Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Training Weekend Part 2- Run Course

We got a taste of the Ironman Mont Tremblant run course on day 2 of our training weekend. Overall it is a great course that is going to be a lot of fun to run.

There are some hills, but nothing too major. The run starts out of the transition area in the pedestrian village and you run on sidewalks and bike paths to the old village of Mont Tremblant. The section out to the old village is 3 miles and has some hills. Some people might be really feeling these hills on the second loop.
Like on the bike course, there are signs along the run course with arrows, so it is fairly easy to follow them if you go up early to train on the course.
Once you get to the Old Village, you run on a packed sand path. It is a 6 mile out and back (3 miles each way) in one direction and 1 mile out and back (1/2 mile each way) in another direction. This part of the course was along a stream and was very flat. I really liked the packed sand- it was soft on the legs, but not too soft like loose sand. Everyone I was training with really liked it, but I chatted with some other people training for the Ironman in my hotel lobby later that day. They said that they didn't like the packed sand and thought it was hard to transition from pavement to the sand then back to the pavement. I didn't feel like this was the case at all.

The run course is somewhat shaded, which will be nice for those who will be running during the day. 
The run is a two loop course, so it will be nice to run through the crowds and spectators of the pedestrian village and transition area. I can only imagine that the out and back on the run path is going to be rather quiet with very few spectators. 

After Sunday's training session, Joe and I blended up some recovery smoothies. Yes, I did travel with my Vitamix.

Makes 1 Cherry Cacao Recovery Smoothie:
Measurements are approximate and can be changed based on taste. I never measure- I just throw everything in.
- 1 banana
-2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
- 1 tsp maca
-1/2 cup frozen cherries
-1/4 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup black cherry juice
-1/2 cup ice
-1/4 cup water or non-dairy milk (adjust depending on desired thickness)
-dash of sea salt
-dash of tumeric (this is optional-for anti-inflammatory properties)

Blend and Enjoy!

If you have anymore questions regarding the run course, please post below!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Training Weekend Part 1- Bike Course

Joe and I headed up to Mont Tremblant for a training weekend on Friday afternoon. The car ride took just about 6.5 hours. It only took about 5 minutes to get through Customs. There was a line of only 2 cars ahead of us. I saw different reports on what food we could bring across the border especially regarding fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, but all food is allowed (with limits far greater than I could ever exceed). We packed a cooler filled with our food for the weekend.
Waiting in line at Customs
Eating food I had packed
Saturday morning we met Ted, Pattie, Della, Mark, Lynn, Jen, Jimmy, Jimmy's wife Lisa, to ride the bike course.

I was excited to see what this course was like, how it compared to the Ironman Lake Placid course. People have been posting reports on slowtwitch and various forums and a lot of people were reporting a HILLY course. I had read a couple of reports, but I really haven't been paying too much attention to what people have been saying. In a nut shell,  let me say that I really love this course. It is not as bad as I was expecting at all. The hills are extremely manageable. I was in aero position for most of the course- and that is very atypical for me. It is not technical at all with very few turns. There are small signs with the M-Dot icon along the course with arrows as to which way to go, but not enough to solely follow these signs. It was good that Ted had printed out cue sheets for the few turns we did need to make.  Very little bike handling skills are needed, which is good for us triathletes- well at least me! The consensus among the group was that this course is easier than the Lake Placid bike course.
Bike Course Map
There course is essentially broken up into two out and backs. You start off going north on Route 117. This is a two lane highway with a shoulder large enough to ride 2 abreast. 

Parts of the road were just freshly paved, and they are actively working on finishing the rest. I would imagine they are aiming to have this all done by the 70.3 at the end of June. The road will be closed during the race. 

Route 117 has some gradual rolling hills. There is nothing very steep and you can really get into a rhythm. I felt very comfortable riding this road. The speed limit is 90km (about 57 mph), so the cars flying by were a bit nerve racking at certain sections. By race day, when all the paving is done, this part of the course is going to be great.
You go back past the transition area (which is currently a dirt/gravel parking lot). They are working on this right now as well. This aspect will make it very spectator friendly since friends and family will be able to see riders 4 times on the bike course.
The second out and back is completely different. It is on just a regular road. It is very nicely paved and smooth. The climbs are steeper, but they are shorter, and there is nothing too hard.  I was up out of my saddle more on this out and back than I was on 117. There road has some more twists and turns than 117, but nothing crazy.

My Garmin reported 5148 ft of climbing. All in all it is a great course.

We are staying at the Marriott Residences Inn, which is right in the middle of the action. It is right near the finish line and transition area. Race week, we have a condo, but this hotel was a perfect choice for the weekend. We have a full kitchen and a sitting area with a lot of space. When we checked in the receptionist told us that bikes weren't allowed in the room, but when she realized we were training for the Ironman she said "Oh they must be expensive. For Ironman athletes, you are allowed to bring in the bikes." She gave us old sheets for us to keep our bikes on in the room. We had a dinner inspired from Allen Lim and Chef Biju's book "The Feed Zone". It was quick, easy and great for after a long training day. I didn't have the energy to even look at the recipe and measure anything, so I created the meal based on the crispy chicken dish I had made before. Here is a quick recap:
Ingredients (approx measurements):
Coconut oil for cooking
1/2 cup Millet
2 Organic Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup raisins
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper
1 onion
 4 cloves garlic
3 stalks Kale (any kind is fine, though I used red)
1/2- 1 cup Cilantro
Sea Salt to taste
Cumin to taste

Dinner sides:
1 sweet potato
Dressing (Olive oil, Sea salt, Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon)

I brought my rice cooker and made millet:
I roasted 2 chicken breasts for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. I also put in a sweet potato in the oven as well. While everything was in the oven, I chopped 4 cloves of garlic, one onion, 1 hot (ish) pepper (Joe was supposed to get a jalapeno, but supposedly Whole Foods was out of them. I can't even tell you what kind of pepper he got- but it worked!!). I cooked in pan for about 5 minutes. I then added about 1/2 cup of raisins (two handfuls) and added some red kale because I like to add kale to everything! I added 3 stalks of kale, shredded and ripped off the stems. I stirred in some salt, pepper and about 2 tsp of cumin. Season based on your taste.

Once the chicken was done, I shredded the chicken and added it to the pan with the kale, onions, garlic, peppers and raisins.
I cooked for about 5 minutes, then stirred in some cilantro (about a 1/2 cup- one large handful).
I placed the cooked millet on a plate and topped it with the chicken mixture.
To complete the dinner, we split the sweet potato and salad. I made a simple arugula salad and topped it with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.
It was a delicious post training day dinner. Now we are ready for another training day. I'm excited to get a better look at the run course. I will post a run course report after today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Team NRG Bar: Reach the Beach MA Recap

Wait, so you are going to run a 200 mile relay race, sleep in a van, eat in a van, change your clothes in a van, run through the night and not shower? And this is what you call Fun?!
To runners in New England, it doesn't seem too odd since the Reach the Beach relay has been around for years. However, to many others, it seems a bit ludicrous. Ok, I exaggerated a bit- I didn't sleep in the van, I slept on a tennis court, oh and I slept on wet grass... and we all took baby wipe showers- that counts as a shower, doesn't it?
I was excited to be running with Team NRG Bar again- a great group of fast runners and fun people! 

A few of us started our Reach the Beach journey by riding from our houses out to the start at Wachusett Mountain. 

After a great ride with some great climbing to the summit, I recharged with a recovery drink and we loaded the bikes on the NRG Bar Land Rover. We were ready to spend the next 26 hours relay running 200 miles from Wachusett Mountain to Horseneck Beach.

The teams all had staggered starts. We were in the 12:30 pm wave. I was in Van 2 and runner #12, meaning I would run the last leg of each section. We all ran 3 legs of the race, but our total mileage was all slightly different. My three legs totaled just under 17 miles. Which doesn't seem too bad, but when you are running race pace, it fatigues the legs more than you would think.  I started my first leg just after 8 pm. The section was 6.1 miles. I was antsy to run after sitting around all afternoon and was pleased with how strong and good I felt. When I finished, it was Van 1's turn to take over the running. We went to the Van Transition area where we were going to meet them to take over. Some of us stayed in and slept in the van and some of us pulled out the sleeping bags and slept for about an hour and a half on wet grass. At 12:30 am, it was our time to run again. It is a bit surreal to be running in the wee hours of the morning, however it is not as difficult as I initially expected. It is rather serene and spiritual to be running in solitude in the dark, nothing quite like it.  I had my second leg at about 4 am. I did need a little caffeine kick, so I sipped on some green iced tea that I had packed. 

In addition to the green tea, I had packed some other goodies to keep me fueled and strong while on the quest of reaching the beach. Some of my snacks included apple sauce. I mixed in some chia seeds for some an extra nutritional punch: 
Banana chips I had dehydrated in my dehydrator:
                            Roasted purple potatoes with salt, pepper and herbs de provence:

 Roasted sweet potatoes, celery sticks and sunflower seed butter, and homemade "trail mix" of cacao nibs, dried cherries and goji berries were among the other things in my cooler. 

We had a bit of a transition SNAFU before I started my second leg. After Ian had worked so hard and ran his butt off to have a fast leg, I wasn't there when he arrived to hand off the baton. I was walking down and heard volunteers calling my name. I dropped my sweatshirt and started sprinting. We had had a bit of a time calculation miss.  I grabbed the baton from him and took off. And I took off the wrong way. Ooops. I realized the dirt path I was running down, wasn't the proper trail. In my haste to make up for lost time, I missed the sign with the arrow. I quickly turned around, found the trail and proceeded to run my little tail off to make up for lost time. It was a nice trail in a state park (it is all a blur, I couldn't even tell you what town I was in), but the trail was packed dirt rather than jagged roots and so it was easy to run through the night with a headlamp as my guiding light. I arrived at the next transition area realizing the same thing that had just happened was repeating itself... Charlene wasn't there. It was only about a minute later when I saw her fast little legs sprinting to take the baton, and she was gone in a flash.

 We went to the next transition area where we were meeting Van 1 for our final leg in about 3 hours. It was 5 am and the sun was coming up, but a couple of us spread out our sleeping bags on a tennis court and I got a couple of hours of surprisingly great sleep. At around 9:45 am, our van took over to run our last legs. Everyone was running strong. The temperature was rising and the sun was beating down on us and our fatigued bodies, but our paces slowed down very minimally. I wasn't feeling great going into my last leg and knew I needed to dig deep to finish strong. The second part of my run was a gorgeous run along the water. As I got closer to the beach, there were trailers lining the road where I was running. My mind envisioned that I was running the Ironman Mont Tremblant course and the trailers were really flags and banners along the finishing chute... haha my imagination was definitely going wild as I was digging deep to keep the pace up and to keep on picking off teams. There was one guy pretty far ahead that I was slowing reeling in. About a mile out from the finish, people were cheering me on to pass him and shouting things like "Road kill ahead! Go catch him!".I wasn't going to let him get away, so I picked up the pace. The whole team was waiting at the finish and we were able to pass him and run across the finish line together. 

Team NRG Bar ended up winning our division and getting 14th/175 teams. 

A huge thanks to Dan O'Rourke and NRG Bar for sponsoring such a great team. Thank you to Charlene Nassa, our fearless captain. It takes a lot of work to organize all of this and even more work to keep all of us in line!  And thank you to Jo, Tracey, Chad, Mark, Gregg, Kyle, Ardria, Jen and Ian for the fun, hard work, laughter and good times. To Jo and Jen for letting us trash your Mini Vans and to Timmy Glickman for taking great care of our bikes!

Don't forget to stock up on some healthy, delicious "Naturally Really Good" NRG Bars. They are great to fuel your workout or as a snack. Check out where you can find them at a store near you using the store locator. Follow NRG Bar on Facebook and on Twitter @NRGbar