Monday, November 19, 2007

My niece, my inspiration

My niece, Marie, was born with cerebral palsy. She was born 3 months premature and came into this world determined. When she was diagnosed, the doctor said - "See how she doesn't move one leg and then the other." Well, within the week she was moving one leg and then the other. Then it was that she couldn't go from kneeling to up on her knees and once again she was kneeling no problem within the week. It was like she just needed to hear what she couldn't do and she was determined to prove them wrong. After being told she would never be able to get around on her own she now, using a walker and with braces on, gets around with no problem.

Marie is 5 years old and after having some doctors say she'll never walk on her own without a walker, we as her family know Marie better than that. She is now in an intensive physical therapy to learn to walk on her own and it is amazing. I went to watch her and she is determined to walk. She works with the therapist for 3 hours at a time. She does squats and leg lifts and wears a suit that provides just enough support so she can walk around in it and then they release the support a little at a time until she'll be walking on her own. At the end of a physical therapy session her little legs are shaking and she is exhausted. We have already seen her progress in such a short period of time. It is amazing how the human body responds and adapts to the demands placed on it- just goes to show anything is possible!
Nothing will stop my niece as she grows up and overcomes the obstacles she has been faced with at such a young age. She is always asking me to go exercise and I take her up to our home gym where she has a circuit of exercises she goes through and she loves it! So next time you think about skipping a workout or you just don't feel like training, think about my 5 year old niece who works out 3 hours at a time until her legs shake to one day be able to walk, something most of us take for granted. Get out and move!

She inspires me everyday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cable Tv or Fitness?

Why is it that cable TV, luxury car payments and Starbucks have become necessities in the households of most Americans but a gym membership and especially a personal trainer has not made it into that list of necessities yet? A personal trainer is still considered by most a “luxury” item.

Basic cable is currently $50.00/month, average car payment is $500/month and a daily Starbucks runs someone at $120.00/month ($4 a day) and most households manage to fit these in their budget as if they were a necessity.

Let’s face it if we were talking necessity we would all be driving a compact economical car which would get us from point A to point B for under $200 a month. Instead when you drive around my town you see every luxury vehicle there is and most with a monthly payment of well over $500 a month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with driving a nice car with a steep price tag at all. A nice car makes you feel good and I am all about feeling good but don’t say this $500 plus payment is a necessity and then tell me you can’t afford a personal trainer.

The average personal trainer charges $50.00 an hour. Meet them once a month and you’ll have someone designing a fitness program for you, providing accountability, and helping you to completely change your life. What price do you put on that? It amazes me that people will prioritize their cable TV or their luxury vehicle over their health and fitness.

I have seen people drive up to our gym in their Mercedes(again nothing against driving a Mercedes) and come in to get information and tell me it is too expensive at $219.00/ month which includes 4 fitness coaching sessions, an individualized program and a gym membership. I have to hold back from asking them how much that nice car in the parking lot costs them per month…

The idea for this article came from a client, who has lost 60 pounds and feels great, who said, “I have been a member now for 5 years working out consistently, you guys are in my monthly budget like my car payment or my electric bill. Paying you is just as much a necessity. I’ll get rid of our cable TV before I would give this up.”

This got me thinking that more people need to have that attitude. The national weight loss registry just came out with the statistic that 62% of people successful at weight loss watch less than 10 hours of TV a week and 90% exercise regularly.

Hmmm...Is it any mystery that most of America is obese watching over 10 hours a week of TV and can't find time or money to hire a personal trainer for 3 hours a week? When will fitness be in everyone's monthly budget as a neccessity?

Monday, November 05, 2007

What a weekend!

This past weekend was a great weekend for the clients I work with. I had a client compete in her first figure competition and place 4th! She looked great and I was so proud of her. Congratulations Twyla!
It was so great to see her get on stage and accomplish her goal. I met her in March of this year when she told me her goal was to get in shape to get on stage and do a Figure Competition and fit in on stage.

She not only did that but she placed 4th in her class! She looked amazing!

I am so proud of her!

Also this weekend we had our first Results Fitness 5K team complete their first 5K! There were 16 people who all did really great! We had a great time watching each of them accomplish their goal on Sunday! Congratulations guys! You did great!

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Ironman will be on TV on Sunday!

They are showing footage of the Ironman I did in July this Sunday. Maybe I'll have a cameo... Watch for me in this outfit-

Tune in on Sunday on television on Versus at 1pm Pacific.

Check your local listings for times.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 22, 2007

On adrenal holiday...

I am addicited to caffeine. Yes, I, Rachel Cosgrove am a caffeine addict. I have been working on an elimination plan for my clients at the gym to follow and I have always said that having 1-2 cups of coffee with protein is allowed. Well, after discussing this with various people in the industry and reading the research I have come to the conclusion that for most people eliminating caffeine for a period of time to give your adrenals a break is beneficial and is something my clients and myself should do every once in awhile.

No big deal- I'll eliminate caffeine, I can't be that addicted to it...I woke up and didn't know what to do with myself since I usually sit and sip my coffee while reading emails. Instead I decided I would go for a run to wake myself up. The headache hit and got worse and worse as the day went on. I ended up napping for a few hours- I was having major withdrawals! It was bad. Didn't know I was so addicted but I suppose that means I should definitley come off of it for a period of time.

Hope my adrenals are enjoying their holiday!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Luck = Hard Work + Opportunity

10 Weeks post Ironman and a trip to Scotland, a trip to Paris and a trip to the Virgin Islands later... In the last 10 weeks since my Ironman I have been travelling quite a bit and haven't really stopped.

Scotland and Paris were both vacation and some networking with people in the industry. Infact, I'll be doing a seminar in the UK on December 8th in the NewCastle area speaking about Strength Training for Women. If you are in the UK I'll keep you posted on my newsletter but keep December 8th clear.

The Virgin Islands, believe it or not, was all work :)
Seriously, I have a client who lives there who flys me out to work with her a couple times a year. She is training for a figure competition in November. I'll have pics of her after her November show when she takes the stage for the first time. In the mean time I lucked out that she lives in The Virgin Islands so I get to enjoy the surroundings while I am there.

Another trainer said to me- "Wow! Your lucky! How do you get a client like that?" To be honest I have been working as a trainer now for 10 years and at least 6-7 of those years I worked split shifts seeing 5am clients through to 7pm clients. I trained as many people as I could, read every training book I could and went to every seminar I could attend. I still continue to read and learn and I have worked very hard to become good at what I do. Opportunities will come to you if you work hard and stay focused on becoming the best in your field. Have you ever heard the saying, "Luck is hard work meeting up with opportunity." You could say I was "lucky" that she found me, but I believe I worked hard to get to this point in my career and was ready for the opportunity.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It takes 1 day for every mile you ran to recover

I was at the lake this morning doing an open water swim with my sister and met a lifeguard who saw my Ironman Finisher Hat and was asking me questions about my race and my recovery. He said, "Are you still recovering since it takes one day for every mile you ran in the race to recover?"

I forgot about this rule. I had heard it before- If you run a 5K, you should take 3 days to recover, if you run a 10K, you should take 6 days to recover. And if you run a marathon, take 26 days to recover. This seems a bit excessive to me. What does this rule mean by recovery? Does it mean do nothing for that period of time or just take it easy and don't race again in that time? Or just that you'll still feel the effects of the race for this long.

And what about an Ironman, with this thought process an Ironman would take 140 days to recover from or does this rule work the same with a triathlon?

I have also heard the rule to take 1 day off for every hour it takes you to do the race. This seems a little more realistic and might be a good rule of thumb. For a Half Ironman you'll end up taking under a week off, an Ironman about 2 weeks off.

My body felt pretty good a couple days after my race. I didn't have too much soreness and felt pretty good. I did take that week after completely off and then I lifted weights and did a run about one week after the race and felt fine. Then my husband and I went on vacation so my training was sporadic but I did get a few weight training workouts in and a couple runs in. Overall, my volume was much lower than it had been. Now over a month after my body feels good, I have been lifting weights three times a week and doing intervals twice a week along with one long bike ride a week.

I think recovery is very individual and it also depends on how your training was before the race. If your body was ready for the race, the damage should be less than if you aren't ready.

I think I'll stick with the 1 day off per hour the race took rule which makes the most sense to me when it comes to advising my athletes and my future races. This is a good starting point but then can be changed according to the athlete.

I have an Olympic distance race next weekend, 6 weeks after my Ironman, we'll see how it goes....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Women and exercise

I just had a conversation with someone who one year ago was 4% body fat(according to her) and is now over 30% body fat. She showed me a picture of her one year ago and she was extremely thin. She is convinced that cardio is the key to losing fat because when she got down to that size she did 2 hours of cardio a day 7 days a week and ate nothing but salads. She and I were having a conversation about whether weight training or cardio was the answer to losing fat and if she were to do it all over again what would she do.

2 Hours of cardio a day and salads is not a life! Hence she was unable to maintain her weight loss and a year later has gained it back. It is obvious to me that whatever she did, did not work because she was not able to maintain it. Also she had probably screwed up her metabolism pretty bad making it impossible to not put body fat back on setting her up for failure.

But in her head 14 hours of cardio a week and salads is the only way to get back down to that size. She has a hard time believing she could look like that again or better with half as much time spent exercising and eating more. And instead of rebounding back up she would be able to stay there long term.

I think many women think that this is what is necessary to get the body of their dreams or like her they have done something like this in the past and have screwed up their metabolism and have rebounded. And think they are just not meant to be fit.

I have news for you ladies! The last thing you should do to get the body of your dreams is 2 hours of cardio a day and eat salads. The goal is to get the metabolism revving by eating more healthy foods and increasing lean tissue and taking advantage of the afterburn effect you get after a weight training routine or an interval session. No workout should last longer than an hour to get this afterburn effect.

That's right- do less, eat more and get the body you always wanted!

If you need a program to follow that will give you this afterburn effect and achieve the body you want purchase Afterburn Training written by my husband which has the programs we use to get results with our clients.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ironman USA recap

One year ago on July 24, 2007 registration opened for Ironman USA in Lake Placid, NY. I had told my friends, who all did their first Ironman the year before in Brazil, that whichever race they were all doing I would join them. They said Ironman USA was the one. I read about the race, looked good to me! I love New York and the scenery is supposed to be beautiful. Should I sign up? Should I commit to training for an Ironman? My husband said, “You’re nuts, but go for it!” So that morning at 6am the phone rang at my house from one of my friends calling to see if I was going to go through with it and sign up. Peer pressure always works with me. He had already signed up so I got right on it, went to the computer and signed myself up. Within ten minutes of signing up, the race was sold out completely. I can’t believe there are 2000 other people who want to do this that bad- crazy!

So, there I was, knowing what race I would be doing in one year. I have never planned anything in my life that far in advance, not even my wedding. How would I prepare myself? What would I do? What training program would I follow? I started reading every Ironman training book I could get my hands on and figure this out. I was excited to write a year long program for myself, follow it and get my body to the point where I could complete an Ironman. And I had an entire year to do it.

I wrote out my plan starting with a corrective exercise phase, then two Half Ironman’s and a Century Ride. I had my volume build for 3 weeks and then a recovery week. My plan was to taper for 3 weeks so my biggest longest workout was Saturday, 3 weeks out from the race and I followed it very closely. I kept track of everything, my miles, my hours, my weight, calories eaten.

My final week of tapering was here. We flew out on Wednesday and I would be an Ironman on Sunday. I couldn’t believe I had been consumed by this for a full year and now here it was. I was about to be an Ironman. I had done everything right, followed my training program and followed all of the advice in the books and from all of my friends. I had to be ready.

We got to Lake Placid on Wednesday night and I tried to get to bed as early as I could with the time difference to try to get on the time zone. Woke up on Thursday and went for a 40 minute run around the lake. I felt good, legs felt pretty fresh. I was ready to do this. Following my run I joined my husband in the hotel gym while he worked out I stretched and did some range of motion work.

Time to go register! I went and registered Thursday afternoon and it started to rain and get really windy. All day Thursday ended up being torrential rain and wind- Oh No! What if this is what we have on race day? I got my bike and registered and went back to the hotel. My number was 2121- good number! The forecast was for clear skies over the weekend so we’ll see. I know this race has been in this kind of weather in the past and with the way it was coming down it was hard to believe it would clear up by Sunday. I started to think I needed to prepare myself for a windy, rainy day.

Friday I woke up and there was a patch of no rain so I took my bike out for a spin to see how it was working. I was having trouble getting air in one of my tires so stopped by the bike shop where they were very helpful and helped me open the valve on my tire which seemed to be stuck. My bike was riding great, I did about 6 miles. Then I went back to the hotel, put my wetsuit on and headed out for a 20 minute swim in the lake. That was it for workouts, if you even call those workouts. Compared to what I had been doing these didn’t feel like I had worked out. More just mentally getting ready and getting some blood flowing in my muscles. I didn’t do anything that should cause any muscular damage that I will have to recover from. I felt good and was ready to go.

I was amazed at all of the competitors that were training all week and not just an easy run. I’d see people way out from town like they must have ran there up and down the hills 10-15 miles two days before the race. At any moment you could look out at the lake and see at least 50-100 people swimming and most of them seemed to be at least swimming one whole loop of the course. We also saw people cycling way out of town which again is not a flat ride back in to town. Crazy! These poor people didn’t know that they can only do damage at this point, there bodies would not recover from these last minute workouts by Sunday. What were they thinking? I felt bad for them that they thought it would be beneficial to get one last 10 mile run in before the race- it’s too late, go rest! Your poor body has to travel 140.6 miles on Sunday! Give it a break! While everyone else was getting one last swim or bike ride in I went and had a 90 minute massage which felt great and I was done with workouts until Sunday when I would be an IRONMAN. The rain continued to poor all day Friday with no end in sight except that the forecast still said clear over the weekend. I went back to the hotel and put my numbers on everything and taped 12 GU’s onto my bike. I put together my transition bags and special needs bags and everything was ready to go!

Saturday I woke up to blue skies! Yay! I had to drop off my bike and transition bags at transition. This was an exciting moment. Putting my bike on the rack and seeing where everything would be. Everything was ready to go. I relaxed most of the day except for a few hours when my husband and I went to the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex where we watched skiers in a competition fly off of the ski jumps- amazing! This definitely helped take my mind off of what I would be doing tomorrow. These guys were nuts! What a crazy sport! Watching it on TV doesn’t do justice to seeing it in person. Then we watched guys do jumps into a pool of water where they would flip and twist in the air 3-4 times. Amazing! I drank water and Gatorade all day long making sure I was fully hydrated and tried to sit and stay out of the sun as much as possible.

Saturday night I ate pasta with grilled chicken around 6pm. I stretched, foam rolled and used the stick on my muscles and climbed in to bed at about 9pm after drinking a Surge to top off my glycogen stores before going to sleep.

My alarm went off at 4am and I was up and ready to go. Today was the Day! I felt so ready for this day that I don’t think I got really nervous. I felt pretty calm and excited to do this. I had planned my race and it was time to race my plan. I ate some oatmeal and a banana and had some coffee. At about 5:15am I headed to transition and my husband came with me. I went in and put my Clif bars in my bento box on my bike, and my drinks in the drink holders after they had been in the fridge all night, nice and cold. I pumped up my tires one more time and I was ready to go. Of course, I went back and double checked it once or twice before heading to the start line. It was time to say goodbye to my bike, I’d see it in a few hours. I was on my way over to the lake where the swim start was but first stop was to get body marked and second stop was to drop off my special needs bags. And third stop was one last bathroom stop before the race started where I waited in a long line and cut it a little too close to the race start for comfort. Everyone was getting in the water so I had my husband get my wetsuit ready and when I came out of the porta potty I put my wetsuit on and ran to the race start.

As I was walking in to the water the National Anthem started. Soon after, I was floating among 2500 people trying to find the best spot. I asked the guy next to me if I was in the middle or if I was up to close with all of the fast people. He said that he thinks all of the animals were up in front of us and that I was in a good spot just behind the animals.

Helicopters were flying over head, thousands of spectators surrounded the lake, the sun was shining, it was very exciting! The gun went off and we started swimming. The day had begun. The swim was definitely crowded and you had to watch out for yourself. Swimming is usually a relaxing sport but this was a contact sport, a very different swim experience. I would be swimming in a nice open space getting into my stroke- “one, two, three, breathe, one, two, three, look up, one, two, three…” and then all the sudden chaos- there would be people on all sides of me kicking, arms flying and so I would look up find another open space close by and move to it and continue moving forward. I got hit once or twice but no biggie. I was nervous about getting kicked hard so whenever I’d see feet in front or on the side of me I steered clear of them. The key was staying calm and keep moving forward. The sun was blinding me when I would breathe on that side I’d see stars for the next couple of breathes so I had to change my talk in my head to- “one, two, three, close eyes, one, two, three, look up.” I only brought clear goggles and wished I had tinted ones. I thought it would be overcast in the morning. After swimming about 900 meters we had to turn left around a buoy, swim 100 meters and make another left at a buoy making a rectangle heading back to the beach. These turns were what you would call a clusterf***. And I don’t usually cuss(I leave that to my husband, he does it better then I do) but this is the best word to describe these turns. Everyone cut in close to the buoys and were on top of each other. This was the worst of the contact sport and I just wanted out of it. I made it out OK and took the next buoy a little wider. Then I was headed back to the beach. First loop in 39 minutes- right on track for my 1:20 swim time I wanted. The second loop I was able to swim out on the rope that held the buoys together using it as a lane line so I didn’t have to sight as often. Sighting is when you look up to see where you are. Before I knew it I was at the buoys to turn again and this time I took them both wide but ended up off course a bit as I was coming back in. It was great because I had nice open water all by myself but I was swimming way outside of the buoys and needed to make my way back in closer which I did. I never did see any scuba divers which they said we would see. They had scuba divers in the water watching us swim over I guess incase anyone gets pulled under or drowns they would see them.

When I got back to the beach, stood up and looked at the clock it said 1:20- yay! I was very happy with that time! And the people cheering- thousands of people were there cheering- it was overwhelming as you came out of the swim. I couldn’t believe all of the people, there was no way I would see my husband. I started feeling emotional with all of these thousands of people cheering for ME as I came out of the water. I couldn’t get emotional all ready, I had a long day ahead of me but it was pretty overwhelming having thousands of people cheering for you. Do you think they were there for someone else? I thought they were all there for me! Volunteers were standing there to help us pull our wetsuits off which was great and then I ran ¼ mile to transition which was actually a lot of fun because of the crowds cheering for me and I did see my husband just before I entered transition. In transition, the volunteers were great helping with everything. In no time I had my helmet and bike shoes on and was heading out to get my bike.

I had a great time on the bike. My legs felt great. I passed 780 people on the bike! I didn’t count, a friend of mine pointed it out to me after the race was over when she looked at the results online. I knew I passed a lot of people but I didn’t realize that many. I did the first loop in 2:56 and was feeling great except that I would need to make a pit stop at a restroom probably on this second loop. I really wanted to wait until I was back at transition but couldn’t wait and had to stop at mile 80 where these kids were volunteering and held my bike for me filling up all of my drinks. It was better than Valet parking- what service! I felt much better and was off for another 32 miles until my marathon! Oh my god I was going to run my first marathon today! Was I insane?

I finished strong on the bike, passing all of the people I had already passed earlier before my pit stop. I came in strong right to the finish, felt great. My nutrition on the bike was a GU every 10 miles, 3 Clif Bars which I ate between mile 20 and mile 80 and 20 ounces of fluid every hour. I also took 2 salt tablets every hour. This seemed to work pretty good. I had no problems with cramping.

I came into transition after 6:09 on my bike. As we came around the final corner the volunteers were all yelling at us to “Slow Down!!!” and “Yellow Line!!!” You felt like you were in trouble the way they were yelling but they just wanted to make sure you dismounted at the yellow line and didn’t crash into transition. A volunteer took my bike from me and I ran into transition to get ready to run my marathon! I made another stop at the porta potties on my way in, then went to the tent, changed my socks and shoes, put my hat on and grabbed my GU’s and salt tabets for the run. I was off to run a marathon!

I couldn’t believe how fresh my legs felt running out of transition. I felt great! I just hoped it would last! I had 10 Gu’s packed into my pockets and 10 salt tablets. It was a lot of stuff in my pockets while running so I started to spread it out and put some Gu’s in my shorts pockets. As I ran out of transition, I heard the announcer say my name- “Here comes Rachel Cosgrove out on the run course!” I saw my husband right when I ran out which made me smile and I was off to run the first 13 mile loop. I had planned to get 4-6 ounces of fluid at very aid station, take a Gu every 30 minutes and 2 salt tablets every hour. That was the plan. So, I ran until I came to the first aid station where I quickly walked through while grabbing a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade chugged them down and picked up my pace again. I was keeping a 10min/mile pace perfectly because when I hit mile 6 it had been exactly an hour so I was right on track. I felt great all the way to the turnaround and then headed back toward town where on your way in you have to run up a steep climb and then down a hill and then another steep climb, two more small climbs and then one last little hill that really hurts. The crowds were great on these hills though cheering for you. I ran up them all and felt pretty strong. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I did my first loop in 2:15 putting me on track for a 4:30 marathon if I could keep that pace. Second loop I still felt good running, I think my aid station walks were probably getting a little slower then they were on the first loop and I am sure my pace had slowed down a little even though it felt like I was holding a pretty good pace. I also had to stop 3-4 times at the porta potties, sometimes false alarms but I didn’t want to risk it. So my overall pace on the second loop I was noticing I was about 15 minutes behind at about mile 18 to hit 4:30. 18 miles was the longest I had every run but I felt fine going into mile 19. I started to grab the chicken broth which seemed to keep me feeling good and I was still eating my Gu’s and taking my salt. So from mile 18 to the end it was water, Gatorade, chicken broth, Gu and salt tabs. I knew those hills were coming up again ahead and my goal with this race had always been to finish strong so as I got to the hills I just kept saying to myself, “Finish Strong” And I ran up all of the hills while the crowds cheered for me, one hill, two hills and then the couple of smaller hills running strong out to the turnaround where I would be heading into the finish line soon.

As I was running into the Olympic Oval where the finish line was I lifted my sunglasses off my eyes but with all of the thousands of people cheering at me and I was about to finish something that I had worked very hard for, I got emotional again and started to get tears welling up. I put my sunglasses back down on my eyes because I didn’t want to start bawling and have my picture crossing the finish line of me bawling.

I ran across the finish line. I think I put my arms up and heard the announcer say, “Rachel Cosgrove, YOU are an Ironman!”

After I crossed the volunteers were there to hold me up, one on each side. I felt fine, really. They asked me how I was. And when I said I was fine they kept saying- “Are you sure? What do you need?” I started to second guess myself, was I really Ok? But yes, I felt good. I just wanted to see my husband and I had no idea how I would find him in the thousands of people. Another volunteer came up to check me out and she said, “Wow, you look like you just got out of the salon! You look great!” With that comment, I went and posed for a professional picture. Soon after I found my husband wearing his Ironmate shirt.

Friday, July 27, 2007


What an Awesome day! It was everything I anticipated and more in a good way. I had a great race and I felt fantastic. I hit all of my numbers close to what I expected and above all felt great and finished strong.

I wanted under 1:30 on the swim, I hit 1:20
I wanted under 6 hours on the bike, I hit 6:09.
I wanted under 5 hours on the run, I hit 5 hours.
For a total time of 12:45!

I am very happy with that time and I was amazed at how good I felt. And I felt fine after I was done. It hasn't even been a week and I have no residual soreness, I didn't get any blisters at all, I can't believe how good I feel. Ready to do it again! I owe that to all of the hours of training I put in!

I'll post my race recap tomorrow.

Thank you for all of your support! I am an Ironman!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Last week before the big race!

It is now the week of my race! How this year has flown by yet I am so ready to do this race. I feel like I have been preparing, training and thinking about it for long enough and am ready. I have been reading everything on what to put in my bags and what the day of and day before will be like. I feel good. Have had an easy week of training and had a massage yesterday. I fly out Wednesday! For those of you who want to follow my race you can log on to and see how I am doing. My predictions are-

Swim under 1:30, hopefully 1:20
Bike under 6 hours, hopefully 5:45
Run under 5 hours, hopefully 4:30
with transitions at a total of 12:00 min

So that is 12:42 on the high end and 11:47 if all goes the best it could which would have put me 14th last year. It's a competitive race and I am in a competitive age group. I would be ecstatic with 11:47 or anything under 12 hours for that matter but I'll be excited with anything under 13 hours and I'll be happy that I finish no matter what! So that was-
Ecstatic- Under 12 hours
Excited- Under 13 hours
Happy and completely satisfied- To Finish!

I have planned my race and will race my plan and will cross that finish line with a smile on my face no matter how the day goes!

Thank you for your support!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

10 Days until I am an Ironman!

Well, it is almost here. 10 more days until I race in my first Ironman. I have been tapering and it is such a wierd thing because you feel like you should be doing something. My training peaked at about 19-20 hours a week and this week I will do about 12-14 hours of training and next week I'll do about 8-10 hours before the race. I have been making lists of everything- my schedule this week before we get there, what will be in all of my bags- T1,T2, special needs bags, what I will eat the day before and the day of the race.

I dropped my bike off with Tri Transport on Tuesday and that was when reality really hit me that I am doing this next week. I have done everything I can to be ready for this so there is no turning back now, I must be ready.

My goals this week are to start getting to bed early, eat healthy, drink lots of fluids, foam roll and stretch everyday.

Ironman here I come!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Lake Placid Training Camp

This picture tells you what Lake Placid is like. Athletes everywhere. The whole town is centered around athletics since the Olympics were there twice, once in 1932 and again 1980. There is an Olympic training center there complete with ski jumps, bobsledding, the hockey rink where the US beat Russia in 1980, ice skating rinks, etc. While we were there the women's hockey team was trying out for the Olympics for next year, we watched ski jumpers practice their jumps into a pool of water and we toured the Olympic training center.

As if all of the Olympic stuff isn't enough athletics, Lake Placid has now hosted Ironman USA for 7 years. There are Ironman athletes everywhere training on the course. I couldn't believe how many people were there training. I was so glad I went. This sign was on the run course making sure cars knew to watch out for us runners- where else do you see a sign like that?

I invited my mom to come with me since she can't come to my actual Ironman. This was great as she got to see the course, see me training on the course and experience Lake Placid and probably spend more time with me than she would have if she came the actual weekend of. She was great support during the weekend- thanks mom!

To start off, my biggest fear is this whole traveling with my bike which I have never done before. And ofcourse my first time traveling with my bike, I got to Lake Placid and my bike didn't. We arrived Thursday night in Albany New York after being delayed and missing our flight to Lake Placid(a whole other story) and my bike did not come off the plane. Ofcourse, the airline employee was less than helpful with no real compassion for someone losing their bike- he looked at me like- "It's a bike, calm down." No, it isn't just a bike!!! I freaked out a little bit, alright a lot. And we ended up renting a car and driving to Lake Placid(about a 2 hour drive) with no bike and checking in to our hotel at about 2am Thursday night. Woke up Friday and immediatley called the airline to find out where my bike was. Long story short, I ended up driving back to Albany to get my bike and by the time I got back to the hotel no bike shops were open so I put it together myself and rode 112 miles on it first thing Saturday morning. I got to know my bike quite well this weekend. Moral of the story- know how to take apart and put together your bike just in case.

I have decided to use Tribike transport for my race and not deal with the headaches of traveling with my bike. Airlines don't really care. Tri bike transport will drive my bike to the race and have it waiting for me when I get there all put together and ready to go. One less thing to worry about.

Anyway, I got everything I could have out of the training weekend.

Saturday- 112 mile bike on the actual course, 4 mile run. So I did the course and it wasn't too bad, definitely challenging with some good climbing but a great downhill too!

Sunday- 2.4 mile swim(the course) in beautiful Mirror Lake, 18 mile run on the race course.
It is so beautiful there! The scenery is amazing!

Monday- 1 loop of bike course- 56 miles and 2 loops of swim course again 2.4 miles. Felt good.

Tuesday- I finished with one last 8 mile run on the run course.

I had a great weekend of training and feel ready to go for the race!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Training for this Ironman has definitely gotten my life out of balance. Everything I do, talk about, read about has to do with the Ironman. It was almost one year ago I signed up for this race and every single day for the last year I have either thought about the race, talked about the race, read about training for the race, planned my training schedule or been training for the race. Every single day for a year and now it is almost here! I am ready and getting anxious! Three weeks of taper first though.

These last two weeks have been my peak volume weeks and are my excuse why I haven't blogged. I have been training a lot. I have been training 20 hours a week. That is training time and then you add in going to the bike shop, buying Gu's, working on my bike, recovery(stretching, foam rolling, massage,ART) and this is definitely a full time job. Sorry guys but I put my blog and newsletters on the back burner:)

I also was lucky enough to go to a training camp in Lake Placid and actually train on the course last week which was awesome. I flew there last Thursday and stayed for the weekend until Tuesday. Tomorrow I will fill you in on the camp and how it went. And how my first experience traveling with my bike went....

Back to balance...When I get involved in something I have a hard time maintaining balance and it has been especially hard with this Ironman. It is all consuming. Triathlon, for me, is a hobby. I enjoy training, I enjoy racing, it pushes me athletically and I do it for fun. My goal is not to become a professional triathlete. My goal is to train, race and improve while having great experiences. I feel like training for this Ironman I have gone beyond just a hobby. It is a full time job.

But, part of it is my own own fault. I can't just finish the Ironman, I have to do the best I am capable of doing. I have done everything I know how to get the best performance out of myself. I expect the same from myself as I would expect out of one of my clients whose goal is to qualify for Kona. If I expect it out of my athletes than why wouldn't I expect it out of myself.

I guess I am my own learning experience because I wrote my training schedule, followed it to a "T" and will see and feel how it works before I give a similar training schedule to one of my athletes. So, I guess training for this Ironman is in essence part of my job and not just a hobby. Now I am justifying spending 30 hours a week on Ironman stuff and only 10-15 hours working. Training for this Ironman IS my job, yeah, that's it....

My career is as a coach and fitness professional. My goal is to coach a professional triathlete, not be one. The thing is, is that, my goal is not to win this race or qualify for Kona. My goal is to finish the race and have a great experience. Yet, I have still let it consume all of my time, my thoughts and my conversations. Like I said, the majority of my time is spent on Ironman stuff and my time spent actually working has shrunk to maybe 10-15 hours a week. I have been able to keep my time with my husband as a priority so the one thing that has suffered in my life is my work. By the way, my husband has been awesome at supporting me through my training and has put up with all of this Ironman stuff for almost a year now without a single complaint.

Because this is my first Ironman, I may be going overboard with my training and have done more than was necessary. I would much rather be over prepared and get to the race and feel like I am more than ready and the actual Ironman it isn't too bad compared to all of the training I have done than be under prepared and wish I had trained harder.

I wonder if it is possible to train for an ironman doing less than I have done and keeping more balance in your life. I don't know if it is. I read articles and books by guys who say- "Ironman in 10 hours a week." I don't see how that is possible when the race will take me at least 12 hours in one day. How could I possibly prepare my body for a 12 hour race in 10 hours a week.

I am sure it is not as consuming when you have already done one because it is not so unknown. Being my first one, it has taken over my thoughts, time, conversations and life.

Many people have asked me if I will do another one and right now my focus is on getting through this one. I am looking forward to having my time free up again to get my life back in balance and make my career and work a priority for awhile. This is probably the wrong time to ask me when I am in the middle of my biggest weeks of training too. The week after the race when I am on a high, ask me and I will most likely say yes!

Gotta go! Back to training...I have a 40 mile ride and 4 mile run today. I plan to update this blog everyday this week now that I am tapering, I have some time to write about the Ironman :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Movement Prep

This past weekend I attended the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach where my husband was one of the speakers. Also among the speakers were two people talking about strength training for endurance- Gary Lavin and Mark Verstegan. Both of them discussed how important it is to do some form of movement prep before you head out the door for a workout. Mark said that your performance will improve by 18% by spending 2-5 minutes switching on the right muscles and actively stretching the tight muscles. Instead of warming up on your first 2 miles of running, get everything warm and ready to go first and you'll get more out of your first two miles of running because the quality of movement will be better.

This movement prep focused on switching on the glutes which tend not to fire on most endurance athletes and lengthening the hip flexors. If the hip flexors are tight, the glutes can't work- it's a compensatory relationship. One can't be more dominant than the other or the less dominant one will shut down. Most endurance athletes are very quad dominant. Doing some exericises to switch on your derriere before starting your run or bike will improve your performance, decrease your risk of injury and you'll get more out of the time spent running or biking.

Good stuff and I had heard it before but I still have not been doing a good job of doing it before I run or bike. I do it before my weight training. So, I am going to start incorporating it in every single time I am working out.

Overall it was an awesome seminar! Some excellent speakers!

And I got all of my training in...Saturday morning I got up and ran along the beach on the bike path for 11 miles in Long Beach and Sunday after attending the morning seminars I met up with a friend of mine and we rode to Oceanside, 115 miles total round trip.

This weekend coming up I am headed to Vegas to speak at the ISSN conference.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend!

I had a very relaxing memorial day weekend. My husband and I headed up to Santa Barbara and I brought my bike with us. I am on a recovery week so that helped because I didn't have to do quite so much volume. I moved my recovery week back to Wednesday to Wednesday so it ends tomorrow. It was nice to run and bike in a different place.

I actually did my last really BIG day on Tuesday last week when I did a Brick consisting of a 50 mile bike/a 12 mile run/a 20 mile bike. It took about 6 hours and was pretty tough.

Over the weekend I had a great 11 mile run, a couple of bike rides and a swim but overall I took it easy and actually had two full days off. Today I have to start ramping it back up again for another 4 weeks and then that's it- I taper for 4 weeks and Race!!! It sure is coming up fast!

Today I will be launching my new Triathlon Specific Newsletter! If you haven't signed up yet. Sign up on the form to the right. Don't miss out!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

I qualified for Nationals at the Bakersfield Tri!

Saturday was the Bakersfield Triathlon. This was a 1.2 mile swim, 24 mile bike and 9.5 mile run. They called it a long course but it wasn't a Half Ironman. I could have used a longer bike... It was my first race on my new bike and it worked great- I had so much fun on the bike! I did the 24 miles in 1:16 averaging 19.5 mph. Wheee! I was sad that is was over so soon...

Oh yeah...the swim- it went good, did it in 35 minutes.

But the run was one of the hardest, I think maybe THE hardest runs I have ever done.

This race was a qualifier for the Nationals and the World Championships so Erika, my training partner had to do it to try to qualify for Worlds, so I decided to join in as a training race. I thought Bakersfield is pretty flat, can't be too bad! The bike was pretty flat with a few small climbs and a great downhill but the run was insanely hilly and hot. There was no shade and some of the climbs were faster walking up.

Anyway I finished in 3:31 and came in 5th in my age group and qualified for Nationals! Not bad for a training race. I still am super strong on my bike and need to work on my swim and run to get them up to par with my bike.

I think I will do quite well in Lake Placid. I am starting to think sub 12:30 will be no problem and I may even be close to 12 hours especially with my new bike :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Week at a glance...

I have had a great week of training so far.

Sunday- I did an open water swim in Manhattan Beach with the LA Tri Club and then went riding for about 35 miles. I had a great swim, felt very comfortable in the open water and confident. It was great to have such a big group head out into the water.

Monday- Lifted weights on my new routine which is lower in volume so doesn't wipe me out too much. In fact it feels easy and I feel like I could do more when I am done which is what I want so it doesn't mess with my other training sessions. The routine made me sore though so I did something! I also swam on Monday and had a great swim- did 9 x 300m.

Tuesday- I did a Brick on my new bike which hadn't been fit yet but still felt pretty good. I did 30 miles and then a 4 mile run and felt great! Then I was off to get fit on my bike!

Wednesday- Ran 10 miles, felt good. Next week I will do 18 miles. And then last night I swam 3 x 800m and felt great!

Today I am going to head off on a bike ride on my new bike with it fitted. I would like to get at least 40 miles in. And then do a 3000m swim and lift weights later- a big day!

Tomorrow I'll be off and Saturday I am racing at Wildflower.

I am starting to get butterflies realizing that June is only two weeks away and then July I do my Ironman! I signed up for this a year ago! Amazing how fast time goes by!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A new bike!!!

Well, I have been in the market for a few months and have been checking bikes out and trying to figure out what kind of Tri Bike I want. That is the problem with this sport- you are never done spending money. As soon as you think you have everything you need you realize you need a second bike- a Tri Bike!!! I was debating on if I really need one or not and if I wanted to just do my ironman on my road bike which I love and has been a great bike for me.

My training partner beat me to it and got her first Tri Bike a few weeks ago. I quickly realized that to keep riding with her I was going to need to upgrade my bike because she was going quite a bit faster now than she was on her road bike. It isn't dramatically faster but enough that she would be waiting for me every couple miles. I think you go 1-2 mph faster on Tri Bike with no extra effort. So, I tried the bike she got, a Kuota, and really liked it but had a lot of people recommend a Cervelo to me so wanted to try it too. I also tried a specialized and it was Ok. I found a Cervelo P3 in my size at one of the bike shops and they let me take it for a spin around the block a few times- I was in love!!! It felt really good, fit me perfectly.

So, I treated myself to a new bike! I picked it up on Monday! I love it! Not only is it fun to ride but it looks really cool too which is very important!(See above)

Yesterday I met with Ian Murray of and he did a bike fit for me. He dropped my handle bars down and made a bunch of adjustments and now the bike fits like a glove. I did ride it yesterday 30 miles before I got fit and even before getting fit it felt pretty good so now I can't wait to take it for a spin!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Progressing along

9 weeks from Wednesday I fly to Lake Placid to do my first Ironman! Time is flying by and I will be swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a marathon in less than 10 weeks!

This past week I ran 16 miles on Wednesday and felt pretty good. It was very hot and I had quite a few hills in there so felt tough but I felt pretty good.

Thursday I started a new weight training routine and swam 3000m.

Friday I had a long Brick. I started with a 30 mile ride, then ran 8 miles, and then a friend of mine who I used to ride with a lot came up and rode the last 40 miles with me. He was actually my cycling coach when I first got into this sport. He would meet me twice a week and take me on crazy rides and really pushed me to get good on my bike teaching me when to stand up, when to change gears, etc. So, I did 30 mile ride/8 mile run/40 mile ride. This wiped me out for the day! The nice thing was I hadn't rode with him in a few years and he said I have improved quite a bit which was good to hear. It is always good to ride with people better than you.

Saturday I spoke at the Strength and Conditioning Clinic held at College of the Canyons on Strength Training for Females and had a jam packed day with that so I took the day off training.

Sunday I drove to Manhattan Beach to meet up with the LA Tri Club for an Open water swim. I swam a mile and felt really good in the water. Then we rode 40 miles in Palos Verdes, a pretty hilly ride but beautiful! It was me and three guys. My friend Marc who is doing Lake Placid with me and two of his friends. I can definitely hang with the boys on the bike which makes me feel pretty good.

This week I'll be building up my volume some more and then racing on Saturday at Bakersfield Triathlon for my last race before my Ironman!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wildflower Olympic Race Report

Wildflower is a whole weekend of events. I raced on Saturday in the Long Course and my poor sister and training partner had to be out in the sun all day on their feet, cheering me on the day before they raced in the Olympic Distance race.

So, Sunday was their turn. They didn't have the winds that we had the day before which was good for them but they did have a little hotter temperatures. We all headed down there by 8am for the race to start at 9am but their waves didn't go until 10:15 and 10:30.

Erika, my training partner, was right up front to start the swim and when the gun went off she swam out in 4th place. Here she is at the front of the pack ready to go.

She headed off on her bike I think in 6th place and came out of the run in 4th place.
She held her spot in 4th place on the run running a 7:16 average min mile. Very fast and it was an extremely tough course! I was very proud of her! At the end she said she had the race of her life! She felt great and raced hard and placed!

My sister is the opposite, she is there to enjoy the experience and finish the race. She hung out in the back of the pack to start the swim and worked on relaxing in the water. She came out of the swim in 50 minutes with a smile on her face looking fresh ready to start the bike. The bike was what she was most worried about since this course is known for being very hilly. She did the LA Marathon so wasn't worried about the run but didn't know how she would do on the bike.

She said she had a great first half of the bike, and was half way done in 1 hour. She was riding through the water station at the half way point feeling good, having a great ride when a guy crashed into her back tire throwing her onto the pavement, bending her bike all up and later we realized her fork on her bike was completely cracked. She had blood gushing from her elbow. She said it happened so fast from feeling great to on the ground, bleeding. The medical help said that if they touched her she would be disqualified(stupid rule) so she told them not to touch her but could they give her something to wrap it with so they threw her some gauze to wrap her arm herself. Her bike looked Ok. She was determined to finish this race. "Don't touch me! I worked to hard to get disqualified. I am finishing this race!" she told the help. Wow, my sister is one tough woman!

So you can imagine my surprise when I am waiting for her on her Run Out after her bike and I see her run up with bandages all wrapped around her arm and her leg is all skidded up. "WHAT HAPPENED???" She said, "A guy crashed into me! My bike is all bent up! I WOULDN'T LET THEM TOUCH ME!!!!!" And she went running off with a smile on her face looking very determined to finish this race.

She was actually doing really good on time. I wasn't expecting her for a half hour or so and there she was after a crash and in her zone for sure!

I was so impressed that she picked herself up and did not let a crash stop her. That would have been a good excuse to not finish the race but she wasn't going to let a little obstacle like blood gushing from her elbow and her bike being completely broken stop her from finishing.

She finished strong in under 5 hours which was well under the goal time she had set for herself of 5:30 hours crash and all....

After Heather finished we all headed over to the awards to see Erika get her medal! Very exciting!

Overall, it was a very successful weekend! We had a great time and will be back to do wildflower again next year!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wildflower Festival

I just got back from my first experience at Wildflower- "The Woodstock of Triathlon." I had a great time. We drove there on Thursday and instead of camping, eight of us rented a house for the weekend which worked out great having a kitchen and showers. Most people camp at Wildflower but that has got to be exhausting to race and camp- it didn't sound fun to me. So I organized renting this house and got 7 of my friends to join me.

First of all where Wildflower takes place is beautiful! The scenery was gorgeous and there were deer every where. The drive up there had breath taking scenery driving through vineyards. It was really pretty.

Friday we all went over to the race site, registered and went for a swim on the swim course. I swam about 20-25 minutes. I felt great.

Saturday was the Long Course which I was doing and two of my friends who were staying with us were doing, Marc and Kevin. I felt really good, had my coffee, oatmeal and trail mix for breakfast and was ready to race! The swim went Ok, I felt really good and was able to draft a few times but the winds had picked up and it was pretty choppy for a lake swim. I had a slower time than my last race but overall I felt like I could have kept swimming which is a good sign my training is on track for my Ironman. I think the winds slowed everybody down.

And they definitely slowed everybody down on the bike. The head wind was really tough on the bike the entire ride. I had a great ride. I was hoping for under 3 hours and I would have hit it easily if it weren't for those head winds. The hills weren't too bad for me which is what this race is known for. After doing that century ride I can take on any hill easy. The winds took it out of me though. I ended up having the 10th fastest time on my bike in my age group- pretty good!

The run was very tough! All up hill! I felt good but it was a tough run. I had a surprise at aid station 8 when there were a bunch of naked people cheering us on- no one told me about that but I guess it's a tradition- the Naked 8 Station- it shocked me when I turned the corner and everyone was naked- kinda funny!

I finished the race in 6:09- I was very happy with my race and had a great time at wildflower! I will definitely be there again next year!

I feel really good about my training for the Ironman- this race was validation that I am definitely on track. The two guys who did the race with me, who were staying with us, are also doing Ironman Lake Placid and neither of them finished the race this weekend so I am feeling pretty good about myself! That's right I beat the boys!

I'll write tomorrow about Sundays race which was the Olympic Distance that my training partner and my sister both completed and did awesome!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My first road race

On Saturday, I had a new experience. I raced in my first bicycle road race. The race was called "Devil's Punchbowl" and was held about an hour from my house in Pearblossom. A friend of mine told me about it and encouraged me to enter. I dragged my training partner into it with me.

We had to take our tri bars off of our bike and we would be racing with Women Cat 4, which is the least experienced group. Instead of age groups they break it up by experience. To move up to Cat 3 you have to either have a certain number of points or have had 25 race starts. This race consisted of a 16 mile loop with 1500 feet of climbing and we would do it twice, for a total of 32 miles.

We got to the race site and everyone seemed very laid back. It is a much different atmosphere than triathlon. Our group was last and didn't start until 12:36. This happened to be an extremely hot day- in the high 90's and we were out in the desert so it felt really hot. The officials were already picking on me before I started because I had a sleeveless jersey on. One of the rules is you have to wear sleeves. So luckily Erika had a T-shirt I could wear under my jersey and I was OK. This was a learning experience.

At road races they don't have any aid stations at all. You have to bring with you whatever you need or have a friend hand you drinks. Erika and I were trying to drink a lot of fluid before we started and then we both stuck an extra bottle in our jersey so we each had 3 bottles for the 32 miles, should be plenty. We kept seeing people drop out of the race because of the heat either cramping up or just dying cause it was too hot. A little unnerving when you see the Pro's drop out after one loop. We took our salt pills and drank our fluid.

32 miles- how bad could it be? It was time for us to line up. I hung toward the back, not sure of how the start would be. I didn't know if the girls would take off and be brutal right from the start or what it would be like. My goal was to complete the race the best I could, have fun, get experience and above all be safe. I did not want to get injured and I didn't know how dangerous this race would be so I told myself I would play it safe. With my Ironman in 8 weeks and Wildflower this coming weekend I can't get hurt.

So the start was pretty anti-climatic after I had built it up in my head. No gun, just a guy saying "Go!" And then everyone slowly started to pedal trying to clip in to their pedals. The group started at a very easy pace cruising out. Everyone was very friendly and this didn't seem too bad at all. I just may be able to stay with this lead pack. Erika was in front of me and I told her I would stay right on her tail. She started to push her way up to the front of the pack so I followed. There we were at the front of the pack feeling Ok so far. The climbing started gradually and the heart rate started to steadily rise up. One of the girls said, "Just so you guys know this is the warm up for the climb." I was hanging on Ok but my heart rate was approaching 170 and we hadn't made it to the climb yet. Erika had dropped back and I didn't know how far back she was. I kept pushing to stay with the group and then one bike after the other started to pass me as I dropped to the back of the pack. This "not so experienced group" were pretty good riders! Still no Erika- there she was hanging on to the back of the pack in a panic because her heart rate was 180.

She and I decided to ride at our own pace and work with eachother. We rode the whole race drafting off each other and talking each other through it. We saw girls dropping out and turning around. We didn't know how far ahead the pack was and how many were left in it but we were passing girls. I think we passed three at least and I don't know how many dropped out. A lot of people had trouble in the heat. We did Ok though.

On the second loop she got ahead of me and I couldn't catch up to her. She ended up placing 8th and I came in 10th. She ended up having a sprint finish with one of the girls who races regularly.

I was very proud of us! Our first road race- we got out there and did it. We finished in the middle of the group, not too bad! Overall it was good experience and I think great for our triathlon training.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hit the Trail

So with Wildflower coming up and the Bakersfield Triathlon which are both Trail runs we are trying to incorporate more trail running into our plan.

Why is running on a trail different? The main reason is the unstable surface but also on a trail you are usually heading up for a while and then back down for awhile.

Here is the map and elevation map for Wildflower so the run climbs from 800ft to 1200ft on the half ironman. So 400 feet total.

So I told my training partner to meet me at this trail near our house for a run. I had never run on it before but heard it was a nice safe trail of about a 6 mile round trip run.
So this trail run climbs from 1460ft to 2806ft. So almost 1400 feet of climbing over 3 miles- extremely steep!

We met at 6am yesterday as the sun was coming up. As we started up the trail it started off not too bad but then got steeper and steeper. I had to walk some parts and watching my heart rate, walking up this steep climb was no easy task. My heart rate stayed in the 160s even when I was walking. On the way up I thought- it is only 3 miles and then I can turn around and head back down which will be easy and I can make up some time.

This was a nice way to start the day- the sun rising and as we are climbing the view is getting better and better. When you get to the top you can see a great view. It was pretty cool.

Then heading down...not so easy! It was so steep that going down hill was really tough because you were putting on the breaks the whole time.

Overall, it was a very tough run! But I wasn't done yet...I was supposed to run 16 miles today. So, that was 6 miles done but I still had 10 more to go. I headed down to another trail about a mile away and continued my run. I ended up doing 12 miles but my legs were shot and I was averageing like an 10 min/mile. I decided 12 miles after starting with that 6 mile run was plenty and my quality was dropping.

So, 12 miles with over 1400 feet of elevation was pretty tough! Good training session! Bring it on Wildflower!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Week at a glance...

Today is my day off after biking 101 miles, running 18 miles and swimming 6000m since my last day off which was less than a week ago on Thursday. This Ironman Training is getting pretty insane! I am feeling really good except for a knot in my right trap that I have been trying to get rid of. Other than that everything else feels great!

Since my last day off-
Friday 6 mile trail run ( I skipped the swim I had on the schedule because it was pouring rain outside- Hey! I ran in the rain and mud...give me some credit)

Saturday was my longest workout with a brick of a 65 mile bike ride and a 4 mile run. It went well though.

Sunday I swam 3000m

Monday I ran 6 miles and then I lifted weights.

Tuesday- I swam 3000m. Then my training partner, Erika and I rode close to 40 miles( I think it was 36) and did a brick using the stairmill and Incline Treadmill at the gym. We were each on one for 5 minutes and then would swap for a total of 20 minutes- this was pretty tough! We had the incline treadmill at 20 degrees which was really tough.

Today- Rest! I find I am very productive on my day off because I am not used to having so much time in one day so I have to get a lot done because tomorrow morning back to training.

Erika and I are meeting at 6am to do a run on a trail tomorrow. Hopefully the sun will be up enough. I am doing 16 miles. And then lift weights later in the day.

I'll let you know how it goes....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Half Ironman Pic

Here is a pic of me crossing the finish line at the California Half Ironman a few weeks ago. Still smiling :)

We'll see if I am smiling when I cross the finish line at Wildflower next week- Wildflower Triathlon is known as one of the harder, hillier races. Wildflower is a whole weekend of events and most people camp right by the lake where the race takes place. From what I hear it is quite the triathlon scene. This will be my first year going. Should be fun. I opted to rent a house near the lake with 8 people instead of camp. I just didn't want to sleep on the ground before and after a Half Ironman and wait in line for a shower- no thanks! Call me a princess. I am sure I will still get enough of the wildflower experience...70.3 miles of it at least...

My training has been going pretty good. Last week I had my biggest in terms of volume week I have ever done and I have a big knot in my right trap to show for it. Other than that I feel pretty good. The knot has to be from all of the biking I did- 215 miles total in a week. Being in that position that long for that many miles over the week seems to have done a number on my neck. This week is my last build up before a recovery week next week before I race at Wildflower on Saturday.

I do the long course or half ironman on Saturday and then my training partner, Erika, and my sister will do the Olympic distance course on Sunday. We'll be driving up Thursday and staying until Monday- should be a fun, triathlon filled weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Incredible machines

Our bodies are incredible machines. It is amazing to me how you can put demands on your body and it adapts, so you put more demands on your body and it adapts again making a you stronger and stronger and more and more fit. I have always known this principal of exercise physiology but it is magnified when training for something like an Ironman. Two years ago I was excited to "complete" a sprint distance triathlon swimming 500m, biking 12 miles and running a 5K...would I be able to complete it, how would I feel?

After gradually progressing my training volume and being consistent now, two years later, I am amazed at what my body is capable of doing. I never would have thought I could do a 112 mile bike ride with 12,500 feet of climbing(by the way 375 people started that century ride and only 298 completed it). Not only did I do that but the very next day I woke up and had a PR at a sprint distance triathlon. Monday I swam a mile and a half and lifted weights, and Tuesday I rode my bike 24 miles followed by 4 miles of running. Ready for a day off yet? No! Wednesday I finished the streak with a 14 mile run and then lifted weights again. Insane!

I am completely amazed that today, my day off, after a week like that I feel a little sore but no more than usual. It is amazing how incredible our bodies are and what they are capable of. Training for this Ironman is truly opening my eyes to what I or anyone is physically capable of. Incredible!!!!

I still can't believe I will be able to run a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles but I know I will be able to because I will continue to put demands on my body and build it to that point just in time to complete my first Ironman! Our bodies are Incredible Machines!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Triathlon recap...

Sunday I did a race. It is a small race that I did last year with some of my clients who I coach for triathlon. A couple of them wanted to do it again so I told them I would go with them.

I had done that crazy century ride the day before so wasn't sure if I should race or just cheer them on. I woke up feeling Ok on Sunday and decided to race. I knew it wouldn't be my best performance but it would be a great workout and practice transitions, etc.

I decided I wanted to have a good swim and a good run. I did my swim in 9:30 for 500m which I was happy with. This was like 5 minutes off my time last year. My bike was exactly the same as last year which was perfect since I had spent 9 hours on my bike the day before. I did make the rookie mistake of not having my bike in the right gear heading out of transition so ended up running my bike up the hill out of transition. Note to self for Wildflower: check bike is in right gear before the race starts. My run was faster then last year, I did the 5K in 28 minutes.

I finished in 1:29! A PR for sprint distance the day after I did a century ride. Not bad, not bad at all!!! I think I am in pretty good shape after all of this training! Still have another 13 weeks until my ironman to get in even better shape!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First Century Ride

I hadn't done a bike ride over 80 miles and I was feeling anxious to do one. When I first wrote out my training plan for this Ironman I looked up Century Rides I could do and found one local that would fit in perfectly between the California Half Ironman and Wildflower Triathlon. The only thing was this century ride said it had 12,000 feet of climbing and 112 miles. At the time I thought, that will be great training and I put it on my plan.

Last week I was looking over my plan for the week and there it was on Saturday- Mulhullond Century Ride. Should I do it? Why not? I just did a half Ironman, I have done up to 80 miles on my bike and I have done quite a bit of climbing and after all it is on my plan! So I signed up and could not get any of my friends to join me- they were scared off by the 12,000 feet of climbing.

I got started at 7:30am thinking it ws going to take me about 7 hours, maybe 8 with all of the climbing. Afterall, I just did a Half Ironman and did 56 miles in 2:52 and it had some good climbs on it. This shouldn't take me more than 7 hours really.

I was so idea what I had gotten myself in to. Starting off was fine, we headed down Malibu Canyon which was a narrow downhill but not bad and then it dropped us off on PCH which we rode on for a few miles. So far, no problem! Then we turned left into the canyon and started the climbing. First climb was about 1500 feet, second through fourth climb were all 2000 feet and then the final climb which was 4 miles long was 2500 feet. Yes, 5 climbs all at about 2000 feet of elevation. It was completely insane!!!! I had no idea what was coming either because they just give you a map of where to turn but there is no mention of elevation so you think you must be on the hardest last climb every time and then another climb would appear.

The ride took me 9 hours!!!! I was on my bike for 9 hours!!! This was the hardest thing I have ever done. I can't believe I did it. It was an extremely tough ride for my first century ride.

I did it and overall I felt pretty good considering what I did. I actually got up Sunday and went and did a sprint distance triathlon and had a PR.

I'll tell you more about that tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back to hitting the pavement...

The week after my race I had a client fly me out to the Virgin Islands to work with her. This was perfect timing right after my race. I had an easy week of training. I enjoyed the virgin Islands. I ended up running once, lifting weights once and swimming in the crystal clear blue ocean water. It is gorgeous in the Virgin Islands but very humid and very hilly. That Half Ironman there in St. Croix must be a very tough race!

I got back on Friday and Saturday did a 5 mile run getting back into things and then Sunday I did a 32 mile bike ride, pretty hilly. It was actually an 8 mile loop near my house that I did 4 times around. I have 4 weeks until my next race, a very hard hilly half ironman!

So far this week, I lifted weights on Monday and Swam about 2000m and then yesterday I did a Brick including a 16 mile bike with a lot of hills and a 3 mile run. Today was a tough 10 mile run. I felt great on my run today. Tonight I have a swim. I am excited to race again in less than 4 weeks! Should be a good race.

The theme of the training these next few weeks is HILLS!!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Race recap

I had set my goal at 5:45 for this race which would have been about 20 minutes off my time. This was a pretty lofty goal but I like to set goals for myself that are just out of reach. I usually just hit them or come very close. I came very close to hitting this number, crossing the finish line in 5:49. I was very happy with my performance- that is a huge improvement from last year. I did the swim in 39 minutes(last year 43 minutes), the bike I did the best on finishing in 2:52(last year 3:13) and the run I did in 2:11(last year 2:13).

Pre race- The day before I had a little something on my right calf, behind my knee that was grabbing and really bothering me. I hadn't done anything strenuous all week, just resting up for the race and have no idea what I did. I spent most of the day on Friday stretching and rolling and sticking my poor leg until it felt bruised. I haven't had any injuries throughout my whole training- what was this?!?!?! It felt like a big knot behind my knee. Other then that I was feeling pretty good except for a little PMS bloat. I knew my period would come probably on Monday so this weekend I was feeling the PMS symptoms which are some extra water retention. Bad timing with that. We had driven down Friday morning, checked into our hotel and gone to the race expo to register. My training partner was stressing out about getting a flat. She rented race wheels and had no idea how to change them if they went flat so was stressing out all day Friday about it. Finally we came up with a plan of how she would patch the hole and blow it back up and keep riding(which we have no idea if it would work). It calmed her mind to have a plan though. That evening we all relaxed, had a nice dinner and went to bed early after laying all of our stuff out for the race. My sister came with us as our support- it was great to have her there all weekend.

Morning of- Woke up at 4am. Had Oatmeal, trail mix and milk and of course my coffee. My calf felt better but was still there a little bit. I took two advil before the race(probably not smart but I was panicked). Erika and I rode to the starting line in the dark leaving the hotel at about 5:15am. We had to ride about 1 mile. We got to transition and set everything up. It was freezing that morning before the sun had come up. You had to be in transition by 5:45 but my wave didn't leave until 7:37am. We had some time to kill. We wandered around, used the restroom 3-4 times and then finally put our wetsuits on. I had planned to wear a tank sports bra and tri shorts for the rest of the race and I was starting to have doubts that maybe I should wear a jacket on the bike. I was going back and forth trying to decide. I had to pin my race number on whatever I was going to wear so I had to decide. I had also forgot my race belt so I ended up using one of my shoe laces to pin my number on and tie around my waist. In the end I decided to stick with the original plan- no jacket.

Swim- I felt good except that now that I was swimming a little faster, it was a different group of people and they were a bit more brutal then the over 40 minute group. People were hitting and swimming right into you without stopping. I had to learn to be a bit more aggressive. I am one of those people on the swim who apologizes after I accidentally hit someone or run into someone but I wasn't getting any apologies so I just kept my head down and kept swimming no matter what I hit. It was hard to get into a rhythm on the way out to the buoy because I couldn't find an open space. On the way back I got into a good rhythm and was swimming really good looking forward to the bike :)

Bike- I felt great. I had to keep telling myself not to hammer to hard, to save my legs for the run. I always pass a lot of people on the bike so I started to pick off all of the people who had beat me on the swim and I moved up from like 60th out of the swim to 23rd by the end of the bike. I had one girl who we were playing cat and mouse the entire ride. I'd catch her and think she was way behind me and then she would come up again and pass me and it went on the entire ride. Finally I said to her, "Hey, good race!" as she passed me one time and she said, "Yeah, thanks! We'll just keep pulling eachother :)) So then I passed her again later and said, "My turn!" It was great to have someone to push eachother. On the 3 big hills I dropped right into my granny gear to make sure I didn't hammer my legs to hard going up the hills. My left foot kept pulling out of my pedal which was driving me crazy. This just started happening on my last ride and I had forgot to fix it. I think my cleat is pretty chewed up and won't stay in the clip so it pulled out probably 10-15 times. I was counting and remember getting to 10 but don't remember counting beyond that. I also started to feel really achy(period achy) during my ride and I knew exactly what it was, my period...but told myself to ignore it, it isn't there.

Run- I started the run off strong. My legs felt good. I grabbed my forerunner to run with and I was going too fast- 8:00 min/mile heading out so I slowed myself down to my 9 min/mile pace and got into a groove on the run until it hit...a bad bad I had to stop running. It grabbed in my stomach and wasn't like a normal running cramp, it was a period cramp. I walked for a bit, it went away and I started running again but my stomach felt really yucky. I finished my first loop in 1:03, not too far off track. I knew I was going to be pretty close to hitting my goal time of 2 hours on the run. If I had a really good run I may even beat it. The second loop I got hit with another cramp so bad I had to walk again and this time it didn't go away for awhile. I knew that my monthly friend had come a few days early and during my race!!!! I was so bummed but knew I would at least finish under 6 hours which I would still be happy with. Once this second cramp went away I was able to run again but couldn't get going fast again, my stomach was hurting and I felt wiped out. I did kick it up though as I crossed the finish line and was able to pick my pace up some. So, yes I started my period during my'd think with everything going on, my body could wait until at least when I am done racing but Nope- mid run I started my period...THAT WAS NOT IN THE PLAN...

My training partner, Erika, had an excellent race finishing in 5:09 but also had the most competitive age group. With an awesome time like this she placed 14th. She did great and felt great and had a really good race. She said she thought she probably could have pushed a little harder once it was all over. It is hard to judge in such a long race how hard you can go. I guess that comes with experience- each race you push a little harder and test yourself. I was very proud of her! She qualified to race at an Ironman and got in to Ironman Wisconsin!

Overall, we had a great race experience and learned a lot. Looking forward to Wildflower in 4 weeks! Should be a tough one!

Last week I was in the Virgin Islands...more on that later this week...but is why I didn't get to blog all week.

Pics still to come...

Friday, March 30, 2007

First race of the season!

The time has come...tomorrow is my first race of the season! I am excited to race again. We are driving down today to Oceanside to register, check out the expo and check in to our hotel. It is me and my training partner, who is also excited to race, and my sister. My sister isn't racing, she is just coming down to cheer us on and be our support crew. She loves the race environment and didn't want to pass up going to a race. We also have a lot of people driving down tomorrow to cheer us on. We are planning to cook dinner at the hotel because we have a full kitchen which is nice.

I love the whole race experience. When I sign up for a race I usually like to stay in a hotel the night before near the race and hang out at the expo and have a little vacation the day before chilling at the hotel and then wake up the next day and race! So, today is about relaxing, getting registered and laying out my stuff for tomorrow. Going to bed early tonight because we have to be in transition before 5:45. So to eat breakfast and everything I'll have to be up pretty early.

The weather should be nice tomorrow. In the 70's and sunny. Last year it rained on us so it will be nice to race in the sunshine!

I'll let you know how it went when I get back! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Performance Nutrition

Below is an article I wrote for one of Triathlon Team's I was coaching and I was just re-reading it figuring out my nutrition for Saturday and thought you would enjoy reading it too! Print it out and save it for your next race day nutrition.

Performance Nutrition

By Rachel Cosgrove

Nutrition to enhance your performance

The following won’t help you if you have not been following the basic nutrition guidelines. Having your basic nutrition down creates a foundation during your training that you can add to and enhance performance above that foundation. If you have not built a strong foundation, performance nutrition isn’t a magic secret that will make up for it. Remember a diet that enhances health will enhance performance. Start with getting the basics down first before you worry about performance nutrition.

Remember everything you read below should first be tried in practice not on race day. Do not wait until race day to try your performance nutrition out. You should have already worked the plan and know what you will be doing that day. Nothing new on race day!

Also it is a good idea to find out what products they will be giving out at the aid stations at your race(Gatorade, power gel,etc.) so you can practice with those brands.

Common Mistakes

  • Not having a plan
  • Trying something new on race day- Nothing new on race day!
  • Too much nutrition on race day
  • Overhydrating- hyponatremia, days prior and race day
  • Lack of nutrition foundation during training- get the basics down first

Week before race

Carb Loading- The week leading up to the race you want to be sure your glycogen levels are completely full. This is done by increasing your carbohydrates in your diet and tapering your training so that you are not using up the glycogen and it can be stored.

There are a few different methods of carb loading, one in which you completely deplete your carbohydrates for a period of time and then increase them right before the race. This works but can be tricky and I don’t recommend it.

Instead I recommend the 7 days prior to your race eat a little extra carbohydrates than usual. Do not eat any different foods then you normally eat but just more of the foods that are a part of your diet already. In the research they showed that having 5g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight for the 3-7 days before your race can increase endurance by 20%.

Fluid Intake- The week before the race you have to get enough fluid in. You can’t wait until the day before your race and in one day try to hydrate. You need to be fully hydrated the entire week before the race(and hopefully your entire training). How do you know if you are drinking enough water? Is your Pee clear? If your urine is bright yellow or orange you are probably not drinking enough water.

Sodium Intake- NATA/ACSM recommend liberally salting your foods, if event >8 hrs or you are a heavy sweater +500mg for days pre race. So don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little extra salt on your food the week before the race and be sure to drink sports drinks that contain sodium and potassium. You can also use salt tablets if you are a heavy sweater. Take two tablets prior to race. Again try them before practice first. Keep drinking your water liberally.

Pre Race Nutrition(Day before and day of):

No new nutrition

Avoid gas causing foods

Avoid high fiber foods

Avoid sugar substitutes

Limit alcohol

Early dinner (allow time for digestion)

Nighttime snack to top off stores

Fluid recommendations day before- Drink a sports drink(such as Gatorade) and water throughout the day at a 1:1 ratio to avoid hyponatremia.

Some examples of a dinner-

Pasta, lean meat

Another example:


Baked Potato w/o skin, w/ salt

Odwalla superfood

Water/sports drink

On Race Day-

Top off glycogen stores

Less fiber/fat, Hi Glycemic foods are best because they will digest fast

Stick to familiar foods

Bring your food with you if you aren’t sure they will have it at the hotel

2-4 hours pre swim, wake up- Have your usual breakfast- yes you must eat something!

For example- Toast, fruit, sports drink

Oatmeal, n/f milk

Banana and PB sandwich

What about Caffeine?

Can affect aerobic endurance and muscle contraction positively

Effective dose- 5 mg/kg

More sensitive w/ less frequent use

So if you have had it before you can have a cup of coffee prior to the race to give you a boost.

After you have eaten breakfast have a sports bottle with you to continue taking in fluid and calories.


Use sports drink and water in a 1:1 ratio

17-20 ounces of fluids before race

10-20 minutes pre race 7-10 ounces

Bring something with you to the transition area to snack on in case it is awhile before your wave goes. This may be a cliff bar, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, etc.

Time to race…

During race

Throughout the race plan to take in:

-1 16-20 ounce bottle of fluid(sports drink) per hour

-200-300 calories an hour


Start fully loaded- if you followed the recommendations above your good

Out of water- often have a sore throat from salt water so at your transition have some water to soothe your throat but you probably won’t want to eat anything until you get on your bike


Last nutrition was before your swim so it has been awhile, it is time to refuel.

Need to eat as soon as your body adjusts.

Wait 10 min until body adjusts to new HR, tempo, respiration, muscles.

Then start taking in some fluid and a gel.

No solids 1st 20-30 minutes

This can be very individual so you need to account for intensity and climate and individuality.

Bike Nutrition:

Burn 600-800 kcal/hour on bike but can only oxidize .5-1 g carbs per min or

240 cal/ hr so taking in 300 cals an hour should be adequate. More than this could create GI distress.

Know your plan!

Know your kcals/ hour goals

Know what products work best

“Overeat on bike (>300 kcal/hr)as tolerated

Nutrition better tolerated on bike vs. run

60% solids/ 40% fluids

Front load solids and decrease cals last ½ hour to empty gut

Use- Bite size bars, gels, sports drink

If you become 1% dehydrated, you will be 2% slower. Get your fluids in during the bike.

Don’t wait to get thirsty- set timer as needed

If you are going to use salt tabs now is the time to take them.

Sports drinks should have 110mg/ 8 ounces of sodium.

Remember try to finish taking in nutrition 20-30 minutes before start the run to decrease GI distress.


High likelihood of GI distress during the run

Use gels and bars and not a ton of fluid.

Be careful taking something at every aid station.

Take in 200-300 calories every hour. If it is a sprint distance you may need one gel at the most during the run. Don’t take in too much


This is the most commonly forgotten nutrition- after you are done, give something back to your body!

After your race you have a decreased immune system and muscle damage

You need to eat something within 30 minutes.

Keep recovering

48 hours to refill glycogen