Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Favorite Goggles

Thanks to Nina Schneider for turning me on to the Speedo Sprint goggles last winter.  All the previous goggles I tried would work well for about 3 swims & then the right eye would leak forever after.  I would have to do my entire workout with my right eye closed....very annoying!  In an attempt to get them not to leak I would tighten them so tight that I would have some really hideous goggle eyes for several hours.  Not a big deal for swims in the evening but after Sunday morning swims I would get some odd looks while doing my grocery shopping.

The Speedo Sprints are nothing spectacular but they do what all the others couldn't.....keep the water out & minimize the goggle eyes.  They do fog up but that can be prevented with a little baby shampoo or old fashioned spit!  Some reviewers say they don't last as long as they used to but I personally don't care if I have to replace them every 6 months.  As long as they keep the water out for the entire time I am happy.  In fact, the gasket material pulled away on my clear pair after about 5 months of usage & I still wore them for the Atlanta Iron Girl with no water leakage.  After Iron Girl I switched to my smoke pair since I swam outdoors all summer.  Now that I am swimming inside again I switched back to the clear pair with the gasket pulled away.  Still no water leakage!   

So, if you are having issues with your current goggles consider giving these a try. 

***The opinions are my own....I was not compensated by Speedo or Nina Schneider...although she did give me the pair to try out I eventually bought her a new pair in return.  :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Time for the Professionals

My right side from the waist down has not been a happy camper for a couple months now.  For most of the summer I have felt a slight strain in my right adductor/inner groin.   I really noticed it when I rode.  It wasn't an acute pain just enough to let me know I better be careful otherwise I would end up with a full on injury.

Since my Oly I have not ridden Jake to try to get that area to heal.  Instead of riding I started ramping up my running.  After about 2 weeks of that my right hip & piriformis started to hurt.  In fact, after my last long run I was hurting so bad that I decided to take a week off from running as well. 

At the end of the week off, I still have a little tenderness in the area, especially when I do certain stretches.  So my plan this week is to take another week off from running & riding.  In addition to that, I will go Chiropractor on Monday & my acupuncturist on Tuesday.  The imposter is not cutting it at all.  If that doesn't fix me up, my next stop is another Ashi massage. 

I am still planning on doing the bike leg of the Tri for Sight next Sunday although I will have to go easy.  I really do need to get on my bike this weekend since I just had it in for another tune up and haven't ridden it since I picked it up.   I really wanted to ride the TFS course one more time but I figure I will just ride it around the block to make sure it is at least shifting OK.

Once you are hooked on this stuff it is so hard to take it easy.  At least I can still swim & do yoga!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Changing Gears

Last week I switched from tri specific training to  run focused training.  Last Tuesday we began a Lexmark Run/Walk group which I am coordinating.  It is an 8 week training plan for the CASA 5K/10K.  We have 10-20 folks joining us each Tuesday & Thursday with a few more doing the plans on their own.  We are very fortunate to have the Legacy Trail run through Lexmark property.  I love seeing so many people riding, walking, running & even roller blading on it every day.  Before the LT opened I hadn't seen a roller blader since living in Chicago 8 years ago!

This week I started a 10 week training plan leading up to the IronHorse Half Marathon in Midway, KY.  Steve & I both ran the inaugural race last year.   I ran 3 half's in 7 weeks last year and because of this I got a little confused on the start time.  I was thinking it started at 8:30 and we arrived at 8AM on the dot thinking we had 30 minutes to hit the porta potty & get to the start line.  We walked straight to the porta-potty's & I was amazed that there was no line.  I thought 'wow, great job race director of having PLENTY of potty's!'  I walked out to meet Steve who was waiting for me & we then walked up to the start line.  As we walked closer to the start we noticed that everyone was walking towards us.  It slowly dawned on me that the race start was at 8AM not 8:30AM!  Oh Crap!!!!  Fortunately they still had the timer set up...barely.  So that started the race in a bit of a panic but I will admit it was SO nice to not have to deal a congested start.  The entire race we passed people and it ended up being a PR race for both Steve & I so he wasn't too mad at me after all.  This year we will be there in plenty of time!

I joined the High Street YMCA last Saturday.  Pete's Deal had a 3 month special for $60....you know how I love those deals!  It was perfect timing because my Urban Active membership expired at the end of July.  I had a fabulous swim in there 25 yard pool on Sunday morning & was thrilled to have a real live cyclist teaching the Monday evening spin class!  Melissa, the spin instructor, told me the Pilates instructor is also a cyclist and caters her class to other cyclists.  Thursday morning there is a 6AM spin taught by Melissa followed by the 7AM Pilates class.  I am currently envisioning myself getting up at 5:30 AM to make it to both classes.  I may need a little motivation from you all to get my bum out of bed!

I have been working on a few other things this week.  I have created a Facebook page (Bluegrass Tri Chick) AND a Twitter (@BGTriChick) account.  I like (pun intended) having the Facebook page so I can separate my race/training/blog stuff from my normal life stuff.  That way if people are interested in following they can & I am not boring to death the rest of the folks.  I am not sure how much I am going to use the Twitter page but I went ahead & signed up for it anyway.  There is a method to my madness & it should be clear to you soon but that is for a future blog post!

I am learning a lot about blogging in general & it seems there is a plethora of ways to get networked in with other bloggers.  I am really enjoying the creative side to writing on a semi-regular basis.  Since I am an engineer / analytical person it doesn't come naturally but as my good friend Liz said earlier this week, you have to write everyday to be a good writer or something along those lines....I am not good at quote recall either.  :-)

I really need to follow Liz's advice...that way these blog posts won't be novels!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Snake Oil Review

It has been a while since the Snake Oil post and I feel I have given the Pains All Gone a fair try.

I focused using Pains All Gone on my neck, shoulders & upper back.  Everyday after I got out of the shower I would rub the oil onto my neck & shoulder area.  Some days I would apply it twice a day.  Each application was 3-4 sprays.  I used it for my entire training period of 8 weeks.  Most days after a ride I had tension/tightness in my neck & upper back.  Some days after a swim my shoulders ached. Even days I didn't have any tension/pain I still would apply the oil.  The oil has a light eucalyptus smell that goes away after about 5 minutes. The oil didn't feel too greasy & didn't stain any of my clothes.

I took the below picture tonight & was shocked to see how much oil is left in the bottle after 2 months of daily use.  I would say the bottle would last about 8 months if used daily.

My shoulders are very temperamental & typically at some point during the training block I have to back off from swimming for a week or more to prevent further injury.   During this training block my longest swim was 2000 meters & my longest ride was 35 miles.  Before this training block, my swims topped out at 1600m & my rides at 25 miles so this was the heaviest training block to date for me.

So how did it work?  Once I applied the oil I felt some tension release immediately.  It didn't make all the pain go away but I could definitely feel an improvement.  What was even more impressive was as the 8 weeks progressed with increased training loads the tension / pain decreased.  As opposed to all my previous training blocks I never had to dial down or skip a swim workout during the 8 weeks.  At the end of the Lake Logan Triathlon I was shocked at how good I felt.  I didn't have a bit of tension or pain in my neck, upper back or shoulders.  That to me is success!  I will continue to use this oil as well as recommend it to anyone that hasn't found success with other pain management techniques.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blog Giveaways!

I have seen the occasional reference to blog giveaways but today I stumbled upon the granddaddy of blog giveaway listings.  Well, at least in my world it is a granddaddy of a listing!

Here are the links of current giveaways - some are ending tonight so ya better hurry!

Forward Foot Strides
Racing with Babes
Running Diva Mom
Caution: Redhead Running
Mommy Miles
The Running Cook
Run Chunky Run
Run Faster Mommy
Happiness....One Mile at a Time
Gourmet Runner
The Studly Runner
The Athletarian
On the Road Again
Runn Princess Runn
Daily Vitamin F
Livin' a Little Life
Old Man Running

Yep, I plan to enter every one of them.  oooh, I hope I win, I hope I win!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You and Your Gizmos and Rub on Juices

So, my husband Steve swung by my office during lunch today.  When he stopped by I was looking up a tracking number.  I was pretty excited to see that the acupuncture mat I ordered last week was out for delivery!  He just rolled his eyes & said you and your gizmos and rub on juices!

I admit, I am a sucker for most things that claim to relax, recharge, heal, etc.  I love, love, love massages.  When we were in Moab last fall we received samples of Sore No More & I had to by a tube before we left Moab.  In Ashville, I had a demo of the eucalyptus oil & I had to buy a bottle of it as soon as we got home.  BTW, I am planning on doing a follow up review on this soon since I have been using it religiously for 8 weeks now.

So when I read about Vila in the latest Women's Running Magazine I just had to have one!  It was only $40 & a typical acupuncture session runs $75 so if it works it is a bargain.  I don't expect it to give all the benefits of an acupuncture session but I am hoping that it will help keep my back happy.

I laid down on it tonight for about 10 minutes.  It wasn't painful but it did leave a bunch of little holes in my back & left it very red. I will try it out for awhile before I give any more feedback on it. 

About half the length of a yoga mat
Close up of the little pokers

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lake Logan Race Report

This weekend Steve & I headed to Canton, NC for my first Olympic distance triathlon.  We rented a cabin at the race site.  We arrived about 3pm on Friday afternoon.  We got checked in & unloaded all of my gear in the cabin.   We scoped out the grounds before heading back into town to pick up my race packet.
The drive to our cabin.

Our Cabin the 'Honeymoon'
The lake was a few steps away
Lake Logan - isn't it gorgeous?
Sporting the 'Susan' shirt

When we arrived back at our cabin I heard someone ask if that was a 'Susan' shirt.  You see, at some point during race weekend I usually wear Susan's blue t-shirt that has the big smiley on the back.  I answered yes it is and introduced myself.  I found out the person asking was Rosie H.  I have heard Rosie's name a thousand times from virtually all my tri training partners in Lexington.  Rosie had moved to South Carolina last year so I never had a chance to meet her before she left.  She came up to the race by herself since it was too difficult to travel with her daughter & husband so it was really cool to be able hang out & get to know her over dinner.

The Dining Hall
The Lake Logan retreat comes with 3 meals a day and although they were simple they were surprisingly good.  After dinner on Friday we headed back to our respective cabins to get ready for the race on Saturday.  When I laid down in bed to read my race info I looked up at the ceiling I saw the most ginormous spider ever.  I started to freak out because it was right above my head & there was no way I would be able to sleep with that thing up there!  Steve tried to down play it but I wasn't having any of that.  He ended up 'taking care' of the spider for me.  I figured there were more where that one came from but I tried to put that thought out of my head.

I was happy that all week I was able to get a solid 8-9 hours of sleep each night because I knew Friday night was going to be pretty restless even before the spider incident.  I set the alarm for 4:30AM and we went to bed about 10:30.  I managed to get some decent sleep but felt like I woke up every hour or so.  The cabin didn't have air & the windows were open so all the night sounds filled the cabin.  There was a cool waterfall behind the cabin so it always sounded like it was raining. 


Out the door
When the alarm went off I made a pot of coffee & tried to choke down a Clif bar.  I can never eat first thing in the morning but I know I need to on race morning.  I can't wait too long otherwise my nerves kick in & then I really can't eat.  We headed to transition about 5:30.  I got my transition setup, body marked & picked up my timing chip all by 6AM.

I really don't like the attachment method for the timing chip that North Carolina races seem to use.  It is a disposable band.  It probably is less likely to fall off but it dug into my leg so bad during the swim that I was bleeding when I got back to transition.  They said to keep 1 finger distance when attaching which I did but it still was too tight.  So now I have a lovely sore on the top of my ankle.  It will match the scar I have from the Atlanta Iron Girl timing chip on the back of the same ankle.
Transition setup, wetsuit on

After making one last pit stop I put on the bottom half of my wetsuit.  At this point my stomach started doing flips.  I was getting seriously nervous.  I really don't know how people do the half & full iron distances.  I mean really, this was only an Olympic & I was getting seriously worked up.  Once I got the wetsuit half way on we walked over to the swim start.  I was in the last wave.  I was pretty bummed about that when I first found out.  I knew I was going to be one of the slower swimmers & now that I was in the last wave I was going to be just about last out of the water.  After thinking a little more about it, it occurred to me that I would have lots of clear water & no later waves would be swimming over me. Probably not a bad thing for my first long distance open water swim.

or not....
here I go!

 The Swim:

The first wave went off at 7AM.  The following waves went off in 3 minute increments with my wave starting at 7:18.

I was about the last one to hop in the water to make my way to the swim start.  The wetsuit was amazing.  It was effortless treading water for the minute or two.  The water temp was 74 degrees so I could have swam without it but most folks had one on.   Despite what it looks like, I am NOT drowning!  I was giving Steve one last wave before I was lost amongst the white caps!

Really, I am not waving to the kayak support for help!

The last wave is off!

The air horn goes off & we are swimming.  They said the lake was really clear but it was nothing like Laurel Lake clear.  In fact I was surprised at how muddy the water was.  Stringy like things kept getting hung up in my watch & road ID.  Surprisingly, it didn't bother me at all.  I guess I am getting used to freaky things in the water.  I may even be ready for a river swim which I have previously swore I would never do!

I did unilateral breathing for the entire swim.  I never panicked or freaked out.  My right goggle did have some water in it & both were fogged up enough to make sighting challenging but not impossible.  The swim was a rectangular swim.  3 orange buoys out, right at the first yellow, right at the second yellow then one orange buoy on the way back.  The return seemed much longer but I think that was because there was only one buoy.  My rotator cuffs felt great although the top of my shoulders felt a little tired but I think that was from the pressure of the wetsuit.  The end of the swim was under a bridge & into the mouth of the river.
Sighting the bridge
Just about to go under the bridge

Ahh, yes, don't you wish you could be as cool as me?
According to Steve that was quite the cluster when the masses were approaching the swim out.  He said it looked like folks were getting punched left & right as they entered under the bridge.  I didn't have that problem since I was just about the last one out of the water.  Everyone had to pull themselves up on a deck.  I am sure Aquaphor was relieved that my uniform was hidden by the wetsuit.  Otherwise they may have to pull the sponsorship due to embarrassment to the brand!  LOL

Once out of the water it was about a 50m run to the transition.  Thanks to Pam, yes the cooking spray, my wetsuit came off easily.  I fixed my timing chip so it wouldn't rub & got my bike gear on. I felt like I was in transition forever & was shocked to see it was only just over 2 minutes.  I took a look around & saw almost every single bike was already gone....sigh.  The bike out to the mount line was another 50 m run.

 The Bike: 

Taken with Steve 200mm zoom. 
I hopped on my bike & was off.  The first & last 3 miles were the hilliest.  There was a big decent during the first 3 miles then it is pretty much flat for the next 18 miles or so.  I was able to pass a few folks on the bike but there were a few stretches that I felt like I was the only one on the course.  I felt so isolated that at times I thought I may have gotten off track somehow.  Then all of a sudden I would see a bike in the distance & felt relief that I was still on track.

Overall, the bike felt pretty good.  I tried to keep a cadence around 90 the entire time.  My groin / inner thighs were sore.  Not sure what that is about but they have been slightly sore all summer.  Now that the race is over I need to figure out what is going on there.

I took 2 gels on the bike & drank 2 bottles of water.  My stomach & energy were feeling good.  I did feel like I had to pee but I was hoping that would go away or at least not get worse.  There were no porti-potties around & I wasn't desperate enough to attempt to pee on the bike.  Yes, that's right, I said pee on the bike.  If you are not aware of it, peeing on the bike and/or run is a right of passage for some triathletes and they are surprisingly open & proud of the fact!  I have not joined the camp of bike pi$$ers yet and quite frankly, I don't know if I ever will but who knows, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

I passed one more person on the last climb before transition. According to MapMyRide, it is a Cat 5.  It was tough but really not too bad.  After the race, Rosie said she passed people walking up the hill.  I must really be getting used to climbing hills because I didn't feel even close to having to stop & walk.  Once the climb was over there is a fast decent & then I was at the dismount line.  I came in faster than expected & surprised Steve.  He almost missed me coming in.

Running the bike in to transition

The Run:

The run is 3.1 miles uphill & 3.1 miles downhill.  My goal was to get to the turn around in about 33 minutes.  I hit mile 1 right at 11 minutes but shortly after found out the first water stop was completely out of fluids.  I had a mini mental breakdown because I had no idea if all the stops were out or if it was just this one.  Were they going to get refilled?  I had no idea.  It really ticked me off because a 10K is really too far to run without any water!  So I decided to slow down just a bit in case there was no more water.  I get to mile 2 & the second water stop.  Again no water but they had heed.  Ugh.  Never have tried the stuff but decided I better in case that was all I was doing to get.  I hit mile 3 & the third water stop & hallelujah they had water!  So I was able to take my 3rd gel.  I got to the turn around in about 35 minutes.  I knew the return was all downhill so I picked it up.  The next 3 miles were just under 10 minutes each & they had water again at all the remaining stops.  I was feeling really good.  My legs felt strong and I didn't have a single cramp thanks to e21!  Right around mile 6 I passed someone in my age group which I was happy about since it meant I would not be the last one in my age group.

Happy Happy!

As I make the last turn to the finish I hear Rosie yelling my name to GO, GO, GO.  I ran the last 2 tenths as fast as I could.  As I approach the finish I hear the announcer say my name. I was so happy I made it!!!

We spent the rest of the weekend chilling out & enjoying the location before heading home on Sunday.

Rosie & I post race

Rosie & I post shower & lunch!

Steve & I Sunday morning.  Can't believe the weekend is over!



Friday night - Chicken, Wild Rice, Salad & Ice Cream sandwich at Lake Logan Resort, 2 e21 tablets, 20 oz Gatorade

Saturday morning - Clif bar, 2 cups coffee, 2 e21 tablets & water

During Race - 1 gel + water 15 minutes before swim start, Bike - 2nd gel 10 minutes, 3rd gel 55 minutes, ~40 oz of water Run - 2 oz of Heed at mile 2, 4th gel + water at mile 3, water at mile 4 & 5

Race Stats:

1500 Swim Time = 42m54s, 134/143
Transition 1 Time = 2m14s
40K Bike Time = 1h25m54s, 113/143

T2 Time = 1m8s
Run Time = 1h05m59s, 121/143
Total Time = 3h18m08s, 124/143

Water Temp = 74F
Wetsuit = Sleeveless
2 swim caps, goggles on in between caps
Air Temp = low 70s, slightly humid, mostly cloudy - great temperature to race in

Lessons Learned:

Need to figure out something better for my timing chip.  Although if that is the worst injury I have during a triathlon I'm cool with that.

Need to carry my own fluid during a run if I think I will need it.  Don't rely on the event staff to have enough for everyone.

You get what you give:

During our post race lunch Rosie & I were sharing our race experiences & she mentioned getting passed on the grassy bit where you had to run your bike to the mount line by some women.  Rosie ran her bike out with her cycling shoes on.  If you have never run with cycling shoes on, just know that it is not the most graceful way to run.  Some folks run their bikes out barefoot because they have the cycling shoes already clipped into the pedals.

So, as Rosie was running her bike out, the barefoot women calls out in not such a nice way 'Excuse me? Can I pass you because you are really wobbly'.  Once at the bike mount line Rosie hops on the bike & the barefoot women is now weaving all over the road trying to get her feet into the shoes.  Rosie then goes 'Excuse me, I need to pass you because you are all over the road!'  I thought that was pretty funny.  It's a good reminder to be nice to your fellow competitors & keep the snarky comments to yourself otherwise Karma will get ya!

Race Location:

Fabulous!  Highly recommend this race.  You don't get a lot of bling but the entry fee is dirt cheap for an Oly.  Early registration was $55!  Although, I will say that you only get 5 timing splits & your overall place.  If you want to know any additional details, like how you placed in your age group, you have to buy the race report for $9.95.  I think I will order the report since it is my first Oly & I am a data junkie.  I will


Very nice.  Way, ay better than the Days Inn off the interstate.  Nothing like staying within 5 minutes of transition.  The cabins were adorable, there were kayaks & canoes free to all the guests, the meals were very good.  The location was so peaceful.  It would be a great place for a group since they offer the Olympic on Saturday and the Sprint & Aquathon on Sunday.  Something for everyone. 

Muscle Soreness: 

Groin / Inner thighs were sore immediately.  By mid afternoon my mid & lower back were sore - I suspect from sighting.  By Sunday morning my quads were sore but my back felt great.  I am really surprised my neck isn't sore.  Usually the combo of open water swimming & aero on the bike does my neck in but so far so good!

It is Sunday evening as I right this & I am surprised at how little soreness I still have.  Immediately after my post race shower I rubbed Sore No More over my entire body.  Maybe that helped with the soreness.

Quote Check: 

Setup Events had some lofty statements in their description of the Lake Logan International race.  Some of them are as follows:

While most in the Southeast are racing in hot, oppressive conditions in early August, Lake Logan offers a welcome break from the heat and humidity. The cool morning air high in the Appalachian Mountains makes for a comfortable race day with highs last year topping out near 80 degrees.

True!  It was in the mid 70s yesterdays & even cooler this morning.  Steve & I were shocked at how hot is was when we got out of our car in Knoxville and even more shocked when we got home.  It was about a 20 degree difference from Lake Logan & Lexington.
Another welcome treat to those familiar with Western North Carolina is the strange absence of any major climbs. In fact the bike and run are mostly flat with only one small ascent coming at the beginning and end of the bike.

Mostly true.  I wouldn't call the ascent at the end of the ride small.  It was a Cat 5 and for anyone not used to hills it was a doozy!  But again it is all relative.  For WNC it could have been A LOT worse!

The ascent toward the turn around is so gradual runners don't realize they have been going up until they have hit the turn around marker and started the final 5k toward the finish line. 

Surprisingly, I would agree with this statement.   If I hadn't looked at the profile before hand I am not sure I would have noticed it was uphill.


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