Monday, October 29, 2012

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike, and Run Miles For Oct 22 - Oct 28

Race week is always an exciting week.  After weeks and weeks of hard training you start to question how much longer you can keep hitting it hard.  You wake up in the morning and you feel more tired than the previous night.  Sometimes you just need to throw in a race just to make sure you don't dig yourself too big of a hole.

My biggest successes have often come the week after a failed race and I'm hoping this come trues for Ironman Florida this upcoming week.  Ironman Austin 70.3 did not exactly goes as planned, but I did gain some valuable experience.  This experience is a big part of why I race much more frequently than my peers, and I'm confident that it will come in handy some day.

As for my training this week...  I hit it hard Monday thru Thursday in hopes of topping off the fitness tanks for Ironman Florida.  Overall volume was down, but I still did 2x20 just below threshold on the bike, and 3x7 at 70.3 race pace later on in the week.  I did lots of descending 100s in the pool.  And for running, I did some mile repeats and 1/2 mile repeats at 70.3 race pace. I was happy to travel to Austin on Friday, and enjoy nothing more than an easy bike ride on Saturday.

As for the race...

Swim (28:06): Well I totally cracked on the swim.  I made the mistake of jumping on Chris " Macca " McCormick's feet and not staying in the group.  In reality, Macca and myself were actually ahead of Andy Potts and crew 100 meters in.  Unfortunately the 71 shore-edge temp turned out to be way warmer in the middle of the lake and I badly overheated and cracked like I never have before.  Before you knew it I had guys crawling over me and I couldn't even stay on their feet.  Then the girls starting crawling over me.  It wasn't good.

T1 (2:59): I got out of the water and I was fully prepared for a freezing bike.  My mid-day Tucson training really came back to bite me at this race.  I got to my bike and the rapid change and loss of heat in 45 degree temps made me feel so sick and I felt like I wanted to vomit.  I looked at Patrick Evoe and he was just shaking his head.  I put on 2XU compression socks and full winter riding gloves and in the process had one of the slowest T1s of the group..

Bike (2:16:14): I got going on the bike and I instantly turned into an ice block.  Although my Powertap was actually working for once, I spent almost no time looking at the power screen, and instead focused my attention on the temperature gauge.  It read 45 and still getting colder.  With a 7:40 sunrise the sun provided no relief.  I struggled to keep blood flow in my hands even with full riding gloves on.  After spending the last year watching survivor shows, I knew my hands were in trouble when I lost the ability to control them.  They actually would not respond and it became scary.  I knew that I can win a war of attrition and I was just hoping people were suffering as much as I was.

I continued on biking only to pass one of the gals who swam over me in the swim.  I was shocked she had no gloves on.  Now granted in the end she DNFed, but I asked her about it 5 miles in, and she said she was fine and that really worried me.  Too make matters worse I had major bike mechanical issues at 6:30am in the morning for this 7:30 start, and I ended up having to remove the rear brake from my bike.  I also had a loose derailleur hanger making shifting poor.  In addition this affected the stability and stiffness in the rear of the bike making it downright scary.  In the cold, my muscles were tight and I could really feel it in my hips.

By 9am the temperature was still 45 and not getting any better.  Despite the cold, I hung in there and eventually the temps increased to a balmy 53 degrees by the end.  It was an awful bike and I really don't remember much because I was so fixated on the temperature gauge on my bike computer.

Run (1:21:36): Heading in to the run I had no idea where I stood in the race.  I passed a couple of guys on the bike but never caught up to the main group.  However, coming on to the run there was a long of string of guys all within 1/2 mile of me.  It gave me some confidence that I could possibly run myself back into the race.  After a large run block - my first since February - I knew I could do some damage on the run.  In that first 1.5 miles I passed all 6 guys running 5:15 pace.  I knew it wasn't sustainable but I didn't care.  I would run hard until I could asses where I was at in this 3 loop course.  At about mile 1.5 it became clear that there would be no podium.  Tj Tollakson, Andy Potts, Jeff Symonds, Chris McCormick, and Brandon Marsh had too big of gap and I decided to turn the run into one last training run for Ironman Florida.  I dialed down the pace for the next miles to a reasonable pace between Ironman 70.3 and Ironman, before doing a little cool down for the last 2 miles.  In the end that still got me a top ten finish in this stacked P500 race.

Overall (4:10:11 / 9th Pro): In reality the race ended up being the perfect training day for Ironman Florida next weekend.  In the process I learned a lot about racing in the cold and what I will need to do to prepare for it in the future.  Racing thru harsh conditions and knowing what you are capable of and comfortable with gives you the ability to remain calm and confident shall future situations arise.  We shall see what happens on Saturday at Ironman Florida, but I'm feeling good about things as it stands now.  As I write this I don't even feel like I even raced yesterday and I think that is a testament to the much increased run volume.

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 213 Miles / 16 hours 29 minutes

Swim: 12,700 yards / ~7 miles / 3 hours 30 minutes
Bike: 175 miles / 9 hours 17 minutes
Run: 31 miles /  3 hours 42 minutes
Core:  0 sessions / 0 hours 0 minutes

Weight: N/A
Body Fat: N/A

Calories Consumed: N/A
Calories Burned: N/A


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike, and Run Miles For Oct 15 - Oct 21

What I found over 27 days in Tucson, AZ
This week of training was the final push in punishing the body.  After a stretch of late season racing that left my bank account nearly empty, I got back into training this past month and made some quality deposits.

Every time I train in Tucson I keep a lookout for loose change on the roads and I almost always find some. It is a subtle reminder of the extra effort I am willing to go through that others may not.

The loose change is also a mental reminder to me of all the fitness that has been banked. Seeing progress is often impossible when looking at a single workout, but when you take a step back you can see the bigger picture.  To me this picture is a reminder of all the hard work that was done in the last month.  For those counting at home this is $3.50, found over the course of 27 days, and the oldest coin was a 1944 penny.

Now that all this fitness has been banked it is finally time to start making some withdrawals again.  Although I still have a few solid days of training this week, most of the real work is done, and I can finally start recovering for Ironman Austin 70.3.  I don't have any expectations of being fully recovered for Austin 70.3, but that is perfectly ok, and is all part of the plan.  I'm going to race Ironman Austin 70.3 on a slightly fatigued body and do my best to swim hard and bike hard.  If I am in contention off the bike, then I am giving myself the green light to run hard and see what I can do.  I know running hard will certainly affect my ability to recover for Ironman Florida, but if I can do well at Austin I'll take it.

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 294 Miles / 25 hours 10 minutes

Swim: 19,800 yards / ~11 miles / 4 hours 59 minutes
Bike: 223 miles / 12 hours 48 minutes
Run: 59 miles /  7 hours 22 minutes
Core:  0 sessions / 0 hours 0 minutes

Weight: N/A
Body Fat: N/A

Calories Consumed: N/A
Calories Burned: N/A



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike, and Run Miles For Oct 8 - Oct 14

Preparing to summit Mt Lemmon on my commuter
While everyone I knew and their mother was in Kona to watch Pete Jacobs and Leanda Cave be crowned the 2012 Ironman World Champions, I was in Tucson putting together one of my biggest training weeks of all time.

In actuality, this was one of the easier weeks to train for and reminds of an interesting effect that used to take place in college. It occurred toward the end of the 2nd semester when it started to get nice in Wisconsin.  In a school that was curved, I found that kids simply wouldn't study as hard, but I actually would hit the accelerator and I'm confident it was this short window of say 2 weeks where my entire grade was made.

As this relates to triathlon, well I know some of my competition was distracted by Kona - either as spectators or participants - while others have hopefully been distracted by cooler training temps and shorter days.  Meanwhile, I have had a laser focus towards what needs to be done to have success in my late season races.

Although truth be told, I'm not exactly sure how/when the increased run volume will show up in race performances, I am confident this is something I need to work towards and is something I'm committed to doing.  Looking back at this week, I ran more miles than I did in the entire month of May, and almost as many as the entire months of June and July as well. Although my training logs don't go back to the beginning of my career, this may be the most I have ever run.

The plan for this week is another heavy week before backing it off just a bit heading in to Ironman Austin Texas 70.3. I'll then back it off even further with a short 5-day recovery taper before Ironman Florida.

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 320 Miles / 28 hours 0 minutes

Swim: 18,200 yards / ~10 miles / 4 hours 35 minutes
Bike: 248 miles / 14 hours 8 minutes
Run: 61 miles /  8 hours 27 minutes
Core:  0 sessions / 0 hours 0 minutes

Weight: N/A
Body Fat: N/A

Calories Consumed: N/A
Calories Burned: N/A

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike, and Run Miles For Oct 1 - Oct 7

While it seems like everyone I know is headed to the big island to either spectate, work, or participate in the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, I have been hunkered down in Tucson doing what I do best - adding pennies to the penny jar. Although the week was not without incident, I did get in some solid training, with a continued emphasis on my run in preparation for run intensive Ironman courses including Ironman Florida and Ironman Arizona.

However, I did manage to nuke myself mid-week doing a staple in my training of 4x10 on the bike with equal rest.  Although, this is my third winter in Tucson, I obviously have not learned that you can't do 4x10 midday when it is a 108 with no shade.  The result was 2x10 with a thermal-nuclear shutdown by the end of the 2nd effort resulting in me pretty much being a vegetable for the next 36 hours.  I lost a complete day of training and I was careful to scratch any intensity from the schedule as I resumed training on Friday.

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 256 Miles / 21 hours 19 minutes

Swim: 16,000 yards / ~9 miles / 4 hours 11 minutes
Bike: 192 miles / 9 hours 52 minutes
Run: 54 miles /  7 hours 15 minutes
Core:  0 sessions / 0 hours 0 minutes

Weight: N/A
Body Fat: N/A

Calories Consumed: N/A
Calories Burned: N/A

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012 Ironman Wisconsin Race Report - 6th Place

Going into Ironman Wisconsin, I was very unsure of what to expect from body. I tried the back-to-back Ironman thing in 2010 as an amateur, and although the performances looked ok on paper, I certainly underperformed in terms of what my potential was.

Going into the race I had absolutely no expectations. This was the first race of the 2013 season for the Ironman Pro Circuit and the field was relatively stacked for a low P1000 race. The guys coming into this race were well tapered and focused heavily on doing well. For me it was simply more of a feeling like I had to do the race. After all, I literally live two blocks from the start and finish of the race. As an athlete who takes his job seriously, the better business decision would have been to go to a bigger race with a less stacked field at Rev3 Cedar Point, but with another race looming - Leadman Bend - I didn't want to deal with the travel and extended recovery required with traveling. In addition, Ironman sweetened the pot a little bit by adding back the Timex bike and run premes and I thought there was a good chance that I could get at least the bike preme. Anyways, here is a recap of the day including the good, the bad, and the disgusting...

Midnight at the Pro Racks on the Monona Terrace

First the bad... As many people are aware I have a homemade disc wheel that is basically just a regular wheel that is made into a disc with some tape. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no experience with rain and this wheel and so you can imagine the freak out the followed when the night before the race we had a torrential downpour and my bike was sitting totally exposed to the elements. I knew I would never be able to sleep unless I at least attempted to go dry it off, so while everyone was in bed sleeping, I got up and walked over to the Monona Terrace. It took some explaining with the security guards but thankfully one had recognized my wheel in transition and knew the story I was spewing was no BS. Thankfully they escorted me to my bike and we were able to wipe it down as much as possible and I was able to go back to bed and get my typical 3 hours night rest.


Then the disgusting... Race morning came early and because of the midnight rendezvous, I decided to sneak out every last bit of sleep and opted to set my alarm for 4:50. Two hours is plenty of time normally to take care of everything, but this day was different. With the cold weather, all the families and friends supporting athletes were crowding the hallways and choking off all the access points at the Monona Terrace. Because of the expected chilly morning I made a last minute decision to add some gloves to my T1 bag and simply lost too much time in the process and was never able to go to the bathroom.

Pro Swim Start 

Now I will say that I am not that athlete who believes they are "special" and can just budge some line and thus I decided I would forgo the bathroom. This turned out to be the wrong decision and as soon as I got in the water I had to go really bad. Having no other options I opted just to go in my suit. I tried my best to flush it out, but then I swam out to the start line and had to go again. 30 seconds before the start of the race I found myself on the verge of vagaling and seeing stars. It wasn't ideal, but I had no choice. I simply hoped that through the swim that most of it would get cleaned out.

Swim (54:42): Thanks to a last minute fulfilled panic request to 2XU, I was faced with a decision on race morning to go with a sleeved or sleeveless wetsuit. Although, the sleeved wetsuit is faster on paper, I knew that I ran the risk in the unusually warm water temperatures of overheating and I went with a sleeveless instead. I think this ended up being a great decision and I would do the same if I had to do it all over again.

Before the start of the race I lined up next to race favorite Ben Hoffman. I knew he would be the man to mark and when the gun went off I did just that. I swam on his feet for bit but the pace was too hot and I decided to drop off and switch to "Plan B" which was to mark Justin Daerr. Fortunately for me I was actually leading the chase pack at this point and I just dropped the pace until I merged with a large group of swimmers including Daerr. Although the swim was a little brutal from a contact standpoint, it was a relatively easy group to swim in because of all the turbulence. Before I knew it I was done with the swim.
Exiting the Swim

T1 (4:26): Running up the helix I knew I was right where I had to be with Justin Daerr and Blake Becker right in front of me.  I took my time in T1 putting on socks to avoid some issues I had on the bike at Ironman Louisville.  In this time Justin and Blake put a little distance on me, but I wasn't too worried about it
.  

Leaving T1
Bike (4:45:22): I got on to the bike and made a small effort to catch back up to Blake and Justin and then I pretty much just sat there.  With Justin as the likely other favorite for the win, I knew that all I had to do was bide my time and not let him out of sight.

We rolled out of Madison and picked up a few people in front of us along the way.  A few made up time from behind and before you knew it our group was 8 strong.  Nobody really wanted to push the pace at all and everyone pretty much seemed fine with Eduardo Sturla doing most of the heavy lifting.  The individual mentality of riding in a group always seems to be "why would I do all the work and give the rest of the guys a free tow" and as a result we ride slower than if we actually worked together.  As a result we were consistently giving up time to Ben Hoffman riding solo, but it was way too early to be making any solo breaks.  



Early on in the Bike
In Cross Plaines
Somewhere on the Bike
Each hour I took a lap on my Garmin and each hour it showed that the group was fading.  In hour two my power was down 20 watts, in the next hour it dropped another 10.  For me, it was simply group riding well within my limits, so either the guys were sandbagging more and more or the group was actually starting to suffer.  At some point Daerr was at the front and a gaped opened up and nobody worked to close it and Daerr simply rode away, out of sight, out of mind.  The thought had cross my mind to bridge back up, but at mile 75 it was still too early to go.


Lap Two - The Group has Thinned
At mile 82, at the aid station in Cross-Plaines, I decided it was the right time to go and I made a move from the group.  I road hard and looking back at my power file it was actually the highest 20 min segment of the entire race. On the first of the three-sisters, I caught back up to Daerr and from there we would ride together as we rolled back in transition in 2nd and 3rd place.

T2 (1:31):  Typical T2 for me.  I had to go to the bathroom bad, but I figured I would run a few miles and build up some body heat before taking the detour to the porta john.  I left T2 in 2nd place.


Run  (3:12:19): I headed out on the run and was briefly greeted by an old college friend who was the 2nd place male bike leader.  She lead me for a bit, but it didn't last as Daerr made the pass about a 1/2 mile in.  I told my new lead biker that I would be stopping at the next porta-john and I did just that.  I will spare you the details, but after a lengthy stop I decided not to risk any sort of contamination from the swim incident and went to the next aid station to thoroughly wash my hands with water and antibacterial wash.  I figured with the weakened immune system from doing an Ironman, the last thing I wanted to do was contaminate all the food I would be eating on the run and I really didn't want to end up in the hospital.  Looking back, I could really cringe at the amount of time I gave up here but sometimes it is better to be safe the sorry.

The Strongest Drug on Earth #GetSome

Finishing My 6th Ironman Wisconsin 
With 24 miles to run and still in 3rd place, I needed to get in gear. I started back up and clipped off some nice mid 6 minute miles before the gradual Ironman creep started to kick in.  I ran strong, but I was still passed by the likes of Eduardo Sturla and Michael Goehner and that resorted me to 5th.  Coming thru lap 1 I was only about 2 minutes up on Blake Becker for 6th place and 7th wasn't much further back.  I wanted to at least end up on the awards podium and get another pro award and small check and was committed to salvaging 6th.  I picked up the pace a bit, but Blake caught me the second time up Observatory Drive.  Then, when I got to the turnaround on State Street, I could see I was only 30 seconds up on the next guy.  I wasn't feeling great but it was huge step down to 7th and I was committed to finishing 6th.  

For the next few miles I ran out of fear and didn't take any nutrition - I just ran.  With a little over 3 miles to go I hit the last turnaround and I had put a little time back into 7th.  However, I wasn't going to give him any chance to close the gap and I continued pushing it all the way to the finish. 

Overall (8:58:20 / 6th Place):  Overall I was pleased with my race.  The time gap between 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th were all close and I would have liked to HTFU a little bit earlier in the race, but part of my overall strategy is not having to go deep into the well too often and for too long.  I know there is an extra level of discomfort that I am prepared to go to, but I have had success in my conservative approach and I think it is part of what keeps my mind mentality strong.  


Realistically I went for it a little bit on the bike, and although I'm not here to make excuses, racing tactically is certainly different than racing your own race.  I was exactly where I wanted to be out of the swim and coming off the bike, and given my struggles with my Achilles, I am actually pleased with what I accomplished on a tough run course.  I know that given my swim and bike advancements this year that my run is now the lowest hanging fruit, and I will make my run a heavy focus as I head into Ironman Texas Austin 70.3, Ironman Florida, and Ironman Arizona.  


Thank Yous: Before I go, I want to take a moment to thank the people and companies that continue to support me including:


Trisports - for all the great tri gear you carry and for providing it in the most earth sustainable way. 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.

2XU - for your wetsuits, compression gear, and everyday training gear that rocks!!


Powerbar - for getting me to and thru races with your fantastic nutrition products!!

Drip Drop - for making sure I stay properly hydrated on a 90+ degree Louisville day.


A to Z Cares - for your continued support of my training, racing, and overall well-being.  If you ever need Asssisted Living Placement for a loved one in Tucson please check them out.

Steve Schwartz Coldwell Banker Realtor - for your continued support of my training, racing, and overall well-being. If you need a great Realtor in Madison, WI please consider Steve.

Ali Engin - for always taking great photographs and capturing that smile, even when sometimes it is more of a grimace ;)