Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Elephant Man Tri Race Report

I was super excited to race again. I don't know what it is about racing, but I really thrive on it. But that doesn't mean that I don't get nervous about them. The day before the race Paulo and I spent accusing each other of being grumpy. We were probably both right...

Race morning I woke up at 4am, ate oatmeal, drank coffee and Misha picked us up at 5am to head to the Butte. It was a chilly morning, but beautiful as always. Gotta love the desert.

Arrived at the race site with plenty of time to spare and a bladder the size of Texas. We both sprinted to the porta potties only to find them locked. NOOOOOO!!!! Thankfully there were more on the other side of transition to save us from certain death by internal bladder explosion. After that disaster was averted we checked in and set up transition. They had these awesome transition racks that someone had hand made. They were made of plywood with a slot perfect for a tire. They should totally patent that- they could make some serious money. No more of those flimsy metal bike racks where only half of the people rack the right direction with the occasional bike rack collapse with the overzealous T2 racker.

Will and Mark showed up before the swim and we got some fun pics in:

The race started late, but I don't think that bothered anyone. The waves were nice and spread out (which made for an awesomely spaced out bike course). I was in the last wave and Paulo in the second to last so we stood up on the hill and watched the first waves go out. In the first wave there was a guy in the FOP who out of nowhere took a 90 degree turn and swam out into no man's land. I felt a little guilty for laughing at it, but it reminded us all of a pic from our friend Khai's race a few years ago. I will try to find it!

After Paulo's wave went off the girls poured into the water. Not quite sure what it is, but women are always the most aggressive group to start a tri. Everyone seemed to want the front row. I just took a spot in the back to the right and figured I could swim on the inside past the slower swimmers after the first couple hundred yards passed.

The swim was pretty uneventful. I felt really good and had a great line on the inside of the buoys. Sighting was very easy because they put up plentiful buoys and it the lake was like glass. Best conditions for a swim I've ever had. I kept wondering when the yellow cap that I passed was going to be Paulo. For awhile I would bob up my head to see if I could recognize the smartass, but alas I never did. Coming out of the water I felt good, but my time was a tad long. I think the swim was possibly closer to 1.1 miles than 1.0. Official time was 29:20 which included a run up the beach.

T1: Couldn't get the darn wetsuit off (story of my life) so it was slow. 1:23


Coming out of T1 I saw MarkyV and he cheered me on. Actually he said "funny, I haven't seen Paulo!". That made me laugh. Then in the first mile I ran into Will who was in the middle of his run. We cheered each other on- that made me laugh again. The bike course itself was fabulous in every way. The first 15 miles were very challenging with a ton if steep short hills and several longer climbs. I was thankful to have put on my 11/26 before the trip because the 11/23 would have made for a serious suffer fest out there. The locals were fantastic and out in force cheering us through town. Once we got out of town the course was stunning. Not a car in sight for miles and miles. Just the desert hills, the sun and the occasional racer. I passed quite a few women from the first wave and quite a few men (the hills are my friends, it seems) throughout the 26.5 miles. I think I was only passed once- the benefit of being in the last wave. No major issues on the bike. Took in 1 bottle of gatorade and 2 gus (1 probably would have been better). Kept the intensity in high zone 3/low zone 4. Came into transition feeling pretty decent. Still no Paulo sightings.

Me climbing out of T1

Smartass out of T1

Bike 1:21:45 (19.4 mph ave)


Not much to say about T2. Came in, took care of business, got out. 0:38

The Run

Looking at an elevation profile does this run no justice. The elevation profile fails to mention the 2 miles of soft sand. And for some reason, hills look so much SMALLER on paper! Needless to say, the run was challenging. Started and ended with 1 mile of sand running. The end of the first mile was a steep hill of quicksand leading up to the bridge. I was feeling like a bit of garbage and anyone within 50 feet of me could hear my stomach sloshing (did I mention that I should have only taken in 1 gel on the ride???). Nonetheless, I had a race to win. A race against one person, and I had no idea where he was. I just knew that he was faster on foot than me. By, like... a lot.
So I had to grin and bear it.

At the turnaround I grabbed some gatorade and looked down the hill. I saw a familiar sight. NOOOOO!!!! There he is! GOOOOOOOO!!!!!

What transpired looked much like this, circa Kona 2006

And I commenced running like I stole it.

I ran right by aid stations, turned down water, gatorade, sponges. Barely noticed the beauty of the Elephant Butte damn that we had the pleasure of running on. I wasn't going to go down without a fight. I started having visions of him stalking me, just to surge past me at the last minute to get photo evidence of him "beating" me. Since he started 5 minutes before me I knew that he couldn't make that up in 3 miles. But by god I was going to cross that line first.

I have to admit I did let the fourth place woman go screaming past me. Honestly I wonder if it had been Paulo if I would have given more chase. But the quicksand was pulling me under. I just couldn't get a good grip. Then I saw Misha. WHERE IS HE?????
"I don't know... behind you, I'm sure". Relieved that he wasn't breathing down my neck, I pushed on with slightly less fire to the finishline, not unhappy to be done with that killer course.

Run: 47:27 (7:55)

Run pics:

Me, running like I stole it:

Paulo, running like his pride is on the line:

Total time (1 mile/ 26.5 / 6) 2:40:31 5th OA, 1st AG (really 2nd AG but the 1st was in the top 3 so I was bumped up)

I went over to the table, grabbed a muffin and walked back to watch for Paulo. All of that effort and the negative split run of my life was totally worth seeing Paulo's finish-line spew. It was classic. CLASSIC!

In the end we both had a really great time and were glad we went. The organizers and volunteers at Elephant Man were amazing and put on a first class event. If I ever have the opportunity to get down here again I'll do it in a heartbeat.

I'm thinking of trying to get the smartass himself to put up a guest race report here. That would be fun


4 days 'till KONA!!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Smackdown at Elephant Butte!

Had a very fun and tiring day! End result was 5th OA woman and 1st AG 30-34. But, of course, more importantly was the matchup with this guy:

I won the smackdown by 6:45, most of it on the swim (not surprisingly since Paulo has been in the pool about 1 time in 3 years). I narrowly took the bike and he narrowly took the run. Oh yeah, and he would like to spin it that he actually won, since he had a faster run, T1 and T2, while I just beat him in the swim and bike. Good try ;-)

Smiles all around after the race!

A couple notes about the race (because I'm too tired for a report)

- Paulo achieved the ultimate goal for any triathlon. Puking at the finish line. How great is your timing to be able to leave it all on the course and still finish strong BEFORE losing the past 3 miles worth of gatorade in the sand after the timing mat?? Priceless I tell you!

- Racing at 5000 feet after training at sea level is HARD

- I love racing with an aerohelmet! THANK YOU WILL!!!!!!

- Misha is the greatest race sherpa in the whole world. Thank you!

- Elephantman triathlon is the best run race that I have experienced. Top notch, especially for such a small event (225 competitors).

- That course is FREAKING HARD. Yes. HARD!

Quote of the day:

Paulo (before the swim): "I think maybe this would be a good time to tell you that the farthest I have ever swam in open water is 1500m" (Race was a tad over 1 mile)

More pics and full report to follow...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I love New Mexico!

I am so happy to be down in the land of sunshine and outdoor pools! Could totally do without the thorns in the road flatting my tires, but I guess if it was perfect there would be a ton more traffic down here ;-)

Training has been light. I have my final race of the season tomorrow and have been babying some minor injuries so that I can have a solid day. I was very pleased with my final swim workout today. It was super short with just 2 x 150 (50 fast 100 race pace) as the main set. I was able to hold 1:20 pace so I'm stoked that I was able to get back into swimming form. The trade-off is a minor case of rotator cuff tendinitis, but it's not so bad. Bring on Elephantman!

Here is a short pictorial of my trip so far:

Swimming outdoors in my awesome Splish Wonder Woman suit:

Then it was off to Andele, my favorite mexican restaurant!

Paulo trying to win the biggest taco contest:

Three tools (MarkyV, Jonny and Will) and a cool dude (Danny):

Then the next day was DQ night!


MarkyV's dental check-up:

Jonathan isn't nearly happy enough to be eating ice cream:

The dirty mirror self portrait:


Some of my favorite captions from Slowtwitchers:

"The P5Carbon will have integrated hydration *and* evacuation systems"

"They've been drinking so much of the Cervelo Cool-aid at PS camp, they are actually starting to shit out parts. In Paulo's never ending quest for scientific research and validity, he records the phenomenon and documents it's every nuance. Touch it Jonnyo, TOUCH IT!!!"

"It was a million to one shot, Doc. Million to one."

" After three hours and trying every tool in the garage, they gave up and took him to the hospital. "

" Broke Back Biker "

" SMACK!! Ride that nose! Work it, work it! You know you like it like that! Riiiight there, oh yeah! Little to the left.... perfect! "

" Visual evidence of the impact on everyday athletes due to the financial crisis. "

Ok, who else out there can beat those?

And I have the text written for my bike box packing post, but I'm going to take detailed pics when I pack for Hawaii next week before I post it.

Up next, Race Report!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to pack a bike to travel so you never have to worry

And (for Brian) the wheels on the top!

If anyone out there thinks they would benefit by a step-by-step tour of packing a bike for shipping, just leave a comment. I feel like I could do it in my sleep at this point, but remember when it gave me cold sweats to think about putting my baby in a box!

Sports Medicine Series #1

Since I'm stuck at the Denver airport on my way to the triathlete paradise that is Las Cruces, NM, I thought I would start my sports medicine series! The plans include a 3-part series on injury prevention for the swim, bike and run and maybe a short one on sports nutrition, but that will most definitely be a do as I say, not as I do editorial. My nutrition stinks, unless you consider living on Cliff bars and oatmeal proper nutrition. But for today a blog about Supplements!

Do you need supplements? Heck no. I would have keeled over long ago since I have a bit of a problem remembering to take them (maybe I need one of those memory boosting herbals....). But I do believe that there are a few winners out there with some decent evidence behind them.

In no particular order...

A good strong multivitamin

As triathletes were tend to be a bit obsessed about our weight (free speed). In doing so, with a heavy training load it's easy to get behind on some of the building blocks. ESPECIALLY the vegetarians and vegans out there. If your nutrition is suspect and you think you probably live on a bit of a deficit, get a multivitamin that provides a strong dose of all the B- vitamins

Downfalls: Fluorescent pee.


This is a bit individualized. Men with good intake of red meat will probably not need any additional iron (and it could be dangerous). However, iron is one of the many nutrients that we tend to lose in sweat, so it is not entirely uncommon for athletic men to be iron deficient. Of course iron is lost in blood as well, so the women among us could probably benefit from a low dose supplement. If in doubt, the next time you see your doc ask for a CBC and iron panel to see how you're doing. A note for vegetarians- many vegetables are high in iron. But don't let that fool you! Iron if veggies like spinach have a very low bio-availability so most of it goes right through and doesn't get absorbed. If you eat no meat, a low dose iron supplement is probably a good idea. *Hint* If you are going to supplement with iron, buy "Gentle Iron" or iron bisglycinate. Unlike iron sulfate, it is easy on the gut and does not constipate. Look for a formulation with vitamin C, because this aids in absorption.

Downfalls: Iron is dangerous in high doses. If your diet is rich in iron and you have never had a problem with anemia, you can skip it.

Fish Oil

My favorite of the supplements. I think fish oil is the magic pill. Shown to decrease inflammation, heart disease, arthritis, and for us athletes there are several studies showing its efficacy in reducing exercise induced asthma.

Downfalls: Fish burps, some minor bruising. Discontinue before surgery unless you want your surgeon to call you bad names in the OR since it is a mild anti-coagulant


Glucosamine is thought to decrease progression of osteoarthritis and joint pain, although some of the studies are still a bit conflicting. One thing that is true, though is that the supplement doesn't interact with other medications and has virtually zero side effects. The only caution is for people with shellfish allergies. So if you are someone who is running with joint pain due to cartilage damage, this might be a good choice for you. Give the supplement a few months of use before making a decision on whether or not it works for you.

Downfall: Can be spendy, but there are cheaper options at the large wholesaler-type stores.


When I first heard that people supplemented with glutamine I thought it was ridiculous. What good could a single amino acid do? So I hit pubmed and was totally shocked at what I saw. Glutamine is a primary fuel source for our immune cells. It is also among the first amino acids to be depleted when the body is under stress. Supplementation with glutamine has been shown to boost immune function and insulin activity in hospital patients. Studies on the effects of glutamine supplementation in athletes are still a bit controversial. But my take is that it is worth supplementing with some glutamine in your recovery shake after particularly hard workouts and races. Anything that can prevent the dreaded build week colds is worth trying!

OK, that's all I have for now. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to add it. For now, I have to figure out where my flight to El Paso departs from. I have some training to do this afternoon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some thoughts on swimming...

Since I decided in a random statement of lunacy to swim until arms come out of their sockets, I have come up with some thoughts about swimming.

- I am intellectually incapable of thinking of anything noteworthy while swimming laps. The second that my mind wanders I lose count. So my time in the pool, almost 9 hours last week, was essentially a water lobotomy. Here is my thought process for those 23,200 meters:

1,1,1,1,1,1,1 (repeat for a total of 44 times) flip
2,2,2,2,2,2,2 flip
3,3,3,3,3,3,3 flip

Unfortunately, during my set today, which was remarkably brutal, it went like this

1,1,1,1,1,1,1 flip
2,2,2,2 I need to do some serious packing for my trip, 1,2,1,1,2,2,3????
2,2,2 am I really on 2?, or is it 3?...
Oh damn

And so it went for my 600, 500, 2 x 400, 2 x 300, and 3 x 200 of the main set. I was amazingly able to count the 3 x 100 (LCM) to finish out the set.

- With the state of my rotator cuff right now, I could be a teaching mannequin for first year medical students. Every muscle of my shoulder is undergoing swelling and hypertrophy. My only wish is that all of this discomfort will result in sexy bikini arms in Hawaii. Oh, and a fast swim at Elephant Man would be a bonus.

- Buying a super cute swimming suit makes you faster

- I would give my left arm to be sponsored by Splish if I didn't think it would slow me down so much

Friday, September 12, 2008

Since the last ancient update....

My life in a nutshell....

1. I started my first sports medicine elective. It is as awesome in every way that I had hoped it would be. I'm setting up another one in November and am hoping to get in on some college and pro sport action. Fun!

2. Decided, in all my brilliance, that after an entire summer of dismal swim training I would attempt to swim 45,000 meters in 2 weeks. I am now 19,600 meters into my idiocy and have to budget an extra hour into my day to change my clothes since I can no longer lift my arms over my head. In related news, it is somehow impossible to satisfy my ravenous hunger.

3. I am in the middle of an interview with John at TheOutdoorJourney. We should be done soon, so stock up on your red bull and pick up some toothpicks to hold your eyes open. It's a long one ;-)

4. I'm going to become a featured blogger on wellsphere. I'm hoping that as my knowledge of sports medicine grows I can start writing blogs with more of a medical slant. I'm thinking a good starter should be: 45,000 meters in 2 weeks: why this is a stupid idea

5. I leave for VACATION in less than 2 weeks! Heading out to Las Cruces for CAMP on September 23rd and then for KONA on October 4th. Expect to hear way more from me than you ever feared possible.

6. With the help of ProTriathlete and professional self-photographer MarkyV I was able to take and develop my very own picture for my residency applications. Where most people go and get pics taken professionally, I took my camera on a walk with my dog, took a picture of myself and spent 99 cents at Walgreens to get my fabulous self- portrait. Smile!

While in training for the pinnacle of my self portrait career, I took some pretty awesome ones that just didn't quite make the cut for the job application

7. Maddie and I have been spending some awesomely quality time together. My 2 weeks of ortho trauma were tougher on her than they were on me, so I've been trying to make it up. Here is a photo journal of last weekend:

Where's Maddie?

Going into the woods, yay!

Over the bridge...

Come on, ma- let's go SWIMMING!

Want this?

Happy puppy!

Tired puppy...

8. Undies are in the mail! You didn't actually think that I would travel all the way to Kona and not participate in the underpants run, did you??? I think not! So my new funny undies are being shipped to Milwaukee to be packed away for the big run. Paulo has already volunteered to come take pics. What a guy! ;-)

Thursday, September 04, 2008


My good friend Jonathan Caron was interviewed for Triathlete Magazine recently and I just about fell over laughing when I got to the middle of the article. Not only is he an amazing athlete and role model for people all over the world with Crohn's disease, he's freaking hilarious!



Thanks for the shout-out Jonny!