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Ironwoman Wednesday: Ironman Training & Relationships

Happy hump day! Starting today, I will be linking up each Wednesday with fellow Ironwomen for Ironwoman Wednesday!

Gabi from Lean Green Island Girl invited me to join Ironwoman Wednesday and I was honored!  Each Wednesday Gabi, Jamie at From Couch to Ironwoman and Michelle at IronwomanStrong think of a new Ironman related topic! They are all training for Ironman Louisville, which is just one week after my race, Ironman Mont Tremblant!  I look forward to joining them on each Weds going forward! 

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Today we’re talking Ironman training and relationships; the good, the bad and the ugly. With all the time Ironman training takes up, how has it affected your relationships with family, friends, your spouse/significant other co-workers, and  in my case.. your dog? 

If I could say one thing about Ironman training, it’s that it makes you sacrifice certain relationships in your life.  If you are lucky, the people in your life will understand what you are going through and will support you… if you are unlucky, people might get bitter at the fact that you aren’t around as much.  I have experienced both in this first go-around.

I knew when I hit that registration button for IMMT, that it was going to be a HUGE commitment for a long period of time… I just didn’t realize how MUCH of a commitment it really was until I started to live it for myself. For the most part, I have been lucky during this whole experience, but I have also suffered in some aspects.

My husband is my rock through this process.  

Todd has been nothing short of amazing and supportive throughout my Ironman training. While there have been plenty of rough days where he takes the role of ‘whipping post’ in my life, he still manages to be SO patient and so supportive.  Todd is not a a triathlete or a runner, which at times, can make it very difficult for him to understand me.  When I started this journey, I told him that I don’t need for him to understand me and all this IM craziness, I just need him to SUPPORT me… and he has supported me, above and beyond.  He told me recently that he feels like he’s training for an Ironman too (even though he’s obviously not) because my training consumes the BOTH of us, not just me. Without a doubt, our relationship has suffered a bit through this process… we spend less time together and he admitted last weekend that he ‘misses me.’  We both work a 9-5 job and our weekends (before IM training) were always spent together, now they are always spent apart since I am doing a billion hours of training.  I feel guilty about this at times, but his support takes some of my guilt away.  If there’s one thing I’m looking forward to after August 17th is spending more time with him.

Work life is more stressful.  

Funny Confession Ecard: I'm just too exhausted to care today.---  How I feel today...tired,tired, tired. Lol!

As I mentioned above, I work a full time job and this can be a challenge with IM training. My work relationships have suffered in the sense that I never want to socialize with co workers outside of work hours.  I have been invited to dinners, cocktails, etc, and I am either too tired to attend or I have training to do after work.  I think I am known around the office as the ‘crazy athlete.’  Part of me feels like I should be more social, but 1. I’m not a social butterfly anyways and 2. I am just too damn tired.  As long as I am doing my work and doing it well, I don’t really care about making friends with my colleagues at this point.

I spend less time on the weekends with my dog, Oliver. 

I consider my dog a human, and I feel bad that I don’t get to see him as much on the weekends, because I am always out training.  Before IM training, our summers were spent hiking all over the mountains in NH.  Oliver loves hiking and has a blast doing it!  I REALLY miss hiking, and spending time in the mountains with Oliver and Todd.  I there’s one thing I’ve realized the hard way with IM training, is you simply can’t do it all. We still take Oliver on nightly walks, and long walks on the weekend, but it’s nothing compared to the mountain trails.  I look forward to lots of hiking this fall!

I’ve become that friend who never answers phone calls and forgets to call back

To be honest, I have been a crappy friend during IM training.  Most of my girlfriends live out of state, and we used to talk pretty often via phone.  Now with training, picking up the phone and having a long conversation is the last thing I feel like doing.  Honestly, there must be something with IM training, but the last thing I want to do after a long day of work or training is pick up the phone.  Maybe I’m making an excuse for myself, but talking can be exhausting, ha! I also am the WORST offender at not calling people back… it’s a really bad habit. Oops.  I look forward to seeing my girlfriends in person this summer at a few different weddings… we can at least catch up then:)

IM training makes me cranky. 

I know some people that could cure their crankiness with these

This can affect any type of relationship in my life… and frankly anyone I come in contact with on a daily basis. Whether it’s the person bagging my groceries, the driver that I’m tailgating on the way to the gym, or my poor hubby.. I am not one to be messed with!  I have only a certain number of hours in my day and I need to maximize every minute of every hour… if someone gets in my way, watch out, ha! I guess I have always been a tad bit like this, but IM training makes the fangs come out. I’m always tired and always hungry… which means I’m always cranky (unless I’m working out!) #sorrybutimnotsorry  🙂

 

How are your relationships affected by your training? 

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Tri Talk Tuesday: Race Day Fueling

It’s Tuesday again (the week’s fly by when you’re training for an IM!) and I’m back again for Tri Talk Tuesday. Today’s theme chosen by the lovely CourtneyMiranda, and Cynthia is yet again, one of my favorite topics: Nutrition… specifically, RACE DAY FUELING! 

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If you asked me a year ago what I do for race day fueling, I would tell you that I don’t really have a plan (ever) and I just kind of wing it.  I wasn’t reckless about my race day fueling, but I definitely wasn’t smart about it. I raced triathlons for six years before even taking a sip of sports drink… thinking just water was OK all the time. No wonder my legs would cramp up on the run!

I knew when I signed up for IMMT, things had to change, but I wasn’t quite sure in what way.  This is when I made the decision to have a Race Fueling Plan done by The Core Diet, a group of Sports Nutritionists who are affiliated with my Triathlon Team, QT2. Getting a race fueling plan was life changing for me!  If you sign up for an Ironman, I highly recommend doing this. Who knew that I could elevate my performance EVEN further if I just took in more calories, sugar, sodium, etc on the bike and run?! I sure as heck didn’t, until I saw it for myself.

Here are some things I’ve learned about race fueling while training for my Ironman.  These tips not only apply to Ironmans, but any distance Triathlon (or running race)

1. Do not… I repeat… DO NOT, try anything new on race day.

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I have learned the hard way with this one (i.e. last fall’s Chicago Marathon making a bee line to the porta potties).  You never never never want to try anything new, whether it’s sports drink, gels, whatever, on race day.  You will risk having stomach problems among other things if you try something new. Spend time getting to know your race day nutrition inside and out, that way your body knows what to expect on race day.  This will lead to fewer surprises!

2. Continuing with above… PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

I can’t stress this enough my fellow tri-people!  You have to practice your race day fueling well before the race, and I’m not talking just a few days.  It’s imperative to practice your race fueling plan WELL before the race, so you know what your body can and cannot handle.  The longer the race, the longer the practice.  I have been practicing my race fueling plan for IMMT since December. I know what I have to eat and drink and at what time intervals.  My training nutrition and my race fueling plan work in harmony, which leads to less problems on race day.

3. Fiber is not your friend (before race day).

Cut out fiber 1-2 days before your race (depending on the distance of your race).  When I am doing a longer distance race, i.e. a Marathon or Half Ironman, I cut out fiber starting at lunch two days before my race.  If I am doing an Olympic Triathlon, I will cut out fiber from my diet 24 hours before the race. Not to gross anyone out, but for YEARS I spent countless race mornings going to the porta potties with GI emergencies, it was not pretty. Who knew that I wasn’t supposed to eat fibrous foods like almonds, peanut butter, fruit, etc, right before a race… no wonder! Now that I have followed my ‘fiber elimination’ plan for race day, it has made a WORLD of difference. I no longer have stomach pains/bathroom issues before and during the race. If you tend to have GI issues at a race, I strongly recommend doing the same.

4. Enjoy those pancakes, lots of ’em!

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Before this year’s Boston Marathon, I never really followed the whole carb loading theory. To be quite honest, I was afraid of eating all those carbs (I know, I’m crazy). I did my first BIG carb load before the Boston marathon this year and have now carb loaded for every race since!  The key thing is, to carb load the most in the morning before your race, and as the day goes on, eat less carbs. This means have a giant pancake breakfast with lots of syrup the morning before your race.  A good example of a carb load is: 3 large buttermilk pancakes, 2 pieces of toast plus some scrambled eggs for a little protein.  The key thing is, to avoid fiber during your carb load (as mentioned above), i.e. not eating foods with tons of grains and also avoiding things high in fat (like lots of butter). The way I remember this is to think of all of the carbs I try an avoid on a regular basis, the ones that have little to no nutrients, and eat those! It’s fun to indulge because you know you will burn it off the next day anyways and it will help your race:)

5. That salt is not just for your Margarita.  

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Taking in extra salt can make or break a race!  For most of us, Triathlon season happens in the summer and conditions are typically warm (and humid!).  This means we need to take in extra SALT when we race, especially during those ‘triple H’ days (hazy, hot and humid). Salt can be in the form of a sports drink (for me, that’s Power Bar Perform), Salt Stick tabs, sports gels, etc.  I have been taking Salt Stick Tabs recently in my triathlons (plus sports drink of course), and it’s made a world of difference for me.  Taking in extra salt can not only prevent stomach bloating, but can minimize heat stress and muscle cramping. Think of when you are racing in a triathlon, going from bike to run on a hot summer day… this is when you want those salt tabs!

What do you like to do for race fueling?  

What lessons have you learned the hard way with race fueling?

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IMMT Training Week 5 + Mass State Tri Race Report!

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Ironman Mont Tremblant is just FIVE weeks away now! I can’t believe it! Clearly I’m not the best with math. Last week I thought it was seven weeks away, when apparently it was six, oops! Even less time than I thought:) I am in the HOME STRETCH now. This week and the following week are my two biggest weeks a.k.a my peak weeks of training before the race.  During these next several days I will complete my longest bike, run and swim since starting training… then it’s time to start tapering.  Exactly one month from this Thursday, I will be in Tremblant racing my first Ironman!!

Last week’s training was a little bit of a step down week, and ended with a race on Sunday, the Mass State Olympic Triathlon!  I signed up for Mass State over the winter, after hearing for years what a great race it is. Max Performance (the multisport race organizer, does not disappoint!). When planning for IMMT, I asked my coach if Mass State would fit well into my training schedule, and sure enough, it did!  I’ll start with my race recap first… Holy smokes… I am still coming off of a ‘post race high’ from yesterday! I am psyched to announce that I PR’d at the Mass State Olympic Triathlon AND I won my Age Group! I also placed 9th Overall Female (top ten baby!) out of 212 females. I went into yesterday’s race wanting to win my Age Group and believing that I could. I am pleased to say that I did achieve my goal.. and more!

The Mass State Triathlon is known for having a competitive field year after year. This year’s Mass State Triathlon served as the 2014 USAT Northeast Regional Championship! From their website: The event is a regional favorite with a calm lake swim, smooth bike roads and a shady run, all set at beautiful Lake Dennison Recreation Area! This year’s event continues to celebrate the best athletes in the region, as USA Triathlon’s Northeast Regional Age Group Championship. This means that they take the top 33% to go to the National Championship versus the normal 10% from a race. A lot of people race Mass State to Qualify for the Age Group National Championship… so I knew it would going to be a hard fight out there on the course! (For the record, I’m not going to Nationals… it’s too close to IMMT and also a plane ride away..)

The day started out EARLY with a 4:00 AM wake up call. The race was a one hour drive and I wanted to be there when the gates opened at 6:00 AM (early bird gets the worm and a great parking spot!) The race took place at Lake Dennison Recreation Area, which is a beautiful wooded area with campgrounds nearby. When we got to the area where the race is, we got a primo parking spot, and I didn’t’ have to walk far art all to race pack pickup and transition. I love getting to races early and taking my time. I hate feeling rushed, it’s.the.worst. Once I picked up my race packet with numbers, swag, etc.. I made my way to transition and got set up on the rack. My transition rack that was very close to the ‘bike out’, so I was excited about that. My age group was also on the very end rack, which helps limit confusion after coming out of the water. Having a BRIGHT pink TT helmet also makes finding my bike easier!

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While in transition setting up, I realized the girl next to me looked really familiar, and she thought the same about me! It turns out we were camp counselors together in 2003, so crazy! Once I got everything set up, it was still only 6:30, and the race did not start until 8:00. I went over to the car and hung out with Todd and Oliver for a bit, just to get away from all of the pre race chatter around me (I hate tons of chatter). When it got close to 7:15, I walked back over to transition and got my wetsuit ready. The race venue had actual bathrooms (with flush toliets! Oh the luxuries in life), plus porta potties of course. I noticed the line for the real bathrooms was really short, so I made my way over there (yes!). My pre-race stomach was actually OK yesterday morning thanks to cutting out fiber for 24 hours… makes a big difference folks! After my last pit stop, I made my way to the lake to warm up.

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The water temperature was 77 degrees, would have liked it to be a little colder. it was also as smooth as glass! With the full sleeve wetsuit on, it felt pretty warm, but not too bad. Plus, I knew I wouldn’t be thinking too much about water temperature while I was racing. I warmed up for about 10 minutes, taking my time in the water, getting to how the water felt and looked.. how the course would go, where the turn buoys were, etc. I practiced going around one of the buoys a few times, and tried to relax my pre race nerves. At 7:45 they announced to have everyone out of the water for the pre race meeting. When I got to the beach, my foot hit something in the sand… it was a little plastic lion figurine… very random, but I took it as a sign. The guy next to me even said it was a good sign! Funny enough, the song I sing in my head when swimming is ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry. A definite sign I thought… today was going to be a good day!

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The swim waves were definitely big groups, at least it felt that way to me. I was in the second group, women 39 and under, plus the Elite women. We followed Males Elite, 34 & under + Clydesdales. I think one of the Clydesdales kicked me in the face later on.. but I’ll get to that. It was an ‘in water’ start, where we stood about waist deep.. although for me, being short, I was at about chest deep water. I started in the middle to front of the pack, which is not what I wanted. I wanted to be closer to the front, so I could just sprint it out in the beginning, with the hopes of not getting trampled on. When the horn went off, I started to swim fast, but it was a cluster f*%k and I started to hyperventalite. This is something that used to happen all the time to me, but has gotten better. Well the nerves came back yesterday and given my position, I was choking on a ton of water and it seemed chaotic. I tried to relax by singing ‘Roar’ in my head, but I still couldn’t get a grip on my breathing. I just told myself to slow down and relax, I could catch up on time once I calm down. After a few minutes, when things spread out a bit, I found my groove and I was cruising. I didn’t run into many problems except for a few people doing breaststroke around the buoys (so annoying!) and at the last turn buoy, I got kicked in the face. I tasted blood and thought it was either my mouth or my nose, but I kept moving on. I honestly thought it was a good experience to have before going to my Ironman. I finished the swim STRONG and fast, cruising to the beach. The best feeling is when you see the beach and you know you’re close. This race had a huge swim finish arch and it made sighting the finish that much easier! I looked down at my watch as I got out of the water: 25 minutes (not what I wanted I thought). I wanted to break 23 minutes, I had done this before and knew it could be done. Oh well, I brushed it off and got on the bike, knowing I could make up time there and the run.

Official Swim Time: 25:23 (1:37 100/yd pace)

When I got to transition, I noticed there were TONS of bikes. Seriously, to me it looked like I was the first one in my row out of the water, I was pumped!

T1 time: 1:08:02  

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I got on the bike quickly and set out for the 22 mile course. As soon as I got on my bike, I realized I left my Shot Blocks at transition, but didn’t worry too much. I had extra PowerBar Perform and could just drink extra of that for calories/carbs/sodium. I was supposed to take only two shot blocks in the beginning… I think it could have helped me, but I don’t know how much. I hammered on the bike course, from the start, and was averaging around 22-23 mph. My goal was to finish the 22 miles in under 1 hour, and I knew I had a good chance. The first couple of miles were fast and flat and then it started to get a little hilly. The hills weren’t too bad, but still made me fight! For the majority of the ride, we fought awful headwinds (was not expecting that!). I was grateful that I practiced in windy conditions the weekend prior, it helped me mentally during the race. I played ‘cat and mouse’ with a couple of men on the bike course… I would pass them.. they would pass me… and this repeated several miles. It frustrated me because I didn’t want to get a penalty for drafting. Men just hate getting passed by women, it’s amazing… maybe it was my pink helmet;). One glitch I had on the bike was, my SpeedFil hydration straw was giving me trouble, which was a slight distraction at times. I need a new mouthpiece (yet again) and it leaks heavily if I don’t close it all the way.

My legs felt great during the entire one loop bike course, and I finished as strong as I could.

Official Bike time: 1:02:54 (didn’t break 1 hour, but it’s still a PR for me)

Avg Bike Speed: 21 mph

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T2: 48 seconds (holy smokes!) I zipped through T2, lightening fast and started to run!

I’m going to just be honest about the run, I #crushedit. This time I remembered to take my (brand new) inhaler- after what happened at Patriot, my shot blocks and some salt tabs. As soon as my feet hit the pavement, I knew it was going to be a great run… my legs felt like I didn’t even bike, they felt as light as air.

The run was an out-and-back course, we ran 3.1 miles and then turned around to make it a 10K (6.2 miles).  I read on the website that the run course was ‘shaded’ which is was (thankfully). It was also mostly flat and had practically no traffic, just running through neighborhoods.  I like the out-and-back courses because it allows you to get an idea of how you’re doing on the run.  As I was running the first half, I could see people running on the other side of the street, headed for the finish.  For the first two miles or so, I didn’t see any women, just men.  This was reassuring to say the least. Finally, just before the half way point, I saw the lead women who weren’t too far ahead of me.  I counted seven total women and knew that I was the eighth female on the run course.  It gave me motivation to run faster and catch up to the other girls! I could not get over how good I felt, I honestly felt like I could keep my pace all day long.  When I got to miles 4 and 5, I did end up passing a few girls and kept up my pace.  At mile 5, I knew I had just 1.2 miles left and I started to gun it for the finish.  I saw a few more girls ahead of me, and I made it my mission to pass them (and I did!).

My goal total race time was to break 2:10 (I raced a 2:13:12 last year at an Olympic tri).  I knew it was going to be be close as I neared the finish chute. My last mile split was a 6:36 mile and I literally sprinted to the finish line!

Official Run time for 6.2 mile: 41:43 (6:44 min/mile pace)

When I crossed the finish line, I saw mostly men in the finish area and I knew I had done well! What a fantastic feeling.  A few men approached me since I was wearing my QT2 jersey, saying they were coached by QT2 as well!  Both guys I spoke to at the finish, it turns out are racing IMMT for their first Ironman!

When I was standing in the finish area, I looked over to the side and saw my mom, she surprised me! I didn’t know she was coming to the race, since she had been in New Hampshire for the weekend.  Unfortunately, she didn’t see me finish, but she saw me afterwards and it made my day!

After seeing my mom and getting my recovery drink, I went over to see the race results board.  I had high hopes that I placed in my Age Group, and secretly hoped I had won.

Official Time: 2:11:56, 1st Age Group, 9th female out of 212

At first I thought I was 2nd place AG, but it turns out Jana who was 1st place for 30-34 women, won 3rd overall, so I took 1st AG! When you win an overall award, you are not eligible for an Age Group Award. This being said, I placed first in my Age group!

We stuck around for about an hour or so before the awards ceremony and then my mom got to see me on the podium! Todd had to stay back with Oliver, since he was not allowed in the race area on the grass (strict rules at this venue since it’s a state park).  The Awards ceremony was lots of fun and it was great to be on the PODIUM for the second time this season! I could get used to this:) What a great race to have before the big one!

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 And quickly recapping the week….

Total training hours last week: 9.5

Monday
Swim: 28 Min recovery
Bike: 1 hour recovery pace

Tuesday
REST

Wednesday
Bike: 1 hour Recovery pace
Run: Zone 1 /Zone 1 HR 42 min

Thursday
Swim: 30 min of intervals
Bike: 1:20 with sprint intervals
Run: 35 min @ recovery pace

Friday
Swim: 45 min at Master’s Practice

Saturday
Bike: 1:00 hour recovery ride
Run: 15 min @ recovery pace

Sunday:
RACE

How was your week last week? Did you race last weekend?

How do relax on the swim course when it’s a big cluster?

 

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Eight Fears + Race Weekend!

Happy Friday!

This week has been crazy busy with work (+ training) and I’m glad it’s almost over… I’m exhausted! I have an Olympic distance race on Sunday, the Mass State Triathlon!  I’ve never done this race before, but I hear it’s a good one and tends to have a competitive field. I look forward to racing a ‘shorter’ distance race and seeing how I perform.  I feel like I could do an Olympic Triathlon in my sleep, so hopefully it goes well!  I can’t believe this is my last race before IMMT (holy smokes!). I will be sure to post a race report next week! Wish me luck:)

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Continuing with the “10 Day You Challenge” today, here are my EIGHT biggest fears. This is a good topic for me, since I tend to worry about everything in life (my husband can vouch for that).

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1. Getting cancer.  I probably think about getting cancer some day, more than the average person, so I think.  I feel like every single day I hear that another person is diagnosed and it really frightens me.  I know that exercising and eating healthy might keep some cancers away, but honestly, you NEVER know… and this is a huge fear of mine. It’s in your cells and it freaks me out, big time.

2. My parents dying young. I worry especially about my father.  He has worked his ass off his entire life, doing manual labor, running his own business… I see how beyond stressed out he is (all the time).  I just get worried about him and his health. I want my parents to live for a long time, and my fear is that they might not.

3.  Oliver (our dog) dying. I want Oliver to live a long life and stay healthy.  He is already a super-fit Westie, but I hear stories of dogs getting cancer or some other disease and this makes me nervous.  He means the world to Todd and I and I can’t stand the thought of him leaving Earth one day

4. Bugs.  I am literally paranoid of bugs, especially spiders. It took me years to be OK with camping, for the mere fact that spiders might go in my tent.  We also live in an older house, and get are fair share of spiders indoors (like last night on the ceiling above our bed!).  I hate them so much and I don’t mind killing them (or any bug… unless it’s a butterfly, ladybug or caterpillar of course).

5. Anything to do with being pregnant and being a mom.  I am really scared of the thought of being pregnant one day… and being a mom. The thought of something living and growing inside me still freaks me out, but I am starting to think more positively about it.  I am REALLY afraid for the changes my body will go through (if I get prego some day), and what my body will look like after pregnancy.  I honestly worry that I will never look the same and this scares me.  I am also really scared of being a mom… I worry I won’t be a good mother.  The thought of our lives completely changing with a child completely freaks me out.

6. Not having enough money to live comfortably. I don’t need to be super rich in life, but I want to be able to buy things I want (within reason) and not be stressed about paying the next bill.  I want financial freedom and I am scared at the thought of not having it.  I know this comes with time, we are still so young, but it is a HUGE fear.  I know that money does NOT bring happiness, but it sure as hell helps.

7. That I’ll never get to live in another part of the country. I am from Massachusetts, went to college in Virginia, studied abroad in Australia, and then came home to Massachusetts.  While I do love it here, and I love having ALL of our family here, there is a teeeeny part of me that wants to live somewhere else.  I have dreams of living in Colorado or Washington… I feel like those places would be a perfect fit for us.  I just don’t want to get old and regret not living anywhere but New England.

8. Not being able to run or do Triathlons. I’m sure you all know why I have this fear, but the thought of not being able to run or race Triathlons, makes me stomach turn.  I’ve been injured, had surgery, taken many weeks off… but it’s never been forever.  If something ever happened to me where I could run or race (let alone exercise) I think I would need to be put in one of those padded rooms in a psychiatric hospital… I would be devastated.

overcoming fear quotes | ... that empowers people through unique stories of overcoming fear

 

What are your fears?  

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Tri Talk Tuesday: Fueling Your Training

Happy Tuesday! Today’s weekly Tri Talk Tuesday theme is “Triathlon Training Nutrition”, hosted by CourtneyMiranda, and Cynthia! I am extra for today’s link up, since it’s one of my FAVORITE topics: NUTRITION!

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Nutrition is something near and dear to my heart. I care so much about it, to the point where I would like to make it my career one day (not sure how just yet!). I am literally obsessed with eating the best food for me and my training every single day. I probably think about nutrition more than the average athlete, but I’m ok with that, since it works out in my favor! I could talk about fueling all day long, but I will try and sum up some of my favorite tips and tricks for you all to hopefully benefit from.

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The truth:
I have been in love with nutrition and eating healthy since middle school. Eating healthy, real food is something that I have always taken pride in and had found to be a huge part of my life. Nutrition has become even more a part of my life, and even more critical now with Ironman training. Prior to Ironman training, I was eating very healthy, balanced meals, focusing on REAL food high in nutrients. But I knew that I probably need to tweak a few things in my diet, in order to support my training. I opted to have a nutrition analysis done and it was SUPER helpful. If you are thinking about training for an Ironman, I highly recommend this!

Signing up for an Ironman meant time for some changes:
A Sports Nutritionist took a look at my training volume and what I was consuming, and WHEN I was consuming it. As I suspected, I was doing a lot of things right (healthy proteins, fats and carbohydrates) but I had to change a couple of things. One thing I was failing at was, eating the right foods for RECOVERY post training session or race. This was the biggest change I made in my diet and it was life changing! I went from never taking a recovery drink (thinking just a banana and peanut butter was ok), to taking a recovery drink every time I do a swim, bike or run that is long enough to require it.

Another HUGE change I made was drinking sports drink during my training sessions. For years I thought that just drinking water was enough… boy was I wrong. Sure, water is great for short workouts (i.e. not long endurance workouts). But I was drinking only water during my long bike rides, for example, and this HAD to change for the Ironman. As soon as I incorporated sports drink into my training sessions, I noticed a HUGE difference in my performance! Who knew sports drink could be life changing? As far as my normal meals, I did not have to change much there, just figuring out how to time my meals has been the important change.

Here are some tips I’ve learned throughout the years, and specifically now with Ironman training.  I am by no means an expert, but I have a lot of experience with this stuff!

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Timing is everything- The 30 minute window/Recovery
During a training session you are taxing your body and using up its energy stores (glycogen). Once your workout is finished, you must replenish what you lost in order for your body to begin the process of repair. In the 30 minutes immediately following your workout, your insulin sensitivity is at its highest and when your body is in this state, whatever nutrients you take in will be easily transported directly to your muscles, liver, and wherever else it is needed. You will suck it up like a sponge. Depending on the length of my workout, and the sport, I typically take 1-2 scoops of EFS Ultragen Recovery. This has quite honestly changed my life, especially on the weekends when I have long brick workouts on Saturday AND Sunday.

Eat Real foods, things you can pronounce
Like I have mentioned before on my blog, it all comes down to eating REAL food. I am a huge advocate for eating only foods you can pronounce. I could rant for hours on how much I hate the way Americans are eating these days.. it makes me sick. From GMO’s to pesticides to high fructose corn syrup, the list is endless… and it’s downright scary what companies are putting in packaged foods! The only thing I eat out of a package are my sports drinks and gels, other than that, I try my best to eat REAL food. Sure I have my cheat meals (i.e. pizza), especially after I’ve trained my butt off… but I try and eat real food 90% of the time:)

Carbs are your friend (as an Endurance athlete)
Whole food carbohydrates are vital for endurance training, especially an Ironman. I’m not talking about packaged carbohydrates like Oreos… I’m talking about sweet potatoes, fruit, greek yogurt with healthy granola, etc. I have learned the hard way (i.e. hitting the wall) that you NEED carbs when training for an endurance event. Another way I get my carbohydrates while training is through sports drink like Scratch Labs or Power Bar Perform.

Speaking of Carbs….. Concentrate on eating low Glycemic Index foods (GI < 55) throughout the day.
High glycemic foods, such as grains and refined sugars, cause blood sugar levels to spike, which can lead to increased hunger, fatigue, and excessive storage of body fat. These higher GI foods, such as grains and refined sugars, should be consumed during “windows” before or after your workout to help maintain/restore glycogen levels.

Eat very frequently throughout the day with a maximum of 2-3 hours between feedings.
This helps keep blood sugar stable and a constant supply of nutrients available for muscle recovery. To that end, reduce the fasting window while you sleep by having a protein shake, or some other source of lean protein, immediately before bed each night, and something the moment you wake up. This has made a huge difference for me. I typically have plain greek yogurt with berries before bed (15 g of protein!)

Increase your intake of Omega-3 Fatty acids
I take 2-3 g Fish Oil daily, which is the ideal amount recommend by my nutritionist. I also consume walnuts, avocado, and hemp seeds for additional Omega-3’s. Omega-3’s work as an antioxidant and have been shown not only to decrease internal inflammation (which is created during intense training) – they also help prevent your joints!

Just for fun, here is an example of a weekday eating while training for an Ironman

5:00 AM Powerbar Sports Gel pre bike ride
5:00-7:00 Consume PowerBar Perform, 1 bottle per hour (3 scoops per bottle) and additional gels if necessary
7:00 EFS Ultragen Recovery drink (1-2 scoops depending on intensity)
8:30 Breakfast: Sweet potato hash, 2 scrambled eggs, broccoli, some fruit
10:30 One serving almonds, one apple
12:00 Chopped kale salad with grilled chicken, lots of raw veggies, hemp seeds and Tessemae’s dressing + 1 piece 88% dark chocolate
3:00 Siggi’s Greek yogurt with walnuts for Omega 3’s
5:00 Power Bar Gel before next workout OR a snack of hummus and carrots if not training in the evening
7:00 Dinner: lean protein, veggies + 1 piece 88% dark chocolate
9:30 Before bed snack: Plain greek yogurt with berries (I like the Trader Joe’s plain)

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Obviously, this is not what every single day looks like, but it’s pretty darn close. I eat every 2-3 hours and I’m always hungry with Ironman training! The important thing for me is, not letting my blood sugar drop and to stay on top of my recovery! I may not have much energy to cook these days, due to long hours of training, but I make eating healthy a PRIORITY… Oh and the fact that I enjoy cooking helps too:)

 

How do you fuel your training? What are are some changes you’ve had to make with your fueling?