Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ironman Wisconsin

The Ironman Wisconsin Plan
1.  Have a goal
2.     Make a plan to achieve goal
3.     Execute goal

Simple, right?  Depends on what one is attempting to achieve I would imagine.  I’m not much for the word “can’t” but I do believe I know my limitations.  Subtle difference.

1.     My goal is to qualify for the Kona Ironman World Championships.
2.     I have a coach and I have a plan to achieve #1.
3.     On September 7th in Madison, Wisconsin I executed my plan.

I have on more than one occasion said people can accomplish anything if they just put their mind to it.  It could be marathons, triathlons, eating healthier or quitting smoking.

I’ve had my head down for a few years now building and working towards my goal.  My swim, bike, and run have all improved.  I’m more efficient and stronger.

So then the question is what happened in Wisconsin??

I ate my breakfast.  I drank my coffee.  I had my gel about 30 before the swim.
Everyone knows the swim is my weakness.  But I felt good about my swim for this race.  Knowing one’s own limitations is very important.  Apparently many in the swim didn’t know theirs!  Self-seeding could be a good thing if done correctly……..GUN goes off and I’m near the buoy line but not on it and in the middle (so not in the front and not in the back).  I start swimming and within 100 yards I’ve swum into a rolling road block and pretty soon the back markers are beating my legs down.  I got kicked in the face (actually each eye) including one that knocked one of my goggle eye pieces off.  So I stopped for a second to fix.  I was the little fish in the big sea.  I couldn’t get out.  I was trapped so I swam though as best I could.  I drank a little more then I usually do as well which made me start thinking I wasn’t feeling wonderful.  Fast forward to swim exist and I got out feeling aggravated by my time…for a second and then moved on to the strippers (wet suit strippers that is).  Then the long transition up the garage helix four stories or just about .5 mi.  I was dizzy by the time I arrived to get my bike gear bag.  I changed and off I went out on the bike.

Swim in Lake Menona

On the bike I had 75 oz of heed (2 scoops in each bottle = 200 cal) 1.5 PBJ’s, 5 Gels, At least 80 oz of Powerade, and I have no idea how much water.  I figure I put in at least 150 oz of fluid.  And one Red Bull at the half way point.

An amazing weather day it was.

Wisconsin is a technical bike course with a bunch of tight turns, a few great bombing downhills and some Tour de France like up-hills with people on both sides cheering you on.  They were short hills, but that was really the only time my legs burned the whole ride.  There were lots of rolling hills too that didn’t run into each other to often so you have to pedal up nearly every one of them.  I rode within myself and am quite happy to ride that course in 5:34 with 5700 ft of vertical climbing. For those that did Mt. Tremblant, I think Wisconsin was more challenging.

Remember I still have a run to complete.

I came off the bike with good run legs and immediately settled into a pace between 8-8:30 trying to keep my HR right around 130.  The nutrition goal here was to take a gel every 20 minutes and drink water often.  As you may have seen by my splits I was running comfortably for the first 10 miles and then my legs began to cramp.  For the next 13 miles I would run till I started cramping and then walk.   I would walk the cramps off and when they subsided, I’d start running again.  I did start to nibble on the course offerings as well.   Some coke here, Powerade there, a cookie, a potato chip.  Didn’t want to risk to much distress in my stomach although I was already experiencing a little pain in that area.  Then around mile 23 I started running and my legs didn’t cramp.  Suddenly I could manage 8:30-9 min pace and that’s how I finished.

Running along Lake Mendota

Running in Badger Stadium

The Finish in front of the WI State Capitol

I finished thinking I didn’t achieve my goal.  I finished thinking of what I endured.  I finished thinking about how challenging this year has been for my family.  I finished because there was no other option.  I finished.  

Now the back story.  NOT AN EXCUSE!
·       I went to the doctor in December because I thought I had a hernia.  The Doctor swore I didn’t.  He was wrong.

·       After Eagleman (which was a mostly great day) I COULD NOT AND DID NOT run for 5 weeks.  I was very close to not going to Wisconsin.  Both my Coach (Eric Hodska) and I felt I had great fitness from my bike / swim focus (during my non-run time).  Turns out it wasn’t my hip as I thought but my back.  Dr. told me to take Alieve and if I could run go for it.  So sometime in July I started running and with 7 weeks of running with my longest run being 2 hours (about 15 miles) I had in my head I had no choice but to succeed and that’s all I told myself.  I believed I could do it.  In the end, I executed my plan as I had laid it out.  I can speculate that my inability to succeed in WI was due to lack of time on my legs.  That part only matters for the next time.  On that day I couldn’t have done anything different once I went in motion.

·       Remember all that fluid and food I consumed?  After I crossed the line I saw my uncle at the finish.  I went over to hug him and thank him.  I then began to tingle in my face and arms and got really weak.  Medical swooped in and took me to medical.  Then weighed me and told me that I had lost 12 lbs.  At some point I thought to myself, self, so how much do I have to eat and drink to not lose that much weight in a race?
·       Then of course there were much bigger distractions then anyone should have to deal with.  For anyone who looks closely at my pictures on you’ll notice I had one white sock and one black sock on.  That was for Austin.

     So my season if officially over.  I may find something to do with all this fitness because that’s just the way I’m wired but I just don’t know right now.  For now I must recover.  Well I wanted to provide some pics with the report and it's a week post.  I'm already chomping at the bit.  I think I'll throw some swim and bike in in the next few days.  I'll give my run legs a break.  Cheers all.  Thank you to everyone that allowed me to train by just being there.  I realize you were helping for other reasons but all the help was so awesome.  Thank you.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mont Tremblant Ironman

 This is on the water at race start looking up to the slopes

To race Ironman is to complete a 2.4 mile swim, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon (26.2) miles for a total distance covered of 140.6 miles.  My Ironman (Full Distance Triathlon) adventure to get to said race in Canada with the family required that I drive nearly 700 miles.  I think I would rather do an Ironman than drive 700 miles.

We arrived on a Thursday.

Friday was packet pickup and a familiarization swim in the clear visibility low 70's water of Lac Tremblant. The swim was awesome.  If the pre-swim was any indication at all as to how the race was going to go I was very happy.  Then the family walked about Mont Tremblant and did kid / adult know, find things to buy that you don't really need but desperately want..

Saturday was a short ride and run to shake out the legs.  Then rack the bike.  Kids got to swim a bunch in the lake and they did a bunch of tubing as well.  I took a ton of pictures and a few good wipe outs were recorded.


Had the best night's sleep before a race that I can remember.  Woke at 0330 even though the alarm was set for 0400.  Did the usual and got to transition about 5:30.  Finishing touches on bike prep and dropped the special needs bags for later use.  Walked to the swim start which was maybe a 10 min casual walk and donned the wetsuit.  I went full sleeve this time.  Then headed to the beach.

I don't know my planes to well but we had a jet fly over at the start that you'll hear in the video of the race start.  0700 hrs approximately 2200 of my closest friends begin the inaugural 2012 Ironman Mont Tremblant Race. Click link for race start:  Swim Race Start

This was by far the most contact I've ever experienced in a swim start.  As you can see from the video the race started on the beach but then narrowed down as it passed through a section where boats to the left were anchored to far into the swim course.  To the far right you can see the buoy line we would follow till we made our first right turn about 1.2 mi into the lake.  Think of it as 4 lanes of car traffic merging into 2 lanes at speed.  All signs pointed to a good swim for me.  I made a poor choice of start location, it's that simple. Once I calmed down and let some swimmers by I moved left to a clean swim line and began picking the people off I let go.  Frustrating that I lost so much time but it's better than quitting which I was close to doing, it was that bad.  The return trip after two turn buoys was choppy as I caught the group I let go at the start and the little head wind probably didn't help.  I swam till I was hitting ground and was still a 100 feet off the beach.

Wetsuit strippers were awesome!!  Popped up and I ran the .3 miles to the change tent...

Heard my name, recognized faces, and acknowleged with a wave.  Was really good to see the wife, kids, and even our neighbors were there to root me on.  Was a great time.

Swim Details Division Rank: 179
Split Name  Distance  Split Time  Race     Time  Pace    Div. Rank  Overall Rank  Gender Rank
Total           3.8 km     1:14:47     1:14:47  1:58/100m    179                 928                754

Then I had to wait for my bike gear bag (Grrrrr).  Changed and got my bike

T1 7:25

Shark Bait

Got on the bike and away I went.  Little chilly at first but thankfully I wore my GEC bike jersey to hold all my nutrition and keep some heat in.  I did wear arm coolers under the wetsuit but decided last second to remove them as it was still fairly cool and the combination of the wet coolers and the temps probably wouldn't have been good.  Ended up being a good call because the weather gods were awesome to me except for the wind on the second loop but no biggie otherwise.  Great course!  The pictures below are the end of lap one.

 I heard someone yell my name...

...and I got to wave and thank them.

Bike Details Division Rank: 95
Split Name  Distance  Split Time  Race Time  Pace                   Div. Rank  Overall Rank  Gender Rank
30 km         30 km   50:39          2:12:51   35.54 km/h    22.08mph
90 km        60 km   1:50:11       4:03:02  32.67 km/h      20.3 mph
120 km      30 km     54:48        4:57:50  32.85 km/h      20.41 mph
180.2 km   60.2 km  2:01:26     6:59:16  29.74 km/h      18.48 mph
Total  180.2 km        5:37:04     6:59:16  32.08 km/h      19.93 mph       95             432                 401

Came into T2 and this time had to get my own gear bag after I spent 10-15 seconds waiting.
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN  2:42

Donned my shoes and visor and off I went.  First mile wasn't confidence building as my hamstrings weren't appreciating the change to weight bearing activities.  But I was able to run though it.  First few miles were hilly and then it flattened out to a gravel straight trail.  Nothing terribly exciting except the first half was overcast and the second loop it started to rain.  I couldn't have asked for better weather.  Well I could of, but it really couldn't have gotten better.  Second loop also brought some hamstring spasms and some  aggravated hips but I persevered until mile 23.

I don't remember every minute of the 662 minutes I was in motion but I do remember very specifically about 30 seconds.  On the swim it was somewhere in the first 150 yards where I thought I should quit because I was getting pounded and I initially reacted poorly.  Then that passed and I found a way to continue.  Then on the bike I don't remember the mile but I was climbing a hill and came upon another to quickly and my front tire hit his back tire.  He reacted by saying HEY and I went around and don't recall seeing him again, and the run.  Classic.  My nutrition was good on the bike and carried over well onto the run.  I was taking a gel every 30 minutes, I was taking Coke, and I was drinking Gatorade/Powerade and I was even taking a little chicken broth and I bonked hard at mile 23.  Like the bottom totally fell out.  I stopped running and almost fell over,  I remember someone asking if I was okay and I remember thinking I wasn't but I had to keep moving.  I came to the aide station and asked for sugar and they told me they only had water.  I thought you've got to be kidding as the volunteer said the next aide station would have gels and coke among other things.  So I tried to run and just then I saw a gel on the course in the other direction.  I went over to it and picked it up and it wasn't opened.  I may have looked around but I don't recall.  I opened it and took it in.  Then went to the next aide station and got some water and ran the rest of the way in.  Not sure what would've happened it I hadn't picked it up.  So whoever dropped it, thank you.  Oh...and it was Mocha, one of my favorites.  I ran into to town with this one guy determined to pass me but I'm not much on that at the end of a race.  Even in the chute he was determined and it was aggravating as I thought I would really like to enjoy this.  I slowed right before the finish and the picture tells the rest of the story.

My daughter drafting the lead female.

Aid station at about mile 9-10 and 21-22

Run Details Division Rank: 79
Split Name  Distance  Split Time  Race Time  Pace  Div. Rank  Overall Rank  Gender Rank
21.1 km       21.1 km  1:53:02    8:55:00     5:21/km
31.9 km       10.8 km   55:03       9:50:03     5:05/km
42.2 km       10.3 km   1:12:12  11:02:15     7:00/km
Total  42.2 km            4:00:17  11:02:15      5:41/km  79             397                       365

In Summary:

Rank: 79 of 433 AG
Overall Rank: 397 of 2542
BIB:  981
Swim:  1:14:47
Bike:  5:37:04
Run:  4:00:17
Overall:  11:02:15


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Last Two Weeks

There's a bunch of text below the only included picture in this post.  It's what this post is really all about, but I thought it was appropriate that I add this to the post as the best part of the day. My daughter has been training with the Girls on the Run 5K program for the last 2 months or so and when they said the culmination of her efforts was going to be the same day as a race I registered for last year I felt terrible.  I woke Sunday morning at 3:30am to get some food and coffee and downstairs on the kitchen table was her bib, which just happened to be the same number that I would be sporting in my race.  I wasn't there with her in person but she was definitely with me and I with her.  How cool is that?

 When talking with people about the activities I participate in I often hear things like, "WOW, that's crazy!", or "I get bored driving that far and you did it on a bike"?.  There are of course many more, but you get the point.  For the most part people just can't fathom the level of effort required.  This will be my 5th season participating in endurance sports.  In my life, I never ran more than a 10K till July 25th, 2008 when I ran my first half marathon.  In October of that same year I ran my first marathon.  I participated in my first triathlon in June of 2009 and have only looked back to ask, why didn't I start doing this when I was younger.  I've lifted weight and/or trained my muscles in various ways for many many years (I've been a personal trainer for 20).  I played soccer for 30,  so it goes without saying that I've led a very active lifestyle.  Anything I did up until January 1st, 2008 does not compare to what I'm doing now.

 So what drives someone to compete in activities that they know at some point are going to cause them discomfort?  Well...?

Since the end of last season I pretty much had this season's schedule figured out.  I would run the Frederick Half Marathon and then participate in the Columbia Triathlon which are separated by two weeks.  But there ended up being a bit of a catch.  I waited till the last minute to register for the 1/2 marathon just to make sure I was going to be healthy for the race.  Problem was it sold out a few hours before I was to pick up my race bib.  However, I could still run the half if I also registered for the 5K the night before.  They called people who signed up for this double the Nut Job ( !!  Can you believe that?  As it turns out my training has been FANTASTIC!!  I went to Tucson, AZ in March of this year to take part in a fantastic Triathlon Camp put on by Brian Grasky of Grasky Endurance Coaching (GEC) and ever since then my training was telling me this was to be an EPIC season of racing.

So two weeks ago I run in the Frederick 5K and PR and take first in my age group.  Here's the video of the finish:  A first for me and I was pretty excited but my purpose for being there was to podium the half the next morning.  So Sunday morning comes and it's overcast and upper 50's and a bit humid but not bad considering the clouds and the temps.  During the run we even got a bit of rain/mist which was very nice too.  A rather uneventful run except I was feeling the effort from the night before in my hip flexors and adductors starting around mile 9.  Here's the video of the finish:  Took 4th in my age group and PR'd so all in all a great weekend.

Watch out Columbia in two weeks.

A week and half into my recovery/taper I'm feeling every little thing.  But the thing which concerned me most was my adductors were still very tight the Wednesday before my race, a full week and half after my double PR weekend.  Note to self:  either train harder or don't race so close going forward.  Anyway race day comes and as usual I feel great.  We'll just call the time leading up to a race the taper torture where you become more in tune with your body as it recovers from all the training time put in.  Based on my training swim, bike, and run times/power/pace I was set to have a great race.

Perfect clear sunny day with what appeared to be low humidity and comfortable temps.

Swim:  As usual the 40-44 AG is the largest group and typically the most competitive.  We all got in the water and then proceeded to wait 5 minutes before they sounded the horn for us to pound each other, I mean swim.  Sun in our eyes to the first turn which I think may have been a little different from in previous years.  This was by far the best thrashing I've taken in a swim.  Thought I was doing well.  I took a slightly wider line once I made the first turn so I could avoid some back markers from previous waves and so no one would feel the need to swim over me rather than go around.  The rest of the swim was uneventful and as I got out of the water seeing 26:02 on my watch, I thought to myself that can't be and proceeded to run through a rather long chute to T1.

I arrive at my bike, strip the wetsuit and put the helmet and glasses on, grab the bike and go.  The order of the day was pass everyone on the hills as that's where the bottlenecks were.  Did have one scarey moment where a rider moved left suddenly as I was yelling, "ON YOUR L..." and her rear wheel hit my front wheel, thankfully I stayed upright and kept on moving forward.  I thought I had a stellar ride, but as I came into T2 I noticed I may have actually gone a bit slower than last year (not sure how that happened) at 1:10:13.

Off the bike into transition rack the bike, lose the helmet, socks then shoes and go!!  All I can say is I'm amazed how the pro's can run 5:30's on this run course.  I felt good on the run, however, I started feeling the effects of the bike in my quads especially on the uphills.  I would be running 6:30's only to hit a hill and go to a shuffle which is more than I can say for many of my competitors as they slowed to a walk up hill.  I just kept the stride short and the feet moving and figured I could recover my legs once I reached the top of hill # whatever.  Then at mile 4 the left hammy started knotting up and I had a stitch in my side.  So, as I run making all kinds of terrible noises I wish I could have taken a picture of the kid's face in their drive way as I went by grunting and growling.  Fortunately for me it went away and I continued on for the last 2.2 miles.  Turns out the run would be my best effort of the day running a 43 minute flat 10k which was nearly 1:30 faster than last year.  All in all a great race.  A little disappointed but sometimes the littlest of things will make a difference between PR's and podiums.  I had no nutrition issues, the weather was great, barely any wind, and I felt great.

Overall Place  93/1683
Division Name  M4044
Division Place  18/232
Gender Place  90/1124
Swim Time  26:02
Swim Pace  1:45
Transition 1  2:11
Bike  1:10:13
Bike Rate  21.4
Transition 2  1:18
Run  43:00
Run Pace  6:57
Finish Time  2:22:41.57

I will add for comparison sake that last years winner and course record holder Andrew Yoder completed the race in 1:49:51 and this year had to settle for 2nd with a time of 1:52:18.  His swim was faster this year by :25 sec, his bike 2:42 slower, and his run was :15 sec slower.  He also relinquished the record to the man who beat him, James Cunnama by a mere :10 sec.

The point is even the best can have an off day (if you call 1:52 an off day).  I did feel very fresh at the end of the race which could mean one of two things I suppose.  I didn't go hard enough which I don't think is the case or I'm much more fit and I just didn't put it together the way I "hoped to".  Anyway you slice it, I had a great time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tucson Training Camp Day 3

So rumor has it we're going for a 5 hour ride to locations unknown and then a little swim after, yeah you guessed it some food following.

Today brought an incredible ride to Saguaro National Park East completing two incredible loops of which I have a slide show with music.  Turn down the music if you don't like Metallica.

Deets here:
Disregard the power readings as I am still having issues with my power meter.  Grrrrr

Tucson Training Camp Gates Pass Day 3

Off in the distance you can see where we're going.

Getting closer

Closer yet

You get the picture (get it)

Now we're there looking back where the other pics were taken from

The Whole Gang.  Great times!

Cheers Mate

You looking at me? looking at me?

I wanted to do more but we had to forge on to Colossal Cave.  Once again everyone stepped up to the challenge and there wasn't any shortage of smiling faces.  Sore butts yes and some tired legs but that didn't stop our fearless leader from taking us to get some food for our tired bodies for energy so he could then take us to the pool for some drills and some competitions of sorts.

Warm up followed by some drills to make people look like their drowning in the water followed by some hypoxic (without air) drills.  That was of course the most interesting.

First 2 50's you could only take 5 breaths
Second 2 50's you could only take 4 breaths
Third 2 50's you could only take 3 breaths
Fourth 2 50'2 you could only take 2 breaths
...and finally the last 2 50's ZERO breaths

Many in the group were able to do most of this and a few were able to take just one breath while completing 50 yards.  The only one to complete a 50 with no breaths was one of the coaches.

Then off to the hotel for a tiny bit of downtime and a shower before heading off to Guadalajara's for dinner.