs!    If you’re still getting water in them, it’s possible that the type of goggle may not work for you.  Look at yourself in the mirror, is there a space around your nose, is there a space next to your eyes on the sides, if so it may not be the right type for you.  Try another kind.

Goggles will fog up.. LEARN HOW TO SPIT.  I can’t say this enough, so I'll say it again, learn how to spit!  Not this silly little ‘tah’ – work up a gross white amount of SPIT.. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen, LICK, or gently spray their goggles with saliva.. that just ain’t gonna cut it.. :) .  You want to get the film off the goggle and spit works great!    Use your finger to wipe it around, then wash it off. 

You can buy an mask anti-fog cleaner from a scuba shop, however you won't be racing with it, so it will only be useful to you for the FIRST part of your race! 

Another trick to fogging up is to keep water in your goggles.  After you defog (with spit or defogger), put some water in them and leave it there until your ready to put them on your head.

Lastly, if you’re getting an excess of fog, wash your goggles with toothpaste (the regular kind).  Use enough to coat both sides and rinse it well.  This will help get some film off of it as well.  Careful not to use the toothpaste with abrasive material, you dont want to scratch your goggles!

Too tight:
DO NOT DRY IN THE SUN… let me say that again.. DO NOT DRY IT IN THE SUN!..  neoprene shrinks in the sun!  so many of us think we gained weight, nope, you let it sit in the sun and it shrank!

Dry it in a cool- dark/dry place if you can!

If you find your suit too tight, you CAN stretch it. 2 liter bottles are useful.  For example if the arm is too tight, put the bottle in the arm hole and leave it there overnight. 

You don’t need to wash your wetsuit   with soap after every use, however you should rinse it.  Rinse it VERY WELL if you were in salt water or chlorine. Try to limit chlorine exposure as it will break down the material and shorten the life of the suit.

You can soak your suit or wash it using dawn dish detergent.  You can also buy a special wetsuit cleaner from a scuba shop, but dawn works just fine. 

Getting in:

Many people struggle to no end getting into a wetsuit.  Trick #1, - it’s not pants, don’t yank it up like it’s a pair of jeans!    Roll the suit down until the crotch is exposed, and stick your legs through.  ROLL the suit up your body.  DON’T YANK.  If you try to stick your legs in you will end up with a big gap in the crotch and will be struggling with it, especially if it’s hot.  If you have trouble getting your feet in, put your feet in a plastic bag before sticking them through the leg holes, but don’t forget to still ROLL it up.

Women, think about putting on the wetsuit like you put on pantyhose!  - Men,  I don’t know what to tell you, ask a woman how to put pantyhose on.

You can also use a mixture of Dawn and water in a spray-bottle to assist.  Only do this if you’re in open water, don’t soap up someone’s pool!  Spray your arms/legs with the soapy water and you’ll find you slide right in. (still roll in).

Swim Caps:

Swim caps are a pain – but are a necessary evil.  I’ve seen a lot of demos where they tell you to stretch it and just stick the top of your head in…. guess what- you’re going to send that cap flying.  I’ve sling-shotted one a good 15 feet once!  If you have shorter hair, open the cap using both hands then stick your forehead in the front of the cap and stretch it around the back of your head. Then tuck your hair in as appropriate. 

If you have longer hair (like I do).  Flip the pony tail over the top of your head, open the cap up, and start from the back of your head and stretch it to the front.  Then pull the pony tail down as required.

Make sure you get the air bubble out of the top.


I’m not going to get into too much here, except – Total Immersion is awesome!  Take a class if you can!

 And if there’s three suggestions I can offer its:

  1. Don’t kick so much, this is where much of your Oxygen is spent, and its why people think they can’t swim that far!  You only need to kick to keep your-self horizontal.
  2. Head in the water!!!!   Holding your head out of the water is a big waste of energy.  It’s like driving your car down the road with a parachute sticking out the back.  Get comfortable with your head IN the water! 
  3. Stroke and Glide.. (ok this belongs to a friend Jim, but its in my head ALL the time).. just remember Stroke .... and GLIDE...

I hope some of this helps!       

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh Yea.. THAT'S WHY!!!

 Yesterday, I volunteered at the Mass State Triathlon.  I know I said no more, but I was signed up for this one and one in Sept.  I just didn’t have it in me to do 2 races this month, so I volunteered to be a swim buddy.   Half of the group I’ve been assisting this year was competing in this race,  so I really thought I should go.  

I convinced  a group of folks into being swim buddies with me. Some had done it before, some were new and a little apprehensive of doing it.   The night before was a little weird, I was like “ugh, I’m not racing.”  But then I remembered the joy of being a swim buddy.  I kid you not, it really is a great experience!

A swim buddy is a pretty cool and the most rewarding job @ a race.  We hang out in the water typically between the start and 100 yards in.  Most people that freak out are going to do so in this small space.   We have flotation devices and have them to offer to racers who are tired or panicked.  We give them the option to take a quick break and keep going.  When we are in the water, they don’t have to get ‘pulled out” and get the dreaded “DNF.”   We let them hang on, talk them out of the panic, have them breathe, and offer to swim next to them if the want.  Just having someone next to them, is often all the encouragement people need to finish!

Yesterday was typical of my experiences as a swim buddy!   Since there were only 5 swim buddies, they didn’t “announce” that we were there.  Tim, the Race director did let a few people know and within a few minutes, two women asked to have assistance for the swim.    The first few waves, each of us swam back and forth from the first buoy looking for signs of distress, with only a few people who needed to ‘catch their breath.’

I saw the yellow caps and went to pick up my buddy.  She was visibly shaking.  I just grabbed her by the shoulders and said “you do know how to swim right?” she said yes –I said “you’ve swam this distance before right? “ – she said yes…

 So I said “take a deep breath” – (then another).. – then I said, well I’m here, and I have a float, so you can stop whenever you want, and guess what:  you have as long as you want to finish this!  You’ve done this before, and it’s no different!

Off we went!  She did great!  She only hung on 2x during the entire course, and that was when 2 waves of splashy men came by!  A few times she  looked at me and said “there is no way I would have got this far without you”!   My response was “well when you get more comfortable, you will be a swim buddy, and will swim with someone and talk them though and tell this story” – she just laughed- yup she was relaxed enough to laugh.

We got closer and closer to the finish line and she was on her back.  I told her to turn over and swim looking at that lovely finish line! To enjoy it, she was ALMOST there!    I touched bottom first, and I told her “hey the bottom is there if you want it.” – she just looked at me, gave me a huge hug, and this wave of just pure emotion covered her face.  Exhaustion, excitement, and the best..... triumph..

She did it!

and Oh yea, that's why I volunteer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Red Feet

Had a chi running clinic yesterday.  It started with just two of us for the level II, on the track &  It was sweltering hot!  My form is ok, I can get into the "c" shape ok, but I have trouble keeping it while 'leaning.'  I look back at pictures from races and I look like a duck, so I know I have some work to do.  I asked Vince what I can do about the "duck" as well as my hip-bursitis and he noted that I'm crossing my feet very close together.  His suggestion : run barefoot to feel the ground under you, and 'know' where you're going.  Note, I was in myBARE feet, none of these weird 5 toe shoes!

Ok good idea ---- in theory!

The level I class joined us, and I removed my shoes.  The rain came, THANK GOD, it felt so nice!  Running the first lap in barefoot was pretty cool.  It really made me pay attention to where my feet were landing, and I wasn't thinking about how out of shape I am, I was thinking about - where my feet were landing.  I have to say I felt drunk as I staggered along the track line! 

The 2nd lap was good, it was nice to run in the puddle too!   We practiced the 2nd and 3rd gears and I think I'm getting it, I just need to build up some endurance.  The bare-feet thing was pretty cool up to this point too, it made me think about those weird shoes, except... do I REALLY need another thing to spend money on??

3rd lap, I actually looked at the bottom of my feet - EEK.. the track was red, and so was the bottom of my feet!  not so much from irritation but from the color of the track.  I felt like Lady McBeth!

4th lap, OUCH... each step was irritating, I could feel each raised groove in the track!  I swear I was floating just because I didn't want my feet to touch the ground! 

5th lap - just torture.. I splashed through the puddles as much as possible, got to the other side and found my precious shoes!

We then practiced hills.  I learned some new techniques on how to go up a pretty steep hill without straining the calves, also I learned how to go 'down' a hill  without killing myself or really pounding my knees.

All in all, a good day.. but damn my feet hurt today!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Niche

Well, good news is I found a niche, bad news it’s at a terrible cost to ME!

I’ve been assistant-coaching a tri-group.  I am not very good at the bike or run part, but I’m an ok swimmer.  I wouldn’t call myself a swim coach, but as a divemaster, I am trained to help people with fear, anxiety, and other issues with the water.  I’ve turned that into something useful for triathlons.   My specialty isn’t to teach people to swim, nor is it to teach people to swim fast.. But to teach folks to swim efficiently and without fear of their face in the water, without fear of fish, seaweed, and to just slow down and enjoy it.  As a good friend once told me (and its repeated in my head over and over and over and over..) STROKE AND GLIDE…..

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a remarkable change in several folks, and it has been special.  I’ve seen SEVERAL people not be able to do one lap in the pool and within 1 hour be able to do a ¼ mile swim!  It really is rewarding in itself! 

HOWEVER! I’ve spent this summer worrying about other people, volunteering almost all of my free-time helping others that I forgot about me.  I went for a bike ride on Sunday and it was PATHETIC.  I feel like I totally wasted the last 8 months of training, and the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on personal training. I feel like I just let it go! 

I have my first Olympic triathlon just around the corner, and sure I can hustle, but I don’t have the luxury of spending the $$ on the personal training again, nor do I really have the luxury of the time anymore.  I was volunteering almost 40% of my free time to the tri-group, then another day to PT, and another day to Pilates.. There’s my week - no real time for my training. (now of course I didn't push it either).

I love to dive, and I had anticipated that I would have time to spend diving the 2nd half of the summer. I'll have to decide which I want to do, dive or tri!  I have to rush back to get into the shape I was in back in May!  It’s sad really!  Sure I can do it.. but had I planned a little better, not just ‘given’ myself, I wouldn’t be in this situation!

I guess the moral of this is to not forget about YOU! – because no one else is going to remember YOU!