Tag Archives: Clif Shot

That First Drop and Then the Storm

Clean.  Neat.  Orderly.  At least this is how I look when I’m just beginning a workout.  I don’t really put any effort into my appearance but I do try to ensure everything is more or less in place with my long hair pulled back and out of my face.  I need to make sure I put my clothes on correctly so nothing constrains, rubs or snags.  My heart rate monitor strap needs to be tight enough.  And I need to go down the rest of my mental checklist: Sunscreen?  Check.  Sunglasses? Check.  Hydration?  Check.  CLIF Shot?  Check.  Road ID?  Check.  Garmin watch?  Check.  I don’t want to have to worry about any of this once I begin my workout.  I don’t want to have to stop to adjust my heart rate strap or tighten my shoe laces.  Once I start running, cycling or swimming I want to be able to focus only on my body and what it needs to do for the next one to three or so hours.  I want to focus on properly stretching and warming — waking — up my muscles, mind and spirit.  I want to focus on entering into my zone, listening to my breathing, feeling my heart pound, improving my technique, hammering out the assigned drills and experiencing my special connection with Noah.

Once I’m warmed up and feeling the onset of entering the zone, It begins.  Moisture begins to seep through my skin.  My body starts perspiring.  Usually my head becomes damp first but sometimes I feel beads of sweat forming on my back.  And then that first bead rolls from my scalp down my cheek (or sometimes my back).  Sometimes it’ll linger for a second or two on my chin and sometimes it drops directly onto my bike or the ground.  After that first drop a storm of these beads quickly build up all over me.  Sweat pours out of me for most of my workout.

While riding indoors the other day I realized I really look forward to that first drop.  It’s almost like a mini-phase I’m eager to reach during every workout.  While I’m grateful for the physiological reasons that my body can perspire, I think I look forward to these first few drops for mainly cathartic reasons.  I feel as though I’ve begun to cleanse my entire body.  This sounds silly when one thinks about the real purpose of perspiration and the ill odor it creates.  But sweating during a training session is a catharsis for me.  I feel like I’m giving my body, mind and spirit a deep cleaning — a scrubbing if you will —  every time.

Once I’ve completed my workout I’m usually soaked with sweat dripping almost everywhere.  I’m exhausted and flat-out disgusting with that ill-odor, clothes drenched, remnants of an energy gel somewhere on my face or hands (and its used packaging stashed somewhere in my clothes),  bits of snot on my sleeves and most likely around my nose, and specks of dirt on my legs and shoes.  None of this matters because at the end of my training session my spirit, mind and body feel deeply cleansed.

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Honu 70.3 Finisher!

I crossed the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (AKA Honu 70.3) finish line! Since then I have had and continue to have so many different thoughts and emotions about this race. I imagine I’ll post at least few times about it. For now I’ll share my race results and sort of recap each leg of the race.

The results:

Swim (1.2 miles) — 50:56

Bike (56 miles) — 3:20:04

Run (13.1 miles) — 1:58:35

Overall (70.3 miles) — 6:20:21

Swim

I definitely struggled with the swim. I have a hard time sighting the buoys and swimming in a straight line. I’m sure I swam more than the necessary 1.2 miles because of these shortcomings. (I don’t know my actual distance because I don’t use my Garmin in the water.) I was pretty late coming out of the water. Oh but the water, the water was absolutely beautiful! I could see the bottom of the ocean! The sky was blue and the temperature was practically perfect.

Bike

The bike was extremely challenging. The place where we mounted was on a very steep incline so I (along with lots of others) had a hard time with the start. In fact for a couple of seconds I thought something was wrong with my bike because I couldn’t seem to pedal! Then at some point way too soon — I can’t remember when exactly — I began dealing with the notorious crosswinds. I do know I felt them as soon as I made it to the famous Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway — we actually ride part of the Ironman World Championship course — but I seem to recall encountering them almost as soon as I got past the steep incline. Whatever actually happened, these crosswinds are a big reason why this course is one of the hardest in the world. The winds are so strong bikes will slant over to one side while going straight. There were a few times when I truly felt like the wind was going to blow me off the road. (Seriously, picture scenes from “The Wizard of Oz!”) And they don’t seem to give any warning when they’ll blow. At times right when I think it’s relatively calm enough and I’m stable enough to grab my water bottle or a Clif shot, they hit me, and wham or even double or triple wham I’m holding on tight! Proper hydration and nutrition are so important while racing. The heat and humidity make these components even more critical for Honu 70.3. I’m not the most coordinated person either so trying to:

  • drink,
  • down an energy gel or
  • actually eat a Clif bar

while:

  • balancing myself on my bike,
  • bracing for winds,
  • navigating among other cyclists (without breaking any rules)
  • maintaining somewhat good form,

and oh yes shifting gears and pushing myself as hard as possible is “somewhat” challenging for me.

And WOW! I actually saw Lance Armstrong! I like to say, “I passed Lance on the bike!” Granted he was riding in the other direction well beyond the halfway point, and I was at something like mile 15. The cyclist right next to me yelled, “he makes it look so easy.” I completely agree. To see him in action was very, very cool. He’s truly impressive!

Run

The run was hard but not for the reasons I imagined while training. I thought once I put on my running shoes, consume a Clif shot and head out of transition I would feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to run 13.1 miles. The distance didn’t bother me though. I told myself, “I’ve got this run down. Just tick off the miles.” And the miles didn’t seem long until I was around mile 10.5, that is. That’s when my mind and heart wanted to go faster to finish strong and hard but my legs didn’t cooperate. I was able to pick it up but not nearly as much as I’d like. What made the run hard was the brutal wind and sun. My hat blew off at least once, and I had to hold it down with my hands a few times — not the best form for running. I felt the sun beating down on my arms and its intensity seemed to increase over time.

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Food 4 Thought: 3

For as long as I can remember I’ve always sought out delicious food.  I used Chowhound (before it was acquired); I subscribe to Eater; and I let the James Beard Foundation, other food experts and recommendations from foodies influence where MLH and I dine next.  What’s interesting is now that I’m well into training for my upcoming races, depending on the training session 20%-50% of my daily calories consist of energy gels, protein bars, recovery drinks, pre-training meals, nutrition drinks/smoothies and hydration liquids.  I think manufacturers of these products have come a long way in terms of nutrition content and even taste.  These days I feel as though my meals are on two opposite ends of the spectrum:  pure nutrition to prepare for training, help endure my training and recover from my training versus meals to savor.  (Yes at times I have to resort to a frozen meal or crappy food.  Those are the only meals/snacks I dread consuming.)  Both training grub and delicious food give me great satisfaction for very different reasons.

Some of my Training Grub:

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