Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training for an Ironman while summer whirls around me....

Summer in Maine. It's the best.  Our weather is so neurotic. Seriously.  We go from 50s and rain for weeks to 80s and 90s in a matter of hours. But let me tell you. When it's good, it's good. The gorgeous summer days are one reason I could never leave Maine. There is nothing as serene and lovely as a warm sunny day on the ocean. Or the lake. Or... you get the point. They make up for all those nasty days we endure during some of the other seasons.

As I alluded to in my last post, it's been wild and crazy around our home. Actually, everywhere But our home. We were gone for a few weeks....
Cape Cod, Lake Placid, Wolf Neck, camp on the Island, and now the boys are off camping with some friends.  It's been great. So fun. But I'm sick of packing and I've missed my own bed. 

Today is catch up day.

I'll catch you  up now with a few random bits from training.

It's July 6th.  Ironman day is July 24th. Holy ----
Yup. It's here.


I don't have the same fear that I am sure I had in July 2009 but there is a definate angst in my body right now. I feel 100% ready.  My body is in great shape.  I'm not injured. I've lost a bunch of weight ( though not all the way where I want to be yet) and my workouts are going smoothly. 
And yet, race day. You just never know what's going to happen.  Fear of the unknown. I guess I have that.

Let's back up. I want to share an experience I had since it's a new one for me.

A few weeks ago, I had a 2 hr run on the plan. Not too bad. The weekend had been cold. I spent hours curled up under a blanket and by a fire at our camp.  Now, four days later it was super humid and 90 degrees.  Because it's summer and I often rely on a babysitter and his schedule, my run was starting at 11:00.  Prime heat hours from 11-1:00.
Here's how it went down. First a 60 min bike. I took 2 bottles with me. One with EFS and one with water.  I drank them both so I'd be nicely prepared for my run.
I spent 15 min at home changing and yes, drinking some water. I was thirsty. I knew I would Get thirstier.  So I stocked up.

I left home with my 4-bottle fuel belt. 2 x 8 oz of water and 2 x 8 oz of EFS.  (for those of you who aren't familiar with EFS it's a sports drink by First endurance and it's PACKED with electrolytes. I'm a relatively new user of this stuff. It even tastes salty.  Therefore, no salt tabs for me.)

I had a gel as I left home too.....with water.  I felt ready!

Two miles in-- I was OFF! You know that feeling when you can't focus? you feel spacey and lost? You might even tip over? But I just had a gel! There was no excuse or good reason and yet I could not fight it. I headed into a dunkin donuts and took a deep breath in the cool a/c bathroom. I had another gel, drank a bit of water (saving EFS for later when I needed it?), used the bathroom and regrouped. There...what was that about?

Ten min later I felt fine. I was running well. No big deal. Just cruisin' along.......
Man it was hot. And humid. I was a big sweat ball. But, I was still fine.

I had my next gel at 50 min even though I had just had one around 15 min.  I had water. Probably a sip or two of EFS. 

I just continued to run without much ado. I drank out of the bottles as I went along. The waters were gone by 10 miles. I had 1.5 of EFS left I believe.
I bumped into a friend who was driving by. I stopped at his car to say Hi and prayed that he'd  have a cold water bottle and I could steal some. But he didn't. I had trouble catching my breath at that point. Looking back, I realize all I really said to him was how hot I was feeling. 

Just keep going. You'll be fine. Legs were still fine.  Not too far to go.

Hey! There's Mark! I saw my husband on the next road. ( it was lunch hour for everyone) He DID have a really really cold bottle of Poland Spring water. perfect! thanks hun!! You can buy more right?? I was soooooo thristy!!!! I drank and drank.  And then a bit more.  ahhh.... so good. 

I told him I only had 30  min let and yes, I'd call him when I got home. 

My run had a mission. After 1:50 I was supposed to warm down the final 10.  I was fading.  Those last few min to get to 1:50 were horrible. I was suffering. I was on a road with NO shade, lots of cars, and no friends to spray me with a hose.  My feet hurt. I wanted to be done more than I ever remember. I got to 1:50 and it was near the office of the friend I had seen at mile 10. Isn't he headed back to work yet? Why wasn't he driving by? I was 100% sure I was going to make him drive me home. I had 3 miles to go and it was all up hill. No joke. I thought surely I would die.

I walked. I bent over.
I saw stars. The road was so so long. I could see the turn I had to take and it was 18 miles away. Maybe more.
I walked and walked. And then trotted.
I never ever walk. Ever.
I finally got to the turn. only 1.8 miles to go.  I wasn't sure I could get there. A big loud dumptruck screached by me. I almost  flagged him down for a ride. Who Does that?? Me. I almost did it.

A hose. I had to find a hose. I needed more water. I needed it fast.
Finally I saw a house that looked vacant. And a hose! Allelujia!!!! I cranked it up and soaked my head. And then, I drank and drank more water.

All 4 bottles were empty now. Even the 2 I had Refilled with water when I had seen Mark. 
The remainder of the run was more of the same. I truly staggered up the road. I was not coherent. It took all I had to remain upright. I saw neighbors and wondered why nobody was picking me up as I was bent over with my hands on my knees.  I'm never like this guys!! HELP ME! It was miserable.

I walked into the driveway and had to put on the everything is ok face for the Babysitter. I paid him and thanked him and nearly cried as he walked away. I was gasping for air. All I could say was, "Nick, could you please fill a cold tub for Mommy and get me some water?"  My little 7 year old is always right there to help me. Bless his little heart.
I crawled into the tub without taking off any clothes and thanked God I made it home. I called Mark and told him it was Hell but that I was home.  He had driven out of town for something but said he'd worried why 30 min turned into 60. I told him I was hoping he'd sent out a search crew. It was that bad.

After  cooling off.. I thought I was ok. I was beat but ok. I was cooler and home. I could breath. I wasn't thirsty anymore.
I sat down and logged my workout and wrote a few details about my hell run. 
Kurt emailed back asking me for a total electrolyte count.
 I have to count?

And then things got weird. I was Intensely sleepy all of a sudden. I had trouble keeping my eyes open. I was nauseus. I was absolutely unable to concentrate on counting # of electrolytes. It took ALL of my brain power to get through that.

I told him this as we emailed about a few things.  I felt sick. It was worsening. 

His words? "GET SALT! STOP DRINKING WATER!!!"  He said, "get pickles, pretzels, salt tabs, EFS and do it now."
Um... ok.
Hyponatremia.  Shit.

Little Nick pulled through again.  Within 1 min he had a handful of pretzels. But then he reminded me about the pickles I wouldnt' buy for him the day before. "See Mommy!!! You should buy pickles because sometimes you NEED them and I ALWAYS love them!"  touche' Nick, Touche'.

I recovered. I was ok after a few hrs. The kids wanted to go to the library but I had to wait a while before I felt like I could drive. Kind of scary really. 

This has never happened to me. I completely over did the water without keeping up with the electrolytes on a super hot and humid day. I messed up.  I know better. But when I'm thristy and hot, I want water. Endurance athletes need to watch out- keeping that balance is critical and can save your life.

That was ONE bad run.  But I learned from it so it was worth the experience I guess.  I've had some excellent workouts and runs since that day and I'll have to share another time. This post got too long. I'll leave you with a few pictures from last week on the shore of Maine.


what the boys do on the shore all day....
TV? what's tv?

My ice bath at the cottage. A little Sea water to heal the legs.

Heading off to Farm camp. This was taken moments before little Nick Tipped over from the weight of his back pack.


Christi said...

Great pics! I am so sorry about your run. Thanks for sharing because I think I can learn from it. I am glad you are better.

Beth said...

AH!! Scary Ange. I can totally understand though because when I'm really thirsty in those types of conditions, all I want is water too!! Well, now you know and I'm sure won't let it happen again! Glad you are safe. So excited for you - IMLP baby!! :)

runputt said...

Be careful out there, this heat will sneak up on you (as you found out the hard way). I actually cut a run short today to make sure I didn't end up in your condition, and I hate being short. Run smart for soon you race!

GoBigGreen said...

That happened to my sister in Texas, too much water not enough Salts.Glad you re on top of that, and i know that feeling as we had some of the same HOT HOT stuff come thru and i was not prepared! I actually switched out the EFS for Perform to get more salts and went back to the powergels from the liquid shots just for the heat, for now. I love that EFS tho, so as soon as it hits sub 70 I will get my Grape back on!
Good luck Ange, cheering for ya!

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing this Ange! I have had trouble with similar issues after running in the lovely 90 degree weather we have been having...Definitely not a fun feeling! Good luck and we will be cheering for you in Ohio!

Kim said...

yikes ange - super scary. glad nick was your little nurse for the day. i cant believe IMLP is coming up! youre going to do great!

Marni said...

Hey Ange!
Thanks for reaching out to me. First off, you are doing so many great things with your training. Preparing is the biggest thing you can do to improve performance. Don't count yourself out for the next 2 weeks as this was a learning opportunity. Race day is about putting all the training sessions to the test..not just one workout.
Here are my thoughts. I think that you overhydrated on water before the run. I think it was great that your coach had you bike before the run as I am a big fan of warming up the legs before a long run. With good daily hydration status, it is likely that you will go into the run well hydrated with 1 bottle of your sport drink (1 scoop) and to sip on that every 10-15 min.I also encourage being consistent with gels as well (taking a little bit every 10-15 minutes rather than 1 gel every 30-40 min). For athletes training in the summer, over an hour (or running off the bike), I suggest just sticking with sport drinks. It can be really easy to guzzle water which can lead to overhydration/hyponatremia in excess. Because we need both calories and liquids during workouts, liquid calories will meet both requirements. As for having too much sodium during workouts, our diet contains plenty of sodium for hot workouts (unless you consume a raw diet), thanks to processed food. Table salt is only 40% sodium and 60% chloride but 1 tsp. of table salt contains 1,500 mg of sodium. It's super easy to meet daily recommendations (i don't count training calories into daily calories). I wouldn't be too concerned about salt in the diet but rather getting in a wide spectrum of electrolyts. Although sodium is essential in small quantities, in order to maintain fluid balance and control the contraction and relaxation of muscles, during and post workout we want to focus on sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium. As far as exercising in the heat, you are depleting both sodium and electrolyte stores when sweating. The concern with a high sodium diet (or high sodium intake during or after exercise) is that sodium will accumulate in the blood if the kidneys cannot regulate the amount of sodium in the body. When sodium levels are high, the kidneys excrete sodium in the urine and then sodium levels are low, the kidneys conserve sodium. In the case of sodium-loading before and during exercise, blood volume increases to sodium’s attraction to water. As blood volume increases, the heart pumps harder to circulate blood throughout the body thus increasing the pressure in the arteries. ALl of this combined can make you feel weezy and lightheaded. Although the body can regulate itself to get into a balanced state (in your case, you likely depleted your sodium levels from drinking too much water and then trying to take in gels and sport drinks to maintain energy which made you feel extremely lethargic and likely confused), focus on fruits post workout (in your protein post workout smoothie) in addition to consuming sport drinks during exercise. You can get all of your vitamins and minerals from a plant-based, balanced diet but a daily Multi Vitamin is good health insurance as well. Also, listen to your body so if it wants pretzels after a workout, eat them. Hope this helps...feel free to email me if you need anything else. It's been great following your journey over the past 5 years!YOu will be just fine.

Mary IronMatron said...

I think it's great that you learned that lesson before IM--and also you learned that lesson for me! I am going to have sports drink all day on IM day... and very very limited water.

MaineSport said...

Some very good lessons here, even better to learn them now. Good luck with the taper!