Friday, October 17, 2008

Eat Your Spinach

...or rather, drink your energy drink, eat your gels and fuel your workouts; a novel concept for someone who has been competing in endurance sports for um how long? My whole life? I saw the 'proof' of this concept yesterday. Just give me a couple of minutes here...

Don't get me wrong, don't pin me as a complete idiot. I am very good about fueling up before a workout, though I am a big fan of 'real food' and avoiding gels, drinks, supplements as much as possible. However, I know that especially in a hot climate like Texas, there is a definite need for extra sodium thus energy drinks come in quite handy.

I went out for a 'hard bike' yesterday, following a tough Tempo run in the AM on already tired legs. I guess in my old age of 30, a day of recovery between 2 hard days did not quite cut it. In any case, I was heading out to go to Mt. Bonnell, a nice, short and pretty steep climb (about 2.5 minutes in duration) whereby my plan was to do 8x. Just going out there, I could tell the legs were a bit trashed...but, I had prepared! Being a very cool day here in Austin, I still decided to fill one bottle with water and one with Gu2O. I got to Mt. Bonnell and hit up my first effort; the average for my first effort was about 250W, good for me but not great. The second was 269W; wow, that is pretty flipping good for a little scrawny person like me. Each time I finished an effort, I took 2 gulps of my Gu2O drink and recovered, descending and then going up again. As I progressed, I just kept feeling better and was pretty bizarre. At the end of my 7th effort, I saw mid-300's on my SRM. Wow! OK this is just crazy. I descended for effort #8, happy this was almost done but motivated as hell to finish it strong. I put my Ipod to (do not laugh...) Shakira 'Hips Don't Lie' and started it off. By the time I completed this effort, I had averaged 284W on my last 2 min of what ended up being almost 20 minutes of maximal efforts. Incredible!!!

So; long story short, consuming carbohydrates consistently throughout especially a harder workout likely DOES actually increase the quality of the workout and therefore the speed/power/intensity we can reproduce! Brilliance! (...No, I am not trying to be all technical and bookish about this...really just mocking myself because I am stubborn as shit and often times refuse to drink much more than water during workouts; I will note, however, that I am very 'good' in races, often times taking 2 gels in an Olympic distance race and up to 10 in a half-ironman).

Lesson? Do as I say, not as I do. In training, that is.

Happy weekend to ya'll...we have finally gotten a taste of fall here in Austin and I am loving it; 'football weather' has finally arrived.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Seeing that 90% of my blog posts are triathlon or sport-related, it was quite refreshing to post something with pictures nonetheless that was completely not related to triathlon. However; only 2 weeks later, and I am back to this topic! Not a bad thing, but I'll explain that as I continue...

I ended up racing the local Longhorn 70.3 race yesterday. I was completely back and forth about doing it, as ever since the wedding, I have been struggling to find 'inner' motivation to train. I was very shocked to find that the weekend really had an impact on me. Seeing that Derick and I have been living together for 4 years prior to getting married, I figured "Ah, it will just 'make it official'..." Which it did, but the 3 days spent with incredible friends and family really hit home with me as to what is 'truly' important in life. Not to dismiss ones passions, but it made me think about where I spend my time and what I do this for....

On to the race, I woke up Sunday morning and really did not want to race. I almost even had a pit in my stomach...and it was not nerves. I could not really figure it out, was it because in Malibu I had raced quite 'mediocre' (in addition to having a hideous swim)...was I just lacking confidence? Or, was I feeling something I had really never felt, that I just did not want to do this triathlon? I tried to not 'over-analyze' as it was about 5 am, but Derick and I drove out to Walter E Long park and I got to setting up. I started to get more 'excited' and told myself, "Kelly..just race because you love to 'do' this stuff. Swim to swim, bike to bike and run to race." And that I did. I was able to find my 'groove', and had a solid swim...a bit off where I probably should have been, but did what I could. On the bike, I got excited the first 10 miles, and from then on, it was quite painful. I had so many crazy thoughts..."So THIS is why people put in big bike they do not feel like this..." and "Oh my GOSH this hurts! 8 days off was not too good for me..." to "Ah...there are a lot of ruts out here, maybe I'll flat...that would not be so bad...". I am not kidding! I think I was looking for an excuse to make it stop! Then as I neared the run, I got more excited. This is usually where I can shine, but today, will it be there?

I came into transition, kind of laughing silently at myself because I had to of been in about 11th/15 women. But hey, you never know what can happen, 13-miles is a long way. I took off and felt great. I think my first 1-2 miles were low-6 min pace. By the time I came through the 1/2 way point, I heard Derick and so many other great friends cheering. I knew I was making up ground, but from 11th? What could that really get me? This course is extremely tough, especially the run, and that second loop hurt, but I was able to take off a few more women (though I had to encourage everyone, because I am sure that we were all hurting together!) and by mile 12, I knew I had a top-5 spot secured.
I very happily crossed in 4th place, which was a great finish considering that my motivation and preparation felt less-than-stellar!

So, lesson learned - Sometimes racing without preconceived expectations can be a very good thing. I love to line myself up against the best, I love the challenge it presents. But to be honest, we all get 'tired' at times...I think I was just feeling mentally 'tired' going into this race. So, instead of pulling out because I feared I'd embarrass myself, I decided to just go out and do the best I could do on this day. I was really able to stay in the moment the whole time, without worrying that I had dropped from 3rd in the swim to 11th off the bike...I raced to enjoy the process and enjoy what my body allows me to go do. Of course, winning money and finishing 4th was a nice added reward!

But I can still walk away from this race with that perspective I went into it with...that no matter what you do, remember that motivates you. Make sure that it is something internal, something personal. Remember what is 'truly' important in life. I have heard people say that 'getting married is really one of the few big life-changing experiences you have'...I now know what they mean..and 'life-changing' in a very, very good way... Thank you for reading. :)