If someone could PLEASE tell me why the marathon distance is so freaking intimidating that would be great!? Perhaps because this is the first time when I’m really attempting to “race” this one does it seem so daunting. But I will admit, I’m nervous!
The good news is that my anxiety is not so overwhelming I’m losing sight of the fun stuff. After all, this:
is not a bad spot for a few days of keeping my feet up before the big event. I am super appreciative to have had the luxury of spending last week in Tucson and now a few days in Phnoenix, neither of which was cooped up in a hotel room OR surrounded by snow.
I also have not lost sight of the fact that while I am hoping to surprise myself with a nice shiny three-oh-something in the race tomorrow, my ultimate goal of doing this has already been attained. I’ve stayed a bit more focused during off season (don’t worry – I still drank all the egg nog and ate all the cookies, but I just also wasn’t skipping workouts!) than I often found myself. And as a result, the past few months have flown by and I’m now really excited to build into the triathlon season. I’m fitter than I ever have been in January. And, my run confidence is there — just knowing what I was doing in training has me convinced of some big things I can do with 26.2 miles off the bike. And those things were, from a longer term perspective — definitely the more important than what time I finish in tomorrow.
That said, I’ll still be trying my darnedest for a 3:05 tomorrow! WHAT? A 3:05?! Um Alyssa you told me last week 3:10. And yes, that’s because last week I thought I was doing to go for that….until Hillary picked me up from the airport and promptly corrected me So, I’ll go for it. Because 1. I think it will be fun in a weird sick way and 2. I’m also pretty certain that based on my training experiences if things get ugly, they really won’t be *that* ugly. Well, knock on wood for that one at least
Electrolytes. Salt. By and large – this has always been one of the more challenging aspects of race nutrition for me through the years. Most likely from years of being conditioned with fast food and processed foods, I am the lucky owner of an iron-stomach. I used to eat jelly beans and pizza to get me through ultras — keeping down gels and bars in an Ironman seems like child’s play
But, if I was SO GOOD at eating while racing, how comes sometimes I still felt like my poor performances were tied to nutrition? Well, because hydration and electrolytes is a whole different beast! When you consider the fact that I sweat like a huge man and also the fact that race by race the amount of hydration and electrolytes that seemed to be ideal was changing leaps and bounds, it’s super hard to dial that in.
So, this was something that Hillary and I began to work on from the start. My other hangup was that I truly despise salt pills. I dislike that they disintegrate if you just keep them in your pocket. I can’t stand that they explode if you keep them in a plastic container where they shake just a tiny bit. They do okay in a plastic baggie. But when I inevitably shove said plastic baggie into my tri top, then proceed to douse myself with water….they disintegrate AND explode. I have been that girl picking up a salt tab off the ground and eating it because I lost all mine or they were exploded on my chest. Never thought I’d say that one in a blog post.
It was Hillary who first recommended I try The Right Stuff as she had a few other athletes using it with great success. Since 2011, I have been regularly using The Right Stuff as part of my race nutrition. The times I haven’t have been pure laziness on my part not to order some in time, or forgetting to pack it when I travel. I am a fan of the all-liquid calorie intake on the bike, so I just mix it right into my 2 bottles that I have with me on the bike. And boom – not only are there no cramps and dizziness – but there’s no tubes or tabs or baggies to worry about. Using the Right Stuff, I have actually been able to rely on the on-course electrolyte drink during the run, and not need anything else. The salt I’m getting during the bike sets me up perfectly for the marathon.
But Alyssa…..didn’t you use another salt product this year? I saw tweets about it and pictures where you said it worked.
Well, yeah. And to be honest, there is another product out there that I was able to make work during my season. I went out on a limb for a company in hopes of some kind of support for my racing in return in 2015. Unfortunately despite them repeatedly asking me to chime in and endorse their product (which I did, each and every time), all of my requests for formal sponsorship (even just some free product!) went unanswered.
I get it – some companies are small and as a start-up you may not be able to support professionals as you would like to. But, if you take a look at some of my other sponsors this year, there is plenty of small-biz action going on and resources to support athletes coming from them. I encourage you, as a consumer, to take a hard look at these types of things when you are deciding between brands and products. After a year, I can tell you, that the sponsorship outlook as a triathlete is grim. Like, really grim. I’ve had conversations with some of the best in the sport and am super discouraged to hear about everyone who is getting dropped and all the money that is being pulled. And yes, perhaps as athletes, we too can “do more.” But we can’t do that until a company gives us a chance, or gives us some expectations. In just a year I’ve seen the marketing contacts at some companies change not once, but twice! That gives no room to build a relationship, and it’s not easy to sleep at night when you feel like your livelihood could be chopped by a stranger at any point. But, there are companies out there that are doing it right. They are building businesses based on good products and supporting good people. Support these companies. Buy these products. If you believe in triathlon and believe in the professionals of this sport, you too need to put your money behind these companies.
The Right Stuff, as a company, has been engaged in my season plans, supportive of my races, and 100% willing to go above and beyond for a partnership. When it comes down to 2 products, I am happy to eliminate one from my shelf in support of the brand which is truly willing to help me get to the next level. I hope you take that into consideration as you consider what companies you support as well!
If you are interested in trying out The Right Stuff, let me know! I will happily have some samples sent your way and offer suggestions on how you can integrate it into your current nutrition plan!