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Sunday, July 28, 2013

I am Maccabi Woman!

I earned a bronze medal!!!  I took third place out of 11 competitors ages 36+!  This was based on total time for four events in eight days, a 26 km bike time trial, a half marathon, an Olympic distance triathlon, and a 5 kilometer swim.  I feel great about my performance at all four events. More later, I just wanted to share my awesome news!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Maccabi Man and Woman Half Marathon

This is one of the toughest races. And, as I am participating in a four race competition, with a triathlon less than 60 hours later, I knew I had to run this race smart.

I knew this race would be hot and humid -- at race start it was about 76 degrees and at least 80% humidity.  And there were some hills.  And it started at 9:30 pm, an unusual race time.

The start was absolute chaos.  Not only were there 70 of us doing the maccabi man and woman competition, but there were another 1,300 Israelis in he general public who were running. The running corral was crowded and people were shoving to get to the front.  I really feared I would be trampled.  Those of us with Maccabi were supposed to start at the front with the general public following in 5 minutes behind. Instead, everyone started at once.  As I was at the front and not with the abilities to run with the lead pack, this means a lot of people blew past me. I guess I am lucky I didn't get knocked over.

With all the fast runners around me, it took quite a bit of restraint to hold back. And I knew that holding back would be important. If I went too hard I would risk sacrificing my triathlon on Friday.  I held my heart rate to zones 3 and perhaps a bit of zone 4.

Aid stations had plastic bottles of water, a little different from what I am accustomed to at races in the USA. We were also told that there would be "isotonic" fluids at two aid stations, in other words, an electrolyte solution. I wasn't sure how far out I would have to wait on the course for that, or what "isotonic" fluids in Israel consisted of, so I actually ran with a bottle  of my own usual fluid, Ultima Replenisher.  It's a good thing, because the isotonic solution was not available until 10k and was warm and not very palatable.

So, I had my own fluids to drink. To combat the humidity, I used the water bottles to dump over my head and keep my core temperature cool.

What I loved about the course was the crowds. They yelled "hol ha kavod" which I guess is the equivalent of "great job!"  There were lots of little kids along the way and I high-fived a bunch of them. Around mile 6 I was done with the high fives and focused on my race.

My initial strategy was to run 9:00 per mile. But given the humidity, I knew I would need to adjust my strategy.  I kept my heart rate in my appropriate zones, and whatever my pace was so be it.

I finished in 2:04. That's about 9:25 per mile. The important lesson - be ready to adjust your goal for unexpected conditions. I ran consistently, the second half about the same pace as the first. This was a successful day and I think I have enough energy to do well on Friday. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Maccabi Update

(I put together a post with pictures.  It will not upload). Sadly I am having issues that I hope will resolve soon. )

Greetings from Israel!

As I told you in previous posts, I am the captain of the USA Masters Triathlon Team and am competing in something called the Maccabi Man and Woman Competition.  This entails four events over the course of eight days -- a bike time trial of 26 kilometers (16.1 miles), a half marathon, an Olympic distance triathlon, and a 5 kilometer swim. 

I am staying in Tel Aviv. The seaside is a beautiful backdrop for a morning run:
The Mediterranean Sea and the old city of Jaffa are behind me.

The opening ceremonies were an absolutely amazing experience!  Over 9,000 athletes paraded into Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. Here I am as I walked with Team USA around the oval:

And here I am with triathlon teammates Ryan Landy, Brad Scher, and Howard Sklar:

Here I am at the Wingate Pool in Netanya for a practice swim:

 Here I am in the park in Tel Aviv for an easy morning taper ride:

Yesterday was my first event, the bike time trial:

Coming off the start ramp, we headed down a nice hill.  Racers started a minute apart on this out-and-back course.  and then halfway through we encountered a nice big hill to climb.  The out and back course had us climbing the same hill we coasted down at the start.

I knew I was well-trained for this race. Coach Gerardo has really had me focus on the bike with a lot of workouts with time trial simulation at the end.  And I had a new aero helmet and race wheels.  

And there I am climbing the hill to the finish. 
I really felt like I had a great race. I finished the 26 kilometer (16.1 mile) race in 46:57.  As the bike is my weakest of the three sports, I was not planning on winning, but rather giving my best effort. 

This put me in 11th place out of 19 women in my age group. That's pretty solid for this type of international competition. 

Today is a rest day since I will be running a half marathon tomorrow. 
This is the Carmel open market, with awesome produce.  I bought some bananas, plums, and nectarines, and enjoyed a juice made from fresh beets, carrots, apple, and ginger. Yum!

And then I rested (and blogged!) from the beach.

Tomorrow is the half marathon, which starts at 9:30 pm!  The late start is to avoid the hot weather of the day. Since my triathlon is only three days later, this will not be a hard effort. I will start at 8:45-9:00 per mile, and at mile 6 if I feel good I will pick up the pace, though keeping my heart rate in zone 3, or under 168 beats per minute. If the weather is hotter or more humid, I will alter my plan and run a bit slower. 

More to come after tomorrow's marathon. 



Monday, July 01, 2013

Is your blood pressure being checked properly?

Are you sitting on the edge of an exam table, having just rushed into the exam room, legs dangling, as the medical assistant inflates the blood pressure cuff?  Unfortunately, this is a very common scenario, and is the WRONG way to check a blood pressure.

When blood pressure is checked improperly, the systolic reading can be up to 14 points higher than the true correct reading!!!

Here is how your blood pressure should be checked:

--You are sitting calmly in a chair.  You have been seated in this chair for a couple of minutes.
--Your feet are flat on the floor, your back comfortably supported.
--Your arm is at heart level.  The arm is being supported, either by the arm of the chair, a table, or by the medical assistant who is supporting your arm.  You are NOT holding your arm up for the blood pressure to be taken.

This is how we do blood pressures in our office.  If your blood pressure is checked any other way, speak up.  You want your accurate blood pressure recorded.