Alaska(Woah)Man: The Race

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Photo by Eric Wynn

Jessica is an experienced ultra-triathlete (2016 UltraMan Florida winner, multiple time Ironman finisher, Escape from Alcatraz with NO WETSUIT finisher, marathoner, etc). Jessica is a member of Triathlon Club of San Diego, known for her strong swimming background and busy schedule as a married General Surgeon.  She invited me to join her in the inaugural AlaskaMan Extreme Triathlon as her support volunteer which is mandatory for the swim/bike aid and trail run pacer. My initial reaction… “Wait, you’re asking ME?? Why, how hard is this??”

2017 OVERALL EVENT STATISTICS

Total Registered: 307
Did Not Start (DNS): 108 (35%)
Started: 198 (65%)
Did Not Finish (DNF): 41 (20% of those that started)
Finished: 157 (80% of those that started)
Avg Male Finisher Age: 44    Avg
 Female Finisher Age: 39

MY RACE SUMMARY VIDEO MONTAGE (coming soon)

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“Amphibian” 4th of July Double

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Coronado Island is the home of the Amphibious military base with a variety of terrain and water for the soldiers to train in.  The 4th of July in Coronado, CA creates a unique setting to swim in the ocean and run on the flat scenic roads all before the parade at 11am.  Since parking is limited those interested in the “double race” park in residential areas or at Central Beach, and bike over to the run. [Note: Living just a casual 20 mile bike ride away through the SouthBay Bikeway, we left our car at home altogether.]

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Will you join me?

Whatever you feel you do not like or are interested in, is based on past experiences of personal trauma, rumors, apathy, laziness, or other excuses. Meeting someone new is a way to restart memories about yourself and approaching certain ideas with a new perspective.  More important than WHAT the activity that your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend wants to do really just means, would you PREFER his/her company?

If the Friend Asks: Do I want to do XYZ outside?

My Instinctive Answer: No, not really, definitely not. I want to sit on the couch all day, binge watch everything, eat fried chicken & Zebra cakes!

What the Friend is REALLY saying: Will you join me? Will you support me in this goal to improve my character? If you believe in me, I will believe in myself.

What my answer is REALLY saying: What I feel is more important than what you feel, I’d be perfectly happy if I don’t see you for the entire day.

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Toilet: Friend or Foe?

How you view your toilet relationship can either make or break your day.

Through trial and many errors I’ve corrected the most annoying causes of slow and/or just unprepared runs. Although it can be discouraging to see patterns, take responsibility and plan ahead to prevent them, but it’s possible! One of the most important has been the topic that most people, especially females, don’t talk about: Toilet time. Runners have to embrace the relationship with the toilet because it directly sits between you and your exercise goals. Until the bathroom obstacles are ironed out, it will really be frustrating to get any type of run done – regardless of time of day.

The reason people drink coffee before a run, isn’t only for the caffeine.. it’s to speedup the bowel movements. Someone asked me recently, how many times I stop to use the bathroom during the marathon. I chuckled because, ZERO! I do not stop DURING the marathon to use the bathroom because in training I know how many times it takes me to be able to run 20 miles with no bathroom… and I wake-up with enough time to calmly handle that before my activity.

When Roger started running back in 2008, he’d take toilet paper with him & as a semi-supportive non-interested girlfriend at the time, I thought it was the grossest thing to even think about.  Now that I have gotten into cycling as well, I know that toilet paper is essential part of a training toolkit to: Clean your hands if your chain falls, tissue for your nose, bathroom in the bushes, or clean up blood if you crash.

When I roll out of bed and start my run with zero preparation, it takes exactly 2 miles to need to poop.  If I drink water and wake up 15 mins before, then the Mile 2 bathroom pit stop is clear. By adding at least a 15 minute of warm-up activity before your workout begins, you’ll be able to cross off any remaining toilet issues from a 1-hour session.  Another alternative to coffee induced bowels is to just drink a glass of water when you wake up, and wait. I love not using the bathroom during a run MORE than sleep, it’s worth it.

Pre-Run Dinner

Of course the morning bathroom status depends on the meals the previous day. In training, I also learn what to eat and what not to eat during peak training season when running on consecutive mornings. I notice when I skip meals, or eat junk instead of a balanced nutritious meal, it makes me irregular which changes my body’s performance limitations and how my body feels in general.

What’s your number?

In my run today, I went before leaving home then I drank a coffee, which wasn’t early enough before my run to be able to process the consequences. As a result, I ended up having to go multiple times during the run… and each time I continued running I went faster, felt lighter, felt more agile. The body doesn’t care WHEN the bowels happen, it just cares if it happens.  All you do is get up early, much earlier, and go as many times as your body needs to BEFORE the run.

Based on today’s test and the last few years, I think I have a chart lined up:

  • Low fiber meals & Irregular bowels during the week: 10+ minute miles
  • 1 daily bowel: 9 minute miles
  • 1 bowel before the run: 8 minute mile
  • 2 bowels before the run: 7 minute mile
  • 3-4 bowels before the run: 6 or lower minute mile
  • 5+ bowels is diarrhea and you shouldn’t run or go into a pool for 14 days.

The toilet relationship can be peaceful, as long as you respect it’s boundaries. Do not ignore that the toilet is part of the RUN session.  You must live out the consequences of waking up last minute or eating poorly the night before, by being forced to make nature your bathroom wherever it feels like.  You can conquer this, you can control this.  Respect the toilet time & rules, and in turn, you’ll have light, agile and faster run efforts.

How to get started biking to work

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Bike to Work Day is coming up, and many people are inspired to participate. Surprisingly, the first step is NOT looking for a bike.  Buying a bike isn’t going to guarantee that you’re going to bike to work!  Planning the details will prepare yourself and to get the correct bike for the job.  Also, unlike driving, you are responsible for the time that it takes you to get to work on the bike… there’s no excuse of traffic, or accident on 805.

Biking to work is completely well-rounded method of transport that avoids bottlenecks of traffic, and it starts the day off with an accountable success.

  1. Find the Route: Google Maps provides Bike and Walk directions to pick from elevation and number of intersections. Once you have a turn by turn route planned, FIRST drive the route.  If at all possible, rent a bike on a weekend to give the RIDE a try.  While Google Maps time estimates are not accurate, don’t underestimate how long some street lights take.
  2. Practice Getting Ready out of a Backpack: Unless your route is under 5 miles away, you may not want to wear your work clothes or shoes on the bike.  If you take your work clothes in a backpack, and wear spandex on the bike, you’ll feel fresh all day.  So the reality check becomes, how long will it take me to get ready from a backpack? (Learning to get ready from a backpack is also the first part of learning to do triathlon hehe)  If there are things that can be left at work like makeup, toiletries, flat shoes, take advantage of the backpack weight and space savings.  I’ve rarely had a workplace that I could leave personal belongings in, so I just had to buy the travel sizes for a separate biking baglette.  Once you have your outfit and toiletries, FIRST practice getting ready at work.  Drive to work in your pajamas, or after a morning workout and only using the contents of your backpack, time yourself at getting ready.  This part is very important to your confidence getting to work by bike.  When you get to your desk, you need to be On Time & feeling ready for the day; regardless what your position is.  PREPARE everything you need, and PACK it in the backpack the night before.
  3. Determine your morning schedule: Using the data from Step #1 and Step #2, determine what time you’d need to leave HOME to arrive at work, with enough time to get ready.  I like to give myself at least 10 minutes cushion time added to this so I can exhale at least once on the bike ride.
  4. Buy a bike, helmet, lights: Only after those 3 previous steps, is it appropriate to look for a bike. Your budget is only a portion of the decision on which bike to get. Is your route to work hilly? You will need to get a bike that has gears, with a light frame, and road tires to handle debris.  Where will you park your bike when you get to work, is there indoor security or will it be on the street?  If you can bring it into the office, that’s ideal since you won’t need to carry the weight of a huge lock! If it’s on the street, I don’t care if the area “looks” safe, don’t buy a brand new $700 bike or it won’t be there when you get back.  The beach cruisers or triathlon aero-style bicycles are niche for certain types of rides… neither being city commuting to work.  The road/cross bicycle will give you agility up hills due to the seat position, and narrow handlebars in order to offer better control to weave through lights and traffic.
  5. Accessories: HOLD OFF ON ACCESSORIES.  The city commuter cycling rule I agree is fare is “don’t embellish your bike until you’ve ridden one mile per dollar that you spent on it.”  A bicycle doesn’t have to be expensive, just get a flat kit, lights and a helmet and a lock.  Leave the gloves, bike shoes, mileage computer, and all these other gadgets for when you actually ride and then you’ll know what you need.

Any other questions? With a can-do attitude, anything is possible.

How can official race photos make you a better runner?

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(Us this past weekend at this trail race)

Official race photos have lost a bit of value for some since camera phones are small enough to carry along during an event for impromptu selfies. But, does a selfie really void the race photo?

A selfie is an outlet to share how we perceive ourselves, a beautiful scenery, or as proof should marathoninvestigation.com dispute a performance!  However the official race photos are much more valuable, to an athlete, than just documentation of the accomplishment itself.  Only the official race photos clarify what even friends or coaches don’t always catch.

The following 2 KEYS have helped me increase my performance overall in the 5k to marathon, and build confidence in myself!

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Hormones, Humility and Healing

Disclaimer: This is a personal post primarily for females to adjust the perception of fragility.

Female hormones can be a tornado, yet healthy food and exercise can stabilize the extremes. Hormones are especially an enemy for women when we are on birth control where the foreign hormones blend with natural hormones in such a way that we precisely do not even know how we feel.  Being a woman already means internal pain due to all the wonders around menstrual cycle and the weeks around that. Besides the natural miserable status, why would a woman choose voluntary discomfort in fitness? When discomfort is a choice, when it is a door to a goal, it becomes empowering.  When this choice expresses mental strength, the physical “growth pain” makes us feel like we aren’t victims in our bodies for a moment in time.  We have overcome what we can’t change to reach a result that we wanted. Fitness creates roots of self-confidence, self-value, and health that can counter balance the negative wave of contraception hormones hell. Although hormones are unpredictable, the occurrence of feelings should not be silenced. Sport has given me the ability to listen to my inner voice that I wouldn’t have listened to in the past.  Below I share why this was profound to my safety. Continue reading