Monday, August 31, 2009

I finished the 2009 Hotter N Hell Century Ride!

The morning of Hotter N Hell started off very early, 5:30 am to be exact! We had stayed at a hotel that was about two miles away from the starting line; we could have ridden or bikes or driven the car. Ginny and Andy, the two other people I went to the ride with had talked to our hotel neighbors and established riding was easier than driving so we gathered our stuff, got our bikes and headed out.

It was a cold morning, chilly really and the ride to the starting line was mostly downhill so the breeze was making the chill worse. It was still dark and very few street lights were lit along the access road. At one point a dog started barking at us, we rode by and I noticed out of the corner of my eye a glisten…it was his eye! He was chasing us! I shouted out to Ginny, “go faster he’s chasing us!” It was too early to have such a scare; we hadn’t even made it to the starting line!

As we got close to the starting line, we did what I did last year, found a side road and wait ahead of the start line and just eased in with what they call the “Scorchers” who are the fastest group. The starting line has approximately 12-13K cyclists all lined up. Not starting there is good for several reasons; I have less chance of someone knocking me over, I didn’t have to get to the starting line super early to get a good spot and more importantly, OTHERS were protected from ME knocking them over. (I’m not that great at unclipping from the pedals.) As we waiting we got to watch the Pro riders start which was pretty cool.

We noticed some non race riders were going after all the race riders had started but before the official ride had started. After a brief discussion about taking off with them, we decided that would be a good idea, start early - get done early. So off we went in the dark and chilly weather.

I started well; we were all together and going about 18 mph. But I am not the best consistent cyclist, I tend to slow down and speed up a lot. Looking down at my speedometer tends to make me go slower so I tend to just pedal and hope for the best, changing gears as necessary. After a few miles Andy and Ginny were ahead of me and I made no effort to try and catch them. I decided they knew I was capable of riding my own ride and I would see them at the end.

My strategy this year was pretty much the same as last year, ride to the 4th rest stop and stop if necessary, ride to the stop at mile 60ish, which is near Hells Gate or ride all the way to the rest stop near mile 80, then ride it in with no other stops. Well laid out plans are just that, well laid out plans, but reality rarely mirrors what is planned. The ride was absolutely packed almost until maybe mile 70 or 75. The first two rest stops were so crammed with riders on the side of the road and on the road itself we were at a near standstill going past each one. I had to unclip at each for fear of falling over and not being able to get my shoe unclipped in time. I got stopped by a train at mile 26. That was comical. Most of the riders around me were “Scorchers” so they were very NOT pleased to be stopped by a train. As the train ended, there was an ambulance coming which also delayed us a bit. Earlier there had been a man on the side of the road with a bloody head, I assume the ambulance was for him.

There were actually a lot of accidents and ambulances this year, many more than last year. Ginny said one lady was out cold at a hill they were passing and one of our hotel neighbors had a nasty scabbed up elbow after the ride, he said he got caught in a slow point and tumbled. I must have seen at least six ambulances throughout the race. Very scary.

I did well in not stopping at the rest stops though and did make it to the rest stop near mile 40. I stopped, got Power Aid and checked my phone. Ginny had sent a text asking where I was; texted I was at 40 but moving on. I assumed they were ahead of me since they had been ahead of me when we started. I stopped at mile 60ish, at Hells Gate, took some pictures and checked my phone again. Ginny said she was near the porta potties at Hells Gate. YEA! I caught up to them. So I rode around to look for the porta potties and didn’t see any. Texted Ginny back, “no porta potties at Hells Gate, going to 80.”

I stopped again at mile 80 to get more Power Aid and check to see where Ginny was. As it turns out, she and Andy were behind me, they got caught by an accident and had made a few more stops than I had. I put away the phone and noticed I was sweating profusely. I was oh so grateful for the cold wet napkin a volunteer offered me. After cooling off and eating a few pickles and bananas I got back on the road. My mantra all the way was “you can do it, just keep pedaling, you can do this.”

The last twenty miles was the hardest for me last year; this year didn’t seem as hard but it was still a struggle. The wind was terrible, the road conditions were awful with all the chipseal and my legs were very mad at me. Needless to say I managed to keep pedaling. I decided pedaling at 11 or 13 mph was better than not pedaling, my level of expectation at this point had greatly declined. I was fortunate though and managed to increase my speed to 15-16 mph for part of the last 20 miles so my overall speed was still about 15 mph.

Perhaps the best part of the ride had to be the last leg of road, I think it was around mile 90, the road became completely smooth, it was absolute heaven! And wow, could I go fast! I was cruising at about 18-20 mph! I passed the time during the last 20 miles by calculating in my head what the mileage equated to compared to White Rock Lake were I trained. “18 miles, that is just 2 rounds around the lake, you can do it….15 miles, that is less than 2 times around the lake, you can do it….10 miles, so close! Just one time around the lake, you can do it!” At about 95 there is the last official rest stop and a lady shouted out “just 5 miles left!” I had to giggle a little because I knew it was more than 5 miles, it is really 7 miles. The last 5 or in reality 7 miles seem like it took eternity to complete. But I did it! I rode in to the finish line and felt so good. I finished about 30 minutes over my time last year. Based on the level of training I did this year and the extra stops, I’m pleased with that time. I will never be the fastest or the one that can be out there the longest but I am determined to always do my best.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

2009 Bike Run Yoga Challenge: Get a FREE T-shirt!

Bike Run Yoga is my idea of the ideal Tri. The real concept though of Bike Run Yoga is more about doing events you love, not what MY ideal triathlon would be. (Although the thought of what my ideal Tri would be is how the company got started.) Also, it doesn't mean those three activities have to happen in a typical triathlon event process. It is about participating in events that show off what you love to do, to challenge yourself, to promote a healthy life style and to most importantly, have fun!

My friend Ginny and I just completed our century ride and I got to thinking about all the events I had completed or was planning on completing this year and how great it would be to have a Bike Run Yoga t-shirt that has on the back a list of all the events, like a concert tour shirt, to really celebrate all my accomplishments. It is tough to complete one event be it a marathon, triathlon, duathlon, century ride, yoga competition or other event. It is even tougher to dedicate the time and energy to complete multiple events in one year. How great would that be to be get a free t-shirt that commemorates all your efforts and shows off all the events you completed in one year?

Bike Run Yoga wants to help you celebrate your 2009 achievements! Come join us in the the 2009 Bike Run Yoga Challenge! Complete the challenge and get a FREE personalized event t-shirt that lists YOUR events for 2009.  Anyone that meets the requirements below can win. You still have time in 2009 to get a free shirt!

What does that mean? It means, complete all the requirements and get a t-shirt that lists all your events for 2009 on the back; the front will be the Bike Run Yoga logo; The events will be listed on the back with the name of the event and the event date.

  1. Make a commitment to the challenge (this means post a comment here and tell me you are doing the challenge)
  2. Follow/subscribe to Bike Run Yoga blog (that's THIS blog)
  3. For 2009, complete 12 events (Tri, duathlon, run, ride, swim or yoga event)
  4. FYI for 2010 - must complete 24 events
  5. Must be a finisher at the event (we use the honor system for verification)
  6. Submit your events,email address, full name and shipping address to Bike Run Yoga no later than January 5, 2010

Once your events are submitted, a Bike Run Yoga celebration t-shirt will be custom made for you and shipped to you in 4-6 weeks.

As an example, here is a list of the events I have either completed or will complete by the end of 2009. Join me in this exciting challenge and show off your

Tour Dallas April 4
Big D ½ Marathon April 5
San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon May 31
Too Hot to Handle 15K July 18
Hotter N Hell 100 August 29
Tour Des Fleur's 10K September 19
Susan G Komen 5K October 17
Light the Night Walk October 18
Texas Yoga Asana Championships November 8
Thundercloud Turkey Trot November 26
San Antonio ½ Marathon November 15
White Rock ½ Marathon December 13

Questions? click here to email me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Survived the Hotter N Hell Expo

My morning started quite, tip toeing through the house as to not wake my house guests. I quickly tried to check email and was distracted by a news story about a girl that had been abducted 18 years ago and had been living in a compound not too far from her family. As I pondered this tragic story I heard stirring in the house, time for coffee.

With coffee made and consumed, we decided to check the bikes and get them loaded on the car. Andy is a seasoned rider and checked all the bikes, oiled my chain and secured all the bikes, so nice! With bikes secured and ready, we decided to get ourselves ready and get moving.

Of course, Starbucks is always a necessity...what would a morning be without it? Two hours later we found ourselves in Wichita Falls, TX. Wichita Falls is a small Texas town that seems to be known for its air force base and the Hotter N Hell ride. And what a ride it will be!

Most of our day was spent at the expo. It was larger than last year with what looked like several new vendors. We quickly walked the booths, decided we didn't need anything, the walked around again, just to make sure. What I like about the types of things are all the free things you can get. We got free reflectors, water bottles,drinks, backpacks, Chomps, coupons, chapstick, nail files and even a jersey! Of course admittedly the jersey wasn't FREE, I did pay money to an advocate group Bike Texas but it is a good cause.

We ate the Hotter N Hell spaghetti dinner and sat outside admiring the great scenery. My friend Danny that I met after the last Hotter N Hell race caught up with us to say hi. It was good to finally meet him face to face, we have been friends on facebook since the last race. That is the great thing about the cycling community, you make great friends along the way. We even saw my good friend Steve at the expo, he had come with his riding group from Arlington.

Such a great day, full of busy and crazy fun. I'm tired now, listening to our neighbors and my roomies chat on the balcony of our motel room. I suppose I should be social..... Check back tomorrow for news on how the ride went.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Staying Fit Should be a Lifestyle, Not a Task

I believe staying fit shouldn't be a task or chore checked off a list each day, it should be a lifestyle. On a typical day I go to the gym, yoga class or ride my bike around the lake but today my exercise program consists of housework. And I'm ok with that, know why? Because daily activity can burn as many or more calories than a dedicated workout session.

I belong to 24hr Fitness and was fortunate enough to receive a BodyBugg free from the gym for getting training sessions. I used it for almost 6 months and found out some interesting things. I wore it almost every day, all day and found working at my desk was almost as active as sleeping, which was nill. Little things like walking while I brushed my teeth helped increase my overall calorie burn. This might seem obvious but how many people just stand there and stare at themselves in the mirror? I took the stairs instead of the elevator, I parked a little farther from store entrances, did every day house chores and did my regular workout routine. Yard work or vaccuming and cleaning was just as good burning calories as working out in the gym.

Now, not all general chores will equate to a gym workout. Total calorie burn depends on what chores you are doing and what exercise you are doing. But the end conclusion is a dedicated time to workout isn't necessary to have a healthy lifestyle. And working out doesn't have to be dedicated to just going to the gym or yoga class. Obviously I'm not buildng much muscle pushing a vaccum or cleaning the bathroom today but I am burning calories so I don't have to feel too guilty I skipped yoga today.

I've stopped using the BodyBugg. I found it was irritating the skin and since I exercise outside quite a bit, I was getting a very funny tan line. I know, vain reason. In the end though, I know what I need to know. I know how many calories on average I burn in a day, with our without exercise so I am better equipped to manage my calorie intake along with my exercise program. Here are some other things I learned - Working out at the gym results in modest calorie burn, cardio of course burns more, running burns more than cycling and Bikram Yoga? Couldn't get a good read, too sweaty!

Hope you find a way to integrate working out, whatever that means to you, into your every day life. Being healthy and fit should be something you are, not something you have to "do".


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just Staying in the Yoga Room is Sometimes Enough

I made it to Bikram Yoga today, a big feat considering my last few days. I am in my recovery week, gearing up for the Hotter N Hell century ride this weekend so I'm suppose to be taking it easy anyway but circumstances have thrown me for a loop recently. After having a bad ride on Sunday that got cut short after a lady yelling at me on the trails and feeling under the weather on Monday and earlier today, I managed to pull myself together enough to go to yoga. I'm glad I did, even if it wasn't the best class I ever had.

Class started off well, the first three poses were pretty solid. I started to feel nauseous during balancing stick, not a nauseous like I'm going to throw up, but a nauseous like my stomach was going to be "sour" the entire class. And I was sweating more than usual and that kind of worried me. So I took it a bit easier over the next few postures and made it to the floor series.

The spine strengthing series though, is all tummy down and that was putting excessive pressure on my stomach, only making it worse! I battled through that, did half tortoise and skipped camel. I aren't suppose to skip a pose. But in my defense, I was already in a comprised state. No sense pushing the envelop.

I stayed in the room and finished class so I consider that a win and a decent class. Not a great class but a decent one. A few things probably can be attributed to my class performance. One, I haven't been eating well. This happens when my life gets a little crazy, either I forget to eat or I just don't want to eat. Neither is good for having a good yoga class. Two, I wasn't in a good mental state. I was hoping going to yoga would clear my mind and give me some mental peace but I have a hard time focusing sometimes and my brain gets in the way of my soul cleansing.

Even so, I made it to class, I gave it all I could and I stayed in the room. Like I said, I am considering that a win. Tomorrow is a new day, a chance to start over and be better. Perhaps a better me is just a Bikram class away.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ran with Team in Training Today

I got up early today, 6 am, and ran with my Team in Training buddy Rhonda and her new Team in Training running group. Rhonda and I trained together for our first marathons in the Spring Team in Training season earlier this year and she has become a mentor this season to help others. I was planning on riding 80 miles today to prepare for Hotter N Hell next weekend but I have a kick off meeting for Light the Night in a bit and I wouldn't have been able to ride the full amount. So instead I opted to run six today and ride 80 tomorrow.

Today was a little harder than I expected. I contribute that to a few things, a little dehydrated from just not drinking enough water, not enough nutrition because in general I don't eat well and I had done zero cardio all week. The latter is probably the main reason and of course, the reason can NOT be that I am just plan out of shape. :)

I was impressed with the group, they all did a great job. Rhonda's group is much larger than ours from last season. Last season it was just Rhonda, Susan our mentor and me. This year Rhonda has 10-12 that run in her group. I think that is better, gives you more people to talk to and bond with and when you lag behind a bit it is less noticeable because of all the people!

As usually I sweated like a horse. Is that even a real saying? Do horses sweat? I think the real saying is "sweat like a race horse" or is that "I have to pee like a race horse"? Whatever, I sweated, A LOT! (This will become a running theme in my blogs, no pun intended! LOL)

Since I hadn't done any cardio workout during the week I was huffing a bit and I'm pretty sure the look on my face was not pretty. I tend to grimace when I run like I am in constant pain, even when I'm not. Which is so funny because when I do yoga I have no expression on my face, even when the posture is really hard. Different sports, different facial expressions I guess.

The lake where Team in Training runs was packed. It was such a nice morning I guess everyone took the opportunity to come out and get their exercise on. As we were coming back towards the cars I was stuck by a man that had the WHITEST teeth! His mouth was slightly open and against his tan skin his teeth really stuck out. It reminded me of the Friends episode where Ross whitens his teeth right before a big date and the glow from being so bleached. This guy had teeth like that! Made me laugh which I needed at mile 5 of 6.

Thanks Rhonda for letting me tag along today, great run. You have an awesome group of runners! Off to the Light the Night Kick Off Meeting!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Light the Night Walk - I'm Walking!

I’m helping raise money for cancer research through the Light The Night Walk on October 18th in Dallas, Texas. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is putting on this wonderful event to celebrate and commemorate lives touched by blood cancers. I first became aware of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) when I signed up to train for my first marathon through Team in Training. I originally signed up for the free training and learned so much more than how to run a marathon, I learned about an amazing organization that raises funds for important blood cancer research and patient services.

Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Many LLS-supported advances help not only blood cancer patients but those with other diseases as well. In addition to research support, the Society offers support groups, financial aid, information and advocacy programs for patients and their families.

The Light The Night® Walk is an evening walk where walkers will carry illuminated balloons to signify support and remembrance: white balloons for those who are affected by cancer; red balloons for supporters, and gold balloons will be carried by those who have lost a loved one to cancer. The Walk culminates in a community celebration with music, refreshments and entertainment-where friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers and others come together to demonstrate their support for cancer patients.

You can help support The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society too by walking, donating or both! Click her for more information on how to get involved. Light the Walk

If you can donate please do so here!

September is Yoga Month

Join in Yoga Month in September and try yoga for free! Go to to find a studio near you that is participating. This is a great way to find new types of practices or to get started!

Get a coupon at for a free week at a participating studio. If you live in Dallas, you can go to any yoga studio on September 7th for a free class, no coupon required!


Join millions of yoga and health enthusiasts at hundreds of events nationwide and around the world. Deepen your commitment to a healthy lifestyle by celebrating the transformative power of yoga with friends, family and your global community!

Yoga Month invites all styles of yoga to participate in an awareness campaign designed to draw attention to the many benefits of yoga and inspire our fellow citizens to live healthier, happier lives.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Taking a few days off

I have had a few hard days and haven't been working out. I know, working out probably would make me feel better. I considered that today as I was driving home and had decided I wasn't going to ride my bike; that I should go to yoga to clear my mind and refill my soul. But instead I find myself on the couch, with my legs sweating from the heat of my computer.

I've eaten two bags of gummi bears and haven't really moved since I got home. This can't be good for my health! I am rationalizing it by the fact that I worked out seven days last week and I plan on working out all weekend to prepare for my century ride in a week. So what is a few days off right? Don't they call that "getting ready for the race?"

Im my couch potato state, I am surfing the net and reading tweets. I see a lot of great tweets on twitter about the mind, body and soul and how exercise can help balance all that out. Nothing I don't already know but some days you just have to throw up your hands and give in to the sluggish side of the brain and take a break. I'm just glad I don't have any ice cream in the house.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I just got my WIN Sport Detergent from Amazon!

I just ordered on autoship sport laundry detergent and Shot Bloks and saved 15%! This might seem like a no-brainer to you, unfortunately I am a late bloomer and just got on the Amazon bandwagon during Christmas last year.

I really like the subscription/autoship option. You can get certain items at specific intervals at a discount, 15%, and free shipping! They couldn't make it more easy! A few months ago they had organic cat food as a deal of the day AND it was part of the subscription program so I saved another 15% ontop of the sale price, for the life of the autoship. I just adjust the autoship time frame from 1 month to as much as 6 months depending on usage.

Today I came home to a package, which I LOVE, and it was my WIN Sport Detergent! So exciting! Why would someone order detergent online? For one thing, it isn't easy to find and it comes in small bottles, typically 20-21 fl oz and it is expensive. The WIN Sport Detergent autoship comes with 8-21 fl oz bottles, which I figure will last me about 6 - 8 months so I set up my autoship for every 6 months. So easy!

And if you haven't tried WIN Sport Detergent, I reccommend it. It really cleans the odors out of fabrics, sport stuff and other things. My cat peed on my sheets one time. I poured some of the WIN Detergent on the area, washed it, came out smelling VERY clean.

I can't wait until tomorrow, my Shot Bloks should be in.

What stuff do you have on autoship through Amazon? What sport detergent do you like?

- Bike | Run | Yoga

Monday, August 17, 2009

What does My Gym do with My Money?

I workout at 24hr Fitness, I realize they are some what of a mass market gym but I I think a little maintenance wouldn't hurt their business. I went today for my trainer session and during my session one of the machines was squealing pretty loud. It made Jessica, my trainer, and I laugh. We both look around to try and see what machine was making all the noise. It turned out to be a machine behind us. The last time I was there it was an elliptical machine, today it was a weight machine.

What was funny was the noise was so annoying and he didn't stop. He FINALLY finishes and you would think people would stay away from it but no...someone else got on it! Seriously?! Can't you tell it is squeaky?

My only thought is why can't the gym more properly maintain the equipment so it doesn't squeak? Or fix the treadmills so the belts don't slip. Or fix the stationary bike seat. What do I pay for?

And where are the people that are suppose to clean the floors? Every time I go there are dust bunnies all over the floor, it looks like it is never cleaned!

Don't get me wrong, I like 24hr Fitness and would recommend it to anyone that wanted to workout but didn't want to spend a lot of money but they lack a bit of general knowledge on everyday maintenance.

Broom? $5.00..... Can of WD 40? $2.00...... Clean Gym? PRICELESS

The Week of Two Ten's

Here is an exert from my marathon experience earlier this year. My Team in Training group was running 20 miles this particular weekend and I was in Austin so I ran with my friend Ginny and we didn't like the idea of running 20 miles so it became our weekend to run two ten mile runs back to back. The mind is a powerful thing!

5/11/09 - The Week of Two Ten's. My friend Ginny and I are running the San Diego Marathon together at the end of May. She has been training on her own but matching the Team in Training schedule and decided to come to Austin with me to run 20 miles this past Saturday. In talking, we decided 20 miles was too much and way to overwhelming and we would rather run 2 - 10 mile segments. So it was the weekend of Two Ten's. Our first mistake might have been not running on Thursday like we were scheduled, instead we ran Friday morning. I wear so much technical equipment on my arms, I managed to chaff the inside of my left arm pretty raw. Who would have thought I would need Body Glide for just three miles?! I put Neosporin on it and tried to let it air out and at least scab over but I sweat so much I knew Saturday was not going to be very fun. Then, some how on the way down to Austin Ginny and I managed to damage ourselves even more, she with a pinch mark from the seatbelt that welted up and me with a large scrap on my leg. We looked like we had been through the ringer and we hadn't even run yet!

We had discussed our route and decided to stick close to Town Lake because several running stores provide water and it is fairly safe. It was abnormally hot and humid, only adding to the joy of running Two Ten's. Our plan was to run up Congress, around the capital, down to the lake and around the lake twice.

Somewhere around mile 14 or 4 of my second 10, I knew my knees were really mad and the remaining 6 were going to be pretty tough. But I was on the downward slope so I kept going. The nice thing about the Nike ipod sensor is the count down of miles so it tells you how much more you have to go. The down side is it tells you how much farther you have to go. Pushing the button every few seconds doesn't make it tell you less distance is very methodical that way. Mile 18 I realized I had gone as far as my last long run and I only had two more miles to go. That isn't hard right? Two miles, less than a 5K...easy breezy. As my watch beeps for me to run another 5 minute...I winch at the thought of picking up my legs one more time. My walk is more dragging of my feet and I notice my shoes are covered in dust from the trail.

I managed to get all the way around the lake twice and had about a mile left. I ran up Congress and around a few buildings, well, walked/hobbled around a few buildings and was never more happy than when the ipod said I had completed my workout! Such joy! I had made it! Two Ten's!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When riding slow is a benefit.

I love that Dallas allows people to have horses in the city. It is wonderful to see horses along the trails at White Rock Lake. What I don’t like is all the horse poop along the trails. If dog owners have to pick up after their dogs, why to horse owners not have to pick up after their horse? Horses make bigger poop and a lot more of it!

This was my thought today was I rode the trail around the lake. First, it smells. Second it is huge and takes up a good portion of the trail. At least dog poop is small and is usually just one pile. Horses seem to go and go and go. It was a long trail of poop today!

Besides the horse poop, today was a relatively calm day at the lake. Just one other thing caught my attention and that was the guy in front of me along mile 8 that blew his nose as he rode ahead of me. Now I know men do this, never heard of women doing it but maybe they do, but really, do you have to do it when others are around? For those of you that don’t know, this is where you hold one nostril closed and blow really hard through the other, blasting out the snot. This guy did this to both sides of his nose and basically blew snot onto the side of the road, then to add to it he spit, wiped his face and wiped his hand on his shorts. I’m just glad was I down wind enough to not get any overspray.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Today was a 60 Mile Bike Ride and Bikram Yoga

I’m suppose to be training for Hotter N Hell (HNH), a century ride in Wichita Falls, Texas in two weeks. It is suppose to be the hottest, most grueling century ride with gusting winds and relentless sun. I rode the full 100 miles last year and didn’t think the conditions were that bad, then I read it was a mild year. So I am trying again this year and started training, if that is what you can call it, after I finished my marathon earlier this year.

My friend Ginny and I are planning to ride together. Neither of us seem to be very dedicated to any century ride training schedule we found online even though we both searched and found several we thought we could live with. Life tends to get in the way.

Today in an effort to get myself ready for HNH, I decided I needed to ride 60 miles. I planned to get up early, ride to the lake and find my friend Rhonda from Team in Training, she was my running partner in training and she became a mentor. I knew they would be down at the lake running so I thought I would ride down and find her and ride my 60.

Here is a tip for you, when you set your alarm, make sure it is AM not PM! Ugh! Amazingly I got up on my own at 7 am so I hurried and got myself ready and was on the road by 7:30 am. I made it almost around the lake before I saw Rhonda. They were running 6 miles and almost done, I was riding 60 and had just started! So off I went.

The lake was really busy, Lukes, Team in Training, other running groups, families, casual walkers, hey all seemed to be out today. I managed to ride in and amongst the people without falling which I consider to be a big feat. (I tend to fall a lot.) I rode about 45 miles before I decided I wanted to stop but I had already told everyone I would ride 60 so I kept going. Every few miles I calculated how I would finish, ride around the lake twice, ride down Lawther trail, or take Lawther twice and go around the lake once. This managed to occupy my mind for some time.

On the home stretch, only 7 miles left and I’m headed back from Lawther. That last little bit seemed like eternity and my legs were burning but I made it. Sixty miles, three electrolyte supplements, four bottles of water and one granola bar.

You may be wondering if I just rode 60 miles why I would decide to go to Bikram Yoga. It makes me feel good and I’m a little crazy. Bikram Yoga is one of those things I can do even when I don’t want to and come out feeling great and glad I went. I love feeling clean sweat running down my body, it tells me I am taking care of myself. I love watching myself in the mirror going farther in poses, going deeper and watching my body do things I never thought it could. It is hard, painful, sweaty and darn hot but it is also one of the best forms of exercise I do. It is 90 minutes of me doing something just for me.

After 60 miles on a bike and 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga, a well deserved Mexican dinner was in order. I just got back from Los Amigos in Grapevine where I celebrated the birthday of my good friend Deanne. So yummy. If you have not been there, you should try it before urban development takes over.

ShotBloks, Gu, Chomps, Sport Beans: Which one is right for you?

Have you ever wondered what electrolyte supplement was best for running, cycling or general exercise? I have and I’ve tried many. The short answer is it depends on what you like and what works for you. The long answer? Here is what I have found out, hope it helps you find what is best for your exercise routine.

First let me say that before last year, I had never heard of Shot Bloks, Gu, Chomps or energy Sport Beans. I started with Shot Bloks and Gu when I was training for my first century ride. Chomps is made by Gu so that was a natural progression and Sport Beans was only after a fellow Team in Training runner had some and liked them. During my Team in Training experience while training for my first marathon I mostly used Shot Bloks. In general I use Shot Bloks and Sport Beans for running and cycling now. Chomps seem just like Shot Bloks and the package is harder to stuff in a fuel belt or pocket and Gu is a little messy.

Here is a run down of my opinions of each product.

Shot Bloks
Shot Bloks recently changed their packaging from a square package to a tube like package which makes it perfect for a fuel belt, pocket or pouch. Six Bloks come in each package, three is a 100 calorie single serving. You can take as many or as few as you would like but a standard serving is three blocks. When I put them in a pocket I squeeze the tube, separating the package into three and three and fold it in half. It is now a perfect size to go in a pouch or a cycle shirt. The package might “pop” and break a seal but it should be ok, if you exercise long enough to need two servings a broken seal shouldn’t matter. If you have some left over, you can put then in a zip lock bag or if you have a Food Saver sealer, you can seal the end. I love this because it saves the other blocks and they don’t get hard and dried out. You can cut a tiny slit in the seam the next time you exercise to make it easier to open.

Gu comes in a single 100 calorie serving. It is perfect if you are only plan on taking one serving of electrolytes. You basically rip off the top and suck out the gooey substance. You can roll the package as you suck in the Gu to squeeze out all the product. One negative is you have to use the entire product at one time; you can’t just have half a serving. As long as you need the full serving this is fine but the other products give more flexibility to use as much or as little as you need. I also don’t like the fact that the piece you ripped off and the rest of the packaging are separate, inevitably one ends up on the ground and I hate that. The good thing is if you accidentally leave it in your shirt and wash it, they was fine and are still usable, not so much with Sport Beans.

Chomps are made by Gu. The package is a small rectangular bag that holds two 100 90 calorie servings. I have had these before but like I said, they are similar to Shot Bloks and I find Shot Bloks easier to manage. I get the same energy out of them so I am sticking with Shot Bloks for now.

Sport Beans
Sport Beans are made by Jelly Belly and are pretty tasty which goes against everything anyone had ever told me prior to me trying them. (One reason it took me until this year to try them.) Each single serving package is 100 calories. I like these because you can “snack” on the beans and eat one or two or a whole handful. One downside I found out is when they heat up, they tend to melt together and stuck to the package. I had some beans in my cycle shirt and either I was heating up or the sun melted them. Also, unlike Gu, Sport Beans do not wash well, the package lets in water and the beans just gel together. Of course, I could just remember to take them out of your shirt but then what would be the fun in that?

All the products come in a variety of flavors with some containing caffeine for an added boost. Shot Bloks has margarita flavored ones with extra salt. I like to use these for my long runs or rides, helps replenish the salt I loose from excessive sweating. (Yes, I sweat a lot!)

I hope my trial and error in finding the right energy supplement helps you narrow down what is right for you. Here are links to the various products.
New Bag Styles