Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Packing for a Half-Ironman

My biggest dilemma for this Saturday's Oceanside 70.3 is what I'm going to pack. I'll admit it - No matter where I go, I overpack. Why would I want to be in a position where I'm unprepared? In my mind, I envision being in each moment during the race, and I pack accordingly. This is what I'm bringing with me this weekend:


  • Headlamp - It's gonna be dark
  • Tri Top, shorts, and flip flops. I'll be wearing these to the race, but I have to remember to pack them before I leave for Oside!
  • Garmin Forerunner 920xt
  • Heart Rate Monitor (I Forgot this at my last 70.3 and wanted to cry)
  • Garmin Vivosmart HR (yes, I want to bring both Garmins - they serve different purposes outside of the nasty tans I'll get)
  • Chamois butter? I don't use this but it seems like everyone else does. 

Transition Area

    • Bike Pump - they're asking us to drop off our bikes the day before
    • Towel to lay on ground
    Nutrition for Swim:
    • I usually pack a coconut water to drink before my race. I sip this and do most of my hydrating the night before. 
    • Some sort of fruit - I'll eat this as I walk in to drop off my stuff. Usually an Apple or a nectarine. 
    • Peanut Butter and Jelly - this is breakfast at 3am. 
    • Nuun Tabs. These things are magic in my water. 


    • Sunblock
    • Wetsuit
    • Tri-Glide
    • Goggles
    • Swim Cap from Ironman
    • Towel
    • Chapstick - I swear by Carmex
    • Water Bottle to clean off feet
    • I eat a Clif Bar and down a salt tab before I leave. 
    • I will drink water because swimming makes me thirsty. If I have enough coconut water from before I'll usually sip some of this because it hydrates me more than water does. 
    • Sunblock. Lots of spraying sunblock. 


    • My bike. I should definitely bring my bike. 
    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses
    • Shoes
    • Race belt
    • Race Number Bib
    • Bike Shoes
    • Bike Socks
    • Riding Cap
    • Gloves
    • Water Bottle for Electrolytes
    • Disposable Water Bottle to trade volunteers with
    • Chapstick - I swear by Carmex
    • Jersey, loaded with my nutrition in the back
      • Clif Bar 
      • Honey Stinger Waffles (2)
      • Honey Stinger Chews
      • Jelly Belly Sport Beans
      • Extra Nuun Tabs
      • Electrolytes - SaltStick Tabs, Hammer Endurolytes to take - usually one per hour on the ride. 
      • The goal is to consume about 250 calories every hour I'm on the bike. 
    • I will probably eat some Honey Stinger chews and drink a bit of water here. No real prep because there will be aid stops on the run. 
    • Sunblock
    • Double check for race belt
    • Switch to running shoes
    • Grab my hat!


    • Hat
    • Sunglasses
    • More sunblock
    • Running Shoes
    • Running Socks
    • Chapstick - I swear by Carmex


    • Compression Socks
    • Shirt to change into

    See? I did it again! I overpacked. But I'm going to be so full and so prepared. I'm really excited! Thoughts? AM I MISSING ANYTHING?!

    Sunday, March 6, 2016

    Listen to Your Body

    Everyone I know tells me that I'm impulsive. 100-mile bike ride? Sure. Marathon without training? Sure. Swim 2 miles on a Friday? Sure.

    Normally I'm okay after all this stuff. A little soreness never hurt anyone. But a little less than 2 years ago, about... Two days after I signed up for my first triathlon, soreness was the least of my worries.

    David, Henry, and I went for my first bike ride EVER. My excitement compounded with my nervousness led to anxiety, which triggered a panic attack, and ultimately gave me an asthma attack. My heart felt like it wanted to rip itself out of my chest.

    A trip to urgent care ended up with me having to be taken to the hospital crying of chest pains. Despite multiple tests, x-rays, and EKGs, doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong. When I followed up with my primary care physician a few days later, they prescribed me an inhaler and to be a little more careful.

    Here's the thing: I know I stress my body out a lot. I don't rest enough between double workouts, and sometimes when I work out, I'll double up the workout just to see if I can do it. My body usually cooperates and will react with soreness, but you can imagine my surprise when three weeks ago, my chest began hurting again.

    At first, it was a dull gnawing pain. Last week, it felt like my lungs were filling past capacity and pressing against my chest. The other day, during my swim, I was taking in a breath between strokes and felt like someone stuck a needle into my heart.

    Every time, the pain would last 10 minutes at most and then I'd forget about it. Still, these are signs I need to pay attention to. Your body doesn't complain if it's OK. It tells you you need to listen.

    This morning I woke up at 4:30 to get ready for the LA Tri Series triathlon, but a sharp chest pain led me to drive myself to urgent care instead. I'm irritated because I know something is wrong with my body, but to doctor chalked it up to "getting older and creakier."


    He sent me off without diagnosing anything. But really, unless I'm having a heart attack, he says it's muscle soreness. I don't believe him.

    What do you do when you're in my position? Seek out another doctor? Am I just a hypochondriac?

    Sigh. Trying to listen to my body here, y'all. Bueller?