Wednesday, July 29, 2009

There's something wrong with my Garmin!

Scheduled for today, was an ordinary brick workout which included a 1 hour bike ride and a 30 minute run. My garmin seemed to be working perfectly fine during the bike. I biked east ward and, of course, battled yet another headwind. My garmin told me I had a pace going about 15-16 mph on the flats and 12-14 mph on the up hills. At my turn around point, my speed increased to 20-23 mph with the most comforting tail wind. I ended up averaging a mere 16 mph for a one hour ride (those darn red and white octagon signs always slow my average down). In any case, my garmin seemed to be reading true. I had a good ride despite being chased by a sharpei/pit bull mix and almost falling down in the middle of an intersection with oncoming traffic. I couldn't get any momentum going after stopping at one of those red and white thing-a-ma-jobbers. I ended up retreating to safety after I realized I wouldn't make it across in time.

Anyhoo, I made it back home, quickly changed into my running shoes and switched my garmin to run mode. My garmin told me I was running a 10:00 minute pace right out the gate. Yeah, I always tend to run too fast right after a bike ride and then I usually slow down to my typical pace. Depending on how I feel, that could mean a 10:40/mi pace or a 12:00/mi pace. So I expected my trusted garmin to show me that my pace was decreasing (or my time was going up). [Did I say that right? I think you know what I meant.] After about 5 minutes into the run, my garmin displayed an average pace of 9:40/mi. "Ok, something is wrong with my garmin. How could I possibly be doing a 9:40/mi pace?" I have never been able to do that pace (ok, sure I have--but only when I am doing sprint intervals); I'm not kidding folks! This is not a normal pace for me. "Something must be wrong with my garmin".

I kept running and thinking, "ok, it won't last...there is no way I can hold this pace for 30 minutes. No way!" Every few minutes I checked my garmin...this just didn't seem right. It still showed a 9:40/mi pace and this was running into the wind! I didn't feel any faster, my legs felt like bricks and my heart rate was relatively high (mid 160's). I probably should have tried to back it down to get my heart rate down but I was too excited about the fact at running a sub 10 minute mile.

I turned around at the 1.5 mile mark and now headed back home with a cross/tail wind. My garmin was taunting was now reading 9:38/mi pace. Could this really be true? OMG, I was keeping the pace! I was getting a little tired but there was no way I wasn't going to quit now. I finished with a 9:36/mi pace for 3 miles!!!!!! I truly amazed myself. Honestly, I'm not sure how long I could have held that pace, but I did it finished 3 miles!

I've come to the conclusion that there are two possible answers on how I achieved this today and no it has nothing to do with doping. Reason One: I'm running more and becoming more conditioned. Reason Two: Iron pills (this doesn't count as doping). Each day I feel as if I'm improving just a little bit more physically and I believe much of it has to do with supplementation of iron into my system.

Iron, where have you been all my life?

I am so relieved to finally feeling a little better with my run workouts; I'm not 100%, and actually, I'm not sure what 100% is right now. I think I could have been anemic for a long time. It would surely explain my training last year.

I've got my long run workout scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully, I didn't wear out my legs today. Cross your fingers....I'm hoping for a good run!

Side note: Wow, I just noticed my little counter on top of my blog space.... 100 days to Beach2Battleship! After today, we're down to double digits folks!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Evergreen Olympic Triathlon

I admit it, I was dreading this race. I really didn't feel comfortable with my physical abilities right now. So I took a good friend's (Waddler) advice....she told me not to worry about the "race" aspect ...just think of it as another training day.

Waddler and I got up early and arrived at the race site. For a mid-July day, the temperature was quite cool (mid 60's). We set up our transition spots and to Waddler's dismay, she discovered that she had forgotten her bike shoes. Oh man....I felt bad for her. I got to say, she handled it extremely well; she never once thought about quitting. She's a trooper!

We listened to the pre-race talk and met TriHardChick. She was cheerful and ready to race. I sooooooo wanted her enthusiasm. I couldn't muster it though. It was just another race remember.

So in the "training day" spirit, I broke the golden rule of completing a triathlon: I did things that were new to my routine. Such as:

• Breakfast was a half a bagel and peanut butter (I don't have a routine breakfast): thumbs up (but probably could have had the whole thing or added a banana).
• I wore tri shorts and top (never swam in before): thumbs up on the shorts, thumbs down on the shirt. The top was not "tri specific" and was completely water logged after coming out of the water.
• I downed a Gu right before race with no water to wash it down: thumbs down. I had minor stomach cramps during the swim. What the heck was I thinking?
• I didn't test my goggles before starting the swim: thumbs down. Water leaked in right away and I had to adjust them within 50 feet of the start.
• I didn't test my bike before the race: thumbs down. Nothing went wrong, but I get a bad mark for just being lazy and stoopid.
• I tried Infinit for the whole race: thumbs up. Seemed like it worked well...need to keep using it for longer distances.

Other things I did right or wrong:

• I was straight as an arrow during the swim. I'm so proud of my sighting....I hit every frickin' buoy right on target. I could have touch every single one them.
• My transitions were a mess. I was disorganized and scatterbrained not to mention it took me forever to take off my wetsuit. During T2, I had noticed I had one bike shoe on and one running shoe on while I was taking off my helmet. Can't I just focus on one thing here? Plus, I forgot my race number and had to run back over the timing mat to go back into transition. I got yelled at but was allowed back in when they discovered my mistake.
• I walked through the transitions, I could tell I was the last in my age group but I didn't care, I just wanted to keep my heart rate down. I think it might have helped a tiny bit.
• I wasted time putting on and taking off bike gloves to bike only 24.6 miles...I could have lived with out the hassle.
• My bike went well and there was plenty of wind to cut through and a few hills to deal with. I did ok. I would have liked to have been faster but my breathing was labored for at least the first 13 miles.
• Fueling myself on the bike seems to be a reoccurring problem. I did not drink enough water and Infinit. I should have been done with both by the time I was done. I had too much left. That bad habit won't work with an endurance race.
• I carried a bottle of Infinit during the run. At this distance (6.3 miles), I was fine carrying it and drank at every aid station. It worked well but I will have to get a fuel belt for longer distances.
• I ran without walking; that in itself is a major accomplishment for me right now. I might have been slow but I didn't stop or walk. I felt pretty crappy in that I had shortness of breath and it felt as if I had a 20 lb weight on my chest. When will these iron pills start kicking in?

Even though I didn't feel great and was struggling, this race helped me to learn that I've got a lot of things to tweak.

My results:

Swim: 36:13 (2.13/100 split)
T1: 5:09
Bike: 1:25:29 (17.4 mph)
T2: 2:43
Run: 1:08:52 (11:05/mile)
Total: 3:18:28
Age group: 11 out of 11

(My mom always said, "Well someone has to bring up the rear".)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Please Excuse Me

This post may have TMI! So stop right now...if you don't want to read about it.

It's a little after mid-night and I just want to crawl back in bed...but I can't. I'm currently working on flushing out my colon. Yes, how nice!

Excuse me...another bathroom break calls.

I'm writing this in between downing water containing electrolytes and making a nature call to the bathroom. Just to set the record straight, no it does not taste like gatorade rather it tastes like salt water and I'm at a point where I'm gagging every time I need to down another 8 oz of the nasty stuff. Yuch!

Today, was mentally challenging for me. No food whatsoever; I was on all liquid diet today. Last night, I went to Target and bought 10 -20 oz bottles of SoBe Lifewater (10 for $10 and you get a $5 Target Gift card). I bought all kinds of flavors. My favorites are Grape and Tangerine and my least favorite is Goji Melon. I got to say...these drinks really helped me get through the day. I was really worried

Excuse me...

As I was saying, I was really worried about getting a migraine without any food. I think I fooled my body, the SoBe Lifewater has so many vitamins in it, may be my body thought I actually ate something. I consumed 6 of the 10 bottles, and half a container each of grape and lime jello, plus 4 liters of the salt water crap. (well, almost 4 liters, I still have to consume 16 more ounces before I can go back to bed). My stomach only growled a few times today.

Excuse me....

Ugggggghhhhhhhhh! Just finished my last 8 oz! I tossed the last 8 oz down the drain. I'm not cheating, I'm just following instructions: "Your prep must be completed 6 hours prior to your procedure"

Excuse me...

I'm done with that sh*t! I think I've gone the bathroom 100 times today. I am soooooo cleaned fact, I was pretty much cleaned out after the 1st half (2 liters) of the prep. It doesn't seem fair that this is probably the same amount a 200 lb man would have to consume. Shouldn't the amount depend upon your weight?

It's past 1 am now. I'm going to bed; of course not before I go the the bathroom a few more times.

Oh, in case ya'll are wondering, I'm having a colonoscopy and an endoscopy tomorrow (er, I mean today). Yes, I know TMI. Sorry.

Now if you would excuse me once again...

Part 2

It's now 2:30 pm and I just got from my nap. My procedure (it was at 7 am this morning) went really well today and I'm just glad that whole experience is over. The nurses prepped me within a half hour and then I was wheeled to the procedure room. The Doctor greeted me and the next thing you know I'm waking back up in the recovery room. Wow! I didn't even have a clue what had happened. The last time I was "put under" was back when I was a teenager and got my wisdom teeth pulled.

Other than being completely tired and groggy with a slight sore throat, I was good to go. The doctor came in told me that the procedure went well. I didn't have any polyps, therefore, no cancer. Real good news. My stomach was a bit irritated with gastric juices (?)...and so he prescribed a medicine for me. I didn't even know I had a stomach issue--it's probably because of the crap I had to drink last night. Anyway, no ulcers were found so no explanation yet for my anemia. The doctor did take a biopsy of my colon to determine if I have Celiac disease.

In the meantime, he wants me to have yet another test to check my small intestine out. This means I have to swallow a pill that is actually a camera. The camera will take pics as it flows through the system. Do I have to fast for this thing now? Not sure, I was too groggy to ask.

Ed was there waiting for me and helped me to the car. I instructed him to head straight for a breakfast restaurant. Boy, it was yumming too--I had an egg spinach and mushroom skillet with a side of chocolate chip pancakes. Ahhhh, food.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Open Water Swim Race-Crystal Lake

What a good training day today! My alarm went off way too early for me this morning. Who gets out of a nice cozy bed at 4:30 am to go swimming? Crazy triathletes!

I met up with all the other crazies this morning at LifeTime Fitness...I believe there were nine of us. We packed in cars and drove up to Crystal Lake IL for the Open Water Swim Race (1 mile or 2 mile options). The weather was great and the perfect temperature. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in our group had a really good swim. We all had our little stories to tell afterwards (e.g. bad sighting, zig zag swimming, and annoying swimmers). Waddler made it under her time goal with confidence to boot; IronSnoopy and Moose swam like they never missed a beat (after having a "break" from their Ironman races); Dan and Kurt confirmed that they did indeed could handle a 2+ mile swim (ready for Ironman FL and WI); and I just wanted to feel relaxed and comfortable with a 1 mile open water swim... and I was. I just wanted to get r' done.

Afterwards, we all had a "cook-out" with some good eats. It was nice to sit around and just chit chat but training stories and other things that make us laugh. There were smiles all around. It was a good day.

I decided to get in a 3 hour ride today as well. It was a little windy but I pushed out 49 miles despite an annoying tingling and numbing feeling in my toes and feet for the last 15 miles. What's that all about? Any one have any theories on this? I've heard that bike fit can have something to do with it but I haven't changed anything on the bike to change my fit??? Well, anyway I finished with a very slow 3 mile run.

It was a good day.

Splashing, Pedaling, Panting (oh, er... I meant Dashing)!

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's all about the Iron

Don't you know that you need iron to be an Ironman? Yeah, apparently so. And my doctors didn't think to check it.

The last I saw my Cardiologist, he wanted to prescribe beta blockers to bring my heart rate down. Before I left him, I asked him if a low iron count could possibly be the reason why I'm having all these issues with my heart rate as well as shortness of breath, fatigue, blurred vision and chest discomfort. He didn't give me an answer but ordered a blood test "just to be sure" I wasn't anemic. Results came in last week and the doctor's assistant told me to go back to my Primary Care Physician because my iron was low. I knew my iron level was low; it was no surprise since lately I have continually been rejected from giving blood due to a low hemoglobin count.

So back to my Primary Care Doctor I went. "Why are you here?" they ask. They hadn't received the blood test results yet and I hadn't seen it myself either. I waited in the examining room (it's beginning to have a familiar feel). There was a soft knock at the door and my primary doctor walks in the room...still no results yet. I tell her the story that the accompanied doctor from her office had sent me to the cardiologist and an eye doctor where I then have had a multitude of tests done. Blah, blah, blah. She then went to check to see if the fax came in.
Soft knock at the door and she walks in again holding the fax. "Hmmmm. Well, I'm glad you are here" as she shakes her head..."your hemoglobin count is low but not too bad; however, your iron is really low." She shows me the results: Hemoglobin count 11.1 (should be between 11.7 and15.5 ); Iron count is 19 (should be between 40- 175 ) Iron saturation is 4% (should be between 15%- 50) and RDW or red cell distribution width is 20.4 %(should be between 11.0-15.0%). At my surprise, she starts apologizing for her colleague who had sent me to the Cardiologist and the eye doctor. She explains that that doctor (who is now no longer with her practice) should have ordered the blood tests from the get go. I say "Soooo...all my symptoms could be attributed to low iron?" She replys..."It has EVERYTHING to do with it, you're anemic!".

Oh my gosh. A simple blood test would have pointed me in the right direction, instead I now owe lots of money for tests I didn't need. The funny thing is, in the back of my mind I had a feeling that my iron was a primary culprit for my symptoms. I looked at the doctor and said "Hey, well the good news is that I know that I have healthy athletic heart!" She shakes her head again and apologizes another time. "Well, after all that I hate to tell you this but I have to have you get a colonoscopy".
She then prescribed 975 mg of iron a day (I have to work up to that amount). There are three reasons why I might have low iron: (1) not enough iron intake (2) losing blood, e.g. ulcers or via the colon (thus the colonoscopy) or (3) it could be a hereditary condition (I won't go into this one right now--but is is certainly a possibility since my Dad has low iron and a bit anemic). Lastly, she advised me to exercise to the extent of what I could handle.

So another round of tests to come. I got to say, that honestly, I'm relieved....I feel as if I'm back on track and will hopefully figure out my medical mystery.
*Anemia develops when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body. This condition can be detected when there is a below-normal level of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. If you have anemia, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Thought I would share some of my favorite finds from salad dressing to bike shorts to water bottles:

Bolthouse Farms Salad Dressings:

These salad dressings taste so good you wouldn't know they were made of yogurt! No trans fat, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial colors or sugar added, and no high fructose corn syrup. My favorite, Blue Cheese, has 70 calories and 6.5 fat grams per serving. And they just came out with a vinaigrette line...with only 30 calories and 0 fat grams. Great alternative to mayonaise based dressings. Two thumbs up! (Btw, these dressings are located in the refrigerated area in your grocery store's produce section).

Louis Garneau Women's Flora Short

I wore these shorts twice now and am in complete love! They cost me a few bucks more than your normal bike short but so well worth it. I WILL get my money's worth on this buy! Initially I thought these shorts were just bike shorts, but when I got them home and looked at the tag, they state "Triathlon Specific". Who hoo, bonus! On the comfort scale, they are top-rated. I love the material (not your typical lycra shorts) and they don't death grip your thighs. Oh, so comfortable. I have yet to try them in water yet but if all I do is ride in them....still well worth it! I got them at Performance Bike.

TP Therapy Products

Ok, I admit, I don't use my rollers as much as I should. But Trigger Point therapy is great for all sorts of ailments. Sure, it can hurt (the hip roller especially), but that means it's working. And it has been. Knock on wood, I haven't had any IT band issues this year.


What is Stevia? Stevia is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of this small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar.

It is a natural, non-toxic, calorie-fee sweetener. It is essentially a much better alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners. You can check out their website for more info. But how does it taste? It taste good; I use it in my tea (hot or cold) and really like the taste. I've noticed that sometimes it doesn't dissolve completely but I can live with that. (Btw, you don't need much...a little goes a long way).

Eddie Bauer Water Bottle

This water bottle is da bomb! It's BPA-free and features a removable freezer stick. At the beginning of this year I vowed to drastically reduce the amount of "throw away" water bottles I use. So I tried, Polar water bottles, which aren't bad but if I'm not on a bike or running, I really don't want to drink from a sports type bottle. This one has a straw and flip top opening. The freezer stick helps keep the liquid cold and the bottle doesn't smell or taste of plastic. Bonus for me... I have this quirky habit of not tightening bottles, jars, toothpaste caps, you name it, so I typically end up spilling. (Ask Ed how many times I didn't tighten something and have it spill all over the place). With this bottle ...I just have to flip the sipper. As long as I just flip the sipper back in place, no spillage when I tip the bottle over. It comes in some cool colors too....I got the orange as shown above. (It's on sale now for $5.99 with any purchase).

MacBook Pro

I (or my company) bought a new computer (it's good to be an owner sometimes). Strike's not just a computer, it's a 15" MacBook Pro and it ROCKS! My 10+ year old iMac just wasn't cutting it, it served me well but I couldn't stand how slow it seemed. The power that these new computers have is simply awesome. And the portability of a laptop is fun. I'm sitting in my big brown chair just a typin' away and watching the Cubs game. I'm a happy camper with my new Mac.

Endurance Nation

Work works! That's their motto within the walls of EN. I gotta say, it's been working for me. I've had a couple of a-ha moments out on the bike. In short, I'm faster than I was last year and I'm able to keep a faster pace longer. I know I'm struggling right now due to my heart rate issues but having a solid structured triathlon plan gives me confidence that this lofty goal is attainable. Coaches Rich and Patrick give sound advice and keep you pointed in the right direction. The entire group of EN members are extremely supportive and also ready and willing to give you advice on anything and everything. I love drinking the EN kool-aid...want some? (They are currently closed to new members and have a wait list.)

Well, that's it for now folks...hope you like a few of my favorite things! Do you have any to share?