Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dress Rehearsal

Long ago, far before there was any hint of Iron Pol, there was another entity. Let's just call him Drama Geek Pol. This was one of my many roles in high school. You know, debate geek, forensics geek, drama geek. Oh yeah, I played football, too.

Any good performer knows that every show has its big dress rehearsal. The final chance to practice the performance without having an audience to see the little mistakes that are bound to happen. And any good performer knows that dress rehearsals rarely go perfectly. In fact, it is rare for ANY performance to be flawless. The key is to make it LOOK flawless. That's why it's called acting.

Fast forward about 20 years, and I'm still doing dress rehearsals. Today was the final big test run prior to Ironman Louisville. Though short of last weeks fiasco training, today's workout was an opportunity to redeem myself, and get that final boost of confidence about putting all three disciplines together. In short, a 5000 yard swim, a 90 mile bike, and a 30-minute run off.

Today, there were no map issues. There were no nutrition and hydration issues (well, at least as far as actually having it). There were no missing gear issues. The entire workout was completed and I've proven that I can get off the bike and start running.

Still, it was a dress rehearsal. So it is a given that there were lessons learned. Like the dropped line or missed entry that is bound to plague any theatrical performance, I experienced things that remind me that there is always room for improvement.

The two most problematic issues that I see center on my toes when biking and dehydration. The toe issue has me perplexed. And anyone who has some suggestions, feel free to start giving them. Every time I get up over 60-70 miles on the bike, my feet start to burn. Until today, I thought it was a function of rubbing. Now, I know the real cause. My toes are having circulation cut off and going numb. Basically, they are falling asleep. After hours of this, they start to feel like they are on fire. If I stop, remove my shoes, and massage the toes to get blood flowing again, I'll be fine for another chunk of miles. Unfortunately, the number of miles is far less than that first 50, closer to 20. Part of me says to leave the straps looser, but I know that can't be the proper solution. Besides opening me up to rubbing and blistering, power transfer to the pedals will be affected. So, I'm at a loss. Other than stopping on the course every few hours, I don't know what to do.

The other issue is more problematic. I'm taking in the fluids, but know that I'm being affected by electrolyte levels, primarily sodium. However, all the sodium pills I've found are too large for me to swallow. And just in case anyone is considering it, don't bother taking a sodium capsule apart and dumping it into a bottle of sports drink. That just makes a salty, nasty sports drink. Gatorade apparently makes a solution called GatorLytes, but they're only available through sports nutritionists. Unless they're handing them out at Louisville, that option is out.

So, again, anyone have any bright ideas. I'm at a loss. The one positive I do have is that I've been training with Gatorade and now Accelerade. On the course, they'll have Gatorade Endurance, which has a much higher sodium concentration. I'll also put some high sodium snacks in my special needs bag. If anyone knows of a good alternative to pills, I'd appreciate the suggestions.

In the end, the big performance is little different than a dress rehearsal. There will be more people watching. And there will be more tech support for the performers. But there are bound to be some mistakes. When they occur, what matters most is the response. As an actor, I learned to adapt to whatever was happening on the stage. Cover others who make mistakes. Change stage directions if the rehearsed actions won't work. But above all, don't let the audience know that something just went wrong.


a.maria said...

i get the same thing with my toes when i go around 20+ miles or so. if you find out how to fix it.. lemme know. so far, everyone just seems to think its because i'm gripping the shoe with my toes, if that makes sense.

maybe i am, maybe i'm not, but either way.. i feel your pain.

other than that though, nice work on the dress. i didn't realize louisville was in 2 weeks, thats awesome!! you're so money.

you're so money, you don't even know it!

Spokane Al said...

I fought hot foot issues for the past couple of years. Whenever the temps would start to rise just a bit after about 30 miles my right foot would start burning and then later my left foot would kick in as well. I had to stop and take off my shoes to fix the problem. It was a circulation problem and the metatarsal button support was what I needed. That keeps your metatarsal bones separated and prevents loss of circulation.

I solved the problem by going to a Specialized bike shop and getting fit for their Body Geometry High Performance Footbed ( ). I rode on a very, very hot century within a week of using it with no more hot foot issues and have not had that problem since.

Concerning your sodium issues you may want to try Hammer's Endurolytes Powder. I add a couple of scoops and they are tasteless.

I hope this helps you. Good luck.

hak said...

Al's solution to the foot issue looks like he's on to something.

I used to get numb toes in my left foot. My cycling shoe was the "correct" size according to the experts and sizing charts. Rock climbing shoes are also meant to fit snug, albeit snugger than a cycling shoe. According to experts in both sports, I was supposed to wear a size 43. I had foot problems start up anytime I wore those shoes for more than 30-45 minutes.

Eventually, I wised up and got a 45. It's a bit looser, but with some room for my feet to spread out in the shoe, I haven't had any foot issues.

Regarding the electrolyte issue: Have you tried the product whose ads you run here? (Hint: nuun)


1HappyAthlete said...

I've been adding Lava Salts to perpetuem and haven't had any taste issues....

tarheeltri said...

Try the Endurolytes Powder. I don't know about IM Louisville, but IM Florida last year advertised Gatorade Endurance, yet I'm 99.9% sure it wasn't Gatorade Endurance (which I trained with for several months), but either straight Gatorade or watered down Gatorade Endurance. Plan to be self-sufficient except for water.

Bigun said...

hot foot = tight shoe. I took out the liners in my shoes and can get another 10 - 20 miles before the pain starts. No socks nets me even more time. A great trick for INSTANT relief - take your feet out and pedal on top of your shoes for a few miles. Works like a charm, makes me want to go get those sandle bike shoes. Good luck!

Comm's said...

As for feet hurting, first you need to stop using ten speed pedals, those teeth will eat your feet up.

No really get fit correctly at a legit shop. I also will make fists with my toes (a tip from Die Hard) every so often and will ride with my big toe pointed up to take pressure off the ball of the foot.

Good shoes also help. Maybe a wider pedal like a Look Keo instead of a Speedplay (if that what your using)

Tri-Dummy said...

9 number?

Vickie said...

I suspect things will work themselves out the day of the big show. This will all be a learning experience, so whatever you learn can be applied later too.

Vickie said...

Oh, I forgot, the toe thing. Until I got new shoes and fitted for a bike fit and they changed the placement of my clips in relation to the position on the shoe, my feet went numb relatively quick. Now they don't. Maybe the clip location on your shoes has something to do with where the pressure is when you are pedaling. I suspect that it was something like that for me.

Vickie said...

Oh, another P.S. I do have the Specialized footbeds too, so maybe that will help. It has been worth the extra money right from the start. Transfers into a better run too.

GeekGirl said...

Have you considered Nuun? you can drop it in any drink and it only adds a tiny hint of flavor. It's got sodium, potassium, and the other important e-'s.

GeekGirl said...

Oh, and about the toes. i've found that flexing my toes backwards in my shoes, so that i'm pressing down with the ball of my feel, helps.