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Generation UCAN Triathletes

How do I take Generation UCAN?

Generation UCAN TriathleteA lot of athletes are asking me about Generation UCAN. So, here is the DL of my story with UCAN and triathlon training. It is time to get real my friends…

UCAN has been my saving grace for triathlons and my running. Since I got back to IM training, over 2 years ago, I was having a lot of GI issues. Stopping around 45-60 minutes into my run, at a bathroom, in the woods, etc. If I took a gel, I was stopping within 20 minutes. It was awful. I felt that the gels were going right through me and I had no energy left. I would come home from a run, so FRUSTRATED, that I was crying.

About 6 weeks out from Ironman Florida in 2013, I started to take in UCAN. I had no option. And it was the best thing that I have ever done!

Generation UCAN is a SuperStarch/Complex CHO, which releases steadily into the body and keeps the blood sugar stable. With gels and chomps, they are “sugar” spikes… you are required to take in every 30-45 minutes. So, your “energy” goes low, you take another gel. You get so much sugar/maltodextrin into your gut, in a 3-5 hour workout… it pretty much needs to get out. Make sense?

So how do I take Generation UCAN?

If I am heading out for less than a 2 hour run… I will take a Chocolate Protein pack and that is all I need for the whole run. No gels, no GUs, etc. I feel fantastic. As far as over 2:00 run, I will take a flask with me and have a concentrated UCAN with me and find some water to wash it down.

If I am heading out for a 3-4 hour bike, I will still take my Chocolate Protein about 30 minutes before hand but within 1:00-1:15 on the bike, I take in scoop of Plain UCAN with a Nuun tablet. I will use a scoop every hour on the hour for the rest of the bike. I have also added X2Performance to my UCAN mix. This helps with a little bit of caffeine and adding some glucose to the mix, which is what you need with the UCAN.

With UCAN, you actually need to take it in earlier than you think! If you are starting to feel “low” on energy, it may be a bit too late. You would be inclined to take a banana or a gel and there goes the tummy issues again!

As far as my GI issues… the last 1 1/2 years, I have had no GI issues on my longer runs.

I am so happy to have found this! If you are interested in trying it out, use this link and you will get a discount!

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Ironman Triathlon Story

Annie’s Ironman Journey Story

Triathlon has become one of my greatest passions in life and Jen Rulon has helped me to be a  stronger, smarter athlete!Girls training for Ironman!

I am not a “natural” athlete by any means. As a kid, I rode my bike and swam all summer long, but never really played organized sports. Before I started doing triathlons, I identified as a runner who also enjoyed cycling, but I didn’t even start that until my mid-30’s. I completed my first half marathon in 2011 and the experience of the feeling of synchronicity with so many other runners forever changed me.

I got pregnant in 2012 and ran through my 36th week — even if it was more of a shuffle by that point! During my pregnancy, I decided that after my daughter was born, I wanted to push myself further, but I didn’t necessarily want to run more miles, so triathlon seemed like the answer. I found myself watching videos on Youtube videos of adrenaline pumping Ironman starts and emotional finishes. Ironman was out of the question at that point, but I decided to sign up for two sprint distance and two Olympic distance triathlons, which would force me to get back into shape.

Zoe was 3 1/2 months old when I completed that first sprint, a fairly amateur race, but a HUGE learning experience for me. Over the course of the next three tri’s (and two half marathons) that I did that summer, I realized that I loved triathlon and that a Half Ironman was most definitely in my future. However, I didn’t think a one-size-fits-all training plan would work for me — I had a great base (already easily able to run 13.1 miles) and was a full-time Mom (needed a fair amount of flexibility in my training regimen). So at the suggestion of a triathlete friend (one of the very few I had at that point) and my incredibly supportive husband, I sought out a coach.Kerrville Sprint Triathlon

When I began my search, I didn’t know what qualities would be important to me in a coach, but from the first time I spoke to Jen on the phone and I learned more about her belief in the importance of strength training for triathletes and the dangers of over-training, as well as her personal quest to qualify for Kona, I knew she was the coach for me!

I began working with Jen in the “off” season and her coaching helped prepare me for Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston in April 2014, Kerrville Triathlon Festival Sprint in September 2014 and Ironman 70.3 Longhorn in Austin in October 2014. All races were successful for me, although there is always something to be learned from and improved upon in every race.

The thing that I love most about about having a coach is having the guess work taken out of my training. Before I started working with Jen, I found myself losing sleep at night about whether I had adequately trained for a race, but now I sleep better and my rest days are a lot more restful. :)

I am now registered for Ironman Coeur D’Alene in June 2015, two weeks after my 40th birthday.

In addition to the personal relationship I feel I’ve developed with Jen over the past year, I can’t say enough about her qualities as a coach. I adore her for her positivity, her love for the sport of triathlon, dedication to herself and her athletes AND for her infectious smile and crazy megaphone cheering me on during the longest/shortest day of my life. :)Coach Jen Rulon and Athlete Annie at Time Trial in Texas

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What is YOUR Ironman Triathlon Journey?

Last Wednesday, February 11th, I went trail running with the pup on “Wunning Wednesday.” Rolled my ankle on a “branch.” Heard a pop…I figured it was the branch. I looked again…it was a root. Roots don’t move. I ran 10 minutes more. Looked down and saw a hematoma. Opted to run/walk home.  Called Dr. Marque Allen (foot doc in SAT). He got me in for an X-ray and MRI. For you doctors and people obsessed with the body like I am, I have a 3rd Degree (complete) tear on ATF ligament and 2nd Degree tear (partial) on CF ligament.  See diagram below:ankle-ligaments-deltoid-on-healthfavo

 

Dr. Allen sat down with me and said for this with this type of tear; recovery time is up to 12 weeks. Yes, IM-TX is 13 weeks.

I called Chris, cried a bit and he said, ”You always have the option to transfer to another North America race that’s open.” Not a bad option actually but I didn’t want to make a decision right after it happened. I wanted to think and pray about “My Ironman Journey.”

As I was reflecting over the week and figuring out what I wanted to do on my journey, I started thinking about all the athletes out there on their own “Ironman Journey.”

Here are some statistics for you:

  • 39 Ironman Triathlons (US, Europe, Asia-Pacific) and growing
  • 78 – 70.3 Ironman Triathlons (US, Europe, Asia-Pacific) and growing
  • Approximately 2,000 + per Ironman Race
  • Approximately 1,500 + per 70.3 Ironman Race
  • 2000 people x 39 Ironman Races = approx. 58,000 athletes per year for their “Ironman Journey”
  • 1500 people x 78 = approx. 117,000 athletes per year for their “Ironman Journey”

WOW! That is a lot of athletes on THEIR Ironman Journey! I started thinking, “Why do people do Ironman Triathlons? What is their purpose of doing one?”

  • To finish?
  • To qualify for Kona?
  • To accomplish a specific goal?
  • To get a M-Dot tattoo?
  • For their loved one that is going through a hard time
  • For Charity
  • Life style change…possibly recovering drug addict and needs a way to “utilize” their addiction. (I have heard of many doing this.)
  • To lose weight?

We ALL have a story heading into our Ironman Journey. I have been blessed, as a coach, to help some of those athletes, make their Ironman or 70.3 Ironman journey.

It’s been a week since my ankle injury. What did I decided to do?

I have changed my Ironman Texas spot to Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Canada. Here is the thing: I didn’t want to do IM-TX, just to do another Ironman. Been there. Done that. My goal for Ironman is to get to Kona but that has always been my goal.

I realized this is “My Ironman Journey.” Will I get there? I know I will but there may be some sprains, pains and frustrations along the way. But isn’t that life?

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on putting Ironman or 70.3 Ironman stories on my blog from athletes that I have coach, to my own, and to YOU! If you are interested in writing YOUR IRONMAN JOURNEY, send it my way and I will be happy to upload it on my blog!

IM triathlon journey

 

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Strength Training for the HEART

It’s Valentine Weekend. Maybe you will spend it with your loved one, get a Hallmark from Mom, hang with your besties or just do absolutely nothing! I started thinking about today’s blog and the theme for Friday…Strength Training. We always think about “cardio” for the heart but how does strength training help the heart.70.3 Ironman NOLA

I went straight to my source, Goggle Scholar and Poliquin Group.  Charles Poliquin is a HUGE advocate for strength training, with so much scientific data backing his findings. And Google Scholar has a lot of PDF’s, regarding strength training but mostly for cardiac patients.

The #1 finding of strength training of the heart, is that:

“Strength Training Improves Heart Function.”

Here are a couple of findings how “Strength Training Improves Heart Function.”

I found an article on Poliquin site and he states that weight training will dramatically improve heart function, decrease blood pressure and decrease inflammation. In one review that Poliquin talked about states, “Older women who weight trained had lower C-reactive protein, an oxidative stress marker that causes an inflammatory status. The combined effect of lower SBP, less inflammation, and better blood flow will reduce cardiovascular disease risk by more than 14 percent. Click HERE for his article.

Another article, that I found was on Google Scholar, then got it through NASA, (National Strength and Conditioning Association), “Strength Training for the Heart” by Cedric Bryant and James Peterson. It talks about how cardio exercise used to be the best way for cardiac rehabilitation programs to help their patients. Over time, rehabilitation programs started adding strength training. According to the article, strength training has shown to raise HDL (good cholesterol), along with reducing the risk for a sudden heart attack and will help with decreasing musculoskeletal injuries by increasing the thickness and strength in their bones, ligaments and tendons. Click here for the portion of the article.

Not only does strength training help with the “muscles” that you normally think they help, I believe that strength training helps the biggest muscle of all… the heart!

As we are heading into Valentine’s weekend, ask yourself:

How are you taking care of your heart?

  • Physically through endurance training and/or strength training?
  • Mentally by surrounding yourself with strong, positive and good juju people, who support you 100%!
  • Spiritually, by listening to your heart, in quite time or however you take care of yourself.

Treat yourself with some LOVE this weekend. How do you do that? It starts by YOU!

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Patience Young Grasshopper

Over the last few months, I have been working hard on my business. I have been doing a ton of reading, such as “E-Myth” and “Scaling Up,” along with talking with 53219408successful Entrepreneurs.

Something that I read in “Scaling Up” was about Apple. Apple started in 1976. In 2001, their 25th Anniversary, they only had 9,600 employees, when they launched the iPod. We know what happens from there. BOOM, Apple became a phenomenon. Steve Jobs stated, “I’m always amazed how overnight successes take a helluva long time.”

As I reflect back to my Ironman training, my business, Triathlon Coaching and The Strongest Mile, my Strength Program for Endurance Athletes, along with building my “tribe,” I would LOVE to have everything NOW…wouldn’t life be easier than? I would already have my spot to Ironman Kona. I would already have a successful coaching company with coaches working with me. I would already have an office space for my coaching company. I would have coaches teaching all over town, The Strongest Mile.

During this thought process, I remember my dearest friend tell me, “Patience, Young Grasshopper.”  I laughed. I thought the concept was cute and I realized that not only does this relate to myself in my business and my own training. It relates to athletes that I coach or have coached.

I tell my athletes:

  • If you train slowly…you go slow.
  • If you train fast…you go fast.

Let me explain: If you go LSD, long slow distance, ALL the time…then yes, I do believe that you will go slow. IF you start to add interval pace training or threshold pace training in your routine on your swim, bike, run and during The Strongest Mile classes, then I believe that this will improve you becoming “faster”.

So, what I am about to say may be a little confusing or contradicting to my above comments so bare with me….

Endurance athletes tend to train in a higher heart rate or training pace than they should…on their EASIER swims, bikes or runs.

HUH??? You ask…let me explain!

About two years ago, I chatted with a friend of mine, who is also a USA Triathlon Level I Coach, and a professor, Duson Morris. We chatted about endurance athletes and their training. What we have seen over the years, as coaches, is that endurance athletes will go “KILL IT” every workout that they do, especially their “easier” workouts.

For example, I will give an athlete an easy 30 minute run, and you were to look at their heart rate monitor or their average pace for that run, you would probably see that those athletes were WAY above their Level 4 heart rate zone, which is technically, 80-90% of their VO2 max testing…these athletes are in an anaerobic or hardcore training state.

What is anaerobic threshold? In a nut shell, anaerobic threshold will start producing lactic acid, which the muscles will not be able to handle for a long period of time and it will lead to exhaustion. (http://www.anaerobicthreshold.org/index.php?chapter=chapter1sub1).

Is that an easy run?  No. What is an easy run? An easy run or workout will consist of an athlete going at a Zone 1 or Zone 2 pace, which would be an easy effort and aerobic development…building the muscles, the heart, the lungs, the blood flow and the muscles.

As a coach, I do realize that there are a lot of factors when it comes to heart rate…lack of sleep, stress, altitude, humidity, etc. The reason being, I look at their pace and I use Jack Daniels VDot training for my athletes versus heart rate training zones. http://runsmartproject.com/calculator/.

I want my athletes to be SMART on their training versus going out to “KILL IT” at every workout!

“Coach Jen, I am still confused,” you may say.

Let me give you some bullet points and hopefully this will help you:

  • If you train slow, EVERY DAY, without any HIT training, you will go slow.
  • If you train fast, EVERY DAY, without any recovery workouts, you will go slow, along with getting injured and the possibility of being over trained. (Hint: Recovery days and weeks are CRUCIAL!)
  • If you train slow, when you are suppose to train slow, you will get faster.
  • If your fast training has a purpose, you will get faster!

Since I am a data person and like to back up my blogs…here are some more information about “Slowing down to Speed Up.”

http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/slow-down-speed

http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2012/05/17/train-slow-run-fast

http://runnersconnect.net/running-interviews/why-running-slower-on-your-easy-days-helps-you-run-faster-and-keeps-you-injury-free/

So, to my athletes, who think going faster and harder will make them faster…this is where I say…

“Patience, Young Grasshopper”

 

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