Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in review 2010

2010 Year in Review
Total Yards Swimming: 483,506 yards -> 2009 = 358,615 (+35%)
Total Miles Cycling: 6,714 miles -> 2009 = 6,821 (-2%)
Total Miles Running: 1,803 miles -> 2009 = 1,358 (+33%)

Average Weekly Yards: 9,300 yards
Average Weekly Bike: 129 miles
Average Weekly Run: 34.6 miles

Total Hours: 730 hours
Weekly Hours: 14:00 hours

1) Set a half-marathon PR of 1:21:29, mostly due to the fact that I had never raced a half before
2) Set a marathon PR of 2:58:55 on a tough-as-a-mother course also due to the reasons above
3) Improved half-ironman PRs (on same course as 2009's races) to 4:21:51 (4:49:00) and 4:23:33 (4:33:58) at NOLA 70.3 and WL Half, respectively.
4) Won my first two (and only two of 2010) bike races since College on the same night, garnering an astounding prize purse of 100 big ones. That same night, I rediscovered how badly I could make my legs hurt, twice!
5) DNF'd my first Ironman (and biggest race thus far) at Louisville, KY.  I've said it before, but that really sucked.  The rest of my year was kind of a letdown despite some good performances.  Motivation was low.
6) Won my first race: Cane Creek (Try Sports Developmental Series).  That was a fun race, no matter how I placed.
7) Competed in my first multi-day triathlon event with Woody, Fletch and Lisska and completed an Ironman (with extra swimming, gross) at White Lake.  While the locale was not ideal for multiple attempts the race was a lot of fun (but only in hindsight).
8) Discovered that I love swimming.  Sort of.  With certain conditions.  Depending on the day.  Potentially dependent on how fast I'm going that day.
9) Set several bike split benchmarks of 2:15:57 for the 56 mile half-ironman distance and 58:03 for the almost 40k distance (NOLA and Stumpy Creek).
10) Improved half-ironman run split by about 5 minutes to 1:32:17 from 1:37:34 (both at NOLA actually).
11) Compiled an amazing year in review list

Soon to follow: Part II will be "Where I stand right now?!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dropping Bombs

S: 8500 yds
B: 63 mi
R: 37.5 mi

Time: 10.7 hrs

Not a lot to report this week other than on Sunday I hit my 26th birthday.  I missed one run this week but got in an extra ride (accidentally).  I got a little excited about having a new piece of cycling gear to use and geek out over (as if I needed more!).  This particular little item will hopefully allow both myself and my coach to really bring out the best in me in terms of my cycling abilities next year.  Not just my cycling abilities actually, but also my ability to run well off the bike due to better bike pacing in long course racing.  That way I can run like Woodbury and not like Behme!  Or maybe find a happy medium in between the two...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last week of being 25

S: 5500 yds
B: 37 mi
R: 42 mi

Time: 9 hours

I don't usually like to make excuses but I think this week's numbers were directly affected by my lack of ability to see properly on Monday on Tuesday.  Most people would like describe vision as their most important and dearest sense and when that is jeopardized everything else becomes less important.  When I was buying new contact solution last Friday I inexplicably chose the store brand when for the last 15 years I have ALWAYS purchased the "name" brand recommended to me by my doctor.  Apparently some store brands use different preservatives and as luck would have it on Sunday of last week I began to experience the downside of being cheap.

Monday was pretty bad as my right eye (and left eye as well but not as strongly) suffered an allergic reaction to the preservatives found in the solution.  Sunday had also been a pain but I assumed it was because I had stayed up late with my contacts in and so consequently wasn't overly worried about it.  I went to bed at 10pm on Monday night with the hope that sleep would heal all evils.  Consequently I did not work out at all on Monday.  Tuesday morning brought with it similar feelings and I realized I had to go to the eye doctor.  As much as I hate going to the doctor my eyes are pretty important to me and are worth keeping healthy.

Luckily, the fix was easy (steroid drops) and by Tuesday afternoon I was feeling MUCH better.  I went for a swim and then my week progressed as it normally would (except for less swimming than normal).  I crammed a bit with running (ran Wed-Sunday but had one double) only had one bike ride (~2 hours for 37 miles with 3x2 minutes of very hard work) but felt like I salvaged what could have been a much worse week (in terms of training and health).

On a happier note, it looks like I'll be joining the Cervelo squad for 2011 (sadly not as a sponsored rider - surprising I know - but as a customer) so hopefully my bike splits will to continue to amaze all those around me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Week 49

S: 11,200 yards
B: 0 :(
R: 43 mi

Time: 9 hours

Well, not a whole lot to report this week. My running went great; I had four weekday runs totaling 31 miles including one little "workout" of 4x400 in 1:28-1:30 done on the roads using my garmin as a guide for stopping and going.  Also got in a great long run with a huge group on Saturday morning at Mcalpine.  There were some faster miles in there but it was mostly a nice loping pace on the soft surfaces.

I inexcusably missed riding my bike this week; this is the first time all year where I haven't logged any saddle time at all.  I was supposed to ride on Sunday but due to the combination of several factors: allergic reaction in my eyeball (because I stupidly changed my contact solution), super cold day on Sunday morning, and last but not least staying up a bit too late on Saturday night.

Pool time was good but not great and I had one pretty stellar workout with Scott on Thursday.  Unfortunately on Thursday through Sunday the MCAC was closed due to a weekend swim meet so I missed out on all that time in the pool.  Gee darn!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Laziness abounds

S: 11,500 yards
B: 30 miles
R: 21 miles

Time: 8.3 hours

Well, this week was all about indulging in the greatest of human abilities: apathy.  I had a lot of intertia this week and refused to get off the couch on Thursday and Friday.  Had two good swims on M/Tues and a great run on Tuesday as I helped out Jackie with a marathon workout (3x3 miles at 6:50 pace) that ended up being a few more miles than I really wanted (14) but it all worked out ok in the end...

On another note, I've been talking a lot with Brian Stover of Accelerate3 coaching and I think that is a route I'd like to take for next year (  If my end goal in triathlon is to reach whatever potential I may or may not have then I think it's best - especially in these early "formative" years - to put my training in the hands of someone more capable than I (as impossible as it is for me to admit that ANYONE knows more about anything than I do I think I should in this instance...) and hopefully my "abilities" (loosely used ) will increase exponentially.  Nothing formal as of yet but I'm pretty excited about the possibility of working with a coach as it's always something I've wanted but could never justify.  Even now it's tough to justify the expense of a coach as triathlon is still just a hobby (and maybe it always will be) but if the goal is to improve then it's important to take steps to reach that goal.

This next week will be about getting back into a regular routine and just kind of enjoying unstructured training, as when Brian gets in control that will change quickly!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another super duper exciting weekly review!!

S: 15,200 yards
B: 80.5 mi
R: 40 mi

Time: 14.9 hrs

MMMMmmmm, some delicious swimming this week.  When I say delicious I really mean it because the taste of chlorine is so good once it hits your lips; SO GOOD!  I had one real workout that had me seeing some stars and the rest was a mixture of filler, drills and light workout type stuff.  One of my favorite swims was on Sunday when I was at the Dowd YMCA and saw a lady who I haven't see in some time.  It's always nice to see a familiar face and this time was no different.  She looks middle-aged (maybe around 50?) and she's pretty short and wears a one-piece bathing-suit that looks like it's from the 1950s.  Unlike most "swim suits" this "bathing suit" had a lot of coverage.  She walked in and - as usual - jumped into the lane (no goggles or cap) on the wall and began her regular workout of holding on to the side of the pool and dipping her head under and coming back up, simulating what I assume to be pull-ups (I'm probably being very generous here...).  She completed some number of these and then left to go back to the women's locker room.  Several minutes later, she reappeared and began the process anew.  She has the strangest routine of any regular "swimmer" I've seen at the Y.  Makes me glad I now have the option to go to the MCAC.

Dominated some roller action on Tuesday night while spectating the Inside-Out trainer ride.  I averaged a staggering 23 mph!  Unfortunately for my ego, with no resistance it's rather easy to average a high rate of speed on rollers.  I also got back on a mountain bike on Saturday morning with Behme and Fletch.  Due to my lack of experience (both long-term and recently) on the mountain bike my legs felt fine but my hands got so tired after only an hour-ish of riding!  I was practically cramping at the end of our third lap on non-technical, albeit rooty, trails.  I also did a longer ride on Sunday with a nice group that was nice and easy with amazing weather.

Running this week was just about building the volume back up a little bit; no workouts of any sort and a long run of only 10 miles (although the average pace for this 10 miles was under 7 min/mi...).

All in all it was a good week, hopefully more swimming and running building will come in the future.  If I don't go crazy or die first, I'd like to string together 5-6 weeks of 20k+ swimming and 55-65 miles of running before February.  That'd be some excellent building for a fruitful 2011 season!! w00t

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 46

S: 12,600 yds
B: 75 mi
R: 36 mi

Time: 12.7 hrs

Managed to bounce back after a down week fairly well although I was pretty tired early on in the week.  All the spectating down in Panama City (4am-10pm day!) really wore me out and my one weekly run meant that I was sore in the ol' leggies for this week.  I managed to get in a good 10 mile tempo workout at the Spencer Mountain 10 miler on Saturday morning, which made my legs even more sore!  Although I think now, by Tuesday, they've calmed down a bit.  I also had a nice 'n easy long ride with Melissa and Jason on Sunday.  I hadn't ridden since Tuesday (12 days before) so it was nice to finally get back on the bike and enjoy the nice weather!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Almost no training week

S: 8,820 yds
B: 70 mi
R: 6.8 mi

Time: 6.8 hrs

Not a lot to say this week; I had been planning on a down week and the trip to Florida seemed to be a perfect excuse to not do very much as far as training goes.

I got in a fun open water swim with the wetsuit in the Gulf the day after the Ironman in perfectly clear, cool and calm water.  Other than that, I really didn't do very much this week.  I rode long on Tuesday by myself since I knew I wouldn't be biking while I was down in Panama City so that was a good ride.  Next week I'll be looking to get the swimming back up to par and I also will be doing the Spencer Mountain 10 miler road race.  I'm not looking for much there, just a nice hard workout.  I don't expect to be very fast.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quick Update

Swim: 12,000 yds
Bike: 90 mi
Run: 40 mi

Time: 13.5 hrs

Swam Monday-Friday again this week, nothing special in that department.  I have a lower week coming up but after that I'll be kicking it up into another gear (well, from 4th to 4th and a half gear) soon thereafter.

Biked three times this week but no long-ish rides.  We were too tired from the Halloween party on Saturday night to do anything of significance on Sunday so our ride was short but hard.

Had two light workouts on the run this week and have been feeling pretty good lately.  I had a fantastic run on Saturday and I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that the weather has been glorious lately.  w00t!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 42

S: 12,500 yards
B: 103 mi
R: 40 mi

Time: 14.4 hrs

I was going to write something insightful, witty, and amusing but felt a remarkable lack of creativity and motivation so decided to do nothing of the sort.

Swimming was consistent again this week; got in a little bonus yardage since I actually got to swim with other people a couple times (suhweet).  Didn't have any remarkable workouts and it was a lot of "junk" yardage but for me there really is no such thing.  The only junk yardage is when I fail to swim as that means that I'm junking my potential.  That was weak, I know.

Rode a couple of times this week but nothing remarkable with a long ride of a little over 60 on Saturday up in Davidson.  There were some real solid efforts in there and I managed to hold about 700 watts down Deal Rd into the wind.  How do I know it was 700 watts you may ask?  Well, my new powermeter told me's the brand new model and it's called my brain.  Another weak one, apologies.

Running was actually a bit different this week since I did a fartlek on Tuesday and a hill workout on Thursday.  I also did 10 miles (of 11) at 160 bpm (plus or minus a couple) on Sunday that felt fine but weren't as quick as I would like.  Onto next week!

Monday, October 18, 2010


S: 12,000 yards
B: 103 mi
R: 35 mi

Time: 13.9 hours

Switched into the next gear with swimming this week as each of the five swims added 2400 yards to the log.  That'll be the gold standard for the next two weeks as well before (hopefully) shifting another gear and making my way up to 14k/week for the month of November.  Long term goal is to be up around 20k/week before really getting into the triathlon season next spring (whenever it may start!).  I know it's a lot, but if I want to be competitive near the front of the amateur ranks I need to take it up another notch.

The only bike time I logged this week was in Sunday's Tour de el Amigo (verbose recap on its way for tomorrow!!).  This is an sort-of annual ride that works a lot like the Saturday shootout (sprint points, KOM points) but also adds the eating/drinking challenge at mile 70 when we get to El Amigo.  It was a fun time and a good ride and in all honesty I wasn't nearly as fatigued at the end of the ride as I thought I'd be.  I had been worried my bike fitness tailed off rather sharply post-Louisville but it appears to still be lingering.

Didn't do much in the way of workouts this week when it came to running since I wanted to recover from Triple-T as well as possible.  That being said, I ran 5 days in the week and that included one double so the 6 total runs meant this week was perfectly average.  Next week the mileage will bump up to 40 and by December I'd like to consistently be in the 50 miles/week range with a potential attempt to bump it up to 60-70 miles/week for a little bit just to see how it feels leading into an early half-marathon (Corporate Cup?).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

American Triple-T White Lake Part II

So, to continue this "race(s) report," let's move on to the tough races.  For each of these final two races, mental motivation became one of the most important aspects of a successful preparation.  To put it mildly, this was pretty difficult.  Once we finished the Saturday morning olympic race (at just before 10am) we had 5 hours to recover, re-energize, and refuel (sorry Gatorade) for the Saturday afternoon race.  The format was obviously a bit different than your traditional swim/bike/run triathlon as this one put the bike first.  It greatly changed the dynamics of the race itself, mainly because the shift from grinding it out hard on the bike (where your body is vertical-ish) to sputtering on the swim (where your body is horizontal) can really cause some serious cramping.

Saturday PM Olympic (40k, 1.5k, 10k)

Bike - 1:00:59 (2nd)

Leading into this race I (and I assume Fletch as well) had no real idea how my body was going to respond to this 40k (well, 25.2 miles actually) team time trial.  Since we were registered as a "team" we were allowed to draft on the bike course, which made for a much better experience.  We alternated long-ish pulls (8 minutes) for about the first half then shifted to shorter pulls (4 minutes) once we got closer to the finish.  This may sound like an overly long pull strategy but it felt right and we didn't want to kill ourselves on this bike ride by doing 1 or 2 minute pulls.  We had a couple of solo athletes (well, one in particular) that were drafting off of us for a portion of the ride until we put the hammer down and dropped him and this was just a singular example of a common theme at this race.  There was a lot of drafting due to limited enforcement (there were zero marshals unfortunately).  Nature of the beast.

T1 - 3:03

This took a lonnggg, long time because we both had to put on our wetsuits (difficult when you're sweaty) and then run (in a full sleeved wetsuit) about 200+ yards to the end of the dock to jump into the water...

Swim - 27:03 (12th)

Jumping into the water felt absolutely AMAZING.  I was pretty much just hoping to survive the swim without cramping; I managed to accomplish that, but barely.  I didn't cramp during the swim but I did cramp a little bit on the run into transition.  There really isn't much to report on the swim; I couldn't quite keep up with Fletch but that allowed him to do some backstroke and loosen up for Sunday!!  Once out of the water and up on the dock I ran slowly and then experienced some minor cramping in my adductors that I stretched out before getting into T2.

T2 - 1:32

Stripped off the wetsuit, put on the shoes, hat and sunglasses and headed out onto the run with Fletch.

Run - 43:18 (15th)

We started off pretty easy and progressed each mile.  Fletch was really working me over on this run as I think I went a little too hard earlier in the day and the swim might have taken a bit more out of me than it did him.  Suffice it to say, I was suffering quite a bit on this 10k.  Luckily enough, we managed to finish and place decently and be in a solid second place team by the end of 3 races (halfway done!).

Sunday AM Half Ironman (1.2, 56, 13.1)

Needless to say, waking up and getting going this morning was a little tough.  Since the race started at 7am, we knew it would be freezing at the start and waking at 5:30 was...miserable.  The motivation factor was pretty low, but we knew we only had one race to go - albeit a half ironman - so we gutted it out, got dressed and headed over to the start.

Swim - 35:49 (19th)

Well, the changed course made for a super long swim this morning.  I felt pretty normal throughout this swim and once again couldn't keep up with Fletch so I expected a slow time but dang!  This is my slowest half-ironman swim ever!  Interestingly enough, every time I've come to White Lake to do a half I've gotten slower: 31:59 '09, 32:08 '10, 35:49 '10!!!

T2 - 4:10

Take off wetsuit while freezing (my entire body was steaming), put on socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, arm warmers and grab gus before finally heading out; all the while Fletch was standing there shivering!  Out of T2 in 40 minutes, a new low!! (or high I guess)

Bike - 2:30:46 (5th)

I felt pretty terrible once we headed out onto the bike ride.  Fletch and I alternated 10 minute pulls through about 40 miles, so the rhythm of the first hour or so was well established and pretty slow.  I was pretty cold for a while even though I had the arm warmers and gloves on and took a long time to warm up (my toes never did).  We didn't see many people for a while on the glorious bike route and when we did finally catch people they stuck around us for a long time.  We got to the out/back and never even saw Kevin and Scott, which was a bit demoralizing as I didn't think we'd be losing THAT much time to them (the problem was my horrible swim time, so by the time we were to the out/back we were down 13 minutes - 7 out of T1 and 6 on the bike) and thereby had no chance of seeing those guys.  We picked up the pace a little bit the last 15 miles and I was actually feeling pretty decent by the time we made it to T2.  I wished the bike ride had been 80 miles (just kidding, sort of) because I think I would have continued to feel stronger.  I'm amazed I was able to bike a 2:16 and change on this course earlier in the year.  No idea how I managed that!

Run - 1:34:12 (11th)

Started off on the run nice and easy and felt surprisingly good.  At about mile 3, Fletch started picking up the pace a little bit and I fell in behind him as I was unsure of my ability to lift the pace this early on in the run.  I have had issues with blowing up and walking in my half-marathons and I didn't want that to happen today as I knew we would lose BIG amounts of time if that happened.  He asked me if I was ok (since I was running 5-7 feet behind him) and I said I was but I wasn't sure if it was the best idea to start cutting down so early (at this point, we had made it to about mile 5).  At this point we had seen Kevin and Scott running crazy fast (they ran a 1:24, which is just unbelievable!) the other way and figured we certainly had second place team locked up and we continued running with Fletch about 5 feet in front of me to the turnaround to start the second lap.  At this point I was feeling pretty good but was still nervous about lifting the pace and asked Fletch to take mile 7 a little bit easier.  I couldn't tell whether he was mad I wasn't willing to go any faster but slowly but surely we continued to drop the pace each mile.  I continued my rhythm of taking a little gu and a water cup or two at each aid station; sometimes alternating a cup of Heed in if I felt as though I could use the sodium.  As we made our way towards the last couple of miles I realized that we were finishing really strong.  In fact, this was shaping out to be my best half-ironman run ever (of the numerous ones I have completed...4!).  Not necessarily in terms of time (although it was close), but the fact that never once did I walk or even want to walk through an aid station.  We ran steady the entire time, getting faster with each passing mile, and made our way to the finish feeling stronger than when we started (maybe a tad bit of an exaggeration, but it was close!).  We crossed the line and I couldn't have been happier with the way that the weekend went.  We finished as second place team - a distant second to Lisska and Woodbury sadly - and held off third place by a fair margin.

I definitely underestimated the difficulty of this event.  I was quite sore after and have been for several days.  I would recommend it to almost anyone, although I'm not sure I'll be wanting to head to White Lake again anytime soon!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

American Triple-T White Lake

The unimportant week of the past two weeks (week before Triple T)

S: 10,000 yards
B: 175 miles
R: 35 miles
Time: 15.7 hours

Not much to report from this week; ended up riding more miles than I really meant to but my running and swimming stayed consistently sweet.

The week of Triple T looked a little like this:

S: 10,400 yards
B: 165 miles
R: 35.5 miles
Time: 15.1 hours

So the race format is something like this:

Friday 4pm: Super Sprint Prologue (250 meter swim, 7 mile bike, 1 mile run)
Saturday 7:30am: Olympic (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
Saturday 3pm: (40k bike, 1.5k swim, 10k run)
Sunday 7am: (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run)

Now, if you are competing as a "solo" athlete the format remains the same throughout all four race.  If you are racing with a teammate, however, the strategy for the second two races change and teammate are allowed to draft on the swim, run AND bike (unusual for triathlons, obviously) and must stay together and finish together in each of the last two races.  Scott, Fletch and I drove to White Lake on Friday morning and were staying in what was essentially a dressed up trailer about 2.5 miles from the race site (on the same road as the bike/run routes each day) so it was very convenient.  For each race we rode to and from the site (on Saturday this meant riding back and forth twice...tiring!), thereby saving the environment.  Also, every race started in a time trial format, meaning that based on submitted half-ironman time we received numbers and every racer went off after assembling in a double-wide line (Lisska was #1, Scott #11, Me #14, Fletch was #20) two at a time.

Friday Super-Sprint PM - 29:24 (5th place)

Swim - 5:43 (5th)
Wore the speedsuit and jumped into what was pretty chilly water at 70 degrees, although with the air temperature at 85 degrees it felt glorious.  Unfortunately, the singlets they issued all participants were very poor-fitting and I could feel it moving around underneath my speedsuit.  I wouldn't go so far as to say it slowed me down but I would go so far as to say that it felt decidedly uncomfortable and weird.  Swam hard but slowly and made my way to the dock.  Each swim includes the standard long run down the dock and all the way to the transition area...

T1 - 0:55
Not much to report.  My timing chip had come off when I removed my speedsuit and I had to remove it so I lost a good bit of time there.

Bike - 17:15 (3rd)
Rode hard but felt like I was going pretty slowly.  Never felt like I could truly push, although for a seven mile time trial it's hard to even feel settled in at all.  Came into T2 and a bus was blocking me so I coasted a little more than normal.  Got a sweet draft though, but don't tell anyone!!!

T2 - 0:26
Put on the shoes and took off the helmet.  Thought about how much I hated doing triathlons.  Got going again!

Run - 5:04 (7th)
The course was a simple out/back that ended up being a little less than 1/10th of a mile short so the times were super fast.  This didn't really feel particularly good but luckily it was over quickly.

Saturday AM Olympic - 2:08:58 (6th)

Swim - 23:01 (16th)
After riding to the site and freezing our butts off we got our transition area setup and headed over to the swim start with not much time to spare (5 minutes, tops).  Putting on the wetsuit in the cold morning air was a miserable experience.  We all lined up in the same format as the day before and jumped in when it was our turn.  The swim was a somewhat confusing two loop course (a theme to be repeated throughout the rest of the weekend) and I made my way through it pretty much on my own this morning.  The sun was just coming up and it made sighting extremely difficult.  Added to that was a layer of mist/fog that was sitting on top of the lake.  That being said, the swim felt pretty easy and I finished up after running across the mat (again, all the way down the dock and to transition area).

T1 - 1:19
A recurring note from my transitions throughout this year has been about how slow they are; that will not change here.

Bike - 1:05:01 (5th)
I took the time to put on socks while in transition and soon after mounting my bike I started the process of putting on gloves.  It took a pretty long time and I never really got them all the way on and I was freezing regardless.  I never really felt settled in on the bike ride and was astonished to see how far ahead of me some of the racers were; John Kenny had swam 18 minutes, Lisska 20 and several others were sub 22 and most were putting time into me on the bike.  To see them at the turnarounds was a bit depressing and I was confused because I couldn't see Scott ahead of me yet I knew he was out of T1 before me as I had seen him leaving T1 when I was getting to T1 (later found out he had a flat and I apparently looked right at him on the side of the road but I had no idea what had happened, weird!).  The bike finished up altogether way too slowly (not actually a 40k but a 25.2 mile course, still, I was going slow) and made my way back into transition.

T2 - 1:05
Another slow one.  Surprise!!!

Run - 38:30 (7th)
Started off on the run feeling pretty good and consequently clicked off the first 2 miles under 6 minute pace then quickly realized that I had a lot of work left to do over the weekend and slowed down a bit.  I felt pretty in control on this run once I slowed the pace down and ran well enough to finish just out of the top 5.  The run course (both this one and the afternoon course as they were the same) measured out almost a tenth of a mile long due to a weird route we had to take around transition area before getting to the finishing straight.

Part two of the race reports will be for another post!!! I bet you can't wait!!!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Some awesome stuff!!!

S: 10,000 yds
B: 123 mi
R: 35 mi

Time: 13.8 hrs

Another consistent week of swimming.  Sometimes I wonder why I do triathlons; "Shouldn't it get boring and old at some point?" I say to myself.  But every single time I stand on that pool deck looking into the murky waters of the Dowd YMCA and my soon to be lane partner that resembles a whale/drowning victim/middle-of-the-lane-swimmer I tell myself - with conviction - that "swimming is the greatest thing in the entire world."  No, it isn't always glamorous and sexy.  Well, for other people that may be the case I suppose but for me it is always glamorous.  And sexy.  My goggles manage to look trendy and fashionable while others seem to look goofy and awkward.  I make walking around in jammers look like it was supposed to look: deadly.  Did he say deadly?  Maybe he meant deathly...  No, I meant deadly because one look at my sweet Speedo jammers and you realize how close natural selection is to happening to everyone else in the pool area.

I had two hard efforts on the bike this week; one being the Lowe's 10 mile time trial and the other being the Saturday Shootout.  I had pretty high expectations for the Lowe's TT as last year I managed a 21:28 for the 10 miles but felt like I left a lot on the table and I feel like I'm 100x better shape this year so needless to say, a fast time was expected.  I was hoping to be around 20:40 (~29 mph) but with the horribly windy conditions (it honestly wasn't so much the pace of the wind itself but where - on the course - it was doing the damage) I only managed a 21:37 (27.75 mph).  While my time wasn't that great, it looks as though my placing (top10) was decent enough.  The Saturday shootout was also a lot of fun, albeit with only four people instead of the usual 20+.  With so many racing this weekend it was down to just me, Scott, Watkins and Kerry to beat each other up a little bit.

A lot of consistency in my running this week; I actually ran 8 times (2 doubles) to get to 35 miles so that's a stellar average!  I did three "workouts:" 6 miles @ 160 bpm (7:03 pace on a hilly route), 8x100 meter strides, and 8 miles @ 160 bpm (6:50 pace on a flat course).  All in all, a solid week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cane Creek Triathlon

S: 10000 yds
B: 47 mi
R: 30 mi

Time: 9 hrs

Swimming running both went well this week; the same can't be said about biking.  Didn't get in half the miles I wanted to mainly because I stayed out just a wee bit late on Saturday night and couldn't motivate myself to ride on Sunday as I was feeling a bit under the weather.  Oh well, swimming and running are what's important to me right now.

Cane Creek Triathlon (750m swim, 14 mile bike, 5k run)

Swim - 11:51 (2nd)

I knew Michael Gross would probably be one of the faster swimmers at the race so I got behind him before the start as we were standing on the beach.  My goal was to stick on his feet and not let go unless an alligator death-rolled me into his lair.  This seemed to be a real possibility as the water in the "lake" was extremely murky and smelled of death.  You never know what can pop out at you when you're in unknown territories and alligators are pretty much the scariest thing I can think of in terms of freshwater predators.  At the start we all ran into the water and I immediately jumped on Michael's feet.  He was kicking hard in the beginning, which was a double-edged sword as it was like biking behind a car but it was probably attracting some alligators with the amount of water he was moving.  As far as I could tell the two of us were alone to the first buoy (as it turned out a young guy sat on my feet the whole swim before making a move in the last 200 meters) and that was troubling because a lone target is an easy target.  Luckily Mike is way bigger than me so is probably more appealing to your average carnivore.  As the young guy made a move to pass us at the end I stuck on my feet and we all exited the water at pretty much the same time.  I looked at my watch because I'm a slave to my splits and saw 11:05 tick over and was very happy with that.  We had about a 300-400 yard run to T1 so I'm assuming the swim itself was probably a little short and they account for the long run to T1 with the shorter swim.  I passed Mike before crossing the mat so my swim time registered as the second fastest.  Bonus!

T1 - 1:09

Ran to my bike, took off the speedsuit, put on my shoes and put on my helmet only to discover the straps were messed up so subsequently had to take the helmet off to readjust the straps and put it back on before heading out of transition.  Lost a little time but still headed out in 2nd ahead of Michael.

Bike - 36:23 (1st)

Ran 50 yards past the mat out to the road, hopped on the bike and headed out on the course.  I passed the younger guy almost immediately and then never had anyone within sight of me the rest of the bike ride.  Not much to say about it, I pushed hard and actually felt pretty good but my time isn't really what I would have liked.  I was hoping to ride 35 or under but it was not to be on this day. It was really windy out there and it was almost always a side/headwind except for one section.  There were some intersections where I couldn't see any volunteers so I just trusted that the signs were right and hoped for the best.  My garmin somehow has my moving average at over 31 mph, which obviously isn't correct, but I'm assuming that not including the two 50 yard runs from T1 and into T2 my average was well over 24 mph, which I'm happy with.  I wish my bike would have been faster but you can't always have everything.

T2 - :32

Pretty efficient in T2, which is rare for me.

Run - 18:47 (2nd)

Headed out on the run with no one in sight and only a lead biker as I tried to run fast(ish).  The run was a very simple out and back done twice with the out being a slight downhill with a tailwind and the back being a slight uphill with a headwind.  I felt fairly strong the whole way and was a little perplexed when I saw my time but then upon reviewing my file in the watch I saw that the course registered as 3.23 miles and the pace I was holding would be a 18:0x actual 5k so I was a little happier about that.  The guy that had the faster run than me is a 16:40ish open 5k'er so he's definitely about 30+ seconds faster than me on the run.  I ran as hard as I could with no one around and finished feeling pretty good about my race.

This race is more focused on "developmental" triathletes as it's part of the "Trysports Development Series" so I can honestly say I expected to win but the race was still satisfying nonetheless.  It was good to bounce back from Louisville and feel like a decent athlete again.  Contrary to what some may think, I didn't sign up for this race to win.  I don't care if I ever win a triathlon or not (although it would be nice).  I signed up for this race to move on from how I felt about Ironman.  I wanted to feel fast again as soon as possible after Louisville.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Two weeks at once!!

Aug 30 - Sept 5
S: 2100 yds
B: 119 mi
R: 14 mi

Time: 8.5

Not much to report from this week; I was just trying to get over feeling sorry for myself and for Andrew and how our respective races went in Louisville.  The nice thing about DNF'ing an Ironman is that there is way less recovery time than if I had gone the full 140.6 so consequently I was able to start running (although I didn't run until Friday).  I also started HR training this week after a 2 year absence at the recommendation of Nick and with my strong support.  I need to become more efficient and consistent with runs that are actually "easy" (<160bpm) and drop those paces down as opposed to running in the gray zone of 7:10/mi pace but it would actually be more difficult.

Sept 6 - Sept 12
S: 10,000 yds
B: 123 mi
R: 25 mi

Time: 12.5 hrs

Some super sweet consistency in the swimming department this week.  I've committed myself to swimming 5 days a week but I've also told myself that I only have to get in 2000 each time. So that makes me more consistent.  Consistency is good.

I've also switched to only doing 2 bike rides a week (with the possibility of a bonus third if time and weather permits...) with this week including the IOS ride on Tuesday and the Shootout on Saturday.  I felt pretty bad on Tuesday and almost puked on myself and felt slightly better but almost equally puke-tastic on Saturday.

Running was also very good by the end of the week.  I'm going to try and consistently run at least 5-6 times per week.  Right now that my mileage is low that means only 3-4 miles average per run but as the mileage gets back up to respectable numbers it will be much more normal.  Normal is good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IM Louisville Report

Well, as most know at this point the race did not go particularly well.  I'm going to stick to just the facts about the race itself and leave most of my feelings about how the race went out of it.  Stuff happens.  I could go the ultra-emo route and say that everything happens for a reason but that's not usually my style.  So, first "Ironman" went a little something like this:

Race day

We all woke up at 4am and Scott, Heather, and Carrie went down to the start area to grab a spot in line while John and I went for a little jog to wake up the body a little bit.  I actually felt pretty good running around but it was fairly hot outside and very humid which was a little disturbing.  We got back to the room and started eating breakfast around 4:20-4:30 and then just sat around until making our way to transition to meet Fletch and then walked briskly towards swim start.  I was sweating pretty good as we walked and that was also a little disturbing.  Last year it was absolutely fuh-reezing at the start of the race (freezing as in 50-60 degrees) as I stood around getting ready to cheer on the dudes.  This year, not so much.  We got in our speedsuits and ended up hopping in the water around 7:10.

Swim - 1:01:30 (15th AG)
I jumped in right behind Behme off the first dock and started swimming.  I had decided I was going to try and stay to the right as long as possible because it looked like there were not nearly as many people to try and swim around and that proved to be a [mostly] correct strategy.  There was very little contact all the way to the turnaround out in the river and I felt extremely comfortable the entire way.  There was some slight bottle-necking at the turnaround but once around it the crowds were thinning out a bit as I was making my way up to some of those "faster" swimmers.  Since we didn't start far behind the first AG-ers there weren't too many "slow" swimmers in front of me at this point.  The way back in felt like it took a pretty good long while; I'd sight on the bridge pillars and they seemed to crawl towards me.  I had a weird feeling in my right foot like it was going numb and I'm not really sure what that was all about but it didn't seem to affect my kicking (or lack thereof, I really don't kick at all...) so I put it out of my mind.  Really not much to report on the swim.  I peed just before getting in and just before getting out (interestingly enough, those were the only times I peed all day...bad news) right before I climbed onto the stairs.  I took my time going up the stairs and used all the help the volunteers could give me since I didn't want to hit the metal stairs in any wrong way.  Looked at the clock and saw 1:09:xx and was a little surprised but then I realized the TT start was messing with my head and looked down at my watch to see 1:01:xx and was super pleased.  I had set my high end goal as 1:10 and I knew there was some current out there today so 1:01 was awesome considering how easily I felt that I swam.

T1 - 3:45

Jogged into the change tent, which was conveniently mostly empty at this point in the day and set about taking off all my swim stuff.  The volunteer that helped me was super, super awesome and took everything out of my bag while I hopped around taking off my swim skin, cap and goggles.  He opened up my sunglasses case and took those out, opened up my shoes and handed me my flasks and salts and wished me luck.  I ran out and grabbed my bike and made my way to the mount line.  Not much time wasted here...

Bike - 6:38:44 (108th AG)

Headed out onto the bike and kept telling myself in my head to take it easy.  I knew that considering the temperatures today I'd need to be fresh(er) for the run since it would be so hot.  I rode along River Road at a very, very reasonable pace and was even passed by a girl on a road bike with clip-ons...  I kept it reigned in and paced with a guy in the 35-39 AG who I later found out won his AG with a great race...  All the way out to the turnaround I felt great and saw Fletch just before the aid station and ended up passing him just after getting some water.  I hadn't known how far ahead he was (he jumped in the water right after me) so it was good to see him.  Shortly past the out and back I saw Behme coming up towards the turnaround so I shouted at him and hoped he would catch us so we could tag-team the bike course together (legally, for all of you pessimistic speculators out there that have no idea what you're talking know who you are).  I stayed around the same 35-39 guy and coming out of the out/back caught up to the Wongstar (Jocelyn Wong), who gets way too much grief on slowtwitch for being a bad swimmer but she was really gutting it out when I was around her on the bike.

As my "buddy" and I made our way toward Lagrange I kept taking hits from my flasks (although I had lost one at the crappy bridge at the bottom of the hill on the out/back so there went 100 calories or so) and salt pills every thirty or so minutes.  My 310xt told me that through Lagrange I had been averaging about 22.5 mph but I knew that number was slightly inflated due to the flat first 10 plus miles and my goal average was going to be about 21.5-21.7 so I expected that 22.5 to come down a bit as we hit the narrow section in the farm-land.  I felt comfortable and well under control going up those hills and back to the "main" road but I had lost my riding buddy as he killed it up a couple of those hills; I wasn't willing to do that.  All the way back down 42 there was almost nobody else around me and I just kept pounding it out and sticking to my plan.  I actually tried to turn early to start my second lap (I guess I was TOO in the zone ha!) and the police/spectators quickly re-directed me.  Oh well, there went my plan to take a shortcut and have a sizzling bike split!

Once I got to the real turn for lap 2 I realized it was going to be a LOT more hectic as there were TONS of people riding all over the place.  The amount of blocking and drafting was ridiculous.  I'm sure most of it wasn't intentional but still, I was getting a little pissed off at points.  Not so much drafting but the blocking was really getting to me (there was so much more of it!).  So I was a little amped up as I made my way towards special needs to grab my bag and the goodies inside.  Unfortunately, my coke that was in there was insanely hot (not unexpected but still unpleasant) and pretty gross.  As I drank a little of it Fletch re-passed me and yelled excitedly, which was awesome because I hadn't seen him since passing him and it was great to see that he was riding strong.  I was feeling a little zapped at that point so it was good to have some motivation.  We passed Hillary Biscay (hot) as we went through Lagrange and made our way to the left turn onto the skinny farm roads.

Fletch was a good ways in front of me at this point (maybe 50 meters) and there were a ton of people on this road.  At the second, longer hill I was overtaking Fletch rapidly as he was passing someone on the right and as he was getting passed on his left but the guy on the left had been "passing" for a good long while.  I seized an opportunity an went around the guy and was going back over to the right when I hit a good sized piece of gravel and launched over the front of my bike and hit my right side pretty good.  Unfortunately I was right on front of Fletch at that point and he ran into me and then fell onto me.  Somehow nobody else was involved in the crash.  As we both got back up to assess the damage I felt worse than I have ever felt about anything I can recently think about; not only did I totally screw my race up I also managed to screw up my teammates race.  What are the odds?  My brakes were locked up on my rear wheel and I had no tools to loosen them and messing with the barrel adjuster proved to be futile.  Fletch's seatpost on his P3 snapped off so his bike was also un-rideable.  I was fairly cut up on my shoulder/elbow/forearm/knee and my helmet had taken some decent damage.  Needless to say, I was pretty crushed; both mentally and physically.

Fletch and I stood there for a while and someone on a motorcycle told us that support would get to us in a while.  After about a while (I don't really know how long) some local guys rode up and told us that we should walk down to the bottom of the hill and there were some guys down there to help.  We made our way down the hill and the guys worked on my bike a little bit and the brakes loosened up and I put my handlebars/shifter back in the right position (they were pointing straight down) and with Fletch's encouragement got back on the bike.  I felt ok for about 10 minutes then stopped at the next aid station to get a little medical help and they cleaned up my shoulder a little bit and I continued on my way.  I started to feel pretty horrible.  I had been standing around and not eating/drinking in the 90+ degree heat for around 1.5 hrs and was now attempting to ride my bike another 37 miles.  I was both mentally and physically out of the race.  It's honestly a completely different ball game being in the "back end" of things; people were just surviving for the most part.  Tons of athletes stopped at aid stations or stopped on the side of the road just sitting in the shade.

It's amazing how different your perspectives are when you've convinced yourself that you're at the "pointy end" of the race.  For me my race was over at this point.  I was no where near the position I wanted to be in and feeling sorry for myself while these people were just focused on getting it done.  They didn't care how long it took or how miserable they felt...they were focused on finishing.  I had never really appreciated that before.

At one point just past the out/back section both of my hamstrings locked up completely and I had to pull over while gritting my teeth at how incredibly painful that experience was to essentially fall off my bike and try to stretch them so that I could at least finish my bike ride.  At this point I was going to DNF in T2.  There was no point - in my head - in trying to continue this misery.  My body was rebelling against me for not eating or drinking hardly anything in the past 3 hours (I was trying to drink a bunch at aid stations after continuing but it's tough to catch up).

So with that mindset I made my way back down River Run Rd at about 18 mph and came into T2 totally and completely exhausted; both mentally and physically.

T2 - 11:06

I grabbed my bag and sat down in the change tent to think for a little bit.  I had walked all the way down the sidewalk, through the bag area and into the tent with no intention or desire of continuing.  I put on my shoes and hat but took out all my flasks and salts to put them in the bag and handed it to a volunteer.  Once out I walked to the "medical" tent and asked them to patch up my shoulder and elbow/forearm.  That was painful...  The lady asked someone behind me if he needed help and I turned around to see that it was Fletch.  He had apparently ridden the rest of the way on a borrowed spectators' 10 speed Trek and his shoes (in aero helmet no less) and was getting ready to go out for the run.  I had no idea how he had any desire to do that but I told him I'd run with him for a bit...

Run - DNF (made it to mile 14 and the end of lap 1 before pulling the plug), roughly 4 hours worth of run/walk

Well, I ran about a mile with Fletch to the first aid station where I walked and he ran and then only saw him when we were going opposite directions.  I got across the bridge, turned around and stopped at the porta potty for my first pee since the swim (among other business taken care of...), a fact that surprised me when I thought about it.  I walked from that porta potty to about the mile 2 mark where I saw a couple of fellow Charlotteans - one whom I knew and the other who I knew of - that were going through some rough patches (she was racing, he was spectating) and talked to them for a while.  I asked if he knew where some of my buddies were as I was going to make it out to them and then pull the plug and he said he had no idea.  So with that knowledge I started running again but soon cramped in my quad (not really the quad but the muscle that's just above your knee on the inside) and had to stop and stretch then walk.  This process repeated itself until I saw Carrie, Scott and Heather and I told them I didn't want to do this anymore but they yelled at me and guilted me into running again.  So I essentially repeated the run a bit, cramp, stop and stretch, walk, run again etc strategy until I got to the turnaround (walking through every aid station) before the run stretches became so brief before I'd start cramping in that same muscle that I just started walking.  I then walked the entire way back.  It took...FOREVER.  At about mile 11-12 I started cramping a bit when I was walking (same muscle) so I had to stop and stretch...from WALKING.  I've definitely never had that happen before.  So as opposed to drawing this out I just walked from there to the turnaround for another lap and stepped off the course.  I walked among the crowds to the finish line and handed my chip to a chip taker-offer.  Race over.

Some things I learned:

1) People's capacity to suffer is amazing.  ESPECIALLY women.  I've never seen the "back end" of an Ironman before and I was amazed at how people were chugging along.  I don't care if you finish in 9 or 16's tough work.  I think it's actually harder the longer you're out there; a fact I never really appreciated before.
2) Don't take things for granted.  I took it for granted that I'd finish.
3) 3000 bib numbers is too many.  Especially when the bike course is 2 loops and 2-3 miles of road are single lane country roads with gravel on both sides.
4) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  I think I'm mentally tougher after this debacle, although only time will tell.
5) People love to talk.  Especially when you have a bad race.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some more thoughts about Louisville

So I talked a little bit several weeks ago about the swim at Louisville so now it's time to talk about what I think the bike and the run will be like.  I mention them as a "unit" because for me (and anyone) to have a succesful race it's important to look at those two different sports as one continuum (so to speak). 

The bike course in Louisville is difficult.  Of that there is no doubt.  While it may not have the pronounced climbs that races like IM CdA, Canada and/or LP, it has almost constant rollers can really leave a mark on the ol' leggies.  Considering the likely forecast it will be exceptionally important (critically important actually) to take the first lap of the bike course (up to mile 60ish) relatively easy.  It would actually be prudent to wait until mile 80 to put forth any effort at all (not literally of course but you get my drift) because that is the section when you can REALLY make up some time on the competition.  Although, if you give up too much time too early in the bike there is no chance to get it all back.  So the bike will be all about striking a balance between going hard enough to produce a decent bike split while going easy enough to not smoke the legs.  An astute observer may point at my B2B bike/run combo (5:00:xx bike, 4:11 run) as being a very improper balance (and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong just looking at the times) but that race was more about improper fueling and not improper pacing.  I was completely within myself during that bike ride I just forgot to continue eating once I turned right at mile 80 for the trip back in to Wilmington.  That was dumb.  This Louisville bike course is DECIDEDLY more difficult than B2B but I am in DECIDEDLY better shape. 

The run at Louisville will likely begin when it is sunny and 90ish degrees.  The run at Louisville will be about surviving.  It will be about getting in the zone and sticking to a process to get through the miles.  It will be about suffering mightily.  It will be epic.  I don't have especially high hopes for my run at Louisville because this year I've had a tendency to be mentally weak on the run.  As a counterpoint to that, at almost every race this year I've felt like I could have run much longer just not any faster.  So I take that for what it's worth (not much).  As long as I continue to improve in my running in long course racing (sub 4:11!!) then I will be at least moderately happy. 

I've only been racing triathlons for 18 months so I have to be careful with my expectations at times.  The guys that I've been training with have been doing this longer and are a lot tougher than I am (both mentally and physically).  I certainly think I have the ability to run well at Louisville but ability doesn't necessarily translate into a good run split if you wuss out on yourself. 

That being said, I'm in the best shape of my life (for long distance racing anyway...) and I'm exceptionally fortunate to be able to do what I'm doing right now.  Have no doubt that I appreciate that fact.  Without the support of my family, friends and training buddies there is no way I could be enjoying the current life I'm living.  I am very, very lucky. 

BIKE/RUN goals for Louisville:

Anything 9 hours or less.  Bang.

Last week of taper

S: 4000 yds
B: 63 mi
R: 24 mi

Time: 7.4 hours

Well this week marks my lowest training volume of the year!! Wooo hooooo the wait is finally almost over; while it hasn't exactly been a pleasant taper I think that's par for the course.  Not much to report in terms of training this week but I've begun to feel like I have more energy and I felt pretty strong on the bike on Saturday (not great but strong) so I'm hoping that I continue to feel fresher and fresher as race day quickly approaches. 

Some interesting things to note from this week:

1) Scott absolutely DESTROYED Timberman 70.3 on Sunday, coming in 3rd in 25-29 with a 4:20:xx so he and I will really be able to push each other to go faster next year, something I'm pretty excited about.
2) I got 11 hours of sleep on Thursday night (didn't go to bed that late either) and still felt tired the next couple of days
3) I've been waiting for this week for 10 months and I am still not excited/nervous (as of Monday, but that will likely change soon!)
4) I cannot wait for fall weather

Monday, August 16, 2010

Taper (moderate)

S: 10,100 yds
B: 119 mi
R: 28 mi

Hrs: 12.9 hrs

Not much to report this week, just some light training to continue the taper.  The main workouts were Tuesday night IOS ride, Saturday morning shootout ride and a ten mile run on Sunday.  I never felt that great throughout the week and only on Sunday began to feel not extremely tired all the time.  Although now it's Monday and  I feel tired again.

The glory that is taper.  13 days...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Recovery and Racing

S: 6000
B: 119
R: 15.7

Time: 9.4 hrs

Not much in the way of anything resembling structured training this week, but that's the gloriousness that is being done with Ironman training!!!  Even though I didn't get in the volume I wanted to last week due to my injuries (which still haven't healed yet...) I definitely felt like a recovery week was a good idea considering I hoped to race well at Stumpy Creek this Saturday.  I swam three times including the race, biked four times and ran three times.  That's only ten total workouts this week which met set a 2010 low.

Stumpy Creek:

Going into this race I knew the field was going to be super competitive; guys like Tom Clifford, Sam Dannenbring, Brad Perry (DNS), Frank Fawcett, Mike Selle, Scott, Behme and Fletch.  I thought that on a good day I could put myself near the front with a strong swim and bike but I knew beforehand that the run would be a handful.  I was not wrong!

Swim: 23:38 (11th)
The swim start was a bit surprising but once we got going the wave was very bunched.  It didn't string out much right away (probably due to the lack of swimmers like Lisska/Perry being present) so to about 400 meters in I was still in a big crowd.  At about halfway to the first buoy (messed up rectangle course...3 left turns) I settled in behind Fletch's feet and didn't let go until about 100 meters to go.  Fletch was a great person to swim behind because he didn't kick really hard every time I slapped his feet (which was a decent amount in the first half of the swim...sorry dude!) and he didn't surge or swerve at all.  He picked a great route, which was good because when I would sit to make sure I was in the right place I could not tell at all where we were going... At the last turn I got a side stitch so I slowed a bit to get rid of that and lost his feet but with only 100m to go I wasn't as worried about it.  Came out of the water just behind him and ran up over the mat feeling pretty good about the swim (I had no idea on the time but I knew swimming with Fletch was a victory in and of itself)

T1: 1:08
Ran up the wrong aisle and then jumped over to the correct side and took off the speedsuit, put on my shades, helmet, and shoes and ran out through the arch.  Fletch wasn't in a hurry but I told him to come ride with me so I headed out to catch Selle who was mounting his bike as I was getting to mine.

Bike: 58:03 (1st)
Started out on the bike with a mission to catch Selle.  My legs felt pretty strong but were certainly tight through the first 2-3 miles as they were getting used to the work I was trying to get them to do.  I caught Selle fairly soon and then reeled in the women's winner that was just ahead of him.  At that point I saw a group up ahead all riding in a pack (not a literal pack).  I couldn't tell yet who was in it or how many there were but I forged on ahead to try and catch them.  As I got closer I realized two of the riders were Triple Threaters and one was a Triangle Multisports guy and the other was an unknown.  I assumed the Triple Threaters were Scott and Frank and that the Triangle guy was Clifford (I assumed it was a guy but I was wondering where Amie Krasnozon - great swimmer and good biker - was b/c I hadn't seen her yet) but I wasn't sure just yet.  I made my way up to the back of the pack and passed all three rapidly so nobody would be convinced to sit on my pace.  By the time I caught them (Frank, Duncan Chapman, and some other guy) I saw that the other 3T (Scott) had gapped them by a decent amount so I moved on ahead to catch him.  It took a mile or two and I sat on his pace for a bit before making the pass and exchanging some encouraging words.  After I passed I suggested we rotate to put some time on the chase group and when he next passed me he said "I think we're in the lead dude, the motorcycle has been here the whole time!"  We passed each other a couple of times and it turns out he was right, the motorcycle in front of us was the lead motorcycle!  I pushed hard to the end and ended up coming into T2 in first place, which was pretty cool although I knew it wouldn't last since I was mostly sure I didn't have a fast 10k time in my running legs.

T2: 54 seconds
Racked the bike, removed the helmet, threw on socks and running shoes, grabbed the race belt and went out onto the run course.  Scott got out of T2 a good 3-4 seconds in front of me...

Run: 40:13 (15th)
Not much to say here.  Scott was sprinting to drop me out of T2 and as much as I'd like to think I could have sat on his shoulder for a little while I'm most likely just kidding myself.  The course was pretty darn tough and I was by myself for the first lap and the first mile of the third before I heard Frank yelling at me that Tom was coming up on me fast.  He wasn't kidding as Tom came roaring by me at about mile 4.5; there was NO way I could speed up to sit on his feet.  Frank caught me a little while later and we ran in together.  Needless to say, not a blazing run split but to be honest I didn't expect much out of myself.  While I think I could have run 6:30 pace for a pretty long time I certainly could NOT go any faster.

It was a really fun day; I had great times for the swim and the bike and really enjoyed leading the race with Scott for the very short time in which I actually led.  Hopefully next year there will be a little more of that...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ironman Training done

S: 2100 yds
B: 263 mi
R: 20 mi

T: 16.2 hrs

Really slacked on my swimming and running this week, but at least I had reason for it.  On Monday I crashed on my bike (luckily for my ego the crash was not caused by a lack of skill on my part) and the resulting injuries (not much road rash just some swelling and soreness in the following days) forced me to re-evaluate my running and swimming goals for the week.  I didn't want to run and cause my hip's healing to slow down and I also didn't want to hurt my shoulder (bore some of the impact from the crash).  Ironically enough, I swam the day of the crash (after it actually...) but then none at all the rest of the week!  I wasn't sore on Monday - that's my explanation anyway - but Tuesday through Thursday I was a bit pathetic.  My only running this week (dumb on my part) was the long run on Saturday of 20 miles in just under 2.5 hours.  I felt AMAZING until about mile 16ish and then not running all week caught up to me and my quads because extra tender and my legs were just generally tight.  Got it done though; last long run of the year (potentially!). 

Cycling was good this week; as that was the lowest impact non-swimming related activity I could do I managed to do a lot of it.  The long ride on Sunday the day after the long run was a bit of a struggle but we managed.  We only managed because Fletch did most of the work as John and I had both run the day before and weren't feeling super stellar.

So to sum up the Ironman build:

Since May 3rd (start of the long ride/long run binge!) I have

Swam 105,400 yards...averaging 8,107 per week
Biked 2,552 miles...averaging 196.3 per week
Ran 433.7 miles...averaging 33.4 per week
Totaled 213 hours...averaging 16.4 per week

including 2 race weeks and 2 recovery weeks.

All in all I'm very satisfied with my training leading up to this Ironman.  This last week was the only time where I really feel like I missed out on some key (filler) workouts during the week.  I've hit every single long ride (11 rides of 100 or more miles) and almost every single long run (3 20 milers and a handful of 15-17 milers) so I can't complain.  I'm much fitter and more mentally prepared for the arduous day that is Ironman versus November of last year which is also a plus. 

Stumpy Creek International is the next race (Saturday) and that will be a good barometer for how slowly I can do an International distance race!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Louisville: the swim!

So let's talk about the swim at Ironman Louisville, which takes place in the gorgeous Ohio River.  It is unique from other Ironmans in a couple of major ways: it is non-wetsuit legal and it is a time trial start.  Those factors combine to change the goals for the swim in a couple of ways.

Non wetsuit legal:
Not being able to wear a wetsuit will definitely affect me more than it will a "good" swimmer.  The wetsuit neutralizes those differences in abilities a little bit, especially over the course of 2.4 miles.  I believe the wetsuit also significantly helps ease lower back issues a lot, as I've found that during long open water swims with no wetsuit my lower back begins to get sore after about 2 miles.  Hopefully with all of the non wetsuit swims Fletch and I have been doing up in the Lake (as well as other random ones here and there) my body will be able to handle the long (time-wise) swim a little better.  I've definitely felt that these OWS with Fletch have helped close the gap a bit between my pool swim times and my open water swim times although I haven't had a race yet to determine whether or not that belief is true...

Time Trial start:
I think this is going to be part of the next "wave" (pun intended) in Ironmans: the wave start.  With the increasing participation numbers in each race (Lake Placid reportedly had 3000+ registrants), a time trial type start will soon be the only way to go.  I definitely think this format is MUCH better for a slightly above average IM swimmer like me as I won't get pummeled by people who will be going sub-hour swim (since I would line up near the front of a race like CdA/Florida/etc.  What it also means is that I won't really be able to "race" anybody during the race because I'll never know exactly how far ahead (or behind) me they are.  I may be ahead on the course but they may have started 15-20+ minutes behind me so they are actually crushing me!

Times:  I am looking for a 1:10 or better swim.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peak Build Week numero UNO

S: 10,500 yds
B: 241 mi
R: 42 mi

Time: 20.2 hours

I was super stroked as far as my swimming went this week.  I had two great swim workouts on Monday and Thursday but on the flip side the great workout on Thursday caused me to be tired and unmotivated to swim 2+ miles in Lake Norman on Friday morning and therefore didn't meet up with Fletch as we usually do.  I was hoping to get in one more swim on Sunday afternoon but it didn't end up happening.

I got in some fantastic biking this week; not just volume wise but some good intensity on Tuesday afternoon at the Inside Out ride where Scott, Donny and I dropped everybody else and forged along on our own.  Fletch, Behme and I banged out a great long ride on Saturday in the 100+ degree temperatures but held a nice, steady pace and continued on our positive trend of great long rides during this IM build.

Running was a bit of a mixed bag this week; my legs felt fine but I've been getting absolutely sick of running in this heat.  Consequently I switched to running inside on the treadmill at the Y for most of my runs (with the exception of a medium long run and the long run) and that was a welcome change but it's tough to do more than 4 miles on the treadmill as it gets pretty boring.  My long run on Sunday with Behme went really well; my legs felt really good and not at all tired from the ride the day before but at mile 17 I got sick of dealing with the heat and I decided to call it quits while Behme forged on relentlessly.  I guess there's something to be said for being older and wiser as I guess it also makes you tougher!

Next week will be another big week (12-15k in the pool, 250+ bike, 45-50 run) if things go well and that'll be it for high volume training this year! Y

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nice little week

S: 13,000
B: 154
R: 33

Time: 16 hrs

5 swims totaling my highest volume since Scott and I went a little crazy in the pool together back in January and February.  I definitely think the higher frequency (swimming 5 times versus 2-3 times per week) really helps me out in terms of feeling strong in the water.  Swam in the lake on Friday and then again on Sunday and I really feel like that helps close the gap between my pool swim times and my open water swim times (I, like many other triathletes, am much faster in the pool than in the open water...) and I look forward to continuing that as the year progresses.

Not a whole lot of biking this week other than a 105 miler on Saturday that didn't feel amazing but was still pretty solid.  My heart rate was much more in control on this ride than it was 2 weeks ago in Louisville but it was also 10-15 degrees cooler and a much "easier" effort.  Next two weeks will be back up over 200 miles but I still haven't decided by how much.

Runs were a little fast this week; I was usually averaging 7:20-7:30 pace on each run and I'm not really sure why that was but I'll just roll with it.  Next two weeks I'll be looking to get up over 40-45 miles but the long runs (last 2!!!) will make that a little easier.

Monday, July 12, 2010


S: 7000
B: 78
R: 28

Time: 10 hrs

Recovery was the name of the game this week.  Only 2 swims, 2 bikes and 3 runs.  Both of the swims were open water and very enjoyable; the bike rides were out in the open but were not especially enjoyable, and none of the runs felt particularly amazing.  I guess when you're used to working out 15-18 hours a week 10 hours will mess up your groove.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Louisville Recon

Swim: 12,100
Bike: 268
Run: 32

Time: 20.7

FINALLY managed to get in some solid swimming volume this week.  I ended up swimming five times so my average per sesh wasn't that high but still got in a nice long OWS with Fletch in the lake so that's a nice bonus.

I obviously spent the most time on the bike this week as that has been the focus the past two weeks.  Going into the weekend I already had just under 160 miles already in the legs so I was fatigued but still ready to put out a solid effort on Sunday.  Two very hard efforts on the bike this week so consequently I'm now very tired.

Not a whole lot of running this week but that was on purpose since I knew I'd be on the bike so much this week.

The real focus this weekend was on the Louisville trip with Fletch, Behme and Woody.  We drove to Louisville on Saturday morning and got in a nice swim at a local pool (actually ended up being long course which was nice) and a brief run around the race area a little while later.  The next day we biked the race course at a very hard effort level and everyone suffered a good bit on that ride.  It was probably the hottest bike ride I've ever done; combine that with it also being one of (if not THE) hardest bike rides as well meant that it left a special mark on me once it was over.  The course itself was mostly as we remembered it but we just confirmed that you cannot go too hard if it's a hot day and expect to run the marathon.  It's definitely NOT an easy bike course.

Here's my "synopsis" of the course:
Heading out of T1 you turn left and get on River Rd for appx 8-9 miles. This road is very flat and fast and for the most part well-paved. As the name suggests, you bike along the river before encountering a short (but pretty steep) hill at mile 9ish before turning left onto 42. 42 is a mostly uphill road during the busy (4 or 6 lanes of traffic) section until you get to the 2 lane highway-ish part where it's very rolling. At about mile 17ish you take the right turn to get on the out/back section that is mostly flat at first before a sharp and decently long downhill before bottoming out and making the climb to the turnaround. These are probably the two steepest climbs on the course. At least they're out of the way early. 

After the out/back you turn right to get back on 42 for about 2ish miles before turning right on 393 and beginning what is basically a gradual climb up to 146 (and the loop section of the course). 

It's a deceptively difficult section that can really wear you out if you go too hard on your first loop. Once you make the left hand turn it's a flat and fast road to La Grange. This section is well-paved and very fast. There is one decent climb at miles 40/70 but it's not long. Once you make the left hand turn onto Ballard School Rd it is a pretty difficult set of climbs that appear as though you can 'power' over them but they're actually pretty difficult. Definitely small chaingring climbs. After several decent uphill intervals on this narrow road you come to a dead end and turn right on Old Sligo Road. This road is rolling but fairly fast and you then make a right turn on L'esprit Highway which is more of the same. Rolling but fast. No sustained climbs on this section but still some hills. Then you turn left on 153 and I honestly don't remember much about this road but that tells me that there's nothing too crazy. Once past that (1-1.5 miles) you turn left on Hwy 42 (same road as before) to get back to the beginning of the loop. Very soon on this road you see a sign that says "Louisville - 32 miles" which can be a real skullf*** if you let it on the second loop. 42 is very rolling but pretty fast. It's between 8-10 rolling miles to get back to the beginning of the loop (393). During the second loop you just continue on back the way you came (no repetition of the out/back thank god). 

Here's the data from the ride:

Moving Time:04:59:44

Avg Speed:22.2 mph
Avg Moving Speed:22.3 mph
Max Speed:40.4 mph

Elevation Gain:3,622 ft
Elevation Loss:3,621 ft
Min Elevation:423 ft
Max Elevation:906 ft

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm not creative enough to come up with 52 clever titles a year

S: 4500
B: 249
R: 30

Time: 18.2 hrs (plus 2.5 really as yoga definitely counts)

Lackluster swimming performance this week.  As I did my first two yoga classes (ever) this week my body rebelled a little bit against me and told me I couldn't swim.  Many of the poses work muscles I haven't worked in years (pretty much my entire upper body actually) so while it's certainly good for me in the long run...the short run can suffer.  Especially as it relates to swimming

Lots of good saddle time this week as I managed four weekday rides (one of which was the IOS ride so a little higher intensity) plus a long ride with Scott and Behme in the NC mountains on Saturday.  That's the longest ride I've had in a long time (101 miles in 5:48:00) since most of our 100ish mile rides are done in 4:45 or less!  It felt good to climb some mountains and to know that I'm in a much better place than I was last time I was in the mountains (Georgia '09).  I felt very strong on each of the climbs and after Scott flatted for the second time and was forced to wait at mile 67 Behme and I hammered the last 30+ miles to get back to the cars.  It felt tough but great.

Running was not up to par this week...culminating in a 10 mile long run on Sunday in which the original plan was for 15-20 but my quads were really, really starting to ache and I decided it would be better to pull the plug than experience the extended recovery period my legs would require if I continued running.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another week...

S: 6000
B: 183
R: 35

T: 14.9 hrs

Only two swims this week, but one was a very long swim in Lake Norman with Fletch.  Not a lot of quantity but some good quality.  I'll take that any day of the week.

Three good rides in this week; I really feel like I'm getting used to the hot weather, which is awesome.

Only three runs, but one was a 20 miler with Behme up in Davidson when it was crazy hot.  We didn't get started until 11am, which equals hotness.  A lot of hotness.  I bonked a couple of times and actually ended up puking up all the water I drank immediately following the run.  I felt amazing right after I puked so that was great.

Now begins the build process: 3 build weeks then a rest week.  It's going to be epic!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Short recap

S:  8250
B: 130
R: 24

T: 12 hrs

Short recap of the week: I tried to front-load my week as much as possible in terms of volume with the thought process being that I wouldn't get much in over the weekend.  I thought I would be able to recover in time from the Saturday to Wednesday binge to race on the following Saturday but I was sadly mistaken.  The race just let me know what it was like to try and go hard on very tired legs.  I still managed to get 4th in the race but it was a distant 4th to 1st place.  It was a fun traveling weekend, however, as I got to see the side of my family that I rarely get to visit.

I did manage to run a 1 mile TT in 4:52, which is the same time I ran last year.  This time around it was only two days after a 20 mile long run and 3 days after a 22 mph 100 mile long ride.  I definitely can break 4:50 but luckily it doesn't really matter.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ironman in t-minus 12 weeks!!!

Swim: 6450 yds
Bike: 184 mi
Run: 51.6 mi

T: 17.5 hrs

Swimming really took a backseat in terms of time this week but on a positive note I found someone new to swim with who is really going to push me to be faster; both because I flat out love to impress people and because she is just fast. I also swam open water with Fletch on Friday afternoon in Lake Norman, which we're hoping to make a regular thing.  I'd give this week a C for swimming.

Biking was again solid with a great long ride on Saturday with the usual crew (plus Watkins).  It's tough to come off the bike after a hard 102 miles and say good things but man, I feel really good right now on the bike.

This was the best (in terms of volume anyway) week of running since before the marathon in March.  Got in a little over 30 miles during the week and a difficult (heat and mental) 20 miler on Sunday.  These runs during the middle of the day (started the long run at 10am and it was 90+ degrees by the end!) in the heat had better pay off come race day in Louisville!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bike racing

S: 10,000
B: 192
R: 17

T: 14.5 hrs

I was actually consistent in the pool this week so that was a definite plus.  I'm hoping to stay like that but it would appear as though that's actually impossible this week.  Hopefully I will find some extra motivation soon as Louisville is 15 weeks away!!! So close!

Only one ride during the week as I was intentionally taking a very, very easy Mon-Fri to make sure I was rested up a little bit before a big weekend on the bike.  Did some bike racing on Saturday night after volunteering at Watkins' open water swim and that was an absolute blast (more on that later).  Had a nice, albeit very hard, long ride with Fletch on Sunday.

Running was very limited this week as I was trying to take it very easy and didn't really have time on the weekend.  Back at it next week.

Here is the recap from my two races on Saturday evening, a Cat 4 race at 5:30pm and Cat 4/5 35- race at 8:05 pm up in High Point.

First race was cat 4...pretty nervous about this one. No idea what to expect as I haven't raced my bike in 3 years. After one lap I accidentally got a gap and pushed for the next 3-4 laps just to see what would happen. I probably had a 2-300 yard gap but it wasn't getting any bigger so I let them come back to me and then sat in the rest of the ride. Nobody wanted to work on the front so I put in some more time up there. Pace was very up and down in this race; someone would attack and it would string out then everyone would get lazy. Last couple of laps I was second wheel the whole time. I used the heck out of the guy in front of me and sprinted around on the last turn. As far as I know, this one wasn't even close...
17.25 miles
26 mph
HR avg: 178
HR max: 193

Second race was cat 4/5 35 and under. This race was a much more difficult one as 3 other guys and I got a gap and pushed the rest of the way together. We traded off pulls and were really hammering. We never lapped the "pack" but we did put 20 seconds on one "chase group" and another 30 on the second "group." Last 2 laps got very cat and mousy and I executed absolutely perfectly. I sat 4th wheel the last 2 laps and started my sprint about 20 yards out of the last turn and closed the gap on the guy out front and passed him and put maybe a bike length on him before finish. It was perfectly timed.

I LOVE bike racing. It's definitely something I'll do some more of this year. It's such a different kind of pain.

15.1 miles
26.3 mph
HR avg: 177
HR max: 192

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Over the Mountain

S: 7000
B: 215
R: 36

T: 16.6 hrs

I have been really bad about swimming lately.  Gee darn!  In my defense... Wait, I have no defense.  Sometimes it's tough to get motivated; I've been having to swim by myself a lot lately.  Anyone want to be my new swim partner?

Two hard efforts on the bike this week (Inside-Out ride on Tuesday and the race on Saturday) in which I pounded some fools into the ground (IOS ride) and was beat by a guy more than twice my age (among other beat downs issued upon me) in the race.  A really good long, steady ride with Behme and Fletch on Sunday of 108.  If we had continued, our ironman bike split would have been roughly a 5:12.  Not too shabby.

I also got in two good run workouts with the first being on Tuesday with Kelly (2x3 miles at 6:20 avg and 6:10 avg) and the race on Saturday.  The race was only a workout because it was a brick as I was definitely not running particularly fast!  Oh well.

Over the Mountain RR
2:18:55, 5th overall

Swim - 22:50 (12th)
The swim was wetsuit legal so I got to sport my B70 Axis (the wetsuit 'designed' for cyclist/runner triathletes who have more muscle in their lower body relative to their lower body).  Despite how jacked and ripped my upper body is...most of my muscle is definitely in my lower body so it's a perfect wetsuit for me.  Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to wear the wetsuit prior to the race so OTM was it's maiden voyage. I also failed to warm up for the swim, which was definitely a big mistake as my lats/triceps were really hurting the first half of the swim.  I felt like I was going very slowly but luckily I ended up with a good swim split (although everyone was pretty fast today).  I care more about the fact that my swim was the 12th fastest as that is an important marker for some progression.

T1 - 2:08
Immediately upon swim exit you run up the most giant-est hills ever.  I was prepared for this and had been thinking about taking off my wetsuit immediately upon exiting the water but when it came to decision making time I didn't pull the trigger.  I ran (very slowly and probably could have walked at the same speed) up the hill hitting a max hr of 187 before getting into transition and to my bike.  I bent over to put on my shoes after taking off my wetsuit and pretty much passed out, wondering how the heck I was going to finish the race and why I liked racing in the first place!

Bike - 1:15:26 (10th)
The important things to note about this bike:
1) It took me 10 miles to catch Stacey Richardson and Amie Krasnozon, they are fast and Stacy absolutely CRUSHED me at Bandits last year.  Luckily for her, I was overtrained.
2) It then took me 5 miles to drop them!
3) The bike course is really hard!
4) I am not good at going up hills
5) My front tire was a little flat.  Scott and I pumped it up appropriately at the beginning but for some reason it didn't hold air very well.  I looked down at mile 20 and thought it was totally flat.

T2 - 1:06
Took my time.  Thought about how nice some pizza or a Mountain Dew would be...

Run - 37:26 (13th)
Started out running really fast and then gradually slowed down the whole time.  Just the way I like to do it!

Two things of note:
- I was mentally excited for this race but I honestly think I raced with the thought of riding the next morning in my head. I know this was only in my subconscious but at least a couple of times in the race I thought about it. One of those times was when Behme yelled at me on the run: "Save your energy dude we have to ride 100 tomorrow!!"
- Todd saved my butt on this race as like a total rookie I left my cycling shoes at home and only realized once we got to T1 to set up for the race. This was totally bad karma on my part as I made fun of Jackie, Jamie and Shenna for creating checklists before the race. Luckily for me, Todd had not left yet so he swung by our house to pick up my shoes and when I got to T1 they were there waiting for me. Thanks Todd!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


S: 8,500
B: 206
R: 45

T: 18.5 hrs

Missed one swim this week; it's a lot harder when you're biking and running 15+ hours a week to be fresh for swims.  When I was swimming a lot in January and February I was only running and not really biking much at all...different story now.

Some really solid biking again this week although I definitely felt tired until the Sunday long ride (102 mi).  I think I rode a bit too much last week following White Lake and I was feeling the effects a little bit during the middle of this week.  I'll take next week a little easier on the bike (100-150) with no efforts except for the race on Saturday (Over the Mountain).  I'd love to be able to drop a pretty sweet bike time there and I think I stand a good chance with the hills there; we shall see.

I had one great workout on Tuesday (2x2 miles) but bagged a second workout due to the ridiculous heat and humidity on Friday and the prospect of the long run on Saturday.  The long run did not go well at all; it was very, very hot and I started dying a slow death around mile 9 and popped at mile 15 (of 18).  It was a day to learn a lesson.

Lesson learned.