Thursday, April 16, 2015

Written off

Mid week and I should be at work but am instead home on the couch, trying to count my blessing in between blowing my nose.  I have felt better.
But the sun is shining and it is certainly spring in Manitoba.  Nothing green yet, but I love being on the edge of it.  You know what I mean- it is so close but just not quite yet. That time is special.

Hard post today.  Not sure how to collect my thoughts and get them down on paper.  I have been hurt, maybe not intentionally but hurt none-the-less.  I am a people pleaser and I do care too much of what others think of me.  Not a good thing. I am getting harder and more confident in myself but still will always be a struggle to not let the opinion of others of me color how I see myself.  Sharing this on a blog post has the potential of being a catastrophic event.  But I also want people to see that not always is it our words but our lack of words that has the potential to wound.

I have told myself for the last 3 weeks to get over it and move on and I think I am.  Maybe writing it will be the cleanse that I need to rid myself of the baggage.

I have never had a coach.  Not for running nor now triathlon.  In the endurance world today, it seems like an anomaly to NOT have someone coaching you.  I have considered and tried with 2 coaches that are relatively close to me (3-4 hours away), both were hesitant because of the difficulty with the distance.
Fast forward a year. I know tons of people are being coached from a long distance so I thought to try again.  My thoughts about things we have a passion to do is that when you know better you can do better so getting more information from books, internet, other athletes, coaches is a great way to get better and smarter at what you do. A coach might just give me that extra boost of info that I needed to really feel like I was making progress. Not complaining, but I have very little in terms of "support" where I live.  It is just my reality.  No groups, no others training for long course triathlon events, weather challenges.  It's just different.  Everything on my own.

So I hooked up with a coach many miles away who seemed to share the same idea that I have and was around the same age. We talked, discussed a trial period of coaching because an event I was training for was 6 weeks away and it was best to not interfere with the current training plan. BAM; I got myself a coach.  The relationship would be a few phone calls to guide, advise and assist me with the last bits of training and how to approach the event.
I did get a couple call and a promise to track me at the event.  I don't know what the normal is or what to expect but I did think good luck wishes would be in my in-box a day before and I did expect a follow up email or call after the event.  But nothing- not a thing.
So just to add 1 more thing to the story.  I had another event the weekend before the half-ironman, which was the main event.  The coach thought it was a crazy idea to do both. I know it is silly to have events so close to each other.  Please before judging, understand, the geography of where I live does not allow for many events close by and if I am going on holidays and can take in a couple events that I wouldn't get to ever get to otherwise, I am going to take it.  Will this affect my performance at the half-iron event- absolutely and I knew it.  But I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

The comment made was that instead of being a competitor, I was a participant.

I was bothered for days about this.  I do get very anxious before a race and my nerves can get the best of me.  I am NOT the fastest nor will I be on the podium in the near future.  I have always been very athletic and the funny thing is that now when I really want to perform well, I can't seem to find the formula to get there.  But I bring my game on just like everyone else there.  I am pushing myself, expecting my best and not holding back.  Everyone deserves a chance no matter what their ability is because if they knew how to be better and faster, they would be.

So, just like that I was labelled a participant.

And wrote off.

The other interesting part, maybe the hardest, was that I confessed to the coach in an earlier convesation that I was seriously considering Ironman Canada this summer (2015) but just needed a bit more confidence to know that I could tackle this.

So, coles notes version- I trained my butt off since Nov 2014 hoping to do well in Oceanside California March 2015 then would make a decision about Ironman Canada July 2015.  Left Oceanside with great memories but a slower time that I expected.  Disappointed and discouraged because I worked so hard and thought the results would show the effort that I had put in.  No confidence in myself or decision made about what to do with Ironman Canda.
The coach and I had discussed her coaching me after Oceanside to Ironman Canada.  Now nothing from the coach.

What should I think?  It is obvious my time meant everything.  Not my hard work ethic, nor dedication, nor careful nutrition, nor my passion and determination.  Not my desire to learn more and do better.

Just. my. time.

Maybe my small town thinking but I don't treat people that way.  I teach adults who need their high school diploma to move forward.  Traditional school didn't work for them and most of them made less than great decisions in their youth but my job is to get them to reach the potential they have.  Not to judge or with- hold.

Just to clarify: I don't need someone handling me with kid gloves and building my fragile confidence up.  I am a big girl.  But, I also know there are many others like me that are passionate people; who care so much and wear it all for the world to see.  My confidence isn't a roller coaster, I believe in myself and my abilities.  Just hurt when someone so openly judges.  Doesn't make you feel like you can tackle the world.

SO for all of you like me, passionate, caring people who are sensitive and compassionate; we need to build on these types of situations to make our foundation stronger despite what others think.  Because we will accomplish our dreams.  It may take longer or the road may be harder but the journey and victory is ours alone.

And to those who write people off because of a small insignificant thing such as number or time; well you are missing the big picture and I hope you find it someday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Nutrition Plan -Finally

**This post sat in my outbox and though it was planned to be posted a month ago, the information presented is still very helpful (in my modest opinion) and I have still posted it.

I have starting to get a bit nervous that I haven't figured out a nutrition plan to my liking for my upcoming half-ironman.  Nutrition must be the hardest thing in the world to figure out because everyone is SO different in terms of what their system's can handle.
I am going to be real specific with brands here, not to build or tear down just to state what is working for me.  I am not sponsored by anyone or paid for any kind words.  Neither am I trained in sports nutrition.  Just what's working.

I have tried Hammer Perpetuum and it worked early in my triathlon racing.  All of a sudden, one race, I just couldn't stomach it anymore.
I have tried using water and bonk breakers.  Worked ok as I liked using "real" food. Especially on the bike.  I would use gels then during the run.
One race I lost my gel and took in some gatorade, though I have never trained nor used it.  Both gels and gatorade will only work on the short term with me.  I experience lots of bloating and energy surging and fallings.  No GI issues but I certainly don't feel great.

This training cycle (Jan- present) I planned and started using Poweraid Perform as it is the fuel used in Ironman events.  The decision was made to try to use the nutrition on the course as it makes life less complicated on race day. The main problem I had with Perform was it seemed to have too much sodium for my body to tolerate as I would gain weight with each sweat test.  As my bike time increased, so did my bloating.  I didn't have a lot of discomfort but just didn't feel well or have a lot of energy.  My response was then to take in a gel every 1/2 hour but that DID make me feel unwell with such a surge of sugar. The bottom-ing out though was worse. And the disappointing part was just recently finding out that Ironman will no longer have Perform at their events but Gatorade Endurance.  It is very expensive and not the easiest right now to get our hands on.

I didn't know what to do until I stumbled across another triathlete, who talked of UCAN and the benefits of the superstarch that doesn't have you on the sugar roller coaster.  It is kind to the GI tract and gives consistent energy.  It wasn't the easiest to find in Canada and I didn't have the full product line to choose from, but I did order a couple products; the 750 ml plain superstarch, a single serving of cranberry, raspberry, a single serving of the orange and the vanilla cream with protein.
I have been using the products for a couple weeks now for workouts lasting more than an hour.  To get optimal results in your workout, I have found that consuming the UCAN 30 min prior is best.  I then drink water through my run or bike.  UCAN seems to have some lag time in the sense that you don't get the instant pop of energy and when you have been using gels or candy and get that instant energy, this is certainly different.  As I have adapted though, I am appreciating the consistent energy.  I haven't experienced the bloating or any stomach issues.  UCAN is an easy product to drink in my opinion.  It does settle a bit so the bottle needs to be shaken up a bit before having a drink.  It is worse for settling with the plain UCAN but the other flavours don't need much of a shake.
My rule of thumb is to add a scoop for each hour I anticipate exercising for.  So a bike ride of 3 hours means I add 3 scoops to a large water bottle and take 3 additional water bottles with me and to the trainer I go.   Just to back up a bit- I get up mix up some protein UCAN (1 scoop 3/4 bottle water) and ingest that while getting dressed, bike tires pumped, movie or tv set up, mix up my other bottle of UCAN and additional water bottles.  Then when I am ready to get on the bike, it has been close to 1/2 hour since having the first bottle.  A 10 min warm up and I am ready to rock and roll.
I also like that whatever product (UCAN) that I don't finish during my exercise session, I add a little ice to it or more cold water and it is a great recovery drink also.

Food for thought.  Happy training!