Tri Training Part II

Today I discovered a few things as I continued my triathlon and began my ski training. This morning’s workout consisted of my usual stretching and exercise routine, with a few extras added in, and concluded with some one-legged squats to improve my balance and strength for ski season. Towards the middle of my workout I began taking small tastes of the tangerine flavored PowerBar energy gel I bought yesterday at the shop. How to describe the sensation…
Now… when I was a little kid, my friends and I used to snort pixie stix up our noses. I’m sure that somewhere out there, amongst the contingent of children snorting pixie stix, was the developer of these gels. They are a pure, gooey shot of sugar right into the body. Even after a small tongue-full I felt a surge in blood sugar almost to the point of shutting down my system. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of the effects of this product on my body. I may incur a greater benefit if I were to consume it slowly after already having something substantial in my stomach to slow down absorption. Either way, I find that anything too highly concentrated in sugar or salt makes me feel dehydrated and drained, and I am not crazy for feeling this way. Following an internet query regarding the properties and synthesis of maltodextrin, I spent a large portion of the afternoon reading up on the digestion of sugars and the relevance of osmolarity in the stomach on glucose metabolism. Reading through this article prompted further research into sodium’s role in the body and the different kinds of ingredients used in sports nutrition products. It also fueled the train of thought (this train has been lingering at the station far too long) regarding the use of my degree for something other than wall paper and working on research in the field of Bioenergetics. Hey, I should head up to the University! Maybe there’s a meeting in the area! I should go to a meeting, or a symposium, or find a lab! Woah there; triathlon first, world domination next week.
At 6pm I biked up to Lake Meridian to participate in an open water swim training session. There were about 34 of us, decked out in all shapes and sizes of wetsuits and colors of swim caps. The lifeguards set up two orange buoys, 50m apart, out into the lake. Our coach, Mike, paddling around in a blue sea kayak, set us to work on a few different relay exercises. The first task for each of three groups was to create a chain where we each held onto the right ankle of the person in front of us, and swam up to the buoy. At the buoy we turned around and switched arms so we would hold the person’s left ankle, and used our right arms to swim. It was certainly like nothing I’ve ever done before, but an interesting exercise.
Being a generally solitary person, and never having done group training before, what I really gained was the experience of swimming, and swimming hard, but still trying to look where I’m going (maybe), amidst lots of other people. There will be 50 of us starting the Super Sprint distance all at once. I’m still not sure what to expect in a race environment, but at least I know some of the technical challenges I’m up against. I’m hoping the two past issues of Triathlete magazine I picked up at the library after training might assuage some of my confusion.
Oh, and as a last note, wearing the tri shorts over my swimsuit for cycling and running should work out fine. My cycling jersey over my wet swimsuit could possibly work for the run, if I can’t find a better alternative. I tested out this setup on my ride to the library and back home after the swim; the wetness in the shorts is manageable and while the crotch line of my swimsuit isn’t as comfortable as cycling shorts, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do for glory!

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