Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gluten Free Cooking Spree; 7 days til Ironman!

Last night Lauren, Dave and I went to the NFCA's Gluten Free Cooking Spree. It was awesome! (Except for the absolutely insane traffic which made us get there super late! We're lucky we didn't miss the whole thing.) It's so funny how after being on a gluten free diet for 9 months, I'm programmed to check labels and ingredients of everything, and I just assume I can't eat anything at social events. Last night was completely different. There was tons of food and I could eat any of it safely! I found myself in disbelief a few times. It was wonderful to meet some of the people who work for the NFCA. They are really fantastic and doing great work. I met a lot of interesting gluten free people last night!

I was only mildly disappointed to miss out on the gluten free desserts they had available; I had to stick to my plan of no dessert until after the race next week! I'm kind of amazed how it hasn't been too difficult for the most part. Fruit can sure do the trick most of the time! We're flying tomorrow and Melanie at the Gluten Free Specialty Market suggested a St Dalfour Gourmet on the Go salmon meal. She's never steered me wrong yet, so I bought one for each travel day. Can't wait to try it tomorrow! Melanie also donated a fantastic basket of my favorite gluten free foods for the Cooking Spree last night. It was raffled off and raised a bunch more money for the NFCA. I'm so lucky to live near her shop. You can read my reviews of some of the basket items and her shop here.

I had a short 5 mile run today, including 2 tempo miles. I think the taper is going well, as the run felt great. Looking at next week's plan, my workouts are all less than an hour long. I'm going to be rested and ready! I'm thankful for the extra hour tonight due to the clocks changing. I really needed it to pack. I have never brought so much luggage with me on a vacation! Tomorrow we'll be in Florida and the countdown to race day will continue!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Hey there - I'm Lauren, a friend of Kendra's, and I'll be your guest blogger on November 7th!  This is mostly a test post to make sure that I actually can post to Kendra's blog.
I'll be flying to Florida next week so I can be there to support Kendra on the big day - and I can't wait!  Kendra and I actually did our first triathlon together way back in 1998 in San Diego, so it's awesome to be able to witness her rise to the pinnacle of triathlon events. 
Word is, there's free wireless access at the resort where the IM will take place, and I plan to have my camera and my computer with me for the day so that I can post updates and pictures as the race progresses.  So, stay tuned on race-day!  I'll do my best to find Kendra and snap some shots throughout the day, along the course and in the Transition Area so you all can feel like you're there too.
Finally, I will be going with Kendra this evening to the NFCA's Gluten Free Cooking Spree on Treasure Island in San Francisco (the beautiful city I like to call home) to check out the amazing GF food and information they'll have to share with the public.  I'm really looking forward to that, too.  Though I have no known food allergies, I do follow a vegan diet, so I do know what it feels like to always have to quiz restaurant staff about ingredients, to feel like I can't just eat anywhere I (or my companions) want to, to never quite feel sure if I can trust the information I'm getting about the food I'm about to put in my mouth, and to stand in the grocery store aisles carefully dissecting the ingredients list on the backs of packaged foods.  Events like the Cooking Spree are wonderful for raising awareness about special dietary needs, and I can't wait to be among fellow label-readers for an evening of celebrating food and good health!
One more thing until next week - don't forget to donate to Kendra's Ironman fundraising efforts!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's happening

November 7 has been on my radar for over a year, since I signed up on November 2 last year. Today was my last day of work until after the Ironman. This is all really happening! It seems surreal right now. Maybe tomorrow morning when I wake up and have a million things to do after my swim workout, it'll seem more real. I know time is moving forward like it always does, and before I know it, I'll be on Panama City Beach in a wetsuit running into the Gulf of Mexico to swim 2.4 miles as a warmup to a nice long bike ride and then a cooldown run before crossing the finish line while Mike Reilly tells me "Kendra Nielsam, you are an Ironman!"

Over the last week, I have really been all over the board with emotions about November 7. Everything comes in waves. Excited, nervous, scared, worried, excited, calm. I'm packing my training log. I can look at it and know that I've done the training for this. I can't let myself freak out about what could happen on race day. I just need to be prepared for whatever could happen.

Fundraising for the NFCA has really given me something else to focus on other than the race. It's been really great to feel like my race has a purpose - more than just a "I've always wanted to do an Ironman." I'm not just doing this for myself anymore. It's added to my To Do list, but in a good way. I feel like I'm making a difference. I've got lots of people cheering for me, and I know I'll be thinking of them all on race day, wondering if anyone is really tracking me. If you haven't donated yet, now is the time. You can donate here:  Donations raised before my race count towards the Janus Charity Challenge total. The higher my total, the more likely the NFCA will get extra money from Janus for my fundraising efforts. Top fundraisers get additional funds for their nonprofit donated by Janus.

My To Do list until I get to Florida.
  • Swim
  • Stretch
  • Buy Gu Chomps w/ caffeine
  • Buy Glutino pretzels
  • Buy gluten free chicken broth
  • Pack wetsuit, goggles, swimsuit, tri suit, bike clothes, run clothes, run gear, food for race day, plus clothes and food for every other day, etc
  • Go to National Foundation for Celiac Awareness' Gluten Free Cooking Spree 
  • Resist temptation to eat any dessert at the Gluten Free Cooking Spree (dessert free since September 20! Just 9 more days til I can have a sweet!) 
  • Turn in checks with offline donations to the NFCA.
  • Raise more money for the NFCA
  • Stretch
  • Sleep
  • Run
  • Stretch
  • Pack some more
  • Write my nutrition plan - make sure I've got everything I need
  • Write my race day plan. Maybe a race week plan too. 
  • Take the doggie to the boarders :( Beg them to post pics of her on their blog regularly.
  • Stretch
  • Sleep
  • Stretch
  • Thank Artemis profusely for taking us to the airport
  • Fly

10 day forecast

Race day weather - who knows what it will bring. I checked the Old Farmers Almanac a few weeks ago and it didn't freak me out. (I put a lot of faith in the old farmers almanac. When I got married a few years ago it accurately predicted rain for the 3 days before the wedding, but clear skies on wedding day. I may have been the only one not surprised to wake up to the most gorgeous sunny day on our wedding day.) Well, turns out I may have been focusing on the rest of Florida. Not the panhandle. Here's the long range forecast for Panama City Beach, per Old Farmers Almanac:
NOVEMBER 2009: temperature 55° (0.5° above avg.); precipitation 5" (avg.); Nov 1-4: Sunny, warm; Nov 5-9: Scattered t-storms, warm; Nov 10-15: T-storms, then sunny, cold;
Let's hope those storms are very scattered and not around on the 7th.
So finally, we're 9 days away from race day, which means the standard 10 day forecasts now includes Saturday, November 7. I just learned yesterday that the weather forecasters count day 1 as today!

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy;  High of 77°, Low of 61°, 10% chance of precipitation

Saturday, Nov 7
High: 76 °F RealFeel®: 75 °F
Mostly sunny
Saturday Night, Nov 7
Low: 57 °F RealFeel®: 52 °F
Clear to partly cloudy


Nov 07

Hi: 72°

Lo: 68°


Showers30% Chance of showers. High 72F and low 68F. Winds NE at 9 mph.

I'm packing for anything. My leg warmers and long fingered gloves are already on their way to Florida. I'm bringing pants and shorts for the run. I'll have ear warmers, a short sleeve jersey, a long sleeve top, a sleeveless jersey, etc, etc. But I'm really hoping it doesn't rain and, more importantly, I'm hoping that there aren't thunderstorms. Sometimes races get changed around due to weather. The swim portion can get cancelled, the bike can get shortened, etc. I may sound crazy to some of you, but on November 7, I WANT to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles.  I want mother nature on my side. I'm hoping for the best, but planning for the worst, and expecting something in between.
Last night I did my swim that I skipped on Tuesday. I started my Wednesday morning with a 30 mile ride on the trainer (and 2.5 episodes of Felicity). After work I went straight to the gym and hopped in the pool. Wow it was windy and chilly walking to the pool, but once I got in the water, it was perfect. I used my new goggles that I just got from My coach suggested them and they worked well without any adjustments even! I just swam and swam and swam. I don't like swimming in the dark, but luckily there was someone else in the pool the whole time, so it was less creepy. And then I was done with my workouts on work days! Today is a rest day and tomorrow I've just got a short swim but as of tonight I'm on vacation from work until after Ironman. No more having to fit training and work into my life at the same time!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bib number 63!

I suffer from first Ironman neurosis. Although, according to my bike shop (they say they specialized in first Ironman neurosis), I'm doing really well and I'm not too crazy. I've called them a few times since my husband dropped my bike off there yesterday asking them things like "did he remember to tell you I wanted some spare tubes put in my gear bag?" (yes) and "can you check the flask holder and make sure it's exactly in the right spot (then explained where it needs to be)" (already done, your husband told us that too) and today "When I was trying to sleep last night I realized I forgot to weigh my gear bag! Can you make sure it's under 25 lbs?" (don't worry about it, it's definitely fine) They've been incredibly awesome and reassuring every time, and always tell me to feel free to call back as many times as I need to. Davis Wheelworks rocks. My coach has been really incredible too!
Part of my disorder has left me compulsively checking the Ironman Florida website daily (yes, sometimes more often) to see if bib numbers have been posted. Why? I have no clue. It doesn't really matter what my bib number is until it's race day. But it's just more information about race day for me. I am a numbers geek, so it matters to me. The silly thing is, I felt like Ironman would surely email us when race numbers were posted, so why bother checking the website?  Today was the magical day though. Instead of "NA" being next to my name in the bib number column, a number was there when I checked the website at lunchtime. I am number 63! 63! Out of 2874! That is a LOT of people! In 11 days I will be running into the ocean with 2814 people (the 60 pros get a 10 minute head start). 2814 people and we'll all be swimming to the same buoy. It's going to be brutal. Hopefully the exhilaration will triumph over fear as I get pushed, shoved, dunked, kicked, punched?, and swam over. (My coach once got a black eye, as a pro!)
This morning I ran 6 miles - all on the treadmill because it is incredibly windy here today. Around mile 5, I realized Ironman is NEXT WEEK! It seems silly to just now come to this realization; my watch has been counting down for me for about 300 days. But there's a difference between thinking something is 11 days away and realizing it's next week. Next week seems sooner. I only have one more weekend of workouts, and not even a full weekend since Sunday is a travel day. OH MY GOODNESS. Things are happening SO FAST! (Speaking of fast, the beat at the end of Free Bird by Lynard Skynard is a good one for running fast! If I hadn't been on a treadmill I know I would've sped up when it played on my ipod this morning!) November 7 isn't on the 10 day forecast just yet though. I know it's going to be windy. My ride on Sunday was super windy, so I hope that helped mentally prepare me. It's hard not to get discouraged when the wind is beating you up on the bike.
This first Ironman neurosis is a bit complicated. Sometimes I'm super excited about the race. Then I have a little freak out. I think about all the things that could go wrong. Or about things I could be forgetting. I worry. Then I have a great workout and think about how awesome I am feeling and I go back to being excited about the race again. We're packing DVDs to watch in the days before the race. DVDs to relax and just take it easy. I'm thinking Arrested Development. I had a wonderful massage last night (rest day!) and that helped loosen up my muscles that were tired from my weekend workouts and it helped me relax a bit too. Although when I wasn't dozing off I was working on my mental training. Visualization is where it's at!
My fundraising for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is going well. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed! There is still time to donate. If you can, a donation of my race number ($63) would be much appreciated. Or $17 for the 17 hour time limit! Check out my prior post for other suggestions. You can still make a donation by clicking here:  Thank you!
Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 3.4 miles; 130 minutes
Bike: 162.2 miles; 629 minutes
Run: 13 miles; 150 minutes
Total: 909 minutes (15 hours, 9 minutes)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So much to do, so little time!

Time is running out! Leaving for Panama City Beach in 1 week. Race is in 2 weeks. My to-do list just keeps getting longer. Thankfully the workouts are getting shorter! Today was a brick workout. Lately I've been practicing packing my Transition Bags by putting everything together that I'll need for the bike in one bag, the run gear in another bag. When I come home done with the bike, everything I need for the run is in one spot. Just like race day. Here are some photos I took on my 60/6 brick a few weeks ago. I figured they'd help me make sure I wasn't forgetting anything when I pack for Florida. Except that I'll need a bit more food and more clothing options and a few other random things.

Bike bag:
In case you can't tell, those are hot pink arm warmers on the left. I need to add a towel to dry off feet, and my ear warmers, and probably lots of other little things.

Run bag:The roundish black thing at the top is my IT Band Wrap. Love it.

Yesterday's swim went great. When I went to put it in my training log I realized it was the first time in a looong time that I did my whole swim workout. The water temp in the pool is so much nicer this time of year because they heat it to 82. Perfect for me! I swam 4000 yards which is actually my longest swim workout this year (not counting two 4000 meter swim races).

Today's brick went pretty well. The bike seemed pretty easy. My toes got a little numb after 2 hours or so though. I either managed to ignore it or it went away because I didn't notice it near the end of my ride. My worry on the bike is that I'll get really uncomfortable. I'm sure it'll happen at some point. Just hoping it happens near the very end of the ride instead of mid-day. The run wasn't too bad, although it was pretty hot. I think I managed to do miles 4-5 faster than 1-3, but I'm just guessing as I haven't checked my stats yet.

I'm starting to freak out a little about the race. I think I need to stop reading race reports that I find online. It's a loooooooong race and basically anything can happen, and has happened to someone. Perhaps I should be reassured by the reports that mention repeated vomiting but end with a sub-17 hour finish nonetheless. I've been advised to make sure I have anti-diarrhea medicine, anti-gas medicine, etc, etc, etc. I should probably add crazy pills to that mix, because every so often I think I must be crazy to do this. I had that thought during the first mile of my run off the bike today. It's the first time I've thought that in a long time actually. Maybe it came about now because the race is in TWO WEEKS! So I can't just tell myself "I've got plenty of time to train" anymore. The training is DONE. It's time to taper!

There are a million other things I'd like to blog about right now, but I am super tired and need to get my stuff together for tomorrow's ride. It's my last ride on my race bike until my bike arrives in Florida a few days before the race. I'm dropping off my bike and a gear bag (to be packed still! not sure what to put in it other than bike shoes, helmet, saddle bag) at the bike shop tomorrow after I finish my ride. Sierra is also hoping to go to the city pool's Doggy Splash Day tomorrow. I've got to figure out if I can actually squeeze everything into two suitcases or if I need to mail stuff to myself too. I've been advised that Panama City Beach is not gluten-free-friendly, so I'm not taking any chances and I'm packing a bunch of food. Good thing my husband is a light packer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nutrition plan and run to work day

I had a little freak out about my nutrition plan today. A woman in the bike shop this weekend started giving me her free advice about Ironman racing. Normally I take all free advice I can get and then try to come up with what works for me. I think this close to race day though, I need to learn to not listen to some people because they will just freak me out when they give complete opposite advice of what I'd been planning on. I still haven't written out my nutrition plan as I hoped to do last weekend, but I made a start today and will hopefully have some time to work on it more tomorrow during my lunch break. One of my concerns has been sodium, and I think I've got it figured out with my Endurolytes and sprinkling some salt in my bento box. Gluten free sports food is not as high in sodium as a lot of the standard sports foods, so it's a bit of a concern. I've been doing okay so far though. On the run, they'll have pretzels which I obviously can't eat, but I'll be carrying my own Glutino GF pretzels. There will also be warm broth after dark for people to drink. I've done a little research and it seems about a 50/50 chance of having gluten free broth. I'm going to try to find out if it'll be safe for me, I hope it will be because warm salty broth sounds like it might be heaven on the run course. But otherwise I may bring some of my own and just drink it cold.

I did my 8 mile run today by running to work. Dave and the dog joined me for the warmup 2 miles which conveniently ended at a dog park where they played for a bit before turning around and running home. I, on the other hand, sped up and ran 4 tempo miles. Felt a little hard near the end. I blame the 2 hills. Sure got my heart rate going! The last 2 miles were the cooldown. I think every time I've run to work has been a Thursday. I always run past the farmers market. I was tempted by the persimmons but I didn't feel like running another mile with a bag of fruit. I love running to work! It's so much fun to get my commute and workout done simultaneously. Same as when I bike commute, but the running version still has the novel factor. I timed the run exactly right - 90 minutes almost on the dot. Gave me time to stretch and still get to work on time. I absolutely love having a locker and shower at work. I left my clothes there yesterday, so I just carried my Camelbak with a few essentials this morning.

Lately I've been looking forward to post-Ironman life. I don't think I'm burnt out. I just want to sleep in for a change! Getting out of bed is the hardest part of my workouts it seems. Except for swimming. Getting in the pool is the hardest part. Ugh. tomorrow's swim... in the morning with the fog? or in the afternoon with the masters swimmers? One way or another it's got to get done!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

17 and other numbers

Thank you to each of you who have generously made a tax-deductible donation to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness through my Janus Charity Challenge fundraising website. Please help me spread the word to your friends, family, networks, and celiacs you know. Even small donations can make a difference! I've only got about 2 weeks to raise donations so the time is now!

If you're trying to decide on the perfect amount to donate, consider $17 since the Ironman time limit is 17 hours and it is exactly 17 days away today! 17 is also the percent of celiac patients who have an immediate family member who also has celiac. Here are some other numbers to consider if you're not in a 17 kind of mood right now:

  • 9.00 - hours it'll take the first pro woman to finish the entire race and months I'll be gluten free on race day
  • 10.00 - years it takes for the average Celiac to be correctly diagnosed
  • 112.00 - miles I'll bike after a 2.4 mile swim
  • 26.20 - miles I'll run after that bike ride
  • 95.00 - percent of Americans with Celiac disease who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions
  • 98.60 - millions of dollars that the movie "Iron Man" opened with (no relation to Ironman)
  • 370.00 - days I will have been waiting for race day
  • 70.30 - miles I traveled in my longest triathlon so far
  • 140.60 - miles I'll travel by swimming, biking, and running (and walking) on November 7
  • 50.00 - years it's taken for the rate of celiac disease to quadruple (yes, the actual disease, not just diagnosis)

And a few more numbers to add to my training log:

Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 1/2 mile; 20 minutes
Bike: 73.2 miles; 286.5 minutes
Run: 27 miles; 339.5 minutes
Weights: 25 minutes
Total: 671 minutes (11 hours, 11 minutes)

Yesterday's rest day was much appreciated! I spent my usual workout time shopping at Fleet Feet for a different pair of goggles, and picked up a few more Carb Boom gels. Once I got home I practiced changing tired - both the front and the back tires. Glad to know I can do it! I've got a 30 mile ride to do before work now. I just joined twitter too, so you can see more frequent updates there. I'm going to try to convince my husband to tweet on race day about my progress too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

20 mile run - done!

I had such an awesome 20 mile run!!! It always seems to take me the first few miles to get into a groove but once I got going, I was going! I ran on the bike path. I started near mile marker 13 ran and when my watch told me I'd run 5 miles (just past marker 18) I turned around and went back to 13 and then started over again. I did this out-and-back twice because that's what the run course in Florida will be like. Mentally it can be more challenging for me to have to run all the way back to the "start/finish" and then start all over again. Since I'm working on increasing my mental toughness, I figured doing a long run like this would work my mental strength. I'm pretty slow so I also tried to imagine that there were other runners around me who were on their second lap, since that is pretty likely to happen too. And I know that there will be spectators saying "you're almost done!" who might think I only have 2 miles to go when really I've got 16, but if you think about it, I will still almost be done even if I have another lap on the run course to go.

Physically the run was challenging but not too difficult at any particular time. The first 10 miles I felt super strong and was really feeling good about myself. I didn't really have a low point in the run, but the second 10 miles did feel harder. My legs were getting tired near the end, but I managed to run 2 of my fastest miles in the last 3 miles!  At some point in the last 5 miles I realized the playlist on my ipod had started over. Guess the playlist is shorter than 4 hours! I decided to use my ipod on this last long run because I thought it would help me run faster which in turn would help me be more prepared for Florida. I'm glad I used it. Madonna's "Like a Prayer" seems to always keep my feet moving.

I got a bit tired of the Carb Boom watermelon gels I was using during this run, but I think I just needed a different flavor. I love the watermelon flavor but I just needed a temporary change. Today I used apple cinnamon gels when I was cycling, and it tasted much better. I'll definitely bring a variety to Florida with me so I can choose from multiple flavors. After the long run yesterday I sat in an ice bath for about 15 or 20 minutes. It was so incredibly cold that I almost cried. But I knew my legs would appreciate it to help reduce inflammation.

Today's workout was a 40 mile bike ride. Since it was rainy I decided to hook my bike up to the stationary trainer so that I could ride indoors instead. I didn't want to use my new tires on the trainer since it can wear them out, so it forced me to change the tire. I'm going to practice changing tires a few more times before the race. I think I'm getting pretty good at it! The bicycling today was tough. It's boring to ride indoors, so I watched some episodes of Felicity on dvd. My legs were definitely feeling tired, but I finished the ride. Then I swam!  Now it's time for a lot of stretching. My legs are getting more sore as the day progresses. I bet I'm going to be pretty sore tomorrow - good thing it's a rest day!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

3 weeks!

Ironman Florida is exactly 3 weeks from today. In exactly 21 days I will be running, hopefully just a couple hours away from finishing and becoming an Ironman! In some ways it seems too soon. I'd love more time to get ready. But at the same time, I've been training for this for a year, so I should be ready!

I really need to start going to bed earlier for the next few weeks so that I will be used to waking up super early and more importantly, I'll feel well rested on race day. All summer I was starting my workouts by 8am or 9am, and today I slept in until 8am! I only had to ride 30 miles, so I didn't feel the need to set my alarm. :)

Balancing training with the rest of my life can be tricky sometimes. My husband suggested I use my 30 miles to ride over to Davis where we could go to the farmers' market together. Unfortunately I didn't get started early enough for that to happen, but it did work out to have him meet me there and have lunch together at the gluten free restaurant, Farmer's Kitchen Cafe. We split their bio-regional salad and a curry dish. I feel a little silly getting a salad at a gluten free restaurant, since salad is easy to make gluten free, but this salad is so delicious and packed with lots of awesome fruits and vegetables (all local and organic!)! Strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, oranges, sweet peppers, purple cabbage, breakfast radishes, baby broccoli, steamed green beans, onions, summer squash, baby carrots, pickled beets, and free range hard-boiled eggs! I should really take a photo of it next time. We bought a loaf of their bread too. I'm thinking it's going to sound like the perfect post-long run food tomorrow. Maybe also that frozen Glutino pizza I bought last night. If I can't indulge in bread and pizza after a 20 mile run, when can I?

I feel fortunate to live in such a bicycle friendly area. How many interstate highways have bicycle paths right along side them? I rode next to I-80 for the first time, as I'd never ridden to Davis until today. It sure is loud with all the speeding cars thisclose to me (there is a divider and a fence, so it's not scary just loud), but for some reason I felt like I was riding faster than usual, too. My ride included some intervals too so the workout was interesting and the new route was interesting too. Thanks go to my husband for checking google maps for me when I got lost twice and had to call him at home for help!

Before my husband drove over to meet me for lunch, I spent some time at my favorite bike shop. I've been having problems with my toes going numb and hopefully the adjustments we made to the shoes today will alleviate that. It's too close to the race to try new shoes since I don't have any more long rides to do. I also bought a new piece of equipment that will hold a gel flask on my top tube so that I can have one less thing in my jersey pockets during the race. Since I can't eat the food that will be offered during the race, I am carrying my own. Fuel for 112 miles takes up a lot of space, so the more that I can have be on my bike instead of my person, the better!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Foggy run with the doggy

This morning Sierra and I ran 4 miles. Whenever I run with Sierra my pace is always a little less consistent, but she loves getting out to run, and a tired dog is a happy dog. We encountered our first fog of the season. Sierra just blended in with the white mist!

I was expecting to get to November without worrying about fog! I like to do my workouts from home (it just seems silly to drive somewhere to run or ride my bike), but if it's foggy tomorrow I'll probably get my cycling done on the bike path instead of the roads. Safety first!

My evening included a massage to loosen up my muscles for Sunday's 20 mile run, and a trip to Gluten Free Specialty. The owner, Melanie, is helping me with my fundraising efforts. I hadn't been in there for a few weeks since I swore off desserts until the race (fruit doesn't count!). The cinnamon rolls she sells from Azna Gluten Free are just amazing and impossible to resist. I guess my mental training this month has paid off as I managed to leave without buying the cinnamon rolls. When I get back from Florida though, they will be the first item on my shopping list!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Athlete for Awareness: me!

As I mentioned earlier this week, I joined the Janus Charity Challenge to raise money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. As of today, I'm NFCA's newest Athlete for Awareness! As an Athlete for Awareness, my goal is to both bring awareness to celiac disease through my triathlon training, as well as to encourage other celiacs to pursue their athletic dreams. Among other things, undiagnosed celiacs can be malnourished and fatigued - sports might be the farthest thing from their mind! Even once on a gluten free diet, it can take awhile before celiacs start feeling healthy and normal again. I love participating in athletic events because exercise makes me feel good and exercising with other people is even more fun, especially when there are spectators cheering! I'm really excited to use my triathlon training to help further NFCA's cause.

350 days ago I registered for Ironman Florida 2009. It'll be my first Ironman triathlon (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles).

260 days ago my doctor told me to go gluten free, based on some blood work that indicated a gluten allergy. I wasn't sure how training for an endurance event could be reconciled with avoiding wheat, rye, and barley. With a lot of research and testing various gluten free sports bars, gels, and drinks, I think I've figured it out.

8 days ago I was officially diagnosed with celiac disease, based on genetic test results coupled with another blood test.

23 days from now I'll be racing Ironman Florida gluten free! I've just been partnered with NFCA a few days, but I can tell the next 23 days are going to be action packed as I work hard to raise funds with NFCA and to complete my last few weeks of training. This weekend's plans include a 20 mile run and spending some time writing out my detailed race day nutrition plan (what and when I'm going to eat). Nutrition is basically the fourth sport in triathlon, and I had to start from scratch figuring out what gluten free options worked for me. I've got a pretty good idea of my plan, but putting it on paper will mean I won't have to think about it anymore! So much to do in the next 23 days!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Running again

Yay, I ran this morning! It was the first time in about 10 days that I went running, since I was sick last week. It felt good, not hard, though my heart rate was a little higher than I felt it should've been for the pace, so I had to keep a slow pace. But 3 miles is 3 miles, and it got me back into the swing of things. Yesterday I just had time for about 30 minutes on the trainer. Running can be so much more satisfying!

The storm we had was pretty impressive. I rode my bike part way to work this morning, and the bike path was just full of debris. I was glad I rode my hybrid with the thick tires instead of my road bike! The county did a great job cleaning up though - by the time I rode home from work the bike path looked brand new! I didn't see anyone else on the normally busy path today.

We had a breakfast party today at work for people who used alternative transportation to get to work. Usually I just don't eat anything at gatherings that involve food since I can never tell what is gluten free. My coworkers were thoughtful enough to slice the bananas with a clean knife so that I didn't have to worry about bagel crumbs. Yay for gluten-free awareness! Bananas are my favorite post-workout fruit, so it was a great snack after my run and bike commute!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Today I joined the Janus Charity Challenge. Sponsored by Janus, the Janus Charity Challenge was designed to motivate Ironman athletes to use participation in any of the U.S. full distance Ironman races to increase awareness and raise money for charity.  The program has no designated beneficiary – athletes can choose to raise funds for the charity that they are most passionate about. To inspire athletes to participate, Janus makes additional contributions to the beneficiaries of the top fundraisers at each of the seven U.S. Ironman races.

I've decided to raise money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease, with which I was recently diagnosed. Celiac disease causes my body to attack itself whenever I consume gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. When a person with Celiac disease ingests gluten, her immune system responds by damaging the finger-like villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment. Left untreated, people with Celiac disease can develop further complications such as other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and cancer. The only treatment for Celiac disease is following a gluten free diet.

About 1 in 133 people have Celiac disease but 95% of those people don't know it yet! Diagnosis takes an average of 11 years. The symptoms vary a lot and some people have no symptoms! My main symptom was an unexplained occasional rash on my elbows for about a year, but I'd had years of unexplained iron-deficiency anemia and elevated liver enzymes. My primary care physician screens all her new patients to see if they have a gluten allergy and that blood test combined with a biopsy of my rash told me back in February that I needed to go gluten free. A recent genetic screen confirmed I have the Celiac genes. I've been gluten free since February.

Post-diagnosis, I've learned how ubiquitous gluten is. It can show up in soy sauce, chicken broth, salad dressing. It's not always easy to spot on an ingredient list. It can be in "natural flavoring" or "modified food starch" or even "caramel color"! It can even be in vitamins or medications. Even foods that don't contain gluten can be problematic due to cross contamination issues. The smallest crumb leftover on a cutting board can contaminate an otherwise gluten free salad, for example. A prepackaged snack that was manufactured on shared equipment with wheat could cause a reaction. You can imagine how difficult eating safely at a restaurant can be! After a few weeks on a gluten free diet, I felt like I had more energy. Within a few months, my asthma also improved and I have normal blood test results for the first time that I can remember.

The most difficult thing about Celiac disease, for me at least, is that gluten is everywhere and there is very little awareness of Celiac disease. My goal is to raise awareness of Celiac disease because I believe awareness is the first step towards increased diagnoses and better quality of life for those diagnosed. It's really been amazing to me to learn about all the health problems that can be related to a Celiac ingesting gluten (for example, infertility, osteoporosis, and autism have all been linked) and yet people don't know about the disease!! You, or someone you know, could be suffering from Celiac's disease without knowing it because of the lack of awareness.

As a participant in the Janus Charity Challenge for Ironman Florida, I'm raising money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. One challenge for me during the actual Ironman race includes having to carry my own food. The bananas provided on the course should be safe, as long as the volunteers who touch them haven't been touching pretzels and used a clean knife and cutting board to slice the bananas instead of the same one that cut the gluten-filled sports bars. On second thought, maybe I'll ask for a whole banana!

Please help me raise funds for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. They're educating healthcare professionals to increase the rate of diagnosis and promote appropriate care. They're educating food service professionals to provide safe gluten free options for institutions and individuals. It's really important for celiacs to have an organization like the NFCA working hard to achieve these important goals. I'm hoping that by raising money for the NFCA through my Ironman race, I can help NFCA continue to increase awareness of this disease.

Follow This Link to visit my fundraising web page and help me in my efforts to support the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness!

Feeling fishy

I'm feeling much better now. Yesterday Dave went to the gym with me. He got a free 2 week gym pass and almost 2 weeks off of work. I'm jealous! We both had the day off yesterday though so I did some weight lifting while he got the gym tour, then we swam together. I tried out my new goggles - the Aquasphere Seal goggles.  WOW. The visibility on them is awesome. Swimming with them made me feel like a fish. I just felt like I was just swimming without goggles but with perfect vision. It reminded me of swimming at Coki beach on St Thomas where it's just like a huge bathtub and you can see fish everywhere. The only problem was flip turns seemed to cause minute leakage. I'm not sure if they'll leak without flipturns. I want to try them again and make some adjustments. Or try a slightly different style. Basically near the bridge I felt like there was a tinsy leak, but nothing serious. I'm not exactly sure what the problem is.
Later in the evening I rode on the trainer for an hour again. My biggest accomplishment was probably not buying marshmallows at the store last night. I've been doing great on swearing off non-fruit desserts until November 7, but I almost caved when Dave tried to bribe me with marshmallows over the weekend. One per 10 minutes on the bike. I'm proud to say I've done 120 minutes on the bike and eaten zero marshmallows. I'm feeling like a fish today too because we have a major storm going on.
I've decided to join the Janus Charity Challenge and will post more about that shortly!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sitting around

This past week was pretty much a disaster as far as training. Pretty much the same as my first week in August.  I think I can actually list the totals without even looking at my calendar or training log:

Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 0 miles (0 yds); 0 minutes
Bike: 26 miles; 132 minutes
Run: 0 miles; 0 minutes
Weights: 0 min
Abs: 1 min
Total: 133 minutes (2 hours, 13 minutes) 

I'm pretty sure that's a record for the year. None of the cycling was what I'd call a workout at all either. Mostly just to get my legs moving a little and to avoid paying for parking at work on Friday. I did one hour on the trainer tonight, which is double what I did yesterday. I think the key right now is not trying to workout outside. Go for a walk outside - breathing goes downhill. Ride for 30 minutes outside yesterday? Come home and suck on the nebulizer for awhile. Sure haven't been feeling like an ironman lately. Three weeks ago I rode 100 miles followed by a 2 mile run. Friday I couldn't decide if I could ride my bike 2.5 miles to work or if 1 mile would be the max I could handle. I went with the 2.5 each way and it worked out okay, minus the fall at the end. I stopped to help a woman with her bike and stood there too long evaluating the situation without unclipping my other shoe, so by the time I went to get off my bike to help her, I'd forgotten I was still clipped in. The time before this that I fell off my bike I ended up with stitches in my knee. This time I have a big scrape in the same area, but luckily it's not very deep. I'm still finding new bruises from the fall but thankfully nothing serious, and it was on my Trek so I'm not too worried about the bent handlebars right now. Just glad I got this year's fall out of the way and now I can move on.

Yesterday was Kona, so Florida is the next Ironman race. It's weird to see Florida at the top of the page on I watched a bit of the Kona event online. It was fun to watch Chrissie Wellington and Craig Alexander win. How can you not like a woman who is kicking serious butt and smiling the whole time? She's awesome. I tend to cheer for Crowie and Macca because they were both so nice when I met them at the St Croix 70.3 race in 2007. It's also heartbreaking to watch or track the people who don't get to finish. Just reminding me that the 17 hour cut off is not the only time cut off out there. I was really hoping Rudy Garcia-Tolson would make it. And I'm always cheering for Sister Madonna too.

It's weird having a week off from workouts. It's something I've been looking forward to every so often - but I didn't want or expect it until November 8. It's actually not as great as I'd imagined. Sleeping past 6am is a treat, and it's nice to enjoy a weekend morning at the farmers market. But sitting around on my butt for days on end is really not as fun as I'd imagined.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Totals and groovy new gear

Last week was a recovery week and this week is a different kind of recovery week. But here's last week's totals and the totals for September. Mostly to make me feel better about having 0 minutes of exercise so far this week:

Totals from last week (Mon-Sun):
Swim: 0.85 miles (1500 yds); 35 minutes
Bike: 95.5 miles; 388 minutes
Run: 10 miles; 122 minutes
Weights: 45 min
Abs: 10 min
Total: 600 minutes (10 hours)

Totals for September:
Swim: 8.49 miles (1500 yds); 299.5 minutes
Bike: 441.77 miles; 1738.5 minutes
Run: 71.46 miles; 887.5 minutes
Weights: 183 min
Abs: 42 min
Total: 3150.5 minutes (52 hours, 30.5 minutes)
Since I did do some workouts last weekend, I got to try my new HRM/bike computer out. It's groovy. After I upload the data to the Polar website, it shows me all kinds of neat graphs - HR, speed/pace, cadence, altitude.

30 days to go

Ironman Florida is 30 days away. Think the lack of posts is because I've been out working hard? Nope. I've worked out two of the last seven days, and those workouts were sandwiched by breathing treatments. I don't know when I last exercised so few days in a week. Maybe last December when I was having major IT band problems and it was too dark and foggy to ride my bike to work. My flu-shot related symptoms gave way to major breathing problems. I pushed through a bit over the weekend, doing a shortened brick on Saturday - half of the bike portion I rode inside because it was getting hard to breathe outside in the wind, but then the breathing improved so I decided to go for the 6 mile run anyways, and I guess that didn't help things. Sunday I went for a 60 mile ride, cut my warmup short because I wasn't sure I was going to make it through all 60. I ended up with 60.5 but even up until the last 3 miles I couldn't have told you if I was going to finish it. By Sunday night I realized I wasn't helping things, the asthma wasn't getting any better, though it wasn't really getting much worse either. Having a coach right now has been invaluable. I don't have to freak out alone about this all happening a month before the race. Poor Jamima though. Probably doesn't know what to do with me. Me neither. I saw my asthma doc yesterday and when I mentioned I've got a 20 mile run on Saturday, he reminded me about the two people who died in the San Jose half marathon on Sunday. He's sweet like that. I've got a sinus infection which exacerbated the asthma. Antibiotics and prednisone. Whoopee. At least the steroids aren't on the WADA prohibited substance list. (Although I'm still waiting to hear from Ironman whether a back of the pack age grouper needs a therapeutic use exception for another asthma med which is on the list.) Hopefully by tomorrow morning the drugs will have really kicked in and I can get back with the program. Well, the modified program that will be developed as soon as we figure out when it'll be okay for me to start doing some cardio again. This is totally ridiculous.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stupid flu shot, more shopping

I have never had a reaction to a flu shot, but this year I did! Or at least I'm pretty sure that's why I felt achy, slightly feverish, tired, a bit congested, and with a sore throat for the last 48 hours. "They" say the side effects only last a day or two, so I am banking on feeling 100% by tomorrow AM when I get up to do my brick workout. I am glad I got the shot during a recovery week since "just in case" became a reality. Yesterday and today became extra rest days. Although today I did ride a couple of miles to avoid paying for parking downtown, and because I prefer riding my bike to Fleet Feet over driving there. Nobody cares when I just bring my bike inside the store and lean it up against a wall and spend tons of money. The owner of FF is heading to Kona tomorrow and someone stole his bike last weekend. Sucks! We have jerky bike thieves here. Stole Lance's bike in February too.

At Fleet Feet I bought some more Carb Boom - vanilla orange in a big jug. The woman started to ask if I needed any help with nutrition, while she was putting things away, but then she looked up and recognized me and said "oh you know what you need" and realized I'm the reason they are out of Watermelon Carb Boom. I did end up chatting with ultramarathoner Justin, who just did IM Wisconsin, a little about protein though. He remembered I'm on a gluten free diet (I guess I really am a regular, or just high maintenance enough to be remembered) and suggested Bonk Breakers, which seemed okay when I looked at the label (well the source of "malt" wasn't listed, but the company already wrote back to my email and said it's rice malt). But when I took another look I saw it has "oats" and I'm avoiding oats per my doctor too right now. Oh and Justin had a good (?) idea for salt intake - mustard packets! I may consider it.

I also ended up buying the AquaSphere Seal goggles which is actually what I'd walked in there looking for. My googling told me they'd be good goggles. (try typing that 5 times fast.) I'll try them out on Sunday. Hopefully I won't feel like I'm snorkeling. This was the first time I ever tried on a pair of goggles dry and had them stick to my face, like how a good fitting goggle is supposed to. So I have high hopes. I also bought a few sample sizes of Body Glide, which I plan to put in the special needs bag or maybe just my transition bag, so I won't need a bunch of full size containers.

I finally signed up with Tri Bike Transport this week and paid the balance for the condo and reserved a rental car. I even gave myself a flat tire to force myself to practice changing one. But I haven't done the changing yet.

Time to finish preparing for tomorrow's brick and get to bed so hopefully my throat will stop hurting and I'll feel healthy again when I wake up. I'm thankful that tomorrow's high is only supposed to be 75, though I'm hoping it's not too chilly in the morning when I get started! Yes, I recognize that I'm picky. You would be too after two years on a tropical island with lows in the mid-70s and highs in the 80s every single day of the year. I guess to really prepare for IMFL I should perhaps take a cold shower and then go for the bike ride and run. Nothing like being wet to create an uncomfortable wind chill.