Multi-Sport

Start’Em Young

May 20th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Dawn Hintz

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Emil Zatopek.

Or as I translate it “Run like a child”. When I watch children run I see joy. I see pure satisfaction racing to the imaginary finish line. I see them run with an unbridled passion whether it’s chasing a friend or to the edge of a lake ready to plunge in.

When my eldest son, Jacob, was 9 years old he wanted to compete in his first triathlon. He completed that day with a smile that didn’t end and a passion for a sport that has the chance to keep him healthy and active for life. When he was 12 I signed him up for Athletic Mentors Youth Triathlon Program. A 6-week program that took him beyond the fundamentals of the 3 disciplines; swim, bike and running.

The same 6-week program prepared kids as young as 9 for their very first triathlon. Some of who had very little experience swimming in a lake. They were guided through a mass swim start, exiting the water and making the transition to the bike. When they returned from the 6 mile bike, they were coached through the transition to the run. And boy did they run! Every one of them ran joyously to that finish line where they triumphantly received their medal.

The Youth Triathlon Program has continued to grow. This year will be the first year of two youth groups. The first group will be for very beginner triathletes and the second group will develop teenagers who are ready to go beyond the basic triathlon introduction. While both groups will be ran side by side; each program will be tailored to that group’s needs.

The beginners will spend more time on the fundamentals of each disciple. Each training session will include a workout but more time will be spent giving a solid introduction to each of the disciplines and answering necessary questions. Swim technique will be reviewed in a pool before venturing to the lake. Then they will be taught safe road biking and transitioning to running. It will all be brought together with a miniature triathlon practice and a race course preview before the big day.

More experienced youth triathletes will follow a similar schedule with more emphasis on vigorous training. They will be guided to new levels of athleticism. These children already know how to swim, bike and run. Now they will fine tune their technique in each discipline and learn how to peak for race day.

Both groups will race the Shermanator Triathlon on August 3rd, 2019.

If your child has an interest in triathlon, this is the program to give them the best start and a joyous finish!

Athletic Mentors Youth Triathlon Program

Click this link to signup for Shermanator Triathlon


Electronic Groupsets Review

May 16th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By: Jacob Dolecki

I’ve had the pleasure to work with all of the available electronic group sets out there available including: Shimano DI2, Sram Etap 11 TT, and Campagnolo EPS V4. All of the groupsets that I have tried have been for TT and triathlons only so my experiences are limited to only the views from that perspective and not from road cyclists.

Shimano

Shimano DI2 – Shimano DI2 is the first thing that you think of when you think “electronic groupset”. It by far has dominated electronic shifting for triathletes. It is cheap, clean, and intuitive. There are multiple settings that you can use: standard, semi-synchro, and full synchronized shifting. They all work as intended and it is fully up to the user for their preference. However, Shimano makes it more difficult to install due to the excess wiring and programming involved. If you decide that Shimano is your best bet, it is highly recommended to take it to your local bike shop. Because Shimano’s DI2 groupset is fully cabled, the weight is far beyond the other two electronic groupsets out there.

Full synchronized shifting – This is by far my favorite type that Shimano has out there. It gives the user the simplicity of a 1x groupset with the gearing of a 2x. To put it basically, it gives the system full control of your front shifts based on the selected rear gearing that you have. When you shift up or down in the rear cassette, the system will decide if you should be in the big or little chain ring to avoid cross-chain and to provide the smoothest cadence.

Standard shifting – Standard shifting is what you think shifting should be: you push your left button and it will move the front derailleur up and down into your different chain rings. The right button will shift the rear derailleur up and down depending on how many times you push the button. It is by far the most simple of the three functions that Shimano supplies.

Semi-syncho shifting – It is similar to fully syncho where the system places you into gearing. However, the key difference is that semi-syncho involves the rear derailleur shifting depending on your front derailleur choice. This setting is mostly around keeping your same cadence to which you supply the system via the E-Tube project App.

Pros: Cons:
Pricing Installation
Availability Weight
Custom-Ability
Battery Life
Ease of Use

Sram

Sram E-tap – Sram revolutionized electronic group sets by making their system fully wireless (for road cyclists that is) with each component having their individual battery. Installation can take as little as 10 minutes because there are no wires to feed through the frame. The only downfalls to Sram Etap is the price and the battery limit.

TT E-tap – Sram’s TT/Triathlon group set incorporates the ease of using E-taps fully wireless front and rear derailleur, and only adding cables for your shifting on your aero bars and brakes. The cables from these components goes to Sram’s BlipBox. The BlipBox is an amazing tool that can be used wirelessly as a temporary shifter when tuning up or installing the groupset. In addition, Sram made it possible to micro-adjust every individual shifting while you ride to make the shifting as crisp as possible. Compared to Shimano DI2 groupset, the shifting is on par, if not a hair better than their flagship Dura Ace. Because it is fully wireless, Sram’s electronic groupset weighs significantly less than its cabled counterparts. With the wireless function, Sram’s battery life is less than Shimano’s or Campagnolo’s. Its charge lasts about 500-600 miles depending on how much you shift. If you are training for a longer race, i.e. ironman or half, you will have to charge the batteries about every other week.

The main shifting is a little different than Shimano’s in that it only uses one button per component. If you want to shift on the front derailleur, you press both buttons at once. It takes some time to get used to, but is super convenient once you are comfortable.

Pros: Cons:
Installation Battery
Weight Price
Ease of Use
Shifting

Campagnolo

Campagnolo EPS V4: Campagnolo is the unicorn of the electronic shifting community. It is rare and hard to come by – even harder for triathletes. Campagnolo is on their third iteration of their electronic groupset. It made vast improvements over its V3 versions. Most notably, its capability to charge via the Bar End interface, 12 gears, and its Bluetooth/Garmin compatibility. Because it has cables similar to Shimano, its weight is a little heavier than Sram Etap. However, Campagnolo uses titanium and carbon fibre for its flagship Super Record components so the weight and stiffness is far superior to Shimano. However, its price range and excludability leaves most users behind.

Installation is similar to Shimano but the tuning is a lot easier because of the Campagnolo Mycampy app and micro-adjustment on the shifting levers. The shifting itself is by far the most crisp and precise shifting. It has never once missed a shift even during hard loads. Campagnolo makes the shifts known with an audible click so you know once you shift.  

Pros: Cons:
Shifting Hard to Find
Weight Price
Ease of Use

I hope this information is of value when you are considering your options for electronic groupsets.


Yes UCAN Recipes

May 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Kathy Braginton

Two years ago, prior to my first half distance triathlon, I began to utilize UCAN as my workout and race day fuel. UCAN is the only energy food powered by SuperStarch®, a patented ingredient that delivers steady energy without sugar or stimulants. UCAN has quickly become my supplement of choice in my drink bottle. I also love to change things up when it comes to my diet, so I went in search of creative ways to utilize UCAN as more than just a drink. After a quick Google search, I found several recipes to try.

My favorite recipe from http://www.generationucan.com is the Chocolate Almond Fudge cookies. After making a few modifications from the original recipe, I have found the taste similar to a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. I have used these cookies for pre, during, or post workout nutrition. They even make a good healthy snack.

Chocolate Almond Fudge Cookies (Kathy’s version)                        

  • 2 scoops Chocolate UCAN with Protein
  • ½ Cup almond butter
  • ½ Cup peanut butter
  • ¼ Cup oats
  • ½ Cup coconut oil
  • ½ Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix it all up. Add more or less of each ingredient, depending on your taste. Roll the mixture into small balls. Put in the freezer and let chill for several hours. Or, put in a baking dish, freeze and cut into small squares. These cookies are best kept in the freezer. Just let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes prior to eating.

In an attempt to utilize these cookies during a workout or a race, I have experimented with different methods of transport. Placing several cookies in a snack size ziploc bag, I put them in the back pocket of my bike jersey. Mid-ride, the cookies turned to mush and I had to squeeze them out of the corner of the ziploc like a goo or gel. While it serviced its purpose, it was a bit messy. However, the next method worked a bit better. I purchased a liquid ice pack that was divided into 1” individual sections and cut the pack down to size to fit in the snack box on my tri bike. I placed the snack size ziploc in the snack box on top of the ice pack. While this did not keep the cookies frozen, it did keep them from turning to mush. This is now my go-to nutrition on the bike during a half distance race.

My second favorite recipe from http://www.generationucan.com is the Mexican Riviera Smoothie. This is a very refreshing smoothie on a hot summer day. The original recipe called for peaches. Not being a very big fan of peaches, I have tried raspberries and cherries. Both of these are tasty substitutes.

Mexican Riviera Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Lemonade UCAN
  • 1 Cup frozen raspberries or cherries
  • ¼ Cup frozen pineapple.
  • 4 oz of orange juice

Blend all together in a blender.

This last recipe, recently found on http://www.jessrunsblessed.com, is 4 Ingredient UCAN Brownies. This has quickly turned into my favorite early morning, pre-swim fuel. I use these in place of the UCAN Snack bars. These brownies offer similar nutrition to the snack bars at a cheaper price and the taste is not bad!

4 Ingredient UCAN Brownies

  • 2 scoops Chocolate UCAN with Protein
  • 2 medium bananas (mashed well)
  • ¼ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ Cup peanut butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray large rectangle pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine 4 ingredients with a spatula. Use a mixer to mix until well mixed. It will be very thick. Spread into pan and flatten with spatula. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Optional ingredients: unsweetened shredded coconut, oats, or chopped almonds.

Find additional recipes on Facebook at Generation UCAN. Fuel good. Feel Good. UCAN!


Lessons from a Rough Workout

April 30th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Brian Reynolds

Fred Devito once said “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”. This has never felt so true until I was running in Florida during the Holidays last year.

My plan was a 90 minute training run. I felt ok the first 15 minutes but as my body heated up more and more things gradually got tougher. I was starting to feel the effects of the 80 degree weather. However, I did not want to swallow my pride by slowing down so instead I just tried to tough it out and run the same pace just like I would back in Michigan.

When I was 30 mins into the run I realized that the pace I was running was not going to be sustainable unless I wanted to run at a heart rate of 180 bpm which is a 5K effort for me. So I backed off my pace so I could finish the run.

At the 45 minute mark I had to stop for a water break and recollect myself. I rarely stop for a drink break however, today was an exception. When I started running again I told myself to not worry about pace and just focus on keeping my heart rate at an aerobic threshold. Switching my focus from pace to heart rate gave me something tangible to target.

Unfortunately the run did not get any easier. After taking another water break at the hour mark I was able to finish the run. I still recall my legs and body feeling like dead weight after that run even though I was running a really easy pace. I was use to the 30 degree weather that I left in Michigan, the sun and heat sucked the energy right out of me.  

There were a lot of good lessons that I took away from this tough run. I had to accept the fact that I was not going to run at my usual pace due to the conditions. This run was a workout for my mental game because I had to change my expectations during the run and focus on perceived exertion and heart rate which I normal don’t pay attention to during training. This kind of workout is great preparation for a race with non-ideal weather conditions.

I now look at these tough training days as a opportunity to become a stronger competitor. Imagine never dealing with adversity in training and then you go into your next race having to face terrible weather conditions, a tough course, etc. By not having rough workouts you could be missing out on valuable experiences and lessons that could make you a better athlete.

As they say you will learn more from a bad workout than you will from a good workout. The key is to learn and apply those lessons in your training. My lessons that day were to practice patience and run to effort rather than pace.

 


Trusting the Process

April 19th, 2019 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team Athletic Mentors athlete

As an (almost) fourth year medical student and nearly life-long endurance athlete, I often find myself thinking about parallels between training to be a physician and an athlete. These are obviously very different pursuits but I find thinking about these analogies a helpful way to frame my experiences.

One of my college cross country coach’s mantras was to “trust the process.” I didn’t give it as much thought at the time, but have come to recognize the weight of this task. The “process” is usually not glamorous or social media worthy. It requires consistency and a steadfast commitment to the basics. In sports, this means doing the fundamental things right everyday- sleep, nutrition, stress management, recovery and training stimulus. In medicine, the process is less straightforward but still requires meticulous attention to the foundations everyday- asking the right questions, meticulous exams, thoughtful clinical decision making and effective communication. When you are in the midst of either process, sometimes it can be hard to measure progress or judge success. Feedback is a powerful tool but sometimes the feedback we receive isn’t as straightforward or easy to interpret as we would like.  This grey area, where we are working hard but a bit unsure if we are making progress, is the most challenging for anyone- be it athletes, students, physicians, or any professional.

The process of medical training feels like occupying the grey area constantly. Medicine in itself involves more uncertainty than we like to admit, making the process of learning that much more challenging. It involves constant questioning of your own capabilities as a healthcare provider, decision maker, and communicator without obvious feedback. Although we are required to achieve certain competencies, quantifying meaningful progress in this space can be challenging. Occasionally there will be glimpses of progress – sometimes with patient encounters that go especially well, moments of being spoken to as a physician colleague, or reminders of the transformation undergone over the past several years. However, this type of feedback can be subtle and identifying both strengths and weaknesses requires practice in self-reflection.  Although the learning process is formally measured in years and milestones, it has become increasingly apparent that the process never actually ends as it is persistent curiosity, reflection and attention to the basics are habits of the best physicians.

In endurance sports, it is easier to quantify progress in numbers: training hours, distance, power, and heart rate. Races are concrete and straightforward benchmarks of success: podiums, age group places, times, rankings. However, the grey areas still exist- such as the off-season, long training blocks, performance plateaus, or races that are not satisfying but not epic failures. Sometimes in these spaces, it seems like failures would be more satisfying because they would at least allow for more obvious take-away lessons.  These are the analogous grey spaces that requires a bit more self-reflection to continue the upward trajectory.

I think we all have a baseline aversion to uncertainty and “grey areas.”  I do think it is the commitment to the process despite the noise, uncertainty and self-doubt that makes for the most sustainable and ultimately satisfying progress.  Definitely easier said than done, but something to strive for nevertheless.


Traumatic Injury Life Saving Tips

March 8th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Written by Dawn Hinz

Sadly it seems there are more car versus cyclist accidents. In 2006, 772 people were fatally injured in cycling accidents. Where as in 2016, that number was up to 840; including 5 local cyclists. (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)

We do everything we can as a cyclist to minimize the danger. We wear bright clothes, our bikes look like Christmas trees and most importantly, we follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee that we aren’t seriously injured. What should you do if tragedy strikes you or your group?

  • Everyone should carry a cell phone on their body. I do not agree with keeping your phone in a bag on your bike. If you are thrown from your bike you may not be able to reach your phone.
  • KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. You should know your route and where you are along that route. This way when you call 911, emergency personnel can find you as quickly as possible, when every minute counts. Go one step further and set up an activity tracker that relays your location to a reliable person who is not a part of the ride. This way they get a notification if you stop moving and can call for help.
  • Know how many people are in your group. 911 will need to know how many patients need an ambulance. Then, go help your friends. You should know any help you render will be covered under Michigan’s Good Samaritan Act (MCL 691.1501). This law basically states that a volunteer trying to help someone cannot be held liable if those actions cause further injury; excepting gross negligence.
  • Do not move someone unless the location causes further danger or harm. I.e. Perhaps you need to slide someone off the road if traffic is not slowing down or giving you space.
  • Do not unnecessarily adjust the patient’s head. If you hear snoring, gurgling or no breaths then gently place the head in a “sniffing” position.
  • If you see blood, control the bleeding with direct and continuous pressure. Put your hand or hands over the wound and keep pressure on the wound until help arrives. Every red blood cell counts.
  • If it is cold or even slightly chilly outside keep the patient warm if possible. Hypothermia causes shivering which wastes precious ATP. Even slight hypothermia will worsen a trauma patient’s outcome. Give them your jacket or get blankets from bystanders.

With these actions you have given your friends a fighting chance in the Emergency Room. If you would like to take it one step further then it is time to find a First Aid and CPR class. Stay safe out there.


Off-Season Goals

February 16th, 2019 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Brian Reynolds

It’s winter in Michigan and you know what that means for us triathletes.  It’s the Off-Season! Hopefully most of you are back training again after taking a break from the season.  I’ve always enjoyed the off-season because you can make big gains to set yourself up for a good season. The best way to make big gains is to work on your limiters because let’s face it we all have something to improve on.  So the question you may be asking yourself is “What should I work on this off-season”?

A good place to start is determine what your big races are next season because this will give you a better idea on what to work on in the off-season.  What are your goals for your big race(s)? Do you want to win or podium in your age group? Do you want to qualify for USAT Nationals or Kona? Do you want to set a new PR?  Whatever you want to accomplish at your race you need to determine what it’ll take to meet those goals. For example, if you want to podium in your age group you can look up the podium finisher’s past results to find out their splits per each discipline.  Base on those race results you can figure out which discipline you need to improve on to become more competitive. It’s also important to assess if the time improvement needed is realistic per that discipline because if it’s not then you may need to get faster in the other areas.  When you know what it’ll take to meet your race goals you’ll have a better understanding on what you need to focus on during the off-season.

It important to have off-season goals to help keep you on track and accountable to your training.  You want to make sure that your goals are measurable. For example, some measurable goals could be to increase your FTP on the bike, threshold swim pace, or threshold run pace.  What should I target for my goal paces and power? Good question! For the bike you can use tools such as Best Bike Splits to help estimate the power required to do the bike course in a certain amount of time.  If you know roughly the power you need to sustain in the race then you can correlate that to a FTP number. For the swim you can compare your paces to the paces of your competitors. If your competitors are swimming 5 – 10 sec per 100 faster than you then you can set your threshold pace goal to be 5 or 10 seconds faster.  Similar to the run you can check out your competitors run paces.

When you have your specific goals set for the off-season the next most important question becomes “How are you going accomplish your goals”?  For the bike if you are not too familiar training with power you probably need to consider getting a training plan or better yet getting a coach.  For the swim if you are swimming between 1:40 to 2:30 per 100 it would be a good idea to look at improving your swim technique. Athletic Mentors offers a video swim analysis and have experts on deck to help critique your swim stroke and will provide helpful tips and drills.  Better yet you can join a winter swim program to work on technique, speed, and stamina such as the program that Athletic Mentors offers. If you are proficient swimmer (under 1:40 per 100) then you can consider joining a master swim program to swim with other faster swimmers. Finally for the run you can join a run camp or if you are a experienced runner the best bet is to hire a triathlon coach to help optimize your running while balancing the other disciplines during training.

Finally if you fall short from hitting your off-season goals don’t sweat it you have time during the race season to continue your improvements.  Remember that the most important question is that “Are you faster than you were exactly one year ago from today?” If that answer is “Yes” then you made progress which is what all endurance athletes are striving to achieve.


2018 USAT Age Group National Championship Race Report

December 3rd, 2018 by Marie Dershem

Written by Brian Reynolds

The 2018 USAT Age Group National Championship took place in Cleveland, Ohio this year.  The olympic distance event was an “A” race for me. After an off-season of working hard on improving my swim and a summer filled with great training sessions, some fast new equipment, and improvements in every discipline, I was ready and excited to peak for my “A” race.  I was excited to race because my summer training was going really well.

Here is how my day unfolded at Nationals on August 12th, 2018.

Swim

The drama before the swim was waiting to find out if the swim was going to be wetsuit legal. The day before the water temp was 78.5 deg F and the wetsuit cutoff is 78 deg F so it was going to be a close call race morning.  On race morning the water temp was 75.8 so it was wetsuit legal! I was happy it was wetsuit legal because it would help neutralize the advantage to the strong swimmers. There were a fair amount of waves in Lake Erie, which made it a tough swim.

I started in the first wave, which was helpful because I knew who was ahead of me in my age group.  In past events, I’ve started later and never had a good sense of where I was compared to my competition.

My plan for the swim was to get out strong and try to catch the draft behind the strong swimmers.  However during the race it was very difficult to stay on anyone’s feet for more than a few seconds without getting pushed off course by the waves.  I was working harder during this swim than any other swim this year. It didn’t help that the swim was around 200 to 300 yards long. Although it felt like I was giving up a lot of time to the leader, I was only 1:10 minutes down from the leader. This was the closest I’ve been to the leader coming out of the swim at Nationals. I was in 17th pace after the swim.

T1: Swim to bike

The swim to bike transition was long.  It was roughly a 300 yard run from the lake-shore to transition. I had a smooth transition besides my helmet visor being super foggy.

Bike

When I got onto the bike my legs were feeling good and I was able to get up to power quickly.  I passed 8 riders within the first 2 miles of the race. After passing the riders, I could see the flashing lights of the motorcycle pacing the two leaders.  I used the motorcycle as my carrot to chase. I was quickly making up time on the leaders. By mile 5 I ca

ught up to the leaders. At this point I was excited because I’ve never been this close to the lead at a USAT nationals event.

I had to wait before passing the leaders because there was a sharp right hand turn.  As I made the turn I noticed that the road surface was very rough. There were several tare strips going across the road which prevented me from taking a more aggressive line into the turn.  Instead I took a wide sweeping turn to help keep my bike under control. Unfortunately I ran out of pavement and my front wheel hit the curb in the middle of the road. I landed on my right side and skidded across the pavement.  I had cuts on my elbow, hip, and hand. I would also find out later that I had bruised my rib and had a big dent in my helmet. A race volunteer ran up to me asking for my name and what event I was in to make sure I didn’t get a concussion.

My day went from an ultra high feeling of being with the race leaders to an ultra low feeling of being on the ground bruised and banged up.  At first the crash didn’t feel real because a month prior I had crashed my bike during the Tri Del Sol race.  I couldn’t believe that I crashed again!  As I laid on the ground I thought about dropping out and calling it quits. But after thinking about it for second I picked up my bike, re-positioned my dropped chain, fixed my helmet, and I got on my bike.

For the remainder of the ride I felt discomfort in my right shoulder area with every breath I took. I wasn’t able to ride at the same power prior to the crash, riding at 75% of my full capacity. Although frustrating, I knew that all I could do was give it my best effort. Even with the crash, I was still able to post my fastest bike split for a USAT Nationals event. My hard training had paid off.. I was in 8th place after the bike.

 

T2: Bike to run

My T2 transition was not as smooth as T1.  Coming off the bike my shoe fell off the pedal so I had to go back and pick it up.  As I ran through transition and picked up my run gear I was starting to notice more discomfort in my right shoulder.

Run

When I started running, my form was off due to lack of mobility in my right shoulder due to pain.  I was running 20-30 secs slower than my typical race pace and at  this point I was in 8th place. It took about 2 miles until I was able to settle into a descent run rhythm.  I wasn’t feeling too fatigued during the run since I wasn’t able to push myself to my full capacity. Thankfully I was able to run the 2nd half faster and picked up a few places to finish 6th in my age group.  I was proud of myself for finishing the race let alone finishing in the top 10. However, I was still bummed about not having the performance that I was capable.

If there was a silver-lining I can takeaway from this race it’s that unexpected things can happen to disrupt your race.  However, when the unexpected happens it’s your attitude that will dictate how much of an impact it will have on your race. A good attitude will go a long way especially, when you need to adjust your race plan and expectations.  During this race I was saying to myself “it’ll be pretty cool if I could still finished in the top 10” and I did! I still had something to chase and keep me mentally engaged during the race. At my next race my goal is to keep the rubber side down and that will be a win in my books.


Running through pregnancy

November 28th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Erin Young

 

The day before the big Rim to Rim to Rim run and totally oblivious that I was already a few weeks along.

I found myself relentlessly tired from weeks of epic running. I had flown out to Yosemite that spring break, to poke around and then over to Lake Sonoma only to be humbled by 50 miles of relentless “hills”. Two weeks later I ran (my face off!) at the Ice Age 50 miler in Wisconsin, gunning for top 10 in hopes of a ticket to the “big dance”. Just two weeks after that, my girlfriends and I took off for our dream adventure trip to the Grand Canyon for the 53 mile rim to rim to rim adventure to be covered in just one day. I played hard. I was living with no regrets, saying yes to everything. That all came to an abrupt end when I just couldn’t kick the fatigue. I was just SO tired. After weeks of rest and still whining, “I am SO tired”, my best work buddy slapped me with the ridiculous suggestion that I try a pregnancy test. I laughed in a way that now just seems so cocky. When she found me crying behind my desk, she knew she was right. And just for the record, those were tears of fear, not regret. Never regret. Fear because I knew that life as I knew it, was over. But life wasn’t over. This was great. I was going to have a little buddy to be part of all of these adventures! But running through a pregnancy isn’t easy. I found ways to make it tolerable, and even enjoyable. These are my suggestions for keeping it going and even making the actual birth far easier!

 

  • Don’t stop running! As soon as you find out you are expecting, make your plan to keep it going. Once you are out of shape, getting back is far more difficult during pregnancy. Be reasonable and make your goal to maintain fitness rather than gain. There has never been a better time to focus on building your aerobic base.

 

  • Remember that heart Rate will be elevated and you will breath heavier, even if you haven’t gained a pound yet. Blood volume doubles before the end of the 1st trimester, causing your heart to work harder

 

  • Don’t worry about going above a certain heart rate. It is a myth. You can run hard and race as long as you feel up to it. You will cut off your own oxygen supply before you ever take away from the baby. Trust me, I had an OB researcher to back me up on that one and I raced all the way through pregnancy!

 

  • Running in the heat is going to feel way more difficult. You will get hotter faster. I suggest early morning or treadmill runs in the air conditioning. Always carry ice cold water, or ground up ice with water. It will help you feel cooler.
  • Invest in a “belly belt”. They will help you run longer into pregnancy and give your belly and lower back support. I also continued to use it for several months after I had my son. This is a must!! Belly Belt This is similar to the one I got, there are many choices on Amazon. Don’t bother with the cheap ones as there is little support.

 

  • The Hoka’s sure are ugly, but they are the greatest pregnancy run shoe ever! Just look at all that cushion!

 

  • Running dirt trails felt so good compared to the road. Plus it is usually shaded and not as many people around to witness your walk breaks!

 

  • Have a running buddy! It helps so much to have a friend to motivate you. Some days were so difficult to roll out of bed. Having my friends waiting for me (sometimes in my driveway!) got me moving every morning before work. I was lucky enough to have a few who could tolerate my dropping pace. And when I was too slow, we ran on treadmills next to each other!

 

  • Strength train! You don’t have to do box squats, but 2-3 times a week in the weight room will maintain your some of your strength and make recovery easier. Plus, you won’t feel so terrible with the added baby fat that you WILL have during pregnancy.

 

Run as much as you want as long as you are comfortable. You know you better than anyone. The day my back and pelvis started hurting I halted to a walk and my son came that evening. I have no regrets about running during pregnancy. It was difficult, but making it social made it enjoyable and helped me feel more like myself. I realized that I wasn’t giving up my identity, but it was enhanced.

 

Now, running after the baby comes is a whole other story! The good news is that pushing the baby jogger really IS easier than having one in your belly!

My little buddy building his 1st two wheel bike


Bike Lights. Use them on every ride!

October 7th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Todd Anthes
(Athletic Mentors Multisport Team)

Bike lights have come a long way. It used to be the case that any decent unit needed a separate large battery unit. However, all but the “Seca” units discussed below have a self-contained small rechargeable energy source.

And given the rise of distracted driving, the proper light set up is no longer just something for rides in the dark.  In my opinion, lights are now a necessity on all rides.

I have three primary light set ups, as follows.  I tend to favor the Light & Motion brand, but given the output/lumens and other features, I am sure there are other acceptable options.

  1. The All the Time, Every Time, Set-Up (“ATET”).
  2. Whether it’s a bright sunny day or cloudy flat-light conditions, I run one of the Urban series lights on the front handle bar of my bike (https://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/urban), usually with the light under the bar, which is my personal preference. The light is set up in the “pulse” mode.  I have a number of these units, either 800 or 1000 lumens, and these are very bright blinking lights that can be seen from a great distance.
  3. On the rear I run the Vis 180 Pro (https://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/vis-180/vis-180-pro), strapped to my seat post. Even when I rode a tri-bike, I found a way to strap this to the aero post.  I always run it in the “pulse” mode, and you might think that 150 lumens aren’t that visible.  But try and ride behind this light in “pulse” mode in a pace line and it is blinding.  There are other settlings, but when in a pace line, I usually just turn it off. Note that some of the people I ride with regularly mount a Vis unit on their helmet.
  4. The “It Might Get Dark” Set-Up. I complement the ATET with one of two modified set-ups.
  5. If I am going out and my return might be at dusk, I put another Urban light in my jersey pocket. If it gets dark, I strap it to my handle bar on the other side of the bar from the “pulse” unit. I use the light in one of three of four intensity setting.  At the highest lumens setting, this will get me home safe if I have under an hour and a half or so left on the ride. The other settings preserve the battery life longer.
  6. If I go out and I know that it will get dark, I carry or pre-install one of the Tazi units (https://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/taz). I have a few iterations of this unit, but the new 2000 lumens Black Pearl unit is incredible.  It is brighter than a car headlight.  I usually strap this to my handlebar and on its highest setting, I can get an hour of really bright light. You can also mount a Tazi on your helmet but read below.
  7. The “It’s Dark” Set-Up. When I am leaving in the dark, and if the ride is going to be on a trail or involve a lot of turning, I mount a Seca unit (https://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/seca) on my helmet. It can be mounted on your bar, but this 2000 to 2500 lumens unit makes night riding like riding in the day.  The reason I mount in on my helmet is that the Urban units set on a low angle provide light 7-12 feet ahead of the front wheel, but the Seca unit helps me see around the turns. At its highest setting, which I rarely use, you can plan on an hour and a half of really really bright light. The Seca units also have a separate head band you can purchase that fits over a hat.  This a great for hiking or walking the dogs in the dark.  The Seca unit does have an external battery, but it is not that large and easily fits into my jersey pocket. I often run the cord under my coat or jersey and then into the pocket.

I ride a lot in “darkish” or dark conditions.  I am kind of a night owl, and often find myself heading out later than expected for a ride.  In the fall and winter, a proper light set up can make the difference between Zwift and riding outside.  And let’s face it, Zwift is cool, but we would all rather be outside . . . provided we can see (and are not too cold . . . but I have another blog on that).

 



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