Monday, August 30, 2010
2010 has been a strange racing year for me. For the first time ever, I didn't have a big goal race on the line. I raced 5 Ironmans before qualifying for Kona at IM Wisconsin in '07. Each year I was focused on incremental improvement and peaking for the big race. '08 was Kona (training juggled with new infant son). '09 was 70.3 World Championships. Heading into 2010, I was toying with the idea of a non-WTC Ironman in the fall, but just couldn't find the necessary training hours.
Early on in the year, I did come up with a personal goal of regaining some of the short course speed that I had lost in the course of 6 years of IM training. I began the early season with a Master's swim meet where I turned in some of my fastest sprints since college: 24.19 for the 50 and 54s for the 100. Both a few seconds off college times, but fastest I've moved in the pool for awhile. I have the good fortune to be able to run with the Illinois Wesleyan Track and XC teams whenever I can work it into my schedule. These guys really helped me with my track intervals. I had a goal for the year to get back under 17 minutes for the 5K. Follwing a spring of somewhat regular track intervals I won a small 5K here in town in 16:50 something. I verified this performance a few weeks later with a 16:50 track 5K (that 16:50 placed me close to dead last of about 90 competitors). I had two more road races that I was fairly happy with. I went over to Peoria, IL for the world-class Steamboat Classic 4 mile race. Went out crazy-hard and suffered my way through the race at about 5:30 pace. Did a 5 mile race a few weeks later at about 5:40 pace. Improved run speed: check!
On the tri side of things, I wanted to race well at the sprint and olympic didistance which I am not as strong at compared to long course. I opened the early season with a 2nd place overall at a small sprint in Sullivan IL. I took second to my former Augustana Cross Country Teammate Jeff Paul who was just beginning his first season as a pro triathlete. Jeff's blog is here!
Next up, was the Desoto Triple-T in Ohio. Despite crashing out and breaking my collarbone at this race a few years ago, this is still my favorite triathlon bar none. The venue is tough, but gorgeous. This year I had the great opportunity to race on a team with my brother. For those not familiar with Triple-T it is 4 races in 3 days: Friday night super sprint, two olympics on Sat and a 1/2 IM Sun morning. For the team event, both team members do all the events- but you can draft your teammate on the bike. Racing with my brother was an awesome experience (in spite of getting seperated during one of the races and losing a bunch of time). We got to spend a super-fun weekend in a cabin with good friends Mike Donahue and Laura Vedeen. I also got to catch up with teammate JP, who tore up the Triple-T in his debut race there!
Next up was our local Tri-Shark Sprint Tri. I was trying to focus a bit on this race since I had never peaked for it before. ON paper I was able to win the elite wave of the race. What really happened was two pros who raced unofficially finished ahead of me and friend Robert Trimble snuck up from the age group waves to beat everyone.
My next tri was our local Evergreen Olympic-plus race. This has become a pretty competitve event with around 500 participants and a decent pro field. The elite wave was stacked and I knew it would take a strong race to stay in the top ten. I had an ok day and finished 15th in 2:12 (long bike leg).
I was mostly off of training for two weeks in July for a family vacation to Maine and week for work in Vermont. Following this break I went to race a sprint race in Canton IL. This is one of the races where I got started in the kids event almost 20 years ago. This was my surprise race of the year. All three events were just clicking. I came out of the water in the top 5 and then moved into the lead before the halfway on the bike. I came itto T2 with at least a 1 or 2 minute lead. I ran about a 17 minute 3 mile to hold onto the overall win. So far the small highlight of 2010.
Last weekend I ventured back into Xterra racing with the new Xterra Points Series race in Peoria, IL. I've raced a few Xterras and mountain bike races over the years. Unfortunately I had precisely zero mountain bike rides this season. Not ideal for Xterra racing, but I was still looking forward to the event! I was second out of the water and then had the frustrating experience of a bunch of people passing me on the bike leg (handling skills just not up to snuff!). I mostly kept the rubber-side down and then picked up some places on the run for 4th overall. I was just a few seconds shy of my good friend Sean Hyser who has been tearing up the Xterra circuit the last few years.
Next up is the Rev3 half-ironman with my Evotri team. I'm not really in any kind of half shape, but I will be able to pull something together.
I've really enjoyed dabbling in cyclocross the last few years, but the season was always cut short by big fall tris (Kona and Clearwater). Hopefully I will get a few more cross races in this fall!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I met a great guy named Mike at WIBA last month. He is preparing or his first IM at WI this fall. We talked about the course, training, nutrition, and equipment. He was asking all sorts of questions, and one of them concerned me. "So one of my friends told me I should just take a bunch of ibuprofen before the race," he started. "What do you think?"
As a pharmacist, I immediately let out an emphatic "NO," and then I felt the need to explain.
Ibuprofen and all Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) certainly have their place in injury treatment given their ability to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. However, extreme caution should be exercised when using them in long, strenuous training or in racing.
There are many types of NSAIDs. Ibuprofen (marketed under the names Advil and Motrin, among others) and naproxen (Aleve) are two of the most common types. They all work in the same basic way to reduce pain and inflammation. Aside from the fact that they can be irritating to an already stressed GI tract, the concern is the potential damage they can cause in the kidneys.
One of the effects that NSAIDs have in the body is that they cause blood vessels leading to the kidneys to clamp down, reducing blood flow to them. In intense training or racing or any other condition that can cause dehydration and thus decreased blood volume, less blood will be circulating. The combination of dehydration and NSAIDs may result in significantly decreased blood flow to the kidneys and could lead to temporary or irreversible damage.
A safer bet during and immediately after intense activity is acetaminophen (Tylenol). Although it will alleviate pain, it has very little anti-inflammatory eff ct. It also will not affect kidney blood flow. Never exceed a total daily dose of 4 grams of acetaminophen.
Since urine color and frequency of urination aren't necessarily good indicators of hydration, make sure your weight has normalized before resuming NSAID use.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
New on the scene -- Iron Wil's Iron Mom Chronicles!
What's is like to balance a family, training for triathlons, a full-time career and still have some semblance of sanity? Tune in regularly and follow along as Iron Wil uses her tri-life lessons to navigate her way through coaching, kids, teaching, training and handling adversity. Want to ask a question or share an iron mom story? Drop a line to Tracy at Tracybonics dot com; if she mentions your letter or your story in a post, you'll get a free Evotri t-shirt!
Iron Mind Warp and the Modern Woman
By: Iron Wil
I don't know that I was ever in it "to win" it so much as I was in it to "get over" it, you know? I mean, some people go to counseling when they have trauma in their lives, some people choose the path of lesser righteousness, and some of us just do Ironman. That's how I broke into the game anyway -- chasing devils down old country roads, speeding like I had a spaceship instead of a carbon fiber frame (and very little else between the tar/chip and me). I'm proud to say I found all those devils eventually, the last few in the fall of 2007 on the streets of Madison and Verona, Wisconsin, with the people I love the most surrounding me, and I will never forget that day.
But, that's the first chapter of this journey of mine. The next one -- life after settling the score, normal life as the mom of two elementary schoolers / teacher / writer / coach / domestic goddess of the universe / *insert 30 other things working moms do here* -- is proving to be a whole lot more than what I bargained for.
Regularly, I ask myself how I EVER trained for Ironman once, let alone twice. There's simply not enough time in the day to schedule a private thought, let alone a 60-mile ride. My husband is just as supportive, so that hasn't changed, yet it boggles my mind how there can possibly be the same number of hours in the day as there were just three years ago.
Even if I hadn't had two car accidents this summer to completely obliterate my training endeavors, I don't know how I'd have managed to shuttle kids, teach summer school, keep a house, plan for the upcoming school year as the new department chair and senior AP English teacher (translation of the latter two: a significantly increased work load), and get upwards of 15 hours training in each week. Back in the day, I'd get up at 3:30-4:00 a.m. to hammer out brick workouts, but let me tell you what, the combination of hitting 35-36 years old and having Ironman in your rearview mirror doesn't do much to inspire urgency in training.
In fact, I was just talking with Sister Sara, Trisaratops to her adoring public, about how Ironman has warped our minds. The races aren't "scary" anymore, because we've been there, done that; and although we know all too well how a half-Ironman can hit us with a big metal bucket of humble if we get cocky, our "Ironman" mindset -- the ones we built out there riding through freezing rain and running through everything from hailstorms to 110 in the shade grade heat -- won't let us fear or panic, but fear and panic are EXACTLY what we need. Lose respect for the distance, and it will remind you of your manners post haste.
I know this, but I also know I have school starting in a week, kids to get ready, lesson plans to pull together, 25 teachers to manage, a curriculum to oversee, two cracked ribs (courtesy of my two car accidents this summer), plantar fasciitis (thanks to an old achilles injury), and oh yeah, FIVE WEEKS until the Rev3 half-Ironman, for which I've been able to train exactly three weeks... back in May/June.
I should be having some kind of grand mal meltdown right now. But I'm not.
I should be freaking out to the point that I drag my sorry butt out of bed at 4:30 in the morning (because let's face it, 3:30 was just nuts), go run six miles to the YMCA, hit the pool for 2,000 yards, then turn around and run six miles home. Oh, but dear reader, I'm soooooo not.
Instead, this little voice inside pipes up all the time lately to say, "You know, you're kind of an idiot. This race is going to hurt like road rash times childbirth. You should probably hop on the trainer, then go do that aqua-jogging Sweet recommended."
And I know this, too. But I suddenly have this 87-year-old body over here where stuff doesn't work without all kinds of pain, and besides that, 14-zillion other things to do all right now, so it just hasn't been happening. I know what's coming down the pipe. I know how much 70.3 miles can hurt on a good day when nothing is cracked or plantar fasciitised, and I've been training four-five months solidly. Seriously people, I hope you're getting your seats and popcorn ready now because this is going to be heinous!
But I'm an Ironman. I'm an Iron mom, Iron teacher, Iron all that stuff... and I know I'll get through it, no matter what "it" is. From the moment I took my first step in the direction of 140.6 miles, that's all I ever wanted to learn how to do. I know what I'm made of, where I've been, and how far down I can reach before I hit bottom, and let me tell you, it's a pretty long way.
So, I pumped up my tires, excavated my cycling shoes from the bottom of my closet, packed a bottle of Tylenol, and tomorrow, will see if my old stomping grounds in Amish country are how I left them. I know it won't be easy, but neither is this balancing act I do everyday... and I get that done rather well, if I do say so myself.
The forecast (mercifully) calls for sun, no wind and no rain; I should have just enough time for 30 miles before we head out for a movie, time at the park, and ice cream. And tell you what, afterwards, since I'll probably be able to out cowboy John Wayne in the walking department after eight weeks sans training, I do believe the lesson plans and laundry can wait.
Monday, August 2, 2010
JP: What did you work on last off season to step your game up?
Chris: To be honest I spent the whole of last off season trying to figure out an injury I had been racing on for 12 months
JP: What is your plan for the back half of the season?
Chris: I will be racing next at Challenge Copenhagen in Denmark, then the next big race is Hawaii.
JP: If you could chose to win something other than a triathlon what would it be and why?
Chris: An arm wrestle against my wife….cause I would like to be the man of the house!
Chris: Things are not too bad . I have some great sponsors that have looked after me well over the years , I like to have long term relationships with the people and the companies so you can really help each other grow over the long term.
Favorite Meal? burger and fries
Who do you not want to see on the starting line if you had to pick someone? Anyone who has a reputation for drafting . I HATE! people who cheat.
Favorite American City? Boulder, CO
Win Kona or win 20 Ironmans? Kona, hands down!
Hills or Wind? Wind and rolling hills ;) nothing beats a howling cross wind!
JP: Thanks SO MUCH for the time, Mr. Sexy. Last question, can you give three tips for the age groupers out there?
Chris: Consistency is the key! Create a great support structure to help you to your goals and