Friday, June 17, 2016

Fun With Taper Week - Pantyhose Experiments and Wasp Stings

I have Xterra Lory tomorrow and the weather forecast is for HOT.  High of 90, probably will be around 80 when I finish my race, mid to upper 70's when I start the run.  Doesn't sound terrible but the course has no shade and there are no water stations on the run for the 3 1/4 mile stretch that includes the steep, long hot climb and steep technical descent.  If the forecast is for hot I carry a water bottle to splash water on me and this is a huge help but also a pain to carry.  Last year I stuffed ice in my hat and sports bra in addition to the water bottle and that helped a lot, didn't feel like I needed the water bottle.  But this took some time in transition and the ice in my hat barely stayed in, was lumpy and awkward.  When I explain my concerns to my coach she has the brilliant answer of ice cubes in panty hose stuffed down your jersey.  This is what the cool kid pro cyclists do. 

Now if you have engineer brains there are a million ways to overthink this and I'll spare you all my initial misconceptions of his this is supposed to work.  In the end I did a trial run with rectangular shaped bags stuffed as tight as I could and jammed in the front and back of my tri-suit plus a smaller bag with smaller ice cubes stuffed in my hat.  I ran for 20 minutes in the heat of the day but also had about 15 minutes warm-up/cool down and the ice had barely melted.  In fact it took several hours with the ice sitting in the sun for the bags to melt completely.  And I felt cool enough plus I can take the bag out of my hat to wipe water on my face and neck whenever I want.  Though when I tried this on my test run I dropped the bag onto the dirt trail and ended up picking dirt out of my head for the rest of the night.  And it would have made a terrible mess if I tried to wipe it on my face.  So I know to be careful of that during the race.  Also I used way too much ice and the bags were lumpy and awkward.  I'll cut down on the amount for race day.

Next question was will the ice bags stay cool in my soft sided cooler until the run?  Or do I need the hard sided cooler which will be a pain to lug to transition and take up a bunch of room in a tight transition area (race is sold out)?  This called for more experiments.  I left bags in both coolers sitting in the hot midday sun and after 3 hours the bags didn't melt at all in the hard sided cooler and had melted a bit in the soft sided cooler but there was still plenty of ice left.  So the plan is to put a bit of extra ice in each bag and used the soft sided cooler.

I bought an ice cube tray that makes small cubes so the bags won't be so lumpy. 

Overstuffed a bit to allow for melt-age.

I'll do two more, one for my back during the bike and another for the run.  The stupid dumbass things we obsess over during taper week.

It seems there's always some weird, black swan type thing that happens during taper week.  You know something's coming but you have no idea what it will be.  For me it was stepping on a wasp in my house at 1:00 in the morning.  I got up for a glass of water and Lola insisted on going out which means Strummer insists on going out and while I was opening the screen door for the dogs to go out, I felt a sharp sting on my foot.  It was too painful for a simple goat head or other sticker thingy and when I looked down I could see the wasp still in my foot and I saw my race flash before my eyes.  How am I going to run with a swollen, sore foot?  I swatted it off and this whole display sent Strummer running to his crate.  Nope, didn't see that one coming.  Got the stinger out, washed the puncture site and put some ice on it because it was already starting to throb.  I've had a severe reaction to a wasp sting in the past but also mild reactions more recently so I wasn't sure what would happen.  I went back to sleep with the cold pack on my foot and hoped for the best.  Thankfully today there's no pain and only a very small, barely noticeable bit of swelling.  Normally I'm not a fan of icing injuries but in this case it seems to have worked.  Or maybe I never got that much venom.  I suspect the wasp was sleepy or maybe near dying if he was lying on the floor.  Jonny supposes the wasp was up near the top of the door and when I opened it for the dogs it fell to the ground.  Who knows.  Just glad it looks like tomorrow is a go.  Excited for the first real race of the season!

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