15th Annual Hudson Valley Triathlon and Duathlon

15th Annual Hudson Valley Triathlon/Duathlon

Remember when I said all races are learning experiences (if you have read any of my posts that is)–how at every event, you learn something new that you can use in the future, see what you can improve upon and what you have improved upon since your last race? Well, it has been a year since I competed in my first multi-sport race (my first one was the HV Duathlon last year!) and my knowledge of both multi sport racing, and training, has increased dramatically since completing my first duathlon. And it is safe to say I (finally) learned some very important lessons at the race yesterday, ones which perhaps a normal person would have figured out months ago (hey, I’m just stubborn, okay?).

Yes, (a little more than) one year ago I competed my first duathlon. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I used the second hand Giant bike which was a piece of crap (don’t get me wrong, I love Giant bicycles, just this one was old). I had no idea what I was doing or getting myself into. I had gone on maybe three long bike rides on the bike–at that time I did much more running–now it’s actually a bit of the opposite. I signed up for the race three days before the event. What a first duathlon, too. It starts at the bottom of a slightly steep incline at Ulster Landing Park next to the Hudson River, which, if you do the duathlon, you must go up three separate times with the sprint, then the bike, then the last run. The first leg is a one mile up (literally) and back sprint, then a 18 mile bike ride which is actually two nine mile loops up along Route 32 and through Glasco–if you are familiar with the area then you know where I’m talking about. Then the last 3.5mile run is another up (and another literally going up) and back sort of deal. This race is put on by the New York State Triathlon Organization, which I must thank for all their volunteers and work, especially yesterday in the heat/humidity/downpour/ultimate weather grossness that we had. I actually am thankful for the rain, because it made the bike sprint more bearable. I also thank my rides in Dutchess County and the Catskills for preparing me for the nasty start of the bike race.

Waiting for the start of the sprint

Post my attempt at Mooseman in June, my training somewhat dwindled a bit–that, couple with insane work hours just left no real good time to train. And after the race yesterday I finally realized (yes, it has taken months as I said above) that my body just does not like me when I make it do things on 1)two hours of sleep and 2)when it’s exhausted and wants to be sleeping. I know I never let my work schedule affect whether or not I do races. But in the midst of the last leg of the run my body just said, “enough not listening to me when I’m exahusted. Enough. Enough.” I ended up with the slowest 3.5 mile run time that I have ever had in all the duathlons I’ve done (okay, all four of them– I haven’t really done that many.) And, yes, my body talks to me when it’s angry at me, which it seems to be more and more often now a days.

Transition number two- my apologies for poor picture quality.

Starting the last run

So, dearest reader, please listen to this advice, and take it to heart. It’s not smart to force your body to compete in multi sport races, or any races actually, when you got two hours of sleep the night before, and average 3-4 hours of sleep a day for the past week leading upto the race. Your body has had NO time w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r to relax and replenish and rebuild muscle and strength if you’ve also been continuing to train (ça c’est moi). There is just so much pushing your body that you can do. And, make sure you are physically well before the race, and not have GI issues the day before/day of the race. When I started the bike portion I thought, “man, I can’t do this! My intestines/ stomache ache so horribly bad.” But, once I got over the wave of cramps and riding 5miles per hour (which definitely affected my bike time), I got back into the rhythm of cycling and the ride was great. I like rolling hills. My new Aero Bars came in handy too. I’m not used to sprinting on my bike- as most of my rides are greater than 30 miles, and I don’t sprint on those rides, but I do go up nasty hills, so the burning sensation you get in your thighs is just like that of when you cycle uphills.

All in all, the race was okay. I feel if I pushed myself harder (which my body would hate me even more for) I could have done better on the last leg of the run. Despite a time longer than my time at last years race (then again, at that time I was still working a day shift job), I did manage to make 1st place in my age group!

exhausted post race with my sister Laura, another triathlete--the craziness must run in the family

My next race is the Timberman Sprint, which will be my (second) triathlon. Hopefully in the next month, I’ll 1)have more than 2 hours of sleep the night before the race and 2) have energy before starting the race and 3) have a normal functioning immune system.

I hope you all were able to stay cool this past weekend- it was somewhat warm!

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It’s Getting Hot Out There

How I feel exercising in heat

Today is supposed to be the hottest days thus far this year– temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees fahrenheit, and feeling it too. On my bike ride this morning, the Red Hook bank’s big sign indicated at 0630, it was already 78 degrees. Yuck.

I’m not a heat-loving person. I prefer cooler (not frigid though) temperatures. Everywhere you go- even walking out to my car, I start to sweat. Thank the wonderful person who invented air conditioning, even though I prefer not to use the AC because it consumes crazy amounts of energy. But, when times get desperate, and when I need to sleep during the day, which is when the temperatures peak, I lose self control and turn on the AC (which is actually off right now, because a fuse blew).

Nothing is fun in 99 degree heat, with 100% humidity. Nothing. Well, except for swimming outside. That allows for some relief from the heat. And I don’t mean outdoor pools either. Lakes. Large bodies of water. Thank goodness I got over that fear of open water swimming!

And, in this heat, heat stroke and dehydration come into play, especially athletes. I realized I can no longer do things before work because it is too hot, so from now on, will need to do my runs/swims/bike rides right after I come home from work in the mornings while it is slightly still cool (not sure how my feet will like that after being on them for 12 hrs). It is possible to ride/run in this heat, but dehydration is a serious issue and can lead you into a coma and even death.

Basically, dehydration is when your body does not have the amount of fluids that it should–the body is depleted of fluids. This can be from sweating, not consuming enough water, medical conditions where there is excessive urination (like uncontrolled diabetes and diuretic use), also through vomiting and diarhhea. Luckily for adults, it’s harder for us to become dehydrated than children, because they have smaller body weights.

From a medical perspective (yes, I am bringing my nursing into this, sorry), there are three stages of dehydration (taken from ENA’S 6th Edition of Emergency Nursing, 2007), but I will just go through the basics with you with. When you are dehydrated, you can feel some of the below effects.

  • heart rate increases,
  • you can feel dizzy
  • you have low blood pressure,
  • unusual salt cravings
  • dry mucous membranes
  • concentrated urine
  • you can feel confused, light-headed, tired, weak
  • you have delayed cap refill, poor skin turgor, and shock (in the hospital, you can go into hypovolemic shock, which requires fluid boluses after boluses in order to regain the fluid/ electrolyte balance.)
As an athlete, if you are exercising during times when it is hot, it is vital to replenish both fluids and electrolytes that you lost through sweat.Sports drinks, or electrolyte replacements can be used, as well as drinking water. Nuun Hydration tablets can be used to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat.
The below video, taken from The Fruitarian , has some some very good insight into hyponatremia, which can occur with dehydration– he speaks about ultra marathons, but it is good for any athlete who is exercising for longer periods of time.
Fifteen minutes before you plan on exercising, you should drink 30-20 oz water
During exercise, you should drink 4-8oz of water every 15-20 minutes, or more, if the weather is extremely hot. After exercise, you should drink 16-24oz per pound lost–this is if you weigh yourself before you exercise. The loss of sweat through perspiration and the normal functioning of body systems can lead to serious issues!
Drink up!

Drink Up! Your body will thank you.

There are many different hydration packs on the market geared for running, biking, hiking, etc. Runner’s World has a review of hydration packs which can be found here. I use a small camelbak when I run, or an Amphipod “Full Tilt” waist pack, as I do not like to run with something in my hand. When I bike, I need more water, and the small Camelbak I was using which holds about 500cc of water was just too little. So I ordered a pack which has a larger water resevoir.
While I am on the topic of heat, it’s strongly advisable, if you can, to exercise early in the morning to avoid the heat, or, at night (like me), when the temperatures are cooler.
How do you hydrate during long rides/long runs/long periods of exercise?

Fireflies

We don’t have fire flies over where I grew up, or lightning bugs as the are also called. I’m really not sure why they are not overseas, but they remind me of the summers I spent at Lake George, catching them in big glass jars with my cousins, and admiring their glow. In retrospect, we probably deprived them of oxygen and lead to premature death. But, we did let them go after a couple of hours of manipulating the glass container and inspecting the gowing aspects of the fly. That was back when my grandparents owned a house in Lake George. And, that was 13 years ago. Since then, I have not seen any fireflies, except for when I lived down in Alexandraia VA. I remember coming back from work and felt giddy as a school girl after seeing fireflies on my walk back from Braddock Metro to my apartment. It brought so many memories of my childhood back, the innocense of youth.Even now, when I see them, the young child in me becomes excited and giddy to seem them; summer is here!

Fireflies and stars, by Steve Irving

I’m not sure that you know, but, there are different reasons for why lightning bugs “glow,”–mostly the glow is used as a means of communication. Some types of fireflies, the male only lights up to attract the female lightning bug, and so the female can find the man (according to Firefly.org ). There are also fireflies that eat each other! They are primarily carnivorous (ahh, so the innocent fireflies of our youth are no longer that innocent).

Anyway, I thought of that today on my midnight 11.5mile run. With a crystal clear sky and all the stars spackled over the sky, and the iridescent light from tiny lightning bugs appearing and dissapearing made the run more interesting, and more peaceful.

On a separate note, I have started running at night again–with the humidity/heat, it’s not easy for me to do that during the day. And, for some reason, running long distances at night has a certain feeling of peace about it, because, it is usually just you and the starts shining above you–and the illuminating light from the fireflies appearing and disappearing at their will. I do miss running during the day time, when I can actually see things. But, there’s a certain peace associated with being alone under the stars (I know I’ve mentioned this before).

My summertime night running gear: Camelback, Petzel head lamp, and a cap visible to crazy drivers

I’m determined to be ready for this race in August, whether it mean having to bike and run at night. I actually enjoy my time swimming in Lake Onteora. Tomorrow, I’ll plan on riding over in the Catskills so I can get my 40miler done with,  and swim afterwards.

The fireflies reminded me of a song by Owl City.

When was the last crazy post written?

July 2011
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