Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Bike.

This past week (or month really) has really been "all about the bike." Finding the bike, that is. Frustrated beyond belief at finding something that would work for me in a 700cc wheel I was about to throw in the towel. Ok, not really but I certainly had a few temper tantrums.

After my phone conversation with the bike guru (where I said - ok what can I get and he pretty much told me I was crazy), I started doing my own research on TT bikes. I looked at just about every thing out there to see the smallest frame size they had and what the actual top tube measurement was. Sure they might call it a "49" but most of the time that top tube is really gonna be somewhere between a 51-52. Why not just CALL it that? I still don't understand that logic.

Before heading to the bike guru I finally found a bike that I thought might work. It's an xxs, "47" (really a 49cm top tube) and it has BIG kid wheels. Wow. Could it work?

I headed into my appt with the bike guru ready for him to take some measurements and tell me I could order this bike. Not EXACTLY how the 3.5hours of bike overload went.

'This is wrong in so many ways"

Yup, that's how the appt started out. It was a full blown assessment of my medical history, cycling history, fitness in the past - current. Injuries (really did he have THAT much time), pain and finally a little evaluation on the computrainer.

Not only did my bike fit have so many things wrong, so did my technique. Question for you all - how many of you were taught to cycle and act like you were scraping mud off your shoe? You know, heal down not toe down? Yup - I had that engraved in my mind, so that's what I have always done.

Apparently NOT the case. Based on my current fit & technique I am 14% INEFFICIENT. You do that math on a 40k race. Yup, get the bike fit right and add in some technique work = awesome potential.

While I have to admit this guy and I have different mindsets about what we wanted out of this fit, and maybe a little bit of personality conflict (uh, can you just fix my bike, tell me what I can buy and send me on my way???), I know that in the long run all of this is going to be worth the time, money and frustrations in a BIG WAY.

Verdict? A big fat shopping list. Biggest changes (road bike):

  • Moving from 170mm cranks (compact gearing) to 165mm (compact)
  • New handlebars changing from a 38 to a 40 and getting a more compact drop angle for better fit.
  • New cleats (who knew they wore down so quickly & what happened to that screw missing from my cleat?) PLUS a slight shift in the posting of my right cleat due to a slight curve from my knee down. I don't know the medical jargon is for this, but to sum it up my right second toe curves out. How did we find this? The fit is almost a tag team - guru's wife is an orthopedic doc (who also happens to be a world record cyclist) examined me. Can we say IT BAND history?
  • Insoles in my bike shoes - who knew?
Apparently this isn't your typical fit. It's a 3 part series:
  • Step 1, first fitting and shopping list (if necessary). My shopping list was so dramatic that he actually couldn't set my bike up the way it needs to be until I have the new cranks & handlebars.
  • Step 2, setup new stuff on bike and get fit right
  • Step 3, ride in new position & then go back to fix my crappy technique
  • Step 3b - find perfect TT bike based on road fit - yes I made this be step 1a :-) I'm a persistent little shit.
Summary - After verifying a few things with the bike manufacturer and a very helpful bike friend…. My new parts are on order as is the NEW TT bike which will be built up with all things I want (SRAM). (I really really pressured (re stalked, drove him him crazy) fit guru into telling me yay or nay before he was ready to because well, I have no more patience and have some races people).

Next post = hopefully a pretty picture of my sparkly new TT toy! And, best part. She's already got some new party shoes to race on!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fun size

Fun size. That's what my training buddy calls me. This coming from the gal who's 5'10" can race in outfits like swimsuits and 1 piece suits and pull it off just like this gal can.

Sure short is good sometimes. I never had a problem being taller than any boys :-). I can fit in small places. I can wear 4" heals and still be shorter than my husband. Ugh, I don't really have to duck under trees when riding my bike like most people. Ok, that's about it.

I was so looking forward to posting about my beautiful new Argon 18 e112. I even just worked a deal to buy my girlfriends race wheels. My training has restarted and I'm back to working my butt off. However, the bike hours are building and I'm really really missing my aerobars. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my road bike, but there's nothing better than hammering along tucked down in aero and just RIDING.

Let me digress. About a month ago I came into an opportunity to buy a friend's used Argon e114. I thought about it a lot, then headed into my lbs to see if the size would work for me, and found out they were offering a smoking deal to a local tri club on a brand NEW argon e112. I had their fit guy look at some measurements and see if the xs size (smallest they make) would work. Since I love love love my Argon road bike, I was hoping the same love could transfer over to a TT bike. The fit guy gave me a call after looking at my measurements & said the top tube was too long, but just to be sure bring in my TT bike (this was before I put it up for sale) and he would take some measurements.

He took a couple quick measurements and based on the top tube+stem+current bar set up determined that the xs Argon frame would work! I would need to order some different aerobars that could be adjusted and pulled back (vs standard all together bar/wing setup) and use a shorter stem. The difference in doing that would make up for the longer top tube.

REALLY? So, I can get it? Like, it's gonna fit me you aren't just telling me what I want to hear?


Sweet. Within one week my new bike frame was ordered, my old TT bike sold and my 650c race wheels were sold within in a couple hours of posting them.

Buh-by training wheels, hello big kid bike!

Deep down I've still had this worry that it wasn't going to work out. My plan was to ask around and find out the best bike fit guy in the area and make sure I got set up perfectly! With my bike almost built up and the last step of getting the new bars in I made the call to a much raved about fit guru.

And that's where the fun stopped, Within 10mins of talking to him my heart was sinking and I was pretty sure he was telling me no bueno. No bueno on the bike. He didn't 100% confirm this, but after looking at the geometry and talking about my shape, height, etc…. he was definitely implying that.

So, the Argon e112 is on hold. I have an appt with the guru on Wed with my road bike. His plan is incredibly thorough, but he's already told me step one is I have to get new/shorter cranks for both bikes. I'm riding 170mm, need 165. Looks like I'll have some SRAM red cranks up on Ebay here soon.

Appt #1 will consist of about 2-3hours figuring out what I need to switch out, making tweaks, working with my pedal stroke. I'm going to find out how in/e - fficient I pedal and what my potential is. Once he's figured out the geometry he will work with me on my TT bike options.

I'm excited, scared, pissed and a little anxious since I have 2 races coming up. One is 5 weeks, 1 in 10. Sure would be nice if I had bike to actually ride by then…

Fun size = NOT SO FUN.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"You should work harder in training so you'll be faster"

Those are the magic words of encouragement I got from BSC after sending her a video of my swimming. She requested both Shane & I get her some swim videos so she could see what we look like (aka, how she can fix us and make us faster).

I did a very detailed video analysis with one of our local swim experts, Ann Wilson of Camelback Coaching but it was several years ago - 07 I think. I had a few things I had to work on, but I think I've mostly corrected those (my hand entry was crossing over my head, my head position was looking too much forward vs down & my elbows were not high on my pull). I spent a lot of time doing 1 arm swim drills to help (try) to build a more powerful pull, however I tend to feel myself loosing my glide halfway into my swims and I could FEEL it's all in my pull but I wasn't sure how to correct it.

I've got my tips on how to work on pulling so I "catch" more water. I think I know what she means… Sure would be nice to have her come to AZ for a training camp now that she has several local athletes, not to mention all her old drinking training buddies that still live here. Just sayin' - of course I wouldn't suggest that until AFTER hot, hell, sunny all the time, want to die outside season ends. Like, after Kona. THAT would be perfect. Or Spring. That too would be perfect.

Sometimes I have the BEST ideas. My dogs could even watch her mini-me. Ok, maybe not all my ideas are that great, but some are.

So, here are a couple of the videos I sent. I couldn't stop laughing at how differently Shane I swim. Complete opposites. He was long/slow strokes and his arms came way out of the water like a windmill. I, on the other hand, no matter how much distance per stroke work I did for years in masters still have that faster turnover. What I DIDN'T realize was that my elbows aren't really high like I thought they were. Coach didn't critique that, so hopefully it's ok!

I'd love anyone's feedback! Good and bad :-) The final thought from BSC was, "Overall though I am encouraged. You guys don't suck at swimming ;-)."

And, the infamous words of "You should work harder in training so you'll be faster" are in my head now every time I'm told to go FAST and hit a certain interval. Not sure how to go any harder, but heck…. She sure can swim and her training partner, athlete Nalani was the first female age grouper out of the water at CDA so she certainly knows a thing or two.

With any luck I can get my Canada swim time back for Ironman AZ next year and go sub 1:05.

Did I just openly admit that?


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

electrolyte balance

I've been wearing my e21 Kit a lot more lately which is leading to a lot of questions about the product. Please note, I'm not wearing the kit just to push the product, I do not get any sort of payment or commission or anything from the company. The company created a new sponsored athlete team this year to help promote this amazing product and I was one of the lucky athletes chosen. Anyhoo - Since I sold my tri-bike I've been riding only my road bike since IM and I like thicker shorts on that bike, hence the e21 Kit.

So, in an effort to kill some birds with with one post, if you will…. I just wanted to write a couple of quick notes about the product, and the benefits I've received. I am by no means a nutrition expert or understand the science behind all of the vitamins & minerals in the product (not to mention the magic seaweed) so all I can share is what it's done for me.

I've mentioned it before, but I'm big big sweater. A real big SALTY sweater. Training during the summer in AZ has never been easy for me. When I first started training long, especially on the bike (anything over 3hours), I would get this massive headaches after just a couple of hours. I started taking salt tabs to help…but even the high sodium based Thermolytes didn't do the trick most of the time (enduroltyes did nothing for me). I'd drink and drink, take pill after pill and finally resorted to stopping at gas stations and eating an entire packet of salt. Multiple times. While it helped and the headaches would be less prominent, I still didn't feel great. Not to mention the non stop bloating for days from so much sodium intake.

I'm happy to say that since I started taking e21 in January/February I have not taken ONE SINGLE salt tab. Nothing. I'm no longer craving all things salt (chips, popcorn, feta) all the time. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better than a trip to Pita Jungle for some feta infused pizza or salad, but I don't HAVE.TO.HAVE.IT right now.

Anyone who was around me for the months leading up to IMCDA knows I trained my ass off. I worked hard, and put in a lot of quality training. Until the very end when my normal over-use injuries snuck there way in (stupid IT bands), I was in damn good shape. I was recovering quickly from 5-6hour rides and able to back it up with a 16-20mile run. My swims were always good efforts. Every day I was amazed at how my body dealt with the training. Now, I can't say it's all because of the magic seaweed pills. I know that I've been doing this endurance thing for a while, and I've always been really good about my HR training (even though the first 2 years of that may have been tho most BORING, painful and SLOW years of my life) so that definitely helped. However, I felt better than ever and I know it had a lot to do with e21.

Since Ironman I haven't been using the product as I should have been. I took 6 weeks off of formal training and just did what I wanted to do. Other than my weekend adventure in Flag and the impromptu 4 hour training ride, I wasn't doing anything "over an hour" so I wasn't thinking about taking any e21 (my regiment is 2pills per hour).

Then yesterday hit. We were watching my niece for a couple of days so S & I had to take turns riding. He went first so I was not able to get out and start my ride until 7:30am. It was 90ish degrees with about 50-60% humidity. The sun was blazing. My HR was way higher than normal for riding at the effort I was giving. I rode for 90mins. Nothing too crazy. A few big gear intervals, but my HR max was only 165 on those, the rest of the time 135-145 so I certainly wasn't killing it. I drank 2 x 20oz bottles of water & had 1 power gel in 90mins. When I got home I was drenched in sweat, salt and dizzy… I weighed myself. I was 2 lbs down from my pre-ride weight.

I spent the rest of the day trying to quench my thirst. I felt so tired, couldn't keep my eyes open. I had a coke with lunch hoping the sugar would help, ate a ton of fresh veggies trying to "eat clean." Nothing helped. I just plain ol' felt like SHIT.

Of course it never donned on me I should have taken e21. I wasn't "going long."… But then today I was getting some extra pills out to give to Shane (he was doing a 2:30 brick workout and then had to do some work travel - which always somehow ends up with a lot of not-so electrolyte-y consumption if you know what I mean, so I wanted to make sure he was getting in his electrolytes). As I did this the "hey stupid" light bulb went off and I realized I should be taking some as well! I only ran 30mins, but it's hot and humid as a mother-effer and I sweat through my clothes. I also had a swim set with some 100s mixed in to do so I didn't want to feel like crap.

Whadaya know, I took two e21s post run had a protein shake and headed to the pool a couple hours later to feel great on the swim. My 100s were on a good interval time for not too much effort & I got out feeling good.

So, anyway - I've reminded myself how important this electrolyte thing is, especially with this time of year. I've started my training back up to be in good shape for Soma half IM at the end of October and that means I'm gonna be training in these nasty conditions for 12 weeks. Luckily this amazing company is supplying me with the product as a benefit for being a sponsored athlete. I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity, and happy that every couple of months they send me samples to share with others!

So, if you are out there and haven't tried it.. Let me know, I'll get you some samples. Or if you just want to take my word for it, go HERE and use: dogmom for a 20% discount.

You WON'T be disappointed.

P.S. for those who cramp a lot in the pool. My husband is infamous for this. He cramps damn near every single time he swims. He just started back to training 3 weeks ago, and has done more work in the pool then EVER this early into a training season and I think he's cramped, or been on the verge of it only one time. After ~7month hiatus from training to recovery from injury/surgery he's been back at it with 10-14hr per week training sessions in the worst weather we get here in AZ and he's kicking ass! Guess who's been taking e21? Just saying'