Reflections on the 2016 Race Season

When a race season closes, I like to reflect on the things that went well and areas to improve as I transition to a new season. This season was not a typical season for me. I didn’t have any crazy goals besides supporting my husband on his first attempt at the Leadville 100 MTB. I had a few 70.3s in the plan, as well as Boston Marathon. Because these are races that don’t require a big training commitment I elected to just coach myself. Overall, it worked and I had some ideas of marks to hit each week but was much more flexible on my training than I have been in the last few years.

I also had a few surprises this season, including surgery on my toe. All in all, I think I handled things pretty well. Kudos also to my surgeon as I was able complete Boulder 70.3 just 6 weeks after my surgery. I was happy with my results, considering the limited training (no run for 3 weeks and no swim for 5 weeks). My next race was the Tribella Sprint. I signed up at the last minute since I had the time and love to support my favorite bike shop. I was technically training for a 70.3 so I planned to do the sprint and then ride 40 miles. That worked well and I even got first in my age group.  Hot firemen all around was a bonus. ;-) 

Vineman 70.3 was technically my "A" race since I had the surgery before Boulder 70.3. Physically, I felt really ready for the race. I was also excited to go back to the Bay Area and see old friends. I got a flat and blew one of my shifting cables that cost me 15 minutes. Without that, I would have made the podium and been very close to a PR, which was my goal. My run was the fastest I have had in a 70.3 at 1:48. I truly felt like I was floating. Celebrating with some wine tasting was a great bonus! 

After that race, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and buy a new bike. It took me a bit and James, Liz and Daniel at Tribella were very patient with me. With the help of Daniel Duryea, bike fitter extraordinaire, I got the perfect bike that FELT better than any other bike I have ridden.

I only had the bike for about three weeks before my last half ironman, Harvest Moon, but I felt so good that I had no concerns about racing on it. Mother Nature threw a challenge down for all of us. We had big wind gusts (more than the race director had seen in 20+ years of racing and directing) that made the swim very choppy and the bike difficult to stay upright. I’m not going to lie, I thought about signaling a kayaker many times on the swim, but I also know that this could happen next year in the Ironman (same location) and mentally I’d be wrecked if I quit. I saw many people quit and a female pro stopped on the bike right after transition for fear that the winds would blow her over. I said to myself to just skip the aerobars if I needed to and do my best to stay upright. Once I was done with the bike, I knew the run would be very hot but at least I didn’t have to worry about surviving. The heat was not too bad and I seemed to be coping with the heat well, with some practice earlier in the year. I ended up at 2nd in my age group. 

Things I did well this season:
•    Rolled with the changes and didn’t get too freaked out about missing training.
•    Pushed through pain to run Boston and really felt lucky to be racing.  
•    Raced well in the heat – every race was hot and it didn’t affect me as bad as some of the other racers. My cooling techniques worked very well. 
•    Ran strong even after technical issues cost me time on the bike.
•    Nutrition was spot on. I used my ME test data at the beginning of the season and it worked in every race. I recently retested myself, as I’m about to end my very short off season, and things were very consistent to my test earlier this year. That is because I have several years of fat adapted fueling behind me. 

Things to improve:
•    Figure out what is the cause of my chronic back issues and try a new approach. I’ve been working with a PT that does MAT (muscle activation techniques). It’s worked really well, up until a few days ago when I moved a king sized mattress with my 8 year old son (big lesson learned there). 
•    Practice, practice, practice changing my tire so a flat does not keep me out of contention. Go back to putting Stan’s in my tubes before a race to help prevent flats. 
•    Get a thorough check on my bike before a race. I have the best bike mechanic (James at Tribella) so I may as well use him!
•    Continue to work on my swim. Although it feels stronger, I can’t say I’m getting much faster but for me, the real goal is to get through the swim feeling strong, without losing too much time.
•    Take every race very seriously and be detailed when reviewing race plan. I was a little more casual this year and forget two small nutrition items in two races. 
•    Spend more time on my bike in rough conditions to improve handling.

The off season has been a little rough this year from an emotional standpoint. I lost my father and cat in the same week. Shortly after that I locked my back up so my start date for 2017 training has been pushed back. All of that has kept things in perspective for me. Health and loved ones are the most important things I have.  I spent a lot of time with my father and family in Wisconsin. I also had the best summer with my son. We had a blast going to some of my favorite places in San Francisco, exploring areas in my hometown that were even new to me, and supporting my husband in Leadville. He crushed it and was only 15 minutes from getting the big buckle. Yes, he’ll be back! All in all, the 2016 season was a success and I’m excited to continue to push myself in 2017 with some bigger goals.  

Post Surgery and Race Update - June 2016

10 days after the Boston marathon Joe the Toe went under the knife. The doctor removed a mass that turned out to be scar tissue. He also shaved down some small bone spurs and found an infection. Surprisingly, I recovered very well and was running 3 weeks to the day from my surgery. I credit this to my amazing surgeon but I was also prepared and took my recovery very seriously. Some of the key things I did were:

  • Ate Bone Broth daily.
  • Ate an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of fresh vegetables, wild caught fish, proteolytic enzymes and turmeric.
  • Took supplements for nutrients important in the healing process (zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, collagen and others)
  • Supported my detoxification pathways to help my body recover from the anesthesia.
  • Took a high dose of probiotics to combat the antibiotics that were required to fight the infection. I have rarely taken antibiotics in my life but there are times when they are necessary.

I was careful not do anything to cause another infection, which meant no swimming for 5 weeks. I was able to bike a few days after the surgery and running felt good (with more than one shoe option!) after 3 weeks. 

Almost a year ago I registered for the Boulder 70.3 with no idea that I would need surgery. When I met with my surgeon he told me that it's unknown how soon I could race after surgery but don't count anything out. I'm happy to report that I will be on the start line tomorrow in Boulder! I'm not as prepared as I'd like to be but doing a race 6 weeks after surgery is a win to me, no matter what the outcome of the race.

2016 Boston Marathon Race Report

The week leading up to Boston was stressful. Since last fall, I’ve had an issue with my 4th toe on my right foot. It’s been sore and inflamed and after visits to several doctors and finally an MRI, they determined there was a mass in there, along with two small bone spurs that cause a corn to build up between the toes every few years. A biopsy is very invasive so I’m also going to get the bone spurs shaved so the corn issue is eliminated. Surprisingly, I was able to train for the marathon and running actually felt better than biking. The surgeon told me to do the race and we’ll do surgery after so that was all I needed to hear. Unfortunately, the week before the race the toe was really inflamed. I think it was because I tried a new version of the same Brooks Pure Cadence 4. I backed off on running and biking but spent more time in the pool. On Thursday night, with the swelling still substantial, I wondered if I should do the race. I decided it made sense for me to do a short run on Friday morning in the old Brooks to see how my toe felt. It wasn’t great, but not terrible. Then for kicks I threw on my Newtons that I only use for shorter runs since they can aggravate my calves on longer runs. They are wider and they felt a ton better. Decided those were the shoes for the race since the toe was more important than the calves. I felt ready and at peace with my decision.

Later that day, I received a text that United had canceled my flight for Saturday (the next day). It had not even started raining yet! I really started to wonder if all these roadblocks were signs that running this race is not a good idea. I was going without my family and felt ambivalent about that when I booked the trip. I decided to see if I could actually get on another flight. If not, it was not meant to be. After an hour, they got me on a Delta flight on Saturday through Minneapolis. I was happy with that, but felt like the chances were slim that the flight would actually go out of Denver. I decided to make the best of it and had a nice dinner with my boys. I also told Magnus that if I was stuck here I was planning to run a marathon in Denver at the same time that I would be running in Boston. I would even try to run by his school and see if the kids could come out and cheer me on.

In the shower on Saturday I knew I really wanted to run this race since this might be my last one for a while, but it was out of my control. I grabbed my flight snacks (sliced vegetables with guacamole, nuts, coconut butter, Wild bars) and the boys took me to the airport. Two hours later my flight was actually taking off! We were late to Minneapolis but there were several other racers on the flight. We all sprinted to the next flight and we made it!  I had to check my bag in Denver but I was wearing my shoes so I really had all I needed. The flight to Boston was easy and I was completely shocked to see my bag roll onto the carousel. I felt like I had won the lottery and knew this race was meant to be!

On Sunday, I got in a quick run and tried to de-stress as much as I could but I love to spend time at that expo. I requested a refrigerator in my hotel so I grabbed snacks and meals at Whole Foods to make sure I was eating what I typically eat. It’s so nice to not have to worry about carb loading and just eat real foods. I did my athlete’s yoga routine to make sure my body was loose.  I chose my outfit without too much analysis. I love my Tribella race top and it has pockets to carry what I need so that was it. Around 5:45 I walked to Whole Foods and got my dinner. I was hoping for salmon but they only had poached and it was topped with some type of green and tomatoes. I thought that may be risky so went with the chicken. I added baby kale, beets, mushrooms, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Most was cooked, but cold so I warmed the food slightly so that it would be easier to digest. I also took an HCl/enzyme capsule to be sure. I went to bed feeling good and ready to race.

I woke just before the alarm went off and my body felt good. I had decaf coffee with a bit of caffeinated added before leaving the room. I decided to wait on the fully leaded until I was in the Athlete’s Village. That was all I needed… another bonus of being fat adapted – no stress about breakfast. I took a Vespa CV-25 one hour before the start, discarded my lovely hoodie and pants for Goodwill to pick up and walked toward the corrals. In the corral, I took 3 amino acid capsules plus one Salt Stick (just in case as the temps were going to be a bit warmer). I took a Vespa Jr. just before the start.

I felt good starting out and I did not feel as flat as last year so the timing on Vespa and coffee was perfect. I tried not to go out too fast but the downhill makes it tough to reign it in. I was counting down the miles a bit, but just kept reminding myself about how lucky and happy I was to just be able to run. I named my toe Joe and he would tell me to keep going (in a gruff Burgess Meredith voice). When my quads and calves started to hurt, Joe would tell them to shut up, they don’t have any reason to complain like he did… and he wasn’t! I didn’t start to do math on a potential finish time until about mile 10 and told myself to stop tracking, we had a long way to go. I was just watching the pace. It seemed like I was going faster than last year (I was actually eerily similar both years). At the first hour, I was fumbling to get my amino acid capsules out of the bag. I waited a bit to let the capsules digest and then I took in ½ of X2 Performance. I stuck with the system of taking in the aminos (with salt tabs at hour 2) and then ½ of X2 at each hour. I took 2 cups of water at all stations up to mile 23. I would drink 1 to 1.5 cups and pour a small amount down my shirt. I did not want my shoes to get wet since they were a little big. I was doing the math, assuming I slowed to 9 minute miles at the end, just in case. That would give me some extra time. The downhill before the Heartbreak hill section really hurt my quads. It felt good to run up Heartbreak and give the quads a break. I ran the hills faster than last year. As we came into the city it really hurt but I just kept reminding myself to take in the cheering crowd since I may not be racing again for a while, depending on recovery from my surgery. I had forgotten about the uphill around the underpass at mile 25. That slowed me a bit. I still thought I would come in at 3:42-3:43. I was running faster but my math must have been off. I had some in the tank and sprinted once I turned the corner and saw the finish. It hurt badly, but good thing I emptied the tank since I only PR’d by 3 seconds. My final time was 3:44:58, beating my best marathon and my Boston time from last year by 3 minutes.

Once I crossed the finish and started walking, I could feel that Joe the toe was really swollen. I got my blanket, medal, pictures, etc and then Joe didn’t seem to bother me anymore. The calves and quads held up too. They were sore but never slowed me down. I had my Vega Recovery Accelerator and ate a mini Cliff Builders bar with 1/3 of banana on the walk to my hotel. Since I don’t take in many calories during the race it’s important that I get some protein and carbohydrates in to recover. 

Total race nutrition:

Before the race – 1 packet Vespa CV-25 (18 calories, no carbs), 1 packet Vespa – Jr. (31 calories, 8g. carbs)

During the race – 1.5 bottles X2 Performance (1 bottle = 60 calories, 15 g. carbs)

Total before and during – 139 calories, 30 g. of carbs.  + 12 full spectrum amino acid capsules and 2 Salt Stick capsules

Recovery went well but that plane ride on Tuesday was a killer! Now I’m onto my next adventure with Joe the Toe going under the knife on 4/27. We’ll see how it affects my summer race plans but either way I’m really happy with my day in Boston!

Happy 2016!

During my last run for 2015, I reflected on my year and considered what I would change for 2016. I'm not big on New Years resolutions because I believe that every day is an opportunity to make a change. That said, the New Year naturally calls for reflection.

This year has had its ups and downs, maybe a few more downs on the health and performance side but I know that I am very fortunate. Being able to run after almost 2 months off feels amazing but I am careful to not repeat old patterns and will be diligent about correcting muscle imbalances. I always say to put health first and performance will follow. We cannot push our bodies to the limit without taking care of them.

I look forward to 2016 and I'm excited to start the New Year. 2015, unfortunately, began alone in a hotel room with the flu. I missed starting the year with my boys and good friends. 2016 will begin with my loved ones at my side, which means the world to me. I'm also looking forward to starting my training for Boston and some shorter triathlon races. I'll have more time to support my amazing husband as he takes on the Leadville 100 MTB race and I'll also focus more of my training on speed.

I wish you all a Happy New Year. May your 2016 start with people that give you positive energy and support you as you embark on new challenges for 2016.

2016 Race Schedule

  • 4/18/15 Boston Marathon
  • 6/11/16 Boulder 70.3
  • 7/10/16 Vineman 70.3

Others to be determined.

Ironman WI Race Day Nutrition Report

Since my race reports tend to become very long winded, I’ll focus again on nutrition for this report. I don’t want to put you to sleep!

Going into the race, I did some advance preparation. I planned out my meals and located a Whole  Foods near our rental in Madison. I also packed healthy foods for travel to avoid making poor choices that my body is not accustomed to. 

To avoid being a total recluse, I dined out the day we arrived but stuck to a simple salad with some protein and added my own MCT oil. Since it was a few days before the race, I planned for this to be my last salad. For an Ironman, I cut down on raw veggies to reduce fiber intake 3 days before the race.

Friday was a rest day so I took my shopping list to Whole Foods and picked up the necessities for the next few days. Unfortunately, the kitchen supplies were old and dysfunctional at our rental so things did not turn out as I planned. For dinner on Friday I had a sweet potato with grilled salmon and roasted vegetables. Since Whole Foods cooked it, it was perfect. I sent my boys off to have pizza. I roasted two extra sweet potatoes that I planned to eat on Saturday. Yes, that’s how I “carb load!”

On Saturday I had a small workout so ate my typical greens/maca/collagen mix, along with some eggs and 1/2 sweet potato for breakfast. I also grabbed some Lara Uber bars in case I needed a snack during race check in. After I picked up my bike from Wes, there was an issue with the front derailleur but he fixed it. Talk about service! If you have not used Pro Bike Express, you need to check it out. 

I rode my bike for a very short ride, did a short swim and I checked my bike and gear. Now it was time to relax. I had some veggies along with lunch meat and a sweet potato with pasture butter and chilled on the couch. I was still nervous, as I had been all week, but it was tied to my bike. The most recent issue certainly did not help. I also snacked on some sweet potato chips. Hadn’t had those since my last IM and they tasted pretty darn good! 

I reviewed my race plan, did some visualizing, and wrote cards to those that have supported me along the way and would be cheering for me tomorrow. My traditional pre-race meal is chicken kabobs with sweet potato and sautéed mushrooms in pasture butter. Unfortunately the oven was horrible and the chicken was tough. I only managed to eat a few of chicken pieces but ate the rest of my food. I had a few small pieces of dark chocolate, took some magnesium and headed to bed.

I woke up at 3:45 feeling somewhat rested although I tossed and turned quite a bit. Had my coffee and was actually kind of hungry. That said, I didn’t eat anything and it passed once the nerves took over. I took my usual supplements and prepared my water bottles. If you want to see how I set things up for easy prep on race morning, check out my race preparation video. I mixed vanilla UCAN with protein to drink at the race site. I also brought two bike bottles with 1 scoop of Race Rx in each. I bought a disposable bottle to put on my down tube since I will toss it when I get to the aid station and replace with water from the aid station. 

All went smooth at the race site and I started drinking my UCAN at 5:30.  I finished around 6:00 and all felt good. Amazingly the women’s restroom lines were much shorter than the men! Ha, about time!

I got into line to enter the water. It was warm and felt good against the cooler air. I swam out towards the ski ramp but a bit behind it, since I am not a fast swimmer. The gun went off and it was so easy to just start swimming. It was a gorgeous swim! One of my best… I was able to draft and only got kicked in the ribs twice!  As I exited I saw that I had a swim PR of 1:22. A great way to start the day!

T1 was great! Had a volunteer and the warmth of the ballroom felt wonderful. I decided to just go with arm warmers and it was perfect. The bike area was really congested. As I was entering the fray to exit the bike racks my bike got bumped and fell over. I tried to grab it and then I went down. All seemed okay but I was a little startled.

I took a packet of Vespa right away to help enhance my body's ability to burn fat. The start on the bike path was really congested and it was difficult to pass. I just decided to go with the pace. My bike was in the big chain ring. As I started to shift into smaller gears I noticed that there was a clicking sound, like there was a card in my spokes. I kept working with it, kind of avoiding the gears but I needed the smaller gears for the hills. The first aid station was around mile 16. I asked about mechanical assistance and there were 4 trucks. Most were busy but a new one was just leaving the transition area. That meant it would be 20-30 minutes at best. Ugh… not sure what to do. I decided I had to wait. About 5 minutes later, an aid station worker looked at my bike and noticed that the rear derailleur was bent in towards the spokes. I bent it out more towards the outside. That seemed to work. I felt relieved and carried on. On the first big hill, I shifted into the small ring in front and tried to go down into my smallest gear in the back. The bike locked up and I went down. I got the chain back on and decided to not use that gear. That meant I had to take it easy or the big hills would kill my legs. I kept moving along and just thought about getting a PR on the run. I was behind on my nutrition and started drinking my first bottle with Race Rx around an hour in. It didn’t really concern me that I was behind plan since my calorie needs are low and can easily make up for it without causing GI distress. I was also drinking less water than I did in Boulder but it was not as hot. I was peeing so all seemed good. I took 3 capsules of amino acids along with a salt capsule around 1:15. I got to the hills and my legs felt pretty good, but I had to stand up to keep my legs from burning. I finally saw my husband and son at the top of the last hill. They looked so cute in their matching yellow shirts.

I tried to cruise through the downhills and the first loop seemed to go pretty fast. I took ½ Vespa packet around 2:15 and another amino/salt combo at 3:00. At the beginning of the second loop I decided to try to get in the smallest gear. I had to tell a guy behind me (there was a ton of drafting!) to back off or go around as I may go down. It went into the gear without issue so I decided to use it on the hills but shift very gently. I finished one bottle of Race Rx around mile 70 or 80. I took ½ an X2 Performance at mile 75. It has caffeine and it did give me a little pep. I started to feel pretty good and was now passing people. I took a few drinks of the second bottle of Race Rx and the second half of the X2 around mile 100. I noticed that I started to burp something up around mile 90. I thought to myself... what is that taste and realized it was the UCAN with protein that I drank before the race. I will be looking at other options for next year but it was not uncomfortable and passed pretty quickly.

I was so happy to get to T2 and be done with bike. It was definitely NOT a PR, but I was happy that I finished without any additional issues. I was 30 minutes slower than Boulder.  I know it’s a harder course, but I expected faster and that would have happened without the mechanical issues. As I stood up from my bike I noticed that my back was really locked up. I just decided to suck it up since the run was going to be my moment. As I exited, I saw the race clock at 8:01. I thought to myself that if I could run the marathon under 4 hours, I could still break 12 hours. I didn’t really think that was possible though so thought I would just focus on a PR, which meant less than 12:14. That was doable if I kept moving. In the end I did a 4:10 marathon so who knows what is possible!

I took some BCQ (my natural alternative to Advil) and it definitely helped with my back. I also took some more aminos and salt. I walked through the aid stations for water but otherwise just kept moving along. I was feeling good and keeping a good pace. Around mile 10, I took in about 1/3 bottle of X2 Performance. Around mile 12, I started to suck on a Werthers candy and that tasted amazing! That was just what I needed to give my body a slow release of glucose so I could still burn my body fat. I hit the turnaround and thought – halfway there! I saw SN and grabbed more BCQ. I took another 1/3 of the X2 around mile 15. I took the last 1/3 between miles 18 and 20.  At mile 22 I started to take a small amount of coke in my mouth and spit it out. I didn’t want to swallow yet, in case it bothered my stomach, but, surprisingly, I liked the taste. Even a swish of it gives the body a boost from the caffeine and sugar. I thought of my cousin Ryan often during the run.  He has cancer and is undergoing some pretty painful treatments and yet remains so strong.  I saw my family coming onto the last section of State Street and that gave me a huge boost. Roar by Katy Perry was blasting, which was a perfect song. I swallowed the coke at miles 24 and 25. It tasted and felt good. I didn’t take much but it was enough to keep me moving. I thought of Magnus as I headed uphill towards the capital. He ran over the hill twice the day before in the Ironkids race, so I am not going to slow down!

I kept with it and then saw the finishing chute. I thought about jumping but I have no idea how people can do that! I did lift my arms in victory. I had a PR on the run and PR overall. I saw my coach and we were both happy with my result. After hugging and kissing my family I headed to the food line and grabbed pizza, chips, grapes and a cookie. I knew my son would want some snacks and I would see what I could get down. I had a few bites of the pizza and some chips but that was it. My stomach didn’t feel bad and I had no inkling of GI issues during the race but I was not hungry. I was cold and ready for a warm shower. 

We took Magnus to WI Dells after the race for some kid time. Man, those roller coasters really reminded of the which muscles worked so hard the day before!

I had some treats to celebrate over the next few day and gave my body the carbohydrates it needed to replenish my spent muscles. Dinner was lobster with Brussels sprouts. A perfect way to celebrate a great race with the support of my family. I  could not do what I do without their never ending support.

Total Race Nutrition:

Bike / swim = 280 calories or 35 calories per hour

Run = 90 calories or 21 calories per hour

Overall race = 370 calories or 30 calories per hour

2015 Race Season Update

My 2015 racing season has been different from past seasons due to vacations and my hubby’s race schedule. That said, it’s been a great summer and my IM training going very well. I did have some opportunities to get in a few early season races with a focus on shorter distance and speed.

In May, I completed the Summer Open triathlon. Since I don’t swim well in cold water, this was a gamble for me. My swim has improved so I wanted to get in the water and test the mental demons that seem to come out in cold water.

Since it was “just a sprint,” I decided that I didn’t need to worry about breakfast, as long as my muscles were fully loaded with glycogen the night before. To top off the glycogen tank, I added a sweet potato to my dinner of chicken and cooked vegetables.

On race day morning, I had coffee with flax milk, along with some amino acids, and headed to the race site. I loved the simplicity of it and not having to force food into my system when I have no appetite. 45 minutes before the race I had a packet of VespaPower to boost the fat burning system. Right before the swim, I took in half a serving of X2 Performance.

I was nervous about the cold water so I made sure I got my face into the water and warmed up. It actually didn’t feel that bad. The cold race in Grand Junction last year was much worse, in my opinion. The swim went well and I was feeling good as I headed out on the bike. I took the second half serving of X2 Performance and went as hard as I could. It was my first race on my new bike, which, at that point, was still not a good fit for me. I ended with a 21.2 mph pace, which was good, but not a PR. The run felt amazing, maybe it was just because my feet were numb, but I went with it! I averaged a 7.33 pace, which I felt good about. I ended with first in my age group, 4th fastest female on the bike and 5th fastest female on the run. Clearly, I still need to work on that swim, but I was happy!

Later that month I went to WI for my nephew’s graduation. There was a local 10 mile race so I thought why not?! I stuck with the same morning and pre-race nutrition. I could see there were some serious runners, which got me excited about the competition. I took off and tried to hold the pace of the other lead women. I dropped a few back, but kept pushing at a pace that is faster than I typically run at this distance and I felt really good! It was a light mist, but much lighter rain than Boston so this just seems to be the weather for me this year.  I took the second serving of X2 at mile 5 and a serving of amino acids at mile 7.5. I knew I was pushing my legs so wanted to be sure the muscles were not getting catabolized. The last 2 miles were grueling but I did not want to drop my pace. I was ecstatic with my result of 1:13:43, which was a big PR at 7:22 pace. I was 4th overall female and first in my age group. Plus, we got cheese curds at the finish and the best part was my brother Eric at the finish line!

In June, we had an amazing vacation with my husband’s parents in Lanzarote, to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday. It’s a long trip but well worth it! We stayed at Club La Santa, which is a playground for the adult and child athlete. Any sport we wanted to participate in was available. And the food? It was fresh and tasty! One of the restaurants in Club La Santa even had their own farm to ensure they were able to serve locally grown vegetables without harmful chemicals. 

I took the opportunity to make it a training camp and my coach did not disappoint me with a challenging schedule. After a long week of training, I had the opportunity to run the Lanzarote Wine Run 13.1. So again, why not?! Luckily, I did not know what I was getting myself into. It’s a race that runs directly through the vineyards of Lanzarote, which are in LOOSE LAVA… and uphill!

It was a tough race, but gorgeous! I knew this would not be my best with tired legs but I gave it what I had and enjoyed the scenery. The reward at the end is a wine festival with lots of local wine and food. Most impressive was my father-in-law, who completed the 12K and my mother-in-law, who completed the 12K walk (and also windsurfed on her 70th birthday!). It was a fun day for all of us.

Now that I’m back and buckled down in my IM training there have not been any races, but I’m keeping my eye on the prize in IM Wisconsin and can’t wait for September!

Boston Marathon 2015 Race Report

The Boston marathon was an amazing experience! The weather was not the best, but much better than a hot, humid day. Overall, everything went well and I did better than expected, considering how my training got derailed earlier this year.

I wrote my race plan over a week in advance and was well prepared with nutrition for the trip and the race. A few of the things I did to ensure I could stay on plan while traveling.

·        Requested a refrigerator in my hotel room

·        Researched healthy restaurants in advance of trip

·        Found the nearest Whole Foods so I could buy things to have on hand in my hotel room

·        Packed travel snacks (raw nuts, Uber bars, jerky, avocado, raw vegetables, greens/protein powder/collagen mix, coconut and MCT oil, sea salt, dark chocolate, almond butter)

·        Packed supplements for race preparation and recovery

Arriving in Boston was incredible! The city truly celebrated the marathon. I was like a kid on Christmas morning as we headed to the expo. Seeing the finish line gave me chills and I could see myself crossing it on Monday.

I didn’t change much with my typical dietary intake in advance of the race. Being fat adapted, I don't require a bunch of carbohydrates before an event. We ate at an amazing restaurant on Saturday night (Davio’s) which had wild caught fish and organic dishes. On Sunday I went to Whole Foods and picked up some sautéed vegetables, a sweet potato and a piece of salmon. The sweet potato was the only additional carbohydrate I threw in to ensure I had enough glycogen for the race.

I was set for the night so I sent my boys down to the hotel restaurant for a little quiet time to mentally prepare for the race and set everything out for the morning.

On race morning I only had green tea since our room did not have a coffee maker. I drank a packet of UCAN with protein shortly before I left my room. It was looking chillier than expected and high winds were predicted so I swapped my shorts for capri tights, which was a really good decision. 

The bus took longer than expected to get to the race start so I only had time to hit the bathroom before heading to my corral. The timing messed up my plan to grab some coffee in the village. Coffee helps with energy and fat burning so that likely hurt me a bit at the start. I took a packet of Vespa about 30 minutes before the start.

Before I knew it, I was in my corral and we were off. The road was freshly wet and crowded so it was hard to get in a normal stride. I felt a little flat but the crowd helped to keep me from going out too fast. I grabbed water at the first aid station and took my amino acids and salt tab.

I was moving along at a consistent pace and followed my race plan to take ½ Vespa at hour 1:10. My back was starting to hurt badly at mile 9 so I decided to walk for 30 seconds at mile 10 and I felt much better. I decided to continue with that approach every other mile and went through the course in my head. I found my friend Heather and she looked great! We both had the same injuries earlier in the year so we were excited that we made it to the start line. The running pack was not really thinning so I just tried not to zig zag too much. The crowds were amazing, especially when we hit Wellesley! I took ½ X2 at hour 2 and started to really get into a groove at mile 15. I was feeling better and better and ready for the hills to start at mile 17.5. Once they did, it felt good on the legs to change to an uphill grade. I took ½ Vespa at hour 3. I kept wondering if each hill was heartbreak but they didn’t seem that bad. When we did hit heartbreak hill, it still wasn’t bad just a bit longer. I took ½ X2 and settled in for the last part of the race.

As we came onto Commonwealth and Boylston, the crowds were amazing! The cheering sounded so loud and I started counting down the miles. I noticed that the bottom of my feet were sore. Had they been sore in other marathons? I was not sure. I kept with my 30 second walk on the even miles but skipped it at mile 24. I can push through anything with cheers like this!  My friend Heather came upon me and I was so excited to finish together. She was running faster than me so I just pretended there was a string pulling me along. I saw Klavs and Magnus about .5 mile before the finish. Even though it was raining they were all smiles and screaming for me. I felt so happy and fortunate for their support!

Crossing the finish line was incredible! I missed a PR by almost 3 minutes, but I finished faster than expected and well ahead of my qualifying time. The volunteers were wonderful to be out there in the rain and definitely took care of us. We were so thankful for the mylar blankets. We didn’t hang out since it was so cold, but went back to our room to celebrate. Klavs surprised us with some Veuve Clicquot, which was well deserved! I had some, along with my recovery drink.

Sushi is still my favorite recovery meal and Douzo did not disappoint! Shockingly, I did not have blisters after the race, but most of the marathoners were limping along in some way or another. Again, the city did not disappoint, everyone we encountered congratulated us on the race.

I was really sore for about 2 days but then started to recover. My recovery is not optimal with IM WI on the horizon, but I’m doing my best to foam roll, stretch and scale back the workouts when needed. My inflammation was minimal and that is likely from my nutrition. In the end, I took in only 90 calories over the entire race and requalified for next year! 

The next day was all about my fabulous race supporters. Magnus got to set the plans for the day so we did a duck tour and hit the aquarium. Got to give back love and support to those that support us!

 

 

2015 Early Season Update

It’s been a busy year that’s left me with little time to blog, but I wanted to let you all know about my training and race schedule for 2015. I typically do an Ironman every other year to allow for my husband to train and race more on my alternate years, but I wanted to capitalize on my success at Boulder and continue to benefit from my fat-adapted state. My husband is amazing and said go for it so I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin.

The first race on my horizon is the Boston marathon. Unfortunately, I had an issue with inflammation in my bone from my very uncomfortable ski boots. That put an early end to my ski season and kept me from running during peak Boston training. I was worried, but focused on keeping my fitness with riding our new Wahoo KICKR. This is the greatest trainer on the market. I was not able to get my heart rate above zone 2 on my old trainer but the KICKR does the trick! I also started aqua jogging. It sounded like a waste of time but my coach gave me a workout plan that was surprisingly tough. I was literally sweating in the pool! After a week, I was able to run on an anti-gravity trainer, Alter-G, which felt a bit like running on the moon, but as I added more of my body weight if felt more like running. All of this brought some great changes. The Kick’r increased my FTP. The aqua jogging and Alter-G training helped me focus on running form and I was getting better at activating my glutes. I was even starting to wonder if all this would make me a faster runner! Time off running also forced me to swim more, which started to make a difference in my dreadfully slow swim times. 

Once I got clearance to run outside, I was ecstatic. But, the first few runs were sluggish. After running on the Alter G, my body felt so heavy. I finally had a good run in Santa Barbara. The cliffs overlooking the ocean were gorgeous and, of course, I got the boost from the extra oxygen at sea level. I felt like I was finally back to myself. 

This meant that it was time to kick in the big mileage in a short time to prepare for Boston; but, I had to be smart about it to keep my injury from relapsing. I was amazed as I built the long run weekly to 15, 17, 18 and finally 20. I ran 20 almost one month out from the race and it was my best 20 miler ever. My fastest mile was the 20th mile so I’m excited about the possibilities of the race season! 

Now for some of the details on injury recovery and nutrition. I have been dedicated to my recovery boots, foam roller, stretching and glute-activation exercises. My nutrition has not changed much from last season. The carbohydrate focus is on non-starchy vegetables. I’ve only been using water for most of my long runs. I needed to test my nutrition since it’s been several months so I took my usual supplements on the 20 miler, including VespaPower and X2 Performance. I used 1 packet of the Vespa and ½ bottle of the X2. I brought a half scoop of UCAN but I never used it. I will likely do so in the race, but my body didn’t need it for 20 miles. I know I can digest it well so all should be fine for the marathon.

X2 Vespa.jpg

I’ve done some longer rides as well and, since my first long triathlon is still months away, I have used little calories during the rides. I’ve only used a packet of Vespa on my 3+ hour rides. 

One of favorite new things is Recovery Nectar by Natural Force. I've been using it after longer training sessions and it boosts my recovery and reduces muscle soreness. Click here to learn more about it.

Natural Force

Things are going well and I’m excited for the race season to kick off on April 20th in Boston! I hope you have all been training strong in the base season and primed your fat adapted fueling so you can capitalize on it for race season.

Stay tuned for more details on my race season!

Prior Race Results

Kirsten has been competing in endurance sports since 2000. Below are recent notable results.

  • 2014 Ironman Boulder - 9th in age group
  • 2013 Harvest Moon Half Ironman - 3rd in age group
  • 2013 TriRock Olympic Triathlon - 3rd female overall
  • 2013 Tribella Triathlon - 1st in age group
  • 2013 Metro Brokers Triathlon - 3rd overall female
  • 2013 Rock n Roll Denver Marathon - 2nd in age group
  • 2012 HITS Sterling Half Ironman - 1st in age group
  • 2012 Ironman Coeur D'Alene - 24th in age group
  • 2012 Metro Brokers Triathlon - 1st in age group
  • 2011 Crescent Moon Sprint - 2nd in age group
  • 2011 My Way or the Tri Way - 1st in age group
  • 2011 Metro Brokers Triathlon - 2nd in age group
  • 2010 Tri the Creek - 2nd in age group