Thursday, December 27, 2012

"These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!"

I thought I might share my favorite things with everyone!!


Love my Speedo Endurance+ suit!  Not exactly flashy but this suit lasts, and lasts, and lasts!  I've had my current suit for a year and a half and it still looks brand new!  The stitching has bleached out from the chlorine but the suit is in perfect condition!

I started using the Aqua Sphere k180 goggles this past summer.  They field of vision is much better and clearer than my Speedo or Tyr goggles and they didn't lose their anti-fog as quickly.  They are available with a clear lens too, but I prefer the smoke lens for bright sunny days and hiding the pain in my eyes in between tough swim sets in the pool.

I don't use fins too often but the Aqua Sphere AlphaFin is the ones I use if I do.  I've had other fins in the past and they rub my feet so badly that they caused blisters.  These are not only buoyant, which helps with your body position but they are also soft and flexible.

Coach Steve got me using the Finis Tempo Trainer.  I love this little gadget, it slips under your cap and helps with stroke consistency.  Highly recommended to help you with your timing.  I need to learn a lot more about stroke rate and maybe will write a post on it in the future.

I use the Tyr Catalyst Paddles when I'm doing pull sets. I think of pulling with them like a resistance workout.  I recommend not using the wrist strap and it will show you where your stroke needs improvement.  Advice I would give is not to use their "suggestions" on sizing. It says use the Small for Masters swimmers, so that's what I bought and they don't need to be that big.  If I were getting them today I would buy the XXS.  If you're a female go XXS or XS and if you're male don't buy bigger than a S. Mine are about 8+ years old and I did have to replace the tubing once.  

Living in the South there isn't much need for a wetsuit in races.  I maybe get to use mine twice a year for the first and last race of the season.  I don't wear my tri top super tight and I don't like the drag in the water so I use an Xterra Speedsuit and I love it. It has a "Beak-away zipper (no leash or lanyard is necessary) - simply flip the zipper up, and the speedsuit will peel right off."  


I love the Shebeest Triple S Short for cycling!  The company was bought out and the new line is supposed to launch in Spring of 2013.  I've been told that the SSS short will be in the inventory!  These shorts are durable and comfortable and never go see through!  I have had several pair over the years and look forward to getting more when the become available!  They have the Shelastic chamois that stretches with you.  Just a great pair of shorts!
Speedplay Pedals!  Love Speedplay pedals!  I use the X Series, they have unrestricted free float. "The float in X pedals helps to prevent the type of chronic knee joint stress that occurs when a cyclist's foot is held in a wrong position. X pedals adapt to the cyclist's biomechanics, preventing joint misalignment and overuse injuries." (from the Speedplay website). I've had the same pedals for about 10 years and they're still in great shape! If you have any kind of knee issues at all I would recommend them.  

If you ride in the early morning or at dusk you need a light.  At least a flashing tail light.  I like Planet Bike's Superflash.  It visibility is up to a MILE!  I've always used the red  1/2-watt Blaze™ LED plus 2 eXtreme LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile but now they make the Superflash Turbo.  It is a One Watt Power LED plus two red LEDs with the mile visibility as well.  

One of my all time favorite things is the ZeBug!  I have one strapped onto my handlebars.  My lips have a tendency to burn so I keep a lip sunscreen in mine. They're made by a small company in California.  I got my first one in a race packet back in the early 80's and looked them up online a couple years ago and was happy to see that they're still in business!!  You can special order them with a company logo too!!

I couldn't ride without my Cobb V-Flow bike saddle.  I've used this saddle for a long time. Once I tried one I never went back to any other, I have one on my road bike and my tri bike.  My first Cobb saddle was one of the original ones that he made by cutting down and altering a saddle that was on the market.  John Cobb is an industry leader in aerodynamics, you probably already know his name. The V-Flow was the first saddle he made and now there are several other styles. You should take a moment and go to his website and check them out!

One more bike favorite - Lizard Skin Handlebar Tape! It comes in two thicknesses 2.5mm and 1.8mm and now by demand a 3.2mm.  I have the 1.8 on my road bike (because I wanted grey) and the 2.5 on my tri bike.  I love the feel of this tape, it has a really good grip and your hands won't slip even when they're wet coming out of T1.  Comes in a lot of colors! Check it out, I know you'll love this tape!


Funny.. with run stuff I don't really seem to have as many favorites.  I do have my favorite brand of running shorts, etc. but as far as gadgets these two make the list.

I do love my Garmin 910XT though!  I got a Garmin to run with a little over 4 years ago and it has really changed my run training.  It definitely keeps me more honest with my training.  And since I've had it my pace in races has increased quite a bit.  I'm pretty sure that before I got it I used to think I was training a lot faster that I actually was!  I started with the 405 and that stupid touch bezel, hated it!  The humidity in the south made it almost impossible to get the touch activation to work.  So then I moved up to the 310XT so I could swim with it in races and use regular old buttons!!  And this past summer Bill got me the 910XT - this one is awesome, much better swim accuracy and some other nice features!

I pretty much always run by myself and use an iPod Nano.  I have playlists for Bike, Run, and Race.  I've been listening to music while running for as long as I can remember.  I love my little Nano, it keeps me company!

My very first little radio that I ran with (remember back in 1980) looked very similar to this.  Anyone remember these??


My last category of favorites is nutrition. I am rather picky about my training nutrition and these are the things I use and really like.

 Crank Sports E-Gel - I've been using these for years.  They have all of your needed electrolytes in them so you really only need water. (You should take your gels with only water.)  The packets are larger than your typical gels at 150 calories.  The Vanilla Strawberry Slam is my favorite flavor.  E-Gel comes in 3 other flavors too.  There is a nice little chart on their website where you can compare your gel to theirs.

Recover-Ease is by far one of my favorite and necessary nutrition items.  They also graciously sponsor me, I contacted them this past summer and asked about a sponsorship.  Recover-Ease is a post exercise recovery supplement.  It has a patent pending blend of Amino Acids which helps your body repair damage.  I have also found it to be brain fuel on really long workouts and races, it keeps your mind sharp and helps avoid Central Fatigue. Here is a link to my Blog Post that I wrote last summer.  (oh.. you can use the code: Ginger for a 20% discount on Recover-Ease!)

I also use SportLegs while training.  SportLegs help keep away the burn while training hard.  I use them in training as well as in long races.  Their website can explain it much better so I added the link.

By the way I keep all these in a Tic-Tac container while I'm riding.  Keeps them dry and easily accessible!

I also pretty much only drink Cytomax on the bike.  The Tropical Punch flavor is my favorite.  Sometimes I train with Gatorade G2 for shorter rides. I like the convenience of the small powder packs and can take a couple in my jersey pocket.

When I did Ironman Louisville I used CarboPro 1200.  This magic drink has 1200 calories in one bottle.  It's expensive for training (although I trained with it leading up to IM Loo).  For the race I took a clear water bottle and lined if off into 6 sections and then just monitored drinking one line's worth ever hour, giving me 200 calories an hour just in this concentrated but decent tasting liquid.

My other fuel sources when riding include Gu Chomps and peanut butter crackers. I like the Apple Cranberry flavor of the Chomps the best.


Aquaphor - what would my life be like without this magic ointment?  Aquaphor is probably one of the most versatile things in my gear bag.  I use it to prevent chaffing on the bike and with my wetsuit.  As a lip balm.  To prevent windburn on my face in cold weather.  On my dry chapped hands.  I've used it during a ride on a squeaky and annoying bike cleat. Aquaphor has been my primary sponsor for the last 5 years and being on the team has made me a better athlete by pushing me to race and train more consistently and faster.

ICEdot - I don't train anymore without wearing my ICEdot band.  It has my personal pin number that when texted to 5-10-20 will reply with all my important contact and medical information!  I am proud to be a member of Team ICEdot and look forward to representing them in 2013!  You can also go to the ICEdot Athletes page and find lots of informative articles written by my teammates!!

Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition!  The makers of Recover-Ease!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Swim Shape

The water temperature at the pool where I swim has been out of control for the last couple weeks. One day it was 87 degrees!! The Senior Group swimmers were getting so overheated that one of them actually got sick and threw up from getting overheated! The air temperature in the natatorium is also much too warm. This combination = BAD. They were getting out of the pool periodically and going outside to cool down.  Steam was coming off of them like they were on fire!

So workouts eased up, more drills and less high yardage and intensity. You've got to be smart under these conditions and the coaches did the right thing. Masters workouts have been averaging only about 2000 yards.

But yesterday morning the water was almost back to normal so at Masters swim we had a bigger workout.  4000 yards by the end of practice.  The main set was 8 x 100 - 4 on the 1:30 and then 4 on the 1:25. There was supposed to be another round after that with the intervals at 1:25 and 1:20. Coach changed our lane to 75's on the 1:15 and 1:20 descend (very doable). Usually these times would not be any kind of a stretch or issue for me to make the intervals (well... the 1:20's would have been). But yesterday.... UGH!  I made the 1:30's just fine, nothing spectacular in my times. The 1:25's... not so much. Came in on the first one on 1:24 peeked at the clock and took off again. Needless to say I backed the other 3 off to 1:30. Pathetic!

You can swim 3 times a week and lose some of your upper end fitness if you're just lolly gagging around in the water. Granted what we did in drills is very important and beneficial but what we missed in the more intense training showed up when the yardage increased.

Yesterday afternoon I felt the soreness in my shoulders and upper body starting to build. This morning when I woke up it felt like I'd done a heavy lifting session in the gym. I feel like a wimp!  Oh Boy... I can't wait until tomorrow morning....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Training?? What's That??

I haven't been training much at all!  Still swimming 3 times a week (most weeks) and the occasional ride and run but that is pretty much it for the last 6 weeks or so.  I feel like a slug!

I have, however been working in Bill's store 3-4 times a week, merchandising and lifting boxes.  It feels like exercise - my shoulders and arms are telling me it's exercise.

This was his store on Black Friday!  This is the shoe department!

I still haven't signed up for a race. Need to get on that.  I wish there was a Jingle Bell Run here in H'burg!  Miss that one in Dallas!

And... I need some new running shoes.  Mine feel pretty flat.  I can't even remember when I got them, but I did train for Austin in them so I know they're ready to retire to lawn work!

My house is mostly decorated for Christmas!  I've got that going for me... which is nice.

How is everyone else holding up with their training over the holiday season?  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Post Race Depression

Note:  This is a post from my ICEdot blog.

I’ve experienced the dreaded Post Race Depression after an Ironman but never before after a shorter race – in this case a Half Ironman.   After Ironman Canada back in 1992 I remember lying around feeling extremely unmotivated.   A friend of mine called me and asked if I was feeling the Post Race Depression.  It was one of those AH HA moments!!  Now it made sense! Since Austin 70.3 I’ve been tired and sleepy and generally cranky.  Compound this with the Time Change last weekend and what do you get?  An extremely lethargic, lazy, and pathetic girl!

In a previous ICEdot blog I posted my training schedule – I had the same type of calendar pages written out for Canada.  I crossed off each day’s workouts after their completion and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment.   In my other Ironman and Half Ironman races I had training schedules but wasn’t as dedicated about following them and they weren’t in the same format on calendar pages.  Plus those races didn’t go as well for me as Canada and Austin and I think that has something to do with it.

Usually the  recommended way of overcoming these blues is to sign up for another race, even if it’s just a 5K or 10K.   But I’m still having some major problems with the Plantar Faciitis in my right foot, and my right knee is still really hurting so I haven’t even thought about running yet.  That usually helps me too – and it’s fall so the weather is ideal for running ….sigh….and I’m out of Kinesio Tape (need to order more.)  How many more excuses do you think I can find? One of my friends said what helps her is to do something good or nice for someone else.  Went to watch my friend Becky race at Ironman Florida, that was nice!!  Nope… depression still lingering. I need to snap out of it!!

Going for a bike ride with a friend of mine this morning and have a long ride planned on Saturday with the couple who I did all my long training rides with for Austin.  Maybe that will help!  I hope so.   I have a friend who used to describe this type of attitude as “poosley”.  I think it’s a perfect word for what I’m feeling.  Its like when your friends are going out for dinner but you just want to stay home in your pajamas because you feel “poosley.”


Poosley in Mississippi

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saved The Best For Last! Austin 70.3 Race Report

Plan your race - Race your plan! Never more have these words meant so much to me.  I did a lot of research in planning my race in Austin.  I read numerous articles and looked at a lot of training programs before writing my own program for my race.  A couple of my friends are triathlon coaches, I conferred with them and they thought my plan looked sound.  My friend Becky kept saying over and over, "You're going to rock Austin!"  Guess she was right!

There is something nice about having three or four months of workouts planned out nice and neat.  Pinned to the little cork board that holds our keys.  I didn't miss very many training sessions, the only thing that I wasn't the best about doing was the on/off intervals during my long runs.  Other than that I pretty much stuck to what I wrote.  3 swims, 3 rides, 3 runs.  One long, one interval, one tempo.  Done.

The weather in Austin for the days leading up to the race was warm and humid.  But on Friday before the race the temperature was dropping by 20 degrees!  Making race morning in the 40's and the high for the day in the low 60's for the half marathon.  The run was going to be perfect!

We arrived in Austin on Friday around 1:30 and went straight to Athlete Check In and the expo.  Lesley and I had to go to TriBikeTransport with our bikes and it was set up just outside the expo.  We'd both rented Zipp 404's for the race and we needed to get our wheels switched out and get in a test ride.  While our wheels were getting switched we all cruised the expo and bought a few race souvenirs.

Saturday was bike and gear check in, so after a quick ride and run we loaded up the cars and went to get everything dropped off at the transition areas.  There are two transition areas for this race, so it takes a little more planning than the usual race.  Luckily just before we went to drop the bikes off a friend of mine who was also doing the race gave me some important information!  That we should carry our bikes from the cars all the way to our racks in T1.  Apparently there were a lot of stickers all in the grass, and several people got flats even before setting up their bikes!

Lesley and Kim
In this race we had bags to hold our transition gear, somewhat like the Ironman, but different in that even though all of our gear was in bags it could be at our actual transition spot not in huge piles on the ground.  Nothing could be left on the ground, it had to be hung from our bike or tied to the rack. So after running up from the swim we had to dump our bags and put on our race number belts, sunglasses and shoes, stuff our wetsuit, goggles and cap back into the bag and tie it up. The bags would then be transported to the finish line area and we could retrieve them after the race. (My friend, Judy did this for me!  Thank you Judy!!) We were allowed to have helmets and shoes on the bike but with the reported stickers we all chose to put our shoes in the bags instead of already attached to the bike.

Deanna and Judy -
Thank you Judy for taking all the great pictures!!
Then we had to go to T2 and do the same thing for the bike to run transition bags and tie them onto the rack where we would eventually hang our bikes before heading out onto the run.  I tied a brightly colored piece of ribbon onto my bags so they would be easy to spot as I was running through the long racks of bags! Hint hint.

Race morning parking was at the finish area so we had to catch shuttle buses to the swim start.  My friend Judy noticed that I was getting really nervous and headed out with me and Kim to the buses. Deanna and Lesley were following a few minutes later, Deanna needed to go check on her "Bike To Run" transition bag so they caught a later shuttle bus - they got into the first transition area and heard the announcer calling that the transition area was closing in 11 minutes!!  They still needed to air up their tires and put their nutrition on their bikes. I was panicking for them!  We waited for them just outside of the area and then Judy and I headed down to the swim start area. My wave was starting at 7:40 - 10 minutes after the first wave.  Deanna went off at 7:50 - Kim and Lesley started 30 minutes after that.  They let the old ladies (me) go in the early waves so that we wouldn't be on the course too long.  I was worried about the fast guys catching our swim wave and swimming over us but the fear was not to be realized!

The water temperature was around 71 degrees and the air was low 40's, it felt really good to get into the water.  We weren't allowed to warm up though so I took the swim out conservatively. I swam wide to make sure I avoided the bedlam around the buoys, and ended up with a 1.32 mile swim (hmmm....I don't think I was that far off the line, so the course may have been a little long.)  My "official" swim time was 33:46 or 1:44 per 100 meters.  Time in yards with the 1.32 swim - 1:27 per hundred yards!  I'll take that with a smile!

Out of the swim and through the wetsuit strippers for the quarter mile run through transition. Before the race stuck some "hot hands" under my toe covers on my cycling shoes so that my toes wouldn't become blocks of ice on the bike.  I put on some arm warmers (a fancy blue that matched my Aquaphor Kit!! - got them at Running Warehouse!)  We had to carry our bikes (cross country style) out of the transition area because of the stickers that I mentioned before.  I was giggling because I knew how ridiculous I looked.

The bike course had been described to me as hilly. It was hilly!!  Mostly longer hills unlike the short, punchy ones around Hattiesburg.  I planned to take it pretty easy for the initial miles of the bike and work into a pace later on in the morning.  I followed my plan and rode within myself - never red lined and never really got out of breath.  The scenery was nice and I saw a lot of animal friends on the course.  Saw some cute donkeys, a fat pot bellied pig, and some long horned cattle.  Never was really cold and just held back a little on the exertion because I really wanted to have a good run. At one point I saw my bike average at 18.7 but ended up with an 18.4 average. Happy with that! I followed my plan taking one Crank E-Gel (150 cals per gel) every 15 miles- starting at mile 5 (5, 20, 35, 50). I'd also mixed a multi-hour bottle of Heed to 300 calories and had the bottle marked into thirds, so I drank one third every hour. My front bottle was filled just with water which I refilled at each aid station.  I also took 3 Recover-Ease and 3 SportLegs at just past the half way point on the bike.

Into T2 with a quick dump of my bag and into my running shoes. Grabbed my hat and my gel flask filled with E-Gel!  Immediately on the run I felt my left VMO start to cramp.  Not good, this was definitely going to foul up my plan if my legs started cramping.  Stopped at a port-a-potty at just over a half mile into the run and worked on the muscle a little with some gentle tapotement. I took a couple Endurolytes and started running again - the cramp was gone!!  I had thought of a creative way to carry my electrolytes and Recover-Ease on the run - I stapled tiny jewelry sized ziplock bags onto the back of my race number with the right number of supplements in each bag.  It was SO easy to tear off a bag and rip it open!  And no more of that shaking sound of pills in a plastic container on the run!  If you like the idea Walmart sells 100 little bags for $1.00 in the craft section!  (Thank You Kenny and Sharon for picking them up!)

The run course is three loops just over 4 miles long each. The middle section was hilly and there was also a little hill at the turn around by transition.  I really liked the course.  I got to see my friends several times on the run and looked forward to seeing them on the course.  It went by much faster than I thought it would.  I planned to take the first loop out easy and had to keep slowing myself down.  I planned to pick it up on the last loop if I still had anything left in the tank.  I felt little inklings of cramping in my legs trying to start so I had to watch my step some while running.  The night before the race I taped both of my knees and my right foot with kinesio tape so I had zero pain there during the run!!  Hurray for kinesio tape!!  It was blue and I looked like I was morphing into a smurf!

Thank you Team Aquaphor and
Active Ambassadors, Timex Factory Team
and Team ICEdot!!!
At about mile 11 I knew that I was going to be able to run the entire half marathon and I started smiling.  I rarely smile in a race, but I just couldn't help it.  I was really happy - I felt like Chrissy Wellington with my happy little grin and finally understood why you smile when you have a great race.  I knew my friend Judy was going to be on the little bridge just over where you run into the coliseum and looked for her up there.  She was cheering and snapping pictures like a professional photographer!  Actually got tears in my eyes when I was finishing.  I knew I'd had a really good race.  Everything that I planned fell right into place.  My three loop paces were:  8:47 / 8:56 / 8:46 - for an 8:50 average.  My Garmin had me at a moving time of 8:45 with the adjusted distance and taking out the pit stops.

My friend Gerald Jackson!

I got to celebrate with a good friend of mine from Dallas who was racing in a relay.  Gerald is also a triathlon coach and one of people that I talked to concerning my training program that I wrote.  I saw Gerald at the expo and asked him to say "Shoulders" if he saw me on the course to remind me to keep them back and down.  Think Mirinda Carfrae's running form.  It works for me and the cue "shoulders" is all I need to make sure I maintain good running form.

I placed 2nd in my Age Group at this big race!  I couldn't be happier!!

I had several goals going into this race:

1.  30 minute swim (33:46).
2.  Run the entire Half Marathon.
3.  Finish in 5:30 (5:38:42 - included 3 pit stops).
3.  Finish on the podium (top 5 AG).

I'll take the 2 out of 4!  I had a PR and a great day and enjoyed every minute of it!
Austin 70.3 was my last Half Ironman distance triathlon. I saved the best for last!  My poor knees really took a beating with the training.  I want to be able to race for a few more years so the smart thing is to stick with sprint and the occasional intermediate distance races.  I wish I could do it again.

Good Friends Sharon and Kenny!
Thanks for all the miles!

Deanna finishing strong!

Great race Lesley!!

Kim looking fresh at the end of 70.3 miles!
Met Shannon on the run course!
Go Team Aquaphor!!!
Had dinner after the race with my good friend Sheri who
lives in Austin!  Haven't seen her in years!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nervous Jervis!!

Leave tomorrow for Austin at noon!  The nerves must be getting to me.  Woke up at 3:15 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  Sleep is important this week.  It's not happening.

Made some notes when I woke up on things that were rambling around in my brain - things not to forget to pack.  Aquaphor Samples, Race Morning Gloves, Hot Hands, toque..... thinking, thinking, thinking....

The weather in Austin is turning cooler tomorrow.  A 20 degree temperature drop.  This means a little more thinking about clothing choices.

I've got to get packing!!  Today is crammed full of things to do:

7:30 My friend Lesley is coming over for some bodywork on her legs.
8:15-9:00  Easy bike ride.
10:00-3:00 Drive to Meridian and work my two stores there for my Merchandising job.
3:30-4:30  Coach BDS Swim Team
5:00-6:30  Coach HubFins Jr. Group
6:30-8:00  Coach HubFins Sr. Group - was asked yesterday but the Head Assistant HubFins Coach if I can help on Tues and Thurs with the Senior Group!!

I'd better stop blogging and get things going!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Austin 70.3 Almost Here!!

Just over a week until my Half Ironman in Austin, TX!!  I am nervous but I think I'm ready. Fighting some little plaguing injuries.  My plantar fasciitis isn't any better and now my right knee has jumped onto the injury band wagon.  It's really warm and there is some swelling.  I've been taping it with the Rock Tape.  A brand of Kinesio Tape that was recommended to my by one of my ICEdot teammates.

Rock Tape makes an H2O version for triathletes and swimmers and this stuff is great!!!  I would recommend it to anyone using Kinesio Taping techniques.

I raced last weekend at the Mighty Magnolia Triathlon here in my hometown of Hattiesburg, MS.  It was two weeks out from the 70.3 so I wasn't expecting anything amazing as far as speed.  All the long distance training for the Half had me pretty tired.  So I didn't have high expectations.  But I had a GREAT race!!!  I never pushed the pace to the point where I was breathing hard at any time during the race.  Averaged 20.5 miles per hour on the bike (an improvement from last year) and ran 7:27 average pace for the run.  My run splits were 7:41, 7:35, 7:26!!  My Garmin clocked the run course at 2.95 miles, a little short of the advertised 3 mile run - so my watch had me at a 7:34 mile pace.  I'm happy with that too!  I placed 4th Overall Female and won the Masters Women's Division.

This is a great little race, only a few problems encountered.  The run course has two little out and back dog leg sections and when looking at some of the run times there were some athletes who didn't complete the entire course.  There should have been a volunteer at each little section directing the runners.   Hopefully next year the race director will have someone there.

See the two "Heartbeats"?
I was really happy to receive our second batch of Aquaphor Samples a few days before the race!!  I had run out before the Alabama Coastal race and didn't get to pass out any samples at all there.  Had the usual "I love this stuff" reception when I handed out over 50 samples to the triathletes after the race!!

All my friends did really well at the race!  It was a great day and hopefully we'll all have the same in Austin!!

Judy and I warmed up by swimming across the
fog covered lake! 
Nice easy swim - 5th Female swim time.
Finishing controlled.
Deanna - 3rd Masters Female
Lesley - 1st Age Group
Ginger - 1st Masters Female
Judy - 1st Age Group
And I just couldn't resist holding this adorable 8 week old
Golden Retriever puppy that I saw at the race!!