Training with Team XP

2 07 2012

I hope you didn’t think I drowned in the floods of Tropical Storm Debby because I haven’t posted in so long! I survived Debby, and I also survived the end of June at work. Our fiscal year ended on June 30th, so that meant deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. UGH. Top that with summer hours (four 10-hour days that often turn into even longer days), and by the weekend I’m pretty pooped.

Anyhow, let me catch you up on what’s been going on in my life other than work.

I’ve been training/hanging out a lot with my fellow Team XPers. I really love these guys.

(photo courtesy of Meghann)

They’ve welcomed me with open arms, and I love hanging out with them, whether it’s for a sweat session or just to hang out (or to float down a river). It’s hard to believe I’ve only known them 6 months!

We train in the pool 3x per week, but because of my work schedule, I’m only able to make it on two of those days. Felipe comes up with all of our sets, and what I really appreciate is that we do a lot of quality swimming and not garbage yardage. We may do sets that give us a lot of rest, but it’s because we’re supposed to be working hard. And believe me, I get my heart pumpin’ on some of those sets! Check out Mary’s and Meghann’s blogs for some of the workouts.

On the Wednesday after the Father’s day Tri, Felipe made us do a 1500 (meters) for time. But coach, I just did one at my race! Felipe told me to try to match my pace from the race, which would have been holding 1:20s per 100. That’s tough! When I finished this set, this 1500 was about 2 minutes slower than my swim at the tri over the weekend. I was working hard, I promise! I’m pretty sure that the swim at the tri was a little shy of 1500, or I just have a fiery competitor inside that only comes out on race day.

race face?

As soon as we finished our set, the sky opened up and it started to downpour. The guards called us out, since it was raining so hard they couldn’t see the bottom of the pool. That was okay with me because we had planned a social outing after practice. We were going for pizza and beer at Westshore Pizza!

I was a fan the moment we pulled up:

A Philly themed restaurant? Yes please!

Marcus and Mary

Felipe and Jess (This picture really summarizes their relationship I think šŸ˜‰ )

Courtney and me

We devoured the pizza and too many wings to count. What a great mid-week pick me up!

I got some more XP training in this weekend, when I went cycling with Jess and Felipe. We drove up to Alafia River State Park so Felipe could get in some mountain biking, and Jess and I could get in a good two hours or so on the road. At the end of the ride, we’d do a few intervals and then go for a short run to round out the day. We left in the late morning to train our bodies to deal with the heat. Thankfully, it wasn’t as hot here as it was in DC, where I hear it was easily over 100. Jess had mapped out a route for us using MapMyRide, which took us on quiet country roads for most of the ride.

(Pardon my finger in the shot.)

One of the biggest differences that I’ve seen in riding in Florida vs. riding in DC (besides the lack of hills) is that in FL, I always feel like there is some kind of wind pestering us. On this ride, we battled some headwind on the way out, but it made the home stretch nice and fast. There was also one point where these two big dogs came running after us, barking. I was honestly scared the one dog was going to bike my ankle. I pedaled harder and finally got out of his reach. If I had been wearing a heart rate monitor, I know it would have shown a spike!

Jess and I were supposed to meet Felipe at some point on this ride, but since we were riding for time and not for distance, we didn’t realize how far we’d gone with the help of a tailwind. When we finally saw him, about 5 miles from our starting point and maybe 45 minutes after were supposed to have found him, we opted not to do the intervals. I was basically out of fluids and so was Jess. We’d been out in the heat of the day, on hot pavement, and we were just ready to be done. My motivation to finish was to get to the bottle of ice water sitting in the cooler in my car. I think those last five miles were my fastest of the day.

Hot, sweaty, and so happy to be done!

We also decided against the run, since we were all pretty dehydrated at that point. Jess and I ended up going about 40 miles for the day, which wasn’t too bad, considering the heat. I’m pretty sure that next time I go riding that far, I’ll bring another water bottle with me. I just need to figure out where to put it…

This ride made me appreciate the Suncoast trail more, because it has water available along the way. I drink a lot ’cause I sweat a lot! I’m happy to report that I didn’t get a headache after this ride! I drank Gu Brew along the way, and took one salt tab before the ride, and one mid way. I’m still playing with my nutrition, but I think I’m starting to find the right balance.

I think my cat enjoyed my sweat.

I rounded out my weekend with another swim and some yoga in the park, this time minus the XPers.

I think Felipe and Jess are planning another weekend trip to Alafia, and we’re going to try to bring the whole gang for some sweaty fun! I can’t wait!

Have a great Monday guys!

Heat Headaches?

19 04 2012

Last weekend, I packed up these guys:


And headed to Orlando to hang out with Bill šŸ™‚

Shortly after I arrived on Friday night, we went for a run. Usually I take Fridays as my rest day, but since I did something fun on Tuesday night and didn’t get a workout in, I counted Tuesday as my rest day. We went on our usual 4-mile loop, and man, Bill made me work.

4 miles at 8:02 average? I’ll take that!

I also had a long run planned for the weekend too, and was hoping Bill would be up for running some of it with me. Thankfully, since I’m tapering (WAHHOOO!!), I “only” had 12 miles to run. We had talked about strategy for doing the run, and we were originally going to run 8, then Bill was going to grab his bike and ride the last four with me. He isn’t training for a marathon, so he typically doesn’t go for a 12 mile run on the weekends.

We geared up, and hit the road.

We got a little bit of a late start for the Florida heat (and by “little” I mean we started around noon).Ā  But there was some cloud cover and I figured my body needs to learn to train in the heat anyhow.

We hadn’t really mapped a route, but we had a general idea of where we needed to turn around for the 8 mile loop to head home. When we were almost to where I thought the turnaround for the 8 mile loop would be, I looked at my watch and realized we were only a little over 3 miles in. I told Bill, and he said he was feeling good so we should just keep running to Lake Eola. I had mapped out how far it was to Lake Eola, and it was 6.5 miles. Bill was going to do the whole thing with me!

The way to Lake Eola wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t feeling super, but Bill kept encouraging me along the way. When we got to the Lake, there was an art festival going on with TONS OF PEOPLE. We dodged and weaved through some of it, and then I told Bill that we needed to get out of here. He joked and said it was practice running through the crowds at a busy race:-)

At about mile 7, we stopped at 7-11 to grab some Gatorade and headed back home. I was feeling ok, but the last two miles felt like forever. I had to stop and walk some; the heat was getting to me! As soon as my watch beeped at the 12 mile mark, I stopped running and switched to a walk, even though we weren’t quite home yet. I was SO over running at that point.

I can’t believe I have to do that twice, plus another 2.2 miles IN TWO WEEKS! Marathon day is so close!

I peeked at our splits when I got home on Sunday night, and they were actually pretty decent:

I’m so proud of Bill for sticking out the 12 miles with me. He was doing GREAT the whole way and was the only reason I kept going. I’m pretty sure that was his PDR (Personal Distance Record); he’ll be upping his mileage soon enough though, when we start training for our Half Ironman!

After the run, we refueled at Garabaldi’s. Unfortunately, we didn’t think it was quite as good as last time, but it was still tasty.

A bean burrito and cheese enchilada. Rice and veggies too, smothered in cheese sauce. Mmm cheesy!

We got home after filling our bellies, and promptly took a nap on the couch. I was starting to feel a headache coming on, and I hoped a nap would squash it. I should have known better though…

Let me back up.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed that when I do strenuous exercise in the heat, I will often get a pretty bad headache afterwards.Ā  Last triathlon season, I remember coming home from almost all of my triathlons and developing a headache shortly thereafter. I never thought too much about it; I just took a few ibuprofen and then took a nap. But at Rockett’s Landing, my head started to pound not long after finishing the race. I was still hanging out near the finish line, so I asked one of the medics for some ibuprofen. He didn’t have any, but after asking me what was wrong, he told me I was probably dehydrated and he gave me a few salt tabs. I wondered how that could be, since I drank plenty of water and gatorade during the race. And, after going to the bathroom, it certainly didn’t appear I was dehydrated (if ya know what I’m sayin…). I took the pills, and figured he probably knew what he was talking about.

And you know what? It helped! I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with only a slight headache, instead of a pounding, I-only-want-to-lay-in-bed-and-sleep headache. From that day on, I was on a mission to find salt tabs. I also decided to investigate Accelerade and AccelGels, since they contain more sodium than Gatorade and Gus.

For my late season races last year, I tried to take either Salt Stick or Endurolytes right after racing. If I remember correctly, I didn’t get headaches after any other race last season.

This year, as I train in Florida for my marathon and will soon be training for my tris, I have again been plagued by headaches after working out. Even one night after a hard swimming practice I developed a headache! I know I haven’t been really strict about watching my nutrition, but I have been taking AccelGels during and Salt Tabs after my longer runs but still get headaches.

During my 20 miler I drank an Accelerade sample I bought at a running store (I wanted to try it out before buying a huge tub of the stuff), had a few Gus and Accel Gels, and took salt tabs afterwards and I didn’t get a headache. It also wasn’t blazin’ hot that weekend either…

After doing some research, I think the headaches are caused by an electrolyte imbalance. I think I just sweat a lot, which throws off the balance of salt and water in my system. I need to be sure that I’m replacing my electrolytes before, during and after exercise. I’m no expert, so please, if you know more, tell me!

As I write this post, I’m really thinking I need to pay even closer attention to my nutrition whenever I workout. Earlier this week,Ā  I placed an order for Accelerade and ordered some more AccelGels as well. I also have a canister of salt tabs. Is there anything I’m missing?

Now that I’m a Florida gal, I’ve got to learn how to hydrate my body properly when I do strenuous activity. Drinking only waterĀ  does not work for me! I certainly don’t want to get headaches every time I do a tough workout.

So- has anyone else experienced anything similar? Does anyone have suggestions for how I should figure out what works best (besides just experimenting?)

Rocketts Landing Race Recap

27 07 2011

Happy Hump Day friends! I’m pretty pumped because tonight Chloe and I are headed to Surfside with several of our triathlete blogging buddies. Stay tuned for some pics!

The Rocketts Landing race results were posted on Monday morning, so without further adieu, here’s my race report!

As you all probably know, last week and into the weekend it was HOT. The weather report for Sunday (race day) was in the 90s, with a predicted heat index in the 100s. Knowing that it was going to be extremely hot while I was racing, I made a conscious decision to play it safe on the course, and not over exert myself. I wanted to cross the finish line,Ā  not be checked into the ER.

On Sunday morning my roommate Steph and I woke up at 4:30am so we could eat breakfast and head down to the course to be there when transition opened at 5:30am. As we were getting ready, Steph told me that the race director had sent out an email to all the athletes at 10pm (after we were already asleep) reporting that the river was 91Ā°, and they were making swim caps optional. I’ve NEVER been in a race where the water was so warm that swim caps were optional. With my head of hair, a swim cap really isn’t optional…after seeing this email before the race, I was legitimately uncomfortable and a little scared. Overheating was a real possibility here. I definitely needed to listen CAREFULLY to my body.

We arrived at transition at about 5:15 so we had to wait around for a few minutes until it opened up. I like getting to transition right as it opens, so I can snag a good spot on the rack, and get all my gear set up. I noted that there were already a handful of volunteers checked in wearing bright orange shirts. I was definitely hoping that they would be stationed on the bike course!

I racked my bike, and made sure all my gear was set up the way I wanted it. I was pretty excited about my location in transition; I was in the very last row of transition area, close to bike out.

Then, I walked down to the swim exit to see what 91Ā° felt like. Now, to get to the swim exit, I left transition, walked a little ways on the blacktop, and then walked down 35 stairs, then followed some skinny carpet laid over gravel and rocks to another set of steps (maybe 15) that led to the dock where I’d exit the water. I didn’t realize that this triathlon had a fourth discipline, stair climbing.

Dock to exit the swim.

Climb these to get to transition.

When I finally reached the water, I dipped my foot in. WOW. That’s warmer than my bath tub. It was disgusting.

A little after 7, it was time for the 4th wave, women 35 and under, to start. The gun went off, and so did we.


For the first time ever in a tri, I didn’t push myself too hard on the swim. It’s my strength and usually I try to go out hard and stay strong, but considering these conditions, I decided not to over exert myself. I got out in front of the mass, and could see 3-4 pink caps out in front of me, within catching distance. By the turn around, I had caught one, and I stayed right on her feet, drafting, the entire way to the dock. We hopped onto the dock at the same time, and I’m pretty sure she glared at me. I’m sure she didn’t like pulling me for 500 meters. Oh well, saved me some energy. šŸ™‚

Time: 21:10

Rank: 4/39Ā  (in Age Group)


As I hopped out of the water, I didn’t want to slip on the dock, or down the stairs, so I walked up them. I jogged to the next set of steps and walked those too, again, trying to be safe. I threw on my shoes, sunglasses, and helmet, and I was off!

Time: 2:52

Rank : 11/39


This was definitely my favorite part of the race. There were a few small climbs, and a lot of flats and down hills. I felt pretty fast on the bike, but its definitely my weakest leg. I was constantly getting passed by other athletes, which is so frustrating, especially when you know they’ve started after you! (There were some stinkin’ fast women who were 35+)

The last few miles of the bike seemed to drag on, and so I began to mentally prepare myself for the run. I knew that the run had little shade, stairs (YES, AGAIN!), and the temperature was rising. I made a conscious decision to walk the stairs when I came to them. Better to be safe than sorry.

I definitely thanked all the volunteers I saw on the bike course, especially the ones at all the turns! I made it safely back to transition area, without tacking on any extra miles!

Time: 1:19.56

Pace: 18.6mph

Rank: 17/39


This transition was pretty uneventful. I switched my gear, grabbed a swig of Gatorade and was off.

Time: 1:26

Rank: 21/39


This was definitely not my favorite run course. It would have been great for a training run, or just a run by itself. But, as I mentioned, there were stairs. Multiple times. Was this some kind of Mud Run? Would I need to do some pushups, or run under a barbed wire fence too?

OK, so it wasn’t really THAT bad. Actually, this was the first Olympic tri I’ve done where I actually still felt strong during the run portion. (Maybe because I’ve never paced myself properly before?) I did walk all of the stairs, and the steep incline right before the turnaround, but other than that, I actually felt pretty good on the run. I grabbed water and Gatorade at every aid station, and dipped my hat in icy water each time it was available. I was NOT going to let this heat get to me!

Time: 56:02

Pace: 9:02 minutes/mile

Rank: 18/39

So I didn’t meet my goal for the run time-wise, but I didn’t die! It was a technical run, probably the most challenging one I’ve had in a tri. I’m definitely going to mix in some hill and speed workouts as I continue to train.

Overall time: 2:41:24

Rank: 12/39 (age group)

179 overall (I think?)

All things considered, I’m happy with my race. It wasn’t my best time, but I knew going into the day that it wouldn’t be, when I made a decision to race safe. Some people may think that I played it too safe, because it definitely wasn’t as hot as it could have been. But, I’m glad that I raced the way I did, and can enjoy the rest of my season. I’m optimistic about my remaining races (one more sprint and one more Olympic, as of now), and know the areas where I want to improve.

I had a great weekend racing and hanging out with the DC Tri peeps. What more could I ask for?

Question of the day: Have you ever had to stop a workout or hold back because of heat? How did you feel after? Were you glad you did it, or did you wish you had gone a little harder?