Sunday, July 1, 2018

Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene

Photo by James Richman
I crossed the finish line in Coeur d'Alene last Sunday completely overwhelmed with the knowledge I'd executed a race plan I initially felt excited, but slightly worried, about earlier last week. Even though the saddle sores I'd grown as a result of spending nearly eight hours on my bike the Saturday before riding the Chafe150 century ride had healed, my brain still felt numb. My uncertainty did not seem to discourage my coach, Derek, however. It appeared he'd planned this all along by the way he followed my progress all day and called out splits to me from different spots along the run course. My feet kept up with my churning legs, but I had no real conscious control over their movements. It just "happened."

Photo by James Richman
Overall, if I had the power to change anything about last Sunday's race, it would not involve any part of my swim, bike or run. Instead, I could have done without running into a drinking fountain and promptly landing on my butt after just having had my wetsuit peeled off by the helpful volunteers. I also would have started to get my feet out of my bike shoes well before the last corner to the dismount line. Lack of time resulted in a poorly timed, less than graceful, dismount. So much so that I almost landed on my butt there, too.

Nothing quite compares to racing in a local venue with tons of friends to cheer me along. How fortunate I am to have the privilege to race in a beautiful town. This race served primarily as a preparatory endeavor for Ironman Canada four weeks from now. After two days of recovery following last Sunday, I jumped right back into training, essentially starting over where I'd left off two weeks ago. Unlike bike rides prior to the Chafe150, I'm almost a little concerned about my mental state when I thought six hours on the bike felt short yesterday. Perhaps I feel that way only because we did not climb nearly what elevation gain Ironman Canada will present in four weeks, though we did cover the distance. Tired legs this morning felt every mile of my long run, though. Nothing about this morning's run felt short.

Photo by James Richman
With that, I hope to build a bit more strength and confidence over these next few weeks, all the while doing everything possible to stay healthy and free of injury. Yes, you guessed it: there will be NO short, fun races preceding this go-around with Ironman Canada. No time exists to recover from crashing my bike again.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

F2C Nutrition Makeover

Eight years ago, if someone had told me the nutrition I reserved solely for racing would one day bleed into my daily nutrition, I probably would have smiled, shrugged my shoulders, and responded with a significant amount of uncertainty and sarcasm. I think back to some of the gels I used to consume, protein powders I used to mix, and hydration products I would drink in my efforts to make it through my bike ride and eventually my run to the finish line. I cringe just thinking about them. Grainy, clumpy, and off-putting. I won't even begin to describe the stomach upset and indigestion some of these products induced.

When a triathlon team of which I called myself a member introduced me to F2C Nutrition five years ago, I decided they probably could not taste any worse than the products I had grown so accustomed to using. I started using Glycodurance, and much to my surprise, the more I used it, and the more I experimented with their other products, the more I realized how much my everyday nutrition changed in addition to that of my training and racing.

For instance, I used to drink juice every morning. Now, I drink F2C Pharmagreens. It seemed like an obvious decision to replace an albeit thirst-quenching drink laden with sugar with a much healthier one derived from 20+ vegetables and sweetened lightly with Stevia. Where once, upon waking up in the morning, I would first reach for a cup of coffee, I now down eight ounces of vegetables before hopping on my bike or heading out the door for a run. (No, I don't taste broccoli, brussle sprouts, or spinach.) As a result of consistently incorporating Pharmagreens into my daily diet, I have successfully staved off what once felt like routine, seasonal head colds, chest congestion, and sinus infections.

**My suggestion: Mix Pharmagreens in a pitcher once or twice a week for easy access to a glass of vegetables, which will make you more likely to reach for it when it sits in the refrigerator ready to use.

Like I mentioned above, I first started using Glycodurance when I transitioned to using F2C. Where once I struggled with gastric "disturbances" on the bike ride and run, I now struggle more with chaffing under my race kit. Flavored and unflavored options allow me to find the right level of sweetness for bottles of nutrition I concentrate to four- to five hundred calories. Because Glycodurance has successfully met my nutritional needs during my races, I no longer use solids as sources for calories.

**My suggestion: In one sixteen ounce bottle, mix 1:1 ratio of flavored to unflavored Glycodurance (up to 400 calories) or a 1:2 ratio of flavored to unflavored (up to 800 calories) Glycodurance. I have had the best luck with mixing these the night before my race or long training day in a blender, pouring the contents into my bottle(s), and then topping them off before I go in the morning. For a hot day of training or racing, I add a couple scoops of Electrodurance, too.

Finally, one of the staples I am generally craving toward the end of my training involves a blender, frozen fruit, and one of F2C's protein powder mixes. While F2C has many options, I do not think I have ever regretted any choice I made in which protein powder to mix into my smoothies. Never gritty or off-putting, switching to F2C's protein mixes has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made, especially when I compare the nutrition labels of other popular protein drinks to those of F2C's products. I challenge anyone to read the labels of their protein powders and, aside from a few others besides F2C, find a product as clean as F2C. Good luck!

**My suggestion: The ultimate post-workout recovery smoothie! In a high-speed blender, I like to add some leftover coffee from the morning plus enough water to make approximately 2 cups of liquid at the bottom of the blender. Then, I add about six ice cubes, one frozen banana cut up into pieces, one scoop F2C protein powder (my favorite post-workout in Rehab 3:1), a handful of nuts or a scoop of peanut butter, and a splash of cinnamon. If I have some unflavored Pharmagreens, I'll add a scoop of that, too. Blend until smooth, and consume with care. You'll be tempted to make yourself another smoothie.