Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Garmin Vector Pedals

So I took the plunge and invested in a power meter for my bike.  And, when I say investment, I really mean it.  They are not cheap.  I was able to find a decent deal online for the Garmin Vector pedals at $1500.  See what I mean?  An 'investment'...

This post is kind of a review, but also a 'lessons learned' about the Garmin Vector.  My reasoning for buying the Vector was because it was just as much as the crank set power meters, but I could move them around if I wanted.  I had contemplated the Stages power meter (PM), was actually really close to buying them, but then decided that 1) I just bought a new crankset and I didn't want to pay extra to replace one of the cranks and 2) it would be harder to sell if/when I decided to sell them.  This is because with the Stages, you have to pick the right crank, or buy the whole crankset which makes it almost as much as the Vectors or any other power meter.  So, if I just bought the one crank, in order to sell it I would have to find someone that needed that specific brand crank and size.  If this is confusing, you can check out the purchasing options of Stages here.

On to after the purchase.  I got my pedals on Tuesday and was super excited until I spent 2 hours trying to get my old pedals off.  They were on so tight neither Daniel nor I could get them off.  I was sweaty and aggravated and wanted to throw my bike across the room.

I didn't though.  On Wednesday I took my bike to the closest bike shop around me first thing when they opened, smiled big, and asked them to please help me take off my old pedals and put on the new ones.  They did.  All was good in the world again to me.  That is, until I got home and realized that I am an idiot.  I put my bike in my car, laying it down on one side  Well, it put so much pressure on the pod that it snapped!  I didn't notice when I first put my bike in my car, but as soon as I pulled it out, I knew exactly what I did.

Here's a picture of what the pod is (not broken, not on my bike):

My next course of action was to super glue it.  Which worked, but I had to apply about 5 coats and wait about 4 hours.  I put one end of the tape on the back of the pod and the other end on the pedal to hold the pod in place so the glue could dry.  It lasted through a 75 min indoor trainer session Wednesday night and about 1.5 hours of a close to 2 hr ride on Saturday.  On Wednesday I did two other things.  1) emailed Garmin, told them my story, and asked them if they would send me a free or discounted pod this one time.  They emailed me back on Sunday (yeah, 4 days later) and said they would this one time send me a free pod replacement.  Minor points deduction for the delayed response (this is only because they do say the will get back to you in about 2 or 3 days) but major points added for sending me a replacement pod.  2) I ordered a pod online that I could get in a few days.  I ended up getting the one I ordered online on Saturday.

After a little lounging around I got to work putting on the new pod.  Here is where the 'lessons learned' starts to really kick in.
Lesson 1) You really have to put a lot of elbow grease (weight) into getting the pedals off.  I was getting sweaty again and on the verge of tears.  I was literally standing on the wrench and pushing down with my foot.  

After about 20 minutes of trying to get the pedal off it finally budged and I was stupid happy.

Lesson 2) When removing or installing pedals, think of removing the pedals as requiring you to loosen the pedals by turning in the same direction as pedaling backward.  And, to tighten go the same direction as pedaling forward.  All of the videos and tutorials that I watched and read online kept saying that you need to turn the pedals clockwise on the non-drive chain side (side without the chain) and turn it counter-clockwise on the drive chain side.  For me, this was kind of confusing.  I know what clockwise and counter-clockwise are.  For whatever reason, it would just get mixed up in my head.  Then I watched one video that mentioned the pedals are self-tightening, so when you pedal they automatically tighten some.  Which is why the pedals can get on so tight (Lesson #3 here).  And, why for me it seems more logical to think of it as tightening is the same way as pedaling forward and loosening is the same way as pedaling backward.

Lesson 4) Power meters don't like to talk to your Garmin 910xt or any other wrist GPS device when it's on your wrist, especially when you're outside.  When I was riding indoor on Wednesday, I was getting pretty steady data.  I didn't really know what to expect, so I thought getting a couple of 2 or 3 second drops a minute was ok.  I went for an outdoor ride on Saturday and got hardly any readings at all.  I figured it was because the broken pod that was super glued just wasn't working right.  But, Saturday I put on the new pod, re-calibrated and rode on Sunday.  Sunday I got about 10 minutes worth of power data out of an hour ride.  Can you feel my frustration at this point?  I went online and scoured the internet forums for something, anything, that would help me.  I finally came across a forum where it was an actual Garmin support staff answering the questions.  Someone had the same problem as me and it turns out that when you wear the watch on your wrist, the signal can't reach the watch as well as if it were in the middle of the handlebars.  It semi-works indoors because the signal can bounce off the walls and then eventually hit the Garmin (hence why I was some worthwhile readings on Wednesday night).      

So, after all of this, I will try one more ride indoor and one outdoor using the power meter tomorrow and Thursday with my watch on the bike in between my bars.  Not sure where I'm going to put it, but I'll try to finagle something and will post my outcome.  Wish me luck!          

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On My Mind Update

I posted a lot in 'On My Mind', so thought I should give an update on it all.

1) Isagenix - I deem the 9 day cleanse successful.  It's been over a month and I have been able to keep 5 of the 9 pounds that I lost off.  I will take on the 'Race to Maintenance' at the beginning of August to get ready for Augusta and IMFL.  My reason for waiting until August is to train heavy and race light.  'Race to Maintenance' is 5 days of Shake Days with 1 to 2 normal meals and snacks throughout the day, then 2 Cleansing Days.  Repeat until you reach the desired weight.

2) Harbour Island Athletic Club - I think I am going to stick with this club.  Everyone really is super nice and I haven't missed any of my swims in the last 2 months.  This is because I can't use the excuse 'I don't have enough time'.  Because really, 99% of my swim workouts are only about an hour.  Meaning, I can leave my house and be back in 1.5 hours.  It's hard to talk myself out of swimming when I know it will only take me 7 minutes to make it to the pool.

3) Strength Training - I have been sticking to my strength training regimen of at least 2 days plus the one day of strength training with Jon.  Some weeks this makes my legs or arms dead for the tri training stuff, i.e. swim, bike, run, but I just try to push through my workouts and give all that I can.  No rest for the weary, or wicked ;).  I have also been sticking to my plan of not eating carbs at night unless I have a big training day or race the next day and not eating before a workout if the workout is less than 90 minutes.  I think both of these have contributed to me keeping off those extra pounds.

4) Races -

  • HITS went pretty good.  I finished 5th female overall, 1st in my a/g.  Definitely glad that I dropped down to the Olympic distance.

Swim - 27:17
Bike - 1:15:26
Run - 44:44
Total time - 2:30:16
My bike could have been better, but there was quite a bit of wind.  Everyone was talking about it after the race so I was glad it wasn't just me being a wimp.  My run was awesome though.  The time off and dropping to the Olympic distance was a good idea.  I didn't have any issues with my Achilles.  This is the first time I've participated in a HITS race.  I enjoyed it.  The venue was good; setup and coordination were good also.  I would do this race again and recommend it to others.  

  • You can check out the recap for Haines City 70.3 here.
  • Hurricane Man was cancelled because of weather.  I ended up doing 80 laps in the pool (booooo!  Soooo boring!)  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Haines City 2014 Race Recap

This race turned out good so I feel obligated to write a recap.  If for nothing else, to help remember what I did pre- and during- race time.

Tuesday 04/08/14
75' Spin, 45' ROB (run off the bike).  I asked the class if they would stay for 75' because that's what I had on my training plan and they agreed.  It was nice to have the company AND not have to change my training.  For the run,  I was supposed to find a hill, but there is no such thing around where I live.  I got on the treadmill and tried to mimic the first two of the three loops of the race run course.  This was the workout:
.3 mile @ 0 incline, easy pace
1 mile @ 5 incline, 9:27 pace
.25 mile @ 0 incline, 8:00 pace
.25 mile @ 3 incline, 8:00 pace
2.7 mile @ 0 incline, 7:47 pace
1 mile @ 5 incline, 9:27 pace
.25 mile @ 0 incline, 8:00 pace
.25 mile @ 3 incline, 8:00 pace
.55 mile @ 0 incline, 7:30 pace
Run time - 56'
Run distance - 6.55 miles

Wednesday 04/09/14
100's to failure swim, 30' easy run, and 30' strength training.  This is the last day that I did any strength training and it was mostly body weight stuff and some abs.  On the run, I tried to do 30' of the same workout from the previous day but with a little more warm up and cool down.
Swim distance - 3000m.  I did 18 - 100's between 1:34 and 1:37
Run distance 3.2 miles

Thursday 04/10/14
45' Bike, 30' ROB.  The run was supposed to be a progressive run, getting faster for mile 3 and 4.
Bike distance - 18.1 miles
Run distance - 4 miles

Friday 04/11/14
I did not workout at all on Friday.  I did, however, have 4 glasses of wine, coal fired oven wings, and half a pie of pizza from Cristino's in Ybor for dinner.  That place is soooo good!
This is the day that I started drinking 8 oz. of beet juice... 3 days of beet juice, up to and including race day.  I drank it before I started drinking.

Saturday 04/12/14
I did a short 10 min. swim to test out a wetsuit I was borrowing since I have a nice hole in the crotch of mine.  Suit worked out nicely.  When I was done, I put on my running shoes and did a 2 mile test run of the course.  Mostly to tackle the awful hill that is at the beginning of every loop to get a feel for it.
I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Ezekiel bread for breakfast.  I didn't eat again until 5:00.  I grabbed some sushi from Publix and a yo-yo cookie.  I've always had some sort of sweet the night before a race or even the morning of.  I used to eat mini powdered donuts before races.  But, now I just stick to the night before.  I ate the sushi around 5:00 and held off eating half the cookie until 6:30.  I save the other half for after the race.  Throughout the day I was sipping on a 24 oz bottle of Gatorade.  2nd day of beet juice.  I was in bed by 8:00

Race Day! Sunday 04/13/14
I set my alarm for 4:10 AM.  That gave me 30' to get ready.  My plan was to eat at 4:30 (2 hours and 48 minutes before my wave) and be out the door by 4:45.  I actually was done by 4:40, but didn't pull out until about 4:50.
Bagel from Publix with whipped peanut butter and banana slices.  Last 8 oz of beet juice.  Monster vanilla light coffee drink.  I drank half of this and then threw it out.  I didn't want it to upset my stomach, but I wanted the calories, nutrients, and of course caffeine!
I got to the race site around 5:10, 5 minutes to park, and was in transition by 5:45.  Sarah and Shirah turned out to be racked right next to me.  So, I chatted with them for a bit while I was setting up my area.  I thought my back tire was a little low, so I borrowed someone's pump and filled it up.  The transition isn't the best.  It's U shaped and slightly uphill.  I was at the bottom of the U.  So, it made it easy to find my bike at least.  They had water in the transition area for you to fill up your bike and there was also a bike mechanic around to help with pumping up tires or checking out other quirks.  After I left transition, I walked to meet the rest of the TRIBAL and Mad Dog groups.  Kelly was nice enough to watch my transition bag so I didn't have to take it all the way back to my car.  I went to the bathroom shortly after meeting up with them and that was the only time I had to go.  I didn't have any stomach issues or have to pee the entire race.  I did get a little nervous pee in the beginning but I was able to take care of that in the water (ewww.  LOL).  30 minutes before the swim, I took a gel.
My outfit - LG tri top, SOAS tri shorts (LOVE THESE SHORTS!!!), nike pro compression sports bra  

Let's get to the good stuff:

Swim course:
This swim is a little weird.  It's in the shape of an M, so there are a lot of turns and you need to do a lot of sighting.  I think this was the first year ever that wet suits were allowed because they moved the race up a month and so it was still cool enough for suits.  Not freezing though, which was nice.  When you get in and out of the water, it's very mushy and grassy.  Feels really gross under your feet.  There are also patches of deep holes (for me at least) that require you to keep swimming when you think you should be close enough to shore to walk.  
I used a borrowed Xterra sleeveless wetsuit, used my Tyr Special Ops goggles, and remembered to use my Tyr ear plugs.  Those things are amazing!
I recently read some article on tips for mastering the swim.  I took away a few pointers and tried them out on this race.
1) warm up beforehand.  To do this, I ran back and forth in the sand about 5 times to get my legs loose and air and blood pumping through me.  Once I was in the water, I dunked under a few times and swam side to side and out and back (wherever I could find room).
2) position yourself on the outside, furthest from the first turn buoy.  This is to avoid getting caught in the 'windmill' where arms and legs are just flailing everywhere.  I started in the front on the far left.
3) don't stop swimming.  Even if you grab someone, just keep swimming.  I am really bad about this.  As soon as I see bubbles in front of my I think feet around are going to start kicking right in front of me and I will stop.  Every time I accidently grab someone's leg or foot, I stop and see what's around me.  This time, I just keep swimming.  Except for one time when I pulled some guys arm down.  I stopped to say I was sorry.
In the end, I was happy with all these points.  I will continue to execute them and hopefully it will work in IMFL.
I should mention that the swim coach at Harbour Island Athletic Club also gave me a couple of pointers on my swimming style that I thinking helped me.
1) open up more.  Meaning, don't swim sense tense with everything so close together.  Reach my arms out as far as I can
2) follow through on the stroke.  Instead of cutting the stroke short when pulling it out of the water, follow through.  I like this better than short strokes anyway.  I am not a sprinter.  To me, short strokes are for sprinters.
When I got out of the water, I started unzipping my suit and running up the sand hill.  I didn't stop or slow down.
Swim time - 35:11.  I wanted to do under 33 minutes.  Oh well.
Division rank - 6

T1 - 3:20

Bike course:
The bike course starts off with a nice little hill right when you get out of transition.  If you do this race, REMEMBER to set your gears to easy.  After you get pass the first .5 mile, it's relatively flat and fast until mile 27 in which the climbs start.  They end around mile 42.  The wind wasn't too bad this year.  There are 3 stations, one about every 15 miles stocked with water, Perform, bananas, and gels.  Probably some other stuff, but that's what I remember.
I put on sunglasses that were driving me bonkers in the beginning because they wouldn't sit right with my helmet.  I almost threw them on the ground and said forget it, but I just bought them and didn't want to look for or pay for another pair.  I used my Lazer Tardiz aero helmet, a pair of Wigwam socks, and LG Tri-Lite bike shoes.  For my nutrition, I had 2 scoops of Infinit and 1 squirt of MiO Energy in a bottle on my back holder and water in my Profile Design bullet water bottle that sits between my handle bars.  I also had 2 gels in my bento box.  I drank the Infinit mix about every 15 minutes and took the gels at mile 25 and 50.
I didn't even make it a half mile before I saw that I had a flat tire.  I used the same wheels that I used at Des Moines and the same thing happened.  I pumped my back tire up in the morning, and by the time I got on the bike, it was flat.  I was pissed, but glad I brought Pit Stop this time.  I was back on the road in less than 2 minutes, but was praying the whole time that my tire would hold up.  Thankfully it did.  I have to say that tubular tires are kind of a pain and are expensive to replace the tire.  But, fixing that flat in 2 minutes was awesome.  
Bike time - 2:39:19.  My goal was 2:40:00.  So, I did pretty good considering I had to give up 2 minutes to fix the flat.
Division rank - 8

T2 - 1:58

Run course:
The run course is hard.  It's 3 loops, with each loop starting off with a .8 mile ascent.  There is very little shade.  There are aid stations about every mile with ice, water, Perform, gels, pretzels, oranges, bananas, and coke.
I took 3 gels with me on the run.  I put them in my shirt pockets at the beginning of the race.  So, when I got to T2, I just needed to slide on my run shoes and grab my race belt and visor.  Shoes I wore were KSwiss Kwicky QT2 (LOVE THESE SHOES), race belt was Fuel Belt with just the bib holder, and the visor was my usual black Nike visor.  My plan was to take a gel at mile 3, 6.5, and 10.  It ended up being 3, 6, and 9.  I had a couple of oranges on the course, a couple cups of Perform, lots of water, and 1 cup of coke at the very beginning.  These were my thoughts:

  • "Run Happy... with good form".  
  • "Who am I?  I am a Champion!"  - I got this from a motivational video I watched on YouTube about a week before the race.  It was simple and easy enough to remember but tough enough to keep me pushing myself

  I didn't stop running except for through one aid station on the last loop.  I tried not to look at my watch and just run.  Not worrying about how fast or slow I was going.
Run time - 1:48:15.  My goal was 1:45.  But, I am not upset with a 3 minute difference.
Division rank - 5

Overall time - 5:08:03
Division place - 5

I missed the World Championship slot by 11 seconds.  There were two slots available.  1st and 2nd didn't take the slots so it rolled down. 3rd and 4th place took the slots.  And, I missed 4th place by 11 seconds.  I try to think about all the ways I could have made up 11 seconds.  Not having a flat tire is #1.  Not stopping at the aid station, paying more attention to my pace on the run, not stopping to fix the timing chip that was digging into my ankle...  Woulda, shoulda, coulda.  I didn't go into this race trying to qualify for World's.  I just wanted to beat my time from last year.  Which I did by 14 minutes.  I like racing.  Not stressing about how I'm going to afford racing.  So, it's probably better that I didn't get it.  The World Championship for 70.3 this year is in Mont-Tremblanc, Canada.  I could probably do 2 or 3 other Half or Full races for the price tag that it would cost me to race in Canada.  At least at the Hy-Vee 5150 Championship, if you place high enough you win money.