How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

read more
6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

read more
Goof Race Recap – Climb for Air

Goof Race Recap – Climb for Air

What a weekend!  I raced with Team Foley Saturday during the Fight For Air Stair Climb in Tampa at the Bank of America building, then I did my first triathlon of the season at the HITS Ocala Olympic Triathlon.  Needless to say come Monday morning I was a little stiff, but full of rigor because of what I accomplished.

_MG_2071.CR2

Saturday morning the alarm went off at 5:30am which actually was about 45 minutes later than during the week.  (WOO HOO!  I got to sleep in.)  I had no trouble jumping up, taking a quick shower to wake up, and heading into downtown Tampa for the Fight for Air Stair Climb.  These stair climbs are sponsored by the American Lung Association and are held all over the country.  The Tampa event consists of a team event, an individual event and a firefighter event.  The Team Event, incorporates an undetermined amount of members on the team, and is scored with the top 3, lowest times.  The members of teams, and athletes not members of teams, are entered into the individual event which incorporates the common age groups and is scored based on the individual’s performance.   The firefighter event, is strictly for active firefighters sporting their full protective gear.  Boots, pants, coat, helmet, tank and mask, while then racing up the 42 flights.  It is an incredible site.

I have been a member of Team Foley under the leadership of Captain Lisa Jamison for the last couple of years.

Lisa, Our Fearless Leader

Fearless Leader
Lisa Jamison

John Foley was a good friend of hers whom passed due to lung cancer, so our team has always dedicated our performance to him.  The last two years we finished first and won the team competition, but unfortunately a team named “7 Minutes of Pain” ended up winning, but we finished a close second.

The event starts with the normal registration and announcements outside the building and then the teams are brought in by their predetermined time, to the stairwell.   The bibs we are given have timing chips built in and a couple of steps before the first set of stairs is a start mat with the finish mat at the top to capture the times.  We arranged ourselves from fast to slow, so their would be very little passing that would cause a delay in any team member’s time or interrupted strategy.  I was positioned right behind Eric Scola, a CrossFit instructor and friend who was in obvious excellent shape.  He took off as I waited required 10 second gap in-between athletes before I started my journey to the top.

Climb2

First Flight

For such a short race, it feels like forever.  There are different strategies to running the stairs.  Last year I blasted up 15 flights, before my lungs decided they had enough and I had to slow down.  This year I decided to take the same pace all the way up.  I found a rhythm of pulling on the rails and double stepping almost the entire way.   I did take a few single steps about 4 times during the duration of the race, but I mainly stuck with the double.  It ended up working for me with a time of 7:22 which was just about the same as I did last year, but I felt better and recovered faster.  In 2012, my lungs started really burning around floor 30 and it was very difficult to continue and it lasted almost 30 minutes after I completed the climb, but this year I ended up at the top feeling pretty good.  That is, until I sat down.  The burning sensation caught up with me as I was recovering in a small room at the top with a bottle of water.  It was very uncomfortable.  Thankfully they did not allow us to stay as long as we did in the past and shooed us back downstairs.  With the fresh air, I ended up recovering in about 5 minutes from the moment I exited the building.

Climb3

Finish

There is no ventilation in the stairwells or humidity for that matter and I believe after using maximum effort without regards to heart rate or respiration rate, it leads to that burning sensation for me.

After recovering an drinking some more water I found myself feeling really good.  It is the longest 7 minutes of my year, and I am so happy I have the ability to fund raise and compete in this race for Lisa and Team Foley.

 

Do you want to join us next year?

_MG_2058.CR2

Carpe Viam!!

The Saturday/Sunday Supporter

What does it feel like to come across the finish line of any race with the support of the race volunteers and spectators?   Personally it is a pretty good feeling.  What does it feel like with the support of fellow racers, family, and/or friends?  My emotions tend to be more positively charged, and to a much higher level.  Endurance sports tend to be a little lonely during races anyway, so the support level on the course may even be a determining factor on the outcome of an athlete’s personal race.  How do you feel when you have friends and family at a race versus when you don’t?

I had the honor of being support crew for two races this weekend.  The first was the culmination run for the last session of my Fit2Run 5k group.  The race was Saturday Morning, in Dunedin, at the Our Lady of Lourdes 5k.  I really enjoy having my students at these smaller racers.  Not only does it give them the experience of the race, but it also allows them the opportunity to stand on the podium.  This race, we had an age group winner within my circle.  To no surprise Linda Shutt again took 1st place in her age group even after being out for a small injury.

The course was a little tougher than I expected, but a good experience for my runners.  It was a trail run, that included soft soil, grass, and even sand, so for some of my runners these posed a couple of new challenges.   If you want to know the truth, the marking of the race was a challenge for me as I actually wound up lost on the course and ended up completing a 10k instead.  (Pause for laughter)  Luckily my girls, and Carl,  all came across the finish line smiling and a couple with Personal Records.  If you enjoy small races with a couple of small challenges, check out Our Lady of Lourdes Annual 5k Run.

Tanner, Jessica and Cheryl before the Swim start

On Sunday the first TriRock series triathlon was in Clearwater with the start and finish lines at Pier 60.  Overall, I thought the race was run very well, and seemed well organized for an inaugural race.  The weather was perfect in my opinion.  A little chilly in the morning, with it rising to just under 80 degrees by the finish of the race.  I had three Tri-Peeps running, Tanner Stevens, Cheryl Henderson and Jessica Glover.  This was to be Jessica’s first Olympic, so all of our eyes were on her, not to mention her positive attitude is completely intoxicating and endearing.  You may remember Jessica from my Jet City posting as she is the owner and operator of my favorite coffee hang-out.

Jessica Rocking out on the Run

The race has two distances an Olympic, or as they call it, Intermediate (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, and 10k run) and a Sprint (600m swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run).  All of my friends competed in the intermediate distance, because all of three of them are pretty experienced in all three events.  The race started with music from live bands which only enhanced the energy radiating from the voices of the announcers.  It was the typical mad rush for the athletes to setup their transition equipment, dawn their wet suits and head over to the swim start.  One of the announcers sung the National Anthem, and I was very impressed as it was sung acapella.  As a performer I understand how difficult a piece the Star Spangled Banner is and I was incredibly impressed with his version.   He sang with a bluesy undertone but with a rock attitude.  By the audience reaction I would say it was a success.  In my opinion it was at least better than Steven Tyler version during the AFC Championships earlier this year.

There were a few waves for each distance with the Sprint starting 15 minutes after the last Intermediate wave with the swim being an outer and inner loop.  The finishers did cross in some instances, but the finish line was wide enough to accommodate both.  I didn’t see any issues with transition as it was large enough to handle all of the equipment and runners of turf were actually put down for the athletes bare feet.  (Note to any Triathlon Race Directors reading:  This small detail adds a huge comfort to athletes.  Just sayin’.)  The entrances and exits were clearly marked and even with the two distances using the same course, there was not a lot of crowding.  As a spectator I did enjoy the run being an out-and-back south and then north as well.  I was able to see my friends twice on the run before the finish.

I didn’t explore too much, but the expo looked small, but loaded with great vendors, the beer tent was sponsored by Red Hook which is pretty decent, and the headlining band was an AC/DC cover band, which for me was perfect.  Being a child of the 80’s has it’s perks, obviously.

Overall , I was impressed with the event.  I actually wished I would have been able to compete in it, but I enjoyed being there to support.  Out of our little group we did end up with Tanner on the podium for third place in the 25-29 age group at a time of 2:24:16.  With a possibility of two IMs next year I do not believe I am going to be able to compete next year either, but if I have friends that decide to compete I will make sure to be here again.

Athletes, Support and the Goof
Carpe Viam!


How to Race Ironman Florida With Very Little Stress

I have a lot of friends that are competing in the Florida Ironman this weekend.  This is the granddaddy of endurance competitions right in the heart of the panhandle Florida at Panama City Beach.

I want to wish you all the best of luck and I know you will all be an Ironman at the end.  Of course, a couple of them already are, but that doesn’t change the challenge any.

As I did this last year I want to give you the lessons I learned while taking on this challenge.  Take them or leave them, but hopefully, you will take something out of it and if not another reader might find a helpful hint to take on their journey to the Ironman Triathlon in their future.

Left to right: Eve, Kat, Marai, Summer, Mary-Ellen & Iron Rick, Anne, Carola (Not pictured: Rick Jansik and David Nardoski)
  • Double check your gear on Thursday when you arrive.  Most likely you will know someone coming up on Friday, so they can bring an item you may have left behind.
  • Go to Athlete Check-In early Thursday or when you arrive on Wednesday.  Get it over with so you have all of your gear bags and as you unpack you can start to pack them.
  • Buy all of the SWAG and stuff you want early.  They run out fast and if you follow #2 then you will not have to wait in line.  For some reason, Ironman does not hire the fastest cashiers in the world and the line seems to take forever.
  • Swim a portion of the course early on Thursday morning as close to race time as possible.  Notice the current, the temperature, how long it took you to warm up, and any wildlife in the water.  Double check to make sure your wetsuit is fitting correctly and any adjustments you needed to make to feel comfortable.
  • Write these ideas and any other adjustments down.  Then the excitement of the race does not bode too well for memory cells.  It is best to be able to look over a checklist on Saturday Morning.
  • If you do not have the experience do not feel invincible enough to rent race wheels or if you do, rent them at home and bring your training wheels with you.  The weather may say 5-7 mph wind gusts on Friday, but that can change to 20 mph in a heartbeat and a lot of miles are spent in the crosswind.
  • Ride on Thursday as well.  Ride a few minutes in each of the major gears and in the low chainring to spin your legs and get some blood moving.  This will also check your bike for any adjustments you may need.  There is always a bike maintenance tent at the expo.  Ride after you swim in case you need to get some maintenance done.
  • Keep eating and keep hydrating especially on Thursday.  Thursday is actually more important than Friday as far as nutrition and rest are concerned.
  • Do not run on Thursday.  Save the pounding for Saturday.
  • Plan for a long, long sleep on Thursday.  The excitement is building but not enough to hinder your sleep on Thursday vs Friday.  Friday will be a completely anxious day and that night will be hard to sleep.  Get it on Thursday.  No alarms, no loud roommates, just sleep as long as you can.  Once your up, you’re awake and it will be hard to get back to sleep.
  • Walk through your transitions and even legs and make a checklist for your gear bags.  This works.  (ex.  I get out of the water, strip my wetsuit, go to the tent and I put on my shoes, helmet, glasses..etc…then write down “shoes, helmet, glasses, and anything else”)  Make sure you walk through your nutrition plan as well, to make sure you have enough nutrition on the bike.  If you are putting the powder in bottles, do that at this time as well.  It is your choice if you want to add the water today or tomorrow, but put the powder in the bottles.  (Personally I put my bottles completely together and put them in the freezer.  By the time you get on the bike they will be almost thawed and you will have ice cold hydration)
  • Put your gear bags together on Thursday night, when you are calmer.  You are more likely not to forget anything.  You will still have a  few things to put in them but the bulk will be there.
  • Plan for a special needs bag for the run, but ride with what you will need for the full 112 miles.  The stopping for the special needs bag is not worth the time.  Have what you need, and if you do come into a situation there are aid stations every 10 miles, they will help.
  • Do put a special needs bag aside for the run.  This is just for some warmer clothes just in case the temp drops.  You probably will not need it, but at least it will be there.  Do not trust the forecast in Panama City.
  • Do a 15/15/15 workout on Friday.  15 min swim, bike and then run to clear all the excess and get your legs feeling like they need to for the next morning.  It sounds weird for the day before such a hard day, but trust me this will make you feel much more confident.
  • After you return and shower after your little workout check your gear bags one last time.  Empty each of them out and run through your checklist one last time.  You can turn these in, pretty early on Friday, and you will want to so you can just relax the rest of the day.
  • Relax as much as possible on Friday.  Put your feet up, watch TV, play some cards, but relax.
  • Do not forget to eat and drink.  Follow your nutrition plan which should include your meals on Friday.
  • Lay down and try to sleep no later than 8:30.  3:30 am comes awfully quick.
  • Get up at 3:30a and take a shower.  This will awaken you and start your day.
  • Have a nice breakfast by 4:30.  This will make sure you have all the nutrients in your body by the 7 am start time.
  • If you train with a gel, have one in each sleeve of your wetsuit.  It is always a little chilly on Saturday morning, so even if it is uncomfortable, your wetsuit provides warmth.  If you have a sleeveless put the gels in your pant legs.  I also put a couple of Imodium as well, but that works for me.  I suggest it if you know it does not cause side effects for you.
  • Find your friends and have them near you at the start.  This helps.  It provides some comfort because the rest of the day…you will be most likely alone.
  • Have one of those gels 10 minutes before the start of the race and the second one while you are running back into the water on your second loop.
  • Put a smile on your face.  If you are terrified then fake it.  Most of the time faking it will make it true.
  • Trust your training it got you here now it is time to have confidence in it.
  • Do not eat or drink anything but water for the first 15-20 minutes of your bike.  Your body is making a switch.  Allow it to settle before you put anything in your stomach.
  • Ride your own race.  Do not worry if others are passing you.  You have a plan stick to it.  Enjoy the scenery and get lost in it.
  • If you have a watch with a timer use it.  I personally had my alarm go off every 15 minutes so I knew to make sure I was drinking and eating.  I knew that I had to take in a quarter of bottle every 15 minutes and a gu every 45.  In the Ironman if you get behind on your nutrition it is a hard fight back.
  • Salt – Make sure you have enough salt.  I took 250 mg every hour and I had no cramping at all.
  • Do not deviate from your plan.  You spent a lot of time putting this plan together do not deviate even if you feel great.  You never know what the course will bring.
  • HAVE FUN!  This may feel like the longest day of your life while you are competing, but after you cross the finish line it will feel like it went by in a blink of an eye.  Enjoy it!  You spent a lot of time training for this, have some fun.
  • Last but not least.  Watch when you are coming into the finish shoot.  If there are people around you, either slow a little or speed up and make sure you are alone as possible coming across the finish line.  This is going to be your moment.  It should be one of the few times in your life you should be selfish.  Savor it.  You swam, cycled and ran the whole thing alone, cross the finish line alone.  Trust me here, you will thank me for it when you see the video later.

I am so proud of all of you.  I am so lucky to be able to call you my friends and I know you will all be amazing.  I will be there volunteering and I really hope I get to see everyone.

Kick some booty.  Ironmen and women.

Carpe Viam!