Sunday, February 27, 2011

If You've Only Got An Hour

Triathletes are a busy bunch.  They don't need to perfect ONE sport, they need to perfect three!  With things like work, family, church activites, volunteering in school, and buying groceries on the To-Do list, time sometimes slips away.

That being said, a one hour workout might be just the ticket for the overly scheduled athlete.  Joe Friel has a great one-hour workout I've been borrowing lately for my athletes and myself.  I've tweeked it to my liking.  Here goes:   

Set up your bike on the track or someplace with a measured out-and-back course.  (I set up my trainer inside and run around my neighborhood.)  Warm up on the bike for 30 minutes, elevating heart to Zone 3.  Transition to a 400 meter run at 10K pace.  Transition back to the bike for a 5 minute ride done this way: spin easy 2 minutes, then build HR up to Zone 4-5 for the next 3 minutes.  Transition to an 800 meter run at 5K pace (longer but faster).  Repeat this pattern of five minutes on the bike transitioning to an 800 meter run three more times.  After last one, spin easy on the bike for 10 minutes for cool down.  This workout should take approximately one hour and gives you the benefit of running to the bike like you would after a swim, and running off the bike, like you would in T2. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jersey Organization 101

Hoarder, I'm not.  But my collection of dri-wick running tees and cycling jerseys seems to expand in my closet at an inordinately faster speed than I realize -- inching out precious blouse and trouser space and accumulating lots of spandex and stretchywear de Lululemon.

Am I a collector?  Do I need to keep every tech tee I get at a race, because it'  Is my love of lycra greater than my love of JCrew cotton? And why oh why do I have jerseys that don't fit well, are too short, are not cute in general - still hanging in my closet taking up space?  Maybe I AM a hoarder.

And with that ugly word, I have a solution.  A friend gave me the idea/tip/trick to hang up all my clean clothing with the hook of the hanger flipped toward me, instead of toward the back of the closet.  With this system, when you wear a jersey or tee, you can take it off the hanger and wear it, then rehang the item in it's proper (facing back of closet) way for future use, ensuring that you are actually wearing the clothes that are in your closet and not just looking at them.

This method of organization works over time.  As the year progresses, you can see which items you ARE wearing (they will be hung correctly), and which ones you NEVER WEAR (still flipped the wrong way).  Comprende?  Over a year's time, you can start eliminating those jerseys and tanks that don't get worn and make room for fresh new athletic apparel.  Yeah, Lulu!

Another tip.  After awhile the microfibers in our special tech fabric shirts break down and the stink stays put.  No amount of extra-strength Tide will take that stench out of that jersey.  Carpe diem, I say!  If the shirt stinks when it is fresh out of the washer/dryer, it's time to say farewell.  Toss it in the trash right along with your dryer lint.  Let it go.  Buh bye.  If you have a funk before you ride, you're headed downhill fast.

Eliminate.  Simplify.  De-junk and deodorize.  And honestly, make room for more jerseys and running tees, 'cause blouses and trousers are just not that important anymore.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

South Mountain

There are lots of cool thing to do in Arizona.  Running the rollers in South Mountain Park and cycling to the top of its peak are two great ways to spend a winter morning in this state.  Ditch the usual route and give this hidden gem in the city a try.  You'll be glad you did.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Boston Is Steppin' It Up

The Boston Marathon is taking it to a whole new level.  New qualifying times and "rolling admission" schedules beginning with the fastest qualifiers are part of their plan to make this race exclusive and elite.  Here are the new standards for 2013:

                 MEN               WOMEN
18-34 3hrs 05min      3hrs 35min
35-39 3hrs 10min      3hrs 40min
40-44 3hrs 15min      3hrs 45min
45-49 3hrs 25min      3hrs 55min
50-54 3hrs 30min      4hrs 00min
55-59 3hrs 40min      4hrs 10min
60-64 3hrs 55min      4hrs 25min
65-69 4hrs 10min      4hrs 40min
70-74 4hrs 25min      4hrs 55min
75-79 4hrs 40min      5hrs 10min
80 +  4hrs 55min      5hrs 25min
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

For complete information go here: Boston Athletic Association

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Buzz

I don't want you to be the last to know, like I usually am.  So here's my tip o' the day.  Have you tried Honey Stinger products?

If not, you should.

Wednesday is long run day.  We had a 20 on the sched.  I usually stop the night before at my local tri shop and pick up a few PowerBar gels to sustain me through the run.  Yesterday, however, Brock suggested I try something different: the Honey Stinger gels and new Stinger waffles.

A gel is a gel is a gel, right?  I'm partial to PowerBar brand because they are less thick and seem to slurp down a little easier.  But Honey Stinger products are ... ridiculous.  Imagine downing a big squirt of pure, golden, sweet honey instead of some disgusting fake-flavored fruit concoction.  The Honey Stingers were actually good.  I never did the gel gag reflex (you know it, right?), and actually squeezed the package from the bottom to get every little bit of that sweet honey goodness inside me.  And my energy: through the roof.  Really, they're all that.

But the piece de resistance was the Organic Stinger Waffle.  Wow.  I really can't express my deep appreciation for Lance Armstrong's input on these little wondertreats.  As an owner in Honey Stinger, Lance suggested making a small version of the waffles that are sold throughout Europe and eaten by professional these.
Lance's inspiration, a thin filled waffle
Honey Stinger's version

I'm just gonna stop right here and tell you to go buy/try one for yourself.  They are truly the best nutritional product I have eaten...ever.

Congrats, Honey Stinger, for making something delicious, nutritious, packable and convenient.  You're now selling crack for athletes.  I'm addicted.  And the buzz is all about you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Carbs Schmarbs

Straight from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

"Some athletes eat too few carbohydrates because they believe them to be fattening.

The inaccurate advice from diet gurus of years past still lingers among dieters who fear bread as being fattening.  Carbohydrates are NOT fattening!  Excess fats are fattening - butter on bread, oil on pasta, mayonnaise in sandwiches, cheese on crackers.  Fats provide 36 calories per teaspoon, as compared to 16 for carbohydrates.   Your body burns carbohydrates and stores the fats.  Excess dietary fats are easily stored as body fat.

If you desire to be gluttonous, your better bet is to overeat pretzels (carbohydrates), rather than peanuts (fats).  You'll fuel your muscles better and the next day you'll have a high-energy workout with well carbo-loaded muscles.  But do be aware that a continuous intake of excess carbs will eventually contribute to weight gain.  When your glycogen stores are filled, the excess calories will get stored as body fat.

Rather than trying to stay away from breads and bagels and other grains, remember these points:
*  Carbohydrates are less fattening than fatty foods.
*  You need carbs to fuel your muscles.
*  You burn carbs off during hard exercise.
*  Carbohydrates are a friendly fuel; the enemy is too many fats.
*  When dieting to lose weight, you should energize with cereal, bread, pasta, and potato, but reduce your intake of the butter, margarine, and mayonnaise that often accompany them."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things You Ask Yourself When You're Running...

And your ipod stops working.

--Why did I wear such warm weather socks?
--How is she running so fast and taking off her sweatshirt at the same time?
--Should I check my Garmin and see my pace, or is it better not to look?
--When I turn, will the wind help push me up the hill?
--Did the wind switch directions?
--Can I actually see that next mile marker?
--Hmm, did I grab water or Gatorade to wash down this GU?
--That guy's running so slow.  Why can't I catch him?
--Was that really mile 12?
--Is this the longest mile?
--Should I take a peek behind me to see if anyone's going to pass me?
--Is all this heavy breathing good for me?
--Why did I sign up for a race that starts and ends uphill?
--Did I just help that charity out?
--That was awesome.  When can I do this again?

Ethan's Run 2011.  Great neighborhood feel.  Smiling crowds with happy runners.  Mile markers dedicating the next mile to a child with heart defects.  A community coming together.  A great way to spend a Saturday in February in Arizona. 

Here's some of the children we helped along the way:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Swimming Tips From The Best
I've been perusing my notes from the lectures I attended a few years ago at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Ca.  Such good stuff.  One of the speakers was pro triathlete Sara McCarty, THE fastest swimmer on the tri circuit.  She specializes in open water swimming and how to basically leave competitors in her wake.

-- Technique comes first, then speed
-- Do one drill at a time (one drill per lap)
--Think of your swimming as smooth and pretty
  High elbows
  Good hip roll
  Don't cross center line
-- Stroke Length
  Long long long!
  Reach and glide in front
  Finish at thighs
  Be a speedboat >>> not a barge)))
  Remember, swimming originates at the core

6 Kick Switch - six kicks on one side, then switch to the other
Catch Up - One arm doesn't leave until it touches the tips of the other extended arm
Fingertip Drag - drag thumb up side of body and along the top of the water
Shark Drill - put kick board between legs, tap the top of the board at finish of each stroke
Swimming Blind - one swimmer per lane, closes eyes for 12 strokes

Drink water up to the start of the race
Eat a bar 1 hour before race
Take a GU 30 minutes before race
The best goggles are clear or metallic depending on lighting
Don't follow the crowd, outside is less crowded
Start at YOUR speed, maintain control, don't red line, steady pace after first buoy
Don't forget to BREATHE!!

And with that, go forth and swim.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at at time.

My first Half Ironman, I had a friend tell me I couldn't finish it.  He apologized later, and sent me flowers.  I went on to finish multiple Ironmans and many other HIMs (Half Ironmans).  I thought I'd always resent his comments, but they, in fact, have been the catalyst to push myself harder in life -- just to prove him wrong.  Let the doubters doubt, while you are working toward your dream, whatever it is.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Have You Seen It?

I'm talking about Body Worlds, the worldwide exhibit of human bodies preserved in something called plastination, currently on exhibit at the Arizona Science Center.

If you want to be completely amazed at the absolute perfection and miraculous form of the human body, head over there ASAP.  The exhibit contains all forms and parts of human bodies that have been donated  to science specifically for this purpose.  

The Arizona exhibit features over 200 specimans, including full-body plastinates, individual organs both healthy and unhealthy, and cross sections of bones, brains and biceps.  

Some of my favorites include:

The Brain - From newborn size to full-grown, the skulls that protect the brain are opened to reveal blood vessels, brain matter, brain stem.  Wow.

The Full Body Exhibits - I love seeing for myself where my tibia or IT band is, and why it might get pulled so easily while exercising.  I could examine the body in 360 degrees and find the piriformis and the abductor muscles and understand their uses!

The Central Nervous System - Completely amazing.  Seeing how the nerves extend from the brain to the tips of your toes and hands helps make the idea of acupuncture so much easier to understand.  You can see why touching a nerve in your hand affects another part of your body.

The Lung - Right in front of you is a healthy lung, a smoker's lung and a coal miner's lung.  I'll just leave it at that.

If you are an athlete, a parent, a human, I highly recommend taking the time to see this exhibit.  Gunther von Hagen is the Body World's creator and he has been perfecting this plastination process since 1977.  I can't think of a better way to appreciate and understand the human body than to see his project.

And, I may just be able to get you a discounted admission coupon.  Leave a message and I'll get back to you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Be THAT Guy

Holding your line.

Following the apex of the turn.

Riding with no hands while taking off your vest.

Passing comfortably or dropping back to fall into a pace line.

Jerry and DeeAnn explain cycling etiquette
Retrieving a water bottle in a feed zone.

If you ride with a group or race your bike, these skills are essential.  But how often do you take the time to practice these skills?  Most of us jump on our bikes and ride off to meet the group so we can hammer it with the Big Dogs.

But think back to your childhood.  If you played soccer or basketball or any sport for that matter, did you fill your practice time with scrimmage games exclusively?  I'm gonna go ahead and say no.  Your team most likely practiced drills and skills and maneuvers that would make you and your team better athletes and players.

Same goes for cycling.  In 2011, take the time to perfect your cycling chest of knowledge.  Practice track stands, and skidding to a stop, and bunny hopping.  Sign up for a cycling clinic like the one Gorilla Multisport lead last weekend at Two Wheel Jones bike shop in Mesa.
The Team Takes Direction

Feel The Love
Perfecting basic cycling skills will make you a more confident cyclists.  People will want to ride next to you instead of away from you.  Become the popular one on the bike, not the one you're afraid of (you know that guy, right?).  It'll do ya good.
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True