Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ironman Training Week 18

I am going to try to post a short re-cap of my weekly training from now till race day as a way to chronicle the mental as well as physical journey that I am seeing take shape.

Something happened on last weekend's bike ride.  It was my longest ever, 61 miles and I was slated to ride it alone.  At about the half-way point, a cycling angel showed up and spent a solid 30 miles teaching me somethings about cycling that I needed to know.  He helped me to feel more confident on the bike and as they say, "knowledge is power" he shared knowledge with me that helped me to feel more comfortable on the bike and the notion of enjoying cycling became more plausible.

Until last Saturday, the weight of this race, the training, the stress on the family life, was all piling on and I was letting it have a good ol' mind game with me.  Saturday, something clicked, and I just felt better about things.  A side-note:

As a Catholic, I am in the season of Lent, the 40 days of preparation for Easter.  I prayed quite awhile before determining what my Lenten sacrifices would be this year.  I opted for dying to myself in several areas rather than the typical giving up of chocolate and coffee.  And I see now how important this is to my journey to the start line at Ironman.  I won't go into what those sacrifices are here as they are deeply personal and would not make much sense to anyone else.  But know that I am honestly working on dying to myself and trying to become less so that He can become more.

The ironic thing about training for Ironman or any race really, is how the one who is training has to begin to believe in themselves.  They have to see that they can do what they set their minds to do.  They must take time away from family and friends, responsibilities and obligations.  This can all appear to be quite self-centered and selfish as well as dangerously self-reliant.   Yet, I must find a way to live this life of training in a way that reflects my dependence upon my God.  I know without a doubt that NONE of what I do is possible without Him.  He blesses me with the ability to do this and my responsibility is to do it for Him.

So back to last Saturday, something clicked for me.  Finally.  I moved beyond the "I" and the "me" of the training and began to once again see "Him" in the plan.  I had forgotten to leave Him in charge.  I had forgotten it wasn't all about me, nor all on me to get it all in.  I had to call on Him, just as I do in every other area of my life, to walk this training journey with me.

The moment I realized that I was not turning to Him and then began to turn toward Him, the anxiety I was feeling left me.  I began to feel confident in my progress.  Am I certain I will cross the finish line?  No.  I am certain that I will do my very best and if it is HIS will, I will get to the start line and then, if all goes well I may even cross that finish line. 

Today I even had a moment of thinking how much I truly am enjoying the training and no matter what happens May 18th, just the joy of the process has been a gift that I will always cherish.

Weekly Recap
Feb 18-24th
Swim:  9200 yds in 3:35
Bike:  106 miles in 6:05
Run: 26 miles in 4:05
Cross:  30 mins (yoga, planks, ab work)

Total Time:  14:10  Total Miles:  137

Feeling like I am strong enough to get through the training cycle this week.  Hoping next week feels the same way!
Tailwind is proving to be an excellent choice for me.  I hope to get an updated review up soon.  GREAT STUFF!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tailwind Nutrition - Initial Review

Towards the end of the last ultra/tri season, I knew that I would have to make some significant progress with proper fueling, especially if I wanted to continue with ultras and take on the Ironman challenge.

I thought I had found something with EFS, however, after a handful of runs with the product, my stomach let me know that it was not acceptable.  It was at this point I realized that I can not tolerate any maltodextrin.  I would not be too upset about this, as  I would prefer to use only whole foods to fuel my training and racing, however, water and trail mix were not/are not sustaining me for my goals.

I knew I needed to find a complete endurance fuel that could be mixed and taken in liquid form as I approach the IM challenge.  I am not very comfortable on the bike and for me to ride one-handed long enough to unwrap and try to eat solid food is an unsafe option.

A friend on DM gave an excellent review of a product I had never heard of.  Tailwind Nutrition is new to the market and their claims are quite robust.

They state that Tailwind Endurance Fuel is a complete source for energy and electrolytes and a meet all of the calorie needs.  The product is toted to be hydration pack friendly as it is not sticky and cleans easily from the containers.  It seemed to good to be true.  But I am desperate to find a product so I ordered a trial package of three packets which each contained 4 servings.

I used most of the product on three separate bike rides and an hour long run.  I had hoped to use it on a much longer run, but that did not materialize this time around.

Tailwind mixed up clear and was not too sweet or too salty.  Even my little guy, Boo, liked the taste.  On the bike, the drink was pleasant and I never felt sticky.

The best part of all is that I had NO stomach upset.  None at all.  Even after my third ride with Tailwind, the only problem I had was that I had used all of the product!!

Here are the nutritional stats from the package:

Yesterday I ordered the 50 serving package.  It occurred to me that I didn't know which flavor I liked best, which I found interesting as I usually lean in the Berry direction.  I found that each flavor was good, and honestly, such a light hint of flavor that it didn't over power the drink.

I plan to continue to try this product out over the coming months.  I am curious to try to mix it a little thicker or more concentrated for the longer training periods.  I also am eager to see how Tailwind handles the Texas heat, particularly my need for S-caps.

On the workouts that I used Tailwinds, I also supplemented with solid nutrition at rest stops.  Mostly Cliff Shot Blox and trail mix.  I have to really focus on keeping my calorie count up and I was not able to mix the Tailwind concentrated enough to sustain a 4 hour ride.  I will do this as soon as I receive my larger order.

Tailwind seems to be a great product and their customer service has been great!  If you try this product, let me know how it goes for you, and let the folks at Tailwind know too!