Monday, August 17, 2009

OMG, I'm One of Them!

Three years ago when training for Ironman Florida 2006, I used to see amazing people swimming laps back and forth effortlessly in the pool. Occasionally Dave and I would see a brave woman riding solo out on the roads in the middle of nowhere. I saw a few crazies running in the worst heat of the day.

How the hell do these people do it?

I was quite new to tris back then.

Good swim technique? Eh, I just want to survive the 2.4 mi swim and go on to my better sports.

Riding confidence? Who are we kidding? I could ride long but barely in a straight line let alone fix a flat tire.

Heat tolerance? I think I wore out the belt on my treadmill that year.

What I was missing was love for the sport. Truthfully, I was really just a runner who was dabbling in tris then. I had the time and desire to train for an ironman but not really the heart or passion. (As some of you may recall, my main reason for signing up was to learn how to swim, as in freestyle, that cool stroke that real swimmers did. Seriously, I hated swimming so much that nothing less than an ironman would have gotten me to do it!)

But without a doubt, heart and passion are driving me now. And what a difference. When things don't go right, like two weekends ago, there are some tough times, oh yes, but there are no "Why the f*ck am I doing this?" moments. Trust me, there were a LOT of those in 2006. This time, the answer is clear: Because You Know You Love Tris.

Yep, I'm a sick puppy. Good or bad, I am happy and thankful to complete every workout. Each one, even a bad one, is much better than what I could do back in 2006. Even when plodding along painfully and slowly, I know I am getting stronger mentally and learning some new lessons that will help me later. At a minimum, I'm getting more heat training and respect for the iron distance, for Mother Nature and for myself. Each one is a deposit in my training bank, as many like to say, and a step closer to who I want to be and where I want to be in a few years.

The only part that is not really fun for me, however, is the nutrition side. Before this year, I've never really had to make major changes to my diet and routine. For 50+ marathons, I just drank water (or sports drink in a race) when I felt like I needed to and consumed gels every few miles, maybe an salt cap or two if it was a warm race and I remembered to bring them. So simple! But now things are serious, perhaps even a matter of life or death when training for much longer in severe heat and often alone (Dave can't ride with me for more than 50 miles in such heat and no one I know wants to run long in it. Can't blame them!). I've got to put aside fun and do what's necessary.

So every day I'm studying food labels closely, logging food, weighing myself before and after each workout, estimating sweat rates, salt losses and calorie expenditures. I need to make sure I don't overdo things earlier in the week (Coach said every workout does not need to be in the heat!) and that I get enough fuel & fluids into me before the long weekend workouts.

That said and done, I'm happy to say last weekend went great!

Fri - Swim 3100 yds w/ 15x100 yds. Not effortless per se, but swam four 1:45s (Fast for me!)
        and broke 100 miles in swimming this year (I'm Tropical :-) - w00t.
Sat - Run 17 mi, 90-97 deg HI, 9:56 avg pace, neg split, AHR 158 (Z2).
Sun - Bike 85.22 mi, 76-96 deg HI, flat, winds 4-14 mph, 17.5 mph, neg split, AHR 133 (Z1).
        Brick run 5.22 mi, 97 deg HI, 8:55 pace, neg split, AHR 157 (Z2)

So I feel ready to share what I'm doing nutrition-wise in case it may help anyone else. Note I'm usually 122-123# but can fluctuate +/- 2 to 3# day to day depending on my hydration level.

Daily calorie intake M-W 2000-2500 cals.
Daily calorie intake Th-Su 2500-3000 cals, plus extra fuel & fluids during long Sat-Sun workouts as follows:

Long runs (per hr) - 30-40 oz fluids*,
     100-200 cals (1-2 gels),
     550-750 mg sodium** (gels, Nuun, salt caps)
Long rides (per hr) - 30-40 oz fluids,
     300-400 cals (CarboPro, Gatorade, Clif Bars, Perpeteum***),
     650-750 mg sodium** (Gatorade, Clif Bars, Perpeteum, salt caps)

* Even drinking 140 oz fluids during and after Saturday's 17-miler, I was down 2# when I got home, meaning I lost like 11# during the run!! My sweat rate when running in 90+ degs and high humidity is actually 50-60 oz/hr(!) but my body can't absorb more than 30-40 oz/hr. So I've been working on gaining a couple extra pounds of water weight (i.e., carbo loading) before every long workout. Thus, even if I lose a few pounds, I'll be back to or close to where I usually am.
** Haven't had any low salt issues but plan to up my sodium intake to the recommended 1 gm/ hour. For the run, I'll add a sports drink, which will also add more calories (can probably handle up to 300). On the bike, either more salty foods or more salt caps. I already do eat extra salt in my diet before my long workouts.
*** Though I ran well after the long bike, I had some noticeable gas issues after consuming Perpeteum late in the ride when CarboPro and solid food were no longer appealing. Googling tells me I'm not the only one (I don't handle soy or whey protein well). I'll be trying some things next time to try to minimize that. Sorry Dave and anyone near me!

Final note, I've decided against using a one-product-does-it-all nutrition like Infinit. Mainly, I don't have the time to dial down a formula (or two) that will work in 80-90+ degs (Great Floridian Iron Tri) as well as 50-70 degs (Beach To Battleship Iron Tri) two weeks later so I'm starting with what I know works for me in the heat and will adjust accordingly for the cooler race. To do that, I need maximum flexibility that a pre-mixed formula won't allow.


Meg Runs said...

What an inspirational post. It is so neat to see your growth and strength both mentally and physically. You aren't a sick puppy're just being smart and attending to all of those important details that will help you in the long run, way to go Shirley!

Formulaic said...

I think that the real reason I can't wait to see you race it that you are already a pro at this stuff!

50+ marathons? This tri stuff is a cake walk. You already know you can do the sports (which is half the battle) and you already know you can handle the stress of a race (which is half the battle). You are a seasoned vet when it comes to the important stuff.

Just look at your thoughts on nutrition. Perfect example. Handled like a pro

Ryan said...

You have got to use what works for you and stick with it. People are so willing to want you to try what works for them but everybody's system is so different.

Post workout gas is good sometimes when you are so wiped out you just need to be left alone for a little while........

DaveP said...

I thought biking with me was the reason you started doing tris? ;-)

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Just catching up on all of your post...
One - Dave is looking slim and trim. That is a sign of a happy man.
Two - Family reunion looked fun! I miss that our family has not had one in forever.
Three - heart and passion... you said it. Your heart is in the right place and your passion is driving you forward.

ShirleyPerly said...

Dave: Tris, yes, but ironman no. You really don't like riding over 80 mi, silly.

jen said...

Well this was informative- I do need to fine tune my nutrition too.. great advice here. Thanks for sharing!

You're doing great with your training. You're so focused and strong. Keep up the great work! :)

Smithposts said...

How motivating to be the person others are watching and wondering "how the hell does she do it?" Congrats on getting there!

Marlene said...

You're amazing! And I thought a lot of planning and preparation had to go into marathon training. :)

Thanks for sharing your nutrition/hydtration strategy. I definitely find it interesting.

Great job on the workouts!

lindsay said...

wow i really feel the need to get my nutrition straightened out. i just roughly try to get enough cals (of any kind) and drink water... i should probably pay more attention to it with the heat and additional miles i'm logging! thanks for sharing your plan and what works for you!

X-Country2 said...

Wow. You're like a new born with that kind of feeding schedule. :o)

Jade Lady said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Ryan - got to figure out what works for u - you are unique!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

very interesting to read about your hydration and nutrition, i have sooo much to learn and try :) You're a total inspiration! Keep your heart and passion where it is!

Arland said...

Great info on the nutrition side of things. We should all be so lucky to know exactly how much fluid we need and what our sweat rate is. I think a lot of us just take a wild guess and do the best we can. I need to dial mine in a little more for sure. I get pretty close on a 100 miler but seem to always crash after I stop and its over.

Vickie said...

First, thanks for your encouragement on my blog about my training. I have struggled some, and after reading your post, I see that maybe I need to make some adjustments to hydration/nutrition. I find it best to eat something filling yet healthy as soon as possible after, but my problem is then I tend to go off for the rest of the day doing errands, visiting, going to the beach, etc., so that may be where I am lacking is in rest. Thanks for your insight into your nutritional plan.

Regina said...

This was so great to read. While the nutrition part still has me reeling (I'm nowhere near in need of that kind of vigilance), the part about missing the love for the sport I totally get. I just started this year (as you know).

While I like this sport very much, I don't really love it just yet. It was nice to see that you had similar feelings when starting out. I think I just need to build momentum slowly and am hoping the passion will come as I get better at it.

thanks for posting this! Did I mention you are a rockstar?

Maria said...

your training temps look ugly too...maybe it's not so bad up here in iowa!

jeanne said...

what a happy story shirley! You're gonna rock your IMs this year!

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words.

Form: Ha! "Cake walk" actually has a hidden meaning for my husband and I. Many years ago, we once went on a long challenging hike in the Rocky Mtns. When we finally got back close to the parking lot again, the trail became paved (so those without rugged shoes could do some short hikes and possibly it'd be wheelchair accessible too). At that point I said, "it's a cake walk!" and down my husband went. He had relaxed, become less concerned about his footing and slipped on a small rock -- Oops!

So I don't take anything for granted, esp. if it's a "cake walk" ;-)

Jenny Davidson said...

It's a great post, Shirley. I share your feeling that the nutrition is not so interesting or fun to think about as all the other stuff, so I am particularly grateful for your detailed observations about what's working!

Sherry said...

Shirley, this post is AMAZING! I want to copy/paste and print it out to stare at! :o) Our sweat rates are so similar, it's amazing... and the good news (for me, being so new to this) is that my numbers for what I need in regards to fluid/calories/salt are looking a lot like yours at this stage in the game. Hopefully this will all translate into GREAT races for BOTH of us!

Your average training paces (especially on the bike) are so similar to mime. Even your long run is pretty close (I may be a wee bit slower). Soooo wish that we lived closer to each other. Would love to train with you. Maybe someday. :o)

I'm very excited about your upcoming races. My friend, Julie, did the Great Floridian last year (was 2nd female overall) and said that it's a terrific race. I actually can't wait to read all about your B2B expereince. I'm fairly certain that Scott and I are going to the do the 1/2 B2B next year.

aron said...

you are so amazing!!!!! so so amazing :)