Friday, 31 October 2008
October 30th, 2008
Thursday - 2 days till Ironman. I go into the ocean for a short 10 minute swim, essentially just to try out Paolina's (my big sister) new wetsuit. Same as my own Nineteen wetsuit, but newer model. I like it, I'll wear this on race day. The water still feels good, aqua colour and perfect for swimming in. Much nicer than training in a 25 meter hot pool in Mississauga, Ontario ( near my work, but, you do what you gotta do when Ironman training to fit it all in right).
Poor sister, is not well and staying indoors today. Andrew comes with me for my 30 min training ride on bike. But, before doing so we head over to the race expo. Andrew is not the possessive type, but he wants me to wear the latest gimmick on race day, a GPS tracking device. You wear it as a belt around your waist. Only putting it on after the swim. Oh dear, more to think about, place battery in unit the correct way! If I get it right this will make it more interesting for spectators as they can track me on line every step of the way.
The expo has certainly gotten busier now. The line up for the registration was away out onto the road. I must have been one of the first to register.
We learn that over 50% of participants are first timers for this Ironman. That gives it a good enthusiastic energy buzz. Hope it's also safe out there on the road!
Still waiting to get my training ride in . Andrew spots the Cervello demo tent and the brand new P4 carbon, fancy water bottle is hanging up. Honestly, it's like love at first sight, I wish he would stop drooling. So he gets his leg over on that for photo opportunity. We then look at the P3C for me, swap pedals from my bike and we take that out for a spin. Maybe not part of the training programme. I still prefer Specialized.
So eventually get my short ride in. Its warmed up now, so thinking I may just tough out the first hour on the bike and not wear any extra clothing. We come back to the condo and I could quite happily sit on the lounger and nod off. But, coach tells me to go get my 30 min run in, so he can test also the GPS.
Beginning to feel kinda lethargic, possibly all this build is overwhelming me. It's supposed to charge you up, pump you up.
We chill for a couple of hours, then under sister's instructions start packing all my race bags. there is a lot to organize for the big day. You lay out what you will wear on race morning, along with warm pre race clothes. You load up your "Swim to Bike " bag which will contain your helmet, shoes, food etc, anything you need on the bike, sunglasses, arm warmers.
Then I pack up my "Bike to Run" bag and place all my numbered stickers on the bag.
There are 3,000 volunteers working at this race. That's a lot of volunteers. One and a half to each athlete. No wonder people keep coming back to this race.
There are aid stations every 10 miles on the 112 mile bike course. These are the only places you should relieve yourself, at the portapotty's in place here. Otherwise you may get arrested. If you are a guy racing in speedo's with shaved legs, you don't want to be taken to jail!
Okay bags, nearly packed up, all my powergels in the bento box. I'll take three every hour.
We are running out of time and have to leave to catch the carbo load meal and mandatory talk. This is held at the host hotel. There is a LOT of pasta dishes. Andrew and I overeat. I hate that feeling. But, guess there's a reason they call it carb load. Sure I'll be needing all the glycogen come Saturday.
There are various different talkers at the meal. We learn of many different participants in the race. As mentioned a lot of first timers, ranging up to John Rag who has completed 107 Ironman. There are some 18 year olds and a 76 year old. Some slim body beautiful people, some not so slim. There is also on stage one guy who lost 127 lbs and will be doing his first Ironman on Saturday.
We are told the rules on drafting, i.e. not allowed on bike. Will lead to penalties. One penalty is 4 minutes wait in the penalty tent. A total of three penalties will lead to disqualification.
I have not seen any Pro's. Perhaps they stay away from the athlete's village.
This is the 10th Annual Florida Ironman. Wow, it's coming about quickly, can we not just chill another few days!
Today I was completely fatigued after my swim and looked forward to my vanilla latte - a little reward I give to myself for 'improving my technique'.
Since uping my swimming I am finding my arms are always sore (just around my shoulder). Must work on my push ups! Currently I can't even manage one ......oh dear....
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Tuesday, October 30, 2008
We went to bed early last night, slept great, and woke up nice and early. Which is good, as the plan is to keep getting up early so that waking up at 4 am on Saturday isn’t too much of a shock to my body.
The ocean view from the condo is just fantastic. All you can see is the ocean. The waves have calmed down from yesterday. Now the ocean looks calm and inviting. Still a bit bitter cold, fresh weather wise though. Still hoping that it heats up some. The temperature at 7am is around 8 degrees. I am seriously considering to don, knee warmers, extra jersey, toe warmer, gloves, hat on the bike on Saturday. The thing is, it will be cold coming out of the water and transitioning onto the bike. I know I will be cold the first hour or so on the bike at that time of the morning. But, then if heats up, I will be stuck with excess baggage, which you don’t wan’t to be carrying around on the bike with you. You can not litter the course. You will be penalized for this 4 minutes in penalty tent. You could possibly dispose of your extra bike gear at the aid stations en route, however, you can probably kiss your items goodbye at this stage too.
Still time to decide exactly what I will be wearing on race day. The weather is forecast to get better.
Paolina, has appeared to be coming down with the cold. She is only three weeks back from Hawaii Ironman. A lot of people, unsurprisingly, get run down after an Ironman, and are susceptible to the many colds in circulation just now. Poor Polly, and please do not give me any of your germs. For the last three weeks I have been getting somewhat paranoid of catching the cold at this stage in the game.
But sister is an Ironman, so there’s no stopping her and she comes with me for my first practice swim in the ocean. See photo’s. The water is not too cold, in fact the temperature in the water seems warmer than the temperature outside the water. The water is nice and clear and a pleasure to swim in. We had spotted dolphins in the vast body of water we could see from our 21st floor condo. This reassures me, because I’m told if there are dolphins in the water, there are no sharks. Yup, I have seen Jaws quite a few times when growing up, and lets just say there is some fear of sharks occupying the water I’ll be doing my first ocean water swim in.
We swim together for 30 minutes, which is all that is on my schedule. Some people may be swimming for an hour, but I have had it drilled into me by my coach, not to get carried away doing unnecessary training when I am down here. Taper is of utmost importance. Andrew has done three Ironman, back in the day. I am lucky to be able to learn from both Andrew and Paolina’s experiences.
I had been warned that the water is very salty and not to swallow any water. Yes, the water is very salty, it’s the ocean, but I did not find this much of a problem. Paolina was actually gargling with the water to help her sore throat!
After, we shower, we head over to the Race Expo to register me and pick up my race bag. As we head over to the race site we spot lots of “peacock” as we refer to them. That being the athletes. You see so many slim really slim and fit looking people, with all their fancy apparel, and state of the art bicycles. I don’t quite feel I am fitting into this category just yet, with my second hand five year old bike, aluminum frame, borrowed Zipp wheels all the same. I love racing on Zipps, go faster wheels. Them alone puts me in the mood for a race.
The expo is quite subdued, maybe we are early. However, I have been to the half Ironman, California, with my sister, and I remember that one to be more happening. Albeit, this suits me, and keeps me calm. I will conserve all my energy for Saturday.
We cycle the run course after the expo. Nice and flat, bear in mind you have to do this twice. Besides the thought of being drowned and crashing on my bike, the run portion I am kinda dreading the most. It seems the most demanding and comes late on in the day, so I know I’ll have to be digging way deep inside myself to pull through the run. That’s why I am here though.
Day off work too, so off to a great start. Up early to go for my 20 min swim, 30 min ride on bike, which happens to be indoors on the trainer, due to the fact I live in Toronto and it’s now the onset of winter. So put Brothers and Sisters on (my new drama series I’m hooked on, to get me all pumped). Followed by a 30 min run, warm up plus 3 x 10 min efforts starting slow and building to race pace. Race pace not seeming too fast these days. My first ironman and I have been told (to help calm my nerves, for the thought of, How on earth are you supposed to run a marathon after swimming in the ocean for 3.8K and biking for 180K) My lovely boyfriend who, conveniently doubles up as Oh Wise One Coach and Guiding Mentor, advises me that I am not training for a marathon, but training for 26 one mile repeats, where I am allowed to walk through each one mile apart aid station. So with this reassuring thought coupled with the fact I know I will not be having such a high cadence on race day (on the run, definitely on the bike) I have been running my long runs alone, more on a time on feet basis as opposed to PB marathon pace. Practicing the Ironman shuffle, which of course my “pro-triathlete sister, turned her nose up at!
My sister Paolina has competed in nine Ironman, her best being Ironman Canada where she placed 2nd overall female. Her last racing as pro in the cream of the crop, Hawaii, and placing 22nd in the pro women field. She did fantastic, as we doubted that she would even get to race due to weeks off training from injury.
So yes, there being the difference, my big sister being an Ironman pro, always racing in the red zone, and me, a mere novice, looking upon my first Ironman as a great day out, one big party…hopefully…all going well and I don’t one, get any flats, crash on bike, and can make it around the run course.
I have only ever done one marathon before, so I do not have the history of being an endurance runner. My longest training run has only been 3hrs. The rest, I will pull out the bag on race day!! Mmm wonder if my adrenaline will have enough in the tank for the 26.2 miles. Oh well, it’s a flat course. One friend called me up today to wish me the best for my journey, but closed with the comment that what I am about to do is not challenging enough. She raced her first Ironman in July of this year, doing 14Hr…… in Placid. Apparently, as Florida is flat I am not challenging myself. I responded that I am taking on an Ironman, and that any Ironman is no mean feat.
So Andrew (boyfriend) loads the bikes onto the car, he is also bringing his bike. Andrew is a fantastic cyclist and cycles with a team. He seldom travels without his bike. We wait on sister to arrive, honestly, for being a pro triathlete her time keeping is not how you would describe, punctual. Since being with Andrew, I have remarkably, become more punctual. I am told by him, the time we are leaving is the time we hit the road, not an approximate time of meeting.
So sister arrives some 50 minutes later, instructs me to put the kettle on, Andrew reloads the car and we are off. Road trip! 21 hours of such to be precise.
We decided taking three bikes and the three of us, and due to flight costs having escalated with the fuel costs, we would be better off driving down. Okay, that’s what Andrew decided and we followed suit. We all mentally prepared ourselves for the ride. Which in Paolina’s and my terms means, getting a good workout in, before sitting on our asses all day. After so long sitting in a car, we can quite literally feel our bums spread over the car seat and becoming same size as car seat.
I take the first shift lasting around 4 hrs of driving. The plan is, Andrew will drive thought the night, and we will try and avoid having Paolina drive. Our journey takes us thought Kentucky, Nashville, Cincinnati, Alabama, and not necessarily in that order. We stop, only to refuel, or for quick comfort breaks. Some of our stops in small town places I thought were like they were straight out of an American movie scene. It was about 2am and there is a “restaurant” in the garage with some sad, lonely looking people, plus the place reeked of smoke. We could not believe it. Having lived in Toronto for the past 3.5yrs, I have been spoiled by the progressive nature of smoking having been banned in all public places.
Anyhoo, I got all state of the art, and Andrew downloaded me some episodes of Brothers and Sister and some chick flicks for me to watch on the laptop, whilst in the car. Fantastic for passing the time and helping me nod off to sleep, see photo exhibit
The journey passes, I took the 12 pm till 2m shift, while Andrew tried to rest before the worst part of the drive 2 till about 6am.I think Paolina did the best with sleeping
As the sun comes up we start thinking about breakfast, Waffle House would be nice. But, health nut, vegetarian, Scottish frugal me, didn’t pack food for no reason. So I serve Andrew his breakfast, yoghurt with fresh fruit and granola. Looks pretty good, so once, Andrew is finished with the one piece of Tupperware, we rinse it out and serve the same to Polly. Snacks in the car were also, carrot and zucchini cut into pieces for dipping into hummus. That was until Andrew spotted Combos – not so healthy typical American garage fast food snacks and bought up a few bags of those.
So, we arrive at our destination, our 2-bedroom condo overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico Ocean, earlier than we expected. Check-in being at 4pm, we arrived here around 10 am local time.
We are too early to check in so drive around the town. This is after entering the condo, only to find it occupied, so we offer our apologies and go to explore Panama City.
We notice so many homes up for sale. Following sub prime real estate nosedive. There is not much in the town. Tourism must be one of the biggest businesses here and this is for the most part past the tourism season.
It’s freezing and blowing a gale. The locals inform us this is the windiest it has been for the past 10 years. Here’s hoping it gets warmer for Saturday. I’m asked by the very nice local we met if I am excited for trace on Saturday. Coming in from a 21 hr car drive and being met with these weather conditions, not right now is the answer to that.
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Our new toy this week was the Bike Rollers - a good alternative to sitting on the turbo - time flies by as you have to concentrate much more on actually staying upright so great for honing your balance & technique.
Mrs ATHelite has produced a 'Roller Mix' for the MP3 which really keeps you spinning away which she is threatening to unleash next Weds at the start of the EKRC 'Roller Nights' on Weds at the club.
Whilst I am more confident on them now, getting started is an interesting experience - the following YouTube clip is not dissimilar to my first attempt, resulting in a chest wound that looks like I've been speared by a Rhino as I landed on the back of a kitchen chair!
If there is any light at the end of the wind tunnel - both our running & bike clubs, Calderglen Harriers & East Kilbride Road Club have do's on tonight so at least there is a beer & a dance to look forward to.
Will be much deserved by the end of this day!
Friday, 24 October 2008
Whilst we are really looking forward to this, fitting the training in around running the 2 shops could be the real challenge. We are just building our base training at the moment - trying to get a bit of structure & routine into it. Watch this space for further installments on our progress!
As far as racing goes, we are both doing the Strathaven 'Run with the Wind' 10k on the 23rd November (ATHelite is also supporting this event, so see our stall after the race, next to the bar & sweetie stand!).
Mr ATHelite has also decided to enter the Buchlyvie Half Marathon on the 16th November. It has been so long since he did a Half Marathon that his PB is actually in the Trimpell 20 mile road race 2 years ago. Hoping to shave some minutes off that!!
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
What we say
This glove is amazing! I love wearing it. It is so comfortable and it really does absorb the impact from the road...I would not have believed it myself! But it really does work. Before I used to get tired wrists and sometimes they would be sore but I haven't experience that since wearing this glove. I've been wearing the Pearl Izumi Carbon Glove for about 6 months now.
You do pay a little more for this glove but it really is fabulous and worth it. So far my hands haven't been cold once nor, have they over heated! I now don't ride without these gloves.
Friday, 10 October 2008
What they say;
SmoothRide Engineered, Composite Double Fan Wave provides the perfect blend of support and cushioning in a package that transitions like no other.
Engineering approach to minimise the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the foot during transition, creating the smoothest ride possible.
Lightweight, responsive, yet durable cushioning copolymer.
Shock-absorbing cushioning compound found in the heel.
Full-length midsole ventilation system reduces heat and humidity build-up inside the shoe.
Enhanced Fit Technology that works with your foot to provide the optimum fit throughout the gait cycle.
Provides the utmost in breathability and comfort of the upper.
The most durable carbon rubber that allows for longer wear in high
impact areas and supplements traction at heel strike.
SmoothRide Engineered, combination solid rubber/blown rubber forefoot outsole design for cushioning, durability and flexibility.
What we say;
Mr ATHelite has run in these fantastic shoes for a few seasons now - they have the perfect support for my over-pronating feet but still feel light, smooth & faster than most other equivalent road shoes from other manufacturers. Put them on, forget you are wearing them & focus on your run - perfect.
I use these for shorter to mid distance runs then pop on my Saucony Omni's for longer distance runs and marathon training for a bit of additional cushioning.
1000 Mile Support Sock
What they say;
The Support sock provides firm support and targeted compression for stiff, weak or sore ankles. It assists in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of ankle and rear foot injuries such as sprains, achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, etc. The inclusion of Tactel® in the fabric provides moisture management for fresh dry feet, whilst a flat toes seam ensure maximum comfort.
What we say;
I haven't tried this sock but if you have please post a comment.
This sock is supposed to be not as thick as a support but more than just a sock!!
What they say:
The Super Sports Bra works as an encapsulation and compression bra to offer maximum support during high impact activity, whilst offering real comfort and performance fabrics to keep you dry and cool.
Especially designed to support cup sizes from C to F
Heat moulded inner-cups encapsulate the bust to limit movement and prevent chaffing
Our patented 'Powerband' sits under the bust to give complete support
The extra wide racer back offers back support and prevents straps from slipping down
Manufactured with a wickable lining and Supplex outer to keep you cool and dry
Can be worn as an outer or undergarment
Easy to understand sizing, the bra is fitted from your under-bust measurement (see our sizing info if unsure)
The most important thing about your Sports Bra is that it is
comfortable. This includes it being supportive, soft on your skin
with no harsh seams that will rub and chaff. You should get a small
amount of breast movement with a good sports bra but this is in no
way uncomfortable and often you will not be aware of it.
The sizing for Sportjock Sports Bras works exactly the same as your
normal bra sizing does. So if you know what your bra size is, you
will choose the right Sportjock bra.
The Action Sports Bra will accommodate a cup size of A through to a C
The Super Sports Bra will accommodate a cup size of C through to F
What we say:
I wear this bra and love it! At first I wasn't sure, I thought how can a crop top be supportive but it really does work and it's comfy too!
I've worn it on short runs, long runs and biking and have had no rubbing or chaffing.
It's here the new Kilkenny - £40!
What Saucony says:
The Kilkenny Cross Country Spike provides the ideal balance of traction and minimalism required in a XC shoe. An aggressively spiked forefoot combined with full length traction and a responsive midsole are superior qualities in such a performance shoe.
It's now probably the best selling Cross Country Spike in the world!
What we say:
Comfortable and flexible. Fits the foot really well and is excellent value for money.