39 Days to Go to Ironman Wisconsin!

OMG! I don’t remember these nerves last year during training.  I know I’ve been training more, and longer, this year, but I think I’m more nervous than last year!

This past weekend I had a crazy training weekend!  I went up to Madison, Wisconsin this weekend with some CTC friends Tiffany & Wei.  We participated in the Wisconsin Brick Adventure weekend, which is a great way to get up and do some race-simulation training on the course.  The weekend started on Friday with our LONG drive up to Madison, and then headed to a BBQ dinner shortly after we checked into our hotel.  Saturday morning we started out the day with a swim, and then headed out for a 106 mile bike ride!  We did the full IMWI bike course, minus the 3 miles from the Monona Terrace to our hotel near the Alliant Energy Center. Here are some highlights from the ride:

  • Getting a flat tire 7 miles into the course.  Thank you, staple.
  • Fixing that flat mostly by myself.  Thank you, cyclist guys who were helpful but very clear they didn’t know my CO2 adapter, nor my bike.
  • Keeping the ride as easy as possible the first 60-90 minutes.  I think I did pretty well.
  • Keeping well hydrated throughout the ride.  I was averaging 1.8 24-oz bottles of water or HEED throughout the ride.  GOOD-this means no dehydration!  
  • I felt strong at the end of the ride!

Afterward, I headed out for a 40 minute transition run.  While my Garmin decided to be wonky and not actually collect data, it felt OK and I think I ran at a decent pace.

We fueled up that evening with burgers and the best tater tots at Side Bar, a pub just off of Madison’s State Street, and then enjoyed a part of the evening out on the UW Student Union Terrace.

Sunday Morning we headed out for a run on the IMWI run course!  While the run course is a 13.1 mile “loop” (it folds in on itself, great for spectators!), I ran a shorter version and then straight back to our hotel.  It was hot & humid out, and I was sweating like a pig.  But I kept an OK pace, and kept hydrating, fueling & salting well.  I was definitely happy when this run was complete, and I was able to get back inside to the air conditioning!

At the end of the weekend, I was sleepy-tired, but not necessarily physically exhausted.


Its funny how this Ironman training goes.  I should be more confident, more ready.  Instead this week I’m in the “ready for this to be over” mode, where I can just sleep all weekend long if I so choose.  And I am sleeping a decent amount, about 7 hours per night.  yes, it could be more, but I do enjoy seeing family and friends, and I do have a job.  

Anyway, as we move into the PEAK of Ironman training, I’ll be taking a step back in frequency from the blog.  You probably saw that coming, didn’t you?!  Have a great Tuesday!

The Ugly Side of Long Course Racing

There’s a few things I could write about with this:

*athletes who sabotage/ act unsafely for the general good. (Uh, person not looking ahead when they hit my bike… I’m looking to you!)
*Ironman corporation’s refusal to allow equal racing opportunities for women as men

But today I’m going to focus on the more personal side of things. You know to expect fatigue, soreness. But chafing: it happens.


When I started running, I had chafing, primarily in the most common between the thighs space. I figured it out in a few ways:

  1. Different clothes (capris, shorts that don’t ride up)
  2. Body glide (a lubricant to make it run smoothly)
  3. Losing some weight – not specifically to avoid the chub rub, but it’s a great side product of weight loss, which happened a bit when I got more active (read my tips here on weight management in endurance sports)

After Racine I had some unique areas I need to pay attention to and prepare for ironman:

  • heart rate monitor strap — both on the sides and at my breastbone/ center of my chest
  • hairline – either from my wetsuit or being in aero with some sort of rubbing (neck fat??)
  • armpit side areas – this is probably from two things. I wore my sun shrug on the run, but unzipped it and stuck the sides into the sides of my tank top. A bit more fabric there. And also I stuck cold sponges onto my shoulders to help with heat management. That’s water dripping into this area that’s got a bit more rubbing.

Thankfully I didn’t notice it until after the race, really a few hours later. Other chafe spots to be aware of:

  • shoulder/neckline – usually from wetsuits rubbing. May be exacerbated with a crossover in your stroke.
  • chub rub – see above
  • bra areas
  • and my most painful: the butt crack from where my chamois pad ended on my Tri shorts. Yah, I think I left that part out of the IMLoU run recap, but it made bathrooms & showering painful for a day or two!!
  • Nipples (for guys who don’t wear tight tops when running– since girls wear sports bras that aren’t supposed to move, that’s why we don’t get them)

How to prevent:

  1. Wear appropriate clothing.  Sports apparel is important.  In particular to keep close-fitting clothing.
  2. Identify and lubricate particular sensitive spots. This is why it’s important for me to note down where I chafed is so I can remember to protect there on Ironman Wisconsin race day. I use Body Glide and also recommend Button Hole for my chamois creme.

What’s your worst chafing experience?  Any other tips?  

New Journal Menu Giveaway Winner!

Never heard from the original winner of my Journal Menu giveaway, so I’ve randomly selected a new one! Nicole X – congratulations! Please email me at laurenrunschicago-at-gmail-dot-com so we can get you connected with the Journal Menu team to design your custom training journal!!

journal menu winner2

Tri Talk Tuesday: Hot Weather Training

It’s Tri-Talk Tuesday and today’s topic is apropos for the weather we’re having:chicago july weather


I’ve done two “heat preparation” phases now for my triathlon racing this year, and wanted to share both of them. These are training phases where one of my big objectives was to prepare for a race that was hotter than what I’ve been training in.

February-March – Sauna Protocol in Preparation for Puerto Rico 70.3

When it was winter here in Chicago, I was training for a half ironman in Puerto Rico.  I loved the race, but knew I needed to prepare for the heat.  I did a sauna protocol to get prepared, by spending up to 30 minutes in a sauna for days 7-14 prior to the race.  The biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to access a sauna, since my normal gym doesn’t have one.  So I had to get a one-week pass to a gym with a sauna, and then add visiting that gym into my normal training routine.  (Spoiler alert: gym wasn’t awesome, so I didn’t want to do my workouts there!).  I built up from 10 minutes on the first day, to 30 minutes being comfortable by the end.

Sauna Selfie

Sauna selfie!

June-July – Tee-Shirt Training in Preparation for Racine 70.3

After feeling lackluster about my Pleasant Prairie performance in late June (the first hot day in the Chicagoland area), I reached out to my Wellfit coach to find out what I could do to help improve my running and heat management.  We talked about some run training tips, but also talked about preparing for the heat a lot more.  For the next month, I wore long sleeve cotton t-shirts when I was riding indoors on the computrainer or my trainer at home.  While you sweat a lot when training indoors, your body starts to adjust to the heat and feeling more like normal.  I always drank a lot of extra water and some sports drink to help compensate for the additional sweat, but this really helped.  None of these rides were more than 90 minutes, however when it came to race day, I never felt too hot.

After Pleasant Prairie, I also purposefully did some of my runs during the hotter parts of the day.  In triathlon, you’re not starting your run at 7 AM, it starts at 9 AM (sprint/olympic), 10:30-12 AM (half iron-distance) or in the afternoon (Ironman) after you’ve swum and biked. So I did some of my runs intentionally mid-afternoon, or to run after leaving work mid-afternoon but before I commuted home.  I got used to what it feels like to run in the heat, and in the sun, and it wasn’t as much of a surprise on race day.


Race Day Strategy Tips -Implemented at Racine

These are the tactics I used on race day that I didn’t necessarily “train” for, but I did plan for:

  • Wear cooling clothing – my sun shrug was key here. I could pour water onto it and it’d cool off as the water evaporated. I also didn’t get sunburned. (I did wear my sun shrug on enough training rides and runs to know it’d work well for me and I wouldn’t overheat)
  • Grab ice at every aid station possible and have a strategy for “using” it.  Know what you’ll do with the ice.  I stuck it in my bra, down my shorts, and tucked pieces into the wrists of my sun shrug.  You can also use the ice glove too.
  • Proper hydration.  This goes beyond heat management, but when your body is properly hydrated, you have less to worry about on keeping cool.  If you get dehydrated, the heat is that much worse.
  • Heart Rate management – have a strategy to keep your heart rate at certain levels.  I had a number that I was watching for – if I went over it, I’d have to start walking because I didn’t want to burn out too much.  When you train with heart rate, you get good at not letting it go too much if you pay attention.


Linking up with Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?!, Courtney at The TriGirl Chronicles, and Phaedra at Blisters and Black Toenails!

What other tips for training in the heat do you have?  Any Triathlon Questions you have?  

7 Weeks to Go! Ironman Training Update – the good, the bad, the ugly!

It’s 48 days to go until Ironman Wisconsin, so I’m starting to get a bit nervous!  Am I doing enough?  Am I recovering enough?  Will I meet my goals?

Last week was about recovery from the Racine 70.3, so it was a hodge podge as you’ll see, of good, bad and ugly.   That’s how life is, a mix of everything.  I’m linking up today with Tara for the Weekend Update and Erin for Weekend Snapshots! Happy Monday!

The Good

This morning’s workout!  I went to sunrise rooftop yoga this morning with the Women’s Forum and it was awesome! Andrea Metcalf led a group of Chicago bloggers through a wonderful restorative yoga series that was great to start the morning.  I had a lot of fun, got to stretch out my muscles and also got to just relax in front of Lake Michigan at the W Hotel and then eat a great breakfast of a new ThinkThin oatmeal that’s out.  The oatmeal was delicious. I don’t eat a lot of grains at breakfast as I find it often spikes my blood sugar but this was delicious and also high in protein so that was really good. And of course, no one could complain about this gorgeous space at the W Hotel!  I just need to figure out how to get up here more often!!!

WF Rooftop Yoga collage1 WF Rooftop Yoga collage2


The Bad

I started off last week on a high after an awesome Racine 70.3 race!  I had a pretty good rest day on Monday, and was ready to get back into my workouts on Tuesday.  However…

Tuesday afternoon I developed a bad headache, and just felt off.  I rested in my dark basement on Tuesday afternoon, and went to bed without eating dinner since I wasn’t feeling it.  Headache was even worse on Monday morning, so I called in sick.  I felt a bit better after resting even more (and upping my ibuprofen dosage), and got in an easy run in the afternoon… which prompted the return of the headache.  More chilling, and Thursday was a more IBU, but I got through work and my workouts.  Friday morning I added in caffeine to the mix, which seemed to help as well (yay, Starbucks!), and headed on my way to Madison for my Saturday ride!

The Ugly

The ugly was this weekend –my ride on Saturday to be specific.  I went up to Madison on Friday night and had a nice dinner with some friends (shout out to Julie, Tiffany and Dave!). We ate at the Hubbard Avenue Diner, an awesome place and such good pie! On Saturday about two hours into my ride I started to get some really panicky breathing for no obvious reason.  I mean- no one hit me or almost hit me, nor was it physically feeling any harder than normal.  I was still riding OK, but I couldn’t get my breathing under control, and I rode like that for about 45 minutes or so, trying to keep up with my drinking as well since it was hot out.

Hubbard Avenue Diner

I don’t have anything better to show from this Madison trip, so get yourself some pie!

When I got to the aid station I stopped for probably 30 minutes to drink two bottles of water and eat a bonk breaker bar (that’s about 200 cal) to see if my issues were nutritional, like if I hadn’t been eating enough. I was thinking maybe I could get it under control, but it didn’t really happen.  Some of my Wellfit training buddies rolled in and and tried talking me into continuing the ride (we were about to complete one loop of two planned loops), but I just couldn’t bring myself to keep riding longer, so I got back on the bike and finished up one loop (riding for another 30-40 minutes just to get back to the store where we had left from).

Who knows what happened?  There are so many potential little reasons that could have added up to a big problem like this.  It was really hot that day, those headaches I was having earlier in the week that could have come back, not being recovered enough from Racine, the pie I ate Friday night that I was still full from on Saturday morning.  Who knows? I don’t think it’s really worth trying to figure out unless it happens again.

Anyway, Sunday I started fresh with a shorter long ride (on the training plan) and a swim. I woke up early to meet the Live Grit group for their Sunday morning ride. If you’re ever looking to do 40 miles or so with a great group of people leaving from the West Loop, this is an awesome group. We rode for about 2:45 or so and had lots of fun. I didn’t have any issues with breathing or anything during the ride, although I did learn that my metabolic efficiency nutrition has been working well, to the point that I can’t handle too much sugar!  When we stopped at a gas station for our turnaround point, I bought a candy bar because I wanted to have fun like everyone else, but I didn’t feel so great after tghat, so I will be sadly avoiding the gas station treats when on future rides. After getting home and having a nice little brunch at home of bacon, eggs, berries, cheese and some veggies, I took a nice long nap and later in the afternoon I went out to the DePaul pool to get my swim on. It was a nice bit of a recovery and pace management swim, so an easy pace. I probably could have kept going for a while longer, but I stopped and headed home to have a nice dinner at Homestead with Mike.  If you’re in Chicago and haven’t been to Homestead, it’s a great farm-to-table restaurant on Chicago Ave.  Thankfully we can walk to it and while it’s not an every week or month type of a place (for us), the dinner was beautiful and it was so nice to go out and have a date night and enjoy a nice dinner outside and viewing the garden that our veggies came from!


So today, my mission is to start this week as fresh and as great as possible!