Ironman Louisville 2016

Here it is – my race recap that I sent to my coach – getting this out unpolished otherwise it won’t ever get done.  Some bad words are used and punctuation and spell check not included.  Read at your own risk 🙂

The couple weeks leading into the race I felt really good and really rested – this concerned me a little but I kept reminding myself that I have learned from past mistakes that I do much better slightly more rested than not.  I was worried my legs would be dead on race day – but that can happen regardless of your rest.
There had been a lot going on before IM w/ all my athletes racing at Augusta 70.3/ IM CHATT / Nationals so I didn’t feel like I’d really had much time to think about Louisville – certainly not like the focus (obsessing) I had before IM Texas 2016.  I don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing.
I was a little concerned i was getting a sinus infection b/c my ears / teeth / head were hurting a lot the week of the race – but thankfully I warded off whatever might have been coming with Melaleuca and On Guard (essential oils).
We got to LV on Thrusday and checked in – a lesson for the future – this was absolutely awesome. No one was there yet – it was easy and relaxing – and then we didn’t have to go back to the race site until Saturday to check our bikes.  It felt like we actually had time to relax before the race vs. arriving on Friday where there really isn’t time.  Would highly recommend this if it’s an option.
Race morning – we got there SUPER early so we could get a good parking spot and get into transition early.  As w/ arriving on Thursday instead of Friday, I feel like the extra time was really helpful.  We got in and out of transition quickly and w/o any frantic running around and simply went and sat down in line (ie we weren’t on our feet for 2 hours and super stressed out before the race).
 I’d gone to the thrift store so i had a down vest and wool sweater and wool scarf and 2 pairs of pants and ski warmers – so i did not sit in that line for 90 minutes freezing.  Good planning liz!
Before TX I’d done a lot of 5000 yard swims – before LV I did not.  I knew my swim fitness wasn’t as high as it was before TX but I chose not to fester too much about this – my goal was just go under an hour and not to put too much on potential benefits of the wetsuit or potential current.  I’d never done an IM swim w/ a wetsuit and I didn’t want to come out of the water and have it set the tone for my day.  I definitely swam off course a decent amount – so all the more thanks to the wetsuit for the assist to the 55 min swim.  Think I could have gone maybe minute faster if I’d swam straighter – but maybe not.  I was happy.
Transition – no Texas tea party here.  I helped the volunteers help me 🙂
Bike: First 3 hours were AWFUL.  I was freezing numb and heavy.  I felt like I was riding so hard but I came through the 56 mile point at 3 hours.  THREE EFFING HOURS!!!!  I was PISSED.  I thought I sure the freak did not spend the past 2 years working so I would ride the same time on my bike last time I did IM LV  (which was just over 6 hours).  So I thought 2 things: 1. usually on my long rides my first 3 hours were not as fast as my second 3 hours – so maybe i could negative split the race too. 2. I didn’t really care what the consequences were I was going to ride under 6 hours (don’t try this at home).  At that point I thought maybe I’d hit 5:55 or if I was really lucky 5:50.  I was shocked when i came in at 5:42 or whatever it was.  I felt like I was riding way too hard that last half – but i kept the power in check on the uphills and rode hard on the down hills and flats and I my power seem to stay where we talked about it being so I stuck w/ it.  And, maybe this is how it feels to ride my bike the way I’m suppose to?  I fully expected that marathon to be a sh*t show.
I had 1 poo episode on the bike but it was a relatively speedy stop 🙂 You’re welcome that I included that tidbit of info. #everybodypoops
I really could not believe how people rode that course – the first 3 hours, everyone flew past me (when your coach tells you don’t take it out too fast, she’s not kidding).  But then the last 3 hours on the bike and the marathon I was doing most of the passing.  Consistently for the entire bike ride people blazed up the hills and cruised down the hills.  I played cat and mouse w/ a group of guys for at least the last 2 hours as they sprinted up and coasted down.  What were they doing!? #psyouhaveamarathonnext #saveyourlegs #ridesmart
T2 – chop chop.
First – I had 2 poo episodes that were fairly quick on the run.  They hit, I went, and onward we proceeded. Stomach felt good.
I used those new cliff bar energy food pouches that are made from banana and coconut – a MILLION ZILLION times better than GU.  I don’t think i’ll ever take GU again.  The energy pouches aren’t super sweet and I could totally eat them w/o a problem.  Those plus the honey stinger orange chews and coke at each aid stop…plus carrying osmo/water worked well.
I started this run expecting the hammer to drop sooner rather than later.  I thought it was going to be especially bad when I had to keep slowing myself down b/c 8:30 felt really easy – surely the hammer was going to CRUSH me in the next couple miles.  But….i was ok at 3 miles….and then at 6.  And then I thought, well the course is out/back out/back – you’re at 6 and feel ok – turn off your head and hold this pace going back – you’ll be at 13 then and you’ll have made it halfway w/o feeling awful.  That’s a great day in any IM run.  So I got to 13…and I thought ok, now it’s coming for sure – but keep your head turned off and let the miles tick off like you do in training and focus on the next turn around point….. a critical thing happened at this turn around that totally helped me keep it together for the last 13 miles.  A woman was sitting in the crowd and told me I was in 14th overall –  a few people told me this before her and I didn’t really believe them but this woman looked like one of those athletes that would know 🙂  It really helped me keep my head in the game.
so I kept going….and I got to the last turn around and thought all I have to do is run back in – I mean you don’t feel like a fresh daisy but you sure as hell feel great for this point in the race.  It definitely got hard on this last stretch (but really – not hard by IM standards) – I literally stayed focused on not having to do anything special to finish well.  My body seemed to just hold that 8:40ish pace – I mean that’s just the pace it fell into – I wasn’t doing anything other than just letting my legs run.  And I thought you don’t have to do anything spectacular – don’t try to pick it up – a couple times I held myself back just a tiny tiny bit b/c I was like HOLY SH*T I can’t believe this is happening and wanted to just run like crazy into the finish.  But we all know people who make it to X point and spend the last 4 miles crawling adding 2 hours to their time.  So, I just focused on staying inside my pace that my legs seemed to be able to hold w/o a problem and just prayed they’d carry me in w/o a sudden collapse.
I teared up a few times on that last mile b/c I couldn’t believe it.  To be honest I still can’t.  I mean i know I trained hard and all that stuff – but a lot of people train hard – and just as much if not more than i do – to me that run defies explanation.  I have most definitely never had a run like that before and don’t expect to maybe ever again.  I know for sure the cold temps helped (despite my distain for the cold) – but that was more than just the cold.   My best open marathon is a 3:33 – had I not stopped for the 2 poosplosions I would have been about 10 min off my open marathon time.  That doesn’t just happen.  It was almost like an out of body experience.
This was about an hour and 10 min PR for me on this course and clearly my best IM time ever.  Best swim split, bike split, run split.  Actually, the last 56 miles of my ride I rode 2:42? i think?   And my time at Munice 70.3 on a flat ass course last year was 2:38.  WHAT!?
so, there we have it 🙂  I will forever be thankful for the day I had.  I think it’s the sort of race we all dream of – the one we know our body can do given the right day – but so rarely does that happen.  I am eternally grateful.

Garmin Blog – What I Wish I Knew

Writing a blog for Garmin – thought I’d share it here too 🙂

Title: What I wish I’d known when I started triathlon

Well I’ve been participating and coaching triathlon for 15 years and there is STILL lots I’m learning – but I tell you one of the best things I’ve learned is to keep your sense of humor.  Triathlon will throw all kinds of things at you – but each time you navigate a curve ball, you’re a little better for it (and you collect great war stories to hash over with other athletes which is half the fun of this sport!)   My husband’s first race he wore his helmet backwards – and not just on the bike #run #helmet.  That’s still one of my favorite stories.

Getting started in triathlon can be intimidating sometimes – and, of course, I wanted to know the nitty gritty how-tos of doing my first triathlon (next blog!), but there are some things I wish I’d known that would have helped me feel more at home trying to figure it all out.

You have every right to be there – and if you need help, ask.  Most triathletes are super nice.

Although sometimes it feels like it, not everyone around you has ‘mastered’ the sport of triathlon – far from it!  Even those big tough athletes with popeye arms and calves the circumference of your thigh don’t have magic knowledge of triathlon (trust me, I coach some of ‘em. yikes!)….if they growl at you, just pat them on the head 🙂

Set small achievable goals – learning comes in stages so allow for this.  Set yourself up for success (it’s more fun and typically more productive).

Consistency, not perfection, with training – perfection is the enemy.  It’s easy to get into all or nothing thinking:  If I don’t have time to do my whole workout, I’m not going to do any of it.  Or, I’ve missed 2 workouts this week so I’ll just blow the rest of this week off and start next week.  Consistency, not perfection, is a much more productive (and practical) way to approach training – you’d be surprised at how much progress you can make with consistent training.

Be a student of the sport – Fitness is developed over years.  The cool thing is this means we can all keep getting better (if you don’t think so, I coach a studette (lady stud) who is in her 60s and has set PRs in every race she’s done in 2016!).  The frustrating part for some is this requires a long term approach to developing your best athletic self… head down, bum up!  Your most studly years await!!

Last, remember you’re inspiring others.  You never know when you might be someone’s “if s/he can do it, so can I”…keep that smile on and encourage someone else.  It will make you both feel better!

Stay tuned next time for more specifics on the swim/bike/run.

Ironman Texas 2016

A very raw report of the race – a few bad words (you’ve been warned) and not poetically written – just my brain on paper after 123 miles 🙂

To set the stage for this race – IM didn’t have a bike course until ~a few weeks before the race…and that course got flooded out by rain in Houston.  IM miraculously still managed to put together yet another course but it was only 94 miles (rather than 112).  THEN the lake we were to swim in failed to meet quality standards (raise yer hand if yer thinking what I’m thinking about ‘Texas quality standards’…) – so they had to alter the swim course (we still swam in the same lake….see run report for details on how that worked out #poopyerpants).  The altered swim course meant we added another mile back to the bike – so now at 95 miles!  All was well and good – until the hail storm on the run which forced them to (kind of) temporarily shut down the course….some of us kept running (there’s nothing temporary about stopping w/ 4 miles left in an IM #permanent #wheresthebeer).

ok – before i forget – thoughts in most basic form (punctuation not included):

leading up to the race i was actually pretty relaxed – i started to get nervous going to bed the night before and the morning of ….and then as we lined up for the swim i was about to come unhinged 🙂

i had no idea what to expect from myself on this – hoping i was under 1:02 and figured if i could navigate well i’d be able to go under an hour.  i don’t wear a garmin when i swim, but i’m certain i cut off time by swimming inside the buoys out of the crowds.
note to self: people lie about their swim times.  Some guy looked like the before picture in a total immersion video starting w/ the 1 hour group!  i have never punched or kicked people in a swim but i did on this swim. JEEZE.
transition 1 –
betty helper bees were swarming but nothing compared to the tea party in T2!  honestly – they were great but it’s really hard to focus w/ so many people asking you questions and handing you stuff – and all your sh*t you’ve put in a certain order now spread out all over.  next time i think i’ll just go in my corner and try to avoid the help.
bike –
well the first thing was that my HR monitor didn’t work the whole day.
Then i pulled my bike off the rack and the saddle was nose down – i didn’t realize how bad it was but after ~ 45 minutes before i decided there was no freaking way that would work (my arms were burning like hell b/c i was holding my body up! and i had to keep sliding myself back on the saddle).  by the grace of baby gumby himself i passed the bike tool guy on the road – i never saw him again that entire day – he fixed my saddle…not quite right the first time so i took off and had to turn back around – but the second time he got – i kind of can’t believe how lucky i got w/ that.
my legs felt good – and i didn’t have any of the cramping stuff that i had at the start of the biek during my 70.3s.  and my hip never hurt on bike or run!! …this might be due to the iburpofen i took in the days leading up?  which might have also made me shit my pants in the run – but i’ve taken ibuprofen SO many times before and NEVER had ANY problem. And i did NOT take it the day of the race. more on this to come.
i wasn’t sure what to expect w/ power – i was aiming for 165 – 180 but i noticed i was averaging over 20 mph w/ holding 160 power – and i felt like my legs were working as hard as they should be for an IM ride (honestly i was worried they were working too hard).  I just uploaded it though and my average was 150.   I knew my power was low (i thought it was about 160 – no idea it was 150) – but i was consistently passing 10 miles in under 30 minutes – so i knew i was holding ~20 mph.  I thought about needing to pick it up to come even close to the power goal (and i didn’t have HR so no effort gage there) – but I thought 1. my legs are working hard. 2. i’m consistently over 20 mph for nearly 100 miles – over 20 was my reach goal (for me….i know [my coach] thought i could do over 21 mph but yikes) so I was going about where I was hoping….given how my legs felt i didn’t think i could bump it up another 10 watts much less 30.
Plus, i was worried if i pushed it too much i’d crash at the end of the ride – BUT:  i felt stronger in the last hour of the bike than at any other point. yea!
nutrition: i didn’t realize anything was wrong at this point – i thought it was a little weird i wasn’t as hungry as i usually am on the bike – i really had to force myself to eat but it didn’t set off any alarms….
irrelevant side note:
there was this navy dude on his bike in the last ~5 miles that i passed and as i passed him he was like – “uh, hey do i have a flat? (I was thinking there’s no way you’d be asking me to slow down and check for your flat if i was a guy….and then i realized he was doing that b/c he was being passed by a girl so thought something must be wrong – or at least he wanted to make me thing the only reason i was passing him is b/c he had a flat….well if that didn’t get me going).  The best was when he sprinted past me on a hill at mile ~93 STANDING UP – (ps we have a marathon next)….unfortunately for him i flew by him on the downhill and headed in.  We got off our bikes at the same time and he sprinted past me in the transition yelling at spectators for smoking during his IM and yelling at the rest of the athletes for running on the pavement and not the grass and how we needed to save our feet…..i thought he was kidding and actually started to laugh and smile at him but he was NOT kidding and he was most definitely NOT smiling.  needless to say i ran past him at mile 3 – walking.
grandmas tea party.  how can you say mean things about such nice people – but next time i’m flying solo.  That night i found my missing salt and tylenol that they couldn’t find (i even looked in the trash for it) in the bottom of my transition bag. thus my transition time looks like i took a nap in there.
a shit storm on so many levels.  so i actually felt as descent as i would expect to feel for an IM run.  The shits were awful – and the stops added to my time (id’ guess 15+ minutes maybe?) but in terms of my actual pace, i don’t know that i would have run much faster.  I feel like 8:45 – 9:15 is a pretty realistic pace for me – the 8:30 is probably a hair faster than what i’d hold for an entire IM 26.2 – i was hoping for sub 4 and had the shits not happened, i think i’d have done that.  All in all i’m happy w/ my run – and if one has to have the shits for the duration of 26.2 miles at least they were the sort where i could keep running – oddly stomach cramping was fairly minimal – so i could just deal w/ the episodes and carry on. (sorry Houston for crapping in your arboretum!  your shrubs should grow like magic 🙂
the hail storm was a mess – no aid stations for the last 4 miles (which honestly was maybe a blessing b/c every time i put something in my mouth it made me crap – but i was also afraid NOT to eat anything….so at least w/ the aid stations gone i didn’t have to eat :).  the rain cooled things off – it was kind of fun running in the thunderstorm.  a great distraction.  It might have messed w/ my pace a little at times – b/c i had to keep myself moving despite everyone around me stopping and not being sure my time would count.  it was just kind of weird. However, any disruption to my pace i have to believe was negated by the cooling effects of the rain.  really no complaints about the thunderstorm 🙂
out of transition i carried a 24 oz bottle of osmo – and had another 24 oz in my special needs – those were like gold.  heavy to carry but i think really important.
no HR and auto pause was on on my 910 and i just couldn’t pull it together to get the settings changed.  it was like a little buzz alarm for my shits.  BUZZZZ *shit* BUZZZ.  ….however, i just uploaded my 910 and it shows a 4:08 marathon (same as my race time) so i dont’ know – maybe the auto pause wasn’t working.  It was just buzzing all day to celebrate. who knows.
overall i’m happy – esp w/ my swim and bike.  obviously it would have been better to have 112 miles on a non 81 turn course and to not have epic GI issues – but aside from that, it was a great day.
one last irrelevant note:
casey (my hubs) was literally getting hypothermia after the race b/c he stood there in that rain waiting for me – to make a long story short, we were trying asap to get him back to the hotel for a warm shower (i don’t need to tell you getting from the race finish to the car w/ a hypothermic IM finisher in the rain was not a fast process – thank god for todd/ jennifer/jenne/steve) – anyway we FINALLY pull into the hotel and i had to get a key from the front desk b/c mine was in my morning clothes bag still at the race site – i walk in and the woman at the front desk (mind you im standing soaking wet in a space blanket looking like hell and most likely with shit in my pants) started telling me about how her chihuahua just ate a lithium battery – it happened when the bowl of tootsie rolls got knocked off ….can’t afford the vet ….on the phone with the $50 ask a vet….what did i think she should do?
at that point i was just like is this really happening – is this woman seriously talking to me about her chihuahua eating tootsie rolls and lithium batteries while im shit staining her lobby carpet??? …. at that point it all started to become hysterical – i had to turn around and walk out b/c i was going to come completely unglued – i was laughing so hard by the time i got to the car i was crying – and this poor woman’s dog was probably dying!!!!!! OMG!

what a freaking day!

Recovery – what it is & why it’s important

Given that we’ve had a big month of racing, I thought it important to review what it means to recover and why it’s important.  This is especially relevant as many of us come off big races  – the inclination for many is to try to “hold on” to the fitness we’ve built in preparation for our A race.  Not only do we become antsy about loosing fitness, but our bodies, which are used to a lot of exercise, feel “off” as we pull away from such intense training.  We like how we feel when we are super fit and loosing this can become annoying at best and a mind game at worst.
Recovery is just as important as the training you do.  Rest is NECESSARY – and mandatory.  It is not being “lazy”.
What is recovery & why is it important
Stress vs Recovery are key factors in training.  Stress = training.  Recovery = Rest.  You have to stress your body in order to stimulate adaptation (aka get stronger).   Once you’ve stressed your body, however, it is the recovery period following the workout that allows your body to repair and rebuild.  Every athlete is different in how much training vs recovery they need to get better.
Recovery happens at different times – daily (sleeping), weekly (an easy day or an off day), annually (Fall months for most of us)….
Fatigue is cumulative – if you don’t recover the way you should, eventually it WILL catch up with you either in the form of burn out or injury or both.  It’s NOT pretty when this happens.
Not everyone needs the same amount of recovery – Just b/c your friend doesn’t need a rest day, does NOT mean you don’t…..or vise versa – when your friend is eating bon bons and watching 90210 on the couch, this doesn’t mean you should 😉  Figuring out how much recovery you need is a process that takes time – the longer you do this stuff, the more you learn to recognize your body’s needs.
The amount and type of recovery you need changes as you evolve as an athlete.  Stress vs rest – as your body adapts to the “stress” of training for endurance sports, you will be able recover faster – you can take less rest and add in more and / or harder training sessions.
Recovery is mental and physical.  Mental burnout is JUST as real and just as harmful as physical injury.
Recovery is when your body gets stronger – believe it or not, it’s not during the hard workouts that your body gains the strength but in the recovery after.
While recovering during “in-season” may be a light day or a day off, during the “off season” (usually Fall) it’s a time to shift the kind of training you do.  Use this time to work on your weaknesses (swimming? heart rate? running?) and to do strength training.  You want to stay moving during this time – and to be intentional about what you’re working on – but you also want to give your mind and body a break from your usual training routine.
This is important for longevity in the sport and for improving each year without getting hurt!!

Fabric of Grit

One of the things I love most about triathlon is how raw it makes us when we really get down to the nitty gritty of training and racing.  The older we get, the easier it is to become complacent – we have to seek out new challenges and ways to grow.  We have to make the decision to be UNCOMFORTABLE.  One athlete I know calls this Type 2 Fun: fun when it’s done.  As kids we are forced into challenges as part of growing up – but as adults we become aware of how uncomfortable uncomfortable actually is and quite aware we have the power of CHOICE – so why the heck do we do this stuff much less PAY for it?!
The answer is in the doing – and you all know the answer and know it can’t be explained to someone who doesn’t get it.  You know the answer is always earned, never given.  It can’t be bought.  It can never be taken away.  It’s about way more than a healthy heart or a finish time.  Those moments of triumph – be it when you gut out a workout at 8 PM by yourself or cross a packed finish line – fuel the soul with fight.  They become the fabric of your grit.
Triathlon presents a rare opportunity to not only to experience personal triumph and strengthen personal resolve but let us not forget the bigger picture.  Though this is an individual sport in many ways, never underestimate the impact of your doing on those around you.  If he/she can do it, so can I is a powerful notion to inspire in a friend or spectator.  It most definitely can be life changing.  When you’re out there, think BIG, think BOLD,  and when it gets tough, think EVEN BIGGER;  you never know who you’re inspiring in that moment.   Triathlon is about way more than triathlon – keep on with your bad selves – build grit, inspire grit (and take no s**t! eik)

For a good swim kick you need to be able to point your toes. This requires ankle flexibility.

A lot of you have heard me say your kick can’t “make your swim stroke but it can break it”.  What this means is if you DO have a functional kick it won’t be your primary source of power for a triathlon swim (kicking takes a lot of energy and will make your heart and breath rate go UP.  Instead, you need a good body position and a strong pull as your primary mover). However, if you have a non-functional kick, it can really mess up the rest of your stroke.  …..your reward for developing a good triathlon-swim kick isn’t necessarily massive propulsion but it is definitely less drag.  Less drag = faster & less work. My point? Part of a good kick is ankle flexibility – which a lot of us don’t have (runners particularly).  Specifically, you need to be able to POINT YOUR TOES. Here is a good video about how to work on that – an easy thing to work on in and out of season and although it may be slow to come around, it will make a huge difference in your kick.

toepoint-637-1 dorsiflexedswimmer

Alter G (antigravity) Treadmill

Sport, Spine physical therapy got an Alter G treadmill last week!  Anti gravity – this magical device allows people to run with anywhere from roughly 10-80% of their body weight supported.

New Alter G Treadmill at Sport, Spine

New Alter G Treadmill at Sport, Spine Physical Therapy


 Shorts you use to zip into the treadmill – they come in all sizes…can be borrowed or bought for ~ $100 – less than some bike shorts.


Locked and Loaded! The Alter G calibrates with each user to get an accurate read on body weight (don’t worry, it doesn’t display the lb). Then you adjusted 1 % at a time to provide the support desired. If you weight 200 lbs and set it for 50% – you’re body would only have to support 100 lbs. while running.

These treadmills are fantastic for injury prevention, rehab and improved performance.  Being able to walk/run without having to support your entire body weight can help people start moving sooner after surgery or when rehabbing an injury.  For runners they’re a great way to get in miles and intensity without the pounding on the joints.  The month of July Sport, Spine will be letting people come in and give them a try – best way to find out about this is to find Sport, Spine PT on facebook where do their promos or contact at