Saturday, July 31, 2010

Timberman Course Preview; Yeah, um, the race should have been held this past weekend!!!! DANGIT!

So when its 62 degrees and raining, my body likes to go fast.
When its 75 degrees, sunny, with ZERO % humidity, my body likes to go fast.
When its 100% humidity and 80+ degrees, my body wilts on the run, and I don't go fast.

Today was the 75 degrees, sunny, with ZERO % humidity brand of weather.

My body went fast.

I am up in NH previewing the Timberman course. I think this is the 4th time I have done the course (the third and previous time was the race from last year). Today I went a 2:43:00 on the bike, hit the turnaround @ 1:19:00 on the dot and positive split the bike by 4 mins (this course is a net downhill on the way out, and a net uphill on the way back). Held 200 watt average (BAM!!!). Last year during the race I went a 2:49:47 and held 170 watts. 7 min improvement? I will take that!

I was convinced that I nuked my legs on the bike (as usual). So I threw on the run shoes and started running. My body went. Did a 10K in 48:15 for a 7:47 pace. Where the F did that come from!!! I was on pace for a freaking low 1:4X:00 half marathon! I stopped @ 10K because I was feeling multiple blisters coming on. Glad I stopped when I did! Gonna save those blisters for race day in 3 weeks. In comparison, I ran a 2:23:xx last year during the run....yeah, let's not talk about it ;)

In other words, why wasn't the race today! DANGIT!!!!! I woulda had the race of my life!!!! I am seriously bawling my eyes out right now! (not really....)

I know, in 3 weeks we could have the same weather, but its not that. I just paced myself to the best bike ride of my entire life to have the fastest half marathon of my life. How am I going to repeat that! Its like go put together a 10,000 piece puzzle right now, tear it back apart, rinse and repeat it. Seems overwhelming, right?

Ok, enough whining!

Positive spin: My fitness is in a GREAT place right now. I still have 3 weeks to increase it even further with one more long ride next weekend followed by either another 10K (geez, I guess these brick workouts are good after all?!?!?) or a long run the next day with 2 weeks to keep going.

So today was good all around. My bike split was 7 mins faster than last year's race time. The run I don't even need to talk about. My run is finally coming back around. AND! I know what it is due to: Besides a season full of 80+ mile months, I finally hit the 100 mile in a month milestone. After today's 10K, I will wind up with ~101 miles for July.

But I think the bigger thing is the amount of work that I have put into the bike this summer. Every long ride that I have done has been of a half Ironman distance and has been done at my half ironman intensity and wattage, while practicing and refining my half ironman nutrition and hydration. I got it all figured out!

I used Nuun for the first time on the bike and run. They are a little fizzy, but other than that are good? There was nothing negative about them, so if anything they are harmless. Did they contribute to my awesome bike and run today? No idea. Had it been the usual swampy fumidity out there and I did the same result on the bike and run, then I would say most likely the Nuun worked, but I will have to wait for those conditions before I can determine that. For now, they are IN for training.

So for Timberman, I know the course. I know how I f-ed up last year and I have fixed those mistakes. I can stay in the aero position for 56 miles straight now and I know how to drink and eat appropriately.

PLEASE let these next 3 weeks go well! PLEASE! I have "it" right now and I don't wanna lose it!

Finally, a loud SHOUT OUT! to Kevin @ IronmanByThirty! He dropped a 5:29:21 @ Ironman Steelhead 70.3 this past weekend, besting his time from last year by a whopping 40 mins!!! Way to go Kevin! That is a HUGE improvement in a year's time! Absolutely phenomenal! Drop by his blog and give him a shoulder rub of Aloe. He needs it! ;).....you will understand what I mean!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Remember what used to be exciting, has become "Meh"?

Remember the first time you ran your first 5K without having to stop and how much of a victory that used to be? Now you can't remember the last time you ran a 5K because you now only run a minimum of 5 miles.

Remember your first sprint triathlon that had the epic 3 month build up that you would talk about constantly and your friends would roll their eyes if you brought up that subject again? Now a sprint has become a short training day and doesn't satisfy your appetite.

Remember your first Olympic distance and you dreaded that .9 mile swim, didn't mind the bike, but was scared shitless of the 10K run that felt like the distance of a marathon and you went so conservatively so as to not blow up? Now you can race an Olympic harder than a sprint!

Remember your first Half Ironman and you thought that you were not going to make the swim cutoff of 1:15? Remember you drove your family and friends to point of them exiling you to a deserted island so they could shut you up from the constant FREAKOUTS!!! You thought the HIM was the do all/end all distance because the Ironman was totally reserved for those superfreak athletes. Now the HIM is just a long day out there, but totally doable and now you can race it with some effort!

This is how I feel a year later reattempting my very first HIM, Timberman. Has a year already flown by? I remember this time last year having so many doubts and freakouts. Why? Oh, right, that fear of the unknown.

Now that I have 3 more (4 total) Half Ironman races under my belt, my fear of going back to Timberman is zilch. I know the course, I know what I am capable of, and I know what I did wrong last year and @ Rhode Island this year. Don't Go Too hard on the bike, and eat enough food. I solved the food issues, its just the pacing on the bike that is the problem. Fortunately with new tested zones the other weekend, that is taken care of as well.

The other problem is that I can't seem to put all three disciplines of a triathlon together at this distance. I usually nail 2 out of 3 in varying orders, but that third just sinks my day. Hoping to go 3 for 3 in a few weeks!

Oh, and if you think I was a mess last year leading up to Timberman, just wait till the lead up and taper for Lake Placid next year! I might need to be commited! ;)

Have a good weekend everybody and good luck to those racing! I am heading up to NH to tackle the Timberman bike and run courses. Gonna try out some Nuun on the bike to see if I notice a difference on the run. This bike ride will be done @ HIM intensity and will be the final barometer for how my bike split will be on race day. 3 weeks to go! Yeesh! So expect a detailed report on Monday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lake Placid, Day 3

On Monday the plan was for race signup and to get another swim in and run the run course. Got 2/3 of that done, but also solved a BIG future issue, so I am gonna go for a 3/3 with an unfortunate 4th for the day.

Race Signup Debacle
Mandy @ Caratunk Girl got in line at 7:15 and promptly texted me to "get my ass over here" STAT. Thank you Mandy for getting there early! I am SUCH a jerk for showing up late. My bad!!!! She said people were grumpy in line. I sprinted over there with my swim stuff and smoothly buttered my way into line. We actually formed a group of 5 of us and chatted for the next 4 hours!!!! in line. It was cool as these other folks were really nice and we all shared our experiences. One guy has done the race 6 times so it was good to pepper him with Q's.

Apparently the phone lines went down and that is why the long wait, but some officials kept going up and down the line saying you volunteers all have first dibs and DONT WORRY you WILL get registered for 2011. So we all chilled and waited patiently.

We triathletes are the easiest people to talk to. REALLY!

After Mandy and I registered, Kristin @ TheLazyMarathoner walked by. I FINALLY met you Kristin! She rocked out a 13:3o the day before!!!! HOLY CRAP!!! You are a rockstar!!! You HAVE to go visit her blog and see what she dealt with last season with injury and how well she has recovered for this race. Last year @ Ironman Wisconsin, she walked, YES! walked the marathon IN A BOOT! She will repeating that race in 7 weeks injury free this time. Watch out Wisconsin! Somebody is gonna do some serious payback!

Hungry = Botched Swim
So after 4 hours of waiting, my preswim fuel was spent and I was bonking. The swim was out. No worries, I already did it and I sun burned the back of my next while spectating in the sun, so I didn't think the wetsuit rubbing on a sunburn for 35-40 mins was such a good idea.

Ran the Run Course
So I scarfed down some food, took a 2 hour nap, and got out onto the run course around about the same time I expect to hit the run course next year, which is around 3PM. I LOVE this run course. It is mostly flat, but there are a few hills in there to make it honest. Like the swim and bike courses, this run course is a 2 looper, so I did only 13.1 in 1:57:xx. This was a great endurance run. It was hot and sunny, but DRY!!! Oh my god I can't remember the last time I ran in dry weather. I have seriously run in soupy humid weather every day since, well, I can't remember!

At the turn to River road, you go right past the Olympic Ski Jump hill. WOW! The jumps are like 80 stories high!!! Those ski jumpers have some serious Kahunas for going down those things and flying way up in the air. I was getting acrophobia from the ground by just looking up to the top of those things!!! So that was pretty inspiring....

Right before mile 11 you hit the steepest and biggest hill of the course. I can only imagine how hard it must be going up that sucker not only the first time, but also the 2nd time at mile 24. Hats off to all of you Ironman finishers! You make hard look easy!

A-hole in the gas station
I finished the 13.1 and was on a total High. AND I was parched. So I found a gas station right across from the Athlete's Village, and bought 2 bottles of water. Some other attendant in there (who was NO athlete by his physic) did the elbows on the counter/probably hairy buttcrack display-lean-in with this:
Him: So (long pause)
Me: (oh god.....)
Him: Let me get something straight here
Me: Ok?
Him: How long did you wait in line this morning to register?
Me: 4 hours.
Him: So you waited in a line for 4 hours to signup for a race? to spend $600 to go out there to kill yoursel.......
Me: (cuts him off). YUP!!!!
And I walked straight out of there. I didn't give a shit about the stuff he and his neanderthal buddies probably joked about behind my back. The guilt was on them! Don't they realize this week(end) is the biggest revenue producer for that little town and for them?!?!

I was both angry about how naive this guy was, but I was also BEAMING with pride. That is right. The stupid shit that we do and the $$$ that we spend to do exactly that: Go out there and KILL ourselves for what? WHO CARES FOR WHAT!!!! There is that little (but probably BIG) unexplainable thing inside each and everyone of ourselves that makes us "tick." Signing up and doing this race is currently what makes me "tick."

House Rental
I am not going to lie to you. The $600 it costs to do this race is the cheap part of doing the race. Unless you live right in town, get ready to shell out some $$$ for accommodations and food for a week, because that is how long you will want to stay up here, especially if this is your first Ironman. I am turning this thing into a religious experience!

Like I mentioned above, this is the #1 money maker week(end) for this town. They invoke minimum night stays and jack up nightly rates. It's simple economics 101: Supply and demand! I did the math, and for the amount of people that I want to come up to watch, its waaaaaaay cheaper to rent a house for 7 nights than doing hotels close to town for 7 nights, even 4 nights! And then you have to think about the cost of food and convenience of food.

I am not gonna lie again. I am a princess when it comes to eating my diet, especially around a big "A" race. The food here in town is good, but good in terms of wanna shit your pants during a marathon? I need my basic athlete diet to avoid the above. So having a house with a kitchen solves that problem, and brings the cost down and convenience UP.

Geebus, I have been rambling! Back on point! So after the run and run-in with the a-hole, I hit up two rental agencies and reserved a nice big house right off the run and bike course within a mile of town. SCORE! Housing problem solved 364 days in advance! You don't understand the relief of that! And based on size and cost, its gonna be about $50 per person per night WITH space and beds and multiple bathrooms. BAM!

Everybody on Monday was wandering around town wearing their blue Finishers T-Shirts. And! They were doing the Ironman waddle. You could easily tell who did the race the day before by the way they walked. They couldn't bend their knees and had very short strides!

I look forward to that being me wearing the T-shirt and doing the Ironman waddle in a year's time!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It won't be 2011, It will be 20IIRONMAN!

Before I post about my 3rd day up in Lake Placid, I first want to post this.

So there are going to be a LOT of us first time Ironman bloggers next year.

Here is the roll call:
I am doing Lake Placid
Kevin @ IronmanByThirty is going for Wisconsin
Mandy @ Caratunk Girl is Lake Placid Bound
Jason @ Tech-Tri is also Lake Placid Bound
Derek @ DR: TRI'ing 4 Iron is joining the Lake Placid Bound crew
Emily @ Sweat Once a Day is ALSO joining the Lake Placid bound crew
Mary @ IronMatron is coming back for round #2 of Lake Placid and for her third Ironman.
Jeff @ DangleTheCarrot is going for the inaugral Ironman Texas. How can he not?!? He lives 45 mins away! SO jealous, Jeff!!!....but NOT jealous of the heat/humidity you guys have ;)
Maria @ 2010 Brings Racine is going for Redman!
Alexa @ Just Keep Swimming is the veteran going double for her 2nd and 3rd Ironman @ Coure d'Laine AND Wisconsin. Tests results are still pending on whether or not she is robot or human ;) She just dropped a 12:18:xx @ Lake Placid last weekend!

Anybody else joining the fun? I'll add you to the list.

Geebus talk about being able to share many future "first time" experiences over the course of next year between us all. Trust me, I am going to be a sponge absorbing all of your mistakes and successes you make along the way! So don't feel ashamed to post them as well as your successes. I will be right there with you posting about the "suckage" and future bonks.

To 201IRONMAN!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lake Placid, Day 2

If you can't tell, I had been really busy up there in Lake Placid and I haven't forgotten about all of you fellow rockstar bloggers! I plan on catching up with each and every one of you. So please be patient! I wanna know who PR'ed this past weekend! Your successes inspire me to try harder!

So Sunday was my 2nd full day in Lake Placid, AND it was race day. Talk about C-R-A-Z-Y.

Volunteer Walkthrough
Up @ 5:30AM, scarfed down some food, but it was hard to eat because I was so nervous for all of the athletes! ha!

Got my volunteer T-Shirt and security wristband and went to the Men's Transition Tent. The volunteer captain there got us all oriented with what we were to do and that was it. I had just enough time to get to the swim start to see it go off.

WOW! 3000 athletes all at once taking off. Talk about inspiring. The swim start area went from a bunch of folks treading water to a sudden washing machine. Water was flying everywhere! I couldn't wait around too long because the pro's had a 10 min head start on the masses so I had to get back and get ready for the onslaught.

Volunteering
When the first pro came in, we didn't know what to do cuz he ran in, stopped, dropped his transition bag and wetsuit, picked up his helmet and went for it. So someone put his dropped stuff in his bag and that was that. I was like, "Hey! This will be easy!" WRONG

People slowly filtered in and it was manageable. Quickly it became overwhelming and you just could do what you could do to help folks get stuff out of their bag and get stuff into their bag for them.

I discovered there were a few different "types" of transitioners.
The pros: STAY OUT OF THEIR WAY! They know what they are doing, so let them. Just clean up after them.
The top age groupers: They were just like the pros, but some were a bit demanding asking you to do everything for them. Some just wanted to be left be, but clean up after them.
The self sufficienters: They have everything in order, and just let them be.
The I-Need-Helpers: They need their hands held! Seriously!
The Take-My-Timers: They don't need help, they just want to be left be, but they take their take. They say that "transition won't make or break my race".
The Spreaders: They spread all of their stuff across 5 different chairs with everything in order. Stay out of their way!

Nobody was rude and everybody was grateful in the tent for our help. We mostly just either bagged and tossed their bag into "the pile" or waited for them to bag and then we tossed.

Some folks came in around the 2+ hour mark and we were looking @ our watches getting worried cuz they looked like they were going to need all the time they could get!!! We later learned that only two folks missed the bike cutoff @ 5:30PM.

Spectating
We were done sticking the bags back in everyone's spots by 9:45 and I was done, so I got a bite to eat and waiting for the pros to start coming through on the bike. I staked out a nice spot right at the 56 mile marker.

The pros are FAST! and make it look like they are just starting the bike. Actually, everybody looked that way! I thought to myself, "Usually this is when you get off your bike and run a half marathon......they are going for another loop......BADASS!!!"

It is amazing how after only 3 seasons of triathlon you recognize a LOT of people, whether it be from other races or from the blog world. I seem to have races with the same random people over and over again, and I saw them again at this one. I have NO IDEA who these people are, I just keep seeing them!

I did see Alexa @ Just Keep Swimming finish her first loop and she looked to be in perfect condition ready to rock another loop.

Nap
My battery was starting to wear down after most of the field finished the first loop and things quieted down in town. But I hung in there! Mandy and I started to stake out different run locations to get the best view of the runners coming out.

Eventually the pro men started and they came out like bullets! Geebbus did they just bike 112 hilly miles? Didn't look like it!

After this I was dying. I went back to my hotel and crashed for a solid 2 hours. How lame is that?!?! I mean, folks are out there going full steam for 12 hours and I can't volunteer for 3 and spectate and eat ice cream for 3 and last a whole day. haha!

Coach Meetup
Around 6 I met up with my prospective coach for next year. Its a GO! January 1st will be my start date so I am still on my own through Timberman and the Marathon, which was the plan all along.

Basically the coach said, "I have 15 athletes out there today and they range from 20 hours a week down to 8 hours a week, and I make sure that I maximize their limited time to get into Ironman shape."

In other words, its gonna be simple training load (intensity x volume = load). I could do the same amount of hours that I am doing now and do an Ironman. Its just that 12 hours a week will be a LOT more intense than if I do 20 hours a week where that will be more volume than intensity.

The other groundbreaking thing that he mentioned was that physiologically your body between the 6 and 9 hour mark throws a switch and things "change." Your body starts acting differently due to the stress. I had NO idea about this because I have only been out in the trenches for 5:55:xx. So some long 6 or 7 hour bike rides will be in order next year followed by a *gasp* brick run of 30-45 mins meant to see if my nutrition was appropriate on the bike.

Night
Met up with some friends for some pizza while it started to get dark. They are athletic trainers and physical therapists and they know I have never seen an Ironman in person before so they said, "Jon, notice a difference between the men and women now at the 14 hour mark? Notice that the women are looking a LOT better than the men?"

I was like ooooookaaaayyyyyy, but sure enough, they were right! The women looked SO much stronger than the men! They said it was due to the fact that women have more fat reserves than men but also the hormone estrogen masks the fatigue and pain allows women to go longer albeit not as fast. They also said that if a man and woman have the same 10K time, that the woman will spank the man on a longer distance, such as the marathon due to the above mentioned.

Interesting stuff!

I again was fading and called it a night. Congrats to all of you finishers!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am a mathematics genius......sorta....PLEASE READ!!!!

If you were to quiz me, you are gonna have to come up with some difficult math Q's.

Ok, how about your 14 times table. What's 14 x 4? 56!
How about your 56 times table? 56 x 2? 112!
How about converting yards into miles? Easy! 880 yards is how many yards? .5 miles!
This ones a bit harder: 2112 yards, convert that? EASY! 1.2 miles!
5K? 3.1 miles
10K? Come one! Give me one harder. 6.2
Fine! 42K? Yaaaaaawwwwwnnnnnn. 26.2 miles.
What would $550 get you? An entrance to an Ironman.
What does picking up dirty clothes for 4 hours get you? A guaranteed entrance to an Ironman.
Whats a convienient way to break up 140.6 miles? Well, a scientist out on the island of Hawaii figured out that 2.4 + 112 + 26.2 = 140.6. I think he learned it from the Mayans?
Where is a good place to go 140.6 miles? Lake Placid.
When do you think you would do this? July, 24th 2011.

Well, are you? YES! I registered this morning :)

Ok, now for the sappy part. Thank you blogger friends for following me these past few seasons! Its been fun following you and I look forward to to following you in the future as I up my personal bar yet again to go for the Super Bowl of triathlon distances.

In 365 days, I'm gonna be REALLY sore! haha! ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lake Placid, Day 1

Got in last night around 8:30-ish, checked in and then walked around town. Lake Placid is a REALLY cool little town. Its Main Street is booming with all kinds of little shops and tons of restaurants, including the Lake Placid Brewery ;) I met up with some friends there last night.

This morning I walked down to Mirror Lake and did the 1.2 mile course. Let's just say that swimming that course is CHEATING. I call it cheating because there is a buoy line that you can follow from start to finish. There is NO need to sight! So I cruised along and had the easiest 1.2 mile swim of my life. I didn't have a watch on, so I have no idea what my time was, but COME ON, that was too easy! They were putting out the BIG buoys while I was swimming.

Went back to my hotel and pounded down some food and got ready to ride. It was starting to heat up! Getting through town with traffic on Main St took forever, but once I finally got out of town, it was GO time....and I hit the first hill. I rode along a 2 time Lake Placid finisher and I peppered the poor guy about gearing choices. He said, "Go so easy on the first loop of this course. You should NOT be going hard AT all. Then you can open it up on the second loop if your legs are feeling good."

This was good advice. I have heard this before I am glad a former finisher repeated it.

Fortunately I was just doing 1 loop today so I could just open it up the entire way :)

The first 14 miles are rough. You are climbing and then on some flats with a pretty serious cross wind. I was kinda scared riding on these types of roads. I am used to no shoulder close tree lined roads. This section was pretty open which made the downhills scary, especially the Keene descent. The Keene descent is wicked!!!

I was flying down this hill with my hands glued to the breaks. I don't know how some people ride in the aero position down that sucker. There are two major sections of downhill, and despite not peddling and producing ZERO watts, my heart rate was sky high due to the "Oh shit! Don't crash!" feeling vibrating through my body. I was HAPPY to have that section over with.

And then the course turned flat......for a LONG time. There is are these two stretches where I was holding 24 mph for mins and miles on end. It was incredible! I felt like Superman!

By mile 31 I had held a 20.9 mph average. I just knew in the back of my mind that this was the easiest part of the course and what was about to come was going to WRECK my averages. Disclaimer: Because this was a 56 mile training ride, I was able to push it this much today. Next year, it is gonna be conservation city on that section. I would still have 81 miles left to go!!! Talk about epic future FAIL!

So at the last major turn in Wilmington, the course started. There was a sign that said "Lake Placid: 10 miles." Ok, how bad can 10 miles be and that won't take too long. WRONG. All of my worst fears of this course came true. Other than the scariness of the first 14 miles of the course, these last 10 ARE the course. These last 10 miles will make or break your day on the bike. Its not steep. There are no long huge up hills. Its just this long gradual up that is at this pitch that just kills your pace, especially since there is this knarly headwind coming at you.

Eventually you make it to the Wilmington Knotch. The wind got the worst there and it felt like you were riding through molasses. It was miserable and mentally I was f-ing FRUSTATED. I just couldn't GO. Then it turned flat again for a bit and I was able to pick it up, but I remember reading about the last three hills, Baby Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear. Seriously! These are the names of the hills! They have them spray painted on the road! I as SO relieved to hit the first one. These aren't bad hills, but they were a huge metaphor for THE END.

I like this course. It is both fast, and both humbling. Doing it a 2nd time will take strategy and a LOT of will power to hang back. Oh my god that guy was SO right. You have to swallow your pride and ego and literally go just about as easy as you freaking can on that 1st loop, cuz otherwise its gonna be a loooooooooooong day!

But I wasn't done yet after the ride! I threw on my running shoes and blasted out a 2 miler around Mirror lake in 15:30 flat. BAM! Mission accomplished! It was SO hot at this point and there was a bit of mugginess. My 2 miler ended right at the beach.

Think of me as a completely on fire. I mean absolutely engulfed in flames. Then I run into the water and you just hear that sound of a burning match hitting water. TSSSSSSSSssssssss.

That was me and hitting that water was one of the best feelings in my life!

Got cleaned up, checked out the expo and transition area where I will be tomorrow. This is a small sample of what 3000 bags and bikes looks like:




Then I just sat by the beach in the shade and just watched all of the swimmers going up and down that awesome swim course. Man, that is the best swim!

Then I met Mandy @ Caratunk Girl! Woo hoo! I met another blogger! She is awesome! We discussed a funny future blog post that require all of your attention and humility. It will be great!!!

We also met a fellow BT'er, Walt, from beginnertriathlete.com. He did Placid last year so I was peppering with all kinds of questions about the race. He was really cool and answered them all. Thanks Walt! We will be volunteering together tomorrow AM in the men's changing tent.

After a few beers @ the Lake Placid Brewery and some ice cream @ Ben & Jerry's, I am calling it a night.

So today I accomplished a 1.2 mile swim, 57.5 mile bike, and a 2 mile run and my legs feel great! So basically its either I didn't go hard enough on the ride today (which is BS, cuz I hit my wattage targets) or its the run that really does the number on the legs. I am going with the run does the number on the legs!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lake Placid (V)ound

I didn't want to title this post as Lake Placid Bound because it would look like I am either all registered for Lake Placid or going up there to do the race. I am NOT at either of those points yet! So I am Vound for Lake Placid, aka, going up to Lake Placid tonight to Volunteer to get first dibs at registering for Lake Placid 2011.

There will be a lot of time spent sitting on my butt or being horizontal, especially while I am riding and swimming the courses ;)

My plan for the weekend is:
Saturday: Swim the course, eat some food, bike the course, chillax. Beers at the Lake Placid Brewery in PM.
Sunday: Day off from workouts, but volunteering and cheering on folks. Meeting with a prospective coach! My volunteer duty will be in the Men's changing tent during T1. What exactly I will be doing in the tent is an unknown. I will find out that morning. Apparently there is a free volunteer's pancake breakfast that morning. Beers at the Lake Placid Brewery in PM
Monday: Swim the course, eat some food, then run the course 2X for a possible 13.1 miles. Beers at the Lake Placid Brewery in PM.
Tuesday: Possible AM short bike ride. Drive home.

I'll try to report every day and take pictures with my crappy cell phone camera. Have a good weekend everybody and GOOD LUCK! if you are racing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

THE Brick....my wobbly position.

Let's talk about that thing called the "Brick" workout aka most referred to as the bike to run workout.There is a lot of controversy amongst the triathlon forums over the benefits or necessity of the brick workout. So here is my take:

I don't think they are necessary.

There, I said it!

Now, necessary means "absolutely essential" but also "needed to achieve a certain result or effect."

That is very interesting I find. I don't think they are absolutely essential, especially as your triathlon career progresses. My experience with them in my first days as a duathlete/triathlete are that they sucked and they were hard. I could ride strong, and I could run ok. But putting them together was a completely different experience. I figured that the more bricks that I did that that "feeling" of going from the bike to the run would improve or go away all together. It never did.

Why?

My overall bike and run fitness was crap. Yes, I could put up some decent times, but that deep down fitness level just wasn't there. I surely wasn't slacking! I was consistently working out 5-6 days a week putting up solid numbers.

Then it hit me. Achieving that level of fitness takes years to accomplish. It was just a matter of gradually increasing my bike and run fitness to the point that bricks became unneccesary and it boiled down to putting more and more time into the bike and run, usually as seperate workouts with appropriate recovery time between.

You CAN go an entire season of doing ZERO bricks and still be able to run off of the bike and PR a distance. I have done this!

Now for that second part of the necessary definition: "needed to achieve a certain result or effect."

I do think brick workouts ARE beneficial for other reasons. #1, doing them to understand how you are going to feel transitioning from bike to run, especially if you are a newer athlete. Yep, its gonna suck! Big time! But at least come race day, you know its gonna suck and that the feeling will disappear after that first mile when that "switch" goes off and its cruise control to the finish.

#2, for longer distances, figuring out your nutrition/hydration/pacing. Say you know how to fuel, hydrate and pace yourself for a 56 mile ride. Is that enough to get you off the bike and running? Did you go too hard on the bike? What then? When will you next start putting fuel and liquids inside of you on the run? I made the mistake of NOT practicing this prior to my first Half Ironman and I ATE it, literally and subsequently bonked and had one of the most miserable 13.1 miles of my life.

#3, time constraints: This morning I had to do a brick due to scheduling issues with work/life/etc this week. Hey, while you are out there all stinky and sweaty and your engine is all revved up, why not throw a 10K on top of that bike? No need to get all de-stinkified 2X a day if you can help it.

#4, you just wanna go fast! When I start a stand alone running workout, the first mile is always like running through molasses. The blood hasn't yet made it to my legs yet and my breathing is labored. I usually don't run super fast at first. BUT! After a swim or especially a bike when the blood has been flowing through my body for the past hour, my legs are revved and ready to rock it. This morning I knocked out a 50 min flat 10K due to the prior bike ride getting me all warmed up.

And now my reason for not doing a brick workout. Recovery time. Depending on the length and intensity (length x intensity = training load) of your brick workout, you could put yourself in the hole of recovery for longer than necessary. I am a big believer in taking your hardest or longest workouts and separating them a few days. Why have a shitty 10 mile run following a hard 60 mile bike ride that will take you 5 days to recover from when you could hammer the 60 mile ride, take a day or two to fully recover, then hammer out that 10 mile run at your desired intensity (recovered), and then be able to recover from that in a shorter time to continue on in your training schedule without needing to sit on your butt licking your wounds for days on end.

Like nutrition/hydration, a brick workout will be particular to YOU and YOU only. Only YOU will know what your body can handle and through trial and error and experimentation, you can figure out if a brick is good for you or not.

Save the brick for race day, I say!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Try swimming one armed. I dare you!

I used to do a LOT of drills when I first started swimming seriously two seasons ago. They really helped me improve. I then took swimming workshops. Again, improvement followed.

Then I started swimming serious yardage and the speed followed, but the form never went further, other than learning how to swim faster and more efficiently.

Then the time crunch of "uh oh! I have 4 weeks till the next race and I can only fit 3 hours a week in the pool. Do I spend some of it doing drills? But that will eat into the heavy yardage that builds the strength and endurance!!! WHAT DO I DO?!?!?"

The drills stopped and I just did yardage. My speed increased and that mentality of "why do I need drills anymore? Putting in the yardage is doing the trick!"

And then I hit the wall. The speed stopped improving and bad habits started to show.

Bummer...

The crossover returned.
The poor arm recovery turned into a slap in the water.
My feet dropped (aka bad balance)
I was lifting my head when breathing!
My pull? Yeah, high elbows became myth.
The catch? What was I catching?

Then I remembered these drills:
- Kicking on your back for balance
- Kicking on your stomach with one arm out and rotating to breath for rotation and balance
- Swimming with one arm to work on the catch and pull
- swimming with fists for water "feel" (I still hate this drill)
- head taps! helps get those elbows UP!

There are about a million other drills out there and variations of the above, but these five are my core drills that work for me that I do when I feel my form going to sloppy joes. Today, between a set of 4 x 250's, I snuck in a (25 drill, 25 swim) X 2 between each 250. Its pretty amazing going from swimming like normal to a one arm drill and you expect to propel yourself, but then feel like you are moving through sludge do to missing an engine.

What are your favorite drills?

Monday, July 19, 2010

This is gonna be a loaded post

A lot goes on when you haven't posted in almost 4 days. I was on a rest week all last week and when there is not much going on workout wise, blogging kinda slows down with it. Things will be picking up as I head into a 3 week build towards Timberman. Am I already approaching the last triathlon of the season?

So here goes:

Contest Winner:
I am a winner! Mandy @ Caratunk Girl hosted a giveaway; she gave away some SUPER yummy Pickles-N-Things Apple Pie Jam. Its soooooooooo GOOD! Thanks Mandy! If you don't already follow Mandy, she is a Maine-iac who is doing her first Half Ironman in August @ Timberman (I'll see ya there!)) and will be volunteering up in Lake Placid this weekend (see ya there!) to get dibs for signing up for Lake Placid 2011.

Workouts from Thurs till Today:
Thurs PM: Nice and easy bike ride. It was a nice night to be out riding and I basically strolled along on the road bike. No worries about pace, speed, power, etc. Just riiiiiiiiide. Everybody has been using the term "swimming naked" or "running naked." I guess I was riding naked.
Friday: 4 mile run in the swampy weather. My running partner almost passed out from the yuckiness. Seriously, I have had my share of the mashed potato fumidity.
Saturday: 20 min TT test. Held 23.4 mph average and 265 watt avg. I did this same test in the same exact spot EXACTLY 6 months to the day earlier and held a 22.XX avg speed and 230 watts. I am going to take this as an improvement! 13%!!!!....I guess that's what happens when you ride 13% more miles than the previous year?
Sunday: 8 mile botched run. I'll keep this simple and to the point. DON'T eat a black bean burger on Saturday, expecting to have a decent run on Sunday. I had 7 excellent miles, the 8th was.......oh I think you get the point;).....it happens.
This morning: Used my data collected from my TT test on Saturday and compared that to my last 3 long rides including Rhode Island, and my new magic FTP number is 240. This brings me to a new target wattage of 190 @ Timberman. I tried my darndest this morning to hold between 180 and 200 watts. I felt smooth and in control. Just gotta practice more and more staying within that new range.

All of you racers!
This was a BIG race weekend for a lot of you. Some of you had big PR's, and one of you accomplished a big new distance milestone. Here is the roll call:
Kevin @ Ironman By Thirty dropkicked a top 10% finish @ The Tri Del Sol
Regina @ Chiu On This repeated the NYC Triathlon and chainsawed off a remarkable 23 mins from last year's time. Uh, where can I find your special "juice"?!?!? Nevermind, all of that HIM training REALLY paid off!!!!
Maria @ 2010 Brings Racine hit a MAJOR milestone and finished her first Half Ironman, Ironman Racine 70.3. She broke 7 hours!!! Way to go! I guess you will need to change the name of your blog. haha!
James @ Daily Trainings placed in the top 15 of his age group at his sprint triathlon, The MightyMite Race. Nice job!!! Your transitions are FAST!

Did I miss anyone? Maybe you haven't posted a race report yet? Lemme know and I will add you. Great job if you did race!

And looking forward. I am heading up to Lake Placid this weekend to volunteer for THE Ironman. I am also signing up for Lake Placid 2011 this time. YES I AM!!! BRING IT IRONMAN!!!!

Also, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to a new blogger that I have been following. Alexa @ Just Keep Swimming will be doing her first full Ironman this weekend up @ Lake Placid. Swing by her blog and give her some props for this weekend. Good luck Alexa!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Stages of Recovery

Ever notice how after a "big" race, you know, the kind that just utterly kicks your ass leaving you begging for mercy that your body goes through several stages of recovery until it is "back" to normal?

This season has brought on a bunch of those stages to the point that I can now understand which stage I am in; for example, I am currently in the "flat legs" stage. Here is how my body reacts within 4-5 days after one of these hard races (btw, these are usually Half Marathons and Half Ironman races that call for this long of a recovery):

Stage 1: Crossing the finish line
It starts right here. You went from Mach 3 to Turtle speed. You just went from long fluid strides to a sudden stop; and now after the volunteer has put that finishers medal around your kneck, Chewbacca has roared, and you have gotten your water and finisher's picture, walking is suddenly impossible. And this all happened within 120 seconds!
Stage 2: That afternoon
You are tightening up; once sat down, getting back up is like the 4th discipline of that triathlon. Walking around sucks and suddenly that hunger strikes. You become demonic in search of food, your 4th meal in the past 2 hours since you crossed the finish line. That camel hump on you back is increasing in size as you guzzle gallon after gallon of water.
Stage 3: The Morning After
You wake up, spring out of bed a little sore, but am surprised to be not that sore. You go, "It happened! You are finally to "that level" that you can take the abuse. you are gonna go run a marathon now! Unfortunately its Monday and you have to go to work. You still haven't peed yet.
Stage 4: The WTF Tightening
Throughout Monday, sitting at your desk, you start getting REALLY uncomfortable. Every time you get up to refill your glass of water, it hurts more and more. By 3PM the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is REALLY getting bad. You ask yourself, "Why is the soreness showing up NOW? I finished 28 hours ago!?!?!" You still haven't peed yet.
Stage 5: The REAL soreness
That night, approaching post race 36 hours, you get home, and once sat, there is NO getting back up. You are locked up and the muscles that hurt now, will hurt the worst till the end of the soreness.......next year it seems....
Stage 6: Tenderness
48 hours post race, you are getting more limber, but even laying a finger on those quads muscles is like going in for that prostate exam. OUCH!!! It feels like Joe Peschie took swing lessons with his Good Fellas baseball bat to your legs for the length of a Half Ironman. When your significant other goes to hug you, you awkwardly shake their hand, because you know its easier and less painful. Your significant other is thoroughly confused......if only they understood!!!!
Stage 7: The Break
Its like the cold "broke." The tenderness is gone. You can bend over, sit down, even get back onto the bike! The worst is behind you. You start coming out of the fog of the race and you start to understand what you did wrong and what you did right. Maybe going all Lance Armstrong on the bike wasn't the brightest idea afterall.....
Stage 8: Evacuation
Remember all of that water you have been chugging over the last 3 days that just wouldn't come out? Wondering why your body weight has sky rocketed? Well remember the weight cuz the slogan "pissing like a race horse" is about to become reality!!! Good thing your cube is only 15 feet from the rest room, cuz you are about to do intervals my friend!!! GUSH!!! And remind your coworkers that you don't have a drug problem and you don't need VESIcare. You just gotta GO!!!
Stage 9: Flat Legs
The tenderness is gone. You lost that 10 pounds of water weight because your body is no longer feeling like its gonna undergo another 6 hour torture fest. Survival mode is over! You can run, you can bike, but you can't go fast. That extra gear is missing......and its frustrating.
Stage 10: Somewhat Normal
From hear on its mostly mental and easing back into it. When will the appropriate time be to go hard again and knock off some of those memorable screaming fast workouts? Who knows when! But your body will let it happen when its ready to. You will have one of those workouts where you start off easy with the flat legs and you aren't sure what you want to do and before you know it you are flying! You finally broke that rust off the engine as if that old skin has fallen off and you are ready to rock it for your next big adventure. Don't force the recovery. Your body knows better than your over eager brain :)

And if you want some recovery diet advice, I always recommend the brownie sunday method. Its good for the soul and you deserve it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mother Nature and I Came to an Agreement

I stepped outside for my 3 mile-ish recovery run this morning to find the usual swampy weather we have been having. I walked about 1/3 of a mile to my run start location and as I was walking I started to feel slight rain drops.

As soon as I started the run, Mother Nature must have had her feet up on her desk enjoying a cup of coffee reading over Tour De France hilights and then suddenly went, "Oh shit! Jon is starting his run! I gotta turn up the rain dial!"

And it poured.

And it felt GOOOOOOOOOD.

After Sunday's 350 degrees for 2 hours on BROIL cookathon, I welcomed this torrential downpour. I ran one mile to the track, 5 laps around the track, then 1 mile home. While at the track I couldn't see a thing the rain was so heavy. The track was flooding and I was absolutely soaked.

But it felt sooooooooo GOOD!

Mother Nature made up for Sunday. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Ironman. I am clueless.

I have been dropping hint after hint after hint about signing up for an Ironman and then finally I am blatantly dropping the "gonna sign up in 3 days for an Ironman."

And then I didn't. I chickened out.

The way I am as a person is basically striving to better myself and reach the peak of that "life" mountain. Since triathlon has basically taken over my life since early 2008, that buildup has gone from the duathlon to the sprint triathlon to Olympic to now the Half Ironman. On a parallel level I have gone from 5K's to 10K's to 15K's to Half Marathon's to a 25K and will be attempting my first full Marathon in Novemeber.

So what's left to climb higher in triathlon? The FULL Ironman. The Grand Daddy of them all. (We will not even think about or include the Triple Ironman in this discussion). Its like all roads/signs/cliches/colloquial slogans have been pointing me in this direction. I guess because its "hard" and its the top of the food chain in terms of mainstream triathlon competitions, I have this mental "its too hard" block in my head.

Now I know I can do it. Doing it meaning finishing it under the 17 hour time limit. That is not the issue. My issue is completing it strong and being satisfied with that finish. For example, my goal for my first Half Ironman was to go under 6 hours. I did that by 5 mins, but the run took me 23 mins longer than I expected. I still call that a bittersweet victory. I don't want to be miserable (as in I fucked up when I knew better, like going too hard on the bike) and finish an Ironman like that. You can only have one "first" Ironman and I want it to be a great and fun experience, not one that I am going to dread or regret.

I know it will be hard and there will be many "what the fuck am I doing out here moments" but I want to cross that finish line with ZERO regrets. I want to know that I finished that Ironman knowing that I did the best and fastest that my body could do, regardless of my finishing time.

That is the Ironman that I want to have.

Of course, it SO much fun writing this, because I have absolutely NO IDEA what I have ahead of me. I am completely clueless!!! Yes, I can go half the distance and be able to walk the next day, but from everything that I have read about with the full is that it is NOT just 2X a half. Distance wise, yes, but its the mental aspect and breaking your body down to that level that is a complete unknown. I have a feeling that I really don't know what true pain is.

This past season I have self coached myself and it has worked. Basically I used periodization and slowly upped my volume and stayed super consistent. Amazing how if you up your overall volume by 20% that your finishing times end up 20% faster. Who knew! (said in deep sarcasm).

But next year I am heading back to being coached. Half Ironman training is still a distance that you can fuddle around and finish. Six hours of efforts in one day is one thing, but 12+ in one day? YIKES!!! I would be playing with fire if I went self coached next year.

Fortunately I am meeting a coach up in Lake Placid in two weeks and will lay it all down. This prospective coach is a multiple Kona qualifier and finisher (not the guy I ran with the other week) and he has coached other athletes to Kona. Now, I am NOT going for Kona (remember heat + me + running = bad juju?), but it shows that the guy can coach and that right there gives me confidence in him in that he knows his stuff AND! can back it up with performance.

Things to look forward to!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3 Race Report

First, I want to give some shout outs to a few fellow bloggers who were out there on the battlefield with me.

Emily @ Sweat Once a Day: Awesome job for your first HIM! Your run time (1:47:xx) is a goal of mine one day @ a HIM. And you did it out in that weather! Phenomenal! Did you get signed up for Lake Placid?
Jason @ Tech-Tri: Same to you! Awesome job for your first HIM! I actually recognized Jason by seeing his bike in transition (he posted a sweet picture of it on his blog). I'm a guy, ok! He was there with his brother and I was able to meet him again at the finish line. So running in the heat sucks, right?!?!
Maija @ NJ Tri and Dog Tales: Awesome job finishing in that heat! I think I saw you out on the run course. I was going down that steep hill, you were going up it. I think the look on your face described those conditions pretty well.

Oh, and SURPRISE! So this was a very last minute race, obviously. About 2 weeks ago I was out on a bike ride and this thought popped into my head: You are doing Rhode Island. Later at work that morning, before I knew it, I was filling in my credit card info for a hotel and for race registration and clicking "submit." Then the regret started...talk about being impulsive!

Well, I had to do almost the same volume this past weekend and I have a scheduled rest week this week anyways and I was starting to see a peak in performance, so what the heck, right? That is my reasoning, and I am sticking to it! I am glad that I did the race.

So logistically, this was a busy race. Its a point to point race. The swim was held down on the coast, then you biked north to Providence, then ran around Providence a few times. This meant that you had to Athlete Check-In in Providence on Saturday, get your run gear all bagged up and placed into T2 that afternoon, then drive your bike down (45 mins-1 hour) to the coast, drop your bike off, then return to Providence to the hotel. It wasn't that bad, except for all of the additional driving.

Now the race! Overall time: 5:41:11
2:30 AM wake up call. I had strange dreams that night, especially one where I woke up, saw 5:00 AM on the alarm clock and panicked. I then actually woke up, and saw 11PM on the clock. Phew! But I was awake...

Out the door by 3:30-ish to get to the shuttle bus down to the beach by 3:45. It.Was.Dark.

The weather forecast was calling for cloudy and possible rain. I was dancing with joy because I do WAY better in those conditions. The weatherman needs to be fired....

The Swim: 38:15
This was not as bad as New Orleans, but it was the 2nd worst swim that I have ever done. It was rough out there! Have you ever swam through breakers? I haven't!....until now. Kinda cool though when the breaker lifts you 5 feet up and then drops you straight down.

After the breakers, it was a bit "easier" to swim but the rollers out there still did a number on you. My sighting was great, it was just swimming through that was plain old hard. There were 9 buoys out, and 9 back, so counting the buoys helped break the swim up.

On the way back, the swells felt like they were propelling you forward, but they really didn't. They just threw you into fields of seaweed. Gross! Some portions were so thick it got all wrapped up around your goggles and your arms. It was like swimming through spaghetti!

I was quite happy getting out of the water, and despite it being a slow swim and rough and being beat up, I still had a ton of energy.



T1: 3:27
Because there was no returning to the beach post race, you had to bag up all your swim stuff before you headed out onto the bike. This was good because it limited the amount of extra crap that you normally bring to a race (i.e. 3rd and 4th pair of backup goggles, backup Body Glide, backup sun screen, etc).

The sky at this point was basically clear and the sun was shining bright. It was going to be a hot day!.....and conditions perfect for nasty sunburns, so I took the extra time and covered myself well with sunblock.

Bike: 2:48:53
Rhode Island is a fairly flat state, right? Well, it is, but they do have some rollers to keep it honest. Each roller by itself isn't bad, but after roller after roller after roller it started to add up. I was averaging over 20mph throughout most of the course, until the very end, when the course starts to come into Providence.

I basically went too hard, and it proved fatal later on. I thought I had learned from my mistake at Timberman last year! NOPE! I figured, hey, I have been averaging near 200 watts for 56 miles during my last two rides, I can do it today! Well I did, but this terrain was very deceptive and I knew I cooked myself a bit too much by mile 50.



This course is harder than Timberman, even though it doesn't appear to be. This is how I know. At Timberman last year, I averaged in the 170's for watts and went about the same time as yesterday. Yesterday I was near 200 for the same time AND I am lighter than last year, which means it takes MORE power to accomplish the same feat == hillier course overall. This is good because that means I guess I can let it rip @ Timberman next month and be ok, but bad in that I let my ego get the best of me. I have a power meter and I wasn't respecting it!

Lesson learned! (again)

So the final 6 miles of the bike course were through the not-so-great parts of Providence. A woman was hit by a car. People were pulling out on the bike course. It was turn after turn after turn like a Criterium race. We went over about 4 sets of railroad tracks and after each set of tracks the road was littered with bottles, entire cages, sunglasses and all kinds of other miscellaneous stuff. I swear those last 6 miles killed my speed average. My right hand was actually going numb from all of the shifting and death gripping the bars.

Not my favorite bike course...

T2: 2:51
When I finally pulled into T2 the heat was starting to get to me, but I was happy to be off the bike. Sprayed more sunblock on me and I was off for misery....

Run: 2:07:44
That. Sucked.

Going too hard on the bike meant one thing: a long and painful run. The heat at this point in the day didn't help. I think it was approaching 90 degrees and the humidity and LARGE lack of shade wasn't contributing. I was feeling "off" right from the start.

At the first aid station I was already walking and there was a woman there with sunscreen. I had her slather it all over me. Meanwhile I was already dumping water over my head and chomping on ice. I was melting!

Right at mile one you hit this short, but really steep hill That.Just.Sucks. I walked halfway up it and then ran the 2nd half. Fortunately there was a nice downhill after that.

By mile 3.1-ish @ the timing mat, I was so cooked. That was the fastest part of the run for me, but also the MOST dreadful 3.1-ish miles of running in my life. Around mile 4 you get to back up that nice downhill, but this time I finally settled in a bit and ran up the entire hill without stopping grasping chunks of ice in my hands. Man oh man does that cool me down!

On the ensuing downhill a big cloud showed up and blocked the sun. It was such a relief! So running in the heat is one thing, but running in heat with the sun beating down on you is something entirely more painful. There were a few sections of the course where you would run under bridges and the shade under there re-energized you, only to lose it once you stepped back out into the sun.

At the turn around to start loop #2 I couldn't mentally take it. I did NOT want to go back out there and repeat that again. It was too painful! But because I knew what to expect, I sucked it up and just went. I knew where to walk, and I knew where to just take it on the chin. This helped and mentally the 2nd loop went faster than the 1st.

At mile 9.3-ish near that aid station at the timing mat, I hit my 2nd to last low. The mental garbage started to flood my brain. Suddely Timberman was out. I was done with triathlon for the season. The marathon was still in, but Lake Placid was definately gone and all I wanted to do ever again was sprints and Olympics.....next year. I was seriously done for.



At mile 12 I did my last bit of walking. I said to myself, "There is one mile left. ONLY 1 mile. You have done only 1 mile as a warmup for race and thought nothing of it." That 1 mile fortunately went by quickly and there was the finish line. I saw people going out for their 2nd loop and I felt so bad for them.

Actual finish time: 5:41:11

The good points that I am going to take from this run are that I was hydrated and nutritioned well on the bike and I held this over onto the run, so fuel wasn't the issue, just willpower and melting conditions and going too hard on the bike.

Post Race:
Saw Jason at the finish line and told him that I was going to go find a rock to crawl under and die. I felt awful and just collected my stuff and trudged back to my car at the hotel. The blister on my ring toe on my right foot hurt more than anything else on my body! haha!

I didn't sign up for Lake Placid.

Because of the condition that I was in and the mental state that I was in, signing up for Lake Placid was the LAST thing that I wanted to do. I will still have another opportunity in a few weeks when I am up there to volunteer. Not going to go into details right now. I will be saving that for my next post.

Here are some highlights!
So this morning I checked out the compiled results. I did a LOT better overall than I thought/felt! Apparently everyone struggled yesterday. Came in 340/1163 overall, or in the 29th percentile. 33rd/112 in my age group for, get this, the 29th percentile in my age group. I had the 208th fastest bike split of the day!...so top 20%. I am REALLY happy about that, even if it nuked my running legs ;)

Like I mentioned before, I am going to go more into details on my thoughts about doing an Ironman. It is still very much on the radar, I just need to decompress from yesterday's torturefest.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where the heck am I and what the heck am I doing tomorrow?

Surprise! I'm taking a mini vacation this weekend that will involve some swimming, biking, and running and future race signupage.

Look @ those clouds!

The finish is just beyond those trees in front of that building

I'll fill you in on the details on Monday. Its gonna be a 2:30 AM wake up call tomorrow AM...

Over and out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Total and Complete Randomness

  • maybe its because I am tapering right now that my brain is off in La-La-Land this week
  • do you ever notice that people either have a negative or positive personality?
  • ever notice that those negative types want to drag you down to their level?
  • ever notice that most if not all endurance athletes are positive types? (yay us!)
  • why is it that the day before a big race all you want to do is bail?
  • why is it after you finish the race you always say, "what was the big deal?"
  • was the hardest part of your first triathlon the open water swim?
  • why is there always one person at the start of a triathlon who says they didn't train and makes it totally vocal to everyone?!?!?
  • when I was 5, I asked my parents how God got the skin on everyone. I think my parents were/still are baffled
  • also when I was 5 and in my first swim lessons, I asked the swim instructor what would happen if lightning struck the sun....he told me to keep kicking
  • when I was 7, I stared at the digital clock a lot. I figured that if I saw 5:43, then closed my eyes, opened them and it said 5:45, that 5:44 must have happened; now I am unsure
  • do you hate it or love it when someone on the bike announces that there is only a 13.1 mile run next
  • how do you describe that feeling starting to run coming off of the bike?
  • Gu is amazing!!! Nuff said
  • I want my next birthday cake frosted in chocolate Gu
  • I have spent WAY more on bicycle maintenance than on car maintenance this year
  • i have probably spent more on Chocolate Gu than car maintenance this year...
  • (my car runs fine, btw)
  • I like to replace the first letter of words with the letter "F"
  • Fumid
  • Fearly
  • Fwindy
  • Filly
  • you know you have met a triathlete, because he/she has told you within the first 5 seconds, or you are talking about p00 within the first 5 seconds
  • runner's trots is an appropriate and welcomed conversation amongst endurance athletes
  • "it" happens
  • I have swam in the Hudson River; it tastes like salty diesel fuel


  • I will be signing up for my first full Ironman in 3 days.
  • GULP!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My clothes don't fit anymore

*Turn ON Narcissistic mode*

I need to step onto a scale, or my clothes have been stretched out or my clothes don't fit me anymore. I feel like one of those people on those weight loss commercials who after they have lost a ton of weight get back into their old pants and hold the waist line way out to show the loss. Except I am still wearing these clothes!

A little over a year ago I bought some new shorts, with a waist size of 31. I used to wear size 32 pants and shorts all through college and into my early and mid twenties. The new 31's were a bit tight and almost got the 32's.

Well now these 31's have a 2 inch gap between the shorts waist line and my waist. My jeans, which are all 31 waist, have the same issue and look terribly baggy on me. I feel frumpy! haha!

So over the weekend I went and tried on a pair of 29's and 30's. The 29's had the look and weight of child sized pants. They did NOT fit....way too small. The 30's I got on, but the problem is that my thighs are too big! I felt like I was walking like Kramer from Seinfeld during that episode where he put the jeans on that he could never get off. So 31's are too big, 30's are too small. Do they make 30.5's?

Gah........

Any thoughts from you fashion aficionados?

*Turn OFF Narcissistic mode*

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crap! I forgot about marathon training!

So the NYC Marathon is exactly 18 weeks away as of yesterday. This will be my first marathon on November 7th.

Fortunately day 1 is a rest day according to the plan that I chose, Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan. This is good because I ate some bar food yesterday that sidelined me competely.

I am not sure how I want to approach this marathon. Its my first and the longest run/race that I have ever done was a super hilly 25K that I RACED, and subsequently battered my knees from running downhill that much. Whats another 10.7 miles?.......prolly the hardest 10.7 of my life. In terms of time spent out on the battlefield, I have been out there three times for 5.5 hours+. Of course, 3 of those were on a bike, which is completely different from running.

What am I getting at? I need to find some respect for this running distance. Part of me is like, "Eh, whats an easy 26.2? A walk in the park!" WRONG. I doubt it is anything like that. I need to constantly remind myself that every time I have finished a 13.1 either as a standalone or in a HIM that I always seem to ask myself, "So you wanna turn around and do this thing all over again?" NO is always the answer. Of course I was racing those 13.1 milers and wasn't pacing myself for double the distance.

In other words, I think (as of right now) since that distance is completely in the unknown, I think racing my first Marathon would be downright stupid, especially given the volume of the plan. I think the Marathon will be my first and last race of the season to go out there and enjoy myself and not put any pressure on hitting a time. I always say to myself that I should never "race" a new distance since I am going to PR it now matter what.

Any tips from you Marathoners? Did you race your first or merely go out there to figure out what this thing was all about?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Deep thoughts on another PR training ride

I just got back. I haven't eaten yet; I haven't stretched yet; I haven't foam rolled yet. I am basically high on endorphins right now....

I am bloated and not hungry. Too much liquid?

I am writing these thoughts down because this ride today basically changed the game and I NEED to vomit this onto paper for reflection.
The nitty gritties:
Distance: 59.19
Ride Time: 2:59:04
Avg Speed: 19.79
Avg Watts: 195
Terrain: Rolly with some hills, AWESOME flats

This entire past week was a beat down. The fact that I pulled this ride off like this after this past week is very meaningful to me. (can I write "this" a few more times?)
Monday: Recovery ride in AM, ass whooping of 2800 yards in the pool in PM
Tues: 10 mile run in 100% humidity, 80 degrees, held 8:43 pace (proud!)
Wed: 30 mile beatdown on bike in AM, further beat down of 2700 yards in pool in PM. Held 1:30-ish pace for most of swim. (proud!)
Thurs: 6 mile recovery run in AM, 19 mile recovery ride in PM
Friday: 1 mile swim in ocean, 3.X mile run, felt great

And I didn't feel recovered from last week's onslaught either. So basically I am trying to tell myself that I beat the ever living shit outa myself this week then pulled off a best ride ever. Jon, you are in a good place! Remember this moment.

Today you were holding 23mph for 12-ish minutes on end for multiple sections of the flats. You were holding 25+ mph for that last 4.5 mile section even going uphill! Tailwind?

You had two guys draft off of you. One told you "I need the motivation".....he thanked you for the pull. You were holding 24mph for that 4 mile section of road.

Later up by the Titicus Resevoir you buzzed by that triathlete who then attached himself as well. You could hear his gears changing constantly behind you before @ the end of the road you dropped him on that hill before you turned left onto June Rd. Never heard him again.

While you were on Titcus Resevoir road you saw "homeboy" riding on his TT bike wearing a very loose fitting gray cutoff tanktop flapping in the wind and a black baseball cap turned backwards. Be thankful he was wearing that gray tanktop in case he goes down. ;) Fucking knucklehead....

How the F did you only average almost 20MPH when you were CONSTANTLY holding 23+ on ALL of those flats! Oh right, Bogtown Road. Amazing how a few hills @ 10mph can basically ruin the overall speed. Oh well, BE PROUD of your speed on the flats. Remember you wanted to change your style of riding this season from an explosive rider to a more long haul on the flats rider? Accomplished!

You are gonna hang the rest of your season on this ride and last week's ride.

Over and out!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ran with a 7X Kona Qualifier. If that isn't inspiration, I don't know what is!

Today was even MORE glorious that last Friday's Swrun (Swim to bike Workout). My new tri club, the Greenwich Tri Club, actually did a formal swim today with kayak support. How awesome is that! There were about 15 of us swimming out there. We swam out to the Red #34 buoy around .5 miles or so out. The water today was a lot colder than last week and my feet actually went a little numb. Fortunately you get used to it.

When we started getting close to the buoy, it kept moving further and further to the right.....or rather I was going further and further to the left: i.e. CURRENT. That was fun though cuz you got to figure out how to cut it to meet up with the buoy. So we get to the buoy and we are treading water waiting for other folks to catch up and before you know it the buoy is 5-10 yards away! Wow, this current is really moving us! Awesome swim. Not sure if I swam through a field of tiny little jelly fish or globules of something, cuz I started freaking out @ one point! haha! I prefer fresh water.....

The swim back to shore otherwise was uneventful.

I threw on my running stuff and headed out in the correct direction this time. i.e. views of Manhattan :).....or the Bronx, but! I could see the Empire State Building.

Towards the end of my run, there is an older guy that I was coming up behind. He moved over to the other side of the road, I passed, then he switches back over and comes up behind me. He says, "I think I will draft off you for awhile." He was way taller than I so I look back and say, "I think it should be the other way around. You are bigger than me!"

That is when I see his hat. It says "IRONMAN" with the logo. I ask, "So which hat does that Ironman belong tooooo.........ooooooh god......that says World Championships!" Awesome.

We talk. He has been to Kona 7 times, the first time in 1993 and the most recent in 2006. I was humbled and honored to run with him. He has done Lake Placid and qualifed for Kona @ Lake Placid, so that is even MORE inspiring, since that is on the radar for 2011.

Another glorious Friday morning out on the beach in Greenwich, CT.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 Half the Year in Review

I can't believe today is July 1st. The season and year is halfway over with! Some folks are just getting their first races in for the year. I have been going strong since January, and I still feel like I am still only just getting warmed up for bigger things to come :)

First, the nitty gritties. You don't know where you are going unless you know where you have come from. In ALL of 2009, I went this far:
Swim: 191,007 yards
Bike: 2,787.46 miles
Run: 686.54 miles

So far in 2010, I have gone this far:
Swim: 137,840 yards
Bike: 2,252.33 miles
Run: 499.38 miles

My volume is way up this year and I am *knock on wood* still injury free!!! I account the larger volume for allowing me to go bigger and faster.

So lets start reviewing 2010, the first half:
Started 2010 with an injury! I thought it was a knee joint issue, but really it was due to being unaligned and tight quad muscles. After many painful visits to "The Elbow" and aligning myself before running coupled with lots of stretching and foam rolling, the knee issue went away.

Before I knew it on January 10th, I was running around Central Park in freezing cold conditions for a 5 miler, The Fred Lebow Classic. Remember what 23 degrees feels like? I sure don't! I just remember my hands going numb by mile 2 and I was wearing thick Ski gloves. haha!

By the end of January, my mission to break 2 hours in a half marathon became a religion. I wanted sub 2 hours SO BAD!!! So @ the Manhattan Half Marathon in Central Park, I dug deep and went 1:47:58 and smashed my old half marathon PR by 12 mins and 12 seconds. Mission accomplished!

After 4 weeks of no racing and volume building, I attemped not only my longest run ever, but my longest race ever over some SUPER hilly terrain against an all Boston Marathon running field. So @ the Silvermine 25K, I went 2:13:28, negative split it and had the most consistent pacing in my life. I paid deeply for that one. Running downhills does a LOT more damage than running uphills.

By March 21st, spring had arrived waaaaaay too early and we had some incredible conditions for the NYC Half Marathon, my favorite Half Marathon course to date. Another PR showed up in the form of 1:45:19, my current half marathon PR.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_XIm8X_Qqmvc/S6uTATPyxVI/AAAAAAAAAfo/diMv5bXFgFI/s1600/nycHalfRun.jpg

Never ever ever ever ever ever ever will I hold "it" for that long, if you know what I mean ;)

Ironman New Orleans 70.3 was only a month away at that point, so the increase in volume was starting to go through the roof. Next up was a 15K, the Colon Cancer Challenge, the following week in the same place, Central Park. I went even faster for a 1:15:18, and new 15K PR, and this was done the day after a 57 mile ride. I was nearing "well done" by that point! haha!

After a two week break from racing, I hit up a 4 miler in Central Park and PR'ed again for a 29:08, one week out from New Orleans. Needless to say, my run confidence was sky high for New Orleans.

And then Ironman New Orleans 70.3 finally arrived as my first big "A" race of 2010. I just wanted a sub 2 hour run @ New Orleans and to redeem myself from the disasterous run @ Timberman in 2009. I got it and then some, and took off 23 mins from my overall time from Timberman. The swim sucked in New Orleans due to huge swells, but I had a very consistent bike and run. All of my hard work and my doubts about myself in the Half Ironman distance were squashed!!! I also got the coolest race photo taken of me. I am so proud of it!!


After New Orleans, I took a long 4 week break from racing to regroup. The Harryman Sprimpic Triathlon and Ironman Mooseman 70.3 were up next and both the Harryman and Mooseman courses were the polar opposite of New Orleans. I went from below sea level pancake flatness to NY & NH hills!

Before I got to those two races, I had a somewhat ridiculous thing happen to me. I got bit by a dog while out reconning the Mooseman course in 47 degree pouring rain conditions. If anything could get worse than riding for 3+ hours in 47 degree pouring rain conditions, it did. That little dog had sharp f-ing teeth. Needless to say I am up on my Tetnus and the dog has a police record.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XIm8X_Qqmvc/S-Yk8-JroNI/AAAAAAAAAqE/pc0ryKC-pWg/s1600/downsized_0508002206.jpg
It doesn't look that bad, but you should have seen the bruise that showed up later!!!

Afer mentally recovering from the dog bite, it was back to business. Harryman was my test to see if a race @ speed done 2 weeks out from a Half Ironman did anything positive. I guess it did? I still don't know, but I enjoyed myself out there during that race and put up a solid bike split. It was a training race. Nothing more and my first triathlon in awhile that was shorter than a Half Ironman.

Mooseman 70.3 finally arrived as Half Ironman #3 overall and #2 for the season. I was as ready as I could have gotten for those hills and I learned a lot about gearing choices that day, especially when I was breaking my back up that f-ing hill (I was using too agressive of a gear set). I am also glad that I reconned the course in 47 degree pouring rain, because on the Mooseman race day, it was 62 degrees and pouring rain. It sucked, BUT! I had the run of my life and dropped a 1:50:03 Half Marathon on the run. Talk about going from death off the bike to rejuvenation!!!

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_XIm8X_Qqmvc/TAzmC5ACzwI/AAAAAAAAAsk/CE7ICCFx2ZM/s1600/runout.jpg
Had no idea that my legs were about to "wake up"

After Mooseman the summer heat and humidity showed up early and with a vengeance. I wasn't acclimated to running in the heat and "fumidity" yet and I got my ass handed to me in a 5 mile race around Central Park. I have come back swinging since and have beat the heat now knowing what to do in those conditions. This will likely describe the rest of the summer's racing conditions!

Wow, I have been writing this forEVER. I tried to summarize everything as briefly as possible, but I guess I have done a LOT this season so far!

Now for the rest of 2010, whats left is:
Lake Placid weekend to volunteer and sign up for Lake Placid 2011
Timberman 70.3 in August
The NYC Marathon on November 7th. (my first marathon)

I am sure a few races will sprinkle throughout, but those are the three main goals left for this year.

Hope you have a good rest of 2010!