I just left Hawaii after spending 6 days there and feel very lucky to have a chance to travel, see the sights, spend quality time with some great people, and challenge myself to 1) enjoy every moment of it, 2) re-define what I need to be enjoying, and 3) maintain a solid training program. Afterall, Ironman Canada is 5 months away, and each new day becomes more important than the day before.
I had a lot of successes on my trip, and a couple harsh realizations on how much more I have to work on. I decided to share some of these with you, for you and for myself, because I believe that self-admittance of weaknesses is the first step to getting stronger. Also, as far as travel tips go, I hope you find some new ideas from my experience.
Goodness, aka Success!
- I went. How often does one get a chance to go somewhere tropical in March? If you get the opportunity, seize it!
- I brought used running flat shoes with me for training, and threw them out in HI. I have way too many old running shoes, and this seems like a good way to get rid of an old pair, and make some more room in a tight-packed suitcase for the return trip,
- Ran The Beast 10K at the Marine Base Headquarters on East Oahu. Signing up for an easily accomplish-able training event is a good way to help maintain some sanity when you’re not in vacation mode, but in a place that’s foreign to you. Sure- you wake up early, get lost going across the island, and barely make the event, but hey, you get a t-shirt that says THE BEAST 10K. Signing up for the race early assisted in mentally preparing to accept training program alterations while away.
- I accepted that I wouldn’t get in the shorter workouts, thus pushing other workouts to longer distances. When it comes to vacationing with family, not every workout is a guarantee. So, run the extra mile or two, or swim past another buoy or two when you can- your family will forgive you if they end up waiting an extra 10 minutes or so.
- I bought supplement powder at the first chance I had. One of the, if not the hardest aspect, of traveling somewhere far is nutrition. Now, as you’ll see below, I wasn’t perfect on this trip, but taking the extra time to find the right store to get the right supplements is the right thing to do when trying to minimize what I’m calling Gastrointestinal Shock. Yes, you can bring your own powders from home on-board, but I was running low and didn’t want to take the chance of TSA throwing it away.
- I didn’t sign-up for a gym pass. I’ve been given suggestions in the past for buying a weekly membership to a box gym to use their machines or the pool. But, I opted out of this for good reason- A) Hawaii being Hawaii, running in the rain that we had was sweeeet, and B) even if wasn’t Hawaii, running/training outside with fresh air will always rejuvenate the body after being cooped up in a car or airplane.
- I didn’t train every day. We stayed active on the off days- snorkeling, hiking, motorcycling, aka cross training. When you’re not in your home training land, extra-curricular activities that aren’t Tri-specific still count! It’s when you’re doing those same activities with your bicycle looking you dead-in-the-eye in a disapproval that dis-harmonizes a training plan.
- I made the salad bar my new best friend. Now, I had a pretty big fail in the section below, which you’ll read about. But, one of the successes I had was with the salad bars that are at every restaurant. Between the loco moco, siamin, clam chowder, endless bread, and deep-friend everything, Hawaiian menu’s don’t favor an athlete’s nutrition plan. Luckily, the salad bar ingredients were always fresh, and if you go to a buffet style place, you can pack yourself a salad plate as high as you can carry. Also, fresh fish is always on the menu, which is never a bad thing.
Not-So-Goodness, aka Fail
- Syrupy Sugary Shave Ice. This is one of the biggest fails I’ve had in a time, and I’m going to put it up online. Not to tell my old coaching mentor, Jez, that he was right, but to say, ‘hey, I’m not perfect, I learned my lesson, and I’ll do my damn best not to let anyone else ever make the same mistake.’ In my years of training, I’ve never had a problem with any kinds of food that I used to eat. Now, at the time I thought I was relaxing and enjoying something that I hadn’t had in years- “Oh, I’ve been working out, my body will handle the sugar just fine, even while training I need carbs, yada yada yada” as I destructively inflated my own ego. I think, ‘I’ll post this online, encourage my clients to enjoy the “finer” things in life’. So, I put up a picture, try to feel normal as everyone else posts similar things once-in-a-while, and get some entertaining responses, including one from Jez mentioning my poor nutritional choice. Ah, sweet!~ I’m in Hawaii, Jez is in New Jersey and there’s nothing he can really do to slap some common sense back into me. It was like the feeling you would expect to have if you were a basketball player that could shoot and score over anyone- no matter how high your opponent jumped to block a shot, you were always just a little bit higher up – Untouchable. After-all, it wasn’t like I drove 5 hours to the San Francisco In-n-Out, right?
What quickly ensued was THE WORLD’S MOST PAINFUL stomach-ache. If using all caps doesn’t get my point across, let me say it was as if someone had started using my intestines for grip strength training. My entire abdominal cavity front-to-back and side-to-side stabbed with a cacophony of twisting, turning, sheering, ringing, punching, and burning all at once. It didn’t last minutes; it lasted for hours, upon more hours, from 3 pm through the entire night. Sweet Baby Jesus- I couldn’t stand up straight, couldn’t let my diaphragm move, couldn’t turn, could barely play darts that night with Kor and the family. Even writing about it now gives me PTSD stomach pains.
If I were ever to write a post with curse words, this section would look like this: !@#$! !#*$@ @*#$…, etc.
3 points to Jez, -11 points to me.
2. Washing-off sunscreen from your feet should involve more than a “wipe-down”. Again, I learned this lesson the hard way. After a day of snorkeling, I decided to return to the hotel for a final run around Diamond Head. Although I had put sunscreen on them earlier, my feet seemed dry, so I put on my shoes and took off without any problems. Got about 3.5 miles out when my feet were soon lit on FIRE. The suncreen had essentially prevented my feet from sweating, so instead of that leisurely run I had been looking forward to, I ran with the dryest/hottest feet I’ve ever had. I got some blisters, and it’s OK. One more lesson for the books, and one more discomfort I may encounter during IMCanada.
3. I didn’t do enough research driving to the Beast 10K Run location. I had been looking forward to this event for several reasons- I’ve been feeling strong, I got some cool new gadgets for Xmas last year, and who wouldn’t want to do a race on a marine station called THE BEAST? Truth be told, we fell short on this race because we didn’t learn enough about where the race was beforehand. Driving to the race, I got lost, really lost, and when that happens in Hawaii, your next U-turn area is literally halfway across the island in the wrong direction. I still did the race, beat and passed some other runners, but wasn’t able to toe the line with the competitive folks. I still got the shirt and the official finish time on the finishers list, but to say it was a race rather than a workout, just doesn’t work for me at this point.
I thought of 3 phrases that I’ll use for future training/race prepping mantras:
1: All the cool gadgets, running shoes and clothes, race fuel and race preparation don’t mean JACK SQUAT if you don’t get there on time.
2: Any race called THE BEAST is NEVER, EVER going to wait on you.
3: Iphone Maps suck.
So, there you have it! I learned some other things not included in this note, but the plane is going to land soon and that’s what I care to share. Mahalo!