Is That Poop or Pudding?

So I’m sure you’re wondering about the title of this blog! All to be revealed…!

Open Water Swim Clinic

photo by Athlete’s Lounge

Athlete’s Lounge put on another great clinic last week. Their triathlon pros took us through a two-hour open water training session at Blue Lake Park in Fairview, Oregon, location of several triathlons this summer. We started with warmup laps, and proceeded through the same drills we did in the pool: drafting, contact, sighting, mass start, buoy turning, etc. They also included two new skills that we couldn’t do in the pool, “dolphining” at entry and exiting the water.

Dolphining the water entry is an efficient way to give yourself momentum at the start of the swim. Unlike the pool, there is no wall to push off of to get you going. With this technique you run into the water until you are about knee deep, at that point the water around your knees basically trips you while you try to keep running, so you let it and do a very shallow dive with your arms extended like you would with any other dive. You will glide under the water, grab the sand with your hands, tuck your feet at your hands by bending your knees and then push up out of the water into another shallow dive. You can do this as few or as many times as you want until you are ready to start swimming. Note, you need to make sure you keep your head down and arms outstretched during the dive or you’ll risk dislodging your goggles…and that doesn’t help you be speedy at all! Here is a link about dolphining from HowStuffWorks.

To best exit the water, make sure you increase your kicking the last couple hundred yards so you get the blood circulating in your legs. Most triathletes do minimal kicking during the open water swim to conserve them for the bike and run. Swim until you feel your fingers hitting the bottom but don’t get up until you can grab the sand in your hands, this ensures the water is shallow enough not to impede your ability to run in the water (below knee height).

cue music…..

Hahahahahaha Wipeout!

I had two spectacular wipeouts this week, prompting a paramedic from another agency who saw my posts on Facebook to ask if he needed to get me a safety helmet for my swim and run workouts! Normally I wouldn’t blog about my wipeouts, for if you know me, I am a supreme klutz and trip, fall, tumble, etc. often, but both of these have teaching points!

The final drill of the Open Water Clinic was exiting the water and running to the transition area while pulling down your wetsuit. The unfortunate thing was that the safety fence was still in place at the swimming area as this was not a closed event like a triathlon, so we were forced to exit up concrete stairs. I don’t suggest running up concrete stairs after a long swim while doffing your wetsuit…I caught my right big toe and fell, my arms stuck behind me trying to remove my hands from my inside-out sleeves, landing on my left knee and catching myself on the metal railing with my left upper arm. Ouch! Fortunately I did not break anything, immediately iced and elevated, and kept a compression stocking on my knee for as long as I could tolerate it while sleeping. I still cannot kneel on that kneecap and I have a horrendous black bruise on my arm the diameter of a large grapefruit. But feel very fortunate to not have sustained a season-ending injury.

Later in the week I had the opportunity to go on a trail run on the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park in Portland, Oregon. It is a beautiful park and the Wildwood Trail weaves 30 miles through evergreens and lush forest. I have never done a trail run like this before; I would have considered it a hiking path, bare dirt, roots, rocks, narrow, and switchbacks. We headed out for a 5 mile run. At mile 2, at a bend at the top of a climb (you can see it on the map), I caught my right foot and fell forward. I put my arms out to catch myself but the trail descended at that point, so I ended up sliding down on my belly with my arms stretched out in front of me as if sliding in to home base! No real injuries that time other than some scraped elbows, and it was actually fairly entertaining to me, but unwitnessed by my running partner who was ahead of me.

Despite my tumble, I do think that there is a lot of merit in trail running. This was so different than my normal runs, even what I considered trail runs which are graded gravel. This required more attention to my task, focus on footfall, variation in terrain. And, while there is the risk of ankle injury in just doing it, I do think that it would help build ankle strength. I hope to add more of this to my training plan…now to find a protective safety bubble to surround myself in!

Vegan Fitness Nutrition

All the clinics I have been attending recently have been talking a lot about nutrition, however, the information they are sharing are based on animal protein diets and include commercial energy drinks and gels, none of which I use. There are several vegan drinks and gels, but as I have been trying to eat as “clean” as possible (whole foods, largely raw, minimal processed food), and my previous experience of getting sick from Gu Energy Gel during a half-marathon, I really wanted to do some research and find what I could do for my fitness nutrition.

I learned about Brendan Brazier when I first researched triathlon last fall. As a lark, I entered “vegan triathlon” into an internet search and his website came up. Brendan is a professional Ironman triathlete who discovered, through trial and error, that a vegan diet worked best for his performance. His smoothie formula is now produced commercial through the Vega brand and he has written three books about vegan diet and fitness: Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, Thrive: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness, and The Thrive Diet: Whole Foods to Thrive.

I purchased the first book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, because it included many recipes for raw vegan, whole food electrolyte replacement drinks and gels. The book is fascinating, and I will probably devote a whole blog post, at least, to what I’ve learned from it. I’ve made several different recipes and am very impressed by them. I particularly like the pudding recipes he has for pre-workout/event Energy and post-workout/event Recovery. They seem to work for me. I also learned that one of the best electrolyte drinks out there is simply Young Coconut Water, which the Brazilian soccer team has used for decades. I am trying several different brands and will let you know which is my preference.

I know this is a quick overview and not a lot of meat to it. I will soon devote a posting to just this topic because there is a wealth of information to share. I will add this helpful little chart from his book on nutritional content for optimal performance based on the level of intensity (thanks, Christine, for the cool Excel chart!) which can be used for both animal or vegan diets.

For more information, you can check out these websites:

Brendan Brazier


Thrive Fitness

Also, Brendan has created a free 30-day online learning program Thrive in 30. The program consists of a daily email with a link for that day’s lesson. I am currently on Day 5 and the information has been great, follows the information in the book. I highly recommend it—it pertains to non-vegans as well as vegans. Nutrition is so important, has such an impact on performance, that I think all athletes should spend some time researching and finding what works best for them.

Portland IronGirl Triathlon Canceled!

Much to our shock, Christine and I received notice that Athleta IronGirl Triathlon to be held at Hagg Lake June 26th has been canceled. They are very vague about why other than being faced with putting on an event that did not meet their or the participants’ expectations. They are refunding our registration fee and giving us one complimentary event registration for any of their 2011 events anywhere in the nation. So, we are going to do the Athleta IronGirl South Lake Tahoe, California September 18, 2011….which happens to be the day before my 40th birthday!

New Schwag!

The new tri kits (triathlon outfit worn under the wetsuit for the bike and run portion) for the Portland Triathlon came in. I think they look really cool! I haven’t done any training in a two-piece kit before, so I will have to do some running and cycling in it before I use it in an event. I really wish they had one-piece kits, because I prefer them.

And, one of my Seattle-to-Portland Bike Ride jerseys arrived, very bright and very cool! I will be getting a special red jersey as I am riding as Medical Support during the event, but that has not arrived yet.


Ok, I think that about does it for today….Oh! Wait, is that poop or pudding?

Loading up on my post-race Recovery Pudding!

So after my triathlon, as I’ve learned from multiple clinics and readings on the importance of eating really good nutrition within 25-45 minutes of finishing your workout, I was enjoying some Recovery Pudding that I had made from Brendan Brazier’s book when I saw Christine running toward the finish line. I set my pudding down and cheered Christine, and knocked my pudding over onto the ground…no biggie. Later, as we were loading the car to go, Mother Superior said, “Oh gosh, I think I stepped in dog poop and I got it all over your floor mat…or maybe that’s pudding, I don’t know! Smell it!” I did…it was pudding…

So the answer to the question….Pudding!

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