Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life simplified

It has been a long time since I posted anything. Anyone who actually read this blog is probably wondering why, so I thought that I would give an explanation.

In a move to simplify my life I have decided to shut down my blog posting indefinitely. What prompted this?

That is an interesting story. On my drive home from work every day I pass by this billboard that has a giant advertisement for Dos Equis beer. It is a picture of "the most interesting man in the world", love those commercials. Anyway, the add says, "The bulk of your life should be lived off the record". After passing it everyday for weeks it finally sunk in that this ad was trying to tell me something and it was not to go buy beer. It was that our lives have become very public. Some of us by choice, others by accident. I thought, do I really want my life so public and do others really care. The answer to both was no so as a result I have decided to quit blogging and even though I will keep my Facebook page you might notice that I rarely post anything there either. After all does anyone need to know when and where I am eating dinner. If I wanted you to come with me you would be there or I would have actually picked up the telephone and called you. Does anyone care that I am sitting in a coffee shop at 10AM? Shouldn't I be working? I would rather spend my time reading and learning something stimulating rather than lurking online or writing stories that no one reads. It is just not me and it is time better spent elsewhere in my life right now.

So this is part of my attempt to live my life off the record. Thanks for reading and until further notice...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Injury and attitude

Last time I promised an entry on my new training philosophy but it seems more appropriate to talk about injury and attitude at this time since this has been at the center of my universe all week and I don't know when it is going to end.

So last week I started the training week looking forward to putting in a great few weeks of training before my next race and BAM! Monday morning I am in the pool doing paddle drills when I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. Luckily it was towards the end of my workout so I finished up and tried to pinpoint the location of the pain. After an hour or so the pain went away so I decided that I would take care of the shoulder and try again in a few days.

Tuesday and Wednesday went as planned except for some rain that forced me inside on the trainer on Tuesday. Thursday I got back in the pool and immediately felt the pain in my shoulder again but it was more dull this time so I suffered through. After swimming I finally put in a run after 10 days off from running altogether for scheduling reasons. It was 6 miles with some hill sprints thrown in and towards the end of the run my right knee started to feel funny. I did not think much of it but Friday morning I hopped out of bed and felt the knots right away. I had a track workout scheduled and I was actually looking forward to it (I love track work). So I taped my knee with KT tape and showed up only to quit after only 400 meters because my workout partner noticed I was limping. This really annoyed me and I was not a pleasant person to be around. Luckily I was not going to be in the office all day. I was driving to different job sites and would be alone to sulk in my own injury induced sorrow.

Not injury related but On Saturday I was going to do a long ride. I was excited because This was something that would not aggravate any injury I might have. Then BAM! 5 miles into the ride I hit a piece of glass and had a complete blowout. Not just a flat tire but one that ruined the tire too. I figured this was a great opportunity to try out the old dollar bill in the tire trick. If you have never heard of it you are basically using a folded dollar bill inside the wall of the tire to keep the tube from bulging out the side and blowing out again. Well it worked beautifully for about 2 miles as I headed towards home. Then the tube blew out through the dollar. In the end I walked about 3 miles home and had to jump on the trainer instead.

All that aside I figured Sunday would be better so I went to test the knee and rand 4 miles before I felt any pain. Ended up walking 1 mile out of the 8.5 I ran and it was a slow run but there was some promise in there because of the Friday debacle.

Today was another test of the shoulder and immediately I felt that sting in my shoulder. Depressing, but at least the knee is getting better. I will probably get to the Physical Therapist later this week and see what the extent of the damage is but with a race coming up in two weeks I am a little nervous about it.

So what about attitude you say? Well, I learned a lot about panic, frustration, anger, and acceptance this last week. What I decided is that it does no good to panic and frustration is normal. Once acceptance sets in you can actually make progress towards recovery. I rearranged my workout schedule to increase the amount of recovery for running and swimming and figured that more cycling can't be bad. I have started to take care of the injuries and play it safe. I will replace some workouts with weights too. I will see a doctor and give an update soon. For now i have to keep my eye on the goal and not let the frustration of injury get me down. I can see how easy it would be to just decide to sit on the couch the rest of the season.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pflugerville Race report

So on Sunday I raced. It was unexpected, I did not decide to race until Friday late. I figured worst case I would get to have a great brick workout since I have been working on speed lately.

I did not know what to expect from my body at the race. I have been just getting back into doing speed work after a 6 months hiatus because of Ironman training which is almost exclusively long endurance. I need to do a post about my new training philosophy soon but for now here is a race report for the Pflugerville Tri:

This race is an awesome beginner course. It was my second time doing this race. I did it a few years ago as my second ever triathlon and found it to be a great venue. This time I decided to race the Open wave instead of vie for an Age Group win. I like racing with the fast guys and the pros when I can because they push me faster than I normally would go.

The swim was perfect. It is only 500M so I can go all out the entire time. The open wave was small, kind of disappointing, but also less traffic. I quickly found a rhythm and fell into place behind a local triathlete named Todde with Richard, another pro, not far behind. I knew from previous races that I could swim with these guys any day of the week so I was able to draft Todde the entire swim. There were a couple of times that I lost site of his feet and panicked thinking that he had pulled ahead but I would lift my head up to site and realize that I had just drifted off line. Exiting the water the three of us were within milliseconds of each other. I exited the water 2nd and left transition 3rd. The other athletes in the wave were not even in contention with us so it would be a three man race all the way.

Once on the bike the three of us stayed close for about 2 or 3 miles, but Richard quickly opened a gap that neither I nor Todde could match and that was the last I would see of Richard until the run. I decided to test my legs in this race even if it meant disaster. The bike leg is only 14 miles so it is a perfect distance to go all out.
I have hired a coach recently and one of the things that we are working on is my muscle endurance so I figured by hammering it on the bike I would test the leg endurance to identify any weaknesses. After analyzing some previous races we determined that I am fast at short distances but have trouble keeping that fast pace for long periods. Some of this comes with time but can be trained specifically too. Anyway, I stayed close to Todde for a good 8 miles before he started to pull away (there is that muscle endurance limiter). Todde ended up with a bike leg only about 1 minute faster than me though. On the bike It took me about 8 miles to get my heart rate down to a manageable level. I think a lot of that was nerves. Usually on the bike there is someone that is a speed demon that catches me but this day it felt good to come off the bike in 3rd place uncontested. All I had to worry about was catching the guys in front of me.

Off on the run I went out pretty fast and ended up with wind cramps. I was redlining my heart rate within the first half mile. I eventually settled in, got my heart rate down, and just tried to chip away at the leaders. The run is a loop around the lake we swam in so you can see exactly where you are compared to the other competitors. I saw that Todde over took Richard in the first 1.5 miles and I checked my pacing figuring I was about 2 minutes back from Todde. I knew I would not catch him because at this distance he can easily run a sub 6 minute mile. I worked hard on the run to close the gap on Richard but ran out of real estate. I think if I had another mile I could have caught him though.  I came across the line in third place just over 2 minutes behind the leader, which is an eternity in a sprint like this one, and 1:30 behind Richard.

In the end there were 3 other age groupers that finished faster than me. They started 3 minutes behind in another wave but overall time was faster. So overall I was 6th. Not too shabby of a performance. A great confidence booster and I learned that I need more muscular endurance on the bike so that on the run I have more energy and can run a little faster at the end.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Unexpected race

So I am getting the chance to race tomorrow. It was totally unexpected. I know this guy who used to do some racing and we were talking about this local sprint that I have enjoyed doing in the past and turns out his girlfriend is one of the race directors. He totally hooked me up and got me into the race even though it was full. I am a little nervous because I don't know if my body is going to hold up to the intensity of a sprint yet. For so long I was training long distance and my body is just getting used to the intensity of fast workouts again. I keep telling myself that this is just a really great intense brick workout but I am always one to want to win races. I think what ever happens I will enjoy being in competition again and it will give me a perfect gauge of where my fitness is no matter what happens. I have revamped my training lately with the help of a coach and I am anxious to test out my fitness even though it has only been a few weeks.

Something else I am nervous about is that the last time I did a race of this length I wrecked my bike and bled all over the pavement (See previous posts from August last year). I thought that I had shook off those fears but I am feeling them again. Intense fast races like this you tend to take more risks to keep speed high. I hope I don't get skittish and back off, but I also hope I don't have a repeat of last year.

I will probably post more on my new training approach soon now that I have finalized it and I will also give a full race report too. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Last week I actually spent the morning as a spectator instead of an athlete and surprisingly I had a good time. The only other time I was at a triathlon and not racing was years ago when I was thinking of getting into triathlons and went to watch a sprint down in New Braunfels. At that one I had no idea what I was watching, but yesterday I learned a lot and not just about racing. I observed quite a bit of chaos from the race organizers that frankly scared me. Things that as a racer you take for granted.

Yesterday was the 20th year of the Cap Tex Tri in Austin. Its a good race. Probably the biggest in Austin (Longhorn 70.3 may have more participants). The race includes an Olympic, and a Sprint. In some years it attracts a lot of big names and it always fills to capacity with average the average Joe trying to complete his or her first triathlon.

Yesterday I went to the race with the goal of watching some of the pros and picking up some secrets that will help me win too. In the end I learned more about the spectators and race directors than anything but I did find a few things to work on in my own racing.

The first thing I noticed was cadence. On the swim, bike and run. All the fast athletes kept a high cadence in all disciplines the entire race. Next was that the pros suffer just as much as the back of the packers, they just do it at a higher speed. Yes, they are mortal. Also, there are no real secrets to transitioning faster once you get the basics. The real difference between the pros and the rest of us is that they do it faster. That's it. That is what I learned from watching the pros race. Maybe I was blind. Maybe I know everything already (highly unlikely) but I was surprised that I did not get more out of it.

What I learned more of was how much it takes to run a race and how much chaos goes on on race day that most of us athletes never see. Some of it scared me!

I was sitting at a corner watching the bike and some guy in a van, obviously lost, decides that he will not only ignore the barriers but will drive the wrong way on a one way street. As he crossed a barrier he stuck his nose right into the bike course and almost took out 3 of the race leaders. They actually had to swerve across the road to not get hit.
I also was surprised that even 45 minutes after the race started cones and barriers were still being placed to show the race route. Several different athletes almost made wrong turns because the course was not clearly marked.
Spectators, do you not realize where you are? Did your parents not teach you to look both ways before crossing the street? Over and over again I saw spectators ignore the volunteers, not look both ways, and cross a part of the course only to almost get run down by a bike or a runner. Several of the pros had run ins with spectators who were crossing the street. Oblivious to the fact that they were on the race course, which strikes me as funny because the reason the spectators were there was to Watch a Race! It took 20 minutes for the race director himself to show up and start putting in barriers. I wonder if this is something that the pros see all the time? By the time us average age groupers are on the course all the holes have been plugged and the sheer amount of bike or run traffic scares off people wanting to enter the course.

Triathlon is a great sport and I appreciate all the spectators that show up and cheer us on. It is really a hard sport to watch though. People stand in one spot trying to find their husband, dad, brother, wife, etc.. in a sea of people who are flying by at 20 MPH. If they are lucky enough to find that person the contact is only a couple of seconds and then he or she is gone again and may not be back for a long time, depending on the race length that could be hours. In some cases the course is an out and back so people see their loved ones for 1 or 2 minutes in transition and that is about it. Thanks to all and to my family whom have waited in the blazing humid heat and in the freezing cold just to see me in 5 second spurts. It means a lot to see a friendly face.

To sum up, the two most important things I learned are:
  1. I don't want to be a race director.
  2. I'd rather be racing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Ironman is good for my family

Sure training for an Ironman (or any long endurance race) takes us as athletes away from our families, that is the down side of this obsessive hobby we call triathlon, but there is an upside too. There is the exotic travel to popular tourist destinations like Boise, Idaho, Louisville, Kentucky, or Tempe, Arizona. OK maybe not all of them are exotic but all roads to Kona go through the lesser known  meccas of triathlon. Another benefit to the family that my wife could attest to is getting to see me in tight spandex. Who doesn't look good in spandex, right?

All kidding aside though there is one benefit that is not always obvious and probably should be articulated to others more often. That is, the underlying life lessons that training and racing teaches us and hopefully teaches others around us.

My children are at an age where they are just becoming aware of the values of hard work, perseverance, failure and did I mention hard work. I here parents complain that they don't know how to motivate their kids to do more than the minimum. They don't know how to get their kids to look at the ultimate goal ahead and learn to plan a strategy for reaching it. Motivation is a very personal thing so it is hard to know how to get anyone to be excited about accomplishments but as a triathlete I hope that my children can see what I do and translate that into inspiration for their own lives.

Some of the comments I have been hearing at home are; "I will never be able to". "She is better than me". "Its just too hard". "What if I am not good enough". Phrases familiar to all of us at one time or another in our lives. To me the fascinating part of life is the variety of choices people make to deal with these thoughts. Some cave under the pressure, some fight to the death. Still others choose something in between. In the end what we do, how we succeed or fail, whether we decide to try or not, is based on more factors than we can possibly imagine. All of us choose differently and it could even vary with the situation. Just because you try does not mean you will succeed. Just because you work harder than anyone else does not mean you will win.

So how does this all relate to Ironman and my family. Well, in triathlon nothing is guaranteed. Race day could be hot or cold, wet or dry. You could be injured or healthy. Your equipment could fail you or it could be your best friend. The nutrition that you ate at the last race could cause you to get sick at the next. In training you do what you think will work and some times it doesn't. You have to decide whether to train through injury or not. You have slow days and fast days. The list could go on forever.Triathlon is like life in more ways than you can imagine. The point is that life and ultimately triathlon is not about the trophies or being on top. Its about the experience of trying to get there, and if it happens that you win so be it, but if not what did you lose? Nothing compared to what you would if you never tried at all.

So here is a list of some lessons I have learned from Ironman and hope that my kids can learn from their IronDad:
  1. Setting a goal is the easy part.
  2. There is NEVER a guarantee of success.
  3. Not everyone wins.
  4. You can still win even if you are not 1st place.
  5. There is always somebody who will work half as much as you and still be better.
  6. Have a back up plan.
  7. Set intermediate goals. re-evaluate, and adjust as needed.
  8. Learn to enjoy the struggle. Pride in hard work is better than any trophy.
  9. Stretch yourself mentally and physically everyday.
  10. All forward motion is good. Never get caught standing still.
  11. Whatever the outcome giving your all is never a failure.
  12. Improvement takes time.
I think that the character values needed to do what I do are something that is learned. I can see it now as I think back on my childhood and the choices I have made in life. I don't know if my parents consciously taught it and I don't know if I am doing it right but I hope that somewhere in my kids minds there is some subconscious absorption going on.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

IM St. George Race Report

Well I did it and man does it feel good to get the first one under my belt. Last Saturday was so much fun I am ready to do it again this weekend.

I arrived in Utah on Wednesday, and it was not much fun getting there. My flight out of Phoenix was kind of stressful. I was supposed to land in Las Vegas at 6:30 PM then drive to St. George (2 hours). Instead my plane circled Las Vegas for an hour before having to turn around and go back to Phoenix for more fuel. High winds in Vegas caused the airport to shut down. We refueled in Phoenix and finally arrived in Las Vegas at 10:30 PM (4 hours behind schedule). Then I drove to St. George. St. George is on mountain time and Las Vegas is Pacific so when I arrived in St. George it was 2:30 AM. Talk about a long day!

First thoughts are that Utah is probably the most beautiful place that I have ever been to. It is truly a land of contrasting geography. 10K snow capped peaks that can be seen from anywhere in the city. Red rock cliffs, and even a couple of extinct volcanoes dotted the lower landscape. The bike course even wound through some lava fields (reminiscent of Kona).

Fresh start Thursday morning. Thursday was hectic. Did a swim at the lake in the morning. Hello COLD water!! then spent the rest of the day running around checking in and taking care of last minute details. I capped the evening with a short run just to stretch the legs.

Friday was a little more relaxed. I met with my parents to show them the course. I dropped off my bike and gear bags at transition. Did a short ride to test out the bike and another COLD swim. That night was early to bed because 3:30 AM would come fast.

I was surprisingly calm in the morning. I was most nervous (as I had been all week) about transitioning onto the bike. The weather was a chilly 50 degrees and we would be coming out of 58 degree water. I tested this on Friday and froze to death. My plan was a complete change of clothes in T1.

This was my first IM so I am not used to starting with everyone in the water. It was crowded but surprisingly not to the point of me feeling panicked. It took 1000M before I found some space to swim and despite that my time was pretty good. I think if I had not spent 10 minutes fighting for space I could have gone faster.
Out of the water I headed into the changing tent. Now that was chaos! The tents were way to small. There was not enough room for everyone and not enough volunteers, which were badly needed because everyone coming out of the water was shivering so bad we could not even use our hands to grab gear. I had decided before hand that extra time spent in T1 would be worth it to get dry and warm for the bike. Thus I took almost 15 minutes to exit transition.

On the bike I was comfortable early I was conservative at first but did make a few moves early while I knew I was fresh. On the first loop there was no wind (what a relief) and the hills, including the infamous Wall were not as tough as I thought. Especially since I had decided to not let my heart rate get too high and I kept a high cadence on all the big hills. Once over the wall it was downhill for about 15 miles. This is where I hammered it and made up for lost time. Starting the second loop the wind had picked up and there were a few miles were I was lucky to get over 10 MPH. Once in the hills though I was protected from the wind. On the second loop I was feeling the hills but still taking it easy knowing that the run was going to be the deciding factor. I got off the bike in just under 7 hours, not ideal but also not shabby for this course.

The run was exciting. Probably because when I got off the bike I had 9 hours at worst to finish. I could have walked the entire 26 miles and still crossed the line. This was also where people start to break down and people watching is quite a good distraction from the pain. The first 13 miles felt easy. Probably because I was happy to make it through the bike. I walked the aid stations and ate everything in site. Not ideal for the stomach but I was hungry and craved salt and sugar. I did not have much of a problem with my stomach until the last few miles so I think I got lucky. On the second loop I finally felt the tiredness and my legs started to rebel. I ended up walking 3-4 miles of the second loop. I consciously walked the uphills and there were a lot of them. At some point the sun was getting low in the sky and it started to get cold. I was happy that I had kept my arm warmers and had not given them up in transition. When I hit the 8% downhill at red cliff heading back into town I had less than 3 miles to go. All of the sudden my body purged itself of pain and I started sprinting. I wish I had the splits for those last three miles because I had to be clocking 7 minute miles. The crowds were awesome. I should have slowed down just to savor their cheers. I was so elated to see that finish line I had to be skipping and grinning from ear to ear. I remember going back and forth in the chute and high fiving all the spectators as I crossed.

For this race I had a hierarchy of goals:
1. Finish
2. Finish before dark
3. Finish under 13 hours

I met all three and it was because of so many people. My family for letting me train and race even though I was gone a lot. My parents for taking the trip out and cheering me on. It was such a boost to know that at certain spots my family would be waiting in the crowd. Even tough I would only see them for a few seconds it was instant energy. My training partners (all seasoned Ironman finishers). They made sure that I did not make a lot of the rookie mistakes people make. The crowds for turning out in the thousands and cheering for me, yelling my name even though they had never met me or may never see me again.

Will I do it again? Hell Yes!! Even 24 hours later I was looking into the next one.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The wait is almost over

Well today starts my 2 week taper for IMSG. It actually has sparked new life into me to know that the worst of the training is done. I had a great final weekend and came through feeling fit. I am glad it was a good weekend because I am feeling a little nervous about my fitness questioning whether I am ready or not. Most IM veterans that I talk to say this is normal that even if I had another 6 weeks to train I would feel undertrained. At this point I have to trust in my training plan and rest my body so that on race day everything falls into place.

Training for an Ironman has been a little of everything. Frustration, fear, joy, sacrifice, etc.. Not just for me either. Support is key to any successful endeavor like this. There is absolutely no way that I could do this without my family sacrificing everything and going through the same emotions. On race day it is not just me out there trying to beat another triathlete to the finish. It is vindication that all the pain, sweat and time invested by all was not wasted. By crossing that finish line, regardless of the time, my family will feel the joy and the accomplishment because they have been right there keeping the family going even though I have been in another world for the last 18 weeks.

As I rode this weekend I kept repeating to myself that this is just a journey not a race. The goal is to see the end and cross the finish. Don't worry about the other racers and trying to beat them. If you do this at an Ironman, especially your first, it could be a disaster. So I decided that I am going to keep myself in check by calling it a journey, and it truely is because this race, I mean journey, is not just about Saturday May 1. It is about the last 18 weeks, the ups, the downs, the cold, the rain, the heat, and even the permanent scars from the severe sunburn on my back. It's 150 days all rolled into one performance and I am starting to see now why people will do anything short of dying to reach that finish line.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tall Texan Race Report

The most memorable thing about the weekend. Wind!

This weekend was the first race of the season for me. In fact this weekend kicks off the triathlon season for North America too because the First big race of the year for the pros was happening in Oceanside, CA as well. Since I was not there I decided to compete in a much less contested, but in my eyes no easier race in Boerne called the Tall Texan. To say this race is small is an understatement. There were 80 people total. In the end though it was a sanctioned Half Iron distance race and truth be told it hurt worse than any Half Ironman I have ever done. The goal of this race was to test my fitness for St. George in May. Results were mixed but at least confidence was taken up a notch.

The Swim:
Cold!! The water was a warm 58 degrees. Now I say that it was cold and it was quite a shock plunging in but really it turned out to be not as horrible as it sounds. With a full wetsuit on and a thermal cap (best money I ever spent) the water was chilly for 10 minutes or so and then I did not even notice it.

My swim went well. The winds started to pick up as we rounded the first turn so the back 800-1000 meters was directly into the wind (this will be the theme all day). It was choppy but not unreasonable. The fact that there were so few people racing I found myself getting lost a couple of times. The water was choppy so finding the bouys was hard and when this happens I usually have other people around me to gauge where I am on the course. In this case though there was not the crowd so a couple of times I would look up and find I had drifted off to the side and would have to cut back in to find some feet to draft. Despite this I ended up exiting the water in 4th place overall.

I exited tranisition in 5th place. I took a little extra time here to somewhat dry off so I was not so cold on the bike. Remember that the air temperature was in the 50s still and the wind had started to really pick up. In T1 I also put on a long sleeve jersey because I knew I would be cold for at least the first 45 minutes on the bike (best decision of the day).

The Bike:
Here is where the race almost got away from me. The effects of the wind were immediate. For the first 20 miles I struggled to maintain 15MPH average. I think that part of this was that I was letting negative thoughts take over the race. At one point I had to give myself a pep talk and flush all the negative from my mind. I knew that if it went on much longer I would be walking the bike the rest of the way, utterly defeated. The wind was brutal. It was either coming straight at me or it was a cross wind that would literaly pick up the bike and toss it two feet to the right or left. I was afraid to eat or drink anything because if I let go of the bars I might lose control. To top it off the roads were some of the worst I have ever seen. I think this was a contributing factor to my speed as well because I could not get comfortable. every 10 seconds I was dodging a pothole or vibrating so hard my teeth rattled. Honestly I have no idea how some of the other athletes were able to get any speed. If there is a secret I wish they would tell me.

After the first half of the race I started to gain some momentum and caught myself smiling a bit but I knew that the run was going to be killer becuase I spent all my energy just keeping the bike going forward. When I pulled into transition it was exciting to have that behind me. I lost 4 places on the bike. 2 were in the first 5 miles and the other two were between miles 40 and 50. That put me in 8th place overall.

A cool benefit of the day was that this race was small. Being small has its pluses and minuses but the big plus was that my family was there to cheer me on. They acutually were standing next to the bike finish and were able to stand outside the transition fence to cheer. The athletes were so spread out that I was the only one in transition at the time so I had my own personal motivation section.

My bike time was dissapointing. It is the worst 56 miles I have ever had, 3 hours. Not what I expected but you work with what you are given. The run was all about damage control.

The Run:
Like I said. Damage Control! The idea here was just to keep running and not walk.

The exit out of T2 was up an embankment then a run along the top of the lake dam for half a mile or so. As I exited T2 I was all alone and did not see any other athletes. At the top of the hill there was a road turned along the dam and another that went down the hill on the other side. The only person at the top was a photographer. I got to the top of the hill and did not know which way to go so I started yelling back down to a volunteer. Finally the Photographer directed me the right way, but I am sure that I lost 20 seconds (turns out this time loss would not matter in the end).

I caught the first guy in front of me within the first mile. Then at about mile 5 I caught the second guy. This put me in 6th. At about mile 7 a runner caught me and we ran together for a mile or so before I faded. From this point I would stay right were I was in line.

The run was mostly flat with a few rollers. The only tough section was between miles 3-5 where you run directly into the wind.

Overall my run was not horrible especially considering the whipping I was given on the bike. The highlight of the run was that I experimented with my race nutrition and found a treat that will become my new drug. Sport Beans!. I have tried them before but not during a race and they have been reformulated to be more natural. I could not get enough of them and they made me want to run faster so I could get more at the next aid station.

I know it is a long report and I could say a lot more but who read this anyway? 7th overall and third in my Age Group is not shabby for the start of the season.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Race time, finally!!

Finally I get to race this weekend. The day to day grind of training gets old. I have not raced since October so almost 5 months have gone by. This is normal over the winter but what is making this year harder than most is that I started the training season in January. Normally I would have taken it easier over Jan. and Feb. but with IM St. George coming in May I had to start training early.

This weekend will be my warm up for IMSt.G. It is the Tall Texan Half Iron in Boerne. A very small race (only 75 people total are signed up) but I am looking at it as a training day more than anything. This is my one chance to test out my nutrition and gear prior to St. George. In fact the cold winter we have had this year means that the temperatures (60 degree water, 50 degree air) will be about the same as Utah will be in May. I am nervous about freezing to death on the bike because I will be wet, but I think putting on a long sleeve jersey over my tri suit in T1 will keep the chill away until I am dry. The adrenaline will be flowing too, so I may not notice the air temp. when coming out of the water.

Random Thought:
With my IM coming soon I was thinking the other day that I am not going to know what to do with myself after May 1st. The rest of my year will consist of maybe 2 HIMs and some Olympic races. I have become so used to 12-14 hour training weeks that cutting back to 8-10 hour weeks is going to free up a lot of time for family activities, but it is also going to feel wierd to have all the free time.

I will post a race report next week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Panic first Acceptance second

Is it normal 8 weeks out from an Ironman to be in a panic about training volume? In a way I hope so because I would know that I am normal. Have i done enough? Have I done too much? Why did I ever think I could do this anyway? The time is coming soon and all of the sudden I am starting to realize how many days I have left to get in shape. 8 weeks seems like a long time but a closer look reveals that it is acutally more like 5 or 6 weeks. There is 2 weeks of taper and one of those weeks is race week so it will be spent mostly travelling or at pre-race festivities. Then there is Spring Break. Next week I will be taking an entire week off to go skiing. Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to the trip, it has been planned for at least a year. and in fact I think that it is a perfect time to do it. As a familt we need some time together and I am sure everyone will be happy to see my bike parked for a week.

At this point I have been going uninterrupted for almost 12 weeks and my body needs a break from the constant SBR, but my mind is having thoughts of those extra few miles that I wont be putting in. It is not like I will be sitting around all week. 2 or 3 days of skiing for 4 hours a day at altitude is just as good a workout but when all you do day in and day out is Eat, Sleep, Swim, Bike, Run, your body has trouble adjusting to not doing that.

I keep reminding myself of the story of Roger Bannister (first person to break the 4 minute mile). He was training hard for weeks on end and got to a point where no matter how hard he tried he had hit a wall. He was actually posting slower times even though he was working harder than ever. His coach told him to take a week off, so he went mountain climbing and did not even think about running for a week. After getting back, he broke through the funk and became the fastest man in the world and first to break the 4 minute barrier. Plus all the great coaches say that rest and recovery are where the greatest gains in fitness are made.

So in two weeks I have a Half Ironman and if this rest and recovery thing is true it will be the best Half IM I have ever raced.

I will let you know.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Half way there

Well this week marked the halfway point in training for St. George. For the first time this weekend I felt like all the hours are starting to pay off. I know that there are lots of days left so I do not want to get overconfindent but I am feeling quite content compared to a few weeks ago.

Maybe my mood has changed because there are signs that Spring is trying to force its way into Austin. Of course as I write this the sleet is turining to snow. But this weekend it was in the 70s and the first time I was able to ride and run without feeling like a giant marshmallow trying to keep warm. Just a small taste of Spring has given me new life and made me actually want to get up and get outside. The snow will be gone by tomorrow and it will be back into the 60s by Friday so hopefully another great weekend of training.

Four weeks until the first race of the year. A warm up Half Ironman to test my fitness level and make sure everything is working correctly. I am getting excited about finally racing. It was a short offseason so I have been training all winter. Typically I would be only about 2 or three weeks into training and not ready to race yet, but since I started early this year I want to get some confidence built up about a month out from St. George. 

I do have to close by giving props to my new piece of gear. A couple of weeks ago I made a saddle change. I have been dealing with the stock saddle on my bike for almost 2 years and finally go around to something more comfortable. I went with the Koobi Tri Saddle and I will tell you that it is night and day. I can ride all day and nothing goes numb (big plus). I can even ride at the tip of the saddle when I am really hammering it and don't feel any discomfort. I underestimated the value of a good saddle and would say it ranks up there with must have gear. Probably above my race wheels and aero helmet.  

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Well I have been neglecting my blog lately. Things have not felt normal since the begining of the year and a lot has happened in terms of training, work, family, etc. I was hoping to chronicle my Ironman training weekly but here I am in week 6 and not one post. Oh Well, better late than never.

Where to start? In a nutshell, I have had my head burried in this one project at work for the last month. My desk looks like a bomb went off. Training for an IM is a lot more work than I ever expected. I feel like it is more than twice the training as for a Half Ironman. It probably is not when you look at it time wise but I end up doing a lot of longer distance workouts which are hard to fit into the rest of life. The stomach flu made its rounds at my house in the last two weeks and only a few days ago everyone started to feel normal. I only missed one day of triaining but even the workouts since have been sluggish. I have no idea how a bug that cannot even be seen with the naked eye can bring a human to his or her knees for a week.

So with all that lets get back to training!

I have been stressing lately about my training volume. When is it appropriate to cut a workout short and at what point are you doing your self a disservice. I tend to obsess over numbers so if my schedule says a 2 hour bike ride I usually make it a 2 hour ride on the dot. Over the last few weeks I have had a couple of long workouts that I have had to cut short by 15 or so minutes. I keep telling myself that this is nothing. That the bulk of the work was done and +/-15 minutes is not going to gain me any fitness, but if race time comes around and I bonk the first place I am going to look for blame is that one workout where I did not put in the extra time. I know, I know, it is ridiculous to even suggest it but there has to be some point in a workout that is critical to complete otherwise training plans would come with a disclaimer that reads, ALL WORKOUT TIMES ARE SUGGESTED LENGTHS, MODIFY AS NEEDED AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT NOT FINISHING THEM YOU WILL STILL KICK ASS IN THE RACE!!

I can only do the best I can at each workout and remember that deadlines at work slide, restaurant reservations get cancelled, meetings go long and sometimes you miss a workout completely. Other times, like 2 weeks ago, you get lost and add 10 extra miles to your bike ride trying to find a shortcut around a giant hill. Yes I was trying to avoid this ugly hill (I just did not feel like doing it that day) and in the process I not only got lost and added 10 miles but found 2-3 more nasty hills that I was forced to go through. I still ended up having to do the original hill too!! By the way, I still could not find the shortcut even when I drove the route the next day in my car.

More later, and this time not 2 months later.