Friday, September 23, 2016

Kona Diaries - Day #2 (15 days till the big day)

With a BIG day on tap, I was excited to make it past the dreaded 3am wake up. I made it to 5:30am and to your surprise woke up hungry! My body was looking for that lunch again. I resisted the urge to stuff my face with another delicious breakfast, and headed off to the pool for a shakeout swim – is there such a thing?  (I did eat a banana to hold me over).

 Welcome to the Kona Aquatics Center where one can swim outdoors & FREE of charge! 

You won't see this often as this place turns will turn into a "zoo" of triathletes in a few days

 They even have a pool for kids 5 and under. Sometimes I feel like that's where I belong! Am I the only one? 

But NOT today. Today was a great day and I felt absolutely awesome! Of course the swim was super short (1500y). Go figure! Today I had a bigger fish to fry though. 

Post swim, it was time to re-fuel and fuel up for the big session of the day! 90 min ride, followed by a 20 mile run! My last long run pre-race. Woof!

It wasn't breakfast with a stunning view, but it was one awesome breakfast if I say so myself. I love a GOOD breakfast with lots of carbs AND protein! This sure hit the spot.
2/3 of a cup of oatmeal (I like Old Fashion Oats) with dark chocolate chips on top (once they melt - watch out), banana and local Hawaiian granola. Side of 2 eggs and black forest ham, and half of a local papaya! 

With such a long and hard session coming up, I have also added Beet Juice. My secret (or not so secret) to success. I don't drink beet juice every day, but I do before every hard or long session and I do follow a beet juice loading protocol pre all my races. 

The Beet Boost - beet juice in a powder form and perfect to travel with! I like to mix mine with apple juice because I am not a huge fan of pure beet juice taste. 

Little downtime to catch up on work, and couple hours later I was off for my 90 min ride. I rode a bit later in the day so that I could start my run roughly around the same time I am hoping to be getting off the bike on race day and test the body in the “heat” of the day.

It was definitely much warmer today than yesterday. Bright blue sunny skies and definitely no overcast which was the case yesterday. Proof that you really just never know just what exactly race day will bring – well besides some sort of heat, wind and humidity.

My ride was also right on the course and I just rode 45 min out and 45 min back. The point of this ride was to induce some fatigue in the legs before starting the run. Legs were feeling good and strong – just how I like it but since this was just an appetizer for what was to come I was keeping my effort in “czech”, and the power right around the lower end of my Ironman pace. I even stopped at the turn around point and took a few pictures (Those of you that know me know that I don't usually do that) 

It was windy, but not super crazy windy. It was definitely much more windy past the airport, which is how it usually works. 

My 1st course tip and words of advice: 

If you are new to the Island, and have the chance to ride the course but maybe don’t have time to do a long ride because by the time you arrive you are in full taper mode, drive closer to the airport (you can park at the Kona Mountain Coffee place) and ride from there.  That way you can experience the unpredictable winds that Madame Pele serves up daily. Plus they have not only great coffee, but also bathrooms. I say score ;)

But back to my ride.

I am not sure where exactly I turned around but I didn’t see any goats! Just Mr. Flash without his dancing shoes (race wheels will be going on shortly)

My 2nd course tip and words of advice: 

You can always see just how bad the wind is as well as its direction by watching the little bushes and the direction they are being blown. BUT don’t get too mesmerized and keep an eye on the road at the same time!

Czech out the bushes. If you are heading left to right, you are in business! If not, prepare for a stiff headwind! This also means that 45 min out, doesn't always equal 45 minutes back! 

Also trying to cross the Queen K is like playing Russian roulette! Be careful! Watch out for the rumble strip and turtles in the middle of the road (no - NOT the animals bur rather reflectors)

Today was a fast day on the bike, and 90 min and almost 34 miles later it was time to run.

VERY Interesting fact: 

Not to get too side tracked but I also met one of the bike course draft marshals today while out riding. As I was starting my ride him and his friend pulled up next to me in their truck and wanted to know if I was a pro. Once I said "no" they pulled away, but I caught up with them at the next set of lights, and they wanted to know what AG I was in. I told them and we went our separate ways (I can’t quite keep up with cars climbing up Palani) only for me to see them parked on the side of Queen K waiting for me. Doug the draft marshal was waiting outside of his truck with PowerBar gels and really insisted on giving them to me. I appreciated the nice gesture and asked him to catch all the cheaters come race day only to find out that the entire 112 mile course is covered by only 12 draft marshals – WHAT? And yes that includes pro’s and amateurs! 12 draft marshals for a World Championship race – I can only imagine how many less there are for any other – WOW! I hope I see Doug on race day but I bet my chances are very slim! I guess I am not shocked, but I would really like to think that this number should be way higher.

But anyways, back to the KEY session of the day.

I started my run right an Alii Drive at about mile 1.5 of the actual course. I ran another 1.5 miles toward the turn around on Alii Drive and then turned back a few miles before the actual U-turn on race day so that I could get in the “fun” miles of the course on the Queen K and the Energy (energy sucking) lab.

I was also very lucky to have coach Jorge with me on the bike the entire time so that I could practice my fueling and didn’t have to carry a suitcase of water bottles with me. He also had Coke! Can you say jet-fuel? I do run my Ironman marathons solely on PowerBar gels, Coke and Water. Gatorade just doesn’t sit well in my tummy.

Alii Drive cruisin' 

I was cruising and kept the pace super consistent even though I knew I was definitely getting hot, hot, hot. Jorge had coke but he didn’t have ice (I need to some research so I can make him carry a portable ice machine – I wonder if something like that actually exists) so cooling off wasn’t easy. Once up on the Queen K is usually when it gets real and it did just that! 

I guess I just didn’t realize just how uphill the first part of the run on the Queen K is. Sure there is the famous Palani climb but after that – the road just keeps going up and up and up. Nothing steep, but just long and gradual. I am talking maybe miles 11 through 17 on race day. Somehow riding that section from top of Palani to the Energy Lab on my bike doesn’t seem that hilly but on foot is different. You would think I would know this after having done this race 3x already, but I guess I am somewhat oblivious at that point in a race to really remember. I will remember now. 

Look look, I have both feet of the ground ;) 

Momentarily taking a break from the Queen K, I hit the energy lab around mile 10.5 – come race day it comes at mile 17, and I went 1.5 miles in and then back out. It sure lived up to its name today. Going in it was nice and windy and I felt great only to turn around and have ALL the wind & air disappear completely! How is that possible? ha

Thankfully I have no photos of me from the energy lab, because Jorge wasn't allowed. You are not allowed into the energy lab on a bike (only by foot or in a car) so he had to wait for me at the entrance. I really wanted to steal his bike when I got back out and trade places! No such luck.

Time to bring it home – it should be all downhill right? Errrrr – somehow you always tend to feel the gradual climbing rather than descending. I really wasn’t feeling so hot anymore mostly because even though I drank and drank and drank, I was definitely overheated and probably dehydrated (I am a sweat machine), and I had a splitting headache. My legs were feeling fairly strong, but that headache was awful. I somehow willed my way back home using every trick I could, and although I let the pace slip a little bit it that  really wasn't much considering how I felt. Even my damn feet were cramping which really didn’t make my favorite descend (Palani Rd.) enjoyable at all! Thankfully with about a mile left Jorge showed up with cooooooold water and I was able to really cool of so I could bring it home strong (er). 

In the end – I call this “heat acclimatization” by fire! I probably should have waited couple more days for this workout BUT that would be too close to race day so it was what it was. I now know literally every inch of that run course and will use that to my advantage come race day!

As soon as I got home, I downed one of these bad boys to jump start recovery.

Just 8ish oz of milk (I use coconut milk) with 20g of whey protein (chocolate flavored of course). You can also make an actual smoothie but this is FAST and perfect if you will eat a regular meal soon thereafter. 

I had yummy dinner not too long after! Unfortunately I was too hungry and ate it all before I thought about taking a photo but it was again a great balanced dinner consisting of steak tips on the grill marinated in a Hawaiian teriyaki sauce (YUM!), with a side of potatoes (lots of potatoes – I am Czech afterall and we do love us some potatoes), and asparagus!

I also had an apple, and one of these super good Protein Plus Coconut Macadamia balls for post dinner snack, and banana and another protein shake right before bed. I really find it not only jump starts recovery when consumed within that post training 20 min window, but it also facilitates overnight recovery and prevents the middle of the night munchies.

And there you have it. With such a big training day behind me, I hope to get even more sleep and get another few steps closer to Island time! I wonder what Day 3 will bring :) 

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