Saturday, December 31, 2011

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike and Run Miles For Dec 26th - Jan 1st

Top of Mt Lemmon With Mackenzie Madison
New Years week was my last week of base building.   Most of the rides and runs were pretty easy except for a challenging ride up Mt Lemmon with my old roommate and fellow professional triathlete Mackenzie Madison.  The ride ended up being about 92 miles, 6 hours in length, and 3,900 kj.  I used my road bike which has Powercranks on them set at 160mm and with a 53/39.   By the end of the ride my hamstrings were on fire. We got lucky though as we had beautiful weather all the way to the top and even at 7000 feet the temperature was still registering at 75+ on my Garmin Edge 500.  I had a few decent swims as well, but my running was really cut back this week. Here are my training totals:

Total: 273 Miles / 25 hours 30 minutes

Swim: 16,800 yards /  4 hours 33 minutes
Bike: 245 miles / 18 hours 36 minutes
Run: 18.15 miles / 2 hours 21 minutes

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Professional Triathlete Diet - Mini Bell Peppers

Mini Bell Peppers Ready For Eating
One of my favorite words in life is the word "simple".  I really try to live by this word and one area where it comes in to great importance is with food. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I spend the entire day eating. Thankfully there are plenty of good foods that are ready to go and require little preparation.  In this edition of Simple Triathlete Eating I cover the mini-bell pepper..

Ahh the mini-bell pepper.  So much better than the regular bell pepper for a couple of reason.  The main reason is that you simply wash them off and eat them as is.  Now I'm sure there are people who just take a regular bell-pepper and eat it, but I don't like this because you you have the inside with all the seeds and it gets messy.  The alternative is cutting the bell pepper up but this is just a waste of time in my opinion.  In addition - I like to have some varied colors and this way I can get some yellow, orange, and red.

My preference for the mini-bell pepper comes in the form of a great little 2lb package from Costco.  It is rather affordable as well and costs only $3-$4.


Master's Touch Mini Bell Peppers From Costco

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim Bike Run Miles For Dec 19th - Dec 25th

Christmas week was another week of base building for me as I work towards the 2012 season.  Thankfully Santa came early and I got a new mountain bike to help me make it through.  The mountain biking is a great change of pace that really make the miles fly right on by.  In addition, I feel like the entire City of Tucson is one giant mountain bike park so the scenery never gets old.  The majority of the rides this week came on the mountain bike or in commuting to Trisports to get more Continental 29er mountain bike tubes.   The pool was closed for much of the week so I lost out on some key swim sessions that I wanted to get it.  As for the run, I really cut back on run volume this week but did get in one quality tempo session.  My training log totals are follows:

Total: 183 Miles / 16 hours 51 minutes

Swim: 13,000 yards /  3 hours 24 minutes
Bike: 150 miles / 10 hours 10 minutes
Run: 25 miles / 3 hours 17 minutes

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim Bike Run Miles For Dec 12th - Dec 18th

This week is my second week back at it as I prepare for the 2012 triathlon season.  I am still doing mostly base work but did a ride with AJ Baucco and did his workout from his coach Paulo Sousa which included 32x (1 minute on, 30 seconds off).  This ride was done at Saddlebrook.  I also did a few pick me up while running but nothing more than say 3/4 of a mile.  I know that my swim is still my weakness so I continue to work towards making that stronger in 2012.

Total: 120 Miles / 14 hours 26 minutes

Swim: 23,350 yards /  6 hours 20 minutes
Bike: 69 miles / 3 hours 28 minutes
Run: 37 miles / 4 hours 38 minutes

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim Bike Run Miles For Dec 5th - Dec 11th

The 2011 season is now in the books and for all of 2012 I will be writing a quick update on my weekly training.

This was my first week back at exercising after 16 days completely off following my race at Ironman Arizona.  It was slow getting back at it and although I had the bike legs, I felt soooo out of shape on the swim and the run.

Total: 120 Miles / 10 hours 20 minutes

Swim: 12,500 yards /  3 hours 15 minutes
Bike: 97 miles / 5 hours 5 minutes
Run: 16 miles / 2 hours

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ironman Arizona Bike Watts Power Data, Nutrition Report, and Mile Splits

Earlier I wrote a race report on my experiences at 2011 edition of Ironman Arizona. Today I wanted to dive a little further into the numbers.  First things first -- my nutrition plan. 

Race Morning Nutrition: ~1510 calories

I had a lot of trouble sleeping and actually could not go back to bed after I got up at 1:30 in the morning.  At 2:30 I pretty much conceded that I would NOT be doing any more sleeping and I had a nutrition shake.  Then I had two more nutrition shakes at 4am.  Each one is 250 calories.

- Nutrition Shake (750 calories)
Now Extinct CarboPro 1200
- 3 gel packs (300 calories)
- Gummy treats (160 calories)
- Carbo Pro 1200 (300 calories worth) (sipped on this throughout the morning)


Bike Nutrition: ~2000 calories or about 400 calories an hour

I started the bike with the following bottles:

- 1 pre-mixed bottle (2x salt stick pills, 400 calories of Carbo Pro 1200 + H20, 1 Crystal Light packet)
- 1 pre-mixed bottle (2x salt stick pills, 1600 calories of Carbo Pro 1200, 1 Crystal Light packet)

Once I finished the first 400 cal bottle I switched to sipping the concentrated bottle and washing it down with water.  I had 4 salt stick pills on the bike.

Run Nutrition: ~2000 calories or about 666 calories per hour

For some reason I was ravishingly hungry and thirsty at this race.  Coincidence that I fell apart on the marathon digesting 666 calories per hour????  I don't know but it all seemed to be going down just fine.  I'm not sure if it was the dryer climate or what but I was grabbing two Powerades and two Cokes at nearly every aid station.    I estimate that I had:

- 50x 2oz cups of Cola (1200 calories)
- 35x 2oz cups of Perform (615 calories)
- Gummy treats (80 calories)
- 1 gel pack (100 calories)
- 10x 2ox cups of Water (0 calories)

It should also be noted that I started the run pretty swollen and bloated but by the end of the run I looked like a skinny-mini.



Swim Speed:

Although there are no numbers for swim speed I will reiterate that I swam well below my ability.  I had no moments of pressure requiring surges.  Clearly I should have gone out harder but live and learn on that one.


Bike Watts:

The goal of the bike was to bike extremely conservatively for the first hour and then dial it up every so slightly.  That was a nice goal, but it didn't happen.  Instead, I went out hard and it went all downhill from there.  I would say that I was solo or at the front of a group for 65% of the race.  At about mile 60 I started to have significant digestion issues and decided to stop eating and drinking.  I greatly dialed it  back until the turnaround back to Tempe at mile 94.  I put in two surges in an effort to drop some riders but both attempts were unsuccessful.

5 feet 8 inches with a race day weight of 151 lbs or 68.5 kilos

1st 20 mins - 249 watts @ 149 BPM
1st Half - 245 watts @ 143 BPM
2nd Half - 213 watts @ 134 BPM
Total - 231 watts @ 139 BPM


2011 Ironman Arizona Bike Power File Graph In Watts With Heart Rate



Run Pace:

The goal of the run was to keep a comfortable relaxed pace and see where it took me.  The beginning of the run felt so easy and after reading a whole bunch of race reports and talking to a whole bunch of people it sounds like I was not alone.  However, the run course at IMAZ is actually quite challenging and has many turns, overpasses, and a few sustained climbs that all took their toll on me.  Because it is 3-laps everything you do is also done three times and it seems like the wheels fell off most wagons somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd laps - my race was no exception.

2011 Ironman Arizona Marathon Run Mile Splits




Putting It All Together:  On paper the race looks good, but it could have gone a lot better.  For starters, I should have swam harder.  Looking back on it would have allowed me to come out of the water with better bikers who were at more my level.  Instead I spent too much time leading the charge in the 2nd half of the race.  I would have been better coming out of the water two minutes ahead with the next group.  I think I would have had an easier bike with less time at the front.  You never know what would have happened but regardless I learned some things that I can put to work in my next Ironman.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Best Triathlon Running Compression Socks For Travel and Recovery - 2XU Refresh Compression Recovery Socks

2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Socks
After finishing Ironman Arizona I decided to start the off-season with some Thanksgiving travel.  Traveling to see family and friends is a great way to spend time, but all those long hours in planes, cars, and awkward chairs can really slow down the Ironman recovery process.  Thankfully we have compression socks to help and so I did this compression sock review of favorite pair.

For the record, compression socks have existed for medical use well before they became a triathlete's fashion statement.  Today compression socks are all the rage, but long before they existed in Triathlon you could find me donning the elastic socks as I stood for hours on end in the operating room or for travel. 
Over the years I have tried many different pairs of compression socks and have developed a taste for what is the perfect sock.

Objectively, the easiest way to determine my favorite is by counting the number of times I pull out each pair of socks and wear them.  Although I haven't kept an official record, for the past six months I keep pulling out the same pair of compression socks.  The sock: well the winner is my 2XU Compression Recovery socks.  In full disclosure I do have a sponsorship with 2XU, however, I would never let a sponsor cloud my objectivity and I do find it remarkable that despite have so many pairs that I pull out the same pair.

The reason I continue to grab the 2XU Compression Recovery socks is as follows:

Durability - after countless washes and uses the 2XU Recovery socks honestly feel like the day I got them.  I have tried numerous medical-grade and triathlete marketed stocks and I have had socks lose their compression or rip in as few as 3 washes.  None of the socks I have ever test have ever come close to the durability of my 2XU socks.

Compression - I buy socks for compression.  Truth-be-told there is a fine balance between too little and too much compression, but I have tried numerous triathlete marketed socks that are nothing more than glorified tube socks.  If you are buying compression socks and paying top dollar then they should be true compression socks.  These 2XU socks are solid and offer just the right amount of compression for my tired achy legs.

Fabric: The fabric on these 2XU socks does a great job of keeping feet dry and fresh.  This is a benefit that I can't say is true of the socks that are made up of more cotton-like fabrics.

Color:  Although I don't wear compression for aesthetics, I do prefer the dark color of the 2XU recovery socks.  Often times I find myself sitting on the grass after a triathlon and white socks or light colored socks are simply more susceptible to staining.

Cons: My only suggestion for improvement is to add some light-colored guidelines in the toe box to help straighten out the sock when you put it on.  2XU has been active in updating this sock over the years and I hope this feedback makes it in for future releases.

If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for someone than you can't beat these socks.  They can be purchased from Trisports.com and you can always save 20% with my Coupon Code. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Best Triathlon Running Compression Socks For Travel and Recovery - Compression Sock Review

2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Sock
After finishing Ironman Arizona I decided to start the off-season with some Thanksgiving travel.  Traveling to see family and friends is a great way to spend time, but all those long hours in planes, cars, and awkward chairs can really slow down the Ironman recovery process.  Thankfully we have compression socks to help and so I did this compression sock review of favorite pair.

For the record, compression socks have existed for medical use well before they became a triathlete's fashion statement.  Today compression socks are all the rage, but long before they existed in Triathlon you could find me donning the elastic socks as I stood for hours on end in the operating room or for travel.
Over the years I have tried many different pairs of compression socks and have developed a taste for what is the perfect sock.

Objectively, the easiest way to determine my favorite is by counting the number of times I pull out each pair of socks and wear them.  Although I haven't kept an official record, for the past six months I keep pulling out the same pair of compression socks.  The sock: well the winner is my 2XU Compression Recovery socks.  In full disclosure I do have a sponsorship with 2XU, however, I would never let a sponsor cloud my objectivity and I do find it remarkable that despite have so many pairs that I pull out the same pair.

The reason I continue to grab the 2XU Compression Recovery socks is as follows:

Durability - after countless washes and uses the 2XU Recovery socks honestly feel like the day I got them.  I have tried numerous medical-grade and triathlete marketed stocks and I have had socks lose their compression or rip in as few as 3 washes.  None of the socks I have ever test have ever come close to the durability of my 2XU socks.

Compression - I buy socks for compression.  Truth-be-told there is a fine balance between too little and too much compression, but I have tried numerous triathlete marketed socks that are nothing more than glorified tube socks.  If you are buying compression socks and paying top dollar then they should be true compression socks.  These 2XU socks are solid and offer just the right amount of compression for my tired achy legs.

Fabric: The fabric on these 2XU socks does a great job of keeping feet dry and fresh.  This is a benefit that I can't say is true of the socks that are made up of more cotton-like fabrics.

Color:  Although I don't wear compression for aesthetics, I do prefer the dark color of the 2XU recovery socks.  Often times I find myself sitting on the grass after a triathlon and white socks or light colored socks are simply more susceptible to staining.

Cons: My only suggestion for improvement is to add some light-colored guidelines in the toe box to help straighten out the sock when you put it on.  2XU has been active in updating this sock over the years and I hope this feedback makes it in for future releases.

If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for someone than you can't beat these socks.  They can be purchased from Trisports.com and you can always save 20% with my Coupon Code. You can always help support me as an athlete by using my 20% off coupon code for Trisports that is tied to my name. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ironman Arizona Race Report - 2011 Triathlon


In 2006 I completed my first Ironman on a cold and rainy Wisconsin day.  It was only my second triathlon, and at the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a tough day on a tough course and I was thrilled to go 10:52.  Immediately after completion I vowed never to do another Ironman, however after a couple of days rest the itch to Ironman returned.

Fast forward five years later and I have now completed my 10th Ironman and my first as a professional.   It is the beginning of new era for me, and admittedly I still did not know what I am getting myself into.  Overall I had a good day and went 8:57.  Here is a recount of the sub-9 performance at the 2011 edition of Ironman Arizona.

Exiting Tempe Town Lake in my 2XU V:2 Wetsuit
Swim (57:04): I have been working on my swim and I know that it is crucial to my success at the professional level.  My goal for the swim was to pick a swimmer who was slightly faster than me and hang on for as long as I could.  I swam out to the swim start and settled in between Michael Weiss and Jordan Rapp as I awaited the gun.

The gun fired and I was off.  Much to my surprise it wasn't all that chaotic and I felt very relaxed as I found some feet.  At about the 400 meter mark I started to get concerned that the pace was too easy but I wasn't going to waste any energy forging ahead solo.  The pace stayed consistent, but we were actually starting to catch up to other swimmers who had been dropped from the packs ahead.

At the halfway point I decided to take a look at my watch and it read 26:XX.  I was happy with that and actually quite surprised.  We got a little off track on the way back in, but it is better to sit in the pack and swim a little extra, than to forge ahead solo.

On The Bee-Line Highway
Bike (4:43:37):  Coming out of the water I didn't know where I stood in the overall field, but I never looked back and I focused on moving up the ranks. As I moved out of Tempe towards the Bee-line highway I picked off male and females pro with ease but the power was high. Once I got onto the Bee-line there was a stiff wind and I decided to back it off and wait for some other riders. It was only a matter of time until Matt Russel came whizzing by, towing racers like skiers behind a boat.  I happily grabbed a rope, and even though I knew I was biking above my pay grade I committed to sticking with the group.

We forged ahead on the Bee-line highway towards the turn-around as we climbed into a headwind.  It was slow work and the average speed was falling into the low 20s.  It reminded of the climb to Hawi and I was greatly looking forward to the turnaround.  Finally we reached it and our speed was up into the middle 30s as we made quick work of the ride back into Tempe.

Struggling In The Wind
Lap 2:  After the turn around in Tempe we headed out for the second lap of the three lap course.  Matt Russel finally decided he had enough and dropped everyone.  And the pace had clearly taken its toll on the rest of the riders as the group of ten had been decimated down to Dave Harju, Ryan Rau, and myself.  We picked up the female leader - Amanda Stevens - and despite my best efforts I could not drop her.  Ryan and Dave helped out a little, but much of the work was done by myself and it was taking its toll on me.  I stopped digesting nutrition and it was going no where but up.

Lap 3: I continued to do a lot of work off the front but the lack of nutrition was really starting to take its toll on my energy levels as I watched my pace drop further. I was ready for the bike course to be done, but I still had 38 miles to go.  I climbed out of town and to the turn-around where I received a very unwelcome surprise.  The wind had changed directions and the tailwind I was supposed to have home was now a raging headwind.  To make matters worse I was starting to get tunnel vision and I knew I had to get some calories down.   I backed it off even further in hopes that I could right the ship before the start of the run. The wind would prove to be too much for Amanda and Dave and they would drop off the back as I rode it in with Ryan.

At The Trisports Aid Station
Run (3:12:27):  After a race best T2, I started out on the first run lap of the three loop course.   I felt surprisingly fresh and it was in stark contrast to how I had just felt on the bike  The Garmin displayed a quick 6:10 pace - it was faster than I wanted but I felt fresh and my form was strong.  I continued running and knocking out miles in the 6:25-6:40 range and was starting to think about a sub-3 hour marathon.   Everything seemed right on track, except I was going through and inordinate amount of food and water at the aid stations.  My appetite was insatiable as I grabbed at least two cokes and two powerades at every aid station.  And for the first time ever I reached out for Gu packs. To my surprise everything was going down and I was feeling better.

Lap 2:  I continue on a torrid pace in lap two and through the half way point in 1:28.  Then the wheels started to fall off.  The Ironman Arizona run course is very rolling with lots of turns and concrete.  The pounding was starting to take its toll on my quads, and my hamstrings started cramping.  I got to an aid station on an uphill and decided it would be a good strategic point to visit the restroom.   I let my body cool down, rest, and recover as I prepared for the journey to the finish.  Miles 14-18 were the tough and I really had to focus through them.  I finished lap two and I was thrilled to have only a lap to go.

Rally Cap Time
Lap 3:  I focused on keeping good form as I worked my way through the age groupers.  At one point, I took a look back and saw a fast charging Linsey Corbin.  I knew I was on sub-9 pace for the race, but I needed to knockout some quick miles and I decided to go with Linsey.  I shadowed her stride-for-stride as the TV camera's focused in on us.  Not a word was muttered, but both of us were breathing heavy.  After four miles Linsey's torrid pace would get the better of me.  I was laboring and a complete black out was not out of the possibility - I made the tough decision to let Lindsey go.

I continued on alone and knew that I could go sub-9.  At mile 25 I saw a guy down on the ground with an oxygen mask on, and I just hoped I could keep it together for one more mile.  At .5 miles to go I past Tim O'Donnell - he had bonked but toughed it out.  I patted him on the backside and headed towards the finish with a mix of emotions.   As I entered the chute I could hear Mike Reilly's voice welcoming me on as I reached out and slapped hands with anyone I could find.  I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face in 8:57:00.

Summary (8:57:00 / 27th Pro): Finishing Ironman Arizona was a flood of emotions - it was my 10th Ironman and my first as a pro.  I have come a long way from that first Ironman back in 2006, but the experience of finishing never gets old.

This race was confirmation that all the hard work and effort has paid off.  Although I did not have as strong of a run as I would have liked, I could not be more proud to be able to cover 140.6 miles under the 9-hour mark.   I learned so much about strategy at the pro-level and I look forward to using what I learned in my next race. Although mentally I am ready for my next Ironman, I know my body needs a break, and I am going to give it an extended rest as I get ready for 2012.

Trisports' New Retail Location In Tempe
Thank You: As always, I want to thank Trisports for believing in my dream.  It has been so wonderful to get to know everyone from Trisports this year and the team kicked some serious ass at Ironman Arizona.   I am also proud to announce that in 2012 I will be racing for Trisports and I look forward to growing with them.  For those that are not aware Trisports is opening their second retail location in Tempe that is just one block from the IMAZ race start.  Look for it in 2012.  In the meantime, you can always save 20% at Trisports.com with my coupon code. You can always help support me as an athlete by using my 20% off coupon code for Trisports that is tied to my name. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer. I also want to thank 2XU for their support in providing some of the best training, racing, and recovery apparel that I could ask for.

For those of you who don't follow Team Trisports, here is a quick summary of the IMAZ performances: Leanda Cave won the female's race, Torsten Abel took forth, owner and super-dad Seton Claggett won his age-group and finished in 9:14. Charisa Werrnick went 9:22 and Billy Oliver had an amazing race despite crashing and went 10:24.

I also want to thank my homestay for their wonderful hospitality.  Dana and Bill Jones have been great and theirs sons Austin and Logan are some of my biggest fans.  The boys always help me out with whatever I need, and on this trip they taught me all about geo-caching!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Spare Tubular Tire For Ironman Triathlon and Half-Ironman Races - Tufo Elite Tire

Triathletes using tubulars usually carry a spare for Ironman and Ironman 70.3 triathlons. Here is my recommendation for a spare tubular tire for your next race.

Simply put, you want to carry a track tubular as a spare. Don't take it from me though, I actually learned this trick from former Ironman World Champion Peter Reid. The reason for this is because they roll up to nothing, weigh nothing, and despite what people believe, they are actually fairly robust.

Tufo Elite Jet (Top) - Normal Butyl Tube (Bottom)
My preferred spare tubular is the Tufo Elite Jet <120. As you can see it rolls up to practically nothing. Because of its small size it is easy to find places for it it to hide on your bike. It weighs 120 grams and is 21mm wide. This tire is easy to get centered on the rim. I find beefy tires never go on quite right the first time around and in a flat situation you want the tire to go on right the first time. If the tire is not centered it is going to wobble.

Now unfortunately this specific Tufo Elite Jet is very hard to find (this was originally written in 2011) but they do have one that is just a bit heavier - 135g, and is also 22mm wide. It is the Tufo Elite 22.

My personal experience with this tire is that it is a fairly robust tire. At Ironman Wisconsin in 2009 I actually had to change a flat and ride this tire for 55 miles and it handled like a champ.

If you want a spare tire with a protection strip my recommendation is the Tufo Elite Jet Hi-Tpi <160.

I always prefer to glue my tubes with Vittoria Mastik One but if you don't want to pre-glue your spare, Tufo Tape is probably your best in race solution for a secure bond between tire and rim. If you are looking for my recommendation on normal tubulars for racing my recommendation is Continental Podium TT, but I don't race tubulars and prefer clinchers now.  You can read about my recommendation for clinchers here.

Vittoria Mastik One Tubular Glue

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Amica 19.7 Triathlon Race Report - 2011 Phoenix Sprint Triathlon


This year I have tried to limit my racing, but lately I have had the itch to race. When I saw that the Amica 19.7 Phoenix had moved from the hardest course possible - Lake Pleasant - to a pristine flat course I knew I was in. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for hard courses, but I was just looking for a nice course that would make for a great threshold workout, with no recover time needed, and that would allow me to practice a pro swim start.  Oh ya, and the race was close enough that I could sleep in my own bed the night before the race and drive up on race morning.

Shaking My Head About The Swim
Swim (11:53 / 11 of 12): The swim took place in a man-made lake used for motorboat racing and was filled with salt water. As we were lining up I saw Big Matty Reed trying to sneak to the far left side and Lewis Elliott followed. I figured I had a reasonable chance of staying on Lewis' feet so I tucked in right behind him. The official called an impromptu start and the chaos ensued.

The first 100 meters was rough and I was definitely red-lining it, but I wasn't at all concerned with the situation. Then we rounded the first buoy and we started to get tangled up with the racers from the Olympic race - don't ask me why the race was setup this way. Anyway, I tucked in behind someone from that Olympic race and then before I knew it the pro pack was gone. I backed it off and swam the remainder solo. Looking back at it I should have pushed hard but that was a mistake I made.

T1 (:23 / 1 of 12): After the disgusting swim, I knew I had to make up some time in transition to be apart of the race. Now being short course racing you would think the other racers - who can all run faster than me - would surely be able to transition fast. Not so, even Matty Reed couldn't transition faster than the long-course racer. Anyway I made quick work of transition despite another female pro believing that my transition spot was hers.

Bike (38:27 / 6 of 12): The bike was a 3-loop, 16 mile bike course with plenty of 90 and 180 degree turns per loop. Although I am cornering more confidently, I was not exactly excited about all the turns and knew it would slow things down considerably. Nonetheless it would be good practice for future races and it would give me many opportunities to check out the competition.

Now I had come into the week and had absolutely destroyed my biking legs, but for some reason they were firing just fine despite the accumulated fatigue. I got passed right away by Matt Russell but I was determined to catch up to AJ Baucco and Jason Pederson who had roughly a 30 second lead. I pushed hard on the straightaways, anywhere between 330-375 watts, and I slow-pedaled through the turns. Time check after time check the split was coming down albeit it vary slowly. I am always amazed how much effort can go into biking for the small incremental speed differences that are gained. It just makes me respect guys like Chris Lieto for the strategy they always employ. Anyway, by the end of loop three I had finally caught AJ and Jason. I decided not to pass and instead just backed it off and gave me legs a 30 second rest.
USAT Official's Are Always Looking At My Helmet ;)

T2 (:21 / 1 of 12): I knew I could make up some more time in T2 if I planned everything out in my head. However, what I didn't plan was for AJ rolling over my back leg with his bike, and then tripping and sliding his bike right underneath me. No worries, I high-stepped over it and would still manage the fastest T2 of the day. I find it shocking that the slowest runner in the field can transition faster than these ITU peeps. I guess I don't put my pants on just like everyone else.

Run (17:04 / 10 of 12): Coming out of T2 my legs felt absolutely awful, but it didn't come as a total shock as I pushed it pretty hard on the bike. My fast T2 had netted me 10-15 seconds on AJ and Jason, but it wasn't long before Jason came flying by. I knew I couldn't match the pace and decided to wait for AJ. AJ made the pass at the half-mile mark and I tucked in right behind him. I matched his stride and I could feel my energy stores rising and my heart rate falling. At one point I thought about making the pass, but I knew I was saving too much energy by letting AJ lead. At 1.5 miles we were passed by USA Duathlete Superstar Josh Merrick, and I figured it would by my only chance to gap AJ. I hung on Josh's heels for about 600 meters and that was all I had. However, that 600 meter stint got me 10 seconds and that was all the gap I would need on AJ.

Overall (1:08:17 / 10 of 12): I got rocked in the swim but I earned more confidence in the process. I biked well and I was even cornering well. I know I bike conservatively, but I am risk-adverse and I'm not a fan of crashing. My move on the run was a real strategic success that even Macca would have been proud of. And clearly I can tie my shoes faster than anyone else.  Overall, I couldn't be more happy with the race and the outcome and it was nice to mix it up and race fast for a change.  For a comparison Olympian Matty Reed went 1:04:16 with splits (10:05 / :24 / 37:31 / :33 / 15:41).

Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer
As always, I want to thank Trisports.com - use Trisports my coupon code to save 20% on your next order. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.

With winter approaching now is a great chance to buy an indoor trainer.  Check out the Saris CycleOps Fluid2 Trainer that is currently on sale for $279. You can save an additional 20% by using my coupon code. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tinfoilman Sprint Triathlon Race Report - 2011 Tucson

While most people were busy preparing their Halloween costumes, this week I got to work making myself into a real-life walking zombie.  I knew hit the mark when I walked into Trisports on Saturday for the Tinfoilman packet pickup, and the staff actually commented on how much I looked like a zombie.  But that was the plan, and with both the Amica 19.7 Sprint Championship and Ironman Arizona fast approaching, I had little time for rest during my hardest training block ever.

The goal of the Tinfoilman was to get in a fast threshold workout and compare it to a race earlier this year on the same course.  Now to be fair, I had crashed 10 days prior to that race, but I thought it would be a wash with the extra fatigue for this one.

Swim (9:59):  The Tinfoilman features an 825 yard swim in the University of Arizona pool.  The race features 10 waves, with 30 athletes per wave, and 2 athletes per lane.  

As I was standing on the deck I introduced myself to my swim lane competitor Neil Segel.  Fortunately for me he mentioned that his team - the Tricats - had just picked up a very talented freshman by the name of Ben Kanute.  However, I was all too familiar with Ben - he has been rocking me in the sprint distance for quite sometime.  For those unfamiliar, he is one of the USAT golden boys on the road to the 2016 Olympics.

I embraced the news as I planned for an even tougher threshold workout.  My wave was up, the gun fired, and I took off down the lane.  Surprisingly I had half a length gap on everyone - that is until I hit the wall - and then I found myself suddenly half a length behind.  Now seeing as I don't believe in doing flip turns, and nor do I believe in pushing off the wall, I knew that I would sacrifice some time here.  I can only imagine what it looks like from the pool deck, but based on the number of coaches that have watched me swim thru the years, I am pretty sure it is a horrid site - but hey it's Halloween!

Usually I keep good tabs on my pace in pool swims, but today I forgot my pool goggles at home, and my open water goggles don't allow me to see my watch clearly.  It probably was a good thing as it allowed me to focus on swimming as hard as I could.  As I exited the pool I took a quick glance ahead of me.  I didn't see Ben and I knew I was easily a minute behind. 

Bike (28:17): The bike is a relatively flat, 12-mile, 3-loop bike course around the U of A campus.  The roads of this urban bike course go from smooth as glass to "hold on for dear life" rough, and they can be quite challenging with cars, dogs, and competitors to watch out for.

The bike is where I expected my legs to be most fatigued and sadly they didn't disappoint.  Nonetheless, I pedaled as fast as I could as I tried to close the gap on Ben.  The power on the smoother sections was good at 330, but I couldn't put out any power on the bumpy sections and with all the turns the final power only came in at 279.  In better news, as the laps rolled by the split differential was coming down.  After the 1st lap it was at 1 minute, by the second lap it was down to 40 seconds, and when I rolled back into transition it was down to 20.  This was all good, but I knew I needed a great run to win.

Run (17:17): I got back to transition, racked my bike, and swiftly put on my run shoes.  I had a GPS watch that I was going to use for data, but it served little purpose in trying to chase down a future Olympian.

I took off on the run with the mindset that I was only 20 seconds down - surprisingly the legs felt pretty good.  It always amazes me how much fresher legs feel after short races than the longer races that I am accustom to.  On the downside, fresh legs means there are no excuses but to run fast.

The run is a flat 2-loop course that offers multiple opportunities to grab splits. That first opportunity came at about 1K and I was roughly 250 meters down.  Ben looked strong, but the gap didn't seem unreasonable so I pressed hard.  I was flying by other participants from earlier waves but my gap to Ben was growing and the signature smile was fading to a grimace.  I continued down the homestretch and could only mustard a faint "on your left" as I flew by participants.  I left it all on the table, but in the end I would finish nearly a minute and a half down.

Overall (55:34):  I had my best swim ever swimming 825y in 9:59.  That may not impress many - but it continues to show that my swim work is paying off, and a strong swim is key to my success at the next level.  The bike was lacking today but I knew it would be and the run was on par.  Overall my time was 55:34 and good for second place and was a good minute faster than my race back in May at 56:37.

For the record, the last time I raced Ben Kanute was at the 2009 Tri-Shark sprint triathlon in Normal, IL.  At that race he beat me by nearly 4 minutes - here it was only a minute and half.  A big part of improving is looking at my peers.  Considering he was only 17 at the time I feel like this race was a success.  In addition, it was good preparation for going fast and I look forward to next week's race at the Amica 19.7 Sprint Championship.

As always, I want to thank Trisports.com - use my Trisports coupon code to save 20% on your next order. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.










Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Soma 70.3 Triathlon Race Report - 2011 Half Ironman

With the Rev3 amateur series out of the way, I finally had a good opportunity to take my pro card.  I thought about waiting until the 2012 season, but let's face it, I'm not getting any younger and I still have a lot to learn.  Truthfully, I didn't want to be that pro that gets kicked out the back of races during the swim.  I always believe you should be performing at the next level before being promoted or promoting oneself. Although my swim is still lacking, I was confident that I can hold my own in the water and I took the plunge at Soma 70.3.

Jozsef Major, Kevin Taddonio, Lauren Goss, Me, Kristi Johnson
Swim (29:47):  The pro race would be wetsuit free and for once I would not have to worry about overheating in another wetsuit swim.  Being my first pro race, I knew one of the biggest changes would be - swim start dynamics - and I wasn't sure exactly who I could swim with.  I was thinking I could maybe grab local-boy Lewis Elliot's feet, but I decided to line up next to the speedsters Guy Crawford and Lauren Goss and just see what happened.

The gun went off and the frenzy started.  It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was in the chase pack of about 6.  Then the guy in front of me got dropped and I was relegated to swimming behind his feet for the rest of the swim.  Despite his best efforts, he couldn't shake me and I would get a free tow all the way to T1.

Overall I was never really in any difficulty in this slightly long swim, but I was concerned when a few age-groupers in wetsuits came flying by.   In addition, I had a cramping left calve muscle and I was worried that the push-up and hop-out type of exit this race had would cause a full lock-up.  Fortunately upon exit the calf was fine and I made quick work of transition.

Bike (2:15:15):   That bike course is 3-loop course on mostly flat roads that are in good shape but has over 50 turns to slow things down a bit.  The stagger rule was in effect, but apparently the international athletes didn't get the memo.

Lap 2 - A little bit better lean
I got rolling on the course and my legs felt surprisingly good and the power was high.  The numerous out-and-backs on the course provided many opportunities to check out my competition and I was pleased to see I was only a minute down from Lewis Elliott and had a nice gap on Matt Russell, Kevin Taddino, Jozef Major, and Matt Sheeks. 

Overall to stay apart of the race I had to knock up my power a bit from the typical age-group race.  I rode right at 270-280 watts which is a pretty good number for someone 5'8 and 153 on race day.   I was slightly concerned that the power would come back to haunt me in the blast furance of the run but I knew I had to stay in the race and that is what it took.

The bike was chaotic in loops 2 and 3 as we merged with the age-groupers.  The stagger rule was a real downer as I am accustom to sling-shooting around age-groupers using their slip-stream.  Overall, the bike was pretty smooth but I got rocked on the turns and would lose 2-3 seconds on each one.  This is definitely a place that I need to work on improving, but regardless I was happy to roll back into transition in 6th place.

Run (1:23:51): The run course was a 2-loop out-and-back course in an extremely hot, dry, and shade-free environment. Because my bike power was a little higher than I would have liked, I opted to take it out conservatively to avoid a mid-run bonk.  I followed the plan and I was pleasantly surprised to find out at the turn-around that I was only 4 minutes down from the leaders and roughly 2 minutes down from 5th.

I came thru loop one and was feeling pretty good and decided to try to surge and catch 5th but it wasn't meant to be.  At the turnaround on a lap two I was still about 1:10 down with only about 2.5 miles to go.  I still tried to close the gap but couldn't do it and I came across the finish in 6th place.

Overall (4:10:22):  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I couldn't be happier with the result.  I am all about slow-and-steady progress and the race helped to validate my training methods.

Despite the long season, mentally my mind is fresh and I don't want the season to end.  Physically my body keeps get stronger and faster and I know I still have a lot of potential for good racing in 2011.  As of right now I am trying to get in Ironman Arizona but look for me at Amica 19.7 Phoenix in less than 2 weeks for sure.  I will also be racing a local Tucson triathlon this weekend as a fast training day in preparation for Amica.

As always, I want to thank Trisports.com - use my Trisports coupon code to save 20% on your next order. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.

 I also want to thank Dana, Bill, Austin, and Logan Jones for homestaying me for the event.

If you haven't got a chance don't forget to pre-order your Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS watch - would make a great Christmas gift for someone special.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rev3 Anderson Triathlon Race Report - 2011 70.3 Half-Ironman

After my win at Rev3 Cedar Point, I signed up for Rev3 Anderson to contend for the amateur prize purse.  The rules of the series required at least two races in varying distances, and Rev3 Anderson was the last Rev3 race of the year. Although it would be nearly impossible to win the series, there was a very good chance that as long as I finished the race that I would take second.  However, finishing was in serious doubts when I picked up a stomach bug earlier in the week and was down for the count Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  On Friday I still didn't feel quite right, but I decided to head to South Carolina anyways.


Easy Breezy Swim
Swim (27:44):  The goal of the swim was to stay on the heals of the first swimmers and set myself up for the bike.  I have continued to work on my swim and each swim seems to get easier - this race was no exception.  After talking with Trista and Ryan from The Bachelor I decided to line myself up just behind the first row of swimmers.  The gun went off and I grabbed some feet.  It was a good group and we made quick work of the swim despite nobody really wanting to take a leadership role.  We caught up to some of the female pro's who went off 7 minutes earlier and I was out of the water in 4th place.

 


Surviving The Bike
Bike (2:26:51):  After pre-driving the course the day before I opted for a shallow front wheel and a shallow rear wheel.  Skipping the disc ended up being a big mistake as the windy day would have netted some good opportunities for sailing. The Rev3 Anderson bike course was a relentless rolling course with a large number of turns and technical sections and that in combination with a windy day largely influenced my conservative decision.  On race morning I couldn't find my HR strap, and my decision to switch wheels meant that I wouldn't be riding my Powertap - I would race completely by feel.

Coming out of transition the series leader - Jay Mccurdy - was just in front of me.  Without my objective data I felt like the pace Jay was pushing was too high and I let him go after the first couple of miles.  I would continue alone and I felt absolutely awful out there on the bike and it showed in my times.  The course was tough but that only added to the misery of the off day. I did manage to pass the other two age groupers in front of me along with a handful of male and female pros.


Enjoying The Run
Run (1:26:09):  I got on to the run and I was welcomed with cheers from the Rev3 crew.  It was a step in the right direction as I focused on smooth running form.  Apparently it wasn't too smooth as I got called out by a female pro who came flying by.  "Pick up your knees" she yelled.  If only she knew the number of people who have called out my running form over the years.  As I moved into another gear I was quickly huffing and puffing.  She yelled, "stay on my heels".  It seemed like suicide at the time but something told me to stay on those heels.  I looked at my Garmin - it was too fast! I did the only logical thing I could think of at the time and that was to take it off.

At Finish With Lauren Goss
I continued running behind this gal for the next few miles as we exchanged life stories.  I learned her name was Lauren Goss, she focused on ITU racing, and this was her first 70.3.  She was the local gal and to tell you the truth I was quite surprised that I had never heard of her before.  Nonetheless it seemed like the pace was coming down a bit.  We headed into an out-and-back section and it would be my first chance to see where I was at.  Interesting enough Jay was drafting off Magali Tissayre - who said chivalry was dead? As I went by we exchanged low-fives - I was four minutes down.


We continued on the rolling course and are pace was slowing down albeit it very gradually.  I took the lead and I started pulling.  It wasn't surprising to me as this was Lauren's first 70.3 and it was clear her first mile was way too fast.   We reached the second turnaround and I was still four minutes down.  My position was determined and I just focused on smooth efficient running as we headed back towards the finish.  Lauren and I stuck together the whole way and it was nice to have some company for once. 

With Jay McCurdy - 1st & 2nd Rev3 Amateur Series
Overall (4:22:40): In the end I would finish as the second overall amateur, second overall in the Rev3 amateur series, and I got to meet some new friends.  It was my last race as an amateur and I look forward to racing future Rev3 races as a professional.  The Rev3 organization has been great to work with, and once again they provided both challenging run and bike courses.

As always, I want to thank Trisports.com - use my Trisports coupon code to save 20% on your next order. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Race Predictions: 2011 Ironman World Championship Kona Predictions

This Saturday - yes Saturday - is the 2011 Ironman World Championship taking place in Kailua-Kona.  Here are my predictions for Saturday's race:

Pro Men:
1: Andreas Raelert
2: Marino Vanhoenacker
3: Craig Alexander
4: Rasmus Henning
5: Tim O'Donnell
6: Timo Bracht
7: Tom Lowe
8: Andy Potts
9: Maik Twelsiek
10: Frederik Van Lierde

Pro Women:
1: Chrissie Wellington
2: Mirinda Carfrae
3: Leanda Cave
4: Caroline Steffen
5: Julie Dibens

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ironman World Championship Kona Hawaii Race Tips - 11 Course Specific Tips

Getting to the Ironman World Championship in Kona is tough enough, but that doesn't mean you can't parlay your fitness into an Ironman PR.  Here are 10 tips for Kona virgins to help you have the best day you can out there. Some may seem obvious but the difficulty is actually following them during the race.


Swim Tips

The Melee
#1 - Don't Get Caught Off Guard - The start of the race goes off with a bang - but what you don't know is the Mike Reilly and the firing of the cannon is simply a moment of spontaneity.  Unlike your qualifier race where there is a loose countdown, you won't know when the gun goes off here.  And if you are NOT ready, then you will quickly find yourself behind the eight-ball as people start to crawl over you.

#2 - Swimming thru Madness - Regardless of speed, unless you are the top amateur you will be surrounded by more top swimmers than you have experienced before.  It is best to be conservative on the swim.  Overestimating your swim speed will just result in people crawling over you left and right - personally I would rather be crawling over people then the other way around.  And just because you lined up in the front at your Ironman qualifier doesn't automatically mean you can line up at the front in the World Championship.

#11 - Bonus tip added after I raced as a pro in 2013. Do not put your feet up against the sea wall before the start of the swim. There are tons of sea urchins and you will get stung. Ask me how I know, or just read my 2013 Ironman Hawaii Race Report


T1 Tips

Bright Bags Can Help You Transition
#3 All Hands on Deck - The 2.4 mile ocean swim can be tough if you haven't done a non-wetsuit IM swim.  And if you are at the pointy-end of the field in your qualifier race then you may be middle of the pack here.  That means many more bodies than you may be use to and the pier is small and can get quite congested.  My suggestion is just to relax going thru transition. With the competitive nature of the world-class field it is easy to get distracted and forget something important - like forgetting to take off your swim skin!!  Move thru transition methodically and let your HR fall.  The precious few seconds lost will be gained back on the bike.

#4 Beacon The Bags - I always like to add a little special touch to my bags.  It makes for easy identification of the bags and can be a real time saver in the event that the bag gets misplaced.




Bike Tips

A Tree In Hawi
#5 - Sail Away - People always ask: what depth wheel should I bring?  Asking this question likely means that you are worried about cross-winds and should err on the side of caution.  If you ride scared you will ride slower on a 808 than a 404.  If you have to bring an 808 then make sure you pre-ride the descent from Hawi and do it during the middle of the day.

#6 - Bike Pacing - There is no glory in a great bike split if you can't back it up on the run.  Kona is likely much hotter, and more humid than you are use to, and this can greatly affect the amount of power you can put out.  It also affects how much you can take in.  Course difficulty all depends on winds on the day, but it is best to take it out conservatively.  If you have to ask yourself out on the bike if you are going too hard then you probably are.


T2 Tips

#7 Enjoy The Intermission - The run is going to hurt, it is going to be hot, and you are going to suffer.  Enjoy the shade of the tent as you methodically move thru transition.  No need to rush this.  At worst you lose a few seconds as your body cools off and your heart rate falls.  I can assure you this will be made up once you get onto the legendary lava fields as you roast in the midday sun.


Run Tips

An Athlete Tackles Palani Hill
#8 Walking Can Be Faster Than Running - The Queen-K and Ali'hi drive can be absolutely awful, and keeping your core temp in control and allowing your body to absorb nutrients becomes top priority.  To get thru the marathon there are three strategic aid stations to walk and they include the aid station right before the hill at around mile 8, Palani hill, and coming out of the Energy Lab.  All three places are great places to walk for 15-20 seconds as you fuel, cool down, and let your HR recover before you tackle the climbs.


Heat Acclimation Tips

#9 Sweat It Out -  Bikram Yoga is a great way to work on heat acclimation while keeping you flexible, and rejuvenating the body and mind.  If you haven't done Bikram Yoga before then this might not be the time to experiment, but it can be great way for people from the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and East Coast to stay acclimated without going to Kona 10 days out.

#10 Hot-Box Biking - If you have a bathroom big enough, then turn on the shower, close the door, and start biking.   Use common sense when it comes to the temperature and duration and also don't bring any electronics in that could cause a short or that could be adversely affected by the humidity.  And NO, the bike doesn't actually go in the shower.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reviewing The Numbers: Calories, Watts, and Pace at Rev3 Cedar Point Full Rev Ironman

Earlier I wrote a race report on my experiences at Rev3 Cedar Point. Today I wanted to dive a little further into the numbers.  First things first -- my nutrition plan. 


Race Morning Nutrition: ~1350 calories

The majority of the calories were consumed at the time I woke up or ~2.5 hours before my wave went off.

- Nutrition Shake (250 calories)
- Motts Natural Fruit Snacks (600 calories)
- Quaker Rice Cakes - Chocolate Crunch (300)
- Carbo Pro 1200 (200 calories worth) (sipped on this throughout the morning)
- Crystal Light Packet (Wild Berry Energy) (10 calories)


Bike Nutrition: ~2000 calories or about 400 calories an hour

I started the bike with the following bottles:

- 1 pre-mixed bottle (2x salt stick pills, 300 calories of Carbo Pro 1200 + H20, 1 Crystal Light packet)
- 1 pre-mixed bottle (2x salt stick pills, 1600 calories of Carbo Pro 1200, 1 Crystal Light packet)

Once I finished the first 300 cal bottle I switched to sipping the concentrated bottle and washing it down with water.  I did grab one Gatorade on the course and had roughly 80 calories of it. I also had 4 salt stick pills on the bike.

Run Nutrition: ~820 calories or about 270 calories per hour

At first I went thru aid stations grabbing one or two cups of cola, but I was finding around mile 17 or so that it wasn't enough so I started grabbing Gatorade as well.  I estimate that I had:

720 Calories of Cola (30x 2 oz cups)
100 Calories of Gatorade (8x 2 oz cups)

The Ironman Marathon Miracle Maker
That's it.  I didn't take anything else on the run - no gels, no gummies, and no salt. I will say that one specific goal of the race was to put down a lot of food.  And I spent a lot of time eating junk on rides and runs in hopes that my stomach could learn to turn it until fuel for the body. Overall the low output on the swim and bike definitely aided in proper digestion.  I had little to no bloating or gas the entire day.

Swim Speed:

Although there are no numbers for swim speed I will reiterate that I swam well below my ability. I did have a few moments of pressure throughout the swim which resulted in a couple of micro-surges, but overall I was not concerned about getting dropped and I had no reason to forge ahead on my own.


Bike Watts:

The goal of the bike was to bike extremely conservatively for the first hour and then dial it up every so slightly. Lucky for me my Garmin Edge 500 ran out of space mid-way thru the ride so I only have half of it.

1st Hour - 220 watts @ 136 BPM
2nd Hour - 230 watts @ 133 BPM

Trainingpeaks Powerfile 2011 Rev 3 Cedar Point Full Rev Ironman


In training I biked most of rides at roughly 75% of 330 watts FTP or roughly 250 watts.  Although I had no problems in training I wanted to take an even more conservative approach on race day and I believe the conservative pace on the bike set me up for a good run.

Run Pace:

The goal of the run was to keep a comfortable relaxed pace and see where it took me.  The following shows my run pace and average heart rate over the course of the marathon.  As you can see the run pace was fairly consistent throughout the race.  This is a testament to my bike pacing.


Putting It All Together:  Although I didn't have the fastest swim, bike, or run splits, I did manage to put together a solid race with no weaknesses in any of the disciplines.  I have worked hard on my swim and it shows - maybe not in the time but certainly in the level of effort. The bike was easy but that is how it is supposed to be, and my run was inline with my expectations.

So what was the key to my race? I would say the conservative approached that I was actually able to follow.  Most people - myself included - have a significant "knowing-doing" gap when it comes to the Ironman distance.  We know we should take it conservative but it is so easy to get caught up in the moment and in the process throw the plan right out the window.  Unless there is an absolute tactical reason why you have to race a certain way it is simply faster to race your own race.  Happy IMing!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rev3 Cedar Point Race Report - 2011 Full Rev 140.6 Ironman Sandusky

Rev3 9/11 Remembrance
Ideally I would have liked to have been racing Ironman Wisconsin instead of Rev3 Cedar Point - nothing against Rev3 - but who can blame me when I live a block away from the start of Ironman Wisconsin.  Not to mention it would have be a no-brainer for friends and family to spectate.  Anyway, despite me best efforts at Ironman events this year, I have been saddled by disaster after disaster out on their bike courses, and the business side of me was screaming go to Cedar Point, hit the reset button, and set yourself up for a good payday in the Rev3 amateur series.  So Cedar Point it was. 

Swim (58:41): The swim was a mass-start for all age-groupers with pro men and pro women going off in separate waves roughly 15 minutes and 10 minutes ahead of us.  I wasn't too sure of the swim course because it was an awkard looping course, but the plan was not to lead the swim and I had hoped whoever was leading would know what to do.

Exiting Lake Erie
During warm-up I got a chance to walk thru the knee-deep muck that was present from a bombardment of 10-foot waves all week.  It was almost like quicksand and felt like stepping into the abyss.  I made a mental note as I watched the female pros go off and watched one face plant directly in it.  Ouch.  Then I heard the announcer say "45 Seconds Age-Groupers".  Well that sucks seeing as I am 200 yards out in the warm-up area right now.  So I b-lined it to shore - HR soaring as I did my best high-step impression.  I reached shore, dashed to the start, and then realized I still had plenty of time.  Well at least I was wide-awake and the throttle had been wide open.

So onto the swim.  The gun went off and we all started thru the muck.  It was a mixture of high-steps, dolphin dives, and akward strokes but clear water was near.  There was one guy who got away but I wasn't concerned.  I was not going to spike the HR to catch up so I just sat in a chase group of four as we worked from buoy to buoy.  We crossed the first lap and I had a chance to look at my watch - 27:20 - ok right on pace.  Lap 2 was more of the same, and the name of the game was energy conservation.  It was dead easy just how an IRONMAN age-group swim should be. I exited the water and I looked down to see 57:55 on my watch - perfect.

T1: Running into transition I was able to see that super-star age-grouper Jay McCurdy was also in the swim pack of four I was in.  He was my best competition and I knew that he would be a good guy to keep an eye on.

Bike (4:51:44): The Rev3 Cedar Full-Rev bike course was similar to Louisville and Wisconsin, but didn't have any major climbs.  The goal of the bike was just to ease into the bike and make the bike the easiest bike ride I have had all year.  99% of all age-group athletes swim way too hard, and then they bike way too hard, only to melt on the run.  There would be no melting today and I was firm in sticking to my simple rule of thumb - "if you can't smile then you are going to hard." 

One of the Few Climbs on the Course
So I set sail on the bike course passing the lead age-grouper within a matter of minutes.  From there I worked on picking off female pro after female pro.  I road extremely conservatively and this allowed me to consume a massive amount of calories - roughly 2000 by mile 80.  Amazing how well the digestive system works when you back off and keep a low HR.

The whole bike was rather uneventful and before you knew it I was rolling in back to transition side-by-side Jay.  We had kept each other in our sites the entire ride and switched the lead maybe 30 or so times.

T2:  I had now idea how big our lead was to third, but I knew that Jay was a fast runner and that was enough to worry about for me. There was no time to waste so I grabbed a one-pound bag of gummy bears, my garmin, and a red bull.  I cracked the red bull and slammed about half of it and exited the tent just ahead of Jay.

Run (3:08:20): The Cedar Point Full-Rev course consists of a relatively flat 2-loop course with little shade to escape the sun.  My plan was just to stay focused and hold a comfortable pace with good form.  Immediately  I fired up the Garmin and when it finally came online I was awarded with a sustainable 6:55 pace.

Now usually I have this "walk every 3rd aid station policy" due to overheating, but today I had no such luxury.  With Jay roughly 15 seconds back at mile 4 there was no time for walking and cooling off.  Instead I continued on at comfortable but aggressive 7:10 pace and just hoped I didn't melt.

At mile #7, I was relieved to know that I had roughly 52 seconds on Jay and I had over 7 minutes on third.  By mile #9 my lead had stretched to 56 seconds and roughly 7:30 on third.  I got to the turnaround and passed the final female pro in the race.  Splits were up to 2:20 on Jay and third was no longer a contender.

For nutrition I stuck to my miracle worker - cola - but later in the race it wasn't enough so I started adding Gatorade as well.  It was warm but it wasn't boiling out so a glass of water on the top of the noggin was all that was needed to keep cool. 

During lap two I was waiting for the normal pace creep that seems to always happen in Ironman Marathons, but it never came.  At mile 18-19 I had a little spot of maybe 30 seconds were I felt deflated but that quickly passed.

At mile #22 I got my final time check and my lead was down to 2:02.  I knew that unless I absolutely melted that the race would be mine.  Even though I accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish something about sub-9 still sounded nice so I threw out the untouched bag of gummies and set sail to try and bring it home.

At mile #25 I took one last look over my shoulder before I started the celebration.  Sub-9 wasn't going to happen, but I had a smile on my face as I executed the perfect Ironman-distance race of my life. I grabbed a US flag right before the finish and crossed the line in 9:02:38 as the overall amateur winner of the 2011 Rev3 Cedar Point Full Rev.   That 9:02:38 was good enough for 7th overall and would have netted me $1,750 if I had raced out of the pro field. 

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