Ironman Training without your spouse divorcing you – Full Vineman – Rhabdomyolysis.

I.- Training:

Conquering the 140.6 distance is challenging, but just as hard is putting in the 14 to 18 hours of weekly training for many weeks without creating spousal tensions. For many of us with a family, kids, and work it can seem impossible. Although I didn’t hire a coach for this race, I get a Triathletix ½ Iron distance coaching program two years ago, from which I learned some basic knowledge on periodization, recovery, race hydration, and tapering.

Thanks to an LA Tri Club Lecture event last year, I was able to meet Chris McCormick in person a few weeks before he won the World Championship in Kona. I asked him how things were different coming from being a single Triathlete to now being married with kids. ”. He smiled as he was signing my book and said “You come to realize the importance of Time Management, They (Family) do take a lot of your time, but at the end, it is all worth it.”

For me, any training from 9am to 7 pm would interfere with work. Training after 7pm would cut into family time, which could be a sure way to divorce or sleeping in the trailer. With my wife leaving to work by 7 am on most days, I found myself dealing with a toddler, a baby, the stinky diaper changes, making breakfast, dressing them up to take them to the sitter, and at times taking my mother-in-law to pre-op appointments.

So, time Management would be key. My plan was to train from 5:30 am to 8 am on weekdays and 5:30 am to 10 am on weekends. I know if you do the math it comes out to over 18 hrs a week even with a day off, but throw a baby and a toddler into the equation, and good luck getting uninterrupted sleep and workouts. Thank God for treadmills, bike trainers, Tivo, baby monitors, and DVD’s such as the Total Immersion DVD, and the DVD’s from The Treadmill and bike trainer may not the best way to train and not as fun as the outdoor environment, but for me they were the only way to get any training most days.

Some advantages of running on a treadmill is not dealing with the pounding of the hard pavement and you can get some good Hill training by running on levels 4-5. However, since you don’t get to run on a treadmill on race day your legs are not getting used to the pounding on the pavement, and you get 0 down hills training on treadmills. I did managed to get some of my long runs on the pavement. I bet there are many out there still running on level 0 on a treadmill, just like I did for many years, but I found it better to train at the 2.5 level to make up for the help you are getting from the belt. With time so scarce, I had no choice but to learn to adapt, I even got to complete my required Real Estate Continuation course by reading the books while running on the treadmill and working out on my bike trainer. My group rides were watching Le Tour de France for 2-3 hrs on the bike trainer starting at 5:30 am. As silly as it may sound, I actually wore my helmet on some workouts on the bike trainer to get my neck muscles use to it

Although I did not fundraise on this race, I use the LA Marathon and the Malibu triathlon as fundraisers by seeking friends and relatives to sponsor me. When racing is to race for “a cause bigger than yourself”, not only would my wife seem to be more tolerant of the time I spent training, but she also got involved in the fundraising process. Racing for a good cause also keep me motivated to train during times when I just didn’t feel like it.

I only swam 7 times in the last three months, with 3 of those swims being a Playa del Run, one Speed ocean circuit, and the swim at the Strawberry fields Tri. A few days before the race, I went to the email library and typed “Maui” by Ian Murray. A great swim report on his experience in swimming across the Maui channel (Sep 06).

It was hard to keep some routines at home, such as reading stories at night to my kids, as well as helping out with house cleaning. However, on recovery weeks I tried to step it up or catch up on this areas; a Spouse will notice these activities just as the notice the time spent training.

The fact is that relationships have their own issues with or without a spouse engaging in triathlon training. This sport is too great to have the straw that broke the camels back having a label “Ironman Training”. If conquering the 140.6 is a dream, it can become a reality, even if you don’t seem to have the time to train.

II.- Race day experience: Full Vineman 08

I felt healthier and stronger than ever. I would contribute this to skipping most of my scheduled workouts to catch up on my sleep during the week prior to the race, as well as a great massage from La Sports Massage, and a visit to my chiropractor.

The swim: I Drafted as much I could and focused on form swimming at a pace that I felt I could do all day. With a quarter of the swim to go I picked up the pace and drafted from swimmers who started two waves after I did. I ended getting stomach cramps with about 100 meters to go. They felt like getting punch on the stomach with every swim stroke. I think under training and going too fast of a pace at towards the end had something to do with this. I still came out of the water at 1 hr and 21 min

The bike: “Nothing new on race day” also means not taking in 1200 calories in the last 3 hrs on the bike, when you are used to taking in 200 calories an hour in training. I should have drunk more water.

The Run: I thought I was taking in enough water on the run, but halfway thru the run I had the urge to pee, but couldn’t. I got concerned and thought of that marathoner who finished the Boston Marathon, even though he was in pain, then ended up at the emergency room with kidney failure. I also I thought of that pro triathlete who quit the Ironman race in Kona, because of internal pain due to kidney stones. Since I felt no internal pain I decided to continue. Right or wrong I decided to only drink water until this changed. I also slowed down and spent more time on the water stations to the point that I did my 2nd of 3 loops 30 minutes slower than the 1st loop.

Can you say Rhabdomyolysis? After the race, I felt OK, but I went to the event’s medical Station and the Doctor said I was experiencing Rhabdomyolysis. I am not sure I would have continued and finished the race had I seen myself pee a reddish color during the race. The Doc said to drink a lot of water over the next 3 days and see my Doctor if it lasted longer than that, but the symptoms disappeared within 24 hrs.

I was so tired I that I wanted to get to bed as soon as possible. I thought, finally I will probably get over 8 hrs of sleep, but only to be awaken by my wife’s cellular ringing at 3 am. I was hoping it was a misdialed call, but thought of my mother in Law who recently had major Surgery. She was OK, but our 16 year old nephew was not. He had been a victim of a senseless random act of violence by being shot as he walked a friend home. I remember my wife was concerned that I would die during an Ironman race, but I told her months ago that I was more likely to be struck by lighting or being robbed and shot in the streets.

III.- Rhabdomyolysis:

One common symptom that cyclist doing a double Century, the Ultra Marathoner doing during a 50- miler, and I experienced the urge to pee, but the inability to do so, even though we felt like we were drinking enough water. I also experience no internal pain.

Symptoms :” Urine of an abnormal color appears different from the usual straw-yellow color. Abnormally-colored urine may be cloudy, dark, or blood-tinged.”

Definition :”Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage.”

Causes: “When muscle is damaged, a protein pigment called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream and filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into potentially harmful compounds. It may block the structures of the kidney, causing damage such as acute tubular necrosis or kidney failure. Dead muscle tissue may cause a large amount of fluid to move from the blood into the muscle, reducing the fluid volume of the body and leading to shock and reduced blood flow to the kidneys.”

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Take care.
Richard Valdez