Thursday, July 22, 2010


I've been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now. Nutrition. The 4th sport. Anyone who has been doing endurance sports, particularly Ironman will agree. It's a never ending battle, or learning experience. You get advice, you give advice and you try all sorts of things out there. Everyone is different, and with all the gazillion products out there... we all have our preferences.

Here's some of my nutritional (or lack there of) history over the past several years...

For several years I did the same old thing. I started with marathon training so I was introduced to powergel. Vanilla specifically. It was the only flavor I seemed to be able to stomach so it was ALL I used. For an entire year. Let's just say it wasn't until 8 years later when I finally opened up another package of vanilla gel.

I used the typical rule of thumb for running. Lots of water, some gatorade & a gel every 45mins. I used that same methodology for years. Short races, long races... even up to half & full ironman distance.

I tried Accelorade while training for my first Ironman cause someone told me I should have protein. Let's just say the aftermath of a 5+hr ride after drinking that stuff did NOT go over well for either of the LaPans. And with that, we both went back to Gatorade. Flavors switched, but for the most part it's been my old reliable.

I did try some solid food here and there. Cliff bars (too hard to eat, dry & now I've heard horror stories about tummy problems), nutter butters. One day I even brought a half of a bagel because I had been getting so HUNGRY on the long bikes. It was so dry, I quickly gave up on that idea.

Salt is another big problem for me. I sweat, I sweat like crazy and it's crusty salty nasty salty sweat. For a while I was taking whatever salt pills Shane had, but as the heat got worse, I started getting these awful headaches. Finally, momo gave me a good old packet of salt, and instantly my headache went away. Later I found out Shane had purchases a different type of salt pills with about 1/3 the sodium. What can I say - my body likes salt!

So flash forward to a few years later and I'm back at the Ironman training again. I started adding Gu Chomps into the mix, which I really like... but as the training has increased I keep finding myself starving again. My crazy fast Utah girls Lindsay & Emily tell me about their riding adventures with snickers and beef jerky & potato chips. I decided once over the 3hr mark I was going to start mixing in more solids.

Just as I was having this "epiphany" my coach scheduled a call to talk to Shane & I about nutrition. She asked what we have been doing from breakfast onto the long rides. Lets just say she was less than pleased. I think the conversation went something like this...

C: "what is your breakfast"
S&K "PB toast"
C: "and..."
S&K "It's too hot. and early."
C: "I know.. but that will not work. You need to try this and that and that and something about 25grams of protein."

The conversation continued this way while talking about our nutrition on the bike. Basically the consensus was we were to add a protein smoothie to our breakfast routine, and STOP with the gels on the bike (hallelujah!). She wanted us eating some form of solid food/bar for the first few hours on the bike, moving onto the jelly type stuff (chomps) and last resort a gel at the end. The idea is (tried and true by herself over several years of pro-racing and taking advice from other pros) you get as much in the stomach on the bike so you are fueled for the run.

Novel concept, huh?

So I've been trying the new found nutrition plan over the last couple of weeks & I think it's working. Last Saturday in Flagstaff I woke up had my PB toast, caffeine drink, and a naked juice plus ice & brown rice protein powder smoothie. I was miserably stuffed... but forced the food in like a good little girl.

In the first 3 hours I ate: 1 mojo bar, 1 snickers bar & half a bottle of EFS sports drink + 5 thermolytes. From 3-4hrs I ate a package (2 servings) of GU chomps + 1 more thermolyte and finished the EFS. At about 4:30 I used a gel to get me home.

I HAVE NEVER FELT BETTER. I got off the bike with energy, happy & not starving. I can't wait to keep using this new nutrition plan over the next few weeks and get it dialed in.

It's taken me years of not trying much of anything new, and paying for it in my races and training by getting so behind on calories, then eating (stuffing) when I've reached the big hole trying to climb back out. I feel like I'm finally, for the first time in a really good place.

I eat huge breakfasts with lots of protein (Eggs pretty much every day, followed by mid morning protein smoothie). I am grabbing healthy, more filling snacks - but not depriving myself of things I love. Yesterday, when I got home from my swim (had to run a couple errands after) all I wanted were chips. I know this happens to me often so I bought the single-serv multi pack of baked chips from costco. I grabbed the baked cheetos and instantly my craving was cured!

I also treat myself to some form of chocolate almost every night. Usually the mini dove dark chocolates do the trick.. sometimes dipped in PB :-)

I don't count calories. I don't always eat what I should. I eat sensibly and I don't diet. I've managed to loose some weight, and feel good and strong. I can't wait to see how this all turns out. I guess if I could give any advice (if anyone cares) after making so many mistakes in nutrition, it would be to listen to your body. It tells you what you want. Have good options around and don't try to limit your food when you are training this much...

Monday, July 19, 2010

More Flagstaff Adventures.

I had the wonderful opportunity of heading up to Flagstaff to keep my girl Amanda company last Wednesday afternoon. Working from home certainly has it's PERKS!

Thursday morning we headed out for the infamous "snowbowl climb." It's basically a 28mile loop starting with a 7mile warmup, 7mile climb from 7000ft up to 9300ft, descend, and then head back home. I would say the grade is between 9mile hill climb and and Mt Lemmon. I spun my way up (love my compact crank!) and got to the top in just over 49minutes with a perfect zone 2 heart rate. The descend was great, and I even saw a couple of deer. Totally a must do in the Flag area. A couple hours later we loosened up our legs with a nice swim at NAU. What a refreshing change to swim in a COOL pool.

Thursday night was our play night. I only had to swim on Friday so we knew we could have fun and a few cocktails. We headed out for a happy hour glass of wine at the Wine Loft and then across the street to a wonderful little Latin restaurant. It was a perfect date night with my friend...

Friday after work, Shane drove up to join us for some weekend training. He's been sidelined with an injury for a week, so he was MORE than ready to get back at it. Our coach had a 5hr ride on the schedule for us, but backed Shane down to 2ish hours to ease back into it. We started out around 6am. The skies were cloudy and the wind was calm. PERFECT riding weather. I honestly could not have asked for better conditions.

Amanda, bless her heart, headed out my 5hour adventure. We rode out on Lake Mary road and did two loops around Morman Lake.

My legs were ready. My HR crazy low and I felt fantastic. Better than I have felt in months. My nutrition was SPOT on. After a long discussion about what we had been eating on the bike with our coach, I was trying her suggestions. More solid food, less gels. In 5 hours ate: A snickers bar, a mojo bar, package of GU chomps, 1 gel & a bottle of EFS drink. Around 900 calories. I logged 88.25miles with an average HR of 118, zone 1. I ended the ride feeling fantastic. I wasn't starving, I wasn't exhausted and my legs felt strong. It was a confidence booster I had been looking for, for months.

The 3 of us walked down to the wine loft for a glass and to pick up some wine to go with our Shrimp dinner!

Sunday morning I had 4hr ride/45min run on the schedule. My legs were a little tired, but not too bad. Shane really wanted to do the Snow Bowl climb so we headed out for the 2hr loop. We had a little bit of wind on the climb, but overall I felt strong. I managed to take a minute off my time from a couple days ago getting to the top in just over 48mins!

I felt more confident on the descend this time and just flew back down the mountain peaking at over 43mph. I HEART my road bike and HED Ardenes wheels. I love how much control I have and how comfortable I am with the cornering on the descends.
Shane needed to log about 3hrs so we asked some local riders about heading further out on the highway. They said it was a great ride so off we went. LITTLE did we know we would be climbing climbing climbing some more... We finally turned around when we hit 8000ft.

Shane's ride was over with after we headed back towards Amanda's house and I was on my own needing another 90mins. The wind was picking up and I realized I had not kept up on my nutrition. My legs were feeling the 90miles from Saturday and crazy climbing from the first couple of hours. I convinced myself if I got to 50miles I could head home a litter early. I ended the day with over 52miles in 3:25hrs(over 5000 total ft of climbing) and a 4mile run at the end.
I was cooked. Done. Put a fork in me. I think the lack of or the right kind of calories caught up to me on this workout and I felt it. We headed out for dinner, and I had to do everything in my power to stay awake until 8pm. Even though I didn't sleep the whole time, at least my body got to lie down and rest for 10hrs.
Today was our last day in Flag and I had a 2:20min run on tap. Per the suggestion of the neighbor, he sent us on a 1hour trail loop. Note to self. NEVER LISTEN TO A MOUNTAIN BOY LOCAL. This was the hardest long run I've ever done in my life.
The first 2.5miles were straight up hill (over 500ft vertical GAIN). Then we descended so fast my quads were trashed. We had rollers for the last couple of miles on rocky terrain (I am NOT a trail runner). I dropped Shane off, refilled my water and headed back out on another hilly 1:20run. My legs were so trashed from the first hour I have no idea how made it.
I dug deep, turned up my music and ended the run with a few tears of complete exhaustion. It was an amazing 4 days of training, in perfect weather with the best company, but I was DONE.
I'm so happy with how my body has bounced back from being so sick, and gained a lot from this tough weekend. I'm so thankful for Amanda for inviting us up to stay with her, helping get such amazing training logged out of the heat.
A big thanks also to my dear friend Natalie for taking such great care of my babies. She spoiled them rotten and they had the best time ever playing with the girls. They came home freshly bathed and pooped out. Couldn't have asked for a better doggy sitter!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4th of July FUN

I spent a lot of time on my own training this weekend so I blogged in my mind a lot. Now it's just a matter of sitting down and typing it out. First things first, a fun picturesque post about the 4th of July with wonder friends in Flagstaff.

My girl Amanda rented a place for the month of July right in the heart of downtown Flagstaff. Of course I told her I was moving in with her.... The weekend was packed with plans of training & playing. A perfect balance. We had several friends in town doing their last big training block before Ironman Switzerland so we had a big group. Fortunately for us, Shane & I had a "recovery week." Much needed after his big training block and myself rebuilding my strength after being so sick!

We got into town Friday evening and had a great dinner & cocktail hour with Jen & Nils who also rented a place in Flag. They had a 6hr ride in the am so it was an early night for all. Shane & I just had a 3hr ride so we rode for a bit with the group then headed home.... The elevation was a shock to the system, but besides thirst I think my body handled it pretty well!

And that's where the fun began! Our own personal bartender at our service....

Afternoon happy hour outside.... Did you read that - I said OUTSIDE. Cool nice fresh breeze. Salty Bloody Mary (recovery drink, of course).

After the Switz group finished with there 90mile ride and rested up, Amanda hosted a big carb loading dinner for everyone. It was casual, yummy and perfect.
Amanda's BFF was in town from Atlanta. I love these 2. I can't believe it took me so long to have them in my life! I think Amanda may have been just a little shocked when she saw the amount of food us athletes could put down.....
The night cooled down, and we even got to put on SWEATSHIRTS and jeans. I almost forgot what they were like.

Sunday morning Shane & met up with 2 others in the Switz group to run some trails. We had 2:30 on our schedule. We started out doing a 1:40 loop with plans on coming back to the beginning of the trail to refill on water. The temp was perfect, but the packed trail we were on was pretty tough. At about 1:20 I started to feel tired and extremely thirsty. As we headed back to get more water I was really bonking. Shane & I decided to head out onto the road vs the trail & hills to give the legs and knees a rest. I made it about a mile longer, 1:50 and realized it was in my best interested to stop. I'd come a long way on the road to recovery in the last few days, but my fuel tank was still pretty low. I got in 1:50 & 12 miles at 7000ft. I'll take that!
After a recovery swim in a icky very short indoor pool (no need to go any further with that) we were ready to celebrate the 4th of July. Robert, one of the IM Switz group invited us all over to his beautiful home in Flag for a BBQ. It was fantastic & another example of wonderful hosts....
Again an early night for the crazy athletes. We play as hard as we can, but the training creeps up and pretty much we all crash shortly after dark :-)

Monday we moved around pretty slowly, then loaded up the car to head out to breakfast with my college bff Erin & her family who just happened to drive up from Oklahoma to be with family in Flag. After a quick breakfast with the group & meeting her new baby boy, we were on the highway heading home. Briefly.
With in 5mins we saw a sign saying the highway was closed due to an accident 40miles ahead. We chanced it assuming it would be cleared by the time we got there, but just 10mins later we got a call from Erin saying that her sister in law was stuck in the traffic, going no where. We didn't know what else to do so we turned around and headed back to Amanda's to check the online traffic status.
It didn't take long for Amanda & Brandi to convince us just to stay.... After checking the status of the highway it was either head out and turn a 2hr drive into 4+ or stay and enjoy the town and company one more night. We secured the dog sitter and off we were into town.
Amanda wanted to show us some of the fun hangouts she had found starting with the local bike hangout, Pay n Take. One beer later our day had been designated the local pup crawl....and off we were.
Every place we went - we asked our bartender where we should go next....
Stop 2, The Weatherford Hotel...
Of course walking from place to place we followed all the rules....

The Lumberyard - we had to have some snacks to soak it all up a bit :-)
Pool and cocktails at the Monte Vista! I honestly don't think I hit one ball in.... It was still fun though :-)

The green room was up next.... This stop was pretty brief. The hunger kicked in and we were on a mission for food...
Only a couple playful stops along the way.

The pub crawl ended at the Beaver Street Brewery. Unfortunately we waited too long for our food and had a crazy sugar crash making it our last stop on the tour.

Turns out the last impromptu day was the most fun. Carefree, random and an absolute blast! Thanks to Amanda & Brandi for such an amazing final Holiday weekend adventure.