Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Training For Ironman Maryland

This year I decided to sign up for Ironman Maryland for the third time.  I had a great race the first time and the second time I did it the swim was canceled, bike course was shortened and weather was horrendous.  Needless to say I'm hoping the third time is a charm!  I decided to do a few shorter races leading up to the Ironman in September.  Last weekend we did a half ironman in Flagstaff, AZ.  I've done this race before and the month prior we did an Olympic distance on the same course.  It's a beautiful place to race and great to get out of the heat in Vegas during the summer months.  We packed up the pups and drove up on Friday for the race that was on Sunday.  Anytime I do a race as a training day its really great because I don't put any pressure on myself.  I just go out and plan on a good training day.  The prior month doing the Olympic I must have started too fast in the swim.  A combination of that and the higher altitude made my arms feel like cement blocks and I felt awful for at least half of the swim.  This time I planned to go out comfortable and once I felt good I would pick up the pace.  That made for an average swim time for me of 36 minutes.  There was lot's of fog which made sighting hard and we started an hour later than planned.  This made it tough for the end of the run because by that time it was getting hot outside.  They changed the bike course from the previous years and it was much harder.  Before it was a pretty easy course but now it had lot's of climbing.  I had a a bike time of 2:59.  That's not great for me but I also don't feel my bike fitness is at its best right now.  When I did this race several years ago I had a very bad cramp in my side on the run.  I had to walk a lot of the run course so I was hoping to have a better run.  I started out ok and felt pretty good for the run. I wasn't super fast but didn't feel the need to walk and felt pretty good considering the bike course was pretty tough.  My boyfriends wave went off 5 minutes ahead of mine so I knew he was ahead of me and I was hoping to catch him on the run.  I saw him at one of the turnarounds at mile 3 and he was about a half of a mile ahead of me.  Then about mile 8 I could see him right ahead of me.  I caught up to him, we had 5 miles to go and I could tell he was suffering.  This was a training race not a race for me to try and break any records.  I decided to finish with him and try to get him to the finish without walking too much the last 5 miles.  We did some walking and a slow run but we finished together.  

My award for the Olympic Distance Race I did in July. I won
the overall Female Masters (over 40)

I have three big training  weeks to go before Ironman Maryland.  I feel pretty fit and conditioned but not as fast as I have been in previous races.  I think it is a combination of a few things and one is my work schedule is much harder now and I'm doing a lot more massage since I am a massage therapist as well as a coach/trainer.  I'm not missing many workouts I just don't have the intensity that I should for some of my shorter workouts. Previously I was doing more biking mostly because I had the time and a coach.  Ironman Maryland will be my 14th time starting  of an Ironman and my 13 time finishing one (if I finish:).  I DNF'd one year at Ironman Arizona back when it was in April and 100 degrees.  I did Ironman Maryland about 4 years ago and I finished in 11 hours, which was one of my best Ironman finish times. .  I would love to do that however being less fit I don't foresee that happening.  Even after racing for so many years I still learn things each race and I still mess up things each race.  It rarely goes as I plan it in my head, sometimes it goes much better, and other times it goes much worse.  After racing for so long I don't take it as seriously as I used to and just try to have fun and stay fit.  Its nice not to put so much pressure on yourself going into a race and to enjoy it a little.  I loved the beautiful race course in Flagstaff.......the hills not so much!  

Train Hard.  Have Fun.  Recover Well.  

Coach Cyndee 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Fueling And Racing - It Takes Practice

I wanted to touch on fueling for an event but I am not going to go into detail about how many calories and what type of calories or sports drinks you should be consuming.  There are so many articles out there about what to take and how much to take during a race.  As a coach I always tell my clients to practice what they are going to fuel with during their training leading up to the event.  I give them suggestions and tell them to try a few different sports drinks because each person is different and what works for me may not necessarily work for someone else.  Once I give them a few suggestions I make sure to tell them to practice with what they are using during their long workouts.  I'll ask them how their fueling went during training and often they say great.  Then as we get closer to the race often they tell me they are going to try something else because someone told them about a different product.  I don't suggest anyone change what they are doing close to an event unless its not working for some reason. If something that works well for you and stick with it and I wouldn't recommend changing things up close to any race.  I definitely wouldn't try anything new race day.  The only thing I do different during training is I use a camelback on the bike in the summer.  I only do this because I live in Vegas and in the summer its so hot my fluid doesn't stay cold.  Otherwise I train with the same system and nutrition I do when I race.  Here is my plan:  (keep in mine this works for me maybe not you)

- Carbo Pro mixed with powdered Gatorade (not a lot of Gatorade mostly to flavor). I also add Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes to this.
- Cliff Kids Z-Bars - I like these because they are just over 100 calories per bar and they are not too chewy or hard to eat and they taste great.
- Fruit Chews - just plain fruit chews or I also like the ProBar fruit blocks because they have caffeine.  I will use both the regular fruit chews you can buy in the store but if I feel like I need caffeine I will use the ProBar ones.

I try and take in most of my calories on the bike for long events.  When I get to the run I take in whatever they offer on the run course in fluids and mostly the fruit chews when needed.  Gels don't work well for me but for some people they work fine.  While on the bike I try and take in 150-200 calories per hour.  I usually do best with the minimal about needed to keep my energy.  I don't seem to do better with more calories.

The bottom line is you should have  your nutrition plan in place months before your race.  You could be in the best shape going into the race and if you don't have a good nutrition plan you may not succeed.  Put time and thought into what you are fueling your body with during training.  This also includes your breakfast.  Don't suddenly decide race morning to eat a lot more because its race day. Breakfast on long training days should be the same breakfast as race day.   This includes your fueling system such as how many bottles on your bike, practice with the area system, and bento box.  Lastly consider how you will get enough nutrition on your bike or consider using the special needs bag for the ironman distance.  For long distance races I do not use a special needs bag, instead I make my original drink extra concentrated.  As I come to aid stations I add water to it my bottle between my bars.  Typically two extra concentrated bottles are enough for me for a full ironman.  Again you need to practice all of this on your long training days.

Train Hard. Have Fun.  Recover Well.
Coach Cyndee

Friday, April 27, 2018

You Want To Do A Race But Do You Have Enough Time To Train?

One of the hardest parts of training for a race is balancing it all.  Balancing training, work and family can sometimes be tough.  I try and make sure people know what they are getting into when they say they want to sign up for a race.  As a coach I want everyone to go into a race as prepared as they can. When people struggle to get all the workouts done I understand its hard but the reality is they signed up for the race.   I try and lay in all out there up front so there is no surprises when they see their training schedule.  Inevitably it becomes hard for many people to manage it all.  Before you sign up for any event ask yourself some questions:

  • How much time can I reasonably dedicate to training per week?  
    • Is that enough time for the event you're signing up for?  If your answer is 7 hours a week then its probably not likely you should sign up for an Ironman. 
  • How well do I want to perform at this event?  Just finish?  Win my age group?  Win overall?  (This answer will be a factor on how much time you need to spend training for this event)
  • Is my family on board with this goal?  Are they ok with me spending less time with them?  
  • Is my work on board with this goal?  If you spend your extra time at work because you can, you may not be able to do this once you begin your training.  
  • Does my schedule allow for 2 a day workouts when they are needed?  
  • Does my schedule allow for one or two days for a very long workout?  If training for an Ironman you will need to get some long rides in that may be 4-6 hours.  Plus you need to factor in the recovery after a ride like that.  Its tough to go to work after doing something like that.
  • Do I have people train with?  This is very important for people who don't like to train alone.  Some people are fine training alone but others need support and without it they tend to miss workouts. 
It's important to remember when you start a training program you may require more sleep and recovery.  This is something else that will require more time.  Eating better is important when you're training hard and meal preparation requires more thought and time.  All of these things should factor into when you decide on a race.  

I love when people do things outside of their comfort zone and accomplish big things.  I also want people to succeed and set attainable  and realistic goals.  Signing up for a race that will leave you feeling overwhelmed is not a fun feeling.  It's so common to get excited in the moment and sign up for a big race and then face reality when the training becomes too much.  Trying to manage and balance training, work and family can be tough.  Many people do it and they typically have a great support system helping them.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

My Boston Marathon Race Recap

Last year I ran the Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa.  That race required a qualifying marathon to be completed by the end of April.  My boyfriend and I decided to run the Revel Mount Charleston race because we didn’t want to travel and we got into i
t at the last minute.  I didn’t plan to qualify for the Boston Marathon but I did and I did with 15 minutes to spare.  I was pretty excited since I hadn’t done Boston and it’s a bucket list race for most runners.  I was looking forward to the Boston Marathon even though I wasn’t 100% prepared.  I knew I could do the distance but hadn’t done much speed work so I didn’t expect to have my fastest time.  I wanted to enjoy my time in Boston and enjoy the race.  I was looking forward to experiencing all the iconic things I had heard about like Heartbreak Hill, Newton Hills, and the Wellesley Girls.  

A few weeks before the race, I was honored to become a part of a team representing The Las Vegas Resiliency Center.  The Center was set up to offer support for victims affected by the October 1st shooting at the Mandalay Bay.  The center wanted to have a team represented in Boston to help bring awareness to the help the center provides. We could also show support for Boston since that city experienced a tragic event like Las Vegas.  The team was called Vegas Strong and we had shirts with Vegas Strong on the front and Boston Strong on the back.  There were 22 runners that made up the team.  The members either qualified for Boston like I did or were running with a charity spot.  We all met a few weeks prior to the race for a training run from the Las Vegas sign to Sunset Park.  As you can see by the picture I had to bring my dog Lilly who is one of my running buddies.  It was a fun event and we had a police escort the entire way.  It was on the news and received a lot of attention, which was especially good for the Resiliency Center.  People impacted by the tragedy only have 6 more months to take advantage of the center so it’s important to get the word out. 

As we got closer to the race we all kept an eye on the weather report.  It wasn’t looking great and in fact as we approached race day it was looking pretty dismal.  Cold, pouring rain and strong winds were in the forecast for race day.  This was especially bad for someone like me who doesn’t like the cold, doesn’t perform well in the cold, and is prone to hypothermia.  I’ve never done a marathon in pouring rain so I had to think about what I would wear. I decided on a water resistant Lululemon jacket and water resistant Lululemon tights.  I had my Vegas/Boston strong shirt with a base layer under it.  Unfortunately with the jacket nobody would see my shirt. I had two pairs of gloves, a headband covering my ears, a beanie and a hood on my jacket.  I wore a sweat suit in the morning over my tights and jacket and throw away shoes since we had to wait a while before the race.  We arrived by bus at a school and we had to wait for our waves to be called when we would walk about a mile to the start.  They did have tents in the fields at the school but they were packed full of people and full of slippery deep mud.  It was awful plus the lines at the porta potties were so long and slow.  I think people were staying extra long in the porta potty to stay dry!  I waited in the rain in line to go to the bathroom and I was freezing cold.  By the time the race started I was soaking wet and shaking from the cold.  I had the brief thought of bailing on the race and taking Uber back to the hotel.  That thought passed and I sucked it up and went to the start line.

I was so cold my feet were numb for the first several miles.  The wind and rain lasted most of the race, at times it was pouring very hard with a strong headwind.  Mother Nature was relentless and she didn’t let up for the entire day.  There was one really great thing about this day.  I was so impressed that there were so many people cheering us on the entire way.  People who ran the race previous yev gfars said the crowds were light but it didn’t seem like it to me.  These people were out in the pouring rain to cheer us on.  It was so impressive I couldn’t believe it and it lasted all the way to the finish line. 

It was one of the worst weather days in the history of the 122 years of the Boston Marathon.  I was so happy to be at the finish and it was pretty exciting running down the final stretch to the finish.  There were so many people cheering us on to the finish and it was exciting.  It wasn’t a great finishing time for me and wasn’t the most fun I’ve had at a race.  I was however the happiest I’ve ever been to be done with a race.  I was so thankful it was over and just wanted to get warm and dry.  I don’t think I’ll be back to do this race again but I’m glad I did it and can always tell people I did it that year they had the worst weather ever! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

We Did It......and it was so much FUN!

We Did It……and it was so much FUN!

I must admit I haven’t been doing anything serious as far as working out since June of last year when I completed the Comrades marathon.  I have not been a couch potato and have ben doing some exercise daily just nothing extreme like I am usually doing.  I took time to let my body recover and I rested my hip so the tendonitis would go away.  In October I started increasing my running and completed a half marathon with my dog at the end of November.  I’ve done lots of big races such as Ironman races and Ultra Marathons but this little half marathon with my dog was one of the most rewarding.  She is a rescue and it was the year anniversary of the day that I adopted her.  She did amazing and I was so proud of her and how much progress she has made recovering from an abusive past.
Half Marathon

I decided that I wanted to run a 30K with her, she is young and seems like she can run forever.  I signed up for a marathon that was a 4-loop course near my house.  I planned to run 3 loops with my dog Pacer and the last loop with my older dog Lilly.  I decided to train for this marathon a little differently then most marathons.  My vet told me to train her like I would train any human.  I figured if she would be running 18 miles at the race then our long run in training would be 15 miles.  Even though I still would be running 26.2 I figured a long run of 15 miles would be enough for me as long as my weekly mileage was about 40-45.  My highest weekly mileage was 45 and I did a 15 miler followed the next day with a 10 miler. 
Before The Race

Race day I felt pretty good and was excited to run.  I was a little nervous about Pacer at the start since there were a lot of people and she gets nervous around new people.  I got to the back of the group and went off last and let me tell you Pacer was ready to go.  She wanted to chase everyone down and be in the lead.  Once things thinned out she wasn’t pulling so hard to get ahead and we settled into a good pace.  Each loop was 3 miles out and 3 miles back.  I had fruit chews for me and a salmon and sweet potato cake for Pacer.  There were 2 aid stations that we stopped at each time for water although Pacer wasn’t too interested in drinking she wanted to keep running.  We finished the third loop and she was honestly fresh as a Daisy.  I believe she could have easily ran another loop.  My boyfriend brought my other dog Lilly for the last loop and took Pacer home. I made sure to tell him to give her the peanut butter kong when they got home.  It was her reward for being such a good girl. 

Lilly is a little older but she was fresh and wanted to run fast!   I had to try and slow her down since I had already ran 18 miles.  We finished at just about 4 hours and 30 minutes.  It was probably the slowest marathon I’ve ran but the most rewarding.  

When I first got Pacer she was terrified of everything on our runs.  She would flinch or react at fire hydrants, loud motorcycles, people, and other dogs.  I got her at 10 months old and she hadn’t been socialized at all.  Just over a year later after lots of work with trainers and lots of running she ran 18 miles with a bunch of other people.  That is amazing and just shows you that running can not only helps humans overcome things but can help dogs too!