Hello yeah it’s been a while … Not Much … How ’bout you?
I admit that since taking the podcast up a notch, and taking on actual coaching clients, that my attention to the blog has waned. Amazingly so, since even when I was at very down points in my training and life I always was managing to write something. Let’s call it a block, and a serious rethinking of how I want to proceed with this endeavor. Believe it or not, I was starting to question how much about myself and inner thoughts I should continue to share on the blog, and that has stopped me from writing recently because I have been having some issues, both personally and in training, and I was not ready to “air it out”. My recent thought is to just continue to do what I do, and let the chips fall where they may, for better or worse. At least with me you know you are getting something REAL.
So, I skipped a race report for CFTS #2. There are a couple of reasons for that. The first was that it was my first duathlon, after deciding that the anxiety the swim continued to cause me was not worth it this year and I wanted to find the joy in racing. So I made the decision to switch all of my races this year that were left at Clermont to Duathlon’s. Now, this in itself is kind of a big deal because, if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know how I struggle with the run, and this was adding another run to a race. The swim and the run are VERY different for me in my head. I can swim very well. Put me in a pool and I will crank through a workout with no issues. The issues come when I get in the water with 500 people and start getting banged around. The run I am slow in, and it hurts, but I can do on my own pace and not have to worry about drowning, or my throat seizing up on me (this is a valid concern from the damage caused by cancer).
So, in number 2 back in July we did our first run-bike-run race. I was slow, as is normal, but I enjoyed the race. There were only 23 people entered in the duathlon, and as is par for the course I came in #23, but I did it. My time was 2:09:32. I was hoping for under 2. The second run continued to be a source of frustration. Coming off the bike I feel like I have no energy left in me, and I walk the majority, if not all, of the 3 mile run.
This became quite the topic on The Fat Slow Triathlete Show in the week afterward, and in private conversations with Jennifer Cultrera, Randy Messman, and my fitness coach Meghan Collins Fanning. Why was it that I had no energy? Was I pushing too hard during the bike? Hardly. It basically came down to one thing, and something that has followed me for 6 years –
Nutrition and Refueling
I suck at this. I don’t eat before a race, I drinking nothing during first leg, I take a swig of hydration before getting on bike, I MAYBE drink once on the bike, then BOOM, done. Walking the last three mile.
It’s really not rocket science.
So I decided to make a mental effort to fuel properly during the race last weekend. This is what I did with the results afterward:
Run Leg 1
I still ate nothing before the race start because my stomach just cannot handle it. I have an idea for the next one, but for this one there was nothing. What I DID do was brought two water bottles instead of just the one for the bike, and drank from it while setting up transition. Then, about 20 minutes before race start I did something I had not done in three years. I ate a GU (actually a Hammer Salted watermelon).
Result: In the previous race my pace was 14:46 running 30 seconds and walking 1:00. This race was 14:11 running 30 seconds and walking 45 seconds. And I could have pushed harder. Something worked, but it could also be a result of the lunch time runs in 95 degree heat twice a week.
T1 and Cycle Leg
I was having an issue with sloshing, so Jennifer suggested that instead of drinking my electrolytes and carbs as part of my normal hydration, to try to do it as a “chunk”. I made up a flask of Skratch Green Tea and added 4 broken open tablets of Neurolytes from Classified Nutrition. Did it taste good? Nope. But at this point it was worth a try. So I downed half the flask and got on the bike. I carried one bottle with me which was filled with 1 scoop of Cytomax and 1 scoop of CarboPro. This concentraion is very diluted, another suggestion from Jennifer, and I paid attention to the watch alarm and drank every 10:00.
Result: I finished the bottle in 10 miles (unheard of from me) and actually could get out of the saddle twice on climbs. Ended up finishing with a pace 1 mph faster than the previous race. And I think I can go faster.
But the REAL test was coming up.
T2 and Run Leg 2
Coming into T2 I felt pretty good. When dismounting my legs usually feel rubbery, and they did this time as well, but not AS rubbery, if that makes sense. The entry from bike dismount to T2 is stupid, in my opinion, and doesn’t help the leg issue. You get off the bike on the road, but then have to go down an incline. They need to fix that.
Once I mounted the bike I downed the other half of the flask (still nasty), grabbed a hand held water bottle (Skratch Green Tea once again, but no CarboPro), and a Accel Gel (orange) and headed out to the run, not knowing what to expect.
I had my watch set for 30/45 second splits, but walked the first two (so, walked 30, walked 45, walked 30, walked 45) and then on the third run alert tried to run a bit.
Not fast mind you, more like a shuffle, but faster than the walk and I was able to do it with minimal discomfort. About a mile in I noticed that my runs were now in the 13:00 pace range, unheard of for me on a run leg like this. At the turnaround I opened the Gel and downed it, and felt really good. I drank every 5 minutes or so, ran as hard as I could, and tried to recover during the walk.
Result: The pace on the first race was 18:22. My finishing pace this time was 17:00. Again, I think I can go faster.
My overall time was 2:06:42. This is about 3:00 faster, and as you can see by the report it was mostly on the runs this happened. T1 and T2 need to be faster for sure (a little over 4:00 for each). My goal in #4 (September 10th) is to get under 14 for Run Leg 1, my speed near 15 for the bike, and my Run Leg 2 in the 16 area. I want to be under 2 hours when this season ends.
Oh. and I used a Power Meter on this race, but that’s a blog for another time