Monthly Archives: January 2011

Four Habits of Successful Triathletes

I found this an interesting article from Endurance Corner..

I’ve lifted basically the whole article, but will send you a link over to their library. Endurance athletes=triathletes=ultra runners, it’s all the same.

Four Habits of Successful Triathletes by Sue Aquila

Anyone that spends a lot of time in the kitchen knows that there are three types of cooking: using a recipe, using a formula or winging it. A recipe is perfect for repeating a dish in terms of flavor and consistency. A formula is necessary for anything involving a chemical reaction such as baking. Formula’s are much less forgiving than recipes and frequent tinkering often results in a baking disaster. Winging it is fun and leads to often terrific dishes that the chef is never able to replicate.

I know triathletes and business owners that generally fall into the three cooking categories. Many successful ones tend to fall into the recipe method. The truly outstanding ones seem to subscribe to the formula method.

The most common formula of people that repeatably have great triathlon seasons:

  • Consistency. These people know how to work and train. Their friends often think they are boring. They do the work every day in every area of their life. They are predictable and steady. They don’t think about whether or not they have time to train today. They make the time and have pride in getting it done.
  • Strategy. These people have a plan and they work the plan. They may hire consultants/coaches to help them build the plan. They make sure the plan has goals, tests, and they review it frequently. These triathletes prepare to train. They don’t just read the goals for the days workouts but they search their database for their previous performance of a similar workout. They know what their zones are and they hit them. They compare testing results and track progress. These triathletes are always benchmarking where they are and where they are going.
  • Efficiency. These people have a lot going on in their life. This often includes successful careers, partners, children, mortgages, etc. They adapt and improvise by making their life and their training as efficient as possible. They use technology to pay bills, manage their training and order nutrition. Lots of it. They understand that every minute of every day counts and each has to be used in the most efficient way possible.
  • Recovery. These people understand that out of 24 hours they will workout an average of two to three hours per day. The other 10 waking hours need to be about getting their body prepared to perform at the highest level the next day and the day after it. Food, sleep, massage are all important parts of the real work; recovering to train. A well recovered body is one that stays healthy without injury or sickness.

Notice I didn’t mention diet, how many grams their wheels weigh or their CP5. It is not that these athletes don’t care about these details but rather that they have a formula that is simple and repeatable.

I once had an opportunity to hear Pat Summitt (University of Tennessee Lady Vols Head Coach and one of the most successful basketball coaches in the nation) speak. She told the audience that she could tell them everything she practiced; from the daily drills to how to run their offense and defense. She went on to say that no one could duplicate their success. Why? No one executes like her and her team.

My key to my best season ever? Executing my four habits. Every day. No excuses, only forward motion.

Recovery Week is Over

Tomorrow, back to training.

I actually learned something after the URINEO 50 Mile FA-take a few days off and recover. I haven’t done any running since the race on Saturday. I’ve slept in and ate well, nothing outrageous, but I also didn’t count WW points.

The legs feel good, just about any residual soreness is gone. I’ve logged my food in my WW Plan, and the working out commences again in the morning.

Time to step it up. The mountains are looming.

Splits from the Race


I am nothing but consistent:

Lap 1 54:45.00 12:15/M 4.470 54:45.00

Lap 2 56:11.95 12:34/M 8.940 1:50:56.95

Lap 3 1:01:43.90 13:48/M 13.410 2:52:40.85

Lap 4 1:04:16.10 14:23/M 17.880 3:56:56.95

Lap 5 1:04:24.15 14:24/M 22.350 5:01:21.10

Lap 6 1:06:58.90 14:59/M 26.820 6:08:20.00

Lap 7 1:09:03.55 15:27/M 31.290 7:17:23.55

Lap 8 1:09:51.70 15:38/M 35.760 8:27:15.25

Lap 9 1:15:07.80 16:48/M 40.230 9:42:23.05 Interestingly enough, I believe this is where nutrition started to go downhill…

Lap 10 1:23:07.25 18:36/M 44.700 11:05:30.30

Lap 11 1:25:49.25 19:12/M 49.170 12:31:19.55

Lap 12 1:25:53.95 19:13/M 53.640 13:57:13.50

Lap 13 1:25:08.45 19:03/M 58.110 15:22:21.95

Lap 14 1:22:02.60 18:21/M 62.580 16:44:24.55

It looks like the wheels fell off around Lap 9. This was where I realized I wasn’t going to hit my 50 mile goal split. That might also been where my nutrition started to fall apart. But even in my slowing down, in Laps 11,12,13, I ran consistent.

A couple of things:
-These are all kind of just ruminations to myself. Typing it out makes me remember, then I do go back and reference these posts.
-Why on earth did I not bring my beloved Starbust Jellybeans? I’m pretty sure I could have stomached a few of those at a time, and would have gotten a little bit of sugar in me. That was dumb.
-I should have drank more sugar pop (soda for the rest of the world) earlier. In the last two loops, the pop went down just fine. Should have relied on that earlier.
-Wore my calf compression sleeves. No cramping in my left calf. But then, there was not that much elevation change either. I did eat banana portions on some loops through the AS.

My friend Steve left me a voice mail wondering about the course. I think it’s a very nice course. But for someone attempting a first ultra, or maybe a first 100K, it’s TOUGH!! Because of the loops. 14 chances to stop. That can be very tempting when a runner hits a low spot.

I was hoping for some ice skating today, but it’s 37 degrees F here, so maybe just a guilt-free recovery day of doing nothing. Or maybe a recovery walk later if it gets warmer..

Weymouth Woods 100K Race Report

This race is a 4.47 mile loop all within the Weymouth Woods Preserve in southern North Carolina. The South had just (two days before) gotten snow dumped upon them. When we arrived and drove around on Friday, I saw lots of snow and ice still on the ground. I decided to screw my shoes-good call!

This is a nice, very well organized run. Starting with the first loop, there was plenty of food-and hot food available. Over the course of the day, I had grilled cheese sandwich, quesadilla, chicken noodle soup, potato soup, and pizza-along with regular AS ultra food.
In addition to the main AS, at mile 2.5 there was also another AS, starting out as just water and Gatorade.

As the day wore on, and the temperatures dropped, Jimmie and Doug assembled a tent, provided snacks and hot coffee and hot chocolate.
The terrain is fairly easy here-although if you have run loop courses before, you know lots of multiple loops can be very weary. The first 2.5 miles is fairly technical in that it is very rooty. The back half of the course is more sand and easy. Of course, with the frozen conditions, the sand was not an issue. In fact, there ended up behind just a few muddy parts on this trail.

I set myself up some aggressive goals for this race. I wanted to see if I could get a little bit speedier. My first goal was to run a sub 11 hour (read 10:58) 50 mile split. This meant, according to this Cool Running Calculator, each loop:
4.47 miles 1:04:13
8.94 miles 2:08:25
13.41 miles 3:12:38
17.88 miles 4:16:51
22.35 miles 5:21:03
26.82 miles 6:25:16
31.29 miles 7:29:29
35.76 miles 8:33:42
40.23 miles 9:37:54
44.7 miles 10:42:07
49.17 miles 11:46:20
50 miles 11:58:15

(In fact, I think the other splits I calculated was 11.30 50 miler.) Well, it boiled down to running the loop in less than one hour.
Since the race splits aren’t posted yet, I don’t know quite where the wheels fell off. I do know I ran the first three loops in under 1 hour. I was, however, having to stop for a “bio break” on every loop. I was eating more at this race, which was planned, to get enough calories in per hour-but my body seemed to working quite well at digesting and eliminating! And I do remember this happening at Rocky Raccoon and Umstead-maybe that’s why I started eating less, so I would have to not stop for bathroom breaks as often!
I was running well. The Garmin (which, being brand new, I did not get the mile splits feature set) told me I was running 11.XX miles. And I felt good running at this. I believe I did push the pace early.
I hit my 50K split at 7 hours 15 minutes-not bad at all, considering I wasn’t racing a 50K. But then I was thinking a 14 hour finish probably was not going to happen.
I had lost my little split paper! So now I was relying on the Garmin to hold out til 50 miles.

I know I started to slow down after the 50K. I was still eating ok-starting to not eat as much. I was trying to get as much mileage in before dark. I had some potato soup that didn’t agree with me. That started the beginning of the “try and get food” in portion of the ultra. On the next loop, I had two bites of a piece of pizza-nope, that was enough of that.

As the evening wore on, I slowed enough that I didn’t make my sub 12 hour 50 mile split. Garmin said it was 12 hours 47 minutes. And I still had three more loops to go!
My husband surprised me by turning up at the race and staying until the end, so that was a pleasant surprise. I even turned him into my crew! He handed off his Zune, since the cold weather had drained my two MP3 players over the course of the afternoon. I drank some cranberry juice and took a few PB crackers with me on Loop 12. Loop 12 was just a place holder. I concentrated on not wanting to despise the loop course.
In fact, running this 100K was a good experience in dealing with a long distance ultra again. I haven’t run long since the Ring in September, and all I remember from that was sleep deprivation, rocks, and success. Here I was, not pleased with myself for not hitting my 50 mile goal. I was tired, my right adductor muscle hurt, I was hungry but nauseated, I wanted to sleep,—–PRETTY TYPICAL ULTRA EXPERIENCE!!!!!! Yes, ultras aren’t all fun-in fact, most of the longer distance ones are just like this!!!!!!
I just started breaking down the loop into little sections, easy to do when you know it so well. I got to the 1/2 way AS, now onto the finish. Then Loop 13. Good, only one to go. Loop 13 I concentrated on drinking some sugar pop and getting 3 whole PB crackers in. I know my nutrition plan has gone to shit, but I’ve got less than 8 miles to go.
I grab more sugar pop and start the last loop. I note the race clock is 15.30. I tell my husband I will be back in less than 2 hours. Now I’m trying to walk with a purpose, and run the sections that I can.
I tell Doug and Jimmie good bye and start down the trail which is very runnable here. I come across another runner with no light on. No,he’s got a light, but enjoying the moonlight. He joins me and we get through the last two miles chatting-that made the time go quickly for me. I barrel through the last .4 mile uphill to the finish-last loop in 1 hour 15 minutes, for a finish in 16 hours 45 minutes!

Two days later, I’m still a bit disappointed in my race.True, I did finish-but I planned on finishing all along. Not finishing was not an option.
I was glad I hit a good low during the race-made me remember ultras are not all fun and games.
Perpeteum Solids-I tried the Perpeteum Solids for a loop. The serving size is 3 tabs for 100 calories. So nine of these for 300 calories. That is alot of chewing. I didn’t even get 9 tabs in on a loop. I don’t believe I will be using these in long events or even re-buying.
Merino Wool Buff-I did not bring a winter hat, just a baseball cap and my Bondi bands. But the temperature dropped into the thirties and maybe more in the evening. I was glad I had my Wool Buff, which I ended up pulling up from my neck, over my head. It also helped over my mouth, because the cold air was getting to me, with my exercised induced asthma.

Still, it was 100K and 16 hours of time on my feet. I’m kind of still waiting to see the results and my splits to see where things started to change. I’m still going to work on nutrition too!

Ice Skating


I finally got out on the pond for some ice skating today. The ice was great! Most of it was just mirror smooth. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and I was happy!

It was very Zen-like. It was so nice, to glide across the pond, and contemplate the quiet hillside.

I hooked up my broken screen Garmin-long story, dropped it in driveway-screen is broke, but it still functions and downloads to the computer! Garmin reported I skated 2.78 miles in 45 minutes. I stopped when I started to feel fatigued.

I was surprisingly tired when I hiked up the hill to the house from the pond. I guess that’s what a brand new type of cross training can do to you!

Kimba’s Fat Ass


Since I have to work this weekend, I was having FOMO bad. (Fear of Missing Out). I was missing the Frozen Saquatch 50K, the Pittsburgh FA, and the Art Moore’s Cleveland FA. Then I noticed I was off, January 6, my birthday. So I decided on a FA at Mohican.

I first meant to run 45 KM, but backed off that due to a 100K race Januaary 15. I want to do well at the 100K race, so I didn’t want to overdue it with a 50K on January 1 and 27 miles on January 6.

16.3 miles was just right. Thanks Nancy, Dan, Cheryl, Chris, and Terri for sharing my birthday run with me!!!


Birthday cupcakes! Zero Calories!
Big Lyons Falls. A 12 or 14 foot stalagmite. This will be around for a few months!


Little Lyons Fall. This is the hand over hand climb up the roots.