Saturday, October 30, 2010

k. i. s. s… approach to nutrition/hydration for a successful 140.6 miles



“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

~Charles Mingus

i can pretty much say that in the 17 years that i’ve been cycling, 14 years of running and less than 1 year of swimming, i have always tried to keep the training as simple as possible. i seem to enjoy the process so much more that way. i can remember back when i had about 2 or 3 marathons under my belt and started to research training programs and techniques and how i began to not love running anymore. following the workouts and the heart rate zones and all the scientific bull crap became a chore rather than something pure and simple; something that i loved. the thing is, i understand all the bull crap because i learned all of that stuff in college and some of it i buy into but a lot of it i don’t.

old school

that’s right, because i’m old school and i’m an old fool (who knows that song?). i will admit that i love training with my garmin and heart rate monitor but i will say this, i do not live and die by it. my rate of perceived exertion trumps what the garmin tells me anyday. i know my capabilities more than anyone else or any gadget. so where am i going with all of this you ask? well, this simplicity i speak of, transferred over nicely to how i tackled the hydration and nutrition before and during the 140.6 event. because so many people have asked me to share what i did with them, i will and i’m more than happy to do that, but please keep in mind that everyone is different. we all have different sweat rates and calorie needs so ESTABLISHING this and NAILING it before hand is KEY! no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

let me start with the night before and here is where the old school takes a back seat. i don’t carbo load. never have, never will. i had a 6 egg omelet (no yolks), turkey, a powerbar, powerade zero w/nuun and lots of water. yummy, right? same thing for breakfast on race morning at around 5am but this time with a half cup of coffee (i have eaten this same way for the last 3-4 months so i knew it worked for me). got to the race at around 6am, got body markings, sat around chatting, pee’d a couple of times, then put my wetsuit on and off i went at 7:30 into the lake. by the way, this lake we swam in really was pristine. it said so on the website but i usually tend to not believe the descriptions that florida tourism websites give bodies of water in florida….they are usually not pristine, but rather gross, but this one was very nice. i had water after the first 1.2 mile swim loop and then back for the last 1.2 mile loop. once i got thru transition and onto the bike, i pulled out my first treat.

fig newtons

i scarfed down 4 fig newtons within the first 15 minutes of being on the bike and from then on, i had a half of a powerbar every half hour and a powergel the next half hour and alternated like that the entire time i was on the bike, which was just a little over 6.5 hours. for hydration, i kept

aero bottle my aerobottle filled with water and the bottle on my frame filled with gatorade and nuun. i made sure to drink one or the other every 10 minutes. the bike course was 3 laps, so after each lap, i refilled both, as they were almost empty, but thankfully, never ran out of fluid. i was fortunate to have ridden this exact course a month prior to the race with pretty much the same hot and windy conditions, so i was able to get a good feel for how much to eat and drink and i can say now, that my calculations were dead on.

powerbar on the run, i just couldn’t stand the thought of anymore powerbars, so i relied on the hammer gels provided on the course. after about 2 or 3 hammer gels, i wanted to puke, especially after the orange one that didn’t taste anything like orange to me. perhaps after swimming and biking as much as i had at that point, nothing tastes right. pretty much the entire run course, i had water and gatorade at every other mile and splurged at mile 16 and 23 with some defizzed coke-a-cola…something i never have drank(drunk?) in training but i threw caution to the wind and chugged it down. i will say that i think it helped. my legs were starting to get a lot of lactic acid burn and who knows if the coke helped or not but i chose to believe it did, as the burn subsided and i was able to kick it in for the last 2 miles.

so there you have it kiddies, the k.i.s.s. approach to 140.6 race nutrition and hydration. nothing special, right? nothing you can’t buy at your local walmart, except for the nuun and i buy that by the box from performance bike. if you have any questions for me about any of the above, you can email me.

have a great weekend everyone. much love and peace out!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the great floridian – 140.6 race report

GFT logo
first things first, i want to sent a big happy birthday shout out to my j-man and an even bigger shout out of thanks for all of his help this year with my training and especially this weekend...i couldn't have done this without you!

before i give my perspective on the race and the course, i want to share something that Bill Floyd (, a Level 2 USAT Tri coach in the Tampa Bay area had to say about it in his weekly email:

Few people worldwide have ever trained and completed an Ironman distance race.  After all, here are the distances, and they are not easy, even by themselves: 2.4m Swim-112m Bike-26.2m Run.

When a person decides to do one of these distances, it places them into a category of people on earth who have shown to be unbelievably strong, courageous, capable of withstanding pain, resolve beyond reproach, mental strength, emotional strength, spiritual strength, tenacity, and and "never give up" attitude that only one can see when they are placed into a testing situation that is tough, and sometimes perceived as possible death around the corner.  A person's body temperature goes up to over 104 - 105 degrees, sometimes you throw up on the course, sometimes you urinate blood, and sometimes you are really cranky, and other times, really, really relaxed and enjoying each moment.

The Great Floridian Triathlon, located in Clermont, Florida, and where the city is known as the World's Triathlon Destination, is held by Fred Sommer, one of the premier Race Director's in the World.  This particular Ironman distance triathlon is known throughout the triathlon community, worldwide, as one of the top two to three toughest triathlons in the entire world.  Even most of, and some of the best conditioned triathletes, shy away from coming to it. The best can not stay away from it.

Well, Tampa, Florida, has a new triathlete to add to this distance -  in the Top 5 Overall Ladies at the Great Floridian Triathlon, Kristine Mondello-Concepcion!  And, she did it in a really fast time on a course that has big hills (including the famous "Sugarloaf") and hills on the run, with a blistering time of 12:31:42, burning it in the marathon with a 4:08 time! Congratulations is always in order when one reaches into their heart and soul and pulls out a completion of a distance this large, and still manages a smile after the race!  Great race, Kristine!
smileyi said before, that i never chose this course because it was one of the hardest, i chose it because it was close to home and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. although i knew i had trained really hard almost the entire year for this race, i didn’t expect to do as well as i did or feel as strong as i did the entire time. honestly, i didn’t know what to expect since i’ve never done anything like this before. i can predict my marathon time within about a 5 minute window but not with something this long. many things can go wrong so it is hard to predict a time, but thankfully, everything went according to plan. i couldn’t have scripted the outcome of the day any better.  

so here are the numbers and my thoughts in red about each part:
Swim - Round 2Swim: 1:30:34 – the swim was wetsuit legal so i was able to finally test out the full Xterra Vortex i bought in May and had yet to use. it was wonderful and worked like a charm.  i predicted this swim time to the exact minute. i swam very relaxed, never freaked out or felt anxious. i just got into a good groove and pretended that i was in the pool doing a long morning workout before work. funny how the mind works like that. this swim was 1.2 miles so we had to exit the water, cross the timing mats and head out for the second half to complete the entire distance. i had to assert my kick a few times when i felt someone grabbing me or about to come over me and it worked every time. i claimed my space out there.
Swim done
wetsuit woesT1: 8:39 – uneventful transition. had to get wetsuit off but wetsuit strippers wanted me to sit in the dirt and i wasn’t about to get my butt dirty…not with as much white as i had going on with my tri shorts so i had them help me take it off while i was standing up. once at the changing tent, i took the time to rinse my feet that were covered in dirt and grass and apply sunscreen. also, i felt a little drunk coming out of the swim which always happens to me, so i sat for a minute to put my shoes on and then i was ready to go.
bike out
Video 11 0 00 05-05Bike: 6:38:33 (avg speed 16.9) – lots of wind and hills (3600+ ft of climbing). having done the exact course a month ago, i felt very confident out there. it was a 3 loop course so i came back to the park where the race started 2 more times to refuel. too many people assume that Florida is flat but i will tell you that this course is an ass kicker of gargantuan proportions. i think knowing the course was a huge advantage and my goal was to not kill it so that i would be able to run most of the marathon. mission accomplished! yes, i could have gone faster on the bike but at what cost? in other words, let’s say i had done a 6:15 on the bike (approximately a 20 minutes faster), trashed my legs, then completed the run in 5 hours, where is the logic in that? so anyway, very happy with the bike.

T2: 5:46 – had the changing tent all to myself. by the way, i wore my IM K-Swiss kit the entire time, so i never had to “change” out of anything. had some defizzed coke and some water, threw on my running shoes, poured cold water on my head, grabbed 4 hammer gels and off i went.
Video 14 0 00 07-17Video 13 0 00 10-10Run: 4:08:13 (avg 9:29/mi.) – i just held a steady pace the entire time. this was an out and back course x 3. the way it was set up, we passed thru the main park where everything was centered around, 6 times. so i was able to see some of my friends that were there, which was really cool.  it was somewhat hilly, not very shady but i just continued to pace myself and ran steady. i drank some water and g-ade at almost all of the aid stations and maybe had 3 hammer gels. i just couldn’t take anymore of them after i had the orange flavored one. i thought i was going to puke…the taste was just awful. never buy orange flavored hammer gel, you’ll be sorry.  i also had 2 defizzed cups of coke within the last 8 miles which really seemed to help me keep pushing along. the tour de france riders swear by defizzed coke!
Run to finish

Final time: 12:31:42 – very pleased with this time. i was done by 8pm, at the hotel, showered, and home in my own bed by 10pm.

31 OA

5th OA female

2nd AG (they didn’t do age group if you placed overall but had they, i would have been 2nd)
Team KCmy personal team of cheerleaders…they rocked!

the next post will focus on the nutrition and hydration i incorporated before and during the race. until then, much love and peace out!

P.S. it is almost 3am. this race totally messed up my sleep and i’ve been getting up the last few days at about 1am and feel like i’m starving! how crazy is that? thank goodness i’m still on vacay.

Monday, October 25, 2010

great floridian pre-race report

Race Blinggosh, i don't even know where to begin so i guess i'll do a 2 parter here and do a pre-race report today and then the real race day report tomorrow. friday, the day before the race was almost as exhausting and mind draining as race day. it isn't just a physical feat, it is one where a lot of thought, planning, strategizing, and organizing is just as important. thank goodness my wonderful coach, J-man, was there to help me calm my mind and think straight. i'll tell you, getting my run and bike gear bag felt like rocket science but i'll chalk that up to being a first timer. now i totally get it, so next time (and yes, i’m already for a next time) it won’t be so daunting. it is hard to comprehend how much planning goes into what you put in each bag, and that's not including your special needs bags, which i decided i did not need and, as it turned out, i really didn't need them at all-good call on my part. i've always tried to keep this 140.6 deal as simple as possible, that’s how i roll. speaking of keeping things simple, there are several things i want to point out from the get go that really helped keep things into perspective for me:
  • this article written by endurance nation: The 4 keys to a Successful Ironman distance race. i came across this article about 4 months ago and as i read it for the first time, it made complete sense to me. i made several copies and kept one at work and one at home. i read this article at least once a week because i wanted it to become burned into my mind. i knew this is how i wanted to tackle this race. now that i have, i swear by it and highly recommend reading it and most importantly, applying it.
  • another thing that i always kept fresh in my mind was a comment left on one of my blog posts back in july by Mike at Hungry like the wolfgram. he wrote, "Nutrition is tricky, but people also make it a lot more confusing than it needs to be. Take in as many calories as you can handle, especially on the bike. Also, play around with different things and don't get too hung up on the 'rules'. thank you Mike for that sound advice as well as your awesome great floridian race report from 2009 – you can see it HERE. one more thing that stuck with me was that when Mike did the GFT last year, it was super hot, even hotter than this year and he mentioned that had he known it was going to be so hot, he would not have used his aero helmet, since they tend to not have as many air vents. i remembered that and decided to go with my normal road bike helmet. i’m so glad i read that.
  • and lastly, the squirrel whisperer, a wise man that i ride with who has completed 7 ironman races left me with this sage advise: “Come Saturday it’s all about getting into a rhythm and maintaining it, even through the transitions.  Do your visualizations of the order of everything so that each step is methodical and goes smoothly.  Be quick but don’t hurry especially if something unforeseen occurs.” And of course his most famous words, “you take what the day gives you.” Thank you Jeff!! I’m happy to report that nothing unforeseen happened and all went as planned, but more on that in tomorrow’s post.
ok, back to the pre-race drill. the first thing i did when i got there was go check-in, pick up my race packet and do the weigh-in. i felt like i was getting ready for a boxing match. i weighed in at a hefty 122 and 55% hydration, whatever that means. the guy said that it meant i was well hydrated. then i walked over to some of the different vendors that were there. i finally got to meet Mike Brady from Trinity Multi-Sport. Mike and i have been corresponding via email and we were finally able to connect. he totally hooked me up with a cool kit that you see in the picture below. it may or may not be a coincidence that the outfit matches my bike…
Trinity1the outfit above is from their Virtuoso series and you can check it out HERE. i will be using Trinity gear for all of my 2011 races. Thank you Mike for sponsoring me. if you are interested in purchasing tri/cycling apparel from Trinity, you can go to their website by clicking on my picture above and join the website to receive a continuous 20% discount on all clothing everyday in the future. you can also LIKE them on Facebook by clicking HERE and you will see yours truly on their page.
so after walking around a bit and getting a feel for the lay of the land,  i got my gear bags all organized, took them to their designated resting spots where they would be spending the night and also left Mandy Q. Roo in her comfy spot…she really enjoys hanging from a pole. went back to the hotel, took a calgon bath and fell asleep. i kept waking up every hour and one time had a dream that i was swimming really fast, like never before and when i was done, someone said the reason we were swimming so fast was because it was a downhill swim. crazy!!!
until tomorrow my friends…stay tuned for the real race report. this was just a little warm up so to speak. also, a big thanks for all the awesome comments before and after the race. it meant so much to me.
much love and peace out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

last post before 140.6

this one will be a quick, somewhat silly post. i made myself laugh out loud with this on Wednesday night so i had to take a picture of it. first a little background to make sense of this post for those of you who don't know me that well. as fate would have it, many of my good friends are virgo's, like myself. birds of a feather flock together i suppose. anyway, they will understand how my brain was working when they see the pictures.

but first, an accurate description of a virgo:

You are hard-working and carry out your duties efficiently and conscientiously.
'I ANALYSE' is the motto for Virgo. You have an eye for detail and a discriminating mind. You like order in all things and are neat, clean and precise in your habits.
You are modest and don't like to draw attention to yourself. Where others seek the limelight, you get quietly on with the job, doing it as well as you can. You get a lot of satisfaction from making yourself useful and enjoy being of service to others.
Outwardly you are cool, although inside you may be seething with nerves. You have a sensitive digestion and you're careful about what you eat and drink.
You can also be overcritical and have a tendency to worry too much.
You are the perfectionists of the zodiac.

so here is one picture:
i had to make my own special needs bags here at home complete with labels. it was bugging me to have everything in piles and unorganized. i just couldn't take it anymore. so now the only thing i have to do is tranfer them over to the official special need bags later. easy peasy!
and my transition bag with a label on it. i had to do that because if not, i'll go thru it a million times to make sure everything i need is in there. so i listed all of the contents on the label you see on top.

alright, this crazy virgo is over and out. gotta take the bike out for a quick spin to make sure everything is sound. i changed the back tube this morning...I CAN FIX A FLAT all by myself. it wasn't flat but j-man thought it was losing air a little more than normal lately, so better to be safe than sorry.

i want to thank all of you one last time, who have emailed me, left comments for me on facebook and on my blog. you all are the best and all of your encouragment and kind words mean so much to me. more than you could ever imagine.

not sure if i will have any internet access or even have time for it, so until later, much love and peace out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

my first vlog

i'm not too shy when it comes to taking a picture but a video? that's another story. miraculously, just overnight, i came over my shyness and put a little video together for today's blog + blog = vlog!

many of you have asked about the tracking for the race. there are several options to pick from and here they are:
Then click on the Community tab at the top
Then click on GFT live – 2010!


They will be utilizing facebook and twitter before, during and after the Great Floridian. Click HERE to view the Great Floridian facebook page. Click HERE for the twitter feed from The Great Floridian. If you are on twitter and want to post about the Great Floridian please include the hashtag #GFT20.

for those of you (my wonderful friends/fans) who are going to watch, you are the best and i can't wait to see you all at the finishline. Click HERE if you still need directions.

i'll probably get to blog one last time tomorrow and then we are heading up to Clermont on friday early afternoon so i can catch one of the mandatory pre-race meetings, get settled in at the hotel and start getting all my stuff together. i hate the thought of leaving my bike overnight and it isn't mandatory but...we'll see.

thanks for reading...much love and peace out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

it’s better to look good than to feel good…NOT!

Fernando Lamas

LOL…i can’t get Fernando out of my head…this is for all you SNL fans:
Fernando: Saludos, my friends. How are you, darlings? It is so lovely to be back, here in the Hideaway. And, as you know, my friends.. as you can see, the booth is empty, and I am very upset. I don't feel marvelous. I look marvelous, but I don't feel marvelous. Which is hokie-dokie for me, because, as you know, my credo is "It is better to look good than to feel good." You know what I am saying, and you know who you are!

so with that said, here is the outfit i am wearing for the entire race on saturday. and yes, it looks and feels marvelous dahlings.
Outfit1   here it is kiddies, THE OUTFIT! sorry i cut my head off on the front view.
Outfit2                                                  the butt shot!

oh my god, i’m so bored right now. i feel like i’m a punished child because j-man gets to go ride at flatwoods and i don’t. i had to take a little break from making lists. i have a lot of lists all over the place…in my purse, on the desk, in my car. lots of lists of the things i don’t want to forget, the things that go in this bag, that bag, the other bag, all those damn bags. i’m going to take the minimalist approach to the special needs bag though, more on that tomorrow in my special blog post…here’s a little hint, i’ll be the star of the show. i’ll also be posting race info for those that would like to track me throughout the day.
i’m officially on vacation now until next wednesday…yippee! much love and peace out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

serenity now

i’ve really surprised myself these last 10 days or so. this taper thing isn’t so bad after all. i’m just so used to a high volume of training even when i’m not training for an event that i thought for sure this little slow down would make me an irritable mess, but not so much. basically, i followed the triathlete bible that said, cut the volume down but keep some intensity and that’s what i’ve done and it’s been nice. i still can’t wait to not train for anything for a while and just do my own thing…whatever that is, although i’m sure that won’t last very long before i have the next race picked out (Boston Marathon 2011??).  i enjoy waking up on any given morning without a workout plan and just going with whatever it is that i feel like doing. if i want to go run 15 miles just because then i can or if i want to ride 100 miles on my bike for absolutely no reason except for just wanting to, then i can without having to think about any schedule. i like playing by my own rules and schedules bug me. 
remember this wetsuit i bought in may? well, i never got to use it because it warmed up rather quickly here in florida. i finally pulled it out of the box this week, put it in my new zoot transition bag (yeah, it’s fancy) and took it to my friend Carrol’s pool to test out. niiiice! but it’s such a biotch to put on, damn! the last time i had a wetsuit on was in 1997, so i have no recollection of it helping my swim…but then again, i was nowhere prepared to swim with or without a wetsuit so if it helped me then, i didn’t know it. i hate to think what it would have been like without a wetsuit. yikes! anyway, you were right Jeff at dangle the carrot, it is like cheating! i plan on giving it a whirl on friday at lake minneola where the race is.
people keep asking if i’m ready. hell-a-yeah, i’m ready! i could do it today or tomorrow or last week if need be. the weather outlook is pretty good. still too soon in my opinion to believe it. absolutely no rain in sight (this i believe), the low is 63 and the high is 84. a wise squirrel whisperer once told me that you take what the day gives you and i burned that into my memory banks and i remember it often.  so if there is wind, deal with it, if there is heat, deal with it. that’s why i trained in these conditions so that if race day was windy and hot, then i’m prepared. bottom line is that i have done everything in my training that i had to and never missed a beat, so with that, i’m prepared to do my best and when it’s all over, i will be proud whether my time is 12 hours or 17 hours.
i have a nice little treat planned for my next blog post. since i’m only working monday and tuesday next week, i should have plenty of time to twiddle my thumbs blog while i’m in super taper mode, so stay tuned my lovely readers.
i know i’ve missed out on lots of blog updates like who is racing and when but at least i can stay somewhat up to date with facebook and twitter. so a big shout out to Shirley Perly at humble triathlete who is almost done with her goal of running a marathon in every state. she is doing number 49 this weekend. awesome goal Shirley! the other shout out goes to Matty O at staying strong and positive! and his wife Heather at just another day in the life of team oravec who are running in the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Fran tomorrow. have fun! can’t believe it has been a year since i was there running it.
have a great weekend everyone…much love and peace out!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

let the taper tantrums begin

let me start off by apologizing in advance to anyone who gets their head bitten off by me in the next 16 days. i'm already kind of a moody soul but this tapering down is going to test my patience like nothing ever has before. i'm used to a week and a half taper for a marathon but nothing like this. i know i can do it but it won't be easy.

i finally got to test out the new aerobag this weekend on my last long ride (100 miler) before the big race. thanks to Shannon at iron texas mommy for the heads up about being careful with bumps in the road. i can totally see how that could happen. she had the stuff in her bag fly out during a race after hitting a bump in the road. yikes! the bag worked very well and although i did hit some bumps, nothing flew out (this time). i did come up with an idea using safety pins to secure the top a little better, yet still be able to get my little fingers in there to grab a bar or gu. my cell phone fits quite nicely in the separate zippered side pocket also.

another thing i got to finally test out on a long ride was my new seat. the original, very comfy seat that came on my QROO had a big chunk missing from my little mishap with the owl watchers a little over a month ago. here is a picture of Mandy's new seat:
feels just like the old one and looks almost identical in its shape and lines, except this new one has a tad bit longer nose which is great because i do like tipping the saddle anyways, so more space to do that. Mandy's heart blew out over the weekend so she is currently in ICU awaiting a transplant...a new bottom bracket, which should be at my doorstep this afternoon for the very skilled surgeon/bike mechanic to replace asap.

in other news, i've been keeping a training log since july 2, 2007. every now and then, i run a little report via the buckeye outdoors training log to see various stats such as total mileage on the bike year to date or how many miles i've run one month compared to the last month, the other day, i did a year to date comparison between this year and last year and here they are:

JANUARY 1 - OCTOBER 6 (2009)                             JANUARY 1 - OCTOBER 6 (2010)    
ran - 1068.0 mi.                                                               1077.95 mi.
biked - 9179.65 mi.                                                          8195.84 mi.
swam - 0 mi.                                                                    107.76 mi.
wt trained - 71 times                                                         71 times

amazing how close some of the numbers are especially the weight training! i was surprised to see that i've been able to keep up with that as well this year. i knew my biking miles would be a little less. i ended up with over 11,500 miles of biking last year but i knew going into this year and training for an ironman distance race that my time would have to be divided up differently especially with the addition of the swimming. so far, it has been a really good year with lots of great stuff yet to come.

**a few side note: this blog post took me 3 days to finish. i will be so happy to get my life back soon. also, a big happy birthday to Jeff at dangle the carrot! go check out his blog so you can see what he got for his birthday.

is it friday yet?? much love and peace out!