Here is the video race report for Ironman Mont tremblant 2012! The FAANT girls rocked it!
The FAANT chicks are racing again!
Ironman Mont-Tremblant was in a word: Amazing! The entire city joined together to welcome all the triathletes. They repaved the roads, rolled out the red carpet (literally there was a red carpet on the road from the swim exit to transition) and put together the most organized race weekend I have ever experienced in any sport. The venue at Mont Tremblant, Quebec was breathtaking. This cute little village on the mountainside was perfect for a family summer vacation with adorable shops, lots of activities for young and old and a great venue where families could stay right on the mountainside and catch their triathlete many times during the race without having to travel anywhere!
We flew into Montreal on Thursday night and drove the almost two hours to the village of Mont-Tremblant. The hotel was lovely and about 400 yards from the finish line. Perfect! Friday included packet pick up, a practice swim in the crystal clear mountain lake, picking up my bike from Tribike Transport and a short bike ride to explore the course. Wow! Super hilly in the just the small portion around the finish line. This was a harbinger of what was to come! A little shopping, a gondola ride and then an extremely well attended pre-race welcome dinner. When have you ever seen more than 5,000 people at a pre-race pasta dinner? Never! The tent was overflowing and excitement was in the air.
It was the little things that you noticed. They repaved a large portion of the bike course. Permanent street signs marking the bike and run course. People to help you everywhere that actually knew what they were talking about. Super organized packet pick up that flowed quickly and efficiently. Lots of pre-planned entertainment for the whole family! A sense of welcoming excitement everywhere!
Saturday was a day to explore and rest. Check in the bikes and drop off all the transition bags. Big dinner and early bedtime. Sunday was race day!
Since the swim start was less than a half mile from the hotel, I didn’t have to get up before 5 am to get to this race! 5:30am to body marking then check on my bike. A short walk to the swim start and we were ready to go! I actually had a small melt down on the beach when I realized I forgot my goggles at the hotel! I was less organized than the race officials! Janet had an extra pair, but my super-sherpa, Peter, ran back to the hotel and got my goggles before we started. Thank the Lord the hotel was so close! The Canadian anthem, a fighter plane fly over and we were off.
A tremendous beach start! A wide beach so it wasn’t extremely crowded at the mass stat. It still felt like swimming in a washing machine, but the crowd thinned out quickly on the way to the first buoy. No sense of drowning today. The water was amazingly clear and a crisp 70 degrees. Perfect for a comfortable wet suit swim. Janet and I both had a good swim and were out of the water and into transition practically together.
Onto the bikes we go! The first half of the bike course (two loops) was absolutely gorgeous! There were great crowds, lots of volunteers, tons of spectators yelling in three languages and breathtaking scenery along the way. The countryside was dazzling and the air was crisp and cool but not cold. The hills at the beginning were challenging but not horrible. A nice warm up for the backside of the course!
The wind started to pick up and a light rain started to fall just as I headed into the last 20K of the first loop. I was doing just fine until the rain. Steady and on pace. Janet was rocking the bike course, as we all knew she would! The last part of the first loop was incredibly challenging. So many hills I stopped counting. I thought I was never going to see transition! My brakes were wet and I was freezing! I was extremely thankful for the light jacket I had put on because it was a little chilly. It kept me from going hypothermic in the chilly rain. The rain subsided and I hit transition for the second time. Oh no! I had to do the loop again! The hills were so daunting and my legs were already dead. Back onto the course I went for the second loop. I slowed considerably and then rain returned. Ugh! Janet was about an hour ahead of me by the time I hit transition to go on the run. She was doing awesome! Me, not so well…. There were times in the last half of the second loop that I wasn’t sure I was going to make the bike cut off! The last hills were sadistic! Who puts a 15% grade hill in the last 6 miles of a 112 mile bike course? God has a sense of humor and the race was on a mountain side! I saw a lot of the mountain! They don’t make hills like that in Texas!
As I exited transition and tried to run, my legs protested. Internal whining and a little negative self talk ensued. I was fast walking the first few miles to see if I could “embrace the suck” (see previous blog) and get my butt moving. When I saw Janet going the other way on the first loop of the run, she was smiling and looked good. I started to run (maybe you would call it a fast shuffle, but it was all I had). The run was also two loops, but they were nice enough to make about ten miles of the course along a dirt trail in the woods and predominantly FLAT! I made lots of friends on the run (shocker to anyone that runs with me – yes, I talk non-stop). Chatting away as I tried to keep myself moving. I was laughing at myself. Due to the fact that my bike potion was so slow, I found myself in an unusual position in the back of the race with the elderly, physically impaired (lots of walking wounded) and the people like me that perhaps hadn’t trained as much as they should’ve for the killer hills! This was an interesting group and lots of great stories were told as we all trudged toward the finish.
My only complaint about the course (can’t really complain about the hills, I knew it was on a mountain when I signed up!) was the fact that we had to run right by the finish line to enter the second loop of the run. This was great for spectators, but the crowd was cheering you on and telling you that you were almost there when really you had 21K left. Ugh again! It was just mean! You could see the fish line but knew you had to go back out for a second loop! At this point, my daughter Caitlin was very inspiring yelling, “You can do this Mommy!” and jumping up and down with excitement. It got me motivated to finish hard. I sucked it up and started to run again; this time at a decent pace. My legs were killing me, but the last 21K weren’t going to get done under the cutoff without a little push. It is times like this that you realize why Ironman is not for the mentally weak. You have to dig deep and overcome your natural instinct to quit and call it a day!
There were many times in the last loop that I thought I was nearly the last person on the course. The people behind me were dropping like flies. We had lost a handful to the bike cutoff and a few more to the sag wagon. At one point on the run course, I had a personal guide on a mountain bike with a headlight. They had thought of everything. They had medical volunteers patrolling the last half of the run course making sure everyone was OK. I had a nice chat with an EMT from Toronto on his bike, who said he was so inspired by the athletes that he thought he would try an Ironman! It was infectious! Even though there couldn’t have been more than twenty people left on the course that were going to make it in by midnight, there were still lots of spectators along the course! And yummy hot chicken broth! Nectar from God! Amazing! Dark, cold, windy and yes, the rain started again!! I had to keep moving at my pathetically slow run pace! One foot in front of the other! I chatted with a fellow from Toronto for about the last 7 miles. We were both hyperaware that we had to keep moving at a decent pace or midnight was going to come and we were not going to make the finish! Onward we trudged, running the flats and downhill while walking the hills. The last hill at 2K to go looked like a mountain to my weary legs, but you could hear the excitement at the finish line.
I picked up my pace and glided to the line. Whew! Made it with a half hour to spare! Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman) stopped me just before the finish line, put his arm around my shoulders and turned me towards the to crowd of spectators saying, “Mary Crane from Grapevine, Texas, these people have something to tell you!” The crowd shouted together, “You are an Ironman!” What a moment! Even though I had been there before, nothing can equal the emotion I was feeling at that moment. Elated to have finished and emotional since there were so many times during the race I had thought of quitting and giving up. I had dug deep for this one and succeeded. I can’t explain the emotions. I was disappointed with my performance because of the times but elated to just have made it to the finish line. A fantastic ending to a tough day.
The finish line people were also amazing! I had a personal guide to get my medal. The winner of the entire race, Romain Guillaume from France, gave me my medal and kissed me on both cheeks. What an awesome guy! He had finished almost 8 hours before me, but came back to give out medals to the stragglers at the end of the race. My family was waiting for me with big hugs and happy faces. The time was forgotten in my daughter’s hug! The look on her face made the day all worth it. I had embraced the suck and won! Janet finished almost an hour before I did and had a great day! A monster personal best for her on a killer course! She deserved it! She worked so hard this year! I am proud to be her training peep!
Ironman Mont-Tremblant is easily going to rise to the top of the destination races! It was extremely challenging, but so incredibly well run for all! Kudos to the people of Quebec! They get an A+! The race experience was excellent, even if my time was not!
Yes, I said it, "Embrace the Suck!"
I was watching the London Olympic ‘s Women’s marathon this morning and thinking of my upcoming Ironman in Quebec. (Yes, I was up at 5am to watch the race and was on my bike trainer so I wouldn’t waste the training time) The announcers were talking about the work these women put in day after day for years that culminates at their shot for Olympic gold. They also talked about the way an Olympic gold could really change many of their lives, especially those from African nations. Although I did find their commentary interesting, the one thing that struck me was the comment that at least 30 of the woman had the athletic talent to win gold, but it was the ability to embrace the suffering inherent in the marathon distance that eventually meant the difference between Olympic champions and also ran.
It reminded me of an article I read in Triathlon magazine by Chris McCormack (for those non-triathletes he is “Macca” and a hugely successful triathlete and pretty neat guy) that had this topic as its theme. “Embrace the suck!” is Macca’s mantra when thinking about long course. He also felt that mind over body and how you controlled your mind during a race meant the difference between successes and also ran or in some cases DNF! (Did Not Finish)
There was one study that had half the athletes doing math problems while doing weight reps and half the athletes concentrating on the weights. Guess which one fatigued earlier? Of course the ones spending mental energy on math and losing focus of the reps. Focus is the key to success!
What does all this mean? My musing this morning comes down to why we do this sport. Whether you are a marathoner or a long course triathlete, you challenge yourself to perform races that most people think are insane. Why? The challenge! The edge! Whether our goal is to finish or a time goal or to win, a satisfying race is accomplished when we come to the edge and come face-to-face with our inner weakness. The edge comes when the risk is compelling enough to make it all count. I find myself asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” about halfway into a long race. How I answer is the difference between success and a less than optimal outcome. Whining is not an option. At that point, I might as well throw in the towel. Perishing on the pavement is also not a good option. Confronting this inner voice and trouncing it makes the race a success.
After finishing my first Ironman, I went back to work the next week with the feeling I could do anything! Not only was my mental attitude better at work, but it was also better at home. I had embraced the suffering and succeeded so nothing was impossible, even the whining of my 13-yr-old! I find in business, the same mantra holds true. If you embrace the suck, meaning put it all on the line knowing it will take work, suffering and an uphill battle; you usually succeed. Why? Same reason, the risk is compelling enough for us to put in 100% effort! We can’t lose when we bring our “A” game!
I have a significant challenge in 2 weeks at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. The course is at altitude and is very hilly! I will conquer the course and finish the race, which is my goal this year. I know I will be asking myself why I am racing and what does it matter to anyone except myself that I finish. My self-talk will tell my inner voice to suck it up and finish no matter how bad I feel, for myself, for my friends and family and for all my patients following their doctor! I inspire them to take on life’s challenges and win! If it were easy, everyone would do it!
Bottom line: Embrace the suck!! In a race and in your life! You embrace the pain and the challenge, then deal with it and succeed!
Janet and I decided we needed a hilly warm up 70.3 race about 2 months before Ironman, so of course we picked the hardest course we could find; Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 Triathlon in Lubbock, TX. This was the same weekend that Mont-Tremblant was having their warm up race as a 70.3 on the same course as the Ironman race, but who has the time or the money to go to Quebec twice in one summer? No, we thought, we will drive to Lubbock.
That was our first mistake! We jumped in the car Friday morning and drove the 300 miles to Lubbock. What a beating! There is nothing between Fort Worth and Lubbock but wind farms, crops and cow patties. At one point, we were laughing at all the small towns with population 250ish! Really? We stopped in a Dairy Queen about 100 miles from Lubbock to get a snack. The people in the restaurant looked at us like we had dropped in from another planet.
After a lovely drive (NOT), we checked into one of the nicest hotels in Lubbock, the Holiday Inn (smirk). It actually was not horrible and was clean. Lubbock is not exactly a happening town. There really isn’t much in Lubbock other than Texas Tech and lots of cotton fields. We went to the expo on Friday night and got our numbers. The race shirt was the ugliest one I have ever seen!! A steak dinner and a beer, then off to bed.
Saturday morning we decided to go out to Buffalo Springs Lake and watch some of the sprint triathlon as well as check out the water temperature and the horrendous hills we had both heard about. If you listened to most of our friends, the hills were mountains and we were going to perish on them. Well, the water temperature was about 76 and even though they said it was going to be wetsuit legal, we both decided on speed suits. The lake was gorgeous! The hills were steep, but nothing like the mountains that had been described! We rode out bikes up and down the first 3 hills and decided we would live! A nap then a pasta dinner and we were ready for bed!
4am came really early. We had our breakfast and hit the road about 5am. We ran into a little traffic jam getting into the canyon. Seems there was a race going on! Got to the parking lot and then had to walk our bikes down a gigantic hill to transition. Found our spots and we were ready to go.
Swim waves were interesting. All the women were in one huge wave so the start was a little challenging. Then the majority of the men started just a few minutes later. Needless to say, they ran us right over! I got punched in the eye and was happy I was wearing double swim caps so I didn’t lose my goggles. Then I got kicked in the face and got a bloody lip! Ugh! At least the water was relatively calm and the temperature was very friendly! My swim time was not stellar but I got to transition only bleeding from my top lip!
Onto the bike course we went. The first hill is almost as soon as you leave transition and it was almost a 9% grade! Sadistic! After conquering the first few hills it was relatively flat but the wind kicked up as soon as you left the canyon. My swim was so bad I was convinced there weren’t too many people behind me until we hit the third hill, which was another sadistic grade, but this time I was catching the downhill. Now I know what 40 mph feels like on a bike! Scary!! Sadly I reminded myself I had to go back up that grade on the way back! At this point I saw the crowd behind me as I made the first turn around. Whew! I wasn’t in last place. That would be embarrassing! Janet passed me just about the 30 mile marker like I was standing still! Man is she fast on the bike!!
The fourth hill is a long winding grade with killer turns and a skinny road. In other words, as your butt is being kicked by the grade you have to watch out for the people coming down out of control on the turns and trying to kill themselves and you. Written on the road was SLOW DOWN on one side and THANK MIKE FOR THE HILLS on the other! You then hit a long stretch of windy farmland in which you began to cook. Literally. My nutrition and hydration were great and I actually had to pee for about the last 25 miles! A good sign!
I had the pleasure of cheering on a few of the hand-cyclists as they were challenged by the hills. Those guys are tough!! Back into the canyon I went after feeling like I was challenged but not beaten, hit the last two hills and wanted desperately to get off my bike!!
Into transition I went, ditched the bike and found a port-a-potty. Running shoes and a little more sunscreen, I was ready to run! Who turned up the heat? As soon as I hit the asphalt, I felt the heat. Thanks Mike for the roving ice carts. He put people on golf carts with large coolers of ice to help with the heat. The hills on the run were not that bad, but were sadistic in the fact that they were long and it was almost 100 when I started running. When I hit the 6 mile marker, the volunteer at the aid station said it was 105! Crazy! The heat was just wafting off the road. I had ice chunks in my bra and down my pants as well as down my back just to keep my heart rate from spiking. It was walk:run the whole way. Walk through all the aid stations then run until your heart rate started to spike again. A beating! I passed Janet at about the 7 mile marker. She wasn’t faring much better than I was. We were both in hunker down and get it done mode.
I was so happy to enter the park and see the finish line, I almost cried. I crossed, got my medal and shirt then headed for the lake. I barely took my shoes off before I dived in. The water felt amazing!
So that was Buffalo Spring Lake 70.3 Triathlon. A butt whipping of a race, but a great challenge on the road to Ironman Mont-Tremblant. The hills were a challenge, but totally doable. The heat is what got you. Now I understand why it is a Kona qualifier. It was harder than Ironman Texas because of the heat coupled with the tough course. Mike, you are a sadist! And , Yes, we will be back!!
PS. Janet won her category, so she got to go home with a really cute buffalo trophy which she named Leonard. ☺ Very cool!
PPS. Video is posted...enjoy:)
The road to Ironman Mont-Tremblant went through Lubbock, TX this weekend. Check out the lunatics in their video blog....the hottest, hilliest race for us to date....
What a great new product that I stumbled upon at the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans expo. This is awesome! I bought one for my daughter so I can sleep better when she is training! Ever worry about drowning in the chaos that is the Ironman swim start? This is the answer!
The road to Ironman Mont-Tremblant went through New Orleans this weekend. As many of you know, that follow this blog, Janet decided to go to Galveston and I chose New Orleans for our early season half Ironman. I chose New Orleans because last year in Galveston, I had a really hard time staying upright while biking into a 30 mph head wind. I thought New Orleans would have better weather! God has a sense of humor!
New Orleans Ironman 70.3 was in a word - windy! Crazy, insane windy!! It was also only 67.1! The wind caused the race director, Bill Burke, to have to cancel the swim for the second year in a row. I actually felt bad for the guy since so many people were so upset, but when we got down to the water on Sunday morning, it was obvious that drowning was a risk given the 5 foot and higher waves!
We actually did a run-bike-run triathlon, which was much better than what they did at the Poconos 70.3 last year. At that race, after cancelling the swim, they attempted a time trial start of the bikes starting participants 3 seconds apart. This sounds good in theory, but the roads were very wet and there were crashes all over the place! In New Orleans, they were creative and wanted to keep the relay teams intact, so they made us run 2 miles to start then ride 52 miles (shortened due to road closures) and then run 13.1 miles to finish.
I met my friend Linda, from Arizona, in New Orleans and she was pretty anxious to do her first 70.3. She is attempting Ironman Arizona in November, so she needed a warm up race as well. I made a pact that I would never race without Janet again! Every time I go to a race without Janet, the weather sucks!
The best part of my race was the beginning of the 2 mile run. They started us in pair about 2 seconds apart and I was in the 5th wave (40 and older women). This wave included all the “old” ladies. I started near the back of the wave and was just completing the first mile when I came upon a woman with an “81” on her calf. I glanced at her and then realized it was the “Iron Nun”! Sister Madonna Buder is a Catholic nun who has completed over 400 triathlons and is an inspiration to all at The Ironman World Championships every year! (If you haven't read her book, it will inspire you!) I said, “Good Morning Sister!”, just to make sure it was her and then had a short conversation running along with her. Such a positive person and it was a thrill to meet her. She is still running strong and should be an inspiration to all of us to keep moving! I told her I only hope I am still competing in 40 years!
After the short run to warm up, we jumped on our bikes to brave the wind. Crazy, insane and, at times, dangerous wind! I was trying to maintain 19-20 mph but no such luck. I worked very hard to keep 17.8 mph average into a 25mph+ head wind! It seemed like the wind was in your face no matter what direction you were going in! There were only 4 hills on the entire course, (Louisiana hills also known as overpasses ha ha) and at the top of one of them, a gust practically threw me off my bike. The bike actually felt like it went airborne for a second! I finished the bike in one piece and was happy to start running.
Then someone turned up the heat! The run was a double loop with awesome crowd support and plenty of aid stations! Thankfully lots of water and wet sponges since it was so hot! Very flat with a few small hills but overall a nice rolling course. The casts of characters were out, just like most races. We had 3 Spidermans, guys in jester suits, and my favorite….guys running in their wetsuits with goggles and all, probably protesting the no swim!
I was happy to wave to Sister Madonna on the run and shamefully happy she was on the other side of the road about 5 miles behind me (who wants to get beaten by an 81 year old!!). I finished strong and with a smile. Legs of jelly from pushing hard on the bike made for a slow run, but overall a good day! No pesky plantar fasciitis showed up, so I think I have cured myself with EPAT finally! I have some work to do before I am ready to tackle the mountains in Quebec, but I earned my post-race beer today! Linda finished not so far behind me with a big smile!
Next up….Buffalo Springs 70.3….
The top three questions runners ask about custom foot orthotics are:
1. Should they use orthotics in their shoes while running if they don’t have an injury?
2. If they have fatigue in their legs while running or a jacked up gait, they often wonder of orthotics will help?
3. Should they wear orthotics forever after an overuse injury?
The answers are yes, yes and yes!! A new study showed that orthotics have a significant benefit in reducing running injuries as prophylaxis. It makes common sense, that if you have an underlying biomechanical deficit, orthotics give you better alignment so therefore should reduce overall abnormal stressors and subsequently injuries. Now there is a new study that shows just that! Piggy-back that on years of biomechanics research and the answers get much more clear.
This study demonstrated that the subjects who wore orthotics had "a significantly reduced rate of exercise-related lower limb injury across the training period". The authors emphasized that participants were not treated for an injury with orthotics, but were prescribed orthotics to prospectively reduce the risk of injury. In addition, they believe that these "preventative results can be cautiously extrapolated to a recreational running setting and should be considered by sports and exercise medicine professionals."
We generally prescribe foot orthotics to treat specific injuries. This study indicates that orthotics can be a valuable prophylactic tool for injury prevention, supporting orthotic use in at-risk populations (e.g. runners) for medial stress syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome and Achilles tendinopathy.
Considering the results of this study and the results of a previous study on the use of orthotics in runners by Mundermann, it is recommended to use at least a pre-fabricated Powerstep orthotic which incorporate a medial heel skive and rearfoot post, as a cost-effective means of providing prophylaxis with corrections proven effective in runners.
Runners with a previous history of these injuries and/or those that develop symptoms would be good candidates for custom orthoses based on the results of these two studies.
Franklyn-Miller A, Wilson C, Bilzon J, et al. Foot orthoses in the prevention of injury in initial military training: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med 39(1):30-37, 2011
Mundermann A, Nigg BM, Humble RN, et al. Foot orthotics affect lower extremity kinematics and kinetics during running. Clin Biomech 18(3):254-262, 2003
Run Happy! And with your orthotics!
Let's talk about how to reach your goals in 2012!
Happy New Year! More in 2012!
Thanks For Watching....stay tuned for more!
Yesterday, in my Grapevine, Texas office, I had a patient who asked me this very question. He raced Ironman Arizona, which was November 20th and wanted to know if I thought it was OK for him to "jump in and run with a friend" the White Rock Marathon? Really? When I started laughing, he then asked if I thought perhaps a relay leg was OK?
So, after I composed myself I said, "It depends....." So I thought I would give a better, more scientific answer than "Are You Nuts?"
What he really was asking is: How long does it take to recover from a marathon? How long does it take to recover from an Ironman triathlon? How much racing is bad for my body? These are all good questions posed in my office on a regular basis. The problem is that the answer is always, "It depends". Everyone recovers at a different rate. Age, experience and current fitness level are large variables in the equation. I know a marathon runner in town who ran 100 marathons in a less than 10 years; and of course, we have all heard of Dane Rauschenberg who ran 52 marathons in one year for charity and then wrote a book about it! The flip side is that I know runners who can only do one marathon a year without getting hurt and most triathletes only train for one Ironman a year.
So what is the magic formula? How much is too much? I think the first thing to think about is what is your goal? If you are just talking about finishing the marathons and not really having a time crunch, then feel free to do up to six a year but realize that having more than two quality runs in a year is very difficult. The Ironman distance should not be attempted more than 2 or 3 times a year regardless of time goals! Now, for those of us who are addicted to the watch, "racing" a marathon is something that should not be done more than twice a year. "Racing" an Ironman triathlon should only be attempted one a year.
Why is this true? Well, simple math. It takes a minimum of 4 months to train effectively for a marathon and 6 months for an Ironman. Then you need at least one day for every mile you ran and three to five days for every hour your triathlon took. That means a month of recovery before you start to train again after a marathon and at least 6 weeks after a 12 hour Ironman. Last time I checked, there were only 12 months in a year; hence, the common recommendation of racing no more than 2 quality marathons or one quality Ironman triathlon a year.
Why do some people recover faster? Age. My feeling is that youth is wasted on the young. I remember being able to run a marathon and get up and go to work the next day. Now I have to take at least one day off and often take two! Experience does help. Your body has been there before, so it knows it will live. Veterans often have a post-race routine down that helps them recover. (Often this includes the anesthesia known as beer!) If your fitness level is high and your nutritional status is good, you will recover faster.
What can you do to hasten recovery? Walk a cool down after the race. Do not sit down immediately even though your legs are begging you to! Take a 15 to 20 minute walk and stretch gently. An ice bath is best, but very few people I know are that tough. A cool bath followed by stretching before you go to bed is helpful. A large amount of carbohydrates and water also helps. Hence the beer phenomenon! A massage a few days after the race will help you recover. More than anything, do not start training again until you are fully recovered. Many injuries occur due to too much, too soon, too fast and too fatigued syndrome!
So how much is too much? Again, the answer is always, "It depends." Listen to your body. Really listen and stop being stubborn or stupid! If you start training and you are exhausted, you are doing too much. If you are spending too much time in my office and less on your bike, you are doing too much. The answer is really simple stupid. Listen to your body and it will tell you how much is too much.
Bottom line: Let your body fully recover from your races and quality times will be recorded. Race only one to two marathons or one Ironman triathlon a year. As for other distances, keep in mind that you need one day for every mile of a running race and at least 3 days for every hour you raced in triathlon. Anything shorter, you better take off your watch and go for the finish instead of the time and prepare yourself to spend some quality time with your local sports medicine physician!
Run Happy! And Recover Well! See You at White Rock!
Crazy Weekend! Wet, Rainy, Cold, Hilly and the most ridiculous course I’ve ever ridden! Let’s be serious. The weather was awful! I had picked a race in the Northeast because I was sick and tired of feeling like I was running on the face of the sun! God has a sense of humor. I was thinking it would be a balmy 65 degrees or so and warm up to 70? No, how about 41 at the start that warms up to 55! Did I mention the rain? Yes, it rained for something like a week before the race so the river was so high we couldn’t swim.
The Delaware River Gap was 7 feet above its banks and had so much debris they were worried one of us would get killed. I get that. Honestly, I was a little miffed until I went down to the river and saw how high and how fast the current was flowing. Then I was glad we weren’t swimming. It was scary looking!
So we started with the bike. Hmmm…how do you get 2,000 people on a bike course without killing themselves in a mass start? Time trial start…sorta. They started the pros with 30 second intervals at 7:25am….yes, a little late. The rain and clouds made it a little dark at 7am. Then they started with the age groupers at 3 second intervals…really! So much for no drafting. We were all bunched up on wet roads that were absolutely scary at times. The first half of the bike course was all bunched up and very, very hilly, with a lot of scary turns. Lots of crashing! At one point I was going 34 miles an hour down a hill and watched the guy in front of me wipe out on the turn. At that point I hit the brakes and thought perhaps a slower ride was the better side of valor. The hills were unrelentless. At 50 miles, there was a 5% grade after turning a corner. I did something I have never done since grammar school. After watching one guy fall off the hill with his bike (no time to unclip), I got off and walked the hill! I was embarrassed until I saw about 10 people after me do the same thing! This course was crazy, sick hilly!
Into T2 I went with completely screaming quads! I put my running shoes on and took off only to find that my legs were dead! Really dead! I jogged a few miles and they seemed to warm up, but then I hit someone’s version of a joke! Crazy, rolling hills on the run. All kidding aside, they were nothing like the hills on the bike, but we were all bitching and moaning. I saw more people walking than any race I have ever run. I pathetically jogged into the finish. Happy to be done. Freezing! Crazy, cold, rainy weather plus sick course makes for a miserable day. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Perhaps I should venture down to the Longhorn 70.3 in three weeks in Austin and kick some butt, because honestly the Poconos 70.3 kicked my butt! Happy to be alive and smiling! Time was pathetic but I finished. The older you get, the more that matters than the watch!
I had a great question this weekend at a running forum in Grapevine. One of the runners had lateral knee pain that came and went with no obvious cause. She thought she had ITB (iliotibial band) syndrome (sounded like symptoms her friend told her about) but she had been doing stretching and icing with no avail. What else could she do? Is it possibly from her shoes? Is rest enough?
Let’s talk about ITB syndrome.
The most common cause of lateral knee pain in runners is ITB syndrome, related to repetitive friction of the band sliding over the lateral femoral epicondyle as the knee flexes and extends.
Runners may complain of a sharp or burning pain about 2 cm superior to the lateral joint line (above the outside of your knee); exam may reveal tenderness to palpation there. Swelling and redness are usually not present unless it is severe.
Runners who are predisposed to this injury are typically overtraining. They often have underlying hip abductor muscle weakness; leg-length discrepancies may contribute to ITBS. They also have been found to have either a really high arched foot (cavus foot type) or an extremely flexible flat foot.
Acute phase treatment includes relative rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. Physical therapy modalities like ultrasound and e-stim can also be helpful to break the inflammation cycle. In cases of severe pain or swelling, corticosteroid injections may be used.
During the subacute phase, stretching of the ITB is emphasized, along with soft-tissue therapy for any myofascial restrictions. Orthotics and shoe gear changes are also often indicated. Many patients actually are running in too heavy or too stabilizing shoes, especially if they have a cavus foot type.
The recovery phase focuses on a series of exercises to improve hip abductor strength and integrate movement patterns.
The final return to running phase is begun with an every-other-day program, starting with easy runs and avoidance of hill training, with a gradual increase in frequency and intensity. Remember: too much, too soon, too fast is what got you hurt in the first place!
Rest alone is usually not enough! This can be a painful chronic injury. Surgery can be considered in refractory cases, but this is rarely indicated.
Ok, I have been joking all week with my triathlon peeps that beer is the best recovery drink! But seriously, I think there are two questions that need to be answered:
So, here are some simple answers to what is actually two very complex questions! Remember that individuals all differ and our sweat ratios also differ. A great way to determine how much fluid you need after a race or long run or ride is to weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses by drinking 20-24 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost.
What should you drink and/or eat? Yes, I like beer after a race but science shows that you should consume a 4:1 car/protein ratio. (I hear all those fans of chocolate milk cheering).
Research has shown that eating 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight within two hours of endurance exercise is essential to building adequate glycogen stores for continued training. Waiting longer than two hours to eat results in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle. The reason for this is that carbohydrate consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the production of muscle glycogen. However, the effect of carbohydrate on glycogen storage reaches a plateau.
Research also shows that combining protein with carbohydrate within thirty minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen. The optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio for this effect is 4:1 (four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein). Eating more protein than that, however, has a negative impact because it slows rehydration and glycogen replenishment.
One study found that athletes who refueled with carbohydrate and protein had 100 percent greater muscle glycogen stores than those who only ate carbohydrate. Insulin was also highest in those who consumed a carbohydrate and protein drink.
Consuming protein has other important uses after exercise. Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.
Good replenishment food?
If you are looking for the best way to refuel your body after long, strenuous endurance exercise, a 4:1 combo of carbohydrate and protein seems to be your best choice. While solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink may be easier to digest make it easier to get the right ratio and meet the 30 minute window. Personally, I’m sticking to beer and will add a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
Be patient! Keep exercising to get better. Patellofemoral pain can be hard to treat, and your knees won't get better overnight, some people are lucky and get better quickly but it might take six weeks or even longer for your knee to get better. Very few people need surgery to relieve their knee caps instability. Remember, you'll be less likely to get this pain again if you continue to strengthen and avoid “too much, too soon, too fast syndrome!”. Even though the cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome remain uncertain, the good news is that most patients do well with conservative treatment, particularly if they maintain a disciplined approach.
Follow Dr Marybeth Crane and janet Dixon, CPed on their journey to the Texas Ironman!
I'm leaving with Janet in the morning to drive down to outside of Houston, Texas, to check in for our first Ironman. The Inaugural Texas Ironman. Six months ago I felt like I had all the time in the world to train for this event. Three months ago it felt like time was standing still and it would never come. Last week I started freaking out that I hadn't done enough training and I may perish on the streets of The Woodlands, TX. Wow! The journey really is the destination. No matter what happens this Saturday morning, I know that Janet and I have grown as athletes, bonded as deeper friends, pushed our personal barriers past even our own imagination and really enjoyed all the miles we have covered together and apart over the last few months.
My thoughts turn to 30+ years of distance running and all the marathons I have done in the last 12 years; and I realize that they have prepared me for the race ahead by allowing me a glance into the depth of my soul. Let's face it, the race really happens in your head. It is a constant battle between the urge to stop so your pain goes away and the mental push to keep going because pain is temporary and the finish line is forever!
Good Luck to everyone who is racing this weekend. I will leave you with two thoughts and a short prayer:
The race is not only to the swift, but to those that keep on running....Anonymous
Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.... William James
The Triathlete’s Prayer
Oh God, you have taught us to compete with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Give me good courage to run this race to the finish.
Be with me when I am in the water and on the land, so that I may feel your presence in all things
In wind and in weather, in the beauty and the magnificence of nature in the passing scene and in the health and rigor of my body straining to meet this challenge.
May I compete in this race in a way that brings honor to You, myself and those with whom I compete.
When I finish the race, may I do so humbly and should I not finish may I accept it with equal grace knowing that I have done my best.
1. Simplicity trumps everything for race nutrition plans. The simpler it is, the more likely you'll stick to it. For example, consider having all your bike calories in a single water bottle.
2. Pack all your bags and race stuff on Thursday afternoon so you have all Thursday and Friday to think through it, make sure you have everything, and aren't rushed. In general, do things early. No rushing equals no stress.
3. Consider taking melatonin or another sleep aid (assuming you've used it before) on race night. Even without the anticipation, it's hard to go to sleep at 9.
4. Bring some spray on 50+ SPF sunscreen. AFTER you get body-marked, put this on every square inch of skin that might be exposed. Enough of it will stay on to save you in case you miss sunscreen later. (Good tip for me since I have been known to look like an ahi tuna after a race)
5. Try to get to transition right when it opens. An extra 15 or 20 minutes of sleep isn't worth rushing. You want plenty of time to deal with anything unexpected (flat tire on bike, long toilet lines, etc.).
6. Make as much of your pre-race breakfast as you can the night before and start eating as soon as you can when you get up. Better not to be hurried and then having to force-feed yourself or, worse yet, skipping cals. It's darn early and eating isn't what your body wants to do, so get it done early.
7. Stay relaxed and enjoy the experience. Don't let race anxiety rule you before race day. It's wasted energy. Remember how much you SACRIFICED to get there, the TOUGH part is behind you, have FUN! It’s all about the finish line, time is irrelevant!
8. THANK the volunteers at every chance you get, from registration through the finish chute.
1. The far outside/inside sound like the best place, but they may not be, because everyone else is thinking the same thing.
2. Wear your goggles under your swim cap or double cap so they won't get kicked off. It can be hard to get them sealed like this though, so have someone check to make sure the cap isn't interfering with the seal.
3. Sight regularly. After you get out of the scrum it's tempting to put your head down and swim. Keep sighting or you'll swim extra yards.
4. You will likely be very lightheaded and loopy coming out of the swim. Be ready for it and ask volunteers to help with your wetsuit if you are wearing one. Don't get into a wresting match with it. (IM TX is probably speedsuit not wetsuit so practice getting out of it!)
1. Don't forget sunscreen in T1. Trust me. Again the tuna thing!
2. Be steady with your cals. Just do water for the first 30-60 minutes out. A good nutritional system on the bike is using the “super fuel” system. Take one or two water bottles and super concentrate it with salt tablets and mix so when getting a “hand up” the only thing needed is water. Poor the water into the front aero bottle and mix in a small ratio of “super fuel” to make a drink until the next “hand up”. This is handy in that if you get caught in between aide stations in a dehydrated state you have a highly concentrated mix that can help you out fast if you need it. This also keeps you away from having to drink something provided by the race that you are unfamiliar with and may upset your stomach.
It’s two weeks to Ironman Texas and I can tell you that all my peeps are ready for tapering or already in taper mode! Is there a science to Ironman tapering? Or is it really an art? I combed the internet looking for guidance, called all my veteran friends and coaches, and guess what? No one agrees - as usual. It seems that tapering is as much art as science and there is no one plan that works for everyone.
Here are some tips on Ironman tapering. (And no, doing nothing for two or three weeks before the race and drinking beer is not one of the tips!)
I did read some great advice in an article by the legendary Dave Scott wrote on tapering and then he was instantly contradicted by another, more scientific article, by Alun Woodward. Here are some of their thoughts and my personal commentary (can’t disappoint the fans of my pathetic humor).
Despite clear evidence that a shorter taper is most beneficial for endurance athletes, many Ironman training plans today include a full three-week taper. This is actually due to looking at marathoners and their habitual over training. If you are over-trained, and on the brink of exhaustion, then a three week taper is for you. If you are more like an ultramarathoner and bounce back from your long rides and long runs quickly, your taper may only be a week or so. The hardest part about giving an answer to the question, “How long should I taper before an Ironman”, is that each athlete is so different. Some athletes repeatedly bounce back from 6+ hour rides and 2+ hour runs as if they were nothing (these folks can taper less and i personally hate them), whereas others are sidelined for 2-3 days in a haze as they recover (these folks can taper more and this is much more like me). So the first place I suggest you start is with your own athletic history. How have you recovered from you longer efforts in training? That will give you an idea of how much time you need. (Gues I need a month, oh no! I only have two more weeks….)
Everyone agrees that no matter how long your taper, it should be a fine balance between these 10 components:
Every individual taper is unique. Your age, preparation and personal history of your previous tapers should all play into the final formulation. A balance of rest and active recovery are key, but not too much rest. I recommend that you do something every day and just maintain your schedule. I have gone into a marathon too rested and bonked. I’ve also gone in exhausted and bonked (lots of bonking history) I have learned to listen to my body. Do regular self check every morning and rest as needed. Better to be 15% under-trained than 1% over-trained. Be confident that your body will rejuvenate and respond to resting.
The Gods of Ironman have conflicting stories about tapering, but the truth is in your own history of recovery. If you listen to your body, and are honest about your bonk history; you will know how long of a taper you need. Keep these tips in mind and be ready to rock your next Ironman!
I have a running gag going for the last few years on and off on my website and it makes up the last chapter of my book. “You know you are a runner when….” Lots of my friends contributed to the list from 2008 to late 2009, when we published the first book…. I felt it was fitting to add this year, especially since Janet and I are less than three weeks away from Ironman Texas, “You know you are a triathlete when…” Feel free to send comments back and I will add them to the list. This inaugural list was compiled by Janet and I emailing each other and drinking wine at the same time. Please do not be offended and you are required to laugh. If you do not get it, you need to ask a triathlete……
The triathlon bug has now taken over at the FAANT office. Janet and I have been training for the Inaugural Texas Ironman on May 21st for the last 6 months and Janet has done a great job of blogging about our adventures. (click here to read her blog) The women in our office have now been inspired to “tri” their first triathlon. Grapevine recreation is having a sprint triathlon on June 4th right here in town, so many of the ladies have signed up! Even more are taking the role of Sherpa or cheerleaders to encourage their co-workers. I am so excited to see the enthusiasm for the sport. So here are a few tips for getting ready for your first tri!
Have a Plan. It’s not like you just wake up one morning and decide you want to do a triathlon. Or maybe you did and then realized you have no idea how to get ready for one! There are lots of on-line plans and relatively inexpensive coaching available. Having a plan is like having a recipe for success. Make a plan and stick to it!
Be Consistent. If you have ever jumped into a race very undertrained, the experience is not pleasant. You want your first triathlon to be an uplifting experience, not a painful blur. Stick to your training plan and be consistent with your workouts. After the first three weeks it gets a lot easier!
Review the Course. Knowing the course is very helpful in getting through rough spots in the race. You can anticipate the harder spots and know that the finish in near. Also, occasionally the course is not well marked and you can go awry. Knowing the course ahead of time is always a bonus if the going gets rough.
Watch Your Nutrition. Training for your first race is not the time to try a new diet or new foods. Consistent and normal good eating habits will ensure a stable stomach during the race. You don’t want to spend half the day in the porta-potty!
Sleep is Important. Training is taxing on the body and the mind. Getting plenty of rest will help your body recharge and be ready for the race. The sleep you get two nights before is more important than the night before, so if you have pre-race jitters and don’t sleep well….no fear if you have adequate rest in the weeks before.
Pack the Night Before. And use a List! I always set out my transition and all my gear the night before. The morning of the race is always full of chaos and usually starts a 5am, so packing your bag the night before using a checklist will ensure you have necessary tools like goggles and sunglasses!
Visualize Success. Get a mental image of yourself not only crossing the finish line, but being happy with your finish. Your body tends to follow your mind.
Pace Yourself. Many newbies go out way too fast on the swim or start to hammer the bike, only to find themselves walking the run. Pace yourself. The first one is about finishing standing up!
Don’t Freak Out! Janet can tell stories about panicking on the swim. I can tell stories about crashing on the bike. Neither one of us has ever had a flat tire in a race, but we’ve seen enough of them! Relax. Things happen. Your goggles can fall off, you can crash your bike, and you can forget to put sock on with your running shoes.
Relax and Execute Your Race. We have all had stuff happen that didn’t fall into our “perfect race” plan. Go to plan “B”!
Have Fun. Don’t be so serious about the challenge that you don’t enjoy the day. I remember finishing my first sprint triathlon after years of marathon running and feeling. “Wow! That was fun!” Let’s face it, most of us won’t win our first time out, so our reward is the sense of accomplishment (and the beer at the finish!)
Hopefully these tips will help any newbies and all the staff in my office who are training for their first tri! You will get addicted! Triathlon gets in your blood and you will be hooked!
Why embrace minimalism? Minimalist shoes can help you achieve a more natural running stride. Why is this important? Many biomechanics gurus are finding that a more natural running stride can decrease your impact by over one third and therefore, in theory, decrease running injuries. What I have found is that it can help you find a faster, more balanced, stream lined version of you or what can be described as your running zen.
Running zen is a total state of focus that is a fusion of body and mind while running. Your goal is to develop your natural stride, which in most experienced runners, leads to being fitter, faster and staying injury free.
Your most efficient foot strike is one that lands exactly below your center of gravity, which is usually right below your hips in a mid-to-forefoot fashion, slightly towards your fifth toe. As you land, your foot rolls slightly inwards and propulses off your big toe. This slight roll is NORMAL pronation and is meant to cushion the running stride. Excessive pronation is the effect of weak foot intrinsics and lower leg muscles and is the main cause of many overuse injuries common to runners. This abnormal pronation is often mitigated by stability running shoes and orthotics, but a better long-term approach in healthy athletes should be to strengthen the underlying muscular weakness. Stronger lower leg and intrinsic foot muscles coupled with a stronger core, flexibility and better proprioception can diminish many of these abnormal forces and reduce injury recurrance.
A motion control shoe works to alleviate abnormal pronation and does a great job stabilizing your foot, especially after an injury; but it does little to strengthen the key muscles and ligaments of your feet.
A highly cushioned shoe may overprotect your foot from the stress of the road, preventing natural strengthening while you build mileage.
So, should we all go back to the ballerina flat looking shoes we wore in the seventies? Unfortunately I remember them well and the tibial stress fractures that occurred while I was in high school. No, old school is not the answer; but perhaps a happy medium.
A minimalist shoe guides your foot into a more natural stride by providing cushioning and flexibility, but does not elevate the heel to increase pronatory forces. It allows a shorter stride and softer landing, while encouraging mid-to-forefoot striking to help you manage your impact. It also allows for intrinsic strengthening while you build your mileage and hopefully puts you on the road to finding your sweet spot in your stride.
Who shouldn’t try a minimalist approach? Those runners with severe foot deformities or significant arthritis. As well as people with nerve issues like diabetic neuropathy. As for the rest of the running world, a caution sign should go up here.
A side note of caution to anyone trying to go “less is more.” When you begin to run with less shoe than you have been in years, it is important to realize that your stride is now very different and you have to relearn the fundamentals of running. Please avoid the “too much, too soon, too fast” syndrome that can sideline even the most cautious of runners.
A better approach to minimalism is to realize that your feet are weak in their current state and you need to add a foot and leg strengthening program to your current regimen. A strong core is imperative for good, efficient running form. The stronger the core, the longer you can hold good posture as you run down the road in search of your zen.
Join Dr Crane at the Boston Marathon discussing minimalist shoes and training with an expert panel!
For more info, click here
The most common New Year’s resolution in the United States is to lose weight or improve your fitness. Let’s face it, even for the veteran marathoner or triathlete, the New Year gives us an excuse to refocus or give us just a little kick in the butt we need. We all need a plan to achieve our fitness goals or race success. I woke up on January first and realized it was 21 weeks until Ironman Texas. Wow! That crept up on me! Janet has been blogging for months about the road to Ironman Texas. I’ve been so busy working my butt off and being Mom, it crept up on me. Now it is time to refocus on my fitness goals, so I don’t perish on the streets of Houston on May 21st.
Maybe you are like me, a race is creeping up on you, or maybe you have just gained a few extra pounds from the holidays, or maybe you are like some of my friends who realized running up their stairs they get out of breath. This is a great time of year to refocus on your fitness goals. We all have obstacles; time, energy, financial, and our own self-defeating voice in our heads! Here are some tips that will help you focus and reach your fitness goals in 2011!
If you follow these few tips, I promise you will reach your fitness goals in 2011! You will thank me! And I will live though Ironman Texas this year! Run happy and towards your goals!
This Thanksgiving weekend I sit back and reflect on how thankful I am for all the blessings I have in my life. I have a wonderful family with three healthy and happy girls. My oldest two even did their first triathlon this fall with me. I am blessed with healthy and happy 70+ year old parents who support me and my girls in all our crazy endeavors. I have siblings, who think I’m nuts, but would cross the globe to help me. I have amazing and creative friends who have circled the wagons every time I needed them. I am blessed to be loved by a caring, thoughtful and selfless man who treats me like a princess. I have an unbelievably rewarding and fulfilling career in a profession that not only supports my family, but fulfills my need to be needed and useful in other people’s lives. And I enjoy the ability to run, jump and play (as well as swim and bike) with all my friends and the rest of the crazy marathon running, triathlon trying community. I am truly blessed and remember that daily.
Why is that peace so elusive to so many? I think Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOM’s shoes and one of my personal heroes, hit the nail on the head in his Thanksgiving blog post, “This Thanksgiving, try to really stop. Sit still. Hold a loved one's hand, and simply be thankful. No matter what your situation, positive or negative, sad or joyful, take the opportunity to truly experience this moment. The stillness. The mystery of this life. For this, and no other reason, I'm thankful.” If you are not familiar with TOM’s shoes, take a look at their website. He gives a pair of shoes away to a needy child every time they sell a pair of shoes. They have given out more than a million pairs of shoes already! Changing lives one pair at a time. Not bad for a 30-something guy from Arlington, Texas!
Happiness and peace of mind does not need to be elusive. Enjoy a still moment. Revel in the people and places around you. No matter what is going on in the circus that is your life, we all have something to be thankful for; even if it is just breathing another day. And for all the runners and triathlete’s who follow my blog, we should all be thankful for the ability to enjoy our sports activities.
Always answer the question, “Why do you run?” with the answer, “Because I am blessed that I can!”
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Run happy!
Let’s face it. The alarm goes off at 5:30am and there are many days I don’t want to get up and run or bike. My bed is warm and the air is cold. My pillows are so comfortable and missing one work out won’t matter that much. I’m in great shape! STOP! The negative self talk is waxing away at your motivation and suddenly those fitness goals are sliding away.
It’s not hard to stay motivated during the season. There is always a 5K or sprint triathlon every weekend and they fill your calendar. Your “A” and “B” big races are in red on the schedule and that motivates you to get out of bed and even do two-a-days. But now it’s off season for triathlon, and even the fall marathon season is slipping away. The days are getting shorter and colder; and in some areas the snow has begun to fall. Even in North Texas, the mornings are dark and the winter running gear is coming out of the moth balls. Motivation is hard to come by. I’m tired and cold and my morning run has lost its appeal.
What’s an athlete to do? Well, the winter off-season is a great time to mix it up a little. Training has to change from time to time to be effective. We all get stuck in ruts, so the off-season is a great time to try out some new tools. This is the time to build some strength, allow other muscle groups to become more balances and especially allow for recovery from a hard season. It’s the time to build on the hard work of the season and prepare for even greater success in the future! Motivated yet? Me neither, but I find two great tools do help me shake the winter doldrums and get motivated to work towards the next season: goal setting and visualization.
Everyone yawns now; it’s the goal setting lecture…..Wake up! Most of us have goals in our head, but very few have written concise, realistic, timely goals for the next year. A goal not written down is a mere wish! Teaching yourself to write realistic, yet challenging personal performance-oriented goals will allow you to do the work necessary to achieve those goals, allow you to see improved performance, lead to increased confidence, and ultimately lead to greater success as an athlete.
Goal Setting 101
1. Define what you want to accomplish in 2011. It is important to begin with the end in mind. My goal for 2011 is the finish the Texas Ironman and not perish. Good goal! Time goals or a new distance should be realistic. I once had a patient that told me her goal was to finish a marathon a month in the next year. I asked how many marathons she did last year. None. Not a realistic goal!
2. Know where you are right now. How strong are you? Do you have any nagging injuries?
3. Be honest about what you need to develop. I need to get stringer on the bike. What are your weaknesses? Be objective and painfully honest with yourself. Put your ego aside. This is an important step.
4. Set sub goals and segment them. Perhaps you have a time goal, but you also probably have a weight goal, a nutrition goal and a mental goal.
5. Write performance goal for all the sub categories. Be specific and measurable. Don’t say, “I’m going to stop drinking so much beer,” a better goal is to say, “I’m only going to have one beer a night and only on days that start with S.”
6. Commit yourself completely. A goal should be something that leaves you with a burning desire to reach it! I post my goals on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror so I look at it daily. This motivates me. Have a goal card in your pocket and look at it. Keep a training log and make interim goals. This helps you stay focused.
7. Monitor your progress. Listen to your body and do not become obsessed with your goals. Your body will tell you if you need more rest! Injuries happen when we push ourselves too hard. This does not help us meet our goals.
8. Visualize yourself meeting your ultimate goal. I have watched myself cross the finish line of a full Ironman many times in my head. Close your eyes and visualize the starting line and you are feeling great and in the best shape of your life. Go through the race in your head, feeling confident and relaxed. Watch yourself finish strong and feel the rush of achieving you goal. Practice this weekly and your brain will be mentally prepared for success.
Motivation and drive come from constant focus on the destination and then seeing you move through the process to get there. Having a purpose is important or it is really hard to consistently train during the off season. Take some time and work on your goals. Visualize success, and then get out of bed!
Run Happy! And all winter long.......
Whew! What a weekend! The Dallas Athletes put on a great Halloween party at the Monster Triathlon in Keller, Texas this fine Sunday morning. After severe weather yesterday afternoon, the weather had cleared up to be perfect for racing. The start was in the beautiful Keller natatorium where the water is always a balmy 81 degrees. A lovely hilly ride (hills for Texas) through Bear Creek and finished with a run through the nature trails. What more could you ask for? (Maybe next year we could start at 9am instead of 7? Ha ha)
This year, I have been running long course triathlon and concentrating on the 70.3 distance, so frankly I was in no shape to race a fast sprint. I decided to have fun with the day and put on my costume. I was the “Tri-fairy” because it turns out they don’t make a Tinkerbelle costume in my size. I borrowed wings, a crown, and a magic wand from Sasha, my 4-year-old, and got a black tutu from Target. Add to that some ribbon on my hot pink bike and my costume was ready!
Tom was the race starter in his Burger King costume and we were officially under way. It’s amazing how triathletes really do come in all shapes and sizes! The youngest one I saw was 10 and the oldest at 78. Tall, thin and muscular all the way to looking like a small Sumo wrestler. It’s great to see so many people (almost 700) celebrating fitness and pushing the envelope.
The race is a favorite among the local tri-heads, but it also tends to draw a lot of first timers. My office administrator, Lori, was a newbie this morning. Not only did she push herself hard and do fantastic, but she finished in a virtual tie with me! I see many more triathlons in her future!
As for my race, I had a nice swim and was only run over by three guys. Got my costume on and went for a nice bike ride with 700 of my closest friends. Lots of comments when you are biking in a tutu with a crown affixed to your helmet and pink wings on your back!
Off the bike and on to the run! Tom announced as I went by the finish line that “This is Dr Crane, she treats feet and halitosis”. Very funny Tom! I only treat halitosis if your foot is in your mouth!!
Lori passed me on the run as I was jogging along giving lots of fairy dust to other runners with my magic wand. I sped up as she past me and finished just a few steps behind her! A good time was had by all!
Now it’s time to get busy and build some base for the winter s we can tackle the Inaugural Texas Ironman in May 2011. Tune back for updates from Janet and I on the road to Ironman Texas!
Amazing fun this morning at the Monster Kids Triathlon in Keller, Texas. I am so proud of my daughters, Alex (12) and Caitlin (10). They worked hard, didn’t give up and finished with a smile! Donuts were the finisher prize this morning. The look on their face when they finished was priceless. They can now call themselves triathletes!
Dallas Athletes did a great job putting on the event and the volunteers were awesome. Imagine over 300 kids ages 4 to 13, separated into three groups; 4-7, 8-11, and 12-14. It was like herding cats to get them all to the starting line and then in the pool!
The littlest kids were adorable. Life jackets and a parent in tow are legal for under 7. Then they got on their tricycles or little bikes with training wheels and off they went for a one mile bike, then off the bike to run a half a mile. Just adorable were the smiling faces when they crossed the finish line and got their medals.
The older kids were much more serious and nervous, pacing the pool deck while the little kids got started first. Ages 8 to 11 had to swim 50 meters, and then bike 2 miles, then run a mile. Ages 12 to 14 had to swim 100 meters, then bike 3 miles and finish with a one mile run. The serious looks on these kids’ faces said they were not there just to have fun, but to compete!
The parents were an absolute treat to watch as well. It was very obvious that most were either runners or triathletes who had dragged their kids out of bed at 6am and were trying to infect them with the love of triathlon as well. It was great to see kids being dragged away from the video games and shown that competing can be fun!
Tomorrow morning there is over 700 adults signed up to race in the Sprint triathlon version of the Monster Tri. I hope we all have as much fun as our kids did this morning.
Run Happy….and Bike and Swim when you can!
How long does it take to recover from a marathon? How long does it take to recover from an Ironman triathlon? How much racing is bad for my body? These are all good questions posed in my office on a regular basis. The problem is that the answer is always, "It depends". Everyone recovers at a different rate. Age, experience and current fitness level are large variables in the equation. I know a marathon runner in town who ran 100 marathons in a less than 10 years; and of course, we have all heard of Dane Rauschenberg who ran 52 marathons in one year for charity and then wrote a book about it! The flip side is that I know runners who can only do one marathon a year without getting hurt and most triathletes only train for one Ironman a year.
So what is the magic formula? How much is too much? I think the first thing to think about is what is your goal? If you are just talking about finishing the marathons and not really having a time crunch, then feel free to do up to six a year but realize that having more than two quality runs in a year is very difficult. The Ironman distance should not be attempted more than 2 or 3 times a year regardless of time goals! Now, for those of us who are addicted to the watch, "racing" a marathon is something that should not be done more than twice a year. "Racing" an Ironman triathlon should only be attempted one a year.
Run Happy! And Recover Well!
Texas Man triathlon series is this weekend in Denton, Texas. The girls at FAANT (Foot & Ankle Associates of North Texas) have decided to try to suck in one of our coworkers and do the Half-Ironman distance relay. Janet and I are still tired from the New Orleans 70.3 so we thought a relay would be fun and it would get Lori to drink the K00l-aid of triathlon! I get to swim (why does everyone hate the swim?), Janet is going to smash the bike (I heard there were a few little hills, ha ha) and our newest triathlete, Lori, is going to motor the run! A good time I’m sure will be had by all. I’m happy because the swim should be wet suit legal! I float better that way. The forecast is bleak and includes possible thunderstorms, so pray for good weather at 7am on Sunday! We will update you after the race!
Here’s a shout out to everyone else racing this weekend. Be safe and have fun!
Seriously, I crawl over the finish line and the first thing I want is a beer (or twenty)! I think that beer is a great adjunctive therapy for injury rehabilitation. Think about the benefits of beer:
1. It relaxes you.
9. It makes the ride home so much more comfortable……….and the next morning if you don’t have to go to work
Ice versus heat? This is a common question a lot of athletes, coming into my Grapevine, Texas office, ask. Most understand that ice immediately after injury is very important. The questions usually revolve around when to use heat. There are some basic guidelines that every athlete can use to reduce confusion.
Immediately ice the “fall down, go boom injuries.” Ice works well for reducing redness, swelling and internal bleeding in acute injuries. It also is a great pain reliever. Acute injuries and post surgical pain and swelling usually respond well to 10 to 15 minutes of ice every few hours. This should be done for up to several weeks after an injury or surgery. Ice can be in the form of an ice pack (ice wrapped in a protective towel) or ice massage (massaging with a frozen water bottle or block of ice).
Ice can also be helpful in reducing swelling in a chronic injury like runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis. Icing immediately after activity can prevent further inflammation of an already annoyed area and help in recovery.
So where does heat come in? Heat can be used in several different ways. Contrast baths with ice/heat/ice can be helpful in chronic injuries. Especially those joints or tendons that still have just a little inflammation or edema. Heat should never be used alone in these cases. Moist heat is best for chronic stiffness and old injuries with scar tissue. It can also help in the rehabilitation process. For example, when plantar fasciitis becomes plantar fasciosis after four to six months (which is a chronic degeneration of the plantar fascia), deep heat therapy with ultrasound or moist heat packs can help increase range of motion of the area and increase the effectiveness of physical therapy. Heat actually temporarily increases inflammation in an area, but this is often helpful in kick starting the healing process. Heat can also be used to calm muscle spasms and relax a tight muscle.
Heat causes an increase in circulation to an area, so it should never be used in acute injuries or chronic injuries with a lot of swelling. It can actually make an injury worse if there is still a little internal bleeding going on. A great way to heat a joint or tendon is to use a reusable heating pack or an electric heating pad for about 20 minutes before stretching, massage or other therapy. Heating an old injury before exercise can also be helpful in warming up the area to ready it for increased activity.
The simple rule of thumb is that ice is used for acute, swollen injuries and heat is used for stiff, chronic injuries. This subject is debated continuously, but I hope this discussion clears up the mystery of ice versus heat!
After returning to top-level cycling, Lance Armstrong has set a new challenge by saying he intends to compete in the Hawaii Ironman.
The 38-year-old Austin resident was targeting the 2011 or 2012 event in Kona, Hawaii, depending upon whether this year or next will be his final Tour de France.
"I will be in Kona 15 months after the final Tour," Armstrong said Friday. " I'm not saying that with any expectation; it will require months and months of getting back into swimming and running. But I want to just do it, just for fun." Strange definition of fun.
A swimmer as a child and promising national-level triathlete in his late teens, Armstrong has also run in marathons. The Ironman event consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike leg and 26-mile marathon.
"I don't know I could be top three, top five or top 10, but anyway, I want to come and finish," Armstrong said.
Ambitious goal, but he will probably do it. It takes the average runner at least 3 years to train and compete their way to an Ironman. Most people never get to Hawaii unless they get in through the lottery; but knowing Lance Armstrong I'm sure they will find a spot for him just for the publicity. What he doesn't fully realize is the carnage that is seen among the best athlete's in the world at Kona. Even the tough barely survive.
My hat's off to you Lance. Ambitious goal and a "no quit" mentality are needed to survive Kona! Who knows, maybe I will get in through the lottery and see you there!!
Run Happy! Keep Triing!
Wow! We were blessed with a great day for racing on Sunday. Slightly overcast and chilly at the start. The elite wave went off just after the sun came up over the water. What an amazing sight. They are so very fast!! I got in the water on the 5th flight (old ladies ha ha) and spanked the swim! It took about 5 minutes for me to get comfortable, but given the water was 70 degrees I was happy to have my wet suit on. Steady rhythm and out of the water in 44 minutes.
Transition was hilarious. The wet suit strippers unfortunately stripped off the bottoms of the girl next to me (so much for public nudity being prohibited) so she was mortified and I couldn’t stop laughing. I had trouble finding my bike in the sea of bikes but then got changed and off I went. I had to keep a steady heart rate during the bike so I would have something left for the run. I also had to make sure I took in enough nutrition and drank enough so I wouldn’t be dead before I started to run. Rolling hills are your friend, but some killer turns were nasty. I only passed 4 people that were actually moving forward. The other 12 or so were either crashed (sorry Diesel) or were somewhere between throwing up or passing out. Being the stellar cyclist I am (NOT), I think at least 2000 people passed me on the bike.
Oh well, I still got through faster than my goal and after a smooth transition started to run. Well, you may call it running but it was more like a slow crawl at first. Then a walk. My stomach was in knots. After a quick trip to the port-a-potty and a little vomitus, I was feeling much better. Guess I actually ate too much on the bike. I was 4 miles in and started to actually run. The run was three loops so I got to see my awesome cheering section of sherpas three times. They reminded me on the last loop that I would make it under 7 hours if I just kept a steady pace (which at this point was 10 minute miles). Boy did it get hot on the run. Thank God for the cold towels, wet sponges and water stations about every mile. It was amazing to me how many people were walking and crawling at the end. Some were even staggering. I finished with a strong charge and made it in at 6:57:59. Yea! An hour faster than I predicted, and under 7, so Janet’s prediction came true. All weekend she was chanting 6, 6, I know you can do it in 6.
A cold Shiner was my reward after the finish line and a good time was had by all. Worst part of the whole weekend was the drive home (and the sunburn)…Thank God Janet was on sherpa duty and loves to drive! What did I learn? Patience and perseverance mixed with a little stubbornness will get you through, but a few more long bricks probably would’ve helped me take an hour off my time. Off season a new bike is definitely in order and oh yeah….wear sunscreen!
A great first Half-Ironman experience! Funny thing, I hurt a lot less the next day than I did after my last marathon. Guess I will have to try another one next season…who knows maybe even a full in 2011!
Run Happy my peeps!
I declared myself heat tolerant this weekend in my recent Twitter. I did a 3 hour bike ride in 99 plus heat at 5pm in the Texas heat and could still spit when I was done! That’s a success in my book! It definitely took 2 full weeks of suffering in the heat and a good hydration plan to finally feel like my body had made the transition to feeling relatively comfortable in the soaring Texas summer heat.
Dehydration, heat stroke and hyponatremia are your biggest worries while training in the summertime. Whether you are in Texas or Rhode Island, when the temperature soars over 90 degrees, heat illness can seriously hamper your endurance training. Most of us have an “A” race on the calendar in the fall and require a lot of base training in the summer. No way around those long runs and even longer bike rides in the heat. The average triathlete can sweat up to one liter of fluid an hour while training and sweat contains about 3 grams of salt per liter. How can we conquer the heat? Preparation and constant hydration! Diligence is the key! Always stay one step ahead of the hydration curve. Remember that heat illness really can kill you and hyponatremia has taken out more than one healthy marathon runner and triathlete!
Here are some simple tips that will help you train safely in the heat:
Heat-illness is real! Be smart while training this summer! Follow these tips, heat acclimatize over a period of several weeks and be diligent about your hydration plan while training in the heat. Let’s get to those fall races stronger and without any heat-related training drama! See you on the run! Run Happy!
Race day jitters can completely derail your race before it has even started. Don’t let the negativity ruin all your hard work and preparation! Relax! Follow these tips and remember to banish the negative, and stay positive throughout the race! Try to have fun! Whether this is your first marathon or your 100th triathlon, remember to celebrate your training and have a great race!
Run Happy! And anxiety free!
RunDoc finished her second triathlon today! Not a pretty picture, but not bad for someone who has no idea what she is doing! This was my first open water swim. So much for getting ready in a pool. Does not prepare you for sighting and then looking up and getting blinded by the sun. Had no idea where I was and according to my family, who were spectating, at one point I started to drift toward the shore. Instinct I guess. I finally got back on course and finished but scared me to death :) But I wasn't last, so not so bad :) Did I mention the water was 62 degrees....brrr!
On to the bike. A rolling, hilly course and I had a nice slow ride...ha ha...It took me at least 10 miles to be able to feel my hands and I still couldn't feel my feet when I got off the bike....
On to the run....Thank God for my new Newton shoes! (Did I mention they are hot pink?) I still couldn't feel my toes but they forced me to throw my center of gravity forward and helped me get my stride. They were like a friend helping me get my groove back after the bike:) My run was decent but not outstanding, but would have been much worse if I had worn my regular training shoes! So kudos to the Newton guys today (That's for you Diesel)
Overall...I lived for another day...I may have been running for 30 years, but this triathlon stuff is a work in progress.
Bottom Line...I had fun today...came in 10th (not last) so on to Caveman Tri in Flower Mound next week.....
Run Happy and try a pair of Newton's at your next race!
PS. a great big THANK YOU goes out to Janet Dixon who got up at 4am, drove me to the race, cheered for me, and then gave me a Shiner Bock at the finish! Love Ya!
The more biomechanics research I read, the more I believe that for some runners they may be helpful. I'm not saying I completely support their use just yet, but I'll keep you posted! The research is quite good and anecdotal evidence from all my triathlon peeps is good!
Here is a video that outlines the basis of Newton shoes.
I'll update periodically so you know how the trial is going!
Run Happy! And don't be afraid to try new things! Especially hot pink shoes!
I did my first triathlon today...just a sprint...and I'm eating humble pie...I blasted through the swim in 6:42 for 300m, then ran to my bike (barefoot on freezing pavement), had a good transition then off to bike 12 miles....turns out I am a slow cyclist (who knew!) I rode 12 miles in 47:21 then practically fell off my bike....almost screamed out "my legs, my legs, who took my legs" as I got off the bike, then tried to run....pathetic...for a person who normally does about a 21 minute 5K or less, I ran a 24:00 and was happy to have that time! I finished 3rd in the old lady 40-year-old age group and was thrilled not to come in last! I know have an enlightened sense of awe for all those triathletes I used to make fun of :) Bottom line...I had fun (and I beat my brother - he had a flat - I'll take it, first time I beat him in over 20 years!)....Next time I'll be better prepared...I think I have the bug....gotta try again....
Run Happy...and try a tri for fun!
Here's a big cheer that goes out to my friend Larry Branigan!
Larry competed in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii this weekend. He didn't win, but was a winning example for all of us. Larry is a 62-year-old colon cancer survivor who really can't run any more, but didn't let that stop him. He swam, biked hard, and ran as fast as his body would let him.
He finished in 14:38:33, 25th in his age group and 1494 overall.
Not bad for someone who is just over a year past surgery and nasty chemotherapy. Cancer slowed him down, but never killed his spirit.
So the next time you don't feel like getting up in the morning to run, think of Larry. If he can do it, so can you!
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